Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Why Forgiveness Should Not be the Duggars' Focus

Whether Jessa Seewald's Instagram picture of the words of I John were related to her brother's sins of adultery and porn addiction or not, there seems to be a focus on forgiving him. This is problematic for a number of reasons.

Forgiveness, while it can be granted, should not be their focus. Their focus should be Anna and those kids. The only way for the Duggars to come out of all this not smelling like manure is to focus on Anna and the kids. You can bet Anna is not okay. This Facebook post by Jessica Krammes Kirkland sums it up wonderfully and I agree with her wholeheartedly. Click here to read the post.

I don't know Jessica but I commend her for writing this. She is absolutely right. She's 100% on target. We do a horrible disservice to our daughters when we minimize them. This is why forgiving Josh should not be the Duggars' focus. They ought to be focusing on Anna and those kids, only.

Forgiveness is a gift. 
Forgiveness cannot be demanded.
When a perpetrator demands forgiveness, he is further abusing his victim.

If you have watched the Duggars' reality TV show, you have seen Anna be a victim of their self-promoting focus before. Watch carefully. She has been minimized by this family, her childrens' needs have been secondary and she's had to put on her smile and act like everything is ok. Some episodes clearly show that everything was not ok with her. My heart has gone out to her from the start.

~Tricia





Thursday, August 20, 2015

Why Josh Duggar's Issues are Far Deeper than Infidelity, Lying and Hypocrisy

Last night, my husband asked me if I'd seen the latest news about Josh Duggar. I had not. I have blogged about the Duggars before, so he knew of my interest in their false representation of Christianity, which I blogged to refute. The latest news of Josh's accounts at the infidelity website, AshleyMadison.com, was news to me, but not altogether a surprise.

I knew there was more. I believe there is still more than this, we just don't know it yet.

You can read his statement here. He made this statement after he was busted, which gives it less of an impact than it would have had if he had owned the sin a few months ago when he was hiding behind his youth in his other offenses.

As I said in another, related blog post, Josh comes by this behavior and tendency quite naturally, and not just because of his inborn sin nature, which we all share. He grew up in a climate of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation, given freely to him by his father. Even recently, Jim Duggar proved that he doesn't "get it" by making inappropriate remarks at a family friend's wedding.

He and wife, Michelle, further proved that they don't "get it" by stating, "...we are not a perfect family...."

We need to be aware of what this language means. When someone caught in the spotlight of their own sin reminds the world that they are not perfect, this is an attempt to deflect whatever shame, disgrace and humiliation they are feeling.

To claim imperfection is a minimization of sin.
Everyone knows that no one is perfect.
Stating the obvious is an attempt to deflect the sin.
Deflecting the sin is not dealing with the sin.

In his statement, Josh did refer to his behavior as "sin," which is accurate, but by the end of the statement it was a "bad example," and "personal failure." This is not terminology of repentance. Yes, it was a bad example and, yes, it was a personal failure, but it was and is so much more than that. Those are terms others can come to use once they work through the admission and forgiveness aspect of his sins. Those are not terms he, himself, or his family, should use.

Lest you think I'm unforgiving, don't be fooled. I do believe Josh's sins can be forgiven. Of course. Forgiveness is the foundation of our faith because those of us who believe Jesus is our Savior have experienced forgiveness first hand. Jesus says, many times, to people He personally interacted with, "Go and sin no more." He expected their lives to change. He never told them to stop having personal failures because personal failures are inevitable. He never told them to stop being a bad example because we humans are going to be bad examples at times. He told them to stop living their sinful lifestyle. He didn't mince words and neither should we when we deal with these things.

However, the Duggars' issues go further than Josh's infidelity. They go further than his lying. They go further than his hypocrisy.

Raising children in a sexual climate, as the Duggars have, is abuse.

The Duggars have claimed persecution through their various scandals, but they are wrong. They are not being persecuted for their faith. They have mocked faith, have mocked God and His Word.

They are reaping what they have sown.
It's sad.
It's heartbreaking.
It's sin.

World, this is not what Christianity looks like. The Duggars do not represent evangelical Christianity at all.

Evangelical Christianity does not have a dress code where the women are put into skirts for every single activity they ever do and boys must always, always wear long pants.
Evangelical Christianity does not have a hair style requirement in which girls have to have long, flowing hair and boys' hair has to be short and parted on one side.
Evangelical Christianity does not have a set of "Biblical principles" to live by.
Evangelical Christianity is Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, crucified, dead, buried and risen again.

Because I often spot sex abusers within the walls of Christianity before others, I have often been asked how I know. There are a few things to look for.

1. People in "ministry" who name their ministry after themselves. This is rampant. This is a warning sign of something not so Godly. Steer clear. I do.
2. People who often use language that deflects negative attention off themselves. Deflecting language is very popular and often hard to recognize because it can often bring up guilt, making you feel as though you can't say anything because "after all, they admitted they are not perfect." "I'm not perfect" does not work for me.
3. Men who have strict rules and roles for women. One of the most important things a sexual predator or abuser needs to do is reign in the women in his life (or society). These men are not Christ-like. Jesus did not reign in women; He actually chose a woman to be the first to tell the story of His resurrection (and there are many, many more stories of Jesus' interactions with women, none of which are oppressive to the women). In every abusive culture, the women are oppressed in some way, hushed and given a back seat to the men. Run, run as fast as you can from such a place.
4. People who tell you how godly they are. We attended a church once where the pastor told the people how godly he was in every single service. We didn't last 6 months there. When someone touts their own perceived godliness, you can bet they have something to hide. This is another attempt to deflect negative attention from themselves. If someone tells me they are godly, I steer clear of that person and warn my family.
5. People who compare their lives to others and always come out on top. The Duggars do this often, prefacing sentences with "Other families (do this or that) but we (do something godlier)." Comparing themselves to others - and always coming out on top - is a very common tactic of abusers.

Maybe I need to make a more comprehensive list. I do know that reading and studying God's Word for oneself is a sure antidote to abuse of all kinds. We are told to study His Word, yet I find the vast majority of Christians using some study book or commentary instead of the Bible itself. I find this troubling. It's disturbing to me to see Christians using commentaries as study tools. They are not. But, that is fodder for another blog post.

There is hope for Josh in the blood of Jesus Christ.
Because of Jesus, he can own his sin and not be crushed by it.
Since they are so public and prefer to be public and since Josh included me in his statement, I think it's important to set the record straight: the Duggars do not represent Christianity. They represent a set of rules, not found in Scripture, that help them live their abusive lifestyle.

Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift in Jesus Christ.
~Tricia


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Human Capital - Episode 3: Planned Parenthood's Custom Abortions for Sup...

Once again, I applaud The Center for Medical Progress for exposing more and more of Planned Parenthood's atrocities against human life.

It's beyond my understanding how anyone, liberal or conservative, can think this is ok.

The same people who fret and arrest over the removal of turtle eggs from a creek or cry over animals hunted are the same people who think it's ok to take a human baby, whose heart is beating, and cut it up like a piece of meat.



We need to stop them.

We need to defund Planned Parenthood.



~Tricia




Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Planned Parenthood Cannot Stand against the Prayers of the Children of the Almighty

Unless you've living under a rock or in a cave, you are aware of the videos made by the Center for Medical Progress exposing Planned Parenthood's business of dissecting human babies and selling their parts for profit. Their latest video, which you can watch here, was released today.

I applaud them for taking the time, energy, expense and courage to get this information, make it public and show the world what many of us have known Planned Parenthood has been doing.

I have actually read a couple blogs that criticize people for sharing the videos, saying,  "It's so easy to share a video, but why don't you do something?

Don't you realize that these very videos are the result of us doing something?

I was a crisis pregnancy counselor for 12 years with Life Saver Ministries. I not only helped young women tell their parents they were pregnant, I sat with them and taught them how their babies were growing. I assisted in births. I handled adoptions, even having the new parents pick up their baby at my home. I held young women who had had abortions before they came to me and were filled with awful regret (100% of the women who had abortions regretted it).

But, all this is not what we did in the case of these videos.

I was the director of a crisis pregnancy center, counseling those young women to not abort, giving them hope by helping them with layettes, friendship and someone to talk to on lonely nights when things were overwhelming, and Jesus Christ, the Giver of life.

Many of us have done what we can, but none of this is what we did about these videos.

What we did was pray. 

For years we have prayed that Planned Parenthood would be exposed.
For years we have prayed that we would find a way to save the babies and provide help and hope to these mothers.

These videos are the direct result of our prayers.
You see, I believe in prayer. I believe in approaching God's throne with boldness and I believe in approaching it often.
So many times I prayed in desperation, as many others have, that somehow this would be exposed.
I believe exposing Planned Parenthood's practices would make even the most liberal thinker reconsider and perhaps babies could be saved.
Oh, yes, I'm a conservative. I am pro-life. I do not believe a woman has the right to kill another human being for the sake of convenience, or trauma or any other reason aside from saving her own life (which is so very, very rare).

But above all my conservatism, above my pro-life position, above my opinion that a society that would approve and even advocate the murder of their young is a sick society, I am a woman who believes the Almighty God, the Lord of creation, the Keeper of the universe, answers prayer.

So, I prayed. And many others have prayed over the years.
And, now, we are seeing those prayers answered and Planned Parenthood is on the receiving end of God's answers to the many, many prayers of those of us who believe He is the only Answer to save our babies and their mothers.

So, you other bloggers who think that unless we actually made the videos, or marched in some protest or stood in a place where you could see us, that we haven't done enough or aren't doing enough to stop abortion, I'm here to remind you that years of prayer is not a small thing.

Almighty God hears.
Almighty God answers.
Almighty God knows every single baby who was ripped from his or her mother's womb and put into the trash.
And Almighty God has heard us and is answering even as I write this.

~Tricia










Monday, August 10, 2015

A Cancer Journey Update

My husband is finished with his cancer treatments. He has had a PICC line in his arm for months and even had to carry around a large pouch which dispensed medicine 24/7 for a month. Now, however, he's free of all those entanglements. He no longer has to wrap his arm in Glad Press 'n Seal to take a shower. He no longer has to secure his "baby" (med pouch) in a plastic bag and hang it on the shower nozzle. He's free and he's loving it!

The vital PET scan is scheduled for September 4 and, based on his doctors' educated prediction, we are expecting him to be cancer-free.

We are thankful beyond words to those who have held us up in prayer.

When this thing started, not knowing what was wrong was harder than getting a cancer diagnosis. For days while we waited for test results, all we knew was that he had a large tumor on his tailbone. We didn't know if it was cancer or some other problem, but we knew it was bad because it knocked my healthy, robust husband off his feet and landed him in a hospital bed hooked up to strong, narcotic drugs.

When we finally got the cancer diagnosis, we were relieved because the disposition of the doctors was so positive. They said, "We've got this. Lymphoma responds to treatment. Give us a few months and you will be cancer free."

So, we did just that. Week after week, he drove up to Johns Hopkins for blood work and PICC line flushing, then headed to work right after. Every third week, we went together and spent the day in the cancer pod while he received 8 hours of chemo. It was precious time together.

Time together has been a problem throughout this journey. Because we are a one-income family, he had to continue working this entire time. And he wanted to. But, it took everything he had to work and by the time he got home each night, he had nothing left to give and would often take a long nap after dinner, so the kids and I have had the evenings to ourselves. His Saturdays have been mostly days of rest because he continued to preach two services every Sunday afternoon. He also kept up on Bible studies for our church plant.

When this new routine of chemo and rest and lab work and more rest started, it felt overwhelming. On the overwhelming days, we just did what we knew we had to do and trusted God for the rest.
Looking back, I can see that it wasn't so overwhelming after all.
When I thought something was going to be too hard, I found out it wasn't.
God's grace has been all-sufficient, just as He said it would be.

This is grace in action.
This is grace we can take with us.
This is grace no one can take away from us.

In Psalm 46:10, God says, "Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth!"

I took those first 8 words and looked them up in the Hebrew and made a few observations:

1. The words "that I am" are not in the original language.
2. Be still = Let go; release
3. Know = Notice, learn, realize
4. God = Elohim, Ruler and Creator of the universe
5. Elohim is plural.

"Let go and realize the Ruler and Creator of the universe."

Because of Him, we do not have to be overwhelmed by cancer.
Because of Him, we do not have to be overwhelmed by anything.

~Tricia