Out of the Ashes

I really didn’t want to hear it. But she needed to say it. So I pressed the phone to my ear and listened as she shared her difficult story.

She had recently gone through an abortion. There were complications. She was traumatized.

I grieved. This was not the outcome I had been hoping for. One life ended; another life damaged.

The next morning, I opened my Bible app and numbly went through the motions of that day’s devotion. I skimmed the supporting Bible verses. Until the last two verses broke through my fog.

You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
(Psalm 139:16, NLT)

I believe life begins at conception. Psalm 139 is a well-known passage that teaches this truth. I thought of the unborn baby who was gone too soon, and mentally estimated the number of his* days.

49

I calculated the number of days his miniature heart beat.

28

Such a brief existence.

But his life mattered.

God saw him. God created him. God knew the number of his days, the number of his heart beats.

I was comforted.

God sees the baby’s mother too. He created her. He knows the number of her days, the number of her heart beats. He even numbers the hairs on her head.

He also knows she is injured and in need of support.

Her life matters.

I was challenged.

I continued to the second verse:

You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. (Genesis 50:20, NLT)

I had an overwhelming sense that the baby, now safe in the arms of His Maker, was speaking. It was as if he was explaining the purpose of his short time here on earth. And prophesying over his mother’s future testimony and destiny. It was a merciful message of Hope.

God will redeem this. The story is not over. Someday He will use it to save the lives of many others.

I believe this. I am claiming this for her. And for anyone else reading this who has been impacted by abortion.

Abortion is ugly. It silences one heart and wounds another. I’ve witnessed its destructive aftermath in the lives of friends and clients.

But I’ve also seen Jesus mercifully breathe life into its ashes and fashion something amazingly beautiful out of the pain.

He’s the only one who can.

It’s the reason He came.

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. (Romans 8:28, The Voice)

 

*While I don’t know if this baby was a boy or a girl, I decided to refer to him/her as “him.” I feel “it” dehumanizes unborn human life.

An important note: If you have experienced an abortion in your past, please know there is forgiveness and healing in Jesus. He can redeem your story too. I’m here to help, whenever you’re ready.

 

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Beautiful and Beloved

She was beautiful.

Actually, I’m not sure she was a “she.” She was technically an embryo and it was too early for a gender reveal. But “it” feels dehumanizing for a creature as lovely as she. And she was definitely human.

I met her on an ultrasound screen. In my position as a Client Advocate at our local pregnancy center I’ve been privileged to witness hundreds of ultrasounds. But this one was special.

Her body reminded me of a warm cocoon, cradling her beating heart as it flickered like an emerging butterfly. Her yolk sac floated above her head, a translucent, heart-shaped balloon. The dark gestational sac provided contrast to her bright form.

The nurse and I hushed in her holy presence. We beheld her beauty. Imago Dei.

Sadly, she is no longer with us, her life cut short by a mother who viewed her but did not value her. Blind to her beautiful brilliance, deaf to her unborn child’s voice.

I grieved the loss of this brief life. Her ultrasound image, etched into my memory and her essence, impressed into my heart. She was a living being, skillfully created. And now she’s gone.

In the midst of my sorrow I stumbled upon something which helped me understand my emotional response to her passing. It was a definition of agape, one of the many Greek words for “love:”

Agape occurs when an individual sees, recognizes, understands, or appreciates the value of an object or a person, causing the viewer to behold this object or person in great esteem, awe, admiration, wonder, and sincere appreciation. Such great respect is awakened in the heart of the observer for the person or object he is beholding that he is compelled to love it...Agape is the highest form of love–a self-sacrificial type of love that moves the lover to action for the sake of the beloved.” (Rick Renner)*

I realized I was grieving because I had loved. As I marveled at the Master’s workmanship I had been moved to love, just as He loves. The presence of grief proves there was love.

My coworkers and I loved this little one. We admired her beauty. We mourn her loss.

Even when her own mother could not. The sacrifices love required of her were simply too great for her to bear. So we bear them.

God loves this young woman too. Beautiful, she also reflects Divine Image. He weeps over the choices she has made. He waits patiently for her to turn and receive His merciful touch. He will lovingly embrace her, just as He welcomed her little butterfly when she winged her way heavenward.

For He is the Lover of our Souls. He fastened His gaze upon us, the undeserving objects of His love, and decided we were worth the sacrifice. His love compelled, then propelled Him all the way to the cross, where He laid down His life so we might live–and love.

“Then Jesus wept. The people who were standing nearby said, “See how much he loved him!” (John 11:35-36, NLT)

*From “Sparkling Gems from the Greek,” Volume II by Rick Renner.

An Important Note: If you or someone you love has experienced the pain of abortion, please know there is forgiveness and healing to be found. Most pregnancy centers offer post-abortion support in a caring, confidential and non-judgmental atmosphere. You will be loved.

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