Journey For A Chance

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I want to share a little something about me so that people may know a little of why I am who I am today. I realize some know parts of my story (sorry for that, lol) but I also realize many don’t. I definitely won’t share it all because, just like most people, I could write a book. I just want to rewind and go back to a few years ago. I’m not saying anything to rehash the past or open old wounds. I’ve moved on and forgiven. However, it plays a small part in my story so it’s significant to my point.

My family and I were very, very hurt in church ministry a few years back. I won’t go into detail but it was a make-or-break ordeal for us. I’m still not quite sure how we survived financially, emotionally, or maritally, except by the grace and mercy of God. During that time, I was hurt. I was bitter. I was mad at God. I was unforgiving even though I was desperately seeking to be a forgiver. I didn’t care about many people or many things. I would spew hateful words out of my mouth without a second thought of who it would touch or affect. I remember losing several FB friends because of the things I said, uncensored and all. I was hurt and I didn’t care who suffered with me. I lost my house, my husband lost his job, my kid was acting out (behaviorally) in crazy ways, and our life was far from a picnic. I fell into depression and gained about 20 pounds. I was a mess. It took every ounce I had left in me (which wasn’t much) to hold on to my faith in Jesus. I questioned God, I yelled at Him, I cried out to Him and still didn’t understand the “why”. I was directly under the storm cloud and couldn’t see the silver lining due to the wind and rain. We struggled. We struggled pretty bad at times (although I know those who have had it much worse). I look back at my old blogs and I just sit in awe of what we went through. It’s a distant memory now but it shaped me into who I am today. There are parts of me, that developed out of these trials, I wish didn’t exist. The inability to trust is one of them. I’m working on this one but it has taken years to even get to the place I’m at now. I see things from a different perspective. I had a very safe, narrow view of the world. I was so naive and sheltered but that all changed. And as much as I hate to admit, it hardened my heart for a long time. But, in the midst of that storm, God was refining me. I didn’t see it then because I couldn’t see passed the pain. I see it now; the before and after. I have been able to forgive and move on from those things but the scars still remain. And sometimes, when a little storm cloud pops up again, I still feel an ache under the scars. But, I’m thankful I am who I am today. I’m stronger, more resilient, more discerning, more humble, and more compassionate than I ever was before these trials. 

Which brings me to my point. I see hurting people everyday on my newsfeed. I hear it in their posts, I sense it in their comments, and I see it through their pictures. I want you to know you’re not alone. I may not know exactly what you’re going through but I’ve been in my own state of desolation a time or two. I can show you my scars so that you will see your open wounds are only temporary. God has never left you nor forsaken you. Even when you feel completely isolated and abandoned, He is there waiting to comfort you. Even if you feel you have nothing left to give, know that He gave it all to be beside you and love you for eternity. His Love is enough. His mercy is enough. His grace is enough for you. Just hold on. 

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This is my thought for today:

While I was in the checkout line at Walmart Sunday, I saw a young girl around 11 years old walk up to the line I was standing in and begin gazing at the magazines placed on the racks for everyone’s “viewing pleasure”. This cute young girl was not thin, in fact, many people would probably view her as the opposite. I watched her as she looked at every cover intently, almost studying them to find one that caught her attention. Then, in a flash, her eyes landed on the cover of the infamous Cosmopolitan. They lingered for quite a while; much longer than the others. I took my eyes off her face for a moment to glance at what she was looking upon. My heart sank. I looked back at her expression and noticed that it was almost a look of admiration and longing. Splashed across the cover in big words: BEST. SEX. EVER. along with a well known, young actress in a tight, black mini dress, tan legs glowing, and a triangle cut out to reveal her cleavage hanging from the bottom. The little girl began to walk away but while her body was heading one way, her eyes were still glued to that famous, beautiful, actress flaunting her seemingly prefect body for millions of her adoring fans. This precious girl left a lasting impression on me that day. I may be aware of what is going on around me but I realized I’m blind to it’s effects. What kind of “normal” are we teaching our children to believe? What type of role models will our kids have in this emerging society? I don’t like what I see. It’s disturbing. It’s distasteful. It’s disgusting. I have to find a way to advocate. I’m not sure how but I will find a way. It’s time we took a stand for creating a positive self-image and a standard of modesty that work hand-in-hand. If we don’t act now it will slip right through our hands and become a distant memory for our children and our children’s children. In my opinion, this is an upcoming epidemic that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

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**Disclaimer: when I refer to people in ministry, I know there are exceptions to the rule. Not everyone gives 100% for different reasons but the focus of this blog is those who do.**

It took me over 2 weeks to write this LONG blog because I had so much swirling through my head that it was hard to sort out. It may sound like a hot mess but this is coming straight from my heart. This is my point of view about a little something called “ministry” and it’s quite lengthy. I’m here to shed some light for those that may not understand local church ministry or may be completely oblivious to what it *can* entail. This is coming from mine and my husbands 9 years in ministry; almost 6 in full-time and the rest in volunteer or part-time ministry. We have served in the areas of lead pastors, associate pastors, youth pastors, and worship pastors so we have a little taste of just about everything as far as the local church is concerned. Remember: This is written from the perspective of a person in ministry but may not be the view of everyone in ministry. So…here we go.

Ministry is messy.
Church ministry is simply imperfect people trying to reach, lift up, encourage, and disciple imperfect people through the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit. That means you will deal with all kinds of situations, all kinds of circumstances, all kinds of criticism, and all kinds of people. You will get dirty and if you’re not getting dirty, you’re probably not doing ministry. The moment you expect ministers to be prefect and not make a mistake is the moment you will be sorely disappointed.

Ministry is not for the weak.
Even in the midst of their own trials, troubles, and circumstances, people in ministry continue to give what little strength they may have left to make sure others are growing in their walk with the Lord. They have families, friends, and loved ones just like everyone else. Some days (even as hard as they try) those loved ones get placed on a back burner so as to help those needing comfort and guidance in the church. You have to acquire broad shoulders to deal with some of the things you deal with daily (the good and the bad, the legit and the straight up ugly).

Ministry is physically exhausting.
Church ministry requires being on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (subtract 7 days if you are a select few that get away for a vacation once/twice a year and then you would just have to cancel if there is a major emergency inside the church). You are planning events, writing sermons, taking care of issues; big and small, counseling people, conducting staff meetings, organizing/paying church bills, balancing church budgets, possibly cleaning your church, mowing the grounds, and (this list could continue on for quite a while) all while trying to maintain a personal life.

Ministry is emotionally draining.
When you give all you can to your family, your job (if bi-vocational), your friends, your church, and yourself things start to jumble together. Being bi-vocational (In my opinion because I’ve done both) is the hardest of them all. Unless you’re superhuman or a clone, one area is going to suffer along the way. You also never know when people are going to drop “bombs” on you. Which brings me to this point: There is a total misconception about Pastors. They are not mind readers. If you have a problem you must go tell them, especially BEFORE it gets outta hand. They are here to help but can only help when they know where the need lies. A pastors mind is constantly churning. They are thinking about their community, their church people, the attendance, the finances, the future, and their own family. When someone comes to them with a problem in the church, or they “hear” a rumor about a problem, they will most likely beat themselves up wondering what they should’ve done differently because in the midst of everything they missed something (this type of stuff is seriously emotionally draining). And though they wouldn’t have known unless they were told, they still take responsibility even if it isn’t theirs to take because when a sheep has an issue the shepard is going to question what they could’ve done to prevent it.

Ministry can be brutal
Although this topic should NEVER be, it is unfortunately much more common than one may think. This topic is one that hits home for me and will be longer than the others.
A short background story: I was once a pretty outgoing person. It wasn’t until I was in ministry for the first 6 years of my marriage that this little fact changed. Do you want to know why? Church people…that’s why. (Hang on through this little section…it’s gets more positive later, I promise!). I’m not going into details but to put it bluntly: Church people *can be* some of the most judgmental, hypocritical, selfish, and immature human beings around (no, really Amber, tell us how you really feel…). Yes, there are just as many of these types of people outside the church and the majority inside the church are fine but I’m just talking about church folk who are guilty and refuse to change (I’ve been guiltily of all of them too but I try to make an effort to change if I notice it happening). There are usually one or two (or 10) in every church. I’m not sugar coating this one because it’s time someone “in” the church said it out of truth and love but also not “beating around the bush” (some just can’t take a hint). 😉 We’ve danced around it long enough and it’s created a much bigger problem than it needed to be. If you have been in church 8+ years, claim to be a born-again believer, and you still can’t put your big girl/boy undies on and quit getting offended every time something doesn’t agree with you, then it’s time you evaluate your relationship with Jesus and determine where you need to make some changes. Think about this: Would you put yourself in the Problem Solver or Problem Creator category? We’re all likely one or the other and maybe both sometimes! Like I said, I used to be pretty outgoing but I changed in a lot of ways in order to protect my own heart from becoming bitter and hurt time and time again. I made a firm decision about 3 years ago to stop caring about the “opinions” of others. It was eating me alive and chipping away my sanity inch by inch. Was it a wise decision? At the time I thought it was but now I better understand how important relationships are to the soul and to the building of God’s kingdom. To be completely transparent; I’m still not the same person I once was. I don’t let just anyone into my heart and until you’ve been in my shoes, you wouldn’t understand. I still have some walls but they are gradually getting thinner and shorter. It’s definitely a process by the help and grace of God.

Along these same lines…

Ministry is lonely.
There is a vast misunderstanding in churches (and even outside the church) about the relationships of people in ministry. In most instances, ministry people gravitate to other people in ministry. It’s not because they don’t like other people or want other friends (in fact, it’s usually exact opposite). It’s because of common ground. There is a totally different accountability and it STINKS sometimes but it comes with the territory. Those in ministry are under a SUPER-SIZED magnifying glass! So, who better to understand what you’re going through than a person floating along in that same boat? I love that the ministry team we currently work on is close and united. It is unrealistic to believe that you can be close with everyone that crosses your path but I believe God intends you to be close to those that you serve alongside in ministry; one mind, one accord. God knows ministry is LONELY and you will need those with experience and wisdom to encourage you along this crazy journey. Now, we all have families and ridiculous schedules so we see each other at church on Sundays, our once a month meeting, and maybe a few times a year for a special activity. That’s it. The awesome thing is though…we know we will be there for one another when needed. We don’t worry about being judged or criticized because we’ve all served in the same trenches before and we can relate and comfort one another when times get rough. Being with others in ministry, in my opinion, should be a “safe zone” where we can voice our concerns, our ideas, and our accomplishments and receive nothing but love and compassion.

BUT even after all that:

Ministry is rewarding.
When you’re called to ministry you can’t get away from it. No matter how hard or fast you try to run away, you will always have something in your heart calling you back. You can choose to ignore it, but God never revokes his calling. It’s always there tugging at your heart in one way or another. I believe that the science of DNA misses something; something not seen through a microscope. It misses the fact that there are spiritual strands of DNA that intertwine with the physical strands of DNA. Strands that God designed and placed before we were ever even a speck of existence. The strands are called callings. The strands are called purpose. The strands are called expectations. The strands are called faith, hope, and love. And even when we are at our breaking points and can’t give anymore…it’s in our DNA to keep going. We all have many reasons and chances to give it up but the voice of the Holy Spirit on the inside is louder than our voice of “reasoning”. We live for the moments when we see the “light” turn on in someone’s eyes and know that what we’ve been teaching finally clicked. We live for the moments when a lost soul lifts their hands in total surrender to God. We live for the moments when the people of God gather in one place and corporately worship him in spirit and truth. We live for the moments when people engage in musical worship and desperately cry out for God’s presence and glory. We live for the moments when we can reach out to our brothers and sisters in need and MEET those needs. This is what keeps us going. This is what adds a spark to a sometimes dwindling fire. This makes all the other topics fade into the background. It’s that possibility…that chance…that someone will realize their God-given purpose on this earth.

So know that being in ministry is not all roses and rainbows. We sometimes feel inadequate and have struggles too but we try our best to look past them as much as we can to put others needs first because God said, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10 & “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality” Romans 12:13. Those in ministry will fail sometimes but I’m so glad that Jesus doesn’t fail. The old saying still stands “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”, which in this case can go both ways. God can take your struggles and mine and turn them into beautiful victories. He’s provided for us even when we deserved to be left without. He’s proven his love time and time again and we will continue to do His ministry because even if you try to take the person out of ministry you can never take ministry out of the person.

(Yea, it hasn’t always been that great).

I just want to share a little about why I’m so passionate on the subject of being debt free. No, we don’t have it all figured out. No, we are not debt free but we are 1/2 – 3/4 of the way there thanks to the principles God’s word and Dave Ramsey has taught us. It has been a give and take scenario that has not been easy but with a little discipline we have been able to start digging out; slowly but surely. We have sacrificed buying things we wanted and made sure all of our debts got a few extra dollars put towards them, starting with the smallest and working to the largest.

I was the woman that was suckered into signing up for every store credit card just to get that coveted “10% off” + “rewards points” for every purchase. INGENIOUS marketing for the vulnerable/gullible woman I was! Then, when money was tight and Kobey needed clothes, I’d bust out the store card and rack up a hefty tab instead of just saving a few dollars every month to buy him new clothes (and kids clothes are not an unexpected expense because he WILL keep growing). I mean, WHY not?? Buy now, pay later! Little did I realize, 2 years had gone by and I still didn’t own the clothes my kid had outgrown because I was still paying for them! In the last 14 months we have paid off (rough estimate) around $13,000 in debt. Any extra money we’ve gotten (bonuses, tax refunds, Christmas money, and extra commission) has been thrown at our debt to get rid of it. Hence the 718 credit score. I went to my works credit union a few days ago and out of curiosity I wanted to know where our score fell now. We’ve gone up 53 points in 14 months but do I care? Nope. A “credit” score is simply a “debt” score. Our “A” credit rating just means we’ve had a lot of debt! The credit union tried to talk me into buying a new car soon since I’ll get such an awesome interest rate. “No thank you” I said…as I laughed my way out the door. I’ve learned my lesson. 😉

We have always been the people that lived pay check to pay check but that is changing. I can’t tell you how good it feels to go from 8-9 credit card balances (most, close to maxed out) to ZERO credit card balances. Also, it feels good to know that everything in my house is MINE. I don’t owe anybody anything for it. I’ve also been paying a little more towards our SUV every month and it will be paid OFF in 3.5 payments! We currently have 3 debt payments which consists of 2 cars and a loan. These 3 payments equal almost $1,100. Just THINK of what we could do with that kind of extra $$ a month!

Jason and I weren’t always in a lot of debt but when he lost his job and we went from 2 good paying jobs to 1…it was devastating. I was taking out loans where ever I could just to make our mortgage and utility payments. Then, we had to “short” sell our house to get out from under it. They said our credit would probably take a huge blow. It didn’t. I think it went down 15 points. Due to all the bills we had acquired (that fit into our 2 income mold), we practically hit bottom in our finances. It was a miracle that we were still making all of our other payments. I can honestly say it’s because in the midst of it all we never quit tithing/giving. Even when I was mad and blaming God for our misfortune we still tithed. The Lord says in Malachi 3:10-12 (my own paraphrased version): “Bring in the tithe and He will bless you so that you won’t even have enough room to receive it. He will also rebuke the devourer for your sake and protect your crops from being destroyed”. I honestly believe this is the reason we are where we are today. We gave out of our need and God saw us through the trials and protected us from being destroyed.

I said all this to say: You CAN get out of debt. It doesn’t matter what your financial state is, you can beat it! It doesn’t have to beat you. It will require hard work, dedication, temptation resistance, and an overall desire to be FREE! It will take some people longer than others but taking care of your present financial woes will insure you have a bright financial future. It can happen. I’ve heard too many testimonies, mine included, to believe otherwise. I’m not bragging to say “Look what we’ve done!”, I’m sharing to say, “Look what you can do!”

I encourage everyone, if you haven’t taken the class, to look into Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course. It will not only change your finances, IF you work it, it will change your life.

Link

Posted on: August 9, 2013

Let me start off by saying…I SUPPORT BREASTFEEDING, IN PUBLIC AND IN PRIVATE, 100%. I need to make this disclaimer starting off because I’m sure some people may disagree with my belief on breastfeeding in public but I want everyone to know that I believe women can and should nurse without any flak from anyone; anytime, anywhere. That being said…I’m going to take a stance on public breastfeeding and give a different perspective about why some people may disagree with public breastfeeding, when done a certain way…including myself.
God knew what he was doing when he decided to create and form Eve from the rib of a man. She was created to be Adam’s companion and the mother of his children. In my opinion, he made a man first because he saved the best, and most complex, for last. 😉 The way a woman is designed is amazing. The reproductive system of a woman, and the way life forms within, is something even science can’t explain completely. They try, but their words fail to accurately and justifiably describe how awesome God made us. The fact that we have the capability to grow, birth, and feed our children in the confines of a single human vessel is beyond my comprehension. God is great, the end.
Our culture has changed so much in the course of time. The way our society views women and their bodies has changed. The way WOMEN view their bodies has changed and I’m glad for some of it because we aren’t stuck in the old days of wearing collars to our ears, skirts to our ankles, and sleeves to our knuckles. There is more freedom in the way we dress, present ourselves, and view ourselves. I totally believe that a woman should embrace the beauty of her body in every way, shape, and form.
**Warning: the next topics may not be suitable for everyone. It’s semi-graphic…read at your own risk**
Have you ever read the book in the bible, “Song of Solomon”? It tends to be a very “sexually” driven book that was primarily written from a man and woman’s, turned husband and wife’s, point of view. He describes the desires he has for his bride emotionally, spiritually, and physically in great detail at times and vise-versa. In Chapters 4, 7, and 8 it talks about how wonderful her breasts are to him. WOMEN: Men love breasts. They are one of the first things MOST men notice about women (if they say they don’t, they lie…just sayin’). I’m going a step further. Why do you think swimsuit calendars jump off shelves? Those women have clothing semi-covering their boobs, so what’s the big deal? Why do you think the porn industry is such an addiction to so many men in general? I think I would be safe to say, boobs play a BIG part in the allure. Why do these 2 pieces of flesh on a woman cause SO much hoopla?!?! Answer: God created woman, not only to be the sustainer of life for a child, but to also be a physically pleasing, enjoyable companion for her husband. The desire for a woman’s body comes naturally to a man because that is the way God intended it. However, some have perverted that desire and made it into something it was never intended to be. Something that was meant for a husband and wife to share, privately, behind closed doors has become an object of downfall for some men. It can feed an addicts’ appetite and cause lust to creep up. It can cause an all-out war to start on the battlefield of the mind. Just a glimpse of a piece of a woman’s breast can cause a man to stumble, immediately. This brings me to my next topic.
I said all of the above to get to my next point: Modesty. I’m going to be frank…VERY frank. I don’t know about any other women out there, but I personally don’t want my husband to view another woman’s breast. ..Not even for a fraction of a second. I honestly don’t want to see another woman’s breast either. Feeding a child from your bosom is a beautiful, innocent, and miraculous gift that you are able to give but, to me, it is a private moment that should be shared between you and your child…not you, your child, and everyone within eye shot of you. I’m not saying go to the bathroom and hide in a stall…gross. You can do it anywhere because they have these convenient creations now that cover your breasts from exposure to the public! I know, I know…I’ve read all the articles, literally 1-3 a day. I’ve seen all the arguments. I get bombarded with email after email every day and no one seems to get the big picture. It’s not a question of “How would you like it if your head was covered up while you were eating?” It’s a question of “How would you like it if your husband stumbled spiritually because that beautiful woman sitting on the bench in the mall just popped her bare breast out to feed her child and gave everyone a peep show because she didn’t take the time or have the courtesy to cover up beforehand?” Those aren’t images that men can just push out of their heads! I’ve heard women say, “If they want to look, let them look…it’s my right!” But, before you say that, please take into consideration the man that is recovering from a strong lustful addiction sitting next to his wife just 3 feet from you or that pre-pubescent teenage boy across the aisle that just received his very first naked mental picture. Breastfeeding shouldn’t be viewed this way but unfortunately, with our VERY sexually driven culture, it very well can be. My note is not a matter of a woman’s right to breastfeed in public. My note is simply coming from a modest woman that wishes other women would see the flip side of the coin. I’m 30 weeks pregnant and I plan to breastfeed in public, in private, and whenever/wherever I need to breastfeed…with my “udder cover”. I don’t want other people to see my breasts. They are private and personal and I think they should be kept “under wraps” in public and I can guarantee my husband feels the same way.
In closing, I nursed my first child for a few weeks before giving up altogether. I was young and just too busy to understand the importance so I’m glad to say that I’m doing things differently this time around and I’m striving for longevity. I commend the women who breastfeed and stick with it. It’s hard, time consuming, and, for a full-time employee like myself, very inconvenient. I know I have a hard road ahead of lugging my pump around every day, pumping at work several times a day, storing milk at work, and bringing it home just to feed my baby. But it’s one of the most beneficial, rewarding things I’ll ever do for me and my baby and I’m going to try with all I have to keep it up this time. I urge you, if you ever have the opportunity to nurse your baby, please highly consider it because it’s the best start in life that you will ever be able to give your child…just please take a second to hide the hooter 😉

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Today is my 29th birthday. I’ve been a little down about it because frankly, I don’t want to get any older. I’ve also been sick all day and laying around the house when it was 72 degrees and sunny outside. What a way to spend a birthday. I’ve had a lot of time to reflect today. And, not to mention, for the 1st time in what seems like FOREVER, I got to take a night-time shower, uninterrupted. You may be thinking, huh? Let me explain…

I never get to take showers at night. I wake up at 5:30 every morning to get ready for work. I get in the shower at 6:00 and since we only have 1 bathroom, I have to leave the door unlocked so my son can go to the bathroom and get ready for school. Normally, in the midst of my rushed, Luke-warm shower the following things happen almost everyday (not in any certain order): Screaming emerges from the next room as my husband is attempting to calmly wake my son up for school. There is usually loud bickering and a few “I don’t like living here”, “I hate school”, and “I don’t like you anymore” slurs thrown around from our 6 year old. This is typically followed by a “BAM” as the bathroom door crashes into the wall bringing with it stomping feet and finally the sound of a toilet lid slamming into the porcelain. I try to calmly say “Good morning to you, Kobey” and in return I get a rough “good morning”. Then, once he has finished his business, he walks out and 1/2 the time turns the light out behind him, leaving me in the dark until he realizes I’m yelling for him to turn the light back on. After that I get a couple of minutes of peace and then my husband comes in to get all his items so he can get ready in the other room. Usually the door is left open, creating a draft, which makes me angry and I have to ask a time or two for someone to please close the door. After all this, its time to get out. So…I said all that to say, I don’t normally get “alone” time so I had quite a bit of time to think tonight. It was refreshing and enlightening. Here are a few things I contemplated:

I really am a social introvert. I always have been to a certain extent but over the years it has gotten much more pronounced. A LOT of people think I am stuck up. I’ve had a few, once they got to know me, tell me those exact words. I guess I understand where they’re coming from. I don’t fraternize with many people. I stay to myself and I am VERY uncomfortable when people ask me to branch out of my box. It takes me a long time to let people into my heart. It’s especially true in church, which is obviously not a good thing considering what I do on the side (Worship Pastor for those that didn’t know). I’ve had a past of being very hurt in church(es) and my trust has never fully recovered. Like it or not, it changed me and I’m not sure how to ever regain what I had before. I am very close to my family. In fact, almost every single close friend I have is family…besides 1 or 2. My family knows me. They know who I once was and they know me now. I’m sure most of them, that are around me frequently, will tell you I’m not the same person I was years ago. I have a guard up 24/7. I’m constantly watching, waiting for something to sneak up on me. I’m always waiting for the next hurt, the next trial, the next bump in the road. I wasn’t always but I have become a pessimist. I have an alternate ending for everything and I pretty much “what if” everything to death. On one hand, I like keeping to myself because I know me and I know what to expect. I normally don’t go out of my way to make new friends or meet new people. On the other hand, I wonder why in the world people don’t like me? Why do women (especially) not speak to me? Why do most people judge me from the brief encounters they have with me before even getting to know me? I will say, if you talk to me, I will talk to you. The funny thing is…I’ve noticed most people that consider me stuck up or anti-social tend to be just like me in several areas. Now, there are some people I just don’t click with and I can normally tell right off the bat. There aren’t many, but there are some. With me, it’s all about approach and presentation. I can’t stand abrasive people; the people with no filter. The people that don’t know the time or place to say certain things. I don’t get along with those personality types. I’ve tried, BELIEVE ME, I’ve tried. I still make an effort to be as kind as I can be but sometimes I just can’t handle it. If someone approaches me with attitude, its my nature to give it back to them so let me emphasize how difficult it is to hold back my fiery side when this scenario happens. Anyways…I don’t necessarily want people to think I’m “that girl”. The girl that never speaks to anyone. The girl that doesn’t have many friends. The girl that rejects people’s friendship advances. The girl that has the wall. I may be that girl, but it’s not the girl I really want to be. It’s not really me. It’s a girl that was made from her massive hurt and insecurities. It’s a girl that was made from hidden anger and resentment. It’s a girl that needs to be set free…she just doesn’t know where to start. Let me rephrase that…I know WHERE to start, I just don’t know how. I feel like I have clouded judgement on this issue. I know if I am “set free” that the possibility of hurt will become more real to me and a lot more likely to happen and I honestly don’t think I could handle it again. My mind and emotions can only take so much. It’s taken me a long time to semi-heal from my past hurts where I can actually walk in some type of forgiveness towards those that hurt me. It’s still a work in progress.

My ending thought is this: Don’t judge a book by its cover. You have to read the book to really find out what the story contains. If you just read the title you will never truly understand the book or the main character and the circumstances they faced that made them into the person they are today. Face value can be a very deceptive angle.

  • In: Life
  • Comments Off on Beliefs

Disclaimer: This is the hard truth. No sugar coating. Agree or disagree, this is my belief. This blog entry is geared more towards Christians or those that claim to follow Christ. If you do not believe in the bible or in God this blog is probably not going to interest you. It’s a little lengthy so get ready.

Belief is a powerful thing. It can turn a person into the most dogmatic, intolerable, and unbearable person to be around OR it can turn a person into the most flexible, understanding, and humble person to be around. The thing I’ve learned about the differences in people’s beliefs is that most will never admit they’re wrong no matter what fact, proof, or example you give them stating otherwise. I, myself, am a very black and white person. There’s usually not much room for the “gray”. I have a set of beliefs that I was raised to believe in and over the course of my almost 29 years I have tweaked them here and there depending upon my own personal findings, revelations, and research. I don’t normally take things at face value. I always want the facts behind the picture. For example, if I go to the doctor and get a diagnoses I’m going straight home to research it on the Internet, books, or by asking friends. I want several resources to choose from and facts to back it up. I want statics, causes, treatments, probabilities, etc… This is where my husband would consider me a “nerd” and I guess in this particular area, I am indeed. If someone makes a statement and I’m not sure it’s true, I will research it to prove it true or false and then I will correct that person if needed. This may be one of my most annoying character traits and it may be why I don’t have a lot of friends. I question just about everything and everyone.

The one thing I won’t question is the validity of God’s Word. The Bible is such a huge topic of controversy and it’s probably because it “rocks people’s boats”, challenges their thinking, and makes them feel convicted because of the way they choose to live. I’m sure most people throw it out and choose not to believe because they don’t want to try and live up to the standard. Families, friendships, governments, and countries have been divided because of the words in this book. Because people have different sets of beliefs regarding God, his son Jesus, and the Word of God (bible), sadly, there are relationships that have been torn to pieces and will probably never be put back together. In my humble opinion, the reason for most of this is because…People take from the Bible what lines up with their beliefs and what doesn’t appeal to them, they discard it as false or irrelevant. I see it everyday, especially on Facebook. So called “Christians” who, even when you show them bible disproving their belief in something, say the Bible is incorrect in that area. My question is…When did it become ok for a “Christian” to pick and choose what to believe out of the bible? When did it become ok to say one thing that God inspired was wrong but another thing was right? I don’t understand it. Although I could, I probably won’t get into specific scriptures but I will give some topic examples in a bit.

I am a conservative. My parents weren’t anything growing up. We went to church every week and came home. They didn’t vote. They didn’t do jury duty. They were not interested in anything of that nature. This is one thing I tweaked as an adult. I registered to vote as soon as I turned 18 and I’ve voted in every major election since that day. Now, with a mixture of my Christian upbringing, personal convictions, and personality I have a set of beliefs that I live by and rely on daily and with the current trend of this changing world and their tolerance for all things “anti-bible” and “anti-God” it’s been very difficult to live those out without backlash. This is fine to me because I don’t usually care what others think but I believe the difficulty will continue to worsen until Christians, even in the US, start seeing persecution that they’ve only read about in books.

The reason all of this came about as my writing piece is because of the current controversy surrounding SO many issues that the bible clearly talks about.

I am a firm believer that people can believe what they want. I try hard not to judge or criticize anyone for their beliefs. I’m sure I fail, like we all do, but I try to be respectful and see where they are coming from at least. I will give fact or comparison to my views vs their views but in the end you can believe what you wish. My pet peeve is when people start trying to state “facts” and its clear that they have NO clue what they are talking about and they are simply voicing fact-sounding opinions to make themselves sound smart. I’ve seen it so many times and it’s these instances where I usually just shake my head and move along. No sense in arguing with the uneducated…especially about the bible. And you can always tell when someone has pulled something off the Internet to prove a point instead of going straight to the source…the ACTUAL bible. Nowadays, people just want to believe what makes them “feel” good. I have a hard truth to share with everyone, the bible will not always make you “feel” good. It will not always make you comfortable. It is challenging. It goes against MOST of today’s world views. It is not popular. It is not easy. Yes, Jesus loves everyone. I mean Geez, the man died a horrible death on a cross so that we would ALL have a way to spend eternity with him and the Father starting on earth and ending in heaven when we die, IF we follow him. The bible will not change to fit your beliefs. If you’re going to follow Jesus Christ (aka: being a “Christ-ian”) he expects you to follow him in all things. Being a Christian is NOT easy, that’s another reason most people throw out the very idea. It goes against everything in their human nature. They want to sin, be selfish, and do what they want. They don’t want to surrender their life to a God who expects more out of them than what they expect of themselves. Some “Christians” make it look easy breezy because they have not educated themselves on what it means to truly sacrifice and follow Jesus. They give themselves a label but there is no substance behind it. To non-Christians: Some “Christians” are judgmental fools but you can’t base your opinions about the whole lot on those people. However, in saying that, just because a Christian doesn’t agree with your world view doesn’t mean they are “bigots”, “hypocrites”, or any other name you want to call them. That would be like a Christian calling you a “sinner”, “heathen”, etc. That wouldn’t make you very happy, would it? That’s another thing that angers me. Some people preach tolerance to the death but as soon as someone disagrees with them, tolerance flies out the window. That is really the definition of a hypocrite.

I say all of this to lead up to my next statement. If you are a Christian you have to believe the word of God is true. The complete Word of God. If you do not believe the word of God is true, then you do not believe Jesus is true. If you do not believe Jesus is true, you can not call yourself a Christian. I will give 2 scriptures to back this up:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1, 14 NIV)
In other words, the Word of God is Jesus. Do a study of these scripture and you will find it is referring to Jesus as the Word. You can NOT throw out parts of the bible that don’t fit your world views. It is what it is, like it or not. This is not my opinion, this is the bible. If you don’t like it, take it up with God.

Lets face the facts, everyone makes mistakes and everyone sins. I do, you do. Jesus died 1 death to redeem us from all sin, so no sin is bigger than the other but when we start justifying our mistakes and sins to the point of calling them “right”…then there is a major problem.

In closing…God loves everyone and Jesus died for all sin and all people. This does not mean, just because he loves you and me, that he condones the way we choose to live our lives. You can’t follow Jesus and continue to purposefully sin because you feel it’s your right to do what you want and/or feel the way you want. When you’re a Christian, your life is no longer yours, but God’s and the bible is your book to live by. When we sin, we should learn from our mistakes, turn to the Word, and ask God to help us walk away from that sin that is clouding our walk with Jesus. A relationship with Jesus doesn’t normally make sense to a non-Christian because they usually don’t let “faith” play into their daily lives but when you come to the realization that through a relationship with Jesus, God can make you a brand-new person on the inside, not just a better person, you will understand living life any other way just doesn’t make sense.

  • In: The Voice
  • Comments Off on The Voice say WHAT?

Dude…I’ve been going several weeks between blogs. Maybe I should pick up the pace a little! It’s hard for me to remember things that happen to me so I’m glad I’ve kept up with some of it. My memory isn’t always the greatest.
Almost 2 years to the date since I started this blog! I can’t believe it’s been that long since A.I!
I’m blogging about my trip to Memphis in 3 days! Three of my friends and I will be traveling together so that I can try out for “The Voice”. I just happened to run across an email that said they would be in Memphis so I made a quick decision to run up there for the day. Well…my friend Kerri said she would like to go with me which then convinced both my sister-in-laws to go too! So, we are now going up there for the night and hanging out together for some MUCH needed girl time!
I’ve been doing some thinking about this trip and the reason behind it. I was reading through all of my old blogs today and I stopped on the “American Idol” blogs to recap my experience there (because like I said, my memory isn’t great). I would have forgotten 1/2 the stuff that happened had I not blogged about it! My husband keeps asking me “What are you going to do if you make it?”. My answer is, “We’ll cross that bridge IF we get to it”. I have decided to hold NO expectations for this audition. I’m going in knowing I will walk out and probably go straight home. I’m not getting my hopes up in the least bit. I’m simply doing this for the fun and the experience. Making assumptions of what may happen ties my tummy in knots. I don’t like that feeling so I’m just gonna go up in front of a couple of people and sing like I do every week…what’s the difference?!? In fact, I’m singing gospel. Not sure what song yet but I know it will be God-centered. I can’t get away from my roots no matter how hard I try. I will try to blog about my experience if I remember. 😉 life is looking up and even if this doesn’t work out God is still God and He is still in control!

Until later,
Amber 🙂

Well, I forgot to update my blog last week when the guy from The Great Arkansas Talent Search called me with all the info.  Come to find out…there are 6 ROUNDS TO THIS THING!  I don’t understand why this stuff has to drag out that long, but obviously there is a reason and I’m just not smart enough to figure out.  Either you sing well or you don’t.  Can they not determine that in 2 or 3 rounds?  He said that the last round would conclude around Thanksgiving.  That’s just nuts to me, but who am I to judge.  Here is the info…

Round 2

Date:  Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Time:  7:00 PM

Place:  First Presbyterian Church sanctuary in NLR (right beside Verizon Arena)

There will be a $5 cover charge (per person) because there’s going to be 20 singers that night.  We have to choose from a list of “karaoke type songs”.  Out of about 1,000 songs, there are 36 gospel songs.  This does not make me very happy.  AND…they are all black gospel songs.  I’ve only heard about 6 or 7 of them and only 1 or 2 will fit my vocal style.  So…I may have to go with something else from time to time if I advance to the next rounds.  I’ve been going through the songs and there are some Kelly Clarkson songs that I think would really work well with my voice, but I just really wish there were more contemporary christian songs.  Oh well…I’ll make due with what they give me for now. 

I know this is a LOT to ask since it now costs $5 to get in, but I’m really going to need an audience!!  Of course I can count on most of my immediate family but I’m going to need some friends too!  If you would like to come out and show your support PLEASE FEEL FREE TO DO SO!  I need all the support I can get in this competition.  The guys from Infrared Studios said crowd participation is 1/2 of your score.  Plus, you get to hear some other good singers as well that night. 

So now I just have to pick a song.  Wow, it seems like I was just doing this a few days ago for American Idol.  This is the hardest part.  Song choice IS everything in these things.  I will let you all know what I’m narrowing it down to and what I decide to pick.  REMEMBER…SEPTEMBER 2nd @ 7:00 PM.  If you don’t have any plans that night, come out and hear a great line up of singers!  I will be posting more as it gets closer and I will be trying really hard to get as many people as I can to come out and show their support.  THANKS in advance for those of you considering and if you can’t come please just say a prayer for me!


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