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Hodgepodging Through the Summer

I’ve been a little quiet on my blog this week.  I’ll be writing about that tomorrow or the next day.  For now, why don’t I just focus on the fun Hodgepodge questions that my friend, Joyce, dreamed up.  To play along, answer on your own blog, and then link back up with Joyce!  Thanks for visiting!

1.  On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your summer so far? Why? (1=eh and 10=best summer ever)

I’d rate this summer as an 8.  It’s my first one as an empty-nester and, well, my house has felt empty.  Rooster’s girl has come over once or twice a week for dinner, but not having my boy under my roof has been strange.  Despite that, I’ve still done pretty good with myself.  I’ve maintained my workout routine, experimented with vegan recipes frequently, read…a lot, and have caught up on the rest I desperately missed out on during the school year.

2.  July 26th is National Aunts and Uncles Day. Did you have many aunts and uncles growing up? Were you especially close to any one or maybe all of them? Are you an aunt? (or uncle for the men who join here on Wednesdays) Share a favorite memory relating to one of your own aunts or uncles or relating to a niece or nephew who call you Aunt (or Uncle).

Despite having fourteen aunts and uncles on my mom’s side and one uncle on my dad’s side, I was not close to any of them.  They lived in Canada and France, and I only remember one of them coming to visit when I was very young.

I am the aunt of two nephews.

I don’t have one particular memory that sticks out; however, I will say that watching my children play with their cousins when they were little was always fun.  My kiddos and my oldest nephew are very close in age (Rooster and this nephew are actually the same age).  They’ve always gotten along marvelously.

3.  What’s your favorite food dipped in chocolate? What’s your favorite food dipped in cheese?

I make a vegan dessert that is, essentially, peanut butter balls dipped in vegan chocolate.  It’s pretty delicious!  I can’t have cheese because I’m lactose-intolerant, but I do remember going to a fondue place, when I lived dangerously despite the allergy to milk, and dipping everything in the cheese.  So.  Yummy.  I miss cheese.

4.  When were you last astonished by something? Explain.

I am constantly astonished by how stupid politics is.  I cannot even bear to turn on the news because of all of the “leaks” and backstabbing that’s going on right now.  It’s embarrassing that human beings can be so corrupt and underhanded.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

That’s all I’ve got to say.

5.  Surf board, paddle board, ironing board, Pinterest board, score board, clip board, bulletin board…which board have you most recently encountered?

I’d have to say that my ironing board and I got up close and personal last week when I ironed a couple of dresses.

6.  What’s your favorite story from scripture? Why that story?

There are just so many to choose from!  I’ll go with Boaz and Ruth.  It’s such a sweet story of how God redeemed a young widow through an honorable man (Boaz).

7.  If you were to travel from the east coast to the west coast in your own country, which five cities would you most want to see?

I already live in Florida, so I’ll start from there, I guess.

By the way, this question is HARD!  I don’t know much about individual cities in many states.  Yikes!

I know I’d like to see Mount Rushmore, so that would be Keystone, SD.

I’d also maybe like to visit Durango, Colorado.  My dad was fond of this place when he was alive.

I’d also like to see the Painted Desert, which is vast.  I’m guessing that going through Holbrook, AZ, would be the way to go, though.

A stop in Seattle would be awesome.  I really enjoyed the day we spent touring this city after the Alaskan cruise I went on six years ago.

My trip wouldn’t be complete without a stop in San Francisco to visit family and see that famous bridge!

8.  My Random Thought

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the First5 app.  It was created by the Proverbs 31 ministry and has a new devotion each day.  The app became available last summer, and we’ve been working our way through the Bible, one or two books at a time.  The writers are ah-mazing, and the lessons so thought-provoking.  There’s a video message each weekend, where a couple of the gals wrap up each week’s lessons.

So.

Amazing.

Yeah, I already said that.

Well, Lysa TerKeurst, the founder, spoke at a She Speaks conference last weekend, and the First5 app allowed its users to stream her lesson.

She’s amazing!

Yeah.  I’m overusing this word, but who cares.  🙂

The lesson was all about loneliness, the theme of her new book, Uninvited, which is being released the first week of August.

I pre-ordered the book and got to download the first five chapters.  I’ve read three or four of them.

Such incredible (like the new adjective?) stuff.

As I watched her speak through the app and remembered the words I’d read from her new book, my heart was stirred.

Feeling uninvited is familiar to me.

I’m already a pretty solitary person…probably because I feel extremely awkward in social situations.  Really, I think I’m just awkward in general.

I’m really looking forward to this book coming out and learning how Lysa has started her own process of healing in regard to this area of her life.

Little Things Matter

Dear Rooster,

You’re currently in your second week of Basic Training.  By now, I’m sure you’ve begun to learn a very important lesson.

Little things matter.

In fact, more people notice them than you might have thought before you left.

As this lesson is imparted on you daily, I, too, am seeing this play out in my own life.

As you know, I was recently nominated for a teacher award at my school.  You might remember, because you were still home when I got the news, that I cried when my assistant principal told me that I was in the top five.  I was quite shocked because I’ve never considered myself very special.

The packet for the award has been in-depth; the list of things to be completed, though somewhat short, has required much thought and introspection.

I requested letters of recommendation from colleagues and a former student; I asked four current students to sit for taped interviews that the selection committee will later watch.

What angst I went through.  Who should I ask?  What would they say?  Had I ticked them off so they’d say negative things?

Everyone I asked was more than happy to participate, and as I started receiving letters to add to my packet, I became overwhelmed with emotion.

My fellow teachers who wrote letters were so very kind.  They mentioned specific instances…interactions with students and other staff…that I’d taken no special notice of nor really remembered.

They had noticed.

My former student wrote such a lovely letter.  She’s set to graduate in a few short weeks, and she said that she wants to become a teacher because of me…because of the little things I did for her class the year I taught her.

She had noticed.

A couple of nights ago, I worked on editing the video that had been taken of me teaching a class.  It was awkward, at first, but then I began to see things…the ways that students were helping each other in class…the compliments they were paying to each other when I was helping someone across the room.  I’m fairly certain that I had a role in their behavior, because I’d been modeling it all year.

I noticed.

At the end of the lesson, I saw that the video continued, and to my shock, I saw the student interviews that had been conducted last week.

I felt like a fly on the wall as I listened in.

Rooster, do you know that each student recounted instances where I had spoken words of motivation…when I’d taken a few moments to encourage them to hold their heads high and not judge others.

They spoke of how they’d become readers in my class because of the books I’d pointed them to and the questions I’d asked while I was doing read alouds…seemingly simple questions in my opinion but questions that made them see the world in a different way.

One of these students was a gal who didn’t like me at the beginning of the school year.  In fact, she didn’t trust me, and she wasn’t shy about telling me how she felt.

On camera, she spoke of how I’d changed her life…by keeping her on task…by making her read and work when she didn’t feel like it.

These students had noticed the little things.

I just started a new online Bible study, and the first week’s memory verse is from Luke 16:10 – “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.

You can be sure that the little things do matter, in our physical and spiritual worlds.

People notice.

God notices.

And just when you think that nobody is watching, remember that they are.

Your life matters.

How you live it matters.

Never get too big for your britches that you forget this lesson, and never get so down on yourself that you don’t think you are contributing anything.

You are.

We are.

Because we are His…children of the King.

I love you.

❤️,

Mama

Once Upon a Disappointment

Dear OUAT Writers and Producers,

Once upon a time, I was extremely excited that a television show built around fairy tales had been made.

Sunday nights were, once again, something to be looked forward to with a family-friendly television show airing each week.

Season after season, I followed the adventures of Snow, Charming, Emma, and crew.

I cried at the sad parts and laughed at the silly antics.  Rumple ticked me off, but in a deliciously evil way.

Poor Belle…she just couldn’t seem to find permanent happiness, and Regina…well…she just really wanted to be happy and good but fought that bad nature in herself.

All was going swimmingly well in my life until Sunday night.

Why oh why did the writers and producers have to ruin the show?

What the heck made you think that Red and Dorothy should be more than BFFs?

I was appalled at the last five minutes of the show.

If I’d had a child watching, I would have had some explaining to do.

Why in the world would you cave to the pressures that other shows have felt…the pressure to be politically correct and bend to the LGBT agenda?

You ruined clean, pure children’s tales (ok…I know that Brothers Grimm tales were actually dark and dreadful, but let’s not go there right now) into something that makes a mockery out of childhood innocence.

I’m peeved.

I’m removing this show from my DVR.

This may not matter much to you, but perhaps, if other Christians banded together and expressed their displeasure, you’d listen.

Stop allowing yourself to an avenue for the liberal way of thinking and allow viewers to have something clean to watch on TV.

Until then, I won’t be tuning in.

Signed,

Your Former #1 Fan,
Auburnchick

The Restoring Power of Grace

Last night, I watched the power that grace can have on a person’s life.

I attended my high school’s basketball games…both of them (JV and Varsity).  It was Senior Night, and I wanted to honor my basketball son…the young man I taught three years ago and have been providing game day snacks for the past two years, and another young man I taught four years ago.  Both are amazing human beings…polite, hard workers, and great examples to their peers.

I had the added bonus of watching a current student of mine play in his first game this season.

This young man had previously been unable to play because he had been academically ineligible.  With the end of the first semester last week, new grade point averages were configured, and he’d fallen short by one point.

He asked me for grace…the chance to get the one point he needed to be able to play.

I’d said no.

At first.

After a chat with a fellow staff member…someone I respect immensely…and a bit of soul searching and praying, I decided to have the student redo a major assignment he’d blown off.

He floated into my classroom the next morning, and I was proud to put a more-than-passing grade on the completed work.

He’d earned his point with a lot of blood, sweat, and tears…pulled an all-nighter…probably a first for him.

Thus it was that I found myself watching as the game began; he was in the starting lineup.

His coach, who had never asked for any special favors, had visited my classroom yesterday morning before school started…thanked me for working with the student and for giving him another chance.  He’d told me that this student was an excellent athlete and would be a key player next year.

Let me tell you…watching this young man play was a humbling experience.  He scored between fifteen to twenty of the team’s points.  Our guys won the game…by a slim margin of five points, I think.  It was a nail-biter of a game.

After it was over, I told my student congratulations.

He hugged me…pure joy on his face.

He thanked me.

He told me he’d never let himself get in that situation again.

I then told the coach that he hadn’t been wrong about this young man.  The coach thanked me.

Honestly, this was less about me than this student of mine.  He took action when given the chance.

Had I not extended grace, he wouldn’t have learned the lesson of the assignment.

He also wouldn’t have learned a bigger life lesson…that laziness will bite you in the rear if you allow it to become a habit.

He might have given up on me, as a teacher.

I believe that I’ve laid some groundwork that will be key to his success in the next few months as we prepare for the state reading exam and, possibly, the last two years of his high school career.

I think I learned as much as he did.

I learned that although I can and should be wary of students who might try to manipulate me into getting what they want, there are exceptions to the case, and that I’ll never know until I take a chance on someone.

I was reminded that there are a lot of gray areas when it comes to handling students’ individual situations.  I tend to think in black and white.  The gray in the middle is hard for me to navigate through.

I learned that God will make His will known to me through the use of others and to be sensitive to those times.  Trust me.  It became very obvious by the end of the day that this was something I had to do.

I hope that this experience will one day point this young man to the saving grace that Jesus extended when He gave His life on the cross.  I am so grateful for that forgiveness…the chance to redo things in my own life.  It’s only right that I do the same for others as well.  In my humanness, I sometimes forget.

Multi-Tasking

Yesterday evening after dinner, I left the TV off…a very rare occurrence.

The reason?

I had cupcakes to bake for my 6th period class.  It’s small in number, and we had a number of behavior issues the first three months of school; however, with consistency and accountability, the kids have grown into a cohesive group.  They finally earned their 2,000 Class Dojo points and are having a celebratory party today.

While I prepared my vegan Crimson Velveteen Cupcakes, I was tuned into Twitter and the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study party.  It’s the first online study I’ve done, and I am so excited!  I’m in a Facebook group that’s being led by a longtime online knitting/bloggy friend.

I must have been quite the sight…laptop on my counter, mixing bowl not too close but not too far away…Pandora belting out a mixture of Ingrid Michaelson songs and Christian tracks.

I’d overfilled the cupcake liners, so when I pulled them out, there was cupcake overflow around each cupcake…that dried into hard-to-remove cupcake overflow.

Sigh.

It took me quite a while to clean the pans.  One of them is an air bake tin, so it can’t be submerged in water.

Bigger sigh.

I used some of my newfound muscles and scrubbed for a longggggggggggggggg time.

I had also decided to prep for a crockpot dish that I wanted to turn on before leaving for work.  I know myself, and it’s hard to get much accomplished in the morning besides my daily workout, shower, and beauty regimen.

Oh my, but I had to saute the chicken first, thus making ANOTHER mess that I had to scrub up.

Oh wait.  There’s more though.

While all that was transpiring, I was washing a load of clothes…of which I had to hang up about half of my stuff because I am quite particular, you see.

I was multi-tasking to the highest level…because I tend to be an overachiever, as you already know.

My students and co-workers may find me bleary-eyed in the morning.  Thank heavens for the cancellation of a regular Wednesday morning meeting.  I won’t have to be on my game immediately after stepping onto campus.

Small miracles, people.  Small miracles.

Refreshed

It’s Sunday night…the evening before I head back to school after a two-week Christmas vacation.

I spent the first week throwing off the remaining crud I’d been fighting since Thanksgiving.

The second week, once we’d returned home from visiting family, was, quite simply, divine.

When you’re a teacher, it takes a couple of weeks out of the classroom to begin feeling like a normal human being again…one who can put more than one thought together…one who can actually grocery shop, cook, and keep the house clean.

I feel refreshed.

Do I want to go back?

Not really.  I treasure my time at home in the company of my family.  I like being a stay-at-home mom and wife.  I’m pretty good at it too and do not ever find myself suffering from boredom.

With that said, I am going back because no, I did not win the lottery.

At the moment, I feel un-rushed…calm even.

I think part of the reason is a renewed sense of who I am in relation to my Creator.  I’ve been reading the book Wrestling with Wonder, by Marlo Schalesky.

I began this book on December 16…ordering it after I’d finished a devotion series that contained excerpts from the book.

This book is not really a feel-good kind of book.  It’s one that makes you rethink what the word “blessing” means.  Mary was blessed, but she endured the most unimaginable pain a woman can face despite God’s promises to her.

All of the things that God allows in our lives can be considered blessings because He is working His perfect purpose through those things.

News flash…blessings aren’t for us.  They exist to further His kingdom.

This book is partially told first person…from Mary’s perspective…as she might have thought about things as they happened…the angel appearing to her to tell her she was carrying the Savior of the world…her journey to her cousin Elizabeth’s house…her trip to Bethlehem…the birth of Jesus…and more.

The book’s purpose isn’t to glorify Mary.  It’s to reveal the wonders of some of the most confusing and life-altering moments in Mary’s life and then relate them to our own lives.

This book has reminded me that God allows the good and bad things into this world because He does have a grand plan, and it isn’t always to have me feel all happy-go-lucky.  That’s comforting given relationships I still struggle with…inner turmoil that eats away at me as I fight my own dark thoughts and feelings.

There’s been a release of sorts…a lifting of some of the weight that I had allowed to reside on my shoulders for awhile.

This morning, one of the songs we sang at church was “Redeemed,” by Big Daddy Weave.

The lyrics, as always, spoke to my heart…especially the following words:

All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, “Child lift up your head”
I remember, oh God, You’re not done with me yet

So, despite feeling a little like this right now…

I’m actually feeling more like this…

I hope that my calm demeanor lasts and actually rubs off on my students…kiddos who will be returning for a week and a half of teaching before first semester exams.

If my calm doesn’t last, I may be indulging in the following…

And this…Chocolate Peanut Butter Tartlets (from the book Vegan Pie in the Sky or here)…

Reflections from 2015

I’ve quit setting New Year’s resolutions because I feel as though they become empty promises to myself.

I prefer to reflect routinely on things and purposefully make immediate changes to improve things…or purposely accept things that cannot be changed and try to move on.

So, let’s see.  2015 was an interesting year.  I spent the first few months angry about my VAM score (my teacher evaluation).  I consider that score a mixed blessing, though, because I decided to quit killing myself by working all the time and start balancing my life more.  As a result, I began working less from home and stopped working on the weekends.

In March, my mom had a brain aneurysm that nearly took her life.  We reconnected, and I talked to her fairly regularly for a while as she gave me reports on her health after she left the hospital.  Unfortunately, this good will hasn’t completely lasted.  We’re still having some problems…the same problems we’ve had for years…and I’m finding myself frustrated and hurt, as I’ve spent most of my adult life.  I have to find a way to work through this.  I am by no means a great daughter.  I’ll readily admit to this.  Yet, I am a person who desires to be treated fairly…loved equally.

One amazing thing that happened over the course of the last half of the year was that I began a serious journey to become more fit.  I’ve talked about this on my blog, but it bears repeating in my reflection.  I was called “thick” by a student last year, and this hurt my heart so much.  Just like my VAM score, I used it as motivation to get better and started out by lifting weights. at the gym  When school started, getting to the gym proved to be challenging, so I transitioned to working out at home with my first Beachbody program, Piyo.  The focus on exercise and diet has completely changed me, and I am more fit than I’ve been in fifteen years.  I went down one pants size and have more endurance than ever before.  I’m more confident and happy.

Overall, I think that 2015 was about balance.  I’ve learned to balance most parts of my life.

Warrior 3 – One of my favorite Piyo positions

I’m not a workaholic like I once was.  I know part of this comes from having more experience with this being my sixth year teaching.  However, with my frustration at the education system as it exists, I decided that doing as much as I can during actual at-work hours was okay.  With the exception of one night a week at home lesson planning, I do everything else at school.

This has meant that I’ve had to quit being so anal about things.  I’ve learned how to leave grading on my desk.  I’ve learned that it’s okay to tell students that I haven’t gotten to something yet because I’m choosing to be a regular person outside of school.  Surprisingly, they understand.  I have learned not to over-commit to things because I’m still in the baby phase of balancing out my life; old habits are lurking in dark corners ready to take over again should I stop being vigilant.

2015 was a year in which I became even more self-aware.  I am a solitary person.  I am not a very sociable person.  I am awkward when I get in group settings, which is probably why I don’t have a lot of close friends.  It’s been a hard realization to see others draw closer to each other, but I am slowly learning to accept it and not feel jealous.  I treasure my time with my husband, children, and fur babies, and that’s okay.  I’m a homebody and fiercely independent and do not need to apologize for it.

My self-awareness extends to my walk with Christ, which always needs improvement.  This past summer, the First5 app got released.  It’s done by the Proverbs 31 ministry and is simply fantastic.  Every morning, before I even get out of bed, I read my devotion and watch the Weekend Wrap-Up videos.  Starting my day in God’s Word and praying have refocused my life.  No, my renewed focused hasn’t made my life perfect, but spending time talking to my Father, who knows me best, has reminded me that I exist for His glory, not to meet man’s expectations.

The new year should be interesting.  There are changes afoot in my world…changes I’ll slowly blog about as they come to fruition.  Such is the way when one gets older.  My plans are just to take things one day at a time and praise God for whatever comes my way.  He has ordained my life, and He will be glorified through everything He allows into it.

63 Days

Today marks the end of my summer vacation.

It was 63 days of pure bliss.

Transitioning back to the working world is always difficult to me.  My summer breaks take me back to a time in my life when I stayed home with the kids, focusing solely on my family.

I’m content at the moment, though, because I have had such a terrific summer.  I’ve completely relaxed and did not allow myself to do anything work-related…well, except for one afternoon last week when I sketched out lesson plans for the first week of school.

I’ve also been centering my thoughts on God and His purpose for me.

I’m reading through a devotional plan at night right now (different from my #first5app), and a couple of verses stood out to me two nights ago…

What’s hard for me sometimes is the “willing” part.

I thrive on taking care of my family and can resent intrusions that interfere.  Yet, whenever I am interacting with students, I know, in those moments, that God has called me to work with teenagers.

I guess what I mostly resent is being overburdened with extra responsibilities that make fulfilling my purpose especially difficult.

I’m trusting God to help me even more with that frustration.

And so today, I begin the pre-planning phase of my sixth year of teaching.  I’ll meet new coworkers, sit through meetings, and continue tweaking the lesson plans I began last week.

Most importantly, I’ll thank my heavenly Father for stretching me…molding me into a person who, hopefully, reflects His glory.

Monday Morning Musings

It’s still summer vacation (for a few more days anyway), and I found myself awake at 6:30.

To be sure, it was the alarm and not my internal clock at work.  My body wanted to sleep longer; however, the reality of having to go back for pre-planning on the 11th makes getting up earlier a much-needed exercise to prepare myself.

I’m not really a morning person.  Ever since I started teaching a few years ago, I’ve found myself becoming more and more of a night owl.

Still, though, this morning, the house is quiet (now that the dogs have been fed).  The sun is shining through my windows, the slats of the blinds turning the light into a soft golden color.

The dogs have gone back to sleep, and the men in my life (aka The Mr. and Rooster) are still dreaming whatever dreams men their age dream (I suspect the common theme is Auburn football with it being August and all).

In other words, it’s peaceful right now.

I find my soul at rest as well…ready, as always, to reflect a bit.

I’m thinking about my summer and how special it’s been.

No, I didn’t take a trip anywhere.  The Mr.’s work schedule has been very hectic since May.  Trying to coordinate it with Rooster’s (we want to take a family trip) has been impossible.

I’ve been content, though, to lie low at home.

I’ve gotten myself into a comfortable routine…one of self-care and personal indulgences.

Morning workouts at the gym have tightened up my muscles and have cultivated a confidence in my body that had been lacking for quite some time.  It didn’t help that one of my students from this past school year persisted in calling me “thick.”  In her world, that’s a good thing.  In my anorexia-leaning mind, it was not a good thing, but it did drive me to reign in some bad habits (Chick fil A sweet tea, anyone?) and replace them with edifying actions.

I’ve stretched myself with my reading.  Game of Thrones does not make for light reading, let me tell you!!

I’ve knit to my heart’s content and even learned how to crochet a little better.

I’ve watched Netflix…a lot of it.

I’ve napped…two or three times a week sometimes.

I’ve eaten lunch with Rooster nearly every day.  At 21 years of age, his days of living at home will be ending soon.  It’s just what children do…grow up and create adult lives for themselves.  Thus, I’ve treasured every single meal shared…more so this summer…and the conversations we’ve had during these meals and all of our free moments in-between.

Miss these days

I’ve seen a couple of movies with my guys.

One of the best things I’ve done for myself has been to reconnect to God’s Word on a daily basis.  I’m using a new, free app called First5.  It’s part of the Proverbs 31 ministry, headed up by Lysa TerKeurst.

Right now, we are working our way through the book of John.  Five days a week, there are lessons based on the teachings in John.  The sixth day, Saturday, there’s a video weekend wrap-up…a delightful surprise that I had not anticipated.

I’ve been reading these devotions right after I wake up…before I check email, Instagram, or Facebook.  I’m trying to be purposeful about spending my first few waking moments with God, reading, studying, and praying.

I’ve found myself returning back to the lesson from each morning as I go about each day.  This is a good thing.  I want to be reminded of God’s teaching because, too often, I let my emotions rule my actions.  I know this will be especially true when school resumes, and my patience will be tested by the very in-the-moment teenagers who will enter my room each day.

The timing of this app’s release is perfect.  I feel as though my heart was being prepared for it during the last few weeks of summer vacation.  It has settled…quieted…so I really can hear God’s prompting.

This peace is something I will have to pray hard to maintain as my class schedule promises to be especially challenging this year.  I just keep reminding myself that God was very purposeful when He created me; He expects me to be purposeful in living out my life.  Right now, that purpose is teaching…touching the hearts of desperately needy young people.

Boy, that’s some heavy stuff for a Monday morning, is it not?

But you see, it’s really not heavy because God, whose shoulders are strong, is carrying everything for me.  All I have to do is let Him and thank Him.

Audacity

According to Dictionary.com, one of the definitions for the the word audacity is “boldness or daring, especially with confident or arrogant disregard for personal safety, conventional thought, or other restrictions.”

With all of the big things in recent headlines, this word is one that is coming to mind more and more often lately.

I’m not going to lie.  I’ve been pretty upset.  The health care and marriage decisions rendered by the Supreme Court have left me disillusioned.

I lack the gift of debate, not having a quick wit and all, and I’ve also struggled with trying not to offend people with my views.

However…

One thing I learned from this past school year is that it is okay to be a dissenting voice, and it is actually imperative that dissenters speak up.

And so I am going to have the audacity to say a few things…get some stuff off of my chest.

As you’re probably aware if you know me personally or have read my blog more than once, I am a Christian.

This doesn’t mean I think I’m perfect.  Far be it from that, I am probably way too harsh on myself.  I am a sinner who is grateful for the redeeming blood of my Savior, Jesus Christ.  Anything good that people might see in me comes from my gracious heavenly Father.

The plumb line that guides my life is the Bible, God’s never-changing Word.  The Bible doesn’t change with the times; it doesn’t evolve through cultural changes and suddenly become irrelevant when societal norms begin to expand.  The Bible wouldn’t be much of a standard if the measuring bar kept moving around, now would it?

So we come to the heart of my post…this whole same-sex marriage thing.

The Bible very clearly states that marriage is to be between a man and a woman.  Most people will agree that homosexual behavior isn’t exactly endorsed in the Bible.  There are multiple verses that say this.

What supporters of same-sex marriage fail to mention is that the Bible lumps homosexuality in the same boat with adulterers, fornicators, and thieves.  So, it’s not that homosexuality is the worst sin.  It’s just one of many.  The other things just aren’t making the news right now.

The emotional battles I’m facing right now involve two things:  1)  Five people deciding for an entire nation how marriage should be defined, and 2) Supporters of this law calling into question dissenters’ character and even calling them hateful and ignorant.

Honestly, issue number two from above is what’s hurting and confusing me the most.

To read that we who oppose the same-sex marriage law are in the growing minority is a fallacy.  I can’t help but wonder, though, if we conservatives haven’t perpetuated this myth because, out of concern for looking “judgmental,” we haven’t spoken out enough, thus leading people to think there aren’t more who us who oppose it.

This has played out in numerous election results (case in point – who’s sitting in the Oval Office).  It’s kind of hard to stand out if you don’t go out and make your voice heard by voting.

I also take issue with those who would call us hateful.  If you take a close look at the ground we are standing on, it’s not quicksand that changes at a whim.  It’s the solid foundation of the Bible, which has never changed.

Why would people call us hateful or ignorant when we choose to stand on conviction.  Why would people tune out the part where we are constantly saying “hate the sin, love the sinner.”  That is THE message that has been broadcast loud and clear, yet it is ignored.

People who support same-sex marriage get mad because they say we on the other side don’t want equality, yet these same people refuse to give us due respect for our opinions.  How does that demonstrate equality?  Truth be told, it’s not about equality.  It’s about morality.  Big difference.

When you take prayer out of schools, disallow prayer before school functions, and remove Bible verses from public buildings, you are most certainly not ensuring that everyone is being treated equally.  You’re pushing an agenda that is more concerned with political correctness than anything else.

Quite honestly, what it boils down to is people not really believing in God’s Word.  You can’t just believe in part of it and throw out the rest.

This fact makes me sad.  However, the Bible makes it very clear that the way is narrow, which means that not all people will choose the right way.  It’s a single lane road in which no service road magically opens up and runs parallel at the whims of societal evolution.

I love the way the movie, Audacity, handled these issues.  It’s a 55-minute movie produced by Living Waters.  I purchased and watched it last night.  It’s a little hokie, I’ll admit, but the message is good and presents the struggle we Christians have when sharing answers from God’s Word to those who are curious.  There are snippets of Ray Comfort’s interviews that delve into the topics of same-sex marriage, adultery, and other sins.

It’s no coincidence at the timing of this movie.

I take comfort that God knows how everything is going to play out…that He knew before He created the world that we would be traveling down this path.

While I’m concerned about His judgement, I am also grateful that He continues to be a God of grace who is always waiting to embrace us back into the fold.

I don’t know about you, but I am going to continue having the audacity to share.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t care for people who choose alternative lifestyles.  In fact, I have an uncle who is gay.  Although I haven’t seen him since I was a little girl, I wouldn’t hesitate to hug him if a reunion came to pass.

Yes, I’ll have the audacity to proclaim God’s truth, but I’ll also have the audacity to love the people He has placed in my life with as much passion and conviction as I always have.

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