Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Amy Wallis

A year ago, my husband of 19 years, Keith, and I moved to Pearland. We have no children of our own but blessed by 4 beautiful godchildren.Sean 23(married to Maegan), his sister Rebekah 17,. Brenna 7, and little brother Zeke 3. They come from 2 different families who are our close friends.

Before coming here we lived in the Bryan/College Station area for over 15 years. Pretty much lived in that area all my life. Never thought I would leave. Thankfully, God had another plan. I've been a hairstylist for 25 years. God has blessed me greatly! Since moving, I've been able to retire from doing hair on a daily basis. In doing this, it gives me the opportunity to volunteer and serve.

A Jesus follower since the age of 8, most of my dark days came after becoming a believer. At the age of 25, I started having panic attacks and depression. Depression came earlier in my life from being molested by a neighbor and living with a terminally ill parent. Roller coaster life events... I've had a few. Through them all, Christ was near as my next breath. He carried me all the way. Now he's asking me to step out on faith to serve in ways and in areas I've never known. I know I shouldn't be afraid but, at times, I am. Oceans by Hillsong United is one of my favorite songs that reminds me to stay focused on Christ. No matter what my circumstances are, he is there leading me.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours, and You are mine.

Even as an adult, I tried to equate my Father in heaven's love with what was love from my earthly father. Yep, now it's clear which is perfect. My earthly father loved as much as he could through lots of his own pain, which wasn't very loving. So, that's what I expected God's love to be like. Wrong on so many levels. I finally surrendered to stop labeling God. He opened the door of my heart to show me his love. He healed my brokenness.

“And now, here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to start all over again. I’m taking her back out into the wilderness where we had our first date, and I’ll court her. I’ll give her bouquets of roses. I’ll turn Heartbreak Valley into Acres of Hope. She’ll respond like she did as a young girl, those days when she was fresh out of Egypt." (Hosea 2:14, 15 MSG)

This passage showed me how much God loved Israel and loved me.

Crosspoint Church was like coming home. I only visited one other church but,  CPC was clearly where God led me. I started coming by myself last May or June. My husband and I grew up in church and both had bad experiences. So, when I asked Keith to come, the answer was no. We did join a Life Group. He loved it, but still no going to church with me. Then Tom was starting the I Want A New Marriage series. I asked again. This time he said yes. Did I mention that several folks were praying for him? Yeah, prayer works!  Now, Keith comes regularly. Tall bald guy, holding a door greeting, driving a cart or just being that guy who helps. Love that man! God has transformed our marriage. We pray together! That didn't happen before! Over meals, before bed, for each other and for many folks. We date again! Yes, no phones, just the two of us. Gave our finances over to God's direction. Working on getting out of debt and being good stewards of The Lord's money. Thank you God, Dave Ramsey, and Financial Peace University! This is an exciting season in our lives!

So here's the stepping out on faith part... I joined Love146 Taskforce to help stop child sex trafficking and exploitation. WOW!!! God's growing a love in my heart for these girls and boys! Freedom for them is attainable! Abolition can and will happen! I've been asked to liaise between Love146 and the women's ministry here at Crosspoint Church. When mission opportunities come  through Love146 that may be a good fit for women, I'll make sure they are presented to Susan Allen our Director of CPWM and Becki McAuley our Leader of Women on Mission.

What legacy do I want to leave? Just this... Love God, Love People, Do it!!

 Ladies of CPC, may what we do for women point them to Christ. May he receive all glory, honor and praise, for he alone is worthy.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Kristal Maris

Howdy! My name is Kristal Maris. I am married to Steve Maris. I have a 14 year old step-daughter, Stephanie, and an almost 1 year old son, Joshua. I’m originally from Brenham, Texas. Yes, the cows really do think Brenham is Heaven, and in case you are wondering, us Brenhamites really do “eat all we can and we sell the rest… Blue Bell IS the best Ice Cream in the country.” Now that we all have a nice little jingle in our head, I will continue.

I moved to Houston to go to college and have remained here since 1997. I have worked for more than 13 years in the medical field as a surgical technologist. But as of last year, I landed my dream job as a stay at home mom.

Back towards the end of 2008, I was looking for a church, and a co-worker mentioned her “Awesome” church and even more “Awesome” Pastor, and so I gave Crosspoint [Fellowship] (at the time) a try. It only took ONE service for me to know this was my new home. But boy oh boy did the road to get me home have some ups and downs, some bends, and seriously BAD detours.

This is where I have stalled on this blog for months. I have been so unsure where exactly to go from here. What part of my road has God shown up and made the most profound impact worth writing an entire Blog about? What part of my road do I feel lead to share with all of you that may have some sort of significant impact, even if for just one person? What part of me do I want exposed? Is this writer’s block? Surely no…how can I have writers block when it comes to writing about the one thing I know the most about, myself? And as I write this sentence I realize the problem…talking about myself is not something I am comfortable with.

Just like anyone, I have a lot of life I am not proud of. I have had many, many years where I was living by my own rules and agenda and not God’s. I have been dealt a hefty hand of hardship. A lot of which was not of my own making, and was just sort of the life I was born in to, but I will claim it. There was plenty that was of my own making. Simply put, I am such a sinner. Try as I might to avoid it, it is still there, to this very day. It makes me angry, sad, disappointed, and quite frankly I would really like to kick Eve’s butt when I get to Heaven. Genesis 3:1-19

I’ve been through a broken home, death of both parents before 30s, poverty (true undeniable–by-definition poverty). I was one poor chick growing up…like no car and not even a telephone kind of poor. I’ve been rejected by the church. I was judged harshly by the church, which somehow turns a person off of church completely. (Imagine that.) I’ve been divorced. I struggled for 10 years to get pregnant. I’m a step-parent…which could be an entire book all by itself. I have fought, won, lost again, won again and am currently losing again with the battle of obesity. That battle has turned a severe back injury in 2003 into chronic back pain and limitations. I have had a disease in my intestines since I was in junior high that caused me to be homebound for 75% of High School…talk about a long story. That one is a dozy. I have had a history of “sex, drugs, and rock n’roll”. I literally went through about an 8 month period of life that I felt like I was having an out of body experience, because I didn’t even recognize the person looking back at me in the mirror. I have been verbally, emotionally, and spiritually abused.

So what happened? How did I get where I am today? Well…looking back, the pivotal moment in my life was when I met Steve. Steve Maris rescued me from myself. God reached down from heaven, and through the physical body of Steve, He yanked me out of the pits of my own mess, shook me a little and placed my soul back into my body again. The irony of it is I was to be a physical hand of God for Steve as well. Until we met, Steve and God hadn’t been introduced. Steve wasn’t saved, and while I was saved by Grace I was not living according to His will and in no way nurturing any sort of relationship with God. God put two very messy people together.

God is genius. He has proven to me over and over and over again how that His plan is better than mine. My all time favorite verse is Jeremiah 29:11For I know the plans I have for you,” says the lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. It goes on to say in verse 12, In those days when you pray, I will listen. During all my low points and high points, one thing that has remained is I have always prayed. Of course I have had my fair share of selfish prayers and well. Those get answered accordingly. But I have always felt that one of my spiritual gifts is the ability to pray. I feel like I have literally nailed Christ back up on that cross so many times, testing him and seeing if he was ever going to fail me. I have felt so undeserving of His mercy and yet every single time He doesn’t just come through, he blesses me. ME? Of all people? If you keep reading on it says in verse 13-19 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14I will be found by you,” says the lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.” So there you have it. That is how I got home. God promised to never let me go and he didn’t. No matter how many times I strayed, he kept me in his embrace and brings me back to the exact place he wants me to be.

Since we started off with a jingle I will end with a song of reference. (I love music by the way…such a wonderful means of expression) One of the first songs we sang in church, the first Sunday service after the loss of my best friend/mom was ‘How He Loves Us’. There is this line in that song that rips me every time I hear it. Tears stream down my face (which is sort of bad because KSBJ plays this song often and I hear it while I’m driving). But the line, “I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about, the way, He loves Us…” Man, oh man is that true.

So to answer the question I graveled with for so long trying to write this: What part of my road has God shown up and made the most profound impact? Well…it is all of it. The answer is D, all of the above. My entire life is an example of God showing up and making profound impact. It has just taken me a while to learn to accept it. For a long time, even with a wonderful husband, I still prayed for Joy. I can honestly say, I have Joy in my life because of the Grace of a Loving and Forgiving God. Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.