I have read several blog posts floating social media about the Pro Life stance and how we, as christians, need to heart check. Are we really pro life? Or are we anti-abortion...?
There is a difference.
I am not going to talk about adoption.
Though I could.
And hopefully, if you read our story...you will see God has called our family to love and parent the fatherless. He may call you as well. My advice...? Listen. Closely.
What hit me is the... thought. Am I pro life? The parents that often abort are young, single moms. Growing up in rough situations. Am I pro that young mom having a child?
I would answer a resounding, confidant...YES! Once that life is there...we are to protect it. It is sacred.
Yet when that mom is in my church...and her poorly parented children are running around like little terrors...am I pro life? Am I supportive? Loving? Gentle?
Or am I rolling my eyes, annoyed and wishing she'd be anywhere...but there...?
Well this morning I was definitely called to put the walk to my talk.
We sat in church and a mom who has been coming with her wild, crazy toddler...sat in front of us. This time, she brought 3 girls as well. All about 8-10 years old. She sat all 4 children in the row BEHIND her. Right beside us.
The worship wasn't even over and the kids were screaming. I mean...wild, crazy, terrible twos, whatever you want to call it...would be a cake walk in comparison. The entire congregation could hear the meltdowns. She frequently got up, marched back to our row to yell at the kids. In a loud, very audible, barely classified as 'whisper'. At one point the little boy (3 years old?) spit on her. Another time he slapped her across the face. Another he just screamed at the top of this lungs "NOOOOO! Don't touch me!!!!". All while...staying..in church. Mom had no control. None.
The girls sitting beside me were anything but behaved. One was constantly hanging upside down off her chair. She looked to be 9 years old or so. They were leaning over to talk to their mom. Getting yelled at. Yelling back. It was a nightmare.
Hear a message? Honestly...I don't know if I heard more than 10 words!
The natural thought process? Really...? Your kids are not well behaved enough to sit in church. Why are they not sitting WITH you? Why has your husband not once noticed this mayhem? Little boy...is a walking, screaming, out of control...TERROR.
Then I remembered the blogs I read. ProLife? Or...anti abortion?
I leaned over to the girl a few seats away from me. I tapped her on the arm. She whipped her head around at me, GLARED and said "WHAT?!?!". I smiled and said "I was wondering if you could draw me a picture?" I handed her a pen and paper. She snapped "WHY!?!?". I think everyone in my section is hearing this conversation. I have no idea if it's going to work. I said "I would love to see how amazing you can draw. Could you do that? I bet you can do a beautiful picture!". She is staring at me with a scowl. Totally trying to figure me out. I have a pasted...perhaps begging smile on my face.
She snatches it out of my hand and kneels on the floor beside her chair. And starts to draw. She drew a quick, rushed, sloppy dog. She glared up at me and I smiled. She kept going. She drew the most detailed picture. It took her 15 minutes or so. Mom sitting ahead didn't seem to notice the row behind her was suddenly very quiet.
When she was done she handed it to me. The intensity of her eyes grabbed my heart. She was so baffled why I'd want anything from her. Her hair was matted and all over the place. The mix of sweat pants, gym shoes and a pretty church dress...said much. I told her it was so beautiful and I knew she was an amazing artist. She just stared back at me. Expressionless.
She sat back on her chair as church was almost over. I could feel her stare on my face. Every few seconds I would glance over at her and smile. She quickly would look ahead, as to NOT catch my glance.
All of a sudden, this child was right in my face. Like the awkward first date... she had her hand on my neck saying something about my hair. I tried not to look her in the face, but just smiled. Then all of a sudden her arms were tightly around my neck. It was the most heartfelt hug. She just stayed there on my shoulder, in the middle of church. This is not a toddler. This is a girl probably 9 years old.
I could feel the lump in my throat.
Choosing to be pro life. To the moms that definitely need help parenting. To the moms with more than out-of-control children. Am I pro life for those children...? Why...yes. Now that you make me stop and think of it. Yes I am. And yes...that changes my actions.
I was so broken by this little girl's hardness...that had melted within 20 minutes. We exchanged so few words. She didn't know my name. I was sitting there with my husband and 3 toddlers. Her response to love was almost immediate. Had someone told me that would happen I'd laugh. Never did I expect that response.
She was so dry. So thirsty. So very thirsty for love. I am not saying her mom doesn't love her. Not at all. There was a lot of anger there. Bad behavior. Bad parenting. Bad behavior. Bad parenting. It's a vicious cycle.
Pro Life...? Or just...anti abortion?
We can do more. Oh...so much more.