Fifty long years of prayer.
“I wasn’t very excited when I found out I was pregnant with you,” my mom told me once, many years ago. I can’t remember how we got on the subject, but it was the first time I’d heard it.
My initial reaction was I probably should tell my sister, who insisted that as the baby of the family, I was spoiled, something she believed to the point of estimating the cost of all my stuffed animals in an attempt to prove her point.
My parents had four other children, one adopted through foster care, and I was the youngest. Their hands were full of everything but cash. Farming in the 1970s and 1980s wasn’t a great time. Jimmy Carter’s great malaise, social unrest, waves of farm bankruptcies and endless farm auctions, family stress—pick your poison. My next-oldest sister is only a year and a half older.
I understand why she felt that way.
Today, those same feelings would’ve prompted some to tell a mother that if it wasn’t a good time for her to have a baby, she had “options.” Besides, four kids were plenty. The devil deals in death; he cannot make life; only take it.
On Friday, June 24, 2022, as one of the most overt Pride months I’ve ever tried to avoid started to wind down, the heart of the nation started beating again. Roe v. Wade was in the garbage can, like so many millions of human babies it had sent there.
That evil ruling had settled into this nation’s veins the year before I was born. My generation, thoughtlessly known as Generation X, is the smallest.
When the news was announced that the Supreme Court had overturned Roe v. Wade, I was on the road and happy to avoid the internet. I was later told about all the CEOs and woke leaders who, in the midst of inflation and a looming recession and a mental health crisis from two years of lockdowns and mandates, promised to spend thousands to make sure their employees can solve the inconvenient problem of new life with the convenience of death.
“We care about you so much we’ll help you kill your baby,” they said, but not in those direct words. It was couched in terms of caring well and being lovers of freedom and choice, as if two years of mask and vaccine mandates hadn’t negated their platform to say such things. Pregnancy and maternity leave are hard on the bottom line, particularly during a labor shortage, but they cover that with noble language.
Churches and crisis pregnancy centers became targets in the leadup and aftermath of the decision. “If abortion isn’t safe, neither are you” goes the popular graffiti. Mind you, it’s not just “religious simpletons” who are pro-life. There is a growing secular movement, too.
But it’s been 50 years—my whole life—and I’m done arguing.
When life begins.
What a baby is.
What abortion is.
We can’t, as a culture, define what a woman is anymore. We’re idiots. We’re a culture where the same leaders pushing abortion are also telling us men can get pregnant and your feelings define reality. Listening to them has reduced the basic question of life or death to convoluted arguments about parasitic clumps of cells and trying to draw arbitrary lines based on if the heart is beating or if the blood is flowing, as if unique DNA isn’t an indicator of a unique human being and serves as evidence we use in our current legal system. New York and California solved those tricky questions by disposing of the fuss and by allowing the death of babies practically until they’re 18 years old.
We want to be quick to assure women there’s forgiveness and hope and while that is true, I want to speak plainly not to cause anyone pain but to be clear: 50 years of bloody death of the purest innocents, and you think God didn’t notice what this nation did.
Look around our society, our culture, the direction our nation has gone in these past many decades. We’ve told God we don’t need to listen to him, that we want him out of our lives. It looks like he’s been obliging.
Except for Friday.
Roe is overturned. It’s overturned at last. I never thought I’d see the day.
I never thought I’d see the day for a lot of things that have happened in recent years, but this time it was a good surprise.
I don’t know life before Roe, but I know the numbers of death after it. In that summer of 1973 when four months earlier, the legal slaughter of the last portion of my generation began in earnest, God already knew me. He began knitting me together, and even though it wasn’t a great time to have another kid, my mom did.
I got to live.
To travel around the world. To go to college. To have terrible jobs and great jobs. To feel hurt and humiliation and ecstatic joy and victory. To feel loved and to feel rejected and to know Jesus is always near, regardless. To ride roller coasters and horses and have bum knees that keep you from running. To hang out with my family around a campfire, and to be all alone in an apartment wondering if I had any purpose. To mourn death and celebrate new life. To play the violin and touch the keys of a piano and to read mystery books and savor hot chocolate. To feel the breeze and smell lilacs and watch hawks soar on thermals as the sky turns purple gold at sunset, and take it all in and thank God.
I wouldn’t trade life, and all the diary pages filled with laughs and tears, for anything.
I get to live in this life and have a chance to give God glory and use the abilities he has given me. I get to play a role in his grand plan. I get to struggle and have joy and walk with Jesus in free will, to experience what it is to be human in a broken world before entering into eternity and hearing “well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
I’ll get to hear that, because I got a chance to serve the Lord in this life.
I’m so glad for my mother’s faith. What’s most interesting about my mom’s story about not being happy to be pregnant is her response to those negative feelings. She didn’t run to a counselor or someone to feed those negative feelings and justify terrible actions to end my life.
“I knew I didn’t want to think that way, so I prayed,” mom told me. “I prayed that God would make this baby a joy, that he would change my heart. And he did. And here you are, interested in all the same things I am interested in.”
Drawing. Music. Crafts. Cake decorating. Baking. Computers. Flowers.
You can kill a baby, or you can choose life and see what God does with it, even in the least ideal of situations. You can actually have faith and believe God has endless resources as the Creator of everything, and that a life born in imperfect conditions is still a seed full of hope and future, and that even if you have to send it forward at the sacrifice of self, it is noble and beautiful.
If I had a different mom, I could be in a landfill.
I fully believe Jesus when he said he was the first-fruits of the resurrection, the first one to die and come back to life eternal, promising that if he is first, we who put our trust in him will follow in his footsteps. Because of him, yet though we die, so shall we live. I wonder at all the tens of millions of babies wrapped in plastic garbage bags and in biological waste buckets, sold for body parts or hacked up in garbage disposals or reduced to cells on a Petri dish for “medical” purposes, tossed into landfills and incinerators, taken out with the trash—what will that be like on resurrection day? God knows the location of every molecule of their bodies; they will be raised. You cannot stop what he puts in motion. The destroyer cannot destroy what God has made.
I am so glad that the curse of Roe V. Wade lifted from this land.
Some states will double down. But as a nation, that horrible ruling is lifted at last, after 50 years.
It’s not resurrection day, but it’s a start.