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Showing posts from July, 2015

I Quit

I'm out of breath. And sweating like a...pig. I don't know, do pigs really sweat?

Anyway, I have challenged myself to work out for 100 days in a row. I just completed my third day.

I started a work out tonight and about a third of the way through I wanted to quit. I actually turned the video off.

It was hard. It was the weight lifting portion and I really just wanted to throw my weights at the guy on the screen telling me we weren't done yet.

The thing is, I always regret giving up. Always. Every. Stinkin. Time.

I don't recall ever wishing I hadn't finished something.

The things I regret are the things I was too afraid to try or the things I was too lazy to finish.

So I asked myself the questions I've learned to ask when I feel like quitting.

1. What will it look like if I quit? How will I feel tomorrow when I think about this moment? What will it feel like to have to start over next time, knowing I quit this time?

2. What will it look like if I keep going? How…

How and Why I Stopped Yelling at My Kids

I used to be a yeller. Well, I'm mostly not a yeller now. Sometimes I catch myself yelling and I have to apologize, ask for forgiveness and start over.

I yelled because I was overwhelmed. And to be honest, yelling is what I knew. And sometimes (way more than just sometimes) I just felt desperate and in way over my head and wanted my kids to listen to me. I thought yelling was better than spanking because there was no chance I would spank them out of anger and cross the line.

Even though I wasn't physically harming my kids, I hated myself for doing what I was doing to them. I could tell the screaming and yelling bothered them. It scared them. (to be clear, I know that there might be an occasion where yelling is the right thing to do...like when they are about to run into the street, etc)

It was abusive.

Yelling at kids isn't an effective parenting technique. They might listen in the moment but it is damaging. Most, if not all, psychologists call it emotional abuse. And I k…

Something Worth Fighting For Vol. II

Our marriage started out sick. And the longer we went on, the sicker we got.
 Until the healing began.

Except, when the healing began there was no immediate relief. Healing wasn't instant and miraculous. In fact, we realized that we had been sicker than either of us even knew or was willing to admit.

It was like becoming wounded in the forest. I see the wound and do my best to use my first aid kit to dress it. So I clean it and put a bandage on and then begin to find my way out of the forest. When I finally get to a hospital, the first thing the doctor does is take off the bandage. The bandage served a purpose but true healing can't begin until that bandage comes off. The doctor can't even see the true nature of the wound when it's hidden beneath a bandage. So he peels it off. It's painful but it has to be done.

After the bandage came off I realized that the wound was way more serious than I even knew. And the doctor is shocked that I'm alive. It's sort of …

Raising God Pleasers Instead of People Pleasers

I've spent a lot of my time as an adult doing things to please other people. Or earn their favor. Or manipulate them into giving me what I need.

This behavior is a result of my misunderstanding of my relationship with God and with other people.

It's called codependency.

I held the mistaken belief that if I just did the right things, in the right order, at the right time and with the right people...if I could just get all of that right God would love and save me.

But guess what?! It doesn't work that way. I'm never going to do all the right things in the right order at the right time and with the right people all the time. And I might not even pray for every single specific thing that I do wrong and God still loves me. And His grace still saves me.

My salvation is not based on how many prayers I say or how often I read my Bible or doing the right things and not doing the wrong things. It's based on my faith and God's grace.

It doesn't matter who approves of m…

Empowering Vs. Enabling

For a long time Michael and I made so little money that we couldn't pay all of our bills. So we didn't even try. We relied heavily on bail outs from our parents.

As we matured we applied for public assistance and received it. We qualified for the emergency benefits because of how low our income was.
Again, as we matured and our income rose a little bit we eventually cancelled our Food Stamps and other benefits. Not because we didn't qualify. We technically still qualify. But the joy of paying our own bills ourselves was so great and we felt so empowered that we just wanted to relieve the government of having to help us. 
The more we got a taste of being able to work and take care of ourselves the more we did. The more hope we had of actually being able to pay our bills, the more inclined we were to do so. 
Being enabled actually took our power away. 
And that's why I'm so passionate about Fair Trade Friday and Mercy House Kenya.
Because it isn't about enabling …

Death to Self

I'm a slow processor.

I'm a really good person to have around during a crisis or emergency because I don't freak out at first. My brain goes into hyper drive and my body kicks into gear. I usually do the grunt work that requires little or no talent.

But then when all of the work is done, it's my turn to "freak out".

I'm also a slow processor when I learn something new. Some times it just takes me a while to organize new information in my head. And some times I need a picture. I need to know how the new information will or should affect my life.

This is never more true than with scripture.

For years I've been mulling around the idea of "dying to self" or to "deny self". What does it mean? What does it look like? How will it affect my life? Can I do that? Or maybe the real question is 'will I do that?'

Well, I'll tell ya, I'm not a great Bible scholar. I'm just a girl with a Bible and books and the internet. So, i…

An Open Door

Twice every week I hit the publish button on this blog. Rain or shine, good times or bad, feast or famine.

Most of the time I do it reluctantly. "Why would anyone read this?" "There are a million people who could write it better." "I should just go hunt down an article about whatever I've written about and share that." 
But I hit the button anyway because I trust my God. And I want Him to have what He's blessed me with for His own glory. When He comes to see what I've done with what He's given me I want Him to know that I DIDN'T bury my one talent. I want to give it my all so that it will grow and give Him even more glory. Not because He needs it but because He deserves it and I want to give Him all I can.
Lately I've been feeling frustrated. I know I need to improve my writing and I know that to some extent just writing regularly will do that. But I want to learn, I want to soak in knowledge. I want to be taught. I want my offerin…

Wife Fail! :) Lesson Learned

I attend Celebrate Recovery every Thursday night. It's a Christ centered 12 step recovery program. It's for anyone who has a "hurt, habit or hang up" that they need help overcoming. It's a tool to help people grow to be more like Jesus.

One aspect of the program is called "share group". Basically, each participant gets an opportunity to share whatever is on their heart, without being interrupted, in a completely safe environment.

Confession: I used to really dislike share group. Because suddenly when it's my turn my mind goes blank and I can barely form a coherent sentence. But I have participated because I trust the process and I assumed that at some point it would "click" and I would "get it" and be glad I went.

Well, I think the day has come.

The other day Michael started to tell me a story. It was about something that had hurt his feelings and was bothering him.

He didn't even get finished before I said something to the e…

Why There IS Hope for the Rest of Us Even Though Bennifer Didn't Make It

I read an article the other day where a young woman lamented the break up of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner and quarried that since THEY couldn't make marriage work that "there is no hope for the rest of us".

Now, I don't know what the circumstances of their divorce are and I don't need/want to know, but I want to be clear that there absolutely are situations where divorce is the only option. If a partner refuses to change or get help divorce may be the right choice.

But after many moments where I didn't know how we were going to make it or if I could keep on loving, I believe with all of my heart that there is hope for the rest of us.

Not because it is always fun and not because it always feels good, because it isn't and it doesn't. Living with someone, hearing them pass gas in the night and making major and minor life decisions with them day in and day out is going to lead to some tension. And the deep and ugly sin that I've managed to hide fro…

Why It's Important for My Heavenly Citizenship to Hold More Weight than My Earthly One

I feel grateful to be an American. I have privileges and opportunities that many in this world do not have. 
I have clean water, a soft bed to sleep in, a machine to wash our clothes and a car to take me wherever I want to go. I can wear what I want, (for the most part) say what I want, live where I want and believe what I want.
It's important for me to never take any of that for granted. And also for me to use what I have to give to others. Because it ISN'T mine. It's Gods. I'm just the steward.
But I also think it's important to remember that this world and this country aren't the be-all-and-end-all. My citizenship is ultimately in Heaven, not the United States. The United States can't and won't save my soul. 
God is not a respecter of persons and the United States and it's citizens aren't the new chosen people of God.
The chosen people of God, the royal priesthood are followers of Christ. Whether they are American, Israeli, South African, Mex…

Rejected!

I received a rejection letter today.

Before you feel the need to comfort me, please know that I'm completely fine.

A while back I learned that (in)Courage was accepting submissions for blog posts to be used on their site. It needed to be something original that had not been previously published and it should fit the tone for the site and the theme for the time frame it would be published.

I immediately wanted to submit something. I wanted honest feedback about my writing from someone who doesn't already love me or like me or feel connected to me in some way. But I decided that I was not going to submit anything unless I felt prompted by God to do it. I wasn't going to force it. (On a side, but relevant, note I'm actually not sure if I stuck to this decision. I'm still asking God to open my eyes to blindness and denial...so He may reveal to me that I didn't wait for Him at all...that I jumped ahead in my own timing instead of His.)

So one night I sat down and wr…