{old post} The Voice

I was raised Christian. Devoted member to First Baptist Church Grapevine in my earliest days, spent some time worshipping at Countryside Bible in my adolescent years, where I was even baptised, ultimately returning to FBCG and where I wed my Prince Charming. Many times throughout high school, I also attended with White's Chapel United Methodist with close friends. As long as I was going to church, my parents were pleased.

A few years ago, Adam and I finally settled in our first church, Northwood, as a married couple. It was the perfect fit for the time being. We joined a wonderful small group where we grew close friendships and {strengthened our faith}. While I was pregnant, however, it became clear that while Northwood is a wonderful church, it was no longer fitting our needs as a growing family. Unfortunately, we just stopped going altogether.

Many Christians have stronger moments in their faith than others, and I can't expect to be any exception. It's not the number of church services you attend a month that makes your faith stronger than those who surround you, it's about your personal growth and relationship with God. Of course your church attendance is a pivotal factor here, but one can go to services all day long but if they aren't striving to act in a Godly manner, where does their heart truly lie? With that said, in a moment of where my faith could have been looked "weaker" to others, has actually turned out to be quite the opposite.

The Voice began really speaking to me while I was pregnant. I remember exactly where I was when He overcame my thoughts; Adam even remembers me coming home and talking about my revelation. I realized that my life and all my friendships were at a potential pivotal make-it-or-break-it moment, with {some impending} motherhood upon every single one of us. While motherhood is one of the most beautiful experiences one can imagine, it brings on many new topics and moments where if you are not careful, you can succumb to Satan's wish of casting judgement and speaking evil. I had to make a promise to myself, a promise that would need a lot of attention and work if I wanted to keep my friends friends, not enemies.

In the bible it says, "Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgement on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you-who are you to judge your neighbor?" -James 4:11-12

{The Promise}: Never will I judge, look down upon, or think that my way of parenting is better or more right than any other parents choice (not including those who are harming their children: ie, letting their toddler ride ON TOP of the car attachment on the grocery cart giving all who they pass a heart attack...ha), always looking at both sides of the topic at hand. Never will I think that because a parent choses to something opposite of me, that my way makes me a more loving, devoted parent. Never will I let other people who judge me affect how I feel about my personal decisions, or let it change my views on the person casting judgement (hardest part yet). And I will try my best to refrain from saying, "I will never [insert controversial parental topic here] do that with my child." Never say never.

God really spoke to me during my pregnancy about how seriously I need His help to lead me through this often catty, temperamental time with new moms, teaching me and coaxing me how to live my life this way once Preslie arrived. He knew that I would struggle with worrying about how others felt I chose to raise P. He knew that I would need His assistance in taming my sharp tongue and openness regarding my opinions; He knew that I would need Him to lead me to be careful of what I say to others. And most importantly, I knew that I needed Him to succeed. My friends rank in the top most important things in my life. I do not want to lose them because of a bad attitude, or me thinking my way is superior.

I am so proud to say that He has carried me through this with almost 100% success thus far; I do not expect perfection in this matter as I will falter, I will fail, but with the grace of God will be forgiven and learn to keep living up to my promise.

The hardest part: not judging those who do cast judgement and speak ill of others and their choices...not shaking my head in shame at their immaturity and arrogance as this makes me just as bad as them. {Major. Work. In. Progress.}

When I feel these feelings coming on within myself, I think of this scripture that I came across awhile back to remind me why it is important to forgive and never give up on an important friendship because of something silly:

"He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats and dwells on the matter separates even the closest friends. -Proverbs 17:9

His love and guidance has provided a sense of testimony to my life. I know that this was the doing at His hand. And it's funny, I seem to love and respect my friends at such a deeper level knowing that we are all doing the best we can to stay a float going through a trial and error process finding what is right for OUR children. Understanding each kid is entirely different from the next. What a beautiful softening of my heart and mind He has provided. Through this, He has even {healed my heart and mended} a 20 year friendship that I thought may have been forever broken; a friendship where I owe many apologies for being weak and letting evil enter; a friendship that I am so thankful to have regained.

At the same time, He put someone (really two) very special people in our lives at the perfect time. And you know that I don't use the word perfect lightly. :) Funny, because at the time, I didn't know it was the "perfect" timing, but as each day unfolds and presents itself to me, I realize that yet again His hand was busy at work long before we ever met. When I think about all of the ways that God crossed our paths unknowingly over time, I am amazed at his miracles. It was all for a greater purpose. Just three months ago, I didn't know a life with these two blessings existed, but three months later, I can't imagine my life without them in it. I am so thankful for the quick, amazing friendship God has created at a time when I need it most.

During this time, I began journaling scripture, verses, and quotes that stand out to me. I thought this to be just a simple task, but I find myself researching the verses and learning more about the bible in the process. My dear friend, Brooke, came over for a play date and told me about an app, Grace to You, for my phone that goes through books of the bible and topic where you can listen to a variety of different sermons to help you in private bible study. I've been listening to topics on forgiveness lately, and am loving it. After this, I downloaded another app called Daily Audio Bible. It starts with Genesis and reads you the bible every day. LOVE IT. Although the narrator's voice is quite creepy, it's worth getting over. Right now, for me, this is better than any sermon, but it has my heart yearning to be back into a church home! God worked His way into my life, when I had worked my way out of His.

As you can tell, The Voice has really spoken to me and is laying heavy on my heart. I am so ready to throw myself into the right church for us, and with BSF creeping up in the fall...I feel that I am on the right track! While my personal growth is tremendous, it's time to get back into worshipping and serving the Lord. And I. Can't. Wait.

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly." Colossians 3:16

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