Seven years ago after “See You At The Pole”

Seven years ago today, the Lord allowed something to begin to unfold that would forever change the lives of some of the families in our community. Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? Well, it was! Both before and after this event, our family has experienced some pretty deep places of trusting the Lord, but to this day, I still think this was the most difficult path I’ve ever walked.

On the day after the 2006 See You At The Pole event, my name ended up in a law suit filed by the ACLU because I coordinated a group of parents who prayed for our children’s public elementary school. The suit was filled with lies, but unfortunately, once those lies were published, the truth ended up sounding like a squeaking mouse in comparison to an angry-on-the-attack-bear.

The “Doe” family was seeking to stop our school from participating in SYATP {which has time and time again been deemed legal if done accordance to the standards set by the courts – which ours was}, disband the Praying Parents group {which was a group of parents who prayed for the teachers and sought ways to bless and encourage them as they invested in our children}, to stop our kindergarten Christmas program from including any Christmas carols {which, again, this program was already done in accordance to the law – with an equal or greater amount of secular music than the traditional Christmas carols}, and to stop a precious kindergarten teacher from teaching that the Thanksgiving tradition began as a time of expressing gratitude to God for the care and provision He had given to the pilgrims in the new world.

The suit was filed the day after SYATP, and by the time I got home that afternoon, my answering machine had almost 100 messages and requests for interviews on it from news organizations around the world. I literally wanted to go hide under my bed! I think I cried for three days. I just couldn’t believe that this was happening in our peaceful little bedroom community outside of Nashville, TN.

The community was outraged as well, and quickly organized a prayer rally for our school. Politicians and church groups (some even from other states) came to stand with us, and it was encouraging and exciting! With the help of the Lord, we geared up for battle, called the Alliance Defense Fund (now the Alliance Defending Freedom) and they agreed to represent me in the case. After much prayer, we decided to fight back. (And if you are a supporter of the ADF, or have ever given any money to them, or have prayed for their work, I want to personally thank you!  Without you knowing it – God was using you to support us!)

On the day the lawsuit was filed, a good friend called and said something like this: “We’re behind you all the way. Anything you need, just ask!”  So we did, and the Gold family joined our family in taking this stand against the ACLU.

Over the next few months, our story made national news. People across our nation prayed for us, and we felt the Lord’s leadership in pressing us forward. But it seems like I took every step in fear and trepidation. People thought I was such a strong woman, but I wasn’t. I was scared to death, and only the Lord, my husband, and our wonderful lawyer, Nate, knew the amount of tears I poured over taking this stand.

Twila Paris’ song, “The Warrior is a Child” was what I would hear in my heart often during these days – “They don’t know that I go running home when I fall down. They don’t know who picks me up when no one is around. I drop my sword and cry for just a while. Cause deep inside this armor… the warrior is a child.”   …  A child of the King’s, though, Who teaches us how to fight, and Who holds us as we do.

We prepared for federal trial.   I don’t think the ACLU really thought we would be willing to take it that far.  I truly think that they expected us to give up and give in.

As I walked to the witness stand on that first day  of the trial (as the ACLU’s first called witness), I can still remember the way my feet felt as if they were plodding through quick sand.  Each step was truly an effort.  It was an obvious battle between the enemy of the Lord and the Lord’s army.  We saw God visibly at work so many times during those days of the trial.  We felt the prayers and experienced God’s answers – and God’s pleasure – as we stood with Him against His enemy.

In the end, the judge’s ruling left us a bit baffled – as he declared both of us winners.  But in actuality, the things we fought for were deemed rightly appropriate, and today, at that school, and at every other school in that district, students and parents are gathered around the flagpole to pray.  PTL!  And this Thanksgiving, the teachers can teach their children the true meaning of the holiday.  And this Christmas, Silent Night can legally be sung in the Christmas program.

The ACLU uses misinformation and intimidation as their greatest weapons against individuals, businesses, and school systems.  Unfortunately, their tactics usually work.  People would rather give in to their demands than to stand up and fight in a costly battle. And it does cost!  It costs money, time, energy, emotion, and sometimes… it even costs friendships.

More of the story tomorrow…

But until then, below is the first public word about the battle that I was allowed to put on my blog.  May the Lord use it for His glory, and may each of us be challenged and willing to rise up and fight if the Lord so calls us!


(Posted on Wed, Nov. 12, 2008.)

O.K…. I have to share something with you. It makes me laugh and humbles me at the same time… Three other friends, James, and I have just been named some of “The Most Dangerous People in America.” I’m serious! I’m still shaking my head… but with a big smile on my face. The title of the magazine says, “They may look like your friends and neighbors, but to the ACLU, they’re some of the… Most Dangerous People in America.”

Wonder how this happened? (So do I!!!) I’ve alluded to it a few times since I started blogging, but here is the whole story in a nutshell: I coordinate a group of parents (called Praying Parents) who pray for our children’s suburbian elementary school. For years, the ACLU has been watching the school, waiting for someone to complain. For years, no one did. Until the 2005-06 school year. Somehow, ONE “annonymous” unhappy family chose to join with the ACLU and sue the school, administrators, and a Christian teacher. In the midst of it, they falsly accused me and Praying Parents of doing things we simply did not do. Seing my name in an ACLU lawsuit was one of the biggest “earthquakes” of my life (so far)!

The school had their lawyers to defend them, but Praying Parents needed a voice. So, The Lord brought The Alliance Defense Fund to us, and called another family to become involved legally. And He helped us battle the ACLU all the way to Federal Court. In the end, the judge somehow rulled both of us as “winners” – a quite confusing judgement to all of us. Of course, the ACLU is claiming full victory, but thanks to the Lord and the ADF, Praying Parents is continuing alive and well.

If you’re truly interested, you can read the article about us and even watch a video of our stories here: The Most Dangerous People in America. (Just remember… the camera adds at least 10 pounds… right???) Edited to add: 

Article page 1

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You know… it doesn’t take battling the ACLU to be dangerous. It simply takes obedient surrender to the Lord in every little area of our lives. It’s often the “little sins” that hang us up, and keep us from bringing honor and glory to the name of the Lord.

Obedient surrender isn’t easy. But… when we believe that All Mighty God is the biggest, greatest, most Wonderful, All Powerful, All Loving God – more so than any other thing in our lives, we’ll never be satisfied with giving Him anything less. And this, my friends, makes us dangerous to God’s enemies!

I certainly don’t want to promote fear – but here is the truth: In the days ahead, all of those of us who call on God’s name will face an opportunity to stand alone in the crowd, and to stand up for Him. I believe that for some time, God has been drawing a line in the sand. Soon, all over our country, it will be easy to determine those who follow Him from those who do not.

It’s been coming for a long time – to be exact… at least 2000 years. Luke 21: 12-19 sheds some light on this truth, and on how we are to respond.

“But before any of this happens, they’ll arrest you, hunt you down, and drag you to court and jail. It will go from bad to worse, dog-eat-dog, everyone at your throat because you carry my name. You’ll end up on the witness stand, called to testify. Make up your mind right now not to worry about it. I’ll give you the words and wisdom that will reduce all your accusers to stammers and stutters. (We actually saw this happen in court! Amazing!!!)

“You’ll even be turned in by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends. Some of you will be killed. There’s no telling who will hate you because of me. Even so, every detail of your body and soul—even the hairs of your head!—is in my care; nothing of you will be lost. Staying with it—that’s what is required. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry; you’ll be saved.” (The Message)

God is Dangerous to His enemies…and so are we, when we obediently surrender. Be afraid, enemies of God… be very, very afraid… God’s army is rising up… and we’re dangerous!

Question: Is God calling you to stand apart from the crowd, and stand up for Him?  If so, Child Warrior, your Mighty King will arm you for battle, and in the end, He WILL be victorious!


About SmellingCoffee

I'm a Jesus-loving, husband-loving, family-loving minister's wife and mom to two college kids, making our home and serving our Lord in the Mississippi Delta. I study, teach, speak, and write for the greatest Boss in the universe. "Faith, Family, Food, Fun, and Living Life brewed in the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place": That's what you'll find at


  1. I remember all of this like yesterday…7 years wow!

  2. I’ve just shared this link on Facebook as a reminder that we need to be people willing to turn the world upside down. Thank you for giving us an example of how to stand with ours for our Lord.

  3. Jennifer I LOVE this story. I’m so proud of you and those who stood with you. Sometimes as Christians we can feel very steady…. until the ground beneath us begins to shake. It’s in those moments of testing that our true faith is revealed. You are a mentor in the faith to so many of us my Friend. God continually uses you to teach. Thank you for sharing this story today. Love you Friend.

  4. I remember so well those days of fear and confusion, all the while praying for our sweet school. Thank you for all you did!


  1. […] years ago TODAY that we found ourselves thrown into the midst of a lawsuit filed by the ACLU.  Part 1 of the story is here, and yesterday’s post ended with this […]