Saturday, March 30, 2013

My story with Jesus

I feel led to open up about my where my relationship with Jesus started and a little bit of what He has brought me through. For all of my lovely non-churchy readers, I'm going to try my hardest to opt out of churchy language.

First of all, let me preface with my story is not what you may be thinking. It is a long post, but I really want you to read all of it.

Yes, I was raised in church. I first started getting to know Jesus when I was very young. I was led to pray and I enjoyed reading Bible stories. I even had some pretty cool encounters with angels and had one dream in particular when I was in 6th grade that has stuck in my head and my heart and has really shaped the way I relate to God. [this is what I dreamed: I was swimming in this deep ocean. I kept going deeper and deeper. The colors were so crisp and beautiful. I was full of wonder. Deeper and deeper I went. I even swam with a huge humpback whale. I can't even begin to describe the colors. At last, I came to the bottom of the ocean, only to find another shore to another ocean. I will expound later on this, so please keep reading] Even though I was raised in a "you're good if you know your Bible/ who's up for another Bible drill?!" type Christianity, I knew God was real and that following Him would be more exciting than knowing facts.

When my heart explodes with gratitude and I thank God for saving me from a life of sin, I do think back to when I was a little girl because that's when something else happened in my life. I was molested when I was very young by a girl friend of mine, who had most likely been molested herself or had encountered pornography. Every so often, not even every year, I would think about those experiences. Was it just normal curiosity? But no matter where the line was crossed between curiosity and molestation, it gave my enemy, the great father of lies, Satan, an opportunity to plant a lie in my heart and mind.

"You're really just a lesbian." "You're more than just a tom-boy" "Isn't that girl attractive?"

So from the age of 8 to the age of 22, I would have these thoughts. The most dangerous thing about being deceived is that you don't KNOW you're being deceived. I never acted on this. I never had a romantic relationship with a woman but the question of "Who are you?" and "What do you really believe" was posed continually. But in the midst of all that, God was still calling me and drawing me and allowing me to have experience after experience where I could not doubt that He was alive and powerful and wonderful. I would love to tell you about it, but that would make for a very VERY long blog post.

The debate going on in my head over this came to a head when I graduated college. I had moved back in with my parents in the Atlanta-area who were getting ready to move to Houston, Texas. I was working at Starbucks and wondering what my next move would be. At this time, I was separated from all my friends and my Christian family I had left in my college town. All alone, the lies increased in magnitude. At one point, I considered just giving in and moving to Dallas to live a homosexual lifestyle. I was starting to become more attracted to women and it seemed like I was drowning in this deception. At this massive crossroad in my life, the questions were "Who are you?" "What do you believe?" "Is God REALLY real? Or this who you really are?"

It wasn't until then that I made the connection between my being molested and this scheme of the enemy-liar to steal my relationship with God and my destiny. This made me MAD. Really really mad. So I basically cursed Satan out and said "How dare you? Do you think I can just ignore what I have experienced of God? I cannot forget. I will not forget. You will not drive me to live a lifestyle that is displeasing to God and is destructive to me!" I called his spade a spade. His words are lies. I was free from the tormenting questions and I was free to live my life with God. If I would have listened to Satan, I would not have married Michael and had John and Milo and I would be in a very very dark and desperate place. I can't imagine how unhappy and hopeless I would be right now.

And it's all because God chose to reveal to me that He was more real than anything I could experience in this world. If He would have left me in that "Just be good and know your Bible" Christianity, I would have no doubt moved to Dallas and lived a very different life. But in His kindness and His goodness, He called me to come to get to know Him. He said, "Laura, come see my wonders! Be amazed at my love for you!" I am forever grateful for His redemptive power in my life.

Homosexuality is wrong. The church doesn't help anyone by saying "It's okay. You don't have to change." It is not love to deny someone the freedom they could have, in the name of tolerance and a more palatable gospel. Yes, by all means, I love homosexuals and anyone else who is struggling so fiercely with such lies. I have been there. Jesus loves me and He loves you. He loves THEM! But it doesn't stop at empty "good-feelings" kind of love. Real love wants to see them free. Homosexuals are living a less-than-second-rate life compared to the life of freedom that is available by knowing Jesus and encountering Him.

Think back to my dream. The depths of the wonders of God are endless. He is a deep ocean of wonder. When you think you've gotten to the bottom of the Ocean, you find only another shore to a deeper ocean of beauty and magnificence.

God is calling everyone. Homosexuals. Bible scholars. Prisoners. Celebrities. He says, "Come! Take the freedom I have for you! Live the life I have dreamed for you!"

My prayer is that we all answer with a resounding "Yes!" and that we begin to dance in the freedom He has given.

Monday, March 4, 2013

history in my closet

I just went upstairs to get a gift bag. I finally emerge 30 minutes later, after getting sucked into looking at all of our old ancestry stuff. This stuff is stinkin' COOL! I got to look through things dating back to the Civil War. It's easy to be a history nerd when history is so exciting and it just happens to be in my closet! Fun side note: John and Milo are both family names, dating WAY WAY back. Other family names that I like for our *one more??* boy: Adam and Henry. I especially like Adam. We're slowly redeeming the four-letter words, one son at a time. :) Oh and I'm not preggers, by the way. I'm just spit-ballin', here. I had wanted to name the next? last? boy Caleb because I LOVE Caleb in the Bible. I mean, this guy is old as the hills. He's survived 40 years in the wilderness with all these whiners. But he remembers the promises of God. When he finally gets the green light to take the land, what does he say? "Oh, I'm an old fart. Give me something easy." ?? NOPE! "Give me the land with the giants! I can take 'em!" Love. Caleb. But, I've been thinking, I want ALL my children to have that kind of faith and God-strength to take down giants and walk into their God-destined promises. I've been thinking about calling our "school" (since we will be homeschooling) The Caleb Academy. So what do you think, dear readers? John, Milo, and Adam? I'm diggin' it.

In more domestic news, I really need to buy groceries! We ate out a lot this weekend because here is what we have in our cabinet: cereal. girl scout cookies. Like, 10 boxes! And while they are delicious, you really can't feed a family on girl scout cookies. sunflower seeds. almonds. pumpkin seeds. shredded coconut, goldfish crackers. a cake mix. crisco. oatmeal. Which I HATE eating because it makes me hungrier! If I eat oatmeal, 5 minutes later, I'm wondering if I've eaten anything in a week! Feed. Me. Now. Half a box of pasta. A can of diced peaches. Peanut butter. Protein shakes. That's literally all we have. In the freezer, we have a bag of frozen fish. Baby food cubes. A bag of chicken nuggets (containing exactly two nuggets) a few freezer bags of gumbo (which I'm hesitant to eat because last time we ate that, John threw it up all over us. Not a fond memory of the gumbo.) and a few bags of pintos, which, if memory serves correctly, were a total bust. For produce, we have two apples and a bag of limes. There's a bag of banana muffins on the counter. In our fridge, we have milk, a crap ton of goat milk, pizza hut pizza *gag* (from this weekend), various condiments. Yeah, it's bad. Here's the menu for this week using all this stuff and whatever I buy later:

fish with somethin'
granola bars

ummmm, yeah I'm at a loss already. Focus, Laura! Feed your family! Any ideas?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Updates and Goat Milk Formula

Sorry! Last post was October???? Seriously??? What's wrong with me?
Oh yeah, I've got two kiddos and time enough to myself to shower (some days) and check facebook. Here's to 2013: the year of blogging regularity. 

2013. Also a year of blossoming and building for my marriage. We are going to be celebrating 5 years of marriage in April! They were foundational years. They were tough years. We have found more freedom in Christ by walking through the difficult times and dealing with our pasts and now it seems like we are getting a fresh start. Let's start building!!! 

With my relationship with God, I am focusing on James 3. Taming the wild tiger that is my tongue and allowing only praise to be released from my mouth and not curses. 
"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear." Ephesians 4:29 NASB
 This is especially challenging since John is a rambunctious, strong-willed little man. What is edifying to him? What does he NEED in those moments where I could just yell at him and allow my frustrations to lead to me reacting in anger instead of responding with grace? Yes, he needs boundaries. He needs to learn to submit his will. All great leaders understand authority because they are under authority themselves. So that is my vision and my goal. According to his need, what are the words that should proceed from my mouth? Will it give grace? Will it build up? In the Message, it is paraphrased as "Say only what helps. Each word a gift." I love that. Obviously, this applies to every relationship in my life. James 3 is my calling for 2013 and really, my whole life.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for. Kiddo-updates!!!! Hurray for the two most handsome boys on the planet!
Milo AKA Mr. Drooly Face (6 mos.)
John-John in his cubby (26 mos.)
Well, we've already talked a little about John. Other than his strong-will, he has a huge heart! Thankfully, I think his heart is a worthy foe to his will. Also, he is potty training and obedience training and doing stellar in both! I'm proud of my little man. He loves to dance and sing and of course play with cars (he sleep with his little stuffed doggie and Lightning McQueen) He's not into crayons. He likes to paint but it mostly gets on his body (war paint?) He will sticker the mess out of stuff. He's not really talking. He mostly speaks in "sounds". Vroom Vroom for car. Hoo Hoo for owl. But we're working on it. I still say he's a genius. (of course, he is)

Milo is the sweetest, most content baby in the world. He is 6 months old today! Where did the time go?? He's crawling already. He really likes John. He's a total sweetie. He's only high-maintenance in what he eats. He refused to nurse during the day so I had to pump all the time and give him formula to supplement. I've recently stopped pumping (I figured I got enough brownie points for pumping every day, three or four times a day for 5 months) and now he's just getting formula. He is slightly lactose intolerant so I have to make it from scratch. It's good though because at least I know exactly what he's eating. And he enjoys it and it settles well with his tummy.

Here's my recipe for Goat Milk Baby Formula:
yields 4 cups

2 cups goat's milk
2 cups filtered drinking water (don't use distilled b/c it lacks healthy minerals)
1/4 cup liquid whey
1/4 tsp. Lactobacilli Bifido
1/2 tsp. cod liver oil
1 tsp. sunflower oil
1 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. coconut oil (I add just a little bit at a time to the warmed bottle)
2 tsp. nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 tsp. acerola cherry powder
3 tsp. blackstrap molasses (makes it sweet and it's high in vitamin B12, potassium, iron, calcium and it helps with constipation)

Mix it all together either in a blender or I usually make a half-batch at a time and shake it all together in a Ball jar and keep it refrigerated. Use it within 24 hours.

That's all for now! Thanks for stopping by!