My Journey To Grace- Taking Off The Mask Of Religion

Hi! My name is Rosie. I actually really do love you, and I mean that now.

Before, this wasn’t true. Why?

I lived a life seeped in religion.  In other words, bondage, at it’s finest.

I grew up in church and by the time I was 18, I was a perfectionist at slipping on a “believers mask”.

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For a long time, I thought that mask was the real me. I did and said all the right things, I turned up my nose to sin, and worked really hard at controlling my flesh.

I had a pathetic relationship with God, but I could tell you all about him. Oh could I tell you about him.

I read my bible faithfully and prayed every morning. And when I didn’t, I felt guilty. I would wake up wondering how to live my Christian life every. single. day.

I listened to hours of teachings. I took classes, went to weekends, held leadership positions.

I was ‘happy’.

I led a comfortable life with lots of friends, and thought God was VERY pleased with all of my efforts.

But, on the inside, I still struggled with sin and mounds of unbelief.

I hated the way I looked. I hated my weight. I hated my voice. I hated my failed efforts.

I hated that I didn’t pray enough. I was afraid, I was incredibly judgmental,

and worst of all,

I was a know-it-all elitist.

Pride was my weapon and I was really good at calling it “the word of God”.

This is not a bash on my Church. I believe this happens in EVERY CHURCH. In simple terms:

I looked in my bible and saw what was right. I tried to line up my life to be right…. With my own efforts.

So what changed?

I was tired. I was SO tired. I was tired of thinking I knew it all- because it wasn’t working. I was tired of “trying to believe”. I was tired of singing empty praises. I was tired of putting up a front. I was tired of studying my bible and getting excited about ‘new knowledge’ only to end up angry with myself and other people.

 I envied people who were outside of my box, and I envied their freedom.

So what did I do?

In my room, with no one around, I asked God for help. To this day I can close my eyes and remember the exact moment.

“HELP GOD, PLEASE. HELP. I’M TIRED. I’M SO TIRED. GOD. IF YOU ARE THERE, PLEASE HELP ME.”

I had prayed this before and God would start to answer my prayers…. but pride would get in my way and I would close him up. God was intense.

This time,

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October 2015

 

The next day, I did the same thing I always did. I tried controlling my flesh.

But I browsed Amazon’s Christian parenting books and I ended up buying

Parenting The Whole Hearted Child  by Jeannie Cunnion.

When it came in the mail, I put my daughter down for an early nap, curled up on my couch with some coffee, and started to read.

I thought I was reading a book on parenting. BUT.

Grace spoke to me within the pages of this book, and that’s all I needed to get started.

One of Jeannie’s many quotes spoke loud and clear to me:

“On most days I acted like Jesus’ final three words on the cross were “make me proud” instead of the actual three words he exhaled, “it is finished.”

This was October 22nd, 2015.

I cried and cried and cried. I called my husband and practically yelled “THIS IS WHAT WE’VE BEEN MISSING.” I frantically texted all of my friends. I posted on FaceBook. I wanted the WORLD TO KNOW.

This was only the beginning.

So many more prayers and questions sprung from that book and God put countless people and situations into my life that shouted

“AMAZING GRACE, HOW SWEET THE SOUND, THAT SAVED A WRETCH LIKE ME”.

I met Jesus. I MET JESUS. I met his grace. I finally stopped trying and started looking at his glory. At 28 and 29 years old, I finally started to understand how grace worked.

This is why I started my blog. To help other Christians find grace, too.  

To me, grace is summed up in these two verses:

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 New Living Translation (NLT)

17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image

No joke, looking at the glory of the Lord has radically changed me and is he is still continually changing me into his image.

I. STOPPED. TRYING.

I. STARTED. BEHOLDING.

We do not have to change ourselves. I am not joking.

That’s it. No more controlling the flesh. No more failed efforts. No more fake relationship. No more setting up comfortable circumstances to keep me happy.

Amazing grace comes by looking at his glory.

 

Do you struggle with living the Christian life? Are you tired yet?

Start looking at him. He is beautiful. He is so beautiful.

Start beholding the Lord’s glory. He will change your life, I promise.

Whoops! A baby in the bathtub (Jojo’s birth story)

Josephine Clare was born on a Tuesday at 4:20am, January 28th, 2014.

Two days prior, the electricity went out in our little apartment …. and I had a total meltdown. I will not forget the intense passion I was experiencing while sternly reprimanding Ben he needed to get that fixed and he needed to get that fixed ASAP.

Even though my due date was two weeks away, I needed to make sure things were safe. It was the middle of winter AND I have a 15 month old who needs light and warmth and food and all that good stuff that’s sorta dependent on ELECTRICTY.

And oh, you know, would if we had an emergency birth at home and we couldn’t see a darn thing? That would be traumatizing (Little did I know…)

Poor Ben! How tortured he was throughout that day. He was my dumping ground of all of my emotions and fears and exhaustion. Side note….I am SO thankful for a husband who takes the punches tenderly, leads me gently, and buys me Chinese in those less than fine moments. I don’t even remember what he did to get the electricity running again but I think it was something so simple like flipping a break switch… I know, sorta embarrassing when I look back on it.

The next day, a Monday, I remember being a little extra lazy while trying to plan our meals and the weeks activities. I wish I could remember what else I did that day but I just don’t.

But what I DO remember is that Monday night, after Luke (my son) was asleep, Ben and I snuggled up on the couch, watched a show, and ate popcorn. At one point I remember saying with a smile,

” wouldn’t it be so crazy if I went into labor TONIGHT?”

to which Ben replied so nonchalantly,

“yeah. but your due date is two weeks away, Ro. It will probably be at least another three before the new baby is here. Babies often come late.”

And I agreed. And we went to bed.

Now its 2am, and I wake up. And for about forty minutes or so I just laid there while what I thought I was experiencing Braxton hicks (fake labor pains).

But they didn’t go away. And that got me excited.

So much so that I began to wonder, ooooooo…..what if I actually am in labor???? So I got up, grabbed my laptop, and headed towards the living room to sit on the couch.

So at around 3 am, I am googling labor. But its 3 am guys, and I am also wondering if maybe its just a good idea to go back to sleep. I have a toddler to take care of in the morning, you know?

Looking back, I don’t know how it all happened so fast. At one point I went to the bathroom and had one of those major signs (and you veterans know what I’m talking about) that told me YES, I was definitely in labor.

So I woke up Ben.

“Hey Honey, I’m definitely in labor! But you can go back to sleep. Just wanted to let you know”

Than I texted my mother in law who promised to be there for childcare purposes so Ben and I could go to the hospital when it was time.

Than I sat back on the couch and it just came. Those really really REALLY bad LABOR PAINS. Enter curse words.

Ben came out of the bedroom and I was pretty happy because I was ready to tell him, “hey…this actually hurts pretty bad and they are sorta close together so maybe we should go to the hospital right about now

Ben was understanding. He made sure that his mom was on the way and told us we could start packing our things so we could be ready to go to the hospital when she arrived (she lived about 45 minutes away)

But as the minutes (or even seconds) went by, the pain was getting worse. It was the “I DO NOT THINK I CAN HANDLE THIS” type of pain. And I remember my midwife telling me a while back that when that pain is happening you are usually in transition.

But Ben didn’t think so. In his ‘trying to be understanding but a little frustrated’ voice, he said something like,

“Hey Honey, I think you just need to work through the pain and be patient. I think that if you are having a hard time now, you really are just making it harder on yourself for later. Try to relax, let’s pack”

But I couldn’t pack. I really couldn’t. I was laying in bed thinking this pain was totally unbearable. And I became in charge.

“Babe, we need to go NOW. LIKE, WE NEED TO GO NOW

For some reason I didn’t have pants on (I know, odd part of the story).

Ben was frustrated (it is the middle of the night, you guys)

But he pushed through it. There was a little back in forth in our bantering that yes you may be right that I’m in the beginning stages but also maybe the baby is coming right now and we need to get to the HOSPITAL NOW.

So Ben helped me put on pants and right after that I felt like I needed to go to the restroom. And as I sat down to go, my water broke.

“BABE. MY WATER BROKE. CALL 911”

I remember reaching down and feeling THE HEAD. And at that moment I just remember getting this overwhelming “let’s get this done” attitude. I hopped in the bath, turned on the water, and literally couldn’t help the urge to push.

Ben called 911.

7 minutes later, Josephine was born as Ben so carefully helped her out. Ben cried. I wanted to make sure she was alive. A few minutes later, a myriad of random firefighters/ems workers/and Ben’s mom! arrived.  It was hectic. It was snowing. We were rushed via ambulance to the hospital. And it was the most beautiful/surreal experience holding sweet Josephine in my arms and wondering, am I dreaming?

My labor lasted a total of 2 hours and 20 minutes. A few days later we received the tape to our 911 call. It’s probably my favorite 7 minutes of recording I’ve ever listened to.

 

So sweet Josephine, you wanted out. You wanted to make your presence known. You said, “HEY! I’M HERE!” and you’ve been that way ever since. You are passionate, and we are passionate about you.