Marriage in the Mayhem


Let’s talk about a Christian marriage, and even though I am at risk of sounding very mushy (which I hate) let’s talk about what marriage looks like to a young couple with young children.

I was listening to Focus on the Family the other day when a couple, who makes their living counseling other couples, explained that they make sure to have a date night every week.

Um…. what?

1465745_10151975777125376_282087542_oAs they were describing their date nights, I assumed they managed one once a month, maybe twice a month. It never occurred to me for a minute that with five kids, this couple managed a date night every week.

They explained how grateful they were for establishing this essential time together, and because of it, their marriage has flourished. Well… how wonderful for them!

My husband and I attempt one date a month, but usually manage to accomplish one every three months.

As I reflected on our failure to make it out the door once in a while, just the two of us, I thought of all the reasons this isn’t plausible. I have been pregnant for half of our five year marriage, which means we have had a newborn every year and a half. Since I stay home with our kids, I am never in a hurry to hire a babysitter and leave my infant to cry and resist a bottle while my husband and I try to enjoy a movie, all the while thinking about how our infant is doing.

The stability of our marriage has never been in question, nor has my husband’s infinite loyalty to me and our family. Connecting with him simply looks different than it did before children.

Sometimes it is in the grin he shoots me across the supper table while one kid talks like it’s going out of style, the other cries for more bread while he throws veggies at the centerpiece, and the other squirms and squeals in my arms. It is in my husband’s grin that I’m reminded of our immense blessings and the love between us that started it all.20180704_215954

Sometimes it is when he grabs my hand while he reads our kids a bedtime story. I’m sitting on the bottom bunk rocking our littlest and the other two are on his lap, but yet, we manage a brief and unspoken moment together.

Sometimes it is in the evening, after a particularly hectic bedtime routine has finally come to an end, when he chooses to sit next to me on the couch, instead of across the room in his own chair. We are too exhausted to talk, so we just watch Netflix and breathe the same air.

Sometimes he surprises me with a bottle of Dr. Pepper, reminding me that he thinks of me even when he is busy at work.

Sometimes I climb into my suburban, running out of daylight to make it to the grocery store, and I notice that he has filled it up with gas, eliminating at least one line on my to-do list.

Sometimes I watch across the dinner table, the kids having been excused long ago with untouched food, as my husband takes another forkful of what I know is a meal falling short of flavor or anything redeeming at all. Yet, he eats it, without complaint, thanking me for taking the time to put food on the table.

Sometimes he stays up late completing one of my many Pinterest projects in the garage. I know he has no desire to have it done and hanging on our wall, but he knows it is important to me.

20181104_201925Sometimes, after saying goodbye to each of our kids, he forgets to kiss me goodbye before he rushes out the door to work. A few minutes later, he strides back through the door, refusing to leave the house without giving me at least a second of his attention.

Sometimes he lets me go spend our money, even though we don’t have enough of it, to get my nails done or buy an outfit I don’t need, just because he knows it makes me feel good to still spend a little money on myself.

Sometimes he listens intently as I weave him in and out of the windy road of my mind and my worries, all the while knowing he won’t be able to help– yet he never fails to listen and remind me, “It will be okay.”

Sometimes he throws in a load of laundry without reminding me I should have had it done days ago.

Sometimes he takes our boys to the basement and burns off endless amounts of their energy because he knows I need some quiet.20180827_092949

Sometimes it is when we clean up the supper table together, just so we can spend some time alone as the kids throw dinosaurs around the living room, unsupervised for a few short minutes.

You see, my husband and I are right in the messiness of this life. We are truly consumed with raising three faithful children and they need our constant and undivided attention. These children are a product of the love between us, and even though this love is sometimes neglected, it is never forgotten.

1523710_10152117002730376_852043122_oI don’t mean to imply that our marriage does not need to be a priority, in fact, we are warned in the Bible about the dangers of neglecting our marriage. However, a young couple with many children simply needs to do what they can, and look for the expressions of love where they can. We still strive to have dates and alone time, but when we fail at these things, I will still see him and he will still see me.

Someday he will be all that is left in this life. We will be old and our kids will be gone, but he will still be there. Then maybe, just maybe, we will have the opportunity to finish one of our conversations.


To the Mother of the Boy at the Park


Today at the park your son annoyed and frustrated me.

He begged me to play with him.

He threw sand at my children.

He hovered over our snack.

He dug in my purse.

He followed me to my car.

barefoot-3569057_1920He picked at every single fiber of my patience, while my son grappled to understand why he was behaving the way that he was.

This boy had a daycare provider who wouldn’t have noticed if he had crawled into my car, something he desperately wanted to do.

You see, this boy could sense that my children were loved, well cared for, and happy, and he was desperate for the same stability.

Despite the selfishness I had to shake off each time he approached me, I attempted to love him the best that I could–to show him a piece of the Jesus that he will search for until he finds.

I don’t know who you are. In fact the only thing I do know about you is that you’re this boy’s mother. I don’t know what kind of difficulties you’ve overcome or how many jobs you work or how hard it is for you to afford groceries, but I do know that your son needs you.

His desperation for my attention told me as much. You gave up the right to settle for a less than stellar lifestyle when you brought him into the world — his beautiful curly hair and deep brown eyes.child-817373_1920

You gave up the right to ignore him, to leave him in the care of someone who ignores him– he is yours, and he is perhaps the one perfect and marvelous thing that you have gotten right. You need to treat him like he is the greatest gift you will ever receive, because he is.

I know that perhaps your life has been hard. I know I may speak of things that I just don’t understand. The only thing about you that I do understand is that your son does not have everything he needs, and this is not okay with me. It is not okay with me that he is growing up in a place where he feels as though he lacks an unconditional love. The unconditional love he saw me offer my children while they played carefree at the park.

swing-846077_1920You see, no matter where you come from or the difficulties you face each day, everything your son needs from you is free. He needs your attention and your love. He needs to know that he is the most important thing in your life. He needs you to step forward and accept the incredible and unique task of raising a boy into a man. There is perhaps no greater calling.

I wish I knew you, and I wish I had the opportunity to help you, to show you some compassion. I do promise you that I’ll lift you up to God in prayer each time your son crosses my mind, which so far has been very frequently, and I will pray that someday you do meet someone that is able to help you rise above your circumstances and show your son how to rise above his.

A World of Decay

“…blessed is the people whose God is the Lord.” ~Psalm 144:15

This morning I woke to the news that another innocent group of teenagers and teachers had been mercilessly killed, while another young murderer was born. I first thanked the Lord that my children were safe, and then began to pray for the families of those whose children were not.

Minutes into learning about this tragedy, I was bombarded with messages of gun control, while these proposed supporters of peace pointed the finger at my government for what occurred in Florida yesterday.cartridges-2166491_1280

Unapologetically, I have owned a gun since I was 12 years old. Now, I own multiple rifles and one handgun. I have been regularly using my firearms since I was old enough to hunt at the age of 14. At 21, I obtained a concealed and carry permit in order to protect those I love. I have, on more than one occasion, been very grateful to have a handgun with me. I was taught to respect firearms, but never to fear them.

hunting-3145387_1920My three-year old son has owned a gun since the day of his birth, a gift from his grandpa. It will always be one of his most cherished possessions, especially when his grandpa is no longer here. One of my most cherished possessions of course being a gun I received from my granddaddy.

No amount of gun control laws would ever have been able to guarantee that yesterday’s mass murder would not get his hands on a gun. He’s a criminal. Criminals obtain what they want, no matter what law is in place.

There is no one to blame: not his parents, not his brother, not his teachers, not his congress, not his president.

We can really only be sure of one thing. This boy did not know God, and lived his life with a profound and agonizing need to know His love.

This boy did not know the love of Christ.

That is the greatest tragedy today, the saddest reality of this horrific situation.

This country is in a frenzied and disordered urgency to erase all the things of God from our history and our future. The indoctrination of our children in public schools and media is literally killing them. This generation of children has experienced more mass violence and more suicide than any generation before it. We now live in a world where a Christian mother cannot even comfortably watch commercials with her toddler for fear of him absorbing the persistent untruths flooding the media. This indoctrination involves a complete and terrifying disregard for the law of Christ, the only law that is going to keep our children from dying.

human-2136095_1920Christians know that the world is not getting better; this world cannot get better. More lies about what love is will not make this world better. More men being harangued for sexual harassment will not make this world better. More acceptance of race or sexual orientation will not make this world better. More religious equality will not make this world better. We are watching this world crumble, and our teenagers are the ones begging us to show them the remedy. Our world is in a moral and physical decay, and it will continue to crumble until our Savior returns.

There’s your remedy. The Savior.

I pray each day the Lord will show me how to teach my children what a real and all-consuming love of Christ looks like, despite society’s warped vision of it. Christ’s love does not accept sin, nor does it ignore it. Christ’s love does not pass more laws, eliminating the freedom of His followers. Christ’s love does not force us to shut our mouths, for fear of offending another.

Christ’s love is unrelenting in its pursuit to save every single soul that walks on this earth.

feet-349687_1920We must save the souls of our children: those capable of unimaginable acts of violence, as well as those who simply must observe such evil. The only way we can save souls is to let Christ’s love flood this nation. Open the doors of our schools to His restoring truths. Open the doors of our broken homes to His healing power. Open the doors of our hardened hearts to His inarguable reality.

I may live in a world that elevates what is wrong and buries what is right, but I still wake with joy each day. I wake with joy because I have been saved by the love of Jesus, and I am eternally grateful to Him for pursuing me. He pursues us all. If this country continues selfishly down a path away from the Savior, we will lose so much more than the security of knowing our kids are safe in school. We will lose everything.
Our world is decaying, and Christ is the only remedy. If you love our children, you will love and obey the God who created them.

The Heart of a Sinner

In high school I had a friend with very low self-esteem. She always pointed out her accomplishments and waited to be complimented—your standard fisherman of compliments. Even as a teenager, I knew low self-esteem was her problem. I saw that she was broken, but still, I chose not to love her. When she would start drawing attention to her greatness, I would do just about everything but compliment her. I have never been able to embrace a boastful person. I would avoid eye contact with her, change the subject, pretend I didn’t hear—all because I did not think a person as arrogant as her deserved to be praised. The irony here, however, is that this friend of mine was not arrogant. She was anything but arrogant.

fishing-164977_1280Over ten years later, I am an adult—a wife, a mom, and a daughter of the King. However, boastfulness and arrogance still crawl under my skin more skillfully than any other sin. I can’t stand a boastful person. Being in the presence of one causes me to start locating the exits. I want nothing to do with arrogance.

Boastfulness is certainly a sin. God says in Matthew 6:1-2, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” Then in James 4:6, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Seeking validation from anyone but God means we care more for this world than for Him. However, our human nature causes us to crave praise from just about everyone. Some of us seek it more fervently than others, but we are all boastful—small, insecure beings who want someone to notice how fantastic we are. Even though God commands us to not be part of this world, the world’s praises is the very thing many of us desire the most.

Recently in a conversation with an overtly boastful person, God began to heal my own brokenness. As I visited with this person, trying so hard to love her and acknowledge her accomplishments (hating every minute of it), I began to realize that despite the sins and worldly desires of this woman, I, too, was in need of God’s grace. I sat there in judgment of this woman because of her sin, never considering that my inability to embrace her was my sin, equal to her boastfulness. As I judged and ridiculed the heart of a boaster, God revealed the sins of my own heart. Let me worry about her heart, Tara, you must take care of your own.sunrise-1756274_1920

By God’s grace, my next encounter with a self-conscious person who seeks my approval and praise, will be one where I exhibit the love of Christ. Because this person’s sins are not greater than my own, I will not condemn them nor despise them, but love them.

“He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.’” ~Luke 11:28

To my First-Born

We have had 20 months together.

Just me and you… and sometimes dad, of course.

In the short 20 months you have been my son, you have taught me more than I learned in the 25 years I had before you.

You taught me what real fear looks like–fear that something might happen to you or fear that I may fail you somehow.

Of course, you also taught me what real faith looks like—a faith that weathers all the woes that parenting brings.

God has seen us through a lot in 20 months. He has seen us through sickness, surgery, tantrums, impatience, frustration, many many sleepless nights, hard falls, road trips, incessant and seemingly unnecessary tears, and He has most certainly given me grace during the many moments that I have reached my wit’s end.


In 20 months, I have begun to grasp that God has given me an incredibly gifted and special boy. There have been many moments when I’ve looked at you and thought, nope I can’t do this. You are a daredevil and a troublemaker. You have a glint in your eye that seems to say, “Catch me if you can, mom.” You have worn me out and worn me thin with your nonstop energy and your ceaseless and unmistakable personality.

You are feisty. You are opinionated. You are strong-willed. You are a fighter. These are the reasons it has been challenging to be your mom for the past 20 months, but these are also the reasons it is extraordinary and thrilling to be your mom every single day.

I became a mom on the day you were born. I know this may seem rather obvious to you, but becoming a mom actually has quite a learning curve. I knew very early on in your existence, when you were still inside me, that my main purpose in life was to just be your mom. This is why I don’t teach anymore and I spend my days raising you. It is and always will be the greatest joy of my life.

And as your dad often says, you are such an awesome little dude.

For a long time, we thought your dog, Remi, might be your favorite. If Remi was around, no one else really mattered, especially your parents. Although, now you and Remi resemble siblings more than you do friends, constantly badgering one another and picking fights. I often feel like I already have two children. Remi is better at taking your toys than any of your human friends.img_20160312_162218

You and your daddy are two peas in a pod. You look like him. You even walk like him. You love everything he loves, and you most definitely make just as much of a mess of mom’s clean house as he does. You shout his name constantly throughout the day, even though you have understood for some time that daddy has to go to work. It is so obvious to me, already, that you want to be just like him. I see you watching him, imitating him, and attempting to be a man, just like he is. Each time I see this, I ask God to slow time down, to let you be a little boy a little longer. You will be a man soon, so for now, you can just be my little boy.

You get your eyes and your sense of humor from me. You laugh a lot, just like your mom. Your laughter reaches up into every corner of the room, consuming everything in its path, so that even when it dies away you can still feel it and know that it was there. The way you look at me and laugh with me heals my every worry and fear. No matter how imperfect the world may seem, when you laugh, everything falls right into place.20150807_110023

You are one of the most social children I have ever known. You definitely get this from your mom. You love everyone and you truly believe that everyone loves you. You want nothing to do with your parents when there are other people, even complete strangers, around. Sometimes, I already feel like I am raising a teenager and that I am just not cool enough to keep up with you. It’s really not a great confidence boost, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love to watch you come alive in the midst of others, and I love the smiles you bring to all their faces.

Just like your mom, it is imperative that you get out of the house and see other people every day. You have been like this from the very beginning. Even at a few weeks old, I would bundle you up and whisk you out of the house when I had no other answers to stop your crying. Once you had other things to see and hear, you were happy and so was I. You are still this way—always on the go. If I need to keep you cooped up for an entire day, we are both hurting by the end of it. Our favorite time of day is in the morning when we go to the library, run errands, go to a park, go to playgroup, or just go wander the mall. It’s all the same to you, as long as you aren’t stuck at the house. This is the part of you that drives your daddy nuts. It’s the part of me that drives him nuts too.

Your sibling has been on the way for about 9 months now, and many times throughout the 9 months, I have wanted to warn you, to get you to understand, that things are about to change. I have caught myself wanting to apologize to you—wondering if we should have given you more time to be an only child. I worry about the guilt I may feel when you lift up your little arms toward me to be picked up, and I already have your sibling in my arms. I worry about the confusion you may feel when you miss story time at the library or playgroup because your baby sibling is causing all sorts of trouble. I worry that I may not get to sit with you for 45 minutes at a time, just reading stories, with no other care in the world.

I never have to worry about these things for long, however, before you show me how incredible you will be as a big brother. You point at the infant car seat, which is a new addition to the backseat of our suburban, and say, “Mom! Baby!” You point at my tummy and say, “Baby!” You always move blankets away from a baby’s face so you can have a better look, and never fail to reposition his or her pacifier. You are so young, yet seem to understand exactly what’s about to happen. You were born to be a big brother, and I was born to be your mom.

img_20160305_081257In a few short weeks, you won’t be my baby anymore, but my oldest born. I will constantly be asking you to be a big boy and take care of your sibling. However, the memories we have made together over the past 20 months will be a treasure in my heart for the rest of my life. I will always remember when it was just you and me, and I will cherish it.

This is far from the last change we will experience.

Someday another sibling may come along, making you the oldest of three.

Someday you will go to school and discover a whole new world outside your parents.

Someday you will be a teenager, and those looks you give me– like I am your everything– will be rare and fleeting.

Someday you will become a man and discover a faith of your own, a life of your own.

You and I will change along with each of these life changes, but one thing will remain the same: I will always be your mom and you will always be my boy. I will pray for you each day of your life, no matter where you are or what kind of incredible human you grow into.

Soon, you will have a sibling and things will be different, but my love for you, just like God’s love for you, will endure and never falter.


Acceptance is not Love

I am painfully aware, as are many of my readers, that logic and rationality are no longer key components of the American culture. However, despite society’s passionate endeavor to do away with such things, there is still an absolute truth and a moral code in which we are all to live by. No amount of denial and ignorance is going to destroy it. Those who choose to ignore this absolute will never find peace and freedom.


Racked. Riddled. Defeated. As I lied in the arms of my husband just last night, I couldn’t shake these feelings. I had attempted, for the first time and with reservations, to express my disgust and distress over Target’s recent decision to designate their restrooms as gender neutral. Not surprisingly, I received some opposition.



To be honest, the gay-marrirestroomage debate has long been an irritation of mine and I have no qualms about speaking my mind about it; however, I have chosen to remain relatively closed mouthed about transsexuals as I have little to no understanding of the difficulties that these people face, nor do I have any idea of how to approach such things. My silence finally ended when Target, who I have had a fairly tight-knit relationship with for some time now (they have a great selection of diapers), all but backed me into
a corner–
enough is enough. To every Christian whose mouths remain shut about such issues, it is time to say, enough is enough.


When I spoke up about my Target boycott, it did not take long for me to be called intolerant, a bigot, a hater, and I have no doubt that many others must view me in this way. If every sympathizer of the trans-gendered is going to automatically dismiss me, and all Bible-believing Christians for that matter, as haters, then we don’t stand a chance against the lies and deceit that are currently infiltrating this country.


I have no idea if it is my duty, my Christian obligation, to stand up to every person who denounces the truth of God: every gay marriage lover, every baby murderer, and every Christian persecutor. It seems to me that those who distort and defile the word of God deserve a little opposition. However, I struggle to do this, despite my relatively big mouth.


Every time I do stand up for truth, I end up feeling like a fool because it accomplishes nothing besides days of frustration for me. It is difficult to maintain faith that God continues to work in the hearts of those who label me a hater. God certainly does not need me to defend Him. Nevertheless, I feel like I should defend Him, that I am somehow honoring Him if I fight for Him here on earth. What that actually looks like, however, becomes a very gray area when I am in the thick of it.


This is where Christ becomes, for the millionth time in human history, all we have, our only hope, our rock, our fixed point. Christ equips us with all that we need to not only defend Him, but to honor Him in every word and deed, even if we fail. We tried, right? We fought. We went down swinging. So, to the Christians who have yet to speak up, maybe it is time to start offending some people.


So, here it goes. I am intolerant. I am a hater. I am a bigot. I am proud to call myself these terms. Why? Because I know a truth that will set every trans-gendered person free. It is God’s truth. Being allowed to treat your sex as if it is fluid will not rid you of the pain, nor the tumult of emotions, that you have experienced. The haters are not your problem. Your sympathizers are your problem. The lies that society is allowing you to accept are your problem. The people that say it is okay to self identify with a different gender are lying. It is not okay and it is certainly not your fault. It is your struggle. Your struggle that the Lord is desperate to purify your soul through; He will use it to perfect you, if you let Him. Fall to His feet, become His child, tell Him you need him–whether or not you admit that you need Him, it will always be true.


Gender neutral bathrooms will not set you free. A sex change will not set you free. Hormonal supplements will not set you free. Your Father, the freedomcreator of the universe, the God who knitted you together perfectly in your mother’s womb, calls to you from the desperate, imperfect voice of every Christian in America, and He is saying, “Come to me. Let me heal you. I love you.” We all need healing. The Christian. The Transsexual.
The Atheist. The Druggie. The Children. I needed healing from my selfishness when I entered into marriage. I needed healing from my anxiety when I had my son. The Lord heals. I am living proof.


God calls each star by name. He set the moon in the sky at the perfect distance from the earth. Mountains tremble at the sound of his voice. He perfected this sin-wrought, depraved world through the tragic death of His own son. This same God made you a male or He made you a female, and He does not make mistakes; He makes all things new, purifying even the filthiest, causing all things to work toward good. I speak because I know what will set you free, and it is not acceptance, it is resistance from Christians who love you.


To the transsexuals, to their sympathizers, to the fairweather Christians who say God is love, who say God accepts all peoples, no matter their sexual orientation. Yes, God is love, but the God who is love will let those who reject Him suffer in Hell for all eternity. God’s love extends to everyone, but the Lord’s justice prevails in the end, and we are all subject to it.


So I am a hater of lies. I am a bigot toward sin. I am intolerant of people who support and sympathize a deceit that will destroy, not only the people dealing with sexual identity crises, but the moral fabric of this nation. We surely have to maintain the absolute truths that the Lord dictates for us; otherwise, we have absolutely nothing.


So, to the trans-gendered, homosexual, sexually struggling community, I will continue to display God’s truth to you, in the best way that I know how. Call me a bigot. Call me a hater. Call me intolerant. It will bother me; it will keep me up at night, but I will not be silent. I love you too much for that nonsense.