The Polygamist’s Daughter

The Polygamist's DaughterThe Polygamist’s Daughter by Anna LeBaron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What do you do when bad things happen in your life?
What do you do when your whole life is fear, abuse and mind games?
What do you do when religion is used to defeat and control you?
What do you do when you have a window to escape? Are you brave enough? Strong enough?
What do you do when you fall in love with a God who is crazy about you? Loves you?
This little girl proved that with the outreached arms of the Father God, you can be strong enough, brave enough.
This book is not only a history, not only her story, but a tale of encouragement. This book shows us that we can use our hurts not to lash out, but rather to reach out to those who have hurt us and show the world the love of a real, true, loving God.
Men seek to destroy the fame, the story, the truth, the love of God. Religion devours.
But God loves.
This book brings hope. Hope that the Love of God wins.
Anna’s life, her story, her bravery in sharing her story, her bravery in continuing to follow God’s plan for love and redemption is the story of God’s unfailing Love in a fallen and failing world.

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Hold Onto the Promises

Grief.

Desperate grief.

Grief that only one momma can feel for another momma.

A fatherless little girl.

Two fatherless little girls.

Three fatherless little girls in my little world in a month’s time.

Three little girls never again to hold their daddy’s hand.

If you doubt that satan desires to destroy our families, what more proof do you need?

Three young men. Fathers. Destroyed by the enemy. Men of faith. Men bent on building a better life for their young daughters.

The enemy wants to kill, steal and destroy our families.

He wants our children.

HE CANNOT HAVE THEM!

We will not be frightened away. We will not be terrified into backing off.

HE WILL NOT HAVE OUR FAMILIES!

HE WILL NOT HAVE OUR CHILDREN!

We are not intimidated. We are hurt. We are grieving.

But we are angry.

Jesus promised us. He promised us our children. Proverbs 22:6

He promised us life to the full. John 10:10

So we say again, YOU CANNOT HAVE OUR CHILDREN!

Pray for your children. Pray for the children in your life. Pray for the families. Satan thinks he has beat us up.

All he has done is angered momma bear.

We will fight. And we will win. Because Jesus has promised us and all His promises are yes and amen!

 

Stop Saying It’s Not a Big Deal

You know what I wish?

I wish we would stop treating those younger than us as if their heartache, pain and anxiety is not real simply because we have more life experience.

I’m serious. Our teens. Our twenty year olds. Even our thirty year olds. They are experiencing their lives first hand, just like we did, and they are going through their very real stuff. And we need to stop saying “Oh, honey, you think that’s bad?”

It is bad!

I’m pretty well ensconced in my forties now. But I remember the ache of being a lonely, uncool teenager who didn’t fit in.

I remember rushing home from school to call my best friend and chat for hours because we really couldn’t talk much at school.

I remember how much I missed my boyfriend who lived an hour away. I remember not being able to wait to see him and crying as soon as I left him.

I remember being too young to get married but knowing in my heart that I couldn’t wait to spend every day with my knight.

I remember being terrified looking for my first teaching job. And worrying over which benefits to select. And my first house. And buying a car as an adult for the first time. And all those things that are terrifying.

I remember the lonely ache as I desperately waited to have my first baby. Years of waiting for “the right time.”

Folks, if you can’t remember the stress, pain and anxiety that goes with the teen years and the twenties, dare I say even thirties, when you don’t really know who you are and what you are doing, then I urge you — Shut Up.

Really. Just. Shut. Up.

If you cannot understand your twenty year old friend as she worries over the perfect job, or the young lady who is trying to figure out where she belongs or if she’ll ever get married or find the perfect house or whatever, then please, just say nothing. Don’t tell her that her problems aren’t real. Don’t tell her that if she only knew what the “real world” held she wouldn’t complain.

This is the real world. We learn to navigate pain and struggles in our lives by navigating the “little” stuff as we work our way through. We need to validate for them that this is real and it is really hard. We can encourage from the side of the fence that has seen that some of these things aren’t that big of a deal after the fact. But remember that during IT IS A BIG DEAL! We can tell them that we serve a big God who is big enough to help us through our mistakes and that a bad decision in life now is not the end of the world.

We can do these things without belittling the pain or anxiety they are experiencing.

Please, my compatriots in your 40s+, stop telling them it isn’t a big deal and it isn’t important. They want love and encouragement from our generation. But they won’t want to talk to us if we make them feel silly or unimportant.

I urge you today, if you know a younger person with some life struggles, reach out to them. Chat with them. Buy them a cup of coffee. Relate to them. Listen to them. Remember what it was like to be in that situation in life and love on them. Show them the grace on earth that we all so desperately need.

 

We Are That Crazy Family

 

Yes. We are that crazy family.

Daddy and grandma took off work. We loaded 12 people (including grandparents and Uncle Josh) into my 15 passenger van with no air conditioning in August and drove the 4 hours away to see the eclipse.

Actually, we drove two hours, toured a cool WWII LST in Evansville, IN. Spent the night, got up at 4am and drove another 2 hours to be on site by 7:30am to spend 2 minutes and 40 seconds watching the totality of the eclipse that afternoon. We spent hours with a toddler, a 6 year old, 5 other children, a man in a wheelchair, and the rest of us nut jobs in a grassy lot at a church 4 hours from home so we could see the totality.

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The “diamond ring” caught on “film” by my amateur photographer son.

We then spent 9 hours trying to get home in the craziest traffic of all time with no air conditioning, cranky children and even crankier adults.

 

And we would do it again in a heartbeat.

We would totally do it again.

No regrets.

Some people think we are crazy. And we are. The next one, in 7 years, is coming like directly over my house. I can watch it from my yard. I’ve heard it called a “once in a lifetime experience”. Then other people say, well, not really because after all it is happening again in 7 years.

But for us, for that moment, it was a once in a lifetime experience.

I am a stay at home, homeschooling mom. And this year is the last one, the very last one, where I will have 7 minor children. Next year my oldest turns 18. And while I hold the power of his diploma in my evil little hands (so I know he isn’t going anywhere just yet), I cannot deny the truth. I have a 2 year old and a 17 year old. And my days of making memories with all 7 of them as a “family” are extremely numbered.

In 7 years when the next eclipse comes, I will have only 3 minor children. My fourth child will have just turned 18. My third will be turning 20. My two oldest will be 23 and 24. I may have sons or daughters inlaw. I may have grandchildren.

For my family, this was a once in a lifetime experience.

That moment, when the sun totally disappeared and I heard several of my children, and my father-in-law, say “this is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen”, in that moment, I knew we had done the right thing.

My littles may never remember, but they will always hear from the bigs what an amazing experience it was.

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My son has decided to dedicate the next 7 years to preparing with better equipment for better pics. But I think these are pretty great.

 

Some things cannot be explained, they must be experienced. This was one of those moments as a mom that I experienced the deep joy of knowing my kids were moved deeply by the greatness of God and His great creation.

It doesn’t have to be an eclipse. But my dear friends, I urge you. Please. Realize you are experiencing once in a lifetime moments all the time. Mommas. I know you don’t need to be told. I know you don’t WANT to be told. But your moments to make these memories are so short. Take a few snapshots to remind you, then put down the camera and soak in your life. Take your kids to the fair. The park. The drive in. Make memories. But soak in the moment. Breathe it in. Fill your lungs with the moments of life that matter.

Spend less time making things look perfect. Spend less time scrapbooking your life. Spend more time living your life and absorbing your kids.

 

 

My Testimony and Why VBS is Important

Everyone has a testimony they say. I honestly really didn’t think I did. Not really. I mean I don’t have one of those great “the moment I was saved” stories.

Actually, I don’t know the moment I was saved. And that has caused me a great deal of “christian anxiety” for lack of a better term.

They (you know, those people who say the things) say that you’ll never forget the moment you were saved. So for me, I have really been bothered by not knowing the moment I was saved.

Because as a good Christian, you are supposed to know that.

As a little girl, I attended a Good News Club at the church beside my house. I don’t remember a lot about it, but the sweet older lady, Mary Jane (known still to most of the county I grew up in) had these little classes and it was a multi-week thing and we had fun and learned about Jesus.

I didn’t go to church other than this short term little Good News Club. But I knew. I knew with all that was in me that Jesus was God. I couldn’t explain it, but I remember saying in first grade that the Sun and the Moon were the same just like Jesus and God were the same. I didn’t know how wrong (and right) I was.

I remember sweet Mary Jane telling us about Jesus. I don’t remember the moments, but I remember that it happened. And I remember her telling us that we needed to ask Jesus into our hearts to get into heaven.

So, as a little terrified 7 year old girl, I remember hiding in my mom’s kitchen asking Jesus to come into my heart. Because I was terrified of not going to heaven.

Fast forward a few years. I never went to church. No more Good News Clubs. But I met and fell in love with my high school sweetheart. We married, knowing that when we had kids, we would take them to church. He had been raised in church. We thought that was a good thing. We didn’t really know why, just that it was the thing to do.

So we had a kid. And started thinking about finding a church. Then we discovered we were having another kid and decided it was time to stop playing house and get busy finding a church.

I’ve often said God can find you anywhere, even in church. And that is where he found me.

We fell in love with our church on the second trip there, 16 and a half years ago. The sweet little old couple that greeted us, remembering we had been there the week before with a friend, are long gone but greatly impacted our desire to return. When we decided to join, the issue of my baptism came up. The associate pastor asked if I had been baptized. I said no. He asked if I believed that Jesus died for my sins and rose from the grave. I said yes. He offered to baptize me so we could join the church.

That was pretty well my story. And it seemed pretty weak. Was I saved that day as a little girl when I so earnestly asked yet never even tried to live like Jesus? Was I saved that day in Ric’s office? Was I saved some time after that when teaching countless children about Jesus? Was it the night I laid in bed, chatting with God asking him again about how do I know I’m saved when I don’t know when I was saved? Was it that moment on the staircase at church as I listened to the worship leader sing “Amazing Love how can it be, that you my King would die for me” overwhelmed by the staggering truth of this one line?

Then finally, God, in the way only He can, told me that this was not worthy of my fret. Because the truth here is that my testimony is one of God’s great faithfulness to a little girl. When I prayed that day when I was 7, God knew. He knew where I would end up. Was I saved that day? I don’t know. I know it doesn’t matter. I believe I was sealed. I know if you had asked me when I was 16 or 17 years old I would have said I was not saved. I was not a Christian. And between those years and that moment in the pastor’s office, I never stopped and “prayed again”. But I know in that moment, I believed it all. Though I had almost no bible education, I knew the one simple important truth. It was deeply ingrained in my heart from a faithful servant twenty years before.

Jesus died for my sins. He paid for my sins with his blood. He bought me from the master of this earth and gave me a home in heaven.

When was I saved? Yeah, I don’t know. But I have been saved.

And this, my friends, is why VBS matters. VBS. Good News Clubs. Booths at the fair. Because God is faithful. He plants, waters and grows through His faithful servants. My life was touched and changed by a faithful servant who planted seeds at a Good News Club, in his office meeting new members, from her living room sharing her love of children, from the platform singing the praises of the King. My life was indelibly changed by a faithful God and faithful servants.

And this is why VBS matters so much to me.

girls vbs blog

 

Why Is It So Hard To Trust God?

Why is it so hard to trust God? That is my question. Oh, I know. Not for you. You would never doubt the creator of the universe, Who has proven, again and again, that He has only the greatest love and gifts for you.

I know you wouldn’t doubt, but I do. More often than I’d like to admit.

I don’t doubt God in His Goodness. I don’t doubt His wisdom and control. But oh how often I speak words of encouragement and absolute confidence to a friend and feel such a hypocrite knowing that though I fully believe each of those words to be true for my friend, I doubt those same words hold validity in my life.

I had a beautiful plan for my life. And God interrupted it with his even more beautiful plan. And I sit here today knowing without even a shred of doubt that this plan is far superior to the plan I had in mind. I know, without question, that I am happier in this plan than I would have been in mine. Yet, alas, I grieve what never was. Why grieve when you trust? Can you grieve and trust? Can you say, “God I know this is infinitely better and I am daily grateful and I want nothing else, yet I wish I had known the fulfillment of my heart’s desires before you took over?”

I honestly don’t know. It feels ungrateful. I fear I have a wicked, ungrateful heart. Oh how grateful I am for Jesus who cleanses our hearts… But I digress.

There are many times I can look to in my life where I desperately wanted or hoped for a certain outcome, and God chose differently. And, often I have been able to see the blessing of God’s choice. Sometimes I am just trusting, knowing He knows better, though I cannot yet see.

But my heart grieves. I want my way, frankly. Even when I see the wisdom of His ways, I pout.

So, what is my point? I’m not sure I know. But I do know that, God never fails me. And I don’t think it is that I doubt that He knows what is going on. I don’t doubt that He wants the best for me.

I believe Jeremiah 29:11 that God knows the plans he has for me. I believe He has plans. I believe they are good plans. And every single time I council a friend that God has a plan, I mean it. With all my heart. And when the really bad things happen in my life, I know God has a plan. When the hard things come, I do trust. I have peace.

But because I cannot see hope for my dreams, I cannot see that God has yet actually fulfilled many of them, but has rather changed them to fit His better plan, I despair of ever having my way. Maybe that is it really. Like a spoiled child, I know my Father is wise and right, but I want my own way. I don’t want the consequences of going my own way. So I do endeavor to follow His plan. And pray that He helps me bend my will to His.

I guess I despair of having my own way AND it being God’s will.

Maybe I can be less abstract. Here is an example (and yes, they are all this petty – I actually am pretty good about trusting him on the big stuff like my kids’ salvation): I have decided that there are perhaps 2 things I would really like to have in my home. Central air and a master bedroom with a master bath. Ah, to walk from my bed to my potty without encountering a child… Such a dream.
I shall never, in the span of the next decade, have either. Both will require building a new house. A plan that I dream of but will not happen until most of my children are grown when there will be little reason to actually desire a master bathroom.

Yet I know God has many good plans for me. Better than a master bathroom. But I don’t trust Him to send me a master bathroom. I trust Him to send me better things. And I pout that I have to share a bathroom with my herd of children.

So, why is it hard to trust God? I guess the answer is, it isn’t hard to trust Him. It is hard to get out of His way and let Him do his thing. And to stop pouting. Not pouting is hard. Not pouting is really hard.

 

How To Have a Beautiful Marriage – The Prequel – Marry Well

My previous post was the beginning of a series I’m writing on marriage. After chatting recently with my husband, I realized that I should address the first bit, marrying well.

There is a point in many young girls’ lives when they really, desperately want to get married. This emotion is stronger than you can imagine if you’ve never experienced it.

I recently chatted with a friend, now happily married for 40+ years, who recalled how it felt to be 21 and unmarried. She had expected to be married by then. I can’t tell you how many women have expressed to me over the years their frustration with not being married by the time they had “thought” they would be married.

I know that God has a plan for each of these women. I believe God knows if and when you will marry your Prince Charming. But, as with many other areas of our lives, this waiting period can cause us to doubt and try to expedite matters.

This desire to be married can drive a young woman to get married to someone they, under other circumstances, would never consider. I’ve seen  young girls talk about marrying a certain guy. And while I listen I just know he’s not the one. He might be amazing. But he doesn’t make her sparkle. (Credit here to my husband who pointed out the sparkle he sees in girls, and guys, who are truly suited for one another.)

Ladies, my daughter isn’t marrying age. I’m not giving mom advice here. And I have NO qualifications to give ANY advice. I’m NOT an expert on dating. But I do know love. Deep, soul filling love. Love that pours out your eyes and your very being.

So, girls, I am not telling you what your momma would. That is her job. Mommas, I hope you can forgive what I’m about to say here.

Marry a man who makes you sparkle. Don’t marry for money. Don’t marry for prestige. Don’t even marry because he’s a great guy who is a super catch, a good church boy, the guy your mom always called “a good boy” or a guy who you respect, admire and care deeply about — if he doesn’t make you sparkle.

NOTE: DO NOT MARRY A CREEP REGARDLESS OF WHETHER YOU THINK HE MAKES YOU SPARKLE.  CREEPS ARE CREEPS. RUN. HIDE.

Marry a good man. Marry a man you are proud of. Marry a man that you see great things in. Marry a man that, if he never changed an ounce, you would still be proud to

wedding pic

He still makes me sparkle.

introduce to your mom, dad, best friend and me. Marry that kind of man. But only marry him if he makes you sparkle.

 

Unsure if you sparkle? Ask your bestie. But you probably don’t. Again, I’m not an expert, but I really believe, when you sparkle you feel it and the whole world sees it. And marry a guy who is simply mad about you.

 

As a caveat, I believe our God is a great redeemer and any marriage CAN be redeemed, even if you make poor choices. If both parties turn their will toward God, anything is possible. If you are married and feel you made a poor choice, turn it over to God. I know He wants to prosper your marriage, He can turn anything to good. But if you are not yet married, marry well.