Monday, June 29, 2015

Celebrating Marriage Equality!

I'm a proud citizen of these United States to bear witness to such a huge step toward the progress of human rights in our country! To think a few generations ago, it was illegal for blacks to marry whites and now it seems like ancient history. Today, we can say that homosexual individuals now have the right to marry in all 50 states! Now, let's stop using the phrase "gay marriage" and simply call it "marriage". 

Some people feel that I am "betraying" my Christian beliefs to support the gay marriage rights movement. 

How can that possibly be? By definition, I am a Christian. A follower of Christ. He is my Lord and Savior and I am meant to follow in His example.

His example was one of love, tolerance and prayer. 

Even though there are passages in the Bible discounting homosexuality and calling for a man and woman to be joined and "be fruitful" those arguments are completely invalid.

1. The legal concept of marriage is not strictly a Christian (nor any other religious) concept in any part of the world. Does this mean atheists cannot legally marry? Of course not.

2. Religious beliefs are separate from individual rights and liberties defined by the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights. This is about FREEDOM and EQUALITY.

3. The Bible does not speak of "gay marriage" though I admit, it does speak against homosexuality. That said, it does not recommend or in anyway speak of a "punishment" or consequence of homosexuality. Those are concepts created by us, inferior, judgmental humans. They are not God-given direction The Bible is largely left to interpretation and that can be the downfall of man if not done carefully. It's very hard to interpret the Bible and even with the guidance of our best religious scholars, we're only hoping (maybe even assuming) we've got in right. The Bible does, however, discuss the sin of divorce and calls for stoning to death as the punishment inflicted. Should we also uphold stoning as law? As followers of Biblical teachings, we cannot pick and choose, which leads me to my fourth point.

4. The overwhelming lesson of the Bible and His teachings, is LOVE. Time and time again, we read "Love they neighbor as you love thyself". Do not cast stones. Do not judge, etc. These are indisputable and very simple to understand. Here is a quick sample of references:

Leviticus 19:18
"'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
Matthew 19:19

honor your father and mother,' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.'"
Matthew 22:38

This is the first and greatest commandment.
Romans 13:8

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.
Romans 13:10

Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Galatians 5:14

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

5. Who, as Christians, are we to hate anyone whom God Himself has created. Who are we to judge or withhold? I am blessed with the privileged and right to marry the man I love. Who am I to deny that to anyone else, regardless of whom they love enough to marry? Who am I to cast stones? That is NOT the Christian way and I encourage anyone to persuade me otherwise.

Congratulations to all of you whom can truly appreciate this moment in our history! God bless!

Monday, June 1, 2015

A Christian Perspective on Caitlyn Jenner

Like millions of others, I saw the early release of Caitlyn Jenner's introduction on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine. Caitlyn, formerly Bruce Jenner, looks stunning! Anyone who looks that way should be on the cover of a magazine for the world to see! Kudos, Ms. Jenner!

I realize my stance on gender issues is very liberal compared to many Christians, but I stand by them. I'm open to debate, but the simple truth of Christianity is that we are to follow and embrace the teachings of Jesus. I do not interpret the Bible literally as it's a fact that much of it was written by human witnesses of events and oftentimes changed by different versions of the book, along with the simple passage of time. I understand that much of it was divinely written and with various authors being part of a divine act.

Still, the simplest and most pure aspect of Christianity is LOVE. You don't have to understand, you don't have to agree and you can cite as many Biblical references as you want, but Bruce's decision to transition into Caitlin was his own to make. God is our judge, not you. Caitlin's introduction into the world, while intriguing, does no harm. Her family will struggle, undoubtedly, but I pray time heals their wounds and acceptance floods their hearts--as it should ours.

More of my thoughts, and Biblical passages of reference here: Kudos Clean & Clear!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Miracle!!

I have to share a wonderful miracle!

God has always been a wonderful provider and we received a big reminder of that today!

With my recent ectopic scare, my ER bills total $930 that we owe out-of-pocket. The bills just started to pour in....

I have a second job as an auditing contractor 2x a year where I get a random amount of hours (completely unpredictable). Two of those checks arrived today, totaling $940!

What a wonderful miracle of timing! God has always been kind with us with financial matters. I always say, we may not have what we want, but we're extremely blessed to have what we need. I just thanked God this morning and prayed "please bless us to always be able to provide for our children and raise them to be good Christian adults."


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Marriage, Miscarriage and Intimacy.

I find marriage to be difficult.

It's not difficult in a way that makes it unenjoyable or not worthwhile; what I mean is, it's difficult for ME to navigate. My husband is almost always accommodating, easy-going and considerate. As far as most men go, I'm extremely fortunate to have the husband I do.

I'm ashamed to say I'm a bad wife. I do try, but far too often, I place my own selfish feelings and desires ahead of his.

Mothering is also difficult at times, but it's instinctual. Even during trying times, for the most part, I have an inane sense of what is right and how to handle situations. Marriage is not like that, not for me at least. While I know what my husband thinks, feels, desires and needs for the most part, he's a grown adult and I can't make decisions and "lead" him like I can our children. I'm not his boss, nor his mother and I don't desire to be.  He's as strong-willed as I am, and I respect (and appreciate that) but it takes a lot of humility to have a healthy marriage, and I lack that gene.

Trust me when I say I'm working on that! I pray for humility. I strongly desire a more humble attitude and even writing this post is meant to help me with that endeavor.

However, it's not simple. You see, I have no example. I've been accused of being "too hung up on" my childhood,  but as I age, the more I realize just how much my past affects me now. With parents who could barely stand to be in a room together without verbal and physical altercations, I was not shown an example of humility and putting another's needs first. Being neglected, taught me to be fiercely independent. Being deprived of physical contact taught me to be distant. I was often not allowed to speak (during meals, when the TV was on, in the car, at family gatherings) so I learned to stay silent. I was hit, so I learned to remain still, control my breathing and essentially "hide in plain sight." I learned to survive alone and that is my comfort zone. I had parents who put their needs first at all times and told me I was unwanted and "ruined their lives." So, probably stemming from a survival instinct, I learned to completely detach and distance myself whenever there is any type of stressful situation.

It wasn't until I unexpectedly found myself in a committed relationship that I had to learn to change my way of thinking. I had to put another adult first. While that can be extremely easy at times, where I fail the most is when my "survival instincts" take over. On an average day, I'm more than happy to give up that doughnut for my love. On a stressful day, I find it VERY difficult to think of anyone else by myself. Tooth pain? Forget it, leave me alone. It's like there is a wild animal raging inside my brain. My anxiety goes through the roof and it's all I can do to control my thoughts from swallowing me into an abyss. It sounds dramatic, but it's honest.

Disclaimer: For all mentioned, children are easier to me. They are innocent/helpless souls and it's instinctual (easy) to always place a child above my own self. I believe that stems from my upbringing as well--never being able to rely on adults and wanting to take care of children who I can emphasize with.

Simply, it takes serious thought to 'remember' to put my husband first, in all ways; which I do want to do. I honestly, with all my heart, want to put him first no matter what. I cannot, no matter how much I try. It's not natural and I can only do it after I take (far too much) time to think things through.

I had a miscarriage recently. It was traumatic, to say the least. My body is just now healing and admittedly, it's been nearly 2 months since I've been intimate. I'm still not willing, though I can't explain why (don't know!) and I handled it poorly. I'm writing this post because I'm trying to sort out my brain and I'm procrastinating when I know an apology is due.

This is my process. At the time, I was annoyed and thinking "why do I have to deal with this" instead of looking at it as a distraction from my hardship or an opportunity to bond, love and be loved.

I'm a jerk, but more so, I'm lost. I have so many issues to overcome and it is embarrassing that at my age, I cannot let go of my past. It continues to ruin me and affect the people I love, who were never there and can never understand.

I'm only sure of one thing. I can survive with the Most High God and He's been with me, holding my hand all along.

I just have to keep working and asking for forgiveness--from both of them.

God, help me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

We May Never Know Why

We were surprised with an ectopic pregnancy despite having a tubal ligation performed 2.5 years ago. I will write more later, I'm not up to it now, but Rest in Peace, little angel. I wish it could have happened differently.

You may not have been here for long, but you'll never leave our hearts.

Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Freedom of Trust

Do you ever think of Trust equaling Freedom?

I have lately.

I'm guilty of harboring an excessive amount of worry, paranoia, etc. My health is an especially sensitive topic for me. I was raised in an environment when I rarely saw a doctor. Sometimes years would go by and even then, I was often so sick before I saw a doctor I was hospitalized. It's even the reason I pursued a medical career. I wanted to learn more about an industry that intimidated and confused me. While I'm comfortable in my career and of course learned a lot, it's a mixed bag. I often find that after my cancer diagnosis as a teen; now working in an oncology practice might make me worry more.

I'm constantly scared that I'll have a recurrence. While it wouldn't have bothered me before--now I have something to live for. Now, I want to be able to provide for my husband and watch my kids grow up. Now, I have people that would be let down if I became incapacitated or left this world.

I never received follow-up care to address my thoughts/feelings/emotions after my diagnosis. I had surgery to remove the tumor and I was sent home. There, I stayed in bed for weeks with few visitors and little to do but sleep and watch TV. My grandmother called up a couple times a day to check on me and my mother stopped every couple of days to visit for a bit. I lost friends and family were afraid to talk to me. My (diabetic) father called to ask if I would give him a kidney "since you were just opened up, it'd be easier." I flatly said No. I felt empowered. It's not as though he was even a transplant candidate, it was just his way of pushing more emotional abuse upon me, but that's for another post.

I was alone afterward. My teen-aged friends abandoned me entirely. My family tip-toed around me and began to make comments about my "barren" status and how I'd "obviously never have kids". I was lost, sad, scared and maybe worst of all, indifferent.

Fast forward nearly 17 years later and nearly all of those emotions still plague me. Any twinge or unusual cycle makes me consider the cancer is coming back. My IBS diagnosis makes me think colon cancer is in my future. Everything leads back to cancer in my mind and I'm tired of it. I started a facebook page promoting "Ovarian Cancer Awareness and Support" but I'm in a leadership role and that's not benefiting ME like I'd hoped it would. I need help.

I hear people say "Trust God" and I do. I can honestly say I trust Him entirely. I don't always like His plans, but I trust Him. My problem comes from being human. Something upsets me and I search for signs and answers. Those usually lead me down a dark path. Because Christianity is my "second language" based on coming into it later in life, it's a bad habit of mine to worry/fret/panic before I even remember to meditate with God. To pray but more so to listen. I need to RUN to Him with open arms before I fall into worry. I need to SHOW my trust not just talk of it. I need to get into the HABIT of TRUSTING. (That is also a lesson I have yet to learn fully)

What I finally realized is that I've wanted freedom my whole life. Freedom from worry, pain, abuse, etc. It was right under my nose the whole time. If I can LIVE with Trusting God, I will truly be free. I will be more carefree and happy, like my father-in-law who is always happy and has a close relationship to God. My challenge isn't trust but letting go of my need to understand. Trusting God means accepting that I may never understand and it's OKAY. I just accept His will and live minute-to-minute if I have to.

It'll be a difficult journey for me, but it's one I'm willing to take.

Guide me, Lord. Help me release my fears and Trust You and love You more each day!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Holy Gift of Easter

Let us Rejoice, He has Risen!

Thank you, Lord, for your only begotten son. Thank you for your sacrifice and the hope and salvation it brings us.

Let's honor the great sacrifice by working. Let us work on becoming better Christians; better servants to Christ. Let us help our fellow man and learn to love each other more. Let the spirit of renewal overcome us!

The joyful news that He is risen does not change the contemporary world.  Still before us lie work, discipline, sacrifice.  But the fact of Easter gives us the spiritual power to do the work, accept the discipline, and make the sacrifice.
~Henry Knox Sherrill

Lord, guide us and help us become vessels to complete the tasks you set before us. Let Your work be done through my hands and heart. Give me the courage and fortitude to see Your will be done. Create a clean heart in me, O God, and renew a faithful spirit within me.
In Jesus' name, AMEN!