Saturday, April 20, 2013

Compelled Pt. 3

This story does not have a happy ending. There are no winners here. Of all the characters in this tragedy, the baby is the most fortunate. That baby is with Jesus. The mother is the one who lost the most. She is somewhere right now, knowing what she did. How is she feeling? Can she sleep at night, or is she tormented, knowing what she did? Is she relieved that now she doesn't have to tell her dad? Does she feel empty, emotionless? Will she go to her grave with this secret never revealed and healed? Will this abortion be a catalyst to lead her to salvation? What about the father? Does he realize what he has done? Does he know that he has lost something precious? There are so many things I will never know this side of eternity.
The whole experience that day was gut wrenching. As I processed through what had happened, I found myself wondering how people have stayed at the front line of this battle for so many years. I know intercessors out there who have been praying at this clinic for a very long time, decades even. How do they go through this torture again and again? How can I go through this again? But as I think these thoughts, I know I will go back. I will stand at 1750 Wright Street again, because of hope. Maybe someday, a baby's life will be saved, a mother will avoid the guilt of murder, a father will know his child and a grandfather his grandchild because I stand out there. Most importantly, I know I will stand there because it makes me pray. I know I can pray at home. But nothing makes abortion more real to me than standing right there, watching women with empty eyes go into the clinic and knowing that in that building children are being murdered. I will go back.

I am honored to stand with several very faithful warriors in this battle. But I ask you to join the battle. Your presence at this clinic or one in your area is so important. Often, just seeing people out there will change a mother's mind. One day, I heard a young man, there with his girlfriend, exclaim, "I just can't do it! Look at all these people!" Sadly, that couple also lost their baby. You are needed. You are so needed. For every baby we see rescued, I would guess that roughly 40 are lost, just at this clinic. But that is one life. What is holding you back? We are all called to this battle. What is your part in it, to pray at a clinic, to give support to a pregnancy resource center, to talk your friend out of killing her baby? What is God calling you to do? How are you compelled?

Compelled Pt. 2

My encounter with the couple seeking abortion happened about 9:45 am. The abortionist was not at the clinic yet. She would not arrive until 10:30. So I knew there was still a window of opportunity for the young woman to change her mind. All the intercessors outside the clinic began to pray for her. We often see women arrive for abortions. But we don't always have such a window into why they would make this choice. This one became much more personal. I prayed and prayed, begging the Lord to change her heart, knowing that she had hardened herself for this, asking for her heart to be softened. I knew it was not too late for her to change her mind.  I watched as the abortionist pulled into the clinic. I didn't see the young woman leave.

My heart was breaking as I thought of the different levels of injustice happening right before me. Obviously, there was the injustice to the baby, who was being punished for existing. There there was the young mother, who was going to have to live with pain and regret about her decision this day. There is a father, who will never know his child, complicit in his child's death. Was he grieving for this child he will never know? Was he just relieved for a "quick fix" that will let him get away with this without getting caught? There was a grandfather, who didn't even know his grandchild existed and who had seemingly done something that would make his daughter afraid to even tell him about this child. My thoughts went on, thinking about how this mother had chosen to kill her child rather than face her father. She took the coward's way out, choosing to protect herself rather than her baby. Although in the end, she hurt herself as well. I thought of the wife, husband and parent this baby may have become one day. A whole generation gone because no one wanted to take responsibility. So a baby was murdered.

My thoughts came unbidden that I could have, should have, said something more. I could have asked how far along she is. I could have identified with her as a fellow expectant mother. I wished I had been holding the fetal model set. Perhaps if she had seen what her baby looked like right then, she could not have gone through with it. My heart broke as I faced my own incompetence and failure. As illogical as it was, I felt that I had failed this child and this mother.

I know there is likely nothing I could have said to change her mind. She was raised in a culture that glorifies promiscuity and offers abortion as an easy way to get out of trouble, to get rid of an inconvenience. It's a lie that too many believe until it is too late. There is no going back.

Part 3 is coming later today.

Compelled Pt. 1

I had decided to let this blog go. I have found I'm not a great blogger. I think I would rather live life than write about it! I've always been that way. The experience is way more fun than reflecting on it. But there are times I am compelled to write. When that happens, I realize that this blog may not be dead after all. Perhaps someone will stumble upon a post here and it will help them. I hope this post will help someone.

This week, the kids and I were praying and handing out material outside the abortion clinic where we go about twice a month. One couple stopped to take some brochures. I stepped up to their car and began with my standard speech.

"This is an abortion clinic. If you know someone who is pregnant, here is a list of resources where women can go for help so that they don't have to get an abortion. Also, it lists a ministry called Rachael's Vineyard that offers post abortion healing."

As I was speaking, my eyes fell to the phone in her lap. I saw that her GPS had directed her to the clinic, that she was going in. I asked, "Are you pregnant?" "Yes," was her reply. "Are you here for an abortion?" She nodded. My heart sank. "You don't have to do this. You will regret it for the rest of your life. May I ask why you feel like you need to get an abortion?"

"My dad."

"Does he know you are pregnant?"


"What will he do if he finds out?"

"I just know my dad. It won't be good if he finds out."

"You don't want to do this. You will regret it for the rest of your life."

"I've already decided. I've thought a lot about it and I've already decided."

"You have a new life inside you. You both (indicating her and her boyfriend) are responsible for this life you have created. This is your baby. You don't have to do this. Facing your father's wrath is nothing compared to the regret you will experience for the rest of your life. Adoption is always an option."

"I've already made up my mind."

At this point, I felt there was nothing more I could say, so I asked if I could pray for her before she went into the clinic. She got very uncomfortable at that and pointed out that we were blocking the street. I offered to move out of the way and as I stepped toward the curb, she shook her head no at me and they pulled into the clinic. I called after her, "I will be praying for you to change your mind!" That was the last I saw of her.

Part 2 will follow this afternoon.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Momentary, Light Affliction

We lost our baby to a miscarriage last week. We found out at my first prenatal appointment that the baby had not made it past 5 weeks. Two days later, I started bleeding and that Friday night I had the miscarriage. The only real complication medically was that I got dehydrated from blood loss and had to go to the ER. I'm also anemic, but they said that I'm no worse than after I've given birth. So I'm just taking iron to build my blood supply back up. I was grateful that I did not need a blood transfusion or a DNC.

The last week for me has been a week of grieving and healing. I caught a stomach virus in the ER and as a result have been quarantined to my room this week so that I don't spread it to the rest of the family. So far so good, no one else has gotten sick! It has been good in many ways to be stuck in my room. I was able to spend a day journaling and mourning the loss of my baby. I have also been able to do some planning and scheduling for our coming school year. I would not have taken the time to do that if I was busy having summer fun with the kids right now. So, although it has been hard on the family and I am greatly looking forward to the end of my confinement, I am also grateful that the Lord works all things for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

I wanted to share the Lord's goodness through this process. He has walked through this with us and I have never felt alone or unprotected. Throughout this pregnancy, things never seemed right to me. I had physical indications of this, but I also knew in my Spirit that this baby would never be born into this world. When I would speak of the baby coming in early March, it never felt like it would really happen. A few weeks before the miscarriage, I realized that I was worrying about this and prayed with my accountability partner confessing the sin of worry and surrendering this baby to the Lord's plan. Even on the day of my prenatal appointment, as I was filling out my preliminary paperwork, I remember wondering if all that paperwork was necessary. So when the doctor became concerned that he was not seeing a 10 week old baby, I was not surprised. It just confirmed what I already knew in my spirit. I am so very grateful that the Lord was preparing my heart ahead of time, especially that He has lead me through surrendering to Him before I lost the baby. How gently He leads us!

The miscarriage was fairly traumatic to me. I lost a lot of blood and that was scary. I was afraid I was going to die. I don't know if I was overreacting or not. I probably was. It was traumatic nonetheless. Something happened in the ER that was another sweet assurance of the Lord's covering over me. My mom had just hung up the phone from checking up on me when our pastor from Germany called. He said the Lord had laid our family on his heart and was calling to see if we were ok. She was able to share my situation with him and they prayed together for me. When she called a few minutes later and told us what happened, I just cried. I know the Lord is protecting me, but this was the confirmation I needed in that moment. He knows exactly what we need and He never fails us!

We have been and are continuing to be blessed this week with meals from family and friends. I did not expect this to happen, but we have meals coming well into next week. It is more than I could have asked for! I am honored to be the recipient of blessing from the Body of Christ. Even in this the Lord has more than supplied.

We are still grieving as the grief comes. But we are also filled with joy and peace that the Lord's plans for us are perfect, even when the plan is hard. I was thinking about something our pastor says. He says that if all our trials were placed in a big pile, we would each go to the pile and pick out the one that belongs to us. We would not reach for other people's problems, because our problems have been tailored to fit us and are exactly what we need. I think he is right.

2 Corinthians 4:17, 18 says, "For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." I want that "eternal weight of glory" in me. My Father in Heaven knows how best to work that in me, so I will press in to Him and trust that every trial He brings my way is part of His perfect plan for me. May He be glorified!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Blessing in Obedience

Someone asked me recently if I believed that the Holy Spirit could tell a couple when they are done having children, thus allowing them to cut off their fertility.  I didn't have a solid answer at the time.  But it prompted me to do some serious thinking about the subject.  For us, my husband and I believe in leaving that decision up to the Lord.  And I can name blessing after blessing in our own lives for having made that decision.  But what about the church in general?  I know people who have ended their fertility for seemingly very godly reasons.  One couple had four children already and loved having children.  But they wanted to open their home and hearts to adopting and felt lead to limit their biological children so that they could do that.  I have heard of families only having a couple of children so that they could be more free to minister in the church.  Then there are the women on whom pregnancy is very hard and those to whom pregnancy can be very dangerous.

After mulling this over for several weeks and not coming to a definitive conclusion in my own mind, I decided to do something intelligent.  I asked my husband his opinion.  And, as it typical for him, his answer was solid.  So after chewing on his answer for a couple more weeks, I thought I would share it here.

There is no commandment that says we may not end our fertility,  nothing we can point to that says, "If you end your fertility, you are sinning."  In other words, it's not in the Ten Commandments.  But if we look at Biblical principle, there is a very strong argument for having an open womb.  The first command ever given in the Bible is to "be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and subdue it."  That phrase "fill the earth" literally means to fill to overflowing, an overabundance.  So it's not a stretch to see that God has designed us to be very fruitful.  This command was given before sin had entered the world.  So this was God's plan in his perfect creation.  Since God is the same yesterday, today and forever, why would He change His plan just because we're in the 21st century?  His principles stand throughout time.  So if He has told us to fill the earth to overflowing, who are we to decide what is enough?

Infertility in the Bible is seen as a curse.  In Leviticus 20, childlessness is the punishment for incest.  Similarly, Michal, David's wife, had no children because she mocked David for dancing before the Ark of the Lord.  (2 Sam. 6:23)  Look at Genesis 20:18 and Hosea 9:11 for further examples of this.  If barrenness is a curse, why would someone want to bring that curse upon themselves?

Conversely, having children is seen as a blessing. Psalm 127 is very famous for speaking of children as a blessing.  Fertility is part of the blessing of obedience in Deuteronomy 7:14 and Exodus 23:26.  Part of the blessing given to Abraham and his descendants is many offspring.  (Genesis 22:17, 26:24, 28:3)

Also, the Lord is given full credit for the creation of life and the opening of the womb.  He is the one who enabled Rachel to have children. (Genesis 30:22) He also allowed Leah to have children because she was unloved in her marriage. (Genesis 29:31)   Isaac prayed for his wife, Rebekah, to have children and after that she became pregnant.  The Bible says, "The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant." (Gen 25:21)  If the Lord is the one who opens and closes the womb, then shouldn't we leave it up to Him?  Doesn't He know what we need so much better than we do?

There is much more that the Bible has to say about this, but it would fill a book.  So if you would like to read more, I highly recommend Nancy Campbell's "Be Fruitful and Multiply".  I was also blessed by "A Mom Just Like You" by Vicki Farris.  Although this book was not written around this subject, she does share her personal journey from using birth control to leaving it to the Lord.  There is also much more in her book that will be encouraging for mothers.

I used to be someone who thought those open womb people were crazy.  I found my children to be burdensome much of the time and I often felt trapped and unsatisfied in my role as a mother.  Only as I have learned to embrace God's vision for women and mothers have I entered into a season of unparalleled joy.  Through this experience, I have come to love obeying the Word of the Lord, whether or not I understand why.  I am now in pursuit of understanding everything His Word says about me, so that my life can be in line with the Lord in every way possible.  As I do this, the blessings keep increasing and increasing.  My home is becoming more and more righteous.  My children are happier, my marriage is unbelievably blessed and I am filled with joy and peace.  God's ways go against our human understanding.  They just don't make sense most of the time!  But when we obey, we can be sure that we will be blessed!

These are my "unplanned" blessings.  When I think that I could have prevented them from existing, my heart is grieved.  They bring our family so much joy.

Daniel's Baptism

Saturday was a very special day for our family, especially our oldest son Daniel.  He was baptized, thereby publicly declaring his intent to follow the Lord for the rest of his life.  The occasion was made even more special because my husband was the one to baptize him.  Since he is Daniel's spiritual leader, it seemed fitting for him to baptize his son.

Just before Daniel is dunked.
One year ago, Daniel could not have been baptized.  We had not seen the fruit of the Holy Spirit in his life.  But in September of last year, he surrendered his heart to the Lord.  We have seen him grow so much in this past year.  In many ways, he is not even the same person he used to be.  We are so proud of him and thrilled that he has decided to follow Jesus.
I missed the shot where he was under, but the deed has been done.