Limits: Blessing or Curse?

Being the owner and “parent/caregiver” of two adorable Bichons, I am fascinated with their behaviors. I often see an analogous relationship between their instinctive behaviors and ours as humans. Interestingly, when I put them on a leash, no matter what the length, they strain to the end of it. I tell them, “No pull!” quickly making them aware of their limits. If the leash is 4 feet, 6 feet, or 20 feet long, their reaction is the same without training and correction. They want complete freedom without restraint. So do we. It’s a primary struggle.

From the very first creation account, we have testimony that a single boundary was given by Creator God in the midst of an incredible and most perfect place – Eden. Adam and Eve had no labor, no toil, no sweat … just the beauty of the Garden God had placed them in with provision and comfort. Ahhhh … such sweet contentment. But, wait. That’s not how the story goes.

Given only one limitation, and that given for their good, the humans decided that God really couldn’t have meant what He said. Surely not, the Tempter said! The Evil One was lurking about ready to sell deception to these first human children. He also had chafed at his role of being an angelic being, desiring to be God himself. Forever being dismissed from his original heavenly purpose, he has been up to no good ever since. “Why,” he said to Eve, “God merely wants to deny you the gift of being like Him, the ability to know good and evil.” Eve reasoned that this made sense: God wanted to deny them that delicious and beautiful fruit to protect His authority and omnipotence. Wrong.

God had higher purposes for his instructions. Not only had He created these human children with free will to choose, but He also did not want them to live forever in sin. He was protecting them from their own potential wrong choices. Oh, but they chafed against that simple restraint. They tugged at the proverbial leash until they broke free and had their way. Momentary freedom ultimately led to pain, sorrow, and death.

Why, oh why, do we never see boundaries and limits as a gift, for our good and protection? When you say, “God wouldn’t give me THIS situation (you name it) if He didn’t think I could handle it,” are you sure He gave it to you? Or did you break the restraint to have your way instead of His highest and best? Or sometimes, it could be someone else’s sin that produced chaos in your life. Or it could be the condition of the fallen world splashing upon you, a child of God. Father God will see you through the storm, no matter the cause because God is love. Yet, should we examine the potential of our own failure to walk with Him before we assign God the blame?

Creator of the Universe, Father God, is also Omniscient – One who knows our choices before we do. Yes, He is also a loving, forgiving Father even when we foil His best plans for our lives. When we turn from our wayward paths, He redeems our mistakes and even uses them to bless us … when we repent.

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Are Intimate Relationships Impacted by Abortion?

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Studies have been done to examine the correlations between abortion and relationship functions. In one such study, the variables included perceptions of quality-of-life, termination of relationship, sexual changes, aggression, and conflict. A large number of both men (n=658) and women (n=906) were interviewed, and the samples were ethnically diverse. Interestingly, for both men and women, if one had experienced an abortion in a previous relationship, there was a negative impact on the current relationship. The abortion experience was associated with an increased risk for arguing about children when children came in to the picture. Females also reported an increased risk for sexual dysfunction, arguments concerning finances, and even the relatives, both his and hers. Though this study does not prove that this affect will be associated with every person who has experienced an induced abortion, it is clear that abortion may impact relationships in a negative way as a person tries to move forward.

Coleman PK, Rue VM, Coyle CT. Induced abortion and intimate relationship quality in the Chicago Health and Social Life Survey. Public Health, 2009 Apr; 123(4):331-8, 308: 10.1016/j.puhe.2009.01.005. Epub 2009 Mar 26

Ashlyn’s Story

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Ashlyn, did you know? Many times women yield to the influences around them, and in particular, the father of the baby they are carrying. In desiring to not break off a relationship, a woman may become vulnerable to the pressure of the father, someone who is not willing, or emotionally ready, to parent. However, the cruel reality is that often if a woman chooses to abort under pressure, the relationship she wants to protect becomes more at risk for failure. Consider the correlation found between induced abortion and the negative impact on your primary relationship … before you decide. Weigh the risks. Count the cost.   

“Jeremy, I can’t believe what you just said!” Ashlyn shouted into her cell phone. “You knew we weren’t using protection, and here we are. I am pregnant! With YOUR baby! And, all of a sudden, you don’t think you’re ready to play daddy? Fine. Just fine.”

Ashlyn abruptly clicked her phone off. She knew she needed to calm down and think. It was Saturday, and she called her best friend, Ava.

“Are you free to talk, Ava? I really need someone to process with,” Ashlyn said.

“Sure, Ashlyn, I’m just cleaning up around my apartment, and will be here until about 5 p.m. Come on over!”

“Honestly, Ava. Jeremy is acting like a jerk. We are not children. We are both out of school and beginning our careers. Maybe we weren’t planning on starting a family right now, but we both knew the risks. He said he wanted to be with me … forever. So much for ‘forever,’ right?”

“Did he ask you to have an abortion, Ashlyn?” Ava asked.

“He did. He even ‘volunteered’ to pay for it. He even said he would go with me.”

“What a gentleman!” Ava said, her tone dripping with sarcasm. “What do you want to do, Ashlyn? Have you had time to even consider the consequences of this … on you, on Jeremy, your parents?”

“Oh, I would never tell my parents if I have an abortion. No, no, never! Leave them out of this picture.”

“What do you think Jeremy will do if you say you want to keep the baby?” Ava asked.

Tears began to well up in Ashlyn’s eyes. “I really don’t know. He said he wanted to travel with his job, and take every opportunity for promotion.”

“But, I really love Jeremy,” she added softly.

“Will you still love him the way you did before if you abort your baby?”

Silence. Quiet tears fell. Ava reached out her arms to give Ashlyn a hug. She held her while she sobbed.

“I loved Jeremy so much, Ava. I thought he would be my husband some day …”

“And, if he doesn’t want to support you now … now that you are expecting his baby …?”

Ashlyn looked into Ava’s eyes and said nothing. It was clear that everything had changed. Just twenty-four hours ago, life was beautiful and carefree with a future filled with hope. Twelve hours ago, Ashlyn took a pregnancy test. The earth shook.

Dear Lord,

Ashlyn is in so much pain, and we know you’ve seen all the details of her story. Please reveal Your plans for her, and give her the strength to make the right choice with no regrets. Help her draw close to you, and know not only your will, but your loving forgiveness for not following your plan for her highest good.

Psychological Risk

The National Institute of Health has published a number of studies on the possible psychological health consequences of induced abortion. There is a reported higher risk for both preterm delivery and mood disorders. Those considering having an abortion should be educated and aware before they decide. Pregnancy in itself may cause stress, and even a normal miscarriage may cause grief. Every psychiatric outcome should be weighed in light of multiple causes, of course. The impact of events will be influenced on how they are perceived, a person’s emotional coping ability, the influence of the interaction between physical facts, and the ethical dimension of such a life changing event.

Thorp JM Jr, Hartmann KE, Shadigian E. Long-term physical and psychological health consequences of induced abortion: Review of the evidence. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2003; 58 (1):67-69.