Monday, January 30, 2012

Greater than God

My prayer all week has been that God would allow me to see the truth about forgiveness, and then give me the guts to walk out that truth. He has been faithful to show me, with the Bible and in my prayer time, what my misconceptions about forgiveness are.

I became a Christian when I was very young, and have kind of just bought into the whole God thing, hook, line, and sinker.  It's only been in the last few years that I've been challenged to ask myself why I believe these things, and if this "faith" that I have is even really mine. I quickly decided that I very much own my faith, but that I don't have an accurate grasp on just how many things I say that I believe but haven't thought critically through. I'm realizing that the concept of forgiveness is one of those things. I thought hard about God forgiving me. But, I've nodded my head and smiled a lot about the big picture of forgiving others. I've had a fairly easy time forgiving people who are not Christians, because I don't expect anyone to act like a Christian who isn't one. My struggle here is forgiving within the church. We Christians have done an overwhelmingly cruddy job of treating each other well, and forgiveness among the church is a much bigger concept than I had realized before.

This sub-category of forgiveness is where I've spent the majority of my thought life recently. I have prayed really incoherent prayers that go a lot like this, "God, please, I want to forgive them. Ummm yeah. Please. Help me there, because I don't know what to do now. Thanks." This week though, I decided to stop with the discombobulated stuff and just actually pray for the people I'm trying to forgive. I prayed for their families, their marriages, and their spiritual health. Before I knew it, I was feeling compassion and care for these people again! All of a sudden my heart was humbled, and I realized that these people that I'm swimming in unforgiveness for have been offered a complete, pardoning, forgiveness from the one I claim to worship. By holding a grudge, and not offering forgiveness myself, I was putting myself ahead of God. I was claiming to be greater than God. Man I hate it when truth hurts my feelings. 

So to sum up:

1. Forgive in order to adjust your focus from what's been done to you by the offender(s), and back to what's been done for you by Christ.

2. Forgive because God has offered forgiveness to you for a lot more.

3. Forgive because God has offered them forgiveness too, and if anyone deserves to hold a grudge, it's the creator of the offender. If He can forgive, you better figure it out too.

I'm still not doing this forgiveness thing perfectly. I am still doubting that I've forgiven them fully, because the hurt in my heart is so very real and painful. But I am so incredibly encouraged that I WILL concur this battle with unforgiveness. The other option is to walk away from the church, because we're all just as flawed as the ones outside of the church. This is a fact, but if we can't get it together and love each other, then how in the world will we show the rest of the world that the love from our Savior is greater than anything they've ever experienced? Our God is so so good. 

I don't know if I'll write any more about forgiveness, but I so appreciate the conversations, emails, text messages that I've  received about these posts. I've felt scattered and disorganized in my thought process, but I'm so glad that some of you have seen through the fogginess of my thoughts and been encouraged through my struggle. That's all I can hope for when I'm wearing my heart on my sleeve. My struggle is not unique and I've been challenged and encouraged by the responses. Keep 'em coming!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

If you give a kid a camera...

First mistake: Letting Andrew look at the picture on the back of the camera as soon as it's been taken

Second mistake: Letting Andrew push the button while I hold the camera.

Third mistake: Letting Andrew hold the camera and attempt to take pictures.

The camera is still in one piece. But now, of course, he wants to be the photographer every time the camera comes out of the bag... awesome. Here are a few of his captures.

My eye (it's scary to have a camera so up in your grill) (yes, there were more close-ups. no, you can't see them)...

His toys...

The floor... Or the feather... Not really sure what the goal was...

We're not quite ready to put together a portfolio and start making money off of him, but I wanted to document his first shots, just in case.

Here are a few more, slightly less abstract, pictures that we took this week.

Andrew denying my kiss request.
 Judah, so cute.
 The boys checking the mail with our sweet sweet friend, Kathryn.
 Shockingly normal picture.
 Love. Him.
 Finally playing the funny face game.
 Playing with my ipod... role reversal since Judah's usually the stoic one.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Forgive them How Many Times?

I have continued to contemplate the meaning of forgiveness; the reason for it, how to do it, what it looks like, if I can accomplish it, if I even want to accomplish it, the worldly view of it, the heavenly view of it, and on and on and on and on. Like just about everything else I try to wrap my mind around, this is turning out to be one of those things that I could spend years studying and only realize that I've uncovered another small portion of a very large concept; one that will probably not be fully revealed to me until my blinders are removed for good.

I was really encouraged after my brainstorming session that left me with the conclusion that forgiveness seems to be about restoring my relationship with the Lord, not about restoring my relationship with the people I'm trying to forgive. I am still encouraged, but I am struggling with the habitual assumption that forgiveness is only complete if you get and give hugs. Big hugs. Meaningful hugs. Yes, friends who know me, I want hugs after every conversation. I feel reassured and comforted by physical touch, and without it things just still feel wonky. I think that I will learn to make forgiveness one of the things that I clothe myself with every morning and I'll have to decide to walk it out even though it feels intangible. One morning I think I'll wake up and realize that it's concrete.

The next stage of my homework is to think a little more intellectually about what forgiveness is, so I'm doing a bit of a bible study on the topic.  As instructed, I'm keeping this minimal so as to not exceed the 20% intellect ceiling I've been given.

The most recent passage that I've read through on forgiveness is in Matthew 18. It's the parable where Jesus tells his followers about a servant who has been forgiven a massive debt by his master, but then that same slave goes out and has a man imprisoned for a much smaller debt against him. "You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?" This one read like a punch to the gut because I have certainly not had my forgiven debt at the forefront of my mind, when considering how and if to forgive others. I even think, because money is such a tangible thing, that trying to imagine my sin as a dollar amount of debt having been wiped clean, could help me to realize just how humbly I should be willing to forgive any debt owed me. I will always come out on top of that deal.

The next verse that I've been thinking about is Ephesians 4:32 where it says, "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." Tenderhearted is the word that sticks out to me from this, because that's the furthest thing from accurate when describing my heart right now. My heart is hurt and hard and resentful. I think that describing our behavior towards one another as kind and tenderhearted describes just how emotional forgiveness must be, because kindness comes out of a tenderhearted state of regard. The verse before that one says, "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice." These are the disciplines that I will have to exercise when considering the individuals for whom I am working out forgiveness.

All of this is still a major work in progress for me, but I do feel like God has provided me with the resources to come back to fellowship with Him, and that I will be able to succeed in having a softened heart towards those who wrong me. I think that at the end of this I may just be a more graceful, forgiving person. That might make all this pain worth it. 

Luke 17:4 "and if he sins against you seven times in a day, and turns to you seven times, saying 'I repent', you must forgive him."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sometimes parents suck

I've been talking to one of my girlfriends about all the CRAZY things parents say about parenthood. What is broken in our heads, parents?

What we say:
Ugh! Just wait until you have kids!
You don't know stress, you sad little kidless thing, just wait.

What we say:
Have all your fun now! All that goes out the window when you have kids!
You don't have fun once you have kids.

What we say:
Are you SURE you want to have kids? I mean.... look.
Parenthood is hell on earth.

So lame! I've been catching myself starting statements/questions like this and I'm trying to stop them in their tracks!! Fact is, life changes when the littles show up, but man, mine changed for the better. The stress that I experience as a parent is hard, but totally worth it. Fun changed meanings, I still have it, it just looks a little different. And the fun that looks the same as it used to takes a little bit of work... also totally worth it. I SO hope that my kids never hear me say these things to anybody. I was beyond blessed with a mother who spoke nothing but positive things about us in public. She would even correct the crazy jogging suit moms who would start this sentence, "soooo.... teenagers.... that must be" WONDERFUL, my mom would interject. She's the best.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Bare Bones

God is doing His darnedest to teach me a serious life lesson about... something.  I'll keep you posted on the moral of the story. You'll know when I know. He's teaching me this lesson by allowing friendships to disappoint me to the point of complete and total heartbreak. He is also allowing me to disappoint myself. Through this heartbreak I am learning that I had these friends on a pedestal, these friendships weren't as gospel centered as I thought they were, I wasn't as good a friend to them as I thought I was, and that forgiving people who don't ask for it is h.a.r.d. HARD! After meeting with one of the elders at my church I was given a homework assignment to write out what forgiveness is and isn't. This is more of a therapeutic/diagnostic exercise than a research paper, but I thought I'd share anyway. He, not knowing me terribly well, cautioned me against being too intellectual in this assignment. His exact words were, "try to keep it 80% emotion, and 20% intellect!". That's hilarious to me because that pretty much defines the ratio of emotion and intellect in my life. So, "I'll try my best, dear sir, to restrain my giant brain".

Here's my struggle... I am having a hard time separating the way that God forgives us, and the way that I am to forgive others. I am very much not God, nobody's offense against me could even begin to compare to my offenses against Him, and yet we're instructed to forgive because we've been forgiven. Maybe that really is different than forgiving LIKE we've been forgiven... I don't know. All I know is that Christ's death has equaled a forgiveness of our sins that completely restores us to our original relationship with God the Father, and that is absolutely not what happens between people every time forgiveness takes place. I certainly tend towards setting standards higher than they have to be, making goals unreachable and therefore discouraging the attempt to try at all. I'd like to come to some sort of conclusion that makes forgiveness attainable, and I think it must be. Other people seem to do it all the time. I'm fairly certain I've succeeded before, although I've got tunnel vision in my current debacle. 

The emotional part of the assignment is simply breaking down the essentials of forgiveness. What forgiveness can go without, even though all of these would be ideal, and then what is essential for forgiveness. Hence the blog title, The Bare Bones. Now remember, this is the brainstorming part of things, so theologians and intellectuals keep your hoity-toity 20/80 ratio outta' here.  

Ideal but not essential:
  • A restored relationship
  • Reconciliation of differences
  • A single conversation with the offender
  • An apology of any sort
  • Recognition of wrong on the part of the offender
  • Any sort of vengeance upon the offender (Grrr)
  • A willingness or desire to interact with offender(s)
  • The opportunity to express the hurt to offender(s)
  • Understanding of why offense was committed and/or where the breakdown happened

  • A heart change towards person/people
  • Serious consideration about my part in the conflict/Humility about my role in things
  • The ability to think tenderly about  offender(s)
  • A commitment to check angry thoughts at the door, that WILL, in the power of Christ, lead to cessation of said angry thoughts
  • Recognition of what a gift I've been given through Christ's sacrifice for my forgiveness/Humility about the offenses I've committed against people and God
  • Refraining from negative speech about offender(s)/No grudge holding

*If I was in a comic strip there would be a light bulb over my noggin* The essentials seem to be the introspective parts of forgiveness, while the "hopefullys" are the parts that involve the others. I think I've been waiting for the involved parties... and withholding forgiveness for lack of participation. I think I'm also coming to realize that the act of forgiveness is ultimately in order to restore our focus to it's rightful place, not so much to restore the worldly relationships. When I'm focused so much on what's been done to me, I'm not focused on what's been done FOR me by Christ. "Lift Your Eyes" and all that. 

Psalm 147:3 He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.

My God is a good shepherd. I am bountifully blessed.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I (re)memorized a verse this week that, awesomely enough, is also a song.

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into it and they are safe.

I have sung the song 40 billion times this week, and all of a sudden the word SAFE really hit me*. I am safe, because I take refuge in the name of the Lord. That should eliminate fear from my life! My ultimate existence is safe and protected, and that is something really huge to be praised. My God is strong and mighty and one to be feared, so it's a really good thing that we're on the same team, because instead of facing Him I get to stand under his protection. God's truth is good to me.

Psalm 4:8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

*Maybe this is a continuation of the funeral for my muck-rake! (yesterday's post)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Funeral for a Muck-Rake

This done and after these things had been somewhat digested by Christiana and her company, the Interpreter takes them apart again, and has them first into a room where was a Man that could look no way but downwards, with a Muck-rake in his had. There stood also one over his head with a Celestial Crown in his hand, and proffered him that Crown for his Muck-rake; but the man did neither look up, nor regard, but raked to himself the straws, the small sticks, and dust of the floor.

Then said Christiana I persuade myself that I know something of the meaning of this; for this is a figure of a Mon of this World, is it not, good Sir?

Thou hast said the right, said he, and his Muck-rake doth shew his carnal mind. And whereas thou seest him rather give heed to rake up straws and sicks and the dust of the floor,than to what he ways that calls to him from above with the celestial crown in his hand, it is to shew that Heaven is but as a fable to some, and that things here are counted the only things substantial. Now whereas it was also shewed thee that the man could look no way but downwards, it is to let thee know that earthly things when they are with power upon men's minds, quite carry their hearts away from God.

Then said Christiana, O deliver me from this Muck-rake.

That prayer, said the Interpreter, has lain by till 'tis almost rusty. Give me not Riches, is scarcely the prayer of one of then thousand. Straws and sticks and dust with most are the great things now looked after.

With that Mercy and Christiana wept, and said, it is alas! too true.

***** Pilgrim's Progress- John Bunyan

The story seems even sadder when I think about the idea that I've accepted the offering of the "celestial crown" but I'm still clinging to my stinking muck rake! This week's sermon was over Colossians 3:5-11 where we are instructed to put to death the ways of our previous selves. I think that nothing makes my mind spin in circles quite as much as the confusion over the idea that God has redeemed us, but that our lives still feel broken. We're instructed to stop sinning, but don't feel equipped to do so. We've been offered the unattainable gift of salvation, but haven't had the desire removed from us to collect the sticks and dirt of this world that amount to anger and fear and pain. But one thing is for sure, my feelings are liars. Any woman can be quite confidant of this fact. I think that a fun-house effect makes us feel like we're trapped, but in fact it's just a hologram that we can walk right through. But if you've ever been in a quality "fun" house, that's much more frightening than it sounds.

My sticks, and straw, and dust make me feel grounded in my unsure circumstances. I have convinced myself so solidly that I can't actually succeed in walking away from the anger, fear, and selfishness, that I'm almost comforted by them. They make me right. I like to be right. I've told myself I'll always be angry, so my anger affirms my allknowingness. SICK! I've been offered relief from my burdens, but I'd rather haul them around myself, for fear of floating away when I'm rid of them. Isn't this insanity? New Year's resolution #5,688- Live out the redemption that's already been given.

 With the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as pallbearers for my muck-rake, I think that I may actually be able to "make a corpse" out of the sins that I so enjoy clinging to.

Matthew 7:13-14 Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

I know that the struggle can sound disheartening, and like more than a person would want to sign up for. But the hope and the relief in the assurance that this life is the temporary one, and that the one after this is free from the frustration caused by our sin, is elating.  Nothing comforts me more than knowing that in spite of all my quirks, and unlovable personality traits, Christ has nullified my sin and made me perfect and presentable to a holy and unapproachable God. All I had to do was ask to be delivered from my muck-rake. Letting go of it is the hard part.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Genetic Silliness

I love this kid. And the next... but he's too good for us.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Morning Person

I wasn't the most natural 'morning person'. These kiddos what time I go to bed, or how many times I  get up to calm them from their dreams. Their little body clocks wake them up between 7 and 7:15 no matter what. I know that's late compared to some of my friends' kids but my lazy self struggles to get started that early. I'm fine with being awake... but there is a huge difference between awake, and being greeted by a THRILLED to be awake two and three year old. That's a morning for ya'. Our days start with a bang. They come running out of their rooms when their clock turns green, and they are pumped. We immediately have to do potty and diaper goodness, then they want food... immediately. They want to break their fast really really really fast. But look at these faces... what kind of person couldn't learn to love mornings? 

And as a bonus... some baby arse to get your day started.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Lazy Politics

I am doing my best to keep up with all the men and women who are throwing their hat into the presidential ring. I am notoriously un-involved right up until it's time to vote. So I'm trying to do better this time around. It makes my head throb though, because with a list of Christian ethics to consider it makes it seem like I can't, in good conscience, vote for a single one of these fools! I know that we can't be single issue voters, but I simply will not overlook the abortion issue. I will never be responsible for casting a vote for a man or woman who is willing to overlook legal murder. Won't do it. 

The argument to make abortion legal was largely based on the idea that women were killing themselves by having back alley abortions, using clothes hangers on themselves and causing massive bleeding, permanent infertility, or death. I've got to say, and I know this is harsh, but if the consequence of murdering your child is your own death, that seems about right to me. I absolutely know that some of these women were in danger and scared, and I am heartbroken for those women. I never ever ever want a woman to die this way, it's tragic. I also, do not want women who have had an abortion to be killed, I want them to be restored with the gospel that is forgiveness and mercy. However, the logic that we should make something horrible legal, because the risk of danger to the offender is high, is out of this world insane. We should not make suicide bombers job easier by making it legal to place a bomb in a public place then walk safely away, insanity.

Rusty and I had the pleasure of taking a vacation, sans chirins, to a bed and breakfast, and we had some really great political conversations with an older couple while we were there. One of those conversations was over the legalization of certain drugs. Their opinion was that if it was made legal, it would be monitored, and therefore safer. They believe that use of these drugs is inevitable so we might as well make it legal and put the dealers out of business. My opinion on this, and most of these type issues, is that we as a culture have allowed the government to set our personal ethics and I think that is i.n.c.r.e.d.i.b.l.y. dangerous. My fear is that the moment that drugs become legal, they become "ethical". As a parent I know that teaching our kids to set their ethics based on scripture and conviction is already an uphill battle, when we start fighting the legal system it becomes an even steeper climb. 

I also have the pleasure of discussing politics and religion with my aunts, and I spend a considerable amount of time discussing the legalization of same-sex marriage. I have a strange take on this topic because I define marriage, not by our marriage certificate, granted by the state, but by a holy union ordained by God. I don't think that the government has the right to grant, dissolve, or define marriage. I think that no matter what laws are passed, that right still resides with God Himself. (read our very odd wedding tale here) Christians are largely upset over the issue of same-sex marriage because of their strong opinion on divorce. If all of a sudden same-sex marriage is legal, then do we, Christians, have to change our view of divorce? Because ultimately our hope is that homosexual couples will come to know Christ, the truth of the bible, and no longer remain in a homosexual relationship. So yes, divorce would be one of those steps. If/When the states allow same-sex marriage I will be an advocate of those couples receiving a certificate of divorce from the state, because I believe that union will not be recognized as such by God simply because they received a certificate of marriage from the state. Out there? Maybe. But when I think of this issue from the perspective of a same-sex couple, I understand perfectly their desire to be recognized by the state. Until these couples come to know Christ, and look at it from our view of a God defined union, we're arguing a fight from two worlds, we'll never agree. I wish that Christians would back off a little bit and realize that condemning a behavior before addressing the heart is fruitless. I also wish that homosexual individuals would realize that it's not homophobic, or hateful, for a Christian to oppose same-sex marriage. I wish that they would separate our desire to protect a Christian view of marriage, and our feelings towards them as individuals. I love, with abandon, my homosexual friends and family. I am not homophobic. I do not hate gay people. I very much want the biblical view of marriage to be the only legal one, but it already isn't. Divorce certificates are handed out left and right. Annulments happen every single day. So Christians, lets address the sanctity of marriage as a whole, and let's stop pretending like the first step towards chaos is the legalization of homosexual unions.

I think I'm done with my political topic rants for now. I am certain that there are holes in my logic somewhere so please address them if you feel so led (Facebook, comment section, email, however). I'm happy to discuss them.

John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

He found us all lost and lacking.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Funny Faces

Amazingly, Andrew seems to have grown out of his refusal to sit still for pictures.

I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I got a COOL new camera for Christmas, and it's red. Andrew loves it.
The problem now is that every time I say, "Aww you look so cute!" He says, "Then why don't you take my picture?" As if that's the only way to really hit home the idea that he really is cute. Oh goodness, I thought girls were bad about needing reassurance of their physical cuteness... The other thing is that I made the horrible, life changing, mistake of showing him that the picture shows up on the back of the camera after you take a picture. So he wants to see it after every. single. shot. This has led to some really really blurry pictures of the kid jumping the gun and running to see the result. Thankfully, he's learned to sit still long enough to get a clear picture. But now it's a game to have us all make silly faces, take a picture, and then crack up over the results. It's one of his favorite games. Hundreds and hundreds of ridiculous pictures. Here are some of his favorites, that aren't too terribly embarrassing for me!

I hope you enjoyed. He's an amazing boy, and I'm honored to call him mine. Here's a shot of what Judah did while we took silly pictures... grump. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Shifting Sands

God is better than
Perspective changes it all
Today things are clear

Haiku y'all!!

I woke up this morning with the decision to look at things with my rose colored glasses on. The glass is half full, and all that junk. This is not my strong suit, as I tend to be cynical and a little dark. But you know what, God is SO good to me. Even if everything here (world) falls to bits, I've been granted the gift of eternal life in heaven. It's a gift I far from deserve and I can't help but feel like I've maybe been a bit short sighted. Understand that I am not trivializing the pain that I, and everyone alive, feel when things here suck. That pain is real, and even healthy to feel, I think. But I think that I can feel that pain, respond to it well, and not go to my dark-sad-scary place that makes me feel hopeless and alone. I think that place is where I want to hide, and I get some sick satisfaction out of being there. But I'm walking in the sun today, things are shiny and good, because my Savior loves me, and he's given me a free pass out of the prison of darkness, and my retreat back there is like returning to an unlocked and unguarded prison cell. Crazytown.

Psychiatrists, put your prescription pad away, I'm a woman who says what she feels. ;)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Andrew Rocks it Out

After talking about how kids make me crazy sometimes, I thought I should follow it up with some video amazingness. These are a little old, from summer, but I just finally managed to get them off of my camera and they are so cute that my teeth hurt. Andrew and Judah love to sing. Andrew is more of the performer though, so check him out!

You better beilib that Beiber needs to watch his back.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sometimes kids suck

I am a member of a Facebook group called 'One Mother to Another' and it is GREAT! It is a place where moms can ask questions of other moms and not feel judged or embarrassed. One sweet girlie posted a question recently about how her daughter has learned that if she'll just cry loud enough, she gets picked up. Well this mom works from home so she's got to be able to get her stuff done sometimes, and having a kid on your hip can be prohibitive of productivity a lot of the time. Here's what I was about to respond with: "Let that banshee cry! She learned that you'd pick her up, so her cause and effect brain cells are functioning, soon enough she'll learn that just because she cries doesn't mean she'll get picked up!" But here's what about 15 sweet intentioned mothers responded with first, "Well pick her up! She obviously needs to be held, and these young years just go so fast!" Ugh. And then I read this blog post ( that was awesome because she's writing about how sometimes when people say "carpe diem" and crap like that, in reference to parenting, that they're asking for a slap in the face. Okay, maybe the lady who wrote the original blog post wouldn't put it that way, but when I seconded her motion for carpeing your own freaking diem, that's what I got out of it.

The fact is, sometimes kids suck! Andrew must ask 14 billion questions a day. Mother Teresa would get sick of that junk. I mean, come on! Judah is intent on breaking the record for number of stitches had in a lifetime, so that makes a lady tired when it's her full time job to keep the daredevil alive. Andrew handed me a booger the other day.... a booger.... like it was a present. Judah gave me a bloody nose when he got too aggressive in the working out of his new hug strategy. Andrew cannot, without exception, ever, in any situation, talk and obey a command. So I say a hundred times a day, "Andrew, be silent, and go potty. Andrew, quiet. Now." My point is that it's not only the disobedient stuff that makes a person have their tubes tied. Kids are the absolute best thing that's ever happened to me. I have never laughed harder, loved more, or been more invested in a person's life, than I am with my boys. 99% of these blog posts are about how my kids are cuter, smarter, stronger, more athletic, and funnier, than your kids. I still believe that to be true. But the underlying truth remains, sometimes kids suck.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Getting insight from someone about our lives is sometimes not so comfortable, or flattering. Lately I've been so blind to the truth of my actions that it's taken some really brave friends, and some fearless preaching, to break the news to me that I'm maybe not handling life as perfectly as I thought I was. It's a lot easier to look at your hardships and decide that you're the victim, holding next to none of the responsibility. In my head I know that this is not usually the case and can spout cliches like nobody's business. "It takes two" "There are always two sides to the story" yadda blah blah blech. Surely, however, I'm exempt from this. I have such faith in my own eyes, ears, and feelings, that I rarely doubt them. My side of the story is the complete version; and my perception of the situation is flawless. Hmmm maybe not so much. My mind has been opened to the idea that when I was wronged, I responded incorrectly. I have taken facts about a situation and responded by dragging those truths to other parts of my life where they don't belong. I've decided that because some friendships were so easily lost, that surely all friendships are one disagreement away from disappearing as well. That's sabotage friends, nobody can stick around if your assumption is that you can't disagree without the relationship ending. I notoriously categorize things as black and white, when in truth, there's a lot of grey to be considered.

What's worse is that I've dragged facts about people into assumed truths about God. Those are even more out of perspective, because translating the world's failures into God's failures is a sure fire way to lose faith in the one thing that is stable. The one being that will, without fail, remain perfect. If God hasn't met my expectations, is because my expectations were off. Period.

A large part of this morning's sermon was about placing your identity in Christ. This is a concept that I have largely ignored because it seems so simple. Identify yourself as a Christian, CHECK! Moving along. But the pastor spoke FOREVER about how we really place our identity in lots of other things. The category that I sadly fell into was what he called the "loosey goosey identity". These are the people who place their identity into lots of different things. I decided that I generally identify myself by: my children, my marriage, my incorrect/habitual idea of religion, my friendships, my looks, my family, and my Texanity. Unfortunately for us loosey goosers this means that we're exceptionally likely to have an identity crises on a daily basis, because one of these things is. going. to. fail. regularly. My kids often disobey, GASP. My husband doesn't shower me with flowers and romance... ever. I fail to read my bible every day, and my list of do's and don'ts is so long that nobody on earth could succeed. My friends are busy, and flawed, and simply cannot live up to the standards that I've set for them. My hair doesn't always behave, and sometimes I only put mascara on one eye. My family has their own problems. And Texas... well Texas is still awesome. Hearing that I need to place my identity, all of it, in Christ was intriguing. It feels to be a seemingly impossible thing that I would love to do because I can imagine, vividly, the peace that would come from that. The thought of being able to rest in the idea that my entire identity is safe within the confines of Christ makes me breathe deeper, sing louder, love harder, and trust boldly.

On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.

Where's your identity? Can you trust it?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

It's a New Year... and I'm WAY behind already

I'm going to play catch up with some pictures of the boys. So get ready for a crazy amount of cuteness.

And that was September!

And the cutest parts of October!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Yeeeeeear! *yes, it was sung*

Resolution #4,587- keep up with the blog!!!!

Monday, January 2, 2012


It's a new year. "This is the time when motivated people are motivated to change, and non-motivated people are motivated to change by the people who are motivated." Ha! It's true. For some reason we've decided that January 1st is the time to start over. We all get excited by this idea because we keep failing to meet our own expectations of ourselves. So, like the rest of the world, I've spent some time thinking back on 2011. The year started off high as a kite. I spent most of the year that way. I had amazing friendships, I was hopeful in my marriage, my kids were still cute and healthy and only moderately disobedient. The year ended hard. I spent a lot of time sick or injured; and a handful of relationships fell to pieces.

I've spent the last couple of months throwing myself a pretty spectacular pity party. Complete with tears, involving people who shouldn't be involved, (so that I could hear from somebody else just how miserable my life had become) and disillusionment with God. What a party! I've always been a hostess at heart, and man, I can host a pity party.

What I've learned here, with a little bit of reflection, and some preaching that has really stepped all over my toes, is that I had esteemed the things of this world to the point that when they failed to meet my expectations I was devastated. I think that my level of disappointment showed just how high of a pedestal I had granted to these things. Each relationship that I lost has caused ripples in my life that wouldn't have been there had I not given them such a stage. Picture this: Relationships in proper perspective are like a person standing on level ground on the side of your pool. Relationships that are elevated beyond proper perspective are standing on diving boards of various heights. When these relationships fail, which they sometimes do, they do a cannonball into the pool of your life. The higher their diving board, the further the waves travel. The ripples reach further into your life. They travel beyond their respective sections. Well let me tell you, based on the ripples, I can tell you that the relationships that failed last year must have had skyscraper tall diving boards because the ripples keep showing up in areas where they do not belong.

Resolve. It means to come to a definite or earnest decision about. It also means to reduce by mental analysis. I've done some of both for this new year. I've broken down, by mental analysis, why it is that I'm unhappy with the way this last year wrapped up. I've also come to a definite or earnest decision about how to handle relationships for this coming year. Along with my insignificant resolutions about sugar intake, workout routines, and language (yikes!), I've decided to put God on my highest of high diving boards, and to get the rest of you off of them! The good thing about this resolution is that God won't ever do a cannonball into the pool. He stays perfectly on His pedestal. The waves in my life that I've mistaken for His failures are exclusively there because of the improper esteem I had given to the rest of the things that failed to meet my expectations.

So friends, put your floaties on. I'm hosting a pool party for the new year, and I want us all to do it right this time. I love you desperately.