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Storyteller. Grace Dweller.

I’m Jennifer — wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, new book author. I believe in you, because I believe in Jesus. You matter to Him, and you matter to me. more »

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18

Friday 24th July 2015

Planned Parenthood, the Value of Life, and a Grace that Finds You Wherever You Are

The sign said that the word fetus means “little one.” In the two boxes beside the sign, there were eight models of “little ones” — progressing in size in four-week increments.

“Can we hold them?” my daughter whispered.

I nodded, and picked one of them up myself. It was a model of a 12-week old fetus. A little one. The size of a lime. Its arms were crossed over the chest, legs fixed into a pretzel.

When you held them in your hand, they were weighted, to give you an idea of how heavy a baby is at each stage.

My daughter ran her fingers along one of the smaller models — the size of a pea pod with teeny toes — and remarked, “Look how much a baby already has, even when he’s this small.”

model of fetus

While I was standing there, with the model in my hand, my mind ran along four tracks, in this order:

First, of course, I contemplated the incredible miracle of human life, and how God thought up every part of us, before even time began.

“For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb. …
 Your eyes saw my unformed body; 
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
(Psalm 139: 13, 16)

Second, I thought about the videos being released over the last week, in which Planned Parenthood executives talk about selling the tissues and organs of aborted fetuses. I thought about the debate that rages on over a woman’s right to choose, and the value of a human life.

Third, I remembered what I once believed. At age 20, I was an outspoken pro-choice advocate. I had a weekly column in our campus newspaper, and more than once, I fiercely defended a woman’s right to make decisions about the life of her unborn child. I even had a T-shirt that boldly — in black and white letters — proclaimed my pro-choice stance. I never want to forget that, because it reminds me that the opinions we hold so dear at some points in our life, can completely shift as we grow and learn. Years later, my views about abortion would radically change. I don’t generally talk about hot-button issues around here, but I am pro-life. I don’t think that will surprise you. I believe that God is the giver of life, and that each human being has astonishingly high value. I believe that every “little one” should have the right to be who God made her to be.

But I also believe this, and it’s really important, so I’m going to put it in big letters:

I believe that every mother is cherished and loved by God — even the mother who made the decision to end the life of her unborn child. She is not despised, but cherished. She is a person.

Church, How can we love that mother today?

Which brings me to the fourth track of my thinking, as I held that lime-sized model in my hand.

If the statistics are right, one in three women will have had an abortion at some time in her life. That means that about one-third of you, my readers, have made that decision. Some of you have no regret about your decision, and you have your reasons. But some of you do have regret — and you carry it with you wherever you go.

Some of you have kept your secret hidden — maybe for decades — and some of you carry deep shame about what happened that day. Some of you weep once a year, on the anniversary, but nobody knows why you cry. Some of you couldn’t watch the videos, because of what it triggered in you. Some of you think that you’ve traveled too from God to ever be touched by His grace.

If that’s you today, come in close to me so I can whisper a few words to you:

Listen, girl. You are loved. Ok? You are not the sum of your decisions. You are not the accumulation of your regret. And you are not meant to bear your brokenness alone. Let someone touch your wound today, and let her help you carry it to Jesus. I would be willing to be one of the helpers. I’m right here. Know this: You are never too far from hope, and you are not out of the reach of God’s grace.

All brokenness is but a chance to be healed by Jesus.

healed by Jesus

Maybe today is the day when you can let Jesus heal all the broken places.

And to the rest of us — to the other two-thirds who have no idea what the one-third is feeling — let us choose our words wisely when we write about our thoughts on Facebook, or Twitter, or on our own blogs. I hope that I have done that today. I hope that I have chosen wise words, hopeful words, God-approved words. I beg God’s mercy for the areas where I may have said something that made the pain greater. I am not practiced at having these kinds of discussions here. And I ask your forgiveness, if any of this has caused you pain.

My deepest desire is that none of us feels as if we are beyond the healing grace of God.

Last night, on my Facebook page, I preached a mini-sermon to myself, and maybe you needed to hear it, too?

“I absolutely, positively, 100 percent believe that we have the right to defend God’s Word. I absolutely, positively, 100 percent believe that we have the right to say what we feel. But I also absolutely, positively, 100 percent believe that we must never talk about our opinions on Facebook, until we’ve first talked about them with God.

We are at an important time in our history. People need the hope that we have, and we know exactly where they can find it — in the heart of Jesus Christ as revealed in Scripture. But that means we have to choose our words carefully, deliver them prayerfully, and live out our messages faithfully. As much as I want to defend God’s Word, I am under a mandate to actually LIVE IT. 

A world in desperate need is watching. They’ll know we are Christians by our love, not our soapboxes.”

ByOurLove

Other resources to consider:
Pastor Scott Sauls, “On Planned Parenthood, Mother and Child, and Justice for All”
Lelia Chealey and a bit of her testimony, “His Words”

 

  • DeanneMoore

    Grace laced words right here. Thank you, beautiful friend for using your words and your influence for Love’s sake…

    • Lynn D. Morrissey

      She’s wonderful, isn’t she, Dee?

  • Sharon O

    Wonderful words of grace. I love your heart, and yes many ‘mom’s deal with post traumatic issues because of the abortions they chose at one point in time to have, for a reason only they can explain. It is important to not forget sometimes, they are the victims too.

  • Lynn D. Morrissey

    Jennifer, you have read my book, and so, you know my story. Even after Love Letters to God: Deeper Intimacy through Written Prayer was published in 2004, our daughter Sheridan did not know about my abortion. I agonized about going public in print for so many reasons, one of which was Sheridan, who was only ten at the time. She didn’t even know what an abortion was, much less that her mother had had one. Still God impressed upon me that He would be faithful to protect her if I would be faithful to obey and reveal the truth about my abortion and His healing and forgiveness. Amazingly, for many years, Sheridan never found out. I had prayed for God’s perfect timing to tell her, and in an unexpected and miraculous way, He orchestrated that telling. She received the news with extraordinary grace and does not hold it against me. Now that she knows, I am freer than ever to speak out, as I do here, thanking you also for the courage to do so, and for not condemning those of us who walked a different path away from God in those anguished moments. Like you, as a young woman, I felt these were women’s decisions. I was prochoice, though maybe not strongly so; I just didn’t much care one way or the other. And then when I found myself faced with this choice, while very difficult and under much deception, I chose to cooperate to kill my baby (though I wouldn’t have called it that then.) I assure you that Planned Parenthood was exceedingly deceitful. I was a baby Christian at the time and truly did not understand God’s Word on this. That said, subliminally, I knew that tissue would grow to be a baby, and of course, it was this that I did not want. Yet some years later, when I read Ps. 139, which you quoted, I was horror-struck by what I had actually done, and agonized over the little one whose life I had taken. It would take me EIGHTEEN long years to feel forgiven (though I immediately confessed my sin to God). One reason, beyond self-condemnation, that I couldn’t receive forgiveness, was because of the horrible things I would hear Christians say about women like me–in fact, to my face–though they didn’t know I was one of them. So to read your words here bring me great joy and comfort. We can’t really judge what someone goes through mentally and emotionally before such a decision until we have walked around in her high heels. So we do not judge the person, casting them aside as some despicable piece of refuse. However, we must continually have clear-headed judgment and discernment about truth, and that God’s Word clearly condemns murder and that He has a strong heart for children, from conception, because it is He who conceives life and knits ALL babies together in their mothers’ wombs (whether or not they plan for or desire this interweaving). I think, my dearest friend Jennifer, that you have struck the perfect balance between truth and love. I can’t tell you how grateful I am.
    Love
    Lynn
    PS thank you for posting the photo of the little “model.” I’m sure some would be repulsed by it. But we believe what we can see. Beloved author Elisabeth Elliot once gave me such a “model,” pressing it into my hand when we had a private conversation about abortion. I keep it with me because pictures sometimes speak louder than words.

    • Lynn,
      Thank you for sharing your story. It touches me deeply to know how God has tenderly cared for you and your daughter’s heart.

      • Lynn D. Morrissey

        Dolly, thank you so much for your very gracious words. Though my friends and family know my story, and any of my readers, not everyone does. So to have someone like you, who is a new friend, so kindly reply, means the world to me–truly. Thank you so much, and may the Lord continue to give you a caring heart that He can use to comfort others. Love, Lynn

  • Jennifer,
    Such wise and gracious words spoken in truth and yes to: “But I also absolutely, positively, 100 percent believe that we must
    never talk about our opinions on Facebook, until we’ve first talked
    about them with God.”….I have friends who have talked with me about their abortion(s) so I agree with you, we must speak with hope, love and grace.

  • Oh girl…

  • Wise and beautiful words.

  • Yes! In my college days, way back whey, I wrote a paper on abortion. I supported it. That has always haunted me, because I, too, changed the way I feel about abortion. So grateful for forgiveness. As a Christ-follower, I want to ALWAYS err on the side of grace when serving others. You voiced what I feel so beautifully. Happy weekend, friend.

  • Brynn Greene

    Thanks so much. I, too, am pro life. But people do often forget about the regret and shame a person may feel. We all make mistakes. I pray that i would treat everybody with grace and compassion. http://Www.extraordinarylivingbog.wordpress.com

  • Meredith Bernard

    Oh, this is really a needed word for me Jennifer. And a needed word for the Church. So there are tears, not because I’ve had an abortion, but because there was a time when I would have had an abortion if I had had to make the choice. And there is now part of me that wants (and maybe has recently) to get on a soapbox, when I just need to live what I believe. Yes, that. Thank you friend. I know we’ve never met, but I really hope we get to one day. I love your heart and your words and the way you wear Jesus through both. <3

  • LeliaChealey

    I can’t express well enough how much I love this. ♡

  • Katherine Harms

    You are correct, but there need to be Christians on soapboxes, because political action works that way. Christians need to be in the trenches loving people and sharing Christ. But Christians are citizens, and citizens in the US have the vote, because that is their role in the government. We have free speech, because that is also part of the role of each citizen in the government. Our government must be accountable to us, and when we speak and act and vote, that is the way we hold our government accountable. By speaking and acting and voting, we share Christ’s values and teachings. When we speak and act and vote, we are the salt and light in the culture that Jesus wants us to be. We absolutely must be out there telling the story of Jesus’ love, but that responsibility does not exempt us from our God-given responsibility to participate in the government of our nation. God gave us this nation, and we should take better care of it.

  • Nancy Ruegg

    Thank you for expressing the healing grace of God in this post, Jennifer. May its message reach as far and wide as his love!

  • Can you hear it from miles and miles away, the loud Amen bursting from my heart?

  • Tam Hodge

    Hi Jennifer. I found you through my friend Jessica Turner. I am one in three…two times. My life’s mission is to help women who are post-abortive and abortion minded find healing, forgiveness, strength and freedom. Much of my book I released last year is about my confessing my two abortions to my husband, daughter, and son. Things we don’t think about while we’re sitting in that clinic waiting for our number to be called.

    Anyway… I would like to send you my book. Perhaps you may find it to be a positive resource.

    And thank you for writing about this subject so beautifully and delicately.

    Blessings,
    Tam

  • Karlene Arthur

    Yes and Amen!

There are days when you don't know if you can write another book. Then there are days when you remember why you do. Thank you, Tiffany! twitter.com/gulledgetiffan…