headed in a new direction

I’m going to take you on a little trip through my mind this morning…
Kansas City Missouri has a very rich history. Having lived here for 6 months, I have not had the opportunity to research too deep, but I know that the river I drive across at least once a month has been the inspiration for Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Clemens (the real Mark Twain) worked on the Mississippi River for 4 years and his experience on the river was used in the two most famous books of his. He wrote the book just like the way the American people talked. Samuel Clemens was born in Florida, Missouri and 4 years later his family moved to Hannibal, MO. Young Samuel watched the steamboats floating on the river and he dreamed of working on them one day. Many years later he took his memories about his childhood in Hannibal and put them into a book about a boy growing up in Missouri before the Civil War. This book is called the Adventures of Tom Sawyer. He began writing when he was 16 and worked for newspapers in different cities for a few years. I learned all about Samuel Clemens and more about my state’s rich history in the books we’ve collected for the kids. When we first moved here I wanted to know everything I could about Missouri. This is our new home and where my kids will grow up. They are no longer Florida boys, and will never know life growing up in the tri-state area like I did. I have had a wonderfully full and exciting life growing up in New Jersey and a life in Florida that I am proud of.

It’s important to know where I live because it will be where my kids “came from” one day as they go off to college and do other great things. I want to chronicle where I’ve come from and the spiritual path we’ve taken. It’s important for them to know that we are not exempt from mistakes. I share bits and pieces here in this blog, but there is a bigger journal I leave for them. Parts that I can’t write here. The road to Kansas City Missouri has been an eventful one and our homeschool is the most amazing gift the Lord has given us. We got lost for a while. Homeschooling and discipling our children became second to the friendships and bonds we had begun forming with others. I mean no disrespect to those who believe differently and respect that everyone has found the best way to live, and the most fruitful way for their family. This is not about others, for once it’s about my family.
My son had wanted to be a missionary years ago and he wanted to lead people to knowing the Lord. As he saw us abandon everything we knew in order to know the Lord more, we made some awful mistakes. We claimed to uphold the Bible, yet began to discredit it with our lives. We adopted a language that made everything seem okay. We said that Christ was in everything which would mean there was nothing sinful, because Christ was in everything. We make things sinful with our knowledge- which is sorta correct, but not complete. We began confusing them, the kids, with lives that centered around ourselves and our group. We left the church we had been a part of and we joined a group which was hinged on close community living. We were encouraged to move and spend most of our time together, otherwise we weren’t giving everything for the Lord. This encouragement did not come from the one of the leaders, he actually cautioned us against moving because of the hardship. We were discouraged from reading anything other than a few authors, and discouraged from looking to the “outside world” from many. A few people encouraged us to go out into the community and become involved with others. We were encouraged to make time for the children and do things for them often, but anytime they were lifted up we were reminded that we weren’t doing “this” for our children and we weren’t to place our children on an altar. After much conditioning, this became normal to me even though in our lives, we had never believed this or lived by this truth. It was our fault. We were not on guard against anything and we abandoned convictions that meant so much to us. Me and Chris began to believe that God was a God of love and NOT a God of judgement, which is wrong. Christ was very clear that what we do and how we live does matter. We were bombed with love and instant friendship- and told it was Christ, yet the kids remained lonely and our oldest developed a depression that was put to the side because our faith had become more important than theirs. It became okay for a few families who made sure that their children were always together and we had to fight to keep our kids included. When I made sure my kids were not separated I was often told that I needed to “lay down” the desire to care about my kids having social interaction. They are homeschooled. If it weren’t for the gym and a once a week playdate they would have been utterly alone for two years while Chris and I “shared Christ”. Once we joined a gym and met some secular homeschoolers, we found friendship that grew over time and we have even been back to visit them. The kids were so excited to see my family that they were jumping up and down and shrieking- it was an eye-opener. I am only free if I am not punished for being who I really am. I am a mother who cares more about my kids that I do about attending church right now. That “wrong” answer has won me a lot of shunning and hatred, especially from those I bared my soul to the most.
When I became a mom, I sacrificed my needs, wants, and desires, to raise them diligently. It doesn’t matter to anyone else but us what religion we choose to raise them, which happens to be Christian, as long as their mental, physical, and spiritual health are in check often. It’s important that they know they’ve done nothing wrong. If they want to be pastors, missionaries, and men of the Lord in an institutional church, because they’ve thrived there in the past, well then, their lives are more important than mine right now. I was once told that it was “sad” that a woman in our old institutional church said that she saw my oldest growing up to be a great leader and a pastor. I agreed because I thought that it was wrong to want that for my child. Now, I am proud. My children have never been placed on an altar, but maybe they should be. The Lord says quite a bit about this. As long as they are not placed above Christ and God and they are under our protective and loving and devoted care, we are all good. It exhausted others the level of attention I paid to not “laying down” my desire to uphold the way we are raising them. This homeschooling life is about preparing them for real life, it’s about being a close knit family, and it’s about pleasing the Lord.
My parents were not Christian. Me and my Mom attended church a few times, especially when I became a Christian. She came to a few conferences with me and she has always been open with her heart, her wallet, and her time when anyone has needed her. My Dad does not have faith in God. He was a science teacher before starting a family business. He adopted me as a very young girl and has sacrificed everything to give me an education in better neighborhoods, he has helped me when he tried to stay away during my years of addiction. He loved me when I was unlovable, even though I was not biologically his. He never made me feel like I wasn’t. Everyone says I look like him. I am so proud of my “unsaved” family that I gave one of my sons their last name until another boy is born into the family so that my Dad’s name goes on. I had some horrible things happen to me and I never felt alone. I never felt unloved. My biological family may not be saved from a life without religion or a fiery hell, but they have loved me better than anyone. They gave me the Love that I hope to give my children. We have come to know Christ and I hope my family does one day, but even if they don’t in this life, I believe that Christ’s blood covers our sins. I believe that God’s judgement is real because the Bible says it is and my family has hearts that are above and beyond anything I have seen in church. They are a beautiful picture of love and Christ to me. I can only hope to be half the mom mine is. I can only hope to be half the person my dad is. They have been with me through all sorts of crazy belief systems and phases, but they have never judged me and their love has not changed just because our belief systems are different. That’s the tolerance and love that Christ speaks of in the gospels.

Thank you for reading. I have noticed that my readers are coming from a whole new demographic and have chosen to write freely about my past. I won’t reveal specific groups or churches, but I no longer feel that I need to hide a giant piece of my life anymore. I have been so protective and hid so much of myself because I was too close to a situation. Now that I have distance, truth, and no longer know any of the people in my previous group, I have decided to be honest and keep this blog true to its name. I am going to be honest about our experience over the last few years just like I am honest about everything else. Those exempt from this blog are the ones personally connected to me. I never share anything about specific people or gossip or give away secrets. That will never change, but the Lord has opened up a window for me in which I am free to share about my experiences.

So that’s where my life is right now. I will be moving on to write more about homeschooling, life a Christian mom, and holistic health as I begin a career path in that direction, along with my children. Everything I do we do as a family. I found this to work well in my online book business and so I will continue the model of a family business. I am excited to write about new and better things. I will be updating my blogroll list to include some of the best Christian and Homeschooling blogs I have ever read. Thank you for reading and I hope you stick with me on this crazy journey. Salute from Kansas City, Missouri, just east of the Mississippi.

Love,
Jackie

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