Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Roller Coasters

If the song "roller coasters of love....roller coaster ooh ooh ooh" just popped into your lived through the 90s ;)

I love roller coasters. The thrill of losing your stomach up to your neck is addicting. I absolutely love it. Not the spinny rides though. No how...uh-uh. Yuck. But roller coasters...yes. Love.

However...(you sensed that coming, didn't you?) I do NOT enjoy "emotional roller coasters". You know the kind...the ones that make you feel like someone should bust out the straight jacket and commit you?? They rate right up there with the spinny rides. They rival being laid up with the disgusting, gut-wrenching flu. In fact, I'd RATHER be laid up with the flu then be on the "Horrific Hormone" ride of death. Seriously. At least you know the flu will end. Not so with this crazy ride.

Now...take that and add another massive layer to it called "menopause". Yep. Ladies...for those of you who have yet to enter this result of "the fall", it's as every bit as horrible as you've imagined. So fun...

For those of you who don't know, I battled cancer for 10 years off and on. (Another story for another day.) And the treatments that they give you to try and ward off the evil cancer really are the lesser of two the time. What they don't really tell you (because they don't honestly really know) is that the fun really kicks into high gear years after the treatments are over. It's because of that, that I am in the early stages of "the change". So awesome.

I know this post is dripping with cynicism, but that is part of the ride that I am on today. I believe in being honest (especially publicly because our culture isn't) so you're getting the raw uncut version.

The struggle has been particularly difficult, as of late. Not really sure why, but the symptoms have kicked into high gear the last couple months (there's way more than just the moods- my poor hubs ;) ).

So why post about this?

Because of what unfolded today.

Today was a particularly rough day. I had reached my limit. That's when a friend texted and I proceeded to verbally puke out my junk. I'm pretty sure "contemplating sending my kids to military school" was somewhere in the conversation....

And she did exactly what I needed.

She could've joined me in my "woe is me" moment or she could've said "you're ridiculous." But she didn't.

She told me what I needed to hear.

She pointed me to Christ.

She reminded me that I'm not enough on my own- that's why I need Christ and to press into Him.


It always comes back to Him and my (our) incredible and desperate need for Him. He IS enough so I don't need to be. When I feel like this ride is too much to handle, it should be a reminder of how much I need Him.

So this roller's actually a blessing. I know, I know....sounds crazy, right? But it's true. It took the gentle reminder from a sweet friend to remove the fog from my glasses and see clearly. Will I need the reminder again? Yup. Definitely....because we humans have a crazy annoying way of forgetting. It's the same forgetfulness that plagued the Israelites from the beginning. We are no different. We forget...God reminds us...we press into Him...and all is right (until we forget again and start the whole process over!). Praise God for His mercy, forgiveness, and immeasurable patience!!

So...get yourself a "person" who will be that gentle reminder for you. Everyone needs them. That's why God gave us the Church. As imperfect and broken as it is, it's necessary for this crazy journey we call life. Grab your person and invite them onto your crazy roller coaster. Chances are they're on the same one anyways ;)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Cleaning my window....

I hate cleaning windows. It may be my least favorite household chore. So...confession....I rarely do it. In fact, we've been in our house almost 2 1/2 years and I just cleaned my first window today. Yup. Gross I know.

I had good intentions. Really I did. Every spring I would say "I should really clean those." And every spring they would sit.

But finally today I said enough was enough. So I cleaned them. Well...two of them anyway. Lol.

What was amazing to me was how dirty they were. (Insert eye roll and "duh" here from all of you.)
But you don't really notice how dirty they are until you go to clean them. I got used to the dirt. And after a while it just became normal.

How many of us allow things like this to happen in our own lives? And I'm not just talking about windows here. How many times do we allow sin into our lives, maybe even something that isn't "that bad", and excuse it or shove it under the rug?

We think: "Oh it was just one time." or "It wasn't really that bad."

But then one time turns into another, which turns into another, which then sticks to you like a bad habit.

Friends, we have to fight against that. The enemy wants nothing more than to bring you over to his side. He will use any means to do it. And let me tell you, he's good at it.

So for the sake of honesty, I will share my struggle standing naked in Times Square. Gulp...

I struggle with laziness. Now I know that some of you, that know me, may be surprised by that (then again maybe not haha!). But it's true. It's become a bigger struggle in the recent years too. Most afternoons we have a "quiet time" for personal reading time, followed by a little bit of screen time. I will admit there are days that I just let them watch until late afternoon (gasp!). Not everyday...but sometimes. And honestly, it's mainly because I don't want to deal with stuff. When I get overwhelmed, stressed, or exhausted, I shut down. It's easier that way. Sometimes, I will let it happen for a few days in a row. Then I find myself saying those exact things I posted above...."Oh it was just one time..." or "It's not really that big of a deal."

Sure, a "mental health" day is fine every now and then. In fact, I think it's healthy! But when I use it to shut out what's going on just because I don't want to "adult", it's not.

It's so tempting for me to allow this struggle to continue because the season of life I'm in can be difficult. It's my way of dealing with it, I guess. But you know what? I'm leaning into myself to "cope" not my Savior. He wants me to press into Him in the good, the big struggles, and the little struggles.

I love what the Psalmist says in Psalm 63:8 "My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me."

We need to cling to our Savior at all times. He is the immovable unshakeable rock that will sustain us with everything we need.

So what windows do you need to wash? Is there an area of your life that needs to be exposed and washed by Jesus? It sounds scary to let people in on your "junk"...but it's really not because we all struggle with something. So feel free to join me in the "nakedness of Times Square" place. You're not alone! And besides...Jesus already knows your junk anyways. He's waiting for you to unload, repent, and allow Him to take over. It's really freeing when you do. So let's cling to our Savior together :)

Thursday, September 22, 2016


I'm simply horrified and completely heart-broken over what I am seeing unfold in our country. Not only does the senseless violence, ridiculous racism, and deeply-rooted hatred make me sick, but it's the divisiveness among Christians that lands the gut-wrenching blow.

What is going on here?? Why are we even arguing?? We should be grieving for the lives lost and affected, reaching out to friends and loved ones who need us, and on our knees in prayer. Instead I see messages raging across social media oozing with hatred and attempts to justify every single event that has taken place.

Lives were lost. THAT should grieve us as it grieves our sweet Savior! Life is precious. We, mankind....ALL races/shapes/sizes, were created in the image of our Creator. ANYTIME a life is taken, no matter what the reason, it should touch our soul in the way that it does the Giver of Life. If we ever get to the point where a lost life doesn't sadden us in any way shape or form...well...God help us.

Our souls are the only thing that is eternal here. Are we sad that the ones that died possibly may never have heard the Gospel?? Are we more concerned about how we can show Jesus through this than justice?? What gets your blood pumping more- arguing back and forth about racism, justice, inequality, etc? Or realizing the fact that hell may have possibly gained another soul...for eternity??? I can tell you what our world is seeing that Christians care more about....

God forgive us....

When are we going to stop sitting back on our laurels up on our religious pedestals and be the Church?!? Stop arguing with others about worldly things. Yes, injustice, racism, inequality, etc is disgusting!! I hate it too! But when does arguing about it change anything?!? All it does is fuel the fire. Us arguing about whether or not an action was justified WILL NOT do anything except make the gap bigger. So stop it. Just stop it.

Instead, let's do what the Church should be doing. Love. Love your neighbor...even if you don't like him. Love those who are similar to you and incredibly different from you. Just love.

Reach out. Let friends/family know how sorry you are to see them going through this. Ask how you can help. If there's nothing you can do, you can pray. We should all be doing that anyways.

And let's stop the arguing. Let's do what James says in James 1:19 "Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;". If the Church started living as Christ wants us to live, showing Him to others, and seeing each other for their souls not their skin, things could look radically different here. When we start living like "all souls matter", you can bet that will impact our world.

So will you? Let's do it together. Let's live like #allsoulsmatter.

Monday, September 19, 2016

An Opportunity for Grace

My daughter is in her first year of band this year. For those of you who have never had a child learn an grateful. And a huge shout-out goes to my blessed parents who survived two children who both learned multiple instruments. Bless you.

Actually, (mom brag moment here) my daughter is doing pretty well. She picked the trumpet (complete shock to me) and I was bracing myself for the worst. But it really hasn't been that bad. I'm proud of her that she's taking the initiative to learn something. She comes from a musical family, on both sides, so it's really not all that surprising I suppose.

Anyways, today was band day. Now because I homeschool, I have to take her in and bring her home from her short lesson twice a week. On those days, we have to alter our schedule a bit to fit that in, but so far so good. We went in today, I dropped her off and then proceeded to head to town to do a quick errand. But then I got a phone call about halfway into town from her, saying that there was no band today.

Hmm...I didn't get an phone call...and no one seemed to know why it was cancelled. I turned around, picked her up, drove back into town, and then headed home.

There were two different reactions that I could've had for this circumstance. I could've:

1. Got really frustrated and angry that I drove all the way into town for nothing (we live out in the country) and sulked all the way home about the waste of time and gas....(and change nothing btw)


2. Showed grace.

How many times do we allow little things or mistakes of others to irritate us? I'm sure we can all think of a time when someone has let us down either intentionally or unintentionally. And I know we can all recall something, which was really insignificant in the big scheme of things, that got under our skin and caused us to lose our cool. Why does this happen?'s because we are selfish sinful people. Plain and simple. Our natural tendency is to put our own selves and agendas first and foremost. When something or someone inconveniences us or forces us to change our plans (even on a very minor scale) we become agitated and often birth a reaction from that.

But what if we didn't?

What if, instead, we showed grace? What would that look like? Would that change anything? I mean after all, you would want someone to extend grace to you when you screw why not do the same for others yourself?

Well, I can't guarantee it would change your circumstance or even the other person's reaction...but it will change you and your heart. When we fight against our natural tendencies and extend grace, it does something to us. It allows the Holy Spirit to come in and soften our hearts. When we do that, guess what? Others notice....because that's NOT the norm.

It also brings joy. Frustration, anger, and hatred only produce more frustration, anger, and hatred. No one enjoys being angry all the time. It's uncomfortable, stressful, and hard on the soul and body.

I chose to extend grace today :) I admit, I had to fight my natural urge to be irritated. But choosing grace was so much better. I many times have I forgotten something?? (TOO many's embarrassing really.)

Can you imagine what our world would look like if we gave grace more than we gave in to our natural reactions?? So why not look for opportunities to extend grace? You won't regret it :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Changing of Seasons

I love fall. The leaves change color, the humid summer air transforms into crisp cool breezes, my house smells like an apple pie and a pumpkin had a baby. So much sweetness. Love. Sigh....

But even though fall is BY FAR my favorite season, I love different things about each one. Summer is full of laying by the pool, gardening, traveling, and relaxing. Spring brings beauty, newness, and end of school. Even nasty winter has pros: Christmas, snow (only in the month of December is it allowed), seeing relatives, snuggling with hot cocoa and a good Christmas movie. There's something to love about each season.

There's also cons to each season though. I'm not a "negative nancy" by nature, but there are definite things, with each season, that I could do without. Such as:

Spring: mud...e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. We live on a farm. Need I say more?

Summer: humidity + naturally curly but I want a part of it straight hair = pure frustration

Winter: Snow, not in December. Enough said.

And even sweet sweet fall has it's downfall.....bugs. Flies, japanese beetles, and boxelder bugs become a modern day version of the Biblical plagues here. Gross.

As I was channeling my inner Aristotle about such things, I was struck at how similar the concept is to seasons in life. Life is a constant "change of seasons". And you know what?? I'm SO grateful! As much as I would love to life in permanent "fall" mode, I would honestly get bored of it eventually. I welcome change. Change brings new, fresh, and often exciting things! It can also bring devastation, despair, and rocky roads. Just like the seasons, there can be good and hard things with each transition.

Sometimes we are in a season that we wish would last forever. But you know what? I guarantee you, at some point, you would long for some change of some kind. It's in our nature. And if we lived in the same season all the time, we wouldn't grow, we wouldn't learn, and we wouldn't experience God in ways that we never would otherwise. Change is good friends. SO good.

So rather than fight it or dread it....embrace it. Look at it as an exciting adventure. If it's tragedy you're facing, allow yourself to grieve...but also search for God through it. Open yourself to Him so that you can experience Him in an amazing way, and so that He can use you in it. Having that perspective changes everything. It may not remove the blow...but it can soften it :)

Sweet friend....I've been there. I've seen A LOT of the changing of seasons in my life....and it's not done yet. But I've learned that there is something to be gained by each one. Treasure it because it won't last forever. That season will change :)

Friday, September 9, 2016

A Bit of Honesty...

Here's some brutal and open honesty. And trust me...this doesn't paint a pretty picture of me. But I do hope the end result points to our incredible Savior and His great mercy.

I homeschool our 3 kids. Enough said. Close the book....stick a fork in me I'm done. I wish I could tell you that I love it so much, that my kids are the highlight of my day, and that I wouldn't trade this for the world. But....I would be lying to you. Yep. I said it. Brutal honesty. Now, don't get me wrong- I LOVE my kids! But I do not love being around them (or any kids for that matter) 24:7. It's not where my passion lies. And for the longest time I felt like such a jerk for it. I see others who thrive being around children and who admittedly love it. Inside I'm thinking, they are insane! Ha! I used to love being around kids more though. I babysat a lot, was a camp counselor for years, and even studied Elementary Education. But then I had my own kids. And then, kicking and screaming, I decided to homeschool.

Now you may be asking yourself "Why would she homeschool if she doesn't love being around kids all the time??". Believe me...I ask myself that All. The. Time. But see the reason I do it, goes deeper than my selfishness. It's because God called me to it. Seriously. I fought it for years. In fact, I practically screamed at a sweet friend of mine, "I will NEVER homeschool my kids!!", when she asked me if I had ever considered it. (Thankfully she still loved me, despite my hostility!...And she laughed hysterically when I told her I decided to do it lol!) But God, for some unbeknownst reason to me, wants me to. I fought and fought against it for over a year. But everywhere I turned, everything I heard, and deep inside my soul I knew it was what He wanted me to do.

Have you ever fought against something so made it your mission in life to NOT do it?? was like that. But I surrendered to it one day, and immediately experienced an indescribable peace like never before.

But just because I KNOW God calls me to this, doesn't mean I always love it.

Sometimes we face things in life that are hard, unpleasant, and ugly. But there is purpose in it. God often allows us to experience things either so we can experience Him in a certain way, or our character and heart can be grown and molded to what He desires it to be.

That's what He's doing here with me. I see that now. And it's days like today that I'm reminded of it and am clinging to it desperately. Overall today was a good day actually. But my heart has been struggling with selfishness lately. And sometimes I allow that to overflow into other areas in my life. I actually sat down to "vent" here. But God, in His great mercy, lifted the veil for a moment and allowed me to see a glimpse of "why" He's called me to something that stretches and grows me in an, often times, uncomfortable way. It would be so much easier for me to thrown in the towel, send my kids off to school, and basque in the quiet and stillness of an empty house. But I know there's a greater purpose in the path He has chosen for me. Romans 8:28 says that God works all things together for good. I love that verse and the reminder that it brings when I'm struggling. I'm so thankful for God's great mercy, love, and that He loves me enough to grow and stretch me to become the woman He desires me to be.

*Side note: I don't hate kids lol :) Really I don't! I just wanted to clarify that God has created me to be passionate about different things...and if I had the choice I'd probably rather hang out with adults haha! I love kids and think that parenting and discipling them is very important. But it doesn't come as easy to me as to others. Just wanted to clarify!