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That time I got cussed out at the grocery store

My trip to the grocery store began innocently enough. It was a busy time of day, right before supper, so the aisles were filled with shopping carts and kids as many parents tried to make a quick stop at the store. As the lone cash register lane got longer and longer, the woman behind me heard another line was opening up and asked me if I wanted to go first since I was next in line. I thanked her and made a beeline for the next available register.

It soon became apparent that no one was coming to open another register, and the kind woman behind me apologized and told me to come back and get my original spot in line. I had my three children with me and was eager to get home after a long day. As I began unloading my groceries on the original register, a third woman noisily began to berate the woman behind me for what she felt was cutting in line.

As a lifelong avoider of conflict at all costs, the stress level in me instantly began to rise. It was clear there was a misunderstanding, and I went out of my comfort zone to apologize to the angry woman and explain that the woman behind me had just moved out of line in order to let me back in.

It was then that expletives and harsh name calling began. Not toward me (or by me) but toward the original woman who had tried to help me. Things escalated from there, and my stress quickly turned to what I believe was righteous anger. It was as if things came into focus, and I saw the situation for what it really was. One human being felt it was OK to treat another human being like she was nothing more than a dirty piece of trash. In fact, that’s exactly what the first woman was called, just with more expletives. I knew I had to speak up.

“No. You cannot talk to her like that. She is a human being! She deserves to be treated with dignity! Her children are here, and my children are here, please do not speak like that. She was simply trying to help me.”

It was then that the angry woman turned on me. My children heard the venomous words spewed toward their mother and the first woman. I remained calm but was thankful a security guard stepped in and asked the woman to leave. My oldest daughter was visibly shaken and close to tears.

The entire front of the store observed the exchange. Heads were shaking as the woman left. We all tried to proceed with normalcy. But I could not shake the feeling that I needed to speak up again to the woman who had verbally been attacked. The woman tried very hard to contain her emotions, but I knew she couldn’t possibly be alright. Her face was covered in some kind of birthmark that no woman would want to look at in a mirror each day. She looked tired and haggard as she held one child in her arms. Her husband didn’t speak up or defend her. I turned back to face her and said, “I am so sorry that woman said those terrible things to you. They aren’t true. You are a human being created in the image of God and should not be spoken to like that. Thank you for helping me.”

We ended up walking out to the car behind her and her youngest child. I said “thank you” one more time as I pushed my cart of groceries and kids past her car. She turned to look at me, and I could see tears were streaming down her face.

Embracing the teachable moments

The kids and I quietly unloaded our groceries. When the doors were closed, I began to help our children process what had just happened.

“Why did I tell the angry woman to not speak like that to the woman who was trying to help me? Why is it not OK to treat another person like that?” It brought tears to my eyes to hear all three children answer, “Because they are made in the image of God.”

You see, lately, we have been trying to help our children, ages five, seven and nine, understand this very concept of being created in the image of God.

  • When our daughter uses her words to hurt our oldest son, we remind her that he is a human being created in the image of God. He deserves to be treated with dignity.
  • When our sons fight over a game or a toy, we remind them that their brother is more important than an inanimate object. Their brother is a human being, created in the image of God.
  • When we watch movies or shows that show a person being cruel or mean to another person, we point out that every human is created in the image of God and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.
  • When we’re around the dinner table, we sometimes talk about treating the elderly and those not yet born with the same kind of dignity that we should give to each other.

I believe this random altercation at the grocery story helped attach roots to these seeds of truth we’ve been trying to plant in our children. And it also became a teachable gospel moment. While my oldest accused the angry woman of acting like a five-year-old (and she was), I was able to talk about how I often act selfish and angry. “I am no better than that woman who was mean to the other woman. She needs Jesus to save her from her sins just like I do,” I told my children as we drove out of the parking lot. We all left the grocery store a little shaken, but I left with a deeper faith in the God who finds value in every human being created in his image.

I encourage you to use today—and every day—to teach your children about the dignity of all lives. It is a gospel issue. Teach them to see that all human beings are worthy of respect and all human beings are in need of the wonderful saving grace that comes from Jesus alone. It will change how your family interacts with others, how you speak to your children, and it will remind you of your own need of the gospel.

I originally posted this on ERLC.com. I am resharing it here on my blog in an effort to talk about what it means to be pro-life. Being pro-life means more than speaking up for the unborn. We MUST speak up for the unborn. Hear me say that. But we must also speak up for life as a whole. This woman in the grocery store was being treated like she wasn’t even human. This is not ok.

If you want to learn how to be a voice for life in your community, as well as participate in the annual March for Life in D.C, please consider joining me as I will be attending the Evangelicals for Life conference on Jan. 26-28, hosted by the ERLC and Focus on the Family. Speakers include Matt Chandler, Russell Moore, Eugene Cho and many others. Save 20% off your registration cost with this code: EFLJM

Being pro-life is more than a march

Next January, I get to participate in the annual March for Life for the first time ever. As an evangelical Christian who believes that all people are made in the image of God, I am definitely pro-life.

This will be a unique experience for me because I’ve never done something like this, but also because I get to represent the organization I work for on social media. If you’ve followed my blog for any amount of time you know that I’m one of the biggest social media geeks out there. I’ve helped women use social media to start their own blog, I’ve written about why MLM people fail on social media and much more. So to do social media for an organization I love during an event I believe in, well, it’s kind of a dream come true!

The next few days I’m going to be writing about what I really think it means to be pro-life, because it IS more than just a march in Washington, D.C. It’s also more than standing up for the rights of the unborn as I hope you’ll see. Please follow along with me and tell me what it means to you to be pro-life!

evangelicals for life

If you are a follower of Jesus and you believe that all people, from the unborn to the elderly, have value and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, I highly encourage you to consider joining me in Washington, D.C next month. Evangelicals for Life is a conference that takes place ahead of the March for Life and it’s put on by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and Focus on the Family. You’ll be able to hear from Matt Chandler, Eugene Cho, Russell Moore, Albert Mohler, Kelly Rosati, and more. I can save you 20% off the cost of registration with this code: EFLJM. I would love to see you there! Register here.

Thank you, America.

I almost cried at the polling station today with my three children standing near me.

All around me stood people who were most likely voting differently from each other.

There were elderly citizens using walkers to get to the voting booth. A high school student in front of me was voting for the very first time. I wasn’t the only mom with kids taking it all in through their small eyes.

Outside the polling station, a black man passed out political flyers for his Missouri state candidate. Nearby, a female Trump supporter held a sign near Clinton supporters.

Everyone waited patiently in line. Everyone followed the rules. The polling station volunteers were kind and helpful.

As I stood in line observing everything I saw, reflecting on this very crazy 2016 election, I really did become emotional and almost started crying. In my mind, I envisioned a bolder version of myself standing atop a table a la Robin Williams in “Dead Poet’s Society” and saying to everyone in the room:

Will you all look at this? How beautiful is this?
We are all exercising our right to vote for our leaders. All of us. The young and old, the educated and uneducated. Black and white. Male and female. All of us.
And we are doing it peacefully.

I would, of course, then climb down from the table to the shocked and embarrassed children I brought with me. But I would still believe everything I said.

It really is amazing. Please don’t miss this about our country. We have such a deep-seated belief that every adult citizen has the right to vote that we would never dare interfere with that.

If we didn’t truly believe in equality in American, perhaps we would become violent every 4 years to stop “The Other” from voting his or her conscience/preference/political stance.

But we don’t.

Every 4 years, we all calm the heck down on election day and patiently wait in polling lines with people who will vote differently than us.

This is amazing.

Thank you, America, for already being great. Thank you, America, for already being strong together on election day.

thank-you-americaFellow citizens. Because you were strong and great today, I get to vote. And my children watched me vote amidst a very calm environment.

Which is awesome because I want them to look forward to the day when they get to cast their own vote without fear.

Thank you, America. No matter the outcome, I’m genuinely proud of you today.

Poldark: The best show you’re probably not watching

Last summer, I came home one day to my husband telling me about a show he’d caught on PBS. It was a BBC drama cabout a British captain who returned from the American Revolution to find his father dead, the love of his life engaged to his cousin, and his estate in ruin. It had an odd name that I had a hard time remembering: “Poldark.”

My first thought was, “Meh. Maybe I’ll watch one show with Jesse just because he enjoyed it so much.”

By the end of the first episode, I was utterly and completely hooked. And yet as I talked about it on social media like I often do, I realized very few people even knew what I was talking about.

A few weeks ago, my husband Jesse and I decided we would rewatch Season One in anticipation of Season Two, which premieres on PBS September 25th. Last Monday, I posted on Facebook about the show and encouraged people to watch it. In the last 24 hours, I’ve had at least 10 people tell me they are almost done with Season One, have binge watched Season One or are completely done with it and LOVE IT. Literally, people have texted me today, private messaged me on Facebook, commented on my post from last week, or told me in-person how much they are enjoying the show. So this leads me to believe that many of you would also love “Poldark,” but you just probably don’t know it.

I know, I know, everyone is into “Stranger Things” right now.

Yet I promise you, “Poldark” is a show you’ll want to see, for so many reasons.

First, the setting is absolutely beautiful. It’s the late 1700s and Ross Poldark has an estate outside of town. With a tricorn hat upon his head, he rides his horse to and fro along the Cornwall coast of England. Towering cliffs give magnificent views of the sea. Every time the opening sequence plays, I say, “It’s just so beautiful!” Every. Time.

Secondly, the characters are well developed and deep. You learn to really hate the villains and really love the hero (which is usually Ross). But more than that, each character has a well-placed role in the story. Not one person feels thrown in. Ross’s cousin has you feeling sorry for him in one scene and in the next, you want to give a big Liz Lemon eye roll at his childish antics. I also love that the characters develop well over the series. I find myself wanting to know more about their lives and their hearts. I know, I know. It’s a show.

Thirdly, the historical setting is perhaps even better than the physical setting. The late 1700s is not exactly modern times. For the upper crust of society, life is grand, but not that grand. Don’t feel too bad for them, though. They still have a far better existence than the poor of Cornwall. Copper mines are closing and many are out of work while the rich still enjoy lavish parties and a good roof over their heads. It’s this social divide that probably makes “Poldark” so appealing.

We love seeing the underdog win. We love seeing injustices righted. With “Poldark,” you will find yourself rooting for Ross as he fights tooth and nail against his own class of “gentlemen”. As my cousin wisely pointed out, “Ross basically always tries to do the right thing, bad things happen, then everyone hates him.” For example, he tries to stand up for a poor young boy who is about to face a terrible sentence for a minor crime. The boy was poaching on someone else’s land so that he could feed his family. The rich, arrogant magistrate has absolutely no sympathy and ignores Ross’s pleas for mercy on behalf of the boy. Time and time again we see Ross walking a fine line between the class of his birth, and the peasant class he attempts to serve by providing jobs, food, and shelter. He bucks the social rules of his class while also trying to maintain them as needed.

Lastly, the love story that unfolds is truly beautiful. I simply cannot go into detail without giving more away of Season One. But seriously . . . it’s so very good. To see true love blossom, even if it starts out quite rocky and even if it starts out pretty inappropriately, overall, it’s a beautiful love story that you only hope lasts forever.

“Poldark” seems to be just under the radar at this point in the US. I hope that with the premiere of Season Two, it will gain momentum because it’s definitely on par with “Downton Abbey.” I cannot wait for the second season to start and I hope you can catch up with Season One soon. Find it on Amazon Prime, and let me know what you think of Season Two, which aires on PBS on Sunday, September 25th!

If you already watch “Poldark.” tell me why you love (or hate) it!

*Featured image from PBS.org

 

Why going to counseling is the absolute worst

It may seem weird to be sharing this post on the same day I announced on Facebook that my husband is a counselor at the newly opened Emmaus Counseling center with Emmaus Church.

I mean, I’m basically telling you all that going to counseling is amazing, and totally worth it and that you should do it. “Errbody needs to go to counseling” is what I literally say all the time.

But I also want to be real with you and tell you that going to counseling is the worst. 

Last month, Jesse and I finished up an entire year of marriage counseling. An entire year. I am not going to go into all the details of what landed us in the counselor’s office. Maybe another day Jesse and I will share more of our story, but for today, I want to tell you why going to counseling is actually the worst . . . and why it’s the best thing we have ever done.

Counseling is exhausting. It’s not physically taxing to get ready for the day, drive to your appointment, and sit in a nice comfy chair for 50 minutes. That’s easy. But somehow, after a counseling session I often felt incredibly worn out. All I wanted to do was go home and lay down. And trust me, there were many times I did just that. Sometimes, if it was just me, I’d head to a nearby mall and let Colton play in the play area so I could simply sit and do nothing but think. When you go into counseling with a desire to be real and vulnerable with your counselor and spouse, you will feel emotionally exhausted at times and it can manifest itself physically.

Counseling reveals a lot of junk about yourself. When we began marriage counseling, I knew I’d probably be faced with some of my own demons. After a few months of focusing on our marriage, we started going individually as well. In my personal sessions, I could not ignore the things about myself that simply had to be talked about. It kind of got ugly (for me) when I took a long hard look at my own sin issues, my own neediness and my own personality that I sometimes wished I could change.

Counseling is not a quick fix. The day Jesse told me he’d scheduled an appointment with a counselor for us, I was so relieved. In my head I said, “Finally! Now we can get us functioning in a healthy way within a few months!” Ha. Here’s the thing about counseling. You go into counseling with a plan to address “the problem.” But then you find out that “the problem” is really just a symptom of a bunch of other things that you desperately need to take a look at.  Pornography, addictions, insecurities, boundary problems with in-laws and other issues are usually just symptoms of things you’ve tried to ignore for a long time, hoping they’ll go away. Nope. They don’t. So instead of getting our marriage “fixed” in a few months, we spent a whole year in counseling. Some weeks, Jesse went by himself, I went by myself and then we both went together. If you’re good at math, that’s 3 times in 1 week! It took a long time to feel like we’d moved on to a healthy place in our relationship.

Counseling is kind of embarrassing. I cry really easily. Really easily. And I hate that about myself. If I’m embarrassed, I cry. If I’m happy, I cry. If I’m being praised for something I did well, I cry. So imagine how I felt crying at least one a week with my counselor? Yeah, it’s kind of embarrassing. If I’m a 10 on the crying scale, Jesse is a 1. Maybe a 0.5. He never cries. But it’s still embarrassing to talk about the things from your childhood that have scarred you. If you have to admit something about yourself that you despise, that’s embarrassing. As a culture, we aren’t very good at telling even our best friends our genuine thoughts. Doing this in a counselor’s office takes a lot of vulnerability on your part.

So counseling is basically awful. And this is why you should go.

Counseling is exhausting, but it’s worth it. Do you want to continue with a bad marriage or debilitating personal problems the rest of your life? Or can you endure a season of your life that will wear you out, emotionally and physically? (I lost massive amounts of hair and was chronically tired due to emotional stress.) Is it worth it to you to have a healthier life? If so, then go to counseling. 

Counseling reveals a lot of junk about yourself, but learning to deal with who you are is far better than pretending to be someone else. A lot of us believe lies about ourselves. Either past trauma, abuse or insecurities have made us think things about ourselves that aren’t true. When I learned to have grace with myself, I also learned to have grace with my husband. He is created in the image of God and so am I. When I had to face my own junk, I learned to thank God for the way He uniquely created me and that led me to thank God for creating Jesse in the way He uniquely created him. If you’re still trying to live someone else’s life because you hate your real self, go to counseling.

Counseling is not a quick fix, but most things of high value usually cost time and money.  It took time and money out of our week and bank every time we went to counseling. But our marriage is something of high value to us so it was worth every second and every penny! Who cares that it took a year to “graduate’ from counseling? We were willing to go longer if need be! We actually plan to do 6-month “check-ups” with our counselor because we think counseling is that beneficial. We really do. If you’re willing to put in the time to get healthier, go to counseling.

Counseling is kind of embarrassing, but in the end, I really don’t care what anyone thinks. On counseling days, I had to let our kids’ school know that I had to pick the kids up early “for an appointment.” I wondered if the kids would tell their teacher “we are going to counseling” and I would feel embarrassed just thinking about it. Honestly, I long for the day when people aren’t embarrassed to say that they go to a counselor, or have been to a counselor, or want to go to a counselor. Don’t let embarrassment stop you from getting help. What is more important to you? Your marriage or what your child’s teacher thinks of you? One will only be in your life for a year. The other, for a lifetime. Care more about your own mental health than what others think and go to counseling.

So there you have it. Going to counseling is the worst. And it’s the best thing Jesse and I have ever done. It radically changed our marriage, for the better. God used a year of counseling, authentic friendships, good books and Jesse to really help me grow into a much healthier person. I still have a long ways to go. (Sanctification is also not a quick fix, ya know.) Jesse and I will always have issues in our marriage that we’ll want to improve. But that’s ok! We got to the core of all of the big major issues in our relationship that were stunting our grown, and pushing us apart.

Please consider going to counseling if your marriage is struggling. Consider it even if your marriage is seemingly “well!” If you’ve been a victim of abuse, trauma or simply find yourself having a hard time dealing with life right now, I strongly urge you to find a good Christian counselor in your area and get help. There is no shame in going to counseling. I did it, and I survived. No scratch that, I did it and now I’m thriving, thanks to my counselor, my husband, and a very good, good God who is long-suffering and forever patient.

To find out more about Emmaus Counseling here in the Northland of KC, read this post. 

Want to know who we went to for counseling? We went to Peace Partnership down in Lee’s Summit and saw Cary Corley. We both highly recommend him and Peace Partnership!

My glorious 2 months of bliss . . . without social media

A funny thing has happened since I took a Facebook and Instagram break on January 1.  I’m actually . . . content. I would have never said I was discontent before. I like to think I’m a fairly optimistic person with a positive outlook on life. But something happened when I signed out of Facebook and Instagram these past two months. And maybe it had nothing to do with me being off of social media . . . and maybe it did.

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