Hey, Pastors. It’s Time the Church Talks about Infertility.

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Hey, Pastors,

Did you know that one of out of eight couples in the US has trouble either getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy?  One out of eight.  The numbers are even bigger when you consider those struggling with it throughout the world.

While you are preaching this Sunday, count the families in your congregation.  For every eight couples present, there’s a very good chance that one of them is either infertile or has miscarried.  It is possible that your church has numerous couples who have been walking through infertility with barely speaking a word about it.

We have come so far in our history as souls walking on this Earth, yet, we still do not talk about infertility; especially in the church setting.  I’ve always wondered why.  Is it because it involves sex?  Or, maybe it’s just awkward?  Could it be that advice is hard to give and take when dealing with infertility?  I suspect it might be all of these things.

I reached out once to a big national church – like huge – with a very well-known and eloquent Pastor.  I asked them, “What are you doing for people in your congregation who are struggling with infertility?”  They told me that they refer couples/singles who are infertile to their orphan care ministry.  Okay.  That is fine but adoption is a completely different experience than infertility.  Sure, they touch each other but the experiences as whole both require full attention.  They both involve lots of tears, courage, and resilience, but, orphan care, while wonderful, does not equate caring for the infertile.

Here’s the ugly truth, though.  Infertility impacts spirituality.  Let me repeat.

INFERTILITY IMPACTS SPIRITUALITY. 

Case in point:  Several years ago, a Pastor’s wife emailed me via this blog and poured her heart out to me.  She was angry at God for not answering her prayers for pregnancy.  She was confused and felt she could not say anything out loud due to being the Pastor’s wife. Instead of turning to those within her church who know her and love her, she sought me, a complete stranger who just happens to “get it” when it comes to infertility.  I did my best to encourage her and let her know that she is free to vent to me via email anytime she needed to.  However, this is not how it should be.  Infertility should not be a secret that is kept away for fear of showing to others that none of us are spiritual warriors all of the time.

Hey, Pastors.  It’s time the church breaks open the seal of secrecy when it comes to infertility.

I grew up attending a Southern Baptist church.  The Pastor and other members of the church were warm, kind and spiritually mature (at least, that is what I thought of them). However, after my hysterectomy in 1983 (age 11), I do not recall one single person with “authority” in the church reaching out to me about what had just happened.  While they provided some support to my parents, they did not really discuss at all the impact of infertility on my life and where God was in all of it. My mom recalls that “no one asked” when referring to how she dealt with it.  Instead, our family heard lots of “She can always adopt” and “God must have a reason for this”.

I’m sorry, but this is just wrong.  While I know now that adoption was the plan for my life and I absolutely adore my children, these types of comments from other Christians did not comfort, nor did they draw me closer to the Lord.  If a wife were to lose her husband, would the church say, “She can always remarry”?  I don’t think so.

Take a look at the story of Hannah:

1 Samuel 1-15

There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.

Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the LordAlmighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the Lord. Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah, he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb. Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”

Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s house.  In her deep anguish, Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying,

Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”

As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth.  Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk, and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”

“Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.” 


Hannah was in anguish.  She was provoked until she wept.  Yet, she was misunderstood. Her pain was not clear until she bravely told of her grief.

Hey, Pastors.  There are a lot of Hannah’s in your congregation.  

You may not know it.  You may even be surprised by who they are, but they are there. They attend week after week.  They are some of your most dedicated volunteers, teach Sunday school classes and host small groups, pray for you and everyone else, and they are in pain.

Growing up with barrenness, I understand all too well that it can be a stinging arrow heading right into one’s heart.  It does not invite feelings of thankfulness.  It certainly does not create a sense of wholeness; physically or spiritually.  If the church is responsible for growing spiritual beings and encouraging the faithful, why does it do a good job at ignoring the infertile?  Scripture talks about it, so why doesn’t the modern-day church?

Hey, Pastors.  This is my challenge for you.  Learn about infertility.  Read my blog and the multitude of other blogs whose writers whisper their tears via the written word.  Talk to doctors who work with infertile couples.  Read and re-read the stories of barrenness in the Bible, and then, create an open dialog so that the Hannah’s (and spouses) in YOUR church can feel like they are not forgotten children of the Lord and that their church home is a soft spot to land in the midst of their struggle.

Hey, Pastors.  It’s Time the Church Talks about Infertility.

 

 

 

It Makes You Human

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I’m super excited to start the process of putting together a support group for people with fertility issues at my church that will begin this summer! This is something that has been on my heart for years. I’ve always felt a calling to do this but have fallen into the thought pattern of “I’m just too busy”. I do not know what the Lord is planning for this but I certainly hope that it will be used to touch the hearts of those struggling as well as educate others about infertility.

I’ve been thinking about the perceptions and stigmas of infertility a lot. One thing that was said to me far too many times is this, “Trust God’s will” and “God has a plan for this!” I knew I would never have biological children, of course, but this did not cause me to wonder what God was doing and why I had to deal with barrenness. I also knew that He must have had a plan for me to go through what I was going through, but I just wondered, at times, what He was doing. These questions were not wrong to have. If anything, they caused me to explore my faith a bit deeper. They certainly made me very human.

If you are struggling with infertility and people keep telling you “Trust God’s will” or “If it is God’s will, then it will happen”, please understand that most people do not know how to respond to someone who is dealing with fertility struggles. Not knowing how to respond also makes them very human.

The more we share our experiences, the better off everyone is. Find a trusting friend, immerse yourself with others through a support group, keep a journal, start a blog, or just start talking with others about what you are dealing with.

Whatever you choose to do, please remember that questioning God’s will in this time of your life does not make you less faithful, it just makes you human. 

 

On the Eve of Christmas Eve

Sitting here on the Eve of Christmas Eve with laundry swishing around in the washer, one child sound asleep in her bed, the other engrossed in a game while resting, and the littlest calling out “Mommy” because he doesn’t want to sleep, all I keep thinking about is their birth-mothers.  Odd, I know.  I should be wrapping last-minute gifts, and getting everything “lined up” for Christmas morning, but my mind just keeps stirring about them.

On this Eve of Christmas Eve, I wonder if they are wondering about their children…their babies…to whom I am mothering.  There is a small measure of adoptive parent guilt.  It may sound strange, but unless you are raising a child to whom you did not give birth to, you may not understand it.

I did not really earn the gift of children. Who really earns the right to raise children to whom they did not birth?  

On this Eve of Christmas Eve, my mind ponders about the many mothers who are raising children to whom they did not give birth to.  Sure, there are numerous celebrities who are adoptive parents.  Yes, they are celebrated, get book deals, and featured on major media outlets, but you know something?

The vast majority of adoptive parents are just simple, ordinary folks whose journeys have been marked, perhaps, by barrenness, struggle, heartbreak, patience, prayer, sustenance, and joy.

Wrapped up in all of their journeys is the steadfastness of humble, yet hopeful hearts.  Ordinary people, making extraordinary decisions.  Ordinary people who take on the most challenging of situations – men and women who seek out to love, hold, and commit their lives to children.

We did not earn the gift of children. Who really earns the right to raise children to whom they did not birth?  I think about the birth-mothers whose gift of life, and their sacrifice of seeking a better life for his or her child.  I think about those whom were told they could not raise their babies.

And then, I think about Mary, the ultimate birth-mother, carrying, laboring, and birthing the hope of the world.  

On this Eve of Christmas Eve, my mind wanders away to her journey to find a place for His birth.  I visualize her look when she first sees His precious face.  I think about her arms wrapping around Him, holding Him tight, and whispering His beautiful name in His ears.

Sitting here on the Eve of Christmas Eve with laundry swishing around in the washer, one child sound asleep in her bed, the other engrossed in a game while resting, and the littlest calling out “Mommy” because he doesn’t want to sleep, all I keep thinking about is the wondrous gift that children are.

I think about the amazing and incredible experience of raising children to whom I did not give birth to.  There is something mightily powerful about raising children. Each child carries within him or her, the hope and zest for a better life.

And then, I think about Mary, the ultimate birth-mother, carrying, laboring, and birthing the hope of the world.  

I know that of all the pleasures that Christmas brings, the ultimate gift is

Jesus Christ.

Messiah.  

Jehovah.  

Yahweh.  

Emmanuel.  

Redeemer.  

Savior.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. -Isaiah 9:6

 

 

Dear Future Adoptive Parents

Dear Future Adoptive Parents,

Hello.  I’m not sure what to say except that I hope you want me as bad as I want you.  I need you to need me.  I know that sounds silly, coming from a kid and all, but if I were to be completely honest, I would tell you how desperately I long for a family, a mother, a father….anyone….anyone who will stick with me.

It’s hard, you know…growing up in foster care.  I’ve been through so many foster homes that I have lost count.  Honestly, I barely remember what my birth parents were like.  I remember their struggles, and I remember their ignorance of me, but I scour my mind over and over in an attempt to remember the parts of them that were loving, kind, and made me feel special.

Dear future Mamma, I wish that one day I will find myself twirling my fingers through your hair, laughing until our bellies hurt, shopping until we drop, and feeling the softness of your gentle hug when you tuck me into bed at night.  I need a mother who will teach me to respect my body, tell me I am beautiful, and grow me into a loving person.

Dear future Dad, I’ve never had a dad who stayed around for too long.  I hope that when you say you are going to be there for me, you really mean it.  I want, so badly, for you to protect me, stick up for me, compliment me, and show me what it means to be a father.  I need more than just someone who helps to pay the bills, and watches sports with me.  I need a father who will nurture my talents, admonish my poor choices, and make me feel like the most special person on Earth.

I desperately need to feel a love without condition.  I desperately need to know that I belong to someone…anyone…. 

Dear Future Adoptive Parents,

What is it about me that makes you want to stay?  Is it my smile, that look in my eyes, or that special talent I claim as my own?  Help me to understand it.  Help me to feel the very reason why you have chosen me.  I need to know that this is not a gimmick, a popular thing to do, and a persuasion from anything outside of your own heart.

Help me to see God through you.

The truth is, I have a list of things I want in parents.  You might be surprised to know that it is the simple things in life that I yearn for.  I need parents who do not do drugs, or put their habits ahead of me.  I want a family who can have fun, laugh…a lot…and enjoy life.

I like to watch movies, and dream of family movie nights with popcorn, late hours, and lasting memories.  I would love to travel.  I’ve never been anywhere, really, except the small towns and big cities I have been passed around in while in foster care.

I know this sounds odd coming from a young person, but I really hope for a home with food in it.  I don’t want to have to worry about when or if I’m going to eat.  I want to be able to enjoy junk food, but would love a mom or dad who can cook healthy meals, and one who truly cares about my health and nutrition.

I have been disappointed so often through the years that it is hard to believe that I still cling on to the hope of a being loved…by a family…by anyone….

I still love my birth parents.  You need to know that.  I still think about them, wonder if they are okay, hope that maybe, just maybe, they are thinking about me, and question if I will ever get to see them again.

I need for you to be okay with my thoughts about my birth family.  I want you to listen to my questions, my own often misguided answers, and my longings to understand why I am living separate from them.  You need to tell me truth in a way that nurtures my growth.

This is hard, you know.  I am just a child, and yet, I have gone through, witnessed, survived, and have been pulled from a life that you and your picture-perfect friends could not even imagine.

Dear Future Adoptive Parents,

I’m not perfect, but neither are you.  Can you hold me when I rage against all that has been?  Will you stick around when I skip school, question your authority, tell you that I want to move to another family, or completely reject you?

What will it feel like when I make you feel the pain I’ve been feeling through the years?

The truth is while I have desired for a family to call my own, I have also felt afraid of one.  The “what-if’s” seem so overwhelming at times that I can hardly stand it.

What if I am rejected?  What if I am never chosen?  Why do I have this life?  What if this is as good as it gets?

Promise me one thing.  Promise me that when you will not promise forever.  I know that sounds odd, but the truth is, I have been promised forever so often that I don’t believe it anymore.

What does forever mean?  Two weeks, two months, or two years….

Instead, tell me that you will do your very best to meet my needs.  Help me to understand that I need to tell you how I am feeling.  I need a LOT of patience.  Do you have that in you?  Can you help me learn patience as well?  Really?  I mean it when I say it.  It is make-or-break for me, you know.

I am nearing the end of my childhood, and I have nothing to stand upon as I enter adulthood….Do you understand that?

Dear Future Adoptive Parents,

In so many ways, I am just like other kids.  I want to be fashionable, hang out at the local hang-outs for kids my age, participate in sports, listen to the music I want to listen to, and learn to drive when the time comes.

In other words, I want….better yet….I need a life minus all of this foster care stuff.  

If I could tell you one thing it would be this, I don’t care if you are tall, small, rich, or poor.  I don’t care if you have a mansion, a small home, a sports car, or a car that barely makes it down the road.

It doesn’t bother me if you have a few bad habits (so do I), or if you are the perfect depiction of health.  I don’t care if you are married, single, what race you are, or if you fill my list of what I want in a family.

I just cling on to the hope that you are out there searching for me just like I am longing for you.  I hope and pray that you will find yourself needing me, as much as I need you.

I know that sounds silly, coming from a kid and all, but if I were to be completely honest, I would tell you how desperately I long for a family, a mother, a father….anyone….anyone who would stick with me.

I need to feel hope for the future. 

I need you to need me.  

Author’s Note:  This post was inspired by the years I spent listening to children in foster care (of all ages) describe what they desire in adoptive families.  Moreover, it was especially inspired by a hand-written list of wants that a teenager in foster care handed her social worker when asked what she wants in a family.  I hope this post inspires you to truly consider the needs of orphans in our world, and especially, the incredible opportunity to lead youth in foster care to a life “minus all of the foster care stuff”.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. -James 1:27 

a life Eternal

In her ninety’s and near death, Elizabeth was thin, frail, and completely unaware that I was with her in the room to which she had called home for many years.  I was in graduate school and chose to do my internship at a local Hospice agency. Elizabeth was one of many clients that I was asked to go visit, provide support to, offer counsel if necessary, or offer a hand to hold.  I nudged her hand, introduced myself, and whispered that I was there to sit with her a while.  She lay there, eyes shut, and not responsive to my presence.  I sat back in the chair next to her bed, looked around a bit, and watched her in silence.

Breath in…breath out…breath in….breath out…then…..Eyes open wide, arms reaching out to the Heavens, and with a strong voice, she declared,

“Oh, the trees.  The trees.  They are beautiful.  The streets.  They are golden…and the music.  The beautiful music….it’s the most beautiful music I’ve heard.  Yes…yes, I see her.  I don’t know her, but I will see her again.” 

I sat there frozen in my chair.  It is not that I did not move.  It is that I could not move.  I watched and listened to her as she spoke out loud.  I felt peaceful, and in that moment, I knew that I was witness to a celestial exchange.  I was partly in disbelief, but mostly in pure belief that I was allowed to hear a vision of Heaven.

As soon as she was through speaking, she went back to the slow, labored breathing to which I initially watched her do.  I too felt as though I could move around, and raised up in the chair, grabbed her hand, and just held it in silence for the remainder of the hour that I was there.  As my time with her drew to a close, I gently got up, leaned over her and said “I’m leaving for now.  Thank you for this time together.”  As I exited the room, I looked back once more at the frail woman lying in the bed to which her soul would escape to Heaven.

As I walked down the halls of the nursing home, I felt elation mixed with emotion and humility.  I kept hanging on to her words that described a Heaven to which my mind could only begin to imagine.  I also clung to the part of the conversation that seemed to include me.  I had never met Elizabeth before, and had never even stepped foot in that particular nursing home.  I did not even think she noticed me.  To my amazement, I realized that I was given a glimpse of the promise of eternal life.

I thought about this experience for many days after I visited her, and heard that she lasted about seventy-two hours after our visit, and died a peaceful death.  I never told anyone at the agency about my experience.  I don’t know why.  Perhaps, I was worried that they would try to apply a medical reason for her words.  Instead, I told those close to me.

While I had similar experiences with the elderly population I worked with, this experience definitely was different from the others.  I witnessed something not of this Earth.  My presence with her was not random.  I felt as though I had been invited into a private conversation between a dying Believer and the One True Mighty Father. 

It has been nearly thirteen years since this experience; still yet, here I am writing about it.  Thirteen years ago, I was barely clinging on to the faith of my childhood.  I had just started going back to church.  My heart was still compounded by confusion of past trauma, regrets, and an unknown future.  I was not yet married, not a parent, and not even sure of the path to which I would walk down.  Sitting here now, a mother to three children, a wife, a professional in child welfare, and a Believer in Jesus Christ, I am mightily aware and thankful for this experience with the sweet soul whose room I stumbled into as a graduate student.

It seems Eternity has been on my mind and heart lately.  Of all the things spoken of in Scripture, a life Eternal is by far the most incredible promise of all.  Perhaps it is the wailing of the world that is happening, or the yearning of my own heart to draw closer to the Lord, but as of late, my thoughts have been pressed on towards our Heavenly Home.

I believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, and through Him, we have salvation.  I am not ashamed or embarrassed to say this.  I am not less intelligent, naive, or intolerant.  I am a friend, daughter, sister, wife, mother, stranger, and acquaintance.

I am the person who messes up, or sometimes, gets it just right.  I am the one who overlooks others, or sometimes, bends down on knees for total strangers.  I have a temper, a sense of humor, a serious side, and a quiet side.  I am strong.  I am weak.  I am vulnerable at times, and completely unbreakable at others.  I am a Christian.

Through reading of the Word, and the blessed experience of the one described above, I fully believe in a life Eternal.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.   -Revelation 22:1-5

Dear (Foster) Momma of a Stranger’s Child (Letter #2)

Dear (Foster) Momma of a Stranger’s Child,

You are back there again, aren’t you?  You are back at that place of frustration.  Two steps forward; then, three, maybe even four steps back.  You are tired of being tired.  You are worn out from being worn out, and yet, you get up each day, put on the unseen mask of bravery, and enter the mission field that is within your own home.

Others say to you, “I could never do what you do.”  Sometimes, though, you wonder if what they mean is, “I would never do what you do.”  When you hear these words from others, you are not really sure how to respond.  A part of you feels the compliment; yet, another part of you feels a twinge of anger.  You may even wonder, “Why couldn’t you do what I do?  Why wouldn’t you?”

Dear (Foster) Momma of a Stranger’s Child, you are a non-celebrated soldier in a battle not of your own making.

When you started this journey, your lenses were colored with excitement, hope, and joy about the path to which you started on.  Now, after witnessing the distressing, painful, and tragic sickness that is child abuse, your lenses are dusty. You still believe in hope.  You still get excited.  You still have joy when celebrating the small, yet significant, steps that the children and birth parents are making.

Yet, you know that something has changed deep within you.  You know that there is no turning back to the person you once were.  The welfare of children, and the despair within our own backyards, is something that will stick to you for the rest of your days.

Dear (Foster) Momma of a Stranger’s Child, you are changing.  Your heart is turning to the things that breaks the heart of God.  

There are times when you wonder if you are really making a difference.  It seems like just when you finish cleaning up one mess, another one pops up.  You look at the beautiful, breathing, living mess in front of you, and you get angry.  You wonder what the little one in front of you would have been like if it had not been for the horror of abuse, the tragedy of neglect, and the pain of being invisible.

Your anger subsides, and you return to the thought that we were all (and maybe still are) beautiful, breathing, living messes.  You remember the days before you became a (Foster) Momma to a Stranger’s Child.  There were times when you took two steps forward, and then, three or four steps back.

There were times when you thought, “I could never do what they do.  I would never do that.”  You thought of the other soldiers and warriors in the battle against child abuse; yet, you may have never seen yourself on the front-line of this war.  You know that your Father in Heaven put your here, but…there are times when you question why He did.

Your faith has been challenged.  Your prayers have been heavier than usual.  Your cries to the Lord are filled with the salt of your tears.  Still though, you return to the belief that your actions may go unnoticed by those around you, but they are never unseen by the same God who created You, and the beautiful, breathing, living mess in front of you.

Dear (Foster) Momma of a Stranger’s Child, your faith is being stretched. Sometimes, it hurts.  Sometimes, it feels like He is not there.  Sometimes, you feel closer to Him than you have ever felt.

Just when you begin to wonder if you are really making a difference in this world, or start to question just how significant your role is, or you are grief-stricken time and again by the ashes of despair in front of you, you remember that great things come from the ashes. You know that your Savior chose to walk with those to whom are often ignored.

Dear (Foster) Momma of a Stranger’s Child,

Just when you feel like you cannot continue…

You see more steps taken than ever before.

You feel more brave than you ever have.

You witness the transformation of lives.

You have a breakthrough in challenging behaviors.

Your heart begins to heal.

Your soul recognizes this mission field to which you are called.

You remember that beauty can rise from the most broken pieces of life.

Dear (Foster) Momma of a Stranger’s Child, YOU are taking steps.  YOU are brave.  YOU are being transformed.  YOU are making breakthroughs.  YOU are healing.  YOU are a missionary.  And…

YOU are the beauty that is rising from the ashes.

Everyone is Lovable

Sitting around our slightly scuffed up and very used dinner table, my husband asked our son what he learned at school.  Scooping up a fork full of red beans and rice, our son said,

“We learned that everyone is lovable.”

My husband and I glanced at each other with both surprise and gratitude.  I took a bite of my cornbread, chewed as quickly as possible, and said to him,

“That is a great lesson.”

I thought about his statement throughout the night.  At what point do we start to not think this way?  When do we decide that some people are more lovable than others?  In our adult experience, why is it that we forget this lesson?  Why is it that children must teach it to us?  

As a Christian, I have found myself seeing others with blurred vision.  There are certainly people who I would never want to surround myself with, and yet, perhaps these people are the exact ones that Christ sought so desperately.

We teach our children to love without borders, to be kind without restrictions, and to give without expectation; yet, we often do not live up to the standard that we teach. And yet, it takes a simple elementary school lesson to stir my heart upon these things.

Since becoming a parent, I have felt drawn towards the refining messages and lessons learned from watching them grow up.  Our children teach us so much – just like we taught our parents, and so on.  I thank The Lord for these lessons, second chances at getting it right, and tender moments when you just know that the words coming from the lips of your child are totally meant for you.

I’ve been asked how I feel about certain political issues, social debates, and hot topics that make up our days.  If I want to live a life aligned with the heart of Christ, then, I choose to leave my answer at a place of love.  I’ve decided that nothing else matters except a heart that loves, a heart that forgives, and a heart that admits we are all in need of love.

I’m so thankful that my son walked away from school (public school, I might add), with the reminder that everyone is lovable…Everyone – rich, poor, clean, dirty, shameful, unashamed, popular, unpopular, black, white, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, gay, straight, smart, not smart….the list goes on.

Thank you, Lord, for finding me lovable in the moments I’ve deserved it the least, the moments I’ve needed it the most, and in that incredible moment You drew a last painful breath on the Cross.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, – Galatians 5:22