Catching Hell for Heaven

40 Days for Life Fall Prayer Campaign is at an end. In some ways my husband and I feel disappointed in ourselves as leaders. We are keeping it going, but we are falling short of the ever present goal to keep it growing. We have ~80 faithful folks that have been making ripples over the years praying peacefully for an end to abortion, standing witness to the dignity of life, and offering hope, help, and mercy when asked. But to make waves we need more (prayer) power!

Maybe the following encounter I had last week on the sidewalk will inspire others to join us.

A young woman pulled up in an SUV, got out, and headed in my direction. Not knowing if she was a “friendly” or not I took a deep breath. “Hi” I greeted her and she responded in kind asking me if that was my sign. The sign reads “Praying for Moms and Babies” and “Pray to End Abortion,” I said yes. She told me she had something to tell me. Still not knowing which way this was going to go, I nodded for her to continue. She told me that she was once 17 and pregnant. She made an appointment at Planned Parenthood and when she drove up there was someone outside praying with a sign, just like me. She said she was too embarrassed to get out of the car and that she drove away. She continued quickly to add, breaking into tears, that she is so glad that she did because now she has the most amazing 6-year-old boy! I was crying too with joy and told her I was sorry she felt embarrassed but I was so glad that she drove away! What courage! She asked if I wanted to see a picture, to which I gave an exuberant, “Yes!” He was such a charming cutie, with dimples and everything. She told me, “I bet you guys catch hell out here.” I laughed it off, “Yeah, sometimes.” She continued, “Well, I just want you to know that what you’re doing makes a difference. It made a difference to me. And I am so thankful for people like you. I just can’t imagine my life without him.” The crying turned to hugging.

I got his name, but respectfully won’t share it. I asked if she didn’t mind telling me if he was born in Idaho, which he was not, he was born in California. We hugged again before she left. What a beautiful young lady and I know as a mother myself there are hard days, but I’m so glad she carried through her trials and is able to live with no regrets.

40 Days for Life has had a presence in Ada County (where Boise and Meridian are) for over 7 years and where “only” 1047 abortions happen per year in Ada County (according to the Health and Welfare statistics of 2016). There are that many and more that happen every month in Los Angeles county. I have always had a sense that we are not just praying for an end to abortion here at our specific facility, but everywhere. And if you pray on a day the clinic is closed your prayers are not wasted. Somewhere someone’s life is in the balance. An unexpectedly expectant mother could be weighing her options at home, or sitting in a parking lot somewhere having second thoughts. When you see a woman on the phone pacing in the parking lot the intensity of your prayers increases as well as your sense of mission.

Needless to say, the validation that young lady gave me was a blessing. I wish each prayer warrior could see or hear in a more tangible way the difference our prayers makes. When you don’t get a lot of saves, you have to just keep showing up on faith. And it is harder to walk by faith than by sight.

We do catch hell sometimes. We’ve had several people stop by to thank us for reminding them to donate to Planned Parenthood. We also for the first time had someone show up and stand beside one of our strongest prayer warriors with a sign that read, “My Body, My Choice.” Contrary to the thoughts of some, participants in 40 Days for Life don’t need to get a life. We are there because we feel called by heaven to do something about the grave injustice against the unborn known as abortion. I am recalling the Sir Edmond Burke quote I included in my Statue of a Rabbit blog several years ago,

“All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

Are good men doing nothing about abortion?

Is there something you can start doing today? Yes, Spiritual Adoption. There are 121 days between now (the end of the Fall Prayer Campaign) and when the next 40 Days for Life campaign starts March 6th (Ash Wednesday). That is 347 babies on track to die in Ada County alone between now and then. What I propose to all my fellow prayer warriors is to spiritually adopt three children. That means you name them and pray for them every day for the next 4 months. After all, pretty much all babies in Idaho are aborted in the first 4 months of life (and the majority everywhere).  It is not done because it is illegal; Doe vs Bolton (ruled on concurrently with Roe vs Wade in 1973) made it legal to terminate a pregnancy through all 9 months -past the point of viability. A fact that many Americans out of touch with the issue do not realize. It is not done past 24 weeks in our area because there are not any doctors willing to do the procedure that late.

I would recommend making up your own prayer for Spiritual Adoption, however you can use your favorite search engine and find one easily like this simple one I found by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen,

“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I love you very much. I beg you to spare the life of ___________ the unborn baby I spiritually adopted who is in danger of abortion. Amen.”

Prayer is powerful, and so is your vote, your financial support of life-affirming organizations, and the many other ways we live out our values. The more out-spoken you are the more hell you may catch. But remember while you may not feel you are winning any popularity contests with your pro-life convictions; your Savior didn’t win friends or popularity contests either. Barabbas won his life and freedom in the particular popularity contest coming to mind. Christ on the other hand, in losing, won eternal life and true freedom for those who walk in His footsteps. He walked leaving footprints left, right, left, right; I see his followers making strides in love, truth, love, truth. If you are trying to follow God’s will and feel like you can’t win for losing, keep trusting God’s providence because Christ wins in the end. 

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4 thoughts on “Catching Hell for Heaven

  1. I HOPE you don’t feel disappointed in yourselves as leaders… remember, others like me have had the same experience. I hope and pray that the changes we’re seeing in our respect life arena will bring much fruit to this ministry. As we’ve said before, there are more than 100 (or 101) ways to be pro-life. But standing in the gap for one hour a week each spring and fall is something that ANYONE can do — in addition to whatever else they are doing for life! That public witness is WAY more powerful than we realize … not just to people who see us, but powerful to each of us as well. Well done, good and faithful servants!

  2. Emily and Scott ~ You and your family are AMAZING!!! No need to feel disappointed in your leadership. Without you, we may not even have a 40 Days campaign in the Treasure Valley. It is the rest of us who need to step up and support your efforts by recruiting more people from our parishes to join us. The Spiritual Adoption of three babies each is a great idea! Thanks for all you do. May God bless you abundantly!

  3. So happy for you to have received this wonderful feedback. Don’t we all hope for that as we pray. God bless you for your devotion to praying, but also for the courage and conviction to lead the effort in your area. I like your idea of spiritual adoption, but I will pray also for you and others who aren’t afraid to lead.

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