Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares The Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Meet The del Rosario's...


I met Glen, Tonya and their girls for the first time on a hot summer day in the middle of July, 2012.  Tonya had messaged me on facebook to schedule a photoshoot and had told me that she wanted to have it done as soon as possible due to the fact that her husband, Glen, had just been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer:
From Tonya:  "Well, we got a bit of a shock about a week ago, learning my husband has cancer. We're still waiting on some pathology reports to determine the exact kind of cancer and what stage we're at, but it's all very scary right now. I don't know if it's possible to squeeze us in sometime quickly in the near future, but I'm now thinking I'd really love some family photos before my husband has to undergo treatment."
A week Later:
"Well, we got word today that they confirmed it is angiosarcoma. We called MD Anderson immediately, and they are not able to get us in until August. That's clearly not going to work, so we're trying to come up with a plan B. We've made several calls, but will hopefully have something scheduled by the end of next week.  Glen's mobility is impaired, and he's having to use a walker to get around, so we'll have to work around that a bit, but that shouldn't be hard."
This last message got me... I guess because Tonya was such a sweet spirited, positive person, I knew they had 3 little girls and my dad was going through cancer treatment at the time.  It made me think about how short life really is and how you never know what tomorrow holds... One day Glen was a very healthy husband and father.. laughing and playing with his girls.. The next.. Cancer stole so much from him and his family...
The day of our shoot arrived and to be honest I was worried that I wouldn't be able to make it through.  I didn't know what to expect, I didn't know how to act.. Should I be my normal jolly self, or should I be solemn and quiet?  I then decided that I would be my normal jolly self.. This was supposed to be a happy time and I would do everything in my power to make it as happy and comfortable as possible...
We started out doing the normal family shots...

I then did some of Glen and his girls...

Then I wanted to do some of Glen and Tonya.. I wanted them to always remember how they were, how much they loved each other.. I wanted them to always remember this very moment...

When I do shoots, I always ask the client to bring something that's very important to them to incorporate into the shoot.  I forgot to tell Glen and Tonya to do that... But Glen was ahead of the game.  This little plaque meant so much to this family and when I read the words... I saw why..

Believe In Miracles....  

I finished the shoot and worked as hard as I could to get these images done and back to them as fast as possible.  I mailed the disc and didn't expect to hear from them, then I received this message:
"Hi Laura, I just had to reach out and tell you how grateful I am that you took those photos of Glen when you did. I got the one of him and the girls blown up and it's hanging in our hallway. He looks so healthy there, and quite honestly, I'm not sure he'll ever look like that again. So, I am sooooo glad we have that - it captures our life before cancer. I treasure it so much and smile each time I pass by it, so just thought you should know the impact of your work Thank you."
My heart broke for this sweet family.. I believe in miracles but I also believe that life throws us some curve balls that we will never understand... This was one of those. 
I followed all the updates and all their posts on facebook and every single one of them were positive.. No matter what life threw at them... They were always positive.. I never saw them post anything negative!  How strong this precious family is.. I saw posts about Tonya tying Glen's hospital robe and making him look like "an evil step sister" according to Glen, I read about their family times, their travels back and forth to MD Anderson and I read this from Tonya:  "I wouldn't trade my life for anything, but sometimes I wish we could go back to our uneventful pre-cancer life in the suburbs. Boring can be pretty darn special."
I have since been blessed to do another shoot with them and I still follow all of their journey's... I still believe in miracles and I still believe that this is the most inspirational family I have been honored to photograph.. They will forever hold a special place in my heart. 
"Last year was so kind of you and that meant the world to us. You still hold such a special place in my heart because you captured that moment in time for us so beautifully before it was visibly apparent that Glen was sick. You forever froze our life before cancer and those photos hang front and center above our fireplace as a reminder. Tonya"
We will never understand why things such as cancer steal so much from those we love, we may never understand why the kindest, most loving people have to suffer more than those that are full of evil... There are several things that I don't understand and never will... But I know who holds my future and I know that The One who has all these answers, holds my hand through all the trials I face in life...
I pray God gives this precious family, whom I call my friends, peace and comfort through this very scary journey.. I pray for and believe in... a miracle...


Sophia, Tonya, Ava, Glen & Chloe
October 2013


Monday, April 14, 2014

The Diffrence Baptism Service

Last night, Sunday April 13th 2014, I had the privilege to watch my husband Greg baptize 12 of our Youth from The Diffrence.  It was an incredible service and it seemed like the whole community came out to support these kids! We literally had people standing outside the building waiting to get in! God is so incredibly good!!




Such an amazing experience... We are truly blessed beyond measure...


Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Storm's A Comin'

I do a lot of things that Greg and the girls might call "stupid"... Such as yesterday.. Brianna was sick so I had to take her to the Dr.  We walked in the building and I had this crazy idea to take one of my business cards, wrap a dollar bill around it and leave it in the bathroom.  Never thought twice about it.. Let me back up a little bit now.. On the way to the Dr. yesterday the song Oceans by Hillsong came on... I look over and Bri has tears running down her face.. I say "What's wrong Bri".. even though I already knew, I knew God was speaking to her because He had been speaking to me for a while.. She goes "Mom, God is trying to tell us something" Me "Really? What do you think He is trying to say Bri?"  "Mom, there's a storm coming, a BIG storm Mom, He is preparing us now for the storm that's coming.  He wants us to know He will see us through the storm."  Wow.. God had already told me that but I had been ignoring it to say the least because I didn't want to think about it..
Yesterday I had several missed calls from the same number, that I did not recognize.  Last night they left me a voicemail asking me to please call her today.  I replied with a text that I was in church at the moment but would call first thing in the morning.  She responded with "Praise The Lord"... I thought hmm.. kinda strange response but oh well...

Fast forward to this morning... I had to run some checks to a title company in Dallas, and on the way back I remembered to call this lady back.  I called her and she said "Laura... I have NO idea why I am calling you other than God told me to.... My husband went to the Dr yesterday and I wasn't supposed to go with him but I ended up going anyways.  I had to go to the bathroom and they wouldn't let me use the one in the office and told me to use the one in the hall... I saw your card with a dollar bill wrapped around it and started crying... God told me right then and there that I HAD to call you!"  By this time she really has my curiosity peaked! I'm like OK... Maybe she has been looking for a house or maybe she needs to sell one... Nope... God had other plans...

She went on to tell me that she needed to pray with me.. She started praying and in that VERY moment, The Spirit of The Lord came upon her and she saw the EXACT battle that we are facing right now... The "storm" Brianna referred to... was revealed to this TOTAL stranger... over the phone.. me driving 70 MPH down the Tollway... She started speaking Scripture over me and telling me that God is in control, HE has a plan, NO weapon formed against me shall prosper AND greater is HE that is in ME than he that is in this world....

You see, what she did not and could not know... because Greg and I have not shared it with anyone except family until now.. is that Greg's daughter who lives in Amarillo, whom is 5 1/2 months pregnant with a baby boy will be moving in with us in April... April 17th to be exact.  The reason she is moving here is because the Dr's there have determined that the baby has some major health issues going on.  As of now his little intestines are growing on the outside of his body.. They are keeping a watch on her for fear that other organs may be doing the same.  Once he is born he will immediately go into surgery to try and correct this.  We are praying that it is only his intestines and nothing more... for if it is, things could quickly take a turn for the worse. 
This total stranger had no way of knowing any  of this... but God used her to call and minister to me and to tell me that this baby was going to be ok... She knew that we were facing a situation with a baby and that is could possible be bad... God told her to tell us that He will see us through the storm, HE has a plan for us and for this precious baby whom we know as Hunter Reed... God is an amazing God who works in some downright crazy ways.. He never ceases to amaze me.. and when I do crazy stupid stuff, He turns them into good...

When you say your prayers tonight, please include little Hunter and his momma..

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Last's

I was thinking the other day, yes... I think a LOT... As a mom, we often think about, write down and talk about our babies "first's".  First tooth, first time to roll over, first words, first steps and the inevitable first day of kindergarten... But what about all the "last's"?   We often overlook and forget these, the most important ones of all... You see, the "last's" mean our "babies" are growing up, not needing us that much anymore.. The "last's" are gone and often forgotten...

Let me start with Taylor....

Taylor came into this world late and has been late ever since!  She hasn't always had the sweet calm spirit she has now... She was my first and I wanted to make sure I did everything by the book and didn't fail at anything.. I read all the books, watched all the shows and picked the brains of everyone I could.. Only to figure out, I had to go with MY gut instinct and do what worked best for ME.  I was not a perfect mommy but I sure tried my best to be.  I wanted to give her the best life I could and as most parents do, I sacrificed everything I could to make sure she had the best I could offer.  

When Taylor was a toddler, she would never let me out of her sight and if I was, she would scream and cry until I came back.  I would drop her off at the babysitters house and cry all the way to work because she would cling and beg me to stay with her.  Although this was heart breaking for me, it also gave me comfort knowing she loved me so incredibly much.  One day I took her in, sat her down and she crawled off never giving me a second glance.  I was heartbroken... Just the day before she had cried and clung to me begging me not to leave and now she didn't give me a second glance... That was a "last" for Taylor...

Taylor was a very cranky baby AND toddler.. I mean she was quite the bear to be real honest!  Greg and I used to have a nightly routine with her.. When it became time for her to go to bed, we had to load her up and take her around the block (sometimes the whole town) just to get her to go to sleep!  I'm telling ya, I was VERY reluctant to have another baby after her! All kidding aside, one night Greg decided we weren't going to do that anymore and she was going to go to sleep like a normal child!  Well... you can only imagine how that went over! After what seemed like months of her crying herself to sleep, she finally went to bed and calmly fell asleep on her own... She didn't need me sneaking in and holding her until she calmed, she didn't need me singing "You are my sunshine" to her anymore, she didn't need ME.. to fall asleep anymore... She was growing up... and I didn't like it.  That was a "last" for Taylor...

When it was just Taylor and I, I would not let her get one single grain of dirt on her.  If she got even the least little bit dirty, I would freak out and start sanitizing every ounce of her tiny little body.  I was terrified of germs and her getting some dirt born disease.  All that changed when we met Greg........  Greg made it his ultimate goal to make sure Taylor got as dirty as she could, just to watch me freak!  He would allow her to fall in the mud and laugh at her and I when we both cried.. He kept pushing the boundaries and she eventually caved, realizing he was more fun than I... Next thing I know, she is out playing in mud puddles in her brand new shoes.. laughing and giggling at the top of her lungs.. Not a care in the world... Meanwhile I am silently dying inside thinking of all the disease's she could be coming in contact with!  I wasn't the center of her world anymore.... I was no longer the only one in her world... She now had someone she admired, trusted, loved and looked up to... The times of her relying solely on me were over... This was another "last" for Taylor...

Taylor was 3 when her baby sister Brianna was born.. Brianna entered the world on October 4th, 2001 and up until that day, Taylor had been my only child.  October 3rd was a "last" for Taylor.. The last day that she was my only baby girl... the last day that she had me all to herself... and the last day that it was just her and I...

Now let me tell ya about Brianna...

Brianna, Oh boy... Where to begin?  Brianna has always been a little firecracker!  She has ALWAYS pushed the boundaries and knows no limits.  When I was 5 months pregnant with her, she decided she wanted to go ahead and make her entrance into the world.... Needless to say, not everyone agreed with her so I was put in the hospital for 2 weeks while we tried convincing her the world wasn't quite ready for her!  She stayed in a few more months then made her grand appearance 3 weeks before my due date... She still thinks everything should be done on HER time!

Brianna has ALWAYS had a very vivid imagination.  One day she introduced us to a little girl named Cheerleader... Funny name I know... You see, Cheerleader wasn't your typical "little girl"... To be honest, none of us ever actually SAW Cheerleader, only Brianna.  Cheerleader was Brianna's Imaginary Friend... But you couldn't tell Brianna that... She would argue until she was blue in the face that Cheerleader was real!  We would go out to eat and would have to request an extra chair when Cheerleader was with us... Luckily she always drank water and shared a meal with Bri...  Bri would talk to her and interact with her at restaurants like she was REALLY there.. In Brianna's mind, she REALLY was!  Bri would get mad if we "ignored" Cheerleader when she was speaking to us, or if we "accidentally" sat on her... Things got a little complicated at times because we always had to ask Bri "Where's Cheerleader?" to make sure she didn't accidentally get left at home, locked out of the house, sat on in restaurants etc.  Although it was quite embarrassing at times, it also reminded me of just how innocent and precious my baby actually was.  I remember the day when I asked Brianna where Cheerleader was because I realized we hadn't been taking her with us in a very long while and Bri hadn't been talking to her like she used to.  Brianna calmly told me "Mom, Cheerleader left.  She went to someone else's house to be friends with them and I told her it was OK."  Although I was relieved because we had finally moved past this stage in her life, I was also a little sad... This meant Brianna was growing up, her imagination was slowly fading away... This was a "last" for Brianna...

Brianna had an obsession with baby dolls... When I say obsession, I don't use it lightly.. We had numerous baby dolls in our house, different ages, boys & girls... Brianna called them her "kids" and Greg and I were informed that since they were her kids.. They were also our grandkids... This was not a position that we chose.. and she held us to our "responsibilities" of grand parents!  I was asked to babysit while she went to her friends house, I had to feed them and change their diapers when Bri was conveniently "unavailable"... These "kids" supported and helped each other when needed... One day I walked into the girls bathroom and almost fell over in laughter!  Apparently one of the babies had gotten sick and needed to vomit... SOOOOO... 2 other "babies" pushed a stool over to the toilet, those same 2 laid down on their bellies on the stool and the sick baby climbed on top of the other 2 and hung her head over the toilet.... I am so thankful they came up with this plan because Lord knows... I do not clean up vomit!

Brianna took her role as Mommy and our role as grandparents very seriously.  She was in the pool one day and all her "children" were in the house.  I was sitting by the pool minding my own business when suddenly she broke out in tears and panic! I thought she had been stung by a bee or something!  Once I finally got her calmed down, she tearfully informed me that CPS had been called on her and they were removing all of her children from our home... You can only imagine my reaction to this news.. I am thanking God she hadn't been stung by a bee (since she is highly allergic) but also silently laughing inside at this sudden twist to our mommy and grandparent plot.  She informed me that she had been turned in because someone had claimed she was not a good mommy.. My defenses flew up! How DARE anyone say my daughter was not a good mommy!!  She begged me to help her and to figure out a way to prove she was indeed a good mommy.  We called our best friend and Pastor at the time who also was a cop... He talked to Brianna (He was such a good sport in all our times of need), convinced her that he would talk to CPS and get all of this resolved and she would get to keep her babies.  We were all relieved!  A few days later I noticed she wasn't playing with her baby dolls like she once did.. she actually started getting rid of a few.. I was heart broken! I mean, we just went through this whole CPS battle over these kids and now she didn't WANT them??  Then it dawned on me.... She was growing up... She was realizing that she was too old to play with baby dolls and she created this whole CPS story to give her a way "out".. to convince herself (and us) that she didn't need them anymore, someone else could have them and love them like she did...  This was a "last" for Brianna... 

I write all this with tears in my eyes.. Thinking back to all my babies "last's"... I know there will be many more "last's" in our lives.. and I hate the thought of forgetting them.. We always remember our "first's"  but how often do we remember our "last's"?  I want to be able to treasure every single moment in the lives of my family and not forget one single thing... But too often, I do forget...

I want to remember all the times we went hunting for rolly pollies... all the times we laid outside under the stars talking about life.... all the times we tried to catch lightening bugs... the way my babies smelled when they came in from playing outside... the dirt smudges on their faces... the gentle way they wrapped their tiny arms around my neck and said "I wub you mommy".... their tender words of comfort when I was hurting... or the way a single kiss from me could take away every hurt in the world...

These are the things I don't want to forget... These are a few of my favorite things...

Monday, February 17, 2014

I Don't Want The World's Christianity..

Get ready, this is gonna be a long one...

Do you ever notice how satan likes to "kick you when you're down"? 

People say some pretty mean and hurtful things in the name of "their" God.. They use "their" bible to give you a list of things you should NOT be doing... but never give you the things the Bible says you SHOULD be doing.. We tend to focus more on the NOTS than the SHOULDS...

It really saddens me when I talk to people and for whatever reason, they have decided to leave church.. Sometimes it is because someone has taken a verse from the bible out of context and stretched it to fit their selfish motives or needs.  I am brutally honest on here, as past posts will prove.. and I don't shy away from what I believe.... When I am confronted with "Scripture" taken out of context, I ALWAYS go and research the original scripture and the true meaning behind it.  I never allow someone's twisted version, to become my truth.. and you shouldn't either.  If someone comes to you using a scripture to attack you, your faith, your beliefs, your family, your church.. you better go to God and ask Him to reveal Himself to you, to reveal the true meaning of the very scripture being used against you.  Scripture is meant for teaching, correcting, loving and rebuking... Not for spreading hate and negativity, causing chaos, or trying to get others to do what we feel they should do.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness

Read the following scriptures, think about what they mean to you... What is the Author saying here?

1 Timothy 2: 8-12 NIV Bible Gateway

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
11 A woman  should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man;  she must be quiet.

Pretty strong words huh? Some might say the writer was a bigot.. that he favored men over women... What do you think?  If you just read these words alone and not the whole book of 1 Timothy or the books before, you might walk away with the following translations:
  • Women should not wear jewelry or expensive clothes
  • A woman should not question what she is being taught, she should just believe it
  • A woman is below a man
  • A woman is not allowed to talk about God to other's or to teach others about God
  • God doesn't like women
Now.... those are some pretty depressing statements and translations...

Thankfully, those statements are not what this scripture means at all... but too often we take a few verses and twist it just enough to fit what we want it to mean.  In the meantime, we dilute the scripture so much that it is no longer of God.  The only way to know if we are being fed false information is to be grounded in The Word and what we believe should be consistent with The Word (The Bible).  If we are not grounded in The Word and what we believe then we will be susceptible to false teachers.  In addition to knowing what we believe and why, we should avoid anyone who twists the words of the Bible for his or her own purpose.  So, lets pick it apart and get down to the true meaning behind these verse's... As God has revealed it to me..  

These scriptures were written by Paul to Timothy concerning the Church Of Ephesus.  Paul was trying to encourage and instruct Timothy, a young Pastor who was probably intimidated by older and more mature church members (we've all been there). Paul chose Timothy to help him spread the gospel but he also knew that Timothy was very young, shy and hesitant so Paul warned him against being intimidated by his opponents and their teachings.  At this time the church was facing a bunch of division, false teaching and the false teachers were preying on women... because the women were new believers who were enjoying the freedom to study the bible and be involved in worship and they were easily swayed.  Although Paul is addressing Timothy, the letter is for the church in general.   

Verse 9-10 Along with the issue this church had with false teachers, they also had the issue of women being disruptive in worship and dressing too seductively.  Paul was explaining that even though they were excited about their new freedom in Christ and the ability to study and worship with men, women should not rush into leadership or flaunt their newfound freedom.  Possibly some women in the Ephesian church were trying to gain respect by looking beautiful rather than by becoming Christlike in character.  Paul wanted them to focus more on being gentle, modest and loving.. taking on the character of Christ.. To focus on what she does for others, not what she puts on.  

Verse 11 To understand and "get" the full meaning of this verse and the next one, we must first understand the situation in which Paul and Timothy worked.  In first century Jewish culture, women were not allowed to study.  Plato granted women equality with men, then Aristotle severely limited their activities and his view was more widely accepted.  When Paul said that women could "learn", he was affirming their recognition as teachable members of the church, Christian women were given equal rights when it came to studying the scriptures.  Most of these women had grown up in an atmosphere that wasn't too keen on women being equal, especially in the Temple.. So some of these women went a little crazy with their newfound freedom in Christ.  Some women overreacted, flaunting their freedom to the church and disrupting worship and service.  A lot of these women were very immature in their faith in Christ and therefore they needed to learn, not teach.  They were very easily swayed by false teachers and Paul warned that these women should not be put up front to pray in public or teach until their beliefs had been straightened out.  THESE women were to learn at home from their fathers or husbands and they were to be silent in service, they were only to speak or pray if it was from The Spirit.  Paul's prohibition was NOT to women in general, it was to a specific group of women that was causing division in the church at that time. There are several places where Paul talks about women in the church who were his "co workers" helping him and they were full members of the body of Christ and fully shared in the responsibilities and gifts of serving. (Romans 16:1-3, Philippians 4:2-3).  Women were to learn quietly and submissively.. meaning settled, calm with voluntary restraint.

Verse 12 This verse goes along with verse 11, the women of the Ephesian Church were not allowed to teach, they were allowed to learn... How could they teach if they had no idea what they even believed? Paul was withholding the right for women to teach because of the condition of the church at that time.  Like I said, many women had no clue what they believed and why so they were being led astray by false teachers.  Paul was trying to tell them, they did not need more teachers, what they all needed was to return to the foundations of the true gospel.  Many, Many, MANY people interpret this verse to say that women should never hold a teaching position in the church.. that is scripture being twisted and not taken for what it really means.  In other verse's Paul allowed women to teach, in fact his "co worker" Priscilla taught Apollos, the great preacher (Acts 18:24-26).  Paul mentioned other women who held positions of responsibility in the church.. Need examples?  Phoebe (Romans 16:1), Mary, Tryphena and Tryphosa (Romans 16:6, 12) Euodia and Syntyche (Philippians 4:2).. Just to name a few.. Paul was more than likely telling the women of Ephesia that they could not teach because they did not have the knowledge or experience.  He wanted leaders to be mature in their faith and at this time women were not because they had JUST been given the freedom to study and learn.

I am not a Bible Scholar and I don't hold some big degree from a bible college but I do have a relationship with The One True God.. The One who inspired every single word in the bible, The One who loves me in spite of all my mistakes, The One who reveals Himself to me daily... I am a Child of a King and this King took every single one of my sins to the cross with Him.. Not because He had to but because He chose to. For me to think I cannot be used by Him to spread His message, gospel and love is absolutely insane.  For others to think that just because they have sinned, fell off the wagon, are a female versus a male that God cannot and will not use them... is.. well.. just as insane.  God doesn't call the equipped, he equips the called.  I believe without a shadow of doubt that God called me for a purpose and that purpose is to teach others about Him and His saving grace, to lead others to Him without judgments or condemnation, to build His Kingdom in His name, to love others as He loves us, to show others the true Christ.. not the watered down diluted version the world has made for Him.. regardless if I am male or female..



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Are We There Yet?

If you are a parent, then I can almost promise you that you have heard the "get on your nerves, drive you crazy" question "Are we there yet?"  You have probably heard it a million times on the SAME trip! When Greg and I travel with the girls (like driving over 30 minutes away from our house) the girls usually start in at about 10 minutes on the road.. "Are WE therrrrrreeee YET?" "Mom I'm thirsty!" "MOM Taylor won't move!" "Mom Brianna is being a brat!".. You get the idea right?  No matter what journey we are on or where we are going, we always have complaints.  We can pack snacks, drinks, games etc. but we ALWAYS hear complaints!

I was thinking about this today and how on our journey as Christians, we are the same way... We ALWAYS complain! We complain to God about our circumstances, we complain to God about things that have happened in our lives, we even complain about Him not answering a prayer the way WE think He should have.  In essence we are like kids in the backseat whining and crying while our Father is trying to take us as carefully as possible to our final destination.  Don't you think God would like to just tell us to "SHUT UP!"? 

Thankfully, He doesn't... Thankfully He just sits quietly and listens to our moans and groans ever so patiently... Patiently waiting on our rant to end so He can gently speak words of wisdom and peace to our hearts.  If we would just stop complaining for a few minutes, we would actually hear our Father tell us to "hang on, you're almost there, just a few more minutes"... Remember, our thoughts are not God's thoughts and our ways are not God's ways... God's timing is totally different from our timing.. So bathroom breaks may be months or even years away... but they are coming.. 

Isaiah 40:31
But they who wait upon the Lord will get new strength. They will rise up with wings like eagles. They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not become weak.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

What if...

What if... What if we all loved as Jesus did? What if we saw everyone as Jesus sees them? Laying down our self righteous judgements, pre conceived notions and religious "rules"... And merely saw people through the eyes of Christ? I mean, really.. Who are WE to judge anyone? Who are WE to point out someone else's "sin"... When we have "sins" of our own? Just because in "our" eyes their "sin" is bigger and worse than ours.. Who are we to judge? When did we become so self righteous that we can look past our own sins, mistakes, short comings and failures... But can't look beyond those of our neighbor.. When were we given the title of Judge and Jury? Why do we put sins in categories and give everyone a label according to their sin... When we have probably done worse but we choose to ignore our own to make others look worse than us.. In return making us feel better about our own "sin"..

The Jesus I know and love dwelt among the "sinners".. He loved them (he loves me, a sinner) and never talked down to them making them feel unworthy.. Even though we all are.. Unworthy. He was the ultimate example of Love.

There is a phrase that I've heard numerous times in church and I have even used it myself.. Hate the sin but love the sinner... Here recently this phrase has been bothering me. When we use this, we are making ourselves sound so self righteous.. Like we are without sins of our own... To be honest.. We are like filthy rags compared to Christ. Sin is sin... We all sin have sinned and will sin.. The good news is we have a Father who loves us unconditionally, regardless of our sins, mistakes, short comings and failures. When we say that phrase we are actually stating (in my opinion) that WE are without sin and that those that sin differently than us are scum. When we get to a place that we are without sin of our own.... THEN we can use that phrase and not sound self righteous.. Good luck getting there because as long as we are living on this earth... We are gonna be sinners.

8 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

11 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
John 8:1-20