Featured

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”.

typorama (5)

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,

typorama (4)
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.

Featured

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.

typorama (12)

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.

typorama (11)

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.

Featured

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.

typorama (9)

 

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**

12419235_10100265092231827_4944567203054093374_o
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)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

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.

To Josephine, The Night Before Kindergarten

14045603_10100326287775467_6072942317777375451_n

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.

 

 

 

 

To Luke, The Night Before Kindergarten

SmartSelect_20180730-130431_Facebook

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.

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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

18422864_10100448994180847_8539374598101871662_o
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!

 

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?

typorama (8)

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.

2016-04-16 17.09.13-1

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.

I Wanna Hear God

John 17:3

This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent. 

One of my biggest and most current desires right now is to practice the presence of God and to actively hear from him.  To know him in an experiential, real-time way.

How often am I unsure or afraid, and I don’t seek out and know the Lord’s presence? In theory, I quickly affirm he is there. But his real presence? His voice? His guidance? His help?

His active and real assurance?

Until recently, this concept was vague and too hard to grasp. We are to actively seek him… but finding him? What did that mean?

Growing up, I thought the voice and face of God were reserved for only special or momentous occasions… given only to those who were extra spiritual and extra faithful….and really only for someone else’s benefit. I called it revelation. Not for me.

Revelation was a BIG mountain to climb…Who knew if I could ever attain it.

Has anybody ever read 2 Peter 1:19?

This verse showed me that God’s voice is God’s word. It’s more sure than any experience anyone could ever attain.

Although this is true, I translated this to mean that God rarely speaks outside of his written word and that I should be content with never (or rarely) hearing from this God I called ‘Dad’. My Dad only spoke to me in notes. In a note. A note I called the bible.

Here I am, a good little Christian girl, evangelizing and telling people that God wants a relationship with them (this is a core message of the gospel after all) and yet my relationship was only that of studying, memorizing, and applying scripture.  Even though these are all really really good things, my relationship with God was very one sided.

I’m ending that chapter in this season of my life.

God wants to speak. He wants to walk and talk. God lives in Jesus, who LIVES inside of me. He wants to COMFORT.

Jesus, wasn’t he the KING of scripture? And yet he did crazy things that didn’t make any sense to anyone, all the time. (Especially the religious leaders)

Were they ever out of bounds from the scripture? no…. but walking on water never happened until Jesus did it. The bible didn’t tell Jesus which disciples to choose, or to spit in a guys eyes.

Now they are written down, because of experience.

God wants a relationship. A real, two way, active, relationship. The Holy Spirit is a comforter, a companion, an affirmer and guider of the truth. God is seeking to show his glory, his presence, his power, his might in the face of Jesus Christ, and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

I’m hungry for his voice. His presence. I want to wake up and feel him. I want to go about my day and have the Spirit guide me into all truth.

John 5:19-20

19 Jesus said to the Jews, “I can guarantee this truth: The Son cannot do anything on his own. He can do only what he sees the Father doing. Indeed, the Son does exactly what the Father does. 20 The Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing. The Father will show him even greater things to do than these things so that you will be amazed. 

An Open Love Letter To My Husband

Ben,

This morning we woke up to a screaming, door slamming, and crying household. You were running late to work, and the kids were freaking out (about what? I still don’t really know).

You had to run out the door and I sat on the couch and cried. Not long though, the kids have demands and the laundry is just sitting there, you know?

Not our usual morning, but I wouldn’t want my mornings any other way if it were without you.

In the middle of this political upheaval, women from all over are crying out to feel loved, equal, respected, and heard in this society.

It has made me take a step back and become introspective, and I have come to the conclusion that I have it really good it in my little corner of the world.

Because of you.

You texted me this morning, “Our marriage is the most important thing to me outside of Jesus”

and because of that mindset you have, our marriage has given me every opportunity to feel loved, equal, respected, and heard.

Because you respected my body before marriage, we didn’t even have to think about ending an unplanned pregnancy.

Because you asked if I wanted to stay home and raise our children, I didn’t even have to think about fighting my way for an equal wage.

Because you respect me, our children will grow up knowing how to respect and love others.

Because you love me unconditionally, (and I know that beyond a doubt), I don’t hesitate to submit to your authority.

You listen to me. You trust me. I trust you.

You raise our children alongside of me. You ask for my opinion. And if we disagree, it never puts a permanent wedge between us.

You work incredibly hard to provide for our financial needs. You sacrifice hobbies, friendships, and sleep to keep our family together.

66575_10150097330722926_7062989_n

You bring anybody (and I mean anybody) inside of our household if they are in need of love and some food. What is this teaching our children? That every. body. matters.

You admit to fault when a mistake has been made, something that very few people learn how to do.

You show me how to stand up for myself. You teach me and guide me in prayers when we lack wisdom in a situation.

You forgive me.

You never seek out praise for yourself- you do this all behind closed doors.

You ask for wisdom, constantly.

I hope you know that I will love you every day of my life. I hope you know that because of your commitment and because of your faith in a loving and good God, our family shines as a light in the midst of a confused and hurting nation.

Thank you love; Not for being my everything, but for respecting, cherishing, and loving a woman as God commands you to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will Jesus Heal My Family?

I understand that there are a lot of us out there who have trouble when it comes to seeing miraculous physical healing.

Can I preempt this post with saying that I totally understand?  That if you struggle with this concept, I am not expecting this post to dramatically change your beliefs?

I struggled with this concept for years.  I changed my beliefs on the matter several times.

This is my personal story, and I hope it brings encouragement.

Has anyone seen the book of Mormon? It follows two Mormon missionaries to Uganda who are ready to convert a tribe to their religion.

There is a scene where an African sings out in the midst of endless’gospel’ talk, that he still has maggots in his scrotum. That 80% of his tribe were dealing with aids. What was a Mormon going to do to change it?

That wasn’t the worst of their problems. The ‘gospel’ didn’t help their situation, at all.

This was basically the whole premise of the show, and while I laughed until I cried, it still hit a soft spot.

I don’t want a God that doesn’t care. I don’t want a God that doesn’t help. I don’t want a God who doesn’t come with power.

Do you?

The past year I’ve been on a quest to understand, claim, and practice physical healing.

I’ve been so thankful because not only have I seen miracles, I’ve experienced them in my own family home.

Today was no exception.

This morning we attended a birthday party at Bounce U with my 4 and 2 year old. They had the time of their life, until one of them got hurt.

At first, I didn’t think much of it. It appeared that my oldest boy had somehow scraped the inside of his eye. It didn’t seem serious, and I thought a prayer and some ice would make the pain go away.

But it didn’t.

He didn’t enjoy his cake, 30 minutes later. (What 4 year old doesn’t enjoy cake?)

He barely ate his lunch.

He cried and kept asking me to pray again for his eye. This is unlike my son.

It was bloodshot and he could barely keep it open.

I prayed. Nothing happened.

I thought maybe a nap would fix the problem.

But when he woke up, he wouldn’t open his eye at all, and he was starting to scream in pain.

I prayed again. While it calmed him down some, it wasn’t taking away the pain. I was getting concerned, and I was about to rush to urgent care.

For my child to suddenly need urgent care for an eye that only seemed to be getting worse, was terrifying to me.

My son was hurting. That crushes a mother’s soul faster than anything else on the planet.

I asked Ben to bring our neighbor over to pray for our son before we went to the ER.

(For those of you who don’t know, God put these backyard neighbors in our life right when we needed it most. Our neighbors are on a very similar journey to us and are always more than happy to pray and fellowship at any given moment.)

A few short moments later, my son was instantaneously healed after our neighbor lovingly prayed over my sons eye.

I believe that while he prayed, Jesus came and kissed my sons eye.

img_7003
Two minutes after his healing, we were outside playing and enjoying the beautiful day. 

Can you imagine what that did to my heart?  I wish I could replay the scene right here for you all to witness, just to see the love and compassion that was happening in that room, on that couch, in that moment.

It doesn’t take much for Jesus. It was never hard for him, and it still isn’t hard for him today.

It is my wish for all of God’s people to start claiming what is rightfully theirs because of what the scriptures say.

Jesus loves us so much, and he hasn’t changed since he ascended. He is still very much a healer and a lover to all souls, regardless if saved or not. He is in the business of dong good and healing all that are oppressed of the devil.

Jesus is a friend, a healer, and a very present help in trouble. He is not far away and is ready to comfort and to restore what was lost.

As he would say,

“Be not afraid, only believe”

Today, I’m Claiming What’s Mine: Peace

The last two days my eyes have been twitching.

Ben says I’m stressed.

Besides still facing the hardship of unemployment, we are preparing to sell our home and move to the other side of town. (I know, those two statements don’t usually go together… Right? But we’re crazy and we like to live on the wild side.)

Ben’s brother is moving in with us, and for a while, he will sleeping on our couch.

why?

because my mom moved in with us last month, and she’s in our third bedroom.

(PS: I love family, and am SOO happy to have them with us. My mom is nothing but an absolute gem, and my kids are going to PEE their pants when they realize uncle d will be here to stay. They are kind of obsessed.)

School started up again and one of my courses is titled business law. The first day kind of made my head spin.

In addition to planning some upcoming trips,

there have been two other MAJOR  life changes that have happened within the last month.

oh and also, I’m raising two young children.

Ben says I’m stressed.

I know for a fact that many of you are going through a lot right now, too.

Um, because, NO ONE is immune to life…. And life involves like, stuff. You know?

But it wasn’t until bible study the other night where I realized I needed more peace in my life.

The kind of peace that stills your heart in the midst of change .

The kind of peace that is founded on faith that God is already on the other side of the hill and he sees the green pastures.

The kind of peace that stills twitching eyes.

I wouldn’t change any of this “stuff” for the world. Not even the loss of Ben’s job, because it has refined our faith. I’m pretty sure we are completely different people than who we were just 3 months ago .

But I’ve realized that recently that after I pray, I start dissecting on how everything is hopefully going to work out, and our bodies are just not meant to carry that kind of burden.

My dear self, don’t you know God promises peace, and it doesn’t depend on circumstances?

typorama-14

the best part about that is,

It’s already ours.

It is a peace that passes all human understanding.

Like literally, all human understanding.

That’s ours to claim.

A peace that stills troubled waters.  A peace that digs in to all the corners of your heart and allows your body to breathe.

I’m claiming that today, because God sees the end view, and I choose to rest in that hope.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NLT)

Now may the Lord of peace himself, give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.

 

 

 

Honesty’s Hardship-Letting Go Of Pride

*What you are about to read are common hardships I face when it comes to getting honest with others (or myself). This happens when:

  • I need help               OR
  • I know I will not like honesty’s end result.

Ephesians 4:25

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

I like showing up with a cheerful demeanor. It is so much easier than making an appearance with a broken heart mixed in with a cry for help. Smiles lead to conversations about sunshine and coffee and good deals, and that makes me feel good! For the moment.

Is that wrong?

Let me tell you. Superficial conversations allow me to forget the mountain standing in front of me, blocking me from moving forward. It gives me permission to feel temporarily content.

I like people to think I am strong, capable of life, and in need of little help.

(Oh you need help? Could you move out of the way please?  You’re making me uncomfortable.)

I want fun conversations and promised friendships.

I love happiness.  I love the laughter and joy that hurts so hard because I can’t stop smiling. The kind that keeps me up at night because I’m having such. a. good. time.

typorama (9)

 

So when things ARE NOT OK, or if I’m seeing things a little different than the rest, honesty feels like a big struggle. A trap. A place to go if I want wounds to surface or feelings to get hurt.

Why? Because if I stay honest,  I am afraid I will experience hurt and rejection …like I have, so many times already in the past. I’ve lost friendships. Friendships I really didn’t want to lose.

I’ve experienced the empty stares and the concerned silence. I’ve made people feel incredibly uncomfortable and it. gets. AWKWARD.

That sucks.

So pass the coffee, please, I’d rather get back to riding the surface.

 

BUT. Where am I going? Please someone tell me, where am I going?

typorama (10)

You know what I’ve also realized?

Honesty’s path (mixed with humility) may have been rocky, but it led me to Jesus…and Jesus met me, right where I wasI stood in front of him with brokenness, doubt, sin, fear. He saw it all. And he didn’t run away. He wiped it away, in love.

Honesty led me to the right people, with the right words, leading me to the right savior.

And.

The savior accepted me just as I was,  he showed me the father, he called me, and he continues to teach me his voice, just like he promised. (John 10)

He healed wounds. (Isaiah 53)

He became my truth (John 14)

He showered me with unconditional and authentic love. (8 hundred million verses..seriously)

He led me to the place where I really am ok when someone ‘hurts’ me. BECAUSE

I found that true acceptance comes from Jesus, and our Father. (John 14:23)

Can we let them in, or will we keep allowing our pride to stand in their way?

James 4:10

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

What if true happiness happens after we hit our rock bottom, and honesty becomes our only choice? What if we realize the need for a living savior, not a historical one?

What if we decide that Jesus really is the answer and that he really will show us what it means to know true acceptance? (John 6:37)

What if we lose friendships, but we gain ones that we were meant to have in the first place?

Because God supplies our needs (Phil 4:19)

and he knows that we need people, too. (Prov 14:4)

What if the end result of honesty, is breakthrough?

 

John 6:29

29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”

Will you be honest alongside me this week? It’s hard. It’s rocky. But in the end, you just might find that there are people out there who really do care, and they will help lead you to the one who handles all healing. The one who IS THE answer. We don’t have to be weary in doing good, for we WILL reap in due season, if we faint not.

“If We’re Honest”

by Francesca Battistelli

Listen to this, now.

%d bloggers like this: