I didn't understand all of that until a few years later, when I again found myself pregnant. This time 18 and in my senior year of high school. I walked into a Planned Parenthood Clinic in the city I grew up in. I needed a pregnancy test. I shared my fears with the nurse who seemed so nice. How could I be in this place again? Twice pregnant and on birth control both times. I wasn't setting out to be pregnant. The nurse and the doctor came in to tell me I was pregnant and share my "option" with me. I was young, had my whole life in front of me. Having a child now would only hinder my life in terrible ways. I would struggle for the rest of my life. An abortion would be the easiest, safest option. Quick and relatively painless. No one would ever have to know. It would be over before I knew it and life would go on like nothing ever happened. It was best for me. I certainly wasn't ready to care for a child. I was only 6 weeks along and the "baby" wasn't really a baby, not until they begin breathing on their own. It would cost me $350 and they could do it right there in that clinic. I would need to make schedule appointment and have a ride. I wasn't the only girl, after all, that had this "procedure" done several times in order to secure a brighter future. That was the only option given to me that day. They were kind but pushy. It was, after all, the best choice I could make for myself.
I went home and I don't remember much else about that day or the few days after. The surrounding details matter little but I remember meeting my mom somewhere and telling her that I didn't care what anyone said, I was keeping this baby. I couldn't go through that all over again. How could I kill another one of my children? I faced a lot of people who disagreed with my decision. I was young, stupid and not thinking straight. How could I raise a baby? People judged. Everywhere. The grocery store, the movie theater, my job, my school. Everywhere I went, my sin ever before my eyes and everyone else's. Did anyone ever once stop to think what other option I may have had? I could have chosen the hidden, again, and no one would have ever known. Instead, I allowed that sweet life to grow inside of my young body. I faced much criticism and it hurt. It made it a daily battle mentally. I didn't know how to be a mom but I was going to figure it out. No matter what anyone else said.
I gave birth to my baby on December 7, 1997. I remember laying in the hospital bed with him in my arms that night. How on earth did I deserve something so perfect? I felt like it was he and I against the world. I held him and cried for the child I had willingly destroyed. I cried painful, hard sobs. It wasn't what they said it was. It wasn't quick and painless and you move on with your life. It was my child. As I lay there, holding my sweet Austin, I was so grateful that I was a stubborn, rebellious child. It made my life hard, but I knew it was what would get Austin and I through all of the doubts, the hard times and the judgmental stares because I was young and unmarried.
That sweet boy forever changed my life for good. He taught me more about myself and who I really was. He opened my eyes, my ears, my heart to my Savior. I was still remarkably lovable, no matter what anyone else said or did. I was created for a purpose and God used Austin to show me that. I wasn't forever marked, blemished, unholy. I was a sinner, like everyone else. My sin was just so incredibly evident. How could I hide it? It was right there, for everyone to see. Yet, that sin was used in a beautiful way in my life. Beauty from ashes. God will use everything for our good and His glory. Everything. Everything. Everything. No matter what the world around us says.
Austin was everything good and precious. He is almost 18 and a joy to anyone he's ever been around. He truly is a remarkable young man. Was it hard? Yes! There were some really scary, trying times. But you know, the other day, he asked me to please go and stand outside of a clinic with him. He desires to share his story, our story. He could have easily been that "mass of cells" they are destroying and harvesting for parts. I would have never known his love, his laugh, his hugs and his kisses. His sweetness and his tenacity. I will forever be grateful that I chose life that day and in the weeks and months after. I chose my baby's life. I chose Austin. I would love to offer that perspective to the women walking into the clinic. To put a face, a body, a life to that "blob of tissue".
But what you have to understand is that women are believing lies. We as a society believe lies. Maybe not all of the same lies, but lies none the less. These women need love and truth. We need to value life. We need to support crisis pregnancy centers that offer so much more to these women. Truth, love and hope. We need to be kind with our words, our body language, our thoughts. Judgment screams through our pores, even if we put a smile on it. These young girls and grown women, don't need our judgment or our thoughtless words. They need kindness. Because, you see, what other choice do they have, really? Chose the easy way, hide it and suffer silently, or put it out there for all to see. What do you do with your sin, your poor choices? Put it out there for all to see? Or hide it away silently, hoping no one will know and it will go away?
Adoption is also a beautiful option. It's hard, I know. My husband and I have adopted 3 children, all with different stories. My youngest, a little boy, whose mommy was an addict. I don't know all of her story, but I know she was a courageous woman who chose to give her sweet boy life. My sweet baby Ian. No one would have blamed her if she hadn't. Who wants a baby born to an addict with the chance of something possibly being wrong with him? Would you? Honestly, at first we weren't sure we did or if we could. But, I am so incredibly thankful we said yes. Ian is beautifully perfect. Our precious baby from the sky. Our gift.
While we are diligently working to defund Planned Parenthood and all of their lies, step back and please examine your own heart. Planned Parenthood does do some good, but we cannot allow the horrific to go on for a small amount of good. Crisis pregnancy centers offer a much better perspective for these women, especially when they aren't in the position to make a large sum of money off of the "product" of the supposed help they offer. These are babies, sweet precious children. Children who cannot speak for themselves. Good never, ever justifies bad.
I ask you to examine your heart because your heart on this matters. My sweet Ian, whose mommy chose life for him, not only was born to an addict, he also has a very rare chromosomal deletion and is special needs. Would adoption be an option for you? Would you be willing to take an "imperfect" child? Will you be kind and gracious to the young moms' you see out in the communities you live in? Will you walk alongside them and encourage them to chose life, whether they bravely keep that precious baby to raise on their own, or they courageously and sacrificially place that child in the arms of another woman to raise? This is the world we live in. We cannot say no more abortions if we are not also willing to walk alongside these women, young and old, and help them find truth, hope, and love, and in many cases, be willing to welcome these ones into our own families. This isn't just someone else's problem. It belongs to all of us. We all have a choice. What will yours be?
|Beauty from ashes. My heart, my life, my loves.|