No More Time

12479847_mI got a call on a Tuesday morning with a request for help.  Keith, I need help, there is no more time.

The plane was leaving early on Wednesday morning.  Tickets were purchased, the products were made, the events planned, the local hosts were expecting the arrival with great anticipation!

There was a problem.  The star of the show had decided not to go.

The impasse was about to jeopardize months of planning and thousands of dollars to be lost in upfront expenses for the event.

I immediately changed my schedule for the day and went to work. I was energized by the challenge.  The urgency, the high stakes of the decisions that needed to be made within the next few hours were a stimulus for action.

I am a mediator.  At the most basic level of definition, mediation is facilitated negotiation.   I help two or more “parties” (people) have a conversation that ultimately reaches a mutually agreed upon settlement. I do not have to be an expert on the subject in dispute.  I rely on the process I know very well to help people move from being stuck to collaborative action toward a solution.

A few phone calls, a two-hour mediation meeting and it was solved. It can be that simple.

If you have conflict, or know of someone who does, remember to have them give me a chance to help before additional hurt or legal proceedings occur.

I am the father of five, maybe six children.

14274278_s - heart in piecesI am not sure about the sixth because the miscarriage, if that is what it was, happened suddenly within the first eight weeks of my wife “sensing” she was pregnant but no pregnancy test was taken beforehand to confirm or deny. She had given birth to two children prior to this time and the way she felt, the way things tasted and smelled told her that she was with child. I take her word on it, I am guy and I can’t really know these things first hand.

The three children I talk about (a lot) are the ones I saw born. I have held them, laughed with them, cried with them and everything else that comes with parenting.

Ok, let’s see where we are now. 3 + (?) = 3 for sure. What about the other two, you wonder? I did introduce myself as a father of five.

Well, those two are the ones I don’t talk about. I haven’t spoken of them to more than a handful of people ever. I don’t think about them very often either. But sometimes I do and it makes me sad. Just mentioning them now stirs my inside, churning me with emotions that I usually can press down, push over, block, or ignore. You know probably what I am talking about; when you have a memory that is not pleasant and you try to remove it from your mind but it is still there in the background.

Why am I dragging this out? What’s the deal with the other two children? Did they make bad choices or embarrass me in some way? No, they never had a chance to do anything right or wrong. They were taken from the womb before they were old enough to go it on their own. I still am dragging my feet here, funny, well not really funny like “ha ha”. Strange may be a better word, or difficult to just say the “A” word.

They were aborted.

There I said it.

Am I relieved to get that off my chest? No, I didn’t think so at first. As I have let it settle into my mind that I am free of the long-term storage fees, I do feel relief.

Do I feel any better about it now that more than a few people know that has happened in my life? I can only respond with “maybe”. My feelings on how it is received and acted on will be the determining factor on that answer.

Will I regret sharing this information? I hope not, only if it brings additional harm and not healing.

If I get defensive and seek to justify what happened, I start to talk about those early years of my life in rebellion; a “prodigal” from my Christian upbringing.

When I get real, I say both abortions were terrible things to have happened.

But when I own it I admit the abortions were wrong and tragic events that I caused.

Yes, it took two people to get pregnant. However in both cases, I was the pursuing party, seeking my own selfish pleasure and without self-control to with-strain my desires and respect the women. Did they agree to have consensual sex with me? Yes.

Don’t miss my point, especially my pointed finger to myself and other men who may read this. I could have prevented the death of my two children by not helping to create them. I put two women in a situation that they had to make a choice that I wish, so wish, they never had to make. One I knew about and let it happen. The other I was told after it was done.

There are complications in my sharing of this long-held, “Classified” information.

First, the women that chose to abort the pregnancies I helped cause don’t know I am sharing this and have not given me permission. “Oh, well tell it anyway, it’s your story” is one thought. However, I continue to remind myself that it is not just my story and I must respect their privacy to process through the post-abortion life in their own way. They haven’t asked me how I am doing, how I feel about any of it; as a matter of fact, I don’t have contact information on either to even approach them. I wish I could share more of the details; it would probably be helpful to others. But as it is now, I won’t.

Second, by bringing this up, and out, I cause a lot of attention to my life and my past. That is not comfortable, especially since I am like everyone else I have ever really known; I have made mistakes in choices and behavior. To have people sorting through the facts of my stories, like a browser at the yard sale is disconcerting at best. In most areas of my life, past and present, I am an open book. In this area I have fiercely guarded the lid on the box from even cracking open a little.

Third, revealing myself to others has caused to me examine the evidence carefully before presenting it. As I thought back over the emotions and mental struggles I had after the abortions, I recounted other consequences that were a result of  loss and pain that I needed to acknowledge. There were also issues that had occurred in my life before the “wild” days that contributed to my bad decisions and actions. It all has been a lot to process internally and sort out.  It has been worth it.

Privacy for the other people is showing respect that I didn’t show before. Letting people in on my secret is risky but also, somehow freeing. To let a burden be shared with others can make it lighter. There is a level of healing by letting it out and there is a sense of purpose from it — if the telling helps someone else that is burdened or if it prevents it from occurring in someone else’s life. Again, I say it is all worth it.

I am committed to helping other men get relief from their past.  The reality is that if a baby you helped conceive was aborted, that was your child too. Your can’t raise him or her now, however you can let the life count for something.

Abortion & Men

What is up? Why am I talking about this?

Days before the news of the upcoming 40th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton decisions, I had old, locked down memories flood by into my mind. I know it was God prompting them because I had not read or heard any comments about abortion issues prior to that moment. I did not know why I suddenly had those memories but they came strong, clear and convicting. Once the news began to break and commentaries flowed I realized that I was being awakened to something that God wanted me to deal with personally and publicly.

My first reaction was one of anxious-to-moderate panic. “Oh no, I can’t go back into that area of my life. The lid on that box is sealed!” Then I thought, “Yes, I must open that area of my life and let it be completely healed and the seeds from its release be planted in other’s hearts to do the same for them.

The scripture John 12:24 came to mind, “unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” Though this refers to Jesus talking about Himself and His crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection, I couldn’t help to also see it as the secrets we hold onto “alone” in our lives if shared out into the light can bring about more healing.

A Vision

men with arms up

This image and words came into my mind — I saw a crowd of men so large I could not image the number. Some on their knees, some standing, some leaning on others, some with hands stretched out to the heavens, some with hands over their eyes, their hearts, and their mouths. It was a sea of anguish.

As I looked at the men the Lord spoke into my spirit to help them. “How?” I asked. He said softly, ‘Begin with yourself.’ I committed that I would with His help. I felt His peace and comfort fill me immediately.

Then He said more firmly that, ‘The sea of blood the men are standing and kneeling in I have kept from your eyes.’ He had protected my eyes from the depth of it and its cry for justice. I sensed that His anger burns against the death of the innocent. His heart is broken from our apathy and impotence in preventing the killing of the children.

His words ended with, ‘Go and tell your story and have your burden lifted. Tell of My forgiveness for your sins and restoration of your spirit; then minister comfort and hope to other men. Encourage them to confess their sins of commission, or omission, in the murderous acts of abortion.’

My story next…

Forgiving is good for you!

  If you have never been hurt, then stop reading this now. It will not be relevant for you; unless you want to learn so you can help someone else that has been hurt. It is most likely that you have not only been hurt; but hurt by someone you cared about. That made the hurt worse. We can never promise that we will never hurt someone, even someone we love very much. It is inevitable. It is what we DO with that hurt that is important. The choice comes in holding onto the offense or releasing it. You can actually choose to not take offense. You can also choose to let go of an offense that you did take. We have that power to free ourselves from feeling bad for the rest of our lives over a hurt.

You don’t have to hang onto anger or seek to pay back someone. Releasing those negative feelings toward someone who has hurt you will free you from a bondage, or hold, they have on you. Many times the person who has hurt us, doesn’t even know the extend of the harm they have done. Or in some cases they may not care. They go on through time without being bothered by what has happened.

The way to be free from the hurt is to forgive them. It isn’t for them, it is for you.

In a marriage relationship people hurt each other very often. If the small hurts continue to build they can become a huge barrier between the spouses. To let your spouse know that you have been hurt and then to forgive them is all you can do. If by letting them know of your hurt they are sorrowful and acknowledge their wrong it is easier to forgive them. But even if they don’t confess their wrong, you can choose to forgive them anyway. Let me say again, that is your choice and within your power to do so. It doesn’t matter if they deserve it or not. It is not about you feeling like it or not. It is about you releasing the hold the hurt can have on you and be free from bitterness or resentment that can grow from the unforgiveness you will carry around.

Being guilty of hurting someone will not necessarily make you repentant to stop doing it. Being forgiven can give you motivation to not harm again. Understand that I am not promoting someone put themselves in harm’s way or allow themselves to stay in an abusive situation. Safety from emotional and physical abuse is always the path to take. If you are not in present danger or the threat has diminished, there is the aftermath that leads you to the choice to be free from harboring the hurt, or not.

A healthy marriage has two forgivers, who forgive freely and often. The same is true for families, offices, bands, mission teams or any other collection of people who are in a relationship for a duration of time. Oh, by the way, forgiveness does not necessarily mean reconciliation, but that is another blog.