How to be a Lifesaver.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.

 Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.

Proverbs 31:8-9

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Already emotional, I sat in the doctor’s office getting blood pressure, weight, and heartbeat checked.  She ran through the traditional questions, and came upon the ones concerning the (upcoming in 6 long weeks) 20 week appointment.  “Now, do you want the optional screening for birth defects then?”

I told her “No thank you, we’ve never gotten that one done for any of our pregnancies. ”

“Oh, right.” She said.  “Because you wouldn’t abort the baby anyways.”

It was so matter of fact. Like I was an exception to the rule. And it stung.

At my first appointment, my doctor (who I actually really like) and I had a talk about how many children we have and why we have so many  and how we value life,  and we take literally what the Bible says about them being a blessing.  But she also practices “medicine” in a culture where abortions are SO run of the mill, SO easily performed, and SO naturally resorted to, especially if there is something “wrong” with the baby. These decisions about life and death are made for baby who has the miraculous imprint of the image of God upon him or her, but is not yet developed enough to cry out in their own defense.

I cried the whole way home.

And as I suffer through this tremendously hard pregnancy,  I long to not only give this child a chance, but to give others a chance as well.

So, might I suggest, that you, that I, might do something to stand for justice? To be a life saver?

I know, I have been silent long enough.

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Rescue those being led away to death;

hold back those staggering toward slaughter.

 If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”

does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?

Does not he who guards your life know it?

Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?

 Proverbs 24:11-12

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You must not worship the Lord your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.

Deuteronomy 12:31

A good friend of ours helped with the filming of this video recently, and passed it along to us.

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Just some ways to move towards speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves:

1. Watch AND SHARE the above video

2. Pray regularly for the end of this child slaughter, and for the mothers who are fearfully considering what pregnancy means for them.

3. Check out this website.

4. Find out the inner workings of the abortion industry.

5. Give financially to help those trying to affect legislation concerning abortion.

6. Consider becoming an adoptive family.  Giving another option to at least one mother in need.

Expecting: When you don’t get what you expect, but still expect to get

We didn’t get what we expected.

But now we wait in expectation for what we will get

We will get

Strength when we have none.
Faith to ride the storms.
God moving, moving in our children, when I’m rendered too weary for the job.
Order when I can’t be the one to enforce it
Joyful trust when we don’t understand the plan

I really should have known this would happened. Many  life experiences show, that as soon as we have a plan, a course of action we are following, Jesus moves us down a different path to remind us that he told us , “Come follow ME” not “come follow the plans you think I led you into”.

So, the very week we finish our adoption homestudy paperwork, we find out where our newest family member is.

He or she is growing…

in my womb.

And shock sets in, and grief over the seemingly shut door to adoption*, questions concerning all that had transpired this fall that seemed to make it so clear this was our season to adopt, but then also excitement over the newest little Iverson growing and the wonder of who this little person will be and become, and then the sudden realization and reminder that pregnancy.is.not.fun.

At least its not fun when you have five other little kids to keep up with and care for and naps are no longer an option in your life except at the extreme cost of finding plastic toys in your oven, every room in the house tornadoed through, and an inability to find your keys because the 1 year old was playing with them while you dozed during the supposed reading time that didn’t last long for mommy.  (cough, cough, its not like I’m speaking from experience…from this week)

Pregnancy is a cross to bear.  A giving up of one’s own life so that another might have it.  It is the gospel worked out, into every nitty gritty too-fatigued-and-nauseous-to-keep-up-with-the-housework-much-less-the-blog-i-wanted-to-be-more-faithful-about moment, in which I exchange my “right” to pursue my own passions and desires, my”right” to my body, my “right” to my own energy, my “right” to have a certain figure (let me tell you, when you are on your seventh pregnancy*, your body wastes NO time stretching right back out to the way it looked for 47 months of its previous existence). You give up your “right” to keep up with the New Years Resolutions, and you give up the “right” to have enough strength to keep your kids in line and do everything you need to keep things running.

But with all the suffering involved, even if its nine long months of it, it is worth every moment to impart life, a body formed around a soul entrusted, right there in your own womb.  Its worth it for who that child will be, how that child will bring laughter and joy and sanctification to his or her awaiting family members.  It is worth it for the sake of every life that child will impact throughout its life.  And most of all, its worth it to provide a place in which that little body can grow, grow eyes and ears and a heart and mind and a body to experience all the wonders of his or her Creator on this miraculous planet called earth. It’s worth it to bring a child into the world in which he or she will come to know God’s incredible redemption story. This child will come to know that although, he or she is born with a sin-cripped heart that will never need to be cultivated, only exposed, he or she will also find that this sin-cripped heart has been dealt with by the Sin-Crippler, Jesus Christ, the One with a pure heart. This child, I pray will gaze upon the cross that Jesus died upon, and come to realize this is his or her means to  a new heart, the very Heart of God, come to dwell in us. This message is what cripples sin within us, that only His heart can live abundant.

This is the greatest of all miracles, all mysteries, and it takes the miracle and mystery of pregnancy to invite a soul into such wonder.

So in the meantime, as cells reproduce rapidly, and God works miracles within, I will have to wait in expectation.  Not getting what I expected, but still expecting to get.

Expecting to get…

Strength when I have none.
Faith to ride the storms.
God moving in our children, when I’m rendered too weary for the job**
Order when I can’t be the one to enforce it.
Joyful trust when we don’t understand the plan.

For His promises declare it…that the waves of nausea and tiredness and aches and pains will not sweep over me, but rather the same Lord that created me and now forms this child, has commanded me to not be afraid but rather trust in the fact that I, and this child, and my family, who will all be affected by this pregnancy, have been called by name. And we are His.

So my three year old is HIS, when I really should be doing a better job of discipling him but can’t keep up with everything. And my 6 year old is His when I’m going to have to ask her to prepare lunch for her siblings. And my 8 year old is His when he’s just going to have to figure out a way to get his homework done without me. And my four year old is HIS when she’s going to have to settle for staccato-style reading of her older siblings rather than mommy always reading that book to her. And my 1 year old is HIS when he’s dressed in mismatched clothes because his four year old sister dressed him and that was the only way we could get out the door in time. And my husband is HIS when he comes home to dishes begging to be done and a wife fallen asleep at 9pm.

And my faith will be built, and there’s will too, as we all depend on the Mighty One, Jesus, together.

But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

Isaiah 43:1-3

And the battle cry these past few weeks, as morning sickness has set in, has been the calling out into the water that the Lord does.  And the expectation that He will meet us IN the waves, and IN the fire, For HE is the Lord our God, the Holy One of Isreal.

My Savior. from my sin. from my fear. in my weakness. in my need.

*stay tuned for what this means for our adoption process

**we lost one baby, in between our first and second children, thus making this our seventh pregnancy

***I already saw this happen, as last Tuesday I felt like death incarnate, and could not function.  Daniel Josiah and Trinity (first and second born, ages 8 and 6) “sent me to bed” and said, “Don’t worry, Mom, you go lie down. We will clean up the kitchen.  AND THEY DID. AND THEY DID IT WELL: cleaned dinner dishes, loaded dishwasher, started dishwasher, emptied trash, swept, wiped down counters and table and pushed in chairs.  I was amazed. (NOW if they would just do that EVERY night 🙂

 

THIS is the Gospel

Last Monday night I cried myself to sleep…waves of grief washed over me as I thought of the child that would never have the opportunity to experience the splendor of God’s earthly creation, grief for the mother who would never get to hold her little baby, sadness over sinfulness and selfishness, and sorrow for the weight of shame and guilt that this mother would now carry….

 

Monday night, the very day my mind had drifted into plans for a baby shower, I found out that my friend had gotten an abortion. My friend (we’ll call her Cleone) doesn’t believe in abortion. She swore she would never get one. She always used to tell me, I’ve been through so much and I’ve messed up so much, but at least I’ve never had an abortion. 

 

Cleone has several beautiful children whom she has poured her whole life into. Her family here in Newark is like a diamond in the rough. She believes in LIFE, and she loves babies. But last April, she found herself pregnant against her will, grieving over the death of her grandmother who raised her, angry at her fiance who tries to control her, and upset at God for putting her through all this…so she went and did what she had always sworn she would never do.  She killed her baby.  We wrestled through the grief she experienced but rejoiced in the repentant heart she had as she told God she would never do it again.  Then this April she found herself pregnant again just as far along as she had been when she had the abortion the year before.   She took this as God’s second chance for her.  Yet she still struggled with the possibility of getting another abortion.  She knew God’s will, and what is right, yet certain medical conditions (she has a spine condition and arthritis in her back, but has never gotten surgery for it for fear of getting cut open) made following God’s will extremely difficult.  With mourning sickness, on top of her spinal condition, on top of the multiple children she must raise, on top of the part time job she must hold, on top of the fact that she would not be allowed to take pain killer to help ease the intense pain, on top of the small two bedroom apartment her family was packed in, on top of the inconsistent relationship she had with the father of her kids, on top of the fact that if she carried this baby it would be her 5th C-section…. it was HARD to resist the temptation of abortion.  We had long talks on the phone, I watched her kids so she could get a break, we read God’s promises, we prayed for His strength.  We even went and got a sonogram done, and received counseling from a women’s resource center.  We SAW her 10 week old unborn baby squirming, kicking and punching around in her stomach.  Cleone, had never had a baby shower, and my plan was to give her her first. I fell in love with this baby, as I continually encouraged his or her mother to have the faith to carry it.  Yet it was so hard for her to stay focused on God’s will, when there was a way out to all the pain.  The abortion clinics are there, her friends all were encouraging to get an abortion, they had all had them and “didn’t feel guilty” (or so it seemed)

 

But last week, the pain in Cleone’s back and legs got so intense she was throwing up and started to feel numb.  She went to the ER and the ER doctor immediately gave her strong painkiller, despite her pregnancy, and then told her she was basically trying to commit suicide by trying to carry the baby.  She got home and the next day went to the clinic. 

 

As I spoke with her about everything, she was crying and asking if God was going to punish her kids because she killed this child, she was asking “why?”, why didn’t God take away the pain, why didn’t He answer her prayers, why couldn’t He just fast forward to 9 months and already give her the baby. I didn’t have the answers, I was broken with grief, and all I could do is pray for her on the phone…and as I prayed I felt God’s Spirit descend on me as I, by faith, claimed the shed blood of Jesus over Cleone and her sin. The truth of the Glorious Gospel washed over us, and I realized and prayed that SHE would realize that Jesus already took the punishment that she fears for her children. GOD sent HIS OWN CHILD to take it.  Because of that sacrifice she did not need to live in the fear, the guilt, the shame she was experiencing. THIS is the Gospel we preach, THIS is the love we proclaim.  The “righteousness” that she had clung to by saying she would never have an abortion, was displaced and now she could fully cling to Christ’s righteousness, because now she was so broken that Jesus truly was her only hope. Blessed are the POOR in Spirit. This whole ordeal has made her realize the absolutely poverty she is in without a Savior to redeem her and intercede for her.

 

Several days after our prayer time, she called me to give me an update.  She had been getting up and reading her Bible every day, she was repenting of ways she hadn’t loved her kids or her fiance, she was devouring books by Billy Graham and others and sharing with me what she was learning.  She said it felt so weird to have such peace about things, and feel so happy despite what she had done. She felt like the storm was over. And it is, the storm of the fury of God’s just wrath, had been directed towards his own Son.  She may now bask in the glorious sunshine and the peace that comes after the storm.  THIS is the Gospel.  God taking broken people, broken choices, broken situations, and pays the price to heal, redeem, and restore. PRAISE JESUS for he has been sent to 

                            bind up the broken hearted, 

                            to proclaim freedom to the captives

                            and release from darkness to the prisoners

 

                            to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor

                                and the day of vengeance of our God,

                            to comfort those who mourn and provide for those who grieve in Zion-

                                to bestow on them 

                                           a crown of beauty 

                                                                  instead of ashes

                                                the oil of gladness 

                                                                        instead of mourning

                                                    a garment of praise

                                                                           instead of a spirit of despair…

                                                                                            (Isaiah 61:1-2)