The Day I Was Accused of Copying a Coupon

A few months ago I was shopping at Wal-Mart and had a cart full of groceries as well as three children in tow. (Yes, shopping with three children is a chaotic adventure that is another post in and of itself.) Before paying I handed the cashier two coupons I wanted to use. They were two of the same coupon. Low and behold they wouldn’t scan. They were ones I had printed off line and I often seem to have trouble with those type. Usually stores will just type them in manually and move on.

But not this time. This time the cashier called over her manager who came in a huff, irritated to be bothered. She glanced at the coupons for a few seconds and then said, “These won’t work. You copied them.” I copied them? It took me a while to register what she meant and by that time I just mumbled something, asked the cashier to remove the items and got my antsy kids out of there as fast as I could. But later her accusations really started to bother me.

I copied them? Doesn’t that lady know that you can print two of the same coupon from each computer and that just because I had two identical coupons it didn’t mean I copied them? (I went home later that day and saw that each of the coupons had a different bar-code printed on them. Wish I would have noticed that in the store!) I have been couponing for almost 10 years. I am not an extreme couponer by ANY means. I mean, that day at Wal-Mart I had a cart packed full of groceries and only had 2 coupons. I do enjoy combining coupons with weekly sales and getting good deals but I don’t stress out about using one on everything I buy. But hear me say this: Never in almost 10 years of couponing have I EVER copied a coupon! It’s illegal!!

The more I thought about the manager’s words, the more insulted I felt. I had done nothing wrong, I had simply tried to use coupons that I had legitimately printed off my computer yet I was so upset that she would accuse me of such a thing. Then I thought about this… Sure I’ve never copied a coupon, but what other tiny little sinful actions have I done? Actions that hide under the guise of an “innocent half-truth” or a “little white lie” when in reality they are just plain sin? Integrity is a character trait that I so badly want to uphold in my life and yet in my humanness I fail more often than I’d like. The world’s version of honesty and integrity is far removed from God’s and we need to make sure we are constantly aligning our thoughts with God’s and upholding His standards (not the world’s)! From coupons to completing our taxes and everything in between we need to live a life of honesty. It’s not always easy to do and sometimes it seems like we could get ahead if we didn’t hold such high standards. But it doesn’t work. God does not honor deceit.

Copying a coupon is not the end of the world. Trust me, I know there are much bigger issues at hand in the world today. But what those coupons helped me remember is that God desires integrity from us even in the smallest details of our lives. As Christians, we should live lives that point non-believers to the Lord by our actions. Let’s rise up and be different than the rest of the world. Let’s be a reflection of Christ in our high standards, integrity, and honesty. It starts with the little things…like coupons.

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Titus 2:7-8

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"If it’s not a HELL YES, then it’s a no"

So I just realized that I didn’t post any blog posts in December. Nadda. Zero. Zilch. Oh well!

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December was a great month for us. Just busy! The kids are at such fun ages and it made Christmas such a magical time this year! But since they’re getting older now we’ve also added more activities to our plate during the holiday season. Isaiah had parties at school and a basketball performance at the half time show of a local basketball game. Eloise had her first ballet recital. We saw Santa at several events. We took one last trip to SeaWorld before our season passes expired (WOW!! SeaWorld at Christmas time was AMAZING! Even though we’re not buying season passes again for 2016 we’re still planning to try and make it there at Christmas time again. Truly magical!). We stayed up late looking at Christmas lights in different neighborhoods. We spent one evening at Adventure Landing for WinterFest. We crammed in as many Christmas movies as we could. We moved our Elf on the Shelf (“Elfis”) around the house every night while the kids were asleep and tried to come up with something creative for him to be doing the next day (man that’s stressful!!).

We hung Christmas lights on the outside of our house for the first time ever (and then (after hanging up 5 strands) realized we didn’t’ have enough to go all the way around the house so we tried to buy more… and then found out that they were out of stock at all the stores and were being discontinued (thanks Target!)… so, since we didn’t want to buy 10 completely new sets (because just 5 new ones wouldn’t match the 5 we already had) and since by this time it was just a week before Christmas, we just decided to get back up on the roof and take them all down. And…the story gets better. When we took them down we put them in a garbage bag and set them in the garage (why did we do that?!?)….and then a week later accidentally threw away the garbage bag full of 5 strands of perfectly good icicle lights (bangs head on table). Yea, that was one of our Christmas adventures I’d rather not remember!). We read the Christmas story several times and and sang to lots of Christmas music. Drew and his dad spent Christmas Eve (after our Christmas Eve service) setting up the new trampoline we bought the kids so they would be surprised on Christmas day. We made a gingerbread house, Christmas cookies, crafts, and decorated the house. Not to mention buying all the gifts for friends and family which rests pretty much solely on my shoulders. We had alot of late nights and early mornings. It was a busy month for sure!

And now I’m just focusing on rest. I usually don’t add too much to my plate but this holiday season I feel like I did. I’m usually good about putting up boundaries. About saying no when I need to. About declining a play date or forgoing an event if it’s just too much. But as 2016 is beginning I want to refocus on this. I want to make sure that I go all in on what GOD is calling me passionately to and weed out everything else that just creates busyness. If it’s not an emphatic YES, then I want to say no. Of course ministry and serving sometimes need to be done whether we feel like it or not and, if God is calling me to it, it needs to go under the emphatic YES category. I’m talking about saying no to things that I add to my plate that are simply things I want to do or even feel compelled to do. I want to say no to those things so that I can have room to say yes to more important things.

Have you ever heard of Jen Hatmaker? Oh my gosh. If you haven’t you totally need to look her up. Here is her blog. She is an amazing woman of God and an amazing speaker. I could really listen to her for hours. She is actually speaking at the IF Gathering (if you haven’t heard of that it’s so awesome too. Click the link!) in February and my mom and I are going to a broadcast of it at her church while we’re in Indiana visiting them later this month. I’m so excited!

Anyways, Jen posted this on her Facebook a few days ago and it exactly put into words what I want my year 2016 to be. I’ll just let you read this and I’ll slip out the door because, really, what more could I say?

 
“As you move into 2016 hoping for a saner schedule that prioritizes your actual life and keeps you focused on the things that matter the most, let me share the decision-making filter my agent Curtis always gives me:
“If it’s not a HELL YES, then it’s a no.”
So that medium yes, that I-feel-like-should yes, that guilty yes, that coerced yes, that I-actually-hate-this-thing yes, that I-guess-so yes, that who-else-will-do-it yes, that careless yes, that default yes, that resentful yes, that I-probably-shouldn’t-but-struggle-with-boundaries yes?
NO. Nope.
No thank you. I am unable to commit to that this year. Thank you so much for asking, but any new yes I give right now means a no to my family and sanity. I am so flattered you asked and count on my prayers, but I am at my maximum bandwidth right now. I appreciate your work so much, but I’ve already committed my time and energy this year. I’ve loved being a part of this, but I am no longer able to continue. We are aggressively focused on x, y, and z this year, so as a family we’ve agreed on no new commitments. This is what I can give but won’t be able to do more right now.
Now, the things that make your heart race, your blood pump, the fire in your belly burn, your gifts to leap to life, and keep your family and home healthy and strong…the hell yeses? ALL IN, BABY.”

Six Years as Mrs. Hutcheson

This post is going to be a bit sappy. But, to be fair, I hardly ever post mushy love posts and it’s my anniversary so cut me some slack. =)

Six years ago on August 7, 2009 I made the second best decision of my life – I married Drew (the very best decision of my life being to give it to Christ!). I had no idea how to be a wife, no idea what marriage was really like, no idea how to truly set aside my selfishness for the good of another person. But I jumped into marriage with both feet and faced the steep learning curve. Let me tell you, marriage is not for the faint of heart. Choosing to combine your life with someone for better or for worse is not an easy task considering the sinful state of human nature. But it’s worth the work because marriage can be refining, healing, beautiful, and fun!

God says that marriage is GOOD:

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord. Proverbs 18:22 

I’m so glad God gave me the good gift of Drew. Is he perfect? Nope. But he’s perfect for me. He is weak where I’m strong and he is strong where I’m weak. He balances me out and helps me think from a different perspective. In marriage it’s easy to get stuck on the little annoying things your spouse does. But a few years into our marriage I realized how silly it was to pick fights over how to squeeze the toothpaste tube (FYI: Drew and I now have our own SEPARATE tubes of toothpaste because we finally decided to just agree to disagree!!! =)). But seriously, I’d rather save up my energy to fight battles that really matter, like conquering sin with each other’s help or fighting through difficult life circumstances together.

We’ve done a lot in our six years of marriage. We’ve lived in two different countries, three states, and six different houses. We’ve had three children, completed an international adoption, and lived in Africa for a year. We have said hurtful things to each other and we have forgiven and been forgiven. We have had a blast together on numerous crazy adventures and we have laughed together till our sides hurt.

Interested in a healthy marriage? Listen to this:

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”

Colossians 3: 12-15

That’s a big pill to swallow!! But the closer to Christ we become the better we are able to love our spouse like this…. and it creates a sweet, sweet marriage.

I must say that my second year of marriage was better than my first, my third year was better than my second, my fourth year was better than my fifth, and my sixth year has been better than them all combined! Our marriage just keeps getting sweeter and sweeter as we continue to learn each other in and out, as we face and overcome trials together, as we walk through valleys and as we rejoice on mountaintops together. There is no one else I would rather live this life with than my very best friend!

Engaged!
Married (we saved our first kiss for our wedding day!)
First Year – Isaiah was born a month and a half after our first anniversary. 
Second year!
Third year! Eloise joined our family!
Fourth year!
Fifth year! Olive joined our family!
And Sixth Year!

I love seeing how our family has grown, our love has strengthened, and our lives have changed in these six short years. And I look forward to the next 6 (and 16 and 60 years, God willing!!).

Living in a Martha Season

Today I have a very special guest on my blog! My dear friend Rebekah from Surviving Toddlerhood has come over to share some thoughts with us! I first met Rebekah in a childbirth class in Fremont, MI when I was pregnant with Isaiah and she was pregnant with her son, Seth. Our boys were both born 3 weeks early, in the same hospital, just days apart! We have been friends ever since. =) 

Rebekah has two boys and is currently pregnant with her third baby. Although she still lives in Michigan and I’ve moved here, there, and everywhere, we have remained friends over the years. I know you’ll enjoy what she has to share today!
A few days ago I noticed a status that came through my Facebook feed.  A fellow momma of littles was sharing how she wanted to be spending her time like Mary, but life was getting in the way and she was having a hard time dealing with that.
It made me rather sad.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being able to spend hours of your time with Jesus, listening to him, calling on him, reading the Word and journaling, but sometimes as mommas of littles it is hard to do that. And guilt sets in. Guilt over what we aren’t doing.

The pressure to be Mary is everywhere. Look in any Christian bookstore and you will find shelves full of books on how to be a better wife and mother. One common theme that runs through them is an early morning quiet time before anyone else rises and how to be a Mary who spends her time worshipping at her Lord’s feet.
This is what my devotional schedule used to look like……
I had a whole list of things I wanted to do every time I sat down. The only problem, I have two littles who like attention and every time they interrupted me I started yelling at them for interrupting my “devotions”. Not really very Christ like behavior, but I had goals and the goals needed to get done. If I didn’t get all the things read that I was supposed to then I wouldn’t accomplish one of my goals for the year of reading through the Bible, but how much was I teaching my boys if I was raising my voice every time they needed something and I was reading/journaling/studying?
Of course the answer must be to get up earlier right? Jesus rose early and went to spend time with his Father… But that doesn’t work for me for a couple of reasons {if it works for you that is great!} 1. if I have a baby who isn’t sleeping through the night yet, 2.if I have to get up a bazillion times to use the bathroom during pregnancy, 3. or if my thyroid is being crazy. I have tried it but it was always driven by guilt. Guilt that I wasn’t being a “good” Christian. Guilt that if I wasn’t getting up early to spend time with the Lord than I couldn’t be a good wife and mother.

Being Martha doesn’t mean that there is not time for fellowship with God, but that we spend time with him while serving.

There is a time to be Mary and there is also a time to be Martha. My time to be Martha is now. I am serving God by serving others. By training my sons, loving and honoring my husband, keeping my house mostly acceptable. Later when my children are grown and can take more responsibility themselves then it could be my time to be Mary. 
Martha got a rebuke from Jesus not because of what she was doing but because of her attitude while she was serving.  She was distracted, anxious and troubled that her sister was not helping to serve her Lord. Her sister was sitting there doing nothing to get a meal ready for this man who was the Son of God.  Her heart wasn’t in the right place. Her actions weren’t wrong. Her attitude was.
Here are some practical ways to spend time with the Father while also serving our families:
1. Find a good children’s Bible and read it with your littles.
We have The Jesus Storybook Bible and we LOVE it! I love how it shows the thread of Christ through the whole Bible.  I learn lessons from this children’s Bible probably more than my boys do.
2. Write out verses on blank note cards and hang them where you can read them often.
On the bathroom mirror, on the window above the sink, anywhere you will see them and be reminded of the truths of God’s word is the place to hang these verse cards.
3. Play Christian music in the house.
We have just started pulling out our cd’s again and listening to music while we clean or play. It helps me to stay focused during the day and there really are less fights and less yelling that goes on while the music is playing. It helps everyone. I do have a couple of children’s praise cd’s but mostly we just listen to mine. Aaron Shust, Chris Tomlin, Amy Grant, Micheal W. Smith…. {I haven’t bought a cd in a really long time okay? :-)}
4. Try to pray more than just at mealtimes.
If there are bad attitudes happening, heart correction is easier if we rely on God’s strength not our own. This is me more than my boys honestly. We have prayed about favorite lost toys, over many owies and we have thanked God for lightbulbs and trains. Teaching your child that everything matters to God is something that will never be forgotten.  We are also told to pray without ceasing, so whenever you get a moment throw some thoughts heavenward .
5. Train your toddlers and preschoolers to leave you alone for ten to fifteen minutes.
This gives you a chance to sit down and read a few verses, meditate on them or pray over your day. I like to throw in a movie and make a cup of coffee to sip on for a few minutes. Now I know I just said that I’m in a Martha season, so this may seem to contradict everything I have said so far, but to survive toddlerhood at my house, I do need those few quiet moments. Because I really can’t do it on my own. I need to lean on Jesus.

Do What Makes You Oh-So Happy (Not)

I came across this cute little sign last week while I was browsing the decorations aisle at Target (you know, because I go down that aisle every time I go to Target…). The sign says, “do what makes you oh-so happy”. And as soon as I saw it, I immediately got defensive and thought, “That’s not true! Life is not about doing what makes us happy!”

Even God did and does things that don’t necessarily make Him happy…. sending Jesus to die on the cross comes to mind. God sent Jesus (and He went willingly) to the cross but it was not with happiness over His painful death. It was with deep sorrow that He had to do this to save His creation in the first place. Also, I think about the consequences the Lord bestows upon humans because of sin. I don’t believe He punishes us with happiness but instead with sadness over our disobedience, just as I don’t discipline my children with joy but with grief over the choices they’ve made. God does things that are just and right, not necessarily things that always make Him (or us) happy.

You see, life isn’t really about happiness at all. Sure there will be plenty of happy times! God has given us {SO MANY THINGS} to bring us JOY in this life!!! And because we are children of God, I believe our Father desires happiness for us just as you and I do for our children. But the Bible surely doesn’t teach Christians to do whatever makes them happy. There are many things I can think of that would be fun and would make me super happy but I know, without a doubt, would be against the Word of God. When we live our lives trying to do whatever it takes to make us “oh-so happy” we often end up oh-so miserable in a life of sin. Chasing worldly happiness eventually comes up empty. Because only living a life in obedience to Christ can bring deep, everlasting joy and happiness.

I’d rather do what honors the Lord in the long run than what make me oh-so happy in the moment. How about you?

Hey Dads: A Man of Sayings for the Man of Sorrows

In honor of {Throw Back Thursday}, this Thursday I am posting from our blog The Hutcheson Headline that we used while living in Uganda from 2012-2013. The post below was originally published by Drew on February 27, 2012. You can view it here if you’d like to see the original version.


Because Father’s Day is just around the corner, I thought that this Throw Back Thursday Post should honor one of the best dad’s I know – my husband! In looking through our old blog for a TBT post for today I came across this post where Drew listed some of the sayings that he lives by and teaches his kids. I can attest that Drew truly is a man of sayings. He is currently teaching the kids The Two P’s – Patience and Perseverance. Both Isaiah and Eloise know The Two P’s and what they mean!

I am incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful man as my husband and the father of my children. I am so thankful for the time that he invests in training our children in the Lord and how he aims to leave them a godly legacy. I’m so proud of that man! 

Happy Father’s Day!


Hey Dads: A Man of Sayings for the Man of Sorrows

Below is my collection thus far of some quotes, one-liners, and their explanation (if need be) I have collected from others over the years and or have created from something I’ve learned. I want to instill these into my children.
“Envy is the seed of discontentment; it gives birth to chaos!” – From James 3:16
“Teach-ability is the posture of humility.”
“You can have the best jam in town, but if you spread it on too thin, the toast is no good.” – Stewart Hamrick, on spreading yourself too thin in life.
“God will not protect you from anything he will perfect you through.” – Bill Muntz on losing his toddler son to a drowning accident.
“Per-se-vere is a three syllable word. Just as ‘life’.” Referring to life being birth, living, and dying and that trials will come. But we’re to persevere well through all 3 eras.
“Unresolved anger is like bad coffee.” Referring to unresolved anger or bitterness being like coffee on the burner for too long. If you drink pop over coffee, then it’s like pop that’s gone flat.
“Discipline is doing what needs to be done, how it needs to be done, when it needs to be done, regardless of how you feel.” – Ron Sauer, Greek Prof at Moody Bible Institute
“Cheer for the team, even in defeat.” – On loyalty
“Do > Say.” – On James 1, being a person of action makes for more influence than merely a person of words.
“Be offensive towards defensiveness.” – Referring to being a person who takes ownership of mistakes.

“Who cares if God doesn’t?” – On learning in life what matters to the Lord.

Leaving a legacy our children will be proud to carry on is a more difficult feat to conquer than ever. Amidst so many distractions our world promotes today, it is more of a sheer fight to focus on what really matters most.

You can easily look at one’s Twitter or Facebook page and easily see where their priorities are. No, I’m not trying to play the role of judge nor cirtic. I just often find many disclosing things virally which are a tad weightless and vain. Do you agree? (And I myself have been victim of this.)



Having said this, one thing I have come to want to be known for by Isaiah and future children, as well as friends and family, is to be a man of sayings for the Man of sorrows. Simply meaning, I want to have several expressions, phrases, figure of speech which I collect or create which teach a life-lesson, a principal, or a token of character. They don’t have to be from the Bible or even from a Christian. But, I would love for the greater portion of them to help me and those who hear me say them live life well, and in turn, reflect the work God has done in me through his cultivating grace.

Trying to conquer fixing the sink together.

As I am a young father, I write this post with other young dads, older dads, and future ones in mind. As we’re all terminal, and as life is such a blink, seemingly smoke on a mirror, it will be what we did and were known for which lives on following our passing. What is so awesome is that even our words are seeds which give birth to action in the lives of others. Hence, what we say and how we say it hold great potential in leading others in how they may live. Therefore, I want to be known not merely for the things I do, but for what I say.

If you have any that you could add to the list or you say often, I’d like to know – so please share!

A Good Reminder

“God

does not promise

to lead us in paths of

prosperity or popularity,

paths of

comfort or temporary happiness.

He promises to lead us in

paths of righteousness,

which means

God will sometimes lead us into

pain

and

discomfort

for our holiness.

And this is good for us.

It is good because

in those moments

we hold tightly to Him

and in those moments

we are conformed more

to the image of His Son.

This results in our joy.

— Eric Geiger

Is God Really Good?

When I was in college I specifically prayed, numerous times, that God would do whatever it took to keep me in a growing relationship with Him. I remember adding (reluctantly) that I really meant {WHATEVER} it took……

I’ve been thinking about that prayer a lot lately as I’ve been contemplating our last two years since returning home from Uganda. We’ve experienced numerous trials and hardships in our lives and the lives of our extended family members since then and a question has been on my mind lately- Is God Really Good?

How can God really be “good” when mental illness overtakes the mind of someone you love? When finances are so tight and thing after thing drains your account, never allowing you to get ahead? When a child dies in your womb without ever having the chance to breathe on Earth? When you find out your husband or wife is cheating on you? When you desperately desire to bear children but can’t? When you receive the news that you have just a few months or years to live? When you are overcome with addiction? When relationships dissolve and friends turn to enemies?  When past abuse haunts you? When everything and everyone you’ve ever held dear is stripped from you in a moment of tragedy? The list of terrible things that you or I have experienced in life is long…

So, tell me…. Where is God in all of that? Is He seriously GOOD in all of that BAD?

Yes, He is. Here’s how I know:

The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.
Nahum 1:7
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Psalm 34:8

Not only does the Bible tell me that God is good, but it also tells me that He uses the circumstances in my life for good:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

The Lord your God will then make you successful in everything you do…the Lord will again delight in being good to you.
Deuteronomy 30:9 
 
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good, to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Genesis 50:20

It’s a difficult concept for Christians in the midst of hardship to wrap their minds around- the concept that God is good even though life sucks. Even when we’re completely hopeless and helpless. Even when it seems that no matter how hard we try things just get worse. God’s there. He’s good in the middle of it all. And in the middle of it all He’s working everything for our good.

BUT, there’s an important thing to remember: God’s good often doesn’t look like how we think our good should look. If I was running my life you better believe there are lots of good things that I would include in my story and many not so good things I would leave out. But God is infinitely smarter and more wise than me and is working out my story for a greater good I may not or cannot ever understand. He has a birds-eye view of His creation and can see how every circumstance affects another. What happens in my life may be for the good of another person. Or for my good down the road, or for the good of humanity. No matter what, I can be assured that God will use each situation in my life for His glory! And, if I allow it to, that not-so-good situation can stretch and grow me and make me more like Jesus. It can give me understanding to comfort someone else in a similar position. It can bring healing to deep parts of a heart that can only be healed through exposing old wounds. I may never know why things I consider “bad” happen, but I can choose to believe GOD IS GOOD and HAS MY GOOD IN MIND no matter what.

When I prayed years ago that God would do whatever it took to keep me close to Him, I knew that one of the things that has an amazing ability to bring people back to the Lord is trials. Hardships bring us to our knees and force us to either deepen our faith in Christ or reject Him all together. Your life may not be going the way you planned it but it’s going exactly the way God planned it. How awesome is it that God loves us enough that He will use every circumstance in our lives for His glory and our ultimate good and growth in Him! I cannot understand why God allows so much evil in this world, but I will choose to let trials and hardships build in me a stronger relationship with the Lord. And I can only do that if I trust in God’s goodness.

For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love. For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.
Lamentations 3:31-33

The Hutchesons are Homeowners!

That’s right…. We just bought our VERY. FIRST. HOME! Wahooo!!!!

I’m so excited to take you on a picture tour of the house but I don’t have time right now! We’re busy painting and doing a few projects before we officially move in mid-December. I promise more pictures will come soon, though!

So excited… We have the keys!

We are so {grateful} to the Lord for his provision in our lives and so excited to get into a place that has more than 1 bedroom and 875 sq feet of space. While we’ve enjoyed our little apartment since we moved to Florida three months ago, the kids are anxious to have a little more space to run! =)

The kids have LOTS of room to run, both inside and outside, in our new house!

We were originally scheduled to close on the house in October (will tell you that story later) but our closing date got pushed to today… and what wonderful timing. With tomorrow being Thanksgiving, what a wonderful blessing we have to be thankful for!!

And, if you’re in the market for a Realtor in the Jacksonville area, Kimberly King is A-MAZING. Seriously, cannot say enough good about her!!
“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” 
Joshua 24:15


Abortion: What it Really is

*WARNING: This post contains graphic pictures and video* 

There was a time when one of my babies was just a couple of months old that I thought I was pregnant again (I wasn’t). I am ashamed to say though, that in the few days that I thought I was, one thought kept coming into my mind: How can I get this “problem” to go away?

I wasn’t consciously considering abortion and I am positive I would not have had one. But it’s amazing the subconscious thoughts that come to your mind when you think you are pregnant with a baby you have not planned for, do not want (at that moment), or feel ill-prepared for. If my mind could gravitate towards such thoughts when I was in a stable relationship with a supportive and loving husband, I had enough food to eat, a house to live in, and the means to take care of a baby, then how much more appealing is the option of abortion to the pregnant 14 year old, the single mom who has 6 kids already, the “good” Christian young woman afraid to disappoint her parents, the family that already has their hands full with a 1 year old and a 3 month old, the parents who find out their baby has severe birth defects, the aspiring professional who got pregnant at a party and doesn’t know the dad, the rape victim….?

Women give an average of 3.7 reasons why they are seeking an abortion including the following (1):
• 21% Inadequate finances
• 21% Not ready for responsibility
• 16% Woman’s life would be changed too much
• 12% Problems with relationships, unmarried
• 11% Too young and/or immature
• 8% Children are grown; she has all she wants
• 3% Baby has possible health problems
• <1% Pregnancy caused by rape/incest
• 4% Other

I want to talk to you today about a very weighty subject. A subject that many people shy away from either out of an “ignorance is bliss” mentality, or…. out of guilt. Guilt because more one third of American women have an abortion by the time they are 45 years old. Two in five pregnancies worldwide end in abortion. There are more than one million abortions performed in the United States ALONE each year. (2)

With numbers like that I know, without a doubt, that some of my readers have been up close and personal with abortion. I am not writing today to condemn you. I don’t want you to walk away from this post feeling like you should live in guilt over decisions in the past. Our God is a God of {forgiveness}, {acceptance}, and {new life}. Jesus Christ died on the cross to save us from any sin we ever have or ever will commit. There is HEALING. There is HOPE.

I am not even writing today to debate with you when life starts (At conception? Upon implantation? When the heart starts beating? At 20 weeks? At birth?). I am not writing to debate whether the morning after pill is a form of abortion or not. I’m not writing to argue over which companies and businesses we should or should not support based on their willingness or unwillingness to provide health care coverage for the abortions of their employees. I don’t want to hash out ideas with you of ways to de-fund Planned Parenthood.

Today I want you to set aside politics. I want you to set aside all judgment of those who have chosen abortion in the past. I want you to set aside the desire to argue for or against abortion. This is not a hate post. I simply want to show you what abortion really is. I want to show those who consider themselves Pro-Choice just exactly what choices women are making. I want to give those who are Pro-Life more conviction in their stance. I want to help the woman considering abortion {right at this very moment} understand what Planned Parenthood and similar organizations are telling them about abortion. I want to help them understand what abortion really is before they make that irreversible decision.

It’s going to be a weighty post, but I hope you’ll stick with me. Some images are going to be hard to see, some facts hard to swallow. But remember what the Bible says: live in the light! Let’s expose the darkness, shine the light, teach the truth, and pray for change.

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”

John 3:19-21

Let’s start with (what I believe are) some facts about abortion (these are taken from the site abortionfacts.com):

  • Fact #1: Every abortion kills an innocent human being.

    Every new life begins at conception. This is an irrefutable fact of biology. It is true for animals and true for humans. When considered alongside the law of biogenesis – that every species reproduces after its own kind – we can draw only one conclusion in regard to abortion: every single abortion ends the life of an innocent human being.
  • Fact #2: Beginning at conception, every pregnancy involves two or more bodies.

    No matter how you spin it, women don’t have four arms and four legs when they’re pregnant. Those extra appendages belong to the tiny human being(s) living inside of them. At no point in pregnancy is the developing embryo or fetus simply a part of the mother’s body.
  • Fact #3: The right to not be killed supersedes the right to not be pregnant.

    The comparison between a baby’s rights and a mother’s rights is unequal. What is at stake in abortion is the mother’s lifestyle, as opposed to the baby’s life. Therefore, it is reasonable for society to expect an adult to live temporarily with an inconvenience if the only alternative is killing a child.
  • Fact #4: Poverty, rape, disability, or “unwantedness” do not morally justify abortion.

    There are all sorts of circumstances that people point to as justification for their support of abortion. Since none of these circumstances are sufficient to justify the killing of human beings after birth, they’re not sufficient to justify the killing of human beings before birth.
  • Fact #5: The differences between embryos and adults are differences of degree not of kind.

    Like toddler and adolescent, the terms “embryo” and “fetus” do not refer to nonhumans but to humans at particular stages of development. Human beings inside the womb are smaller, less developed, and more dependent than human beings outside the womb. These are differences of degree, not differences of kind. We can all point to other people who are bigger, stronger, smarter, or less dependent than we are, but that doesn’t make our life any less valuable or any less deserving of protection.
  • Fact #6: To be only “personally pro-life” is to not be pro-life at all.

    If abortion doesn’t kill children, why would someone be opposed to it? If it does kill children, why would someone defend another’s right to do it? Being personally against abortion but favoring another’s right to abortion is self-contradictory and morally baffling.
  • Fact #7: If there is uncertainty about when human life begins, the benefit of the doubt should go to preserving life.

    It is a scientific fact that life begins at conception. However, if one personally has even a shred of uncertainty about when life begins, then they are still morally obligated to err on the side of life and NOT have an abortion. Why? Because to make a mistake about the exact time when life begins is to kill an innocent human being.
  • Fact #8: The 8 week+ unborn baby feels real physical pain during an abortion.

    Yes, every abortion kills an innocent human being. Even more alarming is the fact that beginning at the 8th week of development, an unborn baby that is aborted feels pain during the abortion. The baby feels both psychological and real physical, organic pain. Let that sink in. Of course, whether or not abortion is a painful experience to the unborn child being aborted, the child is left no less dead as a result. In talking about the question of fetal pain, we must remember that it ultimately has no bearing on the morality of abortion.
  • Fact #9: Abortion is condemnable for the same reasons that slavery and genocide are.

    Networks of killing centers across the globe are eliminating “unwanted, unborn” children at a staggering rate. Were the context not abortion, the world would be outraged. Call it what you want, when an innocent group of human beings is targeted and exterminated by the millions, that is an injustice on par with any of history’s most egregious atrocities. At the end of the day, if the unborn are people (and they are), then abortion is not only comparable to past crimes against humanity but is also, by sheer volume, the greatest holocaust of all.
  • Fact #10: Every legal surgical abortion stops a beating heart and terminates measurable brain waves.

    What do we call it when a person no longer has a heartbeat or brain waves? Death. It’s a scientific fact that life begins at conception, but even more obvious; what should we call it when there is a heartbeat and there are brain waves? Life. It is an indisputable fact that each and every legal surgical abortion in America today stops a beating heart and stops already measurable brain waves.
  • Fact #11: The right to not be killed supersedes the right to privacy.

    Some defend abortion by claiming that they have a right to privacy. Whether they have an abortion or not is between them and their doctor. Everyone else should stay out of their business. Of course, if abortion kills an innocent human being (it does), then killing done in private is no more acceptable than killing done in public; and the encouragement or assistance of a doctor does not change the nature, consequences, or morality of abortion.

Now let that information sink in and watch this astounding video and hear the counselor at Planned Parenthood tell this young girl that her baby at 7 weeks gestation “has no legs, no arms, no head, no brain, no heart. At this point it’s just the embryo itself.”

Umm… Actually no, Planned Parenthood. Scientific research shows that a baby at 7 weeks LMP DOES indeed have a beating heart, arms, legs, and a head. In fact…

Fertilization (2 weeks after LMP):
At fertilization, the genetic composition of a preborn human is formed.This genetic information determines gender, eye color, hair color, facial features, and influences characteristics such as intelligence and personality.
3 Weeks after Fertilization (5 weeks after LMP):
The eyes and spinal cord are visible and the developing brain has two lobes.
4 Weeks after Fertilization (6 weeks after LMP):
The heart is beating and a circulatory system is in place.Specific brain components and internal organs such as the lungs are beginning to develop and can be identified.
9 Weeks after Fertilization (11 weeks after LMP):
More than 90% of the body structures found in a full-grown human are present. The medical classification changes from an embryo to a fetus. This dividing line was chosen by embryologists because from this point forward, most development involves growth in existing body structures instead of the formation of new ones. The preborn human moves body parts without any outside stimulation.
10 Weeks after Fertilization (12 weeks after LMP):
All parts of the brain and spinal cord are formed. The heart pumps blood to every part of the body.The whole body is sensitive to touch except for portions of the head. The preborn human makes facial expressions.
12 Weeks after Fertilization (14 weeks after LMP):
Electrical signals from the nervous system are measurable. After an abortion, efforts to suckle will sometimes be observed.
18 Weeks after Fertilization (20 weeks after LMP):
The portion of the brain responsible for functions such as reasoning, memory and language (the cerebral cortex) has the same number of nerve cells as a full-grown adult. Pain sensory receptors have spread to all portions of the skin and mucous membranes.
20 Weeks after Fertilization (22 weeks after LMP):
The preborn human sleeps, awakes and can hear sounds.

How can we justify abortion when we read these facts?

And now come some hard photos to take in. These photos make me want to snatch up all three of my babies and kiss them from head to toe, hold them tight, and praise the Lord they are alive. How can people say these “embryos” and “fetuses” they are killing are not BABIES? I know, these photos are hard to look at. They make me sick to my stomach too. I can only look for a few seconds before turning away. But this is reality, friends. This is happening around us. We cannot turn away and pretend it doesn’t exist. Expose the darkness. 
7 week abortion
9 week abortion
10 week abortion
22 week abortion
24 week abortion
It’s heartbreaking isn’t it?

Two articles popped up on my Facebook feed recently. This one completely boggled my mind when I read it. The article tells of an abortionist, 18 weeks pregnant, who performed an abortion on a mother also 18 weeks pregnant. She recalls that her own baby kicked her for one of the first times precisely as she pulled the leg off of the baby she was aborting. Seriously? What has our world come to?
The second article is more hopeful. It tells the story of a baby, desperately wanted by his parents, miscarried at 14 weeks. The family wanted to share publicly the pictures of his tiny body to show the world that a baby is truly formed at 14 weeks gestation. When you look at that picture of Nathan’s tiny body, doesn’t it look so different from the bodies of the baby’s killed by abortion? Nathan’s body is so whole and perfectly formed… the way it should be. I know that there are many many of you have suffered the loss of a miscarriage. I want you to know how different this is from abortion. 

A few months ago there was a video circulating about an abortion counselor named Emily Letts who filmed her own abortion, portraying the event as “cool, easy, and necessary.” Below is a very well done video exposing the lies and irony behind Emily’s words. Please do not watch with children in the room. 
When you see abortion for what it really is, it’s shocking isn’t it?

In the process of writing this post I accidentally left up some pictures on my computer and Isaiah saw this photo of an aborted baby:

I held my breath, wondering what he was going to say. I didn’t intend for him to see the picture but I also didn’t want to scare him by making a huge deal out of it. He looked at the picture for a minute and, after a while, he said thoughtfully:

“Oh no, Mom, that baby got all ripped into pieces. Do you think a bad guy did that?”

I waited a while and then said:

 “Yes Isaiah, I think a bad guy definitely did that.”

And in complete, innocent belief that this was the {only} scenario that could have caused something like that to happen, he said:

 “I know a bad guy must have come in when it was dark and stole that baby from it’s mom and it died.”

Oh, the innocence of a child. How do you explain to a 4 year old that actually the Mommy was the bad guy? That her baby wasn’t stolen from her without her knowledge but actually killed with her consent?

Friend, does your heart not ache? My eyes are filled with tears and my heart is breaking in two… it is aching for all the sweet babies who were never given the chance to live in this world because someone decided that they should not be allowed to. The babies who go from the safety and security of their mother’s womb to the shock of cold, metal forceps in the hands of an abortionist.

I hope and pray that this post has opened your eyes to the horror of abortion. We need to expose this darkness, counsel women contemplating it, LOVE and support women who have done it, and pray pray pray. Something has GOT to change.

Before I leave you today I want to remind you that no matter what sins we have committed there is always forgiveness in Christ. We always have the option to repent, turn from our ways, and live in God’s freedom from sin. Abortion is NOT unforgivable. Below I have listed resources for women considering abortion and places to find hope and healing for women who carry abortion in their past. If you would like more information about how to start a personal relationship with Jesus Christ please e-mail me at: Drewamhutch@gmail . com. I would love to listen to and talk with you.

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

If you are considering abortion please, please seek outside advice. Here are some places that can offer hope and help:

If you are struggling with guilt and shame from a past abortion there are places to help you receive healing. Here are some helpful links: 

  • http://www.abortionrecovery.org  A very helpful site with powerful testimonials from people who have found healing after abortion. You can locate a CARE center by your zipcode.
  • Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries at www.rachelsvineyard.org . National toll-free hotline at 1-877-HOPE-4-ME (1-877-467-3463). Rachel’s Vineyard offers post-abortion weekend retreats and weekly support groups in 46 states and 7 countries.
  • Option Line at 1-800-712-HELP or consult their online directory at www.optionline.org/ to find out if a pregnancy center near you offers post abortion support groups.
  • Healing Hearts Ministries International at www.healinghearts.org/ .This international ministry was founded in the state of Washington and has grown to include in-person support groups in a number of other states. In addition to in-person support groups, Healing Hearts offers an online program.
  • Ramah International at www.ramahinternational.org (941) 473-2188. This Christian group supports post-abortion ministry through training programs, resources, research and promoting awareness of post-abortion issues. 
  • Victims of Choice at www.victimsofchoice.com .Elizabeth Verchio, Director, has created “My Guilt, Grief and Shame are Ending Soon”, a 10-session program that is especially designed for one-on-one work between someone experiencing emotional and spiritual wounds and a trained peer counselor.