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Thank you, for reminding me of the kind of parent I don’t want to be. If you don’t remember how it went down, let me refresh your memory.

Your children run into the park dressed in fancy little Etsy clothes that I know cost about an arm and a leg each and they start playing. My child looks at all the excitement and wants to join in. I watch from where I stand. My child follows your kids into the little coop (where I have lost sight for about 10 seconds) and comes back out when I hear him growling. That, I know, is a sign that something has just happened that he doesn’t know how to deal with. So I make my way over to him calling his name. You both now enter the park and start walking towards your children as I am approaching and calling for my son. At this time, you decide it would be appropriate to stop and interrupt me.
“Um your kid is hitting
To which, in disbelief, I stare blankly back at you because 1 unless you have superman’s ability to see through walls (and I’m pretty sure you don’t), neither of us actually saw my son touch your children and 2 I didn’t see nor hear your children come to you about this so I’m trying to figure out how you knew he was “hitting”.  (must be that sharp mama paranoia…I mean instincts). So I respond the only way I know how, “ok” and I keep walking towards my son. Well, I try to keep walking but you stop me AGAIN to say,
“its just that if it was my kid I would want to know”.
my response is the same….. “ok”.
And I keep walking. Except now your friend decides to interrupt me this time and says in a lovely condescending tone,
its okaaaaaay we’ve all been there”.
I decide not to change my response since I can be kind of unpredictable in these situations and I simply say “OK” and I proceed to my child to talk about what just happened, except by now it would be what happened 5 minutes ago.
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Here’s the thing. We are both parents, right? I mean I would assume we are. You could be a highly involved baby sitter or a nanny, but I’m assuming you’re the parent. So I am just wondering what makes you think the best way to handle this situation is to essentially tattle on my child like you are the 3 year old. Obviously, your observation skills are lack luster because I’m hoping you didn’t really just interrupt me being a parent to tell me to go be a parent. But since your children didn’t say to my child, “please stop. I dont like that” and because they didn’t say to you “that kid just hit me”, and instead they just continued ignoring him like they were already doing I would have hoped to see you being a parent too. Why not walk over to your children to ask them what happened? Why not explain to them that when someone does something to you that you don’t like or something that hurts you or they touch you inappropriately that you should say to them “HEY please stop, I don’t like that!” Then if they don’t stop then they need to walk away and/or find mom or dad so they can help you. And maybe, just maybe it would be nice if you could talk to your child about why this other kid might be acting that way (though hitting, like actually hitting isn’t the right response). “Hey, child, that kid asked to play with you and you guys just ignored him like assholes. It’s ok to play with other kids when you are at the park *gasp* and it is ok to try to resolve your problems on your own first.”
But you know what, I think it’ll be better for them when they are all grown up working at their job and someone does something that upsets them and they ask you to get on a plane and fly 5 hours all the way to where they work so you can tell the boss someone wasn’t nice to them. That’ll go over real well.
…………
You kept pretty good track of my son after that (you know, because I was over in the parking lot trying to turn a trick) so naturally your precious little angel took his arm out and smacked my kid’s back.
I watched as you yelled in response, “we don’t hit, now sit down!” Cue your child getting up right away to play. You parent your children and I’ll parent mine.
 I guess I could have always said,
Excuse me, um, your kid is hitting.
I mean, you would want to know, right?
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Ezra’s birth. November 22, 2015

Yesterday at 40 weeks and 3 days …i started having regular moderate contractions at about 3pm. they were 6-10 minutes apart until i went to bed at 1130, there were a few times the contractions had an 18 minute gap and nothing was very strong so i went to bed thinking it’s probably not going to be the time. However, when Micah put Eli to sleep last night Eli said “uh go to sleep then see baby ezra come out?”. At 2:30 AM (on the day of 40 weeks and 4 days) I woke up needing to use the bathroom and had a decently strong contraction. I tried going back to sleep but almost immediately had to use the restroom again. I had a stronger contraction. then shortly after I had another strong contraction. They had been the strongest yet and I didn’t really know how to handle them so I turned the shower on and decided to wake up Micah so he could help me time. For 30 minutes we times contractions 3 minutes apart and my gut was telling me to call everybody, even though the rule was call when they are 4 minutes apart and last for a minute for a whole hour! My friend who was coming to watch Eli and my birth photographer both said they were leaving right away. My midwife said because I seemed so calm she wanted me to progress more and we scheduled to meet the birth center at about 4:30 or 5. I hung up the phone with her and had the worst contraction yet and all of a sudden I needed to throw up. I barely made it to the sink and vomited during a contraction and started extreme shaking. Again, my gut was telling me things were gonna happen fast and this seemed like transition! Then my contractions started coming every minute so i texted my midwife and she said “leave now!” It was a mad rush and Micah and I were frantically yelling orders around trying to gather everything up. Courtney (my friend) still wasn’t here and I said “that’s it we need to just bring Eli with us, I feel like I have to push!” I wasn’t even sure I should get in the car at all! I really thought everyone would have to meet me at my house. But just then Courtney arrived and I was not able to talk through the contractions. Micah told her to leave with eli and we headed to our car. Sure enough, it was the very first morning we had a frost and micah needed to scrape the windows! I yelled for him to forget it but he scraped it with his hands and headed out. We weren’t even out of our sub-division when I started to yell “I’m pushing and I can’t stop. God please get us there please get us there!” Micah refused to run through the lights (i was SO mad) and I screamed through the contraction that if he didn’t run through the lights and speed this baby was coming in the car. About every 30 seconds or so I was having a contraction where I couldn’t NOT push. Then before we even turned on a different road my water broke. My screams and moans kept getting louder and longer and it took everything in me to NOT have this baby in the car. I kept praying for the lights to turn green and for us to make it. At some point I yelled out that this baby’s head was crowning. I just knew he was crowning. Then as we were on the road (about 3 min away) to the birth center a cop flicks on his lights…we were the only people on the road! I screamed that there was no way micah could pull over (he was going about 20 over) and by a miracle the cop was separated by a large median and couldn’t get to us. It wasn’t long before we were at the birth center but the door was locked. Just as we were about to call the midwife she opened the door and told us to drive around to the back. I looked at her like “are you freaking kidding me there is no way” So she lets us come in the front and I can barely make it to the room. She kept saying “we are almost at the room” but it felt miles away.
the tub was too hot so I got on the bed and she “checked” me only to see that the head was right there. Micah actually saw his head. 10 minutes later, after feeling “the ring of fire” (holy shit it was bad) baby Ezra was born at 4:20 am! It happened so fast Micah couldn’t catch him. He said he was there but Ezra just shot right out. It felt like such relief. he got laid on my chest and started crying. it was the most beautiful moment I can remember. Soon after his cord stopped pulsing and Micah cut it and the placenta was easily delivered. He was 8 pounds even, 21 and a half inches long, 13 and a quarter circumference for his head. Literally from the start of labor at 2:20 until he was born at 4:20 it was a 2 hour labor! We were at the birth center for a good 10 minutes before he was born. Super fast and super unexpected!
Eli and Courtney came in and Eli was in awe to see his little brother. he kept stroking his head and arm and giving gentle kisses and hugs. He gave him his present. He kept talking about how excited he was. Ezra latched so easily and sucked hard. No breast feeding issues at all. The after care was amazing. My midwife and nurse were absolutely incredible. After being checked my midwife decided that even though I tore just slightly she would let me heal on my own. There were no invasive procedures, no medicine. And once again all the things I brought for labor just sat in the bag- everything happened too fast! I got to bathe soon after which felt amazing and we brought ezra in. Then after we decided maybe Eli should go back home and try to sleep he comes bouncing in the room saying goodbye to everyone. Apparently he was happy to go back home with Courtney, there were no attachment issues at all. Looking back this was not only the birth I dreamed of (despite the fear of delivering in the car) but it was a healing birth. Our nurse happened to be the same nurse that was with us for Eli’s birth even though it was a different birth center. I wanted her to be our nurse again so badly and she rarely uses this birth center so it was a miracle to me! We spent a lot of time reminiscing with our nurse about Eli’s birth and all the PTSD I had from that birth felt like it had been restored with this birth. Everyone checked out OK and 5 hours later we were home!

To say that my pregnancy was uneventful would be a lie. After 2 years of trying and almost seeking out a specialist, it happened. Taking the test was something I had down to a routine, but this time I set it down without looking. My husband and I waited the full 3 minutes together. The 2 pink lines were unmistakable and we were speechless. I enjoyed my pregnancy very much, soaking in every chance I got to do what I had seen on pinterest. I continued to work and we accepted the challenge to pack and move. Things were fine- that is until week 28. I noticed while I was working I was experiencing what I thought was Braxton-hix. I brushed it off when I was “reassured” that they could be very painful. I barely even mentioned it a couple of days later at my midwife appt. My midwife felt it odd and went ahead and checked me. I was dilated and the baby was already in the birth canal..it was pre term labor. I was put on bed rest. Each day was more stressful than the last with the combination of closing on a home and not being able to move. Finally, after making it to 37 weeks and 4 days (officially full term) my water broke. It was an odd labor which I’ll spare the details. After 14 hours of natural labor and 3 hours of pushing my contractions started to go away. The vacuum was used to assist delivery and besides an extremely molded cone head, we were told he checked out fine.

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We had a blissful first 24 hours at home, most of which is a blur to me. But I noticed something my mommy gut told me wasnt right. My son’s eyes had rolled back in his head and seemed to be stuck for what felt like forever. I was alone with him in the room and kind of tapped on his cheek and said his name over and over. Eventually they came back but my immediate thought was that he had just had a seizure. Again, with best intentions I was reassured everything was ok. The next day though as I was holding him his shoulders started to twitch rythmically. Once again I tapped on his cheek and said his name but they kept moving. I was able to show a few people who were in the house before they stopped twitching. A little more concern was in the air, but in general we were reassured that this could be normal. I couldn’t stop worrying. My nurse almost pushed back our 2 day visit to the 3rd day and again, I barely almost didn’t mention my concern. But when I did she turned the car around and came over. It was 10 at night.

Waiting for her to get to our house was terribly long. All I could do was hold my son, hold my tears in, and try to believe that what people were telling me was true. He was fine. She got there and held him and was silent. It was obvious she was in deep thought and trying not to say anything that would unecessarily worry us. But when she finally did speak what came out of her mouth put me into a downward spiral which physically almost collapsed me. “I think you should take him to the hospital” .

The rush to get ready to leave for the hospital was more intense then when I went into labor. We couldn’t think straight and everyone in the house was shell shocked. We were like zombies in a way just moving but not knowing why. We had a mission in our brains to get to the hospital and nothing else existed in the world. Again, longest drive ever. Longest wait to get called into a room. Ridiculous questions, ridiculous observations (why be concerned about him breastfeeding when he was clearly latching and it had no connection to his twitches…) everything was frustrating . The doctors weren’t listening to us or to our nurse who advocated for us. Different people kept coming in. Two men were sent in to draw blood but couldn’t figure out how. He was poked for nothing. They gave up. We were told we couldn’t leave but that nothing could be done for us there. It was 1 in the morning. We sent our nurse and my mother home and my sister stayed with us. All we could do was hold him tight and wait. Hardly anyone came in to check on him. We weren’t sure if he was ok but had nothing we could do about it. We hadn’t slept for over 48 hours and the hospital room was cold and empty. Around 4 am we were finally told the ambulance had arrived and we could leave for the next hospital, but only 1 parent could ride with him. My sister and I loaded into the car and my husband got in the ambulance. I couldn’t bare to see his little body on the stretcher being wheeled in to the ambulance. We got to the next hospital before the ambulance did and went to our room. It was another 30 minutes before it arrived and I could see, feed, or hold my son. It was now around 530am.

The room had a bed for the patient, but my son’s little 7 pound body got lost in it. There was one couch in the room. We were encouraged to lay down and rest. Throughout the next day we were hardly seen and no tests were performed. When we pressed the call button it took 20 minutes for a nurse to come in. Waiting in that room, alone with my newly 3 person family and rotating between my mother and my sister felt ridiculous. We felt we may as well be resting at home. I still couldn’t walk from labor and delivery and we barely ate. Finally around early evening he was sent in for a brain ultrasound. It took a few hours still to hear anything at all but the pre-consultation came back inconclusive. They couldn’t find anything to confirm he was seizing. We decided it would be best to leave as it was now 8 or 9 at night and nothing had been confirmed. We got home and couldnt decide if we should shower or sleep or eat, as we needed it all. We all just collapsed. My husband and I had maybe slept a couple of hours here and there. I finally drifted into a sleep sitting in the rocking chair.

I was awoken (just about 40 minutes later) to worried voices in the next room. My husband rushed in to my room and I had never seen him so distraught in my life. He barely was able to speak. “The hospital. Just called. Looked over the scan. His brain is bleeding….” he starts to burst into tears…”They said he might not make it ” he says as his body goes completely limp and he falls backwards onto the bed bawling. My mom does some more explaining. “The scan showed bleeding in his brain. They told us He will either die or he will need brain surgery. We need to leave for the ER RIGHT NOW.

So at about 10 or 11 at night we once again set out for a hospital. Even more in a zombie like state than the last time.

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At the 3rd hospital we had to wait to be seen in the ER. We were surrounded by sick and coughing children. Unsure of what they had or why they were there we did everything to keep our not even 3 day old away from it all. When we were finally put in a room we did more waiting. The room was dirty and we were told our mother and sister couldn’t come in (but my family is very protective and stubborn so eventually they did anyway) . This room had even less places to sit and no place to lay down. It was the middle of the night. No one had slept for days. Being inside The ER was like an episode of Grey’s anatomy (thank you bed rest for that reference) it was super busy and everyone was hustling and sick and coughing. We were still barely seen by any doctor. We did however get a visit from child protective services where I had to explain, for the tenth time what happened at birth and when we got home. We felt stripped of all humanity in that ER. We had no control. They started him on an IV without our permission or knowledge and they told me I couldn’t breastfeed. I didn’t have a pump and my milk was just about to start coming in. My son was nursing very well about every hour or so and all of a sudden I was ripped away from that bond. We hadn’t eaten and were told it wasn’t protocol to give us food. My sister yelled that I was a nursing mother and they brought me a cold plate of rice and diet soda. Eventually they started doing rounds of testing which we were told we couldn’t be with our son for. Full body cat scan and x-ray . My husband and I just clutched our son’s little brown blanket while we burst into tears in the hallway, hearing our son screaming in the room. At about 5 in the morning they finally decided to admit him to the NICU.

At this point my husband and I were completely out of control of our son’s care. The doctors were ignoring our wishes , they stripped away the ability to breastfeed, they put him in his room and literally told us we had to wait an hour before being able to see him. The NICU floor was quiet. It was an eery change from the ER. While we waited they gave us a locker and explained the rules. We couldn’t hold our son or touch him because it would be too much stimulation. When we entered his room we needed to wear a gown and gloves. My husband couldn’t hold him at all or be skin to skin at all with him. I could nurse but had to put him right down again. The NICU nurse was demeaning to us telling us we were young and hiding procedures from us. All of this for what was so far a perfectly healthy child. They had not been able to read a seizure on the scan but went ahead and said what we experienced was definitely a seizure. They drilled us about having STDs. when we explained we had only ever been with each other the doctor became very condescending asking all kinds of ridiculous questions. We tried so hard to stand up for our son’s care but we hadn’t slept in over 3 days and the doctors just beat us to the ground.

Emotionally stripped, physically exhausted, and completely broken we sat down to write an update to the family. “The Lord gives and takes away. We are so in love already with this tiny human. It is crazy how we feel we already know him. We trust his life is in God’s hands and we are extremely grateful for his life. We completely trust his life to God’s hands.”

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All around the country people were praying. Prayer chains were set up left and right. People we have never met before were fervently lifting our son up in prayer. With every request came an immediate answer from God. All we could do was trust in our God, our Creator. We were completely broken before Him and before everyone we knew. We knew no pride in those moments.

Test after test was done. The doctors kept giving our son goals to reach before being able to be released. With every prayer his goals were met. Eventually we were told that his bleed was healing all on its own and that no medical intervention had to be done to fix it. When we were released 5 days later the nurse told us she had never seen this kind of recovery. Just 6 days earlier we were told our son would die or at the very best need brain surgery and here we were walking out of the NICU with our son in our arms being told there was no medical intervention needed. We couldn’t be more grateful for his life. We couldn’t be more humbled or broken before our Savior.

6 weeks later we had a follow up MRI. Nothing abnormal showed up in my son’s brain.

Our God is a God of healing. We all have our own story. There are a number of reasons we felt compelled to share ours with you now. We hope it reaches down into a place in your soul where it can encourage or support you. We hope it reminds you of how awesome our God is. Where we have no control, we have someone who does. And he loves us deeper and wider than we could ever fathom.

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Often times in my life I have wondered why there is absolutely no time when anyone sees my point of view, and I have finally figured it out. See, I am not a “black and white” type of person. I believe every situation has a grey area in which no side is either all right or all wrong. When I look at a situation like what is happening with Josh Duggar in the news, I see many different sides to it. I do not believe it is right to use this situation as a catalyst for “why everyone should hate the Duggars”, which most “Duggar haters” are doing. Nor do I believe we should pretend that what he did was right. In fact, this isn’t a moral issue at all. It isn’t about the way the Duggars live their lives as conservative, over-the-top Christians who follow some pretty intense “cult-like” teachings. It isn’t about whether Josh has truly repented or will ever do it again. It isn’t about whether the Duggar parents handled the situation correctly or the way they raised their children. Why not? because it truly truly isn’t any of our business. It is not our right to decide whether someone has repented, been forgiven, or has been living a life full of mistakes. Nor should we be the ones to decide whether someone else should choose to wear long skirts, have 19 children, or home-school.
The conversation that should be happening because of all this is how we should be talking to our kids about sex, what to do if they have been improperly touched, and how we should be open and honest with our children when they ask us questions (age appropriate of course). Let’s drop the judgement for a second and use this as an opportunity to start having important conversations. 
Some good resources to help you talk to your children:

Read and research for yourselves, but let this be an eye-opening experience for you that instead of shaming consensual sex between adults or avoiding the conversations surrounding sex, we need to be open and honest with our children. Encourage your children to come to you when they have questions or are curious about something and always be honest, even if that means you tell them you need to gather your thoughts and will talk later that day. Let’s turn this gossip into something useful instead of using it to promote our own “Duggar hating” agendas.

Ashley Shope Photography friends

I admire those people who don’t have a Facebook account and I envy the folks that hardly log in to it. I can’t do that. It seems that every year one of my goals is to “share less on Facebook” or “be on Facebook less often”. I struggle with this for a few reasons. Number one is that it is tough for my business. Every one uses Facebook, despite the fact that every one seems to hate it (sound like McDonalds to anyone else?).  However 99% of my business comes through it, even referrals. Seems like people care less about looking at a website and more about looking at your business Facebook page. Number two is I live far from all my family and close friends. Number three is an extension on number two, I’m lonely.

I remember the day I discovered Facebook existed. Like always, I was behind on the social times. My roommate and close friend told me about it and helped me sign up (this was in 2007). I remember seeing the grey italicized question that was standard in the status bar, “how are you feeling?” which now says, “what’s on your mind?”. Enticing, isn’t it. We all long to be asked these questions, we all want to feel cared about. Putting these answers “out there” can feel so instantly rewarding, even if we aren’t sure who is exactly listening. It can become addicting, checking your notifications- hitting the “refresh” button over and over again. These are the loneliest of days.

I have noticed recently some statuses my friends have been posting. Multiple Statuses that mention the recent football games, posting every time a new move is made. Statuses that talk about how proud they are of something they just accomplished, Statuses that talk about how frustrated they are with something in their life. True emotion being limited to what you can type without looking like you are desperate, all wrapped up with one or two variations of sad face emoticons. The problem with Facebook? It isn’t your friend. Sure, people respond. Sometimes they really do care. Sometimes people whole-heartedly agree with your feelings. But more often than not I see a bunch of people, who know each other in real life, commenting back and forth on one another’s feeds about things like sports games or what they made for dinner, how they felt about an article they read or what their child recently did that was cute. And how I wish, oh how I desperately wish, that instead of seeing a Facebook status, I could instead be in your living room eating your dinner or experiencing a game with you or having a deep discussion or experiencing whatever it is that your child did that was so cute!

Facebook isn’t my friend, but you could be.

 

6 months later.

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6 months today. It has been 6 months since Peppy has been gone. I know some people may think 6 months is enough time with a pet, but for me the pain is still fresh. The last few days have been sad. She has been on my mind. But today. Today I found her brush. With her fur still in it. the second I touched her fur I started sobbing. I forced myself to go through it, to feel the pain, to keep grieving. Looking at her pictures and I lost it even more. She was a part of my life for half of the time I have been alive. She saw me through so much pain. She always felt human to me, she seemed to know when I was hurting. Right now if she were here she would be cuddling me, pushing her tiny head through my hands, as I sit here and bawl like a baby. Her last year on earth was tough for her with the new addition of the baby. She was old and tired and was impatient with his movements. How? How do you deal with that? Not to value one life over the other, that seems so wrong. But in reality my son took precedence. That is the way it should be. However 15 years as the princess, the baby, the dog who was more human than canine, means she couldn’t deal with it. My recent feelings have been ones of guilt. My head knows the truth, but my heart is torn. If only I could have pushed a little further to when days with my son became more routine, a little more breathable. There were so many reasons that made the timing feel right, and I think of my dad’s words from back then to never question the decision and to never regret. My heart doesn’t feel the same way my head does. Not tonight as I sit here and cry, touching her fur, seeing her big brown eyes in my pictures. She was everything. everything to me. I can’t think of one comforting thought. I yearn for the days that she was happily by our side. I wish there could have been more with her and my son as a family.

 

We did look at dogs the other day. Just to feel it out. I could barely make it through without tears. Seeing the joy that the dogs brought my son gave me mixed feelings, but it definitely took away the immediate grief.

 

 

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her favorite place

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our family picture for Easter 2010

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her other favorite place- the sun

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My spirit longs for connection. I long to have a circle of friends in my life with whom we can discuss anything and everything, whether we disagree or not. I envision this group of friends to see each other regularly, be committed to each other in helping and supporting one another, and occasionally gathering around the table for some good food and conversation. I am not particularly social, but this idealistic vision of close friends seems to be the answer to fulfilling a desire deep within to connect with others in a way I can not at this place in my life. The first reason being that those friends I do have live states away and the second being that the ones around me that have that potential are either very busy or simply do not have the capability of viewing things in an open-minded way. These people, of course, happen to be Christians.

I am a Christian. I love Jesus. I believe the Bible is the Word of God and I believe that God speaks to us and has a relationship with us on a very personal level. So naturally I meet people who also believe these things and happen to be Christians too, mostly we meet at a place we call “church”. They are nice enough folks who can have wonderful surface level conversations. We can be civil with one another when we stay on the surface because it is assumed that, as a fellow Christian, I believe everything they believe too. This level is easy and it makes us happy. A lot of people choose to stay on this level because we can avoid drama that way. This level also makes me, personally, feel very lonely. I need real connection.
Enter deeper level conversations. These conversations happen a lot more frequently in our day and age because the internet gives us plenty of opportunities to see other’s posts on articles and see a little bit into their worldview. They happen in a way that can sometimes be sneaky, an opinion is posted in conjunction with an article and it seems friendly and open enough that it makes you feel comfortable to engage in the topic. Here is the problem: we don’t talk this way in person so our tone of voice and understanding of our background is completely left out. These things matter when engaging in deeper level conversations because it creates context. So, this kind of conversation cannot only make one feel lonely, but it can also make one feel misunderstood and frustrated.
There is another problem that happens when conversing with Christians, and this is perhaps the most irritating. Christians, despite their effort to make you believe otherwise, are extremely closed-minded. Add self-righteous to that list, and you have an incredibly irritating situation on your hands. So as much as we try to engage in an open, deeper-level, enriching conversation with most people who call themselves Christians, we end up feeling angry and irritated at their extreme blindness and general lack of self-awareness.
This is the situation I have been finding myself in since my recent plunge back into the church scene. I try to make deep-level connections with other Christians and instead I get angry and want to avoid being around Christians all together. This isn’t because we disagree on many religious and political topics, but rather how their responses completely misuse bible verses, have a lack of empathy, and have a reverence for the law rather than Jesus’ example. When you say something they disagree with all of a sudden you have left the civility of the conversation and it turns towards a feeling of being judged. Personally, I can not fathom how someone can deeply know Christ and follow the example that Jesus set when He was walking on this earth and act the way I see most Christians act. To me the answer is simple, Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God and to love others (Matthew 22:36-40).

Everything else falls under the umbrella of love, or rather “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

When we talk about morality and judgment, we should be concerned only with how those people are receiving the love of Jesus.

If our actions aren’t displaying the kind of love Jesus showed the “sinners” of that day then we aren’t doing our job as Christians. I used to be excited when I met another Christian but now my feeling is more on the “oh great, here we go” side. Christians focus on words like “rebuke” and “sin” instead of “love” and “sacrifice”. Everything about religion changed the minute Jesus died on the cross, showing us the truest meaning of love and sacrifice. As Christians we don’t have to be so afraid of “being right” and arguing with others, pride doesn’t get us very far. It doesn’t show the world the power of the cross.

I love being able to talk openly about many controversial issues, and it is okay to disagree with each other. What I do not like to do is talk with someone who has a completely closed mind, full of pride who is misusing the Bible. I do not like to talk with someone who is not even hearing a word I’m saying because they are too busy repeating whatever it is they have heard in church their whole life, and I am not alone. What a lot of Christians don’t understand is that this kind of behavior turns people away. Hearing others speak “Christianese” gets pretty old, it would be nice to hear some original thoughts every once and a while.

I feel pity for Christians like these, mainly because I used to be one. The last few years have been quite a spiritual journey for me and I never imagined I would be in the place I am now. I fought God tooth and nail when it came to some of things I learned in church but never questioned or asked God about it for myself. Once I started seeking God and digging in to the Bible, truly seeking and asking with an open heart, well that is when things started to change for me.

This verse really sums up this journey for me:

“Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand. But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” 2 Corinthians 3:12-18

 So, when it comes to going to church and actually being a part of it rather than walking in and leaving, I feel discouraged.  It is a struggle and a frustration to be around Christians who only know how to speak Christianese, yet I hang on to the fact that encountering Jesus the way I do there is worth it.
Anyone else understand the way I feel?

 

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