Thursday, March 31, 2011

Legalism and Loving Jesus

God places different convictions on each of His children. Who are we to assume that just because God has placed convictions on us in a particular area that He has placed the same convictions on others? We walk a fine line when we make blanket statements that stand in condemnation of others who don't live up to the convictions that God has placed on us alone. We walk a fine line when God hasn't specifically set forth commands in His Word on a particular subject, yet we assume that all Christians should feel and act the same as we do about the subject. When we stand in condemnation of others because they do things differently, we are setting ourselves up for a hard fall.

It is not up to us to decide what convictions another should live by. It is not up to us to decide at what point another Christian should have "arrived" in their personal relationship with Christ. God works differently in each of us. He works slowly in some, quickly in others. It is not for us to judge another's heart or motives. That is left to God alone.

When we throw out a list of standards that are not commanded in the Bible, then condemn others for not holding up to those standards, we are living in legalism. When we want others to be bound to a set of rules that we've created, we are being legalistic. There's no legalism in loving Jesus and loving others.

From Galatians 3:
You crazy Galatians! Did someone put a hex on you? Have you taken leave of your senses? Something crazy has happened, for it's obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives. His sacrifice on the Cross was certainly set before you clearly enough. 2 Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God's Message to you? 3 Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren't smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? 4 Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up! 5 Answer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you? 6 Don't these things happen among you just as they happened with Abraham? He believed God, and that act of belief was turned into a life that was right with God. 7 Is it not obvious to you that persons who put their trust in Christ (not persons who put their trust in the law!) are like Abraham: children of faith? 8 It was all laid out beforehand in Scripture that God would set things right with non-Jews by faith. Scripture anticipated this in the promise to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed in you." 9 So those now who live by faith are blessed along with Abraham, who lived by faith - this is no new doctrine! 10 And that means that anyone who tries to live by his own effort, independent of God, is doomed to failure. Scripture backs this up: "Utterly cursed is every person who fails to carry out every detail written in the Book of the law." 11 The obvious impossibility of carrying out such a moral program should make it plain that no one can sustain a relationship with God that way. The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you. Habakkuk had it right: "The person who believes God, is set right by God - and that's the real life." 12 Rule-keeping does not naturally evolve into living by faith, but only perpetuates itself in more and more rule-keeping, a fact observed in Scripture: "The one who does these things [rule-keeping]continues to live by them." 13 Christ redeemed us from that self-defeating, cursed life by absorbing it completely into himself. Do you remember the Scripture that says, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"? That is what happened when Jesus was nailed to the Cross: He became a curse, and at the same time dissolved the curse. (The Message)

Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. Galatians 5:1 (The Message)

Church Family and Grace

As I walked to the microphone, my heart was pounding so hard I was sure everyone could hear it. I'm not afraid of speaking or singing in front of a group of people. But last night was different. I was telling my story, the good, the bad, the ugly, to the group of people I sing with on a weekly basis.

I'd received emails, FB posts and messages, and texts throughout the day from people who knew I'd be sharing. Kind words of I'm praying for you sustained me throughout the day. I hadn't been too nervous until the moment arrived.

Usually, I would've spoken straight from the heart, but God had directed me to write and carefully edit the exact words He'd have me share. So I read straight from the paper I had in front of me. It was like a blur to me, and I was done within 3 or 4 minutes. We sang Mercy Seat just after.

Then what happened amazed me.

I guess I expected condemnation from people. I was prepared to walk out, eyes averted, head down. But before I could even collect my music and stand to leave, people were hugging me. I'm quite sure I've never felt such an outpouring of love. I've never been a part of a group that was so grace-giving. I'd made it to that point without a tear. Sure, my voice had waivered when I spoke, but God kept the tears at bay. But the kindness and grace of these people overwhelmed me, and the tears welled.

I'm pretty sure I experienced the God-given grace of a group of people who know what it is to have experienced grace in their own lives. That community of people amazed me. God used them to show me that His grace is enough to bring unlikely hearts together in a community called church. Hunter Street Baptist Church is a place where the grace of God prevails. I'm thankful for the people I call church family.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Story and Stomach Ache

The email came last week: Have you thought about giving your testimony in choir...? Need somebody for next week, March 30th. Pray about it...

Gulp. Instant stomach ache. My thoughts: WHAT?! Me??? Um, no. I haven't publicly shared my testimony in over five years...before...

A few days later, after prayer and confirmation, I replied: I'll do it...

God has been preparing me for this. I knew several weeks ago that He'd told me it was time. But really, God? I'm to share my story with the people I sing with every week? I'd much rather share it with people I don't know...with people I don't have to see twice a week. Nevertheless, I will stand before a group of people (some I know well, some I barely know) tomorrow night, and I will share my story in five minutes or less.

I've written it out. I'm prepared to share; but in the back of my mind, I know I can leave out the part that terrifies me to share. I know that omission is my safety net. But I also know that my story would not be complete without that part. I know that I can't fully tell of God's work in me unless I tell that part. 

I know I have to share, and to do so will be my total reliance upon Him. I know there's a reason...someone in that room needs to hear it. He's going to use me to let that person know that they're not alone...that God can heal them...that the guilt can be removed...that His grace covers them. I know all this because He continues to use my story in unexpected ways. I received a message just last week from someone who needed to hear how God created beauty from my ashes. I know that the testimony of His grace will not go unheard. Grace has called my name, and He will call someone else's name too...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Beauty of Slag

My girls and I recently went on a field trip to Sloss Furnace in Birmingham, Alabama. Sloss was a pig iron-producing blast furnace from the late 1800s until the 1970s. Our tour guide explained to us how pig iron was made. The part that I found particularly interesting was the production of something called slag. Stick with me while I try to explain how slag was produced:

Limestone and red iron ore were refined by melting them together to draw out the impurities. The impurities, or waste, had to be removed every so often to continue the refining process. However, the waste (also called slag) would harden. It had lumps and holes all over it. It seemed to be useless. But Sloss didn't waste any part of the refining process. The slag was a profitable product. It was sold for one penny per ton. It was used to create items for construction purposes.

A piece of slag

As I sat and listened to the tour guide explain that process, I was struck how God uses a similar process in our lives. He sometimes allows us to go through trials, the fire, to remove the waste from our lives. But He doesn't stop there. He uses that waste. The waste from our lives may look ugly to us, but He sees it as an opportunity to create, or construct, something beautiful.

In my case, there was a time when I went through a trial, a refining. The waste (sin) in my life rose to the top during that time. It was ugly. When I repented of the sin, He removed it from me. However, I could still see how horrible it was and thought my life to be useless. But He didn't waste that sin, or what I learned in the process. He has taken my story and used it to encourage, or build up, others. He didn't waste any part of the refining process. He receives glory even from what we consider to be useless.

Has He used the slag in your life? Has He created something beautiful from what you consider waste?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Honesty About Sometimes

I'm just gonna go ahead and say it: many Christians don't like honesty. We like to pretend, and we like for others to pretend. We're good at happy faces and I'm fine responses. We pretend that a curse word never pops in our heads, and that we always have a good attitude.

Today my eight year old read this sentence in her spelling book: God knows our every thought. She looked at me and asked if He knows the bad words that she sometimes thinks. Yep. She asked if I ever thought bad words. Yep. I explained that we should ask God to forgive us for those bad words, and that we should think on things that are lovely, pure, noble, of good report, etc. so that we don't dwell on bad words. However, sometimes bad words just pop in our heads, and heavens-to-betsy, out of our mouths. And God knows it. Guess what?....He still loves us.

Then tonight a friend at church made a comment and followed it with, I'm just being honest. Being the sarcastic person I am, I said: Better not do that. We don't like honesty.

It's true.

We don't want people to know the ungodly things about our lives. And we want to pretend that no one else in church has ungodly behaviors either. I'm here to burst the bubble. We all, every single one of us, sin.

As much as I want to be holy and godly, and portray that to others, sometimes I'm just not. Don't get all upset and think I'm making excuses for sin. I'm just saying that it's a fact that we all sin. I want to be that stay-at-home, homeschooling mom who is always content. I want to read my Bible and spend time with Jesus every morning. I want to glorify God. I want to be kind and show love to every person I come in contact with. I want to be a good wife.

But...the truth is...

I don't always do it. And while it's not okay to live a lifestyle of sin, I'm not going to lie and say I don't ever. Truth is, sometimes I yell at my kids. Sometimes bad words pop out of my mouth. Sometimes I'm jealous. Sometimes I'm selfish. Sometimes I'd rather listen to Guns N Roses and Poison than to Casting Crowns and Chris Tomlin. Sometimes I just want to do what I know I shouldn't. Sometimes...

Before 2006, I never would've been honest about my sometimes. But if there's anything I've learned, it's that honesty brings hope and healing to myself and others. You may be offended by my sometimes, and that's okay with me. I know the One who can handle my honesty and loves me anyway.

Are you honest with yourself? Are you honest with your Christian friends?

It's Not Fair

The one line I hear from my girls on a daily basis is It's not fair. One child has received something that the others didn't; or one child didn't receive punishment that the others thought she should. Jealousy is rampant among the three of them. And though I try my best not to show favoritism or partiality, they assume that's what I'm doing sometimes when they see one of them being treated differently from what they think should occur. However, the tables turn when it's their turns to receive blessing or avoid punishment.

For instance, I usually buy them clothes all at the same time. But this past week, we went on a trip, and Grace didn't have a single pair of shorts that fit. So I took her on a quick shopping trip to pick up several pairs of shorts and a couple of shirts. While shopping for her, I did pick up an item for each of the other girls (my attempt at being fair). But when we returned home and the other two girls saw that Grace had gotten more clothes than either of them, the whining started: It's not fair. I wanted more clothes like Grace.

Another example is when I choose to be lenient in punishment. There are certain behaviors which have set punishments at our house. There are some behaviors that judgments for punishment are made when the "crime" occurs. What usually happens is that one child tattles on another for something, and the tattling child wants the maximum punishment for the misbehaving child(ren). But sometimes, depending on the circumstances, I choose to have grace-filled teaching moments instead of punishments. That's when the whining will begin: It's not fair. She should be grounded, or get a spanking, or...

Sometime I whine to God. I see others blessed in some way I want to be blessed, and I kick into the It's not fair routine. I see others behaving in a way for which, I think, they should receive punishment. Again, I'll whine to God: Why are they getting away with that when I know You won't let me do that?

It dawned on me the other day as my children were whining about something not being fair, that it's my decision how I will bless or punish my children. They have no say-so about it. They can like it, or not. I have my reasons, and sometimes they're not based on the children's behaviors.

It's the same with God. He said to Moses, I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion (Ex. 33:19). It's not for me to whine about when someone receives a blessing, and I don't. It's not for me to whine about when He grants grace to someone who I think should receive condemnation. Those whinings boil down to jealousy on my part. I must be reminded that His ways are higher than my ways, and His thoughts higher than my thoughts (Is. 55:9). God is God, and all His ways are just. And, goodness, I'm surely not going to whine when He offers blessing or grace to me!

What about you? Do you sometimes whine to God with the It's not fair routine? Do you recognize the whining for what it is: jealousy?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I'm A Chicken...Bok, Bok

I'm a chicken. I don't like to run in the dark. But sometimes I do it just because it's the only time I have when my husband is home to watch the kids.

Street lights line the road I live on, but near the end of the road, there's an obvious absence of light. I get a little apprehensive running on that section of the road. I run as fast as I can through the darkness. I get past it, and breathe a little sigh of relief; however, in the back of my mind, I know I have to return through the same area to get back home. On the return home, I run fast again through the dark section, looking toward the street lights ahead. Once I near the street lights, I relax (I'm no longer a chicken) and enjoy the rest of my run.

There are dark seasons of life, times when we hurt. When we walk through the darkness, especially times of pain that we've caused ourselves, it's scary. Sometimes we want to rush through the hurt, the pain. And sometimes we think we've reached the other side, the light, only to realize we must travel through the darkness again to find healing, to return home. When we realize we have to return through the darkness, we remember the pain of the first passing through, making it more difficult to pass the second time around.

I think of Peter's denials of Christ. When he realized what he'd done, he went out and wept bitterly (Matt. 26:75). His sin must've penetrated his heart. I imagine Peter lived through a dark season for several days. Yet he ran to the empty tomb, and was the first to enter. He then went away to his home, marveling at that which had happened (Luke 24:12). Soon after, Peter and his friends were on a boat fishing, when they spotted Jesus on the shore. Peter threw himself out of the boat to reach Jesus. I'm pretty sure Peter had passed through his dark season by that point and thought himself to be walking towards light. However, Peter had to travel through grief one more time. Jesus asked Peter three times (the same number of times as Peter had denied Him) if he loved Him. By the third time, Peter was grieved (John 21:17). But Jesus had to deal openly with Peter's shame and guilt to rid him of it. It's only after this questioning, this reconciling, that we see Peter truly walking in light...healed from his sin...a sort of returning home.

If you're returning through the same dark path you've once travelled, don't give up hope. Healing awaits you on the other side.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fear and Freedom

My family and I visited the Smokey Mountains over Spring Break. We spent a lot of time together in the car. We rode from Gatlinburg, TN, over Newfound Gap to Cherokee, NC. We also drove through a motor nature trail, Roaring Fork.

What should've been a relaxing ride observing beautiful scenery was almost terrifying for me. I'm afraid of heights. I was so focused on the plunging cliffs that I was rendered incapable of seeing the beauty. My hands and feet would get sweaty, and my stomach would feel nauseated every time we rode next to a cliff, which was quite often. Mark would laugh and tease me about my fear; but the thought of wrecking and the car diving off one of the cliffs was very real to me.

My fear wasn't Mark's fear. The fear that consumed me wasn't his fear at all. He was able to take in the beauty of the mountains, as well as the cliffs. He was able to look down and see the awesomeness of creation. He wasn't consumed with "what ifs." He wasn't terrified to drive more than 5 miles per hour on the winding roads. He was free to relax and enjoy the ride.

Fear bound me. It kept me from relaxing or enjoying the ride.

Fear often binds me from moving forward in life. Fear of messing up. Fear of condemnation. Fear of failure. Fear of conflict. Fear of the unknown. Fear. It's a prison of sorts.

Living in freedom allows me to enjoy the ride...the plans God has for me. Freedom allows me to enjoy the view. Freedom allows me to love recklessly. Freedom overcomes fear.

In many circumstances, fear overwhelms me, and freedom escapes me. Having tasted freedom and enjoyed, fear creeps back in only to overtake me with a vengeance. And the escape from fear begins all over again. The path to freedom seems to get a little shorter each time.

Monday, March 21, 2011

5 Things I've Learned: (3) No Greener Grass

I run. I run away. I look for greener grass. I've done it for as long as I can remember.

I learned at an early age to be ready to take flight at any moment. My natural response to being hurt by someone is to run. Leave. Get away as fast as possible. I bought into the lie that the next place, person, whatever would be better than the last.

Not true.

While people are different and unique, we're all the same. We all hurt, we all sin.

Somehow I learned that life was all about me...that I was different. I learned to be the victim. The thought never crossed my mind that I hurt people too. It never crossed my mind that people stuck through friendship with me when I hurt them.

The realization hit me in my early thirties: I hurt people probably as much as I feel hurt by others. That's when it hit me that many have stuck with me through situations when, if reversed, I would've run from them.

I've learned that the grass is usually not greener and prettier someplace else. I've learned that people are just people. I've learned that it's often worth it to trudge through mudiness. I've learned it's better to stay and work through a matter than to run. And I've learned that this is a hard lesson to apply when I'm prone to run...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Welcoming Spring

Ponytail, tank top, shorts and running shoes was the attire for this evening's run. I especially liked the tank top and shorts...because that means it's finally warmer weather. I've so needed spring. I'm quite happy that it's finally arrived. Tonight's run was hot, and I was stinky and sweaty by the time I was done. And I loved it!

This winter has been especially trying for my family, immediate and extended. Unwelcome change knocked on our doors in early January, and stuck around for too long. That, along with colder weather than we're used to in the Bible belt (which caused us to be inside way more than we desired), put me in a funk. No other way for me to describe it. Just a unhappy funk.

But tonight's run reminded me of new life.

Vivid colors of freshly planted flowers dotting yards and lining driveways, a welcome sight. The scents of freshly mowed grass, blooming plants, food on grills, and even the faint smell of cigarette smoke in the distance were welcome smells. Journey's Don't Stop Believing repeatedly played in my ears. The combination of them all, along with seeing neighbors milling about, reminded me that spring, the season of new life, brings people out of hiding.

I need spring. I need the revival of life that the season brings. I need to walk out of the dark, cold funk, and breathe deep the air of life revived. I need to step out of the stagnant place and feel the growth that occurs in this season. I need to believe that after a cold, harsh season comes warm renewal.

I welcomed spring tonight. I'm glad it will stick around for a while!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Friday's (Unmerited) Favor: Finding Grace In A Book

I have been struggling, and I mean, s.t.r.u.g.g.l.i.n.g. for several weeks. I can't accurately describe the why. I'm not even sure I know the why. And I certainly haven't understood the timing of it all.

I've spent a lot of time reflecting on my life...wanting to know why certain things happened the way they did, wondering how events shaped who I am today. I've had a lot of questions for God, many of which remain unanswered. I've spent quite a bit of time searching and researching. I've read several books, searched Scripture, read blogs, talked to friends, talked to my sisters, prayed, all in hopes of finding my answers.

Today I went to my local Christian bookstore to find...well, something. I didn't know what. I finished a group Bible study last week, and thought I'd try to find some study to do on my own. I aimlessly wandered through the bookstore and ended up in the Women's Interest section. After thumbing through several books, I muttered a quick prayer: Lord, show me which book to buy. I spotted a book with the word secrets in the title. I yanked it up, thumbed through it, and knew that was the book God had for me to read.

Over these past few weeks, I've felt God strongly leading me to share some of my secrets. I've questioned Him and His plans. The one thing He keeps placing before me is this: share your step at a time. I've been gripped with fear. What if it wasn't God's voice I was hearing? Once I've shared my story, there's no taking it back. I needed to know 100% that this was from God.

So as I grabbed the book today, I knew. The book, written by Anita Lustrea, is titled What Women Tell Me: Finding Freedom From the Secrets We Keep. I read all 198 pages today. I highlighted and earmarked sections where I felt God was using her to answer many of my questions. Here are some passages from the last chapter of the book:

One reason we end up putting on masks of perfection is because we choose to become what others expect us to be. Living up to other people's expectations is a sure way to stay distanced from our authentic selves.

You don't need to know all the answers in order to share Christ with others. It's important just to tell people how he has changed your life; it's important to tell them your story.

I encourage you to share your story with someone. Our faith is deepened when we hear what God has done in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Telling our stories to each other builds up our faith.

I'm not sure yet what "telling my story" looks like. But I am sure that God is telling me to share it. I am sure that God is leading me to offer grace and to share the opportunity for healing to those who are often viewed as the worst of sinners...which, by the way, I happen to be.

I doubt that the struggling is over, as many questions remain unanswered; but I am certain of the "one step" I need to take first.

(Note about the book: if you happen to have grown up in a legalistic environment, as I did, this book is for you! If you are a rule follower, this book is for you! If you have secrets, this book is for you!)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

5 Things I've Learned: (2) Burning Bridges

She walked away without a care
She lit a match and left it there

Smoke and ashes left behind
Something better was on her mind

People...easy come, easy go
Once a friend, now a foe

She claimed no wrong
Yet felt the guilt all along

A lifetime of bridges destroyed
She finally saw what she'd tried to avoid

She was not a loyal friend
She had bridges to rebuild and mend

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

5 Things I've Learned: (1) A Good Name

Mother Teresa. Ted Bundy. Polar opposites, yet they have something in common: they each left a legacy, the thoughts and images the mention of their names bring to one's mind.

Mother Teresa...a woman remembered for her life of service to some of the world's most desperate and needy people.

Ted Bundy...a serial killer who, in his last interview, blamed his exposure to pornography as a young child for his madness.

One is an example of an extremely wonderful legacy; the other, an extremely horrifying legacy.

In this world, we are known and remembered for our deeds. Although our deeds have no merit towards salvation or eternity, they do define how we are remembered on earth. As Christians, I wonder how many of us will leave a legacy of hypocrisy. Hypocrites are those who behave differently than they believe. We all have moments of hypocrisy, moments in time we wish we could erase. But I wonder how many of us live lifestyles of hypocrisy.

I want to leave a good name for myself and my family. I want to leave a legacy of honesty and loyalty. I want to be remembered for loving God and serving others. I often fail, miserably. But my hope and prayer is to always do better the next love more, to serve more, and inevitably, to finish well. When I am dead, I hope the mention of my name honors my family. I hope the legacy I leave is that of Yes, Lord.

I wonder if we think often enough about the legacies we want to leave behind...and if we act accordingly.

A good name is better than a good ointment, and the day of one's death is better than the day of one's birth. Ecclesiastes 7:1

A good name is to be more desired than great riches, favor is better than silver and gold. Proverbs 22:1

The memory of the righteous is blessed, but the name of the wicked will rot. Proverbs 10:7

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Church People

A friend recently made this statement to me:

Church people are just people.

I've been chewing on that sentence for several weeks. I, like so many others, have expected folks in the church to be nothing less than perfect, and at one time, myself included. Just because people go to church and claim the name of Jesus, we have somehow come to expect them to be always kind, considerate, forgiving, full of grace. But the truth is, they're just people. And people sin.

Yes, as Christians we have the fruit of the Spirit and are to be set apart. But that doesn't mean we won't succumb to fleshly desires, i.e., sin. Sometimes the desires manifest themselves as jealousy, unforgiveness, gossip, unkind words and actions, among countless others, including the "big" sins.

I've been on both sides of the coin. I've been the one to claim the name of Jesus all while suffocating myself and those around me with my sin. I've been the one who is afraid to walk into church for fear of condemnation. But the truth is, I'm a redeemed child of God who must ask daily for repentance of sins, "big" and "small." I'm far from perfect, as are all church people. Still, we try because we know what's expected of us. So when one of us fails, we often use the smear campaign or the sweep-it-under-the-rug tactic, often validating the stereotype of church people.

But, please understand...we're just people.

And, no, I'm not excusing sin. I'm simply saying that I've put church people on a pedestal, expecting them (and sometimes myself) to live up to a standard that only Jesus fulfilled. Truth be told, you probably do it too.

If we're looking to church people for validation, grace, forgiveness, even kindness, we may never find what we're seeking. Only One can do that: Jesus. Maybe church people wouldn't feel the pressure to act perfect (even though they/we know it's impossible), if we didn't expect them to be perfect and fill all our needs.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Today's Ramblings and Being Selfish

It hits me in the early afternoon, phone to my ear, bent over my bed folding a load of towels. I'm still in my pajamas with a sweatshirt thrown on for good measure (just in case someone unexpectedly rings the doorbell...which pretty much never happens); my hair in ponytail atop my head; no remembrance of brushing my teeth. I'm between loads of laundry, paying bills and balancing the checkbook, teaching the girls, all-around housework and homeschooling.

I'm the proverbial housewife.

No one thing to define me except that. I daydream about having a job where I wear clothes, not pajamas. I wonder what it's like to have adult conversations instead of doling out a to-do list for the children who will argue and whine about it. I imagine having a few minutes of alone time in my car every day.

I live in a world where children must go to my doctor's appointments with me; where I can't go to the restroom (ever) without one of the kids coming to find me to talk; where an uninterrupted thought is unheard of; where my biggest daily concerns are laundry, groceries and schoolwork; where I am isolated with three children.

I have what seems a million things to do, none of which are important to anyone outside my household. Yet, I wonder if I do any one of these things well.

Picture the proverbial frazzled housewife, minus bon-bons and tv time...that's me.

Everyone on the social networks keeps talking about Charlie Sheen's interviews and how awful he is. I have no idea what they're talking about. I haven't seen the news in days, possibly weeks, other than to check the weather website.

I have five and a half hours a week, at best, without my children. Even those hours are spent running errands, making lists, attempting to write something sane for this blog.

I think I'm having an identity crisis. My life has culminated into a point over the last six weeks, and I'm asking myself just what it is that identifies me. What sets me apart. What makes me different. How am I using my life experiences. I don't have an answer. All I know is that I'm drowning in housewifedom, and I see no light at the end of the tunnel...not even a glimmer....not so much as a break.

I don't claim to be complaining here, but I'm sure it seems that way. I love my children, I love being a stay-at-home mom, I love homeschooling (most days), I love my life. But...I'm overwhelmed. To say that I'm not would be a lie. To say that I don't long for something more some days would also be a lie. To say that I don't want something just for myself, that makes, that doesn't revolve around my children or my husband or my house, that someone else can't imitate, would be lying.

I realize the risk I'm taking in sounding selfish. But, today, if I'm being truthful and transparent with you, I'm being selfish...

And if you feel the need to comment and tell me how I should be thankful for x, y, z, or to quote Scripture to me to remind me not to be selfish...please restrain yourself.