My husband, mother, and I were recently in Pennsylvania. Taking an early morning walk, Dave and I encountered two opposing groups positioned in front of a Planned Parenthood clinic. The abortion advocates were easily identified by their bright yellow vests, while the opposition held up signs denouncing abortion as murder. A trio quietly prayed the rosary while others were there to share their story. Such was the case of one young woman who wore a placard reading "I Regret My Abortion."
Amazed at her bravery, I stopped to meet her and ask how she had the guts to do what she was doing. She said the Holy Spirit led her into that ministry and that it was the one way she could "make it right." This bold advocate said most Saturday mornings she either stands in front of the abortion clinic or organizes retreats for men and women who have been involved in abortions, helping them to heal from the guilt and move on. She referred to them as "Rachel Vineyard" seminars and spoke of their successes.
I told this young woman how much I admired her, but as I left there, I had to question at what length I would go to do what she was doing, to die to myself so that others might be blessed and draw closer to God. Would I be willing to stand before my friends, family, and perfect strangers and admit such a deed? To risk others looking at me shamefully if they knew the truth about me? Could I ever, ever bring such a skeleton out of my closet? Or would I keep it my deep secret and pray that no one ever found out? I am not proud of my answer.
Scripture tells us we all fall short of the glory of God. None of us are without sin ... none. In spite of that sin, however, we are told to turn evil into good. In my travels as a speaker, I've met many who have made that choice. The drug addict heading up the support group for meth users. The adulterous husband who begged forgiveness and is writing a book on the evils of unfaithfulness. The embezzler who worked three jobs to pay back the stolen money while starting a charity in his hometown. My friend Debbie who led her son's murderer to Christ. Eileen, who spear-headed the construction of a home for prisoner's impoverished families, after her own son was incarcerated. And then there was this young woman, standing there on a street corner in front of an abortion clinic, trying to save others from making the same mistake she did.
Upon my return from Pennsylvania, I read the Tribune's article that a Rachel Vineyard representative was at the Kennedy Gym heading a "Silent No More" seminar to help women and men overcome the guilt and shame of abortion. How brave those attendees had to be to seek ways of dealing with their sin instead of remaining silent and allowing their past to dictate their present! How grace-full was the Catholic Church for bringing this message of hope to others instead of judging or criticizing them!
This Sunday, Oct. 3, the Life Chain, an annual peaceful and prayerful witness of pro-life individuals, will be held across the country. This is the 23rd year that cities throughout the United States and Canada have organized for such a cause, and Fort Scott is no exception. Locally, supporters for the sanctity of life are asked to meet at the First Southern Baptist Church at 1:30 p.m. where they will be handed pre-printed signs advocating the end of abortion. At 2 p.m. they will cross the road and stand (or sit, if they bring a lawn chair) for 60 minutes in solidarity, forming a human "chain" to share their beliefs that abortion ends the life of an unborn child. Hopefully you, like that brave young woman in Pennsylvania, will take advantage of such an opportunity and stand to make a difference in others' lives.