Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Our Return to Homeschooling

As many of my friends and familly know we were homeschoolers for several years. Long story short, TJ was *horribly* bullied in the 1st grade and it had a profound, heartbreaking effect on his spirit and academics. I was "that" parent. The one in the office weekly demanding to know why a kid dumped chocolate mik on my son's head, stole his shoes and pulled his chair out from beneath him in the lunchroom. Every week! I was in constant contact with his horrendous teacher, who insisted on several occasions that his social awkwardness and the inability to sit his energetic 6 year old body still in a chair for 8 hours a day must be due to Lyme disease (complete with a 10 page packet on Lyme disease thankyouverymuch). I was at the pediatrician at least once a month asking for testing and ADHD meds, convinced that something must be really wrong if his teacher thought he had a disease. Our pediatrician's adamant opinion (and she knew him since the day he was born) was that there was nothing medically wrong with him. After feeling bullied by TJ's teacher I caved and did insist we try ADHD meds and it was a HUGE mistake- meds don't help if you don't need them... shocker, I know. After a year trying do to all the "right" things while watching my vibrant, quirky, unbelievably smart, cheerful little dude turn in to a broken hull of a child we brought him home and began to build him back up. And, yeah, that actually was the short version, lol. We added in Sylver and Trin as they got older, as well. It was challenging, it was hard, and it. was. worth it. Today our son is confident and smart with a huge, loving heart for God. I know if we had kept him in school he wouldn't be the same amazing kid he is today. I actually fear for the kid he might have become and I am so grateful that God provided us the means, support and the will to bring him home.  Anyone who knows TJ now would never think in a million years he was on the recieving end of being bullied. He sticks up for the bullied and is respected by his peers and his teachers (and the front office ladies, oddly enough... I went in a few times this year to drop off forgotten items and they just GUSHED over how great he is every time! He gets his charm from his dad! LOL).  He is totally comfortable being a complete goof ball in public, he loves to make people laugh and if you know him you love him.

We returned to the public school system after 3 years of homeschooling at the request of my 3 older children. They, understandably, wanted to attend with their friends and see if the grass really was greener on the school side. I was sad, but I realized it was time and I knew if they where struggling that homeschooling would still be available. It was a surprisingly easy transition. My kids hit the ground running and have been excelling, both in academics and character, in the 4 years they have been in the public school system. Every teacher who has had contact with them has commented on their exceptional character and willingness to do the right, selfless thing even when no one is watching. They have recieved numerous character and academic awards. That's a parenting win in my book. The last four years we have been blessed with excellent, involved and caring teachers and we stay in contact with some of them. I have the utmost respect for them and the job they do and I make sure they know it. 

So, that brings me to this year. For a myriad of reasons, we have decided to bring the girls home. We plan for it to just be for this year, but, as always, we are open to the leading of God. TJ starts public high school here in Arizona this year and he is *very* excited about it and I am excited for him! I had an amazing high school experience and I have really encouraged him to enjoy and excel these next four years and I know he will. I feel so good about the foundation we laid for TJ and the impact it has had on him. 

Sylver benefited from that solid foundation, as well. She has easily maintained a 4.0 and has won more awards than I can count, including national awards!  She needs a challenge and approached us about doing virtual school at home this year (it's basically public school at home using the computer- they do science labs at the school and field trips, as well). She plans to do two years worth of curriculum in one year and start high school next year. We feel that not only is she more than capable of that type of hard work and self discipline, but it will look great on her transcripts and help her to attain scholarships and grants for college so we are letting her go for it! 

Trinity actually only ever had preschool homeschooling and entered public school in Kindergarten. I have often felt guilty about her not having the really solid start that TJ and Sylver have so greatly benefitted from. I seriously considered keeping her home last year, but we decided to let her go since it was the one year that all 4 of the kids would be attending the same school. But, I did notice her struggling the last year, not only with academics but quite a bit with peer pressure. That's very concerning to me and Jesse. She is young and tender and we don't want her led astray. She asked to homeschool this year and Jesse and I talked it over, prayed about it and agreed. We really think taking the year with her to help fill in her gaps, work on logical problem solving and most of all to build her confidence with faith based character building will be the best we can do for her. She will not be doing virtual public school, but a set curriculum with me. I am neck deep in researching curriculum now. I am hoping to connect with a local homeschooling support group for field trips, ect, but we probably won't get involved in a co-op because a mid year move is a possibility and I don't want to commit if I can't follow through. 

Ari tanked in kindergarten this year. Completely. We had to remove her after two months with her teacher's and the school principal's blessing and support. She simply wasn't ready. She isn't exhibiting any signs of being ready this year either. And to be completely honest, I'm fine with that. Jesse needed an extra year to mature in kindergarten and he is hands down the smartest person (no bias, of course, lol) I have ever met. Plus, she just reminds me SO much of TJ at this age. She's wiggly, spirited, energetic, sensitive, super smart and a snuggle bug just like he was. He needed extra time to mature and come in to his own and, really, isn't that what childhood is about? She can't really stay still for very long at all when I teach her (we have been doing Hooked on Phonics this year with limited success, because, like I said, she's just not ready), her maturity is a little behind and since we can give her the time she needs, we will. If you haven't read Better Late Than Early, I highly suggest it. It really helped me stop pushing my kids so hard when they where young and let go of the mommy guilt when other kids their age knew more "stuff". It's not a contest. Pushing early academic knowledge isn't neccesarily a guarantee of academic success and can even be harmful! Jesse definitely lived that! His parents and teachers let him take it at his own pace and that worked for him. Very well!  For me, I started early and graduated early and that was fine, too. Kids are all different and in an ideal world we would be able to address that in public school... but we simply can't and that's where homeschooling becomes such a powerful beneficial tool! 

I know I am going to get some flak this decision, so please excuse me while I drag out my soap box and stand on it a minute. I'm not going to debate, but ask for understanding and, most of all, *respect*.

The choices we make, big and small, are done in our home with a lot of discussion, research and, most of all, prayer. We don't blindly jump in.  We don't judge public schoolers and we don't judge homeschoolers (cause really, how hypocritical would that be?). There is considerable value in both choices and we have utilized both in the ways that we feel best benefits our kids. I know a lot of my conservative Christian friends believe that Christian kids shouldn't be in public school at all and I respect and understand why they feel that way. I know a lot of my inner circle believes kids should suck it up, go to public school and learn to function in the "real world" and I respect and understand that viewpoint, as well. After all I lived it! But I also know my kids. I have never once made a choice for them that I didn't believe was in their best interest. My teens are proof that homeschooling works and my teens are also proof that public school works.... you know why? Because we, as their parents, WORK. School doesn't raise kids, WE do. I am truly so grateful we live in a country where parents have the freedom to make choices for our kids based on what we believe is best for them. Anyone who knows Jesse and I personally knows that we set the bar high for our kids. They don't get much slack. Not only do they meet that bar but they regularly knock it out of the way on their way past it. But we balance high expectations with listening to them and discerning when something needs to be adjusted. We are willing to think outside the box, push aside conventions, do the hard, unpopular things and fight for them when the situation merits it. They know that God gave them parents that are their biggest supporters and advocates.

In the end, we make the choices we make for our kids because we realize that we only get a very small slice of time to lay a strong foundation they can build their lives upon. It's so very important to us to remember the big picture! In that picture the truth shines more brightly with every quickly passing year and that truth is beautifully simple. They don't belong to us. They are God's beloved. We are privileged to be able to plant the seeds He will grow in them. We do our best to plant seeds of strong faith, compassion, love, courage, thoughtful intelligence and the willingness to question the status quo. I can't even imagine the amazing ways He will grow those seeds, but I know this....

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. 

And this....

Matthew 17:20 I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

Monday, May 5, 2014


We had a blessed Baptism weekend! I have to say Sunday night kind of felt like when prom weekend was over in high school. You know, after the weekend full of prep activity, stresses that threatened to detract from the joy and the desire to live each moment to it's fullest is over and everything is quiet and still? It's that bittersweet moment when you are sitting there in your jammies smiling ear to ear, with the memories and souvenirs (pictures) scattered around you, thinking, "That was FANTASTIC! Let's do it again!", knowing full well that isn't possible. Praise God!!

Just an FYI, for those that don't quite understand what baptism is (and isn't), Baptism is not a literal washing away of sins, nor does it save. It is simply an outward picture of the commitment and saving that has already taken place in our hearts. However, it is something that Jesus calls us to do publicly and it is seen by many as an extremely important first step in faith. In simple terms, it's walking the walk. 

And, that being said, TJ and Sylver, chose to be baptized together this weekend! Sylver accepted Christ, with the incredible calm and certainty that she does everything, sitting next to me at church one Sunday morning at the tender age of 7, and TJ, with uncharacteristic quiet and seriousness, accepted Christ just last month while at a men's group meeting with his dad. That they chose to take this step in their faith together is both unsurprising and awe inspiring. They are 23 months apart and have been as close as twins since they where little. TJ was small for his age for a very long time (no more! He's taller than both his sister and me now!!!) and Silly was tall for her age. I would often take them for rides in a double jogging stroller and it was a pretty regular occurance that I was asked if they where twins. It's been a special, blessed relationship and to say it's been a privilege to watch them grow together is a gross understatement. The very few serious fights they have had have been devastating to both of them and it's very rare to see them as upset and shaken as when they are at odds with each other. As little ones they played quietly next to one another for hours, comforted by simply being near each other. There was very little rivalry... nothing made me happier than my lap overflowing with little ones, they where both happy to oblige me and they hardly ever shoved each other off ;) . Now, as teens, their relationship consists of lots of good natured ribbing, some *mostly*  healthy competition, music and video sharing, bickering over chores and lots of serious conversations. They bond over their shared love of all animals, music, skateboarding and their shared disgust of bullying, cruelty and everything to do with dishes. TJ is very protective of his sister and she is just as protective of him. I am so blessed to know that when Jesse and I have gone home to our Heavenly Father, my children will have Him and each other to comfort, guide and protect them.

Because of TJ and Sylver stepping out in faith I feel like I need to take a moment to clear up something that I believe many non-believers (of which I was one for the first 22 years of my life) hold as a fallacy about believers. I really hope this doesn't come off as "preachy" but I realize that there are some that will think if I'm talking about faith (to be clear I do not discuss religion, but FAITH in our beloved savior, Jesus Christ) that I'm being preachy. If you could put that aside for just a few minutes and hear my heart on this I would like to share a little bit of the truth that we, personally, walk in. I've seen some memes lately from unbelievers on my friends list that are hurtful and false and perhaps you didn't realize it (or maybe you did, but I choose to give my friends the benefit of the doubt and assume the best). So, I'll just state this as plainly as I can...We are not trying to live a better life and "do the right thing" to "earn stuff in Heaven". I can only speak for me and those believers I am close to, of course, but, for us, I can conclusively say it's not about that at all. Walking the path that God has set before us seems to non believers to have a lot of "rules" that none of us are capable of following perfectly, so why do we try if we aren't trying to earn rewards? To look down our noses and try to be better than everyone else? No, it's not that either. Christians, just like every other person on the planet, fail (and fail continuously, in fact), because perfection is not and can not be possible for any of us. Christians are probably more aware of that than anyone. So, that begs the question, if our belief is that we are already saved, we are already forgiven and we aren't trying to earn goodies in Heaven and we aren't trying to be better snooty holier than thou know it alls, then why not just accept Christ and forget the "rules" and live the way we want to? What is our true motiviation for wanting to try to live a Christ like life (or do good stuff?)? The short answer is Love. Not only His Love for us, but Our Love for Him. When we stop living for ourselves and start living for Him that love is able to shine through us to those around us. Walking closely with Christ in our lives (again, doing "good stuff") and walking in His truth allows us to live out that reality. That, my friends and family, is where our true motivation lays. We have also learned that when we step outside the "rules" and in to sin (which is anything that separates us from God) the consequences HURT...ourselves, each other, picture the ripple effect, if you will. All of Us. Those consequences are the opposite of love. Their destructive power can not be under-estimated.  Divorce (adultery) HURTS, jealousy (coveting) HURTS...idolatry which manifests itself in many addictions (shopping, alcohol, drugs, sex, work) HURTS... anxiety stemming from fear of the unknown(unbelief) HURTS. ...bearing falsehood against each other? Yeah, that hurts, too. And personal pain is just the start. Those things obliterate families and tear at the very fabric of civilization. God doesn't want that for us. He loves us and wants us to live in peace with Him and each other. They aren't rules we have to follow. We want to. Every moment we aren't struggling with our own sin is another moment we can reflect His Love to those around us. We have grown to view them as loving safety guards on the winding road of life to prevent us from plummeting off a cliff on one side or smacking in to a wall on the other side. They come from a place of perfect love, protection and wisdom. Intentionally choosing to stay within those boundaries and the realization that they come from a place of pure love has been one of the most freeing, peaceful gifts of my life. So many people, myself included, have a knee jerk reaction to buck against anything constricting, like "rules". But, I have never once regretted doing it God's way and I can't count the times I have regretted doing it mine. The consequences of thinking my way is better have been far reaching and painful for me and I know others. All you need to do is read or watch the news to see that is truth for a lot more people than just me. 

Just one more thing.... We are all hypocrites (yeah, saw that meme, too) at some point in our lives, every single one of us, believer or not... Whether you are honest and/or self aware enough to admit it or not, we have all, without exception, blurted out something or done something that goes against who we believe ourselves to be. Christians get called out on it more, I believe, because we are transparent about the fact that we are actually trying, so it's much easier to point fingers and laugh when we fail. <shrug>. That doesn't bother me nearly as much as when someone truly evil does evil while claiming to be a Christian. Then it becomes real easy to paint all Christians with that huge paint brush, whether it's fair or not. That detracts from God's Truth and, frankly, that sucks. 

I wanted to get that off my heart because if you are reading this you may (or may not) love my children (and me) and if you do, I know that understanding what I have just shared will help you understand our faith and our hearts a little better. The faith that TJ and Sylver have chosen to publically declare and that they hold sacred in their hearts deserve nothing less than respect and understanding from those that love us. If you have had the wrong idea about that particular aspect of our faith I hope it helps clear it up for you. As always, if you want to discuss this or something else, feel free to PM me on FB or, if you have my number, call or text. 

Galatians 5:13-14
13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

Friday, March 28, 2014


Some days you wake up and you feel broken. The night before you where content, happy and grateful. This morning you feel like there is something sitting on your chest squeezing your heart. Every breath feels like an effort. You search for the trigger... but you realized a long time ago there is no trigger. You have too much to do, too many responsibilities to deal with this, but it's not going anywhere until it's good and ready. No amount of exercise, healthy diet, positivity, or talking yourself out of it will change that. You try, no doubt. And, truly, making that effort on days you don't feel like this helps widen the gap between the normal days and the broken days. I am no longer on medication so I use all the tools available to me to treat my illness, but a side affect of no meds is dealing with the fact that some days will be like this and sometimes those days will stretch in to weeks and months. When it stretches too long and I sink too deep I seek out the medication available to me. It's been over a year now since my last medication "cocktail". There is no pride in that, just as there will be no guilt if I need to go back. 
I'm not writing this for sympathy... in fact, sympathy and coddling are actually not what a depressed person needs. We need calm acceptance, understanding and compassion, hold the guilt trip, please. I am writing this so that others will know that they are not alone in their battle against this brokenness in our broken world. It's taken me a long time to reach this place of acceptance, with no guilt. It's taken longer and is still an on going effort to help the people who love me, who want to "fix" me  get to that place. Even my husband, after 15 years, will still ask, "What's wrong? What happened?" before face palming himself and saying, "I'm sorry, I know better. I just want to help you. What can I do ?". Depression and mental illness are largely misunderstood by those with the luxury of looking at it from a comfortable distance, brushed under the rug as a character flaw or spiritual weakness or a figment of an overly creative, bored imagination...sometimes I think that is fear more than true disregard. I have come through some storms that I thought for sure would break me permanently and been a better, stronger woman for it...that strength of character and who I am as a person have nothing to do with the illness that lingers in my mind and body laying in wait. I am not depression, but I do have it. When I feel good and I am "doing all the right things" even I will buy in to the lie that I can talk, exercise and pray my way out of it. Days like today remind me very clearly that is nothing more than a lie. I can't talk, exercise or pray my way out of kidney disease, either, so that I would think for a second I could pray or talk my way out of depression is ridiculous.... but that is what those who don't accept the reality of mental illness, who don't educate themselves believe and those that are too uncomfortable looking at the face of that brokenness have tried to sell me on for as long as I have had it. I can support the healing of my body by making good choices for it but I can't convince my body, no matter how much I want to, that it's not broken. Yesterday I exercised, I made awesome eating choices, took my vitamins, and spent quality time with God. Today I still have depression and today, unlike yesterday, it hurts me. I have kidney disease every day, too and it never hurts me. But someday I am told it will and when that day comes it will not make those that profess to love me look on me in fear, judgement or disregard... it begs the question why one of my diseases is more valid and "respected" than the other. It's baffling. I have read all the research, and the opinions about psychiatry being a quack science (Thanks, Tom Cruise), but the reality, MY reality, is that the answers are not in research because the problem isn't evidence, the problem is people. The problem has always been people, from the the very beginning of time. 
I praise God it doesn't hurt like this every day, because I know some of my friends do not have even that reprieve. 
His promise in Romans 8:28 states "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
Writing this so that other's will not feel like they have to hide in the dark is the best way I feel like I can allow His good works to be done not only for the sufferers, but for their loved ones and, yes, for me. We all want to be understood, we all want to be loved, and we are all broken in some way. I shared before that God is leading me to step out, tear down my walls and I will be obedient. Knees shaking, fingers trembling, but Obedient. 
If this makes you uncomfortable feel free to contact me and discuss it, but on a less broken day, please. Today, I am sorry to say, It physically hurts to breath and getting everything done that I need to get done will take every ounce of energy and focus I have. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Stepping Out and Kneeling Down

Obedience and Action both allowed God's Will and Grace to shine brightly in my life tonight. It was just awesome. We signed up for a bible study group for married couples from our church. Our church is a BIG church, the kind you can be anonymous in if you want to. It's the polar opposite of any church we have ever been led to before, but God led us to it's doors and it fits our family perfectly. Because they started very small and have grown so big they have a very strong emphasis on small groups because Jesus called us to be in fellowship with each other and experience life together .. There are men's groups, women's groups, couples, families and singles groups...  Groups for guitar players (TJ is signed up already, lol), knitters, quilters, runners, hikers, songwriters, community outreach (the community outreaches are awe inspiring!!!), recovery, grief, and lots of bible study groups (although, they are really ALL bible study groups! Even the runners study scripture together). So many others... If you want to be involved with like minded Christians there is a place for you. They challenged everyone to get involved in a small group during worship this Sunday and we accepted that challenge. We picked our married group first because we are both hungry for adult fellowship. There where three groups closer to our house but for some reason I was very strongly led to this group... Obedience and Action :)  In the hours leading up to the group I was so nervy I developed a tension headache. I started hoping for Jess to have to work late so we could just go next week.. Or the week after ��. I was trembling when we walked up and I was SO awkward the first 30 minutes while people came in. Everyone knew each other and we where the new couple. We sat down did an ice breaker to introduce ourselves and it felt like God was in the room with us. We studied scripture in relation to strengthening our marriages (half of the group of 8 couples are in their first couple years of marriage, the other half have been married 15+ years like Jess and I). We talked, laughed, and prayed. Then the guys and girls separated in to groups and we continued to lift each other up, gently guide each other in to making better decisions in our marriages and, more laughter and prayers. The guys where out back doing the same, but at the end there was some really loud hooting and laughing ... I asked Jess why when we where driving home and apparently there was some good old fashioned manly farting taking place, LOL. 

It was just such a wonderful God led night and that continued once we where home. When we got home we laid on our king sized bed with all four kids discussing our bible verse of the week.. 

1 Thessalonians 5:11 
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.

There is no school for the kids this week so the conversation was long, rambling, full of laughter, goofiness, farts and lots of love. It was truly a blessed blessed day.... With a lot of farting, lol. We took turns practicing that verse with each other by saying something encouraging and something to build each other up... When it was Sylver's turn she stared at TJ in silence for a good 20 seconds. I said, Silly? And she looks at me and says completely dead pan, "Just look at him, mom. He's not giving me a whole lot to work with here..." When the laughter died down she had the sweetest things to say to him, including he's her BFF. The sweet words spoken among the jokes, jibes and occasional sarcasm where awesome. We should do that every single day, honestly! It was fun and such a great way to hide that verse away in our hearts. We all agreed Trinity is the member of our family that best represents that verse on a daily basis. 

I can't help wondering what I would have written if I had stayed home and let fear win. Action and Obedience are causing me knee quaking fear and resulting in growth and peace and blessing beyond any expectation I could have ever hoped for. I was completely set free from something that was eating me up this week, too. Because of action and obedience. 

It can't be stated enough. God is AWESOME!!! 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Everything is new. Again.

It's March 2014 and in many ways my life is unrecognizable from 4 years ago, heck even 6 months ago. Looking at this blog is almost like looking at another life I lived. I'm grateful for it, truly, but.... well, on the surface it's easy to see the changes. I weigh almost 100 lbs less, we live in Arizona (from Florida and Delaware before that) and half of my little ones are teenagers now. The deep, gut wrenching, soul altering changes that have taken place are less visible. Much less visible, but those are the changes that I feel the most. As I look around our new home in AZ that doesn't quite feel like home, I realize that what doesn't really feel like home is ME. God is changing me, deeply and profoundly and, while I am asking, *begging* for Him to grow me in to the person He means for me to be, I am left feeling raw, floundering and fearful.... I can't hide myself from God. There is no such thing, only the lies that Satan whispers in the dark. God knows every part of your heart, even the ugly parts that you hope never come to light. Bringing them to light and feeling them die is painful and uncomfortable. Acting on those things that we are called to act on... well, those can be downright terrifying. Like jumping off a cliff. Dying to self is called DYING for a reason, I have come to acutely realize.

Honestly, today that feels like all I can dig in to, I'm tired, my head hurts and I am feeling deeply hurt by a personal issue. I want to hide in the dark. But, God is calling me to step out once again, to keep going, to expose all that is hidden in the dark to light, To Trust. Above all I desire the safety, peace and joy that comes from obedience to His Will. I have been fooled in the past by thinking that safety and peace and joy would come from the things my will desired... but that's a lie. It is now and always will come from His. Sometimes they meet, our wills.... but not always and I want to always pick His, because while it may not be the painless or easy route, it is better. Always. I'm on a deeply personal journey... my destination is to know God's heart, to die of self, to grow in to a mature Christian woman that walks closely with Jesus in absolutely every part of my life and heart. My destination is not perfection. Perfection does not and can not exist here. In fact, I'm working on striking that word from my vocabulary permanently, unless referring to, of course, God. 

I began in January to earnestly seek God out every day, all day. It wasn't a "New Year's resolution",although  the timing would certainly appear to suggest otherwise... it was the culmination of a gentle months (years?) long leading in that direction. If it coincided with the New Year, well, that was just God's Perfect Timing :) 

I want to be really understood on this...I am not following "rules" I am following hard after God. What does this mean? 

Simply, Action. If I'm not living, breathing and ACTING on my faith, I'm stagnant. I'm not growing. To be clear.... Faith without action is dead (James 2:14-26), and that means the adverse is 100% true as well. Action with Faith is Alive. Action for the sake of action, following rules, looking good to others (look at me I'm a great Christian! You can't fool God, you know.... or most Christians, for that matter)...those actions are as dead as no action. 

Grateful, heartfelt, faith-filled action... even when it doesn't necessarily feel grateful or heartfelt. Even when it's awkward, sticky or downright messy. 

I'm listing these, not to say, Hey, look at all the great stuff I am doing but as a reminder to myself  of the joy found in obedience and how far I have come in such a short amount of time, already. God is Awesome. 

I'm in my bible everyday. Action.
I am teaching my children (and myself) to hide bible verses in their hearts by focusing on one verse a week-posting the verse on the fridge, talking about it at dinner, asking them how the saw the verse at work that day. Action.
Church on Sunday. Joyful, Faith Affirming, Worship. The absolute highlight of my week. Action. 
When I am conflicted, anxious, sad, depressed, I go to my bible. I read where ever I open it. I try to identify the emotion and strive to fall in to my bible instead of falling back on false comforts (eating, buying, mindless social media, games). Action, Hard, Imperfect Action. 
I am surrounding myself with Godly woman I aspire to be like. Blogs, uplifting e-mails, facebook feeds, listening to Christian audiobooks while I work and talking to my Christian friends about my journey. Action.
Obedience... even when I really, really, really don't wanna. Action.
I am praying. And then praying some more.... and even more. Without ceasing.  Action. ( 1 Thessalonians 5:17).


I asked God in January to fill my heart with a burning desire to know Him, to be close to Him and to grow in Him. He is faithful. Action and Obedience are two words that feel like they have been burned in to my heart. 

But there is still fear living in my human flesh.  

I'm not listening to the lies Satan wants me to believe... I'm not. Most of the time. 

"oh you're going to be one of those Jesus weirdos that nobody likes or understands. People are gonna talk behind your back and you will alienate your family" 
"People are going to think you are judging them, your "holier then thou", "bible thumping", "narrow minded" and you're better then them." um, not if your following Jesus's example.
"there is no way you are good enough Christian, look at your past,  you might as well just sin now cause your gonna do it anyway" 
" your life has been pretty blessed up till now, remember all that good stuff you did, so obviously what you have been doing is good enough."
 "This is hard work, you are going to Heaven anyway, why not just coast along on good enough?"

Why, indeed? 

Because God made me to be more. He made me to live in Victory in Him and I love Him SO much that I genuinely desire to be obedient, to do His Will even when it's counter to my own, and to grow in Him. I want to live the life He Planned for me, not the one I plan for me. That burning desire I prayed for is there. I pray that one day my children will pray for and know that desire, as well, because that answer, that YES, is clearly Truth. I'm not listening to lies anymore. My heartfelt prayer is that this desire for God will never waver, never burn out and never desert me. I know that pain is coming and is, in fact, HERE. But growth IS painful and anyone who denies that truth will not grow. I don't like pain, not at all, but in completely non-narcissistic way, I welcome it because I desire the growth that will accompany it. 

I want to end this post with an invitation to you... does this post make you fearful? confused? angry? judged?  Then I want you to talk to me about it. Please. If it makes you feel encouraged, hopeful or inspired, or  you want to encourage me or be encouraged on your own walk with Christ talk to me about that, too. I'm kind of laying it all out there and that's a vulnerable place to be, but I have come to realize I don't need to protect myself nearly as much as I need God. 

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what 
good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.  James 2:14-26