Cheater, Cheater Pumpkin Eater

Lately I’ve been spiritually spoiled.  I’m not really sure if that’s even a ‘thing’ but if not, I think it should be.  The past two weeks have been really rough for me and over the course of a couple unfortunate events, I have realized that I am, in fact, spoiled.  My kids are healthy, my husband is awesome (like 2/3 of the time), our financial needs are met (because eating ramen noodles is delicious and cheap), no one that I love is suffering through illness.  I’ve got it extremely good right now.  Of course, this hasn’t always been the case.  There have been loads of times where any of the above statements haven’t been true and I’ve had to cling to God and weather the storm.  Recently though, I’ve been spiritually spoiled.  I thought my relationship with God, and the condition of my heart, was fantastic.  I pray, I read my bible and I go to church.  What I wasn’t taking into consideration (because I had temporarily forgotten) is how easy it is to praise God and smile joyfully whilst sitting on top of the mountain.

I have been praying about a couple things in my life for the better part of the year.  I naturally assumed that since I had taken it to God in prayer, he would open the doors that needed to be opened and I would receive his favor.  So it goes without saying that I was totally taken aback when God slammed the doors shut so hard that I literally felt the wind in my hair.  I would go into detail about what doors were shut but truthfully, it doesn’t matter.  It could have been any number of things: a relationship, a job, financial situation, or a struggle with health.  The big take-away here is that I thought that God would grant me my requests and I would continue basking in the sun from atop the mountain.  But he didn’t.  And I acted a fool.  I mean I cried, I acted selfish and proud, I composed hateful speeches (in my head, of course) to all the people who I thought needed a piece of my mind.  I was grouchy to my husband and children.  I even did the thing that is so terribly human: I questioned God and his will for me life.  So basically, I acted like what I am: a totally flawed human.  I spent a full week running through a course of emotional meltdowns before I hit my stubborn knees to pray and repent.

When the prayer and reflection began I had to come to terms that I had basically failed God’s test of faith.  When presented with answers that I did not like or understand I did not ‘practice what I preach’ very well.  At least not at first.  I read scriptures and devotionals, I even stopped scrolling long enough on facebook to read all the religious stuff people over-share (I’m not talking about you, of course.  Your posts are all awesome.)  But the fact of the matter is I was still just plain ole mad.  God shut those doors for my benefit, of that I am sure, but at the time it felt like rejection.  And I have deep, dark issues with rejection.  I want people to like me, I want to say and do the right things to keep everyone happy.  If people don’t like me or I’m faced with confrontation, an emotional warfare is waged on the inside and I dwell on it for days.  It causes anxiety that I can’t even begin to explain.  So when I am faced with rejection I basically crumble into a heap of emotionally damaged, blubbering rubble.  My husband reminded me mid-meltdown last week that when we have sought God’s will then it is not rejection but divine intervention.  This gave me pause for thought.  Pause because I knew it was true but also because it served as a blatant reminder that I was acting ridiculous when I knew full well God knows what he is doing.  In hindsight, I put off praying longer than I should have because I knew that I had failed miserably at putting my faith into action.  And Satan just loves to torment us with that kind of ammunition.  He had been whispering quietly in my head that I was not a real Christian and hadn’t matured spiritually at all.  “Real Christians trust God and move on.  They don’t throw little fits like you have.  You aren’t saved at all,” I heard him whisper in my head.  Forgive me for being frank but Satan is such a turd like that.  He always kicks us when we are down.  And sadly, I laid in a spiritual fetal position ready to quit life for a week.  I’m painting a horrible picture, I know.  But behind the scenes I had people intervening on my behalf, praying for me and lifting my name up to the Lord.  He never left me, let me just go ahead and say that.  It was my stubborn hind end that had decided to lay down and quit.  I knew where my life line was, I just wasn’t ready to tug on it for help.

Last night was a breaking point for me.  I hit my knees and hit them hard!  My attitude was bleeding over onto every single member of my family and I knew I needed divine intervention.  I cried and prayed and asked God to forgive my stubborn heart.  I confessed that his plan is always the right one and I am nothing without him.  I asked for help with my issues with rejection.  I prayed that I would care what God thinks about me and not what man thinks about me.  Most of all, I prayed that God would forgive me for failing the test of faith.  WHAT I AM ABOUT TO TELL YOU NOW MIGHT MAKE YOU WANT TO SHOUT. God impressed upon my heart that it’s an open book test!!  As long as I’m still breathing I can change my answers!!  Incredible!  I don’t have to settle for how I acted last week-it was a valley and I didn’t respond like I should have at first but praise God, it’s an open book test!!!  God knows how very human we are and he has equipped us with all we need to follow him: his holy word.  Rest assured that no matter how ridiculous you act or how far you stray, because of God’s grace and mercy we are free to go back and change our answers.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not harm you.  Plans to give you a hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

Dear Christian Friend, A Heartfelt Letter to You

Dear Christian Friend,

It seems like every time I turn around I see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.  I see them on magazine covers and all kinds of social media.  The whole world is paying attention to what the royal family is doing.  Why do you think that is?  Well, quite frankly, it’s because their blood line is, well, (I hate to be redundant here but…) royal.  They are set apart from the basic commoners and held to a higher standard.  People have fantastic expectations of how they should dress, how they should conduct themselves and the company they should carry.  It’s really quite impressive that the family can keep it all together and stay out of the headlines for some scandalous behavior unbecoming of the royal family.

I can’t help but think how much Christians and the royal family have in common.  Just like the whole world is watching England’s royal family, the whole world is also watching you my Christian friend.  When we wear our Christ-loving propaganda/flaunt our cell-phone cover crosses/drive our vans with bumper stickers professing our love for Jesus/update our face book status with scriptural quotes, when we do any of that, the world is watching.  They want to see how you, a member of the one true King’s royal family, is going to act. And oh!  What expectations the world has of us!!  The world has a beautiful vision of how we should look, how we should act and how we should respond to situations.  The world desires to see something different in us, something not-so-common.  Supernatural behavior, if you will.  We are, after all, covered by royal blood and a direct heir to Heaven and all it’s treasures!  The world, especially those that are not saved yet, wants to know what all the fuss is about.  If God changes you from the inside out then surely they should see something different from you, child of God!  We’ve got a great responsibility Christian friend; the world is looking to us for an example.  Are we showing them behavior worthy of that old rugged cross or are we turning them away?

If we are being honest, friend, I’m troubled by what I’ve seen of you lately.  There are a lot of troubling events taking place in our lifetime, right in this very day.  I know that full well.  I’m troubled by it all, too.  But what troubles me deeply is the way I see you responding.  I see you lash out on social media.  I see you argue and bicker with our non-saved friends.  I see you resort to hateful one-liners and ugly re-posts on hot button topics.  I know you feel passionately about what’s going on because I feel passionately, too.  But let me tell you this.  You are not winning the hearts and minds of others on social media when you engage in arguments that are fueled by feelings and masked by a screen.  You are only working to further DIVIDE us as a body of Christ.  Share your feelings!  I know you have studied the bible and are informed, full of God’s love but let me ask this of you:  share them face to face while you are working the harvest so that others can see the love and expression you have when you talk about our king!  Win their hearts and minds not by challenging their deeply held convictions, igniting anger and confrontation but by showing them what true, unadulterated love looks and feels like in the flesh!  Let them see God in you!!

I see you Christian friend.  I see you when you are ordering your coffee and the tattooed, pierced barista is waiting on you.  She sees you too and she wonders why you are looking at her in secretive judgment.  She takes one look at your WWJD bracelet and makes up her mind that if Jesus acts that way, she doesn’t want any part.  The woman sitting beside you at the beauty shop that’s just had an abortion sees you too.  She hears every last ugly word you said while you railed against the filthy, horrible women who vote pro-abortion.  She heard you say those terrible things while wearing your “I am a child of God” shirt and she furthered her resolve to never follow Christ.  The Muslim teenage boy sitting two rows back from you on the plane saw you when you boarded.  He picked you out right away because he is thinking of giving his life to Christ and he saw your necklace that had a scripture written on it.  He is watching you in hopeful anticipation that he may see this Christ that he has been reading about in you.  His heart sank when he heard you make inappropriate and racist jokes about terrorists on the plane.

I’m not judging you, friend.  Truly I am not.  I have a burden for you…for me…for all of us.  I know things are messed up and that our world is in need of Christ.  We are living in times that are unprecedented and frightening.  I get where you are coming from when you make your social media posts because I have done it too.  But I think as Christians, we are missing the point.  I revisited the book of John tonight and was reminded exactly how Jesus wants us to behave.  Before Jesus died on the cross, for our sins no less, he washed his disciples feet.  Even more than that, he placed his garments around his waist like a lowly servant to wash their feet.  He knew that one would betray him, one would disown him and that they would all abandon him out of fear and he loved them anyway.  If fact, scripture says: “Having loved his own who were in this world, he loved them to the end. John 13:1.  Even after they disowned, betrayed and left him he loved them to the end.  Are we loving people like that, Christian friend?  Shortly after that verse Jesus tells  his disciples this: “A new command I give you: love one another.  As I have loved you so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples  if you love one another.” John 13:34  Jesus charges us to love each other like he loves us.  He loved his disciples even though they were not deserving of his love to the end.  He loves us even though we are flawed and undeserving.  That woman in the beauty shop that has just had an abortion doesn’t need to hear your political views, she needs to feel and hear the love of Jesus!!  She is flawed and made a horrible mistake, yes!  But so are you my dear Christian friend!  She needs to hear that there is a Jesus who loves!  She needs to see the love of Jesus in you!!   The harvest is ready, friend!  Are you working it like you should?

I’ll leave you with this final word from Jesus.  Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.  The one who loves me will be loved by my father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.  John 14: 21

Show yourself to me, oh Lord.

With Christ’s Love,

Your flawed but forgiven friend





Here’s to You, Not-So-Homeless Lady.

As we get older I think we really come to grips with certain truths about ourselves.  I, for example, am a dreamer and forever optimist.  My mind is constantly spinning and my ideas are larger than life.  I’ve never met someone I didn’t give the benefit of the doubt-even if deep down I know they are probably not as nice as they seem.  Most days I get out of bed and feel like with enough Jesus and coffee, I can CHANGE THE WORLD.  But, in keeping true to who I am, I rarely follow through with all the great plans I have.  I am horrible at keeping a schedule and like to fly by the seat of my pants.  Schedules actually give me hives (or something like that).  That said, I milk every second of every day, terrified of wasting even the slightest moment sitting still or not being “busy”.  I’ve tried to change it, believe me, I have.  It drives my sweet husband crazy and makes things much more chaotic than they should be.  But, I’ve accepted the fact that it’s part of what makes me who I am.  I guess you could say I’m more of a Martha than a Mary.  I am really, really good at spontaneity however.  Couple my spontaneous personality with my heart that I like to wear on my sleeve and you have a random-act-of-kindness machine!

Helping others is my happy place and anytime I see a situation that I think could use a little kindness, I jump in and try to spread the love of Jesus.  As such, I am 100% the person who gives everything in my wallet to the homeless people on the exit ramps holding the signs.  I’ve been criticized for it more than I’ve been told, “way to go”.  I’ve read the articles about all the “homeless” people who are actually raking in more money than my family makes honestly and yet I still continue to give.  I have always reasoned with myself that there is no way I can know their situation.  I imagine a very sad story to go along with the face I see begging for money. I tell myself it must be true because no self-respecting person would beg for money unless they had to.  I remind myself that even if they do something dishonest with the money God searches the condition of my heart and motives and I will be rewarded for my actions.  I have always told myself all these things but I had never really been faced with someone who was actually a liar and a thief.

On our way home from vacation we stopped at a little town in Georgia to make a coffee run.  There was a particularily frail looking older woman on the exit ramp holding a cardboard sign.  She looked especially lost and downtrodden-like she had truly given up on life.  I stared at her and my heart began to bleed.  I wondered what her story was and how she wound up on the side of the road.  I wondered if anyone had ever told her about a man named Jesus.  Nick pulled off in search of coffee mid-thought and that was it.  I went in to get our coffee and when i came out, Nick saw me glance over my shoulder toward the exit.  As we were driving away he quietly says, “what do you want to do?  Give her some money?”  Before I can open my mouth he sighs and says, “okay, that’s fine.  I know you do. I’ll go up to the next exit and you can run in and get some cash and we will go back.”  I smiled and silently thanked God for giving me this man who knows and accepts me just as I am.  I began feverishly looking for a bag to put snacks from our trip in.  The kids helped me find a Wal-Mart bag and I began emptying out our snacks.  Luke had packed a bible from the house so I put it in there too.  I even dug into our suitcase and got out all the travel shampoos and lotions from the trip to put in the bag.  After I got the money, Nick got back on the interstate and got off on the ramp.  We prayed for her and talked to the kids about why it was important to help this random lady. By this point it had begun to sprinkle and I was in a panic thinking about this older woman having nowhere to go in the rain.  Much to my dispair, the lady wasn’t there when we got off the ramp.  Nick drove up the road to turn around and that’s when we saw her.  She was walking, at a much faster, more confident pace and she reached in her coat pocket, pulled out her keys and got into a nice car.  A nice car with a really nice ladder on the top.  My husband doesn’t even have a ladder.  Seeing this took my breath away.  I immediately began to make excuses for her.  Maybe she’d borrowed the car, maybe she was terminally ill and needed the money even though she had a car.  Maybe she lived in her car.  But the truth was that she was probably driving to her house in another town, in her nice car with her nice ladder.  Everything was probably nice but her.

Nick immediately began to lecture me about the dangers of trusting people and giving money away.  I’d like to say I took his lecture to heart but I didn’t.  My mind was already deep in thought on the complexity of the situation.  Ava began to ask questions about why on Earth someone would lie and take our money.  I had no child-like explanation for her.  I finally settled on telling her that not everyone has a heart like we do.  I was frustrated that I was having to explain it to the kids in the first place. I was angry that they might be led to believe that you can’t do nice things for people because they aren’t deserving or honest.  My feelings were hurt because I was getting lectured for my ‘niavity’ by my precious husband who sits back and lets me give our money away to strangers on a regular basis.  I’ll admit that for a moment I thought I was foolish and should have known better than to trust people.  But it was just for a moment.  I thought about that woman much of the way home and in the days that followed.  And you know what?  The experience gave me the opportunity to pray for her. To reach out to God on her behalf.  Ava continued asking a few questions about her.  I had to examine how I would approach these situations in the future.  You’ll never believe what I decided.  I decided that the momentary anger I felt is what is desensitizing our nation.  I refuse to let the momentary emotions overshadow who I am and what I can do for the kingdom of Heaven.  Why do we give, after all?  God’s word has many things to say about giving.

Hebrews 13:16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

2 Corinthians 9:7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you.  Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.  For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. 

And these are just a few of the commands.  You will notice it never says give if you think they are deserving or give after you have judged and decided they are honest.  Nope.  I have decided that giving has nothing to do with the person being given to.  For me, giving is a matter of my heart.  A true reflection of what lives inside of me.  More than that, it is a command from God and my heart’s desire is to be obedient to him.  What the devil meant to knock the wind out of my sails has only strengthened my resolve.  My implusive nature and tender heart is a gift.  I may not be able to plan the most elaborate prayer meeting or volunteer on a daily basis but I can complete random acts of kindness with reckless abandon…and that is just what I will continue to do.  Thanks, not-so-homeless lady for such an awesome lesson.




To all the Tired Momma’s Out There.

She moves with automaticity,

an art form in its own right.

She’ll work all day after a

somewhat sleepless night.

She’s up with the kids,

or just right before.

She wants to have everything perfect

before they rush out the door.

She irons clothes, packs lunches

and writes sweet little notes.

She helps tiny fingers zip up their coats.

She bends down to wipe chocolate

from a chubby little face.

She stoops down to tie a ragged shoe lace.

She will kiss them good-bye and they will be on their way

and she will dive into her jam-packed day.

She knows all to well what this day will hold.

Dishes to wash and laundry to fold.

Then there’s grocery shopping that’s economical

and healthy to eat,

followed by errands to run and a teacher to meet.

She hasn’t even glanced in the mirror today,

and if she did she would be discouraged from

seeing that her hair is getting gray.

Her wrinkles are creeping in and she

feels so very plain,

yet she puts a smile on her face

you won’t here her complain.

Her sighs slip out unintentionally and

surprise her a bit.

She laughs at herself, knowing

she doesn’t have time for a hissy fit.

She momentarily wishes for

a moment’s peace and perhaps even quiet.

But she pushes that feeling down deep

and instead tries to hide it.

The kids will be home soon and

she knows full well,

they will have homework to do,

and a thousand words to spell.

She will help with addition and read

the little ones books,

then she will have baths to give

and dinner to cook.

She’s unappreciated by most and

usually doesn’t mind

but tonight she has emotions

of a different kind.

She’s weary from fulfilling

the needs of others

and she feels guilty for being tired

from just being “mother”.

She wonders if God’s disappointed

because she is feeling this way

and tries to be thankful

for this ordinary day.

She longs for peace and rest

for her tired soul,

she doesn’t have to say it at all,

her Father already knows.

So she waits until her children

are sleeping peacefully in bed,

and she rushes to bow down

before Jesus and be spiritually fed.

The task of raising children

is the greatest calling one can receive

and she can do it with honor and grace,

with heavenly reprieve.

She knows her greatest legacy will be

the children she will raise,

and she will do it with joy in her heart,

a continuous song of praise.

The peace she longs for won’t be found

in a spotless house or the air of quiet.

She can’t wish it or think it,

no money can buy it.

She knows it is found by resting

in God’s Holy Spirit.

His peace is all around when

she is quiet enough to hear it.

The peace she is looking for is found

when she holds her sweet little ones,

when she is “clothed with strength and dignity

and she can laugh at the days to come”.

She rises up in prayer

in her whole armor of God.

no need to fake everything is all right

or put on a fancy facade.

God’s peace can be found amidst sticky floors

and screaming kids running in the house, down the hall

His peace IS the calm in the midst of it all.

So, she smiles to herself and thanks God for the reminder.

No matter how low she seems to get, he always seem to find her.

Zip it. Zip it Real Good.

“Be careful little mouth of what you say, be careful little mouth of what you say.  For the Father up above is looking down with love so be careful little mouth of what you say.”

It seemed innocent enough at the time.  I didn’t mean any malice or ill-will.  In fact, I wasn’t even angry; mostly bored.  Late last week, after Nick left to take the kids to school, I called my sister.  We chatted for a minute about our long to-do lists but then I started telling her about this, that and the other that was driving me crazy about ole’ hubbyicious.  She listened, chimed in occasionally and we hung up.  I honestly never thought another thing about it.  I wrangled the smallest fry into his clothes, Nick came home to pick us up and we left to take aforementioned small fry to preschool.  I was riding shotgun singing along with K-Love like I didn’t have a care in the world when it happened.  My precious little baby pipes up from the back seat and says, “um, dad?  Mom was talking about you on the phone to Gigi when you were gone.”  DANG.  Where is the eject button in this truck anyway??  I’ve not had a near death experience but I’d imagine it goes something like what happened to my heart at that moment.  Like, at the risk of sounding to ridiculous, I am not ashamed to tell you I considered just tucking and rolling from the moving vehicle.  What?  It seemed like a viable option at the time.  I also envisioned pretending to choke on the protein bar I was eating, forcing myself into an uncontrollable coughing fit or just throwing my phone to Luke in hopes that it would be a giant distraction. But no.  Instead I sat there, holding my breath to see how this was gonna pan out.  Little bit goes on to tell daddy word for stinkin word what I said to my sister on the phone.  And I thought the little turd was watching Spongebob.  I hadn’t said anything that was marriage-ending so that was good 🙂  but still.  You all.  I was so ashamed.  I felt like I had betrayed this precious man who loves me despite the fact that I never get up on time, always make us late, continue to keep a filthy car despite his utter annoyance with it, and the list goes on.  Thankfully, he wasn’t to mad and only fussed a little because I have ‘diarrhea of the mouth’.  I, on the other hand, have continued to think about the conversation and the impact my mouth has on those around me.

I have grown up singing the old song, “be careful little mouth of what you say” and have now taught it to our children.  Well, my little mouth says a WHOLE l0t from day to day.  Right in front of those little ones I am trying to teach to be kind and Christ-like with their words.  From my high horse I’d tell you that I never talk about anyone or any situation at all, let alone in front of my kids, but I like to stay down here in humbleville these days.  And the truth is, I do talk.  No, I’m not calling anyone cruel names or being all-Malificient vicious but I talk, nonetheless.  Maybe someone annoyed me at the grocery store or maybe I am unhappy with a choice that a family member has made.  Perhaps someone has gotten under my skin and I can make a joke about it to someone else (although I am not particularly funny, this is something I do more than I care to admit.) And dog-gone-it if I don’t just open my yapper and talk right in front of my children.  Yes, I usually think they are occupied with something else but Luke is living proof that they actually can listen and do something else at the same time.  Sad face.  It is one thing to do something sinful in front of adults but quite another to do in front of children.  As their momma, they are watching me to see what I am doing.  Like it or not, I have been teaching my children that as long as you do it in ‘fun’ or behind closed doors, it is okay to express your disdain with someone else.  Well, that is enough to make me want to puke.

Now, what about the listener?  My little sister, the one who should (hopefully and perhaps) look up to me, is also hearing me talk ill about someone.  She is a married woman too, you know.  So, let’s think about this.  I called her before 8AM and began to complain about an absolutely fine fella and set the tone for her day.  Not only did my negative attitude toward my husband affect her, it had the potential to affect her marriage as well.  What if she began fixating on the fault in her spouse, like I was so selfishly doing with mine?  I think that’s what they call the trickle down effect.  And it’s alive and well.  Satan loves the trickle down effect.  He wants us to find fault in others, spread negative attitudes like the plague and become so entangled in our own selfish worlds so that we are preoccupied with everything but Jesus.  Idolatry at its finest.

Finally, there is the one whom my soul loves that I have hurt with my careless words.  In Genesis, God makes it clear that the two are to become one flesh. I have no choice, then, but to believe that when you hurt your spouse you are also hurting yourself.  No, I didn’t say anything horrible, just the usual wife-like complaints, but I still spoke of it in front of our child.  His child.  I, without intending to, planted a little seed about what marriage should look like.  If I continue down that road, I would be watering that little seed until he has his own opinions, the wrong opinions, about how a wife should treat her husband.   And you know what?  One day that little fry will be a husband, as will my other son.  I want them to learn to be Godly in all their ways and yet, here I am, the mouth of the south, talking about their daddy.  Ephesians 4:29 says this:

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

God makes it pretty clear that not only are we not to talk about someone else but we must say things that are helpful to the listeners around us.  We have to continually be watching and paying attention to our surroundings, constantly aware of the needs of others.  My children need a Godly mother to show my daughter how to be a wife and to teach my sons what to look for in one.  My sister needs a Godly mentor and example.  My husband needs a Godly wife who lifts him up and supports his walk with the Lord.  I have made a new commitment to be all those things, and more, to those around me.  Not only that, but if your mouth needs a zipper like mine did, I encourage you to heed God’s word and say goodbye to the gross, unGodly habit of careless talk, too.  My prayer is that I can be so consumed with Christ that it is contagious 🙂

Queen of Everything…Except Not Really.

Sometimes God can jump right out of the pages of the Bible and smack me right upside the head.  I guess it’s that way with any great piece of literature-the pages seem to spring to life as you read them.  Most every night, after the kiddos have surrendered to sleep and the husband has gone into his nightly coma-on-the-couch, I snuggle in with my bible and my journal and read.  If I’m being truthful, sometimes I read my bible out of obligation to God.  I want to please him, be obedient to him and grow closer to him and the natural progression in that relationship is to read and seek him out.  Sometimes though, I shamefully treat it like a daunting task that must be done rather than something that I get to do.  Emotions are wonky like that.  I’ll admit that on those nights, I usually read a chapter or so and then head off to bed without much deep thought….and even more shamefully, I feel like I’ve clocked in my hours as a “good and dutiful Christian”.   OY.  Other nights though, I begin reading and the sweet holy spirit speaks directly to my heart. I mean, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million more times I’m sure, but emotions are so weird.  If my mood is holier-than-thou and I think I’m doing God a favor by reading HIS word, I am surprised when I go to bed and don’t feel like the bible had any message for me…..BUT when I read it with an open and eager heart and mind, the precious Holy Spirit moves and changes me.  It is never him that is changing the situation, no, it all falls back on me.  My willingness.  My attitude.  My eagerness.  My humbleness.  So, the other night I was reading in Samuel and I had one of those so called, “come to Jesus” meetings but actually with Jesus.  It was intense, to say the least.  Here was the scripture that has had me thinking for the past few days:

2 Samuel 22:28  To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.  You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low.

Yikes.  Let that sink in for a minute.  It had me all kinds of wild.  It made me look in my own self-righteous mirror and ask, “What am I to you, Lord?”  I always think about what God is to me and what he can do/has done for me, but rarely do I truly meditate on what I am to him.  So, I got to thinking.  Am I faithful, blameless or pure?  Do I humble myself to others?  And I’m not talking about the kind of humble that makes you be-nice-to-the-bill-collector-when-they-call-even-though-you-secretly-want-to-scream-at-them humble.  (what?  Like a bill collector has never called you before.  pffftt.) I’m talking about the wash-the-feet-of-the-homeless-orphan-widow kind of humble.  That night, in my own reflection I saw faithful and blameless.  After all, I am faithful in checking my facebook seven million times a day, faithful in spending far to much time shopping online and even faithful in ensuring that our schedules are so busy that we rarely have time to just sit and relax.  I am blameless.  That’s right.  I rarely take the blame for my own mistakes, even when I know I should because I have been known to be a little stubborn and proud.  I will blamelessly cast it elsewhere and blamelessly accept my position as queen of everything. Somehow I don’t think that is the kind of faithful and blameless King David was referring to.  Needless to say, I went to sleep feeling like a failure of a Christian and maybe even a fake.  My heart was heavy and my sorrow profound.

Since that night, my thoughts have lingered back to that scripture.  I knew I wanted to write about it but was embarrassed to admit all the aforementioned things about myself…so I pondered and prayed.  I’ll admit, I’ve been pretty down on myself these past few days, wondering how I could possibly contribute to the kingdom of Heaven and what God thinks of me.  BUT OH GOD!  Like literally.  He is so awesome and good to me.  Tonight, while driving home, the kids were chattering about their day and I was only about half-way listening when Ava says, “mom, so-and-so at school was talking about being rich.  I told them that I’m rich with God and Jesus.  I don’t even care what they think of me because God and Jesus make me rich.”  whoa.  She is 7 and she gets it.  She ‘gets’ what some grown men and women long and search for but never find. I told her how super proud I was of her and we talked for a few minutes about her convo at school.  Then later tonight, in a quiet moment, the Lord gently reminded me of just how my baby girl knew such a profound thing.  It’s because everyday, without fail, we speak of Jesus in this house.  Of his love, his mercy, his faithfulness and his goodness.  I speak of Jesus FAITHFULLY.  We pray each morning on the way to school, at every meal, and before they go to sleep.   I may not be pure in all my actions each day but my heart is pure when I tell my sweet children about the love I have for the one who gave it all on an old rugged cross.  I may not be blameless to the naked eye but because I believe that my sins were the final nail in his precious body, I can ask for forgiveness, experience true repentance and stand BLAMELESS before my God.  These thoughts came flooding in, just as quickly as I could think them.  But, if you know God like I do, that should be no surprise.  Even though I am faulty and sinful to the naked eye, God loves me so much that he reminds me what he sees in me.  Yes, I do need to delete the facebook app from my phone, yes, I should probably quit turning into the Incredible Hulk every time on of my children leaves a toy (or five million) out in the living room but thankfully he sees more in me than my sins. And here’s a spoiler alert, I’ve read the whole book and he loves YOU that much, too. In Samuel, a few verses down, its says, “As for God, his way is perfect.  The Lord’s word is flawless, he shields ALL who take refuge in him for who is God besides the Lord?  And who is the rock except our God?”  

Thanks God, for always being my shield.

My Cup……

You know, some moments in life are fantastic and refreshing to the soul but then other moments, well they can be life DRAINING.  I’ve been thinking alot about my symbolic cup and what fills it up and what makes it POP a gasket, as my nanny would say. In the spirit of honestly let me share with you some cup emptying moments that have happened to me recently.

So, I’m usually full of ridiculous antics but I’m like 99% sure tonight I reached a new low.  As you may or may not know, my house has been stricken with illness.  Like seriously.  Every member of my family probably could have qualified for quarantine at some point.  It’s been a rough few weeks on this ole gal.  And (yes, I know I just started a perfectly good sentence with the word and.  At some point in life, you reach an age that you get to start a sentence with whatever word you want.  I’m that age.) and anyway, to top it all off, my precious husband has been working out in the middle of the ocean so he has been spared the infectious- yet loving- snotting, sneezing, vomitting, coughing, gagging, crying kids.  Lucky dog.  I usually don’t get sick but a couple weekends ago, my body gave in to the sickness.  I went to see the doctor first thing Monday morning and he gave me a shot of antibiotics, a prescription for more antibiotics and bam!  I thought I would be better.  Well, truthfully, I did get better for a minute but then, because I am a crazy lunatic, I quit taking the antibiotics. They were making my heart have palpitations.  Judge if you want.  Whatever.  I ain’t even gonna lie; I am a self-diagnosing hypochondriac.  So yeah.  This week rolls around and i’m sicker than I’ve ever been.  Those little guys in the mucinex commercials have set up shop in my face and chest but are refusing to pack up and leave.  Never having time to be sick, I packed up my little ones and we made it through Christmas yesterday even though it was hard.  I had a crying 10 year old who is old enough to understand that his daddy works hard to give us the life we have but yet is still not old enough to understand why daddy had to miss Christmas.  The other two were grouchy all day; I’m guessing because they couldn’t articulate what Jack was expressing through tears.  I did all the things in my mom “hat” and comforted their little spirits as best as I could all whilst sneezing, coughing, peeing on myself from said coughing and basically, you know, just dying.  Jack fell onto a basketball goal and busted up his elbow pretty bad, my youngest child was screaming like someone in a scene from the Exorcist and then someone at a family dinner made me want to break out the crazy and open-handed smack her for talking ill of my screaming child (what?  Christians want to smack people too.  He knows my heart so I might as well say it.  I didn’t actually do it so see, he’s working in me!)  All of these moments, as each one of them went down, were draining my cup.  Little by little, my fighting spirit was being drained.  I was replacing it with an overwhelmed, tired, sickly woman who wanted nothing more than a nap and to be left alone.  Fast forward to tonight…to my new low.  I wound up taking Jack to the ER for his banged up elbow because of the lingering thought, and consequent momma guilt, of a broken bone.  I let him lay in my lap while we waited on X-rays and I tried not to cough and sneeze all over him.  I did anyway.  I coughed, once again, until I peed my pants.  Let me just say this: if you are a dude and are reading this, you better thank the women in your life who have birthed your children.  Peeing ones self is most definitely the least awesome thing for a grown woman to do.  Ah. I digress.  Anyway, after my coughing fit I got up and was walking around the room and then I saw it.  It was the oxygen thing that nurses use.  I decided I didn’t have time to be sick, but since I was pretty sure I was dying, I would just put it on for a minute and check my oxygen levels.  That would surely give me the reassurance that I needed to press through the illness.  Welp, I put it on and then kept it on, hysterical over how my heart rate would get crazy high each time I coughed.  In my fleeting panic over my impending heart attack from such a high heart rate, I realized, ever so painfully, that my cup was officially dry.  I knew I needed some time alone with my Jesus because the only thing that fills a dry cup is a drink from the spring of living water!

Tonight, as I prayed and wrote in my journal, I began to think back on the past few days and look specifically for the good.  The moments that replenished my soul, even if it was just a little.  I thought I would share the top 4 things that I have found to be cup-filling, just in case other momma’s out there run a little dry sometimes, too.  And also because I have had way to much cough medicine and want to type. 🙂

  1.  Just a little talk with Jesus.  That old hymn was right, “let us have a little talk with Jesus, tell him all about our troubles…” Talking to Jesus like he is my best friend is what keeps me sane.  I don’t know how non-believers do it without a true, life-giving, merciful friend to carry the weight of their problems.  I’ve come to realize that I make my own life far to difficult by worry.  It only gives me premature wrinkles.  God says he will bear our burdens and I believe him.  Hebrews 13:6 So we will say with confidence, “the Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
  2. Uninterrupted time in his word.  I hate to get up early but I will stay up all night just to have time to read, and think, about God’s word.  The bible is my ace-in-the-hole for life.  It always tells me just what my desperate, and often failing, soul needs to hear.  It’s crazy the way the Lord works.  No matter what issues I’m having, when I open his word, it always meets my needs.  Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
  3. My precious husband.  This one can be tricky because if you aren’t careful, marriage can drain your cup.  It’s kind of hilarious they way it works actually.  You find this person you are madly in love with and then you make little people who puke on you, poop on you, cry nonstop and that’s just the beginning.  Of course life gets a little stressful!!  When my husband fills my cup, it’s because I have made a choice to ask him how he is, and then really listen, or to watch him in awe while he plays with our kids, sometimes I think about what a selfless man he truly is by sacrificing so much and asking nothing in return and sometimes it’s just noticing how cute his butt really is in those Levi’s.  When I approach Nick with an open heart and attitude, I never, ever leave empty.  He is, afterall, the man I chose to spend forever with and I think he is pretty incredible.  I’ve just got to hush all the noise and focus on the one my soul loves. Proverbs 18:22 A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.  
  4. The awe and wonder of our three babies.  Yes, they drain me at times and are most definitely the reason I have gray hair.  But, when I hear them say something about how much they love Jesus, make a funny little joke or learn something new and complex, my heart could just burst.  When I’m not playing my role of super-crazed, vegetable slingin’, tooth brushin, homework pushing mom and I just listen to them, I am truly amazed.  We created some fantastically interesting and wildy intelligent little people and that is amazing.  Why wouldn’t your cup be filled if you have little people who are incredibly entertaining and still love you unconditionally even when they’ve seen you yell and foam at the mouth over some spilled juice/missing homework/markers on the wall?  Psalm 127:3-5 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.  Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies at the gate.


The Marshmallow Test

This week I have been rather disgusting; a truly ugly version of myself.  I have snarled, complained, felt sorry for myself, and have been downright despicable.  My kids have all been sick with some crazy virus that has made them have crazy amounts of diarrhea, we are all sleep-deprived because of said virus, I’ve bleached my house until my hands feel like they could crack open, my precious husband is working and won’t be home for Christmas, the dog is missing and I’m worried about him and now I’m getting a cold.  So basically, its just another day at the office but this time, for some reason, it’s hitting me hard.  If we are being totally honest, I’ve known how ugly I’ve been but haven’t particularly had the desire to change it.  How awful is that?    I’m usually a just-keep-swimming kind of girl but with all the horrifying news that has come pouring in faster than I can process it coupled with aforementioned issues at my house, I have managed to get myself all out of sorts.  And just so we are perfectly clear, I’m as self-reflective and analytical as they come.  With each huff and puff that I exhale I am analyzing.  I give myself pep talks, I tell myself to pray, I tell myself to fast through the problem.  I know what to do but sometimes I just can’t.  Or don’t.  I’m not sure which one it is really.  I chastise myself and get angry because I feel like a first-world brat.  I sit in my nice, big house, with my healthy kids and great husband who has graciously allowed me some time off from work and yet I still get the occasional bout of sadness.  To make matters worse, I begin to criticize myself for being so unthankful. I get furiously mad at myself and initiate my self-destructive habits.  I push people away, I lose my temper when I shouldn’t and it’s just gross.  This is why I NEED Jesus.  I don’t just use him on Sunday mornings or for general conversation to make myself look like I have a perfectly adorned halo.  I need him to rescue me from myself.  I need him to pull me up and remind me that I am a child of God.  It’s always amazing to me to see the vicious cycle that I keep finding myself in.  It’s never Jesus who walks away from me. I always, albeit inadvertently, open the door to let the spirit of sadness in.  Maybe I don’t pray when I hear God gently nudging my spirit, I’ve been known to put off reading my bible just to get a little extra sleep and sometimes I get so overwhelmed with my life that I flat out forget to pray to the only one who can make even the most violent storm be still.  Other times I just get stubborn and don’t ask for help, even from God.  I am a sinner and imperfectly human.  Maybe you can relate to what I am talking about.

I could lie to you and tell you that everyday of my life I am joyful and over the moon happy but who would I be kidding?  Life is sometimes just not that way, even when we know it should be.  Emotions are weird, man.  The one thing I have learned during my journey with Christ is that no matter how i may feel at the time, I never let go of Jesus.  I press in.  Sometimes I have to pray that he will help me have the desire to pray and sometimes I just pray for him to give me faith and meet me where my faith ends.  I know that while emotions are fleeting, Jesus never fails me.  This morning I was thinking about what a total jerk I have been lately and I heard something on K-Love that spoke right to my heart.  The man was talking about kids who were given a “marshmallow test”.  The people conducting the experiment offered one marshmallow  to each child for immediate consumption or, if they waited 20 minutes, they promised them they could have two.  The experimenters followed the kids as they grew and found that the children who chose to wait for the two marshmallows trusted adults and had faith that they would do what they said they would do.  The kids who took the immediate marshmallow were not as trusting of adults.  The man then asked if we were trusting in God to do what he said he would?  Boom.  God cracked my hard shell and drew me right back in.  Just like he ALWAYS does, he rescued me.  Again.  Like seriously, for the millionth time.  I was quickly reminded of all the times God has done just what his word promises he will.  His love never, ever fails.  I may fail him, over and over again, but he is the one constant in my life that I can count on.  He is my savior and I am so in love with him.  I’m so glad he saw fit to die on that old rugged cross for my sins, and yours, because God knew I’d surely need saving.  He loves us.  He really, really does.  Even when I’m a horrible wife, even when I’m just an okay mom, and even when I am an ungrateful girl who turns away from him, he loves me.  I’m waiting on my proverbial marshmallows because no matter what may happen from day to day, I trust God to do just what he says he will do.  I hope that if you are like me and need rescued from yourself, that you will trust Jesus, too.  If he promises you marshmallows, you are going to have the best marshmallows ever.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.  Proverbs 3: 5-6

The Somewhere In-Between

Irony is ironic.  Weird.

In May of this year, I paced around my classroom anxiously administering state mandated testing to my 6th grade kiddos.  With every glance at those little tiny bubbles I could feel an ever increasing need for blood pressure medication.  My thoughts would race to moments of teaching failures throughout the year and I’d sigh.  I’d look at the little faces filling in those bubbles, watch them look at my face for any sign of approval, and I’d sigh again.  Their sweet faces would remind me of my own three babies and I’d think of how I was going to manage to leave work, pull into daycare on two wheels and practically jog into the building just to kiss those sweet cheeks I’d missed all day.  *More sighing*  I knew I was just going to rush them out the door, drive to fast to get home just so I could yell at them to get homework done, eat, bath and go to BED ALREADY.  Bed already?!  Yes, I knew, standing there in my classroom that my night at home would be miserable and I would be counting down the minutes until it was bedtime, already. And I cringed because I HATED that about myself. This time my sighs almost turned to tears.  I refocused myself, continued monitoring those precious babies in my classroom (don’t go getting yourself all offended, no testing infractions could have possibly incurred during my train wreck of thoughts.  All of those thoughts happened in about 30 seconds, thanks to my little helper, ADHD) It was in those moments of disparaging thoughts that I reached a breaking point.  I grabbed my big yellow legal pad off my desk and the words just flowed.  They were effortless, perhaps because they’d been hushed and pushed down for so long.  I penned this poem called, “The SomeWhere In Betweens” and pondered on it for days. Ultimately, it would be the driving force behind my desire to quit my teaching job to be a full time mom and wife.  So now, no judgment allowed, here is a look into what my heart felt but couldn’t articulate until that day.

The Somewhere In Between

I live in the hallelujahs, the sighs and the somewhere in-betweens,

where love always lives and can be felt,

but occasionally isn’t seen.

Where the praises and the struggles

are whispered in the same breath.

Where we are raising three little ones

and it scares us to death.

I live in-between the



and the “I’m going to kiss you all over,

you’ve got sugars dripping off of your cheeks!”

My mind is in a dead sprint

of ‘rush, rush, rush, we’ve got to be fast,’

but my heart says, ‘slow down..make these moments last.’

I live with self-inflicted noise

that can only be drowned out with prayer,

to my God who never leaves me and is always right there.

I cry out to him in whispers, tears and groans,

he is my faithful rock, never leaving me alone.

Without fail he calms my often tormented spirit,

and gently reminds me his voice can be heard

when I’m still enough to hear it.

Give me courage Lord to walk away

from the expectations of this life,

and be a Godly mother and an ever present wife.

I live in the


the sighs and the somewhere in-betweens,

where I thank God he is my deliverance

and the rock upon which I lean.

And so, here I am.  I quit my job and I am a full time mom and wife.  And let me just say, wow.  It’s alot.  Like really.  I never even knew how hard it was because I was only doing it half way and in zombie mode.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still failing miserably most days but I’m trying.  And the thing is, and where the irony comes in, is that I still feel like I’m living in the in-between.  In between moments of quiet desperation where I want to curl up in the fetal position and silently cry myself to sleep and moments of immeasurable joy because I can be 100% present for those who love and need me most.  I imagined that my sweet husband would never have to search for matching socks on Sunday morning anymore, that my children would have behavior rivaling that of Jane and Michael Banks, post Mary Poppins and that I would finally get the rock hard body that I always wanted (okay, even I laughed out loud at that one).  The truth is, everyday is still a struggle.  Laundry doesn’t always get done, I have worn the same sweatshirt and jeans for like two weeks in a row and my poor husband doesn’t even ask about socks anymore.  But I love this new place I’m in and I give thanks to God for allowing me this life filled with lots of in-betweens.  I hope you’ll join me as I attempt, albeit humbly, to uplift you and your family as I blog all our little in-betweens.

Our family verse for this school year:

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me.