Giving Life to Another

I don’t subscribe to many news feeds, but it seems clear seems from our current headlines, our culture is devaluing the precious gift of life. Recently I’ve been bombarded with headlines about Heartbeat Protection and the Supreme Court Ruling on the Abortion Pill; Health Care for Transgender Youth; Child Slavery at an all-time high; and a personal account of a known Christian author forgiving herself for abortion. I felt heavy hearted and a bit sickened. I also felt God asking me to write about the value of life.

As I began to consider this topic, my brain kept asking “When did life get so complex?” I asked God to bring me words that will prompt these conversations with our friends and children, allowing beliefs and Truth to be discussed, with empathy. And that He will allow people to share honestly, while others withhold judgment. Here are the two timely incidents God presented to me as I was writing, but first, a memory.

I recall an uncomfortable and unavoidable conversation, probably when my children were 10-and-under, when the local Catholic church covered their front lawn with roughly 4000 white wooden crosses. They do this each October as an anti-abortion memorial during Respect Life month, with each cross representing the number of abortions that happen in America every day, statistically. It’s such a startling sight, catching your eye every time you pass by. And it prompts young children to ask questions parents aren’t ready to discuss. But, that’s exactly why we need to start having conversations, in words that make sense to their age and reflect our beliefs. As our children have grown older, they’ve developed different views and opinions, thus bringing deeper and more honest questions to the table. I am honored (…and stretched) to navigate this space, such as: “Mom, if it was me, what would you want me to do?”  I try to always voice how badly their Dad and I desired them, how life starts at conception, and how excited we are for their future children – preferably when they are married and older.

I try to steer the conversation around purity (of thoughts and actions), and God’s gracious plan for bringing children into families…. That conversation sometimes also leads to the gift of adoption.  Even more so with this recent story of giving life to another. My husband’s co-worker Emily shared with us that a lifetime of addiction led to time spent in and out of jail stealing decades away from raising her young children. Once released and reconciled with her former boyfriend, she found herself pregnant. At the age of 40, she couldn’t imagine trying to restart her life sober, and rebuilding her relationships with her adult children, one of whom had children of her own, plus having a new infant. She decided to deliver her son and give him up for adoption. As she prayed for a future family, God spoke to her in the audible cries of a woman wailing for a child. Emily heard her cries. She knew that there was a couple out there who was desperate for a child of their own. The next morning, at a doctor’s appointment for her recovery, a pregnant woman was her nurse. In conversation, Emily learned that the pregnant woman was planning to give the child that she carried up for adoption to a couple without children, but had just decided last minute that she would keep him. Emily knew this couple was the one sent from God.  This was the woman who she had heard wailing the night before.  The next day, Emily called Rachel.  

Not only did Emily give life to another family, her son Myles and his adopted parents are part of her extended family, celebrating holidays and birthdays together. My heart explodes with love. As humans, we sin. Because of Emily’s faith in God, she was able to turn her troubles into a blessing for another family, multiplying God’s love.

I share both of these stories from a heart position of desperately wanting children, yet we had a tough start.  For years, we struggled with infertility. And to this day, when my husband sees Dr. Awadalla, he thanks him for helping us with our first child. The most recent time this scenario occurred, I stayed back, asking the doctor’s wife if this happens to him all the time. She sweetly answered yes, while watching her husband respond patiently to the interruption, inquiring how old our child is and how she is doing. Can you imagine how at his job, he gets to experience the miracles of God each day?

I think our human hearts are tugged by the miracles of life, as well as at the pain and suffering of the social injustices of taking life, because God created life to be in communion with Him. The same God who creates life (Genesis 2:7), also knew He would have to end His own son’s life to save us (John 3:16-18). It is only through Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection that allows this reunion. I know these are tough conversations, but they are necessary and life-changing, at all ages. Maybe the radical headline conversation we should discuss is “Why Jesus Needed to Die.”

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the foundations of Christianity, as the apostle Paul explains:

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas (Peter), and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me (Paul) also.”  (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).

Jesus’ resurrection is proven by the fulfillment of prophecy in the Old Testament and by Himself (Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 53, Mark 8:31), the tomb was empty (Luke 24:24), the many eyewitness accounts of Jesus after death (Act 1), and His disciples watching His accession into Heaven:

“After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into Heaven.” Acts 1:9-11

It is through Jesus’ resurrection that God gives us eternal life and offers His Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

 “because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” Hebrews 7:24-25.

And it truly is a gift for me to share that this Easter service the same first child that we so desperately wanted, desired to reclaim baptism as her own and give her life to Jesus. My heart is full of the knowledge we will have eternal life together. This is a headline I want to shout from the mountain tops each day and hope it sparks conversations for others too

Please pray with me – Lord, You are such a good Father to me. Thank You for honoring me with two children to raise and for equipping me to have these tough conversations with them. Please use Your Holy Spirit to press into me daily.  Encourage me to keep sparking conversations to bring Your light to others, even though they are uncomfortable, awkward, and counter-culture to this world. Amen

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