Monday, October 31, 2011

my wife: the hero

meet perrin jon hershberger:

october 25, 2011 at 8:45pm, my son was born into this world at 10lbs 12oz. he came after 30 hours of labor (including 6 hours of pushing). i know that were we to have gone to a hospital instead of having our birth at home, my wife would have had to succumb to major surgery via Cesarian despite our desire to have a natural birth, but my wife never even let that option enter her mind, even after pushing for hours and having seemingly no progress she continued on. after all of her energy was spent and then some, she pushed again...

perrin's birthing story was a beautiful thing to a part of. think about that, he has his own story. and we were a part of it. we can tell him everything because we were an active part of everything. we played a 4 hour birthing mix that i had previously put together full of music by jesus culture, hillsong, bon iver, active child, the national, sigur ros, etc. and the holy spirit was so very present in that place. we prayed, cried, laughed, shared stories, and brought perrin into a world of peace rather than one of chaos which tends to pervade hospital births. we birthed him at home where he's used to the bacteria that we are used to as opposed to the unsanitary facilities of a hospital filled with sick people. we were able to have whoever we wanted to have there at the birth and directly after the birth. perrin was placed directly into the arms of jani and immediately his crying ceased. he began becoming aware of his peaceful surroundings and these people who loved him with all their hearts. his crossed-eyes eventually became uncrossed as he stared up at me with full awareness and health.

throughout our planning of this home birth i came across people who thought we were doing the wrong thing though we knew we heard from the Lord pertaining to our chosen course of action. i encountered Christians who claimed that God put doctors there for a reason and it was essentially ignorance to pursue a birth at home. honestly people, when are we going to start responding to situations from a foundation of faith rather than out of fear? though i believe there is a need for doctors in our society, i also believe that birthing has been happening since the beginning without doctors, and most the rest of the world still use midwives as the main facilitators of birth. most doctors have never even seen a full natural birth and i believe that most of the complications that arise in births are due to the protocol doctors are expected to follow to make money for the hospital as well as to minimize liability. they are trained to react rather than to let nature take its natural course. if the birth is not going as fast as the doctor thinks it should, he'll speed it up causing the intense pain that would be gradually experienced over an extended period of time to be experienced all at once. once the woman feels that overwhelming pain its easier for her to agree to the use of drugs, no matter what the plan had been ahead of time.

the medical establishment is a money driven industry. it revolves around the convenience of the doctors rather than what the parents would like in a birthing experience. the father is oftentimes pushed away rather than allowed to be an active part of the labor process. its said that 85% of births can be done at home, 95% in a birthing center, but only 5% really need doctoral care in a hospital. the rest of the world maintains this belief, how is it that we have allowed ourselves to be so manipulated and indoctrinated by the medical establishment here in america? we tend to close ourselves off to truth by believing what has always been popular belief. we research everything before we purchase them except for birthing options. we have allowed fear to rule us rather than having faith that God created a woman's body to naturally adjust to the birthing process.

i do believe that home births should not be planned without a midwife and that a backup plan should be established in those rare cases where medical care is needed. though the pushing process was long and hard, vitals were checked for both jani and perrin throughout the birth and were continually found strong.

in convincing women that they are incapable of birthing without drugs or surgery, i believe society has greatly diminished the strength and capability of women. though it was the hardest thing jani had ever done, she would not have had perrin any other way. the experience was spiritual and personal. brenda, our midwife, hand wrote perrin a 4 page letter all about his birthing story with advice and encouragement for his life. try to find that in a hospital birth!

my hope is that our birthing story could inspire other women to feel capable of natural birth and that there really are options. i admire and appreciate the strength of my wife so much more after experiencing and sharing in the birth of our son. if my small wife can naturally birth our 10lb 12oz baby after pushing for 6 hours without tearing more than a little nick, so can yours.

for more pictures of Perrin Jon and his introduction to the world check out:
for more information on natural and homebirths watch "the business of being born" (can be streamed on netflix) or read "gentle birth options" by barbara harper, r.n.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

in light of all things new...

after 9 months of getting used to the gradual changes in my wife's body, its crazy to think that any day now a small life, a part of us, will finally be experienced. it seems almost like its not really going to happen, that perrin won't actually come. when we met with our midwife a couple weeks ago, to her surprise, he was so much lower than she expected him to be that she was able to be pretty confident in saying that he would most likely come earlier than the due date. so we've been living our lives with an air of expectation. every small prelabor sign would cause us to get our hopes up, only to be disappointed later. we are now 2 days from the due date and there are yet more prelabor signs but it seems like he won't really come. and then for a brief moment in time it hits me how close i am to having that little life in my hands, how my entire life is going to change, how ready i am for that change.

i've been processing through this concept of stewardship, of how God never created man with the intention of allowing him ownership of anything in this world, but rather to steward what is His. my job, my wife, my possessions, my money, my son, none of them are mine, they're God's. and though i've been living my life as of late in an air of expectation for the birth of my first born son, i submit to the fact that he is not mine but God's. and with that understanding comes an ability to walk in a greater faith in my God and what He allows for me to experience. i trust Him to do what's best. perrin is God's. he will come when its time for him to come. as much as i remind myself of that, its still hard to be patient.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

the implanted word

My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and evil, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save you. 
- James 1:19-21

It is the word of God that saves us. John 1 explains that the Word is a person: Jesus Christ. As we allow the Holy Spirit to impart the Word to us and we practice the truth it conveys, the Word becomes who we are. The implantation of the Word cannot help but be expressed through us as it is experienced in us. In other words, as we grow in grace and in our Christian faith, growth should also be seen in the way we interact and respond to all of life’s situations. Always being flexible to change our belief systems as the Word brings new revelation constitutes the biblical view of what our Christian lives should look like. We must seek righteousness and revelation through the imparted Word, all the while understanding that we are secure as God’s children and cannot earn what we already have.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

this spiritual battle

does weather ever have an effect on your outlook on life?

there was a day last week in which this rang too true with me. dark, dreary, overcast - the bleak nature of the weather seemed to parallel my attitude and it progressed as the day wore on. though God was faithful and blessed me continually throughout the course of the day, it was hard to dwell on that. where joy should have been, a battle raged for depression, hopelessness, and complacency to reign.

it was all too obvious to me that this was a spiritual assault on my mind and i could only imagine where i would have been if that awareness had not been at the forefront of my thoughts. but just that knowledge of the battle would not have been enough to combat the spiritual forces at work to bring me down.

some of the thoughts running through my head had to do with what seems like an increasing number of people that i have gotten close to moving out of state. dwelling on that seemed to fuel the fire for all kinds of selfish and ludicrous questions that i knew were against everything i stood for:

-whats the point of investing in people if they're just going to leave?
-wouldnt life would be a lot easier if i just went to church and kept my christianity to myself?
-how about i just avoid getting too close to people? people tend to bring drama and i have enough issues to deal with on my own without having to deal with other people's problems.

and of course ive been realizing how demanding the investment into people is as ive begun stepping out into ministry. praise God i dont allow myself to solely process things internally as much i used to. ive gradually learned that the most effective way for me to process is verbally or through writing, so my wife and my friend joe had the unpleasant task of listening to me unload all this junk on them. as i spoke i realized how absurd it all was and how im not meant to bear the weight of everything on my shoulders but rather allow God to carry it for me.

sharing with them reminded me why i am willing to do what i do. why i invest in others. we cant do this alone. i cannot solely base my life around my relationship with Christ and exclude the rest of His body. we need to pour into each other. if Christ physically moves someone away, we trust that He knows whats best for His body and will continue the work that He has started in all people involved. its His body, not mine. i am called to love it, help it grow into a healthy maturity, as the body in turn helps me do the same. its a symbiotic relationship with the Holy Spirit as the lifeblood and Christ as the Head. 

ultimately, i believe the essence of the enemy's strategy against us is to divide and conquer. separate us from the rest of the body, and we cease to be a united front against those forces of darkness. in light of that its no wonder why Jesus prays for unity within His body so often throughout john 17. 

its just as crucial to be aware of the battlefield that exists within the confines of your mind. thoughts can become poisoned and infectious in no time. allow the Holy spirit to purify your thoughts by taking dominion of your physical mind. this christian life we are called to live goes far beyond simply a mental belief system, let it penetrate your heart. i believe the gift of the Holy Spirit as well as the community that we are called to have within Christ's body are the key to this. we can only accomplish this together, of one mind and heart with God. we cant afford to be rogue vigilantes.

  • what are you doing to unite the body?
  • do you tend to have an awareness of the spiritual realm around you?
  • have you submitted completely to the Holy Spirit and allowed Him to move past your head, to impact your heart?

Monday, July 18, 2011

baby perrin (fear vs faith)

today marks the first day of the third trimester. in less than 3 months, all these weeks of readying our lives for dramatic change will end and jani and i will set eyes on our son for the first time.

i think it was easy to fall into fearful thinking at the beginning of our pregnancy. first it was the unknowing if we could even get pregnant since this was our first child, which was followed with concerns for the health of the baby. it was a process to get to that place of complete faith in God's will for little perrin.

we had tried for a few months to get pregnant and towards the end of last year i felt like God was speaking to me the words "birthing" and "activation" for this coming year. i first took it as a word for us concerning ministry and our spiritual lives until my father began challenging me to begin claiming that word in the natural as well, saying that God would honor that word however far i wanted to take it. a couple weeks later jani and i arranged for both sets of parents to meet and pray for us concerning the potential pregnancy. that night peace began to overwhelm us concerning the issue and we were not surprised at all when the pregnancy test displayed a little plus sign the next month.

those first few months whenever fear would try to challenge me in regards to the birth of my son, God would remind me of the prayers of faith that led to perrin's conception and that He had ordained the birth of this child. the work that He had started, He would be faithful to complete. so, when people ask me if im nervous about having a baby in our living room with our midwife, i can say no and be completely honest about it.

we battle our fear with faith. it may be just a small faith at first but as we exercise that faith it grows and brings along with it a peace that surpasses natural understanding. its a peace not of this world. a peace thats grounded in a true dependency upon the Creator and Maintainer of all things. im not there yet but im starting to catch a glimpse of the supernatual life i was created to walk in and get a taste for the favor and grace thats available to me as i do.

i leave you with some of my favorite bodysuits for perrin that ive discovered thus far. your thoughts?

 (bring your own bottle)

Monday, July 11, 2011

battling religion

ive recently been processing the concept of grace. its something i think we must continually come back to, as it is through the lens of grace that we should view our relationship with God and others.

"the Lord said: because these people approach Me with their mouths to honor Me with lip-service — yet their hearts are far from Me, and their worship consists of man-made rules learned by rote—therefore I will again confound these people with wonder after wonder. the wisdom of their wise men will vanish, and the understanding of the perceptive will be hidden."  - isaiah 29:13&14 (nasv)

it seems like such a basic christian truth but unfortunately much of the church only chooses to accept grace when it pertains to salvation and then sees no need for its further working in their lives. we construct man-made rules we must follow to earn our way into right standing with church leaders and so also God. we find one truth and elevate it above all others, building walls around it to separate and protect that truth from everything that would dare challenge its legitimacy, including the Holy Spirit. 

"what actually took place is this: i tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn't work. so i quit being a "law man" so that i could be God's man. Christ's life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. i identified myself completely with him. indeed, i have been crucified with Christ. my ego is no longer central. it is no longer important that i appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. the life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. i am not going to go back on that. is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? i refuse to do that, to repudiate God's grace. if a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily." -galatians 2:19-21 (the message)

our christianity is more than an intellectual pursuit of God, its an experience played out through tangible displays of grace, essentially "faith working through love" (gal 5:6b). we dont show Christ's love to make our church's bigger or to add more notches to our salvations belt. we extend Christ through grace because of our love for Him and the brokenness we have for others. its the Christ in us that brings us this understanding because its not human wisdom, its God's. 

non-christians have seen enough religion in the church. we, my friends, need a revelation of grace...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

on thoughts not necessarily redemptive

i am quite aware that these first posts are not quite consistent with the title of my blog but there are certain thoughts and experiences that must be shared, or rather, confessed. with that said i must come clean about something: as of late ive gotten into killing animals. i guess "gotten into" isnt the correct phrase. i have been killing animals out of necessity, not for sport. the thought of me killing a deer for sport just kind of makes me sad. i love eating deer meat and i dont care if other people are into it, but i just dont think its in me to do the killing.

but yeah, because jani and i live in a little secluded forest in the middle of the city we experience all sorts of unwelcome visitors. over a month ago we walked out of our house to surprise a skunk just 6 ft in front of us by jani's car. my friend then hooked me up with some fly poison that when mixed with a little milk causes most small varmints to drop dead right beside this stinky, blue milk. the next morning i put the dead skunk in a black bag and out with the rest of the trash for trash day.

the next creature i killed was a squirrel. that sounds awful i know, but this was a seriously demented squirrel. ever since the weather had started to warm up it would frequent our house, stand on the end of a branch, raise its tail straight up into the air and make the craziest, most menacing noises ive ever heard come out of a squirrel's mouth. it would usually wait to go through these acts of insanity until jani was out lounging by herself on our patio causing her to run inside for fear of getting attacked by this manic woodland creature. when this happened a few weeks ago, i remembered the slingshot my friend kumarsing had made for me during my stay in india and i thought i might as well try using it. i dug it out of storage, grabbed a few rocks outside the other entrance, ran back to the patio and took aim. i missed the first two shots, and miraculously the third one connected. time seemed to slow down for a few microseconds, and the squirrel dropped into a bunch of brush. all was still.

to be fair, i dont even know if i killed it for sure. we were never able to find a body but we have not had another incident with the demented squirrel since. this situation has caused me to begin keeping my slingshot and some stones in the closet beside our patio entrance at all times. to be honest the whole experience made me feel rather manly. i think i even grew a few more chest hairs through the whole ordeal.

those have been the only experiences that i have had thus far pertaining to the injury of animals. we had a groundhog that lived under our driveway that i had set a live trap out for but we havent seen it since i peed down its hole. why pee down the hole? well, i read some story online and i figured id go ahead and try it. actually, the hole was too awkward of an angle for me to pee down so i actually peed in a cup and threw it at the hole.

unfortunately, last night we were startled by a mother skunk and 2 or 3 small ones hanging out on our drive. i wont go too far into what i intend to do about it, but tomorrow is trash day...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

a midsummer night's lungi

over 2 years ago i spent 8 months in bangalore, india for ministry training. i traveled alone to this land where i knew a single person to attend this thrown together school along with 7 indian teenagers, the majority of whom knew little to no english. needless to say, i learned much more from the culture than from the actual courses. i will most likely expound on this trip in future posts but i bring it up now to to shed light on one of the best of my indian discoveries, the lungi...

a lungi is essentially a wrap-around skirt that most men in the indian culture wear when lounging/relaxing. i brought several back home with me, yet i often forget that i have them. today when i ran out of clean shorts (that's not technically true since my wife seems to throw most of my clothes that still have several days of wear left in them in with the dirty laundry as soon as they leave my hand to form a nice "wear again" pile beside our bed) jani reminded me of my lungi stash that had yet to see the sun this year.

and so here i sit, loving life in my lungi. so thankful that God put jani and i on a little hill surrounded by trees and very few neighbors, for the majority of canton natives would verbally berate me until i was completely emasculated and emotionally castrated.