Some things a woman never forgets. Forty-eight years ago this month, I miscarried our first child. I clearly remember the feeling that others didn't understand how much I was grieving. My husband, worried about the excessive bleeding I had endured, was mostly just relieved that I was alright. Others expressed condolences, but often followed them up with, "Well, after all, you are young and you'll have other children." It was as if this baby wasn't real to anyone but me. I have always felt that this was a little girl, but had no way to confirm it. But, it was definitely real.
Why do I bring this up now? Recently in our house church, we had a Sunday dedicated to the memory of all the unborn children that women in our little community had lost. It was shocking to me that so many women had experienced this, and yet, as far as I know, no one ever had a memorial service to honor these children or to bring closure to the parents. On this morning, one young mother who had lost twins within the past two years, sang a touching song to the memory of these children and her husband read a poem she had written after the loss of these precious little souls. We shared our stories, we prayed, and hope from the Scriptures was given by our pastor. We celebrated that we will meet these children in heaven one day.
We live in a culture that has declared that a miscarried or aborted child isn't a person, but merely some sort of tissue and need not be mourned. A recent Super Bowl advertisement showing an ultra-sound of a baby in the womb and its unexpected birth went viral--with outrage from those whose agendas would be thwarted if the truth of this were believed. These protests declared that babies in the womb should not be "humanized". Imagine. . . humanizing a human!
God is clear in the Scriptures as to when life begins. Psalm 139 teaches that God forms our inward parts, knitting us together from conception in our mother's womb. We're taught that all children are a heritage from the Lord in Psalm 127. John (the Baptizer) recognized the presence of Mary and her recently conceived Baby Jesus while he was in his mother's womb in Luke 2. And so forth. All who know God and are committed to His Word vehemently declare that life is sacred--created by God in His image. Even when it never takes a breath outside the womb.
I believe this. I declare I am "pro-life" in the abortion debate. But I realized that I had functionally denied this belief for the past forty-eight years. You see, when asked "How many children do you have?" I would answer "Three". Even when our eldest son was killed, I continued to declare that "I have three children--all living, however Tim was already in heaven". Never once have I said, "I have four children, two of whom are with the Lord, waiting for me in heaven." Sharing the reality that my miscarried child is still REAL and LIVING is the ultimate "pro-life" statement for me.
I call on our churches to acknowledge this declaration of the sacredness of life. Have services to allow parents of miscarried (or aborted) children to share, mourn and then celebrate that these children still live. Allow parents who lose a child before the allotted nine months gestation time to grieve, with the support of the church. Share God's forgiveness for those who have chosen to abort their children. Administer grace. Declare the sacredness of all life.
The statue accompanying this post is called "Memorial to the Unborn Children". It was created by a Slovakian artist, Martin Hudáček, to draw attention to the devastation for a woman caused by the decision to abort. But, it can be seen as a memorial and comfort for women who have lost children in miscarriage or at birth as well. May it be used to declare the reality that these children live and that they are loved by God.
My husband and I have determined to go further to make this statement of "pro-life". Many years ago Glenn had a "mother ring" designed with the birthstones of our three children. Recently, we added the birthstones of our two in-law children as well. But, we're going one step further. This spring we will add a tiny ruby birthstone to the ring--a "forever" memorial to our precious little one who went into God's presence so many years ago.
To LIFE. . . .