Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Get Off My Coattails

Late last night I was scrolling through Twitter when I came across a public figure who declared 7 or 8 times that fetal tissue is not a person. She then signed it from those who have "abortions and miscarriages." Since planning my own unborn child's funeral over 2 years ago, I have not weighed in on this hot topic. Until now.

You see, for 2 years I've struggled. Something I once was staunchly against I was now doing. Kind of.

The doctors shared the statistics of a girl with LUTO: 100% of them die. We had two choices. We could either give birth at 20 weeks and let her pass being premature. Or we could give birth at 40 weeks and let her pass of suffocation. Both are terrible choices and neither do you want to make for your child. At last we chose 20 weeks. If given the same circumstances again, I'd still choose 20 weeks.

Many of you know at 18 weeks we discovered God miraculously healed her. She was born at 38 weeks happy and healthy with Prune Belly Syndrome. She turns 2 years old next month.

Since then I've praised God for His miracle and spent as much time hating myself for choosing an abortion. I hated it was called an abortion. I hated I had to make that choice. I hated I DID make that choice. Thank God that choice did not have to be lived out. For a long time after that I wrestled with where I stood on abortion in general.

I wrestled because had it not been for a political debate we would not have had to make a decision before 20 weeks. I wrestled because when faced with this dilemma myself, my choice didn't seem fitting for an ultra-conservative, Bible-belt mom. I wrestled because the wild politics forced us to have to deliver in a different town with a different doctor during the most crucifying time of our lives because abortion isn't allowed in our town. I wrestled because for the first time in my life I walked in shoes I had never worn and my eyes were opened to another side of the coin.

I hated the pro-life group who put up a billboard next to my OBGYN's office, because I wanted my child so deeply. Yet here I was seeing this sign about my terrible choice when my choice was death or death. I hate that billboard. It pierced my heart deeper with pain than you can imagine. I still see that sign when I go to the same building for labs for that same child. It still pierces my heart. And, honestly, I think it is distasteful and the folks who put it up have no idea the suffering they've caused every mom in my shoes. No idea.

So for 2 years I have kept quiet about abortions. Mostly because I didn't fully understand how I felt anymore and somewhat because it felt grey. And maybe somewhat because I was embarrassed I chose 20 weeks.

But last night I saw this tweet forcing together abortions and miscarriages. I saw line after line repeatedly stating fetuses are not humans. And my rage and emotions that have built up for 2 years exploded.

Abortion is wrong. Not because you don't get a say in your body. Go for it on your own body. But because you don't get a say over life and death for that child. At least you shouldn't.

Abortion for babies who are going to die at any stage in the pregnancy aren't abortions. That needs to be law. If hospital boards and legislators on either side of the aisle had a shred of human decency they would quit calling a delivery of a child with a fatal medical condition an abortion. I have cried my own tears and I've cried with friends whose babies never could make it out of the womb yet medically were considered to have had an abortion. We could not deliver our beloved daughter with our own doctor because our local hospital has policies against abortion. Great. Love that. Just separate medical issues of the child from behavioral issues of the mom.

Lastly and most importantly, abortion activists who market themselves as "pro-choice" better get off my coattails. I harbored a lot of grief for far too long wondering about my own beliefs. It hit me: my choice was out of love and had to be done while abortion activists make decisions like mine cloudy for their own gain. If we quit having elective abortions, then my child's medical condition wouldn't have been a moral issue. She could've gotten the affection she deserved because our minds and medical boards and governing bodies wouldn't have had clouded judgments of what an abortion is.

I have heard the cries from the left about a mother's choice. I have understood the argument about a young lady in poverty who finally gets some attention from a man and the outcome would be a single mom who can't do it on her own. I shutter remembering a woman who said she needed Jesus followers at the backdoor of the abortion clinic more than at the front door. I have heard them. I mean really heard them. And I 100% believe we as Christians need to get to that backdoor. We need to love women so hard that they know their worth before, during, or after an abortion. We need to pick them up with such mighty hands they choose to go and sin no more.

But I don't believe you get to choose what you want with no consequences. No matter your morality, it will hit you one day. I don't believe abortion has anything to do with a mother's choice. I think that's such a poor marketing scheme that these groups use to justify themselves but ultimately has killed millions of children all in the name of making themselves feel okay. I believe the church should step up and help, but I don't believe you get a free pass for an abortion until they do. And I believe abortion activists need to quit hurling themselves onto the traumatic endurance of having to choose the most ethical way for your child to die because she has an incurable medical condition. Get off my coattails. I let you ride them for 2 years, but today I start fighting back.


Also, P.S. The little girl who was supposed to be "aborted" and is now almost 2 is quite the sassy thing. And she's tired of abortion activists using stories like hers to legitimize their abhorrent behavior. You won't want to get in her way.



Friday, January 4, 2019

Reflections

I have a few minutes this morning before the running and screaming and chaos begins, and I wanted to share some thoughts that have been on my mind lately.

When I was single and a teacher, I didn't realize it then but I had grown a bit embarrassed of myself. How did I end up like this? How did I let myself become a teacher in this small town? I could've gone to this school or that if I had only tried harder. I could've lived there or had those friends. Yet there I was. A teacher. And I wasn't okay with it.

Fast forward to 2013. I was a newlywed in a new state and ready to conquer the world. I went to work for a bank...as their trainer. It was awesome. I love learning, and I did a ton of that. I got a couple promotions and met so many people. One of the last things I did before I left the bank was create a leadership training. I should brag, because it was cool. Within it was a poverty simulation, an overnight camping trip to Palo Duro Canyon, a day serving our troops, and time spent with Texas legislators. The bank supported me 100% and gave me the resources and connections to do this. It was even featured in one of the banking magazines, and I still can't get over it.

At the bank I wrote other trainings, some that were one-offs and some that were departmental. I appreciated the opportunity and the accolades, but what I couldn't put into words then was that it wasn't whom I was at my core. I enjoyed banking. But God made me a teacher. And I didn't realize it then, but my heart was longing for where it began.

A few short years later I was having Henry and felt strongly about staying home. Of all the decisions we've made, this was the very best decision of mine and Cash's married life. It still is. Watching my children grow every day and being in every moment with them gave me a new purpose in life. I'm not saying you can't experience that if you don't stay home, I'm just saying it was what I needed. I needed to be shown there is purpose in my life even when it is not glamorous. That even without a title or accolades, I am still important and doing God's work.

Through staying home I found my identity in Christ alone. When I had nothing exciting to share at social events or had throw up running down my yoga pants, I learned my value in the world is different than my value to God. When Henry hit 2 and became half-child half-monster and I could not figure out his attitude, I learned I don't have every answer. When we were told our child would never live and I had to walk into a funeral home and buy her urn, I learned I had no strength beyond Christ alone. It was somewhere amongst the depths of despair and the mundane of fixing breakfast before a playdate that my heart and my head learned nothing else matters.

Last year I started a part-time job at our church. I could list 3,000 reasons why I love it. But I can sum it with this: God made me a teacher.

Today that makes me proud. That is whom God made me to be. Instead of trying to find a place in this world I created myself, I find joy in exactly what God created.

I now have dear friends who are doctors and judges and stay-at-home-moms and bankers and teachers and crossfit instructors and choir directors and farmers. They all really rock whatever they do. Not because of their title. Because that is whom God made THEM to be.

So 2019, I'm ready for you. 2018 taught me to own who I am and who God created me to be. 2019 will be the year I rock it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Ol' Razorback Red's Maiden Voyage

We have hit our thirties. Officially. We bought a camper.

For a while we had been considering a camper since the kids are mobile and love using that mobility outside. So a few months ago we made a trip down to San Angelo to check out their selection. We went in knowing the basics of what we wanted: small enough we could be comfortable hauling it yet big enough we would actually be comfortable in it. We found the perfect size and shape in a Winnebgao, and lo and behold we found out they also come in a bright red.


Now I thought the bright red was pretty, but what really sold me was the salesman who tried to claim this red as Texas Tech Red Raider Red. No. I could not have that. This is Arkansas Razorback Red. So. We got a red camper to haul all over the country. Funny thing. After 3 weeks of football season, I am trying to find a new favorite red-colored team.

This past weekend my folks came into town to help us out on the maiden voyage. We were nervous as cats, but all in all it rode smoothe and we had no major hiccups. I'm sure no one noticed the black water hose hanging out and then the black duct tape holding it in the bumper. And I forgot olive oil and butter, but hey-no one is remembering all the things I DID get.

Here we go!

The food still tasted good thanks to our camp chef Cash.

If you are unfamiliar with West Texas, all you may know of it is Midland/Odessa. Midland: home of George and Laura Bush (heyo, I am super proud her childhood home is 1 block from our house). Odessa: home I'm sure to someone but it ain't me. Okay, fine, Odessa is where Permian High School is and all the Friday Night Lights hoopla. Some of you may have heard of it.

But there is so much more to West Texas than oil rigs and tumbleweed. A couple hours south of Midland is a tiny ranching town called Ft. Davis. Here the school is so small they don't have 11 kids to field a football team, so in Texas High School style they play 6-man football. This is a thing. Everyone should watch at least one 6-man game in their life.

He's just here for the cheerleaders.

A solid 1:2 flag to player ratio

6 players. 4 cheerleaders. 1 team.

Ft. Davis Indians vs. Sierra Blanca Vaqueros
(You can't make this up.)

Also in Ft. Davis is the McDonald Observatory which is actually part of the UT-Austin campus. On weekends they host star parties. I know you're snickering. You think I'm a real big nerd. I've actually been to 3 star parties now, and I admit each time they get cooler. I am obsessed. At the star parties they point out to you all these constellations you still can't see, but they also tell you neat facts about our solar system and beyond. To steal my dad's quote, on a good night I can pick out the moon. But man, at the star party you see so much more. They had one telescope set on Saturn where you could actually see the rings around it. My mother, bless her Arkansas-farm-girl-don't-you-dare-take-me-to-a-nerd-convention heart, even admitted it was worth the 45 minute wait in line to see the 6th rock from the sun. Who knew we had this deep love for Saturn?

From the top of the state park you can see the McDonald Observatory in the distance

On Saturday we went to Marfa. Marfa is one of those places you can see, but it is best felt. You with me? Marfa has all these funky little shops where artists are sculpting on the doorstep or hand sewing self-designed clothes at the cash register. My sweet man snagged me a beautiful leather purse handmade at Cobra Rock as I chatted with the owner who was busy making a pair of shoes. He said it takes him 3 weeks to make 1 pair due to drying timed but he could do 8 in a week. 8! That's it! They literally make every last stitch and then sell them right there.

West Texas comes alive in Marfa

Over in Alpine we stopped for lunch at Reata. It is a pretty famous restaurant, but most folks know it by its Fort Worth franchise. Right outside of Alpine is one of Claytie Williams's ranches where he always had his infamous Ranch Parties. Driving by that ranch had me all kinds of nostalgic for the old days.


We stayed both nights at the Davis Mountains State Park, and the kids had the best time running and driving trucks and going on walks. On our way home little Henry begged to go camping again. I don't know if it was the good times or the incense I bought in Marfa, but I seriously considered asking Cash to just keep driving to the next state park. There we would've shown everyone our Roll Tide Red camper.