Tag Archives: Faith

The Whole Story — from Pro-Choice to Pro-Life in a Heartbeat

In October of 2012, I wrote my first ever post on the issue of abortion. You can read it here, but I’ll tell you right now it’s not the whole story. When I wrote it, I thought it would be not only my first, but also my last post on the subject. But apparently God had other ideas and has led me to be more open about my whole story. This post is almost the same as that post, only updated with the information I left out three years ago.

I have long wanted to avoid the subject of abortion because no matter how I approach it, there is bound to be someone who takes offense and reads something into what I’ve written that was not what I intended. It is a subject that is typically “discussed” with sound bites, statistics, and angry one-liners, especially on social media.

In the end, I’ve decided to write about this subject in terms of my own story (finally the whole story) as well as adding a bit of a book review in the mix.

For much of my life I was strongly pro-choice. I even attended a NARAL rally with my sister in Portland, Oregon many years ago. I was (and still am) a strong proponent of a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her own body; and I used to believe that making sure a woman could have an abortion any time she chose to (regardless of her age) was the best way to protect that right.

When you’ve had an abortion, it’s kind of hard (but not impossible) to take any other position. To do so means that you must admit that the choice you made was wrong. And no one wants to be wrong or admit that what they’ve done is truly, morally wrong. When you’ve been between a rock and a hard place, young and pregnant by a rapist, with everyone telling you the best thing to do is to just “terminate the pregnancy”—They don’t say that the best thing to do is “kill your child” because that just sounds callous—it’s hard to tell someone else to choose differently.

Even after I was baptized and became a Christian, I continued to be pro-choice. I grew closer to God and He helped me overcome the depression and feelings of worthlessness I struggled with. I came to understand that He knew everything about me and loved me anyway. Life was good, and I was still pro-choice.

But something happened that changed my heart and mind on abortion. My son was five years old at the time and I found out I was pregnant. My husband and I were thrilled because we had been trying to get pregnant with our second child for four years. We were so excited that we told everyone when I was only six-weeks along.

About a week later I started having some spotting so I went to see the nurse practitioner at my doctor’s office. She sent me for an ultrasound. I had never had an ultrasound before except when I was almost nine months along with my son, so I was not really prepared for what I saw. The ultrasound technician pointed out my little baby and his or her heartbeat on the monitor. The baby was very small, but the human shape and the beating heart were unmistakable.

Unfortunately, the ultrasound also revealed that my placenta was tearing away from the uterine wall. I was directed to go home and rest, and I hoped that it would heal and all would be okay. Two days later I had a miscarriage.

In my grief over the loss of this child I cried out to God, but I found comfort in the thought that someday I would meet my little baby in heaven. “You’ll be meeting both of your children in heaven,” I heard God reply.

Suddenly I realized how hypocritical and illogical it was to mourn the loss of this child only seven weeks after his or her conception while simultaneously believing that to abort my first child at the same stage of development involved only the my body. I realized that what Dr. Seuss once said through the words of Horton the Elephant was true: “A person’s a person no matter how small.

Several years later a friend loaned me a book titled Won by Love by Norma McCorvey. It is her autobiography as Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade. She tells the story of how she became the poster child for the pro-choice movement, worked in an abortion clinic, and was ultimately won over by love to the realization that abortion was not a right worth fighting for. Her story is heartbreaking and compelling. In her first-hand recounting of her time working in an abortion clinic, Norma exposes the truth that abortion clinics and doctors were more concerned about their bottom lines than about the health and care of women facing crisis. Her story is worth reading.

Then when my son was in the eighth grade he took a communications class in which he was required to prepare and present a pro-life persuasive speech on the abortion issue. As he worked on his speech he shared with me the research he had found in the school’s article database. “Women who have an abortion with their first pregnancy are 30% to 40% more likely to suffer from depression, attempt to or successfully commit suicide, and to get breast cancer than women who brought their first pregnancy to term. Good thing you had me,” he said.

My heart sank. I said I agreed with him what a good thing it was, but I knew he was not my first child. I knew I had become part of the statistics in two of the three categories he listed because I had aborted my first child. But I couldn’t tell him that. (At least not then).

I don’t know if knowing the statistics my son found for his research would have changed my decision when I was seventeen. All of the facts, statistics, and rhetoric in the world will never be enough to change a person’s position on this issue. My position was changed by love—by the love I felt for my lost child and the love of God. Norma McCorvey’s position was changed by the love of the folks at Operation Rescue that moved in next door to the abortion clinic she worked at and the love of God. Ultimately it is love that will win the day in the battle for the lives of unborn children who have no voice of their own and their mothers who need healing

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I Am a Reluctant Watchman

The Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub today is offered by guest bartender Lynn. She is asking us to write about what the watchman sees. I decided to take my first line from the Isaiah verse she quoted, with a slight modification. This prompt was actually perfect for me this week as I’ve been writing more (in prose/essay form) about my personal experience with abortion. I’ve felt a little like the watchman, though a reluctant one.

I Am a Reluctant Watchman

Go set a watchman; let her announce what she’s seen
Declares the Lord our God
It’s not about me, knows the watchman, but where I’ve been

I don’t want to play watchman in our world today
I tell the Lord my God
It’s not about you, He replies, you must go this way

And so I speak the atrocities I’ve both seen and done
Trusting the Lord my God
Then I share the compassion of Jesus the Son

Murder I see and murder I’ve perpetrated
Grieving the Lord our God
For our own convenience children are daily terminated

Lies I was told and deception reigns supreme
Angering the Lord our God
I wish I could say this is only a horrible dream

But He’s set me a watchman to announce what I’ve seen
Glorifying the Lord my God
With the truth I learned when I was just seventeen

Choices made out of fear can never be undone
Whispers the Lord my God
But they can be forgiven by the grace Christ has won

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Bette, My Sweet Pea

Today is National Dog Day and so I decided to write a poem about a dog I once had. I could have written a poem about my current dog, but I’ve already written several about him, such has this one and this one. But I don’t think I’ve ever written about Bette, the cocker spaniel I had for 18 years.

Bette, My Sweet Pea

Bette was the cutest little sweet pea
a friendly and curious puppy
but life started out a little rough for her
when she lost an eye due to curiosity

Being a one-eye dog didn’t slow her down
though it did cause her to run into the bottom step
if she was running at a good clip
to get into the house ahead of Bogart

She wasn’t much for fetch, would never bring the ball back
but she did love a good game of tug-o-war
and hiding the tennis ball from Bo
and swimming in the lake or wading in a stream

She lived eighteen long years
that were far too short as far as I’m concerned
and I miss her reddish blond mug and floppy ears,
I miss her cute wagging stub of a tail each and every day

I remember the day I knew without a doubt
she couldn’t go one more step, one more day
She’d been missing Bo for quite some time
and that stupid new kitten Tom made her life a struggle

The pain in her face, in her whine
was more than I could take that day
so I did what had to be done
impossible though it was to imagine life without her

The vet was so understanding and gentle
and the change in her countenance from agony
to complete peace and rest
made the impossible almost tolerable

Afterwards I asked God why
Why didn’t He just take her in her sleep
so I wouldn’t have to make the decision to let her go
“Because then she would have been alone,” He said to my aching heart

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It Was Never the Same

At dVerse Poets Pub today Gabriella is asking for poems about the first day of school. I was going to write about one of my son’s first days of school, though we are now really out of the “first day of school” mode as he’d attending art school year around. But since I’m feeling a little melancholy today with some challenging posts to write swirling in my head, I decided to write about a pivotal first day of school for me. I tried to write in the Trimeric form that I learned about at Mary’s blog.

It Was Never the Same

New state, new town, new school, in the 8th grade
I’d been perfectly contented in the old school
Welcomed by the girls in the back of the room
Life was never the same after that first day

I’d been perfectly contented in the old school
It’s where my best friends, my church friends went
And we had our whole wonderful, joyful lives ahead of us

Welcomed by the girls in the back of the room
They became best friends, but not church friends
More like party friends, what-trouble-can-we-find friends

Life was never the same after that first day
It might have looked like a wonderful life on the outside
But it was a long time before I found wonder and joy again

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Stop Throwing Stones

If you spend any time on social media and have conservative Christian friends or follow conservative Christian feeds, then no doubt you have seen numerous posts lately decrying the murder of innocent babies. Especially with the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the release of undercover videos of meetings with Planned Parenthood officials, it’s impossible to avoid these posts. I will admit that I’ve shared or liked a few myself, though I am always careful that the right message is coming across in the post when I do.

I see a huge problem with the way the pro-life position is presented in social media. If not done carefully and gracefully, it amounts to throwing stones at hundreds of thousands of women who have had abortions and lived to regret that choice. We know what we did was wrong and have lived with the shame of our choice—some of us for decades. We can’t undo what we did and your insensitive posting of “Abortion is murder” messages only causes us more shame and guilt, delaying the healing for many. Even those of us who know God has forgiven and redeemed us can be hurt by these posts.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am a conservative Christian myself, in the sense that I believe the Bible to be the Word of God and that it contains the whole truth about God and how His people should live. I am also pro-life, though I was not always. But on the abortion issue my heart is more concerned with the women who were lied to or were in a situation where having an abortion seemed like the only possible choice, and are now suffering from depression, suicidal tendencies, or PTSD, or who are just living a life of fear that someone might learn their secret.

One social media post I saw recently that illustrates the type of insensitivity I’m talking about is this cartoon:

birthday

Frankly, I don’t believe this is the scene in Heaven. Why would a baby in Heaven wish to be on earth? Why would a baby in Heaven “wish” anything? Wishing is for those without faith. People who know God pray, not wish. And these babies know God—they rest in His tender care.

I believe all of the babies who died as the result of an abortion are instead kneeling before the throne of Christ interceding for their mothers. I believe they are asking God to have mercy and praying that the Church would show them grace. I believe they are asking God to remind the Church of His words: “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7). I believe our children want those of us who killed them—either because we didn’t know what we were doing or because we were between a rock and a hard place and couldn’t see any other option—to hear Jesus say: “Then neither do I condemn you. . . Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:11).

The Church—meaning the people of God and each individual one of us—has to stop throwing stones at women who have had an abortion. We have to choose instead to show them grace and mercy, to help them heal in Christ. I say this as one who needs that grace and mercy every single day just to survive.

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Echoes of Grace

The prompt at dVerse Poets Pub Meeting the Bar yesterday was to write Echo Verse. Most of the examples of the traditional form included the word “echo” before the echoing second line of each stanza, but an option without the word “echo” was offered and I like it better. So here’s my offering for the day.

Echoes of Grace

I desire to pen words that are right

Write

But that won’t lead to my disgrace

Grace

I don’t want to write of You what is untrue

True

I long to feel Your loving embrace

Race

Running, praying, ’til I get to You

You

Learning how to offer Your sweet grace

Grace

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A New Blog Title

If you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you might have noticed that I recently changed the title of the blog from the merely descriptive “Linda Kruschke’s Blog” to the (hopefully) more interesting “Another Fearless Year.” The reason behind this change is that I am currently working on a book tentatively titled “Be Strong and Courageous: My Year of Living Fearlessly with God,” which I previously mentioned in this post and this post. I submitted the book proposal that I mentioned in those two posts to the editor who requested it. . . . and I got the nicest rejection letter, which I’m just tickled about. Here is what he said:

Hi Linda:

It was such a pleasure meeting with you at the Faith and Culture Writers Conference. What a wonderful experience they put together! Thanks for sending along your proposal. While I liked it a lot, others on the team felt that it wouldn’t be something we could be successful with, as we have not had great success with personal stories and memoirs, and because your platform would need to be a little bigger for us to consider the proposal. I hope you will keep writing and keep building your platform, as I think you have some real talent! Keep me in the loop.

 Blessings,

So, back to my purpose for changing the blog title, I thought that a title that described not what my blog was but rather what it was about would help me “build my platform.” My goal moving forward with this blog is to be truly fearless, to write what’s important to me even if it’s a little scary. Although 2014 is what I called “my year of living fearlessly,” I don’t want that year to be the beginning and the end of fearlessness. This year is going to be another fearless year, and so is next year, and the year after that . . . well, you get the idea. I refuse to go back to being afraid and acting on that fear.

So for starters, I’m not letting this editor’s rejection of my proposal stop me from believing it’s a project worth pursuing. In fact, I’ve already turned it into a mini-proposal and submitted it to 3 agents who will be at the Oregon Christian Writers Conference next week.

And then I’m going to keep writing—whether it’s poetry or prose, the memoir book or just some essays—some will be good and some won’t, but it will be words on a page (or screen) that will hopefully encourage others to be fearless with God.

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Broken

Youth and innocence lost
Broken on the inside
Ever to pay the cost
For another’s misdeed

Grace and forgiveness found
Restored and unbroken
Praise – a beautiful sound
A sacrifice given

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Not Just a Statistic

The prompt at dVerse Poets Pub today is to write a poem in common meter, but to use some of the tricks that Emily Dickenson used to make common meter a little more interesting. I love an opportunity to sort of break the rules of form, but only a little.

The topic of this poem is one that I’ve been thinking about for a while, and I decided this challenge was the time to trot it out.

Not Just a Statistic

Statistics are eye-opening
But overwhelming—sad
Three thousand babies killed each day
Yet women’s rights can’t cede

Statistics belie tragedy
Each single data point
A mother—and a single child
Ever a mournful plaint

Behind each dreaded statistic
Individual lives
Each one suffering painfully
Waiting to know God loves

Let’s look beyond the statistics
Open our eye as well
To all the hurt souls who need us
Provide hope as they wail

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The Allure of Alliteration

Driving to Seattle yesterday to go to a play with my sister, niece, and cousins, this poem started playing in my head, but I only came up with the first line and a few other words and concepts. The allure of alliteration led me to finish it up this afternoon.

Savior

Savior so sweet
suffering sacrifice
so steadfast seeker
shall savor salvation

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