Christian living · conservatism · fundamentalism · Legalism · life lessons

Beyond My Tower

This began as a Twitter thread. I figured maybe this would be a good way to enter back into the blogging world. It is certainly a different tone than some of my earlier stuff, but life has a way of doing that to you.

I never would’ve considered myself sheltered, especially considering my parents were pretty open minded. But I realized I know very little about the world and how to connect to people around me, even other Christians.

I grew up in a racist community where the KKK picketed outside my school over Muslim students attending. Racial slurs + rebel flags were the norm. I didn’t realize it, but I was taught to fear people who weren’t white like me in a post 9/11 culture. I was uncomfortable in culturally diverse settings.

Then I got married at 18 to an IFB (independent fundamental baptist) preacher’s son. It hid me away from the insanity of my own family and past decisions. It gave me safety. I learned that in order to have doctrinal and moral purity, I should fear even other believers who weren’t KJVO or as separated as me. I didn’t want to be influenced by the compromising and carnal world. Reaching out to a Southern Baptist was dangerous, let alone a Muslim.

Even in the public school, I was taught a whitewashed, revisionist history. The IFB exacerbated that with their cult history of the church’s origins, conspiracy theories, and obsession with eschatology.

Again, racial slurs against Muslims were common. I sat through an entire Wednesday night service where the visiting preacher made his case for why Obama was really a Muslim and was truly born in Kenya. We had our token black preachers, but also affirmed horrific teachings like the Curse of Cain or the Curse of Ham. We balked at the idea of being racist while making jokes about fried chicken and black church. Peter Ruckman was the father of our KJVO conspiracies (double inspiration) and he was truly one of the most racist preachers of the modern fundamentalist church.

I’ve also been a SAHM (stay at home mom) for almost 11 yrs. I haven’t worked a public job since I was 17. Even joining a co op with non IFB mothers was a no go, because I didn’t want them to influence me. I often heard that women who worked were more likely to cheat on their husbands, because women are the weaker vessel and more easily deceived. I felt uncomfortable even working with other men at church on music or media.

It’s incredible just how small and narrow my worldview has been and, honestly, how socially awkward it has made me. Just the fact that I acknowledge this and desire the truth would’ve meant I was backsliding and being influenced by the world. Watching anything but FOX News meant I was slipping into the leftist regime. Listening to a pastor who didn’t use the King James just meant I desired watered down preaching to tickle my ears.

But hiding away from the world in a commune of sorts is the opposite of what God desires for His people. How am I supposed to reach them if I turn my nose up at them or fear them?! Or believe my nationality makes me superior? How am I supposed to understand the experiences of others? Life isn’t as black and white as I used to think. People’s experiences are quite nuanced. There isn’t always a simple answer to why they feel the way they do or why things have happened to them.

I’m 30 years old and it’s a wild time. I feel like Rapunzel when she first left her tower.

I still desire Biblical truth above all things, but that doesn’t mean I want to be lied to. So many are leaving the faith because they were fed these rosy pictures of American history or the origin of their Bible translation – and when they find that it isn’t true, they hit a faith crisis. The IFB church will just tell you you’re being seduced by Satan. And the unbelieving world will say it’s ALL a scam.

It’s a horrible crisis of faith that many in my generation are limping through.

This is more of a vent than it is a post providing solutions. All I know is that we have to do better with the next generation we are raising up. Because right now, I see too many casualties from this environment that was supposed to protect us. Instead, it has left us socially undeveloped and unprepared for reality. It hinders the work of the great commission that we always heard about each Sunday.

Digging our heels into false information isn’t the answer. Hiding our heads in the sand out of fear will not silence the questions. We need truth. The truth sets us free.

life lessons · Writing

Stepping Back + Other Thoughts

I’ve been blogging since the days of xanga and livejournal. I’ve written in a diary since I was in the second grade. Documenting my life and expressing my thoughts has always been a part of me. Fleshing out my feelings through a journal entry has gotten me through many hard roads. I love going through old journals from my early years in marriage/motherhood and seeing how God worked in my life!

I really wish I still had access to my old blogs from my preteen – high school years, but then again, maybe not! Because blogging was still reserved for a community of only a few people who I had chosen to read my stuff, I was often very candid and detailed in my experiences.

Simply put, some things aren’t worth re living.

Anyway, I say all of that to say this – I see nothing wrong with blogging. Or social media. Or even vlogging. (Although I do think it’s a bit goofy to film and edit our lives for likes and shares. But there’s money in it, I guess.) I appreciate blogs dedicated to giving advice, as they’ve been a huge help to me. Or even ones which document real life in order to show the rest of us we aren’t the only crazy ones. There’s definitely a lot of good out there.

But one day, the idea of documenting my life began to feel ridiculous. Does anyone care what I ate for dinner? Aside from grandparents + aunts and uncles, does anyone really need to see what my kids are doing? Do I really need to share my opinion on everything? Do I need to update you through stories and posts on every detail of my life? And do I need to spend hours of my life reading + watching yours? Why do you need to know that I worked out? Is it even safe?!

I like to blog to share a thought. With much discretion and discernment, I want to write things which would edify and strengthen another in Christ. Or share the frank, humorous reality of being a mom and wife. Beyond that, I’m not interested in opening my life up to the world. I don’t want to live in a false illusion of the highlight reel. Really, I want to have a joyful, abundant life well lived. And then perhaps I’ll write about it, because that’s what I do.

If another person enjoys more than that, cool! But for me, I feel I miss out on the present when I’m thinking of a clever Facebook post or photo. It cheapens the value of the moments I truly live in with my family. Hiding behind a screen removes the need to personally invest time in people and see how they’re doing, because we can just see it on social and let them know we care with a heart.

I don’t know. I guess I just want more than that. I suppose I feel as though I’m missing real life while getting lost in the virtual.

I’m not dogmatic about this. I do not believe social media is a sin or that blogging our lives is wrong. I DO enjoy seeing the positive things about my friends and family as well as staying connected. I like watching funny videos or reading encouraging posts. But couldn’t I just do a little better about making the effort to see how they’re doing in another way?

I don’t know. I’m rambling a lot here. I just think it’s goofy to document every waking moment and then spending time reading everyone else’s rather than just living. Think about how much our conversations with one another would be enriched and how we would personally draw closer if we weren’t so connected on social. (Or if we didn’t depend on it so much to stay connected!)

I also know how vain I can be. I know how I can get a false gratification from likes and hearts. Let’s get real! We can not accurately gauge the success and health of our lives by how we’re perceived through a post!

Anyway, I don’t want to stop blogging. I enjoy this community. But I’m stepping way back. I want to write meaningful things, not just little snippets with trendy catchphrases and hashtags on Instagram. I just want to live life. I want to serve Jesus, my husband, my kids, and the ones I love.

And then I’ll write. Rather than creating experiences to write about or living for content, I’ll create from the outflow of what God is doing in my life.

❤️

Christian living · pregnancy

Life Updates

I love to write, but lately I’ve been holding back a ton. I suppose writing for me is letting my hair down, cutting loose, whatever. And with everything that’s been going on this last year, I suppose I’ve been a bit pent up. Does that make any sense?

Mom received her cancer diagnosis in November and from that moment, life got crazy. She is now cancer free, back to work, and doing amazing! But I will say – it shook up our world a bit. I found out I was pregnant in January, which has been a unique experience to say the least. I think I was seven weeks pregnant for a month straight … that first trimester seemed like it would never end.

And school? Well, by the grace of God we have hung in there. Between many dentist appointments, OB visits, mom’s surgeries and days where morning sickness had me curled on the couch … we managed to only get slightly behind. We should complete our school year by the end of the month, just in time for vacation!

So, it’s been a crazy year. And I suppose I have allowed fear and worry to keep me from stopping to smell the roses too many times. I have a book which SERIOUSLY needs revising and editing, but for whatever reason, I’ve thought that if I just let go of my worries and get sucked into that … one more crazy or bad thing might happen. I have had several blog post ideas, specifically talking about pregnancy and pregnancy after loss. But in the shadows of my mind, I think I’m just jinxing myself and something tragic will happen by my acknowledging that this pregnancy is really happening. Like I need to spend my free time with a firm grasp on my fear rather than living life and doing what I love.

The Lord has really been growing my faith through all of this, proving to me that I’m never alone, that He can handle it. And at that scary stinkin’ anatomy scan for the baby last week, He reminded me of His power and control. He held out His hand and simply asked me to hold it.

Oh, it’s not always that easy. I have to do my part through prayer and Bible reading, through casting down my crazzzyyy imaginations. But for the first time in a while, I was able to breathe, look at my fears and say, “so what?”

Sometimes I think we go through these patches of life simply for God to reveal His glory. Pregnancy in itself is a trying of a woman’s faith! I sang a song at revival last week that has the line, “I have peace when it doesn’t make sense.” And indeed, in a world full of trouble and a crazy, unpredictable life, I have peace. It doesn’t make sense. But it’s not supposed to. I am simply supposed to trust my Lord.

That’s what I have to do. No amount of holding tight to what ifs will change the future and it certainly drains me of today’s strength. I simply have to surrender every bit of fear and my future to Him.

That’s been life lately. I’m a bit neurotic and sometimes get a little too stuck in my head, but God is good.

And thank you Jesus! I’m back to drinking coffee after two long months of feeling like the smell would make me vomit.

God’s been good.