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*This post is an excerpt from a speech I shared at the Life Choice Banquet on October 15th. I cut this down to fit a rather long post. Please don’t shy away because it is long. It has value. I began the speech with telling our adoption story, you can find our story here.
“Many are familiar with the 1946 Film Classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, wherein the character played by Jimmy Stewart gets a chance to see what life would be like had he never been born.” That is the springboard for this speech. The main point of the film is that each person’s life has an impact on everybody’s else’s life. Had they never been born, there would be gaping holes left by their absence. EVERY UNBORN LIFE IS A SEED OF POTENTIAL PURPOSE.
Ancient Cultures didn’t value life, but Jesus does.
Jesus stepped out of heaven and into humanity. Word became flesh incarnate into the midst of the Roman Empire where human life was considered cheap. Ancient Romans commonly let newborns die. It was a legal and even applauded avenue for dealing with unwanted children.
In this same culture, Jesus gathered the little children unto himself saying, “Let the little children come unto Me, and do not forbid them.: Matthew 19:14a
“Abortion disappeared in the early Church. Infanticide and abandonment disappeared. The cry went out to bring the children to Church. Foundling homes, orphanages, and nursery homes were started to house the children. These new practices based on this higher view of life, helped to create a foundation in Western civilization for an ethic of human life that persists to this day- although it is currently under severe attack. And it all goes back to Jesus Christ. If He had never been born, we would never have seen this change in the value of human life.”- What if Jesus Had Never Been Born?
Jesus was an unplanned pregnancy .We tend to over romanticize the events around Jesus’ birth as if May were floating in the clouds and everything was perfect. Jesus is perfect, the circumstances of his birth were not. I don’t want to tread on anyone’s theology or doctrine, I just want you to think. Do you think Mary sat around writing in her diary that she wished an angel named Gabriel would appear to her and she would become pregnant by the Holy Spirit? Or do you think she sang her day dream of being overshadowed by the Most High? I don’t think so. What happened after angel Gabriel visited her? Her betrothed was ready to divorce her. How could she explain the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit? How do you think her family and community responded to her pregnancy. Although we know, the birth of Jesus was foreordained, it was an interruption in Mary’s life plan. It shifted her whole world on its axis propelling her into a purpose that none other has ever or will ever fulfill. Jesus is the interruption that changed all of our lives.
There are over 300 prophecies fulfilled through the birth of Jesus. Could we put a dollar amount on his birth? What if he had never been born? We would not be here promoting life. We would not have salvation or the promise of heaven.
None of us would have a true purpose. We would be like those humanists say, a mass of cells who randomly act according to chemical reactions, not the heart. Jesus Christ had more impact on the life on our planet, or should I say his planet, more than anyone in history. It is because of His impact that we can have impact. It is because He foreordained, before the foundation of the world that each us of be born and adopted as his sons because of His kind intent. Jesus fulfilled a multitude of prophecies and his purposed to rescue humanity from death, hell and the grave and restore us to relationship with the heavenly Father. Because of the life of Jesus, we can choose life and trust that every life has a purpose.
just as [in His love] He chose us in Christ [actually selected us for Himself as His own] before the foundation of the world, so that we would be holy [that is, consecrated, set apart for Him, purpose-driven] and blameless in His sight. In love 5 He predestined and lovingly planned for us to be adopted to Himself as [His own] children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the kind intention and good pleasure of His will— 6 to the praise of His glorious grace and favor, which He so freely bestowed on us in the Beloved [His Son, Jesus Christ].
Here’s a story of another life interrupted.
“You’re pregnant, Sally. Just get up and walk around. Your cervix isn’t closed all the way. You will lose this one, but you can have another one later” Sally had a three year old and an almost newborn at home. Sally was adamant pro-lifer. She was determined not to lose the baby and went home and put her feet up. The baby was born a month early at a whopping 5 pounds. That baby was me.
Can you put a dollar amount on my life? Has what I accomplished made a difference? Does my life have value? Like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, I sometimes doubt my value. During my lowest points, when I have had a bad day, yelled at the kids, cannot accomplish anything on my “to-do’ list, lost everything, I’m sick, fill in the blank, I wonder, would it be better if I had never been born?
I was an unplanned pregnancy. What if I had Never Been Born?
If I apply It’s a Wonderful Life philosophy to my existence, I could list a few things that would not have occurred had my mother walked around and miscarried me. I wouldn’t be standing here promoting life. Three children: Audrey, Amerey and Hunter would not have been born. Four children Damian, Gregory, Ania and Rafal would not have been adopted. Six grandchildren. I wouldn’t have written a book promoting adoption. We tend to measure life based on accomplishments-curing the common cold, winning Olympic medals, starting a non profit that rescues woman from sex slavery. These are noble endeavors, but let us not miss the many purposes.
What we often consider interruptions or a derailing of our plan are actually fulfilling a purpose on our path. Interruptions are God’s way of getting our attention. These events that seem to be sidetracks, met with the proper attitude, bring the most reward.
We often ask God, what is my purpose and if truth be told, he would pull out a bulky book full of your purposes. We may each have unique gifts and talents, but we have an encyclopedia full of purposes. Our lives intersect with others on a daily basis and that one small act that you do in a moment can change someone’s life forever.
Theory of Six Degrees
Six degrees of separation is the theory that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps.
What if a person in the chain is lost, not born, don’t you think it throws everything out of whack?
I met Ettica when I was beginning my homeschooling journey and the process of adopting. She and Doug prayed for us and gave us prayer cloths for each child. I hung onto those cloths as if they were life itself. Ettica understood the power of adoption, having an adopted sibling herself. What if Ettica had never been born? Who would have ministered to me at the time? One of the millions of purposes that was given to Ettica was to be in my life at that time. For such a time of this, we often call them interruptions. We have many of those every day.
Daughter Audrey and I were at IKEA in Pittsburgh with three year old twins, Sam and Theo and baby Lucy ordering our lunch when the alarm sounded and we were told to evacuate the building. We abandoned the stroller and high tailed it out to the van, promising whiny children who expected chicken tenders and fries that we had snacks. We made it to the van and put a few kids in when Audrey shoved a twin in my hand and ran towards the IKEA doors. I looked up to see a mother running with two shoeless children, one slipping out of her arms. Audrey reached her just in time to catch the slipping child. She helped her the distressed mommy to her car and then joined me. That is purpose, people. It’s not always HUGE and it doesn’t make us famous. It means we are connected, we are paying attention, we reach out because we believe in our worth through Christ and because of that, we believe that others matter. Life matters. Every life matters. Every life has potential purpose. EVERYONE. Life is not measured as one giant achievement, instead it is a great quantity of purposeful moments. It’s the loving friend who supports us in our journey, or the one we meet in the parking lot of IKEA for five minutes.
In Him also we have [d]received an inheritance [a destiny—we were claimed by God as His own], having been predestined (chosen, appointed beforehand) according to the purpose of Him who works everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ [who first put our confidence in Him as our Lord and Savior] would exist to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:11,12
He works everything in agreement with the counsel and design of HIS WILL. What we deem mistakes, He deems material to work with. Do you think he thought my children being raised in an orphanage across the ocean in Poland where of no purpose or didn’t have value, or didn’t fit into the design of His WILL. Of course not. He had a plan for them. We have to stop listening to the culture of our day that says life is not valuable or that only certain people matter.
One Solitary Life
He was born in an obscure village
The child of a peasant woman
He grew up in another obscure village
Where he worked in a carpenter shop
Until he was thirty when public opinion turned against him
He never wrote a book
He never held an office
He never went to college
He never visited a big city
He never travelled more than two hundred miles
From the place where he was born
He did none of the things
Usually associated with greatness
He had no credentials but himself
He was only thirty three
His friends ran away
One of them denied him
He was turned over to his enemies
And went through the mockery of a trial
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves
While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing
The only property he had on earth
When he was dead
He was laid in a borrowed grave
Through the pity of a friend
Nineteen centuries have come and gone
And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race
And the leader of mankind’s progress
All the armies that have ever marched
All the navies that have ever sailed
All the parliaments that have ever sat
All the kings that ever reigned put together
Have not affected the life of mankind on earth
As powerfully as that one solitary life
Dr. James Allan Francis © 1926.
How about you? What if You Had Never Been Born?
Take a minute. Right now. You have a card on your table. Look at it. He who would achieve great things must first be born. That is a powerful statement. You have achieved part one of that statement. You were born. Pat yourself on the back or give your mama a hug.What is your story? What would Dr. James Allan write about you? Take some time, write down a few things that wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t been born.Teaching a class? Helping your dying mother? Grieving with someone. Can you put a dollar amount on that? Choosing life for your unborn child?
How do you measure the value of life? How do you know the potential of a newly formed life in the womb? We don’t. God does.
4Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
5“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”– Jeremiah 1:4,5
God knows our potential before we are born. Before we are formed in the womb, He knows us. Nobody is a mistake.
Each of you were knit together with unique gifts, talents and abilities. When you walk in them, you are part of the body of Christ. Some are hands, some are toes, some of you are the brains of the body.
When an unborn baby is being knit together, we don’t know his/her potential. He/she is a gift, a blessing to us, to the world, either to the birth mother who chooses life or the the adoptive family when life is chosen at the great sacrifice and courage of the birth mother.
Although we can’t put a dollar amount on a life, we can value life enough to put our money into helping a woman to choose life. When a woman sees the positive lines on the pregnancy test and she is unprepared, she feels afraid and alone. Shame will keep these women in all kinds of prison if we let it. Her life has been interrupted. At this point, we, the body of Christ, should value her life enough to invest in her. We should feel compelled to play Father to the fatherless like our heavenly Father. We should walk in His footsteps and bless what He blesses. He says that life is a blessing. Life is valuable. The world was started with One Holy Family, Adam and Eve. God said, “Be fruitful and multiply”. The fruit of the womb is a blessing. Let us acknowledge that by providing support and education. Let’s reach into our pockets and support those who can acknowledge that everyone deserves a chance to be born. Everyone has value. Each life has a purpose. We don’t want to one day be asking ourselves, why was the person who needed to fulfill a purpose, write a novel, be a missionary to unreached people, teach the special needs children, run the orphanage, be the social worker or take over Life Choice never born? Where was the friend to support us in our time of need or in the IKEA parking lot? What if the children who need to accomplish these purposes are never born. Let’s do everything we can here, right now to make it possible for Moms to choose life. We must see the potential in the life in utero and the life of the mother. We should invest our capital in those lives. Every unborn life is a seed of potential purpose.
The morning chill settles over my home and the fragrant smell of fresh coffee with a dash of pumpkin spice steams on my night stand and I am thankful. I haven’t always been a fan of autumn. I seemed to focus on the negatives or what I was leaving behind instead of the positives. Shorter days. Cold. Rain. See, depressing?
We see those posts on social media-the negators. They always seem to want a season other than the one they are currently in. That sort of thinking is a set up for disaster. I know. Been there. When it is snowing, we want ninety degree heat and sunshine. When it is ninety degrees, we want snow, a fire and a good book. This sort of discontent bleeds into other areas of our life.
If only my child could read…
If only my children were grown…
If only my children were small…
If only this adoption was final…
If only…… is a key ingredient in the recipe for discontent.
We must enjoy the season we are in now or we won’t enjoy the next season. Contentment is something we must practice. We earn and learn it. It’s not bottled and sold on Amazon. It is hard earned, but free!
11 Not that I speak from [any personal] need, for I have learned to be content [and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy] regardless of my circumstances. 12 I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need. 13 I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]-Philippians 4:11-13,Amplified Bible (AMP)
Paul wrote of being content while in prison. He learned to be content regardless of his circumstances. We can practice contentment in every season, whether we have plenty or are in difficult times. We have the secret of facing life, whether we have abundance or are in need. And when we practice this contentment, we can do all that He has called us to do, because He strengthens us and empowers us. We are “ ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace”.
How do we practice this contentment?
- Give thanks in every season. Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of Christ Jesus for you. (I Thessalonians 5:18) Find something to be thankful for. A sunrise. A brisk walk. A text from a friend.
- Find something to love about the season. When my grandmother suffered a brain tumor and my mother brought her home to nurse her, the season was difficult for all. One thing I loved about the season is the strength of our family and how they seemed to pour in and out of the house like a healing balm. Grandmother was never alone and she was showered with love.
- Embrace the season. I was out and about the other day and it was chilly. I should have brought a sweater, but I hadn’t. I changed my thought from I’m freezing to this is invigorating! It makes me feel alive. Maybe your season is waking parts of you that you were unaware of. Maybe through your difficulty, God is showing His glory reminding you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Or maybe you are in a season of abundance and you haven’t noticed because you are too busy to stop and notice the blessings.
I pray that you will find something in your current season that gives you peace, that you find true contentment. If your heart is broken today, I pray healing and please be kind to yourself. Some seasons are for grieving and we must be thankful for tears. Some seasons are so full of joy, we must be careful not to miss them. Wherever you find yourself, He is there.
Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday! Join us!
If you were thinking about coming to the ‘Thinking About Adopting’ Mini Seminar and just couldn’t make it, here is a quick recap.
There was lots of conversation, coffee and collaboration of many individuals to make this event happen. Thanks to Joe ‘n’ Throw for providing the venue, making the mugs (for prizes) and the amazing coffee! Thanks to all the folks who shared their stories and Scott Nelson from NYAP for answering all of our foster/adopt questions!
The smell of pungent strong coffee filled my nostrils, the air abuzz with anticipation. I didn’t need any caffeine at the moment. I was too excited as people trickled into Joe ‘n’ Throw. I had chosen a small venue and a limited number because I love small intimate groups.
We opened with announcements before adoptive parents Brian and Jeanette Schoonover took the stage to answer questions and their foster to adopt story. Jerry and I shared a bit of our story next, followed by the star of the seminar, Ciarra McCartney who candidly and eloquently told her story of her journey through foster care. What a bright and brave soul she is!
Next, Molly McCartney of the Beacon Barn shared her fostering/adopting story sprinkled with bits of expertise and wisdom gleaned through years of working with children who have experienced trauma. Then we switched gears and heard from Tacy Layne of World Orphans(#untiltheyallhavehomes). I love what this organization does.
“We equip, inspire and mobilize the church to care for vulnerable children.
Churches engaged. Children restored Communitiests transformed ty the Gospel of Christ.”
We finished with Scott Nelson of NYAP answering questions about foster/adopting.
Three Things I was Reminded of:
- Every child available for fostering/adopting experienced some sort of trauma.
- Trauma can be overcome. There can be healing. Older children may be angry when they come to your home. It is misplaced anger. Hold steady and continue to connect.
- The adoption/fostering process is frustrating, but there is joy in the end. The paperwork, homestudy, fingerprinting, the whole process is daunting, overwhelming and scary, but on the otherside…..there is joy, triumph and a forever family!
I started unpacking from our beach vacation and ran into the same issue I have had for years-storing my jewelry. I really had no where to store it without it getting tangled. I had tried my closet doors and jewelry box. Everything just got into a tangled mess. So….I dug into my old barn wood pile, got out the old knobs I had been saving for a project, a tape measure and some Annie Sloan Duck Egg Blue. I just followed these simple steps.
- Clean the board with a wire brush.
- Measure the board and determine where to put the knobs. My board was 49 inches long and I had six knobs. I wasn’t concerned about being perfect, so I rounded off to 48 and divided it by 6. I marked every 7 inches.
- I painted the board Duck Egg Blue.
and measured again to be sure.
4.Hubby drilled the holes for me (next time, I may do it myself). We put the knobs in and TADA. A jewelry rack to hold my necklaces!
Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday. Join us!