Fifty-Two Cards in a Deck

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To give you my favorite deck of cards is nothing compared to my heart.
-Jeremiah Grey

I had always dreamed of being in love, married, a wife. The way my life was going it seemed so far into the future, but then God intervened and placed this sweet, weird, handsome man in my path and in fifty-two days I get to marry him!

When I met Jeremiah, I was in no place to be in a relationship. I was depressed, sad, lonely, and just getting back in touch with God, but I was drawn to him and his quirky and different demeanor. It didn’t seem like he was very into me, but we kept getting paired together and I worked hard at trying to get noticed. Through time and unusual circumstances, Jeremiah and I began a journey to becoming the best of friends. Through simple statements turning into all-night deep conversations, I realized that being vulnerable and honest was easy with Jeremiah. We saw sides of each other we would normally hide, but it was refreshing to be so close to someone.

It’s incredible how much things can change over a summer. Jeremiah and I grew so close in those two months, but when the school year started up again everything was different including our church home. This was the place where we met filled with people we though we were friends with, but it just didn’t feel like home anymore and we decided not to go back. I don’t feel leaving was a mistake, but the time it took afterwards to find a new church home was detrimental to our walks with God. We were trying new churches at first, but then grew tired of endless disappointment and eventually stopped looking. Things were going so great for us and between us, the concern of finding a church home was no longer on our minds.

A little over a month ago we stumbled upon a church that was perfect for us, but while attending service on Sundays, I began to feel guilty and far from God. I knew that I needed Him and He would take me back, but didn’t know how to get there. Last night I confided in Jeremiah about how I had been feeling and Jeremiah looked at my tear stained face and told me he had been feeling the same. Together we prayed to ask God to be the center of our relationship and to help us grow together, but toward Him. We want to cultivate a strong Christ-centered marriage. Jeremiah and I know it won’t be easy, but we accept the challenge and responsibility of getting ourselves right with God!

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What Makes A Man

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Happy Father’s Day to all of you amazing dad’s out there! We children wouldn’t be who we are without your guidance and love!

So this morning in church the lesson was on ‘What is a Real Man.” As soon as the pastor started speaking I was unsure as to where this sermon was going. I can assure you that about ten minutes in I was already shaking my head.

He decided to start out with what a real man is not. Now there were a few bullets that I agreed with like a real man doesn’t abandon his family or dominate women, but there was one bullet in particular that I was extremely irritated with. He said a real man doesn’t father a child out of marriage.

Now I know that I am sitting in church, so marriage is very important and that pre-marital sex is a sin, but even so this was so vague and so general that I didn’t feel it needed to be said. Men and women make mistakes all the time and getting a girl pregnant out of marriage (which it takes two to have a child, so he is not the only one at fault) is not the best way to start a family, but I think that what makes that man a real man is how he handles the situation he has gotten himself into.

Mistakes are part of life, but to act like just because someone has done this means they can’t turn their life around and become a real man is ridiculous. That man can choose to marry that woman and unite that family that he has started or if marriage isn’t what they want, he can be there for that kid in so many ways. Families are not as cut and dry as they used to be which is why that statement pissed me off a little (and I come from a cut and dry family!).

I don’t think the sermon was meant to be rude or thoughtless, but sometimes I feel like it needs to be edited and read to a few more people before said on Sunday morning. That statement could have been hurtful to a lot of men and families out there. From what I have been taught, God is all about taking negative or imperfect situations and creating something beautiful out of them, so I think the pastor needed to be a little more careful in what he puts out.

For all you men out there who aren’t perfect, don’t listen to people who tell you you can’t be a stand up guy. You can turn your life around and make the best of whatever situation you are in. That is what life is all about! I believe in you!

❤ a girl

Wavering Faith

wavering faith 1“I talk to God, but the sky is empty.” – Sylvia Plath

This is my faith story and to some it doesn’t have a happy ending.

Ever since I can remember, I spent every Sunday at church. From birth to the beginning of 4th grade, my family attended a Church of Christ church. I remember putting on pretty dresses, frilly white socks, and my dress shoes on Sunday mornings. I remember the choir and the song books, but no instruments. I remember having family friends and going to events that were simple and fun like the fall carnival. At one point, something went down, but I don’t know what, because I was so young, but it resulted in us moving churches.

Church hopping was one of the most awful experiences ever. It is an uncomfortable as well as awkward thing to do. Although I was just a nine year old, I dreaded having to try a new church every Sunday. My parents would force my brother and I to go to the “children’s” area and have class with kids our own age during service. Besides the fact that we didn’t know anyone, it also sucked, because sometimes we were really overdressed or under-dressed depending on the church. This just made us stand out more.

Eventually, my parents decided to stay at a nondenominational church (which is the one they still attend today). I have always said that nondenominational, for this church anyway, is pretty much Baptist, but they just don’t want that label. We were happy here for awhile. They had a very active children’s ministry, so I got involved real quick. I made some friends (kids I still know today). This church really stresses baptism, so after a few months there I, as a 9/10 year old, decided to get baptized. All the other kids had or were doing it, so I felt it was only right.

Well looking back now I wish I hadn’t. Not that being baptized is a bad thing, but I just don’t cherish that moment like others I know. I was just a kid following the crowd. I know what it means to be baptized, but I don’t think I fully understood that at that age. I don’t even remember the date or the month… it just wasn’t that special to me– which I feel means that I didn’t really understand the weight of what I was doing.

Time went on and I eventually moved up to the youth ministry. By this point, my need to be perfect had already set in. I was raised in a Christian household with Christian parents teaching Christian morals. I believed I needed to do right all the time and never mess up, because messing up equaled to sin. I didn’t cuss, party, drink, smoke… whatever the situation, if it could be considered questionable, I didn’t do it. If my name was brought up, it was an automatic assumption I wasn’t involved- and I wasn’t.

For a couple of years I felt accepted in this group. I had two best friends and a handful of “frienquaintances,” so I never questioned anything. This was obviously how life was supposed to work. As I hung out with my best friends and experienced their families, I realized that not all Christian families were the same and that I did not fit in. Eventually our friendship fell apart (a story for another post), but after that I started to feel alone. We got a new youth pastor and him and I never got along and I never really felt like he took me seriously nor did he try to accommodate or include me, at this point I was 13 to 16.

This took it’s toll and I had my issues, but I had also alienated myself. I refused to go to youth, because I despised the guy so much, so I put space between me and the people who called themselves my friends. This was when I realized who honestly cared about me and who didn’t. I still went to all the camps, workshops, and events, but I never felt accepted. I just went, because I was supposed to and it was what I had always done.

At the beginning of my junior year of high school I started going to a youth small group again. There were two for my grade and I picked the one opposite of my ex-best friends. This was a good group and I liked the people in it, but I refused to let myself get close to any of them or let them really know me, because I had already been scarred by friendship gone bad and I couldn’t handle any others. I went, I learned, I participated, and I became the best Christian I could be.

But you can’t just be a good Christian. It has to be more than that. It has to stem from somewhere deep down. Since I grew up in church all the religious lingo came easily to me; phrases like “God spoke to me” and “I felt God leading me to do this.” After this was just natural. I became an incredible actress. I believed myself. As I turned myself into the best Christian I could be, I could see how proud my mom and my small group leader were. I had already ingrained in everyone’s mind that I was perfect. How could I tell them I feel nothing? How could I tell them that God doesn’t speak to me? So I bottled that up and kept on pretending.

My first semester in college I lived in Arkansas. I couldn’t find a church I liked, then I had car problems, so I just didn’t go to church, but I still read my Bible and made good choices. The next semester I transferred to North Texas and was determined to find a good Christian crowd to hang out with. I found a Bible study that I liked for awhile. At the start of my fourth semester, I had class during my previous Bible study time, so I joined the BSM. It was inspiring and encouraging at first, but little by little I just had different viewpoints and didn’t appreciate their pushy attitudes. So I am distancing myself from them.

Currently, I am not going to church and not attending an outside Bible Study. I’m not saying this, because I am proud, but I am also not saying this, because I am disappointed in myself. For the first time I feel like I can breathe, make my own decisions, form my own opinions, and not be expected to be what they want me to be. Being the perfect Christian was my life, but it’s not anymore.

❤ a girl