Thursday, November 19, 2015

Your Life IS on Track

I saw an article today... Actually, I read a lot of articles, so this is nothing out of the ordinary, but the subject matter was new to me.

read the article here

There's been a lot in the news lately... Everything from Starbucks cups to terrorism. But when I was in high school, there were two topics that were almost constantly up for debate. So I guess the headline of the article took me back to that place.

The article was written as a defense for women's reproductive rights, arguing that 100,000 women have attempted home-abortions due to lack of access to clinics in Texas (HB2).

While I do believe in the sanctity of life, I think there's a bigger issue at stake here. Most self-proclaiming Christians cheer every time a family-planning clinic closes. As if lack of access to abortion is the heart of the problem? As if that fixes what's wrong here?

Gosh... that doesn't even begin to touch God's heart.

I can say without question that God's heart breaks for every child that doesn't see day due to abortion. That's his creation being rejected: a unique individual that could have done incredible feats. But I also think God has a special place in his heart for motherhood and families.

God created the family - he designed it.

Taking away access to abortion clinics doesn't change the reason why women end pregnancies, it just makes them desperate and consider other options, be it home-abortion or adoption.

Abortion happens when a woman decides she can't be a mom to the child.

And there are a variety of reasons, normally feelings of inadequacy, inconvenience, or fear.

But while abortion has been around for centuries - home abortion is nothing new - I think self-determination is something that has historical roots here in America.

You see, at the end of the 1800s, the Women's Rights movement began to take shape. It was a long-awaited change in Victorian culture that sought to explore another side of womanhood - beyond that of a housewife, and more as a critical thinker. Role models for women were changing along with the new century - women like Susan B Anothony and Eleanor Roosevelt.

America has always stood for self-betterment and new opportunities... and this subject is no different.

The redefinition of what was acceptable for women progressed, especially with industrialization, the 20's and WWII. The Second World War was a major turning point. With most of the male population being drafted into the war, their wives and girlfriends stepped into their places, and quite frankly, were in no hurry to give back their jobs when the war ended. (Side note - that was not a jab at homelessness. That has its roots with WWI and PTSD. "Hobo" comes from homeward bound, many of the Great War vets simply never made it home and continued to wander, or struggled to work because of PTSD). 

This was the era of the working woman.

With the rise in working women, and several more human rights movements, ours has become a culture of non-conformism. We redefined woman-hood, then person-hood, and then came the sexual revolution. We are a rather self-determined lot, though at the same time, we subject ourselves to conforming to non-conformism. Anything that conforms has to be outdated, old and rejected.

Somehow, we've glorified independence at the cost of family.

Let's face it, if a young lady says, "I want to be a mommy when I grow up," she gets shamed and asked what kind of job she wants to have. She's liberated, she doesn't have to be a mommy. If she becomes a mommy, then she sacrifices any other opportunities she might otherwise have available to her.

You know, the one fear I hear quite a bit from my peers, is that by being a young mother, they might miss out on something.

I swear, our world thrives on the pendulum swing.

Motherhood used to be an incredible gift. Now, it's almost a bad thing - because you'll have to stop working, sacrifice sleep and kids are rude, sticky and loud.

I would like to turn that idea on its head.

What if we stopped looking at motherhood as a sacrifice of independence? What if we started telling little girls, you can be anything you want to be, even a mommy? And being a mom is such a cool job because you can be a mom AND a a fill-in-the-blank-here. Or just mom. You don't have to be a mom, but if you want to, you can.

What if girls believed that?

Because I don't think they do. They've been told all the horror stories of motherhood and none of the joys.

Most of them believe that if they become a mom, they're not living up to their potential... they're just pregnant. And of course, pregnancy "should only happen on purpose." As if that's the worst thing that could happen to you?

And THAT my friends, is the lie that we really need to ditch.

Because jobs will come and go

Careers can be derailed.

And impact is not limited to the world.

Because the legacy you leave is not defined by your independence or non-conformity, but by the people you love and the people who love you. If you recall all the trailblazers of the 20th century... not one of them would have a legacy if no one cared about their cause, or they didn't take the time to urge others to care.

I don't think making abortion illegal creates real change. Real change happens when we start looking at people, not matter what is happening in their lives and say, "You can do this," NOT, "Get your life back on track." That, coming from the crowd who defies the notion of a correct track? Already, I hope you see the problem. Back on the non-existent track?

Because nothing that happens to you is unforeseen by God. And God can use ANYTHING in your life. Intentional or unintentional. Your life IS on track, whether he leads you towards a job/ministry or towards a family. Neither one is bad. Just different. And God is active in every corner of life.

Once we start to believe that, unforeseen life complications won't be something to ditch... just another adventure to take on.

Monday, November 9, 2015

It Isn't Starbucks Who's Failed

I just need to preface this post by saying that I absolutely adore Christmas. I don't hesitate to say that I mark my year by the Christmas season and everything in relation to it. And in light of my faith, the season and the message behind it means a lot to me.

However, this whole Red Cup ordeal makes me angry.

And not for the reasons you might expect.

It all boils down to this: I don't expect Starbucks to be my source of holiday... I don't know, spirit, joy... whatever hoopla you want to fill in the blank? And even more than that, Starbucks has not set out on a mission to spread the gospel, they're out to provide customer service and decent coffee. That's it. If you expect more from them, then I have a new challenge for you.

Are you failing so horribly at your job as a Christian that you expect Starbucks to do it for you by putting, "Merry Christmas" on their cups? Are they supposed to take up the cross and spread the gospel? This is a bigger problem than a change in artwork. Because I really don't think a change in artwork should incur such a fuss as it has from the Christian community.

I want to tell you a story about Starbucks... and its not about the company, but about some individuals who work there. Real living people.

Several years ago, the local Starbucks in my town hired a young lady from a nearby church. A very kind, God-loving, diligent college student. And after working there for a while, the manager mentioned that he would be interested in hiring any of her friends because he liked her as an employee. This triggered a chain of hires, mostly college students from our church.

This story isn't about Starbucks and its image. That manager was simply looking for good employees and found a decent source. We have an opportunity as Christians to share the gospel with our lives, not with cups.

Some of us dream of working for Christian companies and organizations, because apparently, we've deceived ourselves into believing that's the best way to honor God. Where on earth did that idea come from?

We've been commissioned to go out into the world and preach the gospel to the nations. And we can't to that by Christianizing our world. We actually have to encounter the part of the world that doesn't share our values and show them something worth having.

Don't you get it? It's OUR mission. OUR job.

Our job as family members to love and care for the people we live with. Our job as citizens to honor God with our vote and participation. Our job as employees to represent Christ in our workplaces.
A cup with "Merry Christmas" on it can't do that.

So if the message of Christmas isn't going to be shared because Starbucks took the phrase off of its cups, it isn't Starbucks who's failed. It's us as Christians, who've backed out of this incredible calling we've received.

So in everything you do, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel.

Friday, November 6, 2015


I've heard it said that we spend our whole lives searching for something. That person believed it was normalcy and happiness. But not just a feeling of happiness, but that moment where we learn what "happy" means. For most of us, it's a moment of peace we experience early on in life. A sense of "normal and good." We spend the rest of our lives trying to get back to that moment. To reclaim it.

I'd like to think that we're all searching for a place to belong. And belonging comes in so many different forms - with a person, in a place, or in having a sense of purpose. But we all crave it. To not belong, is to be on the outside, alone, and excluded.

Funny thing though, Every now and then, I find with taste of "belonging," and it's the most beautiful thing in the world. And sometimes I recognize it in other people who've found where they belong. And yet we're afraid to spoil it. Or we question it to death until we run away from it because logic - or the devil, I'm certain he loves to thwart "belonging"  - tells us that its too good to be true, or maybe our happiness has blinded us and it's not as "right" as we think it is.

Strange to ever imagine someone running from "belonging." And yet we do it all the time.

Human nature is a funny thing.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Too Afraid to Try

I need to admit something out loud. And I suppose it might sound like something that only poses a serious problem in television or movie plots, but it's so much bigger than that, because it effects my real, every day life.

Honestly, I'm deeply afraid some days.

I wish I could admit that it were something specific, like a phobia, but it general, it's just outright fear, mostly of the unknown.

Sometimes, it stems from uncertainty - questioning myself. There's a song by NeedToBreathe (The Devil's Been Talkin') that pretty much sums it up. More often than not, I question choices I've made and I wonder - am I truly capable? Do I have what it takes to pursue the things I would like to?

That question will turn into a roadblock. And it's a roadblock that leads to nowhere. It's a fear of failure. It's all the things you would do, but are afraid to do because failure stares you in the face and says, "I'm a very real possibility, so wouldn't it just be easier not to try?"

Some days, I'm afraid to try.

Other days, I'm afraid of what the future holds. I'm afraid that whatever may happen won't be right. So I play it safe. So safe, that whatever my safety net might be, it's not even always safe, rather than safe, it's simply known. And I hold on so tightly to what's known, that I never travel farther than what I can reach. My world is ever-shrinking as a result.

Sometimes, I look at my life, at what's going on around me, and I see everything that's passing me by. And all I can do is weep, because I've been too afraid to try.

And really... too afraid to trust.

Have I been wasting my talents? Out of fear, have I become the servant who buried his coin?

I know that the song, "Oceans," has somewhat come and gone in popularity, but personally, I've only begun to understand what it means to let go and let God. It's my temptation to cling too tightly to what's known, and therefore, not trust the one who holds my entire world in his hands. And what safer place could there be?

Instead, the wind and the waves have chased me back into the boat. They've kept me cowering in my so-called "safe little boat" for far too long.

But today, I want to reach out and grab hold of God with both hands. It's such an easy statement to make, when really, it's a lengthy process. Fear doesn't typically just disappear, it has to be weeded out, and boiled to the surface.

I've been discovering fears I didn't even know I had. But I know who goes before me and I know who goes behind, the God of angel armies is ALWAYS by my side. Whom shall I fear?

I can't do anything by my own strength, but I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. So I guess it's time to stop doubting... stop fearing... stop cowering... and trust that God made me purposefully and has a plan for my life. Trust that God will equip me to handle anything I encounter. And trust that I am never alone. After all, it's not about me, it's about him. And it's about his plans, I just have the honor of being apart of his plan.