Monday, October 20, 2008

LIFE

What do you think about God? Do you think that he has absolutes? Things that are right or wrong whether or not anyone else believes it? Are there things that are true no matter the repercussions or inconvenience?

One of my earliest memories, I think from age 3, involves a little bouncy ball—probably the kind you get from a toy machine for a quarter. I was in a friend’s back yard one day when I discovered one of these balls, half covered with dirt and abandoned long ago by my playmate. For some reason I wanted that ball, and more than that, I wanted it secretly. So I took it without ever saying a word. Hardly any time had passed before that little ball began to eat me up. I couldn’t think about anything else but the stolen ball. I knew it was worth very little, I knew it would never be missed, and I knew my friend would have given it to me if I had asked, but despite all the justifications, taking it had been wrong, and I knew it.

The sad thing is, I think that often our moral compass is more on target when we’re toddlers than any other time in our lives. For a little kid, the fact that some things are right and some things are wrong isn’t a concept that all that hard to swallow. It’s only after we get a little wiser and grow a little older that the murky shades of gray begin to set in.

No issue personifies this better than that of abortion. It’s something a lot of people feel uncomfortable talking about directly, resulting in the many euphemisms thrown around that make talking about it less abrasive—and consequently much easier to gloss over. Like a frog sitting in the proverbial pot, many years ago our country was boiled slowly with nonsense about tissue and the lifelessness of a fetus until Roe vs. Wade was able to come in and swallow us whole. Suddenly the smallest and most vulnerable lives in our country became defenseless against legislation that left the balance of a life in the hands of its mother.

Justification was cut thick and doled out freely until the nation’s conscience was dulled and many had swallowed the lie. Even after science has proved that life, not tissue, exists from conception, the ruling stands because the desensitizing is already complete. Not even a beating heart, a developing bran, the presence of organs, or anything else can get in the way of a culture set against the right of the unborn baby to life. The inconvenience to our culture cannot be sacrificed to a reawakened conscience.

Now it is all about choice. If you choose life, that's your choice. If another chooses abortion that's her choice. But what ever made us think that the choice of life was for anyone but God to decide?

Recently I was participating in a Walk for Life with the organization we adopted Adrienne through. We were in a local park, so other walkers were out , and one of these made a point of telling us that she believed in a woman's right to choose. It broke my heart, and filled me with a desire to show her Adrienne. I wanted her to look at this perfect, beautiful baby and think of what would have happened if her mom had decided to choose something other than life.

I hate what legalized abortion has done to this country. Who can measure the toll it has taken, not just on the lives aborted, but on those who have been left to deal with the consequences of a conscience that wasn’t completely seared? How has it undermined our families and the moral framework of our country? How many women are left broken instead of empowered because of the “freedom” given to them by our laws?

I am broken for the women facing that choice. I am broken for the lives lost. I am broken for those suffering the aftermath.

This brings me back to where I started. What do you think about God? Do you think that he has absolutes? Things that are right or wrong whether or not anyone else believes it? Are there things that are true no matter the repercussions or inconvenience?

Psalm 139 says
“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 them full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

I want to put aside the cultural pressures, the deceptive arguments, and everything else that numbs what I know is right. I want to remember Poppy Joy, a life that not many would have deemed valuable, yet who changed my life and so many others. I want to remember Adrienne, a life who would not be here if her mother had not made the courageous decision to give her life. I want to remember that anyone who God creates is innately valuable, and no amount of legislation, logic, or social convenience can change that.

It’s election time, and I’m not a single issue voter, but I do prioritize the issues, and I don’t have any hesitation telling you that the issue of life is at the top of that list. The next president of our country might have an impact on abortion and the future of our country, and I certainly don’t want to miss out in voting, and then praying for the man who step into office come this January. I received a call from a pollster one night last week, and I was happy to be able to express that this was the biggest deal breaker for me in the election. It's something worth fighting for.

Just a little food for thought.

25 comments:

MandieGirl said...

Hi! I've read your blog for several months, but don't believe that I've posted at all until now. I just wanted to say that I am totally with you. There are a lot of things that are important, but I completely believe that LIFE trumps all. :) Thanks for sharing!!!

Elizabeth said...

Life is definitely an issue worth voting for! I appreciate your thoughts and the way you were able to articulate the way I feel about this all too important issue. Thanks for sharing!

Emily said...

Angie,
I feel the very same way. You put into words what I've been feeling so beautifully! I have been reading about the freedom of choice act & it is so disturbing & sickening. Abortion is my #1 issue. I have to admit that I have thought of Poppy Joy & Adrienne & many of the sweet babies that I have found through your blog. I am so thankful that these sweet babies have mommies that are willing to live with the sadness of losing a child rather than snuffing out that child's life long before they are born. Poppy Joy, even though I don't know you personally, has changed my life. I feel so much compassion for a mother that has lost & I have great admiration for a mother that has lost & is able to keep going.
I love reading your blog. Thank you for sharing your very personal thoughts!
Emily in Mississippi

Jenn's Blog said...

Amen sister!! You said it like I could never say it. I have been reading your blog for a long time and just love and pray for your family!!

Laurie said...

"Just a little food for thought." Angie, this is a banquet to my soul and how I have felt for so long about this. Thank you so much for speaking out about it here. I am with you when it comes to voting my heart. It is just a conviction in my spirit and I know WHO placed it there. This has been a "silent giant" between me and a family member for almost 40 years. I have seen the soul destruction in her life and we have had many cries and talks about Gods forgiveness. Her breakthrough moment came when she went with a young co-worker to give her moral support on an ultrasound that could have been bad due to family history. She said watching was fastinating until the moment came when the baby turned and looked right into the camera and she saw this baby's eyes looking right at her. Forty years of living in the gray area became black and white to her and her heart crumbled. God unlocked her heart that day and she has been able to forgive herself with His help. Only He could get through the guilt of forty years. Psalm 139 sure sums it up that there are no accidents when it comes to the life God creates with love. Each life is valuable beyond any measure. Sorry Angie, I didn't mean to ramble here. This post just touched my passion. I love you and pray Gods blessings all over you and your family today.

Love, Laurie in Ca.

Dee Dee said...

I lost a little one also, after 3 weeks, several years ago. He was born 11 weeks early. I had just taken training to volunteer at our local pregnancy support center. During his short life, I was so amazed to see what life looks like before we should ideally even be able to view it. I invited a friend who was the PSC director with me to visit Luke while he was in the hospital, to marvel with me.
After he passed away we decided, with the support of our Pastor and his wife, to have an open casket in the church as we received friends before our graveside service, for two reasons:
1. Because my other children had never been able to show their brother to their friends, and
2. As a testimony that his WAS a life, and that life mattered, even so long before traditional birth.
My young children and their friends reacted so naturally, lovingly surrounding his tiny casket as the adults came and spoke with us. It was many of the adults who seemed less able to handle it and didn't want to go near him.
Afterwards, one might have thought that I would have renewed zeal for the Pregnancy Center task. It didn't work out that way. I found it very painful to think of even talking with people who would consider terminating such a life, who could take so lightly a life like the one we prayed and struggled over. Even after being blessed with 2 more healthy children, I haven't been back to volunteer there, although I am so thankful for those who do. Maybe someday I will feel ready to go back.
Thank you for your well-written and on-target post. I know it is heartfelt and is written from the conviction of your experiences and your relationship with our Lord.
The words you wrote needed to be said.

The VW's said...

Amen! I'm with you all the way! I'm just praying that enough of our country sees it this way as well!

sarahdodson said...

Well put. It's amazing to me how "not obvious" this issue is to some people. I appreciate your writings.

Josh_and_Lee said...

good post! and if that single issue is the slaughter of the unborn (or partially born) child, then i don't mind being a single issue voter.

beccad said...

Thank you Angie for writing that. I could not have said it better. I pray for our president every day and will do so for the new man in office.

Karen said...

Beautiful. It is amazing to me how many believers gloss over this issue and let issues like taxes and health care reform sway their vote. It is just plain wrong. This issue shows the character of those in leadership and as a child of Christ, it is completely disrespectful to the Creator to say that our money if more important than His creation. You say it more eloquently than I ever could. Amen, friend.

In Christ,
Karen

Cathy said...

Oh Angie, the honest truth is God created human life. It all begins there! I guess that said I am a single issue voter, simply because there is no other issue more important. If we would value the single most important thing all else would fall into place. Our value from conception, how we view it, the importance placed upon who give and takes away, then all would be so much more respectful of everyone. I have always seen the goodness of God through my own personal life with adopting five healthy children and then the fraility with Annabel's precious life. Yes, these moms could have chosen abortion but for whatever reason gave life. I love them so for just giving what only God gives first, creation. Blessings to your beautiful growing family.

Liz said...

Hi! I am so glad that you addressed this in your blog. What are we if we do not care about human life? How do you think we got here if not by the Father? They would not be running for President had it not been for their mother's chosing life and beleieve me when I say you don't have to be a single unwed mother to have an abortion. I have seen it with my own eyes how women justify such things. I, too, have an adopted child and I know what her birth mother could have done. She thought long and hard about it too! She was so close to giving up on herself and God but then the decision was made... to give life and to give it to my husband and me! Praise God for that! I, too, have volunteered in a Crisis Pregnancy Center and aswered the call many, many, many times of that desperate caller looking for a way out. I tell them what I know. Sometimes I could help them and other times I could not! Sad but true. So take a stand this November. Do it for yourself. Do it for God! Do it for your children! Just Do It! Let the governement know that we are done doing it their way...it is time for a change!

In His Service

Liz 2farapart

Donna said...

Hi Angie. First, I want to say that I am an admittedly unusual person to be reading your blog. :)I'm a pro-choice atheist (who believes herself to be a very good person with strong morals even if they aren't rooted in a religion) attorney who doesn't have much experience with children with genetic disorders.

I happened upon your blog because Poppy's memorial slideshow showed up on my YouTube page when I was maing a slideshow for my niece's first birthday. I found myself captivated in your story and in complete awe of your strength and perspective and even your faith (in spite of not sharing it). I cried with you at your loss and smiled with you in celebration of her life. She was certainly a special baby and I thank you for giving us all the opportunity to know her and her story. I was also so glad for you when I saw that you'd brought home Adrienne, because in spite of our many differences, I thought you seemed like such nice people and such a wonderful family for sweet Adrienne.

I even can say that I, personally, share much of your conviction about abortion. My beliefs aren't founded in a god, but I do think, intuitively, that abortion is morally problematic, that life is always a preferable choice and women who choose it are admirable, and that the world would certainly be better off if abortion were a rare occurrence. I also strongly believe in a church/state distinction so that people are not subjected to the values of a religion that does not define them. And ultimately, I think that immensely personal, life altering decisions about reproduction and families must not be left to the government, so I do identify as pro-choice, even though I can say that I would never personally have an abortion.

Although I do support Roe and the right to unhindered access to early abortion, it's not an election priority for me; I could potentially support a candidate that believed in overturning Roe. What is a priority to me, however, is that the candidate I support display sensitivity towards women in really horrendous situations, like those who have conceived through rape or those who have some medical condition that makes gestation dangerous to their own life. I think these women, especially, should be granted the respect and privacy to make such heart-wrenching decisions free of intervention by the government. While I assume that your position is that a life is a life, regardless of those factors, I cannot fathom coercing a woman to have a child against her will when it was not a poor decision, but rather brutal victimization, that put her in that position in the furst place. And when a woman is faced with choosing between her own life and her unborn child's, I have to put my complete support with the woman. While these situations are admittedly rare, the freedom of choice must be preserved for those few.

What I find especially disturbing about Senator McCain's views on the subject are NOT just that he does not support those exceptions, but the manner in which he does so-- which is best described as belittling and dismissive. (He used mocking "air quotes" to dismiss that the idea that facing the choice between a mother's health and a fetus's life as absurd, which assuredly it is not.) A favorite blogger of mine recently responded to this very issue (much more eloquently than I have) and analyzed Senator McCain's reaction to this issue from the third debate. If you're interested, check it out here: alittlepregnant.com.

Anyway, I suppose the point of all of that is to say that while I appreciate and respect your convictions, I hope you're also respectful of those who value life but do not appreciate candidates who are so callous when it comes to issues that are so deeply personal and so incredibly heartwrenching, for all pregnant women but most especially for women in very, very difficult positions through no fault of their own.

I hope that my views will be respected here (even if vehemently opposed) in the same way that I've respected all of yours.

Best to you and your family. :)

Angie said...

donna,

i want to thank you for your response, and especially for your gracious attitude and respect for me and my family. I was unable to find an email address to respond, so I'll just do so here.

I didn't include it in the blog, but I actually do not have issue with abortion when a mother's life is truly at stake. The only problem I have is that the term "health of the mother" has been expanded to include mental health. That in turn can be manipulated to mean just about anything, and I am not in support of that. Some research I've done shows that about 6% of abortions are for the life of the mother, and the vast majority of those are for tubal pregnancies where the baby wouldn't have survived anyway.

As for rape, I truly agonize with the women who have been the victims of such a terrible, unjust crime. I would NEVER judge anyone who felt they could not carry a baby that was the result of such a horrific event. I do feel that these babies are not responsible for what happened, and my heart aches for them as well. I know that each and every one would be adopted by people who love them. However, I would not be against any legislation that allowed for that provision. And again, my research shows that less than 1% of abortions are because of rape.

That means that 93% of abortions are for social reasons. These figures come from planned parenthood, a pro-abortion group.

All of that to say, what I desperately want is for that 93% of abortions to be eliminated. I agree with you when you say that abortion is morally problematic, and a society that embraces it is bound to have serious repercussions. On a deeper level, I believe life is sacred because ultimately it is God's to give and take.

Thank you again for writing! I want you to know that you certainly have my respect, and I would never bash anyone just because of differing views.

Angie

Jana said...

AMEN! I'm not normally one of those to "amen" the words of someone else, but I couldn't agree more w/ your thoughts on this one.

Five Musgraves at Ten Oaks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Five Musgraves at Ten Oaks said...

And though this is not about politics, but about life and the giver of life, God, I do believe that to truly appreciate life, we must agree on its value . . . there are too many stories to recount of lives that were used for some great purpose that would have gone awry had that person not been given the opportunity to live and breathe and grow. It is no accident that the decision to value life or not is at stake all around our world today. We might think that government or politics isn't the place to fight this battle, but that is why the character of our elected leaders is so important to consider!!! What a weighty post, Angie, and one that will hopefully spur the rest of us on to "love and good deeds"!

Carla Burlando said...

Thanks for your great post. I came across your blog through some of the other Trisomy 18 mommies. We lost our first son to t-18 several years ago. Its great that there are other women out there that not only stand up for life but that have lived it as well.
I wrote about the topic of protecting life on my post "Why is it so hard to take a stand" . I am a Canadian but am married to an American and we follow the race closely. My biggest frustration right now is being surrounded by haters. Why is it people (even Christians) feel it is suddenly ok to revel in slander, malice, lies and gossip about someone just because its an election. It makes me sick how people I know up here and the media turn a well spoken, intellegent, strong, educated woman with strong convictions and turn her into a knuckle dragging backwoods hill billy with a "scary" agenda. I may not vote for Obama because of where he stands or doesn't stand at all on issues but I still respect him as an intellegent well spoken person who desires to serve his country.
We just need to focus on the issues, make intellegent informed decesions and vote based on facts and not political scare tactics. Life is definately something worth protecting and standing up for.

maria said...

dear Angie,
I have followed your blog from Nashville for over a year and I so enjoy reading your reflections. After reading this post, I wanted to challenge you to complicate and expand your definition of "life," and the ways we protect and value life.
I am pretty close to being a single-issue voter, and that single issue is access to health care. I am a thirty-five year old woman who ten years ago was the victim of a vicious attempted rape/murder. As a result of the injuries I will never be eligible for private insurance; I am "uninsurable." Fortunately my graduate program provides access to a group plan for now, but as I move through the medical system on a regular basis, I am constantly aware of how tenuous is my grasp on accessible health care. THIS is the pro-life issue for me.
While I follow your argument that the lives of a vast number of fetuses are in danger every day, how many more tiny children's lives are in peril due to lack of health insurance? How many adults and senior citizens cannot get the medical care they need because our system is structured to deny access to the sickest? I am constantly aware that when I finish graduate school, my guaranteed access to healthcare will vanish. I hope and pray I will get a job that provides coverage, but nothing is for certain.
My life is in jeopardy every second I don't have coverage. There are thousands upon thousands of children and families in America today who cannot afford or have no access to medical insurance, which means no preventive care, no basic care, and no growing up with education on how to properly attend to one's health. So many people die every year because they have no medical insurance.
In my opinion, this is the truest, most urgent pro-life issue in our country right now. It is likely that many women who choose abortion do not have access to health care. Routine medical care might mean that women have access to birth control, and thereby avoid unwanted pregnancies. Access to medical care might also make the prospect of continuing a pregnancy much more financially and emotionally palatable. It feels so much like this is the root issue for so many things.
To me, pro-life means pro-everyone's-lives. Everyone. We should harness the message of Jesus in the Gospels who is the strongest advocate for community care. We are all members of the body of Christ. The measure of our morality comes in how we treat that body. As long as only the rich or healthy have reliable access to medical care, I don't think we're doing a very good job.
Thank you for your lovely writing, and for sharing it with me. Congratulations on your new daughter, and blessings for the holidays.
Yours,
Maria

Kim (marygracesummons.blogspot.com) said...

Dear Angie,
Thank you for this post. If there was no other reason (and there are) for me to vote this time, it would be this issue. If I couldn't decide which way to vote (which I certainly can) this issue would sway me to McCain. I want to also remind you that Poppy Joy was one of the first angels I met when starting my journey and she will forever be a part of me, she forever changed me and she is a strong reminder that any life, no matter how long or short is truly viable!! I love her, sweet Poppy Joy.
Love you friend,
Kim

Trudy said...

Beautifully said. We all have to vote with a well informed conscience. We will be held accountable for this. Just wrote about that today too. Your life is a good witness for all of us.

Angie said...

Maria,

I am so, so sorry about the terrible things you have been through. You obviously have very strong reasons to desire change in our health care system. I don't want this to be a forum on health care reform, but I do want to thank you for your comments and acknowledge that in large part, it is what effects us most personally that will guide our decisions when it is time to vote.

Angie

Lisa said...

Very well written! This subject is so hard for so many people. I am just so sad that so many women buy into the lie of abortion. It will not make their life go back to how it was before, it will only bring more pain and suffering.
You have a beautiful story, blessing to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. Please read Proverbs 6, verses 16-17. It states that the Lord hates hands that shed innocent blood. What is more innocent than a baby in the womb who has done nothing to anyone? I am praying today that christians vote their values, not their wallets.