God Over Night…

happens over a lifetime

Should being a parent come before your marriage?

Yesterday there was an article on Yahoo about a woman who said her husband trying to be super dad nearly killed their marriage. As I scrolled through the comments I was shocked to see how many comments blamed her for the near demise of her marriage. The commentator’s stated such things like: “She just wants her cake and to eat it too!” or “She is being selfish.” and other things like: “What a problem to have – you’re husband being involved. *eye roll*”

 

So, I’m stumped. Does bringing children into the world really mean that you put your spouse and marriage on the back burner?

Is the mindset: Take care of your children and hope you have a marriage left when they are gone? I don’t get it.

            Is this true? Even at the expense of your marriage and spouse??????????????parenting first

 

 

 

 

Giving your husband back his…well, you know.

I’m just going to throw out there that: A) I currently have strep and I’m highly medicated. B) I haven’t slept well in a while due to “A” C). Because I can’t breathe there could be a slight lack of oxygen to my functioning brain and D). Uh, yeah, my thought process is…different.

**I’ve gotten permission from my husband to share this story**

So as I sit here in my nice comfy bed sneezing all over my laptop, despite having tissues, I’ve noticed something, not just here on WP but also FB, and Twitter, and Instagram…women sure do like to wear the pants in the family. Yeah, yeah, I’m all for feminine power. I have three girls and I most certainly tell them that they can dream big and shoot for the stars – so don’t go getting on your high horse just yet.

However, as I’ve read blog after blog about failed marriages etc it’s occurred to me that there is a running theme: women have a tendency to emasculate their husbands (I’m not talking about cheating spouses). I’m talking about those women who cannot for the life of them figure out where their marriage went wrong and then proceeds to show how she’s controlling, demanding, and suffocating. You might also be sitting here thinking “Hey, I’m not/wasn’t a disrespectful wife!” But maybe you are or were.

One thing that I’ve learned is that men crave respect and women crave love; thank you Dr. Eggerichs! And yet this seems to be the main area where most married couples struggle because a lot of the times women do not realize that they are being disrespectful and therefore cannot understand why their husband is not behaving lovingly towards them. Personal case in point:

A while back my husband decided that he would not put the burden on me in regards to birth control. The procedure was less invasive for him with fewer complications – so he did it.  (he’s super sweet like that)

When our home group was having a discussion about certain birth controls being abortive in nature the subject naturally turned to vasectomies. I shared with a few women that  my husband had been super and even suggested the he be the one to get “neutered” – except he never used that term. This actually wasn’t the first time I’d used that term either. Later that night he came to me and told me that it made him feel less of a person when I used that term – especially in front of our friends! See, I’m kind of zany and a bit of a goof so it never occurred to me that saying that might be disrespectful or hurtful. I actually thought it was down right hilarious; show’s what I know.

Being a disrespectful wife doesn’t always look like a wife belittling her husband with harsh words. In fact it’s often the things we say in jest (that are usually said in a passive aggressive way – admit it!) that are the most disrespectful.

I think it was a year or so ago that I wrote a sarcastic blog about my husband not putting the dang toilet seat down and other “couple things”; they were meant to be funny and most certainly said in jest but they were, at their core, disrespectful.

Another thing I’ve heard a lot of women say is that they wish their husband would do XYZ more! But yet, if it doesn’t happen within the time frame they think it should be – then these women get upset and usually takes matters into her own hands. The story of Sarah comes to mind and you see how well that turned out. Part of my point is that men do not become men over night. And the process of becoming a good man is certainly stifled when they have a nagging, stomping-her-foot-demanding-matter-taking-wife breathing down their neck.

Ladies, if you want your husbands to lead then quiet your mouths, step back and allow them to lead; and allow them time.

Your husband cannot wear the pants if you’re wearing them. Your husband cannot speak up if your mouth is constantly going. Your husband cannot grow if your expectations are sitting on top of him.

I have great Cali friend who said that she saw her husband grow by leaps and bounds when she just “shut up” for awhile. We should use our words to build up instead of bringing notice to all of the little annoyances. We are our husbands’ best champion. We should be his biggest cheerleader and a true best friend to him. How can we do these things if we continually stifle him with our disrespectful behavior?

negitive wife

It’s time we gave our men back their nether regions we’ve been grasping so tightly in our grip. Maybe then they will have a chance to walk straight and be the men God means for them to be. But first you have to be the wife who let’s him.

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Sometimes I feel like I don’t love my husband.

Next April my husband and I will celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary. This number seems surreal to me, there’s a part of me that just cannot believe we’ve made it nearly ten years. Our first years of marriage were really hard; sometimes stupid crazy neurotic. We grew up in completely different worlds and each of us came to the table with “baggage”. I also had two sweet babies from a previous marriage that created an “insta-family”; given that the husband and I both had differing parenting styles this added a lot of stress. Add in the sometimes-here-a-lot-of-times-not/I’m-trying-to-make-your-life-hell-ex/co-parent, and well…it was rough. The only thing we could really say about our relationship was that we wanted it. I’m not sure if either one of us could actually pin point one reason though why we wanted to be together other than just loooove.

My husband and I were over the moon for each other – completely enamored, he could send me into fits of laughter that ended with me snorting. I in turn kept him on his toes with my zany personality. But, when we argued, hold on to your hat because it was borderline divorce; learning to live together was kind of a nightmare.

It wasn’t until our 7th year of marriage that things became more mellow. I learned that he’s never going to put the toilet seat down and he learned that I’m rarely going to put the toilet paper roll actually on the holder. He’s a dishwasher nazi and I’m more of a “I’ll do two wash cycles if it doesn’t come clean the first time.”

It was about this time that some of the crazy passion left. By this time my co-parent had given up his rights and the husband had adopted the girls. I gotten to where arguing just didn’t make me want to bite in to him – so to speak. I no longer had this overwhelming feeling for him. Sure, it was sparked every so often, mostly when my world had gone crazy and he would wrap his arms around me as my warm safe place. But, it’s different now.

I think one of the great lies that satan sings into married people’s minds: “You’ve lost that love’n feeling…so you need to find someone you do love.”  satan wants you to believe that the grass is greener, the roses redder, the clouds fluffier and the love over flowing on the other side. If he can crack the foundation on which your marriage is built by making you think it’s weakened or dissolved then he will.

hate-i-hate-you-i-love-you-love-sleep-sometimes-Favim_com-39356

Sometimes I feel like I don’t love my husband. Sometimes my husband doesn’t feel like he loves me. Sometimes we go through seasons of wanting to crawl into each other and sometimes we go through season’s were we are both glad that he has to go on a business trip.

But here’s the thing: You don’t have to feel like you love your husband or wife every day to have a marriage that works. When I took the focus off my husband being the thing that made my feelings, moods and life guess what happened? My husband could just be my husband. When I looked at love for the emotion it is, a thing that changes with circumstances and mood I could therefore see it as  unreliable and that it is foolish to chase after it’s fickleness everyday. Don’t let yourself be sold on Hollywood’s version of romance and love. The Bridge’s of Madison County is good book but it’s not real.

Now as we head into our 10th married year I know a little more. I know that commitment is what makes a marriage work. Commitment isn’t based on feelings that change. It isn’t based on situations that change. Commitment is built on the resolve to keep your promise even though you don’t have that” love’n feeling” for that day, week or season.

Yes, sometimes I feel like I don’t love my husband but I am completely committed to him, to our God and to our marriage no matter the emotion or situations happening around me. Marriage is not an emotion or a situation; it’s so much more than that. I think the same can be said about our relationship with the Lord. We do not have to be surrounded by a mist of rose scented water everyday of our lives to know that the Lord loves us. We do have to be committed to Him and trust in the commitment we have made to Him and Him to us.

I pray that they Lord strengthens my resolve, my faith and my trust in Him because it’s there that my commitment finds it’s strength.

Thirty Two

As the leaves turn from green to yellow, red and orange, then to a dead brown that will eventually crunch under my feet, I think of my brother. Autumn is my all time most adored season. My brother, my first friend, was an Autumn baby. With all of the colors and smells of fall it seems right that he was born in this season. It also seems rightly so that the cold hard hand of winter would be the season in which he went away.

For his previous birthdays I have written a blog post about him, these mostly focused on my grief and the hole that has been felt by his choosing to leave; but this year…this year I think I see can see passed his leaving. This year I can see more.

I love standing in my yard watching the leaves float to the ground from the trees. I breath in the sweet tangy  smell of fall and it refreshes something in me, it reminds me of something and for a while I cannot put my finger on it. But then the realization wakes in me like the dawn of a new day. It smells like life. Isn’t that odd given that this is a season of dying away? Maybe it’s because Texas winters are cold, wet and dreary and summers are like a hot skillet? Fall just seems to be the time in which our neighborhood comes to life with activity.

It is here in this moment when I realize that November 1st is approaching. I wait for the sting. I wait for the center of my chest to feel like it is going to cave in; but it doesn’t come. I’m taken back by this surprising non reaction for a moment. What does this mean? I search my heart for answer. I question my loyalty, the care I have for my brother, a million things. I’m still sad that my brother is gone but I can see the hand of God covering the ache I once felt. The pain no longer holds me captive because I trust that God had a million reasons for Allen’s passing. I trust that God searched my brother, perceived his thoughts and that there wasn’t a place that my brother could hide from Him – no matter the darkness.

It is in this that I have found freedom to trust, to let go, to breath and to live. I think of some of the lyrics to “How Can It Be”…


These hands are dirty
I dare not lift them up to the Holy one
You plead my cause
You right my wrongs
You break my chains
You overcome
You gave Your life
To give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be
How can it be

I wonder to myself ‘How can it be? How can I have this freedom?’ It is because of Christ.

When a pumpkin isn’t just a pumpkin

satan steals. he sets out to rip apart – to destroy. he looks at the mirror of life and laughs at the broken shattered pieces. But the Lord, oh the Lord; He heals. He puts back together. The Lord makes new what was once decayed.

Who breaks the power of sin and darkness
Whose love is mighty and so much stronger
The King of Glory, the King above all kings

Who shakes the whole earth with holy thunder
And leaves us breathless in awe and wonder
The King of Glory, the King above all kings

Once, a long time ago, a choice had to be made. It wasn’t an easy choice; there wasn’t a simple answer. On both sides there were going to be losers. For this family it was a story being told for a second time, a story of division, demands, anger and a lot of pain. Satan danced in the moon light and leaped with a hate infused victory; he had won. Years ticked by, they flowed like sand into a seemingly bottomless pit. That’s satan’s end game you know – he makes you believe that too much time has gone by. he wants you to believe that too many words have been said. he wants you to think that there isn’t a way out. But the Lord, oh the Lord; He fills seemingly bottomless pits. He can make tendons and flesh adhere to dry bones; He can breathe life into a once dead body.

This is amazing grace
This is unfailing love
That You would take my place
That You would bear my cross
You lay down Your life
That I would be set free
Oh, Jesus, I sing for
All that You’ve done for me

How do I know this? How I can I be certain that God is true? How can I say that He lives and is faithful to the unfaithful? Because I am a witness. I’ve seen the Lord work. I’ve felt His leading, felt His hand, known His truth. I’m living it right now. I’m seeing it unfold before my eyes. I can touch it, breathe it in and see all of the foot prints left in the sand. God’s grace sat at my table with my children and carved a pumpkin. That seemingly bottomless pit? It’s been filled and a pumpkin carved with whiskers and glowing eyes now sits upon the mound of dirt. God brought together what satan tried to vilpend. This family that was once scattered is starting to be gathered back into His palm. And this isn’t the first time He’s shown His glory in this way. My husband and I have family, yes family, in California where no one would think it was possible; where I lost one sibling another has been givenWith God all things are possible. God is our bridge. God is our pumpkin. He has brought back order.

Who brings our chaos back into order
Who makes the orphan a son and daughter
The King of Glory, the King of Glory

Oh… I have no doubt that satan will try to break in. he will come like a thief in the night to pillage, to strain, to shatter. he will throw accusations; he will make demands and he will try to make things hard… he won’t stand by – his hate won’t let him. But that’s okay we will be okay. We will keep the door of forgiveness open, steady our hearts with the knowledge of God’s character and rest in the enclave of His hand in hopes that all can be restored. We will trust in the work that He started in His faithfulness to see it through. He will be our stronghold, our mountaintop and our portion. 

Who rules the nations with truth and justice
Shines like the sun in all of its brilliance
The King of Glory, the King above all kings

I am thankful for the Lord’s hand. I am thankful for restoration and for hope; all of which is from the Lord. There is no one who can bring the peace He brings. Thank you Lord for all that You’ve done for me. Thank you for the healing and the hearts that have been open to allowing this to work. 

This is amazing grace
This is unfailing love
That You would take my place
That You would bear my cross
You lay down Your life
That I would be set free
Oh, Jesus, I sing for
All that You’ve done for me

CarvingOma groupDinner Oma

LYRICS ARE FROM: This is Amazing Grace by PHIL WICKHAM

Fourteen Candles

Today she is fourteen. In years past we would all gather around her bed in the wee hours of the morning to sing “Happy Birthday”. But this year is different. This year instead of her “A”shaped pancake she wanted donuts and Starbucks. This year she is wearing a dress instead of hole-y shorts and a grunge t-shirt. Where she was tomboy she is now girly. She giggles, adores Justin Beiber, wants to wear make-up and often times thinks instead of being in 8th grade that she’s in college.

She’s beautiful, charming, a bit of a drama queen (a trait I’m sure she’s learned from her daddy!) and has a heart for the Lord and the least of His.

So today I make this prayer for her: I pray that no matter the weather of the day that you lean into the Lord. I pray that He awakens a hunger in you for Him that you can never satisfy. I pray that you always know your worth and that you never settle for anyone or anything that is below it. I hope for you good friendships, strong morals and a compass that always points true north.  Happy Birthday my Asper Cream! We love you! appy2appy 1

Getting over yourself

We live in a day and age of “entitlement”. I think if I had to choose a catch phrase to describe the last couple of years here in America it would be “That offends me.” Everyone no matter their background, religious upbringing, work history, social standing, age etc has this phrase down pat. No matter where you turn, where you live or how hard you try to avoid it, someone is offended or is having an “entitlement” moment. Recently a celeb by the name of Joan Rivers died. On my news feed I saw numerous quips, clips and videos about her. However, it was this one quote from her that really made me stop and think ‘this is part of the problem’. Joan Rivers is quoted as saying “I succeeded by saying what everyone else is thinking.” I’m not here to bash the dead and I feel sadness at her loss, not because I knew her, but because their are people who’s hearts are truly aching over her loss. Having said that I think Joan Rivers’ statement puts into a nutshell the vast majority of our mindsets today. It is now popular and applauded when others are…rude and hateful. There’s a reason why people are thinking it instead of saying: because words are like swords and can slash someone to pieces. Instead we often hide these jabs behind the mask of “being funny” or “sarcasm”. In reality though, it’s just merely a way for you to lower someone else and elevate yourself. This creates losers on both sides. By trying to lower someone’s worth, you demean them, belittle them and cause them to feel less than who they really are. By trying to elevate yourself you demean, belittle and diminish yourself worth. You are basically saying to both sides that neither you or the other person is worth their current and present value. Think about that.  You are telling the other person they are worth less and you are telling yourself that you are only worth your current worth if the other person is worth less than you. That’s kind of jacked up.

Christ says that we are to find our identity in Him and Him alone. With Christ there is no need to devalue another person to obtain a higher social status – because we are completely whole in Him.

Yesterday in my Algebra class I became very frustrated when the professor kept on me about writing something down when I was trying to figure out what I was supposed to be writing down; we covered 3 chapters in 50 mins so it was pretty fast paced. She kept pushing and calling me out – I eventually walked out of class. Not exactly a top notch moment for me. While I didn’t say anything too her, the thoughts were definately there! Tommorow I will publicly apologize in class. I can do this because my worth is found in Christ and not in the snickering chuckles of 19 year olds. I will have to get over myself and set an example. We are called to be set apart from the world. We are called to “get over ourselves” and seek to further the Glory of God. Let us remember that with our actions, our thoughts and our words.

Sometimes I’m a bad parent.

Sometimes, more often than I would like to admit, I’m a bad parent. I struggle. I do not remember anyone telling me that being a parent, a good one, would be this hard. There are days that I knock it out of the park. There are days that my Super Mom cape is flapping in the wind…and then there are the other 320 days of the year. So, for maybe 45 days out of an entire year, I get it right for the whole day. If I had an employee like that, I’d fire them.

Let me say this: I’m a Theology Program graduate, retired PTA President, queen of birthday parties, snapping at my children when over-whelmed, over tired, please-let-me-go-pee-alone – mom. And you know what? I think that it’s okay to admit that out loud. In this day and age of “highlight reels of daily life” via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Myspace, WordPress and a million other social sites, it’s easy to get caught up in the mindset that your life somehow doesn’t measure up to picture that was just posted of the perfect family smiling happily. No one readily admits that during that photo session – the children were a pain in the arse, your husband just wanted to get this over with because it’s football season and the Cowboys play at 3, and dammit all you wanted was a nice family photo so you snapped. No, that video didn’t make it to the newsfeed.

We are inundated with pictures, commercials, TV shows, and movies that constantly push us towards this unrealistic ideal of what makes up a bad or good parent. I also think we are a society that hides behind the mask of “perfection” and any deviation from that perfection is looked down upon;  whether or not your house, your kid, your job, your marriage was just as jacked-up a day ago as the person you are now looking down your nose at.

So here’s my “don’t let the photo’s fool you” post. I often like things to be too organized. I often think I just might not make it through the teenage years (and we are only sitting at age 13 with one child out of 3). I sometimes get so caught up in the mundane that I have – on more than one occasion (yes, more than once!) gone out into public with shorts that have a humongous booty baring hole in them because I put them on in haste and my mind was a million light years away. I have forgotten to take my child their pregame dinner before an away game. I have also accidentally l left a child at the library because I forgot to do a head count. I’ve lost my temper numerous times, cried in the bathroom over markers, and have gone to bed early just to escape the day. I’ve bought store bought cookies instead of making homemade ones purely so I could gorge on an entire 2 seasons of Hart of Dixie. I’ve fed my kids donuts for dinner and about a zillion other things like this; someday’s are just better than others.

And it’s all okay. I ask my kids to forgive me when I’ve been unfair, when I’ve lost my temper, or have forgotten something important. I ask my husband for forgiveness when I’ve been disrespectful, unloving or unkind. I seek the Lord to lay it all at His feet in repentance of my short comings. But I also forgive myself and that’s what makes it all okay. Because I can freely admit to falling short of God’s standard’s, my husband’s standard’s, my kid’s standard’s and my own standard’s I can then say “Sometimes I’m a bad parent” and move on. We all fail. No one is perfect. Put down the mask and own up to the fact that sometimes you’re a bad parent, a bad wife/husband, employee, friend or person in general. Let yourself be human. If we are going to share life with other people, then share life with other people.

The God of the Universe, the Boob-job and the fear of being grounded

I try to be as honest and as raw as I can be in my posts. Part of the reason I lay bare my struggles before you, on an open forum, is because: For so long I doubted my salvation. I doubted because a lot of the Christians I knew presented their lives in such a way that it appeared they had no struggles. And because I had struggles my logical conclusion was that I really wasn’t saved. I never want you to think my life is perfect. I want to share life with you, as brothers and sisters, and how can I do that if I’m not sharing my real life?

Most of you know that I am a mom…of three.  After nursing three babies my body isn’t how it was before. For 13 years I’ve wanted to get breast implants. Once I was saved I thought that this want would simply disappear. I really thought this would no longer be a struggle for me but I was wrong.  For the last 6 years I’ve actively thought about  and prayed about breast implants. Then three years ago I chose to do it. I sat in the doctors office with money in hand. However, I just couldn’t bring myself to go through with it. Because of that I thought that I had come to the end of that struggle. I was wrong. However, this post isn’t about the outcome of my decision of whether to get breast implants or not – it’s about what the decision process has taught me about myself as a woman and parent and most importantly – my view of who God really and truly is. 

As I again began to contemplate actually going forth with breast implants, I did what most would do, I asked my husband.  I also brought the subject up to my friends, my home-group, my pastor (btw...awkward) I also scoured the web for information. If you type in “Is it a sin…” and Google auto fills  “for a Christian to get breast implants?” That is entirely my doing. You’re welcome. I also asked my mentor, my BTCL table group, my hairdresser, my mail lady – basically if you presented yourself as a Christian I was asking your thoughts and convictions about breast enhancement.

I grew very frustrated with the answers I received because they were so diverse- although, all answers on some level said basically this one thing: It’s a heart issue. (Grrrr! the legalistic person in me abhors getting that answer – even though I often tell others that very same thing!)

Now, above I mentioned that I prayed. And I did…sort of. This is where the meat of this post comes to rest. All theses years of frustration and tears – yes, lots of tears, has brought me to these two things. And the funny part about it is that it really has nothing to do with breast implants at all and everything to do with: parenting and fear. Yup. Parenting and fear.

Of course I worried about the image I would be projecting to my girls and to society as a whole. But, that’s not the parenting I’m talking about. I’m talking about how a lot of who we see God to be is a projection of our relationship with our own parents.  I’ve learned why it is so vitally important to be the parent that your child can talk to about anything and everything. Why so? Because if our children can come to us about the most cumbersome,  embarrassing, tedious wants and desires then it’s easier to understand that you can do that with the God of the Universe too. If we are the type of parents that offer more punishment than grace or the parents who just don’t have the time or want, who do you think that ultimately gets projected on to? Yup! God.

I’m not here to bash my parents. I feel like they did the best they could. They weren’t perfect parents but then again who really is?  However, because they grew up in homes (and a culture) that children were ” rarely seen and absolutely not heard” guess what kind of home I grew up in? I didn’t have the type of home environment that I could ask my parents stuff (just the thought of discussing boys with my mom makes me blush and I have given birth to 3 children!)  Hugging, praise and a general loving atmosphere isn’t what I spent my childhood days wallowing in. It was uncomfortable for my parents because it had been uncomfortable to their parents.

So when I prayed about breast implants my prayers were more like this: “Dear God, I know you think this is a stupid uncomfortable waste of your time and  I don’t want to make you mad God but… is this okay?” The ultimate reason I walked away from getting breast implants 3 years ago was because of fear. I feared the Lord and not in a healthy way. I saw God as someone who was just waiting for me to screw up so He could punish me.  My dad, like his dad, was “present” but “absent” a lot of my life. He mostly stood on the sidelines watching the chaos and  piped in when it was time to hand out punishment – as was the culture he grew up in.  And that’s how I ultimately saw God to be like. I didn’t know God was/is someone who you could really talk to. I didn’t have that as a child so why would I expect to suddenly have that as an adult?

It’s unimaginable to me that God is a loving parent who wants to be involved. Say what? You, the God of the universe,  actually wants to know about this stuff? My stuff?  And you’re not going to ground me? You’re not going to roll your eyes and tell me I’m being “dramatic” or “dumb”. This stuff isn’t embarrassing to you?  You aren’t just waiting for me to screw up so you can punish me?  (I’m not saying that God is going to say “yes” to everything but He’s not waiting for you to screw up either.)

I am also NOT saying that you need to make your children your life. What I am saying is that as parents we have a lot to do with how our children’s relationship (Lord willing) with the Lord will be. We do help to define what they project onto Him. While they are young we come off as every bit “the God of the universe” to our children. Everything they can or cannot do, what feelings they can express…everything, rotates around us as parents and how we react to it. The parent-child relationship is oh so important. That relationship is something a person will carry with them in some form or other their entire lives. Wow! No pressure, eh?

~My take away~

I had to be honest with myself and with God in how I really viewed Him. I had to accept responsibility  for that view. Yes, my parents had a lot to do with how I see God but it’s now up to me to look deeper and seek more.  I also had to be willing to learn. I also had to step back and examine how I am raising my own children. I’ve made a few calls to Cali asking a friend to help get me through “the talks” and “the instructions” that come along with having girls. But in the end no matter how flaming red my cheeks are while I explain tampons, bras and boys I have to let my girls know that I’m where they can find answers – NOT Google!

~What I’m learning~

I’m learning that God doesn’t just want you to talk with Him about the things we *think* are important to Him. He wants us to talk with Him about everything, as dumb and self-centered as we may think it is: if it’s a part of our thoughts then it’s a part of our heart and God searches our hearts. I’m also learning that dads need to be a large of part of the “girl stuff”. A girl that can go to her daddy is a girl that can go to God.

 

~A question for you, too~

So if you too are probing the internet for answers instead of laying your troubles at the feet of the Lord, let me ask you this: Do you have an unhealthy fear of the Lord? Are you seeing God for who He is? Or are you seeing someone else? Do you believe that God loves you enough to sit down and talk with you like a loving parent about anything? If you don’t, can you honestly say that you believe God sent His one and only Son to come and die for you? If you don’t believe one how can you believe the other?

Bottom line is this: God is showing me what kind of parents Travis and I need to be and why it’s important. I’ve learned how I really view God and His love for me and this all started because of a desire to get breast implants. Don’t be afraid to talk to God about about your life, even the “dumb stuff” – you never know how He will use that conversation to grow you.

The Measuring Stick

Have you ever been in a place that has left such a lasting impression on you that even years later it still has a hold on some part of your subconscious? I have found that the first imagine presented to me as to the character of God, though now known to be full of lies, still clings to me. It established itself within the bedrock of my flesh so well as to be the stick in which I measure myself –  either by how far away from that image or how close to that image I am. I have compared my life so much to this stick that it has become my god.

I think we can go through times in our life or meet people who so altogether absorb you, that when you finally do escape – that fear of being sucked back it then beings to engulf you. So petrified of becoming like that situation or like that person are you that you are constantly inspecting every inch of your life. I think it’s Godly to step back and inspect your life every so often. However, to do it constantly and to compare it to only one thing or one person means that one thing or that one person is the “god” of your life. To constantly compare myself to say, Jessica Biel, is to say that she is either the epitome of what is considered perfect or the epitome of what is considered bad. To look at her and say “I want to be exactly like her or I want to be absolutely nothing like her” is to say she is the standard by which I will measure my life.  When really my measuring stick should be the Lord and only the Lord. To have anything or anyone have that much influence in my life is to make the Lord less than all consuming in my world.

I have realized that I have spent a good portion of my life with a “Jessica Biel”. In my attempt to be as unlike Jessica as I could possibly be, I gave her the power to define me, to mold me, to take space in my life that didn’t belong to her. As a dear friend spoke with me today it was these words that broke me “…you have to decide that finding the path to truth does NOT mean going through or comparing yourself against that measuring stick in any way…you have to shatter that hold on your heart by remembering that Jesus is the only one you are supposed to do that with.” What this said to me is that there is such an intimacy with constant comparison to another that it is being unfaithful to the Lord. How can the Lord be my all in all if He’s not even the measuring stick used to measure my life’s worth?

 

Compare to Jesus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

for His Glory

Lil Ms.Kris’ Shepherds Pie

One of my favorite things to do is cook! A while back a friend posted rave reviews for this to-die-for stew by Pioneer Woman, when I got around to making it, I found the recipe only had one ingredient different from mine. I’m a Texan so southern cooking is kind of our thing. This recipe is a lot like a pot pie except for the mashed potatoes in it. It is also pretty versatile in that you could substitute nearly any meat that your little ole heart desires.

What makes this Shepherd’s pie so good is this flaky crust! While you can do a quick version of this using a pre-made pie crust making the crust for this is well worth the effort!

IMG_5798 The Crust

1 2/3 cup of flour (plus some for dusting)

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp white sugar

1 stick PLUS 3 Tbls butter

1/4 to 1/2 cup COLD water.

I have found that working with flour that has been in the freezer is much easier. I also use a cheese grater to grate the butter in. I’ve found this to be the best way to do it but you can always just cut it up in to small pieces. SO – In a bowl combined the FLOUR, SALT, and W. SUGAR. Stir these together to incorporate. Once done add in your grated BUTTER. Incorporate (cover the butter with the flour and kind of roll around a few times) SLOWLY add in a little bit of water. Keep repeating this process until the dough is the soft but not really sticky. You may need to dust it a few times with some more flour. Dust your counter pretty well and roll the dough out. Cut out enough to line the bottom of your pie pan. Use a fork to poke a few holes in the crust and bake at 375 for 10 mins.  Roll out the remaining crust and place on a cookie sheet and place in the fridge for about 10 mins. (Working with melted crust is yucky!)

The Filling

1 Pound Ground Beef (we use turkey)

1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce

1 tsp Rosemary

1/4 onion (the hubby makes me use dehydrated cuz he hates onions…weirdo!)

1 tsp garlic powder

1/4 to 1/2 cup favorite bbq sauce (we use a company special chipotle sauce)

1/2 stick of butter

1 can of corn (I often use a small bag of frozen mixed veggies)

1 can black or kidney beans

1 can of peas

1 can of cream of chicken soup

1 1/2 mashed potatoes prepared (you can use instant to save time just use 1/4 cup less water than called for)

1/2 Feta Cheese (or your favorite cheese)

Salt -n- Peppa (not the group)

In a skillet brown your meat half way. Add in the Worcestershire Sauce, Rosemary (rosemary and I are like this X you will find it in almost all of my recipes!), Garlic Salt, BBQ sauce and Butter. Cook the rest of the way. Once cooked add in your Corn, Peas, Beans, and then mix in your can of Cream of Chicken. Let simmer a few minutes. While the filling is simmering pull the pie pan out of the oven and let sit for a minute or two. Once cooled slightly spread the Mashed Potatoes about 1/4 inch thick on top of the crust. The potatoes are what really give this it’s foundation/sturdiness.

Now it’s time to scoop the filling in. I usually have enough filling to reserve half for another pie later the next week! Spread that filling lovingly over those Mashed Tatters! Sprinkle your cheese over the filling then place your rolled out crust on top. Tuck the crust “into bed” aka…tuck it in around the sides. Bake this puppy at 3:75 for about 17 mins. I then turn the BROIL on and brown the top. BE CAREFUL BROIL GOES FROM BROWNING TO BURNT IN A MATTER OF MINUTES!

Once out of the oven let this sit for about 10 mins to cool. We typically have a salad with it.

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Jack and Jill and Discernment Hill

discernment hillThis morning I started day one of my 31 day scripture challenge! I started off in Luke because, honestly, it’s the book I’m currently reading for BTCL (yes, I’m a wee bit behind in my reading). I was reading Chapter 6:37-42 concerning judging others. While most people I know use this verse as a sticking post for not judging anyone for anything – it struck me that we are skirting the main point. Jesus did not relieve us of the need for discerning between right and wrong. We are called to look upon situations and discern whether they are right or whether they are wrong in the eyes of the Lord; are we to do this or we to do that?

Let’s look at it this way:

I know a couple, Jack and Jill, who I used to go to school with back in the day. They are friends with another couple, Barbie and Ken, who I know somewhat but Jack and Jill are also related to them. Ken just got sent off for a deployment and won’t be around to help Barbie out.  Jack and Jill have a lot of free time on their hands and should be, as Christians, helping out. Since they are unable to see this as a chance to shine the Light, they have left Barbie to rely on others. When I look at this situation I notice that Jack and Jill are not doing  we as Christians are called to do. I’m not judging them – I’m assessing the situation to see what I need to do to fill that hole. I have to be able to distinguish between right and wrong – meaning judging the difference. I have to be able to see what they are doing, or lack thereof, as wrong.  As Jesus says in Luke 7:43 “You have judged correctly.” He’s not talking about hypocritical and unjust judgement of others. To go around saying “Jack and Jill are terrible, horrible people who never think of anyone but themselves” is hypocritical judgement. However, to look at a situation and say “Jack and Jill should be doing this but they aren’t, so because I’ve noticed it, it is now up to me to fill that hole.” that is right and good judgement. You cannot have right and good judgment without first noticing the fault.

You cannot stick your head in the sand and toss away your responsibility for speaking truth out of fear of coming off as judgmental; you have to take what Jesus said in the context of what He fully said.  We are called to judge and walk rightly.

I often hear “Jesus said judge and YOU shall be judged in return” argument – usually by someone who knows they shouldn’t be doing what they are doing. This card is typically played as a defensive tactic to let YOU know YOU are in the wrong for judging them. We are all sinners. There is no one perfect among us, however that does not mean that we have an excuse to shake off discernment – quite the opposite.

How ever are we supposed to be “of good judgment” if we are scared of discerning right from wrong? You can’t.

Don’t be afraid to climb Discernment Hill…be afraid of staying at the bottom. If you’re heart is for the Lord, be thankful when someone say’s “Hey, I’ve noticed this…” Try not to be prideful and defensive or start pointing out their faults too. The Lord brings to your attention faults that are putting a curtain between you and His light.

Searching for the ten

Before you read this please note that I have been given permission to share this story by my husband. 

We spent Saturday under the glorious spring sun. Not too far from us sat six Blue Angel jets. It was a grand day full of laughter, awe and respect for those that wear the US uniform. Sunday we woke up early and went about our usual routine, church for us isn’t until 5 in the afternoon so we had the day to ourselves. The hubby mentioned that he needed a new sprinkler head so I was eager to join him on the trip to the store. Secretly I knew that once he was at The Home Depot getting him to buy flowers, pots and mulch would be easy peasy. We stuffed our cart full and then had to get a flat cart to place the rest of the materials on. As we left the parking lot a little old woman stood at the exit holding a sign. She was dressed in a Mexican hand sewn dress, you know the ones you buy on vacation. Her hair was in a bun but the wind had pulled some loose and she struggled to keep it out of her eyes as she held her sign. The vehicle in front of us paused for a second and then sped off. As we approached I asked my husband if he had any cash. He stated that he only had twenties on him – to which I replied, ‘then give her a twenty’. He gave a small sigh and then reached into his wallet. He began to fish around in search of something smaller. It was then that he noticed the ten. I rolled down the window and handed the woman the money. I can remember clear as day her face. It was a honey brown, with slight wrinkles around her eyes. It was her eyes that drew me in the most. I swear to you they sparkled. I kid you not. Such joy was found on that woman’s face. It was then that she took my hand in both of hers and brought it to her lips for a kiss. I said an awkward “your welcome” to her, but part of me was a little bit in shock. I truly had not expected such a response. There was a part of me that felt very embarrassed because I knew just moments before my husband sat searching for a ten instead of graciously giving more. There was also the germ-a-phobe in me that thought “some strange woman just kissed my hand!”. As I sat there for a few seconds I wiped my hand on my pants…and then stopped. Why had I done that? I immediately thought of the woman who had come to Jesus and washed His feet with her tears. What if Jesus had responded to her the same way the husband and I had just responded to this sweet woman? 

 

This morning as I sat reading God laid at my feet 2 Corinthians 8:13-15 and 9:7. The Lord does love a cheerful giver. The key term being cheerful. I took a few snap shots of these verses and sent them to my husband with a message that said “God has given to us abundantly. This is not meant as a “shame on you” but search your heart and be able to give the twenty instead of searching for the ten, ya know?”  He replied that it made him sad to think of how he behaved. I then asked him if it was okay to share what God had laid before me this morning. But, here’s the thing…God catches all things. He knows all things and He didn’t let me off of the hook either. As I sat down to write this blog post an overwhelming feeling came upon me to tell the whole story; my part included. I was just as guilty as my husband…maybe even more so, as I had been the one to look into her face. I saw the thankfulness, I was witness to the joy first hand and I was quick to wipe that away. 

I share this story with you because: We can do Godly things for the wrong reasons. My husband had given because I told him to. He had also shown where his heart was that day, by showing his value of money over this woman. I had been eager to give because the Lord tells us too, but I had not been accepting of this woman’s joy and thankfulness. I, in all honesty, was offended when this strange woman gave back to me the only thing she could – a little bit of herself by way of a kiss to my hand. 

There’s a reason God searches our hearts. It’s the only thing about us that doesn’t lie.

The hubby and I wound up making two trips to THD that day. The second trip this woman was gone. We spent well over $500 on flowers and yet, we had been so selfish as to search for a ten for a woman in need. 

 

 

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Run

Since I was young I’ve lived life as if I will land on my feet. I don’t know where this confidence comes from as I’m not an overly confident type of person. And yet, in this area, I am. It’s a buoyancy that comes without much thought. I’m rather capricious I think. Someone can change my heart towards another (forgiveness wise) usually like the snap of fingers. I have a penchant to not see the fire for the flames. I just run. It’s because of this that I’ve felt Gold holding me back. I know God wants us to forgive. Always. But, I’m finding that He has a way in which He wants us to do it. Instead of jumping head first into the flames without so much as a bye your leave, He wants us to seek Him first. I habitually over look this part. Typically this is how I get burned again and then I go crying to God blaming Him for allowing it to happen. I’m also learning that it’s particularly hard to stand still waiting for God when all you want to do is run. I constantly jump to quickly. It’s not unlike me to be “good friends again” in the blink of an eye. In my mind there isn’t a “probationary period”. I’m all in. No thoughts.

But now…now, I’m going to linger. I’m going to try to look for the smoke. I’m going to listen for the crackling of the fire before I run through the field at a break neck speed. I’m going to look for the cliff and feel for the hidden holes. I’m going to trust that God is holding me back for a reason. I’m going to realize that you can’t always land on your feet and I will be sure footed in the Lord before taking another step. Now, where was that chair?

 

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The insanity of running after God.

There is a quietness to my home this morning. The children have been dropped off at school, the drier stands motionless because laundry has been caught up and finished, and my husband’s dog even lays soundless on her rug in the corner. I hear the gentleness of our heater pushing forth warmth in the air but other than that everything is still. When my home is this hushed it’s the things that aren’t that are the most noticeable. Typically I would be diving into chapter after chapter of assigned bible reading for the theology program that I’m currently in. I would be in a rush to try to get through as much of it as I could because it’s a 4 year program condensed into 2. I would be contemplating more questions than answers and yearning for someone to ask about it other than the “notes”. But today, like yesterday and the day before that, I’m not.

I’ve learned so far that  faith is subjective. It’s a projection of the things that are currently, that have been in the past and hoped for in the future. I’m learning that faith is different for everyone and speaks a language that only the person holding it can translate. I’ve never met two people with the same exact theology because our theology can and is colored by the things we hold within. While those with faith could have the same doctrine as a core belief they may not necessarily see it the same way.

We have 20+ people in my home group and I see 20+ different views on Jesus Christ. Some of the core beliefs about Him are the same, yet not exactly. He doesn’t look or feel exactly the same to all of them. There are 20+ different images and feelings that come to the mind of my home group when asked about the Holy Spirit. No two have experienced Him in the exact same way. For me, this is hard. There seems to be no blue print for what to expect when you’re expecting. No milestones, or a chart that shows where you currently are on your goal verses where you need to be.

One of my home group leaders said something last night that caused me to pause for a moment. She said that she feels God is meeting me where I am. The thing about confessing doubt and fear amongst a circle of friends is that they often times know you. Whereas confession thrown out to a random Elder person at church…well, they just don’t know you. This statement made by her came after several weeks of my confession laying bare for the circle to see.

I read Crazy Love awhile back by Francis Chan. This book was partly the reason I wrote my previous post: Fallen Faith – Why I’m not a Christian. He speaks of being lukewarm which brought dread to my soul. He also stated something that made me take a large step back from faith. He said “quit trying so hard. If you don’t have it, you don’t have it.” It was here that I stopped trying. It was then when I stopped seeking; when I tried to stop caring. I was exhausted and someone told me that I could stop running. So I did.

My friend said that I’m a perfectionist. I get things done and I don’t give up until they are accomplished. I guess I see my reflection in that statement. I’m very orderly. Things are organized and done in a certain way – chaos is not my friend.

She also said that I will not find God.  Shocking…but truth. God is not some genie to be summoned upon demand no matter how much you wish for His presence.

He will find me,  she said , when I’ve exhausted myself to the point that I truly know that faith is out of my hands. I have no control over it and no amount of digging will find it. To believe so would mean that I can obtain it through means of my own making and that just isn’t so. In my mind 1+1 = 2. Always. If you put X + Y you are supposed to get this reaction. Long ago I was taught the definition of insanity: doing the exact same thing over and over and expecting different results.

I’ve gone insane running after God. I guess all that’s left to do is to stop running, catch my breath and stand still.

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