Peace Like Pepto Bismol

I used to be a serial pepto bismol drinker. I had an intense fear of throwing up, so any time I was nauseous, I took a swig of my pink medicine that I always kept in the refrigerator. Straight from the bottle. My husband thought it was the grossest thing, but it was my placebo. I had to give up pepto bismol when I got pregnant with our first baby. Isn’t it terribly unfair that we can’t have that during pregnancy – the one time we really need it? I only dealt with morning sickness for a week or so and I never threw up. Either way, it would’ve been nice to have when I got nervous about it. 

Okay, this really isn’t going to be a post about pepto bismol. Not entirely. Just hear me out. 

The other night, I was super nauseous for whatever reason and I decided to take some to ease my stomach. I don’t really freak out over getting sick anymore – I just can’t get sick when I’ve got kids to chase around. 

As I took a sip of my pink medicine, I smiled to myself. I thought of the night I got saved almost 8 years ago and how pepto bismol was oddly a part of it. 

 Not a part of my salvation. Just part of the memory. 

You see, I had been struggling with whether or not I was saved for a long time. I’d tell myself it was just doubts, but doubts can be eased with the Truth. I had no testimony, no moment I could look back on and remember that I asked God to save me. God had been dealing with me about it for months. 

I didn’t think about it all of the time, but when I did, I had no peace. I tried telling myself that I knew tons of Bible and was in church mostly every service. I even tried to go with a story that I had prayed for Jesus to save me as a five year old girl, though I didn’t truly understand then. Looking back, I knew I didn’t. 

I had no peace about the matter. It was more like I would rationalize myself out of it and feel better temporarily. Or I would just get angry and refuse to talk about it anymore. 

The night I did get saved, I remember the peace I felt immediately. I had finally let go of my pride and admitted my lost condition, asking Jesus to save me. It was peace like I had never known. It was crazy to think I had gone so long trying to talk myself out of it. 

As my husband sat at our dinner table that night discussing what had happened, I was still in awe. I was so peaceful, so happy in the decision I had made to trust Christ. 

And in no failure to make silly comparisons like I often did/still do, I told my husband that the peace I felt was like pepto bismol being poured over my heart. 

Oh you know, the commercials where the pink medicine is poured over the ailing stomach and coats it. That’s all I could think of in my mind to describe how I felt in that moment. 

Okay, so it wasn’t the most spiritual description of peace. Could you have imagined me giving my testimony at church and saying, “I got saved YALL and the blood of Jesus was poured over my heart like that pink medicine in the upset stomach nausea diarrhea commercial!”

That didn’t happen, but I kind of chuckle to myself imagining the scene.

Either way, I had peace like I had never known before. I had a testimony. I had something I could stand on: the Truth. And most importantly, I knew where I was going when I died. It was wonderful to know and in turn, my emotions were joyful and happy. 

Everybody’s testimony is different. As with most big moments in my life, there are some odd things like this that make me giggle as I look back. 

Like the moment I held my first born, I heard the song Surfer Girl by the Beach Boys playing in my head. 

 But there should absolutely be one common denominator. It’s not about a moment where you felt good in church or when you decided to turn over a new leaf. It’s not even about the emotions. Although for some, they will show as a result. 

The important detail is knowing that you have trusted Christ as your Savior. You realized you were lost, hopelessly on your way to hell. And you went to Christ, knowing He was absolutely the only way to Heaven. You turned from your self righteousness and looked unto Christ for salvation. 

I pray that you know Him. There is no real peace without knowing you’re His and that your eternity is secure. 



Marriage: Reality vs Expectation

What woman doesn’t love being swept off of her feet? I remember the first time my husband held my hand. We hadn’t even kissed or anything yet, but just simply holding hands gave me butterflies! I loved snuggling on the couch and watching movies, dreaming about what it would be like to do that every night as a married couple. 
I had big expectations and fantasies about all of it. I had read books and seen movies where every moment between you and “the one” were just gloriously and blissfully happy. He’d smile at me knowingly and we’d ride off into the sunset. 

Oh boy. 

The night my husband proposed, I told him no. Okay, I didn’t mean to, but he really caught me off guard. 

There had been a wind storm coming through and the ride home from church was kind of scary. I was already on edge. When we walked into my apartment that I lived in with my mom, I noticed candles lit everywhere.

An impending proposal was the last thing on my mind.

Immediately, I hollered, “oh great the power is out!!!! Mom!!!! Where are you?!!!”

I was a bit of a spoiled brat; I’m just throwing that out there. 

I spun around to see my terrified boyfriend kneeling on one knee, holding a little black box that contained the ring I had chosen. 

I just blurted it out without thinking. 

“No! No! No!”

But it wasn’t a “no” to marriage, it was more like a “no way, I can’t believe this!”

Either way, he was terrified. He thought I had meant the first “no.” I was quick to apologize and say yes, assuring him that I was just surprised. 

I didn’t cry like I thought I had imagined so many times. No flower petals fell from the sky. And I was still wondering if the power was out. 

It wasn’t really anything like the movies. But, we laughed a ton at how crazy the moment was and stood hugging each other for a long time. 

We still hadn’t kissed yet and yeah, you’re thinking that was crazy. But with my past, I wanted everything slow and right.

Well, aside from the getting married and committing my life forever part. We kinda moved super fast on that one.

(Met in December, got hitched in April)

Here’s the thing: love is crazy. Finding the one you want to spend forever with is amazing, but it’s not all flower petals and candles. Hopefully the romance is there and that is wonderful. However, there are moments that go totally wrong and all you can do is laugh. 

There are nights where you will be folding mountains of laundry with your best friend, thanking God that he’s right there with you. There are stupid arguments where your comebacks become so ridiculous, all you can do is break into a fit of laughter which resolves the tension. There are moments where your spouse is the hottest person on earth and five minutes later, you’re plotting their death. 

And there are those moments where you realize you’ve found your person. He’s all yours and you are his. Even in the trenches of sick kids and late night diaper changes, you still have one another. 

So, my life doesn’t quite read like a romance novel. It’s more like a comedy where everything goes awry – two wrongs make a right. Either way, I’m so thankful for the man God has given me to experience it all with. He’s got me even in the messiest and most insane moments. 


Leaving Legalism

I’ve spent many weeks wanting to share this, but I didn’t know how to go about it. This isn’t really an exposè on church or the legalist movement that’s been around since the beginning of time. I also don’t want to hurt anyone with the things I share. This is all just simply part of my journey and where I’m at today.
Leaving legalism does not enable someone to embrace lawlessness. Indeed, I’ve seen people become fed up with the rigidity and hypocrisy found in the belief. They walk away and you rarely find them in church. Sometimes they fall into sin after years of preaching themselves into a corner. That’s the scary reality of legalism: it destroys people. It distorts their view of God and church. It backs them into impossible corners and they snap.

That’s one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen.

But realizing you’re a part of it and deciding to let it go isn’t an excuse to run wild.

Legalism has a lot of different faces. To keep it simple, it’s where a person tries to live to the letter of the law rather than under grace. Either they’re lost and trying to earn Heaven or they’re saved and trying to be absolutely right all of the time in their power.

For most of my saved life, I’ve heard preachers describe legalism as something only lost people can experience. If you’re saved and trying to live the law, you have set out to achieve moral excellence. But let’s not forget that the letter to Galatia was written to born again believers.

It looks different for many. For me, I became obsessed with being right with God. I wanted to be a perfect Christian. I was consumed with my appearance and fitting the bill as uber spiritual, while still having much to learn. It’s not bad to desire righteousness. Absolutely not. The problem came in when it was more about following a standard to say I did it, rather than He did it through me. I lived in an alternate reality. It was a philosophy that pleased my flesh and left my spirit tired and often neglected.

Legalism isn’t one church with strict rules. That’s just a symptom. It’s a system of beliefs you subscribe to and ultimately a matter of the heart.

God made huge changes in my life after I got saved. I stopped drinking, He restored our young marriage, I began to understand the Bible. Everything changed in the instant that I accepted Christ and I described it as having “new eyeballs”. I was saved from the misery of trying to be perfect, instead resting in knowing that God was doing the work. All I needed to do was stay in the Word, remain obedient and faithful, and grow.

I absolutely believe when a person gets saved, their lives change and they are never the same. Sinless? No. That’s where grace comes in. But with the help of the Holy Spirit, there should be conviction and a desire to make changes as they are revealed through the Word. Saved people are to be different and set apart from the world.

This is God’s desire for His children.

But yet, we get impatient. We want results faster. We want to measure up to standards mentioned in sermons and traditions that have no Biblical backing whatsoever. We take dogmatic stands that we really don’t understand. We are motivated by fear from a terrifying sermon. In my case, it was to fit in and to fulfill my obsessive need to be right. I lived in fear.

Perhaps it was to feel taller and better than the less spiritual Christian who listened to CCM. Either way, it was to please me and my desire to become part of the brand.

I got my convictions from preachers, a good portion of them well meaning. That was my mistake. My Bible often sat personally unread and my spiritual life was weak. I climbed the impossible mountain of trying to please standards instead of asking the Lord for help. I threw away CDs, quit talking to some family, frequently questioned my pant wearing, and pat myself on the back for becoming more separated.

And yet I grew more miserable and self loathing with each minute, because I still wasn’t good enough. 

Eventually, I snapped and I almost left church altogether. I’d spent years living in fear of God taking one of my children or wrecking my car because I didn’t tithe. Or being furious with my husband for wearing jeans on a Sunday night because I didn’t want him to appear less committed. I left church feeling defeated and discouraged each week, because I couldn’t seem to live up. My home was falling apart as we obsessed over always being on point rather than simply seeking God.

It’s easy to stay where it’s all black and white. It feels safe to already have things decided for you without question.

One of the scariest things was to go to the Lord and ask for clarity, for answers. It was terrifying to begin the pursuit for holiness without the safety net of legalism holding me in. I questioned everything I believed, because none of it seemed real any more. That was especially scary, because I had believed for so long that questions were bad.

Until this time, my God lived in a small box. It was built with hands that tried to play the Holy Spirit and limited His power only to certain brands and circumstances. 

God’s Word proved to be true. I still don’t drink. I still believe in the fundamentals of the faith. I still use the King James Bible. But God has revealed much more to me through all of this. It goes deeper and way beyond what’s found on the surface.

I’m just an old sinner in need of a lot of grace. The minute I try to do it myself, I fall flat on my face. I have to let the Lord live through me. I need His Word, His church, and His help. I can’t do this on my own and it’s foolish to try.

Real change began once I walked away from legalism. I refused to be defined by what people thought, but instead consulting the One who knows me better than anyone. It revealed some of the ugly truth about me and how I ended up there in the first place.

I’m also learning to give myself grace in weak areas, instead of resorting to self loathing conversations in my head.

I’m still sorting through so much. There are so many unscriptural and unhealthy things I’ve picked up over the years. I’m still angry with the movement I used to be so proud of. I still look at all of the fighting and quarrel going on in today’s churches over music, what kind of clothes to wear, or what color garbage cans to use (yeah it’s a real thing) – and I think, Jesus is coming back, people are going to hell, and we are having a cow over this?!

But God gives grace. He wants me to give the same grace and forgiveness to the very things that have hurt me and so many others. He wants me to move on with a tender heart, realizing that we all fall short.

As a family, we had to slow down. We are currently focusing on raising a strong home, building a strong marriage that was deeply affected, and putting Christ at the center. We are faithfully visiting a church where the preaching and teaching has been a healing balm to our souls. We are sitting under the preaching we desperately need. We are serving and resting, knowing God has the future under control.

And we are so thankful we live in the age of grace. Not a license to sin, but the liberty to pursue Christ and His will.

Leaving legalism does not free me up to cherry pick the Bible or live how I please. It’s walking away from the brand of Christianity that’s found in following man’s rules and traditions, yet sadly producing weak Christians.

God never intended us to be controlled by any of that, but to have a real relationship with Him. It starts with salvation – when we realize our good works can’t get us into Heaven and that we need the saving blood of Jesus. Then begins the life long work of Jesus working in and through us. He wants the broken pieces, the mess, the ugliness – so that He can do something incredible through you. He wants a humble heart, so His glory can be shown through the mighty work done. This will bring repentance and change, it will bring a pursuit of holiness. And the focus will be directed to the Savior, who gave His life so that we could be free.

After all, He deserves every bit of the glory.