It’s that time again, 40 Days for Life. The peaceful prayer vigil outside of abortion clinics across the world working towards an end of abortion! In Boise, our number of prayer warriors has been weak, which is disappointing. I carved out some time on Sunday to go, although the clinic is closed, there is still value in the public witness and inspired prayer.
Thursdays are my day off and I felt I should try to go again. But as my husband once told me, I have the perfect excuse not to go. These reasons being things like I have a baby (7mo) with some special needs, I have a 2 yo and a 5 yo, I work part-time, have housework piling up and boxes from our move 3 months ago I haven’t unpacked, etc You know the busy lives we all have! Oh, did I mention it was supposed to rain too? The problem is there is one really big reason to go and that outweighs all the inconveniences …. to someone it could be life or death.
Planned Parenthood has been getting a lot attention with the undercover videos and Cecile Richards (PP CEO) testifying in front of congress, it has been revealing. It has revealed a depth of evil on the part of PP. But it has also revealed something stomach turning about its supporters that so staunchly stand by them “no matter what.”
I believe in the sanctity of life. And slicing through the face of a human lost in abortion desecrates the human form and insults its Creator. But I guess that’s abortion. It’s offensive and no amount of pink can rose color the grimness. So as I see with dismay facebook friends that “like” articles defending PP I felt a call to action. Like a drill sergeant screaming “Drop and give me 50!” Only this call was to drop- to my knees- and give 50- Hail Marys (well 53 technically to make up a rosary). And how can you say, “I don’t have time” when you hear a call like that.
So I packed up the minivan with the three kids, the wagon and the stroller, sidewalk chalk, an umbrella, coats, formula, feeding pump, rosary, a silver Medjugorje coin on loan to my son, and the homemade sign (even though when I have my kids with me I feel like they are a sign in themselves).
I arrived just missing the group ahead of me, so I didn’t have the usual “40 Days for Life” signage that says “Praying for Moms and Babies and Praying for an End to Abortion.” Just our homemade sign that says, “Love at First Sight” with Charlie’s 8 week ultrasound blown up on one side and “Blessed is the Fruit of the Womb” with Siena’s 20wk ultrasound blown up on the other.
The girls were on the whole angels despite not having any snacks for them. Ian slept mostly never fussed. I said my rosary, and drew side walk chalk with the girls. But I noticed when I was praying I kept being reminded of my sins. Typically before each “40 Days” campaign I go to confession, but I never got around to it this time. It seemed out of place to be distracted by my sins when trying to focus on a cause of so much more important. But at last it was 4:50pm 10 minutes till our hour was up. So I gathered the girls, we held hands to pray three “Hail Marys” when she approached.
Her gait was marked with purpose as she approached us, though clearly she had no idea what to say as she awkwardly asked us what we were doing?! I told her we were praying. And she asked emphatically why? Why would we be there praying when she had just had an abortion? “How do you think that makes me feel?” she asked with tears welling in her eyes. I was on auto pilot, I would not condemn her, I would try to show her love. I asked if she needed help, which seemed to confuse her. I told her God loved her multiple times. She asked what she was supposed to do, she couldn’t have a baby. It was kind of a moot point, but I mumbled something about adoption to which she responded she didn’t want to put her body through that, and it was her right to choose not to. Then she looked at my children. Numbly, she acknowledged that I have 3 kids and that that is great for me. I wish I would have told her I am a sinner too. I couldn’t tell her it was ok what she did, but I tried to show her love and truth.
Her emotions running high and at a loss for what to say or do since I was not the hate-filled judgmental stereotype she expected, she grabbed my sign from me. She flung it forcefully into the busy street. My girls immediately started crying hysterically not alarmed until then. She stormed off back around to the front of PP where the parking lot is. I can only imagine not very proud of herself. I hated to litter the sign and my girls clearly were in distress without it. State Street is a busy 4 lane street and the sign was in the turn lane in the middle, but eerily the coast was completely clear, so I retrieved the foam core sign only to see her coming back towards us. Without much resistance on my part she wrestled the sign out of my hands again! This time she took it with her to her nice new looking red SUV, and drove off minutes later.
We said our three Hail Marys and I tried to reassure and calm the girls. They asked why she took our sign, I said maybe she liked it. Well, why did she throw it in the street then? Oh, ok the truth then. She didn’t like the sign. it reminded her of a bad decision she just made. And Charlie knew what that meant, she told me she heard her say she had an abortion. Why did she make that bad decision, Mom? Well, we all make bad decisions sometimes. But probably because she was scared. And impressively, 5 yo Charlie conceded that a baby is a lot of work especially if there is no daddy around. Guess the past 7 months with new baby brother is fresh on her mind!
Over the years that I have been praying for an end to abortion, I often prayed for the moms, doctors, clinic workers, politicians, etc to have a change of heart. Today, beginning in the morning and culminating with this chance encounter the true gravity of their situation became personal. Life hangs in the balance for the baby, that has always been obvious and motivating, but for the other stakeholders it is no less tenuous of a balance. However it is their eternal life or death swaying dangerously with the whims of our pleasure and profit driven culture. God’s mercy is bigger than any sin, but it has to be sought. God’s grace or friendship is a gift, but it has to be accepted. Don’t buy the lie- take off your rose colored glasses. It may be your body, but abortion is the destruction of God’s property! We all belong to Him. Satan tries to stake a claim on these vulnerable souls that participate in abortion, but we need to reclaim them for Christ using His love.
She is in my prayers tonight. And I have hope for her and her future. Because she is the reason I was called to pray today.
As we drove home my 5-year-old pondered, “Maybe she took the sign because she thought we weren’t going to pray anymore.” I asked her, “Do you think we should keep praying for the babies and moms?” “Oh, yes.” She said.