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Traveling Supermom Comes Clean….

I smiled at the lady behind the check-in desk. I had been driving for over 6 hours with three of my children across Canada. Two days earlier we had driven over ten hours from Michigan to Quebec. I was tired of hotels, tired of the car and getting sick of granola bars! Despite how I felt about the travel, I put a big smile on my face when the motel co-owner asked, “Did you travel so far by yourself with all those children?” A smile and nod were my response to her, yet my thoughts went wild as I laid in bed that night. My thoughts went to the many times I have traveled “by myself” with my children. Two day drives to Texas or to Florida, long drives to North Carolina, Chicago, flights to various beach vacations, including notorious Miami. What I find interesting is that when I have traveled alone to Europe, Texas, Washington DC and various places those trips do not bring about the concern that I have received from the trips I have taken with my children. Many times concerned women have commented on the fact that I am traveling alone with my children. It makes me wonder, is something wrong with my judgement? If these women think traveling with your children alone is inappropriate, should I as well?

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I laid in bed and began running these familiar thoughts through my head…. Half way through it dawned on me that the belief held by these skeptics of my parenting skills were a reflection of their beliefs, their fear -not mine.  They believe a woman is unable to protect, care for, drive and maintain a vehicle all at the same time. Now my thoughts switched to the many crises’ I have encountered while traveling. Flat tires, radiator issues, vomiting children and potty issues, yikes let’s not even think about those! Smugly I laid in bed and thought only a woman could handle the unique situations traveling with children can present. My proudest moment was when I had my tire replaced and had two children get haircuts all at the same time. A huge revelation now came to me. “Wonder Woman that is what I am, who needs a man….. Well I do, since it’s my loving husband back at home working right now, paying for this trip. But still- while traveling I am doing it all. Supermom has got it!”

Still the worried look I saw on her face that evening I have seen before.  It’s more than vehicle worry, it’s a safety issue. Women feel safer when their prince charming is with them. I understand the feeling. I love it when my husband is with me. Despite all the wonder woman abilities and supermom savvy I have, when my Superman is beside me I feel content and safe. I would be lying to say there have not been moments while traveling alone with the children when I have wanted my husband and in some cases a loaded gun, with me.  Safety, in this day and age with reports of terrorism and child trafficking, is one of the most important issues for parents. So why do I continue to travel despite the uncomfortable situations that I have encountered and the continued reports I read. I laid in bed and continued this thought journey. At this point I found myself asking God, “Why  I am able to travel with confidence…” and then the pride fell away.

I am not Wonder Woman, my bracelets do nothing but jangle as I wear them. I am definitely not Supermom, rather Monster Mommy if you wake me too early in the morning. No, I as began seeking my Father to answer my pondering, I realized I am nothing without Him. I am simply a child of God. Just as my children look to their father and I to protect them, I look to my Father to answer all of my late night questions. I expect Him to surround us with angels. To have the Holy Spirit whisper in my ear, urging me when to pull off for a caffeinated drink or snack when my eye lids get tired. And to give us favor with the check-in clerk as I request a roll away when the oldest child decides, at the last minute, he will come along for the ride.

You see when I travel with my children I am not “by myself” rather I am surrounded by His presence. God gave a message to Joshua in Deut 31:6, 8 He said, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you… The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” We think because we are not tasked with leading all of Israel that this message is not for us, but we are wrong. As parents we are tasked with leading God’s children just as Joshua was. While I may not be leading thousands, the four I do have are just as precious to God as those Joshua led. Repeatedly in God’s Word we read, “Do not be afraid.” One of my favorite passages is in Matthew 28 where twice the women are told by the angel who rolled away the stone and Jesus Himself, “Do not be afraid.”  You see by the time I drifted off to sleep I was no longer thinking of the fear others feel, or the confidence I walk in, instead I was rejoicing in the power and ability my Father has in keeping me and my children safe as we travel. The next day as I thought about the question that has been posed to me so many times before, I was so very thankful for the true answer to it. No I am not traveling with my children “by myself” rather I am traveling with my Father, the Holy Spirit and the many angels assigned to each one of us. The car seemed a bit more crowed as we headed home, and that thought made me smile once again.

5 Back to School Hacks for Busy Moms

Like many other moms I was doing the happy dance on the first day of school. However with each new school year comes overwhelming piles of school papers, stressed out mornings and rushed evening chauffeuring. So this year I thought of a few ways to stay on top of everything.

  1. School Papers

EVERY kid comes home with piles of letters, notes, fliers and reminders. In the past they would sit in a pile and I would frantically dig through them trying to find the spelling list the morning of the test. This year I took dollar store clip boards and created an organized space. Now immediately when the papers come through the door I clip them in place.

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2. Lunches

If your kids eat cold lunch, you have felt panic while frantically searching the cupboards for something to quickly pack as you hear the bus coming up the road. To make mornings easier I put a shoe organizer on the back of our pantry door. I marked five compartments Monday- Friday, and fill each one with non-perishable items for the lunches, so all I have to grab are the ice packs and sandwiches.

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3. Outfits

Getting dressed in a matching outfit has been problem in our house. Especially if my husband is helping our five year old daughter. To remedy this situation I hung up pre-approved matching outfits in a special spot in my daughter’s closet. She still gets to “pick out” her outfit, as long as it comes from this special area. Win, win for all.

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4. Evening Dinner

I have four children and running them to practices, appointments, and games can fill up every evening of the week… oh and I’m supposed to feed them something other than fast food. Add to that wandering through the grocery store wondering what I should get. To keep things simple this year I have a simple meal plan posted. I plan on crock-pot and leftover meals on our busiest nights, and I know what protein to grab when at the store, since it’s already been decided.

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5. Forms

Have you ever arrived at the school or doctor’s appointment and realized you forgot the form, insurance information or birth certificate you were asked to bring. Rushing out the door with kids, making sure their faces are clean and shoes are on is stressful enough without having to try and remember everything you will need throughout the evening. I have turned around one too many times to retrieved something I forgot. This year I attached two more clip boards to the garage/back door. Here I put the paperwork I will need in the next two days.  I also added a post-it pad to write reminders I need before heading out the door.

 

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These hacks will only work if I take some time to prep and use them, but I know the amount of time I will save in the long run will be worth it. Feel free to share these ideas with your friends. Busy moms you will make it!

 

Will My Silence Save Babies?

Will my silence save babies? With the recent debate in the New Mexico HB 390 Late-term Abortion Ban a fellow conceived in rape woman I know, was asked to be silent. She was told that her silence would save 95% of the babies that are killed in late term abortions. These politicians must assume that a woman who is desperate enough to receive a late term abortion will not lie about being raped to receive a way out of her current situation. Will my silence about being conceived in rape and being worthy of life really save 95% or will the “wink, wink-just say you were raped” approach of the abortion backers make that number 90%, 80% or even 50%? We don’t really know do we? Except we do know Norma McCorvey admitted she lied about being raped and that was why she needed an abortion. Many feel this was “an important point in the fact pattern of the Roe v. Wade case.”

1450211_10202177058243874_328216821_nPictured here, I spoke out at a press conference in Lansing, MI December 2013 and the bill in question was passed without a rape exception. Once we who were conceived in rape spoke out, those asking for the exception immediately stopped insisting there should be an exception. Why? Because they couldn’t say our lives didn’t matter!

Save the 1, a pro-life speaker group of the “exceptions and hard cases” have been told by pro-life strategists not to keep silent but rather to speak out. If we speak out every time a pro-life bill has a rape exception, the pro-life community will finally understand that pro-life bills should not have exceptions put in them, in the first place. Even if the bill is killed initially, because in the long run the realization will come that the bills need to be presented without exceptions. I wish everyone would understand that we don’t need exceptions to pass pro-life bills, Michigan never has. When we as a pro-life community say, “Some life is not valuable,” we value none.

There are many parallel example we can look at, what if the South agreed to no more slavery except for the men over 6 foot tall. “Tall men would be too hard to control if not enslaved, don’t worry we’ll free 95% of the slaves who are under six feet.” Could you imagine if we, as an America people, found that acceptable? Some of our greatest basketball and football players, are very tall African-American men. Can you imagine living in a society where they were still kept as slaves in the South? Of course not, that is ludicrous! But at the time of the Civil War the thought of slavery being overturned was ludicrous to many people, however the abolitionist fought on. They educated the masses, they showed pictures of the brutality of slavery and eventually garnered enough support to overturn laws.

What about today? Should we educate the masses, show them pictures of those conceived in rape and shout from the roof tops their life matters? Unless we can pass a bill that has no exceptions in it, unless we can tell everyone every life matters, unless we can create a ban that does not allow any “wink, wink-lying” we will not have a real opportunity to overturn Roe v Wade. What the masses need to understand is, if a woman has the option of saying she had been raped, she will use that option in a desperate time. She will then live with the guilt of abortion for the rest of her life. The abortion will not end the memories of a rape it will only end a life, how can we live with that?

Can you look at my picture and say my life does not matter?

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Effects of Sin, Shame and Guilt

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There truly is a battle going on in our minds. Joyce Meyer’s best selling book “Battlefield of the Mind” has helped many people recognize and deal with this.

When the Father God sent us the promised Messiah, it was to complete the law. We now can come before Him in prayer through the name of Jesus Christ. (John 16:26) The veil that separated us from the Holy of Holies was torn as Jesus was sacrificed for us on the cross.(Matt 27:51) We can walk around each day with the power and Spirit of Christ dwelling in us. (Eph 3:29)  Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit and said that He would be our comforter and  counselor. Yet we still feel as though Adam and Eve did, when they took the fruit and disobeyed God, we feel shame, guilt and fear.  God can’t make us do anything, so we still hold onto the shame, guilt and fear that we battle in our minds.

As an adoptee I felt shame growing up knowing my birth mother suffers with severe mental illness. As an adult I had to overcome the shame finding out she had been raped and my biological father was a rapist. I had to overcome the guilt of the sin of divorce. I had to overcome the fear of being a single mom…… I did overcome these things through Jesus Christ! I had hard days; fearful, shame and guilt filled days, but faith helped me get through it all.

It takes faith to believe that we are truly forgiven. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. (Romans 10:17) I challenge you to read your Bible daily to fill yourself up with knowledge that our Father will never leave us nor forsake us, even when we sin, so we don’t need to walk around feeling ashamed. (Deu 31:6) Jesus did not come to condemn us but to save us, so we don’t need to continue to feel guilt once we have repented. (John 3:17) And we do not need to walk around in fear because the Bible tells us 365 times “Do Not Fear” for God is with us.

All of these lessons come from the Word, read it daily-just like you eat daily. Man does not leave on bread alone, but on every Word that comes from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4) Are you truly living life to the full? (John 10;10) Jesus said that is why He came, but you must increase your faith so you can live your life without shame, guilt and fear and be comforted through the Holy Spirit of Christ. Hard times will come, but take heart- you do not need to overcome, but rather be comforted that Christ has! (John 16:33)

Click HERE to hear the first 8 mins of my recent sermon at a homeless shelter on this topic.

 

Mary Rathke

www.MaryRathke.com

An open letter to West Virginia House Delegate Brian Kurcaba

Dear Del. Brian Kurcaba,

Wow, did I just hear this correctly? Did you actually say that babies, even those from rape, are beautiful? In the day and age when the child born from rape are called the rapist baby, when a republican talk show host says these children are evil seed and need to die for the crimes of their fathers, when those conceived in rape receive emails from people saying, “Your mom made the wrong decision, and you should have been aborted.” During this time, you actually publicly stood up and said that these children are beautiful?


Thank you! You are my hero! You see, my mentally ill mother was raped on her way home from work one night. I am a child that is a beautiful, and blessed. A baby who was conceived in rape. Someone must have sent you my picture, did you see my pretty hair, and great smile? Someone must have told you all about beautiful me!


Yes that’s right, all of you who want to criticize House Delegate Brian, go ahead and criticize. It doesn’t change the truth, rape is ugly, but killing me would not have made the memories of the rape disappear from my mother, it would have only ended my life. I am worthy of life!

Sincerely and with much thanks,
Mary Rathke

Rathke is most recently being profiled in the Right to Life of Michigan state wide commercial campaign to let others know that something beautiful can come out of rape, visit RTL. org for more about the compassion project.

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How to Defend Life, in cases of Rape and Incest

When proposing pro-life laws how should you respond to the “rape” question?

Personalize the issue: rape-conceived people are real human beings. More than 32,000 people, conceived by rape, are born every year in the USA1. We cannot discriminate against this people group by diminishing their value. Talk about individuals who were rape-conceived, show their pictures, create compassion for them.

In a recent five-state study commissioned by Georgia Right to Life, Right to Life of Michigan and Personhood USA2, we can demonstrate that people’s opinion of this issue could be dramatically swayed within the one-hour on-line interactive survey. Only one percent still believe in exceptions when we invoke the story of a woman conceived in rape or a woman who became pregnant by rape.  The most compelling argument is to appeal to our sense of justice–we don’t punish innocent people for someone else’s crime.  The worst response is to diminish this issue by saying it is rare.

Doesn’t an abortion help the pregnant rape victim?

An abortion does not make the memories of the rape go away, it only ends a life and adds physical and emotional pain and distress.

A 2006 Study by Dr. David Fergusson found that women who had abortions are three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts than women who are pregnant but do not abort.3

Over forty peer reviewed studies have confirmed that abortion significantly increases risk for several mental health problems including: depression, anxiety, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts and behaviors.4                                                                       

Hasn’t the rape victim endured enough violence?

Supporting abortion for a woman who has conceived by rape is “confused compassion.” When a woman is raped and becomes pregnant, there are two victims: the woman and the child. Whenever a crime hurts two people, we care for them both. We don’t end the life of one hoping it will help the other. Pregnancy is temporary but the death of a child through abortion is permanent. We must offer the woman counseling, care, support and not add to her emotional and physical distress by encouraging abortion. Rape can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); so can abortion. 5

The Alan Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s research organization, estimates that as many as 91 percent of all women who have had abortions may suffer from physical and psychological “post-procedural trauma.” 6  We must offer these traumatized women support for their pregnancy, birth and parenting, promoting a culture of life and healing! 

“I would definitely discourage a woman from having an abortion. While it may seem to be the quickest and easiest solution to a painful, humiliating ‘problem,’ it is a band-aid approach with horrible ramifications of its own. For me, the effects of abortion are much more far-reaching than the effects of the rape in my life.” — Testimony from a rape victim who had an abortion after learning she had conceived.7

What about Incest, shouldn’t these children be aborted?

It is a fallacy that every child conceived by incest will be born with birth defects. Many people are born with birth defects everyday who were not conceived through incest—each one of their lives is valuable and deserves to be protected. Unfortunately, most incest victims are forced into abortions to cover up the crime of the perpetrator.

Joan Kemp, a rape crisis center counselor and a woman who has had an abortion, says, “In every case of abortion after incest with which I am familiar, the abortion was arranged by the perpetrator or his wife, with the purpose of concealing the incest. In one case, a young woman had seven abortions before she was fourteen, and the incest continued.” 8

1Holmes, Melisa M.; Resnick, Heidi S.; Kilpatrick, Dean G.; Best, Connie L. (1996). “Rape-related pregnancy: Estimates and descriptive characteristics from a national sample of women”. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 175 (2): 320–4; discussion 324–5.

2http://www.savethe1.com/?page_id=426#sthash.Hd0gmx46.dpuf

3Fergusson, Dr. David. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines 2006

4Shupping, Dr. Martha and Dr. Christopher Gaeck.Big Girls Do Cry: the Hidden Truth of Abortion. 2008

5 Anne C. Speckhard and Vincent M. Rue, “Postabortion Syndrome: An Emerging Public Health Concern,” Journal of Social Issues 48,  Issue 3 (1992): 96

6 Planned Parenthood’s internal report  (“Department of Education’s 3-year Plan and Long Range Goals, 1990-93”)  pp 29

7 Give Us Love, Not Abortions: The Voices of Sexual Assault Victims and Their Children, David C. Reardon and Julie Makimaa, ed. (1992), pp. 23-27

8 Joan Kemp, “Abortion: The Second Rape,” Sisterlife, Winter 1990, p. 5

Are you pro-life EXCEPT in the case of Mary Rathke?

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“I am not the rapist’s baby. I am a beautiful, happy-to-be-alive mother, minister and person who deserves equal protection.” ~ Mary Rathke, conceived by rape

The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) does not have exceptions, it does not exclude those who are albino or have vitiligo because they may appear “white” to some. Please do not leave me out of your pro-life bills. Be consistent. Be pro-life for ALL people including those conceived by rape or incest .

Mary Rathke is available for testimony. As part of “Save the 1,”she is connected with many others who are personally effected by and well-versed in this issue. We can connect you with people in your area to bring together a group of rape-conceived and mothers-from-rape, to speak at press conferences and hearings. Share our story!

Mary Rathke is a licensed minster and works with the homeless. She is a “Save the 1” board director and president of HELPeople, INC. She has spoken for various pro-life events, radio programs, press conferences—ie., International Pro-Life Leadership Conference–and is featured in a state-wide conceived-in-rape pro-life commercial campaign. She is endorsed by Dr. James Dobson as a pro-life speaker.

If you were conceived in rape, incest or conceived a child in rape or incest and would like to have your information shared with Save the 1, please fill out the form below;

 

Surprise Love-Thoughts from an Adopted Child, Conceived in Rape.

Ever think about your roots? As an adoptee, when I hear others talk about their genealogy or family reunions, it can cause mixed emotions. Many who are adopted eagerly desire to connect with their birth families and actively seek them out. In my case, though, my adoption was open. As I grew older, the more I learned of my birth parents, the more it caused me to reject the idea of being connected to them. The truth came at me in waves.photo(33)

The first one hit when I was five-years-old, the night before my adoption became final. Up until that moment I was technically an orphan, being cared for by a wonderful couple. Even though I had been with my birth mother for periodic visits until the age of two, I didn’t remember who she was. “Who is my mother?” I asked and pleaded then was shocked to hear the truth. She was the odd, quiet woman that frightened me.

My birth mother has paranoid schizophrenia. As a young adult, I finally understood why this loving couple had agreed to care for me and had finally asked for permission to adopt me. My birth mother was unable to raise me. When people learned I was adopted and asked if I would search for my birth family, I quickly answered that I knew my birth mother and had no desire to reunite.

Soon after turning eighteen, another wave hit me as I received a letter from my maternal aunt in Texas who wanted me to know that I had nine aunts and uncles in Texas! One aunt led me to believe that the entire family was splintered; the hope and desire I had to connect with them was soon shattered. However, they did want to know, was their sister okay? It was hard telling them that I did not know, I did not visit her. I was left feeling confused about my responsibility to them and her.

As an adult, my childhood fears and misunderstandings of mental illness wracked me with guilt. I decided to visit my birth mother. Though her living situation was unlike anything I had ever experienced and her quiet, odd behavior left me feeling uncomfortable, I was satisfied that I had made the first step in connecting with my roots.

Sadly, a tidal wave came as the result: a few days after the visit, I received a phone call from my birth mother’s legal guardian chastising me for visiting her. Supposedly, the visit had caused her to have an “episode” resulting in disruptive–possibly even illegal–behavior towards others. I was told that I needed permission from the guardian before I ever visited her again. This left me drowning in a wave of emotions that affected me for more than ten years.

In those ensuing years, I mailed letters and gifts. When he was in the hospital, I occasionally visited her husband, who was also mentally disabled. I considered this man my birth father. He was now my only connection to my birth mother. He would keep me updated about her. Sadly, his untimely death dealt the final blow to any hopes I had of staying connected to my birth mother.

I called his cousin to pass along the news that my father had died. The cousin quickly replied, “You know he is not your ‘real’ dad, right?” Finally! Someone was willing to explain the mystery surrounding my paternity about which I had always been curious. I knew my adopted mother had heard rumors. My birth mother had made statements about it the one time I did visit. But now her husband’s relative was telling me the truth! The truth I had been afraid to seek out while my father was alive. I had been afraid to dishonor the man who was so proud of me, proud of my good grades as a girl, and later on as a grown woman, proud of my cute kids, his grandkids.

I learned the startling truth, a truth I was not prepared to hear. The man married to my mother was not my father. This cousin divulged the ugly news: my birth mother had been raped. Her husband knew, they had told relatives and had gone to the police. To preserve her honor, he had publicly claimed me as his own. I now realized that my birth parents consisted of a woman who is mentally ill and a violent criminal, the man that raped her.

Thankfully, at the time I learned this, my life was stable and my relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ was strong. Instead of experiencing an identity crisis, I simply embraced my identity in Christ. A daughter of the Most High King was the only identity I desired. Birth family roots seemed unimportant, and, instead, I would embrace the love of my adopted family. I also began to share my story, bringing light and truth to counter the dark lie of “pro-life except in cases of rape”.

Then my maternal aunt sent me a Facebook message, stating that she and one of my uncles wanted to come to Michigan to visit me. As plans materialized, I learned that she and THREE uncles planned to visit! My birth mother had not seen any of her family for almost forty years. Little did I know how disruptive this visit would be. Deep down I felt bewildered: what were these uncles’ intentions? I didn’t even know their names nor had I ever spoken with them. Could it possibly be that they simply wanted to meet me? Why?

The night they arrived in Michigan, I drove to the house at which they were staying and noticed a man standing outside the door. He quickly introduced himself as one of my uncles and then told me that he had wanted to come to Michigan to meet me more than 20 years ago, just to let me know that they loved me. Peace flooded over me. All my uncles had similar sentiments of love, affection and concern for me. For the first time in a very long time, I felt genuine fatherly love. While I know I did not need this to feel complete, it felt so good, so validating. While their trip was short, the aftershock has not been.

Soon, I was invited to and attended their family reunion in Texas. I know that if they had not first visited me, I likely would not have gone. But I was extremely blessed and surprised by my uncles’ desire to spend extra time with me during the visit. These men whom I had only met weeks before, valued me, accepted me, had true fatherly concern over my well-being, and enjoyed my company.

I never expected to be so loved. I am the long-lost niece, found and now surprised by such lavish attention. Waves of joy have washed over me ever since, as I’ve relished the feeling of being so wanted. My conception may have been the result of violence, and my mother may endure a lifelong struggle with mental illness, but my life and purpose defy such confusion. I am wanted. Thank you, Mom, for choosing to labor and birth me.

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Edited by Shawn Spry