Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Now, Let Me Tell You Something About My Mother-in-law!

    On June 13, 2013, my dear Mother-in-Love (that's her from a fish-eye view - tee hee!) was whisked by ambulance to the local hospital’s emergency room.  She was bleeding internally; she had virtually no color to her skin and she was frighteningly weak.  The ER doctor, a childhood friend of mine, feared this sweet woman would die from the blood loss before they could replenish her supply.

    Through it all, however, Mother-in-Love kept her positive outlook and never ceased to entertain the staff at our local hospital, or her many visitors.  But, I could see the tiredness in her eyes.  Although she obviously loved talking to anyone who walked in her door and devising schemes to play Cupid (i.e., via a singles mixer/Bible study at her church’s nature campus), she really needed rest.  Rest from her illness and all the poking and sticking, and, most importantly, rest from her constant stream of thought.  She’s been learning the hard way how to stop moving and be still, how to take care of herself.  I can relate to this lesson as I, too, am still in the early stages of learning self-love and self-care.

    My dear husband was with his parents when his momma was first taken to the ER; the kids and I were out of town for the day.  That sweet man of mine held his dear momma’s hand throughout those first scary hours.  And, oh how she LOVED having his firm, yet soft, hand holding hers.  What a beautiful picture.  That man loves his momma dearly and God granted him a wonderful opportunity to show that love with one small, simple, yet profound, act.  And, really, does anything make a man sexier than seeing him loving on his momma?  Be still my heart!

    After ten days at the local hospital with no relief or real progress made, Mother-in-Love was transferred to the big city hospital in St. Louis.  Via a pink ambulance, to her delight!  They quickly determined she had developed a stromal tumor on her stomach lining that ulcerated , or burst, and also a cluster of bleeding ulcers.  Overall, she was given 16+ units of blood in less than two weeks’ time at the two hospitals. 

    Mother-in-Love came through surgery (to remove the tumor (benign)) last week with flying colors.  And her ulcers have healed.  Yay, God!  I look forward to hearing from her what the Holy Spirit has spoken and taught her these last few weeks.

    Although I do not believe God caused Mother-in-Love’s illness, He has been working the circumstances for good.  My heart has softened immeasurably toward her.  He’s blessed me with a couple of wonderful conversations with her.  The Lord has gifted me with glimpses into Mother-in-Love’s heart, into her fears.  He’s gifted me with the opportunity to serve her and love her through simple acts - folding laundry, filing her fingernails, brushing her hair.  For all of this, I am grateful. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

When God Calls

There's always a challenge in life, isn't there?   If you're a Christ-follower, the Spirit just will NOT let you stay the same person tomorrow as you are today.

My calling from God . . . it involves writing, whether it be my legal writing or my blog writing or whatever else God puts before me.   I'm a justice kind of girl (I'm sure that's no shock for you).  What I've seen in my legal career (i.e., domestic violence, rape, etc.) and having been made aware over the past year or so of the prevalence of the sex slave industry, the Spirit has really stirred up a fire in my belly, so to speak.  And, through some of my own experiences, I can relate at least on some level with these women who are systematically victimized.

I've discovered, personally, that I felt voiceless for many years, and still do to an extent.  Sounds strange for a lawyer to say, doesn't it?  But it's true, although AS A LAWYER, I have never felt voiceless.  The voicelessness has come in my being a woman.  My simply being born a female has been the basis for my feelings being ignored and my opinion and/or counsel disregarded over and over again.  And the biggest culprits?  Church doctrine and family.  You know that whole "a wife is to be submissive to her husband" instruction given by Paul?  They (by "they" I mean those adhering to this faulty doctrine, largely male adherents) have gleefully eaten it up.  However, they have totally managed to gloss over and ignore the significance of the man's role according to Paul, when he gave the flipside and admonished that "a husband is to love his wife AS CHRIST LOVES THE CHURCH, giving Himself up for her".  Really, what woman wouldn't be submissive to a husband like that?  Sadly what I've experienced and witnessed over & over again in the church is a flippant "baby, I love you" kind of love from our men, not a sacrificial love.  It's been a self-serving kind of love.  And if you're a woman in a church with this kind of doctrine who doesn't want to be branded a trouble-making Jezebel, you better tow the line and keep your mouth shut.  After all, you don't have a penis, which is apparently the only real criteria for being part of the elite, superior club.

I've cycled through many emotions here and, now with the Spirit's gentle guidance, I realize the faulty doctrine adherents haven't known any better.  Perhaps they should have, but ignorance is bliss, yes?  They've been spoonfed and ingested this doctrine.  Been groomed to believe and adhere to this "male superiority complex" from birth.  I MUST tell you that my dear husband is coming around; he's learning to look to Jesus for his cues rather than to other people.

Back to where I am in my calling. God has gifted me with a talent for writing (you may disagree with this, but please don't burst my bubble; just quit reading my posts - lol).  And He's given me a love for women and showing them that God loves them and His grace covers over EVERYTHING, all their brokenness, all their screw-ups, all their bad decisions.  How I love to see a woman empowered!  To see her find that she is worthwhile!  That's how Jesus saw women back when He physically took on a man's skin.  HE GAVE THEM THEIR VOICES!  Think back to the woman at the well (a Samaritan even!), the woman with the bleeding disorder (unclean!), and Mary Magdalene (whore!).  Jesus tells us to look after the widow and the orphan, yes?  Who is the widow anyway?  In my humble opinion, she is the woman without a protector or provider - whether due to death or divorce or whatever.  Jesus doesn't tell us to use them or to abuse them to satisfy our own sick appetites.  He tells us to love and protect them.

For those of you who don't know, my law practice consists mainly of adoptions (DCFS & private agency, private individuals), guardianships (kids as well as disabled adults), and guardian ad litem court appointments (advocating on behalf of the child's or disabled adult's best interests).  I am in my element here.  And so very grateful God has given me this work.  This is the easy part of my calling.

Recently, I stepped out of my comfort zone a bit and have signed on with an organization called Exodus Road as a blogger to get the word out about sex trafficking.  ER trains & sends in covert teams to brothels and the like to expose sex slave operations, mostly in third world countries, but also in the U.S. and other major world players.  I'm also getting involved soon with International Justice Mission.  This organization is mostly focused on the plight of trafficked women and children here in the U.S.

The Spirit has really been working on me the last couple years, convincing He has plans to use me, though not in the ways I thought for so many years were my destiny.  In obedience, I am to write about my own experiences, in whatever circumstances I have experienced them.  God is always good even though He is not safe (thank you C.S. Lewis & Narnia).  He's already shown me glimpses of how my struggles and my faith walk encourages other women.  My ongoing prayer is that the words I write will not harm, though they may sting and even hurt at times, that they will encourage those reading them and be a balm to their brokenness.  And I know He will heal my hurts along the way as well .