Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A rant

Disclaimer: This is not a post to call out those who believe in a women's right to choose or start any arguments, but to share my personal experience of what it's like when my children in Heaven are viewed as less than by other Christians.

Every once in a while, I feel the need to rant. Most of the time my rants are only heard by my supportive and loving husband, but this particular chain of thoughts has been bubbling up inside of me for a long while and I think it's time to share (again, because this post is a repeat and because the anniversary of Roe V Wade was this week and people have been shouting about abortion on facebook.
I also feel the need to disclose upfront that this rant is about Christians and abortion- a very emotional topic.)

Because of the Gospel, Christians should be the most loving, supportive and biggest 'grieving with the grievers' there are, but unfortunately this is not always true. (And also because of the Gospel, there is grace, so so much grace... for me, for you.)

Most Christians will knock you over with their belief that all life begins at conception and that the sanctity of life extends to a baby in the womb. This is my belief as well.
But what (usually) doesn't knock you over is the support and love of those same Christians when your precious baby, the life inside of you, dies.

I am blown away by some (NOT all by any means) Christians who will go on and on and on and on about how abortion is wrong because murder is wrong. They will stand outside of abortion clinics and loudly protest, or on university campuses holding pictures of some mother's baby after abortion. They will lobby for laws against abortion and try to convince anyone and everyone to believe what they do about life at conception and the sanctity of the life inside a woman's womb.

But in my experience, after a loss during pregnancy some of these same Christians will tell you that 'it' was only a miscarriage, that there was probably something wrong with 'it' anyways. Or that it's better that it happened sooner rather than later. Or that it's better this way because at least we didn't know them yet. Or they will tell you that they hope it works out the next time.

Let me stop here and emphasize that when you call an unborn baby 'it' you are devaluing God's precious child. You are dehumanizing a real person when you refer to a loss during pregnancy as something that didn't work out.

I am not writing this rant to condemn. Really, I'm not. Yes, I want to call out sin as sin but what I want to impress is that we have a solemn opportunity when the tragedy of loss during pregnancy occurs to proclaim and demonstrate our belief in the sanctity of life beginning at conception.

How about instead of knocking someone over with a protest sign against abortion, we stand beside those who have lost their babies during pregnancy and validate their children's lives. What if we used our voices to support and love and console women whose babies' lives were only lived within their mothers' wombs instead of shouting words of condemnation.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't speak out against abortion (and this is a whole other topic and rant in and of itself), but condemning a woman for having an abortion (because we believe that life begins at conception) and then in the same context devaluing a human being's life by calling the baby 'it' and making a mother feel like their baby is less of a baby because they did not take a breath... well, that's a damn shame. (To add to this, grace. Grace. Grace. There is so much grace.)

If we really believe that life begins at conception and want to extend the sanctity of life to an unborn but real person, then we should grieve the loss of a child by miscarriage or stillbirth as no different than the loss of a person who dies after birth.

We, who have been loved and pursued and redeemed through no merit of our own by our Heavenly Father, should cover these women with love. We should validate and value the lives of their babies; babies who are loved not through merit but by the simple and incredible fact that they belong to their mothers and fathers. We must grieve with these mothers and fathers.

If our eyes have been opened by the Gospel then no dark corner of our hearts can go unchanged.

For me personally, if you want to make a huge difference in my day (or week or month) then refer to my son, Owen, as a person. Call him by his name and tell me that you think of him or that you wish he was here with us. He was a person (and he still is a person) though he did not take a single breath. I do not measure his life by the number of breaths he took, or the days he lived, or the growth chart on our doorway or birthday parties we planned. I do not grieve the person he could have potentially been. I grieve him, his absence and the heartbreaking fact that we are separated from each other. This is unfortunately not how most people see my son. They picture a pregnancy that didn't turn out, or a faceless nameless fetus that somehow disappeared when he died. It is a damn shame, and it breaks my heart....
Because his story is beautiful....

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Home and two poems

Home again, home again, jiggity jog.

After 12.5 hours on the road, we are home. It was a very long day in our loaded-down car with two of my favorite people, both of whom are sleeping soundly at this present moment. Hannah Mae, who was a gold star trooper most of the day, fell apart immediately upon entry into our home. She followed me around demanding I hold her. She's getting so big, it's a little harder to unpack bags holding a 32 month old(!). 

Christmas and New Year's were both well celebrated in our family. I have some particularly fun memories of both holidays this year. Quite a few of them involve various members of my family cutting a rug on the dance floor (including my grandmama). It was hilariously fun to dance side by side with my grandmama the day after her 87th birthday... 
I have another memory of Hannah renaming my sister-in-law's cat 'Strawberry' because the dog's name is 'Blueberry' ... that just makes sense, doesn't it?...
Then there's the night that Hannah made everyone take turns trying on her hooded Batman towel she got for Christmas, and pretend to be Batman with her...

Oh, why not a poem?... (set to the tune of O Christmas Tree)

Pink Jesse boots and a hat to wear
when riding her new pony.

Four Batman guys and a weird Joker,
who live inside a pink castle.

My mom and dad can really dance
according to that guy watching. (repeat)
We may have laughed at them a lot,
but only from the balcony.

Two long hard days in a crowded car;
The beach, the mountains, twice as far.

O Christmastime, O New Year's Eve...
what fun we had as a family!
O, what fun we had as a family!!

Whew. Yeah. That was cheesy. You don't have to tell me. ; )
Speaking of poems (or things that resemble poems), I found one of my first poetry books last week at my parent's house collecting dust. And because I think it's too hilarious not to share... here it is:

Hannah (a limerick):
There once was a girl named Hannah,
who lived in a state called Alabama.
She walked all around
And had to sit down
No wonder, she was in Savannah.

Yes, I really wrote that... when I was 12. Who knew I would have a little girl named Hannah all these years later?? Crazy. 

I hope everyone had a restful and joyful Christmas and New Year's. I know that the holidays are often a time of sadness and grief, much more often than a time of rejoicing, but I pray that you had moments of lightness and hope.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

red birds are everywhere

Like a single

the red cardinal
on a pine

the window

is our only

the snow.

Linda Pastan

A sudden loud noise draws my attention to the back window facing the water. There in the tall barren trees is my red bird. It sits as still as a statue. I smile and whisper my thanks.

Thank you, Lord.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Counting the cost

Sometimes the urge to write is undeniable. And sometimes the impulse to run and hide is impossible to dismiss. It is rare that I feel both at the same time.
I have been taking longer and longer breaks from blogging. But I have not stopped writing. I have just stopped sharing all I write.
Lately I've felt so vulnerable, and so exposed in all I've shared, either in person or in writing, that I've been left feeling very fragile and sensitive. In the past, I've felt that the risk I take in being honest is worth the cost of being exposed, maybe even judged. I still feel that the cost is worth it, because damn it... we are free. And friends, nothing can change that.

I don't know if I can say exactly why I've been feeling so fragile. Maybe it is because we've been trying to add to our family and it is harder than we anticipated. Maybe it is because we are on the edge of moving again, and leaving good friends and a safe place. Maybe it is because where we are isn't really a safe place at all, but it feels safer than the world out there. Maybe it is spiritual warfare which is ever-present, even if we don't feel it at all.

If I'm being honest, which I do try to be, our life is far from perfect. It is not pinterest or facebook worthy most of the time, whatever that means. It is messy and complicated, and we are messy and complicated.

The truth is... it will never be comfortable or glamorous to live as God has called us to live. And if we truly want to love our fellow Christians and our neighbors as well, then we have to get down in the mess and love. And point to the One who can make all the sad things untrue, and remind each other of the beauty of the Gospel that tells us how valued and loved we are. He sees us in the mess of our sins and our brokenness, and he loves us. And he calls us to do the same, no matter the cost.