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."