Isaiah Twenty Eight

...But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken...

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Location: High Desert SW

I'm Vickie, 51, married since 1985. We have a grown son, born in 1986, and aside from two early miscarriages, were barren thereafter. That is until 2003, when we were miraculously expecting a baby girl. The pregnancy was wonderful & we were very excited to be so blessed. Sadly & preventably, Abigail died in utero the week of her due date thanks to a practice of outlandishly horrid medical providers masquerading as knowledgeable professionals. Consequently, I delivered her lifeless body on December 6, 2003 after 3 days of sorrowed labor. She may have been born still, but she was still born & is still loved. Long story short, we were blessed 16 months later with a 3rd miracle child. Anne came into the world on April 28, 2005 after yet another wonderful pregnancy. Sadly, it was discovered after her birth that she had a heart defect caused by trisomy 18. She died suddenly of congestive heart failure, just before midnight on June 28, 2005. Anne was 61derful days old when she left her mama's arms & went to rest in the Lord's. She was a wonderful sparkly child, who along with her siblings, are the subject of most of my writings, interests & hobbies.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Be Ye Angry and Sin Not

And then there's the subject of ANGER... 011E3116.gif image by vickienadine

0128EA15.gif image by vickienadineAsk any grief specialist and they'll tell you that feelings of anger we have to work through during the grieving process are most certainly valid & justified. In fact, I would dare say as a "born again" Believer that feelings of anger are perfectly right. Frankly, anybody who says otherwise, is deluding themselves, ignorant of God's character and how He expresses Himself through the Scriptures, or just plain lying. I'll actually go as far to say that it's good to be angry--livid even--Such feelings are perfectly RIGHT--we're supposed to be angry at sin & death! The Scriptures say, "Be ye angry and sin not." It does NOT say that we should not be angry, but rather it says we need to be careful with how we resolve our valid anger. I would even venture to say that in the midst of being righteously angry at death, it's often a big challenge not to be angry with God for allowing the longsuffering of death to continue--especially when innocent little babies are swept up into the heartbreaking consequences of Adam's Curse. I think we have to somehow get to that place where we can "forgive" God -- and no, I don't think it's irreverent or blasphemous to contemplate such a notion (though I don't know as if God really needs forgiving for disciplining His children and setting the rules of life & death in motion). For me, it's been in the struggles of "forgiving" God (i.e. submitting myself to all that He leaves unanswered) that I've been able to re-embrace how much He forgives me. Through that I've been able to channel that righteous anger at death rather than at God. And yes, I do believe that such anger is righteous anger--death is completely & totally wrong and we're supposed to be angry with it. It's the coping with it on a human level that's so challenging--especially when so MANY "well-meaning" crooners have no earthly idea of the emotional turmoil that accompanies a baby death (let alone TWO). So such naysayers actually incinuate that God is "happy" that my babies died??? Truth is, God is just as heartbroken as I am--He weeps over death & suffering even more than I do. So how dare the "well-meaning" actually infer that I'm somehow supposed to be "happy" that my children are dead.

BABY_A18.gif image by vickienadine And then they respond with things like, But they're not dead; they're with God and it's a good & wonderful thing. Great! Then lets send your kids there to be with Him too. Let's see how YOU handle the lonely heartbreak--would you cry tears like I do, or would you jump up & down with joy like you EXPECT ME TO??? How dare you imply that my faith is lacking because I'm angry at death and they who caused it unnecessarily. How dare you wag your finger at me because I weep at my childrens' graves for missing them. No one believes more in the Good News of Resurrection more than ME! No one "rejoices" in the reality of heaven more than ME! But in this human state that I'm born into here on earth, my heart is shattered and tattered. And I think I'm doing a pretty damned good job of holding it all together in light of all that's happened!

01EF9B13.gif image by vickienadine So to they who shake their heads and wring their hands over how I've handled my grief--how would YOU handle YOUR anger if doctors had been instrumental in the untimely demise of your girls? Are not humans responsible for their actions? Are we not commanded not to kill? Are the doctors not culpable for the sin of death that they inflicted upon the lives of my daughters??? I mean, how would YOU handle YOUR anger if they who would be Godly, church-going people made YOU feel like a miserable failure; made you feel pathetic for being dropped to your knees? We've had "well-meaning" people pull in off the busy street that runs past the cemetery. They've parked their cars and approached us with tracts in hand making it perfectly clear that they saw us as pitiful & pathetic as we tended to the flowers we have planted at our children's gravesites. These people feel perfectly justified in the invading of our privacy because they see their tactlessness as a noble attempt at "witnessing" to the "apparent lost." One such tract explained that the soul is NOT eternal--that the soul dies when the body dies--the soul does NOT go to heaven to be in the safe arms of Jesus--its dead in the casket along with the corpse. The tract quoted a couple of vague & out of context Bible verses trying to "prove" the point that when we're dead, we're dead--just like the athiests believe. The tract went on to say that the "good news" is that maybe, just maybe, a few chosen souls would be resurrected upon Jesus' return--that none of us knew which ones were chosen, but that we could "HOPE" we were one of the few that are. I was dumbfounded as to why anyone would waste their time on such a futile and hopeless religion. That's not Good News! That's not what people like Paul, Peter, James and John spent their lives teaching. And it's certainly not what Jesus taught.

120866177.gif image by vickienadine Frankly, the notion that our souls died along with our bodies made me frantic and exasperated. I spent the next couple of weeks combing through my Bible coming up with DOZENS of passages that refute their proposition--dozens upons dozens of passages that prove that any can be saved who ask to be, and that we can be completely assured of salvation and the eternal soul. Sure, it's true that the souls of my girls and their bodies are separated for a time. But when Jesus returns He will arrive bringing with Him all the souls He held in safety, and "the dead in Christ shall rise first"--their souls and their perfected bodies will be reunited for the next wonderful chapter in His Story. Oh the "christians" who forget the words of Jesus Himself as He speaks in John's gospel, "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming in which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice and shall come forth--they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation." And it's been to my deepest comfort that the Lord has led me to passages nearly every day that reaffirm the eternal soul and the guaranteed seal of the Holy Spirit. In my distress, He assures me that the "Good News" is that "though we may die, we always live in Him...that those who have died in Christ are among the living saints who live to intercede on my behalf."

015E9114.gif image by vickienadineSo yeah; anger--it's not just for sinners. It's also for the righteous who are incensed by the impact of sin & death upon our world. It's for the righteous who are devastated by the likes of a sinful & wicked humanity--for the injustice that this world often exudes! Were not the priests & Levites accountable for their abandonment as they crossed the road to avoid the beaten & battered man left in the gutter to die alone??? Which one of YOU has been s a good Samaritan as you've clucked your tongues and wagged your fingers in judgement of my angry & sorrowful expressions of grief??? Which one of YOU has patiently tended to my wounds and brokenness??? How many of YOU have felt justified as you tossed the first stone in your assertion that I'm faithless--and unsaved???

01146B12.gif image by vickienadine Excuse the crap out of me, but I'm screaming mad that a bunch of high-priced, over-paid jackasses didn't do anything to save my baby girl--a daughter that I had waited over 17years to have. Doctors give us all this bullshit about how important pre-natal care is, and how vital monitoring is to the health & well-being of the child---yea? well where were they the day Abigail's NST showed clear and frightening signs that she was in critical distress??? They left me sitting in the waiting room for nearly four hours trying to find a stupid doctor to answer their pager. The baby failed her NST, what should we do??? And when the retard doctor finally answered the page, it was a guy who had NEVER met me, NEVERE seen my file, and didn't really care. It was late in the day--it was quitting time--so he had the nurse--who also had never met me; who also had never seen my file; and who also didn't give a crap--send me home instead of trying to save my baby's life. And then when I came back for the follow-up--when they discovered that my little girl had suffocated to death--they tried to blame me. Yea, well screw YOU--where were YOU, Dr. Asshole??? How much did you bill me for all those fucking ultrasounds and NST monitoring sessions??? I think it's total bullshit that YOU get to move on with your tropical vacations and your gated-community lifestyle--leaving me in the dumpster of YOUR crappy medical care; leaving my child in a deep hole under a patch of weed-riddled sod. You don't even remember me or my baby girl. And what's worse, you actually think you're free & clear--your state license and medical degree removes any culpabilty for your bad judgement an indifference. I think it's total crap that you were legally allowed to kill my child and ruin my life. You're no different than any other scumbag murderer--except for the fact that you're much more arrogant.

0162BF111.gif image by vickienadine Yes, I'm outrageously angry about that--I'll always be outrageously angry about that! Will I ever see justice on this side of heaven? Probably not. But like King David, in my righteous anger , I turn vengeance over to the Lord. I implore Him to take up Abigail's cause--meting out perfect justice on they who murdered her. I do the same for they who cast aside my little Anne like she was a weed in the garden not worthy of watering. They who robbed her of basic medication; a basic shot at life--they are no different than the drunk who deludes himself into thinking he can drive--how dare they determine that my living child wasn't worthy of helping. They think they did what they could; they think they did what was "right"--but my child was worthy of so much more than their pathetic indifference. And thus once again, I give vengeance over to the Lord of my salvation. He knows the hearts & motives of man--and judges accordingly with His perfect justice. And like the passage in Hebrews says, "It's a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God."

0144FD14-1.gif image by vickienadine I don't have energy to remain angry at all they who have abandoned me through the journey. I know that God will hold them in account as well. I know that like the priests & Levites, they have crossed the road of my affliction so as to keep up with the shallow comforts and carelessness of the American dream. I know that they have failed to hear God's commission--missing some vital opportunities to be faithful servants & ministers to the wounded & broken hearted. I know exactly what Jesus meant when He said, "In as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, My brethren, ye have done it unto Me." See, my affliction of desperate grief has been in many ways a calling to the Body to visit the captured prisoner; to clothe the raw nakedness of my shattered life; to soothe the desert of my thirst as my cup overflows with the saline of my tears. When I contemplate it deeply, I can heartily proclaim that my sorrows are deeper for them than for myself. To be certain, I may have failed my daughters to their detriment here on earth, but my acquaintences within the Body of Christ have failed the very "least of these" --and that's such a greater failing in the long run.

09010411212.gif image by vickienadine Ultimately, the only prayer I pray now is for God's mercy to abound in my life, and for my ability to extend His mercy to they who are so UN-deserving. I'll admit that I spend far too much time confessing my failures in my attempts at forgiveness. Verily I can proclaim that He Who began a good work in me is faithful to carry it out all the way to its completion. And to be certain, this excruciatingly painful journey has served to prove & reinforce that His grace truly is sufficient...

pinkangels.gif picture by vickienadine

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Rejoicing in the Father of Lights

menorah.gif picture by vickienadine

Goodness! Have I really not been here since June? I suppose the move, the reorganization, health problems, etc have all done their best to keep me from the computer. I need to work on some more lessons. I did get my Experiencing God workbook out, so that's some progress. I look forward to a long cozy winter whereby I can devote more of myself to my studies. I should call my devotions Lessons From My Broken Knees: a comparative study between knee failure and fervent prayer.

MEchristmas-1.gif picture by vickienadine

Anyway, so much has transpired between June and mid-December that there's not enough time to write about it all at once. I'll just say that the move really altered much of my life. Putting it all back together in an organized fashion has been challenging, yet productive. I'm looking forward to winter and the growth that will take place throughout the hybernation period.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Lessons in Falling Backward and Being Broken - Beauty for Ashes, Right?

This is the sort of crap that sends my grieving heart into the Netherworld of despair. Be sure to read the "post thoughts" when you're through with the article. To say that people suck is an understatement!

A short digression: I'm so humiliated that I live in the state Gov. Richardson represents. He's such an ignorant ass! He vetoed the bill because of fraud potential. Oh sure, I can see stillbirth fraud being a green card/immigration problem of national security proportions. I can also see it being a welfare fraud problem to the hilt--these are the issues that plague this part of the country, so he should know the problem very well. But the real problem isn't fraud as much as it's the fact that he's running for president. He's beg, bribing and stealing from every pro-abortion constituent that he can get to back him up. He's a loathsome criminally-based man who will never get my vote.

Gov. Richardson aside, the birth certificate thing has pissed me off ever since Abigail died and she was denied basic personhood. She does not exist as a legal person. Oh she has a legal deed of land ownership from the Capitol City--watermarked, and gold sealed. It's her officially sealed document of land ownership issued by the state perpetual care laws. It's a document that says, my daughter legally owns the hole she'd planted in, but she didn't exist as a legal person. The bottom line is that she can NOT exist as a person, it would challenge everything Roe v Wade stands for.

I've heard many people try to argue that it's not about abortion rights. They claim that it's about validation, legalization, and human respect for our babies. One stillbirth mom even asked, why is it so damn much to ask that our babies are recognized for who they are as human beings?

...because you see, if our babies get recognized as human beings; as the sweet precious babies they are, then theirs must get the same recognition as well. You can not legally terminate or abort a pregnancy in which there is a person, a human being. So to pass useful legislation in favor of our unborn babies very much threatens their agenda, and they WILL NOT have that agenda threatened. In effect, we stillbirth moms and our dead children lose our rights so they can have theirs.
That's the bottom line; and I hate to say this, but it's NEVER going to change--read the "post thoughts" to the NYT article and you'll be exposed to a plethora of horrid ideas from people who will see to it that it will never change. Medical lobbyists will make sure abortive freedom never changes. The ideas submitted to the post illustrate what I've known since the day after Abigail died: that by and large there's no sympathy for dead babies in our culture.
In fact, the reason why our grief gets overlooked and minimized on a social level is because most in our culture don't see the loss of a baby as a valid loss--not when our culture rabidly EXPECTS entitlement to abortion on demand into the 2nd trimester, and all the way into the 3rd trimester if "medical necessity" is present. I mean, women will fight like vicious dogs for their right to kill the unborn--how can we even begin to present an alternative to a mother who's determined to kill her own child?
Sadly, our culture has completely desensitized themselves into believing that a human pregnancy is just "tissue"--it's not really human. It's not a human being until it breathes or has artificial respiration in the NICU. And many, even in the so-called "JudeoChristian" realm, fight tooth & nail that there is no soul until the first breath. I had this very debate with a woman not long after Abigail died. She was adamant that the soul didn't exist within the human body until the baby breathed--many were they who agreed with her.
Well, Abigail never breathed and therefore apparently had no soul. It's absolutely crushing that in the eyes of many, she was merely biological waste. That's certainly all she was to the doctors who theoretically cared for her prior to her birth.
So according to most in this "live & let live" world of ours, not only was my child NOT considered a certified person, but she apparently isn't in heaven either since she had no soul. She's just biological waste that needs no certification or recognition because she never even was. Then why am I held in bondage to the state laws that require me to turn her remains over to the cemetery? Why can I not bury her where I want to like I would with our family cat?
And why should their abortionistic worldview be allowed to plop all over my grieving heart without so much as batting an eye??? what makes their rights greater than mine?
I'm sorry, but I'm a female. My daughters were female. But we apparently had our female rights stripped of us so another woman could have the right to abortion on demand. I'm sorry, but that's a grievous nightmare that I do NOT have to be supportive of.
No where in my Bible does it say I have to compromise all that's decent and godly in order to support a woman who chooses to kill her child rather than giving the issue over to God and allowing HIM to be sovereign. To trust a doctor more than God is blasphemy, and God said thou shalt not kill--even if your doctor uses amnio and ultrasound to predict a gloomy future. Do you know how many mis-diagnoses are made every day? Are you really willing to put your child's life on the line with that much reasonable doubt in place? I'm sorry, but I can not support you if you can.
And then I get a rock pile thrown at me when I dare say anything against the fallibility of medicine and medical equipment; against such feministic tyranny--I get this "how dare I "judge" crap thrown back at me...
Yea well, how dare I have to walk in my victimized shoes for the rest of my life, while such murderers go free! How dare I have to give up all my rights, and my children had to give up their rights in order for the abortionists to have theirs!
Ironically, I see quite eye to eye with this portion of the NYT article:

"In some states, local chapters of abortion rights groups have opposed the legislation. But at the national level, some abortion rights groups are comfortable with the laws, if they are drafted carefully to cover naturally occurring fetal death and not late-term abortion. At a level of great abstraction, there are probably some people who worry that recognizing a nonviable fetus as a person would in some way be a seed that could sprout into a threat to abortion,” said Roger Evans, a lawyer for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “But I don’t think we see it that way. We recognize the tragedy and loss of stillbirth, and as long as these laws are medically accurate, and the certificates are optional and commemorative, they’re a way to recognize that loss.” (My attitidue is that he can keep his "commemorative" crap; I want a legally certifiable document, not just a memento for my scrapbook).
But you're right as rain that I want medical accuracy in certified death documents, and I want naturally occurring stillbirths made totally distinct from the late term abortion. You see, I don't want a 2nd trimester abortion getting a birth/death certificate that says: cause of death=trisomy 18 (or whatever the disease was that prompted the parents to end the child's life early). Said baby didn't die of trisomy 18 if he/she was aborted prior to term did they? NO. So if a pregnancy is ended volunatarily it should be certified as such so as to prevent medical skewing of vital medical information that could ultimately undermine research for any given prenatal disease.
Moreover, one of the aggravating things about the MISSing Angels bill is that it does absolutely nothing to insist on medically accurate information in the certification of life &/or death of a preborn child. I don't need a piece of paper for my scrapbook. I need accurate vital records across the nation so that researchers can begin to confront SADS and birth defect trends. I want to see nothing but research-grade certified records so we can start to do something about the crisis level of stillbirths in this country; so we can learn more about the causes of IUFD (intrauterine fetal demise).
Otherwise, the certificates are nothing more than a crock of crap. And while I'm quite fond of winged babies on a sentimental level, my personal beef with the MISSing Angels bill is that it's offensive to my faith. My children are fully human, they are NOT angels. Furthermore, they are NOT missing--God has them written in His Book of Life, and I KNOW they play with Jesus in the butterfly meadows of heaven's grandeur. In some respects, I think the MISSing Angels bill does little more than stuff a sock in the mouth of a dismayed mother who is already dumbfounded by her stillbirth experience. Give her a certificate, that will shut up her questions as to why her prenatal care was so deceptively lacking; give her a momento, it will distract her from asking why her doctor isn't held more accountable for her baby's cause of death--especially in light of the incredible cost for prenatal care and the surprising rise in valid malpractice situations???
Yes, oddly enough I'm rather on the side of the Planned Parenthood attorney, in that I don't really care if stillbirth is certified or legally recognized on paper unless they can make sure they separate the natural stillbirths from the voluntary abortions. I want medically accurate certificates--if a baby dies naturally in the womb then trisomy 18 can be noted as the cause of death (or whatever illness it had prenatally). But if the baby was pre diagnosed with trisomy 18 and a 2nd trimester induction was the real & actual cause of death, then that baby didn't die of trisomy 18. The appropriate cause of death (voluntary pregnancy termination) MUST be noted as such in order to be accurate & true to the trisomy 18 death rate statistics.
I mean, doctors run around telling patients that trisomy 18 is 100% fatal. Sure it is when 98% of those prenatal diagnoses are terminated prior to birth. And yet what an inaccurate statement to make when there are hundreds of thousands LIVING with trisomy 18 around the world. What an inaccurate statement to counsel patients toward making a decision to terminate. What an outrageous way to corrupt vital statistics and medical records. What an unethical means of developing medical policies that then deny basic medical coverage to the living trisomy 18 patient who is overcoming the disease.
There's a couple of cases I know of presently whereby the parents have chosen to end their child's life. If they get death certificates that claim that their babies died of xyz ailment, then those that actually LIVE with that ailment are thereby brushed into the medical corners of ethical disregard. Research becomes tainted by inaccurate death rates, and medical policies for treatment of those who live with the condition is critically compromised. I know this because I've lived the medical politics for myself.
It infuriates me that the abortionist side always has more power & influence. Even today I read a post on a thread whereby a woman had decided to end her pregnancy mid-2nd trimester. Lots of support for the abortion, but any information for a pro-life alternative was clearly forbidden in the attitudes of the pro-abortionists who posted.
In fact, a random poster made the simple & hopeful point that she knew a 14year old person who was alive and well, living with the same condition as the baby who was slated for the slaughterhouse. The poster was merely offering a bit of hopeful information that doctors are not always right, and that some people can & do live good lives in spite of the doom & gloom the doctors illustrate. The poster was very kind and heartfelt, and to me it sounded like a slice of hope that I would have wanted to hear in my time of fearful struggle.
And yet another pro-abortion person interjected and flat out told the supportive poster to bugger off--the pro-abortionist stood on her soap box and said that the kind, hopeful info about those who live only made it worse, and that those who make such decisions have a right to make the decision without the added cruelty of guilt tactics.
HUH???? EXCUSE ME??? I think some people are so insanely rabid for their "right" to kill the unborn that they don't even hear the crap that comes out of their mouths. The double-minded ethic makes me insane! There's a whole group of women rallying for this woman to kill her baby, and one person stops in and makes even the slightest suggestion that there might be hope, and fangs lash out. Truly people suck worse than they even know.
And yet I thought it was the Hypocratic ideology that said a doctor was to support life, and never compromise his craft in favor of death. The Hypocratic Oath specifically speaks against abortion. And yet the AMA teaches a pro-choice ethic--what's up with that?
So anyway, in separating & certifying the natural stillbirths from the voluntary abortions, how many on the abortionist side would insist that it wouldn't be "fair" that the terminated baby should then have a death certificate appropriately certifying the accurate cause of death as a voluntary preganacy termination (which, boohoo, my insurance won't cover unless the baby dies naturally). They want their cake & eat it too; they want a death certificate that says their baby died of xyz ailment, and yet their baby DID NOT die of xyz ailment. And those who LIVE with xyz ailment shouldn't have to forego decent medical statistics just to absolove a terminating parent of their guilt. And yet you know the abortionists get all the rights & benefits thereto, and people like me are just mean, heartless, and judgmental.
And like I haven't had the same mean, heartless, judgmental crap thrown at me in my stillbirth and birth defected experiences-- me & my so-called biological waste with no soul (who looked the spitting image of her mama). Or how 'bout my trisomy 18 baby who who tried to live but they brushed her off as not even worthy of a $4 bottle of cardiac medicine. They judged her as unworthy of life, so they brushed her off for dead before she really was. And yet somehow I'm the heartless one because I rally for life rather than supporting the terrifying & painful process of early induction. How dare a parent claim to care about their sick baby's suffering and then put the baby through the painful horror of early induction. They never stop to think that nature never inflicts as much suffering as the hand of man does. But I'm the mean one!
No, I'm not mean or heartless or judgmental. I'm a grieving mother who has been forced into extra grievance thanks to the fact that the abortionists have all the rights, all the laws, and medical & cultural ethos on their side. I've born more grief than most will ever know in a lifetime, and yet somehow I'm supposed to be supportive of they who stand against everything I believe in.
What part of "thou shalt not kill" isn't clear? What Bible verses do they read that says I'm supposed to throw away God's sovereignty in that command in order to support prenatal homicide? Clearly, the world has gone mad in their expectations, ideologies and practices.
I'm content to know that it's just the agony of the Refiner's Fire. It's no small thing to "come out from among them and be ye separate." I'm reminded that Paul implores us to "be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind," and again he reiterates to "put on the mind of Christ."
It's no wonder the way the world thinks creates havoc & unrest within my mind. I'm not supposed to think like them. I'm supposed to come away from them full throttle. Oh they tell me not to judge as if Jesus was some sort of pro-abortionist, singing John Lennon songs. They take the one passage where Jesus says not to judge lest ye be judged, but they totally miss the context in which Jesus made that statement. They also fail to recollect all the Scriptures that tell us to be spiritually discerning in order to avoid they who are of a deceptive & ungodly worldview--how many times does Paul say, "I don't want you to be ignorant?" He even tells us not to take a meal with they who are unrepentant and worldly in their thinking.
So tell Paul "not to judge" and leave me alone. And for the record, I don't judge individuals--that's God's job. But i am commanded & required by Scripture to judge ideologies and practices which are not grounded upon Scriptural Truth (or any sort of lie a woman will tell herself in order to rationalize her intent to murder her child).
Never ever does Scripture command me to be supportive of such ideologies & practices which are so counter-biblical. To do so makes me a whitewashed sepulchre (says Jesus); double minded in all my ways (says James); an anti-christ (says John). I am commanded to do what I can to save a sinner from making an unsalvageable error. If my gentle & compassionate presentation of life-giving options is considered being "judgemental" then so be it.
The abortionistic world can judge me all they want in return, but know this: I'm only caring for the eternal value of a baby who was created by God. Doctors & parents alike may see the child as nothing but a suffering defect. But the child is a gift from God. The Master Himself has chosen some of us to care for a very special gift; it's a test of sorts; an opporutnity to go deeper into life & love, beyond the borders of the typical--to kill such a gift is like keeping the oyster and throwing away the pearl...
but this is how the world thinks, and why we are called to rise above that worldview and be transformed in the renewing of our minds...


Friday, June 01, 2007

Lessons in Falling Backward and Being Broken - I Kings 17 & 19 ---------------- Starved for Birdfood

I'm so slow at getting things done. My writing falls behind, my artwork falls behind... I feel rusty and ragged. I'm trapped under the suffocating weight of a beautiful Persian carpet--I know it's beautiful on the other side, but I feel like I'm trapped under the rubble of my life just struggling to survive.

I struggle with God over the vast injustice in the world; I struggle with ill-heath & feeling like crap all the time; I struggle in marriage. I struggle with those who claimed to be my friend, and yet in reality they dropped me down a deep pit and left me for dead. I struggle with those who think of abortion as a viable answer. I struggle in a deep place of loneliness. I struggle with grasping this "light yoke" concept that Jesus promises to us--the reward for they who are weary and take up His yoke...

Lord, am I doing something wrong? Of course not my child; you are merely hurting under the duress of Adam's Curse. Of course, how is one supposed to feel or behave in the face of such a rubbled life? I think of Rachel who begged Jacob for a baby lest she die--and in the end she did... And then I think of Nehemiah who sat down and sobbed as he assessed the devastation of his beloved City--God's Temple defiled & desecrated seemingly beyond repair... Nehemiah illustrates his character like Superman in how he picked himself up, took on His Yoke, and proclaimed that the Joy of the Lord was his strength... they repaired, rebuilt, restored, and rededicated...

I guess I'm just in the midst of my wilderness experience right now. I think on Elijah who was so depressed over the state of things that he wished he were dead. I think of how he was fed by angels and ravens through the exhaustion of his wilderness experience. Elijah was a powerful man of God, but he was not without duress. He was not spared a profound wilderness experience in which to grow his faith. He illustrates that no child of God can avoid the wilderness. Ya know Lord, I could sure use some of that angel's food though...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

National Day of Prayer: Lord Hear My Prayers

Genesis 4:1-12
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, "I have acquired a man from the LORD." 2 Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. 4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, 5 but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.

6 So the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it."

8 Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.

9 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?"
He said,"I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?"

10 And He said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood cries out to Me from the ground. 11 So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. 12 When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth." NKJV

My own heart is sorely distressed--not so much because of my girls, but because of my son. He's quite ambitious in his expression of anger & rage, and I'm typically the recipient of his great displeasure (whether I'm to blame or not). In truth, Ben needs to be put out of our home, but I have no idea how to do such a thing. I'm weary to the depths of my core. It is a sad ending to motherhood's journey when your only child is nearly 21 years old and has virtually no ambition to pursue anything.

Well, that's not exactly true. He eagerly waits to turn 21 so he can pursue the plethora of saloons in town. My heart is a shambles over my incredible failures as a mother & teacher -- all that I have invested in him by way of education and Biblical worldview has yielded little more than a fledgling alcoholic. At least I can rest content that my daughters will never curse God so venomously; they will never end up in porn videos, and they certainly won't ever wake up screaming unmentionable obscenities at me.

Truth be told, Ben has been wicked mean to me ever since Abigail died, and he only got meaner after Anne died. This last month of April--especially the week of her birthday--his meanness level has been at an all-time high. He had a raging tirade at me last week where I thought for sure I'd need some sort of state official to intervene. I worry that he will become one of the countless thousands who will not turn back to God until he's in a prison cell, having done something in a fit of rage that can never be undone.

God has put me in a place where all I can do is pray, and yet I have no idea what to pray for. I told Ben yesterday that all I want is to be able to rest in my grave knowing that he can take care of himself properly and that he knows His Lord & Savior so that he will be with me again in heaven. All I want is to know that all my children will be with me in eternity. Some times he seems to truly grasp that, and other times he's as oppressive as Kaiser Wilhelm....

I just feel so ashamed of how things have turned out with him. It's like I can hear God whisper to my heart, "why should I have let you have those two wonderful princesses when you obviously didn't do well with the one opportunity you were given." I know that's the devil trying to undermine what's left of me, but still... It's so hard.

Most kids want to go to college or some sort of vocational training. I have no idea how to inspire my child to move beyond his stagnant place. I've presented our anger mgt training materials again & again & again. I've begged him to take his medical pkg from work and look into antidepressants (he's lost that job now, so he has no medical coverage--plus he was furiously adamant about not going that route). I've emplored him to reconsider school. I've asked him repeatedly to find a roommate and move out--sink or swim on his own dime and then maybe he'd appreciate all his parents really are in terms of protection.

I just want him to get a goal and pursue it. My biggest fear is that, like Cain, his goals will involve great detriment to his future, and that I will put him in the cemetery too. Truly I have cried as many tears for him as I have for my girls.

To be certain, I know what Eve must have felt as she contended with Cain--her good child dead & in the ground, while her bad child wanders around cursing God and making alliance with the wickedness of the world...

Luke 15:11-16

11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:

12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.

13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.

15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine .

16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him....

My son is not yet at the place where the next verse continues: "And when he came to himself..." He yet wrestles with Cain's mindset where he's adamant that the world oews him something (for nothing). He is angry that God, parents and society continue to remind him that he must invest in hard work, generosity, compassion, gratitude, humility, etc. He is profane in his response. He is angry that God and parents are right in their expectations. Ultimately, God had to banish Cain from his family. At least the prodigal son had motivation to go and pursue his selfish life. My son doesn't even have ambition to be the prodigal. I fear what God has in store for him in the way of disciplinary lessons! Please Lord, bless him & keep him; make Your face to shine on him and be gracious to him; make Your countenance shine upon him and give him peace...

Hebrews 10:31
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Lessons in Falling Backward and Being Broken - John 12:24-25

I've heard it said from several pastoral teachings over the years that the primary difference between the Pharisees and the Sadducees was their belief in the Resurrection. The Pharisees believed in the Resurrection whereas the Sadducees did not--and that's why they were sad you see...

I was "born again" many years ago. I'd grown up in a Lutheran tradition, and Sunday school had been a way of life for most of my growing up years. But it wasn't until the early '90's when the Light of the Holy Spirit rested upon me and opened my heart. I hungered for the Word, and the Lutheran traditions that I had known left me literally starved for more of Him. I pursued Bible study like many pursue their PhD's. Truly I came to understand what the psalmist meant when he said, "taste and see that the Lord is good..." I was ravenous for the depth & purity of His Word without the maskings of a liberal church agenda. Lutherans don't study the Bible as much as they study books written by man about the Bible.

So we changed churches and I was baptized. Our Lutheran church had refused to do such a thing since I'd been baptized as a baby. That had been fine for my parents as a dedication, but now I was an adult and felt dramatically led to profess my own dedication to the Lord--just like Jesus had done in the Jordan. I became fervently involved with BSF for over a decade (Bible Study Fellowship, Intl., an interdenominational seven-year course of in-depth study). Their method of studying the Bible is one of the very best I've ever come across, and truly the Living Word of God came to life for me as I poured myself into each year-long study.

We were studying the history of Israel and the minor prophets the year I was pregnant with Abigail. Abigail got her name from that study--several of King David's relatives and one of his wives had that name. It was a common Hebrew name for a girl since it means "the father's joy." And truly she was our joy.

That joy has since turned to mourning as she was a corpse when I finally got to meet her. That profound weekend of "giving birth to death" brought the Scriptures to life in a way I'd never imagined. And tho a huge part of me died with her that weekend, another part of me was "born again" again. Never in all my life of Sunday school, Bible study or church attendance was I prepared to meet Adam's Curse face to face. Never in all my life had my need for a Saviour, a Rescuer, a Redeemer ever been so necessary. I'd never been so sorry about anything in my entire life as when I embraced her lifeless body. My flesh had failed her; my doctors had failed her; Adam's Curse had inflicted itself upon her and I was powerless to stop it or fix it. Only He could make such wrong right again, and planting her boxed up body in the cold frozen ground made Resurrection take on a whole deeper reality.

Since then, I've come to know the graveside quite intimately. Adam's Curse took my next daughter too--a totally different medical reason; the lottery's luck of a double-strike of lightening that none of us saw coming. The journey of giving my children back to the Giver has wrought with it no small amount of anguish. In fact, many parts of this scurged life have been sheer torture as I struggle through the grief. But praise God, I am not like the Sadducees...

For years, I've collected crowns: vintage brooches mostly. They represent cheap taudry examples of the awesome crowns we will inherit when we sit with Jesus at His Right Hand. I also have a crown of thorns, much like the one the soldiers plaited for Jesus as He stood trial before Pilate. My experiences with my babies deaths have brought to life that we must first wear our crown of thorns before we can wear our crowns of glory. There is a reason why the Church refers to the Passover slaughter of our Lord as "Good" Friday. It is "good" that we have this life stripped from us; it is "good" that we have our hearts focused heavenward--that where our treasure is there our hearts will be also...

John 12:24-25
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die , it abideth alone: but if it die , it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. KJV

It was Passover 2005 that we got the finishing touches done on the nursery. Abigail's crib had been in our storage shed waiting for such a moment as when we could rejoice in another baby coming into our lives. We spoke of the hope that we had when we put the crib away, and if we ever imagined we would ever know such happiness as putting it up again. We prayed over the crib and the nursery area; dedicating baby Anne to God and asking Him to prevent the Angel of Death from coming to us again; we prayed specifically that death would pass over our home. We asked for His favor and goodness as we welcomed our new baby into our lives. We prayed over her clothes--things that had been for Abigail; things that were new just for her. We took pictures of her special nursery area, and then we took pictures of ourselves--commemorating the final days of my round pregnant body. We loved her intensely; we loved Abigail and her absent presence. We wept for the love & hope that we longed for the Lord to restore to us. Little did we know what the Lord had planned for us just a handful of days later...

Truly I am grateful that the Lord took me through all those years of Bible studies before He took me to the cemetery--all those years of book learning put into real life application... It's been hard; very hard. But the profoundness of the journey has been astounding; and to be certain, I cannot fault Him for giving me such a plethora of gifts.

This Passover and Resurrection season I've been very sad, but the promise of Resurrection gave rejoicing to my sorrowed heart. It is Adam's Curse that makes me sad; beholding it up-close & personal has been beyond agonizing. But Messiah's Victory makes me very very glad. Thank you Lord, for your all-sufficient grace...


Saturday, March 31, 2007

When It Rains It Pours--Surviving the Flood Waters

But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not
back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; even every one that is called by my name: for I have created Him for My glory, I have formed Him; yea, I have made Him. Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears. Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? Let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth. Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am He: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no Saviour. KJV
This passage would indicate that God is fully aware of the disasters of life that will befall us. He makes no apologies for the tragedies & hardships that will encumber us in this life. He makes it clear that we are a people bent toward rebellion, and that many of our dilemmas are often brought on from our own fairlure to worship Him above ourselves.

No, we may not always be personally involved in rebellion against God; but on a corporate level, our culture at large is most definitely very godless. And thus I can see why God makes no apologies for the hardships we bring upon ourselves. But what about when we've truly dedicated our best efforts to confronting & confessing our personal rebellions against God?

What if the flood waters and molten fires seem to seek us out on a personal level, leaving us in a mountainous heap of ashen waste? The corporate godlessness of life comes along and inflicts the floods & fires of its natural disasters upon us, and we're left desolate not understanding why God has allowed such tribulation to wreck such ruin in our lives. Have we not been "good"; have we not been obedient? It seems little comfort that God reiterates again & again that He will see us through such disasters. To the world, a Saviour is not good enough. We want to know why we must endure such disasters in the first place. We want to know why bad things happen to "good" people.

First, we have to dispell the notion that any of us are "good." Even Jesus said, "why do you call Me 'good'?" In reality, we are good at attempting to be good and that's about as good as we can get. And even if we as individuals are better than most, we still comprise the cultural whole. The cultural whole does not think with a godly worldview--a worldview that says, "seek ye first the kingdom of God..." The cultural whole thinks with a secular worldview--a worldview that says, "seek ye first the kingdom of man."

Second, how do we know that bad things happening to good people won't ultimately make them better people? Perhaps the "bad" thing is for our "good" and in reality the "bad" thing serves to make us grow from "good" to "great"--it's hard to see that when you're in the midst of the disasterous flood waters or molten flames. The path of recovery as one journeys toward such "greatness" is often very very challenging, if not completely dibilitating. And here again, God reminds us that He will be with us and keep us through such tribulations--if we chose the "seek ye first the kingdom of God" worldview.

He ultimately wants us to concentrate, not on the devastating floods & fires in our lives, but rather on the fact that He is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. KJV Ps 46:1-3

My own life has been consumed with various fiery trials. In fact, many are the times when I would love to slap Peter right smack in the mouth for how he's tormented me with these words:

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4:12-13 KJV

Rejoice, huh??? Be exceeding glad, huh??? That one's been a hard wrestle with God because who can be glad at their children dying, let alone be EXCEEDINGLY glad?! Who can rejoice over such a thing? It doesn't help that I also hear James tell me to count it all joy; that every good & perfect gift is given by God, and yet how can baby death be a good & perfect gift? To be certain, the Word of God is a double-edged sword cutting to the marrow of the soul. Truly, the Word became flesh and has engrafted Its depth upon my spirit and I am permanently altered. James is astute in describing the nature of our sin. To me, his analogy in giving birth to death is so much more than a metaphor or an analogy. I have known the anguished conviction of giving birth to death--James' poingnant words coming to life in the lifeless corpse of my sweet Abigail (the Father's Joy). I'm often overwhelmed that it gave Him joy to deliver me unto death that I might rejoice in what a Saviour I have in Him. The engrafted Living Word upon my soul has been both condemning and Redeeming; a soothing cool drink and a torential flood that only Noah could survive. Truly I have come to know in my depths what the Scriptures mean when they advise us to turn our clueless carelessness into convicted mourning. Sometimes God has to use "bad" things in order to get us to look up and see Him over ourselves.

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights , with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of His own will begat He us with the Word of Truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. James 1 KJV

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. James 4:8-10 KJV

The point is that it's all about God, not us. It's about His glory, not ours. He often uses bad things to get our attention. It often doesn't work. He uses good things too, but we have a tendency to praise ourselves when good things happen to us. Either way, we're entirely too consumed with ourselves. Even those who love God often only have Him as a side bar in their busy lives (lives that are all about themselves and rarely have anything to do with seeking His kingdom).

What if we really did engraft the Living Word and seek His kingdom first? What if we really did turn our laughter into mourning and seek to overcome the individual sin nature that corrupts the corporate whole? What if we lived our lives through the burnt ashes & disaster-consumed trials with an attitude of praise for our Holy God; our Blessed Redeemer? What if we clung to Him no matter what befell our personal or corporate lives?

I'm reminded of the three Hebrew priests who were being held in captivity under the reign of King Nebuchadnezer--a oldtimer's Sadam Hussein. He had ordered the empire to bow on command to a foreign god (very similarly to how our humanistic worldview edicts that we turn our backs on God). Failure to submit to the edict meant the death penalty in a fiery pit. The Hebrew priests didn't care. They refused to turn away from the One True God. They believed in His salvation; the rescue mission of the Messiah. Even if it meant being burned alive and losing everything in this life. They were steadfast in their faithful love of the Lord. They believed in the Abrahamic Covenant and the life Everafter. Consequently, this is what they messaged back to King Nebuchadnezer:

If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. Daniel 3:17-18 KJV

It's by the power of this same God the I refuse to turn away from Him even though my anguish is great and my fury deep. He is my Father of Lights, and every good & perfect gift is from Him. He is without falter or variability. He made me--Vickie. Before time begain He made me; He named me. And in eternity, He renames me on a white stone--a pearl; a pearl of very very great price. For He gave His life for mine that He might own the pearl. That's how bad He wanted me.

But I must be engraved, engrafted, and engulfed in the flood waters and fiery trials He's prepared for me. That is how I am made into His image. The pearl is made by irritating the oyster's heart. And to be certain, mine has been like the snotty goo that surrounds the gestating gemstone. I feel the heart of what Isaiah felt as he penned these words about the coming Christ child:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me

to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim liberty to the captives,

and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

to proclaim the Acceptable Year of the Lord, and the Day of Vengeance of our God;

to comfort all that mourn;

to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion,

to give unto them beauty for ashes,

the oil of joy for mourning,

the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;

that they might be called Trees of Righteousness, the Planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified. And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. Isaiah 61:1-4 KJV


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Lessons in Falling Backward and Being Broken - Isaiah 54-7-10

For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid My face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer. For this is as the waters of Noah unto Me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee. KJV

You know you've truly been sealed with the salvation of Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit when somehow you can cling to this promise even though you lay at the bottom of a mountainous heap of rubble. When you can cling to this promise in spite of His wroth; in spite of His rebuke; in spite of his forsaken abandonment--in spite of the fact that the whole world has come crashing down around your ears... and yet you still love Him and still seek His mercy & goodness.

Most of the world would have given up on Him by now. They throw God away the second they don't get what they want out of Santa's goodie bag. And when disaster strikes? Well, God either doesn't exist or He's a cruel terrible God who's not worthy of acknowledging, let alone praising.

I'll admit that the last three years since Abigail died, and then again when Anne died too, that I've known the rubble of the devastated mountains. I've known the dark flood waters that have left me forsaken. I've known astounding heartache and devastation as I've taken my gifts from the Lord and buried them beneath the sod. I've questioned Him countless times that if children are a gift from Him, an inheritance from the Lord, what does it mean when He takes them back? What does it mean when He riddles your life with illness and barrenness only to tease you with babies that then die? What does He want from me? There is no example in Scripture like mine. Hannah was barren, but then found reward. The closest I can get to applying Scripture to myself is in David's example of losing his baby boy--his story pokes straight into my soul.

Firstly, because we named our Abigail for David's other wife. Secondly, because God took the baby boy as judgment on David & Bathsheba--did He take my Abigail in similar judgment? But thirdly, and what gets me most, is that David was recompensed with a rainbow baby they called Solomon. My recompense was more death & baby burial. How I've begged God for mercy as I cast harsh judgment on myself; the devil wispering cruel things about what a wretched sinner I am that clearly must not have deserved those sweet baby girls.

Moreover, we see passages all over the Scriptures where the speaker repeats himself. We know that when passages are given double duty that those are bits of information that God wants doubly reinforced. So what was God saying to me as He issued me the double death of my children?

I have people who criticize me for reading too much into the events of my life. But years ago I invited the Lord into my life and made Him King. Everyone says, "God has a plan" and I believe that's true--so what was He saying to me and the world with the double death plan He issued to me? Clearly, He had something He wanted to reiterate. Applying Romans 8:28 continues to be my wrestling...

Nevertheless, today's passage in Isaiah reiterates that mountains AND hills may land on your life. Darkness AND despair may be all-consuming. He may punish AND abandon (see all the doubles in the passage?)... But He reiterates the covenant of His kindness AND mercy. He reminds us that He spared Noah and He will spare His chosen in this generation as well. No matter how many double deaths He inflicts, He will not forever forsake those who are faithful to Him during their double death experiences. In fact if we continue on in Isaiah, we're promised a double portion of glory; a double portion of everlasting joy.

Paul expounded on that double portion of glory when he said, For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Lessons in Falling Backward and Being Broken - Genesis 32:24-32

And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.

And when He saw that He prevailed not against him, He touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as He wrestled with him.

And He said, Let me go, for the day breaketh.
And he said, I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me.
And He said unto him, What is thy name?
And he said, Jacob.
And He said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
And Jacob asked Him, and said, Tell me, I pray Thee, Thy name.
And He said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after My name?
And He blessed him there.
And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel : for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.
Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank.

God changes who we are as we're steadfast in our wrestlings with Him. Often it seems as though we're alone in the wilderness. God seems absent as we fret and wrestle in the darkness of our adversities. Such things may happen to us that cause us to limp and struggle the remaining days of our lives. But God told Jacob that his power to prevail in such battles earned him a new name; a new persona. He became someone else--mighty, chosen, perfected in his weakness.

It may not seem like it when we are in the midst of our wrestlings with God, but we are gifted great blessings as we perservere in our struggles with Him. Truly my experiences have debilitated me in this life, but I am destined for Victory in the next. Bruise me gently, Lord Jesus...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Lessons in Falling Backward and Being Broken - Genesis 8:1

At Abigail's funeral the pastor spoke on the passage in Samuel where David lost his baby boy. Her memorial cards were done with Psalm 23. But in the quiet moments of privacy that we had afterward, before her casket was taken to the baby garden for burial, I prayed Genesis 8:1 as I sealed her in.

And God remembered Noah...

Long & dark & frightful was the trip that Noah made in his primitive ocean liner. Here and there he must have nursed great worry that perhaps he'd been forgotten in his dark & stormy confines. But God did not forget him; He will not forget us either. Though we slosh in our frightfully tear-sodden isolation, He will not forget us. Though the storms are overwhelming and horrific, He does not leave us abandoned...

I cling to that when the loneliness of grief overcomes me; when I share mutual grieving with friends who also know the mournful depths of Adam's Curse, having placed their own babies in the earth.

Oh the mighty lessons that the Lord leads us through...mighty lessons that only come by falling backward, and being broken, and snared, and taken...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Cure Homesick

Hey hey!
Just one more and I'll walk away

All the everything you win
Turns to nothing today
And I forget how to move

When my mouth is this dry
And my eyes are bursting hearts

In a blood-stained sky
Oh it was sweet
It was wild
And oh how we...

I trembled
Stuck in honey
Cling to me...

So just one more
Just one more go
Inspire in me the desire in me

To never go home

Oh just one more
And I'll walk away
All the everything you win
Turns to nothing today
So just one more
Just one more go
Inspire in me the desire in me

To never go home

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Lessons in Falling Backward and Being Broken -- No Excuses

We were in Romans chapter five this week. What an amazing study this is proving to be. The first couple of chapters are brutal because Paul aptly illustrates the depravity of man. But then he transitions into the abundant grace of God and illustrates how remarkably merciful He really is.

In fact, the biggest lessons that have stuck with me thus far is that we really are without excuse. We have no excuse if we look around and refuse to recognize the sin nature of man for what it's worth. If we deny God as the Creator we really are fooling ourselves. Nature itself proves that a created design exists, so we really don't have any excuses for claiming there is no God.

Conversely, we're without excuse if we fail to recognize all the wonderful ways God shows His mercy as well. God has bestowed His loving grace upon us in so many ways, and yet we deny Him still. Why? Why do we reject God as non-existent or write Him off as unloving?

Is it because bad things happen to "good" people so we write God off as being unloving or uninvolved? Or maybe it's because good things happen to bad people and we chalk God off as being cruel or selective. I don't know why humanity chooses to hate God or reject God so readily.

I of all people certainly would have reason to reject God. I've wrestled with Him as to whether He really loves me or not. If I really am blessed in spite of the evidence that would illustrate otherwise. Does God care that we hurt and suffer? When will He end it all. Why don't all people get to suffer equally? What sort of cosmic riddle is He playing us for?

It's easy to ask those questions. It's easy to be mad at God for not giving us more personalized answers--we often expect Him to speak directly to us like He did with Moses in the fiery bush that didn't burn. But would we be as Moses and actually do as He asked if He appeared to us in a fiery bush that didn't burn? Or do we just expect God to be our cosmic Santa, giving in to our every toddler-like demand?

I've struggled with all the same questions that humanity has asked for eons. I've turned to my Bible for answers. They are often hard answers and difficult to swallow. But I'm convinced that God loves me in spite my my inability to more fully understand His plan. I understand a basic truth that is the source of all my peace with God--PROPITIATION.

Yes, my abitilty to grasp the propitiation (albeit inadequately) is the very foundation of what sustains me through life's hard issues. I'm able to accept God on HIS terms rather than imposing my weak & feeble idea of what's "good" or "right" or "fair." Nothing of my own understands any of those things apart from HIM.

It's like the movie Bruce Almighty when he gave everyone their yes answer to all their prayers--he created havoc with the world. In reality, God knows infinitely better than me what to do. I know He hates hurting the children He loves, but sometimes He has to in order for a chain of events to happen in history--past, present & future must unfold in a multi-faceted way. Adam's sin nature must factor into the equation.

Thus bad things will happen to good people and good things will happen to bad people. But I believe that God levels the playing field once we cross over into His dimension. Moreover, He gives us the propitiation to bring us peace, to shed abroad in our hearts the love He has for us while we wait for the reality of reconciliation to take place on the Other Side of the Rainbow. It's a shame that more folks don't have better patience & staying power as they work out their struggles with God.

He uses our tragedies of life to prove Himself mighty and to illustrate the truth of Romans 8:28 when we're told that all things work for good to them who love God and are chosen according to His purpose. He gives us times of tragedy to work on our relationships with each other, giving us opportunities to help each other and esteem others greater than ourselves.

Am I grieved that He "chose" me to endure my trials & hardships in order to come to a deeper understanding of Himself--sometimes. Yes, it hurts profoundly to think that His "plan" for my life has involved so much heart ache and struggle. I often wish it could be less painful and less lonely.

I also know that faith is the substance of things hoped for; that we walk by faith & not by sight. I know that while He chose me to overcome great tragedy, He also chose me for great faith -- that great faith only comes by great & treacherous walks through the painful & lonely wilderness. Would I trade in my faith for something easier?

What would be my excuse?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Lessons in Falling Backward and Being Broken - None Righteous; No Not One!

Yes Folks, I too have often been appalled at the cruelty of mankind. The true nature of humanity proves itself quite cruel on a plethora of layers. My life experience has taught me that Original Sin is not a myth that’s been made up. We all are bitten. Even the best of people hiding behind a smoke screen of “goodness” are not exempt.

I am not exempt. Church people are often no different from anyone else in the mainstream of life. Human nature is the same everywhere. The New Testament says we will know true Believers by how they genuinely live out the teachings of the faith. We have come to know “unbelievers” who would appear to have a better handle on “living the faith” than some church folks.

Ultimately, I’ve learned the hard way how to keep an eye out for goats amongst the sheep. I was naïve and undiscerning, and God has since opened my eyes. I ask Him continually not to let me sprout cynicism or negativity against the Church Body as a whole. We are all sinners and we all fall short even of our own ideals 99% of the time. Practicing forgiveness is paramount to proving genuine faith. This is where I run into my own stubborn roadblocks of sin nature & character flaws

To be certain, the disabled & awkward get more than their share of suffering by the hands & mouths of the world's cruelty. Some would say we should rid the world of the disabled so as to eliminate their plight of such "suffering." To be certain it's not the disabled and infirm who bog down humanity with suffering. I know first hand how their special character & personalities far exceed what they don’t achieve in physical prowess.

Verily, verily, it’s the others in the world that we will always have to keep an eye open for in terms of they who add to suffering. Yep, they who are “normal” people that walk through life arrogantly thinking that they’re “better” or more worthy of human dignity simply by virtue of their looks or social standing--they are the ones who add to the world's suffering.

No, we will not be able to shelter our unique or special needs child from all the wounds he or she will suffer from the DHAC, but our motherly love will serve as a shield & salve. Our love will teach them to overcome this world and be a better people for their hardships.

I did not have the salve of such parental love until I came to know the Father and His Book. It’s by His presence in my life that I have come to know my value & preciousness (I've also come to know the depths of my sin nature as well).

I’m a work in progress as I dig out from under a great deal of life’s rubble. To be certain I have to also examine my own character flaws and work on my own sin nature as I seek to overcome all that’s been “inflicted” upon me. I often think it’s far too much for one bitty soul such as mine to handle.

It’s then that I'm so very thankful to God and His Son for the infinite gift of His Loving Grace--that the Living God has done so very much on our behalf... My heart may ache until the day I die, but my soul increasingly rejoices as it comes to a deeper comprehension that only broken and on my knees am I ever truly made whole.

Lessons in Falling Backward and Being Broken - Romans 3:9-19

Romans 3:9-19
All People Are Sinners
Well then, are we Jews better than others? No, not at all, for we have already shown that all people, whether Jews or Gentiles, are under the power of sin. As the Scriptures say,

"No one is good — not even one. No one has real understanding;no one is seeking God. All have turned away from God;all have gone wrong. No one does good,not even one."

"Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their speech is
filled with lies."

"The poison of a deadly snake drips from their lips."

"Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness."

"They are quick to commit murder. Wherever they go, destruction and misery follow them. They do not know what true peace is."

"They have no fear of God to restrain them."

Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses and to bring the entire world into judgment before God. For no one can ever be made right in God's sight by doing what his law commands. For the more we know God's law, the clearer it becomes that we aren't obeying it. NLT

Where to begin? Everything bites so badly that I almost dare not speak it outloud lest it get worse. Suffice it to say that I’m tired, hurting, and tragically depressed. I dragged my butt to my Bible study today in spite of every single nerve ending telling me to bail. I wish I’d listened to those anguished signals.

One of my old group leaders came up to me afterward to give her condolences over Anne; she’d “just heard” and wanted to express her sympathy.

I looked at her with a cockeyed look that said, “and how on earth did you just hear, cuz I didn’t tell anyone at my Bible study that I was even pg, let alone that the baby had died.”

She realized by my look that she needed to explain how she’d “just heard,” and so she hummed, hawed, and tried to get her gossip straight.

I was so hurt when she finally told me who it was that had told her. I wasn’t hurt that the information was told, but rather it was the person who did the telling that broke my heart. I love how this woman could find it in herself to talk about me to mutual acquaintences, but she’s not actually spoken TO ME since Abigail died. She was one of my "best" friends and yet she stopped answering my calls, my emails, and my cards. I sent her a pkg for her birthday; I never heard a word. All I know is that we had gone out to dinner the week after Abigail’s funeral, and I’ve not gotten her to speak to me since.

Of course, this poor gal who approached me today had no idea that I’ve spent the better part of three years asking myself what I did or said to make this other gal shun me and drop our friendship like a scalding hot potato. I accepted her condolences & caring, and we chit chatted a bit about where Anne was buried (since she had been to her nephew's funeral there the months shortly after Abigail was interred). It just hurt me so badly to hear my "friends" name mentioned in the gossiped context of my dead child.

Of course over the last three years I’ve often wondered what I did or said to a whole phethora of "friends" who completely vanished from my life once death hit my fan. It’s no small understatement when I exclaim that I’ve learned the total hard way what it means to have “fair weather friends.” In fact, I've learned the very hard way just how heavy a relationship can be when it's one-sided and you're left carrying it by yourself. The relationship ends up getting dropped cuz you just can't carry it anymore (and then if that wasn't rich enough, then you get the blame for doing the dropping).

Yes, the storms of my life have been drastic, to say the least. To be certain, my life has been rough. But these experiences in baby death have stripped the last of life’s veneer clean away and left only the raw, fragile underbelly.

I’ve never been any good at friendships; I don’t typically fit in with the classic mall crowd--it comes from being too fat, too poor, too awkward, too forthright, too eeeww. Over the course of my growing up years, I had multiple versions of “Barbie” & “Ken” do their best to be quite mean to me over the years. Walking down the halls of my high school, I had things thrown at me, spit at me and yelled at me. I got sneered at, mocked and ridiculed.

Needless to say, it’s hard to tell whether I have bigger scars from the objects that got thrown at me or from insults that got hurled. One asshole football jock threw his carton chocolate milk at me once as I sat in the patio looking at my new yearbook. It exploded all over me, and I was drenched in sticky milk for the rest of the day. My brand new yearbook was ruined. He and his letter-jacketed friends had a grand hurrah over my humiliation. The memory of their guffaws and high fives will never be erased from my memory. I struggle to forgive them as the tenets of my faith require. They hurt me badly for no other reason than they could; for no other reason than because I was fat and awkward--someone to make sport of.

I suppose that’s better than recommending me for termination, except I did in fact have a guy once take his BB gun out and shoot me in the butt--simply because he was repulsed by my fat ass and it needed to be used as target practice. I won’t even elaborate on all the food and rocks that I’ve had hit my person over the years. I didn't own my first car until I hooked up with Brian at 23--waiting at bus stops will yield a plethora of things thrown & yelled.

But I’ve worked hard to overcome the depths of such rejection and shame. I’ve always tried to be very generous. I’ve always tried to be edifying uplifting. The Bible says to esteem others above myself, and I’ve certainly tried to do that to make up for the fact that I bring very little to most of my relationships. By “little” I mean that I don’t bring money or fame or privilege. I bring the embarrassment of obesity, hirsuitism, poverty, and disabled awkwardness. I knew a gal once at church who wouldn’t accept a ride from me because my car was too old and grungy. It was a toss up as to which of us was more embarrassed. I, of course, was embarrassed by my ugly car. She was embarrassed by how plainly her snobbery came out and what a difficult time she had wiping the stuck-up egg off her face. I’d rather drive a clunky POS than be that sort of person. I guess my perspective on snobbery is yet that’s another thing that keeps me from fitting in.

A few years ago, I tried to do a “girls’ night out” with a church that we’ve since left. It was horrible. I figured it was just me & my pathetic outlook, so I did my best to hang in there and try to stay involved. Nevertheless, it soon became drastically clear that I just didn’t fit in with the classic middle class female. We looked around and found a different church a little less bling oriented.

To my dismay, the folks at the new church asked me to facilitate one of the women’s groups for the large women’s ministry. Somebody, somewhere had recommended me even though leadership didn't know me from Adam. I was so honored. Gals like me don’t get asked to do such projects cuz it’s too visual and in the limelight. The leadership told me they were skeptical as to whether I could pull it off being as heavy and "different" as I am.

But I assured them that I'd do my best, and for three years I gave them everything & more, just so I could prove to them that it’s not just the Barbie girls that can do such a job. I doted on my groups like none of the other leaders, and soon had people clamoring each semester to be in my group. To be certain, it boosted my ego & self worth, and I loved on them as best as I could with cards, trinkets, bookmarks, embroidered hankies, special prayer plaqards--lots of doting things to carry them through their semester and weekly homework.

But then I lost Abigail and lost all of them too. Not a single meal; only a handful of cards; lots of whispers and gossip. Sadly, we came to learn that even this church was very steeped in its bling.

So relationships---what are they? What’s it like to have a regular girlfriend? Or a sleepover? I don’t know; I’ve never been a “regular” girl with regular friends. The friends I thought I had at the height of my friendship “career” were really only in it for what presents I gave. Once my life crumbled and I wasn’t there to do the cards, trinkets and edifying then they moved on to new groups and new lives. I never saw myself as “buying” their affections, but in the end that’s what my leadership doting proved to be. When it came to rubber meeting the road, none of those “friends” were there for me as I grieved my most horrific loss; only a handful were there as we laid Abigail to rest, and they fell off the pages as soon as they drove away. I remember vividly the evening of Abigail's funeral--the three of us sitting home alone looking blankly at the TV; none of us watching it; each of us wondering why we had been so abandoned. We bought her casket piece, my estranged sister brought a bouquet, and one of the home school moms brought the Christmas cactus that’s fixin’ to bloom again for Abigail’s birthday. No one else brought flowers. No one offered meals. Many of them even cut me off their regular Christmas card list. It was all so very very weird. It seemed to go right along with all my other experiences--like the guy who threw his milk all over me or the creep who shot me with his BB gun.

Add in the abandoment of my father and the crap from my mother & sisters and you can be certain that I’ve learned to keep people at arms distance.

So my million dollar question is, how do you move forward with new relationships with an overwhelming history of such gruesome betrayal & abandonment clogging up the future? Such emotional baggage is not easily resolved. I’ve done a lot of work in previous years with various counselors & mental health workers to overcome & unpack such baggage. I know the answer lays in forgiveness. Jesus Himself illustrates this principle in how He forgave all His own friends who betrayed & abandoned Him.

I guess it’s just that I’d accomplished a lot of spiritual & emotional overcoming in years prior to losing Abigail. I had learned to do a lot with my life in spite of my handicaps, limitations, and awkwardness for fitting in. Then Abigail died and my failing her to death touched at the deepest core of every self-esteem issue I’ve had my entire life. Even though I’d done a great deal of work toward prevailing against self-loathing, Abigail’s death dredged a lot of it back up simply because there was a whole other group of people (church people) who came along and kicked me to the friendship curb much the same as the kid with the chocolate milk.

Today’s little encounter at Bible study brought back floods of that abandoned betrayal.