Encouragement · Get To Know Rosie · The Hurt Christian · The New Christian

My Journey To Grace- Taking Off The Mask Of Religion

Written in 2016

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.

Encouragement · The Hurt Christian

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.

Encouragement · The Hurt Christian · The New Christian

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)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hurt Christian

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.

Encouragement

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?

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!