Why I Am Thankful I Was Not Raised In Church

There is nothing we can do about the past.  It is history, set in stone and unmovable.  However, there is one thing we can do “with” our past.  Hold on to it and remember where the Lord has brought us from.  Take the past and use it as a testimony of God’s great work and give him the honour and glory he deserves.


Looking back at the last 16 years, I can honestly say that I am thankful that I was not raised in church.  I know, you are thinking, “what!?”  But seriously, I am and there are good reasons that I can make that statement.  First, I would hate to think that I had been raised in church and still have the testimony that I do.  Yes, if I were raised in church, my testimony “could” have been quite different.  One of the problems of raising kids in church is that although they are brought up in the Lord’s house, quite often He is not made prominent in theirs.  That is why there are children all over the world, who were good kids, brought up going to church every service and yet, their lives are complete disasters.

Which is exactly how mine would have been.  I would have been this kid.  How do I know?  I attended a very prominent Christian School in my area from Kindergarten through fourth grade.  In those five years, my parents never once – not once – attended a church service there.  Do you have any idea how confusing that is to a kid?  This would be the reason that I got saved about 12 times from Kindergarten to first grade.  And yes, even though I went to a Christian School, nobody told me that one time is all it takes.  What if I did get saved that day in kindergarten, down on that old brown alter with my teacher?  That would mean that from age 5 to 13, all the sin that I had surrounded myself with and got involved in, I did all that while I was saved.  I claim the date I accepted the Lord as October, 25, 1995, but I guess I’ll never know until I stand in front of Jesus, whether or not that is the “actual” date.

One thing that I can hold on to is that God is merciful to those who don’t know any better.  Yes, the majority of the things in my past, I knew better.  But when it came down to knowing about God and what he expected of me, I was completely ignorant!  I am thankful for Romans 4:15, “Because the law worketh wrath:  for where no law is, there is no transgression.”  Does this mean God overlooked my sins?  Absolutely not, but it does mean that he did not deal as harshly with me, because of my ignorance.  God expects more out of a person who grew up their whole life knowing what he wanted them to do.  A kid who grows up in church, whether it is lived at home or not, is not ignorant to the things of God.  They know better.  This is why it seems like the chastening is so much worse for those who know what God expects from them.


The second reason I say that I’m thankful is my church membership.  My children are growing up with parents who have a good standing in their church (as far as I know – lol – Thank God!).  We are active in church and DO make the Lord the center of our home (or at least try our dead level best).  As they grow, they will listen to their parents talk about church, membership and serving the Lord.  When they become adults, they will already have preconceived notions as to what this means.  I pray that we establish a good ground work with them so that they will continue to serve and love the Lord as adults.

When we started going to our church, I was 19 years old and already married.  I had absolutely no idea what it meant to be a church member or what they were supposed to do.  I was a blank slate member.  No preconceived notions, no expectations to meet, and no judgments to offer on how things were done.  I could fully engulf myself in the church service and not worry about the things going on around me.  There are two great things about Blank Slate Church Members.  Number 1 – they are willing and ready to serve – anywhere!  Number 2 – they are 100% trainable.  I have been blessed to have some of the greatest examples of godly women to learn under.  My knowledge of what a church member is came from them.  How to behave, how to live (at home and at church) and how to serve I learned at the skirt tale of my fellow ladies.  Had I have been raised in church, my thoughts of these women might have been tainted.  I would have thought, “well I know what to do, she does not need to tell me!”  I am thankful that I was teachable and trainable in the ministry.

My girls will also have some of these examples to follow, but now it’s mama’s job to set the standard of a church member for them.  Yes, they will be church kids and eventually active adults in the ministry (Lord Willing – and he is).  But there is absolutely nothing that I can do to change the fact that their mama was not raised that way.  I love to hear testimony from women who were brought up in the admonition of the Lord their whole lives.  They are so pure and well, just lovely to listen to.  This is the testimony I want for my children.  It’s my job to take what I have been given through my life and mold them into the women that I am not.  Train them to serve the Lord and not pass judgement.  To be a Blank Slate Member and learn the “good” from those around them.  To say, “Look here now, mama didn’t do it this way and it caused her a lot of pain!”  Because ultimately, I want to present beautiful and God loving children before the Lord every day of their lives and the only way to do this, is to acknowledge and be Thankful for what the Lord has done with this mama who was not raised in church.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on being raised in church.  Comment below or send me an email and share how growing up or not growing up in church has affected you.



Posted In:  Walking Worthy


Perfect Parents Don't Have Kids

I can honestly agree to this statement.  Every perfect parent does not have children!  I probably dished out more parenting advice before I had kids than I have in the last year and four months of actually having them.  To be fair (and justify a little), I have been actively working with children in the ministry for the last 15 years.  So, as a non-mom, I was not altogether ignorant, but working with a kid once a week, is a whole heap different than caring for a child 24/7.

As a non-mom, I had a completed outline for how I’d raise my children.  From the pregnancy to the birth to the rest of their lives, it was detailed.  You want to hear something funny?  It’s been 16 months, and I cannot tell you one thing that was on my detailed perfect mom list.  Other than how to get them to eat their gummy vitamins by mixing them with fruit snacks, I’m not sure what all that plan said.  By the way – that little piece of advice actually does work!


Today, I can look back at the plan I made and realize that it was ridiculous.  I had put such high expectations on my non-existent kids, that when my “real” kids came, I was totally deceived.  Not to mention, I had to eat a little crow, when I realized 1 day after they were born that I had no idea what I was doing!  I felt like Alice crying in the Tulgey Woods, singing to myself, “I give myself, very good advice, but I very seldom follow it!”  I still have a plan.  There are some things that I want my children to know and do for certain.  The difference is, until you are a mom (and not just a weekly friend on Sundays), you cannot understand how to create productive and decent human beings.  They don’t just come out that way!  Yes, that part I knew already.

Here is what it boiled down to.  Until I was a mom, I had absolutely no idea what it meant to love a child.  Yes, I loved (and still do) my Sunday School students and the kids in Junior Church.  But the love of your own child, it is completely different.  If I upset my Sunday School kids, it would bother me.  I would apologize and make it right, and we’d go on about the day.  By the next time, they saw me, it was completely forgotten – on both sides.  Now, if I upset Weeb or Bug, it breaks my heart!  The guilt of hurting my child is beyond psychotic.  There is no going anywhere and waiting a week for it to go away.  No, I am going to have to look into those eyes in the morning and remember her being upset!

One thing that has definitely changed, I do not hand out unsolicited parenting advice anymore!  I used to get upset, really, when my Pastor would say, “Don’t ask people who don’t have kids advice on parenting, they don’t know!”  In my mind, I was like . . . excuse me brother, but Yes!  Yes, I do know!  You can imagine my surprise on day 1 of being a mother when I figured out really quick, No!  I don’t know.  When I woke up to the nurse coming in to get the girls for the nursery the morning after they were born, I was a complete mess!  I had just spent the night, constantly waking up to listen if they were breathing.  Constantly touching them, because I could not believe it was real.  Immediately afraid for the rest of their lives I would screw them up.  As a non-mom, I had never experienced those feelings.  I could just tell people how they were doing wrong and go home with a good conscience that I had made a mark on the parenting of America!  What an idiot!

I would like to hand out a little advice here though – unsolicited, yes, but I feel it’s very needful.

MY ADVICE TO MOMS:  Don’t ask someone who has never parented a child advice.  Right?!  I almost cannot believe I am saying it either.  A non-mom has not experienced an emotional attachment to a child.  They can only give you advice that comes from cold hard facts, something they believe will work for every child no matter the situation.  To a non-mom, kids all work the same.  Yes, even if they say they understand, I promise you, they don’t fully get it.

If a non-mom offers you unsolicited advice, be kind.  I can honestly say, that they think they are helping you.  I know when I would tell a mom something, I truly thought I could help her.  Politely thank her, or even tell her you’ll consider trying what she said, but be kind.  If the Lord does give her children, then she will understand and realize how ignorant to parenting she actually was.  She will remember your kindness, and most likely come to you when she gets in too deep and has no clue what to do herself.

MY ADVICE TO NON-MOMS:  Don’t be so quick to point out what you think a mom is doing wrong.  Remember that every child is different and the perfect parenting plan you may have set up in your mind, is not going to work for every kid.  When you do (and you will) offer advice to a mom, do it with a helpful and tender tone.  Don’t assume that you know what she’s thinking or feeling.  The when I have kids, this is what I am going to do – so you should do it too approach is not the best way to handle it.

This is what I wish someone would have said to me, so I am saying it to you.  You are not a parent!  You do not understand and you will not understand the emotional connection of a mom and her kids until you are one.  You can dish out as much magazine and what worked for your sister advice as you please, but that does not make you understand what it feels like and “is” like to be a 24/7 mom.  If a mom does not take, use or want your advice, it’s because she has made the statement… well when I have kids, before too!  Use tact when offering something you think will help someone.  Don’t be quick to burn your bridges with moms you think need your help, truth is, one day when you have your own children, you may seriously need hers.  Also, don’t compare your friends children with your dogs.  I did this for years, oh well when my dog does this… really??  Kids are not dogs and dogs are not kids – yes they are your babies, but save that advice for other fur-moms.

3 Characteristics Of A Wise Friend
What Kind Of Friend Are You?

It would be so great to say that I have always walked with a "wise" crowd of friends.  Those who always exercise good judgement and common sense.  Those who no matter how long you are around them, make you want to strive to be a better person, both fleshly and spiritually.  If we choose to make friends with this type of person, God tells us that their wisdom will rub off and we will be wise as well.  It's true, we take on the attributes of our friends and those we are around the most.  Have you ever noticed that husbands and wives, after being married a while, seriously start to behave like each other?  My sister-in-law tells me all the time, "You have been married to Thomas too long . . . you act just like him!"  I'm not sure what she's getting at, but I'll take it (lol).

Unfortunately, the same goes for our foolish and carefree friends.  Those who seem to have no good judgement and their common sense is a few bricks short of their load.  But we love them!  If we are not careful though, we will begin to take on their characteristics as well.  There is a positive for every negative.  If wise friends will help us to become wise, it would logically mean that foolish friends will cause us to become and behave foolishly.  The Lord said, that a companion of fools will be destroyed.


One of my favorite movies as a teenager (and well adult too,) was Labyrinth.  It has music and puppets, I was sold!  In once scene, Sarah falls down a whole after picking the wrong door knocker.  Poor thing fell right into the pit of "helping hands."  Their job was to move her up or down the pit to a new destination.  Common sense tells you that if you fall down something, to get out you must go up.  She chooses down because that is the way she is pointing (foolish).  Which ended her up in an Oubliette, a dark hole where she was supposed to stay until she forgot why she was there, or ultimately died.  Why am I telling you this?  Because this is what happens to us when we surround ourselves with foolish friends.  We end up making the wrong decision, because their attributes have moved over and devoured our wisdom.  This is the destruction that God is warning us about.  The destruction of ourselves.  Sadly, those who have not accepted Christ, who surround themselves with foolish friends, will reap the ultimate destruction of never accepting Him and spending an eternity in Hell.  Yeah, I'd say that is the ultimate destruction.

What kind of friend are you?  Wise or foolish.

Searching the Scriptures over at Blue Letter Bible (this is my go to online Bible search), the Lord showed me three things that we can do, to not only be wise friends, but the right kind of friend.  Friendship is a gift from God, and if you have the right kind of friends, you are truly blessed.  How much more of a blessing to BE the right kind of friend.  To show wisdom and discernment, good judgement and common sense.  Our world is lacking these things today.  Christians are lacking these things today!  So without running on (cause you know I will - lol), I'd like to share with you Three Characteristics of A Wise Friend, and I hope that if you are not already applying these to your friendships that you will reconsider.

A WISE FRIEND WILL BE . . . 


REFRESHING!
In Acts 27 (vs 1-3), Paul is being shipped to Italy, as a prisoner.  No cushy bed, no color television and no place to, uh hum, go to the little boys room.  It's nasty and smelly, and plain out GROSS!  Unlike most prisoners (then and now) Paul kept a good Spirit and repor about himself and that was noticed by others.  Julius (his guard), entreated him and gave him liberty to go and see his friends in Sidon.  I don't know of any prison guards today, that would give a prisoner freedom to go see his friends - even if he was a totally awesome prisoner!  Julius took some pity on Paul and gave him this liberty with a purpose.  "And the next day we touched at Sidon.  And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to REFRESH him."  (Acts 27:3)  If anyone needed refreshing - it was Paul.

The last thing he needed was a foolish, doom and gloom friend.  The person who, no matter what, can and will find the most negative aspects of their friend's troubles.  I'm pretty sure that Paul did not need reminding that he was a prisoner, or that he smelled and needed to comb his hair!  No, he needed to be REFRESHED.  He needed someone to give him some new vigor and energy.  A hot meal, a place to take that desperately needed shower and some serious, long over due rest.  Paul needed to be mentally stimulated with memories of how good God had been and how he had used him (and would continue to do so.)  Paul needed his friends to remind him of good things and to be cheered up.  These are all the things that a Refreshing Friend will do.  Keep it positive, use wisdom and discernment to know what to talk about and when.


REVEALING!
"There's no friend, like the lowly Jesus, no not one, no not one!  How true are the words to this beautiful song?  There is not a friend like Jesus anywhere on the planet.  Why?  Because Jesus loved with his whole life.  Proverbs 18:24, tells us that if we want friends, we have to be friendly (ouch!) and ... that there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother!  (I paraphrase because I will touch on this verse a little later.)  Jesus was probably the only friend that could say, "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you," (John 15:14) and get away with it!  Probably because he didn't say it in the, I'm the boss and you do what I say because.  No, he continues to explain to them what his friendship means.  "Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth:  but I have called you FRIENDS; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto thee."  (John 15:15)

The wisest of the wise said that he is our friend because he REVEALED what God, his Father, had said to him.  Friends don't keep God's Word from Friends!  Using wisdom and discernment, Jesus revealed all things that God had told him.  Why is it, when we see our friends hurting or fixing to make a bad decision, we say nothing?  God has revealed to us an entire book of knowledge and wisdom that we can REVEAL to others to help them.  Witnessing and sharing the gospel is one of the most important things we can do to be a right friend.  If my husband had never cared enough to share Jesus with me (he took me to the Halloween thing where I got saved), I might still be lost.  And how much more do I love him for caring about my soul!?  No, he didn't know what to say to me exactly, but he cared enough to find someone who could REVEAL the Word of God to me so that I could accept Jesus.  How sad is it that we will share intimate details of our lives and past with our friends and then hesitate to open our mouths to share Jesus Christ with them?


REJOICING!
The parable of the sheep, followed by the parable of the Lost Coin (Luke 15) are so significant to our Christian lives.  Here is a shepherd, who has 100 white, fluffy sheep and one is now missing.  By today's standards he should have cut his losses and filed for a tax right off on the missing sheep, then when on about his business.  No, not a good shepherd.  Jesus as the Good Shepherd explains that this man goes out and find his one sheep, lays it on his shoulders and carries it home rejoicing.  Self rejoicing people, those who can do it when nobody is around, just them and what ever they have been blessed with are a rarity!  If we want to be the right kind of friend, we must be able to rejoice by ourselves.  Not rejoicing personally with God, will make it very difficult to rejoice with others later.  Can you be happy about your friends blessings?  There was a time in my life when I would have to answer a big fat NO! to this question.

After rejoicing with the Lord about finding his one sheep, the shepherd takes it a step further.  "And when he cometh home, he called together his FRIENDS and neighbours, saying unto them, REJOICE with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost."  (Luke 15:6)  As a wise friend we should be willing to rejoice with our friends.  Nevermind what we think they should have done differently, or what we feel God is doing.  When our friends are happy because they have gotten a blessing from the Lord, we should be happy for and WITH them.  A wise and right friend will Praise God with their friends over their blessings - no matter how big or how small!

Going through this little study on the characteristics of friends in the Bible, I have realized that in my own friendships, more than I would like to admit, I have played the fool.  The irrational, no holds barred, judgement and common sense flying out the window, fool.  I pray, not only that you will take these Characteristics and apply them to your lives, but that I also can take them and apply them in mine.  Especially in my marriage (because my husband is my best friend).  I can't wait to start being a wise and right kind of friend.

Do you look for specific characteristics in your friends?  Share them with me, and lets build beautiful, happy and healthy friendships together!

A New First
Setting A Theme For My Year

Truth time… I have never actually chosen a theme for a year in my life before.  It’s just always been, “Hey, it’s 2012!”  This year I am stepping it up a notch both in my Spiritual Life and my Physical Life.  Last year, I found myself saying, I just want to be happy, way more than I should have.  I struggled with the day to day tasks of my home, my Bible reading, prayer time and just about every other area you can think of.  While I was on my break in December, I sat down and thought about what is going on.  Why am I having such a hard time with getting it together.  The number one answer that kept coming up was – ME! 

Setting A Theme for 2017

I have the worst time management on the planet!  I think that the scripture “Redeeming the time…” yeah, that was put in there for me – go ahead, just write my name next to it.  After doing some trolling online for various ways to get it together, I came across a Four Day Mini Course at Living Well Spending Less.  To begin with, I signed up for this course to get help organizing and planning for this blog.  Little did I know, that while I was listening to the lesson videos, that I would find help I needed for my every day life.

This course explains how to set Big Goals for yourself and break them into little segments to make it less overwhelming when thinking Big – to actually achieve the goal you set!  This has been my problem.  I set goals and they seem so unreachable that by the time I get started, I have already given up.  Well, not this time!  I was not only inspired to set Big Goals for my actual life (home, family, and blog), but also for my Spiritual life.  This prompted me to set a Big Goal for this year!  Yes, I will be Living Peachy-Keen in 2017!


I love the saying, Peachy-Keen, it’s not something you hear anymore, but I think it should totally make a come back.  I looked up the definition and it’s defined as Outstanding!  Yes!  That is it – I am thinking BIG and setting a goal for this year to be 100% Peachy-Keen! 

If there was one woman in the Bible who I believe had the Peachy-Keen life, it’s the Proverbs 31 Woman.  She has some amazing attributes about herself.  The one that I love the most, is that the “Heart of her husband doth safely trust in her…”  I would love to be able to say, my husband’s hear safely trusts in me.  What a testimony as a wife, then her children rise up and call her blessed!  Come on – this woman has an Outstanding life.  How awesome is it that God not only shared her story with us, but laid out a verse by verse check list that we can use today to pattern ourselves after her.  In 2017 attempting to follow her Virtuous footsteps is my plan.

So here goes nothing!  I am thinking BIG and planning to have an Outstanding 2017!  Do you have BIG plans for yourself this year?  Share it with us, so we can strive to reach our goals together!