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 sweat......as 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?

Father.
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).

Kelly

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.

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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.

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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

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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 Siara...at 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 her.....to 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 her.....to 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 them.....to know the truth....to 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'! 

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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.

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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

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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.  

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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 deserved...in 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 beautiful...in 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."

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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. 

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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.

Dave

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...

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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.....

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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"
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".

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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.

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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?
...Jesus,
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*.


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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...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Day 20 - somewhere to start

by juanita

When we knew we were moving to the big city, I had a conviction that I needed to do something tangible to represent the deeply held values I have regarding abortion. Today, I had the opportunity to start somewhere.

In Calgary, as in other cities, the 40 Days for Life prayer vigil is going on this month - September 28 to November 6. You can read about it here and if you are in Calgary or near it, sign up to go and pray. There is also a blog and it's both heart-breaking and encouraging.

I went today with a new friend and I am thankful for the blessing that was. We stood on the street corner where we are allowed to stand and prayed, silently and aloud. We talked a little about our lives and our own encounters with pain. We watched young women go in, several alone. We prayed for the ones who we saw and the ones we didn't see. We cried as we contemplated the brokenness represented by that clinic on the corner. It's not just the abortions that represent brokenness but the loss of family, the loss of parents who will stand up for their children and protect them, the loss of men and women who will stand by their training and protect life instead of taking it away. Our society is broken when this can go on across the country.

And we talked and prayed for love. We prayed that each person there would come to know God's love, that they would encounter people who can show them a different way. People who can show them that forgiveness, healing and freedom are possible in Christ, before and after abortions.

I will continue to pray and continue to go. I hope more will become aware of the vigil and sign up.

And this hymn began to echo in my mind:

Let Your Heart Be Broken
Let your heart be broken for a world in need:
Feed the mouths that hunger,
Soothe the wounds that bleed.
Give the cup of water, and the loaf of bread.

Be the hands of Jesus, serving in his stead.

Here on earth applying principles of love.
Visible expression, God still rules above.
Living illustration of the living word,
To the minds of all who've never seen or heard.

Blest to be a blessing, privileged to care,
Challenged be the need, apparent everywhere.
Where mankind is wanting, fill the vacant place.
Be the means through which
The Lord reveals His grace.

Add to your believing deeds that prove it true,
Knowing Christ as Savior, Make Him Master too.
Follow in His footsteps, go where he has trod;
In the worlds great trouble risk yourself for God.

Let your heart be tender and your vision clear;
See mankind as God sees, serve Him far and near.
Let your heart be broken by a brother's pain;
Share your rich resources, give and give again.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Day 19 - Again on a Friday

It was late morning on a Friday when we arrived. We had both been so busy, we forgot to check the vigil schedule - so were pleasantly surprised when we arrived to see a man walking up and down the sidewalk. As we approached him, i recognized him from one of our organizational meetings... Harold has been involved in prolife work since "around 1973".  It's interesting the different perspectives that are represented by those of us wearing out that chilly concrete sidewalk opposite that clinic in Kensington. 


i also had the pleasure of meeting Alissa for the first time.  This sweet mama had a friend caring for her little daughter in the adjacent park so that she could come and walk and pray because, as she said, "This is such an important heart-wrenching issue". 


i love her sign, because of an article i read the other day where it was stated that when undecided mama's see or hear their baby's heartbeat, 78% of them choose to give that little one life. 
Of course Caroline showed up at one point too... so for my first time this fall, we found ourselves at our maximum number of 4...
But... even amidst speaking with others, and the distraction of my grumbling tummy and the bitter chill in the air... as i approached that corner where we can best see that steel door... my heart sobered.  We watched those women... and their men often with them.  It would be impossible to forget *why* we're here... what's happening... what we're praying for. 
We cried out brokenly to the King for wisdom in this season when we ache for change.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Day 18 - praying with strangers

A stranger with a familiar name emailed, expressing interest in attending the vigil at the abortion clinic in Kensington.
Nervously, i said i'd pick her up in the Silver Fox (our pet name for our 12 passenger van) and we'd go together... Her family is new to the city - still getting settled, not even in their own home yet - & here she was - ready to dig in & plant her feet behind what she believed in.


Juanita and Caroline

We talked and we prayed - talked again... & then stood in silence - praying and thinking our own prayers and thoughts as we stood looking across the street at that unobtrusive building... We watched taxi drivers pick up the women who had come alone.  We watched mothers enter with their daughters, and men with their girlfriends or wives.  i was reminded how in labour, i begged Neil to advocate for me because, i said, "it's too hard for a woman to advocate for herself in labour... we need someone to speak for us when we are so vulnerable and weak..."
i couldn't help but feel that these women were too vulnerable to be making this horrifying decision - they needed those around them who loved them - to help them to choose better... in their fear and hurt.  But instead, they were being shepherded into a building that brought death - and their decision so quickly made in a matter of days or weeks - would last forever. 
Of course Caroline was there too - and so i grabbed a couple of pictures of them together so i could show you... what it looks like to join this vigil and pray for an end to abortion in our city. 
Does it look like something you could do? 
i realized as we finished our hour and i asked her if we could say the Lord's Prayer together - that she's not a stranger after all... She's sister to me - a daughter of the King... and we can come before Him together to make our plea - and there is a strength that is drawn as we join together and ask for something that we know is good and right...




Father, in Calgary Alberta - bring an end to the horror of abortion...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Day 17 - Another Story

i wanted to share my facebook status from a week ago... i haven't been able to get this incident off my mind.

"i heard today about a young man standing in the pouring rain - praying. The organizer of 40 days for life (who lives close by) noticed him out there, and seeing as he had been out there for hours already, he invited him in to his house for a warm supper. The man declined and said, "i can't come for supper, but will you come and pray with me here?"
So Dave said yes.
i love these people...
i'm soaking wet - but convinced more and more as each day passes, that God is calling me to prayer..."


 Do you have a story to share?  Send me an email, or share in the comments section and be an encouragement to others...


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A Contribution
by Len Skowronski

This morning (9:30 – 11:30 AM, October 12, 2011), I had the privilege of praying and picketing across from the Kensington Clinic along with three marvellous ladies from St. Peter’s Parish. We carried two signs: “Love is Life” and “Mommy, Will it Hurt?”. The signs certainly got the attention of those passing by as well as those coming to and from the clinic. I hope they understood the message.

I am confident that God heard our prayers and that He may have acted immediately to have some prospective clinic clients turn away or that he will act through us and others to continue working to save the unborn.

I decided to participate in the 40 Days for Life campaign because I have a mission to bring back Christian values to our society. I have chosen to achieve this mission through political means. I am the Leader of the Alberta Social Credit Party, the only provincial party in Alberta whose principles and policies are based on Christian values. This is the only party that takes a definite pro-life stance. We would require the government to establish an organization that would provide counselling to women with unexpected pregnancies. We would strive to convince each woman to see her pregnancy to term and give her all the support needed to nurture her child or give the baby up for adoption. We would also stop Alberta Health Care funding abortions; instead this money would be used to counsel and support the new mothers and their children.

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I am currently looking for good men and women to run as candidates in the next provincial election which we expect next year. We will also need volunteers and financial support to help these candidates win a seat in the Legislature where they can demand the right  of every child to be born. If you would like to join us in our mission, please contact me at leader@socialcredit.com or 403-288-9695.


“They will know we are Christians by our love!”


Len Skowronski

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ps - paige here... i have heard that the new button is too long for some of your blogs!  i'll make a new one as soon as time allows :)  Thanks again for sharing!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day 16 - What Would You Say? Part 2

by fawne

My son's life transpired just as the doctor said it would. Our little Puppy (as we lovingly called him) didn't reach his fourth birthday. But the doctor failed to mention that my handicapped son would teach me more than any other person every had or ever would. The doctor forgot to tell me that God would use my son to set me free. To bring me joy unspeakable. To show me a peace deeper than anything I ever imagined possible. That morning....at my son's bedside, the doctor didn't tell me that God would use the life of my broken boy to open the gates of heaven and allow me to glimpse His beauty...that I would be brought low and lifted up....that I would be broken, healed, transformed....all through the life of my son. Somehow, the doctor forgot to mention that part.

Someday, I would like the chance to tell him. I would like to sit down with that doctor and share my story. I would like to explain what I learned....that life is sacred. All life. I would like him to know that I serve a God who can take what we believe to be worthless.....and use it to bring good into this world.

This is my passion. I want women to know this truth. I want them to know that the baby they carry is made in God's own image and that God has a plan to use that child for good. I want them to know that it won't always be easy but God can take the most difficult thing in my life and bring beauty from it. Incredible beauty. I want them to know that there IS another way. They don't have to choose death. They can choose life. I would like them to know that what they believe is the worst thing that could ever happen in their life could end up being the best thing to ever happen.

There were many times during my son's life when I could not handle what was given to me. I would like women to know that it's okay to be weak and unable......because it's in those situations where I can't handle life that I see God come through in ways I never imagined possible. It's through those extremely painful times....when I am broken and brought to the end of myself....that I am open to seeing my Heavenly Father and the miracle He longs to perform in my heart.

I cannot even begin to imagine who I would be if I had aborted my son. I cringe to think of the beauty I would have missed. I cringe to think of the bondage I would still be under. I thank my Father for giving me a tiny handicapped boy....so I might learn how to fully live.

Fawne spreading truth...
When my friend, Paige, told me about 40 Days For Life and asked if I wanted to go and pray at the abortion clinic, I knew.....immediately...that I did want to fight injustice in this way.
My first time at the clinic was a heart shattering experience. To stand on the sidewalk....across the street from the clinic and know....that life was being taken...right then....right there. It was sobering and heartbreaking.
I have since gone as much as I can.....although not nearly as much as I would like. I watch women walk through the door and I wonder....how many of them are there because their doctor noticed on an ultra sound screen.....an abnormality with their baby. I long to talk to them. I long to shout across the street and tell them what I've learned. That having a "broken baby" isn't a bad thing. Hard, yes....but incredible. Would I give up the miracle simply to avoid the pain?? Never. The miracle was too wonderful. Too incredible.
If only those women would give me a chance....I would tell them the truth. I would tell them about true love.

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There are more stories coming from our 40 day vigil.  If you have a blog, grab our button on the sidebar. *Thank you* to those of you who are reading, sharing & linking to us.  It makes a huge difference...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day 15 - what would you say? PART 1

This is part one of a two part series.  Please come check out the second piece tomorrow - you won't want to miss it.  These are sure good ones to share...
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by fawne

I grew up in a sheltered home. It was good. I felt safe. Protected. Secure. My parents talked to my siblings and me about the injustices prevalent in our world....including abortion.....but not often. However, they lived what they believed and the truth that "life is sacred from the moment of conception".....well, let's just say it came through loud and clear.
I married my best friend just 2 months shy of my 25th birthday and at that time I had firm beliefs about abortion and birth control. But I hadn't had to live out my beliefs. My life was pretty perfect. It wasn't that I'd never had to walk through any difficulties. I had. But I had not been faced with any difficult "sanctity of life" issues. I'd never been forced to stand up for truth. I'd never talked to an abortionist. I'd never thought much about standing on the corner of a street to pray....for the unborn...for life and justice.....for the hurting fathers and broken mamas. It simply wasn't a part of my world. And if we aren't faced head on with an issue...it's pretty easy to become apathetic and pretend that it isn't happening. So although I was strongly against abortion I didn't dwell on the fact that thousands of babies were being killed every year. It was pretty easy to shut myself off to "that part" of evil that is taking place in our world today. It was pretty easy to focus on making my little world pleasant and lovely.

Then, one day....it happened.

I sat in a hospital room across from a man who talked to me about abortion.
He promised me that I would never have to "deal with" what had just happened to me. Ever. Again.
He promised that my future pregnancies would be screened......screened to detect any abnormalities, deficiencies or brokenness.
He promised that should I ever conceive another handicapped baby we would "catch it" before birth and abort it....we would snuff out life--without hesitation.
Then we wouldn't have to deal with it...a broken baby..... pain... embarrassment.... suffering.... hospital visits, surgeries, feeding tubes and changing the dirty diapers of a full grown boy.

You see....the man who sat across from me in that hospital room was the genetic doctor at the Children's Hospital. He made these promises right after he told my husband and I that the tiny baby boy I had just given birth to was not whole.....that he had a rare disorder.....that he would probably die before he was three years old.

I had never felt pain like that before. To be told that I would watch my son die....that he would suffer. All my dreams for him.....for us....were crushed...in that single hour at the foot of his hospital bed. I felt numbness, yet agony. My heart was full of questions but my tongue would not.....could not....articulate. I felt I must be in a terrible nightmare. It wasn't until the doctor told us that we could abort any future babies with this syndrome that I felt a spark of life....a "coming out" of the nightmare I'd suddenly found myself in.
I didn't care if my son was "broken." I loved him. Fiercely. And yet this doctor spoke of him like garbage. Flippantly. As if to say.....it's too bad we didn't detect this sooner....we could have taken care of this problem.

It's been nearly six years since I sat across the room from this doctor. I wish I had known then....what I know now. I wish....even in my pain....I'd had the wisdom....the courage to stand up for truth. I wish I had said something about the beauty of life....even an imperfect life.
Aren't we all imperfect in some way or another? Aren't we all broken? Haven't we all caused trouble or pain for someone? Is life worth so little? Do we simply kill anyone who might bring us pain or trouble? Do we snuff out life simply because it's inconvenient or unplanned or not exactly perfect? Are we the ones who decide whether a life is to be lived? Who of us decides it? If our mothers believed this--would any of us be here today? Once we start down this slippery slope....who of us is safe? If our tiniest....most fragile people....the very life we carry inside of us isn't safe.....who is? If our very own flesh....the baby who has the same lifeblood in his veins as I myself do....if this wee one isn't safe from death....who is? How dare we....a supposedly civilized society kill the most innocent of people. How dare we....we who have "come so far" in intelligence murder humanity at its most tender, fragile stage of life.

God forgive us, your people, for our apathy. Forgive us for sitting back and "shutting up" (even if it's in the name of love) while these little ones are being killed at an alarming rate. Give us courage to take a stand for truth....whether it's on our knees, on a street corner, in our churches or to our government. We need a miracle.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day 14 - A Teen's Perspective

by alisha

 

A person's a person no matter how small...

For a while now, the whole pro-life issue has been one on my mind. Maybe it's because we're in the middle of the 40 Days for Life, a pro-life movement consisting of prayer, a peaceful vigil and community out reach. Maybe it's because my best friend's mama, who I look up to and admire, is involved in this.  
Either way, Pro-life has been on my mind a lot lately. Usually when I hear the term pro-life, it's regarding abortion. It's the choice of choosing life for this unborn child. And when it is said like that, I always thought that, "Yes, I am pro-life." But recently, I've come to wonder if maybe pro-life is more then just saying no when it comes to abortion. Maybe pro-life is the value, the preciousness of human life no matter how small the life is. Maybe pro-life is realizing that this life is a gift. Maybe it's standing up for those who can't stand up for themselves, fighting for those that are unable to fight for themselves. I think pro-life is more then just abortion, though when most people consider pro-life that is the first thing that comes to mind, I know it did for me.
But maybe pro-life is more then just protecting the unborn babies of this country. Maybe it's more being just that; pro-life.
Recently, I've been taking time for prayer. I know that sounds silly, but it's true. It's not much, just a few minutes a couple times a week, to go before God in prayer. Besides asking Him to soften my heart, I've been asking for something else too. I've been praying for life. I've been praying for all those girls and all those women who walk into the abortion clinic, thinking there is no other way. I've been praying for that family in the hospital whose child, sibling, self, whatever, is being forced to live life with a chronic illness, when some others think it would be kinder to euthanize. I've been praying for hope to be shone into the darkest corners, and for love to find a way to peer through the clouds.. I've been praying, simply for life. Because every life is valuable. Every life is precious. And because the term pro-life means so much more than simply standing against abortion.
So yeah, I'm pro-life

"It all seemed so wrong. I said to myself, 'Somebody ought to do something about this!' Then I realized that I am somebody"

Monday, October 10, 2011

Day 13 - A First Day at the Vigil

by stephanie


My little sister paige asked if i would write about my first time.

I had just had my third child, and had felt unspeakably *enormous* pressure through his pregnancy - mostly from the Christians at the church we attended, and from the Christian school where my husband was a very poorly paid teacher.  More than half of his paycheck went to rent on a house that was slated for demolition, and we couldn't afford meat more than a couple of times a week.

And yet,  in my heart i felt that having this child was definitely of God - and that possibly, He was calling me to *more* than three.  As the conviction deepened, and my pregnancy progressed, so did the discouragement from without.

I spent so many days at the piano, singing psalms from my heart to God's ears, asking Him to speak clearly and plainly.

His birth was the hardest birth i can imagine - not because of the physical pain, but because of the intense spiritual warfare in the room. 

And that month, abortions started to be done at our local hospital.

I was sure that the animal my doctor had become had something to do with this great evil that had now infected my town, and as soon as i could, i bundled up my 4 year old son, my 2 year old daughter, and my little baby, and took my place on the sidewalk outside of KGH.

I don't think i was ever alone.  Cec and Teresa Kaller were faithfully there most of the day - and it was a vigil without an ending point.  Every Wednesday we would stand there with our signs, begging women to think twice, to let us help, to let them know that there was an alternative and a good God who loved them.  And every week, there would be moms with young children, some in strollers, giving us the middle finger from across the road, or yelling pro choice slogans.  Made me so afraid for their children - if life means so little to them.

Every Wednesday i would fast, until my turn was over.  I knew i needed to concentrate, to focus my attention on God, to hear His voice.  I asked friends to pray for me.  I asked the church if i could put up information, and they let me have a corner of a bulletin board in the back of the building.

What i learned was something i don't think God could have taught me in any other way.  I learned to step out, even when all around you, all Christians around you - are not.  And are actively telling you to stay quiet, to stay put.  I learned that God indeed does call us to different and several ways to minister to Him - to pour out our lives as sweet incense before Him.  I learned to be silent and to pray for not only the women who were making their way into the building, but for the hurt and broken hearts that responded out of hurt.  I learned faithfulness.  I learned the beauty of the unity of the church Universal.  There were not a lot of dear friends from my own (mega)church - there were a few!  But not many from the thousands who attended - but i met beautiful believers from so many other churches and saw that God had spoken to them, too.

I saw that even though God didn't do something BIG that we could all see, He was there - creating opportunities to talk to people, to explain *why* this was something we were so passionate about.  To share our heart, and God's heart, about the beauty and worth of human life, made in the image of God, and planned from the foundation of the world to glorify Him and to bring something special into the world that the world would miss out on otherwise.

It's never been about yelling at someone to try to change their mind (i've found that approach doesn't work in any setting) - it's about praying, faithfully, in love, for the deceived, for the lost, for the little ones whose mothers and fathers will surely regret this for the rest of their lives.  It is hoping that God will use me.  It is being open to hearing something different from God than what your friends are hearing, and having the deep peace that comes from following His voice.

I don't regret my days in front of KGH, and I've been blessed to live in communities where abortions are outsourced to other towns, other cities.  But the truth is, there is no escape from abortion.  It's not the surgical procedure that is the root - it's simply a symptom.  Abortion touches each of us.  And we will not be the people we are meant to be until we rid ourselves of this great evil.  This is the battlefield of our generation.  Our parents lost this ground.  We can stand with God, and pray His will be done, in our community, in our homes, in our hearts.

The first step is the hardest.  But it does get easier.  And God is with you every minute you are there...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Day 12 - who will go?


The clinic where we vigil has gotten a court injunction that puts restrictions on those who would come to the clinic to pray. We must be no more than 4 in number - that includes tiny babies strapped to their mama's in a sling or a wrap, because after all - a baby is a person too...
We must stand on the other side of the road from the clinic and must not speak unless spoken to.  If more than 4 people arrive, the others must stand back halfway across the  park - and they cannot have signs in the park.  You cannot have more signs than people on the sidewalk... If there is any infraction, the police will be called. 
But we're not in this to angrily protest and break rules and push boundaries. 
i have heard over and over from the ones who have prayerfully taken on the organization of this vigil in our city, that our mission in these 40 days is not to bare our teeth in anger - our mission is to pray.
We fast, we pray, we love, we hurt, we plead with the Father
We obey the rules of the bubble zone - and maintain an attitude of peace...
We're visible when we stand and pray - and in this way, we offer a gentle reminder in a culture that has forgotten the truth..."life is love..."
Oh God - lead us to pray... Bring our leaders to a place of softness - of compassion - of brokenness.  Call us as a city and a nation - to pray. 

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Thank you, thank you, thank you - to everyone who has been sharing this link... the word is spreading....

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Day 11 - lost keys, pouring rain and dirty toilets...

One of the dedicated organizers for Calgary's 40 Days for Life -
Taking her turn praying in the pouring rain...
Sometimes it would almost make you throw up your hands in despair to try to make it to that busy sidewalk to pray. 
There's company to prepare for, it's pouring rain, there are children who desperately... *only*... want mama. 
But you force yourself to step outside the house that you so rarely leave in these busy child focused days - and sneak off with a friend to find an hour to pray. 
There's traffic on those wet crowded roads... and when you finally arrive - there are lost keys, buzzing phones and dirty looks. 
It's no wonder we so often close our eyes to pray - to make every effort to take our eyes off of the temporary - and for one hour - to focus on the eternal. 
We pulled around the corner onto the street where the Kensington Clinic sits - and we both cried out - "There's someone there!"
She can't possibly know how here very presence buoyed us.  She can't imagine how her faithfulness inspired
She had just been yelled at - as she stood dripping wet on the sidewalk - a lone figure, praying for those in crisis.  She was carefully averting her eyes from the 2 figures fast approaching lest we bring more abuse... but when we got close enough, we recognized each other and laughingly made introductions. 
There are so many, many hindrances, aren't there?
These hindrances added to our general unease over praying in public, our discomfort at the idea that we're "making a scene", or our sensitive hearts worrying that we'll hurt people loved by God rather than helping anything or anyone... it makes it almost impossible to imagine a 40 day prayer vigil outside of the city's bustling abortion clinic.
Almost impossible. 
But with our God... nothing is impossible... and i'm not willing to quit. Mother Teresa is famously quoted as saying, "i don't pray for success, i pray for faithfulness".  & so i'll come home wet, to a crazed messy house... i'll show up late, or frazzled or hurting & broken... but i'm convinced that the hours dedicated to prayer are not wasted.
God, make me faithful...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Day 10 - outing to the abortion clinic with a friend

Here is another post from our vigil this spring. 
There have been many times that i have gone to the clinic alone... but the times that i have gone with friends - and prayed together with them on the sidewalk... those times are powerful.... & it seems like a strange thing for friends to do together.  Friends are supposed to go for coffee, shop for shoes, or go for runs at the park... Aren't they? 
What if friends did uncomfortable things together, nudged each other on to a closer relationship with their Father, sharpened like iron sharpens iron? 
What could friendships like that do? 
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seven

i broke my little pledge to myself that i would know when my next visit was by the time i arrived home from the current visit.
No matter.
There are no hard and fast rules - just ideas to help myself to stay soft, and follow through on my convictions. & as it turned out - this Monday - i found myself soft and aching already - ready to check the vigil schedule for an empty spot that i could fill.
My friend sent me a message that she could go today - & so she drove to my house, where it was almost like we picked up our littles in a shaker to decide who would come and who would stay.
With her van full of our mixed set - we left the rest at home to nap and play till we were done.
After ten minutes of driving, i realized that i hadn't inhaled yet. My friend's eyes were on the road & she was smiling and 'uh-hun'ing to me... but i had been talking non-stop since we pulled away from my house.
There's a freedom that comes from ceasing to sift words so carefully - knowing they will be sifted for you. What comfort when someone understands your deeper meaning. They don't stumble over badly chosen words or smallish ideas. Good friendships are like that - you learn to sift the wheat from the chaff, and you end up covering much ground as a companionable red van barrels down the deerfoot.
Like-mindedness is such a rarity that it's a delicious treat when it's discovered.
And so we prayed... we ached... we talked... we stood in silence.
For the first time, that parking lot wasn't full - and once again i felt that comforting confirmation that i'm to come... and keep coming - till He tells me to quit.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Day 9 - prayer

When Caroline (if you don't know Caroline, you'll meet her soon if you continue to read this blog) arrived as she does so frequently - to pace that sidewalk and to pray for all those impacted by the injustice of abortion, i was still shaken and saddened by the couple that had just left. 
i told her what i had seen - and she told me she has seen such sadness too...
"And even when we don't see it, we feel it for them because we know what has taken place." She said compassionately.
i told her how i have often been faced with this feeling of powerlessness - of wanting to do more than to "just pray", but that i'm finally learning that prayer isn't the token offering i have often thought it to be in the past.  i'm finding that prayer is the single most powerful and useful - impactful -  thing that we have as believers to give. 
"It's true," she agreed.  "Coming here to pray - being a presence -  that adds to the impact of prayer - but the prayer itself is truly the best thing that we can contribute to this battle..."
So if you find yourself reading here today... would you breathe a prayer?  Right where you are, in your house, in your office, in the coffee shop. 
There is no better place - and no better time - and undoubtedly there is no better gift.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day 8 - loved

Not everyone brings a sign when they pray.
i made this one last spring, because there is a court injunction that states we aren't allowed to speak to people unless spoken to - and i felt that i wanted some way to communicate my heart to the hurting families filling that parking lot to overflowing day in and day out. 
The reverse says, "Life is a Gift".
It was a chilly wet day yesterday... and there were no people praying on the sidewalks when i arrived at noon.  i grabbed my sign and my keys and made my way to the corner - holding up the side brightly coloured by my little ones for the world to see. 
i wasn't there long when i saw him.  He wasn't much younger than Neil... similar build, but with shaggy blond hair.  He must have been waiting in his car when i got there, because i didn't see him among the other fathers waiting, pacing outside that steel clinic door.  He shoved his hands in the pockets of his black down filled vest, and strode anxiously closer to the door.  After a few minutes, it opened and a pretty girl walked out.  Her shoulders drooped with sadness - and when they made it into each others arms, he scooped her face in his hands and she reached up... up... up... just like i have to do with my love, to put her arms around his neck. 
Despair. 
They stood there - oblivious to the chubby man smoking a cigarette by his red mini van as he waited in that parking lot.  She cried, and he whispered in her ear...
'Oh, Father' - i wept aloud... 'There's another way... Can't we tell them there's another way?  Why don't they know that there is another way?"
Arms draped one around the other, they made their way to their vehicle - and pulled out of that place that brings death - and onto a highway where their vehicle wasn't distinguishable from any other - their loss less obvious.  Their pain would now be a shameful secret that they would carry - conflicted by the very presence of their agony in a culture that condones murder. 
i held my sign high... i wanted her to see... to remember... i could see her pale face looking out the passenger side window as the car sped away...
And the clinic door continues to open and close.