Sunday, May 19, 2019

Speaking up

I was 19 years old. A sophmore in college having such a fun and independent time. I met up one weekend when I was home with an old boyfriend. We drank way too much and slept together (altho I have to admit it wasn't the 1st time this happened with him). What I did not expect was to find out 6 weeks later that I was pregnant.
I was lost. I was scared. I told him and he asked me to marry him. I said yes. We told our parents and started to plan a wedding.

What I had never anticipated was that during this time-after I found out and before I told him, I began a relationship with Jesus Christ.
I had been raised a Catholic and knew always that God was real. But somehow it was never communicated to me in ten years of Catholic schools, that God wanted to be involved in my life every single day. This was such amazing and wonderful news to me. I will never get over that astounding fact. I am so thankful that a college crush told me about Jesus. I will forever be grateful to him for introducing me to Jesus.

Now, how do I tell my parents? WHAT do I do now?
In those days we had "dorm mothers" instead of RA's or she would have been RD now. She told me that Washington was one of the only states that had legalized abortion. This whole concept was completely foreign to me.

I was a complete mess. Couldn't concentrate on my studies, got 3 D's that semester. What made me lean towards ending this baby's life was that the guy-my now fiancee, made fun of me about my relationship with Jesus. He called me a "Jesus freak", the 70's term for a follower of Christ. I knew this was real and that I would never walk away from Jesus-or was pretty sure I wouldn't.
This boy had cheated on me while we were dating when I was in high school and I wondered if he would cheat on me if we were married. I decided to end our engagement. And with much anguish (and even talking to a pastor who didn't dissuade me against the abortion), I decided to terminate this little life.

Believe me I regret that decision to this day. Adoption was never mentioned as an option. I felt I had no way out.

Which is how many women and young gals feel when they go to have an abortion. We can't see beyond our circumstances at that moment. We feel we have no other choice.
It isn't easy at all. You still are a mess afterwards.
I know with me, that I considered this the worst sin I would ever commit, and it was. 
What I do remember was God's immediate forgiveness on that table. I asked Him to forgive me and He immediately did. 
Yes, I have suffered consequences from my decision. The hardest person to ever tell about this was my future husband and then 22 years later, our three children (Ryan wasn't with us yet). My now husband and almost 16 yr old son basically said the same thing: "If God forgives you, how can I do anything but do the same?".

I am pro-life. I detest abortion. I don't like it. But I know what it's like to be in that desperate situation when you see no way out. I imagine most women in my position feel the same way.
But Pro-life to me means more than just abortion. It means end of life care. It means caring for all lives. Not just Americans. It means treating everyone with respect and valuing them-no matter if they are brown or black or yellow in color. It means caring for people with disabilities, whether they are physical or emotional. 

This weeks decisions in Alabama and Missouri has re-surfaced my feelings of desperation. I hope they mean to convey that children should be wanted and loved and that is all they mean. The representative from Missouri who said there is conceptual rape has been wrongly and grossly misinformed. Being pro-life is more than just about babies.

I have to speak up because we tend to judge people by their words.
I don't care if you judge me. But I do care that you judge women who are desperate, for the LGTBQ population who are different than you, for the immigrants who have a different skin color and are separated from their children as they try to enter a country that offers freedom (or so they heard). 
I don't believe we can speak judgement on people when we haven't been in their shoes, when we haven't experienced what they have had to go through. We can have our thoughts but do we have the right or the responsibility to judge others and speak out about it when we can't possibly understand their lives.

I know abortion is something that grieves the heart of God. I also know He forgives. I know treating immigrants as if they didn't matter and we shame them grieves His heart as well. I know how we treat and respond to people who are gay, the LBGTQ community are God's children, and as with all others, we may not agree with them, but each one of us throughout our world are to be respected and loved, because we are all God's children.

My oldest daughter, who I was really afraid to tell about my abortion said something to me that I will never forget. She offered forgiveness and grace when she told me: "Mom that is not who you are, you are a woman who loves God and shows me God".
That is what I hope we can offer all those who have had to experience abortions.

I don't have the mind of Christ in many things, but I do have an everyday relationship with him for the past 47+ years. I know He loves me in spite of the decision I made all those years ago. I know His complete forgiveness. I know He has used my pain to show others how much He loves and delights in us. I know that Jesus doesn't advocate abortion; believe me I KNOW.
But I also know that it isn't my right to judge others, to put my beliefs on them. I know that GOD calls me to love all and respect them as His children.

Matthew 7:1-2 in the New Living Translation says:

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.  For you will be treated as you treat others.The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.

May we not judge but love.