The Birth Control Issue

As an advocate for adoption, family, the unborn, and children in general, I have not yet arrived on my perspective on the whole idea of birth control.
I have an especially hard time with the idea that we as a country would be mandated to provide it for free.
From what I have read about the newly enacted mandate, this policy will only affect a small percentage of women. Approximately 120,000 women may be forced to pay for birth control whereas the vast majority who are currently receiving free contraceptives will continue to do so. Even still, I am perturbed.
So here’s the question, is birth control a human right? Is the access to contraceptives a liberty women are owed? Are we anticipating a rise in unplanned pregnancies as a result of this mandate, therefore increasing the number of children which may end up orphaned or in foster care systems?
Wouldn’t it be better to give the ladies free pills so they won’t have children they can’t provide for?

To me, that’s a very depressing question to ask.
It would seem some are encouraging conservatives to lean left on this issue because we are pro life, so as a result we believe these children should be born, but we don’t want everyone to be dependent on the government and so by not providing birth control we are creating a problem we wish to avoid all together.

These seem like Band-Aids that cover a

gaping hole.

Last night I went to a fund-raising dinner for a pregnancy center. Together we took a stand for adoption and family and caring for those who have no voice. We committed to empower women to choose life and to choose adoption if they feel they cannot parent.
Even as I was moved and grateful for the beauty of adoption, I thought about how I wish this birth-control issue didn’t exist and that everyone would just keep their pants on until they got married.

That way, children would be born into families, they could stay with their biological parents, and we would all live happily ever after. In this perfect world, there would be no need for adoption or foster care or pregnancy centers, because everyone would be making the right decisions.
As I considered the ramifications of this perfect world I was imagining, I realized outside of heaven this will never exist. We can’t fix unplanned pregnancies with birth-control, we can’t fix unplanned pregnancies with sex education, we can’t fix broken families with birth control, and

we can’t fix our mistakes with abortions.

 

The only one who can cover and heal this gaping hole and are very broken society is Jesus. And even as that is my hope all will come to know him, the Bible clearly tells me that not everyone will choose that. So how do I live in a world full of temporary solutions, knowing full well there is only one solution but also knowing full well many will turn from this One who has given everything, risked everything, lost everything, and been accused of everything. For us. For you. For me. For the joy set before him.
I am fed up with politics, because politics doesn’t factor Jesus into the equation. They see a problem and they want to slap a Band-Aid over it and hope it fixes the issue, and even as I am a voter and I have to pick a side, I am burdened, knowing my side will not bring the restoration I desire.
So how to proceed. I’m not really sure. I suppose the best way to move forward is to choose Jesus every day, and when we encounter someone who is lost and alone and uncertain of where to turn, maybe instead of considering our political stances, we should see them as a person in need of a Person. I know this doesn’t fix the debate, but maybe it will help us change our perspective a little.


“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.”

‭‭1 John‬ ‭5:1-5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

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To my future children:

Dear future children,

Some people are saying I should stop dreaming about you. They are telling me, decidedly  even, that the world is getting too evil to think about bringing children into it. All around me, they are saying we should stop dreaming. Just like that. Turn a key, close a lid, shove under the bed a lifetime of dreams and hopes and plans. They are saying we should stop traveling, stop going to concerts, stop going to sporting events. Stop, stop, stop, everywhere. Look both ways before you cross, and then turn around and don’t even cross anymore, just go back. Don’t dream of the future because there is no future because it’s all imploding.

Maybe they’re right.

But I don’t give up that easily.

I can’t merely cease to hope, to imagine, to find purpose and meaning in my days. I can’t just wait for it all to go up in flames. It goes against who God has created me to be, and I think it goes against who God created them to be too.

You see, I believe you’re going to happen. I believe you’re going to arrive in this big beautiful world, wide-eyed and innocent, just as I did. I believe I’m going to spend lots of effort teaching you about this world I’ve grown to love so very much. I believe I’m going to tell you about the God who spun it  all into motion, the one who is holding it all together, yesterday, today and forever.

There will be days I have to tell you bad things have happened. And I’ll figure that out when I get there. But I’m committed to this one thing, hope, and it’s an anchor in my soul.

I have this hope when I wake every morning and I see God has painted another sunrise, and so I know He’s not finished with us yet.

I have this  hope when I see someone give sacrificially to someone in need, and I know he’s not finished with us yet.

I have this hope after a day so perfect my face hurts from smiling, so I know He’s still  not finished with us.

16422206_381659682195008_8429689888390296818_oI have this hope that in the midst of really dark days there is a light shining brighter still, drawing people to it at lightning speed.

Guys, I think you’re going to have a great life. I’ll help it be as amazing as I can.

And who knows, maybe you’ll never happen, but I have this hope..

 

 

Voices

Lately, I have been thinking about voices. Who are the voices we allow  to speak into our lives? When we get on Facebook, we are allowing hundreds if not thousands of voices to have an active role in our conscience and our emotional processing.

Many of us fall asleep mindlessly scrolling through social media, crowding our mind with voices of dread and fear and negativity.

And we wonder why we struggle with anxiety and depression.

A few weeks ago everyone was afraid for their safety in Thomasville. Now everyone is scared for the hurricane. We are so quick to assume God must  be judging us, but we haven’t listened to HIS voice at all.

If the voices in your head are telling you the world is falling apart and nothing is safe, and God hates us and so does Trump (😉)listen to this voice instead:

“The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them. The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, LORD, at the blast of breath from your nostrils. He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.”

‭Psalm 18

Wait. I thought God was angry. ?? Y’all. Don’t you know if God was angry he could do a  whole lot more than send a hurricane ?? Don’t you know he could wipe us out in a millisecond ? Don’t you think God is bigger than a storm? Could it be as these days are upon us he is waiting and pressing and pursuing and hoping against all hope we will turn to him in distress rather than cling to our own pathetic attempts at control?

There is nothing new under the sun. Bad things have been happening since day one. People have been awaiting the end since the beginning. Being scared and hiding out won’t change that.

Here’s our invitation.

Drown out, silence , do away with voices that don’t know what’s going to happen.

Tune into the only voice who holds the future, holds you.

The Bible is full of incredible stories  about a God who used crazy acts of nature to draw people to him.

Do you believe God is good or are you more worried about your plans ?

It’s all going to be ok. I’ve had to get to this point and you can too.

Repeat to yourself: God is good. God is good to me. God is drawing us to him. My plans are ok to change.  I am not in control. The weather channel is not in control. The news is not in control.  I have the awesome privilege of being a child of God, and so I can speak to the storm and tell it to be still. I am a child of God.

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Let’s get off Justin Bieber’s Back

Let’s get off Justin Bieber’s Back

“I can’t stand your religious meetings.
    I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
    your pretentious slogans and goals.
I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes,
    your public relations and image making.
I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
    When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want?
    I want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it.
    That’s what I want. That’s all I want.

Amos 5

How do you respond to a passage like that?

How do you go back to the way you were before when you see that God is hungry for your worship and sick of your noisy ego music?

I have this overwhelming burden for my generation. I lay awake at night and wonder how to convey Jesus to people who are bitter and angry and turned off  by  church and Christians and even God.  I don’t know if I’m more upset at Christians or the world, but I think it’s Christians, because when people who don’t know Jesus rage and judge and condemn, they have no compass, but We Are the Light of the Freaking World. We should know better.

You may have heard me talk about Justin Bieber. His life is incredible to me. He’s hanging out with some of the most powerful, godly leaders of our time, legitimately trying to turn his life around, and if you bring him up in a religious setting, most people have nothing to say but horribly arrogant statements about how they’re praying he gets saved or, “God can use anyone, even  him.”

Hold up, who says he’s not already saved? Are we determining salvation now? Are we at the right of hand of God???

Oh, and what about, I’m glad can He use anyone, even ME, the chiefest of sinners?

Shouldn’t we all be shouting for joy because he’s hungry for Jesus, and finding the most unlikely, broken people to love back to life and give them the hope of a Savior who can heal addiction, bondage, sexual sin, etc??

I am burdened for unbelievers and I understand them just the same. We christ-followers can be a wicked little club, forgetting to marvel and weep in the miracle of our own salvation.

I am so easily drawn toward legalism, toward skirt lengths and rules, and I can’t believe she’s dating him and did he really just say that, and oh gosh did you hear they’re a  thing now, she is such a slut and wow he smells like straight tobacco and goodness, did she look in the mirror  before she left?

GOD HELP US. THE WORLD IS LITERALLY CRYING OUT FOR HOPE AND ALL I CARE ABOUT IS YOUR OUTFIT??

I am so slow to be humble, and to get the plank out of my own eye before getting the needle out of yours.

How can we do both? How can we live excellent, God honoring lives, and remain a judgment free zone? How can we hate sin with a passion, but love people deeply?

This is how. Remember, it is by grace we are saved, not of works, lest anyone boast…

How can we emphasize the importance of scripture without offending everyone?

Here’s the thing. We can’t do it. Grace is offensive. It disrupts our way of life, and reminds us we are not our own savior. Grace gets us off our facebook argument thread and on over to the coffee shop to love the person we somehow think we are better than. Grace convicts us before we can convict others. Grace says enough with your religious games.

We live in far too perilous times to be distracted by little things. The enemy is hoping and praying you get so entangled in being holier than thou that you forget you are just as desperate without the blood of Jesus.

What does Jesus want?

Justice, oceans of it.  Defend the voiceless, uphold the oppressed.

Fairness–rivers of it–be kind. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Remember where you came from.

Let’s focus on the main thing, Christ crucified, and his resurrection.

Nothing else matters.

 

You may not want to hear what I have to say 

You might not want to hear what I have to say. If you think there’s a chance, you might want to close the window. 

I want to say something though, even if it’s only for posterity, so I can look back one day and remember these days. 

What I see in my community is this: 

Throngs rallying around speculation, our first thoughts are thoughts of fear and dread, and our perspective is shaped by other misinformed Facebook statuses. 

I see people changing plans and living in fear over unknown consequences. I see people rushing to pray one particular day when we should have been praying all along. I see people valuing safety above all else. 

Are we called to be safe?

Are we not called to be little Christs, fearless in the face of evil, fervent in prayer daily?

Are we not called to align our hearts with the truth of God’s word rather than the statuses on Facebook?

Are we not called to rejoice in the day the lord has made and be glad in it–no matter the circumstances?

Are we not invited to live a life of fearless dedication to spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, not the bad news of the newspaper?

Yes, we are to be informed. Yes, we should be wise as serpents. Yes we should not be foolish, but where do you draw the line, and is your information really fact, or mere opinion ?

I love that people gathered to pray last night. I hate that a life was lost. But I don’t know the whole story, and if that story can Shake me to my very core, I don’t know where my trust really lies.

  1. I’m not belittling concern over loved ones or concern for Thomasville, Im just sending out a question:: who is your Daddy ??

Don’t you think he’s got this?

Don’t you think the best weapon is joy? 

Don’t you think fear spreads like a cancer and if it means turning off Facebook for a while to get your perspective re centered, it’s worth it?

Don’t you believe God is able, just as able as he was the other day?

Don’t you think living in fear and trepidation is a slippery slope? 

Aren’t you looking forward with great expectation to the days ahead, grateful to your very core we are living in a time when our only hope is Jesus?

Have you considered what life is like for people around the world, how this multiplied by 100 might be their every day reality, with no hope of a just law enforcement system to defend them?

Who’s on the throne in your heart?

Why is there room for fear if he’s got the whole world in his hands?

If you think I’m not being realistic, then what should a Christian’s reality be?

Maybe it’s time to weep

I’ve been thinking about weeping. 
In John 11, Jesus loses a friend. He was close with Lazarus and his sisters. They had probably shared countless meals together, laughing and marveling at the world around them and what God was doing in their hearts. Jesus and Lazaurus may have shared their hearts as brothers over a flickering late night fire. They had most likely consumed their fair share of coffee and taken their fair share of hikes through the woods. They were friends. 
Then suddenly, Lazarus is gone. Now I know Jesus knows all things, so he knew he was going to resurrect his friend, so there is something about this story that simply wrecks me. He returns to Mary and Martha, who also know Jesus has the power to bring life to ashes, and they are livid. Why. Wasn’t. Jesus. There. When. We. Needed. Him. 

Overcome with grief, Jesus weeps. 
Now why did he weep if he was cooking up a resurrection plan the whole time??

Why didn’t he just pat the girls on the back and say “no worries, ladies. I’ve got this.” 

Why did he weep if he knew it was all going to turn out ok??
This morning, as I’m on the verge of tears about a million different things going on in my life, I am comforted knowing our savior and friend Jesus Christ of Nazareth wept–not just teared up –wept– over the loss of his friend he was planning to raise from the dead since the beginning of time. 
Maybe it’s ok to weep. Maybe it doesn’t mean we’ve given up hope. Maybe it doesn’t mean we’ve lost all faith. Maybe it merely means we have done all we can do and we need our Father to step in and do what only he can do. Maybe acknowledging the depth and the sorrow of our situation is part of God’s plan. Maybe it’s the point where we realize we need him more than ever to breathe life into our hopeless circumstances. 

Maybe you’re in the middle of a loss. A huge gaping hole is clawing at you, inviting you into its chasm, begging you to adopt an orphan mentality. 

Maybe there is literally nothing left you can do to fix your marriage. Maybe it’s time to sneak away with your Daddy and just weep. Maybe it’s in the tears we find out what our Father is capable of. 

I hate crying. I pride myself on only crying a few times a year. 
But maybe it’s time to let the tears fall and recognize my utter helplessness without the God of the universe stepping in and doing what only he can do. 

Remember, weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning. 

https://youtu.be/f7NdBVTtvcg

Dear Church, I have some questions for you.

Dear  Church,

I have some questions for you.

A whole pile of you are really  miserable. Christian couples I admired throughout my childhood are divorcing right and left. After years of watching you have what I thought was a happy marriage, now I’m finding out you were pretending the whole time. You tell me marriage  is hard. I’ll understand one day. You say you felt like he was  dominating you. Is this all I have to look forward to? Losing my identity to a man? Is this what I’m saving myself for? An expensive wedding, a “really tough first  year,” kids before “I’ve gotten to know my husband well enough,” and then a marriage filled with really hard days, because God knows how many times you have told me “there’s nothing glamorous about marriage.”

Is this why you’re preaching abstinence with a fury in youth? Why wait if it’s nothing too special after all? Why don’t I just go out with the next guy who asks and start telling all my younger girls they should just go ahead and settle for  that guy who isn’t pursuing them like a man should?

Why am I even trying if half of y’all are getting divorced anyway?

Someone please tell me God’s plan is still good. Tell me he’s using  your marriage as a reflection of Christ’s sacrificial love for a bride who joyfully serves him in return.

Someone please tell these children of yours that children are a blessing and not a burden. Invite them into your church services and stop entertaining them like they are mindless creatures. Why would they stay in church when all they’ve ever been fed is a dumbed down coloring book gospel?

Church, please,  fight for your marriage and show us it’s worth it. Speak highly of your husband,  because we are watching you, and we are the future, and let me tell you, history has a way of repeating itself, so please  give us a legacy worth repeating.

Fight for your family,  demonstrate to me that having children is important, and not just a financial drain. Please, tell me there is more to parenting than being tired and grumpy.

Wives, could you please talk about your husband like you at least like him? Tell me I’m not guarding my heart so carefully now, just so I can marry a man who doesn’t communicate or clean up after himself.

Husbands, step up and lead your families and show me there are men out there who are truly a covering and a refuge and a head. Live in such a way I wait patiently because I KNOW there are more men out there that protect, provide and cherish their families.

Everybody’s all upset at millennials for walking away from God,  but y’all this started way back in grade school when we were watching and you had no idea. Give youth a faith they don’t want to walk away from.  Live what Jesus says and practice what you preach. Let’s all live like the Christians we say we are. The world doesn’t need more pretenders. We just need to see Jesus.
**I get it. There are hard days.  But are there good days too?

 

ps: I understand divorce has to happen sometimes and not every situation is black and white, this is merely a general appeal.

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I write this message to the church, not because it doesn’t apply to everyone, but because the body of Christ should look different from the rest of the world.