Do you, boo boo.

If anything has absolutely worn me out in 2015, it’s the onslaught of self-righteous Mommy/Christian/People/Persons/Humans/I-Am-Doing-Life-Better-Than-You Blogs.  A gazillion times out of ten, I write about how awful I am.  I write about how it’s hard to live with me and how bad I feel for my husband, I write about my anxiety and how I can’t people, or I write about how fat I feel and how much I know I need to get back on my treadmill.  Nothing in my writing aims to make you feel less than me because I do something a certain way, because lets face it, it’s likely that I do it wrong.  I don’t adult very well.

So, I’m not gonna shame you for wearing leggings as pants (or yoga pants) and showing your cute butt if you’re cool with it and it makes you happy.  I certainly will never get between you and whatever belief you have about alcohol and social drinking (or drinking in general) because your personal choices are not my business.  If you post selfies with mad cleavage, bikini shots, butt shots, whatever, good for you.  I’m not going to ask you not to do whatever you want to do on YOUR social media account to shield my husband’s pure eyes (puhlease!).  I’m not a Mommy so I’m NEVER going to say a word about parenting because I have no idea, and if I ever am, I’m not going to write anything shaming the childless for not understanding how difficult it is to never have any time.  I’m sure as shit not gonna write anything encouraging you to do your husbands laundry, because that man has two legs and two arms and that blog straight up killed me.

I can’t live in this “15 verses to pray for your husband when he makes you angry” Pinterest culture of marriage and relationships and interactions with people.  We are all different, and you guys, life is HARD.  Life is mean.  Life is good and beautiful and painfully unfair.  Because I drink a glass of wine on Friday nights and you don’t, it doesn’t matter.  Because you don’t wear things that show your butt because your husband doesn’t like it and I do, it doesn’t matter.  Just. Do. You.  Do what makes you happy, do what is right for you, and let that be that.  The implication of shame and underlying tone of superiority is killing us.

And you know what?  It’s so specifically between women.  We let these menial issues pit us against one another instead of lifting each other up.  As if we do not have enough negativity pressing against us, so we must be negative to one another?  Do you feel so insecure in your own choices and ideas that you have to belittle someone to validate yourself?  I don’t understand any of it.  Please know that I am not belittling you if you identify with anything I’ve mentioned, I am only stating that every single person is different and it is okay if someone isn’t living their life like your are living yours.  It doesn’t make them bad, less Christian, or less anything.  It makes them human.

I like cats.  I love talking about my husband because he’s funny, and not because I think I’m better than you because I have one.  I’m nobody’s Mother, but it doesn’t mean that I have all the time in the world and that I’m so free and life is so easy.  I eat too much and exercise too little.  I recently changed my anxiety medicine so I have more good days than bad, but I still have awful days.  Sometimes, I don’t like my job.  Sometimes, I don’t like myself.  Sometimes, I just want to go home and put on pajamas and hide away.

Happy 2016, y’all.  Be bigger, be braver, be better.  And ALWAYS be you.

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put down the signs, cross over the lines and love like you did.

This started as a Facebook status and I quickly realized that it was going to be far too long and more blog-like than status-like.  I’ve struggled all week with wanting to write something on the subject of what’s happening in Johnson County Schools and the words have never come to me.  There have been moments of anger where I didn’t care if I offended anyone, but I deleted those.  There have been moments of pride where I didn’t care if I offended anyone, but I deleted those, too.  Honestly, today, I’m just very sad.  I’m hurt.  I’m broken for how this opportunity was twisted and wasted.  I’m worried for my sister and countless friends who teach in the public school system. I’m thinking about Tom Salyer and how he should’ve never been the one in this position considering the law is as old as I am.

I’m also incredibly mindful of Jesus Christ.

By the standards of a lot of folks reading this, I’m not a good Christian anymore.  When I married Chad, I requested my name be removed from the church I’d attended since birth because we are considered in adultery (by their understanding of scripture) as Chad was married once before me.  I guess that might be the root of my disillusionment with the church, I’m really not sure.  I am still very much a Christian.  I was baptized at 17 in a creek at the end of February.  I believe in and have felt God, and my soul is saved by Jesus Christ.  I have maybe been to church 5 times this year.  Maybe.  Almost every time I go, I hurt.  I feel left out.  I feel like an outsider. Not because I married a man who had previously been married, I am complete peace with that.  But, because I’m liberal, because I believe everyone is equal and deserves all the same rights protected by the government, because I believe in climate change and science, because I’m a *whispers* Democrat.  I was in a church earlier this year where the Pastor said from the pulpit that if you vote Democrat, you’ve probably already ‘backslidden’ and the congregation cheered.  I got up and walked out.  It destroyed me.  It hurt.  My salvation being in question because of how I vote is not funny to me and never will be.  So, maybe I’m not the person to be writing this at all.  Maybe I’m not as good as some of y’all.

So, when I see this uproar about Bible verses in public school plays and the rampant outcry to blame a certain family, to blame a certain belief, to ostracize those without belief, it cuts me.  Because I am the outsider now.  I am looking in, wondering where I belong, if anywhere.  I’ve always understood that the ultimate goal as Christians is supposed to be to bring others to Christ.  That one single solitary soul being lost to Hell should be enough to keep a Christian up at night.  That’s always how I have understood Jesus, His unending love and mercy, and His way.  In light of that notion, instead of hitting the picket line, should we have not hit our knees on the behalf of the lost?  Maybe I’m wrong and confused about how things work, and I’m open to that.  I’m open to the idea that I interpret things wrong.  But, the vitriol I have seen from Christians this week has been some of the most hurtful, painful stuff I have ever read.  Implying that those in the school system who are abiding by the law of the land are denying God and thus will be denied in Heaven, implying that those who aren’t picketing are ‘pathetic’ Christians.  It’s out of hand.  It’s embarrassing.  It is not Christ-like.

Federally funded public schools are not the place where one religion can be favored over another.  To put it simply: Were this situation different and your child or grandchild was asked by a Muslim teacher to read a verse from the Koran in a school endorsed play, you would be livid.  You are protected from that by the 1st Amendment just as the folks who don’t want their child taught Christianity in public school should be protected as well.  Period.  The first amendment also protects your right to teach your children as you please at home, just as my Mother taught me.  The concept is not difficult.  You are not being persecuted, and the last time I checked, should you believe in an all powerful, omnipotent Great Creator, you’d be hard pressed to take Him ‘out’ of anything anyway.  Tom Salyer is protecting his employees, and he’s doing the best he can.  He’s a human being with a heart, with a family, and he is not the enemy here.  Just a man doing his job.  A job he needs to pay his bills, to feed his family, and none of that seems to mean anything to those so enraged and calling for his job.  Senseless.

In a world outside of these hills, there are billions of people who don’t believe like you. They walk and they talk and they breathe just like you.  They have heartbeats and souls, they are happy, they are sad, they are broken, they are kind, they are alive.  They come in all shapes and sizes, all colors, all orientations, all backgrounds.  Nothing that happened this week in front of the Johnson County Board of Education brought anyone to see Jesus Christ as He really is.  The honk of you love Jesus narrative is beaten and broken and empty.  Service, kindness, and unrelenting love are the hands and feet of Jesus Christ that people crave and so desperately need.

Yes, you read that right. Unrelenting love.