Saturday, March 13, 2010

How to Save a Life: 40 Days for Life, Pregnancy Resources, and Rachel's Vineyard

Last week I spent several hours praying with others in front of a local abortion clinic for everyone who went in for any reason. During the one hour that morning and hour and a half that evening, I prayed with nine women, three men, and ten children. We blocked no one, didn't get in anyone's face, approached no one in the parking lot, had no gruesome posters about the realities of abortion to use as scare tactics, and we didn’t shout at anyone about anything.

Note to reader: I've written several blog posts over the past three years about being involved in 40 Days for Life. Since the movement has grown bigger, but the message of love and healing has remained the same, I've decided to post the articles from my previous blog site here.  This post was written and originally posted on Tuesday, October 23, 2007.

All we brought were one 40 Days for Life sign, pregnancy resource brochures for any who asked us for them, and our prayers. The movement to protect women and their unborn babies has been in the forefront of my mind for weeks as 40 Days for Life has been going on across the country with miraculous results.

Police have been hired by St. Benedict’s parish to stay with the pro-lifers doing the 24/7 vigil through the night at the local clinic these 40 days. One night, the police officer said she was going to go back to her Baptist church Bible study and encourage them to join the vigil.

Another evening the police officer on duty informed an abortion clinic worker she had to leave the parking lot, that it was way after hours and that she could not legally remain on the clinic’s premises any longer. She said she wasn't leaving while there were people protesting on the sidewalk. He informed her the people outside weren't protesting, they were praying. There is definitely a big difference!
People who attack those who are pro-abortion, saying that they are evil and should be harmed, are not upholding a plea for respecting all life. What women and their partners need is to be treated with respect and given adequate information about all of their options. Too many women are trapped and pressured by their boyfriends, family, friends, or those in abortion clinics to abort the child they want to keep and would be able to keep if they knew all of the pregnancy resources available to them. The best thing to do is educate women and men about ALL of their choices.
A friend who had an abortion and later miscarried has never been able to have children and is very sad she has been unable to conceive the children she’s longed to have for many years. She recently experienced much-needed healing at a Rachel's Vineyard retreat. She has poured a great deal of love and compassion into young adult ministry and into her nieces and nephews, though she still mourns the loss of her children.
Another friend had a child in her teens who she gave up for adoption years ago. Later she married and had two children. Just recently her first child sought her out and brought his wife and kids to meet her.
My cousin who is Korean was adopted by my aunt and uncle when she was an infant. She was very sick, but they took her in anyway. Now she is happily married and a mother of two with another one on the way.
One weekend earlier this month a group of us were praying as part of a Life Chain and someone who may or may not have been pro-abortion brought a home-made poster that read: “Bigots Go Home!” I thought it would be interesting if I went over and offered to hold it for a while after praying with the others in the group. 
I firmly believe the bigots should go home. The people who attack and/or judge anyone who walks into that clinic can be called a bigot. I’m not sure what she meant by the sign, since I’ve heard abortion called African American genocide. Maybe she was against abortion and the killing of so many black children. I may never know.
The highlight of my day last Friday was having a young woman roll down her car window as they drove away from the abortion clinic and saying with a smile on her face: "Thanks for the brochure. We decided not to go through with it."

I flashed her a huge smile and said, "Congratulations!"
I was so blessed to have this happen. I'm not sure who gave her a brochure or when, since there weren't any left there when I arrived. Someone else had planted a seed, and I had been blessed to hear that it had born fruit in the form of a child who will live. It's true, we don't know what our words and actions have and will bring about.
I think the most important outcome from the 40 Days for Life will be more women knowing that God and those of us there praying love them and their unborn children. We aren't there to judge them or the workers in the abortion clinic.
We're there to offer help and support so women feel confident they'll have the physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial resources necessary to keep an unexpected child.
Another thing we hope is that those who do have an abortion will experience healing in mind, body, and spirit. We pray that this healing will be complete so they will not end up among the majority of women who have abortions and suffer from depression, become suicidal, and are at a significantly higher risk for developing breast cancer.

Mother Teresa was right. If we judge people, we have no time to love them.
May God bless anyone who reads this with peace, love, joy, and an unequivocal passion for Truth, mercy, and forgiveness. Amen.
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