One of the purposes of this blog is to provide a platform for women to share their stories. To give a voice to the deep mysteries of God’s re-ordering redemption in our chaos, our pain, our questions.
Today, I have the incredible privilege of doing just that. Here is the story of Hope.

*Note: Specific names and locations have been altered or omitted to protect the privacy of those involved.

“I think I actually have to go back to my relationship with my parents. Having a dad that was a father and not a daddy. I guess I was always trying to please him and not getting much in return, no emotional attachments. What does a girl do when that happens? She searches for someone to love her.”

Abi sits on my well worn couch, clutching the tissue she had grabbed before sitting down. She has an easy laugh that comes as goes as my child tumbles around at our feet.

She grew up in a strict Catholic home. Her father often called her “stupid” for bringing home B’s, and when she was late for curfew he called her “whore”.

“[I viewed God as] more of a judging [God]. Because the relationship that you have with God, your first idea of who God is, is transferred from who you thought your dad was. So if you didnt have a good relationship with your dad, it’s hard to imagine what it could be to have a loving and forgiving heavenly father.”

When Abi turned 16 she was allowed to start dating. She was careful with her relationships, protecting her sexual purity. After she graduated from high school she began dating someone who was a year older than her, and as she prepared for college she started to “break loose” from the control her father had had on her.

“We [her boyfriend and herself] went camping with a group of people. There was liquor there, and we drank beer and went off  by ourselves. We started going too far, and I said ‘no’. But it was too late.

I went home and didn’t think anything of it until, it must have been a month later, I woke up in the middle of the night and threw up, and my mom knew instantly.”

Abi, then 17, was pregnant.

“So here I am pregnant, I’m going through all of these thoughts: ‘I’m going to college, I need to go to college. My parents are paying for college.’  My mom informs me that if my dad knew then I would be disowned and would be on my own. I would not go to college. So the option that was there was an abortion. But because my mom couldn’t tell my dad, she couldn’t go with me.”

The closest abortion clinic was a two hour drive outside of town. Abi had a work friend drive her.

“I felt a lot of guilt. It wasnt something that I had planned or tried to do. I did try to hurt myself, to no avail…I tried to hurt the baby. As far as going and having the abortion, it wasnt anything remarkable. I checked in to the doctor’s office, they put you under enough to not know what’s going on. I didn’t feel anything, you wake up and you go home. Because it was out of town…there were a select few that found out or knew…Come to find out, I wasn’t the only one that ended up having an abortion. So in a way I kind of felt like I wasn’t alone, but it wasn’t something that we could talk about.”

Her eyes brim with tears as she describes the shame she carried for years. At 25 she came to know Jesus, “I think it changed almost instantly when I became a Christian because I understood that he knew everything about me beforehand. So that was one of the first things I wanted to get rid of.”

“It’s something that I might carry my whole life. Right now I don’t ever see it not triggering at some point.” Abi went through a recovery program with a woman she calls a fellow “abortion survivor” at her church. Many crisis pregnancy centers offer this type of program, and volunteers who are survivors must go through it as part of the application. Part of this healing process is naming your child.

“In this class I took I named her Hope,” she says, explaining that in her hardest moments she has often clung to words as a way to get through. “Hope is one of my words. So I named her Hope.” In her home she has a statue her sister gave to her, on it is a balloon with the child’s name, she says it serves as a reminder.

She says there is still some pain when she thinks about her experience, “I dont know that it’s shame, just sadness I guess, for the sin itself.” I ask her what she believes God thinks of her now. Tears fall freely again, but this time less out of pain, and more thankfulness. “I’m his child. I’m his daughter, and he loves me.”

As she continues to walk out her healing, she considers what it will take to help women who are carrying similar burdens. “I believe it’s not about picketing, it’s not about standing against abortion. It’s coming alongside these girls. If I had had someone who had come alongside of me and said ‘Hey, I will be here for you, it’s going to be ok, and God still loves you,’ it would have been different. I really wish the focus would change…in a way the picketing and all that seems to me to be shaming…”

Abi is taking brave steps of obedience in working toward doing just that. “You can think you have done everything to rid yourself of all of it, but God says it’s a process, it’s going to take time. It’s all in his timing, who he brings into my path to work it all out.”

Millions of women deal with the heartache of abortion every day. Though it can be a lonely place, they are not alone, “If they’ve had an abortion it’s not the end, there’s forgiveness through Jesus. Or, if they’re thinking about it, [I would like] to walk alongside of them, to help them change their minds,” she says.

“We are to serve God by using our pain, to give other people the hope that we have. It feels good to take little steps of obedience. It makes me stronger, it allows me to be real with people…God wants us to have relationships, but you can’t have relationships and not be real with people. I don’t want to not be real,” she says, bouncing my chubby baby on her knee. She sets her down and heads to the kitchen to find her Bible.

She opens to Psalm 121, “There’s a lot of repetition of the words ‘watches’ and ‘keep,'” she explains, “Meaning he’s our keeper, our guard, always watching over us. And in the footnotes it’s talking about how we should have unfaltering trust in the Lord because he’s our unfailing protection. So that releases the fear. The fear of exposing myself to people.”

Abi now has three nearly grown children of her own. She says one day when she meets Hope she would like to tell her, “I guess I’m happy that she got to spend all that time with Jesus. She had a real precious time with Jesus and I am glad he pursued me so that I can be with her.”

Her next step of obedience…finishing that volunteer application for her local crisis pregnancy center, and sharing her pain in hopes of healing others.

If you or someone you know are dealing with shame or pain from a past abortion, or are facing the hard choice of having one, please feel free to contact me at trylocusts@gmail.com. I would love to help you get connected to loving people who will walk through this with you. You are not alone.

Hammocks and Monuments

I knew it was coming, and yet when I saw it sitting on my porch I danced with joy. My mom sent me the most amazing gift today.

I grew up in the Church, but it wasn’t until high school that I really understood and accepted the love and realness of Jesus. During this time my best friend and I would visit a dear woman’s home and she would serve us delicious natural sodas and talk with us about the sweetness of Jesus. She taught us about prayer and about the power of the Holy Spirit. She showed us what it looked like to enjoy Jesus in the simple things– I remember hiking one day with her and she handed me a little yellow leaf and said, “Do you remember on ‘Christy’,” (our show of choice), “when Alice hands Christy the leaf and says ‘Hold on to hope?'” Tiny pieces of dried leaf still crumble out of my Bible on occasion.

My bestie and I would spend hours lounging in her beautiful Brazilian hammocks, reveling in all we had learned— as well as talking about boys and who knows what else. I often long for my high school days, when the newness of relationship with Jesus was so exhilarating. I heard it said once that you don’t necessarily miss a place when you leave it, but the person you were when you were there. Some days I miss that girl, swinging in hammocks, breathing in God’s majesty.

But today…today the package arrived. I called my mom as soon as I opened it, and the first thing she said was, “Did you pick them up and smell them?” She knows me too well! As I scooped up the coarse, yet oddly soft hammock, I breathed in the familiar fragrance, still lingering from the home I had spent so many sweet hours in. I couldn’t help but anticipate the sweet talks and snuggles my girls and I will have swinging in them. And my prayers for them to have their own “hammocks” bubbled into my chest.

I have many of these little monuments. Tiny moments that reverberate through my daily life, reminding me of how God has been patiently guiding my heart to His. Most of them are because of women who took the time to love me, to share their lives with me in ways that are so profound even I will never fully comprehend how deep the ripples go. They didn’t need to plan anything, or spend any money, they just let me be a part of their worlds. I got to see them living their lives as mothers, wives, friends and co-workers– honoring God with every task–especially the mundane.

I will never again be able to put silverware in the dishwasher, or make the perfect over-easy egg without praying for one of these women, and consequently being thoroughly thankful. My relationship with Jesus is what it is today because they opened their lives to me.

I have always loved that the specific ways Jesus gave us to tangibly celebrate him; communion (Luke 22:18-20), and baptism (Matthew 28:19)- are so similar to things we (hopefully) do daily; eating and bathing (it’s ok mama, I know these are luxuries some days). While the former are obviously practiced with a high level of sanctity, the latter give us a chance to reflect on all he has done while we go about the mundane ebb and flow of daily life.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Titus 2:3-5

Young women, open yourself up to being a part of a Godly woman’s life. Spend time scrubbing dishes, grocery shopping or folding laundry- the best conversations happen during the rhythm of the day-to-day. “Older” women, open your home, reach out to the younger women around you, invite them over for coffee and don’t stress about making it exciting, be selfless enough to show them what real life looks like with Jesus. You never know what monuments are being built by simply giving someone your time.

Bind my wandering heart

“Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in sorrow you shall bring forth children…”

As I continue to wade into the sometimes peaceful, sometimes roaring, river that is motherhood, I am often struck by the sorrow that mixes with the joy of loving my children. I have watched my daughter grow, learn to walk, to speak, to throw a ball (and food, and toys, and iPhones…). Most recently I am watching her test the waters of friendship, stretching her social muscles and opening up her precious little heart to the affections of people outside of her family. And I am terrified.

I have reveled in the sweetness of her vulnerability. From the time I saw her tiny heartbeat, to the moment I first gathered her sweet, fragile body into my arms, I have celebrated her newness. Innocence carries with it such a beautiful strength, and from the moment I learned of her existence I knew I would give my life to protect it.

Adam and Eve lived in Eden, in perfect existence with the Creator. They were whole in every way. Given freedom to explore, to grow, to experience all of the life that God had so thoughtfully designed for them. And then it happened, the seed was planted in their mind that God was withholding something from them; something that kept them from wholeness.

In my own little dark, rebellious heart I have wondered why God wouldn’t want them to have all of the information. Why would he want to keep them in ignorance, not knowing both good and evil? Ignorance is a disability after all, right? Knowledge is power. Why would God not want to empower his children? And then it happened, I watched my own child as she learned some painful reality of the world, and I could almost feel the chisel press in as her innocence began to chip away.

I cannot remember what exactly it was, it was miniscule. Yet, as I watched her process this new information, I could see a bit of sadness welling up inside of her. And it hit me. Was it necessary to her wholeness to know the deep dark secrets of this broken earth?

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not going to be locking my child away in a closet to protect her from outside influence (trust me, I have tried to find a legal and humane justification for this, it doesn’t exist). To enable her to walk safely through this life, we will have those “hard” talks, I will truthfully answer those awkward questions, and I will regularly explain to her that, no body safety is not about wolves wearing seatbelts when driving cars (her little brain is a wild mess of weird some days!).

But while these things, for her safety, will have to be learned over time, are they essential to her wholeness? Was Eve less of who she was meant to be without the “knowledge” she got from that wretched fruit? I would argue that she was more. The lie was that we would be like God. BUT WE WERE ALREADY LIKE HIM. Distrust broke that relationship and sent all of creation spiraling into chaos, losing all but a flavor of what it once was.

Innocence is valuable. It is so easily and, sadly, quickly stripped away. But when it is intact it allows for such freedom to be nearer to the truth we were created for. Aren’t we called to live in faith like a child? One that is fearless. Trust that does not question God’s unchanging love, that is not tainted by the belief that what hurts us deepest is a mere reflection or even a direct result of a vengeful, dictator god.

My breath catches in my chest as I think of God taking those steps through the garden. Knowing full well that his children were hiding from him in shame, full of fear of HIM. How his heart must have shattered, knowing that they would now have to live in broken relationship with everything that was good.

We so often refer to what he says in response to them as “curses.” Yet, in reality, he was sharing with them what their new lives had to look like now that all of creation’s perfect connectivity had collapsed. Eve is not punished by physically painful childbirth, though many of our translations state it this way. Hebrew scholar, Katherine Bushnell says a better translation would be “A snare hath increased your sorrow and your sighing. In pain you shall bring forth children.” She further explains that the word “pain” is more than just the physical pains of labor:
The root from which it is taken, along with its derivatives, signify physical, mental, and spiritual anguish ranging from sorrow to bitterness or despair, to feeling disgust, trouble, turmoil, indignation, even terror. It is used less of physical pain than of mental pain.” (Read more)

We, Eve, now experience what God experienced as he stood before his children: the anguish of heart that comes from an unnecessary loss of innocence- that leads to an equally unnecessary loss of relationship. We bear our children knowing that they will not only struggle against us, but with God- not able to recognize love in all of its healing fullness. I see flashes of it rear up in the deep pools of my 4 year old’s eyes: indignation, an inability to see my love for what it is and an unwillingness to accept all that is good without wondering if there is better. And my heart shatters.

This world is harsh, and I long to protect her. To wrap her up and sing love over her until she has so soaked it in that she can know nothing else. Then, as always, I am standing before a mirror. My own desires for my child reflected back on me from the heart of my Father. And yet, I rebel. 

We cannot lock our children up (but we’ve all been tempted.) We must let them walk in the same free-will that we have been granted. We can cry with them, and teach them where to run for healing. But, we first have to know the answer for ourselves. We must be willing to release our own pain into the depths of his healing love in order to come out so saturated that we cannot help but bathe our children in it. Parenting is painful, just like he promised. The good news is, he also promised that it was only for a season, and through him we get to watch our children (and our relationship with them) restored!

Third Place

“Reject radical individualism.”

Is that not the most countercultural statement? My space, my time, my body, my choice, my rights, my success. We live in a world where the individual is supreme. And yet, this is the challenge our pastor threw at us a few weeks ago.

A little over a year ago, my then family of 3, set off on yet, another big adventure. We packed up all of our belongings, and with a 2 year old in tow and an unfortunately disproportionate, chubby little dog, we moved. Our home sold in 6 days, full-price, cash offer! (Can you say woah, God!?). We were elated…until we realized… we are now homeless…with a 2 year old…and a fat dog.

So we began the search… house after house after house. My husband was living with a friend in our new city, while my child and I (and pudge dog) were living 3 hours away with family. And then, it happened… our realtor sent us a walkthrough video of my dream home. I watched it and my heart soared. My husband wasn’t quite as convinced, however. But, after several more houses (and a lot of nagging…er, I mean encouragement), he finally saw things my way. We sent the offer and received the news. They were signing a contract…with someone else…submitted only three hours earlier. I broke. I mean ugly cry, pajamas, under the covers, Oreo binging, broke.

Instability and chaos is not something I handle well, and not having a place or space of my own was too far out of my comfort zone with a 2 year-old who was all the beautiful things 2 year-olds are known to be.

I wept and begged and sighed and grumped at God for the next week. (I didn’t say I was mature about this.) And he, as he always does, brought (read: dragged) me to a place of open-handedness. I let it go. (Sorry, mamas, I know that phrase is a new curse word after the latest Disney phenom.)

I gave up my need for THIS home, and began to let him give me a vision for what he wanted for OUR home. I began to pray for a “Third Place” home. A place where people could escape from their normal routine, a place of sanctuary. After weeks of being uprooted and being graciously welcomed into the homes of others (remember, with raving 2-year-old and rotund pet) I had developed a sensitivity to the need for sanctuary from chaos. Just as I had been blessed to partake in, I wanted to have a home that was a place for people to rest during unstable, insecure, and hectic times. A safe place where they could feel refreshed and loved. I wanted a home with an open door, open fridge policy.

The realtor called 10 days later. The buyers had backed out! The house would be ours! I have danced wildly a lot in my life, but this dance party was especially exuberant!

Skip ahead 6 months. My prayers for a home of rest seemed to be coming true, my new friends joked that we ran “Hotel Ferreira” because of the constant flow of visitors we seemed to have. Many people commented on how peaceful and refreshed they felt spending time there, and I marveled at what God was doing.

And then two lines showed up on that little plastic stick… and exhaustion sat on my chest like an elephant. My stomach churned for months and the orderliness of my house along with it. My gift of sanctuary resembled the aftermath of an F5 and all I could do was look at it.

For some study-able reason my husband and I love to make poor choices when we are going through difficult times. So about this time we adopted a dog … who greatly resembles a polar bear in both size and quantity of fur. Chummy- the most loving, snuggly, gentle, smelly, and fur-shedding dog you’ll ever meet. So now to the destruction that was my home, we added fur… mounds and mounds of fur.

I went from reveling in the gifts of God’s dream for my home to wallowing in the shame of the chaos around me. I stopped letting people in. My open door policy came with an asterisk. *I will open my door to you enough for you to see my face but not my floors. If I do happen to invite you in, it will only be after I have ignored my children for a minimum of 36 hours in fruitless attempts to make my life look “put together.”

My obsession with my chaos became crippling to the dream God had given me. My ministry during this season as a stay-at-home-mom was directly tethered to my home, and I had cut the rope. My radical individualism was a kind of pride, but in a different way. It told me, your chaos is worse than anyone else’s and it buried me in shame.

And then Jesus happened, as he always does. He began to remind me that he is in the business of bringing chaos to order. From beginning to end His purpose for us has been to bring what is out-of-sorts back to right. We see it in creation, when he calls the chaos of nothingness into the perfection of the universe. We see it on the cross when he took the brokenness of that creation and provided a way for us to be made whole again. We see it from the failings of Adam to the Triumph of Jesus, he is bringing what is chaos back to order. And you know how we get there? Through confession. We bring our crazy, sin-splattered, wrecked lives freely before a spotless Jesus and he makes us whole, he puts us back to right.

In church when our pastor told us to open our homes and drop our individualism, my husband leaned over and said, “We’re going to have to die to Chummy hair.” My chaos cannot hinder my ministry, it must be handed to Jesus so he can do what he does best. But let me be clear, the order he brought was not to the cleanliness of my home (seriously, come by, roll in the fur and count some diapers.) No, the order he brought was to my willingness to let him rearrange my priorities and where I placed my confidence. I desired for my home to be a “Third Place,” but in order for that to happen I had to die to my prideful humiliation and share the gift God had given me to share, in all of it’s real-life glory.

He also gave me new perspective. When God reorders our brokenness, he doesn’t sweep the memory of it under the rug, rather, he upcycles it into something beautiful with purpose. And while my shame over a messy house might seem small in comparison, there is NOTHING too broken for God. I look forward to embracing my “chaos”  and watching the lives and ministry God orders around it.


So I got to spend some time. All alone. In my car. Listening to NPR… and no one was yelling from the backseat, “I don’t like news!”

It was glorious.

I got to hear a couple of Ted Talks, and they are what inspire this post.

So, here it goes.

First, rewilding… I am not talking about the anarchist movement, the sexual intimacy counseling, or the idea that we should shed domestication and live nude in the woods (though, if you drop by my home without notice, you may think we have started the latter.) Rather, rewilding, as a conservation initiative. The idea is that by introducing key, and very powerful species back into an environment we can restore connections within the ecosystem that have been broken- bringing it back to its intended and flourishing state.(George Monbiot explains this in his talk– super cool stuff.)

Stick with me, this is will make sense! I hope.

Ok, so then I heard Abha Dawesar’s Ted Talk “How do our Screens Distort Our Sense of Time?” She talks about how our sense of time, and even our identities have melded with the digital world. How our stories as humans need both the long flow of time (our lifespan), and the small moments that contain our direct experiences. Because of our activity in the digital world, our moments have shrunk. Past, present and future have all blended into this abstract universe she calls the “digital now”, which serves one purpose: to distract us and carry us off into the land of anywhere and anything else. “Travel can be liberating, but when it is incessant we become permanent exiles without repose.” And she’s right.

I have a confession. I spend the majority of my waking hours in very, VERY close proximity to my children (can I just pee alone?! Just once?). But there are days; tired, bored, restless days, when I go to bed and think, “Have I connected with my children today? Have I connected with anyone?” Sure I fed, wiped, dressed, bathed, held, and generally kept them alive. But did I make memories, did I invest anything in them? And then I think on the moments I brushed them aside, or told them “In a minute”, so I could have just a few more minutes on Facebook, the one place where I feel like I am actually “connecting”.

I’m going to stop here and say- this is NOT a “Mama, get off Facebook,” judgmental rant. Sometimes we need a mind-numbing break- and that’s ok. Do you, mama!

But, what I am saying is this: I have spent entire days being present but not present in my own ecosystem.

I have a friend who talks about how there is always a “nucleus person” in the family. The one who kind of keeps things running, keeps the peace when things crumble. After hearing these two Ted Talks I realize that the days when I check out, that I am removing the keystone species, the nucleus, from my children’s sweet, fragile ecosystem. It’s one thing for my family to survive, it’s another for them to flourish.

Dawesar says that we owe the present our full attention. “Attention is time,” and “love is attention.” Who and what I spend my attention on is where my love is.

Rewilding is about reinserting oneself (ie the “keystone species”) back into the present, not just for your benefit but for all that interconnects. Allowing all within your realm of influence, your little ecosystem if you will, to reconnect and thrive. Broken relationships are a norm of our society- but we can change that, by being present- in the now. The real now.

Allow me to switch veins here.
As I discuss the concept of “rewilding” in the sense of re-introducing a key component to repair disconnect, I am hit with an even greater truth:
We live in a world where broken relationships are the norm, right? Name one family that does not have some sort of rift between parents and children, siblings, spouses… Now think about your own relationships. Are they broken? Is your life somehow dysfunctional? Like you’re not connecting in all the ways you need to in order to really thrive, to really feel alive? Are you on a hunt for healing, feeling fragile and alone?

The reason is: you were made for more. When God created man and woman he made us to live in completeness and in connection with him. We chose to reject his presence in our world, inviting in the very disconnect and brokenness our relationships suffer every day. I will address this specifically more in another post. But I want to leave you with this: there is a keystone that is missing. His name is Jesus, and he is the remedy for all of that disconnect. He doesn’t want to condemn or punish you, he simply wants to put your world back to right, to save and reorder all the chaos you may be facing so that you can again have completeness with him. Please, if you need this, feel free to contact me, I would love to talk more!

I should be a supermodel.

I think we should create some universal mommy-solidarity hand signal. Like something we can flash when we walk past that mom dragging her screaming child out of the zoo parking lot because he decided to have an F5 melt-down before even reaching the gate. You know she’s thinking, “I packed all this crap, made peanut butter, and managed to get dressed enough to go in public…WE ARE GOING TO HAVE FUN D*** IT!” All while wishing she could be anywhere else as long as it involves a locked door and a glass of wine. She gives you that miserable forced smile of a mother trying not to end up and the news…if only there were a way to let her know she’s in good company. A simple fist raise would suffice, but probably not as mommy-life appropriate as a finger up the nose, or a quick smell of the pits. Regardless, we need a signal.

Today, as I walked my own two children out of the pre-school parking lot, I heard a tiny voice whine…”But I want youuuuuuuu to carry me!” I look back to see a frazzled Sherpa of a mama carrying bags, nap mats, and an infant car seat (which if you haven’t carried one, suddenly turns your tiny, sweet babe into the dead weight of a grown man). As she begins to climb the staircase she turns to look at me (as I am franticly trying to determine which hand signal would be most encouraging) and says, “I should be a super model by now.” And I new exactly what she meant… you would think being a human pack mule for tiny children and their unbelievable amount of baggage would be the ultimate workout routine. But alas, the majority of us are still sporting our mom bods around in our Lulu Lemons. [Just an aside: you know we wear those because we feel the amount of lifting, squatting, and awkward bending we do counts as our daily workout]. But here’s the real reason we aren’t super models: because food and feelings are besties.

Come on, you know you’ve done it. In the middle of a tantrum, what place is better than the pantry to hide from a screaming toddler? And what better to keep you from voicing all of your thoughts—which are obviously laced with patience and Godly wisdom— than shoveling Oreos into your face while crying? I swear, my daughter, who can’t hear me tell her 10 times to find her shoes, can hear a candy wrapper through several closed doors. The girl literally smells my breath to see what I’ve eaten! So yes, I eat my feelings in private. Sometimes just grasping at a moment of sanity so I too, do not end up on the news.

Talking to moms I feel I can safely say we all have our “super model” areas. Especially, I think, in our time spent with Jesus. I have heard nearly every woman I know say that she longs to spend more time reading her Bible, praying, and just spending time with God. We say it with shame, with longing, and with all of our failings (that we feel would be fixed if we could be self-motivated enough to get up earlier or spend naptimes being more spiritually productive). I find myself grasping for every small glimpse of His presence throughout my day. Any moment I can gobble up that keeps me moving forward through the muck of chores, diapers, and occasional loneliness.

A wise, experienced mother once gave me such grace in this area. She reminded me that rejoicing over my children, watching them grow in Jesus and teaching and studying with them is an acceptable way to be obedient to that need. And to be ok with stealing those small moments in lieu of the long drink I am longing for. She reminded me that one day I will have plenty of time for that list of books and studies I want to read, plenty of time to lead classes and speak. My Jesus time for this season is spent in the Storybook Bible and sweet gasps as Goliath steps on the scene. It is in the wide eyes of a child learning the bigness of God as they watch a sunset, and the clasps of little hands and voices saying, “Jesus keep the monsters away.” My whispered prayers over tiny feverish heads and scraped knees are still sweet in my Savior’s ears. The small moments I steal with my Father now will build on each other and pave the way to usher my children into his presence. I am a Sherpa mom in both backpacks and spiritual adventure- and so are you. And Jesus has I heart for us:

“He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.” Isaiah 40:11

So here is my un-manicured raised fist of solidarity. You’ve got this mama! And when you don’t He is gentle and full of grace- leading you and carrying your babies!

This is my right.

I’m about to turn 30. It feels big, like the real end of childhood, which I realize is especially strange considering I have two children of my own. And I would love to sit here and reminisce on how much amazing life has happened in these thirty years, but I keep coming back to one thing in particular: I am alive because Jesus redeems even murderers.

My parents had me very young, and were married even younger. They both grew up in their own difficult worlds; the kind that often defines the lives of their inhabitants for generations.  By the age of 20 they were welcoming their first child. The doctor who delivered me, had, by his own admission, killed countless babies at all stages of prenatal development. He was, in fact, part of the first movement of “legal” abortions in the States.  However, by the time I came into the picture he had given his heart to Jesus and his hands to giving life. I was born with the umbilical cord around my neck and these newly redeemed hands released me into life.

This story is fairly unremarkable except for one thing: He saved me because I was wanted. I was born into the same circumstances as many of those who had come before me- young parents, abusive cycle, poverty- but I had someone dreaming of my future and knowing I could have and be more. Babies that were and are currently being aborted do not have that privilege.

In Dr. Hill’s testimony he describes seeing the “product of conception” that they were regularly discarding:

“It was easy for us to do the first trimester abortion because we were using the same procedure that you use if you remove the placental tissue after a woman has a miscarriage. The vacuum machine is used, and the vacuum tubing empties all of the products of conception into a tidy little cheesecloth sack. We then sent those sacks down to pathology. In my second year of residency I spent two months on a pathology rotation, which is an interesting thing, and I had to come face-to-face with the contents of those sacks. We were studying the embryology of the ovary. I personally had to search through the jumbled-up mass of tissue. The jumbled-up mass of tissue was easily identifiable as the torn and shredded body of a tiny human being.”

We are at yet another crossroads in our country regarding abortion. Through the videos released by The Center for Medical Progress we have come face-to-face, as Dr. Hill did, with the reality of what it looks like for a child to be torn from its mother’s body.

I dreamt last night that I was taking out my contacts, and when I did they were actually opaque scales floating there in the liquid. We wear these blinders over our eyes because we cannot stomach the truth, or because it is too barbaric for us to believe. In a sermon last week by J.R. Vasser  he compared our self-imposed blindness to those living in German towns near WWII concentration camps. There are testimonies of townspeople smelling burning flesh and seeing tufts of hair and bone fragments falling from the sky (facinghistory.org). Looking back, we cannot help but place judgement on them for choosing to be bystanders in the most atrocious taking of human life the world has ever seen.

The newest count done by researchers in 2013 shows that somewhere between 15-20 million people were killed senselessly during the holocaust- 1.1 million of those lives are thought to be children. Many of these deaths were by gas chamber. Now consider this, by the year 2015 we will have stood by and allowed approximately 58,800,000 children be slaughtered in much the same way. Their bodies torn apart and then used (or sold) for research, toxins introduced to their system via the inhalation or “breathing” of amniotic fluid.

So as the church, what can we do? Picket, vote, line the streets and your social media with the horrific, but real images of dead babies? Possibly. But I think that’s too easy. Mother Theresa said it better than I ever could, “We are fighting abortion by adoption — by care of the mother and adoption for her baby.”

The cure for abortion is not winning the battle of rhetoric, or the forced opening of the opposition’s eyes. It is fought and won in the only way Jesus taught us to do battle: irrational love. It will be eradicated when we show mothers that they are surrounded by those who will walk with them and help  to raise their children should they choose to keep them. When churches change the stigma placed on unwed mothers, and embrace them with grace, we will win this war.

Abortion and the need for foster care could be completely eliminated if adoptions are made priority and our churches support those families looking to adopt. Texas boasts nearly 17 of the top 100 largest churches in the US, eight of which are found in the DFW area. If we could fund one family from each church in the state to adopt we could quickly make a dent in the amount of babies lost in this country, and we could definitely give homes to the over 31,000 children in foster care.

Whatever label you place on your belief system, political or otherwise. I challenge you to look at these videos with their tiny, but fully formed legs, arms and even eyeballs, being offered for cold hard cash and honestly tell yourself “This is my right.” And Christ-followers, I beg you, be rightfully outraged, and then take real, life-altering, life-giving action. Here are some ideas to get you moving:

-Volunteer at or donate to your local pregnancy center: here are links to a few in the Mid-Cities area

-Pray about fostering or adopting
-Write a letter to an abortion provider about their worth and about Jesus’ love via this site:http://abortionworker.com/
-Pray about being a respite family for foster parents
-Pray for those affected by abortion in some way- and show grace to those who are.

Support life with love.