Talking as a Black Man

My son, Pastor Anthony, wrote this on his blog, and I wanted to share it because I think it speaks volumes.   

Croz Blogz


Race. It’s hot button issue right now. I guess it has been for has long as there’s been diversity in the world; however, with where the American climate is right now on the topic, I figured I’d share my perspective. No, I don’t want to argue about your hashtag or read you a list of statistics. That’s not the tone of my heart going into this blog. I simply  want to give you a glimpse into my experience as a man of color. What you decide to do my testimony, is up to you.
Through the grace of God, and the hard work of my parents, I never had to grow up in an environment common to most young African American males. I never had to worry about gang violence. I never had to worry about which route was the “safe” way to get home from school. We didn’t live in poverty. I was never blatantly discriminated for my race; I don’t recall falling victim to any hate crimes. I’ve had people call me “that word” before. I’ve had bottles thrown at me from moving cars as I’d ride my bike along the side of the road. Just the other day, I went to visit a building for work and the owner confused me with another man of color when I corrected him he simply stated,”oh well, you all look the same anyways, right?” I’ve had stuff like that happen…but none of the “bigger” realities of African-American youth made up my story. And so, I’m not going to sit here and try and fabricate something for the sake of an engaging blog post.
So, you may be thinking to yourself, “what’s the issue, Anthony?” You may be thinking, “see this is a great point! Those thug black people who are getting shot on the news must be asking for it because you’re not like them Anthony and nothing like that had ever happened to you! You’re different!” You may be thinking these things or you may have had those thoughts before (especially if you’re friends with me). However, in those statements lies what I want to talk about.
If I had a dollar for every time I heard “Anthony, you’re not really black. You’re the whitest black guy I know” growing up, I’d be one rich brotha. What people mean when they say this is, “Anthony, you don’t act how your race is supposed to (sometimes stereotypically) act.” And the truth is, no I don’t fall in line with what a lot of the African American culture represents. I’m a heavy metal listening, Toms-wearing, longboarding, man with a degree in English and the dance moves of a three-legged cow (as my wife would testify). I am who I am, and I’ve never tried to be anything or anyone else. However, there has been assumptive stigma put on that kind of thinking…because I don’t “act black” I’m immune from the realities of being a minority in America. This is simply not true and (I love you, my Caucasian friends) comes with some ignorance.
I remember when my family moved to the North Reno area (I was around 12). We moved into a quiet suburb, which was nice. However, one of our neighbors, down the street, hung a confederate flag over their house. I remember my mom cautioning us about this because the way to the local skate park and 7/11 involved walking past this house. “My family was nice!” “They would like us if they knew us!” I remember thinking…what did we do to deserve the feeling of having a knot in your stomach every time we would ride our bikes past that house, I thought. When I’m in the grocery store with my (white) wife and I catch people giving us looks, I know it’s not because we scored a killer deal on new sippy cups. When I’m driving and a cop is behind me and the thought goes through my head “be extra careful…you are black.” Even though I’m most likely driving to or from church and the cop behind is probably an awesome man or woman…the thoughts still surface. Why? Because at the end of the day, no matter how I talk or how I spend my free time…the color of my skin is still black, and there certain realities that come with that. I will have to pray for my children has they grow and head out into the world in a certain way because of their race. I will have to pray for my step daughter in a certain way because of the dynamics of growing up with a parent of color. It’s simply not as open and shut as “you don’t have anything to think about because you don’t act a specific way.”
Again, my desire isn’t to start a debate or accuse all white people of “not getting it.” I simply wanted you (the reader) to step into my shoes for a couple of minutes. Maybe you do need to seek a true understanding of what living as a minority looks like. Maybe you need to have real talks with your friends of a different race than yourself. Maybe you need to guard yourself against speaking too quickly when it comes to these sort of matters…especially if you’re not willing to do the work on the relational understanding end. Like I said earlier, what you decide to take away from this is up to you. For me, I think of all of this and I enter into a place of worship. Why? Because despite or even in spite of my race…heck even my actions, I am loved deeply by Jesus. Jesus, the son of God who’s grace and hope is for all colors, all races, all backgrounds, all heights , all weights, and all nations. I worship because, in His eyes, I’m not labeled as a “black guy” I’m called His friend, His family. In Him, that’s my identity.

Your Kid…Behind the Scenes: Legacy vs. Label

 My son, Pastor Anthony, wrote this blog post. Gives us moms something to think about. I posted my latest blog…Mom, Behind the Scenes on his blog Croz Blogz. I took a total different approach to show what moms really feel “behind the scenes”. Go check it out!

If you’re a Christian mom or dad, you’ve mostly likely  been pointed to the Bible verse, Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” This saying is often used as very constant encouragement for Christian parents (of course it is, it’s from God). The idea of “training up” can be found all throughout scriptures in many different forms. The biggest example of this comes from Jesus Himself when He gives His followers the charge to be disciples who make disciples! Disciple people (train them up) in the life and love of Jesus as you do the same yourself. And as parents, our main calling in this can be found in our homes. Besides our spouse, our calling to disciple our kids is the most important duty we have within our discipleship lives. Heck, Paul says a man cannot even be considered for Eldership if his kids aren’t properly being “trained up” (1 Timothy 3:4). This is a big deal!

So as parents, how should we be training up our children? Well, making disciples is a legacy discussion. We as Christians are called to live with legacy mindsets, meaning we’re not just invested in our own salvation/lives/ministry…we’re called to keep our eyes on how the gospel will advance beyond ourselves. All the way back in Genesis 3, when sin has just entered the world, the Lord tells Satan that one day his head will be crushed by the foot of His son Jesus (Genesis 3:15). Among other things, this was God establishing His redemptive legacy which will unfold over the lives of many people throughout the Bible and even up to where we are in history right now. So as we train up our children, we keep in mind our prayer and desire to see the good news of Jesus carried throughout the lives of our ongoing family tree.

 All that being said, it’s easy for parents to get this calling confused. As a son, and as someone who works with sons and daughters as a (Pastor of Family Ministries) I’ve observed many parents mistaking leaving a legacy with leaving their label on their kids. What do I mean by this? You see, a legacy is something we pass on to our kids. A label is something we put on our kids. A legacy is something we desire to see our kids inherit. A label is something we make our kids feel like they need to carry in order to be fulfilled in the eyes of you. For example, we all know that our kids are so much more than what they do. But how often do we show them this? Do we put certain labels on them (getting good grades, marriage, making money, being well behaved, looking good) and when they fulfill these labels, we give them our approval?

 However, this is not legacy making. If we’ve ever made our kids feel as if they “need” to be Christians in order to receive approval from you, then we’ve just made a label wearer instead of a legacy carrier. If our ultimate desire is for our kids to “not” be like us when we were their age…then we’ve given our children the label of “I have to be better than xyz.” If our kids feel us trying to find our identity in them (If my kids aren’t well behaved good little Christian boys and girls, then I’ll get angry and upset because they’re making me feel like a failure), we’ve just given a label they will carry around in many different ways.

  Labels could be considered the opposite of Proverbs 22:6 in couple different ways. First, these expectations we put on our kids are often things they feel obligated to fulfill. “I don’t really like church, but I go because it makes my parents happy.” “I have to do well in school because my parents don’t want me to be a drop out like them.” “I struggle with whether or not I want to have sex or not because my parents told me if I do then I’ll be a tramp.” And this is hard because feeling obligated to do something for approval rather than desiring to do something because you are loved, is the opposite of the gospel! And if it is the opposite of the gospel, it isn’t proper disciple making! More often than not (I’ve talked to many kids who have experienced this) when kids feel like they need to live under those labels, stress and a great weight fall upon them.

When they can’t fulfill these obligations, there’s footholds for depression (I’m not good enough), rebellion (why even try when I can’t even make my parents happy anyways), self-harm (I just need to find something I can control), and sometimes it could even lead to straying away from the faith as soon as they get out from their parents’ home (close to 80% of young people stray away from the church as soon as they enter college). When we subconsciously tell our kids they need to be a certain way in order to receive our love…it does damage, because as I mentioned earlier…saying these things is not what God says to His children.      

 Lastly, leaving labels on our kids, rather than leaving a legacy through your kids, is not proper discipleship because ultimately (we would never say this, but think about it) we’re telling our kids that we want them to live out being made in our image rather than the image of God. If we’re telling our kids we need them to be a certain way because our identity lies in them (you need to go to church, so I feel like a good Christian mom or dad). Who’s glory are you seeking if they obey?

 If you’re still not sure, really search your heart for why you get so upset when your kids do something that fails to live up to your expectations. We become the “god” our kids want to serve, and our kids sense this from us and respond accordingly. God calls us to proper legacy making discipleship because it raises our kids in the shadow of the cross rather than ours. Being raised up in the gospel, our kids will find the hope, joy, and honor of living out who God has called them to be. Our Lord as made our kids beautiful and wonderful in His image; He’s made them with unique gifts and personalities for his glory. Our kids need us to help cultivate that truth, and if we need that…we will truly fulfill what it means to make disciples.

 Our kids don’t need (or even want) our labels. Heck, the world around them is already throwing enough expectations on them already. Our kids need (they want) us to train them to be the man or woman God has created them to be. We do this by taking what the love of Jesus has done in our lives and using His good foundation to establish a legacy through our kids.

The Pajama Interview: By Anthony Crosby

An interview my son did with his daughter, Sawyer. Check it out! And you can find his new blog link to the right under…My Blog List.

This was it. The interview of a lifetime. This was my chance to sit down with the great and awe-inspiring Sawyer Supp, on the week of her 4th birthday no less! The moment was here! She arrived still in her pajamas, her hair still affected by a long night’s sleep; this woman knows what it means to command a room with her presence. I welcomed her into a chair at my cool, gray interview table. She sat. She waited. I exhaled all of my anxieties away. It was time; I began asking my questions.

“Question one,” I said strongly to show some sense of my authority to Miss Supp, “So, you just turned 4…what are your big goals heading into this new year?” She took in the question. She thought over it slowly, with great patience. She was like a  wine connoisseur taking in a fine sip of Cabernet Sauvignon. I sat waiting for her answer with great anticipation. “Um, to give this beautiful girl a kiss!” She finally responded as she leaned over and gave her little sister Evaleigh, who was also present at the time of the interview, the best Eskimo kiss I’ve ever seen. I was so blown away! What humility! What compassion! I had never seen such selflessness in my life. It was no wonder the past three years of her life had been so lucrative

“Question two, who is your favorite person?” She sat there, not answering the question, for a great deal of time. You could tell this question interested her very little. It seemed like even the curtains on the wall were more attention grabbing than my interview skills. I began to sweat. Was I blowing this opportunity? No, I couldn’t end it here. “What person would you want to be like when you grow up?” I said, rephrasing the question…hoping to land a bite. “Um, my mom!” She finally answered. Yes! She took the question! Now time for a quick follow-up. “Why?” I quickly asked. “Because she goes like this…” she said as she got up from the table and began to shuffle her feet. She was doing some kind of dance! It was pure art! There were so much history and culture in every step; I couldn’t believe my eyes!

After trading chairs (I made the mistake of sitting in a red chair at the start of the interview, everyone knows Miss Supp loves red! It was a rookie mistake) it was time for question 3. “What is your favorite animal?”This time, she quickly responded by saying “a giraffe!” I went right to the follow-up question that landed me previous success, “why?” She squinted her eyes. You could tell she was in deep, deep thought. I couldn’t wait! The anticipation was killing me! Would she bring up the beauty of a giraffe’s long and majestic neck? Would she marvel at the fact it’s the tallest land animal in the world? Is she amazed by the fact that giraffe’s tounges can reach over 45cm long? What was her reasoning? I had to know! “Why?” I spoke out with anxiousness, “Why?!” You could tell I had worn her down with my intense style of journalism because she came out with her answer. “Because, they go like this…moooooo!”

It was time for our another question. “Why do you love Jesus so much?” She simply smiled; I could tell this was an easy question for Miss Supp. She calmly replied by saying “because He loves us!” I too joined in with a smile after hearing this response. It was a great answer.

Finally, I was down to my last questions. I was gearing up to ask Miss Sawyer her thoughts on the current situation involving America’s economic climate, but before I could get another word out…she had to make a statement, “ok that’s it! No more!” She dashed away from the table faster than the average giraffe (which some are known to get up to 37 mph if you didn’t know). She had decided the interview was over. She went and poured herself a nice piping hot teacup full of imaginary coffee. As I sat at the table, wondering if I should consider that interview a success or not, I heard someone calling out to me from the distance. “Come on and have coffee with me!” I couldn’t believe my ears! It was Miss Supp; she was inviting me over for a beverage! I hurried over and sat down. She poured me a cup, and I have to say (off the record of course) it was the best cup of pretend coffee I’ve ever had.

Why my Mom will Never be my Friend

Well, this all started a couple of months ago when I simply asked my daughter to write a blog post for me ( I am always looking for featured writers). She, undoubtedly, refused and continued to assure me she would never write anything just for the sake of writing ( who does that?) Nevertheless, it came as a big surprise when I found this written note in my Christmas gift. I know! Who Knew! I was completely floored. ~Moms keep pressing on with those babies. God knows!

They say that as you get older the relationship between a mom and daughter will start to turn into a friendship, but to be honest, I hope that will never happen to my mom and me. In my eyes the title of mom is so much greater than the title of friend. A friend is someone you can walk through life and make mistakes with. A mom has already walked the path and looks back to try and make sure you don’t make the same mistakes. A friend is someone you can look in the eye and share your problems. A mom can tell you already have a problem with just one look. A friend gives her advice. A mom gives her wisdom. A Friend can fake it till they make it. A mom knows when it’s time to keep it real. A friend can say hateful words, hurt, and betray you. A mom is there for you every single day despite the hateful things you say.
My mom is the only person I can truly talk to in my life. I can finish her sentences (No, we aren’t twins because there is about a 30 year age difference between us.) and make her laugh. We know each other so well to the point we drive each other crazy. I encourage her to follow her dreams and she encourages me to follow mine. I will have many friends, a few good friends, and a couple of best friends throughout my life, but I will only have one mom who knows me like the back of her hand. The same hand she has used and continues to use to guide me through life. I don’t know about you but why would I want to give that amazingly special bond between my mom and I up to be just friends?

Written by Meranda Crosby

A Whole lot of Perspectives…

 Let me just jump right in this…..If I could share with you the degree of stuff that I have been set free from, you would probably be disgusted, or amazed to the point of rejoicing. Through God’s grace and the blood of Jesus , I have been set free from much. That is why I can’t walk around with my christian-measuring stick and beat others over the head with it. I can’t say who is deserving of God’s grace and who is not. I wasn’t deserving, but Jesus chose to die for me anyway. Once Jesus gets a hold of a life, He will change it.

With all that said, I do believe without a doubt that…All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” I can’t change it. I can’t throw out the parts I don’t like. If I so choose, all I can do is ignore it.

Lord, help me with walk with the same love You have shown me…

I love hearing stories of just ordinary people, who have been touched by the hand of God. Here is something written by a lovely gal on my  “A Mother’s Faith” group on Facebook. This is Melissa Allen’s perspective: (Thank you for letting me share your story, Melissa)

Ok look, I don’t judge people. I never have. I make decisions about you based on how you treat me. If your nice to me I’m nice to you. If you show me love I will give it right back. I have more empathy than most. I don’t care who you marry as long as you are happy and you treat each other well. Love is a beautiful thing. Yes, I am a Christian. I haven’t always been. When I hadn’t found the Lord yet, I was still a good person but something was missing. There was a hole in me that I tried to fill with all kinds of things. But nothing ever fit until I found Jesus. It has changed my family in immeasurable ways. Things that I never thought possible have happened. So, tell me why is it that people judge me? Assume that they know what I think or how I feel based on the fact that I love Jesus. If you want to know what I think ask me.
Yes, there are some things in the bible you might not want to hear. There are some things in the bible I don’t like to hear! Because it reminds me that I’m not perfect. It’s called conviction. It’s what keeps me humble and honest with myself. Without it I would go around thinking I had it all together. That I don’t need Jesus and I would be right back where I was 5 years ago. Trust me, nobody wants that! I’m happier within myself than I have ever been. I no longer carry guilt or shame around in a back pack. But it’s not my intention or job to convict you.
So, in a time where we as a Nation are being more respectful of other people’s feelings and rights. Where everything is ok and a man that 6 months ago was being ripped to shreds in the media is now a hero and being celebrated and loved in the media because she is living her truth, am I made to feel like it’s not ok to live my truth? To celebrate the fact that I love Jesus! I can’t talk about it because it might make someone uncomfortable. I can’t share my story with you because you might feel like I’m trying to make you go to church or I’m preaching to you. Trust me, I don’t want to make anyone do anything they don’t want to. I don’t want to preach to you. If I tell you about how my life has changed and how happy I am it’s because it’s true and I want to share my experience with you. I want you to have the love and joy that I have found. Nothing more. I have no hidden agenda. I’m not looking down on you or judging you because you don’t go to church. I’m just sharing something really cool that happened to me. Yet I’m made to feel as though it’s not ok. I’m not allowed to share my love of Jesus because I might make someone feel uncomfortable. Or people will label me and assume they know what I think about certain topics just because I go to church.
So, in a time where we as a Nation are being more respectful of people’s feelings and rights shouldn’t I get the same benefits?

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8 NIV)

Mother’s Day Blog!

My son, Anthony, and I wrote this. The first part is his, and I wrote the second part:)

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. – 2 Tim. 1:5

The Apostle Paul opens this letter to his young disciple, pastor, and friend Timothy, He starts with a moment of thanksgiving for Timothy’s sincere faith. He thanks the Lord for Timothy and his call to serve God’s people. He’s encouraged by Timothy’s faith and states that this faith also dwelt in His mother and Grandmother. What an amazing thing for Paul to stop and thank God for! Lois and Eunice (Timothy’s mother and grandmother respectively) are mentioned in the Bible…for being mother’s of faith! This should also encourage us as parents as we see the importance and value God puts on motherhood in this text. And as Timothy heard this, I’m sure he remembered back to the times when his mother would always seek to point him back to the arms of the Lord. And I’m sure he himself was thankful for this. As I look back at my own story, I can relate to this emotion. I look back at my own mother who always sought to lead her children back to the redemptive story of God. I remember when she did this with a great smile on her face, as she would see her kids become leaders in the church, read their bibles, get baptized etc. But I also remember the times when the fruits of her faithfulness weren’t so evident. I remember the times when things got so hard and frustrating, she would have to go upstairs, and lock herself in her room for a bit. I’m not sure what went on behind those doors, but I’m sure it involved a lot of tears and a lot of prayer. However, what I remember most was her coming out of her room, going back to her kids, and still reminding them of the cross. She endured. All that said, I know she would not stand and take all of credit for that endurance. I know she was able to show her five kids this sincere faith because she knows that she herself is the daughter of the one who gives the faith, strength, and ability to do anything. She knows it takes being loved by a perfect parent to strive to be a mother with this genuine desire. She knows all she’s called to do is point us back to God and He’ll be in control of the rest. This open handed, on my knees, faith I’ve seen in my mom throughout the years still encourages me as a husband, father, and pastor today. I’m thankful she didn’t give up. I’m thankful she didn’t say “what’s the point.” I’m thankful she never truly forgot her identity. Because like Timothy, I am excited get to serve the Lord through the sincere faith first shown to me in my home.

Pastor Anthony Crosby-Family Ministries Pastor 

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. – 2 Tim. 1:5 
As a mom of 5 young children, when I first read this it brought up mixed emotions. The first one was fear of my inability to raise these children I had been given…not to mention, raising them in the Lord. However, the next emotion was hope. I was filled up with hope that it was possible to teach my children the truths of God’s word, and they could be called to follow Him for themselves one day. From the time I accepted Christ into my heart, I’ve (along with my husband) had this deep desire to pass on a new heritage of faith to my children and the next generation. The good news I discovered over the years came in the fact that there wasn’t anything I could do to produce this life of faith myself or my children. It was/is all about an abiding relationship with the Lord. He alone could do the required work. You see, it was in spite of me. All It could do was trust, seek and rely on the fact that my God could do whatever work needed to be done…but to our flesh, that is not the sound advice we want to hear. We seek quick solutions. We want the a,b,c’s on how to do things. However we need to know with all of our hearrts that we alone can’t do it, but our God can! Here’s a couple of things He’s showed me along the way.
Ask….”If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God..” (James 1:5). As I’ve stated, we can’t do it without Him. Ask God to begin the process. I had no clue how to raise children in the Lord, but I had a desire to know my God more through His word. I believe God knows and hears the desires of our hearts, so when we ask Him to begin the process of starting a new legacy in our family. He can start right where you are. He can start with you. Pray! Pray! Pray! It works!
Be the example…Now, I am not talking about perfection. I am talking about letting your children see your relationship with Christ lived out in the open. They don’t need to see a perfect mom. They need to see a mom in a genuine relationship with her Lord. Let them see it lived out in the daily life. Let them see that you live in your Heavenly Father’s grace and mercy each and everyday, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Let them see that you believe that your God is big enough, wise enough, rich enough to supply all your needs.
I know there are others who join me in the unique season I am in right now. I am a grandma while at the same time still raising a young son. I’ve also seen first hand how my God can take a life that is utterly broken and lost and make it whole. I’ve seen how He can hear the prayers of a mother crying in a closet and take and guide her every step of the way. My prayers for the next generation are really still the same. I pray my children will seek hard after the Lord. I pray all my grandchildren and generations to come will be rooted and grounded in the love of Chirst. I pray they will know His love that surpasses all understanding.
My sisters, you can believe without wavering….trusting and knowing God will use every detail of your life to bring about His purposes for you and your family. Nothing is wasted. Who knows, maybe God is using you to raise up a “Timothy” right now.
Denise Crosby

Why be Normal?


Don’t be afraid to go where God wants to take you.The world around us tugs for our wants and desires. It’s so subtle that we don’t even recognize it at times. We have to be on guard at all times. I know in my own mind I can be distracted so easily by so many things. Resting in the one true God is the only place to be.” -Denise Crosby

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you- Matthew 6:33

You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness– Romans 6:18

If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you- John 15:19

What do all of these verses have in common? (Besides being evidences of how God’s grace moves us into a life of righteousness) They all bring up the fact that following God means going against the world. God says, follow me! I will provide! I will bring you comfort! I will bring you joy! The world says, be like everyone else! Fit in! Get all that you can! Find comfort and pleasure in whatever you want! Make your own “joy.”
We have two opposing views here, don’t we? This would mean that choosing one way would be rejecting the other, wouldn’t it? And not only that, but if almost everyone is choosing one path and you feel called to go down another, what does that make you? Normal? Ha, it makes you anything but! It makes you the weirdo, the outcast, the rebel. Your sense of normality wouldn’t be able to be defined with the majority because the majority would most likely look at you as the fool.

So, what do we do? We can either choose to hate the idea of not being like by everyone else. We can choose to provide our own comforts, our own agendas, be our own god’s (because that just feels safer if we’re being honest, does it not?) Or…. we can choose to look and take in the love, grace, and glory, of the Mighty King who created the universe with a word, and  who chooses to love us with the same amount of power, and say…why be normal? God has already demonstrated  that He loves me deeply. Where else would I go? What else could i possibly turn to?

Why be normal?

This is something my mother said to us all the time while my two brothers, sister, and I were growing up. And I will never forget it. It changed my life. And not just the fact that she would say it, but because she chose to live it out everyday.

Let’s give her a rundown, shall we?

5 kids in today’s world? Why be normal?

Faithful wife, never divorced, even though tough times hit? Why be normal?

Stay at home mom/wife? Why be normal?

Homeschooling mom? Why be normal?

Leader, mentor, teacher to women  not only at her church but all throughout her city? Why be normal?
You get my point?

That said, I know she would kill me if I didn’t mention the truth of the fact that it was her perfect Father who equipped her to lead the life she has. And I also know this. Because my mother need’s God’s grace just as much as you or me. I know there were times while our dad was oversees  serving in the military while she stayed home alone with 4 small crying children when she must have asked, “why can’t I be normal?” I know there were times when she would look at the lives of her friends, out talking about their careers and experiences, when she asked “why can’t I be normal?”

I remember a time when us children were young and my mom was doing her best to start our homeschool day off with some time in the word of God. (She really wanted us to know the love of Jesus). But for some reason, we were just not having it that day. We were all being rude and talking back, and not caring about listening to one thing my mom had to say from scripture. Finally, after multiple failed attempts to love her children the best way she knew how, she screamed “That’s it!” And went up i to her bedroom, slammed her door, with eyes full of tears, leaving my siblings and I sitting at the kitchen table by ourselves. Why can’t I be normal? I’m sure she thought. God, why am I not like other mom’s who can just put their kids in school, get a “real job” and do things that make me the happiest? I should just give up. She must have thought all of this with tears, loneliness, confusion, and frustration, in her eyes.  She must have. But like I said, my mom needs God’s grace. And through His love, He wiped away her tears, took her hand, lead her back downstairs to her kids, as she opened up her bible and continued to teach us about Jesus….(after she took away our video game privileges).

God had a plan (He always does). He knew that my mom’s “against the norm” way of life would lead to Him doing work on our entire family’s heart.

Mom…through you not giving into the ways of the world, God has used you to standby, speak into, love, and serve a man who is now Godly husband who loves his wife, loves his kids, and loves his church.
Through you not giving into the ways of the world, God has given you the heart to adopt a beautiful baby boy who could  have ended up in the worst situations, but now gets to grow up in a safe, loving, home where he’ll get to hear about Jesus and grow into an awesome man. My brother :)

Through you not giving into the ways of the world, God has used you to lead your four children into a life and love with His son Jesus. And through this love, we are all now (in our own ways) out in the world sharing and living out the gospel with hundreds of people.

Through you not giving into the ways of the world, God has used you to speak truth into so many women’s lives. They now know that they can live life with a purpose and a plan that’s far greater than they could have ever imagined.

So, to you mom. I say thank you. You are my mentor, my inspiration, my beautiful mother, and my best friend :)

And to anyone else reading this, I want to tell you that the love Jesus is so good…it changes lives. It provides far more for you than anything else this world has to offer. Like a lighthouse, He always brings you back to safety. So, I end by asking you….why be normal?

Remember God sees the big picture. It is so easy to get tripped up on what is right in front of us-focusing on a distorted view. Instead, let us put our focus where it rightly belongs-Jesus Christ“- Denise Crosby 

What Does It take?

 Yay! my first guess blogger. Angie Allen is a woman of God, wife, and mom who is learning and growing as she continues her life journey.
For I know the thoughts I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Thank you for sharing you story with us, Angie.
God, husband, children, in that order. I’m not sure if I am the only one who struggles with this, but I admit that I am constantly trying to affirm my role as a Christ follower. I have always wanted to be a wife and a mommy. I even see the fruits of my labor, occasionally (wink). Deep in my heart I know this is my first ministry. I’m building up and training soldiers for battlefield! Why do I constantly fall for the LIE that says this is not good enough, as if what I do is insignificant? With good intentions, I often find myself seeking out where I can do more to serve others. Way too often, those other things take my focus right off of my home. For me, It’s an unhealthy road that leads down a path of destruction. The devil is alive and at work, just waiting to take me down (1 Peter 5:8).
Some people can take on many things well and others (me) cannot. Each person has their own journey to walk. I have been a Christian for 13 years, but I am a slow learner and so it recently took a near death experience to realize that I was off track…once again.
See, apparently, being a wife and homeschool mom (of a teen, a special-needs tween and a toddler) and a leader in a women’s ministry wasn’t enough. I felt a “calling” to go back to school myself and become something “very important”. I wanted to learn something to serve others in the medical field. Yeah, I got kuddos, felt proud of my 3.9 GPA, but homework consumed me. My family felt the loss of mommy even though I was home most of the time. I’d sacrificed too much. I knew it was happening, but I felt so sure it was all going to be worth it in the end because I’d be helping even more people in the world! I’m afraid that was not the voice of Truth I was hearing.
 God didn’t bless this grand plan of mine. See, my already weakened immune system failed, and I got sick. The morning after a horrendous night of loosing consciousness, being violently ill and a hospital visit, I realized that I needed to fix some things. I could’ve gone to be with Jesus that night and have left my husband and three children. All that kept running through my mind, other than “Why God, why?” was what kind of legacy I’d have left for them. I know the most recent memories would’ve been neglect and busyness. I was so saddened over the fact that they could’ve thought of me as too busy for them. My heart sunk. I cried often. Still though (slow learner), I felt the guilt of dropping any extra commitments. However, oddly enough, this all went down the weekend before the start of my second semester. I could not get out of bed Monday morning for school, or for the weeks to follow. I was forced to drop out. I literally couldn’t do a thing. I had to fully depend on God for help. I fully believe that was all for His purpose of getting my attention. After months of testing, they diagnosed me having Meningitis.
I think it was a miracle that my husband found me that night. I am so grateful for a second chance. This humbling experience has reminded me that I need to take my God-given role, I ALREADY have, and live it well. Respecting my husband and raising my children IS enough. This revelation has brought me great joy. This is also has been a reminder that my life is unique, and I love it!
Angie Allen,