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