I could not pass up an opportunity to share this letter I received yesterday at my office. She has opened herself up to share what she learned from an abortion she had twenty years ago. I can tell young women everyday that their choices matter, but to hear it from someone that is living with such a decision speaks volumes about choices. Thank you for sharing this letter with me and allowing me the opportunity to share it over social media. If we could all be this brave. God bless…..
Underage Dating: The Elephant in the Social Conservative Living-Room
Mar 15 by Bryana Johnson
I have a bone to pick with young, socially conservative Americans, and I know it’s something that will get under your skin. Just sit tight, though, and hear me out, because the elephant in our tidy little room is starting to tear things up. It’s time we acknowledge his existence, and maybe even call in some animal movers to take him back to the zoo.
I currently live in a small community in the Bible-belt of the country and I have been given some opportunities to mentor young people from my area through different venues. I can count on one hand the kids I know from the local high school whose parents have never been divorced. I’ve witnessed reactions of genuine surprise and envy from students who hear that my parents are still together. In any given conversation with groups of youth, I can expect to hear continual references to step-parents, step-siblings, and half-siblings. Divorce is a way of life down here – albeit one that has taken its toll in the lives of the young people that will make up the next generation.
However, while I could certainly write extensively on my experience with the negative effects of divorce on children and on society at large, I actually want to address something else entirely. I have concerns about the number one way that our culture chooses to perpetuate the cancer of broken marriages and failed relationships– underage dating.
You can follow them on Facebook – the failed attempts at love, I mean. Somebody is always changing their status from “in a relationship” to “single.” Unfortunately, a huge number of these disappointed lovers are too young to be legally married. I wonder sometimes if I am the only one who winces to hear a thirteen-year old speak with cavalier abandon of his or her “ex?” Since when is it considered healthy and acceptable for underage people to be in “relationships?” Just what do parents and educators expect to be the result of the romantic conquests of these middle-school children and young high school students? The results I’ve witnessed personally are beyond disturbing; they are downright sinister, and have caused me to question whether or not those who claim to champion marital fidelity and family values are paying any attention at all to the standards we are passing to our children.
The trouble with underage dating is that it presents an entirely faulty view of what interaction with the opposite gender should be about. Rather than placing emphasis on building one strong relationship with one person at a stage of life when a marital commitment is feasible, dating encourages young people to pour their energies into consistently seducing other young people at a time when neither of them are capable of making any long-term commitments. Their “relationships” are destined to fail from the get-go because they are founded on unhealthy perceptions of love and not backed by any real necessity to stick it out.
The beauty of marriage, as it was intended to be, is that it teaches two people of opposite genders to learn to work through incompatibilities and give of themselves. In the same way, the great ugliness of dating as it is practiced by our culture and portrayed by our media, is that it teaches two people of opposite genders to be selfish by giving them an easy “out” when things don’t go according to their initial feelings. I believe it is fair to say that this form of dating is a training manual for divorce, because it encourages young people to grow accustomed to giving their hearts away and then taking them back.
Sadly, parents who should know better continue to display shocking naïveté regarding the absurd practices of driving their twelve year olds out on a “date,” or purchasing provocative clothing for their sixteen-year-olds, or sympathizing with their broken-hearted fourteen-year-olds by assuring them that they’ll “find someone better.” “They’re just having fun,” they’ll tell us, rolling their eyes at what they consider to be our tightly wound principles. I work a volunteer shift at Crisis Pregnancy Clinic where I witness every week the ruined lives and broken dreams that “fun” has left with our youth.
Another defense offered for the ridiculous habit of underage dating is that the kids are “just learning how to relate to the opposite sex.” It doesn’t take a Ph.D. to figure out that what they’re really learning is how to recover quickly from a break-up and set their sights on another gorgeous and equally hormonal person. The culture of dating is a culture of hunger and unsatisfied eyes that are always looking around for affirmation via someone or something else.
But perhaps the most ludicrous and most willfully naïve assertion is that “relationships” between young teens are “not really about sex.” Just what do we think such relationships are about between people too young to be interested in any of the other things (family, stability, home-making, etc. ) that come out of a romantic involvement with the opposite gender? Contrary to such half-baked assurances, it is all about sex for these young people. Whenever they forget that, the pop-culture is quick to remind them of it. In the media, girls are unfailingly presented as having value to boys only in proportion to their physique and their manner of flaunting it. Boys are presented as bestial and incapable of responsibility. Overwhelming, this is the primary message being offered to our kids by the movies, magazines, music artists, and commercials directed at their age group. It is inexcusably irrational for us to suppose that their relationships with one another are untainted by the stereotypes that surround them.
If the situation is so straightforward, why is there not a greater resistance to this cultural trend that trivializes relationships and produces jaded and cynical people who have already been through the warm fuzzies of love and are ready to settle for mere physical gratification by the age of eighteen? Could it be that big-money industries like Justin Bieber and Hannah Montana, who thrive off of exploiting our hormonally charged youth, are partially responsible for throwing the wool over the eyes of so many well-meaning parents? Are sex-education advocates like Planned Parenthood, who profit from purchases of birth control and abortions, throwing money at the movement to desensitize parents to the perils of underage “relationships?” Are we really being duped into sacrificing our kids for the buck?
While social conservatives may proclaim the virtues of pre-marital abstinence and fidelity, their actions don’t line up with their words. They behave as though they expect our young people to embrace or at least abide by the values we preach to them, all the while continuing to direct them in lifestyle choices that foster the opposite principles and attitudes. And we wonder why 95% of Americans admitted to having premarital sex in 2006? Or why it was estimated in 2008 that 40% of all US marriages ended in divorce? Or why 4 in 10 children are born to unwed mothers today? My friends, it’s time for us to wake up and make the connections between the dating scene and the deterioration of the stable American family.
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What better way to celebrate the Easter weekend than with a testimony. The testimony below is mine and though I’ve been writing for some time now, the post has never been so personal. I accepted Christ Friday, March 29, 2013. For anyone wrestling with questions, I pray that God can speak to you through my story…..
My Moment of Clarity….. My Testimony
At ten years old I walked the aisle of my church, said a prayer and was baptized a week later. I was not completely sure why I was doing it but I knew that it was a good thing and I wanted to do what was right. I remember talking with my mother prior to making my decision public and asking her how was I to respond when I walked down the aisle and was saved. I can still hear her answer, “Sarah, if you think walking down that aisle and being baptized is what saves you then you aren’t ready.” As confused as I was by her statement, I continued because I didn’t have the heart to admit, even at ten, that I was wrong.
After my baptism, I was the “text-book” Christian. I gave all the right answers in Sunday school, I volunteered; I read my bible and said my prayers. After all, that is what everyone expected from me. But even at ten years of age, I felt a void, followed by a feeling of complete loneliness and inadequacy. I struggled with anger and depression but I never told anyone because I was a “Christian” and “Christians” didn’t feel like that.
The feeling of loneliness and emptiness grew stronger and stronger as I got older. When I would question if I was truly saved, I would tell myself that I was okay, that if I did this or had that, the doubt would go away. I thought that being academically successful would fill that void and for a time, it did. I thrived on the accolades of my family and friends. I search for my identity in my work and it almost cost me my family. I was selfish and greedy and just wanted to feel complete at any expense. When school and work did not accomplish that, I started blaming my family and looking to my husband to fill the void, thinking that if my family would do this or that, I would be a better “Christian”.
During this time, I poured myself into ministry positions in my church teaching women’s bible studies and eventually moving to youth. And for a while, I felt okay because I received the approval of all those around me. It made me feel good when I was told I was a great leader or teacher because it helped me feel affirmed in my faith. And like everything else in my life, over time the feelings of emptiness would come back and I would question myself. And each time, I would tell myself that I was just tired or that I just needed to find where God was placing me. My search finally led me to a position at a crisis pregnancy center and within two years of being there, I hit rock bottom. I hated God, I hated church, and I hated everything that my faith supposedly stood for. And regardless of how hard I tried to get back up, I continued to fall back down on my face. I was tired and exhausted. My heart was breaking and I still didn’t know why.
Until my family moved back to laurel in December, I had not stepped foot in a church consistently in nearly a year. I don’t remember a single sermon that was preached the first two months we visited Journey Church. I would sit there in my chair and ask God over and over, “why are you doing this to me?” I would go over in my head all the things I had done and excused all my shortcomings on everyone else. Emotionally I was finished.
What God has revealed to me is that my faith was contingent upon the people or works in my life: my idols. My identity was not in Him but in the good works I was doing. I wasn’t doing it for His glory, but for my own need to reassure myself. I have read the parable of the sower a million times and I never got it until Friday morning (March 29th). I was the seed that was sown on the stony ground. I received God’s message and wanted to carry it on, but I had no roots and when times got hard, I couldn’t stand. (Mark 4:16)
Twenty two years ago, I made a profession of faith because that is what was expected of a good girl. And I was wrong because I didn’t get it. It took twenty-two years of trying everything else for me to understand that my faith cannot be based on my academic achievement, my career, my ministry or even my family. On March 29, 2013, I finally died to myself and gave my life to Christ- my identify rests in Him alone.
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians2:20
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I have taken a small hiatus of sorts to recoup and refocus on articles of interest to my readers. I could not help but forward this one to you. “Condom Casino Night” might appear like a smart way to address safe sex with college kids, but what is the message being sent? The link to the article is provided. The commentary you are reading is from Pam Stenzel, an abstinence based educator and speaker.
I would love to hear your opinion:
By promoting a condom casino night,what message is being sent to students about sex outside of a monotonous marital relationship?
Is the message of casual sex “okay” as long as the participants are safe?
What, if any, are the consequences to that message?
Condom Casino Night
coming to a University near You!
This week Central Michigan University will hold a “Condom Casino Night” sponsored by a major condom manufacturer under the guise of teaching students about “Safe Sex”. The casino night featured games like “5 Card Foreplay Poker” and “STD Bingo” where the winnings are condoms. The private company is “touring” the nations campuses with this event and called Condom Casino night a “highly interactive” program “arousing college campuses around the country”. One of the spokespersons for this tour stated that they “don’t talk about morals, we don’t talk about ethics”. I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest that they don’t talk about failure rates or the transmission of HPV and Herpes for which a condom has limited to NO effectiveness. I wonder if they offer a hotline for any student who uses one of the condoms won at the poker table, and subsequently ends up with an STD?
This is how our University campuses are preparing for spring break, graduation and summer vacation! How are you preparing the students you care about for the choices facing them this spring and summer? What messages will the seniors in your communities get before they pack their bags and move to a university campus? We think it is HUGELY important that the students in your community don’t have to say “Nobody Told Me”, they just gave me this condom and told me to “have fun”.
We still have openings this spring. Here are some communities that Pam will be heading to in the next few months; Buffalo/Niagara Falls, West Virginia (including Southeastern Ohio and Western PA), Dayton Ohio, Western Wisconsin, and Manitoba, Canada. Please contact us SOON if you would like to host rallies, sponsor school assemblies or do teacher/parent training this spring and summer. Let’s not let the condom manufacturers be the only voice our kids hear!!
CONTACT COLIN TODAY
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I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church and I cannot recall ever hearing about a day honoring Sanctity of Human Life (SOHL for short). In fact, the first time I knew what SOHL represented was when I became the director of a crisis pregnancy center. My guess is that many of you do not know what it is either and that’s okay! We are never too young or too old to learn something new.
History of SOHL:
President Ronald Reagan created a special day to focus on the intrinsic value of human life, issuing a proclamation establishing a National Sanctity of Human Life Sunday that is held on the third Sunday of January each year. Here is a portion of President Reagan’s proclamation:
“Since 1973, however, more than 15 million unborn children have died in legalized abortions — a tragedy of stunning dimensions that stands in sad contrast to our belief that each life is sacred. These children, over tenfold the number of Americans lost in all our Nation’s wars, will never laugh, never sing, never experience the joy of human love; nor will they strive to heal the sick, or feed the poor, or make peace among nations. Abortion has denied them the first and most basic of human rights, and we are infinitely poorer for their loss.
We are poorer not simply for lives not led and for contributions not made, but also for the erosion of our sense of the worth and dignity of every individual. To diminish the value of one category of human life is to diminish us all. Slavery, which treated Blacks as something less than human, to be bought and sold if convenient, cheapened human life and mocked our dedication to the freedom and equality of all men and women. Can we say that abortion — which treats the unborn as something less than human, to be destroyed if convenient — will be less corrosive to the values we hold dear?”
A form of slavery? Have you ever looked at what slavery did to our nation, to its people and compare its similarities with abortion? I had a young man tell me that abortion was not wrong. Now, I am always respectful when there are opposing opinions but my curiosity was peaked. I asked him “why?” He said that it was not wrong because our country legalized it. I then asked him if he believed slavery was wrong and he replied “yes, its wrong.” I proceeded to explain that there was no difference between slavery and abortion. Just as abortion was legalized after Roe v. Wade in 1973, slavery, at one time in our history was legal.
Abortion, therefore, is a form of slavery that must be stopped. In order for us to stop it, we, as a nation, as individuals, must value the intrinsic lives that we create. Somewhere down the line, we decided that life was expendable when it was inconvenient or “less than” perfect. When we, as individuals, as “less than” perfect people, fall short or make decisions that are inconvenient to others, do we deserve to die?
I am thankful that my Father in Heaven sees value in me even when I don’t. I am thankful that he doesn’t see me as expendable even with all my short comings. I value life. I value my children’s lives. I value you.
Do you value yourself? Is your life worth living to its fullest? SOHL might be honoring the potential life of a child in the womb, but I think its time to place a little more value on ourselves as we make our way in this big world. Someone gave you a chance to live, honor that life given.
“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.” Psalms 139:13-14
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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
I just wanted to say a special THANK YOU for all the new Heartskeeper followers! This has been a special year for me as I have pushed my fear aside and followed my love for writing. I have learned and am still learning the blogging world, but I feel very blessed to have such great supporters. I also want to extend my appreciation to all the wonderful and talented writers that have given me permission to post their powerful work on Heartskeeper (@laurakurk, @guychmieleski, @Nicole_Odell) as well as others that have inspired me (@pastorjgkell, @Pam_Stenzel and @scrowder). These are but a few of you! You might not have known you inspired, but you did! Thank you!
Thank you for welcoming me in my first year and for all the tips and advice you so graciously gave me! May you have many blessings in the year 2013!
I am an avid reader. You can ask my husband. Actually, I can see in my mind how he would respond- a roll of the eyes and a shake of his head. I mean, I LOVE reading. Usually, when I start a book, I am finished by the next day. It’s addictive! I am trying my hardest to get my daughter to see how a story can “come alive” on paper…..she doesn’t get it. She is nine…I still have time to win her over My “pitfall” with reading is that I am also very analytical…too much sometimes. I cannot simply read something and believe it. My husband is the same way with movies about fireman….He is a fireman! I literally loathed being with him in the movie theater when an action scene is happening. He is constantly muttering how “wrong” they did this or “we don’t do that at a fire station.” Really, come on, I’m watching actors ACTING. Let it go man!!!! Criticize as I may, I do the same with my books. In fact, I was reading a novel just the other day and I simply could not embrace the characters….not because they weren’t “real” enough for me, but the scenes played out were alarming to me and I could not shake the message being conveyed to its readers.
Here’s a snapshot of the book: A girl goes off to college her freshman year to escape the past of her family and create a new image of herself. In the midst of her freshman year, she falls hard for the quintessential bad boy on campus. The relationship is one of passion, angst and drama. She loves him, she hates him. He is a lost soul that can only be “found” by her love and support…blah blah blah. They are VERY physical in the book if you-know-what-I-mean….
I put the book down and started to discuss the contents with my mom (of all people). “I just don’t get why the characters have to be the way they are.” I stated. “ We romanticized these types of relationships and girls think the fighting and drama is normal behavior.” My mom looked at me and said, “Sarah, it’s just a book. It’s simply for entertainment. Don’t over think it.”
Am I? Have we become numbed to certain behaviors because of what we read, hear and see?????
Take a moment and look at some statistics that reveal that what we watch and what we listen to might have more effects on us than we first realize. This is part of another post (
) and I simply added more information to it. Much of the stats can be referenced at
1. Adolescents watching television with high levels of sexual content are twice as likely to initiate sexual intercourse and also more likely to initiate other sexual activities
2. Teens, 13-15 years of age, rank entertainment media as the top source of information about sexuality and sexual health
3. 75% of prime time television in the 1990’s and 2000’s included sexual content
4. Girls see over 400 advertisements per day telling them how to look
Let us take a moment and break that information down:
1. If we are all honest, we have watched or at least briefly seen a hot and heavy sex scene of television. Even if there was not any bare skin revealed, the “ambiance” of the scene most likely had an effect on how you felt at that moment. Maybe you were embarrassed, grossed out or turned on, but that scene was engrained in your mind.
2. Now, I do not believe this means that girls and boys are taking notes about sex from television, but messages are subtly being expressed about sex and relationships through the media. Casual sex in today’s reality shows sends the message that having multiple sexual partners is okay and expected. When that is all you are exposed to and are watching, the message conveyed is that intimacy is not needed and what ultimately severs the importance of a relationship, especially in the pretense of marriage. The devil wants young people to think that because this urge is natural, it must be ok.
Look at how Satan deceived Eve in the garden: “And the woman (Eve) said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat of it, nor touch it, lest you die.” Then the serpent (Satan) said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will open and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. “ Genesis 3:2-5
Read the following scriptures: 1 Corinthians 7: 1-9 and 1 Corinthians 3:16
3. By allowing yourself to be constantly exposed to sexual images and messages, you can become numb and your heart will turn from what it knows to be right. In Romans 1:21, Paul says that people became “futile in their thoughts” and their “foolish hearts were darkened.” Romans 1:24 states, “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lust of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator…”
4. We see beautiful people every day in magazines, in music videos and on television, and we strive to look like them. Do you find that regardless of how much make-up you put on, how many highlights you have in your hair or how tanned your skin, you never can capture that image? Do you want to know why? Our bodies do not have a built-in Photoshop to erase what we see as the flaws and enhance the areas where we desire more curves. Ladies, let me assure you that after much research, the “beauties” we see in these magazine look exactly like we do when we first wake up in the morning.
What makes us beautiful?
1 Peter 3:3-5- A gentle and quiet spirit
“And let not your adornment be merely external– braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands.”
Genesis 1:31- God saw Beauty in what he created “And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”
How can this image apply to men? Okay, so you aren’t waking up looking in the mirror asking, “Does this make me look fat?” But what you view is having an effect on how you are acting. The media have a drastic effect on how you view the role of a man.
I intentionally left the below statistic out so we can view it now:
5. The average age of the first internet exposure to pornography is 11 years old
The following article is worthy of discussion and I encourage you each to review it:
Pornography can give a man a false impression of what being intimate truly means with a woman. It can also make a woman appear as simply a means of personal pleasure, physical conquest or an object to possess. Where is the honor in that type of relationship? I have a dear friend who shared her personal story about how pornography affected her marriage. They did wait until their wedding night before having sex, but during his teenage years, her future husband had started watching pornography. When they got married, he had this illusion of how sex was supposed to be. She confided in me that she has always felt like he expected her to be like the women in the pornographic video. She never felt “respected” and often wondered whom he was thinking about when they were intimate. Their marriage and especially their sex life has struggled because of his addiction to porn.
Philippians 4:8- Dwell in whatever is worth of praise
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”
What Type of Spiritual Cheerleader Are You?
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 NIV
I will lead into the post with this caveat: Eavesdropping is not nice…..yet my entire post is based on a conversation I just so happen to overhear. Maybe my next post will be on hypocrites but until then, take what you can from this one
By now, many of you know that I am a lay counselor for young girls that are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. Looking back over the last two years, there are things I’ve said in the counseling room I’d take back because of the heart I spoke with. Other times, I know what came from my mouth was nothing of my own creation, but from the truth God placed on my heart. What I am saying is that like any other person, I have days that I speak God’s truth and other days I speak Sarah’s truth. Big difference.
So the other day I was in a fast food establishment eating and I just-so-happened to hear the conversation at the next table. At first, I began listening because I was trying to figure out if the girl was crying or laughing. Yes, I know…still not very nice of me. The conversation went something on the lines of this: “I know what I did was wrong and I know what I need to do to make it right. I just can’t seem to find my footing.” I knew that I should have stopped listening then, tuned her out, plugged my ears and start saying to myself, “eavesdropping is wrong, eavesdropping is wrong….” but I did not.
The girl continued in her confession and I could tell that she was genuinely remorseful of what had happened. What I found so amazing was the distraught girl’s confidant barely spoke until the very end. All I could think was “and here comes the bomb….BOOM…..let the bashing begin.” I was pleasantly surprised that her friend did not lash out at her and emphasize, again, all the ways her friend had messed up. She listened and then she did what we as followers of Christ should do……she loved her in truth.
Let me remind us all that there is a fine line between what we want to say and what God has given us to say. When a friend is messing up and you just want to grab her/him and shake them stupid, remember that four letter word: GRACE. Most of all, remember when you were the one stumbling blindly around. Did someone love you in God’s truth or condemn you? It made me look at how I counsel in and out of the counseling room.
I remember when it was confirmed that I was pregnant with my first child. I was a senior in college, nowhere near ready to settle down and be a parent. My boyfriend and I were absolutely terrified at what the future held for us. I felt like I had a big neon sign on my forehead that flashed “unwed mother-to-be.” I was ashamed and simply wanted it behind me…..all the disappointment that lay ahead was too much for me to handle. I sought counsel from my grandparents….pillars of the church. As I poured out my heart and confessed my sinful actions, I expected a lashing. Instead, they responded in love. They did not retrace every step I mistook nor how I was going to disappoint those that “looked up to me.” They shared God’s grace and reminded me that just as He was my creator, He created that child in my womb.
Healing can be brought forth from any tragedy. We forget that sometimes when people disappoint us. Instead of putting in the work, we push them aside.
Just a few things to remember next time someone seeks counsel from you:
1. Pray. Pray. Pray
2. Listen more and speak less. This is not about your own personal agenda or how you would have handled the situation. It is not about you. Telling them to “shake it off” just does not work sometimes.
3. Move forward, not backwards. When someone comes to you, they do so in trust. That is not the time to rehash all their past behaviors (good or bad.) Show them in God’s word how He can use them to move forward from the ashes.
4. Be a real friend. It is easy to “love” someone through a crisis when they take your advice. The true test is when they don’t. Before you write them off, remember how many times God has given you grace.
Has there been a time someone helped you through a bad experience? Did they lift you up or tear you down? What scriptures have helped you in times of trouble?
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A year or so ago, we enrolled my daughter in a competitive swim league. Though she was not necessarily a ‘star athlete’ on the team, it was a great experience. I loved watching her and the other kids on the team gracefully (well sometimes) glide through the water. Even though we are not swimming currently, I still follow what is going on in the swim world. I came across an article about an olympic diver, David Boudia. Ever heard of him? Maybe not, but his journey really grabbed my attention and made me look at how I and much of society place value on things so trivial, hoping to “find” ourselves as we are further immersed into “stuff.”
Let’s look at Boudia’s credentials. I was impressed! At age 19, he competed in his first Olympics in Beijing, was awarded USA Diving’s male athlete of the year in 2008 and was headed to what proved to be a very successful diving career at Purdue. Boudia appeared to have everything he wanted and probably more. Happiness was at his fingertips…right? Boudia stated that after the 2008 Olympics ended, he looked around him and thought, “Was that it?” With everything that he had accomplished, he still walked away empty. That emptiness continued throughout his freshman year of college at Purdue. Like so many other college students (myself included), Boudia threw himself into the party scene and made some “really silly choices.” As he searched for life’s next filler, the depression that followed was crippling. In Boudia’s words, “I woke up from a nap and I felt like I’d hit a wall.”
A teammate encouraged Boudia to go speak with his coach, Adam Soldati. He went to their home one afternoon and listened as Soldati and his wife spoke about the Lord. “We just gave him [Boudia] the gospel.” For the next few weeks, Boudia continued to meet with his coach and eventually committed his life to Christ. What he realized was that he was trying to fill a void that could not be filled from anything but God. Oh how I can relate! I am sure many of you can as well.
How many times have you chased a dream, only to catch it and be bored with it in a very short time? Young adults, have you ever told yourself that if you could just be popular or get a boyfriend that “everything would be great.” How did that work out for you? Are you still empty? Is your joy fleeting? Even though I have two beautiful children, a loving husband and a forgiving God that has redeemed me over and over, I still forget and chase that “next big thing.” And each time, I discover the same truth: Nothing can fill me like God. I will have joyous moments but that joy is fleeting outside of my Father’s presence.
My prayer for you as you go through life is that you find your peace in the Father of Peace and discover true joy that is only brought by a personal relationship with Christ.
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The Great Tragedy of the 2012 Election
There was a great tragedy that occurred on Tuesday, November 6, 2012.
The tragedy was not found in the celebrations of elected officials or the concessions of defeat. It was not colored red or blue, and it wasn’t wrapped up in useless campaign promises.
The tragedy of the 2012 election is that in this land of the free and home of the brave, many people were not allowed to vote. Their voices were silenced. Their votes were not cast. Their opinions not expressed. Why?
Because they were dead.
The great tragedy of the 2012 election is that roughly 33 million would-be voters were not with us, because they had been murdered. From 1973-1994 roughly 35 million babies were aborted. That’s roughly 35 million 18-39 year-olds who did not vote because they were dead.
That is an unspeakable tragedy.
They did not have the chance to explain to their children about what makes our nation so great. They did not have the chance to watch the results come in with their friends and family.
They did not have the chance to rest their heads on a pillow in the land of the free. That is a great tragedy.
But this story of tragedy is not over.
In 2016, roughly 5 million more voices will be unheard. Why? Because over 3,500 babies will be killed today. And each day leading up to Tuesday November 8th, 2016. In the 3 minutes it takes you to read this post, 7 babies will have been aborted in the United States of America. Their voices are silenced. Their freedom not experienced. Their opportunity to be brave not known. Their lives taken from them.
This is a tragedy that hits close to home for me. When I was 19 years old, I chose to end the life of my first child through an abortion. My friend and I were in a scary place, we didn’t plan to get married, and we had nowhere else to go. So we chose to end the life of our child.
That child would be 16 today. They’d be excited about driving a car and in just a couple years, they’d be excited about voting. But, they won’t be doing any of that. I won’t be sitting down with them and explaining how to think about policies and the candidates that represent them. I won’t be able to tell them about freedom and justice for all. I took that freedom away with my injustice.
I cannot undo what I’ve done in the past. None of us can. Only Jesus, who shed His blood for sinners like me can heal those wounds. Jesus gives us great hope in the midst of this tragedy, and all the other tragedies we face in this life.
If you have committed an abortion, I want you to know that there is a refuge in Jesus. He will heal your wounds. There is no sin so great that He cannot forgive and no sin so small that does not need to be forgiven. If you will confess your sins and turn to Him in faith, He will wash away all your guilt and all your shame. Come to Christ.
If you support abortion, I encourage you to spend time in prayer and ask God to show you if abortion is something that pleases Him or not. Ask a Christian to help you see what God’s Word says about this. I’m under no assumption that you don’t already have deeply rooted ideas, I did too. I encourage you to take the time to read what God says about life and who has the right to give and take it away. I encourage you to start with Psalm 139.
If you are a Christian, be patient with those who view things differently than you. But don’t just be patient, speak truth in love to those who are in need. Find ways to help those who are struggling through unplanned pregnancies. Investigate options for adoption and invest in the lives of those who are facing difficult choices.
I have on my wall a picture of a 3 year old boy in cowboy boots. He’s a 3 year old boy who nearly wasn’t with us today because of the difficult place his mother found herself in. She was not married and pregnant and scared. But my wife met with her and prayed with her and took her to a Christian doctor who showed her the baby in her womb through a sonogram. That young mother had the courage to keep her child.
That young boy’s smile reminds me that God can save children, one at a time. But God does this by using His people to come alongside those who are struggling and lovingly showing them the Christ who can walk them through any terrifying situation, even an unplanned pregnancy.
I believe that the only hope to turn the trend of this tragedy around is for people to turn their hearts toward the God who made them through the way paved by His Son Jesus. Jesus changes hearts, and changed hearts changes a nation. May God give grace to us as a country, and may God give us courage to stand up in the midst of this tragedy so that, if the Lord tarries, there will be many more people casting votes in 2030. Lord Jesus, we need your help.