Thursday, April 17, 2014

Product Review: Surrender Scripture Cards for Pregnancy and Labor

Sometimes we need little things in our life to remind us the bigger things in life. Things like peace. Joy. Faith. Hope. Strength. Trust. Deliverance. Love. Blessings. Power.

Abby of Surrender Birth Services seeks to give us just that.

These beautiful Scripture cards, printed on heavy duty card stock and bound with a ring, will be a blessing to any mother during her pregnancy and labor. And just about any other area of life she finds herself in.

When I first opened the package that these came in, the first thing I noticed was the care that had been taken in making sure that these cards bring delight and happiness. Wrapped in burlap and tied with a string, these Scripture cards are beautifully designed with peaceful imagery of many beautiful things.

I can think of nothing more relaxing than reading Scripture that has been printed on cards with beautiful backgrounds in colors that are calming.

I am looking forward to using these cards throughout the rest of this pregnancy, and especially through labor and delivery. If you've been on the search for birth affirmation cards, your search ends here. These cards are filled with wonderful Scriptures that offer peace and comfort without the folly of New Age wisdom and the baggage that that comes with.

When not in use, these cards can be leaned up against a jar on the kitchen counter, a bookshelf, near the mirror in the bathroom, on your dresser in the bedroom, or on the headboard of your bed as a beautiful constant reminder that the Lord loves you, and that he will be your strength when you feel like you just can't go on.

We all need that sometimes, don't we?

Not just pregnant and laboring women. But all of us. In every area of life. In any walk. In every moment.

Please be sure to check out Abby's website and Etsy store, where you can purchase these beautiful Scripture cards and also full size posters of your favorite cards. There are lots of other goodies that Abby has available, so you might want to grab a cup of coffee and browse for a while. I'd love to hear your thoughts on these cards, and Abby's other products, so feel free to leave them in the comments. :)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Stop Posting Anti-Abortion Stuff

One of the pages I follow on Facebook got an email from a subscriber. The page owner posted it on her wall hoping to glean answers and advice from her following. The words in the email are loaded - there's so much hurt and feelings that have been brought on by others thoughtlessness.

Sometimes I feel hopeless, like it doesn't matter what I do I'm still going to miss out on heaven. I had an abortion when I was 17 and I hate myself for it. I've tried to accept the fact that I've repented and am forgiven but then I get on facebook and see images of aborted babies and hateful words, and I feel that overwhelming sense of loss and hurt. I have two children with my husband. I love them more than anything but facebook is quick to remind me I'm getting it all wrong because we vaccinated both of them and I only nursed the younger one. I don't homeschool and I'm not sure it would even be a good idea for us. The idea was foreign to me until recently but now I feel like I don't measure up. My question is what ever happened to getting to know Jesus? I thought the goal of a Christian was to know and love him and to let the experience change you. Now I feel like it's more important to look good on the outside. Why does everybody feel the need to shove their ideals down your throat when the only thing that really matters is what he's doing in your life. I'm so tired of feeling like a failure but I can't help it.

There are choices that this woman and her family have made that I disagree with and have not made for my own family. We don't vaccinate, we nurse until the baby wants to quit, we believe that God has given us the responsibility to homeschool our children. But all these decisions ultimately don't matter when you're doing what God has called you to do. For us, it's the opposite of what this lady has chosen to do. But for her, the decisions she's made regarding those things are right. And same goes for you with whatever you decide to do about vaccinations, breastfeeding, and homeschooling.

The part that got me though was the bit about abortion. This woman messed up when she was very young. She made a choice that she can't go back and change. Now, before you go on reading, I would really appreciate it if you could jog your memory and dig up at least two decisions that you've made that you regret. You know, the ones that come back and haunt you.

Did you think of them? Good. Now you know at least a little bit of what this woman is feeling.

Not long ago, actually I think it was just about 2 weeks ago, I started writing a blogpost about why I think people should not post anti-abortion pictures or articles on Facebook. (Or put up billboards, bumper stickers, tracts, etc. with the same message.) I had a hard time finishing the post, and ultimately ended up just deleting the whole thing. I couldn't get the words right. I couldn't make them say what I was feeling. They weren't conveying what I wanted them to.

But then, just a few minutes ago, I came across this lady's message, looking for help and comfort and understanding. And all of the sudden, I knew that that message was what I needed to finally be able to write this post.

This woman specifically mentions Facebook, and that when she gets on to look at it, she is bombarded with images of aborted babies, hateful words, and an overwhelming sense of loss and hurt. Some may respond to this by saying "It serves her right. She shouldn't have done what she did." Still others may say "Well, even though she's sorry, I'm not going to stop posting these things because maybe it will help another woman out there somewhere to not have an abortion." And still others will point out "She had a choice, she made the wrong one, and now she's just gotta live with it." But I implore you, please, please don't have any of these responses to this woman or the many others like her.

First off, people need to quit posting anti-abortion status, pictures, and articles on social media sites. They need to stop slapping bumper stickers on their cars. They need to stop putting up huge billboards that thousands of people drive by daily. They need to stop shoving their stance in people's faces, and especially into the faces of those that have once made a bad decision and have come to regret it.

Secondly, our response to women like the one who sent in this message should be one of love. Not condemnation. Look around - she's getting enough of that at every corner. As Christian, we are to show love, acceptance, and forgiveness. Yes, there's an aspect of the Christian life where we are to correct, admonish, etc - but honestly, it should be much more of a rarity than it is in mainstream Christianity. Man, don't Christians just love to bash each other?

It's a tricky topic, this is. I definitely believe in sharing what you stand for. I think it's good to pass on information, share articles, write posts on why you make the decisions that you do, and so on. But there's a HUGE difference in throwing inappropriate, guilt-wrenching, mean-spirited, pictures and words at people and then sharing your thoughts in love. That is what I intend to do when I share articles on things that I'm passionate about - things like not vaccinating, eating healthy, being the church instead of "doing church" and so on. They are controversial topics sometimes, and I've had more than one person get upset at me for it. Does that mean I shouldn't keep sharing? Does that mean I should just keep my thoughts to myself? Well, the answer to that is honestly pretty easy.

The answer is sometimes yes, and sometimes no.

I've shared my fair share of articles on Facebook. And there have been times when I've read a really good article that is spot-on, and have decided not to share it because I knew that there were folks out there who would just waste their breath and time trying to convince me otherwise. And while I think it's pretty silly of them to try to argue with me on something I believe so strongly in, for the sake of not making people angry, "stirring the pot," or any number of other things, I've chosen not to share particular articles.

All it takes is a little discernment. Do I always have it right? Absolutely not. I wish I did though. And I think that after reading this lady's message, I might be a little better at it.

When it comes specifically to articles/links/pictures of abortion, I think that a lot more discernment needs to be used for a couple of reasons. One reason, and probably the main one, is for people like the woman who sent the above message. There is no reason to keep bringing up someone's past sins, to keep making them feel bad for them, to keep reminding them of the hurt that I'm sure they already feel on their own every. single. day. You are being cruel if you do this.

The second reason is simply this: how often does flat out telling someone they are wrong make them change their mind about what they have already decided to do? In my experience, not very often. When you claim that you're sharing these anti-abortion articles/photos for the purpose of hopefully changing someone's mind, you're probably mostly just angering them further and making them more sure of their decision.

Now that's not to say that abortion horror stories, horrible graphic pictures, etc. don't sometimes have their place. If they are going to be out there at all, I think they need to be on very specific websites that are dedicated to this type of thing. I DO NOT think it is okay to be scrolling through you Facebook newsfeed and accidentally come across a graphic picture of an aborted baby. Yes, some people do indeed need the graphic pictures of what exactly goes on to help them fully understand what they are doing. Yes, some people need to hear the horror stories. Yes, for some people, this will make them change their minds about their abortion and ultimately, a life will be saved because of it. For those times, praise God! But Facebook really isn't the place to be doing that.

Please think about this for a while. Don't just dismiss it as one person's thoughts. Reread the lady's message above. Hear her words. She is hurting because of some of the things YOU shove in her face. And it's not right.

As far as looking at Facebook and being made to feel not good enough, I think a lot more of us struggle with this than we might let on. I know I sure do. There are days when countless pictures of people in cute outfits come across my newsfeed and I get a little jealous that I don't look like her. My body isn't as good as hers. My hair isn't as nice as hers. I see pictures of pretty flowers that people have been given, and I get sad that I don't currently have fresh cut flowers on my table. I see pictures of what people made for dinner, and I get discouraged because today I didn't get around to making a really nice dinner. These things are small in comparison to what it must feel like to be reminded of a horrible thing you regret everyday, but they are still real, and I'll bet most of us can relate to them in some way or another.

I'm not saying that we need to stop posting pictures of the awesome dinner we made, of our cute outfits, of our children, of our animals, of our flowers, or of anything really. I'm not saying we need to stop posting status about the great date night we just had, or the fun vacation we just got back from. But what we do need to be doing is to stop the war of comparison. And each of us can do this by quitting it for ourselves. Make the conscious decision that when you get on Facebook, you're not going to let what other people have or are doing get you down. Instead, you're going to look around you and be thankful for where God has you in life at this moment, and for the things he's put around you. If you can't do this, like I so often fail to, then maybe we should all just quit Facebook. It honestly doesn't seem like that bad of an idea...

Ultimately, the purpose of this post is to encourage you to stop throwing your opinions down peoples throats in a hateful, thoughtless manner. It's not helping anybody, and it's causing more damage than you'll ever be able to see.