Picket Signs and Protests: The Fight for Life

Roughly 422,782 abortions have taken place in the United States this year, a number that is growing rapidly.

I don’t support abortion.

But I understand.

I understand the teenage girl who tries so hard to set herself up for a good future, and gets pregnant unexpectedly. I understand the woman in poverty who feels that an abortion would be better than bringing a child into the life she lives. I understand.

I am pro-life. But I am tired of the pro-life movement.

I am tired of picket signs and protests outside of Planned Parenthood. I am tired of pro-lifers speaking up only when the unborn child is brought into the equation. I am tired of a movement that is pro-birth, rather than pro-life.

So often I hear pro-life activists say women should keep their babies because there are couples that want to adopt those children. But with 135,000 children adopted within the United States each year, a majority of the children born to teen mothers alone will end up in the foster system their entire child and adolescent years.

So often I hear pro-life activists say women should keep their baby because life in poverty is better than no life at all. There’s always the off chance that they’ll eventually escape poverty, right?

Rarely do I hear pro-lifers speak up on anything other than abortion. I haven’t seen pro-lifers fighting poverty in the depleted areas of the country. I haven’t seen pro-lifers making movements in prison reform, suicide prevention, or other areas where lives are threatened. And those that do are drowned out by the voice of the masses who preach life only for unborn children.

What about the homeless? The hungry? The hurting? Don’t they deserve life as much as the unborn child?

There are people who are living in situations of poverty and despair, but the pro-lifers are notably silent on the issue. There are people hanging by a thread to keep themselves and their children alive, and they don’t see pro-lifers marching to save the day.

Instead of telling a woman her child deserves the off chance, give both her and her child a good chance.

Instead of simply banning a practice, make the other options better.

Instead of fighting abortion only, fight for life everywhere.

Sister Joan Chittister summed it up better than anyone else could: “Your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth.”

For His Glory

I spent this past weekend at a friend’s house attending a very small, local version of If: Gathering. It was a beautiful, convicting, spirit-filled time, and I am so grateful for the conversation and realization that it brought.

During one of the sessions, one of the speakers asked a question to the effect of, “What would it look like if we focused more on making God known, than making ourselves known?” At first the question went in one ear and out the other. I’ve heard it before, and I’m sure you have to. But then I did a double take. What if I cared more about making God known than making myself known?

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to be important, to do something that puts me in the history books, to have a biography written about me. I want to make a difference. I want to change the world. I want to be remembered. I want to  impact someone’s life.

I want, I want, I want.

I get so wrapped up in these grandiose ideas of what I can do for God, what I can do for people. But the problem is, I’m not doing it for God. I’m doing it for myself, with the hopes that other Christians, or other citizens, or other humans look at me and say “she is so good.

I’m selfish. I’m arrogant. I’m working for myself, for my own glory. And anything I do that isn’t for the glory of God isn’t worth doing at all.

How can I even pretend that I work for the glory of God when I change the music I listen to in order to avoid the judgment of my peers? How can I pretend that I work for the glory of God when I tell people I was ‘in a teacher’s class during lunch’ instead of telling them I was at bible study? How can I pretend that I work for the glory of God when I hide His love for me and for them when it should be pouring from my soul?

I daydream about God using me in a foreign country, bringing people to Him with unfailing faith and love. But why would God give me the opportunity to impact people in another nation when I deny the mission field He has provided for me at school?

Those grand ideas of what I could do for God? I can’t do anything for God. He doesn’t need me.

But because He gave everything for me, and because I have accepted Him in full, I am called to serve Him. Not because He needs me, but because I need him. Because without Him, I am nothing. Because without Him, I am dead, dry bones.

My  prayers lately have been for God to reveal His plan to me, to show me His calling in my life. But He already gave me my calling, before the thought of me ever crossed my parents’ minds. He called me, he called us, to “go and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19). I have no excuse, I have no reason, to deny my peers and my neighbors the chance to hear the Good News.

I don’t know what my future holds, and I don’t know what mission field God will put on my heart in the years to come. But I do know that I have a calling that does not depend on my environment. I was created to serve the God who loves me, for nothing but His glory.