Raising Magnolias

Because it's never too late for happily ever after…

Archive for the month “August, 2014”

Money, Sex and Lying about Jesus (Today’s sermon notes)

Sometimes I doodle.
Sometimes I write grocery lists.
Sometimes I create cool graphs or my favorite, bubble letters.

And sometimes I actually write sermon notes.

I’m always listening, by the way. Pencils help me concentrate.

And currently I’m using up a box of about 200 Myra Katherine Hale, Miss Nebraska 1995 pencils. I have no idea why I still have them, but they are just perfectly sharp.

Today, though, no MKH or Mrs. Myra Katherine McConauhey or dog food, bread and milk.

Today the pastor started his sermon with this. (And I’m kind of paraphrasing the parts I don’t remember.)

Marriages struggle (break-up, etc.) for 3 reasons.



And in-laws.



When you have it, when you don’t, when it’s his and never yours.


When you have it, when you don’t, when you have it with other people. Just, ya know, hypothetically speaking.

And in-laws.

I’ve never written specifically about the break-up of my marriage, but let me go on record as saying it wasn’t the in-laws.

Our pastor preached from Peter and gave what was, without question, the best sermon on marriage I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing.

Where was he 10 years ago?

Hearing this message would not have, could not have saved my marriage.

But it would’ve saved many years of being completely confused.

And utterly sad.

The problem with blogging about a sermon is that I’m gonna share about 2 minutes of a 30+ minute sermon (the man can do some preaching’), so I worry that I’ll bungle his message, but here is what I learned.

The man is the head of the household.This is not a command, rather a statement of fact. Something about the difference between and indicative and an imperative.

My buddy Luke leaned over to tell me that he’s learning this in 5th grade.

It’s not a matter of if you want your husband to be the head or not, it only matters that he is.

So if he sucks at it, that’s really gonna suck for you.

And your children.

And my pastor did not use the word suck. Just, ya know, fyi.

I also learned that God created marriage to be an image, an example, a (oh, dang—what is the word I’m looking for), oh! a model for how we see Jesus and the church.

I knew that. Sorta. Ya know, the whole we-are-the-bride-thing.

Here’s what else our pastor said.


If you do not lead your family.

If you do not love your wife the way that Jesus loves the church.

If you do not honor your wife and live with her in an “understanding way.”

Then you are lying to your family about Jesus.

And the church.


And I can’t help but make the leap.

And I’m picking on fathers but I can’t help but make the leap.

If your children come to you and you turn them away.

You are lying about Jesus and the church.

Jesus said to the little children, come unto me.

If your children come to you and you guilt them and you make them responsible for your happiness and you tell them they can’t feel and they can’t be honest and you create an environment of fear and distrust and you are their earthly father so yes, I have to go there———

You are lying to your children.

About Jesus.

And His bride.


So I was driving home from church.


And having your children gone never—ever—never gets easier.

If anything, it only gets suckier.


Driving home from church and I was trying to remember where I ever got the courage to leave.

It’s all starting to fade and I’m trying to remember that brave girl, scared out of her mind who was tired of a husband who was lying to his wife.

And her children.

And it was the best sermon on marriage that I’ve ever heard.

My life is measured in halves and splitting and calendars and his and mine and my children are bounced back and forth like some ridiculous bouncy ball that you get at the pizza parlor and marriage is a disaster in this culture because men don’t want to be men and they don’t want to lead and they want their Kate and Edith (or Ed) too and yes, OK, for the 5 or 6 men who read my blog, here is it is.

Step the hell up, quit lying about Jesus and lead your families.


Ok, that is all!


The best sermon I’ve ever heard on marriage.

I’ll have to ask Luke. Is that considered an opinion or an indicative.

I’m emotional.

And maybe strung a little tight.

And slightly sensitive.

And I tend to re-act.

Or, ya know, over-react.

And Taylor Swift has a new song.

Shake it off.

But I care that they haters gonna hate.

And I stink at shaking.

And then there’s Elsa.

Let it go.

And we sing it.

All day long.

With hairbrush-microphones and super-sweet dance moves.

And there’s an Elsa costume for $139 that Emma Claire simply must have.

One hundred and thirty-nine dollars.

For a costume.


Somedays this job of being a grown-up really stinks because maybe we never really grow up.

And I think about my favorite quote, from Maya Angelou.

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

And I wish that were easier.

I wish husbands (and wives for that matter) that said, “I do”, really did.

I wish friends that you trusted were actually trusted friends.

I wish and I wish and wishing does no good.

So I pray.

Come, Lord Jesus.

My feelings were hurt this week.

And I was embarrassed.


I did what any sane, rational, 41 year-old woman would do.

I un-friended friends on Facebook.

I know.

Did I mention the overreacting tendency?

But here’s what I’m learning.

The hard and super slow way.

And I’ve read it a hundred times.

Proverbs 18:24

“A man of many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

I love my sticky friends.

Coulter calls them “framily.”

There’s another translation that says, “A man that has unreliable friends comes to ruin.”


And I’m working so hard to be still.

To be quiet.

And know that He is God.

For almost 15 years, I let the hard stuff go.

And each morning, I would shake it off.

Day after day.

Slowly I found my voice and I made a choice.


For my children. For myself.

I will not.


Let it go.

And so I speak up. Like, ya know, all the time.

And I’m loud.

And sometimes I do stupid things like un-friend my friends on Facebook but I won’t go back and I won’t slip back and so, no.

If it hurts my children; if it hurts my family; if it hurts me—I probably won’t just let it go.

I’m a wear-my-feelings-like-a-diamond around my neck and I humbly let them show.

Broken trust isn’t easily shaken off.

No matter how hard I swing my hips.

And who am I kidding. This white girl’s hips don’t swing.

Is ‘let it go’ really the lesson?

Children living in poverty?

Let it go.

Kids being bulled?

Racism? Abuse?


Shake it off.

No. That can’t be the lesson.

My children see my heart. They know what makes me cry and what makes me mad and what makes me laugh out loud and they know my heart.

And when they see the wrong and see the hurt and when they hear of wars and bombs and our brothers and sisters in Christ tormented and killed for their beliefs, well.

I want them to feel it.

To lean into it.

And ultimately.

Bind the Word around their hearts and never.


Let it go.

Do you remember back when your babies were, well, babies?

When they would take their whole hand; their whole fist and wrap it oh-so tight around your finger?

Babies do that. Hold tight.

Mommas do that too. 

I don’t remember how or when or why but eventually; gradually, they start to let go.

And I was the one reaching.

And wanting to hold.

But it doesn’t matter. This is the real New Year’s.

And off they go.






It took us about 20 minutes to get home.

Biking with a 5 year-old-dreamer takes a special kind of patience.

She waves. She smiles. She thinks the cracked sidewalks on the east side of Fremont is the Miss America runway. 

And why not?

We started with 5, but ended with 3 after the boys declared their “independancy” and took an alternate route home.

I tell Emma Claire it’s a race.

And we won, which was weird. We shouldn’t have won.

No bikes. No boys.

I drive back to the school. Make the block. Weave in and out of the neighborhood.

Slighly annoyed. Slightly amused. Slightly confused.

I called a friend.

Then another. 

I drove to Coulter’s dad’s house. Dark. 

I drove to the other little guys’s house. Dark. 

And I thought back to a conversation just that morning about Coulter riding his bike to school.

Friend: “Does that make you nervous?”

Me: (And I’m summarizing.) No.

But now?

Now I can’t find him.

I can’t find them.

I see Jodi. My friend who got the call and whose son did not come home. And I’m now hysterical.

She leaves her mower. Hops in her car and 35 minutes after the start of school I have 3 friends helping me look.

I reach down to call their dad and my phone dies.

Of course it does.

I drive home to get a charger and there, mom after mom after mom, we all assemble and Coulter walks out the front door with chip crumbs on his shirt looking super-confused.

“Sorry mom. We stopped at Dad’s house. Then I offered Morgan a popsicle. Then we stopped at Ms. Jill’s house ’cause we were tired.

And all I could think about, as I tried to slow my breathing, was his use of the word “offered”.  What nine year old says “offered?”

Later that night, I wept again.

Why do some sons come home?

And others, Home?

The next morning, Coulter hopped on his bike. And once again asked for his “independancy” (and I can’t bring myself to correct his grammar because he is DANG cute when he says it.)

My babies.

How they used to hold tight.

The backwards blessings of this broken world and I knowing that it doesn’t really matter how tight I hold on, they will go.

They will soar.

They will jump.

The will let go.



But, as long as the Lord wills it, they come home. And these hugs are even better than the tight-finger hugs.


“I will both lie down in peace and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8

Do I worry?


Will it help?

“Who, by worrying can add a single hour to your life”. Luke 12:25


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