Friday, January 15, 2016

Interview with Kristen Lisemby Lee of Where Joy Is Ministries!

There is a brand new feature here on the blog that I am so excited to be launching today! That new feature is a great new series of interviews with wonderful Christian women who are inspirational blog writers and who are running encouraging Christian ministries through their writing. I'm so excited about sharing with you all these ladies who have been an inspiration to me, and who I'm sure will be a blessing to you, as well!

Today, the first lady we have the privilege of hearing and learning from is Kristen Lisemby Lee of Where Joy Is Ministries. Rather than telling you all about Kristen and her blog ministry, I'll just let her do that! 

So, grab a cup of tea, sit back, and enjoy as we learn from Mrs. Kristen Lee. 

1. For those here who may have never been to your blog before, could you begin by introducing yourself to everyone, telling us a little about your family, when/how you became a Christian, etc.? 

I'm Kristen Lisemby Lee. I've been married for almost six years and I've been a mom for nearly five of those six years! My husband, Grant, and I have three little ones now and we live in Arkansas, way out in the country. :) I was raised in a strong Christian family and came to know the Lord at the early age of 5. When I was 13 years old, I remember the Lord just convicting my heart to surrender my entire life to Him - all those areas we often don't think of. Thirteen was a big year for me where I just told the Lord that I wanted Him to direct my life; that I wanted Him to be not just my Savior, but my Lord and Master. 

2. You blog at the lovely site, Could you share with us what your passion and purpose is for that site?

 I've been blogging off and on for over 10 years but in 2013, after our second baby was born, I walked through a difficult season in my life. In that period, the Lord really ministered to my heart and let me to Psalm 16:11 which says, "in Thy presence is fulness of joy." I realized - in a completely new and personal way - that joy is always offered to us through the person of Jesus Christ. Joy is not based on circumstances, like happiness is. Joy is resting in the presence of God. I took that and titled my current blog/website Where Joy Is because I desperately need to be reminded that joy is always where Jesus is and I want others to be encouraged and comforted by that as well. 

3. In addition to running a blog ministry for ladies, you are also a wife, a homeschooling Mama of 3 little ones ages four and under, and a homemaker. How do you find the time to do all that? When do you typically do your blog writing and that kind of thing? What does a typical "day in the life" look like for you? 

It's definitely a rare thing to find time! I don't have a definitive schedule because when you have littles, unexpected things are always going on. As a general rule, we will listen to worship music or a podcast while we eat breakfast and then we will head upstairs to do school three days out of the week. During those schooling moments - when one child is working, one child is playing (hopefully!), and another is coloring, I will try to write or study my Bible. As my kiddos get older, I find I have less and less time for various things I enjoy, but I always try to remind myself that my kids are my work and it would be pretty hypocritical and silly for me to reject valuable time with them in order to write about being an attentive and hands-on mom! :) 

4. You have a pretty exciting event coming up this spring. In April, you will be speaking at a weekend retreat for young women. With this heart that you have for young ladies and your desire to minister to them, if you could give just one piece of advice to today's young women, what would it be? 

I am VERY excited about this event in the spring. For years, I have wanted to put together a conference for young women and the Lord has finally opened the door and is making that happen. If I could give one piece of advice to today's young women, it would be to pursue Jesus with everything we have. We are all so very guilty of trying to fit God into our lives instead of basing our lives upon Him. Sometimes we think that because we are Christians, any decision we make automatically has His blessing and so we assume He's tagging along as we go about our day. We don't truly abide in Him. And because of that, we are easily frustrated and confused and discontent. I have to be reminded all the time that I can literally do nothing if Jesus is not my central focus. And so I think it's vitally important for us to understand that although we may be God's people, we MUST run hard after Jesus. We have to pursue Him, thank Him, and allow Him to direct each movement of our lives.

5. Your ministry also centers around wives and edifying and encouraging them. What is one piece of advice you would give to a newly married woman? What is one thing you would do differently if you could start your marriage all over again? 

One of the biggest pieces of advice I could give (and probably the one thing I would steer clear of if I were to start my marriage all over again) would be to not place your husband in the position of Jesus.  As new wives (and maybe veteran wives as well! I don't know yet :) we have a tendency to rely on our husbands more than the Lord. Yes, our husband needs to be needed, but if we aren't careful we can put an overwhelming amount of pressure on him. They weren't created to bear all of our burdens, that's the Lord's job. I do this so often and I always suffer because of it. No man - no human being - can ever truly fulfill us or give us peace. If our man could do all that, we would have no need for Jesus. So don't expect your husband to be God. Don't make him an idol. It's so easy to do.

6. You clearly love being a Mama. What have you found, though, is one of the hardest things about motherhood and what has the Lord taught you through being a Mom? What advice would you give to a brand new Mama? 

The hardest thing, for me, about being a mom is the feeling of isolation. I'm not just a mama, I'm a stay-at-home mama, so I am with my children 24/7. That can get lonely and very, very exhausting on many different levels. So I would say to new moms - make time to refuel. It may mean just locking yourself in the bathroom with your Bible and a chocolate bar for a few minutes! But remember - you can't pour from an empty cup. I have learned since becoming a mother how utterly sinful and lazy I can be and how much I desperately need the power of God to nourish me each day. And what I have found that gives me the most help on the hardest and longest days is having the right perspective; allowing God to remind me that He entrusted these kids to ME, and what they will learn about Him and about salvation and about the Christian life will come from what they see and learn here at home. And there's no way for them to learn the right things if I am not allowing Him to work through me. 

7. What are your favorite little things to do to make your house a home? 

Our home is never Pottery Barn magazine-worthy, but the goal is always for tidiness and order. :) There is often music playing and a candle lit. There may be toys scattered, but ultimately I try to make our house a place we WANT to be - somewhere peaceful and fun.

8. What hospitality tips could you share with us today? 

Growing up, my family didn't often have a lot of company whereas my husband's family always had guests coming over. Over the last few years, I have learned little tips about having company - little things like having snacks and drinks on hand, putting good smelling soap and lotions in the guest bathroom, and always wearing a smile and doing things that would make ME feel welcome if I were the guest.

9. What does your typical quiet time look like? What resources do you use and what are your favorites that you would recommend to other ladies? 

When you are a mommy, you go through different seasons of motherhood - small newborn babies tax your mind and body and leave you sleep deprived, toddlers are always loud and they frequently interrupt, preschoolers start dropping naps. So my quiet times come when I can seize the moment. Sometimes I'm up before the kiddos and I have it then. Other times, while they eat breakfast, I will read my Bible with my coffee. Most of the time, my most beneficial moments with the Lord have been during nap time and then the evenings when my kids are all in bed. I absolutely love my Streams in the Desert devotional and I use eSword all the time (via computer and app). Another thing I deeply love is the audio Bible on my phone. I can listen to God's word or various study plans while I'm driving or doing the dishes or getting ready in the morning. 

10. What Christian resources for kids do you use and recommend to moms? 

We LOVE Scripture songs! We listen to the ABC Bible Memory Verse Songs CD by Mrs. Candace and the Sonbeam choir all the time. And recently we have fallen in love with the Bible Stories and Songs by the Wonder Kids. My oldest, Nathan, can recite several verses through these resources. We are also big fans of the Theo Presents DVD series. It's a fantastic collection of animated stories that teach doctrine on a child's level.

11. Who are some of your favorite authors and which books have you been impacted by the most?

 I love Elisabeth Elliot. Her wisdom and blunt truth is so convicting and inspiring to me. All of her books are fantastic. The Mission of Motherhood and the Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson are also two favorites. By far, the two most life-impacting books on my bookshelf have been IF by Amy Carmichael and Hind's Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard.

12. The name of your ministry is Where Joy Is Ministries. What are some practical tips you have for us when it comes to infusing joy into our everyday lives right where we are in this season?

 It's easy to lose your joy. David asked the Lord in the Psalms to restore the joy of his salvation to him. It's easy to grow weary and take our eyes off of Jesus and put them on our sorrows or troubles. Something that is helping me is remembering that I have been redeemed and forgiven. We take our salvation for granted sometimes and I have noticed that when I go about my day remembering the grace and love that has been poured out on me, I am more inclined to pursue His presence - and in His PRESENCE there is joy.

13. Are there any certain ministries or blogs you enjoy following? 

I always enjoy the devotionals and blogs from Set Apart Motherhood and Set Apart Girl by Leslie Ludy and I am an avid listener and reader of Revive Our Hearts by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

14. What do you most want to be remembered for? 

My favorite poem/quote is by C.T. Studd which begins with the phrase, "Only one life, t'will soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last." I want to be remembered as a woman who loved Jesus and whose life was wholly surrendered to Him. I want my children to see God's work and grace in my life and teach it to their children and their children's children. I want to leave behind a testimony that isn't full of compromise or spiritual apathy, but an obvious pursuit of what is eternal.

15. In addition to the young women's retreat coming up in the spring, are there any other exciting ministry projects coming up or ministry endeavors you are currently working on that you would like to share about?

 I have been working on a book for several years and I am hoping and praying to have it FINALLY finished in 2016!

16. If the readers today take away just one overarching lesson from this interview, what would you want it to be?

 Love and trust Jesus - especially in the moments that would be easy to be fearful or doubtful. Hold nothing back in your pursuit of Him.

And now for just some fun little questions to help us get to know you better....

  • ​What's your favorite color? Blue - I love all shades but my ultimate favorite is sapphire blue.
  • How do you take your coffee? Two packages of equal and some french vanilla creamer!
  • What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday? Shopping, reading, and spending time as a family.
  • What is your all-time favorite music to listen to? Anything that totally lifts up Christ. I love hymns and songs that are deep and rich in spiritual truth.
  • What is one thing you can't leave your house without? My phone. :) 

Kristen, thank you so, so much for taking the time out of your busy life to share your heart with us! I know I have been encouraged and edified through your answers, and I think you have given all of us a lot to think about! Now I'm going to have to go look up those resources you mentioned! :) God bless!

Ladies, by all means, go check out Kristen's blog, Where Joy Is

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