As I have been thinking through just how I can share with you about two painful events in my life, I realized that many of you that I know are reading this blog do not know the family that I grew up in as a child.  In order to understand the way I handled tragedy in my life, you must understand the person I was raised to be. Some of you know my family very well and so the things I write in this post will be nothing new to you.

 I grew up with a dad that is a preacher.  My dad did not come to know Jesus until he was 19 years old, when he was dating my mom.  Dad had been raised in extreme poverty.  His biological father left his mom when he was only 2, so he was left to be raised by his mom and grandparents.  Though my dad was loved by his family, like all boys who grow up without a father, my dad experienced much pain and disappointment in his childhood.   My mom on the other hand was raised in a preacher’s home.  She also grew up in a loving home, but the home was also filled with a lot of extreme rules and restrictions.   Many times the home was run with rules instead of with love.  When my dad met Jesus at age 19, my mom saw the dramatic change in his life and his hunger to learn about the Bible and she realized somewhere along the way she had missed the relationship with Jesus part.  Though she had grown up going to church and playing the piano in churches from the time she was 8 or 9, it was the change in my dad’s life that led mom into a relationship with Christ.

 My parent’s journey together began in 1969.  They celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in May of this year.  Two imperfect people committed their lives to one another and set out on a journey together to change lives for the sake of Christ.  (now…if you ask my dad you may not get him to admit the imperfect part…but believe me he is FAR from perfect!!!)  If I might take a moment to brag….last year my dad sold his one millionth book.  His books are used all over the world to teach people about the Bible.  Check them out at   Tell them the ponytail princess sent you and I’m sure they will give you a great deal!

 I could document the ups and downs of life in the Higle (my maiden name) house.  There are many ups and many downs.  Sometimes people put minister’s families on a pedestal and believe that family life comes easy for them.  This is not true.  I promised I would be honest on this blog.  So here’s the honest truth (my mom and sister are shuddering as they read these words because they fear just what story I might share!!!)…..I could fill an entire book with stories of Higle failures.  I could tell you about the arguments my mom and dad had in front of us as kids.  I could tell you about a few household rules that really were a little extreme and I have vowed not to use those rules with my own kids.  I could tell you about the knock down drag out fights my sister and brother had and how I was perfect and always just watched (hehehehe)!

 However, there is a valuable lesson that my parent’s instilled in me since I was child.  My parent’s taught me to focus on people’s strengths instead of their weaknesses.  Though I could fill a book with the failures of the Higle family, I could fill a library full of books of the victories.  Though I never want to paint a picture that we have a perfect family, I do believe that our family is a great example of how through the power of the Holy Spirit, two imperfect people can raise children who grow up to be warriors for the kingdom of God.

 I am a ponytail princess because of my parents…the ponytail part is definitely from my mom who taught me that you don’t have to wear make up to the grocery store.  (My dad on the other hand is a prep at heart!) I am a princess because both my parents taught me the value of living for a kingdom that is not of this world.

 I wholeheartedly believe that because of the perseverance of my parents through difficult times (whether in their marriage, at the church, or with their families), that I have been able to overcome some huge obstacles in my own life.  They taught me that the battle for my mind and heart is worth fighting.  When difficult times come, this princess has been issued armor from heaven above.  Thanks in part to my parents, I know how to use that armor.  (I realize some of you reading this may not know about this armor.  You can read about it in the Bible in  Ephesians 6:10-20)

 Stayed tuned and I will share more about how God used difficult times to draw Joe and I together.  Together we have been able to fight against the snares sent our way by the evil one.