42 Things I Want You to Know about Sex

Tonight, you saw your daddy grab my bum. And ya know what? I’m okay with that. In fact, I am COMPLETELY and ENTIRELY okay with that.

Why?

Glad you asked.

In fact, while I’m at it, I’ll go ahead and share a whole list of things I want you to know (over time) about sex.

Make no mistake, you’ll hear these words come straight from your mama’s mouth as you grow, but figured it wouldn’t hurt to get a head-start on brainstorming my list.

So here goes…

  1. Sex is not a naughty, cuss word.
  2. Sex was God’s idea, not man’s.
  3. God wrote about sex. If you don’t believe me, check out that little book called “Song of Solomon.” Kids, that “garden” wasn’t filled with tulips and that “cluster of grapes” wasn’t attached to a vine.
  4. Sex is like riding a roller-coaster. It’s safe when you wear the harness, but it’s not safe when you don’t. Marriage is the harness that God intended; wear the harness………………………………..
  5. Sex outside of marriage can cloud your judgment and lead you down a bunch of unwanted paths.
  6. Though sex may feel good, it doesn’t mean it is “good.”
  7. Sex is never casual.
  8. Sex is not supposed to happen in a group or on the computer.
  9. You don’t have to have sex with someone to know you love them.
  10. Sex outside of marriage is sin.
  11. Sex outside of marriage can have long-reaching consequences.
  12. Sex outside of marriage is not an unforgivable, unpardonable sin.
  13. Intercourse is not the only thing that falls into the “sex box;” don’t fool yourself.
  14. “Having a baby” isn’t the main reason why we abstain from sex outside of marriage………………………………..
  15. Men like sex.
  16. Women like sex.
  17. Christian men and Christian women like sex.
  18. Sex is not just a “worldly activity.”
  19. The world has distorted sex and demeaned sex.
  20. The world has glorified sex and glamorized sex.
  21. The Christian culture has squashed sex and silenced sex.
  22. The Christian culture has let the world lead the conversation on sex, and it’s been a disaster.
  23. Sex can be awkward to talk about; your parents are okay with awkward.
  24. Sex can be weird to ask questions about; your parents are okay with weird questions.
  25. Silence breeds shame.
  26. Shame builds secrets.
  27. Sex doesn’t need to be a shameful secret we “google” on our computers and process on our own.

    ……………………………….

  28. Marriage is more than sex; much, much, MUCH more than sex.
  29. Sex is ONE way to express love; it’s certainly not the ONLY way.
  30. Sex is a healthy and normal part of marriage.
  31. “Lots of sex” is not necessarily an indicator of a healthy marriage.
  32. “Little sex” is not necessarily an indicator of an unhealthy marriage.
  33. Sex is part of a covenant, not a contract.
  34. Sex can be abused in marriage.
  35. “Movie sex” is not necessarily “marriage sex.” You’re a partner in a marriage, not an actor in a movie.
  36. Your sex life does not need to be compared with that of your friends. You are not your friends and your friends are not you.
  37. Sex takes work.
  38. Sex takes time.
  39. Sex takes communication.
  40. Sex is not only about her.
  41. Sex is not only about him.
  42. Sex is about loving him, loving her, and honoring Him.

And that’s all I got for right now.

But rest assure, I’ll be thinking of more and taking notes as they come. Because in all honesty, kids, these conversations are absolutely necessary and absolutely good–conversations that can’t be ignored, shouldn’t be dodged, and most certainly won’t be shoved in this house. The reality is…we love you too much to avoid a little bit of awkward.

Oh, oh…just thought of some more!

43. Your parents have sex.

44. Your parents like sex.

45. Your parents have had sex on the…

Okay, okay…I won’t take notes on everything.

DSC_0301

 

 

 

 

 

Your Daddy

Kids, I was watching your daddy love you tonight, and I felt compelled to tell you (again) about the kind of man your daddy is. I do not apologize for repeating myself because when someone loves you, it’s never tiring to hear it again. And again. And again.

Love is truly a narrative that never gets old–a story begging to be told and then re-told.

In the years to come, I know you’ll see it for yourselves–experience him yourself–but I want you to read later what I see and hear now. Because love can kinda be like a puzzle. Sometimes you realize, piece by piece, just how much someone loves you. And when you start to see all of the pieces together (over time), the picture becomes really awesome…and really beautiful…and really clear.

So tonight, I want to share a few more pieces for you to place in your puzzle–a puzzle depicting the man your daddy is and the many ways he loves us. 

Your daddy is the kind of man who takes you to the Hardware store to buy you suet and a holder for your birds. Why? Because he knows you love birds and wants to encourage that love.

Your daddy is the kind of man who makes you take your shoe off in the backyard, so you know which foot to lead with when throwing a baseball. Why? Because he’s super creative when it comes to patiently teaching you new skills.

Your daddy is the kind of man who comes home with a pack of new socks for your mommy. Why? Because in the middle of the work week…in the middle of Costco…he knows your mommy needs new socks and is thinking ahead.

Your daddy is the kind of man who makes a point to get together with two of his high school friends, twice a month, to study God’s Word and talk about life. Why? Because he’s a man who values community and wants to grow.

Your daddy is the kind of man who can make biscuits, clean a toilet, and dry a wet head of blonde hair. Why? Because he isn’t bound by stereotypical roles and gender jobs.

Your daddy is the kind of man who is content living in a small house. Why? Because he knows that a bigger mortgage and a bigger house isn’t the goal and isn’t his aim.

Your daddy is the kind of man who gives your mommy three slips of white paper and asks her to note the things that bring her peace, joy, and difficulty. Why? Because he wants to know better how to pray for her.

Your daddy is the kind of man who plays a game of pink crystals and purple unicorns in the middle of a local coffee shop. Why? Because he loves to spend time with you…doing the things you love.

Your daddy is the kind of man who peels oranges, pours coffee, and starts the car for your mommy before work. Why? Because he’s a team player and wants to love her well by serving her well.

Your daddy is the kind of man who makes a special trip on a Thursday afternoon (after a long day of work) to the Hobby shop. Why? Because he wants to help you make your AWANA, Grand Prix car…SUPER AWESOME and SUPER FAST.

Your daddy is the kind of man who holds you tight in the morning, rubbing your back and scratching your “itchies.” Why? Because his love is rarely in a hurry.

Your daddy is the kind of man who takes you shopping for “girly shoes.” Why? Because he loves making you feel special.

Your daddy is the kind of man who never, EVER complains (and I mean NEVER) that your mommy has asked him to clean the shower since the day they married. Why? Because he’s a servant.

Your daddy is the kind of man who sends birthday e-mails, buys “Sympathy” cards, and surprises his co-workers with acts of kindness. Why? Because he’s an intentional, thoughtful man who loves in kind ways.

Your daddy is the kind of man who buys you the fun-colored cereal and the seasonal-flavored Oreos. Why? Because he loves surprising you with sugary goodness.

Your daddy is the kind of man who makes a hot breakfast (at least once) on the weekend. Why? Because he loves to gift us with pancakes, waffles, biscuits, and bacon.

Your daddy is the kind of man who takes you to gymnastics class alongside all of the other mommies. Why? Because he wants to be a part of what you’re doing…even if it’s “not his thing.”

Your daddy is the kind of man who takes the time to thoroughly explain why he expects what he expects and why we do what we do. Why? Because he wants you to understand the motivation behind his decisions, the love behind the expectations.

Your daddy is the kind of man who cries in the dining room after you go to school. Why? Because he’s overwhelmed by the reality that you’re now able to walk yourself to school.

Your daddy is the kind of man who takes it upon himself to teach you the events leading up to Holy Week, helping you create a “Holy Week Countdown Calendar,” complete with hand-drawn pictures on a giant bulletin board. Why? Because he’s such a creative, thoughtful daddy who values teaching you about the things that REALLY MATTER.

Your daddy is the kind of man your mommy wants to write about at 10:02 PM on a Friday night (after a long and tiring week). Why? Because he’s just that awesome.

So put those pieces in your puzzle box, kids; I imagine this is going to be a 10,000+ puzzle when all is said and loved. 

DSC_0300

This Is We

We were driving to an eye appointment when I asked the question.

“Caden and Evie, what is your favorite TV show?”

Immediately, our eldest yelled from the backseat, “I love How to Train a Dragon!” And then the littlest who is never without an opinion pipes up and says, “I love Octonauts and Super Why!”

Always quick to return the communication ball, Caden quickly asked,”Mommy, what is your favorite TV show?”

“My absolute favorite right now is a show about a family called This Is Us. It’s sooooo good!”

His response was so sweet. “Mommy, I have never heard of This Is We.” 

Smiling and holding back laughter (because apparently it makes our almost six year-old feel self-conscious these days), I responded, “Yes, I loooove This Is We.” And we moved on our merry way, just being “we.”

I thought this sweet, little blunder would be a perfect intro for a blog post that several others have been asking me write. In the last six months or so, I have received several e-mails/private messages asking me things along the lines of, “What are some things you do as a family?” Or, “What are some things you prioritize in your family?” And though I don’t usually use my blog to share those specific things in this kind of format, I thought it would not only allow me to share with others, but it would allow me (most importantly) to keep record for our kiddos the special and intentional things we try to prioritize as a family.

In short, I guess I’m sharing how “This Is We.”

So, here are some bullet points of some activities and things that we have prioritized as a family, various practices we engage in, and fun things that we try to make a part of our family culture.

Here they are…in no particular order…because “This Is We” and “we” is not always super organized in our thoughts! And remember, this is “we”…it doesn’t have to be “you.”

Family Nights: 

Life gets crazy and there are a billion and one things that could go on the calendar, so “we” carve out two nights a week where it’s just “us.” We’re not hosting; we’re not doing errands; we’re not working…we’re just BEING. We recognize that this will probably need to change and adjust as the kids get older and the schedules get crazier but for now, this works for us. It allows us to think about what we value, what we want to prioritize, and helps provide us with some accountability–avoiding the over-planning trap. For us, it works, and we’ve come to love those nights. We often hear the kids ask, “Is tonight a family night?” Family walks, trips to the park, the cheap theater, family crafting, game nights…simple, intentional, and cheap!

Seasonal Bucket Lists: 

In our local community and surrounding cities, there is SO much to do and see. To help us from getting in a “same-‘ol, same-‘ol rut,” we started creating “Seasonal Bucket Lists” that span three months at a time. Spring (Mar-May), Summer (Jun-Aug), Fall (Sept-Nov), and Winter (Dec-Feb). This helps us narrow down what “we” want to do and what our budget and time will allow. It helps us be intentional in doing some things without feeling overwhelmed to do it all. Also, this allows us some opportunities to introduce the kids to new places, new activities, and new cultures. So, at the beginning of each season, we pull out a piece of paper, decorate it, and start brainstorming ideas for that season. We shoot for about 10-15 ideas and then we post it on the fridge! Some of our “Spring Bucket List” items include: Trip to local museum house, Tye-Dye t-shirts, Wildflower Walk @local nature reserve, Tulips @ the zoo, Nature ABC walk @local park, Lent Family Fast, etc. Also, we include ONE, family service project that we can do as a family. We have collected coats, packed shoe boxes, stuffed a local pantry with food, made cookies for neighbors, etc. WE LOVE IT.

Gospel at Lunch: 

At lunch time, a couple days a week, I set aside time to read through a Gospel-centered book with the kids, taking short moments to teach and plant seeds. I keep it short and sweet, reviewing the previous chapter/lesson/story from the times before.I try to ask a few questions about the text and then will often say, “So what does this mean for us?” I’m not going to pretend that the kids are always thrilled or always on the edge of their seats, but it’s become a discipline that when I don’t do it, they are asking where it is; it’s become accountability! Many times, we are reading books that are “over their heads,” but I am convinced that kids are sponges and the Spirit impresses upon their hearts the things He wants them to learn. They don’t “get it all,” but they do “get some of it.” Some of the books “we” have read are as follows: I Can Learn the Bible,  The Biggest Story, and The Ology.

Gospel at Bed Time: 

At bed time, Don walks through a devotional with them (probably about 2-4 times a week). I am gone during bed time two times a week and even when I am there, this is Daddy’s time to teach, train, and raise them up! From our perspectives, it’s best when they can see BOTH of our faith’s manifested and demonstrated. In short, “we” want them to see and hear us BOTH talking about the Gospel! Don has used The Jesus Story Book Bible and also The Gospel Story Bible.

Intentional Conversation:

At family dinners (about 3-4 times a week), “we” make time for intentional conversation. How do we do it? Well, sometimes we will pick one of the kids to come up with a question to ask of everyone else at the table, or sometimes we (as mommy and daddy) will ask a question to be answered by everyone at the table. Some of the questions might include: What was your favorite part of your day? What was something that brought you joy? Where was a moment when you saw/felt God? Was there a time today when you felt frustrated, mad, scared, proud, etc…? What is something you are doing well? What is something you need to work on? During this time, we really stress listening skills and follow-up questions. For us, this is a good and easy way to “check-in” with each other and also allow for some opportunities to learn more about one another. We also do some of this intentional question asking when we’re in the car, traveling to and from our errands; some of our best conversations often happen when kids are strapped in car seats!

Timers: 

Being at home for most days of the week can be a little daunting for my “go-go, do-do” personality. It’s easy for me to want to go out every day, looking and spending money on entertainment that we just don’t need and certainly don’t need to buy. Also, I struggle with the “mommy guilt” that can easily creep in with the lie that says, “You need to be the entertainment. You need to be playing all day, every day. You are the PARTY.” SOOOO…in order to resist those urges and in an attempt to be intentional with how we spend our time at home, I set timers. The timers are for me AND the kids. My goal, on a day where we are “just home” is to set two-three timers during the day where I am focused on being and playing with the kids. Sometimes I will set two, 30 minute timers and other times, I will set three, 20 minute timers–just depends on my day and what needs to be done. I simply set a timer and for that time, there is NO answering texts, phone calls, social media, or e-mails. I AM ALL-IN. And I don’t know what it is about knowing that I have a specific set of time to engage with the kids in the ways they want to engage, but it is has been a GAME-CHANGER for my mama-mind. It not only gives me a set period of time and them a set period of time, but it also helps me be conscious of making the time to play–giving “we” a little more structure to the days that can sometimes feel like weeks.

TV Shows: 

For “we,” we have just kept it simple and straight forward. We don’t binge, and we don’t abstain. That is what “we” have decided for “us”–we all get to choose what is best for us! So, in our house, they each get to pick two episodes a day, which is about 80 minutes a day. And typically, I encourage that TV time while I’m making meals. It keeps them out of the kitchen and under foot, and it allows me some space to make a meal, finish a cup of coffee, or steal away some reading time and/or breathing space. They know the expectation and though there are times when I increase or decrease that amount (because sometimes we MUST and HAVE to make adjustments for our sanity), we are pretty consistent in those boundaries. Also, I let them pick ONE lunch a week where they can eat their lunch while watching TV; they absolutely love that day and so do I (surprise, surprise…no food battles on that day).

 

Extras: 

Again, there are SO many good and awesome things that we can sign our kids up for, take our kids to, and organize for our kids. And yet, it would be so easy to fill every day with SOMETHING. For me, I love to “go-go and do-do” and yet, I also can easily find myself tired, overwhelmed, and in desperate need of a small, quiet space with a Coke Zero and a bag of Doritos. So, here are some “extras” that we do to help balance our fun and protect our time and sanity. I realize (like I mentioned before) that this will change as the kids get older and as things overlap and become crazier but for now…here are some other “extras.” Again, sometimes this looks “less” during various seasons/needs of life, but these are some basic guidelines that we have tried to set in place for “we.”

  • I try to limit us to 1-2 play dates a month. If it were up to my kids, we would have one a week, but mama can’t do one a week.
  • I try to schedule no more than 2-3 things during the weekdays (that could include a play date, story hour at the library, a trip to the zoo, a visit to the museum, a Pinterest craft, a trip to the Donut store…).
  • I try to plan and allow for the kids to pick one extracurricular during a season. If they don’t want to do anything that season, great. However, we’re not going to do soccer and karate while simultaneously doing gymnastics and art classes. I want my kiddos to have opportunities and yet I don’t want to spend my awake time driving from practice to practice, class to class. It helps our budget; it protects our time; and it keeps “we” from being STRUNG OUT.

Celebrations: 

Whether it be birthdays, holidays, normal days, or “super-special-moments-we-want-to-remember,” we make it a point to CELEBRATE and celebrate OFTEN! “We” love a reason to add candles, make a cake, and find a reason to pull out the special, fancy stuff. We try to focus on being creative, rather than spending money or buying more stuff, but sometimes we buy rather than create. In addition to the normal, calendar holidays, we have also chosen to specifically celebrate “Brother’s Day” and “Sister’s Day,” creating some intentional space for the kids to focus on their sibling(s). We realize that relationships take work, so we take as many opportunities as we can to help Caden and Evie build and grow their relationship. These special holidays give the kids an extra chance to plan a special day for their sibling, thinking about what they love and how they would feel most loved.

“Mommy and Me” and “Daddy and Me” Dates:

We aren’t super structured about this, but we try and take turns (probably every couple of months, maybe 4-5 times a year) planning a time where Don plans and spends time with Evie, while I plan and spend time with Caden. We try and do these dates at the time same time, switching back and forth between the kids, but sometimes we aren’t able to coordinate these times at the same time. Sometimes it’s a coffee date, a Lego date, a park date, a movie date, a theater production date, a sporting event date, a game date, a picking strawberries date…SOMETHING. We realize that family “we time” is important and yet we also realize that spending one-on-one time with the kids is also very special and sometimes really needed.

Alright, so that’s 10! And every good list has 10, right?!?! That was not in the plan but hey, it works!

Again, these are just some of the things that “we” try and do as a family unit. “We” aren’t perfect at it, and we’re not trying to be.  “We” aren’t rigid about them, and “we” aren’t obsessive about them. This doesn’t make “we” better or “we” worse. Again, these are just ideas, practices, and guidelines that “we” have used to provide some intentional moments and protective structure for “we.” If they give YOU some good ideas, great! And if they don’t, great! Because at the end of the day, “this is we” and “that is you,” and that is ALL GOOD!

dsc_0689

22 Reasons Why You Should Praise Jesus for Your Daddy

  1. Because post-nursing, your daddy is your only hope for being heard in the middle of the night. Your cries, your poops, your lost stuffed animals…he hears it all while your mommy is complete G-O-N-E (those nursing days ZAPPED me for the next 18…or at least until you start crawling out the window).
  2. Because if your daddy didn’t monitor our budget and monies, we would be living in a teepee in your grandparents’ back yard because either we spent it all at Chipotle or we bought the whole world a set of books.
  3. Because if your daddy didn’t set up a monthly reminder to change the Brita filters, we would all be under the treatment of a physician for mold.
  4. Because if your daddy didn’t set up a monthly reminder to change the furnace filter, there’s a good chance our house would catch fire at some point or another.
  5. Because if your daddy didn’t monitor the toothpaste tube, you would never know what a tube of toothpaste is supposed to look like, nor would you be able to pry off that dried-up, gunk of a lid.
  6. Because without your daddy, there’s a good chance that you would only be able to count to 10 and addition and subtraction would be out of the question, never mind multiplication and division.
  7. Because without your daddy successfully hiding a key in the yard, we would be locked out of the house…like your whole life.
  8. Because without your daddy, you would either never have a hair cut, or we would have already dropped approximately $840.00 in the last five years to have Great Clips do it.
  9. Because without your daddy, we would probably be lost on some mountain because we didn’t take the time to read a map, don’t know how to read a map , thought we could just “figure it out.”
  10. Because without your daddy, we would still be stuck in Wal-Mart counseling some random soul who your mommy does not know but because she said “hello” and smiled, she has now heard a life map and two, life trajedies.
  11. Because without your daddy, Doritos would be a food group.
  12. Because without your daddy, none of us would remember to take vitamins and all our bones would be breaking.
  13. Because without your daddy, the IRS would have already put me in jail because I’d have absolutely NO clue what to “claim.”
  14. Because without your daddy, there is a good chance that you might be getting your own breakfast in the morning while I hit “snooze” for the 12th time.
  15. Because without daddy, there would be nothing ALIVE and THRIVING in our yard, except dandelions.
  16. Because with your daddy, there would be no functioning smoke alarms, no LED bulbs, and we would be using copious amounts of water to take daily baths…just for fun.
  17. Because without your daddy, we would have no functional cars because I’m SURE that your mommy would not remember the mileage for the next oil change.
  18. Because without daddy, there would be no home-made pretzels, no biscuits, no bread, and no pizza. And forget the grilled meat that you guys love, I’d light myself on fire and our house if #4 hadn’t already occurred.
  19. Because without your daddy, the fruit of “self-control” might be a foreign concept for ya’ll.
  20. Because without your daddy, organized trips where you have room to sit in the car WITH your luggage…would just NOT happen.
  21. Because without your daddy, we would all be throwing a tantrum on the floor and worrying about our obsessions.
  22. Because without your daddy, life would be incredibly unbalanced, potentially unhealthy, and absolutely less safe, peaceful, and thriving.

Kids, you are so blessed; WE are SO blessed. Your daddy is one of our greatest gifts and though I could continue on and on…and on and on…with this list, suffice to say that God was good and kind to give us a daddy like ours. Lord knows we need him!

dsc_0640

 

Casting Ballots, Casting Stones

Caden and Evie,

As I begin this letter, written the month before the 2016 Presidential Election, I want to preface a few things.

First, I want you to know that I do not write this letter to support the Republican party, condemn the Democratic party, or reinforce the need for an Independent party to rise up. I do not write this letter to (in any way) condone, excuse, justify, rationalize, or explain-away ANY of the behaviors of ANY of the candidates that are up for nomination. I do not write this letter to explain to you that others have fought for your freedom to vote, nor do I write this letter to give you hope that ANY candidate in ANY party will ever be the answer to our world’s problems. I do not write this letter to reinforce divided lines; I do not write this letter to explain how theology should or shouldn’t inform our decision to vote; and I do not write this letter to suggest that you should forget or neglect your values when you (one day) choose to cast your ballot. I do not write this letter to give my opinion on either of the nominees (because honestly, I don’t have a favorable opinion of either), and I most certainly am not writing this letter to suggest that making a choice to vote is “easy” or “simple.” I’m not writing for ANY of these reasons.

So why am I writing this letter to you?

I’m writing this letter to you because should you (one day) find yourself with the privilege to vote, I want you to remember one simple thing.

And that is this:

You are casting ballots, not casting stones. 

Let me explain. And to do so, let me start with the Word.

In John 8, verses 1-11, the Word of God reads:

“Jesus went across to Mount Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them.

The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?’ They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.

Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, ‘The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.’ Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.

Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. ‘Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?’

No one, Master.’

‘Neither do I,’ said Jesus. ‘Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.’ “

So why John 8?

Why John 8 when writing a letter about an election year and your right vote?

It’s simple, kids. And it’s this:

I think there are many of us who have forgotten this Truth from John 8–many of us who have put this portion of Truth on the back-burner while discussing politics and party lines–many of us who have been quick to cast our opinions about candidates while simultaneously casting condemning stones. 

See, when I look at these candidates, I see myself.

I see my sin in their faults, and I see my shortcomings in theirs.

I see my failures in their flesh, and I see my flaws in theirs.

I see my “yuck” in their “nasty,” and I see my “junk” in their “yuck.”

When I look at Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, I see Jessica Buczek. 

Why?

Because I, too, have used my words to ridicule, demean, and hurt others.

Because I, too, have lied and then covered up my lies.

Because I, too, have cheated systems and broken laws.

Because I, too, have supported unhealthy causes and perpetuated dysfunctional beliefs.

Because I, too, have had murderous thoughts and made stereotypical statements.

Because I, too, have acted in fear and lived in judgment.

Because I, too, have made false promises and exaggerated the truth.

Because I, too, have stayed committed to other sinners.

Because I, too, have not sought forgiveness or made apologies.

Because I, too, have a boatload of pride and a whole lot of ego.

Because I, too, have excused my mistakes and covered my sins.

Because I, too, have been unkind to others in an attempt to protect others.

Because I, too, have made decisions that have affected the lives of others.

Because I, too, have not handled “classified” information in appropriate ways.

Because I, too, am a sinner-a sinner deserving of a stoning.  

Did you notice what Jesus DIDN’T do when the scholars and Pharisees brought in the adulteress?

He didn’t excuse her sin. He didn’t blame-shift her sin. He didn’t justify her sin. He didn’t rationalize her sin. He didn’t diminish her sin. He didn’t overlook her sin. He did NONE of that.

Why?

Because sin is sin and wrong is wrong. And before a Holy God, no one stands without sin.

But here’s what He DID DO.

He drew something in the dirt; He forgave her sin; and then He called her to sin no more.

So what did He draw with his finger? What was in the dirt that made the self-righteous leaders stop dead in their tracks and drop their stones? What was it?

I don’t have an answer to what he drew, but here’s what I think.

I think He “drew” a comparison between this woman’s sin and their sin. 

I think He brought to light their brokenness; I think He brought awareness to their fallen-ness; and I think He brought to their attention the similarity of their offenses against a righteous God.

He leveled them all with Himself. 

And did He condemn her sin, rub her face in it, or make her atone for it? No.

But why not?

Didn’t Jesus see how “bad” her sin was? Didn’t he take it seriously? Didn’t he need to make a spectacle of her in order to call-out the sin?

The answer is “yes.” He did. He absolutely did. But not by allowing a bunch of angry people a chance to throw a hard-hitting stone. No.

He saw how “bad” her their sin was…and He died on the cross for it.

He saw how “serious” her their sin was…and He died on the cross for it.

And when He died, He made a spectacle of HIS LOVE…calling us ALL out. 

Do I think Jesus would be pleased with all of the behaviors of Donald Trump?

NO.

Do I think He would explain-away his arrogant attitudes, excuse his deplorable words, embrace all of his ideas, or encourage his sinful choices?

NO.

Do I think Jesus would be pleased with all of the behaviors of Hillary Clinton?

NO.

Do I think He would condone her deceitful actions, commend some of her platforms, collaborate with some of her ideas, or cover over her sinful choices?

NO.

Why?

Because sin is sin and wrong is wrong.

And because I also know (without a shadow of a doubt) that He hasn’t and doesn’t explain-away, excuse, embrace, or encourage ANY of Jessica Buczek’s sin. NONE of it. 

And if it were myself, Donald Trump, or even Hilary Clinton standing in the middle of that angry mob with their rocks raised, I believe He would call each of us (along with the mob) to the very same thing He did in John 8.

He would “draw” our attention to our sin; forgive it; and then call us to sin no more.

So kids…when you get the opportunity to vote some day, I encourage you to remember the following three things:

  1. You (a sinful voter) will always be voting for a fallen nominee.
  2. When you vote, you will never be voting for a faultless King or a perfect Kingdom (you already have one of those and His Kingdom is yet to come).
  3. And when you choose to exercise your right to vote, you are casting a ballot…not a stone.

Caden and Evie, be kind as you vote. Be holy as you engage with others who are also voting. And always…always…ALWAYS…pray for HIS will to be done.

Love,

Your Mama

dsc_0007

 

When Grace Comes

I’m not sure I’ll ever forget the sound of her voice, the words she lovingly spoke, or the incredible grace that tumbled  from her soul on that Saturday morning. And that’s okay because I don’t think I ever, EVER want to forget it. ANY OF IT.

Rewind…

She had been asking for about two weeks (maybe even more) about her gymnastics class.

“Mommy, you sign me up?”

“Mommy, you take me to ‘nymnastics’?”

“Mommy, I go to ‘nymnastics’!”

“Mommy, I wear my ‘weotard’!”

And every time I would reassure her that we would get her signed up soon, and that we’d be starting soon, and that it would ALL be SOON.

And every time she would excitedly say, “Mommy, thank you for signing me up! Thank you for signing me up!”

And in all honesty, I was telling her the truth. I wasn’t feeding her a line or pushing her off at all; not at all. I was going to sign her up…just like I did the last round of gymnastic classes in June.

I had looked online, found the class time that worked best for us (Saturdays at 9 AM), printed and filled out the registration form, called for clarification about the cancellation policy at the gym, and even put it on the family calendar. And then just like the lady had me do last time (in June when I called), I planned that we would show up 15 minutes before the class on Saturday morning, pay our fee, and tumble our way onto the bars and balance beam. EASY PEASY, LEMON SQUEEZY!

So… last Saturday morning arrives and girl is READY!

Since brother had the weekend off from soccer games, we decided that Daddy would take baby-girl to gymnastics class, allowing him some daddy-daughter time. How fun! It was perfect.

I gave daddy the registration instructions, handed him the form, and kissed them on the way out the door.

But then at 8:58 AM, my phone rings and it’s my husband’s ringer.

My heart immediately dropped. 

“Hey babe. What’s going on?”

“The lady said the class is all full. Apparently we needed to register ahead of time to get a spot? Maybe the Saturday classes are busier than the Monday morning one from June? She gave me some other class times that are available.”

I have no clue what I said after that, but I do remember saying, “Put Evie on the phone.”

Fully expecting her to be a mess of angry tears and upset accusations (because that’s the mode of operandi for our eldest), I said, “Oh, Evie. I’m so sorry that Mommy didn’t know to sign you up sooner. I’m so sorry that I didn’t think to call ahead. I’m so sorry, Evie.”

And I started to cry.

Without skipping a beat, that little soul (full of sunshine and rainbows) says in the most genuinely chipper voice, “It okay, Mommy. No cry. There no space for me. It okay. We do again.”

I cried harder. 

In that moment, I wanted to give her the world. I wanted to give her ALL the toys…ALL the things…ALL the gymnastic classes that we could ever afford!!!

I wanted to give her EVERYTHING because in that moment of failure (even if it wasn’t intentional), she offered me BIG GRACE.

Instead of meeting my mistake with a mean heart, she met me with love.

Instead of meeting my accident with an angry heart, she met me with forgiveness.

Instead of meeting my failure with a fuming heart, she met me with understanding.

My heart was overwhelmed. 

“Thank you, Evie. Thank you for being so gracious with Mommy. I’m SO sorry, Evie. I love you, sweet girl.”

After encouraging her daddy to take her and do something FUN before returning home, I sat in my dining room and cried.

And as I sat and cried, I realized that I wasn’t just crying over the grace I had been shown or the disappointment my daughter had so graciously accepted. No. I was crying because TOO MANY TIMES, I meet their mistakes, and their accidents, and their failures with a mean, angry, and fuming heart.

Too often than not, my heart does not spew loving-forgiving-understanding GRACE. 

And as I sat there rehearsing the moments from the past week when my responses looked NOTHING like our daughter’s, I was reminded that this gracious child of ours is only a mere mirror of the ONE who created her…the ONE who authored, initiated, and extended the VERY FIRST grace that EVER WAS.

And after they had eaten the fruit and denied His Word, “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21

In the face of their disobedience and in the middle of their disregard for His perfect love, He met them with GRACE.

He could have killed them right on the spot. He could have created a new Adam and a new Eve. He could have banished them from the garden, naked and ashamed. He could have left them with NO place and NO grace. But He didn’t. No.

He shed blood and covered them. 

And after He shut them out of the garden, protecting them from further destruction and forever death, He authored a plan of rescuing grace and saving mercy.

Not because they deserved it and certainly not because they had earned it, but because He loved them and was committed to them–committed to His purpose and committed to His promise.

Committed even to the point of death.

And again, He shed blood and covered them US with HIM…FOREVER. 

“But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption…. For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, so those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. Hebrews 9:11-15

It wasn’t a MEAN, ANGRY, FUMING heart that saved us, and it isn’t a MEAN, ANGRY, FUMING heart that draws us.

No.

It’s a loving-forgiving-understanding-MERCIFUL-GRACE that saved us from the righteous, holy anger that we should have received and most definitely deserved.

And when we stand face to face with that kind of undeserved, merciful grace…we’d be crazy in those moments to not want to give Him ALL of our hearts…ALL of our lives…ALL of our EVERYTHING.

Because when grace comes in the middle of our mess…we are humbled. 

 

dsc_0494

 

 

 

 

32 Things This Mom Said Never (Part 2)

  1. “I’m so glad we ALL contracted a cold with flu-like symptoms on the 2nd week of school.”
  2. “I’m so glad we ALL contracted explosive diarrhea on the 3rd week of school.”
  3. “I love maneuvering two small children in a public bathroom stall where the door opens inward, smashing us all against the toilet and into the feminine product box.”
  4. “My favorite combo is white shirts and ketchup. THE. BEST.”
  5. “I love when you spend more time touching your lollipop than licking it; that’s SO fun!”
  6. “I get really excited when you have to go to the bathroom at the VERY same time as I do; it’s so neat that our bowels communicate like that.”
  7. “My favorite chore is cleaning while you’re in the house.”
  8. “My second favorite chore is cleaning the bathroom floor after you pee.”
  9. “I like sand.”
  10. “I love the way you jump on the arms of our couches; I honestly can’t imagine you ever using the couches in the way they were intended to be used.”
  11. “When you reach over at dinner and attempt to fish the ice out of my glass (with the very hands that you just used to pick your nose), I realize just how glad I am that I ordered my own drink.”
  12. “I hope I never sleep in past 7:30AM; waking up later is such a waste of daylight.”
  13. “I love knowing that 1/2 the clothes in the laundry basket have been worn for all of 20 minutes.”
  14.  “I love that we start preparing to leave the house at 7:30 so that we can be in the car by 8:00; we’re SUCH over-achievers.”
  15. “When I was pregnant with you, I would sit around and dream about the days when you would insist on bringing toys into the grocery store.”
  16. “My favorite place for Legos to reside? Right in the arch of my foot.”
  17. “I love how your voice does that really cool thing when we get in the car. You know. The thing where it gets really loud and really piercing and really surround-sound-like!”
  18. “Taking you to the grocery store is fun, but having you get your foot stuck in the grocery cart is SUPER FUN.”
  19. “When you throw yourself on the ground, I want to give you the world.”
  20. “I’m so bored.”
  21. “My house is so clean.”
  22. “My friends are so overwhelmed by my timely e-mail responses.”
  23. “It’s so nifty that our tub can dub as both a shower and a toy box; how cool!”
  24. “I love when you offer to comb my hair ears.”
  25. “I love when you simultaneously give me a hug AND wipe your mouth on my shirt; you’re the very best multi-tasker…EVER!”
  26. “I really like it when you pull on my clothes to get my attention; it makes me feel SO wanted.”
  27. “Honey, can you just pour me 1/2 a cup of decaf coffee? I’d really hate to be over-energized.”
  28. “I’m so impressed by how little toilet paper you use on such a consistent basis.”
  29. “When you get bigger, I’m really gonna miss crawling under the table to retrieve your fallen cup; I really do hope that your dad starts dropping his cup multiple times during meal times or else I’m gonna have to focus on eating my hot food.”
  30. “I love climbing through that germ-infested tunnel to find the socks you tore off; it kinda feels like a treasure hunt!!!”
  31. “I feel so special when I’m the only parent who forgets to bring snacks and drinks to the park.”
  32. “I can’t wait to be that mom in 20 years who forgets that life was sometimes hard with littles and tells every other young mama how much I loved EVERY SINGLE MINUTE OF IT, which is exactly why I’m documenting all these precious moments that I’ll miss after I blink!”  🙂

For a few more smiles, click here for PART 1 of THINGS THIS MOM SAID NEVER.

dsc_0197