Friday, January 22, 2010

Why I Am Pro-life - Redux

Today marks the 37th anniversary of legalizing abortion on demand. Things have come to light to remind me of the need to speak forth against the tragedy.

Below is a repeat of the post I posted January 31st of last year.

Honestly I was just sitting here playing Mahjong tiles when suddenly I had this compulsion to write this post. I think the reason it's even come to my mind is because of an email that was sent to me the other day that led me to this.

Honestly, I think it's one of the best ads I ever seen on the topic. I wonder if it will actually give some pause to thought. I actually kind of doubt it. I think I heard someone say this ad will never get to be aired. I don't know if that's true or not, but it wouldn't surprise me.

As I write this post, I do it with an understanding that I will probably offend many. In fact, some so much that it could cost me friendships, or at least cordial relations. So I will give the disclaimer now that I do not do this to pick an argument or to try to convince anyone who disagrees with me, whether it be in strength or mild consideration, I'm just sharing my perspective.

I give you my opinion first as a woman who has actually been in a crisis pregnancy. I also give you my opinion as a woman who at the age of 19 chose to have an abortion. I will say until I found myself in a crisis pregnancy I considered myself to be neutral on the matter. I honestly felt it was a "to each his or rather her own" opinion. I had never really considered the possibility of actually having one myself. I would even go so far as to say I don't think I thought I would ever have one. It actually was not my first choice even when I was in the circumstance, but without rehashing old wounds and wrongs that have since been both healed and forgiven, I will say that I personally bent from pressures and went through with the abortion. Having said that, no woman can ever consider herself innocent of her choice to have an abortion, ultimately (without a gun to her head) she participates in the choice.

Saying that, I do know what a painful and difficult decision it is to make. And when it's made, it is made in trade for something else. When all the options and considerations are made, it is determined that something else is of greater value than the life inside. Whether it is relationship, or plans, whether it be imagined freedoms or education, something else takes precedence and a woman proceeds. I honestly believe that most women find it a painful decision to make.

In my case, I chose relationship over the unborn baby. And for me, I never questioned whether or not it was a "baby." No one ever tried to convince me it was tissue or something other than a life, and when I went into the clinic for my abortion at about 9 weeks, I mistakenly saw my ultrasound. I wasn't supposed to but I did. I now know what I saw, the beating heart of a little child. I've since had the joy of seeing the same kind of ultrasounds with two of my other children as well, I know even better now what I saw that day. There is no doubt when I had my abortion that a baby died. It's the one fact that is true about all abortions.

Those who are for the "right to abortion" call themselves pro-choice. I find it interesting because it has been my personal experience that abortion is the one choice that ends all other choices. Once the abortion has been done, there is no going back or undoing any regret. It is a decision that can never be changed or modified. On the other hand, a woman who chooses not to have an abortion keeps the door of choice wide open for herself to make many other decisions in the future. There is the choice to have and keep the child, with that comes choices about marriage, education, working. She can choose to postpone other plans and revisit them, she can choose to make new plans or set new goals, or she can make the choice to stay on the path she's already been on and do it in a different way. Or she can choose to continue on her same path apart from being a mother by giving her child up to a loving family for adoption. Even the choice of adoption leads to more choices. She can choose to have an open adoption with ongoing contact with the adoptive family. She can choose to walk away, and with that she can choose to never look back or she can choose to pursue the relationship again in the future. To me, choosing not to have an abortion is, without a doubt, the road to a plethora of future choices.

Another reason I am pro-life is because of my extensive experience of working with women who have had abortions. Without quoting volatile statistics, I can tell you I have personally dealt with hundreds of women who have suffered from the choice of abortion. I have seen women who have suffered physical complications such as infertility and miscarriage. I myself have had two miscarriages after my abortion and my aborted pregnancy was the only pregnancy I ever accomplished without some form of intervention. I have also seen a lot of women with deep psychological scars. I'm not saying all women are affected this way, but my experience indicates that some women undoubtedly are, ranging from chronic nightmares all the way to attempts of suicide, I have seen these responses and a great range in between. I have also seen emotional damage from shame to depression, and there are of course spiritual consequences as well.

Interestingly enough even though my abortion experience was very traumatic, my initial response was to become extremely pro-choice in the aftermath of it. No, honestly I personally became pro-abortion. I can specifically remember having one conversation that I tried to convince a woman I knew to have an abortion. Looking back now I realize I did so because I didn't want to feel alone, it wasn't enough to be a statistic, I wanted to personally know someone else who'd actually been through it. I am thankful to this day that she didn't listen to me, especially when I see what a treasure her son has grown up to be. I also have great guilt to know that she did abort a later pregnancy that I never knew about till years later. I do feel some sense of responsibility in that, because I lied to her and told her it was "no big deal." Abortion is indeed a big deal.

That leads to another reason why I am against abortion. I have an adopted child. So every day living in my very own home is a reminder at what cost abortion comes. A beautiful loving child, who was given life in the most dire of circumstances, and he's never brought anything but joy into my life. More and more I hear about children who've been adopted, and I think, each one of them has been a choice. Truly every child born since 1973 has absolutely been a choice. They have been given the gift of life, chosen first by God and then my their mother. And those adopted have been chosen yet again. And it is sincerely an incredible thing to experience the joy of adoption.

Now having said all that, you will probably never find me picketing a clinic or lobbying on Capitol stairs. I will always vote pro-life (sorry Mr. President) and I will sign any solid pro-life petition that comes my way, but I know that isn't where the answers lie. Would I love to live in an a world where abortion didn't exist? I would. Do I expect to? I do not. I also don't believe the solution is in sexual education or making birth control more available. You can keep telling me teenagers are "going to have sex" and I will continue to tell any of them who will listen, not to unless they are married. If only a few listen, I will have at least done my part to make an impact. And even if I only change one opinion, I will have at least changed that one opinion. I'm not speaking from a soap box, I'm speaking from my experience, and that no one can deny.

The battle of abortion is not a mass war, but hand to hand combat, and it isn't to be fought against the woman who is making the choice to have one, but rather against the mindset she's been given to believe as absolute. It's a battle against the thought that it is the "best" way or the "only" way. It's a fight against hopelessness and fear. The day I walked into a clinic to have my abortion, I was looking for a way out, I was open to another road of thought. One of my saddest memories about that day is driving into the clinic parking lot. As I looked out the passenger window there were well intentioned people there picketing the clinic. I honestly believe their hearts were for the well-being of the babies. As we drove up to the lot though, they pointed fingers and began to yell. It was with harsh and angry tones that they cried out "Murderer!" at me. And it was in that moment that the clinic that I questioned entering suddenly became the safest place for me to go. I'm by no means judging the people who were there that day, but I do offer it as a warning to any who may feel called to do such a thing should do it in peace and love, whatever their motivation.

To a woman considering abortion I would say, weight your options yet again, there is only one direction that continues down the road of choice. To a woman who has already made the decision and is hurting from it, I would say, you are not alone, there is hope. I never cease to be amazed at how in a world where abortion is so acceptable, so few women who've had them are willing to talk about it. And they are everywhere, in your workplaces, even your churches, your families and many of them are in pain. I pray that both these groups of women discover there is help out there and there is hope.

It is hope that makes me pro-life, I choose to keep it alive. Of course, having said all of that, there is one reason greater than all I have written for my pro-life convictions. The strongest belief I hold about why I am pro-life comes from the scripture.

Genesis 1:26 says, Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness."

Human life was created with inherent value. It's value cannot be separated from the very life itself. Created lives are not accidents or mistakes, human life is made to reflect the image of the Creator Himself. Whether treasured or neglected, it loses no value, it is no less precious, only less appreciated. You are valuable because God created you. He chose to knit you together in a very specific way for a very specific purpose. From the color of your eyes and hair to the personality, strengths and talents He's given you, you are His precious creation. You just may not realize that. And unfortunately people don't realize that is the case with all human life, and so much valuable life is squandered through abortion. Babies being unplanned or unwanted don't make them less valuable, but unfortunately there is no coming back from abortion, the "choice" that ends all choices.

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! Psalm 139:13-17

For more of my personal experience with abortion, click here.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


It's been raining like crazy here in Southern California for the last few days. We don't usually actually have "weather" here to speak of. We're in a desert (all of California is technically in a desert) and so normally it's sunny and clear around here. The truth of the matter is California isn't all that tough, we don't even stand up well under a little rain. We flood, we have mudslides, our streets and our pools overflow and everything just kind of becomes a mess.

I'm not really a fan of the rain. I hate driving in it because the fact of the matter is Californians don't know how to drive in the rain either. We have cars stalling out in puddles and fender benders all along the sides of the road, everything is just kind of crazy and chaotic. I might feel differently about the rain if I could spend the day watching it through a window while cuddled under a blanket in front of a fire and reading a good book. But life doesn't stop happening just because a little rain is falling, and by the time the weekend comes and I could actually semi-hibernate to sit back and enjoy the rain we'll be back to sunny skies and warmer weather... ok, actually it's going to be chilly by California standards (in the 60s), but warm to most everyone else, so I'll go with it.

I don't think it's rained this hard or this long in SoCal since El NiƱo hit back in the winter of 2002-03. That storm was relentless. It rained so long and so hard, that you could literally see the rain soaking into the outside of our walls up about three feet from the ground. It was constantly dark and cold, and everywhere you went you could smell the dampness. It was really overwhelming. It didn't help that we were in the thick of a personal storm. We were at the worst stage with E's adoption when everything seemed just as dark and gloomy as the weather outside.

There were a few particularly bad days when I thought I might be overwhelmed by both the real storm and the personal one. Life was challenging anyway, with a one-year-old and a two-year-old... and an eight-year-old for that matter. On top of that excessive stresses on the adoption front, and now so much rain I thought our house might just float off into the Pacific Ocean, and we're a good 20 miles from the beach.

One day I was home with the kids and there was finally a break in the rain. I took them outside to play in the puddles and saw the most amazing sight. Arched over our neighborhood were at least a half a dozen rainbows. It was the most amazing sight. Jacob and I marveled at the display in the sky, neighbors all coming out to admire the beauty. I just stood there in awe. And I asked Jake if he knew what the rainbow meant, and of course he did. He was very familiar with the story of Noah in the ninth chapter of Genesis.

And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind.

In that moment it was a real blessing for me. It was a reminder, God always keeps His promises. He can be trusted. And in that season I was holding to His promise over Ethan, so the reminder meant the world to me, and I felt like God placed all those rainbows there just so I would remember. He is a good God and he can be trusted.

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
The LORD is faithful to all his promises
and loving toward all he has made.

Psalm 145:13

I have been thinking about that amazing day a lot this week while these crazy storms keep coming against California one after another. I've been thinking a lot about rainbows. On the days when I have come home and there has been a break in the storm I have been stopping to look up into the sky to see if I could find a rainbow, but to no avail. Every opportunity, I found myself looking up, trying to find the promise.

I guess I must have mentioned it to the kids at some point this week because Jake was apparently on the lookout for a rainbow too. Today when the rain broke he was taking the trash outside when all of a sudden I heard him calling from the yard excitedly. There was a rainbow in the sky.

I grabbed my camera hoping to capture a photo the way I did years ago, but when I looked up in the sky I could barely see it. Jake had to point it out to me. On either side of the neighborhood there were the ends of the rainbow, but the arc in between wasn't able to be seen. Even the ends of the rainbow were dim, obscured by the clouds, and by the time I got my camera out, they too had disappeared, but there was a moment, and the beauty was seen. I didn't get the photo I wanted, or even the view I had hoped for, but I had been watching, and with a little help from my son, I got to see the promise.

When we came in the house Jake was talking about how it's so great that the rainbow comes after the storm. I told him not always, because today's storm wasn't over at all. Tonight the sky has been lit up with lightning and the thunder has been rolling loudly, the storm is perhaps even worse than it was this afternoon. The hint of the promise comes in the midst of the storm, sometimes, but I think you have to be watching for it.

It seems as though there are "storms" brewing on the horizon in our personal lives too. The forecast for Southern California promises sunshine by the weekend, but in life, we don't currently have that short term guarantee. It has not been definitively declared that we are in fact in for a "storm" in life, but the signs are there. Unlike the real weather, there is no meteorologist who can tell me what lies ahead, but like an arthritic knee might warn the layman, a stir in my spirit tells me the same about challenges ahead.

So I'm thinking about the need to look up. I need to be actively pursuing the sighting of the promises of God. It may not come in a brilliant display the way those rainbows did some seven years ago, they may be more like the sighting today. If we hadn't been looking, we might never have seen.

I want to be on the lookout for the promises of God in the storms of life. I think they are surely there, but sometimes hard to see, obscured by the clouds but still the declaration is there.

God is not a man, that he should lie,
nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
Does he promise and not fulfill?
I have received a command to bless;
he has blessed, and I cannot change it.

Numbers 23:19-20

It makes it easier to face the potential storms with more confidence when I remember the character of my heavenly Father. I have had the privilege of having personal promises to hold to, like the promise of my daughter, and the security of my son, but I also know I have a whole bible full of promises to hold onto in the stormiest of days, but again, I think you have to be looking.

Interestingly, in my experience, rainbows only come on stormy days. I can't recall ever coming out on a beautiful sunny day to find a rainbow in the sky. It's only amidst the storms. That is the time the Lord chooses to set out His reminder of His promises and His faithfulness to always, always keep them.

If you're facing a storm, or caught in the midst of one, it occurs to me, that it's there the Lord wants to reveal to you (and me) the beauty of His faithfulness. He wants us to look up with hope and expectation in the midst of the storm and darkness and seek to find the Light and it's reflection. And maybe we'll just get a glimpse, but maybe we'll get to see an incredible display of His beauty.

...let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Hebrews 10:22-23

Sunday, January 17, 2010

God is Bigger

This morning in the shower I was singing songs trying to bolster my faith. We got some bad news yesterday that puts our livelihood in some serious jeopardy. It's not really unexpected news, I have felt for months like I have been keeping a deathbed vigil waiting for the last breath. What I didn't expect was this news was more like someone came in and turned down the oxygen. It isn't a fatal blow (yet) but it is undoubtedly a potential acceleration of the death process.

When I woke up this morning, my old nemesis "Anxiety" was waiting for me. It's a horrible way to wake up. Someone told me once they think it's so common to struggle with it coming out of sleep because we are vulnerable. Our minds are not focused and the enemy of our souls uses the opportunity to slip in and grip our hearts and spirits. I know for me at least, that's what it feels like, a strangle hold on my heart. I can't catch my breath in those moments.

This morning when I woke to it I just began to pray. And then I began to move. Laying in bed seems to exacerbate it. I had to get up out of bed. When anxiety comes that place that typically represents peace and rest feels more like a jail cell. So I got up and went in and started a morning workout. With part prayer and part distraction, I began to try and face the day.

After my work out I hit the shower. That always seems to be a place where the Lord will meet me. I don't know if it's my vulnerability or focus, but I always spend my time in the shower as a place of worship and prayer. Maybe it's not exactly what is meant my "prayer closet," but it works for me. The Lord has at times spoken pretty profoundly to me there. Not so this morning, so as Anxiety tried to wrestle with me, I tried to focus my mind on the Lord.

I began to sing. First I sang, "The Lord is my Light and my Salvation, whom shall I fear? Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the Stronghold of my life, whom shall I fear? Whom shall I fear?" Then I moved into a sing that was a constant companion for me in the years I battled infertility. "I will trust You Lord, when I don't know why, I will trust You Lord, till the day I die, I won't lose my faith in the One I love, I will trust You Lord...... Lord I'm keeping my eyes on You, following You, following You... My Lord I'm keeping my eyes on You..." I was trying to make the connection between my will and my words with the struggle in my heart. I sang "Blessed be Your name, in the land that is plentiful, where the streams of abundance flow, blessed be Your name. Blessed be Your name on the road marked with suffering, though there's pain in the offering, blessed be Your name..."

I was grasping, for the words, for the faith, for the Lord. I would push against the fear, and it would rise up and push back. I thought about the song I sang through the years when we were battling for Ethan. "I will bless the Lord forever, I will trust Him at all times. I will not be moved, I say of the Lord, You are my shield, my strength, my portion, Deliverer, my shelter strong tower, my very present help in time of need...." That song was such a source of strength for me during such a difficult time. When I look back on it, it was the hardest time, and it was the greatest time, to see God move, to sense His power in my life.

Singing that song made me think of the verse that Victoria's name comes from. 1 John 5:4 says, "for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith." I had always thought of that verse as Victoria's verse, even though it was before there even was a Victoria. Then one really difficult day in the battle for Ethan when God spoke clearly and powerfully into my heart, and into our situation, I heard the Lord tell me that the verse wasn't just Victoria's verse, but it was a verse for our whole family. And this morning in the shower, I felt like He was reminding me of that truth again. I said out loud, "God is bigger." And then I had a whole different song in my head.

I remember singing this song to Jake when he was littler and he would be afraid at night in the dark. I would use it to encourage him and make him laugh when fear tried to enter his heart. I thought about the "boogie man" who wasn't even real, but had the power to frighten my child. He was relatively easy to overcome, the flip of a light switch, swinging open a closet door, and the source of the fear was brushed away. The boogie men of grown ups aren't always so easily dispelled.

I look into the future, and it has never seemed more uncertain. It seems like that just keeps becoming more and more accurate a way to describe the current state. I never really thought about it before, can something become more true? I don't know, but it surely seems as though it is. A year ago, I knew things were getting bad. A month ago, the sense was even stronger. A week ago it seemed really scary, and now today, it all seems even worse, even more true. The future seems really uncertain.

I've been here before, in different ways, over different things. But I have been in this spot before. I have asked the question, Will I ever have children? And I sit here now answering that question as the mother of three. And of one of those children, I had to ask the question, Will we lose our son? And I sit here with the answer to that question almost six years after final adoption papers were signed. Seemingly impossible questions, boogie men of sorts that at one time tried to overwhelm me. But God was bigger.

I had an message exchanged with a friend yesterday. I had expressed my fears that tried to overwhelm me yesterday and asked for prayer. In her reply she wrote the following to me: "We'll be praying for you and your lovely (and miraculous) family. I smile when I see your name on fb -- remembering wonderful moments over many years, when, together, we saw Jesus do the impossible."

Wow! What was I thinking? When I read her words yesterday it touched my heart, she helped me through some very deep hurts in the beginning of my walk with Christ. She has an interesting perspective on my life, and my walk, because there was a time when in the deepest trench she was my guide, and yet other times, a distant spectator. So when I read these words again today, it really hit me. My life, my family... because of the power of the Lord, is miraculous. God has never failed us. Not.once.ever.

My pastor gave a great message today (as always, it is God's word after all) and he shared this scripture, that I am choosing to hold onto today. "...God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." Colossians 1:27. Nothing is even remotely better right now than it was this morning when fear came in and tried to make itself at home in my heart. The fact of the matter is, there's a meeting tomorrow that will probably paint an even darker picture than what I was holding onto this morning, and honestly Anxiety is still standing just behind my shoulder trying to taunt me, but I cry "NO!" No, because God is bigger!! Whatever may come, my hope is in Christ.

It may be really bad, the road that lies ahead, but if it is, it's not a road I will have to walk alone. It could turn out to be much worse than I fear, or could be much better. I honestly have no way of knowing. I do not know what the future holds, however I do know Who holds the future, and that is quite simply, good enough.

I will grip tightly to my Daddy's hand, my heavenly Father. I will hold to Him and trust Him, knowing He will shine real Light into my darkness, and no boogie man will overcome me. Even if the fear turns out to be founded, and there is hurt and hard times ahead, I will hold on. I will remember the promise, "all things work together for the good to those that love God...

I will remember how time and again the Lord drove that proof home in my life, in my heart, and I will believe knowing, He is unchanging, and that that truth will stand again.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 6-7

YES LORD! I want that faith- again! I know what lies ahead may be the hardest of time, but it will be the best of time, if YOU are revealed in me. And Lord, I pray for the refilling of the strength to pray that prayer again as many times as is necessary.

Whatever we face, however dark or frightening it may seem, God is bigger. It is a truth we can hold to.

God is bigger than the boogie man
And He's watching out for you and me.