Where Is Your Treasure?

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.lovecloud Matthew 6:21

I’ve spent a good bit of time wondering what to say today. Circumstances with my daughter have changed since last week’s post. She stands at a precipice and must put her words into action. Although, she claims a desire to fix her life so she can be with her children, I’m waiting to see if she will take even the first step. The question is what is in her heart? Where is her treasure?

If she can find treasure in restoration with her family, she has a chance. If she allows the world to tempt her with addiction and poor choices, her treasure will not be with us.

She is the only one who has control over where her heart leads her.

She is the only one who has control over which decision she makes.

She must navigate the obstacles, not us.

She must prove her treasure resides with her children by her actions.

Many people don’t understand why a parent doesn’t jump in and help a grown child who asks for help. We could, but we’ve been down that road. If a child who is visibly doing things to straighten out their life asks for help, that’s one thing. If the child continues to blame others for their problems, continues to believe their parents must help them, it’s a totally different story.

We’re not heartless. We care. We love her. We must let her choose where her treasure is.

 

What Makes Someone a Prodigal?

Image courtesy of Sommai at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Sommai at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” Luke 15:21

Not every wayward child qualifies as a prodigal.

That’s a hard pill to swallow.

I’ve written about my daughter a few times in relation to the prodigal story. I love and pray for her, and as the father in this parable does, I watch for her to return. The difference between the parable and her situation is how the child returns. My daughter has come home or asked to come home a few times, but she never has come back stating the words expressed by the prodigal son in Luke 15:21. She still wants a handout. She still wants acceptance and a place in the fold as if she’s done nothing wrong. That is not a prodigal’s return.

Although the story of the prodigal son gives us hope when we have a wayward family member, there are some significant points we must remember.

  1. Jesus told this story to explain how God greets the repentant sinner. He rejoices when a sinner turns away from sin and acknowledges his mistakes, not expecting a return to the position he had before. The beauty of this repentance is that God does give him that position of honor. He does not become less in God’s eyes because of his mistakes.
  2. The son realizes his mistake and returns but not expecting to step right back into the life he had. When she turns from her sin, she should do so with the realization that she deserves nothing. God will give her everything; she will become His daughter, but she must understand that this is His grace to give, not her due.
  3. This story is about who needs salvation. It’s not about the children in our lives who wander away from our family’s fold, although they do need salvation in most cases. Can we still apply it in that way? Sure, but we must remember that the parable was a response to who Jesus ate and socialized with:

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus.  But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15:1-2

Why am I taking the time to explore this? Because my daughter has not qualified as the prodigal child. Yet. Her words and actions tell me she hasn’t accepted any responsibility for her life choices. She still wants me to bail her out. I can’t. I’ve actually tried that only to lose her again.

To be a prodigal, the person must accept his own responsibility in what drew him away. She must turn away from the life she’s fallen into. He must take the steps necessary to leave the poor life choices behind. She must show her heart in a way that tells us she is the prodigal come home.

I Said No to an Abortion

Me at 17

I am a statistic. A statistic for women who chose not to have an abortion.

I was seventeen. Most of the people I knew pushed for me to have an abortion, pressured me to, in fact. This was only a few years after the Supreme Court passed Roe vs. Wade. Unlike today, a teen pregnancy ruined reputations. It generated scandalous gossip. We lived in a small town. People talk.

Prior to becoming pregnant, I held no strong conviction about abortion. My church taught that life began at birth.

For the first time in my life, I stood against the wishes of my parents, community, and friends. I said no to an abortion. I didn’t expect to make this decision at that age. I had graduated high school a year early and started on the fast track for college and a career. I expected to go beyond a four-year degree, maybe even get a PhD. I wanted to find a career that allowed me to help people and gave me the opportunity to write.

With an abortion, I could stick to my plan. Without it, I waved good-bye to my dreams.

Still I said no.

Because I said no to the abortion, I can point to five people in my immediate family who wouldn’t exist.

FIVE PEOPLE!

Heidi Cox

Heidi, photo by David Blue

My beautiful daughter, Heidi, would never have drawn her first breath. She is a gifted and talented actress, screenwriter, and producer. She has the most beautiful singing voice, but an abortion would have snuffed out her voice within a few minutes. Many people benefit from her sweet and kind heart. She helps people with special needs, whether Alzheimers patients or autistic children. She inspires people with her own story. She is my Starshine.

If I had chosen the abortion, I would not have married Heidi’s father. Even though I divorced him a few years later, without that marriage my second daughter would not exist. Yes, Tisha struggles in her life now, but she has an exuberance for life and a smile that lights up a room. Tisha gave birth to three of my grandchildren. My grandchildren bring joy to my heart every day.

My children and me three years after my divorce.

My children and me three years after my divorce.

Five living, breathing people in my life that would have never drawn a breath.

I can not imagine life without them.

Two of my grandchildren on the first day of school

Did I give up on the goals and plans for my life? That’s one of the reasons most people list as a reason to make abortions available.

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?  Matthew 16:26

I did not give up on my goals. I altered the plan. I chose to be responsible for my poor choices and not to become a victim. I pursued my dreams anyway. I worked hard and got my Bachelors and Masters degrees. In my career, I’ve helped people in various ways including:

  • running a welfare-to-work training program
  • conducting crime prevention and safety seminars
  • training adults how to communicate with each other with respect
  • helping adults develop the skills they need to advance in their jobs which, also, helps them support their families
  • teaching families how to get out of and stay out of debt
  • sharing my story through this blog
  • speaking to people about finding faith in the midst of tragedy
  • sharing my faith with church groups
  • empathizing with hurting people

I doubt I would be good at any of these if I had the abortion.

When I refused to have an abortion, tongues wagged. So what? I bet tongues wagged in Nazareth when Mary became pregnant. People eventually move on and forget, especially if we move on and show them the value of the lives we’ve saved.

Many more people walk this earth because someone else said no to an abortion. I know quite a few of them.

How many do you know?

Note: If you’ve had an abortion, God still has a place for you. I am not here to condemn you. I’m here to help people understand that abortion takes away more than one life. Many of my friends suffer because they made the other choice. If I can help, please comment below. Your comment will not be seen unless I approve it to appear on the blog. Just tell me what you prefer.