I am Sarah Griffith and I am a housewife.

 

1950s-housewife

Oh man, I was typing out this A.M.A.Z.I.N.G blog post about hermeneutics and how to interpret the bible correctly.  I titled it “Hermeneutics Brought to you by a Housewife.”  The problem was I couldn’t bring myself to type out “housewife.” I can’t put “housewife,” no one will take that seriously.  I have to communicate that I have studied this and got an A.  I have to communicate that I have a handle on this or else people will just laugh. So I searched for other words….amateur bible student, professional bible student, Texas Tech grad, and nothing seemed right because, guess what, I am a housewife. As I sat there staring at the screen I thought, “Well, Jesus, I guess we better press-on into this, because this seems likely to be a problem.”  So here’s what happened this week:

I realized that I am a housewife.  I realized when people ask me, “What do you do?”  I either say, “I am just a housewife.” Or I make up a slightly more sexy title if it is someone I am trying to impress.  For example: “Oh, my husband and I just got back from bible school and we are open to whatever God has for us.”  The problem with that answer is that Jesus has already told us what He has for us, I just am not totally in love with what He has for me.  I am totally in love with what he has for Jesse.  I am totally in love with what he has for my friends from bible school.  I am totally in love with what he has for all my friends that I do life with.  So I had to ask myself, why?  Why is this hard for me to admit, live, thrive at and be proud of.

First, before I go any further I have to acknowledge that my kids and my hubs read this.  And I want to say, there is no one I would rather be than your mom and your wife.  This is not about me not loving being a mom.  This is not about me not loving and caring for our family.  This is not about me not loving picking up your belongings for the 4 trillionth time this week–well, maybe it is.  The fact is, I have already settled this question.  I know beyond a shadow of doubt that I am where God wants me and I love our life.  Watching Jesse grow into the leader of this family and watching my kids grow to love Jesus is my joy in life.  Running this house is my jam.  Setting food down in front of you that you actually like is so fun for me.  Fifth grade math I could live without, but time spent with y’all doing homework is the best time.  What I am asking is why is it hard for me to tell people this is my job title?  Why do I feel like that is not enough in the world?  Why do I feel like I should be a housewife along with something else?

So I did press into this with Jesus this week.  I asked why I feel like a housewife is not enough.  I committed to praying about it, I meditated on it, I poked at it, and I looked down into the grossness of it.  And do you know why I did this with Jesus?  Because any thoughts that make me feel less-than, or not worthy, or that God is not pleased with me are lies that have taken hold.  Lies that take hold keep me from living in the freedom Jesus has provided for me.  And that is crap, and I am not living in bondage anymore.  So when I come across something like this it is a full-stop, and sit with Jesus and get the truth in and lies out.

I have to start with truth because obviously I can’t alway trust that my feeling are right or truth.  So what does the Word say about my job title in life?  What does it say about doing the job The Lord has given you to do on earth?  Here are some notable verses that came to my mind:

1 Corinthians 12: 12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.

14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?

18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”

Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.

So my take-away from this scripture is that there are many parts to a working body.  Not everybody can do the same thing.  There are some super sexy jobs and then there are some more behind the scenes jobs.  So if I am a foot and I look at a hand and think, “That hand is super useful and loved by everyone, and I am just a foot,” I am actually telling God He did not put me in the right spot. This scripture clearly says in verse 18 that God has put each part just where He wants it.  Now, I know God is perfect so telling Him he made a mistake would be called a sin.  The end. No way around it.


Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.

This scripture is preceded by an essay on the Pillars of Faith that the Jews could model themselves after because of their faith.  The Jews that this letter was written to were about to deny Christ and go back to worshiping with the pharisees.  So the point of this letter was to encourage them to stay strong in their race despite their circumstances.  What stands out to me is “run the race God has set before us.”  God gives us a race to run, so to speak, in this life on earth.  We should run and stay focused, not letting sin trip us up.  You know, the sin like telling God He made me the wrong body part in the body….or something like that.


Ephesians 2: 8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.

What stands out to me here is that salvation is a gift from God.  I don’t get credit toward salvation based on what I do.  So if I don’t do another thing for the rest of my life except watch Netflix, God still gives me salvation because of my belief in Jesus. (Calm down, I know we stand before Him and give an account for how we spent our time here, and no, I don’t want to say to my Savior–Dude! I am all caught up on Grey’s Anatomy!)  Our salvation is God’s masterpiece, we are a new creation when we believe in Jesus.  And get this, the whole point is so we can do the good things God planned for us long ago.  God has a plan for my life that he laid out long ago.  And when I disagree with my lot in life I am telling that perfect God that He made a mistake, again, which He didn’t because He is perfect, which comes back around to that sin of telling God he is wrong, again.

And that is where it jumped off the page at me.  This is a submission issue, not a job title issue.  This is me looking up at the potter and saying, “You did not make me for the right thing, and you did not make me the right way.”  DANG IT!!!  It just keeps coming down to submission for me, and my lack of it.  I can submit to the race laid out before me or I can jump the white line on the track, tell God He is wrong, and try to run someone else’s race.  That is why I have a hard time telling people I am a housewife.  Somewhere along the way I believed the lie that the race set before me is not good enough, and that God must have gotten it wrong.

So how do I know God wants me to be a housewife right now?  How do I know that this is my race for right now? (I say right now because eventually these little people in my house might leave and go have families of their own, then my race might be different.)  Here are some practical tell-tale signs.  One: I am married and my husband wants me to stay home and take care of our house and family.  Two: I have two kids that need a cook, maid, spiritual coach, taxi driver and tutor (thank you Google, you make me look like a genius).  Three:  Nothing else I try to title myself with brings peace to my life, it brings strife.  Four: This is hard to qualify with words because I don’t like to say “follow your feelings,” but in my gut, I know this is the race He has laid out for me.  This is what He knows will grow Me into a person who looks more like Him.  This is the whole point of the race, to get to know Him more.  And I want to stress–This is not your race, this is mine.  Yours is different than mine.  Both of our races are perfect, because God made them.  Don’t fall into the ditch of thinking you have to run my race.

Ok, so then I had to ask myself:

Do you believe that God is perfect? YES!

Do you believe that He has currently set a race before you called “housewife?”  YES!

Do you want to do what God has asked you to do? YES!

Do you want to become more like Christ? YES!

Do you know that the only person who you have to worry about pleasing is Jesus? YES–Wait, do I really know that?  No I don’t, because if I really knew that I would have no problem telling anyone who asks, I am a housewife.  And there it is, the ugly truth.  I worry more about other people thinking I am awesome, than I do about pleasing Jesus.  What pleases Jesus is my submission to His plan for my life.

So why?  Why do I have a hard time with this?  I think it is because at some point in my life I decided that being a housewife was not enough for someone to do with their life.  I wanted to be a housewife, a horse trainer, an olympian, and a business owner. I decided that if I was “just a housewife” I wouldn’t be taken seriously.  I thought, only busy people are taken seriously.  I wouldn’t be seen by the everyone as a world-changer.  People would look at me as if I was just a housewife and think I am a joke. I wanted to be something.  I wanted people to look at me and say “Wow, she has it all.  Perfect husband, perfect kids, awesome horses, gold medal, and she is making money hand over fist!

rosietheriviter

So I took this wrong-thinking into my Christian life with me.  I looked around and saw pillars of faith, KILLING IT for Jesus.  I was like, well I better figure out how to kill it for Jesus too!  Jesus can’t just want me to be a housewife, I mean this is not 1950!  He wants me to be a bible student, a missionary, a bible-study leader, a worship leader, be on staff at a church, raise my children into pillars of faith, and have a marriage that reflects Christ’s relationship with the church. Hey listen, I read all about the Proverbs 31 woman.  I turned that proverb into a checklist and I set out to nail it.  People would look at me and think, “GOOD GOD IN HEAVEN! That girl loves the Lord! People just look at her and get saved!”

Then I took that wrong-thinking even further.  I decided that if you were not doing “all the things” and “leading all the things” for Jesus you were not a good Christian.  I decided that just being faithful in my role as a housewife was not enough for God.  I needed to do more for Him.  I need to pursue more for Him.  I decided if I was not suffering for Jesus, I was not truly living the Christian life.  I wanted Jesus to be pleased with me.  I knew that He could only be pleased with someone who was going full-bore, full-tilt, 100 mph for Him.

But then I remembered this little jewel:

Romans 12: 1  And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.

The wrongness of my thinking jumps off the page at me.  “Give your bodies to God”–don’t tell Him what to do with your body.  “Let them [your bodies] be a living and holy sacrifice–the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him”–giving yourself to Him is worshipful, not telling him what you will do for him.  Don’t follow the world, let God change you into a new person by changing the way you think.  “Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”  Denying His will for you is not good and pleasing and perfect, its wrong.  And it all comes back to submission to God, my friends.  That is what giving your body as living sacrifice means.  It means give yourself to Him, don’t tell Him what you want to do for Him.  Oh Jesus, thank you for freeing me from this thinking.

I will confess, in the last two years God has really shown me my lack of submission to Him.  I confess that I will probably always be a person that wants more to do, and wants to strive and strain and have a long to-do list.  I have fought with Jesus over what my lot in life is.  I have declared and decided and pushed my way into things that were never mine in the first place.  How do I know I was pursuing things that  weren’t mine?  Because it produced disunity in the body of Christ, instead of unity.  Let me give you some examples.

I pursued being a straight-A bible scholar–almost to the detriment of my marriage.

I pursued being on staff at my church–almost to the detriment of my relationship with my Pastor, his wife, and other staff members, like my own husband.

I pursued being a kick-ass worship leader–almost to the detriment of my friendship with our worship leader and his wife.

I pursued being a bible-study teacher–almost to the detriment of my sanity and the welfare of my family.

Am I proud of my behavior?  No, of course not.  Am I embarrassed that I behaved this way? YES!  Do I wish all the people in my life that I have hurt could just forget what I did?  Oh my gosh, that would be the best!  Am I thankful for God’s grace and His ability to bring reconciliation to relationships–YES!  Do I wish He had made me submissive?–YES!  Just kidding! He did not make a mistake, remember? Did I expect Him to teach me about another area of un-submission to Him through typing out the word housewife? No–but I am glad He did because I already have more freedom.

So what now?  What happens when my wrong-thinking is exposed and I have to change?  Well, simply, I let God change me.  He is not wrong, I am.  I know that this is not a job or title issue it is a heart issue.  I know myself well enough to know if I was any of those things from above, I would still look at someone else and say, “Well they are cooler than me, their job is more important than mine.”  It’s not about the race, it’s about my lack of submission.

The problem with my wrong-thinking is that it leads me to rely on myself to serve God and to decide for myself how I will serve God.  In the end that points people who look at me to see me, and not Jesus.  That is not living out that scripture from above which tells us to let God transform you.  The problem with my wrong-thinking is that when I decide there is something I should be doing for God, I will do whatever it takes to get it done, instead of waiting on God’s timing.  The problem with my wrong thinking is it makes me want to call myself something other than housewife because I think other parts of the body are cooler than me.  My pride desperately wants you to think I am cool, that you should listen to me and know I am not a joke.  Well, pride and submission can’t exist together.  And I am sorry but I love God more than any of you reading this.  God wants me to say, “I am a housewife because this is the race God has laid out in front of me.”

So, I am Sarah Griffith, a -gulp- housewife.  That 1950’s wife and Rosie The Riveter are both part of my make-up.  I dare you to ask me if I lay around all day and watch soap operas–you will walk away with a fat lip.  I may have been accountable to some wrong thinking, but I would not test my response to this yet.  I am learning how to be honoring of this job because I am love of the God who gave it to me.  Do I still struggle with wanting people to take me seriously? Yes! Do I still want to start every conversation with, “You should think I am cool because of ________________?”  Yes!  But God, is teaching me something.  The God that lives in me is more powerful, smarter and cooler than anything I could do in my own power.  People are attracted to the God in me, not the pride in me.  This God that made the universe also has a race for me, Sarah Griffith, to run and He just wants me to submit to Him, thats it.

What I learned about Jesus from the 1971 Mustang.

I am on a church camp high this week.  Jesus has been moving so clearly in my life that insufferable Jesus Freak Sarah is bubbling right under the surface this week.  I mean He showed up this week in personal ways, just for me, to show me He is fully present.  This Savior blows me away.  I can say things to Him like, “Are you here? Do you really see me?” and He answers me every time.  I am struck by how dumb this question is.  The clay pot made by the potter, looking up at the potter saying, “Are you here? Do you see me?”  The potter could say, “Dude, do you feel my hands around you molding you and shaping you?  Who do you think is doing that?  You dumb pot.”  But Jesus, the potter says, “Yes, pot, I am here, I have my hands around you and I am molding you, searching you for areas that need my attention,  I will never let you go because I made you and I am delighted with what I made, I also love to bless you!”  GGGAAHHHH! His word tells us this is true.  The Creator of the universe is the same person who is grooming me to look more like Jesus.  It makes me want to write down what He has done in me this week.

The week started with Jesse and I kicking off our first week of leading Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.  This class is so special to us because it is the same one that we went through 6 years ago when we were in financial crisis.  As any good Christian wife does, I pray “God help me to respect Jesse the way you want me to.  Make him impressive to me, so I can be impressed by him the way You impress me, Lord.”  And HE DID.  Where I have had to micro-manage this class before to make sure everything would go off without a hitch, now stands a man who said, “Lady, I got this under control, get off my job.”  As always my first response to this was super holy and Godly, and I said something like, “yeah right, we’ll see about that.” But God worked on my thought process and asked me to pray for Jesse instead of critique him.  That is hard for me because critiquing Jesse is my spiritual gift.  But I tried, and I was encouraged by Jesus every step of the way.  In the end, I watched my husband start that class with a confidence I have never seen in him before.  He knew what he was going to say, was comfortable in front of the class, and funny (which I put a very high value on.)  I stood there humbled and amazed at what God has done in this man.  And I thanked God for him.  Did you hear me? I THANKED GOD IN THE MIDDLE OF THAT CLASS FOR THE MAN HE IS GROWING JESSE INTO.  I am so struck by this because when we first did this class I was not thankful for this husband of mine.  The fact that we have lived through our financial crisis and are able to lead other people though it is truly a miracle.  The fact that my heart can be thankful we went through all that is proof that God is real for sure.  Here is a brief history of Sarah and Jesse and money–a Greek tragedy.

So here’s the deal.  There is no reason why Jesse and I should have ever had money trouble.  We were blessed with a fully functioning portfolio that, placed in the proper hands, would have sustained a family for a lifetime.  We have parents who taught us how to be responsible. We took the MC Hammer route instead. (MC Hammer is a rapper that became rich really fast, spent it all and then had to declare bankruptcy.)  The reason we had money trouble is because we were two selfish people with no other desire when it came to money except to spend it.  And spend it we did.  We kept up with the Joneses, who we didn’t even know, but we were keeping up with them.  We were buying things, experiences, horses, cars, and crap to try to find what only God could give us.  I have mentioned before about that gaping hole in my chest. Well one attempt to fill that hole, meant only to be filled by God, was to fill it by spending money.  We were totally ill-equipped to manage the legacy that had been placed into our greedy hands.  I will give you a very unbiased picture of what happened–It was all Jesse’s fault.  Just kidding! If you have taken a Dave Ramsey class with us, you know I am the actual spender, Jesse is the saver, but lets just hold onto the fact that we were both to blame.  As it turns out, money problems could touch us…….(watch the video)

See what I did there? I crack myself up.  And yes, I can do that whole rap and dance, just ask me.

As God does, he used our circumstances to finally draw us to him.  Wanting more things, and making more and more purchases leaves you with one problem, no money left.  “No money left” hit us hard.  With no plan and jobs that didn’t pay us enough to sustain our spending, loans, and lifestyle, we hit rock bottom.  Our rock bottom did what it should do.  It made us change, and though we did not know it at the time, it was drawing us closer to the Lord.  For the first time ever we had to look at each other and decide how to solve the problem we had gotten ourselves into.  Our first step was to get help.  We had to take a family bail-out just so we didn’t lose our house.  We had to hire a financial planner to teach us what in the world to do to get out of the red.  Our only option was a major change and major fire sale. We had to sell everything that we could.  Cars, horse, house, barn, truck, trailer, crap, toys, clothes, shoes, and tools.  Essentially the lifestyle we had become accustomed to was over.  It was change, or live off our family for the rest of our lives.  So where there was a fancy house over in the fancy part of town, now there was a rental house on the affordable side of town.  Where there were fancy new cars, there were used cars.  Where there was excess, there was now a budget.  And this girl had to learn to make dinner so we could eat something other than mac-n-cheese, because the budget did not allow for eating out.

God used all of that to woo us to Him.  If we had not moved to the “affordable” side of town, I would not have met Autumn, who invited me to church, where eventually I got saved.  If I did not sell my barn, I would not have made the one hour commute to the barn in Aubrey allowing me to hear Dave Ramsey on the radio for the first time. Dave Ramsey told me that God had something to say about how I spend money.  If Jesse and I didn’t have to finally work together we would have continued to live separate lives using money as our companions.  If we had not had all the money stripped away we would have never realized that the money wasn’t the problem, we were.  Those are just a few examples of how God used our circumstances to get us to know Him.  The biggest one being that money was our god instead of Jesus.  We trusted money to save us, not God.  We trusted money to fill the gaping hole, not God.  We trusted money to make us happy and feel loved, not God.  This sweet Savior was not ok with us continuing to ignore Him.  He furiously ran us down, until we had to make a choice.  Love Jesus, or love money.  By some miracle of God we trusted Him and started to release our grip on money.  It took us 5 years to undo what we had done to ourselves.  It took being humiliated, and talked about as “the people who lost all their money” by supposed friends.  It took being crushed by our choices, to get us to finally do this money thing God’s way.

Because I am trying to get to a point, I will skip ahead to us attending Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University for the first time.  For the first time we had a plan for money and how to spend it.  For the first time we were not using money to make us happy.  I say for the first time because it would take us starting the Dave Ramsey program THREE times before it actually stuck.  Sin nature would rear up every time.  A mix of budget summits, pie charts, intense negotiations, “I’m right!, No I’m right!”, finger-pointing, and intentionally blowing the budget ended up leading us to several false starts.  The flesh dies hard, sometimes it takes us down.  We had to see that rock bottom coming at us again to finally buckle down, be grown ups and submit to what God says about how to spend money.  We were getting to know the Lord and learning to start to trust Him in this area.  He encouraged us with little victories.  Those victories taught us to keep saying no to our flesh and to keep saying yes to God.

daveramseyismyhomeboy

daveramseypic

So on this side of financial freedom it is important to us to lead these classes so other people are free too.  Money is not a good master, Jesus is a good master.  Debt is a slave driver that will have no mercy on you.  We are so blown away that people actually sign up for these classes because we know how hard it is to take that step.  We are also fully aware of our short-comings and realize only Jesus would use us to tell people about money.  He uses the most jacked up people because they know how badly they messed up with money.  This week when we started another class, we had the sweetest reminder of His faithfulness.

This car.  This car is just a car.  But this car represents a time when we did not know God.  This car is one of the things that got sold off in the great fire sale.  This car was Jesse’s dream car.  He drove it in parades (that is why it has City Bank on the side), he worked on it, he dreamed of things he would do to it and with it.  We originally bought it at The Cattle Barron’s Ball in Lubbock.  Jesse let me bid on it, so naturally I spent too much on it because that was my super power then.  During the great-sell off we knew we owed Jesse’s mom money for some horse stalls she gave us for my barn.  We called her and asked if she would take the mustang instead, and she said yes.  Little did we know that the real reason she did that was to hang on to it so someday Jesse could have it back. Those are the kind of things awesome moms do. Little did we know God had a plan for it too. At the time we were just thrilled we had settled another debt, we didn’t care why she wanted it.

This week, the same week we started another Dave Ramsey class, we got this car back.  You can’t tell me that is not the Lord.  You can’t tell me that God is not all over that to encourage us.  You can’t tell me that God does not love to bless His children in the sweetest most personal ways.  Once this car was a tool we used to settle a debt, now it is a reminder of God’s faithfulness.  God promises to meet our every need.  We didn’t know that because we trusted money to meet our every need.  As we got to know the Lord we learned to put money in its place, a resource God will use in our lives to bring Him Glory.  Nothing more, nothing less.  We had to start living by God’s principles for money.  As we said no to our desire to trust money to meet our needs and asked God to meet our needs we crawled toward financial freedom.  We are at place right now where we are free of debt and have a place to put a project car like this.  That is a MIRACLE.  Hear me when I say I am not patting us on the back.  I am giving Jesus a high-five for rescuing us!  We had to let go of this car to get it back in a way that brings God glory. Even the way it got here is a blessing.

When we were in Lubbock for Johnny’s funeral I caught Jesse and Brock out in my Mother in law’s garage looking over the mustang.  They talked almost all the way to Sweetwater about what they would do to the mustang if they had it back.  It was an “if” conversation for sure.  Then Jesse talked for some time about how Johnny left the legacy of how to build things with Jesse, and Jesse wanted to leave that same legacy with Brock.  He wanted to teach our kids the importance of pursing you passion and letting God use it for His glory.  That planted a seed in my heart.  You see, I am the best wife in the world.  Seriously I should win an award.  I decided that I would try to buy this car back from my Mother in law for my guys for Valentines day.  I was able to make this decision because we are finally in a position where Jesse could have a project car again. I called my mother in law a week later and asked if I could buy it back.  That’s when God started to show off.  I say he started to show off because my mother in law’s response was, “Sarah, that has alway’s been Jesse’s car and you don’t have to buy it back from me.”  What?!? Then as we started to discuss how to get it here, she decided to just bring it down here to us.  WHAT?!? So I don’t even have to go to Lubbock to get it?  My mother in law is amazing, yes, but God used her to bless us beyond measure.  So Monday afternoon this beauty showed up.  As the best wife in the world I was so excited to see how Jesse reacted.  He couldn’t even talk, He just said, “How did you do that, and how much did it cost?”  He is a saver to his core.  Maybe it’s because I am a girl, maybe it’s because of my flare for drama, but it is not just a car anymore.

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Where there used to be a car, bought to try to fill a hole, there is a car where a father and son will get to work to make it run, driveable and cool.  A father will pass on to his son the skills he is passionate about.  Most importantly a father will teach his son that this car represents a time when he did not trust the Lord, and then a time when he did trust the Lord and the Lord blessed him.  He will tell his son that making a car work can be a skill God will use to bless someone, and making a car cool can tip over into worshiping the car.  These are all lessons Jesse has learned, and lived out.  As a fellow believer in Christ I love to see Jesus bless Jesse and encourage him in this personal way.  As someone who has struggled with materialism it is cool to see God say, “It’s not the stuff, it’s the heart posture, stay focused on Me, and have fun with this car.”  For me I look at this car and see God’s faithfulness to us.  He promised us that if we would trust Him he would meet all our needs.  That is the understatement of the century.  If we trust Him we enter into the sweetest relationship in the universe.  The Good, Good Father, meets our needs but also blesses us in such personal ways.  The Creator of the universe cared that we were worshiping money and not Him and pursued us to teach us that Jesus is better.

Jesus is better.  I read a book this week that is centered around that theme.  It is “If You Only Knew,” by Jamie Ivey.  Even that book was a personal blessing for me because she talks about how to live in a vulnerable way.  Moments that have led me to think this blog is a joke were washed away because God used her story to encourage me to keep writing about what God is doing in my life.  Telling people what God has done, taught and lead us through brings God glory.  Even writing about how we have done things wrong, but Jesus is right, brings God glory.  And the tears come, because Jesus is better.  I cry because He shows me His loving-kindness when I look back.  When I see where we were and where we have come from.  When I look up and see that I am married to a Godly man who loves the Lord enough to stand up to me and say, “Lady, I got this, back off!” When I look up and see that money doesn’t have any control over me anymore.  When I look up and see that I get to use what God has given us to bless other people.  Jesus is better, just like Jamie says in her book.  Jesus is so much better.  We didn’t get ourselves out of financial trouble, Jesus saved us.  We don’t live generously becasue we are so great, we live generously becasue Jesus changed our hearts.  I don’t write this blog because I need more attention, I write it so that Jesus gets more attention in my life.  Jesus is better.

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The gaping hole in my chest.

I am absolutely cracking up right now as I revise this again for the 3rd time.  I wrote this last week, re-read it and decided it would offend too many people.  I revised it, neutered it and was left with a partial story that only reflected half of what God has taught me about this subject.  I didn’t have time to send it to my editor (Jesse) so I just saved it and was going to send it today.  Then we went to church on Sunday.  Now, I’m mature enough to know that the whole church service was not just for me, but let me just tell you that the whole church service was just for me!  We went over Ephesians 2:19-22.  Pastor Doug made the point that our foundation is built on the truth of God, not on our feelings.  Can I just say how much I love that Pastor Doug is bold enough to always tell us the truth?  No matter how uncomfortable it makes him, he knows the truth is what will really change us. Now what does that all that have to do with me?  Well, writing down that feelings are not what I base my life on is what I took out of the original post.  And I, in that church service on Sunday gulped, because I always do that when God shows me that HE IS REALLY WATCHING ME AND GUIDING ME, and then I remembered that I am not writing these things down to make friends with anyone, I am writing them down to keep track of what God is doing in my life.  So here is the real story.

Yes, I have a gaping hole in my chest.  I don’t like to talk about it, in fact I like to just keep it covered up, and I try to ignore it.  It is there though, and I have tried to manage it for years as it just kept getting deeper and deeper.  As with anything I write about you know there will be a back story!

As a kid my anxiety lead me to try to control as much of my life as I could.  What I could plan, I would, and where I couldn’t plan, I would fight for power or control of the situation.  This mainly fell to my little brother. I’m so sorry bro, I know I was awful to you.  Please accept my spoiling of your kids as payment for my transgressions.  Also I took you to the arcade for your birthday, what else do you want from me? Plus I toughened you up so you could serve in the military and I never got a thank you note from you.  It also fell on my mom.  Listen, there have been conversations with her where I just say, “mom, I’m so sorry for the years I was 16-21.”  I was a psycho to her.  She truly is a saint for not murdering me.  I don’t think the authorities would have prosecuted her, especially after they talked to my brother.   I would imagine she has had some satisfaction as she watches me try to navigate the teen years with Sydney.  My parents did something amazing though when I was 13.  They got me into horses.  I was able to really focus my energy on horses and it was a really great outlet for me.  But the anxiety had to go somewhere.  It could not be ignored, it could only be stuffed down the gaping hole in my chest.

In High School I turned to drinking and partying and chasing boys.  I took on the, “Well, at least the drinking and partying numbs the anxiousness, and the boys make me feel good about myself” mentality.  Thank the Lord in heaven that High School is only 4 years long because no one would survive that place if it was any longer.  My high school years were the first time I felt and understood what I call my “gaping hole in my chest.”  No, I do not have an actual gaping hole in my chest.  I mean that I started to feel this emptiness, a sort of missing part of who I was.  This gaping hole was the unrest or lack of peace that kept me searching for something to fill it with, to give me peace.  It was the place I stuffed all the anxiety, disappointment and pain that one gather’s during that awful time called high school.

Then college.  Oh, Texas Tech how I love you to my core.  You were freedom and my stomping ground.  You, beloved Tech, where I learned about roommates who drive you nuts, financial aid lines, admission lines, food lines, and meat judging.  My time at Tech I think has been slightly romanticized in my mind, but none the less it was an amazing time for me.  And the exams, God help us all, the exams.  My kryptonite.  Give me a project to do, a paper I can buy off the internet, but not 4 exams for a final grade.  The anxiety that this caused me lead to some of the most horrific panic attacks.  I would stuff all this down that gaping hole and then eventually there was a kind of volcanic explosion.  It’s like my stomach said, “Oh no, you are not stuffing all that down here!” And it rejected it with some force.  There are only so many volcanic reactions to stress your body can handle.  My roommates knew something was wrong, or that I was crazy and told me to go to the med center at Tech. Up to that point I had always suffered with panic attacks, albeit not volcanic ones,  but never knew what they were.  The medical center at Tech helped me understand and treat them.  They said, “plenty of sleep,” (right, the bars don’t open until 10), “eat right and drink lots of water,” (sure thing, Zima is 90% water), and “make sure you set aside plenty of time to study so you won’t have to cram,” (right, let’s not get crazy now). This is when I learned how to “manage” my anxiety.

Managing anxiety came in the form of lovely new pill called Zoloft.  It was a blessing, I think, because it allowed me to finish school  and get my degree in Agricultural Economics.  Now, I only graduated with a 2.4 gpa, but I did graduate.  That is what matters.  Remember that gaping hole in my chest?  Well the Zoloft made me feel that hole less and less.  It also allowed me to think, “You know what self, I bet when you get this degree, that hole will close up finally.”  Guess what, it didn’t.  The hole just became bigger when graduation did not satisfy that hole.  However, the good news was this cowboy had caught my eye, we were getting married and just knew that marriage is what that hole needed.

Oh sweet Jesse.  Do you think he knew at that point that he was marrying someone who had Olympic level anxiety and a gaping hole in her chest?  Do you think he knew that she expected him to solve the anxiety problem and fill that hole?  No, he did not.  Because in that moment he was thinking, “You complete me” and I was thinking, “You complete me” (damn you Jerry McGuire, for putting that thought in our heads), and in the end neither of us completed anything and we wound up with two broken halves.  I can remember when I woke up from that “honeymoon” stage and realized that the hole was still there.  The disappointment I felt when I realized marriage had not filled the hole, but made the hole even bigger and deeper.  So I looked for something else to ease, cover up and deal with that hole.

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This is where we take a big left turn. I jumped fully-clothed into the deep end of the homeopathic, chakra-aligning, aura-sensing, crystal-carrying, herb, guided-meditation, Reiki-practicing, house-smudging pool.  Remember I am someone who, when I do something, I jump in feet first, full-tilt, 100 mph.  I studied, I researched, I went to classes and I practiced everything I learned that might help fill this hole.  I decided I was out of alignment with the universe and I had to get myself cleansed of all the bad energy that got me off-balance in the first place.  Poor Jesse, pray for him.  I drug him into it too.  I would mix up tinctures for him, encourage him to realign his chakras and made him carry different crystals in his pockets.  I also feng shui-ed our house and barn.  Then I smudged them with a special sage I bought in New Mexico.  I would have loved to know what the horses thought about all that.  I imagine it was something like, “Look at the crazy broad lighting that hay on fire.  Does she think that will make us do what she says?  Has she been smoking that hay?”  I got more and more involved in these practices and just thought the better I got at them the more relief I would feel.  I spent several years studying these practices.  I was getting in tune with my feelings.  If it didn’t feel good, I didn’t do it.  If it felt good, I would do it.  I started to let my feelings and my heart guide me.  The problem is that the deeper I got into this way of living, the worse I felt.  After a few very scary experiences trying to “connect” with the universe, and a few shyster’s that took a lot of money from me, I was left disappointed.  Guess what, that hole just got bigger and bigger.

After that disappointment, I just threw myself head-long into my horse career.  I felt like this was my purpose and I needed to get this done and be the best.  I went to California, bought an imported horse from Germany, and I started to go to shows all the time to build a name for myself.  Libero is a dream horse.  I literally won all the awards you can win in Texas on him except for one.  He is a great horse, and I’m happy to say living a very nice retired life with his girlfriend at my friend’s house here in Rockwall.  When it was all said and done, I still had that hole.  So my heart said, “buy another horse, even better than Libero!”  So I did, and soon after had to put him down because of a birth defect.  In the end, I was left disappointed again, and very sad.  That hole was even bigger.

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In the midst of the horse situation I decided I needed to have kids.  Nothing fixes a situation like having kids.  I mean, they make a family a family right?  WRONG!  But my heart said. “go for it!” I found out that kids are terrorists who work for some sort of underground group until they are a least 4 years old.  It’s not until then that you can get a rational thought to come out of them.  God makes them cute so you don’t realize you are actually a hostage in a hostile situation with no one to come rescue you.  All of you who say, “Oh, you will miss it, it goes by so fast,” let me respond by saying it doesn’t go fast enough!  And every time you said that to me I thought to myself, “I don’t know how I will miss this at all, I just want to survive it.” Of course some part of that is true, and what I miss now is the little babies who looked up at you cooed and loved you because they could do nothing for themselves.  Little do you know at the time that those sweet infants drink a certain amount of milk and turn into toddlers who work for terrorists. It’s like gremlins, but way worse.  They don’t just come out and kill you, they kill you slowly over time—4 years to be exact.  When you finally think that you are literally going to die, they look up at you and say something rational for the first time and your hope in life is restored.  But then they do the most heinous thing possible, they start to grow up.  They start to have their own thoughts and things they want to do.  They don’t need you anymore like they once did.  And you feel your heart start to break into pieces because you realized there is nothing for it, they will leave you some day.  Or worse, they might never leave because you did not do your job of raising them.  After Jesse’s edit of this post he feels that I come off a little “anti-kid” in this paragraph.  Please know that I am not anti-kid, but I am anti-kid if you are having a kid to fix the gaping hole in your chest.  Now that I know the Lord I wish I could have a million kids because I would find so much joy in parenting a toddler now as a believer.  Trying to raise kids with that gaping hole was really hard, and I do miss it, and I do wish I could do it again.  All I am trying to communicate here is that kids did not fix the hole.

 

Somewhere in the middle of all this, I went into survival mode because there was no other ideas to fill the hole.  In the midst of pre-school, PTA, Region 9 Dressage championships, counseling, money problems and marriage problems I just shut it all down.  I sought anything that would numb that gaping hole.  I turned to legal drugs and smoking.  I say legal drugs only because my Doctor prescribed them, in the end I was doing the same thing anyone who is seeking recreational drugs is doing—numbing out.  I smoked like they were going to stop making cigarettes.  It didn’t help that most horse people smoked too.  The anxiety was still there but I just stopped myself from feeling anything. I stopped myself from feeling good, bad or other.  I was just there, going thought the motions of the American dream.

Here is the hard truth that I learned.  No matter what I thought would fill it, no matter what I did would fix it, no matter what new things I tied, no matter what “next goal” I achieved, no matter what my feelings told me, that gaping hole just got bigger and bigger.  The size of it alone was so scary I didn’t even want to look down into it because I was afraid of what was there.  Every time I put my trust in someone or something and was disappointed, that disappointment led to the bottom of that hole getting deeper and deeper.  The good news is that the hole served a purpose.  It drove me to the end of myself.  It drove me to throw my hands up and say I can’t fix, fill or hide this hole anymore.  I had to stop trusting my feelings and find the one thing that wouldn’t disappoint me.  I believe we all have this hole in us.  I believe that we, as God’s creation, were given this hole for the very reason that it will eventually bring us to the end of us trying to fix it.  It brings us to the end of trying to understand this life without God at the center of it.  We either surrender to the truth that God is the one who can fix us or we give up entirely.  You see, what God taught me is that the gaping hole I was feeling in my chest was made by me trying to build my life on my feelings.

All these feelings I have, that I follow because I believe I know what will make life better, are actually lies.  I would put all my hopes in them and give it the ol’ college try and eventually I was left disappointed, again.  Do you feel yourself say, “If I can just get to this point, everything will be better.”  Or do you look at someone else and say, “If I could be ___________ like her, I would be happy.”  Do you buy in over and over to the “next big thing?”  Let me say, I have been there too.  I wish I could have the money back from the times I got fully on board with something that I hoped would have filled that gaping hole.  If I can put this bug in your ear and tell you, I have been to the bottom of that thought process, it will disappoint.  I will admit that all this disappointment has made me a little cynical about things that make promises. The only answer is Jesus.  I have tried to cover that gaping hole in my chest with everything I could think of, everything I felt was right,  and every time I took that covering off, there was that gaping hole, even deeper than the last time I looked at it.  The thing with Jesus is he doesn’t cover that hole, he fills it.

My feelings, husband, my kids, my money, my stuff, my horses, my friends, my social status, my home and my ability to align my chakras all left that hole a little bigger when I trusted them to make it all better.  And then this savior, this Jesus came in and started to pour himself into that gaping hole.  I started to feel full, whole.  For the fist time ever I started feeling a stability that I had never felt before.  I had somewhere to put that anxiety, someone to give it to who could actually do something with it.  I had someone to talk to when I was losing it.  He didn’t tell me “Here is how you fix it, try this.” He said, “You can’t fix it, believe in me.”  He told me, “Just because you feel this way does not mean it is true, I am truth, trust me.  Is it an easy life with Jesus? No, it is not.  It takes me sitting down and studying my bible even though I don’t want to.  Filling that gaping hole takes me denying myself, saying no to feelings that don’t line up with what Jesus says, and saying no to my desire to satisfy my own needs, and following Jesus.  And of course, I can’t just decide to do these things.  It can only happen when I have a relationship with Jesus and He empowers me to do these things.  Without that relationship I would never willingly read my bible!  The reward, though, oh my gosh the reward!  The stability, the fullness, the wholeness I get to walk in now makes all that pain worth it.  Do you feel a gaping hole?  I pray you will let Jesus fill it.

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My blogging injury

Well I guess I can officially call myself a blogger since I have written 8 blog posts in the last month.  Wordpress is very encouraging because they give you these little badges that say “You made it to 10 followers!” and “You have 5 likes!”  As I have discussed at length, I love winning things, so this feels very productive to me.  However, I woke up yesterday morning with my first blogging injury.

When I got up my lower eyelid on my right eye was twitching.  Just a little bit, jumping around here and there.  It was annoying but not too bad.  Then as the day went on I was convinced it was turning into Parkinson’s disease.  I’m not diminishing Parkinson’s, it is one of my biggest fears to come down with that and I’m constantly on the look out for tremors.  We drove home from Lubbock yesterday and I tried not strain my eye at all.  Luckily for me Jesse loves to drive so he drove all the way home.  Jesse convinced me that with a good night sleep in our bed it would be fine in the morning.

Well, it wasn’t.  This morning it was really spazzing.  It was to the point that when Jesse saw me he was like, “You are freaking me out, are you possessed?”  I called my eye doctor and he got me right in.  Jesse said, “Get out of here you look like Clint Eastwood giving me the evil eye.” So I hit the road, preparing myself, as any good hypochondriac does, for the impending eye removal surgery, and what kind of eye patch I would wear.

Well as it turns out it is not a big deal at all.  It is called blepharospasm.  It is caused by eye strain, stress, caffeine and computer screens—which pretty much describes the last month for me.  He also said that I need—gulp—readers.  To which I replied, “Oh, I have those, I got them at the grocery store.”  He said, “You are beyond what they sell at the grocery store.”  This is what 39 years old looks like.  What happens at 40 because I am running out of parts to remove and apparently I will be blind as bat.

All that to say, I’m not sure when I will learn to pace myself better.  I just know that I have discovered that I love to write about what God is doing in my life and what he is teaching me.  I think the Lord will always have to give me a steadying “Whoa” when I get going with something.  He made me passionate so I can pour myself out on these pages, but He also taught to me to listen to Him.  (This time in the form of a spazzing eye twitch.)  Just a reminder to say, “Sarah, you don’t have to write all the things in the first month, we have a life time to record these things.”  And in the end I get one more lesson in submitting to the Lord.  And I will try—this post is only 500 words! That’s almost like a tweet for me!

A week of reflections.

As with any week, I guess, this one didn’t turn out how I planned in so many ways.  There were high points and low points.  We are getting ready to start raising chickens.  My mother-in-law happens to be a chicken expert and a master builder.  She came down to build us a chicken coop.  Of course she had to delay her trip because our disease fest last week, but she came in on Friday.  A few days into her trip we found out that Papaw Johnny, her father, had died.  Obviously this was devastating to all of us.  Papaw has been such a constant in our lives.  Always working on something, fixing things, driving HUGE machinery around and locking anything that was unlocked.  I loved him dearly and the week turned into one of refection, even in the midst of building a chicken coop.

Saturday morning Sue and I got up and went to Lowes to get supplies.  She brought plans for us to build it from scratch.  She has one of those architectural engineering brains that sees plans and then also sees how to improve them.  The job was a big one for sure.  I looked at the plans and thought to myself, dear God, that looks intimidating.  But I like things to be unique and special and “from scratch” so I was happy to help in any way I could.  We were two women on mission!

So I have to take a pause and let you know a little about me and my mother in law.  If our family were giving out superlatives mine would be “Most likely to not want to do it the easy way,” and Sue’s would be “Most likely to build it from scratch exactly how she wants it.” We are some of the most determined people you have ever met.  She and I would travel to horse shows together and we would care for, make show ready, feed, and clean up after three horses.  Not to mention we have driven about 30,000 miles to all sorts of shows together.  And for Sue’s part she has designed and built at least three houses, totally built an equestrian center from the ground up, not to mention ran it herself.  So the point is, we are the kind of people who decide we want to do something and do it, our way.  Knowing that about us makes this next part so amazing.

We had to go to Tractor Supply after Lowe’s to get a few other things and to start figuring out an outdoor structure for the chickens to scratch in.  We pull up and they have these coop’s set up out front.  We start looking at one to see how the scratching pen is set up, and then we start looking at the coop part.  And then the amazing part.  We look at each other and say at exactly the same time, “What if we just bought a coop kit?”  I think we both said it a little trepidatiously because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings and she didn’t wan to disappoint me.  Putting that aside we went in to find out if they had any more.  Long story short.  They had a great one that Sue thought she could re-engineer to make work for us.  This huge pivot was a big deal for us.  Now we didn’t know it at the time but it was actually God’s providential care over us because we didn’t know our time together to build this thing would be cut short.  I am thankful for that.IMG_0844

This led to the best Griffith Saturday in a long time.  Our foreman, Sue, deciphered the instructions and got us organized.  Then with the unity of the military we all worked together, one step after another and we built that coop!  Sydney and Brock learned from Sue how to use a power drill.  And then of course Brock kept trying to drill things that didn’t need to be fastened, but it was all a learning experience.  The dogs made it exciting by taking wood pieces that we needed and running off with them.  They like to test me to see how close they can get to watching me murder one of them.  As we were working I found myself thanking God for giving me Sue.  Thanking Him for gifting her with the ability to build and see how things should come together.  That thankfulness did what it should do and lead me to reflect on what God has done in our relationship and in all my  relationships in general.

In my BC life there were no rules in my relationships with people.  It was simply who was right and who had the power.  I got good at being right and telling everyone I was right until they would back down.  The problem with this is that it doesn’t lead to unity.  It leads to someone being in charge and someone being a subordinate.  The power struggle leads to fights and the fights lead to splits in relationships. With no agreed upon rule book the rightness and power struggle eventually took its toll.  I also was under the assumption that how I did things was the right and only way to do things.  I was trying to exercise my will on everyone around me.  I am sorry to say that I have been really awful to my mother-in-law in the past.  It was about getting my way and furthering my cause.  Of course I loved her and loved becoming part of the family, but operating under the delusion that I was doing everything right doesn’t help you see the good in other people.

After Christ came into my life I started to learn that God had some things to say about relationships and how a believer should conduct themselves with other people.  As He started to mold and shape me He also started to break down my pride.  My pride told me I was right, and did everything right, and no one else held the same rightness that I held.  What a jerk!  Humility was a foreign word to me, but that word was used over and over in the bible.  As I started to study His word He started to address my pride, and by address I mean pulverize it into a million pieces.  Take a look at what God says relationships should look like:

Philippians 2: 1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

Though he was God,

he did not think of equality with God

as something to cling to.

Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;

he took the humble position of a slave

and was born as a human being.

When he appeared in human form,

he humbled himself in obedience to God

and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.

Man! I just love that! It’s a rule book for relationships.  Now Paul is specifically speaking about relationships with other believers but I don’t think we can go wrong if we adopt it in all our relationships.  Power struggles and rightness have no place in relationships that honor God.

I love that when I struggle with pride in my relationships, God, like a sharp-shooter, shoots a huge hole in all my “go-to” power plays.  Selfishly want my way?  God says “Don’t be selfish.”  Impress others with my rightness?  God says “Don’t try to impress others.”  Think I am better at life than everyone else?  God says “Be humble, think of others as better than yourself.”  Obsessed about myself? (how am I doing? how am I feeling? how do I feel about any number of situations? am I right? am I wrong?)  God says “Don’t just look out for your own interest but take an interest in others.”  The coolest thing about God’s ideas for relationships is that they bring unity to every relationship.

So how do I choose humility? How do I let go of pride and choose to put others first?  I have no idea.  All I know is that because I have a relationship with Christ I have the power to choose God’s way and I have the power to say no to my pride.  Without Him I can only do it the way the world does, power-struggles and rightness.  For me it’s putting one foot in front of the other and taking those baby steps toward humility and away from pride.  The incentive for me is that Jesus did this.  You see in that passage above that He gave up His claim to God-ness and Glory and humbled Himself to the point of death on a cross to save us.  In its most basic form I think “Well if He can do that, and he asks me to be humble I will give it shot, it must be important to Him.”

I read a quote from C.S Lewis this summer and it really showed me where I am trying to get to with this humility thing.  Check it out:

Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call ‘humble’ nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody.  Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him.  If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily.  He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, pg. 128

As with everything I do when it comes to God’s commands, I read that passage in Philippians about humility and thought, “Oh, I got this, imma be the most humblest person I know.”  The problem with managing your own humility instead of letting God teach you about humility is that you turn into a really self-centered insecure person.  I fell into a ditch of always monitoring myself to make sure I was coming across humble.  I was putting myself down when I talked to other people.  Honestly that fake humility is what kept me from writing, until now.  When I read that quote from C.S. Lewis I nearly hit my knees thanking God for the clarity about humility.  And that is why I say I don’t know how to be humble.  Instead of reading that passage and saying, “Oh I got this,” I am saying, “Oh God, I don’t got this, please teach me.”  I just know I have the power to choose humility and a God who will teach me how to be humble.  And thanks to C.S. Lewis I know it starts with thinking about others more than I think about myself.

And so to bring all this humility talk back to relationships, Godly relationships require humility.  When I start taking interest in others I start to see God at work in them.  I start to see how God made them.  I start to see that maybe they have something to teach me.  One thing I have learned is that Godly relationships are the meat and potatoes of the Christian life.  I have learned more about God and myself through pursing unity with people than I think any bible study has ever taught me.  I say it is the meat and potatoes because you can know all you want to about God, but if you can’t walk out what He teaches about having Godly relationships you really don’t get that life-changing relationship with Him.  To avoid coming off hypocritical, let me add that there are still many relationships in my life that do not reflect my belief in Christ.  That is where the sifting will come, and my pride will be broken down even more because God wants me to be humble and unified in all my relationships.

And so, back to the chicken coop.  As I was working with my mother in law I was practicing choosing humility.  I was trying to put her wants before my own, I was practicing taking an interest in her.  I was practicing not being absorbed in myself.  I was amazed at what God showed me.  I watched a woman in her element.  I watched a woman exercising the gifting she was given.  I watched her hands move so carefully over the tools, so precise.  I watched her stop and give instruction to her grandchildren with patience and joy.  I watched her smile and cheer them on as they learned how to use the tools.  I watched her think though things and plan the next step.  I watched her work methodically with an attention to detail that I could only dream of.  I watched her stand back and admire what she had accomplished, and I was so thankful for this woman, in a way I have never felt before.  Below are some examples of her handy work.

I then got to watch this woman receive the news that her beloved father had died.  She was so strong and so brave.  Her husband and brother encouraged her to stay here because there really wasn’t anything for her to do at home.  We have known Johnny would pass sometime soon, and everything had been planned for a while.  There was nothing for her to do at home except for wait for the funeral, so she stayed with us.  I watched her go back to work on the chicken coop.  She even baked some bread that will be the death of me because it is so good!  She said that she needed to be busy.  I watched her grieve for her father and I loved her the best way I knew how.

She said to me one day that Papaw Johnny was the one who taught her everything she knew about building.  She said she felt like he was with her when she was building.  The funny thing is Jesse said the same thing.  Papaw Johnny was very important to Jesse.  He and Johnny spent many hours tinkering and building.  Johnny was the first person Jesse shared his faith with.  It is our biggest comfort right now to know, as a result of that conversation, that Johnny had put his faith in Christ.  We know he is in heaven with Jesus.  Jesse and I have been warmed by the thought that Johnny gets to tinker with anything he wants now without cancer and Alzheimer’s to slow him down.  Praise Jesus for saving him.

I then got watch Jesse and Sue work together.  Two people grieving for someone they loved so much, and doing the very thing he taught them both how to do.  It was really beautiful and I felt like it really honored Johnny’s memory.  I feel like this chicken coop is not just a chicken coop anymore.  It feels more like a tribute to Johnny.  I love you Papaw, thank you for always smiling at me and giving me a hug.  Thanks you for always making sure the barn was locked and the horses were in out of the weather.  Thank you for always watching the road to be sure no shady characters drove up at night.  Thank you for teaching Jesse to be a useful worker and for making him so capable.  Thank you for sharing your knowledge with all of us.  Thank you for always saying yes when I needed some hay moved or some dirt harrowed.  Most of all thank you for welcoming me into the family the way you did.  I miss you so much.  Tell Jesus HI for me.

About that time I thought I was having a heart attack at Church…..

Heartbeat

There was this one time I was sitting in church and I thought I was having a heart attack.  Now, anyone who knew me before I started to go to church would totally be nodding their heads right now say, “Yeah, I bet when you walked into church people started spritzing you with holy water and pointing their crucifixes at you, the dudes probably started loading their silver bullets.”  Lets just agree that no one would have accused me of spending too much time in a church.  In fact I was the object of a lot of prayer by people who knew me.  The heart attack won’t make sense unless you have the whole story.

I didn’t know it then but I know now that God was working in my life way before I started going to church.  He was moving and shaping things and bringing me to a point where I would be open to Him.  Jesse and I had a lot of fun the first few years of our marriage.  By “fun” I mean we spent a lot of money and we bought a lot of things.  I think we were trying to buy happiness.  Then one day we found out we had overspent to the point that we were in serious trouble.  When you have to get a loan to pay your way out of debt you know you are in trouble.  We had to sell our house and move over to the, shall we say, more affordable side of town.  We had to rent a house, take Sydney out of private school and sell everything else we had to get out of trouble.

Up to this point I had been a horse trainer.  I was hell-bent on getting to the olympics and had a horse that I was hopeful would be a possible mount for that purpose, or at least get me close.  Unfortunately, I had to put him down because of an undiagnosed birth defect that showed up.  I found my horse career stagnated after that.  I did not want to go forward with another horse and I wasn’t happy with the current horse I had.  I was just kind of stuck.  I found myself questioning why I was even doing this horse thing especially because it cost us so much money that we really didn’t have.

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This is VanRanst, the horse I had to put down.  He was so fancy, I miss that sweet face.
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This is Libero, the best horse I ever had.  He is still alive and living a lovely retirement at my friend Justine’s house.

My marriage was also on the skids.  This was the time in our lives where I woke up one day and realized we were just roommates.  And not even good roommates because I did everything. I paid all the bills, was totally responsible for the kids and keeping everything spinning.  We knew we were in trouble financially but we approached the problem totally differently.  We were not unified, and it separated us more.  I was totally consumed with trying to make things better.  I literally tried everything but God, but that is a story for another time.

This “trying to fix things” led me deeper and deeper into depression and anxiety.  I was absolutely under the weight of everything.  I constantly felt like there was no way out.  This “trying to escape” lead me to be on several anti-depression drugs and anti-anxiety medicine to get some relief.  When those didn’t work I picked up chain-smoking.  Notice I didn’t say smoking, I say chain-smoking because I totally skipped from social smoker to chain smoker with no stops in between.  It was all an attempt to calm this feeling in me that I took care of everything and everyone and no one was taking care of me.  It was all on me or it would all fall apart.  I hit the bottom in a grocery store parking lot.  I was sitting there in the parking lot of Tom Thumb and I came so close to just driving away from it all.  Leaving everything and taking my kids and running.  It scares me how close I came.  In that moment I said to myself, “If things don’t get better, I am going to leave, I can’t keep doing this.”

Around this same time my best friend suffered a terrible loss.  Her father died suddenly.  It was a shock and it shook her to the core.  After the funeral and all the busy stuff that happens at the time of a death, she was left searching for answers.  On night on the phone she said to me “Sarah, I have to find a church because I need to know what happens to us when we die.  I need to find something, I need to get back to God.”  I remember thinking, “Oh boy, she has jumped off the deep end.  Time to call someone.”  But, I lit another cigarette, because that is what I did back then, and I said, “Ok, lets find one to go to.”

Do you remember me telling you that Sydney had to stop going to private school.  Well, she started going to the public school right by our house.  I think from her first day at school she was friends with a little girl named Breelie.  Breelie and Sydney became fast friends and it made Sydney’s transition so much easier.  Breelie’s mom, Autumn and I became friends because the girls were friends and we were room-mom’s together.  As it turns out, she was another map point that God put in front of me.  We had lost all our friends when we had to move and I was so lonely.  She was so kind and fun to be around.

Now, here’s the thing.  I was a rough woman, ok.  I had this nick name in the horse world.  They called me F-ing Sarah because I said the F-word so much.  One day, I am just letting the language fly in the volunteer room at the school.  (I am not proud to write this, but it is important.)  We are laughing and carrying on and whatever.  Autumn says something about her church.  She was literally just saying something totally benign like, “I was driving by my church,” and my heart sank.  Not because I was worried about offending her but because I was like, “Oh great, she is one of those church people.”  I immediately wrote her off as a friend because I didn’t need someone telling me what a bad person I was.  But here is the funny thing, this is all happening at the same time as I am breaking down on the inside.  Autumn didn’t give up on me, she kept being my friend even though I totally distanced myself.  And finally one day I realized I liked being her friend more than I liked avoiding her and I let my guard down.  And wouldn’t you know it, that darn churchy person invited me to church.

I can honestly say the only reason I went with her to church was because I literally thought if I didn’t go she would stop talking to me.  So I went with her one Sunday and I was shocked at what I found.  In my mind I had made up this vision of what church should look like.  Well, Cornerstone did not check any of those boxes.  It was so disarming.  First, they didn’t have a choir, they had a band.  The pastor said words like “bro” and “totally.”  And everyone was wearing jeans!  Except for me.  I wore a dress because that is what I thought you were supposed to wear at these churchy functions.  I’m nothing if I am not fashionable.  And the biggest thing at this weirdo church was that a bible was placed in my hands.

Something inside me started to sit up and sniff the air at this point.  I was intrigued by this church.  I was caught off guard and I was interested in this place.  I called up my best friend, the one who had lost her father, and said “Hey, I think we gotta check this out.” The weirdest thing for me was I wanted to go to this church.  I wanted to know what was going on with these people.  I wanted them to share with me their cocktail of medicine so I could be happy like they were.  I wanted to know why Pastor Doug made such a big deal about the bible.  My first step of investigation was purchasing “The Bible For Dummies.”  I found it at Half Priced Books while looking for something else.  It was not a huge investment.  I read it in one night.  Then I wanted to know more.

biblefordummies
This is my real copy of this book, which I still have becasue it reminds me where I came from.

The heart attack happened after about a month of going to church at Cornerstone.  It was in June and I think it was 2010, but it could have been 2011.  Anyway, Pastor Doug was preaching about Mathew 11: 28-30.  Take a look:

28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.

Doug was encouraging us to put our faith and burdens in Jesus’ hands.  Then towards the end he said, “You see, if you feel like you have to take care of everything and everybody and nobody takes care of you it’s because you don’t know Jesus.”  At that moment the world stopped.  I just stared at him, and thought how did he know I have said that for years.  I couldn’t hear anything even though people were around me.  Autumn was sitting right next to me and I grabbed for her hand.  I felt something break in my chest and a flood of tears followed.  I was in real pain and my heart felt like it might jump out of my chest in some sort of horrible Alien scene.  I told Autumn I was not feeling well and I started to get up and leave but I couldn’t.  I just sat there and absolutely sobbed.  And not pretty crying, like ugly savage shoulder shaking crying.  People around me were handing me tissues, and I was like screw your tissues, I need a doctor!  It was noticeable enough that after church was over Pastor Doug approached me, cautiously, and asked if I was ok.  I choked out that I had been saying that exact phrase for years and that I didn’t know how he knew that.  Then the thing that really changed everything was the thought that surfaced.  “If Jesus can handle the weight of what I have been carrying then I want Him to take it.”  Pastor Doug suggested that he and I meet.  I invited him over to our house because I wanted Jesse to meet him too.

I went home when I felt like I could hold it together enough.  Jesse saw me when I came in and said, “What happened at that church?”  He probably assumed I had just witnessed some sort of sacrifice or something.  I just said to him, “I don’t know what happened but I think Jesus might be real.”  He was like, “Oh, ok.” I  am pretty sure he made a mental note to call my doctor to have my prescriptions adjusted.

When I sobered up the next day after my church experience, I realized, “Oh my God a pastor is coming over to my house, and he is a Californian.”  Like any good Texas woman I decided the best thing to do was have food ready.  I did some mental research on what Californians eat and landed on guacamole, humus, and tortilla chips.  I also cleaned and put away anything that was un-churchy.  No sign of rock and roll, no sign of alcohol, no sign of fun of any kind.   I didn’t know much about this church thing but I knew you could not have fun for sure.

Well as it turned out Pastor Doug in highly allergic to avocado’s and he declined all the California food I put out.  I was sure I was out of the Churchy club for sure.  He started asking me questions about what happened on Sunday.  I told him what had happened and he started to explain to me how salvation works.  He told me that when you put your faith in Jesus He cleanses you of your sin.  He gives you life and He gives you the Holy Spirit.  I learned that God is perfect and righteous, and that to have a relationship with Him I had to pay for my unrighteousness.  He told me that Jesus was that payment for me. He pays your debt that you owe to make a way for you to have a relationship with the Father.  I was listening to all that saying to myself, “Yeah, that’s great Doug but you don’t know what I have done, and I hid all the fun stuff in this house so you really don’t know who you are dealing with.”  He said to me, “Sarah do you want to put your faith in Jesus?”  I said “Yes, I really do!”  He said, “Then you are saved.”  I said to him the first two things that came to mind, “Doug, I can’t be saved, I smoke and I have gay friends.”  I have no idea why I decided those were the two things God couldn’t handle,  but that is what came out.  With tears in my eyes, I tell you that Pastor Doug said to me, “Sarah, you are still saved, you don’t have to be perfect to be saved.  God came to save everyone.”  And that is all she wrote folks.  I was reborn that day as new Christian.  Everything changed but also nothing changed all at the same time.  What I mean is, I was different on the inside, but I was still in the same surroundings.

That day, Jesus took the weight of my life off my shoulders.  I learned that I did not have to try so hard but I did have to learn how to have faith in God.  Now, to be sure everything was not butterflies and rainbows, but suddenly I had hope.  Hope was the thing that I was dearly missing in my BC (before Christ) life.  I was totally sold and wanted to know more about this Man who paid my sin debt and loved me.  Jesus freak is an understatement.  I was in the deep end of the Jesus freak pool working on my back stroke.  I don’t know why, and I don’t tell you that to make you think I am super holy.  I just literally could not belive the change in my life.  I felt like Harry Potter did when he got his letter to Hogwarts.  I was like, “You mean I don’t have to live that life anymore and I have been adopted into an eternal relationship with the Great I AM?  YYYYEEESSSSS!  I’m totally in!”

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My favorite Jesus shirt by my friend Stacy Graves. To get yours shoot her an email at 2birdspartydecorandmore@gmail.com

 

I also wanted EVERYONE to know about it.  This was the definition of all zeal and no wisdom.  I was on a church camp high that summer.  I would go up to the community pool and tell anyone who would listen about Jesus and what He did in my life.  It got to the point where people at the pool would see me coming and NOT make eye contact.  I didn’t care.  I was on fire!

Poor Jesse, he didn’t know what hit him.  There was suddenly a $70 charge on Itunes for music purchases from Chris Tomlin, Hillsong and Jesus Culture.  He must have thought our account had been hacked.  The only conversation he could get out of me was “Why he, Jesse, had not given his life to Christ yet?”  And, “When was he planning on going to church with me?”  And, “Lets join a bible study!” And, “Lets join a Community Group!”  And, “Hey, can we move to Michigan and go to bible school?”  And, “Hey! Did you give your life to Christ yet?”  “Want to get baptized with me?” Pray for him, he doesn’t have it easy with me.  Here is a pic of the first Jesus music downloads.

That day in church obviously changed everything.  It was all God.  He moved and pushed and led me home to Him.  He had to let me go through that journey in the desert of life to soften me and bring me to a point where I would finally stop trying to fix things myself.  Writing this brings thankful tears to my eyes.  Remembering makes me thankful all over again.  I can still feel that relief that flooded my heart the day I found out I don’t have to take care of everything and I can stop trying harder.  I fell into His loving arms, and have fallen into them hundreds of times since then.  I pray that you know Him.  He loves you and wants you to believe in Him.  He wants a relationship with you.  All you have to do is stop trying to fix this life yourself and put your faith in Him.

The flu, the back spasm and the disrespectful wife walk into a bar…..

The title of this post pretty much sums up our week.  It was like a bad joke!  The current events around here are Brock came down with the flu Sunday night.  This set off a magical couple of days around here.  The start of this magical time was me screaming at Brock not to throw up his Tamiflu, followed by Brock projectile vomiting up his tamiflu, then crying hysterically because he was so afraid I was going to make him take more.  Tuesday started with me finding Jesse laying in the back of his truck because his back went out, followed by me realizing I had come down with the flu.  By “realize” I mean I realized Brock was not throwing up because of the tamiflu, but realizing the flu starts with an upset stomach.  I’ll leave it there.  Sydney stayed home on Tuesday not because she was sick but literally becasue neither of us could drive her.  So that was a win for sure.

So the whole Brock throwing up his Tamiflu turned into the biggest parenting fail I have had in a while.  This poor kid.  There he is feeling awful, and on top of that having to deal with a crazy mother who is screaming at him that the “Tamiflu cost $200 and you absolutely cannot throw it up!”  The worst feeling as a parent for me is realizing I have scared my child.  The look he gave me, and the tears that followed, and the “Mama, please, I’m gonna throw up, don’t make me take more,” has haunted me.  I just cried that night when I got in bed.  I want to be remembered by my kids as ” the best parent in the world!” Then I have a fail like that and realize I am the reason they will have to go to therapy and I better start saving my money so I can pay for it.  It is in those moments that I am keenly aware of how thankful I am that the Lord forgives my sin.  I am thankful that I can go to the Lord and say, “I screwed that up, please forgive me.”  The Lord does forgive me, every single time, no matter what.  I am also thankful that the Lord empowers me  to go to my sweet son and say, “Dude, mama really screwed that up.  I am so sorry that I scared you, I am sorry I yelled at you, will you forgive me?” Even if he is a little more resistant to forgive me than the Lord, he always does.  And we both learn something about the Lord.  I learn a little more clearly about my need for Him, and Brock learns that mama is just a sinner saved by the Lord.

So then my main man and his back.  First I have to publicly apologize to my guy because it is my fault his back went out.  You see, I wrote a blog post about how women should respect their husbands.  The Lord hates hypocrites so if I write it I better be able to walk it out, right?  Right!  So in His loving-kindness the Lord put me in a situation where I get to practice what I wrote.  Let me not be a hypocrite and tell you that it was a fail!  I don’t know what is wrong with me but when Jesse is physically hurt I don’t go all “caring, loving, sweet, patient wife.”  No, no, I go all Drill Sargent: “Get off your butt and tough it out son, this war ain’t going to win itself.  And if you die, walk it off!”  Now please remember this is the same man who has walked me through 8 surgeries and nary  a word of reproof escaped his lips.  He has changed bandages, wiped drool, and monitored meds and never complained!  Isn’t that so annoying?

Respecting him in this situation would look like me taking him at his word and doing what I can to make him feel better.  Disrespecting him would look like telling him all the things he has done wrong which lead him to his back going out, and having an attitude with him of “you deserve this.”  Respecting him would look like focusing my thoughts on how to get him relief, putting my own needs aside.  Disrespecting looks like in my mind thinking he is doing this “on purpose” and that he is faking it to make me be nice to him.  Respecting him would be getting control of my thoughts about what everyone else will think and put my husbands needs above my fear of what others think.  Disrespecting him would be letting my thoughts run wild about what people think, how he will lose his job and how he will lay here not doing anything to help himself for weeks on end.  Two guesses on which path I took.  Pray for my husband, he does not have it easy with me.

And so I did get to practice what I wrote.  But not in the way that I would really like to report to you.  I would like to say that upon finding my sweet husband laying in the back of the truck all my respectful wife instincts kicked in.  I would like to say that I scooped him up, got him inside, prayed over him while humming his favorite song to him, at the same time planning his favorite lunch to make him feel better.  Well, no that didn’t happen.  No it was more like, “Oh my gosh I can’t believe on top of everything else I have to deal with you now too!”  So I got to practice asking for forgiveness, like I wrote about in that blog,  something I really enjoy doing–said me never.  I got to practice taking disrespectful thoughts captive and calling them what they are, disrespectful thoughts about my husband, AKA sin.  I got to practice putting my fears and worry in check, and putting my husband first.  I got to see how far I still have to go to be a respectful wife–it’s a long way.

It’s a humbling endeavor to follow the Lord and do what He asks of us.  When I first read that you should be a respectful wife several years ago I thought, “Oh, I got this!”  My response should have been, “Oh dear Lord I don’t got this! Help me!”  Since then God has been exposing to me where I need to change because of my sin.  My friend Cheryl reminded me yesterday that this is the Lord “refining” me.  I love that because it means I’m becoming something else, something more pure.  To get to that place though takes me dealing with me, not to put to fine a point on it.   I am constantly exposed to how sinful I am.  I am learning to let this do its job and push me to the Lord.   The Lord revealing sin to us is hard to take.

Inevitibly, when exposed to my sin, I hid at first.  I remember that Adam and Eve did the same thing in the garden.  After their first sin they were afraid to be confronted by the Lord.  Take a look:

Genesis 3: 6 The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her

So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.

When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”

11 “Who told you that you were naked?” the Lord God asked. “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?”

Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.

Do you see, their eyes were opened to shame and nakedness when they sinned.  Before that they had a perfect relationship with the Lord.  Suddenly they felt like they needed to hide and cover up.  For me hiding looks like ignoring the Lord’s prompting or ignoring the commands He gives me in His word.  That gentle voice that says, “Sarah, that is not what I want you to be like, I want you to me more like Me.”  I can very easily ignore that voice and drowned it out with my own noise.  My “fig leaves” to cover my nakedness is my olympic-caliber justification of my sin.  If I you asked me what my super power is I would say justifying my behavior.  It’s not a super sexy super power like super strength or super speed but it is power.  It’s such a powerful power that it takes God to break it down.  It takes God saying “Stop telling me why you did this, agree with me that it was wrong and ask me to forgive you so we can move on.  But noooooooooooo, like Mouth says in Goonies.  I have to sit in my own jacked up situation, holding out on the friendship I could have with God and justify why I am a jerk to my husband.  Here are some examples:

Lord, I am right and he is WRONG.  When he admits that he is wrong I will say I am sorry for yelling at him.

Lord, he is not doing what he needs to do to be his best self.  I can’t respect him when he is doing that.

Lord, seriously, he is driving me crazy because of insufferable perfectness and holiness and I’m going to lose it!

The Lord’s response to me is always the same.  As any loving father would say, “I am asking you to do this because it is good for you.”  “You will learn more about Me, Sarah, when you deny yourself and follow me.”  “Sarah, you pray to be closer to me and we can’t be close if you are in sin, so get over it and agree with me.”  The bible says that God only disciplines the ones He loves.  It tells us to not be afraid of the discipline from the Lord because it is for our good and His glory.  So I am trying to let it do its job.  Show me my sin, cause me to cry out to the Lord, and empower me to do things a different way.

It’s important to know that I am the only one surprised by my sin.  The Lord is not surprised by my sin.  He was not surprised by Adam and Eve’s sin.  In fact the entire story of the bible is about my sin (and yours too) and God’s perfection.  It is a story about His desire to have a relationship with us just like He had Adam and Eve and how He moved in the world to bring us back into a relationship with Him.  I think I spent a lot of my first few years with the Lord, “not sinning.”  I was so disappointed by how I could not get it right before the Lord.  I knew I needed Jesus because He dealt with my sin for me.  However I think I got hung up in, “Because you did that for me Jesus, I will spend the rest of my life “not sinning” to pay you back.  Well that thinking will crush you, and it for sure crushed me.  Also with my super power of justification I was in danger of explaining away my sin and never learning to agree with the Lord over my sin.  Always hiding, always covering up.  Jesus said he came to give us an abundant life.  Take a look:

John 10: 10 The thief’s [Satan’s] purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.

So I’m no scholar but if my life becomes about covering up sin and hiding from God, that does not sound like a rich and satisfying life.  No, that is not the life God wants for me.  Take a look at this exchange in the scripture from above:

Genesis 3: 8 When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

First what stands out to me is that the Lord walked with them in the cool of the evening.  This was evidently a normal thing because they were not surprised that he was there, they were surprised because they felt shame.  They had never felt that before.  The Lord is not looking to smite them, He asks, “Where are you?”  He does the same thing with me.  He is looking for me when I hide, saying “Where are you?”  I don’t have to hide from Him because he is not surprised by my sinfulness.  He wants me to come out into the open and confess to Him and let Him do the work of changing me.

For sure God, hates sin.  The whole bible is the story of how sin destroyed creation and how God is bringing creation back to a sin free state, known as perfection.  I am for sure not saying sin is ok.  I am saying sin is sin.  Sin is anything we do that is not right, or goes against what God has asked us to do.  If I try to cover it up and hide from God, I am the one who is hurt.  Our loving father has made a way for sin to be dealt with in a way that brings us closer to him.  Jesus was our payment for sin.  When He went to the cross He became our sin and God poured out on Him, His own son, the wrath that we deserved.  This was so God could love us and deal with our sin at the same time.  All you have to do is believe that you are sinner and that you need a savior.  When you put your faith in Jesus your life becomes more about getting closer to God and less about covering up your sin.  It is the greatest relationship I have ever experienced.  But wait there’s more!  Upon belief in Jesus you are in-dwelt with the very Spirit of God.  This Holy Spirit points you to God and helps you understand God’s holiness and your sin.  The Holy Spirit is what empowers me to capture those disrespectful thoughts and points me to confess to the Lord.

And so, here I sit after a pretty significant failure of a week, so thankful for this God who says, “Where are you?”  Who looks for me when I am hiding, holding out his hand asking me to come out of hiding and confess to him.  I love you Lord, thank you for looking for me.

Brock looks like he is on the mend.  Jesse got a steroid shot and some muscle relaxers and is up and moving again.  In fact just got up to go to the grocery store because we are out of milk, and to get dinner.  He is so perfect, that is his super power.  He just keeps going, keeps loving me and keeps forgiving me.  Sydney looks to have escaped the flu.  Her only grievance right now is that this freezing weather causes her to have to haul water from the house to get water to the goats.  And to feel a little better about myself I just saw on the news that teens are eating Tide Pods, at least I am not doing that.