Saturday, December 31, 2011

Defund Abortion in Alberta

Do you think it's possible? 
i'd love to find out. 
HERE is a link to their facebook page, and HERE is a link to the petition that has over 300 signatures at the time of this writing.  Would you consider adding yours?

i have felt a small but significant change in my heart as of late. 

i do think that i could see the day that abortion is again, "unthinkable"... We're getting closer.  Women and men have been exposed to too many ultrasound pictures, recordings of beautiful little hearts beating hopefully, "whoosh, whoosh...", videos of babies - only weeks old - growing in their mama's wombs. 

The wake up call is beginning.  Hope is stirring...

Can you feel it? 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Years Resolution

For those of you who make New Years Resolutions: Would you consider putting the 40 Days for Life prayer vigil on there? It starts on February 22nd... & i know it will be coooold out there - looking for the warmth of YOUR company as we stand on that sidewalk & pray for those whose lives are in danger...
The more i pray about this issue... the more i am struck by it's importance.  This work... these prayers... they matter.

Some of my friends have told me to, "keep asking me..."
Don't worry... i will.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Perfect Sign

There likely isn't one... i know...
But this is a question that i ask myself again and again as i prepare my mind and heart for the 40 Day prayer vigil that is set to begin in 2 months. 
There is often division among prolifers over methods, wording, attitudes etc...
We've even had disagreements about signs on this tiny blog. 
We need more discussion - more understanding for each other - more sharing of wisdom & opinions... more soul searching. 
Why does it matter? 
It matters because the signs that we wear at the Kensington Clinic are likely the last prolife messages that these women will see before making a final decision about the wee life they are carrying.  It matters because we are a last line of defence.  It matters because God loves these families... and so too must we.  It matters because "they will know we are Christians by our love".  It matters because we want the signs to be compelling - because this is life and death we're talking about. 
Let's just face it... If we're going to choose to wear a sign to an abortion clinic... the message on that sign matters. 
This doesn't mean we'll all wear the same sign.  We will all fill in different gaps, we'll appeal to different hurting individuals, we'll be authentic - and because we're authentic, we'll be diverse. 
My faithful little sign that i've worn for the past year has a simple message, "You are loved." The reverse states, "Life is a Gift". 
Other signs read, "Look at the Ultrasound", "Abortion Stops a Beating Heart", or simply, "40 Days for Life". 
We're facing a difficult situation here at the Kensington clinic.  We're not allowed to cross that road.  We're not allowed to speak - unless spoken to.  We're limited in our access and in our numbers... What words would reach into that desperate situation... What words could cut through the pain, fear and numbness - to the heart of a mother or father... What words would have the deepest impact... while leaving the smallest wound? 
i'm thinking of words today like, "Can i help?", "Ask me why i'm here"...
But even these... and the blinking cursor that i stared at for minutes as my wracked my brain for that perfect combination of words that would stop a course of action... seem so insufficient. 
The truth is... they are. 
& so we bathe them in tears and prayer.  We allow our hearts to break with compassion and we bring our requests brokenly to our Maker. 
Oh, God... prepare my heart... & give me the words. 

What would the perfect sign say?  Why? If you had the chance to speak... what would you say? 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Repeat Abortions - why?

by linda

Almost half the abortions that occur in North America are repeat abortions.
There are several factors. According to Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, pregnancy is a biorhythm (this is not New Age junk science.) Sleep is also a biorhythm. If you wake up in the middle of the night your body tells you to go back to sleep. Similarly many women who abort (an interruption to the biological process of pregnancy) feel the urge to get pregnant again.
Sometimes the same circumstances that caused them to abort in the first place are still present so they abort again. Sometimes the mother thinks she is unworthy of being a mother because she already aborted one child. Repeat abortions can be a sign of self-punishment.
And sometimes (and this is a big one) we repeat what we don't understand in the hopes of mastering it. This explains not only repeat abortions but why abused women stay with abusers, why some women keep sleeping around looking for love, etc.

Instead of being repulsed by the self-destructive behaviour of others ask them, "How can I help you to heal?"

Thursday, December 15, 2011

on being green...

by linda

We hear a lot these days about being "green", how evil animal cruelty is, and how great pro-"choice" politicians are. In response to that I have one thing to say:
What is the point of saving the whales and the forests when we are aborting and contracepting ourselves out of existence? There will be nobody here to enjoy the pristine world these people envision. I recycle, I like animals, and I try to respect politicians - especially when they don't know any better, but respecting human life and saving human children should be a bigger priority.

And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. Genesis 1:28

We are to be careful stewards of nature but we are also to be careful stewards of our fertility and the children entrusted to our care. If nobody is here to populate the earth - what is the point of being green??

Thursday, December 8, 2011

December 9th - Day of fasting and prayer for PEI

Prolife groups are calling tomorrow, December 9th, a day of fasting and prayer for PEI.  It is currently the most difficult place to get an abortion on demand in Canada & is under fire for their unusual limitations.  (Abortions are available if a woman gets two referrals - or without paperwork, she can pay out of pocket at a private clinic). 
Tomorrow i will be praying for God's hand of protection on PEI, that these limitations wouldn't be stripped, so that women will be given every opportunity to rethink this life-ending decision.  Will you join me?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How Prolife?

By Linda

Several years ago, leading up to the 2008 federal election, I had a brief email correspondence going on with a woman who is running for office. She claimed to be ProLife but then said there are times when it's OK to abort. I thought she meant because of rape or incest but she said no (and just for the record I do NOT think it is OK to abort because of rape or incest.) She said it would be permissible to abort babies who suffer from severe handicaps that will likely result in their death. Hmmm...last time I checked abortion results in death.
So I wanted to educate her gently but I wanted to speak the Truth. I emailed a couple friends who prayed for me. Well, their prayers enabled me to find a passage in Randy Alcorn's excellent book, "ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments," that basically states that aborting a handicapped child is not done for his good but to for the perception of our own. We aren't preventing cruelty to the child, we are trying to prevent difficulty for ourselves.
I emailed this fact to the politician and invited her to have coffee with me. Well, you know what happened, don't you? That's right - nothing. No response. No defense. I guess she doesn't want my vote that badly. At the same time - I KNOW I touched a nerve with her and she isn't going to forget our exchange. I pray that someday (hopefully soon) she'll say "I am TRULY 100% ProLife."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

abortion robs grandparents

This entry was sent to us from a blog reader - and outlines some of the painful ripples that abortion brings...


It was around midnight several years ago that I sat hunched over my computer keyboard, the light from the monitor illuminating the dark room. A message popped up from my daughter P. She asked how I was, I responded that I was well and asked how she was doing. She told me she was worried about her brother G, but angry with him too, saying he had been nasty to her lately. I sighed. I knew it was true. Then she said she needed to tell me something. Inwardly I froze. No mother wants to hear these words from her child, especially over an internet connection in a dark room late at night.

My daughter is a terrible typist so waiting for the next message, which I was sure was going to contain bad news, was endless. Finally I read: "I want to tell you something about M (my son's wife) but you have to promise never to talk to anyone about it or M and G will never speak to me again if they find out that you know - they don't even know that I know. Also I am afraid to tell you because you might treat them differently when you hear this." I promise P I will keep her secret, having no idea what she is about to divulge.

P had hinted previously that she knew something about M but I had decided to wait for P to tell me in her own time. M has always been a bit secretive but I chalked that up to the fact that I was her mother-in-law and we didn't have the sort of relationship where she confided anything to me. The next message from P tells me something disappointing about M but then another message pops up. It reads: "but there's more." I decide that since we've gone this far I might as well plunge in all the way.

I type: "she had an abortion?"

There's no hesitation in the response. The single word "yes" pops up on my computer screen.

And all of a sudden everthing starts to fall into place. The outburst by my son towards a family member who innocently asked if he and his wife were planning to start a family soon, the estrangement from certain family members, the abrupt move half way across the country and the ongoing prickly attitude towards me, his father and his sister. I feel an icy hand close over my heart. I ask my daughter how she came to learn this information but I know I don't need to check her sources - she couldn't lie if her life depended on it. My daughter feels better now that she has unburdened herself but now I must carry this Cross - the knowledge that my first grandchild is dead. I want to split in half and cry forever.

Instead I begin to blame my daughter-in-law for what has happened and as time goes by I nurse this grudge until I can no longer look at her photo or speak to her on the phone. It's easy to get out of speaking to her on the phone as she has a very soft voice and I have trouble listening to her due to my hearing problems. Since she and I were not close to begin with this new pattern emerges of only speaking to my son when he calls.

As the weeks go by I try to piece together the fragments of information that P has given me and I determine that M became pregnant about nine months before her and G's wedding. This hurts me even more as it feels like she has chosen her expensive white dress and a big party over her unborn child. My anger and resentment continue to fester. I might have found relief if I could have confronted M and G but I had promised P I would not. By now my husband also knows what has happened. He is so ashamed he literally forbids me to talk to anyone about it. We are also terrified that our already strained relationship with M & G will break for good if we confront them even though we would tell them we forgive them.

Being a Christian I keep telling myself I don't hate my daughter-in-law, I hate what she did. I tell myself that God loves her and made her in His image. I tell myself that she didn't choose to abort but that she felt she had no option but to abort. Except that I cannot accept that, no matter how hard I try. My husband and I would have taken that baby in if my son and his wife couldn't care for him. We would have kept him forever or given him back when his parents wanted him. We would have given them money, support, anything to help. But they never asked us.

As the years go by I step up my commitment to ProLife. I want to spare other people the pain I have experienced. I want the babies to live. I volunteer at a pregnancy centre and join prayerful endeavours like Life Chain. Every time we hear a sermon against abortion I want to stand up and cheer - except that the sermons always encourage us to reach out in love and mercy to the post-abortive mothers and all I want to do is shake the living daylights out of my daughter-in-law. I want her to hurt as much as I do. I want her to tell me she is sorry. It's probably a good thing she lives half way across the country from me.

Finally I reach a point where I can no longer sustain this level of personal misery. And it's then that Abby Johnson comes into my life.

Abby Johnson once worked for Planned Parenthood. It was after she assisted at an abortion that she finally came to the realization of what she had long suspected. Abortion was killing babies. She left Planned Parenthood and wrote a book about her transformation from "prochoice" to ProLife. I bought her book and read it in one day. It resonated with me on every single level even though I had never had an abortion myself. More than anything I wanted to participate in 40 Days for Life, the prayerful vigil that had done so much to convert her.

Within two weeks a lady at my church announced we were going to participate in 40 Days for Life. My heart jumped and I was one of the first ones to sign up! My husband, while supporting the cause, was very concerned that I would be assaulted in front of the clinic while holding my 40 Days sign. I asked him "what if some lady had been standing in front of the clinic the day that M and G went to her abortion appointment - what if her sign or her smile or her words caused M to reconsider the abortion and carry the baby to term?" He didn't stop worrying but he didn't ask me to stop going either.

The 40 Days for Life campaign took place while the weather was damp and cold. Some days it rained, some days the wind blew through my coat. But slowly as the earth moved towards Spring my heart began to thaw a little along with the ground. I spent many hours on the front lines praying for the mothers and their unborn babies. Sometimes I thought of my grandchild. I know he is in Heaven and prays for his mom. He's forgiven her. I know I must too.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day 40 - Ronda's story

Our story

by ronda

I am currently 31 weeks pregnant and counting. My husband and I were thrilled to find out in April that we were expecting an addition to our family of 3. We have one beautiful healthy son who is almost 2 years old. Could there be anything better than a playmate for him?

As in my first pregnancy, I had really awful morning sickness but suddenly around week 9, my symptoms nearly all but vanished. I began cramping most of the day and even through the night. I went to my doctor to do some tests as something just didn't "feel right." She told me that based on my HCG levels, the baby must have died a week or two prior and my body had not gotten rid of our precious child yet. I was devastated and felt nauseaus and my world was spinning out of control. I asked my husband to take our son out of the doctor's office so that I could ask more questions. I didn't want to upset our son because I couldn't stop crying. 3 hours later, after an emergency ultrasound, we found a kicking and moving baby inside my womb.

At week 12, I went to a different doctor as the cramping continued but the first doctor would not look into why this was happening. She was unable to find a heartbeat with the fetal doppler, even though we had heard the heart beat just one week prior. She began to panick after 20 minutes of searching and ordered an emergency ultrasound for the next afternoon. She too cautioned me that the baby may have died. I could not sleep that night and layed awake praying and begging God to let my baby live. Once again, God blessed us with a strong heart beat and a "healthy" baby. After spending a great deal of money to seek out a naturopathic doctor, I found that my progesterone was really low. The doctor listened to me at my next appointment and put me on progesterone. She referred me to an OB/GYN. The cramping stopped almost completely only 2 weeks later.

At week 18, I went for my routine ultrasound. I was so excited, as I believed that everything would finally be ok and I would now have a normal pregnancy. But something wasn't right....the ultrasound tech was taking too long. Then she called in the doctor to review the ultrasound and to help her measure. No one would say anything to me and I couldn't tell what they were looking at on the screen. I asked her in a very small voice, "Is everything ok?" She responded, "I can't diagnose anything, this is stat and you should call your doctor's office for the results." She left the room quickly. This was not what I had expected. I waited and the next day I decided that I should call my OB/GYN. I was at work. The doctor told me that my baby was not well. Our baby had an arachnoid cyst in the brain and it was quite large. She was uncertain what this meant for our baby and needed to refer me to a specialist immediately so that we had enough time to "terminate the fetus." I  hated that language....our precious baby was not a fetus...our baby was loved by myself and my husband and by our son.

A few days later, I was having another ultrasound. This one was an indepth ultrasound and our first meeting with a perinatologist, neonatologist, residents, etc. Our baby had a significant issue with the brain. We were told that the baby may be still born, or die shortly after birth. We were told that day, that our baby would be mildly to severely mentally challenged. We were told that things were really uncertain. We were offered an abortion. We had up until week 22 started to "terminate the fetus." I told the doctors that we were having a baby, not a fetus. His language changed after that moment. We went home that afternoon and my husband and I were "numb" inside. The shock of everything was too much and neither one wanted to talk about our options. It weighed heavy on my heart. Not as much for my husband, but for me it was agonizing. I hardly slept, I cried constantly and prayed for a miracle incessantly. I asked myself the tough questions, "Could I carry a baby to term and then bury him?" "Could I handle being a parent to a moderately mentally and physically challenged child?" "Who would take care of our child, when my husband and I died?" I was exhausted with worry. I felt as though all my dreams, hopes and prayers were vanishing ever so quickly. I was angry with God.

Two weeks later, we went for our next indepth ultrasound. We found out we were having a boy! How wonderful for our son to be having a brother. But, "Would he be a brother, if he never walked or talked or was able to feed himself?" The cyst was growing significantly and the prognosis was looking more grim for our son. We had to make a decision soon because we were running out of time. The following week we had an MRI. Parts of the baby's brain had not developed which added to the complications of the cyst and the swelling of the brain. I was at week 21. 7 days left to make an important decision that would change my life and my families forever.

We met with our pastor, who did not advise us on what to do. But he spoke to my heart....I felt convicted. I was just so scard! The unknown was tearing me apart. I would pace the house through the night, asking..."Could I kill my own baby and live with it?" No one could make this decision but me. I wished I never had to consider what I must consider. My husband, who knows my sensitive heart, told me that the grief would destroy me. I thought that it would haunt me forever, but I was so tired and things just seemed to be getting worse. Satan was doing his best work on me. I asked my friends and family to pray.

I couldn't take it any longer and I called the perinatologist. It was a Tuesday, I was at week 21 and 6 days. I needed to come in and talk to him about ending the pregnancy. I called my husband who was giving me the silent treatment because I was considering the unthinkable. I told him he could come or not but I needed to know what life would be like if I kept this baby. He decided to join me and an hour later we were meeting with two genetic counsellors. Time was of the essence. They explained the cyst, the missing parts of the brain and what the possible outcomes could be. I listened intently. Never had I ever listened so closely before. I discovered that day that I needed to make a decision, "That DAY!" We could not proceed with an abortion after week 21 and 7 days. Next, came in the perinatologist who described to me in detail how the abortion would happen. I can not tell you how repulsed I was after this conversation. I wanted to vomit, I wanted to scream, I wanted to run out from the room.

Instead, I thanked him, left and called the pregnancy care centre. I talked on the phone to a lovely women who told me it was ok that "I needed to know." I talked and cried and she listened. My mind was made up. I was keeping our son. No matter what I could not imagine my life without him in it. Even though he was still inside my body, he kicked and moved and would be a part of our lives forever.

I had made my decision...I loved this little boy. God loved this little boy. He came to us for a reason. It was not my place to act as God. No matter what the outcome for our son, he deserved to live a life just as any one else. Who was I to take this precious little boy's life? A sigh of relief came over me unlike anything I had ever experienced. God had granted me HIS peace. When the next day passed, I rejoiced for there was no turning back. Satan could not tempt me anymore. The decision was final and I was elated.

I do not know what the prognosis will be for our son. His due date is December 30. We still pray for him daily and fast and ask God for a miracle. The cyst has gotten worse; however, I know that I made the right decision. I would never have forgiven myself if I had rejected my child. How could I, a solid Christian follower, ever have explained to my older son what I did to his brother. God has given us this beautiful boy and I will cherish him for as long as I live.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Day 39 - this is the kensington clinic

This... is the Kensington Clinic. 
& as these 40 days count themselves to their end, this is the view that has been imprinted on my mind, in my heart, in my prayers. 
We stood on the street corner... (it's getting colder here in Calgary), and i was glad i ran back to get my scarf before coming.  It was quieter than it usually is for a Wednesday afternoon.  There was less bustle, less coming and going...
My friend Alissa had created a new sign - (it's a link to a website that is educational - but graphic, so go there knowing that it is not something that a prolifer necessarily needs to see.)   She also brought a picture she painted in university - of a tiny baby in utero... and i had my trusty, blue, faded message... "you are loved..." 
Together, this trio of offerings garnered many curious looks as we stood in the cold praying and talking across from the abortion clinic. 
A truck slowed as it passed us, and i could see a woman in the front seat - her lips moving as she read our signs.  They circled around and pulled up to the curb next to us... Nervously, i approached their window. i was prepared for whatever might come, because i believe so deeply in what we're doing, and i know that even the harsh conversations often bring about the seeds of doubt that flower into a change of heart... 
"What's this all about?" They asked mildly.
"We're here praying for an end to abortion." i responded.
"Well..." The man said slowly, "That would be a good thing..."
"Can we come pray too?" The woman asked. 
i was startled by their response and invited them to come.  One of my friends, needing to leave anyway, left the sidewalk so that we wouldn't break the 'no more than 4 people on the sidewalk' rule, and we got the chance to talk some more before we had to leave to get home to little ones, dinner, violin lessons...
They had both seen the devastation of abortion in friends and family; the affects both physical and psychological.  They both agreed fervently that the killing needs to come to an end, and that prayer is a powerful tool to bring that about. 
As Alissa & i drove away, we left them on the sidewalk... heads bowed in prayer... and i laughed to God that i had expected anger when that truck pulled over, but instead was witnessing two unexpected blessings.  They had stopped what they were doing, where they were going - and pulled over on a busy street to climb out in the cold, and cry out to a compassionate God for the sake of the unborn. 

i made this little movie to celebrate all that has been accomplished worldwide in the past 40 days of prayer, fasting and community outreach. i hope we can use this teeny clip - to inspire others to join us on our knees as we plead with God to change our nation.  Feel free to share it, to bring it to your church group or prolife friends.
Prayer changes everything...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Day 38 - on unmasking choice

i'm posting a letter i sent to the Canadian Center for Bio ethical Reform.  This is such a tender, difficult subject - and i don't enter into it lightly - or think that anyone should even agree with me, but - my desire in creating this blog was that by having conversations about these very difficult things, we could maybe together, find a way to bring about change... This is a tiny contribution from me. 


Dear CCBR,

At the conference this past weekend, i was saddened by the palpable tension in the room that surrounded 2 issues.  One was whether or not prolifers should support any gestational laws, and the other (as you must know), was over the use of graphic images. 
This past while, i have been working through my own views on this topic, and i wanted to share them with you. 
When i was 19, i found myself pregnant and unwed.  i had always been strongly prolife - and i knew - even in those first moments watching that pregnancy test turn, that there was another person growing inside me, and that her life was precious.  My husband & i married (he was only 18) & despite the cries we could hear of, "foolish", we soon became parents to the most delicious little girl.  We moved to a small town where we could afford to live, and only a few short months later, we found out that another tiny life had come... at 11 weeks, we went and heard that racing heartbeat, and were told that our baby looked perfect, but then unexpectedly at 16 weeks, our son died. 
It was 1997 - and i had already had one daughter, but i remember asking the doctor who i was seeing if my child would be "whole" when he was born. 
As i remembered that moment today, it made me think... Why did i wonder if my child would be whole?  Was i that brainwashed by a culture that called this little one a "cluster of cells", or "parasitic tissue, not unlike cancer"... Had i not felt his tiny feet in my womb, and seen his sweet form on that ultrasound screen?
"Yes," the doctor assured me... "He'll be whole."  i asked him if i could touch him, hold him... love that wee frame of that tiny son who i wanted so badly to mother. 
The doctor told me he would be fragile, but that yes... we could hold him. 
The next day - i gave birth to our son.  He fit in my hand - every finger - every toe - in delicate perfection.   We took only 2 blurry pictures - the nurses rushed me... obviously uncomfortable with my agony... and they took my little one away (something i have always regretted). 
4 children and 10 years later, i found myself in another dimmed ultrasound room - hearing what i already knew in my mama heart to be true.  Another longed for life, gone.  This little one barely measured 10 weeks (8 gestational weeks).  i did things differently this time and waited for baby to come on it's own.  After 2 agonizing weeks, i wondered if i'd even be able to find my baby when my miscarriage finally began, but God was merciful - and i did get the chance to hold that wee one - smaller than the tip of my baby finger, and in those moments, i marvelled at God's creation.  i could see - even at this delicate stage - tiny threadlike arms, and legs - two eyes... my *baby*...
Anyway - i know this is long, but i wanted you to understand why - i was so very tender in considering the topic of graphic images...
At the conference this weekend, i went to Jojo Ruba's session on Saturday morning.  He showed a movie that cut to my very heart... Tiny babies aborted at the very same stage of pregnancy that i had miscarried mine.  It was earth shattering... horrible, sickening, heart breaking... 
Oh, but i can hardly bear to type this; it's the reality. 
i think that part of the reason i have been so very strong in my prolife convictions in my life - is because God so very gently showed me my very own set of graphic images when he let me see, hold and say good bye to two of my very own little ones. 
So, maybe He'll never ask me to hold graphic images on the streets downtown like you do - or maybe He will - but regardless, i want you to know that i stand behind you in the work that you are doing.  Jojo's sensitivity - and obvious compassion helped me to be able to see beyond my own ache - to the horror that those mama's must face when they realize one day - (because they'll all realize one day) what they've done. 

Oh, the unkindness of keeping 'choice' masked.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day 37 - from conception to natural death

by dana

In the past decade I have become more aware of what it means to be pro-life, and ultimately it is a deep love for every soul that God has created from the moment of their conception until a natural death.  There are so many who are unable to speak for themselves, whether the tiniest unborn babies, the grandparent trapped in a body that cannot move, or those close to death who struggle through their final journey on earth.  As a health care worker I have always strived to respect the dignity of each patient I have, yet it was really in the caring of my own mother in her journey to death that I came to a deeper understanding of God's love for us.  We are all created in his image, and he loves us because of who we are.  It is not conditional upon what we do, if we are good enough, or whether we fulfill our potential.  Our hearts were created to know and love Him, and we cannot rest until this deepest longing of our hearts is found IN him.

Here is an excerpt from my blog as I watched my mother recently journey to her 'natural death.'  Let us continue to pray for each soul our Lord has created, and that our love for Him will inspire others to respect the gift of Life.

At the Foot of the Cross

In the quiet of the night my Mom sleeps soundly, drifting deeper and deeper into a place I have never been. It is amazing how much the human body can endure. Just when we think it is near the end, she shows a glimmer of her presence and we realize her time has not yet come. How much longer?? She has not eaten for many days. A few days ago she could sip water, then yesterday chew ice chips, then today barely open her mouth to receive a wet swab. I think of our Lord on the cross and his thirst. Our basic and most vital need. As Mom's body weakens our hearts grow heavier. We are tempted to hang on, but the selfless thing to do is to release her from this world so she is free to move on to the next.
This painful, wrenching, sacred process leaves one contemplating the similarities between new life and death. Like a woman in transition, Mom knows the moment she has been preparing for is upon her, yet the pain and suffering is greatest just before the unspeakable joy to come. Oh Mother Mary how you must have suffered! You are my rock of perseverance amidst unspeakable heartache. Please come soon and lead my Mama home to your son.
I cannot look back. No photos, no memories, no reminiscing. I cannot look forward. No eulogy, no funeral, no future. In order to survive I can only live in the present, attending to the smallest need in hopes of making our dear patient as comfortable as possible. It is like time is suspended and only the present exists. Not for a moment have I even thought about the merits of euthanasia. If anything, I am more convinced than ever that if every human being was given the dignity and comfort they deserve in their most vulnerable state, it can make the journey manageable.
For now, we keep vigil. Dearest Mother, may the Lord bless you and keep you; may he make his face to shine upon you. May he lift up his countenance upon you and bring you peace.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day 36 - What will we allow to define our age?

This post is a repeat from my personal blog.  & i realized from the comments (you can read them HERE) that maybe "passion" is not the right word... but i'm stuck with the idea that on this issue, we need to gently encourage each other to do more.  Our silence is unkind.  It's unkind to the tiny ones who have lost their lives.  It's unkind to the women who would have choosen better if they knew they actually had a choice, and the fathers who might have found the courage.  It's unkind to the brothers and sisters who lost siblings, and the grandparents who should have stepped up.  It serves only to keep us in a miserable sort of self satisfied comfort, and it's time for that comfort to go.

it's kinda horrifying. 
Painted in oil on canvas with rich, vivid colours... capturing the accepted inhumanity of the day...
The eighteenth century slave ships would throw over the dead and dying mid-voyage so they could collect the insurance for loss of "cargo".  If those shackled ones made it to shore alive, and then died - the cost would have been just. too. much.

"Prolife isn't my passion."

It needs to be... this is where the battle is for us - in this country - in this decade of this century.  Our humanity cries out for justice - and science backs up that cry...
Life - a person from the moment of conception with it's own unique DNA - someone worthy of protection. 
& there have been times in my life where i have done less - or more - for life.  There's no guilt, or condemnation - there's just the challenge, "right now... this season... today... what could you do?"  (Men, don't leave this to women.  We need you too.  Take courage, speak with gentleness and love.) 
i imagine there were many who murmured to the abolitionists, "The freedom of those slaves... it's not my passion..." or during the Holocaust, "i'm not even part Jewish..."  It's easy for us now to look back, and cry to the ones who should have spoken up against injustice, "it's so clear!"
When my grandchildren look at what our culture currently deems acceptable - and it's as revolting to them as the thought of throwing sold, half starved, abused, sick and dying human beings overboard mid-voyage is to me.... i want to tell them this loss of life broke my very heart too.

(*for those wondering, this is a jmw turner print _the slave ship_)


by Stephanie

Pro- Life isn't just about abortion. It's family planning, teen STDs, divorce, fatherlessness, poverty, IVF, custody battles over embryos that are biologically the result of more than two DNA lines, immunization cultivated in a stew of materials resulting from abortion (to try to phrase it delicately). Abortion is the defining issue of our age, and we have lost, but that doesn't mean the tide can't turn and justice can reign one day for our culture just as it did for the black slaves, or the Jews at Auschwitz. I love this quote by Elizabeth Rundle Charles:

If I profess with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity. Where the battle rages, the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace to him if he flinches at that one point."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day 35 - give me a soft heart

Another flashback from our spring vigil today...
My mom mentioned to me, after she attended her local vigil for the first time this fall, "If only people knew how easy it is - to go online, sign up - and then spend an hour on a sidewalk talking to your Father..."
& yes... it's not that hard to do a small thing - maybe only a one hour vigil -  to be a part of this 40 days of prayer - but it is soul stretching and heart wrenching to do so.
i'm working on a project - a little youtube clip i'm hoping to finish by the end of this year's vigil, something maybe you can bring to your church and invite them to be a part of this community of prayer?
We need each other so badly. 


There are so many hurting people in this world.

i could probably just end this post with that stand alone thought, but i want to tell you one more thing.
This morning as we prayed, my daughter prayed for something i'm sure she's heard me pray for countless times: softness.
"Father, help me to be soft..."
The thought stayed with me as i carried on my day.
Early on this frigid afternoon as my friend and i prayed outside that clinic, another young mama stood on the sidewalk beside us. She had a tiny sign made out of construction paper - and on it was handwritten in purple marker, "Babies are precious gifts".
She held her rosary while her little sign flapped in the breeze.
i noticed - that she cried when the door opened and closed. Silent and tearful - kept on the other side of the street, longing - she told us - to run across the street, and hold those people in her arms. She felt so deeply - so badly -
so softly...
She laughed apologetically to us when we introduced ourselves, "i'm sorry, i didn't know i would be so deeply affected being here today. It's my first time coming here to pray..." & she wore her anguish like a thing of beauty. 
Oh God... There are so many hurting people in this world. Help me to be soft

Monday, October 31, 2011

Day 34 - i'm learning

On Friday and Saturday i had the chance to attend the Life 2011 National Prolife conference.  There were people who have been involved in prolife since before any laws even began to change, long before the years of publicly funded abortions, and certainly... before i was even born. 
i was hoping it would be ok to post here some 'learning posts'... i think for me, better understanding our situation in Canada helps me to pray...
It was 1969 when abortion first began to be decriminalized in Canada.  From there, we have never been able to stem the tide.  The Canadian Supreme Court struck Canada's abortion laws completely in 1988 and declared them "unconstitutional".  Since then, there has been no legal protection for tiny ones growing in the womb.  In 1991, the supreme court ruled that a baby even in the process of being born, was not a person (even if the baby's head was outside of her mother's body). 
In 1999 Calgary nurses from the Foothills hospital complained about a late term abortions in which the children were born alive and left to die, and in particular, a late (35 week) abortion in which the child was born alive and lived for 12 hours.  The police found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing, (without interviewing any nurses)- but the "pregnancy termination guidelines" were subsequently changed to suggest that doctor's consider feticide in utero before delivery (by intracardiac injection of KCI). 
You can read more about Canada's timeline HERE and HERE.  (You'll notice the slant in the language from the two websites - one being prolife, the other prochoice).   
Since 1969,  more than three million Canadian children have lost their lives to abortion.  i wonder sometimes about those three million... some of them should be older than me by now... & every day the number grows.  We can't leave this Canada to our children. 
i hate hallowe'en, but at the conference this weekend, Peter Menzies talked about how there are dwindling numbers of trick or treaters as of late... He told us that the number of children between the ages of 5-14 has dropped by 10% in the past 9 years.  He said it's the smallest number of children in that age bracket since 1988...
What happened in 1988 again?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Day 33 - that corner by the kensington clinic

by fawne

I remember the first time I went to pray at the abortion clinic here in Calgary. It was scary. My heart pounded anxiously as I approached and I could feel my palms starting to they always do when I get nervous. It was probably one of the most sobering moments of my life. Why is it that standing there....across the street from that building.....the building that is a hiding place for destruction and death....the building that protects people from being exposed.....that hides their sin.....their acts of barbaric behavior.......why is it that standing there causes a thousand emotions to well up in my heart. Pain. Anger. Sadness. Turmoil. Confusion.

Today, I stood there once again. It's not scary anymore. My heart doesn't pound. My palms don't sweat. But I still feel pain and sadness. I still feel anger and turmoil. I still feel the same heaviness that I felt the very first time I went. No. That's not even true. I don't feel the same heaviness. I feel a heavier heaviness. The burden increases. It's more pressing. More painful. More persistent.
Today, I had the strongest urge to do what Nehemiah did when he was in great distress over the destruction of Jerusalem. I wanted to tear my clothes, fall to my knees and beg God for the lives being killed.....the tiny helpless babies. I wanted to beg God to soften the hearts.....of the mamas, the papas....the doctors, the nurses. I want people to think about what they're really doing. I want them to know that just because they can't see the evil they're doing doesn't mean it's not evil. Doesn't mean it's not a horrible cruel way to treat your child.

I prayed alongside a woman who shared her story with me. She told me when she was younger she was a nurse and one night when she was on duty she was called in to dispose of the baby that had been aborted. She told me this happened a long, long time ago but she still remembers seeing that tiny dead baby. She said that is why she goes and prays at the abortion clinic. Because she has seen the truth. She has seen the evidence that proves pro-choice is wrong. It's not just a fetus. It's not just tissue. It's two little legs, it's a tiny head with eyes and a mouth, it's a body with a heart that was beating, it's tiny bitty fingers and pinprick size toes. It's real. He's real. She's real. A human being.

I have to be completely honest. There is a part of me that wishes I'd never gotten involved. It's heavy stuff. It weighs on me night and day. It's hard. It really is hard.

It makes me think about the ten Boom family. How many countless Jews did they hide from the Nazis. I wonder how heavy that was on their family? I wonder if they sometimes thought....."I wish I'd just left this alone. I wish I'd never gotten involved." Or did they believe that no matter how heavy it was they had freedom.....knowing they were doing what was right. They were taking a stand against evil....even at great, great risk. They had no guarantees that it would go well for them if they acted on their belief that all life is precious. Yet they persisted...... and were tortured brutally and even killed because of it.

The ten Boom family inspires me. If they can endure torture, suffering, pain and even death for the sake of doing what is right.....can't I endure this weight of heaviness?? Can't I continue to take a stand against killing the innocent?

I need Thee....O, I need Thee......
Every hour I need Thee.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day 32 - support life - life support.

by becky

I grew up in a home where the value of life was taught and modeled every day. Such as caring for elderly grandparents, or giving a home to a pregnant teen, volunteering as a family in a pro-life demonstration, and my parents adopting my two sisters. I am thankful for all of this and how it has impacted my life.
I was 24-That's the day we were challenged about the value of life. We had been married for a few years and had a little girl who was 18 months. On May 28, 2005, our world changed. I gave birth to our second daughter- Kelly Hadassah. She was only 2 pounds and not breathing on her own. When she was three days old, the doctor came and explained to us that she had a chromosome disorder called trisomy 18 (also known as Edward's syndrome).


I remember my dear husband asking "this won't affect how you treat her will it?" The doctor responded by recommending that we take her off of life support right away. She will have no quality of life he said, won't walk or talk. But who are we to decide which life is valuable, which life is worthy of love and of fighting for? We strongly believe that God is the author of life, and the one who numbers our days. We did not feel that that was our decision to make.
Little Bo Peep

We never thought that we would make good parents for a handicapped child. But here we were praying that ours would live. We found ourselves stopping to talk with other peoples' children with severe handicaps, smiling at them, hoping that someday, someone would do the same for our daughter.
And so began the ten weeks of our tiny little girls' life.  Each day we sat with her, holding her when we could, singing to her, praying for her, hoping and grieving each day. My mom made her special little doll clothes. She was the only NICU baby who wore dresses everyday! We found that as we treated her so special, doing all the things we would have done for a healthy baby, that the nurses also started to change how they treated her, doing special little things for her too.
We were not the only families with tiny sick babies there. I was amazed at how young some of the babies were who survived. Some were only 1 pound, and only 24 weeks. But they were very real. They had heart beats and fingernails, and NAMES! Here in this room the doctors and nurses did everything they could to save those little lives. On another floor of the hospital those same babies could be aborted as "tissue".
Please, remember that every life is unique and valued by God.


To read more of Becky's incredible story, click HERE.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Day 31 - working together

i heaved a sigh as the police van rolled around the corner again...
This was not what i had expected when i arranged to take my friend to the vigil for the first time.  The park was packed - we were as close to capacity as i have ever witnessed. 
i tried to gently remind those gathered of the various rules of the court injunction, "We're not allowed to walk on the park side of the fence, we're not allowed to have signs in the park, we need to be beyond the power poles...."  but to no avail... i was assured that they were not with 40 Days for Life & that they were prepared to take whatever repercussions came.  & as much as i agreed with them - that the rules were too constrictive, unfair to families, and at some points just plain silly - i longed for them to understand our reasons for compliance... in this 40 days - as we focus on peace and prayer. 
There are so many hearts... so many believers, who are saddened by the gravity of this darkness - ashamed by the lack of justice that our country has shown, and passionate about the families being shattered by this great evil...
Today showed me a glimpse of these hearts. 
Then Caroline arrived - and being the wise, loving presence that she is, she was able to communicate what i couldn't - and make sure that our goal of peacefully acting in accordance with the bubble zone restrictions was kept. 
& i became convinced today... that maybe sometimes amidst the great struggle we are in... we lose sight - for just a moment - that we need to have the ability to work together. 

The pastor at the church i go to loves that scripture from Micah 6 that says;
8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
   And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
   and to walk humbly with your God.

He loves to quote it when talking about the work that God would have us do... & i think it's the last line that resonates with me the most - now that i'm home, away from the crowd, the signs, the police...

If you're timid & afraid... if you're not a fan of confrontation (i'm sure not)... if you approach prolife with fear and trembling - understanding that something must be done & yet being as yet unsure what that something is? 
We need you. 
We need you to pray - we need your peaceful presence.  We need compassionate, loving, humble believers... Every member of the body has a function - & we can all be useful in communicating truth.  We need to see the intrinsic value in each limb - and work together to get traction. 

Oh, Great God... i want to walk humbly with you.  Strip away the pride that wants to consume - give me a love of mercy & give me the courage to act justly... but most of all - in humility... let me serve You.


HERE is an article i posted on the facebook page - & a little disclaimer - i don't know anything about the rest of the website, but this piece was fantastic.  It is kind of a long read, but the article itself was incredibly helpful for me to better understand why we are failing in Canada to make any progress with the injustice of abortion. i have often felt that laws that "save some" are a compromise we can't make, but i think this article makes some valuable points & i find myself changing my mind....

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day 30 - What fuels you?

With only 10 more days left in our current vigil, i admit i'm feeling tired.  There *is* a heaviness - and though i'm scared to admit it for fear of driving some of you who might be willing away... it's way.  way.  harder than i thought it would be. 
i'm excited for THE CONFERENCE this weekend - to be encouraged by what God is doing in our city, our province and our country.  He is stirring in hearts - opening eyes - and restoring brokenness because of our prayers... of this i have no doubt. 
If you have a story to share - to encourage, or if you want to attend the vigil here in Calgary - but you're afraid, contact me via the contact tab at the top of the blog. 
i'm looking forward to hearing from you.   - paige


by Alissa

I've always been very pro-life, being raised in a wonderful Christian environment, but after having my daughter Siara, the love of my life, the issue is even closer to my heart. I got pregnant outside of marriage, which was embarrassing and humbling as a Christian, with my boyfriend who my parents hadn't even met yet. Though Siara's Daddy is a good man I was never certain that we were compatible for each other and we did end up splitting up. I can't stand to think about the fact that at one point in my absolutely perfect and beautiful daughter's life, I was allowed to kill her! And not only that but that many people would have not only understood my decision, but would have even thought it was probably for the best, given my situation of uncertainty!  I can't even fathom not loving my daughter throughout her whole life in my womb. She was always my what point was she NOT my Siara?  She was always, right from the start, my child, who loved ME unconditionally.  I had a family member once say to me, "I'll bet if they opened up a pet abortion clinic, suddenly there would be a gigantic outrage from the public!"  I wouldn't doubt it.  Why is it that HUMAN life in the womb is so worthless in our society???  Why is abortion even an option? The doctor who told me I was pregnant asked me, "what are you going to do?" and "have you considered your options, including abortion?..." I wanted to spit in his face.
         Being a part of this 40 Days for Life Vigil has just put the jet engines behind my passion for the issue! It makes me think and pray about it daily. I find I can't get all my pro-life thoughts out of my head; and I think that is because actually being a part of something tangible, DOING something about this passion instead of just having it, gives me fuel! It is just such a great way to get involved because you are an actual physical presence to the ones who need to see and hear our message the most! You can see it on their faces, the ones going in and out of the clinic...we get them to at LEAST think twice before making a decision, which could be the difference between life and death! To be there, just meters away from the crime scene itself, and pouring yourself into prayer leaves you with a heavy heart, yet a hope burning deep within that heavy heart that you are actually making a difference. We will never know how many men and women are touched in someway by us being there, but reading all the other stories from 40 Days for Life across the country provides proof that this really is impacting people's decisions.  Let's spread the word and try to grow 40 Days for Life as huge as we possibly can for the next vigil, and every one beyond that, in hopes that we can all witness that beautiful day when we see those doors close and never open again as an abortion clinic!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Day 29 - what is love

by fawne

While being involved with 40 Days For Life I keep hearing comments about it (the vigil at the abortion clinic) not being loving. The signs aren't loving enough....the message isn't loving. Won't the woman going in feel condemned? Won't they judge all Christians (because of us) as harsh and uncaring?

It makes me wonder what our definition of love is??

In our house we have two stairways. Now that Miracle can crawl we have to be more diligent to watch those stairways. Skylar, who is very protective, is always very aware of where Miracle is. He will tell me anytime Miracle is getting close to the stairway and he'll stand and block the entrance so she can't fall down.
One day, when she first started crawling, she was getting closer and closer to the stairs and I was watching her. Skylar was upstairs and when he came into the room and saw her, he panicked. He dove for pull her away from the stairway. In his "rescue attempt" he hurt her. He didn't mean to and of course I couldn't "get after him" because he was just trying to save his baby sister.

Isn't taking a stand against abortion much the same. Maybe the sign I carry will hurt those women who enter the clinic. Maybe the truth will pierce their heart.....maybe they will think...."How could you be so cruel to me?" Isn't that what Miracle thought about Skylar? She didn't understand why he would hurt her? But he only hurt save her. He only hurt her because he loved her. Because he was trying to spare her a greater pain.

This is partly why I go and pray. This is why I am not against the signs we carry.
"You are loved."
"Life is a gift."
"Have you seen the ultrasound?"
"Mommy, will it hurt?"
"Life is precious."

I want these dear women to know that shedding innocent blood will only wound them far greater than any wound they receive from my presence. I am NOT against them. I am against the evil. The sin. I am against the lie that they have believed--that it's okay to kill their baby. My heart is heavily burdened for know the live the truth.....and be set free.

They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons, and shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with blood. --Psalm 106:37, 38 (I read these verses this morning....they're talking about the children of Israel.....yet here were are today....doing the same thing....our land is polluted with blood as well.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 28 - A Story and A First Vigil

Did you know that we are giving away a prize when our facebook page reaches 200 'likes'?  Come check it out HERE & 'like' the page to be entered to win. 
i also wanted to clarify an error that is on the local Calgary 40 Days for Life website.  On the code of conduct page HERE, it states that, "Only 4 persons ages 7 and above on the sidewalk across from clinic by the park." 
This is wrong - i have spoken to the organizers who have the long form of the bubble zone bylaw - it should read (& will be corrected shortly to read), "Only 4 persons of any age on the sidewalk across from clinic by the park." 
Thanks so much to D for pointing that out to me!  If there are any questions like this that are keeping you from getting involved, speak up!  :) 
Thank you to all who have been sharing their personal stories, sharing the links with friends & praying with us - either on the sidewalk or at your local vigil or at home too.  i personally have been so encouraged by the positive response. 
Prayer is always good. 
One more sidenote for Calgarians: Is anyone else planning on attending Life2011? (Information available HERE).   i'll be there for Friday all day & the banquet in the evening & 40 Days for Life will have a booth for the whole weekend.  Come stop by & say 'hello'! 


A Story

by liz

Nearly six years ago, when I was pregnant with my first child, and abandoned by the father, I worked in a gas station to support myself. In that gas station were also two restaurants, and at one of the restaurants worked two young girls, age 16. I got to know them a bit, and one day, one of them confided in me that she might be pregnant. I asked her what she would do if she was. She immediately responded with "I would have an abortion, because my parents would kill me!" I refrained from judging her, and instead asked her if she knew what exactly an abortion was, and what was involved in it. She said no. She and her friend listened intently as I described to them (having done my research on the subject long ago) exactly what happens during an abortion, from the baby's perspective. By the time I finished, both girls' faces were stark white and they looked like they would throw up. They were both immediately adamant that they would never have an abortion. I offered to help the young girl who thought she might be pregnant in any way I could if it turned out that she was in fact pregnant, but fortunately, it was a false alarm. I haven't seen her in many years now, but I hope she took more than one lesson with her from that experience. It just made me realize how ill-informed many people are about abortion. Those girls may have been young, but obviously not too young to need that information.


A First Vigil

by nikki

40 days for Life.
I love life.
I was born out of wedlock.
My mom chose life.
I was intrigued by the vigil.
I tried to ignore it.
I couldn't.
a constant heaviness on my heart.
the Lord, begging me...
'let me show you...'
I filled my days and tried to block it.
I finally surrendered.
I pleaded with the Lord to hold the pieces of my heart together.
He was gracious.
it wasn't business as usual the day I went to pray.
I think the Lord knew I wasn't quite ready to watch the door open and close,
to see the hurting women.
I prayed;
for the staff...that His spirit would begin to stir within them,
that the government would take a stand,
that I would be more assertive in expressing what I believe,
that our churches would speak more on the subject,
that the women that had visited the clinic would seek help,
that as Christians we would offer help and love without judgement,
that 'prolife' would mean so much more than just 'anti-abortion',
that I would have the courage to allow the Lord to continue to break my heart.
40 days for Life.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Day 27 - baby makes 5

i forget to sign up for the vigil yet again. 
(see vigil schedule HERE)
We arrive and see two women.  They're carrying a sing that reads: "It stops a beating heart". 

When Harold arrives, we make 5.  We hear that there has already been trouble earlier on in the day because 4 adults were accompanied by a tiny baby - and baby made 5. The police were called and the people who had come to pray, realizing the error, moved into the field (where we are allowed to pray if the sidewalk already has 4 people on it). 

i pass my sign on to my friend (we are not allowed to carry signs in the park), and make my way across the green grass to pass the power poles that mark the line we are not allowed to cross. 

So many rules. 
This is the view from the power poles in the park.  God is not bound by a court injunction - and He hears me - whether i am on the street corner, or in a field where no one can see me. 

We juggle those coming and those going.  We try to be careful - to respect the injunction that prevents us from speaking out.   When we are down to four again, i stand on the sidewalk...  i pray aloud... After all these months, i find i am no longer self-conscious of pedestrians and people watching - i look up at the blue-grey clouds and beg for this injustice to end. 
Silent again... bereft of words, my friend begins to pray. 

Her warm voice floats over the chill in the air and i look across the street to the couple standing at the door.  If they look at me, i promise myself, i will wave my sign in the air, O God, let them see me and know my heart.  A car drives past and the driver holds his middle finger out the window and glares at me.  My eyes flit back to the couple standing and stamping their feet in the cold at that door.  Still my friend, eyes closed, continues to petition the Father.  The door must be coded - and finally it opens to let in the tiny family that never once turns their heads in my direction - and the door closes behind them.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day 26 - Shekinah Grace

by kalli - of knitsprout

I have often picked a necklace or pendant to represent something meaningful that is going on in my life at that time. These ones were chosen for me. The two flowers in bud are me & my sister, journeying together through a new season of wonder and life through Christ. Lisa gave it to me last spring, when God took me through a new season of mourning.

I was struck with a sense of loss and sadness one Sunday morning last May. A ministry team of 18-23 year olds were visiting our church, sharing their passionate vision for the love of God to be communicated to the world as they themselves came to an understanding of what it means to be loved and nurtured into their destinies in Christ. God brought to mind one missing member of this generation- a little one whose life I had chosen to end back at age 17, through the quiet and secretive, yet devastating choice of abortion.

Though gratefully I have known for a long time that I've been forgiven, redeemed and healed of this horrible choice for many years now, I grieved afresh the loss of what would have been my 20 year old child as I realized the timing of a missed birthday. My loving Father reminded me In His tender way that the choice I made, in my fearful and unknowing state, would not be wasted.

A couple days later, I asked Him for a name, and He gave me "Shekinah Grace". Grace that comes with His "indwelling glory." Christ in me- love & grace.

I also was given the image of a dove, which spoke to me of His grace & freedom- a release of burdens and sadness, and an assurance of the covering of His wings over me and my family. I added this dove pendant to my chain, one that my dear friend Chloe gave to me many years ago. "In the shadow of His wings" is where I choose to abide, choose to rest, choose to remember and choose to be thankful. And as Al & I continue to embrace the abundant life Christ has given us, we give thanks that He brings us more. And we joyfully welcome another sweet blessing to our family, due to join us fully April 26, 2010.  


This was a post I wrote just over two years ago.  It was the first time I went "fully public" with my own story of abortion.  It remains a tender place, for sure.  A story I have desired that God would fully use for His purposes, for His glory.  As I remain in that abiding place of the shadow of His wing, He directs my paths...and here I am.  Sharing my story as He leads, with the gifts of an amazing husband who shows me grace everyday, and 7 beautiful kids.

For today- I feel like what I want to give full testimony to is the unrelenting, tender, faithful love of God.  I feel the tears fill my eyes as I write that.  Who am *I* to deserve such love?  I am completely unworthy.  I have NOT got what I fact, I have had the blessings of abundant life & health poured out upon me.  And that helpless feeling of "HOW do I possibly receive this?" is the absolute joy that comes from the bewildering, crazy, upside-down pursuit of God towards us.

Do you know that YOU are His favorite one?   Do you know that there is nothing you can do to escape his love? 

Today, as we offer up our prayers as part of 40 Days, I am reminded again and again to remain in that place of abiding rest.  The peace that comes from remaining in Him, the joy that comes from carrying a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light.  As we lean harder into Him and enjoy the depth of His love for us,  our prayers will pierce the darkness and allow the light of His glory to shine fully into this dark place.  Our faces will shine with His love.  The enemy can not dwell in this place and must flee!

Today I pray that the indwelling presence of God- His Shekinah Glory- leaks all over the the sidewalks of the prayer vigils across the nations!  Christ in us!  The HOPE of glory! Share a smile, do not despair.  We know what's on the other side.  As we are willing to get our hands dirty in the messiness of our world,  remain in that place of rest, by the power of His Spirit.  He makes all things His time.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Day 25 - teach me

We got to the vigil in the afternoon... i brought some girls to play at the park, and i brought my heart, heavy with questions to that street corner where i have learned that He is faithful to meet with me. 
i ache for all involved.  For that poor man i saw carrying garbage bags from the back of the facility, for the taxi drivers who come to pick up those women who have come here alone, for the ones who stepped out in faith to organize a vigil in our city - and sustain negativity from without - and even from within. 
Oh, Father - i'm so weak and ignorant.  i have so much to learn.  It's bigger than i thought it was, and the battle - that wages not against flesh and blood - is so much more sophisticated than this 35 year old stay at home mom. 
My understanding comes so slowly.  Teach me, teach me, teach me...
i get home, and i hide in my husband's office.  i bow my head and let the tears fall. 
In my honesty, i look at the ugliness that abounds, and give words to the things that try to make me run. 
i want to be liked.  But what i have to say... it's so hard to hear.  There will be persecution for speaking truth. 
i'm so ignorant.  But i refuse to stay there.  i want to learn, i want to grow - and i'm willing to do whatever it takes to hear His voice. 
i'm such a coward.  But now that i see it, i can't hide behind it any longer.  God is faithful - and He will help me to obey, even when my flesh wants to shush truth - He'll help me proclaim it. 
My husband looks at me questioningly. 
"i'm so tired, babe..." i say wiping the tears from my eyes. 
"But it's not over."


There has been an interesting conversation taking place in the comments section of yesterday's post.  Well worth reading through.  You can do that HERE.
We started a facebook page for those interested in following along that way - there will be daily updates and encouragement.  We could use as many 'likes' and 'shares' as we can get.  Would you consider passing it along to your Christian friends?  You can access it through the facebook link in the sidebar or by clicking HERE. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Day 24 - the painful truth at the last line of defense

There are moments that i haven't covered too thoroughly on this blog... the things that are thrown at those of us who continue to walk that sidewalk across from the kensington abortion clinic... obscenities, gestures, name calling and more (along with undeserved applause, thumbs up and smiles and waves... we get both).  i don't need to go into it too deeply because it's such a small part of what we're doing. 
Dave volunteered to respond to concerns about a sign that is used at the vigil on 5th Ave.  He said it's nice with all the negativity that gets thrown at them - that he can have a chance to form a cognitive response.  His words are *honest* and *raw* - God, give us eyes to see. 
i am learning so much from this family... but that's a post for another day. 


by dave

This is in response to those who not like the "Mommy, will it hurt?" sign.
No, we will not take that sign out of circulation. 
It is my sign, and my wife carries it, and it has a specific purpose -- to humanize the baby that is being killed in the clinic across the street. 

How is that showing love to the broken women going into the clinic?  We do love those women.  That is why we are out there praying that they don't go through with the abortion.  We are not in the post-abortion therapy business.  We are the last line of defense for the abortion holocaust that is occurring at an ever-increasing pace.  And occurring in my neighborhood.  And I am suppose to soft shoe around the issue for fear of making someone feel bad?

Why is that so terrible to tell someone that it is a baby they are about to kill?  It is a human being being destroyed.  What is wrong or judgemental about that?  It is the Truth.

It is the successful de-humanization of the "fetus" by the abortion industry that now has large sections of society willing to look the other way as this killing spree continues unabated.  And at a tidy profit for someone.  If we are successful at pointing out that it is a baby, then we may cause one person to stop and think about what they are about to do.  Then the sign, and our efforts, are successful.  And if that is upsetting to some people, tough.

Any sign that humanizes the baby -- I am OK with it.  Let's consider why someone would be so judgemental of me for carrying the sign.  Because of how someone about to kill their baby might feel?  Really?  Would Jesus carry a sign that says, "It's OK to kill your baby"?  I don't think so.  Jesus just may take a whip inside the killing clinic for all we know.

We won't do that. 

And we won't carry a sign that says "you are loved and forgiven", because I don't know if anyone is asking for forgiveness.  And my forgiveness doesn't matter anyway.  They have to feel forgiveness from God, and they have to forgive themselves.  Many do not, and want us to be quiet to silence their guilt. 

Silent no more.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Day 23 - tough questions.

i posted this on my personal blog today too.  Do you have any questions to add?  i'd encourage you to join the discussion  - work through your discomfort - it is proving to be hard work requiring much prayer, and many tears for me to do so...


A few days ago, a friend emailed me with some thoughts and questions about the 40 Days for Life prayer vigil that i have become a part of.  i wanted to share some of my thoughts that came out of that conversation... so i'll pose the questions (not in anyone's wording but my own) & my answers below. 

Do you think that the benefit outweighs the negativity that these women feel seeing "protesters" on the sidewalks by the abortion clinic?  Do you think that maybe sometimes - abortion is not quite as bad as we make it out to be?   

During the vigil, the 40 days for life organizers keep track of how many babies they know for sure are saved by their presence & PRAYERS on the side walk. The number is now in the thousands (4, 313 prior to this campaign). These are only the babies that we know of - where mothers have come & asked for help - (& they get compassionate, loving help from those Christians standing there *ready, willing & able* to help - or to find someone who can). There have also been countless post-abortion mama's & daddies who have come forward & begun their healing and recovery. 

i know that we're all gonna be different in what we're supposed to do in our call to action - i feel strongly led to be involved in 40 days for life... the prayer... the prayer is what is changing me. i know i won't change your mind - & i'm good with that :) but at the same time... i do feel that there is a truth here... that is valuable - & worth defending.

The science behind life beginning at conception is what convinces me - that this is a clear cut issue. Human beings are made to love, care for and nurture their young... If our culture provides abortions rather than the love & support that mama's need to do what they were created to do - then i really believe that things need to change.

Every time i go, i'm saddened with the possibility that my presence causes agony... but that agony is kinder than silently turning my back while evil is accomplished... i feel it in the same way that God didn't have to let me get 'caught' when i had sex out of wedlock! But He did!! & it was a kindness to me that i was embarrassed, hurt & caught... It was His best gift that He brought LIGHT into the areas of my life where i let darkness in...
Does it bother you to be lumped in with fanatical, angry, judgemental pro-lifers?  Do you want to be associated with those graphic images?
i went to the life chain this year & even though for the most part, it was HUGELY encouraging to see so many people who were willing... i found it disconcerting to see one very tiny group of teens dancing and laughing... :) and it seemed to *me* making light... i think because i have seen tiny babies... that have died - that it makes me feel more sober and serious when i think on these things. But who am i to think that i know or understand their motivation?  i'm grateful for their presence, even if i haven't had the chance to get to know their hearts yet...

Regarding graphic images (i have never, ever seen graphic images used at 40 days for life Calgary - to my knowledge, they're not used at all by this group)- for me *personally* i won't use them (unless God asked me to.  Then i would... immediately)... The kids and i were reading 2 Samuel lately & there's this part where Saul's concubines sons are killed... She goes to the place where her son's bodies have been set out on display - and she spreads a cloth on a rock & stays there 'from harvest until the rains fell', scaring off birds or beasts who would hurt their bodies... She stayed there until finally king David ordered a proper burial. i think i feel a little like Rizpah did too... i feel like we need to have respect for those little ones who are vulnerable - even though they're already gone. i feel a tenderness towards those little *people* who are used as graphic images... & my mama heart says,... 'let's not'...

At the same time, i know graphic images have been used in situations like the Rwandan genocide - because it was necessary to get people's attention. "This is what is really happening - are we really ok with this??!!"  Some people need to see the death and careless destruction of lives to really come to terms with what we've become.  i heard a story just last week about one of those trucks that carries graphic images of aborted babies.  An old man stood at the corner staring up at the image, and said sorrowfully, "i never knew... i honestly never knew."  He was changed by what he saw... So - if someone were to feel strongly about the use of graphic images for prolife work, i wouldn't stand in their way - or argue... but i do know that for *me*... it's not what i feel led to do.

As far as being lumped in... i get that too. But, the best way for me to get over that is to only look at Jesus. If i looked at all the other "big family moms" - i'd feel out of place... if i looked at all the other "homeschooling moms" or "prolifers" or "christians" - i might worry about being lumped in with them.... but instead, i'm trying to keep my eyes on HIM - & be who he wants me to be... even if those around me don't represent me exactly...

Do you think that those bearing a sign reading, "Mommy will it hurt?" are expressing what will only be seen as contempt for the broken women seeking abortions?
(You can read the full comment and my original response HERE)

Firstly, i wouldn't choose this sign...  - but i do understand the goal of the statement on it.  (There will be an honest, raw response from Dave on the subject of this sign tomorrow - please come back for that).  It is an attempt to humanize the tiny one that for the past 30+ years has been referred to as "tissue" or, "a clump of cells".  It speaks to the uncertainty that prevails around when a child can feel pain and i think these are valid points. As far as people *feeling* contempt, as i responded to the original commenter who suggested a sign that read, "You are loved, chosen and forgiven" - that sign too would be construed by some as bearing contempt - because if you're offering forgiveness, you're acknowledging a wrong committed. 
You see, these are such difficult waters... It takes courage to stand on those street corners - wearing an imperfect sign - bound by law that we cannot speak unless spoken to.
So come, Christian - make your sign, let your little ones colour it with markers - stand on the street corner with your one line message and pray that those who drive by will see your heart.... (i pray this every single time i stand on that street corner).
i need to add here that the signs are secondary.  If they told me tomorrow that we were banned from bringing signs, i would still go.  Why?  Because - we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (eph. 6:12). 
So, if you're uncomfortable with the signs, if you're unable to be a physical presence - stand with us in prayer.  Join us at whatever point you're able - we'll meet you there, and together we can by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present our requests to God. (phil. 4:4-8)

What do your littles think about the topic of abortion?

My little ones are still mostly in the 'sponge' phase.  i'll never forget the thoughtful look on my son's face as i described the situation that THIS family found themselves in.  We prayed for little Rachel every day.  Her life & her parent's choices - provided the substance for many great conversations & growing opportunities for my little ones.  i'm so grateful to them for choosing life. 
My teens are at a slightly different phase.  We discuss things on a deeper, more personal level.  i asked them some of their views recently & found their responses interesting.  Softie (13) said that she could see herself involved in a peaceful prayer vigil in the years to come (so far they haven't come to pray with me - just to play at the park).  We were reading our history book the other day - and as we rounded another bend in the curve of time - and history repeated itself with more bloodshed and war, Sloanie gasped out loud, "NOOOOOooooo!  Not again!  How can they be so foolish??!!"  Later she told me something i have also long suspected to be true.  "Mama, they're gonna say that about us when they read about how we aborted our own babies in a hundred years..."  Radar (15) had something different in mind.  She came with me to an organizational meeting one day & listened in awe as Caroline stated that she wanted to try to meet with the clinic's director.  On the way home, she whispered to me, "How could you have that kind of courage?"  (Side note: the clinic director declined to meet with her).  Radar said, "i know i said before that i couldn't do it, mom, but i wanna meet with the clinic director one day... i don't know what i'd say, or what i'd ask... but i want to do something that will make a difference."
i pray that God will give them more courage than their mama (my courage fails so easily)... and that their little lives will be used in whatever capacity that God would choose to bring light and truth to a dark world. 

For those who had questions, or discomfort that they felt but didn't want to express, i want to tell you that it's ok to question, it's ok to think through *why* something makes us uncomfortable, why we choose not to "get on board".   i'm glad to talk about it - & yes... there are seasons where we bury our head in the sand (me too) - & that's ok... it's all a part of the 'wrestling out our faith with fear and trembling'... Just don't stay there.  We take on what we can when we're able... listening intently to that still small voice, and following where He leads.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 22 - what's in a sign?

My sign is home made - on light blue poster board. 
Signs can be a tender subject, can't they?  There is only room enough for a few carefully chosen words - that can be so easily misunderstood...
It's becoming my new question... What would the perfect sign say? 
Here are some thoughts from our spring vigil when i first became convinced that i needed some way to communicate.....


you are loved

& i can't believe the 40 days are counting themselves to their end.
The sun was shining - & the sky was deceivingly blue, considering the chill in the late morning air.
& i brought a sign.
An incident the other day convinced me i needed a mode of communication.
A woman exited the clinic and walked to the bus stop. A patient? An employee? i don't know... As she wandered back and forth along the sidewalk across the street from us, she couldn't tear her eyes from us - & i wished desperately in that moment to be understood...
i stopped at the dollar store on the way home and bought a single sheet of poster board and 2 black felt tip markers.
But then my perfectionism reared it's ugly head and i couldn't figure out just the right words to put on that paper to convey my heart... so the poster board sat - behind the sofa until just before my friend came to pick me up today.
& i thought for a moment - "Ah, who needs a sign anyway - it just makes people mad..."
But then i thought of the woman - looking at me across the street curiously - and i slammed the paper on the table & wrote carefully in block letters;
"You are loved"
Maybe the love of a stranger from across the street is meaningless - but could i trust my Father to let them know the unceasing well of HIS love is big enough to conquer any current crisis?
Running out of time, i flipped the paper - crumbs flying off the table as i wrote, "Life is a gift".


i brought my sign again the next time i went to the clinic.
It turned out to be a day of conversations.
Sweet Vera who needed someone to listen. She showed us her antique rosary - and cried as she told us her children had said they would never make her a grandmother.
And then there was Kayla - who first yelled at us from her car, and then pulled over to have a more peaceful conversation.
As we drove home, the words that i had spoken had already dimmed in my memory, though my friend told me i said good things... But what had stayed with me were Kayla's words. She told us that her friends who had gone through abortions felt bad enough. She said they were filled with guilt and would carry that sorrow for the rest of their lives. She felt that our silence - our closing our eyes to their anguish - would be more compassionate.
"But... that's the reason we're there... isn't it? To even then, give them a chance to avoid that future - and in case that fails, to tell them they are loved?" My friend suggested.
And my heart can't help but agree.


If you carried a sign, what would it say? 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day 21 - as long as

by jessica

When I was pregnant with our little Eva, a family friend asked my husband Curt if he was looking forward to having a boy or a girl.
"Well, it doesn't really matter!"
She laughed and then said something that a person hears a lot when they are expecting:
"Yeah, i guess so. As long as the baby is healthy!"
Curt blurted out, "Actually, that doesn't really matter either."
She looked a little taken aback.  Curt tried to explain what he meant. "Well, i know what you mean but... We've had 6 children born to us so far. They were all "healthy" and "perfect". Seven years after our first son was born, he was diagnosed with epilepsy. At three, our daughter was diagnosed with a rare hormonal deficiency called diabetes insipidus, and then at 5, it was discovered that this original diagnosis was caused by a rare cancer-like disease growing on her pituitary. There are no guarantees in life, and although we don't want our children to be in pain, we know that even this present suffering can be "worked out" for good as we love and train our children in the middle of their suffering."  
When he got home that night, he brought up the conversation with me and how he had surprised himself with what he had blurted out. "But Jess, it's true."
Yeah, it is.
Why do we say those words... "As long as they are healthy?"
"As long as they are healthy..." what?
-then i'll be happy?
-then i'll be thankful?
-then i'll know that the pregnancy was "worth it"?
-then i'll know that they will have an easy life and not worry?
Not true.
If they are not healthy... then what? 
What will be lost?
Our joy?
Our faith?
Our love?
Our peace?
Our patience?
Our self control?
Our goodness?
Our kindness?
Our faithfulness?
My children are in your hands.
I give them back to you.
With their strengths,
with their frailties....
as long as they remain in your love...
then I'll know that they have been *fully delivered*.


Do you have a story to share?  Send it to me using the 'contact' tab above, or post it in the comments section.  Opening up the doors of conversation brings the fresh winds of change...