My Unpopular Opinions Regarding the LGBT

So I’m going to step on some toes here. I am prepared to have people on the left and right disagree with what I am about to say- but I really feel pressed by the Holy Spirit to share my unpopular opinions.

Sexual sin is sexual sin, regardless of whom it is committed with.

I guess I should confront the elephant in the room and start out by saying this IS a post centered on MY biblical interpretations and studies, and I will pull all of my references from the New Testament, mainly the book of Romans.

I do not think that it is biblically correct to pursue certain desires of the heart. (Matthew 15:19, Mark 7:21, Colossians 3:5) By certain desires I do indeed mean homosexuality, transgender identity, and bisexuality. NOW: I equally do not agree with “desires of the heart” such as sexual immorality, lust, and adultery between MAN AND WOMAN. Sexual sin is sexual sin, regardless of whom it is committed with. So before anyone points a finger at me, I am not singling out the homosexuals or any other member of the LGBT. I am instead, pointing out to Christians (and anyone else who does not realize) that being a homosexual is no different than a man and woman living together, with an active sex life, who are not married. Or not living together, but having a lustful sexual connection, without the sacred bond of marriage. Or being married, and lusting after another man or woman outside of your marriage, seeking or welcoming that additional attention, betraying that holy covenant.

As a millennial I have been through school with so many people that “came out” at a young age. Encouraged to embrace their true identity, if you will. I don’t remember a single time when their sexual preference changed who they were as a person, in my mind. I also have family members who are gay, some married and some not. A close friend to my husband is a transgender female-to-male, and can I tell you that this individual probably cares more about my family than most of his other friends? I don’t mean the “hey man how’s the fam” kind of caring, I mean the “show me the pictures and videos of your kids opening their Christmas presents, and ask Taya what she thinks of this tie” kind of caring.

You see, growing up in my generation it is normal to see the gender transitions and the same sex couples. It is also normal to see sex before marriage, families started without marriage, marriages broken due to affairs, etc. Heck, my mom and step-dad were living together long before they were married. You know what? They don’t act any different now that they’re married, my step-dad didn’t magically act like a good dad the day after “I do”. He loved us kids as his own long before marrying my mom, he made my mom valued, cherished and happy long before sharing a last name, BUT biblically they were living each day in sin. Now I don’t know about you, but I feel the same talking to a male friend sexually interested in another man as I do about my female friend living with her male boyfriend before being married. I do not think either are “right”, and I do think they are both a form of sexual sin.

A form of sin… hm. Here must be where some people get a little twisted. You see, it is not my job as a believer in Christ to judge any other human apart from myself. I get stressed out thinking about folding the laundry and cooking dinner and bathing the kids, I don’t need or want the stress of telling another person that what they’re doing is or isn’t going to send them to heaven or hell! That’s not my job! BUT I’ll tell you what my job is: my job is to share what I know to be true, to encourage those I encounter to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and above all else, my job is to love.

Love. Love the man loving a man. Love the woman loving a woman. Love the woman who became a man. Love the man and woman living together with no intention of being married. Love them until they’re sick of you! I once read a great quote, in Chase the Lion by Mark Batterson “you can cut me into a thousand pieces and lay me out in the street, and every piece will still love you”. Now that, that is a genuine and pure love. None of that “well the Bible says to love so I love you” nonsense. I mean really truly loving a person, even when you don’t understand certain parts of their heart. Because it’s again, not our job to understand all the parts of their heart and mind, but God knows their heart. He knows the why behind the actions and feelings. More than they even do.

So where is this coming from? Why would I stand here and put myself out there for people to take what I say the wrong way or twist it around and make me sound mean or harsh? It’s not to start an argument, it’s to simply say: regardless of your sexual preference, orientation, or gender, I love you, and Jesus loves you. I love how talented you are at writing and at playing instruments and how big your heart is for family and I love that you have goals set your future and I love that you are alive!

I don’t love certain things that you do, things that you think everyone should accept because HELLO it’s 2017! I felt inspired to write this post before I had a specific bible verse(s) in mind for the backbone of my viewpoint, but once my heart felt the need to write this, I started digging. Romans 1:24-27 (reading the full chapter and maybe even book will give you more perspective on the verses i secluded for the sake of reference) this passage clearly states that it is wrong to give into sexually immoral desires. It calls out homosexuality. Later in the New Testament we see adultery called out and finally in 1 Corinthians 6:18 we see sexual sins grouped together and separated from all others, such as drunkenness, gossiping and lying.

So, as a 24 year old woman who loves Jesus, I can safely say that I have both conservative and liberal friends who will read this and disagree with what I have said. I really want to remind you that this is not me casting stones, I’m not judging anyone. I am simply saying that while I don’t think being a homosexual, bisexual or transgender is “right”, while I don’t agree with the lifestyle the LGBT lives and promotes, I also don’t think that couples of opposite sex get a free pass in the “sexual sins” category. I think that a lot of Christians will interpret the Bible in their own way, and some may not get the same thing I do out of it. Some may read the book of Romans and other passages throughout the Gospels and Revelations and still think it’s fine to just love who you love and have sex when you want. But I do not think that is how it should be read or taught. I think it’s important to take what we believe to be true, to share it in a kind and respectful way, and regardless of how the person on the receiving end takes it, to still love them the same way Jesus would love them, and to let God be the judge.

Xoxo,

The Noble Life.

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A Reminder to you, Mom.

Jeremiah 29:11 “for I know the plans I have for you, declares the lord. plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

This verse is so commonly used at baby dedications, baptisms, high school and college graduations… that I think we forget how it applies to us at all points of life. My last post talked about my plan vs. God’s plan and this one will be piggybacking off of it.

This is Mother’s Day weekend 2017. I have two children, one almost 4 and the other recently turned 2. My kids are my everything. The thing is though, I never thought I would only have two. When my husband and I were first engaged we talked about having five kids, and after having my daughter we laughed that number off. Aside from the swollen everything and back labor, my pregnancy with my daughter was perfect. My son on the other hand nearly cost me my life as well as his. Weekly scheduled doctor appointments and spontaneous trips to the ER/LD because of severe pain, pains so sharp that I could not breathe or stand. My placenta constantly ripping and not growing enough, blood clots threatening any progress made, 9 weeks of contractions; I fully expected him to be born into my arms with his heart already in heaven. Words don’t express the joy and relief I felt when he was born breathing and ready to start nursing.

At my six week checkup I was told I can’t safely carry another baby, that there was almost no way I would survive another experience like the one I had just overcome.

I spent so many times crying in my car, not understanding why God was tormenting me with the fear of losing my son. Now I sat crying that my choice to have another baby was being taken out of my hands. But God wasn’t tormenting me- God’s word had clearly written passages to grant me peace and reassurance, but the fearful words that the enemy fed me shouted so much louder than those holy words.

So why am I sharing this with you years later? I’m sharing this now because in the back of my mind I always thought I would prove my doctor wrong and have another healthy beautiful baby, and continue growing my family. I was choking on denial for years. On Thursday May 11th my husband had a vasectomy. My chance to prove my doctor wrong was suddenly gone. But truthfully speaking, what my husband did was selfless and brave. He knew he was protecting me from another 9 months of pain with a possibly fatal ending. Earlier on in the week as I was crying to God about the upcoming appointment that would change my future, I was reminded of Jeremiah 29:11. I was reminded that God had a plan for me and my family and that this verse is a living piece of the Bible meant for more than just graduations.

I know I can adopt, and I know there is even a possibility of having this procedure reversed. What I don’t know is if either of those options are God’s plan for my family yet. What I do know is that this verse is giving me peace. Sometimes God doesn’t answer our prayers the way we want; but he always answers them with a fruit of the spirit in his hand. For me this week he’s given me love and peace.

So to all my mom friends out there who are caught up in what’s organic, breast vs. bottle, cloth vs. disposable, worrying if your house is clean enough or your husband is happy enough, worrying if you’re doing a good enough job throughout the week, feeling guilty for yelling over something small, dreading those dirty dishes… for Mother’s Day I want to give you a simple reminder that God has a plan for both you and your family. I want to remind you that God has a plan for you to prosper and not be overwhelmed by present tasks and future obstacles. I want to remind you to have hope on those long days when you are struggling. For any Mom out there, you are amazing. Happy Mother’s Day!

Xoxo, The Noble Life

Planning My Life

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I would definitely categorize myself as a “planner”. For as long as I can remember I would cherish my school planners and make additional notes, plan out my days to a very specific detail. My obsession with planning stemmed from my out-of-control childhood, making lists and planning things out gave me a sense of control.

My life plan went a little something like this: Graduate high school. Attend Eastern Michigan University. Graduate with a degree in marriage/ family counseling. Get married at age 23. Have my first baby at age 25. Work hard in my career so that when the day of motherhood approached me I could tackle it full force by staying at home. This. This was my ten year plan after graduating high school in 2011. I was so mentally dedicated to this plan that when my sweet husband proposed to me I considered saying no! I almost asked the man who was down on one knee to wait another handful of years! I convinced myself we would have a long engagement and said YES. That event was when “MY PLANS” started to become obviously second to “GOD’S PLAN”.

During my engagement I shed many tears at the feet of Jesus asking Him if I was really ready to be a wife. I held tight to the declaration made when we were younger- God has put us together. I believed this to be true, but I didn’t necessarily trust this timing. It wasn’t until one Sunday morning when a trusted women had a special word for me: “He is making you into exactly the wife Kody will need”. Now don’t get me wrong- if you are in the church and someone has a “word” for you, take it with a grain of salt! Even if it is someone you TRUST whole heartedly you need to write that word down and pray on it! I am about to reference a few more “God given words” but please know I am not sharing this lightly. Anything I receive out of prayer or worship is written down so it cannot be twisted by my forgetfulness and I chew on it a little bit more. The Holy Spirit has a way of letting you know that IT IS HIM and IT IS TIME! Anyways, to move forward I followed God’s gentle nudge and married my husband at the tender age of 19.

“I heard the words “I love you more” from somewhere deep inside me and I knew in that moment, that God was telling me it would all be alright.”

I got married at age 19, became pregnant on my honeymoon and had my first child at age 20. I stopped going to school so that I could work full time and prepare for the baby while my husband was interning and not working many hours. I climbed the latter of success at the bank I was at, when my beautiful baby arrived we were nowhere near ready to lose my income. My marriage was weak, and I found myself pregnant again… All before the age of 22. In the midst of all these events there was  constant evidence that God had something else planned for me.

When I found out I was pregnant I was actually filled with fear. Even though I had done nothing wrong, I was married, we had our own place, ect. I was afraid to tell anyone! Let me tell you friends, FEAR is NOT part of any blessing God has for you! FEAR is the enemies way of distorting what God is about to unveil! So I tiptoed around frightened of what our parents might say or do, worried what my boss might do with my hours at work when she found out, worried if my husband would find a job quickly enough after his internship was complete to support us… the list of uncertainty went on and on! THIS WAS NOT PART OF MY PLAN! I was not prepared to have a baby this early in my life! This was nothing short of GOD’S plan. I was on birth control, taking that horrible little blue pill each night before I went to bed, and I still conceived a precious baby girl. I will never forget standing in the youth chapel that Wednesday night, sobbing with everything in me. I mean ugly crying here- shaking and snot and runny mascara! That was the moment I felt God’s hand over me and my baby. That was the moment He reviled to me how much He loved me! I remember thinking how much I loved the little baby within me and how I wanted to make sure he or she never felt the pain and neglect that I felt from my biological father. I heard the words “I love you more” from somewhere deep inside me and I knew in that moment, that God was telling me it would all be alright. He was letting me know that He loved the baby within me more than even I loved it and He loved me more than the emotion I had stirred up for this unborn child.

Roughly four months after our daughter was born my husband received his first full-time ministry job offer. It would take us to Cleveland, OH. just a few hours south of our Downriver roots. The bank I worked for let me transfer so I could keep working, and the church offered free childcare for our baby. We moved when she was six months old, in December of 2012. We had absolutely no problem finding a place to live and everything else seemed to follow suite. It is easy to feel like everything is going seamlessly when you are looking at it through your own eyes. We had our resume out for nearly six months and had nothing more than a Skype interview. By the time this position appeared we were hungry to get into ministry and help teenagers become on fire for Jesus. We accepted it without really praying together and convinced each other that this is what God had called us to do. We were not entirely wrong, God HAD called us into youth ministry BUT I still don’t think He had navigated the path to Cleveland. Being in ministry is hard, but being in ministry where God has not placed you is nearly unbearable. This chapter is where I learned how to conquer loneliness, depression, anxiety, and find out just how strong I really was.

When we got pregnant with our son I was not afraid in the same way as I was with my daughter. I was worried my marriage couldn’t handle it. Things were already so hard, I wasn’t sure we would survive. I was so sick throughout this pregnancy, I had constant blood clots, my placenta kept ripping, it wouldn’t grow enough to keep up with the baby, and I was in excruciating pain all day every day. I spent my pregnancy on bedrest and crippled in fear that one of two things would happen: 1. I would soon become a single mother, or 2. I would lose my son. This time in my marriage was full of fighting, verbal abuse, un-loving characteristics and actions, lies and secrets. This time in my marriage is when God stopped being put first and church became first. I started planning for my deepest fears to become reality and prepared myself for what seemed to be inevitable- divorce; but divorce wasn’t God’s plan for me.

God made a way for us to come back home and live in a safe environment with good paying jobs, taking a break from ministry until we learned how to love God and love each other the way He intended on us being loved. God opened the door for a renewed and healthy marriage. God saved my son from a fight for his life inside my womb. God placed us in a new church with a fresh start back into youth ministry, part-time.

Now, God is calling us out of our comfort zones again. As my husbands secular job is growing more pleasing to his flesh each day, as promotional email offers roll in, as his manager makes him an offer that would allow me to stay home with our two beautiful babies, as our flesh so deeply wants to accept these offers… The Holy Spirit is whispering something so much more. God has not called my husband to work high up in the federal government area, but He has called my husband to work high up in furthering His kingdom. Within the next 30-60 days we will be faced with a new life changing decision. Staying with his current job will put him on afternoons and he cannot lead youth group on Wednesday nights (or any night, really), so we must now decide if we will do youth ministry full time or not at all. We are choosing to follow God’s plan this time, not our own. We are choosing not to look at what is pleasing to our eye, but what is pleasing to the spirit.

We are not making this decision independently, like we did in the past. We are seeking God’s direction together, praying together, crying at the feet of Jesus together. When I last stood at the altar demanding a directive answer from God, I got it. Words like “I am taking you to new places”, and “your first ministry is to your home” were raining over us just as we wept about moving on and letting go of children’s ministry (I currently run children’s and help my husband with the youth. I wasn’t sure I was ready to let that go until this night).

My hope is that when you finish reading this you see that I had a specific plan for my life, but God had something entirely different. When we fight God’s plan, it simply doesn’t work out! Doing things our own way causes friction in all of our relationships. I leave you with this scripture, and I pray you lean on God for the chaotic waters to finally be still.

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails”
Proverbs 19:21NIV

XOXO, The Noble Life

Candy Free Easter Baskets

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Happy Easter everyone! As my kids are napping from their so far very busy day, I thought I’d touch base with my readers! As you will soon discover about me, I TRY to be a health nut. I try and succeed some weeks and I try and fail others… you know, when those Oreos are injected with temptation?! Seriously though, I try to be as cautious as possible about what goes in and on my kids body, so I wanted to share some of my pointers! When we do have candy my favorite brand thus far is YumEarth Organic Fruit Pops/ Gummies. I find them at Target or my local health food store.

For my daughter, who is almost four (God help me): Lipstick is her thing lately! I got her a light pink tinted lip balm of her own so she can feel dolled up without being too drastic. Other fillers included heatless hair rollers, a various assortment of hair bows and rubber bands, neon pink nail polish, two packs of fun and springy socks, plastic whistles, and a neutral pair of canvas shoes. Instead of using an easter basket I used a collapsible cube basket that will be reused in her bedroom for storage!

For my son, who just turned two: he’s currently into all things batman, ninja turtles and basketball. I found a large basketball pillow, score! His cube basket also included a weather appropriate pair of batman pajamas, minions plastic snack containers, Leonardo bubbles, ninja turtle and sports themed socks, a batman outdoor play ball (not featured in the picture above), and bathtub zoo animal toys! The zoo toys are an extra bonus for us because we’re still working on learning the animals and what sounds they make!

Socks tend to go missing after a few wears in my house so I did cheat and include what I was already buying in their baskets, but still it’s a good filler! (Mom tip: if you have kids close in age buy gender neutral socks. I usually buy large packs of solid white and the kids share, at least for now while their feet are close in size) My son was a little jealous that he didn’t get any chapstick of his own and my daughter is already claiming that she will “help” her brother with the bubbles… but we had a great morning with these baskets! I got everything last minute at Walmart (I almost never go there, but it was late and I figured they would have the most to choose from).

Next year I’ll be sure to even it out a little bit more; but I hope this helps you see the fun alternatives to chocolate and jelly beans! Some go-to items not featured in my baskets: •chalk •finger/ water paint •books •coloring books •puzzles •bath loofah •DVD’s •Fun cups/ silverwear •travel tissue •age appropriate jewelry

Happy Easter! Today is about celebrating the life of Jesus, let us honor him by respecting the life he died and rose again for!

Xoxo, The Noble Life

Rush Hour

Okay ya’ll, who ever crams way too much in to a short period of time? I’m not talking about procrastinating (although if that helps you relate to this post than so be it), I’m talking about having this tiny window and thinking you can fit a grand piano through it! For me, rushing tends to trigger anxiety. Anxiety causes me to throw any ounce of rationality out the window! It’s like there is a “me” inside of me that has to peek out and whisper “Hey girl, breathe! Trust in Jesus, it will be okay”

Well that was me today on my lunch break. I have 45 minutes to drive home, eat lunch, re-heat my coffee from this morning and be back at my desk. If only it went as planned! I got stuck behind a semi on the entrance ramp, so my time window was already cut short. I call my husband and tell him I’m on my way home (he happened to be off today) and to help me out he volunteers to make my spicy chicken ceasar salad for me. At this moment in my mind I just saved a few minutes, making my annoyance of this slow semi truck driver simmer down. I get home, grab my coffee mug, and dart inside.

When I open the door I hear the kids screaming about not sharing the couch space to watch trolls and my husband pacing back and forth on a business phone call. No salad made. No big deal, right? He mouths to me “your chicken is all I have ready” which is fine, it is still a help! As I’m getting my spinach and lettuce ready and chopping my chicken he is pacing around the kitchen and dining area, making me even more frantic and nervous. So now I am rushed, which flusters up my anxiety, and I’m nervous, and my kids are screaming like crazy bergens, and my puppy is jumping at my legs for some attention. My daughter starts crying that daddy told her to stay on the couch and my son sneaks off and falls in his bedroom and starts crying, my husband is still on a business call. Meanwhile, I have two minutes to get out the door and make it back to work on time. I grab my fork and plan to eat on the drive (sorry mom!). At this point I have forgotten my coffee on the counter and I’m frantically driving. I figured I could stop at Tim Hortons and grab an iced coffee; after all it was in my “allowance” for the week. Still feeling rushed but slightly enrouraged by the godly bean water within my reach, I place my order and finish my salad in the drive through line. Time to pay: where is my debit card? Oh, right… My son emptied my purse out while I was mixing my salad up. All I have on me is a Target gift card. I check the clock and I should have enough time to run inside and grab something from their Starbucks counter and be good! I get my iced latte and get back to my car; Starbucks wasn’t as fast as I planned so I’m rushing again. I pull out of my parking spot and quickly think “turn left instead of right and go out the north exit” NOT THINKING that I was coming up the wrong direction! So to correct myself I whip into a parking spot and end up getting stuck there. Well all hopes of being back to work on time are now lost. I am literally stuck in this parking spot and preparing to call my husband or coworker to come get in my car and get it out of the spot for me. I manage to wiggle out without damaging any other vehicles (thank you Jesus) and while I’m speeding back to work I start to think… God how can I turn this example of rushing frantically around to make it benefit you?

Now I’m driving and voice texting my colleagues that I’m almost back, feeling convicted that I just freaked out and nearly had a panic attack for really no reason! I am reminded of Proverbs 21:5

5. Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.
(NLT)

All my rambling leads me to this one simple piece of scripture. If I would have PLANNED better last night and made my lunch I could have taken it to work, avoiding this fiasco all together. If I would have PLANNED and set my outfit out I wouldn’t scramble in the mornings. On a more serious note, if we PLAN for our insurance to renew we could save a few hundred dollars on that policy. Or we PLAN for auto repairs by having a special savings account to cover them. Or we PLAN to have 3-6 months in an extra savings account so that if we lose our job or get hurt we don’t accumulate credit card debt. If we PLANNED our days out we wouldn’t feel like we’re drowning in laundry and dirty dishes. When we have a routine and a schedule and a plan for each area of our life, those areas will be prosperous.

Easier said than done, right? Believe me, I am still working on building up my own savings accounts to meet specific needs and I’m still working on packing my lunch and laying out my outfits instead of watching just one more episode on Netflix… but I’M WORKING ON IT! Each week I get a little bit better with my home routine. Each pay cycle I get a little bit better with my budgeting. Sure, things will come up last minute and throw us off track, and that is OKAY! It’s even okay to have an irrational meltdown in a target parking lot every now and then, because guess what? You’re an amazing person wearing a lot of hats.

You see, when we let life overwhelm us we miss out on the most precious moments. We miss our toddler call us for help with their juice box for the last time, we miss a friendly smile and wave from someone passing by, we miss a call from our mom who will one day be gone, we miss God’s creation around us… I want to encourage you, in these meltdowns or anxiety attacks, when you’re feeling like you’re trying to do too much too fast, be still (Psalm 46:10) and ask God for some peace, for some grace, and for some strength.

May we one day “have it all together”, but until then, may we be sensitive enough for the Holy Spirit to get us through each day.

XOXO, The Noble Life

My Testimony

Hey Ya’ll, welcome to my first blog post! I am starting this in hopes that I will be able to help other young women, moms, and wives feel like it is OKAY to have the occasional messy laundry room! Really – I want to share REAL life content, my views and opinions, and my love for Jesus to the world. I have been contemplating whether or not to do this and how to even get started for quite some time now, and about a week ago God gave me the nudge I needed to JUMP! So to get started I thought I would share my testimony with you, now… where do I begin? The beginning I guess. This post will probably be longer than my future posts, so get comfortable because i have a lot to tell.

Well my beautiful mom got pregnant with me in the early 90’s by her high school sweetheart (swoon). Only, it was the opposite of a fairytale classic. She ended up marrying my biological dad because she was pregnant. Fast forward to January 8, 1993 and I had arrived! From the moment I was born I had the words “I didn’t want you” spoken over me. You see, because I was not a boy I was not a good first born. At least not in my “dad’s” eyes. A couple years later my brother was born and it was like the world had stopped for a moment. His son was finally here! Only, his umbilical chord was wrapped around his neck so his face was all sorts of blue, swollen and bruised. So my dad got his son – but he didn’t let anyone take pictures of him until he looked “decent”. I think by now you have a good idea of the man we lived with for a while… but I promise you: it gets better. My mom found out she was pregnant again and this time my dad’s reaction really won the grand prize – get an abortion! That’s right, he went there. Obviously my mom did not cater to his demands because I have had an amazing sister for nearly all of my life. So for ten years we lived in this environment. I grew up hearing him yell as if he was still on active duty, OOHRAH!? I grew up hearing my mom get ripped apart by his words on a daily basis, I grew up watching him manipulate her. I grew up watching him brainwash her. “You could never take care of them on your own. You need me.” She believed him. She was a beauty school dropout (thanks to me) and at this point in her life the only thing she had going for her was her love of Jesus and us kids. Needless to say, we spent A LOT of time with my Nana and Papa.

My mom landed a job working at a bank and began saving so she could leave my dad. While she was working, a family member whom she trusted to care for us, showed me a new form of abuse. I was sexually abused every day after school by her teenage daughter and her friends. I remember being woken up from my naps and pulled into the bathroom with her. I remember her pulling down her  navy blue underwear and telling me what to do. My aunt saw me playing with my Barbie’s in an inappropriate way and was quick to take action. I will forever be thankful that she rescued me. I remember sitting with my sister in the bath tub showing my mom things that I had to do, things that I learned. I remember crying, and feeling embarrassed that this happened to me (I will post how I dealt with that later).

Years later my mom was ready to leave my dad, and she raised us three without any child support, making too much for state help but not enough to keep up on the bills, sports fees, and groceries. Our go-to meal was mashed potatoes and fried eggs mixed together, because sometimes the only thing we could afford was milk, bread, and eggs. We were getting by. She worked her way up at the bank and took on real estate to make ends meet. I don’t think anyone will ever know how hard she worked for all those years. I learned not to ask my dad for help, it resulted in him telling me I was ignorant and undeserving. He moved out of state and to be honest we liked it that way. At least, me and my sister did. My brother had a harder time, because our dad asked for custody of ONLY him and my mom said NO. After the sixth grade there always seemed to be some tension in our home. While I chose not to put any effort into a relationship with my dad after this, I still had a lot of unhealed hurt. My heart would ache every Father’s day. I remember hiding in the bathroom stall at church one year, crying during the entire Father’s day service. I wanted to be that girl who got to parade around before a daddy- daughter dance. I wanted to have someone tell me I was beautiful. I wanted to have someone tell me they would protect me. I wanted to have someone treat my mom like a queen.

When I was 14 I started to get these things. It took me a few years to see it, but the man that stepped in and saved us quickly covered a lot of our needed bases. I still felt like something was missing. My sophomore year I met a boy who invited me to church, and that is when my life really started to change. I learned in a new way who Jesus was. The youth pastors wife took me under her wing and she became more than just a pastors wife to me, she became my best friend. I told her everything, I asked for her advice on everything. I remember wanting to be just like her, so full of Jesus that all my past hurt faded away. I changed the way I talked, the way I dressed, the people I hung out with, and most importantly I changed the way I viewed myself. I wasn’t just a high school cheerleader putting on a front anymore, I was a teenage girl feeling complete for the first time.

Fast forward to 2012 and I was getting married to my high school sweetheart (now you can swoon for real) who was interning to be a youth pastor. Well let me just tell you that the first four years of our marriage were more downs than ups. I was 19 and feeling like couldn’t do this “wife thing” and I was also being told that I was failing. Those few short years of building up my confidence had started to be buried by what seemed like a repetition of my moms marriage. Was I doomed to live the same life she (my mom) did? Did I really deserve nothing more than negativity, being controlled, being verbally abused and one day being physically abused? Would I for the rest of my life wonder if I was satisfying him, or if he wanted more than I could offer? Throughout all of this I did not lose hope that MY GOD had destined me for so much more than what my present situation was. I was standing in my kitchen, with a toddler running around and nursing my new baby when I decided that I would not live the same life my mother had lived. I decided to stop protecting my husband from what the world would think of him, and I started protecting myself and my children. I gave my husband an ultimatum- “you can stay here and have your church, or you can come with me, get help, and have a family”. Reluctantly he came with me. I can safely say that was the best decision we have ever made. He got counseling and within a year became a transformed man. He was no longer putting CHURCH first, but he was putting GOD first. He became the prince charming I had longed for. It was hard, it is still hard, but we are now in a healthy place with God as the center of our family. We renewed our vows in August of 2016 and made new commitments to each other.

Now I am a hard workin’ momma raising two beautiful children, with a husband who I love like crazy. We’re succeeding in ministry together, helping teenagers find themselves in Jesus. I hope that this helps you realize that even though someone looks put together, they may have walked through some battlefields to get there. If you would like prayer for any similar (or not) circumstances please comment or contact me!

God bless!

XOXO, Tay

Confessions of a (New) Stay At Home Mom

IMG_4761I remember being a teenager, sitting in youth group, listening to a sermon about “God’s call on your life”. I remember being in a relationship with my boyfriend (now husband), and knowing that he was called into youth ministry. It was clear to him- “youth and nations” were the words he heard while seeking God’s direction. I remember being at that altar asking God what MY calling was, and I believe I heard a still small voice tell me that my full-time job would be supporting this upcoming ministry. We ran with it.

I assumed that this whisper meant I would not have to be working at another job, and I was disappointed when we began our journey as youth pastors and couldn’t afford for me to stay home. By the time our first ministry job started our daughter was six months old and I wanted so desperately to stay home with her. Unfortunately that isn’t how things worked out. I worked a miserable 40+ hours/ week at a bank, we had another baby,  we moved back to our home town, and I gave up on my dream of staying home with the kids. I stopped believing it would ever be possible.

Then God opened a new door: Move to Georgia.

What? Excuse me? You want us to do WHAT???

We were both nervous and excited as this new door into a full-time youth pastor position in Southwest Georgia would take us away from our family, but allow me to leave the bank and stay home with our two and four year old. We spent a lot of time in prayer, asking God if this is really what He wanted from us. After months of praying we received confirmation and this was really what God had in store for us. So we quit our jobs, packed up our home, broke our lease and drove nearly 900 miles away to start a new chapter.

“My house will always be perfectly clean” “We will stick to our budget” “We will do AB&C”… All. These. Things. I had this fantasy in my head, years of imagining what life would be like staying at home with my gorgeous babies. I finally got what I had been searching for, my deepest desire handed to me on a (rose) gold platter. And I felt like I was failing. F A I L I N G.

How? How could this be? How could I possibly have a sink full of dishes again after I just washed them? How do I have so much laundry needing to be folded and put away? Why are there granola chunks in my rug after I just vacuumed? Why am I sitting on the couch watching power rangers again feeling like I don’t know what to do with my life? Why is the psych student in me putting pieces of a dysfunctional puzzle together that sounds like I might be slipping into some sort of depression? Was there nothing more to my life than cleaning up play-doh, cleaning the dishes, doing the laundry, buying groceries and showing up for church?

These thoughts and feelings were so strong that they pushed away all the truth I knew. They outweighed the smiles on my kids faces when we were playing, or when I made their favorite snack/ meal. These thoughts of “not knowing what to do with myself” were so much louder than the biblical truth I’d studied for years. And I’m going to tell you why:

For years I held on to an idea, and I held onto it with tunnel vision. I never took time to discover anything else about myself. So here I am, 24 years old, and the only things I really know about myself are what I enjoyed when I was 15/16. I have been studying the Bible and planning youth events and praying for my husband and children, and I have spent zero time learning about myself. I know that as a teenager I loved art, but I never kept it up because I let being a newly wed and a new mother consume me. I know I enjoyed gymnastics, but after having kids I never went to the gym. I know I used to use writing as an outlet and I could spend hours watching HGTV, but do I still like these things? Could I sit on my back porch and draw a charcoal sketch of the Pine tree line in my back yard? Could I pry myself away guilt free and spend an hour in a gym taking my frustrations out on the spring board? If I sat down to write would I know what to say? If I knew what to say would I feel guilty for saying it? I always thought it would be as simple as staying with them, and maybe it would be simpler if I hadn’t ignored myself for years.

The truth is, I am blessed. I am fortunate enough to have caught myself slipping into unsafe and dark territories. I am blessed to have friends who are understanding and encouraging, to have a husband who felt broken with me when I shared my heart to him, to have kids who tell me I am beautiful and funny. I am blessed to have an opportunity to stay home with my kids, and now I have the challenge of finding myself while raising them. I will have to remind myself daily the promises God has given me, and I will have to manually shut out the dark paralyzing thoughts that try to take over my mind. I will have to tell myself to be productive even when I want to curl up and hide. I will have to take “ME-TIME” even when guilt tries to tell me not to. I will have to accept that sometimes the dishes won’t get done because I’m playing ninja-turtles, and sometimes I have to stop watching Fixer Upper and put my laundry away. I have to find balance.

For anyone who has had these struggles, who have had fights about the messes, who have felt guilty for your feelings: You are not lazy. You are not alone. You are not a bad mom. You are enough. You are worth learning about. You are worth taking care of. So I encourage you to do something for YOU today. I’m going to do my workout behind the couch while the kids watch Netflix, and maybe later this week I’ll dig out my sketch pad and see if I still enjoy drawing. I hope you find yourself.

6 Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.
Luke 12:6-7 NASB

XOXO,
The Noble Life