The Problem with Religion

It’s been a minute since I blogged on this particular domain. So, hello!!! I’ve missed you. Today, I’m going to VENT about mean, religious people and institutions because I CAN’T EVEN y’all. Oh. My. Goodness.

God is real. God is God. God is not religious. People are religious. And unfortunately, lots of religious people are MEAN. So so mean y’all.

Monday, I went to lunch and a movie with 2 other local women. At lunch, much of the discussion was about religion. Not God. Religion.

One of the girls had recently left a church that she had been going to for YEARS (maybe a decade or all of her life) because an appointed leader in the church would not approve her (like a rubber stamp, I guess) for the year unless she agreed to pay 10% of her income to the church for the entire year. Also, she knew that since her husband no longer attended the church, according to them she could not go to heaven if she died anyway because a wife has to pass through her husband to get into heaven. She had been reading her Bible and the words in red for awhile and these controlling concepts just didn’t make sense to her anymore. So, she left the church. YOU GO GIRL!!! Woot Woot.

Meanwhile, the other women said she has been married for years (over 20) and has grown children with her husband and they have been so dedicated to their marriage and family forever; however, the church would not bless their marriage because they were of two different denominations when they got married back in the day. And that always hung over her head and hurt her a little bit. With tears in her eyes she talked about how happy it made her that a new leader in the church finally agreed to officially “bless” their wedding certificate. (Yep, a mere human has that much power and control over your life in the religious church attendance realm.)

In my situation, I’ve been bullied by religious people throughout my entire life with the worst of it being during three distinct periods. (1) when I got pregnant in high school (that was before embrace grace and was more of the religious name calling era like slut, whore, etc. which correlates to my “woman at the well” blogs); (2) when I stood up to a well known ministry for inappropriate sexual behavior that occurred at youth camp in front of my kids (oh man, that was considered “religious rebellion” which resulted in family and church separation because apparently you aren’t allowed to stand up for things at church regardless of how wrong they are even if it would have likely landed you in jail had you done it at your house; and (3) the past 8 years that I’ve been married to a man who used to be married to the preacher’s daughter. I had heard from my husband and other family and former friends of theirs that she was a very mean, prideful, religious person, but I had absolutely no idea how bad it was or how difficult it would be to co-mother with someone so critical of me constantly (though I have boxes of documents verifying she’s certainly not of reputable character herself). She’s the “you reap what you sow, you get what you get, oh I’m praying for my enemies alright, you’re just like the devil”…  MEAN religious type of person (I think she forgot that you can speak in tongues but if you don’t have love, you’re nothing more than a clanging cymbal HAHA). Maybe she attended Westboro Baptist Church for leadership training (just kidding just kidding, kind of…).

But you know what y’all? Our salvation isn’t hinged on any of these people’s personal opinions, rituals, or religious views. THANK GOD!!! For all 3 of us ladies,I can say that ALL of these religious people and religious institutions that make faith and salvation about religious works or life behaviors (such as you can’t have a glass of tea) are WRONG. They are ALL WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. Very wrong.

We are saved by God’s grace, through faith. Period. It is God’s gift to us, from Him. It is NOT a reward for the good things we have done, so that NO ONE (not church A, not church B, not preacher’s daughter C) can boast about it. It’s through God and God alone. Hallelujah. Thank ya Jesus!

Have a great Sunday. Coffee cheers your way.

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

God’s Standing Ovation (A Whole Heart When You’ve Been Broken) Week 5 #CreateinMe

When I got this week’s handout I almost dismissed it because I’ve already read, lived, and learned so much on this topic. Shoot, it was pretty much my life anthem for about 5 years. However,  the “must check all of the boxes” person that I am would not let me skip a week. I just couldn’t do it. And I’m glad I didn’t because this week was God’s Standing Ovation. Listening to the video, I just wanted to stand up and give God a big huge hug and hand clap.

So much of this section reminded me about being Beautifully Broken and just how BIG and GREAT God is to exchange our beauty for ashes. In the video, Amie Dockery said that when Jesus restores us, people will not be able to believe our back story and what all we’ve been through because when they see us they will see a beauty and a wholeness.

Not long ago, someone told me that when I speak, my eyes shine and my face glows. I just look so happy. Others are jealous. Some want to know the secret. Y’all it was not always that way. It’s been a roller coaster. But God… I had hard times, BUT GOD…

Believe me when I say that YOU also can experience restoration.

Coffee cheers your way 🙂

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Soft Heart When Life Is Hard #CreateinMe Week 4

This weeks video and handout by Amie Dockery was great. Very thought provoking and helpful. The illustration that I definitely don’t want to forget is that of how olive oil is made.

She said that olive oil is made by crushing the olives in a press which produces 3 different types of oil. The first expression of oil is a small amount but it is clean, special, near perfection and was donated to the priests for use in the temple. The second expression of oil was kept by the owner for their use for consumption like to dip bread in, for use on their skin to protect it, etc. The third and last expression of oil would destroy the remainder of the olive and the oil would have dirt and rock particles in it and that’s what would be used to light their lanterns. In the villages, those people with lantern oil would often “lead the way” because they could see. Often times, leaders get this concept backwards. They use the first of their oil to lead and end up running out of oil. You cannot lead from a place of emptiness.

I have so many friends in leadership roles whether they are lawyers, politicians, pastors, pastor wives, etc. and one thing I’ve noticed that it is is very easy for them to become worn out and exhausted. It’s one of the reasons I’ve never personally signed up in a leadership capacity. So often it feels like managing my own little domain (myself, the home, our kids, my business, our close friendships, it’s all a balancing act and maintaining work-life balance is truly the key to my success spiritually, emotionally, financially, etc. Anytime I’m depleted it’s flat out ugly. Heck, even God rested on the 7th Day LOL.)

Another statement she made that I loved was that your anointing is different than your appointing (such as David was appointed as a messenger, a caterer, an amour carrier) but that was not his anointing, that was his appointing.

The handout discussed how David and Saul could have had a fruitful relationship but Saul’s jealousy and eventual hatred of David caused Saul’s heart to harden and he began to attack and pursue David (which is exactly how I feel in our blended family situation. I always honored Baby Mama as the Mother of her children even inviting her to our home for family holidays but her jealously and emotions ended up crippling her view and now she only attacks me).

Final reminder: when your heart is hardened you cannot feel pain but you cannot feel love and joy and positive things either. Work to keep a soft heart before God.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hearts Aren’t Free but They Can Be #CreateinMe Week 3

This video and hand out (Feb 20, 2018) really did wonders for my marriage. Well, for my outlook and viewpoint about my marriage LOL. I honestly can’t express that enough. I even shared Week 3’s story with Hubster and apologized for the “slave mentality” that I brought into our relationship and have carried on and off for the last 7-8 years without even realizing it.

In this lesson, Amie Dockery outlined the Children of Israel and how they had favor but through an act of trickery (trading gold for wooden coins) became slaves. Then once they finally escaped bondage and slavery they actually took symbols of their slavery (gold rings) and made a golden calf to worship a false god while looking back on the slavery period as if it were actually better than being free. In order to be free they had to be (1) removed from Egypt but (2) Egypt also had to be removed from them. That Egypt mentality was still in their hearts.

I loved this quote: Slavery begins with deception but it ends with deliverance.

Y’all, I’ve had this slavery mentality in my marriage many times. With my ex (the man before Hubs), I believe it’s safe to say that I was a slave and didn’t even realize it for at least a decade. I thought we were a team, partners, amazing in business together, and best friends. In reality, I was there on his terms for his benefit at his beck and call, wearing what he approved, having friends that only he approved, etc. without regard to what was best for me or my future at all (I figured that out 100% when I asked him if he would be okay with me going to law school and he said no). One day I put on my big girl Princess pants because I’m the Daughter of a King and I abandoned that slave post. It was actually a Pastor and a sermon about bad boys that helped me get free from that one sided relationship.  Then I met Hubs. As a “free woman” (so I thought but clearly I still carried that slave mentality). So we did the right thing, and got married. Then, hello wilderness.

I say that jokingly because in hindsight it is actually funny, but there’s no doubt in my mind that our Blended Family Hell on Earth is nothing short of wilderness. So I felt, and said, many hurtful things to Hubs such as: I made a mistake marrying you, we never should have moved in together, your life is far more drama that its worth, at least with my (slave owner) ex boyfriend I never had this level of conflict in my life with my children.

And for YEARS I’ve looked at my current marriage from a wilderness perspective. Knowing I’m free, knowing I’m a Princess, loving my husband with my whole big heart, but fully understanding that until his kids are grown this is our wilderness season (and it’s not the kids, they are fabulous, it’s the ex and her jealousy, her desire to control, her manipulation of the kids, the lies, the false statements made under oath about me and my kids, not wanting my kids around Hubs’ kids to protect my kids, her hacking into our bank account when she worked at Chase Bank, basically the continual drama that my life is exposed to and will likely endure until that last child finally reaches age 18 and she loses her connection to the mind games). It’s like the wilderness y’all!!! And at times it’s made my past slave life look really darn good.

Until I listed to this video. When Amie asked how many of us look back on our slave days with desire as if it’s better than the promise of our future (could be a past relationship) …. I felt so convicted. I knew full well I’ve done this with my Husband who is my promise and who is my future. That mentality had to stop. And it has.  Granted, there may be times I need to come back and watch the video again (I hope it will still be there LOL), but it was such a good and healing reminder.

Thank you God for setting me FREE and thank you for giving me such a good Husband to navigate with on this journey.

Coffee cheers your way guys.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Key to Your Heart #CreateinMe (Week 2)

Hello highlighter! We meet again.

There’s so much information in this week’s handout, but there are definitely a few things I want to journal so I will have the reminders handy.

We can be hoarders (but with our hearts). We let others into the front room of our heart and maybe even engage in a “heart to heart” chat meanwhile there can be so many other rooms to our heart that we wouldn’t even consider opening the doors to because the emotional debris would be impossible to ignore.

Yes, y’all. THIS is so true. And it’s also why I love, love, love, love my little blended family small group because the women – slowly but surely – begin to open up a few of the doors to those ugly rooms. I sincerely believe that there is healing in having a trusted place to share the truth behind your life and what makes you who you are.

She says that opening up is so much easier when you have the key because the locked door does 2 things: (1) locks out the unauthorized and (2) opens to the owner. We cannot “create in me a clean heart” without being willing to open the door.

“King David kept his heart clean by pouring it out before God. The book of Psalms chronicles his prayers where he shares his fears, his enemies plans and his feelings of pain, disappointment and despair. It’s a cleansing process to pour out your heart”. For years I’ve said that this blog is like my personal little book of Psalms so it’s really neat and fun to see her outline it that way. Makes my inner teenager a bit giddy LOL.

Have a fabulous day and coffee cheers your way 🙂

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Love on Lock #CreateinMe Video Lesson 2

How to have an open heart when you want to hide. Yes please!!!

I tend to be 1 of 2 types of extremes when it comes to my personality. I am either fully opened up or completely shut down. There is very little middle ground with me. Open or closed. I’m pretty sure that she was talking about me personally through the entire video. But I bet lots of ladies felt the same way LOL. A few of the things that I wanted to remember and save were:

The story of her neighbor who has the most beautiful land and pond but doesn’t own the mineral rights (the valuables buried underneath the ground) to the property.  Because of that, the oil people have come in and put up very large, loud pumps that have made the land lose it’s peace and ruined the view. Likewise, what’s deep in our hearts beneath the surface must be dug up and dealt with so it doesn’t steal our rest and rob our life.

The story of her mother teaching her to clean her house from the top down (ceiling fans, dusting, counters, then the floors). That there is an order to things. If you clean from the bottom up, you’ll have to do lots of double work because you’ll get things on the lower half messy again as you’re cleaning the top. In the instruction “delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart”, the proper order is Desires then Treasure then Heart. Watching the tongue first is like cleaning the floor first. So seek the Lord for the right desires. (I love that reminder). Your heart follows your treasure, so your heart must be guarded (see Lesson 1).

I especially loved the story about her dog Oliver and how he takes the lead during walks so the trainer said to shorten the dogs leash and stop the walk whenever the dog takes over. The Master is to stay in the lead. It’s kind of hilarious because I’ve always said that God has me on a “short leash” when deep down I’ve always wanted to run full speed freely without a leash. Anymore I still like to run, but would prefer to be confined to a safe space such as the dog park where I can maintain safety and stay out of trouble LOL.

Love these illustrations and how they help describe these key lessons.

Coffee cheers your way.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

#CreateInMe Video Lesson 1 – Guard Your Heart

Hello Friends!!! I’ve been plugging away at the Create in Me online bible study but haven’t set down with my laptop in awhile. Since today is Good Friday, I really wanted to take the time to update my personal book of Psalms here and remind myself of how good God really is. Life isn’t always good, people certainly aren’t good (there’s no one good, no not one), but God really is good. Like great good.

Amie Dockery’s video on this topic was nothing short of fantastic and I want to log some things I took away from it so I can read them in the future when I need a reminder.

I’ve read and heard about “guarding your heart” and not following your heart many times. But the way she illustrated it really helped me understand it. She explained different types of guarding. For example, a body GUARD protects you from others but not necessarily from yourself. You GUARD a weapon with care so not to hurt yourself or others. A court appointed GUARDian makes sure that your interests are protected. Working in the legal field for 20 years, I worked with so many Guardian Ad Litems who were appointed to children to make sure that the actions of parents were actually in the best interest of the children rather than in their own self interest but I never considered guarding my heart in that same way. What a great example that makes sense. Though our hearts can be cleaned, they can also be corrupted so we should guard our heart as a precious jewel because it’s valuable but also watch over it like a prisoner because it’s loaded like a weapon.

She also described the enemy attacks on Jesus (and on us) in a way I’ve never heard. I’ve always been taught that the enemy uses temptation in 3 forms: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. She expanded that with this: (1) physical need (Jesus – hunger), (2) attack on your identity (if you are who you say you are), and (3) intellectual fear (look at what I can give you, are you sure …).

It’s not so much temptations or failures that damage us, its the FEAR of rejection and FEAR of failure and because of FEAR we do not push forward.

Girl… yes.

It’s no secret that in our personal life we have tons of “blended family drama”. Though I am a very confident and vocal woman, I do actually work very hard to avoid conflict if at all possible. Unfortunately, that fear of conflict has become a habit that has created problems in the lives of our children. For example, my ex was released from prison a couple of years ago and I have intentionally avoided him in order to avoid conflict (I had a restraining order on him for 6 years so we have not had contact in a very long time). But, avoiding him also meant avoiding my kids. When my son graduated, I sat apart from the rest of my son’s family and quickly left when it was over so that he could go mix and mingle with his dad and grandparents without me in the way. Earlier this month he told me he was planning to move into a new apartment and I told him I would take the day off to help. My son then told me that his Dad was going to be there so I quickly told him I would just stay home (fear of conflict) and would stop by the next day.

Hubster’s kids attend youth group at their moms church. They stay the night with the leaders. They participate in Sunday morning performances. His daughter is part of the choir. They’ve asked us several times to attend or to take them and we’ve always declined. Why? FEAR. Fear of conflict. Last week the 17 year old asked us to take her to the Easter event with youth group this weekend since she will be with us on Easter and our first reaction was no. Just in case Hubs’ ex was there which could create conflict.

We are done living by FEAR and missing out on our kids’ events simply because the ex spouse could be present. No more. That ends NOW.

And guess what? My son told his Dad that I would be helping him move and that I was always welcome at his apartment and I did show up but his Dad did not. I was able to participate in my son’s life and there was nothing uncomfortable or awkward and there was no conflict because his Dad did not even attend.

Tomorrow we are taking Hubs’ kiddos to the youth event at their Mom’s church. Whether she is there or not. We are tired of missing events with our children due to fear of conflict. Of course we hope there is not conflict. But my goodness the FEAR has got to go and go now. It’s been going on far too long already. Surely our love for our kids is greater than our fear of conflict with our ex’s.

Who knows? Maybe the more we are all present at the same place the more the kids will be used to it so that future graduations, celebrations, weddings, etc. won’t have to be so awkward and uncomfortable for the kids. It’s been a long time coming but better late than never.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment