No Thanks Birth Control

On Wednesday, November 15th, a social media campaign called #ThanksBirthControl went live on twitter. It is interesting that this was taking place while so many stories of sexual harassment were coming to light. What has happened to the way men treat women?

All through history there have been problems in relationships between men and women. We keep trying to figure this out in our human way, and some things have changed. In the United States we are blessed with equal opportunity for girls in our school system. In fact more girls are going to college than boys. (Why is that?)

Women have opportunities in sports, government and corporate jobs. But the area of sexuality is a big problem. Where is the respect for a woman’s body?   Do women appreciate  the  potential  they  have to carry new life?

Amazing Microbiome

I grew up during the sexual revolution.     The  birth  control  pill  was  released and quickly became popular while I was a teenager. It was claimed that men and women would have sexual equality. Women could enjoy sexual relationships without worrying about becoming pregnant. How has that worked out?

The birth control pill ushered in the need to legalize abortion. If the pill was not effective in preventing pregnancy, then there had to be another way.

Since the widespread use of hormonal birth control, the rate of breast cancer has increased. The Breast Cancer Prevention Institute (BCPI) has an article that explains the link between hormonal medication and breast cancer. You can access the article here.

Men were more than willing to leave the responsibility for the consequences of sexual intimacy entirely on women. It gave them a free pass. Casual sex became common.

I don’t think this climate has led to men being more respectful of women.

In truth, the only way for men and women to be truly equal is to follow the precepts of the Bible. Men and women have been created equal, but with different roles. A sexual relationship flourishes in a marriage that is centered on the love, sacrifice and forgiveness demonstrated by Jesus Christ.

#ThxBirthControl #ButNoThx

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A Mouse in the House

It is Friday and the #FMF community is writing and posting their thoughts on the prompt given by our gracious leader, Kate Motaung. Today’s prompt is: EXCUSE  You can visit the community and join in the fun by clicking here

The cold weather has arrived, and I have found evidence of a mouse on my KITCHEN COUNTER! I washed the counter and placed cotton balls with peppermint oil along the inside edge of the counter.   I  told  my husband that we had to get rid of the mice.

My husband dutifully brought out a mousetrap and set it with a piece of cheese for bait. And the next morning the cheese was gone . . . no mouse.

Dear husband set the trap again. This time he used caramel sauce for bait and set two traps. And the next morning the caramel sauce had been licked off both traps . . . no mouse.

I looked at the empty trap—I am a little skittish about handling a mousetrap. I took a metal knife and set the trap off and then picked it up. I was determined that we were going to catch the critter, no excuses.

I took a small chunk of cheese and worked it in my fingers to make a soft ball and then smashed it on the bait holder. Then I turned the trap this way and that as I figured out how to set the trigger. I set the trap on the floor.

That evening, while we were watching TV, we heard the trap go off. My husband went to look and he came back with surprise written across his face. “You caught one.”

So he took care of disposing of the mouse. I asked him if he was going to set the trap again. He looked at me and gave this excuse, “Well, you’re the one that knows how to set the trap.”

So I set the trap again. We have caught mouse number three. At first my husband’s pride was hurt, and then he realized he had a partner in catching mice. Sometimes we have these little difference to work out as husband and wife. I am glad that he takes the mouse out of the trap.

Refined and Blessed by Marriage

Someone was ringing the doorbell persistently. My husband went to the door and I looked on, curious. A deliveryman handed a wrapped florist parcel to him. Who is sending flowers? I wondered.

The enclosed card was inscribed, Happy Anniversary.   It was from our   sister-in-law. And then I remembered. Our 40th anniversary was just days away.

We have been blessed and refined by many years of marriage. The day after the flowers arrived, my husband and I attended a world-view conference led by Dr. Frank Turek. During the course of his presentation he spoke about the benefits of marriage between one man and one woman—and the reason why the government has had an interest in marriage historically. Here are the benefits I jotted down;

  1. Creates children
  2. Children are raised by a mom and a dad
  3. Civilizes men
  4. Protects women
  5. Perpetuates and stabilizes society

Dr. Turek covers this topic in his book, Correct, Not Politically Correct. He also has a website: cross-examined.org

When God set down the pattern for marriage it was for our good, as a couple, and for society as a whole.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24

Marriage

Jesus affirmed this view of marriage: Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?” Matthew 19: 4-5

In our marriage, my husband and I have grown in our faith and helped each other with new skills. We have had good times and hard times. We have sometimes communicated well and at other times not very well. We have learned forgiveness and self-sacrifice. We have raised children and now have three married adult children and seven grandchildren.

How can we pass on a healthy view of marriage to children and grandchildren?

1.  When the Bible is a part of our daily life it becomes a guidebook for healthy living. Regular Bible reading and prayer at home is a good thing.

2.  We need to discuss sexuality with the children God has placed in our influence. God’s design for sex is healthy and fulfilling; it requires boundaries. Surveys have shown that teens wish that their parents would discuss this topic with them.

3.  We can give our testimony as a couple, explaining how God has worked in our life.

4.  We can pray for the young people in our circle of influence and look for opportunities to offer words of guidance and encouragement. This morning my husband and I prayed for our grandchildren.

Can you think of additional ways to promote healthy marriages?

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A Diatribe on the Kelly File

Megyn Kelly’s diatribe at Newt Gingrich on the Kelly File illustrates a     festering wound in our culture. The sexual revolution that endorses sex outside of marriage has hurt many women. Feminists have embraced an idea of equality that does not take into account the differences in nature that men and women possess. What would the early feminists think about our progress?

The early feminist movement addressed issues important to the respect of women. Hilary Clinton mentioned the Seneca Falls Convention in a speech she gave. The convention took place in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848. It is informative to learn a little about the early feminists.

The most well known were Elizabeth Cady Stanton, daughter of a lawyer, and Lucretia Mott, a Quaker. The three other women were also part of the Quaker community: Martha Wright (Lucretia’s sister), Mary Ann M’Clintock and Jane Hunt. Each was married and had children. This group of five women organized the first women’s right convention.

They were concerned about educational opportunities for women, the right of a woman to own property, the right to her own children, the right to vote, the right to decent jobs.* Together they wrote the Declaration of Sentiments. Elizabeth Cady Stanton made the final revision of the document. She wrote: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal**. At the convention 100 people signed it.

Today women in the United States enjoy freedom and opportunity. We can applaud many of the changes that have taken place.  The focus on    reproductive rights, that Hilary Clinton constantly mentions, did not fit in the perspective of these early feminists. They were pro-life and pro-family.

In the publication, Revolution, Stanton wrote: The strongest feeling of a true woman’s nature is her love for her child; and the startling facts in the above extract [NY times article on infanticide], multiplying as they are on every side, warn us that all things are inverted. Objectors cry out to us who demand our rights, and the ballot to secure them, “Do not unsex yourselves.” It is against this wholesale unsexing that we wage our war.

We are living today under a dynasty of force; the masculine force is everywhere overpowering the feminine, and crushing women and children alike beneath its feet. Let women assert herself in all her native purity, dignity and strength, and end this wholesale suffering and murder of helpless children. With centuries of degradation, we have so little of true womanhood, that the world has but the faintest glimmering of what a woman should be.***

The hope of these women was that marriage would be strengthened by equal participation in the marriage covenant. They were against the abuse of women by men. They promoted education and protection of their right to their children. They acknowledged the nurturing nature of women.

Reproductive rights have not improved overall respect for women’s feminine nature. The availability of the pill and abortion has not reduced the abuse of women, but instead made it easier for abuse to take place without consequence. When Planned Parenthood neglects to pursue charges against a man who brings a teenager, a minor, in for an abortion, that perpetuates the abuse.

Many women today have more in common with the early feminists than with Hilary Clinton. We would prefer to pursue improved education on women’s health and fertility. We would like young women and poor women to have alternatives to abortion, the support that they need during a difficult time. We would like all women to be informed of the risks and side effects of hormonal contraception and abortion.

True reconciliation between men and women comes by following the Bible’s principles for healthy living. The Bible teaches love and respect in the marriage relationship. When we believe Jesus (we are all sinners needing forgiveness) and follow his ways we are able to forgive and love.

marriage

Women are speaking up for healthy relationships at Women Speak for Themselves.

*Cady Stanton, Elizabeth and others, eds., 6 vols., History of Woman Suffrage, New York: Fowler & Wells, 1881-1922, 1:70-71

**Oakley, Mary Ann, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, New York: The Feminist Press, 1972.

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The Lack of Respect for Women

Words. Ugly references to women. It is hard to listen to the political mud slinging. Trump’s words revealed on a recording were vulgar and cannot be condoned. These words have opened wounds that many women carry.

Our culture is saturated in sex. I wonder if we are ready to assess the damage that has been caused by the push for sexual freedom. Perhaps the ugliness of this campaign will encourage discussion.

When sex is separated from a committed relationship, when men do not have responsibility for the potential pregnancy that may result from sex, women are hurt.

Beginning in the 1960s, significant court decisions took place. In 1965 contraception for married women was legalized by the Supreme Court under a right to privacy decision (Griswold v. Connecticut). In 1972 contraception for unmarried women was legalized as a right to privacy (Eisenstadt v. Baird). In 1973 abortion was legalized for all women as a right to privacy (Roe v. Wade).

The Supreme Court has a huge influence on our culture.

These court decisions set laws in place that made sex available to men without commitment or shared responsibility. This is not what God intended. God designed the family and the bond between husband and wife.

In the Bible Jesus reiterates the sacredness of marriage. When Jesus was asked about divorce he said this:

“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”         Matthew 19: 4-6

Some people viewed contraception as necessary to avoid over population. Some people of faith thought that contraception would improve marriages and the care of children. The Bible does not specifically mention contraception, but the word itself is against life.

A couple can deepen their relationship by talking about sex  and  the   potential for pregnancy.  With contraception a woman may feel that she has to be always available.   Sex can be a self-centered act  instead of    affirming the sacred bond of marriage.

What about when we look at the big picture? What has changed?

Failure of contraception led to the “need” for abortion.   The rate of    abortion has increased over time. Millions of babies have been killed in their mother’s womb. Women have been wounded by abortion. The rate of divorce has increased. The number of children born out of wedlock has increased. Women’s health has been impacted by hormonal contraception. And respect for women?

Our human remedies may fail us. We need to seek God’s ways. This text states a hard truth.

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools . . . Romans 1:21-22

The current political mud slinging should cause us to pause. We have God’s remedy for the moral descent that is going on.

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.       2 Chronicles 7:14

God heals us if we turn to Him.

Bless the Lord , O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,
Who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases.
Psalm 103:2-3

Prayer:  Lord God, my human nature leads me to seek my own way.     Forgive my sins and guide me in the path of life. I praise you because you are my redeemer and healer.

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Hope Shared by Women Around the World at TGCW16

Yellow Rose-Hope

What is better than singing praise to God with 7,200 women? The only thing I can think of, is praising God with all of the redeemed in heaven. It was so good to be at the Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference last week. Women from all 50 states and 38 countries were in attendance.

Each of the speakers focused on a portion of 1 Peter. Over the course of three days they taught all the way through this epistle. Some of the terms that come up in this book are: sojourners,  exiles,  royal priesthood,  God’s people. One of the threads running through the book is suffering and persecution. The other is a living hope!

Peter begins his letter with these encouraging words:

According to God’s great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.    1 Peter 1: 3-5

God keeps us in his sight! I am memorizing these verses.

Throughout each day Keith and Krysten Getty led us in worship.  They introduced songs that are on their newly released CD,  Facing a Task      Unfinished. One of my favorite songs is, He Will Hold Me Fast. God is faithful and will keep His people in his care.

Jen Wilkin’s message touched a sweet spot. As Christians we are called to give the message of God’s love that offers new life. She compared our Christian role to that of midwife and lactation consultant. Our desire is to nurture growth in new believers.

Peter has instruction for women. And it includes the word submission. We may have trouble with this word, but the truth is that God gives us guidance for relationships. God provides order for healthy relationships. I was a little slow in learning this lesson. My husband and I have a good relationship, but it could have been better sooner.  We disagree and     argue from time to time but we communicate better when I show him respect.

For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. 1 Peter 3: 5-6

At the conference I heard that last phrase and paused. Do not fear anything that is frightening. God invites us to trust him completely. I do not have to fear the outcome of the current election—but I will participate in the process as a citizen of this country.

The first epistle of Peter applies to the current time. I encourage you to read through 1 Peter. You can also listen to the messages given at the conference. The sessions are available on-line. Click here.

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A New Season of Life and a Luscious Cup of Coffee

 

A New Season and a Luscious Cup of Coffee

My husband and I are in a new season of life. We are both retired and have supportive roles in our extended family. My mother and brother are in declining health now and require the help of family. We are thrilled to have five of our grandchildren in the area and see them on a regular basis. We are learning new patterns of teamwork.

My husband makes the morning coffee. We have agreed on the recipe for the best coffee (see below). We each fix a light breakfast (mine is oatmeal) and read at the kitchen table. I am developing the habit of prayer and Bible study before I open my computer.

Sometimes I make trips to Michigan to assist in the care of my mother or brother while my husband takes care of the home front. Sometimes he comes with me. He always makes sure that the car is in good shape for travel.

We have different passions. He is an engineer, a problem solver and computer expert. He keeps my computer running and backed up. He enjoys being part of a ham radio group. I like to write, read, knit and support issues related to women’s health and childbirth.

My husband has attended one March for Life with me, but this year he did not want to go to the March in downtown Chicago. When the thermometer showed a reading of 4° F, he said, “Surely you are not still planning to go?!”

And I said, “I will just go to the meet up place and then decide before I get on the bus.”

He said, “Take the ski goggles with you.”

My thought was I will look stupid. But I put the goggles in my purse and headed out the door. I did go to the March for Life. The wind chill at one point was -11°, possibly colder. We were outside for almost two hours and I was very grateful for the ski goggles.

We are enjoying being grandparents. When my daughter needs an evening babysitter, we go together and spend time with the grandchildren. I feel blessed to have this season with my husband.

During our wedding ceremony we committed to encourage each     other. We read from Colossians 1: 9-14 during the ceremony.

And so from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.  He has delivered us from the     domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

romantic-pink-roses

These verses are still a guide for us.

Here is our recipe for a great cup of coffee. We grind our own beans. While I will measure the coffee grounds (8 tablespoons for 11 cups of water), my husband puts the beans in the grinder and dumps all of the ground coffee in the filter paper lined basket. He is certain that he has placed the right amount of beans in the grinder. We add a dash of salt to take away the bitter edge of coffee and some cardamon seeds (a scant ¼ teaspoon).

After the coffee has brewed I add ¼ teaspoon of coconut oil and some cream to my coffee. So good!

coffee_3389

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Grace in Marriage

Gracious Woman

A gracious woman gets honor. Proverbs 11:16

This week I listened to a webinar on life coaching. This was the basic question being addressed: How do we help people make healthy changes in their lifestyle? The program was designed for health care workers, but it applies to family life as well. I took notes as I listened and identified practical tips for encouraging changes in behavior (mine and my husband’s).

It is easy for me to get frustrated with my husband’s way of doing home repair. We have different perspectives. It’s the engineer with great designs vs. the manager of home and hospitality.

The first thing I need to do is, to listen to him explain his plans. Then I can ask questions—helping both of us to see a project more clearly. The conversation should include two reflections for every question. A reflection restates what the other person has said and confirms understanding.

Making demands or instructing my husband on what needs to be done doesn’t work. Instead demands throw a wedge in our relationship and can shut down our communication. We can both be pretty self-centered. I want a project done yesterday. Hubby wants to work on his own time-line. The appearance is important to me and hubby is satisfied when it is functional. We need to listen to each other in turn and compromise.

I am not going to get everything I want, but we can stay us on a path of progress, working together. We can increase our understanding of each other’s strengths.

Dialogue works (supporting motivation) when positive comments are in a 3:1 ratio with negative comments, for relationships in general. In a marriage relationship the positive to negative comment ratio needs to be 5:1. I was startled when the lecturer said this. I need to improve!

How often do I notice the good things my husband is accomplishing? Do I let him know? Do I affirm his strengths?

The word I chose for 2015 is gracious. I have been paying attention to the way I interact with people that I meet.  And I can still grow in    graciousness toward my husband in our daily life.

The apostle Paul’s letters to the Christians at Ephesus and Colosse    addresses  husbands and wives. They struggled in their relationships too!

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.                     Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.                      Colossians 3:18

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Morning Devotions: Psalm 119

 

Rhythm of the Waves

God has given us rhythm in nature and in his Word.

This summer my husband and I have been reading from Psalm 119 for morning devotions. It is the longest chapter in the Bible with 176 verses. The verses have a poetic rhythm that is just partially revealed in the English translation. In Hebrew one letter of the alphabet marks each section. Verses one through eight each begin with aleph. Verses nine through sixteen begin with bet, and so on through the alphabet.

Psalm 119 is a tutorial on the word of God—arranged in a manner that encourages memorization.

Ron Hirschhorn, a member of our church, has written a devotional book, Psalm 119: The Supremacy of God’s Word. The devotions cover 22 days. Each day focuses on one eight-verse section. Hirschhorn reflects on the meaning and application for that section.

On day 17 the title of the devotion is “10 Reminders to Keep Pressing On”. Here are the verses for the day (129 -136).

Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them.

The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.

I open my mouth and pant because I long for your commandments.

Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your way with those who love your name.

Keep steady my steps according to your promise,

and let no iniquity get dominion over me.

Redeem me from man’s oppression, that I may keep your precepts,

Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes,

My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.

The last first verse stirred my thoughts about the chaos in our country. Hirschhorn directs the reader to press on to have a merciful heart for people that ignore God’s laws. We must care.

We have enjoyed the devotional book. It was easy to do together in the morning, and it encouraged discussion.

Linking with After my CoffeeWords with WinterSunday StillnessMake My Saturday Sweet,  Weekend WhispersGrace & Truth and Booknificent Thursday


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