In the Way He Should Go

As I write this my little son is asleep in his car seat.  This is a rare moment for him, as he usually screams his head off back there until we take him out.

There are those that will tell you all babies fall asleep in the car.  Those people would be wrong.  If there’s anything I’ve learned since becoming a mom, it’s that every child is different.  Personalities are not shaped, they are born.  My baby boy has had a strong personality from the moment of his birth, and he most definitely hates his car seat with a passion.  It’s just the way he is.

My son has also turned into a very poor sleeper this past month.  Until then, he was sleeping at least one 4-6 hour stretch a night.  Last night his longest stretch was two hours…and that was a good night.  I’ve already had people scold me for not “sleep training” my babe…or for not putting him on a schedule set by me.  I assure you, we are working on helping him sleep better again.  However, I’m not doing it in the way prescribed by some “expert”. 

You see, the truth of the matter is that no expert knows my son.  He is a unique little person, and there is simply no one-size-fits-all solution.  I’m using what I know about my son, God’s wisdom, as well as my own instincts l, to parent.

There are so many Christians that are quick to say “train up a child”, yet they miss out on one of the key parts: “in the way HE should go”.  It doesn’t say “in the way you think he should go”, or “in the way experts say he should go”, but “in the way HE should go”. 

As parents, it is our duty and privilege to find out what that path is for each precious blessing entrusted to us, and help him or her walk in it.  Honestly, that’s sometimes a hard task.  We crave control and security, yet our children often challenge that simply by being them.  Now, I’m in no way advocating an absence of discipline or training…that would be just as bad!  What I am saying is that our discipline and training should be tailored to each individual child.  And, frankly, there are definitely areas we need to let go of.  We need to give our children space to grow and bloom into the person they are meant to be!

And so, as I work with my little man, helping him to sleep better, I’m going to do it in the best way for him.  I’m going to be patient, loving, and supportive.  I’m not going to see his cries as manipulative or controlling, because I’m not so needy for control that I turn his own needs into wants.  And you know what?  If he’s not the best of sleepers, that’s okay.  In the long run, some extra night cuddles aren’t going to hurt anyone.

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Of Snake Bites and Adoration

Last week was a long week, to say the least.  Andy and I were both exhausted by the end of it.  So, we enjoyed a quiet dinner at the Mexican restaurant, then came home to watch a movie we had been wanting to see.  As you can imagine, our peaceful little evening didn’t last long. 

Out in the yard, one of the dogs yelped, and then both of them started barking incessantly.  I stuck my head out of the door, and it was quickly apparent that there was something on or under the back porch.  Thankfully, it was still light to see that much. 

Andy headed to get a rifle, thinking it might be a possum or something.  As it turned out, it was not a possum, or anything of the sort.  It was a lovely little copperhead, coiled up on our back porch.  The dogs were barking at it, but holding their ground.  Little Elsa, our fearless cat (who, by the way, is a very small little cat), was up right next to it batting it.  Apparently she wanted to show the dogs how it was done. 

Andy was afraid of hitting the dogs or the cat, so he went in got his old BB gun instead.  Thankfully, once he got out there, the dogs and cat decided to let him take care of it.  And so, take care of it he did. 🙂

Only thing was, it was soon obvious that all was not right with my little beagle, Sam.  She was acting very drowsy and lethargic, and Andy discovered fang marks right on her nose.  Poor girl, she probably didn’t know what hit her.

By now it was nine o’clock, and we had no idea what to do.  We tried to get a hold of someone who could get a hold of the vet, but to no avail.  Andy called an emergency vet clinic in Little Rock, who told him to bring the dog in quickly. 

Um, ma’am, I really can’t do that.”


Why not, Sir?”


My wife is nine-months pregnant and Little Rock is over two hours away.”


In the back of my mind was the thought that I could quite easily go into labor right then, and here was poor little Sam with her snout swelling by the minute. 

My man is a persistent one, though, and he finally found out that he should squirt children’s Benadryl down her throat.  Since we had none, he drove into town to get some.  Then, when we finally did get a hold of the vet, Andy took Sam over to see him at 10 pm.

Thankfully, Sam is doing fine now.  You can’t even tell where she got bit, although she’s definitely a little slower than normal.  The funniest thing has happened, though.  She suddenly adores Andy. 


Now, don’t get me wrong, she always liked him before, but she was never really his dog.  Suddenly, when she sees him her tail starts wagging like crazy and she comes running up eager for a pat on the head.  Apparently he is now her hero.

It got me thinking about how much we are like little Sam.  Our heavenly Father has the ability all along to take care of us and do wondrous things for us, but rarely do we recognize and adore Him until He really does.  Yet, how many times is He working and we just don’t see it?  How many times are we missing out on His goodness and majesty, or forgetting to remember the wondrous things He’s done for us?

May it not take a snake bite on my nose for me to learn to love and worship Him as He deserves.

To “Anonymous”

The other day I received a comment from an anonymous person on a post I wrote back in February, which you can read here (be sure to read the comment as well).  It was rather mean and vindictive, and my first reaction was just to delete it.  I’ve decided to address it instead because, quite simply, the more I thought about it, the more the comment made me sick.  If I’m brave enough to put my views out there into the blogosphere, then I should be able to defend them when they are attacked.   

To “Anonymous”:

I don’t know who you are, or whether I know you personally or not.  Apparently you didn’t have the guts to write a comment like that publicly.  I’m going to take the higher ground and address your comment…publicly.

I don’t know where you got the idea that I support rapists’ rights.  In the post you commented on, I only mentioned rape twice, and very briefly.  I think that rape is a terrible, despicable thing that no woman should ever have to go through.  Unfortunately, there are some very evil people in this world who should be locked up forever.  Sadly, many times our government doesn’t realize this until its too late, after many women have already become their victims.

I fully agree that no woman is deserving of such an unspeakable crime, nor should she have to bear any further “punishment” for something that was not her fault.  That being said, I know without a doubt that, should I ever be in the situation of finding myself pregnant due to rape, I would keep the baby and either put it up for adoption or raise it myself.  I would never, ever choose an abortion.
The crux of the matter goes beyond merely thinking that “two wrongs don’t make a right”.  Instead, it is found in the fact that a life, no matter the circumstances of its conception, is still a life.  A baby is still a baby.

You referred to a woman carrying a baby conceived through rape as a woman forced to “contaminate their family gene pool with the genetically damaged spawn of the criminal”.  Frankly, this made me sick to my stomach.  Why on earth is a baby conceived through rape “genetically damaged” or “contaminating” to a gene pool?  Yes, the father is a monster who should be locked up for the rest of his life, but how does that make the baby a monster as well? 

If we are solely the product of our genetics, then what hope does that give any of us?  Where does nurture come in (versus just nature)?  I certainly am not my parents, and would resent anyone who tried to state what the course of my life will be based on their lives.  Furthermore, why bother to parent, discipline, or teach, if our children are destined to be exactly what their DNA is coded to be?
Yes, genetics plays a role.  It determines what we’ll look like, what our talents will be, and if we’ll find school easy or hard.  It certainly gives us a tendency towards certain things (eg., a quick temper, shyness, poor public speaking skills), but how we are raised and the choices we make in our life play a much bigger role.
    
I have two sisters that were adopted and who, quite frankly, could tell you story-after-story about the kind of scum-bags their biological parents were…and I’m talking despicable stuff.  Does that make them somehow inferior to those who had “good” parents?  Does that mean that they themselves are “despicable”?  Perhaps, because their parents were such awful people, they should be “done away” with too, just like the “genetically damaged spawn” you speak of.  I highly doubt you would think this, though.  Why?  Because they are people who are living and breathing, who have the right to their life.  Yet, so does the tiny baby in my womb.       


If it is not genetics that makes a baby conceived in rape “genetically damaged”, then I can only conclude that you are speaking of the way in which they were conceived.  If our conception is what defines us, then we’re all in big trouble.  Most of us probably don’t even know the circumstances of our conception…do we need to go ask our parents in order to verify our validity as a life, as one who is not “genetically damaged”?  If our lives, and our rights, are defined by our conception, then does that make the child conceived out of a one night stand any less worthy than the child conceived out of an act of love in solid, committed marriage? 

What about the babies conceived in rape who are kept?  Once they are born, are they any less worthy of love and respect than any other baby?  Do they not have them same right to life and the “pursuit of happiness”, or must they live their entire lives being told that they are “genetically damaged spawn” that their mother should have “ripped out” of herself…that they are merely the “damage” from rape? 

Rape isn’t fair.  It’s not fair to have to experience a violent sexual assault, nor is it fair to become pregnant through no choice of your own, and through such a terrible act notwithstanding.  Yet, it also isn’t fair to the baby to “rid yourself” of its tiny life.  It isn’t fair to let a baby, who relies on you alone for nurture and protection, to die unwanted, unloved, and uncared for…as the “genetically damaged spawn” of a rapist. 

A woman who makes the brave choice to save the life within her, despite the circumstances of its conception, does not walk an easy road.  She will bear pain and suffering that she shouldn’t have to.  She will have to make the choice to give the baby up for adoption or raise it herself.  She will, no doubt, experience criticism and pressure from those around her…perhaps even those she loves most.  Yes, the baby within her will be a constant reminder of the horrible act committed against her.  Yet, she will do so with the knowledge that she is doing what she must to safe the tiny and, yes, precious, life within her…giving it the chance that only she can give.  Nobody said it would be easy, but we are women and we are endowed with a strength that no man could ever possess.

“Anonymous”, I don’t know who you are or what your background is.  I don’t know what kind of pain you’ve experienced in your life, or if you’ve ever gotten to experience the miracle of carrying a child within your womb.  What I can tell you is that the tiny life that you may call an “embryo” or a “fetus” is a life.  I’ve seen it with my own eyes!  I’ve seen a baby the size of a lima bean kick and flail around…and I’ve heard his little heart clearly beating. 

I am no supporter of rapists rights.  As for rapists trying to claim paternity of a child, I believe that no rapist should be given any parental rights, and that he should instead be locked up for the rest of his life.  Yet, neither do I believe that that child is merely “genetically damaged spawn”.  Saving the life conceived out of such an evil act as rape is not letting the rapist “win”.  Instead, it is rising above what he has done and saving the helpless, innocent life within you.  (And, yes, I said innocent…a baby should not be punished for the crimes of his parents).  Making the bold choice to keep a baby conceived out of rape is taking what the rapist, and Satan, meant for evil, and turning it into miraculous good.

Baby B is Changing My World Again

Yesterday we went in for our anatomy scan.  Pretty quickly, the ultrasound tech smiled and said, “See that…it’s a boy!” 

I had a feeling it was a boy, but there was something completely surprising and life changing about knowing for sure what this sweet little baby growing within me is.  As he kicked and flipped, scratched his head and flexed his muscles, I was in awe.  To know that this little life, this little boy, has been growing within me, perfectly formed by the Father, was incredible.   And to think, too, how miraculously this little one was created.  Half me, half Andy…already a little boy, full of spirit and energy. 

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We looked at the first ultrasound pictures, just 10 short weeks ago, and marveled at how he’s grown and changed. 

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From just a little tiny thing, with stubby little arms moving around, to what looked like a real, true baby. 

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No surprise to us, the ultrasound tech said he “looked long”.  Yep, he’ll be a tall one.  And to think he has about 20 more weeks of growing ahead!
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Suddenly, I started to think about how my life was going to change in 20 weeks.  A little boy.  The first boy for my mom’s side of the family in literally 50 years.  Both of my cousins on that side are girls, I have only sisters, and only nieces.  And now comes a little boy.  We don’t know the first thing about a little boy!
But, oh, how fun it will be.  There’s already been talk of little fighter pilot outfits (thanks to my dad), and the manliest toys and colors we can find.  Suddenly into the lives of all these girls there will be Tonka trucks and cowboy hats, dinosaurs and bb guns.  I know we will love every minute, and you better believe this little boy will be spoiled and doted on to no end.

But best of all to me was Andy.  He’s been quiet since the ultrasound, taking it all in.  He kind of wanted a girl, but I think he forgot all about that once he saw our sweet baby boy on the screen.  Last night we walked into what will be our little boy’s room, thinking about just a few months from now.  Out of the blue, he grinned really big and started talking about getting cowboy hats and John Deere signs.  All thoughts of “his little girl” and pink ribbons and curls had gone out the window.  And he was so happy when he thought about having a son.     

Andy’s never been one to be prideful, or want a “firstborn son” or even an heir to his name.  That’s the sweetest part about it.  Yes, he will have both those things, but that’s not why he’s excited.  He’s excited because God knew exactly what he was doing when he gave us a boy.  We’ve been blessed with an incredible blessing…a son to raise up for the Lord. 

Two little girls already changed my world.  And now one little boy’s doing it all over again.

It’s Not My Body

From the beginning of creation, women have been experiencing the wonderful gift of pregnancy and childbirth.  They’ve marveled as their belly grew, and at the love they felt for the child the first time they held them in their arms.  But somewhere along the way, they decided that their body, this miraculous creation of God perfectly made to form and nurture the tiniest life, was theirs to control.  They decided that, because the tiny life within them was still a part of them—still within them—that they had the say-so to keep or end it.  And so many women do.


I am a woman.  I know what it’s like to be a woman.  I know how we think and how we multi-task.  I know how we have dreams and aspirations.  I know that a baby can be unexpected and unplanned, ruining our plans and our dreams.  But I also know that life is an incredible gift, not to be taken lightly.

For years we women have been lied to.  We’ve been told it’s not a baby—that it’s just a tiny clump of cells.  We’ve been told that we shouldn’t bring an unwanted baby into this world.  We’ve been told that it’s better off for the baby.  We’ve been told that it’s our choice. 


I’ve never been in the situation of even considering an abortion.  I’ve never been pregnant and unmarried, been financially unable to support a child, or been raped.  But I know people who have.  I know the fear, the guilt, the shame, that comes with those babies.  I know the pressures that society, friends, and family puts on you.  I understand why the easy road would seem to be simply “taking care of it”.

But I’ve also seen the tiny life within me on a screen, only eight weeks after conception.  I’ve seen it’s little heartbeat, and it’s sweet little head.  I’ve seen it kick and move, full of life.  I’ve heard the sound of the tiniest heart pumping blood, pumping life, through its little body.  I’ve had a glimpse of what life truly means…to be knit together in your mother’s womb.  And I know that each tiny life is a miracle, crafted special and with its own plan for its life. 

I know too that it’s hard.  A baby could change your life forever.  But what about adoption?  What about all the wonderful families out there that are just aching to make the baby growing inside of you their own?  Yes, there will be shame and guilt.  No, you can’t hide a pregnancy from the world.  But isn’t it worth it if only to give that tiny life a chance to blossom and grow?

You may say it was all a mistake or, if you were raped, that this child growing inside of you could be nothing more than a monster.  You don’t deserve this.  But, then again, neither does your child.  It doesn’t deserve to have life snatched away from it without even being given a chance.

No matter the circumstances behind its conception, a baby is still a baby.  It’s a helpless, fragile life, depending on you to care and nurture it…depending on you to bring it safely into this world.  So I ask you, knowing the miraculous work inside of you, can you still say “it’s my body”.  Don’t you know that you were intricately woven and fashioned, just as this small child is?  Who are you to stop this process?  Who are you to end this small life?  No, it’s not, and should not be, our choice.  It’s not our life to choose.

Sweet child, growing within my womb, know that I will always nurture you, guard you, and protect you, because you cannot yourself.  And with tears in my eyes I pray for the millions of little ones who will never know this love…never know the sacrifice that not “taking care of it” is.  May they be safely welcomed into the Father’s arms, who cares for even the tiniest life. 

Passion 2012

I know, it’s been almost a month, but I’m finally getting around to writing about Passion 2012 in Atlanta.  Not that it wasn’t amazing or exciting…I’ve just been busy!

A little over a year ago, my husband and I felt led to start working with the college ministry at our church.  Most of the college students in the class were kids that had grown up here and either stayed here to go to college, or left but came back for breaks.  Since neither of us grew up around here, we didn’t know the majority of them.  The big trip to Passion 2011, an amazing college conference in Atlanta, was coming up and we thought that it would be a great opportunity to get on board.  One of my sisters from Arizona was also signed up to go with us (no one she knew was going).

A couple of days before we left, however, Andy decided that, with work and all, he really couldn’t go.  So, I went with out him and took my sister.  It was an amazing four days, and learned a ton, but something was missing…Andy.  Not only was I lonely without him, it was just plain hard to take back what I had learned and share it with him in a way that would have had the same meaning had he gone himself!

A wonderful year passed, in which the college ministry was growing and we were loving working with the kids.  Passion 2012 came up and, this time, Andy got to go!  So, at the beginning of January we loaded up three vans and headed east. 

There are so many things I could share with you about our trip.  If you’re not familiar with Passion, it doesn’t have an equal.  It’s chock full of inspiring speakers, music, and encouragement to step up and make a difference in this world…despite only being a college student.  Not that adults can’t get anything out of it too…it’s just geared for 18-25 year olds.

The overarching theme this year was “Do Something Now”…an aspect they’ve always had but that took center stage this year.  Did you know that there are over 27 million slaves in the world today?  Yes, 27 million!  And guess what, before you dog on college students, they were able to raise almost 3 million dollars at Passion this year to free these slaves.  3 million dollars!!!


What hit me the most about Passion was not that, yeah, it’s awesome that all these college students got together to give money and praise Jesus, but the thought of what am I supposed to do about what I’m learning

Most Christians in America live in a bubble.  Somehow we think that if we’re going to church twice a week, paying tithe, and leading a Sunday school class that we’re somehow serving the Lord…somehow living how Jesus wants us to live.  But is that what it’s all about?

Sure, it’s great to serve in the church and, yes, many of us work hard for our “easy” lives full of nice houses and clothes.  But people are dying each moment and going to hell, and there are 27 million slaves in this world needing the hope of Jesus.  So what are we going to do about it?

For Andy and I, we left Passion examining our lives and our goals.  We felt like much of our own lives and what they about is a waste.  We have so many opportunities around us to reach out and spread Christ’s name.  And yet, do we?  And, compared to so many in the world, we have been incredibly financially blessed.  But do we covet things and call them “needs”, or do we use the money God has blessed us with for His kingdom?

Before Passion, I had been really wanting some new brown riding boots.  I’d been looking everywhere for a good pair, and I’d been saving up my money.  At Passion, it seemed like every girl around me was wearing brown riding boots.  And yet, here I was, without them.  But as Passion progressed, I suddenly realized how foolish my coveting of those boots was.  I started thinking about how much the money I would spend on those boots could benefit someone in need…could help free someone from slavery…could help bring somebody to Christ.  All of a sudden, those boots seemed very insignificant

There’s nothing wrong with looking nice and getting new things.  I, myself, am a firm believer in representing Christ by dressing nicely and with thought.  But how many things do we really need?  How much could we actually go without?


One of the speakers, Francis Chan, spoke about taking the Bible literally.  One day he was reading the Word and stumbled upon the parable of the feast.  He realized that that’s what God wants us to do…and so he did.  He and his wife found poor, destitute people and invited them to an incredible feast.  His wife took them shopping and bought them new clothes, and they were thoroughly pampered for the occasion.  Everything was planned to a “t”…a dinner party nicer than many of us have come to.  And what an incredible witness?  Isn’t this how God wants us to live?


Dare we live boldly for Christ and reexamine our very lives and what they revolve around?  All the answers are not found in the traditions of the church.  They’re found solely in God’s Word. 

Just a little food for thought.   

Wet Toes

It’s 5:30 on Friday night.  Andy is later getting home than he usually is, trying to wrap up everything for the weekend. 

He ate a very late lunch at a work meeting, so I’m not starting dinner yet.  There’s no telling when he’ll be hungry.  Instead, I sit at my kitchen table, sipping a cup of hot chocolate and gazing out the window.  Gazing at the mist.

It’s been foggy all day.  When I woke up this morning, I looked out our bathroom window to the field beyond and watched a cloud of mystery descend from the mountain.  We never had days like this in Arizona.  No rain, no snow…just cold.  And everything is wet.  It’s the kind of day that could seep to your bones, making your eyes droop and body sag.  Winter in Arkansas.


Three times today I went out in our yard, training our dog with the new wireless fence.  Part of me wanted to just stay inside, but I knew the training was crucial.  So I pulled on my hat, my scarf, and my gloves, and trudged out to get Sam.  Since moving to Arkansas, I’ve acquired thick rain boots.  They would have been perfect for a day like this.  But, not wanting to take any extra time, I left on my brown cloth ones that I wore to work and ventured out.  I found myself involuntarily looking down, letting the grey day direct my emotions.  But something caused me to stop.  The toes of my boots were wet.


Instantly I was transported to a different time and place.  Can it really be four years ago now?  Can it be that long ago that my friend and I went to England in the dead of winter, traipsing all over the countryside in our cloth boots?  My toes had been wet then too.


But somehow, back then, it didn’t matter.  It was thrilling to experience the newness of grey days and mist, of walking in the rain.  The locals thought we were crazy roaming around in it…without any “wellies” even.  But we loved it.  It was so new, so different.

And with my wet toes came a turning point in my life.  A time when, sitting beneath a giant tree in sheep field, I decided to stop trying to live my life by my strength and instead let Christ live in me.  I decided to let me die and He live.  My life has never been the same.


In one instance, everything was brought into perspective.  The meaning of my day-to-day doings, even the trivial task of training little Sam in the fog, meant everything.  They meant letting Him live in me, giving up all that I am, was, and ever hope to be for the sake of His will, His path, and His leading.  Nothing He sets before us is trivial in His eyes.  It’s all a part of His plan to bring glory to His name.  Each little task, even cooking dinner or training a dog, when done at His leading, becomes a puzzle piece to His grand design.  Oh, how much I miss out on each day.  How I needed that reminder!

And to think, it was all because of some wet toes.