Friday, February 24, 2017

Trying To Help the Heron Mothers (and other moms) With a Spiritual Lesson

Again, NOT A SOUL out on the river but me. I don't get it. Gorgeous day, sunny and warm, and the river was empty. Along the river, the herons were lined up in their nests, claiming their territory. Some sat in very large and lavish nests. Others sat in  nests that only contained a few measly twigs.


Maybe you can tell  the heron's nest on the left is huge. That heron will easily have room for a baby heron. The heron's nest on the right would not hold a squirrel, let alone a nesting heron and her baby.
So I gazed at the nests wondering why the heron on the right was just sitting there. Why was she not gathering sticks and building her nest????

And if we want to really examine some sociological truths...why wasn't the heron on the left (who clearly had more than enough nest than she needed) offering to help poor paltry-nested heron on the right?

I am reminded of two verses. First,

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.1 Timothy 6: 17-19
In other words, if we are blessed with the resources to have a HUGE nest, God who gave us every resource expects us to share.

On the other hand, God also doesn't want us to sit around waiting for our generous neighbor to hand us her nest. Look at this verse:

The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor. Proverbs 21:25

I was up at 5 a.m. yesterday, as I am most days. I  pledged to write a chapter a day in my book-in-progress so my dad can read a new chapter each day to my mom while she is recuperating from her broken hip and arm. Consequently, I have been rising early and immediately working on my book. I write a few hours before the sun is above the tree tops. I am astounded by how quickly my new book is developing. In fact, I may well finish the last chapter today. (So if you haven't read the first two books in the Unlikely Friends series, you better start now. Book Three will be out soon.)

Anyway, I had already worked several hours before I even ate lunch, which gave me guiltless time to race out to the river and kayak. That is how I found myself contemplating the plight of the herons.
"Herons," I told them, "I wake up every day, and the first thing I do is work a little bit on my book since I promised my mom I would send her a chapter a day. And here I am, and in no time at all, my book is almost DONE. Take my advice, you heron on the right with the paltry nest. Don't just sit there thinking you have two months till nesting season so you can just sit on your few twigs and take it easy. If you do a little each day, that nest will grow and you will be ready."

The heron ignored me.

"And you," I said to the heron on the left, "All smug and proud because your nest is far more than you need while all your sister herons around you sit on skeleton nests. If you would lift a finger to help them since you have the time, all of you would develop a thriving heron colony together!"

That heron also ignored me.

Oh well. I did my part. The rest is up to God.

*****************

Along the lines of the principles I outlined to the herons, I work with a wonderful mom who chose life over abortion. She is striving bravely to make the life for her children better and has a great job, and wonderful goals. However, she just lost her car through a fault not her own. If you have a car in working order that you really don't need, please contact me at vickychooseslife@yahoo.com  .
You could truly change the outcome for this little struggling family.

****************
If you want to join me in helping moms choose life on the sidewalks of busy abortion centers. now is your chance! Saturday, 10-1 will be our Cities4Life frontline training session and yours truly will be one of the leaders! Click HERE for details.
****************

And BTW, struggles are an integral part of life. My latest book about facing adversity with an attitude empowered by God is a great read for anyone enduring trials. Purchase HERE.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

I Am My Sister's Keeper....

My sister Wendy got a bunch of air vouchers after several bumped flights recently. Guess what she is going to do with them? She is flying me to Seattle to go cross country skiing with her! I cross-country ski about once a year, when Charlotte gets its annual 3" snowfall. I ski on the unplowed streets to the golf course which is full of wonderful hills and lovely wide open areas. It is a little different than skiing in the Pacific Northwest wilderness, but beggars can't be choosy.

The photo above is from several years ago when I brought my daughter Asherel to Seattle to meet up with Wendy and teach Asherel how to cross-country ski.  We had a wonderful time. At one point, we were skiing alongside fresh cougar tracks. Gulp.

Wendy loves to travel and could have done all kinds of great things with the travel voucher. I am immensely touched that she called and told me she wanted to use it to bring me out to Seattle to ski. It has not been the easiest past year -- first breast cancer, and then a month of huddling in frozen NY to help my Mom recover from a broken hip and elbow. Wendy has been very kind throughout, checking on me, and sending notes and little gifts of encouragement.

So I want to publicly apologize for scratching her with my long fingernails when we were kids. She deserved it at the time, but she has made up for it.

And to all you siblings out there. Love your brothers and sisters. Stay in touch. Contact them often. Tell them you love them. If your family doesn't have your back, who will? Your family is a gift from God. Get over your petty squabbles. God put you where He put you for a purpose, and I bet it isn't to scratch them with long fingernails.

Love you, Wendy!

***************

1 Timothy 5:8 

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Not Exactly How I Thought I'd Spend My Golden Years


In preparing for this weekend's Cities4Life Front Line training session, I reviewed the stories and pictures of some of the moms I work with who have chosen life over abortion.  Looking back over the past year of babies who'd been slated for death that instead, I was privileged to cuddle in my arms filled me with joy. I would never have anticipated that I would be spending my 'golden years' on the sidewalks of an abortion center... and loving it.

Don't get me wrong. I HATE abortion, and the entire fallacy of the "pro-choice" movement. But I love seeing lives transform before my eyes as God grips womens' hearts and they not only choose to let their sweet baby live, but they choose God. To play any part in this miracle is an incredible blessing.



God's ways are completely unexpected nearly all the time. It never fails that when sorrow threatens to engulf me, I get a text from a mama telling me how blessed she is to have met us on the sidewalks and to have changed her mind about her unborn child.

Yesterday, I got a text with a couple of adorable pictures from one of the mamas I work with, and she thanked us for all the clothes she'd received at the baby shower thrown by Cities4Life.

"All I've had to worry about are diapers and wipes. Thank you for all those clothes! Just know that you guys change lives."

Wow.

We don't change lives of course...God does. But He uses us if we let Him. What an incredible privilege and delight.

Join us. I will be a co-leader at the training session this Saturday and I hear there will be free donuts. Please register HERE. If you feel like your life is a little aimless, God may be calling!
************
In case you missed it, my new book about facing terrible adversity with a secret weapon is now available HERE. It has one five star review. Will yours (please) be #2?

************

Deuteronomy 28:1-68 

“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. ...

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Divine Encounters -- The Sacred Duty Before God



"You're talking to the wrong person," the 'pro-choice' escort said.
"I never talk to the wrong person," I replied.
I believe every encounter is a divine appointment, especially on the sidewalks of the Southeast's busiest abortion center. In fact, I spent a long time talking with her. It was a civil discussion, and while she said I would never change her mind, she listened as I pointed out the illogical stance of the pro-choice movement. We also discussed common ground. Aging parents. Medical and health struggles. Love of animals.

"I couldn't even step on ants as a child," I told her. "See...I value ALL life."
She, who is an animal lover, paused. She knew the inconsistency I was pointing out as she stood on the sidewalk in support of the legal slaughter of babies in the womb.

Her pro-choice friend came to 'rescue' her then. She wore a pink hat that said, "Stand for women rights; stand for human rights."

I pointed at her cap. "Rights for all women...except the little unborn girl babies? Right? Rights for all humans...except the humans in the womb?"

The pro-choice woman turned away. "If I wanted a conversation with you, I would have initiated it," she snapped.
"Okay," I said.



Three mothers chose life yesterday despite the presence of ten pro-abortion protesters who became so aggressive that we called the police when one jostled one of our team members. The police did not think the protesters stuffing their signs over ours or standing inches from our face was illegal activity, nor did they feel blocking our speakers with foam pads in an attempt to absorb the sound was illegal.  We had legally obtained the sound permit, but the police did not think attempts to block our sound transmission was violating our permission to broadcast.They did suggest our team member could press charges against the woman who jostled her so aggressively.


In the midst of the fracas, I got a text from a mom I work with who chose life over abortion. She sent me the picture of that precious little baby posted at the top of this blog. The sweet little girl was born yesterday morning, and the mama wanted me to see her right away. Cities4Life has helped her quite a bit, and she is very grateful. She said that life the past few weeks had been very difficult, but "I'm in good spirits today. I feel amazing and joyous, and looking at her, I know we'll be ok."

Amen!

While speaking on the mic, I did something I don't often do. I broke down and cried. I don't really know why but sometimes, the horror of a nation that seeks to justify the killing of babies fills me with so much anguish that I cannot contain it. I spent some time speaking with the woman in the picture below. She knew abortion was wrong. She believed in God and knew He would not approve. She took my literature with my name and number, but told me she needed to go to her appointment in the center anyway.


It was really comforting to look at the picture on my phone of the new little baby girl who safely entered the world. Later, the woman I had spoken to at length who knew abortion was wrong left the center and told us she had decided not to abort.

************
Cities4Life will be hosting a training session this Saturday for anyone who would like to know how to spread a culture of life in one of the darkest places in our city - the abortion center. Please click HERE for information and registration.

************
The mama who chose life whose baby is pictured in the blog is in desperate need of a car. If you have one to donate, please contact me at vickychooseslife@yahoo.com . This mama is facing dire circumstances, but willing to follow God despite her struggles.
***********

Proverbs 31:8-9 –

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy."

****************
Adversity is always in abundant supply. My new book on facing it with courage, resilience, and even joy is available HERE. Please download, review, and share!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Christ is a GAME CHANGER


Flip Benham Baptizing Jane Roe (Norma McCorvey)
I snapped the  photo below at the end of my long kayak trip down the Catawba. Those are herons sitting in their nests at the top of the trees across from my launch site. I only photographed one small section. There were at least 7 or 8 nests with herons in them. I asked the Marina manager if there were babies in the nests.



"Oh no, not till April."

So currently the herons are just lined up in their nests contemplating motherhood. They all look so eager!

Today is my volunteer day at the abortion center sidewalk where I will counsel the mamas to choose life over abortion. It is supposed to be a spectacular day, sunny and very warm, mid 70s. A beautiful day, but one that will be forever scarred in their hearts if they follow through with the abortion.

Norma McCorvey who was "Jane Roe" of the landmark abortion case Roe V Wade died last week. The case that legalized abortion was based on a falsehood. Pro-abortion forces lied that Norma had been raped and wanted an abortion but was unable to legally get one. (She had not been raped but it made the pro-abortion case more compelling in their eyes.) The case went to the Supreme Court, and ultimately began the brutal life of legal abortion in America.

Norma was "pro-choice"...but never had an abortion. She came to know Flip Benham who was very active in the pro-life movement, and ultimately, through Flip's love and perseverance, she came to know Christ.

Christ was a GAME CHANGER for Norma, as He is to so many of us.

She renounced abortion rights as anything a civilized people should ever do, and fought the rest of her life to remove the stain of abortion attached to her name.

When she came to Christ, Flip baptized her. The photograph of that moment as Norma came out of the baptism waters is at the top of this blog. What a victorious moment for both of them!

I have the immense privilege of working with Flip on the sidewalks of the abortion center. He always goes on the microphone and preaches a powerful call to the women to abandon the life of sin that imprisons them and come to the only hope we can depend upon: Jesus.

Our Cities4Life team will be ready to offer the mamas a huge assortment of resources and services so that they can more easily face the obstacles that caused them to consider abortion in the first place. Nothing we offer is more important than the truth and peace of Jesus.

I pray every woman there today will experience the incredible conversion of Norma McCorvey. I pray they will line up like the herons I saw on my kayak journey, awaiting and embracing motherhood with joy.
************

2 Corinthians 5:17 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

***************

My new book is out! It is about how facing adversity with Christ is a GAME CHANGER. This book is a great gift for anyone confronting a terrible trial. It will encourage and inspire you. Click HERE to order. (And I would relish your sharing this post, reading, and reviewing the book!)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Diverse Methods by Which God Speaks

It's February, only two weeks from when the groundhog declared we should expect six more weeks of winter. But look! Here I am on the lake kayaking! I am praising God for the beauty of His world and the mild weather in the South. I was discharged this week from Physical Therapy after six months of a terribly painful 'frozen shoulder'. The PT's instructions: "strengthen it now."

There is probably no better strengthening exercise for my shoulder than kayaking. I doubt there is a better strengthening exercise for my spirit either! Not another soul was on the lake. There was no wind, so it was completely silent. It was absolutely the peace and quiet I needed to have a long conversation with God. Several pressing issues are on my heart, and there is no place where I feel His presence more strongly than in the peace and quiet of nature.

Each stroke of the paddle and rhythmical splash of droplets of water cascading back to the lake chanted I am with you, I will never leave you, I will give you rest for your soul.

While kayaking, I kept a close watch on time. I didn't want to stress my shoulder and end up back on the disabled list, so I told myself I would do no more than an hour of paddling even if I still felt wonderful. It was hard to force myself to shore when my hour was up. My arms felt great, and the peace and utter silence save for the dip and splash of the paddles was immensely comforting.

As I pulled my kayak out of the water, a Kingfisher flew right by me. Ironically, there was a plaque right in front of me at the time with a picture and description of a Kingfisher. I paused and thought about that name: king * fisher.  Jesus is my king and He is always fishing for lost souls. I watched the Kingfisher skimming the water's surface, seeking fish.

When I came home, I wrote a few thousand more words on Book #3 of my Unlikely Friends series. This one is flowing out of me, and if I keep this pace up, should be done easily within a month. Usually life intervenes, and my writing gets tabled, but I have a clear plot and am totally enjoying submersing myself in this fictional world.

I have created a bizarre story, but some of the most engaging portions to write are those where the heroine, Leah, grapples with her nascent understanding of God. She asks questions that I realize I don't know the answers to. Then I pause in my writing to do a Bible study and research to find an answer for her. My own understanding of God is enriched by the struggles of my fictional character who is haltingly coming to faith.

I am always amazed at the methods by which God reveals Himself. On a quiet lake in the dips of a kayak paddle. In the musings of a novel's heroine. In a bird searching for fish who hide, attempting to elude him.

How blessed I am to hear His voice in so many wonderful ways!
***************

Job 12:7-10

“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.

On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy **************

God speaks even in the terrible, desperate times of our lives. In fact, it is then that I heard Him most clearly. I wrote a book about my experiences with God through the devastation of cancer. It is a book filled with joy and even laughter. It is brand new, and could use some reviews. I have been told that it is an encouragement to many going through difficult trials. Please find it HERE, share, and review! I would be very grateful.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Love of Christ



As a sidewalk counselor with Cities4Life at the Southeast's busiest abortion center, my team and I endure many struggles. One of the the more aggravating ones is a group of "pro-choice" protesters. They have become particularly aggressive in the past couple of months. They block our legally sanctioned sound system with foam blocks, they follow us with cowbells or whistles drowning out our calls and offers of help to the abortion minded women, or they chant loudly right on our heels to try to distract and confuse us.

One of the most vocal and antagonistic has decided to call it quits. She had been the cause of many police warnings, and even the abortion center had grown weary of her tactics. One of our group members noticed that this woman had started a "Go-fund-me" money raising campaign on Facebook so that she could afford to return home, to a state quite a distance from here.

I was flabbergasted as I saw the donations pour in...from my friends and fellow Christians. Not one of the comments that accompanied the donation was unkind. Each comment was filled with genuine concern and love for this woman who had made our lives on the sidewalk miserable, and had likely  thwarted some conflicted women from choosing life for their babies. Every donor's comment pointed this woman to Jesus, with a little testimony of how much Jesus had changed his or her own life.

As I read the comments, I cried. This is what the love of Jesus looks like. We are commanded to love our enemies, and by so doing "heap hot coals on their head." I believe that verse means that the conviction of God becomes a burning mass in the heart and soul of the enemy such that he can no longer ignore the reality, the truth of God. This is how you change the culture. Not with hate. Not with violence. Not with threats. You change it with the love of Christ.

I could not donate much, given our extreme financial struggle with cancer and recent events in my life, but I felt I had to donate some. This woman has done untold damage to countless abortion-minded women and their babies...but she still has a soul that is loved by God and that He longs to reclaim. God is love, and I am made in His image.
************

Luke 6:27 

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

************
My new book about dealing with adversity with joy and even laughter (possible ONLY with Christ) is now available in print and e-book HERE. One woman battling cancer told me it totally changed her perspective as she faced devastating news. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!