On Snails and Heaven

Naomi has been a handful today.  She’s tired, waaaay over-sugared, and fairly under-napped as well, since Malachi just HAD to go get his light-saber rightthisminute and forgot she was asleep.  We went to an evening church service tonight. After church the kids ran around in vicious circles screaming and playing and knocking stuff over and sticking their hands in my water (Just, why?) until I was dun-dun-DONE and we left. Titust cried all the way home (poor, sleepy baby). When we got home and it was time to go inside, Naomi was dawdling and then turned around to look at the snail on the sidewalk.

There’s this awkward commercial (here it is) where the guy opens with, “Has anyone else been experiencing a snail infestation?” and I always yell, “Yes! ME!” because every time it rains we get tons of them all over our walkway. It was raining on the way home from church so when we got home – snails. Everywhere, snails.

Naomi: turns around
Jeremy: Naomi, don’t step on the snail!
Naomi: crunch
Me: Naomi! Daddy said no! You killed the snail! It was alive and now it’s dead.

Yes, I actually said that. I shouldn’t have – but I was mad and tired and stressed out and really, really ready for bedtime.  Naomi sauntered proudly into the house with quite the unfazed smirk on her face and I started the “Jackets off! Shoes off! Someone get the baby his paci!” routine when I looked up and noticed Malachi’s lip was quivering.

“What’s the matter, buddy.”

“I’m sad because Naomi stepped on the snail!”

And then he burst into tears.

You guys: this was heartbreaking. 99% of the time if my kids are crying it’s because they’ve been hurt or they’ve been punished. They are little, they haven’t experienced any kind of death yet, and it’s rare that true, genuine, innocent sadness happens. But here it was, sitting in my lap (barely fitting), crying on my shoulder because his sister killed the snail.  After a few minutes he asked me,

 

“But why did Nani kill it?”

“I’m not sure, buddy.”

At this point I notice that Naomi is staring out the window, refusing to look at Malachi and I, completely expressionless. It scares me a little how she can detach herself from things. I turn her face towards me.

“Naomi, you need to tell Malachi you’re sorry.”

Two big tears roll out of Naomi’s eyes, and she quivers, “I’m sorry, Malachi.”  I pull her into my arms and let her cry.

Me: “Naomi, I forgive you.  This is why Daddy told you no, and why you should listen when we say no. He was trying to save the snail and to save you from being sad about the snail.”

Malachi:  “But I’m sad Nani killed the snail.”

Me: “I know, buddy.  It’s sad when something dies.  But you know what?  Jesus tells us that every time a leaf falls, or a bird sings, or a snail dies, He sees it and He cares.  Because He made the world and He loves it.”

Malachi: “How will the snail get un-dead, Mama?”

Me: “Well, it won’t, buddy.  It’s dead now.  But it’s ok – there’s lots of other snails.  God made a lot of snails.”

Malachi: “But I want ALL of the snails to be alive!”

Me: “I know, buddy.  But if snails never died the whole world would be full of snails!  Sometimes animals die to make room for new animals.”

Malachi: “But if Jesus loves the snail, why did He let it die?”

Me: deep breath… “Well buddy, even when Jesus loves something, He still sometimes lets it die. Everything that is alive dies sometime.  Animals die.  People die one day.  Flowers die.  It’s how the world works.”

Malachi: “But isn’t Jesus really sad about the snail?  That Nani killed His snail He made?”

Me: “I’m sure Jesus is sad that the snail died.  But you know what?  He’s more sad that you are sad, and that you are sad, Nani.  He cares a lot more about you than about the snail.”

Malachi: “But how can Jesus love Nani if she was bad and killed the snail?”

Me: “Malachi, have you ever done something bad?”

Malachi: “Yes.”

Me: “And did I still love you?”

Malachi: “Yes.”

Me: “Well, Jesus loves us, even when we do something bad, he still loves us so, so, so, so much.  And Nani, just like I forgive you and Malachi forgives you, Jesus forgives you, too! And he wants you to be happy.”

Naomi: “But it was an accident, Mama.”

Me: “No, you didn’t step on him by accident. You stepped on him on purpose. But you probably didn’t mean to kill him, did you?”

Naomi: “No.”

Me: “Why did you step on him, Naomi?”

Naomi: “I wanted him to move out of the way.”

Me: “Well, next time why don’t you just step over the snails, ok?”

Naomi: “Ok.”

At this point both kids are in my lap, with one arm around me and one arm around each other, having completely forgiven but still sad.

Me: “You know what, guys? We don’t have to be sad anymore. One day when go to Heaven, nothing will ever die, and nothing will ever be sad! Because Jesus will be there.”

Malachi: “But what if there’s snails in Heaven and what if Nani steps on them there?”

Me: “Well, God won’t let that happen because sad things don’t happen there. And we can pray tonight that he will bring us a new snail friend tomorrow!”

Malachi: “But what if Nani steps on the snails tomorrow?!?!”

Me: “Are you going to step on them, Naomi?”

Naomi: “NO! I’m not.”

Me: “That’s good!  See, Malachi?  It’ll be ok.”

This whole time Jeremy was putting a crying, over-tired baby down for bed, so we finally went upstairs and got ready for bed. Naomi went potty all by herself without any prompting (this is HUGE) and that helped everyone feel happier and gave me a good reason to act (and be) super, super proud of her. We read our bedtime story with both kids cuddled up together in Naomi’s bed. When we prayed, we thanked Jesus for dying on the cross and rising again so we could live with Him forever. We asked him to take care of our snail in Heaven and send us a new snail friend. Malachi got a little teary again because that boy is MADE of sensitivity and Naomi got excited that she gets to put another sticker on the chart for going potty.  All ended well.

I know more things were said that I left out – something about the snail turning into dirt to grow food for new snails to eat (which Malachi quickly interpreted as cannabalism #backpedal). And most of what I said was directed at both kids equally – Naomi listened intently to Malachi’s questions and my answers.  Now I can hear them snoring through the monitors and hopefully soaking up all the sleep their bodies need.

For children, disobediance seldom leads to true remorse or repentance, but when her actions gave pain to those around her Naomi’s heart truly grieved over and repented of her sin.  If Malachi wasn’t so sensitive, the whole thing would have blown over.  If I wasn’t so stressed, they probably would never have known that the snail actually died. And even though it was sad, sitting on my living room carpet cuddling with my teary babies and talking gently about Heaven and forgiveness and the cycle of death and new life was such a gift.  He makes all things good.  He makes all things new.

Happy Easter.

 

What You Thought You Wanted

A few months after my first was born my husband said, “It seems like you were happier when you were working than you are now that you stay home.” In other words, he punched me in the gut. I felt a defensive, sad, and guilty because in many ways he was right and I didn’t want to admit it. I’ve wanted to stay home with my kids all my life – I wouldn’t trade it for the world or the paycheck or the 9 to 5 adult conversation. But it was true – I was stressed and often unhappy. My baby had reflux and I had overactive let-down and excess milk. He cried a LOT. He didn’t gain weight well. We went through three to five outfits each a day, multiple sheets, all the burp rags, and a ton of laundry detergent. I was exhausted. I carried him around non-stop and adored him like I’d never loved anyone before, but all the same – I missed adult interaction, using my mind, doing what I was good at (I didn’t feel very good at motherhood), taking a break, and being challenged.

Things got better and easier and the stress lessened (slightly) and changed (every day). I started volunteering as director and teacher for a local ESL program. Malachi got a prescription and my boobs calmed the heck down so he was able to sleep, gain weight, and eat in peace. I fell more and more and more and more in love with my son. I stopped bleeding and started napping and things got a LOT better. But I was shocked – shocked – at how much I missed my job.

From the time I was a child I knew I wanted to be a teacher until I hit middle school and felt called to missions. So it was no small providence that I combined both and ended up teaching English to international students. I loved it. I loved them. I was good at it and I thrived on it. Teaching ESL became a huge part of my identity. And teaching was the first job I ever enjoyed. I loved what I did and I loved who I worked with. My happiest memories of that job are the summer I worked 60 hours a week, even though I never slept or cooked anything decent. I fully expected to fall in love with my baby and be overjoyed to be home with him – and that happened. But I didn’t expect to grieve the loss of my job – which also happened.

After Malachi got older I started wanting to work part-time, teaching one or two clases a week. I knew I would like spending the majority of my time at home but also to go back to a job, ministry really, that was so fulfilling to me. The thought still appeals to me. I tried and asked and searched and attempted to tutor for a while but still there was nothing.

Then this past summer my old job offered me a class – one I had taught before and loved. I was thrilled – I nailed down childcare and talked to Jeremy and got way ahead of myself in my excitement. But after a lot of prayer and thought and agony, I turned it down. The timing was bad, the commute was bad, and it would have been really weirdly hard on my kids because of all the minutae.

Within a week a new ESL program was created in the city. It was intended as an adult community outreach. The faculty were diverse, it was close to my neighborhood, and they used curriculum I have used and taught before. I applied and interviewed and nervously waited and prayed. After my interview I discovered that although it was only 6 hours a week and payed well, it was during the worst possible 6 hours of my week it could be. I wanted the job but I didn’t want the job and I warred with myself over it while I waited for a call. Then finally I got the call and they had offered the job to someone else. My pride took a blow but my heart felt relief, and once again I was shocked.

Over the past few years my heart and mind have grieved and let go of my old job. I still miss it, but not in the same way. Letting go of a job and having a child is similar to letting go of your only child and having a second – the relatioship changes, who you are changes, and the adjustment is wonderful and priceless but also painful and surprising. I’ve also gotten really, really stupidly busy. I volunteer too much and take too much on and when I get stressed and overwhelmed it strains my relationships at home. Over the summer everything went on hiatus – both my volunteer positions, Malachi’s pre-school, Bible study, and at least half of our small groups. And it was wonderful. I had so much more patience with my kids, and we spent so much more quality time together. We baked cookies and went to the park and played games and napped and threw plans out the window to eat popcorn and watch movies instead. And in those moments, on those good days, I realized that THIS is what I want to be doing with my days. And that the biggest thing keeping me from it was my own overcommitedness (<– new word). I miss my old job because it was wonderful and I loved it, but it’s no longer what I want to do. Not all the time. I romanticized the wonderful aspects of it and diminished the things that would be challenging and God used two no-go job offers this summer to show me that.

I still hope down the road I can teach again and I believe I will. One day the timing will work out and my kids will be ready and I will be fully confident that it’s the right thing. But now I can look at it honestly. I can look at my kids and know without a doubt that I would rather be home with them. And I can look at my teacher-self and know that she is a part of me, too, and that one day she may get to shine again. But when I look at Christ, I realize that HE is what defines me. Everything I am – mother, wife, teacher, leader, volunteer, friend – is tied up in Who He is. And for this season, whether long or short I do not know, he has called me to be here, in this moment, with these children. Maybe I’ll get a job offer tomorrow and I’ll take it, maybe I’ll go back to work when my kids are in school, maybe I’ll homeschool and never go back to work, maybe we’ll move overseas and everything will change. I don’t know and that’s ok. This summer I needed to let go of what I thought I wanted to realize that I what I truly wanted is what I already have. And I have found so much freedom in that.

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Anger and compassion may be two sides of the same coin.

It’s so easy to call these people monsters. I’ve done it, I’ve felt it, and I’ve fought it to no avail. Developing compassion for abortive mothers took me a long time, and then I had to do it all over again when I became a mother. But I can understand – I can understand the desperation and the hopelessness and even the ignorance that could lead to that choice. I can’t understand the blatant selfishness, but I want to believe that’s not as common as it probably is. I have no sympathy for the “doctors” who took the vow to do no harm and who murder helpless innocents every day in the name of choice and personal autonomy. Who chooses that job? I mean, even if you believe with all your heart that the death penalty is justifiable, who would volunteer to pull the trigger? All day? Every day? If you believed with all your heart that you needed to bomb a building to end a war, but you knew there were civilians inside, who jumps at that opportunity, necessary though it may be? So even if you ideologically believe that abortion is not only justifiable, but right, who wants that job? Maybe they don’t want it. Maybe they’re stuck. But still, who can do that day in and day out? How can you live with that dichotomy?

If you watched this video, you probably remember the part where the abortionist, who is graphically and untruthfully describing the development of a 24-week old fetus, tells the mother “I don’t want you to torture yourself.” I don’t even know how to process that statement. Don’t torture yourself over your decision to end the life of this child who, yes, has organs and a face. Or, don’t torture yourself with a baby – torture the baby instead. Or maybe, in a very twisted way, this woman actually had compassion for the mother. She really wanted her to live a life free of guilt. She really didn’t want her to suffer. Maybe there is something I can relate to in that. Maybe if I had lived a different life, grown up in different circumstances, maybe I would be in her shoes.

Yes, she is a monster. It takes a monster to kill babies every day. It takes a monster to kill a child while her own child kicks inside of her. It takes a monster to look at a person and say, “You do not have enough value to live.” It takes a monster to look at a person and say, “My life is worth more than yours.” It takes a monster to call someone else a monster from a seat of superiority. It takes a monster to look at someone and say, “I don’t know how God’s grace could possibly cover you.”  

I am a monster. You are a monster. She is a monster. And truthfully, the word monster just means “human.” But Christ died for all of us. He put on flesh to set us free. And His grace is sufficient for all our sin. Praise God that he didn’t leave me in the mud and blood I was wallowing in when He found me. Praise God that he can pull any monster out of any mire and that He loves us enough to reach down and lift our faces towards Him. Praise God that the same Father who rocks the murdered babies of millions of mothers is waiting with open arms for those mothers and their doctors to come home.

You can always come home.

A Secret

Last Fall I went through Beth Moore’s Bible study on secrets. The entire summary of it is this: Secrets manifest. They always do, in one way or another. Bad secrets that are never told in words are exposed in the lines on our faces, the way we treat others, the dreams we live at night, anxiety, eating disorders, anger. But there are good secrets, too. Things we keep to ourselves so that God can get the glory later.

Sometimes we confess something before the Lord privately, but we never talk about it. We carry the guilt as a secret – even though we think we’ve dealt with it, we can’t even whisper the words of it out loud.

That’s what happened to me a few months ago. It was time to go and we were late – really late. And I was tired – really tired. Malachi had been at his worst and today was no different. No matter what I told him he did the opposite. I pulled out his brown sneakers and he insisted on the white ones. I asked him to walk to the door and he had to stop in his room to get things. And then we walked to the front door and I saw it – the pile of toys I’d bought on sale for Christmas that I had accidentally left on the couch. Well of course he rushed over and absolutely ignored my every call for him to come to the door. Finally I lost it. I got angry – really, really angry. I was stressed and late and none of that was his fault, but I took it out on him. He burst into tears, upset and scared, and immediately my stomach dropped and I realized how awful the whole thing was. And for whatever reason, even after I apologized to him and prayer journaled about it, I carried that guilt for weeks. I could not get over it.

So I told my husband, thinking maybe that would help. And he understood my guilt and did not condemn. He told me he thought Malachi didn’t even remember. But it didn’t help.

I told myself I was making a bigger deal out of it than it was. I told myself that Malachi had forgiven me and I needed to forgive myself, too. I ignored the guilt that wouldn’t go away.

Then I remembered something we’d talked about in the Bible study – the power of spoken-aloud prayer. I am an avid prayer-journaler and rarely pray aloud for that reason, but one day I was in the shower and I just couldn’t take it anymore. No one was around and I just poured out my heart to God. I told Him about my guilt, about how confused I was over it. I told Him how I just couldn’t get over it and begged that He would help. I just verbally gave it over.

I did feel lighter but still not great when I sat down to do my Bible study homework that day. We were supposed to read a passage from Hebrews and as I picked up my iPod to use my Bible app, the Lord whispered, “Use your regular Bible.” I’m reading through the amplified Bible right now, and to be honest, I find it more exhausting than encouraging most of the time. So I wasn’t too excited, but I did it anyways. And this is what I read:

For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning.
Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].
Hebrews 4:15-16, AMP

Tears streamed down my face. Mercy for our failures. Mercy for our failures. This was what God was trying to tell me – Yes, you did fail. But I have mercy for you. I have forgiven you. His grace isn’t just sufficient for my imperfections – He has abundant mercy even in my failure.

When I closed my Bible study book I moved on to my daily Bible reading, which passage happened to be my favorite story in all the Bible – John 21. When Peter – crazy, overzealous, relate-able, wonderful Peter – sees the Lord on the beach. He hasn’t spoken to him since before His death, and their last interaction was the knowing look Christ gave Peter right after he denied Him. Can you imagine the utter guilt Peter was feeling? So instead of helping the disciples paddle quickly to shore, Peter puts on his coat and jumps in the water, swimming for all he’s worth to reach the sand. Later, when they were walking, Christ asked him,

“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these do?” He replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.” Jesus told him, “Feed my lambs.”  Jesus said a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.” Jesus told him, “Shepherd my sheep.”  Jesus said a third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that Jesus asked him a third time, “Do you love me?” and said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus replied, “Feed my sheep.”

And in that moment, after I had spoken my ugly secret into the open and laid it before the Lord in our beautiful secret place, He whispered to me, “Your children are my sheep. Shepherd them.”

God had walked me through the restoration process, and there, sitting on my bed, crying tears of joy and resting in the arms of my Father, for the first time in weeks, I was free.

He has mercy for your failures. Trust Him.

Night terrors and a Father’s heart

Malachi just woke up from his nap crying again. This has been going on for weeks now. He wakes up about an hour in, confused and mostly asleep, scared and clingy. I brush his sweaty hair out of his eyes and hold him. I pray with him and sing to him. Eventually I put him back in bed and usually he goes back to sleep for a good long time. But sometimes he doesn’t. Sometimes he just cries and clings and sobs, “See Mommy! See Mommy!” and clutches me as tight as he can. Those days I let him get up and then watch as he slowly eases out of his sleep state, watches a show, and then starts melting down a couple hours before bed because he’s so exhausted.

Most of the time the pray-sing-rock system works for us, but a couple of weeks ago he was having a really rough time and I started searching online a little bit. Several moms were saying that the best thing you can do is to ignore it. Going in, rocking, or otherwise interacting with your child can apparently make it even worse and harder for them to get through. They don’t remember it when they wake up anyways so even though it’s hard you have to let them get through it.

Well….. that sucks. Like really sucks. It made my stomach turn to think about ignoring my boy while he was crying and even saying “See Mommy!” I didn’t choose to go that route and I’m glad, but it did get me thinking about the way God relates to us as Father. I wonder if sometimes when we are crying and scared and wondering where He is, if He is really right there, standing outside the door, with tears in His eyes because He hates to see us in pain. I wonder if He knows that we feel abandoned, but He also knows how incredibly unabandoned we are. That in the moments when we wonder most where He is, that He is hyper-alert of exactly where we are. And if when we think He is making it a million times worse for leaving us alone, that He is actually right outside the door choosing to let us cry it out, losing sleep with us, crying with us, joining in our pain, and rejoicing over us the first time we get a full night’s sleep.

I’m no theologian, but I am a mom, and every time my heart breaks over my children I get a clearer picture of what it looks like when the Father’s heart breaks over us.

As a mother comforts her son, so will I comfort you.” ~Isaiah 66:13a

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On revelations, pain, prayer, and hair-raising shivers

I was just about to get Malachi set up for lunch when he walked into the room saying “ouchy.” He was holding the left side of his forehead. I said, “Is your head ouchy, baby? Did you bonk it?” And then he scared me – he started saying “Ouchy, ouchy, OUCHY!” and grabbing at his head. He was in obvious pain. He started screaming and looked at me with panic in his eyes, getting more and more upset. In my gut I knew this was not good. He was in serious pain – it was probably a headache – but why did it come on so fast and so strong? I carried him into his room, shut off the light, and rocked him. He clutched at his eyes and cried. It seemed like a fast-onset migraine but it didn’t feel right, and I was scared.

But then something happened. With a feeling inside me that I’ve never had before, I put my hand on my son’s head and said, “In Jesus’ name, take the pain away. In Jesus’ name, take the pain away. In Jesus’ name, take the pain away.” I’ve never felt like that – it was all authority and faith and helplessness and confidence and eye-of-the-storm calm. And my crying, screaming, panicking boy sat up and stopped crying. I said it again and he slowly opened his eyes. I said it again and he looked at me. I carried him out to the living room and gave him a snack and some juice. About five minutes later he started saying “ouchy” and grabbing at his head again. And again, I walked up to him, laid my hand on his head, and said “In Jesus’ name, take the pain away.” And again, he immediately stopped crying, opened his eyes, and relaxed. And then he said, “Ouchy all gone.”

I don’t really know how to describe what I felt. I’ve prayed for healing and seen answers before, but never quite like this. Never so immediate, and never in response to a command (not just a request). I watched him like a hawk all afternoon and he was absolutely perfectly fine. My hair stood on end every time I relived my prayer for him and the Spirit I felt inside me.

My sophomore year of college I got paired up with a prayer and accountability partner who is still one of my closest friends. My relationship with her that year was one of the most spiritually profound of my life. Every week – every. week. – she and I would each, separately, hear extremely specific and out-of-the-blue things from the Lord to pray for each other. We would write down the day and time and then find out from each other what happened when we met again. Once I started praying as fast and furiously as I could for safety, safety, “Keep her safe, God!” And then about five seconds later my heart-rate slowed and I prayed, “Now give her peace.” When I asked her about it later I found out that she had almost been in a car accident and she had to pull over to calm down afterwards. Once when I was in one of the happiest times of my life I was privately struggling with some major doubt about a specific relationship and that doubt was tearing me apart. No one knew and I was too embarrassed to admit it. It came to a head while I was out of town, I prayed for the millionth time for clarity and peace, but this time – boom – it came. And I had complete and total confidence in the way I should move in the relationship and complete peace that it was the right decision. Beka had prayed in that exact moment that I would see truth. And she had prayed that all week for me until God let her go.

Much to my sorrow, this prayer relationship only lasted that one year. But occasionally we each still feel pushed to pray something very specific. After Malachi’s headache I texted Beka and asked her what she had just prayed for me, and she told me safety and calm.

Well then. If she felt led to pray for safety then maybe the gut-feeling I had that Malachi’s head pain was not a small thing was true. And the calm – Lord knows I needed that.

A couple times that day Malachi talked about what happened again. He would say, “Mommy Jesus ouchy all gone.” And I said, “That’s right, baby boy. Mommy prayed and Jesus made your ouchy go away.” And now almost every time he hurts himself just a little bit he immediately folds his hands and says, “Mommy, Jesus!” because he wants me to pray for him.

God has given me this incredible responsibility and opportunity to guide my children up in the way they should go. With my husband, to shepherd their hearts and lead them to salvation. Is there any greater responsibility in this life? Any greater privilege? It weighs on me and it’s a good weight most of the time. But lately it’s become too heavy and Jesus says His yoke is light. The incredible thing is that now my son associates both healing and comfort with prayer. I know that he will have to face pain. I know that there may be times when he begs God for relief and instead of being met with healing he is given a hand to squeeze through the pain. But in this moment, God chose to heal him. And in this moment, God taught me that my responsibility is not to do His job. It’s to point my son’s attention to the ways God is already working. God will reveal Himself to my son, and that is magnificent to behold.

Mommy, Jesus, ouchy all gone.

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The Hammer

This post has been a long time in coming. I keep waiting until I’ve processed, or waiting until I’m “ready” and I think this is as good as it’s going to get.

For as long as I can remember I have claimed to be pro-life. I have fiercely declared it, defended it, argued it, wept it, and bled it. I never memorized the pro-life arguments because I never had to. I feel them in my bones. I never needed a picture of a dismembered fetus to convince me it was a child. I have felt them in my womb. And I never needed anyone to explain to me why their right to life is more important than my right to my own body, because God has written that on my soul. He declared long ago on a cross that a parent’s own body is a sacrifice for the life of their children.

And yet here I am, realizing that I’m not that pro-life at all.

If there is one thing God has pounded into my soul over and over this year it is that my actions, not my convictions, define my faith. I say I want the world to know Him, but what am I doing about it? I say I want to love my neighbor, but when was the last time I talked to them? I say I follow Him, but exactly which of His footsteps am I walking in? And like a hammer, over and over I hear Live it out. Live it out. Live it out.

I may believe that I’ve been pro-life for 26 years, but I’ve really just been anti-abortion.

Being anti-abortion is sharing blog posts and reading articles and debating and spouting facts and voting. But being pro-life is kneeling down in the trenches and lifting someone out of death. It’s not just saving a life, but giving it a chance to be truly lived. Life is sacred. Every life is sacred. The unborn child’s life is sacred. The pregnant teenager’s life is sacred. The irresponsible father’s life is sacred. The post-abortive woman’s life is sacred.

And God keeps hammering. What are you doing? What are you doing? What are you doing?

I’m raising awareness. I’m staying informed. I’m voting. I’m praying. I’m getting angry at lawmakers and the president and Planned Parenthood and women and I am grieving over the thousands of children who die every day so that someone else might live as they wish. I’m wishing I had the courage to be a sidewalk counselor and the money to March for Life and the power to change someone – anyone’s – mind.

And then God reminds me that I don’t need any of that, because I have Him. I have a spring of life welling up to overflowing inside me, and I am called to share this water with the weary, the angry, the innocent, the guilty, the broken, the selfish, and the afraid so that they might have life in abundance.

He reminds me that if I am not for Him, I am against Him. And I wonder, if I am not for life, actively for life, am I against it?

Obey. Obey. Obey.

I contacted a pregnancy center this week about volunteering. My heart is full.