The Real Reasons Pro-lifers vote Pro-choice (Debunked)

clearly

I’m sure this list is not complete, but at some point I have to clean my house and make meals, so says my patriarchal husbandūüėČ but I digress. Here are a few of the most common reasons (ahem..rationalizations) I have heard for voting so completely opposite to the Word of God all while claiming the name of Christ.

1. The president has very little influence concerning abortion.

On the one hand “pro-life” Democrats claim that the president has very little power when it comes to abortion. So abortion is a non issue. However, these same people also insist that if Trump gets into power he will destroy the known world. Which is it? Either the president is an impotent chess piece or he is an overlord with god-like powers. You can’t have it both ways. (Click here for Obama’s shameful legacy on abortion)¬†¬†

Also, no one else in the real world believes this. Hence Planned Parenthood pouring cash into insuring Clinton makes it in office.

2. The abortion rate actually goes down with a pro abortion president.

With this reasoning we should all vote for people that believe the opposite of what we believe. Brilliant! Should we use this logic with all of our major life decisions?¬† No, because correlation does not equal causation. Data needs to be interpreted. For instance, persecution is well documented to spread the gospel. So should we purposefully vote for legislation that would persecute Christians with the hope of spreading the gospel? No. Just no. (Need more info on what’s really going on here? Click here)

3. Jesus never got involved in politics.

Jesus also never became a dentist. What on earth is your point?? Please, no more with this WDJD (What did Jesus do) business. He didn’t do a lot of things. But he did promise that we would do works even greater than he did. Maybe championing the cause of the unborn in the realm of politics is one of those works He spoke of. I think so.

4. I don’t base my vote on one singular issue.

FALSE. The truth is you don’t think abortion is the one issue ¬†worth voting on. If the nominee declared that murder of the BORN should be legalized I guarantee that you would not have this same attitude. As a matter of fact, go ahead. Pick any horrendous act of evil and fill in the blank.

Legalizing child rape? Is that one issue you would vote against?

Reinstating slavery? Is that one issue you would vote against?

Murdering children in the womb? Meh. Clearly not your one issue. I get it.

5. You can’t legislate morality.

Maybe, but you can legislate consequences for people that act immorally. In fact we have actually legislated the punishment of people that kill unborn babies! The difference is those babies were killed by a layperson that will be imprisoned, not a professional baby killer that will be heralded.

6. Fetuses aren’t human.

Well, you got me there. For instance a dolphin fetus is not a human. However,¬† a human fetus is actually a human. (I’ll wait here while you look up the definition of fetus)

This issue isn’t whether or not a fetus is human. The issue is whether it is wanted by the mother or not.

Exhibit A: A pregnant woman is stabbed in the belly with a knife. The attacker will be charged with TWO counts of murder. Rightly so.

Exhibit B: A pregnant woman is stabbed in the belly with a needle full of poison. The doctor will be paid and lauded a hero. Shamefully so.

Science is not predicated on your wishes. Why do these people hate science?

 

In Conclusion, most issues in a campaign can be intellectually contested. When it comes to ending poverty, there can and should be debate. There is much to work through and understand. There is economics and statistics not to mention cause and effect. There is no clear choice on either side of the aisle.

When it comes to deciding foreign policy, again there are countless factors and issues that we can only strive to understand. There is no clear choice on either side of the aisle.

But when it comes to taking the life of an unborn child, there is no debate. It is sin. It is evil. And it cannot be accepted on any level. Listen Christians, unity is hard. Jesus prayed that we would be unified in John 17 clearly knowing this was going to be an issue. And if we cannot unify against this one singularly clear and present evil in our world, what hope is there? On the flip side, can you imagine what could happen if we did unify on this one issue. We need to go back to the beginning. If we can identify and verify the value of life at its most innocent and vulnerable stage, then that is something to build on. But when you destroy the very image of God in its infancy, where can you go from there?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What your response to the “Pulse” terror attack says about you.

pulse

Have you ever noticed how differently individual Christians respond to a tragedy? All are deeply saddened, but some seek to encourage, while others seek to problem solve. This is nothing new, and is actually quite healthy and beneficial. However, there is a trend of sorts, for some to attack others that respond differently. Pridefully they proclaim that there is only one right way for Christians to react to horrific devastation.

I find this especially discouraging because one of my passions is getting Christians to see and appreciate fellow believers for their assorted strengths given by God. We must recognize that while we are all different, we are all made in God’s image. He uses each of us in a variety of ways according to the gifts He has given us.

I remember once hearing that people react to situations based on their spiritual gifts. If this is true, then you can see it illustrated quite clearly in Orlando this week.

Here’s how:

Those with the gift of mercy responded by caring for the wounded, both physically and/or emotionally. Those with the gift of giving stood in line to donate blood or opened their restaurant to give free food to blood donors. Those with the gift of exhortation used their words to encourage the hurting families and scared citizens of a country that is changing by the day. Those with the gift of administration looked at all the details and recorded all of the information, assessing from every angle, and delegated jobs accordingly. Those with the gift of teaching discussed the root of the problem, and listed ways to keep this from happening again. A person’s spiritual gift enables them to see needs that others may not even notice.

This is the way it is actually supposed to be. However what hinders this symbiosis, is when a person with the gift of mercy looks on at a teacher and declares “Stop telling others how to fix this. We simply need to care for the wounded!”

Likewise, we get nowhere when the administrator looks on at the one encouraging and complains, “Your words of encouragement are useless if we don’t take proper steps of action!”

At face value, each may seem to have a point. But that point is only valid when we as Christians don’t work together. God has given individual believers many different gifts so that when we work together in love, we will fully live out His calling and in so doing, we will beautifully and completely display the love of Christ with excellence to a watching world.

All the gifts are needed in the body of Christ. All the gifts are equally valid. In 1 Corinthians 12:12‚Äď26, the Apostle Paul tells us that no one should despise his gift by comparing it to the gifts of another. And no one should look down on someone else‚Äôs gift as being less than his gift.When someone is mourning, they need someone to hold their hand and cry with them, but they also need someone to cook their dinner and clean their house. Both important. Both different. Both loving.

What’s hate got to do with it?

Love and Hate

You would be hard pressed to find someone on this earth that loves me more than my mother. My husband and kids could likely compete, but as a mother myself, I would find it impossible to believe that anyone now or in the future could ever love my children as deeply and profoundly as I love them.

Keep that disclaimer in mind as I share this shocking story.

I was 3 months pregnant living in a 24 hour state of “morning” sickness. I had a 3 year old and 1 year old to take care of. My husband had moved to our new home in South Carolina while me and the kids stayed behind to sell the house. Since the idea of keeping a home “show ready” overwhelmed me, my parents graciously offered to let me and the kids live with them. Within 3 weeks we had a contract on our home. Yet, the comfort of my mother’s home-cooked meals kept me living in their house a bit longer.

Until one day.

Sitting at the breakfast table, I struggled to find the energy to start my chores. The girls were off playing quietly, so I complained to my mother. “I know I have laundry to do, but I just don’t feel good.”

And her response literally sent me packing.

She actually said the following words.

“Yeah, well, you always seem to have an excuse.”

(insert record scratch here)

I moved out the next day.

But ya know what?

She was right. I did always have an excuse. Being the typical baby of the family, I tend to procrastinate and struggle with choosing responsibility over fun. My whole life I have struggled, and the truth is I struggle still. But just because I was born this way,¬† doesn’t mean I should stay this way. Yet who was going to tell me to change? Certainly not my friends.

“You’re fine.” They assured me.

“How could anyone expect anything of you? You’re a pregnant mom of¬† two small children!” They comforted me.

The truth is that people regularly make excuses for me. Since I now have five children, no one expects anything from me.

If I am late, blame the children.

If I am unreliable, blame the children.

If I am inconsistent, blame the children.

But I don’t want to be known as a late, unreliable, inconsistent person!

You are not doing me any favors if you tell me I don’t have to change. True comfort comes from knowing that through the power of the Holy Spirit, I don’t have to stay the same! While we know that the Lord deals gently with those that have young (Isaiah 40:11) a verse my mother shared with me many times, most of my issues had more to do with my own choices than my children.

Could my mother have found a more diplomatic way to express her thoughts to me? Probably. But those words have rung powerfully in my ears every time I felt like playing the victim.

Were her words “Hateful” ? Shouldn’t she just affirm everything about me to truly show her love?

Let’s think of it another way. Remember the last time you had spinach in your teeth, and someone told you about it. How grateful were you? Were they “hateful” for telling you? Did you respond by telling them to worry about their own mouth?? What about all the people that actually saw the offensive shrub stuck in your teeth and said nothing? Would you describe them as loving people because they never once challenged you on any of your faults or foliage?

NO! Of course not!

Yet this is the logic expressed by our society constantly.

If you love me, you will love all of my decisions.

If you disagree with me, you hate me.

Recently a short white man asked college students what they would think if he told them he was a tall, Asian woman, and they literally thought the loving thing to do was to allow him to walk around in his delusion.

No. Just no.

In this day and age, there is a father that believes he is a female dragon. There is also another father who is 52, but believes he is a 6 year old girl. And we have a large group of people that really believe it is loving to cater to their “feelings” rather then encourage them in truth. These men have deserted their families to live how they feel¬†they were designed. And let me tell you that as someone who has experience in watching a loved one walk away from their family because of their delusions, there is nothing more hateful than encouraging someone to follow their heart despite the cost. Revelations 3:19 reminds us that God corrects and disciplines those whom he loves! That is true love.

I expect crazy from a world that doesn’t know Jesus who regularly and lovingly declared truth. But now the trend has invaded the “church,”¬† and some are slowly falling prey to the same deceptive line of questioning used since the beginning of humanity…..

Did God really say??

There is also a lesser known technique that the enemy used since the garden as well. He likes to change the meaning of God’s words. “You will not surely die,” he told Eve, knowing full well eternal death was on the line.

Nothing has changed. Our enemy continues to fight by changing the definitions of words ordained by God like love, hate, marriage, and life!

I am under no delusion that my words ¬†are going to persuade the staunch supporters of this movement. I am really not even talking to them. I’m talking to those in the church who find themselves fearful and concerned when looking at the changing world around them. Yes, the world is changing. And change can be scary. But God never changes. His word is true,¬† and His Law is good. Despite the difficulties that lay ahead, there is no greater calling then to walk in His truth. Do not let fear rule your hearts. Continue to walk in love without compromising truth. Have compassion on those that are lost. Not anger. Stay in the word more than ever so that you will not be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. Beware of false teachers or bloggers that distort God’s truth. And let’s focus on unity with other believers that hold to the core doctrines of our Christian faith as we endeavor to tell the truth in love.

How I lost 30 pounds and my husband’s shocking response.

scale

First off I have to let you know that I had no desire to lose 30 pounds. Yes, I had some old dresses in the back of my closet that I dreamed of wearing again one day, but I was quite sure I only needed to shed about 10 pounds to squeeze back into them. Talk about delusional! But I digress.

Last November I started a 3 month journey on a candida diet using this book. If you know what candida is, congratulations! You are officially a health nut! I grew up eating whole wheat cookies, tofu, and carob, so…yeah. I am well acquainted with the term candida. But for those of you that do not know, candida is a fancy word for yeast. Yeast is kind of like bacteria in that we all need some in our bodies, but an overgrowth spells trouble. To fix an overgrowth, you need to starve the candida, which means eliminating certain foods that contain sugar, gluten, dairy, caffeine or anything that produces happiness and joy. I kid. Not really.

So I did this. For 3 months. Religiously.

Let me just tell you that I have tried EVERYTHING to lose the “baby weight,” and been somewhat successful. Over the course of the last 13 years I have gained and subsequently lost over 150 pounds total! However, my youngest baby is almost six, and the numbers on the scale were only going up, so there’s that.

My attempts as of late consisted of crash dieting when big events were approaching and packing the pounds right back on when said event had passed. But this time it was different. This time, I had an impetus even greater than fitting into that perfect dress.

If your paying attention, you may have noticed that I started this diet only weeks before Thanksgiving. Yes, I actually lost weight during the holidays while following this diet. While everyone else was indulging on seasonal sweets and decadent delights, I was abstaining like a diet ninja. How, you may ask, did I conjure up such paramount powers of self control? Well, it was easy actually. The alternative was torture.

You see in September I developed this slightly annoying rash in my underarms. Apparently this is more common then I would have thought, because I have talked to many of you that nodded your heads in understanding. Over the course of several months the irritation went from annoying to unbearable. I tried several doctors that all treated the symptom, giving me steroids that led to vertigo, and then antihistamines that left me virtually unconscious. Realizing that a trip to an allergist would likely cost our summer vacation fund, I was determined to try a natural remedy. It was then the Lord reminded me of a friend that put her husband on the “Candida Diet.” Graciously she lent me her book, The Candida Cure. However after thumbing through the pages, I felt very discouraged.¬† There was no way I could do this. I lived on caffeine. How could I function and take care of my ever growing laundry list of responsibilities without my dear friend, Chai tea?

The next morning I woke up and simply decided to skip my daily dose of black tea. One choice at a time, I ended up following the diet to the “T,” (pun intended,) and after about 2 weeks I saw a huge improvement.

I made myself plain sweet potatoes and green beans for Thanksgiving and found it easy to say no to dessert. I felt stronger than ever and realized it actually felt good, almost empowering to take back control over my food choices.

 

However a few weeks later I had one slip up. Events were the hardest. Eating plain salad at a memorial service catered by a delicious Italian restaurant is hard to explain. Discussing my armpits is not a comfortable conversation starter. So I caved. I ate a dish that I knew had sugar in it, and all the way home I looked like an orangutan scratching my armpits till they were raw. From that moment on there was no messing around. I had gotten to “that” point. The truth is that change only happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain (literally in my case) of change.

change quote

I would like to say that it got easier as time when on, and to a certain extent it did, but there were many days when my texts to my dearest friends would reveal otherwise. While the practical side of preparing foods did get a bit easier, it was often exhausting and even depressing to avoid the foods that I had always associated with happiness!! However as time went on, and I began to easily fit into clothes that had been busting at the seems, my resolve did strengthen.

Here are a few things I learned:

  1. Caffeine makes you tired.

    I had more energy without caffeine than I had with it. Caffeine brings your body to an unnatural high and then crashes you mercilessly to the floor also increasing moodiness.

  2. Sugar affects your mood more than you realize.

    Since finishing the diet, I have indulged in sweets more than once. And now I notice it more than ever. Sugar not only depletes my energy level, but also affects my mood. In fact, midway through this 3 month experiment my husband uttered these terribly brave words that shocked me. “Don’t take this the wrong way,” he began. “but, you’re a lot less moody these days.” And friends, it is so true!! We have no idea how easily we are affected by our food. Yes, in the beginning I felt depressed and exhausted by the need to say no to everything I had indulged on before, but once my body and mind got over the initial detox, I felt stronger, happier, and less crazy than I had in over a decade! Knowing my mood will be affected by sugar has actually given me strength to say no more than i used to (which was never! ha!)

  3. Carbs are no joke.

    Between the infamous carb coma to the extra belly weight, carbs leave a lasting impact. Growing up with a Sicilian mother, pasta was a major food group. So I denied this reality for so long. However, since I have now felt the positive benefits of reducing carbs, I’m a believer.

  4. Real food tastes better.

    I actually like the taste of grilled meat.  You can actually taste the meat when it is not slathered in ketchup (sugar) and encased in bread,!

  5. Making healthy and delicious substitutions is key. 

    I didn’t put my family on the diet in order to keep some semblance of sanity. But when I would make them burgers, I would saute some onions for me, and while they ate a typical burger, I would enjoy mine sans bread and condiments, but covered in caramelized onions that I legitimately now prefer. And now some of them have joined me. Last Monday, half of us had no bread and covered our burgers in homemade salsa instead!

  6. Food isn’t supposed to be that convenient and cheap.

    When you have to spend time or money making your food, you tend to eat less. Bottom line. A cheap bag of chips is easily demolished, but if it takes you 20 minutes  to make some kale chips, you are less likely to eat them all in one setting.

  7. Three months was the perfect time frame to change my habits.

    Contrary to popular belief, 21 days is not nearly enough to change a truly established habit.See here.It’s actually closer to three times that.

  8. Weight loss is 80% diet.

    Since I regularly over share on Facebook, including posts about running, everyone I bump into since losing the weight says the same thing. “Wow, that running is really working!”

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    But the irony is that I have been running LESS then ever before. And this relates back to number 2. Apparently the sugar combined with the caffeine in my life was making me really anxious. And the endorphin rush I got from running was the one thing that seemed to ease my anxiety. I would literally run out of complete desperation, same time every day. By 3pm I felt like my head would explode it I didn’t go running. So I would throw my shoes on and run my cares away. But since changing my eating habits, I finally realized that I don’t have that same daily need to go running! It was an amazing and sobering discovery. All these years I lived with anxiety and didn’t have to! And now when I have that feeling again, I quickly identify the culprit, and reduce those problematic foods.

In the spirit of full disclosure, during the last few weeks, I have slipped back into some old patterns which simply underlines the importance of accountability. Although I started this alone, midway through a friend joined me. We would text each other food ideas when we were feeling successful,¬† and sobbing emojis when we were over it! It is also imperative to process and share what we learn. The small act of writing this blog has reminded me of all that I learned during those three months and inspired me to get back to some healthier choices.¬† It is so easy to forget isn’t it? In the Bible we are commanded to remember or “Do not forget” hundreds of times. We forget so easily!

Maybe you feel like you could never change. I feel like that a hundred times a day. The world would tell you that you actually don’t have to change.

 

Change isn’t possible, they say, but I serve a God that changed water into wine!

You deserve it, they say, but we are called to crucify our flesh, daily.

Obedience to Christ is always the hardest option. But it is the only option that will truly satisfy. None of us are walking this path perfectly. We all need grace. Surround yourself with people that will encourage you in your pursuit of Christ’s calling on your life and pray for you when you fail.

I cannot take credit for the power to make this huge change in my life, it only came from Christ. And in my case, that power came in the form of a trial, a weakness, an irritation that left me no choice but to obey. I pray that you would take that hard step of obedience whether it relates to choices in diet, lifestyle, or relationships. But even if you don’t have the strength to change, because of His love for us, God will often allow trials into our lives that will bring us to the end of ourselves, forcing us to run to him, and finally experience the joy He had waiting for us all along! Run to Him today. Confess your failings, pick up your cross, and follow Him!

 

 

 

 

Friends are like recipes. Finding the right ones will improve your life beyond measure.

friends cooking

Living in South Carolina for 6 months taught me one thing. Whenever someone is facing a hard time, bring them a meal.

A death in the family? Bring a meal.

Moving? Bring a meal.

Newborn baby that won’t sleep? Bring a meal.

So when my dear friend, mother of 7, broke her ankle while going for a run, (dear Lord) it was a no-brainer.Thankfully I already had a double portion of Ropa Vieja  in the crock pot.

The next day she sent me this text:

“You’re a really really really good cook.”

I had to laugh. Basically I dumped five different ingredients into a crock pot and walked away for 10 hours. I don’t know if that qualifies for culinary genius. But if I were to take credit for anything it would be this. After 14 years of cooking for my family, I have developed a good sense of how to pick a recipe. Oftentimes I will have a craving, google a dish, and sort through a few recipes looking for the one that best suits our tastes. But nearly every time I will have to make some minor changes. Some are too spicy, so I leave out the red pepper. Some have processed ingredients, so I make some healthier substitutions.

Being the best cook you can be is mostly about finding the right recipe.

Just like being the best person you can be is mostly about finding the right friends.

So much of who I am is because of the friends that God had placed in my life. In other words, these friends make me look better than I really am.

Somebody once told me, “You are a really good mom.” But the truth is I am only half the mom my mother was to me. I just had a really good recipe.

Somebody once told me, “You are really funny.” But the truth is I’m only half as funny as my friends Julie and Amy. I just found a really good recipe.

Someone once told me, “You are a really good listener,”¬† But the truth is I’m only half the listener that my friend Carrie is. I just found a really good recipe.

Someone once told me, “You are very organized.” (this really happened once I swear!) But the truth is I followed a mentor step by step. I had a really good recipe

It is a well-known fact that you will become like the people with whom you surround yourself. In  Proverbs 13:20 we read that he who walks with wise men will be wise.

Another important aspect of being a good cook is realizing that few recipes are a perfect fit. For instance in the Ropa Vieja recipe, I decided to leave out the ketchup. I had olives instead of pepper, so I added those. Even though the initial recipe wasn’t perfect, I knew that I could overlook the differences and take from it what was good.

This is also true of my friendships. Even my dearest friends have attributes that I could do without. Maybe some are a little spicier than I am comfortable with or a little too processed! Ha! But in my 30+ years of choosing friends, I have come to learn that I have a lot to learn, and God has placed these people in my life to teach me. However if I throw away a good relationship because of a spicy character trait, I could be missing a huge opportunity.

One truth we cannot deny is that opposites attract. This is a blessing in disguise. God knows I need organized people in my life to learn from. However they may have other attributes that could possibly.. maybe… slightly.. kind of annoy me. (Sorry it’s true.) And sometimes you have to ignore those feelings and move on! If¬† you only ever cook chicken nuggets because they are easy and you know you like them, well… you are just plain missing out on life! Similarly, if you only befriend people that are just like you, you will never become who God intends for you to be.

Of course there are situations when a relationship is simply unhealthy, and you really do need to walk away for a period of time, maybe even a long period of time. But more often than not, when it is just a common every day disagreement, you may find that if you stash a recipe away, you may acquire a taste for it later when your taste buds have matured. Sometimes you discover that if you just take an antacid after a spicy meal you can tolerate it better!  Some recipes are on the regular weekly rotation, and some are just for every once and a while.

Sanctification is a long and arduous process. Thankfully God chose to use sweet (and spicy) friendships to bring us closer to him. If you throw a whole recipe out because of one ingredient you will be missing out on becoming a great cook. Likewise if you regularly discard friendships because of a quirk, a weakness, or a difference, you will miss out on walking in the fullness of who God has designed you to be. For two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.Ecclesiastes 4:9-10.

Behind Our Smiles

 

 

behind the smilesRecently I challenged someone close to me to ditch their image and get real. They didn’t agree and counter-challenged me  by asking why I continue to post so many happy family pictures, when behind the scenes our hearts are breaking.

So in the spirit of full disclosure, here goes.

My family has been in mourning.

We have lost someone we love dearly. And yet no one brought us a meal.

We have cried buckets of tears over days that turned into weeks that turned into years, yet we never donned black attire down a church aisle. Some may not  know what I  am referring to. But many do because I stopped hiding our loss when it became too exhausting to bear.

The person we lost is still alive. They just choose not to be a part of our life. Several times they have come back, but only to leave again ripping the wound right back open.

Maybe you know what I am feeling. Maybe you have felt the gut wrenching pain of abandonment or dealt with the overwhelming pain from a loved ones’ addiction. It is rejection on top of loss. This person chooses to leave you. Their sin, their addiction, their pride is more important than you. And that stings.

Years of deception and manipulation cause you to question what was ever real. And once questionable behavior now makes sense.

Some people use the Bible to guilt you into some pseudo form of forgiveness that pretends nothing happened so you can appear more loving, I mean, for Pete’s sake you are a Christian! BE LOVING!

Other people think you are stupid for holding out hope. Someone who has lied for over a decade can never be trusted. How could you believe them if they came back anyway?

Unless…… maybe, they make a huge 180 degree change, you tell yourself. And you’ve seen that happen right? You have read the books, watched the movies, heard the testimonies. The prodigal son returns. He runs back, realizing the error of his ways, willing to be a slave just to be back with his father.

Every day you wake up thinking, surely, today they will choose us. Today will be that blockbuster moment when they burst through the door and declare that they will do whatever it takes to earn back your trust, to prove to you their love, to make everything right. But that day never comes. There is no running back. Every once in a while there is a tiny “improvement” that looks more like manipulation then actual change. But that’s it.

So we take deep breaths, and swing on the pendulum between forgiveness and fear. Fear they will never change. Fear they already have.

There has to be something I can do, you tell yourself. Some  words with which you can persuade. You keep hoping your reasoning will be received. Your arguments will be understood. This time. Yet they never are. There are always more excuses. Maybe you, like me, have no more tears.

When someone dies you are allowed to mourn. You are encouraged to mourn. You can post things on Facebook and receive a virtual hug. You can express anger, and people understand. People bring meals and send flowers. They come to a service and cry with you.  But when you are mourning a secret loss, when you are supposed to have faith that your lost loved one will be found, when you are worried about gossip and “covering sins,” it is very lonely.  When you run into acquaintances , you wonder, do they know? Answering “good” when you just feel beat down gets tiresome.

However I will continue to post happy family pictures for one reason. I have a really happy family. I have so much for which to be thankful .  I am gratefully aware  of my many blessings and live accordingly. Nevertheless, there is also an underlying ache as we live in this strange place between blessing and burden. Deep down my children are confused and conflicted.  It is a difficult line to walk. And sharing your pain makes people uncomfortable. However, expressing our heart aches and being real lets others carry our burdens with us and sometimes for us.  I have found camaraderie with other broken sojourners, who were also carrying burdens not shared on social media outlets.

While I still have no desire or need to publish every feeling good or bad on social media, sometimes, you just have to get real. As Christians, there can be a pressure to sugar coat everything never admitting you have any feelings. The problem with that is two fold. One, it promotes this unrealistic expectation of perfection. Secondly, we were never called to walk this life alone. Sharing my situation with others gave them permission to share their hurt with me. And now we pray for each other. There is power there.   And healing continues. So many people are hiding their grief in the name of being a good Christian instead of telling the truth and bearing burdens.

Jesus said that the truth will set you free. He is the Truth that sets us free. He modeled radical and uncomfortable honesty for us. And I pray that Christians everywhere will just start telling the truth. When you are hiding your struggles or your pain, the enemy wins.  But…speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. Amen!

The Truth About Homeschooling

ann-price-shhhh

Have you ever said a word over and over again, like 10 or 20 times, until it starts to sound weird and you wonder if it is even a real word anymore? That’s how I feel about about the¬† answers I give to the homeschooling questions I get day after day.¬† I have said these answers so many times over the last ten years, I wonder if they are even really true. And to be honest, some of them are only half true.

Let me give you some examples:

Question 1: How do you get it all done?

Typical Answer 1 : Well, school work really doesn’t take 6 hours like it does in traditional school because in a classroom, you have to deal with discipline and 30 students asking questions, going to the bathroom, handing out papers, walking to the lunchroom, and so forth.So an average homeschooling student can finish all their work before noon.

TRUTH:¬†¬†¬† We have never finished before noon. Ever. Sometimes we don’t even finish before bed. But my attention span is definitely less than average. And my children are not average. And there are so many of them. So there’s that. However, I do know home-schoolers that attain this unicorn type “finish before noon” status regularly, but they are not average either.

 

Question 2: How do you keep your kids from fighting all day?

Typical Answer 2: The reason typical school siblings fight so much is because at school they are divided into specific age groups, and they lose the ability to interact with other ages. However home school kids regularly interact with all ages from babies to adults and learn best how to get a long. Also, when they have disagreements I am there to help them with the skills of debate and guide their reconciliation.

TRUTH: Sometimes they fight like banshees. Can’t get a long for 5 minutes in a row. So I separate each child into a different room,¬† grab the chocolate, lock myself in the bathroom, and text a friend.

 

Question 3: Do you have a lot of patience?

Answer: Well, I didn’t always have a lot of patience, but patience is a muscle and homeschooling gives me the opportunity to exercise it a lot. So I have a lot more patience now then I used to.

TRUTH: Like the Apostle Paul, I am the chief of sinners, and sometimes I can get frustrated and fully blow it. And then I feel such deep regret knowing I would never permit a teacher to talk to my child the way I just did, and I wonder if I will ever be the teacher they deserve.

 

Question 4: Were you a teacher?

Answer 4: Yes, actually I taught high school math, but some of the best home school moms were never teachers. You don’t have to be an expert in a subject, you only have to be an expert in your child.

TRUTH: ¬†¬† Having taught math I have¬† a HUGE advantage. Sure you can learn as you go, but most parents give up by high school because it is a LOT of work to learn Chemistry, Algebra 2 and Latin. You CAN do it, but most parents don’t have the time or motivation, so if you continue to home school through high school, you will likely end up paying for some type of tutoring or home school class at least once a week.

And last but certainly not least:

Question 5: How do your kids socialize?

Answer 5: Lack of socialization is a common misconception. With all the co-ops,  homeschooling groups, sports, ballet, church, and field trips, we socialize too much!!

TRUTH: While there are many opportunities to get together in groups, the reality for our family is that it has been difficult to find that kindred friend for each of my children. I have five. And scheduling play dates for 5 children is more than I am capable of. Some of my kids don’t have that “best friend,” and it makes me sad sometimes. I have heard other parents say the same.

Yes, there is truth to all of my “typical” answers, but the snippets¬† with which I respond in the line at Publix do not tell the whole story. They are true enough for the moment. But when you are in the trenches, if you are daily trying live up to these idealistic answers, it will make you want to throw in the towel.

Because sometimes it seems like your children will never finish their school work,

and they are cranky from sun up to sun down and beyond.

and you lost your patience….again.

and you have to hire a “professional” tutor.

and your kid is lonely.

The truth is that homeschooling is HARD WORK. It is amazing work. It is fulfilling work. It is fruitful work. But it is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life and there are no signs that it will get any easier. And as is the case with most anything in life, the best results come from a lot of hard work.

Focusing on an ideal and comparing it with real life can cause you to doubt your calling. But God did not call you to live up to an ideal. He called you to obedience. Homeschooling, and specifically Classical Conversations is the best thing that has ever happened to our family, even when our day is not ideal.¬† And that’s the truth!