My Body My Choice? Thoughts of a Woman on Women’s Rights.

Let me start out by clarifying what this post is not. It is not an attempt to be combative or even to really argue for the morality or immorality of abortion. It is, I hope, more of an examination of the philosophy behind the mantra of abortion and a reflection on the wisdom or lack of wisdom of said philosophy, for I wish, in all things, to live wisely and I should hope that you do too. Though I think we must be cautioned that wisdom, unlike its counterpart folly, rarely leads us where we are most comfortable and usually asks us to pay some kind of price.

“My body, my choice” is the prevailing chant of those who argue that abortion is permissible. This mantra exalts the philosophy of bodily autonomy, the idea that our bodies are our own and we get to choose what we do with them. I think there are some pretty gaping holes in this argument and that the good principle of bodily autonomy has been abused to mean something it was not intended to, something more akin to bodily tyranny, as if our choices are impervious to any dictates of moral law.

Certainly though, there is an appeal. The right to choose seems an obvious and inherent good and so it is to an extent, but I think we must ask ourselves some bigger questions. In whose world do our bodies exist and are our bodies really our own? In essence, do our choices dictate to moral law or is it the other way around? If we want to know the answer, we must find out if we exist in someone else’s world, for if we do, we are answerable to that someone for the choices we make. If we do, we should care about what He thinks about what we do with our bodies. More than that, I think we should think rightly about our bodies and about how we may best use them.

My husband was telling me that he is going to be talking to our youth group about abortion and he might want me to contribute a woman’s perspective. So it got me thinking. The issue of abortion is framed as an issue of women’s rights. The argument I have heard is that pregnancy is such a burden, such an invasion of bodily autonomy and privacy that no woman should have to endure it against her will. Having now experienced it myself, I can tell you that it is true. The thing I kept thinking while I was pregnant was, “Man, this is a commitment.” I threw up for three months. I was tired from waking up several times a night to go to the bathroom. I gained a lot of weight and felt unattractive. And then there were the contractions and the labor, the literal tearing of my body.

What I’ve come to realize though is that we continue to pay a bodily price for our babies even after they are out of the womb. You start with the painful recovery from labor and the sleepless nights with a newborn. You have stretch marks in places you didn’t know you could stretch. You basically become an on demand milk cow. You get circles under your eyes from long nights and pains in your back from bending over to pick up toys and scrape dried sweet potato off the floor. Your body will literally never be the same again. Children, at any age, take a toll on your body and your life. The bottom line is that people and commitment to people are inconvenient, demanding, and costly.

But you want to know the truth? Our bodies are wasting assets and how we use them matters. We have two choices. We can invest in them and our right to rule them. We can hope in our power over them, but we will be sorely disappointed for at the end of it all, each of our bodies will be claimed by death whether we choose it or not. The grave is no respecter of our independent wills. The other option is that we can choose to invest our bodies in something that lasts or rather, someone that lasts. We can take what is perishable and with it, purchase what is imperishable, the life and souls of our children.

Wisdom whispers to us not miss what is lasting because it is hard and reminds us that everything that is of great worth comes at a great cost. It beseeches us to think beyond the present and into eternity. It beckons us to be like Christ, who gave up all rights to His own body for our sake. So, I would also urge us all to set aside our wills, our comforts and to let our bodies be spent, to be used up for another and so, to not be wasted.

The Lesson of Our Mortality

In the past few days, I’ve had a lot of tragic reminders that life is short and that it is often filled with pain and sorrow. Our lives are more fragile than we care to admit. Our position in the world, which seems to us to be so fixed, is far more precarious than we are willing to believe. We suppress this truth. We deceive ourselves into believing that we have always been and we will always be, but this is folly. We imagine ourselves to be great and enduring when, in reality, we are small and fleeting.
“The ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough—that he should live on forever and not see decay. For all can see that wise men die; the foolish and the senseless alike perish and leave their wealth to others. Their tombs will remain their houses forever, their dwellings for endless generations, though they had named lands after themselves. But man, despite his riches does not endure; he is like the beasts that perish” (Psalm 49:7-13).

Thus, it is good, even vital, for us to ponder the transience of our own existence, to stare our mortality in the face and make sense of it. “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:2). I urge you then, take it to heart. Of course, it’s easier to ignore. Our mortality makes us uneasy. It makes us afraid. We could be snatched from this world at any moment. Our loved ones might be taken. How then, do we live? How may we walk in hope and not in an ever-present, all-consuming fear of our fixed fate?

We hope in Jesus, not in ourselves. We fix our eye on the resurrected One who put death to shame. We invest, not in this world, which is susceptible to decay, but in the heavenly “city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God (Hebrews 11:10). We bear up under the stings of a broken world and walk the path of death because we know that death will not win the day, but it will be swallowed up in victory (1 Corinthians 15:54). Death, our greatest enemy, “has failed to be found equal to the life of Him who saves.” Jesus is risen. He has conquered. He has atoned. He will make all things new.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ (Reveleation 21:1-5).

8 Things I Learned in My First Year of Motherhood

This is definitely a departure from my normal type of post. Since my son just turned one, I thought I’d take a break from more serious topics and do something a little more light and hopefully humorous. I’ve only got one year under my belt so I am by no means a motherhood expert, but thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned. Hopefully, current moms and those about to become moms can laugh, relate, and maybe be a little bit scared.

1.  An epidural is your friend .

First thing’s first. you have to actually have the child, right? As you may have heard, this involves some pain that we women have to endure because, well, Eve really wanted some fruit. I’m not sure where an epidural fits into the whole curse thing, but I like to think it’s an expression of God’s mercy and forgiveness to us.

Let me be clear that I have nothing against those women who choose to do without or even give birth at home. These women amaze me and I actually wonder sometimes if I could be one of them. Buuut I’m pretty sure I was born without that level of pain tolerance and I’ve got nothing to prove so as for me and my house, we shall be anasthetized.

2. Projectile poop is a thing.

Your newborn comes with fully loaded bladder and bowels which they have absolutely zero control over. And since their stomach is the size of a pea and all they eat is milk, it can pretty much shoot out of them in any form at any given moment. There is no conclusive scientific evidence that these miniature people plot to wait to relieve themselves until the diaper has been removed, but in my experience, there does seem to be an indication of premeditated peeing and pooping. Advice: keep carpet cleaner on hand.

3. Your body is capable of operating (okay, semi-operating) on way less sleep than you thought.

As aforementioned, when your baby is born, their stomach is the size of a pea and they are not much bigger so they are eating constantly in order to stay full and put on weight. This means you are now a milk cow. A full-time milk cow. Your baby does not know or care that you are so tired you can’t see straight. Daytime and nighttime mean nothing to them. You might wonder if you will ever sleep again. You will. Though you think you might actually just fall over and die from sleep-deprivation, you won’t (probably).

4. Your wardrobe choices will totally depend on your ability to breastfeed.

Gone are the days when you picked your clothes based on weather, fashion, and if they actually look good on you. Say goodbye to that cute dress with the high neck or tight straps. Remember, you are now a milk cow. If you won’t be able to halfway undress yourself at any given moment, then it isn’t going to fly.

5. You will breastfeed in the strangest places.

Basically, all of these points center around the fact that you are now a milk cow. If you actually want to have a life and go anywhere or do anything the first year of your baby’s life, you’re going to have to get over your self-consciousness of breastfeeding in public. Your baby will get hungry at the restaurant in the car and you will simply just have to make it work. Probably the funniest for me was pumping behind a blanket in a (private) karaoke room at my sister’s bachelorette. Mom’s know how to party. And if I’m really being honest, I may have breastfed my son in the car, in his carseat on on desperate occasion. That may have happened…

6. Poop will monopolize your thoughts more than you ever thought possible.

Maybe there was once a time when your thoughts were filled with deep, meaningful things, but not anymore. Now, what will you think about? What your baby eats, when your baby eats, and when your baby poops. You keep track of it.  You assess it. You ask your baby if they pooped as if they can answer you. You find yourself telling your husband about it when he gets home frome work. “He’s only pooped once” or “Oh my gosh, he had a doozy today.” Poop, it’s proper makeup and disposal, is your new field of expertise. Those are the moments when you will think “I’m so glad got that college degree…”

7. Motherhood kills brain cells.  

This is the real killer. Somewhere between using your body’s energy to create another human being, birthing that human being, and then the sleepless nights spent caring for that human being, your brain cells start to die or maybe they kill themselves off. Maybe they stage a mutiny and jump ship. Not only do you not have room for those deep, meaningful thoughts anymore, you can’t remember basic things. You can’t do math in your head anymore (although, maybe it was questionable if you ever could). You mess up your words and walk into rooms without knowing why and find your phone in the refrigerator and the ketchup in your diaper bag. Again, this is when you think, “I’m so glad I got that college degree…”

8. It’s all worth it.

To sum it all up? Motherhood can be tiring. It’s not glamorous. It’s humorously and sometimes, not so humorously, undignified. It’s thankless work and sometimes, it can feel like you’re basically a glorified maid/butler/chauffeur. But the truth? You get to be their favorite person in the world for a few, short years. You get to be there the first time your baby smiles, the first time they belly laugh, the first time they roll over or crawl or clap their hands;  You get a front row seat to their lives, to see them become who God made them to be, slowly, but surely, day by day. You get to see it all and it makes it all so worth it.

Hope for the Weary Soul

“There is something rotten in the state of Denmark” and not just Denmark, but the entire world. While we disagree on so many things, there seems to be one subject on which we are all in almost complete agreement. There is something terribly wrong with this place. We all sense that this world is so much less than it should be.

Do you ever look at the world and just feel a sense of despair? Our culture becomes more and more alienated from God. There seems to be no limit the evil and depravity of this world. Sometimes, it’s just too overwhelming. Sometimes, we just can’t understand why God allows some things and how He will ever work good from them. Sometimes, it just seems like this world is just beyond repair. Sometimes, it just seems hopeless and all I want to do is find a place to hide.

I felt this way this morning and it made me turn to something I wrote back in college after going on a mission trip. As I witnessed evidence of the “rottenness” of this world, God reminded me of a few things and He is reminding me of them again today. First, this is not what He originally intended. This is not the good and perfect plan He had for His creation. Secondly, we are the sources of the rottenness. It is because of our trespasses against Him and not the other way around. The irony of it is that we often use the result of our own folly to cast judgment on or deny the existence of Him who created us. Finally, and most important, we do not need to despair because He has a plan to restore His creation which has already reached its climax in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I think we can all feel hopelessness and despair at times, so I wanted to share this with the hope that it will be encouraging to any who need it. Essentially, it is a compilation of scripture that helped puts things into focus. I think it is a good reminder of the full story of the Gospel. Here it is:

“I am the LORD and there is no other. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. Before there was man, I AM. With wisdom, I laid the earth’s foundations. I placed the stars in the sky and I call them out by name. At my command, the sun rides forth on its fiery chariot. By my word, the rain falls and the sky lets drop the dew.

With love, I created man. I made him in my image. Each one I knew before there was time. I fashioned them in their mothers’ wombs and their frames were not hidden from me when I wove them together in the secret place. Even now I am acquainted with all their ways and I call them by name.

I have good plans for them, plans of hope and purpose. Yet, they rejected me. They did not honor me as God and so, sin has come in the world and with it, death. My beautiful sons and daughters which I designed and wove together with care, are now marred. My creation lays in ruin. It is like a diseased prostitute. She continues to choose not life, but death and offer herself up to idols. At every turn, there is death and despair. There is no beauty that is not tinged with brokenness, no joy that is not intermingled with sorrow.

Yet even now, amidst all this Death and Destruction, man does not turn back to me. They survey the works of their own hands, the wickedness, the corruption and tragedy, but they do not take up the blame that is their own. Instead, they raise up their fists to me. They charge me with their crimes. They cry out against the evil and injustice that has sunk its teeth and left its poison.

But what of my cry? Do I, the holy and righteous God, not disdain the evil of the hearts of men? These wayward people moan and wail, but is it not I who have been offended by their sin? Yes, and justice will be ever wrought by my hands for the transgressions of men have induced me to righteous wrath.

Yet, I am as merciful as I am just. Mercy and Justice, I weave together in a tapestry that tells of my glory. This is not what I intended. This was not my desire for those I formed with loving care. By their sin, I am as grieved as I am angered. Each one is precious. Each I want to reclaim as my own. And so, I have interposed my blood. I became the sacrifice to pay the price for their sin. I have done this to restore my creation, to redeem my beloved. I have loved with an everlasting love. In me, there is hope and truth. I offer grace. Have I not portrayed my goodness and love in every facet of my creation? Indeed, I have engraved it upon my very palms. There, the story of my love and mercy has been written.

So now, there is another power at work on the earth, not only sin, but grace. Is it not greater? Will it not achieve the work for which I have purposed it? Is it not powerful enough to destroy sin and vanquish evil? The world will be restored. I have spoken and it will stand firm for my Word cannot be moved. I am calling my sheep back to me. I am healing. I am renewing. I am cleansing with my blood and it will atone. I do all this for my name’s sake. I am the LORD and there is no other. All glory in heaven and earth is my due.

So you, my beloved, who have been redeemed, do not despair at what you see here. I have defeated sin and death. I will have the ultimate victory. Take heart, for I have overcome the world. And surely, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.”

So, I hope if you are reading this, that it is a reminder of God’s sovereignty and the future hope that we who are redeemed have, not only for ourselves, but for the world as well.  The world may, at times, seem hopeless and beyond repair, but it is not and in fact, the battle for it has already been won. We may not be able to see it, but God is, even now, in the process of redeeming this world. Remember the infinite reach of the Cross. There is no place that it can’t touch, no wound that it can’t heal, no wrong that it can’t right, and no darkness it can’t dispel. God has spoken and He will have the final word.

“Do Not Judge.” What Jesus Really Meant

One thing I learned from my post about Bruce Jenner going viral is that Matthew 7:1, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged,” is the favorite Bible verse of many. I also think it might be one of the most grossly misunderstood and abused verses. This led me to do a little research on it and hear what some respected Bible scholars have to say. I found this article by Sam Storms to extremely helpful and clarifying so I thought I would share.

http://www.samstorms.com/all-articles/post/matthew-7:1-6

As he says, the misunderstanding mostly stems from relativistic thought that has pervaded the American psyche. “To their way of thinking, this verse demands that we never exercise ethical discernment in our evaluation of others, indeed that we never evaluate others at all. We are told we must always manifest complete and uncritical tolerance toward every conceivable lifestyle or belief.” -Sam Storms  But this is completely contrary to the immediate context of the verse and the teaching of the Bible as a whole.

Moreover, it is completely absurd and contradictory. We hold this command not to judge as a standard for all and cry “foul” when it is broken. Yet, in so doing, we abandon our relativistic ways for an absolute standard by which to judge others. You see, none of us really live by relativism. We preach tolerance and subjectivity, but we live by absolutes.

What this verse really prohibits is self-righteousness where we see ourselves as sinless and others as sinful and therefore set ourselves as arbiters of justice and condemnation. We all have this self-righteousness in us. None of us has completely pure hearts. Christ is the model of which we all fall short. He boldly told people their sins, but then forgave them unconditionally, not blessing them to continue on sinning, but freeing them to “Go and sin no more.” I pray that as I grow in Christ, He will remove the dross from the silver that I may be more like Him: perfectly loving and perfectly truthful.

The Gospel for Bruce Jenner

A few days ago I wrote a post about Bruce Jenner. My main point was that I don’t think this man is a hero. It has received over 2.5 million views and I have received some 4,000+ comments, many of them accusing me of being a hateful, judgmental, idiot. I am only human and I think we are all judgmental at times, but I really don’t think anything I said was hateful. I’m not sure when disagreeing with someone became the same as hating them, but there you have it. Nonetheless, it has compelled me to write a follow up post.

I have two goals when I write. First and foremost, I aim to exalt Jesus Christ, to show Him as the supreme treasure that He is, and secondly, to shed the light of the truth of His Gospel on issues here on earth. I have been accused of not showing God’s love to Bruce so that is what I want to do now in the best way I know how. I want to share the Gospel of Christ for Bruce Jenner, the Gospel for all of us. I will speak it all. I will not add or subtract. I will not be ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). So, Bruce, this is God’s message of hope and love to you.

Bruce, you are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). You are God’s idea. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, woven together in your mother’s womb by the very hands of God (Psalm 139:14-15) You have intrinsic value and worth not based on your self, but on your Creator.

But Bruce, you have a problem. You and I both have a problem. Because we have sinned, because we have broken God’s law and marred his image, we stand guilty before a holy God. None of us is righteous (Romans 3:10). We all have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). This sin has infected our souls, our bodies, even the very ground we walk on. It has so skewed our perception of reality that we cannot see the truth of God (Romans 1:21-23) nor can we see who we were meant to be. That is why we struggle to find our identity.That is why we look for it in all the wrong places, in money, in sex, in materialism, in fame, and even in altering your body to become a woman. We think these things will liberate us, but the truth is, they only keep us in bondage.

Not only that, but because God is holy and just, His wrath is aimed at us (Romans 1:18). Because of our sin, we are by nature objects of this wrath (Ephesians 2:3). Bruce, some people will try to tell you differently. Some will say that God is love and therefore, He just wants you to be happy and do what pleases you. Well, God is love, but if we don’t first see His righteous wrath, we will never understand or receive His amazing grace. The Gospel is meaningless and powerless to save without this truth. If we didn’t have a sin problem Christ would not have needed to die. But He did die. Why? Because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Yet, God has shown His love for you, Bruce, by dying in your place while you were still in sin, while you were still rebelling against Him (Romans 5:8) in order that He might give you eternal life (Romans 3:21, Romans 6:23, John 3:16) and set you free from the bondage of sin (Romans 6:18). You see, His love does not affirm us in our sin but liberates us from it.

Bruce, Jesus died as a sacrifice for your sins. He rose from the dead in victory over them.  He stands now, arms open, calling you to Himself so that He might freely pour out His grace and love upon you. All you need do is go to Him, but one thing you must know. You cannot get near the mercy of God without also getting near His holiness. You cannot come to the cross on your own terms. You cannot have him as Savior without also yielding to Him as Lord. Christ died to put your sin to death so you must put it to death too (Romans 6:5-14).

No, I don’t think you are a hero, but Jesus is. Bruce, are you weary? He will give you rest. Are you confused? He will give you truth. Are you struggling to find hope and meaning? Jesus will give it to you. He will give you life. He will tell you who you were made to be.  You were made to be His. Listen to Him. Answer His call.

Weary, burdened wanderer, there is rest for thee at the feet of Jesus in His love, so free. Listen to His message, words of life, forever blest. Oh, thou heavy-laden, come to me, come and rest

There is freedom, taste and see. Hear the call, come to me. Run into His arms of grace. Your burden carried, He will take, yeah yeah, He will take

Bring Him all thy burdens, all thy guilt and sin. Mercy’s door is open, rise up and enter in

There is freedom, taste and see. Hear the call, come to me. Run into His arms of grace. Your burden carried, He will take, oh, He will take

Jesus, there is waiting patiently for thee. Hear Him gently calling, come, oh, come to me. Come, oh, come to me. Come, oh, come to me

Won’t you come? Won’t you come? There is freedom, taste and see. Hear the call, come to me. Run into His arms of grace. Your burden carried, He will take

Bruce Jenner Is Not A Hero

I generally try to steer clear of controversial issues on here. Most are so deeply embedded in presuppositions that writing about them generally just generates more anger and frustration than meaningful discussion. However, I never want to shy away from speaking something that needs to be said even if I know it is not something people want to hear. So, I want to talk about Bruce Jenner.

Today, Bruce Jenner appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair, dressed as a woman and introducing himself to the world as “Caitlyn Jenner.” You see, he has decided that he is a woman and that by saying it and probably some very extensive surgery, he can make it so. In today’s world, we think gender is something we get to choose, like our career path or our clothes. So, people across the nation have lauded him as a hero. Certainly, this is the current opinion of the masses, but I have to say it. The emperor has no clothes and Bruce Jenner is not a woman.

You can tell me that there is a difference between gender and sex, that Bruce was born with a male body and a female soul, but I would ask where did he get this soul? If there is no God, we are all nothing more than raw matter, we have no souls. If, however, we do have souls, there must be something more than the material. There must be something spiritual and if there is something spiritual, there must be a God who gave us these spirits, but if there is a God, would He make the mistake of putting a female soul in a male body? How can we know? We can know by what He tells us in His word. “Male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27) and He does not make mistakes, but does everything perfectly with love and wisdom.

We seem to want to erase the idea of gender and reinforce it all at once. We don’t want to have to conform to gender stereotypes. We don’t want to be put into categories and yet we want to be able to transfer ourselves by self-declaration from one category to another. We are so in love with our rebellion against God that we cannot see the absurdity and inconsistency of it all.

You may scoff at me. You may call me close-minded because I have allowed my religious beliefs to (gasp!) affect my judgments of propositions such as “Bruce Jenner is a woman trapped in a man’s body.” But if being open-minded means unquestioningly accepting anything and everything because it is progressive or popular, then I want no part of it. If you think I view the world from a Christian perspective and reject things that, based on that world view and common sense, are absurd, I will unabashedly and unapologetically agree.

If you don’t see things from the same Christian world view that I do, we probably do not agree and that is no surprise, but I must insist on one thing.  Bruce Jenner is not a hero.  A hero is someone who has done something brave or noble, who has sacrificed for others.  Bruce Jenner has done none of these things.  He is a man who has posed in women’s clothing on the cover of a magazine, garnering excessive media attention.  What’s more he has waited to do so until the optimum moment when he was most sure to receive praise and acceptance.  Heroes risk much and gain little.  Bruce Jenner has risked little and gained much. I am sure there are many people out there who do things to deserve the title of “hero,” but Bruce Jenner is not one of them.  He is not a hero and he is not a woman.  He is what we all are: lost, sinful, and desperately in need of Jesus. I pray he finds Him.

Marriage Is Not A Right. It’s A Responsibility.

This past weekend I was a bridesmaid in my sister’s wedding and as I watched her walk down the aisle it got me thinking about the issue. Marriage is a hot topic in our country right now. Everybody’s worked up about who and who doesn’t have a right to it. I wonder sometimes though if we are asking the right questions. It occurs to me that part of the reason the issue is so muddled and discussion so futile is that we are talking about different things. We do not agree on who has a right to marriage because we do not agree on what marriage is or what marriage is for. To frame the controversy in terms of the nature and purpose of marriage I think will help bring clarity if not resolution.

So what is marriage? If as some believe, it is nothing more than a man-made institution with the purpose of making us happy, if it is only about the two people getting married and has no meaning beyond this life, then I suppose there is no reason why anyone should not be allowed to marry whomever they choose. I suppose we do have a “right” to it. If however marriage is made by God not just to make us happy, but to make us holy, that changes things entirely. If it is meant to be a picture of the Gospel, a temporal union that foreshadows the eternal union of Christ and His Church, then I believe we must change our language. Marriage is not a right at all. Marriage is a responsibility. It has meaning and purpose that goes beyond us and our earthly happiness and we are answerable to the God who created it.

And this is not just about homosexuality and marriage equality. It is about sexual purity before marriage. It is about adultery and divorce and internet pornography (though there is grace for all these things). It’s about loving and serving your spouse as Christ has loved and served us. It is easy for Christians to get caught up in the issue of homosexuality, but that is just one sin among many that is breaking our marriages and marring the image that we are supposed to display, the image of Christ’s love for his beloved church. I am all for defending biblical values, but it seems to me that it will speak more to a lost world if we fought less over marriage and fought more for our marriages, fought to make them more like this picture they are supposed to display.

This picture has become so distorted by the sin of the world sometimes it seems that it is lost. As I stood in the beautiful outdoors last weekend, and watched my sister and her husband make vows to each other, I thought of the first marriage in the garden and how it and every marriage following was marred by sin. I know in my own marriage, I have become all too aware of my sinfulness, of how short I fall of loving as Christ loves. The good news though? Because Christ has come and died and defeated sin, He is restoring all things. He heals everything that sin has broken, including our marriages. He is taking us back, back to the garden. We who know this truth, have the privilege, not the right, but the responsibility, to portray this to the world.

So let us fight, not so much to change the world’s mind about marriage, but to show them the heart of God and the power of grace through marriage. Let’s walk down the aisle arrayed in white, not because it’s pretty, but because it means something. Let’s solemnly vow to love our spouses for better or for worse because the worse will come as well as the better and we must choose to love as God has chosen to love us. And let us keep these vows as long as we live because it shows the supernatural power of Jesus Christ who has committed to never leave us nor forsake us, to love us and be with us in all things and through all things even to the very end.

“I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne, said, ‘I am making everything new!'” Revelation 21:2-5

Lessons of Motherhood: The Little Life I Never Dreamed Of

The words to an old Switchfoot song have been playing through my head lately. “This is your life. Are you who you wanna be? This is your life. Is it everything you dreamed that it would be when the world was younger and you had everything to lose?” I think that song was out when I was in middle school or high school. I always liked it, but the words hit me differently now than they did then. I recently turned twenty-six. To my pessimistic self, that means I’m basically thirty, which means I’m basically old. Okay, I know I’m not really old, but I am older. My youth is passing away.

I remember when I went to college how big the world seemed, how full of endless possibility. I had dreams and visions for my life: who I was going to marry, where I was going to live, what I was going to do. I, of course, was going to do big, important things. By twenty-six I’d probably have gotten my Ph.D., written a best-selling book that changed the world, you know, those kind of things. I wanted to live my life for God, but I assumed that meant I had to live it loudly.

The funny thing about choices though is that they have a way of narrowing our lives and eliminating possibilities. I’ve made my choices. This is my life. I’m certainly not unhappy with it, but it is smaller than I expected. It mostly consists of the four walls of my home where I pass my days with my baby boy. I don’t have a Ph.D. I haven’t written a best-selling book. In fact, I haven’t done anything of much notoriety at all and perhaps I never will.

What I’ve been learning is that it is harder to be faithful in the mundane, to find the glory in the ordinary, and to follow God through the thickets of the everyday. It is more difficult to lay down your life in the small ways when no one is taking any particular notice. It is likely that few will remember me when I die. No one will chronicle my life with a biography, but my hope and prayer is that my son and any future children will be able to say that they learned grace and wisdom and integrity because I was their mother. I hope they will learn to love the word of God because I taught it to them. I pray that they will know Jesus because they knew me. I pray that I can be faithful with my little life and the little lives entrusted to me.

Death Is Not Dignified: What I Wish Brittany Maynard Knew

Like most of us, I’ve read about Brittany Maynard and her choice to end her life due to cancer, sparking an intense debate on the ethics of physician assisted suicide. I do not wish to condemn Miss Maynard for her choice though it does deeply sadden me that she chose to end her life. Anyone in her position deserves only compassion. I cannot imagine being told at 29 that my life was about to come to a slow and painful end. I understand completely the wish to avoid that pain, to have “death with dignity” as they say. However, I do wish to comment on death itself, to provoke thought about what it means that we all must die and how that meaning should affect the manner of our dying.

You see, I do not think it is possible to have death with dignity because death is not dignified. Death is humiliating. It is painful, emotionally if not physically. It forces us to face the truth that we would all rather choose to ignore, that we are finite. We are fleeting. We all know that we must die and yet we all sense there is something wrong with the fact that we must die. Something deep in our souls tells us that it should not be this way and for good reason. It shouldn’t.

A world with death is not the world that God originally intended. Death came as a result of the fall of Adam. Man chose to sin and rebel against God and now, we are all born into that heritage of death. “Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned (Romans 5:12).” In a fallen world, death reminds us of our crimes against a holy God and the just punishment for those crimes. There is no dignity in that. Only shame. Only sorrow. This judgment, we none of us can escape.

Except for one man. Only one man, Jesus Christ, did not deserve death and only one man, Jesus Christ, could overcome it. And He did. He died a shameful, completely undignified death. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross and scorned its shame (Hebrews 12:2). Why? So that we who are dying, might die, not necessarily with dignity, but with hope. So that we who must face the reality of death in all its agony, shame, and humiliation might endure it because there is now joy set before us where once there was none.

And so our dying can be transformed from defeat to victory, from misery to beauty. We can now choose to embrace dying, every awful second because doing so can tell a lost and dying world that death does not have to have the final word. This is what I wish Brittany Maynard and all of us knew, that our suffering does not have to be meaningless or worthless. That instead of championing death with dignity, an illusion, we can champion death with hope, an anchor for our souls. For this hope we have: that we who believe in the One who conquered death shall not be conquered by death. That like Him, after the harrowing, undignified suffering of our bodies and souls, we shall see the light of life and be satisfied (Isaiah 53:11).

“‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:55-56).”