So does that mean rape and an ice cream are okay?

Along with every other American last week, I watched the second Presidential debate. Afterwards, I posted a status on Made in His Image’s facebook wall that produced countless emails of disgust and support. I posted about President Obama’s comment in regards to Planned Parenthood offering mammograms to women. To which I replied, (and I paraphrase because I’m flying back to Nashville and don’t want to spend $9.95 for internet access to check the exact wording), Planned Parenthood doesn’t do mammograms they just kill innocent babies.

Being the president of a non-profit organization, I learned early on not to take people’s comments personally, especially when countless people are trying to offer me advice on how to run the organization. One reader did make a comment saying that I shouldn’t bring the election into the realm of inspiration that Made in His image offers. I felt compelled to respond because I vehemently oppose that statement.

Everyday Made in His Image advocates for women who have been physically and sexually assaulted. In short, women that have been violated and who are exceedingly vulnerable. I have given everything to this mission, sometimes living month to month not knowing how I am going to pay my rent, car insurance, etc. I do it because I know God has called me to this beautiful task, even though at times it’s exceedingly scary and uncertain.

If Made in His Image is going to protect victims and survivors of physical and sexual assault then shouldn’t we also be a voice for the most vulnerable human beings on earth – the unborn? We would be contradicting ourselves if we didn’t. I’d give my last drop of blood for an unborn child and Made in His Image joyfully and strongly supports the right to life from conception until nature death.

I am aware that Planned Parenthood doesn’t just do abortions and I’m sure some of their “other” services have helped women in financial need. But because they do abortions we can not support them. The evil of murdering a human life outweighs any other “good” they are doing. According to the FBI, murder is the highest level of crime, with rape second to it. What if a young girl was raped and then taken to ice cream by the same person. Don’t you think the evil outweighs the “good” deed here? The same is true with Planned Parenthood. You can’t kill a child and offer counseling services, etc and claim to do “good” deeds. That my friends, is seer hypocrisy.

A woman once told me that her baby was the size of a lemon. The sad truth, babies the size of lemons are being aborted daily. People say, Oh they can’t feel anything, referring to the baby. Who are we to say what the baby can or cannot feel. Have you ever cut your finger peeling potatoes or slicing vegetables? Did you feel it? Of course you did. Well, your finger is smaller than the size of a lemon.

Paul Ryan brilliantly stated in the Vice Presidential debate that yes he is Catholic, but he doesn’t necessarily believe in the right to life from conception until natural death because of his Catholic faith. He said he believes that the unborn are alive due to science. I thought his philosophy was beautifully stated.

In reality you should base your vote this election on one principle alone – which candidate believes in the unprecedented sacredness of human life. Because after all, if a child isn’t given a fighting chance to live, then who the heck cares about tax cuts, budgets, gun control, etc. Because if aborted, he or she wouldn’t even be alive to pay taxes in the first place.

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I felt like I was experiencing my own Human Experience

Dear Made in His Image,

Today, I went canoeing with my friend. I haven’t been too confident about my body but I’ve been “sober” and haven’t purged. I am not so phased with numbers. On the water, I realized that there is no way I can think about how I look when I am out on a beautiful lake canoeing. I felt like I was experiencing my own “Human Experience.” I actually felt happy to be so muscular and was thankful for my body type. I always sit up front when I canoe. Without my body, I couldn’t move the canoe.

Yesterday I gave money and food to a homeless man sitting outside a church. I didn’t hesitate. It was instant! I also attended a youth meeting and did Scrutatio. I’ve never been before but I spoke up first when asked to share what God revealed to us. I’m working things out and I’m going to get through this. I trust God so much. His name made me whole. I just wanted to personally write you because you’ve truly changed my life. THANK YOU! I can’t wait to meet you one day.

I receieved this hand written letter from a beautiful and courageous woman involved with MIHI. I love how she referenced The Human Expereince…these ladies learn quick!

Blessed be God! The Father is using Made in His Image to change lives and MIHI is humbled to walk with you in your journey of hope and healing! If there is anything we can do to help you, please do not hesitate to contact us. MIHI exists to serve you!

Positive Corner:

Last night, I went out for frozen yogurt with my sister. She’s been asking me to go for several days, and I keep getting nervous and telling her no, but I finally said I would go and I actually enjoyed it. – told to me, by one of the beautiful women MIHI helps hold accountable

This was a HUGE step and I AM SO PROUD OF HER!!!

Dear Made in His Image, I just wanted to let you know that I had my first initial session with Catherine today (Made in His Image’s counselor). I like her theory that everyone has a hole in their heart and her goal is to build a foundation around the hole. I’ve never thought of it like that. I think she is a great fit for me. Thank you so much for recommending her! 

To all the women involved with MIHI: I just want to tell each of you how exceedingly proud I am of you. You continue to astound me each day by your courage, faith and perseverance. You are AMAZING!!! Keep up the good fight! Always HOPE and know how loved you are by the Father. There is nothing that MIHI wouldn’t do to help you – we are here to serve YOU and you are so loved

My Eyes Met His and We Embraced

I just got back from a party where I ate some of the most delicious salmon I have ever eaten. I love salmon, and man oh man, it was so amazing!!

As you can probably tell from the past few posts, I really love the movie The Human Experience. Yesterday, I watched it with one of the men who abused me. I wasn’t sure how he would take it, and was shaking before walking in. After the movie, we talked, he listened, my eyes met his, and we embraced. Then, he asked to go to confession. Blessed be God!!!

We should always boast in the mercy and glory of God.

Made in His Image, yearns to enkindle within you a spirit of hope, mercy and forgiveness. Whether I live to be 27 or 107, I will make the daily choice to choose to see beauty in ambiguity, suffering, pain, loss and the cross. You see my friends, the cross of Christ, when carried with joy and love, is our sanctification. Everyone tastes the cross, there is no escaping it. But, when we hope, when we love, when we forgive and show mercy, others will see the Father in us, and then maybe in-turn, they will show love to those they encounter. This is how we can change the world!

So let us journey together in our quest for holiness in every capacity. Let’s be saints!

Now go, and show mercy and forgiveness to those in need.

“Although I have lived through much darkness, I have seen enough evidence to be unshakably convinced that no difficulty, no fear is so great that it can completely suffocate the hope that springs eternal in the hearts of the young. Do not let that hope die! Stake your lives on it! We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of His Son.” – Pope John Paul II

To the Gentleman From the Coffee Shop…

Several weeks ago, a gentleman approached me at a local coffee shop in Nashville, where I was working on various projects for Made in His Image. He sat down next to me and asked if I was a student. No, I’m not a student. He probed further, and I told him about MIHI.

I could tell by his questions that this gentleman was searching for a purpose, yearning to delve deeper into the meaning of life. What must I do to be free? 

(As you can see, I take my coffee very seriously).

Last night, after returning home from dinner and drinks, I stayed up until 4 am working on a project for MIHI. Then, I watched The Human Experience again. Yep, I didn’t sleep last night. By the way, did you do your homework from the last post and watch it? For less than you can buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks, you can rent this documentary on iTunes.

To the gentleman from the coffee shop and the thousands of people who have written to Made in His Image, below is how you find peace and happiness.

“Dad, I forgive you.” – Jeffrey Azize (from The Human Experience).

Jeffrey’s dad: “Thank you my son.”

Mercy: our Heavenly Father’s greatest attribute and one of the greatest gifts we could ever give to another. Now go, and show someone forgiveness and mercy, let them look at you, and see and feel the love of the Father. And who knows, you may be the first person to ever show them that love.

The main actor, Jeffrey Azize, struck my heart

Early one morning one of the nurses called me over to the bedside of a dying woman. I was in Kolkata, India serving with the Missionaries of Charity at Kalighat (Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying). The nurse asked me to help her cut the skin covering this woman’s deteriorating skull, which then fully exposed her worm invested brain. Looking at this woman’s brain was like studying the brain in one of my biology books. I’ll never forget the look on her face as we proceeded to pull worms out of her brain with a tweezer and the way in which she would squeeze my hand to alleviate the immense pain she was in, as we had no pain medication to give her.

The last day I served at Kalighat was an exceedingly hard day, as I didn’t want to leave her. I loved just sitting with her and holding her hand. She never smiled at me or made eye contact, which I attributed to the excruciating amount of pain she was in.

During my last hour at Kalighat, I got some cream and lathered her whole body at least five times as she slept; her skin was so dry that the cream would immediately dry up. Before I left, I wanted her to know that someone loved her; I wanted her to feel the love she had shown me.

Ten minutes before I left Kalighat for the summer, I placed both my hands on her head and prayed over her as she slept. My last prayer for her was that if God willed it, He would take away her pain for as long as He desired, and give it to me so she could die in peace. And that if this pleased Him, she would make eye contact with me and smile.

Nothing happened and she continued to sleep as I traced the sign of the cross on her forehead. As I walked away, I turned to take one more glance at her, she had opened her eyes at this point and I ran back to her side. She reached for my hand and tenderly squeezed it, and for the first time it wasn’t a squeeze of pain. One tear fell from her right eye as she looked directly at me and smiled! I had tears in my eyes and got the chills in the 115 degree heat. It was Jesus right there! This woman will forever have a special place inside my heart and the world’s most renowned writer could never compose words deep enough to adequately describe this experience.

A month ago, a friend, he was about the twentieth one, recommended I watch The Human Experience. I did, and it was one of the most phenomenal movies I have ever seen. It reminded me of the story I just shared about India, among other life experiences and inspired me to love. If you haven’t seen it, you have to rent it TONIGHT – it’s just that compelling! If I had the money, I’d send everyone a copy.

The documentary seeks to discover the meaning of life. And yearns to answer questions such as, Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? What is my purpose in life? 

The main actor, Jeffrey Azize, struck my heart. Several times during the movie he talks about his childhood, and how he seeks to forgive and show mercy to those who have hurt him. There where two scenes that moved me to tears. One time he is being filmed in a taxi in New York City, as he gazes out the window he talks about how challenging it was to feel and experience love, when the ones who were supposed to love and care for him, fell from grace and harmed him. It was exceedingly profound! In another scene he meets his father, after years of separation and embraces him. Jeffrey’s love for his father mirrors God the Father’s love for us – it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. To love those who have harmed us, is to reflect the Father’s love. And this my friends is our mission in life.

The actors travel to Peru and Ghana to serve the poor and the dying. They witnessed immense suffering while there, but also tremendous love, which is why I shared my story about India with you to paint a picture in your mind. Serving the dying proves to be an experience unparalleled to any other. Our society would say that the dying have nothing – no money, status, propriety, cars or fame. Yet, they have everything, because they have love and hope in their hearts. They have a resolve to see beauty in their suffering and it’s breathtaking to witness. They love without expecting anything in return and offer tenderness and compassionate to others, when they themselves are dying. They radiate the Father’s love.

My friends, let’s strive to love like that. Let’s show compassion, mercy and forgiveness to those who have harmed us, no matter what the offense. For there is nothing that our Heavenly Father doesn’t forgive. Always remember that mercy is His greatest attribute. When others see us, let’s let them see and feel the love of the Father. And then they will be seeing authentic beauty, because authentic love, exposes beauty.

Let’s radiate joy when we don’t feel like being joyful. Let’s strive to see beauty in our suffering, knowing that it is an opportunity to place our burdens at the foot of the cross and to be co-redeemers with Christ. And when we fall, let us rise, and begin again.

Now go watch The Human Experience!