Pro-Choice…I once was blind, but now I see

“If you don’t want to have an abortion, then don’t have one. If I do want to, then it should be available.”

“What right do you have to tell me what to do with my body? It’s my choice!”

“Thank you [HIllary Clinton] for always speaking up for women.”
Let’s play a little game, shall we? Let’s translate some of these comments from people who advocate abortion:
“If you don’t want to murder someone then don’t, but if I do want to murder someone, then I should have all the tools to do it.”

“I have the right to do what I want with my body, even if it means I am destroying someone’s body in the meantime.”

“Thank you Hillary Clinton for only protecting the women who are able to speak for themselves and not the ones who are currently silent in the womb.”

I did have an abortion.
I was pro-choice.
Until I realized how selfish and ridiculous my logic was — I was guilty of murder so let me help more people be guilty of murder.

What aggravates me about the abortion debate is many  people are so high and mighty about their personal rights and so condescending to others who value all human life.  What I want, what I think, what I need.  One woman said she couldn’t imagine bringing her baby into prison to see the dad. So she aborted instead.  This is crazytown.  Death is better than hardship?

And on top of it all, the personal hell that abortion brings is the most UNDERrated dilemma ever.  How many women and men have I walked with who carry life-altering grief, shame and guilt.  They made decisions based on too much fear and too little help and  hope. No one talks about this reality in the pro-choice camps.

Thank you Jesus for washing that blood off my hands.  Thank you for healing my broken heart. I pray the same for those who still suffer from this choice.

Today though, I want to address the staunch pro-choicers…If you are in favor of murdering the babies for mom’s convenience, preference, and shortsightedness about the future (I can say this because I did it) then proceed.  Let’s just agree to call it what it is: Perverted human rights. One human life valued above another. Period.

Don’t call it empowering, or justified, or noble. Just call it murder. I pray that somehow, you will one day see that we have “choiced” away a huge portion of our country’s resources and wounded our own soul in the process.

God have mercy on us all.  Give us eyes to see the truth Lord.

Photo Credit: Salem Spicka

The Power of Being Cut Down…

I am in the most remarkable season with God.  It is very uncomfortable, sometimes boring, sometimes painful, and often irritating.  I love Him and so very confident of His love for me. This season, however, sucks. It is no wonder then that He brings up the idea of cutting off dead branches. The Bible uses the terms pruning.

gerund or present participle: pruning
trim (a tree, shrub, or bush) by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, esp. to increase fruitfulness and growth.
Most people, and me, hear the term pruning and they want to run for the hills. But you’ll notice the last little part of the definition. To increase fruitfulness and growth.
Ah yes. Well this issue does make the most fearful, lazy, or resistent of us to hang around a bit more.IMG_5795
Let me give you a beautiful real life picture. I have a butterfly bush that seemed as if it was dying. Once vibrant and lovely, a home to many butterflies, it became brown and shaggy with very little monarch activity. I really considered pulling up the whole plant. But I kept hearing my gardener friend, Beth, talk about how she was “deadheading” flowers in her job as a landscaper.  One day I  walked past the butterfly bush and I sensed that my plant was not dying at all, but in need of a hard pruning.  The bush couldn’t keep up with managing the dead stalks and the new ones at the same time. So its growth and production slowed down.
Pause — for effect.
Give yourself a  moment to consider dead places  that once may have been great but now cease to have or give life. Give yourself a moment to think on the expense and fatigue it is to keep up with the dried out areas and nurture the new ones.
Moving on.  With my careful instruction, Charis trimmed off the dead or dying blossoms on the bush.  When she was done, it looked like it had a bad haircut.  But weeks later, it looked like a brand new plant. Fresh blossoms abounded as did the fluttering guests. Cutting off the dead or overgrown branches really did increase its fruitfulness and growth. Which brings me to my sucky season.
God is cutting off dead places in me.  I have some habits that have been chopped off.  Thinking too much about what others think of me, not defending my own boundaries, even wasting time…these dead methods have had to go because they suck the life out of me.  I have some people that I have had to let go of.  Some were beautiful for the season we shared. Some were plain toxic. But now, God is doing a new work.  I can hang on to the “idea” of our relationship, however, the reality is they are dead weight and carrying them around doesn’t make room for the new relationships God wants to grow in me.
Some other things He is pruning?
Getting rid of stuff.  I don’t need it. Clutter is costly to my soul.
Cutting off excuses about health and wellness.  Time to invest in this temple.
Stripping expectations of “how things should be according to me.” I am not in charge. Of anything. Period.
Surrender to the Gardener is non-negotiable.
As I  wait here being plucked, trimmed, and even gouged…there is a hope that rises.  God doesn’t waste anything. He is wanting what He has planted in me to bear the most fruit and growth possible for His glory.  And, He is willing to hurt me to help me.  What will I do during this process? Believe God or blast God?
Two questions fell out of my mouth when I was talking to a friend who is also going through severe pruning.
“What is God trying to teach me right now? and Am I being a good student?”
These are worthy of answers. I can spend my time complaining about the pain and uncertainty of the pruning. Or, I can trust that everything that is being cut away by His loving Hand is going to bring about good in my life.  So the pruning continues.
Here’s to holy shears.
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:13-14

Miley: Rolling Out the New Product Line

So sure. Miley’s performance was disturbing. But where is the equal uproar about Lady Gaga’s thong? Maybe it is right next to Beyonce’s buxom cleavage,  which is right next to Britney’s belly button piercing, which is right next to Madonna’s pointed bra. I guess we should throw Pink’s pushing-the-limits videos in there too just for good measure. If you ask me, Miley was just trying to keep up with the big girls. These daring divas cast long shadows of perversion, seduction and distorted womanhood, so Miley had to show she was willing to do anything to join the club.

Are any of us really surprised?  Just like Apple rolls out its “all-new” tech masterpieces, the music industry is constantly on the search for its new Femme Fatale. Not familiar with that expression? Fatal Woman. 1. A woman of great seductive charm who leads men into compromising or dangerous situations.IMG_0487

We’ve seen many such transformations as in Madonna’s Like a Virgin. We saw it when Britney shed her Catholic school uniform. And now Hannah Montana has become Slutty Cyrus.  But we knew this right?

We live in a culture where women are products defined by their s-e-x appeal.  They are for consumption as long as their beauty, audacity, and plastic surgery holds up. This is no surprise.

What does surprise me why we look to them for inspiration…who’s responsible for that?

What I am challenging is our discernment. There is evil in this world.  This evil has one desire: to destroy the image of God. In the man. In the woman. No surprise.

Miley’ s performance (as well as others)  is  an example of destroying the image of both men and women.  A good looking man imitating sex with a good looking woman. No love. No thought. No soul. No commitment. Just sex. This being the sum total of life.  It was desperately clear in the way Miley kept addressing her crotch. It was as if she was saying: “Please notice my vagina. My value is based only on what I am willing to do with my vagina.”

Think that is a distortion of our God identity?

So how then shall we live? Like panicked hermits, sheltering our kids and husbands? Or, like judgmental finger-pointers who slander or, perhaps worse, pity these women/ products? Such entertainers have made deliberate choices and profited from them.  Our responsibility is to connect the dots with Miley and with Jesus when he asked, “What does it profit a [woman] to gain the whole world but lose [her] soul?” (Mark 8).

How about we take cues from Daniel?  Daniel was stolen from his family when he was in his teens. That means, up until that time, his parents had been soaking him in God’s truth, God’s love and faithfulness.  So when he was ripped from their care, Daniel was still able to think, discern, choose God’s ways in the middle of a culture that was more even evil than ours is today. Daniel worked for the wicked king, yet he lived a distinct God life right in the middle of a perverse kingdom.  He didn’t excuse it or join it. He didn’t run from it.  He brought God into the middle of it. His divine courage and wisdom is a model for us today.

We may be offended by Miley, Lady Gaga or the others, but we don’t look to them for inspiration or motivation anyway. ( Do we?) Daniel didn’t expect his coworkers or boss to be the model for godliness. He depended on God to be in him and work through him.  His life is one powerful story after another of God showing up.  Daniel completely changed the world, for good, by following God.  In the same way today, we look to Jesus for His power, His definition.

Loving God means something.  You see different. You think different.  You choose different.  Living in the Spirit empowers you to see and stand for the Kingdom of God, even when the world wallows in its own vomit. We don’t get sucked into the world.  We pull the world toward Jesus.  Like Daniel, we bring the goodness of God into this mix. We stand for truth about who we really are as God’s people. We tell our daughters in detail what these rank role models  are doing and why…selling their body and their soul for some sense of power and fame.  We tell our children how to avoid the same pitfalls in their own lives and give them better goals to aim for.

They can be seductresses or they can be warriors in the kingdom.  I bet, if you tell them the truth, they will see real power and choose God.

A Cry for Humanity

It was a convergence of wrenching heart moments. First came two hard movies within days of each other: The Impossible which is the the miraculous true story of an entire family who survived the tsnumami; and Hotel Rwanda which depicts the incredible true story of a man who saved 1268 Africans during the genocide in Rwanda. Next came this “ah-ha” revelation as I spent the day at Dollywood with my girls and some friends, only to come home to the horror of the death and destruction caused by the Oklahoma tornado.IMG_1050

How does the human soul carry such deep and diverse emotions? How do we celebrate the small victories when the devastation is so great. One family was reunited when 150,000 families had loved ones swept away by the sea. One hotel served as a haven to 1268 Hutus and Tutsi when one million corpses were left after the murderers were driven out of Rwanda.

Dazed and terrified children were pulled alive from school debris while other parents waited and searched in anguish for their child’s dead body to be discovered.

In light of this, my “ah-ha” at Dollywood seems so small now.

But perhaps as I connect all these emotional dots it is bigger than I realized. For the first time, as I entered into the mass of humanity that Dollywood attracts, my eyes and heart were seeing people.

Real people. Not the classes or the accents, not the perfect flesh or flawed flesh, not the beliefs and attitudes expressed through clothing, tattoos, or language, but I saw real people.  The flawless, fake “image” of beauty had no place here. What was real and true and honest was the weary but willing parents holding the hands of elated children. It was the mentally handicapped man who could not stop laughing and clapping his hands because he was so excited. It was the fit and obese, the rich and poor, the educated and hicks, the blasphemers and believers, all standing in line together, screaming together on rides, enjoying their loved ones, enjoying…life.

Enjoying. Life. Together.

If we truly are but dust, a flower that rises and falls, a vapor that appears for a moment then vanishes, if we truly are to savor every moment…then all these real life stories of great loss must prompt us to ask…are we? Am I? Are we seeing the beauty of God, the gift of life, the sufficiency of Grace, the overwhelming presence of the Spirit in our daily lives?

Because I am concerned, stirred and agitated that if I do not, will not savor it in times of blessing and peace, will I have the stamina and practice to rely on it when the my world spins out of my control?

Thank God today. For your life. For your loved ones. For His Life and Love.

“You lead me in paths of righteousness for Your Name’s sake” Psalm 23


Twists and Turns and the Peace of God

My brain got twisted around on Saturday.  So on Sunday, in worship, I just sat there. No singing. No standing even. Just sitting.

And as I felt the Spirit of God pulling on my heart I began to cry because I realized I wasn’t even sitting and looking for his presence. I was content to just sit in my pity party. But God.

I heard the faintest whisper, “Grab your Bible.”  I did and it fell open to Philippians. Oh great, I thought, the whatever is good, noble, blah, blah, blah passage. “Like I haven’t read that a hundred times,” I said aloud through my tears.  The whisper came, “Read it again.”

The whole passage is below. It is medicine for the weary soul. But let me just give you highlights of what I saw as I read  it “again.”

You whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm.   (He still loves me when I’m acting like a brat.)

Let your gentleness by evident to all. (Ouch, I have not been gentle at all.)

The Lord is near. (I know you are Jesus, help me re-focus)

And the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds, in Christ Jesus. ( I have let down my guard so I have no peace.)

Put it in to practice. (Yes, I can try again. I must keep practicing.)

And the God of peace with be with you. (Thank you for never leaving me hopeless.)

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. (I am still learning this. I got swept up in the drama.)

I have learned the secret… (Secret? What secret?)

I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Yes God. With you all things are possible. Forgive my unbelief.)

I am amply supplied. ( Why do I still question this?)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. (Your grace covers all my weakness. Thank for strengthening my spirit.)

Can I get a Wow and and Amen?

That play on the words  — the peace of God, and the God of peace — was like an IV drip for my spirit. The peace of God will guard me, because the God who is peace is with me. In His presence there is peace and it is the shield and medicine I need.

And everywhere, all the time, the Lord is insisting on P-R-O-C-E-S-S. I must learn to enjoy the journey with Him. There is a secret. I can learn it if I will practice it. There is a truth greater than my need. I can do everything in Him because through Him I am fully resourced.

How then shall I live? By the grace of Jesus in my spirit. Selah.

Oh Spirit of God, how excellent you are in all your ways. To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!

I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

21 Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. 22 All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.

23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.[a]

Philippians 4, NIV


When God Speaks…

Instead of asking does God speak, what if we asked, what do we do when God speaks.  I am convinced more and more of His desire to be known, explored —enjoyed. And I am also increasingly convinced of the “two-way street” reality of our relationship. It is not just me going to Him. Or Him pouring out on me. But instead it is a beautiful exchange, a passing of ideas and thoughts, a stirring in both hearts, mine and His.

In the same way that I am hopeful, even fervent, for His response, He is eager and awaiting mine. The word is giddy. Think excited kid before she opens up a present. Think a bride and groom before the pastor announces “the kiss.” Think grinning. Clapping hands. Raised eyebrows.  A giddy comment of  “Soooo, whatcha gonna do?” from Jesus.

This catches me off guard.  I love getting touches, kisses, insights, direction from the Lord.  But in recent months, these affections have  changed from a delightful act  to an incredible invitation.  My reactions have moved from “You are too sweet. Thanks, Lord,” to a head shaking, heart pounding, “You are joking, right Lord?”

Jesus is always inviting us into More. Holy Spirit is always revealing the Way into more. The question remains, how will we respond?

Just for fun, here is the crazy conversation He revealed on the way to the beach and home, via billboards.  If this isn’t crazy enough, look at the invitation to more that requires an answer.  And who, in their right mind, can refuse this Crazy Loving God??

Rest is required
Make outside the place to be
Fall in love all over again
Economic forecasts tend to be shovel ready
Change the way you advertise
Become a fan
Quality without question
Let me be your guide.
Why settle?
Unlock your future.
Whatever it takes. Wherever it takes us.
Uncommonly made. Uncommonly good.
Take home more. Be home more.
Going strong.
Ignite greatness.