Monday, September 6, 2021

180

 A lot of life has gone by since my last blog post.  Before sitting down to write this, I reread a couple posts that I published last year.  While, yes, I am the same person...  a lot of my mindset has changed.  Maybe 2020/2021 has rewired my brain, but I'm sure I wouldn't be alone in that.  At this point in time, I have a lot of doubts.  These doubts are spread out amongst a wide range of ideas that I have always held to.  One reason I haven't sat down to type out a post for anyone to read lately, is I'm not even sure what to say anymore.  My words feel empty and don't truly make a difference.  Sure, they're ooshy gooshy feel good, but are they words of action?  Is there anything that can practically help people?  

On the outside, I am a witty and easy-going... but on the inside I am contemplative and melancholy.  I do not write the way I am on the outside, I write about the thoughts that swirl around in my head until I cannot go on unless I see them on paper.  I have written a lot this past year, probably more than the past few years combined, but nothing has been eligible to be posted.  Some of it is because it is just way too personal... some of it is because I'm not even sure if I believe the words I'm writing... and some of it is just too heavy.  Even now, I'm not even sure where this post is going to go.  I know what words are on my mind, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to click "publish" on them yet.  

The only way forward, is to take the first step.  My first step will be to admit that I don't love Christianese. The words are vague and up for interpretation... there is nothing of true comfort or help in some of these empty words.  There is no action, nothing truly applicable... just a changing of your mind to accept what you cannot explain.  When walking through a difficult time or tragedy, well meaning people will say things like, "God's got you." "Rest in his peace." "Find joy in this time." "I'll pray for strength for you." "This will work out for good."  Sure, these phrases may change your state of mind, but circumstantially, nothing has changed.  You can believe the words and that CAN bring you some kind of peace, but what happens when the words feel lifeless and empty?  What happens when the hits keep on coming and words aren't enough anymore?  Is taking action a sin?  Is purposefully working towards better mental health without using feel good christianese the wrong path?  What if these words are good, but not the end?  Can we move beyond the "rest" and get to work?  The grace message takes all of the responsibility off of us, and places it on God.  We "rest in him", we "let go and let God"... but I think we need to actually get our verb on and get to work when we are in over our heads.  I cannot functionally "cast my burdens onto him" for the gazillionth time, because I still feel heavy.  I don't actually feel lighter.  I have gone through my life truly believing I was letting go, letting him and casting it all onto him, which helped temporarily... but we have got to be okay with giving people things to actively DO to move past trauma, disappointment and heart ache.  God doesn't remove circumstances, memories or dreams, so how do we actually tangibly deal with these things?  

I don't have the answers to these questions... and that is my step one.  Admitting that I need more than just feel good phrases and psalms to get me through.  I need more than just faith in Jesus, I need to place some responsibility on myself to get myself better ALSO.  It isn't either/or... I need a good mixture of both.   If I hear one more person tell me to "give it to God" or to "trust in His plan" I'm going to flip my sh*t.  ;-D

Thursday, November 19, 2020

2020 is almost over! Or is it....

Nearing the end of 2020 is both exciting and anticlimactic.  I'm ready for this year to be over- but will it ever really be?  Will the Ghost of 2020 past be haunting us the rest of our lives?  Unending civil unrest, families and friends ending relationships over different beliefs, constant fear of getting sick, government overreach... will it suddenly go away with the countdown to 2021?  10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1... HAPPY NEW WAY OF LIFE!  (or in my opinion, HAPPY NEW WORLD ORDER!) The consequences of the toxicity we've allowed into our worlds, hearts and minds has gripped ahold firmly and I don't know if some have the strength to release it.  We need to fully let go and trust that the Lord has this under control.  He is not at all shocked by anything this year has brought into our lives- or taken away from our lives.  It's okay to grieve the life we once knew, but it's important we don't dwell and become bitter.  It's important to take a stand about BIBLICAL values in this time of change, but we must be careful what we let seep into that which we won't back down about.  We can intertwine our Americanized views and Christian beliefs into a messy knot that we won't be able to differentiate.

  Freedom in Christ is being able to be free no matter where you are or what your circumstances are.  American freedoms are NOT guaranteed under this category - so we have to be able to discern one from the other.  What DO we fight for?  What aspects of our freedoms should we stand firm in and not back down from?  I do believe that Christians need to get involved in politics specifically for this purpose... if Christians shrink away from "getting political" or "politics" in general, we lay down our freedoms for others to do with what they please.  We allow unbelievers and people with zero respect for scripture to choose for us what we will start to accept and reject.  Slowly, but surely, our Christian freedoms and values start to get pulled out from under us while we virtue signal and recite the scripture that goes along with being submissive to government and loving to our neighbors.  We lose sight of all else we hold dear as believers.  

If only we would really READ the new testament and let the words Paul tries to warn us with into our hearts.  We WILL be hated and looked at as different.  We WILL be discriminated against because we won't back down from our beliefs.  We WILL be persecuted.  We WILL be looked at as fools.  Good WILL be exchanged for evil.  The love of Christians WILL grow cold.  We need to be so careful that we don't hold our "reputations" above what our true calling as disciples is.  It will look like hate to speak love.  It will look like intolerance.  It will look like we think we are better than others, when we are living under a righteous calling.  It will look like we are crazy people.  Throughout history, when the opinions of the loudest start to be heard the most, it is confused with what we SHOULD believe.  We will look like the loony, crazy ones who hold ancient beliefs that aren't melding with the times we are in.  

In my personal convictions, I have been this person for a while now.  It isn't new to me to have people think it's crazy that I think God designed our body to heal itself with things He provided on this earth, not in a lab.  With sunshine, water, rest, herbs and healthy foods.  I have people already thinking I'm a little different because I believe that I'm called to homeschool because we are called to "raise our children in the training and instruction of the Lord.".  That maybe we were given these little humans to raise ourselves and not somewhere else by someone else with a different agenda than "the instruction of the Lord." I'm also a little different because I believe our bodies were created by God to birth babies,  (women's bodies) and that hospitals should be saved for emergencies and extreme illness.  Just from these examples alone, what would I do if I felt like the freedom to choose these things was being taken from me?  What if I'm no longer free to birth the way I want and MUST go to a hospital?  What if homeschooling becomes illegal?  What if we are forced to take the medicines the "experts" (who don't believe in God's incredible design for our bodies ability to heal) tell me to take?  What happens to that new baby you have in the hospital that you don't want them to cut or inject?  What happens to our GOD GIVEN rights as a parent - given the task of raising our children according to our convictions?  What happens to that mom who wants to have a labor naturally, but now C-sections are the only way hospitals allow births anymore?  We must ask ourselves what we are willing to fight for, what hill we are willing to die on and how will we be okay with taking an unpopular stance?  Will we be okay with slowly watching, drip by drip, the freedoms - that are more than just spoiled American freedoms - be ripped out from under us?  Becoming political is more than just reading 5 minutes about who is running and voting for the guy with the better stage-presence and way with words.  It's about looking past the tweets, and voting for policy.  A president that upholds RELIGIOUS freedom and the right to LIFE is the president who will always get my vote.  But you know what, guys?  It's okay if that president doesn't win... because in the end - Jesus is Lord and God is King.  Everything that happens is carefully orchestrated and planned.  Governments rise and fall under the leadership of Him.  His purpose always prevails, no matter what.  If you choose to stay unpolitical, taking no sides and "loving" everyone through your all-encompassing acceptance of whatever makes the person happy, you can't complain when you watch all of the things you really do hold dear disappear before you.  The slogan of Satanism is "do what thou wilt", which sounds a lot like the opposite of Gods heart.  Doing what you want has real, earthly consequences that have nothing to do with your salvation.  It has to do with living a life that is God's BEST for you.  His best for you isn't allowing you to "do what you wilt".  Growth comes from being uncomfortable and going through the fire of refinement.  If you never step out and get uncomfortable, be okay with living a life that isn't your BEST.   "You Only Live Once" and  "Livin' your Best Life" should be a lot deeper than making spontaneous choices based on feelings... it should be about making an impact on behalf of the  Kingdom, to bring others to Him and to live the best possible version of your life that God has for you.  

Friday, July 17, 2020

"Be strong, and courageous. Do not be afraid."

When I was a little girl, I attended VBS and there was a song that sang,
"Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid!" I remember the motions and feeling like I could be strong and courageous.  Like most VBS songs, it was a direct bible verse quote.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." - Deut. 31:6

Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I felt like I was trying to be bold and courageous, but still hesitated to really stand up for myself and speak my mind.  It wasn't until I became an adult that I started really using my voice.  The first time I really got into world issues was the election of Barak Obama.  I NEVER paid any attention to politics, and generally just listened to whatever my parents said and went along with it.  That year, however, I started researching for myself.  I looked into policies and listened to debates.  I started reading about the history of our country and why freedom and the constitution were important.  I have for YEARS battled with politics vs. the bible, and what we are actually called to do.  Should we really care that much what our leaders are doing?  Aren't we just supposed to listen to the leaders and put following Christ above our "American rights"?  I have seen evil all over the world, injustices, discrimination, slavery, poverty, starvation and thought to myself, "Americans are spoiled brats!" Because America really is very unique in the way the country is run. It is set up in order to be mostly "hands off" as far as Government, and give the people more of a voice, choice and ownership over their own choices.  Its a beautiful thing!  There are, right now, roughly 43,000,000 people waiting to get into this country legally.  These people are trying to start over and get out of their countries with over-reaching, power hungry leaders.  Legally, 1-2 million people per-year enter this country!  I, myself, am descended from immigrants.  My Nanny's parents were Swedish immigrants who came to America in the early 1900's.  My mom's grandparents were Italian immigrants.  Its amazing to think of all of these people seeking a better life and coming over here, free to worship as they wish and start businesses and raise their children the way they saw fit.

Growing up American is a blessed life.  Although we struggled to make ends meet from time-to-time growing up, we could still attended church and chose our schools and were free to speak our minds.  My sister, Rachel, was a missionary all throughout jr. high, high school and into her early adulthood.  She would come back telling us of the poverty and tragedy she would see in other countries and it would kind of wake us up to the reality that not everyone is blessed to live and grow in America.  When I went to Bible School in 2005, I had the opportunity to go to Mexico on a mission trip.  I don't really know what I was expecting, but when I got there I realized what Rachel had been trying to tell us all along.  These people, with nothing, are more grateful and humble people than some of the people I had known growing up who had everything.  They slept on the floor, couldn't throw their toilet paper in the toilet, had unclean drinking water, wore clothes donated to them that were often falling apart, didn't have air conditioning, walked everywhere they went, had poor education and weren't truly "free" the way we are.  And yet, they were grateful and joyful.  It is kind of a gut-check when you realize all the things you take for granted and complain about, are the very things other people weep and pray for.  Returning to regular life after that, comes with a new way of seeing, like the scales had fallen off of my eyes.   No longer did I give a lot of thought to what I didn't have, but started seeing the little, everyday things as something to be truly grateful for.  Throwing toilet paper in the toilet, not getting sick from drinking water from the sink, calling my parents on my cell phone, taking  a ride in a car and sleeping in a bed became things I would hold on to as precious.

Fast forward to 2020.  American citizens have more than they've ever had before. Instant gratification around every corner.  Order your Starbucks drink ahead of time so you don't have to wait in line, get your groceries delivered, order ANYTHING online, watch whatever you want with the click of a button, stress about paying off debt from buying things you don't need... we basically have everything and MORE that people all over the world weep and pray for.  Every night before bed, we pray with our children and in that prayer we thank God for the house we live in and the food we eat and the special, out-of-the-ordinary things we get to do because we want our children to understand that we live a blessed life.  God has blessed Jordan with a steady job and opportunities to promote.  He's blessed us with a house and comfortable beds.  We are blessed with so many clothes that doing laundry is the absolute WORST!  Dishes to be done means our bellies are full... I could go on and on.  I'm sure a lot of us could.  Jordan works his butt off so that we can have the things we have, and do the things we do.  I thank God every day for a man with such a strong work ethic and that we get to live in this country, in this state, in our town.

A few years ago, when I started to have my eyes opened to the awful world of human trafficking, I felt extreme guilt for the things I had.  I felt guilty that I had healthy children, a husband and a comfortable house.  I could not see past the pain of the stories of abuse that I was reading and started to cry a lot.  Jordan told me that these stories shouldn't stop me from living my life and enjoying the blessings I had.  It was hard, but I started to realize that since the beginning of time there has been sin.  There has been abuse and injustices.  I obviously couldn't run off to become a vigilante, so what COULD I do?  I had to stop reading the stories at the time because I didn't have the mental strength to handle it.  I donated some money to some organizations and that was it.  Then back in March, the fire was lit within me again to start talking about these issues.  To BOLDLY stand up for those without a voice.  I had been idle long enough and had been given the strength to start facing these ugly truths.  I couldn't be complacent anymore.  Pastor Joe from Celebration Church got up one time after Christine Caine had just spoke and shared about her organization A21.  He shared a bible verse that stuck with me and rings out in my head from time to time.

Deut. 22:27 "for the man found the girl out in the country, and though the betrothed girl screamed, there was no one to rescue her."

This verse was so hard to hear and immediately made me cry.  I thought of the women and children who are sold into sex-trafficking and I couldn't shake the image from my brain.  They're screaming and nobody is hearing their cries.  They're crying out for rescue, and their cries fall on deaf ears.  I won't sit by any longer knowing what I know about human trafficking and all that it entails.  In my research I have read some horrific stories and seen some horrific images. I KNOW that this is happening in high places, in normal homes in our neighborhoods and across the world.  The prevalence is sickening.   When I thought, "what can I do?  How can I help in this stage I'm in currently?" Spreading awareness and donating money to good organizations was what came to my mind.  I'm not in the place to leave my family and go on rescue missions or help victims in a hands on way.  Ultimately, my goal is to get involved in a hands-on way, but for now, with children at home, I have to be realistic about my limits.  This is why I won't stop talking about this.

THIS IS THE GREATEST HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE OF OUR LIFETIME!  
PERIOD!

I cannot sit back any longer and be silent about this issue.  There are obviously other things I've been speaking out about, but when I feel stirred within to talk about something or look into something, I will.  I have taken the back seat for a long time, not wanting to get too involved in politics or world issues or things that really matter to me because I haven't wanted to be divisive.  This morning I read a devotion that basically told me to stop being timid and be bold.  When I'm doing something hard, I recite that verse in my head.  "Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid."  God has called us each uniquely.  He's gien us each different convictions and paths.  The things God has stirred my spirit about are human and specifically child trafficking, trusting His design for our bodies regarding health and wellness, homeschooling my children and trying to stay grounded in gratefulness and not constantly be looking for what I'm lacking instead of what I'm given.  Each family, each person will not ever see eye-to-eye and I have come to be okay with that.  I have been called to speak up and share things that stir within me.  Jesus was extremely controversial for His time and was hated and eventually killed for it.  He has told us to expect to be hated the way He was if we truly follow His call on our lives. 

"All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved." Matthew 10:22 

Obviously, wanting to be liked and affirmed gets in the way of speaking out, sometimes.  Being called things like "uneducated" or "out of touch" or, lately, a "conspiracy theorist" shouldn't stop you from sharing what God has laid on your heart.  Pretty sure people think the entire Bible is a "conspiracy theory", so basically, we can't win. 

Please, join me in speaking up about the injustices facing our MOST INNOCENT, I don't think it's an issue that is divisive.  If anything should join people together, it's taking care of innocent children and adults being used and abused day in and day out.  

Put your ear to the ground, and hear the cries that nobody else can hear.  




Monday, July 6, 2020

"God offers courage, not escape."

If you are familiar with my story, you know that I openly talk about my past issues with alcohol over-consumption.  I decided to share this part of my story so that it no longer had this secret hold on my life.  I felt alone in my struggle and as soon as I spoke it out loud, I felt as if I finally had control and that there was a community of people who could relate with me.  Speaking out about our sin patterns gives us authority over our choices and sometimes even more awareness.  When we finally stare that sin head-on and say, "no more will you win", WE start to win.  It starts with little steps and grows into strides and finally into summiting our sin mountain where it's so far beneath us, we can't imagine going back down.

As I was thinking about how I would have typically reacted during a time of unsettling and staring into a foggy future, I started to be so grateful I gave up alcohol before the whole pandemic began.  The last drop of alcohol I had was on January 2nd of 2020.  I had lost the baby in November and slowly started sipping wine again.  It never got out of control, and for that I'm grateful, but it was just so clear that it fit me like an ill-fitting sweater.  It was uncomfortable and I felt like I looked silly in that sweater.  It was an old garment, used and tattered and ready to go in the garbage.  So I finally threw it away for good.  Soon after I threw it out, I did some hard work of making myself truly believe I didn't need it anymore.  I told friends and family that I would no longer have "casual" drinks and not to offer them to me.  I told them if they saw me drinking, to confront me about it.  I think giving others permission to help me in that way gave me even more confidence in my decision to be done.

At church a couple weeks ago, my pastor was speaking thoughts I had in my head before walking into the service.  I started jotting notes down on my phone and as soon as he started speaking, I got my notes back out and added to them.  He beautifully spoke to what I was thinking.  This whole quarantine/pandemic/summer of riots has felt very.... heavy.  strange.  tiresome. among many other descriptive phrases I could use... but I'll refrain.  Pastor Dave described them as stones being thrown.  Stone after stone just kept on coming.

Shut down - stone.  "Stay home"- stone. Closed parks - stone.  Closed schools - stone.  "You might die" - stone.  "Wear a mask or you hate your grandma"- stone. "You're racist" - stone.  "Defund the cops" - stone. Burning buildings - stone.  "Your opinions are wrong" - stone.  My Nanny dying - stone.  My 34 year old cousin dying - stone.  My great-uncle dying - stone.

Stone after stone just kept on coming.  My mind tends to be very optimistic (maybe to a fault) but it just seemed like a lot.

Then Dave said some powerful words.

"God offers courage, but not necessarily escape." 

 My mind immediately went to what I was writing as I walked in the building.  "When we start to focus on circumstances, we start turning to substances.  But is what we are turning to anything of actual substance?"  I was feeling those stones coming and I didn't see an end in sight.  My optimistic brain was short-circuiting.  I could only be positive about so much!  The world seemed doomed.  I didn't have my normal version of escape anymore, it just wasn't an option for me.  What I started to do was consume as much information as I could.  I read news and blogs and opinions all. day. long.  I was addicted to information.  I needed answers and there were NONE!  No matter how much I searched, the only answer I could come up with was, PRAY!!! Pray and know that this is part of the story that God is writing right now.  Humanity is full of sin and aching, as I wrote in my last blog post.  We will die on this planet (unless we live during the rapture - COME JESUS!!) and Dave said another set of comforting words. 


"God offers heaven, not earthly safety."

  God never ever promised that we would live a comfortable, safe and happy life on EARTH.  He promises us freedom from the worries of this world by giving us eternal life in Heaven.  Beautiful, sin-free Heaven.  Then he said,

 "When you live a heaven life, it changes how you see earthly circumstances around you."  

That couldn't be MORE true!  As soon as you slip on your Jesus glasses, your perspective changes.  This life isn't all there is.  There is SO Much more to look forward to.  While we are here, we aren't to worry or fret or lose hope.  Jesus IS hope!  He is the source of all we need.   The greatest comfort we have.  

"God offers peace while the stones keep coming." 

To give you a little perspective, Dave spoke this message after learning that his wife was diagnosed, yet again, with breast cancer.  Now THAT is a man of faith.  A man on a mission to free people from their circumstantial mindsets.  

Phil 4:7 " And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." 

As we stare into this uncertain future, set down your phone, seek the Lord and spend time in prayer.  We are living through something historic, possibly even "Biblical".  (definitely Biblical) Be grateful that we get to be a part of this time on Earth.  We were hand picked and chosen to be living here during this time.  Choose your words wisely, choose unity over division and relax in the Lord, knowing that He has this all planned out.



Tuesday, June 9, 2020

The Earth and all it's people are groaning

My last night at the beach, we were in awe of this amazing lightning storm happening all around us.  There was no thunder, and it never did rain, but the sky was electric.  This was the night the riots started in Minneapolis.  

I was at the beach when the news story broke about the George Floyd killing.  I was only using my phone to take pictures and post them quickly on Instagram as a little "vacation log" and got off of twitter and my news apps for the week.  When I got back in the car for the drive home, I was appalled at what I saw.  I couldn't bring myself to watch the entire 9, some odd, minute video, but I did watch parts of it.  I saw people getting angry, rightfully so!  What happened wasn't only BIZARRE it was WRONG!  I don't understand what that Cop was doing or why, but that's besides the point.  What the point IS, is that over the past couple weeks since watching this, I have seen some terrible evils rearing their head.  There are mad cops, there are mad people in the black community, there are mad people in the white community... basically everyone is upset.  Instead of getting upset TOGETHER, these people started getting upset APART, turning on each other and their own neighbors.  
The more I see, the more I know that this is all part of what has been prophesied for years and years.  First, you have a WORLDWIDE pandemic, forcing billions of people to completely halt and alter their lives.  There were people dying and afraid.  There were people killing themselves because they had lost everything.  There were people turning on each other because they didn't agree about masks/no masks etc..  

This started the unrest.  

Once things started calming down and starting to get back to "semi-normal" a race-war began.  American citizens, who have been split in half and getting further apart for the past 15 years, started turning on one another.  Black against white, cop against citizen.  Anarchy, chaos, confusion, murder in the streets, riots.  If you read the bible, this is nothing new.  "There is nothing new under the sun." There will be very dark days in the end times.  I am not saying Jesus is coming back tomorrow, I'm saying that the earth is groaning.  The labor pains are becoming closer together.  Humanity is hurting and crying out for a savior they don't know they need.  The answer to these race wars isn't more or less legislation, more or less government, more or less laws, more or less cops... the answer is quite literally Jesus.  Spreading the GOOD news that there is a God who loves us so much, that we have abundant Grace and Mercy.  The bible is packed FULL of sinners hand picked and chosen by God to do big and mighty things.  I'm not talking about sinners like, "I stubbed my toe and said a curse word" or "I lied to my granny", but sinners like murderers (Paul) and adulterers (David) being hand picked.  God does this to show us that nobody is too far gone to have their life impacted by the Gospel.  Nobody is below leading. These men were chosen as an example of the redeeming love of Jesus.  A love so powerful, that despite your past, you can be used for GENERATIONS to come to bring people to Jesus.  Isn't that good news?  Aren't those the kind of messages we need to be spreading right now?  

I have wondered if I should stay silent in this time, or if I should speak up.  I have been told by many that right now isn't the time for "white voices" to be heard, but that is just further dividing us.  I don't believe that God can only use certain voices at this time.  If you feel led to talk, TALK!  If you feel led to be silent, be silent!  If you feel led to get down on your knees and pray, do it.  If you feel like the only real change will come from marching with a sign, then go do that.  We should be listening to the call of the Holy Spirit on our own lives right now.  I know when to shut up, when to apologize and when to back down.  Right now, I have been doing my best to listen and elevate voices that need to be heard.  I haven't given my own opinion on much that is taking place and a lot of that comes from fear.  I don't want to be criticized for my views or beliefs and I have a need to be liked (that is slowly fading).  I want to have these tough conversations, but the answer I keep coming back to is that these people need Jesus.  We ALL need Jesus.  What we don't need is bowing before men apologizing for crimes we did not commit.  We do not need to apologize for the way God created us or for the life we are living.  We carry around with us enough guilt and shame as it is, we don't need to lump more on top of our shoulders over something we have no control over. We are each unique, with unique life experiences and voices.  God placed us in our neighborhoods and families, it's what we do with our time that will shape us into the people we are meant to be.  Instead of feeling like a victim, we should recognize the victory we ALREADY have in Jesus. ALL OF US!  I have come up against some really tough situations, and those have shaped me into the person I am today.  I have made some TERRIBLE decisions, but I needed to walk down that road in order to be refined by God.  We go through fire in order to be refined.  On the other side of that hard, of that heart break or that storm we find beauty.  We find redemption, mercy and grace.  We find that no matter what, God has our BEST in mind.  He presents us with many choices and paths, its which way we decide to go that ultimately crafts our character.  I wont make any excuse for the decisions I have made in the past.  I knew when I chose to drink, it would only lead to regret, yet I chose it time and time again.  God might lead us to the same place over and over again, and when we finally decide to stop dead in our tracks and turn the other direction, we find true freedom.

Now, let's talk about the elephant in the room.  Racism.  I believe it exists because I believe that sin and Satan are very real.  Sin leads people to do terrible, awful things.  The ONLY cure to racism is to cleans the heart through the sanctification of Jesus' grace and love.  Without it, we will continue in our sin patterns and the hate and darkness within will only grow stronger and more callous.

Living in sin and becoming desensitized to evil makes people devalue life.  We have celebrated horror and gore, "action" movies full of murder and graphic images.  Pornography has devalued women and sex.  Abortion has completely destroyed our idea that human life is sacred.  These ideas get imbedded in people. Our culture celebrates drug and alcohol abuse, promiscuity and letting a woman "choose".  We have Christian leaders who have turned on the heart of Jesus for his people and preached a message heavy with Grace and leaving out earthly consequences.  Jesus doesn't PUNISH people for their choices, he merely allows earthly consequences to sin to happen.  Arrests, guilt, depression, worthlessness, divorce, adultery, aborted babies, sickness, child abuse, wreckless violence, anger.  These are often consequences of when we sin against ourselves or someone sins against us.  We have got to understand WHY God warns us about certain sins in the Bible!  It is for our GOOD!  It isn't to deprive of us joy, but to give us joy that cannot be claimed in an instant, but lasting joy.  It's to give us LOVE!  If we harbor jealousy, comparison, anger, lust, pride -  those things lead to a dehumanizing of those around us.  An unhealthy self-love where we lift ourselves up on a pedestal and try to be better than everyone else.  

There is so much darkness and hurt and oppression ALL OVER THE WORLD!  There are children born into a life of trafficking, never knowing what it feels like to be truly loved.  There are women used for their bodies to create babies to go into the trafficking circulation.  Trafficking victims only have an average of  a 7 year life span and they have to keep up with demand.  There are MORE slaves today than EVER before in human history.  These people need their names said too.  MILLIONS of people who are quite literally invisible.  These children deserve to play with friends and cry on a trusted lap.  These women deserve to have a family and raise their children.  These men deserve to get paid a fair wage for their work.  These people are treated as disposable.  And guess what?  They are white, black, Asian, Somalian, Australian, Canadian, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Korean... you name a race or nationality and they're in circulation right now being used, abused and then disposed of.  THIS is the greatest human rights issue facing the world today.  THIS is what we should be talking about.  I am not trying to take away from the people in our country who feel like they are treated differently or not given the same opportunities as others.  I am trying to point out, that WE LIVE IN A FALLEN WORLD.  We live in a selfish, evil world and there will be NO redemption until Jesus returns for the second time.  If we truly love people, we will share with them the good news that earthly suffering is temporary.  These "earth suits" are not our home and we have a day to look forward to that there will be no more pain, or hurting or racism or slavery or abuse or hate or evil.  We will be free from it all in the end.  UNTIL then, we are to love.  We are to UNITE, not divide.  And we are to expect to be persecuted and hated.  Jesus told us what to expect in Matthew 24 and 25 and it's that we are to be persecuted like he was.  The world will hate us.  The world hates the truth.  Look to the WORD, not the world.  Understand the scriptures, especially the warnings of the end times when people will seek out for themselves only those who speak what they want to hear, and silence voices who don't.  Seek truth and speak truth.  

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables." 2 Tim 4:3-4

"So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the WHOLE WORLD." Rev. 12:9

"And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." - John 3:19

I have been praying constantly about this unrest, about the deep hurting and confusion happening all over the world.  Let me say one last thing.  Nothing will become suddenly, magically solved by who we vote for.  God had plans when he laid the FOUNDATIONS of the world.  Please, do not place your entire faith and trust on ANY man or woman to do the job that only God can do.  No president or politician can heal human hearts.  Please, by all means, still vote! But we must understand that this isn't a bad policy or law, it's the groaning of human hearts in need of a savior.


"FOR OUR STRUGGLE IS NOT AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD, BUT AGAINST THE RULERS, AGAINST THE AUTHORITIES, AGAINST THE POWERS OF THIS DARK WORLD AND AGAINST THE SPIRITUAL FORCES OF EVIL IN THE HEAVENLY REALMS."

Eph 6:12

Monday, May 4, 2020

Podcast Interview recap with Kay Levesque of Love 2 Hope

If you haven't yet, listen to the podcast here!  This post is a little summery of what we discussed..

I  had the privilege this week to interview a speaker from last year at my MOPS group.  Kay Levesque and her family came and spoke to our group about the realities of Human-trafficking, Sex-trafficking, Labor-trafficking and child-trafficking.  I had heard Christine Caine with A21 speak on the horrific realities of human trafficking before, so I knew a little bit about it.  I think most of us know that there are modern day slaves.  If you're like me, you didn't really want to know much about it because then that knowledge comes with a responsibility.  It's the sad reality of most consumers out there.  But did you realize how staggering the child sex trafficking trade is?  In this post, I'm going to sum up a little bit of our conversation, but I would encourage you to go to her website Love 2 Hope for more resources.

We talked a little bit about hotspots in the U.S.  A lot of trafficking happens over the border, under the guise of refugees and immigrants.  If you're wanting to know more locations Polaris Project has a lot of resources and an infrared map that shows the "hotspots".

Here are just a few facts I jotted down during our discussion.

30-40 million people are trafficked globally (includes all forms of slavery)
5 million of those are sex-trafficking victims, and is growing every year.
Sex trafficking is the 2nd highest grossing criminal activity worldwide at $150 billion annually.  (second to drugs and right above illegal weapons, with projections to be the number 1 criminal enterprise, thanks to the internet)
women and children who are sex-trafficked have a 7 year life expectancy because of the abuse they endure day in and day out.  No breaks.

The numbers seem almost overwhelming.

So, what can we do to fight human trafficking?

Become involved!  Pray, journal and become educated.  Watch documentaries (True Cost was recommended), read survivor stories, BELIEVE survivors, educate your children about the dangers of pornography, understand that pornography and sex-trafficking and slavery go hand-in-hand. Get involved in local non-prophits.  Follow organizations that fight trafficking and share their content on social media.  Falkirk Center, A21, Love2Hope, Shared Hope International just to name a few.

Now, to fight labor trafficking. First, head to this slavery footprint website to open your eyes to how many estimated slaves you have directly working for you. Download the app, Buycott, you can scan barcodes and find out more about what you're purchasing.  Look for the label Fair Trade on items you buy.  (chocolate, coffee, bananas and clothing have the highest slavery footprint.)  Buy second hand clothing to reduce directly purchasing from brands that exploit slaves, or go to this website to find clothes that are fair trade!  There are many more ways to fight labor trafficking, this is by no means an exhaustive list, but it's a start!

This is by far the most slaves our world has ever had in history.  This human rights issue has no racial preference, and effects men, women and children.  Please,  educate yourself, share what you find and do your part to fight this!

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Nobody said it was easy.


 I'm a big, huge Coldplay fan.  This has nothing to do with the rest of my post, other than this part of their song, The Scientist adequately describes how I am feeling right now. 

Nobody said it was easy
It's such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh take me back to the start
I was just guessing at numbers and figures
Pulling your puzzles apart
Questions of science, science and progress
Do not speak as loud as my heart
This is just a snippet of this song, but I sat down to write a post about the way I was feeling about this whole Pandemic, and the words, "Nobody said it was easy" came to my head.  I have been struggling the past few weeks how to adequately describe my emotions, thoughts and feelings surrounding this time we are all facing.  I have had moments of absolute peace, severe anxiety, utter devastation, motivation, restfulness, yearning and grief.  

I want to talk about each of these feelings and explain why.  

Let's talk about peace.  For too long, I have felt hurried and rushed.  I already have extreme FOMO (fear of missing out) and tend to pass that onto my children, whether they feel that or not.  I have always thought of myself as an extrovert, but it's partly because I'm afraid I will miss out on something epic and awesome if I don't go to every. thing.  Since the Coronavirus has halted our entire lives and cancelled all of our plans, I have had tremendous peace.  We have slept in, erased our calendar and done life simply and quietly at home.  Soccer was cancelled, Maxine's three-day school was cancelled (and all the things that come with that), church, MOPS, coffee dates, playdates, Sunday lunch.  While I miss a lot of these things, it has made me reassess what we will allow back into our lives when this is all over.  I have felt a lot of peace just simply being with family.  

Yet, on the opposite end of the spectrum is severe anxiety.  I have never been one to struggle with SEVERE anxiety.  Every now and then, I will get anxious and overwhelmed and have negative feelings that seem to take over, but I've always suppressed them.  I don't like to live in a negative place for very long, so what I tend to do is vent out all of my frustrations verbally to someone or put on a good sad movie to cry it all out.  I don't cry easily so it helps to have a jumping off point.  In the past I would drown out my feelings with alcohol, but since that isn't an option, I have been feeling all of my feelings without much of an outlet.  I haven't been able to get away from the kids for breathers and talk with my people to vent things out and have a fresh perspective brought my way.  I have been fed fear-mongering lies from the media that I have been careful not to let infiltrate my thoughts, but the thoughts still come.  I am trying to figure out who I can trust and where we will be going from here.  I have crippling scenarios of "what ifs" going through my mind and waking me up in my dreams.  But, I have that balance of Peace to bring me back down.  The balance of God's word FILLED with promises, knowing that no matter what we face on the Earth, He is with us, and has the ultimate control.  No virus or world leader has the power, only HE does.  

Now, let's talk about the utter devastation, motivation and grief I have been feeling.  I don't know when it began, but a few years ago, I started to realize if I thought about someone else's pain and heartache enough, I could actually feel it.  I would begin feeling it on such an intense level I wouldn't be able to shake it from my mind.  Jordan told me that I needed to protect myself from these feelings, so I stopped being informed about the depravity of our world.  The magnitude of it would overwhelm me and I would cry for days on and off and feel pain deep in my heart.  I have realized that separating myself from the pain others face in this way is also not healthy.  We all need to face the truth about our world and the pain and horror others face, or we will stop caring. At the beginning of this epidemic, I was thinking about all of the people who live paycheck to paycheck, wondering how they would feed their families and make ends meet.  I thought about the substance abuse and physical abuse that would be ramped up during this time in the homes of some.  Praying for these people has been a daily priority, as I don't even know what else to do at this moment in time.  

I have watched the daily press conferences that the President has held for the past couple of weeks, just to stay informed.  The other day, he said something and nobody even followed up with a question.  He had openly said that he was going to be fighting the drug cartels trying to infiltrate this country during this pandemic, and had released the full power of the military in order to do this.  One of the reporters asked him if there were other illicit activities these cartels were carrying out.  Trump said human trafficking and sex trafficking.  He went on to talk about it for a couple minutes, and when he was finished, the media went right back to their fear-mongering tactics and president-hating rhetoric.  They completely ignored what he was saying.  As I started to look into this, I saw things that devastated my heart but brought me a lot of hope.  The media refuses to cover any of it, for whatever reason, but I needed to understand more.   In January he talked about completely wiping out these large human trafficking organizations and working to rid it from the earth.  There are literally millions of people suffering in slavery around the world.  Slavery is bigger today than it has ever been in the history of mankind.  

When I started to realize that Trump has been fighting two "invisible enemies" during this time, I wept.  I wept for the callousness of the media and people that don't support him no matter what he does.  I wept for the women, men and children trafficked all over this world.  I wept for a couple days while the weight of it all seemed almost overwhelming.  I was led to Psalms 2-6 and just got on my knees and wept them to the Lord as a prayer.  I have been filled with a fire that has turned my weeping into righteous anger.  I am feeling motivated now, more than ever to get involved in some capacity.  I am praying right now what God would have me realistically do during this time.  (I will be writing more on this topic next week.)

The next thing I have been feeling is a yearning.  We have been spending a lot of time outside and together as a family.  We've been barefoot in the yard planting thigs, playing in dirt and listening to the leaves in the trees blow in the wind.   I have a yearning for slow, nature, connection, friendship.  I know that we were not created to live these fast-paced, consumer driven lives.  I know we were made for much much more.  I'm hoping for a mass revival, spiritual awakening and a real shift in the way people make decisions moving forward.  Not revolving around success, money, fame or the "American dream", but rather for gratefulness, humility, community and spirituality. 

I know we live in a fallen world, full of fallen people, and we will never truly experience the fullness of life God designed for us until the time of the new heaven and the new earth arrives.  But, while we are here, maybe we can give a glimpse of that life to each other, our families and communities and start to value every human life.  It's time to stop turning a blind eye to the cries of poverty, slavery, injustice and human rights all over the world silenced by the Media and Hollywood.  It's time to truly see that this world isn't operating how God intended it to, and move in a different direction.   Let's heal, starting with our own hearts and way we spend the time left in our lives and continue that ripple into our communities and eventually, the world.  

"Nobody said it was easy, Oh let's go back to the start."