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Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing, Baby!

I recently returned home after being gone for a couple of weeks. My two youngest kids still live at home and I was happy to get back to them. I love that, by the way- that they come back home after college. I'm not sure why but that seems to be the way it works in our family. It takes falling in love and getting married to draw them away. :)

I always leave some cash on the table for groceries when I'm gone. It's for staples, in case they run out. Stuff like milk and bread and sugar and flour. I don't know how they would run out of sugar and flour, because they for sure are not going to bake a cake. They mostly eat out when I am not there to cook dinner. They are adults and pay their own way for such things. They live on fast food and carry out. I have to get home so they don't die.

It's always interesting to look into the refrigerator and freezer to see what they've bought while I was gone. Certainly not salad fixings. Always a fresh pack of slice 'n bake cookies. And plenty of ice cream. Usually a jug of chocolate milk. And, of course, leftover pizza. Okay, you'll find that even when I'm home. Unless it's all gone. And then we're sure to begin that cycle again within a day or two. But this time I found something horrifying in there. Something that made the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I knew right away that I'd failed as a mother. That I'd not properly prepared my children for life.

Maybe I should tell you straight up. I'm not a fan of fake stuff. I am all about real. But there it was, sitting there like refrigerator blasphemy. Golden slices that looked like cheese, but wrapped in plastic. Fake cheese. Mercy! My kids don't know how to buy cheese!

Cheese is just the beginning of my product prejudice. No creamer, only half & half. Just real butter. Always. Real mayonnaise, too. No instant coffee, potatoes, or eggs. Their only purpose in life is to sit in our emergency preparedness kit. Yes, we have one. In the case of a real catastrophe, I don't want my kids to starve.

Real orange juice, not Tang or fruit drink. One time I bought 'lite orange juice'. Even the word 'light' was fake. It was half water. I could have bought a carton of orange juice, poured it into two pitchers, and added my own water. Then I would have had twice as much yucky watered down orange juice for the same amount of money.

And what in the world are chicken nuggets made of? You can get ten of them for $1.49, already cooked. Certainly not real chicken. Proper chicken only comes in the shape of some part of a fowl's body.

I want real wood furniture, not sawdust pressed together and glued. And just one piece of good jewelry instead of a dozen pieces of cheap, fake junk. Real gold or platinum. A real gem stone. I'm definitely not a costume jewelry kind of girl.

I could go on, but you get the idea. I'm going somewhere with this, Lord willing. We'll see if I can get there.

Years ago, I was asked to speak at a large mother/daughter banquet at my home church with several other churches in attendance. The Lord had moved us to another ministry many years before, but Calvary will always hold my heart. I have no clue what I spoke about, but at some point I touched on marriage and family. Afterwards, one of the ladies who came up to me to say sweet things also said something that had a huge impact on me. She said that she appreciated the things that I said about marriage and children, but that those things were easy for me. I was married to a preacher and had a perfect Christian family. I am sure that I tried to assure her that that was not the case at all. That I had troubles and struggles just like any other woman. But it was too little, too late. And I've never forgotten it. It's bothered me ever since.

This was one of the burdens on my heart that caused me to begin blogging. It's not that I've ever been fake. I haven't. But I've kept so many things in reserve that I've perhaps not been as effective as I could have been, had I shared more of myself with others. More of my struggles and heartaches. More of how God has lead me through unspeakable things and brought me through, stronger and closer to Him.

There is a fine line between my personal business and what God wants me to share, and I'm working hard to find it. That doesn't mean me airing my dirty laundry or wrestling in the mud. God still asks of me and expects discretion and integrity. But He is asking of me a new thing. To reveal more of myself. More of my heart. More of Him.

I know that there are others fighting battles that run parallel to mine. People going through trials similar to what I've endured. I hear from you. I am aware of the incredible importance of knowing that someone else has walked that same road and survived. Someone to encourage and tell what God did to get them through. Someone who knows and cares.

For me, it's not been me with God's help. Not me and God. But with God being EVERYTHING and nothing of me. Empty! God's strength through my weakness.

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." ~2 Corinthians 12:9

And that is as real as it gets!

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