“I was in awe.” – Intermezzo Guest Blog

Parents overcome fears to welcome baby Henry, born without arms.
by Nancy Flanders, July 17, 2021 , 03:55pm

After learning that their preborn son would be born without arms, Jessika Turner and her husband doubted their abilities to parent a child with additional needs. But when baby Henry was born, life changed for the better.

2021-08-02 I Was In Awe

“We called our close family members and explained what little we knew at the time,” Turner told Love What Matters. “They had so many questions, and I was fresh out of answers. The one question I kept asking myself was ‘How in the world are we supposed to raise a child with no arms?’ At first, when I looked back on those few days after we received his diagnosis, I felt so guilty for feeling like I did. I repeated over and over, ‘How am I going to be a mom to a little boy who needs more than I can give him?’ Now, I realize I wasn’t worried about his arms, or lack thereof, at all. I was worried about our ability to care for this amazing child because I felt inadequate.”

Turner is not alone in her fears. For every child who receives a diagnosis, there are parents who wonder if they will be able to provide their child with everything he needs. When the child is still in the womb at the time of the diagnosis, doctors often suggest abortion instead of discussing how to actually help the child or the parents.

Henry’s doctors believed he had a rare genetic disorder called Thrombocytopenia Absent Radius Syndrome (TAR). According to Turner, TAR causes low blood platelets, missing arm bones, and other limb deformities. It also causes a lowered immune system and a milk protein allergy. There are two types of TAR: long arm and short arm. Those with long arm are missing the radial bone in the arm while those with short arm are missing all three arm bones. Henry has short arm TAR.

READ: ‘He’s absolutely perfect’: Mom of baby with missing limbs said choosing life was the ‘best’ decision

“Our next step was learning to adapt,” said Turner. “One of my biggest things, when we found out about Henry’s arms, was his clothes. Why does EVERYTHING have sleeves? All of the sleeveless items were summer clothes, and Henry was due in December. The feeling of being inadequate hit me like a freight train. I didn’t sleep. I didn’t eat. I screamed and cried and acted like a crazy person. I felt my soul break in half. My fellow special needs parents will know what it feels like. It’s gut-wrenching. I then realized I couldn’t stay in that dark place. I had to fight. I had to figure out how to do the best for this boy with lucky fins.”

2021-08-02 House Closing

Thankfully, Turner was able to find a support system with other families of children with TAR on Facebook. They gave Turner and her husband hope — “a life raft to hold onto.”

When Henry was born, Turner felt prepared and excited but also nervous and scared. He had a low platelet count of just 13,000 compared to the typical 150,000 to 450,000 and spent the first month after birth in the neonatal intensive care unit. He overcame a high white blood cell count, transfusions, IVS, x-rays, and five surgeries.

“The first time I got to see him with my very own eyes, I was in awe,” said Turner. “We created that! He was ours forever.”

Today, Henry is like any other toddler who loves to play with his trucks and uses a sippy cup. His parents have a mantra of, “No arms? No problem!” and his mother said she “cannot wait to see the person he grows into.”

Every child deserves to be loved the way Henry is loved, regardless of abilities or differences. No child should be discriminated against in the womb, but instead, all children should be welcomed at birth with love.

“Like” Live Action News on Facebook for more pro-life news and commentary!

Connect with Live Action here: Live Action News info@liveaction.org

My notes:
Every baby IS loved and would be welcomed into the world if we could just connect those who think abortion is the only route out of a difficult situation to those who want a baby.  There are so many childless couples who wait for years to provide loving homes that no baby needs to enter the world unwanted.
For a humorous spin on this, check out the Babylon Bee’s May 21, 2021 satire piece (remembering this is a joke website!): https://babylonbee.com/news/democrats-worry-of-dark-future-where-they-cant-murder-children-for-being-inconvenient.

Rated R: The Mystery of Marriage

The word “mystery” in the Bible does not mean what most people seem to think.  The first definition of the word is anything that is kept secret or remains unexplained or unknown.”  However, other definitions are more fitting: “an event that remains unsettled until the very end,” or specifically, “any truth that is unknowable except by divine revelation.”  I.e., a mystery is not something about which we are still in dark; it is something that is being or has been revealed, though it was once hidden.

Now to the singles reading this, I will offer very little to aid you in your sexuality, other than to note that Jesus was a young adult single.  I can offer (in another blog sometime) advice on this matter, but only as an observer and student of Scripture, because I am “the marrying kind.”  Jesus, the apostle Paul and others, both men and women, were not, and they lived fulfilled and purposeful lives without spouses, and with complimentary relationships without sex.

As for the MPA Rating, the R is a slight overstatement.  Spoiler: there is no lewdity, nudity, or excessive foul language or violence, but the subject matter IS something which you probably don’t want children to read without parental input.  If you have come here for the R rating, please stick around for a few minutes and read about the mystery of a marriage.  Regarding Same-Sex marriage, I refer you to an earlier blog.

Consider for a moment what most modern American marriage relationships look like.  Now this a VERRRY broad generalization and not to be taken as a model for how a marriage must work, but just an observation of how most in our nation work.
He mows the lawn, maintains the vehicles, does minor repairs around the house, works outside the home, and sometimes shares some of the housekeeping or cooking.  He maintains the checkbook, figures their taxes and spends some time with the children.
She does most of the cooking and housekeeping, organizes vacations, makes reservations and is primarily responsible for raising the children even though she may also work outside the home.
And he shows love to his wife and she shows respect to him, and they satisfy each other sexually.

If they are more affluent they may hire a landscaper to maintain their lawn, and they will take their autos in regularly for maintenance.  If anything in the house needs attention they just call a repairman.  They may hire a CPA to do their taxes and may even have a personal financial manager to pay their bills, and tell them how much they can spend on amenities each week. 
Perhaps they will employ a cook and a housekeeper or order meals from a service that provides on time delivery.  The cook may do the grocery shopping and the housekeeper maintains their cleaning supplies.  They may sign up for a cruise or tour group and leave the travel arrangements entirely to the tour company.  A nanny could be hired to come in daily, or an au pair may live with them and share meals with the family.

All of these services can be hired without incurring any personal guilt or judgement from society.

However, if they indulge in sexual infidelity, there will be consequences.  These may involve separation, legal actions, social stigmatism, and maybe divorce.  There will be changes in family relationships beyond the couple, including children, in-laws, shirt-tail relatives and family friends.  There may be job losses or changes, housing rearrangements, financial hardships, and a complete reorienting of their lives.  All because of violating one feature of the marriage relationship.

This suggests that there is something unique about the sexual relationship in a marriage that makes it apart from all of the other intimacies and details of the “normal” marriage.  The Bible supports this idea in 1 Corinthians  6:18: Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” 

The husband who does not tend to his wife’s sexual desires risks pushing her away, either into the arms of another or into volunteerism or vocational obsessions.  The wife who does not tend to her husband’s sexual desires may find him falling for promiscuity, prostitution or pornography to gratify them.  The unique thing which elevates their marriage above every other relationship a husband or wife may have is their sexuality, specifically their sexual fidelity.

Every marriage is as unique as the couple involved.  No two are exactly alike, but there are certain commonalities that can be recognized in any successful and pleasant marriage. 

The first is a common faith, a recognition that the marriage is not just for their happiness, but is a “mystery,” a reflection of Christ and the Church. (Ephesians 5:31-33)

Let’s reveal this “mystery!”  Jesus said the pattern for marriage was laid down by God at the creation: “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh.”  (Matthew 19:4-6)

Problems in marriages come because none of us is completely sinless as Jesus was (2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 4:15).  So when you put two fallible people together and tell them to love and respect each other (Ephesians 5:33), there will inevitably be conflicts, as each of them needs the other to discover where their selfishness lies.  It is in the curing of that selfishness that married couples become a model of Christ and the Church.

2021-04-17 Marital FidelityThe second is a developing intimacy that will increase and expand as they live together.  Sexual expression will likely be a part of that intimacy even when age or illness deteriorates the actual sex act of consummation.  An acceptance of a spouse’s body in the same way one sees his or her own body will grow in this intimacy (Ephesians 5:29).  Just as one looks at his or her reflection in a mirror and tolerates developing wrinkles or extra body fat or minor defects, loving and respectful husbands and wives will become more comfortable with each others’ bodies, and can enjoy physical intimacy that reflects what the Scripture means when it says “the two shall become one flesh.”  (Genesis 2:24)

Note the inclusivity and exclusivity of this expectation:  Nothing is forbidden in the marriage sexual relationship as long as it is mutually agreed and not harmful.  However, it is ONLY for the two committed to the marriage.  (See for more about this.)

As books have been written on these subject, I will simply refer you to some of best I have encountered and encourage you to explore this wonderful subject of what makes cohabitation a marriage by reading a couple of these references:
Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman
The Gift of Sex by Dr. Clifford and Mrs. Joyce Penner
The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick
His Needs, Her Needs by Dr. William Harley

See https://www.marriagebuilders.com/ for an excellent online resource from Dr. Harley.

Mystery solved.  Revelation resolved.

 

Intermezzo Guest Blog: The Legacy Coalition

Dear friends,
I have no affiliate engagements from which I receive remuneration and my guest blogs are just that: guests who have information which you may find valuable.  This is from a gentleman and personal friend who has been a pastor and servant of Jesus Christ for many years.  He recently changed venues for service to the Kingdom of God and is now with an organization called The Legacy Coalition.  Cool stuff!
Brent’s invitation to us is extended to any in the US and as online anywhere in the world.
(Sorry, but if you want him to travel to foreign countries in Australia, Africa, Europe, Asia or California
[😂], you’ll have to arrange for that! 😉

yours and His,
c.a.

2021-02-02 The Legacy Coalition

Dear C.A. and Anita,
It is likely that you have some grandparents among your blogging community.  So I want you to know more about “intentional Christian grandparenting,” which you may want to share in a blog.  Here is an ongoing, online resource each Monday night at 7 PM CST.  Each session is archived for one week, so it can be viewed throughout the week after.
There is no charge to register to watch and no financial info is requested.
Check out the February schedule and the topics below, beginning this coming Monday.

I would be glad to be a resource to your church to start a conversation about a grandparenting ministry!
Yours truly,
Brent Nelson
Legacy Coalition, Pastors Division, U.S.
615-415-1432 cell
brentn@legacycoalition.com

Image preview
To register: 
www.legacycoalition.com/events/

February 1: Understanding the H.E.A.R.T. of Grandparenting
Presenter: Ken Canfield, President of the National Association for Grandparenting
Here is a 4.26-minute video for Ken Canfield:
https://www.facebook.com/thelegacycoalition/videos/2614992578791820

Dr. Canfield has written, The HEART of Grandparenting as well as numerous other books.  His book synthesizes a theology of grandparenting, examining passages in the Old and New Testament like descendants, generations, your children’s children, grandchildren and many others.
His presentation will summarize those findings including current research and contemporary applications for grandparents to consider in strengthening their grandparenting and developing a grandparenting plan.

February 8: Faith in an Anxious World – What Grandparents Need to Know About the Mental Health of Young People
Presenter: Kara Powell

February 15: Four Essentials for Leaving a Spiritual Legacy
Presenter: Larry Fowler

February 22: Praying for Your Grandchildren: the Why’s and How’s
Presenters: Cavin Harper and Sherry Schumann

Heaven Gets Richer as Earth Gets Poorer

“To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” (Matthew 13:11-12)

Robert John Gerald Jacob, affectionately known as Bob. died to this world in his house on Monday, September 21, 2020, surrounded by his wife, children and grandkids.

2020-09-26 Bob JacobBob was born on in 1943 in Brooklyn, NY and grew up in Edgewater Park.  He attended King’s College, New York University, C.W. Post College, Rockefeller University, the University of Syracuse and the University of Chicago.  His choice of college in Long Island University endeared him to me 😉 , and I remember his hearty laughter when we wet in the University of Kentucky and he heard MY name. He said something clever at the time, along the lines of, “Did they name the college after you!? Oh, I must’ve gone to your cousin’s college!”  His New York accent was also something I treasured as it reminded me so much of time I spent in New England meeting people from “The City” visiting.

After completing his PhD, he moved to Lexington in 1978 with Gretchen and their three sons. He was a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Kentucky from 1978-2015, teaching medical and dental students. He also had a strong passion for research, where he mentored an abundance of students with an interest in the field. In his time of research he obtained many historic findings, awards and publications, making sure that his work meant something to the world, and more importantly, to his students.

Anita and I met Bob at First Alliance Church about the same time he and I met on campus, around the middle of 1991. I am not really sure which came first, but I definitely remember that meeting in FAC! Ron Gifford was making some astute point in his excellent manuscript sermon when a voice boomed out at the back of the auditorium, “Teach us, preacher!”

For Anita and I, used to more sedate church meetings, this made us look at each other with wide eyes! Someone yelling at the pastor!? Okay, supportive yelling, but loud enough it reverberated across the room! Eventually we heard Bob’s favorite classic, “Give me Jesus!” in response to something the pastor had said.

After service we met in the tiny foyer and smiled sheepishly at this robust University professor who was unashamed of identifying himself as a follower of Jesus. Our friendship went deepest when he supported Anita during turmoil over her tenure. He proved to be a wise advisor, a valued confidant on the Faculty Senate, and a reliable friend.

Most of all, he unabashedly embraced Jesus Christ and His lordship in his life, unafraid of what others thought of him. As much as anyone I have known, Bob exemplified Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 10: “Have no fear of [men, religious leaders, governors, kings], for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” A man without fear.

And so he went to Heaven last Monday, and I cried when I received the news. Not because I felt sorrow for him, but moved with compassion for Gretchen, his children and grandkids and all of us who will miss his laughter, bright smile, wise and scrutinizing eyes. He will be greatly missed until we join him around the Throne of the Lamb.

And so it goes. With each passing of a saint the world gets poorer unless we can find another who will shine Jesus’ light into the darkness; show Jesus’ love to the unlovable; give our lives to honoring the King of all Kings, just as Bob did.

So earth became poorer with Bob’s passing. A light of the world has gone out on this side, but shines even brighter in his real Home. Heaven certainly is richer with Bob’s booming voice calling out to the angels, “Just give me Jesus!”

A Memory From My Dad From 2 Corinthians 4

2020-06-20 Dad in Kansas City 1975
Dad in K.C., KS 1975

My Dad died at age 73 from complications with Parkinson’s Disease in 1993.  He was a believer before any of his children were born.  He and Mother met at an evangelistic rally she and a colleague held in Paradise, Kansas, as war was about to be declared by the U.S.  She and her friend had graduated from Foursquare Life Bible College in California and were having meetings in small towns around the Midwest, and as they say, “The rest is history.”  Married, a short stint on a recon team in France, farming in Brookfield, Missouri, two daughters and my brother after the war ended, a move to Kansas City, Kansas, and the only Kansas “Sunflower” since Daddy was me! 🙂

Some of my earliest memories include learning to read from the Bible sitting on his or Mother’s lap, and learning to count as they pointed to the verse numbers as we had “family devotions.”  He taught adult Sunday School with more students in his classes than many churches of the time.  It was in Victoria Tabernacle where attendance ran around 500, a feat almost unheard of before Calvary Chapel and Westside Assembly of God ran into the thousands.  Back then the very few biggest “megachurches” ran between one and 2000.

Dad was not an easy man to get to know, a characteristic of his era where men were admired for being strong and silent.  When asked if he loved his family it is reported that he answered, “I put a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs, food on the table and give them wheels when they’re old enough to drive.  What more is a man supposed to do?”  Yes, he loved us as much as he understood of love, which was a lot more than we realized as children.  I never saw his chest swell larger with pride than when my brother spoke and played piano at Victoria Tabernacle while home on a visit from college.

In the 60s the hippies of California preached a humanistic “love gospel” that slipped over the Midwest to embrace Woodstock, NY, before permeating back through the Rockies and the Pennsylvania forests to finally meet in Missouri where I was in college, getting ready to go to Alaska for a summer program.  The summer turned into a year, and at 20 years old I would spend my first Christmas away from family.

I remember calling my parents in August, 1972, from my boss’s office and telling them he had invited me to stay on for a year.  Asking them to get on extensions so both could hear, it was a joy to get their encouragement.  Dad said he would pray that I would do a good job and be a blessing in Alaska which Mother affirmed.

I had never heard anyone in my family say, “I love you” to another person.  That does not mean they had not said it, just not in my hearing.  But I had heard a sermon about the love of God and its implications to our relationships the previous semester, the first one I had ever heard on that topic.  Just before saying goodbye, with a lump in my throat I meekly said, “Dad and Mom, I love you.” . . . Dead silence on the phone for what seemed like forever but was only moments, Mom spoke up first. “Well, we love you, too.”  Then Dad spoke, “Yeah, son, we love you.  Now do a good job up there in Alaska.”

When I returned home, Mother met me at the airport, and when Dad came home, as we started to shake hands, he pulled me closer and I realized we were going to hug.  And that became a pattern whenever I would be gone for a season, first to finish college, then to my first job, then through career changes.  Whenever I came home, Dad and I would shake hands and it would turn into a warm hug.

For families today, any Dad that does not provide physical support to his children is tantamount to child abuse, but back then most of my friends were surprised if they saw Dad and me hug each other.  Their dads did not do that, and these were dads that I know loved their sons as much as mine loved me.

Dad had to take early retirement from a long career as a local truck driver due to progression of his Parkinson’s.  His feet could not move quickly enough any more to drive the big rigs safely, so at 63 he began to relax and drive Mom up a wall with being underfoot until she discovered their mutual love of the Kansas City Royals baseball team.

Just before he died in 1993 we visited in his hospital room and I asked him, “Dad, I know you’ve taught the Bible longer than I’ve been alive, but I remember one of the things you taught was to never assume someone knows Jesus, no matter how religious they may be. . . .  So Dad, do you know you’ll go to Heaven if you die?”  To my delight he smiled at first before breaking into a small laugh as he assured me, “Yes, son, I know Jesus is my savior, and you know, based on Psalm 90, I owe the Lord three “years of grace” over the 70 that we are supposed to get.”  So we talked more about Father’s love for us and the grace that he gives.

In 1996 I was mulling over these events and penned the following song that I wish someone could sing for you.  The music is pretty good and if I ever get someone to show me how to load videos to YouTube, and get a vocalist who can do the song justice, and maybe my brother or brother-in-law to play it, I’ll post an edit to this blog.

In the meantime, here is my memory of my Daddy and his Years of Grace, until I worship Jesus alongside of him:

Years of Grace (A memory of my dad from 2 Corinthians 4) ©May 14, 1996

1. My father laid before me, his body trembling like a leaf.

He said, “Son, I know the Lord Jesus, and I’m ready for Heaven’s relief.

He’s blessed me each year of my seventy-three, and though just a blink of His eye,

That’s three Years of Grace to give back to the Lord when to His presence I fly.”

 

Chorus
“These are the Years of Grace that the Lord has given to me,
And though I long to see His face, there may be reasons I cannot see
To keep me here in this time and place to learn to serve Him more faithfully.
Though outside we appear to be dying, inside the light of Jesus is shining.
He put such treasures in this earthen vase in these Years of Grace.”

 2. Years ago I left the Way to chase the pleasure of sin,
But Dad prayed and God bore my abuse of His grace to bring me back to repentance again.
So Dad and I spoke of the mysteries of faith and the mercies of God in the night,
And we realized each year was a year of God’s grace bringing us into His light.

3. Then I laid his hand upon my head and said, “Dad, say a prayer for me.”
And like the patriarchs of days long ago he prayed for his whole family.
He named each of us God had put in his care and prayed the light afflictions we feel
Would work in us a greater eternal reward and the weight of God’s glory reveal.

4. So we’re troubled on every side, yet we are not distressed.
We’re never abandoned nor in despair, though persecuted or perplexed.
We may be struck down, but we are not destroyed, for we know His surpassing might
Reveals through our bodies, for Jesus’ sake, His life and His glorious light.

5. Two weeks later my sister called. The Lord had taken Dad home.
His spirit was free from its crumbling shell, from all of earth’s pain he had flown.
I can picture him bowing before the Throne with all the saints who are saved
And singing as angels stand silently by of the Years of Grace the Lord gave.

See you soon Dad, your younger son.