Sep 11, 2012

Tuesday SHINE....

Today's Reading: 1 Corinthians 5

Happy Tuesday, SHINE girls! 

It is my absolute pleasure to introduce you to one of the coolest girls I know. I met Angie in Madison a couple of years ago. The first time I saw her was at Wal-Mart. I walked right up to her and said: "Excuse me, but has anyone ever told you that you look JUST like Katie Holmes?"

Seriously, that was my line. She laughed and I cannot remember what she said. 

Soon after, we became friends and ended up being in a Bible Study together. Small town, small world. 

Angie is so humble and very unaware of how pretty she is. Which, of course, makes her even prettier. She glows from the inside out.

Angie and I have been on several girl trips together and I love any time that I get to spend with this girl. She's beautiful, funny, witty, smart, crafty and so much fun to be around! If you know Angie, you love Angie. Simple.

Grab your coffee and pull up your chair. Angie Ludlow shares a bit of her story. Enjoy and be blessed. 

Grace
by: Angie Ludlow

Hello, my name is Angie….and I am a failure.

I have always been one who struggles with most things in my life. Weight, depression, relationships, confidence, my home, and for a long time, my marriage.

Struggling, but striving for better, seems to have always been the theme of my life.

Let me catch you up to present day…wonderful childhood, although the sometimes shaky marriage I was raised in did result in divorce when I was in 7th grade. Not athletic, not overly outgoing…never in the “in” crowd.

I met my high school sweetheart the first day of high school. I was expecting his child when I graduated. That relationship didn’t work out (you’re shocked, I know). I met my husband when I was still pregnant. He watched my relationship fail, as did his. He was there as I tried my best to be a teen mom to my baby boy. He fell in love…with us both. And he chose to marry that sorry little girl when I had/was nothing. At age 20, I was a big ‘ol failure. But he loved me anyway.

The beginning of our marriage was rocky, to say the least. We had some serious issues to deal with before we could become who God intended us to be. To be perfectly honest, I had some major growing up to do. Two more kids later….we’re much more solid but still working on our marriage.

During our 8 years together we have also lived in some pretty shady places. Places I wouldn’t tell people I know today about. That all ended when we bought our first home 5 years ago. A small home perfect for a new family. We made wonderful memoires in that home. But as our family grew, so did the need for more space.

Over the course of the last year we prayed and struggled until the Lord found the perfect home for us. We are currently three months into living in our answered prayer. And it didn’t take me long to realize I would be a failure in this home too. (I sometimes feel I just prayed myself into double the toilets to clean.)

My home has not changed my life. I am still the same struggling little girl I have always been. I’m the same girl who can’t seem to keep up with the kids. Who has grand ideas and big dreams yet doesn’t have a clue as to how to get there. Who tries so hard to get it all together only to feel like I just drop it all over again. And the worst part, I feel I have an audience. When you live in a small town you can’t lose it on your kids in Wal-Mart and not look up and see someone you know….(today it was a lady from church thankyouverymuch)  

Not long ago, as I sat in my big, new home, the list maker in me took an inventory of my personal roles. Here’s the list: wife, mother, Christian, home keeper, friend, daughter, sister, teacher (this refers to my kids not my profession), church member, neighbor, self.

The critic in me then decided to grade each role, pass or fail. Guess how many I fail at?

All. Of. Them.

I fail at everything I put my name on. This is not a self bashing argument, it’s a human one.

After writing attributes I felt I needed to work on next to each role, the Spirit in me wrote one simple word at the top of my now quite depressing list…

Grace.

This one word has been put on my heart lately. When I think about others and their testimonies, I often times think…well I don’t have a story like that to share, yea I have a rocky past, but I don’t have that one heart wrenching example I can use to show others the love of the Lord…..however, I have grace.

A lady at church recently told the story how she was trying to get her new classroom to learn and follow the rules. She explained that if they were given three strikes that week they would not be able to attend the Popsicle party on Friday. She asked the class “If I were to give you three strikes and then still allow you a Popsicle, what would that be teaching you?” she explained that a little boy raised his hand with a somewhat confused face and answered “Grace?”

It’s that simple. One word. One loving gift from God. Grace.

Let me tell you ladies, I’ve messed up so many times in my life that I am truly embarrassed for even my parents to go down memory lane. I would much rather look forward to the future (wouldn’t we all?) than recall any of my past escapades.

But God clearly tells us that “all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ” Romans 3:2

Through all my triumphs (I do have a few) and failures I can count on one thing…..through the grace of God, I’ll be eating Popsicles with Jesus in Heaven.


 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” 2 Corinthians 12:9