Thursday, March 9, 2017

I Can't Believe I Didn't See This Before

For those of you that have read any of my previous #honestymovement posts, you know that I've been upfront about my struggles as a homeschooling mom. To sum it up, it's not a love of mine. I know it's what God has called me to, but I struggle with that. And to be even more honest, I've struggled with my entire role as a stay-at-home mama. It's been something I've battled with for quite some time now, and I didn't even realize it. Those of you that have known me from a young age may be surprised to hear that. Ever since I can remember, I've always wanted to be just that- a wife and a mom.

Even though I've achieved my lifelong dream and desire, I felt like something was missing. So for the last handful of years, I have been trying to fill that with more roles hoping to find what I was looking for. But you know what? Each thing left me feeling frustrated, unfulfilled, and even more confused.

Why can't I be enough? What am I missing here? Why do I feel like I'm failing at everything??

Those questions have haunted my deepest thoughts for a long time. That has led to frustration, stress, feelings of inadequacy, and ultimately an unhappy home more times than I would care to admit.

But I realized something today.

I was really telling myself that Christ wasn't enough.


That one stung.

I was trying to do this on my own. And I was buying into the lies of our culture and the enemy by thinking that what I was doing wasn't valuable enough. Now, hear me when I say, the things I was pursuing were not bad in and of themselves. In fact, I still believe God is calling me to some of them. BUT they will not bring contentment and fulfillment. ONLY CHRIST WILL.

I heard a sermon today on Titus 2. I know that passage is a sensitive one to some. But why is that? Well, it's because we have bought into our culture's definition of what womanhood should be. And you know what? Our culture's definition is starkly different than that of Scripture's.

There's the other extreme though too. Some take this text out of context or twist it to meet their own agendas.

That's false.

We have to go back to Scripture. We have to look back at how God designed things. He did it perfectly. We have to strip away the box that our culture has placed God's design in and get back to His original intent.

When we start to look at our roles according to what Scripture says and we ask God to strip away the lies that we are led to believe, then we are left with a beautiful picture of what things should be. And we are left with something else.


God has called us, as male and females, into specific roles. But He's also given each one of us different roles within that too. And in EACH one of those roles, we need to look to Christ for our fulfillment.

HE is the reason we do things.
HE is the source of our contentment.
HE is the reason for our joy.
HE is the reason we can fill roles that go against the grain.
HE is all that matters.

My husband saw it. He saw the struggle. But he didn't condemn me. He didn't try to dissuade me. He simply pointed me. He pointed me to Christ. God used him to gently open my eyes to this. And I'm so thankful.

You see, sometimes my stupid pride gets in the way. I get so frustrated with myself. I know the truth, but surrendering to it is a completely different story. But God's grace covers that. I can't even express how amazing that is...and how undeserving I am.

So what about you? Are you struggling with your role or purpose? Look to Jesus. His Word gives us all the direction we need. And honestly? I wrote this more for my own reminder than anything else. Because even though I have clarity right now, I know myself well enough to know that this battle isn't over. The enemy knows that too. But even though I will probably walk down this road again, I know that I love and serve the One who has won the war. So I will continue to fall into His generous grace and cling to that as I serve my husband and kiddos and wherever else He calls me. Thank God for grace!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A Fight for Life

Hello world! I took a much needed break from blogging. Mainly because I've been battling a mysterious illness that we STILL don't have a clue what it is. But I'm moving forward each day and hoping for answers- and I have been feeling better the last few days. So that's a plus! If you think of it, my family would appreciate your prayers. Even if we find an answer to this problem, we have recently found out that my kidneys are beginning to be problematic. This is most likely a long-term side effect of the chemotherapy I had years ago. We knew it was a possibility, but it's escalating more quickly than I had hoped. So we covet your prayers :) Thank you!

Anyways, I feel like I've been under a rock, so to speak, recently and am now emerging.

I may have to go back in.

Just when I thought we, as humanity, couldn't reach any lower, I was proven wrong. Looting, name-calling, hatred, violence, intolerance (ironically from those who scream for tolerance....hmm...), and just plain evil are what I see flooding my news feeds, medias, etc.

I'm astounded.
I'm heartbroken.
I'm so deeply grieved.

We, as humans, have reached an all-time low. We are throwing tantrums when we don't get our way, spewing hatred for those who have been elected to serve for our country (and for those that voted them in), and still supporting the slaughter of the most innocent of the human race- and protesting for it in the name of equality.

Buckle your seatbelts because it's about to get crazy here.

I'm not usually for arguing about social issues online. I think it's pointless really. A huge part of communication is non-verbal, so I think that's why we have a lot of escalating issues today. People aren't communicating well.

However, there is one issue that I will take a stance on publicly. Why? Because it's not just a social issue. At it's core it is the most sacred of issues we as humanity can ever face.

The sanctity of life.

I've written about this before, but I feel the need to weigh in on a specific current event. Why? Honestly, because my socks were blown off in shock to see a rather large group from within the Church support it. That left me wiping my jaw off the floor as my heart wept.

In case you were living under a rock too, I'm referring to the women's rights march event that just took place.

Now before a bunch of you start throwing stones or write me off, please hear me out. I don't write this to shun or shame. I simply write this, from my most sincere and broken heart, to make you think.

I'm ALL FOR human rights. Absolutely. Two hands up in support of it. THAT is biblical! Life is valuable- no question. God created man/woman and said that "it was good". We are also the only species that was created in the image of God. So that is not something to take lightly.

So why would I be against the women's rights march? It sounds interesting, initially. I honestly didn't even realize there was a huge problem with women's rights. I thought we had kind of overcome that decades ago. So I was incredibly curious to see what kind of "rights" were being neglected or persecuted for my gender. I went to their website and read all about it. What I found...well...let's just say it didn't shock me. It's the SAME fight that has been going on since Roe vs. Wade. It's just being packaged differently. It basically boils down to the fact that they are fighting for the selfish rights of an individual- NOT for equality in human rights. They think a woman should have the right to play God and decide if the life growing in her is of less value than her own. A life designed, formed, and created by the Creator of all life....not her. We, as women, are simply the vessels chosen to nurture and carry the created life within us. As the Church, I believe that that belief is biblical and one that we should all hold firm to. For the life of me, I cannot understand how one could profess faith in Christ, hold to what Scripture says is truth, recognize and value life as God does, and still support a "pro-choice" view. The two do not go hand in hand.

Let me ask you this...

What will you say when you stand before God one day (because we all will) and He asks you why you supported the slaughtering of innocent life?? And you can't use the excuse that it's "just tissue"....because it isn't. There is a heartbeat well before most women even know they are pregnant. It is a life. And it is valuable.

Yes, there are more than just the "abortion issue" that these women were marching for. I read their site. I read their mission statement. They stand for a lot of things, yes. Including abortion. And when you participate in the protest for or against something, you are aligning yourself with all of their views- whether you realize it or not. You are making a public statement saying "I agree with what they are fighting for." You can't pick and choose in a scenario like this. It's all or nothing.

I value life. ALL our Creator does. So I cannot align myself with this movement. It's anti-biblical in my eyes.

If, as a believer, you find yourself on the pro side of this movement, I would really encourage you to ask yourself "why"? Go back and read their mission statement and all that they stand for. Can you agree to all of the statements and come to the conclusion that God would be for it? Does it support and glorify God by being a part of it? Does it point to the Gospel? Because, let me let you in on a can still be for human rights and not align yourself with this movement.

Church, now more than ever, we are having to draw definitive lines in the sand. Scripture tells us that we won't be liked for our views. In fact we are promised to be persecuted for them. But we are also told that it's not our views that are hated- it's Christ. He is the driving force behind everything we believe in and stand for. Ultimately, we need to worry more about what aligns with Scripture and with Christ than what is popular. And really, by following Him, loving, and speaking truth, we are showing the best and most true love than any movement could ever show. Christ is the ultimate example and the very definition of truth and love. Living and loving with our eyes fixed on Him and allowing Him to work through us is the greatest act of love we could ever give.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

When the "Why" Seems Unfair

As we come to the close of another year, it's natural to ponder and reflect.

This year, however, is throwing in some curve balls that have forced some painful and difficult reflections and questions.

I have the honor of being a part of an incredible church family here in our neck of the woods. It's a close-knit group of about 120-130 people. God has been moving in some absolutely amazing ways as well. It has been so awesome to watch Him move. Because of that closeness, when one member of our body aches...we all ache. And we have been aching a lot lately...

We've had blow after blow this year and even more so in the last month. And today we got word that a sweet sister in Christ is now literally at the feet of Jesus.

When tragedy strikes....particularly death, it's natural to begin asking questions.


What now?

What's next?....

It's also natural and very easy to begin to question God during these times.

"Why would God allow this?"

"What is the purpose in this?"

"How can this possibly be good?"

These are questions that we all ask at some point in our lives- especially when things seem to slip out of our facade of control. It can be unsettling....the unknown. We don't have control over anything, even though we fool ourselves into thinking we do. And when these reminders hit us square in the face, it jolts us back into reality and reminds us that we are simply a vapor here in the grand scheme of things. And that can cause these questions to come reeling into our purview.

But you see, these questions that I listed earlier....they are the wrong questions to ask.

We have a skewed view of...well everything really. Our view is broken. It broke that day, many years ago, in the garden when Eve believed the lie of the serpent. And it's been broken ever since. We can't understand the tough questions. It isn't possible. Why?? Because we too are broken.

You see, God is perfection personified. He is the definition of good. He is the standard. All things perfect and good are measured on His scale. He defines it.

But our world is so blinded and broken by sin, so it distorts our view and causes us to ask the wrong questions. Instead of asking "why....what now....what's next.....why would God allow this??", we need to be asking this:

"How will God be glorified through this?"

"How can this point someone to Him?"

"How can He use this for His glory?"

I once heard someone say "We are basically immortal until God's part of His plan for us is through.". That is SO comforting to me. It removes the illusion of my control and places it back where it belongs- in the perfect, good, just, merciful, and grace-filled hands of my Savior. His plans are always
for good because He is good.....even though my definition of good isn't always the same as His. So I'm here as long as He needs me to be. When my part has been played out, I get to join Him face-to-face. When He removes us from this world, our hope and prayer is that it's because He will use it to bring someone to Him. When we begin to view things this way and ask the right questions, it gives Him the glory He deserves. We were created for His glory to begin with. So when we enter into tragedy with a cross-focused view, it gives Him the glory and it also brings comfort to us as well.

Even with the right view, it doesn't necessarily dull the pain. But we serve a God who has suffered more than we could ever imagine. He understands...He cares....He heals.

Lean into Jesus. Press into our Savior who is good. Allow Him to restore and heal you. And rest in His promise that He has come to seek and to save.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Grace in parenting...but not for who you would assume....

Life has a way of allowing us to develop character traits that we'd like to have but really don't want to gain by practicing. Patience comes to mind when I think of this. I refuse to pray for patience anymore because God always seems to bring me opportunities to "practice" and develop it....opportunities I'd rather not have honestly. I mean, can't I just have a supernatural dose of patience instead of answering my 5 year old's incessant "why" questions??? Sigh....

Another trait that comes to mind is grace. Grace is difficult to give at times. We are called to extend grace to others because the ultimate act of grace was extended to us through Jesus. I mean, who can argue that really?

Yes, it's tempting to want to scream and yell at the person who just cut you off in traffic (but really all that will do is scare your kiddos to death in the backseat as the person goes on their merry way). But we should extend grace. It's more appealing to want fairness and justice to always win out, but we should extend grace. And honestly, giving grace is better for all involved. It points to Christ and gives Him glory, it affects the other person and may encourage them to extend grace as well, and it stretches your own heart in a good way.

Ok. I can be on board with all that. But if we're getting down to the nitty gritty raw honest truth (which I'm intent on doing ever since I boarded on the #honestymovement train), the person I struggle to extend grace too the most is....myself.

If you're a mom, I'm willing to bet you are tracking with me. We are bombarded everyday with expectations and standards as to what a "good" mom is. And we fail...Every. Single. Time. (At least I do...maybe you're better at this "mom" thing than I am. Kudos.)

Seriously though. These expectations are rough. I'm always left feeling like I missed the mark.

As their mother I'm responsible for their:
-character building
-becoming a respectable human

Just looking at that list and really thinking about it makes me want to throw up. You really can't grasp the full responsibility of parenting until you're in the thick of it. And when you realize it's really a true miracle that we all survive even a single day throughout it.

The weight of that responsibility, and the fact that I feel like I do it so poorly, inevitably causes me to allow the hopelessness and failure set it instead of extending myself grace.

I often lay awake at night and allow the despair to overtake me, as I emotionally flog myself.

But you know what?

It's in those moments that I've taken my eyes off of Christ and am trying to do an impossible job all on my own strength.

It's similar to "the Law" that is given in Scripture.

You see, the Law was given- not foremost as instructions but rather to force the people to recognize that they couldn't live a holy and righteous life on their own strength. It's impossible. It was given to accentuate our desperate and incredible need for a Savior.

I think the standards for parenting/life- even the ones we give ourselves- do the same thing. They are impossible to do on our own. Therefore, they point to an utter need for our merciful Savior.

So when the despair begins to creep in...instead of allowing it to consume me, I need to allow it to remind me of my need for Christ. I need to allow it to catapult my heart into His loving arms and rely on His strength to get me through. It's only then will I find peace and the gumption to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Praise God for His incredible grace and mercy and may I extend it to others, as well as myself.

Do you struggle with grace? Do you feel like you're failing as a parent? You're not alone sweet friend. Rest in His grace and allow THAT to guide your parenting. It's only by this that we can move forward and it's only because of His grace that we all will survive it! So be encouraged and don't allow the standards to consume you. Allow His grace to surround you!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Two Sides of a Coin


This simple word can bring a many number of different emotions that come flooding in when spoken.

For many, this is a season of absolute joy! Family, traditions, shopping, gift-giving & receiving, lights, movies, hot cocoa, fires in the fireplace are just some of the many beloved things that are a part of this cheerful time of year.

For others though, this time of year brings the opposite. Sadness, loss, reminders, financial issues, loneliness, hurt, increased work schedule are just some of the things that come with this season.

But regardless of what side of the coin you are on, there is something that we should be able to be joyful about no matter our circumstances...

It doesn't come wrapped in pretty paper with a bow.
It doesn't come under the tree.
It isn't something we can give.
We aren't worthy of it at all.
We can't earn it.
But it's the absolute ultimate gift you could ever receive.


Yes, that may be the obvious answer to those of you that are churched. But even though it may be the "sunday school response", it doesn't change the fact that it's true. Or that it's hard to remember. Yes...we all know that is true. It's hard to keep Christ at the center of Christmas. We are bombarded by cultural things -which aren't necessarily bad. But they can distract us. In fact, any of the things I listed in the two sides of the coin categories can take our eyes off of the reason we celebrate....especially the difficult ones.

I know that I struggle. You see, I'm a UPS wife. For those of you that work (or have spouses that work) at UPS/FedEx/etc. enough said, right?? For those of you that don't, allow me to explain. This time of year is what they refer to as "peak". From Thanksgiving (although it's WAY earlier now) until Christmas (and then into February b/c of returns!) they work countless hours, in every weather condition, and even on Christmas Eve if it falls during the week. Basically, we don't see my hubs during this season and when we do, he's completely exhausted- both physically and mentally. He's a mechanic for UPS, which may be even more difficult than the drivers. Any position with these companies is rough during this season.

Because of that, I often lose sight of the meaning of this time of year. It's so easy for me to wallow in the self-pity of "why us" and "this is so hard". Everyone in our household tends to get crabby this time of year, and that often causes me to become bitter.

But you know what? I don't have to be. No, there is a better way. Not necessarily easier....but definitely better.

I need to get my eyes off of myself.

That goes COMPLETELY against my human nature, but it's the only way to change my perspective of this season.

I have to die to self.

Christ calls us to do that at all times actually.

Galatians 2:20 (ESV) says: "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

Luke 9:23 (ESV) says: "And he said to all, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'"


I must take up my cross daily.
I must surrender to Christ at all times.
I must look to Him for my joy.
I must rest in the promise that He has a plan for me.
I must rest in the joy of the cross.

THAT is how I will make it through this season. THAT is how I will make it through every season. He truly is the reason for the season, and for every season.  I need to take my eyes off of myself and place them on the cross.

How about you? Where are your eyes fixed? Are they on the glimmering glow of the lights of this holiday season? Or are they on Christ? One will only bring temporary happiness. The other will bring everlasting joy. It's a no-brainer really ;) Let's focus on Christ and gently remind one another to do the same when the world's glam begins to tear away their gaze. That's what the Church is for, right? I pray you have a Christ-centered Christmas every day of the year. He truly is the reason to celebrate every moment of every day. Merry Christmas :)

*I'm honored to be featured over at Blogs by Christian Women today on their Christmas Blog Tour. You can check out the tour at: . They are also having a couple giveaways over there too! Go check it out!

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Greatest Love of All

How many of you immediately had Whitney Houston's "The Greatest Love of All" song pop into your head as soon as you read the title?? I know I did as soon as I wrote it! Ha!

My daughter is in an area children's choir here where we live. It's a great program and she absolutely loves it! Recently, they had their fall concert. They feature each of the children's choirs as well as the community adult choir. It was a lovely program and all the kids/adults did a wonderful job. But what I remember most was a question the director of the adult's choir asked the kids, and even more so the response. Before each of the adults' songs, the director would introduce it and engage the children with questions. It's charming and he has a real talent with connecting with them. One of the songs they sang was about the "greatest love of all". And so he understandable asked the kids,

"What do you think the greatest love of all is?"

My heart was actually broken from the answers.


These were just some of the answers. I don't specifically recall many of the other ones, but I assure you they were similar.

Some of you may be thinking, "Those sound like great answers to me!". And I would agree that they are good answers....if the question was "What is an example of a great love?"

But that's not what he asked.

He asked:

"What do you think the greatest love of all is?"

Friends...I assure you that none of those answers is one that I would even want to be the answer to that question. Let me tell you why.

People will fail you. You will fail them. It's inevitable.

So why would we want something that we know will fail us to be the definition of the greatest love of all?? We don't. If it fails us, it's not really that great right?

So then if those aren't it, then is there, in fact, a greatest all?

Yes there absolutely is!

The only love that can fall into that category is the love that Christ has for His creation.
It's the greatest because it's perfect.
It's the greatest because it's so undeserved.
It's the greatest because it's unconditional.
It's the greatest because it has no limits.
It's the greatest because it's the love that set the standard.

Guys, the God of the universe- you know the one- He created everything, He's the only true God- yeah that one. He created man. Man failed Him. He could've started over. But He didn't. He loves us so much, that He Himself came TO us, just to rescue us....because we couldn't do it ourselves. We were irrevocably broken. There was NOTHING we could do to fix it ourselves. But love changed that. I love how the author, Sally Lloyd-Jones, of the book The Jesus Storybook Bible describes God's love. She calls it "a never-stopping, never-giving up, unbreaking, always, and forever love". What a beautiful description of the absolute greatest love of all.

Church, it's up to us to share this greatest love. If we don't, then we truly are spreading hate not love. Why? Because this love is the key to eternity with God. If you don't share it, it's like having the cure to cancer and not telling anyone. You would do that out of spite or hatred, not love. Withholding the GREATEST news ever is not love. I know it's hard. I know it's scary. Believe me, I've been there and even still struggle with that sometimes. But I want to live a life compelled to love others because of the love given to me from my beloved Savior. So let's truly love others. Let's shout about our Savior's greatest love from the rooftops!! THAT is spreading love- the greatest love of all!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

We Need to Move Forward...

I know that I have made a couple posts about this before, but it still astounds me that even though it appears that we all agree on what needs to's not happening. I'm hearing all kinds of outcries from both "sides" of the political coin- that we need to unite and love. Yet I still continue to see hatred, bullying, and condemnation- the very thing they are preaching against.

If we are all in agreement on what we should do, then why aren't we doing it???

Because I think deep down inside fear is still winning.

I know that I live in a bubble of sorts, but this all seems overkill to me. Yes we have an unprecedented person stepping into leadership in our country. Yes, he has made wild claims. Yes, his moral character is super sketchy. Yes, he's probably not the ideal candidate for this position.

But he won.

We can't change that now. But we can change what's going on as a result.

Pardon me while I scrape my jaw off the floor from the shock of what I see unfolding in our country. People are acting like I would expect junior highers to react to an armageddon. Comfort dogs, counseling, riots, people hiding, hatred spewing from the mouths of those who claim to follow Christ.....I. Can't. Even.


Let me ask you this. Has anything actually happened yet that would warrant this kind of behavior??


He hasn't even taken office. No one is being forced to change anything yet. And honestly....I really don't believe that anything "drastic" that is being speculated about will actually happen. And if it does, you can bet your bottom dollar that most of the citizens of this country will not allow it. I know I won't. So can we all take it down a notch or two? I mean don't you think that you will feel a little silly if none of these things actually happen and you were caught reacting like this? For real....

I know the unknown is scary. Believe me....I am all too familiar with that. But one thing I have learned, is that speculation only leads to ridiculousness. Allow me to explain.

16 years ago I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. I was told I would, at best, have 5 years to live and if I somehow surpassed that, my chance of having kids was zilch because of the chemotherapy I was to have to try to spare my life.

Que freak out.

Actually, my freaking out was kept to a minimum. Sure I had my moments, but one of the benefits of being 16 when I was diagnosed is that I thought like every other 16 year old- I am invincible. Oh sweet innocence....

Now fast forward 16 years. I am still alive AND I have 3 precious babes (all of whom I carried and birthed). So had I given into the normal fears and speculations, I could've spent those first few months/years loathing my potential fate and wallowing in self-pity. That would've made for a miserable way of life and frankly...I would look ridiculous now considering what actually happened was nowhere near what was expected.

Do you see what I'm getting at here? We can sit here, wallow in self-pity, speculate about what could happen, and continue to throw a massive fit about it.


We could stop speculating about a potential future that we really have NO idea about and start actually living again. We could reach out to our neighbor in love and kindness and build relationships with those around us. We could stop thinking about just ourselves and start putting others first. We could love those around us and stand up for them when necessary (not preemptively with no cause).

Had I focused my life on the possible negative outcomes I also would've missed some amazing things in my life. God has used that dark time for good and I got to see it because I didn't constantly live in the "what if".

Did it ever occur to you that maybe God allowed this so He can show Himself in some crazy awesome way? It's happened before and I'm confident it can and will happen again.

So let's do this. Let's stop focusing on the unknown and start living in the now. Because really, we have no idea what the future brings anyways. So let's hope and pray for the best and love the crazy out of people and life. I'm gonna do it. And I hope you'll join me.