Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I'm feeling 22.

This actually happened. I knew it would happen, and I couldn't wait to see when and where it would happen. Here's why ;)

I love the number two- but not in a weird numerology number-worship sort of way. Let me explain.

When I played volleyball in high school I choose the number 22. Or maybe it chose me. Kidding.
But seriously. Maybe.
That was the beginning.
Then when I was in my early twenties, God told me to do something that I recorded in my journal on 9-9-99. I didn't do it. (Topic for another day) He told me again 2 years later. I finally obeyed. It wasn't until many years later when reading through journals that I noticed the date on which I finally obeyed. It was the 22nd. No big deal right? Except a year later, to the day, the 22nd of March, ended up becoming my wedding day. The funny thing was we originally wanted to get married the 15th, but it was taken, so it had to be the 22nd.

I had my 22nd birthday in Germany, away from all my family and friends, while listening to Switchfoot sing these words in my headphones:

"It's my birthday tomorrow
No one here could know
I was born this Thursday
22 years ago"


When I met Paul, he was 22.
We were married in '02.
Our flight number for our honeymoon- 222
First child, also, '02.
The building number of our first home? #2
Our mortgage has 2222 in it.
Debit card # had 2222 in it.

And a ton of other random coinkydinks like that, the most recent happening a couple months ago. We were on our way to our homeschool group where it was our turn to take the stage at chapel to introduce our family. Deciding what to share about myself for the 5th year in a row, I decided to go for quirky, and share my affinity for the number 2. Moments later we pulled behind a car with a license plate that made everyone in the car break out in disbelieving laughter. Smack in the middle of the plate read the numbers 222.

 I can't make this stuff up!

So as the odometer turned closer and closer on our old faithful Toyota Sienna, I asked (read harassed) Paul daily....did you miss it??? I need a picture!!! This is more rare than a blood moon people!

And then it happened.

He got it!
So where was he?
I bet some of you know.
He was on his way from Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale to our new church home, Calvary Chapel Midtown, on his first day of work as a Pastor. 
And it couldn't be more perfect, because  I serve such a personal God.
He made me a weird math nerd. And so he humors me. And He does things for me that are special even though they seem silly to some. It's the big things and the small that make me say with Peter in John 6-

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.  We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”







Saturday, October 25, 2014

Running for my life- Why accountability matters.

I have 5 children. Have I mentioned that before? They are the joy of my life. And I don't mean that in a cliché way, but in the truest sense of the words. No matter how bad of a mood I am in, when my 4 year old boy tells me I am “Super super duper PWETTY!!” everything is ok. Or when I watch my 11 year old girl turning into a young lady right before my eyes, my heart is glad!

However....
Our children also provide me with the most challenges. Raising children is nothing if not a roller-coaster of emotions. It is for that reason my favorite thing to do at the end of the day is go for a run.......by myself. When I time it right, dinner is almost ready and can be kept warm, daddy comes home, we kiss, I pass the baton, and run out the door- literally. My run takes me west, so if I am especially lucky I run right off into the sunset. Endorphins start pumping and the stress/joys of the day get all worked out in 2.12 miles. But sometimes I don't plan so well, and I get to day 5 with no running and start to feel the need, although not necessarily the “want.”

Like today.

It's Saturday morning and I would much rather make some tea and sit on my rocking chair on the front porch. But my body is singing another song. I know I need a work out so I call to the kids, “Get your bikes ready, we are going for a run/bike ride!”

This is the first layer of accountability.

1. Tell Someone.

I really didn't want to run, but I knew if I told them, their excitement and drive would keep me on track. (Read: If I changed my mind I would have to endure 5 children wining!)

Normally taking the kids means I go slower. (Picture herding cats.) Recently, however, the littlest one got a bigger bike which helps him go faster. On the down side, however, he barely fits on it which makes dismounting a little tricky. Basically I have to be right next to him when he stops or he freaks out. Usually this is not a problem speed wise as I am the one cheering him a long.
”C'mon William, you can do it! A little faster :) Mommy needs a good work out!” However the last time we went I noticed his tires were a little flat. Apparently that was the problem because after pumping them up this morning, he rode like the wind!

To add to the intrigue I brought the dog. Apparently I am crazy.

This provided the second layer of accountability. 

2. Choose someone faster than you.

I didn't realize I had done this. I thought I was safe with William. But his newly pumped up tires actually made him faster than me! I found myself running for my life, or his, realizing I had to catch up with him before his next stop! All the while I had a crazy boxer puppy trying to kill me by criss-crossing in front of me. I was so tempted to stop the whole thing. I was tired. This was not the run I had planned. I did not want to run this hard and I had not anticipated the obstacles. Then I remembered my goal. I wanted a good work out and actually thought my kids were going to slow me down. Yet here they were, charging me forward, providing the training that I thought I wanted, and all I wanted to do was yell “STOP!!”
But I didn't. I remembered the goal. Get in shape. I remembered the means. Running hard. And I relinquished control. Somehow we think that we can cruise through life and still become who God wants us to be. We read about a refining fire, clay that needs to be heated, a race that needs to be run with endurance, and yet we despair when the obstacles come. This is the only way to the heart of God, to join in the fellowship of His sufferings.

When we finally crossed the finish line into the driveway, I felt so good. Knowing I had run faster than I had anticipated, I couldn't wait to check my “Run Keeper.”

This brings us to the third layer of accountability.


3. Keep Track.

When I checked the running app I found out I had cut 23 seconds off my 2 mile run. I had zero expectations of improving my time while wrangling 5 kids and a dog. But God knew. And now I knew because I had been keeping track. This running app has been the best thing for my running. So many times in our lives we think we are doing better, eating better, working out better, loving better. But without some type of assessment, the reality is that we normally give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. If you asked me how many times a week I run, I would probably tell you about 3. But when I check my app the results don't tell the same story. The app encourages me when I make progress, and gives me a check when I miss the mark.
As a math teacher another example comes to mind. How many times do math students say they understood the material, until they took the test?

Right after I finished typing that last sentence one of my blessings came up to me with a math test she had taken. She missed a few. She had no idea she didn't understand the math. Isn't God funny? His timing always amazes me.
“I hate tests!” she let me know. And I can relate. It can be really painful when we find out that we weren't quite as right as we thought we were. Sometimes we feel like a child or situation “makes” us impatient. Or a coworker “makes” us lose our temper. But the reality is those feelings were there all the time. What if I didn't keep track of my children's test scores? How would I measure progress?

Growth is not easy. Making yourself vulnerable to another person is hard. Continuing on when you want to give up is not the norm. But God never intended for us to go it alone. In fact He said it was not good for man to be alone.

Ecclesiastes 4:10 For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up.
    Pray that the Lord would give you a trusted friend. And then take the plunge. Confide in them. Allow them to pull you up. Choose someone who isn't afraid to tell you the truth in love. You don't need a venting partner. You need someone who loves you enough to tell you hard things, but won't heap judgment on you either. And write it down. A journal. A blog. A chart. On your phone. Anything. This allows you to see God working. Over and over the Israelites were told to write it down and remember! We are so forgetful.
    God is so good. He knows just what we need! He knew I needed a run. But you may have needed some time on the couch!! And that is ok too! I am praying for you today, that God would send you that person to hold you up and bring you closer to the finish line!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Critical Critique of Criticism- I Samuel 31

So the craziest thing happened this week. I was being critical of my husband.

I wish I could say that was the unusual part, but sadly it was not. I'll get to the crazy part in a minute.
But first, confession time.
More often than not, my problem solving, black and white, over analyzing brain comes in handy. However, on the “not” side I struggle with being critical. The strange thing is I am more critical of my own self than I am of anyone else. God is freeing me, little by little.

Being critical is obviously wrong. Except when it's not so obvious. For instance, often times we may have good motives. Take my beloved, late, great-aunt. Truly, her motives were good. She legitimately wanted to help. But her methods could appear critical. Here's an example. Just today my mom and I were remembering how I finally got braces. My teeth weren't awful. They were mostly straight, but I had this one tooth that did not quite fit. One tooth. Of course that was enough for which the boys to tease me.
Sabe. Short for sabor, as in the tiger, with the teeth.
Nice, nickname huh? I like to believe the teasing I received during those years taught me grace and compassion. But as a middle-schooler, it just really stunk. Anyway, my sweet, well intentioned aunt would ask me weekly if that tooth had settled in. After the 36th time, during my senior year, I finally smiled and said, “I think this is as good as it gets. But if you would like to sponsor some braces, I will gladly make an appointment.”
“Make the appointment.”she declared without hesitation. “ I'll take care of it.” And that was it. I got braces.
Was she critical? Yes, but her motives were true, and she was willing to help.

So I guess I come by it honestly. Critiquing. It's human nature. Monday morning quarter backs. Blogs criticizing any and everything. Editorials. It's what we do. But it can kill any marriage, any relationship, or any church, and on the grand scale, make this bride of Christ look less than bridely.

And I was doing it.
Again.
“Lord,” I thought. “I don't want to do this anymore.”
Knowing my strength comes from God's word,  I decided
decided  to grab my Bible.
What are the chances that in I Samuel 31, my next chapter, God would have a lesson for me? I remembered reading about being an armor bearer  earlier this year and wondered, would that concept be revisited.

A little discouraged, but mostly determined, I picked up my Bible and read. Tears in my eyes, and an overwhelming feeling of being loved in my heart, I could not believe what I was reading. How, over and over, does this keep happening? God's word. My daily bread. Just what I need.
 This is what I read. This is the crazy part.

 The Philistines fought against Israel, and Israel’s men fled from them. Many were killed on Mount Gilboa. 2 The Philistines overtook Saul and his sons and killed his sons, Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua. 3 When the battle intensified against Saul, the archers caught up with him and severely wounded him.[a] 4 Then Saul said to his ARMOUR_BEARER. “Draw your sword and run me through with it, or these uncircumcised men will come and run me through and torture me.” But his armor-bearer WOULD NOT DO IT ….

Saul had an armor-bearer. He was trained to do whatever Saul commanded. And in his moment of utter despair Saul asked his armor-bearer to take his life. But he couldn't. In this moment,when it came to choosing between following orders, or preserving his master's life, Saul's armor-bearer chose the latter.

He would not and could not take part in destroying the man to whom he had committed to serve.
Even if it made sense. Even if his motives would have been right.


And this is the power of God's Word. I started writing this a week ago and have been meditating on it ever since. If you only knew the number of times it has come to mind, how many times God reminded me of what I had read, and how many times these words stopped me in my tracks, well, it would be embarrassing.

But the point is not my weak nature, the point is the power of His Word to change.

It's easy to say, “Don't be critical.” But there is no power in my words. Thankfully, however, you don't have to depend on my words. You have better than that. You have God's word. And it does not return void.

The next time you are tempted to be critical of anyone, yourself included, take it to God first. What is the point of your criticism? To make yourself feel better? Going to God will solve that! Is it to “help” a person or situation? Going to God will solve that too!! Of course there is a time and a place to step into someones life and lovingly address an area that in so doing would bring them closer to God. But that never looks like harsh or angry criticism.

I want to be a true armor-bearer.
For my husband, my children, my friends and family. I pray that we would go to our knees when our reaction is critical. I pray that we would take our concerns, our burdens, our plans to Him first. And that we would go to God's word which is active and living and sharper than any two edged sword. Always. And watch the light of the Lord dispel the darkness of sin every time.



Saturday, October 4, 2014

Mama said there'd be days like these.... I Samuel 30

I Samuel 30-Friday, October 3


I have been having a week.  I am pretty sure you understand because I have seen you at the store, and you look as tired as me. And when I ask how you are doing, you tell me the truth. Life is not easy. There are many blessings. Many. And I try to squeeze the guts out of all of them. But in this world you will have troubles. That was a promise. From God made flesh. I don't always ask God why. In fact, I hardly do. But today I did.

What is going on, Lord? What do you want me to do?

Oh, right. I know the answer to that one. It is the same answer He has graciously, lovingly, generously pointed me to over and over, especially this last year.

Go to the Word.
And I know. I know that an answer awaits.
So I open the next chapter. Chapter 30 and read this:

 David and his men arrived in Ziklag on the third day. The Amalekites had raided the Negev and attacked and burned down Ziklag. 2 They also had kidnapped the women and everyone in it from the youngest to the oldest. They had killed no one but had carried them off as they went on their way.
3 When David and his men arrived at the town, they found it burned down. Their wives, sons, and daughters had been kidnapped. 4 David and the troops with him wept loudly until they had no strength left to weep. 5 David’s two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelite and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had also been kidnapped. 6 David was in a difficult position because the troops talked about stoning him, for they were all very bitter over the loss of their sons and daughters.

That is a bad week. Awful. David was kicked out of Philistia into the fire.
Ready or not.
And just as he feared, everything was heading south.
Family? Gone.
Belongings? Gone.
Friends? Ready to stone him.
Yet how did he respond?

But David found strength in the Lord his God.

Yes. David. Of course you did. Of course I can. I don't have to understand. I don't have to agree. I don't have to know how on earth I am going to do this. But I can stop. And find strength in the Lord. I can. I will. But how?

7 David said to Abiathar the priest, son of Ahimelech, “Bring me the ephod.” So Abiathar brought it to him, 8 and David asked the Lord: “Should I pursue these raiders? Will I overtake them?”
The Lord replied to him, “Pursue them, for you will certainly overtake them and rescue the people.”



As I keep seeing this “Ephod” in scripture, I realized I didn't quite understand the significance/symbolism and how it relates to us today. This is what I found out.
The Ephod was a garment the high priest put on before going to the altar.
David saying “Bring me the Ephod” is like me saying, “Someone go get my guitar!!!! We need to worship, people!”
More importantly, we know Christ is our great High Priest (Hebrews 8:1-6). The ephod is symbolic of Him. The colors point to His deity, the blood He shed, and His royalty.
When the priests put on their ephods, they were putting on Christ! And Jesus made the Way to the Father possible for all men. We can therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, to obtain mercy and find grace in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).


Here is where God blows my mind once again.
Three days earlier, I was distracted, annoyed, fighting bitterness in my heart. And I felt the Lord telling me to get my guitar. Fine. But I don't know where any of my sheet music is, or my ipad. What am I going to play? Reluctantly, I grabbed my guitar off the hook on the wall and walked into my bedroom. And stood there. Staring. Waiting. And then. Just like that, a song started playing in my head. A Bible verse I had put to music months ago,playing clear as day in my head. You might recognize the words:
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.




I must have sang and played it ten times that night. My bitterness gone. My spirit lifted. My soul strengthened. In the Lord.


My mom is always right. “Turn on your praise music,” she says. “A garment of praise casts off a spirit of heaviness,” she says. And it turns out, she was right. 
Here is the song that was in my head so now it can be in yours! :)
 *****EDITED Saturday, October 4th TO ADD.....
 Jesus wasn't done. Every once and a while I feel compelled to write. Sometimes I find out why, mostly I don't. Last night was one of those nights when I.had.to.type.

 Worship. 

This was God's word for me. He whispered to me in my spirit a week ago as He led me to sing a song in the privacy of my bedroom erasing anxiety, pain, and the sadness that can sometimes be contained in the everyday trials of life.  Then a few days ago He showed me through the life of David as he put on his Ephod, his garment of praise, strengthening his spirit and finding direction. I heard the words of my mom (yes moms, your words have life way beyond the moment) telling me that "Praise stills the avenger."  So I wrote. I wrote to cement these lessons into my brain. I wrote to organize my thoughts, and I wrote to declare His glory, because He is so full of Glory. I marveled at how He had been weaving my circumstances together as He laid out this tapestry of grace before my eyes. I thought He was done. I loved my lesson. 

But today. 

Today was a memorial service for a very special lady. She lived out the Gospel in joy and with purpose. Her faith. Her faith was as limitless as her God. Her outer beauty was documented regularly all over the world, but it didn't hold a candle to the beauty of Jesus love lived out in her. The light in her smile was lit with the power of the Holy Spirit, and every moment was a moment to shine for Christ. Even in her last months, weeks, and days, through years of incredible pain and suffering, there was one thing that every person who spoke of Ashleigh today referred to. 

Her love for worship.

 The intricacy of God's design is sometimes easily missed. But not today. Today I marvel at the twists and turns. I take note of His awesome glory as He tells His story of redemption and Sovereignty.

 You see it was years ago that I heard Ashleigh teach a lesson I never forgot. She spoke on the power of a purposed devotional life. 
Every day she would pour into scripture and write down 3 things. 
1) God's character displayed
2) An area in her life that needed to be molded in to that character trait
3) what she was going to do to be transformed into His image. An action plan.

 She shared countless stories of how God took those daily lessons and brought constant opportunities to minister to others through the power of his word. It was this small teaching that comes to mind every time I sit down at God's feet to meditate on His word. Her faithful example has so impacted me and changed me through the cleaning power of Scripture.  Every devo blog I have written has been influenced by those powerful words I took to heart all those years ago. 


This can't be missed.

All week God has been teaching me about the power of worship.

Sunday night He quietly led me to my guitar to show me in tangible way the power of worship in my own life. 

Wednesday-Friday He shows me in scripture the power of worship in David's life.

Then today, He displays to me and hundreds with me, the power of worship in the life and death of one of his saints. But not just any life. The very woman who God used to influence the way I study the Bible, the way I just blogged about worship. 

The title of this blog, Apologista, exemplifies my goal for it. To persuade and prove to all the reality of Christ's deity. However, I have come to understand that the real proof happens in our hearts when we watch Him move, and love, and orchestrate experiences that we could not have imagined. Yes, Ashleigh is in heaven now. Her healing took place there. But you could not speak with her for one moment without knowing that every day of her life was filled with miracles proclaiming the power of the gospel and as I learned today, the power of worship. 


I have seen God today in a manner I will never forget. I have experienced His presence in the most undeniable ways. I pray that you too will dig into His word. Look for His character. Watch Him radically change you and your world around you. And live a life of worship that could never be denied.  



Saturday, September 27, 2014

Stuck in the Middle with You- I Samuel 29


I Samuel 29

Life is so busy.

So I have been stuck.

I know that it is incredibly important that anything I put out there on the world wide web about scripture not be done in haste. For that reason, it has been a while since I have devo-blogged. (totally not a word)
Apparently,  I have taken “meditating on a portion of scripture” to the next level as I have been “stuck” on I Samuel 29 for quite some time now.
But isn't God funny?

Why? You ask. Well, Read I Samuel 29 and get back to me.

Ok, did you? Well, I will have to take your word for it. In I Samuel 28, David made a really crazy decision. Because he was afraid of Saul, he ran to the Philistines for safety. Yeah. The same Philistines that lost a mighty giant. The same Philistines that pretty much hated Israel. David ran there because his destiny was scary and uncertain. And now he was stuck. David's decision to run to a known enemy, because of an unknown fear, made no sense. But we all do it. We run to whatever brings us comfort. It could be as devastating as drugs or as mind numbing as television, but we run to something, anything when we have a fear of the future. Jonah did the same thing. Nineveh was a terrifying place to go. Instead Jonah decided he was going to head in the opposite direction. But God had a plan. And ready or not, Jonah's time was now. Same with David. David needed a little motivation to move because he had grown comfortable in this place of hiding out. In chapter 29 David is ready to go so far as to fight with the Philistines ...against Israel because he has totally forgotten the call on his life. Consequently, it takes one of the Philistines to call him out and tell him he is out of place. He doesn't belong there. And he has to move on.

Moving on is scary. I know this because we are doing it. It would be comfortable for my husband to keep his job as a mechanic. For the last year and a half he has been working part-time at church, and full time at Audi. (that's too many “times”, for those of you keeping track) and it could not go on like this forever. Being spread too thin, Paul knew it was time to change. But the question remained, which way? He was either going to go back to full time at Audi only, or switch to full time at the church.

Here's the thing. 
I know Audi. It's not perfect, but it's familiar.  Paul has done well there, and had opportunities to move up. The reality is that we have a lot of ballerinas, and swimmers, and they eat a lot! Audi is comfortable. Audi makes sense.

But God gave Paul a dream many years ago. And it wasn't to be a mechanic. That was his waiting place. Deep in his heart was a desire, given by God, to be a pastor. He has a pastor's heart. He loves. He forgives. He is unwavering in preaching God's truth and has done it wherever God has placed him.

Two weeks ago a choice had to be made. Paul was offered a full time position at our church.  Thankfully, through it all, God has been so faithful to show us time and again through His word, through His people, and through His Holy Spirit the way that we should go. 

Isaiah 30:21 tells us that we will hear a word saying “this is the way, walk in it.” 
We had heard that word. And we knew it.

The timeliness of this chapter in Samuel blows me away because it reiterates two basic and timely truths:

God's watches over His Word to perform it. Jeremiah 1:12
A man plans his way but the Lord directs his path. Proverbs 16:9

More prevalent than a fear of the unknown is the fear of choosing the wrong path. Therefore it is with great comfort I read this passage. God is in control, and He was directing David's path.

God is in control,and He is directing our path.

I have been “stuck” on I Samuel 29 which is about David being “stuck” with the Philistines. If you have been studying these chapters in Samuel with me you know this isn't the first time these words, inspired by God, thousands of years ago have been so perfectly timed for my life and yours too. Some of you have told me. And now I rejoice to watch David moving forward, ready or not, trusting God to fulfill his calling. It is also with great excitement and anticipation that we follow the Lord  out of this waiting place trusting Him to continue to lead and direct us through the unknown. And it is with great love and humility that we ask for lots of prayer from you!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I've never.....


I recently found out that this was a "drinking" game. Funnily enough, the first time I played it was at a women's Bible study, except you earned toothpicks instead of chugging alcohol. Let's say I start off the game with a statement "I've never broken a bone." Anyone playing who HAS broken a bone before must give me a toothpick. Then the next person gives their "I've never _________." statement and anyone who has ever _________ will give that person a toothpick and so on and so forth until one person holds all the toothpicks. Technically that person is the winner, but winning isn't the point of the game. It's about having a hilarious time getting to know all your friends' dirty little secrets.


Recently I came up with a twist on the game. It doesn't involve toothpicks, yet it is more scandalous than drinking. Instead of giving someone a toothpick, you give someone......dun dun dun duunnnnn.... MERCY!!! And instead of doing this when someone declares what they *haven't*  done, you give it when there is something that they *have* done.

Let me explain.


Scenario #1

Someone cuts you off in traffic. Your blood starts to boil. You may even consider cutting them off. But wait....it's time for a rousing game of "I've never!" Here's what you do. Think carefully. Can you say....I have never cut someone off. Ever. Or made any driving infractions. No Mistakes. Never taken a wrong turn. Never Fallen victim to a blind spot. You have? Okay here's how you play.  At that point, forget about drinking or toothpicks. Pull out a large helping of mercy and give it out.

Scenario #2
 You try calling your spouse/friend/cousin/daughter/sister/neighbor. And they don't pick up the phone. In fact, they NEVER pick up the phone. UGH!!! Especially when you need them. Like NOW! Pick up. Pick up. Pick up. No. Nothing. So annoying!! Wait......right when you feel that temper tantrum kicking in (yes, that's what I called it) it's time to play "I've never_________"  "I have never been unreachable when someone tried to call me. Ever. Never left my phone home. Never left the house without the charger. Never been on a call and not clicked over. Never been in the bathroom when the phone beckoned. Never not once." Nope. Not likely.  Okay, pull out some mercy. And give it up.

Scenario #3
You get an email. And immediately you "hear" the persons tone. They are so rude! How could they "talk" to you like that! So disrespectful. But wait. Before you get ready to blast them back an email, or share this one with all of your friends....it's time to play...."I've never!" Have you never had someone misunderstand your written word? Or taken something you emailed the wrong way? Because that has definitely happened to me. You see, I am a pretty straightforward person. I have to really try to add a "Bless your heart" here or there in emails, because I have learned that my "Get to the point" nature can come across as rude in writing. So much so that I was once kicked out of a Freecycle group (I kid you not) because of my "tone" in an email. If you are not familiar with Freecycle, it is a group where you can give away items, and even ask for items. Their one basic rule is that you can't "ask" for an item until you have given something away. After giving a ton of items away, I decided to test the waters and post a "wanted" ad.  The powers that be refused to post it because they said I had never given anything away. "That's easy," I thought, and I quickly emailed them all of the "evidence" I had of the items I had given away. They then accused me of "only giving away items so that I could get items." Lord have mercy. These people are crazy. I tried to resolve it quickly though and just got to the point. I emailed quotes from their rules that showed I hadn't broken protocol. Next thing I knew I was kicked out. When I asked why, they wrote that my "tone" was aggressive.  I read and reread these emails, even had my husband read them and we could not figure out what "aggressive tone" they were talking about. So yeah. I guarantee that your intentions for an email have been misunderstood. You just may not know about it.  Knowing this little tidbit from my life however, before you assign "tone" to an email, it's time to give it up. Mercy.

Scenario #4
 You hear of how someone has been wronged. You hear all the sordid "details." You are furious. How could that person do that to them? Don't they know that such and such is wrong! Just plain wrong. That's it. You are never talking to them again, and you are going to make sure everyone knows what a jerk they are for behaving so ungodly. But wait! This is the perfect time for "I've never!" It is amazing to me how popular the saying "There are two sides to every story" is, yet how quickly people are to dismiss this reality. And like wildfire rumors are spread. Assumptions are formed. Character maligned. All because we latch on to one side of the story. I used to be the first one in line to do this. Until, that is, God put me with a man who never did. I would tell him these atrocious stories that should have evoked the same outrage in him that I was feeling, and he would be slow to jump on board. He knew there was likely another side to the story. That attitude used to frustrate me to no end. Mercy. How could he extend mercy to someone so clearly in the wrong?  Until it was me to whom he was extending mercy. Then I got it. It took me too many years, but I finally got it.

What is my point? We live in a world, where people get incredibly bent out of shape over the smallest offenses. And not only are these infractions not worth the anger they provoke, but they are also sins that we commit ourselves, regularly. Thoughtlessness, selfishness, pride, carelessness, laziness, distractability, forgetfulness. No one is immune to this list. And when we are the offenders? We want Mercy. We expect Mercy.

Ok fine. Not you. You don't do those things, or at least not as bad as that other person. But let us remember the enormous debt that we all have accrued, illustrated best in the story of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:21-35. We have all received an immeasurable amount of mercy. And to those who have been forgiven much, we must love much. This truth is emphasized beautifully in James 2:13

For judgment is without mercy to the one who hasn’t shown mercy.
 Mercy triumphs over judgment.
I dare you to play the game tomorrow. I guarantee you will have an opportunity! Comment here if you do! I would love to hear about it. I am sure I will have a chance also, and I pray that God would flood our minds and hearts with His mercy, and that we would faithfully extend it to others!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Why I agree with Richard Dawkins and feel thankful that he finally said it.



When I saw Richard Dawkins' tweet that outraged the masses, this one:



I admit, my initial response was mostly emotional. What a disgusting thing to say! I have friends that have children that are beautiful and happy and also have Down syndrome. I was furious for the pain that they endure, not because of their child, but because of idiotic comments like the one from the best and brightest the atheist world has to offer.

And while I am a woman and definitely an emotional being, I also love math and logic which is the real reason why I had a definite problem with Richard Dawkins comment. Now, don't get me wrong. I am under no delusions that for one moment I could win a logic dance-off with RD, but his claim....it's a mess!!

Let's look at it:

“It would be immoral to bring it (a child with Down syndrome) into the world if you had a choice.”

He then goes on to explain that it is simply for the welfare of the child that he came to this conclusion. How generous.

So let me see if I can figure this out.

Children with Down Syndrome suffer.
Bringing a child into the world that will suffer is..... immoral.


Well Mr. Dawkins, I actually agree with half of it. Children with Down Syndrome suffer. It's true. You know how I know that? Because every human on the planet suffers. But do you know what other types of children suffer? And arguably more then a kid with DS? Children of divorce. You know what other type of children suffer? Again, arguably more? Spoiled children of rich parents. You know what other type of children suffer? Child actors. They are a mess!! I wonder if there is a prenatal test for the genetic predisposition to go into acting? Then Richard D. could campaign their abortions too. I mean, all this poor misunderstood lover of humanity wants to do is end the suffering of children by killing them. Don't be so hard on the guy.

Yes, children with Down Syndrome suffer, but hey Mr. Science and Reason guy, can you measure suffering? Because, if you can, wow, that's impressive. What is the formula for that? Oh wait, you can't actually measure suffering. But yet you are sure this one group of people are better off not existing because of their degree of suffering, right? All of them? They suffer so intensely that they would be better off non existent? None of them are ever happy, and sweet and actually the most unconditionally loving people you could ever meet? Yeah, just admit it. That comment was not only absurd, but also very un-sciency. Suffering. You can't measure it. And yet even if you could, what algorithm, exactly, would you use to determine if ones suffering renders their existence a total mistake? Here's an idea. Why not ask a grieving parent who lost their child, if they are suffering? Now ask them if they wish their child would never have been born...ya know...because then they could have avoided all that suffering. Here's the thing.

Suffering does not equal lack of joy or purpose.

 But now I am using all kinds of crazy words. Joy. Purpose. Sorry about that.

Ok, I know, it sounds like I don't agree with Mr. Dawkins, and now you are frustrated with my misleading “bait and switch” title. But wait! I really do agree with him! Here is the quote with which I completely agree.

"What I was saying simply follows logically from the ordinary pro-choice stance that most of us, I presume, espouse."

In other words, he is merely taking a pro-choice philosophy out to it's logical conclusion.

Case and point:
 If that unborn baby, that fetus, has no value, has no rights, is not a life,  then who cares what the reason is! Just abort it. Wrong gender? Abort it. Wrong timing? Abort it. Going to interfere with your modeling aspirations? Abort it. Going to have a chromosomal abnormality? Of course! No brainer.


As foolish and revolting as his initial comment was, this fact remains.

That comment flows perfectly and naturally from his evolutionary pro-choice stance.

So why, pray tell, is everyone so shocked? Why is there such outrage?

The reason is simple. Hardly anyone takes their pro-choice philosophy out to its logical conclusion.
They say things like, “It's a baby if you want it to be.” (So scientific) Or  "yes, decapitating babies is gross, but who am I to tell a woman what to do with her body." Huh?
 No matter how obviously illogical these statements are, people  continue with these ridiculous arguments for abortion. because they must cling to their "freedom" whatever the cost. The cost in this case is logical inconsistency.

I have to admit, when I took to the twitterverse and saw all the magnificently dissenting opinions, I felt relief. Ahhhh!! People do have souls! Yay! The internet can still distinguish evil! Hooray! All is not lost! But then it happened. The only way I can describe the feeling I had next would be to liken it to the day after our most recent presidential election As I stood in my neighborhood, covered in Romney signs, all I could do was shake my head and wonder what went wrong. I thought we all agreed? It hit me. My comfort was fleeting because I knew the truth. I sat there at my computer confused.  Yes, the majority of tweeters are using their twitter handles to blast Dawkins and his morally depraved views, but does that really match popular opinion? Does it accurately reflect what happens statistically? Or is everyone just mad that he said it out loud? Are they just in disbelief that he pulled the curtain back only to reveal a little atheist of a man whose pro-choice view of life is cold and black and empty.

This one statistic is what brought me back to reality. I read it recently, and it is horrific.
Ninety percent.......(you know what I am going to say right?) Ninety percent of unborn babies diagnosed with DS are aborted. So you know what that means?

The internet is a liar. 

Because if people were honest, there would have been no backlash. There would have been no blogs on Huffington Post making a joke out of the whole debacle. If people were honest, 90% of them would have “favorited” his comment. Because statistics say that most people agree with him. And that is that sad truth.

Yes Dawkins, you are right when you say that your comment flows perfectly from your world view. And I can imagine how shocked you were when you were attacked by the very people that are normally on your side. You will have to forgive them because they are just not smart enough to take your espoused views to their logical conclusions. And to you, I am truly thankful. I am thankful that you said it out loud. I am thankful that you exposed the pro-choice philosophy for all that it really is. Because of you, I know right now someone out there finally gets it.

So before I conclude, that person is the one with whom I need to talk. With all this media attention, all this talk of aborting babies because they had down syndrome, all the apparent outrage over taking the life of an innocent, there is someone else out there that may understand now what they didn't realize then. You see, like many others,  we too were told that our first baby girl had all the markers for down syndrome. But we refused an amnio because we didn't think knowing was worth the risk. Any baby from God deserved a chance at life. That was an easy decision for us. But I know that it is not an easy decision for all. I know that there are women and men, mothers and fathers that agonized over that same decision. I know that some decided to get the amnio, and in turn, due to complications, lost their baby, a baby that actually did not even have DS. I also know that others chose a drastically different route. They chose to end the life of their child. They believed the lie. They really thought they were doing the charitable thing. They were deceived by men “smarter” then them. Doctors. Midwives. Family members. All lied. And just like that a life was gone. This was a baby, with eyelashes and fingernails and smiles and toes. A baby that was brutally murdered. If that was you, if you made that choice, but now, thanks to Dawkins, you have seen the lies exposed for what they really are, you may feel so much pain that you think you will die. But I need you to know one thing. There is forgiveness at the cross. There is healing from the hand of God. You can find freedom and peace. I promise you. Yes, I am glad Dawkins said what he did. I agree that pro-choice philosophy logically leads one to his exact pitiful and nauseating comments. And I am thankful that he drew back the curtain for all to see the ugliness that comes with the pro-choice world view.But more than that I pray that those that were deceived, would find healing. And I pray that those that are in that valley of decision, would choose life.