My Reflections on 40 Days for Life
This Fall was the first 40 Days for Life campaign that I have participated in. I remember standing there on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood and maybe for the first time realizing the reality of abortion.
I have always considered myself pro-life but I am not sure I ever took the time to really think about what happened to the babies and their moms and dads who would ultimately be affected by abortion. It is easy to ignore these realities when you don't have to be there watching women walk in with babies that are alive and know that just yards from where you stand that baby is being very brutally attacked and killed. It was not long ago that I learned about the various abortion procedures, all of which are torturous and painful for the baby (something I pray the mom's will be told because it would help them make a more informed decision).
We all know that spiritual battles happen, but I don't think that is ever more apparent that at an abortion facility. I witnessed a mother who followed her daughter to the clinic begging her not to have the abortion. She knew that her daughter would regret the decision and was trying to spare her that pain. Unfortunately she had to stand by as her grandchild was killed.
The hardest day I faced outside Planned Parenthood was what we call "red barrel" day. A truck pulled up and unloaded some empty red barrels. Already knowing the answer with a sinking feeling in my stomach, I asked another sidewalk counselor what that was. As the full red barrels came out I got my answer. They were full of dead baby parts. Never before had I thought about what happens to the babies after the abortion. Do we really live in a world where babies are killed and their little arms and legs and bodies are carelessly thrown away like trash? I wonder how can we as people with the capacity, resources, and means to care for these children watch as millions of our brothers and sisters die. There are days I wonder if I can hold it together at all. Then I look at my one-year-old son and the pure love and joy that he brings and I ache and long for these moms and dads because they will never know that from the child that just lost it's life.
We have had a rock and water bottles thrown at us, we have been cursed at, received some not so nice hand gestures, and been honked at. Despite all this there have been so many times that I have witnessed acts of God's mercy and grace (by they way we do receive friendly waves, thumbs up, and kind words too). We had 4 babies saved during the campaign and we also had about 32 women go to Crisis Pregnancy Centers instead of the abortion clinic so who knows how many more babies were saved by their moms. As we know just seeing one baby saved or even one person's heart changed about abortion is worth it. I witnessed a homeless man walking by and he asked what we were doing. He was so sad that the clinic was an abortion facility that he decided to stand out there and pray with us. On another occasion, it had started to turn cold and our veteran sidewalk counselor was wearing sandals. Another homeless man we have gotten to know was on his usual walk by us and pulled a warm clean pair of sock out of the only bag he owned and gave them to the counselor. What an example of God's love!
When I wake up in the morning the last thing I want to do is go somewhere that is mentally and emotionally wrenching and where I will be hated by some, but I would never trade the spiritual growth I have experienced. Never before have I had to so completely depend on and put my trust in God. I had to believe that He would protect me, I had to believe that He would provide the words to speak to the men and women walking in, I had to believe that the babies would instantly be in His kingdom surrounded by the love they never received here on earth, I had to believe that "all things work together for good to those who love God", I had to believe that all His promises are true. Most of all, as life hangs in the balance for thousands of babies, I know I will never regret standing at what could be the darkest place on earth with God's faithful servants as we, like Isaiah, say "Here am I Lord, send me." - Jamie