Thee Angel Project

A year of writing a little bit of everything. Writers Write, Right?


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of failure and forgiveness and fight

I love living in this place. Not this house, not this town, but this country. I do. I love it. I am beyond thankful for all my mind and body do not have to endure thanks to the country into which I was born. I am beyond thankful for the families that came before mine that fought selflessly, sacrificially, valiantly. I am living the good life. Truly.

But while this country does many things very well, there is one area in particular where we fail miserably. More than that. So much so that no word could adequately describe our…failure.

I was reminded of this yesterday as we walked downtown to meet others like us. To stand quietly by the side of the road. To have a hushed conversation with my eight year old. One that no two people should ever have to have with one another. Ever. To explain the inexplicable. To mourn.

I was surprised by the effect it had on me. I went in knowing exactly what this meeting meant, but was completely undone when my eyes met hers. This little one. The eyes of my four year old standing there holding the sign she chose, all smiley and completely unaware of what those words said or meant, and I knew.

Life Chain
I knew that the words she held, though I shared some with her sister, (notice, I said some, certainly not all, not even close) were beyond what I could bear to share with her. I was so thankful she didn’t ask, because I knew.

I knew that I could never adequately explain some expectant mothers’ fear or despair.

I knew that I could never give a reason she could accept as to why some we know and love think that it would have been good and right, if I had chosen for her to not be here.

I knew that I could not convey how much I want her to never even come close to feeling that there is any choice to be made.

I was thankful she didn’t ask, because I knew.

I knew that if she did, and if I did, she would understand. She would. My four year old. And it would forever change her. Knowing what we do. Knowing how we fail.

Failure. It has a synonym that you will no doubt recognize. Look it up. Do you see it? It’s there. Abortion.

It can be different.

It can change. I think so anyway. I’ll admit, I do have doubts. We’re in pretty deep.

It starts here though. With the message our ten year old got to share. It was one of hope and promise. It is one that reminds us that the One who created us, also restores.

It reminds us that although what we have done is atrocious, forgiveness is ours. God does heal, and we can live in a world where life is honored and precious.

Yesterday it began in my house, well, continued really, but began in a new way. Prayerfully, someday the same will be true in my town and in my country.

DSCF7906

I love this country…and at the same time I hate it. Because even with all of the technology and information we possess, we still don’t get it.

They’re worth it. You’re worth it.

Fight.

Selflessly. Sacrificially. Valiantly.


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to the girl who sits the bench

You don’t go unnoticed. I know it feels like that at times, perhaps all the time, but it’s just not true.

I see you sitting there waiting…for the coach’s eyes to meet yours, for the nod that means you’re getting in the game. I see the disappointment on your face when you’re taken out. I see the frustration and anxiety that comes with feeling like you don’t measure up. I once was you, wishing for the chance to play, critiquing every point that was scored while I sat. I know.

I know that in that place and at that time, what goes on between those lines feels like the whole world to you. Let me remind you, it’s just a fraction, a tiny part.

I know that where I sit from where you are seems so very far away, a lifetime, but let me assure you I can’t remember the last time I even thought about my time sitting with the least bit of sorrow. It just doesn’t happen. The time when they were playing and I was not only mattered for moments, not weeks, not months, certainly not years. Moments. Remember, this is only a fraction of your life, a fraction of who you are. You are so much more.

I do see you sitting there, but here’s what else I see…and this is the truly important part.
I see your perseverance, your desire, your love of the game. More so I see your care for the people who play it along side you. I see you congratulate your teammates and attend to their needs. I see you as a part of the team in ways that are too often overlooked. They’re not overlooked by me. I see you.

Take a look down the bench. No, not yours. The one on the other side of the court. Look at the other team. Do you see her? The one sitting? The one just like you? You are not alone. You’re part of a sisterhood, one that spans the decades. I’ll say it again. You are not alone, not even close.

to the girl who sits the bench...

While the crowd watches every movement of the ball, I watch you. While the crowd lives and dies with every point, I couldn’t care less about the score. While they cheer victories and agonize over defeats, I only cheer, for victory is found in you simply being there.

I know those hours can seem like wasted time. Perhaps you could spend them differently, but take heart, they are not wasted. Here’s what will come of your time. Those moments waiting will help you to be a patient mother, an empathetic physician, a thoughtful teacher, a compelling businesswoman, an eloquent speaker, a devoted wife, a faithful friend. You will be one who is described with words like integrity and grace and virtue and charitable and marvelous and strong.

Girl Who Sits the Bench, you don’t go unnoticed, not at all. You stand out in the most glorious way.

For those of you who also sat the bench (and maybe even those of you who didn’t) ūüôā …please share below any additional stories or words of wisdom and encouragement.


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so here’s what i learned

If you read yesterday’s post, I would imagine you have an opinion about the ice bucket challenge, even if you chose to not share it.

I’m not sure if people are doing this because they are unsure of how to say no, or because they really do want to give…which I think maybe we should all be challenged to do on a regular basis anyway.

But for me, at this time, my gifts have to be directed somewhere else. My reason is summed up in one simple word,

LIFE.

This is the deal breaker for me and I pray earnestly that if I ever have to deal with devastation the likes of ALS, that I will still feel the same. Because as difficult as it is, I also believe it’s right.

I did watch this. (Thank you Shonda.) It is heartbreaking. I cannot begin to imagine or understand what it is to live with a degenerative disease that you have watched take over your entire family.

I also read this and this. (Thank you Kara.)

I know it is physically impossible for me to check the beneficiaries of every penny I spend. I know that I unknowingly support causes I abhor because I don’t research carefully the facts of every company I support with my purchases. I get that. But, now I know that part of the money given to support those suffering from ALS goes to research that involves embryonic stem cells. Embryos. Babies. I cannot ignore that fact.

There’s no good way to end this post. Tomorrow’s topic will be lighter. I promise.


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ice bucket challenge…convince me

I’ve been challenged. You probably have too. The pages of social media are filled, top to bottom, with videos of people I love being doused and it is a ton of fun to watch. I’m not sure how I feel about it though. It is certainly a fantastically orchestrated campaign, and the fact that its success is accidental makes it even more appealing.

Here’s where I struggle, I don’t actually know anyone who has or is suffering from ALS. No one. I know that shouldn’t matter. But it does.

Before you start throwing things, here’s why…

There are so many battles to fight. There are so many debilitating diseases that are claiming the lives of people I know. I do know people with epilepsy and diabetes and lupus and leukemia and celiac disease and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and crohn’s and heart disease and autism and multiple sclerosis and bipolar disorder. You get the point.

And then there’s this…

I want desperately to make sure expectant mothers have diapers for their babies and children in Haiti can have shoes for their feet and missionaries can do their thing across the globe.¬†I want to take on all of them, and while I would love to be a professional philanthropist, I cannot. (I would be willing to play one for a time though, so if anyone has a cool $1m sitting around ready to be designated….I’m your girl.)

Do I give money to a worthy cause just because someone I care about has someone they care about with ALS? Shouldn’t our giving be generous and constant and not based upon what’s trendy but instead upon the surplus that God gives us each day? Shouldn’t we have a plan? Shouldn’t we stick to it?

Should our giving be a fad that we look back upon fondly as that time I did that thing and helped those people, or should it be something more?

I would imagine that when you love someone who is fighting a terrible disease that seems to be ignored by much of the world, this kind of validation is much appreciated. I do not dispute the fact that it is needed. I’m just conflicted. I want it to be about more than water and ice and ten bucks. I want any type of movement such as this to be done by people that are in it for the long haul.

What are you in for the long haul? Is this it?

I’m gonna need more than 24 hours. In fact, by the time I’ve made this decision, the whole world will quite possibly have moved onto a whole other thing and I’ll just be the crazy lady next door pouring ice water all over herself.

I will tell you this, if I do indeed take the challenge, I will not do so in this manner.

Really Oprah? Come on! What is the deal with the dozen or so ice cubes and the teaspoon of water? The Huffington Post said it was done, “Brilliantly.” Um, no.

Now, this. This is how it should be done.

This is a great opportunity to know more about the unknowns of whatever organization is made better by the sharing of your gifts. I also think this is a great opportunity to talk about why we give and to whom. Let’s do that.¬†Convince me…either way…convince me.


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first they came

Not that our world is any more messed up and disturbed than any other since the fall, but we, this well educated group of freedom loving, civil rights protecting people should be able to get this one thing right. We are horrified by the activity of isis in the middle east and the loss of life. I cringe as I ask today, are we really all that different?

First They Came - My Version

I have no solutions. I can’t even begin to…

Please read the original version written by Pastor Martin Niemoller here. I read it first when we visited the National Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C.

This. This is my solution.

Come, Lord Jesus.


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our story, made possible by his story

For those of you who know our family in person, you will have heard this story…a few times, but I felt it necessary to bring it to the forefront again today.

I have another place where I have been writing on and off for a couple years. While I won’t be bringing over very much from that site, this one is important.

I saw news again of another baby, full term, taken before she could be delivered. Each time this happens it makes me ache and makes me wonder with immeasurable thanksgiving, why me. Not all of these babies can be saved, I know that. But I truly believe mine was, in part, because I read Samuel’s story¬†months before my youngest was born. The rest only God can know.

This is our story, written a week after our youngest was born. It was made possible by his story.

She had been a mover and a shaker, especially at night. As soon as I would lie down for the evening, my belly would begin to do the wave, almost always for a good thirty to forty minutes. Last Wednesday night was different. She was suspiciously quiet and when I woke at three o’clock and she wouldn’t respond with her regular predictability to my push and squish reindeer games, I knew something was wrong.

I woke Seth up with the words, “I can’t get the baby to move,” and within minutes he had called our night-time-on-call-in-case-the-baby-comes-early friend and had our almost packed bags in the car.

On our way to the hospital I felt her kick. It was small, but it happened twice and it was enough to question whether or not we should be making this trek to the hospital in the middle of the night. I burst into tears, for what would be the first of many many times that day as Seth continued driving. “Let’s just go and get things checked out.”

We arrived at the hospital and were taken into an exam room on the labor and delivery unit. Crackers and juice, I.V. fluids. We found a strong and steady heartbeat that accompanied some mild braxton-hicks contractions, but still things didn’t look quite right. Baby was not responding to the contractions as anticipated. “I’m not comfortable sending you home without seeing some accelerations.” Our first nurse’s name was Stephanie. She was a cautious yet calm gift those first few hours. A biometric sonogram was ordered and my Dr. was contacted and Seth prayed.

4 out of 8 was her score. The 30 minute sonogram measured no large movements and no lung function. “You’re gonna have this baby today.”

I had my heart set on beginning labor on my own. This was not what I had planned. Plans change.

Parents and friends were contacted and our other prayer warriors were on it, casting all our anxieties on Him.

Minutes later the pitocin was dripping and the contractions had begun, my doctor by our side. “Do you have any questions?” I had been through an induction before and could think of only one that was of any significance, “If something happens, can Seth get in to baptize the baby?”

His words were reassuring. “If I thought we were at that point, baby would be here already.”

Ok. Breathe. Cry, but breathe.

One of the nurses from the doctor’s office came by. She’s a part of the one body, one spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith too. Her presence was one of many other gifts that day.

I had had an epidural with three of my other children and thought, since I was being induced, I would probably want one this time too. The very real prospect of a c-section meant though that sooner rather than later would be the way to go. My contractions were not strong, but the desire to be ready for anything was. The epidural was in.

Seven more hours. Seven more hours of watching the monitors. Seven more hours of snail’s pace progression. Seven more hours, and then Addi, our new nurse, came running into the room. Baby’s heart rate had dropped during the last contraction. Really dropped.

More intense watching. More waiting. More dropping.

Pitocin off. Oxygen on. Still occasionally dropping. Too often.

Words of calm urgency from my doctor. “I think there’s probably something going on with the cord.”

Seth was given a gown.

Monitors were unplugged.

The Lord’s Prayer was all I could think of to say, and I’m pretty sure I only made it about halfway through before my mind wandered through pieces and parts of other prayers and words from His word, and then back again.

I was moved just across the hall.

The curtain was up and the c-section had begun.

I was surprised at how many people were in the delivery room. This time it was going to take a village just to get this baby out. I was comforted by the kindness of each of the doctors, specifically the anesthesiologist. From her play by play of what was going on behind the curtain to her calming voice telling me I really was breathing when my almost entirely numb body couldn’t feel it, she was my lifeline for our time in that place.

Once the knotted cord that was wrapped twice around her neck was removed, our newest baby girl worked those previously quiet lungs to sing the song that every mother longs to hear.

I didn’t get to hold her right away. That part stunk, probably more than any of the other unexpecteds of the day. The initial bonding was different this time and when they first placed her in my arms back in my room, she felt a bit like an alien baby. I wasn’t sure I knew her. I wasn’t certain she was mine. Rest assured, this lasted a fairly short period of time, but it was in fact different, and it is part of her birth story, so it is noteworthy.

At home, the big kids and grandparents raised their sparkling cider filled glasses in a toast to their new sibling and topped off the celebration with a sprinkle drowned bowl of ice cream.

From the hospital Seth texted and called family and friends to share the news that prayers had been answered in the form of a perfectly healthy little girl.

In the days since her birth, thoughts of “What if” run rampant. What if we had turned around and gone home? What if she had been my first and not my fifth?

Blessedly those are quieted by the words of my doctor. “Baby’s gonna make her baptism. You’re the hero here, Mom.” I feel like the new poster child for trusting your instincts.

She’s one week old today.

She took her first bath at home this morning. She has cried her way through every diaper change with the exception of one. She doesn’t sleep on her own…yet. She has been starving since the moment she was born. She has been rejoiced over by our church family. She has been held and is adored by her siblings more than any child could possibly hope to be, but just as I would imagine God intends all of His children to be.

She is after all His unique creation, and she is without question, Wonderfully Made.


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judge me.

I’m a rash thinker. I make emotional decisions and I make them quickly. This is not one of my finer qualities in that, sometimes I just end up being flat out wrong.

We’re under attack though, from one another and from within ourselves over this word, “Judge.” And so today I’m taking it on, and I believe with everything in me, I’m right about this.

“Judge not, that you not be judged!”

You’ve seen it all over social media. They are words to live by. Our trump card against all injustice are these words spoken by Jesus Himself.

We use this line from God’s word and others like it as mantras of empowerment. We scream at one another, “You can’t tell me what to do!” We throw sin back in our accuser’s face. Accuser. That’s how we view one another. And because of that, we are more determined than ever to stand our ground. We back up our friends who shout it too and elect monthly poster children for our cause.

Judge Me...PLEASE!

“God alone will judge me!” we say time and again.

Dear Friend, trust me when I say that YOU DO NOT WANT IT TO COME TO THAT!

Yes,¬†God is a God of forgiveness and love and compassion. But, we forget that He’s also a God of wrath and destruction to those who mess with His people, to those who would lead others away from Him. He says things like, “Repent,” and “turn from your ways,” and He means it. God tolerates disobedience in no form. When we are disobedient, people die. Jesus died.

But, but, but…Jesus says!

Judge Me...PLEASE! Matthew 7

These words from Matthew have caused much pain and anxiety. No. Our wrong interpretation of these words, that is the issue because we stop right there without reading further. We turn a blind eye regarding what the whole of God’s word really says about our sin and our need to be called on the carpet for digging our heels in and being unrepentant. We forget or flat out ignore that there is a verse three and a four and a five.

Jesus also says,

Judge Me

God doesn’t say, “Don’t judge.” He says, “Before you do so, you better get your own act together.” (not direct quotes)

And in response I say, Judge me. Please! Because if you do it right, if I do it right, and if we each do it in the way God intends for this judgement thing to be done, according to what His word actually says, we’ll both be better for it.

Because, here’s what will happen…

You will make certain before you come to me about my sin that that pesky log has been removed from your own eye and healed with the balm of His forgiveness. If you want to speak with me about infidelity, you’ll get your marriage in order. If you want to speak with me about gossip, you’ll put in check what comes from your fingertips and from your mouth. If you want to speak with me about forgiving others, you’ll get down on your knees and ask that God would help you do the same. Then, by all means, JUDGE ME, PLEASE!

I have no desire to be stuck in sin. None. I have no desire to disappoint my Heavenly Father. I have no desire to lead my children and others astray.

Tell me. Tell me when I’m being an idiot and am drowning in a sin that I can’t or don’t want to see. Tell me when I’m doing something that can actually harm my marriage, my children, my friends. Tell me, so I don’t find out, years down the road, in a flood of broken relationships. Tell me!

Judge me. Come and do so with the authority given to you by God, that I may gain strength and insight and self-control, and that I too may go forth forgiven, and sin no more!

You do this for me and I’ll do it for you and we’ll both be the children God intends for us to be. Well, not entirely, we’ll screw it up, every single day. But we’ll try. We’ll do it lovingly. With minds and hearts willing to change to the glory of God and for the good of our neighbor! All because we judged one another, not out of a desire for the condemnation of our neighbor, but so that God might have bountiful opportunities to be gracious and merciful and compassionate and forgiving and still working within us and a million other things.

“Judge not!” are not words to live by. They are in fact words to die by if you stop reading there.