A Sleepless Night

Listening to the sounds of my house as they slumber,

Even the fur babies get into the act!

Tossing and turning, I can’t sleep.

Simon the greyhounds chuffs and squeals in his sleep.  What is he chasing? A rabbit?

Is he reliving his glory days as a racer?

Or is it something more mundane, like someone petting his tummy.

Is that what makes him sigh contentedly?

Tossing and turning, I can’t sleep.

Papi is snoring.  What is he dreaming?

Tossing and turning, I can’t sleep.

The boys are splayed, feet off the bed…mouths wide open

Sleeping the sleep of the innocent and exhausted.

Tossing and turning, I can’t sleep.

The girls are  different….not so innocent.

Sleeping with their feet tucked in and arms safely by their sides,

Aware of the monsters.

Tossing and turning, I can’t sleep.

The air conditioning is whirring and whizzing

The fan above me is whooshing the air.

The dishwasher is going, I can hear it gurgling.

The  house is abuzz with noise…..so is my mind.

Tossing and turning, I can’t sleep.

Pumped for PiYo

I’ve shared with you all some of my struggles with working out.  And I have to admit….I am a sloth.  I would much rather sit on the couch watching #SharkWeek and eating bonbons than I would working out at ANYTHING!!!

But on June 26th I made a decision.  On that day i decided I would do almost ANYTHING to get healthier.  I had several reasons for getting healthier.

Reason #1:  1 Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  As a Christ follower, I need to realize and respect that my body is not my own.  I am a temple of the Lord Jesus.  I am also a living representation of Him.  So, if I can’t deal with the slothful slovenly body that I have now, how is someone else going to take me seriously when I tell them about Jesus?

Reason #2: I want to be around for my kids, and my grandkids, and my great grandkids.  Not only do I want to be around…but I want to be active.  I want to play with them and hang out with them and run with them, not sleep on the couch while they are outside playing catch.  And that is exactly what is happening now. 😦

Reason #3: Moment of truth – I’d love to have another baby.  But my body would never carry one right now, I’m just not healthy enough.  And if we adopted, I’d never make it through the sleepless nights.

I had these 3 reasons…and they are darn good ones.  But now what?  That’s where my friend A comes in.  I met her on facebook and we have had lots of chats about homeschooling, and being the mother to boys, and God, and a couple about being healthy.  Not that many, because quite frankly she is one of those women…you know…the skinny muscular women that look like they could slip into a bikini at any given moment and not even blink!  Yep…..she’s one of those.  But she is also incredibly sweet and amazing and I knew she did this shakeology thingy…so I asked her.  I gave her impossible parameters.  I needed a work out that was low impact because of asthma and other issues.  I really like doing yoga but hate working out period.  And I don’t even stick with the yoga long term.  And I have like NO time.  Every time the doctor said I needed to work out, I would start outlining my day and ask him when exactly I should work out!  And I couldn’t go on a crazy meal plan that I couldn’t afford and no one else would eat – because I REFUSE to make separate meals.

She gave me 2 possible work outs and let me compare them.  I even drew up a Pros and Cons sheet.  I talked to my mom (Papi was out of town) and the girls and decided I would do PiYo because even though I HATE Pilates I LOVE Yoga!  I ordered the challenge pack and waited very impatiently for my dvd’s and shake mix to come in. (I started with strawberry because I love strawberry anything.)

On July 3rd my items were in and I was so excited.  I tried one of the shakes that night!  It was very good with little after taste…which is awesome because I will use ANY excuse NOT to do this kind of thing.  My friend A had started an online accountability group for those of us taking this PiYo challenge.

Here’s where it is going to get boring….I’ll be sharing what I posted online at the accountability group – so this is basically going to be a day by day journal.  Skip to the bottom if you must. 😉

July 4 · ·

Hi everyone! I’m excited to be here! My name is Jessica. I’m 42. Mom of 6. Homeschooler. Married 15 years. I’m really excited to get into shape. I (right now) have the full support of all my family (including my moms who lives with us). I had my first shake yesterday (strawberry sea salt) for an afternoon snack. It was so filling, I almost didn’t eat dinner! Have a blessed day everyone!!!!!

July 6 ·

Quick question before i get ready for church: how do you eat all this food???? I’m really struggling to eat all the veggies and protein every day especially. Using PiYo and my calorie target is a little over 1800, so I’m shooting for 1800.  (Yes, I am still really struggling to eat all the food!!!!)

July 7 – 

I sent my measurements to my coach.  Did NOT want to take these.  And I won’t post them here.  What I will do is share the changes later.

 

July 7 · ·

Align is done. I had to modify almost everything. But I loved most of the moves. Warrior 1 and 2 have been my favorite moves for 15 + years! I’m exhausted now…but I have cheer tonight , so I need to get moving!!!!!! Oh! And redid my schedule so that I’m working out about an hour after I get up. That always has worked best for me in the past.

July 8 · ·

Define Lower Body done. That was fun! I love yoga! ijs
I had to edit to let you know. 4 of my 6 kids joined me in the workout this morning. 1 girl and my 3 boys. The other 2 girls were going around the room correcting postures. It felt like I was in a gym class!!!!

July 9 ·  ·

Define upperbody – for those of you saying it wasn’t as much of a workout – PTTHT!!!! I was sweating my hiney off, my arms are totally shaking. BUT I managed the crouching crow pushups!!! WooHoo!!!!!
I am now going to the beach…so nya nya!

July 10 · 

SWEAT confession time. I couldn’t finish it. My muscles literally collapsed, I almost fell. I only had 14 minutes left. I know that I can do this. I WILL do this. I have cheer tonight, so that’s another 2 hours of sweating my butt off. I’m looking forward to conquering SWEAT next Monday.

July 12 ·  ·

Do you hear me screaming with joy????!!!!!!
I did define lower today with NO CHAIR!!!!!! with Aunt Flo too! I had to go into childs pse a couple times in the last 5 minutes, and I found the last 5 minutes hard to do because my hands were sliding all over the place….but I DID IT!!!!! Very little modifications!!!! I have been sitting at my computer playing on facebook trying to recover because I might fall if I try to stand right now. But I am going to be on a HIGH ALL DAY LONG!
Happy dance rant over. You may go back to your regularly scheduled programming.

feeling joyful.

  July 12 ·

Bought a 750ml water bottle at GMC today for 99cents!! They had a couple of them, so i might go back and get the others. They are pretty and i can take then to the track.

July 13 ·  ·

Define upper body done. Hating working out in front of hubby. He was very encouraging today though, in going to challenge him to do sweat with me tomorrow.

July 14 ·

SWEAT done today. I’m sitting here at the computer recovering. Hubby didn’t join me today, but dd13, dd12, and ds8 did. dd13 dropped out with 12 minutes to go, I dropped out with 10 minutes to go, dd12 dropped out with me. DS8 is a BEAST! The boy completed it all and then did 50 sit ups and 50 push ups afterwards!!!!!!! He’s not even sweating very much.

And I weighed in today…..I lost 4 pounds last week. Double my goal. I can’t see it or feel it yet, but that is super encouraging. (Especially since my asthma and thyroid kicked in last night and laid me on the couch for several hours).

I CAN DO THIS. I WILL GET HEALTHIER.

What is your favorite shake recipe?
I have to say my favorite so far is strawberry powder, milk, peanut butter, and honey

July 15 ··

Define Lower Body done. I really love this workout. My legs are already somewhat strong, so doing this work out makes me FEEL strong. I really do need to get those yoga gloves though. I have to come out of so many poses because my hands are sliding!!!!

Core this morning is done! I struggled with it, having to “rest” several times. But I didn’t stop. i kept pushing – though it was not easy to figure out what my body was supposed to be doing. i think I may be doing some of the moves incorrectly, because my shoulders are sore.
Also, I know that most of you stay away from salt….but I need to make sure my balance is correct, so I added a tiny bit of salt to my water this morning. I’ll be doing that every morning to make sure that I don’t throw my body out of whack.
Have a wonderful day everyone!!!!!

Still can’t do SWEAT all the way through. But I can see while doing it where I am getting stronger. Able to extend on things I wasn’t before! And my tricep pushup is getting stronger. Instead of only going down 1 or 2 inches, I’m able to be only 2 inches from the floor!!!

CORE literally brought me to tears today. I was so frustrated with not being able to figure out what I was supposed to be doing and then when I thought I had, not feeling it in my CORE but in my arms or legs. Hubby said I was doing then right, but still.. .feeling slightly defeated today.

July 21 at 8:43am ·

Define upper body done. Can i say that I’m actually looking forward to a work out called buns? My legs are stronger than my arms!

OK. I didn’t get the work out done this morning. i had a rough evening and night last night…didn’t sleep well and just am flat exhausted. I will attempt it this afternoon before cheer tryouts if I can. On a good note…I lost another two pounds!

BUNS done! I couldn’t do everything but I LOVED that one! I would like doing that every day!

I totally have to say this. This is the only workout I’ve ever done where I am working my butt off….I mean my muscles are shaking and hurting during it. But as I go about the rest of my day I am not hurting. Yes, I get a little twinge every once in a while when I move just the right way…but I’m not crippled in pain. I LOVE it. I know I’m working hard, the muscles are working most definitely. But I’ve always stopped before because of the pain.

Core done. Ugh. Still hate it…but it didn’t make me cry this time!!

Not looking forward to working out this morning…. . I’m sore!!!LOL. But I’ll be making up my rest day in about 10 minutes.
I did notice something strange this morning and last. My mom makes breakfast for us before she heads off to work. Both days she has made bacon or sausage. Both days the greasy smell has made me slightly nauseous. And last night, egg roll turned my tummy some.
Conclusion: eating cleaner is making my body want to eat cleaner!

Sweat kind of done. I still cant get through the whole thing. Today i stopped at 13 minutes left. But what i did, i did with no modifications. On to the cheer draft, after my shower!

feeling strong.

Hubby took me on a date tonight…..for a smoothie(kind of healthy) and to target to buy yoga gloves. Cuz that’s how we roll.lol. i guess that’s what 17 years and 6 kids does to your date life.

Strength intervals was hard! 5 minutes left and i was done. I used that time to stretch my legs out. Going to do my cheer workout this afternoon.
Oh…and thank you A for the shake sample….i now know to take chocolate off my list.

Sweat done…got further into it before my legs started to buckle!!!7::50 left! Woohoo!!!! Conditioning with my cheer girls tonight too!!!

Core….ran out of steam with 6 minutes left. I didn’t eat near enough yesterday and i can tell. I have got to eat more!
In good news, i am down a total of 8 pounds. That is half my goal!!!

I’m taking a rest day today….my last one was last Tuesday and my body is killing me!!
I will be out at the track tonight for a stunt clinic, so after that while I’m waiting for football practice to be over, I’m going to walk/run the track.
Just to hold myself accountable: tomorrow will be buns and Friday will be drench. I’ll. Be at the track on Friday night walking/running as well.

BUNS done! Man that burns!!! Love it! I can already see changes in my booty. When i was in high school I was a white girl with a donkey booty. Literally. guys used to put soda cans on my hiney. It was a running joke in my 98% black high school that I had a black girls butt. Now I have an upside down heart shape – and I ain’t lovin it. I want the black girl butt again!!!!!

Doing buns today, and my greyhound decided to join me….hard to workout when a huge dog is on your mat! He so kindly left huge muddy paw prints too.

I’m really frustrated today.
I took my measurements and did a fitness test, results are after 25 days….
Weight – down 5 pounds (up 3 from last week)
Waist – down 3.5 inches
Hips – down 2 inches
Chest – down 1.5 inches (I didn’t want to go down here)
Right arm – up .5 inches
left arm – same
right thigh – up .5 inches
left thigh – up 1.5 inches
Resting Heart rate – up 4 bpm
Vertical leap – up 1.25 inches
Push ups – up 2
toe touch – down 3 more inches (still can’t touch my toes)
Ins and outs – up 5
wall squat – up 4 seconds
first hr max – down 18 bpm (shouldn’t this be going up?)
third hr max – down 28 pbm

It’s a mixed bag and I am just really upset. I can’t really see any difference in my body at all except these weird divots in my stomach and on my thighs and booty. I just wanna cry today (I’m hoping it’s just pms)

Due to unforseen family things AND running out of my thyroid medication, I went AWOL this weekend. I still don’t have my thyroid meds…but I did do Definte Lower Body this morning. no stopping and no modifications. It’s a struggle to get out of bed when I’m out of thyroid meds – so I am counting that as a win!

Had to share this…vanilla shakeology, milk, frozen cherries, low fat chocolate syrup,and ice. It was so yummy!!!!

OK….so still don’t have my thyroid meds. yesterday I worked my hiney off with my cheerleaders. I even did a very horrible cartwheel. This morning I did Upper Body define. Praying I get my thyroid soon!

I really fell off the PiYo wagon this week…not having my thyroid in combination with cheer season and school upon me just overwhelmed me. I’m praying my thyroid meds come in this weekend so that I can start back on Monday with a bang!!!! I want to pick up where I left off with Sculpt (which I haven’t tried). This weekend is insane busy….starting today! So I have no idea if I’ll be able to work out at all.

Got my thyroid meds yesterday…took first dose this morning. Will start back up tomorrow! Woohoo!

Upper body define and i am weak! I couldn’t finish it. i went back to week 3 to build back up. I’m glad i did.

I was so tired all day..i didn’t work out this morning…but i coached this evening. I’m planning on working out tomorrow morning….x my fingers i can wake up!

Buns completed….man my legs were on fire and shaking. I had to stop and shake out a couple of times but i never turned it off! I seriously love that workout!!!!!

feeling accomplished.

Taking one of chalenes tips….doing piyo moves during commercials. 40 chair squats, 20 squats, 30 sumo squats, plank, elbow plank (?), downward dog. After cheer and doing that…I’m exhausted!

25 minutes of drench and i collapsed….holy frijoles.

21 hrs ·

I took pictures today…..when holding them up against pictures from the first day…well, i started to cry. I haven’t been able to see the difference. The scale had only gone down 8 pounds…..so seeing this huge difference in the pictures…wow. it’s storming now…I’ll try to post a before/after tomorrow.

 feeling fabulous

‪#‎PiYo‬ Strength intervals done. I collapsed at 3:55 left and literally couldn’t move for a minute. But i got up and finished once i realized a body was still attached to my head!!!!

The results of all of this insanity:

1.  My before/after pics….6weekbeforeafter 6weeksbeforeafter2

 

2.  I am going to be a Beachbody coach.  I love the transformation in how I feel and the amazing support I have received…and i want to pay it forward.  As soon as I get it up and running, I’ll post the link.

I am so thankful for all the girls in my accountability group for their support…and for A for helping me through all of this!  And I look forward to the next 6 weeks of PiYo!!!!!

Am I Quiverfull?????

About a year ago, a very good friend “L” asked me if I was Quiverfull.  I really wasn’t sure what that meant, but I answered that I thought so.  With a smile and a sheepish grin.  Of course, as soon as she left the house I just had to google what Quiverfull really was!!!

I found several websites criticizing the “Quiverfull Movement” but none that actually told me what that WAS!!!!!  (Can you feel my frustration?)  I found an article over on patheos that gave me exactly what I wanted! *Warning – DO NOT go over there unless you plan on being patient with the ads!*  A real description of what this man believes the Quiverfull Movement is.  And I wanted to see if I was Quiverfull.  (Because it would be really funny if I was part of the movement and didn’t even know it!)  I’m going to go through His basic tenets and let you know what I believe in reference to them.  Got it?  good.  Because I’m not sure I do!  😉 😉

1. Quiverfullthe idea that God is in control of family planning.  Hmmmmm.  I have to be honest and say that until a few years ago I thought that I was in control of my fertility.  I am woman, hear me roar.  And then, with no outside influence at all, different Bible verses starting sticking out to me.  And I started to believe that protecting against children was like telling a boss that you didn’t want a raise.  Foolish, right?  But if God says that children are a blessing, then by protecting against being pregnant is like telling God not to bless me.  Ah.  So, I guess I do believe that God is in control of family planning.

2. Not a Denomination – there is no particular denomination associated with being Quiverfull.  Well, that’s good.  Cuz I’m a tried and true Southern Baptist. 😉

3. Patriarchy the belief that it is the father who is the head of the home, he serves as protector, provider and shepherd for his wife and children.  Well, yes.  I believe that too.  I believe that Papi is the head of the household.  He protects us as best he can, provides for us (he’s the only salary), and leads us in spiritual and other matters.  He’s not a dictator, I definitely have a voice, but he has the final say.  OK – that’s 3 for 3!

4. Courtship instead of Dating – the parents are very involved in the courtship process, and the fathers are ultimately in control of the entire thing. Well, yes, we practice courtship instead of dating.  I don’t believe that Papi is in charge of everything though.  We believe that it is an entire family thing.  Our entire family gets to know the other family.  We believe that by watching a family interact, it can speak volumes about how a young man will treat his wife or how a young woman will treat her husband.

5. Sheltering of the children – the parents isolate and control outside influences on the children. OK.  This one is a little different.  Do I isolate my children?  NO.  Please.  There are days I wonder how we are going to get any schoolwork done with all of our outside activities.  No one else in my church homeschools.  90% of my girls friends are public school children.  And a good portion of those aren’t Christians.  NOW, that being said….None of my children have cell phones.  The girls text their friends using my phone and I monitor all texts.  We’ve had boys before saying inappropriate things to Barbie…via text.  So for her safety (emotionally and physically) we made that choice.  Our children watch tv…though only Barbie gets to watch PG-13 without parental approval.  And come to think of it, she needs parental approval as well…she just has a little more leeway in her choices.  She’s a huge fan of gothic horror – so watching Vampire Diaries is not out of the question for her, as long as I’m watching with her.  We also allow our children to read books from the library.  And there was only one book (which the girls alerted me to) that we asked the library to switch into a different section.  Turns out that the book was inappropriate from standards for the children’s section and they created an entire section of that sort of book in the teen section….it was a comic book dealing in more mature (though not horrible) subject matter.  It was put with the Batman comics which my boys were reading prior to that – um,. NO!

6. Biblical Manhood and Womanhood  – the men are the spiritual and emotional leaders of the home, the women are home makers whose job is to raise a family.  Yeah.  Totally agree.  Though not all women want children – that’s cool it’s their choice.  I really feel that when a man is not leading his home he feels emasculated.  And when a woman is not being led in the home she is craving someone to lead her.  It doesn’t mean that the woman has to do what the man says as soon as he says it.  She has a voice and an opinion….and as long as she is not nagging him, she should use her voice.  I find in our relationship that most of the giant choices have been my ideas.  I vocalize them to hubby and then he takes FOREVER! to decide yes or no. 😉  When he says yes, I’ve already prepared and done a huge amount of research so that it can be implemented immediately.  🙂

7.  Being debt-free and independent of government programs/subsidies –  this leads to financial hardship and deprivation.    OK.  If you do this incorrectly it can lead to deprivation.  But what exactly does that mean?  In our state, we would be legally qualified for financial aid for food.  SNAP I think the program is.  But we don’t need it.  Our kids eat – a TON!  And we somehow make it work.  None of our children are starving….we eat a ton of fresh fruit and veggies, chicken, fish, even steak!  And our dogs eat some of the most expensive food out there too (they have special diets due to medical needs). We buy new clothes for the kids almost every month.  Yes.  The majority of that is from thrift stores….but we also give at least a garbage bag of stuff to thrift stores every week as well.  We just don’t need everything we have.  We are still working our way out of debt and hope to be debt free (except for the house) within the year….instead of hurting us financially, this has helped us.  We have more cash to spend instead of huge credit card statements!

8. Home Church / Family-Integrated Church – this is so the parents can monitor more closely the children.  I couldn’t disagree more.  We don’t go to a home church or a family integrated church, though I sometimes wish we did.  I think the parents should be intimately involved in their children’s spiritual training.  For instance, there is a SS teacher in my church who has difficulty some days distinguishing between completely outlandish conspiracy theories and things that are actually happening in the world.  I ask my children every time after church what they learned….and there are some instances that I have to explain to my children the truth.  This leads to pretty good discussions about the false theory compared to what we believe.

and last but certainly not least….

9. Modesty – women must dress modestly so as to not “defraud” the men. We all know that men are visual.  But some women are as well.  I dress modestly, 90% of the time wearing longer skirts.  But I don’t force this on my girls.  I do adamantly stick to my guns as far as I don’t want to see underclothing at any time.  Skirts and dresses must pass the “bend over” test as well.  And no bikinis – full pieces period.  We also insist that the boys are modest.  No going without their shirts at any time.  And no visible boxers or they are liable to get atomic wedgies. (from their sisters!)  I’ve never been a clothing Nazi.  Well, except when we recently went to a Bible conference, I made all of the kids stick to the dress code perfectly. 😉  But they used their individual style.  Expressing themselves with bright and colorful tank tops, shoes, and accessories!

So, what do you think?  Am I QUIVERFULL?  I think I probably am.  I belong to a few facebook pages that are Quiverfull minded.  So I guess I am.  What do you think?  Am I?

Happy 4th of July

As you go about your day today, celebrating however you celebrate (we’re going to visit Papi’s family in Miami), remember the men and women who served and died so that you can wave that sparkler in the air. So that you can drink that beer. So that you can eat that watermelon.
Remember and give Thanks.
With all of our differences. With all of our infighting and fussing. We are Americans. Be thankful that God placed you in this nation, at this time, for this purpose.
Praise the Lord!

Peeling the Layers Away

Sunburn

 

Our family goes to the beach.  Not as much as we want, but a lot.  We have a great beach about half hour away that is perfect for kids and for this busy mom!  I love sitting on my blanket reading a good book while the kids are wearing themselves out in the sun and the surf. There are advantages to living in Florida after all!!!!

Besides being completely worn out…we come back sandy, wet, exhausted, and I come back burnt to a crisp!  It doesn’t matter how often I reapply my SPF 45, I still come back looking like a cooked lobster.

Last month we went to the beach and I came back like I normally do.  Exhausted and burnt.  As I was gingerly applying the aloe vera gel to my extremely tender skin, a weird thought struck my brain.(I am the queen of strange thoughts btw) I realized that the sun and what it does to my skin is a lot like what God’s Word (when properly applied) does to my soul.

The more I spend time in His Word, the worse it gets.  The stinging, burning, searing of His Word into my soul.  And the realization that I am nowhere close to living up to the perfection of Jesus Christ.  Each time I delve in, bathing myself in His Word I realize how I fail Him….and it stings.

Sometimes I don’t want the Son to burn, so I put on Sonblock – using the World to distract me from Him, covering myself in Worldly things that make it hard for the Son to get through to me.  Using distractions like television, music, social media, and busyness.  Buying into the advertisement that what the bible says is “cultural” or not meant for our generation, out of date.  Or I fall into that giant vat of Sonblock that so many of us have, the “sissified Jesus”.  You know the one.  The Jesus that says that God would never punish anyone and no one should be held accountable for anything.  Yeah.  That’s my favorite Sonblock of all, because it just sounds so ….NICE!

But if I forget Sunblock, if I soak in the Sun, do you know what happens?  I get burnt.  My skin gets red and it hurts.  It’s hard to do anything because my skin prickles and feels so bad.  And then something miraculous happens.  The skin, the outer layer, it starts to itch.  It peels.  And new skin is underneath it.

Same thing if I forget my daily dose of Sonblock.  If I soak my life in the Son – it will hurt.  It will burn.  It will be uncomfortable.  People will feel pity for you because you spent too much time in the Son.  Some will laugh at how red your soul is.  And there are days that you just wish the pain would go away.  But something amazing happens when you get burnt by the Son.  You start to peel.  Layer by layer, your sinful life begins to peel away.  And you start living a new life.  You will never achieve the perfection of the Son, but your constant exposure to Him will get you closer every day!  And your new skin, your new life, is shiny and bright…no scars, no bruises, no wrinkles, just the beauty of a skin and a life that is Son kissed.

Be warned…as your skin peels, some people will be disgusted.  They will shy away from the peel because they know that they are afraid of spending that much time in the Son.  Treat them with the love that they don’t treat you with.  And pray for them.  Every day.

Three Little Confusing Words

As I was pondering how to write this…the phrase “Three Little Words” came to mind.  Now what do you think of when you think “three little words”?  I usually think of the words “I love you”.  And I think that those three little words can clear up the confusion of the three little words I’m going to talk about.  Three little (or big) words that cause so much confusion in the World, and in the Christian World.

So, put aside any notions you have right now.  Clear your mind.  Have you cleared it?  Not thinking of anything?  Good.

I’m going to say three words, and you are going to examine your gut reactions when I say them.  Ready?????

JUDGMENTjudgment

CONDEMNATION

DISCERNMENTdiscernment

What was your gut reaction?  Be honest.  With yourself if not with me.  If you are like some, your first reaction could be anger, or a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach.  If you are like most Christians, a bible verse immediately popped into your head.  One quoted by millions of people who have never read that verse at all, or have never read it with 20/20 vision. (Just for your edification, that means you read 20 verses before and 20 verses after to try to get the context).  So, let’s say that verse all together…..in unison…..“Judge not, lest ye be judged”.  There.  Feel better????  Well, I don’t.

Now let’s look at these three confusing  little words that have HUGE impacts on our life and try to figure out what they really mean. (Before you do that, please go get your cup of coffee, tea, water, etc.  this is going to be a long one!)  Because quite honestly, it angers me that people have no clue what the difference is.  And I am sick and tired (I hear Bill Cosby whenever I say that, sorry) of being called judgmental for having an opinion that differs than most.  That’s right, I’m tired of being judged and found lacking.

Let’s begin our journey by looking at the Webster’s Dictionary definition of these three little confusing words.  In alphabetical order because my OCD is showing.

con·dem·na·tion

noun \ˌkän-ˌdem-ˈnā-shən, -dəm-\

: a statement or expression of very strong and definite criticism or disapproval

Full Definition of CONDEMNATION
1:  censureblame
2:  the act of judicially condemning
3:  the state of being condemned
4:  a reason for condemning

dis·cern·ment

noun \di-ˈsərn-mənt, –ˈzərn-\

: the ability to see and understand people, things, or situations clearly and intelligently

Full Definition of DISCERNMENT
1:  the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure :  skill in discerning
2:  an act of perceiving or discerning something

judg·ment

noun \ˈjəj-mənt\

: an opinion or decision that is based on careful thought

: the act or process of forming an opinion or making a decision after careful thought : the act of judging something or someone

: the ability to make good decisions about what should be done

Full Definition of JUDGMENT
1a :  a formal utterance of an authoritative opinion
 b :  an opinion so pronounced
2a :  a formal decision given by a court
 (1) :  an obligation (as a debt) created by the decree of a court (2) :  a certificate evidencing such a decree
3a capitalized :  the final judging of humankind by God
 b :  a divine sentence or decision; specifically :  a calamity held to be sent by God
4a :  the process of forming an opinion or evaluation by discerning and comparing
 b :  an opinion or estimate so formed
5a :  the capacity for judging :  discernment
 b :  the exercise of this capacity
6:  a proposition stating something believed or asserted
Synonyms: doomfindingholdingsentence (or judgement), ruling

So, did you read those definitions????  Go back.  Look at them again.  Got them in your head?  So, now let’s look at the differences.

Discernment is (for our purposes) the ability to see and understand people clearly.  Someone with Discernment will evaluate others behavior and look at it in contrast to theirs, always keeping in mind that we are all sinners, and NO ONE is righteous…no NOT ONE.  Someone with Discernment is going to realize that they deserve the same punishment of eternal death in hell as everyone else.  As a Christian, we are supposed to be discerning.  We are called to hold other CHRISTIANS accountable for their actions, while realizing that we should be held accountable as well.

 Romans 15:14  And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

We can clearly see with this (very short and not complete) list of verses that we are to call each other out when we sin.  So that we are not hardened by our sin.  And if a brother in Christ continues to sin, as Christ followers we are to no longer keep company with that person.  In other words, no longer be close, intimate friends.

Most people confuse the words judgment and discernment, the words I mean.  I was recently made aware of a church (somewhere in America) that had revoked a young man’s membership.  The young man (college age) had become a member of the church in the past year or so.  His parents followed and also became members.  Several months ago the church leadership were informed (by the young man) that he was a homosexual.  They reacted with love, offering to counsel him in weekly meetings, exhorting him, helping him.  They came alongside him in love to help him put away his sin (not an easy thing, so please don’t think I’m saying that).  After a couple of months, the young man posted on his Facebook page that he was proud to engage in several homosexual relationships.  After the church leadership spoke to him and realized that he was not repentant and truly wanted to continue in the sin (he wanted to have his cake and eat it too), they revoked his membership in the church. The young man and his mother still attend the church, while the father has chosen to leave completely. This caused a small uproar on a Facebook group I’m in.  It even caused a young lady to leave the group.  She couldn’t believe that people were ok with this.  All she could keep saying was “judge not”.  That is a perfect example of misunderstanding that verse and the meaning behind it.  The church leaders acted correctly.  They came along the young man, willing to help him, they didn’t hate him.  They didn’t scream “All Fags Deserve to Die”.  (Forgive me, Westboro keeps popping into my head, I mean no offense)  They tried, and they are still trying to help him.  He’s just not a “member”, he doesn’t get to help make decisions in the church.  Oh that more churches and Christians would understand this!!!!

Someone who uses discernment is careful to have ALL of the facts.  Not the surface level, but deeper into the issue.  Just like we shouldn’t look at someone who comes into the church as a visitor (covered in tattoos with a tight miniskirt and combat boots) as someone who is unworthy.  We need to make sure we have all of the facts.  What if she is a new Christian?  What if she came into church looking and seeking God and we Condemn her out of hand.  No one talks to her or even smiles at her.  She’s certainly not going to come back!  We can not have all of the facts when it comes to our friends too.  I struggle with depression, and recently I’ve been struggling with anger.  It’s a fun mishmash of things from my past, and things from the adoption that I have yet to deal with emotionally.  I’m trying.  But I’m human, and eminently fallible.  A couple of nights ago, my sweet Dimples shared something with me about his biological mother.  As he was telling me, and we were discussing the ramifications of what he was telling me, I was dissolving into tears.  We had a great emotional talk (awesome because he doesn’t share his emotions often or easily) and he went to bed.  After I went to bed is when the visions of what he told me kept coming back into my head.  I grew angrier and angrier as the night went on.  I couldn’t talk to Papi because he was so furious that I think steam was literally coming out of his ears.  So I turned to Facebook.  I don’t have a lot of in real life friends that have adopted from the foster system, though I do have one or two.  I do have a lot of Facebook friends that are adoptive or foster parents.  I knew they would understand my anger (even though I shouldn’t have been that angry).  I really just needed to hear (or see) that it was all going to be ok.  That he may have gone through that – but he has a loving family now and won’t ever go through it again.  I was truly furious and my post reflected that.

“There are moments when i wish i could meet bio mom. Mostly so i can hurt her as badly as she had hurt my children. I know how wrong that is, but man oh man. That woman is a nasty piece of work. Thank God she had her tubes tied. she should have never had one child, let alone six.
And then, when i calm down, i know that some of the things she has done are because she never healed from being abandoned by her bio mom. It is not a good excuse, but it helps me calm down some.
 — feeling angry.”

Now, most people I know that read the post understood what I was saying.  That there are days where I’m horribly angry at an injustice done to my children.  That one of the reasons I post it is so that I don’t tell my kids (in anger) how I feel about their birth mother.  But one person got offended.  She messaged me about how the post offended her because bio mom chose life, and because I am supposed to love others.  I completely understood what she was saying.  Yes.  Birth mom chose life.  I appreciate that she didn’t have an abortion.  After all, I benefit from her choice because I am now the proud parent of three of her six children.  I am a huge Anti abortion Pro Life person, so I do understand what she was saying.  But to be perfectly honest here, I wish she would have given her children up for adoption immediately upon their birth instead of dragging them through the hell of being in and out of foster care for their entire lives.  They were abused by her, abused by foster parents (not all of them), and abused by the system.  No, I wouldn’t have custody of them….but they wouldn’t have had to live through that.  I should love her like Christ loved her.  Yep.  Got that too.  I see her more clearly than others might.  I know that the reason she has lived how she has lived is because she has never gotten over her own trauma.  She’s never made peace with herself or with God – and I wish for that.  Kissy and I have even sat down and prayed for that.  But the person who messaged me didn’t have the full story.  They know my family almost completely through Facebook.  She is a wonderful wife.  A wonderful Christian.  A wonderful mom to 5 BIOLOGICAL children.  She has no knowledge of the trauma my children have suffered, and the trauma I suffer trying to help them heal.  I tried to explain it to her, and she just doesn’t understand why I struggle to love bio mom.  She simply did not have all of the facts before she tried to hold me accountable.  And I am guilty of the same thing.  I’ve been guilty of holding someone accountable without knowing the whole story.  I’ve actually apologized to several foster parents and adoptive parents because before I was one of them myself, I just didn’t understand.  I didn’t understand what parenting RAD kids does to you.  I’m not angry at her.  I do understand.  I’ve been there, done that, bought the t-shirt!

A discerning person makes sure they confront someone in private.  No one wants to see their dirty laundry aired all over social media, or in the middle of church or another public place.  It immediately puts one on guard and on defense.  I truly believe that is why when we are settling disputes, we are to confront them one on one first.

And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer. Matthew 18:15-17

One of the constant battles in our house is the battle of modesty.  I have not always been the most modest of women.  You would have trouble matching the outfits I wore as a 20 something with the person you have come to know and love (lol) on this blog.  As a mom, and as I have grown in my relationship with Christ, I have struggled with my modesty.  Several years ago, I felt called to wear skirts or dresses only, so I did that and as the girls were young, I required them to do it as well.  And then I fell.  I allowed other people’s opinions of my skirt wearing to sway me.  I allowed the difficulty of finding skirts that weren’t mini skirts to sway me.  I allowed the inconvenience of wearing skirts while hiking, camping, or doing sports to sway me.  And I quit.  I kind of jumped off the modesty train altogether.  And I allowed Barbie and BAM! to jump off as well.  Fast forward to about this time last year.  I was at the park with several other home school families.  One mom (one of my favorites) in particular was there.  She has 4 boys (older and younger than mine) and two little girls.  After all of the other families had left, she came and sat beside me on the bench.  The kids were playing and she asked if she could speak to me about something.  I could tell she was really struggling with something because she was having trouble looking me in the eye, her eyes were moist, and she was having trouble just spitting out what she wanted to say.  Strange, because she is normally very forthright.  I told her she could say anything.  And out with it she came.  She and her husband were really concerned with how Barbie was dressing.  Her older boys were having problems NOT looking at Barbie in her small shorts and tight tops.  Her little girls were trying to mimic Barbie.  They were afraid that they would have to sever our friendship because of the effect Barbie’s’ dress was having on her family.  I thanked her for letting me know what was going on, and purposed to make sure that Barbie was dressed more modestly when we were together.  She approached me in private, so I wasn’t offended and I didn’t get defensive.  After a lot of praying, and listening, I realized that I was wrong for jumping off the modesty train.  And much like a hobo riding the rails, I jumped right back on!  Barbie and BAM! and Kissy are struggling.  They are teenagers, and it’s really hard to jump a train that is going opposite of the “cool” train.  But I support them without forcing, and they are very willing especially to be modest when there are guy friends coming over!

My fellow home school mom and friend did it right.  She confronted me in private and with love, and I heard her, I heard God.  And it didn’t sting!

So, we’ve come to the conclusion that discernment is seeing the reality of a situation with all of the facts, realizing that we are no better than anyone else, and confronting in private.  So how is this different from judgment?

I’ll be honest.  I don’t like the word judgment.  I think this word is the one used most incorrectly by just about everyone.  I consider discernment to be judgment.  Though I know most don’t see it like that, they see judgment as condemnation.  I see judgment as having a right response to something….like judging if it is safe to make a right turn.  Where most see judgment as a sentence imposed by a judge.  For the purposes of shortening this incredibly long post, we’re going to look at judgment like most of the world does, as synonymous with condemnation.  Please feel free to use those words interchangeably for the remaining balance of this post!

Making a judgment of someone is usually coming from a place in you that is lacking.  When you condemn someone else for an action, it can be because you yourself is struggling with the same sin or one worse. How often do you get angry with your kids for something you do on a regular basis that you know is wrong?????  I know a man who holds forth on a regular basis.  He is very quick to point on every flaw he sees in people.  He has a low opinion of people in general and doesn’t mind sharing it.  He is especially critical of men who cheat on or abuse their wives.  Come to find out that he has cheated on his wife.  And before they divorced, he hit her hard enough on the chest to leave bruises.  Was he cheating the entire marriage?  I don’t think so.  But we as a people, tend to criticize others for doing what we do or want to do and can’t because it’s wrong.  The criticism is coming from a guilty conscience, knowledge of our sin that we don’t want to accept.

Condemnation of a person is usually done in a very public arena.  Think judge in a courtroom.  I (used to) have a friend that did this on a regular basis on my Facebook.  Any little thing that I posted that she didn’t like, she would attack me…on my Facebook page.  It wasn’t a friendly exchange of ideas.  It wasn’t a discussion of facts and opinions.  It was “you are wrong and this is why and no matter what you say you are wrong.”  It was vicious.  It was mean.  It was constant.  It was so bad that I had to “un”friend her both on Facebook and in real life.  Which hurt me greatly.  I love her.  And I still wish she was in my life. But boundaries have to be drawn sometimes.    There are a lot of things posted on Facebook that I don’t agree with.  I either keep scrolling, or message someone, or I might make one comment.  I won’t get into arguments with people anymore.  It can be toxic.  There is a place for confronting someone in public.

And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer. Matthew 18:15-17

It still needs to be handled with love.  I will be honest (again).  In the above situation, I had trouble confronting my friend about what she was doing.  It hurt.  And I didn’t want to lose her as a friend.  So I just let it go for way too long.  And then when I did confront her, I took the shy girls way out, I wrote her a letter.  I don’t know if that made it worse or better.  But we aren’t friends anymore. 😥

When a judge makes a sentence on someone, they are in possession of all the known facts.  Both the prosecutor and the defense have to disclose any pertinent facts to the other side so that it can be decided if it has any relevance.  We will never know all of the facts.  We don’t know the history of every person.  Whether they had a domineering mother or an abusive father.  We don’t know what their childhood was like.  We don’t know what makes them tick.  And that’s why we can’t condemn someone.  We are not their judge.  Only God can do that.  Only He can condemn someone to eternal separation from Him, or pardon them with His Grace.  We can call something a sin.  We can say that someone is guilty of that sin if we witness it.  We can not say they will go to hell for it…that is making ourselves equal with God (the original sin).  We don’t know their heart.  We don’t know if they are struggling.  This is the part where the Westboro church has it wrong.  They have made themselves judge of everyone in America and have found that they are lacking…..that WE are going to hell.  Not our job.  Not our purview to say that.

I have to share something that happened yesterday.  Some Jehovah Witnesses came to the door.  We had finished school and were cleaning up the house getting ready for guests.  I didn’t slam the door in their face.  I welcomed them with a smile.  They quickly said they were Jehovah Witnesses.  Now, I don’t believe that JW’s have their doctrine correct.  Nowhere near.  But I do believe that they have something right.  They go out and witness to anyone who will give them five seconds.  I don’t do that, do you?  So I complimented them on it.  I told them I am a conservative believer and that I don’t believe the same thing that they do.  I told them that I wasn’t interested in their book, website, or video.  But I told them that I applaud their effort at witnessing and made sure I reminded them to drink lots of water.  (It’s Florida after all!)  THEY left with smiles, and I closed the door with a smile I couldn’t remove.  If they come back, maybe I will have a chance to really talk to them.  Maybe my kindness and love (instead of condemnation and slammed doors) will reach them for Christ.

And there is the difference.  Condemnation usually doesn’t include any love.  Even if it is prefaced with “I love you”.  Condemnation isn’t truly looking at your heart and seeing it.  Condemnation comes from a selfishness and pride.  Condemnation is loud and ugly.

Discernment comes from a place of humility.  Discernment comes with Christ’s love behind in and in it.  Discernment comes quietly.  I am not perfect.  I never will be.  I still think, after all of this, that discernment and judgment are the better synonyms.  So thinking that, I’m going to make a statement.  And I hope it doesnt’ offend.  I want to be a judgmental person.  From now on, I’m going to try to take the “you are so judgmental” comment with a smile.  I can only hope and pray that I truly am using a judmental, oops, discerning spirit.