We are on day 3 of no school due to the Polar Vortex freezing North America. I have worked the first two, but because my work is in schools, I have nothing to do today, so I have time to blog.
Life is good right now. I don’t say that in a bragging way, but just to acknowledge that sometimes, life is easy. (And because, someday life will be hard again, and I will need to remember those seasons don’t last forever.) Don’t get me wrong, my kids fight over stupid stuff… hourly. But my major battles have mostly to do with a 9 year old making stupid jokes about bodily functions (or sometimes a teenager teaching him a stupid joke about bodily functions) or how much time is going to be spent using media today (particularly hard discussions on days when we are locked in the house due to cold but you know media of various types ROT YOUR KID’S BRAIN). In the scheme of things, this is an easy life… I do want to note that our internet went down for 24 hours. When I called to check on it, the woman asked me to be patient because their linemen were out in the cold 125′ in the air & had to climb down for breaks to warm up. She didn’t know I was hoping she would tell me that it was too risky for them to be out & that my internet would be out for 3 days until the temperatures warm up. Why? Because Fortnight required the internet!! Youtube – internet dependent. Netflix – yep the interNET!! And because in 3 of the 24 hours we didn’t have internet, my talented eldest created this.
But it’s back on, so now we are isolated and back to this… but only for a couple of hours.
Grown Up Conversations – We have teenagers. They are fun, and because of their season of life, conversations have become more unfiltered. We discussed first kisses and dates and pregnancy, drug addiction, legalization of marijuana, the authority of the Bible, and who God really is, major life decisions, careers, and sex as part of regular conversation. Sometimes, however, we forget the elementary school kid that lives here. What I have learned is that his perspective tends to be more true than the rest of us when dealing with moral issues.
(WARNING – I am getting ready to share my opinion on a controversial issue. I try to avoid this in all aspects of life. But today, I have a lot of time, and so I am thinking.)
With the ruling in New York, abortion has been a hot topic this week. I should say, I am moderate about most things, and this issue is no exception. I’ve lived too much life to take a staunch stand and label people as evil on one side of the line or the other.
Per usual, I think differently than most people on both sides of the “Choice/Life” line. I tend to be the devils advocate no matter what side of any argument you may be sharing. I will openly say that I think abortion is crushingly heartbreaking, and we minimalize that there are real woman (and hopefully men with them) dealing with real situations that we know very little about who are making these decision. I have to stop every few seconds as I type this because I am picturing what it must be like to find out you are pregnant with a child you cannot care for or that will turn your family against you. Or to be pregnant with a child you have hoped and prayed for, who you have felt move in your womb, who you have imagined as a toddler, a teenager, an adult, with you all your life, and then discovering that they will not live. Those situations are paralyzing. They are desperate.
This week, I have been reading 2 Samuel. Chapter 11 starts a tragic telling of a time in David’s life when he had to deal with a pregnant girlfriend who was married to someone else. If her husband found out she got pregnant while he was serving in the army (David’s army) he would have her killed. David had dealt with a lot of suffering in his life, and he relied on God continually to meet his needs. Granted, he had done some things that are shady in my book, but there isn’t really any commentary on them in the Bible. This situation, was totally on him. He spotted her bathing, he pursued her. He tried to get her husband to sleep with her so they wouldn’t be found out. But, he couldn’t hide his sin. So, he confessed his sin and cried out to God for forgiveness and help in fixing what he could – NOT! Nope, David did what the rest of us do. He fell into greater deception and did worse things to cover his bad decision. He had her husband killed.
So here we have Bathsheba. I wonder things like, how old was she? Was this her first child? I wonder if David had someone go to her house and bring her back to the palace. I don’t think so. David was a ladies man, and he seemed to especially like intelligent women. (We can see when he is dying that she is intelligent.) In the movie of this in my head, David sees her and is struck by her beauty. He bumps into her in the streets one evening when he is out for a stroll, and he sees the smile and intelligence in her eyes. Innocent at first, they have a playful conversation, this beautiful girl in her early 20s and handsome king in his early 40s. She wouldn’t have seen the affair coming. She wouldn’t have planned to hurt her husband. Yet, she probably hadn’t lived long enough to have learned the importance of having boundaries in place to avoid situations like this… So, she finds herself widowed and pregnant. I suspect that had abortion been an option, she and David both would have made that move. But, it wasn’t. This is a modern issue… isn’t it?
Several months ago, we were discussing abortion (in the car I think). During the conversation, Deacon yells “Idol Worship!!” Emma was with me & we both looked at him like he had horns growing out of his nose. His exclamation wasn’t relevant to the conversation in any way and it didn’t make any sense. Emma in a teenager voice I cannot adequately explain said, “What?”
“It’s idol worship!” he said again. “What is idol worship?” we asked. “In the Bible, the people would offer their babies to Baal as a sacrifice. It was idol worship. Clearly, this is idol worship.”
I forgot all about this conversation until this morning when, Cary was watching a video from C-SPAN of a doctor who performed late term abortions. I was reminded of a research presentation speech I did for a class in college. Partial birth abortion was a new thing then. Through the years, I pushed the intricacies of these procedures from my mind, until I heard the process being described this morning, and my reaction is different than it was then. It is different because I am different.
As a college student, I was angry at the violence of the procedure. I was angry over killing babies. I was just angry. Over the years, I have become less pro life because I believe those babies are in the arms of God. I knew these decisions weren’t black and white. They are grey, with different circumstances and people behind them. But I have become more pro life because I have lived. I have suffered with people.
I have sat in a doctor’s office trying not to pass out as cold medical equipment used to remove a portion of a tumor from my body pressed against flesh and bone that wasn’t all the way numb. I know that pain. Yet I am sure that pain pales in comparison to something so invasive. I have been on bed rest for months trying to keep a baby girl inside so she can have a healthy life. I have felt little arms and legs roll across my belly and watched a book bounce because the unborn child beneath is was responding to the touch. I remember the joy of Ty jumping at the sound of fireworks weeks before he was born. I know the pain of childbirth, and the amazing beauty of the body bringing life through pain.
I have held friends who have lost pregnancies as they have wept for a child they will never know. I can see vividly the story my friend has told me of giving birth to her first child. He looked just like his dad, but he came only a few weeks too early to survive on the outside of her body. Holding her newborn in her arms, being carried by God, trying to soak in every moment of his few breaths of life, knowing she would experience all of them in that day. She told me as hard as that was, it was also one of the most beautiful moments of her life. (I cry now as I remember.)
My friends have brought children into their homes and transformed a couple into a family through adoption. I have cried tears of pure sorrow when fertility treatments didn’t work, and I have cheered like my husband when UK wins the NCAA tournament in celebration when it did.
My experience doesn’t compare with adoption, but this year we have an exchange student, and I understand what it feels like to bring a child into our home that makes our family feel more complete. She is a wonderful addition to our home.
I have wept for people I love who have learned the child they were so happy to announce was coming, could not live, and was now a risk to their own life. I have seen the pain on their tear stained faces as they have had to choose one life over another. A decision that is desperately unfair. I see the blessing and the curse of modern medical technology.
12 years ago, a man asked me to come to his house. His wife was pregnant, and had many miscarriages. She was having another. When I got to their home, I walked in the bedroom. She way lying on the bed, and a teeny tiny perfect baby beside her. Tiny arms, tiny legs, a beautiful face with thin skin veiling the very small but very defined muscles underneath. I can still see those perfect tiny fingers, beautifully intricate. She asked me, “Vive?” “No” I replied. “Porque? Porque?” she responded. “No Se.” I whispered. I don’t know. I called the hospital to find out if I needed to cut the cord before her husband brought her in to be treated.
I remember seeing models of the stages of fetal development in a museum as a child. Studying human development interesting to me, but this. This was LIFE, and this was SO MUCH MORE than those little perfect replicas. There was something more, something unseen, spirit maybe, that was not translated into the display at the museum.
And then this… Several years ago, I was supposed to attend a meeting. The previous time we met, a man humiliated a friend and I had done nothing about it. I was so mad at myself, and I was furious at him. On this particular night, I heard his voice coming from the room I was heading to, and his voice enraged me. So, I did what anyone would do… I dodged him. I totally skipped the meeting I was supposed to be in and detoured to another room to hide. There was someone in that room. I don’t remember why she was there, but she was hiding too, from something else. I vented about the person I was offended by, and we ended up in a deep conversation about God, his goodness, grace and his love. (This is one of those situations where the Holy Spirit was using us in ways we didn’t know to minister to each other.) I have no recollection of how we started on the topic, but I remember talking about how God takes our shame and guilt away from Satan & stops him from using it to kill us, and turns the very weapon he was using on us to be a sword in our hand against him. I said, with a gut feeling that it was an inspired thought, “It’s like a woman who has an abortion. She lives with the guilt and shame of that, but when she understands God loves her and forgives her, she later works with young women who are considering abortion, and her testimony becomes a weapon fighting for the life and future of the woman in the same situation.” She said, “That woman is me.” She then began to explain the circumstances she experienced that led her to abortion 20+ years earlier. She also explained the two decades of guilt and shame. The unworthiness she felt as a person, and the ramifications in her life as a wife and a mother. Holy Spirit, was faithful as always, and ministered healing that night. As we walked out of that room, I remember my friend saying to me, “It feels like I am free for the first time. I also feel like the darkness is behind me, grasping at my back as I am walking away from what we are leaving here.”
It is one of the most profound experiences of my life. I still sit in awe of God when I remember that conversation.
So, I am pro life because I love women, because I love family. We women are uniquely created to love and nurture, and abortion is directly opposed to this part of womanhood. This choice is so much more than deciding to terminate a life. It is a decision that lasts a lifetime, the lifetime of the parents. It’s not something you forget or move past. It is something that haunts you, wondering what that child would be doing now. I do not know what it is to be suppressed because of my sex, as past generations. I appreciate having the opportunities in life to provide for my family that women of past did have not have. I appreciate being allowed to play sports and do adventures that would not have been an option generations ago. I am not girly. I am tomboy through and through, but I am not a man. I am created to create. That cannot be ignored.
I am against late term abortion because it is cruel and disgusting. I really can’t listen to descriptions or teaching graphics about the process. Cary recently wondered, if we had Sarah McLachlan singing “Arms of an Angel” playing behind graphic images of children, would we feel as strongly about their suffering as we do about the animals they show?
This has been a heavy post. So, here is a fun fact I learned when I started worrying that Deke hadn’t lost enough teeth yet… Baby teeth start forming when a fetus is 6 weeks old! That’s nuts!! And, D is right on target for teeth loss for a 10 year old boy. Just in case you were worried.