Thoughts When Someone Is No Longer a Christian

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In recent weeks, I have had to grapple yet again with a myriad of thoughts and feelings when someone has announced publicly that they are no longer a Christian.

The other day I became aware of a post on Instagram from Jon Steingard, lead singer of Hawk Nelson. In that post, he said, “After growing up in a Christian home, being a pastor’s kid, playing and singing in a Christian band, and having the word ‘Christian’ in front of most of the things in my life – I am now finding that I no longer believe in God.”

A few years ago I attended a Tenth Avenue North concert with my bestie. Hawk Nelson was one of the openers. Drops in the Ocean. Live Like You’re Loved. Man, those songs are incredible! I have greatly appreciated those songs many times over the years. And now Jon states that he “can no longer stand on stage and in good conscience sing songs like ‘Drops in the Ocean.'”

The comments and various discussions on Facebook have been interesting. Jon is far from the first to walk away from an evangelical Christian background. No matter who it is, there will always be the classic comments….

“Well, he must not have really been saved in the first place.”

“Well, he must just be trying to get attention. Why else would he say this publicly?”

“Well, he must not have read the Bible, because the Bible clearly says x, y, and z.”

Jon did receive many many kind and loving comments as well. To be honest, he received a lot more gracious comments than I would have expected, given the extreme backlash of others who have posted similarly. I commend people like Mike Donehey from Tenth Avenue North, who said, “Man I love that you shared this. You know I’m always around to talk about our belief in God or lack thereof. Love you and always will.”

I am impressed by Jon. So much of his posts resonated with me. So many of the questions he said he has wrestled with are questions I have wrestled with too. Big questions. Questions that are scary. In short, questions that freak out the church. The openness, honesty, and humility that it takes to publicly admit something like that is huge. He lived a Christian life publicly from stage, so after agonizing over the decision (his words), he publicly shared where he is now. That is huge. That takes a tremendous amount of courage, and I cannot help but applaud that.

In his initial post as well as in follow-up posts from today, Jon mentions how he has “spoken with so many people who feel the same things as me, but are terrified to speak up about it. Unspoken doubts and feelings like this are poisonous and corrosive to our hearts – and I hope this encourages people who are working up the courage to be more open and transparent about both their faith and their doubts.”

Why is it that church is a place where it is not safe to ask questions? Or have doubts? I hear the outcry, “Oh yes, church is a safe space! Ask anything!” But really…if certain questions are asked, pearls are clutched. “Well, now, that’s a slippery slope.” “The Bible clearly says…” “I’ll pray for you.” “If you really cared about the truth of Scripture, you would understand xyz.” And so the gatekeepers are out in full force. And people are forced to either stay quiet, or be put outside the camp because “the Christians” think that you don’t care about God. I wish I was exaggerating. This has happened to me and it has happened to many others.

Why is it that Jon (as he noted in one of his posts) and myself were bracing ourselves for such a strong backlash from Christians in his comments? Why is it that Christians, the ones who claim to follow Christ in love, are the first to condemn and speak harshly instead of giving love, grace, and support? Why is it that Christians think that a comment like “How dare you?” would possibly incline someone to reconsider their position and turn to God? (Thinking specifically about many of the comments given to Josh Harris after he posted in a similar vein as Jon.)

Why can we not applaud someone’s honesty and vulnerability? “Oh, but we can’t applaud someone who is giving up on God.” Would you rather he lie? Shove it under the rug? Why can we not embrace people, as image bearers of God, and come along side them for the journey and show the love of God who leaves the 99 to go after the 1?

It is emotional to read posts like his. Of course there are so many emotions. Sadness, grief, understanding, empathy, fear. But at the end of the day, I choose to stand alongside Jon. And Josh. And all the other people who are being real about their faith and their doubts.

Listen. Lament. Do the work.

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To say that the events of the past couple of weeks have been exhausting and draining is an understatement.

Ahmaud Abery.

Breonna Taylor.

George Floyd.

Protests. Riots. Looting. Case after case after case of police brutality and utilizing excessive force.

My heart is breaking. My soul is weary.

And I know that the way I have felt these past couple weeks is how BIPOC feel each and every day. For years.

There are so many things on my heart right now. All the discussions and nuances of privilege, racism, implicit biases, incarceration rates, police brutality, peaceful protests, violent protests.

But for now, I implore you…especially those of you who are white, especially those of you who are white and Christian.



Listen to the people around you. Listen to Black voices. Listen to minorities. Listen to the people protesting. Listen to their stories.


Allow this to break you. Hear and empathize and weep with the people around you. Weep with those who weep.

Do your work.

Be the Bridge is a great group on Facebook. They have a policy in place where you must be silent, listen, and simply read posts for 3 months after joining. They also include some great units to go through during your period of silence.

Ally Henny, on both Facebook and Instagram

Here are some great accounts on Instagram…
@austinchanning (Also can be found on Facebook)

And here is an amazing resource with specific things you can learn and action steps to take.

I recognize that there are so many things that can be discussed on this topic. But for now, let’s listen, lament, and do our work.

Mount TBR Challenge 2019

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My Mom and I were discussing book goals a couple of weeks ago. When she mentioned this reading challenge, I knew I needed to participate!

Thanks to the birth of the Navigator, I have read a LOT more in 2018 than I normally do.  Reading on my Kindle while nursing and rocking has given me a lot of reading time.  It was so great!  I definitely want to keep up my momentum with reading.  However, I also know I need to make serious headway on my (huge) To Be Read list.

In 2018, I checked quite a few books off my TBR list, including some books that had been on my shelf for literally years.  This challenge from My Reader’s Block is right up my alley!

So in 2019, I am excited to participate in my (first ever!) official reading challenge.  We have been traveling for the past couple months and I’ve been away from my bookshelves, so I haven’t created an official list.  But I am joining the Mount Blanc challenge to read 24 books on my To Be Read list.  Hopefully I will read much more than that, but I wanted to make sure I chose something realistic so I wouldn’t burn out or get discouraged.

I will update once I choose my book list, probably in early January!

Anniversary, 400 posts, and a Giveaway – ENDED

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A little while ago, LifeWithYou1222 reached its 7 year anniversary!  I can’t believe it has been that long since we started this blog!  So much has happened during all these years.  It’s crazy to realize all the changes we have gone through as a couple, as a family, as individuals, and as a blog.

In addition to that exciting milestone, I also recently passed 400 posts!  What??

I try to do a giveaway about every 100 posts, so without further ado….My 400 post celebratory giveaway!

BlogaversaryGiveawayOct 2018

I am giving away some of my favorites!  It was a bit hard to narrow down some favorites, but here is just a sampling.  I have a movie bundle, a book bundle, and a pregnancy and infant loss bundle.

Movie Bundle:

roman holiday  DarkKnight  Wonderwoman
Roman Holiday
The Dark Knight Rises
Wonder Woman


Book Bundle:

redeeminglove  high as heavens  thisishowwelove
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin
How We Love by Milan and Kay Yerkovich


Pregnancy and Infant Loss:

willowtree  followers

Willow Tree’s “Remembrance” figurine
Tenth Avenue North’s CD “Followers” (many of these
songs have really been encouraging to me following
my miscarriages)

Giveaway open to anyone in the US.  Ends October 31.

To enter…

{Mandatory entry} Comment below with which giveaway pack you would like if you win.
-Comment and let me know what your favorite book and movie are.
-Share the giveaway on social media.

Please leave separate comments for each entry.

Thanks for reading my blog!  ❤




Kindergarten Homeschool


As of this year, we are officially homeschooling The Wingman!  We did some loose homeschooling last year, but now we are in it for real!

I must admit it was pretty overwhelming trying to decide what style of homeschool we felt was most beneficial and what would work the best with my teaching style and the Wingman’s learning style.  Plus, pretty much all the curriculum web sites say basically the same thing.  They all have the same stated goals and ideals.  So how were we to pick??

The Pilot and I sat down one day and outlined our ideal curriculum if such a thing were to exist.  Taking into consideration core subjects, things we wanted the Wingman to learn, and areas that we felt were gaps in our own homeschool education, we made a list of what we wanted.  Armed with that, I went back to the sites to see which options was the closest to what we would like.

Lo and behold, I found a curriculum that was exactly what we were looking for.  I couldn’t believe it!  I thought that our list was idealistic and we would have to prioritize our goals, but we ended up with one that checked all our boxes!  We ended up going with Timberdoodle.

I was still a bit nervous because it was such a big investment financially.  But so far, we are all pretty pleased with it!  The Wingman has been having so much fun and he will frequently ask to do school.  I love that it is a perfect mix of challenging things, review areas, and hands-on activities.  It includes all the main subjects we wanted him to learn.  I am so happy we ended up finding it!

We started the first day of school with our celebratory tradition of going to get donuts.  Then we took his first day of school pictures and filled out his first day of Kindergarten interview from Positively Splendid.

Every morning we start with our version of circle time, or morning time.

  • We start by doing our daily calendar using this Melissa and Doug Wall Calendar.
  • Next we do a section in our daily devotional.
  • Using songs, we review our address and next will be learning our phone numbers.
  • This next part is the Wingman’s favorite.  We are working on memorizing the hymn Holy, Holy, Holy.  We do about a verse per week.  When that one is done, we’ll pick another hymn to learn.
  • I purchased this Character bundle online.  We focus on one character/social trait a week.
  • Another favorite part for the Wingman….read aloud time.  I read aloud going through various chapter books.  I have been surprised and pleased how much he looks forward to the next section each day!
  • We end our time with prayer.

After that, we move into the actual curriculum.  Each day we do the core subjects…reading, spelling, and math.  Then the other subjects are broken up on different days.  The Wingman’s favorites are science and his hands-on gears set.  We also do history, auditory skills, geography, rhymes, emotions, and other hands on activities.

Obviously, we are only a short way into the school year.  But so far it has been great!  Overall we are thrilled with Timberdoodle.  The few things that I don’t love or that haven’t been working, we just tweak as necessary.

I would love to hear about your kids’ school year and how it is going!  Are you doing homeschool or public school?  What is your child’s favorite subjects?

The Aviator – Two Years Ago Today

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I cannot believe it has been two years since our 4th child was born.  Two years since I held him.  Two years since we walked into the hospital pregnant, labored for nine hours, and walked out without our baby.  In some ways it feels as if it happened a long time ago….and in other ways it feels as fresh as if it happened last week.


It took me a long time to finish writing his birth story.  In fact, I just finished it this past week.  We had decided to share his birth story here on my blog.  But as I sat down to edit it, I realized I can’t yet.  It is so intensely personal, as it is the only moments we had together with our son.  Maybe at some point I will share it.  We will see.

But today, we just remember him with love.

We love you every day, sweet boy.  I am so happy that you get to spend your birthday in the presence of the greatest Love there is.  I can’t wait to see you again! ❤



Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

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It’s that time of year again!  October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.

This year, I am teaming up with Rachel from The Lewis Note on social media.  I joined her street team for raising awareness to the month as well as for her blog and soon-to-be-published book.

If you have not already discovered her blog….take a minute to check it out.  I first discovered Rachel during one of her candlelight memorial services on Facebook live.  Her kindness and compassion are so evident in everything she writes.  She truly has a heart for women going through infertility, pregnancy loss, infant loss, and adoption.

I know I have said this many times in posts, but I DO plan to get back into blogging.  In fact, I hope to take this month to do just that.  I want to build up some of those posts I’ve had in my drafts folder for forever.  And write new posts that have been percolating in my head.

And stay tuned for a giveaway soon!  I recently passed 400 posts (what??) and will be doing a giveaway to celebrate and also tie in with Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.

Be back soon!

Book List – July to September



Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Brownie Points by Jennifer Coburn

Unmoveable Witness by Marion Corley

Triggers: Exchanging Parent’s Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake

Twisted Scriptures: Breaking Free from Churches that Abuse by Mary Alice Chrnalogar

The Wendy by Aaron Michelle Sky and Steven Brown



The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

Mistletoe Match by Lindzee Armstrong

Almost a Mother: Love, Loss, and Finding Your People When Your Baby Dies by Christy Wopat

The Gender Game by Bella Forrest

The Puritans by Jack Cavanaugh

Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare

How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind by Dana K. White



Flowers in the Snow by Danielle Stewart

Love in a Fix by Leah Atwood

Statistically Improbable by Jennifer Peel

The Gender Secret by Bella Forrest

The Overcoming Life by DL Moody

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

A Sip of Murder by Blythe Baker


Books Read to date/Min. Goal for Year: 48/48

Book List – April to June

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April –

The One by Kiera Cass

No Little Women by Aimee Byrd



The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

Conversationally Speaking by Alan Garner

Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone by JK Rowling

Hot, Holy, and Humorous by J Parker

The Bible Tells Me So by Peter Enns

Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans


June –

First Impressions by Debra White Smith (review posted here)

As Waters Gone By by Cynthia Ruchti

The Art of Losing Yourself by Katie Ganshert

Untwisting Scriptures by Rebecca Davis

The Case of the Phantom Frog by E.W. Hildick


Books Read to date/Min. Goal for Year: 27/48

Book Review: First Impressions

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A modern re-telling of Pride and Prejudice, First Impressions was a fun read.  Debra White Smith knows how to use words well, although I personally found the re-telling to be a bit too literal in many parts.

More concerning was an undertone of racism toward the end, with some pretty blatant stereotypes of African Americans.

As far as actual story, however, it was light and enjoyable.  The author has several other books that are re-telling Jane Austen stories.

Note: I was given this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for this review.

(Short and sweet review courtesy of newborn + exhaustion)