Oct 302011

Former First Lady Laura Bush addressed a full house of 2,600 at the Grace College Orthopedic Capital Center in Winona Lake Indiana earlier this month. I was excited to be in the audience.

I was impressed by the causes, such as literacy for all the world’s children, and freedom and education for oppressed woman everywhere, in which Mrs. Bush invests her life. She has a unique position of influence, largely because, as she puts it, “I wanted to marry someone who could make me laugh.”

Mrs. Bush talked humorously about, what she calls, “the afterlife,” in what her husband calls, “the Promised Land.”  Her quips about the Bush family were delightful, such as “when you’re married to the President of the United States, you don’t worry about him leaving wet towels on the floor, but now that we’re back in Texas, it’s a different matter!”

I was moved and inspired by her account of President Bush throwing out the ceremonial first pitch of World Series game 3 in Yankee Stadium on October 30, 2001, just a little over a month after 9-11. Knowing danger could come from any direction at any time, she was a worried wife, but so proud of her husband for standing alone and standing strong. At that moment, she realized, “this is not just the job of the president, it is the job of every American who has the urge to take a stand, and to face failure, humiliation, or any mortal danger.”

President and Mrs. Bush visited war wounded in San Diego back in 2005. I waived my support as they left Navy Hospital, then called a local radio station to laud the quality of her character. I wrote her a letter, and received a gracious reply.

Mrs. Bush has proven herself to be strongly moral in many ways, and very likely has a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, but, unlike her husband, seems reticent to speak much of her spiritual life.

This could be traced to the time with she, as a teenage driver, ran a stop sign and collided with a popular fellow student. In her book, Spoken From the Heart, she remembers: “The whole time, I was praying that the person in the other car was alive. In my mind, I was calling ‘Please, God. Please, God. Please, God,’ over and over and over again.”

The other driver died, and she shares candidly in her memoirs about how that affected her.

“I lost my faith that November, lost it for many, many years,” she says. “It was the first time that I had prayed to God for something, begged him for something, not the simple childhood wishing on a star but humbly begging for another human life. And it was as if no one heard.”

It is the sign of an honest seeking heart to acknowledge the times when our mysterious God seems out of reach. Of course, genuine faith is not affected by what we can see, or by what happens to us.

We walk by faith, not by sight

(2 Corinthians 5:7)

I can’t imagine what that must have been like for her, nor my response had I been in her position, but I’m sad that the enemy of our souls used those tragic circumstances to deceive her into hardening her heart and walking away from faith for many years.

Perhaps that is part of the reason why the former first lady continues to holds her own opinion, contrary to God’s word, about such things as abortion and homosexual marriage.

Even so, I have found Laura Bush to exemplify several attributes commendable for every Thinking Christian Woman – humility, grace, poise, humor, intelligence and compassion. I pray that God will continue to bless her and woo her, and each of us, into a more and more deeply satisfying relationship with His heart that has only perfect love for us all!

© 2011 Melody K. Anderson
All Rights Reserved

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Oct 242011

There’s a standing joke about the patient in a drafty hospital gown struggling in vain to keep the back flaps closed and thinking, “Now I know why they call it – ICU!”

Last week, after visiting my hardy and relatively healthy Mom for several days with the specific purpose of helping her and local family proactively prepare for the time, down the road, when she might need in-home caregiver and skilled help, we were all somewhat surprised by a health event that sent her to the Intensive Care Unit.

When I first got to town, before Mom’s ICU trip, the daily reading included Proverb 6:20, which encourages us, “…do not forsake the law of your mother…” so I asked Mom if there were any “laws” that she particularly wanted me to follow in life. She thought a while, then revisited a teaching she had consistently shared since my early childhood – God sees everything you do (Proverb 5:21 and 15:3).

That reminded me of a story in Genesis about a runaway pregnant slave girl who encountered the Angel of the Lord by a spring in the wilderness. He told her to return to her harsh mistress, and promised to multiply her descendants. In response, she called Him El Roi “The-God-Who-Sees.” (Genesis 16:13)

When Mom’s husband of 67 years died in 2006, she stood alone in her big, empty house and asked God, “Who am I now?” In that moment, El Roi answered her heart,

“You are My child, and I will walk with you.”

Mom’s hospital stay was painful for her and stressful for us, but so many blessings emerged that it soon became abundantly apparent that God’s watchful presence hovered over all. Here are just a few examples:

  • Strong spirit of love and cooperation between family members as the Body of Christ. Good opportunities to improve communication and understanding.
  • Multiple opportunities for family members to express honor and love in ways that Mom can feel.
  • The hospital’s Director of Imaging bought my lunch! (a story unto itself).
  • Bumped into a high school friend who just happened to be the hospital’s Director of Engineering and Security. He personally made sure that the annoying intermittent loud whooshing sound in Mom’s room vent, that had steadily been getting worse (we had nicknamed it “The Whale”), stopped that same day.
  • Mom gave us all a priceless example to follow when she mustered the poise and courage to allow a procedure she greatly feared, but that brought instant relief and vastly hastened her recovery.
  • Mom came home from the hospital just 15 minutes before I had to leave for the airport and I had the joy of seeing her comfortable in her recliner again.

No one wants to be in the ICU, or to see a loved one there, but for the Thinking Christian Woman, the acronym “ICU’ can be transformed into a confident reminder that El Roi, The-God-Who-Sees, constantly affirms – “I see you!”

© 2011 Melody K. Anderson
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Oct 012011

Note: Back in June, the Thinking Christian Woman introduced A Lawyerly Look at the Good Book to help demystify rights and responsibilities under the law by discovering common legal principles in the pages of the Great Lawgiver’s book – the Bible.

A Lawyerly Look at the Good Book – No. 1

According to California Funny Laws, in Belvedere, CA, “No dog shall be in a public place without its master on a leash.”

Two weeks ago I was walking my boxer dog around 8:30 pm when I heard barking, followed by a woman shouting, “Oh no, here we go again!” The next moment, I saw a black and white dog closing on us fast from across the street – and it’s master was definitely not on a leash!

I quickly pulled my dog close and heeled around, but it was too late. Though very dark out, I could see the attacker – teeth barred – snarling and nipping. We were in the middle of a dog owner’s nightmare. Soon a woman came running from across the street and pulled the dog away.

After the dust settled, we slowly limped home where I discovered several bites on the poor little guy’s hind legs. I cleaned the wounds and consoled him a bit, then drove back to the house where the loose dog came from and talked with the dog sitter on the porch, who turned out to be, ironically – a postal carrier!

This fact scenario appears to be a classic example of the legal doctrine of negligence per se – which holds that, if there is a law spelling out a duty, and I fail to fulfill that duty, and if my failure results in harm to another of the type envisioned by the law, then I am legally responsible for making the harmed person whole. There is no need to prove negligence in such a situation, it is implied.

In my case, our city has a law requiring all dogs on public property to be restrained by a hand-held leash. I was lawfully walking my leashed dog on a public sidewalk when he was bitten by an unleashed dog. Under negligence per se, and absent any defenses, the dog sitter and owner are liable for the damages.

Most municipalities have similar leash laws, but did you know that there are even animal control laws in the bible? Check out Exodus 21:28-37, for example, where an ox owner is held liable if his animal hurts another.

Even without a leash law, most adults have a sense that it’s generally a good idea to restrain dogs in some way, not only for the protection of others, but also for the dog’s safety. The dog that attacked us came charging across a city street and could easily have been hit by a passing vehicle. James 4:17 tells us that, “…to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

My dog has recovered fairly well after about a week and a half of convalescing, even though he is 11 and has advanced heart disease. He still asks to go out on walks, which I think is amazingly brave. I sent the vet bill to the registered owner and the dog-sitter. We shall see.

Praise God that He’s not surprised by anything that occurs in our daily lives. In some cases, His Word speaks directly to our specific situation. In all cases, His Word gives wise guidance to help us prevent, or if need be, face, life’s challenges.

For the Thinking Christian Woman, it’s a wonderful consolation to know she can look to God for sound advice and comfort no matter what comes snarling out of the dark.

© 2011 Melody K. Anderson
All Rights Reserved


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