What satan Intended For Harm; God Is Using For Good. My Health.

Note: this was written on November 8, 2017 but I always want my husband to edit my posts.

“When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!”  So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father charged before he died, saying,  ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph, “Please forgive, I beg you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, for they did you wrong.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place?  As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.  So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them” (Genesis 50:15-21, NASB).

As many of you know, if you follow my Facebook page or Instagram account, I was hospitalized a couple of weeks ago for a bowel blockage and a mass was discovered on my CT scans.

I had to go to an oncologist even though they don’t think it’s cancer. Nobody suspects cancer. This doctor just knows how to go about this. The exam went well. The doctor was great at talking me through it. The nurses and my husband were also wonderful at talking to me and distracting me so I could relax as much as possible which isn’t easy with cerebral palsy and you’re nervous and having uncomfortable things being done to you.

I thank God for legal medical marijuana; my anxiety level would have been debilitating without it.  However, I was very anxious nonetheless.  My heart rate was 117 (a special “sign from Heaven from my mother-in-law) and then dropped to 115 so it helped me not get any worse.

The doctor showed us both CT scans and the mass in question.

He gently used his finger to probe the area and confirmed that the mass was still there.  I felt a little pain when he pushed on it but I’m not sure if it was from the mass itself or from me spasming because of the probing.  So I will have to get a MRI as an outpatient (with sedation due to my severe cerebral palsy and spasms).

Unfortunately, it’ll have to be done at the hospital so that the anesthesiologist can keep a close eye on me with my cerebral palsy and asthma, so an “open MRI” is not an option.

My husband can stay with me until I’m put to sleep for it and will be right back when I am done. I shouldn’t have to be so sedated that I will need intubation.  As of now, the MRI scheduling is still being worked out,  but I want to get it over with so they’re going to try to get me in sooner. I said any day but the 17th because I NEED ink therapy!

Tattoos really are one of God’s ways of bringing me peace and everyone at the shop have been very supportive.

We don’t know what the mass is but the MRI will tell us if it’s benign or malignant.  The doctor said it is a soft tissue mass. After the MRI, he will determine if I need to have a biopsy. He’s trying to take it slow and not go invasive with me unless it’s necessary.

My friend with severe cerebral palsy said she has many benign masses from having multiple bouts of bowel blockage, so hopefully this will be just a benign mass, too.  We’re trying to think positive and pray.

Walking through the cancer institute made me sad. All those people are fighting cancer. I’m NOT going to be one of them. Please Lord.

I wish this were over so I/we can keep working on getting back to a better place emotionally.  Our anxiety has been really awful and I met with a Christian counselor.  She confirmed that God isn’t doing any of this to us and that satan LOVES messing with us when we are down. She affirmed that everything we’re feeling is normal considering what all we’ve been through the past 2 years and God is right here even when we don’t feel Him. She’s walked this darkness too.

I can’t imagine what it must feel like for children who have been raised in Christian families where they are taught that God wants them hurt every time they are “bad.”  Even though my relationship with God hasn’t been the best lately, I know He’s helping and comforting us.

God is using this for good!  He turns everything that satan means for our harm into good.  I don’t understand His ways but I know He is love and that life just happens.  We must teach our children that God never hurts us!

Jesus wept.  Jesus pleaded for the cup to pass from Him so He wouldn’t have to suffer and die on the cross even though He knew that that was what He was here to do and would go through with it because of His great love for us.  Before He died, He cried out loudly, “My God, my God!  Why have You forsaken Me?”  It’s ok to feel anger, anxiety, pain, fear, loneliness, confusion, and despair.  Jesus felt it.

May we teach our children that God suffers right along with us.  He is a wonderful God Who comforts and loves us.  He is not the Author of suffering.

Please keep praying for us.

On a happier note, my husband and I celebrated 19th anniversary of togetherness-dating and married years combined! It doesn’t seem possible! I’m grateful to God that He gave me a WONDERFUL guy who loves me NO matter what and CHOOSES to keep caring for me and loving me 24/7!

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Should We Take The Bible Literally?

 

Once again I found myself dealing with a Christian pro-spanker that insists that the “rod verses” in the book of Proverbs must be taken literally.  Yet, when I asked the following questions, the pro-spanker couldn’t answer:

*If we must spank/hit our children then shouldn’t we also stone people, cut off body parts, pluck eyes out?

*And what about slavery?  Shouldn’t we continue to keep slaves?

*Shouldn’t we also sacrifice animals for our sins?

People pick and choose what to take literally. It makes no sense to take a few verses literally to justify spanking/hitting children but not other harsh verses.

The Bible was written for us, not to us. As I have said many times, we must seek to understand the historical and cultural context of Scripture.  We must also study the original languages of the Bible to truly understand what it’s saying and how to apply it to us.

Not every Scripture is meant to be directly applied to us!  We are to learn from all Scripture, but because of what Jesus did on the cross, we do not need to directly apply every single Scripture to our lives.  To do so is to downplay what Jesus did for all of humanity on the cross!

“For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14, NASB).

After a while, the pro-spanker tried to answer the questions above by saying that we no longer live under the Law, but rather, we live under grace.

Exactly!  And this grace applies to children as well.  Jesus freed us from the Law.

But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (Galatians 5:18).

When we spank, we are parenting under the Law. We are not accepting the grace, mercy, and forgiveness of Jesus. Jesus died for us. He was beaten to a bloody pulp for us. Why do we feel we must beat, spank, and hit our young children who do not understand sin nor physical punishment?

“In regard to evil be infants” (1 Corinthians 14:20b).

If we are to interpret all of the “rod” verses that appear to advocate spanking/hitting children with a large weapon with spikes on it literally, then we must take all of the other harsh verses in the Bible literally.  Who are we to apply only a handful of verses to inflict pain on children but not do everything else in the Bible?

After all, the Bible also says:

“Stripes that wound scour away evil, And strokes reach the innermost parts” (Proverbs 20:30, NASB).

I truly do not believe that God wanted us to take the entire Bible literally.  Rather, we are to see how God redeemed His people.  The Bible is meant to be read in a redemption manner.

For more information about how to interpret the “rod verses” in Proverbs, please click here.

Finally, as Christ-followers should easily realize that all the verses telling us to be kind, merciful, graceful, gentle, peaceful, loving, forgiving, and patient with one another apply to children too. Jesus is our example!

In fact, Ephesians 5:1-2 says,

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”

So to imitate God is to walk in love, not hurt each other. And the fruit of the Spirit is:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, *gentleness,* self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

I will end with two final verses.

For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13).

God favors mercy over judgement.

“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4).

It’s His kindness that leads us to repentance, not fear and pain.  This is what we should take literally!

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Another Tattoo, Love, And Acceptance

On January 27th I got my third tattoo which is of my beloved first kitty, Sara. It was the ten year anniversary of her going Home. I got Sara when I was about nine years old and lost her when I was 25 years old. This was the original tattoo that I had been wanting since soon after she went Home.

I made it through the tattoo with flying colors and took the same medications as I did with my last two tattoos in order to slow down my muscle spasms.  See here and here about my first tattoo experiences. Again, my mom was so excited and proud of me.  It’s funny how even though I am 35 years old, I still need my mom’s approval and acceptance!  It truly means a lot to me!

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My beautiful Sara tattoo!

I have been thinking a great deal about love and acceptance with everything going on in both my world and the world in general.  My husband and I no longer attend church because we’ve never found one that the people totally accepted us. Some people have and we are still friends with them, but many people assume that I am mentally disabled and talk to me like I am a child, well actually, worse.  They are often patronizing to me. It drives me crazy! Of course, as I said, there are some who can see past my disability, but many can’t even after telling them that I have a Master’s Degree. 

So when my friend, Jackie Heim, posted the following on her Facebook page, I felt sad but could really relate.

“I read that between 80-90% of parents with special needs kids do not attend church. There is no source for my information, so I can’t verify this. But, I believe the number is high (for sure higher than it should be). I’ll take my son anywhere – the library, the mall, the beach, swimming, a museum, a park, the grocery store, Disney World – anywhere but church. I can handle the comments and looks from strangers. Not being able to talk and not understanding everything said to you is a frustrating disability. From Christians, the one group of people who I want support from as as special needs parent, I get judgmental comments. Burdens of expectation concerning my son’s behavior are thrown on my shoulders. And, always by people who are doing nothing to help me with this burden. I have experienced this ever since dealing with my first language delayed child over a decade ago. It hasn’t gone away. And, the third time around I am dealing with an even more severe delay. So, I just don’t go. It’s easier that way.”

The very people, the Church, who are supposed to love and accept you for who you are, don’t!  They want children to be these perfectly obedient robots and if they’re not then you need to spank/hit them.  They never stop to think that the children may have special needs or they never try to understand about child development.  To be so judgmental to parents and children is so wrong and un-Christlike.

I see the world becoming worse and worse which the Bible tells us to expect.  But what I have been struggling with for years is that I didn’t realize that it would be the Christians that are often leading the way to destruction.  We’re supposed to be leading people to the Light.  I just don’t see that happening.

I believe that this is due to church doctrine.  Church doctrine often appears to be aligned with the Bible, but when you look deeper, you see how much it strays from the Bible.  Jesus was constantly with sinners and making them feel loved and welcome.  In fact, people would run to Jesus when He was in their town!

When they had crossed over they came to land at Gennesaret, and moored to the shore. When they got out of the boat, immediately the people recognized Him, and ran about that whole country and began to carry here and there on their pallets those who were sick, to the place they heard He was. Wherever He entered villages, or cities, or countryside, they were laying the sick in the market places, and imploring Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were being cured” (Mark 6:53-56, NASB).

It was always the self-righteous Pharisees and the teachers of the Law that scoffed, badgered, and ultimately crucified Jesus.  Regular people just wanted to know more about Him and to understand Him.

Not long ago I posted on my Facebook personal page that I have recently found myself relating more to the tattoo culture than to the Christian culture. As strange as that may sound, it’s because the tattoo culture is so real, loving, and accepting!  They are so Christlike and they don’t even know it.  That is so scary and sad that a tattoo shop does what the Church ought to be doing.

We are born with a deep need for love and acceptance.  Children absolutely crave it from their parents and never outgrow it.  Jesus put us here to love and accept people in order to lead them to Him.  There are a lot of people out there right now, young and old, of different races and ethnicities, and of different religions, and of all sexual orientations that are craving for love and acceptance!  May we do our best to stop judging and begin loving and accepting the way Jesus does!

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Are Love And Truth Mutually Exclusive And Full Of Tension?

Happy New Year 2017.  As I begin this new year, I find myself relating less and less to the Christian world.  I’m a Christ-follower through and through.  I strive to be more like Jesus and less judgmental.  As I grow in my walk with Christ, the mainstream Christian worldview just feels so harsh and misguided and judgmental.  I’m not seeing much Christ in these people.  That makes me so sad because I’m seeing just how broken the Church really is.

I know we are all a bunch of broken, sinful people but we should be striving to be more loving, compassionate, merciful, peaceful, gentle, forgiving, and full of grace.  In other words, more like Jesus Christ!  But all I’m seeing is harshness, judging, accusations, promotion of being harsh to children and anyone who dares to disagree with you and/or dares to take a less literal interpretation of parts of the Bible.  To dare live outside of the mainstream Christian culture is to go to “Hell” and to be part of the devil’s schemes.

Anyone who has followed me and/or has read my book, Gentle Firmness, knows that I have been struggling with fitting in with the Christian culture because I can see that God never intended for children to be spanked/hit by their parents.  Sadly, the mainstream Christian world disagrees with me and refuses to see the Truth.  And now that I have gotten tattoos, I’m really enjoying that culture because it’s so real, loving, and actually Christ-like, yet, even though nobody has said anything to me, I know some of my Christian friends are probably thinking that I am really backsliding now.  Not only do I advocate for peaceful parenting but I am tattooed.

This makes me feel so sad because I take my relationship with Christ very seriously.  I research the Bible and pray before every huge decision.  I’m not perfect and I sin regularly but I also truly want to do as Christ wants me to do.

So imagine my horror and confusion when I saw a meme with a quote from Beth Moore, a Bible teacher, that seems to be saying that to choose love and become more like Jesus is putting the Bible aside.  That love and Truth are in tension with each other.  You can listen to the quote here as I do not want to put the meme in this post.

I used to really look up to Beth Moore.  God has used her books and one of her Bible studies to speak to me.  I can’t say anything bad about Beth Moore but her recent teachings have left me very disturbed.

The Bible tells us to be more like Jesus (Philippians 2:1-11, John 3:30, Ephesians 5:2).  And Christ gave us The Two GREATEST COMMANDMENTS which are:

“And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions” (Mark 12:28-34, NASB).

Jesus tells us that love is the most important thing ever!  The love of God and love for each other!  Also, Jesus says that He is the Truth!

Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me'” (John 14:6, NASB).

Then 1 John 4:8 states:

“The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (NASB).

And finally, Ephesians 5:1-2 states:

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (NASB).

Love and Truth go hand in hand.  Jesus also said that the Truth will set us free (John 8:32).  So if Jesus is the Truth and is Love according to the Bible, then how is loving people “putting the Bible aside and forsaking the Truth for love a part of ‘the devil’s schemes?'”

Another thing to consider is that the Bible is just one way that God speaks to us.  The Bible is a bunch of beautifully God inspired words.  It’s just a small piece of information that God wants us to have.  However, we must study and look at the original language, historical culture, and the context in which passages were written. The Bible wasn’t written TO us, it was written FOR us!  Big difference!  Most Christians believe the Bible is written TO us.  And the Bible is often referred to as a love letter from God.

Jesus is The Word!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:1-5, NASB).

Jesus also told us that He would give us a Counselor to help guide us after He ascended into Heaven in John 14:16:

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;” (NASB).

This Counselor is the Holy Spirit.  He dwells inside us and constantly guides and speaks to us if we will listen to Him.  Therefore, even if we don’t read the Bible, God is still able to speak to us.  Don’t get me wrong, studying the Bible is very important!  But if I were to somehow never be able to read and study the Bible, I have no doubt in my mind that The Word (God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit) would continue to teach, guide, correct, love, and speak to me.  We just need to be open to Him!

I used to be a judgmental, legalistic Christian who thought it was my job to correct and save people from their sins.  I thought obeying the rules were of utmost importance.  I told people that they were headed to Hell if they didn’t listen to me and get Jesus.

Guess how many people I helped save by being all about the Truth but not about love?

Zero!  That’s right!  Nobody wanted anything to do with this Jesus guy and it hurt my relationships.

We stand in the Truth by being more like Jesus.  Love is how we reach people.  Jesus was the hardest on the Pharisees and the Teachers of Law because they were all about self-righteousness and legalism and not wanting to hang out with the sinners.  They even criticized Jesus for hanging out with sinners all the time.  Jesus raised the status of all of the oppressed including children, women, people with disabilities, people of different races and ethnicities.  He died for everyone!  If that’s not love, I don’t know what love is!

I’m sorry but I don’t think that Jesus wants us running around condemning people and shaking our fingers in their faces to stand for Truth!

”Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you remove the yoke from your midst,
The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness,

And if you give yourself to the hungry
And satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
Then your light will rise in darkness
And your gloom will become like midday” (Isaiah 58:9-10, NASB).

I don’t think He wants us to judge others (Matthew 7:1-6).  I don’t think He wants us to spank/hit children.  I don’t think He wants us to force people to follow Him out of fear.

Rather, I truly believe that Jesus wants us to love as He loves. Yes, sometimes that means correcting someone gently if they are going down the wrong path, but gently is the key word as otherwise, people just get defensive and dig in their heels.

Therefore, there is no “tension” between love and Truth unless we put it there.  Love and Truth go together very easily.

I believe that, sadly, teachers that say that positive Christianity and love are of the devil are the ones who are truly entrapped in satan’s schemes.  After all, satan hates love.

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Presents Are To Show LOVE!

We’re just a couple of days from Christmas and once again Facebook is full of posts about threatening to take children’s Christmas presents away if they misbehave or pretend to burn them if the children misbehave.

Then there’s the horrible elf on the shelf meme that says that they didn’t have elf on the shelf but rather a belt hanging on a hook to make them behave.

Why must we use Christmas to manipulate and threaten children to behave?  If you do Santa, fine. But please don’t seriously make children believe that they won’t get any presents from him if they are “bad.”  There are many poor children who won’t get any presents. Let’s not teach children that they were “bad.”

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I love this article about doing Santa in a way that encourages kindness and doesn’t have to disappoint them when they are older.

I strongly believe presents are given out of unconditional love, not because children  “deserve” them. After all, Jesus gave us the unconditional gift of forgiveness and love and mercy and grace when *we* didn’t deserve it!

Our children are only young once. Let’s do our best to keep Christmas magical for them as well as use it as an opportunity to teach them about unconditional love, the Bible calls it “agape love,” kindness, and giving!

Merry Christmas!

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Peace On Earth

The following commercial from Pampers diapers always makes me cry every year at Christmas time.

These precious, innocent babies are the pinnacle of God’s creation and I always wonder how anyone in their right mind could believe that they are “sinful” or “manipulative.” 

These babies are beautiful human beings; people think it’s perfectly fine, and even “godly,” to treat them harshly in order to “train” them to be peaceful, godly people.  It breaks my heart every time, especially this time of year when we are celebrating God coming down as a baby to save us all!  Check out this post about God being a baby.

Jesus lifted children’s status in the world, and called us to be more like them and treat them with respect and kindness.  And yet, “Christians” still advocate for letting them cry-it-out, for spanking/hitting them, and for using other harsh punishment on them.  But that isn’t how Jesus was when He came to Earth.  He brought real peace.

He treated everyone with love and discipled them.  He corrected people through His Words, not through violence.  Then when it was time, He died a violent death for all of us!

Even with satan, He used His Word to stop him.  In the Temple when He got angry at the people taking advantage of the poor in His Father’s House, He did not hit anyone with the whip.  He simply wanted them out immediately.

We want peace on Earth but we are not willing to follow after Jesus’s example.  Jesus would never leave a baby to cry-it-out, spank/hit a child, or send a child away to “think” about what he/she has done.  

No, Jesus would comfort, disciple, love, guide, protect, teach, correct, forgive, and offer mercy and grace to the little ones.  After all, the Kingdom of God belongs to the little ones.

“But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Luke 18:16, NASB).

And here is what the prophet Isaiah called Jesus:

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6, KJV).

If we truly want peace on Earth this Christmas, may we strive to parent our beautiful children the way the Prince of Peace, Our AWESOME Lord and Savior would parent them.

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:8-14, KJV).

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Ghosts, Goblins, And Witches: Oh My!

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays!  I grew up going trick-or-treating and I still love decorating my house and watching scary movies with my husband.  You can read more about my Halloween fun here.

I wish we had more children around here for trick-or-treating because I love seeing all the little ones dressed up in their costumes. Fall is in the air and Halloween kicks off the holiday season of celebrating family, love, and Jesus!

Unfortunately, some Christians take Halloween a bit too seriously due to its historically evil roots. My husband and I had to leave a church because they took it upon themselves to teach young children in children’s church the “evil of Halloween.”  We were so upset, despite not having children of our own, because we felt that they were shattering the innocence of the children.  Young children do not need to know about evil and scary things that they are not equipped to handle.  For children, Halloween is just a fun day to dress up and get candy.

Also, Jesus warned us about taking children’s innocence away from them.

Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea” (Mark 9:42, ESV).

In fact, for most Christians, Halloween is a time to go have fun and even do some outreach in their neighborhoods.  This is the best night to get to know the people in your neighborhood because everyone is out walking around and chatting with each other.   Of course, only truly sick people are doing satanic stuff such as poisoning candy or exhibiting other nasty behaviors; fortunately those incidents are few and isolated.

There is no reason why we can’t go out and enjoy a fun day on Halloween as Christ-followers. To pretend to be a character and watch our children pretend to be chraracters is so much fun-not to mention all the yummy treats and fun people to hang out with and play games.  It is totally innocent and God knows our hearts are for Him!

So this Halloween, have fun with everyone.  But please be aware that some of your trick-or-treaters may have special needs.  If a child isn’t behaving like the rest of the children, don’t assume that they are brats.  Some may have Autism, may be non-verbal, may have a physical disability, may be shy, and/or may be helping another child who is waiting at the bottom of the steps in a wheelchair to get candy.  Please treat these children with respect, because I was once the child in a wheelchair waiting at the bottom of the steps, and some people made some pretty hurtful comments not realizing I was waiting down there.

Here is a great post about trick-or-treaters with special needs!

Have a safe and happy Halloween!  Watch out for all those ghosts, goblins, and witches. WoooOOOooOOOooOO!!

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“You’re Different. I Hate You. You’re Going To Hell.”

Lately it seems to have become “cool” to be hateful, insulting, and mean to anyone who has a different opinion or is promoting love in Christ’s Name.  This appears to be especially true of many “Christians.”  Many of my gentle parenting friends have noticed that it is getting worse and a great deal of  “Christians” tend to take pride in it.  To be fair, I must say that many liberals tend to be quite hateful as well and I have been attacked many times by them for my conservative beliefs.

Basically, you are attacked by the opposite side of what you believe AND by both sides if you happen to fall in the middle of issues.

This hatefulness is happening mostly among the conservative Christian Right with topics such as gentle parenting and transgender people with regards to them using public bathrooms and locker rooms.  I feel the need to cover the transgender issue, as rare as it is, these children and adults are committing suicide at very high rates.

In fact, “41% try to kill themselves at some point in their lives, compared with 4.6% of the general public. The numbers come from a study by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute, which analyzed results from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey” (Ungar, 2015, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/08/16/transgender-individuals-face-high-rates–suicide-attempts/31626633/).

And having a transgender child means that gentle, Biblical parenting is even more important.  After all, gentle parents never force anything on their children.  They allow them to be who they are while still teaching them Biblical values.

Before I get into the transgender issue, I want to cite an important verse.

“‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’  And He said to him, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ ‘This is the great and foremost commandment. ‘The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ ‘On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets’” (Matthew 22:36-40, NASB).

Jesus says that the greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, mind, strength, and soul.  AND to love our neighbor as ourselves.  This means to love one another.  No matter what!

As I write this, I understand that as a Christ-follower, I must love while holding steadfast in His Holy Word.  I do not want to fall into sin.  But as this post points out, His Word is also the Holy Spirit speaking to us.

I also realize that Christ-followers get in trouble for calling “sin” sin.  This post is to show that many “Christians” are actually sinning, perhaps unintentionally, by making a big deal out of something they don’t understand.  I was guilty of this.  Also, I truly believe (because I used to be this way and sometimes still am) that some “Christians” are so afraid of sin that they reject stuff without trying to learn more about it. They stand firm “in the Lord.” They think, “How dare you say transgenderism is biological and real?” “It’s of satan!”   This type of attitude hurts non-believers who are watching us trying to figure out this Jesus thing out.  Fear is not from God (2 Timothy 1:7).

That being said, let’s get into the transgender issue as there are many misconceptions about it.

I think that when most people think of transgenderism, they immediately think of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.  I know I did for a long time.  But transgenderism and transvestism are very different.  Transvestites are people, usually men, who dress up as the opposite sex.  I do believe transvestism is a sin according to the Bible because men do it for mainly sexual pleasure and don’t truly identify with the female gender.  Despite me saying that this is a sin, I do not judge them.  What they do in their private life is none of my business as long as they’re not hurting anyone.

This goes for homosexuals as well.  Homosexuality is a sin according to the Bible, but they are free to live how they choose and I love my homosexual friends.  If my child turned out to be gay, I would love them unconditionally and wait for God to work in them instead of trying to change them.  I also no longer believe that the government has the right to enforce this type of morality since it’s not hurting anyone else.

On the other hand, transgender people are born truly identifying with the opposite sex.  This is rare!

Take Jazz from the show I Am Jazz for example.  Jazz explains it as she has a girl brain that somehow got stuck in a boy’s body. And, she insisted she was a girl since she was young, despite her parents raising her as a boy.  Sadly, I guess some parents push transgenderism on their children, which if this is the case, it is wrong. Children should never be forced into anything!

Yes, God created us male and female in His image.  However, God is not in control. Sin is in the world. Stuff happens during pregnancy that alters the brain and parents have a baby boy. In Jazz’s case, she was raised all boy for the first few years of her life. Her name was Jarrod.

But she kept insisting she was a girl. She loved girl things from a young age. In fact, she had nightmares from a very young age about developing male characteristics such as a beard and mustache, deep voice, and an Adam’s apple.  She has two older brothers and an older sister, so she was exposed to a lot of boys and girls things. Her parents found it strange she naturally gravitated to the girls stuff. No one forced anything on her!  If anything, they made her go to preschool dressed as a boy because they didn’t understand exactly what was going on.

Here is a link to the first episode of I Am Jazz where all of this is explained very well as to what it was like for all of them.  I highly recommend watching the whole season.  I understand some of you may have reservations as I did when my husband first wanted to watch it because I thought it was going to be just a bunch of liberal garbage. Boy was I ever wrong!

As I said, her parents waited, figuring it was the typical phase all preschoolers go through, but she kept insisting she was a girl so they researched it and saw that this was real for a minority of people and suicide rates are sky high for this group because of the intolerance.  Therefore, they allowed her to be who she is.

And, sadly, transgender people are highly likely (“The Human Rights Campaign report documented 21 transgender homicide victims so far in 2015, almost all of them transgender women of color, and likely an underestimate due to the difficulty of tracking the homicides. Among all 53 transgender murders from 2013 to 2015, not a single one was prosecuted or reported as a hate crime, the report found.”) to be murdered and hurt, so I don’t see why so many people are so concerned about them committing crimes.  Sure, there are bad people in every group, but when I tried to Google “crimes committed by transgenderism,” I came up with very few stories.  The rest were about crimes committed against transgender people.

I think that thinking transgender people will attack others is just a fear people have who don’t understand this. I used to be one of them until we watched I Am Jazz. She is a wonderful girl trying to be who she is and gets called names, judged, and even has had death threats. Most are from “CHRISTIANS!”

Also, some people say that transgender people are mentally ill and schizophrenic.  Research shows that a low percentage of transgender individuals do indeed have schizophrenia.

“A relationship between two distinct disorders can be inferred if they cooccur at a higher level than would be expected by chance. According to recent estimates, the prevalence of schizophrenia is approximately 1 to 8 per 1,000 population [6], and that of GID is even lower, estimated at around 1 in 10,000 for male-to-female GID and less than 1 in 25,000 for female-to-male GID [7]. Their cooccurrence would therefore be expected to be rare: a crude estimate, obtained by multiplying prevalences, would be less than 1 in 1,000,000 individuals.

Hospital and clinic-based studies of individuals with GID have found rates of schizophrenia far in excess of both this estimate and the general population prevalence; however, comorbid mental illness is likely to have been overrepresented in such samples. A Dutch survey of 186 psychiatrists evaluating patients with GID found that 31 (16.7%) reported seeing patients with comorbid GID and psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia [8]; however, it was not possible to calculate the percentage of patients with schizophrenia from the data provided by the authors, and the study has been criticized on the grounds of response bias, low external validity, and lack of a standardized means of confirming the diagnosis of psychosis [9]. A second Dutch study compared 20 patients who underwent gender-reassignment surgery and 27 in whom this treatment was deferred or delayed; no patient in the former group had schizophrenia, while 2 in the latter (7.4%) received this diagnosis, and a third was reported as having “psychotic episodes” [10]. An earlier clinic-based study obtained similar results; in a sample of 51 individuals with GID referred for psychiatric evaluation, 8% were found to have schizophrenia [11]. An unusual clustering was reported in African-American women with GID at a clinic in the United States; two of these five subjects (40%) were diagnosed with schizophrenia and a third was noted to have a “schizophrenic character” [12].

More modest but still significant results have been obtained in population-based samples. A recent study from Ireland found that 8 of 159 patients with male-to-female gender dysphoria (5%) had comorbid schizophrenia, as opposed to none of 59 patients with female-to-male GD [7]. Psychiatric evaluation of 230 self-referred applicants for gender-reassignment surgery in Spain, after excluding patients with psychosis but no clear diagnosis of GD/GID, identified six cases (2.6%) of psychosis, with equal rates in male and female subjects [13]. Though these figures are lower than those of the referral-based studies, they are likely to be closer to the true prevalence in this population and are still far higher than would be expected by chance alone. A study of Taiwanese students which measured symptoms, rather than diagnoses, found a strong correlation between symptoms of GID and schizophrenia in male students [14], also suggesting an effect of gender on this association.

Taken together, these studies provide indirect evidence for a link between schizophrenia and GID, on the grounds of their greater-than-chance cooccurrence. However, not all studies in adults or adolescents have been positive. A study of 579 subjects with GID from Japan found only one case of schizophrenia (0.17%) in a female-to-male patient, a rate which is comparable to the lower bound of general population values [15]; however, another publication involving the same sample makes it clear that five subjects with schizophrenia were excluded from the first paper, yielding a corrected prevalence of 1.02% [16]. A study of 435 patients attending a gender clinic in Texas found only four (0.92%) cases of schizophrenia [17]. In a sample of 83 Iranian patients with GID, no cases of schizophrenia were reported [18]” (Rajkumar, 2014, http://www.hindawi.com/journals/schizort/2014/463757/).

So to worry about all transgender people being schizophrenic is totally unnecessary.  Yes, rates may be slightly higher than the general population, but this study still shows that the numbers are low.  If you read the entire study, the author points out limitations of the research as well.

I truly believe that forcing Jazz to be a boy would be sin. She is leaning toward liking boys as this video shows.  But even though her sexuality is something she is still exploring as most teenagers do, making her be a boy would highly possibly make her be gay because she would have to live as her physical body dictates instead of her brain. Her brain is all girl. She didn’t choose this. Her parents didn’t choose this. It just is. So saying, “No, you are a boy and that is how you will live” means forcing her into a sinful homosexual lifestyle. I don’t think God approves as He warns us not to lead children into sin (Matthew 18:5-6).

Also, our struggle is not against flesh and blood, therefore, these people are probably the gender that they identify with to the soul. Just like my soul is not disabled but it’s stuck in a body that is disabled. For all we know, people who were too scared to come out when they are alive are the gender they identified with in Heaven. It’s not for us to say, “You must be a girl because you were born in a girl’s body.”  It is between the person and God.  God is more than capable of working with them to do His Will.

Of course, if my child started insisting he/she was the opposite sex than what he/she had been assigned at birth, I would listen and wait and if he/she kept saying it beyond 5 or 6 when that phase of exploring is over, I would listen and let him/her be who he/she is. I don’t see it as a sin. I see homosexuality as a sin. Far be it from me to force my girl to be a girl who is a really a boy and likes boys thus making him be gay.

This article is interesting regarding the biological differences in a transgender brain.  Sadly, many people who do not understand this believe that parents should just wait until puberty sets in and see if that “fixes” the “problem.”  These people, including some doctors as this article shows, believe that simply putting the children in psychotherapy will “fix” them.  This could not be farther from the truth!  Even when I was at my most legalistic stage of my walk with Christ, something about these therapies and “camps” to “fix” homosexuality just never set well with me.  In fact, research shows that psychotherapy does more harm than good for these children.

“Some right-wing religious groups promote the concept that an individual can change their sexual orientation or gender identity, either through prayer or other religious efforts, or through so-called “reparative” or “conversion” therapy. The research on such efforts has disproven their efficacy, and also has indicated that they can be affirmatively harmful. Beyond studies focused solely on reparative therapy, broader research clearly demonstrates the significant harm that societal prejudice and family rejection has on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, particularly youth. Furthermore, there is significant anecdotal evidence of harm to LGBT people resulting from attempts to change their sexual orientation and gender identity. Based on this body of evidence, every major medical and mental health organization in the United States has issued a statement condemning the use of conversion therapy.

Psychiatrist Dr. L. Spitzer, who once offered a study on reparative therapy, has since denounced the practice and has apologized for endorsing the practice….

American Academy of Pediatrics

Clinicians should be aware that there is no evidence that sexual orientation can be altered through therapy, and that attempts to do so may be harmful. There is no empirical evidence adult homosexuality can be prevented if gender nonconforming children are influenced to be more gender conforming. Indeed, there is no medically valid basis for attempting to prevent homosexuality, which is not an illness. On the contrary, such efforts may encourage family rejection and undermine self-esteem, connectedness and caring, important protective factors against suicidal ideation and attempts. Given that there is no evidence that efforts to alter sexual orientation are effective, beneficial or necessary, and the possibility that they carry the risk of significant harm, such interventions are contraindicated.   Parameter on Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Orientation, Gender Nonconformity, and Gender Discordance in Children and Adolescents” (Human Rights Campaign, 2016, http://www.hrc.org/resources/the-lies-and-dangers-of-reparative-therapy).

Maybe for children who are not truly transgender, it may help, but I would be extremely careful with it.  This is so much more than just a “moral” issue.  It is a biological one.

And waiting until after puberty sets in is very emotionally dangerous for transgender children because they will get all the characteristics of the gender that they do not want to become.  This makes transitioning to the gender that they do identify with much harder.

Some may argue, “How do we know this is definitely what the child wants?”  Every transgender child has ongoing psychotherapy as he/she progresses through the process of blocking the hormones of his/her biological gender and goes on hormones of the gender with which he/she identifies.

“Physicians usually require that any transgender client who wants a medical intervention be assessed first by a mental health provider. A letter may be requested stating that the client’s mental health would improve from a gender transition. “Over the last two to three years, a number of medical associations have made statements about the medical necessity of transitional care for transgender people,” says dickey. While still somewhat stigmatizing, a diagnosis of gender dysphoria ensures that more services for transgender people will be covered by health insurers.

It is standard practice to treat the client for any psychiatric conditions that might be present before starting a medical transition. After that, medical treatment may include hormone therapy to diminish unwanted secondary-sex characteristics and produce or enhance secondary-sex characteristics of the desired gender. A 2011 study led by Colt Meier, a psychology doctoral candidate at the University of Houston (Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health) showed that hormone therapy was associated with lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress, as well as increased quality of life in a sample of more than 400 transgender men.

In addition to hormone therapy, transgender people may opt for surgery to alter breasts, genitalia or other sexual characteristics. Other transgender people may choose a “social transition” that involves only cosmetic changes in dress, grooming or name, for instance, and no medical intervention.

Psychologists help clients in transition by providing guidance on how to pace the process through small steps so as to make adjustments easier for themselves and the people they live and work with, Bockting says. He stresses the benefit of linking transgender clients to support groups or online communities where they can learn from others who have taken the same journey. Providing resources and counsel to families to help them understand and accept a transgender relative ultimately benefits the client, too, he adds. Other clients appreciate a therapist’s help in navigating the frustrating barriers of changing a name and identity documents after a transition, he says (Glicksman, 2013, http://www.apa.org/monitor/2013/04/transgender.aspx).

Doctors take the treatment of transgender children very seriously.  They go slowly to make sure that the teen is responding well to the treatment.  They make sure that this is still what the child wants.  If at any time the child changes his/her mind, doctors can stop treatment and reverse what has happened, though the earlier they do that, the easier it is to reverse the process.  This is precisely why waiting for the child to complete puberty is dangerous because it makes the transition to the opposite gender much harder.  

“In the prepubertal population, there is an additional treatment possibility: the suppression of puberty using continuous gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists, which have the effect of blocking the release of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) from the pituitary gland. This, in turn, prevents the secretion of endogenous sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) from the gonads, halting the progression of puberty, including the development of secondary sex characteristics. During this time, patients are medically monitored and receive regular psychotherapy. Giordano says that the fundamental benefit of this treatment strategy is that “children gain time to reflect over their gender identity, without becoming trapped in a body that is experienced as alien” [5]. The bulk of this reflective process occurs with the help of a psychotherapist, who oftentimes asks the child to have a real-life experience living as the other gender (i.e., in dress and behavior) to help determine whether or not he or she desires the transition [6].

The importance of preventing development of secondary sex characteristics during this period cannot be overstated. Once these children, who are already experiencing considerable distress over their gender incongruence, undergo the pubertal development of the “wrong” sex, their psychological well-being deteriorates significantly, and many develop depression and suicidal ideation [7]. They can experience alienation and harassment at school if they are unable to participate in cross-gender activities or use cross-sex restrooms. They can be bullied and abused. Such circumstances can lead these youths to drop out of school [8] and develop significant psychiatric morbidity [9]. Because these risks can be so great, the need for medical and psychological intervention is paramount. Suppressing puberty and allowing children the opportunity to explore their true gender identities decreases their risk for suicide [10].

A child who decides to change his or her sex then starts cross-sex hormones. Because puberty was arrested before development of secondary sex characteristics, the child will achieve a “more normal and satisfactory appearance” after the transition [5] than if he or she had waited until adulthood, in which case many irreversible features (e.g., height) or solely surgically reversible features (e.g., breast and genital development) would have formed. Giordano also believes children who have been treated before puberty have better psychosocial outcomes, such as greater comfort with their physical selves, better social adjustment, and fewer psychiatric complications. Should they decide not to change sex, ‘puberty suppressant drugs can be withheld and development restarts as normal'” (Lambrese, 2010, http://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/2010/08/jdsc1-1008.html).

The research shows that while there are always risks to medical procedures, the physical risks do not outweigh any emotional and psychological risks of not allowing these children to have the correct biological appearance of the gender with which they identify.  The struggle these children and parents face is very real!  They don’t need us giving them grief over a very difficult decision they have made.  This isn’t for us to judge!

And we want everyone to come to the Lord but if all the child hears is how angry God is at him/her, how is the child ever going to hear His voice?  There have been cases where transgender people went back to their biological gender because that was what God wanted them to do.  Our job is to make sure we are showing God’s amazing love to them.

As I stated above, I am not promoting sin!  I am not promoting transvestism.  I am not promoting homosexuality.

I am promoting authenticity, love, and acceptance of all people of all ages!

I am also promoting love for a small group of children who are born in the wrong body.  And for “Christians” using the verses about not wearing the clothes of the opposite gender to say that transgenderism is “sinful,” by forcing a girl to be a girl when every bone in her body is saying that she is really a boy, you are causing him to sin by being a girl instead of the boy he is.

Now onto the ridiculous bathroom issue that Christians and conservatives are fighting over.  They are not being loving at all.  I saw a hateful video by a “Christian,” and it was posted by another “Christian” on Facebook.  I will not link to it because it is too hateful.

People are worried about men using the ladies bathroom, which is understandable.  But how many times have guys walked into the ladies bathroom?   Not many.

Yet, I am not hearing much about transgender woman who identify as men using the men’s bathroom.  Why?  Why are people so freaked out over transgender men who identify as women using the women’s bathroom?  I think that says a lot about how society views men.  They are viewed as big, hairy animals that let their penises guide them.  That is sad.  And if men dare to show emotions, they are labeled as “weak.”

We should value both genders!  Not all men are monsters.  And women are actually strong because we can carry babies in our womb for nine months and give birth and nourish our babies with our breasts.  Men can protect and provide for their families while still being nurturing to their wives and children.  Both genders are equally important and have equal value and can be whoever God wants them to be.  Instead of stereotyping and limiting the genders, valuing them can help with whatever gender confusion may be going on in our society.

You know, evil people will do evil no matter what. I don’t believe that true transgender people should have to use the bathroom based on their genitals. Can you imagine the violence that would occur to a man that truly identifies as a woman going in a men’s bathroom?  She would be ripped apart and/or worse. I honestly don’t know why this is a problem.  Why not freak out about gay people using the bathroom of the same sex that they are attracted to?  I guess some do freak out over lesbians use the women’s bathroom if they dress more male.  Sad!

Also, many have voiced concern about their little girls seeing male genitalia.  In my 34 years of life, I have never seen nakedness in the ladies bathroom.  I asked my husband if the same were true for the men’s bathroom and he said there has never nakedness in the men’s bathroom in his life.  Yes, it does happen but it is rare.  Again, Google shows no real results when I Googled “indecent exposure in public bathrooms.”  And being attacked by a transgender person is even rarer in public bathrooms.

Also, the majority of sexual abuse child victims know their abusers.  That being said, there are pedophiles everywhere.  They come in all races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, and religions.  I understand that people are nervous about this fact.  Parents must be diligent about watching their children.  We’ve heard horror stories of boys being sexually abused by their priests or girls being sexually abused by women even though it is a bit less often than men.  My point is that being with the same gender doesn’t necessarily mean that children are safer.

As someone with a severe physical disability, my husband must take me to the bathroom which is always a pain without a family bathroom as someone must make sure all the ladies are out and guard the door while he takes me. Heaven forbid I ever have an emergency, we will have no choice but to barge into the ladies’ bathroom!  Many caregivers of people with disabilities have the same problem with taking the person they are caring for to the bathroom in public if they are of the opposite gender.

“Anyone, who is caring for a seriously impaired person, who is his/her opposite gender, will also experience hardship from the passage and enforcement of segregated bathroom laws. I often think, when some nasty stranger feels compelled to judge, snark at me, or yell at my son, isn’t our life complicated enough?  Perhaps we should instead get some understanding and help instead of dismissal and condemnation.

I’d say the same for what the vast majority of transgender people have endured their entire lives – the dismissal and cruel attacks. What ever happened to live and let live? Must so many people who are different dread something as fundamental as going to pee in a public restroom? Is it more a sign of the degradation of society, that we make exceptions to the rules of segregated restrooms for some people who are different or differently abled, or is the true degradation that the bigotry of some against “other” is so pervasive that we’re reduced now to making laws about where people urinate?

It is crucial to understand that passing strict gender segregation laws not only demeans and endangers our transgender brothers and sisters, but also puts severely disabled people with caretakers of the opposite gender in extreme danger in many cases.

It’s for the safety of people with disabilities and transgender men and women, who are much more likely to face danger when they walk into a restroom which doesn’t seem to visually correspond with their gender, that these laws must not pass. I see this as a life or death issue, not a punchline, not a “distraction issue.” I hope someone doesn’t have to get harmed, assaulted, or killed before the rest of society wakes up to what can happen if these laws are passed and enforced.

It’s not just federal law that public facilities must accommodate my son’s needs, it is also the moral thing to do” (Tidd, 2016, http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2016/04/how-do-the-new-new-bathroom-laws-affect-kids-with-special-needs/).

I truly believe that family bathrooms are necessary for a variety of people.  They simplify things for parents with children of the opposite sex who don’t want their children to go alone, people with disabilities that need help, transgender people, and people who don’t like going in a multi person bathroom.  What is the harm in accommodating everyone??

Jesus said to love one another. I wish more Christians would just love. It’s a major reason why my husband and I don’t call ourselves “Christians” anymore. Love. Reject sin but love because we’re failing at showing The Light to a very dark world.

We are also supposed to be humble and consider others as more important than ourselves.

Romans 12:3-8 (NASB):
“For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”

May we truly follow Jesus’s example when it comes to dealing with people.  After all, Jesus forgave and loved the Samaritan woman at the well!

There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”  She said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water?   You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?”  Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again;  but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.”  He said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.”  The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.”  The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.  Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”  Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.  You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.  God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”  The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.”  Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He” (John 4:7-26, NASB).

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References:

Bianco, M.  (2015).  Statistics Show Exactly How Many Times Trans People Have Attacked You in Bathrooms.  https://mic.com/articles/114066/statistics-show-exactly-how-many-times-trans-people-have-attacked-you-in-bathrooms#.ZHkggaq6X

Flaherty, L.  (2014).  Do you know the difference between transexual, transgender and transvestite?   http://campus.ie/surviving-college/personal/do-you-know-difference-between-transexual-transgender-and-transvestite

Glicksman, E.  (2013).  Transgender today.  American Psychological Association.  April 2013, Vol 44, No. 4  Print version: page 36. http://www.apa.org/monitor/2013/04/transgender.aspx

Human Rights Campaign. (2016).  The Lies and Dangers of Efforts to Change Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity.  http://www.hrc.org/resources/the-lies-and-dangers-of-reparative-therapy

Kitschmix.  (2016).  Lesbian Forcibly Removed from Women’s Bathroom by Police.  

Lambrese, J.  (2010).  Suppression of Puberty in Transgender Children.  AMA Journal of Ethics.  August 2010, Volume 12, Number 8: 645-649.  http://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/2010/08/jdsc1-1008.html

McHugh, P.  (2015).  Transgenderism: A Pathogenic Meme.  http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2015/06/15145/

National Center for Victims of Crime.  (2012).  Child Sexual Abuse Statistics.  https://victimsofcrime.org/media/reporting-on-child-sexual-abuse/child-sexual-abuse-statistics

Rajkumar, R.  (2014).  Gender Identity Disorder and Schizophrenia: Neurodevelopmental Disorders with Common Causal Mechanisms?  Schizophrenia Research and Treatment.  Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 463757, 8 pages.  http://www.hindawi.com/journals/schizort/2014/463757

Russo, F.  (2016).  Is There Something Unique about the Transgender Brain?  Scientific American.  http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-there-something-unique-about-the-transgender-brain/

Sanghani, R  (2015).  Female paedophiles: Why women sexually abuse children.  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/11899484/Female-paedophiles-Why-women-sexually-abuse-children.html

Stafford, Z.  (2015).  Transgender homicide rate hits historic high in US, says new report.  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/nov/13/transgender-homicide-victims-us-has-hit-historic-high

Stoltzfus, D. (2011).  Written vs Living Word.  http://everythingisknowable.blogspot.com/2011/12/written-vs-living-word.html

Tidd, J.  (2016).  How do the new bathroom laws affect kids with special needs?   http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2016/04/how-do-the-new-new-bathroom-laws-affect-kids-with-special-needs/

Ungar, L.  (2015). Transgender people face alarmingly high risk of suicide.  http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/08/16/transgender-individuals-face-high-rates–suicide-attempts/31626633/).

The Prince Of Peace Versus The Prince Of Darkness

I’ve had many Christian pro-spankers say that I was doing the work of the “devil” after engaging in discussions about why spanking/hitting children is neither Biblical nor from God. When some of these people learn about my book, Gentle Firmness: Conveying the True Love of Jesus to Your Children Through His Example, they get even angrier and say that I am from the “evil one.”

Others have accused me of twisting God’s Word in order to fit my own beliefs about not inflicting pain on children in order to “discipline” them. They quote the same verses from Proverbs at me about using the rod to “discipline” children. They’re so certain that these verses must be taken literally despite the original Hebrew meanings showing that all of the rod verses that seem to advocate spanking/hitting children were never meant to be taken literally, that they quickly become accusatory and insulting. One must ask, “Who is really driving these people?”

It turns out that I am in awesome company when it comes to being accused of being from satan when it comes to teaching and promoting peace, love, mercy, forgiveness, and healing.  Jesus Himself was accused of being from satan after healing a blind and mute man in Matthew 12:22-37.

Let’s look at that passage:

“Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute was brought to Jesus, and He healed him, so that the mute man spoke and saw. All the crowds were amazed, and were saying, “This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?” But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.”

And knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand.
If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? If I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? For this reason they will be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Or how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.

He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.

“Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.

You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:22-37, NASB).

Here Jesus did something awesome by healing a man and what did the people around Him do?  They questioned who in the world He was.  Then the Pharisees concluded that Jesus must be “satan.”

love how Jesus answered them by pointing out:

“And knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, ‘Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? If I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? For this reason they will be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.’” (Matthew 12:25-28, NASB). 

What Jesus was saying was that satan cannot and would not drive out his own demon. Also, it is interesting that throughout this chapter whenever Jesus did something good and right but contradictory to the Law, the Pharisees and other teachers of the Law of Moses got angry and accused Jesus of doing the devil’s work. I find this interesting because there is no good in satan.

Yes, satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) because, after all, he was once an angel full of God’s light before he got proud and fell, but there is no good or light in satan. Satan comes only to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Jesus, on the other hand, comes to give life abundantly (John 10:10).

So, why would supposedly “God-loving Christians” accuse other Christians who are trying to teach Truth and peace regarding how God wants us to treat our children of doing satan’s work and/or of being heretical?  And why do they actually boast and laugh about hurting their children in Jesus’s name?

I believe the passage above has our answer. Let’s look at the end of that passage.

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:33-37, NASB).

As I discuss in great detail in my book, most Christian pro-spankers were “lovingly” spanked/hit by their parents, and thus, have the message literally ingrained in their brains that having been spanked/hit in Jesus’s Name was good and right. They have denied and repressed the physical and emotional pain of being hurt by their parents.

Therefore, as this passage points out, a good tree will bear good fruit and a bad tree will bear bad fruit. We can force our children to behave exactly how we want them to behave, but this does not guarantee that they’ll have pure hearts and will bear good fruit. In fact, spanking/hitting children tends to make them angry and resentful. As Greven (1992) states:

“Anger is a child’s best (and often only) defense, for it arises out of a powerful sense of self, a self being violated and abused by painful blows and hurtful words. The child has been hurt on purpose (bolding for emphasis by author) by an adult in order to teach a lesson in discipline, but the child experiences this pain and reproach as an assault upon the self as well as upon the body. Often the result is not only anger but also hatred and a powerful desire for revenge, which often takes the form of imagined mutilation or murder of the person who inflicted the pain. These powerful emotions are permanently stored in unconscious memories, but sometimes people also remember them quite consciously, years after the events that provoked the feelings” (p. 124).

The devil is our accuser.  He is the one who puts us down and tries to get God to be mad at us.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down’” (Revelation 12:10, NASB).

So when angry “Christian” pro-spankers hurl accusations at those who are trying to help them see and understand God’s amazing love for all of us, especially children, God’s love does not shine through them. Only anger and hate comes through. The Bible makes it very clear that we are to love and bless each other and leave revenge up to God.

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:9-21, NASB).

Yes, we are to gently correct each other of sin according to Galatians 6:1-2, but the key word is gently, because accusing people and inflicting pain on them only causes fear and defensiveness.  Jesus told it like it was with the Teachers of the Law, but He was always gentle.  And no, He did not hit anyone with the whip He made to drive everyone out of the Temple. He loved people.

He still loves us and uses His gentle love to bring us to Him so that we may be saved.

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4, NASB).

Christ does not hurt, accuse, insult, or punish us to make us come to Him. He offers love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness to us. He is the Prince of Peace.

However, satan hurts, accuses, insults, steals, kills, and destroys.  Do you really think satan wants us to discipline (teach and guide) our children in a graceful manner without inflicting pain?   Jesus created children.  He knows how vulnerable the young brain is and how harmful spanking/hitting is to that young, vulnerable brain. Why would the Prince of Peace who, despite being absolutely sinless, suffered and died for all of humanity’s sins call us to physically punish our children for their mistakes?

Out of our mouths come the things that are in our hearts.

I leave us with a beautiful passage that describes exactly who Jesus is.

“Like a shepherd He will tend His flock,
In His arm He will gather the lambs
And carry them in His bosom;
He will gently lead the nursing ewes” (Isaiah 40:11, NASB).

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Source: http://20reasonsnottospank.blogspot.com

Reference:

Greven, P. (1992). Spare the child. New York, NY: Vintage Books.

The “Strong-Willed” Child

So many Christians view “strong-willed” children in a very negative light.  There’s a book by James Dobson entitled The Strong-Willed Child that I can’t stand. Dobson’s way of punishing these children include multiple spankings/hittings and other harsh punishments in order to break their wills. Equating love with pain has been proven to be damaging to children.

I’m well aware that Dobson claims all research proving spanking is “harmful” to children is somehow “biased.” As someone who has conducted my own scholarly research, I can assure you that strict guidelines are upheld. There are many more studies showing the harmful effects of spanking than the few small studies claiming “loving” spanking isn’t harmful. It makes me feel physically ill that many Christians use this horrible book on their children.

Yet, in the Bible, we see that God uses many strong-willed people to do His Will!

The most strong-willed person in the Bible that God used to do so much good for the kingdom of God, I believe, is the Apostle Paul.

We see in Acts 9:1-2, and even in the previous chapter, that we meet Paul first as Saul, a devout Hellenistic Jew and a Pharisee that enjoyed persecuting Christians. He approved of the stoning of Stephen in Acts 8:1. Needless to say, this Saul guy was one bad dude. And yet, God had a radical plan for Saul. In Acts 9, we see that as Saul was on his way to Damascus to persecute even more Christians, Jesus got Saul’s attention in a big but non-painful way. Saul went blind. Jesus asked Saul why he was persecuting Him in Acts 9:4. Jesus told Saul to meet a man in Damascus who would tell him what to do. Saul, blind, obeyed God and look what happened:

Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, ’Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again'” (Acts 9:17-19, NIV).

From this moment on, Saul, who became Paul, lived his life for God, fearlessly proclaiming the gospel to all surrounding nations despite numerous beatings, imprisonments, and shipwrecks. Through the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote between thirteen and fourteen books of the New Testament—this is over half of the New Testament.

And anyone who is very familiar with the New Testament knows that Paul tells it like it is. He didn’t sugarcoat anything that God inspired him to write. He encouraged his fellow believers, but also rebuked and corrected them in his letters. Through Paul, God gained many believers into His kingdom.

God did not break Paul’s will. God molded Paul’s will into doing good instead of persecuting Christians. Had God broken Paul’s will, do you believe Paul would have clung to God through all the suffering he went through to share salvation through Jesus Christ?

Broken, compliant people are usually not strong people in that they find it very difficult to press against the tide. Strong-willed people have an easier time of questioning authority. They also have an easier time of pressing on when persecution occurs.

“We are struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you” (2 Corinthians 4:8-12, NASB).

What I wish Christians would stop doing is viewing children as “strong-willed” and “manipulative.” And view them as intelligent, high spirited children who need much connection and guidance.

We should involve them in decisions about how the family needs to get things done.  We also need to provide them with appropriate alternatives for limits. For example, “You may not go upstairs right now but you can help with making dinner.” Or “Yes, you may go upstairs after I finish vacuuming.  I need you to pick up that toy.”

Having high spirited children can be very challenging.  But they can be disciplined without punishment. These children need to be heard. They need some control over their environment. They need lots of connection with us. They also need to have a great deal of consistency. By taking the time to truly work with high spirited children, we can channel that strong will into doing good and, ultimately, God’s Will.

I highly recommend the book, Raising Your Spirited Child.

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Original image source: http://gardenofpraise.com/bibl34s.htm