Sanctity of Life
This phrase applies to so many areas of life, but I believe our focus this weekend is on human life as it applies to pro-life verses the right to choose.
When I look around this room, I see the faces of many who have walked with the LORD most of their lives. My story is different. It reminds me of a song I barely know the words to, and I certainly don’t know the tune! But the first line of the song is:
One of these things is not like the others, One of these things just doesn’t belong…
That would have been a very good description of me had I stepped in this class 20 years ago. You see, I didn’t choose to become a follower of Jesus until I was in my 40’s.
Like many of the Israelites we have been studying, I was very mad at Jesus for a long time and I refused to give Him my heart. There were only three people I trusted: Me, Myself, and I and there was no way I was going to allow Jesus to be a part of this exclusive group.
Typical of a teen in the early 70’s I was impacted by the media, and one of the biggest things to hit the news happened in 1971: Roe versus Wade. Every television set was tuned in to hear the details and form their own decisions.
I was 15 years old, I went to school full time, and I worked a job full time in the evenings with my older sister, and single mother. I was very independent, and I was mesmerized by this case!
In January of 1973, a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. It struck down many U.S. state and federal abortion laws and divided out country. It still divides our world today.
While all of this was happening in the news, our high schools were having their own arguments and debates. A very dangerous piece of information was planted in my mind through one of those discussions: when a person became pregnant it was essentially nothing more than a lump of skin, a cluster of cells, if you will, but it wasn’t alive. We were told life didn’t happen until that “lump” was many months along.
So, I believed it. I was pro-choice. I wasn’t old enough to vote for that right but that January in 1973 I took a stance to be pro-choice right along with the Supreme Court.
A year later, I became pregnant with my first child and I’ll never forget my response when the specialist asked me “would you like an abortion?” It was so casual my response at that young age of 17 was simply “I beg your pardon?” Gone was my bravado and politics. I simply looked at my belly and said, “I have a baby!”
The specialist warned me I would have complications and I might not carry that baby full term. She was right about one thing; that pregnancy was complicated, but I carried that baby full term and he was precious! I was warned he might be my only baby.
But God had other plans even though I still didn’t include Him in any of mine!
Three years later, I became pregnant again and I was given the same choice to abort. That pregnancy was very difficult, and I was in and out of the hospital, but again I carried her full term.
However, although that sweet little girl looked perfect, she was fraught with “problems.” We were in and out of doctors’ offices and by the time that child was nine years old she was finally diagnosed with epilepsy. You would think a parent would know that wouldn’t you? Well, it was complicated; and I did not know.
At age sixteen during a well check, my daughter and I were told: it’s not that Sarah can’t have children, but she should not because the risk to her and the babies could be devastating.
Sarah left that office crying and she said to me, I’m going to have a baby someday. Momma Bear simply said, no, you will not! A huge divide was created that day between me and Sarah.
In 2004, my husband Danny and I were on a vacation in KY and oddly enough we were visiting a Jim Beam manufacturing plant at 10:00 am for the first tour of the day. Danny worked for IBM and many of his clients were manufacturers. He was fascinated by the business and wanted to share that fascination with me. While we waited for the tour to begin, sweet young ladies were walking around with trays filled with small samples of their products. We both declined.
Suddenly I received a phone call from my Sarah. The tour was about to begin so I stepped outside and Danny decided to join me. Sarah’s first words were “are you sitting down?” We learned that morning she was not only pregnant, she was carrying twins. I will never forget that moment. Sarah did not get the joyful excitement from her Momma one typically expects, I was FURIOUS! I was also terrified. Our conversation ended quickly and badly.
Danny and I rejoined the tour and I stopped by one of those sweet young ladies and drank every glass of whisky on that tray!!!
Two weeks later I was in OK with my very frail daughter. She had been referred to a doctor who dealt with special cases like Sarah’s. At this point Sarah was seven weeks pregnant and had already had multiple Grand Mal seizures. She and the baby’s health were both in danger.
There was also one very significant difference that day in 2004 as we waited in that specialist’s office filled with medical equipment: I was a new believer in Jesus Christ.
So, what does a pro-choice woman do/feel/think as a believer in Jesus Christ when her child is faced with a life-threatening pregnancy? I’d like to say I was a much different woman, but I was still a new believer. So I went directly back into my practical Momma Bear mode and told myself if the doctor said my daughter must terminate the pregnancy for the safety of her health, that’s what would happen.
But I couldn’t bring myself to say that out loud. I simply told Sarah we needed to listen carefully to what that specialist had to say and follow his advice.
What does a 27-year-old young lady have to say about that? A girl who doesn’t really look one thing like her Momma but is exactly like her Momma on the inside, which includes a wide streak of stubbornness? She simply tells me that it doesn’t matter what he has to say she is having those babies.
Thankfully before we had a big old battle, the doctor arrived, and he carefully and gently explained everything until both of us were crying. It was hard information to hear. Then he told Sarah to hop up on his big old sonogram table/bed and he said, “let’s see what we are dealing with.”
Y’all what we saw were two little bitty babies. Not a lump of flesh but two little children that had arms, and legs, and sweet little faces with eyes. At seven weeks! I could even see their little hearts beating and he turned up that volume and it was the sweetest sound I had ever heard! The doctor said “look at your hands Momma and Grandma, because these children are about the size of your thumbs but they both look very healthy! This one right here,” he pointed with his finger, “will be Baby A and this one is Baby B. That’s how I will refer to them from this point forward until we know whether they are boys or girls or one of each.”
Can I just say that my pro-choice stance suddenly evaporated in thin air? I had absolute proof that even as tiny as they were, they were alive, whole, and I was looking at my grandchildren!
It was not an easy nine months! There were so many Grand Mal seizures, and her seizure medication had to be tripled. But she carried those children full term and when her delivery date finally arrived, she had those babies with no complications.
They were both addicted to her seizure medications at birth, and both had to go through withdrawals. We didn’t really know what we were doing, but despite our initial divisiveness, we worked together side by side like a well-oiled team to get those babies through to the other side.
By the way, Baby A on the right is Cheyenne, and Baby B on the left is Charles. They are now 15 years old, with not a single issue we had been pre-warned to expect. Here is their current picture (front view not included to protect them from predators):
Thank you for letting me share our story.