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Boycott 50 Shades of Grey

Do you remember the first time you rolled out in the skating rink to dance to the Hokey Pokey?

The music starts playing, you notice everyone has gathered in a circle, laughing and giggling with what appears to be hand coordinated movements to the song. You try to follow along, you try to stay balanced on your skates, you’re a little awkward and feel a little goofy. You put your left foot in and you uncomfortably shake it all about. Everyone around you seems to be having a great time, maybe you will too.

You’re starting to get the hang of it… It’s great! Then it ends. Next song up is the chicken dance… Good luck figuring that one out!

Now fast-forward 10-15 years (give or take a few), and it’s that “time”. The real hokey pokey. Here’s the thing… There’s no instruction manual, there is not a group of people around to mimic, and there’s no song with step by step instructions.

If you break out into the hokey pokey and shake it all around, there’s a good chance you’re going to have a pretty unsatisfying sex life… So let’s just stop right here. Surely your Brethren in the Lord can give you some Godly advice on how to proceed with this Holy and Righteous Dirty Deed of Matrimony. Right?

In church this used to be the subject-that-shall-not-be-named, saying the word “sex” was only if you are referring to male or female.

The great news is, we’ve advanced so far in our modern church of the Twenty First Century. Now it’s okay to say “sex”, heck we will even say “sex is great!” “Yeah, God made sex!” “Sex isn’t taboo!” “You should have a great sex life!”

Yay! Now we are getting somewhere, Church. Spicing it up, things are really getting hot in here. I am excited that you are excited that sex is great and we should have a great sex life. This is awesome. So…

“How?”

*crickets* *uncomfortable silence* *feelings of shame and guilt* *awkward stares*

Uncomfortable flashbacks to the first time you had to dance to “I don’t want to be a chicken, I don’t want to be a duck… So kiss my butt.”

No really, but how?

“Well, talk with your spouse. Communicate. But don’t watch porn.” Says Church.

We are going to back it up here, just a little bit, because your hopeful, perfect, ideal married couple are these two virgins who have never entertained an impure thought in their lives. (Yeah, no pressure)

Do you see the dilemma?

Now let’s really bring on the guilt and shame, because you hear about how awesome this sex thing is but no one talks about how to do it and you are finding yourself quite unsatisfied by your spouse, whom you may have tried to meekly tell because, you know, that’s a real confidence booster. “I am not satisfied during sex…” But can’t tell them WHAT you like because you don’t know WHAT you like, because you don’t really know WHAT there is to like.

Let me paint a picture for you, because your black or white opinion doesn’t fit in my shades of grey world.

I am so happy that the church is finally even saying the word “sex”. But it’s time for Church to expand even this; If you don’t give the World options that are better, it will cause people to resort to what IS readily available to learn about this great thing God made called sex.

Figure that shit out, Church. Because until you can, your next “don’t watch porn” “don’t read 50 shades of grey” sermon or blog is just a self-righteous excuse to brag about how you are fucking your spouse because God says it’s your job… And that’s awful.

As a Christian Reader, you should gather in your masses during your next mass and shout it to the rooftops, “Let’s talk about sex, baby.” Demand the answer because YOU deserve guilt-free, shameless, wild, and beautiful sex (ahem, with your spouse).

Make Love, Not War

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5 Steps For Leaving Your Spouse

Naturally, when we get married we often say “Divorce is not an option!”, and I always loved those memes floating around on the internet “I want my first marriage to be my only marriage!” The truth is though, divorce actually is an option. It will always be an option, as it is legal to do so. Even if it wasn’t legal, know that some have been driven so far as to still leave their spouses- even if it meant being stoned to death!

Divorce doesn’t just happen, often times it is years in the making;  a build up before the “I do” was ever uttered. Marriage is definitely hard. I would say from my experience, divorce was harder. This blog is over advice given on how to leave your spouse first that may prevent the divorce.

Some people are just really great at hiding their major flaws, and there is always the classic excuse of “You can’t help who you fall in love with!”… So without further ado, for those that married their kryptonite, here are 5 Steps for leaving your spouse that may prevent the divorce (*note that I did not say 5 easy steps, because rarely in life anything worth keeping ever ends up being easy!):

Step 1.
Acknowledge the problem, find out exactly what the root of the issue is that brought you to the stage of “I want a divorce”, and then confront your spouse in the most gentle way possible. If needed (especially if Abuse is the issue!), confront your spouse with a counselor. Watch out for the blame game and be sure that your approach is gentle and not accusatory. Statements like “I feel like your ____ (insert issue, ie drinking) is hurting our relationship, and I was hoping you would quit ____ (insert issue) so that our marriage can begin healing.” Then add the boundary, “I need for this lifestyle change to take place for the sake of our relationship. If this does not stop, I will have to leave for a week so that we can establish healthy boundaries.”

Spouses typical answers:
a. Okay I will stop (but doesn’t)
b. Okay I will stop (stops for awhile, and then starts up again)
c. Spouse quits lifestyle issue permanently (You have successfully “left” your spouse, now your marriage can begin healing)

Step 2.
If the spouses typical answers occur a. or b. (IE the lifestyle change does not cease) then you must stick to the consequence you ascribed in Step 1. Leave for a week. Stay with an understanding family member or friend. Explain to your spouse that you must establish healthy boundaries, and in order to maintain your relationship they must quit (insert issue).

Spouses typical answers:
a. Okay I will stop (but doesn’t)
b. Okay I will stop (stops for awhile, and then starts up again)
c. Spouse quits lifestyle issue permanently (You have successfully “left” your spouse, now your marriage can begin healing)

Step 3.
If the spouses typical answer a. occurs – you will not want to return to the marriage OR If the spouses typical answer b. occurs  (so you have returned after being gone for a week. Everything seems to be going great. Then the issue returns – as it often does, because lifestyle changes are hard!)  ->  You will want to explain that you will continue to stay away now for an additional month.
– AND with a. or b.: Now you should leave for a month. Stay with an understanding family member or friend.

Spouses typical answers:
a. Okay I will stop (but doesn’t)
b. Okay I will stop (stops for awhile, and then starts up again)
c. Spouse quits lifestyle issue permanently (You have successfully “left” your spouse, now your marriage can begin healing)

Step 4.
If the spouses typical answer a. occurs – you will not want to return to the marriage OR If the spouses typical answer b. occurs -> You will want to explain that you will continue to stay away now for an additional 6 months. And require them to see counseling and/or attend classes like AA (you may even want to begin counseling yourself, especially if you’ve made it to step 4!)

Spouses typical answers:

a. Okay I will stop (but doesn’t), and doesn’t attend counseling.
b. Okay I will stop, attends counseling (stops for awhile, and then starts up again)
c. Spouse quits lifestyle issue permanently (You have successfully “left” your spouse, now your marriage can begin healing)

Step 5.
If you have made it to step 5, you would continue with Step 4 on repeat, but adding additional weeks, months, and years to the time frame, for as long as you are willing to stay committed to the failing/hurting/broken marriage.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

*Understanding that lifestyle changes are hard to make and harder to stick to, and also knowing that at any time divorce is an option. If you start step 1 of this advice, I recommend seeking counseling immediately alone and together (whether it’s your Pastor or other Professional counselor). Surround yourself with understanding and loving family and friends, who will both encourage you in your marriage but also in safety and health.

*This does not guarantee your marriage will be saved, but it is at least a last resort before the divorce is final.

*And if you feel your in danger – get out! and get professional counseling!

With a quick side note to this blog: This is not really advice to be taken because your partner is always leaving the toilet seat up or even the “we argue all the time” issue (although if you find it useful, to each their own) but more along the lines of advice to be taken when your partner has a lifestyle choice you realized you can’t live with (if you are NOT married yet, as mentioned in the “9 things…” blog #1,  If you have problems with their behavior now, it’s not going away when you get married. Not right away, maybe not in ten years, maybe not for the entire duration of your marriage/life – so make sure it’s something you can live with or it will be something you divorce over).

The lifestyle choices I am referring to here fall under the three A’s (alcohol, adultery, and abuse). I would like to define those three A’s a little further. A for Alcohol could really be any addiction (ie alcohol, drugs, pornography),  Abuse can be verbal or physical, and Adultery is adultery is adultery; if you feel betrayed by your spouses missing commitment to their vows to love you and only you – you could probably throw this under adultery. When it boils down to it, the issues in marriage that often lead to a divorce aren’t black or white – but making the decision to “leave” your spouse has to be something where your at the stage of “Divorce is your only option if they don’t change” but you are willing/hopeful that they will choose change over divorce.

(They may not choose change over divorce…)

Big Gig Photography MM#656416

Big Gig Photography MM#656416

9 things you may want to know before you get married.

Big Gig Photography MM#656416

Big Gig Photography MM#656416

Married at 20 and Divorced at 24…
Here are 9 things you may want to know before you get married that may save you from a divorce.

1. If you have problems with their behavior now, it’s not going away when you get married. Not right away, maybe not in ten years, maybe not for the entire duration of your marriage/life – so make sure it’s something you can live with or it will be something you divorce over.

2. Marriage is Hard.  Divorce is Harder.

3. Make goals together and more importantly make a goal for your marriage. “This is/these are what our marriage is about…”

4. If they are a drunk/addicted to drugs now don’t marry them. (If you made the mistake of marrying them, then leave them – at the very least until they’ve been sober as many years as they’ve been drunk).

5. You will get used to their quirks (like leaving the toilet seat up, throwing their clothes on the floor, leaving dishes in the sink) but if you don’t communicate about how much it bothers you as each item comes up you WILL blow up and your conversation will sound much like “TOILET SEAT’S CLOTHES IN THE SINK HATE YOU!!!” And it’s harder to recover from that than the occasional ‘nag’ of “I feel like the house is getting cluttered and I need some help keeping up with the chores” (bonus: “let’s tackle this together, when is a good time for us to do together?” )

6. Don’t go to bed angry. Unless they are drunk and that upsets you; Then go to bed angry in a different area of the house or stay with a good friend so when they wake up and you aren’t there they know a “we need to talk” is coming. And then calmly talk about it, and make a plan for a change.

7. Talk. Ask each other questions. (You’ll never know everything) ….. 8. And more importantly Listen. (If you don’t make a habit of 7-8 with your spouse, someone else will and they will more than likely leave you for them.)

9. Also – have sex. (um… for clarification – I mean with each other) All the time. Even when you are angry, tired, or “not in the mood” because at some point you’ll go months being angry, tired, or not in the mood.

Divorce is hard.

Did you read my blog Marriage is Hard (or a blog/book out there much similar to it)… and got married anyways? If you’re reading this blog, it might be because at some point in your life you were looking at who you thought was your soul mate; Your one true wonder.  Now, however, you find yourself at a crossroad, looking at a stranger; Maybe even a monster.

I am not here to encourage you to get a divorce, nor to persuade you to stay married. If Marriage is hard, Divorce is harder. Your reason for pursuing divorce is your’s, and your’s alone.

What I am NOT here to do is judge you; heck – I am in the same boat as you. And although this sinking boat seems like quite the failure and recovery nearly impossible (and drowning very likely) – I do know, whether this divorce was in or out of God’s plans, that God has a plan.
(*Edit: Do not fret so much on whether it’s in or out of God’s plans. You don’t know God’s plans for your life, your neighbor doesn’t know, your pastor doesn’t know, your sister-in-law doesn’t know…. If God can use a murderer to do His work, He surely can use a divorcee too)

Hitting rock bottom and chilling with Davy Jones is apart of life. God may throw down a life vest, and pull you to safety. He may also give you the resources to breath underwater, and witness to mermaids.

Myke Warthen MM#1193926

Sometimes God calms the storm, and sometime he lets the storm rage and calms His child.

What I am here to do is tell you “It’s going to be okay“. It’s not going to be okay right away. It might feel like it’s okay right away, but it’s not. The recovery time after a divorce is estimated statistically at two years; that’s a lot of anger, mourning, relief, crying, joy, sadness, bitterness, drinking and growing… 

Just know that every choice you make is yours to make, and although you are free to make all choices – you are not free from the consequences of the choices you make. Whatever those may be. The good, the bad, and the ugly (one night stands).

Life is full of ups and downs. Mountains and valleys. Marriages and divorces. Try to keep your head high and look for the brightness in the next day. Keep in mind, too, that if you feel like crying and watching re-runs of your favorite TV show or drinking a little and ripping up your old wedding album – It’s okay. 

It’s going to be okay.

Gay Marriage: Right or Wrong?

Many times patients are so ill, that if they knew the true extent of their illness, just their despair could kill them. So doctors work diplomatically, dispensing information only as it is needed to help the patient along. If a surgeon told your mother the brutal truth, and it caused her to die of a heart attack, wouldn’t you hold the surgeon responsible?

It’s right after Easter, the day we celebrated to remind us that Christ rose from the dead and freed us from the death sentence of sin.

So, I think it’s a perfect day to tackle that not-so-well known topic.

You know, the one on Gay Marriage.

*Gasp*

I said it. It’s like a sin to even discuss it, isn’t it? Just like it used to be the end of the world to discuss divorce, and you might as well turn around and crawl back in the womb if we are going to discuss those who have had premarital sex (don’t worry, that blogs coming soon). Those issues aren’t so big anymore. And let’s face it, who wants to look at their teenage daughter and condemn her to hell for one innocent and confused act of sexual curiosity. Or ten. (Not condoning premarital sex here, just condoning the grace that’s supposed to come along when you start following Christ).

That was deep.

I bet you didn’t think my blog was going to get so deep, huh? Well, I have opinions. And they stink just like everyone else’s. And this just happens to be the little place I set up for myself to broadcast my stinky opinions to the world. But hey, at least I’m honest!

Let us get this ball rolling… Let me start off with: I do NOT know all the answers. I know only what I have learned so far. In time, I truly believe God will reveal more truth to me throughout my whole life. Salvation is instant. Sanctification is a life long process.

I agree that the act of homosexuality is a sin. There are 44 references to fornication—sexual immorality—in the Bible. The word – love – appears 310 times. What is it we are campaigning for the most today?

When the Word of God is rightly divided and applied with love, it’s knowledge will produce salvation sanctification. Conversely, when it is wielded as a weapon against people (Eph 6:12) it will ultimately destroy that which was meant to be restored. (Website – and a perfect example of a site I am not sure I agree with in it’s entirety. Website held original quote, which I altered)

But we all sin. God loves us so much, this love cannot be changed, even if we sin. Even if that sin is sexually. Even if that sin is murder. Jesus died for our sin (singular). In reference to our sin nature.

So why waste time hating sin, when there are sinners who need to be loved?

Whether we cheat on our spouse, sleep with the same-sex, have sex before we are married, spill our seed on the floor(uh – not personally guilty but I know a man or two who would be struck with lightning right about now), or struggle with dwelling in lustful thoughts – Jesus STILL loves us.

I must confess, I just killed a tourist, for bad driving, in my head. Also, a sin.

I don’t have all the answers, I don’t know how I would respond if I was asked if I support gay marriage. I think it is safe to say in response to the question, “I just don’t know. I know what society tells me, I know what the anti-gay Christians tell me. I know many of the references in the Bible tell me. I have a basic understanding of Biblical law. I have a basic understanding of societies law. I have my conclusions, but I wouldn’t say they are fact.”

It’s not something that people typically ask me or I come across everyday, except on the Internet… where there is no filter on people’s hate. Both Hate toward the sinner and hate toward the religion.

The answer to the above questions would depend completely on how well we “rightly divide the word of truth.” And unless one is able to apply truth with love-based motivation and compassion, the lesson merely becomes an abstract; devoid of it’s redemptive healing power.

What I do know is I have several homosexual friends. And I love them. Just genuinely love them. I have no agenda, I’m not trying to convert them to my religion (though when the opportunity reveals itself, I will certainly tell them about my God who loves me so much He gave. That He paid the ultimate price for us). I’m not trying to “make them be straight.” I’m not telling them they sin,(because IF they’ve accepted Christ already – they know that homosexuality is a sin. If they’ve not already accepted Christ, they probably already know Christians hate… Well lets just say Christians tend to be well-known for what they are against and less known for what they are for. After all, those good-good Christians don’t hate – that’s a sin.)

I AM trying to be loving to all people by being a friend, and doing what friends do. I AM trying to carry the burden of others.

What outsiders see is a bunch of hypocritical Christians who tell them they can’t be married because Christ says so when The Bible also says not to get divorced, not to be gluttonous, not to covet, not to LIE… (And that’s right, if you lied this week – even a little white lie – that sin is the same hated sin only because it keeps you from God. Who can be this perfect? God loves you so much and that sin would keep you from His love had He not gave… Jesus. ) So if you are an habitual liar with a good heart and struggle immensely with telling lies, and die telling a lie – would you not make it to heaven?

God had Christ cancel the laws of the old testament and put in place a new covenant. (Hebrews) because we would never be able to keep the laws! By the law we were condemned.

Hebrews 8:8-12

“For he finds fault with them when he says:[a]

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah,
9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers
on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.
For they did not continue in my covenant,
and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds,
and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor
and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
for they shall all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
and I will remember their sins no more.”


The Bible is the best self-help book ever written. Not my-husband-needs-help book, not my-gay-neighbor-needs-help book. The best I-need-help book.
We need to stop being harsh on others first, and easy on ourselves. Turn the light of the bible on our own hearts. Can you approach a homosexual and say “I’ve never sinned? I will never sin again.”
It will be a really big let down for yourself when you do.
But Christ died for our liberty, for us to be free to do as we please (Galatians) and while not all thing are beneficial, we have the freedom to do anything (Corinthians). The hope of this liberty is so that we will love (Galatians).

When someone does not accept Christianity as their belief, then we are to love them as if they have no sin. If they claim Christianity and still sin, there is a set way to approach the fellow believer, but it is always gently. If they still do not get it, then we are supposed to love them as if they have no sin.

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.
—1 Timothy 1:15-16, NIV (Website)

If we try to keep the law (homosexuality is abomination, they are sinners, the law says marriage is only for a man and a women) then we the believer who are enforcing the law become fully accountable for the WHOLE law (Galatians, James) which we have proven we cannot keep, and we the believer will be held up to the law we tried to hold others accountable too and we the believer will be judged by the law.

So, Ashlee, what does this mean?

I do not have all the answers. I do not know what God will say to those who promote gay rights or anti gay propaganda…

What I do know is that I am called to do one thing, and according to Jesus as the most important commandment, love my God by loving His people.

Words of “I love you but” – does not show love. Actions show love. Love with your actions! Give Grace with your words!

I know what some of you might be saying right about now… “Woah, Woah Ash. I thought this was a blog about whether or not gay marriage was right or wrong?” Ok, the truth is, I tricked you. Because for me, the question isn’t whether or not we are meant to get so caught up in the sin and the law against it. Jesus sat with the sinners, the drunkards, the betrayers, and yes… even the tax collectors – woah. He was their friend. He loved them. He helped carry their burdens. “So what you are saying is I am the patient you intended the quote for above?” Why yes, yes I did. As I don’t want you to die of a heart attack so consumed by the law, when Jesus died to set us free from it’s condemnation. We are FREE! Free to love, free to give.

If you are a follower of Christ – are you not also called to love? How are you helping carry others burdens? When you approach the sinner to share with them this great secret knowledge you hold that they sin, are you doing as told and turning the Word inward and examining yourself? Are you not also a sinner. Do not throw the stones.

We are hardening people’s heart to the Good news of Jesus. He is the transformer of hearts. Men do not transform hearts. When we force the law down the throat of the non believer, we are hardening their hearts. And we are condemning ourselves to the law.

When Jesus returns, they stand covered with the blood of the sheep they chased into the wolf pack, expecting Him to say, “Thou good and faithful servant,” but instead He says to them, “Get out of my chair!” (Website)

I hope this to be my prayer,

“Let my words be life. Let my words be truth. I don’t want to say a word unless it points the world back to You.” Lord, please help me to be more like Christ. I want to wash the feet of the tax collectors of our day. I want to drink, eat, and be merry with them Lord, and while I am with them I ask that the light of the Holy Spirit shine throughout me and my actions. I wish to help carry their burden, as I am called to do, and ask that when those opportunities arise you open my eyes. In Jesus name, Amen.

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