Encouragement

Holy Spirit Gut Checker

In 2nd grade, there was a little girl named Wenn who could read 5th grade level chapter books. She wore glasses and always won the spelling bees. The problem was, everyone laughed at her. She would hide herself in the teachers closet and cry if anybody (which happened often) made fun. I would scream “she’s a person too!” and cry with her, and to this day I still can’t figure out where the heck our teacher was.

In High School, I remember being invited to the “cool people” party where I could finally hang with that cute skater dude who wore emo jewelry and listened to wheezer. (Does that date me?) When I got there, a group of kids were hanging out in the garage passing a joint, and offered for me to join in.

That cute skater dude was in that group. I walked inside the house and drank O’douls awkwardly on the couch. I didn’t look very cool.

When I was first started learning about street healings, I started following a movement called ‘The Last Reformation’. They had cool YouTube videos and seemed to have success operating supernaturally. I connected with a few fellow followers in the area and went out with them, until something just didn’t “feel right”. Instead of making a fuss, I just quietly stopped. I found out the other day that the movement’s founder calls his followers Noahs ark animals, uses hypnosis and fakes his miracles. He’s also accused of being a child abuser. Annnnnnd no thanks. I had no idea…..I just followed my gut.

I wish I could share more ‘heroic’ moments like the ones I mentioned above, but I’ve made my share of mistakes, too. I’ve laid aside morals to make out with a boy, lived in controlling relationships, and stayed when I shoulda coulda woulda left.

Hi, my name is Rosie and I’m a follower. I hate conflict and like the safety net of groups. But there are times when I need to be a brown egg. Here are questions I’ve learned to ask the hard way, and I’m sharing them here to see if you ask them too. I haven’t stopped making mistakes, these just help me not make BIG ONEs.

1.) Does it feel good in my gut?

Growing up, I was taught that my heart was deceitful and to not trust my gut. I’m not talking about following your heart, I’m talking about that queasy feeling you get in your stomach. I’m pretty sure the Holy Spirit lives in the gut, and it’s asking you to ask least look into WHY you’ve got that queasy feeling. Even if ‘that thing’ might be right for other people, it might not be right for you.

2.) Am I getting religious?

I tend to love formulas, especially if they work. Yet Jesus says the only true religion is to visit the Fatherless and the Widows in their affliction, and to keep yourself unspotted from the world. Jesus wants to be involved in everything, and I think that’s why he didn’t give us every answer to every question. The moment I start to follow a formula, and think I know it all …. it’s time to recheck what I’m doing.

3.) Is the Gospel a side dish, or the main meal?

When I first considered joining a ‘school of supernatural life’ based in Franklin Tennessee, I needed to know if they were obsessed with the Gospel. Is the atonement of Christ central to this church, or is it just a side dish? Looking into their teachings and listening to a bunch before starting the school gave me the best confirmation.

4.) Am I getting too obsessed with the leader?

There are so many teachers, health gurus, and authors I listen to and follow. And even if they aren’t trying to garner all the attention, people just love putting other people on a pedastool!! Myself included. Y’all, everyone is just human, and I’ve made this mistake way too many times. Jesus should always be THE ONE, and leaders should just point the way towards him. If your gut starts to notice that a leader is actively seeking attention, it’s time to high-tail outa there.

5.) Is my opinion valued and respected? Or do I feel controlled?

Are you allowed to disagree, and have sweet wrestlings with the rest of the people in the group? Or if you start to question ‘the doctrine’, do people try to shut you down? Are people trying to tell you how to live your life, or give you direction on what you HAVE to do? Time to sneak (or shout) away.

6.) Does it have an Elitist feeling?

This sorta goes with the last question. But, nobody has it all right. I think that nobody even has it close to all right. Any movement that claims to have it mostly together, or have ‘the answer’ to ______________(fill in the blank). Just yuck. Jesus lives and thrives in mystery.

Do you use your Holy Spirit Gut Checker? What questions do you ask yourself? Do you tend to follow like me, or are you more of a pioneer?

Encouragement

Jesus Lives in Mystery

10 years ago, a 22 year old me lived with purpose, community, and a super cute fiancé. See pic below.

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Life was really good.

I was one of those annoying (but sweet!) people you would meet at college who had answers to most of life’s biggest questions, and in my world, everything was black and white. If you didn’t have what I had, I genuinely felt sorry for you.

And yet, one of the hardest and best things I ever did (thus far), was leaving that life. I remember stepping out of my “black and white”, and into grey.

Before I explain that moment, I want to sell you on my black and white world. Living there is easy-It’s predictable. It’s safe. You can operate with (a false sense of) control and fully own your space. Most questions have an answer, and every answer, a chapter and verse. Visually speaking, imagine a tiny version of yourself in a cute little box. You see the ceiling, the floor, the walls and 90 degree corners. You know how big your box is, what’s outside of the box, and where you stand inside. Now give the box some wrapping paper and a bow. It’s pretty cute, right?

I don’t know, it sounds so sterile now. But I had some really good friends, a fun routine, and so much purpose. I helped people.

Except what I didn’t have, was Jesus.

Let me tell you right now, if you don’t remember anything else about this little article, I’m here to tell you, Jesus is never inside any box. He never has been, and never will be. People and things might try and tell you he’s in there, but he’s not.

And so, you could say I accidentally met Jesus when I momentarily stepped outside.

I wasn’t looking for him, I was just getting unsatisfied with my answers, because they weren’t working. I wanted forward movement, but I couldn’t. I was stuck.

And so, in the mystery, Jesus found me. And in him, I found a friend. One that knew me, who wouldn’t leave me, and who would continually speak his tender whispers of love, faith, comfort, and healing inside my heart.

People have always tried to kill Jesus, but he’s good at side stepping their efforts. He’s searching for the one. The one that decides they aren’t enough, and that they need more.

Jesus is the way, THE TRUTH, and the life.

Have you met him yet?

John 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.

Encouragement

To Josephine, The Night Before Kindergarten

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I will never forget the day I peed on the stick that told me you were on the way. Dad was in the shower, I just got home from the gym, and your brother was taking his morning nap.

The only reason I peed on the stick that day was because a friend suggested I might be pregnant. I guess I was acting more emotional and she thought something was up. Daddy and I were not planning on you. So lets just say, there was a lot of noise that morning we saw the second line!

Oh Josephine, you were not planned. You see, Daddy and I had lots of plans, and God had other ideas. I might be a little bias, but it was one of his best ideas ever!! I couldn’t imagine life without you, and I don’t want it any other way.

You gave Mommy and Daddy another surprise 9 months later. You didn’t like the idea of being born in a hospital, so you decided to speed up mommy’s labor. I didn’t have time to make it anywhere except the bathtub. You were our bathtub baby, Josephine! Born in our little apartment, and as cute as could be. At that moment, we found out you were a girl, and Daddy cried for the first time that night. Daddy’s emotions are clearly displayed on that 911 call we will share with you when you’re older.

Your first car ride was in an ambulance.  I’ll never forget staring at you on that ride, wondering if it was just a dream or if you really were that beautiful. You are beautiful.

Josephine means “The Lord Adds”, and we couldn’t think up of another perfect name for you. You are a gift to everyone who knows you. A best friend to your older brother, an excellent caregiver to your younger siblings, and the cuddliest snuggle bug to your grandparents. You seem to know what people need and when they need it-you are intuitive in nature, a fierce protector, and a gentle soul. All those things wrapped up in a little fire ball of fun. Your giggles are contagious and your enthusiasm lights up rooms.

So how are you 5, my little baby? My little baby who loves to dance in the rain and save the spiders? The little girl who sings at the top of her lungs in the backseat of the car?

Where did my little bathtub baby go? I remember your first laugh, but am I ready to remember the first time you stepped into kindergarten? Would you rather stay home and watch Princess movies with me? Read books until I don’t have a voice because you always want just one more? Bake cookies and hand them out to all the neighbors just because you don’t want to leave anyone without a cookie?

You are getting older, and mommy has to let go little by little.

Josephine, you are meant for great things. You are a defender of the weak and a voice for the voiceless. I have no doubt this will become evident to your teachers and I hope they value those strengths as much as I do.

One day, you will be moving mountains. But for a little while longer, enjoy painting those masterpieces, dancing with abandon in the living room, and making new friends every single place you go.

Josephine, my Josephine, forever my Josephine.

 

 

 

 

Encouragement

To Luke, The Night Before Kindergarten

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I remember being in the ultrasound room, waiting for the words “It’s a girl!”

Your dad was secretly videoing with his phone, ready to send out the news to family.

I dreamed of bows and tea parties, an afternoon full of coloring and dancing and talking about unicorns. 

My stomach filled with butterflies… (and tiny baby kicks), I was ready to hear who you were going to be.

“It’s a boy!”

A boy? I didn’t know what to do with boys. I was happy to hear that you were healthy, and I loved that you were mine, but I couldn’t help but think that God had no idea what he was doing….giving me a boy.

But he wasn’t just “giving me a boy”. He was giving me you. You, Luke.

You have taught me more about love, sacrifice, joy, and fear in the 5 years you have been alive, than any teacher could ever teach in a lifetime.

The day you came, I had no idea that my heart could literally be felt outside of my body. I was absolutely enamored with your tiny 8 pound body smushed against mine. Your crinkled face and half shut eyes. Your tiny breath…If I close my eyes today, I can still hear it in that sterile hospital room. I was so in love with you I couldn’t sleep. I asked the nurses that night if it was normal to not be able to sleep after giving birth, and they laughed….. saying “welcome to the next 18 years of your life”.

They were right. I have spent many hours awake in the middle of the night with you. I don’t regret any minute of it.

You were the perfect baby. You were always so content, so easygoing, ready to laugh and play… and go along with whatever crazy thing your mom thought of next. And you know?…You are still that way. Your kindhearted and tender little soul lights up any room you walk into. If I were a kid, I would wanna be your best friend.

I spent many, many hours learning how to “be a mom” on you.  (Still doing that, actually) You have been overprotected and worried over more times than I would like to admit. I have stared at your face for hours, studying your features detail by detail. I love your nose. Your big brown eyes. Those long eyelashes and that quirky smile you give when you are in a silly mood.

Ever since you were 2 years old, you have been a boy of passion. Actually, you personify passion.

At that age, your passion was Thomas The Train. In fact, you fell in love with all of the characters. You memorized them. You studied them. You knew all of their numbers, their colors, their jobs. Rocky, Harvey, Gordon, and James were some of your favorites. You would sleep with those trains every night, play with your trains almost everywhere we went, and could build a train track better than a 6 year old. You learned your entire alphabet and all of your numbers by 2 1/2, because of a few Thomas Puzzles I had bought you. We memorized the theme song together. Daddy spent hours making you a Thomas The Train Birthday Cake just so he could see the delight on your face when you ran out of your room that morning. That was a fun day. You were so grateful and so happy.

Because you loved Thomas, Daddy and I loved Thomas.

For the past 5 (almost 6!) years, you have been an absolute gift to your family.

A gift to your 4 year old sister, a gift to your baby brother, a gift to your grandparents and uncles and aunts and cousins.

Tomorrow, you will be a gift to a whole new world.

I am excited for this next chapter in life for you. You are going to do so great. You have always been good with transition, and I don’t think this will be any different for you.

I have to let a part of you go, something that will continue to come in little waves throughout the course of your life. It’s hard for me, as it’s hard for any mom. But you are just on loan to me from God. He has all the details….all the plans….all the adventures already written in your book, and he’s waiting to go on this next journey with you.

 

His little baby, you’ll always be. Even when you grow away from me.

Encouragement

When Words Hurt.

A few years back, I received a phone call from a good friend of mine that I absolutely admired. This person, in a sense, was a spiritual leader of mine. I was a little jittery to take the call- I had been experiencing new things about Jesus, things I had never known before….and I shared this personal journey I had been on just a few days before. (Actually, I overshared)

I shared testimonies, deliverances, fears, questions, hopes. I saw a few things differently now, and I thought that if they just listened longgggg enough, maybe they would too.

So when I picked up the call a few days later…. “helloooo! So glad you called!”

What pursued in that conversation was heartbreaking on both ends. They disagreed with where my path was headed, what I believed, and had a genuine concern I had been corrupted. They loved me. They wanted me to reel in what was ‘reeled out’.

What’s crazy is, even though I was feeling emotionally scarred, I saw logically how they came to that conclusion. My old brain even agreed with them. 

But words can really hurt, you know?

Not too long after that, I received more words. Lots of them, and not good ones.  Actually, they were the kind that stab you and leave you lying on the floor. Like, I felt that I had open heart surgery and there was no one there to close me up. How do I respond? Where do I go from here?

I was messed up for a few months after that.

I repeated those words of “concern” over and over and over in my head. Analyzing and then from that,  defending myself…. and then getting scared out of my MIND that I was dead. wrong.

I stopped the spiritual train I was on.

Now that it has been a few years later, I can look back at that time in my life and thank God for that journey he put me on. It wasn’t easy, but hard things refine and I certainly didn’t escape that one.

So, now that I have a good head on my shoulders…. you all want to know, right?

Who was wrong, and who was right?

Am I messed up, or are they messed up?

Where are they now, and where am I?

Who is showing up who?

These are the questions that I have found ARE NOT WORTH PURSUING.

Comparison. MISTAKES. The IMPERFECTIONS of other people. He wants to divide, distract, and accuse….anything that takes your eyes off Jesus and his completed work.

Instead, we are to respond with humility.

I heard recently, “take your eyes off the imperfections of the messenger, and listen to the message”.

When I was set free from that dark alley of accusation, these were the questions I was asking….

1.) “Lord, what was in there that was of you? What can I change to be a better servant, one who listens without a prideful heart? Take away my heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh”

(and then you know, listen)

2.) “Lord, how can I show forgiveness in what was not right, and restore that relationship as much as possible?”

3.) “Lord, what do you speak over me?” (This last one is so important to me, as I am so SOOOOOOOOOOOOO sensitive! I take on wrong identities rather quickly….so I speak and WRITE words of affirmation over me to hear the truth and put it deeeep down in my soul).

Romans 14:4

Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

 

Have you had words spoken over you that hurt? How do you handle them?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Encouragement

The Heart & Vision Behind “Kingdom Parenting”

If you haven’t already heard, I am launching a new website/blog that will be geared towards parents and caregivers of children who have a heart to raise the next generation under the Lordship of Jesus.

If this doesn’t sound like you, this is your chance to stop reading! My NeedingGrace Blog will stay committed to writing articles centered around the gospel centered life. 

For the rest of you, I would like to introduce myself,  and share with you my heart and vision towards the new website and Facebook page.

So, Hi! My name is Rosie (call me Ro! It makes me feel loved) I am 30 years old, and I have 3 beautiful children. They are ages 4, 3, and 2 months. I live in the beautiful state of Tennessee in a wonderful suburb of Nashville.

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My family. My sweet 3 year old needed an attitude adjustment here!

When I first became a mom, my whole world flipped upside down. I “lost” my identity and purpose within the countless hours of motherhood.

Becoming a stay at home mom was very hard for me. Did God really call me to dishes, laundry, and toys? Did God call me into seclusion and lonely midnight hours? How insulting, I thought. I didn’t know HOW TO DEAL. Maintaining my life, friends, marriage or church felt impossible and I spiraled into a mild depression.

When I became pregnant AGAIN 6 months after my first baby, I panicked. I could barely handle one,  how was I supposed to take care of another? Where was MY life going? (oh, how fooled I was!)

Sadly, although I loved my babies SO MUCH, this way of thinking continued for about 2 years.*** Does this sound familiar to any of you? If so, there is hope.

Why?

God has shown me these last two years that I am not just raising babies, I am raising PEOPLE. Believers. Kingdom giants. Little souls that have not yet had bad religion taint their thinking or unbelief block their breakthroughs. Hearts that are so moldable and fragile and ready to experience Jesus.

And they have been entrusted to us.

Wow.

So my heart behind this upcoming website is to:

1.) Encourage other caregivers by revealing how valuable this calling of ours is.

2.) Gather the online community to provide a platform for others to share their experiences, wisdom, mistakes, and questions.

3.) Provide resources to help equip and mobilize caregivers to raise our children under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

My vision:

1.) Caregivers who feel value and purpose in their work with children.

2.) Preschoolers and School aged children who are SO confident in knowing they are unconditionally loved by our Father regardless of actions. I see our children experiencing how GOOD God is, how much he loves us, and how Jesus is a beautiful, glorious, Lord.

(Without these truths embedded into our children souls, any “works” will become  religion and will only be done for approval or through obligation. Please, PLEASE don’t teach your children about the kingdom without first knowing the king.)  

3.) Children displaying the kingdom of God in such a powerful and profound way. I envision the body of Christ getting ministered to through the hands of a 3 year old! Babies growing up and surpassing us in faith and in love. Preschoolers laying hands on the sick. Middleschoolers confident in their identity. Teenagers changing the culture of high school. College Students who don’t need to “find themselves”. Future adults clearing out hospitals, raising the dead, and releasing entire cities from poverty!

Is it a big vision? Absolutely. Can the upcoming website accomplish this task in it’s entirety? No way.

But we can start somewhere.

If you are reading this article and you feel called to participate in this community, please contact me. I am looking for researchers, writers, and even vloggers! I am looking for empty nesters (Hi Mom!), parents of high schoolers, parents of small children!

I can not do this alone (I am pretty busy raising children in my little corner of the world, and also still writing for NeedingGrace!) and need your help!

 

 

 

***My identity at this time was rooted in what I was or wasn’t doing, not in who God made me. If you are currently experiencing an identity crisis, I encourage you to reach out to your heavenly father for help, and also to a local church!

 

Encouragement

I Hate Failing

You know all those cheesy cliché one liners that are supposed to motivate you past your fear of failure?

They really motivate me for a moment.  Sadly, a moment isn’t enough.

I don’t think I realized how afraid of failure I was until recently…Ben and I were driving through the hills of Tennessee on one of our famous highways, talking about some recent failures. We want to get better at hearing from God, but we’ve made some mistakes and we were talking through them. We’ve made a lot of them through the years. Eventually I blurted out in tears:

“I don’t want to get it wrong. I HATE getting it wrong. It’s easier not to try, because then I know I WON’T get it wrong.”

Right there in the passenger seat, I made up my mind that I wasn’t going to try anymore.

Ben gave me the saddest face ever. And he had the right. There it was, another one of my ugly truths.

But really, it is easier not to try. If I don’t try, I don’t fail. And when I don’t fail,  I won’t disappoint anybody. I can stay in my little corner and watch others step up in my place.

But isn’t that just so sad?

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The other day, it took my daughter an HOUR to put on her shirt. AN HOUR.

90 percent of that time was spent telling me why SHE JUST CAN’T .

on and on and on it went.

1 of those minutes included her actually trying (and failing.)

In the last minute? She succeeded.

I wonder how much of our time is spent thinking of reasons why we can’t do something.

can’t write a blog because I don’t want to fail. I could list a million reasons.

I didn’t want Ben to pursue his dreams in starting his business because… what if he fails? What will happen to us financially? Again, I could go on.

But us not trying is ultimately saying we don’t believe in God and his endless mercy. HIS grace. Or his resources, encouragement, or promises. We could even go as far as saying

“God doesn’t believe in us”.

And as Christians, we know that simply isn’t true.

Once we get solid in our beauty before him, our value and worth won’t be the sum of our failures. It will stay displayed through his ultimate sacrifice (the cross).

Failure doesn’t seem so bad anymore.

Try. Fail. Repeat.

Succeed.

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Paul disobeyed God and decided he would go to Jerusalem to preach the gospel. A worthy endeavor, but it was a wrong one. God told him not to go, and the prophets eventually stopped trying to persuade him.

He went and ended up in prison.

You know what happened afterwards? He wrote some pretty famous books of the bible.

Let’ s put our faith in God.

He is able to make us stand and succeed. He can steer us in the right path when we trust in his ways and make his word our path!

Jude 1:24 (NLT)

Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.