unPlanned

Two days ago I had the pleasure of an unplanned visit with the gaffer for the newly released movie, Unplanned. (John is my son Dan’s brother-in-law.) Have you seen it?

It’s the gripping true story of the experience of Abby Johnson, who personally had two abortions and then became an activist for Planned Parenthood . . . until she actually witnessed an abortion. Until. What about you? Do you have any opinion about whether or not abortion is a reasonably good option for ending an unwanted pregnancy? If you think abortion might be the best and easiest option, please PLEASE watch Unplanned.

It’s rated R, probably for blood visuals related to some abortion problems, but I think it is valuable for anyone who is exposed to sexual contact . . . or for sure by high school age. Does it make sense that any girl—who is under 18 can have sex, get pregnant, and have an abortion without parental consent—should be restricted from seeing a movie that discusses the issues surrounding abortion? I’d say “NO!”

I grew up in a liberal home and didn’t blink an eye at over the issue. I figured that if anybody ever raped me, I’d have an abortion. However, my husband, Alan (who was usually more liberal than I was on “political issues”), said he thought it was wrong and that if I was ever raped and impregnated, he would prefer that I kept the baby rather than getting an abortion. I was totally shocked, but it also made me rethink my position. During medical school, as part of his training, Alan observed an abortion. His response was similar to that of Abby Johnson’s. He was horrified and sickened. He never wanted to be witness to an abortion again, and he felt that he had watched the undeniable killing of a helpless infant that resisted with all its tiny being having its life snuffed out.

After Alan began practice, he discovered that he had patients who even into their eighties were still haunted by their experience of having aborted a baby early in life. The regret and shame seemed never ending. He has been a strong proponent for being pro-life ever since, and so am I.

But, what about the millions of women who have aborted babies? Is there no relief for them from having an aching heart and a bad conscience?

Yes! There is no sin outside the grace of God, nor are any of us without sin, we just sin in different ways. In fact, the Bible is clear that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). That’s why Jesus died: to provide a way to be forgiven for our sins: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:16-17, ESV).

If you have had an abortion, are considering having an abortion, or know someone who is struggling with abortion issues, please consider watching Unplanned. It will make you sad, but it also offers hope and healing! God is here, and He loves us!

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV). “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand” (Proverbs 19:21 ESV).

Chicago Baby

“We’ve left our house in Spokane and are moving to a department (apartment) in Chicago,”  Amélie confided soberly. Moving is NO FUN! I was just Amélie’s age (5) when our family moved from Indiana to Michigan, and I was heart broken, particularly because I wasn’t sure how I’d find my way back home so I could marry my boyfriend (also 5) when we grew up. It was the summer of 1956, and “Que Sera, Sera” was playing on radios everywhere! “Whatever will be will be.”  Somehow, I found the words comforting and remember singing them to myself as I explored our new home in East Lansing. Little people feel things with every bit as much passion as adults! In an effort to soothe the kids, Jon gave us all a little slide show of their home and friends from Spokane, and I think it might have helped Amélie in her efforts to process everything, but poor little Sophie (3) burst into gales of inconsolable tears. Jon and Linda have been doing everything they can to ease the way, but there’s no doubt about it: Moving is tremendously unsettling! Yes, it’s fun to spend some time with Nana and Grandpa, and yes, it will be fun to spend some time in Germany and visit with Gerlinde’s family, but leaving all their friends and moving from their lovely home out west into Chicago—one of America’s biggest (and scariest) cities—is paramount to panic!  Are you facing a move? I think it’s good to get in touch with our feelings during transitions, but I also think it’s important to track our thoughts. We shouldn’t just listen to ourselves, we should talk to ourselves too…speaking truths into our lives to give us courage, such as Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”  God loves us. He is doing a good work in us to make us more like Himself! Rather than being fearful about the future, let’s ask God for the grace to claim Isaiah 26:3,  “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”  P.S.—I am so thankful for my courageous daughter-in-law, who is a beautiful example of Sarah from the Bible (and her mother Sarah, who left her homeland and followed her husband to the mission field in Tanzania). “Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement” (I Peter 3:6).

“When I was just a little girl
I asked my mother
What will I be
Will I be pretty
Will I be rich
Here’s what she said to me

“Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que sera, sera
What will be, will be

“When I grew up and fell in love
I asked my sweetheart
What lies ahead
Will we have rainbows
Day after day
Here’s what my sweetheart said

“Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que sera, sera
What will be, will be

“Now I have children of my own
They ask their mother
What will I be
Will I be handsome
Will I be rich
I tell them tenderly

“Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que sera, sera
What will be, will be
Que Sera, Sera.” (—Composed by Jay Livingston)

Inspirational Studies on Aging to Encourage Both Old and Young

12..15.14 Aging IssuesJoel arrived home from Boston over the weekend bearing a Wall St. Journal article entitled “Why Everything You Know About Aging is Probably Wrong.” Now, I grew up in a home where the WSJ (Wall St. Journal) arrived punctually around 6 am every morning, and I live in a home where the WSJ has been arriving punctually around 6 am every morning, but Alan and I have never had a son hand carry an article from the WSJ home to us, so I definitely took note that this was going to be something special! The article quoted study after study to debunk many of the miserable myths enshrouding the path towards old age. If you want all the facts and figures, I recommend tracking down a copy of the Dec. 1, 2014 WSJ’s “Encore” section, but the skinny is this: In all areas of expected decline (including memory, sexual activity, financial security, social satisfaction, etc.), the 65+ set reported experiencing less serious problems than anticipated …and frankly, a lot more positivity toward life than anticipated too!

Of course, it may be argued that healthy people were the ones responding to the survey, but I found the results of the various studies totally encouraging for the general population of us Baby Boomers who are speeding into retirement age! Excluding residents of old folk homes, here are six “myths” that have proven to be untrue among the majority of senior citizens:
*Depression is more prevalent: Studies show that our sense of emotional well-being actually improves with age up until the 70s. “Contrary to the popular view that youth is the best time of life, the peak of emotional life may not occur until well into the seventh decade” (Prof.  Laura Carstensen, director of Stanford University’s Center on Longevity).
*Cognitive Decline is Inevitable: Wisdom can compensate for the loss of specific memory. The average age for those in the top 20% of the work force rated as best able to make wise decisions is 65! (Whew…I’m 64, so might still have a chance…) How to keep your mind sharp? Think positive and learn new skills. “Novelty combined with mental challenge is very important…Get out of your comfort zone” (Prof. Denise Park, director of the Dallas Lifespan Brain Study).
*Older Workers are Less Productive: Wrong again, in “the vast majority of academic studies.” In fact, research indicates that the 55+ set have a performance edge and are more able to avoid serious errors.
*Older People are More Lonely: Until about age 50, people tend to add to their social circles, and although those circles seem to contract somewhat after that age, people report having more intimacy in their relationships, less conflict, and less loneliness! So, if you’re feeling lonely as a young person, be encouraged!!
*Creativity Declines with Age: Midlife is the true epicenter of creative productivity for the population as a whole, but there are two other cluster times for creative genius: Conceptual artists peak in their 20s and 30s, but experimental artists, who rely on wisdom and experience, take decades more to perfect their style…Mark Twain, Paul Cezanne, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Robert Frost to name just a few. (No time off for old behavior! Let’s keep practicing to make perfect.)
*More Exercise is Better: Exercise is absolutely key to good health, but moderation is key to maintaining good health. Overuse can cause stress injuries. Studies show that 1-2.5 hours of challenging aerobic exercise per week with two days off seems to be ideal, and not more than 50-60 minutes on any one day with “at least one day off each week.” (The Lord’s been saying this for eons! 🙂 )

Beyond debunking those specific myths, the article quoted Gallup-Heathways Well-Being Index telephone survey of over 85,000 Americans this year, which revealed that the majority of people felt like their lives had turned out better than they’d expected, and the 65+ set topped the charts in each of these areas: Feeling like their lives have (1) purpose, (2) love and support, (3) appropriate financial management, (4) enough physical health to enjoy normal daily life, and (5) a pleasant and safe living community.

So, if you’re young, be encouraged. It looks like things will just keep improving for many decades to come. If you’re a Baby Boomer, take heart. Life for the majority of us will likely turn out better than we’ve feared. For those of you facing devastating loss, I pray for your recovery and future health and peace. It know it may not come in this life, but God does promise ultimate healing and eternal life for those who ask. Beth Moore says it this way: If we ask, God will deliver us either from our trials or through our trials. Are you willing to trust Him with your life and let him bless you throughout your life?

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11).