January 19, 2011

What it feels like...

"You formed my inward parts; You wove me together in my mother's womb.

My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them."
 Psalms 139: 13, 15-16

 (Just a little sperm humor for you...)

I grew up part of the crazy right-winged conservative movement.  
I remember the day my dad brought home Rush Limbaugh's first book, "The Way Things Aught To Be." It was a big deal.

Both my parents have been arrested. Multiple times. For, "prayer sit-ins" at local abortion clinics. It's not something they brag about. 

 It's something I will never be ashamed of.
It inspires me that they were motivated by something enough to risk being uncomfortable. That they were convicted...and they obeyed. Certainly not without consequences; even to this day.

I've had to define their beliefs for nosy church ladies who thought they were too extreme.

As a nine-year-old, I've been screamed at by pro-choice women seething with anger. I realize that emotions ran high on both sides of the aisle. That ugly things have been said and done by pro-lifers and pro-choicers alike. It's just something I will never forget. Whenever the media talks about the condemning, hateful way anti-abortion individuals supposedly behave. I am always brought back to that day. Walking to the steps of the Boise capitol building with my parents. With my grandma. With my baby brothers and sisters. With our signs. Quietly praying. Kids playing. With our crazy ideals. We were on one side of the road. They were on the other. The divide was wide. It was a turning point in history. Abortion was out in the open; come better or worse. Passion and intent motivated everyone.

However, I get that pro-choice proponents aren't (all) bitter, condescending, superior, angry people. I get that many are motivated by love. I get that there is a history of injustice in the lives of women and our reproductive health. (Syphilis anyone?)

I get that (all) pro-life proponents aren't hateful, legalistic, simplistic, un-caring crazies. I get that it can be scary to even say you are pro-life. That it can put a target on your back, that you'd just assume not be there. That it's not easy. To be pro-life is not to say, "Yes, I would like children to be raped and to be forced to carry their infants to term, for incestuous relationships to bring to fruition--lives of socially unacceptable bastards, and for all women, everywhere to stay home and breed. NO matter what."

I've had to define what I believe along the way.

There are some things that you have to make yourself take inventory of. The Holocaust. Your belief or disbelief in God. Whether you are a democrat, a republican...or something else completely. IS Carrot Top funny? How you are going to raise your children. Are you a cat person? What kind of person do you want to marry. Will you ever buy a Snuggie? What kind of person will you be.

Every year, I take an intense look at abortion.
Exactly what it is; gory details and all. Who it harms. Why we are so trapped as a society, in relying on it.

Yesterday, I was in the car listening to a radio program. Apparently January is, "Sanctity of Life" month. I don't remember her name...but a woman was describing how she felt (years ago) every January. She'd had six abortions. She described the hopelessness that would set in whenever anyone (e.g. pastors) discussed abortion. The sin. The pain the infant experienced. She was stuck. Where did that leave her? How could she experience freedom? She mentioned the incredibly important, indispensable reality of grace. That with every abortion; there is more than one victim. If we are going to talk about the death of the child. If we want to change society. If we want women to make better choices. We have to reach men and women in hard places. We have to point to the cross. We have to give hope.

Because if there is no hope for these girls and women...there is no hope for any of us.

I do tend to get caught up in what's going on with the unborn baby. For far too long society closed its eyes to the silent victim. I think that the science, the images, and the reality of what actually happens to that child has changed the abortion argument, irrevocably. You no longer hear the, "blob of tissue" dismissal that was once common.

It's moved on to more complex thoughts. Philosophies like Natural Selection surface. Which life is more valuable to society? Statements like, "Yes, though I realize there is a child inside me, and that this abortion will cause it pain...I feel as though this is the best option." Or "This is the fastest, and most simplistic was to deal with this..."

Back to the radio interview: It made my heart hurt.

We can't take erase the consequences from the life that's taken. The pain they experience. The loss of a child.

But the one left behind is the one who needs love now. Understanding.

Truth is important on both ends of the spectrum:

  • Abortion harms children. It harms women.

  • Abortion is NOT an unforgivable sin. (Romans 8:38-39!) Abortion cannot, "ruin" God's plan. He will take whatever you give Him...and bless it. 

 Just before we moved to Fort Polk, I had the opportunity to work at a crisis pregnancy center.  The women who ran the center saw that their ministry was the women. Whether these women (more often, girls) decided to keep the baby or not. The baby was already safe in the arms of Jesus. These women needed love and acceptance. And, many, many times...they needed hope. Hope that life could be better. Hope that there were men who would treat them with respect. Who would honor and cherish them. Hope that they could one day have families that were complete and stable. Hope beyond their present circumstance.

My heart changed. It wasn't that  I had never thought of the women. It was just that when you think of the violence of abortion--it seems to make sense to cry out for the child first.  I think often, there is not a clear understanding of the ramifications of terminating pregnancies. It's not a magic fix. 

 It's just not.

So, even though the innocent DO need an advocate. Even know they need protection. Their mothers need love. Their mothers need a lifeline. Their mothers need hope.

What brought them to this point?
Often a lifetime of pain.

I don't know what it feels like to have an abortion.

I do know what hopelessness feels like. I do know what it feels like to drown in the world around you. In plain sight. I do know what it feels like to need love with every space in your soul. I do know what it feels like to see forgiveness offered, and think, "This is too big. I've gone too far."

My guess is, you do, too...

As you go through January; I would challenge you to not turn a blind eye.
Not to the infants gathering flies in our nation's dumpsters.
And, not to the women who walked away empty-handed.

"I faint with longing for your salvation; but I have put my hope in your word."

Psalms 119:81

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