Posts Tagged ‘marriage & family’

I have never met Paul and Jenn.  But their story, featured on the front page of my hometown paper, caught my attention.  The way I see it, Paul and Jenn have been living with dying.

In July, Jenn gave birth to Logan.  He was two months premature.  Jenn called her son a miracle who, literally “fit in the palm of my boyfriend’s hand.”  I want to talk about her boyfriend Paul’s hand but, first, we need to understand this “miracle.”

In a way, and right up to Logan’s birth, Jenn was living with dying.  She is a young woman with Crohn’s disease who was told she would never become pregnant.  In October of 2011, Jenn has an ileostomy.  In November, she had it reversed.  Early in 2012, she learned she was pregnant.  The prenatal specialist told Jenn at her 20-week checkup that she should “terminate [the] pregnancy.”

There was “something wrong” with her baby’s brain.  There was “evidence of a hole in his heart.”  He was not growing correctly.  Jenn was told that her baby “wasn’t getting enough blood flow.”  He was suffering from intrauterine growth restriction.  What was Jenn’s reaction?  “His heart was always strong,” she said, “and I never lost hope.”

Worried about a chromosomal mutation or a genetic deformity, the doctors performed an amniocentesis at 24 weeks.  There were no signs of a birth defect; nevertheless, the doctors told her there would be no chance of survival.  It was explained to Jenn that her baby wasn’t growing because she had a full placental abruption.  The placenta was not attached to the uterus.

Jenn had planned on giving birth at our local hospital but, on July 20, she woke up in a pool of blood.  “I didn’t really want to go all the way to Des Moines, but Paul’s mom . . . insisted I go.”  Doctors explained to Jenn that she had two choices: let the contractions take their course or risk a C-section.  She chose a C-section when Logan’s heart rate dipped.  There was a ten percent chance that he would survive.

Logan was born at 29 weeks, 2 days gestation.  He weighed 15 ounces.  “I didn’t know what to think or if he was OK . . . I didn’t really get to see him until the next day.  I was in shock.  I cried.  I was so happy and scared at the same time.  I couldn’t believe that I was actually a mom and he was so small.”

On his 2-month birthday, Logan weighed almost three pounds.  Jenn explained to the reporter, “There is absolutely nothing wrong with his brain or heart.”  He is small, but “perfectly healthy.”  Doctors told Jenn there is a higher risk of cerebral palsy, but Logan has good muscle activity.  Jenn is a mother with hope.  And, for good reason.

Her boyfriend, Paul, has a six-year-old son who was also born premature at 29 weeks and four days.  He was three pounds at birth.  Today, in Jenn’s words, this little boy is “tall, healthy and fine . . . he’s perfectly fine.”  By the time you read this (and God-willing), Paul and Jenn will have brought Logan home from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to meet his half-brother.

My pro-life eyes help me see that Jenn has been living with dying for quite some time.  I’ve never heard Chrohn’s disease described as “fatal,” but I know people who have it and how much they suffer.  Perhaps, at times, it might feel a little bit like dying.  But, with life and breathe in them, these people persevere.  Perhaps, in the face of adversity, they treasure life even more.

Jenn lives with her own poor health, but let me tell you what pierces deep to my pro-life soul.  Every day of Logan’s life in her womb, Jenn lived with the possibility of his death.  She was told to abort him.  When she dared not, she was told her son’s life was incompatible with life.  Logan’s mom persisted in hope.

I am a stranger to Jenn and her boyfriend, Paul.  Yet, at the same time, I am their neighbor.  Though they may never read this – I offer a plea… an encouragement for the sake of their son.

Jenn and Paul, in spite of adversity, you have stayed the course for life.

Jenn, when voices cried: “Abort him,” you defended the personhood of your son.  When voices cried: “Your baby will never make it,” you defended his right to try.  You lived in the face of dying.

Paul, I’m guessing that some voices hinted your girlfriend might be “crazy,” but you defended her sense of motherhood.  When voices cried, “You’ve been through this before, why would you do it again,” you stayed the course and lived in the face of dying.

Will you go the distance, Paul and Jenn?  Will you please consider another act of courage?  In a time when marriage is being rejected and children are paying the price, will you dare to build a better foundation for your “miracle?”  Will you show Logan how much his life matters?  Whatever your reasons for not marrying might be, will you consider the benefits for Logan of having a mommy and daddy who have committed themselves – hard work as it is – to the faithfulness of marriage?

I was captivated, Paul, by the front page newspaper photo of you holding your 15 ounce son “in the palm of your hand.”  That’s what a father does.  He holds the miracle of life very tenderly in his loving care.  A father gives both his child and his child’s mother the covering of his name.  I speak from experience because both my Heavenly and earthly fathers have called me by their name.  The covering of that name bestows great value on my life.

Will you, Paul and Jenn, join with God in bestowing great value on Logan’s life “in sickness and health ‘til death do you part?”

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I really don’t understand my generation nor do I understand my parents’ generation.  We cry out for ourselves.  We want government health care, government assistance, government support.  We worry that someone will take away Medicare, Medicaid, and access to inexpensive prescription drugs.  “These are our rights!” we claim.

But, where are the arms of the government?  Where are the hands?  The heart?  The soul?  Where is the government when we need encouragement in times of loneliness, difficulty, or loss?

Government is not a person.  It does not think.  It does not care.  It is only what the people shape it to be.

Government can only provide programs and assistance for its citizens when the citizens provide the funds.  These funds are called taxes.  We have to pay them… or suffer penalty of law.  In other words, we are depending on the coerced charity of people who don’t know us and maybe don’t even care.

My generation had not a brain in its collective head when it demanded uninhibited sexual freedoms and legalized abortion.  “I am a sexual being; therefore, it’s my right.”  “I deserve to be happy.”  “It’s all about me.”

Well, now what?  Sexualized, “all about me” Boomers want their Viagra for “performance edge in the bedroom” AND a government health care plan.   Tell me, Boomers, is there anything else we’d like on the backs of our children and grandchildren?

Government is an institution without a heart, mind or soul.  It doesn’t know us.  It is not in touch with us.  It cannot love us or help bear our burdens.  America’s older citizens clamor for care and support, but – duh! – what were we thinking?  Fearing any inconvenience, so many of my generation aborted the living souls who would have grown up to care for us.  My generation aborted the very flesh and blood that, unlike government, would have had bonded relationally with parents and grandparents.

We aborted those feared to be “inconvenient” or “burdensome.”  But, allowed to live, those children would have lessened the fears of parents who may be labeled by a “death panel” as a financial burden to society.

God does not scratch His head, wondering how He will care for all the people.  That’s what generations are for!  Fifty million babies (the number of those aborted in the U.S. since 1973) would have pumped energy, creativity, and consumer dollars into a now dead economy.

People my age and older – who should know better – proclaim, “It’s the economy, stupid!”  We dismiss what are called “social issues.”  Well, dismissing social issues — the sanctity of human life, marriage, and family – helped create the mess we’re in.  Refusing to dialogue about personal responsibility, moral ethics, and values made an already spoiled citizenry more selfish and lazy.  Tolerant of everything except discussions of “right and wrong,” we listen to a sound bite here, read a headline there, and vote for whoever will send the most financial assistance our direction.

“It’s the economy, stupid!”  No, I disagree.  The economy is the way it is because we’ve been living off the investments of our Founding Fathers and every father who worked honestly and faithfully to provide for his family.  We’ve been living off the investments of mothers who understood that a nation is built upon vibrant homes and children taught self-restraint.  We’ve been living off the investments of others but, as my husband says, invested very little – if anything – ourselves.  Now that’s stupid.  And, as it’s been said, you can’t fix stupid.

A long time ago I was compelled to become involved with pro-life and family ministries as a volunteer.  Although probably considered “illiterate” by university-types, I have been hungry to learn through reading and research.  My worth cannot be measured by a salary, but I have been blessed to travel the country speaking with and listening to countless people from all walks of life.  My Biblical worldview allows me to see all people of every color, ethnicity, and culture as part of the human family because they are all creations of God.  That means that people – and the conundrum of social issues – matter to me.

Government can’t do what I do.  It can’t do what anyone who cares for their neighbor can do.  My arms have reached out to comfort women hurting years after their abortion choice.  The Spirit of my Baptism moves me to love complete strangers with no strings attached.  A great number of these “strangers” have become my friends and fellow sojourners.

With the desire to help eliminate costly health problems such as sexually transmitted diseases, pre-marital sex, and abortion, I joined with two other moms to start a caring pregnancy center (CPC).   Every service we offer is freely and willingly provided, not coerced by compulsory “taxation.”  When funds are needed, we work to raise them.  We invite – never demand – our community to join with us in making a positive difference for people in times of fear or need.  We provide at no charge the pregnancy tests for which Planned Parenthood charges (in spite of all our tax dollars sitting in their coffers).  We mentor toward personal accountability and the stability of marriage.

Government is not a person.  Government is without hands, heart and soul.  Government does not love its neighbor as itself.  Government can provide assistance only when its citizens provide the funds.  And, in too many cases, government welfare tends to enslave the people.

For this reason, I’m going to the voting booth not to vote for a Republican or Democrat.  Not to vote for one personality over another.  But, to vote for leaders who will defend human life in the womb and, therefore, human life in old age.

To vote for leaders who will defend the sanctity of marriage as the institution created by God for a civilized world.  Who will defend the freedom of more than worship, but expression of faith in daily life.

The economy will begin to fix itself when life, marriage and family begin to matter more.

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