I Am Not A Man

img_5312-jpgWell, I am not a man.

This fact has been well noted as I approach the birth of my fifth child. As a woman, I am blessed with the privilege to steward the life of another eternal being. Having experienced the pain that can accompany an unrealized pregnancy, I acknowledge that this blessing is not something to be taken for granted.

There’s a wave of perception, however, invading the conscience of society that threatens to undermine our female distinction.

Perhaps the messaging has struck you as well? That by embracing pregnancy and motherhood, you are relegating women to the lesser gender. At its extreme, the movement views motherhood as a form of bondage and oppression; a curse to be avoided and destroyed.

As a child of God, I’m glad He doesn’t feel the same way. According to God, even though I am female, I have been equally created in His image. So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).  And as a matter of salvation, “there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

Yet, we women may look at a man and think, I want what he has.

It’s no coincidence that Satan used this same trick on us in the Garden of Eden. Human nature is to want what we can’t have or what others want, distracting us from appreciating what’s already ours to enjoy.

Lest we forget, bearing children was not the consequence for Eve giving into temptation. The privilege has always been the woman’s to serve as the vessel through which God would proliferate the human race. The consequence, rather, was to bear children in pain. The role remains no less an honor.

Thankfully, God is fair. We women weren’t the only ones to feel the effects of the Fall. Sin also adversely affected man’s God-given role. Instead of eating freely from the earth, he now had to toil in pain to sustain life from the ground.

And so, I choose to view motherhood as a gift bestowed on the chosen gender.

Unfortunately, perception is reality.  And it seems the enemy’s propaganda has worked to distort the perceived worth of the woman, relegating her strength to a weakness.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t believe women should ever stop advocating for equal rights. My fear is that in our pursuit for equal rights, we may lose sight of the power inherent in our ability to bear the future generations. Our true power is in embracing who we are.

Thus, I no longer believe the lies; that reaching our potential means assuming the role of the man; that our XX chromosome imposes an undue burden rather than an undeniable privilege; that motherhood is a role to be marginalized rather than celebrated; that freedom is disposing of a life as a matter of convenience rather than experiencing the indescribable honor of stewarding a life to his or her God-given purpose.

As I embark upon the road to motherhood once again, I thank God for this most honored privilege. I advocate for society to support the women who choose to embrace motherhood and pregnancy. I encourage men to lift up and cherish our most sacred role.

And I pray that all women will proclaim with pride, I am not a man. I am a woman.

Blessed Are the Meek

img_0146Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).

But what is meek? I’ve heard it so many times. “I don’t want to be a doormat.” But what does that look like for the Christian? Can you be meek without being a “doormat?”

For most, it means being “nice to a point.” And the breaking point? It depends on the person. It’s all relative by human standards.

For the person who has endured the testing of his or her faith, that point may be little further down the line. But for most of us, we have a long way to go in training our flesh not to “break” too early.

Take Moses, for example. Early in his walk of faith, an Egyptian tested his patience by beating an Israelite without cause. Moses responded with brute strength. He killed the Egyptian. The condemnation Moses experienced from his extreme response to the injustice caused him to run and hide in the wilderness.

But God wasn’t done with him. Despite his failure, Moses grew in faith and wisdom. He learned that God could really use him if he chose to go God’s way rather than be lured by the reactions of his flesh. And by learning restraint to the point of obedience, God used him to do supernaturally powerful things.

He came to realize that self-control requires even more strength than exerting physical force or demanding his way in a situation. Restraining feelings to obey God takes a lot of humility and faith.

God calls this meekness.

Being meek is not weak, it is choosing restraint so that God can do His work in a situation. It means staying the course of obedience no matter what we feel like doing.

We are never a doormat if we choose to respond the way Scripture tells us to respond. We have the strength of the Lord Almighty on our side.

Being meek is a good thing. It’s a characteristic that God can use for His glory. We can choose today to embrace the blessings of meekness.

Parents: A New Christmas Tradition

I thought about putting together a Christmas Gift-Giving Guide for the Christian Parent. But this storyshutterstock_521383825, adapted from Dr Jerry Pipes and Victor Lee’s book Family to Family: Leaving a Lasting Legacy, touched my heart in a way that no list of gadgets could.

Are you ready ready to live the true meaning of Christmas with your family rather than barely surviving another chaotic season of activities that leave everyone drained?

Perhaps you would consider making this part of your family’s Christmas gift-giving tradition.

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Life Hurts; God Heals

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As I write this I am heading back to my hometown to visit my mother who was admitted to the ICU of the hospital. She fell and broke six ribs, puncturing her diaphragm. This puncture wound went undetected by the doctors for a week, causing extensive internal bleeding, shortness of breath, disorientation and weakness. On a scale of one to ten, when she could speak, she said her pain was a fourteen.

If you asked her, my mom would testify that any doctor who could bind up her wounds and heal her bleeding diaphragm would be worth everything right now. To her great blessing, a cardiac pulmonologist operated, binding up the puncture wound. She is finally on the road to healing.

“He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).  Is this scripture referring to a surgeon who repairs punctured diaphragms and the like? The author of this scripture lived almost 3,000 years ago. Yet he spoke of a person who could heal in ways that earthly physicians cannot, then or now.

The Psalmist spoke of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. In the Old Testament, the Messiah was something the Israelites hoped for, but who had not yet arrived.

Unlike the Israelistes of the Old Testament, we possess the blessing of  Jesus’ actual arrival and accomplishment of His purpose. We have the living hope that what the Psalmist prophesized Jesus would do is no longer just a future prospect–it happened.

Jesus said He came to heal us. He will heal us physically, true. But He primarily wants to heal our broken hearts. The brokenness that Jesus desires to fix is the brokenness of being separated from Him.

Apart from a relationship with our Savior, our hearts hurt. With Jesus, we can endure much suffering because Jesus offers to take our difficult times and give us a joy that gets us through our pain.

When we accept Jesus, He serves as the great physician to pull us into relationship with our Creator and heal the “bleeding” from willful separation.

Jesus does not promise a perfect, pain-free life. But He does offer to bind up the wounds and heal the broken hearts that result from a painful life apart from Him. By accepting Jesus’ forgiveness for our sin, our hearts are made whole; they are bound up and finally on the road to healing.

Belief

img_8985What are the blessings of believing? Mark 11:24 says, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” James 1:6 corroborates this by stating “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”

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To Smile or Not to Smile

shutterstock_134915318I love to smile. After all, smiling actually requires less muscle than frowning (call me lazy). 🙂

But have you ever smiled at someone just to have them look away? I have lived in a couple different areas of the United States and I have to admit, this happens everywhere.

There are many reasons someone may “diss” a smile. Whatever their reason, it can have the affect of making us regret the effort.

I agree, not every situation is appropriate to expect a smile. But what about the cases when a smile is not out of line, not awkward, and even arguably appropriate?

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