Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Life Is Worth a Thousand Gifts

I took this picture while texting my daughter on a recent beach trip. They tease me about my eating habits and I was reassuring her I was making myself a decent breakfast.

As I looked at the photo, I realized it was a snapshot of a life. It's also been a year since I was in this same condo and took a similar picture while working on my book. A lot can happen in a year.

Back to the photo...

We surround ourselves with the things we love. My reservation was for a week so I took books, chocolate, tea, coffee, Bible, devotion books, my pillow, and a new favorite blanket given to me at Christmas. I had notepads to record all the thoughts swimming around in my head. And what would I do without my Mac Air? It faithfully stores all my words and spits out most anything I want to know.

I did get lonely though, by the end of the week. We were made for human connection, for relationship. It's in our DNA.

I was able to focus on a few things I want to do better for the new year. I watched a series from Ann Voskamp, based on her book, "One Thousand Gifts." I'd read the book and have been keeping a "Thankful Journal" for awhile. I thought the DVD's would be repetitious of the book, but I was wrong. Ann brought so much of herself into the production. Each session was meaningful, but the last part of the last session caught my attention. She was talking about service and said,

"Your life could be the gift."

As I looked at the photo that morning, I thought to myself, "Is this a picture of my life? Am I being a gift?"

I want my writing to be a gift to Him. I want my service at church to be a gift to Him, and I want my relationships with people to be a gift. I want to be more intentional with the ones God brings into my path.

How about you? What's in the snapshot of your life? If you were to take a photo of your immediate surroundings, what would be in it?

Some of the clutter will be put aside as the seasons change and winter fades into spring. The books will change as I devour them and move on to the next. The one constant in my life is the one thing that matters most and it can't be found in the picture. That thing is the condition of my heart. I can't be a gift if my heart isn't in it. The only way I can be a gift is to stay connected to the giver of all good gifts, Jesus Christ.

Then, and only then, do I have a gift to give.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

When I Marched in Washington...a Solemn Anniversary

Today marks a solemn anniversary, one that 60,000,000 people will not wake to see the sun rise or set.

Babies aborted, who would have gone through childhood, tumultuous high school and college years and for most, married life, are now merely a statistic. But today, we recognize their creation. We stop and take note of their place in history.

In 1992, I went to Washington, D.C. to participate in the March for Life, an annual event held on January 22nd, the day Roe vs Wade, in 1973, changed the face of our nation.

Cindy and Debra, 1992
My friend, Debra, and I traveled thirteen hours on a bus with forty like-minded people from our area. We were zealous in our belief that our voices be heard by those who could change the laws of our land. Spirits were high inside the bus as we made our way north to our nation's capitol.

We marched in frigid temperatures with hundreds of thousands of people of every color, religion, size, shape, and age. We had a common finally see Roe vs. Wade overturned.

George H.W. Bush was President of the United States at the time. He addressed the massive gathering from the Oval Office, via a speaker system to the Mall area. What a thrill to hear a pro-life message from a sitting President. He was passionate about the rights of unborn babies.

One year later, I returned for the twentieth anniversary of the same march. However, a new president was in the Oval Office. There was a different tone altogether in Washington.

There was no address to the attendees at the March for Life. In fact, the press lied about the numbers gathered on the Mall. They downplayed the outpouring of support for the pro-life stance. And with the stroke of his pen, as we gathered to lift the banner in support of life, President Clinton rescinded all of President Bush's executive orders on behalf of the pro-life movement. I knew the next few years would be difficult with that kind of malice in the White House.

Through the years, this issue has divided the two major parties. But, little by little, it has been pushed further back on the agenda until it hardly registers with either party. It's not the litmus test for conservatism anymore.

But think about it, if I don't value life, what good am I? If those who pass our laws don't value life, what good are they? They are assigning themselves the right to decide the choice for millions who have no voice. Where there is a law with loopholes, it will be abused.

This past Sunday was Sanctity of Human Life Sunday in Southern Baptist life. My denomination has continued to carry the banner for babies murdered in the womb.

We watched a video (hidden, of course) of a late term abortion clinic in our small group. It was appalling to hear nurses, doctors, and pregnant mothers discussing the outcome of murder. The echo of their laughter still rings in my ears. This is human life people, and for a woman to ask, "Is it a baby at 27 weeks?" is unconscienable. Listening to her other questions told me she was not an unintelligent woman.

We, in this country, and around the world, will get upset over twelve people gunned down in France, but yet 60,000,000 babies have been murdered on American soil, in American hospitals and clinics, and we hardly blink. A woman has the right to choose to destroy her baby inside her body, except she can't do it alone. She has to have the assistance of medical personnel in most cases, and that, my friends is murder. If left alone, it's in the hands of Almighty God to decide life or death.

If you've read my blog for any length of time, you know I could not have children the natural way. I'm passionate about this issue. Every baby deserves a chance to draw its first breath. It deserves a chance to toddle in someone's backyard, to march in a band, to play on a soccer field, to find the love of their life, to pay taxes, to have a voice.

We must speak for ones who have no voice, whether they be the unborn, the orphan, the widow, or the lonely.

I have a voice, and today, I use it to share my heart. You may not agree and I respect that.

Your mother gave you life. Thank her.

60,000,000 babies didn't get that same right.

Today, we remember you, and your voices will be heard.


If you want to get involved and be part of change, contact your local Crisis Pregnancy Center. There is one in every area. They welcome volunteers, donations, and most of all, prayer. They not only help save babies, they take care of families.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Pondering Choose or Not to Choose

I do my best thinking when I'm staring at water. It can be a pond or lake, but I prefer the ocean. The rhythmic sound of waves crashing to the shore does something deep in my soul.

I was at the beach for a writing week recently. It was one of those wrapped up in a blanket kind of days. Coffee was involved. Perfect combination.

I was deep in thought as I watched the waves roll in over and over. It occurred to me as I sat mesmerized by the repetition, that water doesn't have a choice about its ebb and flow.  The sand and seashells are carried along by the whimsey of the current. They certainly can't say, "I want to go this way or that way."

And the beautiful sunrise I can expect on a clear morning...does it have a say in where it rises and sets? Does it determine the length of its days? The clouds can't position themselves to look like cotton candy as the sun is setting in the western sky.

All of it was created, and is controlled, by a holy God. He spoke and it appeared.

Staring at the ocean reminds me of the vastness of God and the smallness of me.

As my thoughts continued to wander, I naturally thought about people. We're made in His image, His likeness. Even the angels are curious about us.

It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. 
1 Peter 1:12 ESV 

We can choose how we live, where we live, and who we live with. It's our decision. We don't choose the family we're born into, but after a certain age you can choose to leave.

The most important choice we'll ever make though, is the one to accept or reject Jesus Christ. We were made for Him. He breathed His very breath into Adam and inflated his lungs for the first time. That fact alone ought to signify the intimate relationship He longs to have with us. But, He wants us to choose Him freely, because of our love for Him.

That one choice in our lives controls our destiny, both now, and for all eternity. It's more important than the person you marry, the place you live, the school you attend, the car you drive or the zeroes on your bank account.

Don't stumble through life without making this choice. It won't always be easy. It will rarely be easy, but, it will be worthwhile.

When you go to the beach the next time, let me know your thoughts. I'd love to hear what you think when you sit wrapped in a blanket and ponder life.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My Love of Words and the New Year

It's no secret I love words, both spoken and written, but especially written. I love writing words and reading words. My favorite genre is biographies/memoirs. People fascinate me.

A recent Oswald Chambers' devotion was on the topic of words. He quoted Jesus, from John 6:63,
"The words I speak to you are spirit and they are life."

Oswald goes on to say, "God speaks to us, not by visions and dreams, but by words."

In the Bible, the book of John begins with Jesus being introduced as "The Word." He was with God in the beginning, the Word was God.

We have a responsibility to share our words, to communicate with people about, "The Word."

Words are powerful, they can heal and forgive. Words can teach and cause a heart to turn toward home. Words can hurt as well, and I've spoken my share. 

I've been looking back on the past year, but also looking ahead to the new year. I still don't have my "one word" for 2015. I'm a little slow. I do know I want to use this space to communicate my love for the One who spoke the stars into the sky, the One who prayed for me and all who would believe in Him in John 17, and the One who spoke words of salvation to a thief hanging next to Him as they both died on crosses. His words have the power to heal, save, forgive, and transform. My words can only point you to Him.

I hope though, I can encourage you in some way as I share a small part of my life, the good, and the not-so-good. And I hope my words have ministered to you this past year.

As always, thank you for reading. You bless me with your words.

Blessings in 2015,