i posted this on my personal blog today too. Do you have any questions to add? i'd encourage you to join the discussion - work through your discomfort - it is proving to be hard work requiring much prayer, and many tears for me to do so...
A few days ago, a friend emailed me with some thoughts and questions about the 40 Days for Life prayer vigil that i have become a part of. i wanted to share some of my thoughts that came out of that conversation... so i'll pose the questions (not in anyone's wording but my own) & my answers below.
Do you think that the benefit outweighs the negativity that these women feel seeing "protesters" on the sidewalks by the abortion clinic? Do you think that maybe sometimes - abortion is not quite as bad as we make it out to be?
During the vigil, the 40 days for life organizers keep track of how many babies they know for sure are saved by their presence & PRAYERS on the side walk. The number is now in the thousands (4, 313 prior to this campaign). These are only the babies that we know of - where mothers have come & asked for help - (& they get compassionate, loving help from those Christians standing there *ready, willing & able* to help - or to find someone who can). There have also been countless post-abortion mama's & daddies who have come forward & begun their healing and recovery.
i know that we're all gonna be different in what we're supposed to do in our call to action - i feel strongly led to be involved in 40 days for life... the prayer... the prayer is what is changing me. i know i won't change your mind - & i'm good with that :) but at the same time... i do feel that there is a truth here... that is valuable - & worth defending.
The science behind life beginning at conception is what convinces me - that this is a clear cut issue. Human beings are made to love, care for and nurture their young... If our culture provides abortions rather than the love & support that mama's need to do what they were created to do - then i really believe that things need to change.
Every time i go, i'm saddened with the possibility that my presence causes agony... but that agony is kinder than silently turning my back while evil is accomplished... i feel it in the same way that God didn't have to let me get 'caught' when i had sex out of wedlock! But He did!! & it was a kindness to me that i was embarrassed, hurt & caught... It was His best gift that He brought LIGHT into the areas of my life where i let darkness in...
Does it bother you to be lumped in with fanatical, angry, judgemental pro-lifers? Do you want to be associated with those graphic images?
i went to the life chain this year & even though for the most part, it was HUGELY encouraging to see so many people who were willing... i found it disconcerting to see one very tiny group of teens dancing and laughing... :) and it seemed to *me* making light... i think because i have seen tiny babies... that have died - that it makes me feel more sober and serious when i think on these things. But who am i to think that i know or understand their motivation? i'm grateful for their presence, even if i haven't had the chance to get to know their hearts yet...
Regarding graphic images (i have never, ever seen graphic images used at 40 days for life Calgary - to my knowledge, they're not used at all by this group)- for me *personally* i won't use them (unless God asked me to. Then i would... immediately)... The kids and i were reading 2 Samuel lately & there's this part where Saul's concubines sons are killed... She goes to the place where her son's bodies have been set out on display - and she spreads a cloth on a rock & stays there 'from harvest until the rains fell', scaring off birds or beasts who would hurt their bodies... She stayed there until finally king David ordered a proper burial. i think i feel a little like Rizpah did too... i feel like we need to have respect for those little ones who are vulnerable - even though they're already gone. i feel a tenderness towards those little *people* who are used as graphic images... & my mama heart says,... 'let's not'...
At the same time, i know graphic images have been used in situations like the Rwandan genocide - because it was necessary to get people's attention. "This is what is really happening - are we really ok with this??!!" Some people need to see the death and careless destruction of lives to really come to terms with what we've become. i heard a story just last week about one of those trucks that carries graphic images of aborted babies. An old man stood at the corner staring up at the image, and said sorrowfully, "i never knew... i honestly never knew." He was changed by what he saw... So - if someone were to feel strongly about the use of graphic images for prolife work, i wouldn't stand in their way - or argue... but i do know that for *me*... it's not what i feel led to do.
As far as being lumped in... i get that too. But, the best way for me to get over that is to only look at Jesus. If i looked at all the other "big family moms" - i'd feel out of place... if i looked at all the other "homeschooling moms" or "prolifers" or "christians" - i might worry about being lumped in with them.... but instead, i'm trying to keep my eyes on HIM - & be who he wants me to be... even if those around me don't represent me exactly...
Do you think that those bearing a sign reading, "Mommy will it hurt?" are expressing what will only be seen as contempt for the broken women seeking abortions?
(You can read the full comment and my original response HERE)
Firstly, i wouldn't choose this sign... - but i do understand the goal of the statement on it. (There will be an honest, raw response from Dave on the subject of this sign tomorrow - please come back for that). It is an attempt to humanize the tiny one that for the past 30+ years has been referred to as "tissue" or, "a clump of cells". It speaks to the uncertainty that prevails around when a child can feel pain and i think these are valid points. As far as people *feeling* contempt, as i responded to the original commenter who suggested a sign that read, "You are loved, chosen and forgiven" - that sign too would be construed by some as bearing contempt - because if you're offering forgiveness, you're acknowledging a wrong committed.
You see, these are such difficult waters... It takes courage to stand on those street corners - wearing an imperfect sign - bound by law that we cannot speak unless spoken to.
So come, Christian - make your sign, let your little ones colour it with markers - stand on the street corner with your one line message and pray that those who drive by will see your heart.... (i pray this every single time i stand on that street corner).
i need to add here that the signs are secondary. If they told me tomorrow that we were banned from bringing signs, i would still go. Why? Because - we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (eph. 6:12).
So, if you're uncomfortable with the signs, if you're unable to be a physical presence - stand with us in prayer. Join us at whatever point you're able - we'll meet you there, and together we can by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present our requests to God. (phil. 4:4-8)
What do your littles think about the topic of abortion?
My little ones are still mostly in the 'sponge' phase. i'll never forget the thoughtful look on my son's face as i described the situation that THIS family found themselves in. We prayed for little Rachel every day. Her life & her parent's choices - provided the substance for many great conversations & growing opportunities for my little ones. i'm so grateful to them for choosing life.
My teens are at a slightly different phase. We discuss things on a deeper, more personal level. i asked them some of their views recently & found their responses interesting. Softie (13) said that she could see herself involved in a peaceful prayer vigil in the years to come (so far they haven't come to pray with me - just to play at the park). We were reading our history book the other day - and as we rounded another bend in the curve of time - and history repeated itself with more bloodshed and war, Sloanie gasped out loud, "NOOOOOooooo! Not again! How can they be so foolish??!!" Later she told me something i have also long suspected to be true. "Mama, they're gonna say that about us when they read about how we aborted our own babies in a hundred years..." Radar (15) had something different in mind. She came with me to an organizational meeting one day & listened in awe as Caroline stated that she wanted to try to meet with the clinic's director. On the way home, she whispered to me, "How could you have that kind of courage?" (Side note: the clinic director declined to meet with her). Radar said, "i know i said before that i couldn't do it, mom, but i wanna meet with the clinic director one day... i don't know what i'd say, or what i'd ask... but i want to do something that will make a difference."
i pray that God will give them more courage than their mama (my courage fails so easily)... and that their little lives will be used in whatever capacity that God would choose to bring light and truth to a dark world.
For those who had questions, or discomfort that they felt but didn't want to express, i want to tell you that it's ok to question, it's ok to think through *why* something makes us uncomfortable, why we choose not to "get on board". i'm glad to talk about it - & yes... there are seasons where we bury our head in the sand (me too) - & that's ok... it's all a part of the 'wrestling out our faith with fear and trembling'... Just don't stay there. We take on what we can when we're able... listening intently to that still small voice, and following where He leads.