Why Banning Abortions Isn’t Going to Solve the Problem (And Some Ideas on What We Can Do Instead)

Abortion has been a controversial topic for as long as I can remember, and I see posts in my news feed several times per week either for or against the morality and legality of abortions. I have thought and prayed about this topic for quite some time, and after hearing the news about the legislation in New York, and after becoming a mother myself, I feel that I can no longer be silent.


In responding to our heartbreak over this new law as well as the ones already instated, it’s so easy to say, “Ban abortions!”

But making abortions illegal isn’t going to solve the problem (remember prohibition?). Making abortions illegal will result in women getting illegal, often unsafe abortions, which could result in the loss of even more life.

I know some will say that if a woman was willing to take the life of her child then her life deserves to be taken as well, but as a follower of Jesus I simply cannot stand behind that. Her life matters, too. She was made in the image of God, too. Just like her baby.

So what do we do?

I think that we should start with the prevention of unwanted pregnancies. We know that school sex-ed programs that teach abstinence-only do not work. As a Christian, I believe in waiting until marriage to have sex, but not everyone believes this way, and I realize that.

Girls and women should know how their bodies and their cycles work so that they know when they are likely to get pregnant. They should also know about all methods of birth control (condoms and hormonal birth control aren’t the only ways to go).

Additionally, we should have more resource centers that get girls and women access to prenatal care, adoption agencies, and resources for how to care for their young babies if they choose to raise their child themselves (programs like this do exist!).

Are these things going to prevent all abortions? No. They aren’t. And that breaks my heart still. I wish this weren’t even an issue in the first place, but it is. And because it is, we have to do something about it.

And, church, one last thing. I know that we want to save the lives of these precious little babies, but putting up crosses in the church yard talking about the lives taken from abortion isn’t helping. All it’s doing is shaming any woman who has ever had an abortion, and shame never brings people to Jesus. Love does.


I believe every person is made in the image of God, starting at conception. When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, she was the size of a poppy seed, but that little poppy seed was my baby. My heart breaks for all of the babies who never get the chance to experience life on the outside of the womb due to an abortion. Yet hate is not going to get us anywhere. Being compassionate and reaching out will not get us to a place where abortions are unheard of and forgotten, but I believe it will get us somewhere.

So I’m going to sit here and snuggle my sweet girl, praying that hearts change in our country and looking for ways to help extend compassion to women and get them the resources they need.

With love,

Photo credit:

unsplash-logoMegan Menegay

*Also, I realize there are some circumstances that require an abortion out of medical necessity, such as an ectopic pregnancy in which both the mother and baby will die. However, I don’t believe that aborting a child due to potential birth defects should be considered “medically necessary.” Their life, even though it may be lived differently than yours, is still life, and all life is sacred.

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My First Month as a Mom

In all seriousness, it is so hard to believe that my baby girl is a month old! It feels like we were just in the hospital. But it’s been the best. month. ever. Bella is already learning and growing so much, and it’s so fun!

•••

Being a mom is wonderful and challenging and exhausting. It’s all that I thought it would be and more yet completely different at the same time.

I’ve learned that your life completely changes yet doesn’t at the same time.

I’ve learned that things often don’t go as planned, and that’s okay.

I’ve learned that I have a problem with it wanting to ask for help, and I’m working on it.

I’ve learned that I have a problem with not knowing when I need to say no to things, and I’m working on that, too.

I’ve learned how unconditional love really can be, and I understand how God loves us so much more now.

I’ve learned that my husband is an absolutely amazing father, and our child is so blessed to have him.

I’ve learned that spit up matches everything, so I just wear it all the time!

I’ve learned that some things are just needed when you become a mom. These things include:

  • Coffee. Always the coffee.
  • A nursing pillow. These little people get heavy fast.
  • E-books and e-textbooks for middle-of-the-night feedings. Holding an actual book can often be too difficult (at least for me).
  • Someone to hold your baby so you can take a much needed shower or bath.
  • Did I mention coffee?
  • Voice-to-text to take notes while you read a textbook while a baby is sleeping on one of your arms.
  • Snacks and plenty of water for middle-of-the-night feedings.

And finally, I’ve learned that I have the cutest baby ever, and I’ve had the best month of my life with her! Happy one month Isabella Grace!

Featured image photo credit: Fig Tree Films

You Must be 90 Pounds Soaking Wet

*Please realize this is not an attention-seeking post or an attempt at reassurance. I simply want to share my personal story!

I have always been small. Growing up I was pretty much all knees and elbows. I’ve always had a high metabolism, and no matter how much I ate, I didn’t gain weight.

My entire life I have heard comments like “You must be 90 pounds soaking wet!” or “You need to put some meat on those bones!” or “There’s not an ounce of fat on your body!”

I think most of the time these types of comments were meant as compliments, and I would usually smile and nod, but I felt differently inside. Every time a comment like this was made, I thought “90 pounds? Well, I’m a lot more than that. Am I supposed to be 90 pounds? I better suck by stomach in,” or “Am I not good enough the way I am?” or “Yes, there is, but I better hide it so you don’t see me differently.”

I felt such pressure to be as small as everyone thought I was, yet pressure to gain weight at the same time. I hated it. I hated my body no matter what. I wasn’t small enough. I wasn’t big enough. I wasn’t good enough. I was so insecure.

•••

A few weeks before I found out I was pregnant I remember telling my husband that I wasn’t scared of what my body would be like when I was pregnant someday, but I was scared of what it would be like after. I knew that it was going to be different and probably never go back to the way it was before.

Sure enough, I loved my body when I was pregnant. Actually, I was the most self-confident that I’ve ever been. Yet there were still things that were said that hurt. I heard from many people that I “looked good with some weight on me.” I happened to agree, but I was a bit hurt at the same time. I knew it was a compliment or perhaps a reassurance, but what it felt like was “you weren’t good enough before.” I tried not to dwell on it because I knew it wasn’t meant that way.

•••

Fast-forward and the day has arrived. The moment of truth. I’m no longer pregnant. How am I going to feel?

Honestly? Just fine.

At some point something changed. I wasn’t scared anymore. My body had just spent months growing a person. Of course it would look different! My body did something amazing; who cares if it doesn’t look the same as before?

I don’t.

And that’s the truth. I decided that the only one who can make me feel insecure about myself is, well, me. Yes, the things that were said to me over the years were hurtful, but ultimately I chose to let it get to me. And honestly, I’ve got too much going on to be worried about some extra weight and stretch marks.

At the end of the day, I don’t want to be known as “the thin one” or “the pretty one.” I’ve got more important things going on. I’d rather be known for how I walked with Christ. What kind of wife and mother I was. What kind of friend I was. Not my pant size.

All this to say, friends, be careful with your words. They hurt and have long lasting effects. But also, don’t let what other people say define how you see yourself.

With love,

Isabella Grace

I spent my pregnancy reading and researching, preparing mentally and physically for labor. I feel like the time I spent preparing was well worth it, but the main thing I learned from labor was that things do not always go as planned.

•••

I went to the hospital at 3 p.m. on Sunday after I called the hospital and said that my water may have broken at 8:30 that morning – after which I still went to church and to the mall. They said my water had not broken yet (though I’m suspecting it was a hind leak that resealed) and that I was having contractions three minutes apart. I didn’t start feeling the contractions until a little later, and then it was purely back labor. My nurse had me walk the hall for an hour, and then I was admitted for labor – yay!

It was game time and I was ready to go. My nurse knew I didn’t want an epidural or pain medication, and I wanted to be up walking as much as possible. At this point I was thinking I would probably have my baby in the middle of the night. I walked for 40 minutes every hour for probably 4 hours until the contractions were too strong.

Fast forward several hours, they broke my water and an hour later they tell me that I’ve gone from 6 cm to 9 cm! I’m thinking we must be getting close. A few hours later my nurse checks me and says I’m just now at 8 cm – whoever checked me before was mistaken. Needless to say I was a bit frustrated.

Unfortunately, my body seemed to really like sitting at 8 cm. After several hours of being stalled out at 8 cm, I started to panic. I could handle the pain, but the urge to push was too strong. I knew it was way too early, and I couldn’t push without hurting myself and my baby. Finally, my nurse suggests an epidural to help me finish dilating. Though the thought of an epidural terrified me, I agreed (it was really no biggie). Within an hour and a half I was ready fully dilated and ready to push!

They turned my epidural down so that I could feel how to push, and I pushed for two and a half hours, and finally, 23 hours after being admitted to the hospital, at 2:16 p.m. I reached down and pulled my own baby girl to my chest (with guidance from my doctor). It was probably the most special moment of my life.

I didn’t care that I hadn’t slept in 30 hours.

I didn’t care that I had, just a few hours before, told my husband quite seriously that we were never having another kid.

I didn’t care that my plan of having an unmedicated birth went out the window.

I had my baby, and she was perfect.

•••

Unfortunately, the next several hours didn’t go as planned either as Isabella had trouble breathing on her own due to me being in labor for so long (it’s fairly common, but it was scary nevertheless). She was in the nursery for 7 hours, and we thought she was going to end up going to Children’s Hospital – which was definitely not part of the plan.

We were exhausted and anxious and frustrated. I hadn’t held my baby in hours. My husband had yet to hold her. He had gone to see her in the nursery several times, but I still couldn’t go because my epidural had not worn off. My nurse came in to check my legs and said she’d come back and check me in an hour because I wasn’t able to move as well as I needed to to get up. I looked at Genelle and said, “An hour my big toe! Help me pump my legs and get this epidural to wear off.”

Which is exactly what we did. Twenty minutes later I was in a wheelchair heading to the nursery. It broke my heart to see my sweet little girl with her itty bitty oxygen mask. I sat with her for about 30 minutes, and while I was there she got better. She was breathing well when I left, and we were told she would be with us shortly.

After waiting awhile and still not having our baby brought to us, we were told that she had started to regress, and they would be talking to Children’s Hospital soon to see what to do next. We were scared and tired and all we wanted was our baby.

But finally, I looked at my husband and said, “We can’t be slaves to fear. We have to trust God. No matter what, we’ll figure it out. It’s going to be okay.” It’s funny how the sermon that morning at church was on fear.

A few minutes later, a nurse brought us our little girl, saying they were just going to spot check her throughout the night (she was perfect every time they checked her that night).

Would we still have trusted God if she ended up going to Children’s? Absolutely. But were we praising God that we had her? Absolutely!

Bella is 2 weeks old today, and we fall more in love with her daily. Being a mom is better than I ever imagined. I often stop and think about the long journey it took to get her here – and how every minute was worth it.

And yeah, I take back what I said about not having any more kids.

•••

 

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Mommy seeing Bella in the nursery

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Daddy holding Bella for the first time

 

 

Newborn Photos Photo Credit: Cherish Bickel Photography

It’s Okay to Slow Down

Living in the age of technology, we expect everything to be done fast. It’s reflected in most aspects of our life:

This person is driving too slow.

The wait is too long.

My phone won’t load fast enough.

The list could go on and on.

What I have realized recently, though, is that slowing down is a beautiful thing. Sure, there are deadlines and time-sensitive things, but why does everything in our lives have to be done at an accelerated pace?

One of the most beautiful ways that I have noticed the beauty of slowing down has been in my time with God.

I have had a relationship with Jesus for almost 7 years now. For 6 of those years I read my Bible the exact same way: a chapter a day (unless it was a super long chapter, then I would break it up). Last year around this time I decided that I wanted to read chronologically (in the order that events happened, not necessarily in the order the books occur in the Bible) and in larger chunks to get a better sense of the bigger picture, and I loved it!

In this season, however, I’ve started studying my Bible in a completely different way than I ever have. I spend about 30-45 minutes a day on around 10 verses of Scripture just breaking it apart. It now takes me 2-4 days to read a chapter rather than 1.

At first, it almost bothered me actually. I felt like I wasn’t reading enough. In reality, though, I’m digging in deeper than ever before. Reading the Bible, like many things in life, is not a race. I’m loving this season of just slowing down and really meditating on the Word of God. It has made me realize it’s okay to slow down in other areas, too. It’s okay to stop and appreciate the simple beauty in your life. It’s okay to leave the dishes unattended for a little bit to spend time with your spouse or kids. It’s okay to not always be in the fast lane.

With love,

B

Silver Linings

For the most part, I have always been one to try to find the bright side in every situation. Several weeks ago, however, my husband – very gently and with grace – pointed out that I had been only seeing the negative in practically every situation. He reminded that I was always the one who found the silver lining no matter the circumstance, and that was not who I had been lately. And he was right. With taking 6 classes, working 20 hours a week, and being horribly sick in my first trimester, I was overwhelmed, over-stressed, and just done. 

It was a real wake up call hearing it come from him, but I really had become the ultimate Debbie Downer. I made a decision that day, however, to not let negativity rule my life anymore because it made me – and surely him – miserable. Because that’s the thing: being extremely negative about an already difficult situation is going to make the situation immensely worse. I remembered the power of simply being grateful for the things that we do have and for the things that are going right. When you do that, you realize you are much better off than you thought!

I still have a tendency to overreact and become overly stressed about certain things (thanks, pregnancy), but my sweet husband is always there to gently remind me to focus on the things that are going right, because what we look at – what we focus on – greatly determines our outlook on life.

So if you’re in that place right now where the world seems to be against you and you are in over your head, I’d like to remind you that for every negative in your life, there is a positive (I promise, they’re there); there is always beauty among the ashes. Focus on those things. Give thanks for those things. Hold onto and focus on the One who never leaves you and is always there even during the rough things. You can still have joy during those things, don’t let anyone – especially yourself – take that away. Find that silver lining.

With love,

B

Photo credit: unsplash-logoDaniel Páscoa

Life Changes

“We didn’t plan for things to go this way, but can you even imagine what life would be like if this weren’t happening?”

I said this to my husband last night as we stood in the kitchen and I showed him the baby books I had just bought (our child will definitely not have a lack of reading material – I have a problem…). We originally planned to have kids when we were both out of school, or at the very least when I was completely done. But when I sat in the campus infirmary one February afternoon and watched that little line appear, everything changed.

I was half terrified because this was NOT the plan, but at the same time, I couldn’t contain tears of pure joy as I realized I was going to be a mom. Finally.

I realize that may sound silly to some as I am not quite 22 yet, but the desire to be a mother has been brewing strong inside me for years and has only gotten stronger as I do life with the most amazing man in the world. When my best friend had the most beautiful baby girl in the world last December, I was in love. There were tears of joy streaming down my face as I saw her perfect little face for the first time. Later, though, if I’m being completely honest, which I try to be, I was crying for a different reason. Seeing that perfect little girl and seeing my best friend’s face as she held her baby for the first time created a deep ache in my heart because I still had years to go before that happened for me, and as absolutely happy as I was for her and her little family, part of me was heart-broken.

I know that to some that may seem silly or selfish, but it was how I felt. So I gave it to God. I didn’t want those feelings inside of me getting in the way of the pure joy I really was feeling for my best friend of nearly 10 years. I stopped thinking about it and just my best friend and her sweet little girl.

A month later I was pregnant.

I’m not saying that just because you surrender something to God, you are going to immediately get what you desire – that’s not how God works – but His timing is different than ours and it is perfect.

A few months ago I was praying that God would give me the strength, peace, and patience for these next few years of waiting. Now I’m praying for this sweet baby growing inside of me, whom I already love more than I ever could have imagined.

Our plans have changed significantly since that day in February, but oh, they have changed in the best way. There are still many unknowns, but I know God will carry us through just like He always has and just like He always will. We have plans, sure, but as Thomas Rhett says, “Life changes, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Love,

B

Photo credit: unsplash-logoMaxime Lelièvre

Things Change

Do you ever feel like one minute you have everything together and the next minute you don’t? Yeah, that’s how I’ve been feeling. During Christmas break I was on a consistent housework schedule, I was writing nearly everyday, I was reading for fun everyday, it was great. Then the most stressful semester in my history of school started. Let’s just say things have went off the rails a bit (having the stomach bug last week didn’t help).

I knew that this semester was going to be difficult for me, but I assumed that I could keep doing things the way I was and I would be fine – I even increased my fitness goals (Yeah, that’s not happening) – and I was quite wrong. Even though I know routines change with the ebbs and flows of life, I was quite determined to keep doing things the way I was doing them.

After a few break downs I realized that I simply cannot continue the way I was going a month ago. I have six classes and a lot of homework, papers, and tests; I work around twenty hours a week; and I have other commitments. This season does not look like the last one. So, what am I doing about it? I’m realizing what goals I need to adjust and what changes I need to make. We’re going to be getting an elliptical because going to the gym multiple days a week just isn’t feasible right now, the housework schedule isn’t so much of a schedule anymore but more of a nightly tidying with my husband, and I take naps. And drink coffee (I was caffeine free for almost two months).

This season I have to take things easier, I have to be more flexible, or I’m going to run myself ragged. When God first planted the idea of Life Management Monday in my heart I wanted one of the central messages to be that life management looks different for everyone. We cannot compare ourselves to others or think that what works for someone else will necessarily work for us. I was so caught up in the comparison game – and the worst part is is that the person I was comparing myself to was myself! Sometimes we really do have to take a page out of our own books!

Keep on creating a life you love, but be reasonable. We aren’t super human.

With love,

B

Photo credit:unsplash-logoJilbert Ebrahimi

Worship

What do you think of when you hear the word “worship”? For a lot of us I would bet we think of singing in church; we think of giving ten to twenty minutes once or twice a week singing words that may or may not mean something to us. Or perhaps we think of our tithes and offerings as worship. Both of these things are worship, but they are only the tip of the iceberg.

So then if we’re missing the point, let’s ask some questions.

  1. What is worship? 
    • Worship is the expression of adoration or reverence.
    • Worship is something that God alone deserves (Exodus 20:2-6).
    • John 4:23-24 says that “true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth. God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”(emphasis mine)
    • 1 Samuel 15:22 says, “to obey is better than sacrifice.”
    • Romans 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” (emphasis mine)
    • Isaiah 29:13 says that if we are only honoring God with our lips but not our hearts, we are not truly worshiping.

    Essentially, worship is not something that we do once a week, it is something we are to do through our lifestyle. We are to worship in Spirit and in truth, two   things that are forever inside us when we allow Jesus to take His rightful place as   king of our lives. Offering our bodies as a living sacrifice is not something you do once, it’s continual dedication of ourselves to the Lord.

  2. Why do we worship?
    • If you’ve ever been in a relationship with someone you really like you know what it’s like to desire to get to know someone. You want to know everything about them – what they like, what they dislike, what makes them tick, their middle name, everything! – and the more you know the more you want to know. Our relationship with God is similar: when we spend time with Him and get to know Him, it stirs up the desire to get to know Him more, and when we get to know Him, we can’t help but worship Him.

•••

Worship is so much more than singing songs and giving money, it’s continually honoring God with our lives.

When we obey His command to love our neighbor, that’s worship.

When we choose to be like Jesus and pray for those who persecute us, that’s worship.

When we take the high road instead of stooping to the level of those who hurt us, that’s worship.

When we extend grace, that’s worship.

When we choose not to compromise our values, that’s worship.

When we stand and sing and pour out our hearts to the Creator, that’s worship.

When we use our gifts to further His kingdom, that’s worship.

When we die to ourselves and live solely for Him, that’s worship.

Our lives are meant to be continual acts of adoration and reverence of our Creator and King. Worship is not something you get away from life to do, worship is something you do amidst the messiness of life. Everyday is a blank slate. Everyday is a chance to choose God or self. What are we going to choose today?

Photo credit: unsplash-logoAnubhav Saxena

 

I Don’t Have a Five-Year Plan

From the time students start high school they are expected to know what they want to do for the rest of their lives. They are encouraged to choose a “track” or program for the rest of high school to help shape their future education and career. The problem I find with this is that life is always in flux.

When I started college, I knew exactly what I was going to do with my life. Little did I know that three and a half short years later I would be married and on a completely different career path than I went in with (and the journey that I took to get there wasn’t a straight shot either). We can make plans all we want, but education and experiences can change things.

Because of this, in my life I choose to make tentative plans over concrete plans. When it comes to the future, my husband and I typically lay out how we could see things going while including alternate possibilities and keeping in mind that things could change completely. For example, when we have kids, we aren’t sure if we are going to home school or if our children will attend a public school, but we have tentative plans for both. This is important because if you set your heart on something turning out a certain way and it doesn’t happen, you will be crushed.

But what about God’s will? I think that in some instances God may have a very specific plan, or specific door, that He intends for us. Other times, however, I think that we have a wide array of doors to choose from, but our attitude is the key. Colossians tells us that no matter what we do, we are to do it in the name of the Lord. I feel that that gives us some freedom in choosing what we do. Want to be a teacher? Do it as if working for the Lord. Want to be a welder? Do it as if working for the Lord. Want to be a business owner? Do it as if working for the Lord.

So, for me, there’s no five-year plan. I have goals, hopes, and dreams for my career and my family, yet I trust that if the Lord has a specific plan for me I will find it and follow in faith. If He doesn’t, I will still treat whatever it is as my calling and do it for the Lord, because God’s will is sometimes a specific plan, but it’s always an attitude.

With love,

B

Photo credit:unsplash-logoPeter Aschoff