Logic and Quiet. Bless my children’s hearts.

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Me: “Ok Scout…go get some clothes to change in to after services so that you will not have to wear your Sunday clothes to the get together.”
a brief pause and then this…
Scout: “Are we coming home to change first mom?”
This is why I never wanted children. Dumb questions. I knew I had a challenge on my hands with this one so I calm down my SARCASTIC inner self, named “Queen” in college, and replied with the following:
“Scout, use your logic.” (yep. I’m THAT mom. he was 6.) to which he asks…”what’s that?!!”
And my desire to have adult minded children went into overdrive and so began my plan to train my children (6 and 7 mind you) to use their logic. I didn’t care that TJ said “baby, children normally do not start using logic until they are in their teens.” So!!! I thought. Gah, I needed a class in “how to comprehend children are NOT 35 year old grown mature logical rationale adults” really badly. Little did I know, with a little training, a lot of pushy mom syndrome, and consistent reminding…my little bitty people started their journey of being logical thinkers.
God help me.
“It’s going to be super cold this morning babies so ya might wanna wear layers of clothes today!”
my oldest -whom I was sure would take to this more quickly than the younger- walks out of her room with a short sleeve tee on BUT A TANK TOP UNDER it and asks “this good mom?”
the will power it takes me to not use all my sarcastic energy boiling inside of me…I should win some type of award for. Like “And the winner of controls sarcasm in raising children goes to———–Tressa Bragwell!” My acceptance speech would be killAH.
“What does logic tell you about your question Autumn? If it’s SUPER cold, which is colder than just cold, will JUST a tank top under JUST a short sleeve shirt keep your ALL of your arms warm? Remember…we are learning to THINK before we speak right?!”
“All you had to say is ‘no’!” Breathe Tressa. Just Breathe…like the Faith Hill song. Man she’s pretty. Oh, I have a small case of long drawn out thinking past what I originally was thinking. Apologies.

So HOW do you train a logical thinking in children? I had no idea. But, I figured THIS would be a great starting point. (no claims to know anyTHING perfectly btw.)
THIS being implementing a “quiet time” every morning. We began a “routine” of every morning before school we sit down for about 10-15 sometimes and just be quiet. The 3 of us. Mom, 7 year old daughter, and 6 year old son. I was required to be in my office by 7:00 so we would make it a point to be dressed, teeth brushed, lunches/snacks packed, backpacks ready, etc by 6:40-45 (we live 3 min from school) and then we would sit. No TV. No noise. Just us and the quiet. I told them we were doing this because our days are SO filled with noise, and sounds, and talking, and racket, and TV, and “stuff” that we never made time to just “be quiet.” We never gave our minds time to handle it all. We are accustomed to going…and going…here and there, this sport, this practice, this school event, this church function, this family day, this spend the night party, this this this this this…I’m mentally exhausted just TYPING it. I had realized we were training our children to be “goers” and not “thinkers.” I wanted to care less about being everywhere for everything than I did for how my children were learning to process “LIFE.” Busy is NOT how I want their minds to function. So, we sit. And think. And process. And most importantly…we pray.

THIS was easily implemented let me say because they were trained for 6-7 years to “do as you are told” by us. We did not have a LOT of defiant behavior at this point because we had pretty much beat that out of them already. Jesus spankings. Appropriately. Not all “beating the crap outta a kid” kind of thing. We enforced “the rod of correction” because we do not want to condemn our children’s soul to hell. We did not do the “one more time” approach much either. We pretty much, from early on, took the “if you do what I tell you NOT to do, you’re gonna get a whipping. period.” approach and I gotta admit…at 6-7 years old, it had worked. We were on the down swing of whipping a kid every 5 seconds type days. I was nicknamed “Warden” by my husband. So.be.it. Lol.

So when I say “kids, we are going to start being completely ready for school in the mornings by 6:40ish because we are going to have “quiet time” in the mornings because at no point during our day is it quiet and we need time to just BE for a minute or 20″ they gave no thought to it other than “ok mom.” And so began the process of “logical training” in my children.

For a long time, we JUST sat in the quiet…I told them they could think about their day and what they were looking forward to, or could think about how much they love their mother (believe me, it takes some want to to love me. bless.) or they could spend their time praying. Talk to God and thank Him for your morning. Thank Him for giving you life, and your abilities, and your senses, and your family, and your safe environment, and your school, and your friends, and your teachers. See, when you just stop of a few minutes…you really realize how MUCH He has given you. Thank Him. Thank Him for your bible and for your sight to read and your mind to absorb. Thank Him for Jesus. Over and over. AND OVER. Thank Him for your daddy who works so hard at being the man he should be for you. Look around you. Your daddy does what he does so you can have what you have. Thank Him for giving you your daddy. Ask Him to protect your daddy as he goes to work and back and while he’s working. Thank Him for each other…your sister is your sister for a reason and be thankful for her. Your brother is serving a purpose in your life and be thankful for him. (trying to get your 7 year old daughter -who is very “mature” for her age- to pray and be thankful for her much less mature annoying silly gross stinky brother…funny stuff.) After you have spent time just simply being thankful, ask Him for the help you need today. Ask Him to help you when you have that fear come over you about pooping in the toilet at school and someone hearing it plop and you being embarrassed by that. (scout – true story). Ask Him to touch the heart of that mean boy who pulls your hair and calls you “mommas baby” every day as you walk in a straight line to the lunchroom. (autumn – true story…we taught her about “being the bigger person” and “being a good example” and FAILED at teaching her it was completely ok to punch this kid square in the nose after so much torture, which she would have NEVER done…too much like her compassionate and loving daddy. vomit.) Ask Him to protect our hearts from anger and fear and sadness and nervousness. Ask Him to give your teachers a good attitude. And then remember that you are able to pray to Him because of His Son and what He did for you. So for about the first year…we sat. We prayed. In the quiet of the morning. It was AMAZING.

Then a new development in the logical training 101 came about. We began to pray out loud together. We would take turns in the morning saying a prayer for us all. We would say out loud what we needed help with that particular day or what we were especially thankful for or who we knew needed our prayers. Me, my 8 year old daughter, and 7 year old son in our living room, holding hands and bowing heads together…praying. Talking to our Father about Him, our day, and His blessings we SO did not deserve. It was beautiful. Special. I will take those memories over a game winning shot or an all A’s trophy or a Class Favorites award A.N.Y day. I cannot fully express to you how precious these times were. Man, God is so good.

Well with time, and with change, and with maturity, came news “ways” of spending our morning quiet time. 9 and 10 years old by now and I start wondering “are they getting this?” “Do they know WHY we are doing this?” “Do they even care?” So, being a very challenging type minded person, I decided I would “test” them. I stopped calling the morning meetings. I stopped reminding them “its 6:30 do you have your teeth brushed?” every morning just to see what would happen. I continued my being ready and sitting down…and guess what?!! So. did. they.
Amazing right?! I mean, who knew if you trained a child to do something over and over that eventually he/she would just do it without having to be told. That God. He’s SO smart.
So, the time of doing your own thing in your own way began. We would spend our time in different rooms. We were free to pray, think, study, read, rest, whatever we wanted really. And that was extremely nice because I could see that they were “getting it.” They understood the “why.” And I couldn’t have been any prouder.

Oh yes I could. When Autumn was 11 and Scout was 10 (the year following the “doing our own quiet time thing”) they self reflected and applied the teaching they had received of “sin is when you disobey what God has said, sin separates you from God, Jesus is the only way to be brought back to Him” and in a moment of eating supper at our dinner table and normal conversation of the sermon we had just heard at services…the lightbulb went off. The door bell rang. Ding. “Ohhhhhhhhh….I AM A SINNER!” hit them both. They knew that disobeying us was disobeying Him and that when they KNEW what we had said and they CHOOSE to do what they WANTED instead, THAT WAS SIN. Sin put Jesus on the cross. So that means I did that. I cannot fully describe to you the looks on their faces upon realizing this…there was a “oh I am so sorry Jesus” mixed with a “oh crap that means I am lost if I am not with God” and an instant “I want Him to forgive me!” The most heart breaking AND the most inspiring looks I had ever seen. On my children’s faces. Faces I birthed. Faces I had kissed a concagillion times. Faces I had washed. Faces I had watched sleep peacefully. Faces I adored. Now shamed by the realization of what sin did to their Jesus. And guilt knowing THEY were the cause. And a desire to MAKE IT RIGHT. “OH HAPPY DAY…HAPPY DAY…WHEN JESUS WASHED…MY SINS AWAY!” There has never been a more completely true song written. It was made to look so ugly (sin) and was truly the most beautiful thing to ever take place (forgiveness). They were baptized that night with their earthly mom and dad present and loved ones gathered around to celebrate their new birth…their birth as a son and daughter belonging to their proud Father in heaven. It was truly the best day ever. Humbled. Wow. As I relive it through words typed on a keyboard…chills cover my skin and tears flow from my eyes. There is no-thing, no-where, no-nothing I would rather be than “his wife their mother.” I am getting to live the best “things” in life with my favorite people ever. Hands raised Lord. You are AWESOME!

Now at the ages of 13 and 11 (50 some odd days from 12), we now spend our times in the morning as follows:
We don’t have to be ready until 7:00 now because new boss meant new work time of 7:30. Fist bump.
Ready meaning ready physically AND spiritually to begin our day
Scout has begun to be mine and Autumn’s leader in our Bible quiet time
He reads to us every morning…he is being trained to lead his family one day Lord willing he find a woman to accept his stinky feet. lol
We cover our heads and in silence we listen and learn…she is being trained to be submissive to her husband and to learn from him and be lead by him as he follows Christ
He directs our minds in prayer to our Father for our day, our souls, our lives, our responsibilities, our examples, and forgiveness for our sins.

Does this mean we/they/he/she/I am/is perfect? or “holier than thou” (post soon about that concept I’ve heard ONE too many times)? Nope. It means WE KNOW HOW IMPERFECT we truly are and HOW MUCH WE NEED JESUS in order to survive the attempts of evil that will come our way today. And tomorrow. And the next. Lord willing those times come. So…we begin our day will a quiet time of reflection and study in His word and in prayer for His guidance, protection, help, and forgiveness. He is worthy.

“So has logic come any easier to them Tressa?” you ask. Yes and no. Yes in that there are plenty of moments that they take time to think about what they are asking or what has been said to them…no in that there are still several times I have to remind them “what does logic tell you?” This will continue to be a training process. I mean, they are JUST now to the ages they are SUPPOSED to be using logic right…TJ?!! hahaaaa. At least now, when the command to “use your logic” is stated in our home, nobody asks “what’s that?” Praises.

Spending time together. Quietly. Meditating on the Lord and His amazing grace. Praying. Studying as a family or as individuals. Making God and His word normal conversation in your home. All things I advise. Not because I know it all…but because I know THIS works. It’s been tested and proven. No time like the present to make a MASSIVE impact in the lives of your children by simply being quiet.

The link is to an article Jen Hatmaker (if you do not know her…I will pass on the advice of my dear Shelana, “look her up. Now.”) posted this morning on FB. I read it an THAT’s what led me to write this post on this day. It’s not so much directly related to what I’ve typed but it spurned the thinking. I just never desired the “go all the time” mentality to be instilled in my children. I had an uncle one time say “you mean to tell me Scout isn’t playing baseball? Well that is just awful…some of my best memories of my kids are right here at this baseball field (we were there to watch our nephew play) and you’ll regret not having those memories!” To which I replied “I would rather our best memories be made over supper at our dinner table. Just being us.” “To each their own.” (which should be ‘to each his/her own’ because each is singular which requires a singular pronoun and their is plural…types my “English 101 teacher” personality known as “OH would you shut up!” She’s happy to meet you.


“Oh, you’re paying for it…”

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Having a convo with one of your best friends is nothing out of the ordinary right? I do it all the time. Streams of text messages come in and go out…which consist mostly of spiritual ideas/thoughts/quotes/questions/etc….on a daily basis with a few of my closest sisters. Don’t get me wrong, I do send/receive one of the following types of messages every day to/from one of them:


So while having a normal spiritual conversation the other day, one of my friends says-as a rebuttal to an “it’s free” comment made- “nothing is free, oh, you’re paying for it!” Now, the situation in which she made this statement about is irrelevant. HOWEVER, when she made that statement “oh, you’re paying for it!” that was a “write this down because this makes for a good lesson for women” type comment so I -in my moment of “awwwww that’s good right there”– grab a napkin and jot down the brilliant rebuttal from my friend. It got me to thinking…
-Do I as a wife/mother realize in the critical moments of my life (as they are happening) “oh, you’re paying for it!”? Or am I blind to the choices I’m making, the issues I’m not handling with my children, the time I spend praising OR condemning my husband, the opportunities I am missing to encourage another wife/mother/young lady? Am I so wrapped in myself and my wants and my thoughts and my time and my decisions that I am going to be paying for that selfishness in the long run? Do I focus more on social things than spiritual things? Am I guilty of putting my job before my children? Do I put my children before my husband? Am I being the daughter I need to be for my parents? Is my life reflecting what God wants it to so that my nieces, sisters, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and DAUGHTER see my faith in Him? Do I know what God wants me to be doing? Does my husband benefit spiritually from my life? Do I live so that the world around me knows without a doubt that I am trying with all I have to be an obedient servant in His kingdom?

I think a lot. About spiritual things. Now MORE THAN EVER. It came with our children obeying the gospel. Literally…THE changing moment of our lives. I know that my -and TJ’s- obedience to the gospel was the starting point, but through such a devotion to prayer for our children’s souls to be humble and obedient, and a constant refocusing on our parenting motives, our lives were FOREVER changed — FOR. THE. BETTER. in that we began in that moment to truly seek The Lord. It began with a question. It began with seeking and asking HIM for the answer. “Lord, what do you want me to do?”
And…just as He promises…He answered. Through His word, the way He speaks to us, He answered by saying what He had been saying to me the entire time (ironically enough). I had just NEVER asked HIM before. Crazy huh? Serving The LORD of heaven and earth and not even knowing how – or why – only out of “well, this is what I have been told my whole life so it must be true!” mentality. I was so ashamed of myself when I realized this. I felt such a burden of guilt. I could not even lift my eyes up…at first. But through humility, through a honest desire to have a honest heart in seeking for His honest truth, I could. I could lift my eyes to heaven and say “Lord, I may not know right now what you want from me, but I promise I will seek it because I know You promise I will find it. And whatever it is…and however hard it may be…and whatever I have to give up…I will do it.” And with TJ as my spiritual head, leading me, praying with me/for me, humbling himself as well, our lives would forever be changed. And I couldn’t be any happier and more miserable at the same time! hahaaa. Let me explain briefly what I mean by that…
Happier in that I have never felt more at peace spiritually because I KNOW WHY I am serving Him, I know what He says for me to be doing, I know who He says for me to be, simply and only because I asked HIM. Have I perfected it…um CRAP NO! Do I know everything yet? Uh-huh, not claiming to. BUT do I know what is plainly commanded of me…yes. So I start there. Therefore, I am obedient to what I know as of today. And when (and believe me THIS will happen over and over again) I find more that He has commanded…I will get busy on that as well. Little by little, piece by piece, correcting mistakes along the way, I will serve Him with all I got. And when the time comes for me to see His beautiful and amazing face…I have confidence (now) that I will be able to say “I did what YOU told me to do…not perfectly, but I tried with a honest heart!” Sure beats “well, so and so told me that it was ok to be doing such and such based on what he/she understood of some part of most of Your word.” makes me think of Brian Fontana saying “60% of the time it works every time.” Bless. A big laugh.
We now worship as a church of 4. We live a life of worship. We read and talk and study more than ever. We sing to each other in the car, and while washing dishes, and while getting ready for school about Jesus and how Awesome He is. We are looking for ways to help those who need our help and then helping them in whatever way we can. We are sacrificing our “old” comfortable normal ways for the narrow path. We are giving up our “old” selves and our “wants” and “desires” in ways that go beyond just simply saying we are. We are still sinners. We are still weak. We are still selfish at times. We are emptying out more and more and more of self to make more and more and more room for Jesus. We pray. We cry. Well, that’s not entirely true…I cry. a lot. I lose sight sometimes of what “it’s really about.” We get angry. We.ARE.HUMAN. And yet in our humanity…we are becoming more spiritual to recognize that our humanity is weak. And sad. And has a whole big pretty population with it. We want Jesus. He is enough.
Miserable in that there have been physical changes in our lives which have broken our hearts. We have had people completely change their minds about us (from “wow you are so great and spiritual and wonderful to you are in sin and wrong and lost.”) We have had lies told about us. Closest of relationships have been severed. Selfishness has reared its head in my life and I have been humiliated by my own actions. The physical appearance of our worship has changed. And satan wants nothing more than for the physical to outweigh the spiritual. Absolutely nothing would satisfy him more than for us to miss the physical “stuff” and relationships so badly that we exchange our spiritual understanding to have them back. “Just accept what they’re doing.” “Everyone else is doing it so it must be what He wants.” “If you’re the only one seeing this then you know it has to be wrong.” I wonder what Jesus would say to those attempts. Oh wait…He already has hasn’t He? Yeah, and I’m paraphrasing here people but you are more than welcome to look it up for yourselves in Matthew 16:26, “so what IF you have the whole entire world and everyone loves you and accepts you and thinks you’re fabulous and you get along with everybody and you’re accepting the times and the changes that humans have made with what I have said…IF your soul belongs to satan because of it.” Just think about that. I sure did. “Stuff” and “friendships” wasn’t so hard to let go once I realized having it/them was costing me my soul. Shew, this life is hard enough people…pay more attention to Jesus than your checkbook and the number of people who “like” you.

So, “oh, you’re paying for it” made me realize that by asking The Lord for wisdom in training our children’s souls, He answered. He answered and they both, on the same night, obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ. We in that moment became brothers and sisters in His kingdom and no longer just father/mother/daughter/son. We ask Him for His guidance in training them and now…oh, we are paying for it. But the price we are paying on this earth is in physical measures -stuff, relationships, buildings, reputations, respect, friendships, …CRAP. The spiritual price is only our obedience. We know how to read, we know how to comprehend, we know how to ask The Lord to give us eyes of understanding and a heart to accept and a will to obey. So obedience is easy really. The price Jesus paid so that our spiritual debt of sin wouldn’t be charged to us…HIS LIFE. To me, to us, He outweighs alllllllllllll the stuff satan can offer. he (satan) can have all the crap he wants.
We want Jesus.

Finally, in asking myself all the questions of “do I” and “am I” and “does my husband/children” -fill in the blanks with the rest-, what I realized is every THING I do or do not do in my life matters to someone, in some way, for some reason. I’m paying for the results of my marriage, my children, my work, my service, my friendships, my Christianity in good ways or bad ways. That is totally up to me. I desire for my reward to be spiritual. For my husband to praise me and my children rise up and called me blessed. I desire for my Lord to be pleased with my heart AND my service. I desire for what Jesus paid for me to be worth it for Him…that I will sacrifice everything to obey Him. After all, that’s what it cost Him to obey His Father…everything.

Click on this link to hear an amazing song…about how much it cost.

Recipe for Millions

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1 size 8.5 brown Yellowbox flip-flop for a left foot. Must be new and never worn and solid brown. No other color accepted. From the 2015 collection only.
1 Fruit of the Loom men’s white tee-shirt. Round neck only. Must be new and never worn. Tagless. Size L.
2 Solid black pair of sunglasses. From the dollar tree only. “Ray ban” style. Must be new with tags and stickers.
4 coloring books. Sesame Street characters only. One character per sheet and must be new.
1 16.9 oz bottle of Lipton DIET Citrus Green Tea. Unopened. Cold.
3 tubes of original Chaptstick. Classic original. Yellow label. Unopened.

The first person to collect and deliver the above items to my house-@ XXXX Highway XXX XXXXXXXXXXX, XX 00000, placed on my kitchen table in the order listed above with a printed copy of this text- by XXXXXXX XX, XXXX at X:XX pm will win 1,000,000,000.00. No more information is necessary. No questions will be allowed. Only the first person at my front door on the given place, date, and time will be allowed in. If said person has each item, and can lie out one by one in the correct order, and place a copy of this text with it, will be granted the prize of 1,000,000,000.00. If first said person cannot achieve the task properly and correctly, the second person at the door will be allowed in. This will repeat until the task has been performed exactly as stated.

Raise your hand…and be honest in this please – cheaters, you need to especially pay attention here – if you would give this a shot. It’s a million dollars people. Like a bunch of money that will take care of everything people.
I would TOTALLY get in on this challenge. I would search high and low for every item on the list. I would type in the address in my “maps” on my phone…I’d create a reminder on my calendar for the date and time…I’d plan to be at the mailbox of the driveway an hour ahead of time. I would WANT that 1,000,000,000.00!! And if you haven’t noticed…that list is TOTALLY doable. It’s not hard to understand and I have all the info I need in order to get what is promised. It would definitely take some planning, researching, sacrificing, and would cost me a couple of pennies and hours but LOOK at the reward!!! I mean 1,000,000,000.00!!!! My fingers get tired typing all those 0’s!! lol

now…some of you have already made the spiritual application, but to make my point:

We have instructions.
We have the “list of ingredients”
All doable. All attainable. We will get no more information. Plain and simple.
If we do what He says…we receive His reward. Period.

ARE THERE SACRIFICES REQUIRED? you better believe it.
Is what we must “do” WORTH. THE. REWARD? Y.E.S.!!!

Why do you think a recipe for a million dollars would so greatly and strategically and methodically and perfectionately (tressa word) followed? Because the MILLION DOLLARS IS THE REWARD and that is something we can visualize would benefit us GREATLY right?!

Why don’t we follow God’s recipe for a Christian woman? Why do we stretch and argue and pull apart at the seams what His recipe is??! He states exactly what/who He formed us for, how we expects us to behave, who we are to be serving, and what our character should reflect! If you do not know what this recipe is, I would advise you to read. Read His word and pray for the clear understanding of what He says. If you ask Him for what He wants from you, you will quickly see with open eyes what that is…a humble heart is the MOsT important ingredient! It’s not difficult to see, it’s even easier to do!
Don’t get me wrong here…you will “look” different, you will “be” different, you will “lose” friends, you will be thought of differently blah blah blah…all that just seems petty to even tell you you will “suffer” because the amount of peace you will gain is unmeasurable…I’m pretty sure I’ve had the picture painted for me that obedience to God will result in hatred towards me, lies about me, and a lonely “friendship circle.”
I’m gonna go by His recipe anyway. :)
His “recipe for millions” is His plan for us. If you don’t currently have it in your “important stuff” file…Ya should stop reading this and go straight to Him!

Proof of HIS love…

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I love you.

I say it, I hear it, every day…sometimes multiple times in a day. Have I ever stopped, taken a moment, and reflected on what it TRULY means to say to someone “I love you.”?

Here’ my list of what the world tells me “I love you” means:
*You make me laugh
*I really like being around you
*You are hot
*I want you to be happy
*I will overlook your faults
*It just feels right to say it
*You are a benefit in my life
*We agree on everything
*You accept me for me
*blah blah blah or Charlie Brown teacher voice (meaning squat)

So when I look back and read this list, none of these reasons seem bad do they?! Well, the last one does…but seriously, I say it sometimes in just random convo and that’s how people hear it. Just another phrase I am throwing around easily. Shouldn’t I be able to prove I love someone when I tell him/her? Think about this: nobody ever randomly says “Marry me.” Because we understand what that means when we say THAT. I mean, I think I say “I love you” with the best of intentions when I say it to someone…I really do. Maybe I should be more aware of what I am saying, just like I understand that “marry me” means “join your entire life with mine and share your stuff with me and live in the same house as me and pick up all my stuff and clean my clothes and cook my meals and baby me and give me whatever I want until you die”…or something like that. lol

However, if I going to wear the name of Christ–“Christian”– shouldn’t I know what HE tells me “I love you” means? If I am going to represent Him in this life and be the Christ influence to those around me and use the phrase “I love you,” shouldn’t I know how Christ loves me? I am certain that when Jesus Christ says “I love you”…He isn’t just throwing around a cute little phrase to tell me I benefit Him. Because clearly…I do not. I nailed Him to His cross. I spat on Him. I shouted “Crucify Him!” MY sin cost Him everything. So Jesus isn’t telling me “I love you” for anything that I have done for HIM. He CAN and HAS proven He loves me.
Go back and reread my list…reread it and pretend Jesus is saying these one-liners to you…..
silly huh?!

So…here’s my list of what I understand Jesus is saying to me when He says “I love you Tressa”:
*I will provide for you what you need to be saved from your sins
*I will empty Myself of my desire for Y.O.U
*I will tell you the TRUTH with a compassionate heart
*My feelings for you are NOT physical
*I will take care of you IF you will let me
*I will never lie to you
*I will never choose Myself and My happiness over you and yours
*I know My Father and I want you to too
*I am in a great Place…and I want you here too
*I tell you what I tell you because I care about your soul and its place in eternity
*You cannot have a proud heart…this cannot be ABOUT YOU
*This is not about what YOU want
*I will allow you to choose. I will not force you. I will be here when you look for Me.
*your choices do have consequences…I am fair to let you know that up front.

Sounds very different than the first list huh?! I know there are MORE ways Jesus loves me, I do NOT claim to know everything He means. I can however look at His life, His choices, His teachings and know that HE IS the pinnacle of the definition of L*O*V*E. I can be taught His commands and desire to follow them. I can humble my pride-filled heart to rid my life of “MY WAY” and trust “HIS WAY!” I can have confidence that His Way is best…however narrow, lonely, or hard it may be. He is awesome enough to tell me that ahead of time…”Hey, following what I tell you as a woman in this life is going to be hard, and you may even have to walk this road alone sometimes…I know what that’s like, the last road I physically walked I was all alone too.” So He gets it. He knows how hard this life is, He knows obedience will cost me everything. He knows my friends will leave, He knows my family will not understand what I’m doing. He knows I will be made fun of by people claiming to be doing what is right. He knows I will be lied about just to make people feel justified in their actions. He totally gets it. I cannot go to Him with a “You just don’t understand how hard this is!!!” like EVER. Never ever ever. I cannot EVER use the “well if this was YOU going through this, YOU would give up and do what everybody else is doing too!!” No no no…naw. Not gonna cut it. He’s been there done that…He N.E.V.E.R gave in to “what everybody else was doing”…HE focused and stayed true to what His Father had told Him to do…and THAT’s my desire. My goal. My focus. It took me a very long time to get here…and ya know what? Physically it’s lonely sometimes, it’s hard sometimes, and the heartbreaks I have felt have been awful, the loss of relationships hurts, being lied about is unfair…BUT “He loves me, He loves me, Oh how He loves me!” Spiritually I’ve never felt more UNalone (tressa word), it’s never been EASIER to follow Him, my heart has never been SO FULL, He has never been more satisfied with my humbled service. I simply want to serve H.I.M-my husband-my children-my sisters-my neighbors-ALL His people the way(s) HE tells me…and not how I, my friends, a congregation, the WORLD does. I know people have the best intentions with the service they offer/teach/demand even and even more than that a great deal of people even seek God in their understanding of such…but at the end of MY life…when I am in HIS presence…when I have to give an account for what I did/didn’t do…THIS is what needs to be my answer: “Because I asked YOU and YOU told me what to do…and I did it the best I could.”
And I may not know a lot, but T.H.I.S I KNOW is true…
“If you love Me, keep My commands” (so IF I claim to love Him, I should keep His commands right) and I have a command from The Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul to Titus for him to teach how women be…and as an older WOMAN I am to teach the younger woman how to be and do the things God says for us to be and do. (I challenge you to look up these verses and study these characteristics we are told to be and the things we are told to do. They are HUMBLING…especially when you see what you are NOT).

Hi. I’m Tressa. I want to be this WOMAN. It’s nice to meet you :)
There will be more and more and more (I pray) understanding TJ and I and our children will come to as we seek for Truth. There are more commands to keep. And how willing are our hearts to truly obey? It’ll cost us…physically. Spiritually that debts already been paid…and that my dear readers is the “Proof of HIS love.”

What will I do to prove mine?

So consider the possibility…

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Post on Facebook this morning:

So consider the possibility…
If we as parents, daddy and mommy-mom and dad-dad and mother, whatever names we may carry from our children, set our priorities to be training our children in the Lord’s word and His way as much as we do as preparing to teach a Bible class with other people’s children attending…is it possible we could be producing God fearing, knowledgeable, respectful, obedient, reverent souls who have hearts of service and a great respect for His word and His way INSTEAD of young people who scramble around in the morning in the car on the way to Bible class to get a lesson completed by filling in some answers -whether right or wrong- JUST to have it done so that they don’t get scorned by the teacher…and so that daddy and mommy aren’t embarrassed by having children who weren’t prepared for Bible class?!
The “results” are showing us ALL the time that our “system” is NOT working…a LARGE majority our children are NOT growing in knowledge and grace in the Lord, they are not being trained in the way they should go (the Lord’s), they aren’t respecting and obeying the Lord’s commands for them as young people-husbands-wives-parents-citizens-and MORE importantly “Christians.” They are however growing up with NO respect…for the Lord, for authority, for parents, for teachers, for spouses…NO manners, NO knowledge of His word, No humility, No heart of service, NO modesty of heart.
They are however learning to half way do things with a half heart of devotion and half of their attention/dedication (half may even be gracious). They are consistently growing up with the wrong motivation of mind…”I will do enough to just not get in trouble,” “well I sure don’t want to look unprepared,” and they still have parents worried more about being embarrassed than anything else. So we KNOW that the way we are currently doing things IS working for something…BUT who is getting the satisfaction from this?? Is it possible that satan is gigling hysterically at us as we think that we are producing God fearing souls working in His kingdom?

The ONLY way we know whether we are producing souls who have a sincere reverent heart for their Creator is by the fruit we are producing…by the fruit THEY are as well. The ONLY way we can TRUST we are doing this the right way in IN HIS WORD. That’s it people. And it starts in the home…it starts with US-husband and wife/daddy and mommy! Children are commanded to “obey your parents in the Lord for THIS is right.” How are they to learn to obey? F.R.O.M US!!! F.R.O.M US -their parents- seeking, praying, studying the Lord and His word.

I am by NO means suggesting Bible class teachers are not useful and needed in our children’s lives…there are those who have the command to teach the things the Holy Spirit revealed to the apostles. Our children can benefit from these teachers. We as parents should NOT be simply handing our children over to them and saying “here, you do it!” Is it possible that if WE as parents were teaching our own children at home and in our lives that they WILL be prepared on that morning for Bible class in the correct way and in a manner that produces a smile on their Lord’s face…instead of a giggling satan?

So, consider the possibility.

One of the ways we have always explained our ways to our children is “if we do not train you to obey us when you are babies/toddlers/children/teenagers, you will not be trained to obey God when you are an adult.” We are by NO means perfect in this…we just had to ground a child for the smart mouth that she so innocently inherited…hahahaa!! However, our children KNOW we have their souls as priorities in this life…the growth of them, the protection of them, the love of them! We are consistently every day seeking for wisdom from His word in the way HE says for us to do this. We are learning…they are as well. THIS will be our aim, our goal, our mission for as long as HE grants us time…they are gifts from Him—He graciously smiled upon us and looked around and gave us beautiful and innocent and precious souls as GIFTS. OUR responsibility to HIM is to make sure He gets them back.

A thought shared

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For God to place us as women in such a beautiful and powerful role of showing a world “what submission looks like” should humble our hearts and souls to the core. There was/is NOTHING ugly, negative, abusive about Jesus’ submission to His Father’s will. The mental picture we receive when knowing Jesus bowed Himself to the ground in anguish for the pain His flesh was about to experience is heart pricking. When we read of how He prayed “nevertheless, not my will, but YOUR will be done” paints for us what submission truly is. He showed us first. He put the will of His flesh BEHIND the will of His Father’s plan to save His creation. I want His heart. I want His submission. I want His obedience. I want to be a woman who values the beauty in the submissive and obedient role I have been blessed with by my Father and willingly prays “nevertheless, not my will, but YOUR will be done.”

What “the world” tells us is this:
1) submission is a sign of weakness 2) men abuse their power and demand women to be submissive 3) submitting leaves no room for a mind of your own

God’s word tell us this:
1) submission is powerful. Submission to God’s will is what made possible salvation from our sins…what in that shows weakness?
2) God designed the order in which authority is granted. Men cannot force a woman into submission…that idea completely disqualifies what submission means
(think about it)
3) submission is a choice. Jesus chose to submit to His Father. His own mind made that choice. Our submission is the same…a choice from our own mind.

When women are willing to share with other women the beautiful reality in God’s eyes of submission and its purpose, we are fulfilling our commands from Paul to teach other women. As difficult as the world makes submission for us, God makes it so much easier. Through following His way, and reaching out to women to seek AND find the meaning for God’s commands for submission and obedience, the beautiful result is a peace within that the world, even as hard as it will try (and believe me ladies…it WILL try) to make it ugly, weak, and sad.

I’ve shared this story (click on link below) of Jessica Robertson -Duck Dynasty daughter in law- because the platform she has to teach and encourage women to learn and know the beauty of submission is uplifting.
Titus 2 women 😉