Monday, December 29, 2014

Homeschool filled with grace

My homeschool filled with grace is not me walking around gracefully schooling my children. My homeschool filled with grace is God's grace.  His grace and His promises and His faithfulness is what is going to get me through this journey. Holding to the promise that He who began a good work in me (and my children) will carry it to completion.  

The one PERFECT thing in my homeschool is Christ and the one thing that I would NOT change about my homeschool is having a Christ centered homeschool. And some days, that means not doing school at all.  Some days it is about showing my children grace and forgiveness. Some days it is more about character building and less about fractions.  Is every day like this? No, of course not. I still have academics that I have to get done but I rely on God to show me what is most important each day.  I also rely on God to convict me of my sinful ways that so easily trap me and whisper to me that it would be better to watch Netflix.  I rely on God to help me recognize when the Enemy is deceiving me and telling me that I can't do this. That I am a failure. That my kids are better off in school. I don't believe everyone should homeschool but I do believe that God has called me to homeschool. And through His strength and power, I am able to make it through the journey as I trust Him to guide me through it. I could not do it without Him. I know that other people do it without Him but I know that I could not. 

So here are the top things I have learned in my homeschool journey in the last 4.5 years.  And I know that I don't have it all figured it out. And I know I have a lot more to learn. 

1. It is not going to look like school.   While some people succeed in making their homeschool look like school, I found so much freedom when I freed myself that not only was my homeshool not going to look like school but that it wasn't supposed to look like school. Sometimes it looks all crazy but as long as I don't stress and just let it flows its natural path, the kids and I are quite happy with our system. And amazingly our system is somehow getting them educated. Yea! 

2. My role is Mom first, Teacher second.  And one of the reasons why it can't look like school is because you can't separate out those roles. I can't start school at 9 AM and have my children call me Mrs. Teacher and expect everything to go well. It won't.  Being the mom is going to look different than having a different teacher. But what a tremendous opportunity it is as well to influence them and guide them in their education, life choices, walk with God. The opportunities and therefore the responsibility is huge. But so worth it. 

3. My deepest desires for my children have nothing to do with education.  I would not even say that I want them to go to college. I would honestly say that I don't have any clear cut aspirations for them after my short time with them. My deepest desires for children are for them to develop their own relationship with Jesus Christ and have their own desire to passionately follow Him. I want them to seek His will for their life. If after all my homeschool endeavors, they come to me and they have prayed about it and they feel like the Lord is leading them to become a garbage man, then they will have my blessing.  For our identity is not in the career or the job that we do, our identity is in Christ. And I want my children to be so attuned with Him that they desire to follow where He leads them whether it be college or missions or a garbage man.  Would life be easier for them if they went to a great school and got a great job? Maybe. Maybe not. Would it make them more happy? Maybe.. Maybe not.  God didn't it call us to a happy easy life with a 6 figure salary. God called us to holiness. And it is my desire that my children pursue that with all their heart. 

I take each year at a time but right now, I can say that I am not opposed to the idea of homeschooling them all the way through high school. Could that change? Sure.  But I don't really have a desire to put them in school unless some amazing opportunity comes up that I just couldn't pass up.  And while we have good schools in our area, none of them are screaming "amazing opportunity" to me right now. But you know what IS an amazing opportunity that I don't want to trade for anything right now... having them right here in my home, teaching them about God's love and how they can become followers of Christ and men after God's own heart.  And that is why I love homeschooling and love spending each and every day with them.  

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A day in the life of an imperfect homeschool

You probably have heard it, said it or thought it... How do you do it? You must have a lot of patience. What about socialization?  I could never homeschool.  Don't you have to be qualified?  Some of these questions and statements come from the truly curious and some come from people with a true disdain for homeschool.

Here are my truths about my homeschool
1.  It's crazy hard (and overwhelming)
2.  It gets harder with each kid I add
3.  I don't worry about socialization a single bit
4. But I do worry about their education
5. Patience would be nice but not a requirement
6. I could never do this alone and thank goodness I don't have to

So I have read blog post after blog post of people posting their homeschool schedules with their 8 kids.  Usually they begin at 5 AM with a cup of coffee, time with God and a run. And breakfast starting  at 7:30 with dressed kids and beds made and then they outline their cute school schedule promptly ending at 1:00 pm.  Not all homeschools look like that and since I am a master of open and honest.. Let's check out a typical day of mine.

Disclaimer:  Kid#1 and Kid #2 and Kid #3 are not an indication of birth order.

Insomnia the night before so I don't roll out of bed until 9 am. Thank goodness the kids have been playing quietly.  Where's my coffee?

 10 AM rolls around. I assume the kids have eaten. I call the first kid to do his math. He yells "Noooo. I don't want to do school today!"  I guide him to the breakfast room table anyway and attempt to get him started even though the breakfast room table looks like this..

Get Kid #2 started on Math. Kid #1 is still screaming.    Kid#2 starts screaming because he has to have complete silence in order to do his math.  Move Kid#1 to a different room and beg him to please be more quiet. Dash back to breakfast room to save Kid#2 from Kid#3 who is singing "lalalalala" as annoyingly as he can because he discovered that Kid #2 is trying to do his math. Lock Kid#3  in his room. Ever play the game Diner Dash? It feels sort of like that.

Okay all kids doing math.  Drink more coffee. Check email. Check Facebook. An hour and half goes back. Wait? What? How did that happen? Oh yeah I clicked on 3 articles on Facebook and responded to 5 emails. Sigh.  Text message comes in from best friend "Lunch?"   Lunch already? Well the kids got Math done.. so why not?

3 hours later... We eat slow.  Or err umm..yeah who we are kidding..we pick places with playgrounds and drink several refills of tea.

3 PM Quick history lesson and then a You Tube video on Henry Hudson.  Mom falls asleep "like she always does" - quote from the 10 year old. What can I say? Insomnia is a killer.  

4 PM .. School work not done. Send the older ones off to do something educational on the computer while I try to teach the younger one how to read.  Now where did I put his phonics book? Oh yeah I last saw it in the school room.   Oh hmm.  Humm.. Oh dear.. okay skip phonics.. maybe I should clean up and start again tomorrow?

6 PM rolls in. Husband comes home. Kids and I are busy doing some spelling tests.  He thinks "Oh wow. What a great wife! She's been schooling all day"   "Night school again? I bet she went out to lunch, took a nap and got distracted with email and Facebook"  (note: while he may think this because he knows me well, he is my #1 cheerleader in my homeschooling endeavors).  Yep.. that pretty much sums it up.  Bedtime is not until 9PM so I still have 3 hours left of good solid school time!  

This is NOT AT ALL what I thought homeschooling would look like when I started. But it's a reality. Not for all days but a lot of days. Add in sick kids, sick mom, errands, extracurricular activities.. homeschooling can look crazy!

Now before you judge me or call the truancy officer or quiz my kids to see if they really do know how to read, let me tell you that there is a PART TWO of this homeschooling journey.  There is a lot that I have learned about homeschooling in the last 4 years. There is one part of my homeschool that is absolutely PERFECT.   There are things in my homeschool that I wouldn't change or trade for the world.  There is beauty in this mess!   So if you are curious.. stay tuned!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Jehovah Rapha.. The Lord who heals

I won't be blogging as much as in 2015 but I didn't want to leave the year with my last blog post because it was just a crazy mess.  But there is beauty and purposes in messes.  I never really had a clear purpose on why I kept blogging so openly but the last post ended up being an unexpected blessing. I was going through a hard time and I have lots of friends and family members that I could have talked to but instead I just told everyone what I was going through. And through that, the Lord sent the right person to say exactly the right things that I need to hear.  And I am very grateful for my friend, Brandie, for making me see things in a different way that helped me tremendously.

So many of you encouraged me to not lose hope and to continue to pray for healing for my depression and to seek God.  I did ask God for healing but I asked him for a different healing. I asked him for healing of my insomnia. And the very first day that I did that, I fell asleep and did not wake up again for 7 hours.  It was amazing..  Next night 6 hours.. Since that day, I have had nights where I have woken up but not for the endless hours at a time. When I wake up in the night, I started reciting Scripture until I fall back asleep. I usually don't make it to 10.  Getting sleep is HUGE towards finding strength to deal with depression so I am SO GRATEFUL for this answered prayer.

God also knows how it has been a daily prayer and struggle for me to find my identity in Him and to truly believe that He loves me and cares for me. So while I did not need the Lord to answer my prayer for insomnia, I would have loved Him just the same,  it did open my eyes to a "wow" moment of remembering that God really does care about me.

I also started a booked called Who I am In Christ by Neil T. Anderson. It is a daily reminder to me. "I am not a product of the past. I am a child of God."  It goes through our identity of Christ through acceptance, security and significance.  It has blessed me in many ways.

And I am continuing to seek the Lord.  I have a hunger for the Word that requires patience.  Even though I am able to stop and read it and mediate on it several times a day, it's not enough for me.  Patience... read some today, read some tomorrow. There is time.   Praise the Lord for this hunger. If you don't have a hunger for the Word, I encourage you to ask Him for it. Ask him every single day. it will change your life.

I don't see my depression going away. There will be times of sadness still.  But when walking with the Lord, I know that most of my days can be filled with joy and peace and hope.  For my hope is in the Lord. And I know that He loves me. And I know that He cares about me. And as I keep my eyes set on Jesus, I will run the race before me with His strength holding me up the whole way.

Love to you all. Merry Christmas.

Psalms 36:5  Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

My faith and a huge brick wall

Okay if you follow my blog, then you know that the middle of the night produces nothing but brutal honesty from me. So I have my insomnia and my glass of egg nog, let's get this party started.

So I re-booted and started faith in Jesus all over again. And it's been awesome.

Faith - meet brick wall.

I needed about this much faith [    ] to believe in Jesus but when our pastor started a sermon series on dealing with depression with God and Christian faith, I lost it.  The amount of faith I need to include God in on my's big.   It was super more than I can handle and it's been painful. And I looked back over my sermon notes trying to figure out what in the world has been going on with me and my sermon notes are just filled with raw pain and I could feel the pain of Sunday all over again and I could barely read it again. And there are doodles all over the page and there are side notes. One of my side notes "Are you willing to believe this?"  and another side note in bigger letters is "This is beyond me"  and then there are notes in between on the actual sermon half of them smudged with tears.  The words I most appreciated hearing was when my pastor said that he knew this wasn't going to be easy.   This is impossible.   That's how I feel right now.

I was talking to Chris about how I don't believe in healing. And he asked if I didn't believe in healing for anyone with depression or just myself. And the answer is just myself.  I have had depression for the last 27 years and 23 of them have been with medication. I won't listen to anyone who suggests that I go off medicine because the most likely situation that would occur would be me six feet under. That's not pessimism.. it's realism. And don't you dare tell me that I just need more trust in God or I will go crazy on you. I came to grips a long time ago with God that I was not going to see healing on this side of Heaven. That doesn't mean that I don't sometimes get comfort from God when I am going through dark times. I do.

So why am I so upset?  I am not sure. Maybe because I am not willing to let God in on this. Not yet.  Maybe because when I am depressed and I cry out to God, I just feel more alone. Maybe because I am scared.  I don't really know.

One part of the sermon touched on the enemy's lies.  And I heard a new voice in my head.. it told me.. what if what I am hearing aren't lies but are actually the truth.  It might be the enemy feeding me the lie right now that I am a failure. But there is an element of truth in that.. I am actually failing!  And I have decided that the only way that I can stop being a failure is to stop failing and bam.. meet another brick wall.  When the weight of everything is on top of you and you feel alone and you can't feel God's strength and you can barely get out of bed in the morning, it's hard not to fail.  Life is a huge fail for me right now.

So I am filling my days with activities and just trying to make it through the day. I have officially declared Christmas vacation so I don't have to worry about homeschooling for awhile. I am going to church in the morning because it's my happy place. I don't even know if it's open. I don't even care. It's got that big open field I love so much. I have plans on Thursday. A coffee date with a friend on Friday.   With the help of my family and friends, I can get through each day.  And that's all I am hoping for right now.  I am not hoping for anything regarding that brick wall. It's just going to have to sit there for now.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Transformation

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

It's been a little over a month since I decided to re-commit my life to Christ and a lot has changed. I knew that things were going to change but I didn't really know how. I have given my life to Christ before but I think there is a difference between that time and this time but I would expect that because there is a difference between 19 year old me and 37 year old me.

So here are some changes that I have noticed

1) Trusting God  -  I mentioned in my faith journey story that I had to leave a lot of religious baggage on the side of the road.  Well wouldn't you know that Enemy likes to continue to bring that back up? But being open and honest about it has helped other people work through some of the issues with me. A lot of my religious baggage revolves the concept of becoming a Christian and staying a Christian.  And there are two thoughts that waged war with me. The old adage "once saved always saved" and if you walked away from the faith, then you were never a Christian to begin with. And from that, I had people and pastors from my past who greatly discouraged the idea of "re-committing" your life to Christ.  That was not something that should be done.  And then I have the Presbyterian background of people in my past believing that we are God's chosen people and you can't really know whether or not you are a Christian.  I also had major trust issues with God loving me and that's a whole story all on its own.  All of this was a great hindrance to me while I was trying to find my way back to a relationship with God.

And here is my Scripture that wipes away my baggage.. Matthew 16:24  Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me"   It's not that God doesn't care about my past. And my past is part of my life story. But God cares more about my present. God has instructed me to love Him and trust Him at this very moment and I am not going to allow my past experiences to change that reality.  And I am not going to question whether I am among the "chosen" and I don't even know what to say about the fact that I re-committed my life to Christ.. I am sticking by that statement too and if you don't believe in "re-commitment" well I don't know what to say about that.

2)  The desires of my heart - Psalm 37:4 - Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of the heart.  Matthew 7:7  Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.     I was in a Beth Moore study this fall and as a struggling lost person, a lot of it didn't meet me where I was. But there was one thing that I took out of context to make my prayer. Beth did a whole week just on the phrase "when the Lord Jesus is revealed" from 2 Thessalonians 1:7 and it's talking about the 2nd coming but I remember crying out to the Lord that I didn't want to wait for the 2nd coming, I wanted Him to reveal Himself to me NOW.   And He did in His timing which was less than a week from when I prayed that prayer.   The desires of my heart have shifted from worldly things to Christ-like things.  And the Lord has answered my prayers.  I have a desire to read my Bible daily. I have a desire to share my faith in Christ.  I have a desire to meet with other believers. And most of all, I have a desire to know God and follow Him.   And he has given me the desires of my heart and it's the most awesome answered prayer ever. :)

3) Love -  John 13:35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.  I am experiencing and giving love in a new way. The trusting God that He loves me.. that distrust extended to other people too.  It's not that I think that I am unlovable but I just didn't understand why people care sometimes. So being brand new to a church and seeing people care about me was honestly a little frightening to me. These people don't even know me and they have loved and cared about me from the very beginning and now I get it.. They love Jesus!  and their love for other people.. any other people.. just is an overflow of that and I am so thankful to have been the recipient of it from so many people.  And the love and support that I have gotten from my old friends as well has been equally wonderful.  It would have been more difficult had it not been for my fellow believers coming up beside me and supporting me.  And through everyone, I have been given an example of how to love others and I have found my love for others..any others.. to have grown. I care more deeply about the people I know and I am more saddened when I see heart wrenching stories of people I don't know. And I am offended by more things when they are not uplifting to people even if the person is a stranger.

This post is getting too long and my insomnia is wearing off. No offense blog but yea!! So maybe I will have a transformation part 2 coming or maybe I will blog about something else.  Who knows where the middle of the night will ever take me? :)

So whether you are active friend in my life or just someone who comes and reads my blog, thanks for being a part of my journey with me.  You mean so much to me.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Gratitude - the never changing vs the ever changing

In the month of November, I did the popular Facebook thing of posting something each day (or in my case some days) of something that I am grateful for. Like most of us, I am thankful for these things in months other than November but it got me thinking about gratitude in general.

I see gratitude in my life being divided into two different categories - 1) the never changing and 2) the ever changing

1)  The never changing  


Along with Jesus there is God the Father, the Spirit, the promise of salvation for those that believe, His Word and His many promises.   These things will NEVER CHANGE.  No matter my circumstances in my life and no matter the Enemy, nothing can take these things away from me. And for that I am grateful in a way that words can not even begin to express. My heart overflows.  When the Bible commands us to "in everything give thanks".. this is it people.. this is everything.  It defines my purpose for living and I give the Lord thanks for it.  Psalm 107:1  Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. 

2) Ever changing   

I am thankful for my husband, my kids, my extended family, my friends, my church, homeschooling, employment, a roof over my head, good health, food..the list goes on and on.  I don't want to be non-thankful for these things because I am extremely thankful. But I want to recognize that these things are on a revolving door in this crazy thing called life. They are going to ebb and flow. Sometimes we are going to have them and sometimes we are going to not have them. Our list is going to look different from year to year as our circumstances change. But nothing on this list is going to change God or the character of God or the promises that He has given us as you can see..nothing I listed is promised from God. 

We will always have things to be thankful for because list #1 is never changing.  Pastor Saeed Abedini who is an American pastor imprisoned in Iran wrote a beautiful letter to his daughter on her 8th birthday and one of the very first lines says "I praise God for His faithfulness to me every day." Even in an Iranian prison, you can see expressions of gratitude.  

So I encourage all of us in this season of gratitude to never give up hope in our circumstances, look to the cross and find Jesus and be thankful. Be thankful for the Lord Jesus Christ and His faithfulness whether you are in a cozy East Cobb home or an Iranian prison.. both of us can look to Jesus and live our lives with an expression of gratitude for his never changing love for us.  

Pastor Saeed's letter to his daughter -     I highly encourage you to take the time to read this.  His faith is an amazing example to us. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The amazing power of prayer

When it comes to prayer, I have two favorite verses..

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. " I love this verse because it doesn't say.. "He will hear us", it says "there am I among them".   Wow.

Romans 8:26 "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words."   And I like this verse because it pretty much sums up my prayer life right now. One of these days I am going to get farther in my prayer than "Dear Lord"..yesterday was not that day.

I love to pray for other people and get the chance often as people are frequently sick, out of work, lost a loved one. I am not happy those things happened, of course, but I am happy to be able to pray for them. And when one of those things happens, there are FB posts, email blasts, etc etc. People aren't usually shy when they are hurt or sick to ask people to pray for them.

I am not physically sick but I am sick. I am not physically hurt but I am deeply hurt. And I am shy. For shyness comes when people have sickness that runs deep inside them that can't be explained in an email blast.   I love Matthew 18:20 also because of the words "where two or three".. I don't need a whole multitude of people praying for me right now. I have exactly 3 people who know what's going on with me right now and they are praying for me and I can feel the Lord's presence.  Yesterday, my CC director prayed over me and a peace washed over me in the middle of a prayer. Tears that had not been dried up for days were gone and I was at peace and I was able to teach my class that day. Satan would not have the best of me..not yesterday. I had a class to teach and I needed peace and I had no idea what to do and how to get that peace and it seemed so very hopeless.  If you have never felt hopeless, boy are you missing out.  You are missing out on seeing a healing that only the Lord can provide.  There was no greater joy than in the middle of the prayer feeling the Peace that passes all understanding.  I don't understand. I may never understand but I am so grateful that we can come to the Father through Jesus Christ and have the Holy Spirit intercede for us when we don't even have the words.  Because even though my director was able to express more words than my "Dear Lord" that I had already tried, I don't think it would be mattered. If she had been completely silent, the Lord still would have heard us.  Yesterday turned out to be a wonderful day filled with joy and peace and gratitude.

I am still sick though. In a way that I can't explain to you and won't explain to you because well sorry but you are a just a blog. And even though we have become pretty buddy buddy lately, we aren't that close.  Sorry blog..

Thank you readers for all your kind words and messages lately. I get extremely self conscious when people tell me that they read my blog but you are all very kind and not a single one of you has called me crazy to my face  and I thank you for that. :)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Moving forward with a smile

So I didn't want to end the weekend with THAT depressing sob story blog post. I also want to clear up some things I didn't say well

1) I did not mean to imply that my non-Christian friends judge me. Far from it, they are the least judgmental people in my life. More of what I meant to say is that if I was going to go up in battle about a blog post about my faith, you think that it would be against the world and not against other Christians. If I have to fight a battle with a non-Christian about my faith, I haven't met that person yet. The non-Christians in my life are amazing. As long as I respect them and don't judge them, they treat me the same.

2) I didn't mean to imply that I don't already have real life friends . I have AMAZING real life friends that I know would support me in a second but sometimes I need to speak up when I need help. And there lies the problem.. I am not good about speaking up...being real with real live people.. not one of my greatest strong points.  But this is something for ME to work on.  You amazing friends just keep on being amazing and THANK YOU for all your encouraging posts and emails and blog posts. You overwhelm me!

One of the best things that came out of yesterday's blog post is that it opened dialogue with Chris about how 1) I am not the best at communicating. (my take away..not his actual words) and 2) Because he knows me so well and because I was able to explain in more detail than I could give you, he was able to help me through the situation I got myself in and how easy it was for the enemy to attack me while I was vulnerable in a situation that I should have run from. So that's all cleared up now.

And I am back to normal... ahhh.  Where normal is defined as happy, joyous, and filled with gratitude. It's my new normal. And I love it!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

I am not giving up

Open..honest.. transparent.. judgment..discouragement...alone..

The first three words describe the beginning of my week and the last three describe the end of my week.  You see, when I start blogging, I forgot about one thing.. I was going to be judged.  And judgment doesn't come from my non-Christian friends.. it comes from my Christian friends. No, not EVERYONE.. I have had some AMAZING encouraging friends who have messaged me about my journey and I appreciate you so much!!  But apparently in my life of la la land, I forgot that not all were going to be as receptive for what I had to say.

And while we are throwing out adjectives or nouns or whatever.. let's throw in apathy.. there are just some people that just don't care that I am on this journey..

I am alone.. oh wait no I am not.  Christ is with me. And no matter what happens. that won't change. And no matter what happens, He is the only thing that I need.  Psalm 118:6-7 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?

In the interest of honesty, I still feel alone.  I hide behind a computer screen. I have not yet had a single conversation with a real human about this amazing month I have had. The month where I discovered that Jesus is the most awesome thing in the whole universe. I am scared and for good reason.. people judge me.  It would have been a lot easier if I just kept pretending...pretending that I knew Jesus like everyone else...pretending like I didn't just NOW discover Jesus ...

Yes, something happened this week. Something that made me feel like I had just been thrown in front of a mac truck.  Something that washed waves of disappointment over me. Something I should have seen coming but didn't. And now I sit behind this computer.. I don't really know what to do next.

Pray.. I am going to keep on praying.  I am not giving up.  I am not giving up on you, dear reader. I brought you on this journey and as long as you keep clicking, I am going to drag you along with me.

But I will honest (aren't I always.. ha ha!), I need some real life friends. I know many of you I don't even see in real life and that's fine but if I do see you in real life, please talk to me, give me a hug, share a Bible verse, pray over me.. I don't care ...whatever the Lord places on your heart.  Cause it's been a rough week and I wouldn't mind the encouragement that I have some Christian friends that are going to walk this journey with me.

I am not giving up..

Monday, November 10, 2014

Tackling the sin problem in my life.. oof!

So funny story.. I am often called a transparent, honest open book person. People often think I am crazy (for that and other reasons) and my close friends and family laugh at me because this transparent and honest thing is accompanied with being easily completely mortified. So when my last blog post reached over a hundred people, I kinda wanted to die. And Chris laughs and says "When are you going to learn that is how social media works. You post stuff. People read it"   I responded with that I live in this la la land that you people have better things to do than to read my FB posts and certainly my long rambling blog posts. And my only explanation of why I continue is that insomnia is 1) boring and 2) makes me a crazy oblivious to reality person

So I titled this blog post something boring and am going to continue to think that maybe no one but a handful of people will read it.. ha ha!  Because seriously.. who wants to talk about sin?  Last I checked that was a topic that was avoided in most of my social circles unless of course, you wanted to spout off your beliefs about other people's sin by re-posting an article on FB.. that's okay. But a blog post about your own sin.. yeah I am a little quirky I admit.

In my new journey to draw closer to Christ, it quickly became apparent that I have a sin problem and in my new journey, I have a desire to not sin. Soo where does this leave me? It only leaves me with one choice.. doing something about my sin.  Hmm that is way harder than it sounds.. you see..I am old and I have been doing some of these sins for a longgg time.. I have had a long time to have these sins deeply ingrained in my being. So here is what I have discovered in my time with God.. He is willing to help me with my sin problem but I don't think it's as easy as saying a prayer in the morning "Lord help me" and thinking I am good to go.  I actually tried that and it didn't work.

Here is what I do know.. or at least pretend to know.. or at least at 3 AM in the morning am typing that I know.  1) Pray continually.. not just in the morning  2) Set your minds on things is harder to sin if I am reading my Bible and memorizing it  3) Tell other people about my sins.

So that leaves me with #3... now if you are NOT crazy then you do #3 with your spouse and a close group of friends. And I AM going to do that because I am going to ask my close friends and family to keep me accountable but then I decided to go the crazy route and just tell everyone.. ha ha.. told you I was crazy.

I discovered that sin problems usually have a root problem. My root problem is that I have a lack of self control.  A multitude of sins falls in this category.  And through it, I decided that I don't love people enough... More self control will lead to showing those that I love that I love them. The sins I have don't have consequences that hit hard a lot.  No, my sins consequences are much more subtle.. so subtle that they are super easy to ignore when I am not walking with the Lord. And Lord help me that I don't ever see my sins as "lesser sins"..sin is sin..period.

So here we go.. I know you are waiting with baited breath for my deep dark secrets...I am laughing right now because I again assume that none of you are still reading this.. seriously people.. go find a good book!

1.  Laziness -  I really owe an apology to my family for this one. It's true.. I am lazy. I shy away from responsibilities. I don't use my time wisely. My homeschool is a big hot mess right now. I overcommit to things that keep me from doing the things I really need to be doing. There are five million chores that need to be done. I am not a good steward of my time. Ephesians 5;15- 16 Look carefully, then how you walk,, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

2. Addiction  -  I have an addiction to food. I won't get into the past but this is certainly not my first time around with addiction.  You know what is not easy about addictions.. breaking them.  I am addicted to sugar. This is a BAD thing to be addicted to when you are facing a diabetes diagnosis.
And I will be honest.. I am not really open to talking about this one.. because I feel like people are always trying to sell me on something.  It's not that I don't know HOW to lose weight and eat right.. it's that I choose not to do the things that I know I am supposed to do.  1 Corinthians 6:12  "Everything is permissible for me" but not everything is beneficial  "Everything is permissible for me" but I will not be mastered by anything

3.  Gossip - ouch.. Dear friends, I don't love you enough to not talk about you.  Isn't that what we are saying when we talk about other people?  And this is the one that I will ask my close friends to keep me accountable to because well, they are sometimes helping me out with this (sorry to throw you under the bus, friends, but it's true).  I remember in my younger days thinking that gossip is defined as saying things that you would not say if they were in the room or saying things that you don't want to get back to them. And also defined as "Is what I am saying about this person going to make the other person think more highly of the person or less highly?"  And what does God think about what I am saying.. it is easy to forget that God is right there with every conversation.. forget being embarrassed because the person you are talking about walked into the room, I should be embarrassed because God is already in the room and is not very pleased with my lack of tongue control..   Ephesians 4:29  Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but such as is good for edifying as the need may be, that it may give grace to to them that hear.

I could list many more probably but those are the ones that the Lord has laid upon my heart at this time.  And the ones that I will be asking my friends to help keep me accountable.  You will never see me pretending like I have it altogether.. I will be the first to admit that my life is crazy out of control. But I recognize that and I truly believe that the Lord is going to help me put this crazy thing called life together. I will never be perfect and thank goodness there is grace for that. But I do recognize that my life is not as honoring to Christ as it should be. One day at a time, one prayer at a time, one foot in the front of the other.. Holy Spirit helping me every step of the way..God's got this

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

My new faith journey

My new faith journey

God has spoken to me recently and I have discovered this.. I need three things to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.. 1) Jesus Christ because He is the Son of God that came to Earth to die for our sins and it is only through Him that we can be cleansed from our sins and be right with God  2) The Bible which will is the only truth source that can show me how to trust in Christ as my Lord and Savior and 3) Prayer by which I can communicate to Christ and God the Father

Everything else is a tool that can be a help or a hindrance in the relationship with Christ and it is through Christ, the Bible and prayer that I need to recognize what is what.  

The past:  In the past 37 years, I have let my experiences, the church and people be both a help and a hindrance. In the end though, the hindering overpowered and I unconsciously walked away from Jesus about 5 years ago. I didn’t realize I was doing it and I didn’t really care until recently

Recent events:  Desperate to get back to the relationship that I once had with the Lord or what I thought I had with the Lord or what I saw other people have with the Lord, I decided I needed to leave the church that I grew up. I had 30 years of baggage and felt like I was in the middle of spiritual warfare when trying to deal with it all. And with both my husband and I, we had some differences with the church that even if we had met with church leaders to gain clarity on their position, we felt confident that we would still leave for what I can only describe as “irreconcilable differences”.  I still hold the church in high esteem. It is an amazing church but it was no longer right for our family.

Past 3 months:  In August of 2014, we began attending Grace Community Church in Marietta. I had visited several times. Already knew a couple of people that attended. And I immediately fell in love with the Biblical teaching and the people there. We started attending the Connections class and we decided that we would like to be members. I can’t see us attending any other church at this point.

Membership application.. page one.. all going great. Got to page 2 and it said something like If you died and went to Heaven would Jesus let you in? My immediate thought.. I have no idea.. And then it had a huge blank section for me to talk about my faith in Christ.  I shut the application feeling overwhelmed and knowing that I was in trouble if I couldn’t answer those questions.  I decided to hold off on the whole membership thing.

About 2 weeks ago, I was walking in the church on my way to meet the church secretary. (Note: that was my ONLY plan for walking down the hallway)... The senior pastor, John Harris, stops and asks me if he can help me with anything. Now I come from a mega church.. 1) you don’t just run into the senior pastor in the hallway and 2) if you did, you wouldn’t stop and talk to him.  So this is a little surreal and even more surreal if you know me and know that I am TERRIFIED of pastors.  So I later joked with my friends that it must have been the Spirit of God talking through me because the next thing out of my mouth was me not only speaking to the senior pastor but requesting a meeting with him to talk about the membership application and my relationship with Jesus..  Wait? What?  We decided I could meet with him and the discipleship pastor, Randy.  Okay deep breaths.. I can do this. I NEED to do this because I have no idea what Christianity is all about. And I am determined to not be in a church for the next 30 years with a stamp on my membership application and feeling like a complete fraud.

Then something happened.. I discovered that I don’t need a meeting with pastors to tell me how to have a relationship with Jesus. It’s all right in front in me. It’s all right there in this book..the Bible.  I discovered that I needed Jesus and I needed him right then and I needed to read the Bible.  So I have started.. I have started my new faith journey.  I don’t have it all figured it out and I still plan on meeting with the pastors. But I have left the baggage on the side of the road. And man, there was a lot of it. And I am looking forward to the future. The future that is filled with Christ’s love for me and my love for Him and a lifetime of learning daily how to trust and follow Him in all that I do.  I am excited. I am beyond excited. And a little scared.. so maybe I do have a little baggage left.. the baggage of “I don’t want to screw this up again”  but maybe that’s not baggage.. maybe that is me wanting to make a commitment to not walk away again. To not let things or people or the church take my focus away from Christ.  Cause if there is one thing that I have learned from all of this, it is DO NOT TAKE YOUR EYES OFF JESUS.. not for a second.

Hebrews 2: 1-2  Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.