To The Mothers (all of them)

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Happy Mother’s Day

To every mom…

… the ones waiting to see their children in heaven.

… the ones who gave up their baby for another to raise as her own.

… the ones who opened their doors to children who needed a mom.

… the ones who stand in the gap for the mothers who need help.

… the single mothers who are working this day to provide.

… the ones who are carrying precious cargo, eagerly awaiting the big day.

… the ones in the throws of parenting terrible twos, puberty, and all the hard stages.

… the ones going to high school and college graduations in the next few weeks.

… the ones who are praying for their prodigals to return home.

… the ones who are facing the empty nest for the first time.

… the ones who are wrapping their arms around their grandchildren, or raising their grandchildren.

… the ones who found motherhood through being a step mom or mother in law.

… the ones who mother, being part of the village it takes to raise a child.

… the ones who are missing their own mothers who are no longer with us.

To all of the mothers, where ever you are walking in this journey… thank you, you are a blessing to this world.

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#Write31Days – Post 20 – Subjective Value

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If you know me well, then you know where I stand on the subject of abortion.  I have always considered it a non-option, the baby is a life, and ending a pregnancy is ending that life.

You will also know that I don’t take this subject lightly, or to hyperbole.  I recognize that for most women who walk into an abortion clinic… this wasn’t an easy choice.

I don’t know what the circumstances were that led to their pregnancy.

Nor am I aware of the circumstances that led them to believe this was the best choice.

I am keenly aware that for many people the “best choice” is not one they are necessarily happy with.

I have made a point that I will never shame a person who has walked that road.  I can only speak against the industry itself, the society that has led many to believe that this is not only ok… but in many cases their “only choice”.   Society, even parents, have pressured teens to have an abortion in order to avoid shame.   Some churches will scream against abortion, as they tear down the women who get pregnant out of wedlock.  It leaves some thinking there is no other choice.

When I was in high school,  I know of three particular girls who got pregnant.  The first two were kicked out of their homes, one was kicked out of her church, and the third had an abortion.  At the time, I understood the choice the third girl made… because I saw what happened to the other two girls.

Let’s face it, with our judgment and condemnation we have never made it easy for the unwed mother.

But, let me clue you into something…  A BABY IS NEVER A SIN.

Yes, the act of having sex outside of marriage is not part of God’s plan, it is sin.   The resulting baby, is not.  It is a blessing.  Until we can take the shame off of pregnancy, women will go to abortion clinics to avoid shaming themselves and their families.

Until we can take the shame off of pregnancy, babies will not be considered a blessing.  Even those babies who were planned for, or the parents were excited about conceiving are shamed.

“You know how that happens, right?”

“Don’t you think two is enough?”

When we had our third daughter a family member actually said “She’s really pretty, but tell Gena she can stop now.”

Which brings me to “subjective value” and what taking an economics class taught me about abortion, and babies.

In economics the value of an item is based on how desired that item is.  The more people who want a particular item, the higher it’s value… thus the higher it’s price.

The interesting thing about that value is that it is totally subjective, and we don’t even need to be able to explain WHY we value one item over another.

I’ve always found it interesting that the value of a baby, among society as a whole, is not based on the baby’s  actual value at all.  Few are looking at the intrinsic value, or long term value of what that child will bring to the world. Instead the value of a baby is totally subjective.

It is why we can say, “sorry you lost your baby” when someone has a miscarriage.  However, call it a “lump of cells” when the baby is aborted.  The difference is value.  The “baby” was wanted by parents.  The “lump of cells” was not.

You would never hear ANY person (no matter their abortion beliefs) tell a grieving mother… “sorry you lost your lump of cells”.  NO!  Because, despite their personal beliefs… they know this woman WANTED this baby, and she is grieved over losing it.

You can have a baby of the exact same gestational age… but if a mom delivers the baby at home, and discards it in a trash can… she is a monster.  However, if that very same morning she went to an abortion clinic, we talk of her rights.

Value is subjective to the person making the decision.  What is more important to the person, this baby or whatever motivated them to consider abortion?

Not every abortion is “selfish” in the sense that they are doing it for their own gain.  Many women look at the world they would bring that child into and see it is as unsuitable.  We have failed to fully educate on the options available other than abortion, as a whole, in many communities.  More so, we have failed to remove the shame and stigma on the unwed mothers.  Even more importantly, we have failed to shape people’s idea of children to a place where their “subjective value” of life is one to be protected at all cost.

If we want stop abortion, we need to affect the subjective value of babies.  Society needs to not only stop shaming the unwed mother, but also needs to change it’s opinions of children.  When we value and celebrate every child, we value and celebrate every baby.  When we value and celebrate every baby, we will make abortion moot.

Women need to know that it is ok to put their career on hold, to stay home… without being condemned by their contemporaries.

Women need to know that it is ok to have a career and be a mother… without being judged by those who choose to stay home.

We need to make sure that as we are discussing abstinence, that we are also not just pushing against abortion… we also discuss the beauty the gift of adoption can be.

Parents should make sure that our children know that we may disappointed by their choices, but we are not disappointed in them.  Our disappointment should never cause shame that results in an abortion.

Society should stand behind the single women who have chosen life, and the church should be doing whatever we can to help them succeed.

#Write31Days – Post 10 – The Worry of a Mom

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I have three beautiful arrows in my quiver.  I adore my daughters, but I can’t help … much like many a mother … getting caught in moments of worry.

The first time I worried, I was still pregnant with our first.  What if something happens to me while I am pregnant?  My request to my husband was to chose the baby over me.  It is amazing how quickly a selfish woman can become selfless… all from a little pink plus sign in the window of a plastic stick.

The worries continued to build after she was born.  Who could I trust to baby sit her?  What if she got an illness?  What if I was in a car accident, and I was unconscious… would someone help her?  Would someone take her?

When she was school aged, I remember the first time I waited in the parent pick up lane and she was no where to be seen.  My heart was leaping into my throat, while she was totally unaware of my panic as she walked slowly back from the classroom to the outside waiting area.   She had forgotten her lunch box.

It’s been sixteen years, three daughters, and panic still will strike.  My middle school aged daughter is usually one of the first three kids out the doors at the end of the day.  Just a few days ago panic would strike as I watched the number of kids waiting dwindle, and she hadn’t walked through the doors.  She had forgotten her flute.

I can’t completely stop the what if panic attacks from happening, we live in a world where media likes to remind us daily of everything that can happen to our kids.  However,  I no longer let those moments have the debilitating power they once held.

Many years ago, a friend of mine shared with me that her son was going on his first trip with his father out of state.  Her marriage was an abusive one that ended in divorce, but the courts had given him unsupervised visitation of their son.  She had attempted to keep him from being able to take their out of the state, but ultimately the court didn’t agree with her.  As she shared this with me, I could feel my own emotions as a mother starting to boil.  I tried to think of the hundred ways she could keep this from happening.  Yet, she seemed really calm.

“I have to trust the Lord with my son, Gena.  He isn’t mine, he belongs to God.  God can bring him home when ever He chooses.”

Let me assure you, all the air escaped from my lungs as I gasped at the words that came out of her mouth.

Even today, as I type these words… I am still in blown away by her words.  Do not mistake that she wasn’t worried about her son’s welfare.  She knew what her ex-husband was capable of doing.  She also knew that God was more than capable of protecting her son from his father.  She also trusted that if God would take her son, that His ways were not her ways.  She wouldn’t understand it, not from a human mothers perspective… but would trust that God’s plan was bigger and better than her own.

TO HAVE THAT FAITH!

In the years since, I have begun to understand it more.  I understood it when I was staring out the sliding glass doors of our apartment, rubbing my pregnant belly, as tears ran down my face.  In my routine testing precancerous cells were found in my uterus and cervix, I was also pregnant.  I was being faced with a procedure that might affect the pregnancy.  My husband patted my arms and said “God wouldn’t give you this baby just to take it from you.”

I replied:  “God may have given us this baby just to save my life.”

It wasn’t that I didn’t grieve over the thought of losing my baby, but that I accepted that His ways are not my ways.  You see, I was really behind in getting my annual exams done.  Had I not gotten pregnant, I wouldn’t have gone to the doctor… not until symptoms presented themselves.  At which point it would have meant that I was dealing with Cancer… not precancerous cells.

Being on the cusp of potentially losing a child certainly has made me appreciative of the three lives God has entrusted to me.  I do my best as a mom to make the best decisions in raising them.  I have moments where I am absolutely terrified, when they get hurt or take too long exiting the school.  I can’t relax until all my kids are home where they should be.  Even something as simple as seeing a police car too close to the school can be enough to make my imagination run wild.

It is impossible as a parent to NOT worry about your child.  But, I have chosen to not be crippled by that fear.

When I was little, a child had been abducted from a mall a few hours south of us.  Unfortunately, he was not recovered alive.  This had a profound affect on my mother, who did everything in her power to ensure that we were never in the position for something like that to happen.  When other kids walked home from elementary school, I was picked up by my grandmother.  I was in 8th grade before I could stay home alone after school, but my grandmother still picked me up from the bus stop that was only a few streets away.  Every day, through my senior year of high school, I would call my mother when I returned home from school to let her know I was safely there.

My mother was terrified of what could happen.  Because of that, there were a lot of things I missed out on as a child.  I am not blaming my mom, because now as a mother myself… I TOTALLY GET IT.  Not to mention, my mother was doing the whole parenting thing alone.  There wasn’t a second set of eyes keeping an eye on us.

Today, I am able to find a balance between being concerned, vigilant, and watchful… at the same time as allowing the kids some freedom to do what kids do.  I’ve stopped worrying about car accidents too.  In part, because my children are older versus being infants.  Also, because I have taught them what to do,  included safety cards in the glove box with their information & who to contact in case of an emergency.

The most important part, is that I have surrendered my children to God.

This is why I can send my children to public school every day without being in a constant state of worry over mass shootings, bullying, or whatever other thing that might cross my mind.  I am an involved parent, I have taken the time to understand the policies of the school, put in an effort of being communicative with the teachers and staff, I pray for their safety, and I trust that God’s word is true…

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified

because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you;

he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6

I relieve my worries by:

  • Doing everything within my power to ensure the safety of my kids.  Through educating them and myself.  Talking over safety measures, being mindful and watchful, being prepared and having plans in place.
  • Praying over my children, their schools, our community, and the world at large.  I pray for safety, wisdom, and discernment.  I openly rebuke evil impacting their lives and surroundings.  Which means when I am praying for the protection of my kids… I am praying for the protection of all the kids with them.
  • When the worries or panic come, I call on the Lord.  I find peace in His promises and I do not let my fears overwhelm me.  It’s ok to OWN the worry, acknowledging it… then let it go.  I am far better prepared to deal with an emergency if I haven’t allowed myself to build up into a state of panic.