As I prepare to head out on this 40th Sanctity of Human Life Sunday to share my abortion story at a new church, I can’t help but revisit a familiar conflict. Since I’ve begun to share my story publicly, I have questioned my own countenance of JOY as I relate the knowledge of my son’s home in heaven and the certainty of someday meeting him. My concern has been to convey proper and right emotions, fitting my actions and beliefs. It’s such a humble and delicate place of conflicting emotions to impart. I have been reconciled to God because of His amazing grace, for which I will always remain humbly grateful. The joy that I cannot hide comes from this reconciliation and also from the knowledge that my baby still lives, only in heaven.
How do I know that my baby and all the other millions of babies are in heaven? King David in the Bible shares with us the loss of a child as a consequence of his own sins. He fasted and wept while his child was still alive praying for God to allow his baby to live. When the baby died David cleaned himself, worshipped God and ate. His servants asked him why he was behaving this way, and he explained that the baby had died and would not return to him, but that he himself would die and go to his baby in heaven someday, so there was no reason to mourn anymore.
I do not share my story with joy because I am happy about my decision. Joy is something completely different from happiness. So to be perfectly clear, I regret my choice of abortion. I love my child and look forward to the day I will meet him. So then, where does the joy come from? The joy I have is only from God, a result of His gifts of grace and many blessings, especially my other children. The joy comes in knowing that my Savior Jesus Christ died so that I could be forgiven of this regretful decision, and that God has provided a path for me to be right with Him again. Not only will I one day be allowed to enter heaven and be with my son and other loved ones, but I can live right now with peace in my heart here on Earth with my husband and wonderful children.
Confirmation that put this dilemma to rest came when a woman shared her experience of watching me tell my story. She saw the joy on my face and knew immediately that she wanted that same joy for herself. She had anguished over feeling condemned and unworthy to even step foot into our crisis pregnancy center to volunteer because of her own abortion. My joyful countenance gave her courage to finally seek a healing journey of her own.
On this Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, may we be ambassadors of reconciliation. “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20-21. When President Ronald Reagan first proclaimed January 22 as a day to reflect on the worth and dignity of every individual back in 1984, his heart was broken because of the over 15 million babies who had already died. It’s been 30 years since then, and now more than 56 million babies have died. As I try to reflect on the worth and dignity of ALL of these babies, it’s impossible to wrap my brain around what has been lost, rather, WHO has been lost, and I can hardly grieve because of the impossibility of grasping the magnitude of it all.
But crying for the babies won’t bring them back. Instead, I choose to focus my grief and energies on the survivors, the men and women who have suffered by their own choices, or the choices pressed upon them, those who have lost their children to abortion. Many of these people are suffering in silence. I wonder if they are even afraid to seek help for fear of rejection from possibly their pro-choice or even their Christian family members and friends. Are they hardening their hearts in order to defend themselves from a seemingly impossible place with no escape? Do any of them think, well I made this choice, what right do I have to feel sad or to look for sympathy? On this Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, can we reflect, with a countenance of LOVE on the worth and dignity of all of these hurting people too?
I believe that giving both abortion perpetrators and sufferers the dignity to grieve, to feel sadness, and to receive compassion and forgiveness is the first step we can take toward teaching each other what it feels like to give each other the gift of life, of second chances. Maybe, just maybe the next generation will begin to overflow this compassion onto each other and onto their own children, and choose to give them life, to support each other in making difficult decisions for adoption, or for reaching out for support if they can’t parent alone.
Once King David realized all that he had done, he prayed to God, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10. This has become my personal and on-going prayer, that God would grant me a pure heart and a steadfast spirit, unswerving from His commands. And this has now become my prayer for our nation and even for the world. Our nation will not see the destruction of abortion until the hearts of our people are made new and pure. The people of our nation who are coercing women into abortion will not stop until their own hearts are softened by God Himself. Our nation will not recover from the massive aftershock that post-abortion trauma causes without having compassion and forgiveness for one another and relating these sentiments with a countenance of love.
On this Sanctity of Human Life Sunday I hope you will join me in this prayer, first as individuals, then for our nation, and then for the world. Abortion is not just an American tragedy, it is worldwide. And Jesus came so that all might be saved, the babies that are being killed as well as the people choosing abortion and the people perpetrating abortion. The sanctity of human life calls us to love and value these people as well as the babies and to pray for them all. Lord, please create in me, in the people of the United States of America, and in the people of the world pure hearts, and renew a steadfast and unwavering spirit of faith in us, Lord God we pray, Amen.