The Glory of Motherhood

Some words send fingers of chill, fear, and dread up the spine. One such word is barren. Women in the Old Testament were thought to be cursed and filled with if they were unable to bear children. However, that is not the case. There are many “medical” reasons for the inability to either become pregnant or carry the child to term. Thankfully there are also many choices that a couple may choose in the face of this diagnosis. Alex and Adrienne Arieff was one of those couples facing the devastation of the death of their pre-term baby and then subsequent miscarriages.

In The Sacred Thread A True Story of Becoming a Mother and Finding a Family – Half a World Away, Adrienne tells of their journey from their courtship and marriage through the birth of their twins bore by an Indian surrogate. She speaks candidly about the pain of the death of their daughter, Colette, at twenty weeks. The choice to then use a surrogate to realize their dream to become parents was met with both celebration and accusations of exploitation from their friends and family. However, the Arieff’s were able to realize that dream with the help of a clinic in Anand, India. Today the Arieff family includes twin daughters.

Arieff’s book is filled with both raw emotion about the journey and information concerning in vitro fertilization and surrogacy. She does not paint the picture as all roses and song. She is truthful concerning the pros and cons of utilizing a surrogate. I found her book to be an excellent resource for those who are facing the same decisions and/or responses from friends and family. She includes a list of resources at the end of her book which could help other couples. I also found myself captivated by her story and the way she captured every nuance of the journey.

I received this book free for review from Read it Forward.

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The Faithful Standing

Do you remember history class? The time when you learned about the American Revolution – when the people of America stood up against their oppressors, the monarchy in England. There is an old adage that says “history repeats itself” (or maybe that was just something that my dad would say about my behavior). Well, anyway, there are some who do believe that history repeats itself, especially if we have not learned valuable lessons from our past. Dr. Richard G. Lee is one of those people who does believe that the past will revisit us in the form of another revolution. That is the premise behind his latest book, The Coming Revolution Signs From America’s Past that Signal Our Nation’s Future.

Lee states that “considering the price our forefathers paid for the rights and privileges we enjoy today, shouldn’t we be asking ourselves, ‘Who are the American people today? Are we living up to the high standards of the patriots who risked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor for the cause of liberty? And are we prepared to stand our ground when we’re confronted by men and women promoting some very dangerous ideas and beliefs (121)?’” Lee is not saying that America is facing another violent revolution, but rather “a revolution of faith and ideas, a new commitment to a higher cause…It means knowing who we are and what we are all about. A tremendous hunger for restoration of accountability exists in this country…(126)”

Readers of Lee’s book may very well find themselves at times feeling guilty for a lack of action. While reading another section one may be on one’s feet pride swelling within one’s breast. However, there are also times when one may be shaking one’s head both in agreement and astonishment of where history has played out in this country. His book definitely has the reader thinking about the country’s historical start as a Christian nation founded on freedom for one and all. Lee uses the examples of our country’s leaders and policies to illustrate the preponderance of Christian faith that has been the driving force for America. For example on page 150, Lee states, “This country’s record of compassion and service to the world is unrivaled, and we have never done it for profit; we do it because that’s the kind of people we are. We do it because this is a Christian nation – an exceptional Christian nation.” The only fitting end to that is – Amen.

I received this book free for review from booksneeze.com.

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Changing the World by Changing Yourself

In 1 Corinthians 1:10, Paul urges the church, “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.” The church is also urged several times to help the poor and needy. For example, in Deuteronomy 15:11, “There will all always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.” Mike Slaughter’s book Change the World Recovering the Message and Mission of Jesus is a call for the church to unite, redirect, and “to proclaim the good news to the poor…to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners” (Isaiah 61:1). Slaughter urges churches to become a “mission outpost, living out Christ’s ideals in today’s world.”

Slaughter, the Lead Pastor at Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church in Tipp City, Ohio, does not just read the Scriptures to the congregation – he lives them and encourages the congregation to also be “doers of the word.” His book is written in a straightforward manner using both examples from his personal experience and Scriptural commands. The book is seven short chapters with questions for reflection at the end of each chapter. Slaughter’s book is an excellent resource for pastors, ministry leaders, or anyone interested in being the change agent in the church.

I read this book as part of the reading program for the United Methodist Women’s Reading Program.