Monday, January 27, 2014

Total Surrender

     Around five years ago, one of my best friends shared with me this beautiful ancient Chinese parable. It has always been a favorite of mine, because it describes so simply and profoundly what it truly means to let go and let God lead and use us to fulfill our purpose in life. It hurts to surrender our wants and wishes and conform them to what God wants from us. It takes humility and trust. Sometimes it means letting go of people and things we hold dear... But if we continue to love our Master and trust in His love and plans for us, in the end there is a masterpiece more beautiful than we can imagine... This is what it means to surrender oneself to Christ...

   Once upon a time, there was a beautiful garden. There in the cool of the day the Master of the garden would walk. Of all the denizens of the garden, the most beloved was a gracious and noble Bamboo.  Year after year, Bamboo grew yet more noble and gracious, conscious of his Master's love and watchful delight, but he was alsways modest and gentle. 

    Often, when Wind came to revel in the garden, Bamboo would cast aside his grave stateliness, to dance and play merrily, tossing and swaying and leaping and bowing in joyous abandon, leading the garden in the Great Dance which most delighted the Master's heart. 

    Now one day, the Master drew near to contemplate his Bamboo with eyes of curious expectancy. Bamboo, in a passion of adoration, bowed his great head to the ground in loving greeting. The Master spoke:

    "Bamboo, I wish to use you."

   Bamboo flung his head to the sky in utter delight. The day had come, the day for which he had been made, the day to which he had been growing hour by hour, the day in which he would find his completion and his destiny. His voice became low. 

"Master, I am ready. Use me as you will."
      "Bamboo," the Master's voice was grave, "I will have to take you and cut you down."

     A trembling of a great horror shook Bamboo.

"Cut me down? Me, whom you have made the most beautiful in all your Garden? 
Cut me down? 
Oh, not that! Use me for your joy, Master, but please do not cut me down." 
"Beloved Bamboo," the Master's voice gew even more grave, "If I do not cut you down, I cannot use you." 

    The Garden grew still. Wind held his breath. Bamboo slowly bent his proud and glorious head, and he whispered, 

"Master, if you can't use me unless you cut me down, then do your will and cut." 
"Bamboo, beloved Bamboo, I will have to cut your leaves and branches from you also."
"Master, spare me. Cut me down and lay my beauty in the dust, but would you also take from me my leaves and branches? 

      "If I do not cut them away, I cannot use you." 
 The Sun hid his face, A listening butterfly glided fearfully away. Bamboo shivered in terrible expectancy, whispering low, 
"Master, cut away."
"I will also have to cleave you in two and cut out your heat, for if I do not cut so, I cannot use you." 
Bamboo bowed to the ground in sorrow.

"Master," he whispered, 'then cut and cleave." 
    So the Master of the garden took Bamboo and cut him down and hacked off his branches and stripped him of his leaves and clove him in two and cut out his heart, and, lifting him gently, carried him to where there was a spring of fresh, sprakling water in the midst of his dry field, the Master laid down gently his beloved Bamboo. The spring sang welcome, and the clear, sparkling waters raced joyously down the channel of Bamboo's torn body into the waiting fields. 

    Then the rice was planted, and the days went by, and the shoots grew, and the harvest came. In that day Bamboo, once so glorious in his stately beauty, was yet more glorious in his brokenness and humility. For in his beauty he was life abundant, but in his brokenness he became a channel of abundant life to his Master's world. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Missing From The Picture Frames by Bluebird

                                                                                               Photo Credit: Iris Hanlin "Country Girl's Daybook"  Click Here        

Over 50,000,000 missing lives
Will never be,
Don't you see?
No mind will ever comprehend
All the missing futures, 
Of lives that truly had an aim, 
The world will never be the same.
Millions of unknown faces and names,
Missing from the picture frames.
Now empty of the lives
That should have been.
Abortion does not destroy just one,
Not even two.
The hurt spreads on from me to you.
And continues through eternity,
Stealing all tranquility,
From a world now reaping what it has sown.
With eyes half open it perceives,
A past, present, and a future,
In innocent blood it is

      Abortion has killed roughly 57 million innocent children in the United States alone since 1973 in the passing of Roe v. Wade. 
57 million. 

     Last year, as the time for the March was drawing nearer, I sat down at my desk to ponder the reality of abortion. Letting the sin of this bloodshed truly sink in not only boggled my mind, but physically hurt my heart. I began to imagine each life that was taken... 
Who was that baby? 
What purpose did God have for him or her? 
What could have she done? 
Whom would he have loved? 

     All of the missing lives that were supposed to touch ours, in a way we will never know, are gone. Of all the people you have seen in different picture frames, that contained pictures of families, or group shots of friends or sport teams, who might be missing from those picture frames due to abortion? Abortion does not just destroy the life inside the mother's womb, it destroys the life of the mother, father, entire families, you, me, everyone. In doing so, our peace between one another is stolen. 
Our Nation, and our world, is
in the blood of the innocent.

     There are nine days left until the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the annual March For Life in Washington D.C. This will be my third year attending, and first time going on a red-eye bus. Once again, I will join hundreds of thousands of others to be a voice for the millions of voiceless human beings. As we march we will pray that there will be no 42nd March. My heart is becoming more and more on fire! I hope my thoughts and the following interview will provide food for thought and set the hearts of others on fire for this cause as well. 

      A dear friend of mine, Iris Hanlin, kindly agreed to be interviewed for this post.  Some of you may know her from Country Girl's Daybook. I highly encourage you to take a minute to look at her inspiring blog. Iris has been a fellow marcher in the March For Life for seven years, and this will be her eighth year. I am very blessed to say I have marched with her two times before.
      Iris is a fellow Abortion Survivor and a very passionate Pro-Life Activist. Below is the following interview I had with her. 

(Emphasis added by Iris)
Which was your favorite year and why? In what way were you especially touched because of that year?
     I'd have to say my favorite year was last year (2013).  I drove up with one of my best friend, Emily, and we stayed in town a few extra days.  That year, I noticed in a special way just how many of the marchers were young people, genuinely on fire for the pro-life cause.  The pro-life community often times has an image of being retired older folks who have nothing better to do, but no.  That couldn't be farther from the truth.

What does the March For Life mean to you? Why do you believe it is important?
       It’s the voice of the people of America, speaking up for something they believe in,  “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are inalienable rights for all human beings, born and unborn.  It’s the people of America speaking in a strong but peaceful voice for the most vulnerable in our society on whom is laid the gravest injustice.  The March is SO important.  It’s one of the largest, most consistent, most peaceful organized protests of history, and fittingly so, because the thing it’s trying to end is one of the largest, most consistent, most violent organized attacks in history, and it goes against those who cannot protest it for themselves.  So, we do it for them.  And we'll continue do it for them until that attack is ended.

Why are you pro-life? 
I am pro-life for many reasons, but one of them is that I was born to a very young, very na├»ve, single girl, after 1973 (when abortion was made legal).  She had every “right” to have an abortion, and I had every chance of being aborted, but she chose life over death, adoption over abortion, and that is why I'm here today.  Women deserve better than abortion.  Children and families deserve better than abortion, and the babies who are killed deserve to be remembered.

What would you like to say to our pro-life generation if you could say anything?
To those who aren't yet involved: Those babies need your voice.  They don't have one yet, and they can’t say anything to protect themselves from this heartless slaughter.  YOU have to do it for them.
To those who are: Don't give up.  Don't ever give up.  The “fruits of your labors” may not be apparent just yet, but you never know how many hearts you touch by your witness.  You just don't know.


      Around the country so many individual people in the Pro-Life Movement are hard at work to end abortion every day. Through personal prayer, praying together outside of abortion clinics, volunteering at pregnancy crisis centers, side-walk counseling, attending Pro-Life conferences and events, donating, and standing firm in the fight against the injustice of Abortion in a blinded and confused world, we are making progress. Last year between 500,000 and 650,000 marched together in the streets of D.C. In nine short days, we will march together again. We must keep fighting the good fight and keep the faith. 

                                                                                                                                          ( March For Life 2013)

  Let us never forget that life is beautiful. Every life is beautiful, no matter what. We are all called to protect the least of our brethren.

"When the time comes, as it surely will, when we face that awesome moment, the final judgment, I've often thought, as Fulton Sheen wrote, that it is a terrible moment of loneliness. You have no advocates, you are there alone standing before God -- and a terror will rip your soul like nothing you can imagine. But I really think that those in the pro-life movement will not be alone. I think there'll be a chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world -- and they will plead for everyone who has been in this movement. They will say to God, 'Spare him, because he loved us!"
- Congressman Henry Hyde

Con amore in Cristo,