unPlanned

A few weeks ago, I read the first chapter of Abby Johnson’s book unPlanned. I was gripped by her story and knew I would read it as soon as I could find a copy of the book. I was excited to find out that our school librarian had purchased the book, and I immediately went home on Monday night and read the first third of the book. Last night I finished it.

This is an inspiring, hope-filled, fast-paced read about God’s forgiveness and the dramatic work He does in people’s lives. Abby describes her thinking at each point along her journey, and how she as a Christian could have two abortions and work for Planned Parenthood. I suspect that other women have followed the same lines of thinking and I pray that others will be warned of the way we can get enticed into ungodly thinking and encouraged to find hope and forgiveness in Christ. I highly recommend this book. In fact, I’ve already told a couple teachers and the girls in my first hour class about it.

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A Prayer for Sanctity of Human Life Sunday

I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:1-3 ESV

Most loving Lord Jesus, your loud voice and tear wiping hand, together, give us the courage and compassion as we need to live as faithful advocates for human life. How we long for the day when “death shall be no more”—death in all of its expressions. Today we are especially thinking about the death of unborn children.

All of your promises are “trustworthy and true,” so we will neither despair nor retreat in the face of unconscionable evil and overwhelming need. Jesus, give us gospel courage to rise and contend against the dark oxymoron called “legal abortion.” Those two words simply do not belong together. Because you are making “all things new,” with undaunted hope we will fight the good fight of faith for children who are still being knit together in their mother’s womb.

There is a Day coming when abortion will be no more. In light of that Day, give us wisdom. Give us strength. Give us fire. Give us perseverance. Give us the sufficient grace we need to advocate for unborn children in this day—in our communities and among the nations of the world.

We also cry out for gospel compassion. Jesus, show us how to love and care for women and men whose stories are marked by abortion—either as victims or agents. Only the gospel is sufficient for the guilt. Only the gospel can bring healing. Only the gospel can transform an agent of darkness into a warrior for justice and mercy.

Jesus, we don’t just long for the Day of no more abortions. We also long for the Day of no more miscarriages. Sin and death have violated every domain of shalom, including the realm of birthing. Our hearts break for those families who would love a child to your glory, but must endure the pain of giving up their children before birth. Show us how to love and serve them well. Extend your tear-wiping hand through us.

How long, Jesus, before the last abortion and the last miscarriage? How long, O Lord? Until that Day, we also ask for courage and compassion to adopt the millions of orphaned children who have safely made it into this world. May our zeal against abortion be matched by our zeal for adoption. Surely there is room in our hearts and homes for these precious image bearers of yours. Surely the gospel is big enough for this calling too. So very Amen, we pray, in your holy and loving name.

~ A prayer by Scotty Smith, 1/23/2011

The Church and Abortion

I read this paragraph today and it says what I started trying to say in last night’s post about Roe v. Wade.

Consider the difficult subject of abortion. For many women, it is easier to keep the “problem” hidden than to be candid. It doesn’t make the situation easier for young women who feel they have no other option. But what better place to deal with the difficulties of these pregnancies than within the church? Are we openly and honestly talking about sexual issues in our churches? Or are we hiding behind religious pretenses, pushing people away who have deep hurts and needs? Are we helping people understand the gravity of their choices but also displaying a clear process to restoration, including providing financially for women and adoptive families? Do we wait until a person is forced to anguish over abortion, or do we nurture soft-heartedness and transparency in her life? Have we created relationships and expectations within our churches in which older women are accessible and transparent with younger women about their struggles–not just occasionally, but in ongoing, real-life ways?

From the concluding statements of the chapter on hypocrisy in unChristian by David Kinnaman (p. 58)

38th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Maybe I’m just more aware of what’s going on in the blogosphere, but it seems like there has been a proliferation of news articles and blog posts about abortion, Roe v. Wade, and the sanctity of life this year. I’m glad for this, as I hope and pray that someday the decision will be overturned. I hope that greater awareness will keep desperate women from aborting babies and that more people will adopt children when their parents can’t support them.

This week, I read an amazing story written by one of my juniors. An ultrasound showed she’d have a serious birth defect, and the doctor said he was required by state law to offer an abortion to her parents. They said, “Absolutely not!” and she was born with a much less severe defect that healed without even needing surgery. I had goosebumps when I read of her parents’ spontaneous response and of their love for their baby who developed into a talented, athletic, beautiful young woman (even if she had been born with the defect, I know they would have loved and cared for her).

This story contrasts greatly with several other articles I read this week. For example, this story about a woman who had to assist in an abortion. You can read more of the first chapter of her book here.

And then there was the terrible story of the Philadelphia doctor who murdered babies after failed late-term abortions. I can hardly fathom being a part of something so awful. Here’s another video about the story.

As horrible as abortion is, God offers grace and forgiveness to those who ask for it. A woman may make a terrible decision and a doctor may take an innocent life, but they can turn to God and God will forgive!

While trying to find the video that was played in church on Sunday, I came across this one. I thought the message of hope and forgiveness was powerful. The video also makes the point that we have a responsibility to the poor and helpless in many other areas.

“There are no orphans in the family of God.”

“The Miracle of Life”

I thought this video was beautiful.

Psalm 139: 1-18

1 O LORD, you have searched me and known me! 2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.

13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.