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Showing posts from September, 2015

At Crucifixion - Blessing on Childless

What does this mean?

Jesus words as he is walking towards the cross.

"Jesus turned and said to them, 'Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, 'Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!' Then '"they will say to the mountains, 'Fall on us!' and to the hills, 'Cover us!'"' For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?'" - Luke 23:28-31

Celebrate Recovery - Infertility Style - Letting Go

I have to admit that this is the step thus far that is probably the hardest for me to get excited about because it is the one I am most familiar with. "Letting Go" has been a theme in my life, partly because it can be so difficult for me, but mostly because it has created the most transformative moments in my faith journey thus far.  I think it is essential for us as Christians to learn how to really let go and give everything to God through Jesus!

I think I've preached this sermon more than a handful of times.  Thus, oddly I'm a bit bored with the idea. Isn't that sad?  So the question becomes how do I relay this message with just as much passion as I did at first? Perhaps, by letting go?

This blog post though isn't about sermon writing, but instead it is about the journey through Celebrate Recovery's Healing Choices Infertility Style. Thus, I will respond to the questions as I have with previous chapters/choices.

So I have to begin with a confession.  …

A Protestant Christian Response to Pope Francis's Addresss of the U.S. Congress

I encourage everyone to read the full manuscript of Pope Francis's message to the U.S. Congress prior to reading my response.  So much of what he has said has been politicized without the context of his references to four people recognized in the United States as role models of the Christian faith.  I encourage you to learn more about the people he mentioned as well.

My response:

The Pope’s words encouraging us to avoid fundamentalism’s “simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil” reminds me of how Jesus interacted with the Samaritan woman at the well, Zacchaeus the tax collector, and how he spent enough time with people who were alcoholics that some called him a drunkard just for hanging out with them.Jesus was without sin, yet he knew that those overwhelmed with it were people who needed God’s compassionate grace and needed his healing touch.

When he mentions the “stranger in our midst” I am reminded that Jesus’ ancestors were immigrants too.In fact Ruth was a Moabite an…

Sadness of a good-night hug.

As evidenced by my recent blog posts, I've been pretty happy of late.  But this evening as I put my elementary age house guest to bed and said my final "good-night" I felt an incredible and unexpected let down.  I went to iron my clothes for Sunday worship and wondered why I all of a sudden felt a sadness and lack of motivation that had been missing over the past week and a half.  And then I realized why.

For the last week and a half I have been looking forward to this guest's stay.  I've been looking forward to "playing" mom.  I've been looking forward to having a routine with meals at set times and being able to use my creative juices to be a good hostess for this child.  As I tucked her in unconsciously my soul recognized that this fictitious role would end tomorrow

I could be content in my heart yesterday and today, but this isn't my reality.  The American Girl accessories are all put away.  The children's books will soon be back on the…

Celebrate Recovery - Infertility Style - Getting Help

Since last week's entry I have found that this idea of recognizing that one doesn't really have control is pretty significant in the journey through infertility.  And it is the desire to have control that the medical "profession" or more accurately the fertility industry takes advantage of to make a profit.  But deep down the women and men on this journey know they do not have control and that is part of why they get so angry at God.  I think angry because of the loss of a sense of control, but also angry because they sense that God has something against them.  This is where the second healthy choice in "Life's Healing Choices" comes in, because it is a reminder that God does care and God wants to help.

Isaiah 43:1-3 (NIV) But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you…

DONE

I think I have finally found my place of peace.
Satisfaction and acceptance.
No longer a hurricane of emotion troubles my soul.
Grief has passed.
I can live in the present
and accept the future as God has it.
I no longer view God's "no" or "not now" as punishment
or denial.
I'm content with His reply.
Like Job behind the Lord Almighty
I wasn't there when God created
and said let be what let be.

This is my life
and oddly I'm quite pleased with it.
I see now what I have
and cherish what is not.
It is a gift
and it is perfect!
I'm satisfied
in my soul and heart.



Generic Opening Prayer - Worshipful Invocation

Glorious and Mighty God
We come this morning to sing your praise.
We give you Thanks for all that your hands have provided for us.
We worship you.We adore you.We desire to know you more.
And yet we come as broken people – people with hurts, hang-ups, bad habits…
People in need of your grace.
So we ask that You will reveal yourself to us today.
Help us to see you, to know you, and to love you.
Make us unselfish in our receiving of your gifts
That we might be generous in sharing your grace, forgiveness, and salvation with others.
So that your Kingdom may come
And your Will, will be done
On this earth, as it is in heaven.
In the perfect name of Jesus Christ,
We come.Amen.

Barren Pastor

Early this morning I had a dream that I was in an Avant Garde art class.  The instructor was showing various ways that people have created sculptures that convey meaning.  To illustrate good work the instructor showed how a person had set up three pieces of cardboard vertically and created braces across the pieces.  Then colorful strips of twirling three dimensional paper was draped just so over the braces to create a life form.  As I sat there watching the presentation I was sure that someone had registered me for the wrong class. Then the professor, seeing my confused face, came over and asked me why I was questioning my being there.  My response, "I don't know how to work with clay."  Her response, "you'll find another way."  After class I spoke with this imagined instructor and told her that I had little instruction in art, but there was a topic for which I was passionate that I would like to give sculpting a chance.  She smiled and nodded that I shoul…

Celebrate Recovery - Infertility Style - Admitting Need

John Baker's book "Life's Healing Choices" offers eight choices we can make to heal from life's hurts, hang-ups, and habits.  Since I am preaching on this for the next several weeks, I thought I'd apply it to this blog and the journey through infertility.

“What people, places, or things do you have the power to control?” Part of the reality of infertility is discovering how little control over life one does have.  At first you think you can control the medical decisions that will help you to conceive.  But reality is that even if you go through all of the "right" processes - conception, implantation, delivery & live birth may never happen.  On this journey you also discover that you don't have as much control over your emotions as you once thought.  What you do have control over is your attitude and how you will respond to the negativity you face.  Another hard thing to discover is that your future isn't as much in your hands as society w…

"No, but we are blessed also."

"Do you have any children?"

"No, but we are blessed."

Maria Gocke, director of Adoption Services at Illini Christian Ministries and the wife of a pastor has written an excellent article for Relevant on being a childless woman in the church.  She writes of her conclusion that God is sensitive to the plight of the barren and even in fact has historically chosen them to be a part of God's big plan of salvation.

This article reminded me of how Hannah and Rachel, matriarchs of the biblical faith, were blessed to have husband's who adored them.  They were blessed to be a part of the story.

There comes a point in the infertility journey that what separates the barren from the biologically fruitful isn't the lack of children, but the acceptance that no one really knows how babies come to be. Every child is seen as a miracle.  The infertile no longer asks, "how," because she knows it doesn't really matter.  Each person's "how" is dif…

Infertility Jealousy & 2 Samuel 12:1-4

I sat listening to this woman share her story.  Her job was just a job.  It wasn't that it was unsatisfying, but it wasn't really satisfying either.  Their life was "average" in the sense that nothing stood out as remarkable.  She struggled with her own physical battle with an unseen disease and yet this illness did not define her.  But when she spoke of her children she smiled, not with pride, but with love.  And then I heard the Scripture speak:

"There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor.  The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought.  He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children.  It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms.  It was like a daughter to him.

Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him.  Inst…