Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What if?

Do you ever find yourself asking "what if?" What if I had gone to a different college? Perhaps your dream college? What if I had chosen a different group to work with on that school project? What if I decided to forgive early and love rather than let friendships dissolve over pride or anger? What if I had decided to speak up against an injustice instead of holding my tongue? What if I actually worked to fight against that injustice?

"What if?" It's a question I find myself asking occasionally. What if I had chosen my dream college at the time, Providence College, over Miami University? Would I have been stronger in my faith? Would I know Catholic doctrine better than I did before I began this journey? Would I have continued to pursue a relationship with Jesus throughout college rather than turn to sin and worldliness? Who knows? I don't. I do know one thing though. If I hadn't chosen Miami, I would not have met Brent, and God's plans for me and the journey of faith I have been on would not be what they are today. Brent is a wonderful blessing and asking "what if?" reaffirms and acknowledges a decision I made over 4 years ago. Did I know where that decision would lead at the time? No. However, each choice we make today and every day is going to influence and affect something along the way. 

Asking "what if?" doesn't change the past, and it's not something I would ever want to change, but it does allow us to change the future. It impacts not only our futures, but others as well. What if I had spoken up against injustice? What if I actually fought against it? What if I took action to help those who couldn't help themselves? How much different would our world be if we spoke up instead of being silent? If we actually did something instead of waiting for things to change? We are just as at fault by allowing injustice to continue as we live our own lives wrapped up in our concerns when there is murder going on in our country, in our states, in our town, and even in our own neighborhoods. If we don't fight to stop it, then we are working for the enemy.

Genocide is the "deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation." The abortion industry has taken over 54 million lives. It has taken the lives of people who could have made a significant impact in society. It has taken away the rights of women everywhere especially the unborn women

Sitting back and letting this happen while we continue our daily lives puts us at so much fault and I'm ashamed to say that I have let my own selfishness get in the way of teaching others the truth about abortion and spreading the dignity of human life. 

I've been listening to a lot of speeches about abortion (thanks again to Lighthouse Catholic Media mp3's for always causing a stir in my heart) and the more I hear the more disheartened I get. We live in a sad, dark, time of human history in a country with dim (if any) moral values. It will protect a child born at 22 weeks that is outside of a mother's womb, but will allow that same child inside the mother's womb to be killed. They either suction these babies out of the mother's womb as they fight for life or put them to sleep like they are a dog and then pull them out of the uterus in pieces. It is a shameful industry and the largest loss of life in the world.

How many more smiles are we supposed to see when we are walking on the sidewalk? 54 million more and counting. Whose laughter do we never get to hear? The laughter of 54 million and counting. Whose great idea will never be heard? The ideas of 54 million and counting.

Abortion is murder. If I have a heartbeat I am alive and most if not all babies killed by abortion have a heartbeat. Every victim of abortion is alive and growing to live and be according to God's plan for him or her. Just because someone is tiny, it doesn't make them anything less than a human made in the image and likeness of God.

What if we talked to one person a day about abortion? What if we wore a t-shirt with a pro life message when we traveled? What if we shared (wonderful and profound) lighthouse catholic media CDs or youtube videos sharing and revealing what abortion really is? What if we volunteered at a pregnancy resource center to help women who are scared and alone? What if we helped them see their own self-worth and dignity? What if we did one small thing a day to fight against this injustice in our world? What if it made a difference? What if?

Monday, May 5, 2014


W.W.J.D. What would Jesus do? In elementary school I had a little cloth bracelet that I wore almost every day with those four letters stitched on it. It was one of my favorite accessories and it acted as a constant reminder. W.W.J.D. What would Jesus do? How would He treat those around Him? He would be kind and gentle. He would be loving. He would look to serve the needs of others over Himself. He would serve. He would sacrifice. He would teach and guide others to truth. God loves us better than we could ever love Him and He loves others better than we could ever love them. He loves and He forgives. What would Jesus do? He would do everything I try to do daily and do it perfectly. 

One of the greatest things about Jesus is that He is both fully human and fully divine and that He chose to be. He chose to save us. He chose to become like us, to take on our nature so that one day we could live in joy with Him eternally. It's a beautiful gift to have someone love you (all encompassing you, plural) as much as God does. He chose to know our struggles and our temptations in our human nature. He understood our pain and our longing. He understands what it means to be human which makes Him that much more awe-some. Jesus came to save the sinner. He came to serve. He came to love. He came to teach truth. He came to defeat death so that we could be saved. 

When I think about all the people that I admire, there is always a list in my head of who I admire and for what reason and how I wish I could exemplify a certain one of their characteristics. If I really take a good look at my list of people, the attributes I admire in them the most are always the ones that point directly to Christ. The way Christ lived was perfect. He didn't sin and He taught us a perfect love and a perfect human existence. I know that we as humans aren't perfect and I am not going to say anyone is, but the people I admire and the qualities in them that I admire exemplify (the best that is humanly possible with the help of God's grace) Christ's love.

My fiance is a really good example of patience and forgiveness (not perfect and I'm sure he may disagree on how high a regard I am going to give him). I'm impatient (I tried to word that eloquently but I failed. Brain freeze or road block or writer's block. I'd say the cat's got my tongue but I'm typing not talking.) Anyway, I am and have been a not very patient person for most of my life. I'm more patient than I was but less than I desire to be. This is about Brent, though, not me. Brent. He is a wonderful man and He is so patient. He never gets angry for having to wait. His actions always show patience especially towards me. He teaches me how love is shown through patience and that a long fuse or none to set off at all is always better than a short one.

I admire the qualities of love I see in those that surround me especially in my family and in my soon to be family. I admire those who don't just speak Jesus, but who actually live it. There is a difference between words and actions and those who love Jesus, live Jesus. It is part of their heart and soul. He defines their very being, their innermost thoughts, their kind words, and the love they show to others. I see Jesus in a lot of people. There are some who I see speaking Jesus, and then those I truly admire for how they live and love Jesus. My future mother in law [mother in love is what they say :) ] is someone I know who loves Jesus with all her heart and soul. I see it every time I am with her and even when I am not. One of the best things about getting to marry Brent in September is that I get to marry into a family who has such a wonderful love for God. She is so wonderful and has shown me such love and kindness from the day I met her. She is such a blessing and I so admire the love in her heart for everyone around her.

I admire the eloquent speaker who speaks truth, but humbly. I admire the person who holds open a door for another. I admire the couple that reads their Bible together to seek and learn truth together. I admire the youth leaders who share the good news with a younger generation. I admire the chastity speakers who proclaim that we have dignity and our future spouse's (or current) have dignity and the best way to love them is sometimes by sacrificing our own desires. I admire those who know Jesus and teach Jesus. I admire those who are smarter than I am and more learned than I am, who have acquired knowledge, and can take me through God's great word by showing me that there are no accidents when it comes to God. He knows what He is doing and scripture proclaims that. Jesus' words and actions show just how amazing God is and that His message is unified. The Old is not obsoleted by the New. It is fulfilled. 

I know none of us is perfect, but it is so beautiful to see God's hand in our lives and His spirit in those we love. I love how he can always direct us to what we need when we need it. Always. I love when he does it through the people in our lives. It always amazes me. He always reminds me to trust whenever I am failing to trust. This week at Church He even reminded me when I stopped at the Church store and bought this little reminder. :)

I think the greatest thing is that the closer we get to God and the more we see how He works in our lives, we become that much more amazed with Him and our love increases. He reveals Himself, He changes our hearts, and He changes our lives.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Hello's and Goodbye's

There are funny little "catches" with growing up. We transition from rarely having to say goodbye to often having to say it a lot more than we would like to. When we are little, we live with our parents and (for the lucky ones like me) our sibling(s) .. I added the s but I only have one). We go to school with the same people everyday and only say goodbye at the end of the day to be a bright hello the next morning. You have a built in friend set from ages 5 through 13. You go from being the top of the totem pole as an 8th grader to the lowly freshman. There's four more years, new friends, and then more good-bye's at graduation as you depart to different colleges in different states. You say good-bye to family, but only until winter and summer breaks. Another four years pass by at college where you have made some of the best friends and the best memories only to say good-bye at the beginning of May as they all start their new lives as adults with ambitions, careers, and bright futures ahead. If you move back home for a little you say hello to your families only to say goodbye again once the farming employer picks you as the beautiful, new talent (flower) to add to the company (maybe one of your dreams, maybe the stepping stone to get there).

We learn to say goodbye a lot in life as we grow older, move, and transition into new life phases. I have been in a long distance relationship for the past year now and have been lucky enough to see my fiance every 2 to 3 weeks (another reason to praise God for the blessings He has given us in our life that we can afford the time and the travel). As lucky as I am, saying goodbye gets more and more difficult every time and maybe that's a good thing. Every day that I have had Brent in my life has been the most wonderful blessing, and the hard goodbyes and the increasingly harder goodbyes show just how much he means to me. The goodbyes also make the hello's that much sweeter. They make the time together seem so precious, and every single weekend of travel in the past year has brought so many memories that fill me with joy whenever I think about them. Goodbye is hard. Hello is sweet. Love is beautiful.

So how do we love? Why is our love not always perfect? Why are there times when I am selfish rather than loving? The only answer I know of is that I am human and I make mistakes and I (so selfishly) think of myself many times before others. So how can I change? Prayer. God's grace. His mercy. His love. His understanding. Guidance from the Holy Spirit. How can I be guided without being deceived? How do I know when I'm being deceived? Do I need to trust more or to discern more? Who can I trust when a discussion about God is concerned? Everyone has their opinions and their beliefs, but there is one truth not many.

I've been thinking a lot about authority lately especially in regards to Church matters. There are two directions I have seen when it comes to authority. There is either a structured authority with a set of doctrine that is the belief of that Church and the structure on which that Church teaches and stands or there is doctrine that a single community follows and it differs from church to church or leader to leader and even people within the community can interpret and discern scripture differently with their own worldviews mixed in.
I don't believe Christianity to be pick and choose so why are we free to interpret the way we want when my interpretation could be different than yours? Why do people have issues of authority when it comes to church matters but don't question it whatsoever in every other (much less important than matters of the soul) area of their lives?

I have a job as a mechanical engineer where I have to work within company policies and procedures in order to protect intellectual property, ensure customer satisfaction, and make sure that the design matches up with the paperwork. I report to my boss who reports to his boss who reports to his boss and so on until a group of people report to a CEO. If as an employee I did not perform my job within company policy then I am not fully doing my job and could potentially lose that job. Aside from the fact that it would be disregarding my responsibility, it would be taking the job "interpretation" into my own hands. There is a reason for policies within a company. There are military standards and tolerance specifications that we need to follow. It's important information and it was created by people with more experience and who are much more intelligent than I am. I'm trusting these people and their policies when I do my job. If I disregard them, then it could affect design or even my performance as an employee. I don't have much experience as a mechanical engineer with less than a year out of college so I am trusting people who do have the experience and knowledge. I am trusting that my company is going to provide me with the information I need to perform my job without having to create new or conflicting standards as I work.

We live in America. Well I live in America. U.S. of A. We have a President, albeit, I won't speak on what I think of his authority. However, all Americans (including you Mr. President!) have a set of laws to follow. We have a Constitution that directs us all to our rights in this country. We look to our government (maybe this was a bad example) and we trust them to make correct, authoritative decisions.

I am going to rant now so stay with me if you want or skip ahead. There are a lot of things our country today has taken very far out of context and very far away from the constitution and the moral law. One. Abortion. That is preposterous that anyone could even believe that it is anything but murder. An abortion is murder. It doesn't matter how planned parenthood or our government spin it. It doesn't matter how many "feminists" (trust me you aren't a feminist if you are fighting against your fertility) believe in a woman's right to choose. It is a murder and we do have a right to choose. We have a right to choose... this might be a little shocking... to not have sex if you are not ready for a baby (I won't go into the whole marriage thing but that remains too, uncontracepted sex within marriage is the only real sex and the way God designed it). Abortion makes me angry and we have no right to dictate whether another human being lives or dies. Life is sacred and blessed and should be protected. A baby. A human baby has a heartbeat at 3 weeks old and can feel pain at 8 weeks old. If  your heart is beating you are alive. I don't understand how anyone can disregard this? How can that be ignored? Fear should not determine our actions. Love should.

I'll share a comic about abortion. It makes me sad more than anything. We are so quick to tell others when something is unhealthy for them, but when it comes to "sensitive" topics like abortion our nation is so accepting. My company banned smoking on campus because it is unhealthy for us (I don't smoke this is just an example). How much worse for us as women, as human beings, is an abortion that affects us both spiritually and physically?

I've never had one and I never will. I just can't imagine rejecting such a wonderful gift growing inside you. A human being is a precious gift from God. I understand not being ready, but we need to understand that no matter what a business (that's what the abortion industry is... a business selling their product and sadly successfully selling it) tells us as part of their marketing strategy doesn't make it true. Just because McDonald's makes and advertises a "healthy" salad doesn't mean I'm going start a McDonald's diet because I know most of what I'm getting there is unhealthy. They aren't marketing the grease and the calories in our supposedly health conscious America. We need to discern. We need to know what is fact and what is a facade. Trust is important and so is discernment. God gave us a brain for a reason and we should know how to use it.