Category Archives: pro-life

holy innocents

14 Pro-Life Resolutions to Make This Year

The feast of The Holy Innocents, celebrated on December 28th, really pricks my heart. Therefore, I find it rather disappointing that it seems to pass by each year without much attention. Certainly the Church calendar is dotted with the memorials of so many great martyrs, but the Holy Innocents offer us a particular model for our current culture.

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shoes

Now That You Know the Facts on Birth Control, What’s the Next Step?

In part 1 of this discussion on rethinking your birth control, I defined what it means to be a woman. Not just a modern woman, but a whole woman according to God’s design.

Part 2 detailed attributes of her feminine genius in the form of female fertility. The cyclic ebb and flow of her fertile and infertile phases and the means by which she is able to read her own body language.

The next two installments detailed how contraceptives help fracture womanhood into parts, many attacking female health by suppressing natural hormones and inducing early abortions. Uncovered, also, was the dishonesty of pharmaceutical companies and the pressure placed on women by medical providers.

Fear being a major factor for couples new to Natural Family Planning, I spoke about the need for couples to address their concerns in part 5.

Knowledge is power, as they say, and I think (if you’ve been following along) I’ve covered a fair amount of ground so where do we go from here?

Trash the Contraceptives

trashSuffice to say, you need to trash the carcinogenic/abortifacient contraceptives (and the whole mentality that goes along with them) and reclaim your status as a woman.

Stop giving yourself away in pieces and demand that your spouse (and doctor) respect you, all of you. Because asking you to jeopardize your health does not equate to respect or love.

And, by all means, start respecting yourself from your imperfect skin and dimpled thighs, to your fertile mucus and menses. Ditch your Cosmo magazine and a few Pilates classes to delve into a book or take a course on Natural Family Planning (aka Fertility Awareness Method FAM).

Start a Communal Conversation

Then, most importantly, begin a communal conversation with your spouse and the One Who made you into the creative being you are.

One of the greatest gifts that stems from NFP is the ongoing discussion it triggers. Unlike long-term contraceptives, that make family planning a generally mute point cycle after cycle, year after year; natural methods invite husband and wife to relay their thoughts, fears, desires and frustrations regularly, so they can decide whether or not to make use of the fertile window.

Since human vision alone is short-sighted (and often selfish,) when measured against God’s Providence, couples seeking to practice NFP successfully turn toward Him (Who orders all things for good) and seek His will above their own.

Baby or No Baby?

Each new cycle leads them to consider, “Should we optimize our chances to conceive this cycle or abandon ourselves fully to God’s timing or do we have a serious reason to postpone a pregnancy?”

Indeed sometimes the answer may be an emphatic “YES” to hoping for a baby. At other times the spouses may discern a real reason to answer “NOT NOW.”

We know a woman who has a heart issue and another pregnancy could result in death. She and her husband sacrifice the fertile time in order to protect her.

Another husband could be struggling to provide financially, or be in danger of losing his job, or a wife may be overwhelmed with a particularly needy child, or suffering from depression, so they, too, may prayerfully discern a need to abstain, for the betterment of the whole family.

Being Sensitive to the Needs of Another

spousesThis is part of the beauty of remaining open to life, it causes a husband and wife to be sensitive to the needs of each other.

Our friend’s husband placed her welfare first, and he finds non-sexual ways to express his love during the phases of abstinence.

Perhaps, a wife will opt to work outside the home to help supplement her husband’s income, or he might help with the children more often to alleviate some of his wife’s stress; thus, possibly alleviating the restrictions that prevented them from seeking another child.

NFP Isn’t a Requirement

Couples aren’t automatically obliged to practice periodic abstinence. Some couples discern a call to let the Creator, alone, plan the size and spacing of their family.

Not to be discounted, less fertile/infertile couples, who dearly desire a child or another child, may be asked to carry their cross and/or suffer repeated loss. These couples can also benefit from drawing their strength, comfort and continued guidance from the Lord, Who pours out plenteous grace.

Is There Even a Difference?

Not infrequently discussions abound about the how’s and why’s of using NFP for the purpose of spacing/limiting children. Some ask if there’s really a difference between contraception and natural methods with regards to morality. There is.

With NFP, the wife’s body remains whole. The lovers do nothing to counter God’s design, whether they opt to engage in or abstain from relations during her fertile window. As for right reasons to abstain, couples who continually seek God’s will above their own and strive to mirror His attributes can find the correct course.

Remembering that contraceptives sell women on the erroneous idea that they can strip sex of its procreative purpose and craft a happier ending; it’s not surprising that when God foils their intent with a baby, they rely on abortion to wipe the slate clean.

  •  Fifty-one percent of women who have abortions had used a contraceptive method in the month they got pregnant, most commonly condoms (27%) or a hormonal method (17%).

Or they accept the unintended pregnancy until some doctor informs them that their child’s imperfections are going to destroy their well-crafted blueprint: 2.1 healthy children (one boy and one girl of course), the white picket fence, and dual incomes. Then it’s off to the abortionist to spare themselves the inconvenience of rethinking their dreams.

Divorcing sex from its procreative potential leads couples to view children less (if at all) as gifts to be received and more as property to be obtained or discarded. One doesn’t have to look far to see how this mentality has negatively impacted marriage and the family structure.

My Newlywed Plans for Perfection

As a newlywed, I thought my white-knuckled hold on life would result in fulfillment, so I contracepted until we deemed ourselves ready to widen our circle. Like many people, I expected life to unravel according to my ambitions. But, three years in, God shook hold my clenched grip with the death of my firstborn. Devastated, my eyes were initially blind to the doorway that swung open because of that event.

My husband and I could have chosen to separate. Or we could have built up a wall of protection. But, instead, we learned to savor life, to value its preciousness and to accept its unpredictability (as well as its sometimes insufficient length). We kicked the Pill to the curb with those revelations and that unobstructed door has welcomed 8 unique persons into our family and ushered 6 souls into eternity. Indeed in my imagination, I never could have envisioned the abundance of blessings that would pour forth from our willingness to allow God to reign in our marriage.

Take the Next Step

After you dump the contraceptives and learn to read your body’s language, fortify your marriage by discovering more ways to express your love. Deepen your faith together and agree to solicit His counsel, first and last.

Finally, when your life changes (and it undoubtedly will) become a witness to Truth. Show that women deserve better than abuse, masquerading as modern feminism. Stand up as proof, that God’s ways are always better than anything we can conjure up.

Did You Miss a Post in This Series?

(1) Reclaiming Womanhood: Why It’s Time to Rethink Your Birth Control Plan(2) Demystified: How the Female Fertility Cycle Works; (3) The Nitty Gritty of Birth Control and the Abortion Back-up Plan; (4) Knowledge Is Power: How Doctors and Big Pharma Profit From Ignorance; (5) Pulling Back the Veil and Exposing Your Genuine Fears; (6) Now That You Know, What’s Next

2015 March for Life: Why I Hate Marching But I Must

March for Life Washington DC 2015

Thursday morning started out way too early. By the faint light of the moon, we rose at 4am and began the task of getting ten people woken up, bundled up, filled up and buckled up.

Spirits were high, though still a bit groggy, when our big van rounded the driveway in route for a long journey. After completing an internal inventory of gloves, lunches, coats and kids, I tuned in the radio.

Like a wild fire doused with buckets of water, my heart was temporarily depressed as the newscaster reported that the Unborn Pain Capable Act had just been shelved by the Republicans. An insult to the injury that marked this day, I considered the timing of that decision a direct hit meant to snuff out the hopes of so many faithful who, for the 42nd time, were planning to put boots on the ground in the capitol city.

The Tiny Person in My Lap

Just less than thirty minutes later, we dashed onto the buses that pointed north. Sometime after roll-call, a blessing and breakfast, the baby on my lap relented and let sleep carry him away.

Sitting there admiring that little person, remembering the prayers I’d prayed to get him and the trials I’d endured to keep him, my heart felt heavy as salty tears tried to form in the corners of my eyes.

At that same time, the bus captain pressed the play button on a pro-life video in which a cast of players detailed the horrible history and statistics of abortion. A worthwhile film and one I’d watched last year, my mind went into overdrive in an attempt to ignore the movie.

My avoidance wasn’t connected to boredom, but to a self-preserving strategy that meant to guard my already fractured heart.

Thoughts of the Sacred Heart of Jesus burned in me. My stomach hurt thinking about the wounds He bore for such an ungrateful humanity.

Unborn Pain Capable Act

That Unborn Pain Capable Act my representatives cast aside would have given legal protection to a child at 20 weeks gestation and beyond. Thinking of not so very long ago when the body on my lap was wriggling inside of it, anger stirred in me as I thought about how easily another mother could execute her child even up to his/her date of delivery.

At its inception, proponents of Roe vs. Wade focused their arguments on the false debate that abortion didn’t end a life; it simply ended a pregnancy (as though pregnancy, when unwanted, doesn’t actually involve a baby).

Now with the advent of ultrasound, that argument fails. Common sense should dictate that good medicine would focus on truth and well-being thus eradicating the tragedy of abortion; but instead, the blood thirty Planned Parenthood-minded puppeteers simply rewrote their talking points.

Today, a woman’s right to comfort and ease trumps a baby’s right to life (end of story).

Taking Evil to a Deeper Level

This shift in debate takes the evil of abortion to a deeper level. While once young and frightened mothers could mask their deed behind the shield of ignorance, today they see clearly that the appointment at the clinic is nothing less than a date with an executioner.

And who can sanitize the job of the abortionist who wholeheartedly forces not only the peanut-sized child from his mother’s womb, but today is free to kill her full-term child as well.

My husband asked me just last week how it is that I can still maintain a sense of shock and naivete whenever events like the Republicans’ refusal to stand by their public convictions occurs. I pointed out that hope causes me to invest in goodness, to believe that every sinner is only a step away from repentance.

Four hours later, the bus deposited our group in front of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for a diocesan Mass celebrated by our bishop.

basilica national shrine immaculate conception

Taking our pew, my eyes spied an image overhead of Christ pouring out His graces. With saints caught up beside Him, I remembered Who we are all called to serve at every moment (most especially in the most difficult ones). I drew strength from the picture, encouraged by the holy men, women and children who persevered throughout the ages.

My Marching Orders

Then as the responsorial psalm was sung, I couldn’t help but whisper a prayer of thanksgiving as God reminded me of my orders that day.  (Ps 40:7-8a, 8b-9, 10, 17)

Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
praying basilica national shrine“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
May all who seek you
exult and be glad in you,
And may those who love your salvation
say ever, “The LORD be glorified.”
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will

Gone to Do His Will

We were there for the Lord on Thursday, January 22nd, gone to do His will. Not matter if our representatives failed Him again, the opposition mocked us or our culture railed against His laws, we had to stay the course with ears open in obedience.

Later from our marching path, we caught sight of the dome of the US Capitol Building. Wrapped in scaffolding, I couldn’t help but find it a fitting visual for the day.

That majestic dome which invites the eyes upward has become weathered, cracked and eroded, like our government itself. Its beauty now shrouded under construction; it distracts the onlookers attention, keeping us earth-bound.

No matter what the appearance on the outside, the same structure exists inside, a structure erected under and to the Creator’s precepts.

42 Years

For 42 years, this pro-life march has been tread down the streets of our capitol and the halls of our legislatures.

For 42 years, unborn citizens have suffered the injustice of being discounted from the rally cry that ‘every life matters.’

For 42 years, the blind and deaf have stood in our governmental assembly whimpering a cowardly refrain and abandoning their convictions when the winds of self interest blow in their direction.

In juxtaposition, for 42 years, faithful men, women and children have come forth to speak with unrestrained lips, giving testimony with footsteps, to the glory of God and His creations, born and unborn.

Though we may tire of the task, feel un-welcomed, discouraged or overwhelmed we must and will continue to carry our signs, hold fast to our convictions and march forward until the day when every life matters according to the law and in every heart.

2015 DC March for Unborn

 

birth control comparison

The Nitty Gritty of Birth Control and the Abortion Back-up Plan

We no longer: drink diet soda, eat a growing variety of sweets or chew gum with artificial sweeteners. My husband switched us to tooth polish without fluoride and soap without antibacterial agents.

Our eggs come free-ranged, our bread whole grain, and our produce organic. Attending home school functions nowadays, we have to be mindful of gluten, nuts and food dyes in whatever we bring to share.

Increased Awareness

From sensitivities to allergies, and everything in between, there’s an increased awareness of how what we put into our bodies affects our well-being. Labels contain ingredient lists, product packaging includes warnings, and restaurants highlight low-calorie menu items, to aid consumers.

Once upon a time, airplanes and eateries had smoking sections. School lunches consisted of peanut butter and jelly on white bread. Today, you’d be hard pressed to find even an outdoor event that welcomes tobacco users, and whole school buildings are designated as nut-free.

Time and science have taught us a few lessons about toxins and disease, allergies and life threatening reactions. In fact, the government felt so compelled to protect the citizenry from harm, that it now regulates sales and distribution of tobacco products (among a host of other things). Continue reading

woman's health

Reclaiming Womanhood: Why It’s Time to Rethink Your Birth Control Plan

It’s happening again. Article after article appearing in my news feed. The theme is the same, although each has a slightly different slant to offer. Just as last year, I pour over each one, nodding all the while as my eyes scan the screen. The topic is birth control. Each post does a good job at lifting the veil and sparking interest. However, I’m usually left thinking that there are a few more dots to be connected if the author’s aim is to cast a wide net.

What I mean is, there is so (SO) much more to this subject than simply deciding whether or not to swallow a pill or allow a doctor to insert some device inside of you. Yes, yes we need to shout from the rooftops the truth about the indisputable physical harms being perpetrated against our sisters, but that’s not where we need to start.

Let’s Start Talking

Here’s my intention: I want to begin a conversation and continue it for a while. I want to offer a few thoughts/facts for you to ponder. And then let you walk away to digest it. I hope you’ll come back with questions because I’m going to try to cover a few more bases than I’ve seen covered recently, by the end of this blog post series. Continue reading

On Saturday’s Chore List: Telling Lies; Exposing the Truth About the Anti-life Protesters

Imagine you are a scared teenager who has just discovered you are pregnant by a boyfriend who adamantly tells you he’s not interested in raising his child. Maybe you’re a single woman whose married boyfriend finally admits he has no intention of leaving his wife and helping raise his child. Perhaps, you are too poor to take care of the kids you already have and you feel overwhelmed by the thought of having another. Or you trusted your contraceptives to make your sex life sterile and now you’re shocked to find out they didn’t work.

You have cried, begged, bartered, and agonized. Your situation feels hopeless and all that you can think of is wanting it all to go away.
Someone offers you a solution. Maybe it’s the parents who threatened to kick you out or the boyfriend who wants to keep his options open or perhaps the guy who raped you; someone advises you to have an abortion. You know, just some out-patient surgery to dilate your cervix and rip/vacuum out the “contents” or some magic pills to force your body to dispel the little body growing inside of you. It’s just that easy; a bit of cash, some anesthetic or pills and your problems will disappear (at least that’s what they tell you).

Maybe you’ve always been okay with the idea of abortion or maybe you weren’t until now. Either way, this is a big deal for you. You are the one who has to go through it. You are the one who has to live with your decision forever.
You can do this, you decide. You can have an abortion. Lots of women have had them, so it’s no big deal, right? So, you make the hard decision and you secure a ride to the appointment. On the day of your abortion, you wake up early with your head spinning. Maybe you can’t eat anything because you’ll be under-going anesthesia or maybe your appetite is gone because all those pregnancy hormones have already kicked in leaving you with morning sickness. But you’ve made up your mind or at least it has been made up for you, so you are going to go through with this.
Just as your boyfriend cruises closer to the clinic, you see a commotion that looks something like a circus. Then you realize it’s all happening right in front of the place you need to be. There’s some lady with bright orange and crayon red hair standing next to the driveway. Next to her is a woman dancing around with a sign that reads “Everybody poops.” Then, you do a double-take because there are police officers and another woman holding a sign that declares, “Too bad I’m a vegetarian” right next to a picture of a dismembered baby. Is this some kind of macabre party that is being busted by the cops?
No, those “creative” people (the girl in her bathrobe and the hippie with his pants falling off) are here to help you in your worst hour. They want to comfort you and tell you that you have options. They want to share the truth with you and offer you a free ultrasound. NO, that is not their intention. That group of anti-lifers are enjoying the limelight by making a mockery of your horrible day.
This group that dubs itself Saturday Chores (SC) is full of contradictions and self-aggrandizement. Just read some of the coverage in online interviews and it doesn’t take very many lines into the articles to uncover the lies.
My family and I have prayed quite a number of times in front of the old abortion mill that closed (and is now a tubal reversal facility) on the other side of town, but this past Saturday was our first at the clinic next to Cary, NC. A notice of intent is required for groups of 10 more persons to gather for vigils/protests in this city and that means there are boundaries to abide by.* The police were required this weekend because the SC group found it repeatedly necessary to violate their boundaries. Two individuals crossed the street in order to intimidate one pro-lifer. They stood less than 3 feet from her and shifted positions every time she did. I suppose when they say, “We do our best to not talk to the pro-lifers” we should assume that that kind of taunting behavior isn’t expected to incite a conversation.
Already, they’ve taken to putting their signs down when we show up, which we consider an important if brief victory,” their spokesperson says. Ummm, what can I say other than that is a blatant lie. If you want proof, look at SC’s own pictures wherein they photograph pro-lifers holding signs.
They made claims that they planned to show up early and take over the curb so that “they’ll (pro-lifers) have to squeeze into our ranks, as we normally do with theirs.” I guess they forgot about the permits when they said this. No worries, the police officers reminded them to step back to their assigned place this Saturday.
While it’s true that we’re mocking people, we consider the chief value of what we’re doing the solidarity that we demonstrate for the individuals or families that need to use the clinic’s services for whatever reasons they may have,” stated the groups organizer. So back to that frightened woman in the car who feels like she has nowhere else to turn, is this circus helping her? Do the antics make her feel loved and empowered? Does she appreciate the cameras and attention called to the driveway as she enters? Maybe she hasn’t even told her family and now SC has pictures on the internet that show her silver car parked in the lot (oh, yeah and those pictures of her car aren’t only on the group’s webpage, they are also showing up on other sites like The Daily Dot). I suppose that’s solidarity, using a woman’s traumatic situation to drive-up hits on their tumblr page.
In all of my times praying at abortion mills, I have never once encountered the hate they mentioned. That would be completely contrary to the mission of pro-lifers. Sidewalk counselors have to abide by permit regulations so they can’t even legally prevent a woman from entering the facility. They can, however, present her with the facts and offer her options. There is a pro-life organization in Raleigh that does free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds. Pro-lifers offer this kind of information to scared and reluctant mothers. On the other side of town, the free pregnancy help center is proudly boasting two or more saves a week. That means at least a few mothers were shown the options and offered help and they chose to mother their babies rather than kill them. Clearly, not every woman walking into these abortion facilities wants an abortion.
Anti-lifers, as of late, don’t have such a clean track record when it comes to being civil to their opposition (see HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE– caution on these last ones). Perhaps, they might also crunch their numbers and ask themselves why minority children are more often aborted than their non-minority counter-parts. A little research on Planned Parenthood’s founding mother (Margaret Sanger -her quotes are found here) will clue you in on that (hateful) agenda.
I will offer one disclaimer. There is a so-called religious group that is attempting to shout their judgments, scriptural counsel and advice at confused women and that is always wrong. That is not charity. Angry tones and condemnation will not save children or their mothers in most cases.

this is a baby at 8 weeks gestation (sure doesn’t look like a blob of tissue)

Lastly, the SC group needs to go back to school and bone up on their science lessons. Apparently, these creative people have decided that they know when life begins and it isn’t anytime prior to when a woman wants to abort. Maybe they should offer to drive one of the reluctant moms over for a free ultrasound and see for themselves what a baby looks like before it’s shredded or dumped. Or they could just listen to an abortionist admit it for himself (HERE). Or read about it (HERE and HERE).

Abortion is no laughing matter. Not for those who value life in all its stages and not for the women who feel like it is their only option. Abortion has real risks, in the present (perforated uterus, uterine infection,hemorrhage, in addition to the dead baby) and in the future (prematurity in subsequent pregnancies, infertility, post-traumatic stress disorder). Women deserve all of that information. They deserve to know that people do care about their welfare and the welfare of their child. They deserve to know there are couples who would joyfully adopt their child. They deserve to know there are free services and aid to help them through their pregnancies as well as continuing help beyond the birth.
I am praying for the day when abortion isn’t legal. Really, I’m praying for the day when no woman wants to kill her own; the day when we all see human life for the gift that it is. The day when we recognize no one can be truly free when we are willing to deny the rights of the least among us and call it a “progressive view.”
*In the city of Raleigh, NC individuals may legally gather for prayer vigils or protests. This is considered “picketing” and only groups of 10 or more people need to be covered by a notice of intent which is filed with the city. A current notice was on file as of the writing of this post and individuals do not need to carry a copy with them. I urge others to answer the call to defend the sacredness of all life by volunteering a bit of your time to pray in front of your local abortion clinic. See your local ordinances for requirements.
** all quotes attributed to the SC group and photos referenced appear in an interview posted on The Daily Dot (dated July 23, 2014) 

My Morning At the Abortion Clinic

Hilarious” that’s the adjective used to describe the pro-aborts’ signs in front of a local abortion mill. A couple has made it their weekend chore to mock Christian pro-lifers and chronicle their efforts on a blog. Their dedication to confrontation merited them some viral exposure from a writer who found the couple’s signs (that state things like “I like turtles” and ‘Hail Santa”) to be side-achingly hysterical. The coverage inspired a fellow parishioner to post the article on facebook along with a call to offer a counter-balance to the situation.

Having been a while since the kids and I stood in defense of life and with the calendar providentially clear, I heeded the call and arranged the details to transport my crew bright and early this Saturday morning.
Our big, white, pro-life-stickered van rolled into a parking spot around 10:15am just in time to meet a fellow parishioner. Together we rounded the corner and took up our positions in the prayer line next to a dozen or so other advocates for the unborn. We stood shoulder to shoulder across the busy road from the clinic and immediately jumped into the rosary.
Noise from the constant flow of traffic competed against the gentle voices reciting those well-known words of Hail Marys, Our Fathers and Glory Be’s. I was thankfully to have that familiar pattern to follow so that my mind and heart were never far from the source of true peace. Indeed standing there, with so many rosary beads dangling, my mind continually beckoned me with the words, “Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing steal away your peace.” Vigilantly we held our positions in that prayer formation for the next hour.
On the opposing side of the street the scene was something quite different. A group of twenty-something pro-aborts jockeyed for attention (at times working hard to stir up a disturbance). Intermittently they cranked up the volume on a radio and busted a few moves while flipping from one nonsensical sign to the next. From the young woman clothed in her bath robe and pj’s to the low-pants donning male, those on the opposite side shifted positions like preschoolers after they’ve suckled a bottle of Mountain Dew.
Life versus death. Good versus evil. Light versus darkness. The stark contrast between our missions on either side of the road this Saturday morning was palpable. You could quite literally feel the contrast in your bones.
Our group managed all 20 mysteries before the permit time ran short. By that time, I’d stepped back behind my crew because I was swaying my toddler and monitoring a couple of little warriors who’d found some dirt to kick. Our priest, who was wearing his traditional full-length cassock (as always), had stepped into the center of the line when my attention was momentarily adverted. Turning my focus back again, I was awestruck. Father seemed (to my eyes) to have grown bigger than life. Inexplicably, he appeared to physically tower over the young men who flanked him and his black draped shoulders seemed broader than I’d ever noticed them to be before that moment. As he led us in the chaplet of Divine Mercy, I couldn’t shake this curious vision and I wondered if he’d always been this size.
After completing the chaplet, Father spun around and gave us his final blessings and then he quickly departed. Watching him leave, I calculated that while he is indeed tall, my brief perception of him was something truly supernatural.
Following in Father’s footsteps, the rest of our group disbanded. Across the street things were still lively as another church group had arrived to take up the pro-life torch and the opposition was still rambling about. I considered staying longer because it felt like there was more to do. I wanted to drop to my knees and beg some more intercession, to show that I was still in the fight. Instead I listened to that still, small voice that told me it was enough.
On the way back to the van, we circle-chatted with those friends who’d inspired our participation. They, too, were battling the internal struggle to stay longer, to outlast our sign-wielding contenders. It was pride, my wise friend noted, that was egging us on. Another friend reminded us that we weren’t engaged in a competition here. God hadn’t called us each here on this clear Saturday morning to outdo one another in some show of bravado. No, He called us here to witness to Truth and to pray for peace for the babies whose lives were being lost inside that building as well as for mercy for their misguided parents.
Real power resided in the prayers we’d prayed. No one could see it, but God. And no one, but God, needed to.
For the remainder of my afternoon, I ruminated on the morning’s event, on that internal whisper to remain undisturbed, on Father’s temporarily unnatural stature and on that prompting to trust that my meager offering was enough. Turning to God’s Word, I searched out the daily reading and here’s what it told me:
Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. After he placed his hands on them, he went away (Matthew 19: 13-15).
Christ asked us on this day to bring the children to Him. Our prayers were the channels through which they were delivered from the horrors taking place yards in front of us. Jesus wanted us to be docile vehicles for the Holy Spirit, so that He may work through us. Our pride sought to be in control like the disciples wanted todirect the crowd. Surely, I wanted to rebuke a few people this morning, but that was not my job.
I think my vision of Father was a gift that was meant to remind me that I must follow his example of persevering peace, constant striving for holiness, and docility. Virtues, I fail to achieve often. My priest is not a demanding man (of others, although I think he is of himself). He doesn’t spit out hell-fire and brimstone nor does he cater doctrine to garner money in the coffers. He is a shepherd who, no doubt, carries a great deal of weight on those arching shoulders without much complaint. Even more so, I think that vision was meant to represent the Church and my role within Her.
The gospel said that after Jesus had placed His hands on them, he went away. He didn’t stay longer than was necessary. He gave the blessing and moved on, just like Father did today. To have stayed and continued on would have been about my will in this situation.
The Battle of Lepanto also came to mind today. I imagined the maritime warriors were well trained in the art of war, but they ultimately recognized that the power of victory was wrapped around their fingers. How utterly absurd it would seem to the non-believer that a fight could be won by surrendering their human strategies and taking up the arms of the rosary. However, history is proof that the docility of those men to faith was rewarded with victory.
I realized, my coming before God with child-like abandon and following His gentle directives is what will ultimately win the struggle. Some day, that abortion mill will close down just like the other one across town did (of that I am confident). Some day, every abortion facility will be remade or left as an empty shell. The win won’t be because of any clever signs or showy protests. Because the real fight isn’t between pro-lifers and pro-aborts, it is within each of us, you and me. When we first learn to lay down our selves and adopt a spirit of docility, then God will claim His victory person by person, heart by heart until eventually the whole world will experience unending peace.
tubal reversal

This Is The Building That Cried Out To God

This is the building.
This is the building we used to drive a half an hour to get to.
This is the building that we used to park our big, pro-life stickered van in front of.
This is the building that drew us down to our knees.
This is the building which beckoned us to pray.
This is the building where I encountered my first real taste of venomous words (shouted at my children and me).
This is the building that reduced me to tears.
This is the building where babies were slaughtered, ripped, suctioned and incinerated.
This is the building where women went in whole and came out broken.
This is the building that cried out to God.

God heard the cries.

This is the building now.
This is now the building that people will travel hours if not days to reach.
This is now the building where couples will proudly walk hand in hand through the front door.
This is now the building that will call people off of their knees.
This is now the building in which prayers will begin to be answered.
This is now the building in which words of encouragement are spoken.
This is now the building which will inspire tears of joy.
This is now the building in which the hope of babies will be restored.
This is now the building where women will go in broken and come out whole again.
This is now the building that glorifies the Lord.

Raleigh Women’s Health Organization

Formerly this building bore the duplicitous name of Raleigh Women’s Health Organization. It was an abortion facility.

Then it became a focal point for the 40 Days for Life campaign in Raleigh, NC. That is when my family and I first became aware of its existence. Participating in the 40 Days for Life campaign, my brood of then seven children, my husband and I stood more than a couple of hours before this edifice praying for the souls lost inside.

Anger Words and Angelic Pictures

A worker, angered by our silent praying one bright afternoon, stopped her car at the end of the driveway. She told me how stupid I was. My prayers, she advised, were useless.

I continued praying.

Another day, one of my little ones was full of questions which inspired me to paint him a visual picture.

“Consider the angels,” I said. “Think of them. They must be surrounding this place. The angels are here with us praying for an end to abortion and they’re escorting all those precious, unborn souls back to heaven with them and interceding for their hurt mamas.”

We continued praying.

In time, I heard that the clinic closed. After the death of its owner, there was no one willing to run the killing site.

That was then. This is now.

tubal reversalTime passed, as it always does and I’d filed those experiences away. Prayers had been answered.Though with so much more to be done to end the scourge of abortion, I continued to pray. But I’d largely forgotten that building.

Then, a friend emailed me this picture of the building as it stands today. It’s abortion services long gone, I couldn’t help but consider those angels again. I imagine they are still there, but now their mission has changed. Now they must be singing hymns of praise and thanksgiving, offering petitions for patients’ healing so that new souls can be planted.

You see, the address now houses Chapel Hill Tubal Reversal Center and its two extraordinary physicians, who are making it their life’s work to restore women’s reproductive health through tubal ligation reversal and corrective tubal surgery. Drs. Monteith and Berger claim that,
“Together they have performed more successful tubal ligation reversals and tubal surgeries for blocked tubes resulting in the birth of more babies than any other doctors in the world.”

We know Who triumphs in the end, but it is always a blessing to see the Hand of God so overtly at work.

They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm. Psalm 20:8

Misty, The Girl I Never Met: Never Judge a Book by Its Cover or a Person by Their Abilities

special needs children need special love
Gabriel Max (Artist)

Her name was Misty. It was printed in chalk on the nurses’ station board along with a list of other first names. We would never actually meet, but I caught a glimpse of her one day as I walked passed her room. The mental picture I’d developed before that sighting was of course all wrong.

Just days into our month long stay in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, we met Misty’s family: aunts, an uncle, a grandmother, father and cousins. Now, almost nineteen years later, I’ve lost count, but there were enough of them to fill the room around us. Doubtful our paths would have ever crossed if not for the circumstances that forced us all into that tiny waiting room.


Naive, overwhelmed newbies we were, but Misty’s family were well-seasoned veterans in this system of corridors, white coats and ever-changingprognoses. They took to us and us to them in a fast friendship that felt like it would last a lifetime.

In bits and pieces, through conversations and encounters over the next weeks, Misty’s life story unfolded. Born to young, unwed parents, her mother died sometime before the baby would finish toddlerhood. Knowing she would never see her daughter grow up, Misty’s mother had one dying wish; she made her sister swear to raise the child as her own. That little sister bore that promise with unswerving faithfulness and along with the rest of the extended family she committed the next fourteen years to caring for her sister’s only offspring.
Sometime after losing the mother, it became apparent that Misty suffered from serious medical conditions which were the result of an under-developed brain. Her life would include many PICU stays and she would never know the freedom of spinning to “Ring Around the Rosie” or the joy of singing her ABCs. By the time we met her family, she was relegated to a bed, unable to speak or provide her own basic needs.
Surely some outsiders questioned her “quality of life”. To a culture that equates physical fitness and mental capacity with the measure of a person’s worth, Misty might have appeared a hopeless case.
Her family knew her better.
She loved it when her aunts and grandma fed her, they proudly boasted. At mealtimes, she rewarded them with smiles and eyes that spoke the words her mouth could not. And though the doctors and nurses insisted she was forever silent, Misty cooed for those who loved her. Rather than flowers and teddy bears, family members shopped for new, lace-trimmed nightgowns to make her not infrequent hospital trips more pleasant. Every day it was someone’s job to brush out her long, flowing hair and wash her pretty face. True to her promise, Misty’s aunt insured that someone always remained nearby.
Words like burden, trouble, or unwanted never entered our conversations.
As though it were yesterday, I recall the upset in their voices on the day they discussed the doctor’s recommendation for a feeding tube. Considering the infrequency with which doctors actually bothered to speak directly to family members, I assume the news was delivered via the shift nurse. The tube was being ordered to better facilitate her nutritional needs. On a floor full of kids dependent on breathing tubes, drainage tubes and electronic monitors, a feeding tube was the next logical step. But to Misty’s family, that step was leading in the wrong direction.
To the doctor, who probably spent five minutes reading her chart, this fourteen year old was a case study in medical interventions. To the busy nurse, Misty was another terminal patient with machines to monitor, levels to record and notes to take. The act of feeding her was just another necessary procedure to follow, but to her aunts and grandmother meals were so much more.
At the time I thought I understood their desire to retain this autonomy for Misty, the ability to taste flavors and feel textures across her tongue. But now that I’ve experienced the excitement of spooning first bites into my own little ones’ open mouths, I can relate all the more to their desperate attempts to protect her mealtimes. Three times a day, Misty’s family had the privilege to lovingly nourish her with food and she had the opportunity to feed their hopes and dreams. With my own not-yet-verbal children, I have to watch for their bodily cues to tell me if the food I offer is pleasing to their palate and when they’ve reached their fill. Feeding a child means moving in close, making eye contact and connecting (physically and mentally).
A feeding tube meant more than simply relinquishing a chore, it meant stripping Misty of one more “normal” function. When you expect your child to grow-up, to advance through life’s milestones, it’s easy to take such little tasks for granted, but Misty’s family didn’t have that luxury.
On that day, walking passed her room, I peered in expecting to see the girl my mind had formed. Instead, the young girl of about fourteen appeared so tiny and fragile in her hospital bed. Her legs barely reaching beyond the midway point, she was no longer than a child of five or six. And that long hair flowed nearly the full length of her stunted body it seemed. I was startled by the reality.
The image I’d created was based on my idea of “normal” because that’s how Misty’s family portrayed her. The obvious love they had for her communicated a different picture, while my eyes sized her with a worldly measure. No one ever knew my surprise and for that I am glad because I am ashamed of it. My false vision betrayed my ignorance and bias.
Those few weeks, nearly two decades ago, changed my life. I lost touch with her family, so I never did learn whether or not they managed to protect her from the feeding tube directive, but I’ve never taken for granted the real importance of “feeding” my children.
Misty was truly everything that her family saw her to be. Beautiful. Worthy. Special. Perfect. And in my mind, she will forever remain larger than life not because of her stature, but because she personified Christ (the hungry Christ, the naked Christ, the imprisoned Christ) to those who took the time to see.