Saturday, December 14, 2013

Holy, Holy, Holy

I discovered a great version of one of my favorite hymns the other night. I have listened to it no less than 200 times since. I have always loved the words of "Holy, Holy, Holy". I have found myself listening to spiritual Christmas songs in general this holiday season. Perhaps it is my new job, but I feel this season I am more reflective than in the past.  One of the hardest parts of my job is having the fact that life is so very fleeting thrown at you. The enormity of life, death and all that falls between, is a reality I try and help patients and their families navigate. As much as I try and keep those harder cases and days seperate, it can't help but seep into my own reality. I have been examining my own choices, mistakes, failures (and some successes too)as the end of year draws near. I feel pretty distant from God lately. I think there are many reasons for this, all my own doing. God is always where He promises He will be, right here. I imagine him shaking his head, not unlike an earthly father, thinking to himself, "Oh dear girl." I am hopeful he still holds me dear, even amongst his disappointment. And so, in my spiritual angst, I cling to those songs, whose words bring me such comfort. Words like,
Holy, holy, holy!  Though the darkness hide thee,
 though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,
 only thou art holy; there is none beside thee,
 perfect in power, in love and purity.
That is what is awesome about having a faith in God. . His love is perfect. His power is perfect. 
My all time favorite Christmas hymn is "O Come O Come Emmanuel". 
I can barely make it though without tears. 
The lyrics that get me every time are..

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

I love that God chose a tiny baby to be a Savior. I love the hope and promise that comes from what happened in the stable all those years ago. I love that immediately after Christmas is a new year. The New Year offers many possibilites of what can be.  Of resolving to do better, be better, to try and maybe finally make things right.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thankful 13..

Here is my annual top ten thankful list for 2013..

10. The way Ellie talks. She has come so far with her speech but she still says things like, "Me big now, just a wittle bit, me wuv you. Adorable, and one of things I know I will miss when she is grown.
9. Watching my kids play sports. Whether it's Caroline's fierce competitive nature or Matthew's perserverance with hockey, I love their enthusiasm when they are doing something they love.
8. My mother in law. She is one of the kindest, most selfless people I have ever met. She has helped us out immeasurably.
7. That the holistic, chiropractor treatments are working for our beloved neighbor, Sam Ekkens, who has a rare disease called plastic bronchitis. We love that little boy and are thankful for God's provision and faithfulness in his life.
6. Our home. Sure, there are things we wish we could replace or change, but we are very fortunate to have a place to rest our weary bones each night.
5. Our jobs. I still can't believe how lucky I am to have the job I do. I love it, even working nights!
4. Music, it can bring me out  of the worst mood and makes good times even better.
3. Marriage. Sure, there are things that are tough and times when it seems like all you are managing to do is survive, but I can't imagine life without a loving partner in crime like Jeff.
2. Friends, we've been blessed with some great ones!
1. Each day! I have learned, especially since I began working in an ER, that there is no guarantee that life won't change in an instant. It has certainly made me realize that it is important to count our blessings EVERY day.
Happy Thanksgiving friends! 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Caroline, age 7

Caroline turned seven on Saturday. I had to work all weekend, so I had arranged to have the birthday girl go to my parent's house in Chicago for the weekend. Caroline was spoiled all weekend by Grandma and Papa. She rode the train downtown to the American Girl store where she received the royal treatment! Caroline picked out Saige and brought home all sorts of accessories for her girl including crutches, and casts for her arm and leg! (It must have been a rough weekend for Saige!) Today she is bringing special "egg free" peace sign decorated cupcakes to school and tonight we're celebrating the birthday girl with pizza and cake with a family party! It was strange having our middle girl gone this weekend. The house had less pizazz as normal. When she arrived back yesterday afternoon, life seemed right again:) There are so many things I love about my girl. She is such a talented artist! I have really enjoyed seeing her artistic abilities flurish! She drew the most fantastic self-portrait of herself a few weeks ago. My mom loved it so much that she had it framed and it now hangs in our den! I know I will cherish it always! Caroline has always been strong willed, but we're seeing how that helps her achieve goals. When she is out! She loves soccer and is pretty good. I love watching her competitive nature. Caroline continues to love everything to do with school. Her enthusiasm sometimes gets her into trouble, as she often has to be reminded not to "blurt" out answers and to let everyone have a turn. But, she is always on task and just can't stand not to share. She is definitely the middle child in regards to demanding attention at times, but it is easy to find plenty of things to praise her for! Caroline joined Daisy Scouts last year and enthusiastically participates. If I could pick one word to describe Sweet Caroline, enthusiastic would be it! Last year I picked a letter to describe Caroline for each letter of her name. Here is this year's addition...
C: colorful..
A: aggressive little soccer player. WATCH out!
R: rested! I still can't believe how easily that little girl is about going to sleep! She often will ask to go to bed and you never have to tell her to get back to it! She loves to sleep!
O: original. Whether it is her art work or the outfits she comes up with, all original Caroline!
L: loving!
I: innovative!
N: neat! Caroline loves to clean and is one of the best organizers around!
E: eager, to learn, to draw, to play soccer, whatever it is..Caroline is always eager! We love you sweet Caroline! Happy 7th birthday!

Monday, September 02, 2013

Ellie turns 4!

Today our Ellie is four! I know I always say I can't believe it when my kids turn another year older but it is true! Apparently time flies when you have a sweet, spunky, sassy gal in your home! Ellie is by far the most dramatic of my children. She loves to put her little hand on her hip and emphatically state whatever she happens to be thinking. She loves to pretend and often talks to her imaginary friend, "Anna" or her "boyfriend"! Dancing is another favorite activity and she will cut a rug anytime she hears some music! Ellie thinks she is one of the big kids and is never too far behind them wanting to do all they can do! She loves to color and draw and do her "homework"! Ellie is about to enter her second year of preschool. Last year she was in a special speech program at one of the elementary schools due to her speech delay, but this year she is in a regular preschool program at her daycare program. Ellie loves her sister and brother and often states, "They are my best friends ever!" She is a daddy's girl and adores her Grandma Barb and Betsy. She is fearless and will try anything. She loves to eat..especially corn! When I found out we were expecting Ellie, I couldn't imagine adding anymore to our already very full plates. Four years later, I can't imagine our lives without her. Happy birthday sweet little girl!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Warning..I am crafting this post in the midst of a seven day stretch of working. I usually only work 2 or 3 nights at a time. My take on seven is that while it hasn't totally sucked, I wouldn't want to make a regular habit out of it. The last two nights I have gone into work at 2 in the morning which is just bizarre and in many ways pointless. I feel like I want to call before going in, as to say, "Really, do you need me? Because my bed is looking pretty dang comfy!" Of course I don't do that, I make my way to my beloved ER :) (bit of an exaggeration) and settle in for a few hours of crisis intervention, mental health assessment, or whatever other randomness appears on our doorstep, and believe you me, we get some seriously random, strange things going on in the middle of the night.
Part of the reason that I was able to pick up this many shifts is that Jeff and the kids have been up with Jeff's family in Ludington, MI. They have had a wonderful time playing in the pool, riding go karts, playing with cousins, and making smores. All the ingredients that make childhood and especially being a child in Michigan during the summer glorious. I have really come to love our state lately. It really is so beautiful. The other night, in the midst of a horrid heat wave, I threw caution to the wind and packed us all up for an impromptu beach night in South Haven. South Haven is a great beach town a mere 45 minutes from Kalamazoo. It was the best decision I have made in a long time. The kids were great, the water felt perfect and as the sun set, seemingly by melting into Lake Michigan, it was one of those moments where you think, "Dang. Life is so freaking great." Then the kids got sand all over the car and it was back to reality:) Kidding, kind of.
This weekend, after the seven day stretch, I am taking my weary soul to my 20th high school reunion. Part of me is excited and part of me is a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of seeing individuals I haven't laid eyes on in twenty years. Thinking about seeing all of the this has me thinking about the transitions we make with our circle of friends, the people we do life with in any given moment or season. As I think back to 1993, I remember that we lived in Midland, MI and never in a million years did I think that my parents wouldn't live there for the rest of their lives. (not my first naive thought)  It is interesting to note that since 1993, they have lived in Canada, Texas, Florida and Illinois!  I knew without a doubt that my best friends  from high school, would always be my best friends. This I am proud to say, has held largely true. I am proud that I am the kind of girl and friend who tends to be pretty loyal. I am still very close with several of my high school girlies. But, in the last twenty years, I have had plenty of friendships come and go. I have met many people who I thought, we will be friends forever and then months later thought, good lord, no..never again. I have let go of some friendships where I realized that it shouldn't be so much work and effort to be in a friendship, and I have learned to let go of making this some one's fault. Things change, people change, jobs change, people get married, people get divorced, people move on. Sometimes these changes are sad and traumatic, but in my experience, mostly I love anticipating whose next. If I had never moved, I would not have met some of the greatest friends I have. I have no idea what any of this means or why I felt compelled to post about it? I blame the seven days and cumulative lack of sleep. Or maybe it was the double dose of the knock off Unisom?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer musings

Well, I have managed to survive six weeks of work without another "incident". I am learning the various job duties and responsibilities and finding my way. I really enjoy the work I am doing. It is challenging, demanding, hard, rewarding, and a priviledge. To be able to come along side individuals who are in difficult situations is what I have always liked about being a social worker. I am adjusting to working nights and as of now, I like it. The vibe in the hospital at night is laid back and working part time allows me to catch up on missed sleep and have time with the family too. Summer is in full swing here. The balance of the kids going to Curious Kids daycare two to three days a week, and being home and being able to hang out has been good. Ellie joined Matthew and Caroline at CK this summer and is love being with the "big kids". They have lots of fun activities, field trips and weekly visits to a lake for swimming. Jeff is planning on taking the kids to Silver Lake again for our annual vacation with his side of the family. I won't be able to join him this year as I have no vacation until August. The kids have already gone to Vacation Bible School and Caroline and Matthew both have camps planned, Caroline is going to the Springhill day camp she loved last year and Matthew is going to WMU's hockey camp. Poor Ellie gets to hang with mom for a few more years until she is old enough. Although if you ask her she will emphatically state, "ME BIG KID TOO!"
Matthew had his follow-up apt with the pediatric neurologist last week and we found out that his MRI did show an abnormality, even though we were initially told it was fine. He has something called a heterotopia on the right side of his cerebellum. It is very rare and it is hard to find out things about it. Basically it doesn't change much as far as how we are treating his symptoms, the heterotopia does offer additional explanation of some of his struggles though, and the neurologist feels he  still has mild cp. When I first heard this news, I will admit, I was freaked out. Mostly because I thought his MRI was fine and also because children who have heterotopias often develop a seizure issue in their teenage years. But, after talking with the neurologist and his pediatrician, I feel incredibly blessed. A heterotopia is basically a miscollection of cells that are found in the grey matter of the brain. Many children who have this die in utero or are born with profound impairments. Matthew is blessed. Sure, he struggles with some things, but he is a normal, happy, typical eight year old boy. We are so grateful that we continue to have the means to get him the assistance and support he needs to be all HE desires. I couldn't help but remember the sixth week of my pregnancy with Matthew as I have dealt with this new spin on his diagnosis. Due to several issues with my blood work, spotting and the OB/GYN not being able to find a heartbeat, they recommended I schedule a D and C. I refused and pleaded with them to wait a week and they agreed. I remember this all happened over the Labor Day holiday and I was so terrified and scared that we had lost out little baby. I have never been as happy as when I saw that little blip of a heartbeat, going strong on the screen. Our baby, our Matthew, was a fighter. He has forged his own way, even from the beginning. We're so thankful to be blessed with our incredibly unique, sweet son!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Worst first day of work ever.

Many things have happened since I last posted. I graduated from WMU. I got my dream job as an ER social worker. Jeff and I celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary. I started my new job and made it about five hours before I promptly fainted, smashing my head into a cart when I fell,  cutting my head open, which required  five stitches to close. How did this happen? Did I see something horrible and bloody and awful? The simple answer to that is, no. Basically what happened is that ever since my surgery five years ago, I get spells of low blood sugar. I can tell they are coming on because I feel light headed, start to get sweaty, and usually have to sit down and wait it out. Because I had just started this job, I certainly didn't want to look like a slacker. I realize now perhaps slacker would have been better than "girl who faints". It truly was one of the most humiliating experiences in my life. When I fell, I lost consciousness for nearly a minute which required them to do a full workup of an EKG, catscan, bloodwork, and of course the stitches and i.v. that had to pump some heavy duty pain meds to cut the throbbing pain in my head. The staff was incredibly professional and understanding and tried to set my mind at ease. My job counterpart was truly awesome and I feel like we are fast friends after she had to help me do many personal things when they were doing all the tests. Nothing builds friendship like having a person you barely know help you take off your bra for an EKG!! Two days later, I have a pretty yucky cut, stitches, a concussion, lots of bruises, and a wounded ego. Yesterday I panicked and wondered if I could do this job? What if hadn't been low blood sugar? What if I can't handle all the trauma I will see in the ER?  I have never been someone who is grossed out easily or gets woozy from much but Thursday's events rattled me some and definitely had me doubting. After consulting with my friends, one who is a physicians assistant in the ER and another who is an ER attending physician, I don't think that is the case. I think it was a perfect storm of not enough sleep, adrenaline from starting a new job, low blood sugar, not sitting down and some crap bad luck. I go back to work on Monday. I have had the weekend to rest and am feeling better. Thanks to my wonderful husband, who has reassured me that it was just a fluke, and that I will learn the job and get used to the night shift, I am ready to begin again. At the end of the day, I can't change any of it. I am trying to laugh about it. I will admit it makes for a great story and forever more when people ask me how I got the scar above my eyebrow, I can say, "Oh that? Now that is a great story!" Isn't that what life is all about? Taking some of the crappier moments in life and making them just a part of a great story? Here's hoping!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Matthew Simpson, age 8

Matthew will be eight on Sunday. How the heck did that happen? It does seem like only yesterday that I looked at his jaundice little face in the hospital.  Wasn't it only days ago that we traveled from Rolling Meadows, Illinois to our new home in Portage, when he was a mere three weeks old? What a journey its been for my first born and me. Matthew taught me how much I could really love someone. He also taught me many things I never knew I needed to learn. That being a nanny isn't the same as being a mom. That being a mom is hard. That just when you think you know it all, you  really know nothing. We've made our way, Matthew and I, and oh, how we've grown. I love this boy with all my heart. I have seen him grow into such a mature, wonderful person, especially in this past year. Matthew is kind and sweet, loving and sensitive. He's funny and witty and wise. I know, I probably seem obnoxious, but too bad, he's my boy and I am proud.
Since his diagnosis of mild cerebral palsy last year, Matthew has been introduced to several different types of therapies and excersises to help him become stronger. He usually is a good sport about doing the exercises that his therapist require of him. He loves hockey and tries his best to be the best dang hockey player in Kalamazoo. He is improving and has so much fun playing, which really is all you want for your kids, to love what they do. He is adored by his sisters, especially Ellie. Truth be told, Caroline can take him or leave him at times, but only in the typical, sibling rivalry way. Matthew loves his grandparents and enjoys spending hours discussing the world with his Papa Bert.
Matthew loves his friends, most of whom live in our neighborhood. He loves hanging out, playing some type of video game or "war" outside with his buddies. He is looking forward to celebrating his birthday later this summer with some special friends at an amusement park.
Matthew tolerates school:) He has never been a huge fan and this year is no different, but he has many friends and is well behaved. Actually, he has turned into the kid who can't stand to get in trouble. Matthew gets very anxious if he thinks he is in trouble. We've had to remind him that everyone has bad days and all we expect of him is to always do his best.
Happy 8th Birthday Matthew! What joy you've brought to our lives.

Monday, April 08, 2013

To climb a mountain

I recently found a new blog, The Wilder Coast,, which is just fabulous.  I have been reading about the blog's author, Melina's,adventures in climbing, kayaking, skiing, traveling, and just generally living and loving. While I have never been a real outdoor enthusiast,  I have found myself reminiscing of the hiking and climbing trip I took to Colorado way back in 1992.
I was a junior in high school and very involved in a Christian youth organization called, Young Life. I loved Young Life! I am fairly certain that had it not been for their Windy Gap camp, which is nestled in the mountains of North Carolina, I would never have become a christian. I met Jesus at Windy Gap. I remember being completely overwhelmed with what Christ did for me, while I sat in their auditorium one hot, July night. It holds a very dear place in my heart.
When deciding what camp I wanted to go to the summer between my junior and senior year of high school, I decided to go to Wilderness. Wilderness is a seven day hiking and climbing trip in the San Juan mountains. While Windy Gap was a week of spectacular luxury, Wilderness was all about putting everything you owned in a backpack, cooking your own food, sleeping in tents, going to the bathroom outside(in a toliet you dug!) and NOT SHOWERING for the duration of the week. It is important, at this point, to remember that I AM NOT A NO SHOWERING kind of a gal. In fact, I have been known to be a "two shower a day" kind.  For the life of me, I can't really understand what motivated me to sign up. I remember buying all the gear, wearing my trusty brand new hiking boots around my hometown, proclaiming to anyone that would listen, that I was going COLORADO to boot,( pun intended). It is also worth noting that I was in about the same shape in high school that I am now. Not the greatest. Although I was on the swim team back then, so I had that going for me.
I remember arriving to the base camp and being overcome with altitude sickness. Nausea and general maliase. It was about this time, that fear began to creep into my soul.We were all assigned our gear, loaded it into our packs and then headed to bed for our last night of sleeping in a real bed for seven days. The next morning, when it was still dark, we began our trek up from base camp, into the mountains. I made it about three hours before I literally wanted to die. I remember thinking that there was absolutely nothing in my pack that I needed, and was dead serious about wanting to fling it ,and its contents over the edge of the mountain. Each step I took seemed to take an enormous amount of effort. Somehow I managed to make it to the spot we were camping at that night. I was still dealing with the effects of altitude sickness and let's just say that I spend a majority of the night stooped over the freshly dug bathroom hole. I felt feverish , exhausted and miserable. The next morning we began again and the day was much like the first, not fun. The third day was the low point. We were climbing to the peak and it was grueling. At one point I just sat down on the trail, cried and demanded that everyone just go on with out me. I could not take one more step. The counselors, in their grace and patience, tried to inspire me with bible verses and promises that God would see me through this. I definitely did not find solace in their promises. I remember telling them that I was good to die right there if it meant not having to walk anymore. It was on this third day that I began to witness some wonderful selflessness. One of the counselors took several items out of my pack and distributed it amongst other hikers who had volunteered to help literally lighten my load. Two of these campers were guys I went to high school with. They were  the guys you would literally be mortified to show weakness in front of. (Cute, popular, etc). I could have cared less. The rest of the day was a little less like hell, with my  newly lightened load. By the next morning I had a renewed resolve to suck it up and do this hiking thing. I realized that in my self-loathing and misery, I was missing so much of the beauty and majesty around me. We were in the midst of the San Juan mountains and I  all I was  managing to do was wish it all away. I decided to change my attitude the next day. I realized that hiking would still be hard, and the upcoming rock climbing would perhaps kill me, but I would try to embrace the adventure. The next days were filled with wonderful sights of majestic peaks, beautiful, glistening streams, thunderstorms that literally rolled under our sleeping bags as we slept. There was such power in the beauty that surrounded me. There was power in the vulnerability that I felt. There was grace in cool kids taking my pack contents without judgement. There was redemption in knowing that you literally could be at your lowest and feel the collective power of the holy spirit raising you out of your despair.
The rock climbing we did on the last day was physically the most demanding thing I have ever done.  I am sorry to say that I may have temporarily lost my positive attitude yet again, while I struggled to hold myself onto those damn rocks with my bare hands. I hated every minute of it. But, when I reached the top, HOLY accomplishment. Worth every grueling moment on that rock. The sights and scenery were somehow sweeter because I had worked so hard to get to it. 
By the time I came off the mountain seven days later, dirty and smellier than I have ever been in  my life, I felt invigorated. I had made it.  I was changed. The thing was, I had no idea how powerful that trip would be for me in the months and years to come. It was nearly twenty two years ago that I took that trip to Colorado. I am amazed that I continue to learn lessons from the mountains,the rocks, the struggles, and the accomplishments of it all.
As my graduation from Western draws near, I find myself drawing many parallels between my trip and the experience of going back to school at age 36, married with three little children. There are many similarities of moments in graduate school where I felt my load was too heavy to bear. I have spent much of the last two years processing my own "stuff", writing, reading, participating in groups, and working at two internships. My internship this year at the Children's Trauma Assessment Center has been some of the most difficult work I have ever done. There were times when I felt like the same girl who was clinging for dear life to  the side of that rock, all those years ago. Moments of despair over the many injustices and cruelities children in our world are subjected to brought me to my knees in anguish many a Friday night, after the assessments were done, and the children and I forever went out separate ways.
Three weeks from now, I will reach the peak, so to speak:), and graduate. I am proud of my accomplishment. I am grateful for all the people who helped me make it through these last two years. I am thankful for all the wonderful new friends and professionals I have met along this journey. Currently, I do not have a job, so the next adventure remains to be seen. I know that all of my collective experiences, from Wilderness to Western, have equipped me to take it one step at a time, one day at a time, with some help with my "stuff" along the way, I will hopefully see a few more peaks in this crazy adventure called life!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Lent and other stuff..

Today is Fat Tuesday. The Simpsons have all had their packzis! The Lenten season is one of aspects of my faith that I treasure . I love having an opportunity to spend 40 days righting my heart. To take a step away from the busyness of everyday life and become closer to God. As my children get older they surprise me in  the ways in which they convict me. Matthew asked me the other day if I could give up going on Facebook when I am at home for Lent. I thought about it for a minute and of course said yes I could.  How could I say no to my guy? There is no reason I have to be on Facebook at home or ever really. There are about a million more productive things I could accomplish with the time I waste on FB. So, there you have part of my Lenten commitment. The other part coincides with my New Year's resolution, to be more intentional with the time that I have. While I won't be on FB, I am sure I could find other time sucks to replace it with. My desire is to spend time with the kids playing games, reading books or just hanging out. Enjoying each other. Not yelling, nagging or disciplining. As I type this I realize it may sound lofty and idealistic but  isn't that at the heart of any well intended goal?
I am hoping to prayerfully seek God's direction in leading my heart towards a post graduate job. My season as a graduate student is coming to and end. I have begun to search for a full time job. Thinking about what working full time as an MSW can be overwhelming to me at times. I have been very comfortable as a full time student and intern. Transitioning to a full time employee does intimidate me. What will it look like for me and my family? What will daycare look like for the kids this summer and next year? How flexible will my job be ? So many what ifs. It is exciting but scary all at the same time. Talk about ambivalence!
The kids are all doing well. Matthew is getting older and more mature to me with every passing day. After his MRI a few weeks ago, Jeff and I took him out to eat. We had such an enjoyable time. I told Jeff that I am eager for all of our kids to transition to the stage where Matthew is at. My parenting skills seem to compliment it so much more than the obstacles I have faced when parenting little ones. Caroline is working very hard at practicing her best behavior at school. I am so proud of how far she has come. She tries very hard and is one smart cookie. Caroline just started Daisy Scouts and loves it!  Ellie is doing so well in her speech preschool program that they are moving her to a more  mature afternoon class. She is talking up a storm these days and becoming quite the little lady. Now that she is moving to an afternoon class I can sign her up for a dance class which she has been begging to go to. All those Saturdays of being dragged to Caroline's classes have rubbed off on little sister.
As I close this post out, I realize it is a little all over the place. I guess that is representative of where we are as a family these days too. Trying to coordinate faith, family, schedules and making sure there is time for some fun along the way. The goal for this blog of mine has always been to keep a virtual diary of the things we've done during this season of life. As life gets busier it seems there isn't always time for documenting here. But then I remember what a gift the record of having the last eight years of our lives written in a space is. So, I make the effort to make the time. To write it down. To reflect on where we've been and where we're going. To put out there goals and aspirations and commitments. For accountability and encouragement along the way.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Evolving faith

The concept of evolving faith has been on my mind and in my heart a lot as of late. I always seem to go through what I call "spiritual crisis" every few years or so. I will wrestle with topics, values, ideals, and almost always with God himself. At the end of it all I come out firmer in my faith, sure of where I stand. These past two years of graduate school have tested my faith like no other years in my life. For the first time, in a long time, I was surrounded by many people who not only did not share my spiritual faith but they were questioning of it. I have felt several times that people I have met at WMU have judged me by my label as being a Christian. Now, I can not blame all of this on "the people" as it were. I spoke up and made sure my view points and ideals  known on several occasions. I was and am an unapologetic Christian. I believe in Jesus. I believe He is the Son of God. Still.
But here's the thing. What that means for me has evolved. For the last 15 years I would say I most certainly related to a evangelical approach to faith. I believed that the whole point to being a Christian was to spread the word, get people to subscribe and believe in the Word and change their lives accordingly. If you did things that were against God's will or His word, then you'd have to change those things. I was sorry if it offended but, well, too bad. Over the past year especially I simply don't subscribe to that. I have wrestled with it, prayed about it, cried over it and done some very real soul searching. At the end of the day I feel that God is more interested in so much more than rules. It can be so very easy to sit in your cushy life where truly everything, in the grand scheme of things, is very easy and demand that people follow your way to God. Instead I am choosing to continue to love my God in the ways I have always known and those that have been revealed to me in the last six months or so. There is so much pain and sadness in this world. Real. true. heartache. Each Friday when I leave my internship I am in awe of the hell that many children  in my community endure. Utter Hell. I want to be Jesus to those children. I want to be the minute in the hours of their pain and struggle that isn't so horrible. When I am at the Boys and Girls Club on Thursday night working with kids who've witnessed profound violence, I want the time they spend with me to be one of peace and calm and a gentle smile.
I want to continue to read and study God's word. I believe in it. I know first hand that it is relevant and it has the power to transform lives. Perhaps my immersion back into social work was the catalyst to this change within my faith, I may never know and really, I don't care. I feel stronger to my God than I have in a long time. I am thankful that God's grace is always available to me and eager to transform me.