1. Another Semester Done

    I am always astonished at how quickly each semester beings and how quickly it ends. It’s not a bad thing, if anything, it’s a great thing. It means that my mind is preparing itself for a life outside of school and that excites me. Every semester has been unique and this one is no different. When I was diagnosed with having a hyperactive thyroid at the start of the semester, I thought that that was it, that I would remain disconnected from school and distracted from life. But the moment I started feeling better, and believe me it took no time at all, I realized that that mindset couldn’t be reality. If it wasn’t for God, David, my family, and my friends and the encouragement that they gave me to keep going and to end strong, I don’t think I would have made it. I’m thankful for this semester, and I’m thankful for the challenges that came with it. But believe you me, I already have December on my mind =]

     

  2. From my point of view

    This post does not come easy to write. 

    About 3 months ago my brother told me that he was gay. 

    A year ago he told me he had sexual identity issues. Every brother, myself included, has struggled with identity issues, is spurs from how we were “raised” and yes, I use that term very loosely. We weren’t brought up to respect our bodies, to love people, and to cherish our creator. Instead we grew up in a porn-filled environment, verbal abuse (well me mostly from my brothers), hateful remarks, disrespect, hatred towards each other. My parents fought constantly. I didn’t know what it meant to be loved by a man or by my mother or by my brothers. All 5 of us have struggled (or still are struggling) with pornography and sexual sin. My parents separated when I was a senior; my brothers moved, my dad moved and I stayed in Florida for far too long.

    I moved December 22, 2008. Two brothers, who I could have cared less about, persuaded me to move: to have a new life, to experience grace and to have joy in my life. And after 9 months of wanting to reject all of that, I moved. I moved on a whim and my friends thought I was crazy. My mom later told me that she didn’t cry for me to come home, she cried because she knew my life would be wrecked and I’d be broken. 

    I eventually met David, fell in love and yadda yadda yadda. This isn’t about that.

    One brother, the one that I never ever got along with, the one that I felt like hated me, that made it seem like I could never amount to anything, took me in. He brought me into his group of friends, he drove me to church, he ate with me, he talked with me. And our relationship was mended. It was made new. I hold those memories so close because of what happened in such a short period of time.

    His heart became hardened, like all of a sudden. Do you know what it feels like to have a hardened heart? To hate all the world and everyone in it. Something happened within him, something dark, something deep and shameful. He kept it hidden and didn’t let it interrupt his worship to Jesus. 

    I didn’t notice any of this. Until I’d try to strike up conversations with him, or when he randomly decided to move from the only place that accepted him or the time that he made me feel so badly for going to a “mega church” that I completely stopped going for 3 months because I thought they were out to get me. His heart was hard. 

    He moved away. I didn’t know what he was doing. He would tell me how much he hated it and was so frustrated with everyone. Can you see a pattern? He wasn’t happy in Joplin so how could he be happy in a different place? He ran in a way. He ran away from uncomfortable circumstances and really I felt like he was running away from God and a community of people that loved him. 

    So naturally, none of this made any sense to me. Until 8 months into my first year as a wife when he told me that he had sexual identity problems and that he sinned. He would go back and forth between God and that lifestyle, never feeling good, never feeling whole. 

    I knew what he was doing. I knew what I was doing in my dark season too. I was aware, I lived it, I experienced it and I thrived off of it. I am the woman, the Christian, the wife I am today because I lived life outside of God and outside of grace. 

    My brother, the one that I hold accountable for my move, the one that made me snap back to reality, the one that I love with all my heart is now gay. 

    So what happens now?

    How do I love him?

    How do I show him grace and compassion?

    It’s a simple answer: I love him. My job as a Christian isn’t to condemn, isn’t to point the finger, isn’t to hate or reject. It is to love. And if you know me (like really know me) you know that the love I have for my family is deep. So I will love my brother. But one thing I will not do, will never do, is rejoice in his sin. Who really wanted to rejoice when I was making out with random guys? Or suicidal? Or had an unhealthy addiction to mens attention? Or coping with my parents divorce by drinking and smoking weed. Who wants to rejoice in that? I won’t sacrifice my love for Jesus, my commitment to Jesus, to his words, to his teaching to appease my brother. I won’t change what I put my life into to make his sin look okay.

    I will love that man until the day I die, sin and all. He took me and I’ll take him too.  

     

  3. I am an idiot.

    And a huge sinner. As a Christian I am called to “love my neighbor as myself” and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I cannot claim to the cross and be prejudice at the same time. Jesus called us to love Him and to love everyone. So how on earth have I been so foolish? 

     

  4. I haven’t..

    been to church in about 5 weeks. I think it’s time to get over myself and just do what I need to do. I need Jesus.

     

  5. God and I

    Sometimes there are days, weeks, months and even years where Satan just really enjoys attacking you, your family and your ministry. Let me just say that it is no fun being up against spiritual warfare. As a Christian it is by far the HARDEST thing to fight against. When anything good is going on in your life that’s Satan’s cue to end all the happiness that you and your husband were ever going to face. 

    December 2012: We were able to look forward to start a savings account since David’s ministry was going full time and he was being put on payroll. As a college student and newly wed the sense of security in money was a HUGE deal for us. Imagine, having the same amount of money show up in your bank account monthly? It was a dream. And an exciting dream. A dream of being able to pay off my school debt, a dream of buying our first big purchase item, a dream of saving up for a house. December was a good month for us.

    January 2013: Two weeks into this month we were hit with some bad news: my dad was being let go from his job. Not only that he was being let go but that we were going to have to take care of a HUGE car payment. You can try to understand my sense of frustration with this. Mind you, my dad bought me this car not really knowing that one day we’d have to take over the car payment. It was a blow to us. An emotional and frustrating toll. This is when Satan started to slowly invade our home. We were also hit with a lot of family stuff. I won’t go into any detail but let’s just say, none of it is healthy and non of it is encouraging. With family stuff developing and us having to take on a car payment we weren’t really expecting to receive, stuff with David’s ministry was evolving, and in a fantastic way. It was encouraging to see his band and business intertwine together for the first time. I love what he does but sometimes feelings can get the best of you and emotions can get hurt and most of all, it becomes a business, not a band. David was hit hard with band related things. So January was spent not really fixing our problems and not really discussing anything. Rather, it was spent in silence and tears. January was a depressing month.

    February 2013: We are two-ish weeks into the month and things are not necessarily getting better. Satan has hurt us, rocked us, killed our spirits and made me very emotional and blunt with the fact that we are not in a good place. But why does Satan decide to attack now? Why when we were finally at a good place after such a dark and miserable fall? Why when things were looking up for us? Satan loves to attack when things are going well. For this instance. the band is doing amazing. This leaves David and I vulnerable. I am incredibly vulnerable. I am vulnerable to just about everything when it comes to Satan’s advances. It’s a dangerous thing when you want something so badly and Satan is stealing it from you. This last week has been refreshing but not a day goes by where I want this next week to already be over. Something sad is going to happen and my family is being rocked to the core. Satan loves and audience and this week, he’s going to get that. I want to love and pray for my enemies but believe me, it’s so hard being a Christian and listening to God’s teachings. It’s hard when your enemies are right there with you at church and despite everything, you are called to forgive them. I know that non of this will make sense to any of you, and to be honest, I’m not writing any of this for you. 

    It’s taken me months, no, this past year to comprehend everything that has happened in our short year of marriage. We were handed a pile of garbage when we first got married and it really hasn’t stopped since. Though every couple goes through seasons, I am extremely thankful for them. I know that God’s purpose and His path for us is so much clearer than what I’m experiencing now. But I hurt, so badly do I hurt. It’s hard writing any of this down because of how raw I’m feeling inside. It’s difficult expressing how I’m feeling to people because of how raw it all is. I don’t mean to sound depressing, but let’s face it, marriage is hard and being married and trying to invite God into it is even harder. I had a professor tell me it took him and his wife 11 years to finally be able to diligently pray together; they’ve been married for like 30 btw. Whoever says that marriage is a walk in the park is LYING! Seriously, it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Harder than moving and starting in a brand new place. I don’t want to make it sound like I’m mad at God for everything that is going on because I’m really not. I knew that something was going to happen because I knew that it was all too good to be true. I just know that I have to be patient and trust in Him. Despite everything going on, I have to trust Him and know that soon we will be out of this season. And believe me, I wake up every day praying for me to trust Him more.

    So many times I just want to curl up in a ball and cry but I have to get up, face the day, and realize that his idea of perfect is so much better than mine. So here’s to the rest of February, with all of it’s punches as well.