Posted in Christian, longreads

Covid-19 Questions

Covid-19 questions still rattle around in my mind.

I thought as we approached a year since our lock downs, things might be better, but I think that was too optimistic of me because I got Covid-19, in February of 2021. I was really excited that our house, with two essential workers and two kids attending in-person school, might make it to the vaccine finish line without bringing the vile germ into our house. That’ll teach me to count my eggs before they’ve hatched, right? 

I went through every symptom with textbook precision, right down the list. Congestion, fatigue, trouble breathing, fever, body aches, loss of taste and smell all came on like clockwork. Thankfully, twenty-five days after my runny nose began, the worst of it seems to be fading away finally. The loss of smell and taste are still with me, along with lots of aches, fatigue, and Covid-19 questions. 

This is kicking my butt – and I’m an otherwise healthy person.

By now I am sure you know someone directly who has had it. If not, I will be that person for you. As I have been sitting in my house – first in isolation, now in quarantine with my family – I am struggling more than ever with people choosing to ignore precautions for their own convenience. It’s not a great testament to you defending your rights, it’s a selfish assault on everyone else’s. 

Mask up for everyone.

Also, if you didn’t wear a mask and were around me, you owe me a casserole. If you’re going to make people sick, at least do the decent thing and drop off a meal. That is just Midwest living 101, for crying out loud.

When did we become such a fractured world? When did everyone start putting the preferences of “me” in front of the basic needs of “we”. Illness aside, I think this is the saddest commentary on the state of the world I have seen in a long time. We have finally fallen to a disgusting level where people are willing to pass an illness, allow others to suffer, and some to die because they are annoyed by a mask or canceled vacation plans. Instead of asking Covid-19 questions and listening to the facts, many people still refuse to love their neighbor and put a piece of fabric on. It’s disgusting behavior.

Sheep and Goats

Instead of debating who is acting like a sheep and who is the G.O.A.T in our nation, we need to step back and remember we will be asked about actions one day. When we are separated like sheep and goats as Matthew 25:31-46 tells us. It’s worth refreshing your memory if it’s been awhile. Those who stay with our shepherd and care for the flock, will be rewarded. Those who were too stubborn will have to answer some very difficult questions.

Will you be a sheep or goat?

Laugh at my mask wearing and rule following but my answer will be that I did all I could to protect all of the people. I put “we” ahead of “me”. When the world around me didn’t do the same, I pulled back from being around my own family to further protect the “we” from what was ravaging me. As much as it hurt to not touch or hug my family, to hear them laughing while I laid in bed sick – it was nothing compared to what I would have felt if they got sick. The same goes for everyone around me. 

Who are you living for?

It’s easier to ignore the needs of the world around you than it is to make sacrifices to help others. There is less planning and reworking of life when you live that way. But, are you really living a better life if you’re accomplishing it at the expense of others? If you are, I don’t think that could actually be called a “better life”.

He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ – Matthew 25:45, NIV

Jesus doesn’t only want us living for ourselves or the “important” people in the world. Our thoughts need to go to the least of the people. The ones who are at risk, in need, or have no direct impact on our lives. The ones that a simple mask and spacing out in public can help the most. If you’re not living for everyone, you’re not living for Him. When they ask me the Covid-19 questions, I’ll be able to say I did what I could for everyone. I did my best to protect family, friends, strangers, and everyone in between. I protected the least of us.

Posted in Christian, God, happiness, longreads, Uncategorized

Faithful Resolutions are the Key to Success

Faithful resolutions are so much better than the others. The expectations for the year are realistic and basic. With the state of the world these days, I’m confident that was the right move heading into the New Year. While resolutions are hard to keep, we know looking for more happiness in our life is always a good undertaking. Some days will be more productive than others, but we’re making progress. Progress is more than enough. 

What about your faith this year? What are you doing to grow that? Faithful resolutions are my favorite. Unlike the crazy variables in our spastic world, our faith will never let us down. In fact, it’s the rock that we can firmly stand on amidst the chaos in the world and our life. Faith is life. 

All you really need to do in your faithful resolutions in 2021 is follow this lead from Jonathan Edwards:

Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will. 

I love it. Sure it sounds basic and simple, but at the end of the day pure faith and love are basic and simple too. The beauty of God is that he doesn’t track how many times you read your Bible or how many daily devotionals you complete in your lifetime. Yes, they bring His words closer to us but if we aren’t letting them sink in to become the core of us, I don’t think He cares how much studying we do. Our faithful resolutions require more action from us.

God Loves Faithful Resolutions

He wants people who love Him. People who know how to ask for forgiveness for mistakes and gracefully give forgiveness to those who wrong us. People who not only read or speak his words, but actively live them out. Love each other, help each other, and worship Him.

Say your prayers. Use the canned ones if needed, but speak to God honestly and openly from your heart. Tell him your mistakes, worries, and fears. If you cannot be raw and vulnerable with Him, who can you? Ask him for his help and mean it. Sit in the stillness and keep your heart open as you move through your day. He’s there, you just need to let Him help. 

Resolving to be more faithful doesn’t require anything flashy or special to achieve. It doesn’t require perfection or daily tasks to be checked off. There is no required purchase or equipment and no mandatory meeting to attend. This resolution is the easiest and will change your life deeper than any other. 

Live like he wants. God loves justice, love, and helping others. Speak up for those who cannot and be there for them in their struggles – even while you’re dealing with your own. The best way to grow your personal faith is to look beyond yourself. Doing His work and living his words is worth more than being able to recite verses. 

Don’t Stop Believing

Finally, even when the world around us seems to be losing its faith everywhere we look – hold strong to yours. It’s easy to love God when life is full of rainbows and sunshine. Loving God during dark and stormy times is where faith grows. Keep walking with God, even if no one else is, and goodness will be restored around you. 

“Forget the former things;

    do not dwell on the past.

 See, I am doing a new thing!

    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

 I am making a way in the wilderness

    and streams in the wasteland.”

~ Isaiah 43:18-19

This year, I’m not focusing on the mistakes or shortcomings I had in 2020 to make resolutions I likely won’t keep. No one should. Every day is a chance to start something new, to do good things, and to improve ourselves. Take them one day at a time and give yourself grace throughout the year. It’s ok if you miss a Monday, eat that brownie, or forget to do a week’s worth of reading. Life happens. 

Just stay focused on the good stuff. Wake up daily full of gratefulness for another chance at life and do good things. No matter how big or small they may be, do them in love. They’re the key to successful resolutions for a righteous life. 

Posted in Christian, Depression, God

The gifts of 2020

Most years, our life is dictated by calendar squares filled with scribbled times. Appointments, birthday parties, meetings, classes, and other demands decided our daily pace. Very rarely did our family’s speedometer fall much below warp speed. We grumbled about being tired and wanted to slow down, but we couldn’t manage to stop. 

Until this year, when God gifted us a brake job.

When the world around us closed and our circle grew smaller, it was scary. The once overflowing calendar was nearly blank. Other than zoom calls, the days were clear. They were ours to fill, or not fill, together at home. We were finally stopped. God fixed our brakes and gave us a break.

We rediscovered family game nights. We played games we forgot we even owned. We laughed, sometimes argued, and celebrated our wins. Between turns, we swapped stories and thoughts about our lives we may have otherwise missed. We heard our kids’ feelings about life. They shared their hopes and fears about the world unfolding around them. We shared our hopes and wishes for them.  We created the inside jokes, love, and memories to hold together the crazy mess of our 2020 life. 

We enjoyed puzzles and podcasts at the kitchen table after the kids were in bed. Instead of solely operating as the championship caliber parenting team we are to get through busy days, we laughed and talked about things other than family logistics like two adults who genuinely love each other. We had fun as best friends, not just mom and dad.

We discovered courage and grace in ourselves. We were not experts on doing life completely from home. We fumbled through Google classrooms, Zoom classes, and online church. We still aren’t flawless with it all but we’re ok with that. We did brave new things like cut hair and master third grade math. We learned to play the guitar and paint. We learned how to ask for help and passed third grade math together. 

Nothing happened how we thought it would in 2020 but it turns out, that’s ok. Mary probably didn’t plan on giving birth in a stable and placing baby Jesus in an animal’s manger either but look how wonderful that turned out. This year, we finally understood the world around you doesn’t dictate the goodness of our life; the love we share around us does.

Posted in Christian, God, longreads, love

I’m Not a Real Christian

I’m not a real Christian according to some.

Some people tell me because I believe in Science along with God, I’m not a real Christian. I believe in the Science that masks, washing hands, washing surfaces, and limiting close contact with people will keep us healthy. I believe that even a 2% death rate is too much. I believe the world can reopen if everyone would follow that plan but since so many people are too selfish to follow the rules, we have no choice but to be closed. I believe if masks were not healthy, surgeons, fencers, and dentists would have been dying in droves long before this started. 

I believe the people in our world are too selfish to look beyond themselves to do anything slightly inconvenient. That’s the real plague hitting our world. I also believe until people start doing things to help people, this will be here until we start coming back loving each other how God wanted in the same way the Plagues in Exodus just kept coming until the Pharaoh finally did the right thing.

Some say I’m not a real Christian because I am pro-choice. Even though John 6-8 from The Message reminds us: “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone”. For my body, I am pro-life. I wish everyone would be pro-life, but I also understand some people are in terrible situations where that just may not be possible. For those people, I love them and support them making the most difficult choice ever.

I am not without sin, I will not judge them for theirs. Instead, I will love them and fight to protect them from the unfair stones coming their way. I also do not understand how the people from the previous paragraph can be ok with 2% of sick people of dying but still yell all lives matter and pro-life is in the only way. Sounds more “Pro-birth” than Pro-life to me. Especially when we treat the poor, oppressed, foreign-born people so horribly.

Some say I am wrong for believing immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers deserve to be welcomed. With a hot meal, a warm bed, and a chance to live a life away from the dangerous parts they came from just as the book of Matthew instructs. These are families who have taken their babies through war zones to protect them and give them a good life. They are not a threat to our lives. They are brothers and sisters seeking a better life. 

Many of them are the same people so many vacation mission trips swear they love and want to help so badly. If you can love them when you get to work in the Dominican, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Mexico when you get to visit and work in paradise – why can’t you love them the same when they come here? Is it really about the mission then? Or boosting your ego on social media while getting a tan and visiting paradise? I believe we should love people and help them everywhere. Especially when they are on our own doorsteps. It’s literally what Revelation 3:14-20 was written for.

Some say I’m not a real Christian believe I believe love is love. Love is for everyone. Honestly, I think we got Leviticus 18:22 all wrong. The flawed human who interpreted those words then wrote it down clearly misunderstood something. I do not believe our God, so full of love, would ever say true love is wrong. He would not promote hate. He would certainly not teach us to judge, shun, and treat people unjustly over their love. I believe God Himself felt so seriously about it, He sent his son down to clear it all up for us with actual words from His own mouth in John 13:34-35: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” This isn’t rocket science. Its a new commandment, one that covers the whole Bible and the whole world forever. Love everyone as Jesus loves you. 

You sin, I sin, we all sin yet God and Jesus love us. That’s how He tells us to conduct ourselves and the only way people will know we are His disciples. By loving people how we are loved. Full of grace and forgiveness. During hard times, happy times, scary times, sad times – all of the times! I searched those verses in multiple Bibles looking for the * pointing out it applied to everyone except gay people, and guess what? It wasn’t there. Not in NIV, KJV, The Message, NLT, ESV, NKJV, or anywhere. They all say it clear as day. 

Love everyone as Jesus loves you. THAT is how the world knows you’re a Chrisitian. That is what I’m trying to do. 

I don’t worry about anyone who thinks giving love and demanding justice for all the people of the world makes me less of a Christian. Their judgement doesn’t matter to me nor should it matter to you. It’s hard some days when you feel like you’re in the minority and surrounded by hate, but you’re doing exactly what we were all asked to before Jesus left. 

Jesus says that makes us all real Christians. Some people may say I’m not a real Christian but I’m not living my life to appeal to their judgemental hearts. I am living my life to love and help those around me. Just like my Bible tells me to.

And that’s all that matters.

Posted in Christian, Depression, God, prayer, Uncategorized

Online Church isn’t the same. But its still good. – SheProclaims.com

“For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am with them”

~ Matthew 18:20 (NLV)

Online Church isn’t the same. But its still good. In fact, its better than good – its great. At least we live in a time where this is an option to help us all be connected. It isn’t safe for us to gather so many people together. We need to stop the spread of illness. This Coronavirus is scary and serious.

CDC guidelines, State mandates, and other words my eyes quickly skimmed led me to a sentence I never thought I’d read in an email from my church. Church services in our building are canceling until May 17. We’ll have online service options with a few leaders and a devotional during the week. Facebook, email, and our website will update you. 

I know we’re not the only church dealing with this. You are probably feeling as numb as I am. No, I don’t make it to church every week but the idea of it being gone for two months feels like someone punching me in the stomach. I cried. I cried and I prayed again for help and comfort for us all right now. Then Matthew 18:20 came to mind. 

I love the whole verse, especially now, but today my heart was drawn specifically to the word “where”.

I always viewed this verse to mean as long as people are physically together in some place that place can be a place of worship. It can be Holy. The woods, the beach, the lake, the mountains, my kitchen, your living room, someone’s yard, a table at a pub, or a crowded arena can all be places for God if our intentions are set on Him. The “where” wasn’t limited just to the church building as long as we were all together some place.

This is different though. Our “where” now requires us to not be physically together in any format. So now what? Does the internet count as “a place”?

The most common definition for “where” in the dictionary is “in or to what place or position.” It speaks about a specific location. That’s how I’ve always looked at it and why I felt so unsettled at first. However, if you keep reading there is another definition I think applies to where we all are right now:

where (adverb): the place or situation in which.

The place or situation in which. The situation in which. If that doesn’t apply to how we’re all experiencing life and worship right now, I don’t know what does. If we slide that version into the verse, instead of just leaning on the word “where” so heavily, this verse becomes the cornerstone of this new “social distancing” worship style we need to embrace.

For the situation in which two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am with them

~ Matthew 18:20

No matter where we are, if we are connecting with each other during this situation, He is with us. Our worships will be different than in the past, but the core practice of people who love God learning about him and loving each other are there. The building and proximity to our church family does not make a church. The people and their willingness to find God and each other in creative ways no matter the circumstances does. 

Online church isn’t the same. But its still good. Its our time to look at things a little differently and learn new things about ourselves and those around us. Online church isn’t the same but it will still be good. It will still be church.

Posted in Christian, Depression, God, longreads, Uncategorized

Playdoh & Patience

“And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand.” 

Isaiah 64:8

I love this verse. It is something both hopeful and reminiscent to me. Something I can relate to easily. I remember the playdoh of my childhood. The smell, the squishy feelings, and the fun tools seemed to give life to unlimited possibilities of what I could create. I would recreate my favorite foods (I make a mean playdoh pepperoni pizza) or the required craft of little girls of the 1980’s: a rainbow. I always tried so hard get the color rows the same width for equal uniform bands in my sculptures. 

Sometimes it worked out, sometimes not. And that is the beauty of playdoh: you can make something beautiful over and over again, fixing the mistakes, and it never stops allowing you to change its shape. 

When I finished something, I’d leave it be for awhile. Enjoying its brightness, proud of my creation, and sometimes use it in some fantastic story play. Eventually, it would be time dismantle my creations – whether it be that I was tired of them, needed to “fix” something, or it was time to clean up for the day. I’d take the pieces apart, trying to keep the colors separated, and squish them into their containers for another day. The creations were no longer there but the PlayDoh was ready for next time. For the possibilities and great ideas I’d bring to it next. 

I didn’t hate the PlayDoh. I didn’t hate my creations. I didn’t pack it up because I thought what I made was terrible and I couldn’t stand to look at it. Quite the contrary. I squished it all down because I saw how I could make it better. Or because the day’s plan called for it to lose its shape into the containers for awhile before I could bring new life to it with my next fantastic plan. 

As I’ve grown, those feelings have come back when I read Isaiah 64. We are more than clay to God. We are His precious creations that He is so fond of. He formed you tenderly with His own hands and loves to look at proudly. You are valued, treasured, loved, wanted, and important. And, like any child or potter with their clay, sometimes even God needs to make changes to His creations for whatever part of life we’re entering into next. 

He needs to break us down sometimes to build us back up into something better. Any potter will tell you, sometimes you have to bring your creations back down to nothing and start over. To help it be better. To improve your design. To make sure it’s ready for the purpose you have in mind for it. What looks like and feels like destruction is actually the start of something great. 

It’s hard to see it in the moment. When you look around and see your life slowly being torn down. The clay of your being slowly caving in on itself until all that is left is a mound of shapeless you. Without a solid base, strong form, clear design, or obvious purpose. These moments often come with little to no warning, leaving you scrambling to understand why. Wondering what area of you needed the improvement and what you can do to help things along.

I know these feelings all too well. I am there with you. Lying on the potter’s wheel and feeling it slowly spin. Just enough that my form is staying a cohesive lump and not merely falling flat, but not fast enough that I feel any changes or growth.

It’s hard to be in this place. I liked how I was before this. After many years of struggles and insecurities, I was finally reaching a point in life where things were mostly happy, stable, and satisfying. Of course I wished I could drop 20 pounds or win the lotto and work a little less, but if someone had asked me how my life was going the answer would have been: wonderfully. 

Clearly, I was wrong. There were areas in my life and in my soul that needed attention. They needed more work and some reforming, so like a skilled potter, God has taken me back down to the wheel. All of me is still here, in this shapeless lump. He’s starting to rebuild me with some improvements that are hard right now but will be so wonderful when they’re done.

I thought I was comfortable in my skin. Perhaps I was to an extent or more than I used to be, but the last six months have made it clear to me that there was room for improvement. The moment I came face to face with someone that was thinner than me, prettier than me, and living a life I wanted – I fell apart. I stopped eating. I stopped functioning at all. Everything I thought I had gotten past from years of previous hurts from multiple people was still there. I hadn’t moved on from anything, just ignored it and kept going with life. 

That’s the thing about potters and God: no matter how much their creation seems finished they can see the areas that need some work, even if the rest of us can’t. They know how to fix it, how to slowly build it back up, form it, and give it new life. I couldn’t see the flaw buried deep inside myself, but God knew. He knew it was holding me back from being a strong and complete as He wants me to be. 

The hard part is being patient while He does His work. Letting go of control or preconceived ideas of how God should fix us or our situation. I am beyond guilty of feeling that He is taking too long or not doing things right. And by right, of course, I mean how I want them done. I am not sure when I started to think that I knew all the answers and I know how my life should go, but I know I’m not the only one who thinks these things.

You probably do too. This impatience is just one more flaw He’s working on at the pottery wheel with me. Shaping me and holding me in place until I can start to fully let go and trust in his process. He can’t finish making all the improvements to me until I can calm down and let Him make a solid foundation. One only He knows how to make. 

That’s really hard for me. I’m a doer and a fixer and a very impatient person. This is trying all of my patience and then some. I see those who have hurt me living comfortably and seemingly without pain while I struggle to get through the day. 

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret – it leads only to evil.” – Psalm 37:7-8

But of course, God knows what He is doing. He knows the plans for me and how He will make them happen. My job isn’t to tell him how to do this. My job is to give and take with each loving knead He makes in me. To grow, shift, and change as things around me do; all under His watchful eye. 

Posted in Christian, God, moms, motherhood

She Proclaims – 2019 Year in Review

I have seen this post floating around for awhile on various social media outlets and was really intrigued by it. So often, we spend this time of the year looking back on what we did wrong and making plans for resolutions to make ourselves better in the next year. That’s all fine and dandy, don’t get me wrong, but why the heck aren’t we celebrating all we did right this year? All the times we slayed and nailed it? Those times deserve their time in the spotlight too! 

I’m sharing mine here, because I am proud. I’ve come a long way in a year and I’m excited to see where I go in 2020. I want to hear your achievements and wins for this year! SHOUT OUT TO YOU FOR ALL YOU DID! 

I started a blog and website. That’s pretty big for me. Not only that, but I have been moderately consistent with updating and posting! I even have a solid Instagram you need to check out if you aren’t already! Normally, I have great ideas but they peter out pretty quickly and I move on, this just reminds me that I’m on the right path. I’m doing my heart’s work and it feels amazing! 

I helped two people very close to me through some very scary, hard times. I made a difference and I can see how much I really do matter to people. 

I became a paid author. Read that sentence at least three more times. I am an author. Dream come true right there. More to come too! 

I learned how to do hand lettering. No more being envious of others, I can do it whenever I want. 

I loved my family and friends. I forgave people who hurt me. I unpacked old wounds and I am helping to heal properly. I laughed a lot, cried some, stayed true to myself, and saw a snow owl. 

I “met” all of you. Some are closer than others now, but I’m so grateful for each of you.  

It was a good year. Tell me yours!

Posted in Uncategorized

Gofundme.com – Christmas giving

“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.” Matthew 10:8

We’re gathering next week for Christmas. Time spent with our family and friends.  We come together because Jesus was born. We celebrate his birth for all He brought to us: love, healing, and forgiveness. We talk a good game this time of year, but how often do we dig deep to freely give love and healing to others?


Eleven months out of the year, most of us rush through life relatively laser focused on our needs. Its human nature, we’re all guilty from time to time. Then in December we throw a small gift in a can or change in a kettle to warm our hearts.
But what about the people who were struggling before December? What about the families who were torn apart for reasons outside of their control? What about the peopke doing the wirk and doing their best who will need help far beyond the Christmas season?


We want to celebrate Jesus’ birth with presents and decorations, but what about celebrating his life through loving, helping, and giving?
Society complains when single parents (especially dads) don’t step up to support their kids. We complain when they don’t work as hard as we think they should to support their kids. We rant and rave far too often about all the people who do things we do not agree with that we lose sight of the people who quietly step up and do the right thing day in and day out. 


Kenan Harris is one of those people. I am honored to know and work with him. Kenan is a single father to an 11 year old boy (his son’s mother passed away when he was baby). Kenan is a family man who loves God and country. A veteran of the US Army, he works 70 hour weeks to support his son and raise him to be a man of strong character.

He doesn’t do it flashy, he doesn’t look for praise. He shows up to quietly do what’s right and spread his positive outlook. He does it all because its the right thing to do.


Its our turn to step up for him and anyone else in a similar position. To say thank you. To show his son that people care and doing the right thing, like his father does, will always come back to you. 


An 11 year old kid shouldn’t be without his parent on Christmas. We shouldn’t allow it to happen without giving what we can to fund his trip or spread the news that they need help.

You were given love, no questions asked. Its time to pass it on.

Click HERE to donate or share his story!

Posted in Christian, Depression, God, guest writer, happiness, longreads, motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized

Thanksgiving Thoughts

I had no idea 2 years ago when I started diving deep into my Bible journaling and studying what the next 18 months had in store for me. Marriage struggles (we’re good now), financial problems (also good), parenting challenges (still doing our best), depression dive (I’m in my comeback!), deaths close to us, sickness around us, and struggles for people we love. I have been through hard times before but 2018 and 2019 may have been the hardest years on my heart to date.

I came across many verses which continue to help me when I struggle and I am still finding new ones all the time. Even new meanings in old ones as I read them again. However, in 2017 I found two in Colossians and Thessalonians which speak to my heart so strongly here in 2019 that I wanted to share them with you. Both are really great books to read this time of the year, in my opinion;  full of beauty, hope, thankfulness, and truth. A little like me. 

Colossians 3:15 “And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace and always be thankful.”

I look around the world, my state, my town, my office, my church, my family and I can find people I agree with fully. People who stand for what I do and stand up to what I do also. I love those people. They are easy to get along with, to be thankful for, and to work closely with. They fill my heart. 

I can also find plenty of people in each of these places I do not agree with at all. I find their stances to be unfair to many, hurtful, based in exclusion, omission, and rejection. Hearing them talk makes me want to cry for the world and apologize to my children. Sometimes, I actually do. I struggle to work with them and be thankful for their work in the world. They break my heart. 

There are also many people who walk the fine line between filling and breaking my heart. These are the people I love so dearly and support in so many ways, yet cannot understand how their heart sees the world’s issues how they are. I am roughly 50-75% thankful for these people at a glance, depending on if they are doing what I like or not in a given moment. They confuse my heart. 

Colossians 3:15 was an epic wake up call for me (also, if you really want to think about the body of Christ idea, check out this sermon from my church recently!). We are all different. We are not all the same parts, which can lead to some issues, but need to live in peace. We need to be thankful for the people around us. I do not agree on many things with a friend who spends a lot of time volunteering at a veteran’s hospital. He’s doing good, even all of his work isn’t what I want. People I wish would open their eyes to causes around the world volunteer at their churches to help the hungry. I’m thankful for that. 

We don’t have to agree to be thankful for one another. 

Thessalonians 5:18 “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 

How hard is this one? I stared at this one for a long time when I first came upon it. It’s hard to be grateful in hard times. I think its only human to see the bad at face value. It’s easy to get lost in the sadness, hopelessness, and darkness surrounding hard times. If you’re anything like me, the easy path is the preferred one whenever possible. Life is hard enough without volunteering yourself for more, right?

In this case, that couldn’t be more wrong. Being down, brings you down further. Letting the sadness get too far, lets the depression sneak in and take over. Losing sight of the goodness and being thankful makes life a long, miserable sentence. Even in the hard times, there is something good in each day. 

Every night for as long as I can remember, I ask my daughter at bedtime “What was something kind someone did for you? And what is something kid you did for someone?”. Some nights she’s got more than one answer for each question queued up for me. Some nights she bursts into tears and we need to talk a bit to come up with two answers together. Some days are better than others. 

The point of this verse and the point I’m trying to make to her is this: there is something good in every day. Sometimes we have to look harder than others, but it’s there. Find it. Don’t let the hard times or sad times win. 

There are so many more, I could go on, but go find them for yourself. This year? I’m thankful for you, for healing, for my family, my friends, my job, my health, my cat, and all the hard things I have been able to overcome. I’m ready for whatever is next.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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I love Jesus and I’m not sorry.

I’m not sorry if my love for Jesus and my church offends you. I don’t read my Bible, say my prayers, or try to spread love because I want to annoy you. Nor do I do it because I am stupid or somehow inferior to your intellect. I love Him for personal reasons. From the dark places I never thought I’d live through to the high places I cannot believe I was graced to experience – Jesus makes me a happier, better person. Maybe not everyone (like my man JC told me, I’m not here to judge! Just love!) but for me, Jesus is love. He feels right. He helps me through my hard times. 

I’m ok if He’s not that for you. I don’t look down on you. I don’t think less of you. I will not try to convert you, tell you what you’re missing out on, or try to get to you to come to my church. You know where I stand and you know where to find me. If you look us up, great. If not, that’s fine too. It is completely up to you and I respect you for that. 

However, what I don’t understand is a recent trend I have noticed and been subjected to. The mocking of churches, Jesus, religion, and faith directly to believers. What gives? I’ve never once told the non-believers in my life I think they’re stupid for not believing, so why do the digs about believers keep being hurled around me? Is it cool to mock Christians? Or religious people? If so, why? 

I bite my tongue when it happens, again respecting everyone has different views, but why do mine get attacked? Yes, I know there are some real zealots who may try to push their religion or beliefs on others – I don’t agree with that and see where it can be offensive – but why is it ok to then push non-beliefs at people and tease them for believing?

I know what the numbers say – I’m in a shrinking minority. In 2007, only 39% of adults attended church, which fell to 36% in 2014 in a recent Pew study. In 2019, I have no idea what the number is but by looking around my church I would guess it fair to say the number is probably down again. In the 1950s, the numbered hovered between 46%-49% according to a Gallup poll. 

Why the drop off over the years? I’m not turning a blind eye to anything – inclusion, diversity, transparency, decency, and a host of other issues have soured the church for many. It’s not ok. I’m not going to tell anyone to “get over it” or to just give church another chance. We all have different personal experiences within the same group experience. I will never say you are wrong. I will never say you don’t have a right to your feelings. I will never take away your right to your opinions or your right to disagree with me. I’d even welcome informed conversation (not to change either of our minds, but just to gain a little insight). 

However, for the love of all things – could you stop making a mockery of my religion? Especially to my face? Because I’m going to be honest here, it’s happening more and more with each passing year and it’s getting downright annoying. Grow up. You love Jesus? Great. You don’t, that’s fine too. You do you, but quit attacking me.

I’m not sure when talking smack about Jesus and bashing people who love God became cool. Maybe it was the 90s? When we were all angsty and alternative rock made ambivalence look cool. Perhaps it was before that, in the 60s or 70s as people started rebelling against “the institution” and “the man” – which definitely includes the church. It’s possible the 80s with outbreak of AIDS, spreading drug epidemic, and fraudulent television preachers embezzling money was the tipping point for many. Those are all completely valid reasons for someone walking away from church and religion. 

I do not blame you for hating church and thinking God is a joke. 

However, no matter how you reached your level of distaste for organized religion, your mockery isn’t cool. Misanthropy and nihilism do not make you cool. Being forever cynical, finding only the bad in people and situations isn’t proof that you’re better than those of us who believe in a higher being. You do not achieve a level of higher intellect by rejecting God. 

Bashing someone else’s beliefs or non-beliefs doesn’t make you smart. It makes you an asshole.

It’s kind of like how I feel about vegetarians. I applaud your commitment, but I really believe meat is good! I don’t understand people who don’t love football. What do you do on fall weekends? I also don’t get the pumpkin spice trend so clearly I’m no expert on the right way to do autumn. I feel bad that people who jog at 5am instead of sipping coffee under a quilt are missing out on pure quiet joy. I don’t understand or believe in ANY of that, but high fives all around to those who do and thanks for letting me in on a little bit.

Thanks for that stuffed mushroom recipe. I really thought a meal without meat wasn’t worth eating, but I was wrong. That was freaking amazing. Thank you to my friends who will plan our fall orchard trips around my beloved MSU football schedule. I’m down for fall fun, but I require a certain amount of pigskin. You’re in a marathon? I will cheer you on like a boss. I will like your pics, wish you luck, track you on whatever app or text program you share with me. I am proud of you doing what you love, even though I will forever maintain a defense mechanism isn’t a fun hobby. I don’t get it, I love you, thanks for not asking me to join you, and I’m all in to support you. 

Why can’t the same be said about people who love Jesus? Why am I a “stupid sheep” for following my shepherd? Does seeing someone study and love a book about love seriously offend you? 

I don’t push my religion on others. You want to read what I write? Great. You want me to talk about how great God has been in my life? Let’s do it. Am I going to ask you if you’ve found Jesus/a church/prayed today? Not a chance in Hell. Do I think we should push religious agendas on people? Not at all. First of all, there are lots of religions out there – I can’t say I’m doing this “right”. I’m just doing it my best and I think that counts for something. I think that alone deserves at least a basic level of human respect.

This summer, a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses came knocking on my door. Door-to-door religion is not my jam. As for me and my house, we aren’t going to ring your doorbell. It’s not how we do Jesus. I don’t really agree with it. But, on a 90 degree day in July when a group arrived on my doorstep dressed in their Sunday best to spread love in their way? I wasn’t going to mock or belittle that.

At our house? We told them we love Jesus. Then, they all got big ice cold bottles of water. We don’t agree or embrace their methods of how they do Jesus, but this is how we do Jesus. No judging , hate, mocking, belittling, or arguing. Just love. Even if your thoughts or practices are different than mine, you will get the same respect from me too. I will forever show my children that at our house we love Jesus by loving others. And its ok if other people love people differently. 

When I hear people mocking or belittling my faith, I will not bite or argue. I believe with my whole heart that “hurt people, hurt people.” Jesus warned us all we would be mocked for following him so I am well-prepared. When you mock my belief of a higher power, however, you are telling me I am stupid. You are implying I am foolish. You somehow have everything figured out and you’re clearly think you’re better for not needing a “crutch” to help you get through your darkest days. 

Oddly enough, if my response was to mock back? I’m labeled as being “righteous”, judgemental, and pushing an agenda. There is really no way to respond other than to refuse to take part in the show. I will not give you the outrage your seek nor will I quietly stand by to play audience for your cruel rhetoric.

What do I get from God and church? 

I get hope. I get a community, sense of purpose for my time on Earth, and a compass to help steer my heart in difficult times.

When I needed help finding a job, my church family helped me with my resume and coached me through the interview process. When I faced a long custody case for my son, my church family represented me and showed up to support us. When my world felt like it was crashing down, they came to my rescue. They pray for me, check in on me, love my family, love my children, and will always be by my side. I can look around the sanctuary any given Sunday and see many people who have made my life better. They have made my family’s lives better – in ways they and the world may never know. 

And it all started by loving Jesus.