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Testimonials

“I am so excited to see that Lisa is allowing God to use her difficult experiences to reach out to others.

I have been involved with the Seeing Eye, where they train dogs to guide blind people, and as a graduate of the The Seeing Eye have on many occasions shared the podium or stage with Lisa. She was always engaging, clear, often utilizing humor to keep the interest and focus of the audience.
I know that she will be used by our Lord to help others to come to grips with any similar or shared experiences. Lisa will be able to show how God can heal, comfort, and rebuild broken lives, no matter what the experience.
Perhaps, most importantly, how the Holy Spirit can bring real forgiveness into the lives of victims and abusers, tuff as that is to envision.
My humble prayers and best wishes go with Lisa, and to all that she may encounter, and that the healing will be real!”
John D. Hollenbach, Mayor
Perkasie Borough, PA

“We at Pinebrook Bible Conference recommend Lisa Radcliff as a speaker for a Bible Retreat type of speaking engagement. She has spoken during at least one of our Ladies’ Retreats in the past and was well received by the guests and received great feedback for the personal experiences and teaching she shared. We give her a great recommendation to be used at any future retreats at Pinebrook Bible Conference & Retreat Center and any other gathering of the Retreat speaking kind anywhere she is asked.
Thanks for considering this recommendation.”
Charlie Bomgardner
Director of Marketing
Pinebrook Bible Conference & Retreat Center

Thy Light in my Darkness

Getting away to the north woods always inspires me. The slow pace and solitude clear my head and sharpen my focus. I always seem to witness something that makes me marvel at God’s creativity or power or greatness. This year was no exception. From the first night lying on our rock (that dwarfs some tiny houses) the immenseness of the heavens took my breath away.

I know there are just as many stars in the sky at home, but with all the light pollution, we rarely see them. But in the north woods of Maine, it seems the stars have multiplied exponentially. The Milky Way is bright and clear, like a magical walkway cutting through the night sky. The constellations are as clear as they are in books. It seems like the longer you stare into the sky, more and more stars appear.

It’s not like that in the daylight. You can only see one star and shouldn’t stare at it. It’s in the deepest darkness that the stars shine the brightest. Part of a Puritan prayer, The Valley of Vision, says:

“Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine; Let me find thy light in my darkness, thy life in my death, thy joy in my sorrow, thy grace in my sin, thy riches in my poverty, thy glory in my valley.”¹

Thy light in my darkness. That’s what I was thinking lying there gazing into the heavens. I needed a flashlight to get to my spot on the rock. Where I was walking, there was nothing but darkness. The beam from the flashlight was very defined, carving a narrow stripe through the surrounding darkness. If I wanted to see what was to the left or right, I had to move the flashlight that direction. All I could see on my own was darkness.

Once on the rock, the flashlight was clicked off, and the starlight filled my vision. Their light outlined the treetops and their reflections sparkled on the lake’s surface. Though our cabin, just a dozen or so yards away, was swallowed up by darkness, the stars, billions of miles away, shone brightly. Looking up, there was beauty and light. But looking around me, there was only darkness and some strange noises that eventually drove me back inside the cabin.

Our circumstances often cloud our vision. Instead of focusing on God and the light of His purpose in our circumstances, we only see the scary darkness around us. But just like the stars being there even when we can’t see them, we can trust that God is there even when we question his presence. God is not only with us in the deep, dark wells of life, He is working out His purpose in our lives through our difficult circumstances.

I saw an interview today with victims of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. These folks have lost almost everything. Their circumstances couldn’t be much darker. But one woman was holding a cross that had been hanging on the wall of her destroyed home. It had the word “hope” written on it. The woman said hope was all she had left, but it was enough. She wasn’t letting that cross out of her sight. She could see God’s light in her darkness, His joy in her sorrow, His riches in her poverty, His glory in her valley and can face her uncertain future in His strength.

¹”The Valley of Vision.” The Valley of Vision: a Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, Edited by Arthur Bennett, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975, p. xv.

The Slot

Earlier this year, the Sisterchicks traveled to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California. We were in search of the biggest bloom of wildflowers in nearly 20 years. The desert did not disappoint. But as an added bonus, we learned about The Slot, a slot canyon carved out of the desert floor by flash floods, and decided we had to go there.

This part of the desert is not exactly stable. We learned it has three to four earthquakes every day. What that means to The Slot is boulders can shift, possibly when you’re hiking through it. It’s clear there has been shifting in the past. Some of the boulders were quite precariously perched above our heads. As we made our way through The Slot, things got a little tight. Some areas were barely shoulder width and required some squeezing with backpacks removed. Being claustrophobic, this was not an ideal situation for me.

As we were about to turn around because it looked like we were at a dead end, another visitor, walking along the top of the canyon, said, “Keep going. Once you squeeze through that small opening, it will open up again.” I thought she must be crazy, but two of the Chicks pushed on through and hollered back, “It’s fine. Come on, you can do it.” What are the chances an earthquake would happen just as we were going through, causing the walls to squish us? In the mind of a claustrophobic, pretty high. But we lived through it and even enjoyed our time there.

I was reminded of that day in The Slot yesterday. I’ve been waiting for months for August 21, the day the doctors at CHOP were going to reveal the results of my tests. They texted me yesterday morning to confirm the appointment, do the online check-in, and give me a schedule for the day. Then, at 4:00pm, they called and said they don’t have the test results and will have to postpone my appointment until the end of October. It seemed to me the ground shook and boulders were falling.

We had made plans. It was too late to cancel our hotel reservation. My husband was taking a vacation day. We canceled another appointment, which was hard to get, for that same day. My out-of-network referral would expire on September 5. And the biggest boulder of all, I have to wait another two months to learn the test results. I just wanted this wait to be over.  

Fortunately, I have an amazing husband who wrapped me in his arms to protect me from the falling boulders. And, more importantly, I have a faithful God who holds the boulders in place. I went to bed with a migraine and lots of things to worry about. But this morning, I awoke with just a slight headache and feeling at peace—and a stomachache. I think I’m eating too many peaches. I digress. I realized no matter what is shaking my world, God is not surprised by it, and it is in His control. He won’t let me be squished, not even by worry or disappointment. Like my Sisterchicks, he is saying to me, “It’s fine. Come on, you can do it.” He is a rock that cannot be moved, a perfect place to hide, rest, and wait.

 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24-25 ESV)

Legacy of a Rich Man Who Owned Nothing

Kind, joyful, loving, affectionate, caring – no, I’m not describing one of my Seeing Eye puppies. Those are the words that come to mind (immediately) when I think of a friend who passed away recently. His name was Sebastian, although we all called him Flory. He passed away at 67 years old. He wasn’t supposed to live even a few hours due to a head injury sustained at birth. But he didn’t just live, he made other’s lives better for knowing him.

His injury resulted in serious disabilities. The doctors said he would never walk or talk, but he learned to walk, though not without difficulty. And he would talk your ear off if you’d let him. He only had the use of one arm, but that didn’t stop him from giving and receiving hugs…lots of hugs. It was hard to have a bad day when Flory was around.

I made the very judgmental mistake of thinking his funeral would be short and probably not well attended. The last few years, he was wheelchair-bound and living in a nursing home. Even though I had somewhere else to be, I felt compelled to say goodbye to Flory and hug his family. It didn’t take long to realize how wrong I was about his funeral. What was I thinking? I clearly wasn’t the only one on the receiving end of Flory’s hugs, cards, and prayers. Even Elvis was part of it.

When it came time for people to share remembrances of Flory, one after another popped up and shared a story. It could have gone on all day, but I think others, like myself, would just have echoed the same sentiments. Often, when a person dies, their family and friends tend to only remember the good things about them, and that is what they share at funerals. But with Flory, there were only good things to remember because that’s who he was.

His sister told a story of how their mother would put Flory to bed and sit with him while he said his prayers. At first, he spent about five minutes in prayer. But as he got older and his prayer list grew, she would sit with him for an hour and a half! He had to pray for everyone he knew who had a need. I was reminded that with each of his hugs came the question, “How are you doing?” And he really wanted to know. I didn’t know that he had great recall ability and would remember each person and whatever they shared with him, and he prayed for them.

Flory was never able to drive a car or take a long walk or pick up a sandwich with both hands. He never held a job, but he would help with any task as much as he could. One of his “jobs” was to sharpen all the pencils in our church pews. I can’t watch my granddaughter reach for a pencil without thinking of Flory. He never felt sorry for himself. He knew one day his body would be whole, but he lived fully in the body he was given. He loved Jesus, and that was enough. Even in his weakened state, he would have a friend wheel him down the street to the skate park where he would hand out tracks, give hugs, and share the love of Jesus. Flory never owned anything of material value. Yet he was a rich man, and he left us all a legacy to follow.

 “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:26,27 ESV)

Dead or Alive?

Yesterday was my 55th birthday. I’m not sure how that much time has gone by so quickly. At least 18 birthdays ago, a friend gave me the pretty purple plant in the picture. I don’t remember what it is. Probably some of you will let me know. It’s quite a plant, mostly because it’s still alive. I am not good with plants. They always die. Quickly.

When this plant arrived on my birthday so long ago, its big, beautiful bell-shaped flowers were blooming. I loved it. Not too long after that, the flowers fell off. I kept the naked plant on the windowsill in my kitchen. A few more flowers bloomed a little while later. After they fell off, the plant remained on the windowsill. It seemed fine for a couple of months. Then it started to die. The leaves went first, then the stems. After a few more months, there was nothing left but a little withered stump. This did not come as a surprise to me. I can’t keep plants alive.

I’d like to say that I left it on the windowsill because I was hoping it would come back to life, but really, it was just my lazy side that rears its ugly head more than I’d like. I left it there, barely noticing it. But then, one day about eight months after it first arrived, I saw green on the brown stump. Much to my surprise and delight, more and more green appeared. Soon, a new green stem grew out of the dead stump. Even more exciting, one day I walked into the kitchen and saw a flower bud. It was back. My sad little dead plant was about to bloom again.

Sure enough, a few days later, a second blossom appeared and then another. This time, when the blooms fell off, I didn’t panic. I didn’t wonder why I kill every green thing I touch. I wasn’t sad to say goodbye to the pretty purple flowers. This time, I had hope. It came back once, why wouldn’t come back again? And it did. Every year it came back a little bigger. Eventually, I had to transplant it to bigger pot. I was so happy that I finally had a plant I could take care of with positive results.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t actually do anything to keep this plant alive besides a little water now and then, when I remember. But every year, without fail, no matter how dead it looks, it blooms again. It occurred to me one year that maybe my husband replaces it every year to make me feel better. But he swears he doesn’t. This year, the purple flowers opening was especially uplifting.

It reminds me that no matter how bleak life seems, there is hope. Things will get better, even if they get worse for a time, even when it seems like life is over. We all go through seasons. Some are filled with activity and growth, others are quieter, even dormant. On the surface, it may look like there is nothing happening, like life has been snuffed out. But during the dormant times, life is just gathering all it needs to burst forth again. The time it takes is not wasted. Although nothing can be seen, the roots are growing deeper. The effort exerted is making it stronger.

Suffering does the same thing in our lives. Being set aside for a season gives us time to grow, to go deeper, to understand more of the suffering of our Savior. It’s just what we need to mature and look forward with joy, knowing the best is yet to come.

“Oh Lord my God, I have cried to you for help, and you have healed me. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:2&5b ESV – I recommend you read the whole psalm)

An EMG turns into OMG

Earlier this week I had an EMG (electromyography) test along with an NCV (nerve conduction velocity) test. The definitions of these tests sound fairly benign:

EMG – a diagnostic test where a needle electrode is inserted directly into a muscle to record the electrical activity in that muscle.

 NCV – a diagnostic test to measure how quickly electrical signals move through nerves.

I had some concern about the pain level of the EMG. Years ago, I had taken my mother for an EMG, and she screamed through it. My mother was a pretty tough cookie when it came to medical tests. Some friends who had EMGs told me it was uncomfortable but not painful. But others told me it was the most painful test they had ever experienced.

When I arrived at the diagnostic center, the technician began the NCV. To check the speed of your nerves, they basically electrocute you. He started with my fingers and worked his way up my arm and then my foot and leg. The shocks hurt but were tolerable. I told the technician he would probably enjoy visiting the Torture Museum in San Diego.

Then things took a nasty turn. He put electrodes around my eye and held the double-pronged cattle prod to my cheekbone. He warned me there would be ten jolts in quick succession. It’s hard to describe what that was like. Electrical shocks? Yes. Torture? Probably. He repeated this several times with a minute in between. Finally, he announced we were done. My only thought was that I had lived through it.

The neurologist entered the room, looked at the technician’s screen, and seemed pleased with the results. The tech said goodbye and left the room. I thought maybe we were done, but the doctor said, “Oh no, we’re only halfway. There’s more torture to come.” And she pulled out the needle. Here we go. Before she started, she said, “If at any point you need to stop, just tell me, and we’ll take a break. After you compose yourself, we’ll go on.” That should have been a clue of what was to come.

Testing the muscles in my hand and arm hurt, but I could handle it with some deep breaths. I remembered my mom’s reaction to the needle in her hand and thought maybe the worst was over. I was wrong. She moved to my leg. When she got to my calf, I lost it. They don’t just put a needle in the muscle. They put the needle in and have you work the muscle, harder and harder. The more it is stressed, the more the pain increases. I could not stand it anymore. I let out a scream and started to cry. The doctor suggested we take a break. I couldn’t stop crying but told her to just go on. She tested my upper leg in four places. Then one more needle in my back. Seriously. Torture.

They gave me some time to get dressed and compose myself. I guess they don’t want crying people walking through the waiting room. I should have gone through screaming, “Run! Get out while you can!” I cried all the way home, limped into the house, took an Epsom salt bath, then iced my calf, and spent the rest of the day on the sofa.

The pain subsided several hours later. By the next morning, it felt like a mild cramp. My face felt like I had been clenching my teeth all night. Maybe I had. Or maybe my face had been electrocuted over and over. I was thankful it was done, and I promised myself I would never go through those tests again.

As I spent time in God’s Word and prayer that morning, I thought of the suffering Jesus endured for me. There aren’t many people for whom I would go through an EMG or NCV again. But Jesus knew exactly what he would suffer and did it while we were enemies, not because he was forced to but because he wanted to. He didn’t have needles stuck in his muscles. He was flogged with whips containing pieces of metal and bone ripping into his muscles. He didn’t get to take a break and compose himself. His torture went on for hours before he died on the cross.

My hour of physical pain suddenly seemed so miniscule. It was short, and its only purpose was to rule out two neuromuscular diseases. I may have some other deadly disease but because of Jesus’ suffering, I also have eternal life. His suffering was much more effective than mine could ever be.

A Tent Full of Trouble

It hit me last week. Just one word that was spoken at my friend’s funeral, and it all became clear. The pastor said that her earthly body was just a “tent” that she put off for her heavenly body. He was referring to 2 Corinthians 5 where Paul calls our earthy bodies “tents.” “For indeed, while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed, but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life.” (2 Corinthians 5:4)

My body is causing me so much trouble, and now I see why. IT’S A TENT. And I HATE tent camping. My tent has seen better days. It seems to be leaking and may have a pole or two missing or bent or something. It no longer keeps me comfortable. It’s really more trouble than it’s worth, just like the little orange pup tent we had as kids.

I admit, back then, it was fun to sleep outside in the tent. It was an adventure. As I got older, the allure faded. I slept in a tent in our backyard one time when my boys were young. I hated it. I couldn’t sleep because I was so uncomfortable. I was sure there was a rock poking me all night, no matter which way I turned. Finally, around 4:00 a.m. I thought, This is ridiculous. My comfortable bed is 200 feet away. What am I doing out here? I retreated to my nice, soft bed, with no rocks and no regrets.

A new trend that has popped up, probably because of people like me who raise an eyebrow at going camping, is “glamping.” It is supposed to stand for “glamorous camping.” You are still in a tent, but it is considered luxurious. I don’t know. If it comes with a private bathroom, including a shower, maybe I would consider it. My idea of “glamping” would include the word Marriott somewhere in the description. If Disney did “glamping,” it would probably be okay. They get things right, and for some reason, there are no bugs on Disney properties. Hmm.

2 Corinthians 5:1 gives us really good news concerning our tents. “For we know that if the earthly house, which is our tent, is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” Someday, I won’t just compromise by going glamping. I’ll turn in my tent and be handed a key to a house better than anything Marriott or Disney could deliver.

Yes, right now my tent is burdened and groaning, so it is with eager anticipation I set my gaze on the day it will be torn down. I don’t know when that will be. Jesus says he is working on it. “In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:2-3 NASB) Glamping with Jesus, sign me up.

Photo by Amanda Klamrowski on Pexels.com

All For Jesus, A Life Well Lived

Love Jesus~~~Follow Jesus~~~Serve Jesus — My pastor spoke those words in his sermon on Sunday. I sat up a little straighter. I know he was admonishing all of us, but my mind immediately went to the woman I call my spiritual mother, Jeanette Gerhart. Those three phrases describe her perfectly. She passed away last week. From the moment I heard, thoughts of her and memories from the past thirty-five-plus years have filled my mind.

She may be most remembered for being the matriarch of an amazing family. She unconditionally loved her six children and guided them through life with her Bible, and her door, always open. And she did not hide her joy in the multitude of grandchildren that filled her life, home, and pool. But I will remember her for her love of Jesus.

She often quoted 1 Corinthians 2:2, “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” That was her desire, to know nothing but Jesus and him crucified. She assiduously studied the Scripture and earnestly prayed. She stood in the gap for so many, praying God would save, encourage, build up, heal, convict, or turn hearts. She loved Jesus and desired to follow hard after him and serve him with her whole heart.

When she and her husband, Rich, built their home in the woods, they dedicated it to the Lord’s work. They hoped to share Jesus with young people and help young Christians grow in him. And they did that. Hundreds of young people learned about Jesus within their walls. I went to their home every week for Bible study starting when I was seventeen, quite a while ago; we won’t say just how long ago. Even when the group didn’t officially meet there anymore, I always went back to Jeanette for spiritual counsel, and I know I wasn’t alone.

Sometimes I just stopped by to chat with her. Other times I ran to her, fleeing to the one who would direct me to Jesus and His Word. She always welcomed me with a dazzling smile, warm hug, and a glass of delicious “Gerhart” iced tea. I still don’t know the secret to the tea. She cried with me, laughed with me, and prayed with me. No matter the reason I went to her, before I left, she opened her Bible and told me what she was learning. I always left her home glad I went.

Before “living intentionally” and “making disciples” were buzzword phrases in the Church, they were the lifeblood of Rich and Jeanette Gerhart. They welcomed all of us into their home and their lives, and they poured love and wisdom into our lives. They were always there for any need: a shoulder to cry on, explaining a Scripture passage, or just to cool off in the pool. I am challenged to be that person for the young people in my life, to be that person who loves Jesus, follows Jesus, and serves Jesus. I might need to get a pool.

We Regret to Inform You

“We regret to inform you…” Not the line you want to read when you had high hopes. Maybe it was a college admissions office or a publisher or a response from a job interview. A letter beginning with those words is crushing. Those words register immediately. The butterflies fluttering in your stomach as you opened it are quickly replaced with a lead weight, squashing the hope you had held.

 I received one of those letters last week. It wasn’t a publisher, rejecting my latest bestseller, which would never happen. It was a rejection letter from an insurance company, rejecting my application for life insurance. I’m a 54-year-old, female, non-smoker, with a healthy heart. My weight isn’t bad, even if a little more than it should be (It’s really my lack of height that’s the problem). I should sail through the application process and be considered low-risk, resulting in low-cost, high-value life insurance. But that’s not how it went because I have an “undiagnosed, potentially life-threatening medical condition.”

Applying for life insurance was actually recommended by my doctor. To cover all potential outcomes, she also recommended long-term care insurance – and to apply before my test results make it into my records in August. But the red flags in my medical records resembled a Marine Corps parade.

I can’t say the rejection was a surprise. But I had hoped that my stellar heart tests would win the day. It’s that unknown thing. Let’s face it, most of us are a little skittish about the unknown. So, who can blame them? I’m a little concerned about those unknown results, too. I’ve read a lot, probably too much, about what the unknown results could hold. But, unlike the insurance company, I’m not stressing about it. In their defense, if they looked up the potential results, the first thing they found was that this disease speeds aging and death. Hence, no life insurance for me.

That’s OK. We don’t really need it. Considering I don’t contribute financially to our family now, nothing will change should I die. (Maybe I can get that bestseller done before I go.) I’m not being pessimistic. In fact, I don’t think the test results will show what they think. But I like to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. I’ve learned many lessons from my illness over the past three years. One is that this illness cannot take my life. Wow, did I just go from Debbie Downer to Pollyanna? Not at all. I can say that because I believe in the sovereignty of God. I cannot die unless it is His time for me to die. Plain and simple.

He may use this illness to bring about my death, but it won’t happen until the day He has predetermined from before I was born. He holds all our days in His hands and has planned exactly how long our lives will be and what things we will accomplish. There is no such thing as an untimely death. There is no lost potential or things left undone. We have a certain amount of time, and when that time is fulfilled, we have accomplished everything planned for us. I can rest in Him, knowing that if I live a long life or if I die tomorrow, His plan is perfect for every day of my life. I also know he will sustain my family in every way: financially, emotionally, and spiritually. No amount of life insurance can offer that kind of peace.

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in your book were written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. (Psalm 139:16 NASB)

The Abortion Debate

Social media has been inundated with protests over new, strict abortion laws. Several states have adopted new laws making abortion almost impossible. This was in reaction to the new law in New York that allows for abortion up until birth and the comments from Virginia law makers that babies born alive during an abortion should be left to die.

Some of the arguments from the pro-choice side are creative but flawed. I have seen several different posts that boil down to “men have no right to make laws regarding a woman’s body.” Following that logic, shouldn’t Roe vs Wade be overturned immediately? It was made law by seven male justices. The real reply to this argument is that the US has a representative form of government. Our legislators are elected by the people, men and women, to represent them in congress. Being male or female doesn’t qualify or disqualify someone from making laws. If a constituent doesn’t like the way their representative is legislating, they can use their vote to make changes.

One of the most disturbing protest was a meme saying, “an 11-year-old cannot buy a mature-rated video game (and other things) but will be forced to carry and give birth to a baby.” Somehow, they don’t understand that having an 11-year-old go through an abortion will be traumatizing. For an 11-year-old to be pregnant, I assume there was trauma involved. It would be a cruel mistake to add another trauma to a young girl. I’m sure the proponents don’t think abortion is traumatic, but that is not the reality. Counseling centers are full of women trying to deal with the fact they killed their baby. For some, it is a life-long struggle. Yes, having a child carry that baby to term and give birth will not be easy, but it is not a permanent situation, and there would be plenty of support for that 11-year-old. Pro-choice advocates assume that a young girl in a crisis pregnancy has no support. Again, that is just not the case. If her family can’t be supportive, there are so many others who would be: Crisis Pregnancy Centers, churches, counseling centers, not to mention adoptive families.

“I’m not pro-abortion, but it’s none of my business what other women do with their bodies.” The problem here is that the baby is in the woman’s body and needs her body to survive, but it is a separate person, with its own body. So, what these people are actually saying is they would not interfere with a mother killing her baby. Would these same people turn a blind eye to a mother abusing her child? I’ve seen the news reports of infants who were killed by their parents, and they bring outrage from the public. What’s the difference between a newborn and an unborn baby? The answer is a few seconds and a few inches. My youngest grandchild was born seven weeks premature. It is now legal in New York for a mother to abort a baby that age. My grandchild needed a few weeks of NICU care. Would she have survived without the NICU? I don’t know. But that is exactly what the governor of Virginia says is OK – give the baby no treatment and let it die. Unbelievable! How did our country get to this point where we think it is okay to kill the most innocent and vulnerable among us, and otherwise rational people say, “It’s none of my business?”

What makes a baby alive? The protestors would have us believe an unborn baby is not a baby unless it is wanted. That’s ridiculous. As I read these posts, I remember sitting with friends and family members who have lost babies – not a potential baby, an actual baby. Their grief is real. Some of them lost older babies—their pregnancies were in the third trimester. Those poor women went through labor and delivered their deceased babies. It was tragic and heart breaking. But others lost babies at eight weeks gestation. The families still lost their baby—not their clump of cells, not a part of their body. And their grief was just as real as those who could hold their babies and say goodbye.

I was an unwanted baby. It didn’t change the fact that I was a baby – a life that had value, not just a heartbeat. I am so thankful my mother delivered me and gave me up for adoption. I’m sure it was hard. From what I have learned of her circumstances, I think, had abortion been legal, she would have chosen to end my life. It would have been easier and “better” for her. But she didn’t have that choice. Thank God! A combination of my birth mother, the hospital staff, foster care, and adoptive parents gave me the ability to live. Failure of any of them to care for me, from the time I had a heartbeat, would have resulted in my death. It is the business of all of us to do all we can to protect children at every stage of their lives.

Jesus said this about children and those who harm them: “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6 NIV)

Love is a Scrub Brush

Next week, my husband and I will celebrate our 34th wedding anniversary. I have been blessed beyond measure by having Doug as my husband. He loves me so well! There are lots of ways he shows his love. Sometimes it’s the smallest ways that mean the most. Take the case of a long-handled scrub brush to wash dishes. That might not seem like a good way to show one’s love for his wife, but in my world, it is.

We had been visiting our son’s family in California. They had a long-handled brush for their dishes. After using it a few times, I said to Doug, “I think this brush is easier for me to use than a dishcloth. My hands don’t hurt after doing the dishes with it.” I didn’t say anymore about it. But a few weeks later, upon arriving home from another trip, I found a long-handled brush in my little dishwashing tool bucket. What I saw when I found the brush was that he heard me, and he cared enough to take the time to find one and buy it for me before I got home. (There were beautiful flowers, too. He’s still a romantic.)

Something so small speaks volumes. Since symptoms of my illness have grown, making my hands weak and painful, Doug has taken on many responsibilities that were once mine. I didn’t have to ask him to take on these things, he just saw that I was having trouble and stepped in. That’s love.

It’s great to have a husband who sees a need in my life and does what he can to meet it. Sometimes he can’t do anything but be there with me. He does that. No matter how long his day has been, he takes time every night to rub my feet and legs so that I can sleep better. Most importantly, he prays for me every morning before leaving for work and checks how I’m doing every evening when he gets home. I think that’s how he assesses what he’ll need to handle each night. These last three years of dealing with my illness have been hard on him. Because he loves me, he hates seeing me in pain. But I am so thankful he has been by my side.

We started out our marriage much the same way. I was in a serious car accident two days before our wedding. The day we were married, I was in pain. There was a moment in our wedding ceremony where we had to kneel. When the time came, I looked at Doug and said, “I may need help.” He took my arm, and, with eyes full of love, gave the firm support I needed. He’s been doing that ever since.

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (I Peter 3:7 ESV)