Forgiveness??

If you were to make a list of the people in your life that you needed to forgive, could you be honest? Would your list have two names? 20? None? How many of those people are family members?

The family dynamics in Colossians 3:18-21 is God’s perfect plan. You can call me old-fashioned, sexist, barefoot and pregnant…I don’t care. It’s what I believe. Our family is supposed to be our first line of defense. Our parents to protect us. Our siblings to build and learn about friendships with, along with conflict resolution (even if that involves these hands! Right Lyss? You were so mean!). But instead we have strife. Jealousy. Bitterness. Anger. A house divided cannot stand (Mark 3:25). And no, I’m not referring to the SEC…at least not today haha!! Go Dawgs!

If there is division, it can destroy the family structure, causing us to “wander” solo. No one by our side to hold us accountable…yes we have friends, but we can talk about that later….that’s how Eve was able to be tempted. She was alone. When a sheep wanders away from the herd and it’s shepherd, it’s more vulnerable to its predators.

The funny thing about this blog post is that I don’t have an answer or resolve to what I just talked about. Which brings me to my next topic.

Today was my first counseling session at Elevate. I had one major issue in my life that was causing me a tremendous amount of stress. That’s what caused me to make an appointment in the first place. I wanted some healthy coping mechanisms for when I felt anxious. God had bigger plans, y’all. I wasn’t ready!! My first session and I’ve already learned that I’m dealing with un-forgiveness. I didn’t even know!!! It was so profound that I’ve decided I’m going to make this journey public. I’m going to blog after each one of my sessions. I will share my revelations, my heartaches, my joy and my victories. My darkest places. I really hope that my transparency will help you to see that you’re not alone. No, I won’t be sharing names if anyone, in case you were wondering! This is for my exposure, no anyone else’s.

I thought I knew how to forgive someone, but today I found out that I don’t. I’m excited to learn and share as I go. My hope is that it will inspire you to seek it out for you and your family too.

xoxo

Let them eat cake..er, cookie dough!

Last night, while making cookies with my kids, they mention to me they’ve never tried cookie dough. Real cookie dough. Growing up, I want allowed to eat it because of the raw eggs. “Salmonella!!”, my mom would say to us. So much that it became an actual fear. Irrational c yes, but there nonetheless.

When my kids said this, it triggered something in me that made me do something I’ve never done before. Let me give you a little background. I’ll start with a simple, yet profound statement. 

Sometimes it takes losing everything to make you appreciate what you have. 

As most of you already know, my ex-husband spent some time in prison. I’m not here to sling mud. He’s done his time. But it still happened. That left me to try and pick up the pieces and try to keep my family from unraveling. Well guess what? I failed. I was on the brink of losing my home (for the 2nd time). I was working 2 jobs and that still wasn’t enough to keep up with everything. So after taking to my then-husband, we both decided and agreed it would be best for our kids to stay with their grandparents in Tennessee while I tried to salvage what was left of my sanity and my dignity, and he went back to jail to finish out his sentence. Trust me when I say this, it was the last thing I wanted. It showed weakness. It showed failure. It showed that I wasn’t enough. That I couldn’t handle it. Insert whatever statement you want here. I promise you I’ve already beaten myself up for it at least a hundred times. But sometimes, as a mom, it means making hard decisions. I’ll never forget the day they left. I was devastated. I kept telling myself “it’s only for a short time.” The pain was unbearable. I closed myself off. I rarely talked to them on the phone because all it did was tear my heart out more each time. And theirs too. This went on for (roughly) 6 months, maybe 8. 

Side note, this isn’t something I’ve shared with many people. If you were apart of my life during this time, you knew. But I don’t go shouting it from the rooftops. Until today. 

Being a mom is hard. You’re responsible for teaching and raising kids, to grow into successful adults. There is so much pressure to be “perfect”. Have them in the best school. Sports. Dance. Church. Good grades. Before their father was arrested, I was the worst kind of helicopter mom. I gave them freedom, but not too much. Looking back I now see it wasn’t very much at all. Them being away from me for that long taught me a lot of things. One of the most important things it taught me was to LET GO. I was trying to control their every move and every outcome. I couldn’t just let them be kids. But now?! Now, on the weekends, they can have ice cream for breakfast (sometimes). They can walk in the grass barefoot. They can hang their arm out the window in the backseat. They spent all day yesterday in their pajamas. We had pizza delivered twice in a week! The little things in life that are meant to be enjoyed, are being enjoyed. I’ve learned to take a deep breath and a step back. Yes, it was awful while they were gone. I hated every single moment of it. But it made me better. Better for them and better for me. 

Cut yourself some slack, y’all. Parenting is hard. Parenting with an ex-spouse is even harder. Do the best you can with every day you’re with them, even on the days when you want to run and cry in a closet. 

I guess I’ll address the cookie dough thing. We are cookie dough last night. A lot of it. And they said it was the best thing they had ever tasted. Something as simple as cookie dough!! They danced around the kitchen and laughed with delight. Such a small moment but such a huge impact. There will be many more cookie dough dates in our future. Oh and by the way, no one got sick 😉

xoxo,                                                                                     Jess the Haute Mess

The Weekends are Always the Hardest

I have so much I want to say today I’m going to try and share this with you in the best way I know how, which is real, raw and painful.

The holidays are my thing. I love having a house full of people. I’m constantly baking, Christmas music is always playing. It’s a magical time. It’s a reminder of why we’re all here. Jesus. But lately, I’ve been dreading it. All of it. I don’t want to celebrate Thanksgiving. I don’t want to put my Christmas tree up. I hear Christmas music and I cringe. I’ve dealt with these type of feelings when I was a teenager/young adult because I always felt alone. My birthday is on Christmas, and (most) everyone forgets. Wah, wah, right? I know. There are bigger problems in the world. This year is different though. My husband won’t be here for Thanksgiving. He won’t be here for Christmas. He won’t here for Bella’s birthday, my birthday, Elisha’s first Christmas or Paisley’s birthday. Like I’ve said before, I know military mom’s do this all the time. And again, I applaud you for your strength. I look to you for inspiration.

I mentioned in one of my last bog posts the story of Mary Magdalene and how important this story is to me. I’ve always felt a connection to her. Her love was lavish, uncontrollable and it made people uncomfortable. She was an outcast, or as I like to call her, a wierdo. Just like me. She acted ridiculous in front of Jesus and His disciples. She didn’t care at all. Because this is the same Mary that was caught in the act of sex, with someone that wasn’t her husband. The Pharisees dragged her out into the street. I’m certain she felt shame. She was naked and vulnerable and humiliated. I imagine she felt like the lowest person on earth; like she was of no value.

I want to backtrack a little bit on myself. I grew up from the age of 15 without a dad. I didn’t know what it was like to feel the love of a father. So much like Mary, there were times (and still are) that I feel shame. Guilt. Humiliation. Vulnerable. My heart was hardened.

But just like Mary, my first encounter with Jesus, my REAL encounter with Jesus, set me free. He came down to my level. He lifted my chin and looked me in my eyes and told me I was valuable to Him. Ever since then, it’s been a battle in my mind to remind myself that He sees me as cherished and valued.

Mary had a special relationship with Jesus. Her act of love was instigated by her, not the opposite. She had fallen at His feet when He drew the line in the sand. She had fallen at His feet during her display of extravagant worship. She experienced His love, protection and deliverance. He cast  7 demons out of her!

Lazarus was sick. So sick that he died. Jesus took 4 days to get to Lazarus. Martha ran to meet Him, but Mary stayed behind. Remember, Mary loved Jesus on a level that some of us may not ever understand (although I hope to). I believe she was feeling rejected and forgotten. If Jesus had been there, Lazarus wouldn’t have died. When Jesus finally arrived, He comforted Martha but He knew the love that Mary had for Him. He called Mary by name. She didn’t run to the grave to mourn. She ran to the place of her Savior’s feet that had been a source of comfort for her. The same place where she met Him the first time during her moment of humiliation and shame, the same place where she poured out her love on Him.  He stands her up to look into her eyes. She says to Him “Where have you been? You’re late.” I see this as a moment where she was mad at Him for not being there. She couldn’t hide her feelings towards Him. But being the Jesus that we serve, He looks at her with tears in His eyes (Jesus wept) and said “I’m not late. Take me to see my friend Lazarus.” In other words, TAKE ME TO THE SOURCE OF YOUR PAIN. He tells them to roll the stone away and He commands the grave wrappings to loosen and free him. This is significant because Jesus wants to come to Him raw. NO matter how angry we are with Him. He’s saying TAKE ME TO THE SOURCE OF YOUR PAIN and let Me fix it. When we are real with Him, even though He already knows, the bondage that has us bound can fall off at His command and set us free. What the devil meant for harm, Jesus turned it around and made it into something good.

So next time you’re (me) weeping uncontrollably on the bathroom floor, so badly that you’re blinded, cry out to Jesus. Take Him to the source of your pain.

I don’t have all the answers. All these words sound great. But it doesn’t bring my husband home. It doesn’t bring my family back together. But it reminds me that Jesus is FOR ME. HE IS FOR YOU. Not against me. Not against you. He has plans to give us a hope and a future. John 13:7 says “You do not realize what I am doing, but later you understand.” If you’re impatient like me, which I’m sure you’re not, this is so hard for me to grasp. It doesn’t make me feel better. It makes me hurt worse. I know it’s supposed to do the opposite. I’m just being honest with you because I know there is someone out there that is battling something and you feel like God has abandoned you. He hasn’t. Even though it feels like it, He hasn’t. Keep your hope and keep your faith Even if all you can muster up is the faith the size of a mustard seed. He said that’s all we need. My precious Bella told me the difference in hope and faith is that hope is something you think or want to happen but faith is something you know will happen. Out of the mouth of babes!

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Luke 7:47-“Therefore I tell you, her sins have been forgiven-as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little”

Be Blessed,

Jess the Haute Mess

It’s finally time for me to share this with you

The story that I’m about to share is an emotional one. I will preface a little bit. But first let me say, there are women out there that do this every day. Military wives. Single moms. Please know that I’m not discrediting you in any way. This is just my story.

My husband was arrested 6 days before I went into labor. This was my hardest pregnancy ever. I had lots of preterm labor issues, bed rest, bleeding…it was hard. I missed out on a lot of things because I was always in the hospital for something. My body doesn’t handle pregnancy well at all. I’m going to be very transparent here and say that I’ve had 4 miscarriages. Not many women want to talk about it because they feel alone or that something is wrong with them. But unfortunately, it’s more common than you think. You are not alone.

So back to my story. He was arrested 6 days before I went into labor. I thought he would be home the next day and we could just go back to our business until the next court date. But that wasn’t the case at all. His bond got denied because we had no legal representation. I cannot express to you the emotions that I was experiencing. Crippling fear. Sadness. Loneliness. Fear was the biggest one. I was so scared I was going to go into labor at any moment. I had moments of clarity and faith that said “he’ll be home before your son is born”. Well. It didn’t happen that way. God does things His way. And sometimes you don’t understand until you’re looking back on things.

At the Shine Conference this year at my church, the theme was “Brave”. The whole time I’m thinking, wow, I’m pretty brave. I’ve lost 4 babies and lost custody of my oldest to my ex-husband. I would’ve told you then that I was pretty brave. But God was setting me up for the things I had no idea we’re coming downstream.

My Pastor’s wife told me, “We’re praying and believing for a miracle. But we also need a plan B.” So I came up with a plan B. People that I would call if I did go into labor. My mom had already driven down the day after he was arrested to come and be a help to me. My oldest daughter, Bella, had told me about a dream she had that Elisha was born on a Wednesday. She was right.

It was 1:00a.m. on Wednesday morning. My contractions had been strong that day and were getting closer together. I woke my mom up and told her I was going to drive myself to the hospital and just to stay with the kids until she heard from me. As I was driving to the hospital, I got out my phone to start making my phone calls and the Holy Spirit stopped me. He told me “You and I are going to do this together.” I can’t explain to you the peace I had at that moment in time.

I get to the hospital and I’m 4 centimeters. I had been 4 centimeters for 2 weeks with no change. They kept me over night to see if I would progress. I just kept crying out to the Lord and singing over Elisha, songs of worship. One song that repeating on my playlist was “You Make Me Brave” by Bethel. It was also sang at the Shine Conference. (By the way, as I’m writing this out, I’m crying my eyes out. One because of God’s goodness and another because my husband still hasn’t been able to hold his son).

There was no change, so they sent me home the next morning. It was around 8 on Wednesday, July 22. But I knew he was going to be here that day. I talked to Billy and told him that today was going to be the day. He cried with me but said “Make sure to celebrate him. He deserves that. Don’t be sad because I’m not there. Be happy because you’re bringing forth God’s promise.” That was around 1:00 p.m. I had already been readmitted into the hospital with again, no change. My contractions started getting stronger and I asked my mom to take the kids downstairs to get a snack so they didn’t hear the pain I was in. I had no epidural. Well my water broke and I went from 4 cm to 8 cm in a minute. Literally. It was time to push. I was so scared and felt so alone. I looked up in the midst of my labor pains and anguish and I saw Jesus in the room with me. He was just sitting in the chair, very casual. Like I imagined Him to be when He was sleeping on the boat. No fear. Just peace. He nodded His head at me and somehow I mustered up the courage and strength to bring forth my son, with no one but Him to get me through it. It happened so fast.

In the picture I’m going to share, you can see the mixture of sadness and joy on my face. IMG_1163Here I had this perfect little baby. All alone in the room. No one to take pictures. No one to kiss me on the forehead. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But now, here I am, 3 months later, finally able to share it with you on a level that only my closet friends have heard. His name is Elisha (God is salvation) Silas (forest). Silas actually has a double meaning to me. Silas because Silas was imprisoned for preaching the Gospel. Imprisoned while doing God’s will. And forest because sometimes, when the trees are thick and we can’t see where we’re going, Jesus will show up in the room, give you a gentle nod and guide you the rest of the way.

If you would have asked me in January if I would be able to do this without my husband, I would have said not a chance!! But God has taught me to be more dependent on Him. He has constantly provided for our family. I’ve had to go back to work, which has been hard because I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for years and years. But there’s no one I trust more to take care of my babies than my mother. She gave everything up to move here and help me. Mom, I love you and I’m so grateful for all you do.

Please know that you are not alone. Even when you feel like you are, you’re not. This story isn’t over yet. My husband still isn’t home and I don’t know when he will be. But everyday I believe for a miracle. And you should too.

Jess the Haute Mess

Feet of a Deer

Sometimes God does things and you don’t even realize it until it’s over.

Friday night I went out and had dinner with two of my favorite people ever. Evanda and I had discussed getting tattoos earlier in the week. She sent me a picture of a deer head with antlers and right away it clicked. Now let me be clear. I’m not a “country girl” nor do I hunt. But something about this picture intrigued me. It represented the scripture in Psalms 18:33 that says “He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, and sets me on high places.” This entire chapter is David praising God for delivering him from his enemies.

A lot of you don’t know, but my husband has been in jail since July 14th. I haven’t made it public because I was shocked, embarrassed, sad, angry….you name the emotion, I experienced it. I still feel all of them on any given day. I gave birth without my husband by my side. It was one of the hardest times of my life. I cannot put into words the challenges I have faced since all of this has happened. I can’t wait to share with you all the details of this trial, I just can’t yet.

But God.

God has been with me every step of the way. He (even though there are many times, even daily, I feel He has left us) He has shown Himself every single day.

Ok, back to this tattoo.

I was wondering what the significance of a deer’s foot was. So I did a little reading. When deer are jumping from embankment to embankment, there is no way for them to know where the best footing is, however, they rarely slip and fall. But it’s the hooves that make the deer so special. Their feet consist of 2 elongated toes. Each toe is capped by a hard toenail (the hoof). These hooves absorb the shock of every stride and also provides traction on wet surfaces.

So why does this matter? I believe that God is telling us He will equip us, when our enemies are against us or are being tested in our faith, to give us traction. To absorb the shock. Even though the embankment we’re walking on we are unsure of, He will keep us from slipping and falling.

This tattoo is not a coincidence. God used Evanda to show me that He has equipped me to face this, head-on and no matter what, my feet will be on solid ground, although it may be unsteady.

Did I mention she got the same tattoo? 🙂

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Until next time!

Jess

Celebrity Crush?!

What I’m about to say isn’t going to go over well with some of you. But that’s ok. Before we get started, let me be transparent with you (my favorite thing to do…not!!). I am just as guilty of these things as the next person. We all are. At least I think. Something that really bothers me is when I hear a married woman talk about her “celebrity crush”. Remember, I’ve been guilty of this before. But God rang my bell today and you get to benefit from it! Or be mad at me. It’s your choice. Just remember, God corrects those He loves so you should be flattered that He loves you so much!!

I was curious at the actual definition of “attractive” so of course I googled it.

at·trac·tive
əˈtraktiv/Submit
adjective
(of a thing) pleasing or appealing to the senses.
“an attractive home”
(of a person) appealing to look at; sexually alluring.
“an attractive, charismatic man”
synonyms: good-looking, beautiful, pretty, handsome, lovely, stunning, striking, arresting, gorgeous, prepossessing, fetching, captivating, bewitching, beguiling, engaging, charming, enchanting, enticing, appealing, delightful, winning, photogenic, telegenic; More
(of a thing) having beneficial qualities or features that induce someone to accept what is being offered.
“the site is close to the high-rent district, which should make it attractive to developers”
synonyms: appealing, inviting, tempting, irresistible

This bothered me even more!! It made me think, what is the motivation behind our celebrity crushes? As married women, we shouldn’t be looking at anyone BUT our husbands to make us feel these things. We should be looking at them as sexually alluring, handsome and my favorite: arresting. Whoa. Think about someone being arrested. Stopped in your tracks. Holy smokes hot. If we aren’t looking at our husbands that way, we have a heart condition of lust. Yes I said it. Lust. The bible is pretty clear on issues of lust, too. In Matthew 5:27-29 it says

“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; 28but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29″If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.…”

That’s pretty intense. Yes, it says everyone who looks at a woman, but this applies to women looking at men too. Dare I bring up 50 Shades of Grey? I’ve never read the book. I never will. But I have a general idea of what the book was about. I also know that hundreds of thousands of CHRISTIAN women went to see this movie. Remember Magic Mike? Same thing! This movie was about male strippers. We should be so wrapped up in the love of Christ, that seeing a man nude or semi-nude, makes our hearts break. God gave us marriage as a gift. Something beautiful and sacred. How are we hurting our marriage by watching these movies, reading these books or looking at other men with lust?

I know some of you right now are trying rationalize your feelings. Saying ugly things about me. That’s ok. I know that God has better for us, as women. I’m not condemning you. I’m saying, how much better could our lives be if we turned our hearts away from these things and turned them towards the things of God? Galatians 5:9 says

“A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”

That means that all it takes is one little teeny-tiny, seemingly innocent thought and then it gets bigger and bigger and bigger and before you know it, you have a really big problem. Think about when you make homemade bread. Wait, does anyone do that anymore?? It starts off small, but after a few hours of the yeast doing it’s thing, you have a ball of dough so big that you have to punch it to make it manageable again.

So how do we stop the lust in our hearts? Use the Word! The bible says in Philippians 4:8

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Simple! Control your thoughts. No, that’s not really so simple, is it? Ok so how about taking our thoughts captive and instead of feeding those thoughts, we start thinking about things that are pure, lovely, admirable and worthy of praise? If we can make that our habit, we can defeat it. Before you know it, you’ll be looking at your former celebrity crush and thinking, “ew. what did I ever see in him?”

Men, this is for you too. I’m not just calling out the ladies here.

I wrote this in love and I hope you receive it in love. We are more than conquerors!

It’s been a while!

So, I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything. I think that I just forget sometimes that I can verbally barf on this platform. My goal is to try and blog once a week. My problem is that there are so many things I want to write about! Fashion, God, family, love…random things. I like to keep y’all on your toes.

My post today is about God. I have been feeling, especially lately, that He wants me to really press in more. Pursue Him with everything I have in me. Reckless abandon. But, I am a stay-at-home mom of 3 wild and crazy monkeys. So I don’t have a lot of free time. My youngest fell asleep in the FLOOR, so that’s how I got away today. 🙂

Ok, back to God. I was reading in Mark 11 and came across a scripture that kind of baffled me. 

When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” Mark 11:13-14

I was confused by this because I thought, well Jesus would have known it wasn’t the season for figs. He also could’ve told the tree to produce fruit immediately. But instead, he cursed it. And the author makes sure that we know that the disciples heard Jesus curse the tree.

Now onto the next thought. This is a good one, y’all.

As you keep reading, it talks about the walking around, you know, hanging out. Peter (this guy was awesome) notices that the tree Jesus cursed, had withered. So here comes the lesson. You know how Jesus does!! 

“Have faith in God…I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11;22-25

Whoa, whoa, whoa. This kind of had me reeling. It takes faith to cast a mountain into the sea. Yes, we see that. But what really got me going was the connecting AND to verses 24 and 25. It showed me that it takes more than faith. We must have a pure heart towards our neighbor. 

I really started thinking about this and realized (gasp!!) that even though I think in my mind that I’ve forgiven people, I “unforgive” them everyday. I pick up that anger and bitterness and UNFORGIVENESS every stinkin’ day!! How can God bless me and forgive me if I’m constantly unforgiving the people in my life that have hurt me or hurt me on a daily basis? 

This is going to take some work. 

Are you unforgiving people on a daily basis? 

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 NLT

Wow. I can’t even breathe right now.

So, Solomon, you’re telling me to let go? Or it could alter the course of my life?? That’s heavy. Really heavy. Unforgiveness hurts us, not the people we don’t forgive. We have to guard our hearts. Would you agree that forgiving is a way to guard our hearts?

I have a lot of letting go to do. I hurt daily because I lost custody of my daughter. Every time I have to ask if she can spend the night on a day that’s “not mine”, I get angry. I don’t forgive. I think, “why, why, why”. I wonder, if I changed my attitude and guarded my heart, if God would deliver on His promise sooner. 

Thoughts?

Is your husband better off on the roof?

I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching lately. A lot, ok? What I’m about to talk about is a direct reference to myself. However, I don’t think that this will be in vain because I know that I’m not alone here. Hopefully you will be mature enough, ladies, to receive this.

Crabby. Argumentative. Thin-skinned. Bad-tempered. Huffy. Snappy. What do these words have in common? They’re all synonyms for the word “quarrelsome”.

Did you know that in Proverbs, it mentions a “quarrelsome wife” four times?! Four!! And not even in the same chapter. I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s kind of a big deal. (I said that in my Ron Burgundy voice, by the way. If you don’t know who that is, stop what you’re doing and go watch Anchorman. Wait, finish reading this first and then go watch it.)

Sorry. Back to the topic at hand. Go read these scriptures yourself.

Proverbs 19:13, 21:9, 25:24, 27:15

It even goes as far as to say your husband is better off living on the corner of the ROOF than putting up with and listening to our crap!!

Are you a quarrelsome wife?

I know I was. Not in a way that I liked to fight, per se, but I certainly wasn’t happy a lot. Which is totally out of character for me. I’ll save that for some other time.

Men and women are totally different. But you already know that. I’m going to give you a personal example of how different me and my husband are. I’m a very energetic, like-to-get-it-done-now person. My hubby, on the other hand, not so much. He likes to take his time. We are equal in that we like to get things done, but toooooootally different on how we approach things. For instance:

I walk into the kitchen and see that the trash needs to go out. But I don’t say anything to him, because I assume he will see it and take it out. Now, I could ask him and he would do it immediately, but I don’t ask him because I don’t want to be a “nag”. You feel me? So instead of asking him to do it, I walk around ticked that he hasn’t done it. I just want him to want to take the trash out, ya know?! But realistically, who wants to take the dang trash out? Freaks. That’s who.  I know what you’re thinking. I’m the freak for not asking, for getting ,mad because he’s not a mind-reader. Yes! Did you know that neither men nor women were mind-readers? Sheesh!! Marriage is like one big freak show.

One of the things I love the most about my husband is his huge…heart. His heart, y’all. Get your mind out of the gutter!!! And what comes with his huge heart, is how much he enjoys making me happy. I’m really blessed y’all. Let me give you an example.

Used to, I would take a shower, get myself ready, get the kids ready. You know how those things go. A nightmare, usually. I would get out of the shower and see that my huge-hearted husband would be sitting in the chair and the kids would still be in their jammies. I would go so frustrated because I felt like he should read my mind and get the kids ready. Or at least see them and think, “hey! they need to be dressed!” Well, I finally got tired of his inability to read my mind and just told him much it would help me and how much easier it would make our mornings if he could have them dressed by the time I got out. Well, guess what happened? He did it, happily. In turn I was happy, he was happy, everyone was happy!!! Ok, I’ll stop. But seriously. That was all it took. Now I can bank on it, every time I’m in the shower, he’s getting the kids dressed. Harmony. Communication is a beautiful thing. You should try it with your spouse tonight!! Right now!! I promise the end result will be better than your hubby living on the roof. Don’t put him through that!

So what does this have to do with being quarrelsome? Well, are you silently resenting your husband (or wife) for the things they’re not doing? Is your husband happy to come home to you after work? Or does he dread it? I’m not saying life is always peachy and we should walk around with a perma-grin. But try it. Go ahead! Take a selfie with your perma-grin and post it on Instagram. I wanna see it. @jnicholson08. Tag me.

God showed me many ways that I needed to change the way I treated my husband. It was right when I was trying to fall asleep too. He always gets me then! I joke a lot, but this is a very serious thing. I know that I don’t sound like the modern woman, but I really don’t care. I’m very capable. I just know the order of the family. Which, by the way, is my next blog. really focusing on how wives should submit to their husbands. If you don’t like me now, you certainly won’t like me when you read that one!!

Let’s answer our hubbies in gentleness. It turns away wrath! I’m a work-in-progress. I’m still learning. But the cool thing is that God showed me. He will show you too. And then work on you. Watch your hunnie’s jaw drop. He’ll think you were abducted and replaced with an alien wife. It’s kind of fun, really. Heeheehee. Keeps them on their toes!!

Actions speak louder than words

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As I’m packing up my kitchen, I’m fighting back tears. As much as I’ve hated Douglasville, my whole life has been here. I grew up here. Ran around with the wrong kids when I was a teenager here. Got saved here. Got lost here. Got ‘saved’ again (if you can be re-saved. I’m not asking for a debate here, either.) Had all 3 of my children here. Had 3 miscarriages. Like, my life has been lived here. I know these roads so well, yet I still forget how to get there sometimes. I always said if I left this town I would never look back. Just leave in a cloud of dust. I won’t tell you what I always thought I’d say. 😉

But what I never considered was that my daughter would still be here when I left.

Without faith, it says it’s impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6) The actual definition of impossible is “not able to occur, exist or be done.” That means that you could be doing everything else, i.e., “being” the church (by the way, keep your givings and the people you bless to yourself. Read Matthew 6:3-4. Quit bragging about yourself y’all), feeding the homeless, preaching, teaching, any ministry that you’re doing. If you’re doing these things, just going through the motions, praying for people but have no faith, you’re not pleasing God. Now I don’t know about you, but this was a major gut-check for me. I’m walking in obedience to God, but am I walking in faith?

This post is actually on parenting. I know I got a little off-track at first, but I had to lay things out for you. And maybe vent just a little.

What kind of example of faith are you being to your children? See, no one ever talks about the faith of Isaac. Only Abraham. I would think that Isaac had to have had as much faith, if not more, than Abraham. We don’t see anywhere that Isaac was like, “hey, dad, um, why are you tying me up?” or “hey, pops, why are you holding that knife over my head?” or “Dad, I thought you said God would provide the sacrifice? Where is it?” Why is that? I’ll give you my opinion.

Isaac knew that Abraham, not only spoke to God and had a relationship, key-word here y’all, with God, but that Abraham had faith that was pleasing to God. He showed Isaac in his everyday life. So for Isaac, there was no room for question. He just believed what his father told him. But Isaac also had a relationship with God. And I believe it was because Abraham’s actions spoke louder than his words.

If I’m packing things up and crying my eyes out in front of Bella, that shows her that I’m scared, nervous, etc. If I’m packing things up and praising God for His promise and speaking that over our lives, that shows her faith. No, I’m not saying it’s bad to cry about things. It’s okay to hurt and cry together because we won’t see each other as much. But while we’re crying, we remind each other that God doesn’t lie and this won’t be forever. Then we start rejoicing. That is what faith looks like.

So where do you stand? Are your children living by faith modeled by yours?