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Archive for May, 2011

A woman who faces the reality of her abortion is in need of someone else whom God has named.  That person is you.  It is me.  We are her friends.  Comforters.  Encouragers.  We are imitators of the Good Shepherd who walks beside the heavy-hearted through a dark valley toward “goodness and mercy.”  A mother who mourns the loss of her child needs a Good Shepherd (John 10:1-18).

You and I must take care not to soften the seriousness of sin.  This devalues the magnitude of God’s forgiveness, bought and paid for by the sacrificial life and death of Jesus Christ.  At the center of our forgiveness stands the Cross of Christ.  Forgiveness is costly.  Our forgiveness cost the innocent Son of God His life.  There is no forgiveness without blood being shed, without paying a price, without the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  But, because of Jesus’ sacrifice, sin cannot defeat us.

Peter, a follower of Jesus, sinned greatly, but he confessed his sin and received God’s forgiveness.  Through Jesus’ forgiveness the Holy Spirit enabled Peter to live a changed life.  That same power of the Holy Spirit works through the Gospel to change our lives — to enable us to live lives that reflect God’s love for us and withstand the temptation of Satan, the world, and our sinful flesh.

You and I can love and accept people burdened by their sin, but only God, in Christ, can heal them.  A woman who’s suffered an abortion may believe that God has forgiven her, but has difficulty forgiving herself.  Jesus is the key that opens the door and sets all sinners free.  What was the process for David in Psalm 51?  David was sorry for his sin, confessed that sin, turned from that sin, received God’s forgiveness, and was restored from sin.  Then he rejoiced over God’s healing touch of forgiveness and was eager to witness to others of God’s great forgiveness.  You and I can assure those who grieve that the memory of their aborted child will remain with them, but,

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Word of Hope is a ministry of hope and healing after abortion.  I have volunteered with this ministry for many years.  We know that God has called each child by name.  We grieve their loss, but entrust them to God.  We also know that He has called every mother, father, grandparent, and care-giving friend by name.  May we encourage all in a manner that honors the One who named us.

If you would like to talk with Grace Kern at Word of Hope,
please call (888) 217-8679 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            (888) 217-8679      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

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Abortion does not think about the future.  Seventy-six million baby boomers may soon realize that their lives might become a burden because 53 million people who would have supported an aging population were aborted.  That’s an economic nightmare.

But, there’s a more personal side to this nightmare.  Each one of the 53 million boys and girls who have been aborted in the U.S. alone since 1973 had a  name.  “. . . I have redeemed you; I have called  you by name, you are Mine” (Isaiah 43:1b).

Abortion drops a name placed upon a unique and treasured person.  It is a name known by God before all eternity for all eternity.  It is the name of a boy or girl who would have impacted this world in ways we’ll never know.

Abortion drops a name from a teacher’s grade book; from 4-H or Boy Scouts or junior olympics; from schools of music, agriculture, and medicine; from the consumer index and first-time home ownership; from the tax rolls; from marriage, parenthood, and genealogies.

Abortion drops a name from baptism, confirmation, and the mission field.

There is an emptiness when a name is dropped by abortion.  Women from every neighborhood, family, and congregation who’ve suffered the loss of an aborted child would explain this if only we’d listen.  That’s because a mother knows a child created and named by God can never be replaced.

God named each one of this nation’s 53 million aborted children.  For each one He had a future and hope.  Even though each would have been born into sin, God had for them a robe of righteousness because of what Jesus did on the Cross for them.  Our world is less because these children are not with us.  Our world suffers when people created for purpose and called by name are considered “untimely,” “inconvenient,” or “fearful.”

But, God has also named every mother who feared her child; who failed to see her child’s future and hope; who, deceived by other voices, doubted that God is good and can be trusted in every circumstance.  He waits with open arms for each mother with a broken and repentant heart.

[M]y strengthen was dried up . . . I acknowledged my sin to You . . . and You forgave the iniquity of my sin” (Psalm 32:4b-5).

Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool” (Isaiah 1:18).

Woman . . . neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more” (John 8:10-11).

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I don’t apologize for a Biblical worldview.  It answers the important questions: Who am I?   From where did I come?  What is my purpose?  Why do bad things happen?  Is there hope?

So, as I continue to ponder the topic of women in combat, I do best to use God’s Word on the topic.

According to Genesis, man was created to be the defender of life.  He is the steward over all.  God gave to man the instructions for life and the warnings against death.  Sin messed up the perfect world, but God still used His created order for the benefit of women, children, and society.  Man would continue in his roles of stewardship and defense as husband, father, and warrior.

Woman was created to be man’s helper.  She would help him be a good steward over all of life.  Together with God, the two would procreate new life, but the woman alone would bear that life from conception until birth.  Sin may change how some women feel about motherhood but, nonetheless, women are still the bearers of life.  Generational hope comes through the womb.

So… what sane and civilized people would send the bearers of life to be targets for the enemy’s bullets?

I began really paying attention to what was happening in our military during the Gulf War.  A photo in the Dallas Morning News (2/20/91) of Spec. Hollie Vallance tugged at my mother’s heart.  Dressed in fatigues and helmet, Hollie was holding her 7 month-old baby in a final good-bye before being sent away.  She was quoted, “I never really thought about going into combat.  I never dreamed anything like this would happen in my lifetime, let alone right after I had my first child.”  She continued, “I’ve built an ice wall around my heart to try to cool the pain, and sometimes I worry that my husband and baby daughter won’t be able to melt it away.”  Hollie’s husband was quoted, “It isn’t that she’s a woman that makes it harder.  It’s that she has a baby.  I’m afraid Hollie might not be the same person when she comes back.”

Bearers of life on the front lines of battle.  Mothers separating from children.  What about womanliness itself?  The female anatomy?  A woman marine who served in Iraq as a Humvi driver explained that she would go all day without water.  It was one thing for men to stay hydrated because relieving themselves is a simple procedure and requires no bush.  But, it’s both difficult and risky for a female soldier.   First, it’s awkward to manipulate the clothing of war.  Second, if there is a bush for privacy, does walking to it require leaving a safe zone?  What about that time of month?  What about shared living space with men?   I know a guardsman who, while serving time in the Persian Gulf, had to share his tent with a woman soldier.  It mattered to him… because he was married.

Most men I know believe in chivalry.  Chivalry was first practiced by Jesus Christ.  He literally sacrificed His life for His Bride, the Church.  He laid down His own life so that she might be spared.  Although not every man on board the sinking Titanic was a Christian, most all practiced chivalry.  It was, after all, the rule of the sea: Women and children into the lifeboats first.  Men, whether they knew it or not, were influenced by God’s Word for life.  So, what does a chivalrous male soldier do if a woman soldier is being attacked?  If she is taken prisoner?  Sexually abused?  In battle, is she “just one of the guys?”  But, not in battle, is she different?  What is the price of honorable — or dishonorable — sexual distraction?

Memorial Day approaches.  I wonder what our veterans would have to say about “equal rights” on the beaches of Normandy or Iwo Jima?   About “equal opportunity” for the bearers of life to unload from amphibious transport onto the open spaces of water and sand under enemy fire?

I think I know.

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Today, a stint in the military comes with educational benefits.  Young women as well as men see opportunity.  There is also patriotism, especially after 9/11.  Both men and women find value and meaning in serving their country.

There are many ways for women to serve their country.  But, when foolishness rules, “rights” quickly become “wrongs.”  What we think we can do might not be what we should do.

Here’s a question.  When a man hears the sound of someone breaking into his house, does he send his wife, daughter or mother to face the enemy?

Late one evening, my brother and sister-in-law heard the sound of breaking glass.  Looking out their bedroom window, they could see a strange man attempting to break in their back door.  Did my brother send my sister-in-law to the door?  (After all, she is smart and athletic.)   Did he send his wife to confront the enemy?  No.  My brother went to the door where he found the intruder reaching through the glass to turn the inside lock.  He grabbed the intruder’s hand.  There was a brief skirmish before the enemy fled.   Soon, the police arrived.

Did my brother believe that his wife had no role to play in protecting their home?  Did he see her incapable of helping?  No.  He instinctively knew that he was to protect his wife and family, but he also knew that his wife was part of the “team.” So, from a secure area, he asked her to call 911.   The police arrived because she made that call.

An enemy at the door is not Xbox.  Nor is it equal opportunity for women.  When the enemy stood at my brother’s door, he knew better than to be distracted by the irrelevant issue of “sexual equity.”

I am certain it would be in the best interests of our nation — and surely the men engaged on the front lines of battle — not to be distracted by irrelevant issues.  Foolishness puts us all in harm’s way.

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Twisted feminism is foolish.  It puts civilization in harm’s way.

It is foolish to believe that a woman can have freedom only if her child is aborted.  It is foolish to believe that men and women are the same.  It is foolish to fantasize women warriors.

“The ancient tradition against the use of women in combat embodies the deepest wisdom of the human race.  It expresses the most basic imperatives of group survival: a nation or tribe that allows the loss of large numbers of its young women runs the risk of becoming permanently depopulated,” writes George Gilder in Men and Marriage.

“Beyond this general imperative is the related need of every society to insure that male physical strength and aggressiveness are not directed against women . . . All civilized societies train their men to protect and defend women.  When these restraints break down . . . the group tends to disintegrate completely and even to become extinct.”

What about the so-called successful use of women in today’s military?  It, writes Gilder, “depends on men overcoming their natural impulse to treat women differently and more considerately.  The consequence of this latest demand for equality would be nothing more or less than a move toward barbarism.”

I like George Gilder.  Again and again I return to “Men and Marriage” because, from a purely sociological and economic perspective, Gilder explains how the foolishness of women competing with men ravages family and destroys harmony.  If my sources are correct, Gilder became a Christian later in life.  (What God has created is naturally revealed unless our eyes are shut and minds are closed.)

“Women in combat” is one of the “hot button issues” discussed during a Titus 2 Retreat.   The topic stirs mixed feelings.  Some believe women don’t belong in combat because they don’t have the physical capacity to endure the rigorous standards of training or the hardships of war.  Some believe it’s a woman’s “right” to defend her country and that she can do so as well as a man.  Others note that “modern” warfare is more technological than “front-line.”

Generally speaking, there is significant difference between male and female bone and muscle structure.  This reality has undermined the rigors of basic training and is why Stephanie Gutmann titled her book A Kinder, Gentler Military.  Of course, the physical strength argument can be countered with examples of women who have developed body strength and can keep up with men.

There is also sexual attraction between men and women.  Putting men and women together for training and in combat creates an environment in which each are vulnerable to sexual misconduct and abuse.  But, this argument can be countered with the practice of self-control.

So, for me, the question isn’t, “Can women be in combat?”  The question is, “Should women be in combat?”  I enter this discussion from my vocation or role of “helper” (Hebrew: ezer).  That’s what God created woman to be.  I am a helper for man and, therefore, for all that man is called by God to do.  Will I help for good, or for harm?  Away from temptation, or into?  With focus on others, or self?  Nurture life, or put it at risk?

I pause to let you ponder.  But, there’s much more to consider… in another post.

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Maura and Nichole don’t know about oxytocin.  But, Matt doesn’t know about vasopressin.  Women are not the only ones who bond during sexual intimacy.

Vasopressin is the neurochemical responsible for the male brain response and synaptic change.  It plays a role in regulating blood pressure and, through its influence on kidney function, regulates fluid in the body.  In relationships, vasopressin works to bond a man to a woman and create attachment to his offspring.

Vasopressin is often referred to as the “monogamy molecule.”  Why?  Because it appears to be the primary cause of a man’s attachment to a woman with whom he shares close and intimate physical contact.  The God who creates and loves life has provided a way for the human race to survive.  This “monogamy molecule” is important not just to create a bond with a woman, but with the children that come from that bond.  In the healthy and selfless bond of husband and wife, children have a greater chance of being raised by two biological parents — both of whom are attached to those children.  Such attachment provides sons and daughters with an increased chance of better health and a more hopeful future.

If Matt is physically intimate with a woman — wisely or unwisely — he can bond with her.  If Matt is unwise in his choice, the bond may lead to a long-term, but unhealthy and destructive relationship.  Bonding may tie Matt to a woman who disrespects or abuses him.  It wouldn’t be unusual for Matt to keep going back to a woman who treats him poorly and, if asked, he wouldn’t know why he does it.  Simply put, vasopressin floods a man’s brain (just like oxytocin floods a woman’s brain) and produces a partial bond with every sexual partner.

Men, like women, can become addicted to the “rush” of sexual intimacy.  But, being sexually intimate with many women places at risk the vital ability to develop a healthy, long-term attachment to one woman.  Studies show that the brain can “mold and gel” so that, in time, it begins accepting that particular sexual pattern as normal.  Such a pattern, however, “seems to interfere with the development of the neurological circuits  necessary for the long-term relationships that for most people result in stable marriages and family development.  The pattern of changing sex partners therefore seems to damage their ability to bond in a committed relationship.”  (p. 43 of Hooked by Joe S. McIlhaney, Jr., M.D., and Freda McKissic Bush, M.D.)

“The inability to bond after multiple sexual encounters,” writes Drs. McIlhaney and McKissic Bush, “is almost like tape that loses its stickiness after being applied and removed multiple times.”

Matt’s brain is the most powerful sexual organ in his body.  But, in keeping with God’s design, the brain needs to be used, molded and adapted in the right ways — for life — or, with wrong behavior, parts of it will wither and die.  Perhaps, for this reason, God’s Word says in Deuteronomy 30:19-20:

I set before you life and death, blessing and curse.  Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying His voice and holding fast to Him . . .”

Shame on adults who tempt Matt.  Who open the gates to adventures in sex, but fail to explain his “monogamy molecule.”  Who keep from Matt God’s Word for life.  Who ignore the lesson of the sticky tape.

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I could always count on the questions.  After each presentation on purity, girls — often shy, sometimes bold — would ask questions.  About boys.  Themselves.  Relationships.  Love.  Mothers brought their daughters to these events, but often stayed in the background.

Mothers were also in the audiences of the “lifestyle show” Judy Hayen and I took on the road.  The event, titled “Dressing for Life: Secrets of the Great Cover-up,” gave opportunity to address the consequences of “sexy” dress, casual attitudes about intimacy, and risky behaviors.  Clothing is fun.  But, whose idea is it?  Why does the Designer of clothing say we need more than fig leaves?  Why shouldn’t a boys hand go under a girls clothes?  The “lifestyle” show concluded with the perfect dress: the white wedding dress and why we wait to wear it.  It wasn’t the girls but the mothers who had tears in their eyes.  I know, I know.  Wedding dresses bring tears of joy to many moms.  But, I believe I also saw tears of disappointment and regret.  I know the statistics.  Too many don’t wait to wear the white wedding dress because oxytocin, not necessarily love, makes us warm and tingly.

Dozens of women have shared their abortion choices with me.  These choices were made after a touch.  A kiss.  Then the procreative act.   Oxytocin flipped the love circuit in their female brain.  There is trust.   A bond.  But physical contact and the oxytocin response it generates can blind women to a bad relationships.  These women, years after their abortions, explain to me tears of  failure.  Psychological trauma.  Heartache.  Loss.  Spiritual grief.

What were women who became mothers — of living or dead children — told about oxytocin?  What choices did they make because they weren’t told?  What were the consequences?  Is there a reason to keep from our daughters and granddaughters knowledge about their bodies?  How they are designed to function?  And why?

We are not captive to mistakes of the past.  They are forgiven because of Jesus Christ.  His death and resurrection are victory over every sin.  All we need to do is be sorry for our sins and confess them to God.  Then, in Christ, we are set free.  We are new every morning.  In Christ, we have the hope of better choices.  This hope is for daughters, granddaughters, nieces, and a neighborhood of girls.

God made oxytocin because He loves life.  He created one man to bond with one woman in marriage for life.  He joins with husband and wife in the procreational act of sex to bring new life.  He entrusts each new boy or girl to the nurture and instruction of their mom and dad.  With all of this, there is a future. There is hope.

Seems to me all ezerwomen should be talking about this.

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