Thursday, January 22, 2015

Supporting Other Mothers, Even Post-Abortive Ones

Every year the media makes a grave mistake in ignoring or sugar-coating the mass of people who descend upon the Nation's capitol in peaceful protest of the 40+ year old decision which legalized abortion on demand. Every year.  They attempt to distract and redirect; utilizing the very tool of the Prince of Darkness which brought that decision about in the first place: LIES.  They do this and yet, it's like in Horton Hears a Who...the small rise up; we call out, "We are here! We are here! We are here!!"

I myself have never been to the March for Life.  Every year I think about how amazing it would be to go and have that experience; stand in solidarity with my fellow pro-lifers and pray the rosary as I walk, to meet new people and speak with them on this deep, difficult topic.  I think how amazing it would be to crest that hill and look back and take in the sight of the sea of people, moving together as one body; braving the cold and the anti-life protesters, joining together for the same righteous cause: sanctity of human life.  One of these days, I tell myself.   One year, I will have no needy babies whom I can't leave at home and I will be able to attend and immerse myself, and possibly my older children, in the experience.  Some say it's very emotional and spiritual. I don't doubt it. I don't doubt that when hundreds of thousands of people gather for a just cause, for the Lord, for mercy and opposition toward evil, that it isn't an amazing and rich experience. 

When I volunteered at a pregnancy center in Harrisburg a few years ago, my life was changed.  I thought I was there to help women, young girls, in situations where having a baby was less than ideal. I thought I was there to give out information, listen, encourage, teach.  But amidst all of that, something else took place.  I was encouraged.  I learned.  My eyes were opened.  I saw the hearts of some of these women who were just trying to make it alone.  I saw the dynamics between women and their partners, boyfriends, husbands who were just as scared as the women were to welcome another baby.  I saw the neediness of the "least of God's people," and my heart grew in compassion and understanding for them.  I spoke with women who had had abortions; women who deeply regretted them, but found themselves facing another pregnancy and wanting to do what was right, despite how hard it was for them. I saw their fear and their resolve.  I saw their strength to turn away from past behavior. It changed me indeed.

They say that if we want to know what life is really about; we just need to immerse ourselves in situations where we'll see it up close.  While I was with the center, I wrote this article on my other blog. It was my hope that people would read it and have some small understanding of what many post-abortive mothers feel.  That they could come to the same understanding I did when I worked at the center: that most women who seek abortions aren't doing it to be evil. They are broken, just like the rest of us, only maybe in a different way than most of us.  They are in need of love and support and forgiveness.  I hoped that other pro-lifers would understand that we shouldn't approach these women in anger, but surround them in peace and love and understanding instead.  Especially the women who do not feel remorse.  It's one thing to think these things in your head, to know them in your heart; it's an entirely different thing to put that into action, to actually face those women and let love do all the work.

Down here in the trenches of motherhood, we all need encouragement and support, even and especially post-abortive mothers.  Aborting a baby does not take away the title of Motherhood.  We become mothers the second our babies are conceived.  Nothing changes that. 

Today I pray not only that there will come an end to abortion, but that we as pro-lifers will seek out more ways in which we can move as one to support post-abortive mothers, to reach out to them and extend the Love of Christ, the forgiveness and compassion He so selflessly extended to us as He hung on that cross on Calvary.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Motherhood Is The Longest Labor

They who I labor for
The Lord has blessed me with babies.  Lots and lots of babies.  He’s also given me a somewhat-introspective personality, and the desire to convey my thoughts to others, in order so that they may grow in understanding of themselves and of the Lord’s will for their own lives. (Specifically as it pertains to motherhood, but other aspects of life as well.)  I love to not just sympathize with others, but empathize.  To commiserate.  To encourage.  I want to cry with people as well as laugh.  Sit and ponder, as well as dance and sing. I want to go deep, and then deeper still on the important things in life.  The truth is we all have our little nuances.  We all have our distractions.  We all have the things that seem so big and so blaring in our minds every single day.  Facebook. Television.  Music.  Our jobs.  Shopping.  Food.

But those things, while aspects of our life here on earth, do not indicate to ourselves or to anyone, or most importantly to God, that we are really living.  And that’s what this is about.  I want to really live.  I want to live and I want to be a light.  Especially to other mothers, other parents.  I want to let my light shine.  Not because I think I’m so important or special; but because I’m not.  I’m just like you. I’m just like every other mama on this earth, going through the parenting tunnel, trying to do my best.  Sometimes I have good things to say. Other times, I’m just a shout in the void.  

But here I am anyway, trying.

The inspiration for this blog came from a piece I’m working on.  I say piece but I’m hoping it’s a manuscript.  I’m hoping that in the midst of homeschooling, chaos, coffee and laundry, I can etch out the parts of motherhood that really mean something important enough to share.  But not just share- make a difference.  I spent the last ten years of my life being told that I can’t make a difference.  That my attempt to share my little light with people was my trying to be controlling, or my trying to change people.  That what I had to say didn’t matter.  I spent this time with negative people who were always downing me, my words, my desire to help or console or encourage, and I started to believe them. I started to believe all of it- I have nothing new to share, nothing important to say.  I can’t save anyone.  

The truth is I don’t want to save anyone.  That’s not my job.  My job is to be a light. To serve.  It’s such a simple concept, one we were taught even as wee ones in Vacation Bible School.  We sang it loud with the song, “This Little Light of Mine.  While making sheep-shaped soaps to go with our wooden shepherds and elbow-macaroni Crosses, we were taught to be servants.  We were taught to have compassion.  To love.  To bring others to Christ.

Motherhood has given me that platform, to rise up with my light and draw others into the light of Christ in our vocation.  

Motherhood is in fact the longest labor of our lives, and we need to encourage each other through it.