Is your church…and home…and heart…A judgment-free zone?

A few years back I joined Planet Fitness. It was conveniently located a few minutes away from my job and I would use my lunch break to fit in a short workout. I absolutely loved it. I always left feeling better than when I’d first come in, which is why I’m looking forward to continuing to make use of my Anytime Fitness membership, pregnant or not, for the time being.

Planet Fitness advertises itself as being a “judgment free zone”. The creators of this motto undoubtedly understood that a lot of people are not at their physical ideal best and need to be made to feel comfortable. Now, someone like me couldn’t care less if people eyeballed me while I was there, because under zero circumstances is a stranger’s opinion of me relevant, especially if I know I am trying. But some people are sensitive to being eyeballed or talked about. One judgmental glance or negative musing might drive them out of the gym and hinder their goals to get healthy.

Similarly, our churches are supposed to be a judgment-free zone, as should the homes and hearts of anyone that wants to claim to be a disciple of Jesus. But we all know what happens. Let a shabbily-dressed person walk into your church during the middle of service, right down the middle aisle. Now would you think in your mind that perhaps that person fell on hard times, came to the church for help and possibly had no foreknowledge of church protocol? Or would you turn your nose up at them? Does it occur to you that sometimes people might be in the throes of mental illness? What do you do when a person of another race enters your church, since we know that churches are typically very segregated? Are they made to feel as welcome as any other visitor/potential member?

Is your home a place of peace, comfort and hospitality, or do people feel unwanted when they come over…if they do? I’ll tell you one thing… My house might not always be the tidiest, but if you come by I fully expect for you to feel comfortable as you get comfortable!

Just like a judgmental attitude can run people out of a gym or away from someone’s home, or even force people to distance themselves from the person bringing the negativity, it can and unfortunately does run people out of the church. It’s no surprise to me that the numbers of Muslims are increasing while the numbers of Christians are decreasing. Because some of the nasty, gossipy, low-down, pathetic and childish behavior of other Christians inside the church is downright reprehensible.

You will be held accountable if your judgmental attitude runs someone away. You might be the one to turn away a person who is not even saved. You think God is cool with that?

It reminds me of when I went back to church after becoming pregnant with Jayden, as I was not married when I had my first two kids. An older lady asked me very snobbily, “Do you really think you ought to be coming here in that condition?”

I was different then and immediately clapped back with this:

“Unless you were a virgin when you got married you’re no better than me.”

Shut her up right away.

The thing is, my faith and resolve were strong enough to realize that woman was wrong and I was exactly where I needed to be. My smart mouth and stubbornness won’t allow for anybody to run me up out of anywhere. 

But everyone is not that way. Remember that the next time you decide to judge and gossip.  Think of the things YOU have done. Just because your sin might not be visible to others don’t make them invisible to God.

Advertisements

Taking Christianity back from Christianists

In my humble opinion, 2017 wasn’t a particularly fruitful year in terms of evangelism.

Evangelism refers to the charge every Christian undertakes once we make the decision to live for and represent Jesus. By definition evangelism is public preaching and personal testimony of the Gospel message. Unfortunately, the term has been hijacked by a group of individuals who are antithetical to the very essence of Jesus.

Depending on your bravery, I encourage you to go out in a variety of different settings and ask random people to give you their first thought when you say the word “Evangelical”. Chances are they will laugh, frown, throw up or run away screaming. Either way it goes, you are not likely to get many positive responses. And considering the fact that every Christian IS indeed an evangelist, commissioned to go and spread the Gospel in word and deed, that is pretty disconcerting.

The Evangelicals seem content to hold to and push the wrathful God who is just waiting for one to sin to strike him or her down without mercy. Evangelicals have made a hierarchy of sins that does not appear in the Bible, with homosexuality right at the top. When I think of an Evangelical, being a Christian myself, I almost forget that we are not expected to be perfect, that Jesus is our mediator and advocate, and that all sin is created equal. I often wonder if using the words of the Bible as a means to oppress others is a loose example of what is referred to in Revelation 22:18-19.

I find it difficult to believe Evangelicals have read, absorbed and truly “eaten” the Word. It is impossible to go from cover to cover and NOT understand the importance of LOVE as opposed to the rigid enforcement of religion. Evangelicals remind me more of Christianists, people who studied or cherry-picked Scriptures to fit their biases and beliefs in order to judge and oppress other people, whereas actual Christians read the Bible for personal edification and a deeper connection to the Lord.

Every day we have to remember that the way we live and the way we treat people, particularly those who don’t fit into our neat little box of ideas on how people are supposed to be, is a direct reflection of our level of connectivity to Christ. I just don’t understand how people think they can force a faith on people that they are not living out themselves.

Evangelicals… Get the beams out your eye. You’re doing a terrible job representing Jesus.

The Myth of the “Family” Vacation

First of all… Happy Blessed New Year!

May 2018 bring you anything you lacked in 2017.

With that being said, here is a disclaimer, because while that sentiment sounds nice, we all know it doesn’t work like that. So…

May 2018 bring you anything you lacked according to God’s will, and may you work toward reaching your goals as you pray for God to help you.

We all know God is not a genie and does not simply grant wishes in His infinite wisdom. He listens to each of our earnest requests and makes a decision to either approve, deny or give us an even better alternative to our request.

Hopefully you spent your time leading up to the New Year meaningfully. Mine was spent in service, and no, I don’t mean service to the Lord directly. 

In the wee hours of December 26th, me and my family hit the road and made the 11-hour trip to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to spend some time with my husband’s dad and his family. We were all excited to get to some better weather–Alabama cold is not like Michigan cold–and see Matt’s extended family. Despite our meticulous preparations, there was one thing we weren’t expecting…

The daggone stomach flu. 

No one invited the stomach flu on our vacation, but it showed up and showed out anyway!!!

Unfortunately it struck the baby first, causing her to throw up multiple times and have several bouts of diarrhea. Matt rushed to the nearest store and bought her a bottle of Pedialyte which seemed to bring immediate relief for the vomiting. Then, that night, Matt puked almost 10 times and in the morning, as I was still trying to take care of him and Jayla, I threw up. 

Being pregnant with a stomach bug is no fun, but you know what was worse? Seeing my children sick with something that I can’t help. As you know, stomach bugs must simply run their course.

And yes, I said children, because out of nowhere in the middle of playing, the very morning we were initially preparing to leave, Layla got sick. It has now been almost 12 hours since her last round of vomiting, so we are hoping with baited breath that this thing has left her body, that our son hasn’t caught it, and that we can head home. In the meantime, my last couple of days of “vacation” have been spent cleaning up puke, washing puke-stained clothing, disinfecting, throwing up myself, fetching ginger ale, and oh yeah… Cleaning up puke.

As far as this particular vacation went, I don’t fault my girls for getting sick. I wished that I could have taken their misery upon myself, although in my pregnant state the stomach flu isn’t exactly comfortable. It upset me each time they threw up.

But when I thought about how much work I still had to do on what was supposed to be a mini-vacation, I had to chuckle. Even if the kids are well, there is ALWAYS work for Mama to do even on a vacation. Because for me, a vacation not only means a trip to a destination away from home, it also means a trip away from all of the work I do at home. When I go on a vacation, I don’t expect to do any cooking or cleaning. Like the cruise we went on… The most work I did was ironing my clothes. It was perfection.

We rolled out of bed when we got good and ready and leisurely prepared for our day, no rush at all. When my husband and I were served our meals, we were able to just EAT… No cutting up meat, mopping up spills, or getting up from the table in the middle of the meal to take a little one to the bathroom. At night, we took showers as long as we wanted with no interruption and lay down in a huge bed with no one crawling over our heads or asking to turn the channel from our movie of choice to SpongeBob.

It was truly a vacation.

And you know what?

I missed those little monsters every step of the way.

Family vacations are still work, indeed. But while I was on my true vacation I couldn’t help but imagine how my kids’ eyes would have lit up as they looked out from the cruise ship into the sea, especially at night when no land could be seen, nothing but stars.

As for this particular trip, aside from the illness, it was good to see my kids playing with their little cousins, uncles and grandfather. So at the end of the day, as usual, no matter how tedious… Mama’s work was worth it.

Stop making stuff up!

I was very displeased to see that a conservative group that supports Trump, America First Policies, will release an ad on Christmas in which a cute little girl at the end thanks Trump for “allowing her to say Merry Christmas again”.

You know what Christians… I am getting very tired of some of you.

We have BIGGER fish to fry here and the only thing propaganda like this does is water down what is actually supposed to be our true message in this hateful world. This made up “war on Christmas” and all of the garbage that has followed, including furor over flipping Starbucks cups and dumb stuff like that, continues to erode Christian credibility.

I know we are not equipped nor supposed to judge whether a person is truly saved or not, but I have to wonder if these morons who keep pushing this factual war are Christians in name only or are Christians in word AND deed. And if they are, they need to go read their Bibles over and over and over again.

Nowhere in the Word does it say that everyone is going to be a Christian. I have been a Christian all my life and I have not died yet or faced any consequences or repercussions simply because I respect the fact that some people celebrate Hanukkah, some celebrate Kwanzaa, some celebrate nothing at all.

Some of you are not wearing the title well, and that is because it is just that…a title. Those of us who truly love Jesus know that being a Christian is more than just a title…it is an entire way of life guided by a set of beliefs based on one overarching principle…Love.

Super fail, conservatives. And although we believe God’s law supercedes that of man’s these are individuals who claim to love the Constitution and yet obviously do not understand the concept of free speech.merry christmas trump

What can I say…

I have been neglecting this place, as I have been neglectful in other areas of my life, after receiving some very unexpected news.
As it turns out there is a valid reason for the digestive issues I have been having…
Surprise! I am pregnant again.

And it SUCKS.

I was faithfully taking stupid birth control pills but alas, the only foolproof family practice technique is abstinence. And what fun is that? 

It is almost funny. I had scheduled an appointment with my PCP to discuss my stomach problems and on a whim, picked up a pregnancy test. Before I even got done peeing on the stick the positive results window was already illuminating.

I’ll admit that I was not pleased. The idea of nine months of unavoidable abject misery AND a one-year-old baby was not an appealing prospect–hence the reason for the pills. I still am not over the moon happy. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy about another baby, just not this awful process to get him (or her) here.

Point blank, I am a foodie. I love eating. I love cooking. I love using fresh herbs and spices, onions, bell peppers, sauces etc. And now I can’t even tolerate the smell of them. I am nauseous all day and feel the effects of pregnancy-induced GERD at night. Before anyone tries to rebut me with, “You’re lucky you can get pregnant!” ask yourself if that is the best you can come up with? Of course I know other women struggle to get pregnant. Is that supposed to mean I should be happy when I wake up out of a dead sleep with puke in my throat? 

I love whoever this is growing in here already but I dislike the process. And I won’t apologize for it.

Kids are SUCH a joy, they said…

“They” LIED!!!!

In almost 40 years of life I have never had pinkeye. My walking Petri dish of a kindergartner decided better late than never, brought it home from school and now I look and feel like someone punched me in the eye.

Thanks Layla!

Excuse the hair, it has been an AWFUL few weeks!

Stick a fork in me…

…because I am BEYOND done.

In addition to the crushing pain, debilitating fatigue and diminishing visual capacity, over the past couple of weeks I have encountered the most unpleasant, frustrating and uncomfortable symptom yet: My digestive system has slowed down to almost a complete stop.

I will spare you the grisly bathroom details, but understand that I am a huge foodie who loves cooking…and eating. And to only be able to eat three or four bites of food before feeling full, nauseous, and just odd is very distressing. 

Today I submitted myself to yet another battery of blood tests and I will be honest… My spirits are very low right now. I have to get my prayer ‘tude together because, I must admit, my prayers have been pretty defensive and sarcastic and that is an unacceptable attitude to have toward God. 

At this point I have no idea what to do. This illness has affected every single system in my body and no one can even give me its name.

I am trying to put on a strong front but I am tired.