Love Wins – Let Us Not Forget That

Jesus is LoveThis week’s ruling regarding same-sex marriages has given me so many moments to pause, and to pray. I’m going to be brutally honest. Some of you might want to hit a “dislike” button (if there was one), and that’s okay.  I value the fact that we all have opinions, and they matter.

My heart is conflicted about the ruling. On the one hand, as a Christian, I believe in the word of God and His definition of marriage. I really do. On the other, I believe in freedom, life without persecution, and civil liberties for all.  I have always rooted for the underdog.  I have always felt great empathy for people who struggle.  Even as a kid, I remember talking with my mom about the social injustices of the world.

This whole thing has brought back a memory of mine that I had forgotten about. In my twenties, I worked in the mail room of a large grocery wholesale warehouse. One of the male employees of the warehouse asked me out on a date. I told him that it was very nice of him, but that I wasn’t interested in going on a date with him. Nothing personal, he was just not my type.  I had the right to say no.

The next Monday when I returned to work, the Human Resources Director asked that I come to his office.  I thought I was being fired or something, but could not think of anything wrong that I had done.  When I arrived in his office, he said, “Caroline, I need to tell you that there is a rumor going around the entire warehouse and offices about you.”  I sat there in a state of intrigue.  He said, “Someone spread the rumor that you are a lesbian.”  I laughed.  I knew it was the guy that I had rejected.  I told him my sexual orientation was no one’s business, but I liked men… a lot.

He assured me that it was being handled, and they would not allow for this to continue.  As I left the office, I felt the eyes of others on me.  Throughout the weeks afterward, I heard whispering and laughter when I walked by.  I felt the glaring eyes of the men in the warehouse, and I felt extremely vulnerable.  It was not a good feeling at all.  Being called a lesbian was not one of the worse things I could have been called, but the whole experience was disheartening.  I felt judged.  I experienced worry over how far this rumor could go.  I was angry, and sad.

For the past day or so since the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriages, I have witnessed both elation and bitterness from my friends who are on different sides of the issue.  I have read hate-filled messages on my Facebook news feed.  I have cringed when my friends who are not believers have taken this opportunity to bash Christians.  I have wondered, “Do they understand that in many ways, they are bashing me?” On the other hand, I have also read cringe-worthy responses from my Christian friends. I have wondered, “Are their words and actions representing Christ?”

Throughout the past few days, I have read where others have commented about the sanctity of marriage.  Let’s be honest, marriage in our current culture has been a bit of a mess.  If we include that this ruling has defiled the sanctity of marriage, then we must include that domestic violence, divorce, greed, emotional absence, and infidelity also defile it.  I believe that is something we can all agree on.  It is also something that we should all be in prayer about.

I have been praying about all of this.  I have asked God to forgive my thoughts about this whole subject.  I have asked Him for clarity in this confusing state I find myself in.  I have also asked God to convict my heart with a passion for His children – straight, gay, atheist, Christian, Muslim, conservative, liberal, and lost.

The one thing that has stuck out the most in my social media feed are the words, “Love Wins”.  Honestly, I cannot think of more sweet-sounding words,  My prayer is that love always declares itself the winner, and that Christians would respond in ways that show Jesus to the world.  After all, love has already won.  Let us not forget that.  

I’m not a perfect Christian.  In many ways, I fail God daily.  After reading this, you might think that I am not Christian enough if I am not completely against this ruling. That is okay with me.  I would just ask that you would include me in your prayers, instead of your persecution.

In many ways though, I am glad that I am conflicted about it.  Because of it, I feel closer to God.  I feel a deeper connection to the human experience.  I feel the need to converse with Him more, and to trust Him more.  I have this yearning to reach out to others, to share in their experiences, to understand their reasoning, and to show Christ to them.

“Love Wins”  This is something I believe in.  

On the cross, Love gave all.  On the cross, LOVE WON.  Despite the worry of many, the truth is that Christ gave His life for everyone – straight, gay, atheist, Christian, Muslim, conservative, liberal, and lost. I cannot think of a greater example of love than this.

After all, love has already won.  Let us not forget that.  

Adopted for Daily Life: A Devotional for Adopting Moms {Adoption.Com Article)

Several months ago, I was asked to be a contributing writer for a Christian devotional for moms who are in the process of adopting.  The devotional was a collaborative effort straight from the hearts of twenty-five mothers whose lives have been forever changed by the gift, and challenges, of adoption.

This was an incredibly special project for me.  My five-day devotion was on the subject of barrenness.  Obviously, this subject is one that I have lived with, and am passionate about.

Here is a link to an article I wrote for the Adoption.Com website about the devotional:  Adopted For Daily Life:  A Devotional for Adopting Moms

The book is available on Amazon Kindle and paperback.  One hundred percent of the proceeds go towards supporting children in need of permanent families in the country of Nicaragua.

If you are someone, or know someone who is getting ready to adopt, this book would make an excellent gift!

Blessings,

Caroline

God Won’t Leave You In It {the wilderness of parenting}

Several months ago, I was contacted by an author regarding contributing for a devotional for adopting moms.  I was asked to write a five-day devotion, and agreed to do so.  The book is now out (future blog post to come about it).  I’ve been reading through parts of it, and came across this from one of the other contributors.

In the weekly devotion on the topic of love, she writes:

“Sometimes I feel as if I’m doing this all wrong. Being a mama is hard. My dishes are piled in my sink as I type this. I had to dig through dirty clothes that were in the floor to find pajamas for my baby because the flu has overtaken our house this week. It’s Monday and I haven’t bought groceries for the week. Toys are scattered all over my living room and if I hear Mickey Mouse Clubhouse one more time, I think I might scream.

However, these are insignificant to the despairs you might be feeling today. Loving children that come from hard places is difficult. You might have numerous therapy appointments scheduled this week. You might feel as if you’re the only parent who is still having trouble bonding with your child. You might feel as if this calling to adopt has taken you out in the wilderness and left you with nothing but pain, like Hagar. But God didn’t leave her there.”

Wow. Yep, this one completely jumped out at me. Life seems like a vast wilderness, sometimes. Parenting does, too. So thankful, though, that God does not leave us in our messes, and on our own as we tackle life.

If you are feeling as though your own parenting journey has become a wilderness, take heart. While the journey may be difficult at times, God won’t leave you in it alone.

Check It Before You Wreck It

My eight-year-old son was starting to get a little snippy with his sister, and soon, I heard my husband say to him, “Check it before you wreck it.”  As my husband came into the kitchen, I said, “That was a good one.”  He then began to tell me about a teenager on his caseload who has been exhibiting behaviors that could very well lead her into more troubles.

“I told her that she needed to watch how she is acting, and she then said, “Check it before I wreck it”, my husband said.  We both acknowledged that was quite insightful coming from a teenager who is prone to having behavioral problems,

“Check it before you wreck it.”

These words have been on my mind tonight.  How many times have we all wrecked important things in our lives simply because we did not check ourselves first?

And then, I think about my own life experience.  There has been many moments that I completely failed as a human being.  My anger, jealousy, or selfishness have all gotten in the way of making the best decisions, acting in a way that honors God, or restoring things that are broken.

When it comes to parenting, I’ll admit that I am far from perfect.  My children test me on a daily basis.  My oldest son and daughter are like oil and water in that they tend to aggravate each other most of the time, and our youngest, well…he’s almost three…so you know how challenging that can be.

Have I checked myself before I’ve lashed out in frustration towards my children? Have my words cut at times, instead of heal?  Have I truly checked myself before I’ve wrecked whatever it is that I’m dealing with?

I think about our relationship with God.  There is really not a lot that we can do to totally wreck it, except for perhaps turning completely away from Him and denying Him.  How precious that is…to think that even during our biggest fumbles in life, and our crazy wreckage that we leave behind, the Lord still welcomes us.

“Check it before you wreck it.”

Maybe we could all learn a lesson in this.

Check your desires before you wreck your marriage.

Check your loyalty before you wreck your friendship.

Check your temper before you wreck the trust with your children.

Check your motivations before you wreck your career.

And, check your heart before you wreck your life.