Like Falling In Love: 3 Reasons Why I’m A Christian

 

It doesn’t take much these days to start an argument. Recently, I had a tweet explode and all I said was  I wanted to go to church to give back to a God I believe in. You can join the discussion here.

It was a simple comment. Truthful, and my American right to do so. THOUSANDS of strangers reacted and hundreds attacked my statement telling me I was a fool. I ignored most of those comments because even as I have a right to my opinion, they also have a right to theirs. But arguing with strangers online does nothing but prove their ignorant opinion of me. It is indeed a foolish practice.

I responded to only a few comments and those were the ones that were genuine questions of why I believe in something I cannot prove. I believe that if any one ever asks that question of a Christian we should always be ready to answer gently. 1 Peter 3:15

After I answered those strangers’ questions, I wondered if I could answer them in real life. After all, there is a pretty little delete button I can use if my words don’t quite come out right on Twitter. Plus, there’s the comfortable anonymous factor. So I started thinking of my reasons for the hope that I have. The hope that no one can take from me and is undisputed among strangers and friends alike.

Why did I decide to follow Jesus and not look back?

I mess up. A lot.

Many non-Christians have a hard time understanding how anyone could be so devoted to someone or something that has a strict list of Thou Shalt Not’s. They seem to have this image of God where He is sitting in Heaven just waiting for us to screw up so He can punish us.  This is so not at all who God is.

Grace.

He’s amazingly full of it!  It’s when God gives us what we don’t deserve. Forgiveness. Love. Eternal life. And He never runs out of grace or allows it to stop washing over us. No matter what! My pastor painted such a beautiful picture of grace in a sermon last year.  Like waves in the ocean, grace is constantly flowing. It meets us exactly where we are on the shoreline washing over us if we are willing.

As part of my Twitter attack one stranger accused me of living a perfect life, so “how convenient” it must be to have God on my side. The perfect one.

I will never understand why Christians are accused of assuming things about others but non-believers can get away with assuming we think we got it all together.

If I had it all together I wouldn’t need Jesus!

Life is hard. Pray harder.

Did you read my last post? Last year was a doozy of a heartbreak year. So many challenges came upon me and my family last year.  I found myself hiding away a lot. I cried a lot. And I prayed a lot.

There are no doubts in my mind that those tears during those hidden moments and the prayers I prayed were not ignored. I have so many incidences that I shared with only my closest friends where I knew my prayers fell on God’s expectant ear.

When there simply wasn’t the money to pay the bills, God sent unexpected refund checks in the mail. (From our health insurance company no less!)

When drought threatened the foundation of our home. God sent the rains to repair it.

When my heart felt like it just couldn’t hurt any more, God whispered reminders of His love and restored what I thought I lost.

Those are just a few examples. I found so much rest in Him through a year filled with one trial after another. Matthew 11:28-30

One of my online accusers wanted me to provide ’empirical’ evidence that God exists. To me, a Christian, the evidence is obvious! Go back and reread the last few paragraphs! The evidence is only revealed to me through my faith in prayer. Anyone who has no faith in prayer could never be convinced ’empirically.’ It’s not worth arguing over, but certainly worth explaining at least once why I believe in the power of prayer.

I’m a hopeless romantic.

I love a good love story. What could be more romantic than a helpless girl rescued by a valiant savior? Ok, maybe valiant is a little sacrilegious when describing a humble Christ. But He certainly was brave, courageous and unrelenting in His love for me. And for you.

That’s the kind of person I want to know. That’s the kind of person I want on my side. That’s the kind of person I can stand up for and not back down.

Christianity is the ultimate love story.  It’s not a rigorous list of do’s and don’ts. It’s not a check the box kind of deal or a yes or no black and white answer.

It’s a relationship with the One who created imperfect me. It’s a love story between two people who strive to know one another brilliantly. And the way I do that is to read the Word and be still to know He is God and wait for Him to nudge me in the right direction.

Maybe that’s hard to understand because you can’t really see or feel God. Or maybe it’s hard to understand because relationships just never really work out for you. Maybe it seems foolish to put my faith and trust into something I can’t ‘prove.’

That’s really ok. Because it’s not about you and me. It’s about the love of my created life and the story He writes for me to share with you in the hopes that maybe one day you’ll fall in love too.

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5 Ways To Tell Your Child You Love Her Without Speaking A Word

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Abby Faith is on a youth trip this weekend which gave Cooper and I extra time with Lucy to do whatever she wanted to do. I could have planned the whole day for her without asking her first. Shopping! Naturally. She wanted to go out to lunch at the mall and then hit the clearance racks at the local department store. It’s better than the movies, skating, bowling and ice-cream all on the same day to Lucy. So we piled in the car and headed to the mall. It was a really great day together and we were able to find some really nice things at really great prices. Always a win!

Lucy gives the best hugs. She gets it from her daddy. So after we got home I hugged her and asked her if she knew that I loved her. She said, “Yes, because you buy me things.” That may seem shallow to you, but I know my daughter and I know that her love language is gifts. This weekend I spoke her love language which filled up her love tank to where she felt the most loved by me.

Maybe you are familair with the concept of love languages with your significant other and maybe you speak it well. But each one of us has a love language and it’s important to learn what it is in our relationships so they will flourish. This is true even with our children. It would be a travesty for me to think I was conveying love to my child the entire 18 years she’s under my roof only to learn that she spoke a different language and never understood that I truly love her. So, I’ve honed in and asked questions to determine what language my children speak. Whenever I ask Abby Faith how she knows that I love her, the answer is always the same; “Because you do things with me and take the time to listen to me.” Her’s is quality time. So whenever she comes to me with a middle school issue I make sure to turn off all gadgets and focus only on her. We also schedule dates together just the two of us where she will talk. my. ear. off! That is generally the only time when she’ll open up that way to me. She knows I’m all her’s for a couple hours or so.

How can you figure out your child’s love language? It might be a little difficult to pinpoint. And keep in mind that she may speak more than one.  Below is a list of the 5 love languages and ways you can begin to determine which one your child speaks.

Quality Time:  If your child is always asking for your attention, wants to show you something or opens up the most when it’s just the two of you she might speak quality time.

  • Plan a date at least once a month and don’t let anything else interfere with it. Let your child choose where to go and what to do (within your budget). If your child likes surprises, plan something you think she’ll like and do it! Be flexible with this and have fun! You only get 18 years!
  • Spend at least 10 minutes each day alone with your child. Don’t have your phone with you or any other gadget unless she’s showing you the most hilarious YouTube video she’s ever seen over and over and over again. Not that I would know what that’s like!
  • Be prepared to drop whatever you are doing when she says, “Mom, can we talk?” Those moments are priceless and rare. But they do happen. Especially if you’ve been intentional with speaking her language in the passed. She’ll know she can come to you and you will listen.

Gifts: Birthdays, Christmas and what she’s getting for Valentine’s day really matter to her. Even more so, she loves to give gifts to others. She is thoughtful about her gift-giving and excited about what others are getting too. Even the smallest things mean a lot if it is heartfelt. It may seem materialistic, but spoken the right way it’s a very loving language.

  • Buy something your child has been needing, i.e. a new hairbrush, new jeans or a new pair of shoes and wrap them up for her to find on her bed when she gets home from school.
  • Items from the grocery store can be a gift if you announce, “Lucy, I bought Cheerios for you today because I know you love them.” (With cut up bananas! Mmm!)
  • Budget for small “I love you” gifts throughout the year. It doesn’t always have to be “no” when shopping at Target. (But it also shouldn’t always be “yes!” More on that in an upcoming post).

Acts of Service: Your child loves to do for others and she’s constantly thinking of ways to help you.

  • Do her laundry for her one day while she’s at school or let her out of doing the dishes one night. (Yes, your children should have these regular chores).
  • Help her clean her room one Saturday so she can hurry the process and move on to the fun part of the day.
  •  Set out her breakfast for her so it’s easier for her to make the next day. Help her pack her backpack when you see she’s running late. Ask her where she could use the most help and then do it.

Physical Touch: Your child is always hugging you, kissing you, and needing to be in your lap. She always wants her neck rubbed, back scratched, or just wants to hold your hand. They can’t ever seem to get enough of your touch. This one is easy.

  •  Hug your kid! Hug your kid a lot! Those 18 years are ticking away.

Words of Affirmation: She is always looking for your approval. Did she do a good job? Do you like it, Mom? What do you think about this or that? And she’s always telling you that she loves you.

  • Tell her that you love her. It’s never too many times. I heard a woman at the mall this weekend telling her child in almost every sentence that she loved her. At first I thought it was kinda overkill, but then I thought, maybe that mom is clued in to her kid’s love language. She’d say, “I love you, but we have to go.” And her child would say, “But I love you better!”
  • Tell her that she looks beautiful today! Especially when she first wakes up. Tell. Her!
  • Even when she’s made you mad, give her a list of reasons why you think she’s fabulous. “I can’t believe you made an ‘F’ in Algebra! But what a good job you did in English!”

Keep in mind that even if your child mainly speaks one language she understands them all and still needs you to speak them all every now and then.

What is your child’s love language and how are some ways you speak it? I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below.

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One Word Three Ways

3203975035_28b1119bbb_qPlanning is not something I enjoy. I do it because life pretty much requires it to some degree, but I pretty much just go through my days and take them as they come. And I pray my family survives it all. Sure, I schedule things and have a routine. I plan my meals out a week at a time. (And when I remember to take the meat out of the freezer that plan works better). I plan events and hope for the best. But life in general? I’m pretty spontaneous. I do weekends based on my mood. I do just about anything based on my mood. Maybe that’s the preschooler living inside my head.

I turn 40 this year. I’m getting pretty darn close to the halfway point of this earthly life of mine. My children also are not getting any younger. My oldest starts high school this year! (Eek!) So, I’ve really been thinking that I don’t want my days to just slip away and leave me holding her cap and gown in 4 years wondering where they went. Anxiety has begun to creep in.

Then I read somewhere on my favorite news outlet, Facebook, about claiming one word for the new year. Instead of a resolution that, let’s face it, will never be resolved, people are claiming a one word theme for the new year to transform their lives. One word? That doesn’t seem too overwhelming. Doesn’t sound like I will have to do much planning around that. I like it! Sign me up!

However, I feel like the word churning around in my brain is just a fancy word for planning. What do you think?

Intentional

That’s the word I can’t put down. Not love (my personal favorite and would be so easy). Not shopping (a close second), or writing, or rest. Nothing that sounds all that fun to work through. Intentional. It’s so broad and narrows things down perfectly at the same time.

Intentional with how I share my love.

Love is a decision we make, after all. There are too many people in this world to truly be able to love them and love them well. I tend to think it’s my resposibility to love ALL my neighbors as myself. But that is humanly impossible. And that is pretty much what I am. Impossibly human. So, I need to be intentional with the love I share. God has intentionally placed certain people in my life. My response should be to intentionally love them. This should begin with my husband and children and echo out to my closest family and friends. Intentionally loving those closest to me will allow more energy to love those neighbors too. However, I am still at a bit of a loss as to how I will accomplish this. Does it look like time? Acts of service? I’ll be working on this and get back to you. It is just the first week of the new year after all!

Intentional with my money.

I shared a couple of posts ago in Why I’m Sitting In God’s Time-Out Chair that I kinda got a little too relaxed with my family’s resources. I was selfish for several months and didn’t tithe and used the money for worthless things. I truly believe the lack of financial peace I experienced during those months was due to being disciplined. So this year I will be intentional with my family budget and our tithe. That is all. I expect God to handle the rest!

Intentional with my blog.

I am still not sure where this will go, but I feel God is telling me to rev up for a wild year in 2016 when it comes to this blog. I feel he is asking me to spend more time writing and being intentional with what I share with you. I am not guaranteeing that things will always make sense around here. But often what God asks us to do doesn’t make sense at all.

 

Tell me what you think! What is one word you could use to make 2016 better than ever?

How can I be intentional with loving my loved ones? How do you do it?

Have intenional money ideas?

What would you like to see at TrueBEDtimestories this year?

Let me know by leaving a comment below!

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I Love Love.

I picked up my oldest daughter from a sleepover this morning. It’s a gorgeous Saturday here in Alabama and I was just itchin’ to drive. To top all that off, TobyMac released his latest CD yesterday and of course I snagged a copy. So when my daughter got in the car  I said, “Hey, you wanna take the long way home?” She threw her bag in the back seat and emphatically said, “Yes!” I love that about her. She’s my best driving buddy!

So we turned up the music and headed anywhere.

It’s really hard to describe how I can have a quiet time with the music as loud as I like it and driving aimlessly. But truly those are the times I hear God the loudest.

My life verse is 1 Corinthians 13:13.

I wear it around my neck as a reminder that God will remain forever. God is love after all. And He’s given us hope if we will just have faith. That little verse speaks volumes to me. I don’t expect you to understand it fully.

Well, Toby’s gone and done it again. He’s made me fall in love with a new song and wouldn’t you know it’s based on 1 Corinthians 13:13. And to top it off he’s collaborated with dcTalk to do it. (For those of you who are diehard Toby fans you understand the significance of this). The song just spells out exactly how I feel about my favorite little word. It’s exactly what real love feels like.

I can’t do much more than to just let you listen to it if you want. I highly recommend the whole album. I think it’s his best yet.

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