are there rodeo clowns in heaven?

tia_a_genuinelybelieve

Have you ever felt like a square peg in a round hole?  Paul writes in Galations that  “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”  Here Paul is stating that justification is through faith and that we cannot earn our righteousness by following the law.  But what if I don’t look righteous?  When I google righteous this is what comes up, which feels weird:

self-righteous-wide1

When I imagine a righteous person I like to think that they are meek, gentle, slow to speak, that they comport themselves with a general dignity befitting such a holy person.  They would not, for example, tell a long anecdote about Michelle Duggar’s knees at Bible Study. What might they do instead?  I would expect them to share some piece of knowledge gleaned from an obscure minor prophet that I didn’t even realize was a book of the Bible.

This is the delusion I fight against almost all the time.  That righteous people have one foot inside a monastery and no feet in the “being ridiculous” arena.  But the truth is that when I professed my faith in Christ that His righteousness became my own.  And that His sacrifice covers all my sins past, present, and future. I need to trust that the Holy Spirit will lead my heart in sanctification and repentance.  One could be surprised to know that I spend a good amount of time each week reading the word and assorted theological books.

It’s not that much but for having three children proportionately it is a decent amount of time.  But when I open my mouth to speak, nothing eloquent comes out.  This is where I recall that Moses had a debilitating stutter and God appointed his brother Aaron to publicly speak for him.  Maybe Siri could be my Aaron.  I have not a debilitating speech impediment to get around, but debilitating awkwardness.  Excuse me, I digress.  1 Corinthians says:

“But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.”

And this is where I wonder to myself, at the feast of heaven, will there be a rodeo clown?  Does Jesus need a body part akin to a humorous gag wig?  He made me and he loves me.  He loved Nathaniel and called him right after Nathaniel threw some major shade at Jesus under a fig tree.

Maybe there will be jokes in heaven.  Everyone really loves laughing.  I will remind myself that God’s creation is diverse and wonderful and that he loves monastery people just as much as he loves people who are quirky and awkward.

PS  This is a ringing endorsement for the book “This is Awkward” by Sammy Rhodes.  It’s like if I wrote a book, but a lot better.

tia_b_donuts

 

Advertisements

i’m a grown up and i ain’t afraid of no ghost.

giphy-5

October and I have a tenuous relationship.  Because October is AUTUMN and pumpkins and scarves. But October is also ghoulish Halloween decorations and horror movie trailers on television.  Anne (of Green Gables and later of the House of Dreams) would have been appalled, no matter how much she loved October.  In retrospect this might not be true, because remember how much she hung out in that graveyard in college?

“I don’t know that a graveyard is a very good place to go to get cheered up, but it seems the only get-at-able place where there are trees, and trees I must have. I’ll sit on one of those old slabs and shut my eyes and imagine I’m in the Avonlea woods.”

Anne, that’s creepy.  But I was telling you about October!  In October, my children scare me at night.  My husband is forever jumping out at me from behind doorways and darkened rooms.  Every time I scream.  For every time I don’t, I at least drop a profanity and try to punch him (in self defense).  The rambling point I am making here is that I am easily spooked.  So when I’m on red october alert for goblins- my kids stalking me at night gets scary.

I get scared when Owen stands by my bed, his face inches from mine, and wakes me from a dead sleep.  “AHHH!” I yell.  “What do you need???”  And he replies “I had a bad dream” and I think to myself,  probably your mom screaming in your face didn’t help you to be less scared huh?

I mean, look at these pumpkin faces Owen created.  They are SO FRIENDLY.  Owen comes by his fear honestly.  And I like that he’s into happy pumpkin faces.

img_0325

But mostly I get scared of Maisy Jo, for just like her father she is light on her feet and appears silently.  The pale features that make her such a stand out during the day make her appear to be a straight up ghoul at night.  The wispy blonde hair, the large eyes, the skin so alabaster it has an other worldly glow.  Like, I get it.  You have to pee.  But it’s 2 am and could you just rustle your pj’s a lil and give a person a heads up?

img_0324

SpOOOOOoooOoooky!

So October- you can take your scary movies, your giant cackling skeletons, and your haunted houses and you can just keep them ok?  Come trick or treat at my scare free house.  I have a “Give Thanks” sign and just so many mini pumpkins.

Now enjoy this scene from New Girl of Nick Miller in a haunted house, who is me and who I think is all of us:

zzzzz.

source

Being pregnant with my fourth baby is making me tired.  Introvert tired.  Voldemort in the forests of Albania tired.

I did the math and at the end of this pregnancy I will have been pregnant for three full years. I started this blog to document how surprising pregnancy was.  Then how surprising newborns were.  Then how crazy toddlers are.  Now when my kids shred toilet paper or I catch them riding their toy train around the living room at midnight I think “Sure.  That seems right.”  When I pregnant cry because Joe Jonas used to wear a purity ring or when I pull over to throw up in a McDonalds bathroom- yes.  It all makes sense.

But one thing that never ceases to amaze me is how much more tired I am with each child.  By my calculations Michelle Duggar should have been in a coma about 8 babies ago.  I’m trying to come up with an example of how tired I am, that can accurately convey my exhaustion.  I don’t want to talk to anyone.  Ever.  And I love talking.  Sometimes I think I’m too tired to stand up in the shower so I think about taking a bath but then do neither.  Instead of switching out my regular clothes for my maternity clothes in my dresser I just put a laundry basket next to my dresser to hold my pregnant wares.  I didn’t go to a pumpkin patch this year, I just bought ONE pumpkin from Costco.  (say WHAT?!)  I skipped church two weeks in a row because I physically could not rise up from my bed.  Even thinking of examples of how tired I am are making me tired.  I’m so tired.

I can’t tell if it is because I have three other children or because I’m on the other side of 30 and pregnant and that is just much harder than being pregnant in your 20’s.  I think what I really want you to know is that, sure, I’ve fallen off the face of the earth.  Because I’m seriously so incredibly tired.  But maybe it won’t be forever?  I don’t know.

mom’s birthday.

fullsizerender-23

Today is my mom’s birthday.  I bet you don’t know my mom.  And I bet if you’ve met her that you don’t know her very well either, because my mother puts the I in introvert.  My mother gave me her good taste in curtains, pot plantings, and wall hangings.  My mom could wear a bikini after she had her children, and she didn’t give me that.  I’ll forgive her because after all, nobody’s perfect.

As it will surprise no one, I was an awkward youth.  When I reflect and realize that throughout many of my years in school that my mother was praying for me during Moms In Touch, I can say that I see the fruit of that prayer.  I walked through school with much more confidence than this earth would justify.  Making it through middle school was a result of the faithful prayers of my mother.

I’m thankful that I’ve gotten to know my mom as a real person too, not just a mom person who caters to my every whim.  I’m going to post some verses that remind me of my mom.  Proverbs 31 is overused, sure.  But not for my mom.  My mom who works away tirelessly in the kitchen to feed her one million grandchildren.  My mom who fields phone calls on how to do, well, basically anything related to being an adult.

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” (Proverbs 31:26-29 ESV)

And that’s mom.  In a nutshell.

Mom, you’re the best.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, because they would be WRONG.  And I’ll punch them in the face.  Please come live with me when you are old because I miss you.  We will stick you in the giant laundry room to earn your keep like poor old Grandma Duggar.

on how grace changed and is changing me.

 

Grace is God’s free and unmerited favor shown to guilty sinners who deserve only judgment. It is the love of God shown to the unlovely. It is God reaching downward to people who are in rebellion against Him. Jerry Bridges

Grace, I never knew you.  Not in middle or high school.  Certainly not in college.  Definitely not until the Navy provided the opportunity for me to know no one while across the country from everyone I had ever known.

I remember having a conversation with my brother, this was during my conversion from legalism, when I realized I really wasn’t doing a good job following God’s law and felt really discouraged.  I knew all along I was screwing it up, but I was getting closer to admitting my own failings (obvious though they were).  He asked me why I was a Christian if I felt guilty all the time.  To quote John, “So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”  I was called to Jesus and even though I was struggling to understand, I knew there was nowhere else to go.  It was and is Jesus or nothing at all.

I spent a lot of time nursing my guilt and not turning to God because clearly He knew how bad I was.  You guys, I’m such a butthole.  Just last WEEK I watched Diners, Drive ins, and Dives just to make fun of Guy Fieri.  For, like, 2 hours.  Admittedly, I was handing out sick burns like a boss.  But just because you are particularly gifted in your sin of choice doesn’t mean it’s God glorifying.

Let’s get wordy y’all.  I knew that Jesus had died for my sins.  That work was done.  That’s justification.  Sanctification?  That was harder for me.  I thought that once I was justified it was up to me to follow the law.  To get my devotions on and love people well and to stop judging people and getting annoyed by things that do not matter.  Jerry Bridges says this: “So where the law condemns, grace forgives through the Lord Jesus Christ.  Where the law commands but gives no power, grace commands but does give power through the Holy Spirit who lives and works within us.”  I was not leaving room for the Holy Spirit.  I was trying to be nicer, and it wasn’t working.  No one wanted me on a leadership team in college.  I was “the least of these.”

A beautiful cocktail of good teaching, a friend who often said “There but for the Grace of God go I,”  and people who loved me opened my heart.  People who saw that I never did dishes and just helped me do them, people who didn’t gossip about others- not self righteously, but because the love of Christ drove their actions.  People who willingly offered the gospel of grace- those people showed me grace.  The Holy Spirit changed me and it used the people around me to do it.  I realized I was worse than I thought.  I saw that God loved me more than I deserved.  He loved me- not just when He died on the cross for me- but when I was binge eating fries because I just received bad news or when I was crying out against Him because we keep moving.

Spend a day with a toddler and watch her make the same mistakes over and over.  Spend a day with yourself and notice the same thing.  Prepare to be amazed by the grace of your Heavenly Father unto you.  Know that God longs to be reconciled with you- so repent with confidence!  Fess up to your slanderous words about a Food Network star.  Jesus paid it all.  

Thanks for being there for my sanctification Lord, because the closer I get to you the more I realize my sin is like the peeling of an onion.  Layered, odiferous, and sometimes makes you cry.  I can only close with this song by Bethany Dillon- a Campus Crusade muse for the ages- but as I grow in faith I realize just how on fleek ole B-Dills was.  I know you might not know her, but she’s married to one of the Shane’s from Shane and Shane and you have to know them.  I mean, you don’t have to.  But c’mon, you probably do right??

I follow all the rules, well at least I’m trying

Hoping when my days are through, You will be pleased

I’ve lived the longest days, thinking my heart was so bad

Too scared to look into Your face.  Oh if only I had.

 

 

a real case of the pregnants!

I know what you are thinking and the answer is- no.  This is not an elaborate practical joke.  I am indeed pregnant with my FOURTH CHILD.  I’d like to answer the burning questions you have right now.  I know you have them.  I always do.

  1.  Do you know how babies are made?

DO I EVER!

2.  Have you heard of birth control?

I have actually.  And I just trust myself to know that I’ll know when I’m ovulating.  And then I don’t actually know at all and I get a lil surprise baby #3 and then again a fourth time.

3.  Are you a supermom?

I don’t want you to confuse my family’s head count with good parenting.  #blessed

4.  You’re Michelle Duggar now right?  4 kids going on 19?

I don’t understand this comment and yet I do.  But 4 is SO MANY LESS than 19.  And I still have the remnants of a bayalage in my hair.  Until I get sky high front/back bangs, I will not lump myself in with the Duggars.  Plus, in the summertime, I still wear shorts and let Nick see my sexy knees.  How do you think I got pregnant this many times?

 4. How are you surviving?

I’m not really.  Unless you count reading Job while laying on the floor swallowing a dry heave as surviving.  Nick takes care of everyone.  But as of two days ago the heaves are receding and I feel #tooblessedtobestressed. And I also got this life changing maternity pillow at a bargain fair for 2 bucks.  Soo….

5.  Lay a truth bomb on us.  

K.  I will.  When I found out I was pregnant I was immediately and simultaneously filled with a giddy joy and a wary trepidation.  Joy for the newborn I will receive and trepidation for the feels, the weight, the overall weakness that pregnancy delivers at my doorstep. My pregnant self prefers to lay up in a corner and lick my wounds.  ALONE!  But, there are those pesky older kids.  And left unsupervised and undisciplined those guys go Lord of the Flies faster than you can say “just watch another episode of My Little Pony!”

6.  How are your symptoms so far?

So far this pregnancy I have been able to (by the Grace of God) control my mood swings.  I did hide in a closet once and cry, but I haven’t smashed anything with a bat yet.  I do predict I will be sustaining a constance low level of betchiness of which I am unaware until I see Nick looking at me like this:

giphy-3
giphy.com

7.  Do you think it’s a boy or a girl?

Oh.  It’s a GIRL.  Because of the aforementioned dry heaves and the way I’m sort of carrying her down low and real wide.  Just picture Blake Lively pregnant and now picture the opposite of that and you’ll have a rough picture of what I’m working with.  We’re going to name her Ginevra Weasley.

This has been so fun internet, thank you.  In hindsight it was very prudent to name my blog “Nick Knocked Me Up” because he has and continues to do so.  Just like the majestic manatee I love so much, I too give birth every 2 years.  Now I know why manatees look that way.  Maternal fat stores.