The Family

The Family
Justice, Logan, Jacy Klaire, Joy, Josie Kate, Luke, Megan, Judah, Kerry, Jaxon

Friday, September 30, 2016

"Mom Forces Little Girl to Be a Girl"

The title of this post is what I imagined the mainstream media headline would be during a moving encounter I had a few weeks ago.  I spent some time talking to a group about the guidance sent by our government to school systems on how to deal with transgender students.

I explained the issue at hand and the issue of gender identity. After the meeting I greeted everyone and we talked for a while as people left. Once everyone had left the facility and the sound guy was closing everything down, a lady approached me and said she wanted to talk. We'll call her Susie.

Susie told me that she was adopted. She explained that when she was younger that she only liked to play with the boys. She had a horse and she loved acting like she was a cowboy riding her horse and climbing trees. She told me about the day at age 8 that she went to her adoptive mother and told her that she wanted to change her name to John and be a boy. She told her mom that she felt like she was really a boy anyway and that she didn't want to be a girl. She was so confused and she felt like there was some kind of mistake.

Her mom totally understood. Her mom loved her and didn't want her to agonize and feel those feelings of confusion. So her mother compassionately and wisely took little Susie to the local YMCA and signed her up for the girls' swim classes that summer. She also signed her up for voice lessons the following fall. Her mom made a concerted effort to get Susie into the kitchen with her more often and made cooking fun for her. She didn't stop her from riding horses. She didn't keep her from playing with the boys. She just helped her to see that she could enjoy being who God made her to be.

Standing in the sanctuary Sunday night, tears streamed down this sweet lady's face. She said that many times through her life she has reflected on those days in her preteen youth when things could have gone differently. She says that because of her mother's initiative she worked through her confused feelings. She says that eventually she accepted her God given identity. Because of her mother's loving support she found the man of her dreams in her 20's. She was married and had kids of her own. Her grand kids and now great grand kids are the greatest blessings of her life. She cried as she thought of what might have happened had she been in a school where children are taught to pursue those feelings of confusion. She said that her heart breaks for little girls that experience exactly what she experienced, but whose parents are not being taught how to deal with it in a way that leads to healthy victory. Susie cried for those little girls that she could so easily relate to.

An article by The American College of Pediatricians references research that shows that "98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty." Click Here for the article. Yet state's are passing laws that make it illegal to counsel children to accept their biological identity in the presence of gender dysphoria.

Susie's mom was not a "Trans-phobe" as those of us that don't support using children as pawns in the furthering of the sexual revolution are now being categorized.  She was simply a mother that loved her little GIRL. She simply believed the Christian values of trusting that the Bible is true when it says in Genesis 5:2 that "He created them male and female and blessed them." I gave the 80 something year old Susie a hug as she said she was so glad that her mom forced her to be Susie instead of letting her decide at 8 years old to be Johnny.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Tale of Four Junes

In June of 2009 we left for Haiti to live as full time missionaries. We believed that we would raise our kids there and serve the Haitian needs for years to come. In June of 2012 we returned to the U.S. to visit but discovered some issues that caused us to see God's plan was for us to move back to the U.S. to care for our family.

I was not happy about God changing plans on me like that. I had given up everything to follow Him to Haiti and wasn't prepared to be back in the U.S. Me and God had many conversations over the next year, many of which involved me whining and complaining in a state of depression because God had not done things the way I wanted them done.

In June of 2013, our family moved to Albany, GA for me to resume work as an optometrist- something I told God I did not have a desire to do again. I was a missionary after all- why would I have to return to working a "secular" job?

After being here just a few months, I was asked by our church to fill in as interim preacher. Then, once again in the month of June, 2016 I was ordained and called to be the Lead Pastor for Byne Memorial Baptist Church of Albany, GA- www.byne.org

I still do optometry- it turns out I was wrong- that is my mission field- and I lead an amazing group of church leaders in an attempt to make God known in southwest Georgia.

We are still involved in Haiti. I am taking a team down in September to preach at a weekend celebration in St. Marc and to kick off our school sponsorship for the year. We are hoping to sponsor 75 kids in the Montrouis area to go to school this year. We love those kiddos.

God is always good. God knows what is best. God's plan for each of us is a beautiful plan full of surprises. I am glad God is not predictable. I am glad He doesn't leave us to our own devices and wisdom. I am glad that He loves me too much to abandon His sovereignty even when I try to convince Him to in my times of confusion and limited vision. I can't wait to see what He has in store for the Junes to come!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Puppy Love

Josie Kate and Justice with Lucky Dog
Bella was a typical Haitian mutt. Those dogs are bred for one thing, to bark. When someone entered your yard they were to bark and serve as an alarm in a land without ADT or Brinks home security.

Bella was hit by a car...twice. She walked with a limp. She was scared of her own shadow, and she was just plain ugly. But in spite of all of that this little dog came into Josie Kate's life at a time when she needed a friend.

We were overwhelmed after the earthquake. The kids were doing great in getting adjusted to living in a third world country during a catastrophe but it was extremely stressful on everyone. Josie Kate found a friend and confidant in Bella. She developed a special bond with the yard mutt and was seldom seen without it. She was 4 years old and carried the dog around like a baby doll that was almost her size. She held the dog's head in a tight squeeze while Bella's body dangled loosely as the duo skipped around the yard. Without resistance or wimper Bella submitted to Josie Kate's whims and became the little missionary kid's source of comfort in a trying time. Josie Kate would dress her up in doll clothes, push her around in a baby stroller, or simply lay on the ground under the table and cuddle the furry member of  our family.

Two and half years later when we had to leave Haiti to return to the U.S. we all had our heart aches about leaving. For Josie Kate it was having to leave her Bella behind. During the stressful and anxious time of having to try to assimilate into another culture once again in a new city, new school, and no family or friends around, Josie Kate longed for her comforter and best friend. Many nights she fell asleep on a pillow wet with tears over missing her Bella.

For a long time Josie Kate wouldn't even talk about getting another dog one day. She didn't want another dog. She wanted her Bella. On every return trip I made to Haiti I had to take Bella a treat and bring Josie Kate back pictures. About a year after being back to the U.S. Josie Kate's love for dogs overpowered her diminished missing of Bella and she began an all out campaign for a new dog.

We lived in a town house in Florida and now a condo in Georgia. They are not the best living arrangements for a yard dog. Joy always said that she couldn't handle another mouth to feed or someone else to clean up after- furry or otherwise. But Josie Kate is persistent and has a special way of looking at her mama. After a couple of years of resistance, we finally started thinking about getting a new dog for Josie Kate. She immediately knew that she wanted to get a rescue dog. She can quote almost all the breeds listed in the 2015 AKC registry. The girl knows her dogs. She found a litter of puppies that had been born in a humane society locally that were of the breed group she was hoping for. With lingering resistance, Joy and I surrendered and Josie Kate finally got to adopt a new dog.

Of course the dog is for the whole family, but the other kids know that Josie Kate is the dog obsessed member of our pack. She is also the one tasked with caring for the dog. A week ago we brought home Lucky Dog. He's a shepherd mix and is doing a good job of making Joy and I question our decision. He is all puppy and is keenly adept at mess making of many sorts. So far he has demonstrated an above average ability to eat, sleep, poop, and destroy anything that is left in his reach. But of all his various talents, his greatest ability is to bring a smile to Josie Kate's face. She fell asleep on the floor cuddling him his first night at home...then I took her to bed and the dog barked and yelped ALL night long. Yay us!

We learned a life lesson when God brought adoption into our lives that helps Joy and I in this situation. There are times when a decision may make your life a bit more complicated or your days a touch more stressful, but often times those things are the very things that make your life fuller. We are not looking for simple easy lives but lives that are full and abundant and bursting at the seams with excitement and adventure as we attempt to be everything God created us to be. It's not usually easy and it's never dull or boring but we wouldn't change it for the world.

Welcome to the crazy family Lucky Dog.