When Mother’s Day Hurts

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Yesterday was Mother’s Day and I had been debating all week whether or not I would post anything.  Better bloggers than I have written so many great posts the past couple weeks.

I wanted to share a few quick thoughts before leaving you with a couple of the best posts I saw this week.

You know the main reason I didn’t post anything?  Because in my mind I already heard the negative push-back.  “Just trust God that this is His plan for you.”  “At least you have a son!  Why are you sad today?” etc.  Those comments are really hard to hear and deal with, and I imagine I might be blogging about that in the future.  But then I thought about my readers who are hurting right now.  Who had a hard time yesterday on Mother’s Day.

I want you to know that I see you.  That I thought of you yesterday and today and all my tomorrows.

I thought of you…..the woman with no living children but with one or two or eleven children in heaven.

I thought of you…the woman with one or more living children but grieving the unique individuals who are gone forever but are living in heaven.

I thought of you…the woman who is fostering or adopting.

I thought of you…the woman who has one or all of her children married and away from home.

I thought of you…the woman who is strained or estranged from her mother.

I thought of you…the woman who has a child who is in a dark place and walking far from safe paths.

I thought of you…the woman who is struggling with primary or secondary infertility.

I thought of you…the woman who is a single mom and never catches a break.

I thought of you…the woman with lots of littles who feels like she is running herself ragged.

I thought of you…the woman who, if you are anything like me, experienced about a thousand different emotions yesterday and probably went from being thankful to being angry to being resigned to grieving and back to thankful….and then repeating that process multiple times throughout the day.

And you know what?  There is a tension there that I cannot describe.

It is possible to have unspeakable joy in one hand and unbearable pain in the other hand.  It is possible to join those hands together, to clasp them, to hold them at once.  You can be, at the same time, exquisitely thankful and yet feeling like your heart is being ripped out of your chest.

The tension in that is a strange one.  And I don’t fully understand how it works.  But it does.  And sometimes, instead of beating myself up over supposedly not trusting God enough, I need to recognize and rest in the fact that it is a tension.  Life is amazing and awful at the same time.  God did not create us to only have good feelings, to only feel joy and peace, the “spiritual” feelings.  Sometimes the spiritual feelings are pain and anguish and wrestling.  (See David, Hannah, Jeremiah, etc)

If you’re in the middle of that tension…I get it.  Your heart will always be in two places at once.  Joy and sorrow are not mutually exclusive.  When they intertwine, it is just a reminder to take those things to the lap of Jesus and rest.

And if you made it through all of that, here are those blog posts I was telling you about.  It’s called Helping Women Hold Both Joy and Sorrow on Mother’s Day.  Another great one is When Mother’s Day Feels Like A Minefield.

Book Review: Hope For the Same-Sex Attracted

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Over the past few years, I have realized more and more how poorly the church addresses the issue of homosexuality and same sex attraction.  I have known that for a while, but it has only been in the past few months where I have finally decided to do more reading and honest looking at the issue.

I feel strongly that the church needs to A) be more educated on the topic, B) have true love, grace, and humility on the topic, and C) have more outreach and ministry toward Christians and non-Christians alike who have same-sex attraction.

Hope for the Same-Sex Attracted by Ron Citlau was published just this year and was a valuable resource to me.  The author has personally dealt with same-sex attraction and approaches the issue with the love and gentleness necessary.

Toward the beginning of the book, Ron discusses the issue of identity and how nothing, not our attraction, urges, or gender, identify us.  Our identity is in Jesus as His children.  Sexual identity is not the same thing as sexual desire.

The book is divided into three parts.  The first is about obstacles, the second is about gifts, and the third is his final thoughts.  It is clear throughout the book that the author truly is seeking a way for the same-sex attracted to flourish and have a abundant life as Jesus describes.  At the same time, he is firmly committed to the authority of God’s word and recognizes that there are specific ways that believers need to live, whether in a homosexual or heterosexual relationship.

Pros: I appreciated how the author never set up homosexuality as the worst sin ever as so many Christians and churches seem to do.  In fact, in several places, he mentioned how his points were not limited to same-sex attraction and relationships, but they were applicable in opposite sex attraction and relationships as well.  Secondly, I appreciated how in the gifts section, Ron talked about the gift of singleness for the same-sex attracted and also the gift of opposite-sex marriage for the same-sex attracted.  I appreciated how he put both out as legitimate biblical options, as well as specific ways to know if you are called to one or the other.   Finally, I appreciated how Ron repeatedly called the church to have ministries, healing spaces, and vulnerability.  Whether the issue is same-sex attraction or some other issue, the church needs to be open and vulnerable.  That is where true growth can occur and community can thrive.

Cons: There were one or two instances where it seemed like the “rules” Ron was putting forth were not necessarily Biblical.  One thing that I am not sure what I think about is how multiple times he mentioned that a person dealing with same-sex attraction must be in a close, godly, mentoring relationship with someone of the same sex.  I will be honest and say that I mostly don’t know what I’m talking about as, again, I am only recently starting to learn more about all that encompasses this issue.  But it seems a little inconsistent.  Women are told all the time not to counsel or mentor with men because of the potential for stumbling.  Then again, I’m not sure how I feel on that as a hard and fast rule either, but that is a nuanced issue for another time.

In the conclusion, Ron talks about how throughout it all, he hopes that the reader’s takeaway is that there is hope.  He recognizes how easy it is to feel hopeless, like there are no paths, or at least no good paths, to take. But there is hope.  And you can tell on just about every page that the author is truly on the reader’s side and wanting to bring hope through Jesus.

The front cover says, “Biblical direction for friends, family members, and those struggling with homosexuality.”  I do recommend it for anyone in those categories!

Note: I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for this review.

 

From Around Blog Land

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Why I Won’t Be Snarky About my Kids – Kids deserve respect.

What the Church and Christians Need to Know About Suicide and Mental Health – “when the church isn’t for the suffering, then the Church isn’t for Christ.”

I Used to Think God Wanted a Lot From Me – “The only thing God wants from you are the chains that are holding you back.”

Why Miscarriage Matters When You’re Pro-Life – Very thought-provoking post about the difference in how pro-lifers treat aborted babies vs. miscarried babies.

Five Surprising Reasons Wive Lash Out at Their Husbands

Millennials – A millennial’s take on millennialism.

Unsolicited Comments – Mark As Spam – I love this analogy on how to handle unsolicited comments.

 

 

Book Review: Is the Bible Good for Women?

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Over the past year or so, I have been searching the Bible for better understanding on issues of gender and women’s roles.  This book, Is the Bible Good for Women? by Wendy Alsup is one of the latest books on the scene.  Just released last month, it is a small book but in my opinion a helpful contribution to the discussion.

is the bible good for women

Overall, I greatly appreciated the author’s humility and graciousness.  She approached a hot-button issue in a calm, helpful way.  While she is fully convinced of her opinion, she started off by talking about the need to come to this issue with a heart willing to seek and learn.  Personally, I felt she spent half the book setting up an introduction, although I do see why she chose to do.

Wendy starts off by pointing out the scarlet thread that is all throughout the Bible, both Old and New Testament.  The scarlet thread that points to Jesus’ and His atoning work.  She then moves into the goodness of God for women from the beginning of time at creation.  I love the phrase she used a few times, “Personhood preceded womanhood.”  Describing the creation of humans, she reiterates how both men and women are equally created in the image of God.  Both genders are image bearers. (She also includes a great section debunking the myth that is in the church, purposefully and subconsciously, that marriage is the ultimate goal of a woman.)

Moving forward a few chapters, the author starts to get into specific “problem passages” related to the gender discussion.  Her refrain is “let the Bible interpret the Bible.”  In a few instances, she detailed several different interpretations before ending with her personal belief, which I appreciated.  I learned some interpretations I had not heard before.

While I did not agree with all of her conclusions, the book was thought-provoking.  You do leave the book seeing that yes indeed, the Bible is good for women.  I did have a couple critiques, however.

In a few instances, I do believe the author unfairly represented the other side of the gender discussion. She made reference to how the other side is merely proof-texting and coming to the discussion looking for verses that support their already made up minds.  This does not do justice to the discussion.  While there are indeed people like that, there are also scores of people, men and women alike, who are coming humbly to the topic, searching the Scriptures with prayerful hearts, and still arriving at different conclusions.

Secondly, I found it interesting that even while the author said it is best to be careful taking outside historical context into consideration (she posits that the best historical context is that which is found in the Bible….letting the Bible interpret the Bible) and she said that people on the other side are quick to play the historical context card…she herself pulled from extra-biblical historical context in some of her arguments.  Personally, I think that there can be great benefit in learning about historical context, even if some of that context comes from outside the Bible.

The final critique is actually more of just a point of confusion.  There were several instances where the author referenced certain things but didn’t go into detail on how she arrived at that conclusion.  One such instance was when she referenced Junias. There is much debate as to whether Junias was in fact Junias (a woman) or Junia (a man).  Most translations, including the translation the author uses, render it Junia.  Rather than using Junias as an example of a woman in the Bible, I wish the author had gotten into that a bit more and explained how she came to that conclusion, especially since that is a conclusion different from the translation she uses.

Overall, I appreciated the book.  Again, I probably would have taken her points a bit farther, but at the end I do agree with the conclusion: yes, the Bible is good for women.  “Is God then a feminist?…If feminism in its purest sense is the quest for justice and equal rights for women, then, yes, God was the first feminist.  God created woman in His image and bestowed on her equal dignity with man….By a woman’s mere existence, God has bestowed on her dignity and privileges that transcend race, economic status, and physical ability.”  – page 191

Visit Waterbrook Multnomah for more information.

Note: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Book List – January through March

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Well I am off to a good start for reading this year!  I slowed down the last half of March, so I am hoping to pick up speed again and keep going with about 4 books a month!

-January –

Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey

The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery

She Reads Truth by Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams

How We Love Our Kids by Milan Yerkovich and Kay Yerkovich

-February-

You’re Already Amazing by Holley Gerth

Emily of New Moon by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Psalms of Lament by Ann Weems

A Bend in the Road by Nicholas Sparks

-March-

Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety by Elyse Fitzpatrick

Inheritance of Tears: Trusting the Lord of Life When Death Visits the Womb by Jessalyn Hutto

For Such a Time by Kate Breslin

Our Little Aviator

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March 23.

Today was my EDD with our 4th baby, our little Aviator.

I had had a good amount of morning sickness.  It was not as intense as it was with the Wingman, but it lasted a few weeks longer.  At 11 weeks, I felt little taps.  I thought I must be imagining it since it was so early, but the taps only got stronger and more frequent.  It was definitely baby!  I bet the Aviator had quite the feisty personality with how much he moved around! 🙂

It was a Wednesday.  Wednesday, October 5th.  I was a day shy of 16 weeks.  It was the last day I felt him move and the last day of his life.  It was about 10 am.  I only know that because I was at a Dr appointment.  The lady had just asked if this was my first baby and I was once again confronted with the painful decision….do I mask my pain and the truth and say, “It’s my second” or do I tell the truth and what my heart wants to say and risk making the situation uncomfortable by saying, “My 4th, but two are with Jesus.”  Answering her was painful, but just a moment later, I felt three firm taps from baby.  It was as if he knew Mommy needed some reassurance right then.

That was the last sign of life.

We didn’t know the gender, but almost the entire pregnancy, the Wingman was convinced it was a boy.  He even picked a name.  A random name that he made up.

When our child was born, we learned that he was indeed a boy.  Our son.

Maybe someday I will share more of my pregnancy or his birth story.

Today is a strange day.  I want to just sit and cry, but the tears won’t come.

I was able to drop the Wingman off at a friend’s house today.  I just wanted a day where I didn’t have to pretend everything was ok, I didn’t have to wear a mask, I didn’t have to be strong for anyone else.

People ask how I am doing.  I still don’t know how to answer that question.  The pain is different now.  The grief is different.  But will I ever be “okay” again?  No, not in the sense of ever returning to “normal,” or how I was before.  I am changed.  I am different.

I have wrestled with so many theological questions.  Some of them I know exactly what is true.  Some of them I have no idea.  But I have had to hold onto the fact that, no matter what those answers are, God is good.  God is loving.  God does care.  Even though the world around me moves on, God sees.  And He cares.

Instead of having a huge belly and packing a bag for the birth center, I am sorting bills and scheduling Dr appointments.  Instead of welcoming home a newborn, I will be having surgery to hopefully fix (one of) my problems so that hopefully we will not have another loss.

Instead of preparing the Wingman to have a new baby in the home, I hear him say, “You, me and Daddy are sad about our baby.  But when I get to heaven, I will be so happy to see him and I will give him a big hug!”  He brings up his brother to his friends.  I hear him say in conversation, “Our baby died.”  His little mind is processing it as best as he can.  I answer all that he says, not wanting to keep him locked in grief, but not wanting to dismiss his valid 3 year old grief.  He lost his brother.  He has mentioned several times how sad he is that he didn’t get to say good-bye and he has talked about wanting to teach him how to play games when he gets to heaven.  He lost his brother.  He is such a good big brother, and it hurts so much that his first experiences as a big brother have to be this painful and confusing for him.

“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 were none of them.”
Psalm 139:13-16

Our youngest son, along with his two older siblings, are in heaven right now.  And their souls know very well how wonderful are His works.  They are dancing and praising and worshiping.  Right at this very moment, their joy is unspeakable.  They know no tears and no pain.  They are loved and cherished by the King of Kings.

My pain sometimes feels unbearable.  But I am reminded that Jesus conquered death.  It is for this reason, for this awful repercussion of living in a fallen world, it is for the death of my children, it is for sin, that Jesus died.  He is the Victor.  Someday all will be put right.

Homemade Taquitos

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When I wrote my 101 in 1001 list, the end date seemed so far away.  Now I have about two months left to complete quite a few things. 😉  I am pretty sure I won’t be able to get it all done, but I am working on getting a few more things checked off before the official end date.  Then I’ll likely keep working on my list, even though it will officially be ended.

I did, however, finally make homemade taquitos!  When The Pilot and I were on our honeymoon, we found this amazing Mexican restaurant that had some incredibly delicious taquitos.  I decided that I should try my hand at making some and added that to my 101 list.

I made these Easy Oven Baked Taquitos from Nerdy Mama.  Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of mine, but they were tasty!  Not quite as good as the ones on our honeymoon but definitely tasty.  🙂  I will have to try them again sometime but get some toppings…maybe some guacamole, chopped tomatoes, and shredded lettuce. 🙂