Crazy crazy craziness!

SO…Most of you know that I’ve not been on Facebook for almost 3 weeks now. I’ve been on Instagram, but sparingly — if you want to know why please see my last post.  I have found myself less anxious and less connected to my phone since being off Facebook, it’s been really really freeing and when I decide to come back, in a week or so, I will continue to keep the app off my phone.

ANYWAY, this post isn’t about that, this post is about the absolutely crazy weekend I just had.

The 24th of June (this past Saturday) I had planned on spending the day in Columbia at the final workshop of 3 that I’ve been attending this year. These workshops are focused around the practice of Rising Strong working through Bréne Brown’s work.  It is really deep, hard, thorough, and spiritual work designed to guide us through a ‘fall’ or failure and teach us how to rise strong from that. In previous workshops we have addressed those failures and the stories we tell ourselves when we’re in the heat of those times. We have talked about how we handle tough emotions and how to recognize when we are offloading hurt on other people, even when we don’t realize we are. We’ve talked about how when we’re in a situation of fall or failure we often make up a story in our brain and confabulate the specifics of the actual event. We’ve talked about how to handle shame and guilt. Most recently we talked about trust and how to build trusting relationships, by braving. It is really good work for clergy, and well, really all people to do.  I have really enjoyed these workshops and have learned a lot about myself and how I handle things.  I am working on how to translate all of this information into a way to bring this work to my local congregation, it’s coming soon, but for now it’s a work in progress.  If you haven’t read any of Bréne Brown’s work I highly encourage it.

SO, last Saturday in regards to the workshop was wonderful. It’s the events that occurred friday night or early Saturday morning that made this weekend absolutely crazy.

I drove to Columbia Friday evening and stayed the night with my friend, colleague, and mentor. She has two boys around Nate’s age and we all sat and watched the Lego Batman movie Friday night it’s hilarious and the boys had a great time together.

Sometime Friday night or early Saturday morning my car was stolen from the front of her house.

Yes. You read that correctly. My car was stolen from a nice neighborhood in Columbia MO.  When I first went to get in my car Saturday morning and realized it was gone I thought I had parked illegally and that it had been towed. Unfortunately this was not the case. I contacted the Columbia Police department, they were really professional and polite, I made the call to the non-emergency line and an officer contacted me within 5 minutes to make the official report. They searched the tow database and nothing was found describing my car.

I was shocked. I am shocked. It’s just a car, and the stuff inside it is just stuff, but it’s my car and my stuff and I kinda like my stuff and my car, and it’s just wrong.  I’ve always thought when I heard of someone else’s car got stolen that it would never happen to me, and that if it were to happen to me I wouldn’t really be too torn up about it.   Now it has happened to me and it’s hard to put into words when all of a sudden something that I depend on so much is gone, instantly. Crazy, is the word that I keep using to describe the whole event… Crazy, crazy craziness!

Thankfully I have full coverage and the theft is covered by my auto-insurance. It’s a long tedious process that I’m in the thick of right now, but eventually I will get paid for the value and contents of the car and purchase another car.  I am happy that I chose to keep full coverage even after I paid off the car and am happy with my insurance company they’ve been empathetic and have answered all my questions, I think I’ll continue to be their customer for the foreseeable future (Farm Bureau).

As a single mom who lives pay-check to pay check when you’re car is stolen or it needs worked on, your life gets instantly insane. The state of Missouri is a state that highly depends on cars to get from place to place. I wish we had much better public transportation. I don’t have a spouse with a spare vehicle, I’m not made of money nor have much saved and can’t just go buy a new car, or rent one. I won’t even go into all of the horrible details about the super-high-intrest loan that I had to get to purchase this car, and I was SO proud of myself that I paid off just last year.  My most sincerest prayer right now is that I do not have to get another loan when all of this shakes out.  So If you’re a praying person, please join me in this prayer.

I am VERY grateful, no, I am beyond very grateful, there aren’t words to describe how grateful I am, for my friend who loaned me her car so we could return to Smithville Saturday.  The hard part about borrowing her car is that I have no way of paying her back, and I know I’ve made her life more difficult this week. It is SO hard to ask for help, especially as a single-mom who is used to handling her stuff all by herself.  I needed help,  she stepped up I didn’t even have to ask. It brings tears to my eyes just typing it.  So I’ve got this rolling around in my brain/heart. I don’t know how I will pay her back, she will insist that I don’t.  I have had many mentors over the years who have in one way or another gone above and beyond. One day I will be like them and be able to bless my mentee’s abundantly like so many have blessed me.

The thing that still gets me about my car, is the contents.  My Son had all of his 3d-DS games in there as well as the birthday gift for his best friend that he was supposed to go to his party Saturday that never happened, he’s still sad about this. As a mom it is SO hard to see your kids hurt for a mistake you made.  I promised him we will make a special visit sometime in the future. Any mom who has a kid that loves video games knows how much they cost, this was probably the most expensive of the contents that we’ve lost (16 games at about $40 per game).

I had several random things left in the car, including a TARDIS Quilt that I had JUST purchased and picked up at the post office; yes it’s just a quilt, but it’s beautiful and I got it for cheap (it was 1/2 of the price shown on this link–that’s how I rationalized the purchase).  My favorite bright yellow/green water bottle was in the car, my KC Royals hoodie, and some pottery, (a bowl and plate that matches my communion set) purchased at Silver Dollar City was in the trunk.  These among several other little things I have to replace is what makes this so hard.

No, I don’t know how it happened or who did it, yes it was locked, and yes the windows were cracked.  So whoever took it was able to unlock the doors through the cracked window. I have to deal with the mistake and guilt of leaving my widows cracked something I always do in the summer but you’d better believe I won’t be doing again.  I have to deal with this feeling of being violated and not having control over the situation.  I have to deal with all the paperwork and replacement of contents.  Honestly I’m still hoping to get a call from the Columbia Police department that they’ve found my car with all the contents safe.  This is far-fetched I know, but I’ve always been one to hope.

Nate and I are blessed to be safe, and to have such amazing friends and family.  The insurance agent has set us up with a rental car and I hope by this time next week I will have purchased a new-to-me car.

I am not mad or angry maybe that will come later, I am more sad that it’s gone and frustrated at the process.  I have prayed a lot, and I know some of you are praying for me too. I trust that through God everything will work out just fine.

If you’ve had your car stolen or something similar happen to you, I can now empathize with you. I honestly hope it doesn’t happen to anyone.

So that’s what my crazy weekend was. I have about 4 days of vacation left. Lot’s of boxes left to unpack, I unpacked my room today. Tomorrow I will tackle the living room.

I also have a ton of awesome pictures from my time with family, silver dollar city, and just random things that I will share in another post. For now it is bed time for my little guy, so I will say goodnight.

Thanks for reading, my next post will be a happier, I promise.

~Rev. Single Mom

PS: I just couldn’t wait, this is a picture from my grandpa’s 90th birthday celebration of my parents with all their grands kids and a picture of me and Nate….

A working vacation

Hello! (*I am posting this from my iPad, on my ATT Data plan, I ask you to forgive my grammar, and layout)
I am off Facebook, instagram, and twitter while I’m “on vacation” so I thought I would post a blog post, for those who are interested in keeping up with me. 

So I am technically at a work conference, but I am also on “vacation” I am taking 3 sundays off  one will be spent at the conference I am at, and the other 2 I will spend spending time with extended family in south Missouri and spending time settling into my new apartment, and community in which I have been appointed, more on that will come later.  As I am writing this, I am at Missouri Annual Conference 2017 #moac17.  Yet, my last Sunday in the pulpit at my current appointment was June 4th. It was a very blessed Sunday, one where we celebrated our confirmation students and welcomed them into the Pleasant Grove UMC congregation. We celebrated Pentecost and were inspired by the movement of the Holy Spirit; and we celebrated the 3 year ministry career I had at the Pleasant Grove UMC. I was full of joy, and I cried.  It is always an emotional roller coaster when a clergy person is in a time of transition between churches.  I share with you here a picture of me with the confirmation kids. I am so very proud of them and believe they are going to do big and great things for God in this community. 

Confirmation class 2017

Monday, the moving truck came. It is very surreal to see all of your belongings get put onto a 26ft truck and drive off. I spent about 3 weeks packing all of my belongings.  I went through every single box that hadn’t been unpacked since my last move and threw a lot away.  I went through every single article of clothing and fabric (sheets, curtains etc) and washed them all and packed them, I even purchased several of those under the bed plastic boxes to store off weather clothes.  I feel like it was an overall more organized move than I have in the past.  Yet, like always it seemed unorganized and chaotic I was at my wits end several times, in the end there were about 5 boxes that were packed in the last minute labeled random and put on the truck.  Here is a picture of me and my kiddo in front of the truck before they left.  

Tuesday the truck unpacked at our new apartment in Smithville. I went from a 4 bedroom parsonage to a 2 bedroom apartment/Duplex.  It was a crazy day and now all of my belongings are scattered all over my new place.  My son loves our new place, it is in a beautiful neighborhood and we live on a culdisac, so he has plenty of room to ride his bike.  The school he will go to is in our backyard, literally. 

Tuesday and Wednesday we spent unpaking and I got to go to my niece, Aveline’s, first t-ball game and my nephew, Zeke’s, baseball game.  It was the first time I got to cheer on my families sporting events and it was so fun.  My new appointment sends me much closer to my family and I am looking forward to going to many more sporting events. Here are a few pictures of those fun events. 

 

You know you’re in Kansas CIty when there is a Royals cutout at McDonalds


Aunty duty–I got to play with Mabel Irene while sister Aveline was playing tball


Aunt duty, I got to hold Ember Hope she is so precious!

Zeke playing 1st base

Zeke got a triple!

Aveline Tball game


Thursday Nate and I loaded up our car for Annual conference. We drove to Springfield, checked into our hotel and went swimming. I enjoy being at annual conference it is a holy time, as well as a fun time.  I get to reconnect with all my clergy friends that are scattered al over the state. I also really enjoy the learning times in workshops and the business sessions.  Nate enjoys staying at a hotel and he really enjoys the childcare offered here at annual conference.  They do really fun things, and I am so very grateful for the work they do. 

Like I said earlier I am on a “working” vacation (until annual conference ends on the 12th).  I also said I am off all social media. This was a decision I made based on a challenge given to me by a dear friend, for the purpose of defining my personal boundaries, which includes how much time I spend on my phone on social media, and what I post.  It is hard to do this, because I have to admit, I spend way to much time scrolling through Facebook and instagram and have been guilty of posting things too personal. This is hard. I have found that the only way I could do this was to delete the apps from my phone. I did this for the first couple of days, but when I got to annual conference I decided to download the apps again yet I turned off the notifications. So they’re on my phone, but I am not alerted when something gets posted. So I am looking at them much less. I am the type of person with my phone that if there is l little red mark on the app that notifies me that app needs my attention and if I cant figure out how to get that notification to go away I get uneasy.  I don’t know why I am this way, but I like a clean home screen.  So turning off notifications from social media apps keeps me from opening the apps for the simple reason of clearing that notification icon. 

Boundaries are something that are important to me and my career as a pastor.  I believe that having strong, safe boundaries help in keeping my spiritual, emotional, and physical self healthy.  It is very interesting how we as humans are so drawn towards social media sites for self approval.  I know my worth, and it doesn’t exist in Facebook or instagram notifications. This 3 week hiatus might result in me disappearing completely from social media, but maybe not.  

I enjoy blogging and sharing bits and pieces of my life with you on my blog so if you’re curious about me please feel free to check here. 

I have been appointed to Smithville UMC in Smithville MO, and as I said earlier, part of my vacation I will be settling in my new community so If you are a part of that community and are reading this and see me around town please stop me, say hello, and introduce yourself.  

I pray a blessing on all of you and encourage you to look at your own boundaries and make a step to live a more healthy life. 

Thank you, and catch y’all later. 

–Rev. Single Mom

These Hands (poetry take 2)

So today (5/25/17) my Fitbit & my phone died while I was at the gym, whaaaa?!! How could I let this happen? don’t worry I manually posted my workout, it still counts. 

Speaking of workout. Whew today’s was a good one. I hit a personal record on my bench press 4 reps at 85! Last week I couldn’t even lift it once. I stayed the same on my deadlifts, but I’m ok with that, I’m getting stronger and better at my form and grip. 

Today’s lifts were followed by an accessory work out — one my trainer designed to continue working the muscles needed to improve lifts. 

I could barley lift my bag out of the locker, driving home was interesting, especially on the sharper curves when full arm movements were required. 

When I pulled into my garage I sat there with the AC and music (christian rap, of course!) running trying to find the energy to lift my bag and myself out of the car and go inside. I sat for about 3 songs worth so 15 minutes? And I kept staring at my hands.  I kept looking at how they’ve changed in the last couple of years (since I started my weight loss journey), and how now they’re getting blisters and callasouses from the lifting workouts. While I was sitting this poem (of you can call it a poem) came to me. So. Here ya go. 

These hands:

These hands that hold so many different things in so many different ways

These hands cradle my kids leg and ties his shoes as he balances and wiggles 
These hands that hold the leash to walk the dog

These hands that scrape out lunch box containers from yesterday’s lunch 

These hands as I lovingly squeeze my kid’s knee as I reach back into the back seat before he jumps and runs into the school he’s too big for hugs now. 
These hands that reach for sustaining foods to keep my body going
These hands that hold, study, and research scripture
These hands that write, and type, usually not fast enough. 
These hands that hold, and sometimes squeeze, the pulpit each Sunday (well 48/52 of them). 

These hands that cradle the phone when the good and bad news comes calling, texting, or facebooking in

These hands that wipe the tears from my kids face. 

These hands that wipe tears from my own face. 

These hands that hold others hands in support as we pray, and walk through this life together. 

These hands that clap when we rejoice, even at the little things

These hands that sweat when I go for a jog 

These hands that grip the barbells, dumbbells, and kettle-bells as I left heavy things

These hands are rough 

These hands are soft

These hands do hard things

These hands do soft things 

These hands do beautiful and lovely things 

These hands. 


Peace y’all
~Revsinglemom 

Poetry — my first go. 

So. I’ve been slowly getting into poetry lately. I enjoy reading it each morning. I don’t know much about it, have never really written any poetry and do not know any “rules” or proper grammar of poetry. I have however found inspiration in reading it. So I gave it a go. 

This poem was birthed from a time when I had been feeling really raw about my marital/family status (or lack there of). 

It’s personal. It’s real. When I got it all down it felt like a ton of bricks had been lifted off my shoulders. I know I’m not the only woman who has felt what I have written here. I pray these words bring hope. 
Pray, Wait, and Love:

 

I was married 

There was love 

We had a baby

My love doubled

It was perfect

Until it hurt 

Until safety was lost 

I left. 
Now I am

Alone

Single

Mother 

Brave

Free

At peace

Our God is perfect! 
I search for love, 

to end the aloneness

And so 

I pray and wait

I love on my Son

And work on me

I pray and wait 

I love on my Son

And work on me. 
Family gets married

I celebrate!

 

I pray and wait

I love on my Son

I work on me 

Our God is perfect! 
Friends get married & remarried 

I celebrate!

I pray and wait

I love on my Son 

I work on me 

Our God is perfect! 
Family struggles with infertility 

My clock ticks more loudly 

I pray hard for them.  
I pray and wait

I love on my son 

I work on me. 

Family gets pregnant

Our God is perfect! 
Friends struggle with infertility 

My clock ticks more loudly 

I pray hard for them. 
I pray and wait

I love on my son 

I work on me. 

Friends get pregnant 

Our God is perfect! 
Still

I am

Alone 

Single 

Mother 

Brave 
Clock ticking louder than ever

Peace is harder to keep, and yet: 

Our God is perfect 
And so 
I pray

I wait 

I love my son

I work on me
I pray. 

I wait. 

I love. 

I work. 
Our. 

God. 

Is. 

Perfect. 
I pray. 
~Revsinglemom 

Single Parent Day

If you didn’t know, today, March 21st is National Single Parents day.  I didn’t know this was even a thing until I saw a sappy video on Facebook celebrating single parents.  So this morning I did a little research, and I learned that in 1984 President Ronald Reagan proclaimed March 21st as National Single Parent Day. Here’s the link where I got my information.

I was a little surprised that I didn’t know of this holiday.  I’ve been a single mom for 8 years and I had no idea there was such a day.  Why is this not as big as mother’s day or father’s day?  I think it is because there is a stigma surrounding single parents, single mothers more-so than single fathers.  That is the “how did she get in this position, she probably had sex outside of marriage and now is in this situation”.  I cannot tell you how often I have been asked “did you adopt your son?” or “I’m so glad you were married first before you had your son”.  Let me tell you something, pregnancy/parenthood inside or outside of marriage is not a “situation” it is a blessing, period.

Upon doing a little google searching I was furious when I found this article published by The Huffington Post about a pew research poll that said that 7/10 people thought single mothers were bad for society.  So just a few years ago (2011)—70% of Americans thought that single motherhood was bad for society? And this poll clarified it was single mothers, not single fathers, not children of gay parents, not children raised by grandparents or some other interesting parenting-form, but specifically it was the single mothers that were bad for society. It was the children that were the most affected by this.  Yes children raised by a 2 loving committed parents are most likely better off. The last time I checked one of our most recent presidents was raised by a single mom I’d say he turned out well.  Here are some current stats.

Why is this a thing? Seriously?! Is it because single mothers need help from welfare programs? Well of the 8 years that I have been a single mom 75% of that time I have used NO government assistance. At the beginning of my career of single-motherhood, (when I escaped my abusive ex-husband), I used government assistance in the form of food stamps and Medicaid for my son (I was not eligible) because heaven forbid I get some food and my kid could see the doctor. I remember the horribly intrusive application process very well and am so very glad that I have a stable job with a stable income where I don’t need assistance.  Am I financially well off? I don’t really know what defines that, but probably not, yet; but I am working hard to pay off debt, (which 95% is educational debt) so I can provide a more secure future for my son. I think if you meet and have a conversation with a single mom they probably will say the same thing: I did not intentionally seek out to be a single mom. Maybe I don’t fit the norm of these single mothers who are bad for our society, that doesn’t change how I am raising my son. I may be furious at these stats for a little bit, but I typically rely on the strength of my faith in God to get me through life.  I also try to believe God’s story for my life instead of listening to the world’s opinions.

I was raised by a single dad for a few years and I remember getting looks and comments at school when they found out I didn’t live with my mom; I took on the “I don’t care what y’all think, no-one can tell me that being raised by my father is going to negatively affect me” mindset.  I am a single mom in a world that thinks we are bad for society—well I don’t care what y’all think, no-one can tell me that I can’t be financially secure and raise a Jesus-loving, mercy-giving, well-adjusted, highly-moral, good, tax-paying American citizen. Plus I’m pretty sure the last time I read the Gospel, Mary the mother of Jesus was un-married when she was pregnant. I think God loves mothers, single or not.

fe49518453db6f3109f61c94831ecadb

Here is what I’ve have found that helps me find balance.

  1. Circle of family, friends, and Paracletes that are on you and your children(s) side all the time. This is so very important, get a support system, and be okay to say goodbye to some people who don’t have your back.
  2. Go to church: hear the Word of God proclaimed; and worship God for all our blessings. Faith has been the thing that has gotten me through all of my dark times.  It takes work, but it’s worth it.
  3. Scripture: a few of my favorites
    1. Joshua 1:9 (NRSV) “I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Single-Moms no matter where you find yourself today, please know that you do not have to be afraid, God loves you and he is perfectly present!
    2. Esther 4:14 (NRSV) “…Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.” We are called by a God who never stops loving us and never stops calling us. God has designed your story, your life to bring his love and hope to others.  You, lovely momma, are here for ‘such a time as this’.
    3. Proverbs 3:5-6 (The VOICE) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Sometimes life gets us flat on our back and it’s is hard to trust in God, notice this scripture doesn’t say to trust god beyond our strengths—it says to trust God with all of our hearts, sometimes, especially in parenthood our hearts are weak and tired and that’s okay. God wants our trust when we’re strong and weak and when we trust God, God promises he will set our paths straight.  Thank you God for your promises!
    4. John 3:16-17 (MSG) “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his only and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.” Oh sweet mommas I hope you do not feel condemned for being single.  Jesus did not come to this world to condemn, but to save. Save, Heal, Restore, Unite, Love, Grace: this is what Jesus is about. No matter how you found yourself a single mom when we are in Christ we are made new, and nothing can take away the Love God has for us. (Romans 8:1 and 31-39)
  4. Support Groups
    1. Ladies there are some amazing groups on Facebook that support single moms. There are some that are a little crass, but so very funny. Find a place where you belong.
  5. Therapy
    1. I know this too has its own societal stigmas—but hey we’re throwing off one stigma might as well throw off another one right? I cannot express how important it is to find someone you trust to just talk through stuff. Mine has helped me believe in myself more, which helps me parent better.  Most therapists are worth the money, and most operate on a sliding scale.
  6. Self-Care
    1. Pedicures, Manicures (even self-done), Massages (even with a little Walmart chair massage insert thing I have one like that <–) exercise, eating right, and alone time are so very critical to being the best parent you can be. The better you take care of yourself, the better momma you can be to your kid(s).  I know this is hard, trust me, I KNOW, but our bodies remember everything (literally everything) we put ourselves through so please take care of yourself.

I often speak about that pivotal moment when I knew for the safety of myself and my son I had to be a single-mom.  It was my lowest of low and I thought my world was over. My world revolved around guilt and shame for years. I was raised to believe that divorce was evil and a sin. I thought of every poor decision I made in that marriage and I used it as evidence that I was to blame, that I deserved it because I messed up. But then God got a hold of me through my shame and guilt and I realized that if I stayed it would be my son that suffered and I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t allow my son to pay the price of my guilt and shame. I later learned through therapy that abuse, especially emotional and spiritual abuse have hidden scars that are invisible to the eye but take more time to heal from. I eventually accepted that I was a survivor of abuse and left to save myself and keep my son from begin scared the same way I am. This was a big, brave leap, and the above list helped in countless ways.

Besides healing from abuse and all of the difficult emotions the fatigue of being a single mom can almost unbearable. I am the sole breadwinner, sole disciplinarian, sole good-parent, sole housekeeper, and sole taxi-driver. Single moms can easily become physically, emotionally, and spiritually worn out, burnt out and overwhelmed because we are constantly and painfully aware that, as much as we like to think we can, we are not both mom and dad. As a single mom I worry and fret over the impact that being fatherless will have on my child. I intentionally seek for him to have positive male relationships through church, and my family (dad/brothers, his uncles and Grandpa) and pray that someday God will provide a husband for me that will be a positive father-figure for him.

snglemom

It isn’t all bad.  I love my life.  Is it hard? Yes! But whose isn’t? I have seen so many beautiful people care about me and my son in so many beautiful ways, it is so humbling, and makes our God so much more beautiful. I love my son so much. If I could do it all over again, I would. Without the lessons I learned in these times of adversity, struggle, and pain, I wouldn’t have the life I have today, I wouldn’t see the many, many ways that we are kept, blessed, and loved. It took me a while to re-gain my new “normal” to find a balance in life. I’ve learned to be okay with taking time to find balance when each new season hits us.

keep calm and love a single mom

Please know single parents that you are beautiful, strong, and you can do this. It was so freeing to stop the self-guilt/shame/blame game and understand that what happened is the best that could happen. I can’t undo what happened but I have made peace with it. The challenges we have gone through, the miracles we experienced together, and every hug, family  night, and awkward conversation in between has made this unique, strong, mother-son bond that radiates God’s beauty; and I love it. SO Happy Single Parents Day! Celebrate you, celebrate your kid(s), and always know that God loves you and your children just the way you are (and so do I)!

~RevSingleMom

Holidays and grief–Advent Devotion 3

Holidays and Grief–ADVENT DEVOTION 3

HELLO!  HAPPY FRIDAY! This is the 6th day of Advent, we’re still in the 1st week with the theme of “Hope”.  

Today the devotion is:

*reminder these are from the Society of Saint Andrew, an agency devoted to ending hunger in the United States. If you would like to make a devotion please click here.*

Friday, December 2
The Light Still Shines
Scripture: Isaiah 60:2-5

Isaiah 60:2-5

2 For darkness shall cover the earth,
   and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
   and his glory will appear over you. 
3 Nations shall come to your light,
   and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
4 Lift up your eyes and look around;
   they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from far away,
   and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms. 
5 Then you shall see and be radiant;
   your heart shall thrill and rejoice,
because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you,
   the wealth of the nations shall come to you.

 

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, the world bombards us with the command to “Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas” and tells us, ad nauseam, that “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” The reality, however, is that many people struggle with great loss and do not simply have “A Wonderful Christmastime.” Whether by death or distance, the separation from friends and family at Christmas means sorrow and sadness for them.

Sadder still, they are often afraid to tell others how they feel. Fearing they may be seen as a Scrooge, they put on false Christmas cheer to hide the tears. Those who are hurting need to hear “Fear not. Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning.”

A Longest Night or Blue Christmas Service—offered at our church and many others around the country—tells people they need not be afraid to acknowledge this sadness. Surrounded by others, in this more contemplative time, they recognize that they are not alone; they can find support from others experiencing similar pain. And, most importantly, they are reminded that the greatest gift of all—Jesus Christ—offers true joy to the world even in the midst of our pain and sorrow.

Prayer: Loving God, in the midst of our celebrations, sacred and secular, give us eyes that see and hearts that feel the pain of those who are hurting during these holy days. Give us arms that reach out in compassion. Amen.

– Joe Phipps, Fairfield, Iowa

My Thoughts:
“Grief and the Holidays” is one of the hardest topics to talk, read, and write about. 

Grief is hard. Period.

Holidays, for some, can be stressful, anxious, and well, hard.

I remember some tough holiday’s growing up.  I grew up in a blended family, which means that my parents divorced. When my dad re-married I got a step-brother (which means his parents are divorced too). With all of these different families and traditions it made some of them tough. I survived, and gained many things, one being a great appreciation for all of my parents, and some skill at reducing chaos (maybe). Chaos (much like my dad) drives me absolutely batty.  I am very grateful for my family!

My holiday experiences have given me a intentional and persistent desire to find the peace, silence, and calmness that the Christmas season brings, I find I enjoy those moments the most. 

One of the things I love most about the congregation that I serve, is that for the most part, they do “family” so much differently than what I’ve experienced, which has given me so. much. hope. Culture/Media would like for us to believe that “the family is dying”  I refute that, because here I’ve seen “family” done right, I’ve seen “family” push through the hard times and come out stronger. While yes, my family was chaotic at times, it did not lack love, it was just different. In my present location, I have seen a new version of “family” and now I can associate the word ‘joy’ and ‘hope’ to that word in my mind, for this I will always be grateful.

I went off on a tangent there… I chased a word down the rabbit hole, I thought about deleting this but decided to leave it. SO now, back to grief and holidays.

It’s Hard. Period. If you are grieving, there is no way around it when the holidays hit.  Grief is one of the hardest things to “put on the shelf” of our hearts/minds when the holidays come.  I know this because it doesn’t matter how long it has been since my grandparents passed, I grieve them when the holidays arrive.   

It’s hard because we tie family to our holidays, it’s normal. When one of our family members pass away or are a long distance away we miss them; we miss their smile, their laugh, their quirky/sarcasm, their hugs, and just their presence, the holidays aren’t the same without them.  So what do we do? How do we find joy when our hearts are heavy with grief? There are many things that many pastors have said over the years to me. There are also many pastors who have written entire books on this topic. There has been damage done when we (pastors, well anyone) say “Everything happens for a reason” or “God needed another angel” because it doesn’t make sense to us (even when we know death is coming) when someone dies. It just doesn’t. Also, God doesn’t need any more angels (I do not think we become angels when we die).  The only thing God needs is for us to believe that God sent his Son, Jesus, for our salvation. In fact. God probably knows something about grief. God sent God’s own son to earth (a gross, sinful, hateful place) for the purpose of dying for you and me and all of humanity.  I think of all people or “things” to “get” grief, it’s God.  Maybe that is why God gives us the word “Emmanuel” or “Immanuel” (depending on your biblical translation), which means “God with us”. Here is what I found online about the definition: 

Immanuel: “with us is God,” the name of a child

Original Word: עִמָּ֫נוּאֵ֫ל
Part of Speech: Proper Name Masculine
Transliteration: Immanuel
Phonetic Spelling: (im-maw-noo-ale’)
Short Definition: Immanuel

NAS Exhaustive Concordance

Word Origin
from im and el
Definition
“with us is God,” the name of a child

I think these are the best words anyone can say to someone who is grieving.  “Emmanuel, God with us”. 

I think this is what we must sit with if we are grieving, and having a hard time finding joy, or happiness in this season of celebration.  We need to sit with God. 

I am a strong believer that God never leaves us, which means that God suffers right alongside us.  We are called to 15 (AG)Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.(Romans 12:15) I think the best thing we can do for and with those who are grieving is to simply sit with them and invite Emmanuel to sit with you long enough to enjoy the holy feelings that silence brings. 

I encourage you, that if you are grieving this year. If you just cannot seem to find joy anywhere, come let me sit with you, let us invite God to sit with us.  Also, I am leading a “Blue Christmas” prayer service at the church I serve on December 21st from 1-3pm in the sanctuary, if you know someone who is grieving spread the word.

That’s all for today. Happy Friday a blessed weekend to all of you. 

OH I ALMOST FORGOT: MUSIC! Yup there is a song for today.  I JUST heard this one today, and I’ve already decided to buy the album (I have other albums by this group).  Enjoy.

Lyrics to the chorus:

Cause your scars shine like dark stars

Yeah, your wounds are where the light shines through

So let’s go there, to that place where

We sing these broken prayers where the light shines through–

The wound is where the light shines through

Yeah, the wound is where the light shines through

I haven’t decided if I will blog on the weekends yet, I try really hard to wear my “mom” hat on Friday evenings and Saturdays I don’t know if that will allow me time to blog, if so, see you tomorrow. If not, see you Monday.

~Rev. Single Mom

 

Advent 2016 Devotion 2

 

Hello there! 

HAPPY DECEMBER!! (I can’t believe it!)

Thank you to those who read yesterday’s post.  

God truly is Amazing! I’ll explain later.  

Here is the Advent Devotion from the Society of Saint Andrew for today, December 1st, 2016

Thursday, December 1
God is Not Surprised!
Scripture: Luke 1:30

Luke 1:30
The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God.
I  was writing a song for my unborn child. As I sat on my sofa composing lyrics, the thought came unbidden. “What if she has a birth defect?” I knew it was common for pregnant women to experience fear about the health of their soon-to-arrive baby, so I ignored the thought and kept composing until another thought surfaced. “What if she has a cleft palate?” The question was not blatantly shouted in my mind, nor was it an accusation. It was simply a soft inquiry, what if? God was initiating a conversation with me. It was completely unexpected, and it seemed enormously important to stop what I was doing and ponder the possibility. Time passed, and my answer came… If that happens, it will be okay. God’s grace would be enough, whatever life would bring for me and my first child.

The day she was born, the doctor told us, “I have bad news and good news for you. Your daughter has been born with a cleft palate that will need to be repaired when she is older. That’s the bad news. The good news is that one of only three pediatric specialists in the nation practices in this city. I have already spoken with him and he will take care of her.”

As the doctor was speaking, the most amazing sense of peace washed over me. I learned that day that God is never surprised by life. Weeks in advance, God had revealed to me what the doctor found only at our daughter’s birth. I knew it would be okay. Over the years, a specialist’s proximity to our home happened multiple times, wherever God placed us within an itinerant pastoral ministry. God takes care of her far beyond anything we could ever do. Our daughter has learned from us how to overcome fear and persevere through life’s difficulties, by depending on a God who knows what the future holds. We know God is not surprised, even when we are.

Prayer: God of life and love, when an uncertain future increases our fears remind us that You are never surprised. May we hear your voice, saying, “I am with you… Do not be afraid.” Amen.

– Kathy Bennett, Gochenour Lottsburg, Virginia

 

My Thoughts:
WOW! (Yes, I used that word yesterday, it never gets old)

SO first, can you imagine being in the spot of this mother?  When I was pregnant I had all of those fears of what if my baby is born with ______? Other than the 4ish weeks of bedrest before and the 27 hours of labor my son was 100% healthy (and still is) Thank God.  I have empathy for her, I don’t sympathized for her because sympathy is something you share when you have experienced the same thing. I empathize for her, because I haven’t been in the exact same situation, but I have been in many situations where I am full of doubt about how a certain thing will work out, only for that “thing” to come out better than what I could have ever expected. 

God is never surprised.

So yesterday I said I have some “stuff” that I’m working through right now (once again, everyone has stuff, no judgement). 

I have sang, and prayed, and cried, and prayed, and meditated, and just sat still in the presence of God a lot in the past month or so.  My main prayer has been “God do you hear my cries, do you hear their cries, God can you just this once tell me what you’re thinking? God can you give me some sort of insight on how this will all be for your glory”?

Funny thing. 3 times in the last 2 days a friend has said to me the exact words that I have recently prayed, wrote, or read. Like God was repeating back to me those things I prayed, read, and/or wrote. It was almost like God saying “I’ve got this Rebecca”. 

Here are those 3 things.

  1. “Nothing is impossible with God”. I used this scripture yesterday in my post. It was the scripture that was in the Children’s curriculum that we use for our Wednesday night programming I hadn’t read the curriculum until an hour or so before the program started, hours after I wrote my post. Weird! God heard what I wrote, heard what I was struggling with and reminded me through my job.
  1. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your path straight” Proverbs 3:5-6 If you have known me for a really long time, you know the special significance this verse has for me. It is the first verse that I can remember memorizing. It has followed me through every bad and good situations that I have been in.  This scripture, was used by a colleague who prayed with me today.  She has no clue the significance this scripture has for me; so when she said it, there again I heard God saying “Rebecca I’ve got this, trust me”.
  1. Waiting. I have always had issues with waiting (I think I wrote on this a couple of posts ago). I don’t like it, I’m not sure I’ve ever met someone who enjoys waiting. The first sermon that I preached after I became a certified candidate for ordination (UMC terms) when I was serving in the North Texas Conference was on (can you guess it?) yup; waiting. Today in a conversation with my mentor she told me that she had recently heard a sermon about waiting and that she immediately thought of me.  When she told me that I knew again it was God saying “Rebecca can you hear me now?… I’ve got this”.   

GOD CAN NOT BE SURPRISED. I believe we are co-creators with God in this beautiful world that God gave us.  I also believe that God might have an upper hand in this co-creator relationship, in a sense that God has perfect knowledge of what is on the horizons for us. We may be surprised when “stuff” bubbles up, or explodes and I think it is absolutely proper for us to feel however we feel when those things happen; yet we must not allow ourselves to get stuck in those feelings.  We have to trust that God’s got this.

MUSIC!! It comes through again.  Here is a song that has been on my playlist the last couple of days that has, once again, brought me hope.  

A few of the lyrics:

So I rest in your promises, now I am sure of this, I am yours.

Let the waters rise, I will stand as the oceans roar

Let the earth shake beneath me

Let the mountains fall

You are God over the Storm and I AM Yours

I hear the voice of Love, calling me home, to where I belong

It cripples every fear, and the ones who will kneel will walk away healed.

I am yours, no power strong enough to separate me from your love, I am yours.

Even the thunder and the winds obey at the command of my father

I set my feet upon your mighty name.

So let the rain fall harder. 

I am forever covered in your love

 

“You are God over the storm and I am yours”!

What more do we need to be assured of God’s love for his children? 

THANK YOU GOD, Thank you that you aren’t surprised even when our minds are full of doubt. 

 

BLESSINGS to you ALL!

Happy Thursday, see you tomorrow.

 

~Rev. Single Mom

Advent Devotional

 

HAPPY ADVENT!                                                              HAPPY NEW YEAR CHURCH!

Yes, we are 4 days into this New Year, this Advent season. (Advent started on Sunday November 27th.) Today (the 30th) I finally figured out what I wanted to “do” for my personal Advent Devotional time.  Can you guess what this is? Yup. Blog. (So is it personal now that it’s on my blog? probably not, but I do get some creative release while I blog, bonus!)

I introduced and challenged the congregation that I serve to do a daily Advent devotional with their families; and encouraged them to take a copy of the devotionals printed (and given to us for free) by The Society of Saint Andrew, these came with coin banks so during these next four weeks they (their families) could collect coins to donate to this agency (if you want to donate please click the link up there and donate away).

I have done the Advent devotions from them for years.  I love the devotions, they are biblical, and theologically sound.  I also love that they work to end hunger here in the United States.

SO what I’m going to do is share the devotion from them on here, and then give a few insights. The first week of Advent we light the candle of Hope. This devotion brings me hope. I hope it helps you, my readers, get connected to the God who calls you his beloved.

The devotion is pasted from my email below. (At first I didn’t like the boxes, but I think they give a separation of my words and their words) I have included the scripture here that they use so you don’t have to click on another link:

Wednesday, November 30
Fear and Good News
Scripture: Luke 2:10 (KJV Preferred)

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

Excuse the King James language, but that’s how I always think angels speak. And the first thing they always have to say is “Fear not.” Every time an angel shows up in the Bible the first thing they have to tell people is, “Don’t be afraid.” Unlike our current image of angels—wings, white gowns, great beauty—those biblical angels must be a pretty fearsome thing to behold. And just suddenly appearing in the midst of people would be pretty scary, too!

However, almost every time angels show up and tell people not to be afraid, they tell them they have good news. Mary will bear Christ. It’s okay for Joseph to marry Mary. Jesus is not in the grave. Good news!

It’s that way in our life, too. Usually the most fearsome thing we face ends up somehow bringing us good news. We just have to face the fear and listen to what God is saying. Family problems? Listen to God speaking to bring you through. Health issues? God is with you, strengthening you. Job loss? God is your provider. Impending death? In Christ we have eternal life.

When the scary thing happens this Advent season, don’t run away. Stop and listen. Listen until you hear the words of the angel, “I bring you good news…”

Prayer: O God, teach us to face the scary things in life, knowing that you bring us good news through them. Amen.

– Michael Henderson, Florence, South Carolina

My Thoughts:

First: WOW!

Fear and Good News from the same source (the angels).  I’m not sure I ever looked at that scripture this way.  Usually I ignore the ‘fear not’ part and go straight to the good news part.  This is what is easy, right?  As a person who loves to read, novels, non-fiction, theological, sociological, editorial, whatever…. I always want to get to the good news (the good part) as fast as I can. It isn’t until I re-read and re-interpret what I read that I get a fuller understanding of what I read. How often do we do this in life? We squish back our fears and want only the good stuff. We ignore the things that hurt until we cannot ignore them anymore, and then sometimes they’re too hard to bear.  It is easier to not wrestle with the pain, to lay it aside.

I will be vulnerable here: I’m going through some “stuff” (no-judgement and no more details, everyone has “stuff”) this “stuff” has brought forth some fears.  Yup I said it, I have had fears this first week of Advent.  I have feared rejection. I have feared loneliness. I have feared not being brave enough; in other words I feared that I would give up.  

This devotion gives me so much hope.  Feel rejected? The good news is that it doesn’t matter what earthly people/things/places reject me, I am God’s child, I have heavenly value.  Feel loneliness? The good news is that God never leaves us.  The scripture I was encouraged by this week (that a friend pointed out to me) Joshua 1:9 – Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God [is] with thee whithersoever thou goest. (Hey why not stick with the KJV, how often do we hear “withersoever” these days? It’s fun to say, go ahead say it again.)

God will never leave me, God will never leave me, God will never leave me, God will never leave me. Sometimes I have to repeat this to myself and breathe in these words so that it hits, not only my grey matter, but deep in my soul.

Fear of giving up, of not having the courage? The Good News is that NOTHING is impossible for God. Maybe this fear of not being brave enough is because some of “this stuff” I’m holding onto is not for me to hold onto, is not for me to work through, is not for me to fight. So many times we get caught up in things we think are our responsibility and we get frustrated or we fear we can’t handle it. When all along it wasn’t ours in the first place.  As much of a lover of control that I am (and I would say most humans) it is hard for me to admit that some of the things I hold onto I need to give to God. Some things can only be conquered if we let God have it. The burdens that weigh us down, won’t go away, will not leave us, until we give it to God. Yet this fear of not having enough courage is proof that perhaps I don’t want my weight to get lighter. Maybe I don’t want to let go just yet. So I repeat this scripture over and over (and how appropriate that this is a part of Mary’s narrative) Luke 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

Nothing is impossible with God, Nothing is impossible with God, Nothing is impossible with God, Nothing is impossible with God. Nothing is impossible with God.  Nothing. Thank You God!

Music. Music always helps me. It either serves as a vehicle for me to get ALL my emotions out so my mind can be clear, or it sparks a time of worship and prayer so I can leave my heart (and all I’m carrying) at the feet of God.

THIS SONG: Wordless HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD. I have listened to this on repeat for days now. 

I am speechless but I can’t keep quiet

I am worthless but I can’t stay silent

I am lost for words to stay

You take my breath away

Oh you move me and I can’t Defy it.

You consume me and I can’t Describe it.

There isn’t any fear here

There isn’t any fear in love.

So when scary things happen, when your heart is gripped with fears, or when you just don’t want to deal with the pain, look for the good news. If you cannot see or feel the good news, tell God. God is perfectly present.

Well this was a bit longer than what I had first thought.

I leave you until tomorrow.  Happy Wednesday.

Rev. Single Mom.

Today. 

For my devotion this morning I sat here and gazed at the beauty–Gods Beauty– my devotion actually spurred a blog post. I’ve called this blog post ‘Today’. 

TODAY. 

Today marks 6 years since the day the judge brought his gavel down and finalized my divorce. 

Part of me wants to say “wow God I thought I’d be in a different ‘ place’ by now, I thought I’d be remarried with another child living into our happily ever after of husband, clergy-wife, and two happy kids”… 

But then a large part of me screams or hears a voice (Gods voice) that says: REBECCA look at how far you have come! 

You were such a broken, hurt, sad, scared, anxious barley-holding-on young women, unclear about any future, unclear about how I would wear the title single-mom, and if I could even be a clergy-woman. I literally felt like this (and this is your cat picture for the day) 


And now you are so. Much. More. 

So much more whole, more healthy physically, spiritually & emotionally. Your dream–the dream God has for you is So. Close. You can taste it. 

This is a pic of me getting commissioned as a Provisional Elder in the Missouri Annual Conference by Bishop Schnase. 

Look at you Rev–single-mom– you’ve worn those titles like a hero for 5 years and now you’ve been appointed to a church/community that is wonderful–yea we have our hiccups– those hiccups don’t compare to the joys, victories, love that we’ve experienced and how we are filled with genuine believers that are ushering in the Kingdom of God. 

I mean just look at this beautiful church: 

Look. At. You. Seriously. 

Do you remember how you felt when you thought you’d never get out of that pit? You’re out honey! You’re out and you’re doing amazing!

“Oh how he loves me” seriously Gods love is so overwhelming.  

How He Loves — David Crowder 

So I will wait– because just like I am sure of the calling God has placed on my life–I know part of my calling/identity is to be a wife. So I will continue to wait. It really is kind of silly how we humans put timeframes on God.  God’s time isn’t our time. And thank you God for that. 

SO Of you’re asking yourself God when? God I’m ready, where’s my husband, or wife, or baby or ______ insert blank. 

Then I hope you will take refuge in that God knows your heart and your longings and that God has a beautiful plan for you. I pray you will become more comfortable to the tension of accepting Lord I don’t know what you’re doing, but I know who you are, you are a kind, loving, perfect in knowledge, presence and power kind of God. 


Blessings and Peace to you all. 
-Rev Single Mom. 

Life is a “Both-And”

I don’t blog very often. Every year I tell myself I will blog regularly, and then I fail.  Maybe it has something to do with the demands of being a full time clergy woman, and single mom. Maybe I just haven’t figured out the discipline of blogging regularly. I have had SO much on my heart lately that I thought I would attempt some creative release via blogging. 

There has been SO MUCH PAIN in the last couple of weeks that the media has been shouting very loudly. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have been full of memes, images, and article links with headlines like “the percentage of police shootings have drastically increased”, “if you’re a good Christian you should ‘back the blue’”, “A possible terrorist attack in France left hundreds dead”…

It’s not black and white—It’s not pro-cop or anti-cop—It’s not about one or the other—It’s a “both and”. 

LET’S TALK STATS: here is the thing, statistics can say whatever you want them to say. You can paint a pretty picture with statistics, and with the same numbers you can paint a not so pretty picture. It doesn’t take a math genius to know that Statistics DO NOT tell the whole story.  You can read articles with some of the most recent police shooting stats here: https://goo.gl/iWaQto , and here: https://goo.gl/OlPc4c , and here http://goo.gl/A9r2rY

LET’S TALK DIVISION: Humans are taught to believe that we have to choose sides (I don’t know where this comes from, human nature, media influence, or our upbringing).  We have to choose to be republican or democrat, and when we choose we then get labeled with all of the negative connotations that go with both parties.  We have to choose black lives over cop lives.  We have to choose American lives over immigrant lives. When we get to the Christian side of it we choose Baptist or Methodist, or Non-Denomination, or Lutheran, or Presbyterian, or Catholic—and yes when we choose one of those denominations we get labeled with whatever connotations come along with that chosen denomination.  We are a divided people, period. I think I am okay with that because it means that we have freedom to choose whatever we want.  I am not okay when our choices come with negative labels and connotations that affect how we treat other people. 

Jesus never said choose me and treat everyone else who doesn’t choose/believe in me like they are less than, like they are scum. It’s both ‘I believe in Jesus AND I will love like Jesus loves’, period. Not ‘They’re a sinner so I don’t have to love them, their sin is so much worse than mine so I don’t have to love them, they hurt me so I don’t have to love them, they didn’t forgive me so I don’t have to forgive them, they didn’t apologize why should I forgive them?, I don’t understand why they dress/walk/talk/live/think like that so why should I love them?… It’s a both-and.

LETS TALK WHAT MAKES ME CRINGE: I CRINGE every time I see someone or hear someone I love share an “all lives matter” post on social media. WHY? Because that’s a given, of COURSE all lives matter… that’s not the issue.  The issue is that this wonderful nation has a horrible history of mistreating our black citizens, period. We don’t have to be very old to know names like Martin Luther King Jr, or Malcolm X—my 8 year old son knows them and knows why the job they did was necessary.  Since the very beginning of this wonderful country black people have been treated poorly, period. You might be thinking ‘no wait a minute, we have come a LONG way since the civil rights era, we did a lot of work to rid our country of racism’ and you are correct we have. There are no more Jim Crow laws, and our schools are integrated. There are the affirmative action laws, equal opportunity laws, NAACP, that help people of color succeed; more than I ever got help, and thats true they do exist and you might conclude that surely with all of these laws people of colors lives can’t be so terrible. So I just need to ask you something: why there is such blatant, hateful, anger filled racism that still exists in our country? Racism still exists, period. It may not be as much in our face like the civil rights era; but it still exists and it makes me sad.

I CRINGE every time I see someone post something negative about our president or presidential candidates.  I do not care who is in office—we are supposed to respect that office, period. You know the saying “I treat the CEO the same as I do the Janitor”—that applies here. I do not have to (nor do I) agree with everything the current (or future) administration has or is doing to respect the position.  The Bible says to pray for those in leadership, it also says pray for your enemies and do good to those who persecute you. I enjoyed this blog post by Jen Hatmaker that helped me understand this better.

LET’S TALK KINGDOM OF GOD:

The Kingdom of God is like: A sower who sowed good seeds and reaped both the good Wheat & the weeds that grew alongside.

The Kingdom of God is like: A Mustard Seed— a tiny little ‘nothing’ seed that produces a huge beautiful tree.

The Kingdom of God is like: A treasure hiding in a field, which a man found and FOR JOY sold EVERYTHING he had to purchase that field.

And thats not all, Matthew and Luke and other places in the New Testament are filled with rich imagery that the kingdom of God is not at all what we expected. 

LETS TALK GOOD NEWS; you know, the Good News of Jesus Christ, the GOOD NEWS not the judgment news, or the divisive news, or the bad news, the unforgiving news, or the holding-a-grudge news, the GOOD news:

The disciples and a few of the Jewish rulers thought that Jesus was going to be the conqueror to take over the Roman government with swords and wars— yet what He did was upside down and backwards. Jesus overthrew the reign of laws, and government not by creating division, spreading hate, discord, or anger, but by the sacrifice of his life. His blood was the only blood shed, for love, for peace, for kindness, for joy, for mercy, for grace, for me and for you; all of you. 

Thank You Jesus.  Thank you Jesus. Thank you Jesus!

I think things like the black lives matter movement and movements like it have value because maybe, just maybe we need to be brutally reminded that another person’s existence in this country matters. Not that my own life doesn’t matter. It means that as a Christ follower, as a Christian, as a decent human being with morals that I can recognize another person, even one different (very different) than my own is just as valuable, and beautiful, and powerful, and grace filled and mercy-desiring as my life is.  When we say ‘all lives matter’ we’re saying that what black people have gone through and are going through isn’t worth it, isn’t valuable, we are dismissing their pain and saying all lives are painful-so just get over it– this isn’t Christlike. 

So, please the next time you watch the news, read the headlines or peruse social media and you begin to pre-judge a situation (we ALL have prejudices, yes, even me); or something you have seen or heard makes you angry or hateful or divisive, try to take a breath and see the bigger picture.  Life is a “both-and”  every story has two (or 3 or 4) sides and try to remember that every single life on this planet is God’s beloved creation, and are just as deserving as you are of mercy and grace. Please know that it is entirely okay and maybe even Christ like to be both pro-black and pro-cop at the same time (maybe we should try being pro-human).

OH and as a bonus: this blog REALLY helped me find some peace this week. 

I don’t write this to start any sort of disagreement or argument, as stated earlier I did this for some creative release.

Peace and Grace to you all,

~Rev. Single Mom~

PS: This blog is my own, not my denomination’s, my conference’s, my district’s, or my congregation’s. Please hold nobody but me accountable to them. (Thank you Andy for these words)