#BlackLivesMatter

“Better a little righteousness than much gain with injustice.”

Proverbs 16:8

Tonight my heart burns so deeply there aren’t words to describe.

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A Tender Reminiscence

I had all the intentions of writing some thoughtful, well versed piece tonight in commemoration of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.

But 1 tea party, 2 children and 1 sick husband tucked in bed, 2 grant proposals, and a million work emails answered-later my brain is fried. All that’s left are just some wandering thoughts.

October 9th came and went with little recognition.

I bought an ivy.

I named her Gretchen.

She sits on my desk hutch at work, basking in the natural and florescent lights. She’s spoiled.

I thought about taking the day off but then decided I would work the first half and then maybe take off early. But then I ended up staying all day. It was probably better that I did that.

Dylan and I went out to eat at Olive Garden with the girls and enjoyed some family time together. It’s so rare lately that we’re all in one place together without one of us rushing out the door and blowing kisses in passing. Such is this time of life.

And it hits me that she (I’ve decided that she would’ve been) would be around four months now, give or take a couple weeks.

And that’s hard.

But not as hard as it was last year.

Or last month.

But still hard nonetheless.

And so I press on, acknowledging the truth and finding solace in the Psalms. In my husband and my daughters. In Moses, the ever constant, neurotic pug companion of mine. In my friends and family. In books and music. In the experiences of the everyday constants. The routine. The surprises and unknowns.

I’m not sure if it ever gets easier, I can’t imagine experiencing this type of ferocious emotion again. I pray I don’t. But I think that, in hindsight and with the strength of being a year out, I’ll be okay and life has and will continue in this new normal. A normal that changes and gains meaning each day because of and not because of October 9th.

What a darkly funny date to be emblazoned in my memory alongside mine and my husband’s anniversary, our children’s birth dates, our family’s birth dates, my airplane day, all these dates that I’ve committed to memory for one reason or another.

But Gretchen’s charming. And healthy. And she purifies my dry office air.

She’s got long, graceful limbs and her leaves arch in the most delicate way. She makes my desk seem inviting, and soothing.

A tender reminiscence.

Re: To women, young ladies, and girls

I should start off by saying that this blog is for me, my family, my friends, but mostly for me. It’s a running record of thoughts, of growth, and of copious amounts of adorable pictures of my girls. It’s a place where I can unleash the thoughts burbling around in my head, help me stay on track, give an illusion of organization amidst the chaos of our life. This blog is not meant to attract a group or person or persons or anyone for that matter. It’s meant for me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like readers…it gives me an imaginary pat-on-the-back, ego-boost feeling that there are other people like me out there. It’s nice to build a small blogging community of people that you can share ideas with, learn from and teach, and all that stuff. It’s nice. But at the end of the day that doesn’t really matter.

And I guess I’m telling you all this because I got a WordPress notification the other day that someone had commented on one of my posts. Not a regular reader, just somebody who stumbled across a post from earlier this year, I’ve posted it as follows:

jack on February 11, 2013 at 12:39 am said:

Maybe women should care how a man feels about it.

It’s fine to have an all-female echo chamber about how sexual sin is not all that serious, but it is.

I’d rather die single (and I am sure I will) than marry a formerly promiscuous woman. Too many risks. It has nothing to do with forgiveness. It is just that I am not interested. I don’t need to marry that badly, I suppose.

And I don’t want to have to imagine my wife with a dozen previous lovers.

Not interested.

If you’re lost, he was commenting on a post that I entitled “To Women, Young Ladies, and Girls.” You can read it here. I suggest you do, it is good stuff. But to sum it up if you don’t want to take the time, it’s basically a gathering of pieces that question why a woman’s worth and even more importantly, her faith is measured so heavily, if not solely, on her virginity. So much emphasis and focus put on a woman’s abstinence from sexual activity, consensual or not (the “or not” part being another discussion in itself entirely and certainly not any less of one that needs to be explored) and not on the fact that she has been cleansed in Christ’s redeeming power and love. I posted it because I have two daughters, I am a woman, a wife, an ex-girlfriend, I have female friends, colleagues, nieces, cousins, aunts, sisters-in-law, sisters-in-Christ, and even more succinctly, because I am simply a member of humanity. This issue needs to be discussed. Needs to be challenged and brought into the twenty-first century.

And normally, I wouldn’t respond to a comment like that. Normally I would just delete “Jack’s” comment and be on with my day. But for whatever reason, I think it needs an answer. A rebuttal, if not to simply keep the conversation at the forefront so it doesn’t remain shoved in the back behind gay rights or abortion.

I’m not looking for a fight. I never am when I post such material. I’m looking for thoughts, well thought out, well versed and supported in a manner that would fly in a high school debate setting. I’m looking to grow. Myself. Personally. I want to grow and become a better player in humanity, in our world, to beautify all the ugly that we so often just shrug at with a “what can I do?” attitude. I’m tired of that. I’m no activist. Not really a leader, more of a jaded idealist who fully believes that if we all tried to make just one thing a little better real change could come about in a monumental fashion. Me? I’ll start by responding to this one comment.

Jack, 

 I don’t know how you stumbled across my little piece of the blogosphere. I can’t imagine what tags or categories you were browsing to wind up here. Were you looking for a cookie recipe? I have a lot.

I found your comment interesting in which you exemplified the reason behind my posting such an article. Not only did you only focus on you, as a man (I presume), but as a man who sees and values a woman’s worth as if they’re “marriageable.” No comment on a woman’s faith or spirituality, no comment on whether or not God has forgiven her and made her anew in His likeness, but a rather simple statement, a simple judgment that speaks volumes. A woman who has had a sexual experience (of any kind I’m assuming) would never be worthy of a man such as yourself.

Maybe that’s too sweeping. Maybe that statement is unfair. Let’s go back to your comment and break it down.

 Maybe women should care how a man feels about it.

I don’t think that any of the authors argued that women shouldn’t care about how men in their life feel about their sexual experiences but rather that women are judged by society in all avenues—beauty, weight, wealth, etc., and that we, as people, men and women with or without sexual experiences, should focus on how God sees us. That we should trust and believe that our worth is deeply and firmly rooted in his unending love for us and that through accepting his grace we are cleansed of the old, a life paid so many years ago to give sinners (men AND women) the ability “to taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8, NIV). Without that ultimate sacrifice of death on a cross, murderers, liars, adulterers, thieves, the lazy, the greedy, Pharisees, men and women old and young, would not be able to join in relationship with God. We all would be without grace. Without life.

Granted, it’s quite obvious I’m coming from a Christian background which is why those articles ring so true in relevance for me. If you are not, you’ll simply have to bear with me. Hopefully some of what I say will make sense even if you do not prescribe to the same faith system as me.

Simply put, men and women shouldn’t give a shit about what other people think. Rather they should focus their energy, their worth, and their soul on God’s truths. That “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27) and that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

 It’s fine to have an all-female echo chamber about how sexual sin is not all that serious, but it is.

No one ever said that sexual sin is not serious. Sexual sin is indeed a sin. The Apostle Paul summed it up for us when he said, “When you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4: 21-24). After accepting Christ’s grace and love, we choose a new life, we choose to try and strive for a godly life and godly virtues. But remember we “all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and not one of us will achieve a life of sinlessness. That’s not even a word it’s so unreal. (Read: unachievable, unattainable, impossible)

No one is encouraging young women and men to go and have sexual relationships as they please, but women are reacting to the double standard that is so firmly cemented across cultures that a woman’s value and worth is based solely on her virginity. A virginity that is trumped as the ultimate way for a woman to prove her faith. A virginity that doesn’t take into account the atrocities that are committed in the name of God, Satan, and man everyday. A woman’s virginity is what makes them godly, proves they love God. That kind of thinking, theology, practice within the church and amongst believers is deeply flawed, rooted in sexist, repressive beliefs that limit the amazing wonder and power of a God of everything. Put simply again, That.IS.wrong. Messed up. Dare I say, unbiblical?

I’d rather die single (and I am sure I will) than marry a formerly promiscuous woman. Too many risks. It has nothing to do with forgiveness. It is just that I am not interested. I don’t need to marry that badly, I suppose. 

Your comment suggests that all women who would identify with what these bloggers write have chosen to be sexually promiscuous. What about the women and girls who have been made to feel they are worthless and abused from trusted family members or friends? What about women and girls that have been violated by others they’ve never met? What about women who aren’t sexually promiscuous but stand in solidarity that this sweeping belief in the Christian circle focuses not on a woman’s worth as a person but as a commodity, a symbol, and forgets the soul of that person—forgets the sanctity of their life?

Too many risks, nothing to do with forgiveness, you’re just not interested…why are you making so many excuses for yourself? It’s your life, your choice how you live it. It’s how you live your life that tells the story of who you are. Are you willing to put yourself out there and take chances, accept grace and the possible condemnation of a world full of imperfect people, in order to reach a few more with the incredible, healing power of a no-strings-attached, forever-loving relationship with Christ? (It seems as though you are more content to judge them back into their closet of shame and unwilling to let him realize themselves fully as the women that God created them to be. Thank God for all of us sinners that you are not St. Peter’s boss. Because I think women who are brave enough to share these paths, the journeys that have brought them from wherever they started to the life that they currently live in Christ should be lauded. Not for their former sins, the sins that were cleansed and forgotten in grace by God, sins that apparently you are not man enough to overcome, but for their bravery to show their weaknesses. To ask for accountability and to edify the church community by strengthening it through wisdom and maturation, who grows by being stagnant and unchallenged?

Besides, no one is asking you to marry them.

They wouldn’t want to marry, nor should they, someone who didn’t believe that marriage is a union in which forgiveness and grace needs to reign in order to bloom. I don’t know everything about marriage but I’m fairly certain that without those two components there would be no love. So instead of staring down women’s perceived sexual impurity, perhaps you should take a peek at the haughtiness in your own heart lest you find yourself judged (Matthew 7:4, Luke 6:42, Psalm 101:5, Proverbs 18:12, Proverbs 21:4).

And I don’t want to have to imagine my wife with a dozen previous lovers.

Not interested.

I don’t want to imagine my husband with a dozen previous lovers either. I’m sure no woman or man would. There’s a reason that sexual relationships were created to exist within the safe confines of marriage, I’m not refuting that and neither are the women who wrote the aggrieved article. What they are refuting is that the church is telling women and girls that their worth, their spirituality is based on “their ability to remain pure,” which inadvertently discounts sexual violence and other such instances that occur within our broken, sinful world.

Sex is awesome. Sex is beautiful. If sex wasn’t so good, it wouldn’t be such an issue, but since it is, I think it’s important that men and women are able to have respectful dialogue concerning it and how our culture of sexualization has overtaken the mainstream and also how we treat our fellow brothers and sisters within the church concerning it as we perpetuate it (purposeful or not).

Do yourself a favor (and women) and listen to Apostle Paul since you seem to be above the fray when it comes to all of us sex crazed women, “I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do” (1 Corinthians 7:7-8).

Sincerely,

Katie

Freaking proud wife, mother, sister, daughter, cousin, sister-in-law, friend, feminist, Christian, jaded ideologist, teacher, mentor, baker, artist, reader, sinner redeemed in an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-being grace of God, and unashamed sexual being 

Happy birthday Nellie So!

Mommy and Nellie’s first picture.

Happy 2nd birthday to my beautiful Nellie So! Mommy and Daddy love you so, so, SO much!

You continue to inspire and delight us in ways that we never imagined. I remember two years ago, wondering if I could love another person as much as I love your Daddy and sister. But I did and I still do now, it’s amazing how God created our hearts to expand exponentially. It’s a gift that I hope you grow to understand and cherish as a mother someday (wait, that would make me a grandmother–I’ll slow it down now).

I remember that day so well, it was such a calm feeling, knowing that everything was under control and in mere hours you would be in my arms. It’s such a bittersweet memory, knowing that I can never revisit that time again, but that I have millions of more moments ahead with you.

Ada and Nellie meet for the first time.

You’ve developed such a little personality this year and it continues to keep us (and your sister) on our toes. I love that you’re such a little monster (in the fondest way of course) and your little growl. Your imagination is astounding and I am so happy that you are able to play right along with your sister now in your own imaginary world.

Daddy and Nellie

You’ve also got Daddy wrapped around your little finger. The way that you shriek with glee when he comes in the door warms my heart and I hope that you always consider yourself “Daddy’s little girl.” In fact, I don’t even mind that you ask for Daddy when I pick you up at daycare and bring you home. I’m just happy that you have such an upstanding man to look up to and learn what kind of person you deserve if one day you choose to get married. You Daddy loves you so much sweet one.

You are such a trooper, demanding and diligent as you are, you go with the flow consistently and are generally enthralled with new experiences. As we near our Mayo Clinic visit, I cling to the promise that Christ gave us when He called us to

“Cast all [our] anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

and know that no matter what happens, you will always be loved. You are a loved little one my dear, and you will be blanketed with prayers during our visit. Whether or not you understand what’s going on medically with you, all we want you to know is that you are loved from the top of your outrageous behaving hair to your cute, little blue butt.

I love your gusto for life and learning. Already you are singing your ABCs and counting along with your sister. It’s such a blessing for us to see you grow and I look forward to another, and another, and another after that.

Happy 2nd birthday my beautiful baby!

Going home

Psalm 30:5

It’s been a while since I last blogged. 
There have been many changes in our life since then. Ada’s in full-day preschool, Nellie’s talking up a storm and due for another Mayo visit in December, Dylan’s got 3 semesters left of school, and the interior of our house got a much needed paint face lift.
Those aren’t the only changes. I’m going to apologize in advance for the ambiguity of this blog, not that I’m apologizing for non full-disclosure, but rather that it will be confusing for some. I’m just not quite ready to “talk,” is all. 
If you’re reading and you have a spare moment however, please feel free to send up a prayer or two for us, Dylan and I, as we work through this most recent change in our life. We are blessed with family and friends who have fed our souls in the past week. But surely it never hurts to have more intercession for peace. 
The nature of this blog has always been to keep in touch with our near and dear far away. And it is seasons such these that remind me why blogging is so cathartic. 

Psalm 30:5

New Living Translation (NLT)
For his anger lasts only a moment,
    but his favor lasts a lifetime!

Weeping may last through the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

Day Eighteen: The Person You Wish You Could Be

Life by the Spirit

“(13) You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. (14) For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (15) If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. 


“(16) So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (17) For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. (18) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 

“(19) The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; (20) idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions (21) and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 

“(22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (24) Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (25) Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (26) Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”
NIV, Galations 5: 13-26

Is God Glad Osama Bin Laden’s Dead?

I feel the need to address the death of Osama Bin Laden. Not that my thoughts really matter all that much, but after reading and seeing so many things over the last couple of days, it seems as though it would be peculiar for me to not take a break and respond to his death.

I lack the words. My husband did a good job over at his blog here in his post “What Are We Celebrating?”

But I did happen to stumble upon this article by John Piper and I feel as though it’s made better of an argument (or rather, explanation) than I could about my warring feelings concerning the topic. So…without further ado…here it is:

Is God Glad Osama Bin Laden’s Dead?

Permalink
God’s emotions are complex—like yours, only a million times more. Right now, your emotions about bin Laden are not simple, i.e. not single. There are several, and they intermingle. That is a good thing. You are God-like.
In response to Osama bin Laden’s death, quite a few tweets and blogs have cited the biblical truth that “God does not delight in the death of the wicked.” That is true.
                                   
It is also true that God does delight in the death of the wicked. There are things about every death that God approves in themselves and things about every death that God disapproves in themselves.

Is God Double-Minded?

This is not double talk. All thoughtful people make such distinctions. For example, if my daughter asks me if I like a movie, I might say yes or no to the same movie. Why? Because a movie can be assessed for its 1) acting, 2) plot, 3) cinematography, 4) nudity, 5) profanity, 6) suspense, 7) complexity, 8) faithfulness to the source, 9) reverence for God, 10) accurate picture of human nature, etc., etc., etc.
So my answer is almost always “yes, in some ways, and no in other ways.” But sometimes I will simply say yes, and sometimes no, because of extenuating circumstances.
Here is why I say God approves and disapproves the death of Osama bin Laden:
In one sense, human death is not God’s pleasure:
Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? . . .  For I do not pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live. (Ezekiel 18:2332).
In another sense, the death and judgment of the unrepentant is God’s pleasure:
Thus shall my anger spend itself, and I will vent my fury upon them and satisfy myself.(Ezekiel 5:13]
[Wisdom calls out:] Because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you.(Proverbs 1:25–26)
Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her! (Revelation 18:20)
As the Lord took delight in doing you good . . . so the Lord will take delight in bringing ruin upon you and destroying you. (Deuteronomy 28:63)
We should not cancel out any of these passages but think our way through to how they can all be true.

God is Not Malicious or Bloodthirsty

My suggestion is that the death and misery of the unrepentant is in and of itself not a pleasure to God. God is not a sadist. He is not malicious or bloodthirsty. The death and suffering considered for itself alone is not his delight.
Rather, when a rebellious, wicked, unbelieving person is judged, what God has pleasure in is the exaltation of truth and righteousness, and the vindication of his own honor and glory. (For further discussion of God’s heart in judgment see the section in The Pleasures of God called “How Is God Like George Washington?”, pp. 147–149.)
When Moses warns Israel that the Lord will take pleasure in bringing ruin upon them and destroying them if they do not repent (Deuteronomy 28:63), he means that those who have rebelled against the Lord and moved beyond repentance will not be able to gloat that they have made the Almighty miserable.
God is not defeated in the triumphs of his righteous judgment. Quite the contrary. Moses says that when they are judged they will unwittingly provide an occasion for God to rejoice in the demonstration of his justice and his power and the infinite worth of his glory (see alsoRomans 9:22–23).

A Warning

Let this be a warning to us: God is not mocked. He is not trapped or cornered or coerced. Even on the way to Calvary he had legions of angels at his disposal: “No one takes my life from me; I lay it down of my own accord”—of his own good pleasure, for the joy that was set before him.
At the one point in the history of the universe where God looked trapped, he was in charge, doing precisely what he pleased—dying to justify the ungodly like you and me.

Day Three: Your Parents

Main Entry: par·ent \ˈper-ənt\

Function: noun

Definition of a PARENT

1 a. : one that begets or brings forth offspring

b. : a person who brings up and cares for another

2 a. : an animal or plant that is regarded in relation to its offspring

b. : the material or source from which something is derived.

http://www.merriam-webster.com.dictionary

Today’s topic is Parents—specifically parents in my life and I have a lot. There’s Mom and Dad, otherwise known as Pete and Jill, there’s Terry and Sheila, otherwise known as my in-laws/husband’s parents and now-through our harnessed life-mine as well, there’s my birthparents who are the phantom shadow in making me who I am, and then there are Dylan and I. We are parents to a beautiful girl named Ada and a soon-to-be-born-Nellie So. Not to mention all the other people in our/my life, those have affected us in a way that I most certainly would consider them parental figures.

LOTS of parents.

And that’s certainly not a bad thing (although I didn’t necessarily always think that way).

It’s hard to put into words everything that I think of on such a topic as parents. For the adoptee it’s a source of unanswered questions and frustration. For the child it’s a complex, ever-evolving relationship that I am cultivating with my Mom and Dad as we go through each new maturation phase. For the daughter-in-law it’s a new and surprising adventure to become a part of an already functioning family. And for the parent, it’s something that I could’ve never hoped would be better, never imagined would be harder and surely never would’ve guessed at the complexity of fierce love immediately felt at the discovery of two pink lines on a pee stick.

One of the best things in the world has been raising Ada with Dylan as my partner, and I expect no less with Nellie So’s debut.

27 I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. 28 So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there.

1 Samuel 1:27-28

Mayo Clinic Take 2 Part II

Psalm 66
Shout with joy to God, all the earth!
Sing the glory of his name;
make his praise glorious!
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power
that your enemies cringe before you.
All the earth bows down to you;
they sing praise to you,
they sing praise to your name.”
Selah

Come and see what God has done,
how awesome his works in man’s behalf!
He turned the sea into dry land,
they passed through the waters on foot–
come, let us rejoice in him.
He rules forever by his power,
his eyes watch the nations–
let not the rebellious rise up against him.
Selah

Praise our God, O peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard;
he has preserved our lives
and kept our feet from slipping.
For you, O God, tested us;
you refined us like silver.
You brought us into prison
and laid burdens on our backs.
You let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance.
I will come to your temple with burnt offerings
and fulfill my vows to you–
vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke
when I was in trouble.
I will sacrifice fat animals to you
and an offering of rams;
I will offer bulls and goats.
Selah

Come and listen, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.
I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;
but God has surely listened
and heard my voice in prayer.
Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me!

Thank you Lord.

Ada’s Mayo appointment was a continued answer to our prayers–to heal our daughter so that she may thrive and enjoy this life she’s been given. I cannot even begin to describe to you the weight that was lifted from our shoulders the minute that Dr. Pianosi explained her x-ray results to us.
It was like a giant hug from God that lifted off the sleepless nights, the constant worrying and vigilance that we’ve felt necessary in the past year. It’s something that I don’t wish for anyone to experience and yet, if there’s something burdens your life so much, certainly, I hope that you would experience the same peace and relief as what I felt.
Ada’s x-ray showed normal looking lungs and bronchial clusters–whereas in March they still looked pneumonia-like. Her diaphragm, which had been flat and deflated in March, now is rounded and healthy. She hasn’t experienced any hospital visits or overly scary asthma attacks (she’s gotten two colds/allergies) and takes her medicine extremely well. We were in and out like nobody’s business. And it was glorious.
So, again, thank you for the prayers and thoughts while we were down there this weekend–they’re always appreciated.
And most importantly, thank you Lord for continuing to answer prayers.