Monday, December 26, 2016

Facing the Giants

 75.  141. 12,688.

What do these numbers mean? 
Read on...

It was 1982. 
I was  in my early twenties, 
driving down the road 
enjoying the beauty of the mountain town I lived. 
When I saw a large group of people up ahead a few blocks, 
holding signs. 

I was curious...

I pulled into the right hand lane 
to get close enough to read the signs. 

Was it a sale? A celebration? A protest?

I had no idea what I would witness that day, in 1982 
would define the next 35 years of my life.

As I slowed my approached, 
the words on their signs were filled with such hatred. 

Their intentions were clear;
to condemn.

Their signs screamed: 
Murderer. 
Baby Killer. 
God hates You.


But that wasn't the worst of it...


...as I turned the corner I saw it. 
A sign with no words... 

Only a photo.

It was unlike anything I had ever seen or imagined.

(I won't post it here)

It was the head of an aborted baby. 

It was grotesque, vile and made me want to vomit with disgust.

I looked away as quickly as humanly possible, 
but the image was forever burned into my heart and soul.

An image still vivid even as I write ...

It was in that moment, 
I realized the truth
I now knew... 
what abortion looked like.

It was also in that moment 
I realized 
what I had done.

That moment, defined who I believed I was.

Murderer.   Baby Killer.    Hated by God.

I took the secret of what I had done
 and I buried it 
even deeper into the dark vault of my soul, 
never intending to tell anyone.

I made a vow.

Not one living soul, 
would ever know my truth.

Murderer.    Baby Killer.    Hated by God.

I succeeded in hiding my truth.
for nearly three decades
until...

God stepped in.

His grace, mercy and forgiveness came,
he took away my sin..
But because this vault of 
secrets, lies and shame
was buried deep
It took another decade of learning to trust Him
 that I came to a place of knowing...

I am no longer defined 
by the things I did, 
I am defined by...

His purpose alone.

I am thankful 
He has given me a platform 
to share my testimony 
of redemption and freedom. 
He has given me 
a powerful way to help others 
unmask their identities and get real. 
He allows me
 the opportunity to see many rescued
 from their prison cells of guilt shame and condemnation. 

Love rescues.

Fast forward to a recent morning.

I was packing up, 
enjoying the crisp fall air of a Florida morning, 
getting ready to head back home 
after visiting my little family.

Our quiet morning was rudely interrupted 
by shouts coming from the other side of the fence
where a local business sits,
a women's clinic. 
This place is a revolving door for abortions. 
Its heartbreaking to drive by and see
 the parking lot packed with vehicles carrying women 
making the decision 
to take the life God created within them...

My heart aches for these women 
and the desperation and deception they must feel
 to make such a life ending decision. 
I know how they feel. 
I know why they make the decision they do. 
I know.

I pray every time we drive by the clinic. 
I have occasionally taken a walk after hours 
and prayed over the land, 
careful to avoid meeting any of the protesters.

This morning though, 
I could not believe what I was hearing, 
it sounded like a bullhorn. 
I could not make out what they were saying, 
but what I did know...
It was not love, but hatred being elevated above the traffic.

My family was living with this intrusion on a daily basis, 
the screeching at times, loud enough
 to wake my sleeping grandchild.

Enough was enough.

I put on my shoes 
it was time to confront the giant.

Up until this moment, 
I had been uncertain...what would I say
Was I equipped to stand strong...
Today was different.
 There was no fear.

I knew what they were doing is wrong.
I know how their mode of operation 
imprisoned me for decades.

I know there is a right way to save babies.. 
I know and have met thousands of Sidewalk Counselors
who are doing it right.
Their intention is to love, 
to pray to end abortion

This group was not.

Megaphones. Fire & Brimstone. Hatred.

I knew I needed to lead with love.
To be intentional to remain calm, 
to speak life.
I prayed as I walked around the corner...

Three men approached and at first seemed welcoming
 as I introduced myself, shared my testimony 
in an attempt to find common ground..
the fight to save babies..  

That was until I inquired about their mode of operation.

Why were they screaming hateful things in a megaphone? 
Why were they calling the women murderers?
Why were they using scripture to spew shame?

This is when they attacks turned towards me.

One man began the insults...
calling me a murderer!
Another one, 
wearing a Go-Pro strapped to his chest, 
told me I should still wear my shame and then...
the third 
questioned my salvation!

I was appalled.

I knew the giant was bullying me...but I wasn't afraid.

I stood my ground.
I questioned them. 

Wasn't the cross enough?

No. they replied.

It was hard, but I held my ground.

I rebuked their words, their lies and their twisting of the gospel.

I felt like I was wielding a SWORD 

Then...the police showed up.

Some in their group had actually been on one side of the building and were screaming thier hatred into the windows of the clinic.

Wow...I thought...what an example of Jesus. (sarcasm)...

As the police officer spoke to these three men,  
a woman approached me. 
She was the one with the megaphone, 
the one screaming through the windows. 
She was the one I wanted to talk to.

She began...
"Are you one of us? 
Are you on our side?" she asked.

I replied.
I don't have a side.

I shifted the conversation.

I extended my hand, 
introduced myself 
and took charge of the conversation. 
I shared my testimony. 
again...
I was trying to find a common ground.

until... 
she invaded my personal space...
she was a tiny woman,
I sensed the giant within her raring up
it was uncomfortable

I was undeterred...
I stepped forward, 
into the space she had invaded
fearless, 
with grace. 

She backed off.

My voice remained tempered, but strong. 

We conversed for several minutes
Then I finally asked her two questions
and a door opened...

How long have you been doing this?

15 years.

How many babies have you seen saved here?

NONE.

I was stunned. 

My mind raced!
None? 
Fifteen years standing out on this sidewalk 
and not one life saved? 
Was she serious?
Fifteen years 
screaming at women
telling them God hates them
condemning them
giving them no hope of the cross

 f i f t e e n  y e a r s 

The anger was rising within me
but the Holy Spirit calmed me
Before I could even think of my reply,
the truth came out of my mouth.

"Then, You are doing it wrong."

She just stood there 
stunned at my response.

She sheepishly responded: 

How many have you seen saved?

T H O U S A N D S 

The look on her face was priceless. 
She had nothing more to say.

The giant fell.

We spoke a few more minutes
I felt I had made an impact
I gave her my card, 
I encouraged her to look up organizations,
 like 40 Days for life, 
if...
she truly cared about saving babies.
-------------

What about those numbers I started this blog with?

75   141    12,688

They are the latest numbers from
40 Days for Life since the campaign began:

  • 75 abortion facilities closed
  • 141 abortion workers quit their jobs
  • 12,668 lives saved from abortion
--------------

There is a better way. 

Prayer is powerful.
Love is the answer.




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