Friday, November 4, 2011

Condemnation or Compassion?

Recently I have spent some time visiting and participating in an online community/forum for pregnant women.  The group that I have been participating in has over 7000 members, and all these are just women who are expecting in March of 2012.  What I have noticed is the constant judgment that occurs.  Judgment on women's opinions, actions, parenting styles, beliefs.  You name it, someone is judging it. And when I mean judging, I do not mean making a judgment on whether something is right or wrong because it is necessary that we do that, but rather, I am referring to standing in condemnation and actively criticizing.

As I have thought about this over the last couple of days it has made me sad.  It's no wonder why people put on "masks" when they go out in public, why people don't want to share their struggles, or ask for help, or be real.  Who would want to do that when the responses are judgmental and critical instead of compassionate and helpful?  Even going out to Walmart can bring judgment on yourself.  How many times have I heard, and actively participated in condemning the way those people are dressed or acting?  Just letting your kids play outside can bring judgment on yourself.  How many times have I seen the kids playing on the street and condemned their deliquent parents (without even knowing who their parents are) for not keeping an eye on them. How many times have I condemned women who have had an abortion (yes, I have made the judgment that abortion is wrong and against God's law, but I do not have the authority to stand in condemnation of these women)  How many times have I condemned my neighbors for one thing or another?  Yes,  I am and have been guilty of being the judge and jury myself many more times than I would like to admit. 

But then I think of Jesus.  Jesus who was the friend of sinners.  Jesus who asked the pharisees in regards to the adulterous women in John 8:7 He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.  Jesus who dined with sinners. Jesus who diligently taught and took as his closest companions some of the lowest, uneducated and disrespected members of society in those days (tax collectors, fishermen, etc). Jesus who showed compassion to the thief on the cross.    Jesus who died on the cross for people who hate(d) him. Jesus who sees my own wicked heart and lets me yell at him and cry to him, and push him away at times, yet he still loves me more than anyone even though he knows the deepest secrets of my heart.

Although Jesus is the judge and will one day cast judgement on the people who have rejected him, right now he isn't holding hell as a gun to our head for our wrongs.  Instead he is holding out compassion, salvation, new life, and an eternity in heaven with him for even the worst of people who will accept his gift.

What am I holding out to sinful, struggling people?  Am I holding out condemnation and criticism?  Or am I being compassionate.  Am I holding out the hope and victory and freedom that we can have in Christ?

Food for thought....

~Change my heart, Dear God.  Let it be like you!

Love As I Loved
Ron Hamilton

When our Lord was speaking to the crowd, a beggar came
Who fell down before Christ and  called out His name.
The disciples quickly came,
And they turned the man away,
Till they saw the Lord's compassion
And they heard the Savior say:

Love as I loved,
Give as I gave;
These are the people that I came to save.
Love as I loved, and I will shine through.
Let others see My love in you.

Yesterday my time was filled with vain and empty things,
And I was so busy with all that life brings.
People crowded in my way,
But I pushed them all away they were just a senseless bother
Till I heard the Savior say:

Love as I loved,
Give as I gave;
These are the people that I came to save.
Love as I loved, and I will shine through.
Let others see My love in you.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Beautiful Growing Baby!

My beautiful little boy is growing perfectly! I am in the middle of week 20!  For those of you who don't know, that is the HALFWAY point!!!!! I can't believe we are halfway there!  And as I think of the crazy schedule between now and then with holidays and birthdays, I know the last half of this pregnancy is going to fly!  Before we know it, March will be here, and so will our little Brycen James!  <--did you catch that?!  That is the name we have chosen for our little one!  We will call him Bryce for short.  I love it!

Today I went shopping for our little guy!  I bought a few adorable little onesies on clearance at The Children's Place for next summer/fall.    Shopping for babies is very fun, I have to admit!  And since I don't expect any kind of shower, I will get to shop quite a bit this time around!  I am taking it as a personal challenge of mine to find infant gear and clothing at good prices.  We already purchased a set of matching Graco baby equipment on craigslist for an excellent price.  That was an answer to prayer!  Now we've got all the other little detail things... crib sheets, pacifiers, bottle nipples, burp cloths, clothing, etc to shop for.  Little by little, I will get it done. :-)  and I will enjoy ever minute of it!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Living off Love

I'm pretty sure that is what my husband is doing lately, because he surely isn't living off of sleep.  He is working an evening/night shift at work and recently had early morning work added to his route (he's a fuel truck driver).  So now he is getting home anywhere from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. and then having to get up at 4:30 a.m. to go out and fuel up another work site. Once in a while he's able to get home 10:30 or 11:00 p.m. from his evening route, but that's not the norm. 

Oh, and did I mention that he's trying not to sleep too much during the day because he is redoing our roof all by himself?   And any extra time and energy he has is given to Camp Bayouca helping with their fall retreats.  Thankfully, at least, the last one of those is this weekend. 

I am proud of my husband for being such a hard worker, but I'll admit, I'm a bit concerned at the schedule he is trying to keep up.   I can see the exhaustion written all over his face. It has definitely been a matter of prayer for me lately.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Help When Needed

The last couple of weeks have been emotionally exhausting.  I have had some very specific struggles regarding our daughter Megan and her disorder, Dysgenesis of the Corpus Callosum.  I could write a book about the last couple of weeks but I'm not going to.  What I am going to write is that I was discouraged, and disheartened.  I felt like I was dealing with it alone.  I was tired of expressing my struggles only to have them be constantly minimalized and brushed off as insignificant with people saying things like "oh, that normal for 7 year olds", or "my kid does that too."  I spent a lot of time in tears crying out to God (and to my mom and husband--thanks guys for listening an being there for me!)

But you know what.  God came through!  (he always does!).  It was accidental on my part, but I do NOT think it was accidental to God! Just when I needed it most I stumbled upon a woman through an online forum, who is a fellow mother of a child with a disorder of the corpus callosum, and a wealth of information!  I no longer have to feel like the expert, but have someone who I can go to for help and encouragement AND understanding!  

Psalm 46:1-3
  God is our refuge and strength,
   an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
   and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
   and the mountains quake with their surging.

Psalm 61:1-4

 Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.
 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee,
when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
 For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.
 I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.

Thank you, God!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Children are a Gift!

My husband and I are unexpectedly, but with anticipation, pregnant with our fourth child due to arrive in March of 2012!  A little boy, according to my last ultrasound!  We are thrilled.  Maybe even more so than we were with our others, which is hard to believe since we have been thrilled with each of our babies!  But there is just something different about this baby.  It's a little bit of a miracle I guess... Considering that two and a half years ago I was sick to the point that we didn't know if I would live.  And yet, by the grace of God, here I am today, my health is completely restored AND I'm expecting new life!  Thank you, Lord!

So,  I was reading a newsletter from Focus on the Family today and in the letter was this on a recent conference that a representative of Focus on the Family attended: At one point, and American diplomat, Laurie Shestack Phipps, spoke.  She wondered how we could talk about family, but not be concerned about high birth rates in places like Africa.  Don't we understand, she asked, that so many children put a strain on opportunities for women, on public services and on job creation?  Why don't we address the need for family planning (meaning contraceptives) and reproductive health (code for abortion)?

Before I could say anything, another diplomat spoke up.  she was Sarah Flood Beaubron, a UN representative from the tiny nation of St. Lucia.  Here's what she said: "When I was growing up...(our nation) was asked and pressured to reduce our rates of fertility.  Over the last year years we have seen that we are now below replacement levels... We have a population of 165,000  people approximately, and our resource is our people.  We don't have gold, and we don't have oil, or anything like that.  We are in a predicament, because we were asked and pressured and cajoled to decrease our fertility... this is now a very urgent problem for our small country..."

So there it was.  The tired philosophy that children are a drain on resources, followed by the truth:  children ARE the resource.

Wow!  That is powerful!  Children ARE the resource!!!  

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Griffiths family!

Holly Jolly Story Christmas 5x7 folded card
Make a statement with custom Christmas cards at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Shutterfly Christmas (card, that is)

I have used Shutterfly in the past for many different photo projects. They regularly have excellent deals and promotions that make using them completely worth it! Not to mention the fact that the site is very easy to use. Last year I used Shutterfly to make our Christmas card, and this year as I was planning my Christmas card I went to their site to check out holiday photo card backgrounds and the Christmas photo card backgrounds.  Here are some of my favorite backgrounds:

I love this cute little trees on both of these!
And how fun is this?!  This would definitely be a cute one to use for the picture bloopers! :)

And this one is just so beautifully classic. 

I found several others that I loved as well, and then I began planning how I wanted to set my children up for pictures and what I wanted them to wear.  I am pleased to say that, with the help of my sister's photography skills, we captured some great shots and I cannot wait to finish designing our photo cards. Of course I don't want to ruin the surprise, so I won't be posting the finished product on here until after I'm sure everyone has received their Christmas cards!

P.S. After I finish up my Christmas card, I might just have to make one of these super cute photo calendars! And pictures of my kids in these calendars would make them even cuter!!! *smile*