Overcome the Lies

Today I’m linking up with the women of the Overwrite the Lies project–a week-long social media campaign to help combat the young lies women listen to in their heads, so they might hear the truth written in their heart.

 

When I was in high school, girls went through a phase of calling each other a lot of negative words ‘playfully’ disguised as nicknames. Slut. Whore. Bitch. Anyone who has been a girl knows what I’m talking about. Girls try to say it as a joke or a passive-agressive commentary, but it still stings. It’s not true. It’s a lie, but it gets in your head. And your heart.

 

Especially mine. When I was in sixth grade, I learned that I was what I like to affectionately call a doorstep baby. My birthmom had left me on my dad’s doorstep without so much as a see you later. I grew up in a loving home with devoted parents and four beautiful sisters. I was never treated any differently than any of them, and the circumstances of my birth were never dwelled on. But in high school, doubt, fear and evil crept into my mind. I started to wonder. What was the role of my birthmom in my life? Did I inherit anything from her? Would parts of my life be out of my control, simply because they were her genes? The names girls threw around carelessly in highschool–slut, whore, bitch, tease–they were all things I had once heard said of my birthmom. Was I destined to turn out like her–a bitch?

 

Through the grace of God, it was at this time that my junior english class was reading John Steinbeck’s East of Eden. The story works its way through two brother’s internal struggle after they learn their mother is a prostitute. One fears that much like the Old Testament says in stories of generations of offspring being cursed due to one ancestor’s sin against God, he is condemned to be a sinner like his mother. The other finds his answer in the grace of Jesus and one word: timshel. This is the original word in the Bible, located in Genesis, that gives the first sign of the most defining characteristic of our relationship with God in comparison to other deities: free will. I’ve posted a short clip of the passage below:

 

Samuel said, “[…]Why is this word so important?”

Lee’s hand shook as he filled the delicate cups. He drank his down in one gulp. “Don’t you see?” he cried. “The American Standard translation orders men to triumph over sin, and you can call sin ignorance. The King James translation makes a promise in ‘Thou shalt,’ meaning that men will surely triumph over sin. But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.’ Don’t you see?

“Yes, I see. I do see. But you do not believe this is divine law. Why do you feel its importance?”

“Ah!” said Lee. “I’ve wanted to tell you this for a long time. I even anticipated your questions and I am well prepared. Any writing which has influenced the thinking and the lives of innumerable people is important. Now, there are many millions in their sects and churches who feel the order, ‘Do thou,’ and throw their weight into obedience. And there are millions more who feel predestination in ‘Thou shalt.’ Nothing they may do can interfere with what will be. But ‘Thou mayest’! Why, that makes a man great, that gives him stature with the gods, for in his weakness and his filth and his murder of his brother he has still the great choice. He can choose his course and fight it through and win.”

(For a longer snippet of the novel, please click here).

And in those paragraphs, in the words of the Lord, I found the truth over the lies. Because our God loves us, trusts us, and wants the best for us: He has given us free will. The choice is ours. Jesus died to break the rules of the Old Testament and continue this free will. We can be great, or we can fall. But we are not predestined to either one.

 

The beauty of the Lord is this: He doesn’t just take your sins away. He takes whatever shame, sin and ugliness you may have in your past and turns it into something beautiful–something for His glory. I never in a million years would have thought I would have once been a camp counselor using the story of my birthmom for His glory, or blogging about it to strangers on the internet. But that’s what the love and forgiveness of Christ can do. I no longer feel trapped, scared, hopeless, helpless, abandoned or ashamed. Because I have found the truth.

 

So, since this week is focusing on overwriting the lies we hear, let me wrap up with this:

I am my mother. 

I am my father.

My path is set. 

Once I’ve fallen, count me down.

The choice is yours: timshel.

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Confession Friday: Why I don’t support March for Life

I’m Catholic. I’m Republican. And I hate March for Life. Contradictory? Enraging? Either way, let me explain.

Whether we want to admit it or not, whether it’s politically correct, insensitive, cruel, evil or harsh: it’s too late to do anything about these fetuses that have already been aborted. No march and no picket sign is going to bring them back. Signs, words–they do no good. You want to change someone’s opinion? Do it through your actions. How much more powerful would this day be if instead of wasting all this time, money and energy on busing ourselves to a march in front of a White House, filled by a president who does not give a flying f**k about this issue no matter how many people are on his lawn…what if instead…we made it a day of ministry, instead of focusing on the aborted we focused on reaching out to the women who had gone through this issue, focused on raising awareness of resources pregnant women could turn to. What if instead of lining up and praying outside of Planned Parenthood, we spread brochures, flyers, and word of mouth about pregnancy resource centers that women could go to?

The women who have gone through this procedure need help, compassion and Christ. But flaunting picket signs in their face condemning their act as an atrocity that should be illegalized isn’t going to get them to come back to church.

I’m certain that Christ never held a picket sign, nor promoted a march. What he did do, however, was lead by example–Example of one-on-one, personal, caring acts. He talked to each person he ministered to as an individual. He was a Savior because he went through every single thing one of us does–temptation, loneliness, sadness and more. He was able to minister so effectively because when a person was sick or hurt or broken, he knew what that feeling was like. We should be ministering to these women, not with signs but with love and compassion. And before we raise those picket signs and voices, shouldn’t we try to be more like Christ and think first to how these women must have felt during that time? The confusion, the guilt, the terror, the loneliness. How would Christ have responded to those emotions? With a march? No.

Also, when I say this, know that I speak from the experience of someone who went to a crazy, right-wing, conservative breeding ground of a college. And I know for a certainty that a good majority of the people who are attending March for Life today are the same people who were toting their anti gun-control legislation in my face all over social media two weeks ago. Let’s recall their argument? Just because you make it illegal, doesn’t mean it will go away. Banning the sale of guns won’t stop it–people will just go to more dangerous measures to get them.

Is this not the same exact thing with abortion? You cannot, and will not, stop abortion. Even if you manage to get it legislated as an illegal act, it will still happen. Just because you make it illegal, doesn’t mean it will go away. Banning the sale of guns abortion won’t stop it–people will just go to more dangerous measures to get them. If only the people attending this march would realize the statuses they posted last week about gun legislation are applicable to abortion legislation as well.

Either way, the march this year will accomplish nothing. President Obama just signed into law the most radical health care reform this nation has ever seen–one requiring employers to provide insurance that pays for drugs and surgeries associated with abortion. He’s not going to change his mind a month later. You want to make a difference? You want to make a stand? Then take your passion and your faith and go do something. Follow Christ’s example and serve.