Life · Marriage

You & Me

“Hey, 9 years ago I dumped you.”

My husband gave me a funny look and laughed. “Yeah, I guess so.”

“It was the best decision I’ve ever made.”

Cocking his head to the side, he asked, “Why’s that?”

“Because it was then that I realized I wanted you forever.”


My husband and I still argue about this; whether or not I broke up with him before we got married.

I was having cold feet. After all, I was only 18 and had no real clue what I wanted out of life. It didn’t help that most of my family thought (rightfully so) that I needed to finish college and get established before I made such a huge commitment.

I knew that I wanted to marry Joshua. I had this incredible fantasy drawn out in my head of our sweet little life in our tiny apartment and that because we loved Jesus, all would be okay. But the reality of officially entering adulthood scared me. Also, my desire to please everyone with my decisions overwhelmed me.

He sees it like this: He was 21 and ready to begin his life. Joshua had a plan from a young age. Working from the time he was 14 years old, he wanted to get a decent job, work on cars, marry the right girl, and raise a family. He had purchased this gorgeous engagement ring for me, began preparing an apartment for us, and was ready to live out his dreams with me. He had laid it all out on the line for me.

… And I was the one who had never really made any big girl decisions. AT ALL.

I still maintain that I had to breathe for a minute and figure out what I wanted. Now that we’re older, we understand it’s kind of a given this is how any fresh outta high school girl would feel.

I decided I needed to do some soul searching to find out what I should do.

Look, I was 18. Don’t look for any incredible wisdom to be reflected here.

He had his family telling him to cut me loose, that I was crazy. I had my family telling me that I could do better and that I needed to focus on finishing school.

As goes your typical teenage love story …

The opposing forces drew us together. There was no keeping us apart for longer than a day. It was us against the world.

It was the passionate relationship of two over eager kids who were driven by dreams and hormones.

I told him that I wanted to be his forever, that I wanted our life together no matter what it cost. There’s no way I really understood the full weight of what I said, but I meant it with everything I had.

The same day, we shared our first kiss.

Just a few days later, we made vows to love one another forever. We married on a Monday afternoon, with little warning to our families.

It was probably the craziest thing I’ve ever done.

I think about that time in my life and just how insane it all was. It still feels funny to share the story with others as their eyes enlarge with each detail.

Even so, I’m glad it happened. It was the best thing that has ever happened to me aside from my salvation.

We married so young, but the wonderful thing is that it’s always been us.

It’s always been Josh and me. It’s always been the best man I’ve ever known standing right beside me. From that young age of 18 and being clueless to becoming the woman I am now, it’s always been us.

He’s been by my side through every painful step of growing up and becoming an adult. He’s been my strong man whose chest I hide my face into when I need a good cry. He’s seen me at my absolute worst and best. He’s gone to those dark places that none would dare venture with me. He’s rejoiced with me on the mountaintop when we’ve seen God’s blessings.

He’s been mine and I’ve been his.

Did we have struggles? Absolutely. In fact, there was a bet going that we wouldn’t make it past Christmas.

But by the grace of God, these two sinners came together and God created a beautiful union. In these last 9 years, He took the impossible and did a mighty work in our hearts, doing things that only HE could accomplish. Statistics said we were doomed, but God gave grace and allowed us to grow together. He has allowed the challenges of marriage to be a part of our sanctification.

God brought us together and gave us the gift of a Godly marriage, painting a life portrait of Christ and His church.

I look forward to many more years of becoming closer to the love of my life as the Savior draws us closer to one another.


Why I’m Tossing Our Bible Curriculum

I don’t claim to be a homeschooling expert. We haven’t even completed our first year, so I’m still in the “learning” process.

Ah, scratch that. Every parent is in the learning process. Even parents with grown kids say they are STILL learning.

So, this should make you feel better: nobody has arrived. We are all on this journey; we are just at different places along this path. That’s life for virtually everyone, so just apply that principle to homeschooling and give yourself some grace.

There are going to be moments where you have to step back and re-evaluate things, looking to see what works and what doesn’t.

I’m a creature of habit and I like starting what I finish, so this is hard for me. However, sometimes, when something isn’t working, it’s just better to walk away and move on.

Yesterday, I realized that I do not like the Bible curriculum we are using.

The curriculum we use (Accelerated Christian Education) is Bible-based, so every subject includes a spiritual element whether it’s scripture memorization, character building, or perhaps even a Bible story. However, the Bible reading paces? Yikes.

My daughter began them just a couple of months ago when she started second grade. I really didn’t know what to expect. Basically, she is reading up to 10 verses a day in the book of John as well as answering specific questions about the reading. I suppose this isn’t bad in itself, but the emphasis seems to be more on recalling the facts rather than her understanding what she just read.

When it comes to Bible reading, I most certainly want her to have the latter. I want her to hear about how God’s Word can apply to her life even at a young age. We already provide this with morning devotions before school as well as family devotions before bed. Perhaps when she is older, I will consider a more comprehensive Bible curriculum that explores genealogies and word studies.

But guys, she’s 7. 

I want her to know the Word of God is a place she can go for answers. I want it to come to life for her. I want her to be able to understand more difficult topics through life application and explanation.

This curriculum is just not doing that. It is so monotone and such a drudgery that I fear she will associate Bible reading with being boring or not for her. (Hey, I thought for years that the Bible was meant for mean old church ladies.)

We know it’s quite the opposite and it’s our job to show her that.

Curriculum is just a tool. It’s there to help guide the parent as they teach their child. How we choose to use it is up to us. I didn’t choose a Christian based curriculum because I thought it would make my kids more spiritual or keep them “in line.” No curriculum or Christian school can do that.

Only we, the parents, can achieve this. Only we can live out the Word of God through our own lives as well as sitting down to teach them.

So, we scrapped the Bible reading paces.

If you’re a homeschooling parent and you’re wondering if a curriculum or subject is working for you, step back and evaluate the situation. Ask yourself if it’s something they absolutely need or if it’s something you can implement in the home on your own. Maybe the rest of the curriculum is fantastic, but that one subject just isn’t clicking. Feel free to supplement with something else! Shop around to see if there is another curriculum that would better suit your needs. Ask other homeschoolers what they use. But don’t feel trapped in the box of your curriculum.

This is the sweet thing about homeschooling – we’ve got the freedom to do it however we want. We can learn as we grow and grow as we learn.


Chastisement & Grace

And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Hebrews 12:5-8

Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: Job 5:17

The Bitter Season of Learning

When I open the Word and my heart is pricked with conviction, the moment is bittersweet. One side of me feels regret and remorse, or perhaps even embarrassed at my failure. I’ll look back at my decisions and know the moment it could’ve been different. I hate that feeling.

But tonight, as God was dealing with my heart and showing me some things I needed to make right, I began thinking about how God deals with us when we are wrong. He begins with convicting us, that still small voice that says things need to change. Or that verse we read that pricks our heart. That’s our notification that something isn’t right.

Chastisement occurs when we haven’t heeded the warnings and we continue to disobey. It’s the moment our consequences meet our actions and we learn a hard lesson.

Chastisement isn’t a joyous, on the mountaintop experience. But it is a needful experience for the child of God to know they are loved and dearly cared for by their Savior.

I don’t know if I have ever thought of His discipline that way.


I have heard many describe the chastisement of the Lord like he’s some raging fool that’s going to beat you til you’re blue to make His point. I heard the same story for years about a man who didn’t tithe and how God severely injured his son as punishment. And then they would say things like … If God hasn’t taken you out to the woodshed a time or two, you ain’t saved. I walked in terror for a long time over statements like those. Either I was afraid of one of my kids dying because I failed. Or because I hadn’t experienced some extreme hardship where God whacked me over the head – maybe I didn’t really know Him.

I had a warped view of God that said He is a jerk who flips His lid when we don’t obey.

Sometimes He does have to use extreme measures to get our attention. Sometimes we do get ourselves into some pretty hard spots and that’s when we look to Him. That’s not because He’s a jerk. It’s because sin has consequences.

Just like our kids have to learn some lessons the hard way, so do we. God has allowed me to go through some difficult things to teach me.

But He is gracious. Oh, He is so gracious to me.

In October of 2016, we purchased a car without consulting Him. It was newer, fancier, and just seemed to be the right thing. The decision to purchase and finance that car was hasty, to say the least. One week into having our sweet new ride, I was parked on the side of the road with three kids and a overheated vehicle. The repairs were over $1,000 – much more than our tight budget could afford. And we hadn’t even made our first payment yet!!! Our budget was tight all of last year because we made a foolish decision without prayer. The car is fixed and runs fine now, but that was a stressful time to say the least.

The Good Father

Does that mean God wasn’t good? Money was tight, but our needs were provided. Tears were shed and stress was high, but we still made wonderful memories as a family in spite of the difficulty. God made it work and He taught us an important lesson about honoring Him with our finances and decisions. He didn’t just knock us to our knees with a whipping and tell us to “man up.”

Nope, he allowed us to suffer the bitter consequences while still being the good Father He is. He still took care of us and loved us. He allowed us to get up from where we had fallen and learn from the past. He forgave us for not seeking Him.

Think of it this way. When I have to discipline my child, I do what needs to be done, I explain their wrong, and then I tell them I love them. We move on. I don’t withhold their dinner from them. (There is a “Christian” parenting book out there that suggests this as a means of discipline.) They may lose privileges that day, but the wrong is forgotten. They’ve learned (hopefully) from the consequences, but it’s done. If the other kids try to rattle on later about their sibling getting in trouble, I tell them to drop it. Because I love my child, I forgive them. I didn’t discipline them because I’m a raging idiot. I disciplined them because I love them. I desire to see them do well in life.

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Matt 7:11

If we know how to love our kids, how much more should God love us? He loves us as our Father. He isn’t a jerk. People see the good things in that verse and see blessings raining from the sky. However, God wants the absolute best for us. Wouldn’t His goodness include His correction.

God is just and He does chasten His children. I believe He gets angry when we don’t listen. But I also believe that anger is a perfect, righteous anger because He is God. Not the ugly, fleshly anger we experience when people do us wrong. He doesn’t share the same temper we have when we strike out in irritation. His anger is a perfect and right anger.

The next time God convicts you or you experience the bitter consequences of sin, hold fast to the grace and mercy He has given. The simple fact that He showed you your wrong means you have a good Father who loves you. Then, you can claim the promise of His Word that says, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Grace upon Grace upon Grace!

Even in our darkest moments when our ugliness is revealed, there is grace. There is mercy. And there is forgiveness. Does that erase the consequences? No. But God is still good and will still provide even in those bitter seasons of learning.

The chastening of God is bitter as we endure consequences for our actions and sin. It is also sweet as it confirms that we are His. The Bible clearly says He will not chastise someone who isn’t His.

The chastening of God isn’t about beating you in a woodshed to spite you for disobedience. Anyone that tries to tell you so has a warped view of Christ. The chastening of God is motivated by pure love, a pure desire to be near to us, and a pure desire for us to have God’s best in our lives.

He chastens us out of love, not out of spite.

God is not wielding His power over us to beat us into submission. Yes, we should have a Godly, reverential fear of Him that places Him as the proper authority over our lives. If we are saved, we should have a desire to want to honor Him and serve Him. If we are spending time in the Word and prayer, those things should be the outflow of a nurtured relationship with Him. He desires real closeness.

Are you in a season of learning from bitter consequences? Remember that although it is grievous, God does mean it for your good. He wants to teach you. He wants to draw you near to Him. He isn’t standing over you with His arms crossed waiting for you to figure it out. No, He wants you to come to Him and rest in His unchanging grace. That grace that even as far as our foolish decisions where we clearly didn’t consult Him. He is still there, ready to give, and willing to show you how to make it right.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: beause fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18