Friday, October 24, 2008

Eve What Were You Thinking?

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

One of my horses is dying. He’s had labored breathing for several weeks and our local vet didn’t have a clue so we took him up to the veterinary teaching hospital at MSU in Lansing and they have confirmed a diagnosis of equine squamous cell carcinoma which they tell me is very aggressive. He is recovering very slowly from last week’s surgery and one of the vets is recommending immediate euthanasia.

Even though he’s only a horse his loss is painful. As I sat teary eyed hiding out in the bathroom at work after discussing the situation with Hubby I thought of Eve. Had she know how far reaching the pain caused by her sin, would she have made a different choice? Had she known the pain her choice would cause God, would she have made a different choice? She had been warned that she would die and that didn’t stop her, so perhaps not, which brings me to the subject of my own sin.

I’ve been struggling of late with the Lord’s instruction to: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. And I wonder how far reaching my own sin, each of our sins may be. Surly if Eve had seen the consequences of her choice, to her children and for so many future generations, she would have sought the Lord’s guidance. But alas she did not, and that is where I want to learn from her mistake.

Sin hurts. It hurts us, it hurts those we hurt, it hurts God and it hurts our relationships with God and each other. In many cases it hurts across time and reaches those hurts into the future.

I don’t want to go there; I don’t what my legacy to be one of pain to anyone, although my actions don’t always live up to that ideal. In fact far from it, so off to the confessional I go seeking God’s grace which is sufficient for me. I can’t become the woman I want to be in my own power. It’s simply not possible, but we all have free will we can all make choices. I want to choose as Our Lady did to bring Christ to the world, and my only hope of joining in such a lofty ideal is living a life of Grace constantly seeking God’s guidance in the daily decisions of life, and asking his forgiveness when I fall short.

Lord, help me to follow you more closely, teach me to love as you do, give me a heart that beats in tune with yours. I ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

“You’re Really Lucky”

On the list of things not to say to an adopted child. We had someone tell our son he’s lucky recently and it just did not sit right with me. I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt and chalk it up to an awkward “I don’t know what to say to this child” fopaux, but she followed it up by telling me, “it gets better when they are 30 or so.” I was able to rally for that one and told her I’m really enjoying the process right now. If anyone else ever tells him he’s lucky I’ll be ready with, “No, really I’m the lucky one.”

I’m not sure why she would tell a child who was abandoned by his mother at two, beaten by his father so badly that he required two surgeries and was hospitalized for a week and has lost his siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins in the process he’s lucky, but she did. Of course she does not know his story, but still he’s nine, not an infant, it’s apparent he has a past.

He took it well, in fact I don’t believe he even noticed, but if he were lucky he would have been born into a family with loving parents who are married a house full of sibs and extended family nearby. What he got was a rough deal for the first nine years of his life. I’m this child’s seventh mother for Pete’s sake, that’s not what I would call lucky!!

We all have our crosses in life to bear and every life has sorrow and pain, he’s not any more unique that any other soul, but still he’s seen his share of difficulties at a very early age. I heard the song Alyssa Lies today and I can’t help but think that could have been our son. He tells me that he thought he was going to be killed, he tells me of the chair his birth father held over his head to smash on him and the mysterious way it was deflected and never hit him and I’m convinced his guardian angel intervened. Of course God can and will bring good out of the worst circumstances and he will work all things together for good for his purposes, but lucky the boy ain’t.

What he is, is an awesome kid. We are all getting settled into the routine of school, soccer, the social calendar of a fourth grader and homework. There is limit testing going on, there are challenges that come with the baggage of his past, but they are minor and it is a joy to watch him grown each day. Truly I am the lucky one, I’m sure that’s what she meant to say.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endure forever. Amen.

Monday, October 20, 2008

IVF & The Godparent Dilemma

My SIL has a gorgeous baby son, Gabriel. The boy is a serious cutie born in August. The five other children conceived with him via IVF were destroyed because the cost of cryopreservation was not covered by insurance. I grieve for them every time I see a photo of little Gabe, Hubby and I would have loved to have adopted his brothers and sisters.

My SIL has asked Hubby and I to be his Godparents, and I am really struggling with this request. In addition to the IVF question, both parents have been married before and Gabe’s dad was married in the Church. No efforts have been made toward annulment other than determining that the cost and effort are prohibitive.

In speaking to our Priest he tells us that the standard is a “reasonable hope” that the child will be raised in the faith. I’ve sent her materials about annulment, and faith formation CDs from the Parish media center, but every time I ask about efforts toward annulment I get the brush off.

On the one hand I don’t want to upset the family apple cart by refusing to be his Godparents on the other I’m more concerned about offending Jesus than my SIL. They live over a thousand miles away and so our influence in Gabe’s daily life would be exclusively via prayer rather than daily example.

I’m looking for insights, HELP!

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Marriage Saved Through Prayer

My Brother sent me this e-mail. These people were classmates of my brother and sister as we were growing up. It's kind of long, but a strong testament to the power of prayer and submitting our cares to God, and the blessings that flow when we do! (I've changed the names for privacy)

Anne: I thought you might enjoy this email. Jim Bower was in Carly's class and Margo Bower was in my class.

From: Margo Bower
Sent: Wednesday, October 15, 2008 12:04 PM
Subject: MARRIAGE ALERT: One Saved!!

Over one year ago, on October 10, 2007, I sent out this email. I had no earthly reason to think that my marriage could be saved. Our divorce would be final on January 28th, 2008, the day before our 14th anniversary.

Four months after I wrote this email and asked for prayers, on January 29th, instead of divorced, Jim and I found ourselves at the University of Michigan hospital. On our fourteenth wedding anniversary, as we waited for Katie to get out of surgery, we were having dinner together in the hospital cafeteria,. Just the two of us. We were still married. From that day, the direction of our marriage changed. We began the journey back to each other.

What Jim and I have gone through has been an awakening and learning experience for us both. . We have been enlightened by our pain, we have traveled this road, separately, yet never truly apart.

We are continuing on the promises we made to each other almost fifteen years ago.

I am sending out this email as a testament to the miracle that we have been given. To what God can make possible when we walk in faith, hope, and choose to love. To the power of prayer.

Today, Wednesday, October 15th at 4:30 pm., Father Ken will be in our home to renew our marriage vows. It will be the kids, Father Ken, and Jim and I. Father Ken will then bless our home (don't know what this involves but we are interested to find out).

So, thank you for your prayers a year ago. Please continue to pray. To pray for us, our children, our marriage, and all marriages. To pray for all the couples that are tempted in believing that there is no hope. That they may continue to believe in their marriages and each day make the decision to love.

"Love is gentle, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not
boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love
does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always
protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.....And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." I Corinthians 13

May God continue to answer all of our prayers, through mercy and grace.
Mr. and Mrs. Jim Bower

----- Original Message -----
From: Margo Bower
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 12:49 PM
Subject: Marriage ALERT: Another one taken

I am asking for a prayer. I do not know what else to do. I hear that I should "give in, give up, it is not worth it", "You have done everything you could", "It is too late".

My story is not uncommon. Married 13 years, 3 children. My husband filed for divorce this summer. Lets just say. Its the oldest story in the book. If things go as they are, we will be divorced in January 2008, exactly 14 years from the month we stood on the alter and promised "until death do us part".

I know I would be fine. I know life would go on for our family. I know everyone would be fine. But I can't help thinking that, no matter what, a lose in faith in a marriage is nothing short of a tragedy. It has been simply the result of.....a lack of faith.

To clarify, our relationship was not abusive.

I have seen the devastation of divorce personally and throughout my life. It has become an everyday occurrence in our society. It is a human tragedy to all involved. Not only do children suffer but they learn in time that that it is a part of life, an acceptable outcome.

I am finding it hard to believe this is what God intends. That this is what God expects us to accept.

I believe God gave me this thought. I have heard we need to be specific in our prayers. I believe this is a thought (like so many these days) that he would like me to carry out.

Anyone who has been through a divorce knows how things are twisted. This simply email could probably come back to be used against me. That is, I guess, what God is asking of me. To have faith. To believe even when faced with my fears. At the risk of what people may say or think about me. I am going to do as He has asked. I am taking a leap of faith.

I handed this all over to God months ago. I am now handing it out to others. I ask that you look in your heart. Ask yourself what you believe in. To pray for my marriage. To pray for a miracle. If one marriage can be saved by the power of prayer and belief in Gods word, maybe we will all be strengthened.

I ask that you stop what you are doing right now and say:
one Hail Mary for Jim and Margo
one Hail Mary for our children
one Hail Mary for the marriage of your choice

If by some miracle, if my marriage is saved. I am hoping we will be able to tell our story. To share our experiences. To bring hope and strength to those who have lost faith in marriage, in relationships, in themselves, and in the power of prayer.

Please send this email on so to as many people as you would like, so that at the very least God will hear how many people still believe in Him!

I have copied some words of wisdom on the subject=)):

by Charles R. Swindoll
1 Corinthians 15-16

I heard a statistic the other day that blew my mind. Anna Sklar, the author of a book called Runaway Wives, (published in 1976 per Anna Sklar the author) was a guest on a local talk show. In the course of the discussion, she cited that ten years ago, for every wife or mother who walked away from her home and responsibilities, six hundred husbands and fathers walked out. Today for each man who walks away, two women do.
Pause and let that sink in.

Understand, I’m not advocating either, nor am I taking sides. I’m just amazed at the unbelievably rapid rise in the number of women who choose escape as the favorite method of coping.

Contrary to our great American heritage, many of today’s citizens would rather quit than stick. That which was once not even an option is now standard operating procedure. Now, it’s "if you start to sink, jump, don’t bail" . . . or "if it’s hard, quit, don’t bother."

Every achievement worth remembering is stained with the blood of diligence and scarred by the wounds of disappointment. To quit, to run, to escape, to hide—none of these options solve anything. They only postpone the acceptance of, and reckoning with, reality.

Churchill put it well: "Wars are not won by evacuations."

No, battles are won in the trenches . . . in the grit and grime of courageous determination . . . in the arena of life, day in and day out, amidst the smell of sweat and the cry of anguish.
The apostle Paul, the man who bore on his body "the brand-marks of Jesus" (Gal. 6:17), was a living example of his own counsel: "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. . . . Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong" (1 Cor. 15:58; 16:13).
Giving thought to giving up?
Considering the possibility of quitting?
Looking for an easy way out?

Entertaining the idea of running away . . . stopping before it’s finished . . . escaping from reality?
Don’t! The Lord never promised you a Disneyland. In fact, the only time He ever used the word "easy" was when He referred to a yoke.

Every journey is accomplished one step at a time. Don’t stop now.

by Charles R. Swindoll
Romans 12:21

Can’t and won’t. Christians need to be very careful which one they choose. It seems that we prefer to use "can’t."

"I just can’t get along with my wife."
"My husband and I can’t communicate."
"I can’t discipline the kids as I should."
"I just can’t give up the affair I’m having."
"I can’t stop overeating."
"I can’t find time to pray."

Any Christian who takes the Bible seriously will have to agree the word here really should be "won’t." Why? Because we have been given the power, the ability to overcome. Literally!
Any good psychiatrist knows that "I can’t" and "I’ve tried" are merely lame excuses.

We’re really saying "I won’t," because we don’t choose to say "With the help of God, I will!"

Now, go back and change all those "can’ts" on that internal list you carry around to "won’ts" and see how that makes you feel about yourself. Not very good, huh? It’s the same as "choosing" to disobey. Today you can choose to be an "I will" person.

An excuse has been defined as the skin of reason stuffed with a lie.

God Bless us all. Thank you for your prayers, Margo

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Vote for Life

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A site devoted to the issues in this election.