Several weeks ago, I had a discussion with some family about abortion clinics because my sister had two options for delivering her baby: a private practice physician group she didn't like or the local abortion clinic. I actually didn't know abortion clinics deliver babies but apparently they can/do...or at least the one in town does. However, most women that want to delivery a healthy, alive baby do not want to do so within the walls of an abortion clinic. One reason, is obvious, the stigma around abortion. The second reason is having to deal with protesters standing outside the clinic. I really struggle with this one...abortion clinic protesters. I get it and agree that abortion is wrong. I even understand the empowerment through civil protest when it is against a concept or the government or to take a stand against an issue. But when protesting is done in a manner that makes others feel worse or disgraced, I'm not sure I get it. I believe life is formed at conception and feel confident God intimately knows us and loves us at this moment. Our beginning, if you will. However, I am not sure standing outside the clinic and protesting to young women struggling, in pain, faced with the decision to kill their unborn child, is the right or best approach. I am not sure it is the loving approach. And I'm not sure it is demonstrating the commandment to "love one another". If you must protest, protest against legislation around abortion in Washington. I think there's a difference there.
Now before I go on...I am sure there is a protestor or two out there that has stopped someone from going through with an abortion. And that's awesome...a life saved. I'm not saying this approach isn't good for someone, somewhere. I just question if protesting outside of an abortion clinic is the best approach or an approach that is for the masses. I believe women facing the decision of abortion are in a really, really rough place. My heart breaks for these women and honestly it breaks for many of the "mainstream sinners" that are the topic of many of our religious conversations. Just because my sins don't make the "hot topic" list, does not make them less applicable sins in God's eyes. I think if I had to walk by a group of protesters every time I choose to sin, I wouldn't feel very loved especially if it was a sin I really struggled with. I think it actually might fester angry and resentment in heart. When did judging and condemning each other become the role of being a Christian. Last time I checked, the Bible was very clear on our duty: go make disciplines, love God, and love one another. Judgment is left up to God. And we will all face our own individual judgment someday. On that day, I'm going to be thankful for Jesus and Grace because of all the times I've failed in this life. Sin has a powerful hold on us, but that's another blog, another day.
As a Christian, I really struggle with other Christians when it comes to judgment. (I struggle to the point of borderline judging them which in itself is a sin. I pray about this often.) Living a Christian life is relatively easy when you live in a bubble and surround yourself with only "like beings". However, in the real world, you are faced with learning to love people that don't love God or honor His commandments. God's commandment didn't say "Love only people that love me." It read "love one another". So we have to learn how to act in a way that demonstrates God's love and acceptance of each other, including each others faults, flaws and sins. I don't have to agree with you, to demonstrate a love toward you. Unfortunately, mastering this skill is a fine art. There is a difference between discerning between right and wrong and the act of judgment. We are quick to judge and resistant to love one another especially when the "one another" is someone different than us.
(Jesus is talking here...)
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye; when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
Just a note...I'm still working on the plank in my own eye. Correction...planks (plural!). I only hope I live out at least a little bit of the love and grace God has shown to me. To any women out there that have gone through an abortion, I hope you know I will never protest you. I will share my heart for God's will and then I will show nothing less than love for you. I will not judge you or condemn you. I might believe what you did was wrong in God's eyes but I serve a loving and forgiving God that is full of grace. And I want to demonstrate His love and grace...nothing more and nothing less. I have enough sin in my own life to deal with before I climb into an ivory tower and look down on you. So before you pick up your sign and join the picket, consider God's love and grace.
Grace, love and lots babies,
I am usually huge on New Year's Resolutions. However, this year I was at a loss for what to tackle as my resolution (or I thought I was at a loss!). Generally, I am pretty good at sticking to resolutions so I do spend a bit of time committing to them. For example, blogging was my 2014 New Year's Resolution. I don't always commit to them for life; like the year I committed to keeping a clean and tidy car. I did keep my car clean for a year but only a year. (Confession time: although my car is relatively clean, it is rarely tidy. And it always smell like my chocolate lab. But I did keep it clean AND tidy for one entire year.)
Anyway, it's February 1st and I am just now committing to a New Year's Resolution. However, I am pretty sure God had my resolution picked out on January 1st, I was just too slow to realize it (or avoiding it).
I think God is not-so-subtly telling me to spend more time on my knees in prayer. As 2015 closed out, I was overwhelmed with answered prayers. God just took care of so many things for me...things I know many people were praying about it. And regrettably, things I worried about. My worry overwhelmed me until one day God just revealed many answered prayers to me. It was like He looked down and said, "See, I told you. I GOT THIS."
Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And it was with the first of many answered prayers that I felt an urge to devote the year to praying for others. Sure, I pray for others on a regular basis. But I wouldn't say I commit to prayer on a regular basis. And I just feel like God has called me to this resolution. For example, after feeling the initial urge to pick this resolution (but still actively resisting it!) a co-worker showed up in my office with a prayer journal. She said she found it in her house, wasn't going to use it and thought maybe I might make use of it. I thought to myself, "That's odd. I've been thinking about spending more time in prayer and she just so happened to offer me...a prayer journal. (Note: I wonder how God feels when I respond to Him with a "that's odd".) You'd think that would make me dive into prayer...however, I continued to resist. Until yesterday.
I am confident it was not a coincidence that the first church I attended, on the first Sunday after I moved to Morehead City, NC was a church working on a stronger commitment to God in...PRAYER. The moment the pastor said the church leadership was feeling as though God wanted them to lead others in a stronger commitment to prayer...I knew God was right there talking to me.
So today I took my first step toward my New Year's (minus 1 month) Resolution and pulled out that little prayer journal to start my day of. Sometimes I can't believe how slow I am when God is trying to pull me in a certain direction (obviously a direction toward Him) but I resist the pull or stand still. When I finally move, I always feel right when I step forward. So over this next year, I will be looking to pour out blessings of prayer on others in honor of God and the many answered prayers in my own life. I also have a feeling this might be one of those resolutions that I don't give up after a year.
1 Thessalonians 5:16
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
Need prayer...just say so and I'll lift you up in prayer.
Resolutions, resistance and prayer,
Just a few reflections about everything God is teaching me in this life...a journey deeper into His purpose for my life.