Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Celebrating Christmas

There's no doubt about it... Christmas is coming! The stores are advertising toys with gusto, some radio stations are playing Christmas music nonstop, Facebook is abuzz with Christmas craft instructions and cookie recipes. I love the Christmas season!

But I have to wonder... why do we celebrate Christmas so fervently, but Easter so subtly? After all, when Jesus came, his purpose was to die for our sins. Jesus himself said that He came to fulfill the prophecy regarding a Savior (Matthew 5:17-18).

The miraculous thing He did was not being born; anyone can do that. I did it myself. (Of course, He was born of a virgin, I was not. But, again, this is not why He came.) The most important thing He did was to bleed and suffer so that our relationship with the creator God can be restored. He died on a cross, not having committed one sin, and rose from the dead after 3 days. And he ascended to heaven to sit on the right hand of His Father. This is why He came.

I'm not saying don't make a big deal out of Christmas. Far from it. Please, by all means, celebrate to your heart's content! I get my kids and husband presents, I make a big dinner, we read the story of Jesus's birth (Luke 2:1-20), we have baby Jesus birthday cake, we give to the poor, we donate to Toys for Tots, we try to help local ministries as much as we can out of the abundance God blessed us with. After all, if Jesus was never born, he couldn't heal the sick and teach the gospel, perform miracles, forgive sins, or die for us. Christmas is a big deal.

I'm saying we should celebrate Easter just as eagerly. I don't feel that Easter gets its proper due. We need to make Easter a bigger event. Easter is one day. Christmas is a whole season. This year, I'm going to try to observe Easter as I do Christmas. Even more thankful that Jesus not only came to Earth, but that he did what the prophecies said He would. He died for us. And defeated death by rising again, ans ascending to heaven. That's the real story of God's grace.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

I Have a Confession to Make

I haven't written many blog entries. Why? Well, because I don't trust myself. I don't value myself. God and I have been working on this for years and years.

I was bullied in school. Mercilessly. There were the kids that threw worms in my hair. There was the kid that knocked my desk backwards and I hit my head on the desk behind me. They made fun of me, they told me I was fat, they told me I was stupid, they told me I was worth less than nothing, they told me the world was better off without me, they told me I should do the world a favor and kill myself. Then there was the kid that pretended to befriend me so she could go to the others with my personal thoughts and feelings and hopes and dreams, and they could tear me down. This was my life all day, every day, from kindergarten until I graduated 8th grade. I changed schools a lot, but I went to private schools and in the town I'm from, all the private school families knew each other. That meant that when I left school A, the kids in school B heard I was coming. And so, the torture continued. Until I got to high school. Then I kept pretty much to myself, and most everyone ignored me. I didn't get my first real friend in school until I was a Junior in high school.

Because of this treatment, I have learned that my opinion is invalid. And, because I have ADD (not ADHD; I'm not at all hyperactive), it was next to impossible for me to concentrate in school. So I didn't learn much. Therefore, I feel like I'm not very bright. I can't really participate in intelligent conversations because I don't usually understand the topics discussed. Plus, I feel like my brain doesn't work right; I can't get the thoughts in my head to come out my mouth. And when they do, they don't come out the same way that they were bouncing around in my head. So people think I'm stupid or rude. I honestly don't mean to be. I think about what I say before I say it, it's just that what I think about is not often the same thing that I say. And I don't know how to stop that.

Wow, this is a rather weird and depressing blog post. Just wait, it gets better.

God has been showing me something the past few weeks. He has shown me that, despite what I learned in my youth, I am valuable. Isaiah 43:1-4 says that, because God formed me, because I am His child, I am precious and I am loved. Acts1:12-26 tells about how the Apostles prayed for someone to replace Judas. God has shown me years ago that, if I were to have loving and kind friends to replace the evil ones of my childhood, then I was to pray for them. Mark tells us that whatever we ask for in faith, we'll receive it. I literally believe that I spent so may years friendless because I didn't ask God for the right kind of friends. (And, once I started praying for friends, I had to be ready for them. This will be discussed in a later post.) My current friends have encouraged me and lifted me up. I am in a much better place now than I was years ago. Actually, one of those friends is the one that convinced me to write a book (which I can now finish because I have a working laptop - thanks to my wonderful husband).

But this doesn't explain why there are so few blog posts. This stuff happened years ago, and this blog is not years old. Well, because the wounds from childhood are not easily healed. Recently (actually, about the last year/year and a half) I've been having trouble with depression. My old childhood feelings have been coming back to haunt me. And I've been letting them. Last week, I joined an online bible study group, and they asked for prayer requests. I said that I wondered if I fell off the face of the earth, would anyone notice. Well, I got all jumped on. I got private messages and e-mails loaded with bible verses and prayers, and stories of how God helped them overcome depression. What most of it boiled down to is this: My family would notice. And God would notice. And when all's said and done, those are the only ones that I really have to make happy.

I've been trying not to say or do certain things so as not to offend anyone. And what I've gotten in return is people gossiping about me, lost friends, and fake "friendships." And an unhappy heart. So... I'm not doing it anymore. From now on, I'm going to be purely me. Jesus wasn't afraid of offending anyone when he traveled around talking about God (and he did offend people - they put him to death!), so I'm not going to be either. If I lose friends because of it, well, that's ok. Those are not the kinds of friends I want anyway. I want friends that will love me for who I am.

So... after all that... I will post more entries more. I tend to ramble (can you tell? lol!), so some will make more sense than others. But, if God lays it on my heart, I will share it with whomever wants to read it! :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Why We Homeschool Our Boys

These are my boys. From left to right, they are Curtis (5), Josh (11), and Matthew (7). I always new from a very young age that I wanted to be a mom. In kindergarten, when we were asked what we wanted to be when we grew up, I said "a mommy." In high school, when we filled out a form about our future college plans, I didn't fill mine out because one doesn't need a college degree to be a stay-at-home mom.

But what I didn't know I was going to do was homeschool them. Indeed, I didn't even know homeschooling was an actual thing. I just thought it was what people in the 1800s did because there were no schools in the area. I didn't know one could teach one's children at home. Had I known that, I would've begged my parents to homeschool me. I was bullied in school.

Then, one day, I met someone that had been homeschooled. I didn't understand and had her explain it to me. My eyes were opened to this totally new concept. After that, I read as much as I could about homeschooling. I added this to the short list of things I wanted to do once I was married.

Shortly after this, I began dating the man that would become my husband. We didn't date long; 5 months after we met, he asked me to marry him. I accepted. When you know God brought you together, there's no reason to wait. Anyway, before the engagement, we talked about our ideals for our future spouses. And to my surprise, he said he wanted a woman that would be willing to be a housewife and would want to homeschool any future kids we may have! :o

In the beginning, we sent Josh to kindergarten and first grade, because we didn't have the money that homeschooling required. Then, while he was in first grade, I was researching homeschooling some more, and I found out one could homeschool almost for free! :o So we pulled him out of school a month after second grade started, and he's been homeschooled ever since. Matthew and Curtis have been homeschooled since kindergarten.

Our boys are doing really well. We can control what they learn, we know who their friends are, and they have so many more opportunities here at home than they would sitting in a classroom all day. We definitely feel we made the best choice. It's definitely not always easy, but with God's help, we can do anything!

Photo Credit: Chasity Ann Photography

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day

Today, in the United States, is Memorial Day. Today is a day to remember the fallen soldiers that lost their lives to protect the freedoms we enjoy in these great United States.

Some people choose to treat it like Veteran's Day, which is a holiday to celebrate veterans of the military and to thank them for their contribution to our country.

These holidays are not the same thing.

Veteran's Day is a day of celebration. It is a day to say "thank you" to our men and women in uniform that fought (and continue to fight) for the country they love. We take off work, we grill burgers, and in some places, we even set off fireworks. We celebrate, and with good reason.

Memorial Day is not a happy occasion, but a solemn one. The people we are remembering on Memorial Day lost their lives in the fight to keep this country free. I, for one, do not feel that today is a day to celebrate. It is a day to pray for our soldiers, their families, and our country.

So please excuse me if I do not wish you a "Happy Memorial Day." Instead, I will pray for our fallen heroes and their families. I will hug my family, and will wish everyone a Blessed Memorial Day.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My Personal Testimony

I was bullied in school. Badly. I was never beat up (I guess because I'm a girl?), but elementary school and middle school were the worst years of my life. My Freshman and Sophomore years in high school were better because I was pretty much ignored. Being ignored is better than bullied. By far.

Then, in my junior year, I met someone that came to be my best friend. Her name was Keli. We hung out a lot. We had lunch together (at school, and elsewhere during the summer), we went shopping together, we even had sleepovers. Then she took me somewhere else... church.

Now, I had been to church several times. I had actually grown up in church. But, as a kid with ADD, in a church with no kid's church, it was boring! They had Sunday School before the main church service, but then the kids had to sit in on the regular church service with the adults. (I don't think i need to tell you how hard that can be for a little kid... to sit still and be quiet for an hour.) By the time I'd approached high school, I stopped going. Because it was so dull!

But after high school was over, when Keli took me to her church, I was not bored. There was music (not just an organ, but actual music), which my young adult heart loved. But even more than that, the pastor was energetic and passionate. And he was teaching on something that seemed as though it was written just for me! He was talking about how to get to heaven. Growing up in church, I had been taught that you need to do more good deeds than bad. This way, hopefully, you can earn entrance into heaven. But this pastor was saying that all you had to do was accept God's gift of salvation. Make Jesus the Lord and Savior of your life. That's it. I was flabbergasted. I couldn't believe that's all there was to it!

I called the church and made an appointment to speak to some of the staff members. I had so many questions. At the end of this meeting (I was there over 2 hours), I gave my heart to the Lord. And I've never been happier.

Yes, bad things have happened. No, life has not been easy. But now I know that no matter what happens to me, I know I'm not walking through this life alone. And I know, I'm positive, that when this life is over, I have a home waiting for me in eternal paradise with my Lord.

*Next blog post: Why we homeschool our boys.