Our Miracle Story: When my Doctor Told Me to Abort My Baby

My husband and I love to tell our 3rd child, Bryce, that he is our miracle baby.  His story is one of many being told today, where a mother chooses life over a doctors suggestion.  Where the possibility of a handicapped baby or a mother’s possible death pales in comparison to the hope of life!

We had been trying for over 2 years to get pregnant.  I had just received a second opinion from an OB who’s exact words were “to be happy that you already have 2 children.  You probably will never have any more.”  The diagnosis was PCOS.

For months, I struggled with my roller-coaster emotions.  With each friend that announced a new pregnancy, my heart would secretly break.  I began to feel guilty for my sorrow, as I knew several other women who had been waiting for many years to get pregnant, while I already had 2 precious little ones!

One day, I had gone to the eye doctor for a routine eye appointment.  My vision had been giving me trouble, and I expected that my 20/20 vision had changed.  My “routine” appointment dramatically took a turn for the worse when the ophthalmologist noticed that my optic nerves were swelled.  After seeing several specialists, and having several tests, I was finally diagnosed with Pseudotumor-cerebri (PTC).  I was given medication and warned that if it didn’t work, I would need to have a shunt surgically placed into my brain.

“Oh yeah, and don’t get pregnant,” one specialist had warned.  “It is very dangerous for a patient with Pseudotumor-cerebri to get pregnant.”

“No chance of that”, I muttered under my breath.

Except, about two weeks later, I was holding a pregnancy test with two purple lines!

My husband and I were so happy to be pregnant with our 3rd child, yet, we were also so terrified.  I went immediately to my OB-GYN, who began to routinely warn me of the dangers of this pregnancy with each visit.  I hated every appointment, and always left afraid and depressed.

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Pregnancy brain began to kick in, and I found myself doing goofy things, like putting the phone away in the freezer!  Most of the time it was funny.  However, one forgetful incident changed everything.

At about 4 months along, my OB-GYN had sent me to the University of Michigan to see one of her colleagues who was a Maternal-fetal Medicine Specialist (MFM).  Unfortunately, I had written the time down wrong, and showed up 2 hours late, missing my appointment.  This seemingly humorous error was the cause of a later conversation with my OB-GYN that I will never forget.

Sitting on the uncomfortable table, I pulled the too-small hospital gown over my pregnant belly.  The doctor’s voice was droning on and on, and I struggled to understand what she was saying.

“You aren’t understanding what I am saying, are you,” the doctor asked me.

“Sorry,” I said.  “I’m really trying.  You’re saying that during the delivery, you would choose my life and safety over my baby’s?”

Pulling her chair closer to me, she folded her hands neatly into her lap.  Sighing, she bluntly said, “your life is at risk.”  Pulling a few papers out of her medical file, she handed them to me.

“Read these when you go home.  You need to have a c-section because you have already had 2 children by cesarian.  Your uterus has a very high chance of rupturing if I were to deliver this baby vaginally.  Giving birth naturally is not an option for you.”

“Right, I got that.  I have no problem with another c-section.”

“There is a very high chance you could die on the operating table.”

I blinked.  “What?”

“If I were to give you general anesthesia, you could harm your baby, and the anesthesia could make your condition much worse.  If I were to give you a spinal block, the sudden release of spinal fluid could cause your brain to collapse.  I know this is hard for you to hear.  It is in situations like this, that I strongly urge my patients to consider choosing their own life over their pregnancy.  Having Pseudotumor-cerebri while you’re pregnant is nothing to mess around with.  All of my medical books are telling me this is a very serious matter.”

I blinked again.

The doctor flipped the file closed. “On top of the risks to yourself personally, you are taking a “class c” medication, and that could be very harmful to your baby.  We just don’t know enough about how this medication can affect a fetus.  There are not enough studies.  You are taking a very serious chance by following through with this pregnancy.”

My mouth flew open, “wait, what?  What do you mean by ‘following through?'”

“I am strongly encouraging you to consider your own life right now.  This isn’t the time for you to be having a baby, not while you are struggling with your own health.”

“You mean, I should get an abortion,” I asked?

“You are already a mother of two children.  You need to take care of yourself so you can continue to take care of them.”

“I am going to give birth to this child.  That is the only option I am willing to talk about with you,” I retorted.

“I don’t believe you understand how serious your condition is, and now you have missed your appointment with the MFM specialist.  I can no longer be your doctor, Mrs. Nehmer.  I’m sorry.”

And with that, I was alone.  Scared.  Angry.  In disbelief.  She wanted me to abort my child?  She wanted me to abort my child!  And now I didn’t have a doctor.  And I was 4 months pregnant.  Devastated, I sobbed all the way home, where I then called my sister.  It would be all right, she said.  She knew of a great doctor.  She wasn’t taking on new patients, but let’s see if she will make an exception.

The new doctor was a breath of fresh air!   Because of my medical condition, and the medication I was taking, I had to see my new doctor every few weeks.  I also had to see another MFM specialist (this time I didn’t mix up the times).  My new doctor was so calm and very hopeful.  She talked through my fears and encouraged me at every appointment.  She assured me that my old doctor had been using out-dated medical books and that there were new studies being done showing women with PTC were able to deliver very healthy babies, and live to talk about it!

“You can do this,” she would exclaim with a smile!

The morning of September 16, 2008, dawned bright and sunny.  Making sure my mom was settled in to watch our two children, my husband and I went to the hospital.  A few hours later, I gripped a nurses hand as an anesthesiologist prepped my lower spine for the dreaded spinal block.  Because of the high-risk delivery, there were extra doctors and nurses standing around, ready for an emergency.  Except, there was none.  Within minutes, my husband and I heard a tiny cry.  Tears streamed down our faces as doctors congratulated us.  We had a healthy baby boy!

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Today, I cringe to wonder what life would be like without Bryce.  His boyishly shy presence is a blessing to our family.  At 10 years of age, Bryce has a passion for playing the trumpet and violin.  He is learning to play basketball and loves to write stories and build elaborate Lego sets.  I can’t help but mourn for those families who are missing a child like my son, Bryce.  Families who listened to a doctor play God, and lost hope, robbing themselves of God’s miracles!

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HOW TO BE A BUSY (TIRED) MOM AND STILL HAVE QUIET TIME WITH GOD

No matter what phase of life you are in, rolling out of bed is not always an easy task. Let’s face it. The alarm clock can easily become a means of venting your frustration by hitting the snooze button as hard as you can! If you have kids under the age of 5, an alarm clock is not even necessary, as you’re more likely to be awakened by the wails of a crying baby or the tug of chubby little hands, than you are the sound of a buzzer! Once you finally get out of bed, the rest of the morning can be a blur!

Does this morning struggle sound familiar to you? Then so must this question: “how can I possibly have quiet time with God?”

I asked that question so many times during my earlier adult years! Four kids and 17 years later, here is what I finally learned.

Get out of bed. Just do it. It took me years to finally accept that no matter how hard I tried, I would not crack my Bible open on a consistent basis unless I got up earlier than I already was. For a couple of years, that meant I was rolling out of bed at 5:30! (These days my kids have healthier sleep habits, and that means extra zzz’s for me!) You won’t get to read your Bible or have time in prayer if you don’t plan to get up earlier than you are right now!

Prepare the night before.  There’s nothing like getting cozy in your chair, open Bible in your lap, only to glance in the corner of your living room at the baskets of laundry needing to be folded!  Being an A-type personality, I tend to struggle sitting down for 30 minutes of quiet time with God if there are things waiting to be done. That’s why it’s so important to prepare for your morning with God the night before. Set your timer for 15 minutes before bed, and get those distractions out of your way!  Doing so will give you a good feeling when you settle in your chair to meet with God.

Make some GOOD coffee! I used to HATE coffee.  However, right after my third child was born I was starting to resemble a walking zombie!  I had a desire to spend time with God in the mornings, but I could barely get through 10 minutes of reading before I was nodding off to sleep in my chair.  I knew I wouldn’t grow in the Lord unless something changed.  So one morning, after I dropped my older kids off to school, I stopped at Meijer.  I bought a Bunn coffee maker, and everything I needed to make coffee, including a fancy chocolate creamer.  After that, I began to look forward to my mornings!  There is nothing like sitting down with an open Bible in one hand and a freshly home-brewed cup of bold Starbucks coffee in the other!

Make a “spot”.  Spending mornings with God can be easier if you have a “spot” that is only for that purpose.  I have claimed a seat in my living room that has an end table nearby.  I keep my Bible, prayer journal, and whatever devotional I’m currently using, in a neat pile on this table along with some pens, and highlighters.  This way, everything I need is within easy reach.  Throwing a comfy pillow and soft blanket into your chair is an added bonus for comfort. Loving the place you will be meeting with God is essential for success!

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR BEST-LAID PLANS FAIL

Let’s face it.  If you have kids, you can’t always have plans!  Did your kids decide they were going to get up an hour earlier with you?  Did your baby wake you up every hour all night long?  It’s OK.  Relax!  You are not out of God’s will if you need to feed your children or get another hour of sleep! Here are three things you can do when your plans for Quiet Time with God, fail.

1 – “Listen” to your Bible. When your kids are happily playing, and your baby is finally snoozing, but it’s time for you to get working, plug in your earbuds and listen to your Bible!  There are several Bible apps out there, but my favorite is YouVersion.  There were many mornings when my children were younger, that I had to listen to the Bible, rather than read it.

2 – Read in the evenings. Exchange that mug of coffee for a cup of tea!  Once you’ve put the kids to bed, and the lights are turned down lower for the evening, devote 30 minutes to your Bible reading.

3 – Don’t give up.  There were times in my younger parenting days, that I could only spend a couple days a week with the Lord.  My heart desired more, and there were days I could feel that I needed more, but I physically could not do more.  When you are in this stage of life, it is important to not be hard on yourself, it WILL get better!  It is also important to not give up your goals!  As your children grow, they need to see mommy reading her Bible, even if it’s not every day.  Eventually, they will be old enough to ask, “hey mom, do you think it would be OK if I read my Bible with you in the mornings?”  Um, YES!

 

How to Love Your Husband while Living in a Feminist Culture

We live in a twisted world, where purity and innocence are despised and made fun of. A world where a woman can accuse a man of anything, and we have to believe her not because of the evidence provided, but because she is a woman. With one click of the TV remote, we can find talk shows, sitcoms, and movies that depict men as dummies, being led around by the whiles of some female influence.

Boys are no longer allowed to be boys. They are discouraged from getting dirty or being loud. They are taught that not only can a girl do anything a boy does, but girls can do it better. Boys no longer have confidence in who they were created to be, so they grow up confused and lazy, sometimes amounting to nothing. They live in their parent’s basements playing video games for a living. Not living a real life, but an alternate reality, where they can be anything they want to be without ridicule.

Few are the homes where wives respect their husbands, and husbands cherish their wives. Children are given a place of eminence, creating discord, and conflict between parents. Men are no longer leaders, and if they do try to lead, they are belittled and publicly humiliated.

Standing in the middle of this “dumbing down” of men in society is the Christian wife. Exactly how can a Christian wife love her husband while living in a feminist culture?

As of today, my husband and I have been married for 19 years. Our story is one I love to tell, and one that has been blessed with God’s grace. The strong and happy marriage my husband and I enjoy today is not because we followed a certain set of rules, but because we both chose to follow the path that Christ set before us in our marriage. Some of this path we’ve walked these last 19 years was a little rocky. There have been days I wondered if I still loved my husband. There were even moments when I wanted to throw a fit and walk out the door! However, with each difficulty we faced, my husband and I chose to humble ourselves, not just to each other, but to God. And here we are today, by God’s grace, celebrating 19 happy years!

I would like to share with you what I have learned about loving my husband when the world around me is seemingly going in the opposite direction.

5 ways you can love your husband while living in a feminist culture:

Use the Word of God as your marriage manual. The most important lesson I have learned in 19 years of marriage, is that the Bible needs to be our go-to-guide for marriage. Wives, we need to be careful that we are not allowing ourselves to be influenced by worldly doctrines. In other words, don’t count on the latest edition of Family Circle, or Brides to clue you in on how to love your husband!

From the latest Hollywood couples to the most recent romance movies, everyone has their eyes glued to the “stars” when it comes to defining love. Did you know, that in Orange County (home to Hollywood), the divorce rate is highest in the nation? So who is everyone in Hollywood going to when looking for help with their marriage? Well, many of them are going to Dr. John M. Gottman, the best selling author of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, Dr. Gottman is one of America’s most influential therapists, and his work has been nationally recognized by major media outlets across the globe. Yet, did you know that the most renowned authority on marriage was married 3 times?

Another famous doctor that America loves to turn to for marital advice is TV icon, Dr. Phil. Known for publicly counseling couples whose marriages are on the brink of divorce, Dr. Phil claims he has a “formula for making any marriage work”. Many American’s would be surprised to know that their beloved doctor is not an actual licensed or practicing doctor, and has been married twice!

Dear Christian Wife, we should not be looking at the rich or famous to tell us how to love our husbands. We should be looking to the One who created and established the first marriage in human history! (Genesis 2:21-25) God has promised that if we ask for wisdom on any matter, He will give it to us.

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” – James 1:5

Have a personal relationship with God that is separate from your husband. Every day for the last 19 years, I have watched my husband get up well before the sun rises. He makes himself a huge cup of coffee and sits down with his Bible. When he is finished with his reading, he finds a corner in the house where no one can bother him and prays before going to work. Then, every evening before bed, my husband takes my hand, and we both kneel together in prayer.  I truly believe that I am living a blessed life today because of my husband’s faithfulness to God!  He has had a steady relationship with the Lord, that has only grown as the years have passed.

Somehow, in the early years and craziness of having 4 children and walking around in a constant state of exhaustion, I had grown to depend on my husband’s relationship with God to get me through.  I was casting all my cares at my husband’s feet when he walked in the door after work, and not at the feet of Jesus!  I had to explain every detail of everything bad in my day.  Not only did I have to explain every detail, but I also had to make sure he felt just as miserable as I did! Why did I do this?  Because I had somehow allowed my own personal relationship with God to slip. I assumed that because my husband was doing right and had a relationship with God, it would cover up my own unfaithfulness.

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7

Wives, in order to love our husbands, especially in this feminist culture we live in today, we need to have a strong relationship with God.  We can not fully love our husbands if we don’t first love the Lord!  Leaning on our husbands for our spiritual well-being will only give us tired and resentful husbands.  When we focus on a personal relationship with God, we become stronger wives, capable of loving our husbands the way God intended us to.

“A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.” – Proverbs 27:15

“…the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.” – Proverbs 19:13b

Respect your husband with your words.  By worldly standards, we are taught to respect all races, cultures, and genders – except men.  We are pretty much told that men are pigs and that we don’t have to respect them.

Coco Chanel, French designer, and businesswoman in the early 1900s was quoted as saying, “as long as you know most men are like children, you know everything.”

Brigitte Bardot, fashion model, actress, and one of the best-known sex symbols of the 1950s and ’60s was quoted as saying, “men are beasts, and even beasts don’t behave as they do.”

American singer and actress, Cher, once said, “the trouble with some woman is that they get all excited over nothing – and then marry him.”

These are just a few of many examples of public man-bashing that has desensitized women over the last century.  Women are so used to this mindset, in fact, that it has crept into our Christian homes.

Wives, we can love our husbands in a feminist world-gone-crazy, by respecting our husbands when we talk about them.  Respecting our husbands doesn’t mean we give up our freedom to voice our opinions from time to time.  It doesn’t mean we become slaves to their every whim and desire.

Respect means to hold someone in high regard. What does your husband do well?  These are the things you should say in front of your friends when you get together for a girls night out!  What are the qualities about your husband that drew you to him?  These are the qualities you should point out to your children, mother or sister.   In 1 Peter chapter 3, Peter admonishes Christian wives to have “chaste” conversations.  A chaste conversation is a conversation that is pure in thought.  We can’t have chaste conversations while bashing our husbands behind their backs!  Wives, we can love our husbands by respecting them with our words!

“…while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.” – 1 Peter 1: 2

Don’t try to change him.  How many women go into a marriage thinking they can change their husbands?  I’m raising my hand!  When I was dating my husband, I thought I would be able to get him to change his sense of style.  I didn’t get too bent out of shape over his rolled up long sleeved shirts or his white socks with black shoes, because I really believed I would get him to change once we were married.  That definitely didn’t happen!

The world today is all about changing men from being what God created them to be, into something that fits into the crazy ideas of feminist culture.  Men who attempt to change their gender are applauded and held in high regard.  Society wants men to be emotional and gentle, with no deep passions or standards.  A man who is passionate about his freedom, guns, or God is no longer politically correct.  Wives, we can love our husbands by not trying to change them from what they were created to be.  Trying to change your husband to be anything less than the man God put in him, will make for an unhappy and unhealthy marriage.

God made men to be strong protectors and providers.  They were created to take care of their wives and children.  What are your husband’s strengths?  Those strengths are God-given and should be applauded, not discouraged.  Wives, let’s encourage our husbands to be men!

“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” –  1 Corinthians 16:13

Realize that your husband is not a mind reader.  That was the only request my husband made of me before we said our vows.  He was afraid I would expect him to know what I was thinking or feeling without having to tell him.  He asked that instead of getting angry or hurt that he didn’t pick up on my hints or clues, that I would just be straight up with him and tell him what was going on.

Part of the recent feminist movement today is that women are right because they are women. They want society to ignore the idea that facts must be provided before a man is hauled off to jail.  In so doing, we often exchange truth for emotions and ruin innocent lives.

Wives, we can love our husbands in this mixed up society by not expecting our husbands to read our minds.  As nice as it would be to have our husbands emotionally in tune with our feelings, that is not realistic.  If you are upset with your husband for something he has said or done, calmly present the facts to him.

In these perilous days we live in, the line between what is worldly and what is godly can easily become blurred. Feminism runs so strong, that Christian wives are forgetting how to love their husbands.  Recent statistics show that of Christians who attend church regularly, a whopping 38% end in divorce.  That is only a %12 percent difference by national standards!  Dear Christian wives, let’s work on being a light to the world.  Let’s work on having happier marriages.  Let’s love our husbands!

Can One Really Overcome Anxiety?

Over the last few months, I found myself questioning everything I thought I knew about anxiety. I was experiencing new symptoms that left me confused, and a little afraid. I began to wonder…

can one really overcome anxiety?

This question bothered me. It circled in my mind as I lay in bed, it nestled in my thoughts when I washed dishes and folded clothes. It lingered in the background when I listened to music or watched TV. All the while, my anxiety grew. It wasn’t until I had reached the climax of my struggle, and sought counsel from my pastor, that I finally understood.

Because I am a lover of the written word, and I think more clearly when I can write my thoughts on paper, I have written this post in answer to my plaguing question! This article was not written for you, dear readers. It was written for myself. It is a compilation of all I have learned from my pastors, reading the Word of God, reading many books and articles, and my own personal experience.

Six Things People Who Overcome Anxiety Don’t Do:

1. Focus on their symptoms. People who overcome anxiety have learned that they can’t focus on their symptoms. Instead, they work on capturing every worry and fear and handing them over to God. Overcomers have learned that when they focus on their symptoms, and how terribly they want to be healed, they are actually robbing God from His glory. When the focus shifts from our symptoms to God’s goodness, we are taking the first step to glorifying Him!

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of God.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5

2. Allow their emotions to rule them. People who overcome anxiety have learned that they can’t allow their emotions to rule them. It is not a sin to feel sad, or angry. The sin lies in how much freedom we give to those emotions. If we allow our emotions to rule our spirits, we are allowing ourselves to become vulnerable to even more pain and suffering. When we allow our emotions to reign, life, in general, can feel like an impossibility in our minds, opening the door to dangerous thoughts. Overcomers choose to not follow emotional thoughts, and instead, leave them at the feet of Christ.

He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls.” – Proverbs 25:28

Gird up the loins of your mind…” – 1 Peter 1:13

3. Play the “worry game”. People who overcome anxiety don’t play the “worry game”. They realize that while they can’t always help the worry that might pop into their heads, they can choose to not follow them. Once you follow a worry in your mind, it leads to more worries, and before you know it, you are on a merry-go-round of unhealthy thoughts and anxiety! Overcomers choose to not follow their worry.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” – Philippians 4:8

4. Quit God’s calling in their life. People who overcome anxiety don’t stop trying to please God. What is God’s calling in your life? God has personally called me to be a wife and a mother. Because of God’s grace, I have the strength necessary to fulfill this calling, even when I am having an exceptionally bad day. Every Christian, young and old, is called by God to do something, and God has given each of us the strength to obey, despite our anxieties. Yes, sometimes we need to rest, even God rested on the 7th day of Creation! However, God always gives us renewed strength to do His will! Overcomers recognize that they can still obey God, despite their anxiety.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” – Philippians 4:13

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

4. Stop Praising God. People who overcome anxiety don’t stop praising God. If it’s a good day, they praise God for the good day! If it’s a bad day, they find at least one good thing in that day, to praise Him for. Overcomers know that when they are able to give God thanks, not for their anxiety, but through their anxiety, they are reflecting God’s grace in their lives! They learn to rejoice in the day, instead of just “getting through” it.

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” – Psalms 118:24

5. Forget the true meaning of “overcome”. People who overcome anxiety know it is a daily battle. Whatever the cause of your anxiety: worry, stress, fear, past addiction, or chemical imbalance – the victory is not in defeating the anxiety, but in your obedience to God despite it. Overcoming is learning to glorify your Heavenly Father, despite your difficulty. Overcoming is not allowing your difficulty to control you.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” – Philippians 4:11

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

6. Ignore God’s promises. People who overcome anxiety cling to God’s promises for peace. They realize that the more they read the Bible, and the more they pray, the closer to God they become. They realize that only God truly knows the thoughts and intents of their own hearts and that God loves them anyway! Overcomers know that no matter how difficult their anxiety may become, God is still with them and that He is offering His grace!

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7

I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins…” – Jeremiah 17:10

If I ascend up into heaven, thou are there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”– Psalms 139:8-10

I’m not really sure I can claim to be an “overcomer” of anxiety, but it is something I strive for every day!

If you are a Christian struggling with anxiety, and this article was a help to you, leave me a comment below!

 

 

For the Ladies – Living a Peculiar Life

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – Romans 12:2

I started out my life in an unsaved, typical worldly home.

I remember my family sitting in the Catholic church as the priest spoke to us in Latin. The beautiful stained-glass windows kept my rapt attention while the priest went on about things I couldn’t understand.

I remember cowering under my blankets some nights, trying to hide from my parents raised voices. I just knew they would get divorced. I just knew our family would get torn apart.

I remember watching my dad sit back in his lazy boy chair, a cigarette dangling from his fingers. The smoke would curl into the air, making its way to where I was sitting, until it was wrapped around my face, causing me to get a headache.

I remember sneaking into my older sister’s room, where they had the radio set to a rock station, as they tried on the new clothes they had just bought from the store. They giggled as they slid on the tight jeans, and low-cut tops. They primped their hair into the typical 80’s styles and smeared on bright shades of eye-shadow and lipstick, while they talked about boys and school dances.

As a little girl, I had an irrational fear that something terrible would happen to my family. I felt comforted and at peace when my parents were happy, and complete dred and sadness when there was any discord.

And then one day, it all changed. One day, someone knocked on our front door. They told us about Jesus, and how He had died to save us from our sins. My mom got saved that day. Soon, my dad and sisters also accepted Christ as their Saviour!

Over the next few years, my worldly family transformed into a family living for the Lord.

Every time the church doors were open, my family was there. If a job got in the way of church attendance, well, a new job was found! Dad gave up smoking, and my sisters and I got rid of our music, pants, movies, dances, and worldly conversations. Mom and Dad didn’t fight like they used to. There was a new excitement in our family! We were trying to live for the Lord, and we were addicted to the preaching of the Word of God. Our family now had peace, and true joy!

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

Fear not, dear readers! The purpose of this article is not to preach the sins of wearing pants or going to the movies. It’s not to point my finger in your face about contemporary music or sporadic church attendance. This article is only for those who are serious about living for the Lord. For those who want to stand before God someday and say they did everything they could to serve Him. The purpose of this article is to ask you one question.

How are you living your life separate from the world?

The Bible tells us that we need to be living our lives as praise to the God who saved us. But just how can we do that? How can we live our lives as a testimony of all that God has done for us? Well, it’s a little hard. It’s a little embarrassing. And we are going to have to stick out from the crowd a little bit. The Bible tells us we can be a testimony to the world by being….peculiar.

Peculiar: not usual or normal; different from the usual; odd, curious, eccentric, queer

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” – 2 Peter 2:9

Alright, alright! I get it, I really do! We all want to live peculiarly, without appearing to be “weird”. We don’t want to be that girl in the crowd that everyone points to and says, “look at her long flowing skirt, she must be one of those weird Christians!” Thankfully, the word “weird” does not appear in the definition of peculiar!

So what does living peculiarly really mean, anyway? How does God want us to live a separate life from the world?

CommunicationThe hardest part of our bodies to control is the smallest member. Our tongues. Someday we are going to give an account to God for every word we have ever spoken (Matt 12:36). As a Christian, our words can set us apart from the world. Our words can make us peculiar.

Wives, we shouldn’t be trash-talking our husbands to our friends. That is what the world does. Watch any Disney TV show, and you’ll see that dad is a bumbling idiot to the world. You can live a separate life from the world by talking good about your husband in front of your friends and co-workers!

Teenagers, did you know that when you are talking in the bathroom at church or school, that other people actually hear you? What are you talking about girls? Is it pleasing to the Lord? Is it a testimony to the little girls in the bathroom who still need the stool to reach the sink? Is it discouraging the other church members who are hoping YOU will be a good influence on their own wayward teenager? You can be separate from the world by walking away from that group of gossiping teenage girls!

Ladies, our conversations should lift up others in the Lord. Anything else is corrupt. We should speak with grace and kindness. Our conversation should make us separate from the world. Don’t fool yourself into thinking our mouths don’t affect others around us. It surely does and at any age. Watch your mouth!

“But now ye also put off all these things; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” – Colossians 3:8

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” – Ephesians 4:29

Loving Your Enemies – That boss who makes you feel guilty for wanting to take off for the College and Carrer retreat? Yes, you need to love her. That teacher who gets you benched from your first game because she gave you a demerit? Love her! That old man in the grocery store who just yelled for you to shut up your crying newborn? You gotta love him, too. Your mother-in-law, who seems to struggle giving up control over her son? Sorry, you still have to love her!

We can be separate from the world by loving those who do us wrong. We can be separate from the world by serving those who are unthankful for our efforts. We can be separate from the world by doing good to those who only think evil of us, and maybe even want to kill us.

Wives, when your coworkers are bashing their husbands for not appreciating them, and bragging about everything they are NOT going to do for them, be a child of the Highest by continuing to do good for your husbands!

Teenagers, when that girl you KNOW is talking about you behind your back comes to you for help with something, be a child of the Highest by helping her and speaking kindly!

Ladies, we need to be kind to others from all walks of life, and from all cultures. We may feel intimidated and afraid, but being a child of the Highest means loving those we fear!

“But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” – Luke 6:35

Appearance – I promise, I’m not going to preach to you about whether or not you should be wearing pants. However, the Bible has plenty to say about modesty, and about not having the same appearance as the world.

modest: not very large in size or amount; not too proud or confident about yourself or your abilities; not showing or feeling great or excessive pride; not showing too much of a person’s body

Modest is more of an attitude than clothing. It is the putting on of the spirit of humility. Your clothes help you portray that spirit that is inside you.

Look, I’m not saying that you need to wear a paper bag, or ugly, brown, scratchy, high-collar clothing! Modest basically means moderation. Are you dressing in moderation? Are you dressing with a humble spirit before God? Or are your clothes flashy and screaming “look at me!” Do your clothes reveal a lot of skin? Can my teenage son see the space between your breasts? Can he see your underwear line through your skinny jeans or skirt? Are your shorts so short that he can see your butt cheeks when you bend over? Sorry that I’m being so blunt girls!

We can be separate from the world by dressing differently than the world. I’m going to say it…that girl in the long, flowing skirt that everyone thought was weird? No one doubted she was a Christian. You don’t doubt the Amish are Amish, because of how they dress. You don’t doubt the Muslim are Muslim, because of how they dress. So how can people look at YOU in a crowd and know you are a Christian? No, I’m not suggesting that you throw away your pants, unless you know that God is calling you to do so. But you can dress in a humble spirit, with moderation before God and the world. God does call some of us to give up our pants. God does want more from some of us than from others. However, God is calling ALL of us to be modest!

“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array” – 1 Timothy 2:9

“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” – 1 Peter 3:3-4

Our Eyes – Another way we can be separate from the world is to avoid condoning sin by what we allow ourselves to see. Mostly I’m talking about what we watch on TV. When we are trying to live our lives for the Lord by reading scripture and hearing the preaching of the Word, we are filling ourselves with light. When we allow ourselves to watch movies that have sex, swearing, and murder in it, we are letting in evil. Jesus told us in Matthew that when we allow a little evil into our eyes, our whole bodies become filled with darkness!

Ladies young and old, we can be separate from the wold and live a peculiar life by avoiding wicked TV shows and movies. It’s going to be hard. You won’t be able to blend into the crowd while being separate with this one!

Are your friends going to watch an R-rated movie at the theater? You can be separate from the world by meeting them for ice cream afterward.

Are your classmates huddled around a TV watching the newly released movie “IT”? Tell your friends goodbye and go home. Seriously.

Want to watch movies with your family? Get a movie filter like Clear Play, and determine to watch movies at home!

What we allow into our minds (and heart), will eventually come out of our mouths. If we really want to live a separate life in praise to the God who saved us from an eternity in Hell, we need to be careful what we allow our eyes to see!

“I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” – Psalms 101:3

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” – Matthew 6:22-23

What we Hear Controlling what we allow into our minds by way of our ears is a big part of living a peculiar life!

Music – If I were to pull up next to your car at a stop light, would I be able to tell right away if you were listening to Christian music? I’m not going to tell you what you should or should not listen to. I’m just going to ask you….does your music sound different from the world’s music? We can live a peculiar life by abstaining from worldly music, or music that sounds like the world’s music!

Swearing – When we are at a work, it can be difficult to avoid hearing your coworkers swear. When you allow yourself to be surrounded by foul language every day, it will eventually, one day, slip out of your own mouth, too! Once again, to be separate from the world in what you allow into your ears, you may have to take a stand and ask your coworkers to not swear around you. Tell them that it offends you!

“And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord .” – Psalms 40:3

Our Bodies are Temples – The world today would agree with you if you told them your body was a temple…until you got to the part where you said it was GOD’S temple!

All throughout the old testament, God gave meticulous directions on how He wanted the Temple to be built. He gave specific directions right down to the details of the hem of the priest’s garments (Ex. 28:33). Why did He do this? Why did He care so much? Because the temple was where God was going to physically dwell.

Paul warned us to not defile our bodies, because our bodies are the temple of God! God is dwelling in us!

Altering our Appearance – We can live separately from the world by not altering our temples. Just as we wouldn’t spray graffiti all over the church sanctuary, we shouldn’t mark our bodies with tattoos or extreme piercings.

What we Ingest – We can live separately from the world by taking care of what we put in our temples. Be careful about the kinds of medications you take, the foods you eat, and even what you drink! Smoking kills your lungs and alcohol alters your thinking. Certain medications can become addictive and lead to anxiety, depression, and the need for stronger and even more drugs! And I have to say it…food can be addictive too!

Christian women, let’s be separate from the world by taking care of our bodies!

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” – 1 Corinthians

Stumbling Blocks – But what about our liberty we have in Christ?

I knew you would ask me this.

Yes, we have liberty in Christ. If you have studied the scriptures and listened to the teaching and preaching of the Word, and still feel it’s OK to live like the world, that is between you and God. You will not lose your salvation by getting a tattoo of a cross, or by piercing your belly button. Don’t forget, though, that someday we will stand before our Father and give an account for how we lived our lives for Him!

One more thing. If you decide to claim that liberty, don’t flaunt it in the faces of those who are trying to be seperate from the world. For example, if you have no problem going to an R-rated movie, don’t invite your Christian friend who just went down to the alter last week feeling convicted about the movies she watches! Have discretion and respect for your brothers and sisters in Christ who are trying to walk a peculiar life.

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” – Galatians 5:13

“But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.” – 1 Corinthians 8:9

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” – Galatians 5:1

Living a peculiar life is not always easy. Sometimes you feel alone. Years after living a peculiar life, you may be tempted to give up those things that seperated you from the world. Don’t get weary in well doing! In time, you will reap the rewards of a life lived for Christ!

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” – Galatians 6:9

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Edited to say: I wrote this article in answer to questions my kids have been asking regarding our families standards and convictions. It is not directed towards any particular person or group of persons. I promise!

Why 40 Looks Good

I’m not gonna lie. Turning 40 is something I have dreaded since my youth. There’s just something that doesn’t sit well with me over the realization that my life is now half over! And of course, I’ve heard the stories of waking up with aches and pains and the gray hairs that will start appearing in abundance!

I’m turning 40 next week.

Yay me!! (complete sarcasm)

Seriously though. Despite the concerns mentioned above, 40 actually seems less frightful these days. In fact, I see many benefits of turning the big 4-0!

Why is 40 looking so good?

I know who I am. In a world where everyone is trying to find themselves, I have peace with who I am! I’ve finally accepted the fact I will probably never be the size I was before I had kids. I’m OK with that. I’m OK with the fact that I’m not a sporty person. I’ll probably never voluntarily run a 5K marathon. I’m OK with the fact that I’m not good at decorating, sewing, or doing crafts. That’s OK! I know what I am good at. I love to cook. I love to read and write. I can clean and organize pretty well. I love leisurely walks, coffee, ice cream, and laughing with friends. I adore my husband and kids. 40 means I don’t sweat what I’m not good at, I just embrace what I love!

I don’t care what people think about me anymore. OK, I say this knowing I do care. I just don’t care as much as I used to! If I find that someone else thinks poorly of me, I might agonize over it for a bit. But then I turn to God and ask Him what He thinks. I ask that He reveal my sin to me. I confess it and forsake it – and move on! 40 means that pleasing God matters more than pleasing my peers!

I have more confidence. Come on now, I’ve been around for 40 years! I know a little bit more than I did 20 years ago. No, I’m not an expert, but I no longer need to call my mom or sisters for advice on keeping house or making meals. In fact, people now ask me for advice! If I’m asked to help someone organize or clean, I know exactly how I want to do it, and I confidently go in a get it done. 40 means that experience has given me confidence!

I know who my friends are. Somewhere in the last few years, I noticed that my friendships have changed. I don’t know if it was time and trials that drew us closer together, or that I had just matured, but there has been less drama between my friends and I. The friendships I have, seem to have become more precious. Each new friendship that enters my life, holds a special place in my heart. 40 means you have more friends than ever!

God means more to me now. Walking daily with the Lord means you will draw closer to Him over time. My Heavenly Father has brought me through many difficult times over the years, and through each difficulty, God has drawn me a little more closer to His side. My walk with Him is sweeter, and I now recognize my Shepherds voice. 40 means peace with my Savior!

So yes, some 40-year-olds start having a little more health difficulties. I’m presently waiting in my doctor’s office for a check-up on my high blood-pressure! And yes, I recently got my hair cut short and highlighted to cover the gray. But you know what? I feel that I’m in the prime of my life, and I’ve decide that 40 looks pretty good!

“The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.” – Proverbs 16:31

“With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.” – Job 12:12

Tips to Overcoming a Panic Attack

If you are anxiety sufferer, you know the classic signs of anxiety. Tightness in your chest, palpitations, headaches, tummy upset, trembling hands, and week legs. These are all classic symptoms of anxiety. I should know. I’ve had them all before.

I’m so thankful that I’m not new to this story, and that I know what to do when I feel a panic attack coming on. I thought I would share with you some tips that can help you overcome a panic attack.

1. Know your symptoms. Everyone is different. For me, I know I’m about to have a panic attack if my chest starts feeling a little tight. At that moment, if I take the time to do the steps below, I can avoid it.

2. Breathe deeply. At the first sign of a coming panic attack, stop what you are doing and focus on breathing. Breathe in through your nose counting to 5 very slowly. Then let the breath out slowly through your mouth, counting to 7. Repeat this five times.

3. Quote scripture. Everyone should have a verse of scripture that they call “theirs”. Something that can bring comfort to an anxious mind. Here’s mine:

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7

4. Distract yourself. The worst thing to do when you feel a panic attack coming on is to focus on how you feel. Go outside for a few minutes and take a quick walk. Start up a conversation with your husband, or call your mom. Break the cycle of panic with distraction.

5. Essential Oils. I don’t sell oils, but I’ve been using them since before they were ever popular. I found a blend from Young Living called “Peace and Calming”, and I love it. I don’t know if it’s just a placebo for me or what, but the scent of this particular oil really does help me feel calm. When I feel anxiety coming in, I rub some over my heart, on my wrists, and under my earlobes.

6. Pray. If you know why this anxiety attack started to come on, share your burden with Jesus. He really does care! Leave your cares and worry at His feet. Pour your heart and tears out before Him. He’s listening!

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7

7. Reflect. Once you are past the tense and anxious moment, think back on why you think you had it. Maybe you need to slow your schedule down a little, or change your attitude about something. Search for a Biblical and practical solution to whatever is causing you stress. Sometimes, just talking to a like-minded Christian friend can be enough to encourage you!

I hope these tips help you the next time you are about to have a panic attack!