Thursday, May 21, 2009

Are Parents In Control?

Yesterday, I was skimming the headlines and was captivated by the story of the Minnesota boy who is refusing cancer treatments. He and his mother have disappeared and there is a manhunt for them. Today, I read that they may be heading to Mexico for alternative treatments. The boy himself says he doesn't want chemo, but as a minor (and one that apparently can't read) the state steps in on his behalf.

A judge has ruled that he must return for treatments because there is a high chance that the chemo will work and he will recover. The judge also said that if it looked like treatment wouldn't help him, he would not force it on him. There is an arrest warrant out for his mother and when they find them, the boy will be placed in foster care. Here's a link to their story.

In some ways, I find myself having compassion for this mother. In the face of danger, it's natural instinct to want to protect your child from pain. We have a friend who is undergoing his second round of treatment for lymphoma. He told us the treatment was so horrible, if he didn't have a wife and kids he would have told them to forget it. I've had the feeling that I just want to take my kids and run away. And it seems that we should be able to make decisions as a family based on our situations, values and beliefs. If they all agree he should try alternative treatment and not spend his life in a hospital, isn't that their right? In her mind, she is doing what's best for her son and what is in line with her religious beliefs.

But in this case, the pain is unavoidable: either life on the run, dying of cancer or having chemo. There will be legal consequences to her actions. However, what's best for him can't be running from authorities while suffering from cancer, or be placed in a foster home or have his mom in jail when they get caught and have to face forced treatment alone.

I don't like the government telling us what we can and can't do with our kids. Unfortunately, in cases like this, it seems necessary. If she was holding a gun to his head, they would have to act to save his life. Is this any different? If we let her take him away, do we have to accept people abusing their kids or not educating them?

I will be praying for this boy and his mom. They are in a difficult situation and obviously are hurting. I know that God values life and that should move us in the direction of fighting for it. What do you think?

Colossians 3:22
Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Grown-Up Stuff

I don't have a lot of nice stuff anymore. I pretty much wear the same sweatshirt all the time, my table is stained, my dishes are chipped. I've gone from a coach purse to a sling backpack that was $4.99 and I'm okay with that.

Of all the things that have broken around here, this makes me the most sad.

I'm not a wine drinker (or a photographer and apparently I need to get some Jet Dry) but I liked having these stem goblets. They were just one nice thing I could drink my Diet Coke or water out of. Even though I bought all four of them at Wal**** for less than five dollars. Sometimes in the midst of the chaos I just like to have one grown-up, fancy thing.

I was very dismayed when I found my last of the four goblets cracked this morning. I almost had a little tear over this. Actually I didn't, but now what am I going to drink out of that's just for me? A flask? Well, actually....

I bought this aluminum water bottle at ***mart for $4. It's fun, keeps the water cold and makes it easy to transport. I'm not sure how it would do with Diet Coke but I'm trying to kick that habit anyway. Now I have a new thing. It's more me. Not fancy, just functional. And it's now my kids' new water bottle for baseball. The handle has been broken off and it's always dirty or missing.

I'm seriously considering digging out the good (non wal***t) goblets I got for my wedding. I've already broken one of those too and when else am I going to use them? I will do my best to keep them from becoming sand box toys or swords.

Maybe there will still be one of the eleven of those left to toast the empty nest.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Revival is a word that gets thrown around a lot. It usually brings up images of lots of people, tents and emotion. In reality revival is about whole heartedly coming back to Jesus. Revive Magazine, put out by Life Action Ministries just had a whole issue on forgiveness being the path to revival.

Byron Paulus, Executive Director wrote “Because revival is all about restoring a relationship with Jesus, you cannot experience it in your own heart, family , or church until you learn to forgive - until you are set free from the shackles of bitterness.”

Bitterness and unforgiveness (I'm not sure that's a word) shouldn't be rampant in the church. We should be the ones out there offering love. And it should not be rampant in my own life. Sometimes I like to be angry and hold a grudge - it just feels good. I don't know why, maybe it feels better than to hurt.

What is standing in my way of a thriving relationship with Christ? Could it be unforgiveness and bitterness? Women seem to have a corner on this market. Men are more likely to say what they think, defend themselves and fight it out. Women, on the otherhand, are too relational. We smile and gloss things over on the outside but bottle things up inside and let it simmer in our hearts.

I started to ask God to show my areas in my life where I was bitter. And was I blown away. I have let anger, frustration, disappointment and fear turn into bitterness. I have allowed things to fill my life that breed it. My family possibly suffers the most. When I choose to live in bitterness, I'm not bringing the light of the Lord to the ones I love most.

How can I move away from that? How can I stop it? By forgiving. Forgiving is not letting the person off, it’s handing the situation over to God. And after all God has forgiven in my life it should be my desire to forgive others, even if it isn't easy.

I was noticing a phrase repeated several times in Job and Samuel. Both Hannah and Job prayed to God out of "bitterness of soul".

1 Samuel 1:10

In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD.

Job 7:11
"Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.

Job 10:1
"I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul.

Job 27:2
"As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, the Almighty, who has made me taste bitterness of soul,

They didn't deny that their hurt and pain exist. They cried out to God in the midst of it. And that is where I fall down. I want to keep it or pretend it doesn't exist. But God wants me to cry out to Him and allow him to change me. I love that about God. Well, I love everything about God.

Ephesians 4:31-32
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Unfortunately, the bitterness in my heart usually comes out of my mouth. I say things that do not build others up or benefit those who listen. And that makes me sad, but it grieves God. I don't need to continue to let it stand in the way of a growing relationship with Christ. He is willing to forgive and He can change me. Then his love, compassion, grace and forgiveness can overflow into my family and others that come into my life.

Acts 8:23
For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.

Psalm 103:11-12
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.