the blind leading the blind in the dark.

We drove to the beach a few weeks ago. It’s a drive I’ve made hundreds of times. Maybe more. (I’d try to do the math, but we all know I can’t.)

There is a way to get there that’s pretty much a straight shot. Get on one road main road and take it about 90% of the drive. But that’s not the way we go.

We cut through cow fields and corn fields. We drive past adorable little dairies and abandoned farms and thriving farms. We see farmers markets. We go through one stoplight towns and no stoplight towns and take roads so far off the beaten path there are no lines.

I’ve made the drive my whole life. Husband inherited the drive when he decided he loved the girl who liked the beach best of all.

We left late so that (theoretically) the kids would sleep in the car. So it was dark out. Which shouldn’t have been a big deal. And I didn’t wear my contacts. Which also shouldn’t have been a big deal. And I didn’t bring my glasses.

None of which should have been an issue except that after a bit into the drive, husband said, “You’re going to have to navigate. I can’t remember how to get there.”

I stared at him blankly for a bit.

After we hashed out the, “It’s dark and I don’t have glasses or contacts and there are a million turns and just as many cornfields and how do you not know how to get there?” I did what any person with no other option would do; I did my best.

We quite literally put to test the phrase, “I could get there with my eyes closed.”

Good news: we made it. And I don’t think we made any wrong turns. (If we did. I didn’t see them.) And what struck me as we pulled into my parents beach house, was that I was able to take cues from things I can’t see. I was able to take cues from things I never would have known were etched in my mind. There is the obvious “Walk by faith not by sight” analogy but to me, it was more than I was surprised to be led by things that had never led me before.

I think the Lord has used that night as an analogy for my life the last couple months. Just because He’s not leading me how I’m familiar with, doesn’t mean He’s not leading. I fell into this pattern where I only trusted Him to lead a certain way. I was comfortable following that way, I didn’t have to trust any of my other senses, and in some ways I didn’t have to trust Him at all…I could just lean into what I was familiar with and call it a day.

Leading by feeling is bad theology. Following by feeling is bad theology. So please know that’s not where I’m going with this.

I’m not trying to make theology at all, as a matter of fact. I’m just trying to share the way it all hit me.

There is something interesting about following along without the use of your most relied upon instinct.

What if the Israelites had decided the Lord lead by parting the Red Sea, so they would only ever follow His lead if seas were parting.

Or if after the Lord had answered Gideon through the wet fleece, Gideon had only ever listened to the Lord when the Lord led by dew on fleece?

Or if after the Lord appeared in the whisper, Elijah only ever followed if the Lord was whispering?

If we have known Him one way and we wait exclusively for Him to make himself known in that exact way, we stand to miss a lot. If I don’t wake up daily in desperate anticipation of however He might see fit to guide me, I might miss Him altogether.

In His word we find that He leads by the pillar cloud by day, and pillar of fire by night, and by angels, and by finding ourselves in His shadow, and by walking when He makes the sun stand still. He parts seas, He sends donkey’s to talk and hands to write on walls. Sometimes His feathers lead us along and sometimes it’s His mighty right hand.

See, I think sometimes I treat the Lord like it is a character out of Hansel and Gretel, dropping breadcrumbs and just hoping I’m able to pick up His trail.

But I know Him better than that. I know He is more intentional that that. I know He is more purposeful than that.

As a parent of tiny humans, I feel like 90% of my day is experimental, and I don’t do well with experiments. But I’m still learning my tiny humans. I’m still learning how the Lord designed them and then therefore, how to best lead them. How to best encourage them, how to best love them, how to best discipline them.

And sometimes I think that shades my perception of the Lord. Like He is still trying to learn me, trying to learn how to best lead me.

But He knows me. Knows me. He knows me better than I know myself.

He knows how to best lead me. Knows exactly what I need the moment I need it. Knows what I will follow and when I will follow it. He knows when I need His feathers to brush me along, and when I need His mighty right hand to force an issue. He knows when I need something as jaw dropping as a hand writing on the wall to make His will clear. He knows what I am walking a Red Sea road and I desperately need Him to make a way where there wasn’t one before. He knows when I am waiting to hear His whisper and when I need Him to come thundering in.

He takes us by the hand and He holds us in His hand and He carries us, and He soars with us on eagles wings and quiets us with His love…He is there every step of the way.

Humbly,

katie

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“not in my mouth.”

Recently, my daughter has picked up a habit where if I say a word or a phrase, she says, “Say that again.” I repeat it. Then I can usually hear her turning it over and over in her mouth trying to use it correctly or say it properly.

The other day, I said something, which she asked me to repeat. But it was not followed by her usual regurgitation. She sat quietly.

I said, “Do you want to try to say it?”

“No Momma. I can’t say that. I don’t have that word in my mouth.”

I was so pierced by her phrasing. “I don’t have that word in my mouth.” It was both funny and compelling.

So compelling. But have you ever felt compelled by something and yet not totally sure why you are compelled by it?

She didn’t try to say my word, but I kept her phrase right on the tip of my tongue for days, “I don’t have that word in my mouth.” Turning it over and over in my mind.

In my Bible study, I came across a story I had never heard before, or maybe just never really noticed before.

And he said to me, “Son of man, eat whatever you find here. Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he gave me this scroll to eat.  And he said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.” Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey. And he said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with my words to them.” [Ezekiel 3:1-4]

The Lord is calling Ezekiel and tells him to eat a scroll. To literally eat His words.

And Ezekiel obeys. He could have literally respond, “I have that Word IN MY MOUTH.” We see Ezekiel actually taste it, really taste it, and he experiences that it actually is as sweet as honey.

I love allegory and simile in scripture, but I equally love when the Lord is so concrete and so literal you could almost laugh. And I love when He gives us something that keeps poking at us, and we can’t quite shake it out but we don’t know why.

Like when He compels us with our daughter’s words, and then makes it come alive across the words of Scripture.

In scripture, the Word of God is described as “sweeter than honey” (Psalm 119:103). That it is a “lamp for our feet and a light to our path” (Psalm 119:105). That it is “living and active and sharper than any double edge sword” (2 Timothy 3:16). That it “endures forever” (Isaiah 40:8). And Jesus himself says we live off of it.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” [Matthew 4:4]

There is a significant flow of events in Ezekiel. The Lord tells him to eat the scrolls, Ezekiel eats the scroll, has them in his mouth, says they taste “as sweet as honey”. THEN God tells him to take the words he had put in his mouth and speak them.

It got me thinking about how I hunger for the Word of God, and if I hunger for the Word of God. And if I live off it. If I live by it’s light, and am desperate for it to be living and active in me.

If I put His words in my mouth and then speak them.

It made me reply my interactions with daughter over and over again. How she asks me to say it, and say it again, and say it again, until she is comfortable enough with it to say it herself.

And I wondered when the last time was I sat at the Lord’s feet and asked Him to say it, and to say it again, and to say it again. Until I really got it. Until I was comfortable enough with it that I could own it. That I could say it with conviction. That I could live it with conviction.

How often do I sit with my Bible open, and I just search the Word until I find every which way He has answered my question. Finding passage after passage after passage that shows me what He says and how He says it so that I know it and I can own it and I can say it and live with conviction.

Sometimes it is the big questions that can only be answered in faith. And sometimes it is the very simple, “You love me? Show me, please. Show me again. Say it, please. Say it again, Say it, again. Again. Please.”

Until I reach a place where I can say, “I’ve got His word in my mouth, and man it is sweeter than honey.”

In His love,

katie

 

 

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here.

My sister and my mom went to Israel. We had a family text message thread going where they would send us all pictures with captions like, “This is such-and-such location where Jesus did this-and-that.”

My brother is the family comedian, and in an especially witty moment, he responded to one such message with a picture of himself outside a pizza joint. His caption was, “This is the spot where we have our favorite pizza. Jesus was never here though.”

I could not stop laughing.

It has become a bit of a joke within our home now. “What is that a picture of?” “Oh, That is Sweetie Belle’s ballet recital. Jesus never walked there though.” “Oh! Thats an adorable picture.” “It is. Jesus never walked there though.”

I am not sure if the hilarity is conveying, but goodness, I hope it is.

I got to thinking though. About places I end up and think, “Lord. Where you ever here? Where you ever in this?”

There are some places I end up and I am positive deep down in my core that the Lord brought me there. Do you know what I’m saying?

For example. We just bought a house. (Well. Technically. We bought a plot of land and we currently own a hole in the ground. But the builder tells us it’ll be a house. Here’s to hoping.) But the process of buying the house, and buying THAT house had the Lord’s fingerprints all over it. I have no doubt He was there, He is here, He is right there in it with us.

There would be no text: “Here is our new house, I sure hope the Lord is here with us.” I know. I have no doubt He is right there. It’d be like I sent a picture of my family at our new house and you could see Him standing right there with us – that is how concrete His presence feels in this process.

But other areas of my life…it is not so concrete.

I thought I was following Him. I thought I’d followed His lead. Only to look around and go, “I don’t know that you’re here. I don’t know you were ever here.”

It makes me think of the woman at the well.

6 Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. 7 Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” 8 He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.

9 The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans.[b] She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? 12 And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”

13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again.14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

15 “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”

16 “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her.

17 “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied.

Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— 18 for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!”

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. 20 So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim,[c] where our ancestors worshiped?”

21 Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem.22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

25 The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26 Then Jesus told her, “I am the Messiah!”[d] (John 4)

If we had a snapshot of this, Jesus would be right there. I mean, right there. With her. Close enough to touch. They are breathing the same air. Sharing words. Sharing a drink.

And she misses it. Completely. He drops all these hints about who He is, and she has no idea.

He gives her time to wrap her mind around it, and yet He still has to spell it out for her at the end.

I am the Messiah!

And I wonder how often I am in her shoes. Shouting at the Lord, “WHERE ARE YOU? Why aren’t you HERE?!” While He sits so close my cries are practically deafening.

Because you know, I know better. I know He will never leave or forsake me. I know He is closer than my next breath. I know He holds me and has me engraved on the palm of His hand. That we need not ever fear because He is with us.

Somehow, that head knowledge doesn’t save me in some moments though. I, like the woman at the well, make Him spell it out. Desperate for Him to show me that He is right there – that if I had a supernatural snapshot of where I’ve ended up, I could see Him here with me.

Recently, the prayer that keeps saving me from myself is, “Lord, reveal yourself to me. Show me You.”

I am continually struck my Moses’ plea before the Lord, “Show me Your glory.” Please Lord, show me Your glory.

My cry is that He’d be near and I wouldn’t just intellectually know that He is near, but I would experience it. I’d experience Him. In all the ways He shows up. In all the ways He never leaves my side. That I’d know Him so well. That I’d live so close that I get to reflect His glory.

You are near O Lord.” Psalm 119:151

Praise Him, He is near.
katie

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no ones listening.

“This is why Katie feels like no one listens to her,” Husband politely explained as steam came out of my ears.

I had answered the question no less than 5 times in an hour – and the person that was asking the question and wasn’t listening was sitting close enough to touch for every single answer.

And Husband had heard me chant, “This is why I feel like no one listens to me!” at least 6.7 million times in recent weeks and was picking up on what made me feel that way.

Simply put: I feel that way WHEN NO ONE LISTENS TO ME.

When I have to repeat myself half a dozen times.

When I have to answer the same question ad nauseam because no one listened to my answer the first time.

Does it sound like I’m ranting? I’m sorry – I am. But I’m going somewhere, promise.

Moses. Sweet, patient Moses.

I feel like I know his story better than most. It is an account I read over and over because I find myself relating to Moses more often than not. In the midst of the familiar details – the Burning Bush, the “Let my people go!” and the plagues and the Red Seas parting – one detail really struck me recently though, a detail I had never noticed before.

In Exodus 3 Moses encounters a Burning Bush and the Lord lays out for Moses what exactly He has planned for him to do.

“Now come, and I will send you to Pharaoh so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.” (Verse 10)

Moses responds like any sane person would – a mess of nerves and uncertainty.

So God gives Moses a pep talk in Exodus 4. He lays out a plan for Moses. He tells him what to say and then gives him signs to show them that Pharaoh might believe him. And then in verse 8 and 9, God says this: “If they will not listen to you or believe you when they are shown the first thing, they may believe when this is shown to them. But they might not believe even these two things or listen to what you say.”

They might not believe you or listen to you, even then.

It had never occurred to me that beating my head against a brick wall might be a God-ordained process. But I think that is what God is telling Moses. “Say it, say it again. Show them. Show them again. Say it, say it again. Go back and say it again… And they still aren’t going to listen to you. Say it again, anyway.”

How many times does Moses have to tell Pharaoh? At least 10.

My tendency is to stop. To say it once, and then give up. I feel unheard, or I actually am unheard, or not even listened too, but I tried, so I call it a day.

I think I must have said it wrong, or maybe wasn’t supposed to say it at all. I must have misunderstood or misspoke or just gone and ruined the whole thing because saying it more than once couldn’t possibly be the plan.

Parenting is the obvious example of saying something over and over and over and over. But it really, it happens in all my relationships. Marriage. Friendships. Discipleship. I said it once, wasn’t once enough?

I think Moses is showing me that maybe it isn’t. That saying it over and over and over and over might be exactly what the Lord is asking of me. Saying it and then showing them, and then saying it again, and then coming back and saying it again – might be just what the Lord would have me to do.

It occurs to me that The Lord did not call Moses to get a response out of Pharaoh. He did not make Pharaoh Moses’s responsibility. He made Moses’ responsibility obedience. To say it, to say it again, to say it again and to keep saying it until the Lord said “enough.”

Moses was not called to Pharaoh’s response. Moses was called to use His words like the Lord told him too.

And you know, the fact that no one listening really is not my problem. My only concern should be my obedience to what the Lord has asked me to say and how He has asked me to say it. And saying it a million times or just once, that might not be my concern either.

After all, if Moses has taught me anything today, it’s that beating my head against a brick wall just might be a God ordained process.

Patiently,
katie

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hockey fights and my whole heart.

It was a Saturday night. And Mike Fisher and Tom Wilson got into a fight. And I didn’t see it.

If you’ve ever had a wake up call during a hockey game that you weren’t watching because Tom Wilson was pummeling Mr. Carrie Underwood, you and I are probably cut from the same cloth. If you’re dumbfounded and a bit appalled by what I’m saying, you’re probably cut from saner material. Please bear with me anyway.

(Also. Those are hockey players. Just in case you were that lost. Go Caps.)

You know when Peter walks on water?

24 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. 25 About three o’clock in the morning[a] Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”

27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here![b]”

28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”

29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said.

So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.30 But when he saw the strong[c] wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,”Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”

32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed. (Matthew 14)

Do you ever wonder about the other disciples? I often wonder if it ever hit them square between the eyes that while Peter walked on water, they sat in a boat? That they were spectators to a miracle, not participants?

And it occurs to me that the difference between Peter and the rest of them is that one of them got out of the boat and the others simply did not.

At some point recently, I think I stopped participating. I was content in the boat, so to speak. I watched others walk on water and it didn’t even occur to me that I was choosing not to participate.

(If you are wondering, “HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO A HOCKEY FIGHT?” Bless your heart. And mine.)

Here is the thing. I love hockey. I mean, I LOVE hockey. Mostly, I love the Washington Capitals. I used to go to Caps games quite a lot. And if I wasn’t there, I would watch it on TV. But now I can get text updates, and watch the highlights on my phone later, and obsessively reload the Sportacular app, follow along on Instagram, and follow along on Twitter, so it’s almost like it doesn’t matter if I’m actually watching the game or not. I can know what happens whether I watched or not.

While this connection might not be apparent to most people, as I sat there not watching the Caps play the Predators, I began to feel like not watching the game was an overarching theme in my recent life. Sitting sideline to my passions. Removing myself from the things I love. Some times so far removed, I wasn’t even watching them.

I wouldn’t have been one of the disciples in the boat watching it play out, I’d be a disciple at home who heard the story second hand later.

I wasn’t playing the game. I wasn’t even watching the game. I was so far removed from participating that I couldn’t even be called a “bystander”.

I don’t want to be a hockey fight, that’s not my point at all.

My point is that I don’t want to be so content to a be a bystander to my own passions that I miss engaging in my own passions.

Am I making any sense at all?

I believe so strongly that the Lord designed us with purpose and passion and that designed us to engage. To get out of the boat, to play the game, to watch it all unfold and stand awe struck by what He is unfolding.

Life is hard. The feels are hard. And if you get knocked one too many times it can be easier to stand on the shore or stay in the boat and consider where you’re at close enough to the action – no need to risk going all in. No need to risk the sinking. No need to risk other’s remembering the miracle you were a part of, by the moment you failed.

Peter sort of gets a bad rap for the way the whole day plays out. Because he begins to sink. And while we might usually refer to the account as, “Peter walks on water”, the whole ordeal is more noted for when he began to sink.

But you know what pierces me to my core? 12 guys in a boat, only one of them walked on water.

I’m pretty sure I’d rather be the guy who got to walk on water than any one of the 11 guys that never even got out of the boat.

This plays out in some obvious ways.

“Why do I not participate in that ministry anymore?” “How come I don’t spend time with this person anymore?” Obvious things we bow out of, things we stop participating in and we don’t exactly know why, but if we had to pin a reason down, it’d probably start and end with fear.

But other ways are more subtle.

I spoke at a handful of events this Christmas season. It was such an honor. Such an honor.

One event in particular I really felt like I threw my heart and soul into. So I was a bit perplexed when, after I shared my message, a trusted friend said, “That was great. Beautiful. But I’m left wondering how all that hit your heart.”

As I turned her question over and over and over, I realized I had fooled myself into thinking if I engaged, if I got into the boat, but left my heart on the shore, that I had engaged enough. That somehow the part I was holding back didn’t matter.

I can’t help but wonder if that is the difference between Peter and the other 11 guys that showed up that day. Only one guy went all in with his whole heart.

I don’t want to be content half-in. I want to be all in. Running head-strong and heart-full off the shore, out of boats and across the impossible in order to be closer to my Savior.

All in. With my whole heart.
katie

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just keep staying.

I woke up to the sound of someone laying on their horn. Outside my window. And seeing as I don’t live in Times Square, this is unusual. I sprang to the window thinking something MUST be wrong, only to find a Cadillac driving about -5 miles an hour up and down my street laying on their horn.

We had not yet reached 7am.

Up and down. Back and forth, ’round and ’round and ’round the small courtyard. Laying . On. The. Horn.

Not yet 7am.

I curled back in bed and pounded my fist against my forehead. Over and over and over.

It was almost (ALMOST) laughable. Because it was the perfect summary of the last few weeks.

The world has been yelling. Horns have been blaring. Life has been at a fever pitch. Louder than I can handle. Coming at me from all directions. Like megaphones blasting in my direction as I’ve sat there and wondering if all the yelling people can’t hear the others yelling their stories my direction as well.

And as the world has yelled, I felt the Lord grow silent. There are seasons He has so much to say I can’t take it all in, but in this season He’s been all but silent and yesterday I found myself praying the lyrics from a popular song.

Say something I’m giving up on you.”

Because as the world yelled, my Lord grew quiet. And my heart grew a little frantic, for Him to say something, ANYTHING.

To speak sense or peace into the madness. To utter anything letting me know that in the fever pitch, His still quiet presence was there.

Because I wasn’t actually giving up on Him, but my heart and mind were falling into the fever pitch rhythm. And I was frantic for Him.

Say SOMETHING.”

Do you know what I’m saying? Have you felt the fever pitch? Have you stuck your fingers in your ears trying to drown out the scream of the world so that you can hear Him, only to not hear anything?

Not doubting that He’s there, but if He’s not going to use His voice to speak peace into existence, or to tell the storm to stop its raging then you wonder what you’re waiting on at all.

Like maybe the white roar is better than the nothing? And in the midst of the roar, the quiet almost seemed terrifying, and yet so completely and utterly necessary.

So we set aside a week for quiet and set-apartness and in the midst of that everything converged on itself and the long stretch of quiet turned into a tightly wound holler and I didn’t know if I should duck and cover or up and run.

Fight. Or flight.

They always say if you don’t make a choice, you’ve still made a decision, and I understood that acutely as I stayed. I might not be fighting, and I certainly wasn’t flight-ing, but I was staying.

At the end of the day where no choice was made but a decision was reached some clouds parted, literally and figuratively, and as the sun was setting this happened.

IMG_2192

And in that moment it was like there was space to breathe again, as I sensed His whisper, “Just keep staying.”

The “say something” I had been waiting for.

Just. Keep. Staying.

In her book No Other Gods, Kelly Minter makes this great analogy about leaving a Tennessee Titans game mid game because they were losing so terribly. Only to find out once she was home the Titans had made the most amazing comeback, and in not staying, she missed it. Her analogy is fantastic and over the course of a few paragraphs, she says this: “…they just stayed. And sometimes that is all that is required…a lot can be said for simply hanging in there… I am telling you straight up—stay. When you’re too weary and disillusioned to do anything else, keep staying.” (pp. 144-145)

Keep staying.

And the Bible is jam packed with those stories, the waiting seasons, the holding patterns. Like Joshua at Gilgal before Jericho. Moses. The Israelites. Elijah waiting for the Lord to speak on the mountain.

The waiting game. The “say something” game.

And the truth is, the answer might be as simple and as complicated and as grace-filled and as loud and as quiet as “Just keep staying.

“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him.” Psalm 62:5 

With Love,

katie

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something to do.

Years ago I worked for CareNet, a pro-life organization. I mainly worked their warehouse filling orders requesting literature for crisis pregnancy centers across North America. And while statistically I can’t back this, the literature I remember being most requested and counting and stocking and fulfilling orders for, was the literature on how to heal from abortion. Because no one says it hurts – your heart, soul, mind – but my experience in that warehouse tells me that it does.

One year, I worked CareNet’s conference and banquet and was seated next to a woman who had made national headlines the year prior when she showed up at presidential-candidate John Kerry’s rally with a banner reading “My abortion hurt me”. Exactly what transpired next is still unclear, but the facts are that one of Kerry’s aids walked up to this lady’s seat in this rally and tore up her poster and threw it in the trash.

I’ll never forget the lady’s face as she shared her story. And that her heart seemed to be yelling, “I came with my story, because I wanted these women to know the value of their story.”

I’m disgusted by the news and videos coming out about Planned Parenthood, but airing my views here or getting into a debate online does nothing. Because truthfully, by the time there are body parts to harvest, we are so far past the heart of the issue that we are trying to manage consequences instead of ministering to the heart of the crisis.

But I concerned that my generation, and maybe even everyone involved in this social media driven society, equates posting on social media, with social action.

But as I’ve prayed and pondered, I know unequivocally the answer is not to post on social media or write something moving, but rather to do something. And yes, we could write to our congressmen or help women be more informed or pay for more ultrasound machines in crisis pregnancy centers and abortion clinics and those are really good, really worthwhile things. But I keep going back to the heart of the issue, and how do we address the heart of this sort instead of trying to manage the consequences.

I think girls, and women need to know their value. The value of their story.

I have found myself wondering who has abortions.

“- 51% of U.S. women obtaining abortions are younger than 25; women aged 20-24 obtain 33% of all U.S. abortions, and teenagers obtain 18% (AGI).
– In 2011, adolescents under 15 years obtained .04% of all abortions, but had the highest abortion ratio, 817 abortions for every 1,000 live births (CDC).
– Black women were 3.7 times more likely to have an abortion in 2011 than non-Hispanic white women (CDC).
– The abortion rate of non-metropolitan women is about half that of women who live in metropolitan counties (NAF).
– 37% of women obtaining abortions identify themselves as Protestant, and 28% identify themselves as Catholic (AGI).
– On average, women give at least 3 reasons for choosing abortion: 3/4 say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or other responsibilities; about 3/4 say they cannot afford a child; and 1/2 say they do not want to be a single parent or are having problems with their husband or partner (AGI).”

It’s the woman pushing the swing next to you at the park. The woman sitting next to you in church. The scared high school girl who saw no other out. The woman you brush shoulders with on the metro. The woman who checked out of the grocery store in front of you.

It’s any woman who hasn’t been told loudly enough or boldly enough that woven into the tapestry of her life is value and purpose. That she is strong enough to make the hard choice. That she was made for more for throwing out the inconvenient parts of their story. That because she felt tossed aside doesn’t mean she needs to toss aside the parts she is fearful she can’t handle. That she isn’t alone. And that if she really is alone, there are people who will come alongside her.

And we need to tell them long before they are checking a box on a form in an abortion clinic – because at that point you’re working backwards to manage the consequences of a person already hurt.

They need to know from day one that the story they write with their lives matters because they matter. That they are precious and cherished because God says so. But not only are they precious and cherished, but any child they create is precious as well. And that child is worth more than a donation to science.

So what can we do? How can we reach these women before they are in crisis?
– Help tutor underserved groups. Serve those kids that spend the afternoons alone that need to know their lives matter and the choices they make matter.
http://www.ulcdc.org
– Volunteer at your local crisis pregnancy center
http://www.care-net.org/community-volunteer-opportunities
– Invite the mom pushing the kid on the swing next to yours to MOPs. Or to bible study. Or to play group.
Www.mops.org
– Volunteer with your youth group, volunteer with awanas, run a small group for students, teach Sunday school, help with VBS.
– Sign up to be a foster parent or pursue adoption. Women faced with the unimaginable need to know there are healthy alternatives and one of the most beautiful parts of their story can be the child they knew they could love the best by letting someone else be their parent.
https://www.dss.virginia.gov/adoption/index2.cgi
– Come volunteer with me at Little Women this year. Our entire year is devoted to teaching girls bible verses that speak to their God-given value. We want them to know that they are a treasure because God says so, and so is any and every child they may ever have.

Between 1985 and 2004, the number of people in the United States who said they had no one to discuss significant matters with tripled to 25%. YOU can be the person speaking into the lonely places. If you don’t want the first person they find to talk with to be the lady handing them papers at Planned Parenthood, then find a way to be the listening ear and gentle voice in their life long before then.

Reach them with the good news that the Lord designed them with purpose and value so that if they are ever faced with a hard choice they know without hesitation the answer is that they were made for more – and so was their unborn child.

I know how you feel – it’s how I feel too. But now, please, let’s go find something to DO.

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