Dust to Dust

For you are dust, And to dust you shall return,” Genesis 3:19b.

Lent starts today. For many, even some Christians, it’s just another day. But it begins a season I mark every year now.

As a child, I didn’t work very hard at Lent. I’d decide to give up potato chips until there were some potato chips around. Then I’d switch to something else, like chocolate. And then, to something else. I was like Huck Finn deciding what not to steal today.

Then for many years, I didn’t mark Lent at all.

I don’t remember when I started again. My discipline about food hadn’t advanced far from what it was when I was a child. I ate too many potato chips when they were there. And too much of anything made of sugar any chance I could get.

I’m not overweight–or not seriously so. I bounced around within 20 pounds or so since hitting 40. But Lent isn’t about weight control. It isn’t a diet plan. It’s a desire to work with God to get control of food. To keep food (or anything else) from having control over me.

To honor Him in what and how much I eat.

It’s about discipline and sacrifice–albeit small sacrifice. The discipline isn’t just one of physical appetite. There is a spiritual element in all we do.

And in sacrifice, we acknowledge that we aren’t in heaven yet. Today begins a place where sometimes we partake and sometimes we abstain. It’s a place where we do better when we don’t have it all. But it’s hard because what we want is all around us. All we want. All the time.

Everywhere we look. So we need discipline and with it comes sacrifice.

The discipline and sacrifice remind us.

Lent reminds us that others don’t have it all around them all the time.

Lent reminds us heaven is ahead of us. We are not there yet.

Lent reminds us that He carried a cross.

He sacrificed. For us.

In the meantime, we work. We struggle at times.

We can only imagine heaven. We yearn for it. We even confuse this world with it sometimes.

Only one dwelled there and then came here.

He did not have to imagine. He knew. Yet He came.

Remember.

Photo Credit: Pexels


 

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Who We Were Made to Be

“Male and female created he them, and blessed them.” Genesis 5:2a, KJV

“What sort of world might it have been if Eve had refused the Serpent’s offer and had said to him instead, ‘Let me not be like God. Let me be what I was made to be–let me be a woman,'” Elisabeth Elliot.

When I was in tenth grade, I imagined what life would be if I were someone else. I imagined myself as a girl in my class who wasn’t too tall or too plump, as I saw myself. She had the cutest layered hair cut. Not in the style of Farrah Fawcett, who had yet to achieve fame, but who would seed a crop of feathered hair across our nation.

Instead of wondering who I was, who I was supposed to become, I worried more about what people, especially boys, wanted me to be. That was who I wanted to be.

Around the time I was musing within my high school mind, many of the world’s women imagined what life would be if they could only be like men. Not actually men, mind you. Just like men.

So in the ’70s women wanted to be like men. But they couldn’t be like men because men don’t have babies. Men could have sex casually and choose to avoid the consequences.

So women wanted abortion. And now men have sex with them and push them to abortion, at least some of the time. Sometimes, it’s a girl’s or woman’s parents. Sometimes, it’s her abuser, her trafficker. No matter the situation, her choice isn’t as free as abortion supporters had promised it would be.

Women wanted to be like men and still pay a big price for behaving as men sometimes do.

Now a new possibility emerges on that same front, a vaccination to prevent pregnancy. And it seems possible that such a medication is on the horizon for women.

It sounds like a great idea. No hormones.

No side effects?

Not so fast.

Immunizations get our bodies to attack cells we don’t want.

“[W]hat comes of immunizing a woman against herself? For this is precisely what a birth control vaccine would do. Where other forms of contraceptives attack the female body’s natural cycles, a vaccine would deputize the work of pregnancy prevention to her own flesh, teaching her cells to become belligerents against their own. It would bring the war on womanhood right down to the cellular level, teaching her body to strip itself of the very thing that makes it female,” Carmel Richardson.

Many men and women today who are de-transitioning from trying to become the opposite sex are learning that what we want when we are young often changes later on. Some treatments are permanent. We can’t always turn back from what we decided in our youth.

Brenda Baletti quotes Brian Hooker, PhD. PE: “The big question [about a contraceptive vaccine] that comes to mind is ‘reversibility.’ It is very difficult to turn off an immune response complete with memory B-cells after it has been turned on. My fear is that many would be left permanently sterile from this type of vaccine.”

Richardson points out that, at the least, “’People with especially enthusiastic immune responses‘ could end up infertile for several years.”

Imagine abusers and traffickers threatening, forcing the vaccine on their victims, not bothering to persuade, not concerned with consequences.

As Eve learned the hard way, trying to be who we want to be without regard to God’s intentions doesn’t produce the desired result. A deal with the devil never pays as it promises.

Women striving to be “like men” has led to today–when men want to become women and women want to become men. Social movements keep moving. They don’t stand still. From the ’70s to today, people seek new, self-created identities.

The recently departed Dr. Timothy Keller reminded us that “identity is received, not achieved.” We can never make ourselves into something better than who God intended for us to be, who he specifically gifted us to be.

Attempting to create ourselves anew is distorted pride.

Elisabeth Elliot quotes Isak Dinesen to define an undistorted God-centered pride, a good kind of pride, as “faith in the idea that God had when he made us. A proud man is conscious of the idea, and aspires to realize it. He does not strive towards a happiness, or comfort, which may be irrelevant to God’s idea of him. His success is the idea of God, successfully carried through, and he is in love with his destiny.”

Our attempts to recreate ourselves in mentally conjured images are Eve’s sin, distorted self-pride. Idolization of self.

Social movements move. They do not stand still. Nothing stays put. We will not reach an end that says, “I am content with the person I am,” unless we come to God’s view, who he had in mind when he made us.

Fulfillment lies in following his plan.

Let the Creator be the Creator.

Be the creation he made.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

A Place in the Picture

Once windblown sand without direction,
I am now glass, colored by life, faith, and love.
 
Sand heated, tinted, shaped, and planted,
Part of a larger picture.
 
Cracks and fissures healed and yet healing,
Whole glass within the framework,
 
Supported by Spirit,

Surrounded by glass like and unlike me.
 
Light shines to the world through me, through us,
A piece in the picture of the Bride,
 
Glass arranged just so to shine light and show the image,
Glass, waiting for the King’s return.
 
He waits to heat, shape, heal cracks,
And place you just right,
 
So His light and image can shine on another,
Windblown sand without direction.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Your Favorite Color in the Land of Darkness

“The light shines in the darkness. But the darkness has not overcome the light.” John 1:5, NIV~

What’s your favorite color? It’s a simple question. But it’s one Yeonmi Park found impossible to answer.

When Park was 13, she and her mother decided to escape from North Korea. Her sister had gone ahead days earlier. The girls’ father planned to follow later.

Park and her mother, as Park’s sister had, paid a broker to get them across the Yalu River thinking they could get jobs in China and be free.

Free–even though the citizenry of North Korea has no word for the concept of freedom or justice. Or an understanding of the pronoun I. There is only we, Park says in her book In Order to Live.

When they got to China, Park and her mother learned they were to be sold as prostitutes or wives for Chinese farmers since the country’s one child policy had created a dearth of women through sex-selective abortion.

Park watched helplessly as a broker raped her mother. Exploitation continued until they met Christian missionaries.

You might think the gathering between grace and those seeking freedom would be one of joy. But the missionaries told Park and her mother that their work in a sex chat room, the only work they could find because of their illegal status, the only work they could do to eat, was sin. They were “dirty”. They must repent or risk their entire group being captured and repatriated to North Korea.

That possibility was no small threat since North Korea typically executes defectors.

Park felt as judged as she had in North Korea during the daily self-criticism sessions.

Park was 15 when they arrived in South Korea through Mongolia. The South welcomed defectors from the North. Yet the transition from oppression to freedom was not a simple one.

Imagine growing up in a society where you almost never have to make a decision, what to wear, where to go, what your job will be, even what to eat because famine meant you ate what you could get–even dragonflies and roaches.

Park had no way to answer questions like What do you think? or What is your favorite color? She even thought that, if not for the death sentence that would ensue, it might be better to go back to North Korea where there was no burden to make decisions.

We in America give no thought to such questions. We know what we think. We know we’re right, most often without listening to those who disagree with us.

And we know which colors we prefer for our clothing, houses, and cars.

We take so much for granted. Our abundant food, our electricity that is reliable for the most part, our freedom in matters large and small.

Such abundance and freedom impressed Park–even in China, not a country most in the West would point to as a bastion of liberty.

North Korea is a land of, not only spiritual darkness, but also physical darkness. The photo above is a satellite image of electrical light at night. One bright spot indicates the capital city where dictator Kim Jong Un resides.

Darkness comes in different forms. Park was surprised and pleased to learn that South Korea had a law forbidding men to beat their wives. Abuse in the North is common and accepted. It’s not that the law is unenforced. There is no law against abuse.

North Korea is a land of darkness, physical, spiritual, moral, and intellectual.

America is a land of artificial light with a sense of freedom that is sometimes deceptive.

What’s your favorite color? You need light to perceive color.

You need light to understand oppression and to navigate freedom.

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; the one who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” John 8:12, NASB~

Escape the darkness. Embrace the Light.

Photo Credit: researchgate.net

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Satan Always Lies

The painting Checkmate used to hang in the Louvre in Paris.

A man is playing chess with the devil. It looks like the devil has won.

We don’t know how much the painter Friedrich Moritz August Retszch understood about chess. Paintings don’t usually come with written explanations.

Even so, a legend has attached itself to this one.

A chess grand master visited the Louvre and studied the painting.

Although the man in the painting appeared to be losing, although an observant, forlorn angel stood by mourning another lost soul, and although Satan was congratulating himself for a win, the chess board told another story.

The man still had a move to make, and that move could lead him to victory.

When the Israelites had their backs against the Red Sea, God had another move.

When Jesus was dead, and evil appeared to have won, God had another move.

God will always have another move.

He may appear to have lost, but God has already won.

My pastor recently told this story as part of an exceptional message. Enjoy!

Photo Credit: Haven Today

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Same War, Different Uniforms

Faithful Christians of different traditions are soldiers in the same army, but our uniforms are different colors. It’s as if we somehow believe it is not a war we are fighting but a game we are playing. And the soldiers with different colored uniforms are players on a team we oppose—a team of bitter rivals—rather than our fellow soldiers who hold to the same creed and battle the same enemy.

Imagine two nations, each warring against the same evil foe. The world is in peril as the evil enemy conquers more and more countries, stealing more and more hearts. The enemy troops are captives. The soldiers who fight the enemy are duty bound volunteers whose mission is to call the enemy’s troops to freedom.

Further imagine the general of one nation trying to discuss battle strategy with a general from the other. The generals do not speak the same language, and no one is present to translate. Some individual soldiers continue to engage in battle—some effectively, some even in concert with allies in different uniforms. Their efforts are small and uncoordinated. 

Other soldiers don’t know what to do, so they do nothing but fret about the war to the soldiers of their own units.

Both nations have the same goals, but they use different strategies. Some work well; others waste time, resources, and energy fighting the same battle here, but sending no soldiers there. The needs are great, but the work is lonely and calls for reinforcement.

Because the nations’ customs and foods are different, they misunderstand each other. These misunderstandings distract both from the crucial battle against the enemy. They imagine their fellow soldiers as the enemy.  The two forces end up fighting each other. 

Many who have not joined either are confused. The enemy succeeds in drawing them outside the battle lines, outside the reality of the war they themselves need to win. The evil enemy takes even more ground, captures even more souls.

The army that fights the enemy has a long history. When its fight began, the army was a small corps of committed fighters; most gave their lives in battle. From the army’s very inception, from its beginning with only twelve generals, the enemy had infiltrated the ranks.

A betrayer was within the ranks of the army’s greatest leaders. For the first 500 years, division happened within the army.

The forces of good were the faithful who battled forces of evil, the corrupted betrayers. Infiltration continues to this day and sparks confusion among those who might otherwise become soldiers. Some people like wearing the uniform but would never actually engage in battle. They are not true soldiers.

Aside from infiltration, the enemy has two main battle strategies. The first is persecution. His intention is to kill as many soldiers as he can—the most typical war strategy. It not only eliminates opposition, but he supposes that it deters new enlistments. This strategy is often faulty. Our army grows in the face of persecution, and our cohesiveness is at its peak when our trials are plenty. The soldiers wearing different colored uniforms work together best during times of persecution.

His second strategy is more subtle and more insidious. He lavishes our established, well-entrenched forces with wealth, comfort, and divisiveness. The divisiveness is often thinly veiled self-righteousness. We make judgments about each other based on those who wear their uniforms lightly or even deceptively, or we accept someone’s misinterpretation of another’s worship language. For Satan, this second strategy has been his most effective throughout history.

The primary battlefield of this war is within people’s hearts. Here is the battlefield we have most neglected. Here is the front where we must win.


Photo Credit: Pixabay

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

What Can One Person Do?

“What is urgently called for is a general mobilization of consciences and a united ethical effort to activate a great campaign in support of life. All together, we must build a new culture of life”Pope St. John Paul the Great

The above quote comes from The Vulnerable People Project’s website.

The story of VPP begins with Jason Jones who got his high school girlfriend pregnant. He joined the army to prepare to support her and his child.

As the child of a teen mother, Jones grew up with the dream that he would be a father in an intact family, and his “children would be happy and safe.”

While still in training, a phone call dashed his hopes as his girlfriend’s father explained: “I know your secret, and it’s gone.” His girlfriend wept that she had not done it. Her father had forced her to have an abortion.

This mother was in her third trimester.

At the time, Jones was an atheist. But he understood that his daughter, whom the couple had already named Jessica, had become a murder victim.

He had never been to church. He’d had no interest in politics.

From that day forward, he “committed his life ‘to protecting women and children from the violence of abortion.'”

His commitment was real. It would take years before it became a commitment of faith. As Jones worked to protect the innocent, to protect the vulnerable, he rubbed elbows with people of faith. He worked with Christian organizations and studied political philosophy.

He came to know the truth of Christ, the meaning of freedom.

Jones produced the movie Bella (and other films) and used the proceeds from DVD sales to promote the film’s prolife message in pregnancy resource centers and prisons.

His accomplishments don’t end with films, and they aren’t limited to saving the unborn. His effort begin there, and now reach far and wide.

Medical treatment for girls ISIS has displaced.

Efforts to free Catholic bishops imprisoned in China.

Bringing clean water to refugees in South Sudan.

Providing water, food, medicine, and other aid in Darfur.

Rescuing those left behind in Afghanistan when the US withdrew.

Providing coal and food for Afghans during winter.

Jones is now married and the father of seven children.

You may have said to yourself at one time or another: I’m only one person. What can I do?”

Jason Jones show us that one man’s efforts, with God’s blessing, can go beyond what we could hope or ask.

Photo Credit: Vulnerable People Project

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

This Thursday! Best You 2022!

Nancy E. Head, is featured in the Leadership Training Track on the topic, Prep for Discomfort Zones.

Airing live on Thursday, July 14 at 1 PM ET, Nancy’s session will help women everywhere embrace unprecedented times of uncertainty while finding peace in God’s Word, God’s workings, and God’s ways. Prepare for the coming unknown as you discover:

How trials draw us close to God

How to walk with someone else going through trials

How to build a community of support to lift others

Summit Director, Marnie Swedberg, is excited to welcome Nancy to the speaker platform because she is the author of Restoring the Shattered, Nancy E. Head was a single mother of five for eleven years. Nancy now teaches, writes, and speaks about God’s providence and grace.

“Mentoring women for 20 years led up to these amazing online programs,” said Summit Director, Marnie Swedberg. “Being able to host them live, on YouTube, and 100% free for attendees, is like a dream come true.”

Swedberg will kick off the summit with a “7-Day Praise Challenge” at 11 AM ET on Thursday, July 14. 

In addition to Nancy’s session entitled Prep for Discomfort Zones, attendees are next invited to select from simultaneous sessions all afternoon, at no cost, including:

  • Supersize Your Hope with Maribeth Ditmars of Sarasota, FL
  • Self-Care Secrets with Shayla Hilton of Jamestown, NC
  • Overcoming Giants with Tammy Kennington of Colorado Springs, CO
  • Master Money Mindset with Laney Houser of Bend, OR
  • Marketing Not Mania with Hannah Conway of Clarksville, TN
  • Break Free of Anxiety with Chikeitha Owens of Dallas, TX
  • Declutter Your Soul with Carla Gasser of Hudson, OH
  • I Dare You to Jump with Georgina Verzal of Tustin, CA
  • Why God Allows Suffering with Darci Steiner of Parker, CO
  • Reframe Your Thoughts with Sara Im of Largo, FL
  • Step Out of Your Doubt with Doris Swift of Edgewater, FL

Attendees are also welcome to request any of the $1500+ of free swag gifts now available, plus listen to any previous summit sessions at your convenience. No limit.

This summit is open to the public with attendees hailing from around the world. Many international participants use the post-summit videos (also free) to host watch parties where interpreters translate the training for local women’s ministry groups.

Our esteemed panel of presenters each provide a 30-minute training session followed by 15-minutes of Q&A for live attendees. Every program is hosted on the trainer’s own YouTube Channel and is available for replay indefinitely. So, if you miss a session or want to share it, or review it, it will be there for you, at no charge.

The Best You 2022 Virtual Women’s Summit has had over 70 speakers and over 2000 attendees so far and the hosts are excited to invite you to join the Summer Summit, Thursday, July 14. After you request your free ticket, you’ll receive a downloadable session schedule in PDF file format. Use it to explore your options, then click to attend the sessions of your choice.

Request your free ticket at http://www.BestYou2022.com.

===

ABOUT LOCAL SPEAKER, NANCY E. HEAD & THE BEST YOU 2022 VIRTUAL WOMEN’S SUMMIT

Local speaker, Nancy E. Head, is one of twelve featured speakers at the Best You 2022 Virtual Women’s Summit on Thursday, July 14. This international online conference is 100% online, free and open to the public with sessions on Spiritual Growth, Self-Care, Bold Living, Leadership and Expanding Your Reach. Nancy’s session is Prep for Discomfort Zones, airing live at 1 PM ET on July 14th. Learn more and grab your free tickets now at http://www.BestYou2022.com

The Rape Exception

For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13~

It was a flashpoint in the argument to legalize abortion in America during the 1970s: rape. How could anyone be so cruel as to suggest that woman who’s been raped has to carry the child of the rapist to term?

The surprising answer is that abortion is frequently pushed onto these rape victims, and abortion victimizes them further.

We are half a century removed from the complete eradication of abortion laws that Roe v Wade and Doe v. Bolton enacted and in the midst of states reacting to the overturning of those cases along with Casey v. Planned Parenthood (1992).

Surprising is the scant discussion of the compelling subject of abortion because of rape or incest aside from an emotionally charged but “dubious” account of a 10-year-old victim who allegedly had to go out of state to be relieved of the child a rapist implanted.

And there seems to be little interest in finding facts to support what was and still is assumed: That women/girls who suffer rape and girls who suffer incest are better off having abortions than they are delivering babies.

We have barely looked beneath the surface of this assumption.

One study of 37 women pregnant from rape showed that a large majority opted against abortion. “Dr. Sandra Mahkorn found that 75 to 85 percent chose against abortion.[1] This evidence alone should cause people to pause and reflect on the presumption that abortion is wanted or even best for sexual assault victims.” (Also, see here and here.)

Multiple factors play into the discussion: the woman’s view of abortion before she was assaulted and the conviction that something redeemable can result from something horrible.

It’s interesting that few have replicated such studies. As if impressions that abortion is best, even necessary, in cases of rape are universally valid, further testing is superfluous.

More likely, it seems researchers fear results that would overturn the public’s impression that abortion after rape is beneficial or even benign.

Those impressions carry the same conclusion into the discussion of incest. But in cases of incest, abortion erases the evidence of a crime and allows abuse to continue.

David C. Reardon, Ph.D.:

“Studies show that incest victims rarely ever voluntarily agree to an abortion.[4]Instead of viewing the pregnancy as unwanted, the incest victim is more likely to see the pregnancy as a way out of the incestuous relationship because the birth of her child will expose the sexual activity. She is also likely to see in her pregnancy the hope of bearing a child with whom she can establish a true, loving relationship, one far different than the exploitive relationship in which she has been trapped.”

So it isn’t the way we thought it was. No matter which study we consider, assault victims are not lining up in great majorities to abort their pregnancies. They are not claiming that abortion saved them from something more horrible.

more recent survey of sexual assault victims–one that includes a much larger sample (192 women) than the studies cited above–states that 80 percent of women who aborted children conceived from assault regretted their abortions. No woman who gave birth expressed regret.

Missing in much of this discussion is the voice of the children. Rebecca Kiessling is one such voice. Conceived as a result of rape and later adopted, she speaks for the tiniest persons involved.

“Most importantly, I’ve learned, I’ll be able to teach my children, and I teach others that your value is not based on the circumstances of your conception, your parents, your siblings, your mate, your house, your clothes, your looks, your IQ, your grades, your scores, your money, your occupation, your successes or failures, or your abilities or disabilities — these are the lies that are perpetuated in our society.”

Our worth comes from our Creator. He values the littlest ones no matter how they came to be. We can value them too by helping their mothers. Those who have suffered such abuse need not suffer more.

It’s time to tell the truth about rape and abortion. Abortion harms women. Abortion kills children–no matter how they came to be.

Speak up for mothers and children.

Photo Credit: Pexels

See also: Not Some Rapist’s Child

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertisement.

Rules to Free Us

“Sin is the failure to live freedom excellently.” George Weigel

When we were children, we told ourselves that, when we grew up, we would do what we want. We would stay up late, drive a car, and watch whatever we want on television.

But then we grew up and wished we could go to bed earlier. We wondered how we’d pay for car repairs. And we wanted to find some time to watch TV. Or when we did have the time, we wished there’d be something on worth watching.

We didn’t realize as children that our extra sleep helped us function and learn. Our parents chauffeured us around while bearing the burdens of car ownership and maintenance. And we enjoyed an innocence about how the world worked–or failed to work well.

We still don’t realize–and often don’t like to admit–rules are good for us.

The Ten Commandments are not just a list of what not to do–the “Thou shalt not’s”–not idolizing, misusing God’s name, stealing, lying, murdering, coveting, and adultering–or something like that.

They also list what to do. The “Thou shalt’s”–honor God, the Sabbath, our parents.

Those three seem less obvious to us. They don’t seem to carry the weight of immediate consequence, at least when we’re older. But they are perhaps even more important than the others. They keep us from the others. The “Thou shalt’s” help us avoid the “Thou shalt not’s.”

Yet every day, we are free to choose. In fact, our ability to choose our actions, according to George Weigel “is what distinguishes the human person from the rest of the natural world[;] freedom is the great organizing principle of a life lived in a truly human way.”

Life is hard. But when we live our freedom excellently we are most free.

Someone pointed out to me that God gave the Ten Commandments to the Israelites after they left the bondage of Egypt.

I had never thought of that before. I had never pondered why God didn’t give a set of rules written in stone to Adam and Eve upon their departure from the Garden. Or to Noah 120 years before the flood. Or to Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob.

God waited until His own people would be setting up their own society–a newfound society of free people coming out of bondage. He gave them guideposts, like road signs. Go this way. Don’t go that way. Avoid the bondage of sin.

They aren’t rules to limit us. They’re rules to free us.

“Had your law not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.” Psalm 119:92.

It’s something every generation must learn on its own. I confess that I learned many life lessons the hard way. When we learn that way, we come to see the rules as protective.
God wrote those rules in stone. They serve or are disregarded by everyone throughout history.

As children, we resented our parents’ rules while they formed a hedge of protection around us.

The wise delight in the rules and in the One who gave them to us as a gift.

Only then are we truly free.

Photo Credit: Pexels

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