What if…

Truth.

That’s a tough word.

No matter who you are or where you’ve been, it stirs up emotion.

Truth ripped us from a church home where we thought we belonged. But this many months removed, I’m realizing what a great blessing this truly was for us. Other people have not been as fortunate. Many kids, brainwashed by this “pontificating pastor” didn’t make it out with their faith in tact, their parents blaming themselves and overwrought with guilt. A few others continue to be brainwashed and for that I’m truly devastated. Instead of a live giving church, this body sucks life out of those who cross its path.

Often in our lives we don’t want to face the truth. We excuse our sins saying they aren’t that big or bad. Or we make pretty little words that sound better than the sin.

We walk around acting perfect, even though none of us are perfect.

The truth is, we ALL sin. But there is a difference between “us” and “them”?

Forgiveness.

What if we dropped the façade? Put down the masks? What if we actually shared our burdens one with another? What if we stopped faking perfect Christianity and lived our lives to the best of our ability letting our sin be known but running to the Cross of Jesus Christ when we failed. What if we showed the world what the Cross of Christ is capable of doing?

I wonder if more heathens would be interested in things of God? What would happen if they came to Jesus without the pretense of living a perfect life?

Sinners, acting as if they lived perfectly behind the mask; that’s the hypocrisy isn’t it?

As I think back to our “pontificating pastor,” I wonder what would have happened if he’d have humbled himself in true repentance instead of excuse making. What would have happened IF he had shown himself for what he is instead of pretending he is so much higher, holier and more deserving than his congregants? Instead of proceeding over a dying church, God might have bless him with the desires of his heart…a growing church full of loving people sharing the gospel where his name would be revered. Not because he was great, but because God is Great.

When we find ourselves with nothing else; laid out flat in despair that is when realize what terrible wretches we are. That is when God can do his best work in us. When we have nowhere to turn that is where God’s glory shines through.

In His grace,

Christy

Linking up with Kate at FMF this week where the word is truth.  Where I would love to get around to everyone and say hello, but I board a bus tonight with oldest son headed to Chattanooga for a gathering with 700 of his closest friends (Teenpact National Convention) after returning Thursday afternoon from St. Louis where youngest son had surgery on Wednesday.  Forgive me I have things to unpack and pack…

I Am Mom

When I saw the word just now, I cringed.  My brain spiraled… “Oh NOOOOOOOO”  what do I write?  I can’t tell the FMF community about the ugly letter I received a few months ago from my mother.  Then I realized I don’t have to dwell in that place because I am mom.

Shane and my children will celebrate me this mother’s day like always. But not quite the same.   In years past, I’ve been melancholy because it was hard to see all the “I have the best Mom ever” ad campaigns, memes, etc. when I struggled…but this year maybe I’ll be free.  Maybe I’ve been given a blessing in disguise.  While sad on one hand, the dilemma  has been solved for me.  Taken out of my hands and I realize that I don’t have to dwell here because  I think about the years past.

The years when Ma ma ma ma ma became

Mama.

Mommy.

And then,

Mom.

Each stage sweet as it passes by. My little girls and boys growing so fast.

Hey Moooooom, where’s my…

Mom, can you?

What’s for dinner Mom? (for the umpteenth time)

Mom, I don’t feel good.

Mom can you take me here?

Mom will you go with me there?

Mom, I’m home!

Bye Mom!

I am Mom to 4 fantastic kiddos. I don’t have to dwell on what I don’t have. I am blessed, privileged really, to be Mom.

One of these days there will be no more mom cries. Just as the days of bottles and diapers are long past. Shane reminds me of this on the crazy days where I’m ready to pull my hair out because I’ve had to remind one of them, or two of them or maybe even all 4 of them of something I’ve told them 1000 times over.

But as I sit here in the quiet hour I realize that he is right.

I realize that one day sooner than I care to think about, the silence will be deafening.

My crazy house will be still. Lonely even. No more shouts of Moooooooooom.

No more bantering. Or bickering, or jokes, or laughter until I snort and they all tease me about it.  No more hugs goodnight and love you’s as they walk down the hall.

But I will take comfort knowing that Shane and I did the best we could with what we had and where we failed God succeeded.

I take comfort that our door will always be open for our children, and maybe someday for their families too.

I take comfort knowing that God blessed a young woman that knew little about being a mom 4 times over and took my meager offerings and grew mighty oaks to his glory.

I will take comfort knowing that I left a legacy different than the one left for me.

Yes I know my babies will face trials of their own, just as we have. Their lives will curve and sag and twist through difficulties but I also know that as God’s will, they will grow stronger through them, just as we have.

Yes, I miss little toes and baby giggles and toddlers wobbling and falling down but I am blessed because I am mom.

Happy Mother’s Day y’all!

Christy

 

 

What Should We Do With Our Regrets?

Cue ole blue eyes.

Regrets? I’ve had a few.

Haven’t we all?  Things we look back on and wish we’d have done differently. Wondering if we should have done what we did. Or what might have happened if we hadn’t done it.

Healthy reflection can be profitable and beneficial. Reflecting on past decisions and mistakes from time to time can keep us from making poor decisions in the future. Reflecting and learning from our past can be so beneficial. Parking there however, is a dangerous place that can only lead us into a spiral downward. With the right perspective we can look back and reflect and find tremendous joy!

There are things I should not have done. Places I went that I should not have gone in my past. But here’s what I know. I know that God used those events, those experiences, those places and those moments to make me who I am today.

No matter how difficult things are or have been, I know I’m exactly where he wants me to be. I know I am growing and learning to depend on him more and that’s the whole goal of life isn’t it? To grow closer to our Lord in anticipation of Glory!

Time

So many times I’ve dwelt on what I “should” be. How I “should” act. What I “should” do, or wear or not wear or where I should go or shouldn’t go what I did and should have done differently and spiraled down.

Yes, there are things we should be doing or shouldn’t be doing but I think we often forget that we are a work in progress. I don’t have to beat myself up! Jesus was beaten in my place. Jesus took all that shame and guilt with him to the cross.

While there’s benefit in healthy reflection, we are no longer bound to pity, and shame! We can let it go! We are FREE! Not free to do as we please of course. I have no desire to live the way I did in my past life. That person is dead and gone! New life has come!

His grace is sufficient!

Christy

Linking up with Kate and the gang at Five Minute Friday.  Want more info?  Click to pop over.

 

 

 

Share a Memory? Maybe or Maybe Not.

I’m linking up again with Kat.  Where one of her prompts was to share a 10th grade memory.  At first I breezed right over that prompt thinking not much good came from my high school years.  I am nothing like I was back then. There are some memories that were fun at the time, but looking back were made in response to a much different path I was walking.  But then again there are some redeeming qualities and maybe a memory I can muster up to share.

My growing up years were quite rocky.  After the divorce I found solace in cigarettes and bounced from crush to crush.   Naw….I don’t think I want to go any further with this prompt, so I’ll gently slide into another…one that’s easier to face without rehashing the past.

10 Things I love about spring!  Yes, I can write about that because spring is my favorite season.

Cold and snow slinking back into it’s cave and new life springing forth!  Easter and the celebration of the resurrected Lord!  (That makes those 10th grade memories a distant part of my past that helped mold me into what I am today but don’t define me any longer!  Praise God!).

Daffodils and dogwoods.  And brightly colored azalea bushes and fragrant magnolia blooms.   I love seeing the trees bud forth leaves every year, and the grass turn to green.

Freshly cut grass.  Like the smell of leaves burning or a wood stove in the winter it comforts me in a strange way.

Sunshine!  Except this year we seem to be condemned to perpetual rain. Two track meets have been canceled or rescheduled due to a 100% forecast.   I’m about ready to gather wood to start building an ark.

Barefoot is comfortable and black is relegated to the back of the closet for most people. Bright spring clothes are a welcome sight!

I love spring!  I long for East Tennessee every spring because it’s beautiful!  I miss driving the Dogwood trails and seeing the beauty around every corner.

This is a picture I took while driving one of the trails many years ago.  The “perfect” day captured for all time.  Sorry the quality isn’t better it’s hard to get good lighting for a picture of a picture.

Happy Spring Y’all!

Christy

When More is Not Enough

I’m linking up with my friends at Kate’s place for the craziness of Five Minute Friday.  A one word prompt.  A timer set for 5 minutes. (HA)  Writing what comes to mind.  No edits. (HA!) Posting it on the link up.  Commenting and encouraging other writers.  It’s truly a community and a place I love being a part of…even if I can’t figure out Twitter, hahaha.

This weeks word is more.

Sometimes there are people around you that expect more.  They’ve determined how you should live and place demands so burdensome that they can never be achieved.  Just like those that allow sin to go on without consequences, these kind of people also have a skewed view of mercy. God offers a balance.  We are to obey God but no one can be perfect. We are to offer grace, but we are also to confront true biblical sin. But ultimately we are to offer grace and allow God to work.  We’re not called to beat people into obedience.  It is our job to love and forgive and the Spirit’s job to convict.

No one can please others all the time.  If we tried we’d go CrAzY!  And believe me there’s enough crazy in our house without the outside world trying take us there.  Four kids, 2 adults, 2 dogs and a crazy hissing cat.  Dumb jokes, silly stories, DISCO and more.  Let’s just say life is often LOUD at our house, often involves momma snorting like a pig when things get wild and leave it, shall we?

But what does God expect of us?  To do good, to walk humbly and to serve our Lord. To run the race to his glory.  He knows perfection is not possible in this life. We’ll stumble.  We’ll fall and then we’ll get back up, brush off the blood and keep running.  Maybe we’ll walk.  Limp or crawl.  Maybe we’ll slow down but when we are his child we’ll continue because the Holy Spirit in us will compel us to do nothing less.

The fact is we sin.  Me, you and everyone else.  Some of us struggle with pride, others with pornography,  anger, drunkenness, gluttony, gossip or lying, cheating, or stealing.  Some of us have sins that the world easily sees.  Others of us have sins that few see, but God knows.

Stop.

We are wounded people.  Sin brings sin, wounds and pain.  Those might be self inflicted or inflicted by others.  They might be physical or emotional.  Some of those wounds will be healed while we’re on this earth.   Other wounds are so deep, so penetrating, that only God in Heaven at the end of time as we know it will be able to gently bandage them.

Sometimes others hold your sins against you.  Sometimes they wound you further.  They pound you and try to force you to be what they want you to be.  Sometimes they attack you because they themselves are wounded and know no way to do otherwise.

Praise God!  There is grace and mercy. For me and for them.  As we strive for the prize.  If God allows, we realize that we can do no more than what we can do and we begin to understand grace. What we do will never be enough!  We can’t do more.

As I learn more of God’s grace, I am able to let  go.  I feel I’m just beginning to grasp the concept of “his yoke is easy and his burden is light.” I, in my sin, cause all sorts of havoc on those around me.  But God’s grace is more.  Jesus and the Cross takes the burden.    When I sin I am compelled to repentance. As his child I can do nothing more.  I fall down sorrowful at my sin.  Sorrowful that I’ve hurt others.  I repent and walk/craw/limp until the next time.  I rejoice that his suffering takes my place.  I rejoice that  I don’t have to worry about the expectations of others.  I can take comfort knowing that my frail attempt is compelled by the Holy Spirit at work in me.  And I am free.

Then I realize… more grace is enough.

His grace is sufficient!

Christy

Where Would I Go?

For the second week in a row, I’m linking up with Kat again.  I’ve been getting her emails for years, popped in a long time ago here and there and disappeared again.  That seems to be the habit of my writing life.

The prompt I decided to write about is one I’ve thought about often:

You have to move away from your state in one month. List 6 destinations you wouldn’t mind relocating to.

Interesting timing for this prompt because life has been hard for us lately.  Hard enough that I even teased with Shane about running away to Alaska!  I do not like the snow, I do not like the cold so the fact that I would even tease about moving to Alaska… let me assure you Alaska or any place cold or with snow (more than a few inches a year) is not on my list. Alaska is not even on the list of places where I’d want to take a cruise. I have in fact told Shane often, that where we are is the farthest north I’m ever willing to move.  Thankfully, he agrees.

We would love to move to East Tennessee.  I grew up in Knoxville and still call it home.  It is a big enough city to offer a lot to do but has a small town feel.  Friendly people.  Several lakes in the area and you can be in the middle of the mountains in about an hour or make a trip to the ocean within a few hours.   Shane has actually sent resumes over the years, alas no replies must mean we’re not meant to be there…at least for now 🙂  4 seasons but not enough snow to be a bother.  No blizzards, and little threat of tornadoes or earthquakes and no threat of  hurricanes.   I’m a southern girl through and through.  Born, bred and raised.  “You can take the girl out of the south, but you can’t take the south out of the girl” is one of my favorite phrases.  I love grits, and country ham; fried okra, fried chicken and fried green tomatoes.

Another one of my favorite places is Charleston, South Carolina or Savannah, Georgia.   What beautiful cities.  I love the architectural beauty of the old homes and the slower pace.  They are also much less commercialized than Myrtle Beach, or at least they were many years ago.  One trip to Myrtle Beach as a young adult was one trip too many for me.  Rows of high rise hotels and so many people one could barely walk the beach?  Not my style, thanks.

We were blessed to visit Oahu, Hawaii a year ago this past January.  Yes, there was snow on the ground at home while we were swimming in the Pacific.  People were so friendly!  In fact, one of my regrets is losing the address of a sweet older couple we met in Chinatown the last day of our trip.  Sadly, we did not give them our address so it seems we’ll never connect again in this life.   I loved visiting the farmers markets and bringing home fresh produce.  The avacadoes?  Huge. Apple bananas?  Heavenly and of course the pineapples!   They raise much of their own food and it’s largely uncontaminated by pesticides.  However,  I’m not really sure I’d like to live in Hawaii long term. I’m afraid I’d get claustrophobic.    I’d like to drive and not being able to go farther than 60 or so miles across the island would not be enough.  I certainly am not fond of the long plane ride, and stuffy airports.   I can say,  I don’t think I’d miss the cold weather and I definitely would not miss SNAKES!  However, I’d rather take my chances with a tornado than face the threat of hurricanes or a tsunami even on an occasional basis.

I know I said no snow, but we have had the opportunity to visit Colorado several times over the years. Always in the summer or early fall.  It ‘s one of my favorite places ever.  It is far enough away from life as we know it, that I have threatened to move there when things get too crazy at home.  Not by myself of course, I couldn’t leave my family behind.  When the outside world presses in, Colorado Springs my run away place.  There are so many things to do.  The pace is slow and the people are friendly.  I think  I could spend every day at Garden of the Gods and never get tired or bored or lonely. .

The next place isn’t really a place.  Shane and I often thought we’d be on the mission field somewhere when we were newly married and much younger.   We considered China many years ago, but door closed pretty quick on that one.  Shane spent some time in Russia when he was a teenager and I spent some time in the inner city when I was in college.  Our youngest daughter is from Liberia.  So maybe one of those places?  But here’s what We’ve  also come to realize.  We know we don’t have to go anywhere to be on the mission field.  There are so many lonely, hurting folks around us.  Many seeking something to fill a void.  We can be ourselves and love people without leaving home.   God has used us often over the years in this way.

Hmmmm.  The last place? I’m not really sure.  I can’t really imagine living in any other country.  Although I do enjoy watching Househunters International when I have access to HGTV.   I definitely think somewhere with friendly folks and a slower, laid back lifestyle.  Shopping at the market daily and sipping on coffee at a sidewalk cafe’ with Shane would be a divine life.  Enjoying a table filled with good food and friends and raising our glasses filled with fine wine together in fellowship and fun. Yes! That would be a life I could enjoy.  We’d never be wealthy enough to do that.  And I don’t believe I could ever leave my family without having the ability to visit regularly.  So, much like my dream of being a world class ice skater last week, this dream will remain dormant, except in my head ready to be pulled out and dreamed about whenever I wish to escape

Christy

 

Singing the 70’s BeeGee’s Style

No, you’re not seeing double, there are 2 pictures of me in Kate’s link up this week.  I couldn’t let y’all believe that we’re sinking in the sand.  Yes, there are difficult moments, but in the middle of the pain that 3 whammies of rejection bring, Shane, our children and I have had some crazy, goofy, laugh your pants off until you snort moments too.  I live with 2 comedians, and God allows moments where the rest of us can hold our own against their craziness.

I’m not setting a timer because it’s an ungodly hour of the morning and I don’t want to disturb the rest of my house.  So, once again, I’ll wing it.

Sing:

Last Sunday night we turned the T.V. on expecting to watch Steve Harvey’s new smash success, “Little Big Shots”  instead we found a rerun, so we jumped into the middle of the T.V version of Will Smith’s “The Pursuit of Happyness,”  After it was over, we left the muted T.V. on while we chatted about the movie.

A few minutes later I look up and see John Travolta.  I hit the mute button and hear the well known intro and the words

“You can tell by the way I use my walk I’m a woman’s man, no time to talk”

WHAT?

An evening of DISCO!

Okay, not just Disco, but you know.  The music of my growing up years and more!.  It was a star studded tribute to the brothers Gibb and my family and I had a front row seat.  The endured while I belted out the songs with Barry and most of the audience while the stars sang behind the mic.   Not only that, they got to count 2 hours of school, because we are a homeschool family–it’s the way we roll.  Even on a Sunday evening.  And what better way to learn music history than through a Grammy tribute to DISCO!  This is how bad it was, at one point I looked at Shane and asked, is this an hour show?  This question came about halfway through the SECOND hour.  Yep!  I was that far gone!

I keep telling my kids disco is NOT dead, now they MUST believe me! Click To Tweet

A few weeks ago, Shane received his last Box of Awesome from 31 deals.  It’s a once a month mystery box. In it were some crazy photo cut outs.  Yesterday, Tabby decided she wanted to play, so we opened the box and she came out modeling the various prints.

She came out wearing the last cut out singing “I, I, I, I’m Stayin’ Alive, Stayin’ Alive” And then she made “the” pose.

A proud moment for this 1970’s Momma. (Apparently, they don’t make many cut out for little brown girls.  Just ignore the white hands haha).

You can watch the entire two hour event here if you desire.  If not, here’s a little music.  Feel free to sing along.  I will.

We will survive!  And in case you’re too young, that’s another great disco hit of the 1970’s by Gloria Gaynor.

Christy

BTW, thank you my friends for the prayers and encouraging comments.  I appreciate every single one of you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

La La La La La

Remember as a child when someone said something you didn’t want to hear and you plugged your ears singing La La La La La.  Or maybe as a mom when you didn’t want your child to hear what you were saying and you covered their ears and sang La La La La La.

I’m ready to stick my fingers in my ears sing La La La La La and forget.  I told Shane yesterday that I was ready to pack  bags and run away to Alaska.  For those of you who know anything about me, you KNOW cold weather, snow and darkness are not my friends.  I’d rather be in sunshine on the beach with the mountains in view, so you KNOW things must of been bad.

I know God’s timing is perfect but dad gum it.  We’ve gotten a triple whammy in the last 6 months. And there is absolutely NOTHING that we can do about any of them.

Unfortunately, I’m not a kid anymore.  I cannot stick my fingers in my ears and sing La La La La La to ignore the things I wish not to hear.  I cannot stick my fingers in my kids ears either.   Even though I want to run away  I must face grown up things like a grown up regardless of the drama and craziness going on around me.  I must stand firm in my relationship with Jesus Christ.

Stop

Just as the other two situations, Shane and I will deal with this situation together.

Christy

Linking up with Kate and the gang at Five Minute Friday this week.  The word this week is SING.  Lest you think we’re sinking in the sand, as this post is kind of depressing, click over to read my second FMF entry this week.  DISCO.  Need I say more?

 

God’s Grace is Sufficient

No matter who says it isn’t.  His grace is sufficient for a wretch like me.

Jesus suffered more.

Jesus endured the pain and agony of the cross so I could be forgiven.  He was despised and rejected.  He was tortured for my sin.  He took the punishment for me!

I am forgiven.

My sin will not be held against me by King Jesus!

God alone is worthy to pronounce that judgement–not a man.  Not any man!

King Jesus!

His judgement is FORGIVEN!

His judgement is CLEANSED from ALL unrighteousness.

His judgement is CERTAIN!

Men may attack and accuse.  Men may harbor bitterness and unforgiveness in their hearts.  Men may sit on their high holy hill  making pronouncements that only Jesus Christ is qualified to make.

But Jesus. Oh Jesus!  Thanks be to God he does not judge as the world judges.  Thanks be to God he does not reject when the world rejects.  Thanks be to God for His salvation on the Cross!

This I must remember.  This is what I must focus on.

This is enough!

But in the depths of my soul I cry out in agony!

Nothing is acceptable to the party that accuses.  They lash out in their own anger.  They speak ugly, unkind works and take none of the responsibility for the parting of ways.

Three situations in our life.  Similar yet different.  And when I think I have come to grips with 2 of them the 3rd comes in roaring like a lion.  And strangely enough even with similar situations, I find peace with the first two. The scab has not been torn off.  The blood isn’t dribbling out.  Praise God! The scar is fresh, but the wounds appear to be healing.

The blood from the wound of the most recent injury is gushing out.  The wound is fresh.  Rejected by those who should be close to us.  Those living outside our home have lashed out and have blamed me for every problem in the relationship between our families.   How that can be, I can’t even fathom.  For even secularists know that nothing is 100% one persons fault.  Unfortunately,  I’m not alone.  These people have chosen to sever relationships with many others before me and sadly, unless the Holy Spirit prompts, I’m certain they will severe relationships with many others after me.

Oddly comforting in a weird way.  I’m not alone.  Our family is not alone. I am not the first, nor will I be the last.  The pain is deep.  It will take time but the wound will heal.

Lord Jesus protect those relationships in our home from the attacks from the Evil One.  Use these attacks to strengthen the bond between us.  To grow us closer together as a family.  To learn of your grace and mercy even more.  Lord I pray this wound will lead us to trust you more. Lord, I pray that our family will move forward.  That our children will remain strong in you.  I pray that we will ever cling to you.  Broken?  Yes, but stronger.

With God’s mercy and grace, we will shine forth as gold.

 

 

 

 

A New Career?

I’m linking up at the writing workshop with MamaKat today.  Every Tuesday she offers several writing prompts in preparation for Thursday’s link up.  This week’s prompts are below.  I chose to write on what new career I would chose if I had to chose one.

Writing Prompts:

1. Write a list of your top Spring must-haves.
2. Something your kids said that made you laugh.
3. If you had to choose a new career for yourself, what would you choose?
4. Write a blog post inspired by the word: incomplete.
5. Tell the story of a mistake made in the kitchen.
6. Write about your favorite childhood pet.

I have actually thought about what different careers I would enjoy for a long time.  It amuses me.

Every time I go to the cosmetology school for a hair cut I think it would be a fun career. Except for the chemicals.  As sick as I was for as long as I was and as hard as I’ve tried to get healthy and as much money as we’ve spent, I don’t think I could bring myself to pursue this career choice unless I could find a school that taught natural alternative to perming and coloring.

Real estate? Yes!  I think showing people homes would be a blast!  I’m not sure I would like the tedious paperwork part of the job but helping people find a home would make it worthwhile.

Working as a barista at a coffee shop? Yep!  Coffee and people is there anything else to say?

And since we’re talking about careers, I’ll share a couple of my child hood far fetched dreams because what child ever hasn’t dreamed so big and crazy about a future that is so unattainable for most?

One was an ice skater. Every 4 years when we’d watch the Olympics and I’d be mesmerized by skaters like Dorothy Hamill and Scott Hamilton.   This dream wasn’t even on the radar.  I have to date only been on ice a dozen ish times.  Alas,  I never lived the life of an all star ice skater, but I did get a taste of that dream on the dance floor. In my early adult life, I taught ballroom dancing at the Fred Astaire studio where telemarketers in the back room offered their unsuspecting callers 3 lessons and a dance party if they could answer 3 trivia questions correctly.  That job was probably my most favorite job ever; except for the selling aspect. I was pretty terrible.  Eventually I became the receptionist where I could still dance but didn’t have to sell lessons.  This was before the days of camcorders, Facebook and Instagram.  The trophies went to the thrift store many years ago and the few photos I had are long gone. So there are no  pictures to share.

Someday you may see my name on Realtor.com or find me behind a counter serving up Almond Joy Latte’s and banana bread but for now, I’ll continue being a loving wife and mother.

What about you?  If you could chose a new career what would it be?

Christy