Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Shifting Sands

One of the most frequent arguments I hear about any sort of “Biblically based controversy” is the “slippery slope one.”

You know, the one that goes, “Oh, if we (society) allow X, then people will marry goats, and THEN where will society be?!”

(for some reason it doesn't matter what X is...people marrying goats always pops up.)

People on both sides get somewhat grid-locked because they get hung up on the absurdity of the claim.

I used to never understand why Christians “went there.” I mean, jeez, we’re trying to make a point here and you’re making us look like crazy people!

But, now hear me out, I kind of see the point BEHIND the argument.

See the examples are terrible. Just awful. Poor logic. Scare tactics. Emotional garbage.

Yeah. All that.

But what, I believe, the IDEOLOGY (or, dare I say, the theology) behind it is that if we do not hold to standard A, what then causes us to reject standard B. And, eventually, do these lines blur? And if so, how far? Over how much time?

I think those are concerns that both “sides” share. I don’t think anyone “wants” a society filled with human/goat couples. I imagine the biggest societal argument today, oddly, would have nothing to do with the actual logistics, but the idea that you can’t really prove a goat’s consent.


All I am going to say here is that I saw something. An image.

It’s being passed around on Facebook and super applauded.

It’s also mixed in with several other images that most (sane) people totally agree with.

Like just kind of … snuck in there.

Maybe no one will notice.

Let’s talk about abortion.


I don’t really want to talk about abortion, but I’m just saying, okay?

This is a topic that I have been inundated with since I was little. 

Pro-choice was a BIG DEAL where I was raised. 

They through around terms like “stop forced motherhood!” as a comparison to modern-day slavery. Yeah.

That stuff.

Anyways, every.single.pro-choice professor, teacher, mother, father, pastor, soccer coach, friend, friend’s mom, WHATEVER, every single one would always end the conversation with, “I mean, it’s not like abortions should just be “handed out willy nilly.” BUT for “those instances,” where it’s TRULY needed (enter in rhetoric x,y,z)…it should be available.”

Made sense. It was tame. It was abortion lite.

It’s compassion! It’s humanity. It’s human rights.

This was 10 years ago, guys. 10.

All I am doing is making a simple observation.

But the sands HAVE shifted.

The lines HAVE moved.

The chants HAVE changed. 

And, they’ve changed from this:

to this:

Is this really where we want to go? I'm just asking the question. 

This blog is not about abortion.
This blog is about the idea that the whole "unchanging universal truth" based on zero grounds thing is deeply flawed. 

It.does.shift. It does. 

I've been in the turbulence. 

Ephesians 4:14
We won't be  tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Dear Daughter... / Father's Day 2015

Dear Daughter,

This Sunday is Father’s Day, and though you don’t know it quite yet, or maybe you do, you have the very best Daddy in the whole wide world!

Daddy claims that he’s going to love you just as much as (and no more than) your stinky brothers.

He thinks that because he loves your brothers SO MUCH that he thinks he couldn’t possibly love anyone else any more or differently!

He thinks that because he is the best daddy in the whole wide world.

But Mommy knows better.

On the day we found out you were a girl, that we were going to be given a daughter, your daddy told me he had to “live a long life now and lose weight.”

Apparently me and your brothers “will be just fine” if something happened to him.

But you, you are special.

I have a special bond with your brothers that Daddy won’t get and you will have a special bond with your Daddy that I won’t fully understand (and that’s okay), but I can give you a little preview because, right now, I am the lady in Daddy’s life! 

And it’s a GREAT place to be!

Daddy might have tattoos of skulls on his arms and a really hairy face but, he is the sweetest, kindest man in the whole wide world.

I know how he’ll treat you, because I know how he treats me.

He’ll never expect you to be someone you’re not.

He’ll allow you to have really girly days and he’ll love it when you sleep in a tent under the stars without showering after a long hike and twigs in your hair.

He’ll teach you to hunt right along with your brothers.

He’ll think you’re gorgeous in sweats (even if they belong to him and not off some fancy shelf from a girly boutique).

He thinks, already, you’re a shoe-in for a professional snowboarding champion because he has confidence for days and that’ll rub off on you.

(You don’t have to snowboard professionally…I’m just saying that’s an extremely viable option according to your Daddy.)

He’ll find you really gorgeous when you’re being smart. Find a man like that someday.

He’ll never ever question the amount of cookies you eat in a day.

His friends will joke that he’s a hipster, but he’ll reject every label that the world puts on him.

I’m kind of like that too. There’s a good chance you’ll want to fit in your very own category yourself.

And that’s totally okay with us.

He’ll pray for you. He won’t do it out loud. But I guarantee he is praying for you.

He’ll protect you above all costs. You’ll feel much safer when Daddy is in the house.

He’ll always have time for you. Always. Even if you’re just calling to tell him that you don’t know what you want for dinner. If it’s important to you, it’s important to him. And he’ll always make time for it.

He’ll encourage you and support your dreams.

He’ll consider your dreams “done deals” without them being an actuality.

He will think and tell everyone who will listen that you are the most beautiful girl in the whole wide world.

He is going to love you so much. He already does.

I cannot wait for you two to meet.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

My Kids are Raised in a Christian Home AND Are Free Thinkers

There is a great dichotomy out there that society (and other Principalities, but we’ll save that “crazy talk” for another blog) wants us to accept desperately.

This dichotomy is that there are two kinds of people: “Free Thinkers” and then, there are “Christians.”

The idea is simply that despite how educated, how well studied, how intelligent, how “worldy,” cultured, and irrelevant of background, parental influence, economic status, educational opportunity, etc. you fall directly and exclusively into either camp. Period.

Some view the Christian faith as so irrelevant and “fairytale”esque that they go so far as to assert that raising children under “Christian influence” is considered everything from “brainwashing” to “child abuse.”

 I, clearly, as a Christian mother, would have an emotional rejection of this assertion.

No mother anywhere wants to be labeled as not having her childrens’ best interests at heart and certainly any suggestion that her methodology would be, not only a hindrance, but a type of abuse obviously tugs at those heart strings.

However, I would like to discuss why I find fault with that accusation from a more theological / intellectual stand point (and, yes, I just “slashed” the words theological and intellectual. Deal with it.).

Number One: It implies that raising children within a “universal moral” mind-set is abuse

A “universal moral” is a general term that suggests that there are some things that if done, or if not done, are widely accepted as “moral” or “immoral.” One example of a universal moral that society generally accepts today (though, if you pay attention these.do.change, because they’re based on changing societies and changing societal standards) would be that “rape is always bad” or “generosity is always good.”

Many secular families and religious families alike fall into my favorite “category” of parenting: intentional parenting.

 This type of parenting isn’t about co-sleeping or “being crunchy” or “not saying no” or any other dividing rational. 

“Intentional parenting” simply means that whatever you’re doing, you’re doing it intentionally.

You have accepted these children as more than accessories to glorify on social media, to dress up, to show off, to parade around, and you see them as actual people with actual potential and world influence

You take that role seriously and you (on your good days) don’t see them as a burden, but a vessel to pour into and fill up so that they, in turn, can go out into the world and generally make it a better place.

There isn’t a universal style or a method to do this. 

You simply do what you believe is best for your family and your child and you integrate everything from avoiding painful situations you may have experienced and you emphasize rewarding and character building experiences within your walk with your children.

When a secular parent implies that there is a universal truth “be kind to your neighbor” by disallowing their child to wallop another child at the park with a shovel, I see a parent that is intentionally raising a child to yield to a truth that they believe is an actual truth.

I see no difference with Christian parenting.

I imply to my children when I take them to church there is a universal truth that there is a governing God and that spending an hour on Sunday as a family to worship Him in community is a good thing that is worthy of our time.

See, my real problem with this postulate is that people often spout that teaching universal truths prohibit the child’s ability to “think for themselves.” But really, in my opinion, this is hog wash.

The parent at the playground would never tell the other parent of the child being walloped by a shovel “Oh, I’d discipline Tommy, but really, he needs to figure it out for himself.”

On principle, raising your children to adhere to your family’s network of “universal truths” (when those truths are politically and societally governed and sanctioned)” clearly isn’t inherently damaging by society’s standards. So why is it damaging to do so through a Christian lens? 

The logic just isn’t there for me.

Consider these two statements:

Socially acceptable: “Tommy, be kind to Jasmine. Why?? Just because, ok!?”
Socially unacceptable: “Tommy, we need to be kind to our neighbor. Why?? Jesus taught us that in the Bible!”

Some would argue the difference is the WAY we speak about being kind. I.e. that we should assert our children be nice “just because it’s the “right thing”” and somehow because it rests on zero standards other than socially accepted norms, that’s more “free thinking-y” then by referencing a book that has existed long before our society, or our society’s accepted norms. 

That assertion doesn’t work for me, personally. 

But, that’s the argument in general. If you get there on your own (does anyone REALLY) you’re super awesome. If you get there by reading an ancient (Holy) text-- you’re weak!

Number Two: it implies that I believe I am in control over my child’s salvation

The idea that I am “shoving Christianity down my child’s throat” is generally accepted to be a reaction to my “fantastical idea” that my child is worthy or needs salvation from a higher power.

The world would see my Bible studies and church going and prayers over my children as an attempt to control them; as if, if I just say the right thing in the right way or threaten them in some way or brainwash them in some way that I will feel better about their eternal destiny.

Ask any Christian parent EVER and this could not be further from the truth.

God, is such a good God, because he didn’t send out dictators and he didn’t come to enslave us.

He came to free us so that we might be free. Period. 

A (true and healthy) relationship with Jesus does not, it just does not, create a desire to beat the love of God into anyone, ever. 

Least of all our children.

I bring my children to church because, yes, I want them to have a relationship with Jesus because, as I have experienced, it is the only way to 1) be saved 2) be TRULY joyful and experience all the wonder that God has for us on this Earth and in the next.

But saying that I do it to coerce some sort of “blind little Christian army” is just preposterous. 

My children are humans. I am a human.

I can no sooner force behaviors of any kind on my children in an effort to create a relationship with the Father than I could experience God myself through a laundry list of “good things I’ve done.”

Relationship with God just doesn’t work that way.

My children have free will (good GOD do some of them have more generous doses than others!).

Praise the Lord for that.

I can bring a horse to water, but I can’t make him drink.

That’s a hard pill to swallow for someone who believes that their children’s souls are being fought for every day with real eternal consequences.

Ultimately, it is between the Father and each of my children. Am I to encourage my children? Yes.

Could I force them even if I wanted to? No way.

I can throw my kids in a car and drag them to church (luckily not something I have to deal with right now, they love church, but it's still a lot of bubbles and singing songs right now). 

But I am under zero illusion that will “save” them in any sense of the term.

They don’t need to “be kind” and “go to church” and “sit nicely” and “eat their veggies” and “take communion” and “pray” and “memorize Bible verses.”

They need Jesus. The Risen King. The Lord of Lords.

If you’ve met my oldest, I don’t have any idea how you could assert that he is a Christian because I “forced” him or “coerced him” to be.

So, call my Christian home a waste of time, or silly, or careless, or a waste of money, or Amish, or weird.

But, my Christian home is not abusive and certainly not brainwash-y.

My kids will always be encouraged to think hard and think long (think left and think right, right Dr. Suess?).

We will not avoid the hard questions. We will not skirt around the issue.

We will give them solid answers to solid questions based on a text that we believe to be in the infallible word of a Living God, King Jesus.

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

P.s. find me on facebook HERE

P.s.s. photocred

Monday, June 15, 2015

I am a Christian AND a Free Thinker

I’ve written on this topic before, but I feel the push to write on it again.

I completely and utterly reject the notion that being a Christian and being a “free thinker” are mutually exclusive on the following principles.

1)    I am a Christian
2)    I was not raised in the church
3)  I found Jesus…by THINKING FREELY

My parents’ approach to religion in the home was congruent to norms that society pushes today:
1)  Religion is “okay” "if it works" i.e. “pragmatic”
2)  Spirituality is highly individualistic and academic in nature
3) “Figure it out for yourself”/ “find what works for you.”
4)  “Well nobody KNOWS knows, you know (I didn’t)?

In conclusion, I find it inherently ILLOGICAL that the idea of “free thinking” EXCLUDES Christianity.

1)  Be exposed and open minded to various religions free of bias

2)   Conclude what works for you

a.       Choose anything but Christianity including every variety of the “spirituality cocktail” = freethinker
b.      Choose Jesus / Christianity = poor, blind, brainwashed hypocrite

Just sayin’ 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

5 Things to Never Say to a First Time Mommy

Every time someone looks at my growing baby bump and "oohs" and "aahs" and asks, “Is this your first?” I am SO GLAD that I get to say, “NOPE!”

They usually answer back with a, "Oh, then you know!"

And I think, "Yeah, I do!"

Pro tip: First time mommies, YOU KNOW TOO! 

(you just don't KNOW that you know that you know in the words of Pheobe Buffett)

For me, personally, the transition from 0 kids to 1 kid was hands-down the most difficult.  

No kids, to kids.


Everything about it.


Someone once said (or blogged?) that to have a happy marriage you either need no kids or lots of kids.

I believe there is definitely a grain of truth to that! When you have one kid, and you’re brand new at this, so much is so unknown and yeah, of course you “get it” but it kinda takes a while to settle in to your new (HUGE) role!

So, without further ado, 5 Things to Never Say to a First Time Mommy

1)      You look great “for having just had a baby!”

If you say this to me after this kid, I’ll kiss you. Promise. But first time mommies are often still under the illusion that their bodies are going to “bounce back” relatively quickly. I tell new mommies: 1.full.year. And even then, there’s this problem of your bones moving. Mine did. Even though I weighed 20 pounds LESS than I had before I got pregnant with my first I went up almost THREE sizes because my hips were … literally moved during pregnancy and childbirth.
So…say this…but JUST leave it at “you look great.” The end.

2)      “Can I help you with that?”

Okay, this one SEEMS innocuous. I mean, you’re trying to help. But, see, the media tells us (and we’re still buying it) that we can be SUPERMOM. So, we’re gonna say “no.” Especially if it comes to care of our child. We think we can do it, we think that other people “do it,” because Pinterest tells us so.

Instead, just do it. Come in, gush a little (or a lot) over the baby, and then just start cleaning the kitchen. If we argue with you, tell us that you wished you spent more time holding your newborns and just smelling them instead of standing over the kitchen sink. We know you’re here to see the baby, but seriously, this will take you 10 minutes and it’s so needed. No words necessary.

3)      “Aww, he’s such a good daddy!!”

Again, this seems nice, but all we’re thinking is, “SERIOUSLY?! I’m covered in poop and haven’t showered in three days, and he’s sitting there watching the game holding her pacifier to her nose.”

We also still kind of blame him for the undeniable pain that we experienced and that is still very ingrained in the very fabric of our being from a few days / weeks ago. We love him. So much more than we did before.

But things are also a lot more his fault right now. They just are.

That’s a good one (and probably super true).

But this is better: “Aww, you guys make such a great TEAM.”

Because here’s the reality, if dad can do that, it means he got to go to work today / i.e. get at least 2 hours of sleep, and guess who made that happen? *this girl*

4)      Anything about breastfeeding/co-sleeping/vaccinations/circumcisions/swaddling/babywearing

We are SO CONFUSED right now!!! We haven’t slept in FOUR YEARS (and we had the baby last Friday…it makes sense to us, ok?). We love this little squishy thing MORE THAN THE WHOLE WORLD and we’re driving ourselves INSANE over these (HOT) issues. 

Inserting your unsolicited advice is just not helpful nor appropriate right now.

 Just smell my baby, sanitize your hands, tell me he's the cutest squishy in the whole wide world, leave some sub sandwiches, and be on your way. thankyouverymuch

5)      “Who do you think he looks like because I really don’t see either of you?”
“Should you be eating that  / aren't you breastfeeding?”
“Are you sticking with that name?”

Are you TRYING to make me bawl in my living room right now?
All these things, after at least baby #2, are answered with a quick…

“I don’t care I just want him to sleep”
“Can you pass the nacho cheese? (I don’t care I just want him to sleep)”
“Call him whatever you want. (I don’t care I just want him to sleep)”

However, with baby #1, we’re bawling inside.

Be kind to the first time mommies. Speak gently.

My hormones were WAY more out-of-whack the 6 weeks postpartum then they EVER were during pregnancy with each of my babies.

Mostly just really calming sounds with no jarring movements, a lot of “you’re doing awesome!”s, “that is the most beautiful baby I have ever seen on God’s green Earth”s, and a lot of handing her chocolate milkshakes with extra whip cream and holding the baby while she falls asleep standing up in the shower.

Mommies: what soon-after-birth comments do you love the most?? 

Above all, with new mommies, of their 1st or 7th kid, don't just say; DO

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

National Bestie Day?

Yesterday was “National Best Friends Day” apparently.

Well, according to Facebook / social media. It was so fun to see my feed filled with all kinds of friends!

Some shouted out to their girlfriends; hugging and probably holding iced lattes.

Some shouted out to their husbands; a beautiful testimony of their union.

Some shouted out to their pets and/or inanimate objects (i.e an iced latte); a funny spin, quippy, and, often, adorable.

And then, people like me, thought about it for a minute and decided to just let the day pass in silence.

It really reminded me of a few weeks ago when I watched the movie “The Wedding Ringer.” You know…this one???

I must admit, I am one of those people that will straight turn a movie off half-way if I don’t “like where it’s going.” Drives my husband absolutely batty.

The movie really started to bug me.

The premise is this guy who is getting married and he has no groomsmen to call on, including no one in his life to be his best man (first world problems, amen?). He hires a guy to play the part of the best man and, in turn, recruit seven other groomsmen to “even out” the bridal party.

Then, as the “emotional source” of this “predicament” is unraveled when the man posing as his best man realizes that, horror of all horrors, this man (a very successful international tax representative in a seemingly overall healthy confidence and mindset) has never been on a “boys’ trip.” Cue the sad music as they realize he’s never jumped out of a plane, woken up in a stranger’s car due to alcohol poisoning, and stereotypical scenario after scenario that this guy had “missed out on.”

The entire movie seemed to view marriage as this total buzz kill to this man’s life and it was ridiculous and a little insulting!

This blog isn’t about downplaying the absolute importance of community and friendships and, yes, even best friends.

But, this blog is for everyone who didn’t post anything yesterday and felt even a LITTLE discouraged by that!

Friendships are important. Family is important.

But the.most.important.relationship and the.only.one.that.matters is your relationship with God.

All of your relationships are trivial and meaningless and worthless (i.e. “not fruit bearing”) if they are not revolving around the King. Period.

Quite frankly, I did not post yesterday because I didn’t have anything / anyone to post about.

I’m pretty “out there” on the “FB Ned Flanders Scale” but I just couldn’t bring myself to post a picture of “Buddy Christ” as my BFF. I have to draw the line somewhere people.

I also consider my husband as my “best friend” but he’s MORE than that: he’s my husband. That means when he really pisses me off, I still respect, love, and pick up his stinky socks. Is that because of him? No, it’s because of Him.

I have had many good friendships in my life and continue to be blessed by the people that the Lord places in my life, but I have the tendency to hold those friendships with open hands and open hearts.

I’m not great at the whole “girlfriend” experience.

I’m really loud: both in volume of the words I say and in the weight of the words I say. I cannot stand small talk. One person described me once as a “burning bush” i.e. “look here’s what I think; take it or leave it.” Makes for a great advice giver and a great friend and a great parent; but not necessarily a great “girlfriend.”

I’m also SUPER busy. Remember when you thought you were busy before you had children? #sorrynotsorry

Whenever I see FB posts or read blogs about how to be an “intentional friend” I feel like a failure.

I just don’t have time to bring a mocha and leave it on your porch with a Pinterest inspired handmade card.

 I love you. I cherish our time together. I just can’t. And.that’s.okay!

There is a season for everything and life and right now my season looks like diapers and strong coffee and Netflix on the couch. It just does.

I also hate talking on the phone. I joke with my husband that if my friends called me as much as his friends call him it would drive me insane. I like to meet with people one-on-one and really pour over coffee and circumstances. With my schedule, it just doesn’t allow for a lot (any) of that right now.


I want to leave you with two pieces of encouragement.

1)      If you feel like a failure in the friend department because of other commitments and priorities in your life in this season; be encouraged. Be strengthened. This is a season. You cannot be everything to everyone. Like the meme says, “You can’t make everyone happy. You are not pizza.” Focus on your children. Focus on your marriage. Focus mostly on Jesus. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of the world will grow strangely dim in the light of his fullness and grace. I hereby release you from the million of blogs and FB posts that suggest otherwise.

2)      If you’re like me and you suck at being a girlfriend; halla at me. I once read a quote that said the things that frustrate you most about your children just might be what God uses for the Kingdom. I.e. say your kid’s super independent, well, given the right rearing, that’s a really good thing. The same can be applied to you. I’m not good at nail polish parties. But I’m really good at one-on-one heart-to-hearts. Despite what Igram and FB shouts, the goal is not to have a bunch of acquaintances “like” and “follow” you. The goal is to reach people for the gospel. If you do that by being that rockin’ girlfriend who shows up with your favorite nail polish color and six other friends and a margarita machine = awesome. We need you. If you do that by putting out a pot of coffee in a house that looks like a bomb went off and welcoming anyone and everyone into your home = awesome. We need you. If you do that by HOWEVER there is ROOM for you.

Friendships are give and take. They come and go. Instead of trying to make them into things they’re not; try and see them as divine appointments; ways to enjoy this day, this moment, this season, but not to distract you from your ultimate purpose here.

Instead of focusing your efforts on how you are not living up to society's standards, focus on all the ways that God is living up to His own standards. It's a much, much prettier picture. I promise. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

A Ransomed Heart: my road to freedom from the bondage of premarital sex

I am writing a book. It’s definitely going to be a long journey.

My goal is to have the meat of it done by September, social media / tweaking / social presence September - March and have something solid to pitch at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in March 2016. 

I am looking for help!

My book is titled A Ransomed Heart: my road to freedom from the bondage of premarital sex.

(working title) 

Here’s my thing: I have read many, many programs and books on the topics of Christian marriage in regards to love and sex.

Almost all of them consider only the idea that both parties were virgins at the wedding.

Spoiler alert: neither my husband nor I were in this camp (like, at all).

IF a book touches the subject of premarital sex externally relevant to the union at hand, it is dealt with such brevity and a sort of “just fix that, that was bad” mentality.

My book is about how very real my struggle with maintaining a healthy, Christian, and marital sex life was in the beginning of my marriage (and every so often even now) considering my (poor) choices as a teenager and young adult.

This book does not downplay the importance of the real role and design that God has for our marriages, sexuality and purity, but it rather creates an opportunity to discuss, heal, and give real practical advice when dealing with these issues that inevitable arise for married couples with an “external sexual history.”

When I started writing my book, I began working with a writing coach / editor who happens to be generous enough to take me on as a summer project (she’s a best-selling author herself).

She told me after my first 10,000 words that I was too serious / academic at times. She suggested that my voice is best heard when I am more “conversational.”

At first I was a little insulted! I’m a smart girl!

I want to SOUND like a smart girl!

But then I stepped back, and looked more carefully at what she was saying.

First, I don’t have the credentials to write to pastors, therapists, etc. I have a bachelor’s but that’s it.
Second, and here’s the key, I don’t WANT to write to pastors and therapists etc.

I love you pastor and therapist friends, but I want to talk to 20-year old Kaitlin.

I want to tell her that if she could just trust in the Lord, that God has the PERFECT husband waiting for her and that the road towards unity, real unity, would be very difficult because of the choices I had made, but that real healing (not just patching holes) would come from my relationship with Christ.

I want to talk to all the Christian wives out there who feel like they can’t talk about this.

They’re leading worship, they’re volunteering in ministries, and they’re (doing their best) to raise godly sons and daughters.

We are all called to community, again not to condone what was done, but to overcome, through Christ what was done.

I am speaking with various experts about my topic and it’s really exciting stuff, and I really do want to give real practical advice for growing intimacy (of all levels) in your marriage even when you didn’t follow the Sadie Roberston plan (or anything resembling it).

BUT, I also want to hear your story. Our story. Christ's story. Beauty from ashes. 

If you (wives only please) have been wounded by premarital sex and are now in a Christian marriage, would you please share your story (anonymously) with me?

We can have coffee. We can have a phone date. You can send a pigeon. Whatever.

I hope and pray that this project will inspire marriages and wives and that God would enable me to diligently work in worship to say thank you for where I’ve come and where I’m going!

Sidenote: I am so utterly and completely thankful to my husband for being on board with this project. When God was picking my spouse and looking for someone who scored 10/10 on the premarital counseling “confidence” scale, a “saywhatyouwantillsaywhatiwant” mentality, I have no doubt “Chase” flashed in His mind. ;) And, I’m so glad it did! Love you to pieces. 

P.s. share to support this project and help me connect with other women who have something to say! 
P.s.s. find me on facebook here to follow this project!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Get married, now? Debt-ful.

In speaking with one of my friends this week, whom I love dearly, I asked her about her and her long-time boyfriend and marriage plans.

She confided in me that she had been just accepted to graduate school, and so, there were the student loans to think about.

I reminded her of one of my philosophies that “you shouldn’t put off getting married for anything you wouldn’t get divorced over.”

If you don’t want to marry someone with $100,000 in student loans because they suck at money and you’re afraid you’re going to live on the streets or sleep in a parked car outside a casino, yeah, that’s a problem.

But don’t NOT get married because you’ll have to pay bills.

That’s silly!

But it's something that I hear all.the.time. 

But I think this concept reaches even further: we all come into marriage with debt.

Every single one of us has “baggage,” hurts, and real things that need fixing and healing.

They might be financial like student loans or maybe lingering hospital bills.

They might be emotional like broken hearts that haven’t been quite healed, if we’re really being honest, by previous heartbreak.

They might be spiritual; we might feel like God owes us something, we are holding God ransom waiting for our “just desserts.” Or, we might feel like we aren’t good enough for God, that our own shortcomings have him blind to us for the moment, for the week, for the year.

Hot tip: that.doesn’t.change.when.you.get.married

You might heal those above, but then, BOOM you’ll get, like, twelve new ones. Like whack-a-mole.

But the media shows us this:

And we think it’s about a wedding and a party and an instagram hashtag.

And this:

And we think it's about a paid off or at least a secure and sturdy mortgage with all the pretty furnishings. 

(Chase and I didn't have a bed for the first four years of our marriage. We had a mattress on the floor. Hey-I got pregnant on the honeymoon! The baby had a better bed than us!)

But here’s the BEST part about God’s plan for marriage for you.

When you get those inevitable hurts and when you continue to heal from the ones that previously and endlessly (or so it feels) exist and when you turn to God and seek His wisdom: there’s someone right there on the couch in his sweatpants eating jalepeno cheese popcorn.

It’s not freeing and (I would say) it’s not love to go into a marriage / relationship with nothing to lose.

You go in with everything to lose and that person goes in with everything to lose.

And you win together. Every day. You set boundaries together. You fast forward through commercials together. You hide chocolate from your kids together. You deal with deaths together. You refill sippy cups together. You freak out over property taxes together. You duct tape pipes together.

Going into a marriage isn’t about erasing debts.

Going into a marriage is about tackling debts together.

The best way to prepare for marriage is not to try and erase all your debts, but to be honest about them, communicate them, and to embrace them in each other. 

This is the real challenge and this is the real victory. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Mystery of God

Is God as mysterious as culture says?

In a word, yeah. 

I mean, He IS the creator of the universe and even Scripture breathes the absolute unfathomableness of him:
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9

It’s both scriptural and intuitive to think that a divine being would be more intelligent or at least “different intelligent” than humans.

Sometimes, however, I think that people, in all forms, can mistake this and turn it into “we can’t know ANYTHING about Him…so why bother? 

I’ll live a good life, fingers crossed!, and hopefully I won’t burn in hell, but you know, it’s up to God!”

I see this dogma take its toll in the universalist ideology that dying is somehow this really uncertain spiritual transportation mixed with “only God can judge me” and a little bit of "Salvation Yahtzee" (i.e. a sense of a God who has "whim") and, ultimately, each person will await their fate, with no real previously known discernment if they will be climbing a staircase or entering an elevator.

I see it in instagram posts like this one: 

But is that really true? Again, I’m defining “true” as “in the Bible” here so if you personally don’t see the Bible as totally and completely and perfectly true, please, continue reading, but with that lens for context.

I posed the question to someone close to me, “But, we can at least be certain of our salvation, surely, yes?”

She paused and thought. Her answer was basically, no; that you can “try and be a good person,” but that like we cannot know the fates of those around us, we cannot Know our own salvation “potential.”

I like to think of it like this: Have you heard that saying “you’re on a need-to-know basis?”

Well, God is this huge cosmic cloud of awesomeness and justice and mercy and glory and love and unfathomable and incomprehensible might and being.

BUT, he DID put us on on a need-to-know basis!

The things that we “need-to-know” can be found in the B-I-B-L-E.

And, I believe, the Bible says a great deal about salvation and that, without a doubt, we can know, if we look (and want to see it) carefully, our fate.

God doesn’t just want us to guess his promises are true.

God wants us to act and live like his promises are true.

Because, if God’s promises aren’t promises, then he isn’t who or what he says he is and everything, well, totally falls apart (if you haven’t seen Dogma, that crude and crass “Jay and Silent Bob” movie actually does a decent job of explaining that postulate (if nothing else)).

I’m gonna be short and sweet with this…

John 3:16: for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life

(believe in Jesus and that he paid for your sins = salvation)

But how does this work…

Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God…

But faith is just hope right…and hope certainly isn’t “fool proof”…how do I know it “stuck?”

 I mean, I HOPE that I’ll get my paycheck on Friday, and I have FAITH that it will go through, but POTENTIALLY the bank could explode and the IT guy could take meth and delete all of our accounts…something could still go wrong

Yes, to have faith is to have hope but, again matching truth and definitions and reality back on the Bible we see a true definition of faith...

Hebrews 11:1 Now FAITH is CONFIDENCE in what we hope for and ASSURANCE about what we do not see.

Another translation…

Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the CONFIDENCE that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us ASSURANCE about things we cannot see.

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine.

There’s your bonafide guarantee.

You can ACTUALLY go to sleep tonight KNOWING you are going to heaven.

If you want to learn more about doing this, you know how to “get at me.”

Monday, June 1, 2015

Five Ways to Fight Fair in Your Marriage

I’m not sure if there are five ways, rather there are probably hundreds of ways to “fight well.”

I read the other day that the fear of a marriage should not be “what if we fight?” but HOW do we fight when we fight? The latter is really the thing to be active about!  

It is inevitable that marriages will be tested (because they’re made up of people) and it’s inevitable that things will fluctuate (because, you know, they’re made up of people).

My husband and I have definitely had our share of fighting, but, I am happy to say (that at least for today) that it’s something we’ve really improved on!

Here are five ways that we are able to (on our good days) fight fair:

1)      This one seems really basic. Maybe it doesn’t apply to you, but I’ve seen MANY couples tempted (and fall) into this (including premarital us). It’s just not productive. If either of you has had even ONE SIP of alcohol, don’t go there. Just don’t. Wait. You know your spouse’s “fightin’ words” … avoid them now.

2)      Make time to fight. When you’re a married couple, especially with young children, time is fleeting. The time to bring up a controversy is not on the way out the door to pre-school in the morning in the drive-way in that 60 seconds. Say, “let’s talk about this later,” and then (here’s the key) DO IT. After all the kids are in bed, the dishes are done, bellies are full, sit on the couch (or the table or wherever) and ACTUALLY address whatever happened that morning. The Bible says that we should never go to bed angry, but, putting things on hold, especially “hot topic issues” until you can both give the discussion appropriate time is critical.  

3)      FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON’T TEXT IT. For relationships that matter (your marriage should be one of them) please leave texting out of your quarrels. It’s just bad news. Emoticons are not actual modes of emotional transportation. This joins with tip number 2…if you’re texting, you don’t have appropriate amounts of time to discuss. And please, please, please text messages are supposed to be brief. If you’re texting more than 2-3 sentences on a topic, it means that conversation should probably be in person. If you find yourself “getting something off your chest” to your spouse and you cross that 2-3 sentences, put enough faith in your spouse that this would be something he/she would WANT to talk to you about in person.  Texting your spouse is for “hey I’m gonna be 5 min late” and “grab milk and chocolate…but not in that order” and “date night fri? ;)”

4)      Fight about the fight. This is something we’re still working on (especially when I’m pregnant). Sometimes when we fight about my husband not doing the dishes to my standards I’m really upset about the dishes not being done to my standards and sometimes I’m “fighting” (i.e. poorly communicating) about the fact that I’m exhausted. Do not confuse the two! If the dishes discussion needs to happen, because dishes cleanliness is one of your love languages (like it is one of mine), yes, have that conversation, but don’t have it instead of having the conversation “Babe, I am just dying of exhaustion. If I look at a dish today I’ll die.” In my experience, when I reach out to my husband and say the LATTER, he’ll say something like “So … don’t do the dishes …” BOOM. Fight over. Hello handsome pizza guy! (tip for the singles: guys holding bread with bubbling cheese are always more attractive).

5)      Last, but not least: “Fight Fair.” No name calling. No past bringing upping. No “IF YOU LOVED ME” (what does that even mean?)! I’m not going to say much more on this because this should becoming more and more intuitive as a spouse as you grow. If you need to grow in this area, I recommend going through some great marriage resources that can help you heal those hurts. (ask me if you’re interested)

So, there you go, five of the ways that (again, on our good days) we try and “fight fair.”

Keeping copious amounts of chocolate in the house also does wonders with sleep deprived mommies (oh, and bringing unannounced mochas…anytime of day or night is fine, we’re up).

Now get out there and fight WELL with your spouse!