Redemptive Love

What do you think of when you hear the word “redemption”?  This word I think can mean different things to different people based on their experiences, hurts, and journey in life.  For me it has always brought me to a place of reflection.  What Jesus did on the cross for me, that I’ve been rescued from my former sinful nature because of His redemptive love.  Up until a year ago, that’s pretty much where it ended.  Just some vague reference to Jesus and love, it had almost gotten to the point where it felt a bit robotic.  Growing up in church I had heard those words my whole life.  It wasn’t until I went through a rather traumatic miscarriage experience 7 years ago that I stopped and questioned what redemption really was.  I had big questions for God.  If you really loved me, why did you allow this?  If you have redeemed me from the grave, then why does this hurt so deeply?  Big questions like, how can I ever trust You again?  I’m being honest and a bit raw today because now that I’ve come through that and have healed I can look at the scar and see the good that it has brought.  When God takes the pain, the hurt and the yuck of this life and holds us as we walk through it so that we can see His glory in the midst of it, that is redemption.

Redemptive love holds you and whispers, “it will be ok, I won’t ever leave.”  Even when you are pushing away with all your might because it hurts.  Redemptive love says, “I understand you don’t want to trust me right now, that’s ok.”  Redemptive love, never gives up.  Miscarriage is hard.  In my case we had 5 completely perfect and healthy pregnancies and births before the miscarriage.  I thought I had dodged the bullet and that statistics of 1 in 5 pregnancies ending in miscarriage don’t apply to me.  Having had 5 babies previously I was well versed in all things pregnancy and birth and the unborn.  I also knew the methods of early abortions and was well versed in how an abortion is carried out at all stages of pregnancy. In our experience we ended up in the E.R. after I passed out from blood loss during the miscarriage.  I was given a drug to help the process.  I later found out this was the same drug given to women in the first trimester who have elective abortions.  The next day, when the drug did little to help things along we went in to see my Dr.  She took one look at me and immediately decided I needed a D &C.  She promptly found an open O.R. and reserved it for just that.  Before I knew it I was being prepped for this out-patient procedure, again a procedure that is also used in early second trimester abortions.  I went home that day empty and broken.  As a dear friend who recently wrote about this topic so eloquently put it, “Part of a sisterhood that I never asked to join”.

In January of 2016 I stood in this spot and wept as angry protesters shouted behind me. In May of 2017 we returned, full of faith and joy. Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.


Empty and Broken, angry at God, and confused about how any good at all could possibly come of such a terrible experience.  But God.  As I’ve healed over the past seven years I gained a perspective of that experience that allows me to see that there can be good from even the most painful of experiences.  I asked God to show me a promise in His word, something, anything I could grab onto and not let go of to get me through.  He drew me to Psalm 126.  Specifically verses 5 and 6.  “Those who sow in tears, will reap a harvest of Joy.”  These two verses have sustained me through my darkest days, and have been a source of comfort when doubt creeps in.  This promise in God’s word is what I clung to with all my might during the pregnancy following the miscarriage.  It was the promise I prayed into as we were waiting for our baby girl who joined our family through the amazing gift of adoption.  Psalm 126 is why our son’s middle name means, “joy” and why our daughter’s middle name is Joy.

Joy comes in the morning.  My heart has grown and changed in these 7 years.  I am not the same person I was before the experience of loss.  I believe in that experience, God in His kindness and mercy did answer my prayer.  He did take something horrible, and used it for His glory.  A cry of my heart for years has been, “Lord, give me your heart for the unborn.  I want my heart to break with the things that break yours.”  This is one of those dangerous prayers that you pray thinking God will answer one way, but in the end He carries you through something so heavy and difficult that you come out on the other side a completely different person.  Prior to experiencing the loss of a child I would pray for life, I would stand on the sidewalk outside abortion clinics and I would ask God to show me how He felt about the issue of abortion, but I never (not once) shed a single tear.  It’s a heavy topic.  I was confused and thought as a woman, as a mother, that there was something wrong with me.  Why didn’t this grieve me to the point of tears?  I believe part of it was that I didn’t fully grasp what it was to walk through loss.  Going through that season was like an opening of the flood gates, literally.  I cried all the time, sometimes I wasn’t even sure why.  I would find myself suddenly overwhelmed with emotion, and grief.  It was part of my healing process, but it was also part of the way God was using the terrible, horrible of personal loss to answer my hearts cry to know His heart.


This loss has been bitter sweet for the past seven years. While I could look at the end result and see how my faith has grown through it, there is still someone missing from our family.  For me this loss was a double whamy in that we went through this during the spring, arguably my favorite season.  Where once this season brought only good memories and happy thoughts of warmer days, these past seven years those good things also remind me of the pain of loss.  If you had told me 7 years ago that this was the story God would write I wouldn’t have believed you, but God writes the most amazing stories!  1 year ago a brave and amazing momma choose us to parent her beautiful baby girl.  She has shown a depth of love and sacrifice that still leaves me breathless, but it gets better; our court date to finalize was almost exactly 7 years after I had the D&C procedure.  This is redemption.

Finalization Day!!! It’s official, she has our name.


This is God taking your mourning and turning it into dancing.  This is what rejoicing in the Lord’s goodness looks like.  This is Redemptive Love.  We’ve walked through the pain of loss, we’ve leaned into Jesus, the only one who can truly heal our hearts, and we have our Joy in the morning.

Who is called to adopt?

Adoption is a beautiful picture of the gospel lived out.  It is what Jesus did on the cross, his sacrifice has brought us into a family we never would have been a part of otherwise.  Adoption is also costly.  It cost Jesus his very life!  In modern times it costs a large sum of money, as well as time, and other sacrifices in order to bring a child home.  In looking at adoption I realized many agencies charge fees that are equivalent to what my husband made the first few years we were married.  Put that into perspective, to bring a child into your home through adoption can cost a year’s salary!  The first few years we were married the amount of money we lived on was so small that we qualified for government assistance.  Yet here we are a decade later, in the thick of it, crunching the numbers, dipping into our savings, praying and researching agencies, all to bring home a child.

Is it worth it?  Is what Jesus did on the cross worth it?  Or do you wish he would have been less willing to make that sacrifice?  Everyday as we go through our routines we are making choices.  Some choices are simply for our own personal comfort, some are for the needs of our family, some are great sacrifices for the needs of others we have never even met.  But, we spend our days making choices.

So, who is called to adopt?  Whether a family embraces adoption or not is just another choice they have to make.  Is everyone called to bring a child into their home?  I don’t believe so, but everyone can have a heart of adoption.  So what does that look like?  There are actually many wonderful ways to live out the calling to care for the widow and orphan in their distress.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27

Some families may be in a place financially where they can give towards adoption expenses, but they can’t care for a child, they can give.  Some families may not have the finances to give, but they have baby items or toys they are no longer using, they can be donated to a family who is adopting, or to an agency that helps mothers in crisis.  Some families have a love of children but feel overwhelmed in their current season and can’t take on the responsibility of another, they can offer to babysit so adoptive parents can have a night out.

All can pray.

We can pray and ask God to strengthen the mothers considering abortion, that they may have the ability to have a selfless love and choose life for their child, even if that means it’s a life they won’t get to be a part of everyday.  Regardless of what we think when we look at adoption from a purely pro-life perspective, choosing to head down the road of adoption for a birth mom is a very difficult choice.  There are many reasons for this, but the biggest and perhaps simplest is that to choose adoption is a choice that requires the birth mom to grieve a loss.  The best way I’ve heard it explained is to think about having a miscarriage.  You know there was a life there, yet you never got to know that child, they were taken from you before you even had a chance to know them.  It’s the empty arms after leaving the hospital that may be the most difficult part.  As a mother, you know your child is in good hands, with a loving family that you hand picked in the case of adoption, in the arms of Jesus in the case of miscarriage, yet there is still an emptiness in your heart that will never be filled.  Mothers in this valley of decision need our love, prayer and support.  They are in a very vulnerable position.  When we find ourselves in these type of situations those are the times when our enemy the devil swoops in and whispers the lie that there is an easy way out.  The thought of growing and nurturing a child for 9 months and then giving that child to someone else is unfathomable to a mother, even a mother who knows she isn’t in a position to provide for a child.  Often these mothers will justify abortion all the while not realizing that they will still grieve the loss.  Adoption and abortion are both choices that will result in a mother having to grieve.  The difference is that in adoption there is hope that the mother will be able to continue to have some kind of relationship with her child, maybe even be a part of his or her life.  The days of adoption being a big secret are largely over.  In every state in the United States open adoption is being praised and celebrated not only for it’s benefits to the child in knowing who their birth mother is, but to the birth mother as well.  It brings great comfort to many birth moms to see their baby growing and thriving and being loved by parents who cherish him or her.

Having a “heart of adoption” doesn’t necessarily have to mean you personally adopt.  It simply means seeing things through the Father’s eyes.  He is what a heart of adoption looks like.  He sent his son to live a selfless life and die a death he didn’t deserve, adoption is interwoven beautifully through out scripture.  Read the story of Moses, or Esther, or even Jesus, who was adopted by Joseph.  You will see the Father’s heart of adoption.  It is what selfless love looks like.  Adoption is redemption.

The Weapons of our Warfare Part 2

In 2 Chronicles chapter 20 Jehoshaphat faces two formidable foes, the armies of Moab, and Ammon. He is outnumbered, and he knows it. He doesn’t know what to do or how Judah can possibly defeat them. So he calls a prayer meeting. Everyone comes, even the women and the children. They admit to God that they don’t know what to do. In verse 12 Jehoshaphat says, “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, BUT our eyes are on YOU.” Where are our eyes as we fight this vast army that is attacking the next generation? Are we looking to the talk radio voices? The politicians? The supreme court? Or are we looking to God and asking Him, how do we fight this army? How do we take on this enemy? Here’s what Jehoshaphat did; first, he prayed and asked God what to do, then he gathered others with Him to pray and seek God’s face. Then they went to the place where the armies had assembled. They went “on location” if you will. But we need to stop for a minute and pay attention to who went first. Verse 21, “After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise Him for the splendor of His Holiness as they went out at the HEAD of the army saying, Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever. As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab.”  IMGP7323

Why do we go to the clinic, or to the court? What difference does the location make? Well, that is where the stronghold has taken residence. We go to fight; we go to wage war in the Heavenlies. Not with the weapons of our flesh, not with anger, or bitterness, or sarcasm. We go in a spirit of prayer, and worship because we know that it isn’t about us. It isn’t about how powerful my weak prayers are, or how much I’ve sacrificed to be there. It’s about a mighty God who goes before us, and believe it or not, is even more grieved over this loss of life than we are. We go to partner with His heart, to stand and say, Yes Lord this hurts, it hurts me too. I’m here with You. We go with a heart of joy and worship because we know how the story ends. Jesus wins.

What is the result when we face our enemy the devil with Joy, Praise, and Worship? Confusion. The enemy doesn’t know how to react. Even the other people on the sidewalk don’t know how to react. It never fails, almost every time I have been at a clinic praying, the escorts and sometimes the workers in the clinic come outside and just stare at us. Their reaction is in STARK contrast to the others on the sidewalk who are shouting or otherwise being loud in some way. This strategy of standing silent in a posture of prayer and worship has taken them by surprise. We’ve been praying confusion in the enemy camp and I believe I have seen what that looks like firsthand. You can see it on their faces, it’s like they are thinking, “who are these people?” “What are they doing?”

I believe Goliath was taken totally by surprise when the stone hit him. It was unexpected. God’s Strategies are often odd to us, and confusing to the enemy. When we don’t fight with the weapons of this world, we win! It may take time, it may take much longer than we want. We often want to give up and like an immature child throw ourselves down on the floor and kick and yell and get upset. But we have to remember like David, we are children of the Living God and He has already won this battle.  In times when it seems like we’re losing the battle, or that what we are doing isn’t making a difference we have to stop and look to Jesus.  When we seek His face and search His word for what to do, the strategy is clear, worship first.  As the worshipers we are sounding the battle cry, we are going first in the spirit and setting the stage; preparing the atmosphere for what God wants to do through the others on the sidewalk.  We all have our place, those who call out to the women have a vital purpose on the sidewalk, without us there praying and backing them up, they are much less effective.  It’s prayer and worship combined with action and outreach.  We are more powerful when we unite and each of us fulfill the mission God has called us to.  In Judges chapter 1, when the armies of Israel were preparing to go in and take the promised land, what tribe goes first?  The worshiping tribe of Judah.  In Hebrew Judah means: “I will thank/praise the Lord”.  There is power released when we go in a spirit of thanksgiving, prayer, joy and worship.  As a bonus, these things bring confusion to the enemy.  They just don’t know how to respond.  So go in the spirit of thanksgiving, and joy; giving praise to our God because we know how this story ends.  Jesus gets the victory.

                             Like David and Goliath

The Weapons of our Warfare Part 1

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” 2 Corinthians 10:4


Anger, worry, despair, control, cynicism, sarcasm, spite; these are all “weapons” we could use to fight the battle for LIFE in our nation. These are the weapons of choice of our flesh. When we forget who our real enemy is, it’s easy to get angry at the reality we face. The reality is that babies are dying every day in our nation, in our cities. In my home state last year just over 5000 babies were killed in abortions. That is such a sobering fact, but not nearly as sobering as the number lost in our neighboring state of just over 41,000! Yes! You read that right, it’s not a typo. When I first read that statistic I was brought to tears, and filled with righteous indignation at the massive loss of life so close to home. When I was growing up in a suburb of St. Louis Missouri I remember when we would drive into our city limits and pass the sign that listed the population. I’ve never been much of a numbers gal. In fact I have always HATED math. It’s a difficult subject for me and often when I am reading and there are numbers I just quickly scan them and don’t really stop to read them or really spend much time thinking about them. But growing up in my hometown and passing the population sign frequently I remember it vividly even today, the population of the little suburban town I grew up in was 46,000 at the time I was living there. So when I read the statistic this week of how many babies were killed in abortions in Illinois last year I was immediately reminded of that sign. When I read that statistic it was like I was driving past my hometown and almost everyone was gone, wiped out by some plague or terrible terrorist attack. I’m not a very emotional person, but when I put the 2 numbers together I couldn’t help but cry out to God and say, It’s not fair! God, the state right next door to where I live had as many abortions last year as almost the entire population of the town I grew up in.                                                                                                                                                                 Abortions-Decline-ChartAbortion Rates Down since 2010

We can react one of two ways when faced with this reality. Our flesh wants to act out. When I realized just how big abortion is and just how many lives have been lost, I wanted to shout and yell from the rooftops. I wanted to call every pastor I know and grill them on why this isn’t an issue they trumpet in their pulpits. I wanted to get in some people’s faces about why they don’t care. The flesh is so very weak and wants to act in all these rather immature ways that don’t get the results we want. So how should we react? If all the “weapons” of the flesh are ineffective what are our “weapons” in this fight? 2 Corinthians reminds us that our “weapons” are not the weapons of this world, i.e. the weapons of our flesh. We fight this battle on our knees. The most effective weapons we have are; joy, prayer, and worship.  Joy? I know what you’re thinking, how can I possibly have joy in the face of such blatant evil? Our joy is not because of the evil, nor is it reduced because of the evil. Our joy is in the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ who we know has already won the battle. He has defeated death and is victorious! When I remember this fact I can go to a clinic and remain joyful. I can’t help but be reminded of a Misty Edwards song where she says, I know the end of the story, and we’re only at the beginning of the beginning. We must keep our focus on Jesus and His victory over death. It is a vital part of being in this fight. Without that truth, we fall back on the weapons of the flesh, we become bitter, angry, and apathetic. Without Jesus and a reminder that we know how this story ends, we will burn out, we will stop going to the clinic because it’s too hard, it’s too depressing, it’s too heavy. Jesus is the key, a close walk with Him is the sustaining factor in this battle.

We have forgotten this over the years, but if we look back at the Old Testament we see over and over again when the armies of Israel faced very strong and powerful armies God gave them some pretty odd strategies. David faced a giant with just 5 smooth stones.  Was it because he was just such a good shot with his sling? I’m sure he was skilled with his sling, but I propose the reason he defeated Goliath with the first blow is that he walked closely with God. He didn’t approach Goliath with anger or sarcasm. He walked up to that giant with a confidence that comes only from a place of walking closely with the living God. David had a confidence not in his ability to use a sling shot to bring down a giant, but in a God who he knew would go before him on his (and the nation of Israel’s) behalf. That God is still in the giant slaying business today. It is for that reason I can stare down evil with joy and a smile on my face (often accompanied by tears). It’s almost a contradiction that I can stand outside a clinic with a heart full of prayer, praise, and love for my king, while at the same time full of grief and mourning for what is happening inside while I wait for the giant to fall. I suppose it’s something similar to how the Father felt when Jesus was hanging on the cross. Knowing the glory of what was to come, yet having to endure the pain of the present. It is that hope, that knowing of a savior that brings joy.  We can press in with joy, because we know the end of the story, and we’re only at the beginning of the beginning.  Thanks for that amazing reminder Misty!  We know the one who has victory over death, His name is Jesus.  Joy is a powerful weapon in demolishing the stronghold of abortion in our nation, let’s use it!

(This is part 1 of a 2 part series on the weapons of our warfare.  Part 2 will cover,  prayer, and worship.)