One Christian’s Christian Response to the Vote on the Health Care Bill

Last night I watched in utter dismay as the United States House of Representatives approved the much debated health care reform bill by a vote of 220 to 215.  I went to bed fretting about this.  I adamantly oppose this bill for many reasons, but most notably the proposition that abortions could be paid for with taxpayer money.  This fact alone makes me want to see the whole thing sent back to the drawing board and re-written so that abortions cannot be covered by taxpayer monies, and that the provision for that can never be added in at a later date.  But that’s not what this post is about.  This post is about how this Christian has come to terms with what is going on in Washington D.C.

This morning in church, we heard a message on patience and suffering.  I went back to re-read some of the scripture in 1Peter chapter 2 and this is what I read:

13Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,14or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.

15For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.

16Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.

17Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.

18Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable.

19For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.

20For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in politics and be angry or pleased with the outcome of whatever the hot button issue of the day is.  It’s even easier to gloat when things go the way you want, or the way you think it should be.  We live in such a sports crazed world…it’s not a wonder we hoot and holler when we “win” something political.

The verse above spoke volumes to me, especially “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority…”  It’s our duty, as Christians, to submit to whatever leadership is in place, regardless of whether we agree with the policies or not.  This pleases God, because all those in leadership are there because God placed them there.  And if while they are there, it causes me to suffer, or to be discontent, then I need to do so in silence.  Yes, I know, we live in the United States of America and I, too, have a voice.  And I exercise that voice.  I vote.  I debate the issues.  I learn about them to reach educated conclusions.  But once it’s all said and done, it then becomes time for me to sit down.  It becomes time for me to enter into a time of prayer for those that are in leadership.  It is NOT a time for me to complain, or to spew my anger, the venom of Satan.

I am in no way suggesting that as American Christians we should remain silent on issues we are passionate about.  But there comes a time when the talking, and the debating, and the arguing, and the anger and the gloating need to subside and the prayer needs to begin.

Not Alone.

They were any other family.  Active, loving, playful.  They, the mom and the dad, were beautiful examples of all that God expects of those that he makes husband and wife, mother and father.  Their bond was strong, their love even stronger.  Their children, siblings, bicker and squabble, but their bonds, too, were growing stronger and stronger.  Sisters, leading, following.  Brother, teaching, learning.  They worshiped together, prayed together, lived together, love     together.  This family that God created.  This family that embraced all that God offered; their love, their each other.  She was any other child.  She shined with the joy of play, the shimmer of love and the brightness of childhood.  Her eyes sparkled, bright blue, full of wonder, amazement and curiosity.  She embraced life, although at her tender age she couldn’t know that’s what she was doing.  She was the reflection of God’s pure love.  A loSunflowerve that doesn’t go untested.

If you saw her, you wouldn’t know.  You wouldn’t know the evil that lurked just beneath the surface, right in the heart of all that makes her go.  The growing, changing evil, bent on taking her life.   If you saw them, you wouldn’t think that anything was different or special about them.   You wouldn’t think that they would soon be spending their days encouraging, loving, comforting this little one, the one in the middle, the one with the sparkle in her eyes.  You wouldn’t think that they would soon be spending their nights in silent, tearful prayer for the life of their daughter, knees red, swollen, sore.  But they are.  And she is.  As mother and father reach out to those who know, love and care for them, they unwittingly tap into a well of prayers and love so deep that only God knows.  No, they are not alone.  Not alone in prayer for their daughter, not alone in sorrow for what she has already lost, not alone in compassion for what she has to endure.  Not alone in their battle for her life.  Not alone.

We are the ones they don’t know.  Our names are hidden from them.  We are any other people.  We are any other families, with husbands and wives and children.  We are beautiful examples of all that God expects of those who call him Father.  By his grace we are not praying for the lives of our children, laying silently in hospital beds while drops of poison are forced into already weakened bodies.  By his mercy we go to soccer games, baseball games, end of summer picnics.  We buy school supplies and agonize for our children about the expectations in school.  We bring them instead, to ballet lessons, piano lessons, Sunday school.

But God hears our prayers.  God hears us cry out for the innocent children who suffer daily from the evil of cancer.  Take a look, here.  This is any other child.  Her name is Kate.  She is 5.  She has a brain tumor.  Now, please, take a few moments and pray for her.  By His mercy and grace she is not my child.  But my tears are real, and my heart aches as if she were mine.

Deep Cold

This is a difficult time of year for me.  I can finally admit that.  This year, I wait for the arrival of a son.  I think of him all the time.  I pray for him, but not as much as I should.  I’m scared to.

He was born to another mother and father.  I know that right now, the plan is for him to come here as soon as he is strong enough to leave the hospital.  But I can’t help but think that he could one day be my son.  A son to love and care for.  A son to be a brother to my daughter.  A son to be a grandson to my parents and to my husband’s parents.  A son who’s presence in my life would change it forever…

Long ago, a young girl got the news that she would be a mother.  She wrestled with it.  She worried about it.  How could she, a young unmarried girl become a mother?  His birth had been foretold for years.  Prophets upon prophets had told of his coming.  He would be a savior, one to change life forever, for the world, for generations to come.  He would be born to her, and she would have the responsibility of raising him, loving him, nurturing him, tending to him when he was sick and rejoicing with him when he was successful.  And she said yes.  She didn’t even have to think about it.

For months she waited in anticipation.  And here I sit, thinking about what she must have felt.  A baby.  Not her’s.  She could have said no.  Strangely familiar to me.  Like her, I don’t know what the future holds.  But I know that in spite of my job loss, in spite of the unfamiliarity of having a baby, in spite my age and the age of my husband, this is what we are supposed to do.  We are supposed to love and care for this baby for as long as we need to.  I want to say that he is mine.  I want to say that we have a son coming.  But I don’t know.  I don’t know if all that we think is planned out is what is actually going to happen and because of that, I feel like I’m living in the midst of a frozen place in time.  My heart resides on the verge of tears almost all the time.  So much happening…so much we don’t know…so much I want.  So much fear that none of this will happen, and that I will be left jobless and babyless.  Mary is my one seed of hope.  She brings me more joy than I could have ever imagined.  Her smile, the twinkle in her eye when she is being playful….  God has blessed me more than I could ever imagine with a husband who loves me, cares for me and a daughter.  God knows the desires of our hearts…is this situation His response to the desire in my heart?

Testing, testing; one, two, three…

There is a great test going on here right now; my husband and I are going to need a lot of support.

My job is officially ending on Dec. 29th.  I got word yesterday.  Now, I’ve known about it for a while but I really didn’t address it because I hoped that somehow the company would come to their senses and realize that letting go 40% of the workforce at the end of the year was not a good idea.  So much for that idea.

I’ve been looking…but not seriously…for another job.  Now I need to really look.  But there is another story here as well.  We are hopefully going to be fostering a new born…an early born.  Through our extended church family, we learned of a pregnant birth mother who’s older children are in foster care already.  The state would like the siblings to have contact but the other foster family just can’t take on a newborn.  Enter us into the picture.  We are ready and willing.  Enter the challange:  the baby was born 13 weeks early.  He weighed under 2 lbs at birth.  We don’t know if there will be any other issues.  We do know that if he survives, he will be placed with us.

How, then, do I look for a job knowing that this little tiny guy will be coming here and needing more than just a few hours a day of my time?

I’m trusting that God has his hand on all of this and that he will work it out for us.  I’m trusting that the money we need will be found.  I’m trusting that…..well…I’m trusting.

To Give a Little Thanks

Tomorrow is our first Thanksgiving as a family.  Our first holiday really, since the adoption was finalized.  I am filled with simply every single emotion there is, including a deep sadness.

The joy of the holiday season is, for me, often tempered with the knowledge that for some reason my family decided we were better off without each other than with each other.  I know I’m not alone.  I know there are simply millions of families just like mine, and worse, out there in the world.  But it still saddens me that my little family is so broken up.

Then I think, how does God feel about it?  If I’m sad about my one family, and I know there are a gadzillion more like it, how then does God feel? Profound to imagine.

What, then, should be the response?  How do I fit into this equation?  Am I just a victim?  Do I have a choice in how I feel about it?  Yep.  I do.  Here is how I know:  A little conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God…”

There it is, “Whoever believes”.  That’s my choice.  I choose to believe.  And since I choose to believe, then I am part of the larger family of God, and I have a responsibility to that family, not just the family I was born into.

So often this verse is used to illustrate salvation. But it also touches on the fact that God loves us ALL. The whole world. Notice that there are no conditions around that. I am part of God’s family like it or not! He decided, not me. And yeah, my little birth family is torn up, but I’m not only a part of that little family but of the greater family of the human race. And to that end, I need to stop looking only as far as my nose, and realize that God is working in other parts of my family when I hear wonderful stories of gatherings, reunions and time spent together.

I can be part of the problem, or I can be part of the solution.  I can sit and cry over the fact that I come from a dysfunctional family, or I can rejoice that God has given me a family of my own so that I might share with the world His glory and the wonder of His unconditional love.  I can be thankful for what He has done with the mess I created, or I can wallow in self pity over the mess that others made around me.

I’m going to give a little thanks.  Today.  Before Thanksgiving.  Because I am choosing to be part of the solution.

Life since High School

Recently through facebook I have  been re-connecting with some old classmates, so I’ve been thinking a lot about the twists and turns that got me where I am.

Summer between sophomore and junior year of high school, my parents divorced and we moved to the east coast from the mid west. Life wasn’t easy. Here’s the rundown in fast forward:

Struggled with the new social rules and language, joined the swim team, made varsity, went out for softball and blew out my knee triggering all the surgeries, worked at Wendy’s, finished high school, worked at an electronics manufacturing plant, got pregnant, had an abortion, married the guy, had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, divorced, worked, worked, worked, moved to California to be a ‘nanny’/Auntie to my beautiful nephew and niece, started a long distance relationship with Mr. Right, moved to Michigan, moved to New Hampshire, married Mr. Right, built a house, got a puppy, started taking classes to change careers, got another puppy, moved to Connecticut (hated it), adopted another young dog (bringing the total to 3 dogs at 1yr, 1 1/2 yrs, and 2 yrs old.)  Moved to Rhode Island, met my father-in-faith via the internet and was led to Jesus, found my church family, started a new career as a tech writer, fostered a child, adopted that child, waiting to hear about fostering another; this time a newborn.

There…that about covers it.  Looking back, there were defining moments: parents divorce, moving away, abortion, ectopic pregnancy, divorce, that really changed me, and one defining moment that really confirmed Me.  I’m not proud of what I did.  But I’ve been granted the forgiveness and mercy that helps me to learn and move forward and beyond those moments.

As difficult as it has been at times, God knew all along the path I would have to walk.  He wanted different things for me however I made choices that changed the path.  But never the goal.  God made sure of that.

UPDATE:

As of December 2009, we are foster parents to a first grade boy!  The newborn we were waiting for was placed elsewhere due to his medical issues.  But once again, God showed us that His plan is perfect and sent this wonderful, challenging, articulate, fun, loving little boy into our family for how ever long he needs to be here!

Talk the talk…

…but can you walk the walk?

There are a lot of people who like to give advice.  Some of it’s good, some of it’s not good.  But the thing that really gets me is when someone gives me advice they don’t follow themselves…STOP!!….Wait, WHAT?????

Yeah, guilty.  I’ve done it.  I spout of some ‘righteous’ thing, offer some sort of scripture, or story to go with it and then I’m on my way feeling all good about my self and helpful even.  Then it hits me…I’m such a hypocrite.  How dare I go off thinking I’m good when I’ve left someone with a task bigger than I can handle myself?

Thoughts?