Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Real Hope for the Hard Questions

In part because I have made much of my testimony public, I was asked this past January 23rd to speak to my church family on the topic of the Sanctity of Human Life. I wanted to share what God laid on my heart in this simple place. Thank you for grace.

When I walked up to the stage as I was introduced, our worship leader was going to hand me the microphone, and I requested that it be put on a stand. My hands were shaking so badly I didn't want that to be a distraction. Let me hide behind a podium please, public speaking is not my thing. I won't even go into the trouble I had deciding on an outfit, my main goal to not be a distraction. Anytime my usual jeans and t-shirts won't do it is a challenge for me.

After the mic was arranged I, the awkward girl that I am, said a shy smiling "testing, testing? Okay, good."

I clutched the sparkling plastic broach my five year old had handed me, and began with my explanation as to why...

"Good morning,

I was telling my daughter, Selah, how nervous I was to speak today and she handed me this broach and said: 'mom, if you do a really good job and everyone cheers really loudly then I will give you this.'"

I held up the broach to smiling faces that know my daughter's spunkiness so well.

I smile back and a little of the tension leaves my jaw "So, this is what is at stake here. "

I continue, knees shaking, trying not to sway.

"When I was asked to share, I had many thoughts right away. I thought about statistics and information about the Pregnancy Center. Because of my testimony, which I know many of you know parts, or all, of my story, I have had the privilege of speaking on this topic of the Sanctity of Human Life before... but one of the first thoughts that kept pressing into my mind was this:

If I hadn't had an abortion at 18, I would have an almost seven year old right now.

That reality just struck me in a fresh way this time in preparing. My parents would have an almost seven year old grandson(at least, I think the baby was boy), and my siblings would have another nephew.

It's so strange and heartbreaking to think about because once you have a child, you just can't imagine your life without them. I have been blessed with two girls since, a five year old and a one year old.

I also had an abortion scheduled for my 5 year old, but God stepped in and stopped me, that is a different story for a different time.

God has used my daughter, Selah, in so many ways to teach me about Him, about myself, about life and others. One of the things that God brought to my attention through Selah from a very young age was how often people did not use words literally, or they would say them in a very dramatic way.

One recent example is when my mother-in-law was commenting on the weather and said it was "raining cats and dogs". Selah, of course, went into a several minute monologue about how it wasn't actually, literally, raining cats and dogs. She also has been very aware of when my siblings would use heavy words, like love and hate, lightly.

I think that words have lost a lot of their weight and meaning because they are so often misused and misunderstood. I think abortion is definitely one of those words.

There is so much deception surrounding this issue of abortion. I think a major factor that feeds that deception is silence. So much about this topic is not spoken about.

The woundedness that happens that leads girls to make this type of life and death decision often happens in quietness, isn't spoken about. And the abortion, the death, happens quietly and isn't spoken about afterward.

I remember when I was sitting in the waiting room of a Planned Parenthood in Houston, and everyone was so quiet. We filled out our intake papers quietly, got called by a nurse quietly, when down a quiet hall, had a several minute, relatively quiet procedure, and then were quietly wheeled into a recovery room and placed between two thin sheets that separated each of us from the other girls in the room. We lay there with the heating pads over our empty wombs bleeding quietly and crying quietly. Or some, like me, didn't cry at all.

Breaking the silence and deceptiveness surrounding this issue is a big part of what I wanted to address today. And that is where you come in. It truly does not matter if you are a boy or girl, man or woman, young or old, this issue applies to you.

And I know that a few of you feel called to volunteer at the Pregnancy Center, or to work with Texas Right to Life, or other pro-life organizations, but for the majority of us, that probably is not what God is calling you to do.

But this still applies to you.

Here is why: only you have your specific sphere of influence. Only you have your particular, special, individual relationship to your family, your friends, in your workplace, in school, in your church.

And after two years of counseling at the Pregnancy Center, and several years since, I can tell you that so much of the need in this area never makes it to the counseling room.

I have spent countless more hours counseling outside the Pregnancy Center than inside it.

I believe that this is part of loving God with all our minds to always be prepared and able to give a reason for the Hope that is within us.

So in order to restore meaning to the word abortion, and break through some of the deceptiveness that surrounds it(i.e. just because abortion is legal does not make it right), I think there are several things every person should know.

1) The details matter. As uncomfortable and as heart-breaking as it will be, the details matter. I personally had an abortion and could not have told you specifically what happened until my education with the Pregnancy Center before I became a counselor.

I have often heard abortion compared to the Holocaust. If hearing the word "Holocaust" turns your stomach inside out it is probably not because you know the final death toll of all the lives lost, but it is a specific story about a child, a family, or maybe a picture, that made that horrific time more real to you.

It is the same with abortion, hearing the ever-growing number of lives lost or simply knowing that abortion kills a baby isn't enough-it doesn't pierce our hearts like details do. The details matter.

2) It is important for each person to know the resources available to help the girl in need. Knowing what your local network offers spiritually, physically and emotionally is critical. It will knock the legs out from under their very real and socially acceptable objections, and leave you open to talk about their deeper fears and concerns. This applies to men as well. The male figure in a crisis pregnancy situation is critical for many, many reasons. And I firmly believe that men should minister to men, and women to women.

3) I cannot stress how important it is to know how to love and accept the struggling person while still rejecting their wrong thinking/sin. So often people do one or the other, "accepting" the person and "whatever they choose", or rejecting the person as one with their mistakes. Both are extremely damaging.

4) I think the 4th and most important thing we each have to know is the Word-in the person of Jesus Himself-and the word He's written down for us. The Bible is our only sword in this quiet, raging battle against women and their unborn children.

These things cannot be covered in this short time frame, but Jim(our Pastor) has graciously given me permission to teach an abortion education class where I will cover the four points I highlighted. I will also be sharing the process God lead me through to share His love and goodness-in more churchy terms the gospel- in an individualized and non-offensive way with others. This was an extremely humbling and challenging thing to do. I had never had to share the gospel face to face with someone before. And God was so gracious in how He taught me what to say.

I would be honored for you to come and talk about these things with me, you may be surprised at what, and who, God entrusts you with.

**The class is February 11th, from 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. Contact me for more details if you are interested.**

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Thanks so much for being transparent and sharing your story with others...you are a beautiful witness for Him!

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