Sunday, November 16, 2014

Hypocrites, Extremists, and the Genuine

I've grown up in church my whole life, and the truth is that there are primarily two types of "Christians", and a rare remnant of a third type.

The first are the hypocrites. They don't know it, but most people can spot them from a mile away. They talk the talk and know how to wear the labels, but in reality they simply use religion as a feel good, self promoting hobby. They leave a bad taste in your mouth, and the world rolls their eyes in disgust.

These people are murdering the lost by presenting a false gospel. Jesus came to transform us into new creatures that do not look like the world during the week but then dress in our best Christian garb on Sunday morning.

The second type are the extremists. The extremists look and sound too good to be true. They live out of touch with reality - strictly adhering to every rule conceivable. Unfortunately, most of their rules are of their own mind versus Biblical truth. Their ideals carry them through life in a whirlwind of self abuse, condemnation, and turmoil. They can never truly grab a hold of the freedom and joy that is in Christ Jesus because they're constantly wallowing in a quest for earthly perfection. In this self righteous quest, they pass over the bleeding and dying by the droves.

How are you going to show the love of Jesus to the crack addicts, the homeless, and the prostitutes if you're too busy nitpicking others apart because they don't mirror your idea of righteousness? If you're too busy worried about your SELF and "your walk with the Lord"... don't you understand that if your life was consumed with serving others and seeking out SINNERS... You wouldn't have time to dwell on all the pointless and mundane characteristics in others and in yourself. This festers a feeling of defeat in yourself and everyone around you. Holiness would come each time you hugged a woman who feels worthless, every time you fed the homeless and washed their feet, every time you opened your home to the hopeless and desperate... Empty your life of the religious, Pharisee principles and get back to the basics!

The third type are rare indeed. These are what I consider to be a true picture of Christianity. While there are many "sincere" extremists, they are so far in left field that they've forgotten the point of Christianity altogether. So the third type are those who are Genuine through and through. These are those who have gotten a grip on the big picture. They are not caught up in themselves or religion, but in touching the world for the glory of God. They make themselves available to GOD. They are not afraid to dine with sinners and associate with the lost. In fact, you won't hardly find them in a church "building" because they ARE the church! These are the truly radical... They cannot be explained by the world. They move through the world but are not OF IT. The power of God allows them to be among the sinners without partaking in the sin. The supernatural love of God flows through them and they change things. They aren't content to warm pews and stew over doctrines and theologies. The Holy Spirit drives them to a dry and thirsty land to bring forth the life changing, living water of God to the world. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Proactive vs. Reactive Parenting

I have been having some major revelations regarding my own parenting methods. Although I knew that what I was doing wasn't producing desired results, I didn't know what "it" was or how to change.

Paul and I have been looking into becoming foster/adoptive parents. One if the requirements, to get certified, is to take a parenting class of sorts. This led to lots of questions, reading, etc, on my part... I like to know what I'm getting into!

Since then, I have really begun to evaluate how we're raising our kids. Finally, I have words for the "it" problem in our lives. "It's" called "reactive" parenting. This is when all discipline, training, lessons, etc are a reaction to an issue that has already occurred. For instance, the child is jumping on the couch, you then tell them to stop to prevent a fall. Or, the child breaks something and you then tell them what they did wrong to cause this to happen. These situations are sometimes going to occur regardless, but when that's the only way your kids are learning, you're breeding frustration and anger. 

I've realized that my parenting is all but devoid of proactive parenting. I do not spend enough time with my kids creating preventative circumstances and simply talking to them about practical life, values, and morals to instill the correct attitudes, actions, and thoughts they should have. I've always waited for things to happen and addressed them as they came. But how confusing is that for a four year old?? Why not look for opportunities and situations to teach my kids how to act, ethics, morals, etc, before problems actually occur? I think I've just been lazy!

So here's to proactive parenting - positive solutions, positive reinforcement, and positive training vs. negative consequences, negative reactions, and negative disicpline!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Second Generation Christian Parenting...

Any real parents know the journey from thinking you've got the whole parenting thing figured out (most likely pre-birth to two years old or so...) to realizing you really have no clue what the heck you're doing, and it'll be the pure grace of God that gets you through this thing in the end.

Honestly, I thought I had a leg up on most of the people in my circle of friends. I mean, really, I'm a second generation Christian for goodness sakes! I watched my parents and all their friends make all the mistakes - surely I can handle this... Wrong. 

I currently have a four year old and a two year old (and one on the way)- they will be five, three and newborn in a couple months. And wow. There is SO much more to this parenting thing than following a few James Dobson books, listening to audio Bible stories as a family, and faithfully towing us all to church on Sundays and Wednesdays! 

While there are just numerous struggles without clear answers that I have come to face, the two BIGGEST parenting problems I deal with are: discipline and dealing with/controlling outside influence. 

I know most people, who have kids, come to the conclusion that they want to do things differently than their parents did. This holds true for me, as well, in a lot of areas. Not all, but a lot. And on top of that - I want to do things differently than everyone I have ever known or know right now. Leaving me scrambling for examples that don't exist and searching for answers I'm not sure I'll ever find. In the discipline realm, I know I'm carving a completely new, uncharted path. I know I'm not alone, but it sure feels lonely sometimes.

The husband and I agree pretty well in terms of discipline, but we still have rough patches. I worry a lot about toeing the line between letting my kids grow into the beautiful individuals God created them to be - with their unique personalities, strengths and weaknesses, and even convictions - and being sure I'm asserting enough authority that they understand Godly order, boundaries, and self-control. This stuff seems so black and white at first.., until you realize you are responsible for a living, breathing SOUL, and you hold their little hearts in your hands for somewhere around EIGHTEEN YEARS. The hugeness of this never quite settles inside me.

And outside influence. Who knew this would be such a massive issue? I sure didn't. All of a sudden, everyone's parenting opinions personally matter because you know that their parenting is producing certain characteristics and behaviors in their children who are directly influencing YOUR children every time you're around one another. Deep breath. Which is scary as all get out when you let your imagination run away with you like I do.

Hi, my name's Danielle and I'm a helicopter mom. 

I can't just ignore even the small influences that I feel are contrary to what I'm trying to instill in my kids... Because I have already considered this thing growing into a monster five years from now! My husband thinks I overreact and am overboard with all this. So I try, so hard, to pull back the reigns on my thought life... And then I end up writing on this blog half the night because I can't sleep. I want so much to protect their little innocent hearts, but I really don't want to be that overprotective parent that guards their kids right into mental instability. Middle ground. I tell myself all the time - middle ground. 

Finding that happy place between healthy socialization that opens opportunities to discuss why certain behaviors and actions are inappropriate, and placing safeguards to prevent destructive and even dangerous influence can be extremely difficult. Especially depending on who it is. So many times close friends and family seem to be right at the root of a major influential problem. That makes it impossible to simple cut off the relationship or even separate due to offense and hurt feelings.

But God. His grace is sufficient. I'm not sure how anyone manages to raise children and retain their sanity without the hand of God guiding their every step. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Real Life vs. Cookie Cutter Christianity

So many times when we "Christians" go through stuff, publicly we feel this need to put on a beautiful show. A grand facade that delicately hides the true depth of our emotions and inner battles. We've been trained since birth that our lives should glorify Christ, and somehow this has become a fantastical doctrine of "conceal, don't feel" [yes, I totally stole that line from Frozen]. Crack open your Bible and shake off the dust, though, and you'll find men and women who were honest and open about their struggles. Quote a couple verses out if the mouths of Job, David, Gideon, and you'll see real men with real struggles who were honest and open to God about the way they felt.

God doesn't delight in fake. You may have the whole world tricked into believing you have a perfect life and never struggle through things, but God sees the heart. You're killing yourself and others by popping off with that Joel Osteen grin and carefully contructing your phrases to mimic those of the pastor. People, who can't pull off fake, feel condemned and hopeless by your affluent attitude, and God is looking down wondering how long you're going to walk around like Adam and Eve hiding in the garden. 

We've created our own lists of "things that glorify God." Oh, you're feeling depressed and defeated today? That doesn't glorify God - lets mark that as sin. So you aren't married and desire a certain young woman every waking moment of your life? That's lust; put it in the sin list. 

But what if we stepped back for a minute and realized that it's not about WHAT you're dealing with, it's about HOW you deal with it! Everybody fights with lust before marriage, and many fight it afterward. It doesn't make you a devil, it makes you human. Jesus Himself faced temptation. What do you do with it once you realize you're being consumed by it? That's what matters.

God is glorified when His beautiful creation lays their broken lives at His feet and He then picks up the pieces to make a beautiful collage. He delights in His people - the ones who have an actual relationship with Him. The ones who confide in Him, and dance life's dance before His eyes. And in this way, others can be touched by our genuine living. Our transparent lives are what will draw souls to the throne of God.

Friday, April 11, 2014

How's Your "Christian" Sex Life?

I have been reading lots of posts lately on sex within a marriage. My feed is filled with "Christian" posts, secular posts, and everything inbetween for some reason. Well, it just so happens that this is another of those church topics that just burns me up... So guess what? I'm going to write my own post right here. And I am quite sure there will be lots of grumbling and complaining.

Lately, I've written a string of posts criticizing the American church and typical "American Christianity". I can only hope that people start waking up and bucking the hypocrisy. Don't get mad, open your eyes and take a look around you! I can promise this much - Jesus would be utterly appalled by the total opposite way we have strayed from the Biblical church of the New Testament.

That being said - fair warning - this post will be blunt and honest. Too many "Christian" posts dance around the topic and leave you confused and somewhat hopeless. I'm going to try my hardest not to repeat that sentiment. 

Let me start by stating the obvious. For the most part, the sex life of the typical "Christian" totally sucks. No pun intended. 

Why did hundreds/thousands of "Christian" women run out and read "50 Shades of Grey" and buy more than one ticket to see Channing Tatum strip on the big screen? Because they're literally desperate for something different. Something filled with passion; something that satisfies their deepest desires. And it's not happened in the "marriage bed". I'm not excusing sinful lust, by the way. Simply trying to give you a different glass to look through.

Why? Because from day one, their desires have been smothered by a condescending tone that leaves them feeling condemned and sinful in all things sex related.

Yes, sex has been perverted, abused, and misused by media/Hollywood/sex traffickers/criminals/etc, etc... and that is where Christians take a flying stinking leap into doctrines and theologies that turn sex into some kind of semi-forbidden act filled with do's and don't's and rules and regulations that don't exist anywhere in the entire Bible! 

There is ONE actual "don't" (speaking specifically of sex between one man and one woman who are married), and that is don't do it in the butt. (I told you I would have to be blunt) But guess what? That doesn't mean you can't stimulate around the area, or do whatever else feels good, as long as your not taking the dive! I think it is absolutely blasphemous that people actually put their own opinions out there as Biblical commandments. Stuff some chocolate in your mouth and go read the Song of Solomon, with a good commentary, about ten times.

I get entirely depressed hearing most "Christian" women talk about their sex lives. This one won't wear lingerie, that one won't have oral sex, this one thinks fluffy handcuffs and ribbon whips are sinful, that one only does it in one position, this one's husband won't do it on her period, and on and on and on... I could elaborate on each of these topics, but I would be here till next year.

Listen, I understand that a lot of us have pasts. We've done things, and had things done to us, that we never want to even remember actually happened. Some of these things are horrifying, and the victims of those acts will probably always have sexual walls in certain areas to prevent themselves from ever reliving those moments. You are not who I am talking to. I do believe, with all my heart, that God can heal even the deepest of hurts and bring restoring power to your marriage in ways you can't even imagine... (He has done so for me!) This post is aimed, not at you, but at those women (and men) who, for whatever reason, are pushing their sexual hangups and heretical doctrines on others, in the name of Christianity, when there is not a single scripture to back up that opinion (except for the irrelevant ones they twist to fit their ideals).

Real quick, I will touch on the one topic I mentioned about sex during a woman's period. Because, apparently, this is an issue due to a verse in Leviticus forbidding it. This was BEFORE Jesus shed His blood on the cross. Everything involving blood in any way was rule-ridden by the law in the Old Testament. If you don't understand the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made for us, the atonement that was for the forgiveness of sins... then I suggest you get to studying. This is why we don't butcher animals and light them up on an altar anymore. Jesus' sacrifice was once and for all - His blood paid the price to wash away all our sin. All the laws regarding the blood were eliminated the second Jesus said "It is finished".

All the other issues I mentioned have been turned into problems over the years by people who decided their personal convictions/opinions should also be everyone else's. They try to use scripture, but fail to offer up verses that support one another, and the rule they are trying to push.

Ladies and gentleman. Please quit allowing other people to dictate what goes on in your bedroom! Be open with your spouse and talk things out. Be willing to get past things that aren't really Biblical if it's something your spouse desires. Spend time naked together, and enjoy each others' bodies! Pleasure each other. Sex is not one sided. Don't over think things, and don't bring the past into your marriage. Be honest about what you like and don't like, and NEVER EVER make your spouse feel ashamed, stupid, or anything else belittling, because of what turns them on. 

My husband and I have amazing, incredible, regular sex. We both orgasm every.single.time. (except for when we know it's a super quickie, or the other will get their turn later) I know of women who haven't had an orgasm in years. And men whose wives have never given them oral sex and/or dressed in lingerie despite their desire for it. How tragic! My husband and I get the greatest pleasure when the other is ultimately pleased during sex. And don't go telling me how they didn't have lingerie in Bible times - they didn't have cars, tampons, or toothbrushes either. Again, don't take an opinion on a topic and turn into into baseless doctrine. I'll stop there before I go off on a tangent.

I know a lot of sex issues are not limited to Christians. However, it is the very LAST place these things should exist! God created sex; His plan was for us to "become one flesh" and enjoy the act to its fullest. Don't destroy your sex life by bringing in doctrines that don't line up with the Bible. You cannot sinfully lust after your own spouse. Another ridiculous lie. So lavish them with adoration, fill up your desires with thoughts of them, enjoy their unique bodies and allow them to do the same with you! The Bible says to never turn down your spouse over sex, unless the two of you have decided, together, on a set amount time to fast from it for prayer purposes. 

This post will probably have a part two in the future, but I hope that this has opened your eyes, at least a little, to a different point of view... and offered you freedom from religious bondage that in no way resembles the freedom and passion God meant for us to enjoy as true Christians.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Breaking Free From the Stereotype

I wasn't always a PK - Pastor's Kid. For the first twelve years of my life, I was simply the daughter of a very-involved-in-church-man. The next two years, I became the daughter of the associate pastor... It was sort of a break the ice, welcome to a whole new world, kiss life - as you know it - goodbye stage. Then it really happened. My dad started his own church and I officially turned into a real "PK".

There is a lot of stygma surrounding the PK label. Sadly, a lot of it is true. And, unfortunately, it doesn't just go away when you "grow up". As long as your dad is pastor, you live in that shadow. No matter how old you are... No matter what stage of life you're in... Whether you have your own kids or not. It's with you always.

There are a few good things that come out of the lifestyle. Here are three:


You don't know accountability until you've been a Pastor's Kid. There isn't a designated person that keeps you accountable (like in normal situations). The whole entire church feels it is their God given duty to watch your every move and report your every word. To the pastor. Who is your dad. You can imagine:

"Mrs. Betty says she saw you rubbing on Peter's neck."

"I fixed his collar, Dad. It was up and stuff. Just a collar..."

"She's pretty convinced."

"I'm telling you, it was an act of kindness and mercy all wrapped in one - he was really walking around with it stuck straight up in the back."

"Well, this Sunday at church I'll have you come before the congregation and repent for not avoiding the appearance of evil."


"Watch your tone!"

For the record, that account was based on a true story. Names were changed to protect the innocent. And the guilty.


So you're making a decision. It can be any decision - big, small, medium... And you can be any age. You can be grown and out of the house, but still attending your dad's church. Everyone has a say so. There is no such thing as a small group of elders. Your decision is a group effort. Oh, and it effects "everyone". Trust me. From your family size planning, the clothes you wear (apparently you have a massive team of fashion coordinators), down to the breed of your family dog. I'm serious. The dog matters. Imagine getting one that is labeled aggressive, or even one that sheds a lot, or is hyper... God forbid a church member come and get hair on their dress pants, paw prints, or a show of teeth. 

Also based on real life experiences.


You make lots of "friends". Lots. Like, everybody you know must become your friend. You're automatically an example, a leader, and a role model. No matter if you're naturally introverted, have strange interests, and are somewhat socially awkward. Everyone must be your friend. Unless, of course, you're a snob and are purposely making cliques to leave people out. If you and Bobby Jo don't get along, it's your fault and you should be a better friend. By the way, don't try and tell anyone that Bobby Jo is secretly psycho and talks to you about slicing people up and burying them in the swamp. That's just a story you made up to avoid having to repent in front of the congregation. Again.

What do you think??


All jokes aside. Go give your Pastor's Kid a hug, and tell them something they've done or said that encouraged you or brought a smile to your face. Something good. Better yet, tell them and their Dad. That never happens. It is always bad when someone is whispering with your dad and pointing your way. You'll gain a whole new level of respect in their lives, and I'll bet you'll start to see them in a whole new light.

You see, we live behind the scenes. The good, the bad, and the ugly are all parts of our every day lives. We catch the judgment and the critiques long before anyone else, but we can spot a hypocrite from a mile away. Try taking that log out of your own eye before you jab out the eye of your Pastor's Kid while trying to eradicate that little ole splinter. 

Not to make excuses for all the PK's out there who have fallen off the straight and narrow - God will judge each person according to his or her own sin (they know that by that way) - but there would be a lot less Pastor's Kids falling into stereotypical lifestyles if the members of the church would quit being stereotypical hypocrites. I don't care who you are, when you are set apart and treated differently than "all the rest" by a community of people, you battle all kinds of things. From depression, to anger, to rebellion, to gross indifference. Try dealing with that at 8 years old. Or 14. Or 26 for that matter. It doesn't get easier with age or experience. The faces and the words change, but most people are the same. We didn't choose to be married to the ministry - that was our parents' calling. Some of us grow up and learn to love it... taking up our crosses, suffering for Christ, and following in our parents' footsteps... But some grow up and avoid it at all costs, choosing to be done with ministry leadership for the rest of their lives.

I personally consider it a complete miracle that I am still a Christian today. I attribute that to no man. It was the divine, merciful hand of God that has brought me through the trials and tribulations; to a place where I know in my heart that the hypocrisy of a million people could never change the relationship I have with Jesus. So, finally, to the PK that is reading this - hold fast to this one thing, God is not them, and nothing anyone says can change that. He is exactly what the Bible says He is, and He will never fail you, though the rest of mankind can and will. Never let go of that fact! 

Monday, March 31, 2014

A One on One Relationship with God

I've been thinking a lot on Christianity. Not American Christianity, but true like-Christ living. I'm amazed at the line I see being drawn in the sand between those who call themselves Christians, and those who really serve the Lord with all their hearts. 

What sets the true Christians apart? A lot of things: holy living, truth seeking, humility and thankfulness, love for the brethren, love for the lost, etc... But the attribute that has stood out to me lately is the deep, unfaltering relationship between a disciple of Christ and Jesus. 

There's no dependency on man in these relationships. There's no fear of man. There is simply a heart that follows God in both the least and greatest matters of life. Although these people have a beautiful understanding of spiritual authority, and are connected faithfully with a church body, they are also individuals called to be history shakers. 

You see the obvious difference in their willingness to serve everywhere they go, their hands set to ministry within and without the church doors. They don't turn off their Christianity when they leave the fellowship on Sunday morning... Instead, they broadcast their love for the Savior in everything they say and do.

The most mind boggling of all my observances has been the way the true Christians are persecuted by, none other than, those who call themselves Christians. You see, Jesus said we would face persecution... who would have thought that, here in America, it would come straight from those who label themselves with His name, but refuse the life change.

You are radical, you are extremist, you are intolerant, you are judgmental..., and you are beloved of the Father. So never allow hypocrites to define who you are in Christ. Continue to stand for righteousness, and one day our God will say to you, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Suffering and the Body of Christ

It has been almost four years since I've written here. I was actually pretty surprised it still existed and I was able to sign in, haha. I'm glad. I've come to a place in my life where I feel like I need a safe "out". Somewhere I can put into words the incredible things God has been doing in my heart.

Over the past couple years, the Lord has been drawing me nearer and nearer to His heart. I have been amazed by the layers upon layers of deception He has peeled away from my eyes. Mostly regarding the church - its job, what's actually Biblical and what's cultural, how its members should grow together and how their individual callings intertwine with the church's vision as a whole. I realize this is a personal revelation, and I have slowly applied as much as I can to my life. It is changing the very essence of who I am in Him.

I'm a believer that every single part of our lives happens for a reason. Down to the very last detail. I know God's hand is in all that we experience, and He makes it all work together for our good. In the middle of God revealing these wonderful mysteries to my heart, something highly unexpected happened. Though we hadn't in the least bit planned it, God decided it was time for us to get pregnant with baby number three.

A strange thing happens to me when I get pregnant - I deal with a complication called "Hyperemesis Gravidarum". It is an extreme version of morning sickness. I stay sick 24/7. Without medication, I puke so much I get dehydrated and in need of IV fluids. On medication, the vomiting is quelled, but the nausea is incessant. Because of the nausea, food aversion is still a problem. You eat because you have to, rarely because you want to. Sadly, no one truly understands this and how it effects every facet of your life. Oh, they say they do. Everyone you talk to "had that" or "knows someone who had that". Ask them if they were actually diagnosed with it - rarely. That's because only about two percent of pregnant women actually deal with real HG. Truthfully, not only do they not understand, but they literally can't comprehend it on an accurate scale.

For most HG sufferers, it gets worse with each pregnancy. For me, this has proven true. With my first pregnancy, the medication Zofran was enough to keep me gaining weight and having a healthy pregnancy. My second required combining Zofran during the day and Phenergan at night. Now, five months into my third, and I'm on yet another medication called Diclegis mixed with the Zofran day and night. And still, I stay so sick and tired that most days I stay in bed and do nothing anyway. Because, though Zofran and Diclegis keep me from puking all the time, the Diclegis ingredients include a sleeping pill that actually puts part of your brain to sleep. I just want to sleep. All the time. But it keeps me out of the hospital.

So what does this have to do with the church revelations and God pulling me close to His heart? Everything. You see, when you suffer - God is right there. He has been my strength, my desire, my breath of life. I have realized how emotionally/physically/spiritually dependent I have been on people. That has all been ripped away. And I have been left emotionally raw, physically spent, and in spiritual despair.

Sure, every Christian person I've talked with about this sickness has told me they would "pray for me". Now, I'm not knocking prayer in the LEAST. I am so incredibly grateful for the true intercessors out there who have beat on the doors of heaven for me. I attribute God's breaking my heart, and the heart change I'll talk about shortly, to the prayers of the righteous saints. However, most of these people do not go home and actually pray. If they do, it's a half-thought-half-breathed whisper as they click the lamp light off just before falling asleep.

It is with this knowledge that I had begun to despair so much. Where are those who serve among the brethren? Where is my family? While my husband works two jobs to try and ease the financial strain of bringing a new little one into the world, my four year old and two year old do what kids their age do best - they explore and play in such a way that leaves a tornado through my house on a daily basis. How many times have my friends and family come by my house for one reason or another and seen how the dishes are stacked in the sink because the soap smell makes me vomit, the toys are strewn from one end of the house to the other, the counters need wiping and the floors need mopping, but I'm in pajamas looking like death warmed over when I answer the door? I have been committed to church - three times a week! I have tithed. Why, in my time of need, has not a single Christian soul come to help me? Did we not learn about how we are a body? And when one part of the body suffers, we should suffer with that person (1 Corinthians 12:26)?? I know I'm not the only one. I know others have suffered before me and suffer even now with debilitating illness.

Everyone is just so busy. So caught up in the affairs of this world. To compound my very mixed emotions, my lost mother-in-law - that I have not had a very good relationship with for most of my married life - suddenly came and cleaned my house one day. And then again. And again. Until she moved away... what an incredibly humbling experience. Even still, she calls to check on me. Only to check on me.

That's when I realized that someone has to do something to stop this sad reproach against the church. Someone has to change this cycle of busyness - this lack of serving that is eating away at the souls of Christians. This mind boggling blindness to need and hardening of hearts to the hurting in our midst. Someone has to visit the sick and be there for those who cannot care for themselves. My heart had been pondering for months, even  years, about how I can fully devote myself to the will of God and radically go against the American church culture... and suddenly, I knew what I had to do. I have promised to God that this someone will be me. When He delivers me from this sickness, whether it be tomorrow or after the birth of this child, I will visit the sick in Jesus' name and care for those who are in need (Matthew 25:36).
I will fold clothes, wash dishes, sweep and mop and clean toilets. I will watch kids so that parents can have a break, and I will serve among the brethren (Galatians 5:13). I will not fear disease, and I will raise my children to love others with a selfless heart - to search out what can be done for them. I will lay hands on the lepers (Mark 1:41, Matthew 16:18) and wash the feet of the cancerous.

I know now why God allowed me to sink to the depths I'd gone to. Why He allowed me to feel so utterly alone and helpless. It was to start a fire in my heart that could not be quenched. A raging flame that longs to bring Him glory and end the selfishness that is devouring the church.