What Happens When the Church Aligns With Evil

I watched the election coverage all evening. I kept up to the moment on my phone and television. Not because I was afraid of the news they heralded. But instead, because I find it all fascinating. I have always enjoyed watching election coverage. Seeing where and how people choose to vote. I actually joked with my husband that this is my World Series. But I digress.

Friends, today my heart is saddened. There are astounding and ever growing differences among people. People are split by race, religion, education, employment. And whether Trump or Clinton won, this division would be hard to move past.

However, today we know who will be president. Trump was elected. Though I refuse to live fearful of what this will bring, I do live saddened. Heartbroken for this nation, this country. For this people.


But here’s where I have the most trouble. The ‘church’ won. 

That sounds odd, so please, let me explain. The Christian/Catholic bodies encouraged their people to vote for Trump, for a variety of reasons. These are, by and large, the single issue voters: the anti-abortion votes, the Supreme Court votes, the lesser of two evil votes, the “freedom of religion” votes…and I could go on.

Yes, these are indeed valid ideals, valid opinions to hold to. Yes, these are the makings of voting for or against someone. 

But here’s the thing, the church was given two commands. 

And He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.’ – Matthew 22:37-38

This means to completely, to wholly love God. It looks like worship. It looks like gratitude. It looks like time in His Word and in prayer. 

And: 

And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ – Matthew 22:39

This means that we love others. We love people even if they are different from us. Even if they hold to different ideals than us. It means we love people even if it brings certain death to us. Because we are called to love. Period.

The Bible is filled with examples, with calls and encouragement to love greatly. To love selflessly. Giving up everything, even unto our very life. But for this, I must share the reminder of 1 John 4:18:

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.

Because love, love for God + love for others, has nothing to do with fear. And so when we respond out of fear, it has no part in love. 

So dear church, my heart is broken. Somewhere along the way we, including our church leaders, have lost sight of what love means. We have lost sight of the two commandments we were given. Because dear one, if your reason for doing something isn’t: to love God or to love others, you might not need to do it.  
Before we move on, we need to rest in one final reminder. One final definition of what love is.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. – 1 Corinthians 13:7

All things. Even hardships. Even hate. Even loss of freedom. Love bears everything.  

So what does this mean for how we voted? 

Pro-life: Christians rallied against Clinton because of her pro-choice stance. What does it mean to stand for life? Voting for Trump heralded the lives of the unborn. But in exchange, we handed over the lives of minorities. The voiceless. The marginalized. We exchanged one life for another. 

And for what? For safety? For religious freedom? This is not sacrificial love. This is love that keeps us safe first. This is a love that sees us v. them. This is a love that believes in comfort and safety. 

But that isn’t what we are called to. No, instead, we are called to a love that gives everything. Even our very lives. I believe this is a reminder the American church needs today.

Because friends, we were never promised safety, freedom of religion (or any kind), or ease. Instead we were promised difficulty. We were promised pain that would flood our lives. Suffering that would reshape us. Promising to make us more like Christ.

Instead, we are promised that God’s glory would shine forth.
Abundantly. Radiantly. Through every circumstance. 

Supreme Court: Christians voted for Trump to protect the Supreme Court. I understand this heart. I do. But church, we are forgetting who God is. 

We are championing God as sovereign and all powerful. But we forget this truth when we say we voted to save the Court. We are forgetting that God is able to use anyone. We are forgetting the OT leaders, that were used, even when it did not seem like it. (A truth I am clinging to today.) Even when they seemed too evil to be used by God. 

And so, I ask you, the church – can we please stop fighting for God. Can we remember that He goes before us. That He is the One fighting. He has been in all of this since the Old Testament. God has used evil for His glory time and again. He never requested, never needed His people to allow it. 

As we move forward, not just today, not just for the next four years, but for always I implore you. Remember our two commandments: To love God and to love others. I love the verse that follows these commands:

On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets. – Matthew 22:40

That’s how important they are. On these commandments rest everything

And so friends, because we are the church. Because we are the bride of Christ. Because that means something – I am standing, proclaiming love. 

So instead of rejoicing, join me in mourning. Join me in asking forgiveness from the world. Because this is not okay. 

As the beloved of God, we are to be His hands and feet. Never reacting out of fear for our future. Never reacting from anything other than love for God and love for others. Period. 

Praying today for grace and forgiveness for us all. Praying that the world sees a posture of sorrow from us. As we mourn for the lesser. The unheard. The unseen. As they attempt to reconcile the nation, the people they love.



PS. Yes, it feels like this is coming too late. Like we’ve already chosen where we stand. Like my voice doesn’t matter. But it does. No matter how you voted, our posture today and in the future matters. A lot. So please engage. Love others well. Love those that feel hurt and scared. Serve them. 

(And though I feel it is of no consequence who or how I voted, I have been asked. Because this election more than any other seemed to be an either or situation. But I disagree. More than anything, I am accountable to Go. And so with much prayer and consideration, I chose not to cast a vote for president. No this was not me choosing to sit idly by. Instead it as me actively choosing to not stand with: a man who hates, a woman who stands with partial birth abortions, nor a man whose foreign policy I cannot biblically stand with – because love. Obviously, this is a short hand explanation of where I stand and would be happy to dialogue more. Just ask. Nicely, please.)

Embracing the Noise

I know I have been largely absent from this space. And friends, one day I hope to have the words to share where I’ve been these last few months. 

But for now, I’m moving forward. We’ve been homeschooling, and it say it’s going well would be an understatement. The kids are flourishing, enjoying learning. Our family is growing together and yet each member is learning independence, who they are. It has been beautiful to watch and an honor to be a part of.


But it has also led me away from any quiet I used to have. Even quiet amidst the noise. 

And instead of embracing this new non-quiet, I have been trying to hide away.  Trying to steal moments for myself. 

And while it is certainly necessary to find time for rest – I lost sight of what I am doing. I lost sight of these little ones I am guiding and raising up. 

And I was losing my joy. 

You see, I had forgotten that my joy was not connected to quiet. I have forgotten that my joy was not connected to my plans. Because my joy only comes from the Lord. 

In seeing Him in the very places He calls me. Even when that is a home filled with noise. In serving Him by loving the ones He places before me. Even if they are screaming and unwilling. In walking the path He leads me on. 

And so today, I am choosing to move back to the noisy bar stools of my kitchen counter. To rest. To think. To read the Word.

Because all of this is where I am called to be. And hiding from it will never grow them or myself. 

For who am I to say no to such generous blessing? 

Where do you find yourself today? Are you, like me, trying to run from the noise and the stress…but to no avail? Can I encourage you to embrace the noise. To remember that this is certainly a beautiful thing. One to be thankful for. Even in the midst of those ever trying days. 

When Grace Goes Missing

I’ve been having a difficult time hitting post, lately. Something seems to constantly be missing. 

And if I’m honest, it isn’t only missing from my writing. It’s also been missing from my daily life. 

Worst of all, I’m ashamed to say, I only noticed it today. 

You see, some time ago, grace went missing. 

And it absolutely breaks my heart. Because without grace, I’ve hurt friends I care about. I’ve hurt relationships. And I’ve lived miserably.

And that’s the thing about grace. It mends and heals. And without it, we lay there; hurt and broken. 

Thankfully, the greater thing about grace is it is always available. To me. To you. It has been hard won. It came with a great cost. But now, today, for us all, it’s free! And as I sit, remembering, hoping, I feel that freedom. 

And as I read in Deuteronomy (one of my favorites), I feel released. 

You have been traveling around this mountain country long enough. Turn northward…

And that’s it. It’s done. It’s finished. It’s time for me to turn. To move on from this path. A path that led me to mourning and change. That brought me to hurt and pain. 

But I know what it all creates. And so I hold fast to truth. To the refinement taking place in my heart. To peace. 

And so I will rejoice. 

Road Tripping. With Children

For the last six years, we have traveled to Florida with our children. 

In our van. Driving from Illinois. 

It’s technically a 17.5 hour drive. But for us it takes about 30 hours. It’s great. 


And every year, after we arrive home and have re-entered normal society, we are asked the same questions. (And if this was you, please know that we do not mind the questions. And that you’re not alone in wondering.

How did it go? 

How did you do it? 

Well friends, I’m going to be honest and say – I have no idea. 

But really, there’s more to it than sheer determination and will to survive. We’ve learned a few tips and tricks over the years. And each year we try something a little new. 

And since we’re friends I’m going to share my tips with you. You’re welcome. 

(I actually share a little more detail in this post: I wrote it let year after our annual Florida vacation. Check out that post for a detailed packing list and more tips: https://gracemountaindiaries.wordpress.com/2015/07/13/this-is-how-we-do-it-family-vacation/)

Pro Tip #1: PACK LIGHT Oh my goodness. If you can find a place that has a washer/dryer in unit or laundry nearby snatch.it.up. 

It is so freeing to only have to pack 3 outfits per person. Because each person still needs bathing suit, hat, sunglasses, jacket, pajamas, undergarments, socks, shoes, beach blankets, lovie…and the list goes on seemingly forever. For our family of 6, including diapers and wipes, we fit everything in one duffel bag and a backpack.

I just want all the hallelujah hands for that one. But I digress…

Pro Tip #2: PACK INDIVIDUAL (TOY) BAGS: I use the kids school bags, but use whatever you like. The key is that they can be closed and that each kid can open it by themselves. Your back will thank you. 

I don’t completely fill the backpacks because the little toys will inevitably fall out all over the floor of your minivan. This will inevitably happen during the treacherous mountain driving section of your trip. It will then start raining and thundering. And your children will be screaming and hyperventilating because their sudden new favorite toy had become lost to the abyss. For all time. Also known as when you stop next. 

Anyway, don’t let that be you. Be like me. I fill ziploc bags with themes of toys: Princess toys in one bag, cars in another. I include a bag of stickers, pencils, and crayons. We bring a few books, coloring books, and notebooks. And a few new toys. Because everyone loves surprises. 


Pro Tip #3: PACK SNACKS Obviously. The best part about road trips is the snacks, right? We bring a giant bag of the kids favorite snacks, even the not healthy ones. (Just do not pack snacks that are: sticky, can melt, or make a giant mess.) Because the time for arguing about health is not when you’re trapped in a metal box driving for 30 hours. It’s just not. 

We do try to ration snacks. They mainly stay hidden by a pillow until snack time (Yes, it’s a real time. It happens around 9:30/10. Some call it second breakfast.) and for before lunch when we’re trying to get that last 30 minutes to the rest stop. I include small snack containers, with lids, in the snack bag. This way snacks can be filled and tossed to the back of the van. Easy peasy. 

Oh and never ever give your kids free access to water. We keep them by us, hidden on the floor and hand them out for sips, as needed.

Pro Tip #4: PACK SEPARATE BAGS TO GRAB ‘N GO: Pack separate bags for every need. So we have a cooler and one bag specifically for rest stop lunches. It holds our (my kids) favorites: Nutella, bread, and fruit snacks. It also holds necessities: water bottles, paper towels, wipes, paper plates and plastic silverware (all kinds – because you never know what makes it in the cooler from the fridge). 

We also have a separate bag for the overnight stop. It has everyone’s pajamas, undergarments, diapers, wipes, toiletries, and a change of clothes. 

Pro Tip #5: KEEP CHANGE OF CLOTHES EASY TO REACH Always, always keep diapers, wipes, a change of pants, and underwear in the pockets of the car seats for those just in case moments. You never know when they’ll happen and it’s best to be prepared instead of being the people unpacking your entire car searching for one change of clothes. Seriously. 

Pro Tip #6: BLANKETS Strange, I know, but stick with new. Bring blankets and lovies. Leave one easily accessible by each seat. That way when it should be nap time or bed time, you can declare it. You tell everyone to grab their blankets and toy and go to sleep. We turn the radio to the front speakers and ignore any sounds coming from the back of the car. I promise, they’ll fall asleep and you get a few more hours of driving in.  

And that’s it. We don’t stop a lot on drives that are destination drives (like Florida). We don’t do a lot of screen times either. Instead we talk to the kids about where we are, where we’re going next, and let them be. They’re kids and they’ll find weird things to do while you’re driving. I promise. 

What are your favorite road trip tips? I’d love to hear them – leave them in the comments!

The Ugly Motherhood Moment

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege to attend Hope Spoken. If you’ve never heard of this women’s conference, you should check it out. 

It was a beautiful time away. A time of quiet. A time of rest. A time of community. A time of worship. A time that left me feeling refreshed. 

  

And so you can imagine my shock when I stepped foot back into my house. My home filled with the ones I love. Filled with love. And need. Constant need. 

Gone were the quiet, peace-filled days. Gone was the endless food, prepared by other hands. Gone was the incredible fellowship. 

And it was replaced by boogers. (Literally. I’m not calling my kids boogers. Though it may or may not be true.) It was replaced with shouts. And screams, let’s be real. It was replaced by exhaustion. It was replaced by rough mornings. Tough moments. Tears. It was replaced with strain. 

I thought the weekend of rest would prepare me for re-entering real life. The #Momlife. 

But instead. Instead it was ugly. Instead I was ugly. 

Ingratitude reared its ugly head. And if I’m honest, it stuck around for longer than I’d care to admit. 

As the days continued, thanklessness followed. So I pushed into my daily practice of gratitude. I served my family. I cleaned, organized, shuttled. Though my heart struggled to catch up to my actions. 

And it’s taken those small moments to urge me back to gratitude. The moments of sweet smiles and messy kisses. The moments of toothy (and toothless) grins. The whispers of love as the lights are turned out. 

Well, it’s taken those small moments and wise friends. Friends that remind me of truth, of who I am. Friends that remind me why I chose motherhood. And friends that remind me that the struggle, the mess, and even the ugly are normal. Friends that point me back to the Word: “But He said to me, ‘ My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, than I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) 

Though it was a struggle for a few weeks, I am thankful for it. It was a reminder to walk with Him in gratitude. An example of how to come back to the richness of His grace. 

And a great reason to plan a trip back to sunshine-y Texas ASAP. 😉 

Have you had an ‘ugly mom’ moment, day, or week? How did you escape it? 

The Grace of His Word

Hello again, dear friends. It has been far too long. Far, far too long. And I have missed this each and every moment I have been ‘away.’

As I return to my spot at the kitchen counter; this small corner designated for me + my blog; I cry. Tears of missing this writing, these words, this open heart. Tears over time past. Tears for my own heart, the turmoil I have been battling. The turmoil that has caused this space and time between us.


Because maybe you’re like me. I run away from the things I love when I get overwhelmed and ‘foggy.’ It’s something I need to get better about. And I have. Mostly.

So here I am. I’m sorry for the long, unannounced break. Sometimes life sneaks up on you. Life throws you off balance. And time passes before you regain it. And that’s okay. Because, well, because of grace.

I want to return to this place of vulnerability. This place of openness. I want to go back to the beginning. To who I am at my very core. I want to go back to what I believe and the power of His words.

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Seeking Wisdom

“Give me wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before this people,
for who can govern this people of Yours, which is so grand?” 

Oh to walk into this great task, this grand adventure of parenting and to ask for wisdom and knowledge is jaw dropping. Okay, so technically this quote was from King Solomon (2 Chronicles 1:10). And he wasn’t speaking of his children or of parenting, but rather of leading a nation. But there are some things that are true to both parenting and leading a nation. Right? I mean, really, they are both leading a group of people, a sometimes unwilling group of people. A group of people that you don’t always understand. They both require much of you and they both place much responsibility on you.

To ask for wisdom at the start of leading parenting makes me pause. I think back to my first pregnancy. My first little one. That moment the nurses handed me my baby. The first time I saw him on an ultrasound. The first time I looked into his beautiful eyes. The moment I saw “PREGNANT” come across the pregnancy test. The moment I looked on his perfect face. I think about and remember the prayers I prayed at each of these moments. I prayed for health. I prayed for his future. I prayed for my health during pregnancy and labor. I prayed for safety. I prayed for sleep. I prayed for and continue to pray for him. I pray for his day. I pray that he loves the Lord. I pray for patience (that one’s for me). I pray to understand boys. I pray that one day I won’t have to clean the bathroom daily. I pray for the right words for me and for him.

But I have never prayed for wisdom. 

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The Purposeful Fall

I love words. I believe they hold meaning and are oh so powerful. I believe speaking words over our life and our seasons is impactful. And so I have begun the practice of naming and claiming each season as a family.


Though fall started a few days ago, I have been thinking and praying over our word for this fall. And tonight, as I drove to MOPS, I got it. This fall would be purposeful. I want each moment, each word, each interaction to be purposeful. Of course there is grace, because we certainly won’t be purposeful in all that we do. But we can try. And if there is anything to be learned from claiming and naming a season, it is grace. It is that through naming our season, we are choosing to live intentionally and with loads of grace.

Purposeful. Fall is a season of busyness. When fall begins, we are still trying to find our way through our new schedules. We are celebrating birthdays (most of us are fall birthdays). Fall ushers in yard work galore. Fall is the final hurrah for spending time outdoors, so we spend as much time as possible outside. Fall is the beginning of the holidays and with it we celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. Fall is the time when activities start for the kids…and for me. Fall is a beginning.

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This Is How We Do It: Clean the House

Today is supposed to be the day of our monthly link up: This Is How We Do It. And we were going to talk about our tips and tricks to cleaning your house. But, well, this last month has been a little busy. And if you know me, you know I don’t do busy. I don’t appreciate busy. So my house is not clean. My blog has not been frequently updated with new posts. And this is life sometimes. And so this month, we are calling GRACE!

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So, there is no link up today. But send me your posts on cleaning and I would love to add them to this post! We so appreciate you and this community and all the GRACE!

And bonus, here are a few of my house cleaning tips and tricks:

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Celebrating Motherhood {#WholeMama}

Celebrate. This is the last topic for the #WholeMama link up. This link-up has been a beautiful community of writers. It has also been a place that challenges each of us, thereby creating true and lasting growth. For all #WholeMama has been, I am sincerely thankful.

Motherhood

Oftentimes, I find myself mourning the end of a season, a friendship, or a community. I know and understand that there are times for things and a time for you to continue growing outside of the comfort that has been created. But I cannot help to look back and remember. Instead of celebrating as I remember, I mourn. 

Today I am choosing to celebrate with #WholeMama. I am choosing to remember and celebrate the growth I saw and the topics I thought upon. Today, I am choosing to celebrate {Whole Motherhood.}

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