Friday, January 28, 2011

50 Million Babies

Hard to imagine 50 million babies.

This past Sunday was Sanctity of Life Sunday in commemoration of the passage of Roe vs. Wade. It was a sad commemoration because the latest statistics show 50 million babies have been aborted since 1973 when Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion. We lit 50 candles representing the 50 million babies the world never celebrated. 

We had a special speaker, Claire Culwell, an abortion survivr. It is a strange, sad, wonderful story. Her mother was only 13 when she learned she was pregnant with Claire. The young teen's mother took her to an abortion center and she had an abortion.

That aborted baby was Claire's twin. Not for two months did the young teen mother learn that she was still pregnant. 

Delivered 2 months premature, Claire was saddled with many physical problems but she is a fighter and she survived and was adopted into a loving home. 

She is still a fighter, outspoken for life. Her tone, however, was amazingly forgiving. She asked us to pray.....for the abortion providers. She reminded us that the only way we will make an impact is to speak boldly in love. 

With the staggering statistic that 43% of all women have had an abortion, it has become a medical need to treat the women who years later still suffer the effects of PTS or post traumatic stress from the depression and guilt associated with their decision. 

Every abortion involves three people—a mother, a baby and a father. More and more men have expressed their grief over the loss of a baby through their partner's abortion. 

It may be considered a woman's choice, but it also effects a baby and a man.

Visit Spiritual Sundays to read more uplifting blogs. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

From the Mouth of Babes

I didn't want to answer THE question. A news story came on the radio as I drove my seven-year-old daughter to school. She asked, “What is abortion?”

I looked at her across the front seat of the car. Her feet didn’t touch the floor and her pony tails bobbed about as she twisted intently toward me. I wasn’t ready to answer this. But, I’d rather it came from me than someone at school.

I took a deep breath and started in, “Well…. it’s when a mommy who is pregnant decides not to have her baby. She goes to a doctor and….does something… to…… make the baby not be born.”

My daughter looked at me with piercing eyes. “What exactly do they do to make the baby not be born?”

Well, this was getting deep fast. I believe in being honest so I explained about saline solution and scalpels.

“So they kill their own baby?” My daughter looked shocked.

“Well, some people ……don’t think that a baby is a human before they are delivered.”

She twirled one pigtail around her finger. “So, how can a baby suck its thumb and not be a human?”

I remembered the week before she received a “postcard” from her new baby sister due to arrive in four months. Of course it was a sonogram picture of the little one who now kicked sharply in my abdomen. The doctor had typed across the bottom of the picture, “Hi! I can’t wait to meet you! Love, your new sister”

The "postcard” clearly showed her sucking her thumb.

From the mouth of babes. My seven-year-old daughter might only be in the second grade but I would say she understood things more clearly than many adults.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tiger Mom Thoughts

Lions, Tigers and Bears—Oh, Moms!

Buzzing across the web, moms are arguing, talking and thinking aloud about strictness vs. warmth in parenting.  All this started with the publicity around Amy Chua and her new book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.

Chua, a Harvard law grad and professor, describes her parenting technique which is culturally typical for Eastern moms. The rules for her daughters: no play dates, never a sleepover, no extra-curricular activities, no dating, no television, no video games, no grade less than an A. Only the top score in all classes will do. 

Piano or violin mastery were required. Three hour daily practices were mandatory. If the girls could not play a piece to perfection, Chua would often berate her daughters, calling them garbage. She threatened to give all of their toys away if they didn't perfect their music pieces. After all, they were expected to perform in a major concert hall before they grew out of their teen years. 

Chua criticizes western mothering techniques as undisciplined and inferior to those used by eastern moms. These low expectations lead to low performance in Chua's mind. 

Debates are sparking on talk radio as experts and moms weigh in. Some of the debate is good, highlighting the values of discipline and structure when it comes to raising children—weighing in on nurture vs. intimidation. 

I've always been considered a firm mom. I had total strangers tell me at restaurants when my children were very young that they were surprisingly well-behaved. I expected my children to be and my kids knew that. 

When my kids work for others, bosses comment with surprise that my kids actually work hard. They had better work, I taught them to. 

Expectations and clear behavior rules are great. This is one area that I agree with Tiger Mom Chua. 

As a Christian mom who strives to raise my kids to honor God, I wonder at the goal of requiring them to be better than anyone else at whatever they attempt. I recoil at the thought of goading my kids with name calling. Tying my children's performance to their value is troublesome to me. 

What goal should I set for my children? 

And what does the LORD require of you? 
To act justly and to love mercy 
and to walk humbly with your God 
(Micah 6:7-9)

If my children fight for and act with justice and treat others with mercy and humility, I will be pleased. I know God will be. 

Author Chua believes that true happiness and contentment in children comes from being the best, meaning better than other kids. There is not room for every child at the top. Only one can be BEST. 

What measuring stick or goals should I hold up for my children?

 In your relationships with one another, 
have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
 Who, being in very nature God, 
   did not consider equality with God 
something to be used to his own advantage; 
rather, he made himself nothing 
   by taking the very nature of a servant, 
   being made in human likeness.
Philippians 2:5-7

God, over and over focuses on humility and serving rather than self promotion. What are your thoughts? Has Tiger Mom caused conversation among your mom friends? Let us hear what you've been discussing?

Friday, January 14, 2011

What Secret?

Recently I observed a mother and a young daughter at a popular lingerie store known for its secrets. What should have been a memorable time with mother and daughter grew to include complete strangers. The girl was shopping for her first bra. 

The sales woman and mother took the girl to the back of the store and proceeded to measure her with a tape measure. The young girl, shyly complied by raising her arms. She then began to cry. 

A grown man and teen boy stood watching. It became apparent that they were total strangers. 

The mother impatiently told the girl to quit the tears and "get over it." 

I believe modesty is under attack in our culture. The girl may have been young but I think she had it right. Some things are meant to remain private. 

I have observed after raising three young ladies that the natural modesty placed in a young heart is under attack by new world standards and the media. 

I may sound like I am ranting but I have a problem with the number of young boys brought by moms into the lingerie stores. It has become a popular place to take guys on dates—the lingerie store—the one with the secrets?
Just when I thought I might be overboard on this subject I heard a news story about high school cheerleaders who complained about their uniforms; they thought they were too revealing. The adult school board had to hold a meeting to see if these girls were troublemakers or whistleblowers. 

Comments on national blogs pertaining to this story stated that young girls really want to dress with less. Some grown men said, fire the cheerleaders!

Vanity Fair provided me with the last straw, for this week anyway. They did photo shoots of ten-year-old girls dressed in provocative attire in sexy layouts. News pundits debated the morality of the shoot. 

They were all over the map from labeling it as fodder for perverts to tasteful art. 

So now it's my turn. Let young girls keep their modesty and their privacy. Don't assume they want to dress or behave provocatively. Don't exploit young girls in the media.

Jesus reminds us in Luke 2,  "Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. So watch yourselves." 

Some things are meant to be private. God places a natural hedge around a young girl's heart. Moms and dads should fight to protect that inborn modesty. It's our job, given to us by our Heavenly Father. 
Need help in this area of raising young girls? Try these books:

Bringing Up Girls by James C. Dobson
Your Girl: Raising a Godly Daughter in an Ungodly World by Vicki Courtney
Five Conversations You Must Have with Your Daughters by Vicki Courney

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Confessions of a Bible Study Flunky

New Year's Day finds us bringing to mind old acquaintances and humming Auld Lang Syne. I had a special treat this New Year's when I googled and facebooked my way to locate Trudy. 

I was Trudy's worst nightmare twenty years ago when she taught a ladies' Bible study in her home. It was my first experience digging into God's Word—or for me—dawdling with God's Word. 

I remember Trudy's passion as she talked about the names and character of God. Although I was a believer in Christ, I couldn't imagine being so in love with God or excited about spending time with Him in His Word. 

I had my own problems. I was a young mom of two girls under four. I recently moved away from my family to a strange town with a husband whose work schedule had him gone 80% of the time. I was overwhelmed. 

Our theme verse for the study was pretty clear:

The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
the righteous run to it and are safe.
Proverbs 18:10

I didn't connect the dots. Instead of running to God who wanted to be my answer, I preferred to gripe about my life during prayer requests. I told the entire class that I had trouble completing the study questions and Bible reading because the Bible was just plain boring. 

I remember the sad look on Trudy's face when I said this. It was probably a snapshot of God's heart who longs to draw us to Him but we find every reason to tell Him He is not enough. 

Trudy moved and I moved and we lost touch. She never knew that I finally got it. God got me. 

When I talked to Trudy on New Year's Day I told her about my family—four children who love Jesus and a husband that I chose to stay with through hard times. The seeds she planted into the messy soil of my childish heart bore fruit. 

I wouldn't be here without the part she played, faithfully imparting the Word to a  woman who didn't seem to be interested. I finally learned to run to my strong tower and let Him be my answers. 

Now I am that Bible study teacher who wonders sometimes if it is worth it when women don't find time to study or pray. No matter what I say they don't see God as the answer to their needs. 

I remember Trudy and I am glad she didn't give up on me or throw me out of the Bible study or her heart. I decide to keep on obeying and trusting God to bring the fruit in His time. I don't know the marriages and families He might be touching through our times in Bible study—even with the dawdlers who don't connect the dots just yet. 

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