Saturday, May 30, 2015

Reality: There is more to pro-life than clicking "share."

Abortion is hands-down one of the sickest atrocities our world has ever encountered.  The killing of human life for the gain of self is a god unlike any other.

It says our lives and our wants are more important than another human being's.

It is the ultimate form of segregation and ageism and sexism and racism and classism and discrimination.

It says a different group of human life is less important.
It says humans who are younger than us are expendable.
It says that if the sex of another doesn't fit your lifestyle, then you can kill them.
It kills way more of certain races than others, and pretends it doesn't happen that way.
It preys on the poor who feel they have no other option.
It tempts the rich who feel they don't want that kind of lifestyle.
It kills the weak or disabled because of fear in caring for them.

It is evil.

We should all be sharing everything we can about how disgustingly evil it is, because group-think matters.  The culture needs to know there is a huge uprising of young and old, churched and unchurched who do not stand for this.  Share and share alike, please.

Click share.  Please.

But we have to take a minute to step back from our easily seated computer chairs and think about what pro-life means in the world.  The statistics are out there - millions of babies are killed all the time...thousands per day.  There is a lot of human life to care for and raise in those millions of babies.

Now, the truth is that many of those children would not even exist if abortion was unavailable, as full-term pregnancies would slow the rate of multiple abortions, miscarriages and stillborn babies would sadly end the lives of some, early death from diseases may occur for ill children, and people's sexual activity choices would ultimately have more consequence and change some behavior.

But that does not and will not account for all the millions.  We have to be serious about more than just hitting a share button about how bad abortion is.  There is work to be done for those women, men, and children who are hurting in unbelievable situations, facing pregnancies with stories that could fill biographies.

Changing a culture's mindset about abortion is vitally important,
caring for that changed culture in its birth pains is a vital follow-up.

Putting our money where our mouth is.  Putting our actions where our shares are.

It means donating funds to pregnancy centers, it means giving to organizations who support families, it means considering adoption and foster care for your family, it means buying a pack of diapers for that single mom you know, it means encouraging that man you know to love and care for the mother of his child, it means giving of your time to relieve burdened single mothers or fathers, it means supporting serious, manageable, and pro-life healthcare options with your votes.

It means a lot of things.  It means loving life - loving in the sense of showing action in caring for it. That is pro-life.

Don't know what to do?  Start here.
Donate money to any of these places:

Bethany Christian Services 
This is the organization we adopted through and they provided counseling and services for the birthmother.

Swaddling Clothes
A great organization providing monthly help to young families.  Just contact whichever location you would like to donate to from the list.  If you are local to them, they take all sorts of gently used items.  If not, they always need money for diapers, formula, or other items.

A Place of Refuge
Read about them.  They are awesome and found in southern Wisconsin.  They provide a home for women facing pregnancies with challenges.

- Ask your pastor about local pregnancy resource centers you can donate to.
- Give a donation to a friend or acquaintance who is adopting.
- Give food to food drives.
- Send an anonymous gift or money order to someone you know who is facing an unexpected pregnancy or a young parent struggling financially.

Just look for opportunities to support life.  Those opportunities are abounding.  And if we get what we want and what is right - the end of abortion - there will be more opportunities to support even more precious lives.  What a joy to be surrounded by such opportunities!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Reality: It is okay to be someone's dependent.

Our culture is obsessed with independence, so much so that the notion of being dependent on another is considered archaic, old-fashioned, and just too risky to handle.  But really it is only considered these things when you are talking marriage, because our culture finds dependence on government, credit and loans, and other various things acceptable and a part of life.  But dependence on a husband?  Oh no.

I admit it can be scary.  There are risks involved.  I am completely dependent upon my husband.  I earn no money, I have no self-provided insurance, I am pregnant with another child, and I don't take out the trash or change cat litter.  My life would be in turmoil should I lose him (and for more reasons than just those).  And I am certainly not only discussing if I should lose him in death.  Because marriage comes with a risk - a risk that the oath made by one can be broken.

But that is a Christian marriage.  We believe we become one flesh when God joins us together.  The risk of marriage is real.  There is a pretty sure 100% chance that you will be hurt at some point, the amount of hurt may vary, but no one escapes some pains of this one flesh union.

But if we really consider what we say when we say "one flesh," we can simply look at how we treat our own flesh.  Our flesh fails us, daily and much.  It aches, it does not perform the way we hope and pray it will, it lets us down in times of need, and it just plain acts like flesh.  But when it does these things, we don't run to the doctor and say, "Go ahead and cut off my arm, because it has really been a pain in my neck...I am tired of dealing with it."  Of course not.  We run to the doctor and say, "How can you help me?  I need my arm.  I am dependent on it.  I need to have a good relationship with it."

And not because it always treated you well, but because it is your flesh...the one God gave you.  You cherish it and fight for it and defend it.  You depend on it.

And you know what the joy of marriage is?
That arm depends on you, too.

Being dependent on someone does not make you less than them.  It does not mean you are worth less in the relationship.  It does not mean you are weak.  It means you understand being one flesh.  It means you take that arm to workouts and doctors.  You wrap it and tenderly care for it when it has hurt you.  You let it depend on you for strength and care and love.

It is okay to be someone's dependent.
Being someone's dependent is my greatest vocation.  

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Reality: I don't know how I do it either.

In the grocery store, at church, at the farmer's market - 

"Are these all yours?  WOW!  I don't know how you do it."

Neither do I, stranger.  Neither do I.

I don't even have that big of a family.  A fourth on the way.  That is certainly on track for what constitutes a BIG family today, but I still know lots of people with more kids than me.  And coincidentally, I don't know how they do it, either.

Our culture has raised us to be pretty large-family ignorant.  We just don't know much about how that kind of unit functions.  We know involvement in every after-school activity.  We know paying for trendy clothes.  We know 10-year-olds with iPhones.  We know 6000 channels at the push of a button.  We know 2.2 children, maybe.

Nothing is inherently wrong with those things.  They just aren't usually part of the larger family language.  Things change.  Extracurricular activities are limited to one passion and the chaos of your own backyard with all your built-in friends (siblings).  Clothes are generally handed down multiple times, even in disregard of the poor little brother in the pink, fluffy snowsuit.  iPhones are replaced with the rule of never leaving the house without at least one more sibling.  6000 channels are replaced by 6000 brothers and sisters!  HA.

OK, I joke in some ways, but it is only funny because it is true.  Our understanding of how we do it with more than 2 kids is like a foreign language.  

And I think that is one of the hardest things about raising a larger family.  It isn't the cost.  It isn't the chaos.  It isn't the questions from everyone else.  

It is the culture shock of the new language.  That is why larger families seem so foreign in society.  They just speak a different language.  One that is pretty much indiscernible by those who have not learned it by living it.  So, when you ask me how I do it, I just look at you dumbfounded.  So many things about my life and my daily routine and my choices and my lifestyle are so far from what they were five years ago, and yet the changes have happened in incremental ways as more children have come.  How do I answer that?  I don't know.  

I don't know how I do it.  
I do know that sometimes I totally rock at it.
I also know that sometimes I totally fail at it.

When we say things like, "I don't know how you do it..." we are usually referencing some terrible event someone has undergone in their life that they are overcoming OR we are referencing what a miraculous and wonderful person someone is in a given job or accomplishment.

Neither of those really apply to my daily parenting.  I am neither overcoming a terrible event or being some saint of a person.  Believe me on that second one.  For sures.

All I am doing is living life as it comes along, one child at a time.  I am learning a new language everyday - one that makes me such a wildly different parent throughout my parenting years.  I am quite sure my future self won't even be able to understand my current self.  

And that is okay.  
I don't need to know how I do it.