Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sunrise


Since we were traveling over Thanksgiving break and busy preparing for our trip before, I'm a little late writing a blog about the things I am thankful for this year.  But hey, better late than never, right?

This year has been one of the hardest years of my life, and it has been one of the best.  I can honestly say with complete joy that some of the most painful things we have been through have been used by God for our good and His good.  Months ago, I wasn't sure I felt that way.  It was just head knowledge that I was hoping would penetrate my heart in time.

Today, I am overwhelmed with thankfulness and joy for the journey we are on.  This year I have been sanctified through fire, tears, illness, heartache, loss, and uncertainty. When I look back over the last nine months, I see how God has used a painful period to usher in a period of deep healing for me and our family on many levels.

After several possible miscarriages this year, one at Easter, one in May, and one in June, God answered our prayers.  Before scheduling an appointment with a fertility doctor to try to figure out why we were miscarrying again and again, I took a pregnancy test just to not feel foolish when we walked into his office.  To our surprise, we were pregnant.  Again to our surprise and joy, we didn't miscarry.  Not coincidentally, our son's due date is Easter Sunday.  Where we felt loss and sadness Easter 2011, God has brought joy and peace through another child expected on Easter 2012.

Leaving a church at the beginning of the year was something that neither Bryan nor I had foreseen.  What started out as a scary nightmare has turned out into the greatest adventure of our marriage.  We have been supported and loved by our families, friends, and our new church family.  Without either of us having a single full-time job in a tanking economy, we have had all of our financial needs met this year.  With our hodge podge of multiple jobs, God has provided for us so well that we have been able to stay debt free (besides our home), even with multiple medical problems rising, and we have been able to be generous with others in need as well.  God is so very good.  God's provision during this unusual season of our life has been needed confirmation that we are indeed planting His church- not ours.

I love our ministry at Church@The Square.  It is so refreshing to be part of a church that matches our personalities, gifts, and vision perfectly.  We love the simplicity of meeting in a "borrowed building" on Sundays so that our church resources can be funneled back into the Kingdom without as much overhead.  We love that our church body is made up of people all different ages, backgrounds, and races.  We love that people feel welcome when walking through the doors and are hearing the Gospel sometimes for the first time clearly.  There is so much more that I am excited about, but I'll have to save that for another blog all of its own.  Can you believe our launch is only a month away now???!!!

I am so thankful for Jesus.  What other god takes things meant for evil and turns them into good?  There are still things I don't like- don't understand.  I am so thankful that weeping only lasts for a night and that joy comes in the morning.  Like the Proverbs 31 woman, I can look at the future and laugh.  Though life is uncertain and at times very difficult, the joy we have in Christ is unshakeable and helps us overcome all things.  In Christ, we can look at the future and smile.  Even if things do not get better for us in this life, we know we have one to come as believers... a life where all things wrong will be made right and where peace will reign and night will be no more.  The morning is coming beloved Christian.  Take heart and be thankful.  Jesus will not let us down.  Close your eyes when you are discouraged and anticipate it.  The sun is rising.  Our Master's return is near.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Thoughts on Proposition 26


One thing is for sure.  Whether or not Proposition 26 passes, it is bringing to the table many important discussions that we need to understand as Christians.  For those who do not hold to the authority of the Word and are not Christians, it is still something that needs to be talked about.  We just may look at everything from a different perspective.

I've hesitated to blog about this (1) because I hate drama (2) I have enough drama in my life without inviting it in (3) I do not want friends who disagree to feel judged or condemned.

Let's just get this out in the open.  I am writing to an audience assuming you are Christian and assuming that you believe in the ultimate authority of Scripture.  I have friends who have aborted babies, and I do not condemn them.  I grieve for them and their unborn.

Since I don't believe in reinventing the wheel, I read a blog someone wrote that I think answers the questions that I see popping up on facebook well.  I'm linking it below.

http://joshandemilykines.wordpress.com/2011/11/01/initiative-26-do-you-believe-that-an-unborn-baby-is-a-person/

If you're still not sure about what this blogger says about the Pill, here's an informational website by a pharmacist that I think is helpful in understanding how the Pill works that another facebook friend recommended.

http://www.pfli.org/faq_oc.html

What I have found interesting in the debate about whether or not Proposition 26 should be passed is the discussion that has came up surrounding several routine forms of birth control.  People are furious about the idea of IUDs, the morning after pill, and the Pill going off the market in our state.  Planned Parenthood and all of the larger organizations that are against Proposition 26 are making this a main issue.  What I find intriguing is that they are not arguing that these methods of birth control could be abortifacient.  They are arguing that we have a right to use abortifacient birth control.  I find that scary.

Years ago in college, a student challenged me to research out the Pill well when I was writing a research paper on abortion.  Honestly, I thought he was stupid and probably too conservative at the time.  The more I researched the more I was troubled.  I'm ashamed to admit that I was too selfish to choose another alternative, even with all I knew, when I first got married, because it was convenient.  Thankfully, the Pill made me feel hormonally crazy, and after trying several different brands, I gave up on it and began using barrier methods instead.  Now, looking back, I am disturbed by how hard my heart was towards the topic.  The Pill was easy and neat.  Other methods aren't always.

I am not against family planning.  I think there are times when it may be helpful to use a form of birth control.  A woman battling with cancer would not be able to take the same treatments if she became pregnant without harming her child.  A family whose husband just lost his job might want to wait to have more kids until their finances stabilize again.  Life is messy, and there are no perfect scenarios.

Whether or not Proposition 26 passes or is forgotten, I think it is revealing our hearts.  It is showing us what we really value.  The things we value may not be evil in themselves.   Maybe it's only if they become idols.

Do your homework.  Stop listening to the scare tactics of the side that doesn't want Proposition 26 to pass.  If you vote No, do it informed and aware of why you are doing it.  All birth control is not being banned.  Women who suffer from miscarriages are not going to be persecuted and imprisoned.  Humane IVF will continue.

If you vote yes, know why you are doing it.  The unborn are counting on our discussions to be accurate and fair.
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