To my precious children. An apology is owed to you. You see I am not perfect. Lately I have heard the remark “I am not perfect like YOU!” It is a rebuttal that has sliced me to the core. That is the one thing I have not wanted my children to see me as. I have not wanted them to feel any pressure that they need to be “perfect” for my love or approval. As a preacher’s daughter that is exactly what I rebelled against in my teen and early adulthood years!! I couldn’t stand the pedestal I felt pressured by the world to stand on. Temptations and the need for friend’s approval and popularity overwhelmed me. I look back and often wonder how I even survived other than by the sheer Grace of God. I was a hypocrite I was a fence rider. My faith I had as a child was constantly being suffocated by the world. This hard headed mom was once a very strong willed child who had to constantly do things her own way by her own self first.
Thankfully God did not give up on me and turn His back as I did to Him. Oh I had many an idol I placed before Him. I skipped out on church some, but you see I was a hypocrite. I was all about image. I had to make my dad look good, but at every ounce of freedom I was pushing my sin and His forgiveness to the full. Sometimes I would listen and feel conviction when I was in church. Other times I had my self so justified in my own mind I felt nothing… Then consequences of my own personal choices started to occur. The consequences brought guilt, shame, embarrassment, and loneliness. There was no one to blame but me. I was feeling the fullness of my burden of sin. Definitely something I didn’t really carry at age five when I accepted Jesus. It was because of my mistakes and imperfectness that I came to realize the magnitude of what Jesus did on that cross for me. He took that burden of sin and shame to the cross and died the death I deserve. Do I wish I hadn’t made mistakes? Yes I would go back and do things different. Would I have the deep relationship with Jesus I have now were it not for my mistakes. Most likely not. So I am grateful Jesus doesn’t give us do overs He washes our sin away instead. It is an individual journey. Of course I want to protect you from making bad choices. You may not make the same mistakes I did, but you will make your own.
This leads me to why I believe church is so very important. Like our pastor just said on Sunday usually when people stop coming it is because they are not liking the conviction. Conviction does not feel good. Not at first. Now I have come to welcome it! I desperately desired to hear the Word of God! I desperately need fellow Christians, sinners saved by Grace, praying for me. I go to church because I have watched the power of God’s Word and prayers of God’s people transform lives, my life included! Because I remain connected in worship and prayer with fellow Christians I get to witness miracles. My week is a hot mess when I don’t go. This I noticed in very early adulthood. When I didn’t make it to church and get the spiritual refreshment I was a complete wreck. Weeks I made it there was just enough strength and accountability to get through what ever was handed to me.
You my dear children have also brought a much deeper understanding of God’s love. As I would do anything I can for you. I would die for you. I can not take away your sin. I can not choose following Jesus for you. God made a perfect creation and gave mankind free will to choose to love and obey Him. Wow if Adam and Eve only had one thing God asked and only one sneaky snake tempting them to disobey and they STILL sinned. Sheesh it is no wonder we are such a mess now as sin and its consequences have multiplied over and over. There is a constant bombardment of temptations.
So your mom is actually a very imperfect person who desperately needs Jesus every moment of every day. I need to go to church to worship and pray with other believers. I need God’s word to teach me and correct me daily, I need to hear the Word preached at least once a week to be given a more biblical perspective of life.
So I sincerely apologize to have given any pressure that you have to be perfect. Jesus tells us to come as we are. He is the one who is perfect and makes us right. No matter your mistakes I love you. You will have to face your own consequences and I pray your journey will lead you back to and closer and closer to God.
There are days as a wife, mother, foster mother, and nurse I really just want to quit. Everywhere I am there are demands. Everywhere I am everyone else’s needs must come first. I heard myself saying the other day that I am just content if I get some decent sleep and actually get to eat a meal.
God keeps impressing on my heart to just be real. To share my failures, my hurts, my pain, and His victories within me with the rest of the world. Or at least whoever it is he leads to read. I keep finding myself at deeper all time lows. Sunday night I was at the point that all I felt I had left to give on this earth was my very breath. I seriously was at the point not of self harm, but at the point of Lord I really just want to come home with you. Can you take me now?
Our family continues to get attacked by Satan himself. We have never had this much bombardment since moving forward with our foster care license last year. It has only doubled since we said yes to our first placement after being licensed. Each and every family member has been hit by these attacks. The devil himself does not want our family to succeed. The devil wants nothing more than to destroy this young one whose life was literally snatched out of his grasp. The devil wants nothing more than for our family to split and be destroyed. He wants our lives to only make an impact on others of destruction not hope.
This morning on the radio one of my favorite Christian artists and his wife were actually live in the studio. Chris Tomlin sang one of his newer songs “Jesus” live on air. The tears just started streaming as I focused on my Savior Jesus and what He did for me, for my family, and for the whole world. No matter how much I give up and give in. No matter how much I forgive. No matter how much life seems unfair. Nothing can compare or even come close to what Jesus gave. I can not out give Him. So I need to stop and just keep looking to Him. When I feel like EVERYTHING is on me and my shoulders. When I feel so taken advantage of. I need to stop and look to Jesus because no one carried a greater weight. No one has ever been and continues to be so taken advantage of. Jesus, my Jesus, my Lord, my weight carrier. Jesus you love me like no other. Jesus you put up with so much from me. Jesus I take you so for granted and slip into the “only looking to you when I really need you” pattern. The truth is I need you every moment and with every breath I breathe!!! Jesus is my sustainer! Jesus is my victory!! There is no one like you Jesus!!
My heart is so sad. This week I watched our community come together for a Police Officer shot down while fulfilling his calling by God to serve and protect. This officer’s life leaves a legacy of what honesty, integrity and service look like. I didn’t know him personally, but know many who did know him. He has made an impact on me. The outpouring of love for him and his family has been a beautiful testimony of a life lived well. Officer Snyder was an example of a follower of Jesus Christ and a life surrendered to serving Jesus and others.
My heart is deeply troubled for our country and it’s freedoms that so many men and women of service have given their lives for. Our flag, our anthem, and our brave Heros are disrespected dreadfully. The media has made the presidential election a three ring circus. We have career politicians that can’t even tell the truth about what they ate for lunch. Anyone that stands against the “agenda” will have their character and life smeared all over the media whether there is any truth to it or not. Why can’t we have honesty and integrity running our country anymore? We still do have some honesty and integrity giving their blood, sweat, tears, taxes, and their very lives in America’s people still.
My heart is so burdened for our country to turn back to God. If we are loving God with all our hearts minds strength and souls and loving our neighbors as ourselves (Luke 10:27) we would not be in the shape we are in. There would not be racism, there would not be constant fear between people of darker pigmented skin and those in uniform. There would not be the need to lie, cheat, steal, and kill for self promotion and greed. There would not be so many homeless children in our very own country and in our very own towns. There would not be people going hungry. There would not be such a need for finding other things to fill the hole that is in all of our hearts that only Jesus can truly fill. There would be no need for illegal drugs, overly prescribed drugs for “nerves”, or abuse of alcohol.
The answer is not in who is elected president…the answer is turning our hearts, our lives, and our eyes back to God. That is when we will find honesty and integrity again. If only we all lived our lives putting others first and started giving our all to Jesus. Jesus truly is the answer for every problem in our own lives, our communities, our schools, our country, and the entire world. My heart is troubled and sad, but Jesus said… “Do not let your hearts be troubled, you believe in God; believe also in me.” John 14:1
There was a man whose life began in the most humble of settings. He was literally born in a barn. His parents were very young and poor. He grew up learning the trade of carpentry. In all historical documents none of them can claim any true offenses this man made toward anyone. In fact all documents describe this man as loving, peaceful, and one who healed the sick. Very early in his life there were those who wanted him dead. A king even had all baby boys within the age range of this young fella in the land murdered to try to get rid of him. He walked the earth for just a mere 33 years. As he grew he exhibited love and peace to all. His words pierced to the very core of those who listened and embraced them. As he grew older and started spreading his message of the way to everlasting life there were people who were very jealous and hated him. You see even though he had no money, no home, no assets he was a man of great power and influence. The love and peace that flowed from him were more powerful than any political sect, more powerful than the rich, and more powerful than religious leaders. The power of love he demonstrated caused him to have tremendous influence. Once again his life was sought after by those who were jealous and threatened by him. With no true offense that could be found in him the jealous ones still managed to succeed in having him put to death in the most gruesome way known.
This man is Jesus. Still today I continuously hear of certain sects that can not stand any symbol of this man that walked the earth 2000 years ago. Any scenes that reflect the story of his humble birth and the cross the symbol of his gruesome death are highly offensive and hated by some. Why would a man that was loving and peaceful who was murdered for doing nothing wrong offend some? You see it was who this man claimed that he was and through his resurrection proved to be that is offensive to many. Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, God in the flesh, Emmanuel God with us, and the Light of the World. He claimed to be the Savior of the world. The prophesied long awaited Messiah had come. You see to acknowledge Jesus, who he is, and why he lived on this earth is to also acknowledge that there was a need for him. That need is to save us from the human sinful nature we all have that separates us from God.
Our human nature being full of pride and selfishness has a hard time facing the fact that we are wrong. That we need saving. There are many stories about people who have been imprisoned for years that have been terrified of being free out in the world. You see the walls of their cell became their comfort zone. The same goes for us when enslaved by sin. It becomes our comfort zone. We are fearful of freedom. It takes a step of faith to leave our sinful cell and to step into the freedom only found in following Jesus Christ.
Maybe the name of Jesus is so offensive because there has been no other man to make such an impact. What other man’s name is praised by those who love him and used as a curse word of those who hate him. His impact is undeniable. The change of his disciples who were terrified the night of his arrest to the point after his resurrection they gave up their own lives sharing the good news of everlasting life through Jesus. The change happens to this day as he brings peace, forgiveness, and freedom one heart at a time to those who choose to step out of the cell of sin to follow him.
John 8:12 “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”