Growing Peace in Forgiveness

Each time I see a Facebook post or Internet meme stating that abortion is murder, calling on us to save the babies, I feel a pang of anger. It’s not that I disagree with this truth. I do not. I know the medical facts that show that a baby has a heartbeat as early as 4 weeks after conception and can feel pain as early as 20 weeks after conception. It is even possible for a baby born only 23 weeks after conception to survive outside the womb.

I know all too well this truth. My anger comes from two places.

First, I am angry that the doctors and nurses at the clinic where my abortion was performed didn’t share that information with me. I’m angry that they didn’t provide me with choices or give me the opportunity to make an informed choice. I’m angry that they didn’t ask how I got pregnant. I was raped, but that didn’t concern them. I am angry that the supposed pro-choice movement in this country continues to lie to and withhold facts from women facing crisis pregnancies.

Second, I am angry that the pro-life movement spends so much time focusing on the babies that they often forget the women (or quite often young girls) who have been traumatized by the abortion industry, having believed the lie that an abortion was the only answer to their crisis pregnancy.

But then I feel God’s Spirit remind me that anger and vengeance are not mine. What is mine is forgiveness. And when I focus on God’s forgiveness, knowing He understands my regret and desires to heal my broken heart, peace begins to grow in my heart.

This is when I realize that God doesn’t call me to try to change the hearts and minds of those who are pro-choice or to condemn the methods of those who are pro-life. What God calls me to do is to bring His message of mercy and forgiveness to women, like me, who have endured the trauma of abortion and sometimes feel like there will never be peace.

There is peace. It is found in Jesus, who died to pay for all our sins, including the murder of our children. He will forgive all. His forgiveness will grow peace in our hearts when we let Him.

Are you among the millions of women who have had an abortion because you believed you had no other choice? Were you pressured by your boyfriend or husband, or perhaps even by an abuser? Were you single, with insufficient income to care for a child, and felt there was no other choice? Did you see your whole life’s plan ahead of you, a plan that didn’t have room for a child, and were told you had no other choice?

Do you live now with regret and heartache over the child you aborted? Do you struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts but don’t know why because you’ve buried the guilt over your abortion so deep you aren’t even consciously aware of it? Do you long to be closer to God but somehow feel that you will never be good enough for Him?

Dear one, you are not alone and you are loved. You are not the mistakes you have made and the wrongs you have done. You are loved by God and He desires to heal your deepest pain and hurt, to bring you forgiveness and peace. You only need to lay this burden—a burden that is much too heavy for you to bear alone—at the feet of Jesus. His truth and love will set you free to live in His peace.

Here are some resources to help you:

Silent No More Awareness

Eternal Perspective Ministries

The Radiance Foundation

Walk for Life

Lifecall – Directory of pregnancy resource centers

CareNet – Pregnancy resource centers

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You Cannot Grow Peace from Murder

I read a post by Anne Lamott on Facebook the other day regarding the Women’s March. I kept coming back to one line: “You cannot grow tulips from zucchini seeds, or peace from murder.” Today this thought continues to resonate in my heart and soul as I see so many friends posting in support of the march. It resonates because I am confused at the inconsistency of this statement and the position of the organizers and sponsors of the Women’s March that is decidedly in favor of murder, and yet believe that from it they can grow peace.

Or maybe it’s not really peace they want, but power. Power can be a very attractive temptation.

In case you hadn’t heard, several groups were originally listed as sponsors of the Women’s March, but were removed when the organizers found out that they were pro-life. The removal of New Wave Feminists and a pregnancy crisis center from Idaho were reported by Christianity Today. Had they remained on the sponsor list, showing that all women were welcome, I would support the March as well. But it was clear that the Women’s March was not meant to be inclusive of all women.

Remaining on the sponsor list are Planned Parenthood and NARAL (the National ABORTION Rights Action League). Neither of these organizations care about anything but maintaining the status quo in which unborn girls (and boys) are murdered in our country on a daily basis. My personal experience is that they do not care about the long-term affects of abortion on the women they serve. They only care about their profit margin.

In 1973 when Roe v. Wade was decided by the nine male justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, medical technology did not allow us to see inside the womb. But now, 44 years later, there have been significant advances in medical technology that allow us to see the developing child. There can no longer be any doubt that abortion murders an unborn child.

In addition, after 44 years of legal abortion, during which time millions of women have murdered their own children, we have learned that there are significant adverse affects on the women themselves. Organizations like Silent No More Awareness and the Facebook group Shout Your Abortion Regret attest to the millions of women, like me, who believed the lie that abortion is only about our own bodies. We live with the pain and regret of a decision we cannot undo. But perhaps, if we speak up in spite of our shame and share our regret, we can save other women from the same fate. We were told that having an abortion would bring us peace. But you can’t grow peace from murder.

It saddens me that the best our society has to offer women facing the prospect of having a child they can’t afford is to have an abortion. Why don’t we offer assistance in raising the child or in finding an adoptive family? Are we so convinced that women are so weak that they can’t handle having and raising a child in spite of difficult circumstances? When we say we want women to have the equal right to have it all, do we mean only if they’re willing to sacrifice their child? Is abortion—is murder—the best we have to offer? Is the right to murder your child really worth marching for? I once thought it was, but I was wrong.

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Silent Whisper

I hear her whisper in the darkness
Sometimes in the light
I hear her giggle from beneath
the frilly dresses at Costco
Can I have one, Mommy?

She’s not really there
I silenced her voice
thirty-five years ago
But Jesus whispers, She’s with me

______________________________

For Quadrille Monday at dVerse Poets Pub the word of the day is whisper. Head on over and check out the many Quadrilles offered by the regulars and maybe some newcomers.

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It Curls and Swirls

Tendrils of cigarette smoke
swirl up to my bunk
curl in the air
it stunk

So I’d twirl the crank
open the tiny window
breathe fresh air
through the dusty
musty screen
it stunk

But not as bad
as Old Gold
bare butt smoke

_________________________-

I missed the first Quadrille Monday of the year at dVerse Poets Pub because we were travelling and I didn’t have time. But I read the prompt and the idea of a short poem using the word “curl” has been swirling in my mind ever since. I decided I’d catch up with Open Link Night

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Pick a Bridge

They call it Bridge City
and if you don’t know
how to get to one of the twelve bridges
(not counting the two in Oregon City)
that you need to take
to get where you’re going
you’re gonna get lost

And don’t try to follow GPS
’cause it’ll tell you to take
either of two lanes to get onto
the Ross Island Bridge
when only the right lane will do

You just better know
how to get there
if you want to bridge the gap
between where you are now
and where you want to be

Bridge City

_______________________________

For the prompt over at dVerse Poets Pub today Lillian is calling for bridge poems. I wasn’t going to write anything, but Bridge City just wouldn’t get out of my head.

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The Saving Grace of Jello

I don’t really know what cancer is, but mom’s in the hospital having surgery because she has it. I think that’s what Aunt Barb had and she died. I hope mom doesn’t die, too.

We’re visiting her today. She might be ready to come home, but I’m not sure. I hope so. She’s in a nice private hospital. Her room is almost homey with wood trim and soft lighting, not sterile like a typical hospital room. She’s sitting up in bed, propped up with pillows behind her. Her noon meal sits half eaten on the portable tray; she was always a slow eater, but this hospital food seems to have caused her to pick even more than usual. I climb up on the bed next to her and eye what’s left. “Can I have your Jello?” I ask. A half smile crosses her lips as she reckons I can help her clean her plate. “I have to eat it all before I can go home,” she says.

I wasn’t there the last time she went into the hospital. That time it was colon cancer. No one called to tell me she’d been admitted again or how bad it was, so I wasn’t there to eat her Jello. Maybe if I had been she could have come home again.

Rays of summer sun
Overshadowed by dark pall
Cancer beckons death

__________________________________

It’s Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets Pub and guest host Lady Nyo is calling for haibuns involving a childhood memory. If it was May or August, I might have conjured up a happy memory to share. But it’s January and I’m missing my mom so this is what I’ve got for today.

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Messy Presents

We want our presents in pretty paper
All wrapped up in a shiny neat bow
We want our faith to be the same
So our doubts and struggles never show

Yet the greatest gifts aren’t neat and tidy
Like the manger birth steeped in blood
A child born like any other babe
With the addition of dirty stable mud

And Christ’s willing sacrifice on the cross
After flogging caused welts and spit adorned
The bleeding brow of the King of kings
Ringed by crowds who mocked and scorned

Each trial and loss we face in life
Can draw us closer to the God we need
If we don’t bury the doubts that rise
But seek the gift each death has freed

Open the messy presents He gives
To find healing for all of life’s woes
Remember when you grieve the most
The Babe born to die for you knows

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Her Hideous Scar

Once I saw her without her shirt or bra
revealing the scar where her surgeon
first took her diseased breast then
sloppily gathered excess skin in a
quick running stitch of sutures
leaving her hideously deformed

It’s no wonder I seldom saw her smile

_______________________

De is running the show at dVerse Poets Pub today for Quadrille Monday where the word of the day is scar. The pub opens at noon PST so head on over and check out some of the great 44-word poems offered by patrons today.

My poem today is a rewrite of part of a description of my mom that I wrote this past week in my writing group.

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My One-Note Song

Last summer I entered my first poetry book, Light in My Darknessin the Writers Digest Self Published Book Awards contest. Riding high on the coattails of being named a finalist in the Cascade Writers Contest in the published poetry category, I decided to submit my book on the last possible day of the contest and see what happened. I didn’t really expect to win, but I thought the feedback I would receive might be valuable.

I received an email with the judge’s comments just yesterday. I was a bit surprised to find that my submission was only read by one judge. Given the price tag on entering and the national scope of the contest I figured they’d have at least two judges per book.

At any rate, I thought I’d share the less-than-glowing review here with you all. I know, it seems weird to share a review that doesn’t just rave about my book, but I do so for a reason. Although the judge found fault with my labor of love, it was the very fault that he or she found that made me smile. Here’s the review, copied and pasted with grammatical errors and all, with my favorite part in bold:

Judge’s Commentary*:

This book of Christian devotional poetry is written by a woman who pulled herself up from the depths of depression through faith, and she should be admired for it. I also appreciate is that the poet uses many different forms of poetry to express herself:  pantoums, sonnets, villanelles, cinquains, triolets, sestinas, ghazals, acrostics, and even a concrete poem, as well as other rhymed verse and free verse.

My problem with this 127-page book is that it is composed almost entirely of poems of praise, and after a while it becomes a one-note song. The entire first section uses the metaphor of darkness into light to describe her salvation and coming up from depression. One can say the same thing only so many ways. There are five more sections to the book, on themes of “bring light to the darkness of others”, “being set free from the past”, forgiveness, “god in the midst of pain and suffering”, and a last section of what I would describe as “pure praise”.  Recurring themes come up in poem after poem: darkness vs. light, Jesus vs. Satan, “jars of clay”, etc. Most of the poems have an addendum of a Scripture quote too. Also, the poet chooses to label the type of poetic form beneath the title of most of these poems. This isn’t necessary, and many rhymed poems here are mislabeled as “free verse.”  The book conveys its message through its cover too – a kneeling figure on a cliff looking up to an image of a cross on a mountainside. The type size is quite large- was it meant to be a “large-print” book ? (I’m not asking this facetiously.) The bio and blurbs on the back cover are well-presented.

Granted, I am not a devout person, so maybe I don’t take the message to heart as a more religious person would. Still, I think even a faithful reader may find this book a bit repetitive after the first twenty or thirty pages.  My advice to the author: Use your interest in poetic forms to your best advantage, and diversify your themes and subjects. There is so much you can say from a perspective of faith about nature, your family and friends, social issues, even your career.  Don’t be afraid to bring in more details of your life and less of the language of praise, and your next book may be even better.

I am thrilled that this reader saw my praise of God so prominently in my poetry. If that is my one-note song, I’ve succeeded in doing what God has called me to do. I’ll keep singing that song until the day I die. To those struggling with depression, I want to clearly reveal the love and hope of Jesus so that they might one day praise Him, too, for being the Light in their darkness.

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Exhale Fear

Pain in childbirth
Holding my breath
Breathe nurse prods
I must inhale oxygen
exhale carbon dioxide

Watching him grow
Often I held my breath
Amazed at his creativity

Now he’s grown
Finding his own way
I must inhale Spirit
exhale fear and trust God

___________________

Today is Quadrille Monday at dVerse Poets Pub and the word of the day is breathbreathe, or some other form of the word.

 

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