Thursday, February 28, 2013

Day 16 - r EVOL ution

A teen from my church posted a sign on facebook with graffitti reading, rEVOLution - she suggested that LOVE was the key to seeing a revolution in our culture... Loved that :)
i'm posting a repost from a past vigil that touches on my main reason for being involved in 40 Days for life...

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbour his anger forever, he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:8-12


It's cloudy.  The cold keeps biting through my hoodie and i feel my hips shaking with both cold and discomfort. 
i'll never get used to praying outside our city's abortion clinic. 
i hold up my new sign.  My old one, bedraggled with wear has finally gone missing... and so my children helped me make a new one.  Carefully, i penned the message that remains on my heart as these months pass, and these vigils come and go... It's the message that Jesus brought when he came to tell a lost world that they could be found, the message is: "You are loved."
On the other side, in bold print, i offered the message that my mother in law sent me when i miscarried our son 16 weeks into my pregnancy... it ministered to my broken heart then, and i pray that it's truth will penetrate the hearts of those bent on death, "Each fragile life is a gift". 
My nine year old son and my seven year old daughter stand with me.  Nervously, they ask what we should pray - and my son asks if it would be alright to pray Our Father. 
So we do. 
Soon, their little limbs fidget and they're ready to run to the playground and i smile as they go - and continue to pray and hold the message of love to the city of Calgary.

You are loved... Yes you, little bald man who slows to a near stop, eyes squinted, mouth agape to see the colourful words on my sign.   And you, you are loved, angry woman shaking your head "no" as you drive disgustedly away, slamming your hand in frustration on your steering wheel, and you - poor father... i see you slumped over your steering wheel as you wait parked on the side of the road after she walked in those doors, do you know that you too, are loved?
You are loved, little family in the red van - who wonder why a stranger holds up a sign about love on a seemingly  random sidewalk; oblivious to my calling, and what you are driving past... and you, gramma with the pixie cut who stares straight ahead with rigid jaw, pretending i don't exist... and neither does that grey building on the other side of the road that boasts, "accredited surgical facility..."
Tiny babies that are hidden beneath clothes, beneath skin and bone - tucked in the secret place - growing and unaware of the possibility of outside interference.  You are loved, passenger who cranes your neck to read my message and then rolls down the window to wave it's receipt.  You are loved, bus driver - who shocks me by pulling over and thanking me for my prayerful presence.  She calls it, "Good Work..." this praying... & work it is... & i know in my heart that she's right. 
You are loved, unwanted person, unhealthy person, old person and young.  You are loved beautiful person, mocking person, scornful person, confused person, seemingly unlovable person... each one... loved. 
Each one of us here, now... has been given this one life by the Creator of the Universe.  Each unique life is precious in it's undeniable vulnerability and temporary nature. 
i believe that a culture that truly knew God's love... that truly understood that they were loved... that grasped the very core of the reason *all* human life has value - (for God so loved the world...) would be unable to so casually take it away.
You are loved, Calgary. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Day 15 - On Wearing Signs

Repost - thinking about the signs we wear to the Kensington clinic...

It seems to me that more people than ever have been asking about the signs that we can wear to the vigil. People are longing to have a message to bear as they pray at the clinic. They're longing to bring clarity to their presence, and to show the community - and those wounded ones using the clinic that we really, really care. As Fawne mentioned yesterday, 40 Days for Life doesn't use graphic images. Neither do we use any signs that are intentionally inflammatory - (though, i've had people curse at me when i'm wearing my sign "You Are Loved", so i know it is likely impossible to carry a sign that doesn't cause anger for someone... )  We have a lot of flexibility with signs - and some of the best and most compelling ones i've seen have been the personal testimonies of the ones carrying them.
Have you considered wearing a sign? What would you say?


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

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!  Romans 7:24-25

Lord, help me to make my attitude towards the mothers and fathers of the unborn who are desperate enough to contemplate abortion one of humility, empathy, and love rather than of judgment. Help me to understand that those who work in the abortion industry often began that work with the best of intentions and may be personally dismayed by abortion itself. Remind me of my own sins you have graciously forgiven so that I remember that forgiveness is possible for all who are willing to repent of their sins and truly believe. Amen. (Prayer excerpt from book, 40 Days for Life, available on Amazon).

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Day 14 - Graphic Images

by Fawne

Our 40 Days For Life team here in Calgary has decided that we will not use graphic images for our peaceful vigils. It's not that most of the team are completely against it but it's just something that God has laid on their hearts NOT to do. I think it's neat how God does that.

I'm not against using graphic images either. I know that some people believe it's degrading to show those horrific pictures of little limbs torn asunder. And others believe it does more damage than help to the mamas walking through the doors of these clinics. I can understand that too. Although I believe that killing your child does a much greater damage to ones heart than mere pictures ever can. In other words, once you walk through those doors the damage is already done. And just like all our "damaged sin places" the only thing that will ever bring true healing is receiving the love and forgiveness of the Savior--Jesus Christ.

The thing is (ever since August 24, 2012) when I hear people talk about graphic images it makes me think of the 15 week old baby that I saw.

He was my son.

I gave birth to him early in the morning. My mind was not prepared for how wonderfully human he already was at fifteen weeks. And now, when I go and pray at the abortion clinic I don't want to hold up a sign picturing the ripped off legs and arms of aborted babies. I want to show those mamas what their baby looks like RIGHT NOW. Before they walk inside.

I wish I could have preserved my son so I could show them exactly what it is that they are killing.

Real human life.

I would point out his tiny toes . . . a perfect five on each foot. I would let them marvel, as I did, over the size of a hand that is the exact size of my baby fingernail. I would let them examine his spidery little legs and arms and show them the way you can already see perfect ears, nose and lips.


No! I don't want to hold up graphic images of bloody broken babies. I want the mamas and papas who walk through the doors of Calgary's Kensington Clinic, to see what God sees.



"Created in His image" glory.

I want them to see the truth. Oh, that they might see and know the truth!

Because it's the truth that sets one free.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Day 13 - i had an abortion

Repost from a previous vigil...


We've stood on that street corner dozens of times together. We met on that street corner, visited, made friends, and kept each other warm. She's a do-er... a woman of action, finding needs to be met, and meeting them. i think she must vigil every day, because every time i come - she's already there... pacing that sidewalk faithfully - praying for the families that come looking for solutions in that clinic across the street.
i arrive and am frustrated with myself for not dressing warmer. You'd think i'd have learned my lesson by now, but no... constantly i'm arriving and thinking to myself... 'man, it's colder than i thought...' But an hour's not too long to stand in the cold, so i make do. i'm still gathering my scattered thoughts - and she's talking to me... she's telling me how someone yelled at her, "Go find something useful to do!"
i laugh - knowing there aren't a lot of 73 year old women who do as much as this one does - bringing meals to those who need them, vigilling in the cold hour after hour, translating encouraging books and messages into her first language for those back home who have never learned english...
"Yes," i say, "There are a lot of people who don't see the value in standing here and praying for those tiny lives aren't there?"
"i had an abortion."
i hear the words, but i'm sure i must not have heard correctly. i wasn't looking at her... but i am now... and her brown eyes are searching my face, watching my reaction... seeing the surprise that's registering there. i feel my face crumble as it mirrors hers, and i grab her and wrap my arms around her.
She's talking quickly now... and tears flow down her still-beautiful face - wetting the front of her warm jacket. She was only twenty. She had to pay for it herself out of her meagre paycheque. She describes feeling robbed, lost, without hope or options.
i'm crying with her - as we stand a stone's throw from the abortion clinic where our tax dollars pay for the same heartache thousands of times over every year.
"If i would have seen people praying... outside that hospital, i would have run. i never could have done it. If i could only go in there, i know what's happening in there... i know how that life gets taken... i could tell them... " She breaks off sobbing.
She tells me how she ran from her shame - threw herself away from family and immersed herself in labour... working constantly to dull the pain.
Her voice rises and breaks into a cry, "i was dead inside. i hate myself... i HATE myself."
& in that moment, i hate abortion. i do. i hate the agony that it brings, i hate that it brought death to a child who should now be a 53 year old grandmother, i hate the pain that i see on my friend's face as she relives her agony. i hate that this "solution" leaves ugly gaping wounds - and steals, kills and destroys.
"God now... He's healing me."
& i see that He is - Redeemer, Healer, Father.
i want to croon, to hold her like a mama holds her baby... i ask her if i can pray for her... because this sadness is too overwhelming. It's too consuming. It's too big - this ancient grief over a half a century borne on her shoulders.
i pray... stumbling, quaking words - trusting that my Father in Heaven will one day make it all right... i pray that she will have faith that one day, she will meet this tiny one who didn't get the chance to live.
Her shout interrupts my prayer and she adds, "Yes! I believe it, i believe that!"
& i believe it too... i believe that there is healing for every broken hearted mama in Calgary who needs forgiveness and tastes the bitter regret of an abortion. i believe that the God of the universe will do right - & there will be no more tears when we live with Him.
My friend has to leave - i thank her for sharing her story with me. i ask her if i can share it with all of you - & she says, "Yes, yes!! If i can help even one woman..."
She's gone, and my eyes are closed in prayer...
i look up, and i see a man escorting a woman from that clinic to a waiting car.
She's in her pyjamas... and she's shaky on her feet.
The horror of the reality of abortion and the picture of the sorrow that could be this woman's future is too fresh in my mind - i'm undone.
i hold my sign a little higher as their car pulls out of the parking lot.
i see her face white in the window of the car. She's looking right at me.
"You are loved..." my sign proclaims.
i'm crying that horrible ugly cry... and i know i look like a lunatic - so overcome in that moment by what i know has happened... just like it happened 53 years ago. i grieve for that little life... and the little life lost all those decades ago.
"Oh, Father," i pray, "show her that truth."
The light changes, and the car pulls out of the parking lot - and becomes lost in the flow of traffic.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Day 12 - praying for the pray-ers

It's a beautiful thing to see people called to a certain battle ground - and watching them respond with a humble, "yes"...
Whether you can come and pray on our sidewalk in Calgary, or whether it's impossible for you to come pray with us, i'd just encourage you to pray *for* our campaign - as this is a spiritual battle with very real consequences.
This past week, i have felt burdened to pray for those stepping out in obedience to lead pro life efforts - will you join me?

You did not choose me, but i chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit - fruit that will last. John 15:16

Lord, thank you for the many heroes of the pro-life movement - those who have taken brave, principled stands and, in many cases, have paid a high price for it. Thank you for the inspiring leaders who have roused, empowered, and motivated the movement. But help me to also recognize the unsung and often hidden heroes who labour anonymously on the sidewalks, in pregnancy resource centers and pro-life organizations, through one-on-one advocacy - those whose names I don't know and whose faces I may never see but who make up an indispensable part of the pro-life movement. Remind me to celebrate and affirm both types of heroes whenever I come across them. Amen. (prayer is an excerpt from the book, 40 Days for Life, available on Amazon).

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Day 11 - divine appointments

It has been an eventful campaign thus far. Beautiful to see God move...
Today is Saturday and i had an organizational committee meeting in the same corner of the city as the abortion facility as well as a child to drop off en route, so i decided to just combine all my errands and go pray at the clinic before my meeting even though i would arrive there nearly 2 hours early on a Saturday (a usually quiet vigil day here in Calgary with the local abortion clinic being closed on that day).
As i pulled up, i saw a familiar car ahead of mine and noticed it was one of the original 40 Days for Life organizers who brought the 40 Days for Life Campaign to Calgary. (There are still 4 of the original 8 on our committee 8 campaigns later...)
It seemed a divine appointment - and for the first hour, we walked opposite each other, passing and hearing words carried on the chilly air between us as we petitioned our Father. The second hour - we talked and agreed and planned and encouraged.
What a loving Father - to bring us there together on a chilly day when the clinic was closed. A day to be humbled in prayer as we served God in our city...

If my people, who are called by name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

Dear Lord, as you lead me into the spiritual struggle this verse calls your people to, remind me that the battle is truly yours. Thank you for equipping me with your armour. Lead me daily to put it on! Thank you for allowing me to serve under your command and for hearing my requests for direction and protection. Amen.
(Prayer an excerpt from the _40 Days for Life_ book available on Amazon).

Friday, February 22, 2013

Day 10 - peace

i have learned so much from my participation in 40 Days for Life.
Constantly, i find myself adjusting my reflexes to stay within our code of conduct and our pledge for peace. To see our Volunteer Code of Conduct, click HERE. 
Part of the Code is to make sure that all volunteers are aware of the court injunction that places certain limitations on our prayer vigil participants. If you're ever concerned or confused about part of our code of conduct, or how to comply with the court injunction, please feel free to contact us via our facebook page or by the "contact us" tab at the top of the blog.

Be kind, be loving, be full of hope and mercy - our presence is having an enormous impact - continue to rely on our Father to give us the strength to respond with humility!

And God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, his holy dwelling place. 2 Chronicles 30:27

Lord, the psalms are full of stories of times when David's enemies came against him, but you interceded on his behalf and confounded the efforts of those enemies so that the things they thought would defeat David defeated them instead. I pray today that you would confound the efforts of those who destroy innocent human life and those who try to thwart the volunteers who stand and pray for the unborn. Let their efforts to defeat us work against them instead. And when they fail, open their eyes to see that they failed not because they opposed us but because they opposed you. Amen.
(Prayer is an excerpt from the book, 40 Days for Life, available on Amazon).

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Day 9 - will you pray with us?

Prayer leads us to action.
Prayer moves hearts and minds.
Prayer opens hearts.
Prayer offers hope and healing.
Prayer sustains us.
Prayer is our strongest weapon.
Prayer places our hope in God.
Prayer humbles us.

Prayer for Prolife Efforts

Hail and blessed be the hour and the moment in which the Word of God came to earth as a single cell and made His abode in the most pure body of the Virgin Mary. O Cell Divine, in that hour hear the prayers that we send to you across the ages.
Welcome into Your loving care the souls of all those children who are rejected by their mothers.
Look with compassion upon those mothers who are driven by distress and delusion to seek the lives of their own offspring.
Have mercy upon those who turn their training in the healing arts to the purposes of death.
Inspire Christians everywhere to seek out and apply Christian solutions to social problems.
Bless our efforts to educate and serve. Help us to conduct them in the spirit of humility and love that will win minds and hearts to accept the truth, to minister to those in need, and to forgo the resort to violence. Amen.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Dear Lord, help me to accept your timetable rather than insisting on my own and to not be discouraged when the two don't coincide. When I face frustrations, roadblocks, disappointments, and persecution in my attempts to do your work, as I surely will, help me to not simply bear them but to rejoice in them, because they are what strengthen me and help me to grow to be more like your Son. It is no small privilege to participate with him in his sufferings - even in this small way. Amen.
(Prayer is an excerpt from the book, 40 Days for Life, available on Amazon).

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Day 8 - love encounter

My midwife is over in the same corner of the city as the abortion clinic.
And so... knowing i had to make that trip, i made plans to go pray at the clinic after my appointment was over.
My midwife had another midwife assisting who is in the process of getting certified in Canada - she's fresh from Nigeria - and her long dark fingers palpated my tiny son in the womb. She wore a smile on her face as she told me with her thick accent, "He's wiggling..."
They took forever to find his heartbeat - and it took both of them - sighing over the inconvenience of my anterior placenta - and i couldn't help but grin at my tiny son, knowing he had nothing to do with it's placement but thinking it would be funny if he did. When finally they did find it, my midwife gave a wry laugh and said, "Oh! It's actually a girl!"
And i laughed too, "i won't cry either way..."
i grabbed my paperwork for my third trimester blood work and walked quickly to my car. i pulled on my gloves, scarf, toque and zipped my jacket to my chin... it was cloudy, and the cold felt like it wanted to seep through every possible route straight to my chilled flesh.
i pulled around the final bend - and found the sidewalk bare - like my Father had cleared the space for an intimate gathering of just us two. i parked my little car and grabbed my sign out of the back... it's my testimony and it reads, "i was scared too... she was worth it." And if i tuck a 40 Days for Life sign underneath it, i can hold them both at the same time...
i grabbed my earphones and plugged them in to my ears - i sometimes listen to worship music as i pray - to help keep me focussed and soft.
i don't know that i could describe what followed as anything other than a love encounter... Anyone familiar with Jesus Culture (the band) - or just my JESUS -  might understand what i'm talking about... i felt Him there and i spent time meditating on the scripture verse that had been given to me by two different people in as many days....

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:1-8

And then the one that i am learning seems inextricably linked...

1 John 1:19

(If that's too succinct for you, go look up the surrounding verses... powerful stuff...)

So, i'm standing there on the sidewalk... and i'm realizing that the only reason i'm capable of love at all... is because of Him... and He is faithfully showing me how... and i'm listening to Kim Walker belt out, "He loves us - oh how He loves us!!"
And i see women - dropped off - walking through those doors alone...
And i know that as much as i want to encounter God... God wants to encounter them...
And for this same reason, i must want to encounter them too, to love them, to reach out to them... because my presence here means nothing without love. My testimony is just ink on posterboard without love. My reason for love is inescapable, unchangeable, irrevocable - because that's how God is... He loved me first & His love never fails...
Just as i was finishing my hour, a man pulled up in a nice car. He parked by the curb instead of in the parking lot and fairly ran inside. He was well dressed, with a suit and tie - he looked to be at least my age - far beyond the typical "crisis pregnancy" age. Soon, he came out again, helping a woman who was as well dressed as her husband. Her pretty dress coat was buttoned to her neck and she looked as prim as any woman who sits beside me in our little white collar suburban church on a Sunday morning... except she was obviously in pain. It took them a while to make it to the car, and gently he opened the door and helped her lower herself carefully to the seat. And i watched - and ached - and loved from across that street.
Abortions happen all the time in our city - all for different reasons, and under different circumstances. The only thing that never changes is death. Abortion masquarades as a cure all for so many circumstances: a special needs child in the womb, a poverty stricken family, yet. another. female child, a single mother, a highschool pregnancy, an abusive relationship, a terrifying rape... But the secret is that abortion does nothing to cure the roots of these "problems"... the result of abortion is not a cure all, it's a dead child. That's all. An abortion doesn't change the circumstances or turn back time... it just kills.
And i ache as i watch woman after woman leave that clinic in 'hour one' of their new reality. There is no judgement - there is only mercy on our side of the street... As a mother myself, i know the incredible transformative, overwhelming love that a mother feels for her child. The day that the realization of what she has done hits - i can only imagine the agony, the remorse and the grief that these women bear... i've seen it on the faces of women who have told me their abortion stories... even decades after they happened. It's not a pain to be wished on anyone.
Yes, i want to be a sign of hope to the families that book appointments at the clinic. My dream is that they'll turn around and not go through with the scheduled abortion. But for the ones that do go through with it... i feel it deep in my soul... we need to be there even more for them. We need to be there as a sign of mercy. My Father loves them...
And so do i.

The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the Lord,
the splendor of our God.
3 Strengthen the feeble hands,
steady the knees that give way;
4 say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
he will come to save you.”

5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
6 Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
7 The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay,
grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.
Isaiah 35:1-7
Dear Lord, I pray these verses from Isaiah for women who have suffered an abortion. They know the desert. Their souls are parched, their knees give way, their hearts are fearful. Do for them, Lord what you have done for {others}. Open their eyes and ears, quench their thirst, fill them until they are bursting with your life and shouting for joy. Use me, Lord, in whatever way you will, to invite them to your streams in the desert. Amen. (prayer is an excerpt from book, 40 Days for Life, available on amazon)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

day 7 - public vigil

My little son... Only 24 weeks... Not much more than a pound.
i carried him in my womb the day of our kick off rally. He made it impossible to button my coat, he also made it impossible to be mentally removed from the reason we gathered as he wiggled in my belly - a tiny life - unready for the outside world, stretching muscles, practicing movement, growing and developing.
After we had gathered in a dark little room we rented at the community center - sharing light and strength and encouragement for an hour, we drove to the vigil site. We climbed out of the protection of our vehicles onto that sanctified Holy Ground. Obeying the bubble zone court injunction to the letter, four by four we walked that side walk carrying simple signs and praying for a Holy God to intercede on behalf of the weak.
And my little son - tucked safe and warm inside the body of his mother was not counted in our number as i took my turn with three others.
It becomes easy in those moments to walk in silence - or to talk with those kindred spirits who walk beside us... but i forced myself to lift my voice - just a little - lest it be lost in the wind, "Oh, God..." i began, and my simple prayer - uttered in weakness floated over the grey icy ground we walked.
"Yes..." i heard beside me... Agreement. "Amen, Father..."
As i stumbled over my words and thoughts, this, "so be it" of the figure walking beside me strengthened my prayer and as my prayer subsided, his began. We slowed our stride as each of the four voiced our petition and we acknowledged with gratitude that we served a worthy God - one who neither slumbers nor sleeps.
And the motion of our walk - the swaying of his mother's body as i walked and prayed outside the clinic that brings death - rocked my tiny son to sleep.

"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If i give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:1-8

"Dear Lord, your love is so far above my own, I confess that I am not sure how to love people i've never met. But your Word says we love because you first loved us (1 John 4:19). You love each woman entering and leaving every abortion facility. As I read the voices of some of those women today, I could sense their loss and pain. Today, I pray for the women in my town who have gone through the painful experience of abortion. I thank you for the people you have called to the front lines to stand and pray and be a witness that you love us all. Increase my love for those women today, Lord, and give me the boldness to take the next step in showing your love to them in concrete ways. Amen." (excerpt from book, 40 Days for Life, available on Amazon).

Monday, February 18, 2013

Day 6 - How to pray

At our kick of rally, we covered some important topics - and as i was listening to Kay'd talk about prayer i thought that with her permission, maybe i should try to include some of what she shared here.

Kay'd has been praying at the Kensington abortion clinic for years - and one of the first things that she encouraged us to pray was for Jesus to be with us. I love that... so like a child to come to our Father and acknowledge our need of Him.

Secondly, we were encouraged to pray for protection. So many of our Catholic brothers and sisters have beautiful prayers memorized for the times when words fail. One of the ones that was mentioned at our meeting was a prayer for the protection of Archangel Michael:

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

This prayer reminds me of the story in Daniel chapter 10 when Michael responds to Daniel in his distress. We too, are heard...

We were encouraged to keep in mind all who need our prayers: (Feel free to add to this list!)
- those contemplating abortion.
- the conversion of abortionists, clinic workers, nurses and administration.
- those little ones suffering from the violence in the womb - the mothers and fathers of the aborted innocents and their extended families.
 - political leaders, the court and justice systems, leaders of our health care system and all those in positions of power who allow this to continue.
- for tax laws to change - so that we are no longer forced to pay for something that is morally abhorrent.
- for the community passing by in traffic - that their conscience may be stirred to more fully consider and understand the abortion issue.
- for the protection of all those on the front lines of this spiritual battle.

Kay'd and her family are Catholic, and they often choose to pray the rosary. Others choose to read and meditate on psalms or other pieces of scripture, prayers that are sent out in our campaigns - or just listening to the Holy Spirit and praying as He leads...

There are times when silence is appropriate - listening, grieving, allowing ourselves to be transformed. Prayer is powerful that way. It doesn't have to be noisy and full of words - our Father understands our groans, our tears and our wordless pleadings too.

Prayer is the foundational aspect of this campaign - and worthy of our focus and care as we bring our desires to our Heavenly Father who loves each one.

"Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." Matthew 18:19-20

"Dear Lord, you know what holds me back. It's easy to tell myself that I am too insignificant to make a difference, especially when you call me out of my comfort zone. I confess, Lord, that all too often I have trouble seeing past the rain on my windshield and forget - or even worse, don't believe - that you have a grand, eternal plan and that you call me to play my part in it. Today I pray for your strength in the simple obedience to step out no matter what the world things of me. And I ask you to give me the boldness to play my part in your work of saving lives. Amen."

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Day 5 - Kick off rally today from 2-4pm!

I wanted to repost this beautiful, encouraging message about one of our previous rallies. They might seem like, "one extra thing" to do or to show up to - but really our gatherings with fellow prolifers are few - and these meetings are deeply encouraging! So, please, if you can make it - we'd love to see you there!

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God- this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12-1&2

"Dear Lord, give me the strength to set aside my own fears, desires, aspirations, and plans and conform to your perfect will. Help me with priorities- when it's a choice between some new comfort or diversion for myself and the possibility of saving a life, help me to see that choice in clear terms. And remind me to be grateful for all you're already doing, not only for me and my loved ones but for the unborn and the desperate families searching for answers. Help them to find the right ones. Amen." (from the book _40 Days for Life_ available on amazon).


by fawne

This battle we face--the fight for life--is often hard and lonely and even downright discouraging at times. I stand on the small space of sidewalk across from the abortion clinic and wonder if my prayers are doing one single thing. Often, there is no evidence of change. Despite my begging prayers that this woman, the next woman, the woman after her, will not open that door and walk inside...most of the time the door still opens and shuts behind her. I am across the street and cannot hear the dull thud of it closing...but I do not need to be over there to feel it right down to my core. Bang. Another death. Bang. Another defeat. Bang. Another loss.

The other day you gathered....those of you who ache to see abortion end....



And you worshiped God together.....


And shared the joys you have experienced and the change you have seen through prayer.


And I witnessed your faithfulness...and today as I sit and pound out words I think about twelve men who are a lot like you.

These men were asked to go on a mission. Is it not the same with you? With me? Hasn't God asked us to go on a mission for the unborn? To be a voice? To intercede with prayer? To plead for justice and to show love and mercy? Did you begin this mission with zeal and excitement?

These twelve men did. They charged into their "calling" and were faithful for 40 days. 40 DAYS! And then ten of them stopped focusing on the greatness of God and started focusing on the seemingly insurmountable walls of the enemy. (Numbers 13, 14)

Can you relate to that feeling? I sure can.

Sometimes I want to quit. I don't want the weight on my shoulders anymore. I don't want to pray without seeing results any longer. The wall I am asked to scale seems to high. The burden I'm called to bear feels too heavy. I cannot see the greatness of God anymore because I'm focused on the impossible-ness of the mission.

I have forgotten who my God is. I have quickly forgotten the way He rescued me from my enemy. I have forgotten that I use to be in BONDAGE but now I am FREE. I have forgotten the miracles, the parting of the Red Sea, the manna on the ground and the water gushing from the rock.


And this hard place....this place of decision....what will I do? Will I choose to believe that the God who sent me on this mission is accomplishing His purpose or will I only see the clinic door as it opens and shuts....yet again?!

I want to be a Joshua. I want to be a Caleb. I want to believe, to be fully confident that the God who sends people on missions (whether it is to spy out a land or whether it is to pray for a miracle across the street from an abortion clinic)....this God, is the God of the impossible.

Last Saturday, I saw some Calebs and some Joshuas....and I take courage from their example. The "walls" we attempt to scale may be high. The enemy we fight against may be strong. But all my fears and insecurities crumble in the presence of the great I AM!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

day 4 - kick off event!

A message from our campaign director!

Hi all,
Just a reminder about our Kick-off celebration this Sunday, Feb 17, from 2-4 pm.
We will meet at the West Hillhurst Community Center (1940 6th Avenue NW), down the street from the Clinic, at 6th Ave and 19th St. Use the Arena entrance off the parking lot and immediately go up the stairs to the Arena viewing room.
There will be refreshments at the community center, and a great chance to fellowship and share. We have a lot of information we will be able to provide that I just can't do it any justice in an e-mail.
Folks have done a wonderful job maintaining a peaceful prayerful manner. Thank you. This is how we conduct ourselves. It diffuses all tension by calling upon the only true peace through Jesus, who suffered and died for us, and already has won our ultimate victory.
If we don't see you this Sunday, I hope you have a great weekend celebrating Family Day.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. - Hebrew 12:1-2
Thank you, Lord, for the many ways you provide for me. For your daily provision of food, shelter, and other of life's necessities that, even if it doesn't come easily, does come when I need it. Thank you for the provision you make when I'm called to special challenges, such as 40 Days for Life. Continue to meet the needs of 40 Days for Life for financial support and for the energy and emotional resilience to stand and pray for long hours, often in the face of adversity. Help me to not take your provision for granted but rather to feel anew a humble and loving gratitude each time I experience it. Amen. (from the book, 40 Days for Life)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Day 3 - whose plans?

At our last organizational meeting, our campaign director asked a couple of new faces to introduce themselves and explain a little bit why they were involved in prolife. It's an interesting question - one that i ask myself constantly, 'Why this little bit of the battle, Father? Why the littlest ones? Why such an uncomfortable, controversial place for me to stand?'
These are common questions for most people involved in prolife work, i've found. Most of us understand the delicate place we've been asked to stand, and the vulnerability of all those involved in the battle. The scripture and prayer included in the book, 40 Days for Life for day three speak directly to that questioning of a gentle Father - who so tenderly leads us...

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9

"Father, never let me doubt your power to accomplish your will. And remind me to not try to limit the breadth and grandeur of your vision. My dreams and aspirations may be modest, but yours are sweeping, majestic, and awe-inspiring. Give me the courage to dream big along with you. Amen."

The stories that unfold from the question, "why are you involved in prolife work?" point to the obvious leading of a Holy God who has a plan, and a deep love for human kind. He longs to see the prolifers engaging in this issue changed by their involvement and prayers. He longs to see reconciliation, salvation, lives changed... lives saved.
We all have a part to do - if you listen carefully, He's giving you your instructions...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Day 2 - why do we vigil?

It made me uncomfortable, the first time i went to vigil outside our city's large abortion clinic.
i knew that there were around 5000 little ones that lost their lives there every year... i knew that young children were ushered through those doors and coached without their parent's consent or knowledge through a procedure that would end the child's life growing within the child. i knew that women travelled from out of province to visit this clinic that specializes in death...
But it made me uncomfortable to stand there and vigil.
Throughout the years that i have been involved in prolife, though, some of my thoughts on the presence of those who vigil outside the clinics and hospitals that offer abortions have begun to have more clarity, and i want to share some of those thoughts with you today.

We vigil at the abortion clinic because that's where abortions happen. We could have a prayer meeting at our local churches - and yes... our Heavenly Father would hear those prayers too... but when you've gone to the clinic, and made eye contact with those parents going through those doors, your prayers change in quality, your compassion is roused and your heart cannot help but be broken. Abortions aren't happening at our local churches... in Calgary, they're happening on 5th Ave... and they're happening a lot.

We vigil at the abortion clinic because we want to be a sign of hope for those little ones. Is there hope at an abortion clinic? Yes. There is. God has not turned his back, or forsaken those tiny ones... and neither have the prolifers who are there, who even in those last moments are offering the mamas a chance to change their minds and let their little ones continue to live in peace. At the time of this writing, 40 Days for Life has heard stories of almost 7000 children being saved from abortion worldwide during our campaigns. Our presence at the clinic, and our voice of hope is saving lives.

We vigil at the abortion clinic because we want to be a sign of mercy for those mothers and fathers who have scheduled an appointment with death at that clinic. And we are also there to extend mercy to the abortion workers who make their living taking the lives of our most vulnerable citizens. After an abortion has taken place, we need mercy more than ever... The bible tells us in Micah that God requires us to love mercy... and love her we do. Because of our presence and our cry for mercy during 40 Days for Life, abortion workers have left their jobs and refused to take part in abortion any longer, women have found healing from their past abortions - and the sign of mercy that our presence brings, allows our communities to draw closer to the Father who loves us all.

We need prolifers. We need them to be praying, fasting, reaching out in our communities and churches - gently speaking the truth in love.
And we need people who are full of love who are willing to stand on a cold sidewalk outside the building where abortions are happening to be a sign of hope and mercy to a culture that desperately needs us.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Day 1 - We Open!

Here we go again!
i prayed today at the Kensington abortion clinic - and as the sun broke through the thick clouds and hit my upturned face, i knew that i was right where i was supposed to be. This vigil will be it's own unique transformative experience and i cannot wait to see what my Father has in store.
For anyone that is new, today i'd like to just share a few resources with you and welcome you as we undertake this beautiful, prayer-filled journey together.
If you are going to be taking part in our vigil, it would be great for you to take a look at our WEBSITE. We are hoping that our volunteers will read and agree to our CODE OF CONDUCT and make themselves aware of the limitations that are placed upon our vigil by the court injunction that limits our numbers and the locations we are allowed to pray. (For a copy of the court injunction, feel free to contact us! Or attend our opening celebration where we will go over the court injunction in detail.)
We are planning our opening celebration for this Sunday, February 17th from 2-4pm at the West Hillhurst Community Center (right down the road from the abortion clinic). Please come and join us as we go over some common questions and encourage each other in this beautiful time of outreach in the city of Calgary. (To help you find us, take the entrance just off the parking lot and climb the stairs to the viewing area above the arena - same location as in previous vigils!)
During the 40 days, i've decided to read and follow along in the new book by David Bereit and Shawn Carney titled, 40 Days for Life. It's a book of true stories that is beautifully encouraging and uplifting. i'll try to share some of what i glean from it here too as the opportunities arise.
As usual, we are accepting submissions to this blog - and we will be blogging daily throughout the 40 days as we seek to bring God glory as we pray for an end to abortion in Calgary where over 5000 abortions take place annually.

"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." - Romans 12:9-12

Heavenly Father, fill me with your zeal and fan the flame of my spiritual fervour, so that my heart is aligned with your heart. You are the God of life and the giver of life. You create life in the mother's womb. Every life is precious to you, fearfully and wonderfully made. For each of these next forty days, dear Lord, keep me joyful in hope and faithful in prayer for the unborn and for all those affected by the tragedy of abortion. Amen
(prayer excerpt from the book, 40 Days for Life)