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)

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