Why Foster Care Isn’t The Issue…

The other day I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and saw something that baffled me. It was a prolife post that caused some controversy. One of the prochoice arguments made my head spin:

“Ok but please look up how many new children enter the foster system or homeless shelters daily then think to yourself how much better they’d be if their parents made a better choice.”

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Unborn children aside for a moment, it hurts my heart that anyone would think for even a moment that a person, a human being who has already been born, would be better off if they never took their first breath. No living (born or unborn) person deserves to have their life talked about as if it is worthless.

Do you know how many great people have come out of foster homes? Steve Jobs, John Lennon, Malcolm X, Marilyn Monroe, and James Dean are all product of the foster care system. Can you imagine a world without these people? If Steve Jobs’ mom had aborted him, there would be no Apple products – that’s right, say goodbye to your precious iPhone, iPod, and Mac. The music world would be decades behind its time and the name Beatles would mean nothing to us today had John Lennon never been born. What state would African-American rights be in today without Malcolm X? Marilyn Monroe and James Dean are iconic names who have influenced so many things in today’s society. These are only a few people who the foster care system saved. Who knows, maybe the cure to cancer is hidden in the mind of a child in foster care. So many great things and great people come out of bad situations, and just because foster care isn’t the best home for a child doesn’t mean they would be better off dead.

So yes, there are a lot of children in foster care at the moment (397,122 children in the US alone), but, no matter how hard their lives may be, they have something precious that they wouldn’t have if they’d been aborted: a life. What I am suggesting to everyone is that while the poor conditions of some foster homes is an issue, maybe the solution is putting more of our tax dollars into improving the foster care system instead of funding abortion.

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God didn’t just want half of me. He was getting my attention and saying, “If you want to live for me it’s got to be all or nothing – no in between.” – Anthony Muhs.


This past summer, I went to a Lifeteen camp. One of our speakers was Anthony Muhs – he said many eye opening things, but this one really… well, blew my mind. It was as if he was talking about me. I was in that in between, and am still kind of there – granted, I’m working on it now. But it wasn’t until I heard Anthony put what I was feeling into words that I actually tried to make this change. I found myself constantly claiming to be a person of faith, and I did (do) believe, but I was messing up – constantly, and on purpose.

I learned that there’s a difference between saying you’re a good and faithful person and actually trying to be a good and faithful person.

It is so easy to fall into temptation, it’s in our human nature. God granted us free will, so, naturally, we find ourselves in the face of temptation. It’s how we handle this that makes us who we are. Until recently, I so easily, without a second thought – until after this eye opening moment – would give in to temptation. I find myself actually considering my options, weighing the pros and cons, before falling into temptation now. So I am working on the “in between-ness” in my life. And that’s the point I am trying to get across. In order to get out of that in between state, all you have to do is honestly give it your best effort – and know that when you do fall into temptation’s path you are forgiven.

This year’s theme was ‘Inspire[d]’ – we go to camp to get inspired, and we leave camp to inspire. I hope that someday my story will inspire someone the way Anthony’s inspired me.

Knock, Knock, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

So many times I have heard people wrongly assume that Catholic’s worship Mary (and other saints, but today I’m focusing on Mary). As a Catholic, I am here to say that we do not worship Jesus’ mother.

The other day, my Religion IV teacher explained the Catholic relationship with Mary in a way that I believe sums it up best: when we pray to Mary, we aren’t praying to her as though she is equal to God. We’re recognizing that, because she is the mother of Jesus, it’s probably safe to assume that she has a lot of “pull with the big guy upstairs.” Praying to Mary is our way of knocking on Heaven’s door.

When I pray the rosary while thinking about the children lost to abortion, I’m not saying, “Hey Mary, you have the power to save these poor children’s souls and change the minds of women considering abortion.” I’m simply asking the blessed virgin to pray for them, and to maybe bring up the issue with her son – not that he’s not already aware.

Think about it this way: if your mom comes to you asking for your help for something important, you would bend Heaven and Earth to get her what she needs, right? So we’re simply asking Mary to intercede with her son for us.

Consider the words to the Hail Mary:

Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus.

Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

The first verse of the Hail Mary comes from two paraphrased quotes out of the Bible. The first, “Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee,” is from Luke 1:28 when Gabriel comes to Mary. The second, “Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,” is from Luke 1:42 when Elizabeth greets Mary and recognizes that she is with child. The second verse is clearly asking her to pray for us.

No where in this prayer do we recognize Mary as God, but instead as the Mother of God. The basis of every Christian religion is that God was sent down to Earth fully human and fully divine, born of the virgin Mary, crucified, buried, and on the third day He rose again. Catholics are recognizing how important Mary’s role is in all of that, and we’re giving her the recognition she deserves by asking her to pray for us.

It’s just like when you ask a friend to pray for you because you’re going through a rough time, and that’s not considered worship.

Remembering the True Meaning of Christmas

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It’s really easy to forget what this holiday we’re so busily preparing for is truly about. We get so caught up in figuring out the perfect gifts for our loved ones, decorating the house with beautiful lights and silly trees, and hoping for the gifts we want that what we’re actually celebrating slips our mind.

Christmas isn’t about mistletoe and holly, big green trees sitting inside homes, shiny presents, stockings filled with goodies… it’s not even about a big ‘ole jolly man making his way down our chimney in the dead of night. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus. This tiny, little baby that would someday save us from our sins. This tiny, little baby that loved you so wholly before He even knew how to walk and before you were even born.

Take a moment this year to give thanks to that tiny, little baby while you’re out shopping for decorations and presents.

God Will Never Lead Us Astray

 

“If there’s a God out there, please hear my prayer. I’m lost and I’m scared, and I’ve got nowhere else to go. I’ve come a long, long way, but I’m not sure I can make it much farther… So if You’re listening, could You give a helping hand to Your daughter?”

His Daughter by Molly Kestner.

(This song is actually really awe-inspiring, and if you want to check it out, just click on the link above.) 


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I recently heard this song, and the chorus has become a part of my daily prayer.

This isn’t something I’ve talked to anyone about except for one person and I briefly mentioned it to my father, so this is going to be a particularly personal post.

Since last September, I’ve felt a calling towards a certain vocation, and it’s really scared me. I’ve never imagined my life taking that sort of turn, so I’ve been fighting it and ignoring the calling I’ve felt in my heart. It terrified me so badly that for a few of these past months, I shut God out. I pretended that He was a major part of my life and that I was on the right track, but for about four months, I was shutting Him out because I was so scared of where He may be leading me.

Because of this, I’ve felt very lost, and, like the song says, I didn’t feel like I could make it any farther. I didn’t think I could run from it any longer, and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to. So one day a few months ago, I sat down and really prayed. I reached out to God and asked Him to take my hand and lead me where He wanted, because I know that He will never lead me down the wrong path. Although it’s not the way I thought my life was going, it isn’t as scary anymore. I’ve come to accept that it’s a possibility.

I know that nothing’s set in stone, and it may be revealed to me that this isn’t my path, but I’ve finally started listening to my heart and accepting that this may be a possibility.

So I’m writing this to say that sometimes God reveals things to us in funny ways, and we don’t want to listen. Sometimes it’s revealed to us through a moving moment, maybe a song, the beauty of nature, or even pain and tragedy. However He shows us our path, we have to trust that He knows what He is doing. Because, believe me, I know it can be scary, but it’s important to remember that God has a plan for us, and He will never lead us astray.


“So if you’re lost and afraid,  and you feel so alone, don’t worry child, ‘cause there’s a Father who will love you as His ownJust like He loved His daughter.”

His Daughter by Molly Kestner.

Sometimes Life Happens

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“Bottom line: God will not allow any person to keep you from your destiny. They may be bigger, stronger, or more powerful, but God knows how to shift things around and get you to where you’re supposed to be.”

– Joel Osteen.


Reminding myself this each and every day has become a feat that I am finding extremely hard. In the past couple of years, I’ve come to realize that sometimes life takes a turn you weren’t expecting, and everything just snowballs from there.

I can honestly say that sometimes, giving up just seems like the only option, but, trust me, it’s not. God will never put obstacles in our live’s that He knows we cannot handle. Everything that happens is happening for one reason or another, and He is with you through each and every step.

Sometimes it feels like you’re alone and there’s no one there to help you through situations, but you just have to take a step back and breathe. Because God is with us through everything, even when we feel alone. He’s standing at your back, ready to catch you when you fall – you just have to be willing to trust in Him.

So when life gets tough, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and fall into His arms. It’s like an exercise I had to do at camp: all of your group stands below you and you have to trust that they will catch you, because they will. Life is like that four foot platform that we had to stand on: once on top of it, it seems much larger than in reality. Life is all about perspective. You can either look at you problems in utter fear and succumb to them, or you can face them head on, trusting that, no matter what, God has your back.

Forever 4 Change

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In April of 2013, a statistic was posted that about 4,600 people between the ages of ten and twenty-four will commit suicide every year in the United States alone. I am here to tell you that suicide is a way to end your life, but it is not the solution.

Life is full of choices that we have to make daily. We have to make choices on what we eat, what we wear, and eventually we have to decide what we want to do with our lives. As teenagers, there are ups and downs we have to face. Our life becomes an emotional roller coaster while we’re still trying to figure out who we are. The decisions we have to make and the problems that occur can sometimes become too much to handle, so we become sad – and we have no idea how long we’ll be sad for. Some teens decide to keep everything bottled up and are too scared to tell someone else what’s going on. Maybe they’re scared that others will judge them, or maybe they feel there’s no way out. Because of this, many teens think that suicide is the only option.

I want to share with you a story of the tragic death of someone I knew, and the effect it had on an entire town. Sydney Lane Sanders was in the second semester of her freshmen year in high school when she decided to take her own life. The entire town of Richmond Hill, Georgia, was affected by this beautiful fourteen year old’s decision. There is now a foundation that her mother made called “Forever 4 Change” that helps teens being bullied or having suicidal thoughts. It’s a nonprofit organization with the intention to, “Reduce the stigma of suicide, raise awareness of suicide, and instill hope.

There are things that Sydney, and any teenager having committed suicide, will never be able to experience: college, having a career, and so much more. There are so many great things that life has in store for all of us, and the sooner we are able to realize that, the easier things will become. I don’t want to see what happened to Sydney happen to anyone else I know, which is why I’ve chosen to share this story with you.

Just because you feel lonely or sad, doesn’t mean your decision won’t affect everyone around you. On April 5, 2011 an entire town was shaken to its very core, and because of this I want to let all of you know that no matter what is going on, I am always here – even if I barely know you, I will listen to what you have to say.

Rest in peace, Sydney – fly high, pretty girl.