Kristin Schmucker » Equipping Women in the Word

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Displaying Grace: How God’s Protection Brought Correction

The sound of the cars colliding was deafening—yet in that moment, the impact seemed to bring my world to a silent pause. There was no noise when the car finally came to the stop. One moment I was listening to the laughter of my children—the next moment the world was quiet.

Nothing prepares you for moments like these, moments that will be epically etched into the hardwiring of your memory. Moments that will quickly change the landscape of how you live your life. When I turned around, I saw that my children were ok—they were alive—I was alive. Moments like that change us because God gave us the chance to live.

In the weeks that pressed on after the accident, the pain and bruises left behind reminded me of God’s protection. But more than that, God used them to remind me of all He had done in my life. God’s redemption and transformation that had taken place several years earlier had become bland because I had become careless.

I spent so much time just going through life but not serving Him. I spent my time being broken and trying to fill the gaps in my own strength and not God’s.

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Antidotes for Anxiety

When I was in grade school, my parents were gracious enough to pick me up so I didn’t have to ride the bus. Every day, without fail my dad would pick me up in his bright red Durango. Every day our teachers would lead us in lines out the front doors of the school where we waited for our loved ones to load us up and take us home. He would come; I knew this for a fact. But if I didn’t immediately see that bright red SUV in the circle drive, I broke down in inconsolable sobs. I never had a reason to doubt that my parents would remember me. And though irrational, that fear was so incredibly real.

The goings-on of anyone’s mind is a complex thing, and not once do I want to belittle, or irritate that sentiment. So, I say what I will with sincerity and empathy to any of you who share in my same struggle or have your own cross to bear.

Needless to say, I’ve always been a worrier. I was so repetitiously anxious that my teachers wanted to hold me back to repeat the 1st grade over again. I was anxious about storms. I worried about the health and safety of my loved ones on a regular basis. Strange as it sounds, I was even afraid of certain numbers.

Suffice it to say, I’ve always been exacerbated by the quip, “Oh, don’t worry about it,” or “everything will be fine.” I’ve always known how high-strung I am, but I thought I was always just a little weird or maybe a little broken. But it turned out that these nonchalant phrases illegitimatized and undermined a much deeper problem of mine—a spiritual problem.

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This Year, Resolve to Love God Better

I have long been fascinated by the Orthodox Jewish tradition of wearing phylacteries. Leather boxes, filled with Scripture, are strapped to an individual’s left arm and to their forehead. These are worn during periods of prayer, and their design is to direct the wearer’s mind on God. The Scripture contained in those little boxes is, in part, Deuteronomy 6:4-9:

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

This is a centuries-old tradition within the realm of Judaism. It might be a strange idea for us in modernity to understand the aesthetic or practicality of strapping Bible-boxes to our bodies, but I think there’s something important to be found in that confusion—in this instance, the frill nor the sensibility matters. At its core, this is a tradition to love God, to speak of Him often, and to recite and dwell on His Word. We can and should glean wisdom from this.

We love God better by seeking to know Him more. We seek to know Him more by reading the very thing He gave us to be known by: The Bible. 2 Peter 1 reminds us that God has granted us knowledge pertaining to life and godliness, and this knowledge comes through Jesus Christ. And we know Jesus Christ through God’s Word.

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Let us Come and Stand Amazed

On a scale describing Christmas Spirit, I definitely fall more into the “Grinch” range. I know this is egregious to many of you, but I’ve always had a hard time connecting to the Christmas spirit. Commercialism can be a difficult pill to swallow. Things like placing a tree indoors, or socks on your mantle tend to confound me. But most of all- I hate Christmas music. As a person who thrives in variety and change, the things that become repetitious begin to lose their enchantment quickly. Bells jingling, snow men, Santa Claus—all of these things grew boring.

These things grew old because they didn’t have any meaning to me. But now, as a recovering Grinch with a revitalized heart for Christmas, I’ve learned how to sway my mind to desire a season dedicated to remembering. My affections have been renewed for Christmas because my gaze is directed toward a manger, not the North Pole. I look at the shepherds, not elvish helpers. I am fixated on Christ, not Santa.

For so long I conflated “reason” for the season and the “methods” of the season, and for me there is simply no pleasure in cultural Christmas. But what I do find incomprehensively joyful is thinking on the Incarnation, our lowborn Messiah, the Son of David.

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Cultivating Affection For Christ

Aren’t we ever on the search for the best way to do things? It seems like a common step to google, search Pinterest or research the best way to do anything these days. The most effective way. The top 3 things you need. The best method. We want to get it right.
To be honest I have approached my walk with the father this way. It comes from a good place but, I have thought that if I have the best morning routine, the best journals, apps and podcasts on my phone I will be set. I will go deep. So I spend hours scouring the internet for the right things and then I have my time with Jesus squarely set. Checked off and planned. But it’s not enough, my heart still is a bit restless.

To be honest ladies, I have come to a place in my walk with the Lord where I feel like I am missing the secret sauce. Where I see women around me flourishing in freedom and passion and it’s so inspiring. I crave that beautiful peace that I see across their faces. While my head gets the freedom that the Lord has provided by giving His son for me, my heart isn’t always free. While I feel that freedom in fleeting moments, I want more. More of getting in tune with God’s amazing plan for my life, more freedom, more peace.

Yet it can be crazy discouraging because I often find myself getting caught up in the latest and greatest. I find myself spinning and scrolling my worth away at the end of the night. Yet, I did my devotions that morning, I checked my list of Jesus to do’s. Why before I go to bed I am still searching? Am I doing it right? I want to do it right. My heart cries.

Can any of you relate? Feeling like your missing that one thing? Or repeating all the “if only I had”….statements? I come before you bearing my weaknesses because y’all the Lord has given me a word for us. In the last weeks of preparing this he has been lovingly nudging my heart to share truth. For now just breathe this verse in.

“‘In him we live and move and have our being’;[a] Acts 17:28 ESV
I believe the Lord is calling us, especially woman to experience him in our every breath. Truly experience Him in our moments, and most importantly in consistency. In a steady stream of live giving water. Not just a drink here and there. In the mundane. In the car, in the laundry, in our meals. Now before you get all up in arms about how you don’t have another moment left to give, just hear me out.

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