Wednesday, March 27, 2013

When you're 15

My very first little girl is 15 today!
It doesn't quite seem possible...
seeing as how there's no way 
I'm old enough to have two teenagers..!
(humor me)

Dear sweet daughter,
I thought about what to write for your birthday. I thought about being all sappy and sentimental.
I thought about reminiscing about all the birthdays before today. I thought about telling the world some of the funny things you've done/said/written. I thought about just posting that picture of you covered in mud from Sunday. (I reserve the right to post it here further down the page.)
Ultimately, I decided that I'd like to share with you the things I hope for your future.

A Mommy's Fifteen Wishes for her Baby Girl on her Fifteenth Birthday!

1. Friends. I hope you have a couple of good friends. The kind that call you out on things that aren't right, support you when the whole world tells you "you can't", cry with you and make you laugh and spit liquids out of your nose. 
2. Selective Hearing. I wish I could sit on your shoulder and whisper in your ear every time someone says something unkind, untrue, unwholesome or hurtful. I would whisper truths - you are good, you are kind, you are beautiful, you are worthy, you are wonderful. 
3. Childhood. I wish for you to slow things down, enjoy the simple things, enjoy being a kid a little while longer. Twirl in your dresses, sit in your blanket fort and color, sleep with your blankie. These things go by so fast but they don't have to be gone just yet. 
4. Silliness. You have such a great sense of humor... don't ever lose that! The hardest things in life are lightened up with laughter! Spend some time being silly, practice laughing at yourself, and don't take life too seriously. 
5. Safety. Listen to the still, small voice in your spirit... the one that tells you to freeze right where you are, or leave right away. Trust it. Obey it. And keep your phone in your purse in the back seat when you finally get to drive a car. 
6. Direction. Like a compass that always points north, I wish for you a lifetime spent seeking after the heart of Jesus. Let Him be your North and all of the decisions you need to make will be easier because you know which way you are heading. 
7. Comfort. I wish for you to be comfortable in your own skin and comfortable with who you are. You are beautiful. Your heart is kind. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
8. Smile. You have such a beautiful smile! I hope you can be the type of young adult who has a happy heart and brings joy to those around you (and skip the moody/brooding/dark/emo years. Please.)
9. Clarity. I hope you see through the fog of this world and are able to simply see the right way to go. I pray you don't get bogged down sifting through the shiny new offerings the world wants to distract you with, and that you can always tell the fools gold from the real thing.
10. Modesty. I know it's hard in our society... but I wish for you to value yourself and your future husband so much that you dress the way you'd want other women to dress around him.
11. Independence. I hope you grow up to be the type of woman who can change her flat tire AND make homemade bread with dinner. A woman who can install a ceiling fan AND walk in heels. Not that you "don't need a man" but that your need for him is more than just what he can do around the house.
12. Travel. Go - see stuff! Swim with dolphins, climb mountains, hike trails, feed the hungry, bandage the wounded, pray with the oppressed... then come home. Because I'd miss you if you were gone for very long.
13. Siblings. Yeah, you figured I'd throw this in... but I wish for you to have a great relationship with them (yes, all of them... even the teen boy and pre-teen girl). You have an amazing gift in having so many brothers and sisters. You will always have family. You will always have nieces and nephews. You will be someone's favorite Aunt. You will always have a place to go for holidays and you will always have someone who is willing to drive to wherever you are just to sit with you when you're facing something hard. Don't squander your gift.
14. Saving. Save money for a rainy day, save notes, save journals, save ticket stubs and mementos. Save time for what's important, save your wisdom for those who ask for it, save your love for the one who deserves it.
15. Love. Oh, yes, baby girl... I wish for you to find love some day. But right now, fall in love with the One who IS Love. Let Him show you what it is to be loved and what love should look like. Don't fall for the lies of this world, for the infatuations and the crushes. Wait and see... wait and be sure... because I've been praying for the one man God has for you for your someday! I've been praying for him since you were a baby. He's going to be something special. He will be patient and kind, strong and sincere, romantic and smart, wise and discerning. He will be enthralled with your beauty and you will be his treasure. Dad and I - we want only who is right for you. Trust us in this. We love you too much to trust you to anyone but the one God has in store for you.

So, sweet baby girl... this is my list of hopes, dreams, wishes and prayers for you on your 15th birthday! I'm so proud of you you are, who you are becoming, and who you hope to someday be. You are amazing. You are lovely. You are my treasure and I'm so thankful you are mine!

Happy Birthday! 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Women of Planks

This is one that's been rolling around in my head for quite some time now.

I've noticed that online, in print, and on social media outlets people have lost all decorum and sense of self-control. They no longer think about who they hurt with their words and instead just go all-out vigilante on whoever they think is doing wrong in the world at the moment.

The one that really got to me recently was a series of posts by a friend who is a pro-life activist in her area.

Now, before you start heading for the "x" button to get the heck out of this blog post ASAP... hear me out.

I'm pro-adoption, pro-babies, pro-mommies, pro-people.
I'm pro-making good choices and I'm pro-marriage. I'm pro-waiting. I'm pro-choosing what's best for another even if it hurts you personally. I'm pro-loving people who don't think like me. I'm pro-Jesus and I think he's anti-hate.

When I scrolled through some pictures from a church event at a pro-life rally recently I noticed SO much hate. So much looking-down-our-noses at those who would/are/did choose abortion. I saw fear and hate and guilt and disgust and pride and ickyness. I saw the clear absence of Jesus. I saw name-calling and condescending terminology. I saw Christians acting like Pharisees. I saw Godly women with plank-filled eyeballs calling out others' sins in disgust. I wanted to puke. Then sob in a corner.
Because, people... this is NOT what Jesus would do. I've yet to find one reference in scripture to Jesus blasting someone's sins with hate mail or wearing an outer-garment emblazoned with "babies>murder". I've yet to find him not reaching down to touch the hand of the broken, healing the wounded, and comforting the mourning soul. I've yet to find him preaching via sign-on-a-stick.

The pro-lifer's call it "going to march at the abortuary" or "murder office"... pro-choicer's call the pro-lifers "forced birthers" and say they "seethe with hatred and disgust while preaching about God's laws".

Am I saying don't be active with causes you feel strongly about? Absolutely not.
What I AM saying...

Choose life, yes. But choose LOVE in how you speak.
Choose to help, not to hurt.
Choose to support, not to shame.
Choose to love, not to hate.
Choose to empower, not to fear.
Speak kindness and love and compassion over those who are fearful.
Speak kindness and love and compassion over those who are ashamed.
Speak kindness and love and compassion over those who feel stuck.

And put down your freaking signs.
They are disgusting.

If you MUST carry a sign, carry a sign that simply says "Please, don't."
Carry a sign that says "I'll help."
Carry a sign that says "Signs hurt, Jesus heals."
And then carry plentiful hugs, smiles, compassion and tears.
Consider their sins no worse than your own.
Consider if this was your daughter, or sister, or neighbor or best friend.
Consider your greatest failures on display for all to see... then trying to hide from the fear and shame...
but instead you are doubly shamed by those who were commissioned to love you.

Shame on us for ever looking down on another in disgust.
Shame on us for using our "christianity" to bring condemnation on another.

Thank you sweet friends who are concerned about my stance on abortion. I'm pro-life, but pro-ALL-life. I think that with as much passion as we have for the unborn, we should love the already-born. I think pro-lifers should be pro-adoption. They should be pro-teen mothers and pro-incarcerated mothers and pro-homeless mothers. We should love others the way we've been loved. And if love is the ultimate way we can BE Jesus... we should love that way and I don't think that way includes being hateful. Yes, pray. Yes, discussions in love. Yes, march on Washington. NO hateful, shameful, angry signs written to the women visiting the clinic.
I hope that clears up my position. :)