A Long Post, A Tough Subject

This is going to be an incredibly wordy post. I'm warning you ahead of time and I'd apologize but...I haven't had much to say recently and this is important to me so...I just hope you stick with me.

I don't know if you are pro-life or pro-choice. If you are pro-choice, I pray you would reconsider after you hear me (read...) out. I was pro-choice, too until I was older (I don't know how old I was, to be honest) and started to really look back over my life and realized I'd lived most of it "on the cuff." I hadn't thought anything through, hadn't made any plans, set any goals, didn't have any real principles I'd lived by - none of that - because my life took a decided left turn on my 18th birthday and I got pregnant. Yes - I'm positive it was my 18th birthday just as I was positive while I carried my son that he was a boy (even though I told everyone I was having a girl).

There is no need to go into every detail but suffice it to say, my getting pregnant two months before I graduated from high school made almost no one happy. Actually? I might need to ditch the word "almost" from that last sentence. By the time my mother found out, though, I was almost 20 weeks along and in the process of going to the doctor and "deciding what to do," it was almost too late to consider abortion. We were in California at the time and there was one clinic who was willing to do it but there was a one day window (Mom - if my details are sketchy, I apologize. This is how I remember it) and so an appointment was scheduled at 7AM on the last possible day the State of California would allow me to abort my baby legally.

The kink in our plan was my father. My father was always an incredibly strict disciplinarian and I think, in the interest of avoiding having his wrath come down on me with this news, my mom tried to figure out a way for my father to never have to know what we were doing. Many years later I could look back at that time and praise God He didn't allow that plan to work. My mother reached a point in the process where she felt we had to tell my father and then...deal with his anger. So - she told him. I wasn't there for the conversation so I have absolutely no idea how it went but I know the next morning there was a lot of arguing going on so I'm assuming it didn't go well.

Here is where my father steps into my memory as a hero. I wish I could say it was the norm for him but it wasn't. However - this isn't a story about who my father is or about growing up with him.

My father tossed and turned that night with what my mother told him. At 3AM he could toss and turn no longer until he came into my room to say something to me. It was a summer night in California almost 24 years ago and what he said to me cemented my decision and gave me the strength to do what I had wanted to do from the moment I knew I was pregnant.

He said: "I love you and I know this is hard for you but I can't let you do this. I will do everything I can, I will help you any way I can if you choose to have this baby but if you do what you plan on doing, you will no longer be my daughter."

Sound harsh? Maybe. I didn't hear it that way, though. I heard support. I heard an ally. I heard someone who would stand with me against those people who were saying and would say this baby would "ruin" my life. "What will do with yourself with a baby?" "How will you go to college?" "How will you live?" I didn't know a single answer to those questions and I knew I had made a mistake - I shouldn't have done the things that got me there in the first place (abstinence is what I should have chosen!) - but it was done and now there was a little life and he was my responsibility. And now I wasn't alone.

Mind you - that was probably the only smart decision I've made in my entire life (before marrying my husband!). Truly. I still lived pretty much "on the cuff," didn't think things through - was always spontaneous and if something sounded like a good idea, I'd run with it. I spent most of my life being incredibly selfish and petty and my son has paid a great deal for my foolishness.

However. My son - who is an "almost wasn't" - is 23 now. His 23rd birthday was January 25, 2009. He is beautiful on the inside, handsome on the outside. His only fault is he's not a follower of Jesus Christ and that's not really a fault - just a decision I pray every day he realizes he needs to make. Ok - I'm sure there are other faults but I'm his mother - I just don't see them. He is deeply attached to his family and considers us the most important people in his life. He went through a rough patch (14 to almost 20) but came through that having learned a lot and with a maturity rarely seen in men his age (although he can still be quite young at times, maturity-wise). He has a work ethic beyond compare - he's not afraid to get his hands dirty, he shows up early and leaves late, works an incredibly physical job that few people want to do and loves what he does. He hangs out with his 9 year old step-brother every opportunity he gets (I have pictures of pumpkin carving, gingerbread house building, snow ball fighting, snowman building...on and on the list goes) and still picks up a game of basketball with friends he's had since he was 7. His cousins (the oldest is 11 years younger than he is, the youngest is 7) flock to him, hanging on him (literally) every chance they get. Small children and animals have always come to him having a sort of sixth sense about him - knowing he's going to love them, play with them and take care of them.

I could rattle off paragraph after paragraph of stories about his sweet, loving and loyal heart. Two of my favorites involve him at 5 months old and again in 5th grade. When he was 5 months old, I had the flu. It was a nasty bug that put me in bed. I was home alone with my son and he woke up from his nap, needing what every baby needs - a diaper change and food. It took me a while but I finally got him cleaned up and his bottle heated up and us back into my bed to feed him. While he was eating, I just looked at his sweet little face and said "Honey, Mommy is sick. I know it's asking a lot but if you could just see your way to being good today, I'd be oh so thankful." When I finished speaking, he reached out with his little hand and caressed my cheek. I can still see it in my mind, such an incredibly loving and gentle gesture. Then - he was absolutely perfect for the rest of that day. I mean - perfect. He didn't try to roll over and crawl away, he didn't cry, he just stayed with me, content to just lay around all day long.

Fast forward to 5th grade. Responsible 5th graders in his school were asked to be "bus buddies" with children who had special needs. I don't recall his buddy's name but I know my son would and his little buddy was a kindergartner with Down Syndrome. That, though, came up only once - when the school asked me if he would be allowed to participate in the buddy system. After that, he was just "my buddy." My son dealt with migraines - severe ones (they started when he was 5) - and they'd keep him home from school on occasion. If I had to keep him home from school, no matter how much pain he was in or even if he was at the throwing up point of the headache, he'd always tell me to make sure I included in my message to the school that his bus buddy was going to need someone for that day. Every. single. time. He worried about that little boy, knowing it was his responsibility to get him on and off that bus and he wasn't going to leave him alone.

I look at this beautiful young man and I think about what I almost did. I think back to that appointment and wonder what my life would look like if I had gone through with it. Truth is - many people toss out the "you can have more kids later" argument often in talking about abortion. If someone had said that to me, I might have believed them - but they would have been wrong. I have never again been able to carry a baby to term. This last September, I had to have surgery that put a complete end to the idea of ever having another baby.
If I hadn't gone through with my pregnancy, I would never have known what it was to carry a child, to give birth to a child and to raise a child from birth to adulthood. I think of the thousands of women in this country alone who can't have children for one reason or another. I read about the hurt and grief they deal with and my heart aches for them. Adoption is as close as some women will ever get to "having" their own baby and don't misunderstand me - I know an adopted child is loved just as a "natural child is loved. When I use the words "as close" and "having," I'm talking about the physical aspects of being pregnant and giving birth. I don't know the pain of never being able to carry and give birth to my own child - I was given that blessing once. I know the joy of adopting a child - my stepson is as much my son as my "natural born" son is. I had an easier time "adopting" than some but my "baby" was 5 when he "became mine." Not many adopted children come with a husband, too, but mine did.

All of this to get to my point. Abortion shouldn't be a choice considered. Organizations and some people in our society push it as the "perfect" solution in the midst of a hellish, scary time but once done, it can't be undone and women live the rest of their lives with guilt and regret. I still have pangs of guilt for even contemplating the idea - I feel like such a selfish failure for even looking at it as an option. And I didn't go through with it! My son deserved better from me than what he started to get at the time. I am still so grateful to God for prompting my father to show me that.

Life is life. From the moment a child is conceived, those cells are moving - doing their job. Intent in their purpose, each one has its job and its role in the life that is being knitted together. A heart cell knows it is a heart cell - it doesn't have to wonder if it's a thigh muscle or a fingernail. It knows where it belongs and it goes there. God designed perfect order in creation, it is we who get in the way. Psalm 139:13-14 reads "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; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." When we pull a string and unravel God's knitting, how many tears are shed in heaven? The hairs on our head are numbered, He engraves our names in the palm of His hand... God is not a distant, disinterested God. He is in the details and each one of us matters to Him in ways we can't begin to comprehend.

It's time - it's time to stop trying to bring God down to our level and realize He is far above who we are and where we are. It's time to worship Him as we were created to worship Him. We have strayed too far into "me" and "I" that He has become a blur. How long until we have pushed Him completely out of the picture? In Romans 1 Paul speaks of God giving men over to their sinful desires when knowing God, they still turn to idols. An idol is anything that keeps us from putting God first in our lives. How many idols do we have?

President Barack Obama has, practically from the moment he took office, made decisions and signed legislation to reverse years of pro-life work. He has made more federal funding available for organizations like Planned Parenthood and overturned the "Mexico City Policy." There is more but I'm going to leave it here - President Obama has made his position on abortion perfectly clear and feels its ok for taxpayer money to fund it.

I disagree. As a taxpayer, I do not wish to contribute to the killing of innocent babies. I do not want my money used for something that forces an innocent to suffer because the man and woman who created that innocent does not wish to take responsibility for the decision they made.

I urge you to check out The Red Envelope Project. I truly love grassroots movements - an average, every day type of person gets an idea, shares it with a few people and then...snowball. I love it even more when it's a cause with which I agree (of course...). If you agree, pick up some red envelopes and mail them to the President. I have fifty to start filling out. It's a lot of postage (and yes - I'm going to pay postage on each one) and I pray the message hits its target.
Additionally, I have learned there is a "Red Envelope Day" movement. The idea is to mail as many red envelopes as possible on March 31st. I'm debating - mail some now AND on the 31st or just start writing them out now and mail as many as I possibly can on the 31st.
Anyhow... the hope is, the dream is, to have 50 million (or more) red envelopes reach the White House before this Project ends. 50 million represents the number of abortions performed in the United States alone. Everyone has strong opinions about this issue. I have shared mine. My son should never have been an "almost wasn't." I hope to help keep others from dropping the "almost."

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