Friday, September 12, 2014
It's no secret that we had absolutely no idea what we were going to name our little babe while I was pregnant. And truth be told, we didn't actually settle on a name until she was a few days old.
Girl names are difficult for us. We have a mile long list of boy names. We have the next however many boys already named (if God so chooses to bless us with more boys). But with girls, we struggle. Isaac and Eli are obviously biblical and the plan was to have all biblical names.
That didn't happen.
And no offense to any ladies with bible names, we just aren't huge fans of any of the female names in the bible.
When we finally agreed that we weren't going to stick to the bible theme we were able to come up with 5 names. Five. That's it. And honestly, we weren't totally excited about all five. They were just the best we could come up with. How horrible does that sound? I was seriously thinking this little lady would never have a name. She'd just be "baby girl Bridges" for the rest of her life.
Thankfully that didn't happen.
I'm not going to share the names though. I know, I'm such a party-pooper. Sorry.
But it came down to this: Ben and I both picked our favorite of the 5 (obviously we each picked ones that we each had contributed) and we had planned to choose one or the other once she was born.
That didn't happen.
Instead, on either day 2 or 3 we finally had a conversation about needing to decide on a name. And even though Stella was not either of our first choices, in fact it was toward the bottom of our original list of 5, when we looked at her, we saw Stella. The reason the name ended up on our list to begin with is because it was the only female name we had been able to come up with over the past 4 years or so when we talked about having a girl- because, you know, it's always a possibility.
Shortly after she was born I remember thinking to myself, "she really looks like Stella and I didn't want to name her that. I wanted to name her _____ !!" When Ben and I talked about it, turns out he had been thinking the exact same thing.
Isn't that funny?
So it was decided. Stella it was and Stella it would be. And not for any particular reason other than we like the name and it fits her. Stella, from the word stellar, meaning star. (And how funny that when you write her name with the middle initial it's Stella R. That was not intentional.)
Her middle name is my mother's middle name. All of our children have family middle names and we both agreed that Rae just fit so well with Stella. And Rae is Scottish for grace (I'm part Scottish on my mother's side). Perfect. She is, in so many ways, a beautiful picture of God's grace for us. We did not deserve her. And yet here she is. We did not deserve to get such an easy, sweet baby. And yet here she is.
And so there you have it, our sweet sweet Stella Rae.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
About a month ago I received an email from a reader. She was angry with me for being such a hypocrite- how could I possibly believe in parental choice but not "a woman's right to choose"? She was adamant that because I am such a horrible person (my words, not hers. Her words were closer to: "A disgusting, appalling, frightening hypocrite" and "You are a judgmental, narrow-minded, scary, individual." Okay, not close to, those were her exact words), that she knows the Lord would want her to pray for me.
I initially had decided to not respond to her at all. What's the point anyways? She came at me with all the usual liberal, pro-choice rhetoric and I'm sure she's heard all the arguments against those views. I don't have the time these days to argue just for the sake of arguing.
But then as I thought about it more, I realized there was something more going on with her, something that applies to more than just her and I knew I had to address it publicly. And that's the question:
Can I be a Christian and be pro-choice?
I am going to assume by the words she used in her email that, let's call her Nancy, is a Christian. At least I think she would consider herself a Christian. And Nancy also makes it abundantly clear that she thinks abortion is perfectly acceptable. From her email:
"You believe in the freedom to make your own decisions... so you clearly value free will and standing up for what YOU believe is right, and yet you are so deluded that you don't see the unbelievable hypocrisy in that you believe that women's rights to choose what to do with their own bodies should not be their own; that the government and your interpretation of what God wants, should be what determines whether a pregnant woman chooses to end her pregnancy or be forced to keep or give birth to a child she does not want and cannot care for... How do you not see what an unbelievable hypocrite you are?"
She's so sweet, right?
Okay, so I'm not so ignorant as to think that Nancy is the only self-professing Christian who has these beliefs. In fact, abortionist Dr. Willie Parker has been in the news a lot lately for claiming to perform abortions because he is a Christian.You can read a very lengthy article here all about him. It's difficult to get through it without vomiting, so just a fair warning.
But back to the question at hand.
The answer is a very simple and plain no.
How can I be so sure and so confident in that answer? The answer to that is scripture, which is the inerrant, perfect word of God. Nancy probably won't like this part of my response and will just brush it off as simply my "interpretation of what God wants" but the truth is what the bible says is true. And if we are going to proclaim to be Christians, sons and daughters of God, we have to believe His words. To deny what is in His word is to deny Him altogether.
Let's begin with when life begins.
If we are going to believe the Bible, then life begins at conception. Not implantation, not when the heart begins to beat 21 days later, not at 8 weeks, not at the end of the first trimester, not when a fetus (I use this term because they try to dehumanize a baby in the womb by using it. But fetus simply means offspring and in this case, the offspring of a human is, you guessed it, a human!) can feel pain, not when a baby is viable outside of the womb, not when the baby takes his or her first breath. Life begins when the sperm fertilizes the egg (conception) and a brand new life begins- one who has never ever existed in the history of the world before that moment and no one exactly like him will ever exist ever again. A unique and new human being.
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Psalm 51:5
In other words, I was a person from the moment of conception. Nothing other than human beings can be sinful. No "clump of cells" or "product of conception" can be sinful. So according to scripture, if human beings are sinful and whatever is conceived in the womb is sinful, than what is conceived in the womb must be a human being and that human is human from the moment of conception.
Abortion ends a life.
If life begins at conception, at what point is it valuable?
From the very beginning. All human life is valuable and loved by God. That means every single person, from the moment they are conceived, has intrinsic value. And not only does each life have value, but every single life has a unique purpose.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5
But when God, who set me apart from my mother's womb and called me by his grace, was pleased... Galations 1:15
God creates us with a purpose in mind and He cares about us while we are in the womb And then He personally knits us together (Psalm 139:13). Just think, we, human beings, are the only ones created in God's own image. That make us extremely valuable. Dare I say, more valuable than any animal, plant or other part of creation.
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
Abortion ends the life of a person with value and purpose.
Which brings us to: thou shall not murder.
If a fetus in the womb is a human being (which scripture says) with value and a unique purpose (which scripture says), loved and cared for by God, from the moment of conception on (which scripture says), then abortion is murder. It is the deliberate taking of human life. There is no way around it. And if abortion is murder, it is a violation of the 6th commandment. Plain and simple.
Abortion is murder.
How does God feel about the murder of children?
While we're here, with our bibles open, I think it's worth pointing out how God feels about child sacrifice (He has a lot to say about it) since that is exactly what abortion is: child sacrifice at the alter of self. We may not have a name, like Moleck or Ba'al, for the god to which babies are sacrificed in this country and others, but they are sacrificed to a god nonetheless. And such a practice is absolutely horrific.
A few other verses that show God's indignation toward child sacrifice are: Leviticus 18:21, 2 Chronicles 28:3, 33:6, 2 Kings 23:10, Jeremiah 7:31, 19:2-6, 32:35.
Abortion is child sacrifice, which is detestable to God.
So, based on all of the scripture we have reviewed, no, Christians cannot be pro-choice. We cannot truly believe Jesus is the Savior, put our trust in Him, say we love Him, call ourselves Christians and then support sin of any kind. Abortion is most definitely sin and as we can see from these verses, it's a huge deal.
Can I be honest here? As I write this I keep thinking, "I shouldn't have to write this. Christians, you should know this! There should be no question!" And yet, the world we live in is so twisted and we are so easily swayed by our emotions and our hearts, oh the wickedness of our own hearts! We let ourselves believe that we can't care for a woman by "forcing her to have a baby she can't afford." How is that loving someone?, they'll say. But that is such a twisted view of the situation.
How is ending the life of an innocent child, a tiny, helpless baby, love? And how is telling a woman that abortion is her best choice and then taking her money and leaving her with emotional and sometimes physical scars that she'll carry for the rest of her life, love? It's not. That's not love.
Love is serving her and ministering to her and helping her and sharing Jesus with her. Love is caring for her child, in the womb and outside of the womb. Love is providing a way for both her and her baby to survive and thrive.
Love is doing exactly what Jesus modeled for us: getting down on your hands and knees to wash her feet. What does that look like in our modern day? It means doing the nitty gritty, the things that no one else wants to do. Give her a place to stay, feed her, clothe her, educate her, provide medical/midwifery care for her, help her to get back on her feet, pray for her and with her. That should be the Christian's reaction to a woman experiencing a crisis pregnancy. Not, encouraging her to seek an abortion by either being silent on it altogether or supporting the pro-choice agenda.
In the end Nancy, it would seem that the hypocrite in this situation is actually you. Because, my dear, claiming to be a Christian and also supporting murder, is incredibly insincere and hypocritical. The Christian is called to love and to hate what is evil (Romans 12:9). The Christian is called to speak for the weak (Proverbs 31:8). The Christian is called to expose the darkness (Ephesians 5:11). The Christian is called to rescue those being led away to death (Proverbs 24:11). Supporting abortion is contrary to every single one of these exhortations.
If you have abortion in your past.
I cannot stress this enough: there is forgiveness for you. There is grace and mercy enough for you. His blood covers the sin of abortion. Jesus is enough for you. John tells us this,
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
I emphasize all because it's there for a reason. All sin, every single sin, can be forgiven. But you have to confess it, confess your abortion to Him. Cry out for His forgiveness and mercy and He will purify you. He will take that burden you have carried all these years and remove it as far as the east is from the west. He will replace it with hope and healing. Just lay it at His feet. Sweet sister, stop carrying that burden. There is no need.
There are many resources out there for anyone who is seeking healing. Rachel's Vineyard, Ramah International, and Project Rachel are just a few. You can also contact your local Pregnancy Resource Center to see when they offer a post-abortion healing class, as most do.
And if you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis pregnancy, you are pregnant and considering abortion because you have nowhere to turn and no options, please find a Pregnancy Care Center near you. Educate yourself. Empower yourself. Know your options and know the truth about abortion. And if you need someone to talk to, please contact me. My email is under the "contact" page on the right hand side of this blog. I would be honored to encourage you, pray for you and serve you any way that I can.
All images via Online for Life.