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Posts Tagged ‘Abuse’

What would you advise? What would you suggest? What would you do?

A young woman discovers she is pregnant.

She works an office job. She makes little money. She does not have a car … or her drivers license.

She still lives at home with her parents. A household where she has witnessed, and experienced, emotional, physical and sexual abuse.

Her boyfriend, of a few years, asks whose baby it is. He is not planning to stick around!

She is pregnant.

What would you advise her? What would you suggest she do? What would you do, if you were that girl?

Really, what would you advise? What would you do?

The girl has options:
1. abort the pregnancy
2. go to term, and allow the baby to be adopted
3. keep the baby

What would you do? Seriously!

This is not a new, or uncommon situation. It is one that has directly affected the lives of many women, through all generations. It is not an easy situation. It is not a comfortable one.

Now, seriously, what would you advise? What would you do?

I will tell you what this young woman did …

She continued the pregnancy, and delivered a healthy baby girl. She kept the child. She, and her child, continued to live in her parents home until she met and married a man who proposed to her, and asked to adopt her child simultaneously. The child grew, and was joined by two brothers (who were royal pains in the … neck). She grew up, married, had three children, had friends, and hobbies, and a job she loves. She found her Creator through the faith and life of her grandmother. She has not had a flawless, perfect life, but she has had … life.

Today, forty-three years later, I celebrate my birthday. In real terms, I celebrate my meaningful life, because my mother made a tough decision, without any knowledge of how this decision was going to play out.

Even as I contemplate the circumstances through which she made her decision, and even though I am thankful for the life she chose to give me, I do not know that I would advise or counsel another woman to do the same. Her circumstances would make the decision to continue the pregnancy and to keep her child so … unwise.

Whether or not my mother acknowledged this at the time or not, we do not know the future, and we do not know the purpose in pain, or the value in struggle. Only our Creator knows why the DNA of two people came together to form a new being, a new life.

My life has not been flawless, or perfect. It has not been without pain, or struggle, or heartache. I have not lived a life without regrets, or sins. I have felt hurt, and pain, and not understood why bad things have happened in my life.

But, I have had … life.

And I have my mother and the strength that she possessed when she decided to continue her pregnancy to term, give birth to and raise me.

Thanks mom, for giving me a happy birthday.

Now, what would you have done?

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts,God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you. ”
Psalm 139:13-18

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I HATE divorce!

That is the thought that crosses my mind almost every day at work. There is a moment, in just about every day that I go to work, when something happens, or I see something that reminds me of my disdain for the word divorce, and how devastating it is to those who it touches.

Please know that I am not one who believes that a woman (or man) should stay in a marriage where they are being truly abused by their spouse. No one should stay in a home, a marriage which is dangerous or harmful to their health. If indeed abuse is the impetus for divorce, and not irreconcilable differences, but the numbers might indicate more of the later than the former.

Working in a school gives me plenty of opportunities to see the effects of divorce on the children (adolescent and teenage) of the couples who have dissolved their marriages. These effects walk through the doors of schools by the dozens and hundreds, every day. I am amazed at the increasing numbers of students from divorced parents. I am even more amazed at how profoundly it does effect these developing adults.

I watch students struggle to do school work, when their hearts are breaking. I watch teens anxiety with … well, being teens (and all that comes with that package), while dealing with the lack of a sense of security that comes from mom or dad moving out. I watch adolescence struggle with peer relationships while also dealing with relationships with mom’s new boyfriend, or dad’s new girlfriend.

These students are individuals who I feel such pity for, and who I admire greatly at the same time. They have such pain in their lives, and yet they show such strength to get through each day.

It was heartbreaking, one day, to look around at a group of students who I was familiar with. Almost half of the students in the grouping were from homes of divorced parents. I heard them discuss marriage, and divorce. Those students whose parents were divorced were the most adamant that couples needed to work harder, and not give up so easily. They also expressed that people needed to stop thinking of divorce as a way to end their problems.

How interesting that it was the ones who had been most affected by divorce who had the most uncompromising views of it. Maybe it was because, like me (in my experiential ignorance) they hate divorce. And, in their cases, they know what they are saying (or thinking) is true, because it is the life they live.

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Day three on the east coast, again meant spending some time at a certain coffee shop, for their brew and their wi-fi. Now wouldn’t it just be hilarious if I come to the east coast, home to a total of eight locations (province wide), and I get hooked on Starbucks coffee? I live in an area with a population of only about 94,000, and there are eleven locations (at one intersection there is one on three of the four corners).

On these two days I have had lunch with another sister in law, helped my mom learn how to order digital photos from an in-store do-it-yourself kiosk, had a wonderful walk and dinner with a friend that goes back to elementary school (and really, I did come all this way to see her 😉 ), and taken many pictures of houses and scenery that will be used in a future post.

Since I am at my ‘growing up’ home, spending time with my parents and extended family, I have been doing a significant amount of ponderdering family dynamics, and extended family relationships. I can and have griped about my family (and I am confident that similar griping goes on, in my absence, by them about me … after all “I took their grandkids away from them … ” GAG!).

But, a few years back a bit of reality hit me. How I treat my parents, how I talk about my parents, how I show love (or not love) to them and for them … is seen and heard by my kids. It is the example of how to love your elders that my kids will learn the most from. I can tell them how to love their elders, I can show them how to love their elders by how I love other people, but what they will learn from (and parrot) most keenly, most naturally, is what they have seen and heard from me, about my own parents.

Yikes, that is pressure (after all, it is my kids who will choose my care home for me when I am old).

And not only is it pressure, but, sometimes it is forced (kind of like when our own kids say and do things that truly give us understanding of why some living creatures eat their young, and we have to love them anyway … I think you hear what I am saying). It is forced, almost … a command, like a commandment (similar to the one about parents not exasperating (Ephes. 6:4) or embitter (Col. 3:21) their children … just sayin’).

All joking aside, it is a commandment … the fifth (Exodus 20:12), as a matter of fact it says, “to honor your mother and your father, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Now I don’t know what land God is giving to me … I have moved a few times, and I expect there are a few more moves to come. But I am not sure that ‘land’ in this context necessarily means land. I think that maybe it means place, location, culture, context … family.

” So that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you” … Personally, I have days where I really do not care if I live ‘long’, but knowing that those days are given to ME by GOD … well that just makes me not want to waste a single one. Each day is a gift, and tomorrow … well we do not know if that one is being ‘gifted’ to us, until we get there. So, each day, I feel I need to remind myself that the the land or family I have been given (by God) is temporary, and I do not know how long it has been given to me for. And so, I need to be sure I am utilizing and making good use of each gifted day I get with my family. I cannot waste a gifted day holding a grudge (not that I haven’t done that, and won’t do it again, and again … especially with hubby … in the future). How my family feels about, or treats me, is immaterial … I am responsible only for me, and how I honor and respect the gift given to me by God.

Now, some people have, lets be honest, terrible families, terrible parents. Maybe there were abuses, neglect, abandonment. Maybe your parents were only a good example of what NOT to become. Honoring such a parent seems to be impossible, even cruel. But the command is not to honor your parents IF they didn’t embitter or exasperate you. There is no if (it also wasn’t to exasperate and embitter IF your kids don’t honor you … just sayin’) in the commandment.

I am not saying that ANY person, of any age should subject themselves to harm in any way, to obey this command. What I am saying is that sometimes, honoring that sort of parent is to not follow their example … parent differently, love differently, live differently … and don’t do to them that they have done to you (in case you didn’t notice, that is the ‘golden rule’ worded differently).

If your parents were mean-spirited … don’t follow their example

If your parents were abusive … don’t follow their example

If your parents neglected you … don’t follow their example

If your parents abandoned you … don’t follow their example

Sometimes being a different adult, being a different parent, being a different son or daughter (to them) than they were to everyone around them, is the best way to honor them (along with yourself and everyone around you).

All that said … I want to ensure that each of my ‘gifted’ days is utilized honoring, not abusing, abandoning, neglecting or abusing. Because that is the model I want my kids to grow up seeing as, not just good, but normal.

I have a feeling it might have more benefit than just teaching my kids something good. I think, I hope, that the greatest benefit will be that I come to the end of my days with no what ifs, no regrets (or at least fewer). And maybe even a better understanding that my parents were once MY caregivers …

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