Friday, December 10, 2010

Everything I need

The other day I was driving in my car, listening to the radio and just feeling the weight of life. I was praying and talking to the Lord about my life and my need for him in the midst of chaos. A song came on that brought me to tears. It's by Kutlass entitled, "Everything I need". It was just what i needed to hear. Just what i needed to sing to Him! God is everything I need. He is my strength, my refuge, my everything. He is sufficient!

Here are the lyrics:
When every step is so hard to take
And all of my hope is fading away
When life is a mountain that I can not climb
You carry me, Jesus carry me.

You are strength in my weakness
You are the refuge I seek
You are everything in my time of need
You are everything, You are everything I need

When every moment is more than I can take
And all of my strength is slipping away
When every breath gets harder to breathe
You carry me, Jesus carry me

You are strength in my weakness
You are the refuge I seek
You are everything in my time of need
You are everything, You are everything I need

I need You
You are everything I need
I love everything about You

You are strength in my weakness
You are the refuge I seek
You are everything in my time of need
You are everything, You are everything I need

Thursday, November 25, 2010

gobble gobble

Happy Thanksgiving! I have much to be thankful for this thanksgiving! In fact, a friend of mine and i were talking about thankfulness today. She has experienced the life change of cancer and commented that she used to complain more before cancer. Now, after having walked through cancer, she chooses to be thankful instead of complain. She's a survivor and has a whole different perspective on life and circumstances. May we choose thankfulness on this and the days ahead!

Here's a picture of me and my little pilgrim at his 1st grade thanksgiving play!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Beauty for ashes

I know it’s been awhile, but much has happened since I last wrote. We officially purchased a home, and it’s exactly what I’ve been praying for. I had been praying and waiting on God to provide a home as close to Butler as possible in order to be more accessible to the students with whom I seek to minister.

He provided! In fact, I was painting the garage last weekend and heard the Butler football team score a touchdown as our house is a block from the stadium. I am incredibly thankful for the Lord’s provision!

We haven’t moved in yet because I’m having some renovating and painting done, but I am hoping to be in the house by Thanksgiving.

I also am having some landscaping done and consulted with a friend from church who owns his own landscaping business. I don’t exactly have a green thumb, so I left the design up to him. Not too long ago, he showed me the plans for the front yard, which will be absolutely beautiful. More importantly, they included some dogwood trees and hydrangeas, both of which have great significance in my life.

Erik and I were married at the home where he grew up in North Carolina. We had an outdoor wedding and the dogwoods trees bloomed the very morning of our wedding. They were stunning and a picture of beauty for ashes on a bittersweet day: sweet because I was marrying Erik and bitter because my sister had died a month and a half prior to our wedding. I was so devastated and in the midst of great sorrow. God provided a wonderful reminder for me that day, that I would one day rise from the ashes of grief and that He would one day be back to make all things right.

I also love Hydrangeas. Aren’t they lovely? Erik knew I loved hydrangeas and the night he proposed to me, I was surrounded by bouquets of hydrangeas.

So when my friend, the landscaper showed me the plans for the new house, I almost cried. What a gift from the Lord since moving from our old house was so hard to do. It was such a step of faith for me to leave the home that Erik and I lived in. All the memories! He is giving me a constant reminder that He indeed is the one who gives beauty for ashes!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Apple Pickin'

I love this time of year! Cooler evenings, apple orchards and yummy warm cider are a few of my favorite things. We took our annual trip to the apple orchard and the refrigerator is loaded with more apples than we can possibly eat. Any good apple recipes out there?

Here are my little men having some apple orchard fun!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

First day of school

The boys are back to school. Jensen is now attending Alex's school and it's great having them at the same place. Jensen came home from the first day of class and said, "I love it mom!"

He made a friend. (THANK YOU LORD!) He had been feeling a bit anxious about going to a new school. Thanks to Ellis, his new friend, for making school a fun place for Jensen!

Doesn't that hold true in all of life? New situations or circumstances just aren't as scary when you've got a friend to do it with you! Thankful for all those who are in this journey with us!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My dream

Have you ever had a dream that was so real it took you awhile to realize that it was just a dream?

I did just the other night. In fact, I had a very vivid dream that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. I don’t typically remember my dreams, but this one was hard to forget. I realize it might seem kind of weird that I’m talking about a dream in my blog. I mean, it is just a dream, and aren’t most dreams kind of wacky?

There was something different about this one, though.

Erik was in this dream. I rarely dream about him, but each time I do it’s a gift because for a few minutes I am with him again. (I know, you think I’m crazy, but for those who have lost someone you love, getting to have a few seconds with your loved one, even in a dream, is a gift.)

We were sitting together talking. The scene was heaven, although all I saw is Erik. In fact, I couldn’t even tell you anything descriptively about heaven because the focus of the dream was the content of our conversation.

Erik was sharing his viewpoint of the trials and struggles that he had on earth from the vantage point of being in heaven. He talked about how all the trials that made life really hard were over for him. While on earth, the struggles seemed like they would never end, but now from his viewpoint he could see that they were temporary. They were over.

It was almost like a pep talk for me. “Kel, keep running the race (as it talks about in 1 Corinthians 9:24 relating the Christian life to that of a race), keep trusting God, keep fixing your eyes on Him because heaven is a reality and one day you are going to be here. I know the trials of life seem endless, but one day you aren’t going to struggle anymore, too.”

What a great reminder for me, for us all.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Sucker. Do you see it written on my forehead? You can’t miss it. It’s there in flashing neon colors. SUCKER! That’s me.

Tears were pouring down Alex’s face as he cried, “Can we keep her mom? PLEASE, we can’t just leave her here!” I completely caved! We are now officially owners of one Beagle mutt named Sophie.

Sophie was a stray that attached herself to Alex while on a bike ride at a local park. She had no tags, and after asking others around the park, we learned that she had been running around the area for days.

I told the boys we could take her home, but that we were going to fervently look for her owner. We posted signs all around and began waiting to see if anyone would claim her.

I waited three weeks with no phone calls from anyone missing a dog. So, I decided it was time to take her to the vet. After spending a bundle of money on the pup for examinations, vaccinations, and medications, the owner called. I couldn’t believe it. I was starting to get attached to this mischievous little creature, and I knew the boys would be crushed!

After a couple of conversations, the owner decided to let us keep her. He had bought her just a month prior to her escape, and it sounded like he wasn’t really up for the task of taking care of her.

So, Sophie is now ours. She’s extremely lovable and lots of fun. She is great with kids, but hates men. Hilarious!

She’s also A LOT of work! She’s a shedder, which drives me absolutely crazy! She also thinks she’s queen of the house, and her goal in life is to claim a spot on the couch. One day I walked in the kitchen to see her on top of the kitchen table!!!

She is learning, though, and the boys have been remarkably responsible in helping out with her. They adore her, and she’s even started to capture my heart, too.

Being a dog owner is an adventure that came a lot sooner than I expected. Doesn't life bring a lot of the unexpected?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Father's Day

Last Father’s Day, I started a new tradition for the boys that I hope to continue each year. In light of the fact that Alex and Jensen will one day be fathers (Lord willing), I get them a gift for Father’s Day. Some years they will get the traditional fatherly gift i.e. last year they each got their first watch. This year, I decided to get them something a little different.

I was thinking about what a great dad Erik was. He was such a “hands on” dad. Some of you know this, but when Alex was born I think an entire week went by before I actually changed his diaper for the first time. Erik also LOVED playing with the boys. He loved having fun and was so fantastic with children in general.

So this year, I got the boys a gift they could have fun with to remember that their father loved to have fun with them. They were absolutely thrilled when they opened their double barrel water guns. What fun they have had with them! Oh, how Erik would have loved getting to blast them with water guns!

I also spent some time talking to the boys about how their dad loved Jesus more than anything. Although he was fun, it was his love for Jesus that made Him a good dad.

I know Father’s Day is over, but to all the dads out there………Go have fun with you kids because you can and because life is a gift!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Old King Cole

Last Friday, Alex’s school had their annual spring parade. Each class creatively displayed some portion of their curriculum as they marched in the parade. Alex’s grade learned nursery rhymes this year, and each child dressed up as their chosen rhyme. Alex picked Old King Cole. Not surprising. He does love to be a king. He also loves an audience, so marching in a parade while wearing a king costume was quite a thrill for him.

As you know, the rhyme begins with, “Old King Cole was a merry old soul and a merry old soul was he.” As Alex was walking in the parade and waving to the crowds, he had such a look of delight on his face. The rhyme he chose was very appropriate. He was merry indeed.

It struck me how much the Lord has worked in his heart. Two years ago he was a very angry, sad little boy. By God’s grace he is flourishing and full of zeal. He certainly has his sad days where he misses his dad. Unfortunately, the pain will always be there. He will always miss his dad, BUT God has brought healing where there is hurt and laughter where there is pain.

Thanking God for his power to bring comfort and care to those who ache, especially my sweet children.

Alex painted this in Kindergarten. It's Georgia O'Keeffe's, Poppy

Friday, May 14, 2010

Saying goodbye

The boys and I have officially moved out of our house. It was an emotional week leading up to the big move. My boys had a very difficult time seeing everything packed up. There were lots of tears shed, my own included.

It’s the first house Erik and I ever owned. We bought it together when Alex was about 6 months. I remember the first time we painted the house with its tall cathedral ceilings. We had most of it painted when I decided that the color was a little too dark. You should have seen the look on Erik’s face when I asked him to repaint it all a shade lighter. He reluctantly consented.

So many wonderful memories of love, laughter and life keep flooding my mind. That home truly was a provision from the Lord. There have been many, MANY loving hands serving our family over the years since Erik’s death. Whether it was making a meal, cleaning, watching the boys, repairing something that was broken, or countless other ways people have served us. And did I forget to mention the extreme home makeover!

I wonder if Abraham felt like I do when God called him to pick up and leave everything. Scared, anxious, hopeful? I believe the Lord has directed us to move, but we still have not found a home close to campus.

In the meantime, we are staying with my mom. I am thankful to have a place to live while we wait. Now that we are out of the house, everyone is doing really well. The boy’s love being at Grandma’s, and it feels like a relief to have moved. So for now, we continue to wait and trust the Lord.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Zambia and Moffat

This is Moffat and he is an orphan living in Zambia. A friend of mine named Larry and his family traveled to Zambia last summer with Campus Crusade. They became connected with the orphanage that Moffat lives in and started a partnership with them to help assist their needs. The children of this orphanage are so precious and have captured my heart.

Here is a bit of Moffat's story (written by Larry).

Moffat was born in slums of Lusaka. When he was one week old, a film developed over his right eye and without access to proper medical care, the eye became blind. When he was 8 years old, his father left the family and abandoned him. His mother is ill. I have never met her, and I’m not sure what her illness is, but everyone has described her to me as “sickly”. Moffat’s mother was unable to care for him and he was brought to the orphanage last year. In recent months, it has become evident that Moffat is rapidly losing vision in his left eye. He can barely see, and it is to the point where he cannot read.

In this society, if Moffat goes completely blind, he will have no future. He will have no hope of employment, and will not be able to do anything by himself. The dirt roads in his neighborhood are uneven and full of holes. He won’t be able to walk anywhere and won’t have a seeing eye dog. His education will be over. This may not be avoidable, and this may be God’s plan for Moffat, however, if there is any chance that we can help him, I want to try. We are hoping to bring Moffat to the U.S. for possible eye surgery.

One of the hurdles with this is getting a clear diagnosis to even understand if surgery can possibly correct his problem. Another hurdle is getting the Zambian government’s permission to bring Moffat here. This week has been full for Elina (the director of the orphanage) as she has tried to move the process along. She has taken Moffat to several doctor appointments and tried to get doctors to sign letters giving their approval. Approval must also be received from the Commissioner of Health, the Commissioner of Oaths, and the Commissioner of Foreign Affairs (and probably others). Each of these have been met with various roadblocks and fees (bribes).
If all of this could be worked out, we would like to consider having Moffat return with us at the end of this summer.

Please pray for Moffat!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Egg stand

Last weekend, the boys and I were painting Easter eggs and Alex came up with a unique idea. He enthusiastically said, “Mom I’m going to have an egg stand and sell all these eggs!”. My immediate response, which I kept to myself was, “No one is going to buy those eggs”. I mean, to me they were beautiful because Alex and Jensen painted them, but the average person probably wouldn’t think they were all that special (let alone pay money for them). I’m glad I kept my thoughts to myself.

There was something inside of me that said, DO NOT squelch his ideas. Encourage him and let him do this. So, we made a sign saying, Easter eggs .25 cents. (Alex wanted to sell each egg for $10, but I convinced him to drop the price significantly.)

As soon as we were all set up, someone immediately drove by and stopped. I couldn’t believe it. We had been outside for a mere 30 seconds. He took two eggs and gave the boys a dollar. You should have seen the look on Alex and Jensen’s faces. Absolute delight!

One woman who drove by bought two of the eggs that were cracked and broken. Unbelievable! It made her day to buy two cracked eggs made by a six and four year old. I foresee many an egg stand in our future.

When all was said and done, they sold every single egg and made $6.50. What a precious memory to make! What a reminder to me that God loves us even if we feel like there’s nothing special about us. It is the ordinary, the messy, and the broken to whom He pours out His love!

Thursday, April 1, 2010


It looks like the Steffens could possibly be moving by the end of April. I received a really good offer on our house last week. I know it’s not official until closing, but if everything goes as planned, we could be moving soon. That said, we might be homeless for a little while. We still haven’t found a house for us to move into. I have looked at what seems like a million homes, but for one reason or another they haven’t been the right fit for us. Will you pray that the Lord will give wisdom regarding a house for us close to Butler and that He will make it clear?

Speaking of Butler, how about those Dawgs!

Monday, March 15, 2010


The boys and I just returned from Panama City, Florida. It was Butler’s spring break, and we took a group of CRU students to a conference in Florida. We had a great week with the students!

All three Steffens love the beach for different reasons. I love walking on the beach, watching sunsets, listening to the sound of waves crashing. Jensen loves digging in the sand. Alex loves being under the water any chance he gets. He also loves looking for seashells.

Throughout the week, Alex would grab his bucket and walk up and down the beach looking for treasures. Mind you, Panama City isn’t known for its seashells. That didn’t bother him. He filled his bucket with anything that looked remotely like a seashell. It didn’t even matter if it was broken. I tried to encourage him to look for shells that weren’t broken, but he didn’t listen. I asked him why he liked the broken pieces and his response was, “Mom, they are beautiful, and I like them.”

I’m glad that God doesn’t respond to our brokenness like I did to Alex’s shells. In Romans 5:8, Paul says, “Even while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” God sees the broken pieces in all of us and says I love you and I will make you whole! I’m thankful that He doesn’t just toss me aside like the broken seashells that I wanted to throw away. He makes something beautiful out my mess!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A God Who Speaks

It’s been an interesting experience for me to have my house on the market. It’s been stressful, and I’ve found myself wondering if I’m doing the right thing. Is this what you really want Lord? Maybe we should just stay here and not move. Ugh! Indecision! I hate it!

In the midst of indecision, I’m thankful that the Lord is a God who speaks. The other day I felt a bit discouraged and lacking direction. The kids were out of control, and I was tired. I just needed to hear from the Lord. I opened God’s Word and prayed that He would speak and that I would hear from Him. I turned to Proverbs since it’s the book of wisdom and I needed a bit of that.

Chapter 15 Verse 26 says that God tears down the house of the proud, but establishes the boundary of the widow. God spoke. I heard. I’m thankful that God knows exactly where he wants us to live and He will establish our boundaries. Do I know what I am supposed to do? NO! Does God? Yes! Will He lead? Definitely! What is God speaking to you?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Wait

It’s official. I put my house up for sale.

It’s a decision that has been two years in the making. I work with a college ministry at Butler University called Campus Crusade for Christ or (CRU). The boys and I currently live about 25 to 30 minutes away from campus, which makes it tricky for students to come over. When we move, I envision students coming over for meals, having bible studies and just hanging out while I fold laundry. Life on life ministry, as I call it.

This weekend I had a taste of this kind of ministry when I had the opportunity to speak with some sorority gals about identity and faith. I feel alive and energized. It’s what I love. To me, the move just makes sense.

For now, though, I am waiting on God.

It’s been two weeks, and not a single bite on the house. Doubts creep into my head. Is this what you really want, Lord? So much fear can overtake me while in the waiting. I remember waiting to hear about test results for Erik. Sometimes the waiting was excruciating. Is the cancer back? Will the tests be clear? Will there be tumor growth?

Waiting can be so hard. I hate waiting. I want it now! Can you relate? Jensen (who happens to be the topic of my musing these days) and I had another tear jerker conversation the other day. He said he was sad and missed his daddy. He then told me he missed that he didn’t ever get to play with his daddy. (Big gulp) We talked about heaven and how fun it’s going to be to get to play with daddy for all of eternity. Forever playing with daddy! Can’t wait! Ah, but we have to wait. Stink!

I just don’t want fear, worry and despondency to consume me in the wait. I don’t want to miss out on what God has for me in the wait. There is pain in the wait, but there is life, too. There is intimacy with God in the wait. He is IN the wait!

I don’t know what is in store for the Steffens, but for now I wait.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rock Band

CRU (aka Campus Crusade) hosted an event at Butler called Friday Night Live. We had a local live band along with a cornhole and euchre tournament. We also had tons of electronical fun with the Wii, Rockband, Dance Revolution and of course, lots of yummy food. I brought the boys and we all had a great time. Here's a picture of Jensen playing Rockband with a little help from Ben, the Butler student. (the picture of Alex didn't turn out so well)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

If God is Good

My heart is heavy for Haiti. Haiti has held a special place in my heart because Erik was born there, and it is where he spent the first four years of his life. I have pictures of Erik with his pet goat, Fredrico. Haiti is where his parents began their marriage and started a family together. His parents have shared many beautiful stories of their lives in Haiti. Over the years, they have also shared their sadness and heartache regarding the state of the country, the poverty and political unrest

Seeing the images on the television is heart wrenching, devastating and unfathomable. SO many suffering! I would think many might be asking the question why. Why God? I don't have answers to that question. I wish i did. It's the question we are all faced with at one point or another in our lives. When the bottom fall out, where is God? Randy Alcorn (a favorite author of mine) has a new book called, If God is Good. In this book he addresses the questions we all struggle with. Why? Why did this happen? How long will this go on? Is God good?

Here's a brief video clip from Randy who discusses the book. Check it out and read the book.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I've been toying around with the idea of a new blog for a while now. Maybe the New Year gave me the motivation I needed. New Year. New Blog. Why "The Sufficiency of Grace" you ask?
2 Corinthians 12:9 (My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness) has been my mantra since Erik's death, and the title for the blog just seemed appropriate. In those few words God says, I will give you what you need. I am your help if you humble yourselves before me! I am what you need! Sufficient. Enough.

We all have unfulfilled desires, disappointments, hope deferred. Even my four year old can attest to that. Last week, the boys and I stayed downtown at the Marriott because we were at the annual Campus Crusade for Christ Christmas Conference. One morning Jensen woke up and crawled into bed with me. He started singing a song that he heard the worship band sing the night before, called "Your Grace is enough". In his sweet little four year old voice he sang, "Remember your children, Remember your people oh God. You're grace is enough for me". It was a beautiful moment. It seemed as if he was really singing it to God. Remember me God. Don't forget about me! Here I am! I need you!

I told him that God promises to help us and to give us what we need. He will be what we need. He looked at me in the eye and said in a soft tender voice, "I need daddy" The big lump in my throat was my response.

We all have needs. We all have longings. But I hope as you visit this blog, you will see that God's grace is sufficient. I pray that for you, for my children, for myself. He is the only one who can satisfy the longings in our hearts. And when life doesn't turn out the way we want it too, may we know that He indeed will be our help. His grace is sufficient!