All posts by joymsteed

About joymsteed

"This is the day the Lord has made I will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:4 I love this verse but the problem is I, more often than not, spend so much time rushing through the day that I don't think I really embrace what God is telling me through this verse. So, I am deciding to stand still or at least go slow and enjoy the days and the blessings that come, all of them; the ordinary and the extraordinary, the hard and the good, catching the moments wrapped up in each and giving thanks for the journey I am on. I am blessed to venture forward with my husband of 20 years and our two daughters, life has been hard and good and taken us places we never imagined we would go - both standing still and moving. God has been good and now as we enter a new stage, that point where our family road begins to have forks that are leading our girls to begin chapters in their stories that are separate from our story and although this excites me it also makes me wonder what's next for this mom, where do I go from here and what will this next chapter look like for me? I don't have the answers yet, what I do know though is that God is good and I know that He is going to lead and I will obediently follow, leaning in, standing still and rejoicing in the days ahead, the good and the hard days, the ordinary and the extraordinary days and the blessings wrapped in each. Thanks for stopping by and joining in my journey!

Meet Myra Velasquez

Meet Myra Velasquez! As a long term missionary in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, Myra is a tireless servant of the Gospel. She is a nurturer, thoughtful and kind. A woman of God, family, and prayer. Check out this excerpt from her testimony on Proverbs 3:5-6.

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“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Being on the mission field since 1999, my life has indeed been a journey. My family    and I have experienced countless extraordinary blessings as well as tremendous    difficulties and yet I wouldn’t have it any other way.

For those of us who are married, we know that marriage requires a lot of work.  I think it’s safe to say that it takes even more of an effort for those of us who are in full time ministry together, especially because we’re rarely apart. I can recall, what began as a passion in our hearts for the lost suddenly turned into a struggling marriage. We were no longer fighting as one but against each other. Then God in all His grace reminded me that He is our Helper and our Counselor. Sadly, we allowed ourselves to forget this powerful truth. During this time, He led me to Proverbs 3:5- 6. If I wanted my marriage to succeed, all I had to do was: Trust in the Lord with all my heart; Not lean on my own understanding; Submit all my ways to Him (prayer) and He would make my paths straight.

This seemed simple enough (yeah right) so I began to pray regularly. Was    it easy? No. Prayer requires humility and takes great effort, especially when you think you’re in the right. But when we look to Jesus, our greatest example, He was constant in prayer and always humble, therefore we should do the same. As we surrendered ourselves before the Lord in prayer, God began to reveal things in our hearts that needed to change. Our confidence was now in God and all His promises as we kept our eyes fixed on Him and not on our circumstances.

In all God’s sovereignty and grace, God delivered us and healed our marriage. Mando and I made a promise to one another when we got married: We wanted our marriage to be a glory unto the Father and that divorce was never an option. Today, with a grateful heart, I can proclaim to you that my husband and I are very much in love. Mando and I have recently celebrated 21 years of marriage    and all I can say is: “Blessed be the name of the Lord!”

Beloved sister, no matter what you’re facing today; no matter your circumstance; when all hope seems lost and you’re ready to give up, I urge you to not despair. Get on your face before God. Lay prostrate before the King of kings. Do not give up but rather give it up, by humbling yourself in surrender at the Throne of Grace. You will find mercy. Allow God to go before you and fight your battle and expect that He has His best in mind for you. Because he is the One who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.

Jesus, help me to turn my eyes away from all those things that hinder,

and gaze upon You, my Blessed Hope.

I want to trust You in every situation

and seek Your good ways above my own understanding.

Direct me, Father,

make my paths straight for Your glory.

Amen.

Retreat Reflections: Kelby Bruno

Every year, we set aside an extraordinary amount of time to spend with God and one another. Many of us learn something or have an aha that we just don’t want to let go of. If you have something you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you. The best way for us to stay connected to God is to remember what He has done. Today we get to hear from Kelby Bruno. Kelby is married to Chris and mom to Cade and Chase. Did you know she was a professional windsurfer and competed on the world tour with world class windsurfers? NBD as the kids say… she did that in the middle of becoming an awesome singer/songwriter. Next time you see her, be sure to give her some love.

Philippians 3:12-13

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

The retreat was a great weekend of being reminded of the “trues” that we mostly know, but we forget! As I set out for the weekend, I had no idea (like most women’s retreats) what to expect. Every time I go to a retreat, God is up to something different! I had decided to go earlier this year,(although it took me twice as long to register), I knew that leading up to the retreat, things would start to get hectic. They always do! Kids get sick, the week seems overwhelming, anxiety sets in, just to name a few. You find yourself a day or two before questioning, “Should I really go?” Well, I do know a few things about that nasty little devil that tells us and discourages us from almost everything good in our life; so I did start to pray and stand on the fact that I had already decided to go. I had already agreed with God that He would speak to me on some level, and that fellowship with the body is always God’s heart.  Nevertheless, the battle was still there. As me and my roommates forged ahead in somewhat of a disheveled state, we did make it to the beautiful setting of the retreat and could then start to settle our hearts.

The great thing to find out is that we were not alone. Many women faced these similar feelings, setbacks and apprehensions.  As the retreat started and the women began to share through the teachings,  #1 we are not alone in our struggle.  So often you feel you are the only one that “doesn’t have it together”.  You seldom release yourself to the fact that it’s ok to not be “ all together” and that you can just come as you are. We need to let not only our self, but also others to do that too.  Fact #2, is that Jesus had already ordained us to be there. Individually, and as a group, His sovereign hand and mind had something to say to us personally. What did He say to you? What did He say to us?  What He said to me is that I needed to be reminded once again of His loving truths in my life.  I so often forget the important things that I believe through the ups and downs of life. His loving hand wanted to reach out and encourage me upward through the teaching of the Word, corporate worship and adoration, fellowship with women, friendships rekindled, on top of enjoying the moment of His creation and being “away” with Him.  It wasn’t just another lunch date or walk; it was a time that He was going to speak through all these things.  He needed to remind me that “little foxes” come to attack the fruitful vine He has planted in my heart and life. Yes! He has planted a fruitful vine in our life because we love Jesus!  That is just one thing He spoke.  He let me see the hearts of other women that spoke honestly and humbly and broken about their struggles, which in turn helped others to open up and receive the healing they needed.  He reminded us as a group that we all need healing in different areas, and that He has enough of Himself to heal all of us at the same time in different areas. It was marvelous! He reminded me that as we welcomed new people to our lives, He was also rekindling people that we have known for a while, but only in part. He was developing and forming new friendships.

By Sunday, we women felt full. We felt encouraged and loved. We felt that God had so undeniably met us where we were. Not that everything is done, but for this time and place the Lord was able to speak to us. It was a time to invite new things and be open for the “new” season that God has put us in. As I read and meditated on Philippians 3:12-13, it reminded me that I must do this. Forget what lies behind. Don’t look in the rearview mirror. Press on to what the Lord has ahead. Press on to what the Lord has in the here and now. Remind yourself of the trues that He has spoken to your heart. God Bless you.

“Bread and Wine” Book Review

Bread and Wine

“I am a bread and wine person.  By that I mean that I’m a Christian, a person of the body and blood, a person of the bread and wine.  Like every Christian, I recognize the two as food and drink, and also, at the very same time, I recognize them as something much greater – mystery and tradition and symbol.  Bread is bread and wine is wine, but bread-and-wine is another thing entirely.  The two together are the sacred and the material at once, the heaven and earth, the divine and the daily.” Shauna Niequist, author of Bread and Wine

I love having people over.  Come to my house for an hour, a day, a week or a month I love having you under my roof.   I recognize that not everyone feels this way but it is the way I feel.  I love having people around my table talking, laughing, crying, sharing life and food. When we break bread together, share a meal something spectacular happens, we not only are nourishing our bodies through what we eat we are nourishing our souls through the words we are sharing.  Nourishment on every level, that’s what Shauna Niequist calls it in her book Bread and Wine.

Bread and Wine is a collection of essays about family, friendships and the meals that bring these two together.  It’s also about the ways God teaches and nourishes us as we nourish the people around us.  It’s about hunger, both in the physical and emotional and how these are connected.  Shauna shares deeply from her heart and her life, the conversations that have happened around her table and the food that was part of those conversations.  If you love food and you love people you will want to read this book.

Throughout Bread and Wine, Shauna shares moments from her life, conversation with friends and also conversations she has had with God and what both have shown her.  She shares the hard and the good about life and how food, family and friends fit into those places and often make those places better.   She shares about her struggles with self -image, miscarriage and friendships that are hard. She shares about her marriage and what it takes to make it work. What I love about this book, aside from how beautifully Shauna writes, is that while I’m reading it I feel like I am at her table, like I am part of the conversation that is happening.  I feel welcomed and encouraged and hungry not just for the yummy recipes she gives; Gluten Free Brownies, Chicken Mango Curry, Sweet Potato Fries with Sriracha Dipping Sauce just to name a few of the 29 recipes, but I also crave more time at the table with my people, sharing these new recipes and conversation; nourishment on all levels.

If you love food, love your people and love sharing life together you will want to read this book and don’t think that it’s just a recipe book, because it’s more than that it’s a book to curl up with, sit in the carpool line waiting to pick up the kids from school book.  It’s a book that you will read and then read again, it’s a book that will be on the shelf with all your other recipe books, tattered and stained, pages turned down with marks of oil and flour and notes of adjustments and what you loved and who you shared it with.  It’s a book full of goodness from the recipes to the stories of life being lived.  It’s a book that will nourish you on every level.

Have you read Shauna Niequest’s book Bread and Wine? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

Hospitality in the Moment

Attractive best friends outdoorI was sitting with someone the other day and we were talking about life – the heavy and the hard of things right now.  We weren’t solving or reasoning it all out we were really just talking, laying it all out between us.  There were some moments of silence, quiet and good and other moments of lots of words forming questions that we didn’t have answers for.  After a while that was marked with a few tears and deep heavy sighs she said these words to me:

Thank you for sitting here with me, in this.

She didn’t mean it in the physical sense, the here we are on the couch sitting together here, she meant it in the emotional sense, the, “This is where I am and thanks for being here too.”

It struck me right then, for all the moments and things we feel like we have to solve (and as women there are many things we feel we have to solve and have answers to) sometimes we really don’t need to have an answer.  Sometimes we just need to sit in the spot that hurts with those that are hurting and allow the pain to have a voice.  We don’t need to reason it out or try and figure out why God may have us here or there, no excuses or solutions needed.  Instead just ears to hear and words that are simple and true, words like I don’t know and that’s okay, I don’t get it either and you’re right it doesn’t seem fair or just or worse bearable.  Words like I hate this too.  Just sitting, hearing how it hurts, how it feels.  There will be time to lift up and encourage, sitting together in the moment doesn’t mean staying there forever, doesn’t mean we believe God has forgotten us or worse left us to fend for ourselves, it just means right now I will sit awhile here with you.  Some times this is the best thing we can do, the thing that is needed the most.

Hospitality isn’t always about putting on your best behavior or putting out your prettiest dishes and sweeping the dog hair under the carpet.  Sometimes it is simply about being available for the moment at hand, to listen and share in the moment that is hard and messy and has no clear end in sight.  Sometimes hospitality is about opening the door to a friend and not worrying that there are piles of laundry all over the floor, dirty dishes in the sink and a to do list that is pages long, sometimes it’s simple, it’s sitting between the piles, the dirty, sitting in the muck together knowing it won’t always be like this but for today, it’s okay that it is and you’re not alone.

Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it… Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Romans 12 the message

What You’re Into: Royal Family Kids Camp with Keaton Steed

Kings Harbor is in countdown mode.  Royal Family Kids Camp is just a mere three months away and WE NEED YOU.  If you have never been to camp and are looking for a Mission Opportunity this is it.  I (Joy Steed) talked to Keaton Steed about her experience at Royal Family and this is what she had to share:

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How did you find out about Royal Family and what made you want to go? My mom, you. I didn’t want to do it because I didn’t like camp as a kid and so I really didn’t want to go at all, but you told me I didn’t have a choice, this was something I needed to do!

How did your perception of what this camp, Royal Family, change once you were there? I realized how helpless these kids are, how many of them don’t receive a lot of love and special things in their lives.  This can make them hard to love, because they don’t always show their affection at first.  They have a guard up at first, because they don’t trust people easily.  So, seeing how throughout the week they changed and became more trusting, and opened up and because of that you learn more about their story, about what they have been through or are going through.  This changed how I felt about the camp.  They are kids but they have been through a lot more than what a kid should go through.

If someone had never been to camp what would you tell them?  That you just need to go and have fun with these kids let them have fun, treat them like any other kid and love them unconditionally.

How would you say God worked through Royal Family In my first year I wasn’t really aware of the impact of camp until I got home, I spent a lot of time with one camper in particular and so when I came home from that week I wondered a lot about her, her situation and if I would ever see her again.  I had to rely on God and give my anxiety and sadness over to God and trust that wherever she was and whatever her circumstances that God was taking control of them and watching out for her and at the same time helping me through missing her.  The second year, which was last year I saw God work through the counselors and staff and I then saw the impact that this had on the kids, how God was working in their lives that week.  We were humbled.  At Royal Family we have to put others first and that’s not easy.  You also realize that things we take for granted others don’t have and perceptions we have of others and their situations aren’t necessarily accurate.   God took all of that and changed the hearts of the counselors and staff and in changing our hearts the kids hearts get affected, being cared for and excepted and loved unconditionally and in a safe way, a way they may have never experienced and because of this their hearts are changed.

Keaton, personally what have you seen God do in your life because of your experience of serving at Royal Family Kids Camp?  It’s given me a heart to help kids that are struggling especially those kids in the Foster system.  It has opened my eyes to that.  God changed my heart and faith through this experience just simply by opening my eyes to situations outside of my comfort zone.  I definitely see that by stepping out of my comfort zone, by going I definitely became aware of there being a need right here in my community.  Royal Family personally reminded me what I already know about God, that God can change people and in a matter of days lives can be affected in a positive way just by being available and willing to give your time and energy to someone other than yourself.

If you are interested in volunteering for Royal Family Kids Camp this year talk to Christine Barker or Jason Flentye about how to get involved.  The applications to serve are on the Kings Harbor website.

Here’s your turn to be heard! Comment below to enter a chance to win a copy of God’s Smuggler in honor of our month dedicated to “God’s Word”. The winner will be announced on March 31st at 8:00pm.

God's Smuggler

Moms Night Out (Alexis Collins)

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The struggles in motherhood can cloud our minds and hearts, allowing our insecurities, doubts, lack of grace, fears and many other lies that creep into our everyday moments with our children. Whether we stay at home with our kids, work, or maybe even working from home; whether our children have a disability or we are raising them on our own, we all face different challenges as a mom. We need each other’s support and need to know that we are not alone.

If you are a mom in need of encouragement and fellowship please join us for “Moms Night Out” on Monday, January 19th from 6:45-9pm at Kings Harbor Church. We know many of you are not able to join one of the moms groups that happen during the day because of other schedule requirements and even those who are able to attend a moms group, but would love to hear about certain topics that will not be discussed this year at MOMs INC or Moms United. This is your chance to come and be with other moms who together seek God for the help we all desperately need as we raise and train these kids that God himself has given us. We will be discussing topics such as: Raising an only child, Taking our thoughts captive, Raising a child with special needs, The balance of being a working mom, and Raising children as a single mother.

Lets be women and mothers who gather together for support and growth, seeking our Father who wants to guide us on this journey he has set our feet on. It is by no mistake that we have the children God has given each of us. At times it may seem overwhelming or we may question God for giving us the children he has, thinking we are not equipped to handle the demands of motherhood. But let us not let the lies, fear, and anxiety keep us from the immeasurable love and grace our God is waiting to give us. He is a gracious God that wants us to walk in the freedom of knowing that he has already forgiven us for our mistakes. Come and be encouraged by each other and by the wisdom that other moms have to share with us. We look forward to seeing you there.

With Love, Alexis Collins and Joy Steed

Alexis Collins

Seeking Relationship

Seeking Relationships

I crave relationship, seriously kind of like I crave dark chocolate with chili peppers.  Both sound a little “over the top” or maybe even freaky to you, but it’s the truth.  I love to be with and around people, love to get into deep conversation about the hard things and the beautiful things.  I like easy too, sharing a cup of tea, just the simple talk, or not saying much at all.  Relationship for me is fuel for my soul a tangible, living like Jesus, sort of thing.

Being in relationship, doing life with others, I can’t imagine it any other way.  I see Jesus in these moments, hear His words spoken to others and me and through these relationships I am changed.

Let no one seek his own, but each one the others well being. 1 Corinthians 10:24

This has been one of my life verses for as long as I can remember; the truth of it speaks to the heart and beauty of relationship.  Just imagine if we each, entering into a relationship, any relationship, took the words of Paul seriously, imagine the fruit of those relationships.  If I enter in seeking your well-being and you mine, we are both heard, seen and most importantly loved.

Easier said than done isn’t it.  There are those relationships that are hard, hard to enter into because of stuff that gets in the way or hurt that has been had or even just the simple truth that there may not be a lot I have in common with you or you with me.  But that’s not what Paul says, it isn’t about, find what you have in common and then do your best to share those things and laugh and cry and be merry together.  Nope, it doesn’t say that at all, in fact it really says put someone else before yourself, see and hear and find out what they need and then give it to them, do it for them in any way you can making sure that their well being, that they as a person, a child of God, a person loved by God is taken care of.

Imagine if we entered into all relationships with this in mind; it’s not about me and what I may get out of this but what I can give to this relationship, to this other person.  If I enter in with that attitude and you enter in with that attitude the outcome is pretty clear; we are heard, seen, and most importantly loved.

I’m not sure where you are in this whole relationship thing, if you are craving a deeper friendship with someone, working hard at your marriage or maybe you are sitting on the outside of a relationship you see as wonderful wondering how you enter into that.  Speaking from experience, from the heart of one that craves this sort of thing, step in, make a new friend, say your sorry, invite someone into your circle.  Seek another’s well being.