“I came that you might have (and choose) life.” – Jesus, in John 10:10

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          Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women.”  I believe that Mary was much more than we know, that she is a model, a pattern for emulating, and that in his hatred for her, Satan has twisted and snapped the threads of that life pattern for a tapestry of rhythm and grace.  He turns what God intends for life, into death.
          That is how I see abortion – the ultimate success for the ultimate woman hater.  We are endowed with the ability to create the ultimate masterpiece – a child.  We partner, as did Mary, with God, to make sons and daughters who can bring light to the darkness, beauty for ashes, healing for the broken. 
          My brokenness began with buying Satan’s lie that casual sex (no mating for life marriage commitment) is OK.  I had that unplanned pregnancy, the one where abortion was suggested.  I can only thank God and my heritage – not that of a Christian upbringing (which I didn’t have) but that of parents who loved me unconditionally, and who taught by example the preciousness of a child – for the existence of that child in the world today.  How glad I am that Mom and Dad were too unworldly, too “unsophisticated”, to buy the lie from Hell that children are expendable, that abortion is a solution to anything at all, ever.
          And so I sit in the middle of the night, pondering the angel’s words in Luke 1:28.  I do rejoice in the face of temporal stresses, heartaches, things not as I want them to be, children partaking of my past brokenness.  And yet, there is no denying it:  I am highly favored.  God has given me children, and He has shown my volatile and wayward heart over and over and over that He is with me.  I am blessed among women.
          And  therein lies the sadness.  There are too few women walking in my shoes.  I look around me, especially at church, and I want to wear a sign:  GOD DID THIS AND HE’LL DO IT FOR YOU, TOO!!!!  Years ago I looked around as a single mother, bereft of that ever-so-essential ingredient in a family – Daddy.  I looked at the women in church, the married ones, and wanted to know two things:  Is it real, and if it is, is it forever beyond my reach?
          The day finally came when I had the courage to believe, to trust, to call (loudly) on God.  “Lord,” I said, “I need a husband.  I don’t care if he’s tall or short, fat or skinny. I don’t care where he’s from or what he does for a living.  I just want a good, honest man who will love me like I am.”
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          Two weeks later, after a nine-year drought, God sent John.  John the Blessing, John the Family Man.  John who knew the value of a child.  John who God knew would heal my brokenness through the very love of Christ Himself abiding in John’s heart and being passed on to mine. 
          And John who would partner with God and with me to make a family, the most beautiful thing of all. Our children weren’t planned or affordable or convenient.  They were and are simply the greatest of all blessings, the highest of all honors and privileges, the gifts beyond all gifts. 
          And that, Dear Reader, is what you and I are to God.
          Rejoice, highly favored one.

Fathers, (and Mothers) Provoke Not Your Children to Wrath

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My motives are pure:  I love children.  They are of exceedingly great value in my eyes.  Therefore, when I see them, as in the grocery store not long ago, screaming at and hitting their mothers, I am more than grieved, shocked, and appalled.  I am mystified.  Or was.

I drove home sick at my stomach.  “I don’t understand, Lord,” I prayed.  “Why would a mother put up with this?  How does this happen?”

And insight came:  She hasn’t done the nurturing, she knows deep inside she has no right to admonish.  Ah yes, Ephesians 6:4, KJV–And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

That child was provoked to wrath, in this case I surmise by the mother as well as the father, because of the absence of balance.

I, for one, have always preferred nurturing to admonition.  John (my husband) told me long ago, that if I had to err, my children would be better off with a little less nurturing and a little more admonition.  My response was that I don’t have to err, not if my nurture and admonition are directed by the very Spirit of God Himself, and that I will nurture my children until their cups runneth over, thank you very much.

I secretly thought I would just leave most of the admonishing to him, and I know I have plenty of sisters who think this way.  Not good.

My daughter is acquainted with a young woman who said she wished her mom had married someone else.  This is a family where the mom never disciplined, so the dad had to be the bad guy.  Not fair, not healthy.

We must all be brave enough to examine our parenting in the light of scripture, and let our child’s behavior be the indicator of where we might be missing it, be it nurture, admonition, or simply complete disregard for the author and finisher of good parenting–that would be our child’s Creator.

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