Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The War for the Womb

I can remember the first time I found out that I was going to be a mommy. Joy immeasurable, overwhelming excitement, and anxious fear surged through my pounding heart as I considered the nine months that stretched ahead of me. Then came the nausea (morning, noon, and night sickness) and the cravings (cheeseburgers and chocolate shakes held the top two rankings). I'm pretty sure my doting husband didn't actually believe the five or six positive pregnancy tests until my waistline began rapidly expanding. And once it began, there was no stopping the growth spurt. Before I knew it, someone was kicking and squirming inside of me at all hours of the day and night. It was both delightful and uncomfortable as each day brought us closer to THE day. The day we would meet our daughter.

But for some women, the discovery that they are pregnant invokes dread, pain, and desperation. Sometimes it's because of how they became pregnant. Sometimes it's because they have no idea how they will be able to care for the child once they are born. And in the midst of the panic that ensues, they are driven to make a choice that they are assured is their own.

The world says... 
"It's your body."

God's Word says... 
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." (Genesis 1:27)

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10)

"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows." (Luke 12:6-7)

The world says, 
"It's your choice."

God's Word says,
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones." (Proverbs 3:5-8)

"There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death." (Proverbs 14:12)

"Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
(Proverbs 19:21)

The world says, 
"It's not a person yet."

God's Word says, 
"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." (Psalm 139:13-16)

(The LORD said to Jeremiah) "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations. (Jeremiah 1:5)

There is a war waging. It is not one of flesh and blood, but instead we wrestle "against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12) While the world tries so hard to assure us that we are in control and we have every right to make eternal decisions based on temporal circumstances, the Savior beckons us with love and hope and redemption - Trust Me...You are Mine...I alone create new life...All children, no matter what the situation, are a blessing from Me...There is a plan and a purpose...My ways are higher than your own...Let me show you my transforming power...

All human life is sacred because we bear the imprint of our Creator. He is sovereign over each and every situation, and He is fully capable of working everything out for our good and His glory. Scripture proclaims that the Lord knows the unborn children, waiting in the womb. He has plans for them and purposes already drawn out for their lives. He knows the number of their days before the are yet to be. We must stand for those who cannot stand for themselves. We must be a voice of truth to this desperate world and shine the light of the gospel into the darkness.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Repeat as Needed

"Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; 
teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. 
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, 
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight."
Proverbs 9:9-10

We are getting dangerously close to finishing our very first year of homeschooling, and as I think back over the months of work (i.e. blood, sweat, and many, many tears), I can clearly see that we were all students. I was the one writing lesson plans and feverishly scanning curriculum to make sure I was teaching everything necessary, while my daughters were the (sometimes) glad recipients of a loving home education, where they could learn at their own pace, cuddle on the couch during reading time, and grow to love Jesus and study from His Word. But we were all learning. There were moments when I was sure I learned more than they did...and not just because they would much rather reenact the latest Barbie movie than ponder silly things such as addition and subtraction. The Lord taught me so much about relationships and kindness and perseverance, and He exposed those awful places in my heart that like to emerge as soon as I get tired or anxious or stressed...which happened more times than I would like to admit.

Memorization and repetition were two frequently used methods in our homeschooling experience this year. Our math curriculum, in particular, had an entire section of each lesson in which my daughter was expected to recite the same information every single day. I was relieved that (for the most part) she did not seem to get annoyed at this exercise, although I do recall a few days where she seemed less than thrilled to once again rehearse these facts. But as we race towards the first grade finish line, it is clear that she knows the material like she knows the Frozen soundtrack - backwards and forwards. Her proficiency has been achieved as a direct result of revisiting and meditating on these areas on a daily basis.

As I experienced this process with my daughter, I thought about the life lessons that I have had to repeat in a seemingly endless cycle. There have been many times when I've gazed heavenward and wondered, "Why must I go through this again, Father? Haven't we already covered this topic?" Pop quizzes on trusting the Lord in the midst of fear or showing love to someone unloving. Midterms on finding joy in spite of physical pain and showing gentleness to a wayward child. Final exams centered on peace and patience, faithfulness and forgiveness. These tests, when taken in my own strength, can leave me feeling weak and unworthy, grasping for mercy and grace. But when I surrender my will to the desires and instruction of the patient Professor, the constant Counselor, I learn so much more than I could ever express here. And it's the daily repeated lessons that drill His enduring truths into my very hard head...and heart.

Do you feel like you are walking through the same spiritual lessons over and over? It may be that the Lord wants you to be so certain of His character and His truth that it becomes deeply rooted in your heart and you reflect Him more accurately to this lost world. Don't push Him away. Lean in and listen and let Him transform your heart and mind in a way that only He can.