Monthly Archives: February 2015

50 Shades of Wrong

There has been a huge uproar online lately about the new film 50 Shades of Grey. I know most of you have your own well-formed opinions on the book and the film and that’s fine. You are welcome to share them in the comments section below, respectfully. Personally, I have my own take as well. I’m looking at this situation from the angle of someone who has struggled with sexual sin and finally overcame it thanks to the power of the Lord. If this is you or someone you know, read on!

Several years ago, I struggled with sexual sin. It had a strong hold on me and I felt as though I would never break free from it. A couple of friends and a neighbor tried their best to help me, but I was too stubborn to look at the full scope of my actions and understand the consequences of my choices. I didn’t want to make choices or actively work towards healing. I wanted to sit back and allow God and my friends to do it all. Overcoming sexual sin and addiction seemed like too much work. Besides, I was busy raising two kids while my husband was deployed. If God wanted this sin gone, He was going to have to do it!

Oh boy. Remembering who I was back then is painful. I was an unrepentant sinner who was actually proud of her sin! It was fun to be rebellious. And then my husband threatened to leave me, my friends stopped calling, I lost a baby just a couple of days before Christmas, and I fell into a deep depression. I wanted to kill myself and if it hadn’t been for my precious daughters, I just might have gone through with it. I’m glad now that I didn’t.

Struggling through the depression, I relied heavily on God to bring me through. The church I was attending was falling apart. The new Pastor was the husband of the woman I’d once called “best friend”. She and I were no longer speaking, so I felt it best to leave. Each morning, I woke up before my girls and spent an hour in prayer and in BIble reading. I learned to chant the Psalms as an offering to God and I prayed through Proverbs 31 every day. I desperately wanted to change who I was. I knew the Bible held the answers I was looking for.

Slowly, slowly, changes began to happen. My husband chose to leave the Navy behind and we moved to another part of Washington state. We had more time to focus on our marriage and our family and a whole lot more quiet time, since we were about an hour from the nearest large city. I continued to read my Bible and as I did, I realized the value in surrounding myself with only the best in life. When I focused on the people, thoughts and messages that portrayed the type of wife and mother I wanted to be, I found myself more motivated to become that kind of person. Whenever I watched a sexually explicit or violent movie, I found myself taking two, three, and even four or more steps backward in the wrong direction. The more I prayed for healing and change, the more it became apparent that I was going to have to purge my home and my life of anything and everything that didn’t reflect the type of woman I wanted needed to be.

One day after praying again for healing, I was inspired to throw out over 75 movies, 50 CDs and several books that just didn’t fit in with who I was wanting to be. It was difficult at first because some of the books, movies and CDs had been my favorites for years, but the more I kept at it, the better I felt. When I was done, I was amazed at all the junk I was letting into my life! My DVD and CD collection was rather sparse, but I felt full inside. There was more room for God and much more room for improvement and healing.

At first, Anthony was pretty upset at some of my choices. A few of the movies and CDs I’d thrown out had been his initially, but when I explained why I chose to do what I did, he came around a bit. Nearly three years later, he sees the fruit of that labor and he’s blessed by it. Our marriage has been really blessed by it as well.

I still struggle with temptation from time to time. When 50 Shades of Grey was first published, I kept hearing what a wonderful book it was. I was tempted to read it. I even went to the library with the intention of checking it out, but when I picked up the book and read the back cover, I just couldn’t justify taking any steps backward. God has brought me so far! Why would I want to unravel that just for a book?

Recently, I had this epiphany that every time we sin, we’re essentially saying that we can do whatever we want because Christ is already dead. It’s akin to spitting or dancing on His grave. We’re saying that His sacrifice is no big deal, but really — it is! Christ died for us. He died to set us free from the bondage of sin and death. He died to not only save my marriage, but to save my children from a poor, ugly Mother. Sin makes us ugly and weak. It removes everything that is good from our lives and replaces it with utter filth. We are left wearing nothing but rags and carrying around rotten bits of filth, attempting to offer it to God as a sweet sacrifice. It is not, Brothers and Sisters. It’s an abomination.

Sexual sin, or any other sin for that matter, is not worth denying the power of Christ’s sacrifice for us. It’s not worth spitting on His grave. We can dance, but let’s make that dance with Jesus, in victory and celebration of all that He has done for us, in us and through us. Let’s dance because He has overcome sin and death and made a way for us to join Him in Paradise.

I beg of you Brothers and Sisters, put away the things that are holding you back from freedom. Put away the things that cause you to take two, three, even four or more steps backward. Live in the Light and walk on the path that Christ has set out before you. You don’t need a book or a movie such as 50 Shades of Grey to spice up your love life or provide entertainment. You can read Song of Solomon/Song of Songs with your spouse, go on a leisurely walk, get to know one another all over again, and still have the same result.

I pray that each person reading this experiences a revival in their marriages. May God grant you renewed intimacy with your spouse and hope for full healing from whatever sin issue you are dealing with. There is no sin too big for God to overcome.

In Christ,

Mandy 🙂

27 Weeks Pregnant {Life Update}

There are only 13 weeks left in this pregnancy, give or take. I am so excited! My third trimester started officially today. I can honestly say that I do feel 7 months pregnant. My stomach feels stretched and full even when my tummy is rumbling and I’m hungry. I can’t see my feet and it’s a real challenge to get up and down the stairs in my home.

Jackson is moving and grooving a lot these days. I can feel him throughout most of the day and the night. Even when this kid sleeps, he’s moving around! Anthony’s so excited every time I point out movements. The kids are both enthralled by the bumps and rolls from him, too. They love to shout at my belly and say funny things to their little brother. I think they’re both ready for him to come out so they can meet him. Seven months is a long time to wait to meet someone, and they still have a few more months to go.

Yesterday I had my final check-up of my second trimester. My Mom and Anthony were both able to be there with me. We heard Jackson’s heartbeat and waited nearly 40 minutes for my eight minute appointment with my OB/GYN. But that’s good news, I suppose. Tomorrow I get the “honor” of going in early to have the dreaded glucose test. Blech! Ladies, I’m sure you can relate to my gagging sounds. That glucose drink is just terrible! I wish my OB would find another way to test for gestational diabetes. I hear some doctors let you eat pancakes for breakfast or eat jelly beans instead of drinking that concoction. I wish I could do that as well.

Something I’ve not yet shared with you is that we’re needing to move to a new location, same town. Our landlord has it in her mind that we’re unhappy in our current home, so she’s illegally evicted us, giving us 30 days to move out. I’m not happy about this, especially at this stage in my pregnancy, but both Anthony and I have been praying about whether or not we need a new landlord anyway, since this one never likes to fix anything (even bug infestations inside the home), and we both feel God’s been calling us elsewhere for some time. We found a house with a great outdoor space in a safe neighborhood about six miles from where we’re currently living, so we’re going to pursue that. Hopefully, everything works out and we’re able to begin moving as soon as next week. Right now we’re in the packing stage. Yesterday we got 13 boxes packed before we fell into bed exhausted.

Sunday school is going very well, though the year is almost over, unfortunately. This year we’re needing to end the class a bit early due to my pregnancy. Easter Sunday will be our very last class until after the Sierra Service Project leaves. We just finally got the room painted and pictures on the walls. Last night and today I printed up legal forms for registration, sign-in and sign-out and some rules for the classroom I plan to hang on the bulletin board. I’ll update this post with pictures next week. I plan to take some photos after class on Sunday. I’m really proud of how the room turned out!

Today is a beautiful sunny day in the Pacific Northwest. All I’ve wanted to do all day is to be outside, soaking up some sunshine. Instead I’ve been inside taking care of all the menial, tedious little tasks that my family hates to be bothered with – dishes, shredding old legal documents, packing up organizing supplies and excess clothes, sorting items for the Goodwill and taking a nap. Ok, I haven’t actually been able to nap yet, but I’m hoping to! 🙂 I forgot how exhausted pregnancy makes me.

I’m working on a post about something personal, but it’s slow going. I know what I need to say,but am reluctant to actually put it in writing. I’ve seen the comments section of far too many blogs lately and let’s just say it’s a scary thing to put oneself out there sometimes!

I hope it’s a beautiful day wherever you are right now. If you have a ton of snow, can you send some my way? I’ll add some raspberry flavoring and enjoy it in a cone. 🙂

Giving Them Some Slack

This morning I walked into the hallway, out of my bedroom after a semi-great night’s sleep only to find the hallway riddled with my daughter’s clothes. On the way to the stairs to make coffee, I had to step over several pairs of underwear, a couple skirts, and…my husband’s white t-shirts and socks from the night before. Hanging on the laundry sorter we bought a few months ago, were all four bags, in tact and mostly empty. Seething, I stomped downstairs, started the coffee and began baking breakfast.

“This is Valentine’s Day!” I kept thinking angrily to myself. “They can’t pick up even one day of the year?”

As I continued this angry, negative train of thought, a voice boomed in my head “Maybe they forgot.”

Maybe they forgot? What excuse could there possibly be for this mess? I’m getting on them every day about it!

“Maybe they had other things on their minds. Don’t you ever have that happen?” The voice asked.

I stopped my train of thought and everything else I was doing and began considering what does go on in the lives of my husband and kids during a typical day. My kids are in school from morning until afternoon. When they get home, its homework, chores, playtime, dinner, bath, bed. We keep them on a pretty structured schedule. My husband works full-time, has a 40 minute commute in each direction and attends school full-time online in his “spare” time. Come to think of it, he has a really stressful job and is prone to being called in early from time to time as well. Usually when it’s least convenient for our family. Hmm…

In the whole scheme of my husband’s day, remembering which basket to sort his socks and t-shirts into really isn’t the most important task on his mind. The kids are still young and learning. We’ve not always had this system in place. We used to just throw all our dirty clothes into one basket and I’d launder them as soon as the basket was full. Both girls need time and guidance to learn this new system.

With that in mind, I decided that maybe a chart and some more patience would help this situation. We’ll see. It certainly can’t hurt. In the mean time, I’ll be cutting them all a lot more slack.