The Decision

I was thrilled when I read in the news that North Dakota now has in place now the strongest protection for unborn babies.  All of our biological children were born in North Dakota; and this new law made the thankful to be able to tell people that we used to live there!  A state that chooses to value life at the highest level should be commended!

In the midst of my joy on this matter, t was presented to me that I should be more open minded about abortion.

That a woman under certain circumstances has a ‘right’ to choose her agenda over life.

The scenario was given of a woman who became pregnant because of rape or incest; and the conservative position was held in a light that would make one wonder if those who hold such a stance were guiltier than the pedophile or savage who violated the impregnated woman.

There was the description of a woman who finds that her life is in grave danger if she continues the pregnancy and then it was sighted that those who hold to the pro-life view are denying medical care to such a woman. 

It was made to look that the pro-life conservatives are standing in the ghetto holding the back door open and sending innocent mothers into the dark and evil alleys to be butchered by would be doctors whose heartbeat is to help these deprived woman get the care they desperately need in their situation.

It was emphatically stated that without question every mother has a right to choose what is best for her in these horrible situations.  Choose what is best for her – for her future – for her baby’s welfare.

Then it was tossed out into the field that conservatives just have not considered these situations; and in our ignorance we hold to our pro-life view.  I would beg to differ than I have thought of the abortion issue almost everyday for the past 10 years.  There is not a day I do not think about these situations and the theory of a "Mother's Right to Choose".   

In my mind, there are two considerations that have made me unequivocally pro-life in every case.

One is a brown eyed little girl who wakes us up in the morning dancing into our room to tell us that she wants to snuggle and wiggle and live out her day to the fullest.  She is convinced that she is her Daddy’s princess; and while she sees herself as a princess – we see her as a gift from God.  A miracle – you see one of the above scenarios fits her; but someone chose life and we are blessed every moment of every day with her choice. 

The other consideration is a little boy who has a smile that wraps around his entire face; and a giggle that is hearty enough to make even the most solemn of people smile.  Every day we get to watch him learn to read.  He rides his bike with zeal and speed and his love for life gives me a reason to get up in the morning.  His hugs are strong and his prayers at night are as heartfelt as you have ever heard. We know God has a plan for him and wonder how many people will be touched because someone who had justifiable reasons to end his beating heart but decided instead to choose life. 

I’m asked to be more open minded about these cases.  I invite those who think my view is uneducated and limited to take a day and see what I see.   Watch these two choices live their lives from morning to night.  Take the hour while they are having their quiet time in their beds and look through our photo albums.  Take close looks at the pictures.  Look at the glow of our faces on the day we went to court and a judge said yes to our petition to adopt.  Look at our smiles.  Take a close look at all or our family pictures.  The glow in our cheeks and the twinkle in our eyes are there largely in part because of those two ‘choices’.

Tell me again how I need to be more open minded; and I will try to hide the questioning look on my face that wonders how could you be so ignorant to think that two of the best things that every happened to our family should have been looked upon with such disdain because of the inconvenience that was caused because of a crisis situation.  

They are not choices. 

They have names:  The princess is Anna and the one you hear laughing is Zak.  They are our precious gifts from God and from two women who for a short time were inconvenienced by a pregnancy that caused them distress. 

Tell me again how I am supposed to think that they had a reason to choose their comforts for a time and deny them life. 

You may think that my position is narrow and judgmental; that does not bother me.  If you lived in my reality you would realize why I feel the way I do.  Open minded?  I am totally opened minded to the possibilities that God can bring from horrible situations.  God can make everything beautiful – I know – I live in that reality every day.  

 I applaud the Governor of North Dakota for the law he signed into being this past week.  Sir, thank you!  You make me wish I lived in North Dakota still!  If ever you need something to remind you what the law is all about - feel free to look at these pictures.  They are a good reminder to me that life should be valued under every situation.  Thank you, for valuing life!


Knowing Christ

 I love how God works.  I love how He speaks to our hearts and leads us to truth.  I love how He, through the Holy Spirit will make a truth we have known for years come alive.   This is what has been happening in my life in regards to the understanding of suffering.

It started on a Sunday morning.  We had a guest speaker come through and present his ministry.  His mission field is in the midst of a Muslim country.  His English was beautifully painted with the accent of his Arabic tongue.

It the middle of his slide presentation he told of the persecution that he and his church had endured at the hands of the Catholics in his country.  He told how he and his church had been unfairly treated.  He told of physical beating that took place at the hands of those persecuting him and his church.  He did not dwell upon it long; but made reference to the fact that it was the hardest thing he had endured.  Persecution for his faith.

As he was telling of this account suddenly all the trivial things that I hold dear seemed insignificant and my Christian life seemed shallow compared to his.  There was something about him.  He seemed to have a closeness to God – that caused my heart to yearn for that same closeness to God.  It became apparent to me that his sufferings had caused him to understand God in a deeper way.

He went on to preach in the morning service and it was a statement that he made that caused my eyes to be opened to a truth for which I need a deeper understanding.  He made a statement, and while I do not remember word for word what he said this was the gist of it:  “Most of the New Testament was written during times of persecution.  The Christian life is one of persecution and suffering.”  It caused me to think of this fact:  In my Christian life he was one of the few people I had actually met face to face who had physically been persecuted for his faith.  It seemed that there was light here as to why my Christian life lacks a depth I saw in this man.    

It has become apparent to me in my Christina life that I have not had a correct understanding of suffering.  There have been times in my life that I have been surrounded by other Christians who have unconsciously held to the heresy that: ‘ if I am a Christian and doing right – good things will happen in my life’.  These same people hold to a belief that when bad things happen there is sin that has caused this.   

When one believes this misconception, it causes the focus to be turned off of Christ and onto oneself.  If you believe that the reason for the suffering that you are experiencing is because somewhere there is sin in your life or because God is judging you you start looking at yourself and all of your decisions and wondering where YOU went wrong.  In directing your gaze towards yourself and your decisions you are missing the blessing of being able to see Christ more clearly.  ( I understand that there are times that sin can cause life to be hard; but I am not addressing that issue here .  My focus is not on the “way of the transgressor here; but on one who loves God and has a heart to obey Him.)

Suffering followed those who sought after God with all of their hearts.  Paul endured great trials.  He was cast into prisons; not because HE made a wrong decision and went to the wrong town; but for the furtherance of the gospel and the encouragement of the churches.    Paul clearly understood that his sufferings had a bigger purpose than just making his life miserable.  Paul believed that he was called to suffer.   

I Timothy 4:10 : “For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe.”

II Timothy 3:12:  Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

Romans 8:16-18:  “The Spirit itself (Himself) beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

We are called to a life of suffering.  We are called to a life of weakness.  Why?

Because that is how Christ can be magnified.  When others see our sufferings – and see us surrendering to the Spirit’s work in our hearts it causes them to look to Christ who is enabling us with strength for the suffering.  Unsaved see and are drawn to a deeper understanding of salvation – the gospel.  Christians see and are drawn to the Spirit filled life of joy and peace amidst the hardship this life brings.

When we suffer we are able to understand the heart of our Savior more!  We are able to “suffer with Him.”  The rejection he felt in Gethsemane is felt on a deeper level when we ourselves experience the rejection of others.  We find ourselves in tune with the heart of our Savior.  Suffering brings us closer to understanding and relating to our example – Jesus Christ Himself; and when Christ becomes real to us – we are able to share Him accurately with those who we come in contact. 

As I have been reading and studying this I have purposed in my life to expect suffering to come.  I must not shy away from trials and troubles.  I must not try to reason them away by pointing to myself or others as the cause of the suffering.  Each heartache that comes, each trial that is encountered must be viewed as coming down from the hands of a loving Savior who wishes to magnify Himself to me and others. 

As I view Him through my trials I will know Him more and more.  I will understand His love for me.  I will find my heart filled with gratitude for all He suffered for me.  I will, as Paul said, “know Him”.  As I come to understand deeper the heart of my Savior I will realize anew His love for me.  I will find myself embraced by the Almighty and in His embrace I will find He is all I need.

Trust you are finding in Him your 'All in All.' Thanks so much for stopping by, I am so glad you did!

Like Mother - Like Daughter

At 1:30 every week day afternoon we have piano lessons.  Zak first, then Anna.

 She was learning to play the black keys.

She had to put both hands on the keys.

One hand had to wait for the other to finish before it could play it's part.

The waiting hand was having a hard time.

Anna knew it.

She tried to keep the eager hand still.

It did not work.

Then she said, mater a factly:  "This is stressing me out!"

And in that one phrase I knew it was obvious that she was my duaghter and I was her mother.

Funny how they hear those phrases and act upon them when needed.

Like Mother - Like Daughter.

There is a River

I regularly write for a blog that seeks to minister to parents who have suffered the loss of a baby due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.  I have decided to post my articles here too on my blog.  I trust they are a blessing to you.  If you know of anyone whose family has been affected because of SIDS, would you kindly refer them to the ministry blog.   We seek to minister to all those we can and show that in God there is hope even in the midst of grief.  

Psalm 46

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.”

What comfort this verse can bring to the grieving parent!  God is a refuge – a hiding place, a safe place.  How we long for that after our world has been turned upside down!  How we desire a safe place to hide.  I remember after our daughter died the fear that filled my heart.  Fear fills the heart of every parent who has suffered the unexpected loss of a baby.   This reality becomes crystal clear:  Life can change in an instant.  Everything seems uncertain and unsure.  This verse helps us to realize that God is there for us even when everything around us seems unsure and unstable.  God is not just a refuge; oh no, it is so much more 
 personal that that!  He is our refuge if we are His.   

Not only is God our refuge, He is our strength.  Following the death of a baby parents are brought under times of deep distress that taxes their bodies both emotionally and physically.  One morning we wake up and the biggest choice of the day is what we will have for dinner; and the suddenly we are thrown into a reality where choices we never dreamed we would have to make in our entire lives need to be made at that moment.  All the decisions, all the stress and all the sadness empty us of every last drop of strength we have.  Have you been there?  I know I have; and as I look back years later after the death of our daughter I can see how much God was my strength.  He was with me on the day that our daughter died and walked close beside me in the days that followed.  He strengthened me in ways I could not even comprehend.  He truly was a “help in time of trouble.”

I love how the Psalm goes on.  Read the words and see how these relate to you as a grieving parent.

“ Therefore, will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea:  Thought the waters thereof roar and be troubled, through the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.”

Do not these verses describe in virtual detail exactly how life seems to feel after the death of a baby?  So clearly!  How everything about our lives seem to feel unsure and uncertain.  How the torrents of grief sweep over us!

Then, as you continue reading the tone of the Psalm completely changes: 

“There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.”

Though all of our live seems to be upturned and in an upheaval following the death of our baby - when everything seems uncertain and unstable - “There is a river….” 

When I think of a river I think of a quiet stream flowing peacefully over the ground and over the rocks that lie in the river bed.  I think of the sun reflecting off of the moving water.  I think of the many trips I took as a child into the mountains of Colorado. I would sit by the streams and listen as the water flowed gently down the mountain.  I remember that as I sat there I would close my eyes, take in the sunshine.  Even years later as I think back to those trips I can remember how peaceful I felt sitting there listening to the sound of the water.

Is it odd to think that the Psalmist just one verse above is talking about the earth falling apart and the mountains being carried away then in the very next verse he is talking about a river?  It’s not odd at all for that is how life is when you are a child of the Heavenly Father.  Yes, there is trouble and turmoil, and at times it seems that life is falling apart.  However, just as real as the trials and troubles are that come into our lives there is God, who is our refuge and pulls us close to His breast and whispers to us that He loves us and that He has everything under control.   When we are safe within His embrace there is a gentle river.  There is peace.  There is a calm that He brings to our soul.

Have you felt His embrace?  Have you run to Him for refuge and strength?  The Bible tells us that is what He is.  He is there for us when life is falling apart.  He was not absent the day your baby died; He was there and He is with you now.  His arms are outstretched and within them you will find peace and rest.

I love how this Psalm ends.

“Be still, and know that I am God… The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. “

My prayer for you is that you will find in Him your refuge and peace; and that you will be still and know that His is God and He is there for you during this difficult time.  If there is anything that we can do for you; please do not hesitate to call. 


Have you ever had one of those “ah ha” moments? One of those times when something that was not quite clear suddenly became crystal clear? You know, one of those times when the light comes on. Well, that is how this past week has been for me.

 I remember quite vividly two years ago when I made a quite profound statement to my husband. It was in February, I can recall it clearly. Rachel was still sick and we were still trying to figure out what was wrong and how we needed to help her. We also were trying to keep up with the daily grind that our normal life held in addition to the added weight of having an ill child. We also were in the midst of special meetings at our church and had the added running and commuting from all of that. I remember getting into the vehicle, closing the door, putting my purse and bag down next to me and looking at my husband and saying, “I can’t do this anymore. It’s too hard!”

Something broke that day. I gave up. I gave up trying to get it all done. I gave up trying to make sure I looked the part, acted the part and played the part. You know the “part”. For me it was the part of being that Christian Mom who had her act together.

The Mom who had all of her kids looking good and sitting up straight in church. 

The Mom who never got frustrated and mad at her kids. 

The wife who was always sweet and kind to her husband. 

The Christian who always has a smile on her face and an encouraging word to any who came past her. 

The Church member who was faithful at every church service and loved to attend every special service offered by the church. 

You see, the trials that we were facing were more than I could handle. I had tried to make sure I played the part. I had tried when I got frustrated to make sure I kept my emotions under control. I had tried when I was tired to be sweet and kind to my husband when he came home from work and asked me to get him something. I had tried to be faithful at ever church service and to make sure that anyone who asked me to do something for the ministry was greeted by an enthusiastic “yes, I would be glad to!”

I had tried and tried and tried.

I also had failed and failed and failed; and on that evening I realized I had nothing left to give.

When I closed the door to the van that day, I gave up. Yes, we attended the special meetings that evening. We brought the kids home tired and wondered where we were going to get the money to pay for the extra gas. There were added doctor appointments, other Christians criticizing our treatment plans for Rachel, school papers to be graded and a special needs child that seemed out of control because of our life was out of control. When I went to bed that night the feeling continued. I could not do this any longer. If this was the Christian life – it was too hard. I had tried to live it – and had failed. There was no more strength. There was not even time to read my Bible much less be a good Christian. I just could not do it any more.

 Little did I know, that was exactly where I needed to be - exactly where God wanted me. I would not find that out till more than a year later.

I began reading the biography of a missionary who had felt the same way I was feeling. Rosalind Goforth had felt that way too; and as I read her life story I taken in by the accounts of her failures and strugles. I could relate to her when she said that she too kept trying; but failing. Then I went on to read her husband’s biography. I was challenged. I was convicted and I was starting to see something. They could not do it either. They had tried and failed; and through their failures they had learned that it was God who enabled you to live the Christian life. The truth was starting to faintly be seen. However, the picture was still hazy. When you live your life one way for almost 40 years it is hard to just see something differently and change completely overnight.

God started teaching me through His Word and through the literature that I was reading that while I was a Christian that was not the only thing I needed in order to live the Christian life. Colossians 3:6 tells us, “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him.” I had memorized this verse at summer camp when I was in high school; I would understand it fully as a middle aged Mother.

 I received Christ by faith. One December afternoon I realized that I needed Christ’s work on the cross to take care of the sin problem I had within me. The afternoon, I placed my dependence upon what Christ did for me on Calvary. That was the day that I received eternal life. Not by anything that I had done; but by depending upon what Christ had done. The verse was telling me that I was to live the Christian life in the same way I got saved: By depending upon Christ to enable me to do it.

I guess, all of my life I felt that the way I lived the Christian life was to keep trying to do what was right. To keep trying to live life the way the Bible says I was supposed to live it. I was trying. Galatians tells me I was placing myself under the law. In Romans the Bible tells me that the law brings wrath. Human beings are all sinful. The law was given to show us the perfection of God. The law was sent to show us what is right and wrong. To show us how perfect God is and how sinful we are. So, why did I find myself frustrated and tired as I tried to do what was right? Because…

 It is impossible for me to be able to DO the law. Impossible for me to DO the Christian life! 

Fact: Trying to accomplish something that is not possible to do leads to frustration and anger. 

Ahh, this is where I had found myself. I had been deceived into thinking that living the Christian life came about automatically because I was a Christian. The verse in Colossians tells me that simply is not true. Just like salvation does not automatically come because someone believes that Jesus died on the cross to save sinners; the Christian does not simply start living the Christian life because He has been forgiven of his sins. Both require faith in order to activate. Faith is dependence. In order to be saved I had to depend upon the power of what Christ did for me on the cross. In order to live the Christian life I have to depend upon the power of the Holy Spirit living within me to be able to live like a Christian.

This was a new concept for me. One that has taken a little while to grasp a hold of; but I am getting it. I am seeing it and the Christian life has become so new, so fresh, so exciting.

I have realized that I do not have to TRY to be a good Mom to my kids. I did not have to try to act like a Christian Mom. I can not do that. (If you do not believe me – ask my kids!) My husband will irritate me and disappoint me and no matter how hard I try to keep my emotions in check when that happens I will fail. Guaranteed!


In other words, I was right that day when I got into the van. I could not do what I was trying to do. I knew I could not – I had been trying for years. I knew that I had tried and tried. I had not missed a trick or technique that brought me success. It was not a matter of not repenting enough after my failed efforts. For I had tried everything I knew, everything I had read, and I had felt truly sorry every time I had failed. I had purposed in my heart to change my ways, my environment, my mindset. All had failed. Because:


The Christian life can only be lived by Christ. It is His life; and I am not Him. Then, the truth started becoming clearer. That’s right I am not Him; but His Spirit lives within me. Ah, and here is the key that I had missed.

I must place my dependence upon His Spirit in order to live the life that I need to live. 

This works out in day to day living – not just church attendance. That means, when the children are out numbering me and I feel quite overwhelmed I can go to Him (He lives within me) and I can ask Him to give me wisdom to know how to handle my day. When my husband disappoints me and frustrates me, I don’t have to stay there. I can ask God to give me His love and His forgiveness. When I ask God for these things the book of John tells me that whatever I ask in His will HE WILL DO IT!

God wants me to be a good Christian Mom and Wife. So, when I am in a situation that is causing my flesh to want to rise up and lash out, I can go to God immediately and ask Him for what I need and I am guaranteed that I will get it right when I ask (if I ask in faith believing that He will answer my prayer!). This is powerful. This makes the Christian life ALIVE because suddenly I see Him working through me. It is miraculous to be able to watch it happen!

Last week, I was trying to get the kids going with our school day. There were phone calls that were hindering that from happening. There were two little ones that were running through the house, two older ones who were stalling and trying to keep the school day from actually starting. There was also housework that I was seeing that needed to be done that I did not see the time to accomplish that day. It was 8 in the morning and I already felt behind. I was irritable in my spirit and I could tell that the frustration was rising. To make matters worse, I had gotten up late and not been able to get my Bible reading in that morning.

Then I felt the quiet leading of His Spirit for me to come apart and spend a few moments with Him. I corralled the kids into some constructive quiet play and went into my room. As I closed the door, I said out loud, “God I need you to quiet my spirit. I am so frustrated!” Then I opened my Bible to read in John 15. I read how the Word cleanses and purifies me. I read how I needed to abide in Him, and He in me. I read that when His words abide in me I bear fruit. Then the verse came out of the page: “If ye shall ask anything in my name I will do it.” It was as if the Spirit was saying to me, “You need me to quiet your spirit? Consider it done. You need patience with the children? Done. You need wisdom on what to accomplish today? Here you go…

There was a peace that filled my heart that I can not explain. I realized again that I can not live the life; but He can. When I go to Him in dependence upon Him for His power and strength – then I will have what I need to live the Christ life. It is not me that does it – it is Him that does it through me. He has become alive to me. He is my friend. Someone who is there with every thing I need for today. All I have to do is ask – and He will supply EVERYTHING I need.

So, this weekend, I have looked back on the past couple of years and I am so thankful that I gave up that day. I am so thankful that I admitted the truth. I could not do it anymore. I am so thankful that He is teaching me. Living the Christian life through Christ is much easier than trying to live it in the flesh.

The arm of flesh will fail me – every time. “It’s no longer I who liveth; but Christ who liveth in me!”

“And the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the FAITH of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”