Marriage Vows

This morning I was going through some of my old blog posts and stumbled onto this one. We’ve been going through Romans 8 this summer in church and last Sunday’s sermon was on Christ’s love. I know in my head that nothing can separate me from the love of Christ, but sometimes I don’t truly believe it with my heart. So, I thought that I would post this again because surely I can’t be the only one who forgets that Christ loves us with an enduring, relentless love. Remember, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, not even our own forgetfulness.


It’s spring here in South Carolina and the warm weather has moved in to stay it seems. Yesterday afternoon, while I was hanging laundry in our back yard, I witnessed an amazing event.

My 6- year old son, was marrying my 4-year old daughter. And these are the vows that he made to her:

“I will never leave you.

I will stay with you forever.

I will love you forever.”

marriage vows1

 How is it, that my boy, just getting out of the baby stage, knows what it means to be married? To commit one’s life to another? The vows were so simple yet encapsulate all the flowery self-written and traditional vows that are spoken. Maybe just maybe, my husband and I, in our sin-tainted, bumbling, grace-drenched way, have conveyed to him the raw meaning of a marriage commitment.

And then I think, isn’t that what Christ says to us:

” I will never leave you.

I will stay with you forever.

I will love you forever.”


We, the church, are His bride and He has whispered these words to us throughout His Word.

5 Ways to Kick Depression to the Curb

Depression is something that I’ve battled since my teen years. It’s been a constant companion and sometimes I’m not even aware that it’s draped its arms about my neck. Again.

A day with depression is rather bleak. It starts out with a yearning to go back to sleep but knowing the kids need me. It weighs heavy, pushing the tears against the back of my eyes until they start pouring out. The words of prayer barely pass my lips – they feel stuck to the roof of my mouth. Then finally I stand at the kitchen sink, with my hands on my temples, tears streaming down my face, frozen with indecision. The guilt feeds the despair.

But in the midst of what I described above there are some coping mechanisms I’ve learned along the way and I’d love to share them with you. My prayer is that God can take what I’ve learned through these many years fighting and perhaps help one of you who may be caught in the fog of depression.



Don’t stop reading. This isn’t a cliché or a quick fix. During times of depression we desperately need our Savior and we often don’t realize how much.

There have been may times when I couldn’t utter any words or if I did, they came out sounding like,

“God, you have to live through me and be my strength because I’ve got nothing.”

He’ll answer.

Pray Scripture back to Him as well. Sometimes it may be more of a “Please help me to trust You and not to lean on my own understanding”, sort of prayer.

Listen to music. Good, Christ-centered music.

Worship is generally the last thing on my mind when I’m depressed. More often than not, I’m in a fog and can’t focus. By letting others worship for you – joining with them in song, when the music has left your heart – that can help lift you out of the pit. Pandora is great for this because you can choose the ‘artist’ station and their music and music similar to their style will play.

Light a Candle

There is something about seeing a candle lit and the fragrance it produces that does my heart good. Maybe it’s the light or the beauty of its simplicity. I don’t know. Try it though. This one may surprise you.


(I have a favorite soy-based candle but don’t want to put affiliate links in this post. Feel free to contact me if you’d like to know where I got mine. )

Go Outside

Right now I’m enjoying our front porch. A moment ago a butterfly was dancing on the breeze and I just saw our resident skink, Clive, skitter across the steps. Being outside makes you slow down a little bit. If we can slow down enough to see and appreciate God’s beautiful creation, we are lead to the door of His Grace. The same Grace that pulls us out of the pit, cleans us up, and breathes love into our weary souls.

Do something for someone else.

This one can be difficult, but I think that it, in turn, can be really helpful. When I’m frozen at the sink with tears streaming down my face, it’s hard enough for me to function, let alone start praying for others.

But, what if we can take a moment to send a message to a friend asking them how their day is? We may see a little light.

This may look like setting a reminder on your calendar to send them a note. It may just be dropping a card in the mail. Whatever it is, God will use it to build both of you up.

These aren’t earthshattering suggestions, but I pray that at least one thing I’ve learned will help you. I firmly believe that the Enemy uses our brokenness, our bent for depression to keep us from the Father’s work. So many times when I finally contact that friend, I find out she was fighting at the same time.

Please don’t think that you are alone in this fight. Depression may be something we will never be without. But you know what?

You are not alone! He’s with you and He’s got this.

I’m praying for you, friend.


Serving in Obscurity

“Be the You you are meant to be! Distinguish yourself at The Best University!”

The announcer kept going on and on about how wonderful their school was and if you only attended, you could be wonderful too! Then I heard a voice from the backseat. “I want to distinguish myself”. And then, “Mom, what does ‘distinguish’ mean?”

I thought for a moment before answering. “It means to be special, to be noticed, to set yourself apart from others.”

Oh, the rabbit hole this represented. As much as I want my kids to distinguish themselves, to be noticed, I know life doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes God has other plans.DSCN0652

Sometimes God has other plans for us, though.” I told him. “Sometimes God wants us to serve in obscurity and that’s okay”.

The whole time I’m telling him this, I’m speaking this truth to myself. Because you see, I struggle with not “doing” anything. I struggle with not being “distinguished”. This is something that I’ve been dealDSC_0387ing with for a really long time and will be dealing with for some time to come.

Earlier that morning I’d opened up a newsletter from a fellow blogger who wrote about going back to work after her maternity leave. She wrote about the ‘why’ of going back – most importantly that God had given her gifts and had called her to use them. When I read those words all the insecurities and doubts came flooding back.The faulty logic came back, the lies whispered by the enemy. The ‘you’re not enough’ and the ‘where are your gifts, because God obviously didn’t call you!’

So those words I spoke to my son about serving in obscurity? Those were gifts of grace. Those words weren’t, aren’t, in me, but God in His infinite kindness whispered them to my heart.

He reminded me that being a wife and mother is a high calling. Just as I am not called to write a book or lead a legion of women, no one else is called to be the mother of my children.

God has put a verse in my heart that to my detriment, I have a tendency to forget. It’s Colossians 4:17

 Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord,that thou fulfil it.

Sometimes I forget to heed the ministry that He has set before me. But in His gentle way, He distinguishes me as His child, reminding me of the ministry to which He has called me. And though it may be obscure, it is all to His glory, and therefore a holy calling.marriage vows1

Quote Dear Facebook, I’m changing our Relationship Status

I’ve been part of the Facebook community for well over 5 years now and though there have been times that I’ve thought about giving up my FB account I’ve never been truly serious about it until now.breakupLet me explain a little bit, I’m an INFJ which means I am THINKING all. the. time. I FEEL things intensely, I have my opinions but keep them to myself to avoid confrontation, and am rather judgmental (I’m working on this one). I am also a HSP – a highly sensitive person. This means that I feel things intensely, so much so that I can feel physically ill with the magnitude of my feelings. This means that I feel your pain and not just in a cliché way. I really feel your pain.

I love FB. There are people that I’ve connected with, other homeschoolers, introverts, and friends. It’s my connection to the outside world. But lately its been discouraging rather than encouraging. It seems as if each time I pull up FB there is another post just waiting to tear someone else down.

In light of the recent racial tension it seems like everyone has something to say, and in turn everyone is right regardless of their stance. It has been so draining. I have wept so many times over the brutality, the murders, the hate, the name calling, etc. I’ve cried in the dishwater, out on our deck in the rain with my face in my hands. I’ve cried while making lunch and my kids have comforted me. MY 5 YEAR OLD BOY HAS WRAPPED HIS ARMS AROUND ME AND PATTED ME ON THE BACK WHILE I WEPT.

What hurts almost as much as the brutality out there, is the hate filled comments and posts being put up. Posts that are being put up by fellow Christians. We are a passionate people. I get that. But I can’t see how any of it is honoring God when in one breath we are saying “love one another” and in the next calling someone an $%# because they don’t agree with us. Since when did “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth but that which is good for the use of edifying that it may minister grace unto the hearers” become optional? Where is the grace?!

Maybe we need to revisit Ephesians 4:29-32:

 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Are we only supposed to speak the truth in love when someone agrees with us? I refuse to step in line if it means becoming part of a group that does this. We’re eating ourselves from the inside out.

So, I’m done. I have unfollowed everyone that isn’t a group, business, or blog, and am only staying in the FB community because I’ve found a tribe of educators and introverts that I know that the Lord has called me to. My blog page will be up and I’ll still comment, post, and Lord willing, offer encouragement there.

Because isn’t that what we’re called to do – encourage and build one another up?

Let’s do that! Let’s make a pact that we’ll be the ones that love in word and deed. We’ll be the ones that show Christ to the world. We can’t do that if we are tearing each other down because in the end, why would they want a Christianity that mimics the enemies tactics? I don’t want to offer them a counterfeit Christianity – a Christianity that is so hollow that there is nothing left because we’ve done such a number on ourselves.

So, let’s do it. Let’s go and love one another.

3 Things to do when You’re Called to Stay on Shore

Recently God gave me an illustration for where He’s called me. I’ve realized that He’s not called me out into the waters but He’s called me to keep my feet on land – at home.

That is such a difficult realization because our culture puts little merit on stay-at-home moms. And though I teach my children at home that doesn’t really count as productive, contributive work in others’ eyes.

So, I’ve been thinking about what we can do as we watch from shore – as we see others cast off and pursue their dreams. There are 3 things that we can do if we find ourselves in this situation.

1. Pray that God will help you see the purpose where you are.

Sometimes is seems like there is no point in folding the same shirt for the umpteenth time. But there is purpose there within those walls. We are doing kingdom work because He has called us there and whatever we do, if it is unto Him is worship.

2. Pray for those who’ve gone after their dreams.

I know that it is difficult to stand back and constantly watch our friends, acquaintances,  and those on social media going places and accomplishing things. But if we can just remember that we are to encourage and build each other up (I Thess. 5:11) we’ll be able to rejoice with them instead of coveting what they are doing ( so much easier said than done – one I have to work on daily).

3. Find a way to support your passion.

We can’t languish here getting sucked into the nonsense that we don’t have anything to offer. What interests you? What sets your heart on fire? Is there a certain ministry that you can support by raising awareness? Can you support a Compassion child or host a trunk show for that ministry that gives jobs to exploited persons?

There are things that we can do even here.

A verse from Colossians has always stuck out to me. Paul is delivering a message to a man named Archippus. He says,

“Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”

So, if you’re like me and feel that God has called you to stay on the shore, don’t buck against the call. Take heed to the ministry and remember

whatever we do is for His glory.

When You're Called to Stay on the Shore

When You’re Called to Stay on the Shore

“Oceans” came on this afternoon while I was cleaning up after lunch. I’ve been struggling with being left behind. So many of my friends are moving on and doing things – amazing things – and I’m still here amidst the dishes, laundry, and school books.

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

Read more: Hillsong United – Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Then it hit me. God hasn’t called me out upon the waters. He hasn’t called me to start a non-profit, or a ministry to the exploited and abused, or even something closer to home.

My friends talk about the time drawing closer when the freedom to pursue dreams will be at hand. The freedom that will come once their children are all in school. I just nod, give a thin smile, and listen. There isn’t much to say because for me that type of freedom is so much further away.

You see, I’m realizing that He hasn’t called me out into the Waters – He’s calling me to stay on shore. With the call to homeschool my children comes the call to stay.

Oh, and that chafes! I want to go. I want to have hours in a day to keep my home in order, to write, to exercise – to do any myriad of things! To pursue my not-now dream of becoming a post-partum doula. I want to get together with friends for coffee at 10 in the morning.

But He hasn’t called me there yet. He’s given a dream – a dream that might one day call me out into the waters. But right now, He’s asking me to stay on the shore to tend to the things here in the not-so-glamorous.

 The not-so-glamorous. That is where we are right now, isn’t it? I feel almost as I did growing up. It was never said out rightly, but you knew. You knew that the only holy work, the worthy work, was in full-time Christian service. And if you weren’t doing that, then you were second-rate. We were encouraged to be teachers, pastors’ wives, or missionaries. Any other dreams were less than.

I get that same feeling when I see and hear about God-sized dreams and giving God our best yes. What about those of us He hasn’t called to the ‘big’ stuff? Are we any less?

My mind keeps going back to John 21 where the disciples went fishing after Jesus had been resurrected and He showed himself to them. They went fishing through the night and caught nothing. Just as day is breaking, they come near the shore and someone yells a question to them – “Children, do you have any fish?” And they said “no”. He then instructed them to cast their net over the right side of the boat and that they would find some. Their net was so full that they had a difficult time hauling it in. They then knew that it was their Lord talking to them.

What strikes me about this passage is that Jesus was on the shore. He was on shore waiting for them – waiting to minister to them. They were tired and worn out after a long night of nothing, and their Savior was waiting for them, to love them and to meet their needs. He could have showed himself to them right there on the boat and brought that haul up to them in the middle of the night. But He didn’t.

Maybe that is exactly what we’re supposed to be doing, those of us who are watching others chase their dreams. Maybe we’re supposed to be Jesus to those who come back bedraggled because their dream isn’t turning out like they think it should. Maybe we are the ones who will do the praying and the ministering .

Who knows how God will use us.

When You're Called to Stay on the Shore

Rest in Spiritual Practices

 Though February is over and I haven’t let you in on it yet, I’ve been mulling over another area of Rest – the area of Spiritual Practices. If you’ve read any of the Thoughts from a Recovering Fundamentalist, you’ll know that what I experienced growing up was anything but Restful. But the Lord has been doing a work in me through a series of events, books, a conference called Allume, and different blogs. He’s been whispering to me in ways that I couldn’t imagine about things that I could never have considered having a place in my heart and life.

The idea of Spiritual Practice has only recently started to feel comfortable and maybe that’s because I’ve started to see the doing in a different light. God is showing me, ever so gently, that the things that I disdained, can actually draw me closer to Him.

There are several areas of Spiritual Practice but two that I want to focus on this month are the Daily Examen and Lent. I’ve researched the Daily Examen and there are several parts to it. According to Loyola Press you start with Stillness, Gratitude, Reflection, Sorrow, and lastly, Hopefulness. The idea of the Examen is so appealing because it is done in quietness. Part of this pursuit of Rest means slowing down and taking time to just be – to just be with God.

If you would have told me twenty years ago that my 35 year old self would be researching Catholic websites for instruction, I would have thought you were a liar. But maybe it isn’t so much how far I’ve drifted from my upbringing, but how close God is bringing me to Him.

These practices, they aren’t about approval or being ‘good enough’. They are meant to draw us closer to the Heart of God. And I yearn for that.

I yearn for the peace and rest that comes only when we are right up next to the Father.






The Fringe Hours – A Review


What fills you up? What brings a smile to your face feeds your soul?

These are just some of the questions Jessica Turner asks in her new book Fringe Hours. After reflecting on this question, I realized that it was one that I couldn’t answer.

I’ve always felt guilty for spending time on myself, but when I read her quote,

“your life is meant to be lived with joy”

I realized that I’d been living it more in drudgery. What I thought was selfish ‘me-time’, Jessica refers to as self-care. I discovered, as she advises, that I need to give myself permission and grace to allow for that ‘self-care’.

Jessica goes on in part 2 of the book to help you re-discover the things that fill you up, those interests that have gotten buried under the responsibilities of life. She gives practical tips on how to find time to pursue self-care in chapters such as “Embracing Help”, “Prioritizing Your Activities”, and “Using Time Efficiently”.

There are so many universal principles in “The Fringe Hours” – principles that women at any stage of life can use. Though I did notice early on in my reading that this book is geared for the working woman  and that many of her ideas and suggestions depend upon a two-household income.

That being said, if you’re like me and don’t fall into the category of ‘career woman’, don’t dismiss this book. We SAHMs can find fringe hours (aka minutes) too.

Overall, this book has truly helped me in my pursuit of REST. By doing one small thing daily – even just 5 minutes to read, write, or peruse knitting patterns – I’ve felt my tank filling back up.

I’ve felt more rested and able to give back to my family.

And that was worth the read.


Month in Review – A Pursuit of Rest

It’s been a month now since I started the ‘Rest Challenge’. And, I have to admit, it’s been rather difficult at times, but I have learned a lot.

If you haven’t read the first post, for this month I gave up Talk Radio and started to limit my Social Media time. Social Media is still something that I need to work on, and as much as I would love to be able to uninstall the FB app from my phone entirely (anyone know how to do that?), I’ll just have to work on staying logged off and setting specific times for that particular activity.

As for the Radio, well, that’s another matter. At first, I just didn’t turn on the regular station and kept it on our local Christian station. That got tiresome after awhile because, as much as I like the music, I can’t stand the fluff that they talk about. Let’s just say, I’m not into cat videos (please don’t hate me).


My husband suggested that I install the app for another station further away that had teaching in the morning. And, that worked out okay, until the app quit working. So, now a dilemma.

I know, it’s just radio, right?! But I realized after having it off all day long, that 5 o’clock would hit and I would be itching to turn on the talking heads. And then it clicked

I needed to hear another adult because I knew that it would be another 1.5 hours until my husband came home.

So, after some thought and looking around, I finally figured some things out and here is a list of what I’ve replaced Talk Radio (aka “all Gloom and Doom, all the Time”) with, and hopefully some of these will spur some ideas for you too.

1. Podcasts – Kat Lee over at Inspired to Action and How They Blog, has some great podcasts on developing as a women/mom, and writer if you’re into that sort of thing.

And, I’m a nerd, but I got really excited when I found out that there are gardening podcasts – who knew!

2. Pandora Radio – I love to listen to music and Pandora seems to completely fit that love/need that I have. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a streaming music app that you can download to your device. One of the features that I love is that you can customize your stations according to artist and Pandora will play artists similar to the one listed on your station. The stations that I’ve found to be particularly good have been Rend Collective, Sovereign Grace, Matt Maher, and Judah and the Lion (if you’re into Americana folk music).

3. Audio Books – I’ll admit it, I’m listening to the Chronicles of Narnia. They’re awesome even as an adult. Librivox is a great resource for free audio books. Our local library has audiobooks for download and also has those ( I’m going to get technical on you) headset/books that you can check out just like a normal book. Only drawback to those is you have to provide your own batteries and headset.

So, there you have it. All in all this month has been difficult yet good. I’ve learned that I don’t need to always have noise around. Quiet is restful. 


Looks a lot better now, doesn’t it 🙂

How did your month of Quiet Rest go? Do you have any tips or tricks that you implemented in your pursuit of Rest?