A SPECIAL CHILD

fingers and toesTrust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

 

The birth of any child is cause for celebration, but my first glimpse of our new baby was also a cause for concern. Her body was limp, her skin blue, and her cry was low and raspy. I looked at my husband, Brian, with apprehension and fear, but he was quick to offer reassurance.

 

Our doctor showed up the next morning. His words were delivered in a terse, offhand manner: “Your baby was born with Down syndrome. Do you want to give her up for adoption?” What?

 

I swear my heart stopped beating. Brian already had two children from a previous marriage, and together we had one, so perhaps that’s why he managed to hold it together, at least for my sake. As for myself, I was stunned. I didn’t even know what questions to ask! The doctor certainly didn’t make it any easier when he merely handed me a brochure on the subject—and walked out of the room.

 

Along with the diagnosis of Down syndrome, Katlyn also had two dime-size holes in her heart. When I heard this news, I instantly foresaw her death. Surely, she would not survive, and I mentally prepared myself for her passing. I had even managed to convince myself that she would be better off with God, safer in heaven than she would be on earth. I went so far to suggest to Brian that we change the beautiful name we had chosen. I’m still not sure why I thought changing her name would make a difference, but I couldn’t stand the thought of our sweet Katlyn Elizabeth leaving us.

 

As I struggled with my disappointment and sadness, Brian was my pillar of strength. Then, out of nowhere, he cracked. On his way to the post office, he ended up dumping mail all over the road. Neighborhood children came to his rescue and helped him reload the truck. Hard as he had resisted, he’d reached his breaking point, too.

 

We faced a long, hard road—not just us, but our other children as well. But we knew God would guide us, and we were prepared to do whatever we could to not only prolong her life but to enrich it as well. Little did we know at the time that it would be Katlyn who would touch us so deeply and profoundly.

Now at twenty-four years old, Katlyn is a vivacious young adult with Down syndrome.  She is the author of My Friends the Penguins children’s book series and My Name is Princess Katlyn. Katlyn is also an actress, model, presenter, author, and all-around inspiration to all who meet her.

 

A mom of any child needs to learn to rest in God’s peace and trust her children to the Lord, but a special needs mom especially needs the strength of the Lord. From one mom’s heart to another, ask God for peace that only comes from Him. Pray that God will give you wisdom for those days you doubt His plan.

Ann Aubitz is the author of Katlyn Conquers the World and The Many Faces of Down Syndrome. Her writing buddy is her daughter with Down syndrome, Katlyn Aubitz. Ann owns FuzionPress/FuzionPrint in Burnsville, Minnesota, with her husband of twenty-six years.

World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), March 21st, is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. The date for WDSD is the 21st day of the 3rd month, selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome. For more information about Down Syndrome and the day we celebrate these special world citizens, please see www.worlddownsyndromeday2.org .

MERCY, ABIDE IN ME

Mercy Abide In MeHave mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to Your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Psalm 51:1

 

“But I’m not a sinner,” I said to her. “I have never murdered anyone or robbed a bank.” My best friend and college roommate was shoving a religious tract under my nose while telling me about her “conversion” to Christianity. I wanted none of it. I was certain I did not need anything from God. At the ripe old age of twenty-six, I had not realized—yet—what that little incident on a mountain in Colorado the year before had really meant. Yeah, that time when God literally delivered me from the hands of a crazed rapist wielding a gun and a huge chain with which he intended to secure me to a tree in a remote forest. When I cried out to a God I didn’t even believe in, the man crumbled to the ground and then fled, most probably sparing me a slow death on the forest floor where no one would have found me.

 

Still, by the time Jan caught up with me, I wasn’t ready to admit that I needed God. My life was out of control, but I didn’t even recognize that either. St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) admonished, “For the most part, all (our) trials and disturbances come from our not understanding ourselves.” What a loaded statement! But I had just completed a master’s degree in counseling, further proof that I didn’t need any help figuring out life’s complexities. Perhaps failure to admit we need God’s grace is “the sin against the Holy Spirit” the Apostle Paul spoke about in Ephesians 4:30. What could be more offensive to our Lord than for us to reject His everlasting love, compassion, and forgiveness for us? But that’s exactly what I did. Until one day I didn’t.

 

Finally, grace broke through and I began to change. I no longer fought to block God’s loving energy from flooding into my entire being. And—miraculously—I began to understand myself through the lens of God’s mighty mercy. Letting God love me revealed how to love others. And, more importantly, when I saw what God loved in me, I was able to love myself.

 

All-Loving God, You see in me what I can be in Your eyes. Thank You for Your grace. Amen

 

Both candid and humorous, insightful and ponderous, Meg Blaine Corrigan’s memoir, Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child, takes the reader through her chaotic childhood with an alcoholic mother and enabling father to a violent assault that nearly ended her life. She populates her tale with vivid descriptions of her parents, other influential adults, the attacker, and her disastrous first marriage. But this story has a happy ending, when Meg finds solace in a God she didn’t think she’d ever believe in, when He gently helps her heal from her past lives and move into the best times of her life. Meg has also written a novel, Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist, about said first marriage, as well as a Christian devotional, Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, comprised of blogs from this site. Stay tuned for sequels to her last two books! All of her works may be purchased through her website, www.MegCorrigan.com or from www.amazon.com .

A NEW LENTEN FAST

Fasting-black-and-white-1Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Isaiah 58:6

 

In the Christian church, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends about six weeks, or forty days later, on Maundy Thursday, when Christ shared a last meal with His disciples before going to the cross. Lent is often associated with fasting, particularly Christ’s forty-day period of fasting and temptation (Matthew 4:1-11). Many Christians still observe some type of food fasting during Lent, perhaps giving up some special treat for the six-week period. Fewer folks will actually skip meals. I have given up chocolate many times, but I’ve eaten my share of sweets during Lent to make up for the loss of sugar in my diet. But Pope Francis has come up with some ideas for a different type of “fast” during the forty days following Ash Wednesday. Here is his list for this year:

 

Fast from hurting words and say kind words.

Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.

Fast from anger and be filled with patience.

Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.

Fast from worries and have trust in God.

Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.

Fast from pressures and be prayerful.

Fast from bitterness and fill you hearts with joy.

Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others.

Fast from grudges and be reconciled.

Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.

 

I think Pope Francis is on to something, and his ideas might be harder to implement than giving up food items! Imagine if we each could stick to even half of his list of things from which to abstain! Wouldn’t this world be a better place for at least six weeks? And what if the items on the list became a habit rather than a short-term project? This is certainly something to think about! As Isaiah says in Chapter 58 of the book by his name, the fast God wants is for us “to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke.”  Let’s try Pope Francis’ idea of a meaningful fast this year!

 

Lord, we thank You for suffering through many trials on this earth, all for us! Amen

 

Alone on a Colorado mountain, Meg Corrigan faced the unthinkable, a situation that almost ended her life. Hear the details of her astounding rescue from the hands of a gun-wielding attacker and how she walked off that mountain. Hers is a story of tragedy turned holy, a journey of sorrow and healing, a powerful message of hope in the darkest hour. In her memoir, Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child, Meg credits her resilience to the grace of God. She is also the author of Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist, tales based on her years as a drummer in a Hawaiian show band; and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, released this month. Meg is a retired college counselor, author, speaker, trainer and sexual assault survivor. She speaks to churches, civic groups, college students, mental health professionals and law enforcement personnel, as well as youth in juvenile facilities. Corrigan lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota with her husband, Patrick and their formerly disenfranchised rescue dog Ginger. She loves to coax seemingly dead plants out of the soil in her yard. The couple have four daughters, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net or www.MegCorrigan.com .

JOHN THREE SIXTEEN

John Three SixteenFor God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may bot perish but may have eternal life. John 3:16

 

How in the world do you write a novel about a Polynesian show band traveling the United States and interject a Christian message plunk in the middle of the story? The ancient Polynesians people are said to have sacrificed human beings to appease their many gods. But when I wrote the novel, Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist, loosely based on the years I spent playing drums in a traveling Hawaiian band, I was determined to include some mention of the God I had found after leaving the road for a more normal lifestyle.

 

Enter John Three Sixteen, described as follows in the book: “John Three-Sixteen kind of stands out….He’s six foot six and muscular, with long brown hair and a full beard.  Adding a camel hair cloak and a Happy Meal of locusts and honey would not be a stretch….” John the book character was a steel guitar player from Mississippi. My “character” was a twenty-something single girl named Todd, and I played percussion (trap drums and various hand percussion instruments designed to provide a South Sea Island flavor to the music). In the book, “John Three-Sixteen was his legal name. He had it changed when he originally ‘saw the Light’ in 1965. He gave his heart to Jesus and never looked back. John said it was only right to change his name, since he believed his sole purpose on earth after his conversion was to spread the Gospel of Christ. And he did it in such a quiet, inoffensive way, people couldn’t help but like him instantly.”

 

In a chapter entitled “Stuck In Lodi Again,” Todd tosses and turns in her bed at the hotel where the band is staying. Todd is “stuck” in Lodi, California with a boyfriend she doesn’t really like and ponders her situation. Finally, she wanders down to the coffee shop and finds John sitting quietly reading his Bible. He says the Lord told him to go to the coffee shop, and there he is. Todd joins him, and the conversation that ensues comes slightly short of converting her to Christianity. But the seed is planted.

 

Jesus, help us see messages, even in novels, about how Your great love can change lives. Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan is the author of three books: Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child; Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist (cover art by the author); and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian. She holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of New Mexico and has over thirty years’ experience working with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, war veterans, and other trauma survivors.  Her books may be purchased through her website, www.MegCorrigan.com or from www.amazon.com .

 

ROCK CAIRNS

Rock Cairn 2All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep His covenant and His decrees. Psalm 25:10

According to Wikipedia.com, a cairn is a “man-made pile (or stack) of stones…used for a broad variety of purposes, from prehistoric times to the present.” The word is derived from an ancient Scottish Gaelic term. These rock stacks have been built and used as burial monuments, for defense, hunting, ceremonial purposes, and to mark hidden items. The most common uses for cairns has been to mark trails for travelers. They appear throughout the world, in all sorts of terrain. They vary in size and complexity from simple piles of rocks to delicately balanced sculptures that seem to defy gravity. In recent years, it has become popular to construct and display cairns in cultivated gardens and in state and national parks. In many parts of the world, building rock cairns in public places has become frowned upon or even made illegal, because many cairns can confuse hikers, and because today’s eco-conscious society practices a “leave no trace” ethic regarding shared or public lands.

I have been fascinated by rock cairns for many years, and I have seen examples of them in foreign countries like Scotland and Ireland, and in nearby neighbors’ yards and gardens. I do not have a steady hand, but I marvel at people who can stack rocks with great abandon, never having their structures tumble like pick-up sticks. It is not lost on me that, while these formations have been used in marking paths, they also represent a delicate balance, just as life offers us paths to choose with wise guidance and personal stability.

The Bible offers many examples of God leading us along with “markers,” often His precepts, commandments and promises. The Psalms are filled with such examples, the most beloved perhaps the 23rd Psalm, which says, “He leads me in right paths for His name sake” (v.3). Each New Testament Gospels refer to John the Baptist as a sort of human cairn, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’” The Lord provides markers, or “cairns” for us to follow in the way He wishes us to go.

 

Lord, You provide both guidance and balance in our lives. Help us see the markers You provide for us in this world. Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan is the author of three books: Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child; Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist; and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian. She holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of New Mexico and has over thirty years’ experience working with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, war veterans, and other trauma survivors.  Her books may be purchased through her website, www.MegCorrigan.com or from www.amazon.com .

WORLD PEACE

World Peace FlagsI urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 1 Timothy 2:1-2

 

World Peace? How is it possible to imagine that in today’s world? According to worldpopulationsreview.com, “As of 2018, there are…a total of fifty nations that have a dictator or authoritarian regime ruling the nation to this day. Europe is home to one.., while three…can be found in Latin America and South America…,eight…in Asia, seven in the Eurasian region of the world, and twelve…from the northern parts of Africa to the Middle East.” And worldatlas.com reports Syria is the most war-torn country in the world, followed by Iraq and Afghanistan; other countries experiencing “war” (including threats from other nations, civil unrest, gang and drug conflicts, etc.) today include Ukraine, Yemen, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mexico, and Central African Republic. Many other nations are dealing with ongoing political partisanship, the rise of hate groups, and religious and human rights battles among their populace. The concept of world peace seems further away than it did even a decade ago.

 

1 Timothy above among our daily readings for today. I remembered that Jesus came into this world during a time of political and civil unrest. At the time of Christ’s birth, Israel was an occupied nation, under the strong arm of the Roman government. The Romans, in concert with the Jewish religious leaders of the day, executed Jesus on false charges. The Romans were still in power when Paul’s protégé Timothy was a leader in the Christian church at Ephesus (now modern Turkey). Paul urged Timothy to pray “for kings and all those in authority” in the hope that these prayers would bring “peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” It’s hard to think of strong-arm governments like the Roman Empire allowing the people to live “peaceful and quiet lives!” Indeed, the Romans sought to keep the people in line!

 

Paul’s admonitions apply today as well. We must continue to pray that world leaders will take their responsibilities seriously. We can pray fervently that leaders who see themselves above their people will have a change of heart and move towards compassion for others.

 

Lord, heal this broken world, we pray! Bring all nations into “peaceful and quiet lives.” Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan finds ideas for her devotional blogs in everyday places and events, from comic strips to magazines and books, comments on the fly from people she meets, ancient memories of her childhood, and nigglings from God. To date, she has written nearly 700 different devotions, filling one book of daily readings, Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, published in 2015. Meg is working on a second book (Saints TWO) which she had hoped would be completed by now. She posts once a week, which means in seven years, she will have enough entries to fill a second book. Sometimes life gets in the way of writing, so Meg is pacing herself, enjoying spending time with her husband, their four daughters and spouses, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, as well as their rescue dog, Bassett/Beagle mix Ginger. Meg is involved in volunteer work at her church, Christ Lutheran in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, and also with sexual violence/sex trafficking prevention and education. She speaks to groups whenever she if offered the opportunity. She is a voracious reader of other people’s writing, which gives her lots of ideas for more devotional blogs. Read more about her at www.MegCorrigan.com or contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net .

WOLVES IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING

Wolf in Sheep's ClothingAnd you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. John 8:32

 

At a training seminar on child safety recently, I sat next to a woman who had just returned from missionary work in war-torn Syria. She told me how surprised she was to return to the United States and listen to national news broadcasts here. She had forgotten how sensationalistic our news programs were. In Syria, she said, the news was delivered with solemnity and very little drama, which she found refreshing. I would agree. I long for the days when newscasters like Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley reported in a straight-forward and honest fashion, without shoving microphones into traumatized people’s faces asking, “How did you feel when…?” Our national discourse has become sharper and more divisive in recent years, and it doesn’t appear to be likely to improve any time soon. The internet, for all the good things it brings us, has also made it harder to know what is true and what is a lie.  We must be careful to examine what we hear and read and be wise about what we take away from all sources available to us. The old saying goes, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” But what we “stand for” to begin with must be based on the truth and not some twisted spin on reality.

 

Jesus warned against “false prophets,” people who “will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive…even the elect” (Matthew 24:24). So even practicing Christians—the elect—with strong faith in God can become confused. Jesus added to His warning, “See, I have told you ahead of time” (v. 25). We as Christians have no excuse not to heed Christ’s warning: it is up to us to listen to the Spirit as He helps us discern the truth in this life (1 Corinthians 2:14). Albert Einstein said, “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” We will overcome the darkness of lies and false teaching by shining the light of Christ into the midst of that darkness. We must stand firm in our faith and seek God’s wisdom over that of questionable sources.

 

Jesus, You are our true Redeemer. Walk with us in the light of Your wisdom and justice. Amen

 

Alone on a Colorado mountain, Meg Corrigan faced the unthinkable, a situation that almost ended her life. Learn the details of her astounding rescue from the hands of a gun-wielding attacker and how she walked off that mountain. Hers is a story of tragedy turned holy, a journey of sorrow and healing, a powerful message of hope in the darkest hour. In her memoir, Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child, Meg credits her resilience to the grace of God. She is also the author of Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist, tales based on her years as a drummer in a Hawaiian show band; and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, released this month. Meg is a retired college counselor, author, speaker, trainer and sexual assault survivor. She speaks to churches, civic groups, college students, mental health professionals and law enforcement personnel, as well as youth in juvenile facilities. She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota with her husband, Patrick. She loves to coax seemingly dead plants out of the soil in her yard. The couple have four daughters, ten grandchildren and a great-grandchild on the way. Contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net or www.MegCorrigan.com .

TATOO

Jenn Tattoo photoBe Strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward in your work. 2 Chronicles 15:7

 

A never-ending soliloquy scrolled through my brain asking to be heard so that it could be corrected by the editor of life. It was a constant reminder of my feelings of worthlessness. My mind was void of self-love and fraught with emotional turmoil that lugged me into a space of believing my life’s work was not good enough for God.

 

I contemplated my struggles and lack of inner peace. Once a month, at Sunday morning service, I would sit pouring my heart out onto the blue prayer request card gently coaxing the prayer team to pray for me. Each ended with a request that they receive prayer and blessing as well.

 

Weeks after a particularly hard request, I forgot about it and moved on. I sat at my desk opening my mail. To my surprise there was a handwritten envelope from the prayer team. I opened it and a card with an image of mountains surrounded by fluffy clouds and a pinkish-orange sky jumped out. A patch of velum glued to the inside of the card carried a bible verse that spoke of strength, courage and reward. I left the card on my desk for about a week but when my clutter became unbearable, the card found a new home in my recycle bin.

 

Two months later, I decided I was going to adorn myself with a tattoo. I wanted something that would speak clear meaning into my daily life. I looked at images online. I flooded my brain with hearts and overused quotes until finally I gave up on looking.

 

My body slunk down comfortably into my office chair and my eyes landed on a small piece of paper on my desk. I picked it up and saw a familiar phrase staring me in the face, “Be strong and do not lose courage for there is reward in your work”. The velum paper, my tiny piece of prayer, had found its way back to me months after being cast aside. It was fully detached from the card, but the words were about to find a far more permanent home: One that would serve as my daily reminder of the rewards in my life.

 

Lord, show me how to be strong and courageous so that I may experience the impact and rewards of my work here on this earth. Amen.

 

Jennifer Bierma is a certified massage therapist, business owner, psychic medium and the author of the memoir, A Life Lived Medium: A Psychic’s Journey from Fearful to Almost Fearless. Her connection to spirit gives her a unique call to action in life that she believes motivates people to live out their goals in an authentic way and create a ripple that empowers others to live their lives to the fullest. For a full bio, blog posts or to purchase her book go towww.JenniferBierma.com.

IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL

Ocean LinerPeace I leave with You, My peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27

 

On the brink of another year, what does it mean to have peace in your life? In John 14, Jesus’ words are difficult for the disciples to understand. Jesus says He is going away, not what these men want to hear. But He also says He will return, and even more puzzling, that God will send the Holy Spirit—the Comforter—to help them. The disciples are not comforted; they want Jesus to stay. His words leave them uneasy and restless.

 

What the men don’t grasp is that Jesus is always with them, even when they cannot see or touch or hear Him. He has already inhabited their beings, and though they are fearful, they will soon be emboldened to carry His message far and wide. They will start a movement still with us today: the church that our Lord Jesus asked them to inaugurate. Before their own earthly deaths, they will know the promise of eternal life is theirs. It is well with their souls.

 

Composer Horatio Spafford wrote one of the church’s most beloved songs, “It Is Well With My Soul” (often called “When Peace Like a River”) in 1876. One would think he penned these beautiful words when he was praising God for his many blessings. But nothing could be further from the truth. After losing a two-year-old son in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Spafford sent his wife and four daughters ahead on the Ville de Havre steamship for a European vacation. He delayed joining them until some business could be attended to. The ship sank, with only his wife surviving. Aboard a second ship, on his way to meet his grieving wife, Stafford wrote the words to the song as he passed by the place where the ill-fated vessel had sunk. At the lowest point in his life, he proclaimed that, with God, “It Is Well With My Soul.”

 

Jesus, You know our human situation can be dire and dismal. We praise You for dwelling in our hearts and providing peace and comfort all year long. Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan is the author of three books: Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child; Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist; and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian. She holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of New Mexico and has over thirty years’ experience working with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, war veterans, and other trauma survivors.  Her books may be purchased through her website, www.MegCorrigan.com or from www.amazon.com .

JOSEPH, STEP-PARENT

JOSEPHBut while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21

 

Our Gospel lesson last Sunday morning was from Matthew 1, specifically about Joseph and his reaction to the news that his fiancé was suddenly, questionably with child. Joseph is conflicted: he is a kind man, not wishing to bring shame and even abuse on the young woman he thought he loved. But he believes he should—must—“dismiss her quietly” and move on with his own life. He knows this child that Mary carries is not his. He wants to believe her, but her story is just too preposterous! How would things go if another man suddenly came forth and claims the child as his? Imagine Joseph’s surprise when an angel of the Lord comes to him in a dream and says, “No, Joseph, you must not let Mary go! Her Child was conceived by God’s Holy Spirit, and He is coming to save the world.”

 

Some refer to Joseph as Jesus’ “foster father.” Being a step-parent myself, I must take issue with that designation. A foster parent only takes a child for a short time, presumably until a “forever family” is found for the youngster. But Joseph did, in fact, take Mary as his lawfully wedded wife, which in my book clearly makes him a step-father. I’ve never born any children, but instead, I collect other people’s kids. I married two different men who had daughters, so I became all three of their step-mothers. And I can tell you that the love and devotion I have for these three step-children, and my one adopted daughter could not be any more real if I had carried them each for nine months and brought them into this world. Joseph was signing up for the long haul, and so was I. Step-parenting is a unique relationship, but every bit as poignant as bearing natural children.

 

Jesus, You know the blessing of having Joseph choose to marry and support Your mother. Bless all non-traditional families this special season! Amen

 

Merry Christmas Mary Joseph Jesus