Monthly Archives: January 2011

A Moment of Insight

Putting together some pieces
The news was spreading, the grace was multiplying, and my faith was increasing, yet there was still a rather glaring question as I continued to think through my whole relationship: how did it ever go as far as it did?

Providentially, on one particular Sunday, as I wrestled with the new concept of morning sickness, I turned on Moody Radio in time to hear Dr. Lutzer talking about sexual sin. His words left me feeling like I’d had the wind knocked out of me. He defined illicit “soul-ties” and their consequences. He then moved to discuss the outcome of these “soul-ties:” primarily a guilt, shame, and anger cycle and its devastating effect.

“Finally, there is guilt – the restless conscience that leads to anger and depression. Now many involved in an alien bond might not feel guilty at first. Because they have been starving for a meaningful relationship, their initial experience of intimacy can be so euphoric that they feel no remorse, no guilt, no regrets. But just like poison might initially quench one’s thirst, eventually the guilt and shame will be on it’s way…

“Shame destroys the soul by cutting it off from the graces that are needed for healing and restoration.”

Finally, he spoke about how to stop the cycle …

“How is one restored? First, by cleansing the conscience through the forgiveness of Christ.

“Second, we have to recognize the soul-tie for what is is: a demonic ploy to keep us bound, to keep us paying our dues to past relationships and past sins. We should know that we do not have to do that; we do not have to be held hostage to the past.

“Third, we have to break off those relationships that keep us bound; those relationships that keep us going back to the people and things that have us bound. For some, the thought for being free from a controlling personality, who may also be taking care of us, is more than we can handle.

“Fourth, you cannot do this alone. Why? Because the only way to break polluted soul-ties is to develop healthy ties through friendship with people and with God. We are to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, with all our soul…this means that we will have to break the power of seductive spirits; we will have to fight for our right to freedom from the influence of those who would destroy and defile our souls.”

[These are longer passages, but I found them so insightful that I decided to put them up in their entirety. They are part of the third chapter (“Breaking Soul-Ties”) in a seven-part series, “Restoring the Soul,” by Dr. Erwin Lutzer, teaching pastor at The Moody Church]

Accountability! It was like a light bulb! Despite my head-knowledge of being in a bad relationship, and my heart-feeling that it was wrong, I was too ashamed to say that I had fooled around, or that I wasn’t a virgin anymore and so I kept silent and continued in a half-life.

Final thought for today
I am now convinced beyond a doubt that we rob the church, our friends, and our family of an integral function when they are not allowed to uphold us in prayer and hold us to the higher calling that we profess.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” –James 5:16

The Dual Road

Coming back after an almost two-month hiatus. If you’ve missed my previous posts, you can read them here:

Chapter I
Prologue: It Confounds Logic
A Moment of Truth
Is There Another Way?

Breaking the news
In the weeks that followed my discovery of pregnancy, the news began to unfold – First to my parents, then my siblings. From there, it would go to my pastor, our church elders, and finally to friends and those who I wanted to hear this news from my own lips.

These were months of walking a dual road, one of pain and sadness in recognizing my sin and dealing with the outcome of it, and the other of precious joy and growth in the restoration of my heart to the Lord and the awakening of my soul to the Word.

To say that telling those around me was excruciating would be an understatement. I could not have imagined the crumbling faces, countenances frozen in shock, horror, even revulsion … and then have it happen over and over again.

But as I was emotionally drained in each discussion, so also was I being filled and renewed as I was drawn to the Word. [the italicized verse interspersed here are taken from Psalm 32 and Psalm 51 – two especially meaningful chapters to me]

God prepared my parents to live out what is one of the few nightmares a parent has regarding their offspring, and to love and guide me through the entire process.

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

I remember sitting in my pastor’s office – the pastor, his wife, and my parents. They were new to our church that year, and I barely knew them. And yet, words of insightful counsel and great wisdom flowed. One of my sweetest memories from this season came from that afternoon. Ending our time with prayer, the pastor’s wife, a woman I knew only by reputation at that time, prayed through tears for the life of the baby. She was the first one to pray for my child. How I love this woman.

I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.

Another moment that stands out in my mind from this period is a time with the church elders. I should note that this time was scheduled not in a spirit of judgment, but rather with the desire to counsel, assist, and plan. Throughout my pregnancy, my reputation and my growing faith and testimony were protected by these faithful men.

You [God] are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance.

So many phone calls and meeting with friends – even now they blur together. Listening to others weep, hearing condemnation and accusation as well as the blessings of grace, forgiveness, and love. I remember standing in a close friend’s kitchen and getting the sentence out. She rushed over to where I was sitting and, kneeling on the floor, grabbed me and hugged me. When she leaned back, I could see that she had tears in her eyes, but her words were words of love.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!

(to be continued on Wednesday)

A Festive Holiday Tale (Or, Of Magic Trains and Nazgul)

There are moments in life when I have a slight out-of-body experience.  My brain floats above my body in a bubble and points and laughs maniacally. 

These are usually the times when I’m yelling bizarre parental instructions such as “No! We don’t put carrots up our noses!” or “Don’t hit your brother over the head with a potato masher!”. 

This also happens occasionally when our situation is so way out crazy that there isn’t anything else to do BUT laugh at ourselves … such as our Thursday of last week.

Our intention was to take the Metra downtown to the ChristKindlMarket.  Technically, we completed our intended goal – but oh, how different it looked. 

We made the afternoon train at a run [Sidenote: running while holding a 4 year old and pushing a double stroller = quite the sight to see] and sat down to enjoy the ride.  This being the boys’ first train ride, the anticipation was epic.  Also, the almost daily watching of “The Polar Express” through the month of December led them to believe that trains are synonymous with heaven.  However, there were a few marked differences … Chicago is nothing like the North Pole [I will maturely side-step references to a production-oriented city with minions who do the bidding of “The Big Man”]  The train car smelled like feet, beer, and exhaust, not like hot chocolate.  Our ex-con look-alike conductor was decidedly NOT Tom Hanks, and there were no golden tickets on which letters and destiny-laden words were punched .. oh well…

Those few disappointments aside … we moved forward with our family fun.

Train ride … check.

Walk through downtown Chicago … check.  [stories of the massive search for Daley Plaza omitted]

Christkindlmarket … check.

And at that point … [sound of wheels falling off the wagon]

Chase decided that he had had enough of the cold and staged a one man sit-in by refusing his bottle, his snack, and also screaming at the top of his lungs.

Gearing up for his rebellion...

Aidan, not to be outdone by a younger (ie: supposedly less intelligent, strong, and decisive) sibling decided to join in the wailing; his goal was only to stay louder and and cry longer than Chase.

At this point, I should mention, the boys have lungs.  Big ones.  Mac truck sized organs loaded into their chest cavities … really.  Having trouble picturing this?  Chase asking for his dinner is a little like listening to the nazgul in the LOTR trilogy.

With the boys screaming beyond placation, threatening, holding, or just about anything else we could think of, we decided to vacate the city.

Leaving Darcy [who was wonderful and good and NOT screaming] with her grandmother and aunt who planned to continue exploring the city, Bob and I [briefly encouraged in the improvement of one-on-one odds with the nazgul … ah, I mean, boys] started out at a brisk walk/run for the station.

A parental trick [as old as the hills] to stop crying is to keep a sobbing baby moving [in a car, on a train, in a stroller … is this sounding like “Green Eggs and Ham” to anyone else?].  While Bob and I are highly aware of this trick and utilize at all possible junctures, our boys never got the memo.  In fact, were totally unaware of their expected response.

Hence, despite a briskly moving stroller, the boys cried … louder

They cried solidly from Daley Plaza all the way back to Union Station.  [Note: this distance was not enhanced for blogging purposes … I will say though, that it was definitely a four-hour walk and it was uphill the whole way.]  This was the out-of-body experience I referenced at the beginning of this post.  What on earth do you do when you’re waiting to cross State Street and every young professional in the crowd is turning up their iPod and glaring at you while mentally giving you the “Worst Parents Ever” award? 

The tears finally stopped in the station [the boys stopped crying too] … but the respite was short lived and happiness on the train was only maintained by Chase and Aidan repeatedly tackling each other on the train seat … the whole way back home [thank the Lord for express trains!].

Breathing incredible sighs of relief and vowing not to take the boys out for at least the next ten years, we finally got them home, at which point we were kindly greeted by a new neighbor who patted me on the shoulder and said “Oh Honey, don’t worry! I had twins too, and it’ll get better!”

 That’s it.  I’m done.

Good Night.