Golden QuillTribulations & Triumphs

Lanny's daughter Heather and grandson Connor hugging each other at table in restaurant

This is a photo of my daughter and eldest grandson enjoying a hug. It was taken in the same restaurant, in almost the same spot, where my daughter was sitting when she told me that she was pregnant with this child. Heather was 17–years–old and not married. She did not plan to get pregnant; she was shocked when she learned from her doctor that what she had thought was the flu was a baby on its way.

After she'd conceived this child, Heather took a strong dislike to the father and thought to herself a week later, "I sure am glad that I'm not having his kid!" She preferred to have no further association with him, but then she discovered that she was going to have his child and, as much as she would have liked to never see the father again, she knew that it would not be fair to not tell him that she was going to have his baby. He was not supportive of her situation.

Heather lived in a group home and the house mother suggested that she get an abortion. The other girls in the home pressured her to get an abortion. Heather has a tender heart for babies and she did not consider abortion a viable solution to her predicament.

I did not expect that Heather would get pregnant easily. She had appendicitis when she was 14 and it infected one of her ovaries. When the doctor told me this, I thought, "I will probably have to pray for her to get pregnant some day." I didn't expect to have to do so until after she married, which is the only time that I consider it right to engage in sex and have children. With the idea stuck in my head that Heather would need prayer to help her conceive, I missed several clues that she was already pregnant at only 17.

I learned the news on Good Friday 1999 when I went to visit Heather in her group home. She told me before that she had the flu, though she did not know it was "Egyptian" flu (she was going to be a mummy), so I asked her if she still felt sick. She said that she did and was throwing up a lot.

I blithely carried on with my visit, completely missing the clues that Heather was trying to tell me something, and I found out later that she wasn't even aware that she was trying to tell me that she was pregnant.

I invited her to go to a nice restaurant with me to celebrate Passover. She agreed and we went to the finest restaurant that I could find within a short distance of where she lived. We each ordered a full meal with appetizers, and I also ordered a bottle of non–alcoholic wine. I thought, "Why I am ordering this wine? It's stretching my budget enough to order appetizers, never mind this bottle of wine!" However, I seemed unable to stop myself from ordering the wine. It was very strange.

My daughter worked as a telemarketer to sell magazines and had entertained me before with hilarious renditions of some of the conversations she'd had with various sales prospects. The people she called lived in the southern United States and Heather is a wonderful mimic at imitating accents. For ten minutes, one of the prospects made Heather listen to her troubles, but wouldn't let her do her spiel, which both annoyed and amused her.

I hoped for more of this type of entertainment, so I asked, "Are you still working at that job selling magazines?" She shook her head and said, "No, I'm going to be sick for a few months." I thought, "What kind of sickness can a person have that they know how long it will last?" The light finally dawned and I asked, "Are you pregnant?" With a little trill of pleased laughter, she said, "Fancy how you figured it out just like that." I thought, "Just like that? She has been hitting me over the head with clues for the past two hours, and I've figured it out only now. So that's why the Lord had me order the non–alcoholic wine!"

My parents weren't married, so I knew very well what it can do to a person for their existence to be a huge inconvenience to their parents. For many years, I battled through a blizzard of messages that undercut my self–esteem. Unborn babies whose conception is resented are spiritually and emotionally battered by the negative vibes of people who think that it would be a mercy for the mother to have a miscarriage. Even if nobody else in the world recognized that God had planned this child and it had as much right as anyone else to be born, I determined that it would get good feelings from me. I leaned forward towards Heather's tummy and said, "Welcome, baby." Then Heather and I drank a toast to the little person who was growing beneath her heart.

It was not convenient for me that my unmarried daughter was going to have a baby. I was divorced. My children's father did not visit my children unless they went to see him. Heather did not go to see him often; she did not feel welcome. I knew that he wasn't going to be much help in this situation. The best job that I could get at this time was waitressing because I hadn't finished high school, and I was unemployed when I learned that Heather was pregnant. She needed my help, even if she could get Welfare.

I knew that if Heather kept that baby, there would be unpleasant wrangles with her about its proper care because she was so young and relatively inexperienced about caring for children. Also, she was very wounded by the fighting that occurred between her parents in her earliest years, and the fall–out from the divorce that followed. She was in a group home because she resented authority, and her parents in particular. We had given her the impression that we were rather stupid. Up to a point, we deserved that assessment.

When a child is conceived inconveniently, adoption might be an option, but abortion certainly isn't. Sound Christian doctrine states that abortion is a sin; it is the sin of murder. The Bible clearly shows that, in God's knowledgeable opinion (and His is the opinion that matters the most), life begins at conception, not at birth.

Isaiah the prophet said in the Book of Isaiah 49:1 "Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, you people, from far; The LORD has called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother has he made mention of my name." God did not see the prophet as merely a lump of tissue when he lay nestled in his mother's womb: He saw a person whom He planned, and for whom He had a great destiny. He has planned a great destiny for every human being, but we have to choose God's ways over our own in order to realize our highest potential.

I was not surprised when Heather told me that she wanted to keep the baby. It is what I would want to do, and Heather knew I would help her with her baby, if she kept it.

Some adopted children get very well–placed with loving parents, but even with the most loving, adoptive parents, a child always wonders why their birth parents didn't want them. It causes them pain until they get old enough to understand that a person can love their child, but know their limitations in giving the child what they need in order for them to grow up in good health in a wholesome environment, and the most loving thing that they could do was to find parents for them who could give them a good upbringing.

Adoption normally is a good choice, but I knew from my own experience that, if a child's own flesh and blood can help raise them, it goes a long way towards helping them overcome their insecurity. My mother's mother helped her with her three oldest children who were born out of wedlock. I am the middle child. My sister and brother and I lived with our grandmother when we were very young, and those were golden years that shed light in our memories and warm our hearts.

Sometimes we painfully longed to live again with our grandmother because she was more emotionally mature than our mother and our stepfather (having the benefit of greater years and a genuine relationship with Yehoshua). Her loving care in our early years helped give us some emotional stability throughout the turmoil of our childhood. With further intervention by the Lord Yehoshua, I eventually became grateful for my parents.

My decision to support Heather's decision to keep her child was also influenced by my painful experiences with her father, who took off with my children and prevented me from having contact with them for five years. He was bitter towards me because I had not fulfilled his expectations of a wife, and he wanted to hurt me. He knew the way to hurt me the most would be through my children, and circumstances handed him that opportunity. When we first separated in 1986 (with a view towards eventual reconciliation), I had custody of our children, but he gained custody of them after I had a nervous breakdown.

It puts a lot of strain on a person who doesn't do drugs or have a problem with alcohol to live with an alcoholic, which partly accounts for my breakdown. While the alcoholic is temporarily escaping from the tensions of life by self–medicating themselves into a drugged haze, the sober person tries to cope with ordinary living and the extraordinary strain of living with an alcoholic. The alcoholic allows themselves only a hazy idea of how they are hurting the people around them, if they let themselves be aware of it at all.

It shocked me when my husband got drunk after we married. I had met him in church, so I didn't expect him to drink. When we were engaged, he told me that he used to have a drinking problem. I was very naive. I knew nothing about alcoholism and I attributed his behavior at that time in his life to his being "backslidden". I assumed that, because he was not currently backslidden, he no longer had a problem with alcohol. Just in case, though, I asked him to promise he would never drink alcohol again. He promised.

He broke his promise twice before we married, accepting a glass of wine from my room–mate, and another time, he drank a glass of wine that someone else offered him. I spazzed out on him both times, but he fobbed me off with excuses and, as he did not get drunk on those occasions, I did not realize that he was an alcoholic. When he started drinking more heavily after we married, though, and got drunk, I nearly went out of my mind with fear that he would become as bad as my father. I didn't grow up with my father's alcoholism because I didn't meet him until I was 17, but my mother told me a lot of awful stories about him.

The worst one was when he threw her out of window when she was pregnant with my younger brother. It was only a first floor window, but could have caused a miscarriage and was such a callous thing to do. My older sister remembered the incident, which happened when she was nearly three. She said that when Dad left the room, she ran outside and tried to comfort our mother as she knelt beside her on the lawn. Was my life going to become a nightmare like that?

I coped by denying to myself that my husband's drinking problem was serious. I knew other wives who didn't seem to mind their husband's drinking. Mind you, they weren't Christians and the wives also drank, but they seemed happy with their husbands. I figured that, if those women could put up with their husbands getting sloshed, maybe I could handle it, too.

I never managed to be patient with drunkenness and money being thrown away on alcohol, but I didn't think that if I left him, I would find another man to marry who pleased me as much in other ways. In his youth, my ex–husband had an awesome build, and he was fairly good–looking, as well as virile. He had a fabulous Scots accent and his voice was soft and mellow when he was in love with me; it was like music. It still is important to me to feel a lot of sexual attraction towards whoever shares my marriage bed. I didn't think that I could deal with being celibate, which would be required of me, if I forced a crisis with my husband by separating from him until he demonstrated control over alcohol.

Also, in the early years of our relationship, my ex–husband had some beautiful character qualities. Sometimes he was sensitive and said just the right things to me when I was troubled. He helped with the housework and he was a really good cook. He could be a lot of fun; he liked to surprise me by taking me on trips that I didn't know we were going to go on until the day we left home. I liked his jokes and he laughed a lot at mine. He wasn't into reading books because he was slightly dyslexic, but he was intelligent and a good match for me when we played checkers or cards. (Yes, I used to play cards, but I didn't gamble.) He was kind to the downtrodden and to elderly ladies. He was steady worker who faithfully paid the bills. He had some control issues (and so did I), but it was mostly alcohol that tore down his character, killing off his brain cells, making him irrational as time went on.

If it had not been for the drinking, and later on the adultery, there really wasn't much to complain about in my marriage, but the drinking distressed me a lot and I was an economic hostage to my situation. I had not finished high school and could not get a job that would have paid enough to support myself and my children. Most of what I earned would have needed to be paid to a babysitter. There were no subsidies, that I know of, back then to help with childcare.

I knew that it was a good idea to go to night school and upgrade my education, in case something happened to my husband, but the idea of us getting divorced, or of my husband dying, filled me with so much horror at the idea of losing him, that not doing anything further for my education was like a talisman to me against either of those tragedies. Of course, that's silly, but my fear of losing someone I loved and depended on was so great that I was not rational. It related to abandonment issues. When I was a little girl, I lost my father, and I even lost my mother for a while, and then when we had to go live with my Mom and stepfather, I lost my beloved grandmother and two uncles who were father figures.

To my way of thinking as a Christian, I thought that for me to consider the possibility of divorce or widowhood was to not have faith in God to prevent those tragedies. That was silly, too, because I was expecting too much of God in regards to preserving my marriage. A person does not need so much faith, if they use more wisdom and work harder at their marriage, instead of putting so much strain on it by immature behaviour, of which I was guilty. I tested my husband by not correcting my faults, as I wanted to see if he would love me, regardless of my faults. I thought that tolerating a person's faults was a demonstration of true love. True love, though, will try to help others overcome their faults, and my husband didn't know how to do that. We both were really inept at helping each other develop character.

We were resistant about getting counselling. We were very insecure and felt that going for counselling would indicate that we were weak, that there was something wrong with us. Well, there was something wrong with us, but it is a strong thing to be humble enough to admit it and get help to overcome problem areas. Doing so demonstrates a rational mind, not a weak one.

Stubborn people think that being strong–willed is strength, but it is not strength when it is misdirected, turned towards Self. That's like taking a boat with a powerful motor and aiming it straight at at dock, going full throttle. That thing is going to crash, destroying the boat, the person in the boat, the dock, and injuring whoever is on the dock and doesn't get out of the way in time.

For those who have a husband to support them and resist getting more education and job skills because they can't get past the idea of getting a divorce or their husband dying, here's a really good reason to upgrade: someone else you love might need you to help them someday.

Even if you are pouring your love into your children and giving them the best upbringing possible, there is no guarantee that your children will have easy lives. Something might happen to them someday where they will need you to help them financially. If that day should come, you will wish that you had taken lots of courses and read educational books, instead of novels, when you had the opportunity earlier, so that you would have lots of great job opportunities.

Besides that, the more a woman is able to take care of herself, the more her husband respects her because he knows that she stays with him by choice, rather than because of necessity. My husband used to sneer at me and say, "You need me for my paycheque." I couldn't deny it, but I also could not tell him how distressed I felt about the idea of him dying, not just for the sake of that paycheque, but because I would grieve that I would never be able to get back the man he used to be, if that happened.

Our marriage broke down to the point where my husband despised me too much to believe that somewhere in my heart, I still cared for him. If a woman doesn't need a man to support her, when she tells him she loves him, it carries more weight, and he is likely to treat her better because he feels more loved than he would otherwise.

Yes, I loved him, but if I had loved him better, I would have gotten more education, so that he could feel prouder of me, if for no other reason. Any girls who are reading this, I advise you to get as much education as you can, and develop competency in as many areas as you can, to widen your job opportunities. Don't think that getting married is an alternative to developing valuable job skills. It isn't! You will put yourself and your family at a huge disadvantage, if you think so.

Though I heartily endorse getting a good education, I advise against taking out student loans in order to go to college or university. Paying back the loan and the interest puts a person in bondage to debt for years, and some are never able to pay off those loans. In the U.S., people are not allowed to get off the hook any more by declaring bankruptcy. I don't know if it is the same in Canada, but I would venture to guess that it is.

I listened to one woman's story on YouTube and she said that (formal) education ruined her life. She is well into middle age and still owes over $200,000.00 in student loans (including interest charges). Making monthly payments reduced the money available to her for living expenses and she does not think that she can ever pay off her loans. Her job options were limited, as she could not get licensed to fully do what she had been trained to do; owing money on student loans prohibited her from obtaining her license.

It has also been pointed out that while people are spending four years in college, they are not earning income, which sets them behind other people their age who have jobs. Though they have been told that, with a degree, they have the potential to earn a million dollars more in their lifetime than people who do not have a degree, paying back their loans, and interest charges on their loans, as well as lost income from being in school, have not been figured into that projection.

Very few people actually manage to get a job in the area that they studied for, and when they apply for work in other areas, a lot of employers tend to veer away from people whom they consider to be over–qualified for the jobs they offer. They figure that such people will want higher raises than what they are willing to pay, and that they will not stick around for long, if they can get a better–paying, or more interesting, job. It can be very difficult to pay off student loans when one is not earning as much income as they were led to believe they would be able to earn, if they obtained a degree.

Remember, colleges and universities are businesses who want to stay in business. They need students in order to stay in business, so there is a tendency to paint things rosier than what they really are. One law school pointed to a very high percentage of their students obtaining work after graduation, but what they didn't say was that many of those students had jobs, but not as lawyers, and that they had hired some of their former students to work in their cafeteria, so that they could say that they had obtained jobs and make their employment figures look good.

Education is valuable for its own sake, even if one does not need to earn an income. It helps us develop our intellectual abilities, boosts self–respect, and increases other people's respect for us, which gives us more influence. If money for it is not available, public libraries are. If a person can manage to learn on their own, they can set up a course of study for themself. I recommend reading books about business skills and people skills, as well as developing more skill in spelling and grammar and math. Employers need confident, articulate people who understand business and can think for themselves, instead of always having to be told what to do, and are able to figure out solutions to problems.

On–the–job training can be obtained, if a person is willing to volunteer their services to get the knowledge and experience they need. It is best to do this while going to high school, when one's living expenses are paid for by their parents, or if married, before starting a family. Volunteering to work in your church office or for a Christian ministry are places to consider, or in a community museum, for friends who have a business, etc., until one acquires enough skills that other businesses are willing to pay for.

If the job of one's dreams requires a degree, then a person has to obtain the degree. It is better to work and save money to pay for courses, or to take advantage of offers from parents or grandparents to pay for tuition or lend the money interest–free. If it is a choice between parents paying for education or a big, fancy wedding, go for the education. A big, fancy wedding is a huge ego trip and it lasts only a day, but education has the potential of paying a lot of bills for many years, if a woman finds herself in the position of having to support herself and her children. If parents pay for tuition, don't break their hearts by goofing off. Such foolishness could end up breaking one's own heart, if later in life one's job options are limited because they did not get all the education they could, when it was available to them.

I was an economic hostage to my husband's increasingly boorish behaviour, but also a sexual hostage, because I was sexually–addicted to him. I stayed with him, in spite of his alcoholism and unfaithfulness and our frequent fights, when I should have packed up the kids and left, or insisted that he move out. There were things that my kids saw of their father's degradation through alcohol and fights they heard that they would have been better off not seeing and hearing, especially at such a tender, impressionable age. Those things undermined their respect for their parents and did not equip them to be emotionally healthy. It set them up to have to work past a lot of damage in order to become successful in life.

When my husband and I finally broke up, I was devastated. Before his alcoholism progressed to such a point that it seriously eroded his character, my husband was kind to me in a lot of ways. It broke my heart to think of how sweet he used to be, but wasn't like that anymore, and of the hopes and dreams that I'd had for our marriage when we started out.

When my husband was a little boy, he wanted to be a missionary to the Eskimos, until the devil sent someone to discourage him. I figured that God would reawaken that desire and we would be in ministry together some day. Not that I wanted to be a missionary, especially in cold places, but I thought we'd get ourselves together eventually and become evangelists, and also wise counsellors like some of the older people in our church. Nothing remotely like that happened during our marriage. We were both very self–centred, but I put too much blame on myself for the things that went wrong, rather than rationally assessing my husband's share of the blame. As a result, I ended up in a psychiatric ward for six days.

I came out of there too fragile for a few months to cope with looking after the children. They were in my husband's care while I was hospitalized. I thought it wouldn't be "Christian" to talk about his faults in court, and that the Bible obliged me to submit to him, so he was awarded custody of our children, though we shared joint guardianship.

I was an enabler and a co–dependant, though I had no knowledge of those terms or that I fit their description. I convinced myself that God would bring my husband and I back together, so I left the kids with him (thinking that it would be only a short separation), rather than put them through the insecurity of being bounced back and forth between us.

My adamant insistence to my husband that we were meant to be together probably pushed him into remarriage to someone else sooner than he intended. He wanted to show me that it wasn't going to happen. I had legal access to see my children twice a week and every other weekend, but their father often refused to let me have them for visits. I refrained from calling the police to enforce the court order because having police on their doorstep would have traumatized the children, and their father would have convinced them that it was mean of me to do that.

When my ex–husband said that he wanted to take the kids to Alberta with him while he moved his parents there, though it was on a weekend that I was supposed to have them, I said it was okay. It wasn't really, but I knew that it was useless to argue because he would do it anyway. I wondered if he was planning to not come back, but he managed to put me off the scent by saying that he intended to keep our son in the Christian school that he attended.

I was so happy about this news that I was distracted from my anxieties. Afterwards, doubts steadily arose again, but I was afraid to call and find his phone disconnected, thus confirming my fears. After two weeks went by, he called me at work and triumphantly told me that he had remarried and moved to Alberta along with his parents, and he said that they weren't coming back. Click on MISSING CHILDREN at the bottom of this page, if you wish for details about how God ministered to me in that episode.

God helped me deal with that terrible time, but the upshot is that I unwillingly went through five years without any contact with my children. God carried me through it; it was the only way that I could have survived it.

When my children were gone, I never talked about them to people I worked with. It was too painful and complex a subject. They didn't even know that I had children, so it was strange one evening when I was out with some friends from work, that one of the cooks suddenly out of the blue started talking about his deceased cousin. He said that she was very talented, actually a genius, and she had been a firefighter. His cousin got involved with a guy who was in the Mafia, had a child with him, and then they split up a while later.

The father kept the child, refused to let the mother see him, and poisoned the child's mind against her. When he was five–years–old, the child told his mother that he hated her, and she was so heartbroken that she committed suicide. I thought to myself, "That is what I would do, if I didn't have the Lord to carry me through this." Click SINGLE AGAIN at the bottom of this page to find out more details about how Yehoshua helped me during that time.

After all that, I didn't want to be separated from yet another child who was my flesh and blood, even if they were adopted out to excellent parents, nor did I want my daughter to go through such pain. It's always there for a tender–hearted woman who has given up her child for adoption. After my divorce, I lived in a boarding house. My room–mate was a young girl who had recently come off the streets and really couldn't cope with raising a child, but she always mourned her separation from her son. I suppose that God put me in her life for a while because she needed encouragement from someone who knew how she felt, but was managing to cope with it.

In Heather's case, though she had a lot to learn about being a parent, I figured that, besides being very intelligent and very gentle at heart, in spite of her acting out, she was now old enough that she would be able to cope reasonably well with looking after a child. She didn't have any ambitions at that time about going to school and having a career. Pipe dreams maybe, but no moves were being made in that direction.

When my grandson was three, some of her friends chided her for having a child when she was so young. That was weird. They had met her child. They rubbed it in that she was stuck looking after a kid when she could have had an exciting, lucrative career.

It goes to show how crass some people can be. It's bad enough to counsel someone to have an abortion when they are pregnant, but the child was already born, they had actually met him, and they imply to his mother that she should have killed him before he was born? It is a cruel generation that can look at a living child and tell his mother that it would have been better for her to have aborted him because he was an inconvenience. I hope my grandson wasn't in the room to hear their thoughtless remarks.

I think that those so–called friends were annoyed at how happy my daughter was about staying home and looking after her son, and wanted to make her feel envious of their advantages. Heather shrugged and told them it was just as well that she kept her baby because she hadn't been doing anything else with her life. She just wanted to have fun. In her early and mid–teens, she was hanging out with the wrong sort of people in regards to having safe fun. Getting pregnant made her more sensible; having that child probably saved her life.

I'm proud of my daughter for good decisions that she has made. I am proud of her that she didn't get an abortion, though she despised her child's father, considered him mentally challenged, and seriously thought that her child might be born retarded. (The father has learning disabilities, but he is more intelligent than Heather supposes.) Even if the child was retarded, Heather decided that she would love him anyway.

It turned out that the kid is smart as a whip, and if he were any smarter, Heather and I wouldn't have been able to handle him. When he was only seven–months–old, she woke up one morning to see him waving his hands in front of her face to try to get her attention while calling, "Hedda, Hedda!" He has kept us on our toes.

He's hilarious, too. His insatiable curiosity got him into a lot of interesting situations when he was a toddler. And at only five–years–old, he started with the wisecracks. I was watching Connor one day when he was blathering away to himself while playing with a plastic dinosaur. Smiling, I interrupted his adventure fantasy and asked, "Connor, do you love me?" He replied blithely, "Sure I do. What's your name again?"

Another good decision that Heather made was to apply to get into a home for young, unwed mothers that was sponsored by a Mennonite church. She had been very set against going to church, and very uncaring about obeying rules, but she knew that, if she was going to give her child a decent home, she would have to start obeying some rules. The home was called "Mom's Place".

One day when I was on my way to visit Heather in her group home, the Lord clearly spoke to my heart and asked, "Lanny, what would you like me to do for you?" Instantly, the answer arose, "Get Heather into Mom's Place." After I arrived at the group home, Heather ecstatically told me that she had been accepted into Mom's Place.

As a Christian mother, it greatly blessed my heart that my daughter lived at Mom's Place during her pregnancy. There were Scriptures on the walls, grace was said at meals, and people from the church befriended my daughter. I was amazed at how well Heather kept the rules, even insisting that I get her back in time for curfew when we were having a good time together and tempted to extend our visit. She was given classes in natural childbirth and parenting skills, which also made me very happy.

Finally, the big day came and the birth wasn't nearly as difficult as we thought it was going to be. After only a couple of hours, Connor was born, and Heather thought to herself, "That's it?" Her natural childbirth classes had prepared her for the possibility that labour would go on for hours.

Right from the start, our beautiful Connor proved to be a gift from Heaven, an ambassador of peace and joy. It probably wouldn't have worked out like that, if we hadn't accepted right off that he was a gift from God. We would have missed out on a lot of blessings, and Connor would have been denied this part of God's purpose in his conception.

My children gave me a lot of trouble because of what their father said about me when they lived with him. Some of it was so off–the–wall that I wondered that he dared to say such things. He must have known that someday the kids would meet me again and find out that, not only it wasn't true, but it was so far from the truth as to be outrageous.

Well, they now knew that a lot of lies were told about me, but their emotions hadn't caught up with their knowledge. They had formed a habit of not trusting me, so we had many issues, but Heather put them aside for a while because she knew that she needed me to help her with the baby. This gave me the opportunity to show love to her, which eventually has an accumulative effect.

Connor not only brought Heather and I together, his birth also helped heal rifts between Heather and the rest of my family. She lived with one of my sisters for a while, but it did not work out as well as my sister and her husband supposed it would. Heather had a lot of remorse about that, but didn't know how to articulate it in a way that would be believed.

There was also a chasm between her and another of my sisters because when she was the victim in a bad situation, this sister didn't believe Heather's account of it. She was telling the truth, so she was very hurt, and wanted to refuse my sister's offer to hold a baby shower for her. She wanted to hear an apology before she would be reconciled. I said, "I think that your auntie is demonstrating that she's sorry, and that's worth far more than hearing someone say that they're sorry." Heather accepted this and the aunt hosted the shower. All the aunties and their husbands showed up and we had a wonderful time of rejoicing over the newest member of our family.

Connor gives us many laughs with his comical ways. Heather knows that she always has in me a willing listener who marvels just as much as she does over how funny and clever he is. I can still clearly see him at two–years–old, sitting next to her on the couch, holding a cushion in front of his face while he made faces at her behind it because she had denied him something he wanted. I told her what he was doing and she calmly said, "Oh, I know it. He always does that."

One morning when Connor was two, she wanted to sleep in, but he wanted her to get up. He bounced about on her bed while she groaned and said she wanted to sleep. Then things got still and quiet for a moment while he stood on her pillow. She opened her eyes and looked up to see Connor standing stark naked, grinning down at her, right before he dropped his soggy diaper on her face! Yup, I've got a lot of stories about that kid. His younger brother, though he also is lively and strong–willed, is a real rest, compared to him.

Little brother Jake joined the family in 2006. Like Connor, he is a blessing and has given us a lot to laugh about. It's fun that Connor joins in the laughter because he thinks his little brother is so cute. He gives Jake some typical big brother flak, but he also gives him piggyback rides, lifts him up so he can see things better, hugs Jake and pats his back when Jake is upset about having to go to bed, romps and wrestles with him, and makes him laugh with his joking around.

Jake has taken shameless advantage of his big brother's affection, clobbering him since babyhood because he knows that Connor will not do much about it, but at the same time, Jake adores him. Recently when Connor was getting ready for an overnight visit with me, little Jake exclaimed twice "Connor, I'm going to miss you!"

Heather and the kids and I all had a good time on BC Day in 2009 when we went out for breakfast, then did some shopping, and eventually ended up for lunch at that special place where I learned that Heather was pregnant with Connor. I look at the photo at the top of this page and think about how wonderful it is that Heather's decision to have this child and keep him resulted in having his loving arms wrapped around her nine and a half years later in that very same place.

There are a lot of times when we are going through difficulties that we see only the problems, and have no conception of the blessings that God wants to bring to us through those situations. I am reminded of a verse from an old hymn that says:

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds you so much dread,
Are big with mercy and shall break
With blessings on your head.

The Blood of Yehoshua washes away the sins of all who turn to Him in sincere repentance. If you have missed out on some of God's blessings because you were too afraid to trust Him with an unplanned pregnancy and had the child aborted, God is willing and ready to forgive. Even if a person did it for the most selfish of all reasons – to keep their figure slim, trim, and unscathed by stretch marks – God will forgive even that, if a person is honest with Him about it and sincerely repents.

God hates sin and has to judge it, but He is not eager to send anyone to Hell. He prefers to show mercy and rushes forward to welcome back all of His lost sons and daughters, as soon as any of them open themselves to His mercy through sincere repentance.

There are a lot of girls and women who are afraid of what the future holds for them. They are afraid that they can't support their child/children financially, that they won't be good mothers because they themselves had a troubled childhood, they are afraid that they won't have the emotional strength to hold a job and raise children at the same time, they are afraid that their children will be emotionally scarred by their shortcomings. Indeed, they will be emotionally scarred, even if they have the best parents in the world, because no mother or father is perfect, except for the Heavenly Father.

There are verses in the Bible, though, that reassure that God can redeem all the mistakes we make when we put our children in His hands. It says in Psalm 127:3 – 5 "Lo, children are a heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that has his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate."

A few years ago, I finally realized that the mighty man this speaks of is not the children's natural father, or their natural mother, for that matter. The mighty man the verses speak of is the Heavenly Father. When we stop trying to control our children to make them extensions of ourselves, so that we can live vicariously through them, and put them instead into God's hands, their problems are more easily resolved to help them become effective human beings in the ways that matter the most. The verses assure that even children of the youth, when the parents are young and stupid, hardly more than babies themselves, can eventually develop healthy self–esteem and spiritual expertise to effectively oppose the forces of darkness.

This doesn't mean that it's okay for parents to let their children go off the rails of decent behaviour without doing anything to curb them, because God can fix them up if they go bad. The Bible shows that, even after children are grown, if a parent can curb bad behaviour, God expects them to do it.

We see this from the example of the high priest Eli. He chided his sons for their evil behaviour, but was judged because he did not try to remove them from their priestly positions. His irresponsibility towards them, and the people whom they affected adversely by their sinful actions, brought judgment on him and all his descendents.

Samuel learned from Eli's mistakes. Because God did not judge him and his family in a similar way, we can deduce that Samuel not only rebuked his sons for using spiritual ministry for personal profit, but he also did something to curb them. They found employment in ministry, nonetheless, in a city where their dishonesty was tolerated, but all the rest of the country detested their sin. Those young men's lack of integrity led to the Israelites committing the sin of asking for a king to rule them, instead of being content with having only God as their King and letting His priests be their judges.

Sometimes there is nothing that a person can do about how their children behave after they are grown, but we should all do the best we can as parents, and leave the rest in God's hands. We might mess our kids up royally, but every child has a right to live and see what they can make of their life, in spite of their parents' shortcomings, or any other disadvantages.

In the past, I struggled with Scriptures such as Deuteronomy 23:2, "A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD." But I trusted God, in spite of my confusion and misery over this verse, and He spoke gently to my heart and said, "Lanny, I did not say this to place a mark against children who were born out of wedlock. They are innocent. I said it for the parents, to warn them that irresponsible behaviour on their part would affect their innocent children."

He went on further to say, "I let you be born out of wedlock because I knew that you could handle it better than if your father had raised you. Your mother would have stayed with him longer, if she had been married to him, and he would have molested you." My father is now deceased, and I have good reason to believe that he received Yehoshua as his Saviour right before he died. But for the last ten years of his life, I did not have any contact with him because it was not safe for me to be alone with him, and if I had tried to talk to him in public, he was likely to make a scene just for the heck of it. He probably would have said, "What do you mean by using my name? You're not my kid!" He had denied his paternity before, though I strongly resemble his mother. If he started up harping on that again, I would have had to call the police over my Dad making a public disturbance, but I didn't want to call the police on my father. Besides that, a judge was likely to ask why I didn't stay out of his way when I knew he was so cantankerous.

Yes, being born out of wedlock can have negative effects in hundreds of ways. But there is good news for those of us who were conceived or born without our parents having first entered into holy wedlock. Yehoshua knows exactly how we feel, though He was not an illegitimate child.

One of the reasons that He deliberately chose to be conceived in the womb of a virgin, without any witnesses to the angel's message to Mary and her overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, is that He requires people to have faith that He was indeed conceived in that matter, but He knew very well that many people would not believe it.

This leads to another reason that was involved in the manner of His conception. He knew that when He, as Yehoshua of Nazareth, was a child, adults would smirk when they saw Him and slander His mother to each other, and that their kids would overhear and taunt Him about being a bastard. He knew that He would be shunned by people who thought they were too good to keep company with Him because of what they thought of the origins of His birth.

In the same way that He chose to be born in a stable, so that all the poor of the Earth would know that He identifies with them, He chose to suffer rejection due to the taint of illegitimacy, so that all of us who have suffered from this cause (and there are many!) would know that there is a Saviour who cares as deeply for us as He does for those who have more respectable origins.

Hallelujah! God is a good God. Even as Galatians 3:28 says "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Yehoshua the Messiah", the same can be said that there is neither legitimate nor illegitimate in God's eyes. When we receive Yehoshua as our Saviour, without exception, we become His legitimate children. And all parents, whether wedded or unwedded, whether they were good parents or bad parents, become His legitimate children, as well, when they receive Him as their Saviour.

Through the virtue of the redeeming blood of Yehoshua, we are judged worthy to receive the blessings that He eagerly wants to rain on us. Security and healthy self–esteem through knowledge of His love for us are among those many blessings. Praise His Name!

Click below to read:

Seeds of Trouble
Fiery Furnace
Fiery Furnace Stoked
Missing Children
Single Again
Reunion

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Copyright © 2010, Lanny Townsend
Page modified by Lanny Townsend on March 27, 2010

Scripture references on this website are closely paraphrased from e–Sword's King James Bible.