Dear Christian Parents…..

Dear Christian Parents,

I am writing to you today as someone who was raised by Christian parents. I actually grew up a Preachers Kid or PK as we are often affectionately called. My home life was loving, adventurous, strict, but kind. I was in church whenever the doors were open, and I was introduced to some of the best people on the planet. Don’t get me wrong, I loved being in church, the people became family, and for that I am truely grateful. I am now a Christian parent myself, and I feel compelled to address some things that we may have never considered, purely because we are ‘Christian Parents’.

One of the greatest tragedies in the church today is that parents make way too many assumptions about their children. You assume that because you have raised them in church; because you taught them Bible verses, and how to sing Jesus Loves Me; because you taught them right from wrong, that somehow they are all good. “They are Christians, they are going to heaven.” “Of course they love Jesus!” you say. But are they? Do they?

So, while I do give you credit for doing the right thing, for raising your children in the knowledge of God and His Word, I’m sorry to tell you that all you may have accomplished, is successfully Christianizing your children.

This all sounds a little harsh you say. Well, yes, it is. However, I come to you from a place of experience. You see I was a ‘Christianized’ kid. I knew all the right things to say and do. I knew how to act in church. My parents did all the right things. Even so, I was exactly the person the Lord addressed in Isaiah 29:13 “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.” It wasn’t until I was confronted with the fact that I wasn’t going to heaven on my parents coat tails, and was faced with the truth of being a sinner who needed a Savior, that I finally reached out to the Lord for myself, and started to grow my OWN relationship with Christ. You see if your child’s relationship is not his or her own, it has no value.

Unfortunately, kids that were raised in church are leaving at an alarming rate when they reach their teen years and into adulthood. Young people are engaging in ungodly behavior and living like the world. Why? Because their relationship with God is just a bunch of head knowledge. As parents it is imperative that we see our children as lost souls. Souls that need Jesus. Please do not assume that because you have ‘good’ kids that they are ‘saved’ kids.

I pray for my children every day. I disciple them, I teach them, I speak into them the truth from God’s Word. However, I understand that the choice to follow Christ has to come from their own decision, and their walk has to belong to them. That is out of our control.

As the culture seeks to pull at our kids, WE have to make the choice as parents to live a called out life. To have families that are different from the norm. Our children need to see us as ‘set apart’. They will follow our example more than our instruction.

It starts with YOU, with ME. Do our own hearts line up with the words we speak? Are we speaking truth into our children, and living that truth out before them? As a ‘Christian parent’ I pray that I would be able to live in reality. No longer assuming that all is well. That we would raise world changers, not lukewarm pew warmers. That we would see the revival we so desperately need in our churches and in the lives of the people in them. May it start with me and my family.

“Lord, help us as parents to see our children as lives needing you. Not just as heads to fill with knowledge, but hearts to speak into and lives to shape. Help us to be honest with them about their need for You. I pray we would be examples of people that desire You in every area of our lives. Thank you for blessing us with children. May we raise them well.” – Amen

 

 

Top 10 Tips for Parents of Teen Boys!

15304392_10154486145241130_4933238415767947997_oHow many times have you heard “Oh, you have teenagers! I’m so sorry” or “The teenage years are so hard—I’ll be praying!” I’m sure you could give many examples of comments and advice you’ve received from those who have gone before.

We currently have two teenagers in our home and two kids fast approaching the teen years. In looking back and remembering some of the things I read and heard about teenagers, I guess I always expected my kids to go to bed on their twelfth birthdays the sweet, loving, carefree children I had known to that point and wake up on their thirteenth birthdays acne-filled, moody, rebellious semi-adults I didn’t know anymore.

So for all of you naysayers and fearful parents of preteens, let me lay down some truth: I love the teenage years! In fact, I think this is my favorite stage of raising kids so far. Yes, my teenagers can be a little unpredictable, moody, spacey, and a little sassy at times, but I love it all.

What I am witnessing before me is God growing my boys into the men He has called them to be. The mood swings, unpredictability, and sass does not compare to the fun, laughs, deep life conversations, and growth that are taking place in our family. It also doesn’t hurt to have big muscles developing and practical help around the house!

People often ask me our secret to raising well-mannered, sweet teens who love God. My first answer is, “We are very blessed!” We gave our children to the Lord when they were born, and we understand that they do not belong to us but are gifts given to us for a time. What a huge responsibility God has entrusted us with. Because of that, my husband and I pray individually with our children every night. There are two things we want our kids fall asleep with: first, the knowledge that God hears their requests, and second, that their parents love them and are concerned with their thoughts and needs. I believe God is blessing our investment. He promised He would.

But on a practical note, there are some things we have learned along the way to help us and our kids navigate the teen years. Here are my top ten!

1. Never forget, you are the parent, they are the child! We need to behave like parents, not children! The teen years come with a number of frustrations. As parents, we are pushed and challenged on a regular basis. Oftentimes we are met with grumpiness, sour moods, and silence. It is easy to take these things personally and react rather than respond. Reacting is quick, sharp, and defensive. Reacting typically results in a negative exchange, which in turn causes a teen to shut down and walk away angry. Instead, respond. Take a second, pray, then speak. Now, we cannot give our teens a pass for a bad attitude or a disrespectful tone. Teens have to learn to control their emotions, even when it’s difficult. That’s life. Our job is to teach them how. The most effective way is through our example. The old adage “Do as I say, not as I do” is not and should never be a part of the conversation, ever! If we don’t respond in a godly, respectful, and reasonable way, how can we expect the same of our kids?

2. Don’t nag! This is a lot easier said than done. However, if we can back off on the little things that really don’t matter and pick our battles, so to speak, our teens will learn to relax, let down their guards, and be more willing to open up. If they know they won’t get barraged with advice every time they speak to us, they will be a lot more willing to not just listen but actually hear what we say when it really matters. Let your teens know what your expectations are, but don’t sweat the small stuff.

3. Never stop telling them you love them! Even on the bad days. Even when it seems awkward. The last thing all my kids hear before they close their eyes at the end of the day is “I love you.” Our love is not conditional. It does not depend on performance or behavior. Our children should know without a shadow of a doubt that they may not always have our approval, but they will always have our love.

4. Never give them space and hug them often! This is so important in the teen years and something I think we get so wrong most of the time. Yes, our teens need to accept responsibility. Yes, they need to learn independence. Yes, they need room to grow into adults. However, our job is to help them, shape them, support them, and keep them accountable—not move away from them so they can figure it out alone. I make it a point to ask my boys what’s going on in their hearts and minds. I monitor what they watch and look at online. I want to know the good, the bad, and the ugly. I want to be able to pray for them where they are and help them make wise and godly decisions. My goal is to point them to Jesus in all things.

5. Be their parent, not their friend! Sometimes our teens aren’t going to like this. Sometimes they will see us as the enemy. That’s okay. Scripture calls parents to provide, to discipline, to teach their children. Proverbs 22:15 tells us that foolishness is bound up in the hearts of children. We have a great responsibility before God to shepherd our children, to teach them by using our wisdom and God’s Word. As parents, we will stand before God one day to give an account for how we stewarded that which He gave us. May He say, “Well done.”

6. Teach them to work hard, and teach them to serve. “When we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat’” (2 Thessalonians 3:10, NIV). Our children’s generation is quickly becoming the laziest and most entitled generation of our time. Hard work has been replaced by device time. Learning practical life skills in school has been replaced by meaningless busy work. If our children do not grab the concept of work for reward, the future of our society will not look good. Work together as a family. A family is a team. Accomplishment is a great reward for teens, and our appreciation and recognition of them shows that we value their time and efforts. In our selfish world it is so hard to teach “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35, NIV). Our teens can be pretty self-focused, and at times it seems that they believe the whole world revolves around them. However, if they are taught to give, to serve with their time, to help at home, then that will naturally translate to the outside world. Once they understand that the family doesn’t work as well without their participation, they will be able to understand it in the bigger picture of their community, church, school, and world.

7. Talk to them. Put down the device, and make them do the same. Gather around the table for dinner—no phones allowed. Contrary to popular belief, teens really do like to

talk, and they want to know that we are interested in what they have to say. Give them an opportunity to have a voice, to offer their thoughts and opinions about various subjects. You will be surprised at their insight and blessed by the time spent with your teens.

8. Give them responsibilities, and allow them to follow through. Do not come behind to fix what they’ve done. Accept the imperfect. What we are building in our teens is so much more valuable than the results we may prefer. Give them a chance to get things done. Trust them to follow through with what you’ve asked of them.

9. Let them be kids! For the most part, teens like to be considered adults. I find that my oldest would often rather sit and chat with the adults than be outside playing. Unless it playing involves basketball! However, there will be times when our teens will be silly, goofy, playful, and extremely immature. I am delighted when I see this side of my teens. It’s fun to watch them throw caution to the wind and not be bothered by the opinions of others or feel the need to be cool. They are still kids. We would do well to join them in their silliness on occasion. Too much adulting is unhealthy for anybody!

10. Never be too proud to say you are sorry! I know it’s not fun to admit, but as parents we often blow it. Apologizing and asking forgiveness does not just apply to the adults in our lives. Apologizing to our children does not mean we lose our parental position. It shows them that we are human, sinners, in need of grace, just like they are. Humbling ourselves is part of life, and admitting we’re wrong is part of life. Get over yourself, and do it!

My husband and I are not done raising our teens yet. We have a ways to go. However, I am thankful that God has given us everything we need in His Word to raise them well. He is willing and able to pour out wisdom and grace when we need it if we take the time to ask Him. On the days when I feel inadequate, I ask God for strength. And the times when I am out of patience, I ask for an increased measure of grace. For those occasions when I mess up and fail, I humble myself, ask forgiveness, and move on.

I leave you with this: “Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20–21, NASB).

The Hands and Feet of Jesus

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So much has happened in our nation since the inauguration of President Trump. At times I have felt that I can’t keep up. Our new president is making some big changes and following through with many of the promises he made during his campaign. Although it is refreshing to see things being done, I find it a little scary and sometimes confusing.

One of the  issues that is flooding our televisions, social media feeds and conversations is refugee immigration. Over the past few days, I have listened to the arguments for and against. Angry people, happy people, sad people.  Although I do agree with the President’s stand, I see merit on both sides. We are dealing with real lives here; human beings, children. It’s hard for our hearts not to go out to the innocents that are caught up in the mess. It is easy to become swayed by the strong emotions, that issues of this nature generate. It is also difficult to sort through media coverage and discern truth from lies. We can get so bogged down by news reports, blog posts and social media opinion that we fail to address these issues as we should.

So what am I, we, to do? Sit back and carry on with the day to day? Lobby our government officials? March on Washington? Amidst all of the chaos I am reminded once again to turn to the Word. What does God say? As Christians this is the first question we should be asking before jumping on any of the bandwagons available to us. God’s word has answers for every situation we deal with in life- if we are willing to find them.

The first thing I read is that we are to honor those in authority over us. Whether you like it or not, that means our President. Romans 13:1-5 speaks very clearly on this issue. Honor does not mean to always agree, but it is an understanding on our part that the leaders we have are placed in their positions by God. His plan might not be obvious, but it is perfect. If we say we trust Him, then we need to obey what He has required of us. God has the ability to move the hearts of kings, we have to trust His plan.

Secondly, suffering is part of living in a fallen world. The harsh and ugly reality is that the poverty, persecution and suffering we see throughout our nation and our world, is as a direct result of sin and the rejection of God by the people He created. We can not, nor will we ever end the atrocities happening in our day. The heart of man is wicked and sin abounds. Matthew 24:9-14 tells us that Christians will be persecuted; that we would be hated by all nations. As our leaders start taking a stand against the evil that threatens our country, people will rise up against us. Even believers will turn away from their faith, because their hearts are stirred more by a cause, than the truth of God’s word.

Thirdly, as Christians, it is our responsibility to take care of those in society who are hurting, lost, destitute, without hope. Whether they be Americans, foreigners or refugees. Our job as the church, is not to try and change the politicians that make decisions for our nation; rather we are to pray and preach the gospel to the ends of the earth (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV). To every people and every nation. We have a mission field right on our doorstep. I have to ask, are we wasting that opportunity by arguing and being negative and divisive? The truth is, souls are at stake. Do we feel the true weight of that?

It doesn’t stop there; “for what are words if they are not accompanied by actions? They are merely a noise similar to loud and clanging cymbals.” (1Corinthians 13:1, NIV). We are to exhibit our faith through actions and our love. Scripture clearly warns us not to turn away from the needy. “Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses” (Proverbs 28:27 NIV). We are promised a great reward for taking care of the have-not’s and the vulnerable “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.” (Proverbs 19:17, NIV)

My prayer is that the body of Christ would rise up. Not in protest or to voice it’s social opinion, but to extend hands that God can use to build His kingdom. I pray that we would be able to properly separate our emotions from truth; be the hands and feet of Jesus, and leave the rest to Him.

Cherry Coffee Cake

I usually save this yummy coffee cake for the holiday season, however for some reason I didn’t make it this past Christmas. It is a perfect weekend breakfast or brunch treat. This recipe divides perfectly into 2 8×8 foil pans that can be given away as gifts! Just a thought 🙂

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What you need:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup butter

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 beaten egg

2/3 cup buttermilk or sour milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 can fruit pie filling, such as cherry, apple, strawberry, peach, or blueberry

Glaze – 1/2 Cup powdered sugar, a drop of vanilla, splash of milk

How To:

  • Grease and flour a 9×13 pan; set aside.
  • In a large bowl combine flour and granulated sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Set aside 1/2 cup mixture for topping.
  • Stir baking powder, soda, nutmeg, and salt into remaining crumb mixture. Make a well in the center. In a small bowl combine egg, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add egg mixture all at once to nutmeg mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Set aside 1 cup batter.
  • Spread remaining batter onto bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of prepared pan or dish.
  • Carefully spread the desired pie filling on top.
  • Spoon reserved batter into small mounds on top of filling.
  • Sprinkle with topping.
  • Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 30 minutes or until slightly browned and your knife comes out clean.
  • Let cool. Mix up glaze ingredients and drizzle over cake. Enjoy!

Is Your House Clean?

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Have you ever noticed how God uses the ordinary, mundane things of life to teach us? I love that the lessons He has for us are not usually sent by audible voice or great revelation but by everyday things that we can all relate to. It’s a new year! A time for new beginnings, resolutions, and plans.

By the time January 1 arrives, I find myself rather grumpy at the clutter of Christmas decorations and chomping at the bit to take them down. As much as I love Christmas and the beautiful décor that comes with it, I enjoy putting it all away and refreshing my home just as much as I did putting it up! Am I weird, or can you relate?

So earlier this week, I grabbed my storage boxes from the garage and started pulling down my garland and unplugging my lights. But as I did, I noticed something unpleasant: my house was dirty!

I’ve always considered myself a good housekeeper, one of those “a place for everything and everything in its place” type of people. But as I went deeper, I started noticing the crumbs and dust bunnies under the furniture, the dust on the top of my kitchen cabinets, the sand and debris under the living-room rug. Everything looked great on the surface. But those hard-to-reach hidden places that I don’t look at on a daily basis needed a lot of attention.

As I rolled up my sleeves and started to pull apart my house to take care of those neglected areas, it was almost as if the Lord nudged me. “This is what I want to do with you,” I heard Him say.

As I went deeper and moved more things, I found more dirt, more dust, and a couple of stains that I hadn’t known were there. What God wanted to speak to me was so evident. How often do I, do we, look nice and clean on the surface but hide dirt, dust, cobwebs, and stains inside? This is a short and simple truth, but it cuts right to the heart of our Christian lives.

Matthew 23:25–26 says, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean” (NIV). Jesus was speaking to the religious, self-righteous, learned men of the day. He saw their pride and was unmoved by their words and actions. He saw beneath the surface, into the heart of each one.

What was spoken back then is still being spoken today. Not to the Pharisees but to us, God’s people. We spend a lot of time working on the surface stuff that people see, but much like in our homes, we don’t go deeper very often. I believe that as we move further into this new year, God wants us to dig deeper, to move things around a little so we can expose the dirt and stains in our lives that maybe we don’t even realize exist.

As I finished up my cleaning project and started putting my home back together, it felt good to know that even though those hidden places are usually unseen, the layers of dirt and dust in them were stripped away. They were spotless. For now. But I realized that it will be necessary to uncover those areas more than a few times a year. I made a decision to incorporate that task into my regular cleaning routine.

May it be so with our spiritual lives. I pray that God will continue to nudge me this year. To show me through the mundane, everyday activities and jobs I find myself in that He is interested in me, in my heart, and that He wants to make things new and fresh. May we recognize His voice, pull out the feather duster, move around the furniture, and respond.

Lord, help us to hear Your voice and act in humble obedience to it. May we allow You to expose the dirt that we try to keep covered and hidden. I pray that we would be transparent and allow You to do the work in us that You desire to do. Amen.

Happy New Year!

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Good-bye 2016! Wow! What a year it has been.

From the Olympics to the US election, from the devastation of global unrest and violence to Chewbacca Mom’s viral three minutes of joy, 2016 has had ups and downs, uncertainty and unrest, hope and despair. In the midst of it all, I have found myself reminded over and over again that the One who owns the cattle on a thousand hills holds everything in the palm of His hands. Nothing happens without His knowledge.

For my family and me, it has been a good year, one of provision and blessing. I am so grateful for my hardworking, faithful, godly husband and my precious children.

For me, 2016 has been a year of learning to be content where I am—to bloom where I have been planted. In the past, living in Florida was never on my radar, so moving here six years ago was not in the plan—well, my plan! I am definitely a four-seasons type of girl. I love the fresh air and new life of spring; the changing colors of fall; and cold, cozy winters. Living among palm trees, sand, and 80 degrees year round is not something I get excited about or particularly enjoy.

This year however, I have come to accept that I am here in Florida for a reason, or, you might say, for “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14, ESV). It’s only taken me six years of complaining to figure this out! I don’t know what the purpose for being here is, but I am resolved in 2017 to rest in God’s plan for my family right where we are. You see, God knows what we need and wants to be intimately involved in every area of our lives.

As the great preacher and writer A. W. Tozer said, “Outside the will of God there is nothing I want. Inside the will of God there is nothing I fear.” That is my heart for 2017. God is in control, and I choose joy while placing myself under His will.

Moving forward into 2017 comes with a little trepidation. Big changes are coming for our nation, and in turn, our world. I am hopeful, but we really don’t know what these changes will bring. However, we do know who holds our future!

I am reminded of Psalm 20:7: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God” (ESV). It doesn’t matter who the president is or who is running our government. We trust in the Lord! He has the final say.

I pray that as Christians, as the church, we would not continue to be complacent. That we would not rest on our laurels because we now have a God-fearing president and a few Christian leaders. We are still called to be light and salt. The world is still lost and in darkness. Let us be awake in these days, alert, bold, standing firm for truth and ready for whatever we are called to do.

May your 2017 be full of blessing, learning, and God’s mercy and grace. Amen!

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;  the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24–26, ESV).

Easy Peasy Baked Spaghetti

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So being a mom of four and having to make my food budget stretch, I love it when I can make simple, easy, cheap AND nutritious meals for my family. Winner, winner, spaghetti dinner!

Ingredients:

1 pound spaghetti thin or regular

1 pound Italian sausage or ground beef

1 jar of spaghetti sauce

4oz cream cheese softened

3-4 cups mozzarella cheese

How To:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the noodles.

While the water boils and the noodles cook, brown the meat in a pan. Drain the fat.

When the meat is cooked add the sauce and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.

Drain the pasta just short of al dente, as it will cook a little more when you bake it.

Return the noodles to the pan and add the meat mixture and the cream cheese. Stir until well combined.

Pour into a 9×13 pan, top with mozzarella and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes or until the top is melty and golden. Serve with a salad or steamed veggies. Enjoy!

Ham & Egg Scramble

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I am always looking for great ways to use all of those leftover meats that hang out in the fridge after the holidays. Here is a great, quick and easy breakfast!

Ingredients:

Ham diced into small pieces

Eggs (2 per person)

Splash of half & half or milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Cheese (optional)

How to:

In a small pan add a little butter and sauté the ham dices on medium low until slightly browned.

While ham browns whisk together the eggs, milk, salt & pepper.

When ham is browned add the egg mixture and let it set for a few seconds. Slowly fold the eggs until they reach your desired consistency. Sprinkle cheese and give one last fold.

Enjoy!

Saltine Toffee

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One of the easiest, most delicious treat recipes ever!!! Perfect for movie night treat, family get together or last minute gift!! BEWARE!! They are addicting!

37 saltines cracker squares
1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
Chopped nuts, sprinkles, any topping of your choice

How To!

Place crackers in a single layer in a foil-lined 15-in. x -10-in. x 1-in. baking pan.
In a large saucepan, bring butter and sugar to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5-6 minutes or until mixture is thickened and sugar is completely dissolved.
Spread over crackers.
Bake at 350° for 7-8 minutes or until bubbly.
Sprinkle with chips.
Bake 3-5 minutes longer or until chips begin to melt; spread chocolate evenly over top.
Sprinkle with your desired toppings
Chill for 30 minutes or until set; break into pieces.

An Open Letter to Donald Trump

Dear Mr. Trump,

On July 16, 2016, I wrote and posted an open letter to Hillary Clinton on my blog, Courageous Motherhood. To my surprise, it garnered a lot of attention—more than three million views and tens of thousands of social-media shares. The majority of the feedback was positive, although I did receive many hateful messages and emails, which I guess was to be expected.

One assumption made by my critics was that because I chose to point out some of Mrs. Clinton’s, shall I say, flaws, I must be fully steaming ahead on the Trump train. It was surprising to me how many people made this assumption, as I never once mentioned you in my post, nor did I compare you to Mrs. Clinton in any way. For all anyone knew, I could have been voting for Santa Claus.

But people demanded that I play fair and write to you also.

I am not one to cave to pressure. So I refused. My intent with my letter to Hillary  was not to compare her and you as candidates; it was to show my daughter that anything is possible for a woman in this country but that emulating Hillary was not the way to go about pursuing her goals.

However, as election day draws closer and what faces us as a nation becomes more of a reality, I now feel compelled to address you also.

I must admit that when you first announced your intention to run for president, I rolled my eyes, laughed it off, and said to myself, That’ll never happen—but I couldn’t have been more wrong! I will confess, Mr. Trump, that you were not my first choice. The thought of having a thrice-married, casino-owning reality star and billionaire businessman as president was almost a little too much for my motherly Christian mind to handle. I was, and at times still am, very conflicted.

Christians in America, me included, are faced with a very difficult decision and somewhat of a dilemma come this November. You see, I can envision what a Hillary presidency would look like, and boy, would it be ugly. Integrity aside, just her liberal agenda and what she stands for politically make her an impossible option for me. A Trump presidency, on the other hand, is an unknown. That to me is scary.

Some have made the commitment not to vote, because they feel that you don’t align well with a biblical worldview. I, however, think that to forgo our opportunity to vote is disrespectful to the freedoms that we as Americans have been given. It has also been suggested that a third-party vote is an option. To me that’s a copout.

Many Christians are confused about the role of the president in our society. I am not looking to elect a man of God for president, although that would be refreshing! Neither am I looking for a pastor. I believe it is the church’s job to change and influence the spiritual and social climate of our nation, not the president’s. I am looking for a president who will give us solutions for our national debt, our open borders, our failing schools, and our healthcare system. My desire is that my children grow up in a safe, prosperous, and strong country. We need a president who will recover the freedoms and liberties that have been systematically stolen from the American people over the last decade; a president who will once again make the United States a leader on the world stage instead of a joke.

I hope you can understand why this election cycle has been a struggle for me and, I know, for many others.

Honestly, Mr. Trump, I want to support you! Some days you impress me with your composure and common sense. It is refreshing to hear a non-politician say the things that so many of us want to say but don’t. You do speak for the people in so many ways.

Unfortunately, though, some days I get up and read the cringe-worthy social-media bickering you’ve engaged in, and I find myself at a loss. It is not necessary for you to talk about Bill Clinton’s mistresses or refer to Miss Universe contestants as disgusting. There may be truth to some of these things, but they are a distraction. Discussing them does not garner respect, and it is certainly not presidential. You see, Mr. Trump, this election is not just about you! It’s about me, my husband, my children, and millions of other Americans who are looking and praying for a leader who will bring some semblance of order to a nation that is spiraling out of control.

We are facing one of the most pivotal times on our nation’s history. This election is about the enduring freedom of the United States of America. This is so much bigger than petty Twitter arguments and ridiculous banter. Your time needs to be spent listening to those who so desperately want America to be, for lack of a better word, great again!

Please, for the sake of the people, me included, who are planning to put a check next to your name on November 8, stop! Please, put your pride aside, and stop taking the bait of the liberal left to engage in things that don’t matter.

You have millions of Americans counting on you to show the rest of our citizens that you are not a joke, that you can be taken seriously, and that our votes for you will not be wasted. Please show us and your naysayers that you will make a good, strong, levelheaded, and serious president.

May God have mercy on and bless this beautiful nation—the United States of America.