Monday, October 31, 2011

What's really scary

i posted this on the OTHER blog today too.  We're counting down the final week of our vigil - & that's where my mind has been. 

On Friday and Saturday i had the chance to attend the Life 2011 National Prolife conference.  There were people who have been involved in prolife since before any laws even began to change, long before the years of publicly funded abortions, and certainly... before i was even born. 
i was hoping it would be ok to post here some 'learning posts'... i think for me, better understanding our situation in Canada helps me to pray...
It was 1969 when abortion first began to be decriminalized in Canada.  From there, we have never been able to stem the tide.  The Canadian Supreme Court struck Canada's abortion laws completely in 1988 and declared them "unconstitutional".  Since then, there has been no legal protection for tiny ones growing in the womb.  In 1991, the supreme court ruled that a baby even in the process of being born, was not a person (even if the baby's head was outside of her mother's body). 
In 1999 Calgary nurses from the Foothills hospital complained about a late term abortions in which the children were born alive and left to die, and in particular, a late (35 week) abortion in which the child was born alive and lived for 12 hours.  The police found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing, (without interviewing any nurses)- but the "pregnancy termination guidelines" were subsequently changed to suggest that doctor's consider feticide in utero before delivery (by intracardiac injection of KCI). 
You can read more about Canada's timeline HERE and HERE.  (You'll notice the slant in the language from the two websites - one being prolife, the other prochoice).   
Since 1969,  more than three million Canadian children have lost their lives to abortion.  i wonder sometimes about those three million... some of them should be older than me by now... & every day the number grows.  We can't leave this Canada to our children. 
i hate hallowe'en, but at the conference this weekend, Peter Menzies talked about how there are dwindling numbers of trick or treaters as of late... He told us that the number of children between the ages of 5-14 has dropped by 10% in the past 9 years.  He said it's the smallest number of children in that age bracket since 1988...
What happened in 1988 again?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

a guest post from my big sister

My sister said i could post this here.  Prayer is something that i feel God gently teaching me about these days & her post resonated with me.... Since i asked her to write it in the first place - i know anyone who reads here will appreciate it too. 


So many times in my young mom years i thought "if only i had a mentor! This can't be right!". I muddled through, made a lot of mistakes and now i'm an old mom, and i think I understand why older women don't reach out to teach younger women.

If they are like me, they see young, beautiful women doing a faithful, valiant job and figure maybe we don't know that much more. Maybe making mistakes is part of the process. And both of those things may be true! But as a mom to two teenagers, thirty eight and pregnant with number eight, maybe it's time for me to share at least the little bits and bobs i've learned. Maybe it will help another mom. Maybe my own daughters will one day marry and live far away from me. So, here goes.

My baby sister and I were talking the other day, on our iphones as i walked through Winner's waiting while my husband shopped and tried on clothes. She thought i should write the story of

"How Stephanie Learned To Pray"

I was probably 25 or 26, with a great husband and two or three little children, just starting to homeschool. And i noticed that while it was an easy thing for me to keep up my Bible reading, i was not understanding what I heard and read about prayer. I was reading books like Dutch Sheet's Intercessory Prayer, Listening Prayer by Leanne Payne, Can You Hear Me? By Brad Jersak and Cindy Jacob's prayer manual. I was also recording vocals to beautiful cds that were basically just prayers with background music.

I wanted to be faithful in prayer. I wanted to be fervent and effectual, surrounding my children with every good blessing, and most of all, setting an example to little people who were watching me so closely.

Here is the important part of the story. I asked around at my huge church and said "Who knows a lot about prayer?". One name came up several times. Esther Chua. So I found out who she was, introduced myself and asked her if she would teach me about prayer.

Young moms, it really is that simple! God had prepared Esther for my request and she graciously invited me to her house on a weeknight, and we spent three hours with a group of women, praying. Esther had a burden for southeast Asia, and that's what we would pray for. Every week, for over a year. Esther would share a little bit of information about missionaries, or politics or needs, and we took it to God in prayer. At the end, we would pray for each other. It was not a rushed, perfunctory prayer time. Didn't have a set ending time. But there, on the floor at Esther Chua's house, I learned to pray deeply about a matter, to allow silences to hear the Holy Spirit's prompting, to pray God's Word back to Him, claiming His promises. And to be unafraid to pray out in front of my wonderful, accepting sisters.

In those days we hardly ever went out. We had no money but we were also intentional about spending time together, to get bonded as a family and addicted to each other. But those hours I have never begrudged. Through a Titus Two woman, I learned what God wanted to teach me about prayer (and met other wonderful mentors who are still a blessing and encouragement though we are far apart now.)

I hope this is encouraging to some young moms out there- if you need Godly wisdom, God is already preparing a way for you to get it! You might have to step out a little too! If there are any older moms out there - is this something you could see yourself doing? Or has God taught you something else you burn to share? I challenge you to step out, too!


You can read more from Stephanie HERE. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

treasuring in my heart

i love these people... & i'm so grateful to God for making me a mama. 

Learning so much from marriage.  One of the best ways that i can serve God is by loving this man...

i love this picture because Gagey was taking it & all of a sudden he got crazy distracted, "Ephyum!!  Ephyum!!"  Little stinker was stealing his brothers raisins that i was supposed to be guarding for him. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

15 minutes... in one minute increments

The past few Fridays, i've gone to pray at the abortion clinic on 5th Ave before arriving at McKenzie Towne church for my "15 on Friday"...
This past Friday leaves me still struggling days later. 
My prayers at the clinic were wordless - and i found it hard.  Just... *hard*...
i was cold, hungry and i had woken up with a headache that was getting worse by the minute... i was feeling anti social - and i felt like going home, eating lunch and then crawling into a warm bath - & going straight to bed. 
Softie was with me because she had been watching a new friend's 3 year old at the park while we prayed together. 
"o, sloanie..." i muttered, "i don't wanna go pray at the church."
But i pulled into that parking lot - and left her in the warm van and dragged myself to the steps to pray.  
i prayed every thought in my head.  i went from memory and prayed the Lord's prayer.  i tried to sing & my voice was weak & thin.  My mind barked at me.  i felt tired, hungry, sad and cold.  Breakfast felt forever ago - and Supper light years away...  
Surely i have been here longer than 15 minutes!  Surely i could be done this time and go home.  i looked at my clock.  4 minutes had elapsed. 
4 minutes. 
Brokenly, i cried to the One who hears me... "i'm too weak.  You asked your disciples for one hour, and i can't give you 15 minutes...You fasted in the wilderness for 40 days, and i can't give you the hours between breakfast and supper."
i stood up, and paced the steps, and spoke aloud to my Creator.... and minute by minute, my 15 minutes elapsed and finally i found myself back in my warm van heading home to my little ones.  
i texted my mama, "Hardest Friday yet.  i'm hungry, cold, shaking... i have a headache, am full of self pity and don't have any words to pray..."
& she texted me back only truth.
"yes... hard..." 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

who doesn't like prizes?

i made a facebook page for the 40 days for life blog. 
i was hoping for 100 likes by the end of the 40 days (another 15 days) but then my cousin offered a prize for a random person when we reached 100 likes. 
It took 2 days. 
So, i figured since that worked so well, i'd see if we could find another present for 200 'likes'.  We found one. 
My sweet friend makes the best bibs ever & they're adorably cute.  She's offering 2 & i'm throwing in a copy of my book too. 
If you want a chance to win, all you gotta do is go to our facebook page HERE & click 'like' then watch to see who wins. 
(Having the opportunity to share the page with your friends is just a bonus). 
You don't need to live in Calgary - or even Canada - to enter. 
You can find the page HERE

Friday, October 21, 2011

7 quick takes 2nd edition

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

1. When i need to 'talk through' a blog entry - or a blog comment... i phone one of my sisters.  Sometimes i even ask them to post a follow up comment - to 'get my back' or to clarify something that i lack the ability to clarify.  How lucky am i to have sisters like this? Very. 

2.  i spent some time this week reading "the other side"... it makes me sad to read stuff written by pro-choice advocates... i know they don't understand... & isn't it human nature to long to be understood?  o God, go before us...

3.  i'm going to get my eyes fixed.  All of a sudden, i can't wear contacts anymore... Neil gave me the go ahead to take the plunge to get lasik.  i'm excited and scared. 

4.  After 6 weeks of weekly chemo and higher doses of prednisone steroid, we were looking forward to my sweet, darling 5 year old niece only needing to go once every three weeks for the rest of the year.  Then, they called my sister last week and told her they need to do the 6 week induction again.  The location is just too sensitive (the pituitary).  This was tough news to swallow, but we continue to pray. 

5.  My husband & i are planning a trip.  Just the 2 of us.  After 15 years of marriage, 7 babies and no time away - we are taking a rare opportunity.  There are a million good reasons for the timing of this get away - & i'm grateful to God - who gives good gifts. 

6.  The OTHER blog takes a lot out of me.  It is tears and agony to post - & i'm so grateful when i open up my inbox & someone has sent me something to put up.  i have no doubt that our prayers - united with the prayers of fellow believers all across the world - are having an impact.  i have been learning so much from those individuals around me.  The fresh perspectives change me, and help clarify my thinking. 

7.  i liked THIS - but i wouldn't read it out loud to my littles... :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tough Questions

A few days ago, a friend emailed me with some thoughts and questions about the 40 Days for Life prayer vigil that i have become a part of.  i wanted to share some of my thoughts that came out of that conversation... so i'll pose the questions (not in anyone's wording but my own) & my answers below. 

Do you think that the benefit outweighs the negativity that these women feel seeing "protesters" on the sidewalks by the abortion clinic?  Do you think that maybe sometimes - abortion is not quite as bad as we make it out to be?   

During the vigil, the 40 days for life organizers keep track of how many babies they know for sure are saved by their presence & PRAYERS on the side walk. The number is now in the thousands (4, 313 prior to this campaign). These are only the babies that we know of - where mothers have come & asked for help - (& they get compassionate, loving help from those Christians standing there *ready, willing & able* to help - or to find someone who can). There have also been countless post-abortion mama's & daddies who have come forward & begun their healing and recovery. 

i know that we're all gonna be different in what we're supposed to do in our call to action - i feel strongly led to be involved in 40 days for life... the prayer... the prayer is what is changing me. i know i won't change your mind - & i'm good with that :) but at the same time... i do feel that there is a truth here... that is valuable - & worth defending.

The science behind life beginning at conception is what convinces me - that this is a clear cut issue. Human beings are made to love, care for and nurture their young... If our culture provides abortions rather than the love & support that mama's need to do what they were created to do - then i really believe that things need to change.

Every time i go, i'm saddened with the possibility that my presence causes agony... but that agony is kinder than silently turning my back while evil is accomplished... i feel it in the same way that God didn't have to let me get 'caught' when i had sex out of wedlock! But He did!! & it was a kindness to me that i was embarrassed, hurt & caught... It was His best gift that He brought LIGHT into the areas of my life where i let darkness in...
Does it bother you to be lumped in with fanatical, angry, judgemental pro-lifers?  Do you want to be associated with those graphic images?
i went to the life chain this year & even though for the most part, it was HUGELY encouraging to see so many people who were willing... i found it disconcerting to see one very tiny group of teens dancing and laughing... :) and it seemed to *me* making light... i think because i have seen tiny babies... that have died - that it makes me feel more sober and serious when i think on these things. But who am i to think that i know or understand their motivation?  i'm grateful for their presence, even if i haven't had the chance to get to know their hearts yet...

Regarding graphic images (i have never, ever seen graphic images used at 40 days for life Calgary - to my knowledge, they're not used at all by this group)- for me *personally* i won't use them (unless God asked me to.  Then i would... immediately)... The kids and i are reading 2 Samuel lately & there's this part where Saul's concubines sons are killed... She goes to the place where her son's bodies have been set out on display - and she spreads a cloth on a rock & stays there 'from harvest until the rains fell', scaring off birds or beasts who would hurt their bodies... She stayed there until finally king David ordered a proper burial. i think i feel a little like Rizpah did too... i feel like we need to have respect for those little ones who are vulnerable - even though they're already gone. i feel a tenderness towards those little *people* who are used as graphic images... & my mama heart says,... 'let's not'...

At the same time, i know graphic images have been used in situations like the Rwandan genocide - because it was necessary to get people's attention. "This is what is really happening - are we really ok with this??!!"  Some people need to see the death and careless destruction of lives to really come to terms with what we've become.  i heard a story just last week about one of those trucks that carries graphic images of aborted babies.  An old man stood at the corner staring up at the image, and said sorrowfully, "i never knew... i honestly never knew."  He was changed by what he saw... So - if someone were to feel strongly about the use of graphic images for prolife work, i wouldn't stand in their way - or argue... but i do know that for *me*... it's not what i feel led to do.

As far as being lumped in... i get that too. But, the best way for me to get over that is to only look at Jesus. If i looked at all the other "big family moms" - i'd feel out of place... if i looked at all the other "homeschooling moms" or "prolifers" or "christians" - i might worry about being lumped in with them.... but instead, i'm trying to keep my eyes on HIM - & be who he wants me to be... even if those around me don't represent me exactly...

Do you think that those bearing a sign reading, "Mommy will it hurt?" are expressing what will only be seen as contempt for the broken women seeking abortions?
(You can read the full comment and my original response HERE)

Firstly, i wouldn't choose this sign...  - but i do understand the goal of the statement on it.  (There will be an honest, raw response from Dave on the subject of this sign tomorrow).  It is an attempt to humanize the tiny one that for the past 30+ years has been referred to as "tissue" or, "a clump of cells".  It speaks to the uncertainty that prevails around when a child can feel pain and i think these are valid points. As far as people *feeling* contempt, as i responded to the original commenter who suggested a sign that read, "You are loved, chosen and forgiven" - that sign too would be construed by some as bearing contempt - because if you're offering forgiveness, you're acknowledging a wrong committed. 
You see, these are such difficult waters... It takes courage to stand on those street corners - wearing an imperfect sign - bound by law that we cannot speak unless spoken to.
So come, Christian - make your sign, let your little ones colour it with markers - stand on the street corner with your one line message and pray that those who drive by will see your heart.... (i pray this every single time i stand on that street corner).
i need to add here that the signs are secondary.  If they told me tomorrow that we were banned from bringing signs, i would still go.  Why?  Because - we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (eph. 6:12). 
So, if you're uncomfortable with the signs, if you're unable to be a physical presence - stand with us in prayer.  Join us at whatever point you're able - we'll meet you there, and together we can by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present our requests to God. (phil. 4:4-8)

What do your littles think about the topic of abortion?

My little ones are still mostly in the 'sponge' phase.  i'll never forget the thoughtful look on my son's face as i described the situation that THIS family found themselves in.  We prayed for little Rachel every day.  Her life & her parent's choices - provided the substance for many great conversations & growing opportunities for my little ones.  i'm so grateful to them for choosing life. 
My teens are at a different phase - & we discuss things on a deeper, more personal level.  i asked them some of their views recently & found their responses interesting.  Softie (13) said that she could see herself involved in a peaceful prayer vigil in the years to come (so far they haven't come to pray with me - just to play at the park).  We were reading our history book the other day - and as we rounded another bend in the curve of time - and history repeated itself with more bloodshed and war, Softie gasped out loud, "NOOOOOooooo!  Not again!  How can they be so foolish??!!"  Later she told me something i have also long suspected to be true.  "Mama, they're gonna say that about us when they read about how we aborted our own babies in a hundred years..."  Radar (15) had something different in mind.  She came with me to an organizational meeting one day & listened in awe as Caroline stated that she wanted to try to meet with the clinic's director.  On the way home, she whispered to me, "How could you have that kind of courage?"  (Side note: the clinic director refused to meet with her).  Radar said, "i know i said before that i couldn't do it, mom, but i wanna meet with the clinic director one day... i don't know what i'd say, or what i'd ask... but i want to do something that will make a difference."
i pray that God will give them more courage than their mama (my courage fails so easily)... and that their little lives will be used in whatever capacity that God would choose to bring light and truth to a dark world. 

For those who had questions, or discomfort that they felt but didn't want to express, i want to tell you that it's ok to question, it's ok to think through *why* something makes us uncomfortable, why we choose not to "get on board".   i'm glad to talk about it - & yes... there are seasons where we bury our head in the sand (me too) - & that's ok... it's all a part of the 'wrestling out our faith with fear and trembling'... Just don't stay there.  We take on what we can when we're able... listening intently to that still small voice, and following where He leads.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

more than halfway

We're more than halfway through our 40 day peaceful prayer vigil for life...
Have you had a chance to check out the blog HERE?
i'm working on a post giving my response to some of the questions that come up about prolife in general and this vigil in specific.  It's still marinading in my drafts folder. 
While i'm working on that, are there any questions you'd like to add to it? Some of the topics i'm hoping to cover are: What about graphic images? Don't you think women feel condemnation by your presence? Is there even an impact from a peaceful prayer vigil? Do you worry about being lumped in with the 'crazies'? :) 
Leave a comment, i'll do my best. 
The littles & i are reading in Romans today & we were reminded how when our faith is *real* - it changes the way we live and the choices that we make. 
i told them about the young, second time mama who was diagnosed with throat cancer at the same time as her pregnancy was confirmed.  She refused treatments that would kill or hurt her tiny one, and ultimately died of cancer just as her baby girl reached viability... She lived out her faith in a courageous way...
i don't want a faith that changes when my circumstances are hard... i want a faith that gives me the courage to be different in this culture that magnifies 'self'. 
There's more to life than me...

Monday, October 17, 2011

she has a good eye

i was chatting with an old friend on facebook one night. 
Neil was out of town & we found ourselves with a rare opportunity to catch up.
i asked her about her six children.  They have 3 biological children and then 5 years ago, they adopted a sibling group who came into their lives unexpectedly.  She told me little tidbits about each one, commenting about this one's strengths, that one's quirks... She told me how these 3 unexpected bonuses had had such a tremendous positive impact on their lives - and on their friends and extended family. 
She told me happily about one small boy, "He has a good eye and can pick out every cool rock or stone or anything out of the blue.  We were at a lake once and he just reached in the water and said 'Look, Tammy, here's a cool one!' And it was tiny and it was neat... how he seen it I have no idea.  And then in my parents yard there was a tree and he walked by it for the first time... dad walks by it every day.  N was just walking with dad and out of the blue says, 'Hey Pere Pere, there's a nest in there,' and sure enough hidden in the tight branches there were three little eggs." 
And i couldn't help but smile as i read her mama's heart gushing about this little one. 
She herself... she's no different than that sweet son she treasures...
She has a good eye...
It saw love, potential and life when the opportunity presented itself.  She plucked those tiny lives out of the deep waters, and said with certainty, 'Here's a good one...'  She tucked them into her heart - into her family - into her life... and how she managed to see... and to scoop up such enormous wealth... gems of matchless worth? 
Well... i have no idea.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

wave of light...

October 15th is pregnancy and infant loss remembrance day...
All over the world at 7pm, families will light a candle and leave it burning for one hour.  This will create a continuous wave of light to honour these wee ones who so deeply impacted our lives. 

Caleb and Hope... i'm so glad you came...
Even just for a short time.  i'm so glad i got to be your mama - to be changed right down to my very core by your brief, tender lives.  You challenged me to thoroughly examine my life, my faith, my calling and my God - and i found Him faithful.  i'm eternally grateful, -mama. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

thursdays bring fridays...

i'm watching that blinking cursor...
i thought of posting the funny pictures i found on my iphone, but i'm just not feeling funny picturish...
i thought of posting about how i miss my husband so much that it honestly hurts that spot on my stomach right below my rib cage... but those... are sort of wordless aches. 
i thought of posting my 'how we do it' post about babysitting... but i'm not feeling very know it all tonight.
i thought of posting about why i don't support the use of graphic images in prolife work - or about how i vote prolife - or about the new blog... or the vigil... But i've been posting a lot of that stuff HERE... & i find myself - as though in the midst of a marathon... tired. 
i thought of posing about my girl's secret handshake (it's seriously at least 85 seconds long) - but you really gotta see that kind of thing...
& i thought of posting about Ephraim, because every breath i take of him... is like a breath of summer.  But it's fall... and he's too busy to let me breath him in quite as often. 
And so i'll confess - that it's Thursday night that i'm writing this post... & what's on my mind most is that Thursdays bring Fridays...
15 on Friday has been changing me. 
A friend once told me a picture she had in her mind of what God was doing...
She said she could see an iron fence - and in order for it to open and close, it had to scrape the concrete underneath... Every day - it scraped and rubbed - it bit into that path underneath it and tore it away... until it had formed a deep groove. 
Had the groove not formed, the gate would be shut tight... but because of the painful process - the constant scraping as that gate opened and closed, a scar was formed from this dreary, laborious task... and the gate remained useful - and could accomplish what it was built to accomplish. 
i feel like that concrete...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

three things

Sparkling eyed one (she's 11) must have heard the pleasure in her mama's voice when Sloanie finished reading her bible all the way through for the first time ever last week.  She came to find me and told me, all grinning and sparkly eyed - that *she* had started reading the bible and taking notes on her own too.  She showed me her note book with her tidy notes in it, then added with a smile, "i'm already finished my first book and now i'm ready to start my second book..."
"Really?" i asked, "What book did you start with?"
"Song of Solomon." she grinned wickedly, "i wanted to know what all the fuss is about."
i love her. 

i was driving my girls home from violin and i gave them a pop quiz.  "What is the ONLY thing i accomplished while you girls were at lessons?" (an hour and a half).  The answers came like popcorn...
"snuggling ephraim?"
"oooohhh!  i know i know!"  Sloanie shouted from the backseat, "You started a TWITTER account!" 
um.  no.  but i love her too. 
ps. the answer was LA with Charter & Peyton... :) 

i can't remember.  And it was the funniest thing out of the three too, but that's my life now... i only have 2/3 retention.  That's what you get when you're a mama of 7. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

lettin' 'er slide...

i've done that a few times... let things slide.   
Sometimes it's the bathrooms, or a bad habit, dirty ragged nails or a teeny bit of bad behaviour... sometimes it's my handwriting, my patience or organization... Sometimes it's big things - but more often it's the little things that i let slide - while i catch my breath, get my bearings - and figure a few things out. 
This past week it was Charter's LA... just that one teeny little (incredibly important) subject.   
Every day - i meant to do his work with him, but instead i half listened to him read while i washed dishes & then let him figure out his assignment to the best of his ability.  & while i know that it's fine to do this for a day or two... i also know that he's only nine... & that he needs his mama to be engaged, involved, interested and motivated about his education. 
Today was a sit down, pull up our socks & figure out where we're at day.  
i loved it. 
He's so smart (probably partly why my conscience let a whole week slip by without any intervention)... and he's so warm and deliciously friendly. 
He's a teeny bit lazy - as evidenced by the pages we had to work over together, getting his stuff back in order - but his good cheer and willingness to try again more than make up for it. 
oh... i love my son. 
& i know that at certain points - things will slide. 
i won't potty train on time, i'll forget someone's lack of toothbrushing skills, we'll have mac and cheese for lunch for a week and the laundry will pile up...
But i'll get back up.  i'll brush myself off.  i'll try again, make amends, do better more often. 
Because after all, there are sweet children to grow, relationships to feed - there is a life to be lived and so much to be learned... there is beauty to be seen, truth to be grasped, hurts to overcome and hurdles to fly over...
& sometimes...
not often... but sometimes...
letting things slide is the best way to do that.

Monday, October 10, 2011

a part of something bigger than me

i know... i know - this is old news - but let me recap... i started writing the 40 Days for Life blog at the end of September.  i have only made it to that sidewalk 3 times to pray so far... but i'll go more. 
And then there has been my own personal vigil - my "15 on Friday" offering. If my count is right - there are only 11 more Fridays to go until Christmas.
i feel - distinctly - that God is gently shepherding me through some dark waters. 
He keeps bringing to my life more and more and more opportunities to pray...
i have felt so exhausted and overwhelmed and weak - that i have been asking... begging... for prayer - like i never have at any other time in my life.

i remember an irritating little stage i went through one summer in one of those 'tween' years. i think of it as the, "i don't really give a care" phase, 'cause that's what i said... a lot... in my flippant pre-teen way, (even though i wasn't silly enough to really believe what i said, 'cause i did care).   

And i do. Care.

i'm finding my mind in my tiredness reverting to that lazy way of thinking. As i get busy - and tired - and at times overwhelmed... i'm just too tired to care. i want to slough it off - to close my eyes and slap my hands over my ears and hum loudly.  i don't want to hear any more sadness - i don't want to enter in to any more pain.  i want to use every spare ounce of muscle i've got to hold the reigns of my own life.
Gimme the wheel, Jesus...
& so i struggle to find my fight - in my puddle of 'give up'...
i try to remember why He wants me to care in the first place... why He wants me to wrap myself up so completely in His work - that i leave the wheel of my life in His capable hands. 
Why these hard things, Father - that exhaust me?
Remind me why they matter...
& i watch little ephraim trying to communicate with me, using his chubby index finger to tell me what he wants... i feel his bony resistant body finally surrender to being held... He fights me and i see a tiny face register disbelief that his wishes aren't being granted - & i see the lesson being learned by my son presented to his mama too, "you're not the only person who matters..."
i find glimmers of that passion that pushes me to be a better mama- a better wife - a more selfless human being... but more than that, my weakness teaches me to be a more surrendered Follower of Christ.
i'm not the only person that matters. 
There is a bigger... Master... plan that is better than anything i can ever imagine.
& that's something i want desperately to be a part of.

Friday, October 7, 2011

teach me to pray

It was Friday... & i felt foolish.
i'm too full of pride & shame is an easy tool for the enemy to use on me. 
i was still in my jammies at 11:47 & i pulled on my sweats and a hoodie and grabbed my keys and headed to the church. 
"God - i'm sick of my own words.  Teach me to pray..."
This *purposefully* meeting with God is stretching me.  To stand on the street corner across from the abortion clinic makes me check and recheck my heart - makes me press in closer to His heart - causes me to reach deeper - to learn how to pray. 
The 15 minutes i spend at my church on Fridays are much like this too - sometimes it's an emotional meeting with my Creator that feeds my soul - and sometimes it's all i can do to pleadingly whisper again and again, "meet with me.  please, meet with me."
As i pulled into the parking lot - the psalm that kept running through my head was Psalm 121.

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—

where does my help come from?

2 My help comes from the LORD,

the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—

he who watches over you will not slumber;

4 indeed, he who watches over Israel

will neither slumber nor sleep.

My parents used to sing the King James version of this psalm together & it's indelibly imprinted on my memory...
& so i prayed that psalm.  i sat on the concrete steps of that building - and prayed those first verses again and again... meditating on His goodness.  i lay down the struggling marriages that make my heart heavy, lay down the shame that threatens to overpower me, i lay down my sorrow, my heartache, the sickness, death and disease.  Gratefully turning my face to where my help comes from
There were no words but those - nothing of my own creation - nothing added... Nothing offered except an echo of these old lines - and a change in my posture...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

peace be still

He woke at midnight - writhing and angry.  i shushed, offered water, walked, nursed, comforted with lights on - and off, held tight, and let loose.  Nothing worked. 
He screamed - the blue veins sticking out of his tiny furious neck. 
i could NOT get him to stop.  
It was the most insane thing. 
Neil got up after the first hour to see what (ahem), *on earth*- was happening & then went back to bed with the bathroom fan on. i don't blame him - he has no patience & this was beyond him helping.  Baby wasn't just 'fussing' he was all out going crazy. i covered his mouth for parts of it because it was so incredibly loud & the other littles were (trying to) sleep.
Finally... spent - at age 35 - i bowed my head and cried.  Big alligator tears slid down my haggard face as i sat & beheld rage and had not. one. more. tool in my mothering toolbox. 
"Oh God - you told the wind and the rain to be calm, and they obeyed you.  Can't you still this small boy for his crying mama?"
& i turned... expecting him to fall into a peaceful slumber...
But he didn't. 
The child raged on. 
For two full hours he screamed - until he was utterly spent - and slowly, painfully (painfully because if i moved an inch in the wrong direction, he would start screaming again) - my son finally went back to sleep. 
And i wondered why God didn't answer that little prayer in the affirmative.  Such a small thing to get hung up on - when there is hunger and famine, sickness, death and disease in our world.  It was a baby's tantrum that caused me to wonder in fascination at the prayers that aren't answered. 
It feels like a months... years long conversation i am having with my Father.  He teaches me, and conforms my heart to His.  He hears - and sees... yet is sometimes not heard or seen.  He is compassionate, full of love - and yet He is Holy and just.
& i long to be already arrived - changed, conformed, made perfect... & the raging world around me flings me to my knees - hungry for more of Him.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

prolife is not my passion part 2

Last week, i posted one of those posts that sits in my drafts box for a week before i gather up the courage to press "publish".  i always worry that i'll misrepresent my heart - or that i'll choose my words badly, and hurt people in the process. 
There wasn't a flood of comments, but the ones that did come in were thoughtful and thought provoking.  You can read them HERE. 
What my sister steph posted near the end was what most resonated with me - & was perhaps more "what i meant" - in the original post. 

She said:
Pro- Life isn't just about abortion. It's family planning, teen STDs, divorce, fatherlessness, poverty, IVF, custody battles over embryos that are biologically the result of more than two DNA lines, immunization cultivated in a stew of materials resulting from abortion(to try to phrase it delicately). Abortion is the defining issue of our age, and we have lost, but that doesn't mean the tide can't turn and justice can reign one day for our culture just as it did for the black slaves, or the Jews at Auschwitz. I love this quote by Elizabeth Rundle Charles:

If I profess with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity. Where the battle rages, the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace to him if he flinches at that one point."

Saying that prolife is the 'defining issue of our age'? - This is a sentiment i agree with. 
& that's why i'll keep plugging away - with whatever work He puts before me - praying for courage to speak truth and taking courage from my brothers and sisters who choose to do the same.   
Yeh, it's gonna look different for each one of us - but i'm going to cheer when i see God's people praying and fasting - listening - and taking action where they are able. 

Monday, October 3, 2011


When things are too quiet for too long - and you think to yourself with a heavy sigh of contentment, "man, this is too good to be true..."

Yeah... it probably is.

When i heard his breathy baby voice whispering at me, "hi", i glanced up - and beheld sweet perfection smothered in bum cream. He probably wouldn't have bothered me, but he had shoved his hand into a wipes bin & it was stuck fast.

We washed it out of his hair for a week.


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