How to Pray

“Ask, and the gift is yours. Seek, and you’ll discover. Knock, and the door will be opened for you.” —Matthew 7:7 TPT

Most of us know the verse above by heart, or at least have heard it recited at church or on social media. It seems so simple, so cut and dry. If I ask God for ____ I’ll receive it?! That’s all I have to do?!

Throughout my life I have prayed in different ways and for different things. Typically, what I was taught at each church I attended built upon the next. Just as our maturity in Christ should be ever-growing and expanding upward, so my knowledge and experience about prayer equally grew.

That being said, I’m still just a babe in my understanding of it! And my recent spiritual setback hasn’t exactly helped. But I feel it in my heart to share the things that I have learned in the hopes that you would avoid some of my frustrations and misunderstanding concerning how to pray, how to hear, and how to receive.

So here it goes! Let’s take a look at some more verses on the matter:

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14)

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Ephesians 6:18)

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6)

…The list goes on, following a theme of thankfulness and faith with the promise that God hears and desires that we live a prayerful life.

But then we find verses like this:

“…But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do” (James 1:6-8)

“You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3)

There are more verses supporting that prayers made by a wicked heart (unrepentant) and intent are not heard by God. But also that those who do not listen to God are in turn ignored during their time of desperation.

“…And just as He called and they would not listen, so they called and I would not listen…” (Zechariah 7:13)

This of course supports the notion that prayer and its success is dependent upon our relationship with God. Certainly at the very least, we cannot expect to hear God if we can’t even recognize His inner voice. This only comes through relationship and if you want to know Him and His voice—that first comes from reading His Word.

So let’s review our list so far of what we have learned about prayer:

1. It requires relationship. Obviously there are circumstances God has heard and responded to the prayers of those who have yet to truly walk with God. Such as children, or those who just began their Christian walk. God is merciful after all.

2. It requires humility and a truly repentant heart. In other words, someone who is saved and whose motives are pure-minded. God isn’t a magical wish granter, but Almighty and worthy of our respect and reverence. You can’t fool Him with dishonesty (He sees the heart behind your words).

3. It requires trust (Faith). Surprise! Not. You have to stand on His truth and His promises. To doubt in His ability, goodness, or willingness is to place more faith in the devil and his schemes. It is to fear (misplaced worship) the devil more so than God. Be honest about this with God and pray for more faith and belief. Read God’s word to grow your faith!

4. It requires the Spirit. The Spirit is God with us. Oftentimes your prayer’s answer and even someone else’s! will come through the Spirit in that He is the bridge or conduit between God and man. Prayer isn’t usually a disembodied letter we speak out, seal up, and send to the stars. In fact, it’s a conversation, a back and forth banter between friends. To pray without ceasing it literally to talk/listen to the Spirit and for Him to respond through his inner voice or through His leadings. Deeper but not unlike how you would speak to your spouse or close friend. The Spirit also prays on our behalf when we don’t have the words.

5. It requires thankfulness/praise. Many verses tie the two together. And even Jesus demonstrated this to His disciples when He taught them the Lord’s Prayer. Begin every prayer with praise, not just because it gives glory where it’s due, but because it re-centers your heart on peace and joy (the blessings you have already been given). A life of thankfulness leads to a joy that is not dependent on prayer’s response.

So in summary, to know God is to share His Heart and Will. Prayers that are non-selfish and pure are heard by the Lord.

A born again believer carries the Holy Spirit within them which means that they carry salvation (when God looks at you He doesn’t see your sin or old self, but Jesus). As well as the ability to not only hear God, and feel His leadings, but to even be the answer to prayer in one another’s lives. We have authority paid for by Jesus to do many things. Among which include (cast out demons and heal the body).

The believer who studies and reads God’s Word, the Bible, grows in relationship and recognition of His voice (discernment). The Word also has power when spoken aloud and memorized (stored in the mind to be used later as fiery weapons against the enemy).

The prayerful believer is one who is always aware of God (Holy Spirit within) and talking/listening to Him as if He were beside you. Just as with a best friend, you aren’t always speaking but you’re always aware of each other’s presence.

And lastly, the prayerful believer lives a life of faith and trust in their best friend, and putting to work their faith, and recognizing all that God has done for them, both seen and unseen—this proves He is all that He says He is.

I want to finish with a thought that struck me today. And that is:

God doesn’t respond to our need. He responds to our Faith.

I believe that my problem as well as many of you reading, is that we ask God out of desperation and want and speak to Him very little the rest of the time. We come trembling before Him, not over our reverence for Him but over the crushing weight of our trials. We doubt. We disbelieve, we pray as a last resort and not our first go to.

We set expectations on God in how He will answer us when really our only expectation should be that He will answer. Faith is simply expecting God to move and trusting that He will provide at just the right time (which usually isn’t on our timing) and in His own way (for He knows what’s best for us).

It’s like taking a leap off of a cliff knowing He will catch us. Or like, in the Bible, Abraham, knife poised ready to kill his son because he believed God would fulfill His promise and save him in time.

Our trust and faith should be just as unwavering and sure. And let me tell you, it will look like insanity to the world who craves assurance, tangible, and scientific fact.

My prayer to all of you is that you will prioritize prayer and Bible reading again in your lives. The world craves it even though they do not know what they want and need. Times are darkening before us and we must choose to either fade into the black or shine brighter still with the truth of Jesus and the works of His Holy Spirit within us.

Reflect on the prayers you have uttered. What was your heart posture behind them? Did you have expectations or doubts? Did you thank God first? Did you come to Him as a first or last resort? Did you listen to His response or leading in your spirit? Did you fail to see His response because you had preconceived ideas of how He would answer you and by which method that answer would come?

Keep and open mind, journal your prayers, and make it a conversation again instead of a formal long distance affair.

God hears you…

He is always speaking to you…

And…He loves you.

Upside Down

“For you formed my inward parts; you covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” —Psalm 139:13-14

From the moment the pregnancy test showed two faint lines—I knew I was going to be a mother.

Everything changed in that moment of understanding. God had blessed me with a gift, a human being. And it was something to be celebrated regardless of the “how” we would prepare for this new arrival.

The finances, the pregnancy hurdles, my job, all the things we needed…those unknowns paled in comparison to the joy. God would not abandon us, nor our unborn child.

As we prepared, our selfish ways began to melt away. And continued to do so long after our son was born. As is the way with parenthood, we are changed. Willing to sacrifice it all for our kids. They are our legacy—God’s precious jewels, paid for by the blood of Christ. The kings and queens of every nation. Born for such a time as this…

And worthy of protection above all else.

Only…they aren’t protected, far from it in fact. And instead of us willing to die for our kids, now we expect our kids to die for us??

Women are forgetting their own value and identity. So much so that they are killing their offspring and calling it good.

The very same evil that Israel fell into in the Old Testament:

“They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to false gods . They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood.” (Psalm 106:37-38)

Today, we sacrifice our children to other idols, the idol of self. Convenience killing. The idol of Feminism. Not the same feminism which once fought for the right to vote, for equality.

This breed of feminism is birthed from a lust for power and to “be” god or the heads of society. The curse against women, was that they would desire to control or rule over their husbands (Genesis 3:16). This began the power struggle between genders.

Of course, through Christ, these curses no longer have influence in our lives. If we are born again, the old self is gone and the new is here. Christ took the sins of the world upon Him so that we could start anew—as blameless as we were in the garden before the fall.

Sadly, much of the world still clings to the fallen man, unrepentant, unchanged because they do not know Christ or have His Spirit within them. If our identity is not in Him then it will be in another—in this case, self/gender/sexual orientation.

Sin is never satisfied where it is, but continually seeks more until death is the result. Like a drug addict, the sinner spirals deeper into deception, and the devil of this world laughs. He knows mankind and our pitfalls, just as he knew Adam and Eve’s. There are no new tricks up his sleeve and none are needed.

And he deceives us so craftily that we don’t even realize it. Like with Eve, he feeds us half truths, not blatant lies. He slowly leads us down a path we would have never taken at the start. And once down it we quickly forget where we were and where we were heading.

People who are lost in wickedness would never call themselves evil. The devil has slowly warped their minds with partial lies and manipulation, until they are brainwashed into believing good to be evil and evil to be good.

So it is with abortion, so it was with child sacrifice. The lines blur, black and white turns to gray, and the moral compass instilled into society through the Word of God, suddenly appears hostile and radical instead of freeing and righteous.

The protection of babies and mothers, the unique and vital roles of men and women, of the family unit all twisted and destroyed in the name of progression. As if this spiral downwards was actually going up, and mankind was becoming righteous by unbecoming it.

I am a woman. I am a wife. I am a mother.

Before all of this I was a child. I was a baby. I was a fetus. I was.

The devil hates God and His image bearers so much so that he will do anything to destroy us (since he failed to destroy God and His plans). He destroys us in many ways, knowing full well that simply killing us won’t do the trick since those who believe will return to God in Heaven.

No, he wants to rip us from God and condemn us to hell where he may torment us for all eternity.

How does he do this? Through attacking our identity, making us forget who we are and whose we are. That is why women hate the skin the were born with, the men who they are called to submit to, the children they were made to carry, the roles they were created for, their bodies—their actual gender! They are depressed, constantly searching for lasting joy and fulfillment, for purpose, and love that isn’t empty and twisted.

In this way they live yet are dead. They mock and blaspheme God by their rebellion and mutilation and sin. And the devil stomps on them with glee, making them low and sick and a banquet meal for demons.

“But what about the rape victims?” “What about this or that?” “What about the men?”

All these pointless questions and accusations over Roe v. Wade being overturned is making me ill.

What about the CHILDREN? It’s like watching a house burn and asking the home owners, did you save the phone charger? Hmm? Did you leave the curling iron on?

Let’s talk about these questions AFTER the unborn are protected! The less than 1% of pregnant rape victims, the responsibility of the fathers, the freak accidents or scenarios in which debates and discussions should be had can wait til after we stop the greatest genocide in all of history!

“Well I believe abortion is ok at conception” or “it’s ok at so and so a point or under these circumstances.”

No!

Evil begets more evil. Abortion began this way and now look at it. You can abort your full term baby! You can’t keep it at conception, it can’t be stopped this way. No compromises! You’re either for it entirely or against it entirely!

It’s time we take a stand! That we raise our voices over this issue for the sake of those who are voiceless and for the women as well! They are given misinformation, they are often treated like they don’t have a choice at Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion clinics that just want your money and your baby parts to sell! Fathers are also being stripped of their voice, it’s just as much their child. You want men to take responsibility? Allow them to have a voice in their children’s life!

This world is upside down and only we can right it again through revival and truth. And most importantly—love. A love that cares for everyone, every gender, every soul, regardless of where they are (born or unborn).

If we won’t stand for life, we stand for our own death.

Pray.

Volunteer at your local pro-life pregnancy center.

Sign up for March/Walk for Life. If there are no groups in your town doing this you can start your own.

Donate to pregnant mothers and offer them aid/counsel/support in any way you can. Pregnancy is hard (I know) but not impossible! Women need to believe in themselves and their strength again.

Support/follow activists and their organizations which offer other resources to these women and speak on our behalf on mainstream media and political boards.

Call out hypocrisy! Those who say they are brothers in Christ who are attacking the people and not the sin. This causes severe damage in reaching the lost and doesn’t save lives.

If I came across as harsh, please understand. I am zealous about this issue. If I died tomorrow I want my legacy to reflect that I cherish life and the life of innocent children most of all. I work as a Sunday school teacher and have a son myself. I see first hand the unique giftings each child brings to the world.

They are world changers.

Give them a world that can be saved.

❤️

Keeping Up Appearances

He had a nice car…

Clean and spotless in the driveway. His yard overgrown, weeds obscuring the old forgotten toys, which were once just as shiny new.

He had nice clothes…

Name brand shoes and latest trends, all hung in a closet, doorless and alit by a flickering light.

He had a nice wife…

Curvy, beautiful—Fake. With eyes that reflected only cellphone screens and secret lovers. Ears deaf to the cry of her children as they moved from one new distraction to another, looking for something to fill the void.

He had nice kids…

They clung to his name brand clothes as he walked out the door, placed their handprints on the fresh gleam of his car as he sped off. Another night, another fight.

He had a nice home.

With trash piled high, broken glass. Repairs neglected, and the smell of drugs in the air. But, it had a big yard, fenced in, a “do not enter” sign nailed to the gate. Pit Bulls growling at all who passed.

He had a nice life…

Parties, laughter, drugs…all rushing to fill the void his own childhood had denied him. Washing ashore only to find that he isn’t satisfied. Jumping back into the consuming sea again and again until he inevitably drowns…

His kids taken.

His wife already leeching off of another while his home is bulldozed to the ground.

The neighbors shaking their heads at the state of his life. Their words vague and empty of compassion or knowledge of this man or his family.

Admitting simply as they parted…

He had a nice car.

Forsaken

“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying…”my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?!”’

Why would the Father forsake His son?

This verse is listed twice in both Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34 which only adds to its significance.

On the surface, we find that it is a reference to David’s Psalm 22. Here he is lamenting over his enemies mocking him and even dividing/casting lots for his clothing (sound familiar?).

The Jews who were there as Jesus cried out would have caught the reference and its meaning; our human dependency or desperation for God and the acknowledgment of that dependency. This inner longing for our Abba (father) to rescue us.

Of course there is a lot more that can be said about this scripture. But one thing stood out above the rest for me. And that is that Jesus knows what it means to be fully man.

He took on the full weight of our sin in that moment, and in doing so this cut him off from God (His source). In that moment, I believe the Holy Spirit within him grew quiet and Jesus felt what sin had severed; our relationship with God.

How far we have come from the Garden. That we no longer remembered what it was our soul craves. Walking with our Father in the cool of the day…complete and blameless before Him.

Jesus felt that separation for our sake. That he could destroy sin’s death grip on us, abridging the gap between mankind and God, and so that he could speak on our behalf. He became our intercessor, the one who knows what it’s like to be human, and to face our weaknesses.

He was killed as a criminal, the scapegoat for our sin, even though he had never sinned…

He faced hell (as in essence—the core attribute of hell is separation from God’s presence), and set the captives free.

Now, we may not be in the garden. But it exists within us. The Holy Spirit. The most misunderstood of the trinity, resides within us. And we don’t know exactly what that means or what to do with it. Jesus was our example of what a spirit-led life looks like.

“(Jesus speaking) Nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” —John 16:7

I pray that this Easter, you would read the story or watch an accurate depiction of the story of Christ, His death, and resurrection. That you would rediscover what it means to carry His Spirit within us and to release it to move through us in the Earth.

For now, I leave you with this:

If you were the only one on Earth, Jesus would still have died for you. He was a conduit of the Father’s great love for us and there is nothing so great a sin that His love didn’t cover.

God bless you all.

Moving Forward

After an entire week of stomach bug, my son is finally acting more himself. Even still, he whines for sleep more than usual, and has been particularly grumpy and strong-willed toward literally everything I try to do throughout the day.

I keep declaring, “come on son, it’s time to move forward from this.” Because I know that once he moves, gets some fresh air, tries that first bite of food, gets a bath…that he will ultimately feel better for it.

Granted. It’s not easy to take those steps sometimes. Especially when we feel sick or worn down, or have gotten into a habit of dependency and a schedule of sleeping the day away,

Of course now, I’m speaking of us. My son is not the exception. He is human and therefore reflects our humanity.

We’ve all gotten into a rut before. Or have fallen into a pit and need to gather up the courage and motivation to claw our way out of it, knowing that God is beside us every step of the way.

Perhaps your rut is addiction, idleness, depression, or fear?

The world has been spinning at an alarming rate. Full of drama, exposed sins, historical moments that have a rippling effect on our lives and our futures that are, unknown, to some capacity. We watch the news thinking, “what’s next? Where do we go from here?”

Fear has frozen us. Depression has crippled our capacity to influence this reality, addictions have replaced God in our lives, sapping away the little time we have, idleness or laziness has set in and was even once praised during the pandemic. “Stay home, relax—you’re a hero for this!” The world smiled and saluted us. They promoted laziness and blind submissions which carry on to the present.

Well you know what? That was two years ago! The world is turning again, people are working, masks are off. Life must go on.

It’s time to move forward.

Remember the call God put on your life? Yeah, it’s still there. God didn’t take a vacation or break. He didn’t social distance Himself from you even as we pulled from Him.

If Covid taught us anything—it’s that we should take NOTHING for granted. Our loved ones and the time we share with them, our freedom of choice (which is crumbling in America), our privilege to protect those freedoms, our privilege to work and create with our hands, our gathering together, our voice, our skills and talents, our time, the privilege of helping others, of giving….

The list goes on….

God is doing a new thing, a shaking in the world to prune away the dead branches and rotten fruit. A revival is stirring and awakening the sleeper out of its tomb.

Only those who press in will get to see, taste, and hear what the Holy Spirit is doing in the unseen reality.

If you don’t want to miss this….move forward.

What does that look like?

For me, it looked like not missing church, or missing the meaning of church. We are all in this together as a family. I placed myself on an island in my depression and discovered that I never had to do that to myself. My church family was waiting to rush in and help. I had merely drew back the bridge.

It looks like opening your Bible again, blowing off the dust and just reading and then reflecting on what you read.

It looks like being still. Knowing that God is God and He is speaking. In the quiet moments looking up and saying, “your servant is listening.”

It looks like getting your butt out of bed and going outside. Making plans, working in the garden, painting or crafting, going for a drive….

It looks like inviting someone over.

It looks like journaling, blogging, and worshipping—giving praise amidst the storms and on the other side of them.

It looks like laughter and exercise, eating healthier, playing with your children. Turning off the TV or placing your cell phone on the table and not rushing to it every time it rings.

It’s taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly. Enjoying the sweetness of life and the ones we get to share it with. Making memories, going and supporting local businesses and shaking hands with those you meet.

Hugging, kissing, loving, being….

That is what moving forward looks like. And I promise you that if you will take these small steps (whatever they look like), you too will find freedom and, well, feel better!

I smile as my son laughs, the warm sun awakening the sleeper within him, as he plays and learns. The lesson: life doesn’t find us—we must embrace it ourselves.

One step at a time. God has hidden things for us to find in the “moving forward.”

Will you seek it out? Will you take that first step? Will you live, truly live?

The Only Option

I once had a dream in which a tornado was barreling toward our home. I remember thinking—my only option is to speak against it (use my God-given authority paid for by His Son to make it disappear).

Our house isn’t particularly safe. Living in Ohio we hardly ever have tornadoes large enough to level homes. There was no place to run and hide, death was coming, and if I didn’t take a stand we would surely die.

There was a peace that filled me once I realized that my only option was to trust God. I mean either the tornado would have to obey or I would meet Jesus. Either way it was a happy ending and I knew I was acting exactly as I should be. I was who I should be.

I raised my hand and called out firmly (defiantly), “STOP!” And just as the tornado touched my yard line, it dissipated into mere mist.

A visiting speaker during our ministry school once said, “consider it a gift when you hit a point in which God is your only option.”

We are so bent on doing things ourselves, striving and strategizing our own efforts and plans. Even as we face our giants we fight and struggle before relenting to a higher power.

And we go father still when, broken and defeated, we blame God for our state of being and begin to doubt in His Goodness. When all along He was ready and willing to fight our battles for us.

Miracles tend to happen (like tornadoes disappearing) when we don’t allow ourselves to think or feel and we just simply give it all to God. When we recognize that without Him we don’t stand a chance and that He works (desires to!) through us!

In marriage, Aaron and I had formed an agreement, a vow that divorce would never be an option. But we never made those same vows to God! Vows to never let doubt be an option, or fear/worry. That we would have no other option but to trust Him….this new perspective has given me a lot to think about.

We value our marriage so much that we set these vows in order to protect it. How much more should we value and protect our relationship with God??

I believe now is the time in history in which we need more men and women of God who are all out of options. That we would finally break free and become who we were made to be when we’re backed into a corner and have no other way out. That God would move and shine bright in those moments. And that we would never doubt Him again.

If you feel you’re in that place, if you feel your out of options….give in to His. Activate the gifting and authority Christ paid for that you’ve let collect dust. Recognize the Holy Spirit within you groaning to burst forth, and surrender it all to God, win or lose…He has the final say and to Him be the Glory.

A Mighty Wind

Journal entry: July 7th, 2017

A storm is coming. As I write, I can hear the constant stream of thunder. I watch the dark blue clouds roll in from Upper Sandusky and feel the electric excitement and slight tinge of fear, even now.

This storm seems to be, so far, the worst looking this summer. Appearance is always more intimidating…but even the sparrow knows you hold tomorrow God. I’d add something else there—the sparrow knows you hold today, this moment and the next.

It’s almost too dark to write now. The clouds are almost overhead. The wind starts…strong gusts breaking every dying branch off of our oak trees and blowing away every bit of dead debris and discarded trash by the roadside.

I am reminded of the Holy Spirit. When people say He is like wind, I think the image they envision first is that of a gentle breeze on a hot summer day. The Holy Spirit is God in us—He is very much like the windy storm or even a whirlwind. He comes into our hearts and washes us. He blows away our trash and any obstacles between us and God.

He breaks off our dying branches with great and mighty gusts of His power. And yet, through it all, He shelters us in the palm of His hand. He comforts us and sets us back on our feet.

Praise be to God!

I pray that I will always meditate on God’s Word and revelations when I am afraid. The Lord is my refuge! The Word of God is like milk and honey. It sustains me, calms me, and reminds me of God’s everlasting love and goodness.

Thank you, God….for storms.

Marriage or Singleness?

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” -Genesis 2:24

I married Aaron straight out of high school and never looked back. Our choice went against worldly reason and many around us believed we would fall apart—like so many young couples in our society today.

They didn’t view us through the lens of Christ but through that of the world. We knew our vows were being spoken before God and man. We knew that God would be the head of our marriage. And we vowed that the word “divorce” would never reach our lips.

This month, Feb. 22, we will be celebrating 8 years of marriage, which doesn’t include the years we spent building upon our friendship beforehand. Aaron is the only true God decision I’ve ever made. I know without a doubt that our marriage was destiny and God planned and Aaron would agree.

I suppose the reason for this post is to discuss the importance of singleness and marriage. That we should find completion and joy in both!

There is a push for young people to marry and have children, a romanticism in movies and tv shows surrounding marriage and a melancholy and impatience surrounding singleness. As if “I’m single” = “I’m lonely and desperate!”

The Apostle Paul, a man who was called to singleness, held some differing views on marriage. He talks about marriage almost pitying those who enter into the union. Why? Because he loves the freedom he experiences as a single man to pursue God. Marriage, in his eyes, is a distraction from wholehearted surrender. A concession for those who have no self control and would sin otherwise.

He says these things without commandment from God (1Corinthians 7:6). And so we are at liberty to either take his personal viewpoint or leave it. But I’m not saying that his words aren’t wisdom or Spirit led, only that what he says holds an undertone of emotion due to his experiences which are one-sided and non-objective.

His instructions for both married and single folk are important but his feelings should not make you feel ashamed for choosing marriage or particularly righteous for choosing singleness. The fact is, Paul stands for a small minority of people who do not struggle with passion or desire for physical intimacy. Paul was called to a life of sacrifice, suffering, constant travel, and unwavering focus.

I believe that through both Paul’s commitment and God’s design, he existed apart from this particular need/distraction. Otherwise, his heart would’ve been conflicted and he may not have been so selfless in his ministry.

In other words. Paul was made to be single so that he could do what only a single man could do. Not everyone has that call in which the only ministry focus is reaching the lost and not also ministering to our spouses and rearing children.

The Takeaway:

Pursuing singleness can be as disastrous as pursuing marriage if that is not what God has called you to.

So the core lesson here is what does God want for you and your life? What do you feel called to? What do you struggle with or have passions for? God isn’t looking for copycat Christians who want to be exactly like Paul, or Peter, or John…etc. He wants you to be _______ (insert your own name). No one else can be you!

And ultimately, He wants you to mirror Jesus. Not in every detail (for example, you don’t have to be a carpenter or travel on foot as a missionary), but He wants you to love like Him, obey like Him, and have a relationship like they share (Father and Son).

If you do these things you will please God and fulfill your unique call and destiny whether you are single or not.

In all honesty, I feel like Paul did a disservice to those who were married. No doubt because he had never experienced it for himself. Marriage, in many ways, is our design—from the moment Eve was created from Adam and they were joined because God said: “it’s not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18).

He created marriage that day and said it was good. The Bible is filled with marriage, the symbolic representation of Christ and the church (His bride). And how else are children born but through the union of man and woman?

I can personally attest that marriage has taught me to love better, has challenged me to grow as a Christian, has destroyed selfishness, and has broadened my spiritual impact because two oftentimes is better than one. (Even in singleness you need strong Christian companions/friends/family).

As for singleness, I’d like to say that I would’ve grown up far faster (worldly speaking) had I learned to be single for awhile before I married (I struggled to be independent on my own). Buying an apartment and facing life alone would have hardened and stretched me—I would have learned to first depend on God instead of meeting those needs in a spouse.

I found Aaron when I stopped searching and just followed after God. So gentleman and ladies—enjoy the single life, make sure your identity is in Christ and not in finding your “soul mate.”

Romance God. Chase after His heart first—because at the end of it all it really is just you and Him.

Earthly marriage is unto death, not eternity. Once we leave this life we are married and one with Christ. And so remember your first love and you will love everyone else all the more wholly. Including your spouse or future Mr./Mrs.

May God bless you wherever you are, and give you the righteous desires of your heart as you journey ever closer to His. Amen.

“Unplanned” Movie Review & Discussion

The story behind Abby Johnson, once a leading director for Planned Parenthood—now a pro-life activist.

I must admit, it took me a few years to watch this movie because of the subject matter. I am obviously pro-life and work with children on a weekly basis. Now I’m also a mother which sheds a whole new perspective on the matter of abortion.

It wasn’t long before I was bawling (the movie begins with Abby’s defining moment—which led to her immediate resignation from PP). From there, it then backtracks to her college days where, like many of us, she was young, naive, and oh so rebellious.

Movie Summary:

Separated from her Christian parents, she quickly fell into the devil’s schemes of deception and sin. She was intimate with a boy, became pregnant, and (out of fear/convenience) had her first abortion.

Later, she married the same guy, and quickly wanted out. He cheated on her and she divorced him—but not after discovering she was pregnant again. Hating her ex and not wanting to be tied to him she had another abortion.

In the midst of all this she became involved with PP, and even had one of her abortions through them. It was one of the most traumatic experiences for her because of the pain and blood loss—something that PP had not told her would happen.

Despite this, she was convinced into supporting PP and even working there after attending a college job fair. They fed her more lies; “it’s not a baby yet, you know?”, “PP’s goal is to lower the abortion rates not raise them.”

It was her first job. And it involved running out to the cars and hurrying patients indoors before they could hear anything from the pro-lifers shouting through the fence bars at them. She truly believed she was helping women and many of the pro-life voices were so full of hate that it deepened her commitment.

She moved up and up until one day she was appointed director of the clinic. This didn’t come quickly—she had remarried a good man and had become pregnant, this time, keeping her child against PP’s advisement.

As time passed, it became clearer to Abby that PP was actually pushing abortions over their other services, lying to patients about the risks, side-effects, and mental trauma, and manipulating women into killing their children instead of taking a neutral stance.

Abby witnessed more atrocities, the near death of a high school girl who was forced into getting an abortion by her father, the valuing of money and image over women’s health and safety, the heartless way they handled patients and worst of all—their unborn babies, was almost too hard to stomach at times.

Finally Abby’s defining moment came, one that would forever change her. She was called in to actually witness an abortion on an ultrasound. She stood in shock as the doctor, like some awful predator, pursued the baby, who struggled and fought to avoid him. In mere moments he had succeeded and the baby was ripped apart on screen for her to see.

She put in her resignation and faced for the first time the full weight of guilt and shame at what she had done. Hundreds, thousands of precious humans killed…and she took part in it, as well as in the death of her own two children.

PP sued her on unfounded claims and she walked free with the help of a lawyer and her new pro-life friends from Coalition of Life. Who has often prayed outside her clinic.

God walked her through repentance and self forgiveness and she has now dedicated her life to “life.” Literally so, in that she is a mother of seven children, a pro-life author (Unplanned is based off of her book), created and manages an anti-abortion ministry called “And Then There Were None,” which helps women leave the abortion field and regularly attends conventions and speakings.

Honestly, I thought the movie really opened my eyes to what happens in PP and other abortion clinics. The numb self denial and deception, the brainwashing, the dehumanizing way they treat babies and even the mothers is sickening when viewed from outside in. But to these women who are involved, they really don’t see it. They have no idea they are chained down and actually in many ways—anti-choice, anti-women, anti-life, and anti-God especially.

We see this anti-God in how Abby and her coworkers talk about church and their Christian families during the lunchroom scene.

Abby was told from the beginning that abortion was necessary, that they were merely a clump of cells, often formless and unable to feel pain. She saw the desperation in women and wanted to free them from it—not realizing that it only added to their pain and suffering. When she finally witnessed an abortion from the viewpoint of the fetus—she knew immediately it was life and capable of fear and pain.

The last shred of morality within her cried out and longed to save that which was innocent and good.

The modern day feminist is truly the death of femininity. The nurturing, life-giving aspect of women is being squashed and replaced with the pursuit of knowledge and power. The God of self.

After this movie I couldn’t help but hold my son close. Disgusted and ashamed of the ways we inadvertently support PP and it’s views in our society.

From the food we eat, clothes we wear, music and media we listen to, words we speak, makeup we plaster our faces with, and healthcare we empty our pockets to…

Vaccines, food preservatives, taxes…we’re the biggest supporters of the thing we hate. We keep these places in business and we propagate the need behind them.

Today, I researched ways in which I could fight against the grain of injustice. I discovered which major food/beverage companies support PP and even utilize fetal cells in the creation of its products. The list was insane! The abomination is so interconnected and hidden that even Gerber got away with it!

If you’re interested in this list here is the link: https://www.kingdomclaritylabel.com/news/a-comprehensive-list-of-food-companies-and-products-that-use-senomyx

This list I’m sure is not all-inclusive. But a good start—fortunately, the less processed foods and drinks you use the less likely it is affiliated. I try and stick with store brand and unprocessed items myself.

As for vaccines, I know almost all of us had many that were on the list. Both in childhood and given to our own children. The most recent of which, the COVID vaccines are no better (Project Veritas uncovered the truth behind their usage of fetal cells). Unfortunately, this knowledge isn’t exactly power over the vaccine mandates because in order to justify not complying over religious reasons—you would have to hold this stance with everything else.

In other words, I’ve seen healthcare workers file religious exemptions over this and still lose their jobs because they had either had other vaccines with fetal cells in them or had/have products in their homes that use fetal cells. You could claim ignorance if it were true, but because of the worldwide web—we have access to these facts one way or another and have to live with what we know.

I’ve recently made the decisions for my son to have his normal vaccines, I hold a stance against the COVID vaccine on accounts of it being dangerous/experimental and unnecessary. I also stand firm against it because of the political agenda behind it. But above all else I should stand against it for the fetal cells, the genocide of innocent children that was used to create it.

Should I also avoid all other vaccines that are affiliated? Polio…mumps…measles etc? It is a messy situation we find ourselves. In which we too have been brainwashed and have grown numb to the grey of this world. The line is blurry between good and evil at times…this should not be.

Lastly, I look into ways I could be a pro-life activist and saw that the options were rather limited. Not so in a spiritual sense but in a “what can I do with my own two hands” sense.

The only option was to volunteer at a pro-life pregnancy center near me. In our hometown this is called, “Voice of Hope.”

I had gone through the programs myself when I was pregnant since we are a single income family and they had such a surplus or resources like toys, diapers, wipes, clothes, and even free ultrasounds for women who can’t afford it.

Despite this, there is little else that these centers offer. At least that is the voice of many secular women looking for emotional support and financial help.

Women complain of the religious components of these programs, having to take lengthy courses in order to receive free clothing and such, and feeling misunderstood when it comes to their needs and wants. Most of the women who go to these centers are already planning on keeping their babies so it isn’t exactly reaching those who are on the fence or who are wanting abortions.

There is, I believe an answer for every need and it’s unique to each person. That is why I don’t personally discredit the existence of these centers. The truth is, every pregnant woman has multiple resources and paths to take—-not all of them are easy, but society still favors the women and her success.

Churches should be the ones to come alongside hurting mothers. Families, parents, grandparents, husbands….they all play a vital role in child-rearing! This “feminist” culture is destroying the family and in destroying the family they are destroying women and their function to create life and nurture it. Instead we are told to work, pursue our own dreams and careers and abstain from anything that would hinder that. Much like what Abby discovered at PP when she wanted to start her family.

It’s time we start redefining as a nation what we stand for and what really matters. If we really wanted abortion, suicide, domestic violence, divorce, drug abuse, neglect and child abuse, alcoholism, and poverty to drop we wouldn’t shrink back as a church but press all the more forward.

We know that you cannot stop evil by committing more evil. (Like fighting fire with fire),

We know what these people are needing in to their lives! What they are missing and trying to fill with meaningless short-term happiness/gratifications!

Jesus.

And it’s time the church learns what it means to love like Christ again.

Love is the only thing that will talk a person off of a cliff edge. It is the only thing that will reach them.

And so I ask what will you do to fight injustice? In what ways will you love and support your hurting women and families in your life or in your town?