While I was in Serbia last May my eyes were opened to more needs than I could process. On my flight home I filled several pages of my journal writing down the needs I’d been exposed to and praying for God to give me clarity about just what on earth this one, damaged, unqualified woman could do. How could I make a difference for the kingdom of God in the land that gave me my daughter? Out of all needs on the list, there was one that I intentionally placed at the very bottom…
On the day before that flight home, the Belgrade hotel room that I shared with my dear friends Lisa and Rachelle became a prayer closet. People came by throughout the afternoon and evening to pray with us. Some drove hours just to share space with someone who shared their God. The last person to stop by was a woman named Mila. Other than the fact that she had been at a prayer conference in Sarajevo the month before,
I knew nothing about her before she came to our door. As she got comfortable on our little hotel couch and explained to the women in the room that God had spoken to her at that conference in Sarajevo about opening a crisis pregnancy center, I created a confidently smug reply in my head. With the two women who know me (just about as good as I know myself) sitting nearby, I looked Mila in the eyes and said, “I’m not called to work with a crisis pregnancy center. You see. I had two abortions before I was married and I hope that God is more merciful than to call a person to minister in the one area that hurts the most.” Lisa and Rachelle actually laughed out loud.
In the two weeks after my return from Serbia, I prayed over the list I created on my journey home. I knew that I had no power to meet all of the needs on that list, but that I was called to meet at least one of them. Over the course of those two weeks, God allowed me to have three very significant conversations (one of them with my own daughter) that led to a clear revelation about my calling. In the seven months since that clear revelation I have denied that calling. Today, God showed me that it’s time to come clean.
I killed my babies. I have written an entire book about healing and I’ve led people to believe that it’s all about being healed from cancer. It is not about cancer. It is all about the process of being healed from the wounds that led to cancer. You will have to buy the book if you want to know my whole story. My whole story is not what this blog-post is about. This post is about my disgust with the body of Christ over their approach to abortion.
When I was in middle school I participated in anti-abortion rallies. I watched slide-shows of aborted babies and held up posters with pictures from those slide-shows that said things like, “Abortion Kills!” and “Don’t murder your unborn children”. Seven or eight years later I walked across the parking lot of an abortion clinic on the way to kill my baby. There were men on the edge of the parking lot wearing suits and holding Bibles up in the air while screaming, “Thou shall not kill!” The next year I ended up facing the same decision. I was doing drugs and still dating the same guy who once again stated that he wanted “Nothing to do with fathering my child” and promised that he would remind me as often as possible that “It was all my fault that this baby was “*#&@*d up” because I had done drugs while I was pregnant. I ended up at the other abortion clinic in town. This time there were teenage girls (probably passionate college students who were simply coached to do so) holding up signs with pictures of aborted babies. The last words I remember as I walked through the door of that clinic were, “YOU’RE A BABY KILLER!!”
My point today is that the men waving their Bibles in the air and the young girls who called me a baby killer were very far removed from the God I have come to know personally. The God who loves me DESPITE my shortcomings. The God who taught me that His grace is bigger than any wound I have ever received….. Whether the wound was inflicted by others or self-inflicted.
For more than a decade of my life I tried to earn grace. I tried to atone for killing my babies. I thought that by refusing to enjoy the amazing life I had, I could somehow make the pain and guilt go away. My plan did not work.
In the fall of 2002 I sat at Cascade Hills Church in Columbus, Georgia and listened to Dr. Bill Purvis preach a sermon on grace. I grew up in church, attended a Christian school throughout middle school and part of high school. Yet, somehow I missed out on the one thing God is really all about.
2 Corinthians 12:9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
One line in that sermon by Bill Purvis changed my life. “Who are you to think that ANYTHING you could ever do, is bigger than God allowing his son to die?”
Much like the moment today when I realized I was going to write this post, I was broken. God is ALL ABOUT GRACE! All the years I spent trying to punish myself were years wasted in an attempt to be my own god. Vengeance and justice are not mine. They belong to God. If you don’t believe me, do a Google search on “scripture God vengeance”. He is pretty stinking clear on the subject.
Those girls at the second clinic, the men with the Bibles at the first clinic, and me, myself and the thirteen year old I, are all just a part of the failure of The Church. As Christians, we have spent our resources (man-power, money, time, and energy) fighting abortion by telling girls and women that abortion kills babies. In that attempt we have not stopped abortion nor gained political ground. We have simply made the wounds of the women who’ve experienced abortion that much bigger. I think we’ve all got it. Abortion kills. If you believe that life begins at conception, then you cannot argue the point that choosing abortion means choosing to end a life.
Jesus was pretty clear on one thing…. John 13:34 “So now I am giving you a new commandment: LOVE EACH OTHER. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.“NLT
Where is the love in screaming out, “Baby Killer!” to a girl who does not see any other option? Where is the love in a church who shows slide-shows of aborted fetuses? What kind of love does that show to the women (or men) who have lost a child to abortion?
If you have not walked in my shoes, you can not judge me (Read Matthew 6). Am I guilty of murdering my babies? Yes. Has the healing process been hell? Yes. Has the body of Christ made that healing process a thousand times more painful? YES! Is murder unforgivable? No. the apostle Paul was very clearly a murderer and thirteen books written by him still managed to make it into the New Testament of the Bible. God is ALL ABOUT GRACE!! He is ALL ABOUT HEALING!! He is ALL ABOUT LOVE!!
Personally, I do not think we will ever see an end to abortion. If the devil can get mothers to kill their babies before they are ever born then he doesn’t have to work to kill them throughout their lives…. John 10:10 “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy….” Abortion kills a baby and destroys the life of a mother. The other half of John 10:10 says, “….I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” The “I” in that verse is Christ.
Body of Christ, I challenge you to make a choice. You can either be a part of the “destroying of lives” or you can be a part of the “life abundant”. Do not call yourself “pro-life” unless you are actually pro-life. You see…. Until The Church actually decides to show love and grace to women who have experienced abortion, there will never be any women to minister to those who are considering it.
I cannot tell you the number of CHRISTIAN women I have met that bow their head in shame and whisper, “me too.” when they hear my story. Church, we have failed.
You wanna be like Christ? The next time you meet a girl who’s pregnant and uncertain about what she will do, tell her that no matter what she chooses, GOD STILL LOVES HER! Tell her that “HIS GRACE IS ALL SHE NEEDS!” Talk to her about adoption. The next time you hear another Christian talking about their stand on abortion, ask them what they are doing to encourage and support adoption. After all, we were not instructed that pure ministry was to stop murder in James 1:27. We were instructed that pure and undefiled ministry, before God, is to take care of the fatherless.
If you want to be pro-life, you must first be pro-choice. CHOOSE to encourage the abundant life promised by God to both unborn babies AND to the women who have lost their babies to abortion. CHOOSE to not be a part of the enemy’s scheme to steal (joy, peace, love, grace, you name it), kill (babies whose Moms feel rejected and/or judged by the body of Christ and who do not see any other options being promoted by the body of Christ), and destroy (the lives of babies, women, men, grandparents, aunts, uncles and anyone else who cares).
After explaining to Mila on that day last May how I was not called to work with her, I explained to her all the things I have just described for you. I told her that the only way she would ever make a difference (in a nation that averages three abortions to every one live birth) would be to offer grace, love, and healing to women (and men) who have experienced the loss of a child through abortion. Mila listened to me. Her center will be a place of healing.
After seven long months and a roller-coaster ride of chasing after worthy callings that are not my own, one thing is clear. God is immeasurably merciful
mixed with a twisted sense of humor in the needs he calls us to fill. He gives us love and grace to the point that we can overflow that love and grace to others.
This is my gauntlet. Consider it thrown.