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Walking Through Mud.

Psalms 103:2,5 (NLT)

Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagles!

The past few weeks, my heart has been carrying a physiological response from some recent stress, and it has felt ‘crushed’. The best way I could describe it, is that I have tiny shards of glass scattered around where my heart should be. It doesn’t feel good and at times, I struggle to catch my breath.
2020 has been rough for so many people, including my family. We’ve battled through bouts of bad news, depression, isolation, and have at times, questioned our own faith. I would expound, but for the sake of protecting privacy, I’ll leave it at that.

It’s okay to grieve.

You know what it’s like when you’re walking through something hard- You feel like you’re trapped in a dark tunnel and you can’t see the light on the other side. You know the light is there, you’ve been promised you’ll get through to it, but you’re struggling to find the way out.


So there you are, surrounded by nothing but dark. The world should stop, and yet somehow, keeps going. Keeps bustling. Keeps passing you by, reminding you, you are not at its’ center.


In these times, where nothing feels hopeful or promising, I glue myself to the promises of Jesus and also remember the good things he has given me.


I hold on to the wonder my toddler carries while she explores the world around her.

I remember my preschoolers laugh when I tickle underneath his chin. His gapped front teeth while he smiles from ear to ear.


I fixate on my older two’s delighted faces, intently watching them run-up to the car after school-ready to relax and find comfort at home.


I hold on to all of the things and people the Lord has blessed me with while remembering he’s with me in the valley. I tell myself RO, Remember the good while going through the bad. Forget not all his benefits.

Psalm 23:2-4 (NLT)
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.


We all have valleys to walk through, but we never have to do them alone. I know we’d rather avoid the mud, but sometimes to find true healing, you need to walk through it.


The troubles are temporary, and suffering will only last through the night. Joy always comes in the morning.

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Marriage is Hard: Here are 10 lessons I’ve learned.

I will never forget showing a friend of mine this guy named “Ben” on Facebook back in 2007. I had been looking at his pictures and messaging him every month or so, learning his personality through the internet. He lived 800 miles away from me and we were both in college, but I thought he looked cute and he seemed like he was into deep conversations.

My friend was not into him. While I clicked through some of his pictures he posted, my friend made the final judgement:

“He looks like a player Ro, I’d forget him”.

I couldn’t forget about him. Soon after, Ben got my number and started texting me. Butterflies would flutter every time I’d see his name pop up on my flip phone and the smiley faces showed he was clearly interested in me.

Our first phone conversation lasted 2 hours, and as I hung up, I wondered if he would be good husband material.

He thought I might make a good wife….and so…. he flew all the way to my little college apartment in Philadelphia and we spent a week together. I took him to the Jersey Shore, NYC and side babysitting gigs. We fell in love fast and hard, and he put a ring on my finger 6 months later.

On our wedding day, we were greeting guests and dancing somewhere on cloud 9 when a family friend gave us a devastating blow,

“Marriage is hard. It’s the hardest thing you will ever do. I hope you guys make it. I hope you’re prepared.”

How rude.

After the wedding, I left everything I knew and traveled to the mountains of Tennessee to live in a studio apartment above someones garage. Our sink was so small we did dishes in the shower, and we didn’t have a proper stove so we ate a lot of pumpkin rolls. Neither of us had jobs. It was the perfect setup.

10 years later, and we have survived what feels like a lifetime of hardship. In our early years, we found out we weren’t the same person and after that, we found out life didn’t come by easy. Maybe we’d never shock a marriage therapist with what has happened over the years, but we’ve shocked ourselves…. multiple times and in multiple ways.

Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned that have kept us together:

1.) God is always a lot nicer and should always come first. He is the saving grace of all graces.

2.) Ben is not me. Which means, I shouldn’t treat him like he’s me.

3.) I can choose Ben everyday regardless of what he chooses.

4.) Honesty is way harder than it sounds, but there is forgiveness and connection waiting on the other side.

5.) “I feel” statements are better than “You suck” ones.

6.) Criticism is poison. Encouragement is food.

7.) Maybe try and speak his love language a lot.

8.) Sometimes marriage is hard just because of stress and not because the other person sucks. God has lots of ways for me to deal with stress and it’s a great opportunity to realize Ben is not your idol.

9.) Pray. Pray when you feel like it, and when you don’t.

10.) Thankfulness is a good habit to get into, praise and worship is probably pretty good too.

There are other lessons like boundaries and stuff, and I could probably expand on the ones I’ve shared-but I’m not a counselor and I don’t want to act like one.

I just wanted to say that life isn’t easy- it’s messy and hard, and that includes marriage. But it’s also beautiful and causes you to grow into the person you’ve always wanted to be-just a little more like Jesus.

Be nice out there, life is hard.

Love Always,

Rosie.

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What I Would Have Told Myself After The HeartBreak.

Halfway through my shower, I gave up. I sat naked on the tile floor and stared blankly as water berated down my back. I tilted my head back, closed my eyes, and allowed myself to imagine that the pressure of the water was a hug I so desperately needed. As I began to let go and cry, my tears turned into sobs. I was sad, and I couldn’t pull myself out-I couldn’t hide away from the overwhelming feeling of loneliness, and there would be no reprieve to my grief.

My chest tightened and my head pounded, and I wondered if I was experiencing a heart attack. No one could help me if I was, because I was alone at home in the 2nd-floor bathroom. It didn’t matter, anyways.

What was so wrong at a young age of 19? When life is just starting and possibilities are endless?

My boyfriend just broke up with me.

Nearly 15 years later, I still remember what it feels like to lose your first love. I had dated the guy through high school and was convinced he’d be my future husband. Silly now, I know. But it wasn’t then.

Sometimes, I imagine my present self walking into her bathroom, opening up the shower door, and sitting with her to offer comfort, wisdom, and hope.

What would I say to her if I had the chance? Would I tell her that her ex-boyfriend is so not worth the pain-so not worth the mental energy she’ll spend the next few years, trying to figure out what went wrong? Would I downplay her grief and tell her she’ll be happily married to another man who loves every inch of her, and makes her coffee every morning? Would I tell her about how she’d have 4 kids and a life so full, she’d quickly be embarrassed of her tears?

No.

I’d skip out on any fortune-telling and as much as I’d want to, I wouldn’t promise a happy ending. Jesus rarely does that, not even for Job. Instead, I’d sit with her and cry with her and hold her until she fell asleep- I’d tell her that her heartbreak feels like her whole word-and that’s okay.

I’d hope she wouldn’t escape through alcohol, experiences, or a rebound boyfriend. I’d hope she’d run away from allowing bitterness or un-forgiveness to infiltrate the pureness of her heart.

I’d want her to experience the full scope of her emptiness, so that it would lead her to the savior-one who could slowly fill the void and become first place.

I’d want her to reach out to her community in vulnerability- I’d ask her not to hide in shame or depression.

And finally, I’d tell her about Jesus and his redemptive nature.

I’d ask her to wrestle with God in her questions and stay still to hear his answers- and even more so, be okay with his answers.

I’d want her to soak in his comfort and unconditional acceptance.

I’d want her to know that nothing about her is reject-able. Jesus is wild and relentless in his pursuit of her, and knows all about unrequited love.

I’d tell her how he came for the broken-hearted to bind up wounds, and cast out fear. I’d tell her of his shepherding nature and the joy of his presence. I’d tell her that finding herself in him is where she’ll feel most full.

“There are many sorts of broken hearts, and Christ is good at healing them all.” —Charles Spurgeon

Those are the things I tell myself now when heartbreak comes my way, and I hope I continue to speak with gentle navigation to my tribe in theirs.

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An Open Letter To My Old Fellowship About This Blog.

I have wanted to write an open letter to the people in my old fellowship- the ones I consider my family and heritage. The love I still have for each of you is so big that when I think of you all and how much I miss being with you, my heart feels like it might explode in a mixture of both passion and grief.

I am specifically referring to those I grew up with who live in Columbus, my long time friends in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, and to the people who took me under their wing during college in Jersey. I am also referring to the believers who live in my town. I love you.

I am aware that my audience is both wide and diverse, and because of that… I ask for grace. For those of you who have no idea who I am and are only interested in other posts I write, that’s okay. You can totally skip out on this letter 🙂 To my current friends, you can skip out too, I won’t hold it against you 🙂

But to the rest of you who (might) read this, you have known me since childhood- we grew up together. We shared crappy bunk beds and fought evil bats at teen camp. We took walks around the lake discussing teachings, played cards during study breaks, cried and committed our lives to God together over the phone and during Friday night fellowships.

We shared similar beliefs for so long and it tied us so close together, that most people don’t understand what kind of friendship we held. I am not sure if I will ever be able to attain that type of community again- and there is something to be said for that.

I’m the girl in the middle with the white sweater, and I remember when this picture was taken. I thought I was famous!

I left our community almost 4 years ago. In those 4 years, I have changed and discovered so much about the world, about mainstream Christianity, and about Jesus, that if we were hanging out over coffee today, you might not recognize me as the same person. I still have that same goofy personality, but I am different. Ben is different, and we are raising our kids different.

Which means, we disagree on a few things.

I wanted to inform you that a lot of what I write about in this blog (and will continue to write about) might include those differences. I hold my own opinions, perceptions, and beliefs about the way we grew up, and you might entirely disagree with me. Some posts might sound like a jab at beliefs you hold, but I am not jabbing at you. I would never, in a million years, want to slander you in any way.

I love your passion for truth to be upheld. I fully trust in your integrity and honest character. I don’t doubt your love or your intentions. If I were to cut you open and examine your heart- I’d find pure gold….one that would stand through fire. I believe that when we get up to the Bema, you will be holding up the line-Jesus will have so many amazing things to say about you to the Father, that it might prove embarrassing for the rest of us.

So when I write things like- “I used to believe” or “I previously behaved this way”, I in no way am trying to undermine you , or any of our old community.

I am not perfect, my memories are not perfect, my personal storyteller is different than yours and therefore my perception and opinions aren’t perfect either. I want to stay in humility and am always under trusted leadership that help point me back to the right path when I am in error.

I just wanted to inform you in love , and give you the space to disagree with me-even publicly. That doesn’t mean I’ll agree, but I’ll respect what you have to say and stand up for your right to hold your beliefs. And know that if you ever need anything, I’m only a phone call away.

I love you,

Rosie.

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Loving Those Who Struggle With Faith

The days I doubt God are days that start out like any other-I wake up to the pitter patter of little feet and little voices demanding food. I toss and turn, and I beg for more silence.

Sleepy eyed- I prepare breakfast, I pour coffee, I wipe faces and tables. And then I sit. I wait for clearer thoughts while tiny hands and loud voices require attention. Days demand action! Wake up Ro, they need you.

But then the lie comes as a soft question and I entertain it longer than I should:

“What if those tender whispers are really my own?”

Anxiety builds.

The days I pursue this thought without a solid battle plan, I end down a path that leaves me feeling empty and scared: Without actually seeking God, I talk at him….

“Why did this happen to __? Where were you when___? Why haven’t you answered __ ? Are you listening? Are you even there? ”

The questions get worse, but you get the point.

And yes, this happens to me. The girl who has seen and experienced healings, answered prayers, daily victories. The girl who reads her bible and clings to Jesus with all her heart. God is SO good and his word is always true.

But.

It happens.

You see my friend? We all enter into battles of Faith Vs. Circumstance. Faith is confidence in what we hope for, the evidence of things unseen.

But.

Sometimes circumstances still win.

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There are beautiful hearts out there who were fighting for the faith but the loss left deep scars. The heart was not placed in intensive care so beautifully made available by the body of Christ. It was not surrounded by relentless love mixed with timely and pure words of God.

And then what happens? A new reconstructed idea of God forms to cope with the loss.

And we say,

“They should have _____. They didn’t do _____.  If only they______.”

I want to stop placing judgement on those who have lost their faith, and I want to start fiercely loving them instead. I want to chalk up the loss and blame it on the devil. Because that’s where the blame goes.

I want to reach out and watch Jesus lift that person out of their wheelchair.

I want to listen while someone word vomits all over me. And then instead of getting scared or judgmental, I want to hug them.  I want to ask them over for a cup of coffee. I want to live the life of Christ in me, reach out, and with Gods beautiful word, begin to mend wounds.

That’s what someone did for me. They listened. They loved. They cared. They saw me through the eyes of Jesus when I was struggling with faith.

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Jesus never gave up. Ever. He dealt with sin, carnality, and unbelief his entire life. When he was on the cross, he never said, “That’s it, I’VE HAD ENOUGH”

He loved them until the end.

Yes, I agree we shouldn’t yolk with those who deny Christ. We need to yolk with fellow lovers of light.

But I’m not asking for us to yolk, I’m asking for us to love. And too often, we separate ourselves completely… and we appear as self righteous haters. No, this is not our intention. But we live with heads in the ground if we are not willing to admit our own frailty.

Love involves time spent in the trenches with beautiful hearts who have been hurt by the enemy. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not self seeking. And love covers a multitude of sins.

And instead of focusing on the mote in their eye, I want to take out my beam. I want to build my faith, the only way I know how.

By hearing the word of God.

By walking out on the word of God

By spending time with the one who wrote the word of God.

And.

By looking at the glory of Jesus, who is continually transforming me to his image

2 Timothy 2:24-26 New Living Translation (NLT)

24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. 26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.

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Letting Go Of Shame- When Dark Secrets Come Out

I would like to start this post out by saying I do not have all the answers on the subject of secrecy and shame. There is more to be said and considered. I encourage you to seek counsel from a grace filled Christian if you need help in this area of your life.

There was this sin I committed as a teenager that was very, very terrible. I didn’t have the courage to confess it to even the closest of friends and instead, I kept it hidden inside the darkest corners of my heart… where it would never become exposed. When friends would jokingly bring up ‘dark secrets’, I would laugh it off and say I didn’t have any. But inside of me, the memory of my action would always creep its way back into my heart and into the forefront of my mind.

Along with the memory came shame. I “knew” God had forgiven me. I really did. I had apologized to him in secret a million times over…. and yet the memory would still show it’s painful face weekly, sometimes daily, and I  would shudder at the mere thought of my mistake and shove it as far back as I possibly could.

This was a burden of mine for 10 years. 10 YEARS people. That’s a long time. What’s even  worse? I got married and KEPT THE SECRET from my husband. Wanna talk about shame? I know the feeling well.

Once I got married, I would justify this “un”confession because I believed God had already considered it gone.(He did by the way, I just didn’t really know it)  I would close my eyes, visualize the sin upon the cross of my savior, and feel temporary relief. I would yell at the accuser and remind him that I was clean in Christ. But no matter what I tried, I still felt the pang of secrecy, and shame had become a regular part of my life.

I also believed the lie that if I ever DID tell my husband, he would no longer love me or see me the way he once did. What would I do if he looked at me in disgust? This scene would replay over and over in my head, and I would recoil with a new found determination to never let that happen.

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And then…

Grace. Can I show you another corner of grace?

I was in a women’s bible study and the topic was on shame. This bible verse was read:

James 5:16a

16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.

I had confessed my sin in front of God, but I still covered the nakedness of my sin in front of others. In doing so, I wasn’t allowing grace filled Christians to re-iterate the truth of the cross.

That night something clicked. I knew that if I walked out on this scripture, the accuser was no longer going to have this area of my life. Why? Because what happens after confession before grace filled Christians isn’t disgust.  It’s grace that brakes down walls of shame in mere seconds.

I was afraid, but I was ready. I was ready to watch my savior kick the devil in his face while I held his hand.

So that night, I confessed to my grace filled husband.

That same night, the chains of shame fell off.

My husband so gracefully took me in his arms and reminded me of my savior.

He was proud of me, not disgusted. He cuddled me that night a little harder as I cried tears of relief. It was out. The dark secret was out. And as SOON as it was out, it evaporated into thin air.

Thin. Air. It was like the devil had lost his firm grip in an instant. That shame went right where it’s supposed to go, the cross of our savior.

Gone. 10 years of shame, gone.

The devil has since TRIED AND MISERABLY FAILED at bringing up my past sin that it’s almost laughable.

There is freedom in walking out the uncomfortable verses of God’s word. There is grace that shows up when you’re ready to jump off the cliff. There is mercy and love and forgiveness and help when you decide it is finally time to not let the devil have an area of your life anymore.

If you have shame and you have never shared your ‘dark secret’ with the family of God (who understands grace,) I would encourage you to consider that verse in James 5. Read it’s context, pray, and seek counsel. God is ready to show you that your shame doesn’t belong on you, you beautiful child. God is ready to use the cross of Christ as a permanent eraser on whatever dark secret you hold**

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The week after I confessed to my husband, we went on a vacation together! Added bonus.

 

 

 

 

**Friends, if you don’t confess, you aren’t going to hell. When you confessed Christ as Lord and believed God raised him from the dead, he paid for your sins….. past, present and future. (Eph 1:7, Rom 4:25, Rom 5:6, Rom 10:9, Heb 10:12, 1 Jhn 2:2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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From The Christian: To The People We’ve Hurt, “We’re Sorry”

I’ve mistaken my past zeal for “spirituality”.

I knew the RIGHT way and the RIGHT word and I had the RIGHT knowledge and the RIGHT answer to not only my problems, but also yours.

I looked at you and saw a mistake, a sad case, and I wrote you off in my book. I would listen TO SPEAK OVER YOU, not to understand you. I rolled my eyes and placed myself above you. I spoke evil of you and had opinions of you and would join myself with others who felt and thought the same.

Than worst of it all, I tagged “God” on my doings. I used him as my reason, my excuse, to hurt you over and over and over again.

I see now that I wasn’t too far away from re-living the actions of those who used Gods name to burn down ‘the witches’ and ‘the barbarians’. I wasn’t far off from those who killed in God’s name. I wasn’t far off from those who separated and segregated and diminished and discriminated.

It hurts to write those words, but it’s true. I used Gods name to practice my own sort of evil. Maybe I never whipped or stoned or used a gun, but I used my words, and the bible says that it is in words which hold the power of life and death. And I spoke death. Ouch.

So, here is the first step to my apology: I am sorry.

I am sorry for not listening to you.

I am sorry for judging you and labeling you as anything other than who God has beautifully made you to be.

I am sorry for giving up on you and telling you “YOU JUST NEED TO BELIEVE GOD’S WORD”

I am sorry for gossiping about you.

I’m sorry for acting like a “know it all”

I’m sorry for shoving my relationship with God down your throat.

I am sorry for using the perfect and healing word of God as a weapon and a tool of destruction.

I am sorry for making you feel less than you are.

I am sorry for thinking I am better than you.

I am sorry for freely voicing my opinion and than using God to make it a fact.

I am sorry for not seeing you.

I am sorry for making an open display of all your sins, and than turning around and covering mine.

I am sorry for not opening up my life and allowing you in.

I am sorry for not giving my resources or time when I had plenty,  in your time of need.

I’m sorry for blowing you off because you visibly or audibly shared your different faith.

I’m sorry that when you were handed a devasting event that caused the biggest pain you’ve ever had in your entire life,  that I made the pain worse by my hurtful, hurtful words and actions.

Forgive me. Please oh please, forgive me. Not only for you, but for me. Allow me to try again, allow me to accurately represent Jesus and what he was about.

Will you stay with me?

Please believe me when I say that the bible can be used for healing and restoration of relationship. The bible can be used for displaying the kindness and goodness of God. The bible can be used to speak truth into our lives and show us we are worth something, enough for God to sacrifice his only son. The bible can be used for restoring lost faith and to those who have given up on the whole “Christian Thing”, all is not lost. Let God do the work in your heart, not me.  Just give him another try.

Let me represent Jesus to you, in the only way I know how, by relying on Him and the Holy Spirit. I do not promise I will not fail. Jesus never failed. He was ALWAYS love, only used his words in love, ONLY healed, ONLY restored, ONLY gave hope.

God, I pray for those who I have hurt. I pray for those who have been hurt by your children. God, please help them see your goodness in spite of us. Please help them see how much they are loved. Show them the more than abundant life you have promised for them. Show them how good it feels to walk in your ways. Heal them, restore them, protect them.

In Jesus, who died and rose again for our justification and redemption, amen.

A Fish Out Of Water

Hi! My name is Rosie, and I’m what you call a fish out of water.

I grocery shop with you, we take our kids to the same school, and I laugh at your jokes. We’ve even had little get togethers and it’s been fun. But the more you get to know me, the more you realize something seems a little off-not wrong, just….unfinished. We eventually lose the WiFi signal that brought us together, and we part ways. I’m not offended, just a little sad. I know what’s going on… I’m a fish, learning how to be human. When you’re with me, I’m learning your language and implementing your culture. Further in, you notice I’m on a different treadmill trying to run the same speed. It’s fun and novel at first, but it takes work to stick around. I need you, will you stick around?

I grew up somewhat secluded and because of that, I hold different experiences, behaviors, and social cues. Your world looks different, behaves different and speaks different than the one I’m used to, and I’m uncomfortable. I’m not quite sure how I fit in, and I often question if I made the right decision to leave my old life. What would it be like to go back with the new experiences I’ve had? Could I ever fit back into the old mold?

Any fish who chooses to jump out of their water has to choose 1 of 3 options- to jump back in, to die, or to evolve. I’ve seen the failures of the other fish. Will I successfully evolve?

Those questions make me cry.

But on other days, I laugh at the wonder and newness of your world. You have so much freedom and joy- and you have power to be who you want. I watch you, and I’m inspired to keep going.

What’s it like to be a fish out of water? I am glad you asked, because I need you to know-

A fish out of water is like learning how to live in a new country

I desire to belong in a new community, and yet I fear connection.

I get lonely and miss my old lake.

I grieve the old fish, even though they are very much alive and well.

I experience denialangerbargainingdepression and finally acceptance.

I make intentional decisions to move forward, but what I really wanna do is freeze.

I tend to ask odd questions and make weird statements. I know I’m doing it.

I miss social cues and beat myself up afterwards.

I bring different perspectives and feel loved when others want to know my opinion.

I encourage myself that I will learn eventually, it just takes time and teachers.

I’m grateful for the (willing) teachers, and the ones who stick around.

Are you a fish out of water? You are not alone in your feelings, your wonderings, and your doubts. I see you, because I am one too.

My Journey Out Of Depression

Someone told me the other day that I was a prisoner of hope. It caught me off guard, because I had never heard those words used together. How could someone be trapped in hope, and let alone….me?

Depression gives an overwhelming feeling that life is hopeless. I took medication for it, and am in relationship with those who are still struggling. When I was depressed, it was the last place I wanted to be in, and yet the only place I feel I could go. It was sucky…. and because I’m a Christian, it was extra sucky. In certain faith circles, struggling with depression means you’re at fault and too lazy to renew your mind.

I see you friends. It’s not your fault.

Everyone is on their own journey, here was mine:

When I was pregnant with my 4th child, everything was ‘circumstantially’ great. So when I began experiencing minor panic attacks, I knew something wasn’t right. Life is good Ro, what’s your deal? Why are you snapping at those closest to you? Why can’t you drag yourself out of bed? Are you a monster?

My next doctors visit, I remember sitting on the exam table, scared to reveal anything. Thankfully, my doctor saw right through it, looked into my eyes, and calmly asked how I was truly feeling. Oddly enough, he had a box of tissues on hand as the waterworks came and I opened up about how hopeless I felt. Because I was pregnant, he told me I had to wait to get on medication until after birth. And so leading up to Natelie’s arrival, I had to intentionally decide every moment of every day to act the opposite of how I felt. I worshipped through tears, called out to my community, and got out of bed.

After Natelie was born, I was put on medication right away and after about a month, I started feeling normal again. I became medication’s biggest advocate on social media because I wanted to break the christian stigma off depression and encourage others who were struggling to get help.

Reach Out For Help If You Need It. You Are Worth It!

About a year into taking Sertraline- the Lord gently spoke to my heart that it was time to “deal with my stuff” and wean off the Zoloft. I knew that if it was truly him, he would give me the grace to face my depression and become an overcomer. I was obedient…. but honestly, I was SO scared as to what laid ahead. My family was in support of what I believed I heard from Jesus, and so began the active part of faith spelled R-I-S-K.

Sure enough, everything flooded back full force and I found that the depression wasn’t going to let me off easy. But I had heard the word of the Lord…and I stood my ground. I began to deal with each crushing moment that surfaced, memories of loss, rejections, failed dreams, and dissapointments. The grief was overwhelming, but I believed that Jesus would take my heart that was in pieces, and replace it with his.

He did. The process was work and it was HARD…. BUT ultimately, Jesus delivered my need for medication. I have found that with him, anything is possible. Life didn’t get easier and the junk didn’t magically disappear, but I now view each hardship as an opportunity for the Lord to show himself strong and as one who brings redemption. I can’t help but see the hope around the dark corners, no matter where I look. His promises are abundant over my life, and when I know he’s fighting for me, nothing stays hopeless.

Nothing stays hopeless. Not with the Holy Spirit.

I can’t hide from his hope any longer, can you?

Love always,

Rosie

Dancing In The Fire

I love the idea of easing into my day-I’d wake up naturally from the sound of gentle rain tapping on a slightly opened window. I’d slip on a silky robe, walk downstairs and pour a cup of fresh coffee. I’d walk outside to sit on the front porch, not worried about the way I look… there’s no such thing as bedhead, caked makeup, or bad breath. I’d take a sip, look over to the actual person of Jesus sitting next to me, and say “Good morning! What’s on the agenda for today Lord?” and he’d say, “Oh, Ro, I love the way you look first thing in the morning. You are so refreshing. How about we just sit here together for a while?”

And then we’d sit. Noting the hints of flavor swirling around in our magical coffee and we’d plan our day together. We’d feed the homeless with someone else’s food, save 3 people, and heal a leper. Nothing would look inconvenient or interrupted. We’d come home to a medium-rare steak and a glass of merlot.

Beautiful. I could imagine that forever.

Instead, my morning hair looks like Chewbacca’s and my days usually start similar to that of a juggler. A struggling juggler, in fact. One of his balls is coffee, which is nice.

I’m not sure why, but us Christians tend to think that life should look easy. I’m included in this, and so when suffering shows up to knock on my door, I’m totally caught off guard.

I think it’s time I allow a theology for suffering. I’d also like to learn how to dance in its’ fire.

God has called us to live in peace (1 Cor 7:15), but he has also called us to suffer (1 Peter 5:10).

Following God led Jesus to one of the most painful deaths in human history, and he is the source and perfecter of our faith. The Jewish people and fellow believers have experienced scourging, stoning, being sawed in half, and lit on fire. (Heb 11 &12 )

No matter what Christian denomination we are, no one is promised a free pass.

So what do we do when suffering comes our way? We grieve. We experience human emotion. We hope for a better tomorrow and we pray.

We also learn to dance, because we are promised joy (Rom 15:13)

How though? How do we learn to dance?

I think it’s important to know that mourning and joy can be weaved together, and we often enter God’s throne room with both. There are times I have marched in crying and demanding answers, only to come out singing, comforted by his presence. I have found the joy he promises by allowing myself to drink in the Holy Spirit- especially in times of trouble.

Blog articles are supposed to be short and so sadly, I’m ending here. But I encourage you to ask the Lord himself as if he were right next to you, “what does it look like to dance in the fire?” And remember what he whispers in your ear.

His truth trumps any word I could ever write.

Love Always,

Rosie.

If The Singing Stops

Every Sunday morning for over 25 years, I’d open up a hymn book and sing.

Great Is Thy Faithfulness, Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art-all the classics. I sang these songs so much, I could probably chant em backwards, and often revert to them when rocking a sick baby to sleep or humming mindlessly through the dishes.

Back then, I rarely got emotional- it was just duty.

I was introduced to contemporary worship when I ‘snuck’ into a church setting outside of the one I grew up in. I was uncomfortable, but something about worship was so….powerful. Emotions would rise up in me and without wanting to, I’d cry. I’d feel closer to God in those moments, as if he were right in front of me, looking bigger than ever before. The world got smaller and his presence so big, I’d wonder that if I extended my hand, I could actually touch him.

Worship was one of the first steps that led me to meeting Jesus, and is often the first thing I suggest to someone who feels stuck in a religious cycle.

Worship was what carried me through 10 months of a financially dry season-when at times I’d wonder if my family would end up homeless.

Have you ever seen a large choir perform in a mega church? I love to gaze at each face-everyone sings with a smile with their hands extended and heads all lifted. But I imagine at times there has to be at least one who doesn’t feel like being there- they’d rather take off the mask, hang their head down low, step off stage, and give up. Wouldn’t that be a sight to see?

There are times I don’t feel like singing either, and so I don’t.

Jesus deserves every bit of praise we could ever give-but he also knew singing was for our benefit. According to this article, ( https://takelessons.com/live/singing/health-benefits-of-singing )

singing strengthens your immune system, lowers your stress levels, and is a natural anti-depressant.

I could give you all the facts as to why singing is one of the most important things you could ever do, but really I think at times, it just sucks. In our moments of grief and disappointment, we sing with raw and doubting faith.

King David knew those moments all to well-

Psalm 13:1-3a, 5-6

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?

How long will you hide your face from me?

How long will I store up anxious concerns within me, agony in my mind every day?

Consider me and answer, Lord my God. Restore brightness to my eyes: otherwise, I will sleep in death.

But I have trusted in your faithful love; my heart will rejoice in your deliverance.

I will sing to the Lord, because he has treated me generously.

We at times, can feel abandoned by God.

Do you have a mustard seed of faith to lift up your praise towards him when family troubles or depression knocks on your door? I usually hide away in those moments, apart from my loved ones-and lift a tiny song.

Jesus sees you, right where you are, and will take you into his presence regardless of how you feel. That’s grace.

Love Always,

Rosie

When Social Distancing Feels Familiar

This whole thing seemed like a big joke at first. Some virus from China that kills less people than the average flu?

Whatever, what’s for dinner?

We joked about it at small group and scoffed at the media for always perpetuating fear and causing panic about the next ‘big thing’. In the middle of all the humor, my husband quietly piped up- “I mean, it sort of is a big deal. I think we should at least be aware of what’s happening”. He had read about what was happening overseas, and saw it as only a matter of time until it hit the states.

Sure enough, the virus eventually turned into more than a social conversation. Toilet paper vanished from the grocery stores and all I could think was, ‘what about the coffee?. I could be caffeinated for days but have nothing to wipe my butt with? People are FREAKING OUT. Calm down, and leave some toiletries for the rest of us.’

Not long after, my husbands grad school cancelled his trip overseas and his classes moved online for the rest of the year. We don’t even know if he’ll have a graduation ceremony. Will two years of vigorous work, sleepless nights and crazy sacrifice have an anticlimactic end?

You might know what happened next. All schools closed down indefinitely. Church gatherings and small groups came to a halt. My ministry school ended and all my classmates doing missionary work had to travel home and self quarantine. Currently, the general rule for all of Tennessee is for no more than 10 people to gather together. This isn’t panic…it’s just….wise. The coronavirus actually is kind of a big deal and we need to protect the vulnerable.

Which brings me to the word- Social Distancing.

I never heard of the term but when it was introduced to me, I immediately understood what it meant. Oh…..I can do this because I’ve done it before. Or at least, I know what it feels like.

A lot of us knows what loneliness feels like.

For a lot of us, social distancing isn’t all that novel. We’ve lived with a lonely feeling for a long time, even while sharing the earth with 7 billion other people. We are the seniors in nursing homes, the moms in isolated hospital rooms because our child is sick, and if we are being honest…we are the average young adult who doesn’t know what it means to connect with others.

For the last 4 or so years, I’ve worked hard to build social skills and I’ve learned what it means to make (and keep) a friend. I left the only community I knew and I started a brand new life. It was fun and exciting, but everybody outside of the group I grew up with acted differently, and I didn’t know how to fit in. It was easier to just stay home and self isolate…. but the feeling was suffocating and devastating- and so, I had to fight against my urge to withdraw and face my fear for true and lasting connection.

I say this because, if this social distancing doesn’t feel all that new to you, I wanted to let you know I see you. I know who you are, and I know a little bit about what you’re struggling with. You’ve never really felt known to begin with and during this period of uncertainty, you’re more worried about if there’s enough milk for you to buy at the store than if a friend will invite you over for coffee. I get it friend. I promise you aren’t weird, unless I am too.

My encouragement to the one who suffers with chronic loneliness is- you are not alone.

Believe it or not, Jesus actually wants to hang out with you. Jesus has felt all of your feelings, knows all of your tendencies and watches your every mannerism. Jesus desires to pour you that extra cup of coffee and help you sort through that endless list of emails. Jesus wants to lavish his affection on you and stir in you a deep desire to reach out and love others the same way he loves you….because the truth is, there is a LOT of lonely people out there, and he’d like to partner with you to be his hands and feet.

 God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Corinthians 1:9 NIV)

This is a unique time to really sit with the Lord and to grow in quietness with him. The secret place is wide open and God is ready to dig into open heart surgeries with you. Imagine if we sat with him, allowed him to go into those dark places, fill our ‘loneliness’ holes, tear down our idols, and provoke us to good works?

If you’re a friend of mine and you are lonely, reach out. I’d love to be awkward with you on the phone and connect during this isolating time.

Love always,

Rosie

My Emotional Battle

Growing up, one of my favorite hymns of all time was “My Jesus I love Thee”.

I didn’t know why at the time, but when I sang it, I would lose control of my composure, my face would disfigure, and I would cry.

“You’re too much Rosie. Calm it down,” I would say to myself.

Years later, I have come to understand that that particular song brought out a strong reaction because I didn’t actually know Jesus, and I wanted to.

My emotions were telling me something good, and I didn’t listen.

Why?

I believed in this unspoken “truth”, and that is- emotions are wrong. Strong emotions are the precursor to wrong behavior. We have plenty of Bible to back this up- David was caught up in lust towards Bathsheba, Cain murdered Abel in anger, and Eve desired to be ‘like God’.

It wouldn’t take any convincing to bring up the fact that even humans today make really bad decisions based off an emotion.

Stupid emotions. It’s their fault. Feelings lead to stupid, immoral, unbiblical decisions.

And that’s what I’ve spoken over myself for nearly 30 years. I have been afraid of lust, anger, sadness, passion, and even happiness. I am one of the most emotional people I know, and so… I hated this side of myself for the longest time.

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“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” – Jeremiah 17:9

My heart is deceitful. My heart is wicked.

And yet, the best meaning Christians take this verse out of context and use it as a blanket statement for the human condition. In reality, this verse further expands on the human heart that had turned away from the Lord, and became stony.

Stony? I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty emotionless to me.

God is one of the most emotional figures in the Bible. He experiences jealousy, anger, passion, repentance and joy all within chapters of each other. Sounds like I need to break down what I previously believed about emotions and start seeing myself as someone made in the image of God.

Just a thought, but David danced in wild abandonment and stripped down naked during worship, and God didn’t tell him he was being too emotional. God didn’t shout “you were being too emotional!” when he confronted him in his adulterous murder.

In Ezra 3, the people of God wailed in grief, and shouted for joy, that people outside of their city could hear them.

Huh.

Instead of running away in terror of what I feel, maybe I just need to submit them under his rule-just like everything else in life.

Just maybe, bad decisions aren’t made from an emotional outburst, but because we turn away from what we know to be right in his word.

Emotions need not take center stage, or even the directors role, but what would happen if we allowed them to be the lyrics?

What if the most beautiful moments in life are the times we are most emotional?

What if our emotions pushed us towards a loving Heavenly Father with his arms so wide open, there’s no way we could miss his mark?