Why I’m Married with Children

Growing up, I was never one of those girls who had dreams of getting married, settling down and having a house full of children.  I did not enjoy babysitting and to be truthful, I really didn’t enjoy being around children.  As a matter of fact, I was pretty sure that I never wanted to have children.  Even when I thought of my life plan in high school and college it never really include a husband or children.  But…I’ve learned that God has a sense of humor and He knows better than I. His plans are always better than mine.

So, how did it happen that I am now married with children?  Let me tell you a little story.

I met my husband between my junior and senior year of college.  I had come home for the summer and was living with my parents.  Though I had stopped attending church in high school, my parents had recently started attending a new church, so I thought I would go check it out.  Non of my friends were home for the summer, so honestly, I had nothing better to do.  As I was sitting in the pew, I noticed what seemed to be a pretty good looking guy sitting in front of me.  It kept me pretty distracted during the sermon and I was quite excited when after the service he turned around to introduce himself.  Much to my surprise, he had a mouth full of braces and I was sure he was jail bait!  Come to find out, he was a year older than I and single…sort of.  I didn’t find out about the other girl until later.

I was kind of crushing on him, but he was shy and so was I.  Either way, it got me to church every Sunday.  I became friends with his cousin who was in my Sunday School class.  I had invited her to go out one night for pizza and to hang out.  She called me back and asked if Jeremy could come along.  Needless to say, I said “sure” and was pretty excited to get to know him.  However, my hopes of a perfect match were dashed after an evening of hanging out chatting over pizza.  He was nothing that I was looking for and like no one I had ever dated.  I had no intention of living close to home for the rest of my life and he was a farmer on his families farm and wasn’t going anywhere.  He never went to college and he mumbled, so I could hardly understand anything he said.  When my mom asked, “So how did it go?”  I responded, “He’s a nice guy, but I’d never date him.” (Insert God’s humor here, since we’ve now been married nearly 14 years and he was God’s perfect match for me.) My idea of the perfect man at the time was someone who was educated, had a good career plan, was willing to go with me wherever I landed and would allow me to follow my dreams.  If I could find that man, I would consider getting married, but I figured the chances were slim and besides, I was sure I didn’t need a man to make me happy.

Jeremy had one redeeming quality.  He was interested and he rode a Harley.  I guess I should have mentioned that in my criteria above.  Since high school, I was obsessed with motor cycles.  I would jump on the back of any bike I could get a ride on, but my heart belonged on a Harley Davidson.  I had no friends at home, therefore I had no social life.  So, being bored and having a chance to ride on the back of a Harley was enough to spark a friendship.  As the summer went on, things progressed from friends to dating.  I had been in three serious relationships before him.  I wasn’t one to really date around much, but I had crossed lines in those relationships that I didn’t want to repeat.  We had talked about setting boundaries, but pushed them to the limit.  When I returned to college, we continued to date.  We would see each other on the weekends and talk on the phone.  One weekend I was home for a extended weekend and things went too far.  We both regretted it and vowed not to let it happen again.

A few weeks later, I had been invited to a Greek IV conference.  It was a Christian conference for the Greek community and I was in a sorority.  I had not been involved in any Christian organizations or a church on campus, but some of the girls in my sorority were going and asked me if I’d like to come along.  It sounded like fun and the guilt of what I had done helped me to decide to go.  That weekend, I rededicated my life to Christ.  I had walked away from God in high school, but had felt Him pursuing me even in the midst of my rebellion.  I was so broken and sorry for the way I had been living.  God forgave me and I felt free.  I was so excited to start all over as a new creation. 

A week later two lines on a pregnancy test told me I was pregnant.  Honestly, I must say that at the time, I did not think that God was very funny or that He had any idea what He was doing.  This was not the way my life was supposed to go.  This was not my plan!  How could God do this to me?  I just rededicated my life to Him and He lets me be pregnant!  It seemed like a pretty sick joke and not funny at all.

Needless to say, my life changed dramatically that day and everyday after.  Life between then and now has not been easy, but that’s a post for another day.  But, God had a plan.  Oh, it was a marvelous plan.  Some days, I still don’t think He’s very funny, but other days, I can’t help but laugh.  He’s so very faithful.  He’s sovereign.  He’s good.  He knew what He was doing.  He knew that giving me a husband and children was the only way that I could ever truly know Him.  It’s in loving my children that I can even slightly grasp His love for me.  It’s in disciplining my children that I see the need for me to be disciplined.  It’s in setting boundaries for my children that I see why He gave us His Word to live by.  There are days when I am in the middle of saying something to my children and I feel the gentle nudge from God saying, “Now you know how I feel,” or “I think I’ve told you the same thing.”  It’s in those moments I know why God gave me children.  It is in being a mother that He gives me glimpses of the Father’s love for me.  It’s in being a wife that He refines me, corrects me, and humbles me.  It is teaching me how to submit to my Heavenly Father and show Him honor.  I’m still a work in progress and I still need daily reminders, but God’s Word assures me in Philippians 1:6, “He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God knows best.  He has a plan for my life. He does have a sense of humor and children truly are a gift from God.  My life verse is Jeremiah 29:11-14.  It really couldn’t be more fitting.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and I will bring you back from captivity.”  His plan was and is so much better than my plan ever was.  I can’t even imagine the mess I would have made of my life had I not turned it over to my Heavenly Father.  And there are still days when I mess it up something terrible and on those days more often than not, He uses my husband and children to remind me of His love, the value of discipline, and that His grace is sufficient.

 Just like Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  My firstborn was not a mistake!  But God was able to use my mistakes for my good! And for that, I am so thankful!

In His Hands,

Lorissa

Dare to Tell the Truth

Truth or Dare?  I remember playing this game as a kid.  Deciding whether to pick truth or dare had a few deciding factors.  The first factor was the people you were playing with.  How well did you trust them with your truths and how mean would they be with a dare?  The second factor was peer pressure.  If everyone was yelling, “Dare! Dare! Dare!” it was pretty difficult to say, “Truth.”  I’m finding as an adult and as a Christian the rules have changed.  Now telling the Truth is a dare.  Unfortunately, the Christian community all too often is losing.  In a society driven by political correctness, it takes a daring person to stand up and tell the Truth. 

For me, as a Bible believing Christian, all truth is based on the Truth of the Word of God.  I’m a pretty “black and white” person.  I don’t usually fall into a “gray” area on my beliefs.  I’ve been called a “truth teller” and “honest to a fault” so I know I may not be typical.  I believe that the Bible is the only source of Truth, “God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”  2 Timothy 3:16. 

That brings me to the point of this post.  Christians are failing (me included) at standing up and speaking Truth.  We are allowing the fear of opposition to silence the Truths of God.  We are so afraid of offending someone or being politically incorrect, that we have lost our boldness. 

Let me just say here that we have a true enemy and he is very good at what he does.  He is a deceiver and has been mastering the art of deception since the beginning of time.  When he deceived Eve in the garden, he didn’t come as a scary red man with horns and a pitch fork, he came as a beautiful, crafty creature.  He didn’t come right out and say, “Eat this fruit!”  He planted seeds of doubt.  Then he followed up with lies and excuses and ultimately an appealing offer she could not refuse.  By the time she realized she had been deceived, it was too late and the fate of all human kind had been sealed.  Genesis 3:1-7.  We are now dealing with the repercussions of this fall. 

We are living in a world that has be craftily deceived.  The things our society is now accepting as
“truth” have been slowly spoon fed to us for generations, numbing us to the lies and deception.  What once would have been considered detestable and an abomination are now considered rights and ways of life.  At the same time, Christians have been fed the lies that we should not stand up against those things which are contrary to God’s Word, because when we do we are labeled “bigots, haters, intolerant, old fashioned, hypocrites, and much worse.”  So frankly, many Christians aren’t willing to take the opposition and choose to keep their views and convictions to themselves.  Trust me, I know, it’s easy to do.  When you’re scrolling through Facebook and you see someone has posted something that will cause controversy the claws come out.  People can be downright mean.  Instead of standing beside those brave enough to speak up against the wrongs in society, we scroll on by glad it’s them and not us being ripped apart.  We’re not willing to stick our necks out and take some of the heat off of the person who posted.  I’ve been there, done that.  What about the times when you really want to post something that you believe in, yet you think twice because you’re afraid of offending someone who doesn’t hold your same beliefs?(This may be one of those times for me.)  What do you do in the work place or in a group of friends who are talking about something that you oppose?  Do you have the fortitude to stand up and state your beliefs?  It’s hard!  It’s really hard when you are standing alone! 

God has been working on my heart in this area.  I hope this gives you something to think about as well.  I’ve only scratched the surface, but it’s a good place to start. 🙂

So, I ask you:

Why do we find it so hard to speak up? 
Why are we ashamed of what we believe? 
Why do we care what other people think of us when it’s Christ we answer to? 
Why do we care more about being politically correct, than biblically correct? 
Why do we sit around saying nothing, while those whose agenda is totally against everything we believe spread their propaganda to every news source available? 
Why are we apathetic? 
Why Christians? 
Why are we silent?

It’s time we speak up! 
It’s time we are bold!
It’s time we focus on Christ!
It’s time will know what the Word of God says!
It’s time we stand up for our Christian values!
It’s time we take action!
It’s time we speak Truth in love!
Come on!
I dare you!

In His Debt,
Lorissa

Better Late Than Never

Fear. Expectations.  Failure.  Pride.  Oh how I hate those words, the feelings they stir in me and the actions that they produce in me!  I am a self-proclaimed perfectionist.  Through the years, it has lessened slightly, yet still lurks in the background of everything I do.  The earliest memories I have included this trait of mine.   When given a task, assignment or challenge it was all or nothing.  I insisted on doing my best and it being the best (whatever that “it” was). 

The strive for perfection has cost me through the years in both my mental and physical health.  But the biggest cost has been in missed opportunities.  You see, because I am a perfectionist, in my mind everything I do must be “perfect” in my eyes.  Unfortunately, perfection is unattainable.  My standards of perfection have always been unattainable.  No matter how much effort I invest in whatever I’m doing, it just never seems to be enough, which brings me to my next fatal flaw…I’m a pessimist.  When you mix these two traits together, it can be a death sentence to dreams.  Let me explain.  If I am given a task to do or asked to do something, I first think, almost subconsciously, “can I complete this task to perfection?”  If the answer is “no”, I won’t even try. If the answer is “yes”, then I start to think of every possible scenario of how this task could go wrong or opposition I could face.  Then comes the mental death of that dream, idea or task.  I can literally talk myself out of doing something just because there is a possibility that 1. I could fail, 2. It would not be to my standards of perfection, or 3. It will not meet someone else’s expectations. 

I tell you all this so that you can understand a little bit about me and the reason behind starting this blog.  Let me first say that I did not start this blog because “everyone is doing it.”  That’s just not the way that I work.  I started this blog because for years I have been disobedient.  I am a Christian.  I’ve known Christ since I was a child, but took a “sabbatical” during most of my high school and college years, for lack of a better word.  God was still actively pursuing me during that time, but in my stubborn spirit, I chose to run away for a time.  I will talk about that in another post.  For many years, I have felt compelled to journal, write and speak.  Many people have encouraged me to pursue those areas.  I would keep a journal for a few days, weeks or maybe even a few months and then quit.  On several occasions, I have been asked to speak to different groups of people, but nothing consistent.   I’ve thought about it.  I’ve prayed about it.  I’ve talked about it.  I even made a special place in my house so that I could read, write and study.  Here I am years later, still thinking, praying and talking about it, but not actively doing it.  So, this blog is my accountability.  It is my legacy to my children.  It’s a compilation of my life stories, God encounters, and random thoughts on life.  Why have I not done it up until this point?… Expectations.  Failure.  Pride.  Fear that I will not live up to my own and others expectations.  Fear that I will fail and everyone will witness it.  Fear that pride in a job well done will ultimately cause me to fail.  Oh, the tangled web we weave when we listen to the one who deceives!

Recently, God has been tugging at my heart again.  He’s been gently wooing me back to this calling that He gave me years ago.  He reminded me just this morning that so many that were called before me also ran from their assignments as well.  Jonah ran and ended up in the belly of a whale. (Jonah 1:1-17)  Moses fled to Midian and was called back by a burning bush (Exodus 2). Peter ran away when times got tough, even though Christ warned him he would and Peter vehemently denied it. (Matt. 26:31-35, 69-75)  So, there’s hope for me.  There is hope that even though I’ve ran away for years, scared of failure and opposition, and just plain being lazy and apathetic, He can still use me. “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Phil. 1:6

So, here I am, hoping that through my obedience I can somehow speak life into others.  I hope to inspire and spur you on to good deeds.  It may not always be “perfect”, but I promise to be me.  I promise to be real and authentic, because this life is hard and we all need a friend to walk with us.  I hope that you will walk along with me.