Do You Love Him?

There is something that pierces my soul. It stares me in the eyes and I am forced to remember. Four years ago I learned something that I would never forget. Something I can’t be quiet about until my breath is gone.

But first, look at him—my son…

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Some things are more comfortable kept quiet. Kept secret. Some things hurt too much to talk about, or even think about…but maybe, just maybe, you will read this in secret.

Sometimes we don’t understand why hard things happen to us. Or why a baby like my son is given to us. For every ten women who find out they’re having a baby with Down syndrome, only one of them continues with their pregnancy. When I first read that Elias was the only one of ten to be born, my heart and soul ached. Four years later the aching hasn’t stopped, it hasn’t gone away. It has become worse.

Like a mother who tries to articulate the beauty of that moment she holds her newborn and looks into his eyes for the first time, how could I ever explain to you how much I love my son?

“Do you love him?” she asked me. The fear of the unknown was shaking in her voice as we talked over the phone. She was desperate to know if I loved Elias, and if she could ever love her unborn son with Down syndrome.

How can I tell you what my heart feels when I lay down with him in his bed, and he sings and puts his hand on my face? Or what wonderful thoughts go through my mind when he sees his daddy and yells, “Daddy!” and with everything in his little body he gives his best hug? And the joy I feel when I see him wrestle with his brother and belly laugh with his sister. I wish you could know for a moment the depth of love I have for my son.

There is right and there is wrong. Life is always right.

If God has created breath, they are meant to breathe. The inhale and the exhale, the beating—they don’t want to stop. They want to breath, they want to beat.

I watch his chest rise and fall. I put my face next to his and feel his breath. My hand is resting on his heart. He knows what so many babies should know; but they don’t, and they never will.

There is something that pierces my soul. Something that stares me in the eyes every day. Every day I’m reminded: those who God has given life to are meant to live. I am one mom out of ten that knows the joy and beauty of having a child with Down syndrome. And I can tell you, my life is full. I love my son and I would not change him or choose a different life.

Falls_12Blessings,

Natalie Falls

when she’s had an abortion {how to make her feel safe}

Last week, all across our Nation, people celebrated Sanctity of Human Life Week culminating on Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. Many of you heard sermons on Psalm 139. You learned how God lovingly knit you together in your mother’s womb, how He has a plan for your life—a GOOD plan.

But you didn’t see the woman sitting next to you who was grieving her abortion that day.

You didn’t see her because you don’t know about her past—she doesn’t talk about it.

Why?

Because she doesn’t know how you’ll react. She doesn’t know if she can trust you. She doesn’t know if you’re safe.

The latest statistics show that as many as four in ten women have experienced one or more abortions. The next time you’re in a large group of women look around and let that statistic wash over you. Our churches, women’s organizations, PTA’s, salons and spas, and gyms are FULL of women who are hurting from an abortion, suffering in silence because they’re afraid if they tell you, you won’t understand.

Do we understand?

There was a time when I really didn’t. I said things like, “I don’t get how a woman could ever have an abortion.” Or, “It’s a child, not a choice.” What I didn’t understand was that in all our efforts as a society to make sure women have a choice, what we’ve done is make them feel they don’t have another choice. Most women faced with an unplanned pregnancy don’t want to have an abortion. They just don’t feel there’s another option.

A woman’s choice to have an abortion affects every part of her being, but the good news is that the choice to abort is not outside of God’s ability to forgive and heal.The bad news is that many times our “christianese” makes the woman sitting next to us in the pew who’s had two feel we’re unworthy of her trust.

If these precious women don’t trust us, how can we help them heal?

Do the post-abortive women in your community see you as safe? Are you someone they could talk to? Here's how to make sure you are.

Here are a few ways you can help her feel safe.

1. Lay down stereotypes

Go through the counselor training at your local crisis pregnancy center and learn more about who she really is. You might be surprised to know that the stereotypes don’t always fit. Your child’s PTA President is just as likely to have chosen abortion as the mom on welfare in the inner city.

2. Don’t use loaded words.

Murder is a word that gets thrown around all too often when we talk about abortion. And while it might be true, saying it in mixed company might be all the post-abortive woman in your group needs to hear to know you’re not safe. Always look at the crowd you’re in and think, “she could be here. How can I help her know I care?”

3. Get rid of black and white thinking.

I freely admit that I’m a black and white thinker by nature. I have to work hard to see the grey in the world. But after working with women in unplanned pregnancy for over 15 years of my life now, I can truly say that I DO understand why a woman would choose abortion. I’m not saying I think it’s the right or even the best choice for her, but I get it. I’ve heard stories that would curl your toes. I’ve counseled women who would’ve been murdered for being pregnant outside of marriage, others who arrived at our doorstep black and blue—a friendly reminder from the father of the baby about what her choice had better be. Until you hear her story, you simply can’t know why she made the decision she did. Be open, and welcome her story.

4. Love.

Remember that left to yourself, apart from the work of God in your life, you could just as easily be the one with a story of abortion to tell. If you caught yourself saying, “I would NEVER have an abortion” as you read that last sentence, consider spending some time reflecting on the nature and definition of sin. The sin of abortion is no worse than the sin of gossip in the eyes of God. And the truth of the matter is that you can’t possibly know what you might’ve chosen if you were walking in her shoes.

So many women in our world today need to know freedom and forgiveness from their choice to abort. And there’s no better place for them to come find it than in the body of Christ.

Brooke McGlothlin is the co-author of Hope for the Weary Mom: Where God Meets You in Your Mess, and helps boy moms navigate the testosterone-filled life at the MOB Society.

Religion Our Father Accepts

ultrasoundI will never forget the first time I saw my daughter in grainy, black-and-white ultrasound.  I was fifteen weeks pregnant.  Tiny hands, little mouth chewing on her fingers, perfectly-formed toes, kicking legs… I was in love.  And in awe.

As a nurse married to a pro-life activist, images of preborn babies were nothing new to me.  I could rattle off a list of facts a mile long about prenatal development.  But when I saw HER, everything changed.  She wasn’t a faceless, unknown entity whose kicks were yet un-felt in my abdomen.  She was a little person, unique, distinct, yet undeniably connected to me.

And in seeing her, I suddenly saw the 3,300 other babies just like her who every day lose their lives to abortion in our country.  Tiny, beautiful image-bearers of God who are daily, legally, ripped from their mothers’ wombs and dismembered.  And I imagined the anguish of women who think that they have no better choice than this.

Since seeing my daughter on that sonogram, abortion breaks my heart in a new way.  And if it breaks my heart, I can only imagine how heartbreaking it is to the God who knits all children together, and who loves their mamas, too.  “For you formed my inward parts, you knitted me together in my mother’s womb,” says Psalm 139:13.

January is Sanctity of Human Life month, and as Christian moms, we have a unique perspective:  we know that children are blessings, not burdens.  This issue should be especially dear to our hearts, since every woman who chooses abortion is a fellow mom.  We have responsibility to “bring justice to the fatherless” (Isaiah 1:17), as well as to help mothers who are at risk for choosing abortion, but sometimes it can be hard to know where to start.  Here are just a few ideas:

  1. Give your time.  Volunteer for pregnancy resource centers and pro-life organizations.  Stand outside your local abortion clinic to pray for and counsel the mothers going in.  Call your local and state representatives about abortion legislation to encourage them to vote pro-life.
  2. Give your money.  Support pro-life organizations financially.
  3. Give a defense.  Learn how to talk to people about the issue of abortion.  I highly recommend Scott Klusendorf’s book The Case for Life to help you with this.  And once you know how to give a good defense, give it!  Speak up when the topic comes up.  Start conversations on Facebook or join in when you hear the issue discussed.  Don’t be afraid to defend the weakest members of our society.
  4. Encourage your pastor to talk about this issue.  Abortion is so pervasive in our society largely because the church has been silent.  And sadly, statistically speaking, church-attending women have the same number of abortions as women who don’t go to church.  Encourage your pastors and church leaders to speak up on behalf of the preborn and their mothers.  Humbly and gently remind them of James 1:27: “ Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”  I can’t think of anyone more weak or needy than a preborn child who cannot speak for herself.

Finally, I think it’s important to mention that some of you reading this today have had an abortion, and you may be dealing with the aftermath of that choice.  If you have had an abortion, know first that you are not alone.  We all approach God as sinners (Romans 3:23).  Secondly, know that God’s grace is great enough to cover your sin.  John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  You can find forgiveness, redemption, and healing at the Cross.

May we all, as we raise our own children, remember the mothers whose arms are empty and the little ones whose lives are lost through abortion, and may we do all we can to help them.  For this is religion that our Father accepts.

Blessings,

Aubrie Drayer

20 Questions To Prepare You For Kids

Last month I wrote a post called “Planning For Parenthood”.  Basically in this post I was advocating couples, especially young couples even in the early stages of dating, to begin talking about and preparing for parenthood as early as possible.  Far too many couples go into marriage without giving much thought to children or assuming their spouse agrees with their parenting philosophies without actually having a discussion.

Several ladies said they enjoyed the post but they were still unsure as to what kind of things would be important to discuss or how how to prepare.

So today I’d like to give you a list of 20 important questions to ask each other when preparing for children.

This is NOT an exhaustive list and please keep in mind that you may need to taylor the questions a little.  The main point of this post is to give you a few good starter questions to hopefully encourage a healthy pre-parent (and preferably pre-marriage) discussion.

          1.)  What is your understanding of God’s view on children and how does this line up with Scripture?

2.)  How many children do you see yourself having and why?

3.)  What are your views on “family planning” in the context of abortion?

4.)  What do you believe about birth control medications and why?

5.)  What is your heart on the topic of adoption?

6.)  What type of parenting philosophy did your parents have?  What did you like about this/what would you do differently?

7.)  What forms of discipline do you understand to be biblical?

8.)  What type of education would you like your children to have and why?  (Public school, private school, homeschool?)

9.)  What are some mainstream trends in

our culture that you do NOT want for your future children or you’re unsure about?  (massive media consumption, food and health choice, vaccinations etc….)

10.)  What is the preferred plan for home/work responsibilities?  Will both parents work?  If so, how often?

11.)  Are you financially prepared for a “surprise blessing”?

12.)  How do you feel about extra curricular activities (sports, music, art classes etc…)?

13.)  How do you plan to build strong relationships within the family?

14.)  What role do you foresee grandparents and other family members playing in regards to your children’s lives?

15.)  What types of dating/relationship standards do you want to instill in your children at a young age?

16.)  Who do you feel is the best person to inform your children about God’s gift of sex (parents, teachers, Christian books etc…)?  About what age should this be done?

17.)  Do you plan to send your children to classes such as children’s church and youth group or will you plan to have them worship beside you?

18.)  How do you plan to present higher education (should all children go to college or is there room for diversity?) and who will plan to fund this education (parents, children, other options etc..)?

19.)  What is your ultimate goal as far as training children?

20.)  How do you purpose to keep your priorities (God, spouse, children, others) in order?

Again, this list is not complete but I do hope that it will serve to create good, healthy discussion.  You might not know all the answers right now but talking about the options as early on as possible will be so helpful!

Remember children are one of God’s greatest blessing to a couple but these blessings require much attention and preparation.  Don’t let time slip away from you.  Prepare NOW for children!

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