Friday, September 30, 2011

Day 3 - Another post from Victoria

Kali wrote this beautiful testimony on Day 1 of 40 days for Life...
Do you have a story to share?  Post it in the comments section, or email it to me by clicking on the tab above.   There will be a post from the Calgary vigil tomorrow... Stay tuned. 
by kali - who blogs HERE

"America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation.

The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men.

It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships.

It has aggravated the derogation of the father's role in an increasingly fatherless society.

It has portrayed the greatest of gifts -- a child -- as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience.

It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the independent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters.  

And, in granting this unconscionable power, it has exposed many women to unjust and selfish demands from their husbands or other sexual partners. 

Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being's entitlement by virtue of his humanity.

The right to life does not depend, and must not be declared to be contingent, on the pleasure of anyone else, not even a parent or a sovereign."

-Mother Theresa
Today marks the beginning of 40 Days for Life.   Today marks the beginning of 40 days where I will  pray, walk, serve & love those around me- in the name of Jesus.  He came to die so that others might live, and live abundantly.  I am living proof of His mercy & grace.  I did not get what I deserved.  

Choosing the path of abortion nearly 22 years ago has shaped the course of my life.  I have grieved the loss and I have walked the journey of healing and forgiveness.  I am blessed beyond measure with a husband who loves deeply, and seven children that blow me away with joy.  I have been given much, and I choose to embrace life in every form.   

Abortion is murder and it is wrong.  God is the author of life, and only He is the one that can choose to give and to take away.  Abortion hurts women and it kills babies.  

I know these words are strong.  I do not stand in a place of judgement because I know exactly what the pressures of life are like.  But there is no excuse, and I can not be silent.  

It is said that "our ceiling is the next generation's floor".  If not in my lifetime, then my hope is that my children, or their children, will see the day where abortion will be seen as the abomination it really is.  

So- I will take my place on the vigil each week.  I'll share my thoughts here as I feel led.  I will love on my family with the honour & respect they deserve.  I will stop and talk and play with our neighbours' adopted kids.  I will pray, and raise funds and awareness for the victims of child-trafficking internationally by helping to facilitate more viewings of Nefarious: Merchant of Souls.  And as Al prepares to participate in Break the Cycle on October 30th in Cambodia, the kids and I will be home, participating in the Break the Cycle- Victoria event.  And I will thank God every day for the grace he showers upon me and offers so freely for us all.  

If you don't know this grace that I am talking about...the ability to walk in the peace of knowing that you are forgiven and loved- then start by just asking Him for it.  He loves to bless us with forgiveness, and He wants nothing more than for His kids to receive the fullness of His love, by faith! And please, would you send me a note?  We need to hold one another up in this journey.  I'd be so honored to hear from you.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Day 2 - a post from Victoria

By Shirley

Just a few reflections and surprises on my first hour of the vigil. (I will certainly be participating more during the 40 days.) I guess I hadn’t expected that someone would have come in the night to prepare the sidewalks with pro-abortion graffiti. (hoping for rain tonight to wash it off) That made me almost wish there was a little sign or something that would allow me to identify which side I’m on. The presence of security guards in numbers equal to ours was a surprise. Then reinforcements arrived with a banner…and that was a surprise to me too. The attention of the police…if only to photographically record the graffiti... Then the arrival of the media. I didn’t expect that either. It all made me wonder how I had managed to pick a time slot with so much external stuff going on. I know there are hours that are uncovered….and no one will be physically there praying, and there will be hours when there’s just a couple of people…and no-one will even know what they’re doing, or notice there’s anything going on. No banner…no media…no police….etc…

But my point is…all those other things are peripheral… our prayer is the effective tool we have; allowing us to partner with Father in His work of redemption. In our culture there is a lot of stock put in making a statement; raising awareness; and bearing witness….and these are all good things but it is the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous man which avails much. Even if some people can’t participate on location…their prayers added to ours are the most powerful tool we have. For me, though, it helped to come down in person for the purpose of prayer. Having done so, I feel like the prayers will just continue throughout my day…. I know there are many who’s hearts are with us but for whatever reason, don’t like to confront, or make a scene. I get that because that is me too. This was my first hour of the vigil….and if people knew how easy it is to just log on…sign up…show up…and then just walk and talk with Jesus….and pray the prayer of Jesus, Thy kingdom come… Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven… just hang out on the corner and silently pray through the psalms or breath out their own prayers …. So, as a newcomer, I’d like to challenge other newcomers to sign up for their first hour of the vigil…

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day 1

There are some amazing stories coming - you won't be stuck for the full 40 days hearing me - or my repeats... :)
The 40 days begins today - & all across our nation, believers are coming together to pray... this can only mean good.  i've got my time slot booked.  Do you?  Calgarians, sign up HERE, if you're not from Calgary, find out where the nearest vigil is to you & post it in my comments section.  Someone - somewhere - is attending a vigil for the first time.  They'll feel what they feel - a heaviness, a burden to pray, self consciousness, fear, sadness - the presence of a Holy God...
Leave a comment - what did you feel the first time you attended a 40 days for life prayer vigil? 

bringing the children - 5

i hadn't brought them yet... But then - in a twist of circumstances like one of the many twists circumstances are bound to take, i found that i was going to the clinic on my own & decided on a whim to bring them to play at the adjacent park.
We did as much homeschool as we could in those first fresh hours of the day - & then threw food into a paper bag - granola bars, crackers, cheese, fruit, veggies - even a bag of cheesies & a couple of bottles of water.
As we trooped out to the Silver Fox, i felt my heart quicken.
i don't love driving in the city - & i enjoy driving even less when my van is FULL with my boisterous crew, "But," i told myself while deep breathing down the Deerfoot, "this is worth it..."
We pulled up & walked across to the little park that is still half covered in snow.
My little ones ran off to play and i went to the sidewalk's corner at the border of the bubble zone to pray. As i shoved my hands in my pockets, i was suddenly undone... overcome with *loneliness*.
"Father God - i don't want to stand here all by myself..." i blurted out in tears.
But did i need Him to join me?
Or was it i that was joining Him - already there - present, caring and watching His loved ones in confusion, walking into a building that counsels death?
Within moments, two women joined me - a mother and daughter - and before pulling out their rosaries to pray - they encouraged me with beautiful rolling Indian accents - that the time spent here, in prayer, is worthwhile.
They prayed almost an hour with me - during part of which, our numbers reached capacity at 4 as another woman walked up and down the sidewalk.
Suddenly, i noticed a mother and young daughter walking on the other side of the road. i thought surely they were here to pray, and i wanted to call out to them that they were on the wrong side of the road and that we needed to abide by the court injunction and stay outside of the bubble zone. They walked back and forth in front of the clinic - before finally entering that parking lot - and the door opened... and closed.
Soon, my friends had to go and i found myself alone on our side of the street. My time had elapsed, but i didn't want to go. i hated to leave that little corner of the sidewalk empty - and i prayed for another to come take my place.
But littles were tired - pants were grubby and shoes filled with damp. Baby was aching for his nap... and i knew my time was up. As i got ready to go, a man tried to catch my attention from his vehicle as he drove past. As we made eye contact - he waved his finger around his ear and mouthed, "You're crazy..."
& sometimes... those are the last voices you hear as you leave the corner under the watchful eyes of a Holy God who never slumbers or sleeps.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

we begin tomorrow...

The vigil is set to begin tomorrow... i just checked the schedule on the WEBSITE and volunteers are starting to trickle in.  Do you have a story to share?  Submit it via the contact info on the tabs above, or just add it to the comments section. 
For now, here are two more of my own experiences from the vigil this past spring.  i'm posting this on my daughter's 15th birthday - my "crisis pregnancy"  - my blessing, my heart, my girl. 
i was 19, terrified, unmarried - my Father was eternal, faithful and full of love. 
He hears us... He sees us... He has compassion on us. 
May He use her precious "unplanned" life - to bring Himself glory. 

Life is Love - x3

The view from the corner of that sidewalk is now familiar to me as we stand and stamp our feet to keep the cold at bay.
It's colder today than either of the other days i've gone - like there's a bite in the end of March air.
i got a comment on my blog the other day suggesting i should mind my own business... & i'm sure that's a sentiment that others share- so i'll share my response here -

yeh, i get where you're coming from, anonymous - but the problem is that we do have a responsibility to stand up for the weak and defenseless- in this case - the teeny vulnerable unborn ones. i really believe that the mama's are vulnerable too - & if they were aware that there is a support system for them to choose better; many of them would. To look the other way in their moment of anguish would - in my eyes - be unloving...

i care about women in crisis - hey... i *was* a woman in crisis at one point. Praying for them - on a cold sidewalk in March as they go through what could be the scariest day of their lives is the least i can do.

times 4

& maybe you're getting sick of these posts... but i feel a prompting in my spirit that despite my discomfort, i should write about these visits i make to 5th Ave.

The sun was out - i took off my hat and turned my face to the sky to soak in it's warmth. For the first time, the sidewalk was full. The court injunction states that a maximum of 4 people are allowed to gather on the sidewalk across the street from the clinic. If more than 4 gather, they can stand half way across a small playground just beyond a set of power poles. We glance across the playground and see a solitary figure standing there too - with the breeze gently blowing her pink scarf.
For some reason this makes me cry.
My friend carries her baby daughter in a sling, and we begin to make our way across the park to join the woman who prays there, but the huddle of grey haired ladies praying their rosaries call to us, offering us their place on the dryer sidewalk.
There is no chill to ward off, so we don't walk... we stand and pray, and in the holy hush of the city sidewalk... i feel my Father's presence, and can't help but worship my God with the sun and sky painting this house of prayer, and the still small voice bidding me to come.
Minutes tic by... i hear baby coos and sucks as miracle chews on her hand, and nestles into her mama to avoid the bright sunlight. i glance back and my friend's face is upturned, eyes closed in prayer as a tiny pink fist escapes a white blanket and waves in the sunlight.
Two couples stand out for me today - it's the first time that i saw something like this, and it has left me unsettled. A police man stood just at the corner, pulling in speeding motorists, but he didn't stop the small family that j-walked across the street to the abortion clinic. The young mama was falling behind, so the daddy came back to pick up the wee one to hurry her along. He ran ahead of her, calling over his shoulder for her to come... and she seemed to me - to be taking her time. He opened the door, hurrying her in - and followed where we couldn't see them anymore. Soon, he reappeared carrying the little bundled one in his arms and ran back across the street to his waiting vehicle. i didn't see her again. The second one that sticks in my mind... & maybe it was my skewed perspective, but again, i don't think she wanted to go in... A man got out of his vehicle and stood on the walkway in front of their vehicle. He motioned for her to come, and when she didn't, he made an angry gesture with his arms and yelled at her, "COME ON!!" Finally, slowly, her car door opened... and she slouched into the clinic...
& i find myself praying to the Father who isn't restricted by a court ordered bubble zone. His Holy Presence can walk through the code locked doors of that brown building - and tenderly croon to His hurting lambs.
Women, men, families - our country and the world at large... We can do better than abortion. Those women deserve better than our silence.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Another Step

My second time attending the vigil - was as stirring as my first... i'm excited to see how God will change and soften my heart this fall.

another vigil

Different friend...
same clinic.
It has snowed & the path we walk is slushy and cold.
Her prayers affirm my spirit - and truth is spoken aloud in the frosty air...

Can i tell you a secret, blog readers?

i'm shy to go to the clinic...
i feel my cheeks burn just to blog about it.
and yet...
i wanna be...
We pray for the couples arriving, for the women who pull up in taxi's, for the elderly woman driving her daughter. We pray for those who are choosing to abort because of a medical diagnosis - for those who find themselves in difficult unimaginable situations. We pray for the mama's - who must enter alone, for the sake of the privacy of the other patrons. We pray that they could sense - even from the other side of the street - our compassion & the love of Jesus. We pray that somehow... miraculously... the little lives lost today will still be given significance, and will be remembered and grieved in the years to come - giving them what now seems impossible...
A voice.
As our hour ends, three ladies arrive to take our places - and i want to weep with the knowledge that i'm united in purpose with those unknown women shyly standing on a slushy sidewalk holding their rosaries.
i wave at them from the window of my friend's vehicle as we drive away... and they wave back.
The door opens, and closes...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Welcome to Calgary's 40DFL Blog

With three days to go before our 40 day vigil begins, i thought i would start us off over here by posting some of my thoughts from our previous vigil.  It was the first time that i had the opportunity to be involved in anything like this - & for me, it proved to be *heart changing*.  My hope is that as word spreads about 40 Days for Life - more people will have the opportunity to be changed - and this blog can become a place where our community can share our stories. 
Spread the word, Calgary. 

peaceful protest

We make our way to the abortion clinic in the light traffic of early afternoon.
My friend fills me in on the 'bubble zone' bylaws that keep us on the other side of the street from the unobtrusive brown building sitting on a busy street corner.

The parking lot is full.
"How do you want to do this?" We look at each other.
We walk the length of the fence and stop - in view of the back door that swings open - and shut - and open - and shut - as customers... hurting, broken people, file in and out.
We decide to walk the length of the block when our legs get stiff and cold - and while we walk - we talk; but when we reach the end of the fence - we stop - and we pray - until our knees and the chill in the air beg us to walk that length again.
i close my eyes - facing that brown building where enters life - and exits bleeding, empty wombs.
"Mercy, Father..."
We stop no one. There are no signs of protest other than our presence. There are no shouted angry words. There are just two mothers - soon joined by a grandmother - who walk the slushy sidewalks and pray for this generation that sees no better solution.