Archive for the ‘Christian’ Category

True Confessions

I’m going to go ahead and preface this by saying that I’m not writing this for sympathy or pity. I just have so much floating around in my head and there must be an outlet every now and then or I’m just not someone with whom I enjoy living. I choose this as my outlet. I have this idea that has proven true with me my whole life: secrets are parasitic, toxic, and dangerous. Especially secrets that don’t really need to be secrets. Things like, I get depressed sometimes. It makes me anxious when seat belts or car seat buckle straps are twisted. I haven’t read my Bible in…a while. My marriage broke. I prefer wearing t-shirts over anything else, every day. I don’t always practice what I preach. I yell at Abby sometimes. I react in anger when I shouldn’t. I harbor resentments and bitterness. I wish my hair was long again. I watch more Bravo shows than I should. Et cetera.

I think people are so concerned with ‘image’ and having the appearance of having it altogether that we think everybody must be doing better than we are at life. But I think if people (myself definitely included) were more honest, we’d all have a more accurate and truthful portrayal of each other. I don’t really know where I’m going with this, but fortunately/unfortunately, a lot of people (most of the people) who read this, I know in real life, and I hope no one finds it too…forward. Honest. Raw. Real. But I just don’t have the energy to keep up appearances all the time anymore. And these things happen to people. People feel the same things I do sometimes. Everybody gets down. People get divorced. It shouldn’t have to be a secret.

My life kind of blew up a few months ago. My marriage broke. As in, you know, the D word. It’s a lengthy process, and God is mighty, but the journey has begun. Then my basement flooded. Then there was mold and rotting wood and drywall. Then other stuff happened that I won’t mention, but it sucked too. Sucked bad. I have good days and bad days. More good than bad, definitely and thankfully. Today has been on the fence, which I guess finally led to the writing of this post, finally.

I want to make sure and give God praise and glory, truly, because He has been the Rock of my Salvation in ways I’ve never known before nor would have, had any of this not happened. He has given me energy and strength to work and be strong for my babies. And not only just by being physically present, but I’m so much more cognizant of my parenting now and how much patience I lack at times. I’m a better mommy. You know that quote, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle?” I’ve become so much more aware of this, too. Of other people. Of the struggles that they may be facing that no one knows. That I don’t know. Because actually, I’m a pretty private person in real life. At least I think so. I DO like to keep up appearances, very much so; but they’re so exhausting and now I just don’t have it in me some days. But despite everything, God has kept His promise of never leaving me. He never has. He’s pulled me, work situations, classes for school, the house, my girls, and my finances together in such magnificent ways that you know only He is responsible.

But while I feel MY version of close to Him has been very deep and sincere, actual time spent in the Word has been next to nothing, and that needs to change. Maybe it’s laziness. I usually blame it on the fact that my head is so busy and so full all the time, that when I do have a free moment, I either want to sleep or make goals. Not even life goals, just simple ones, like building furniture, making a craft, or finding a recipe to make. That’s just an excuse though. Really, I know it is. I read Pride & Prejudice (great book) and To Kill a Mockingbird, so I know I can read, but reading the Bible is convicting and introspective.

“I don’t want to,” says the petulant and obstinate child.

 

Mostly, that’s what it boils down to I guess. Since the physical separation, I just feel kind of wild a bit. Turbulent. Changeable. Restless. Again. I feel like God made me to be a wife and mother and having one of those core roles in my life unavailable is like missing a kidney. I miss my kidney. I do well enough without it, but I was made to have two. So I don’t like to think about it much. Or me. Or me regarding my current marriage discombobulation, specifically. It’s painful. It’s sad. It’s lonely. It makes me crazy sometimes. I try not to stew and think on that part too much, and I feel like if I got in the Word, that’s what God would deal with. Me. Not the house, or the girls, or money, or schedule, or energy (although He does bless me so much in each of those areas). Just me. And that’s hard. But I’ve got to give in at some point. And I know if I could just do it once, it would be enough to leaving me wanting more. Cause God is like that. Once you hang out with Him once, you want more. He’s awesome like that.

So that’s that. My life blew up, but we’re all still here. God is good. All the time, no matter what. The things I’m dealing with now are temporary. This is not my home. This is not all I have to look forward to, although He has blessed me beyond measure with two indescribably amazing little girls. When all this first happened, I questioned God’s timing with Lily. I did. However, with each passing day, it is confirmed that His timing is perfect. Each day, they are exactly the little girls that God knew they would be and it’s nothing short of wonderful. God is good. No matter the situation or circumstance, He is good. Nothing happens in your life or mine that He doesn’t know about. And it all has a purpose, I promise. People say that I’m strong, but to this I say:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me.

Anything of worth that I am able to do is solely because of the God who lives in me. I am weak, broken, and rebellious. I can do nothing good of my own accord. Nothing.

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Happy Easter! Food edition.

I realize that most serious bloggers have their holiday posts up like a month early. Let’s just say I’m not as serious as I’d like ;) BUT, you can bookmark me if you see something you like for next year, or check out my pin boards at Pinterest, aka something else new and fabulous that keeps me up at night. Think visual bookmarks. It’s grand. But NOT as grand as our Lord and Savior Jesus whose resurrection we celebrate each year some time in March or April :) Here and here  are some things we did last year.

Let’s get to the food shall we?!

Chocolate Peep’s Nests

chocolate birds nest

peeps nests

Just make chocolate krispie treats and put them in a greased muffin tin and then smoosh down the middle with a shot glass or small cup.

peep peep!

I’m not even sure why my Peeps look radioactive, but they surely do. I bought the little robin egg Whoppers and then plopped a Peep on them! :) Cute and easy peasy. Next year I want to make these though: Lemonade Krispie Bird and Nest, cause ya’ll know I love citrus right?

French Vanilla Strawberry-filled Chick Cupcakes

cupcakes with filling

making a hole

I got the original recipe here. I substituted strawberries for raspberries because Abby wanted strawberries ;) I think the raspberries probably break down better though. I ended up with large chunks of strawberries. This probably could have been a non-issue though had I chopped the strawberries up beforehand :)

icing cupcakes

filled and ready for icing

These pictures are turrible. But you know what? It was like 11 o’clock at night so not only was it dark, but I was also too lazy to get the good camera out (not that it would’ve helped much). I really liked this buttercream. Although I did my own thing toward the end up with sugar and heavy cream. I like the idea of adding heavy cream. I don’t really like icing to begin with, but the cream (to me) was a good way to get a good consistency and add creaminess at the same time.

Easter chick cupcakes

cute and delicious

Finite! (that’s finished in some other language, not fie-night, as it appears) I like them a lot. Dye coconut with some food coloring. The eyes are mini M&Ms and the mouths are Starbursts. They’re not as orange as I would’ve hoped. The original poster used “fruit chews” of some kind that seem more orange-y.

Anywho. That’s my Easter food. Actually, I lie. We’ll also be making Resurrection Rolls and Resurrection Cookies. There are many different versions of both of these all over the internet. Some of the rolls are made with biscuits, some with crescent rolls. I’m going to use whatever is cheapest. I lie again, I already bought crescent rolls, whoops! We had them at MOPS and they’re delicious. I’ll update and do pictures after we make them! :)
Speaking of MOPS, if you are a mommy with young children check them out here to find a group near you :))

And once we get the crafting part done, I’ll post that too. If you check my pin boards you can find the future crafts there!

I Wear my Heart on my Blog

I totally stole the title from a friend. At least I was honest about stealing it? I don’t suppose it’s too strange that I can be more honest with myself and others in writing than in person. I’m actually a pretty private person for the most part. I don’t like asking for help. I don’t like being ‘that’ girl who is always having a crisis, but it seems like I usually am. I don’t ever really have it ‘together’ for long. I think the past year and a half or two years is the longest I’ve gone without something crazy happening. My streak ended recently. I won’t go into details. I don’t really want to discuss it. I was going to say I don’t want to talk about it, but obviously I want to talk about it, but I don’t want to discuss it. Catch the difference? It’s subtle.

I wouldn’t say it’s a dark time, but it’s certainly cloudy. Big, stormy kind of cloudy. You ever have those days where each breath hurts a little? When your thoughts are a thousand little wrecking balls knocking around inside your head? One of those days where if you take your eyes off God for a second it all just becomes too much? It’s times like this I am keenly aware of why God said we need to renew our mind. To ‘focus on these things.’ To ‘take captive every thought unto the obedience of Christ.’ It’s important. It’s hard. It’s really hard. I wish my brain had an off switch. Like sharks circling for prey, my thoughts circle around the same circumstances. Same conversations. Same unanswered questions. While the Holy Spirit (?) in my mind is running around trying to stamp them out. Take them captive. Replace them with Life.

Replace them with Life. Life. God is sovereign. Replace replace replace. But I want to be mad. I do. I really do. I want to fall apart. I mean honestly, doesn’t it feel good to just give in sometimes?Fighting the devil is hard. That’s why its a fight yo. Replace replace replace. Do not grow weary in doing good. Blessed is the man who endures trials for once he is approved he will receive the crown of life. God really is so wonderful to bring these to my mind. They really do pop in at the right time. And it even says in John that the Holy Spirit will bring these things to remembrance. Another one. Sometimes I feel like if I move…an eyelash away from God’s face I’m going to fall to pieces. That’s why it’s critical to keep the focus on Him. Especially when life gets cloudy. He gives life and brings life and breathes life into my circumstances. He can’t do that if I let the devil set fire to my mind. He just can’t. It’s so crucial to cast down anything that raises itself against the knowledge of God. Critical. It’s not easy. Sometimes it sucks. But you know what? I already feel better. Know what else? I know I’ll go right back to being a hot mess if I don’t continue casting down and fighting the good fight. I don’t think anywhere in the Bible it said that would be easy.

As soon as I go back to life though, Satan slips back in with his matches. His wrecking balls. His lies. His anger. His hurt. His clouds. Oh to live in a God bubble where there is no more fighting. No more casting down. The battle is over and I can rest. Wait, I guess that would be heaven ay?  Reminds me of a Matthew West song. One of my favorites.

There is a longing deep inside my soul.
There is a place my spirit wants to go.
It’s far away from all these chains that bind.
There is a world I long to leave behind.

Just a few more days I’ll be going home.
Just a few more hours and I’ll be flying.
It could be any minute now, that you’ll take me away,
or maybe just a few more days.
A few more days.

To you a day is like a thousand years,
and only You know when the clouds will clear.
So, let me not forget and fall away,
because a thousand years could be today.

I’m trying not to fall away. If I could have my MOG playlist on repeat inside my head I would do better. God gave me a spirit that responds very strongly to music (which is why I must be very careful what I put into my little heart garden) and I’m very thankful for that. When I was a teenager the stuff I listened to was such pure hot garbage. The stuff I was letting into my spirit. Singing and speaking over my life. It’s no wonder my behavior and thought life was pure hot garbage as well. That’s a whole ‘nother blog.

Peace and chicken grease. Don’t grow weary. I won’t if you won’t.

Running Away from God for my ME Time

It’s been months.  A lot has happened. We welcomed beautiful girl number two back in December. Her name is Lily but she is far from delicate. In fact, she’s quite a beast. God and I grow some healthy girls. I’m not complaining.

Up until Lily was born I connected semi-regularly with the Lord. I mean, I talk to Him throughout the day, but as far as sitting down and keeping up with my Bible study or digging into His word, I was only doing that mostly regularly.

I would take most regularly over what I’m doing now. The past eight weeks I’ve barely cracked my Bible open. I took it into Abby’s (that’s the name of my older girl) room to read her the birth of Jesus from Luke 2 and that is where it sat until yesterday. Dusty. Yes, my Bible collected dust. I took it to work with the intention of reading it. I didn’t. Even as I sit here now, I’m thinking, “I should really go read that chapter about peace in that one book and catch up on Galations for Bible study tomorrow.” And yet here I sit.

Instead of actually reading the Bible, I’m talking about reading about it. I have a go-to list of 47 things that I can do before I actually sit down with the Word. Why am I trying so hard not to spend quality time with the Lord? I’ve tasted and seen that He is good. I know that I will only truly be refreshed and my thirsty soul quenched by the living water only He can give. I mean really, why I am trying so hard to skate on by and waste this precious quiet time (and it is precious. it is a rare thing now for me to ever have time to myself)?

I think a lot of people do this. “Not now God. I’m really busy and I just need some time to myself to ‘relax.'” Me, knowing full well I will only really be relaxed and peaceful after some time with Him. “I need some ME time God. You understand don’t you? Work has been really hectic and I just want to space out and watch some L&O: SVU. ” Well, that’s great and all, really, but since when is life supposed to be about me? And yet here I sit. Me. My me time. It’s funny because I always tell Abby something along the lines of “its a good thing God wasn’t too busy for us that day” or “Jesus didn’t feel like dying for our sins, but He did anyway.” Is that bad? I don’t know, but I have a very self-absorbed 3 years and 364 days old little child. I know, I know, its apparently normal, but still. What if Jesus decided He needed some ME time two years ago when my marriage was falling apart? Or when He was knitting together my two precious children? Or when the eternal life of man hung in the balance? What then?

This is sort of spending time with the Lord, in a way. But while talking about spending time with Him and thinking about spending time with Him are nice in theory, I don’t really think they cut the mustard. Jesus didn’t just think or talk about dying on the cross now did He?

Hmph. Heavy stuff for a Monday. And poof. Just like that. Motherhood calls. Maybe next time.

Restless

I’m restless. About everything. Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s my own inner craziness.

Restless about the fact that everyone I know is pregnant. And I’m not. Yes, everyone! Ok not everyone, but definitely most. Even people I don’t know. Pregnancy has now invaded my aerobics class!  The last time I got pregnant it was like something you’d hear about in health class or a PSA: it only takes one time. What a wonderful surprise she was. A wonderful, wonderful surprise. Even in the midst of less than wonderful circumstances, she was not less than wonderful. Now it’s almost like God is taunting me. Not taunting in a mean way, but in a…”By golly, I’m going to stretch her way.” And it is. Most of the time it doesn’t bother me, but today, its painful. I’m restless.

I’m restless about my marriage. Which is strange, because I almost didn’t have one anymore. The anniversary of our separation is coming up. Perhaps that’s the source of my restlessness. Almost a year ago, for what seemed like ages, we teetered dangerously on the ugly, deadly, heartbreaking cliff of divorce. The days were agonizing. Will we. Won’t we. Not today, but certainly tomorrow. It never happened. Neither of us actually followed through. God literally held us together. I know He did. He was and is our glue, dotted with a little bit of our daughter for added sparkle and adhesiveness. For some reason, He loves us together more than we did. And I’m grateful for that. So why the restlessness? I think about how far we’ve come and how well we’re doing, where we came from, and I’m restless. I want to be further and to be doing better. It’s that perfectionistic blursing (blessing+curse) that drives me for more. For results. That probably had a little bit to do with the original problem. To his credit, my husband doesn’t share the need to improve, push, strive, and hammer every iota of his life. At least not at the rate I do. Thank God for that. Restless.

What does restless even mean? I’ll tell you. a) characterized by or showing inability to remain at rest b) unquiet or uneasy, as a person, the mind, or the heart c) unceasingly active; averse to quiet or inaction, as persons.

That’s certainly me. Today at least.

Discontent is a good word to go along with my restlessness. I know who is behind discontent-ness. The father of lies. Doubt. Fear. Anger. Foolishness. Selfishness. I know who. I know his tricks. I know all of this. But I want to wallow. Restless. I need action. Results.

But I know better. I do. This will pass. There’s no timing like God’s timing. I won’t continue to let the enemy of our souls steal my joy. The joy of being happy for the 5794 people I know who are expecting their own new joy soon. The joy of having a marriage to work on. The joy of a new summer, ripe with possibilities that were dead a year ago. The joy of having a healthy body, that I push to the extreme almost every day. The joy of being able to drench A in everything that I have, without division. My joy. Joy I believe God wants me to experience, in spite of myself and my craving for more, better, next.

Judge Judy Part Deux

Upon further reading and having a mini chat with my awesome church’s associate pastor, I’ve come to a slightly clearer understanding regarding this subject. As with most words in the Bible, the English translation doesn’t always do them justice. The original language usually has a little more to offer and such is the case with the word ‘judge.’

*Romans 2:1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

*1 Cor 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

*Romans 14:10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.

*Matthew 7:1 Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

The word ‘judged’ in these verses is Strong’s #2919 (scroll down a bit to the exhaustive concordance section) and implies punishment, condemnation, damming, and the act of calling in to question. Not very nice. And exactly the kind of thing I am guilty of doing. When I don’t want someone to move into the house across the street from me because I’ve judged their character based on the car they drive (i know. ridculous.), that’s snobbery and judgementalism (i do what i want. like make up words.) at it’s finest. This is when we get into condemning ourselves because that’s quite hypocritical! It’s not like I’m rollin’ around in a Mercedes. These are not good examples. My brain isn’t working tonight. Ooo. Got one. Sometimes I get frustrated with the way in which a certain person in my life spends his/her free time and sometimes I judge their walk with God based on that fact; but, I’m bringing it (judgement, condemnation) back onto myself, because really, how do I spend my free time?! If someone followed me around for a day, would they know that I love Jesus based on how I used my time? Unfortunately, but honestly, I’m going to have to go with no on that one.

BUT! The part that I get so hung up on is when it is ok to judge. Yes, there are times that it’s accepted.

*Matt 7:16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?

*Matt 7:20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

These are the verses that kept popping up when I wanted to justify the kind of judging I was doing. Here, the word used is Strong’s #1921 and means to know upon some mark or to become fully acquainted with. So, there is a difference. In these verses it’s more about discerning rather than judging. I believe that discernment is a gift from the Holy Spirit and something that is developed over time.

As with most things regarding God, it all comes down to the condition of your heart, and this is a behavior He has begun to point out in me that is less than desirable. The main thing for me to realize is that what I’ve been doing–seeing someone’s external appearance (cars, behavior, etc.) and drawing conclusions about that person’s character, their heart, is sin; to look at a person and condemn them in my mind as a ‘sinner’ who “must not be walking closely with God because of this, this, and that.” Only God knows hearts.

When I first started doing this blog I was kind of worried about how it would affect my quiet times and my desire to spend time with God. I tend to over-extend myself, over-inflate my ability to do things, and take on way too much. It’s been good though. It’s made me more self-aware, more aware of the things of God, things like this, places where I’m pitifully falling short. It’s been good.


On a lighter note :) I realize that I haven’t posted anything cooking related in a while; that’s because I haven’t been cooking! It’s been a whirlwind of fast food and restaurants the past couple of days (parenting fail), but I hope to bake something today or tomorrow and maybe even cook dinner on Thursday :) PS-there is a new tab up at the top labeled “God Stops,” check it out and share! :)

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Judge Judy

This is the kind of post that I almost dread writing because the subject matter isn’t totally clear in my head which means it probably resembles word vomit on the screen, but it keeps coming up, so write I must. Let’s go way back, like junior high school back. My dad and myself were having a conversation about judging people based on what they were wearing. Specifically, I think I was defending someone with many facial piercings, tattoos, and all black clothing. I was explaining to my dad that I was sure that person could’ve been perfectly sweet and maybe even a strong Christian. My dad argued differently, and honestly, it made sense. It makes sense. You can judge a book by its cover, no? (as i duck for cover from the angry mob). I wouldn’t see a book titled “Learning to Ride a Bike” and expect it to be about throwing knives, now would I? I wouldn’t wear a t-shirt that says “I’m pro-life” if I’m really pro-choice, would I? I would judge both of those things at face value. Makes sense to me. But people are different though, right?

The house across the street from ours is now vacant. Yesterday some people drove up and started peeking in the windows and checking out the property. I judged them based on the car they were driving. I’m a big, fat judger. Apparently, I’m Judge Judy. It happened again today at Wal-Mart. I judged. I sat on my high-horse. I judged. At the park, again! “Look at the man smoking at the playground. What kind of person does that?! If he burns my child I might burn him back!” “What kind of parent doesn’t put a jacket on their kid right now? It’s cold!” “Is that a man or woman? Oh my, I can’t tell. Why would someone dress like that?” Judge. Judge. Judge.

who.gave.me.the.power.to.judge

No one.

I’ve been struggling with this ever since I read Romans 2:1-4:

1You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?

My theology isn’t great. I’m still learning. A lot. But I’m pretty sure that judging another person based on such asinine things as the car they drive and the clothes they wear (or are not wearing for that matter) is wrong. God knew it would happen and that’s why He made it clear that I am a MERE woman. Who am I to judge? The definition of ‘mere’ is being nothing more nor better than. God’s kind of perfect like that. Sometimes I forget that God loves that person just as much as He loves me. Even the guy smoking on the playground. That’s so crucial. God doesn’t play favorites.

But here’s the rub. How do I teach my daughter to judge someone as dangerous? The Bible also says we will know a person by his or her fruit. Isn’t that judging them on some level? This is where my weak theology comes into play. But it’s one of those things that God hasn’t allowed me to be free from. Judge Judy. It plays over and over. I can’t put into words the difference between judging someone and knowing them by their fruit, but I think I know the difference. Here we go with the word vomit and rabbit trails. I’ve just felt really convicted regarding this. It happens all the time. It’s so accepted. I judge people on what they wear, how they speak, what they drive, where they live. It’s awful. It’s sin. I’m no one’s judge.

Knowing is half the battle.