Do You Sacrifice Your Kids To Idols

A question that’s been haunting me for months now…. do I?

You know it’s so hard to discern making a blog post. Are these my thoughts or are they God thoughts? So I sit on my thoughts for weeks or months and when they don’t go away I think “ok, I’ll write.” Scary because they still could be my own and my crazy thought cycle begins. So here I am just going for it. Buckle up because it might be a wild ride with my brain….

Now obviously any parent would read that title and say absolutely not I don’t and I would never but when we break it down and really look deep into what an idol actually is then I think our answers might be….. “perhaps I do”

Idol….noun…an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship.

A common phrase I see in my study of the OT is ” you are not to make any of your children pass through the fire to Molech” ” no one among you is to make his son or daughter pass through the fire…… everyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord” and again and again you’ll read this stuff if you study your Bible. I read on the Google… that people would have kids solely so they could have kids to sacrifice… but that’s Google so back to our Bible. Now this was unacceptable behavior and God even says… more than once “I’ve never even had the thought” child sacrifice is prohibited yet the people still do it. Why?

How can we recognize a false God in our children’s lives that we might be sacrificing them to? What does this look like now.. today…. how do I know if this good thing is now a bad thing? I don’t know for sure as I am newly navigating this, but here are a few of my thoughts and I would love to know yours.

Sports are Idols! They are. They are HUGE IDOLS. Do you have to go to church to be a Christian absolutely not, can you have church on the field? Absolutely!!!! God moves all the time… BUT when our kids see us allowing coaches and organizations allowing play on Sundays and start hosting games or practice on church days we have a problem. If you find yourself saying “we hated to miss church but…” that’s an idol you are sacrificing your kids to, not because you are missing church or youth but because you have allowed it to dictate your every move including your walk with christ, your schedule, and you kids life. If you don’t want your kids to miss church then be brave and don’t let them. Is he worth it?

What about friend groups? Literally I think some parents would be better off letting their kids pass through a fire vs sending some of their kids into certain friend groups…. for whatever reason so many of us have this desire for our kids to be the popular ones, the pretty one, and based on some of these tik toks and IG posts I see maybe even the sexy one…. we allow our kids to push the limits for likes and popularity all the while cheapening their ability to look at their hearts because we have them focus on their face and their friend groups vs their hearts and relationships with Christ. I can tell you right now being in my 10th year of ministry, if you want your child to be a true Christian, not a professing one, but an actual one, you don’t want them to be popular (always an exception I know) this is a big one I see. Do you? are you sacrificing your kids to it?

School…. this is a hard one. Possibly the hardest one for me. School is important but man oh man do we ever turn this into an IDOL. They say when people were sacrificing their kids to Molech they would beat drums really loud so the moms couldn’t hear the screams….. parents your kids are screaming and the screams of success are the drums. Can I tell you a secret I believe with all my heart. If my kids grow up to be rich and successful but don’t walk in the light of my precious Lord and Savior they are so so poor. If my boys grow up with a small salary yet do their best at everything in every area and are Kingdom Men and Kingdom Seekers then they’ve won the jackpot. You see I don’t want them to leave a legacy, I want them to love God. The amount of stress I see kids in over school should not be. We aren’t raising our kids to be successful by the earths standards so if you have your eye on one of my kids for your daughter but think they need much success to “take care of her”,you may want to rewind what you just read…. I just want kingdom men, movers, and Seekers.

I think what we need to start asking ourselves is “does this matter eternally?” Because what matters eternally is what matters most. Truly nothing else matters in this life. Nothing.

Anyway Covid has me continually (as you can tell by my ramblings) reflecting on my heart and our family dynamic more than ever before, thanks for reading my ramblings πŸ™‚

-adrienne

Dear Michael Vick,

I forgive you and so does my precious lord and savior. Do you know him? I know the dog fighting Vick didn’t know my God but hopefully the remorseful Vick does. If you don’t and if for some crazy reason you read this letter I’d love to tell you about him and all the wonderful things he’s done in my life. You have a lot of haters….. a lot of haters on my social media pages that say they also know my God, but if they do know him they know you can’t hate someone God loves. I have haters on my social media pages that believe it’s ok to kill an unborn baby too, but not dogs and that just doesn’t make sense to me, does it make sense to you? I have commented on a few posts in your defense only to be called “forgiving” in a way that wasn’t actually a compliment…. my heart is so heavy on this topic. Is the court system flawed? Yes 100%. Should your punishment have been worse? Probably. I don’t know your heart now. Was your heart in an evil place? Yes for sure, but where is it now? I don’t know? Are you sorry for what you did or are you sorry you got caught? People are saying you shouldn’t be a role model. I think if people say you can’t be a role model then they have to say Jesus disciple Paul can’t be a role model either because of who he once was. Have we gotten to a place on this earth where a human life is viewed as less important than an animal’s life?… I serve a God of forgiveness, restoration, healing, & love. A God that was pursuing you as you did unspeakable things to his creation. I serve a God who can transform you into a completely new person so you can use your platform for his glory. Vick you can be a role model if you want to be and maybe just maybe the good lord kept you in the league for a reason. Maybe he is positioning you for his purpose. Maybe God is doing something we can’t see yet and that we may never see. I don’t know. I just know God forgives you. I know he longs for you to know him and I know the UGLY things I’ve seen so called Christian’s say about you and the hate in people’s heart towards you is a huge stumbling block for the Christian faith and goes against everything our God teaches. I forgive you Micheal Vick and most importantly God does too. For me it’s not about right or wrong but is my response christ like. Am I always perfect at this nope, but am I child of God if I’m not trying?
Our punishments can never be enough. We can never serve enough of our time. We are all sinners and we all fall short of the glory of God. The justice people are seeking will never be enough. Your punishment will never be enough. Nothing you do will ever be enough our sins are to many! Praise God that he doesn’t keep score and although we may never be enough we will be forgiven. We will be made clean. We will be given a new name from a man who hung on the cross and died the most horrific death as a propitiation for your sins. To forgive you, me, dog fighters, liars, cheaters, lustful thinkers, adulterers, & murderers.
β€œA new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 13:34-35

But You Should See Me Naked

I always promise honestly and full transparency on my social media. What you see is real life. No shows from me. So with that being said….. lol I’m about to get really real.
“You should see me naked” this is a phrase that rules my life and my thoughts when allowed and it isn’t in a good way AT ALL. I have worked SO HARD on my health the last year. Please note I said health and not my body!!!! Naturally I have had people notice.”Adrienne you look great keep up the good work.” And “Who is your trainer you look amazing?” And almost every single time my first thought is…… “well you should see me naked.” You see my kids literally ravaged my body. Ravaged!!!! I told a girl at a pool once I was attacked by a bear and she believed it… so no matter how hard I work how clean I eat some things about my body will not change. This is why I quit caring about my health in the first place because I knew the damage had been done and I’d never be “sexy” again. I knew men were visual and if I wasn’t sexy my husband’s eyes couldn’t be satisfied by me so why even try…. you see. I was missing the fact that number 1. my body is temporary and 2. my body gave life!!! I grew 2 children birthed one and had the other one CUT OUT OF ME. I will not lie and say it does not sting when someone says “oh but look at the life you created” because it does and let’s get real guys plenty of us still have a dang six pack after giving birth and I do not. So Quit saying that to people who feel like their bodies got destroyed lol it doesn’t make us feel better at all!!! If anything it just feels unfair.. but that’s just it life isn’t fair. Life is just unfair. So you can wallow in it. Or can can get over it. Due to my health issues I was forced to get in shape. More importantly I was forced to quit focusing on my body and to focus on my HEALTH and I have had so much freedom in this. When I chose to not compare my body to my sister’s post baby 8 pack I felt Free!!!! Do not believe the lies the devil feeds you. See life in whatever your post baby looks like. Understand that yes your husband is visual but really they just want to see you naked no matter what you weigh Hahahaha Brad is proud of me. That makes me attractive. Brad is impressed with me. That is attractive. When he hears people say I look great he probably thinks “I get to see her naked and means it” And as corny as it sounds and as much as I sometimes don’t believe it for myself sometimes, truly my heart for the Lord is what he is attracted to the most. Beauty is fleeting, for some of us faster that others, but a woman who fears (to fear means to lose him. To lose contact with him. To fear losing relationship with him) the lord is to be praised. Can you please believe that!!!! I think God made me sick so I would focus on my health instead of my body. I hope my struggles will help you not struggle. I hope you’ll see God in everything; In your body, in your children, in nature… maybe not in bugs. Bugs are gross and when someone compliments you or your hard work in the gym or just in life do not allow satan to take that away from you. DO NOT. He is real and he will do whatever he can to rule your life and immobilize you. He knows your weakness and trust me he’ll use it. You know what he doesn’t know? Your future. So decide now you’ll fight his lies. Decide now to believe in yourself. Decide now that no matter what happens to your body you are so much more than your looks!!! You are a child of God and even after DEATH children of God aren’t immobilized because God is powerful enough to use death for his good and the seeds from the fruit we plant will last until the end of time. We are a force to be reckoned with. We are life givers. We are life growers. We are life adopters. We are beautiful. The devil can whisper lies in your ear but you can whisper right back to him that his lies aren’t welcome in your mind. Don’t let him immobilize you with lies. Stay HEALTHY friends.

Love Is A Choice

13 years ago I would have argued with you that love is most definitely a feeling. A feeling that..if it goes away meant the love was gone and you probably just picked the wrong person. 13 years ago I said in my brain if the love faded and if he sucked I had a way out…. divorce. Oh my goodness Please hear me and believe me when I say that I was DEAD WRONG. The devil is destroying relationships, marriages, and families 1 by 1 based on this horrific thought process. Please don’t buy into it.

As I reflect on the last 13 years of life with my husband I would say he’s been the most stable minded of the 2 of us. I doubt this is a surprise to anyone. Divorce has never came out of his mouth and to my knowledge has never crept into his thoughts. For him, love has always been a choice and he chose me. Divorce was never and has never been an option for him thank God. As for me? I needed more convincing and had to learn to choose love.

Sometimes it’s hard to love people. Brad is the most aggressive driver I’ve ever met. While in the car I spend 99% of my time reiterating what a great man he is and 1% of the time talking myself out of punching him… in the face. That would be unsafe and cause a wreck also those percentages aren’t truthful Jesus really knows….

Sometimes it’s easy.. Brad wakes me up every single morning…. sometimes I think he slams the drawers hard on purpose but that brings me back to love is a choice.. I digress…. Brad wakes me up every morning… cooks my breakfast. Makes my coffee.. and makes sure I have lunch. I would assume these are the mornings he is choosing to love me yet it is easy for me to love him πŸ™‚ he’s super sexy, he loves the lord, he loves to serve, he works so HARD, and he’s the best dad in the whole wide world. So attractive to see a dad be a dad. So easy to LOVE!

The easiest love comes when we serve together. It is a very thin place for me. The most connected I feel we are to christ, each other, and when he is 100% the most attractive to me. This is what marriage is all about y’all. It isn’t about us and how we feel. It is about how we choose to live with each other. It’s about choosing wisely so you can serve strongly!!! That’s why when we serve together it feels like such a thin place because it is and that’s why we feel so close and so attracted to each other because we are a powerful force in these moments. We are doing what we were created to do and we are moving with God not just in God’s direction! 1990s Chicago Bulls team work kinda stuff. (I hope that is when they were good).

LOVE IS A CHOICE and when God is first in your life and in your marriage it is a much easier choice. We don’t fake our lives and our daily choosing of each other. If you’ve served with us or been part of our lives in any way you know this to be true. He’s easy to love. I’m probably not. He annoys me. I annoy him. He likes to cuddle I don’t. He speeds a lot. I speed a little. He’ll stare you down with his scary sunglasses. I won’t but in my head I will. He’ll make cookies until 1 a.m. I’ll eat them. He’ll cut up with the boys in public while I roll my eyes because that isn’t acceptable public behavior. He won’t let the boys lean on rails because it terrifies me. He remembers things. I forget literally everything…. he leads with Christ and I happily follow.

Brad, you are truly the love of my life. I am thankful you’ve taught me what love truly is and what true agape love looks like. I’m thankful I am your choice. I’m thankful for the Godly man you are and for the Godly man I know you’ll continue to choose to be. I’m thankful for the father you are and for living a life full of Christ like examples. I am thankful you were right about love and I was wrong. πŸ™‚ I’m so thankful we are the 1990s Chicago bulls team even if Micheal Jordan is the only one I know and I know he would be Jesus so I don’t know what players we would be…. I am most thankful you react based on Christ’s principles and expectations and not your feelings. Thank you so much for choosing me. I love you. Cheers to many more fun times and more love than imaginary punches πŸ˜‰ you are my favorite choice. Happy 13!

To the greatest Dad I’ve ever met! Spoiler alert I am married to him.

If I had known who I was marrying I never would have pursued him because I never in a million years would have felt like I would ever be worthy enough to have this man beside me for the rest of my life. I’m not putting on a social media show when I say “I struck GOLD” when I chose Brad to be my forever and the father of my kids. You see society has put a stigma on dads. Guys society says you are clueless & absent and sometimes I feel like dads are starting to believe it….. “I’m just supposed to make the money and pay the bills…. mom can dress the kids, mom can put them to bed, bathe them, cook, clean, wake up with them in the middle of the night, console them when they are sad or hurt, etc. Let me tell you right now guys, you are so much more than a paycheck and the dude I married!? Yea, he gets it. He’s my spouse, my partner in crime, my right hand man, my wingman, peanut butter to my jelly, my….. you get the point. We cringe when we hear a dad rave about how he “helped” his wife. “Bro, you did what?, way do something you should be doing all the time anyway?!” Brad is a needle in a haystack I tell ya, he doesn’t “help” me, thankfully he just parents. In our life it has looked and looks like this…..

Waking up in the middle of the night to change diapers since he couldn’t breastfeed.

Sleeping in shifts because of my post partum and lack of sleep being a trigger when HE had to get up and work in the morning but I didn’t.

Being real and raw and human yet also a little super hero (thank you God) when your wife and kid almost die during a traumatic birth.

Making cookies until the wee hours due to a break ups, mission trips, birthdays, college visits, or because he simply just loves the kids that asked for them.

T

He is the dad that truly enjoys all his kids events instead of secretly wishing he wasn’t there. He swells with pride watching his kids and even his “not kids” compete or perform and he typically cries.

Hes the dad in the pool playing with our kids and probably yours.

He’s the dad who is always up for wrestling with the boys even when it’s bedtime……

He works hard on everything he does including a fire pit for multiple family s’mores nights with friends.

He cooks dinner, he cooks breakfast & He’s a professional barista.

He’s a husband, a preacher, a coach, a leader, a handyman, a mechanic, a gym buddy, a nurse, a chef, a costume maker, a seamstress (yeeeees he can sew)

He teaches the kids about deodorant and why you need it, and he’ll teach them how to shave when that time comes.

Seriously I could die tomorrow and while everyone would be super sad because let’s face it I’m pretty awesome….. the life we’ve created wouldn’t miss a beat. He wouldn’t be lost in the sense of our home life.

He’s the dad that learns how to french braid hair for our youth girls and nieces and he does so happily

He’s the dad that lets kids call him “Betty Brad” and he’s proud of that title.

he’s always ready to give the best hugs to anyone that needs it.

When his wife (that’s me) is sick for years……he carries the whole entire load.

He’s in tune, and he ain’t afraid to lay down the law on some kiddos (insert scary dad voice)

He has high expectations for our kids and leads those expectations by example.

He’ll move a house all day then surprise the kids with a drive in movie!

He’ll screen/ meet/ scare (if necessary) a boyfriend for a youth girl, he will always listen and give advice.

He’s not below a face mask if a certain niece tells him to do it

He does it all. He really does. He’s superman and I’m so very thankful for who he chooses to be Every. Single. Day.

He loves the lord and it shows!!!!!

He is not a helper, he is a dad and if you don’t dad like Brad are you really even dadding?

P.s. you know that bedtime wrestling I mentioned….. yea a kid is crying so I’m gonna check that….. kylor ran into a wall….

Dear Buyers,

We just sold you a home not a house. You see my husband and I lost our first home and it was during this time our relationship with God grew exponentially. We saw him very clearly in our lives and were fortunate to see our “why”. He grew us and he grew us pretty dang big. We are forever grateful for the season of life that lead us to this home and we were blessed to live a lot of life here! We have had many first and last days of school, first lost teeth, Christmas mornings, ( if you decide to have children it’s super fun to set the presents up in the den and make them wait on you to get your coffee before seeing what Santa brought, assuming you do Santa ) nerf wars, mud wallows (don’t ask ), birthday parties, health struggles and overcoming health struggles! We have celebrated so much more than we grieved. I hope you do as well.

O

Your home was also a home to MANY youth students. We made long lasting relationships and impressions on a lot of lives. We hosted bible studies, prayed many prayers, roasted lots of s’mores on firepit nights, ate lots of food at the huge picnic table, made slip and slides, and suprise parties were thrown. Many many tears good and bad were shed, tables for college apartments were built, late night phone calls were abundant, many house keys were given out, and last but certainly not least our home was the birth place of “Betty Brad break up cookies.” They are famous and put a lot of smiles on a lot of faces. (No he doesn’t share the recipe so don’t ask) You see, this home wasn’t just our home it was A LOT of people’s home away from home. (you are def. Gonna wanna change those locks)

I want you to know I’ve prayed for you. I’ve prayed for your marriage and I’m praying for your hearts. This house comes with a torch to carry and I hope you carry it well, I hope you love people like Jesus, I hope you invest in your marriage so you are better equipped to invest in others. I hope you love each other well here and I hope you choose each other daily no matter what life throws your way. I don’t remember a whole lot of sadness in this home and I hope it treats you the same. The home we are selling you is so full of love and happiness and I’m counting on you to keep it full.

This verse is perfect for us and I know will be perfect for y’all, “The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” -Matthew 7:25

We love you and we are excited for you.Brad, Adrienne, Hudson, & Kylor

P.s.
Please take care of our/your neighbors across the street in both houses. They are special people, say hello, give them a hug, take care of each other like the good old days and if/when Kyle’s cat gets out please help her get her back that cat is her child and she loves her dearly.

Getting My Health Back

I had accepted the fact that I might end up in a wheelchair. I had accepted that our lives as a family may change. I had not however decided to quit fighting. I was just stubborn enough to refuse to let anyone see me give up, no matter how much pain or how much weakness overtook my body I refused to allow people to know. I failed sometimes, but for the most part I tried to suffer in silence…. until I couldn’t.

How about a backstory…. 2012 partial Hysterectomy, 2013 full hysterectomy and I have not been the same since. I used to paint, I used to create, I used to have a teeny business called H&K Designs. I wasn’t great at what I did, but I LOVED IT. One day the pain became to much and I quit creating. I used to run, play church softball, sprint to see Brad at the end of a Spartan Race, walk all day at Ikea ( my favorite place) go up and down each aisle at Costco with no problem, until I could’t, so I quit or didn’t go, or forced myself and paid the price from it. You see somewhere along the way each and every thing I did became a trade off….. if I do this, I know I won’t be able to do that. Everything took thought… our spring break vacation became ” but will I be able to do this?” Our week serving at The Lighthouse became ” what if I can’t do it this year?” I honestly just thought about staying home.

Dr. visit after Dr. visit, blood draw after blood draw no one knew what was wrong with me. We finally settled on Sojourns, Fibro, and possibly EDS-hypermobility type and we knew for sure I was crazy hypermobile, yet no one could understand the weakness I was experiencing so I was given a pain pill RX for my “really bad days” and Celebrex for the other days, Out of all the Docs. I saw only one talked to me about my diet and getting active. Chris Yamamoto for the win πŸ™‚ he didn’t know what was wrong but he knew if I would just get active it would help, now let me pause here…. If your dr. doesn’t start with diet, and physical activity before he hands out medicine, you need to find a new Dr. Unpause… I didn’t get active, I honestly thought I couldn’t, I didn’t think it was “my time yet” as a mother, and I didn’t want to hurt, so i just continued to fight through each and every day. I would talk myself out of bed in the morning because I knew when my feet hit the floor it would feel like the bones in my feet were breaking. I would talk myself into going to work because I loved my job and didn’t want to lose it and I knew if I did the depression would find a way back into my life. I knew taking a shower and fixing my hair were out of the question and I would have to choose… shower or fix my hair and sometimes I would pick neither. Standing and walking was a constant battle of give up or keep going. I had to think my way into everything I did because I felt like my body was just quitting and I had no idea how to stop it.

My diet was terrible, we ate out every single night. I love nothing more than gathering at the table with my family for a meal, but I had to choose nightly between dinner or cleaning, or showering, or youth, or small group, or laundry, or taking care of a dog or going to the grocery store, or a baseball game, so I always chose something else. I let my diet go last when it should have been first. I wanted energy to be present in other areas so I didn’t let my energy go to cooking, besides that, I couldn’t cut up veggies or really prepare anything because the weakness in my body had gotten so extreme.

I oftentimes would find myself upset with holding my family back or asking them to slow down when I could not walk as fast at them. I was so afraid my kids would grow up resentful of a mom that would not play with them or would ask for help from them so often. I would tell Brad to leave me, to please go find someone else that was not sick. Those were on my worst days, when I would allow the self pity to take over. They were not often but they happened. I always try to remain in a posture of learning, I heard on The Walking Dead once, ” one day this pain will be useful to you.” I always try to consider any trial pure joy because tests produce perseverance and if I allow God to work through me then no matter what life sends my way fruit will be produced. I may never see it but that is ok, I am ok with it. So when the bad days were REALLY BAD, and I wanted to leave this earth, I would remind myself, God is in control and one day this would be useful to me or someone else and that is ok, I AM OK.

One of my nieces favorite versus in the bible is, ” The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still.” I also love this verse, I know plenty of times when we do just need to be still and let God work, however… right after that The Lord says to Moses, Why are you crying out to me? Tell your people to MOVE ON!!!!!! You see God works, but sometimes, most of the time, you have to do your part, you have to raise your staph and rely on faith that God will part your sea and all you have to do is MOVE through it and together you will win the battle and the enemy you are facing will drown. So let’s go πŸ™‚

I have no idea how I wound up the Calhoun Spine and Wellness Center, but I did. I had an adjustment went through all these test, got on a scale that told me exactly how fat I was lol and left. I followed up with an appointment that told me how unhealthy I was, that was super fun time…. I already knew I was unhealthy, I already knew I needed to be healthy, I knew how to eat clean and I knew how important it was to my body. I WAS AFRAID TO TRY. I hate disappointment, I hate failing, I hate it when stuff doesn’t work and I didn’t think this would work. I am not even sure Dr. Derrick thought his 8 Weeks to Wellness plan would work but he was confident it would leave me better than I was. Now, if anyone is a financial burden on a family, it is me. I have been since I was born. I have had tons of surgeries, ER visits, broken bones, etc. so I despise being a medical burden on Brad. The last thing I wanted to do was pay for something else related to my health!! Brad decided that I was going to join so I hesitantly signed up, Brad and I basically decided it was a last ditch effort and what did we have to lose? I had to try.

Holy crap what an amazing 8 weeks it was. For anyone wondering what 8 Weeks To Wellness is, it is a whole health approach to your lifestyle. You train with a trainer, get regular adjustments, weekly massages, and you meet with a dietician. It is accountability on steroids!!! My diet had a major overhaul. It was hard but Katie finally said to me, ” you have to decide what is worth it to you.” at that moment I knew I didn’t have a choice, I could strive in my new lifestyle or I could waste away in my old one. The foods I have had to give up and the house that stays a little more cluttered so I can train are totally worth Brad and my boys having their wife and mommy back and almost better than ever. Week one was hard, I was so afraid. The things they made me do in the gym seemed impossible. My legs were so weak I always felt like I was going to fall. At one point I got so mad I cried and told the trainer ” I don’t think you understand me or or my condition!” comical I know, she had asked me to do the elliptical for 15 min. instead of 10 ….. she did know my condition but somehow someway she knew me more. In the days that I had known her she knew I had to be pushed. She promised me she wouldn’t let me fall and I never did. She even held me while I did my box steps ups haha. She knew my health was a mental game that I had a very hard time playing and she was patient, she never let me give me up, she never let me fall, and forced me to keep going.

The turning point to my health journey was a trip to Costco hahahahaha, we were walking and shopping when suddenly I realized… My legs aren’t shaking and they don’t feel weak, and I don’t feel like I am going to fall down. Brad almost cried, and Hudson breathed a sigh of relief and said ” it is what we have been praying for mom.” it was then I knew that this program was working. I was getting stronger and healthier. Week after week I would feel stronger, it no longer felt like my bones were breaking when I stepped out of bed, It no longer took every ounce of energy I had to take a shower!!! I no longer had to choose between a shower or fixing my hair, I could do BOTH. We also noticed any set back I had we could trace to food. I am still in the process of learning what foods trigger me, but I know for sure nitrates, nitrites, and artificial sweeteners will trigger widespread pain in 15 min. or less. Pain so bad it hurts for me to breath, so we avoid those like the plague. We have learned gluten takes me back to muscle weakness and fatigue as well as pain. I can tolerate dairy in small amounts, and I still sneak a Brad cookie because, well, have you ever had Brad cookies? For the most part I am learning what foods are life giving for me and what foods are life taking. I know if sounds extreme to compare foods to life but for me and for some of you reading this, they are.

So here I am a little more than 8 weeks later, I just celebrated my new life with Hudson at SuperFly πŸ™‚ I was able to hang with him just fine, no weakness, no anxiety, no recovering, no trade offs, just pure joy! Pure FUN!!! I can’t wait to go hiking because the last time I went my legs went numb and I had to use Brad as a crutch and talk my legs into moving haha. I know I can conquer it now and I would put money on it I could do it faster than my kids πŸ™‚ I get stronger everyday and look forward to the days ahead, don’t get me wrong I always tried to stay positive and I was able to most days, but we all have days where the fight is hard. I look forward to camping, I look forward to helping more, I look forward to carrying Hudson or Kylor to their beds because I can now hahaha. I love showing people how strong I am. I love that Kylor can crawl up in my lap and I don’t have to fight back tears because of the pain. I love that if I go to costco on saturday I can still go to church on Sunday haha. I love that I feel like I have my life back! I love that, Lord willing I will continue to get stronger, and I will continue to be able to do his work in a state of health, and if not he is still good and that is ok. More than anything I am thankful. I am thankful for my God, who speaks to me through his words in the Bible, I am thankful for Brad who made me do this haha, I am thankful for my kids who aren’t brats and who went right along with the 8 weeks with happy little hearts ( most of the time) I am thankful for the abundance of prayers, prayers in my presence and prayers in the privacy of peoples own homes and hearts, I felt them. I am thankful for my youth girls, college and high school, who loved me anyway and would make sure I was always ok. I am thankful for my friends who remained my friends when I was not a good friend to them. I am so thankful and I love my friends that now feel like my family at Calhoun Spine and Wellness Center SO MUCH!!!! Please if you are struggling , before you give up please give this program a chance, and do it, really do it, do the diet, do the training, do it all exactly how they tell you to. You have nothing to lose yet so much to gain.

P.S. I was taking 3 benadryl to sleep at night for the past 5 years a celabrex and sometimes a hydrocodone. Now I take one benadryl and that’s all. I call that progress.

 

Cookies

So Hudson is learning to bake. He is becoming a self taught baker/ mini Brad. I came home from work and was greeted with a wonderful smell of fresh baked cookies the size of my hands and surprisingly for a ten year old they were delicious. I was very proud of Hudson; However, Hudson was not proud of Hudson. He was not proud of the cookies because the cookie dough didn’t taste good……… I was flabbergasted!!! “Hudson buddy it doesn’t matter what the dough taste like, it’s the final outcome that is important! Your cookies were great you did a good job.” Defeated he kinda shrugs and I softly hear ” ok.” I felt terrible. How could I help him understand his cookies were great. He did good and he can always try again? He did try again and this time he added to much baking powder and they were more like scones than cookies yet still had good flavor, again, I was proud. So here i am rambling about cookies only to say that as I was loading the dishwasher the lord said to me, ” we do that you know?” We focus on the middle or what we think is yucky versus what God makes beautiful. We see yucky cookie dough and he sees the finished product. The final cookie. His perfectly imperfect cookie. Haha. We might have to much baking powder but he uses other things to balance us out and we still come out good.

Ha this may be one of my most random blogs yet but I absolutely love when the lord points things out to me in the strangest of ways and even more so through my kids. Don’t focus on your yucky. Don’t focus on your past. Look towards the cookie. See what God sees! He loves you and you are beautiful and I know a lot of people that get stuck on what they think is yucky instead of focusing on what God makes good.

Peter or Judas?

I am not sure if I created this phrase but I feel like I did so I am going to just go with it….. “Don’t be such a Judas!” ( I don’t think I did? Where did this come from?) Not to be disrespectful of Judas or anything but if he isn’t the perfect example of how often we just quit on ourselves and accept who we think we are or have become then I don’t know who is.

I had a devotion the other day that talked about how if we ever question the ginormous amount of grace God gives to us we should consider Peter. Peter who literally said he had no idea who Jesus was and then Jesus still used him to advance his kingdom…. I don’t know man I think if I was Jesus I would be like; “suit yourself kid, I will find someone else.” but isn’t it neat how persistent God is? He was pretty set on Peter, but what about Judas and how on earth does this apply to me or you?

Luke states that, Satan entered Judas and that is when he went and made a deal to hand Jesus over. My first thought is man that is really creepy sounding, but when I really thought about it I realized that this is sin in your face in the purest form. We let Satan in and we let him win. Like Judas, we allow sin/satan to come into our lives and sometimes we allow it to take over, yet we still go through all the motions with God. We eat dinner with him, take communion, and kiss him right before we turn our backs on him and let satan/sin take root in our hearts. Sometimes unlike Judas, we pull a Peter… We think we are GOOD so good, BFF status with Jesus until we are faced with something hard or very scary. Peter was afraid and Judas was greedy. Fear and greed are motivational sins and not in a good way. These sins will motivate us to do things we never thought we would do. Peter denied Jesus. He literally said I do not know this man!!! Judas denied him for money. We do that don’t we? We really tell God we don’t know him when we say “I don’t need you or I don’t want anything to do with you right now because it isn’t very convenient or profitable for me at this moment.”

Luke 22:62, after the rooster crowed Peter realized what he had done and he ” left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.”

Matthew 27:3 Judas changed his mind and gave the money back.

Here is where my heart breaks into a million pieces and I feel so sad for God’s children. Peter just left. I have no clue where he went or what he did he probably hid for a little while and stayed out of the spotlight because even though he was sad he was probably still a little afraid. Maybe he was so full of remorse he just couldn’t leave wherever he went? Who knows, but we do know he was upset with no one else but himself. Judas? well he hangs himself. He kills himself. He commits suicide. HE DECIDED HE WAS NO LONGER WORTHY so he took his own life. Judas decided that he couldn’t be used by God any longer. Enter 90% of the population that struggles with past or present sin issues. We mess up. Some of us feel like we mess up so much worse than the next guy. We continue to turn our backs on God and let satan/sin fill our hearts because we don’t feel good enough or worthy enough and we allow our guilt to defeat us. We feel remorse and we stay there.We stay there and kill ourselves spiritually. We decide we can’t be used, we decide we can’t share our story, we decide we aren’t good enough, we decide God or anyone else for that matter, can’t love us after what we did, we decide our story is to bad to share with the hopes of helping someone so we hang our heads in shame and don’t allow God to use all things for his glory. WE decide, and like Judas we never give God a chance to transform our hearts, to pursue us with relentless love, or to show us exactly what grace and agape love looks like. Selfishly we decide our fate instead of humbly allowing God to work in our lives.

Peter…… I find it very interesting and by no accident that in John 21:15- 17 God asks Peter 3 times if he loves him. Almost like this was his way of allowing Peter the chance to accept him 3 times after denying him 3 times. Then Jesus does even more with Peter. He doesn’t just give him the opportunity to say he loves him, Jesus gives him work to do and I am not just talking about filing some papers in the back of the office. He gave Peter big work to do!!! Feed my lambs Jesus said. Take care of my sheep. Feed my sheep. Between me and you I don’t think he was legit talking about actual sheep and lambs. Advance my kingdom, tell my story! Teach my story, teach my people! Peter, who turned his back and pretended not to know the guy was now given a commandment to serve him. “I forgive you now let’s get to work!” My notes say at this moment Peter turned from fisherman to evangelist. Feeding the lost and also teaching the ones who are hungry to learn and to help advance the kingdom! Peter didn’t decide for God, he let God decide.

We all struggle with sin, shame, guilt, etc. it is my hope and plea that when you find yourself drowning in those thoughts or that reality that you will remember Judas and Peter. You will see the undeserved grace God so freely gives to us. Not just a little bit of grace, but big grace that includes big opportunities to share Gods love and grace with others. You will see where you are tempted to pull a Judas and count yourself out and give up and you will fight that and you will know those thoughts aren’t from God and you will proclaim Gods grace and love over your life. You will believe he can use ALL THINGS for good and you will let him.

You will not be a Judas.

Get Your Shoes On……..

Can we thrive when we don’t fully know and can never really control what happens?

Last week our preacher started a series entitled “Thrivin”. During this sermon he brought up the painstaking process of kids and SHOES!!!! I mean for crying out loud can I get an amen? First of all I am so glad that I am not alone in this never ending shoe drama. My kids are down right impossible with shoes. ” Hey kids, are you ready for school?” ” Yes mom!” ( insert eye roll because ugh I am so annoying with all my morningly questions) ” Ok lets go!” Looks at feet……. ” Oh my gosh where are your shoes!!!!!!” So anyway back to his story. He noted that first of all, kids shoes are all over the place. You have one in the laundry basket and one in the car. (If you don’t have this problem your life is a lie.) So when you tell your kids to get their shoes on it’s a feat in itself to find two of the same shoe. Secondly, if you just say ” kids get your shoes on…” it usually met with, ” why where are we going? Do I have to wear shoes? Whyyyyyyyyyyyy” But if you say ” kids get your shoes on we are going to Krispy Kreme!!!!!!” The shoes are on their feet and they have beat you to the car.Β He of course pointed out how we do this to God ALL THE TIME! We moan and groan and we ask why and we move slow and we question 9 out of 10 times when God simply tells us to get our shoes on instead of just trusting that he could be taking us to Krispy Kreme andΒ  that he is possibly about to show up in an extraordinary way.

About 8 years ago my husband was laid off of work. He had the BEST job, flexible, family oriented, and closely bonded. He was convinced he would retire from this place. On the day he got laid of he says he remembers holding his box of stuff and just saying ” Why God?” Oh it brings tears to my eyes still. In that moment, I know God was just saying ” Brad get your shoes on buddy, I got you, I have your family, I see your future, just get em on and trust me.” During this time I also had no job. I looked but being a gal with no college degree in a tanked economy didn’t bode well when taking into account what childcare cost. We just had no luck. Again, wondering ” why?” We lost our home, filed bankruptcy, and moved in with my mother. Some people judge us unfairly for this and I have just now gotten to a point in my life where I am ok and I do not feel ashamed to share what we did. I am not ashamed because again I was granted the opportunity to see Gods had in my life. I knew just enough about trusting Jesus at that time to just go with it. Let Go Let God, I grew up with that phrase in my house and in this moment that is all we had. Well, once we got moved into my moms house it wasn’t long after that we found out we were expecting. We were not trying and in fact we were preventing. My husband says ” I felt like such a loser, having to tell her parents we were pregnant. Here we were, in the basement, no jobs, and oh… yea I got her pregnant.”

A few short months later the “why God” was revealed. You see that sweet little baby we didn’t plan on having made a grand entrance into this world. On February 17, 2010 Kylor was born. He was 3 pounds and 15 inches long. He was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck was “flat” whatever that means, he had to be resuscitated, and he had to be intubated and on a vent. I had preeclampsia and a placental abruption. My husband had both of us in intensive care. The intensive care unit Kylor was in opened just 17 days before his birth. We were in GREAT hands. NICU stays are like a very UN fun rollercoaster. Very up and down and very emotionally exhausting. We stayed there from Feb.17, 2010 until April 29, 2010 two days after his original due date. Kylor has hydrocephalus and that along with some other things required a few transfers to CHOA.Β  I could have done all this alone while my husband had a full time job but I thank GOD all the time I didn’t have too. I also thank God he didn’t have to.Β  I thank God for this experience because for some strange reason going through something very very hard with Brad brought us closer together as a couple and in our relationship with the Lord. I told Brad the whole time ” Brad we have something to learn through all this, we can’t miss the it.” and I am thankful we both leaned into God and the community that supported us and loved us during this time. I am thankful for the card that we were dealt in order to put us in the position we were in at the time of Kylors birth.

How does this story all fit together? Well, if Brad had not of gotten laid off, I would have due to insurance, had to receive care from our local hospital, if Kylor was born in this local hospital he would have died. I don’t say that as a diss, I say that because of the care he required that just would not have been available. I just know. Before my c-section began I asked the Dr. if he was going to die or if I was going to die. His response, ” my goal is for neither one of you to die.” It was a serious situation and a high level NICU was needed. God had me where IΒ  needed to be and I know it.

Sometimes God tells us to put our shoes on and eventually we see the journey he was taking us on, and unfortunately sometimes we do not.

We can’t control our futures, but we can control our responses.

Daniel in Daniel 1-16 was taken from his home to serve the king, had his name changed from Daniel (God is my judge) to Belteshazzar (Bel, protect his life, Bel was the chief babylonian god) had to learn a new language and had to eat the kings food, yet Daniel never waivers in his devotion to God. He doesn’t focus on these facts that have changed the direction he felt like maybe his life was going or should be going in. Daniel just kinda gets his shoes on says ok, God, if this is Krispy Kreme or Kroger I am with ya. Wherever it is Lord, I will trust you, I will honor you, and I will remain obedient to you.Β  If I get Babylon, orΒ  Kroger when I wanted Krispy Kreme I will pre decide how I will respond.

Let this be our prayer for 2018, even if like me after all the life you have lived “bad news” terrifies you and makes your heart ache. Psalm 112:7 says ” they will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.”

In what ways is God asking or has he asked you to just be obedient and put your shoes on?

P.S. The place that laid Brad off……he went back to work there and he is still there today.