Friday, April 20, 2012


This blog has been in process all week.
It's emotional--only the tip of the iceberg.
Incomplete in its details.
How do I tell this story? It's not my story to share.
It begs to be told.
Silence feeds the enemy.
There are millions of stories like this living deep in the heart of women.
Lord, let your grace shine forth.
God's grace in all situations.
Here goes...

Alone, a single mom of four sat in a church pew barely looking at those around her.
What would they think when they found out?
These church goers who knew right from wrong.
What would they say about her?
She could barely feed the children in her home.
She wasn't married.
If only someone would tell her what to do.
She'd been struggling with the internal voices of our culture from the moment the results came back.
The pregnancy test read positive.
Someone...please...anyone...tell me what to do? It's too overwhelming.
Her heart silently cried for someone to step up and answer.
But no one did...because no one knew her secret.

The pregnancy center claimed to have her best interest at heart. I don't know how she got there. Perhaps a friend drove her to the clinic thinking she was helping out her dear friend in love. The culture tells us to take care of ourselves first. Maybe the baby's daddy sat with her just as confused and scared as she. I don't know. There's no denying the fact that she sat in a center---waiting some advice---some advice from people who claimed to have her best interest at stake.

During the appointment, they said they wanted to inform her---let her make her own decision. But the appointment was so rushed. Everything was hurried.
There was no time to think.
Why wouldn't they just let her think a second?
They didn't give her a chance to talk to anyone.
I guess maybe this IS best.
Before she knew it, she was in a lonely, sterile room waiting for the procedure.
The procedure that would make it all go away.

Terrified, she summoned up what little courage remained and spoke,
I've changed my mind. I don't want this.
The buzz of equipment and people in the room continued.
A little louder she cries,
Do you hear me? I've changed my mind.

And then these words echoed through the room,
I'm sorry...
It's too late.

She remembers the nurse in the recovery room asking her if she was okay.
She remembers saying, "I will never be okay.

The good news...God's healing her. He's doing a mighty work in her heart and He's using her to share her testimony with others. He's the great healer and He specializes in healing the brokenhearted, renewing scarred lives, and placing a new joy in devastated hearts. There's nothing too big for Him.

The bad news...the devil's still lying to us about abortion. Telling us that it's no big deal. It's what's best for us. We'll be okay. Our body...our choice...

Liar. Liar.
Pants on fire.
Let's call the devil what he is.
A big, fat liar.

Either way...a woman loses part of herself.
If she has the baby, her life changes. She loses life as she knew it.
Life will NEVER be the same.
If she doesn't have the baby, her life still changes. She still loses part of herself.
Life will still NEVER be the same.
The abortion will never take away the fact that she was pregnant.
Either way life changes...

I heard this courageous woman's testimony at a banquet last week for the Rachel House---a pregnancy crisis center that offers young women free pregnancy tests, free ultrasounds, and free counseling to give pregnant women life-affirming options.

Much of this banquet I'm still sorting out in my head. Parts of the night are reaching the deepest parts of my heart. The statistics are staggering.
Do you know our city of Kansas City is one of the worst?
For every one child saved by a pro-life center, nineteen are aborted.
1 to 19.
How is that okay?
That's a lot of babies.
That's a lot of hurting women.

So my question is this...
Where are the women? Where are the millions of women that struggle alone with this decision? Where are the women that made the decision years ago and silently ache?
Do you know God's grace?
Do you know that NOTHING--NOTHING--NOTHING--can separate you from the love of God?

As I listened to her testimony, I got stuck on the part that she was sitting in church wondering what everyone would think.
Don't you understand that thought? I do.
What WOULD people think? What would they think as her stomach began to swell and they knew she was without a husband? Would they bring their stones? Would they throw stones with their words--or their eyes--or their avoidance?
Or would they drop their stones at the door and use their arms to hug her with grace?

We had a sign propped near our front door in Las Vegas.
Drop your stones at the door. This is a grace-filled house.
A bucket of stones sat at the base of the sign. It's amazing how that bucket filled up day after day. A reminder to our family that we wanted to be known for our grace toward others. A reminder because showing grace is not always easy and it's not always our first response.
Goodness knows there's plenty of stone-throwers around.
In this house, let's leave our stones outside and show some grace.

Maybe I need to get that sign back out as a reminder to myself and my family.

Our churches should be the safest place for a woman in that position.
Our churches should be the softest landing for a woman living with the aftermath of an abortion.
How can we love on you?
Let us lead you to the arms of our Heavenly Father who wants to heal you.
I've heard our women's ministry leader say that at the end of the day our job as a parent is to place our child's hand in the Hand of God.
Wouldn't that be helpful for us to do that for women in this situation too?
Let us help you place your hand in the Hand of God.
Let us graciously love on you as your broken heart heals.

Years ago as new settlers to Lee's Summit, we sat in our church's office with the pastor at the time. Our story poured forth. It wasn't a story scarred by abortion, but our testimony is not pretty. Sin and grace woven together and entertwined with heartbreak and hope. We were done with pretenses. That's not helpful in growth.
We knew what it felt like to sit in a church and wonder what everyone would think if they knew us?
Would they throw stones?
Or would we find grace?
I only had one question for the pastor.
Aside from preaching straight from God's Word, I had only one concern in joining a church here. One question left to ask.
"Where do messy people go to church?"
"I'm serious. Where do messy people go to church?"

He smiled and his answer confirmed what I hoped and sensed from this fellowship of believers, "Here. They go here."

Then this is the place for us. A place where people know they need a Savior.  Messy people sitting in the church pews. People working on their less than perfect marriage. Those grieving a loss. Grieving their own sin. Fighting against addition. Struggling to understand why God allowed something. Despairing over their walk into that clinic.

Pray for these women. The women struggling with an unplanned pregnancy.
If you know one, introduce them to the Rachel House.

Pray for the women that find themselves walking into the other clinic. The one that takes a life under the lie that it will "save" the life of the woman.

I have no doubt His arms hold those millions of babies that never had a chance to take their first breath. His heart aches for He remembers knitting them together. He knows who they were to be.
I have no doubt those same arms reach for the women.
The women who believed the lie.

Nothing can separate us from the love of Jesus.  Nothing.

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither heigh nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 8:38-39  

Savannah's Salvation...and the Day After...

Yesterday was a big day.
Savannah, our 5-year-old, accepted Jesus into her heart.  

There's no greater joy for a Christian parent than to watch her little one bow her head and profess belief in Jesus as her Savior.
"I believe Jesus died for my sins and I want to pray Him into my heart so I can go to heaven."
Five isn't old enough to fully understand the price of sin.
It's not old enough to deeply grieve her own sin.
But it's old enough to understand that Jesus is God.
That she needs a Savior.
And Jesus is that Savior.

She proudly called Grammy and Papa, Uncle Matty and Aunt Moya. When she saw our friends last night, Beth Anne and Oscar, she boldly declared her decision to them.
"I'm a Christian. I believe in Jesus."
She was so excited.
Every time she recited her news, my heart rejoiced.

We know it's the first of many discussions with her about her faith.
Only time will tell if she truly believes.
If she truly gave her life to Christ yesterday.
Prayerfully, fruit will grow in coming years and affirm that decision.
I pray Savannah Grace's name is written in the Book of Life.

And then comes the day after.
The day after her "salvation."
Perhaps, I relaxed too much.
Perhaps, I was feeling pride as she shared her decision.
Perhaps, telling her preschool teacher that she had become a Christian yesterday was pushing it too far.

Buckling into the car after preschool, she says, "Guess what song I taught my friends today?"
"Oh, I don't know, Savannah. Jesus loves me. I'm in the Lord's Army. Holy, Holy, Holy."

"We're sexy and we know it." Clap, clap, clap, clap.
"We're sexy and we know it." She added a little head wag on that one.

She repeated the song, jiving in her booster seat. Confidently singing as boldly as she had shared her salvation decision. 
Just in case I thought salvation would equal instant holiness...
"We're sexy and we know it" reminded me otherwise.

I managed to squeak out, "Where did you hear that song?"
Now let's add deception to the impure song coming from the back seat.
Tate's 2.
No way.
My teenager smirked in amusement beside me.
He's so dead.

"Let's never, ever, never sing that song again, Savannah. Never, ever, ever."
Imagine the conversations her friends' parents are having tonight about the word "sexy."
I sure hope she didn't tell any of her friends that she accepted Jesus yesterday.
I think we need to wait a little longer to share that news.  

What a reminder that salvation happens once, but sanctification takes a lifetime.

AND what makes me really angry...I've caught myself humming that song all afternoon...
I even did a little dance to it as I cut vegetables...

Friday, April 6, 2012

"Why?" by Nichole Nordeman

Beautiful, heart-felt lyrics typify Nichole Nordeman's songwriting.
Gifted with the ability to tell stories through song, she paints a
moving picture of a little girl witnessing the events of the cross.
This is one of our favorites.

by Nichole Nordeman
Album--This Mystery

We rode into town the other day
Just me and my daddy
He said I've finally reached that age
And I could ride next him on a horse that
of course was not quite as wide

We heard a crowd of people shouting
And so we stopped to find out why
There was that man that my dad said he loved
But today there was fear in his eyes

So I said, "Daddy, why are they screaming?
Why are the faces of some of them beaming?
Why is he dressed in that bright purple robe?
I bet that crown hurts him more than he shows
Daddy, please, can't you do something?
He looks as though he's going to cry
You said he was stronger than all of those guys
Daddy, please tell me why?
Why does everyone want him to die?"

Later that day the sky grew cloudy
And daddy said I should go inside.
Somehow he knew things would get stormy.
Boy, was he right
But I could not keep from wondering if there was something he had to hide
So after he left I had to find out
I was not afraid of getting lost
So I followed the crowds to a hill where I knew men had been killed
And I heard a voice come from the cross...

And it said,
"Father, why are they screaming?
Why are the faces of some of them beaming?
Why are they casting their lots for my robe?
This crown of thorns hurts me more than it shows.
Father, please, can't you do something?
I know you must hear my cry
I thought I could handle a cross of this size
Father, remind me why?
Why does everyone want me to die?
When will I understand why?"

"My Precious Son, I hear them screaming
I'm watching the face of the enemy beaming
But soon I will clothe you in robes of my own
Jesus, this hurts me much more than you know
But this dark hour, I must do nothing
I've heard your unbearable cry
The power in your blood destroys all of the lies
Soon you'll see past their unmerciful eyes
Look there below, see the child
Trembling by her father's side.
Now I can tell you why..
She is why you must die."

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

In the Beginning

God knew.
He had to know. He knows everything.
He knew the moment He breathed life into man that this man would break His heart.
He knew the intimacy that He shared with Adam and Eve would eventually be severed, and that their descendants would wander far from Him.
He knew.
He created them anyway.
And as He wove the earth together, He devised a way to lead them back.
A way that would cost Him dearly. The life of His Jesus.

He knew what man's choice would be.
Imagine the hosts of heaven standing watch as the Devil wraps himself as a serpent and finds his way to Eve.
Imagine the anticipation as the heavens wait for her choice.
Perhaps they all leaned toward her...silently pleading with her to turn away.
To deny the offer. To believe what God had told her.
Perhaps one of them whispered, "Believe God. Don't let this serpent deceive you."
Yet, she reached for the fruit and made her choice.
As Adam neared, perhaps once again the heavens leaned forward.
"Don't do it. Not you too. We watched Him lovingly weave you together. He took such care as He knit your heart. You Don't Really Want This."
And Adam closed his eyes and took a bite.

In the beginning, God knew.
Sin, death, destruction, evil.
He knew we would be separated from Him.
Our choices every day sentence us to a life apart from Him.
Yet, He wrote His book with our redemption in mind.
Isaiah speaks God's words, "Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have summoned you by name. You are mine."
The Fall of Man was just the beginning.
The Redemption of Man...the rest of the story.

We celebrate Christmas as the beginning of our hope for salvation.
Jesus' birth began our trip back to Him.
But His birth is inconsequential without His death.
His death paid the price for our sins.
His death should drive us to our knees in brokenness.
He was forsaken by the Father...bore every sin ever committed and ones that have yet to be that God could look on us and not forsake that our sin would not be held against that His precious creations could find their way back to Him.

And three days later, the empty tomb would reveal that His death didn't just pay for our sins, but conquered death itself.
The plan set in motion at the beginning of time revealed.
The serpent loses. God wins.
Sin and death conquered with the death and resurrection of this perfect sacrifice.

The celebration of Easter.
The plan unfolds in the most unlikely of ways.
God's Son on earth being nailed to a cross by the very sinners He seeks to save.
Perhaps the same heavenly hosts leaned toward their Heavenly Father and asked,
Can we save Him? Give us the command and we will save Him.
And God turns His eyes from His Son as the sins of the world pour out on Jesus.
This is my will. He's doing the saving. He's saving those who hammer his hands. He's saving those who hurl insults. He's saving those who betrayed Him. He's the Savior they don't know they need. This is my will.
And God's head turns away and Jesus bears the full weight of the sin of man without His Father.
Every sin ever committed poured out on Him.
The perfect Lamb sacrificed.
The veil torn.
I wonder if God whispered-with us in mind-as Jesus hung on the cross,
"Welcome Home."