Empowered

 

I didn’t feel empowered when I walked into that old converted house in Richmond.

I didn’t feel empowered when I was educated that abortion was safer than child birth.

I didn’t feel empowered when I was counseled to continue the process in spite of my reservations.

I didn’t feel empowered when I was given a sedative to take the edge off.

I didn’t feel empowered when I sat in a tiny room with a dozen other broken women waiting for our turn.

I didn’t feel empowered when I was herded into a procedure room.

I didn’t feel empowered when I was hurried out to recover.

I didn’t feel empowered when I drove away bleeding.

I didn’t feel empowered when counterfeit love couldn’t bear the weight of loss.

I didn’t feel empowered alone with my secret.

84% of post abortive women felt they had no option. No power to choose.

Abortion doesn’t empower. It steals. It robs. It abuses.

Real power came when I found forgiveness and healing in Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8).

By His grace, a loving husband and subsequent pregnancies followed.

The most empowering moments of my life can be found in newness of life.

Redemption. Child birth.

I will be a voice for the unborn. I will be a voice for women.

#whywemarch

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Couple of Changes…Update on Chloe, September 2, 2015

Chloe is growing. Almost 2 inches since February and nearly 10 pounds. Good news. 

She feels good. Good news.

Her blood work is right on. Good news. 

Time to change her meds.  Maybe good news.  Then again maybe not. 

There’s always been concern that the long term use of vancomycin, an antibiotic not absorbed into the blood stream, could lead to resistance. Though there are no cases of oral use that have led to resistance, the possibility comes up at every visit. 

The perceived risk was less than the potential benefit…before. Now that Chloe has been well and had good liver enzyme measures for almost 12 months, the doctors are leaning toward the risk being greater than the benefit. 

Her liver gal wants her to have an MRCP (MRI) to have more data on her liver disease.  Her GI guy wants to increase her anti-inflammatory medication. Then in a couple of weeks decrease her dose of vancomycin. 

These switches may go off without a hitch leaving us to wonder why we ever waited so long. Or her symptoms may return from the inflammatory bowel disease, from the primary scleroscing cholangitis, from the recurrent c. diff or from some or all of those diseases that Chloe struggled with in 2014. 

Change isn’t easy. The unknowns can twist my insides into knots. My mind can race down a path of what ifs and problematic outcomes. 

Right now I feel tired.   From getting up early and driving to and from Pittsburgh. From asserting myself as an advocate for Chloe with two separate doctors.  From fear of Chloe returning to fragile health. From thinking and chasing worries.

Philippians 4:8. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.



His Eyes

Worry darkens my joy.

In the pit of my stomach where my anxiety drops, my food churns losing the pleasure of its taste and my hunger.

I feel unsettled. My thoughts keep fast forwarding to the possibilities.

But I must walk in truth. The truth of today not the borrowed troubles of tomorrow.

The truth of concrete facts. The truth of God’s promises.

I force myself to lay down my worries, my troubles, my burdens at God’s feet. Before His strength. Before His might. Before His power.

I force myself to look at Him. To not hide…my tears…my heart…the authentic me.

Lamentations 3:22-23
It is of the Lord’s mercies that [I am] not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

I feel relief when I see the immeasurable love in His eyes. When I see that my pain hurts my Father deeply. When I see His bright tears threatening to spill, I am reminded that this world is not my home.

I can strain to look into the distance. Into the future. Through the haze of what ifs.

Past the joy of today. Past the mercies of the morning. Past Him.

Each moment, I have to choose. Worry versus trust. Anxiety versus faith. Despair versus joy.

Romans 12:12
…rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer.

My eyes lock on His.

The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis
Up till then [Digory] had been looking at the Lion’s great feet and the huge claws on them; now, in his despair, he looked up at its face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion’s eyes. They were such big, bright tears compared with Digory’s own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself.

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Always, Never

The end of the school year means yearbooks to many students across the country. Class pictures, candid shots, clubs & teams, and superlatives.

Who’s most likely to succeed? Who is the most athletic? Cutest? Funniest?

My brother had a mission during his 8th grade year. He was in pursuit of the coveted superlative of the best dressed. Every day he wore a button down shirt and a tie.

As the year progressed, he stayed the course. Voting time produced a title for him. However it was not the best dressed, but the class clown.

I was in the running my senior year of high school for the most quiet. To the stranger, I was shy and reserved. Those who knew me, though, couldn’t believe the word quiet could be used to describe me. So I was not crowned Miss Quietest.

I never win anything…oops!

I know when my thoughts and my words start turning to superlatives that I am off track. Absolutes like always and never rarely reflect truth.

Just a few moments ago, one of my children, who shall remain nameless, expressed that her sister always said Exhibit A and never did Exhibit B.

I asked her to consider what was true. To examine her heart and really look at the reality of the situation.

When those always, never thoughts creep into my mental commentary of life, I need to pause. I need a reality check. I need to consider the truth. I need to think on such things.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

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Tucked Away between the Red Letters

Luke 22:13
They left and found things just as Jesus had told them.

I found it. Tucked away. Inconspicuous.

Between the red letters of Jesus’ words. Between the betrayal of a trusted friend and the in-fighting of the disciples.

A simple statement…they found things just as Jesus had said they would.

No mere coincidence. No conjured mystique.

Supernatural, yes. For truly this Man was the Son of God.

However, here I also see the ordinariness. I see the consistent character of who Jesus was. I see a solid sameness.

The disciples didn’t always understand. They didn’t always get it. They weren’t always in the know in regards to Jesus’ plan.

In obedience, following in faith, they discovered that Jesus told the truth. He was the Truth.

They found everything the way He explained for the preparation of the Passover meal. They found everything the way He explained during the Passover meal. Betrayal. Denial. Suffering. Death. Resurrection.

Although His ways are not my ways, even when I don’t understand, He is right and true.

I can trust that all things will be found the way He explained for new life in Him, for His Second Coming, for the final judgement, for the coming of a New Heaven and a New Earth. Until the end of days. Without exception.

I will find things just as He told me.

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Bittersweet

The death of a believer. It is bittersweet.

Her separation from her family, but her presence with The Lord.

Tears of sorrow for their loss. Tears of joy for her gain.

Treasured memories and photographs bringing the smiles and the delight of a shared past, but the sadness and the emptiness of an altered future.

Today I attended the “Celebration of Life” of an exceptional young woman who passed from this life into eternity on Monday in her mother’s arms surrounded by family.

Amy’s story is the story of love and dependence. It is the story of hope and redemption.

Amy had Rett Syndrome which left her unable to speak or walk or care for herself. She was completely, totally dependent on the care of those who loved her.

I witnessed the tenderness and affection that was showered upon this beloved daughter, this cherished sister. The beauty of a hand held. The loveliness of a whispered song. The fun of a Kit Kat to end a meal. The consideration of her personal needs.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

This outpouring of love cannot be manifested by will, but only through the power of the Holy Spirit, a counselor sent to those who believe and accept Jesus Christ.

Amy received love in abundance from her family. She watched, heard and experienced Christ’s likeness modeled in her home.

In December 2010, communicating with her eyes, Amy expressed her deep desire to accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. The following year, she made a public proclamation by following in obedience and being baptized.

The Immeasurable value of Amy’s life. Our Gracious Heavenly Father created her, knitting her together in her mother’s womb. She was made in His image, fearfully and wonderfully.

The Inspirational love and sacrifice of our Lord and her family. The love of Christ knows no bounds even though Amy’s body had the boundaries of weakness, limitation and disability. He adored her and spoke straight to her heart and through her family, friends and church.

The Irresistible hope of a new life. Amy’s profession of faith gives a hope for an eternity set free from a wheel chair and muteness. Her testimony is such a precious gift to all who hear of God’s goodness and mercy.

The Invitational. Without the good news of a Savior, death stings. Without the gospel, death leads to despair. Without the Light of Eternity, death is the end.

Bittersweet today. Bright hope for eternity.

1 Corinthians 15:52, 55-57
…in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed…then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Amy wanted to tell her story to the whole world. If you would like more information, please contact amys.story@yahoo.com.

 

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Photo credit: Alex Flaaen

The Sun will Come out Tomorrow, but What if Tomorrow Never Comes?

What if all our wisdom and guidance came from show tunes or from country music songs? We might live in a state of confusion and contradiction. We might sound philosophical and yet find no realistic, practical way to truly live life. Certainly not the abundant life of peace, hope and purpose.

When I worked as a student trainer at UVa, the head trainer was from Oklahoma and the music of choice seemed to be Garth Brooks. To my surprise, I grew to like that style of music and before I knew it, without effort, I could sing along with those songs.

I have to admit that I do not listen to much country music anymore. I have the tuner fixed on 90.5 WCRH with Contemporary Christian music in the kitchen. In the car, I have several K-Love stations programmed so I can track it as I travel. Takes me three FM frequency shifts to make it to Bedford! 🙂

Perhaps I have dropped the toe-tapping, swing your partner tunes of country because in all honesty, I am a one trick pony. I pick a particular station and then stick there. Todd was just making fun of me yesterday about this very habit. “What would you order at Taco Bell?” Yes, I would order a bean burrito…just like always.

Another reason for tuning my radio differently has to do with wisdom, my heart, and the hearts of my kids. I am not saying that country music is evil, but I am saying that I need to take care and to be mindful of what is swimming around in my head and the heads of those in my charge.

Deuteronomy 11:18
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.

I love to hear the kids’ voices raised in song behind me in the car. Chloe loves to sing and seems to know the words to songs I don’t even remember hearing before. She and my other kids are like little sponges.

When I hear my children singing along with the radio, I know their minds and hearts are open and listening. Do I want the wisdom of chasing away blues with whiskey and beer to be the message or do I want the message to be of the hope found waiting on The Lord.

Occasionally, those Garth Brooks songs come to my mind, especially when the thunder rolls. But more often than not, it is a different song that fills my mind and encourages my heart. It is the Truth of God’s word that soothes and guides me in His wisdom. I want to hear His voice whispering or even shouting to me; I want that for my kids too.

Deuteronomy 11:19
Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

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Timothy with headphones!