What Excuse is Holding You Back From Fighting for Truth?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my favorite movies of all time is Wonder woman.  As a kid, I loved the show. But the show had a much more campy feel than the movie. What amazed me about the movie was that the multitude of lessons that are learned resonate with Christian theology. She must choose how she will respond to situations which are all too common to humanity (of which she is not.). Through these interactions, her character is revealed. Writing about one particular aspect of her character, blogger Megan Morris says this:

As Diana prepares to leave the island of Themyscira, her mother, Queen Hippolyta, comes on the scene. The queen is both deeply saddened and greatly disappointed that her beloved daughter has chosen to leave home— to leave safety, security, and the only family she’s ever known. Despite her mother’s feelings of disapproval, Diana remains steadfast. The princess is unwavering in her pursuit of what she feels called to do, making her decision based on truth, and not on how others feel about her decision.”

She is committed to the battle at hand.

No Excuses.

Wonder Woman is a fictional character. Yet, how do her actions compare with our commitment to our cause-following Jesus?

Are we as steadfast when we confront our excuses for fighting for truth?

In Luke 7, Jesus tells the story of three men who desired to follow Jesus but their humanity got in the way. Each of their excuses seem plausible. But Jesus does not give them a pass. He knew them well enough to understand their uncertainty yet offers them the opportunity to find their refuge and purpose in him.

But for each one, the excuses win over committing to their spoken desire to follow Jesus. completely.

Fighting for truth involves risk.

So does living without it.

But only one of the options will lead to security.

What’s holding you back?

This post is written for the Five Minute Friday Writing Community. Come join us! http://fiveminutefriday.com/

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A Reminder to Listen to God Speaking in the Silence

How does silence sound?

Over the summer, my husband, daughter, and I traveled to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Several years had passed since we had spent time in this pristine place abounding in natural beauty.

Most of our experiences in the U.P involved attending Family Camp at our church camp. Situated on the shores of a lake and surrounded by towering trees, it feels a world away from the bustling, buzzing place we call home.

Life moves slower up there. And it was never so apparent as well as convicting as it was in July.

Unlike, life at camp, we were not keeping a schedule. There was nothing to distract from the reality of being unplugged. No cable. Limited Wi-Fi. Few cell phone towers.

And I confess, it frustrated me. Surprisingly.

How had I become so accustomed to constant connection? Where had I rooted my security?

Is God not bigger than a wireless connection or a close grocery store?

God spoke to me. In the silence:

As my eyes scanned the perfect stillness of the lake that lay in front of my feet.

When the towering branches formed a protective roof over our tent in the thunder storm.

During the rush of a million drops of water which attest to their Creator through their collective voices.

The languages spoken through the birds chirping into the quiet

I still love the hustle and bustle noises of people engaged in the diverse activity of this world.

But sometimes, we need to be reminded who called it into being. And listen to God speaking though it.

This post is written for the Five Minute Friday Writing Community. Come join us! http://fiveminutefriday.com/

 

What I learned From My Daughter About God Meeting My Needs

Children can teach us much about God’s character without realizing it.

When my own children were young, they had a habit of gravitating to the most unusual objects for gratification.  Natural curiosity lends itself to discovering new textures, appealing shapes and colors.

Ironically, many of the items that lure their attention, are actually dangerous or not helpful to their well being.

But getting them to understand that reality is not easy. Have you tried reasoning with a toddler?

My daughter seemed to have a knack for such objects. One day, I noticed by daughter moving around in her walker in the kitchen. When I looked at her, she was happily chewing on a  dirty dog bone.

What?!

Actually, she is my second child so my germophobia had diminished since I gave birth the first time.

When I tried to take it from her, she screamed and held her hands out. What seemed to her to be a perfectly acceptable way of meeting a need was taken away.

By the one who loved her and knew what was in her best interest.

If she could only understand that I knew better; even if the consequence caused her pain.

As I reflected on that moment, a vision appeared in my head.

This time, I was the child.

How often do I find myself crying with my hands held out; angry that God has not met my perceived needs?

But I am reminded, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matt:7:11)

In fact, God knows what we need before we ask Him. (Matt 6:8).

It’s a reminder I need to keep hidden in my heart. I’m sure I will need the reminder again.

This post was written for the Five Minute Friday Writing Community. Come join us! http://fiveminutefriday.com/

 

 

 

How We Might Overcome Evil; One Click at a Time

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21

The term “keyboard warrior” aptly describes any of us; given the perfect storm of elements. In this digital age, communicating in the heat of the moment becomes an all to real temptation. The moment we read an article or comment that pushes our buttons, the adrenaline alarm rings inside. The heart beats faster, the mind begins racing, anger pulses through our veins. And our fingers impulsively gravitate to the keyboard in order to type out a response.

But what if we practiced the discipline of pause?

Oh, there’s much to lose by it. Power. Immediate gratification. A feeling of self righteousness.

But what do we gain?

humility. The voice of the Holy Spirit. Conviction. Empathy.

We tend to literally live in the moments. Bytes of interaction make up our days rather than relationships cultivated over periods of time. Our interactions become a series of transactions determined by non connected narratives.

What if loving our neighbors as ourselves included practicing the hard things for both our benefit and someone else’s?

How might we shine the light of Christ into the dark places of other’s hearts by responding to them in a counter cultural manner? One that would clearly affirm to them that we are not actually citizens of this world?

Oh, this is hard stuff. It doesn’t come easily.

Which is why we have to call on Jesus to make it happen. And we have to want it enough to do that.

So let’s do it together. Let’s covenant to do the hard thing. I want to witness the transformation that happens when we yield to Jesus; one heart at a time. What about you?

This post was written for the Five Minute Writing Community. Come join us! http://fiveminutefriday.com/

 

How I Found Gratitude After the Grief of Two Pregancy Losses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I get older, I realize that life is much messier than I once anticipated.

Over twenty years ago, my husband and I felt ready to start a family. The experiences of friends as well as the narratives told through television and movies created my expectations of that season of life. How often does media tell a story involving miscarriage, infertility, stillborn, or SIDS? How many stories are shared by older women to their younger female relatives regarding their own painful moments of losing a baby?

When painful realities are hushed, we are all affected.

Although it took longer than expected, I conceived my first child in less than a year. I suppose in some ways, my naivety lessened my anxiety. I didn’t realize the likelihood that a full term, smooth pregnancy was not guaranteed. Fortunately, I gave birth to a small but healthy son six days early.

Of course those early days presented much differently than what I imagined. Sleepless nights, limited free time, juggling work and time at home created an exhausting rhythm to my days. But we cherished the life we had been given; marveling at his developmental milestones. We loved our expanded family.

When my son was eighteen months old, we began conversations of adding another child. Since conception took several months previously, we assumed that pregnancy this time would not happen quickly. However, to our surprise, I discovered baby number two was on its way after only three months.

I shared the exciting news with close friends and family. Although, I was only a few weeks pregnant, I had no reason to believe anything could could go wrong. I made an appointment to confirm it with my doctor. I went alone since I assumed the visit would proceed as planned. There was no need for my husband to take time off of work.

But, my assumptions were quickly shattered.

As my doctor spoke, I struggled to absorb his words.

“I don’t see anything here.”

This is not what I expected.

He mentioned the slight possibility that the embryo may not have developed enough to see. My mind attempted to cling to this thread of hope.

In these days before cell phones, I picked up the pay phone in the lobby and called my husband. The tears began falling. Hard. My voice, barely audible, attempted to explain what I had just been told.

“They can’t see it,” I muttered through my cries.

I don’t remember my husband’s response. But I do know that neither of us were prepared for this moment or what was to come.

Initially, thinking that it was a blighted ovum, I was scheduled for a D&C.

Thankfully, the procedure appeared uneventful physically. Emotionally, I was still trying to reconcile my hopes with reality. At least my husband and I could return home to confront our grief and seek refuge in God’s healing arms.

A few days later, as I began moving about to the familiar rhythms of my days, the phone rang. My doctor spoke on the other end; my pregnancy was not yet over. The results of the D & C indicated that my body was holding an ectopic pregnancy.

Shock. Confusion. Fear.

I had read about ectopic pregnancies. I knew their implications: in addition to the loss of a baby there was a very real threat of life to the mother.

Fortunately, my life did not appear in Jeopardy yet. Therefore, Methotrexate was chosen as the treatment. A few days later, I found myself receiving the injection on my hip via a large needle. The physical pain was secondary to the pain my hurt felt as I realized i was choosing to officially end the life of this child. It’s quite possible that the embryo had stopped developing already. But, the guilt hung on my shoulders.

That summer became a blur of twice weekly blood draws, grief, death, physical side-effects, and stress between my husband and I. Yet, I continued to try to speak life into my toddler.

Fortunately, I became pregnant again. Despite my fears surrounding the first few months, I had no difficulties while waiting for the arrival of this baby. Again, six days early, I delivered a healthy baby girl.

We enjoyed the changing dynamics of our family. We had a son and a daughter. The days were filled with finding moments of joy amidst the chaos. But I felt our family was not complete. My husband and I bantered for several months over the size of our family.

Eventually, we decided to try one more time.

In what appeared to be a cruel twist of irony, we discovered that once again an ectopic pregnancy was confirmed. How could this happen again?

Despite the familiarity with the routine involved in the treatment, our hearts broke again. Dreams and hopes dashed in an instant. Guilt resurfaced. Would a third child ever become a reality?

In response to this situation, my doctor suggested that I be tested in order to discover what may be causing the ectopic pregnancy. Dye would be inserted into my fallopian tubes while he watched it on a monitor. Any blockages would be apparent.

No one could have prepared me for the results.

Despite carrying two full-term pregnancies, I was born with a condition called Unicornuate Uterus. In common terms: half of a reproductive system. Truthfully, most women with this condition, cannot carry a baby full term. Furthermore, pregnancy itself is a long shot. Not to mention that being deaf and possessing only one kidney are often associated with it as well.

Finding out your body’s idiosyncrasies as an adult when you have had no symptoms creates a bit of a surreal feeling.

The grief of losing two children is real. The memory doesn’t disappear. In fact, sometimes, I think that my body’s memory is all too aware that there should be two other children in my sphere. Often, when I’m rounding up my children as we prepare to leave, I feel an inner sense that two are missing.

Flicks of pain surface once in a while. Yet, mixed in to the sadness, gratitude finds itself. My husband and I recognize that the three (yes, we tried again after much prayer and conversation) children we have are a gift.  We don’t deserve Seth, Lena, and Eli more than any other people longing for their own. We have no answers explaining the mystery of God’s ways.

But we are thankful for what we have been given. And that is how we find gratitude in the midst of grief.

Have you lost a child due to pregnancy loss or stillbirth? I have a fantastic book to give away. “Loved Baby” by Sarah Philpott provides a healing balm to the soul. Sarah wrote 31 devotions to “help you grieve and cherish your child after pregnancy loss.” This beautiful book will be given away on Friday. Please state your interest in the comments below for a chance to win it.

 

 

The Amazing Connection We Discovered With a Stranger

Sometimes the world doesn’t really seem so big.

A few years ago, our family traveled to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin to take our daughter to camp. Covenant Harbor Bible Camp plays a significant role in the life of my family. My husband worked there for seven summers. Our kids have enjoyed several seasons of camp. They have been challenged to discover more about God’s character and how it relates to their identity in Jesus. God has spoken into their lives through creation: both the surrounding landscape and us: the image bearers.

We arrived early so that we could attend the Sunday morning worship service and leisurely enjoy the grounds before check-in. But, it seemed we overestimated the amount of free time we desired.Soon, we, realized we came to that moment when our kids have exhausted all the “fun” activities. Now what?

Wandering over to the activity center where check-in would take place, we found a few other families hanging out. While our kids engaged in a new game, we began chatting. I introduced myself to the woman next to me and asked where she was from.

“Oh, I don’t know if you know where it is.  It’s a small town in the suburbs-Glen Ellyn.”

“What?!” I replied. Unbeknownst to her, she was living in my husband’s hometown. In fact, his grandmother still lived there and we lived there as newlyweds.

As we engaged further in the new found connection, she mentioned that she lived across from a church: it happened to be the one in which my husband grew up and where we were married.

Oh, the irony.

And then I mentioned that my husband grew up across from the church…….and my mind leaped to the question that began pressing in: “What is your address?”

Oh , Yes it was. She lived in my husband’s childhood home!

After exchanging information about neighbors, questions about the structural milestones of the home and recognizing the profound connection discovered, we moved into the logistics of camp check-in.

Before we each left to go home, an invitation was offered.

“The next time you come up, stop by. But don’t ring the back doorbell. It still doesn’t work.”

What’s something amazing that you discovered about you and a stranger?

This post is written for the Five Minute Friday Writing Community. Come Join Us! http://fiveminutefriday.com/

 

Monday Morsels: Do You Believe Jesus Can?

 
Recently, I came across a passage from Mark 9 that struck me in a way that it hasn’t in the past.
That’s what I love about reading scripture. The Holy Spirit is always lifting up new truths every time we read it!
If you are a parent you will identify with the desperation in this father’s voice.
“A man out of the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought my mute son, made speechless by a demon, to you. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and goes stiff as a board. I told your disciples, hoping they could deliver him, but they couldn’t.”
If your child has ever had some sort of illness that lingers, you can resonate with his desperation here.
Please….someone help!
The disciples were his first choice. But they were unable to restore his son.
Please…someone help!
Hello! Jesus was next door. Why didn’t they go get him?!
Jesus said, “What a generation! No sense of God! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring the boy here.”
The disciples bring the boy to Jesus.
The boy’s father responds, “If you can do anything, do it. Have a heart and help us!”
If you can. 
Those two little letters speak volumes here.
How many of you have felt that way? We know Jesus has the power, but do we believe he can? For us?
“Jesus said, “If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.”
The father cries out, ““Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!”
The healer is also the restorer: to the boy as well as his father.
Jesus did heal that boy. We may not get the outcome we desire but Jesus will not abandon his promise to enter into our lives.
Maybe your child isn’t sick. Maybe you are facing some other crisis. A broken relationship, a job loss, a lack of direction.
Do you believe you are worthy of Jesus entering into it? That he will bring about restoration: whatever it takes to get there?
This story is taken from Mark 9:14-29.
Jesus, Our Earthly minds struggle to grasp how far you will go to enter into our lives. I confess my failure to trust you completely. Like the man whose cries summoned you, I plea for your help in my unbelief. Sustain me as I wait for your work to be complete.  Amen.