Monthly Archives: July 2015

Finding your Elaine

When I get bad news I usually let my emotions out and then I go straight to my journal. Writing is my outlet when I’m in shock and in pain and this is one of those times.

We got a call last Thursday that my friend Elaine had been given a really crappy prognosis. 4-6 weeks they told her. I was in Dallas but immediately knew as soon as the plane landed back in Nashville I wanted to lay my eyes on her. When I did, all I could do was cry. She ended up consoling ME instead of me going in being the comforting pastor’s wife I had planned on being.

I started making plans to visit every day with her, and my heart soared when the family allowed us to keep seeing her. We felt extremely honored and was so thankful for their generosity. I had it all pictured. I was going to show up everyday, laptop in hand, and write a letter in her own words to her husband Mike, each of her three daughters, and each of her grandkids. I wanted them all to hear her wisdom which was great, and her love for them which was vast.

I know about this wisdom and unending love for her family because I made a decision a couple of years ago that afforded me precious time with Elaine. This decision stemmed from being at churches and working in offices and being told no to things I wanted to do because, “If we do it for one, then we have to do it for all.” We’ve all heard that saying and many of us have lived our lives thinking it was true. But when my friend Elaine was diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago, I wanted to help her any way that I could. I found out she was sitting, sometimes for 4-5 hours, in her chemo appointments. I wanted to go to those with her, but I thought as a pastor’s wife if I spend that kind of time with her then others will expect me to do that for them and it could cause conflict. In other words, what I did for one I would have to do for all, and I couldn’t do that. As I was thinking through that saying I felt yucky and knew that idea was flawed. The thought came to my mind of a quote I heard years before from Andy Stanley which went,

“What I want to do for everybody, do for one.”

BOOM! That revelation made so much more sense, and totally obliterated the excuse for non-action I had been taught before. So I set out to do just that. I did for Elaine what I wanted to do for everybody. I started going to as many of those appointments as I could. And if you know me, you know I work constantly because I love my jobs. My mind rarely slows, and my phone is constantly buzzing. Those appointments became a treasured time. My phone would be put away for hours and my focus was totally on my friend Elaine. She would take me around and introduce me to people as though she was proud of me being her friend. She would send me over to other chairs of people she knew were “really suffering” and ask me to pray for them. If someone came in that looked particularly sickly I could always tell when she felt pity for them. But the minute I would try to pity her and what she was going through she would cut me off immediately. There was no time for pity in Elaine’s world. Life was too short and she was “just fine”. I can still hear her voice saying, “Just fine!”

We spent those hours talking about everything from our love of 70’s rock, to her level of Candy Crush she was on. I heard about her touring all over the world with a singing group she was in earlier, and we would end up on deep theological debates. I would usually have to act out some crazy event that had just happened to me, and more than once we got in trouble from the nurses for being too loud. We laughed a lot together.

These appointments quickly turned into not me helping her, but her helping me through the problem of the day, her helping me slow down long enough to just enjoy a few hours of talking face to face with a friend, her listening to me ramble on and on about my life, my family, my work, my travels. Elaine had that effect on people. Even though there wasn’t that much difference in our ages (she called me a young pup! haha) she just had that calming quality that seemed older, wiser, more graceful, and far more in control of things than I have ever been. I was drawn to that demeanor, that friendship, that sisterhood.

Elaine was a trusted, loyal, friend that is walking with Jesus and has been for 3 days now. I keep hearing her voice in my head remembering things she told me that actually was helping me prepare for this day, this time, of not having her anymore. Things like, “Remember now, I want a celebration when its my time. I’m going HOME!”

So yeah…I thought I had a lot more time with her and would get to live out my plan…but God knew better. I will forever be grateful I spent this time with her instead of succumbing to the old adage. My advice to you reading this blog is not to ever rob yourself because you believe what you do for one you might have to do for all. Maybe your actions won’t be fair to everyone, but life isn’t fair. Take the time to do for ONE what you want to do for ALL and you just may find your own Elaine.

I am a better person for having known her.

(The featured image on this blog is a picture of Elaine I took in January of this year. This moment was in the middle of a women’s conference I was hosting and I was sitting at the head table with all the speakers, worship leader, etc. This table was reserved for the people who were “important” to have easy access to the stage. I couldn’t think of anyone more important than her right then so I asked her to sit with me at that table. She just giggled and said, “ok!” and enjoyed her bird’s eye view. I was overwhelmed with how much I enjoyed her friendship and getting to see the conference unfold through her eyes, so I snapped this picture.)

The Answer to Ending Abortion

Ernest Hemingway once said writing was nothing more than opening up a vein and bleeding on the page. Well that’s what I’m about to do.

Everyone has been posting the Planned Parenthood (PP) video showing the abortionist, over wine and salad………talking about how she moves the baby around in a mother’s womb as to not crush body parts she will later sell for profit. She discusses the demands for liver, (unborn babies livers) as cavalierly as my friends and I discuss nail polish. She tosses around facts about how she and her colleagues will turn the baby into breech position and crush the body parts to remove him or her from the womb but yet still keep the head intact. And I have to admit, I don’t even have words to form an opinion. On Tuesday when this video came out I started getting inbox messages, texts, people putting the video on my facebook wall, phone calls, etc wanting to know if I had watched the video. I saw the headline on it and I avoided it for the first few hours and then curiosity got the best of me. I felt I owed it to myself, the babies and the mothers to watch it. We cannot turn a blind eye to this. Yes, it feels better to keep our head in the sand and stay focused on our busy lives, our social media, our appointments, but at the same time like a black cloud following us, at some point we have to realize something is horribly wrong here.

How long can we ignore it?

How long can we look the other way and think voting for a pro-life candidate every 4 years fulfills our obligation to God to care for “the least of these”?

How long do we think God is going to hold back His wrath from our country, and our church, when this is happening on our watch?

How long are we going to continue to spin our wheels with politics when politics has done nothing but give us over a million dead babies every year for 40 plus years.

How long?

We don’t have the political clout we thought we did anyway, look at the recent SCOTUS decision on marriage equality to learn that!

Those of us who work in the area of life issues are not surprised by this video. Yes, we’re disgusted, we’ve cried, we’ve prayed, it’s gotten our attention. But we’re talking about the largest abortion provider in our country. PP makes a living from killing unborn babies for profit. Do you realize what I’m saying here? THEY MAKE A LIVING, MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, OFF THE KILLING OF UNBORN BABIES! So while this is happening at the rate of thousands per day in our country, why are we so surprised they would take it a step further and profit doubly off these children’s remains?

There is really nothing, not one thing I am saying that is making me feel better. I really can’t even put into words the disdain, the disgust, the heart full of hurt I feel for my country, for families, for children, for my future grandchildren, that we have allowed this to happen on our watch. ON OUR WATCH! God placed us,, us, here for this time for this purpose. He has us here to make a difference, to change the world for the better, to tell people of His love, how HE can transform lives, break addictions, restore marriages, take care of unplanned pregnancies. What are we doing with this vapor of a life? How have we slipped so far from the moral compass that we are justifying the selling of killed, unborn babies body parts? Read that last sentence again. How? Why? I’m just at a real loss here.

The church is the only entity in mankind that has withstood the test of time for thousands of years. If Jesus doesn’t come back soon, it will be the only entity still standing strong thousands of years from now. The church, the local church, yes YOUR CHURCH that may only have 15 people in it. It’s time for the church to arise and stop treating symptoms and get to the root of the problem; the devalue of life. Why do we think pornography has gotten out of hand? Because we devalued life. Why do we think human trafficking is now a booming business? Because we devalued life. Why do we think murders and suicide rates are at an all time high? Because we devalued life. I could keep going. You get the picture. When we bring value back to life; and we declare everyone worthy of love and life whether they are born or unborn, then we will be getting somewhere. The church is where this starts.

Abortion recovery is the key to ending abortion in our country and around our world. We have millions of wounded mothers and fathers walking around thinking the church, God, will never accept them back after their horrific act. Or even worse, they’re sitting on our church pews every week with this secret believing they can’t tell anyone at their church for fear of judgment. When a mother or father who have chosen abortion come back to the One place they can be restored, God’s Word, then first of all they more than likely never choose abortion again. BOOM! The cycle of death is stopped in that family. Secondly, when a person is let out of a prison like abortion puts you in, they can’t be quiet about it. They become a walking billboard telling others of the greatness of our God. Again, not only has a person become restored to their Creator, but then they become a spokesperson for truth, keeping others from choosing abortion. The more voices we have who know the truth, the sooner this thing is going to end. And don’t tell me this is a pipe dream. Sit in my office with me for just one day and hear the stories, see the tears, watch as marriages are put back together, and families heal all because one mother or father took the necessary steps toward healing after abortion.

So, as Hemingway suggested I have opened a vein here and have bled on the page. I am literally nauseated at some of the things I have written here. But as pastors, as pastor’s wives, as Christ followers, as leaders in our communities, we cannot be silent about this issue. We cannot keep doing what we’ve been doing and think things are going to change. We just can’t.

Please contact our office, share this blog, comment below. You never know who in your circle of influence wants to join us as well, or needs help after abortion. Let us know how we can contact you. I’m not looking to get your money, I’m not trying to sell you anything. I’m trying to get you to join me in ending abortion in your community. Period.