What choosing life looks like…

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The above is similar to something I saw on Facebook recently. And there was a challenge… repost if you’re against abortion. And I thought about it. But I hesitated. And then I just scrolled on. Because honestly, I wasn’t up for it. See, I’ve been in a funk. My new baby is here and I’ve been pretty busy. Sleep has been interrupted and my hormones are all over the place. ALL OVER THE PLACE. I have crying and laughing episodes within minutes of each other. In fact, this  past weekend I just sat on the couch and cried and cried. Tears streamed as my husband and son sat near me. But they weren’t alarmed. No, there was no cause for real concern because this is just the norm for me. At least for now it is. My son even says, “Mom, you’re so sensitive.” And so, I am. Sensitive. Ultra-sensitive.

You know, there’s no real reason for my funk. On Saturday, after a very trying car ride into town, I tried to use hormones as an excuse. But my husband called me on it. And rightfully so because what in the world do I have to complain about? I have been blessed. Incredibly so.

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See what I mean. Look at who rests in my arms. And gaze upon the boy who sits by my side. They’re my children and the joy they bring is evident upon my face. At least it was that day. Truth is, I’ve strapped on those inward goggles. I’ve been a bit homebound lately, and so, me and my little corner of the world is all I’ve seen. And despite blessings beyond compare, I’ve felt some sadness. Perhaps a bit of post-partum depression. But this morning, I seemed to have woken up. And it seems I am to revisit a subject I prefer to remain closed. But every now and then, He prompts me. And so, here I go again…

Choose life.

Choose life. I’m sure you’ve seen this phrase displayed upon yellow license plates along with children’s cartoon faces. Here, I’ll show you…

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It’s the Pro-Life movement’s cry. Choose life! And though on this plate, the faces are cartoons… in real life, they’re flesh and blood. Real live children. But I won’t enter the debate of when life begins. That’s for another rainy day because in truth, we believe what we believe. Some say life begins at conception while others say a specific number of weeks. Me? I dare say life begins before time began. Life began the moment God thought you into existence. But that’s not the issue I want to probe today. It’s this catchy phrase – choose life – that captures my attention. See, it comes from Deuteronomy 30:19 and the rest of that phrase says, “Choose life so that you and your descendants may live.” And you know, because of my past I can testify to that statement. Because I chose not to. Choose life, that is. Rather, I chose what the world says is okay. And the end result was death. In more ways than one.

Nineteen years ago, I made a choice. I was in another country and felt pretty much alone. And because I decided to do what’s deemed legal, I made another choice. The choice not to research what was going on inside my body. I had no clue what was taking place inside my womb. And so, I chose to remain ignorant. Because ignorance is bliss, right? I’m not sure if I was offered a sonogram or not. If I was, oh, that I had chosen to see. Oh, that I had taken a closer look. But instead, I made an appointment that forever changed my life. The doctor placed his hand on my belly and said, “Go to sleep, Pam…” And so I did. And it seems as if for the past nineteen years, I’ve been dozing on and off. Hitting the snooze button more times than I ought to have. But this morning, God woke me up. He said, “Get up!”

And so, here I am. Getting out of bed. And using what He gave me… my voice. Because it’s my right. Freedom of speech. And because I’ve lived through my choices, I feel I should say what needs to be said about abortion. In a non-condemning and non-self-righteous kind of way. Because I’ve heard it from others folks… those who perhaps haven’t walked through it. Well, sometimes they come across in a way I hope not to. But I walked that way. I know firsthand what it does to a woman. That it brings death and curses with it. And though I’ve come very far with it, rising above the ashes of my past, there’s a bit more to process. A nugget remains buried deep. But for today, I’ll do what I can. I’ll encourage others to go another route. The route that brings blessing. The path of life. May they choose it. For this is what choosing life looks like…

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I was brought to tears this morning. Of course, that’s not surprising. As I said, my hormones are ALL OVER THE PLACE. However, these were tears of joy for a dear friend of mine. Today is a big day as she’s adopting a baby. And while praying for her, and the mother who decided to give her child away to another, I remembered. That poster I chose not to display on my Facebook wall came to mind. And I remembered something else… that November is adoption awareness month. And I saw something beautiful. For there is a selfless woman who’s making the right choice. She decided not to abort her baby, but placed her little girl up for adoption instead. And today, I celebrate the life she chose. And not just a newborn baby’s life, but also my friend’s. For new life has been breathed into her longing heart. It’s what she wanted most… a baby of her own. A little one to call her “Mama.” And so, her dream comes true today. All because a woman made a choice. She chose life. And because she did, both she and her descendants shall live.

One man was there who had been sick for 38 years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew he had already been there a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to get well?” “Sir,” the sick man answered, “I don’t have a man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I’m coming, someone goes down ahead of me.” “Get up,” Jesus told him, “pick up your bedroll and walk!” Instantly the man got well, picked up his bedroll, and started to walk. John 5:8-9

This morning, it was as if I awoke from a deep slumber. See, I’ve been in a funk. Tears and hormones and darkness. I’ve been sleeping. But today I hear God anew. He asked me if I want to be well. And I do. Oh, I’m sick alright, but mostly… I’m sick of me. Because I am blessed. Despite terrible choices I made long ago, God has blessed my path. And now, He expects me to get up, pick up my bedroll and walk. Because what’s past is past. And just because I made bad choices a long time ago doesn’t mean I have to dwell there. In the dark. Sleeping. Oh, that doctor may have said go to sleep, but God says wake up. He shows me I can celebrate the other choices I made. The right ones. Their names are Levi and Annabelle. And they make my life beautiful everyday. I just have to be awake to see that.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
     and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.  Isaiah 61:1-3

 

Navigating Stones

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“The LORD then said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the disgrace of Egypt from you.” Therefore, that place has been called Gilgal to this day.” Joshua 5:9

The land belonged to the Israelites. God promised it to them and they simply needed to take it. But the Jordan river was an obstacle. So the priests carried the ark of God as they set foot in raging waters. And just as the Red Sea dried up years earlier, the Jordan River did the same. A miracle took place as the entire nation crossed the Jordan. Afterward 12 men were sent back to the middle of the river to take up 12 stones from among where the priests feet rested. Joshua commanded the people to set up the stones, standing stones, as a memorial to the day. And after crossing the river, the Israelites found themselves at a place called Gilgal, which means to roll. For that’s where God rolled away the disgrace of their past. The stones were a reminder. And so, Joshua commanded the people, “In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ you should tell them, ‘The waters of the Jordan were cut off in front of the ark of the LORD’s covenant. When it crossed the Jordan, the Jordan’s waters were cut off.’ Therefore these stones will always be a memorial for the Israelites.”

Handwritten notes in my Bible show Gilgal to be “a place of worship, rest, no battle.” Basically, Gilgal is the place I find myself after crossing a raging river that once stood before me like an impenetrable wall. It’s where I find myself once I’ve given up the struggle, allowing God to fight for me. And it’s where I stand in awe and worship because of the might God displayed on my behalf. Gilgal is where I found myself at the end of January. For that’s when I realized I am forgiven. I accepted it and believed it. And that’s when the reproach of my past rolled away. In Gilgal. It was then, after crossing the raging river of my past, that I readied myself to move forward in order to possess the land God laid out before me. But first, a standing stone. Thus, the last blog written as a memorial to God’s activity in my life. It’s there so that when my children ask me, “What does this stone mean to you….” I can tell them.

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And then, last week. A fiery dart or a fiery trial, I cannot say as I found myself facing a new stone. But unlike a standing stone, this one could cause me to stumble. See, I had just sent forth words as a memorial to God. I wanted everyone to know the works of His hand… how He dried up the raging rivers of my past as I crossed over to camp out at Gilgal. And yet, immediately after setting up that standing stone, I found sadness. For I learned a loved one pointed a finger at me for the very thing I had overcome. Unbeknownst to me, a scarlet “A” had been thrust upon my chest. But unlike Hawthorne’s red letter, which stands for adultery, my “A” represents abortion. And I wasn’t even there to defend myself when words were spoken against me. I couldn’t open my mouth in defense for I hadn’t a clue as to what had been said months earlier. And this hurts because it was a loved one who spewed out the ugliness about my past to another loved one. But it wasn’t to build me up. No, it was meant to make me less. The very thing I overcame, my past, was used against me to cast a negative light in my direction. And so, a woman I deeply care for heard something about me from another woman’s quick lips. And last week, it felt as if a rock were thrown at me. A stone was cast in my direction.

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Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, making her stand in the center. “Teacher,” they said to Him, “this woman was caught in the act of committing adultery. In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do You say?”  They asked this to trap Him, in order that they might have evidence to accuse Him. Jesus stooped down and started writing on the ground with His finger. When they persisted in questioning Him, He stood up and said to them, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then He stooped down again and continued writing on the ground. When they heard this, they left one by one, starting with the older men. Only He was left, with the woman in the center. When Jesus stood up, He said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, Lord,” she answered. “Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus. “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.” John 8:3-11

Today, I find myself at a fork in the road for a decision has to be made. See, in his wisdom, King Solomon said there’s a time to throw away stones and a time to gather stones. And in reading his words, I know there’s a time for everything… a time for every purpose under heaven. And today, I need to know if it’s time. Is it time to hold the stone flung my way, or time to throw it out? And I can keep it if I want to. Oh, I can carry that rock as long as I want… even till it becomes so heavy that it bogs me down and I stall. In truth, that stone can easily push me back into the pit I so recently exited. It can roll right over top of me, if I allow it, sealing the door of my tomb. A rolling stone. Or, I can choose to let that stone roll right on by. Right now. Instead of gathering thrown stones of finger pointing and condemnation, I can gather the standing stones. Like the one I recently set up at Gilgal when my reproach was rolled away. I can choose to cling tightly to standing stones rather than trouble stones. The stumbling stones. The thrown stones. That’s my choice… to gather or to throw away stones.

In order to resume my journey with God today, I have to know how to navigate stones. For they lie all around me. And today, I choose to discard the stumbling stone that so recently rolled onto my path. Rather than trip over the rock that had my past written all over it, I lift my foot high and step right over it. One quick glance backward assures me I successfully made it past the hurdle. And so, once more, I cross what seemed impenetrable. And once more, my reproach rolls away from me. I move forward another step into the land of Gilgal. For I find myself at a place of worship. And a place or rest. No battle is necessary here. And so, once more I’m ready to carry on. It’s time to possess the land the lies before me… navigating stones along the way.

Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they went to the tomb at sunrise.  They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone from the entrance to the tomb for us?”  Looking up, they observed that the stone—which was very large—had been rolled away.  Mark 16:2-5

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WB6jhbtDUZE

The Visitation

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…and they will not leave one stone on another in you, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”              Luke 19:44

How do you know when it’s time to leave your tomb? How do you know when it’s time to leave the past behind and move forward into your destiny… to embrace a new thing that God’s calling you to? I imagine that answer is different for us all, as God speaks to each one individually. But for me, it was after I recognized the time of my visitation. This is when I knew the time for walking forward drew near.

I consider January 31, 2014 as the day that God came down to meet with me. This was the time of my visitation for He entered my bedroom and met me right where I was. And there was a finality to what He said… “It is finished.” And so, I let go of my past. Finally. I gave up the struggle and accepted reality. Because I realized with certainty that I cannot save myself, which is what I had been trying to do for so long. And I could not rehash my past one more day, expecting God’s wrath to rain down for deeds done long ago. So that day, I just stopped. Everything. I realized the futility in trying to ward off God’s anger by being a good girl. Because in truth, I can never be good enough. Furthermore, His anger was satisfied by the work of the cross, which was completed long ago. And so, on January 31, 2014, I surrendered. I embraced the fact that I am a forgiven woman. That’s the day the old faded away, and the new shimmered on the horizon. That was the day of my visitation.

 “Is not Ephraim my dear son,
    the child in whom I delight?
Though I often speak against him,
    I still remember him.
Therefore my heart yearns for him;
    I have great compassion for him,”
declares the Lord. Jeremiah 31:20

In January, I came head to head with my past. I decided the time had come for me to really deal with two abortions I had when I was younger. Once and for all. And so, I turned to the familiar pages of Jeremiah because the weeping prophet’s words always seemed to speak directly to me about what I had done. But on the 31st, I saw something new. It was the above verse that caused an abrupt intake of air. Because when I let those words fall fresh, I heard Him. He confirmed everything I had doubted, for He said I’m really His. He said His heart yearned for me. Furthermore, He told me, “I have great compassion for you.” And it was there in that one word, compassion, that I recognized my visitation.

I had two abortions when I was younger. But because I buried that time in the sand and ignored my stuff for so long, it was always there with me. This fed into my fears. Especially when I had my own child. I was so scared for him… that I’d lose him. And then, I had two miscarriages. And in my skewed opinion of God, always working to gain His approval, I wondered if those miscarriages were punishment. I even wondered… two for two. Abortion + abortion = miscarriage + miscarriage. But on January 31, 2014, God couldn’t make it any more clear that I was forgiven. The past was dead and gone. Bear with me…

Jeremiah 31:20 moved me in such a way that I felt compelled to look up compassion in the Strong’s concordance. And it didn’t surprise me to find the word is interchangeable with mercy, as shown by the first picture below. In the second picture, you get an idea of just how many times mercy/compassion is used in Scripture. But it’s that last picture that brings a smile to my face even now. There you see Jeremiah 31:20. And in over 270 entries in the Bible, this is the only time you see it twice. 7355+7355. Double mercy. Compassion squared. I will surely have mercy upon him. But God was talking to me in January. He was extending mercy to me. Mercy + mercy. And that day I really dealt with my abortion + abortion. Because He told me I am forgiven + forgiven. Over and done with for He had mercy + mercy on me. Like He said, “It is finished.” It is finished.

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January 31, 2014 was one of the biggest days of my life. For it was the time of my visitation. God came down… to me. And He spoke to me through the words of a prophet named Jeremiah. And today, I’m not surprised to learn that his name can mean Yahweh Loosens [the womb]. For so much of my past was tied to my own womb. But that day, the past lost its grip on me. And unwarranted fears regarding my own womb were loosened. I was released as I released my past. It continues to grow dimmer in my sight. The future gleams brighter. For today I know… I am forgiven.

There’s a story in the 7th chapter of Luke that’s so stirring. It’s about another woman who recognized the time of her visitation. She, too, recognized the mercy God extended to her through Jesus. But the truth is, until January, I always identified with the “bad guy” of the story more so than I did with her. But now, the table’s turned. See, there was a Pharisee who held a dinner party and Jesus was a guest. And this woman entered and wept over Jesus’ feet. She washed them with her tears and dried them with her hair. She kissed them as she anointed them with oil. The Pharisee’s thoughts? Who does she think she is, and if Jesus were really who He said He was, then He would know what kind of woman she was. The Pharisee thought Jesus should shun her. But Jesus had something to say…

Jesus replied to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher,” he said, “say it.” “A creditor had two debtors. One owed 500 denarii, and the other 50. Since they could not pay it back, he graciously forgave them both. So, which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “I suppose the one he forgave more.” “You have judged correctly,” He told him. Turning to the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she, with her tears, has washed My feet and wiped them with her hair. You gave Me no kiss, but she hasn’t stopped kissing My feet since I came in. You didn’t anoint My head with olive oil, but she has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; that’s why she loved much. But the one who is forgiven little, loves little.” Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Luke 7:40-48

For so long, I was a picture of this Pharisee. Because I had been working for forgiveness. And I worked hard (in my own eyes) to be righteous. And so, blinded to my own depravity, I didn’t realize my need for a Savior. Because I thought I was pretty good. And since the bar was set so high for myself, I held it just as high for others. No one ever measured up, including me. And so there I was, a hard, bitter woman who lacked forgiveness in every sense of the way. I hadn’t received it, nor did I have any to dispense. Because just like I worked for it, I expected everyone else to, as well. And so busy was I at work, that I just couldn’t see the truth. I once was blind, but now I see, but it took years for me to begin to see. And that happened only as I lay in stillness, saturating myself with His word. And is was in the tomb of my bedroom where I finally saw the truth. Because I saw Him. And He saw me. And it was then that I knew my need. I needed Jesus. And when I comprehended my need, He was right there to meet me. Just where I was. He came down to my bedroom. It was the time of my visitation.

All this writing… all these blogs… this has been part of my journey. All of this the Lord has made me understand in writing, the work of His plans, by His hand upon me. Thousands of words have helped me understand my own journey. My own transformation. And the forgiveness I’ve received. And so, my past fades as the future becomes bright. Destiny calls out, for she who is forgiven much loves much. And this is the new thing I’ve been seeking. As I leave my tomb behind, God calls me to walk forward into the next leg of the journey, which is love. And as I walk in the love and mercy He’s lavished upon me, I will love much along the way. For this is what happens with a forgiven woman. It’s what happens when she recognizes the time of her visitation.

Because of our God’s merciful compassion, the Dawn from on high will visit us to shine on those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. Luke 1:78-79

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=please+carry+me+home+jessi+colter&qpvt=please+carry+me+home+jessi+colter&FORM=VDRE#view=detail&mid=D80BE9113AAC0B1F00E3D80BE9113AAC0B1F00E3

 

 

 

 

January 22, 1973

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Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began. Psalm 139:16

Abortion. I hate the word. And it’s a topic I like to avoid because I’m one of those cowardly folks who avoid conflict. I always have and sometimes I wonder if I always will. Because when I look to the root of it – why I avoid conflict – I see it’s because I’m a people-pleaser. For some crazy reason, I want to be liked by everyone. Always have and sometimes I wonder if I always will. And so obviously, with abortion being such a sticky subject and the cause of great division, I avoid the topic. But my realization for today is that as long as I continue on my present course, hoping to please everyone I encounter, I will never fulfill God’s purpose for my life. Oh, hiding out from the abortion debate may gain me a few friends, but at what cost?

Last year about this time, I had an epiphany. I was struck with the realization that I was turning 40 along with Roe v. Wade. See, we share a birthday. On the day I was born, January 22, 1973, history was made. The day the Supreme Court made abortion legal in the United States was the first day I drew breath. The day I uttered my first baby cry was the day countless other cries went forth in disbelief and anguish. The lusty howls of a newborn baby must have mingled with cries of outrage that winter day. Surely they reached God’s ears at the same time. January 22, 1973. And so, last year I thought, “What am I supposed to do with this?” Because it seemed significant. My birthday. I felt it was no accident that my birth coincided with the birth of death. In fact, it seems as though its shroud has covered me and followed me my whole life.

The battle cry of pro-abortion folks is, “My body, my right!” It must have been about ten years ago when I heard it firsthand. I was riding along with a friend when we passed by an abortion clinic.  There were people standing outside with signs. Pro-lifers. She screamed out with fiery passion, “F * * * you! It’s my body. It’s my right. Don’t tell me what to do!” She was incensed for she had had a couple of abortions. And the truth is, so had I. But despite my doing what I did as a young woman, I no longer felt the same. I didn’t agree with my friend and felt incredibly uncomfortable. But rather than enter a debate about such a hot topic, I kept my mouth shut tight. I let no cry escape my lips. Because as I said, I’m a people-pleaser. I didn’t want anything to change between my friend and I. I wanted her to go on liking me, so I avoided the drama of heated words. I kept silent.

To keep silent or to use my voice. That’s the choice that stands before me today. In past years, I chose silence. It’s easier. But today, I think God calls me to use my voice. I find several synonyms of voice to be interesting especially in light of the abortion issue. For voice can mean “right to be heard,” and “influence,” and “vote.” And today this all hits home. For pro-abortionists use their voices daily. Loudly. They utilize their right to be heard and influence many and votes are cast. God calls me to do the same. He expects me to utilize my right to be heard, no matter the consequences. Because in truth, people just won’t like me for this.

I had two abortions as a young woman. And when I went to the facilities, not a lot of information was provided to me. But in truth, I didn’t want to know. Ignorance is bliss, right. Why did I do what I did? Because to me, it seemed like a problem. I was not ready for kids. I was unmarried and unstable. And so, I did what the world says is okay to do. However, deep down I knew it was wrong. For I set out before sunrise not telling my dad where I was headed. And incredibly, I had planned a lunch with him and family later that day. Incredibly, I went to lunch afterward. And when my aunt asked, “What have you been up to?” with a glint in her eye, I said, “Nothing.” I hid what I had done. I hid what I knew to be shameful. And now I know why I did it. Because I was selfish. I had dreams and a baby would interfere with my plans. So without any thought, I did the unthinkable. And ever since then, I’ve been journeying through the valley of the shadow of death.

What does abortion do to a woman? For me, the affects came later. Because as I began to walk with God, and delve further into His word, I began to see. But, because I am a woman who avoids conflict, I shoved it down. I wasn’t going to go there. I don’t like conflict with people, and that includes conflict with myself. So I ignored it the issue. And the fruit of that was not trusting God. Because I had two abortions and never dealt with it, I waited for the day that God would pay me back. And I thought it would be through my son… I didn’t trust God with my little boy at all. The first six years of his life, I lived in fear that he would die. As a matter of fact, it was one year ago that I had a crisis of faith over this issue. In January of last year, I believed with all my heart God was going to take my son.

Abortion. It’s a hot topic I usually avoid. As I said, I hate conflict. But when Roe v. Wade was brought to my attention a year ago I knew God had a reason for it. Because I thought… “What am I supposed to do with this?” Not long afterward, this blog was birthed. And today, I just wonder… is it for this purpose? Is it for today? Because I am quite surprised to be writing this. I can assure you this is not my plan. For I was going to write about something altogether different. Something safer. Something that wouldn’t cause such a divide. Something that wouldn’t cause people to dislike me. But these words flowed, instead. His plan, not mine.

You know, despite all I’ve done and the mistakes I continue to make, God is so good to me. Because I learned something new today. It comforts me. See, I may have made my entrance into this world on the day that death was made legal. I may have felt that my destiny was to roam the darkness because of the significance of January 22, 1973; however, some years later, my birthday came to be about more than just Roe v. Wade and me. For in 1984, President Reagan designated January the 22nd as the first National Sanctity of Human Life Day. The date was chosen to coincide with Roe v. Wade’s anniversary, but today, I feel it’s God’s birthday gift to me. Because He knows how I’ve been feeling. He knows how the darkness of my past has hung over me. But today… today I have real hope. Today God gives me the hope of life. Sanctity of Life.

Sanctity of Human Life day is designated to be the third Sunday in January. That’s this Sunday. And so today, I am utterly amazed at how God moves in my life. Because this blog is not my choice. I was going to write about names, and cathedrals, and the tower of Babel. Abortion was not part of the outline. But instead, God moved me to use my voice… my right to be heard… to influence… to vote. Today’s writing was His choice, not mine. And that right there is key… His choice. For it’s God who places new life within a woman. He is the one who gives and takes away life. The choice is not ours to make. It’s not our right, as the world so loudly proclaims.

For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well. My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. Psalm 139:13-15

Today God gives me the gift of life. He shows me it is not my destiny to walk in the darkness of death. My bad choices of yesterday do not have to color my world of tomorrow. No, God has another destiny for me. One of light and one of life. Sanctity of life. And He wants me to use the voice He gave me to proclaim this life.

Today I choose to exercise my rights in this way… to speak out against abortion. And the truth is, people won’t like me for it.

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live… Deuteronomy 30:19

the Valley of Slaughter

I was uncertain about posting something. Quite frankly, it scares me. Because it’s something dark… something I’ve kept hidden for so long. Not many people know. But this morning I felt moved. After praying, I typed up this blog, crying while fingers tapped the keyboard. Crying because of something I did. Crying because I have to share it. Crying because I wonder if I will ever be completely okay.

I typed up a draft, feeling certain I would post it the next day. But as the day progressed, doubt took hold. How could I be sure I was doing the right thing? What would people think after reading it? What will my family think, if they hear of it? Will people look at me differently? And so day turned to evening, and I became even more uncertain… that is, until I watched The Lorax. Yet another child’s movie, but so deep. As I watched it, my mind drifted back to the draft I had typed earlier in the day. “Are you sure, God?” A squeezing of my heart. “But I’m scared.” More squeezing. Yes… I am to share it.

I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with this well-loved Dr. Seuss tale, but if you’re not, it’s worth both reading and watching. Basically, a guy invented something called a Thneed. But, he needed the materials to make his Thneeds. So he traveled along till he came across this beaufiful forest full of Truffula trees. He wanted the Truffula tuft, so thinking nothing of it, he chopped down a tree. He snuffed out the life of that tree without a thought… not till the Lorax made his appearance. He said, “Mister! I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. “But the guy said he was doing no harm… he just chopped down one tree. But the Lorax knew. He said, “You are crazy with greed.” The Lorax repeated, “I speak for the trees!” But the guy was too busy, he had things to do. He shut out that voice, and set to making his own dream come true. Why, he was going to be rich. He started with one tree, but then used a device to chop down four trees at once. And so, the guy became rich. He continued to chop down trees, polluting the air… the Lorax would appear to make his plea for the trees, but the guy didn’t listen. Finally, he yelled at that Lorax, “Now listen here, Dad! All you do is yap-yap and say, ‘Bad! Bad! Bad! Bad!’ Well, I have my rights, sir, and I’m telling you I intend to go on doing just what I do!” Finally, the last tree fell. Well, there was nothing left to say, so the Lorax picked himself up and left. There were no more trees to speak for. But, he did leave a pile of rocks with one word – UNLESS.

The guy who destroyed the trees pondered that phrase for years (he’s called the Once-ler, by the way), and when he finally had a visitor he figured out what it meant. “UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” And so, the Once-ler let a Truffula Seed fall into the hands of his visitor. He said it was the last one, and exhorted the visitor to, “Treat it with care. Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air. Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack. Then the Lorax… may come back.”

Sound like a lot of rambling here? Read the above again, but picture unborn babies instead of trees. And me? UNLESS someone cares a whole awful lot, nothing will change. I’m that someone and I have a seed… See, I have first-hand knowledge… I know all about snuffing out the life of an unborn baby. And so I need to plant this seed, of what I know, among those who will listen. Because we don’t have a Lorax, who speaks for the trees. We have a God, the God, and He speaks for the babies. He spoke for them through His prophet, Jeremiah:

“And they have built up the high places of Tophet, which is the valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into My heart. Therefore behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “when it will no more be called Tophet, or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter; for they will bury in Tophet until there is no more room.” Jeremiah 7:31,32

My mother-in-law educated me this morning about King Manasseh, who was evil. He “made his son pass through the fire.” That means he instated the practice of killing the firstborn children, sacrificing them to the god of Molech. Manasseh was the king… so the nation followed his lead. God’s people killed their firstborn babies. It was culturally accepted. Pretty much like today. And like then… we will bury until there is no more room. When I heard the term, the Valley of Slaughter, it struck a chord with me. I actually thought, “Hmmm… would make a good name for a book concerning abortion and our nation (if there’s not already one out there).” But no… now I see it is to be the title of one of my blogs. A fitting title for a blog about abortion.

Abortion is part of my past… it’s part of who I am today. I have certainly walked through the Valley of Slaughter by way of my selfish and greedy actions. And I just have to wonder if that’s the reason darkness enshrouds me today. See, I’ve been striving. I’ve been seeking God with my whole heart. I want to do what He wants me to do. I want to be pleasing to Him. And yet, I just feel so bad so much of the time. I can’t understand it. I thought I dealt with the abortions this past September. I thought I was done with that. So why do I still struggle? Why then, after talking with my mother-in-law about abortion, was I in tears as I prayed. Why did I have nothing but cries to offer up to God?

When I wrote a draft this morning, I wasn’t sure what the point of it was. Because I’m not sure that I have an answer or the encouragement that someone needs to hear. I thought that perhaps it’s simply something God wants me to be honest about. Because it’s been hidden for so long. See, abortion is not something we all want to talk about… especially when it’s part of our pasts. But God’s word assures me that whatever’s been said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what I’ve whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear! (Luke 12:3). So I thought that maybe this was my rooftop moment. A time to come out of the closet, if you will. Finally, the moment had come to bring to light what was done behind closed doors. I thought perhaps that was the point of today’s blog.

But now I see. God spoke to me through The Lorax, of all things. UNLESS someone cares to speak up for those unborn babies, nothing will change. He’s already spoken, and He’s waiting for us to do the same. And I can speak from firsthand knowledge… because I know that when you do such a thing, you don’t just kill a baby. You also kill part of yourself. Oh, you can hide it away and pretend it never happened. But it colors your whole life. Jeremiah 7:34 says it all, “Then I will cause to cease from the cities of Judah and from the streets of Jerusalem the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride. For the land shall be desolate.” And this is just how I feel sometimes.

I have my good days. I have whole seasons of joyfulness and mountaintop experiences with God… But then I seem to slip up. I always seem to fall back down that mountain into the valley… that Valley of Slaughter. But for those days when I fall, I’ll cling to His promises…

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:1-4

When the darkness comes, I’ll cling to God’s promises. His word assures me that He is with me. He is in my midst. He is my shepherd, and He will comfort me. Perhaps someone else needs to know His promises today.

If you know someone who needs to hear this message, be that someone who cares an awful lot – and pass it on. UNLESS you do, they may never know.