The reason I’m mad at the teenagers from Epping.

6 years ago we had this crazy little idea, me and Adam.
It started out as a simple conversation: What if we started a youth center. I mean, these teenagers are just walking around town with nothing to do! They are going to end up getting into trouble, and who doesn’t need to know that someone cares about them?
Ok. Let’s do it!
And off we went.

We didn’t know any of the kids from town, really. But we just felt like these kids needed to know that there were adults who cared about them…not because it was their job. Not because they were getting paid. But just because God tells us to love, so we love. That’s it.

Slowly, we got to know the teenagers. A few here and a few there. We started recognizing faces around town and we started establishing ourselves in town as a place parents could trust their kids to be. Hundreds of teenagers have come through our doors. Each and every name goes on a spreadsheet just to make sure we sign them in each day in case they forget to check in with their parents! We feed them, listen to them, talk to them, laugh with them and play games with them. Here’s what has happened since the beginning.
We have loved these kids
All of them. No seriously. All of them.
Some of them give us a run for our money, but we even love them.

We are about to go on vacation to Florida for the week. And with that, comes the reminder that there are places besides Epping that we could live. We could live in a place that is warm all year round. A place where Adam could have a job tomorrow if he wanted. We could live in a place that has great Christian schools to choose from for the boys, and beautiful warm water beaches.

And this is the reason I’m mad at the teenagers from Epping.

Every time we think about doing anything else besides being here, the faces of these kids come into my head. You may think I’m crazy, but it’s for real. I can not leave these kids. I love them. Every one. Even the kids who used to hang with us every single day during middle school and now don’t even wave hello now that they’re in high school. Even the kids who complain about the snacks we give them, and the ones who have chosen to get in fights in front of our building. I can’t leave! I can’t leave and move to Florida, because I love these stinking teenagers too much!

So..this is for all my Epping teenagers,
If you have ever walked into the porch? I have prayed for you. I promise you that.
If you looked like you were having a bad day? I prayed for you.
If I’ve seen that things were tough through Facebook? I’ve prayed for you. Because I take my job seriously. No, I don’t get paid a penny for what I do, but I can’t help but think…Everyone needs at least one person to care about them. And many of you have awesome parents, but sometimes it needs to be someone besides your parents! Sometimes you can feel like your parents “have” to love you. But when it’s someone else? It’s different. So that is what I plan to do. (Although I will say that I have had to “hide” some of you on Facebook…sorry, but your language is a little bit atrocious.)
I am not gonna lie, some days you come in and I’m smiling at the kitchen door handing out snacks and I have had a really bad day. But I smile anyways. Because I want you to know something – people who love God always have a reason to smile. Lately, things have been hard for me to feel like I want to keep going because I have felt under-appreciated. Not by you, just by other people. But I will keep coming in no matter what. Sometimes you come in and I’ll hug you because I feel like you look like you need it. Some days I back away because it looks like you just want to be alone.
Either way, I am still going to be there for you.
Some of you will never really open up to me, and that’s ok. Because even though you don’t know it, I am asking God to do amazing things in your life. I pray for you even as you are sitting there texting on your phone, or listening to your music. I am asking God to show you how much value you have. How much He loves you, and that he has a plan and purpose for your life…because he does. And maybe no one else is praying that for you. You guys are all amazing. Amazing in different, crazy, unique ways. And I love that about you. I love that about God! That He made us all so different. So unique. Some of you have blue hair. Some of you wear clothes that I would never wear. Some of you have a harder life than I ever had. Some of you came in telling me all about fact that you wanted to become a satanist. Some of you have said you were wiccan, catholic, confused, agnostic, christian. Some of you told me about the fact that you were being bullied, or that you were failing a class, or that your grandfather died, or that you were mad at your parents.
I promise you these things: I will never judge you. But I will also never be afraid to tell you the truth. There IS absolute truth. And I will never shy away from telling you about it if you ask. Sometimes I think you need to hear if you did the wrong thing! It’s always because I want what’s best for you! I want you to know that I think you are way too smart to be smoking pot, and way too cool to be hanging around people who do! I want you to know that even though you feel like no one likes you, people do like you, and you have so much to offer. I want you to know that cutting yourself is not the answer, and finding someone you can talk to about your pain is so important. I want you to know that I have cried for some of you when I saw you walking alone on the street, or telling me that no one likes you. That breaks my heart. I want you to know that you are going to make it. I want you to know that there are some tv shows you just should not be watching, and there are some people on instagram you should not be following. I want you to know that God is real, and He wants a relationship with you. I want you to know that there is no shame in asking for help. And I want you to know that you can dream big and do amazing things with your life if you choose to. I want you to know that I believe in you and I will never stop praying for you. And I want you to know that I will be there to help you accomplish any dream you have ever had.
So thanks a lot guys. Thanks a lot. It’s because of you and your stinking awesomeness that I am going to have to continue living in a place that has long winters and short summers.
But really. I love you guys so so much. And I am grateful for the small part I get to play in your lives. You are amazing. Truly amazing.

Love, Rachelle. (aka – hey you, get me a snack :) )

Threads, Kicks and Frosting ~ Dressing for Spring {Guest Post}

Spring is finally here! Well, if you live in North Carolina it is!
My sweet friend Gabrielle is my model for tonight’s fashion post, and she knows how to rock out the best outfits! Check out her adorable Spring look.

2015-04-15_0001 2015-04-15_00022015-04-15_0003The shirt is Forever 21 and you can find a similar one here. Peasant tops are very trendy right now, as well as off the shoulder tops with voluminous sleeves.

The pants are Chip and Pepper skinny cuffed ankle pants and you can find similar ones here.

The shoes are also Forever 21 but were purchased a couple years ago…Look here for something similar.

The awesome rings are from Maurice’s and Free People.

See? I told you she knows how to rock out the best outfits!

Gabby is not only super awesome at picking out outfits, but she is an amazing singer, photographer, and an incredibly godly girl who I am beyond blessed to be friends with.
You can check out her photography here. (she is based out of North Carolina) Her instagram here. And her blog here.

The beautiful photography was done by  Heather, (based out of Virginia) and you can find her photography here, and her blog here.

Mommy Monday ~ Teaching your kids how to deal with conflict

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No matter how hard we may want to, there is no way to keep our kids from dealing with conflict.
It is going to start when they are 2-years-old and someone takes the toy they were playing with.
And it’s going to continue for…well.. forever.
Sorry. It’s just how life works.

There are a few basic principles in dealing with conflict that I think will benefit your kids greatly.
It will actually benefit you greatly in your relationships as well!

1. Always be quick to listen, but slow to speak, and slow to be come angry. 
This is hard. I get it. Trust me. I have a major tendency to be quick to speak. It is so important that we teach our kids to be slow to speak and slow to become angry. Don’t let them make any rash decisions that will affect friendships long term. Teach them to listen carefully before they speak. Teach them to really think things all the way through before they make any decisions.

2. Never answer a matter before hearing both sides. 
This principle starts with you, mom. This right here, peeps. I gotta tell you… This principle is almost never followed by the people that I deal with on a daily basis.
It seems so obvious to me, but it does not happen enough.
This can start as early as a 2-year-old crying to you because her brother hit her! Don’t even think about correcting her brother until you have heard both sides!
It’s quite possible she bit him first! Ha!
As they get older, the same principle applies. If they come home from school complaining about the way another kid or an adult treats them? Don’t be so quick to make a judgment based on hearing their side alone. It is never, never a good idea. Teach them by example that you are going to hear both sides of a story, and you are going to get all the facts.
And before they start making a judgment call on a situation about other people, they need to do the same. There are always two sides to the story. Teach them to be wise and hear both sides before making a call.

3. Do go to the person who has offended you. 
Here is the most simple, effective tool you can teach your child. Did someone hurt their feelings? They need to go the person and try to make it right. Period.
I remember my mom teaching me this when I was 11. I was positive, a woman from my church did not like me. I told my mom this, and she said I had to do something about it. I had to go, as a child, and ask her if I had done anything to offend her! Can you even imagine?! I did the same thing when I was 13. I was junior counsellor at a girls week, and the senior counsellor was undermining any authority I had in front of all our little campers. I had to go to her by myself and tell her that it bothered me.
In both instances, we worked it out! It’s amazing what a simple little thing like this can do.
If your child has been offended by someone. They need to go to the person who has offended them and ask to make it right. Boom. Done. I don’t understand why this is not done more. It’s so obvious and so simple. You can then move on with life and not have to worry about it. I can not tell you enough how much this has helped me in my life. Teach it to your kids when they are young, so it becomes their first thought when they are older.

4. Don’t go to everyone else to talk about the person who has offended you. 
This might seem obvious, but this kind of goes back to #1. Teach your child to be slow to speak. They need to just let things cool off, and not be in danger of ruining someone’s reputation by talking bad about them. This also becomes your child’s reputation if it goes on! You want your child to be trustworthy. Teach them that this is one way they can maintain that kind of good reputation.

If your child has gone through all these steps, and still is not having the conflict resolved, it’s important to do step 5.

5. Always seek a large number of trusted counsellors. 
It is true that in the multitude of counsellors is safety. God is good, and prayer is important. But that is not what the Bible is talking about when it teaches this principle. Your children need to know that it is dangerous to start making decisions based on what looks right in their own eyes, but is not right in the eyes of God. It is important that they know who they can trust (a pastor, youth group leader, aunt or uncle, wise friends) and that they can ask advice without gossiping about a situation. It is always safer to have advice from wise people you can trust.

6. Never allow people who have hurt you to affect future friendships. 
People hurt people. It happens. I just had to have this conversation with one of my boys this week. Just because some people are not being good friends to you, it doesn’t mean that all friends are going to be that way. We have got to teach our kids not to become cynical and believe that the next friend will hurt them too. It just isn’t true. It is possible, yes. But it is not necessarily true.
And ya know what? It’s worth the risk. I have had so many people I thought were my true friends, turn their backs on me. But ya know what else? I have had many who have not. And if I had let myself believe that no one can be trusted and everyone is going to hurt me, I would have missed out on some pretty incredible friendships.

Hurt is a normal part of life, and it’s important that we are honest with our kids and let them know that. But it’s also important that we teach them the steps they need to take to handle the situations on their own.
Try not to get in the habit of feeling like you need to fight all your kids battles! We have enough of our own to fight! We are training them. Training them to go out and live life on their own. Teaching them how to deal with conflict as children is not only going to benefit them now, but it will benefit them when they are older and dealing with a boss, with a friend, with a spouse, or even with you!
Teaching your kids how to deal with conflict is not actually all that hard!
Start now.
You will be so glad you did!

How do I find peace when nothing makes sense?

Peace. It’s something that I have to admit I take for granted so many times.
Peace is not natural. It does not belong to everyone.
And how do I find peace when nothing makes sense?
True peace can only come from God.
See, the definition of peace is freedom from mental strife or worry.
The only way we stop ourselves from worrying is when we realize there is someone greater in control.
For people who don’t know God as the personal, loving Father that He is, they have to have trust in a human for control. Whether it’s trust in themselves, trust in a family member, the law, or even the government. Regardless, they have to be placing their trust in someone. Any human is subject to failure. Any one of us.
God is the only one who can always be trusted all of the time.

As I started thinking about the concept of peace, I remembered this Bible verse.
The peace of God passes understanding.

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Do you know what I don’t understand?
I don’t understand how bad things can happen to really good people.
I don’t understand why people die young.
I don’t understand why people you think you can trust, turn their back on you.
I don’t understand why there is cancer.

But do you know what I do understand? I understand the love of God.
Ephesians 3:19 talks about the fact that the love of God passes knowledge.
My knowledge is shown in all those statements above. My knowledge has proven all of those very things to be true.
I have seen bad things happen to really good people.
I have seen people die young.
I have seen people who I thought I could trust, turn their back on me.
I am currently seeing someone I love very much, die with cancer.

My knowledge. My understanding. It is limited. But when I understand the incredible love of a Father towards His children it pushes past my knowledge. When I understand the peace that comes as a gift from God for trusting Him, it goes past my understanding.
It makes no sense, but it’s true.
God loves. God loves me!
How can I do anything but trust Him? The Lord promises to give strength to His people, and He blesses us with peace.
It’s a blessing. A gift. And what greater gift could there ever be than peace from a God who is in complete control?

It’s mind blowing, really. And the only reason I lose my peace is when I start living life based on my own weak understanding. My own flawed knowledge. It’s not about me. It’s about the plans that God has for the world.

Peace. I can literally stay in perfect peace if I keep my mind focused on Jesus.
On His love.
On His plan.
The end of the verse that says how peace passes my understanding…guess what it says?
It says that it will guard your heart and guard your mind.
Guard them? From what? Peace guards your heart from distress! Isn’t that incredible?
What an amazing gift. Something that can protect and guard my heart from all the turmoil that is going on around me. It’s a gift. Yes, but we have to do something to get it!
We need to keep our mind stayed on God. On His Word. On His Truth.
When we do that, He gives us peace.
When He gives us peace, our mind and our heart is protected.
When our heart and our mind is protected? Everything in life is better.

God’s peace.
That is what I need today. That is what you need today. That is what we all need today.

Threads, Kicks and Frosting ~ Give me your make up tips!

Ok. Keeping it real. I love makeup. I am obsessed with these flawless faces that I see gracing my instagram on a daily basis.
But the truth of the matter is, I am clueless when it comes to makeup. I mean, seriously clueless.
Most of the time, I’m fine with it. I don’t really have time and don’t really want to wear a ton of it anyways. I’m a pretty low maintenance person all the way around. But.. I would like to know how to rock it out every once in a while!

So. Here is my daily routine right here.

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I know, it’s a lot to take in. I mean, imagine how long it must take me to get ready in the morning? But for those times I want to get realllyyy fancy, I add in this..

makeup2So here’s the thing. I am in a wedding next month in Washington, and it is filled to the brim with people who know how to deck.out.their.makeup. I can’t afford to pay to have someone do it for me, but I do want to look like I fit in with the rest of the bridesmaids!

What do you have for me? Tips, easy ways to apply? Good makeup brands? I’m not thrilled with the liquid eyeliner, so I’d love to see some other options. Give me your makeup tips!! 

Mommy Monday ~ When Monday feels like a four letter word

It’s Monday. The day when hubby goes back to work, and life has to carry on as normal. It’s typically the day you feel incredibly overwhelmed with laundry that has been left untouched all weekend and dishes piling up in the sink. Depending on your stage of life, you either have play dough stuck on the table and sippy cups with fermented apple juice under the couch, or you have dishes in every imaginable place and dirty soccer uniforms needing to be watched for practice that very night. Either way, it can be overwhelming. It’s like you can just feel yourself fighting to keep going when everything inside of you wants to go back to bed, hide under the covers and never come out again.
It’s real. The feelings are real. I’ve been there and will be there again and again, I’m sure. Monday is kind of like a four letter word, really. It sort of pushes you down and dares you to try and get anything done, or feel good about yourself. I would say that maybe I am exaggerating a little bit, but I don’t really think that I am! Feelings are strong and they can literally knock you out.
Life doesn’t stop moving. Sick, or not sick. Tired, or not tired. Grouchy, or not grouchy.
You gotta keep moving.

So how do you do that? It’s more than just a few more cups of coffee, and staying in bed isn’t an option. The answer? Staying focused. I know, that seems so contrite and lame. But the truth is that it is so important that we don’t look to the right or to the left…we need to keep looking forward.

What happens when I look to the left, before I even get out of bed, at my instagram feed, and I see that there are 12 moms who are posting selfies after their morning run? #running #fitmomforlife #gagmewithaspoon. I already feel like a total and complete failure because I can’t remember the last time I ran! My feet haven’t even hit the floor!! It doesn’t stop there! It is constantly in our faces…the home made baby food, the new house improvement, the business that is exploding, the kale smoothies (I swear…If I see another one of those AHHHH! I get it. You like #healthyliving #kaleforthewin #blahblahblah) All I am saying is this: it makes us lose focus. It might not even be social media for some of us! It can just as easily be a conversation we have with someone, or reading a magazine, watching tv, anything…getting sidetracked. It is so dangerous when we start getting distracted and losing sight of the plan God has for us. Not for the person to our left or to our right.

If you are in the middle of a life that includes changing diapers, getting up 8 times in the night and listening to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for hours, own it! Make it your own! That is God’s plan for you right now! It’s your life.
If running isn’t important to you? Don’t make it a big deal because it’s important to someone else!
Is home made baby food your passion? Rock that out. But if it’s not? Drop it. Who even cares? I’m pretty sure you 18 month old is not going to be thanking you for that.
Are kale smoothies really your ticket to a better life? Keep it to yourself! Ha. Joking.
But really, if it’s not your thaang. Don’t make it your thaang!

Maybe you’re in a different stage of life. Maybe it is more like being a chauffeur, going from soccer game to soccer game, having to have deep conversations about life with teenagers.
This is your life! Make it memorable! Look straight ahead, at your course. Your course is right before you, don’t get so distracted making sure you get your morning run in so you can instagram it, that you miss out on a conversation you need to have with your son.
Don’t get me wrong. I love running. I ran 2 marathons when my boys were little. I loved it and I would do it again. But it was all about time management! It was still making sure that I was staying on course, keeping focused on what was important to me. It didn’t make me better or worse than any other mom.

So today. If it’s a easy, kids are being good, haven’t bounced a check this week, got a run in, kind of a day? Awesome. I’m so glad for you. Because those kinds of days give us hope that we could have more of them!

But. If your day was a difficult, kids are fighting, no money, haven’t exercised and have managed to eat a half gallon of ice cream kind of day? It’s ok! You’re not alone, and you’re going to get through it. I promise you will! Find something small, and make it big. Did you get a hug from your 2-year-old in between fits? That’s great! See what a sensitive little angel she can be? Focus on the positive. Focus. Focus. Focus. Don’t look to the left, don’t look to the right, and don’t look behind you! Just keep walking. One foot in front of the other.
Think a little bit about the things you need to change, and a lot a bit about the things that you have improved in.

And if you need to? Stay off instagram. You don’t need the distraction, and you won’t miss much. Just stay focused.
You got this, girl.

Highlight reel of the last month

Life gets going faster than I can keep up with sometimes.

Here are a few highlights of the last month via my iPhone.

I got a waffle maker. Why did I not do this sooner in my life?
AJ and Ry had their first outdoor soccer games. Brrrrrr.
The Currier cousins were here. Family makes me happy.
AJ sprained his ankle. Not on his basketball team, or on his soccer team. But upstairs in Ry’s bedroom playing nerf basketball. Go figure.

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I babysat for my sweet niece Adi. Then I tried to remember what it was like when I used to rock AJ to sleep every night. A little different when he’s bigger than me.2015-04-03_0002 My studio is almost ready! AHHHH! So excited!
And the snow is almost all gone! Win.2015-04-03_0003

I was a contributing author in a devotional book!
Adam continues to blow me away with his constant servant’s heart. I always get a little bit emotional when I see my husband serving the way he does. His love for the kids from our town is amazing. He has put so much time and effort into so many kids. He doesn’t do it for appreciation, and it’s not often that he gets appreciation. But that makes it even more amazing to watch. I am so blessed.
We are getting the chance to pour our lives into the teens even more in a Biblical way by Young Life once a week! Loving the way God is working.

My sweet friend Joni drove THREE hours each way to do a promo video for The Porch. She is an amazing friend. It was so encouraging to be reminded that people are supporting us. And it was emotional for me to hear the kids say what they liked about The Porch. So many hours we have put in, and sometimes you wonder if it’s even making a difference. Then I’m reminded: I am called to be faithful and leave the rest to God.
It’s been a hard month in some ways, but so good in many other ways. I am always reminded of the faithfulness of God in my life…so grateful for everything He is doing in and through my little family.
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Threads, Kicks and Frosting ~ Wearing your heart on your sleeve

I know, I know…this is not technically a style and fashion post, but I have to say this: No matter what you are wearing, where your heart is makes a pretty big difference in how you look.

I like to be real with people. I like to be open and honest, and I guess you could say I wear my heart on my sleeve. But I have learned over the years to only wear so much of my heart on my sleeve. I always like to give people the benefit of the doubt. I like to trust people. I want to assume that you are going to be trustworthy and that you are going to be a faithful friend. But the truth is, that is not always the case. The truth is, friends come and go. And the truth is, some people are going to use things that you have been open and honest about, against you. It’s just how it is. And how I choose to deal with that going forward is my decision. I have to be careful! Because I don’t want to stop being open and honest with every new person I meet just because of bad experiences in the past. Wearing your heart on your sleeve in an intentional way is the way I have chosen to live and will continue to live…regardless of what people make of that.

It’s ok if people know what I’m passionate about. It’s ok if people know what drives me and what my life looks like on the inside. I try to live my life as open as possible so people know they can keep it real when they are with me. I sat at The Porch today outside with a group of teenagers (one of them sitting on my lap) as they told me about bullying that’s been going on towards them, family stories and all kinds of other things going on in their lives. Then I told them about when I was bullied, about things that have gone on in my life. And because I was open, they were open. No one likes to feel like people aren’t being real with them.

Life was meant to be enjoyed. It was meant to be open and honest and free. Because that’s the kind of life Jesus promises. He promises freedom. And that’s what I want. That’s what we all want. So instead of closing up. Pushing everyone away. Turning friends away because of fear. Because of the fear that they will judge you, that they will hurt you, that they will betray you…take the risk. Because ya know what? Maybe they will? But maybe they won’t! And maybe by turning people away, you are missing out on a really incredible friendship. And I always say, If you’re going to be hypothetical with what you think could happen, you might as well be hypothetical in a positive way! Assume the best in people. Don’t be afraid to be real. To be open. To be honest.
Wearing your heart on your sleeve is not a bad thing. Wear it intentionally and cautiously…but not too cautiously. When you are willing to open up and not be afraid of the outcome, you relieve stress that you bring on yourself. And when you have less stress, you look and feel more relaxed. When you feel more relaxed, you look more approachable. Get rid of the stress and enjoy a free life.

Are you wearing your heart on your sleeve? Maybe you should try it out. You never know what kind of awesome friend could come your way.

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Mommy Monday ~ Are we raising ignorant children?

Ignorance. It’s kind of running rampant these days. And I’m not just talking about the enormous amount of adults who don’t know how to use the words your and you’re correctly. I’m talking about basic, everyday decision making that is deciding futures.

Every once in a while, I will ask different teenagers at The Porch how they decide what is right and what is wrong. Do you know the #1 answer? Whatever feels right. Yikes. We are living around the majority of people who think that the way to find out if something is right or wrong is if it feels right. Well, I guess the results of that make sense.
When this is what you’re feeling: Depression. I guess that suicide, or cutting, or bullying might feel right. So it would mean that in that case it would be right. Right?

When this is what you’re feeling: Anger. I guess that beating someone up, school shootings, mouthing off to authorities, drugs or alcohol would feel right. So it would mean that in that case it would be right. Right?

Hm. What about this. What about if we gave you something that told you what was right or wrong and it didn’t have to do with how you were feeling? Wouldn’t that be a relief? You don’t have to trust in your ever changing feelings to determine right or wrong? I mean, after all. Your feelings are going to change based on your circumstances, how much sleep you’ve had, how much you’ve eaten and a few other things. So it would be way easier to just give you something to go by! And that is exactly how we are called to raise our children.

I was thinking about the verse in 2 Corinthians 2 that says this:

We are not ignorant of his (satan’s) devices. The verse is in reference to unforgiveness. If I have unforgiveness, satan gets an advantage on me. So I started doing some research on what exactly satan’s devices are. I am a competitive person. I do not like the idea of anyone have an advantage on me! I want everything going for me so I have a chance to win. I want the same for my kids.

How do I make sure that my kids have the advantage in life? Well. I find out what satan’s devices are. So I did a little studying. Starting in Genesis. There are many ways that satan tries to trick us, but here are a few main ones.

1. Doubting God. Now you may just skim over this one and think, ya, ya, ya. I know there’s a God. But that’s not what I mean. Eve knew there was a God. But in the Garden of Eden she started doubting what God said, and what He meant by it. We show that we doubt God when we start disobeying his commands. When we start justifying our sins. When we start doubting truths about Him (like He loves us and has a plan for us) and commands by Him. (like speaking evil of no man, like answering a matter before hearing both sides, like staying pure, and many others) When we start doubting that certain things about God are true, and start doubting that certain commands are necessary? Satan is getting an advantage of us.

2. Staying angry. Ephesians 4 is clear that we are not supposed to let the day end with us being angry. We are told that we are giving opportunity to the devil when we do that. Giving him opportunity? No thanks. Not on my watch!

3. Having bitter envying and selfishness. This is crazy, because James talks about how when we have bitterness and become self-centered? He calls that devilish and tells us not to lie to ourselves and justify our actions. Weird, right? Because bitterness, envy and selfishness don’t really seem like the biiiig sins, ya know? It seems like oh just a little bit of…let’s call it irritation. And I’m not bitter, I’m just not going to let anyone do that to me again. We are pretty good at justifying our sins, but when we do that, satan gets the advantage!

Why do we feel like we’re winning when satan is getting the advantage?!?
We are not winning! 
Just yesterday in church, my dad said that satan is subtle. The sin doesn’t leap on us, it creeps on us. So true. We don’t fall all the way in one day. It’s a little bad choice here, and a little bad choice there. And before we know it, we have completely lost the advantage and we are losing. I hate losing.

There are many others, and I would encourage you to do a study yourself of all the ways satan can get an advantage on us and on our kids. Don’t you think that would be the safest? When I hear parents who are letting their kids be free, and think for themselves, and base their decisions on their feelings…it scares me. Because they don’t even realize that they are setting their kids up to lose. They don’t see it like that, but what enemy is going to tell you his plans? Duh. None, if they’re smart! You don’t see coaches texting the opposing coach during a game to let him know his play calls. That would be stupid. It’s the same in life. If we don’t let our kids know the potential dangers and tricks that the enemy is planning, we are setting them up for failure.

Ignorance is not what we want for our kids. But so, so many parents are raising ignorant children. It’s ignorant to tell your child there is no right or wrong. It’s ignorant and it’s dangerous.

Let’s be sure that we are first finding out satan’s tricks and devices for ourselves. And then let’s be sure and tell our kids what they are. Don’t be ignorant of satan’s devices!

Ain’t nobody gonna get an advantage on this momma! The Chase’s are playing to win.

I don’t have time for lazy friends

I know that title sounds harsh, but wait and hear me out before you make your final judgment.

Ok. Life is short. I have absolutely no guarantee of my next breath. I could live to be 100 or I could die tomorrow and I literally have no idea which it will be. Because of the fact that I don’t know which it will be, it becomes very important who I am surrounding myself with. What kind of friends are you surrounding yourself with? Did you know that obeying God brings major benefits and blessings? I mean, major. Did you also know that disobeying God brings major discipline and opposition? Here’s what I’m trying to say. It is really important to me that I spend time with people who understand the benefits of obedience to God. Because I want my closest friends to be doing whatever it takes to make sure that I am getting benefits. I know that sounds selfish on my part, but I want to be that kind of friend as well. I also want my closest friends to understand the harm that can come to me if I choose not to obey. If they understand that, they will do everything they can to make sure I stay away from certain things. Make sense?

So when I say that I don’t have time for lazy friends, what I really mean is this. I want to be surrounding myself with the kind of people who understand that obedience will benefit me, and giving me excuses will harm me. If I have people in my life who understand that, they are going to work hard to give me the truth. And sometimes? The truth is hard to hear. But the people who really understand the benefits will work hard and will take a risk. The people who don’t understand that, will give me excuses, will help me justify my sin and will side with me every time. I don’t have time for people like that. Ain’t nobody got time for that! What if this is my last week?? And my friends have decided to let me make bad choices that affect my family and affect my ministry just because they don’t want to give me the hard truth and potentially hurt my feelings? I can’t have that! I just can’t. Anyone can find those lazy friends. The ones who are always willing to go out for drinks and help you “forget” about your problems. But let’s be real. Those aren’t the hard working friends.

I could write story after story of times that I have had friends give me the hard truth. I know it’s hard. I didn’t always like it at first. But I knew it was what I needed. I need my friends to be willing to work hard for me. And I want to be working hard for you too. The lazy way out is to be silent. The hard way is to be lovingly and brutally honest. It’s hard. Yes it is. But it is the kind of friend I want, and the kind of friend I need. Because I want some stellar benefits, baby.

So no offense. It’s not like I still won’t love on you and still won’t hang out with you if you’re a lazy friend. But the people who I am constantly listening to? Those are the ones I have to choose really carefully. Those are the ones who have to understand the way life works.  My benefits depend on it.

Are you being a lazy friend? Do the hard thing. Your benefits depend on it.

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