Category Archives: Love

Series: College Life | Firsts…

I’m in my last semester of college for my BA in English. I have five, yes five, English courses this semester…and a husband, three kids, and a dog. And four of those classes have long book lists so needless to say, I have little time for anything.

With all that said, I miss being here. I am trying to make time to blog but honestly, I’m exhausted. Physically and emotionally. Especially since my last blog which told of another huge loss I’m dealing with. It’s still hard. It’s going to be hard. It’s life. Anyway, a professor from one of my writing classes gave us a writing exercise in class a couple days ago and I wanted to share it all with you…

The exercise: Write about a first or firsts…

“It was ice cold and stark white in the delivery room. Even though I hadn’t started pushing yet, I was already exhausted. It’s indescribable how those sharp, stabbing pains in my stomach and back had stolen any umph I could muster up. It was all I could do just to breathe through them.

Speaking of breathing, I hate that word. I hate focusing on breathing. There was a time in my life when holding my breathe was normal. It was safe. Here was this doctor standing beside me telling me to breathe. Frankly, I wanted to rip his lungs out and say, ‘You try breathing!’

Not to mention my husband standing there with an empathetic look. All I could think was he’d gotten me into this mess — he better figure out a way to get me through it. I wanted to stab him every time the knots got tighter inside. I felt like my body was attacking me, which I’d felt many times before, only this time, it wasn’t my body. It was this strange creature growing inside my body causing this crazy whirlwind of physical and emotional feelings.

I screamed at the doctor, ‘Just get him out!’

I was twenty-two. I wondered what God was thinking letting me have a kid. Didn’t He know how screwed up I was? Why would He trust me with an innocent little kid. I couldn’t even keep a cactus alive, but God expected me to keep a baby alive?

‘Push…’ I hear the nurses say, ‘You can do it…breathe, just breathe.’ I swore if I heard one more person say breathe I was going to smother them all with the extra pillows they’d stuffed behind me.

And then…

I saw these tiny red toes and heard this wimpy, pitiful cry. It was the first time I’d given birth…the first time I’d really known what love was…the first time I had a reason to breathe.”

So there you have it. That’s my creative story of firsts. Though portions of the story may be somewhat exaggerated, when I write, I write from my heart. So yes, that little creature that turned my world upside down…he gave me purpose. He gave me a reason to fight. We’ve had our moments. I’ve had my really crappy mom moments and he’s had his drive me crazy moments. He’s seventeen now. He’s a senior in high school. He’s a volunteer firefighter. He’s training to be an EMT. He’s a good boy. I’m thankful, but still surprised God trusted me to raise this kid…and his two siblings.

Through all the hard in life, in marriage, in parenting, in loss, in grief, in darkness…through it all, I depend on beauty like this to help me breathe again.

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Bubble Christian…

I’m baaaackkkk!  After a month hiatus from the blog for November, I’m back in full force.

Time is flying by.  Just a blink ago, the kids were donning costumes for candy and here we are about to leap into a new year.

Along with holiday fun and Christmas cheer comes many traditions.  We have family gatherings for the holidays, Christmas music blaring in the car and in the stores, shopping till we drop, mad dashes for the latest and greatest, twinkling lights on every street and so much more.

I admit it, I love it.  I love all the traditions.  I love the chaos and busyness.  I love the hot chocolate and food!  Yes, I do!

I also love the magic of Christmas.  I love the joy and surprise in my children’s faces after they see what Santa left them.  I love the pajama days.  I love the excitement over new ornaments and decorating the tree, hanging the stockings and setting up our manger scene.

Much of Christmas has nothing to do with Christ but for our family, we do celebrate His birth.  My children believe He is the reason we celebrate Christmas.  They’ve never known any different and neither have I.  I grew up believing in Santa and Jesus.  As I got older, I learned Santa was magical for children and that magic fades as we grow up.  But for Jesus, that magic has only grown stronger.  The older I get, the more I realize my need to believe in Jesus.  I see the things in my life that have no explanations other than this higher power that I so strongly want to cling to.  Each day, I see something else that convinces me how real God is.

The world doesn’t see it.  Many are lost.  Many are floating through life with no real purpose or hope.  And many are absolutely fine with where they are, their beliefs and choices and their lives.  I am not one to push my beliefs or feelings on someone else.  We can’t force anyone to share in our beliefs and by pushing too hard, we can push them further away and that’s not at all what I want to do.  So instead, I pray.

BubbleChristian

Now here’s where some of you may disagree but it needs to be said.  We, Christians, live in a bubble.  We want to believe that all is well and good and happy and God will take care of us and nothing can destroy us.  We shield our children from the words s-e-x, drugs and alcohol.  We teach them gays and lesbians are wrong, period.  The problem is, what happens when something goes wrong?  We haven’t prepared our children or ourselves for handling the problems of this world.  We’ve only hidden the problems away – out of sight, out of mind.  We are afraid to venture out of our little bubble or box and into the world.  We don’t want to watch the bad stuff on TV because it might change our hearts.  We don’t want to sit next to the person that’s cussing because it might hurt our ears.  We don’t want to be with those people (because they aren’t Christians) and we might be considered a non-Christian if we are seen with them.

The world looks at us like fools.  We bring that on ourselves.  We tend to walk around with unreasonable expectations for a world that is broken, including us.  We expect everyone to believe and think like us and we leave no room for failure or growth.  The thing is, we are all growing – at our own pace.  When we hold everyone else to these set standards, we only set them up for failure and then we end up being the hypocrites the world so loves to call us.

Today, an atheist friend of mine on Facebook shared a video making fun of a Christmas song by a Christian music group.  I watched the video, which in my opinion, was beyond horrible, filled with criticism, hate and bad language.  The most frustrating part was reading the comments left by the other 800,000 plus viewers.  The majority of them got a kick out of this video and went on to criticize the original song even more.

Unfortunately, it’s not hard to understand why – there’s really no need for explanation but basically, we Christians, in the comfort of our little bubble, also like to wear blinders.  We say things that don’t make sense or that the world simply cannot understand.  We experience things that are unbelievable or unfortunately, we stumble and fall.  We judge and criticize until it happens to us and then we make excuses to justify our actions or behaviors and wiggle our way out of things.

What if, instead of hiding in our bubble, we stopped criticizing from inside the comforts of our safe spot and we started accepting?  What if someone else believed something different and we chose to love them anyway?  Are they stopping us from praying for them in our own quiet time with our Lord and Savior?  No.  Are they asking us not to believe or not to read our Bibles?  No.  Are we free to believe what we want to believe?  Yes.

Then why do we get so angry and outraged when someone else, who is also free to believe what they want to believe, thinks differently?  We don’t only do this to non-believers but we do it to people who sit right beside us on Sunday morning.  We gawk at what they’re wearing.  We frown when their children make noises during prayer.  We gasp at the idea of an alcoholic beverage or cigarette.

News flash – we are all sinners.  Not one of us in this world is better than another!  Who are we to sit back and criticize anyone else (and I’m speaking to myself here because I’m guilty of all of this).

When I was a teenager, there was a man who hounded me about going to church.  At the time, it was so annoying and really felt invasive.  It made me angry.  At the time, I was in a place where the smallest thing made me want to run far from God.  And so I did.  That man would not give up.  He, in his best heart, wanted nothing but the best of blessings for me.  He wasn’t out to fix me.  He simply showed he cared.  He didn’t criticize me or call me names.  He wanted me to experience the blessings he was experiencing and that was in church.

I didn’t realize most of this until recently.  What I learned from this is we are all in different places.  We are all growing at our own pace and twenty years ago, that man could not convince me that I was worthy of God’s love or time.  He could not make me see the blessings in life.  His pressure angered me.  Today, I am so thankful that he did not give up on me.  It may have taken nearly twenty years for me to come around but I did.

My point is, by living in our safe Christian bubble and shouting, “Your wrong!  Shame on You!  You disgraceful sinner!” we are doing nothing but pushing away the very people we should be showing love to.  Not acceptance of sin – but unconditional love.  Genuine, care for another human being which we all deserve.  What if we stopped worrying about what everyone thinks of us, what others are saying, what someone did or didn’t do and we started focusing on what we can do to make things better.  What if instead of avoiding a non-Christian because we don’t know how to relate to them or instead of attacking their beliefs or lack of, we simply talked to them, like they were a human being.  What if we asked them questions about why they believe what they believe and chose to get to know them.  Would that really be so bad?  After all, wasn’t that exactly what Jesus did and as Christians, isn’t becoming more like Christ exactly what we are suppose to do?

What if the world looked at us Christians and instead of seeing a bunch of people trying to hide their lives behind fake masks of perfection, broken hypocrites, they saw wounded people who found hope in Jesus Christ and shared the same love and grace that had been poured upon them by their Savior?

 

 

Hand in hand…

HandinHand

The moment she came into the world, there was a look upon his face.

Love.

Joy.

Pride.

You could see it in his eyes.  He would never be the same.

Today, she is three and three quarters.  For almost four years, she has had his heart. 

As the other woman, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

For years, I longed to see this side of him.  With our two boys, he’s been firm and rightly so.  It’s rules and sticking to them.  It’s simply less tender.  I ached to see this gentle side, one I had seen in other dads with little girls but one I had never experienced because my own father left before I was born.

She giggles.  He grins.

She tickles.  He jumps.

She dances.  He holds her hand.

She sings.  He’s her biggest fan.

She talks.  He listens.

She snuggles.  His arms embrace her.

She is safe.  She is loved.  She is his little girl.  It’s an amazing sight to see.  It melts my heart over and over again.

They have taught me so much about my own life and my walk with the Lord. 

You see, as he walks hand in hand with her, I realize, God has held my hand many times.  He has walked with me through fires.  He has been there to pick me up.  He’s wiped away my tears.  He’s carried me through the darkness.  He has given me life.

Every time I watch them walk side by side, hand in hand…
When I see him smiling down at her…
When she looks at him with awe…
When he holds her in his arms…
As he protects her and loves her…

It serves as a reminder that everything I’ll ever need in a father is right here waiting for me to reach out and grasp.  He will never let me go.

Colton Dixon “Never Gone”

Jesus never ever left you
Never ever left you, no.
He sees us, even in the darkness
Now you know you’re not alone.

I’m still standing here
No I didn’t disappear
Now the lights are on
See I was never gone
I let go of your hand
To help you understand
With you all along
Oh, I was never gone

 

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Who Made This Mess?

MotherhoodMessy

Motherhood is messy.

Goldfish in the bottom of your purse.
Army men in the toilet.
Snot on your shoulder and maybe in your hair.
Toilet paper on the floor and none to be found on the roll.
Dog hair in YOUR brush.
Bubble gum on their shoe, and yours.
Up the back diapers – you know what I’m talking about?!
Scribbles on your checkbook, your wall, and that one of a kind painting.
Splashes from bath time all over the floor.

Did I mention motherhood is messy?

Not only do we face sticky situations like the ones I mentioned above, but we also face challenges with knowing what to teach our kids, how to teach them well and how to help grow them into responsible, intelligent, compassionate adults.

Having an unstable family growing up, I never really felt mothered like I imagined it was suppose to be.  When I became a mom, I had no idea what that meant, how I was suppose to act or treat this little person, other than to simply love him and even that came with difficulties.

I didn’t really understand love.  I had never really felt loved.  I knew in my head that my grandpa loved me with all his heart.  There was absolutely no doubt in my mind that he loved me.  He was always there when I needed someone.  He was the one decent father figure I had after one had abandoned me and the other abused me.  He was always kind.  He was my best friend.  But, he was all I really knew about love.

What I thought I knew about love had been all wrong.  Every.single.person shy of my grandpa, that I thought loved me, had hurt me tremendously.  Love meant they left me, hurt me, used me, made fun of me.  Most of what I thought I knew about love was painful, hurtful and lonely.

So here was this new little baby boy, beautiful, innocent and fragile.  He needing nothing more than protection, nurturing and love but I didn’t know how to give him that.  I had not been protected.  I had not been nurtured.  I felt unloved.  How could I give him what I knew nothing about?

My role as a mother became hell.  I felt myself growing further and further from him.  While I knew in my heart that I loved him so dearly, I did not know how to show that or accept his unconditional love for me.  I pulled away, distanced myself.  I sunk into a horrible, deep, dark depression.  I spent my first mother’s day, alone.

It took a long time to move past that.  It took giving up, not on life, but on controlling my life.  It took a breaking point, a vision of the own abuse I had suffered through, to change me.  In a moment of sheer desperation, I cried out to God. 

“I can’t do this anymore.
I can’t do this alone.
I don’t know how to love.
I don’t know how to be a good mom.
I don’t want to hurt him like I was hurt.
He deserves more than that.
He deserves a good mom.
He deserves to feel loved.”

And in that moment, I let go of the reigns and gave them to God.

Things didn’t change over night.  In fact, if you talked to that little boy today, who is now a thirteen year old teenager, he would probably say I’m an okay mom but I’ve had my moments and many of them at that.  He would say, “Yeah, she’s okay.” or “Yeah, she yells a lot.”  But I’m pretty sure he knows that I love him.  And there’s no doubt in my mind that I would do absolutely everything in my power to protect him, to show him love and to make sure he knows that I am here for him, through anything.

So, this whole mom thing is pretty messy.  Much of this mess, I created myself.  Add in two other kiddos and there’s a whole world more of messiness around here, LOL!

The thing is, it’s good messy.  It’s fun, it’s happy, it’s hopeful.  And while there are still times of frustration, while there are still times when I fail horribly, I have learned to accept my faults and to apologize.  I have looked at my children, after yelling at them over something silly, realizing my anger was really from my own issues and not theirs, and had to apologize.  Learning to apologize for our shortcomings and our faults is not easy, especially to the people we want to respect and obey us, but it is so importantThey need to know that it’s okay to make mistakes and it’s even better when we can admit them.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.  Ephesians 2:8

That’s my messy mom stories for today.  What’s yours?

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Why I love Jesus…

I am not one to push my beliefs on others.  I find all religions interesting and enjoy learning the differences, but I am and will always be a Christian, a Jesus lover, a child of God.

People have asked, “Why do you believe?  Why do you love Jesus?”

The answer should be simple, “Because he loves me.”

But that doesn’t really explain things, does it?

There are many reasons the world turns away from religion, from believing in God.  Unfortunately, many of those reasons have to do with us Christians, the very people who are suppose to be bringing others to Christ.

I’ve seen or heard all of these…

“Christians are just a bunch of hypocrites.”
“Christians are too judgemental.”
“I’m not good enough to fit in there (referring to church).”

“They (Christians) won’t accept me.”
“They (Christians) won’t approve of my choices.”

I do attend church and I do love my church, however, I agree that many of these things do happen and it’s unfortunate.  I also admit that I have probably done some of the very things that turn people away.  I know I have judged others when I shouldn’t have.  I have been hypocritical.  I have been that Christian.

I have also been on the other end of that.  I have felt unaccepted.  I have felt condemned.  I have been judged.  I have feared I would be criticized for my opinions and beliefs.  I have experienced that in the church.

While I love my church and my church family, they are not the reason I love Jesus.

I love Jesus because…

At 11 years old, I needed courage.  I stared out of my window, beyond the stars and prayed for God to give me courage to be able to tell about the abuse I was going through.  The next day, I had that courage.  I have to believe God answered my prayer.

Most of my life, I felt unworthy.  I still fight that feeling most days.  In fact, I am unworthy, but God’s word says I am redeemed.  The Bible says Jesus paid for my sin.  For that, I am grateful and if Jesus didn’t die for my sins, then I have no reason for hope.  I have to believe there is a reason for hope.

As a teenager, I tried to commit suicide.  Part of me wanted to die and yet I am here.  Part of me wanted to live.  In reality, I didn’t really want to die, I wanted to be free from the pain I felt.  I am free.  I have been blessed with peace I never imagined I could feel, for no explainable reason.  I have to believe a greater power gave me that peace. 

In my twenties, faced with many life changes including marriage, job changes, a new house, a new baby, I was overwhelmed with emotions.  Floods of memories haunted me and I sunk into a horrible depression.  I believed my husband and son would be better off without me.  I was damaged goods.  I was too broken to fix.  At 35, I sit here thankful that God did not give up on me like I had given up on me.  Through the darkness, he shined his light.  People came into my life and shared a little glimpse of Jesus.  They loved me when I couldn’t love myself.  They had hope when I had none.  They prayed for me even when I wanted nothing to do with prayer.  I have to believe there is a reason I am alive and I AM ALIVE!

I love Jesus because…

Through him, I have found courage.

In him, I have been redeemed.  

With him, I have hope and peace.

By his grace, I have eternal life.

He loves me enough to give me courage, redemption, hope, peace and eternal life. 

Yes, the answer is simple.  

I love him because He loves me. 

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

"Epic" Fail…

Epic is one of those words that becomes totally rad for a little while and then before long, makes you want to barf just thinking you ever used it.  For today, I’m going to embrace it and all of its epicness!

Radical
Gnarly
Hip
Groovy
Totally (before any of the above is just a double dose!)

Right now, epic (along with “Oh snap!” – who taught him that one?!) is spewed constantly by my twelve almost thirteen year old son.  I have to thank blame his youth pastor for that painful ear torture.  Thanks Greg.  It’s okay, we love you anyway!

Epic was fitting for today.  Epic fail was even more fitting.

See, I always have great intentions on blogging every.single.day.  That why I try these month long attempts at some great theme.

Like love.

See where I’m going with this?

My last awesome post on love was on Thursday, February 14th.  Great, right?  Of course that was Valentine’s Day so everyone should be jumping up and down that I made it through the day of love, right?  Wrong!  I didn’t even write that post specifically for the love series – instead, I wrote it for Melissa Taylor’s Bible Study Thursday Blog Hop.

If I had done the smart thing, like many bloggers, I’d have gone with fourteen days of love instead of the whole month.  Sheesh!

Big deal … okay, moving on.

Today is February 22.  I have missed seven, yes, SEVEN days!  But you love me anyway, right?

I have no excuses other than life but that’s life.  Good intentions sometimes lead to failure.  Epic fail on twenty-eight days of love.

I will say, in my defense, even when I haven’t scrounged up the time to write about love, I still managed to love something, someone or sleep.  One of the three, I promise, was accomplished!  HOO-RAY!

So for today, I leave you with no promises of actually completing the next six days – only hope and one of my favorite songs.  Go listen to it.  NOW!

Thank you, Jesus Culture, for reminding me that even in my epic fail, God never fails, never gives up, his love never runs out on me!

“Your Love Never Fails”

 Nothing can separate
Even if I ran away
Your love never fails

I know I still make mistakes
But You have new mercies for me everyday
Your love never fails

You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There maybe pain in the night but joy comes in the morning

And when the oceans rage
I don’t have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me

Your love never fails

The wind is strong and the water’s deep
But I’m not alone in these open seas
Cause Your love never fails

The chasm is far too wide
I never thought I’d reach the other side
But Your love never fails

You make, all things, work together for my good. 

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com