Michele Slayden lives in Clovis, but is a native Texan (with the accent to prove it!) She currently works as the bookkeeper for her husband’s non-profit, Off The Front, which reaches underprivileged kids in the Fresno/Clovis area. She is a dedicated wife and mom to three girls, Madison, Cali, and Ella. God has brought her through many challenges but none of which she would trade for anything. She loves investing in others and watching them grow in their understanding of The One True God. Michele loves coffee and great conversation, spending time with family and friends, cycling, reading, writing, and laughing!
Everything probably looked pretty normal from the outside, but inwardly I was beginning to play a pretend game that everything was okay, when I was actually falling apart. At some point, the newness of anything wears off and the reality of where you are suddenly looks very different from what it appears to be at the beginning.
What I want to ingrain in my mind is the idea that worshipping my Father is a part of everything I say and do. Whether on a beach, laughing it up with my family, buying a new outfit at a store, having dinner with friends, or talking about the day that didn’t go so well at school, God is uniquely a part of all of these if I invite Him. All desires, enjoyment, freedoms, choices, and how I spend my time ultimately go back to Him.
I liked the discipline of the rule and what it afforded me—the opportunity to be on spiritual autopilot instead of searching my heart and evaluating the “why.” The rule removed me from seeking the Lord and navigating what I know it means to walk in the Spirit. My dependence rested on a rule instead of my God, who wants me to weigh a situation and ask Him if I am making the best choice.
When we take a long, hard look at what the Bible says about forgiveness, it messes with our rights, our emotions, our temptation to hold on to anger, and our victim mentality. Suddenly, our if’s, and’s, and but’s are reduced to excuses in the face of a Father who forgave us in all of our own versions of betrayal and wrongdoing.
Escalating thoughts, replaying conversations over and over again in my head, ruminating on others and their opinions of me, and desperately wanting to be seen for what I do. The performance trap haunted me for a very long time and lead to emotional and spiritual exhaustion. I thought I was seeking godliness, when in reality I was trying to be perfect.
Running late, pressed to respond to texts, getting kids to and from practices and school, working, head in my phone, saying “uh-huh” to my family when I don’t event know what they’ve asked or said – much to my chagrin, this had become the norm. Even my sweet family’s subtleties in trying to explain this to me had not gotten through to my heart. Defensiveness, excuses, justification, and even laughing it off had been a way for me to escape admitting something needed to change. Until…
Being a parent is not for the faint of heart. Everyday my husband and I are faced with this unique job to shepherd, train, influence, and teach our 3 girls. While we are grateful that our children have all verbally committed their lives to Christ, we realize that their spiritual journey is just beginning. And at the risk of sounding a bit heretical, I need to say we don’t want Christian kids…
At nineteen years of age, I decided to come to terms with a dark past that had kept me burdened for almost 10 years. While I was ready to begin the healing process of the abuse that had occurred for the majority of my childhood, I wasn’t prepared for the time or the means it would take to get me there.