We live in a culture with broad and disparate moral perspectives, and we have similarly and profoundly failed to be morally consistent.
Month: January 2019
Keisha, did you know? There is another side to the message that abortion is an “easy-out” of a difficult situation. People have been told that “the problem” disappears after an abortion– it’s finished and forgotten. However, yes, there is a “HOWEVER,” a growing body of research shows that abortion significantly increases the risk of 1) clinical depression and anxiety, 2) drug and alcohol abuse, 3) PTSD symptoms, and in some cases even some 4) suicidal thoughts and behavior. Keisha, does this mean you will absolutely be impacted in this way? No. Does it mean there is a risk of an emotional toll, especially without any recovery intervention? Yes.
Keisha entered the clinic looking sharp that sunny afternoon. She was personable, well-dressed, and attractive. Keisha was already a mom, clearly a strong young woman who had managed to keep truckin’ even after a breakup with her son’s father. Now in her mid-twenties, she worked, and was self-supporting, though she did have family in the area.
“I never ask my parents for anything,” she said with pride in her voice. “I had never considered abortion as a life choice, at least not for me,” she said softening her tone. “But, I also told myself I would never go through another pregnancy by myself. I always said if I were to parent again, there would be an involved father.”
Keisha had indicated on her intake papers that she wanted abortion education. The nurse asked if she would like her to explain the different procedures and current state laws governing the procedure.
“Yes, I need to learn my options. The love of my life, my little Brady who is now four, is all I can handle on my own. I really can’t raise another baby by myself.” As she slowly and distinctly enunciated her words, Keisha’s eyes filled to the brim with quickly flowing tears.
After dobbing her eyes and regaining composure, she went on, breaking the tension with loving affirmation of her prized treasure, her son.
“Brady is the best thing that ever happened to me,” she said, with a huge smile. “Life is complicated, you know? But, nothing makes the day better than when he runs up and tackles me with his big hugs!”
“I am so glad you came in today, Keisha. You are still early in your pregnancy, and you won’t regret learning everything you can about your options before deciding.”
“I called some abortion clinics this week,” Keisha said, glancing down at the floor. “But, I hung up each time before I spoke with anyone. Then, I cried. Every time.” Looking up at the nurse and counselor, her eyes filled again. Restraining her emotions, she shifted the mood. “I even cried when I had to give my dog away,” she said with a chuckle.
“Actually, I really don’t know that I can go through with this,” she confessed in a soft voice.
“It’s okay to feel the weight of this decision, Keisha. This is a life with all the genetic DNA in place for its future, and a beating heart, even now. There is a lot to think about. Do you pray, Keisha?”
“Sometimes. I used to go to church with my grandma when I was little. I just got out of the habit after she passed away.”
“After you learn how the abortion procedure works at this stage of pregnancy, I encourage you to consider praying before you decide what to do.”
Keisha listened quietly, nodding her head in agreement.
“Since you are almost eight weeks from conception, this is what a medical abortion will look like. First you will be given a drug at the clinic, and that will cause the baby’s heart to stop. Twenty-four to forty-eight hours later you will take another drug, at home, which causes cramping to expell the fetus and placenta. Please have someone with you, Keisha, if you do this because you may need help. Risks include hemorrhaging and a possibility that not everything would come out leaving you vulnerable to infection. You could also see identifiable parts of the fetus if you are past eight weeks. You need to be prepared.”
Dear Father God,
Keisha needs you now in a very special way. Make your love, forgiveness, and provision visible to this young mom. Show her other options that she can’t see as possibilities at this moment. She loves her little Brady with all of her heart, and with such a tenderness, even for her pet, she may experience a broken heart that she cannot begin to foresee right now. I pray that she will reach out to you for answers and a lifegiving decision that will bring her peace for her life and a healing resolution for a difficult situation.
Thank you, Lord, for being a Provider in our times of need and a Healer when we hurt. Even when we stray from Your truth and have not followed your will, You are ready to forgive and redeem our mistakes. Help Keisha now, Lord. In Jesus Name I pray.
The beauty of a new snowfall carried sweet remembrances that winter evening. It was so tantalizing that I couldn’t wait to pull on boots and warm gear just to experience the magic outside my window. White puffs of delicate intricacy fell on my head, shoulders, and ultimately, my feet, creating virgin footprints in the yet untouched snow. Everything in sight was transformed to a pristine state of perfection. Just hours before the drab of winter browns and grays dominated the landscape. The ugliness was made new.
As a child, I remembered the excitement of making the first footprints, first sled tracks, or even shoveling the first paths on the sidewalks or driveways. The reward of hot cocoa, and perhaps a just-baked cookie, was often part of the expectation after we’d broken into the frosty scene to our heart’s delight. Even without a fireplace, we could gather around the oven, warming our numbed fingers and toes as we waited expectantly for mother to finish the cocoa.
Winter in the Midwest also reminded me of chilly thrills and spills. There was the joy of riding our steel runner wooden sleds down steep hills and even streets in our small town. As a youngster, I would gleefully jump onto the back of my father at the top of the hill near our home. It seemed like “forever” to the bottom of the gentle slope beside my home, every inch of the way filled with excitement. Dad steered the handles upfront, and I clung to his broad shoulders, screaming for effect as we hit unexpected bumps along the way. Though I knew we might take a tumble, I had ultimate trust in the outcome as I held on to my dad, the one I believed could make all of life go well.
As an adult, I pulled the sleds of my own little ones and as they grew, we sledded any hills we could find when the snow fell. I wanted my children to have the same fond memories I did of winter. We became a skiing family, and that passion infused a new interest in the wintry cold. My feet ached, my fingers froze, and yet, to stand at the top of a mountain range in the Colorado Rockies was worth every discomfort ever experienced. The Creation of God before my eyes was breathtaking, and skiing was an adventurous way to be a part of such beauty.
Over time, despite its beauty, I also learned how harsh and barren winter can be. The cold season brings punishing winds, stinging cold, and danger to wildlife as well as humans who are ill-prepared. Winter can be hard to endure, and seemingly endless some years. I personally find candles and fireplaces comforting with their glowing warmth and esthetic beauty. People use various ways to cope with the restrictive boundaries of winter — remedies for relieving the itch of cabin fever or simply “snow weariness” in the dark days.
Reflecting on a deeper, analogical meaning of “season,” poets and writers have often alluded to the stages of human life. Admittedly, my years of “spring” have passed, those exciting years when everything continues to bloom and flourish in beauty and energy. Those were years of my youth in which mortal life appeared unending, full of promise and expectation, eyes on the next milestone. In the summer, I remained strong, able, and healthy with the promise of more good things to come. In the fall of life, my pace slowed, my children had grown, and I looked forward to their promises of new life and growth. Their milestones became mine vicariously. I knew my “winter” was to come, but I didn’t really ponder it. There were still plenty of projects to accomplish, friends to see, and life to live! If I let myself think about it, the final chapter of life on earth did seem not as far in the future as I once believed.
When my parents passed into eternity, I had the opportunity of holding their hands in those final moments. I stood beside my mother, realizing that I was suddenly the matriarch of the family. I felt instantly orphaned. At that moment, I could not avoid the sight of my own mortality. How many more years would I have, and how should they be spent? How would my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, direct my paths? Would I obey and follow? What purposes would my life serve, however many days, months, or years were left? Was there some significance to this winter season? Was I to glory in pleasureful activities with more freedom to play? Or was there more to this end game?
The good news is that our Creator God has provided purpose for His children in every single “season” of life, from conception to the grave — or to the arms of God in heaven. I have learned that as long as we have breath to breathe, we have life to live. If there are physical limitations, God has provided (the potential for) spiritual wisdom, which is an even greater gift. In seeking answers for this query of how to live joyfully in the “winter of life,” my eyes were opened to a fresh perspective. Just as we began, we should end. Jesus told us the greatest commandment in the Law:” Matthew 22:37. “… ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
These words of Christ are so simple, and yet so profound. If we walk in those great commandments, we can find peace and significance of purpose that I believe all human hearts yearn to know. Undeniably, I have lived through many seasons, but I have discovered that God is my source of strength, courage, peace and all spiritual blessings … through it all, even in the unpleasant and painful trials we encounter on Earth.
I have a choice though! We all have a choice. God was purposeful in His creation, making certain that we could choose to love Him and follow His plans, or not. It’s called Free Will. Father God did not make His creation in such a way that they would be forced to walk according to His Divine Plans. What Father would want puppet children, forced into relationship like slaves? But, He promises to cover our sins like the beauty of new fallen snow when we make that choice to walk with Him.
As for me, I choose to walk in faith until He calls me home to Heaven, Eternal Life, in the presence of the One who created it all. I invite you to find that same assurance, purpose, and peace by accepting His free gift of forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Invite Him to be the Lord of your life. If you are unsure how to accomplish this, talk to someone who is a Follower, or send a note here on the Blog and I will respond personally. By giving God the reigns of your life in exchange for a loving relationship with the Lord of all Creation, you will have everything you need for a life of blessing and purpose through even the winter of life.
Jamie, did you know? Just 4 weeks after fertilization, or 6 weeks since the first day of the mother’s last period (LMP), the “little one” is still tiny (about 1/8″), but the central nervous system structure has formed … the brain and spinal cord. The heart can be seen on an ultrasound beating from 100-120 times a minute.
Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.”
The pastor of Jamie’s church began his sermon that Sunday in January by reading a familiar Scripture, Jeremiah 1:5: “Before I formed you, I knew you …” (NIV)
Pastor James spoke with a forceful intonation as he began. “Most of us also know Jeremiah 29:11: ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to give you hope and a future.’ Such a comforting promise,” he added, becoming softer, more reflective.
Then, pausing, the pastor looked around his congregation. “But, I have a question for us to consider this morning. If God forms life within the womb, and He has good plans for each and every one, what happens when, by choice, we terminate unborn lives?”
Pastor’s question hung in the air, seemingly forever. Not a sound could be heard in the large auditorium as the people silently processed the pastor’s question.
Jamie felt her own heart pounding hard in her chest. She wondered if her mom and dad could hear it like she could. She scrunched down a little lower in the pew, wishing she were invisible. Looking down at her Bible, she could at least escape eye contact.
Jamie had been in church her whole life, 17 years. The local church was a place where she had always attended Sunday School, worship services, and now as a teen, the youth group. This was where her friends were. She was sitting in her usual place, but she was hiding an enormous secret. An awful, most terrifying secret.
Jamie was pregnant.
Had anyone noticed how miserable she was? Had she smiled enough in the past week to keep everyone in the dark? Nobody can know about this, Jamie thought. NO ONE. Life would never be the same again.
Jamie wrestled with her own thoughts during the rest of the sermon, gladly ready to flee when the final song was sung. After service, Dad asked if she and her mother wanted to go somewhere to have lunch.
Quickly she offered a negative before Mom had a chance to say anything. “No thanks, Dad. I have a ton of homework to take care of today. I’ll skip,” Jamie said, trying to sound as casual as possible with her unlikely response.
Later that afternoon, the phone rang. “Jamie! It’s Leah — for you,” her mother called.
Picking up the phone quickly, Jamie said, “Leah, I’ll have to call you later, or see you at school tomorrow, OK? Sorry I can’t talk now … too much homework to catch up on. Hope you understand.” She hung up quickly and walked back to her room to be alone.
Jamie couldn’t face Leah. Not now. They had taken the vow to remain pure at the same youth camp. Jamie wanted to wait until she married the man of her dreams, the one she would have her family with. She and Leah were best friends, but she couldn’t tell her what happened. Leah would never look at her in the same way. Leah would never respect her again.
Jamie knew that even if she could hide her secret for a little while, she needed an action plan. She had always opposed abortion and she adored children. But, now … she was facing a terrifying reality. Would her parents forgive her, she wondered.
Jamie thought, “I know God is forgiving, but … what if I decide to get an abortion? But, I can’t go through with this pregnancy. I just can’t,” Jamie muttered. “I have to check into abortion. But what about what pastor said? Does God have special plans for this little one?”
Jamie threw herself onto her bed, burying her face in her pillow to muffle her cries as she wept. There was so much to think about … but she couldn’t pray. Not then. She felt a million light years away from God.
Oh, God, Creator of all life on Earth. We humans often make choices which are contrary to Your good plans. You understand our weaknessess and You know how our free will often separates us from you. Help Jamie understand what she is about to do and look for a better solution. In Jesus’s name.
A baby’s heart begins pumping after about 22 days from fertilization. If a woman has an ultrasound at 6 weeks, the heart rhythm can be measured at that time. By 9-10 weeks from the first day of your Last Monthly Period (LMP), the “little one,” i.e. embryo, has already developed fingers. Rather amazingly, such a tiny being can actually hiccup. At 12-13 weeks LMP, unborn babies are forming unique fingerprints … those that are unique to that person for life. Nearly 54% of abortions occur from 7-12 weeks when a baby has a developing nose, mouth, ears, intestines, brain waves, touch response, etc.
Makayla, did you know? The first cell of life formed by the united male sperm and female egg is smaller than a grain of sand! Yet, amazingly, it contains all the genetic coding that determines every detail of the newly created LIFE: hair and eye color, the unique lines of fingerprints, physical appearance, gender, the mature height, and even skin tone. Wow.
Psalm 139:13 “For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; You works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
The young nineteen-year-old sat quietly listening as the nurse explained that her pregnancy test in the clinic was positive … just as it had been at home. Makayla had taken three different tests that week. Each time, holding her breath, she watched as the test silently screamed. “Positive.” “Positive.” “Positive!”
Tears rolled down her sun bronzed cheeks as the news confirmed her fears. Why had she been swept away with summer love, she wondered? She had plans. She wanted to finish school. She dreamed of becoming a nurse someday. Having a baby was not in the picture. Would Kevin even still be a part of her life? They loved each other, but would they stay together? What would her parents say? She knew they would be very disappointed. But, disappointment was the least of their response, she was sure.
“What are your plans for your pregnancy, Makayla?”
Startled back from her own internal musings, Makayla looked down. “I need to have an abortion. I can’t have a child. I can’t be a single parent.”
“Let’s talk for a few minutes, Makayla. You don’t have to make a decision now. You don’t have to decide anything even this week. But, you do need to have the facts about such a life-changing decision.”
“I must have an abortion.”
“We can give you education about what that means, Makayla, but take time to breathe and think about your options today. You know there are options, right?”
“No, I don’t have any options. I cannot have this … this …. I cannot be a parent now …”
As the counselor waited quietly, Makayla did breathe. And her tears ran down her face as she struggled to find a way to say what was on her heart.
“I love children. I just can’t have a baby now,” she said, hesitantly. “Later, I can have children.”
The counselor said that she understood how overwhelming everything must feel. “As you think about your future, and your future plans, it will help you to have some facts so you can make an informed decision, Makayla.”
She nodded in agreement.
Please help Makayla. In her state of fear and anxiety, she needs to find You. She needs to know You, and to see Your provision as she walks in accord with Your will and purposes. Help her understand the truth about the Innocent One growing in her womb, and how precious it is in Your sight.
In Jesus’s Name, amen.
Stories Behind the Debate: Life Choices
The Untold Truths
As a freelance writer and retired educator, I have written extensively across the spectrum: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and curriculum for multiple public educational publishing markets. I also helped develop children’s Bible teaching literature for twelve years as a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources. I have written for various Christian magazines, such as The Christian Leader (Regent University Alumni magazine), SpiritLed Woman (Strang Publishing), ParentLife (LifeWay), and High Adventure for teens (Gospel Publishing House). More recently, I completed a young adult historical fiction novel, which is currently in the capable hands of my Christian publishing agent with Word Wise Media, David Fessenden.
Another book for young adults and teens is in the planning stages. Over the past few years, I have had the challenging, yet rewarding, experience of working as volunteer patient advocate for a pregnancy center. I feel called to share the heart stories of young women raised in a culture where sexual freedom, outside of the parameters of marriage, is the norm. By removing the topic of abortion from the intellectual debate between pro-life and pro-choice advocates, I invite readers to step into the hearts of those who experience life-altering decisions about their unplanned pregnancies. These scene snippets are based upon true events, but fictionalized. Some situations are prevalent themes while some are more rare and unique. My purpose is to help readers grasp the truth of countless untold stories and to counter the cultural claim of abortion being inconsequential. Most women do not readily share their abortion decisions, or their emotions before or after. Many hope no one ever finds out.
Politicians, the courts, news media, and Hollywood have all proclaimed a woman’s “right” to abortion as a resolution for an unplanned pregnancy, sometimes going so far as to suggest we should “celebrate” it. Why not, they ask? After all, we are told, this genetic package of life is not life at all, but merely cells that are a part of the mother’s body. I invite my readers to learn from those who are most deeply impacted as they wrestle with the physical, emotional, and spiritual impact of abortion in our culture. I understand that some readers will disagree with my viewpoint, but this is a reality that is often ignored.
In the folder on this Blog named “Science and News about Life,” I will also post informational facts about the preborn which will rely on science discoveries over recent years. The toll young women carry in their hearts from this aberration from God’s plans is incalculable, without accounting for the millions of human lives that have been destroyed. May these stories shine God’s love and forgiveness to heal those who have been caught in this deception, and help others to thoughtfully consider the path that God intends for His children, “plans to give them a future and hope” (Jeremiah 19:11).