It Is Easy to Be Pro-Choice

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“I am now pro-life…which I have to tell you, to be honest, is a heck of a lot more difficult than being pro-choice. It is. It’s really easy to be pro-choice where everybody is friends, you’re like a great feminist, you’re not judging anybody, you’re not crazy, I mean there’s all these things….it’s just easy to be pro-choice. I liked being pro-choice, it was just a lot more pleasant, but the thing is it wasn’t right, nor was it correct. And the truth will set you free even if it makes you horribly uncomfortable in the process.” – Linda Couri, Former Volunteer for Planned Parenthood

It is taking everything in me not to yell, rage, and hysterically sob over the hidden holocaust that is happening in our country. So much of me wants to shake people and just say it, the brutal truth: “you’re supporting the murder of babies!” But it’s so hard to say this when I know the friends of mine who march for choice, who volunteer at planned parenthood, or simply just believe in choice aren’t evil people with the intention of murdering babies. These friends of mine have good hearts and they are filled with compassion; compassion for women in crisis. But I’m starting to think that maybe I shouldn’t be holding these emotions of mine back. I thought I wasn’t saying anything because voicing my opinion might cause others to feel awkward, angered, judged, or ashamed in my presence and how can I share the love of Christ if those feelings are present?  But really, I’m just being a coward.

I have remained silent for years out of selfish reasons driven by fear. I don’t want to lose friends. I don’t want to argue. I want to avoid all forms of confrontation. I don’t want to be labeled as anti-intellectual or foolish because I believe in Jesus. I don’t want people to say I don’t care for women or have compassion for them.  I want everyone to think I’m great, lovely, smart, compassionate, and that I’m a joy to be around. But what price am I willing to pay to keep this I-get-along-with-everyone façade; apparently, the price of 3,000 abortions per day, and that’s in the US alone.

For so long I have felt that I have “done my part” because I have participated in the March for Life and 40 Days for Life a couple of times, and because I pray fervently for mothers in crisis, but really I just did the minimum. I have kept quiet when it came to discussions with people I love and care about. I don’t want to lose the respect of others when I say the name of “Jesus” as a reason for my stance. I fear people will laugh at my “foolishness” for believing that all lives are sacred and that God provides for His children because the Bible says so.

Now that I am a mother I see how little effort I had put forth. I know these efforts still help and if that’s all you can do, do it! But what I’m getting at here is my motives behind my efforts. My motives were to keep my conscience clear so I didn’t have to have difficult conversations with people I love. I wanted to justify my silence with actions that I only shared with strangers and not those closest to me. I wanted to make sure I felt like I was standing up for what was right, without the discomfort of sacrifice.

I feared what others would think of me. I feared what others would say about me. I feared friends would abandon me. I feared family members would judge me. I feared being called names for justifying my beliefs with the Bible and the Word of God. And that, my friends, is why my heart is no different from someone who has aborted their child. I used to think, “I would never do that” or “I could never do that” or “how could they do that?” Guess what? Most of the people who DO “that” act out of fear: fear of what others will think, fear of what others will say, fear of abandonment, fear of poverty, fear of death, fear of sacrifice, fear of discomfort, etc. The very same reasons I remain silent. And my silence means I’m not wholeheartedly fighting for these babies! My silence means I’m not willing to sacrifice my comfort for the life of an unborn baby, so how can I ask someone else to do the same?

So, I can’t, in good conscience, stay silent anymore. I can’t pretend that abortion doesn’t affect my life, it does. I look at my son and wonder why his birth mother didn’t abort him. Who did she talk to? Who did she confide in? How did she know his life was worth something more than her pride, her comfort, money, status, her relationships, etc? Was she raised with those beliefs or did they come later? I can no longer just listen to my friends justify their support of Planned Parenthood with, “they have good intentions.” I can’t. Babies are dying.

I can’t pretend like my voice won’t make a difference. I can’t live in comfort while innocent babies die and scared women agree to kill them. I can’t stand by and let the evil one continue to lead God’s children astray with sneaky half-truths. I’m not exactly sure what God is calling me to do right now, but I’m listening and I’m done hiding from this battle. I want to fight for men and women everywhere, the womb included! I want to fight for the women whose consciences are being pricked and are told they shouldn’t feel bad about their abortions. I want to fight so these women can find healing in the forgiveness and grace of Jesus Christ. I want to fight so these women can talk about the pain they have felt from abortion without being shamed by pro-choicers(for feeling guilty about exercising their “right”) and pro-lifers(for killing a baby). I want to cry with women as they work through their unwanted pregnancies, not by running from them with death, but by facing them with life. I want to find ways to encourage women to stand up for themselves and their children when everyone else is telling them to abort.

If you have the time to watch this video it is incredible. Linda Couri is so honest in her approach and it is so refreshing.

Fair Isn’t Fair

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children_sharing_lrEver since I was little everything was about fairness. My entire life revolved around being fair. My brothers and I learned to be fair while playing. We learned to be fair when splitting the last piece of cake – one person cuts, the other person chooses. We learned that when you cheat at a game you aren’t being fair to the other player.

But I have a distinct memory of when life became unfair. I remember being upset when my mom said me and my oldest brother could have a handful of M&M’s. We both reached our hands into the bag. I tried to grab as many M&M’s as possible, but those little suckers kept sliding out between my fingers. When I finally retrieved my hand I realized that my hand couldn’t hold as much as my older brother’s hand. I felt let down by my own body. It wasn’t fair, he had 4 more M&M’s than I had!

Where did this obsession with fairness come from? Well, now that I think about it, it seems to have originated with the fall of Adam and Eve. Didn’t Eve eat from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because she wanted to understand what God understood? It wasn’t fair that she couldn’t eat from that tree, so to make things fair, she ate from the tree and then gave her husband some to eat as well.

I used to think “oh Eve, you beautiful, stupid woman. I would never make that choice. If I was Eve I would have stayed away.” But the truth is, I am Eve, and I always eat that darn fruit. Every. Single. Time. Ugggghhhhh.

It makes me mad when people say, “God never said life would be fair.”

It’s true, He didn’t say that. But He also didn’t exactly explain why it can’t be fair either. He didn’t tell Eve why she couldn’t eat from that tree, just that she couldn’t.med4 And God has not told me why I keep trying to get pregnant and can’t and yet other couples are getting pregnant without even trying or even wanting to. That’s not fair.

God never said life would be fair.

Shut up, you.

But the truth I have come to realize is that fair isn’t always best. Fair isn’t always fair. Let’s go back to my brother’s handful of M&M’s. My brother was bigger than me in height and weight. The truth of the matter is, those 4 extra M&M’s that I wanted weren’t good for my body.

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Sure those 4 M&M’s wouldn’t kill me or make me super sick, but my little hand couldn’t hold very many M&M’s to begin with, and we weren’t exactly used to high doses of sugar (my older brother and I thought dried apricots were candy), those extra M&M’s could very well put me into a sugar high and then a sugar crash.

Although it wouldn’t be the end of the world, it definitely wouldn’t be what was best for my body. But as a small child I couldn’t hear that. I couldn’t understand that Johnny’s body could handle those extra M&M’s and my body could not. I accused my mom of loving Johnny more because he could have the extra M&M’s. In reality, my mom wasn’t giving him extra M&M’s, that was just the amount that his hand could hold. Did Johnny do anything wrong? No, and yet I resented him for his large hands. Did my mom do anything wrong? No, she didn’t even touch the M&M’s. I couldn’t understand that if my mom gave me 4 extra M&M’s, then by being “fair” she would actually be harming me, which would not be fair. By not being “fair” my mom was actually being fair and showing me that she did love me. It just wasn’t a love I wanted to see right then, I just wanted more candy. I was so blinded by what I wanted, that I wasn’t able to see what was best for me.

What I think is fair, might not actually be fair.

We recently found out another couple is pregnant. My initial reaction was “that is so not fair, what the hell, God! Do you even hear me? Do you even care how long we have been waiting? Do you love them more? Are they better than us?”giphy

Don’t worry, I didn’t stay there long. I know God hears me, I know He cares, I know He loves me just as much as He loves them, I know neither of us is better than the other. I can’t compare my life to theirs to see what is fair. That’s not how it works. I won’t pretend to understand how it works, I just know how it doesn’t work, which I guess is a start. But let me tell you something beautiful about the “unfairness” of this whole baby situation:

Last month I started a War Room in my house. If you haven’t seen that movie and don’t know what it is, go see it! It’s wonderful. But I’ll tell you anyway, a War Room is a place of prayer in your house. It is a place where I intentionally go to fight the evil that roams this world. It is a place where I meet God and ask Him to send me angel armies and His Holy Spirit. It is a place where I fight with truth and love. So last month I started a War Room. I started praying for my husband, my marriage, my friends’ marriages, my unforgiveness, and Scout (our future child). It was while I was praying for Scout that I started to pray for expectant mothers, specifically expectant mothers who were not thrilled to be expecting. God brought me to a verse to pray for these women, and I would say a general prayer for them every day. Then on October 15, 2015, God sent me a name. I prayed specifically (and continue to pray) for this woman almost every day.

Don’t you see, ________ that children are God’s best gift? The fruit of your womb his generous legacy?  Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth.  Oh, how blessed are you _______, with your quiver full of children!” (Based on Psalm 127)

I didn’t believe she was the birth mother of my future child, I just believed she was an expectant mother in need of a lot of prayer.

I was right. It is not my place to share the details, all I can say is that the other day I heard her name (yes, the name I had praying for before I even knew her) and her story. I heard her heartbreak and her fear. I heard her attempts to rid herself of the situation she found herself in, and her inability to go through with it every single time.

If I was pregnant or raising a child right now I would not have been able to hear her name. I would not have even been praying that prayer. I would not have cried in spirit with her. I have never actually met this woman, and yet I know my prayers aren’t in vain. God is using my “unfair” situation for good. He is restoring my heart and my soul, He is filling me with love for the very women that I am jealous of. He is revealing to me that life is not a competition, babies are not rewards, but they are gifts. Life and babies and M&M’s are gifts. Life isn’t fair, or maybe it is and I just don’t understand what fair really is in the grand scheme of things.

Either way, I’ve still got M&M’s, I might as well sit my little toosh down and enjoy what I got. Hey, maybe my brother might even give me one of his, he’s never had a big sweet tooth anyway.

In the Valley of Home Study Approval

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IMG_5376I thought receiving our home study approval would be the equivalent to finally seeing a positive sign on a pregnancy test. And just the other day when someone asked me what being home study approved meant, I likened it to just that…for a pregnancy that could last two weeks to five years. Before I started the adoption process, this comparison seemed natural:

To me, a positive pregnancy test was what would allow me to get excited about bringing a baby into our family. Without that positive, we just didn’t know for sure if it would ever happen (except for God telling me, but I tend to doubt Him when I can’t see something already at work. He has yet to let me down, but sinful me still doubts). The same goes for our home study approval, without it, there is no chance of becoming a parent through adoption. So, these two events must be pretty similar…right?

But now, as Dean and I find ourselves on the other side of the home study, these two things don’t seem to match up at all. A positive pregnancy test signifies the BEGINNING of growth, the START of parenthood, exhaustion, weight gain, nausea, heartburn, cravings, tears, fear, prayers, discomfort, swelling, bloating, kicks, movement, ultra sounds, heartbeats, fingers, toes, a tiny nose…life.

I couldn’t wait to have that positive result so I could start planning a nursery, thinking of names, buying little booties with deer or foxes on them just because they were adorable and I wanted my child to have them. That positive pregnancy test (depending on when it was taken) would be roughly two to four weeks into the 9 month count down of when to expect baby’s arrival. That positive test would let me know that my future child was already with us, although just an embryo, our child was already growing, and would soon have its very own heartbeat. That positive pregnancy test meant I was already a mother.

I naively thought that the approval of our home study would allow similar feelings to flow. But our home study approval is not like that at all. It was received AFTER nine months of exhausting paperwork; after nine months of nausea, heartburn, emotional discomfort; after nine months of weight gain and food cravings due to stress eating; after nine months of prayer from so many people; after nine months of fundraising because without the funds we could not become parents; after nine months of persecution via articles written by unhappy adoptees and unhappy birth parents; after nine months of constant, loving, support from friends and family; after nine months of helpful articles written by happy adoptees and content birth parents; after nine months that included classes, tests, clearances, background checks, fingerprints, doctor’s visits, letters, photobooks, autobiographies, interviews, inspections, emergency evacuation plans, picnics, tears, prayers, tears, prayers, tears, tears, tears, and prayers.

And after nine months of all of that, I’m still not a mom, not yet anyway. I have no idea when I will become a mom. I have no idea when I will hold little Scout in my arms and vow to love him/her for eternity. I have no idea if Scout has been conceived, if Scout has fingernails, or if Scout is facing the possibility of death. I don’t know if Scout is waiting in Cradle Care (foster care provided by our agency during the 30 day revocation period) anxiously trying to understand this new world he/she is in without his/her only source of comfort known to date: birth mom. Is my child crying and being soothed by someone who loves him/her but knows these precious moments won’t pay the bills? Does my child sense his/her mother’s sadness and loss? Is my child receiving the right nutrition? I have no way of knowing any of these things, and I have absolutely no control. I am not nurturing Scout during this time. I am just waiting.

How long must I wait, Lord? How much longer? I have had to wait an eternity already, I can’t bear it anymore.


 

The other day I was in a Holy yoga class and as we stood in mountain pose the instructor invited us to imagine ourselves standing on top of a mountain and gazing out over the world.IMG_5381

We then were told to swan dive into our standing forward fold.

As we bent our heads low to the floor and hung there for several breaths the instructor prompted us to think about those times we felt low and in the valleys of life. I am in a valley right now and that sudden realization brought forth weeping. Yes, weeping. Weeping…in public. Weeping unlike any weeping I have experienced before: silent tears streaming up my face.(I was upside down remember?) Snot was running into my eyes. As our instructor reminded us of God’s faithfulness we all came to flat back and then with our hands held high we came back to mountain pose.IMG_5382 And there, for the first time ever, I stood crying in a public place with snot and tears clinging to my hairline.


 

I am in a valley. Please don’t misunderstand me, the valley I am in right now is very beautiful. It is pleasant and comfortable, but I have always been the type of person who likes to go as high as I can go and then look out at the world.

I like to feel like I’m part of the sky rather than part of the horizon. I like to watch the birds fly overhead without any trees to block my view. I like to experience the enormity of the world stretching out further than I can see. And right now I am in a valley. I am comfortable here but I am itching to start climbing. The reality of my situation has hit me.

The unknown waiting period is rising above me like a mountain to vast to climb. How will I scale these heights? How, Lord? It is too great, too big; it will take too long. It is beyond my power; I won’t survive.

I’ve got you. Hold on and trust me.

Can we stop to rest sometimes and maybe let out a good cry?

Of course! But we will also be stopping to marvel at the beauty of our journey, to laugh together, to chat over an evening cup of coffee by the camp fire, and to gaze at the stars. You will find peace and joy in my presence if you keep your hand in mine and your eyes fixed on me. I will show you the way to go. I will lay you down by quiet waters and restore your soul. I will be everything you need. Trust me, my radiant one.

Oh, and Elizabeth…Scout is my child too, just as you are; I am tightly grasping to the hands of my children. I connect you to Scout; I link mother to child. With this in mind, pray. My dear daughter, pray for your child. You don’t need an umbilical cord to nurture your little Scout, I Am your connection to your child and your prayers are the nourishment you provide.