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Shout-out to Moms

Today was my day off and this morning I was asked last minute if I could help in my church’s VBS nursery. I didn’t really have any pressing plans so I showered really quickly and walked over. I LOVE the nursery by the way. I’ve always loved working with kids and 0-5 is my favorite age. From the time I turned 13 until I moved away from home, I did more babysitting than I can remember. I don’t think a week ever went by that I didn’t babysit for someone or something. And I loved every minute.

But with all the health stuff, it’s been a while since I held some babies so I was more than happy to oblige. Ummm…guys…it was EXHAUSTING! Seriously! I literally can’t believe how tired I am hours later! I’m pretty sure those kids just zapped the energy right out of me!

At one point, I was rocking a sweet baby and yawning (trying hard not to think of the two long hours that I still had to keep awake) and I realized that the other three ladies with me were all moms. The one was causally telling a story about how many times she gets up in the middle of the night to nurse and how many times her other kids wake her up just to ask simple questions. And the others laughed and nodded knowingly.

What??! Here’s the deal. Sleep is and always has been very important to me but even more so now. The little amount I get is a precious thing. I thought about how SO. VERY. TIRED. I am all the stinkin’ time and realized that I just have myself to take care of. And I can barely handle that on some days. And here these moms have all their kids dressed, out the door, and at VBS by 9am AND were talking about going strawberry picking after it was done!! I knew exactly where I was going when it was done and that was to lay on my couch. I sat amazed.

Now, I realize that my health issues complicate matters for me and that I take three medications that all have a top side effect of sleepiness. But I also know a lot of moms with health issues too. Like my mom. She’s awesome.

So I would just like to give a big shout-out to all the moms out there! I’m not quite sure how you do it but thanks for letting me love on some of your little ones today.

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2018 in encouragment

 

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The Cemetery Saves the Day

I consider myself a well-hydrated person. By which I mean, water is the only thing I drink (except hot tea) and I drink more than most people I know. I drink about 75-100oz of water a day. So whenever I’m not feeling well and people question if I’m dehydrated, I just laugh. I don’t think that’s it.

However, the other day, I was a little behind on my water for the day and I decided to go for a walk. A walk these days could be anywhere between 5-9 miles and it was a nice day so I picked a loop that I knew was about 8 miles and headed out.

I was about 5 miles in when it started. I realized I was actually sweating (which isn’t normal on a simple walk for me) and my mouth was a little dry. I checked my phone and saw the horrible thing. The temp was 86 degrees with a 44% humidity. (I’m a cold weather kind of person. Shoot me.) Hmmm…guess I wasn’t prepared for the real summer weather yet…oh well…can’t really help it now.

So I kept going but it just got worse. My mouth and throat were SO dry and hurting! Soon I was consumed with a single thought- water. I just need a drink of cool water. Okay, Lord, it doesn’t have to be cool, just ANY kind of water. A creek. Puddle water. Images of ice cubes, bottled water, condensation, and swimming pools(?) filled my head. I started to wonder how long it took for sunstroke to set in?? (Dramatic, right?) I was so thirsty that I thought to myself that if I saw someone out in their yard I would have absolutely no problem going up to them and asking for some water. That’s how desperate I was. But the countryside was completely deserted. Seriously, the ONLY person I saw outside was having a showdown with her toddler and I wasn’t about to interrupt that. I thought begrudgingly that probably everybody was inside enjoying their air conditioning like smart people instead of walking around, about to DIE!

I thought of a rivers and fountains. And nonchalantly, my brain thought of the verse where Jesus declares that he is the living water and whoever drinks of him will never thirst again.

And that’s when it hit me over the head like a brick. For over 30 minutes I had LITERALLY thought of only one thing and my mind never strayed from it. Water. I was SO thirsty and I asked God right then to give me that same thirst for him. That desperate, unquenchable desire to know him more and to love and obey him better. I’ve never had a more vivid parallel or understood that verse better in my whole life.

But it wasn’t over. I was still about 1/2 mile from my house, passing by a cemetery. A car was parking and I thought, “Maybe those nice looking ladies have some water. A half mile still seems like a loooonngg way.” I watched them as they checked the flower pots near a headstone and heard one say, “Yeah, they’re pretty dry.” I struggled painfully to swallow and thought, Me too.

As I got closer I kept watching and saw one of the ladies pick up a jug and carry it away. I saw in disbelief as she got to a red water pump and filled her jug. I looked across the cemetery and it seemed as if all the headstones just dropped into the ground and suddenly all I could see were these little red water pumps! Did you know they have those?? I walk by this cemetery all the time and I’ve never seen them!

I was so excited that I quickly (but um, respectfully) clambered to the one closest to me. I turned it on and nice cool water came out. I’m sure it wasn’t the cleanest and I. Don’t. Care. It was the best water I’ve ever had. I drank and splashed it on my face. A car drove by me and I almost hesitated because I didn’t know what they would think and then it hit me again that I still didn’t care. I felt so much better that I laughed and briskly walked the last part home. Just so thankful for water.

But that also reminded me of something else. Sometimes we let fear of what others think of us keep us from talking about Jesus, our Living Water. I want to desire him so much that I simply don’t care what others think of me. I want him to be my single thought and goal.

(And today I took a walk with a water bottle.)

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2018 in encouragment

 

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What I Wish MY Church Knew About ME

In case you didn’t think memory loss was real, I’ve had this paper sitting on my desk for about a month now with blog ideas scribbled on it so that I wouldn’t forget them. I purposefully left it there to remind me to write a post. And what do you know today I sit down to write and behold, my paper (okay, to be honest, it was a prayer sheet from church…but hey…I have to write on whatever I find at the time…) was gone! I looked all over for it and then remembered that I cleaned off that area earlier this week and could I possibly have thrown it away?? Noooooo…surely not. So I went to my bedroom trash can and looked through it but no old prayer sheet. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ And I can’t search my main trash can because I did some crafting this morning and there is glitter and modge podge in there and EVERYONE knows you can’t open that back up.

All that to say this is pretty much the only post I remember from the list and I’m still waiting for the others to come back to my brain so this is what ya get today!

It has come to my attention that Sunday is usually the hardest day of the week for me and almost no one at my church knows it. It’s my fault. I’m really good at putting on a fake face, so good that I fool myself sometimes. I’m still learning to be more open with people. I know I need to work on it.

Sundays are hard because they require a lot of energy. Mental, spiritual, and emotional energy. There’s also pressure to be “put together and cheerful” although there shouldn’t be.

Sunday School starts at 9am. I walk to church (duh) which I love to do. Don’t get me wrong- I am surrounded (literally) by people who go to my church and would gladly give me a ride but I like the 11 minute walk there. If it’s raining, that’s another story lol. SS is great because it’s more interactive than church. But it requires more thinking and concentration- first energy drainer.

There is a half hour in between SS and worship to fellowship. My heart really likes that time because I get to talk with people and find out how they are doing. But sometimes it can be really hard, if I’m feeling lonely or tired, it’s hard to put myself out there and engage others- second energy drainer.

Worship is my favorite time because as stated before, I LOVE music! I wouldn’t trade the singing time for anything. But I also said before that the noise hurts my head most days. A lot of Sundays I think to myself, “Which would you prefer, Lord? Do you want me to stand up and be silent or would you like me to sit and actually sing? Because I’m not sure I have the energy to both stand AND sing right now.” -third energy drainer.

By this time, I’ve actually made it to the sermon. I will listen as much as I can but I won’t be able to tell you what it was about later. For instance, I can tell you my Pastor right now is preaching out of Titus on elder qualifications because we are in the middle of a pastor search but probably anyone who follows our Facebook page could say the same thing. Pretty sad, huh? Once in a while, something particular will catch my attention and will stick but not often. And taking notes actually makes it worse as weird as that sounds. I usually remember more from SS because of the interactive nature of that setting than from the sermon- fourth energy drainer.

And then I will walk home (or sometimes get a ride) to fall asleep on my couch for a while. Later that night, I’ll either go to small group or Sunday night church- fifth energy drainer.

You might be asking: why do you go if it’s so hard? I’ve asked myself that too sometimes and occasionally I need to leave early to give my brain a break. But it’s worth it. It’s worth it to fellowship with my brothers and sisters, to worship our Lord together, and to learn more about Him. My struggle is infinitely less than what he went through for me and he still counted the cost and thought it was worth it.ย What a good God!

But if you see me dazed or sleepy on a Sunday or doing something unusual (like the fact that I usually take off my shoes during the service lol…) come ask me about it and I’ll gladly explain.

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2018 in church

 

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What I Wish the Church Knew About Singles

Disclaimer: Everything you are about to read is going to be highly biased. I’m not kidding myself- I know that very well. I know that I’m basing all of this on my own experiences and on the experiences of others in my church. Your experience may be totally and completely different. Feel free to dump my opinion in the garbage if you don’t think it’s true. ๐Ÿ™‚ Also there has been such a long break between posts because of how much thinking and praying went into this post.

My family would probably call me a sneaky or snoopy person. I prefer the word observant.ย Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had the ability to somehow…um…gain information that no one else had. For instance, Mom and Dad would be planning a secret family vacation and somehow, I would be the only kid who would knew where we were going. Accused often of eavesdropping (probably true), I like to think that I just happened to overhear things that no one else did. On top of that, I love to people watch. Sit me in a coffee shop and I’m a creeper- extraordinaire. I watch what people do, but more than that, I watch their facial and body expressions. Yup, creepy, right?

So over the last few years, I have gained some knowledge in the area of singles in the church. Not only by being one, but by watching others. And I’m here to share that knowledge with you all. This is not a desperate cry for HELP! nor is it a guilt trip for the church. I’m not trying to sound petty or sarcastic, although it may come across that way at times. Please take it as a friendly post from a friendly person. Here goes:

  1. ย Singles are not scary human beings. This may seem like an odd thing to say but I have a reason. I think it’s pretty “stereotypical” for singles to complain about being left out of things at church. I also think that hospitality is one of the least taught on commands in Scripture. Let me say this: It is VERY rare for a single person to get an invitation to a family’s house for dinner. I think people feel awkward inviting just one person over. But several times I have seen it happen that as soon as there’s a couple, it’s easier for others to invite them. But the Bible commands hospitality to all, even strangers. Not just those you are comfortable with.
  2. Singles LOVE kids! This is along the lines of the last one. Most of the singles I know in my church love to be around kids. I asked for advice when writing this post and my best friend said that even to be invited over to a family’s house with the parent’s still there (AKA, not always to babysit) and just to hang out with the family. She mentioned reading stories to the kids and playing with them. Just being a part of the family.
  3. We are busy people too. This one might get a lot of “but, but, buts” coming from people. I’m saying it with a grain of salt so take it that way. Listen, we ALL have the same 24 hours in our day and we ALL choose what to do with those hours. After work, singles can choose whether they will stay home and watch Netflix, just like parents can choose how many sports their kids will participate in. Sometimes there is an assumption that if you are single, then you MUST have an abundance of extra time on your hands and you absolutely must be using that to serve or you don’t love Jesus. Now there is some truth that we don’t have a family and kids to take care of but there are singles I know that are some of the busiest people and it IS with serving! Yet they are always expected to do more because they are single.
  4. Singles are adults. I hear a lot of unhelpful/untrue statements from married people. Things like, “It’s such a shame that some guy hasn’t snatched you up yet” or “You’re going to make a wonderful wife” or “God has the right guy out there for you.” These statements give us the idea that singleness is just a transition state and actually lend towards discontentment. Also, you do not know whether a person will get married or not. It’s not up to you! Please leave the matchmaking to God and treat singles as full adults, instead of something hanging in between teens and married adults.
  5. Singles know we don’t know everything. After reading this post, you may be thinking, “You sure don’t!” Haha that’s ok. I know it. I’m thinking of one area in particular. A lot of times when you hear singles talk about marriage, if a married person is around, you will almost surely hear them pipe up, “Hey! It’s not all it’s cracked up to be!” Or something along those lines. First off, thank you for making God’s covenant design look soooo appealing. -_- Secondly, we aren’t 12 anymore. We have real expectations of marriage. We don’t expect Disney marriages. We know that marriages happen between two sinners and there are bad days, months, even years. We know that there are dishes to do, toilets to clean, bills to pay. And that’s not even adding kids into it! We know that getting married is complicated. But think back to when you were single…did you desire to be married then? Please realize that YOU are our example of Christ’s union with the church and we need good examples. They are few and far between. Actually, my best friend and I tried to think of some really good marriages (knowing that it’s only what we see from the outside) that we would look at and say, “Yeah, I would want my marriage to look like that.” We thought for a looonngg time and barely came up with two out of all the couples we knew. Please remember that none of us know everything and we can all learn from each other.

If you made it this far, congrats and thank you. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time as I watch the singles I know and I observe my own heart. By God’s grace, I’m praying we all grow closer to each other as we get closer to Christ. Feel free to comment below with any thoughts you have.

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2018 in church

 

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Theology for Dummies

Have you ever read any of the “For Dummies” books? You know which ones I mean?

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They are pretty iconic. I mean, most people would recognize them simply by the cover, even if you’ve never read one of the books. They have somewhere around 2,500 titles and over 2 million books in print. Crazy, right? The appeal is that they are easy to read for the average person and present the information in a design where the important stuff is made known so that you can recognize and remember it. I think I read one in high school but I don’t remember what it was.

But to be honest, I kind of stayed away from them because I didn’t like reading stuff written for “Dummies!” (Yeah, pride. I know.) I considered myself a pretty well-read person, for which you can thank my parents. My Dad used to read to us all the time as little kids and he can still recite the “Three Billy Goats Gruff” from memory. In fact, if I were to go home and my Dad was read a book to my younger siblings, I would be in the front row.

When we got older, my Mom read us books like King Arthur, Pilgrim’s Progress, and Canterbury Tales. We read a lot. I love books and reading. I used to get in trouble for reading too much (actually, I used to get in trouble for getting upset when people interrupted my reading…) Old English? No problem. Beowulf? Bring it on. Deep theology? My favorite.

But things are different now. My brain capacity and concentration capacity are different. And although the desire to read deep things is very real, I find myself wishing someone would write a “Theology for Dummies” book. Which sounds like a contradiction, I know. But I simply can’t comprehend the books I used to be able to read- which is SO frustrating! For instance, I’ve had Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship” sitting on my shelf for about a year now. I’ve probably started it 4-5 times and never been able to get past the first chapter because I don’t understand what I’m reading. No matter how many times I read the same sentence, I don’t get it. (Is there a kid’s version of this book??)

I used to be able to read several books at the same time and keep up with all the themes. Don’t believe me? Look what popped up on my Timehop today:

book

This was what I was reading four years ago. I liked reading more than one book at a time so that if I didn’t feel like reading one book, I had another to turn to.

But not now. It’s been frustrating but also very humbling for me. The person who used to pride herself in reading the great books of the world has been brought down to the level of a child and is thankful that she can read at all! That person who used to have 6 books by her bed that she was reading all at once is now thankful to be able to open her Bible and comprehend one single verse in it. Thankful to find those authors that do write simply. Ultimately thankful that salvation isn’t for the wise or all-knowing people but that you just have to have faith like a child. That it’s simple. Just thankful.

 

But…if you happen to find a “Theology for Dummies”, let me know. ๐Ÿ˜‰

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2018 in books, epilepsy

 

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It is Well

This morning, at 7:28am, I got a text from my best friend saying that a package was supposed to be delivered to my apartment around 7:30 so I probably wouldn’t want to get in the shower or anything. Sooo what I actually did was jump up, threw my morning hair into a messy bun, and scrambled into some semi-decent clothes, just in time to hear a very signature knock at my door. The knock gave it away because Natalie always knocks the same way and then I knew it was actually her and I needn’t have bothered.

She came because today marks 2 years from that very first seizure. It seems like sooo much longer than that- years longer. Two years ago, my life changed and went in a direction that I never expected. So she brought me an inside joke gift:

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If you read this post, then you know she did this once before when I hit another significant mark throughout this journey. Anyway, it was a great start to my morning! She is the best.

But today I want to talk about how epilepsy has effected yet another area of my life that I took for granted.

I have always loved music. I used to play piano, I took flute lessons for seven years, and it was a pretty rare day that we didn’t listen to some sort of music as kids. As an adult, I used to listen to music while I ran, while I cleaned, cooked, worked, etc. Almost constantly, I guess. It kind of ran my day.

Music is still very important to me but I have trouble listening to it now. My mind has trouble concentrating on things while listening to music and I almost CRAVE absolute silence. It’s really rare now for me to just turn on music as a background noise unless it’s for other people. That being said, I’m about to reference music and songs a lot, because they mean a lot to me. ๐Ÿ™‚

A song that is pretty popular right now and I actually really like is Even If by MercyMe. It is reminiscent of Job in my mind:

I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone

There is another line of that song that says, “Give me the strength to be able to sing, It is well with my soul.”ย I didn’t learn the truth of this phrase until recently. I grew up singing the song It is Well and my current church sings it every so often. But it wasn’t until this past year that I stood up to sing it and my mouth closed as I realized I would be lying if I spoke the words. As I stood there in silence, it occurred to me that it wasn’t well, it wasn’t okay! I was hurting in several different ways and It. Wasn’t. Well.

I knew it should be. You don’t have to tell me what the meaning behind the words is. I know about eternal perspective and focusing on Christ. But sometimes, temporary issues (whether they are physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, or all put together!) cloud our vision of Christ. Some days, it’s REALLY hard to say, It is Well. Which is one reason I love the line from Even If, “Give me the strength…” Yes, Lord! How could we possibly be okay with earthly troubles unless God gives us the strength to lean into him?? Unless he gives us the strength to say (and mean) It is Well??

There have been quite a few songs that have helped me over the last two years. I’m going to reference one more. The chorus goes like this and pretty much sums up my life:

If I ever needed grace, it’s now
You are strong when I am weak, somehow
I am weak enough to see
I need You to cover me
If I ever needed grace, it’s now

 

(Jimmy Needham, If I Ever Needed Grace)

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2018 in epilepsy

 

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American or Christian?

My Sunday School class has been doing an in depth study on the conscience recently. Which is fascinating- I don’t think I’ve ever really studied it before. We’ve talked about things your conscience can be, things it can do, how it can be misguided or aligned to truth. And all throughout the study, one particular topic keeps coming to my mind. Rarely does politics ever enter the stage of this blog, so here goes.

Last election, I did not vote for Trump. Now before all my conservative, Republican friends whip out their phones to call my parents and ask what kind of daughter they raised and all my Democrat friends starting cheering, ya might want to hold your horses. The reason I determined, after much thought and prayer, that I couldn’t vote for him, was a matter of conscience for me. It literally would have gone against my conscience to do so. Now I completely understand that is NOT the case for everyone and, while I challenged my friends to think about it, I cheerfully told them that if their conscience allowed them to vote for Trump, then go for it!

I did not vote for Clinton either. I did the unpardonable sin (apparently) in the voting world and I voted third party. Actually I did worse- I did a write in because the candidate I wanted to vote for was not on the ballot in my state. But I did it with a completely clear conscience. And yes, I heard every single argument about how that is wasting your vote and not being a good citizen and all that. Can I just say I have actually never felt as “persecuted” (I hesitate to use that word) in my whole life for a choice based on faith as I did during that time? And all the mocking was actually coming from believers and close friends of mine. Many times it brought me to tears. Really sad. Please don’t ever make fun of someone who is honestly doing something out of conscientiousness. Even if you think they are misguided. Come alongside them and talk things through, but don’t mock them.

But it brings me to my next point. Which is where I might really start to get into trouble. I have often thought that sometimes believers are Americans first and then Christians. *Indignant murmuring starts* Sometimes it seems that our allegiance is to AMERICA! and then to the Lord. Let me ask you some serious questions (and believe me when I say I have already asked myself them):

-Do you talk more about the president or about Jesus?

-Do you get more upset/offended when someone talks trash about your favorite politician or when someone misuses God’s name?

-Are you more more passionate about your gun rights or loving others with different opinions?

-Would you be more upset if someone came to take your gun away or your Bible away?

-Do you brag more about our country or about our Lord?

-What would your FaceBook/Instagram show?

These are just a few of things that I’ve thought through myself that determine where my heart is at. Yes, I am thankful to live in America. It is a blessing. But I am a believer in Christ FIRST and my heart belongs to him above everything else.

 

As usual, feel free to share your thoughts, but if you are going to rant, it probably won’t ever appear in the comments. ๐Ÿ™‚ Weird how that works, huh?

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2018 in politics

 

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