Lovingly and Graciously
Updated: Aug 31, 2020
August 2020 in Presque Isle...the best of summer on Michigan's Sunrise Coast with half of our kids and my cousin Deborah and her husband John at their beautiful home. We feasted on delicious food and precious time together with family. Aaron jumped at the opportunity to go on a Lake Huron charter fishing trip with Deb and John on their 12th wedding anniversary. They did very well...
Aaron and his 29 1/4" lake trout, which provided a delicious dinner that he cooked for us the night before moving him into his dorm at Spring Arbor University--in which he'll be RA--for his junior year.
What a beautiful summer we’ve had in Michigan, lots of warm sunny days with a little rain just lately for the thirsty lawns and plants. However, the United States is weathering some big storms…derechos, hurricanes and riots. But enough about the weather.
Despite the pandemic, between July 31 and August 23 we attended four outdoor weddings. Each was absolutely lovely and God-honoring, with very beautiful ceremonies and vows exchanged. I was overwhelmed with joy for these special couples who all take the covenant seriously and celebrated marriage with unabashed, lavish and heartfelt sincerity in the midst of a time when many are rescheduling for a later date in order to maintain pre-pandemic wedding plans.
I am thankful that I have not had to miss any funerals, for obvious reasons. At the height of the quarantine, we learned of an acquaintance whose husband with dementia had died alone. Sadly, this is a familiar story for far too many. I recently listened to this moving interview with a man who experienced the same with his wife and has now become the founder of the Never Alone Project to pass legislation to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else ever again.
When we experience profound things first-hand—like marriage, birth or death—we have a golden opportunity for personal growth. I did not understand the gravity of loss until almost a decade ago when my beloved father became gravely ill and died. I could not truly fathom what becoming one flesh meant ("besar echad" in Hebrew) until I became wed to my dear husband Scott. (Click HERE for an excellent message on Biblical marriage.)
Likewise, my four pregnancies and births were transformative. But hearing my mother describe receiving me as an infant, I know that a physical birth is not required. Thanks to the loving act of adoption, becoming a parent transcends biology. Becoming something is very often a choice.
As far as it depends on us, we choose daily: to be a child that honors our parents, to love sacrificially in our marriage, to put other’s needs above our own desires (Parenting 101). Choosing these things is not just a matter of mental assent, it involves action. James, the brother of our Messiah, challenges us: “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” (James 2:18)
Just like faith is a choice illustrated by action, so is love. Too many people misunderstand love simply as an emotion and allow feelings to be their main motivator. This explains why people so readily divorce, abuse and kill their children and disrespect their parents. Feelings can be a good thing but also can’t be wholly trusted. They can be misleading.
This is why we need and benefit from good rules. Imagine vehicular travel with no signs, guides or rules. When a light is out at a major intersection, we all know to treat it as a four-way stop. But what if we drove around at whatever speed we wanted without any regard for others? I feel like driving on the left side today. I don’t feel like stopping for red.
What rules for life do you follow? Don’t be fooled into letting your feelings be your guide.
“There is a way that seems right but in the end it leads to death.” ~ Proverbs 14:12
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. ~ Proverbs 9:10
Emmett Till in a photograph taken by his mother on Christmas Day 1954
Sixty-five years ago, nearly to this day, 14-year-old Emmett Till of Chicago was brutally murdered in Mississippi. Two men kidnapped, beat, shot him and then wrapped a heavy object around his neck with barbed wire and threw him into a river. Three days later his body was recovered.
Till was buried in Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois on September 6, 1955. But before he was put in the ground, his mother chose to allow his body to be viewed. Mamie Till said this about her decision to have an open-casket funeral: “There was just no way I could describe what was in that box. No way. And I just wanted the world to see.”
“Tens of thousands of people lined the street outside the mortuary to view Till's body, and days later thousands more attended his funeral…Photographs of his mutilated corpse circulated around the country, notably appearing in Jet magazine and The Chicago Defender, both black publications, generating intense public reaction. Time later selected one of the Jet photographs showing Mamie Till over the mutilated body of her dead son, as one of the 100 most influential images of all time. (For the photograph and story click THIS LINK.)
”For almost a century, African Americans were lynched with regularity and impunity. Now, thanks to a mother's determination to expose the barbarousness of the crime, the public could no longer pretend to ignore what they couldn't see.” (Wikipedia)
Mamie Till knew that it would be a mercy to allow others to see her beloved son’s mutilated and decomposing body. The influence was seismic, with the photographs causing a powerful ripple effect even to this day.
“There was just no way I could describe what was in that box. No way. And I just wanted the world to see.” ~ Mamie Till
It is gut-wrenching to view horrific images of fellow humans who have been destroyed. Have you visited a Holocaust museum? If not, you should. It is a vital way to honor the dead and remember the past so we don’t repeat it.
Before I became opposed to abortion, I was offended by photographs of aborted babies, refusing to look and disgusted at the audacity of someone to display such images in public. Now that I understand the preciousness of life at all stages of development--inside and outside the womb--I am still offended. These photos still disgust me, but when I see them my heart is no longer hardened and angry, but rather broken and deeply saddened.
I see these little children's bodies--mutilated and torn apart--and I ache. For the heinous destruction of an image bearer of God. For a mother and father with a gaping hole who will never know her and his son or daughter. For a community that will never know this person, who was made for good.
Scott Klusendorf, of Life Training Institute said the above in conjunction with the telling of the murder of Emmett Till. Klusendorf is a teacher and speaker with Life Training Institute, which states: "We use images of abortion (click HERE for some of those images) wisely, graciously, and truthfully in order to appeal to the moral intuitions of those who choose to view them. Many have never seen abortion’s victims, and continue to accept the euphemisms that dehumanize the unborn—just as societies have done throughout history before images of injustice became widespread and known. When we use imagery, it is through a Gospel lens—not with the intent to incite guilt. In doing so, our hope is that honest dialogue can be had, and real healing can be found."
"According to the CDC, abortion kills more black people than HIV, homicide, diabetes, accidents, and heart disease - combined." ~ Personhood Alliance
WATCH this video from the NATIONAL BLACK PRO-LIFE COALITION
Civil Right for the Unborn - Click HERE
Post-Abortion Recovery for Men and Women - Click HERE
This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.
Choose ABUNDANT LIFE
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. ~ John 10:10