I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
I don't remember when I first began to develop a heart for the unborn. I suppose it was during elementary school. As a child, I remember wondering why mothers were taking their babies' lives... I suppose it was because I wasn't that many years removed from being a baby myself and I took it very personally. My mother had told me stories of the 3 miscarriages she had suffered between my brother and I. She held two of the tiny, perfectly formed babies, a girl and a boy, in the palm of her hand and wondered at all their beautifully developed features. Early on, I was told that my birth was a blessing and an unexpected miracle to her and my dad. As a result, it didn't make sense to me that a woman would want to purposely take her own child's life.
It wasn't long before I discoved that my beliefs about the sanctity of life in the womb were quite unpopular. In the eighth grade I prepared a speech on the topic of abortion, hoping that if fellow students understood the truths behind this procedure, surely they would be influenced to make good choices in the future. Many boys were curious to see the gory pictures (I think it was the shock value) and were surprised to actually be able to make out dismembered arms and legs. Several comments were uttered, such as, "Oh, I thought it was just a blob of tissue, but look that's an arm..."
Most of the girls didn't want to look. And then there were those who were visibly angered, and told me that what I had said was not true and that it wasn't any of my business what they wanted to do with their own bodies. For the next couple of days, I became the topic of conversation and the target of mean stares and embittered comments.
For many years, I made the pridefilled assumption that women who were pro-choice were either heartless or ignorant. College years and my twenties introduced me to about a dozen women, friends who had chosen to abort their babies. The issue took on a face and a life as I learned these women's stories and how they had arrived at their decisions. There were some who thought they were too young to mother a child and couldn't fathom any other option, others who had been convinced abortion was an acceptable form of birth control, others who were ashamed to tell their families, and most who had been told by Planned Parenthood representatives that they were making a good "choice."
All of the stories had a common conclusion. Each of the women struggled with tremendous guilt and pain spiritually and emotionally, and sometimes physically. Each woman deeply regretted the choice she had made and wished she could go back and do things differently. And each woman found forgiveness and healing through her Savior... Jesus Christ. In time, He diminished their pain and they laid their children in His hands.
During my college years, I also met a darling woman named Dene. Her husband was in my wedding, and was one of the first real friends Patrick had in his Christian journey. One weekend we went to Dene's house for a birthday party and a photo hanging on the wall caught my attention. It was a little girl shaking hands with the President... I believe it was Ronald Reagan. When I asked Dene about it, she told me about her adopted sister, Gianna, who had been aborted, but survived the saline procedure. Gianna has since become one of my heroes in the faith, not just because she is a pro-life advocate and the actual voice of the unborn, but because she has a deep compassion for the women who carry them. She unashamedly speaks of the grace of Jesus and asks us to consider our stance on the issue in light of what He speaks through her miraculous survival.
I hope you'll take the time to be blessed and challenged by her message...
(Note: Before you listen, please scroll down to the bottom of the blog and pause the music... then you'll be able to fully hear Gianna's voice!!)