Today is Sanctity of Life Sunday. For those of you who don’t know what Sanctity of Life Sunday is, it is typically observed the third Sunday in January. Different churches address it in different ways, but most use at least part of their Sunday morning or evening services to discuss abortion, euthanasia, cloning etc. The church my husband and I attend chose not to make that their primary focus this year (though they have done so in the past), but it was mentioned.
As I sat in the service I found myself wondering what exactly I was supposed to do about the “problem” of abortion.
Is the way I am living my life contributing or helping the situation?
Children are a treasure. But I wonder if in our fervor to act on this truth we aren’t in fact pushing people away.
I was married to Godly man and surrounded by family and church when I found out I was pregnant with our first child. And I was terrified. Despite growing up in a great home I felt as though I had no idea how to be a mom. I remember wondering a number of times who in their right mind would think it was a good idea for me, hardly more than a kid myself to be responsible for another human life.
I can remember multiple conversations with kind, loving, well meaning women who told me over and over again what a gift motherhood was. How being a wife and mother was the highest calling of a Christian Woman. How fulfilling it was to raise up the next generation of Godly leaders. How much they missed those days of being home with their little ones, cuddling, and snuggling, and changing diapers. How sweet it was to nurse their children and how bonded they felt with them during the process. How they cried when their children were finally weaned.
These women meant well, but let me tell you, after talking to them I was ready to give up before I even started. How on earth was I supposed to live up to this ideal motherhood? I was 22, married, and surrounded by a supportive community of family and friends. And I felt completely inadequate for the role of mother as it was presented to me by many well meaning “church people”. I can’t even imagine how I would have reacted had I been 18 and unsure of how those around me would respond. Actually I can, and you can bet your bottom dollar, abortion would have crossed my mind.
As it was I wasn’t able to embrace the thought of motherhood until a very insightful woman in my life spoke very honestly with me. She admitted to crying after learning of one of her pregnancies. She admitted to questioning her desires to be a mother. She admitted feeling sad for a long time after coming home from the hospital. She gave me wise counsel on how to handle the stress, and trials of motherhood. And, when I was ready, shared her stories of sweet moments, and all the reasons she loved being a mom. She painted mother hood as something real, something attainable, something I could do. Not the high calling of a saint.
In our attempt to value children, have we sugar coated motherhood? In our desire to inspire are we pushing away those mothers of young children who are struggling to find the joy in changing diapers. So often our heart is in the right place, but the way we present things is not always the most helpful.
In our attempt to “help” are we actually pushing away the women who need our encouragement the most. Are we so intent in living out Proverbs 31 that we unintentionally pushing away those who feel less successful. Are we ministering to the broken in our lives in real, genuine ways, or are simple handing out scripture like band-Aids.
I am thankful for the women in my life who listened to God’s prompting and supported me in possibly unconventional ways when I needed them the most.
“Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.” Proverbs 5:20