Love…and babies

I first met Nathan when I was a youth minister and he had joined my core team. For a while I figured he thought that I was annoying since he was so quiet around me.  Then, one day – over Facebook nonetheless – he told me that I was great and that there should be more “Allisons” in the world. Well that made it obvious he didn’t think I was annoying, if there should be more me’s running around. He reminded me of that conversation the other day, since now Nathan and I have a mini-me of each of us. See? Image

On the day of that Facebook conversation, we didn’t know we’d be getting married. But I did realize that he had a deep affection for me more than a crush, because that’s what love is – loving the other person so much you wish more of them existed. There are several kinds of love. You can love chocolate, you can love your pets and your siblings, but then there is agape – the Greek word for the total, unconditional, and self-giving love which brings more of that person you love into the world (through childbirth).  And so love is pro-life: it is fruitful; it expands and grows.

I love chocolate! I once had a chocolate-themed birthday party. And I loved my cat! I even wrote a song about how much I loved him when I was in elementary school. But I couldn’t marry either of them.  I have no doubt that two men or two women can love each other, but it cannot be married agape love because they cannot have children together.  There are two genders, and the two fit perfectly together to create new life. Two men or two women can’t do that!

 With the news of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding homosexual marriage, many heterosexual people seem to say “whatever, no big deal, that decision doesn’t affect me.” But it does, because marriage is the foundation of our existence and the foundation on which society is built.  Marriage used to mean babies, and that meant carrying on your lineage, it meant a workforce to pay your social security. But most importantly, marriage is about our children, and this new ruling seriously affects our children.  Psychology has shown the negative effects on children in the absence of a mother or a father. Would anyone want to intentionally deny a child of knowing their mother or their father? We already feel sympathy for a child who lost their parent through divorce or death. Children can rise from these unfortunate circumstances, and all healing comes through Jesus Christ, but why are we ruling for laws to make this the norm for our children? Are we saying we WANT them to be denied a mother or a father? 

Consider this: (1)
-In a study of 6,500 children, father closeness was negatively correlated with the amount of a child’s friends who smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and smoke marijuana.
-63% of youth who commit suicide are from fatherless homes.
-80% of rapists motivated by displaced anger come from fatherless homes.
-71% of all high school dropouts come from homes without a father. 

When “love” and marriage become about pleasure and feeling good, instead of about sacrifice and children, people get hurt. We’ve seen this start since people started  using contraception. Look at these staggering facts:

  • According to the National Women’s Study, 683,000 women are raped every year in the United States, which equals to 1,897 a day. (2)
  • In 2011, 61,472 cases of child sexual abuse were reported. Many, many more went unreported. (3)
  • Every year, 19 million people contract a new sexually transmitted infection. 1 in 4 teens gets an STI. (4)
  • It is estimated that the number of women and children sold into human sex trafficking are in the millions, making it the fastest growing business in organized crime today. (5)

 Also, Catholic charities in several states have been forced to close down by the government because they refuse to place children with homosexual couples. With this ruling, it will be more common to close down Catholic Charities, which is the 3rd largest charitable organization providing food, shelter, counseling, adoption, and pregnancy services to several million people each year. (6) Shutting these places down because they aren’t “PC” is simply wrong.

Simply put, love and marriage need to be for the purpose of babies; an agape love that is open to life.

 For more articles on this topic see: 

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithonthecouch/2013/06/the-marriage-debate-what-not-to-do-and-what-to-do-instead/

http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/index.cfm

 References:
1: http://www.fatherhood.org/media/consequences-of-father-absence-statistics

     http://thefatherlessgeneration.wordpress.com/statistics/

2: http://www.crimevictimservices.org/page/sexassault/76

3: http://www.nctsn.org/resources/public-awareness/national-sexual-assault-awareness-month%20

4: http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/std-sti/std-statistics.html

5: http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/law-enforcement-bulletin/march_2011/human_sex_trafficking

6: http://old.usccb.org/comm/catholic-church-statistics.shtml

A personal letter to women considering abortion

We dated for about nine months before we got engaged. Our engagement was nine months long and then, on our honeymoon, we got pregnant. Thus, nine months later our son entered the world.  When he was nine months old, we got pregnant again.

When I took the pregnancy test to confirm my suspicions about being pregnant the second time around, there was a moment of elation, followed by a moment of terror, and then sunk in the depression.  We had a nine month old who had barely learned to crawl, was hardly eating solids, and definitely not sleeping through the night. Now we have to do it all over again?  I was just starting to lose my pregnancy weight and would have to pull out the maternity clothes again. We had had people living with us for the last six months, I was working part time, and my husband had started his own business. How was this going to work?

So I cried and I prayed, “Lord, I would be ok if I had a miscarriage.”  That is not to make light of anyone who has miscarried, it’s to show how dark this time was for me.  And then I got angry, telling God all the reasons why now was not a good time to have another baby.  I cried some more, saying “I don’t want this baby.”

If I wasn’t a woman of faith, I don’t know what I would have done.  But my body was obviously designed to create, grow, and give life, so I just let my body do its thing. When our daughter was born, it was a beautiful moment kind of like out of a movie. Our time in the hospital was magic. But when we got home, the struggles were difficult and I sank into post-partum depression.  I found out another friend had miscarried, and my first thought was that she could have my daughter.  I was in a lot of pain from thrush and nursing problems and I was angry that my baby was hurting me. But slowly, we started to get better. And then during her baptism, I heard a voice inside me say, “There’s a reason she was born. I have a special plan for her.” The Lord was telling me that this little girl had a reason to live, a purpose, a bright future full of hope. And from there the depression and the pain started to fade away, and I was able to really start loving this child that God had given to me.

Lily is 7 months old now. I love her to pieces! Yes, she shrieks and cries and drives me crazy sometimes, but her smiles make my day, and I cry now writing this at the thought that there was a time that I didn’t want her. I can’t even imagine anymore what life would be like without her:

image_1 image

Dear mother considering an abortion:

That’s what you already are: a mother! I don’t judge you for whatever feelings you are having because I have been there. You are not an evil baby-killer; you are scared and overwhelmed at the thought of raising another human being. I too have felt that way! But do you really want to live life without knowing the color of your baby’s eyes or if they have curly hair, or a temperament like yours? What he or she will be when they grow up? Who they will marry?

There are not only physical, but many psychological and emotional side effects to having an abortion that no one really talks about. There is anxiety, depression, and guilt for going against your body’s design to give life. Whether you agree that abortion is killing a baby (which I do), there are still other consequences to you, the woman that can last a lifetime. And I don’t want you to have to go through that.

I knew a girl in college who had had an abortion. She hadn’t told anyone, and ended up coming to get prayer for the guilt she felt, and that’s how we met.  She had started to pray and to heal emotionally, when her ex-boyfriend found her and raped her. She got pregnant, had another abortion, and left school.  She was so depressed- it scared me how unreachable she became. She ended up getting back together with that guy and moving back to her hometown, although her family would not take her in because of all her choices. Long story short, she got pregnant again, but this time she decided to keep the baby. She dumped the guy, reunited and reconciled with her family, and had a beautiful baby boy. She has been working and going to school and raising her son, but she does it all for love of him, and she is happy to do so. That doesn’t mean life has been easy and it has required a lot of sacrifices, but so what? We only live once, and what better way to live than to share it with our own flesh and blood.

Dear woman considering an abortion:

It can seem like there are all these so-called “good” reasons to “terminate” your pregnancy. But to what end? Underneath all the sleepless nights and ear-piercing shrieking, there is joy. Unspeakable joy that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I beg you to see that abortion is never the answer. Not for the baby OR for the mother! So my heart goes out to you, dear mother considering an abortion, and to all women who have had an abortion and the burden they now carry. I will offer up my struggles today for you!

Love,
A fellow mother

p.s.- If you still can’t imagine raising your baby, please consider adoption. I know women out there who want children so badly but can’t on their own. You could make a miracle possible for some family out there.

Abs…and heaven.

I’m trying to get rid of my baby belly fat, so I have attempted Jillian Michael’s 6 week 6 pack on youtube. It’s level 1 (out of I have no idea how many levels), and I’m lucky if I do it once a week. I can’t even finish the whole 30 minutes, but I’m not looking for a 6 pack, just some abdominal strength. At one point a little over halfway through the video she says, “If you want a 6 pack, I bet you’re prepared to do the work, right?” And I want to say, “No Jillian, I just want a flat belly without watching what I eat or working out.” Then she says, “You know that comes at a price, don’t you? But it’s a price worth paying.” And we continue working out for another minute until I’m too exhausted to finish.

Here’s the thing. I’ll probably have another baby some day and I’m bound to get old and wrinkly eventually, so while I do want to be healthy, my body is mortal.  My soul is what is immortal, but am I willing to work for the goal of heaven? Or do I think I’ll just float right into heaven the same way I can snack my way into a 6-pack? Do I care for my soul just as much as I care for my body? My soul comes at a price, and I think of St. Paul’s words to train for devotion.

“Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. Thus I do not run aimlessly….  Run so as to win.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-25

“Train yourself for devotion, for, while physical training is of limited value, devotion is valuable in every respect, since it holds a promise of life both for the present and for the future…for this we toil and struggle, because we have set our hope on the living God, who is the savior of all.” 1 Timothy 4:7-10

My new goal: keep working out, however often I can, and get on the elliptical. And then, while I’m there, say a decade of the rosary before watching TV while I “run.” Then I can work out my spiritual muscle of virtue through the rest of the day!

God our Father…..and teething

Lily got her first two teeth last week! That means last week (and this week!) have been really rough and I might be losing my mind. Poor girl, it’s hard to see her in so much pain and not be able to do much about it… or be able to do something about her screaming except wear earmuffs. And so I share this article with you by Bill Donaghy of The Mission Moment on teething and suffering and pain called “Mommy’s Here! Daddy’s Here!”

http://catholicexchange.com/daddys-here-mommys-here/

 

The Bathroom Sink…and Confession

I’m about to tell you a true story. When I was in 5th grade, I had to do chores. And I always picked cleaning the bathroom over vacuuming (I hate loud noises – and now I have two loud kids and a husband who works with power tools for a living – so joke’s on me).  But that’s not all.  I loved cleaning the sinks because I would imagine I was re-enacting the Great Flood.  The sink in all its grossness was the world full of sin. When I sprayed the cleaner it was God sending the rain to the earth. Then I would take the sponge and get into all the corners and crevices and make it all clean (only it didn’t take me 40 days and nights, maybe 40 seconds). Then I would take the paper towel and dry up the countertop, just like God dried up the earth, and then it was undefiled once again.

I really did that when I was 10. And I was thinking about it today when I was cleaning the bathroom. So next time you clean the sink, while you are cleaning, do an examination of conscience to see where your heart needs to be cleaned, and make a plan to go to confession if its been a while.