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Faith & Freedom

Because All is Not Calm: Paris Under Attack

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I picked up my kids from school today and they were ninety-to-nothing chatting about a classroom scandal. We get home, break out the juice boxes, pop popcorn, and the story is hitting my ears from what feels like ten sides.

Apparently, someone stole my son’s pencil.

My kids are up in arms, hand-in-hand standing together about this offense. He stole it, then he lied. “Why would he steal my pencil, I would have given him one?” they complain. They say, “Mom, he totally knew what he was doing.” We have a ten minute discussion about stealing and being nice and just “dropping it”, and they can’t let it go until I tell them enough is enough. They have piano to practice, our Christmas recital is in a month, and we leave again in an hour.

I turn on the television and in the 20 minutes that it took me to go from home to school, there are over 40 people murdered in a coordinated act of terror. There is a concert hall full of hostages being killed one by one. Lord, help them…

Their lives completely and sadly stolen—I want to go back to talking about pencils.

I want to go back in time and talk about juice boxes, and popcorn, and nine-year-old silly offenses that only matter in grade school. I want to crawl into my bed and pull the covers over my eyes, and come back out when my children are old and gray and we are all safe. I want to lock my doors and tell my kids that “Yes, I know mommy said she didn’t want to home school you, but now she’s changed her mind because we’re not going anywhere…ever again.” I want to draw the shades and tell the world to go on and keep being crazy that we will just be right here waiting on Jesus. We will tuck ourselves away and we will read our Bibles and we will say, “Come Lord Jesus” and put our fingers in our ears and life will be normal.

But, it won’t be.

It won’t be because normal has changed.

Normal’s ship has sailed.

And the fight, America, is already here on our doorstep. It’s too late to care about childish things, because these are adult matters. We have weak American leadership that has opened up the gates of our own country to anybody and everybody, both by complacency and by choice. We cannot coast to safety anymore. We cannot worry about the little things anymore. We have problems, as a country, and as a world.

Let’s pray for Paris and all the Parises that I’m afraid are yet to come. And please, to our current American leadership—stand up and stop these people. Do more than send 50 people to help. Close our borders to illegal immigrants. Get rid of sanctuary cities. Do whatever it takes to keep us safe. This is getting out of control, and it’s so, very, very…sad.

The television is on, my popcorn bag has spilled all of its’ contents out onto the floor, along with many tears as my son sits down at the piano. And just like them after school, I pray that France and America and all other great and responsible nations will not let this offense go. We can’t let this go on anymore, because enough is enough. He puts his fingers to the keys and one broken note at a time he plays:

“Silent Night, Holy Night,

All is Calm, All is bright…”

But, all isn’t calm, and the city of light is no longer bright. And we bow our heads and fold our hands and we pray, “Come Lord Jesus, because those poor souls have now been silenced forever.”

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We Don’t Have a Gun Problem But…

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Photo Credit: Andy Nelson/The Register-Guard via Associated Press

Will you join me for a time of prayer for the families and friends of the victims in today’s horrific shooting in Oregon? So many lives lost, and I am just sick over this. I saw President Obama making his case shortly after the news reports were confirmed. It’s a “gun control issue” as usual—and we need stricter laws. He is so predictable. Might I suggest something to anyone that continually points to gun violence as the most important issue affecting our nation? Mentally ill people don’t obey gun laws. Radical Islamic terrorists don’t obey gun laws. Murderers and thieves don’t care about laws period. You can write gun law legislation as high as the ceiling and it won’t matter. President Obama said it himself today, the people who do this sort of thing are not right in their minds. Exactly. This isn’t a gun control issue.

A run for our guns simply hurts the people who do abide by the rules. He knows this too. He is steadily destroying our country through political correctness and his steady stream of executive orders. He said that mass shootings like the one in Oregon today are an “American problem”. And maybe I’ll give him that. Where there is freedom, there will always be these types of incidents. They are horrible and sad and life-altering, and nobody wants to live through a Columbine, or a Denver theatre shooting, or now an Oregon college shooting rampage. But, we have these awful events in our country, because we are FREE here—because we have the freedom to move about, the freedom to buy guns, and we have personal privacy. And I hate it, hate it, that there are people who within the solitude of their homes, plot sinister events, and their mental illness grows. And at some point, this mental illness turns to mania.

When people abuse their American freedoms, very bad things happen in our country. But, would you rather live under a dictatorship like the Chinese  and North Korean governments? Or how about be oppressed under the sinister rule of Putin? We see how honest he is. You can ban guns on campuses and in shopping malls, but do you think the person that sets out to mass murder people gives a rip about the sign posted in the window? Do you think they care that it’s technically illegal for them to have a gun? Do you think the millions of people on drugs in our country pay attention to the fact that drugs are illegal? Or the person that drives drunk and gets behind the wheel and kills an innocent mom and her kids cares about the law they are breaking? No. No. And no. We are a selfish society, with horrible problems. But, we are free. And in spite of the darkness, and the bad choices, there is goodness in this part of the world because of those same freedoms that some people abuse. And we should, as American citizens, have the freedom to defend ourselves against all the people who intentionally and methodically break the rules and plot to harm us.

Today, a 20-year-old man looked fellow students in the eye and demanded they declare their religion. And if they said Christianity, he shot them square in the head.

We don’t have a gun problem in this country.

We have a mental illness problem.

We are self-centered.

And we have a growing cancer of intolerance of people of the Christian faith.

Our religious freedoms are in trouble. We have an administration that time and time again turns their back on Christians in our country and overseas.A young man killed people today. He killed Christians—Christians that mind their business, go to school, pay their taxes, obey the rules, and sit in a quiet pew every Sunday morning and worship their God. That is my pew. Those are my people. #yesImaChristian And we, Christians in America, don’t ask anything of those of you who don’t agree with us. We don’t force you to experience the freedom in Christ that we have and the love of a God that graciously can wipe every tear from your eye. We worship in our tiny churches, and we pour out our time and our love in towns and cities so that we can be the hands and feet of Christ in a dark and hurting world. We are not perfect, we mess up, but we are redeemed.

Even if you don’t share in my faith, you should share in my desire to see your rights and my rights upheld by the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of our country. Because, if we continue to not care that our freedoms are being slowly whittled down, then one day we will look and they will be gone altogether. If someone can persecute a Christian in your town, then they will eventually steal the freedom that matters to you too. You will look back and remember when you didn’t care because you weren’t a Christian and it didn’t apply to you. And then, it will be too late.

Will you please stand for freedom in this country? Will you open your eyes to the slow evaporation of our freedoms? Will you please vote for someone in the next election that cares about religious freedom and doesn’t oppress a group for the benefit of another? And may those shot and killed today rest in the peace of the God they loved and stood for until their last breath.

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Why the Planned Parenthood Conversation Must Continue

baby-821625_640Almost ten years ago today, I found out I was going to be a mom. I remember lying on the doctor’s cold table and watching the nurse click, point, and measure four times over and thinking to myself, “Surely all of those circles are not babies.” It turned out that all those circles were babies. When I left that day, they told me I was having triplets, and that one of the tiny sacs was just fluid as far as they could tell. But, when I went back a few weeks later to hear the heartbeats, that tiny “fluid sac” had a heartbeat. I was having quadruplets.

I heard my preacher say last week that “we don’t know what we don’t know.” And that has stuck to the inside of my mind like glue all week. My babies were tiny little circles, then they were tiny little circles with heartbeats, and then I watched them sprout tiny little nubs that grew into tiny legs and arms. They would swing and twirl and bounce off of the inside of my stomach, like they knew mommy was watching and they were already showing off. And then at 14 weeks, one of their hearts stopped. I didn’t even know if it was a boy or a girl. And I didn’t know if that would happen again. My doctors had told me that “Baby D” was my strongest baby, and then he/she was gone. The doctors didn’t know what they thought they knew.

Time went on and the doctor’s told me that if I lost another one, it would be baby B. Baby B was the “fluid sac” that was never supposed to be a baby to begin with. But, again, they didn’t know what they didn’t know. Baby B went from “not a baby” to my most active baby, and he grew and grew and grew. And now he is my biggest nine year old.

When you are pregnant with multiples, the doctor’s come in with clip boards and heavy faces and they say things like “This is really dangerous for you as a mother.” And I was scared. Scared of losing them. Scared of losing me. Scared of just losing everything. It’s hard sometimes to make a choice based on things you can’t see. I didn’t know if my babies would be born healthy or handicap. I didn’t know if I would live or die bringing them into this world. The only thing I really knew was that I had to base my decisions on what I already knew about God. 

We told the doctor’s no to picking and choosing. And I decided that no matter how I felt, I was going to have to build my house upon the rock of God’s word, and not the sands of uncertainty. I can’t say that I have always done my building the right way. I haven’t. I’ve built plenty of sand castles that washed right away when the waves crashed in and life got messy and dark. I promised God that I would choose life and every night I told Him what He had already told me in His word. Promises of safety and good health and deliverance and protection—especially when the doctor’s ‘laundry list’ of risks came back to haunt me.

It wasn’t long before the rains came. And the storm broke. And it didn’t just move the sand about around my house. It decimated it. I had been on strict bed rest for four months when my contractions were too uncontrollable to stay at home. I was only 26 weeks along and permanently in the hospital at this point, when I woke up one morning and couldn’t breathe. I called the nurse and she dismissed it. After rounds of arguing with the nurse, and tears, and oxygen masks, and ICU, they told me I had Congestive Heart and Kidney failure due to the pregnancy.

I said goodbye to my husband that night.

And when he kissed me goodbye, I kissed him back with tears in my eyes and closed my heart to the dream of becoming a mom, and the hope of my next breath.

And in the silence of that room, while nurses did their due diligence and monitors beeped, this 25-year-old girl wondered why God seemed to be flattening a house that had been built upon His promises, upon the Rock. In my need to breathe, I asked God a lot of hard questions. I railed against Him actually. How could He let it end like this? I asked ‘why’ and I said ‘not now’ and even ‘why me’, but I never regretted giving my children the chance to live.

And I went to sleep fully expecting to never live again.

People prayed for me that night. And there is no reason my condition should have reversed. My contractions had been two minutes apart and before the doctors knocked me out they said they would probably have to deliver my babies (who would probably then die because they were too little).There was literally nothing else they could do but watch us all go meet Jesus.

But, God. He stepped in. It wasn’t the end of my health scare. I spent six more weeks in the hospital and delivered three babies 9 weeks early. My heart failure returned and I spent another week in ICU fighting for my life, asking God more hard questions. I remember the day in ICU when the doctor came in and she said, “I heard you had a pretty bad night.” I started crying and told her that I had. It’s hell trying to force oxygen into lungs that want it but can’t get it. She looked me straight on and said “But, Jessica this is what you chose. You knew that this could happen.” And she was right. I knew that it could happen, but I just didn’t think it would.

Aren’t we like that America? We know deep in our heart of hearts that abortion is a sweet word for murder. And we just keep saying that it’s okay. We hear preachers telling us that God will judge us—that we have stirred Him to anger on behalf of the millions of children that went to see Jesus before they even got to see their mothers. But, we don’t think judgment will come to our nation or our cities or our doorsteps. Because we don’t see it. I truly believe there are many people out there who have bought the abortion lie in the name of women’s health and women’s rights. I believe many of these people have not even stopped to think about what they have fought for. They haven’t risen above the arguing high enough to really see the big picture. Maybe they didn’t know what they didn’t know—that Planned Parenthood, an organization we all fund with our tax dollars, was slicing open babies, even some whose hearts had not yet stopped beating. Did you watch these videos? This one? And this one? And this one?!  America, we’ve thrown our babies in the trash. We know now. Our eyes have seen it. Our ears have heard it. And now, it’s time to do something about it.

I can’t have more kids today. I really wish that I could. I’m so grateful for these three that God has given me but I can’t help but be so incredibly sad about all of the lives lost. I realize that sometimes our hands feel tied because we aren’t politicians or lawmakers, but there is a starting point to get this ball rolling. I can’t be quiet anymore and I hope you won’t be either. Let’s not let the Planned Parenthood conversation die on last week’s headline. Will you join me? Sign the petitions to defund Planned Parenthood in your state. And then go tell Congress to cut the 550 million plus dollars that we send to them.

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27

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