Abortion re-visited

Several months ago I joined some people from our church and another local church in a silent march for life.  I’ve never, ever participated in an event like that before.  Honestly, it took some courage for me to do it.  There’s a big part of me that feels like a hypocrite when I think about events like that.

I have to believe that Paul, who committed acts of utter treachery against those who followed and believed in Jesus and then later became an evangelist for Jesus, at some point really thought himself a hypocrite.  He does write a little about his past, and does acknowledge himself as the least worthy, but what I really like about Paul is that he doesn’t make it the focal point of his testimony.  He uses not what he did, but what he became as the leverage behind his words.  He never says “I know what you are feeling because I’ve been there”, but rather, “I know what you can be because I became that.”  There is a distinct elevation in his life from what and who he was before meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus to who he became when Jesus transformed him.  He went from being arrogant and self-serving to being humble and tortured.  And yet he, more than any other leader in his time, had influence and respect…and he still does today. 

It’s intriguing to me that he didn’t use the line, “Look at me!  Look how bad I was, and how good I am now!  Jesus did this!”  That arrogance was removed from him.  I believe that he was not capable of bringing that kind of self-centered testimony to the people.  When a person speaks of themselves in that way, it really takes the focus from Jesus. 

Standing on a sidewalk along a busy street holding a sign saying abortion is wrong humbled me greatly.  No one reading that sign knew my past, or how I got to that sidewalk with that sign.  But it didn’t matter.  For that event, I was shown exactly what it was like to be like Paul; to speak out for Christ, knowing what I know in my head but not making it the focal point of my message.  The message stood on it’s own.  Abortion is wrong.  My experience led me to that moment,  but Christ allowed me to speak to the hearts of others without me clouding the issue.

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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.

Bottle of Wine

There is a bottle of wine in my fridge.  It doesn’t quite fit, and frankly, I don’t want it there.  It annoys me.  Honestly, I hate it.  I despise it.  I resent it.

Yeah, I know, I’m talking about a bottle of wine. But it’s what it represents to me.  There are alcoholics in my family.  I’m not one of them.  As a matter of fact, I don’t drink.  (And it has NOTHING to do with my feelings about alcohol, it’s simply because I don’t like it.)  But seriously, to me it represents dysfunction.  It represents sadness. It represents the demolition of a family.  It represents horror.  These are the things it represents to ME.

Disclaimer:  I do not believe that alcohol should be banned or that it is the cause of every bad thing that happens.  This is just MY view.  End Disclaimer.

Every time I open the fridge, this awkward bottle stored in the door wobbles to one side or the other and makes it’s presence known.  I sneer at it, threaten to toss it out and then slam the fridge door closed behind me.  It’s not mine.  I can’t just toss it out.  I have to continue to store it.

So, like the bottle of wine, there are things in my life that I just don’t want to store anymore.  Things I despise and resent.  Things that represent dysfunction, sadness and horror.  Difference is, they are mine, and I can just toss them out.  But I don’t.  They wobble around in my life because they just don’t fit anymore.  I sneer at them and then slam the door closed behind me, leaving them right where they are.  In some ways, it seems like if I get rid of them, there will be something missing from my life.  There is a bizarre sense of comfort that comes from having them there.

For a long time, I didn’t know that I could get rid of them.  I thought that since they were a part of my past, that I had to carry them around with me forever.  But I don’t.  I know that I can, at any point, simply put them down and walk away.  I don’t have to look back.  I don’t have to worry that I have “illegally dumped” them because in the Kingdom of heaven, there is no wrong place to dump things.  You just do it.  And mysteriously, God makes the trash disappear.  But then He does something even more profound.  He replaces them with things that I need; love, compassion, mercy, acceptance.  Things that fit perfectly into my life.  Beautiful things that I want to look at over and over; things that I would NEVER slam a door on!

Every day is trash day.  One by one I’m going to take things out and dump them.  I’ve done a lot of that already, but I have more to do.  Anyone care to join me in de-cluttering?

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.

Today I wish…

Today I wish I had a fireplace to sit near and bask in the warmth of.

Today I wish I didn’t have to think.

Today I wish I could have a cup of soup and half a sandwich with God at Panara’s.

Today I wish I lived near all my friends.

Today I wish I didn’t have to prepare for another surgery.

Today I wish I had more ambition…

What do you wish today?

And that’s that!

I’m such a bad doggie mommy.  I’ve been so stressed lately…and last night, I left Jingo outside.  I took them out at about 1am, which is when I woke up on the sofa, and then went up to bed.  I counted…I saw 3 dogs curled up on beds as I tip-toed around to climb in myself.  When Rich got up at 5 to feed them and take them out, there were only 2 in the bedroom behind a closed door.  Jingo was outside in the yard, up on his hind legs peering in through the garage door window barking.

Weimaraners are not the kind of dogs that can be left alone, and not only did I leave him alone, I left him outside.  It’s getting cold at night here; Weimies don’t have a thick coat.  Weimies are nervous, anxious dogs and Jingo is one who suffers from separation anxiety, and I left him alone outside.

If you ever want to experience true forgiveness…true agape….get a dog.  When I got up this morning, after all this, Jingo greeted me with a smile (yes, he smiles by curling up is top lip and exposing all his teeth in the most endearing way) then he jumped up, wrapped his front paws around my waist and licked my chin exuberantly!  He was so happy to see me…   Then he wouldn’t leave my side.  He stuck himself to me, as if to say, “I’m yours, You are mine, and that’s that!”

Sometimes I think that we have these encounters to really illustrate to us the depth of love and forgivness we get from God.  No matter what we do, He stands by our side and says, “I’m yours, You are mine, and that’s that!”