What to Do When You are Stuck?

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      Have you ever felt stuck before? I have. It’s not a fun feeling. You see what you want or where you want o go but your feet are cemented to the ground. You can’t move no matter how hard you try. It’s called a holding pattern in some groups. To me, it’s called torture. I have been working for some time to unstuck, but there is one thing that has me where I am. It isn’t God’s timing for me to move. He wants me right where He has me no matter how much I was to protest.

        How can I so easily say that? Because I have found that no matter how I try to make something happen, if it’s not what God wants, it’s not going to happen. Sometimes being stuck is just God saying “no” yet we persist to actually be running into a wall instead of not moving at all. To me that is worse since I don’t like be hurt and bruised due to my own will.

        I can recall a time where this happened though so don’t think you are alone. My husband and I have been wanting to move to a better state for many years now (we live in California and you can see why we want to leave), but the doors have never opened. Even though we think that we should have been able to move years ago, God set out His answer of “no”. I hated it since I hate many things that go on in the state I live. I wanted to move some where that agreed with at least the majority of the laws and the government had brains. But whatever. I tried to push my way through with my husband putting out over fifty applications to many states trying to find a job so we could move.

         After doing that for about six months, I gave up. Said “God, I guess we are not moving, so there”. I then went on my merry way as long as I didn’t watch the news or paid attention to the things that were being passed by the California legislators.

        Then we tried again and the answer was still no and I was getting really annoyed. But I just kept going with it since God had opened other doors in California for us. That was when this hurricane season hit. The main area we were trying to move to was Houston Texas. I wanted to move there so bad because, for the price of our house, we could practically buy wherever we wanted in Houston. It would have solved all our problems. Or would it? The area we were looking has now been destroyed and damaged by the hurricane. That would have been us swimming to safety from the home that we would have fought God so hard for. It would have been a disaster.

          So if I kept ramming the wall to move out of state, I probably would have made it, but would it have really been the answer? Yes, I am not a fan of the politics in California but at least my house wasn’t flooded and we didn’t lose everything. I still have my family nearby and we would have been on our own if we had moved. It wasn’t God’s best for us, and I am thankful for that.

         I guess what I am trying to say is that, if you feel stuck, it actually is for your best. It means that you can go a hurt yourself worse. It is a way that God can protect you just like a parent grabs their kid’s arm so they won’t run into the street. All you see as God’s child is the toy or park you want to go play with on the other side but God as your good Father sees the cars and the dangers around you. It is His job to protect His kids and sometimes we are not going to like the answer He gives us. I know I don’t sometimes, but when I look back, I can see it was for my good.

          So my prayer is that you will look around and see what God might be protecting you from. And, when the time is right, everything you are desiring will fall into place.

 

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Why Christians Won’t Go to Church

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   How many of you grew up thinking that the only way to get people to get to church was by fancy programs and flashy lights? These churches were deemed shallow and not a “good solid church”. Then you have the little church on the corner where the only way their numbers grow is if someone has a baby, but the preaching is sound. Which church is better? Honestly neither of them.

   What? I know. I just popped everyone’s bubbles in each court. This is the crazy part – I have played on each team so I know how each one thinks and plays. I have been to small churches were you maybe hit fifty people on Christmas and Easter and there was a reason for that. They were not friendly, nor loving Christians. Now not all of them but the ones who ran the church (yes pretty much one family would run these churches) were like that. I haven’t been around these people lately so I hope that they have changed and that their churches are growing by leaps and bounds, but, when I was there, they were not. They were neither hot nor cold. They were luke warm and everyone knows what God thinks about luke warm churches.

   Then on the flip side, I have been in big churches where they have the lights and shows and programs coming out of their ears. But here is the crazy part! They also were unfriendly and not loving Christians. Huh? Wait. I thought there was only one group who were the problem. “They” are the bad Christians, not my church. But that isn’t true either.

   So is there middle ground? Can you have a church with solid preaching that doesn’t tickle ears but also has a growing membership? The answer is yes and you don’t need anything flashy to do it.

   My church building regularly has 5000 people come through its doors each week. I have a HUGE church family and I have not even come close to meeting them all in my seven years of attending, but that isn’t the point. I have some really great relationships with others in my church but it’s not the end of the world for those who I don’t know. They are still in my prayers and are covered in my love when I hear about things the church is doing with missions or baptism. They have a cool family member in their corner and they don’t totally realize it. I think that is actually kind of cool and I am sure I am in someone else’s prayers who hasn’t met me yet either. That is what being a church family is all about.

   You might be thinking ‘well of course she is bias since she attends the church’. Really? This church is church number 6 for me in my short 25 years of life and I just found it 7 years ago. Before this church, the longest I had been at a church was 6 years. So I have seen many types of churches in my short life time. And my church is the most balanced church I have ever seen.

  Yes, I said balanced because everything requires balance and that is especially true for churches. I have been to churches who only preach about God’s wrath but never His grace and I have been to churches who only preach grace and never wrath. You need both or you will never see the full picture of God, and my church gets that.

   Now, we have some programs, but there were some that had to be set aside for awhile since we did just a big move to a new building, but we have the basics of ministry like Sunday school and out reaches. I would say that for a “big” church though we don’t have as much as people would think we should right now. There are things in the works, but the move required things to be set aside but not the preaching of God’s word.

   Our Pastor is such a strong and wise man of God that I feel privileged to sit under every week and not obligated. I can’t wait to go to church because I feel like I won’t be leaving with whispers behind my back. My daughter has a safe Sunday school program to go to where I know they have sound teaching so I can enjoy church and then they have VBS in the summer. The ministries out number the flashy programs and they are all about community and bringing people back to church who have left or never returned after being hurt.

   So with all that said, let’s recap. My church on Sunday offers Sunday school, worship, teaching and the option for prayer. Sounds like a good basic little church right? But remember that my church’s attendance regularly runs around 5000. So here is my question. Not that my church is perfect, trust me it has had its ups and downs but God has seen us through to only be better, but my point is that why do people think that there is only two ways a church can go?

   If you want to have your church grow, it has to be inviting, but not cheesy. You have to have good applicable music (not necessarily a rock band but something more than Count Your Many Blessing each week) to help people really engage with their Savior. And you have to have good solid preaching that is true but with love. My Pastor is the only pastor I have ever sat under where he has laid the hammer down on somethings going on in the church that he isn’t happy with or isn’t biblical and I still walk away feeling like he and God love me.

   I want more churches to have that same experience. I want more people to know that feeling of going to church because they crave to be near their Jesus and are bummed when they miss it. I don’t think it is good for people to go to ANY church where they feel oppressed when they are there and punished when they are not. It’s not how God wants  for His church.

   So if you have been hurt by a church and don’t know if you ever want to go back, take heart. There are good churches out there who are not like the one you came from. There are churches out there who do show the love of Christ without making you feel like a worse Christian when you leave. Don’t believe me? Check out this link. I have not been paid or anything for this post. I just want everyone to know and love Jesus how I have learned I can these past seven years.

Blessings!

God is Good

“God is good”. Do you believe that? I have a hard time with it sometimes I will admit. It’s a topic that many will never say is true simply because they have never felt it. I can say it’s true because in the past I have felt Him. I have felt His arms around when I was hurting and crying out for acceptance and love. Then why is it so hard for me to feel at times now?

Maybe it’s because I am more grown up and more calloused with the world? Maybe I am too scared to trust anyone but myself? I don’t know but I do know that my trust relationship with God is one that always takes work on my side.

I know people say that if you trust someone that you will always trust them. I guess that I sort of true since I trust my husband 100% and my closest friends 100%, but why can’t I always trust God 100% if the time? Because I can really trust what I see. I trust my husband to come home and love me every night because he does and I can see him. I can see his face and hear his voice to know if there is something off about him, but with God I can’t see Him. I know He is there, but I so often forget to look for Him.

And when things go bad it’s even harder to trust Him. You want to believe that He is doing everything for my good, but I can see that at the moment. It might be years until I see the purpose behind the suffering I go through today. So I sit there and ask God why, when He isn’t ready to show to me what He is planning to do with me. I just have to sit and wait to maybe understand it someday.

But I just have to remember that God is always good even if it doesn’t feel like life is. He loves me even when I am crying my soul out or angry because life has thrown me another curve ball. He is good always.

 

There’s No Pleasing Christians Sometimes

Hello! I hope your day is going well for you. My day is going pretty good. Just getting a chance to sit down and do some writing about what’s going on with two movies right now and to point out that Christians are the HARDEST people to please. I mean think about it. There are two movies out (or almost out) right now: The Shack and Beauty and the Beast. Both of which have Christians up in arms.

Why? Well, for one, there is this gay scene in Beauty and the Beast I guess and The Shack is being call not well sounded theologically . Both I have to say I am shaking my head and rolling my eyes at.

I have read the book for The Shack and seen the movie. I have been hoping they would make the book into a movie for years. It’s a story that could help so many unbelievers see God in a whole new way, but they might not read a book. So when it was announced that movie was coming out, I was over joyed. Then the poop hit the fan about it.

Suddenly, Christians are boycotting their own genre in a movie because it might not 100% match what their pastor says. Let’s clear something up. All those people saying tend to have a Baptist or Southern Baptist background where God is kept in this little box and He is only able to be one way and that’s it. I went to Baptist churches for years and was so stifled by the legalism there it took me years of going to a healthy and thriving church to heal.

Now, I know I just pissed off a lot of people but I have to speak the truth. When I was in the Baptist church sect, my walk with Christ stopped. I might know a lot of things about the Bible now but there was a void missing when it comes to my relationship with God. I saw Him as something to fear and not loved by. Jesus loved me but God didn’t. I was actually very similar to the main character in The Shack.

I thought God was only out to get me and the Jesus was the only thing keeping Him back from destroying us all. And the Holy Spirit? What Holy Spirit. The time I heard about Him was when someone was getting baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. So with this movie, yes people who are in that kind of background will find nothing but issues with the movie.

But, if you believe in having an Abba relationship with God and your know that the Trinity is one person and Jesus isn’t separate from the Father the Holy Spirit isn’t just out there wandering around, then you will see the gold that is in this movie. You will see that God is almighty and He loves you just as much as Jesus because they are one in the same. You can’t have one without the other.

Ok… so why is God and woman? I want to debunk this question now and forever. The reason God is a woman is because the movie is all about relationship and God says clearly it the book and the movie the reason He appears as woman is, due to Mac’s abuse history from his father, Mac would not have receptive to God if He appeared as a fatherly figure. That’s it. Period.

Now, if you have God in this little box then that seems like blasphemy and I very much would agree with you. But in this case it makes sense. God has appeared to me in different forms throughout my life, and they have been different every time. He is the almighty God and, if He knows that a motherly figure is what you need right now, then that is how He will present Himself as. I love how no one mentions the fact that He changes into a fatherly character later – just a side note.

But, what about the He came to save everyone part? God made and loves ALL of us. Yes, Romans talks about the elect but Jesus didn’t just come to save good people. Read the Gospels, there are tons of examples of people that who wouldn’t have been judged as the right people to be saved, but Jesus welcomes them in like He does with all of His children.

God gave us free will, like in the garden with Adam and Eve, we, even after we have been saved, can walk away from Him. I did not say lose our salvation. I said walk away, and with a legalistic background, why wouldn’t you walk away? It’s hard living under legalism and you will never add up enough under that mindset. But there is freedom with Jesus, and this movie really points out that, even though we don’t think someone should be able to be saved, God still has a plan for them and He wants they redeemed.

I am glad that there is freedom in Christ because we all deserve hell. There is no denying that. So if you don’t think that there is freewill, why were you so much better at the time of your creation? And don’t you say ‘because hells needs to be filled somehow so that is why there is the elect’. Worst defense ever! For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. the whosoever believes in Him will have everlasting life. That’s John 3:16!  Case closed. So for people getting upset because God loves everyone, seems like a poor excuse not to go see the movie.

Now another movie that is about to come out also has Christians upset and that is Beauty and the Beast. I want to first say that I NEVER saw this movie appropriate for anyone under thirteen. It would be WAY too scary for my daughter. Second, it’s a secular movie! If you don’t like it, don’t see, but don’t say that I am a horrible Christian if I do. Honestly, I think Christians are are showing horrible face concerning it because of the gay scene. Why? Let me explain.

IT’S NOT THE FIRST GAY CHARACTER IN A DISNEY MOVIE!!!! That felt good to finally get off my chest. No, it’s not, but for some reason now people are getting all upset about it. Do you have any of these movies in your house?

  • Cinderella
  • Pocahontas
  • Tangled
  • Anything from Sophia the First
  • The original Beauty and the Beast
  • The Lion King
  • Bambi
  • Lilo and Stich
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Frozen

These are just a few and every single one of these movies have a gay character in them, and many have multiple. But what makes this movie so different? Because there is a “moment” in it and it’s people.

First, it’s PG so the farthest they can go is a kiss. Second, it’s not a movie for kids anyway. Have you seen the preview and how dark it is? If you take four year old Lacy to see it, it wouldn’t be the gay scene that would be making me raise an eyebrow. This movie has a deeper story, scarier effects and, fine, a gay scene. Not for kids! I see it as Beauty and the Beast for adults.

Second, how are you ever going to show the love of Christ to someone if you never go to their level? Now, once again, coming from a legalistic background, you are taught to never go down to someone’s level because they will drag you down too. Not all bad, but there is a reason why there aren’t very many thriving legalistic churches and that is because they don’t out and harvest. Church is for “sick people” people who lost and need Jesus. IT is not just for preppy Christians to meet, say they made quota and go home.

You don’t have to see the movie, but somehow telling the LGBTQ community that God loves them and wants to have a relationship with them is vital. They are just lost people trying to figure life out on their own. That is it. So if we boycott and throw a fit, then where is the love?

Now, I don’t agree with the lifestyle, but I will say that I love the people. I don’t think that the movie needed these things add in particular because it had too much gayness in it back in 1991. The character is question, Lefou played by Josh Gad, was gay in the first place. But back then they were just called effeminate. I challenge you to watch the animated one. It’s beyond obvious that Lefou is in love with Gaston. So to say that this is the “first Disney gay character” is bull poop. There have been many and it’s just because the blinders are being taken off that people are noticing.

If you are going to take this kind of stand against gays then you need to throw out EVERY movie that has a gay character in it. I think you will find that there aren’t many left after you do. But you need to stick to the stand you make because that is important too.

So, now we have looked at the two hot buttons for Christians and I have to ask, where do you stand?  I hope that you will give The Shack a chance. I get why you might not see Beauty and the Beast, but don’t forget that the community is full of living breathing people who need the love of Jesus brought to them. Hey! Take them to see The Shack and have it soften the soil to talk about Jesus and how much He loves them.

For many that crosses too many lines and it makes me sad. I wish that Christians would stop nit picking at things and just get the love of Jesus out there. You can either bring Jesus to people with a movie that you believe is only sort of right or you can waste your salvation by sitting at home being “right” and doing nothing. I would rather bring people to Christ.

And with the Disney movie, it’s your choice, but don’t forget the love. The best way to shut someone’s heart up is if they don’t feel like they are loved, belong, or believed in. Show the LGBTQ community that Jesus loves them and reach out. It just might be the thing someone needs the most.

Love you and God bless.

How to Serve Others While You Hurt

If anyone is like me, then you have had some hurt in your life. I have had quite a bit in the last year especially with losing all my possessions and four babies. Talk about a hit to the heart, but there is always a choice when it comes to grief. You can turn into yourself and become nothing but a shell or you can use your grief as a gift to help others. It took me a long time but I decided that it’s worth it more in the end to help others than to only concentrate on myself. One of ways I do that is through my Etsy Shop.

Why do I love it? It gives me a chance to create and produce something productive when I feel like nothing is good in my life. You can’t help but smile at something you have made yourself. The extra money is nice but you will notice that I have one item in my shop that is more than the rest. I happen to love to make baby blankets which seems odd right from someone who just lost four babies right? Why would I make something that someone else will buy for their baby when I have just lost mine?It doesn’t make much sense does it I know, but I see it as a way to look outside myself and bless someone else even if I don’t feel blessed right now.

The other thing that I would suggest is to engage with people who are going through the same thing that you would like to be doing. I know, this sounds even crazier than the first thing, but it is true. One of my best friends and I were pregnant at the same time. Our babies were actually due two days a part. When we found out, we were so excited because there is nothing more fun than being pregnant with a best friend (I have many by the way). When I lost my baby, it could have really ruined things with my friend and I because she was nervous about what she could tell me  or not about her pregnancy. I didn’t want her to cut me off so I made the decision to be there for her and engage with her pregnancy even though I had lost mine.

Can you see where I am going with this? I was able to be a blessing for my friend and experience her pregnancy with her because I was able to come out of myself and see those around me. And it has been fun going on this journey with her. If I hadn’t taken that step, I would have missed out on something really great. Now, I will not sit here and tell you it has been easy reading her texts about her baby moving and doctors appointments. I am not perfect in any way. I have to fight jealousy everyday and that isn’t something that is probably going to go away soon, but there is a way to be jealous and happy for someone else at the same time. you just really have to keep your heart in check.

My next big test in this area is coming up soon since her baby shower and I am going to it. I have no idea how I am going to react. I could be all tears or I could be all smiles. Her shower is actually a week before my husband’s vasectomy which is going to add a whole other layer to the day. It’s the last week that my husband and I can decide whether or not we are really going to go through with making him sterile. Hard right?

So I have to keep myself busy and I have decided to go full bore into her gift to be a blessing to her instead of pining and dreading the day. No one likes a person like that for sure. I don’t want to be angry my whole life. I want to have the joy of the Lord shine through me and to show that my hurt doesn’t define who I am or what I can do. Also, the projects are really fun and turning out super cute. I can’t wait to due a post about it. This one item is so cute, I just might make on for me.

The point being, don’t let your hurt keep you from serving others. I might sound like I have it all figured out, but there are still many days where I have to just sit there and and say over and over again “God is good” because at that moment it doesn’t feel like it. I have a whole other post planned for that topic so I won’t go into it now. But just keep your chin up. Things will get better.

How to Deal With Pregnancy Announcements When You Can’t Have Babies

Tis the season. It seems like right now everyone I have on Facebook in childbearing years is either preggers or just had a baby. Good for them really, but it still stings a little the closer to when I should have had my baby. I should be able to be in the same club, but I am not and I won’t be again. I want to cry whenever I see people comment on the announcements that so-in-so will make a great brother/sister since my daughter would have made a good one too. I just have to keep scrolling or I will go into a depression and anger of why God has made it that we can’t another healthy baby.

He is the one that gives life, but not to us. He has given us one healthy daughter, but He won’t give her a healthy sibling. Everyone else gets to have one for their kid, but I don’t and it’s a sore spot with me with God. Now I am not going to walk away from Him or anything, but it’s a sore spot. We are a wonderful home for a baby and we can’t have a baby meanwhile some girl goes for a one night stand and gets knocked up and pops out (if the baby is lucky) a healthy kid. Why? I wish I knew, but I can only trust that for some reason we are meant to parent a singleton instead of the two or more my husband and I planned to have.

But this post is about how to deal with those announcements and not go crazy.

  • Admit that you are not yet healed and give yourself a break. It can take years to get over the fact that you won’t be able to have more kids, and if you still get upset when you see a pregnancy announcement, then you are not done healing.
  • This might sound harsh but, if you aren’t close to the person, you can ignore it. You are not obligated to like or comment on a person’s announcement. You can just check it in your heart that you are happy for them and keep scrolling.
  • Go spend time with the kids you have (even if it’s a four legged one). Not being able to have more or any kids shouldn’t take away your joy for what you do have. And don’t count out pets because they are family too. If you can’t have kids and your baby is your dog or cat, go play with them and get a smile on your face.
  • Spend time with your husband. He has these moments just like you do but men hold it in differently than women do. We tend to wear our pain on our sleeves and men bury it. Spend time together and talk about your infertility. The more it’s treated like a giant elephant that no one can talk about the odder it becomes.
  • Go for a walk. Because it’s the best medicine to clear your head.
  • Pray. I know how hard it is to have a relationship with God after losing babies and having to make the tough decision of not trying anymore. You feel betrayed and deserted, but it isn’t true. It’s not because God doesn’t love you that you can’t have a baby, and He is the only one besides your husband that truly understands your pain so pray and keep talking with Him.
  • And finally, look to the future. Your infertility is in the past, and you have your whole future ahead of you.

I hope this has helped you. I am still going down the road to recovery and I will be kind of glad when my generation is done having kids so I don’t feel left out anymore.

Leave a comment and let me know how you are doing on your journey.

I Am a Goat and a Sheep

I had a funny thought today. I saw on Facebook that people are sheep and just follow whatever someone says. Well, I was raised to have critical thinking skills so in that case I don’t usually go with something just because someone told me to. I think about the situation and come with a reaction based on my own opinion shaped by information I am given. In that case I am a goat. But the Bible says that I am a sheep, and I am. How can I be both? Let me explain how it is possible.

See, we people are sheep because we walk around not really knowing what is going on. Ok, for all you of who have never seen a sheep, the reason why people are called sheep is because sheep are stupid. They have no ability really of taking care of themselves. I had growing up a couple of sheep and the analogy finally made sense. Our sheep were so dumb that they would run away when we threw the hay over the fence and, if the goats didn’t eat it, the sheep would have probably starved because they didn’t have the common sense to come see what we fed them. They needed leadership to know what to do, and that is how Christians are supposed to be. We are read God’s Word and live by Him in order to know how to live our lives.

But there is a switch that happens when it comes to people who go against the grain in the world whether or not they are Christians and they are called goats. How to explain a goat? I would say smart, intelligent, troublesome, loud, and bold. They are awesome animals really. I like them personally more than sheep since they do have a mind in their head. But they are very hard to herd. If a goat wants to go one direction, guess what, it will only go in that direction no matter how much grain or hay you shake in their face. That is why in the Christian terms, unsaved people are called goats. They think they can do it on their own and more than like they will be eaten because they didn’t listen to the goat herder.

But where does that leave me? I am a Christian but I go against almost all of the culture around me both locally and on a wide spread scale. I don’t participate in local logic like the way city dwellers treat the world around them, and I don’t like the widespread issues like abortion. My Facebook wall shows that I am right winged and hate it when entitled people whine and complain when they don’t get their way, but the world around me says that I should hate white people, cry because my presidential candidate didn’t win, have so much debt to keep up with the Jones’ I should be drowning and should be ashamed to be an American. Most people just go with the flow and live their whole without having a single individual thought in their lives.

You have heard the analogy of the five monkeys right? five monkeys are put in a room with a banana on top of a ladder, but whenever a monkey goes up he is sprayed with water as are the rest of the monkeys. So whenever a monkey goes up, the rest start to attack him because they don’t want to be sprayed with water. Then slowly all the monkeys are replaced and each time a new monkey comes in, they rest attack them. When the experiment was at the end all five new monkeys wouldn’t climb the ladder but none of the monkeys really knew why. It was always done that way. That is how our culture has been formed in the last fifty years. We have strayed from the roots because someone like me decided to climb the ladder anyway and find out that the banana was worth it.

So what am I? I am a rebel and a follower. I am both!

I am a sheep because when it comes to life I need the direction of Jesus to show me how to live and love on people which then turns me into a goat because it is the opposite of what the culture around me says. How’s that for a mind bender? Never thought you could be two animals at once, huh? What would I be called then? A sheot? A geep? A goeep? I don’t know, but it is a very interesting animal. I can lead and follow, I can talk and listen, I can make decisions by thinking through but being open to other people’s ideas. I think being a sheot isn’t so bad. Are you with me? 🙂