Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I’m beginning to think that legalism is the root of all kinds of evil. We often think we are impervious to it, but clearly we are not. It infiltrates our subconscious and colors the lens through which we view others and ourselves. It causes us to act in ways which are inconsistent with our beliefs and contradictory to our hearts. It places a price tag on that which is free and keeps us from ever walking in victory.

More lethally, it keeps others from having a relationship with Jesus. Other people latch onto our particular brand of legalism, and follow along, looking the part. But, in a moment where true relationship would keep them from disaster, the rules of legalism just force them underground.

Meet Julie, a married mom of a 3 1/2 year-old daughter. She comes from "a religious family" (her words). After struggles with both primary and secondary infertility, she finds herself pregnant with a much wanted little boy. Unfortunately, Julie discovered from amniocentesis that her son is sporting an extra chromosome. Down syndrome was not part of the plan and she is terrified. She also admits that she is very, very angry at God for playing "this cruel joke" on her.

Julie wants an abortion. But, she is struggling with that decision because of her "religious family." The only person that she has shared her son’s diagnosis with is her sister, who is championing that Julie and her husband will do a great job raising a child with Ds. Julie has not shared with her the desire/plan to terminate, because she is worried that her sister will "think less of her."

I can’t help but wonder. If Julie’s family were less religion and more relationship, would that make a difference in this situation? If she were not worried about judgment from them for breaking the rules, would she be able to share her heart and be heard? Would the love and support of her family change the outcome for both Julie and her baby? Would she have already come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ?

If she had relationship with Jesus, instead of a desire to keep up appearances, she would already be convinced that, because God loves her and her son, He must have a plan for her precious baby’s life that includes his extra genetic material. She would know that he is being knit together in secret for a purpose, and that he is being created in the image of her God. Termination might have been her gut reaction to the mind-numbing fear, but it would have garnered no serious consideration.

What about the rest of us? Are we living according to some moral code that applies to other people’s situations? Do we know that abortion is wrong because it just is…and because we would never find ourselves in a situation where we would be tempted? Or do we know it’s wrong because of a gut-wrenching knowledge of the Father’s heart? Can we be real with the Julies of this world and say, "I know your fear. I’ve had it, too. I, too, just wanted to make it go away," and then encourage them that God knows, and that only He can bring them peace?

Or do we shake our heads and click our tongues and declare, "I could never do that to my baby," knowing that it is unlikely that we would ever find ourselves in that situation.

It is easy for me to sit on this side of it and judge. Today I find myself judging the unknown "you" that are steeped in legalism, reacting only to the intent and not responding to the heart. Tomorrow, in my frustration, I will judge the sinner, too. I will be so frustrated and feel so helpless that I could not make her see the truth, when the truth is not mine to reveal. I will feel holier than thou because I’m living this life, and she chose to throw it away.

How is that different? Unfortunately, it’s not. If I had a living, breathing Julie in my life, I would hold her hand and let her cry. I would listen as she processed. I would validate her feelings and pray with her. I would lovingly share truth with her and pour everything I had into her. And then if, in her fear she chose wrongly, I would walk away in disgust and horror.

When will my eyes be Yours, Lord? When will I hear with Your ears? How long must I live this selfish life? Why does it always come back to my foolish pride? I pray for grace, dear Lord. Grace to love my brand of unlovables. I pray for grace to own the mercy you have so freely given me, so that I can freely give it. Change my heart of stone.

(I wrote this post in October of 2009. I don't know what Julie chose to do, but since she broke contact with me, I think I can safely guess that she chose to abort her precious son. Given the new, non-invasive blood test for Down syndrome diagnosis in pregnancies that will be here in the US within the year, the likelihood of many more stories like Julie's is great. Do we have what it takes to love them all?)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Things I wish my children knew

Here are 5 things I wish my children knew:
  1. Everything is not an emergency. There are true emergencies in life. They usually involve blood or fire. So, unless there is blood (must be dripping or spurting) or fire, do not interrupt my phone call, bathroom break, or nap. Really, don't. Because then we might have an emergency.
  2. There are injustices in the world. Children sent to mental institutions just because they have an extra chromosome is one of them. Getting a smaller piece of cake than your siblings is not.
  3. Honesty really is the best policy. Why? Because you stink at lying. I will catch you and, even if I can't prove you are lying, we both know you are. My trust in you plummets to zero and neither of us wants that. I allow very few good things to happen to you when I don't trust you. So, just tell the truth.
  4. I love you. I believe in you. I am behind you. I am your biggest fan, your greatest champion, and your strongest supporter. I am incredibly blessed to be your mom!
  5. God is real and He is good. Never stop talking to Him, even if you're mad at Him. He's big. He can take it. It is hard for me to believe this, but He loves you even more than I do. He will never leave you. Ever. He will never fail you. I have failed you before and I probably will again, but He won't.
That's my list, so far. What's your list?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Resolution Rebellion

For many years, I have rebelled against New Year's Resolutions. I tired early in my life of setting myself up for failure by writing impossible goals, kept only through the first few weeks. A few weeks is apparently all I have strength for in my own personal resolve.

Doomed to fail, anyway, why even bother to try at all?

I also have issues with doing the expected. In some ways, I am such a sheep and I hate that, so I rebel in easier things. EVERYONE does NY's resolutions, therefore I am NOT doing NY's resolutions.

Warped, right?

But, just because something has become cliche, doesn't mean it doesn't have some inherent value. There is value in reflection. There is meaning in looking over the past year and lauding what was right and wanting to right what was wrong.

Based solely on facebook statuses (since I don't actually have a memory), the first half of the year I did pretty good. I enjoyed my children (evidenced by all the funny quotes) and was thankful for my large brood and our ability to homeschool (evidenced by Scripture and gratitude statuses). The second half I seemed to become less content with my lot in life (evidenced by snarky and complaining posts).


I still don't know if I can resolve to do anything, but here are my New Year's Intentions:

1.) I intend to pray and seek God on what He wants me to do this year with this passion for orphans that has welled up inside of me.

2.) I intend to hug more, especially my older kids. The littles beg for physical affection, but the olders need it, too.

3.) I intend to start my day in prayer, before my feet hit the floor. Committing my day to Him can only be a good thing.

4.) I intend to pray more for the challenging people in my life, instead of about them.

These are my intentions for 2011. There are only four of them and three of them involve prayer. Shouldn't be too hard, right? :)