I had the amazing opportunity to speak at a church that I used to attend. My testimony about 40 Days for Life and my end to a life of being a passive pro-lifer sparked another hour of testimonies by adults and young people. All that happened seemed to me to be so miraculous, and I feel so grateful to have participated. here is how it happened.
My children, 21 year old Chris and 14 year old Mahriyanna, had started Fun Fellowship and Service, a group dedicated to helping young people reach out in service. They had chosen to publicize the kickoff to the 40 Days for Life as their first service project, resulting in 6 adults and 7 young people people attending this inspiring event. Every one who came were really motivated to participate, resulting in about 5 young people and 3 adults praying in front of Planned Parenthood in order to end abortion and raise awareness in both employees and abortion minded women.
I encouraged Chris to share his testimony as well as encourage others participating the share theirs at the Resurrection church where they all attend. Mahriyanna was going to make an announcement about the upcoming Loving Choices banquet that is a fundraiser fcr Loving Choices Crises Pregnancy Centers.
My former husband and children usually spend Sunday and Monday out at our country home near Kingston. Because I have been so busy with promoting and participating in the 40 Days for Life, I thought I would stay home this time. But something very strongly compelled me to work into the wee hours of the morning on Sunday to complete all my obligations so that I could get my ride to Living Springs, the neighborhood where we live.
I think God was whispering to me that maybe I could share my testimony at Resurrection Church. But the problem was that because of an unresolved conflict and misunderstandings occurring almost two years ago, I did not have permission to speak in front of the body. Anyone else could give testimonies during the sharing time…but not yours truly.
I decided to call one of the elders about an hour before the service began. I had about 2 minutes of energy left on my phone and it was rare for this particular elder to answer the phone in person. But he answered immediately, and I asked him permission to speak. He said that he had been getting my information about 40 days for life and that he thought it was a very important cause. He said I could speak. I was shocked but happy. I also impulsively said I wanted to have a meeting with the elders to resolve the past conflicts, and he agreed. My phone energy ran out almost immediately after the call.
When I got to the church, it was so beautiful because my two children and father of Chris got to sit together, something that had not happened in years. After the singing, praying, and a sermon, the elder who gave me permission to speak actually announced that I was going to speak about abortion. This was another shock. I thought I was just going to be another person sharing a spontaneous testimony. By inviting me up, he was giving me some degree of approval and credibility. That was huge coming from him. Also it was providential that he was speaking on the scripture of the Gospel of John first chapter which was about life.
I had been praying during the service that God would speak through me and I would really be lead by the Holy Spirit. I found myself looking forward to hearing what God had to say. \I was surprised that I wasn’t nervous at all. I was also surprised and encouraged when I got a smattering of applause when I walked to the podium.
I started out by sharing that I had come to a place where I was no longer fearful of what people think about me especially in the area of where I stand on the abortion issue. I confessed that I had been a passive pro-lifer and that I now realized that being passive and knowing the truth was almost as bad as being pro-abortion. I recalled what Jesus said about how it was worse to be lukewarm rather than hot or cold. I am still not sure if this is an exaggeration but it something I want to discuss with people and explore.
I realized even as I was speaking that if it was not for the courage of my kids who were willing and enthusiastic about promoting a pro-life event and risking rejection by abortion advocates, that my kids had fulfilled the teaching of Jesus that “a little child shall lead them.” My kids aren’t little, but they are still my children and they definitely motivated and inspired me. Sure, it had been my idea to support 40 Days for Life–but it was their actions and willingness and support that really started firing me up.
Surprising even myself, I was very firm and my kids said a bit “loud” when I told everyone that it was time for them to get off the fence. I compared the situation to the Holocaust when most of the churches were silent when it came to the killing of the Jews. I normally do not get on a soapbox, but I could not help myself as I shared with a strength and power that could have only come from God. I was pleased that everyone seemed to have their attention riveted on my words. I looked out at the people and only saw eyes and ears focused on what I perceived as God speaking through me. Even writing these words I want to erase them because I just don’t want to seem so highly spiritual that I could think such a thing. But with out notes, with out much fore thought, the sermon (that is really what it was) just flowed out. Even I was interested in what I was saying!
Covering such topics as the effectiveness of the loving and compassionate efforts of 40 days for life, how proud I was of this church that had an elder and members who were actively pro-life, and how grateful I was for people in the congregation to participate in the 40 Days for Life vigil and community outreach.
When I said that I was willing to lose a job because I worked for an abortion advocate who could fire me because of my strong position, I also got a round of applause. I showed them the Sept. 26 Sunday paper, I demonstrated that the only headline about abortion or pro-life was the obituary of Dr. Harrison who performed surgical abortions in Fayetteville up until about 5 weeks before he died of leukemia on Friday, Sept. 24. The obituary which took up a column and a half of the page was mostly an attack on pro-life people and and accolades about how he was such a hero because he stood up to the attacks of pro-life people. By the way, this was a paid advertisement. I wanted to make the point that abortion rarely mentioned in mainstream media. There is a very scary silence about this issues–again similar to the holocaust.
I wish I had looked at the clock because it would have been interesting to know how long I spoke to about 55 people. Time really stood still and I was in another realm it seemed. I concluded my sharing by asking people to get involved with 40 days for life, or help the local pregnancy crises center in Huntsville called open arms, or in some other way get involved. I was received with an enthusiastic wave of applause and then took my seat.
Later I asked my kids, who I have in the past at times embarrassed when I spoke passionately about something, about how they received my sermon. They were very encouraging and that was another plus to the experience. Although I don’t have a fear of what people think, I still want to be able to speak in ways that are connecting, motivating and inspiring.
When the two of the ladies who had attended the prayer vigil shared how touched they were by this experience as well as other super inspiring stories that will take up a few more blogs, I was in tears and so were they. About 5 other people shared as well, including my children. Chris encouraged people to sign up for an open time slot at the prayer vigil as well as shared his experience of attending the Kick Off and the prayer vigil. Mahriyanna, who said later that her heart was racing, seemed really calm as she shared from her heart how participating in the 40 days for life campaign was “liberating” for her. “I used to think I couldn’t do anything about abortion, but now I know I can do something constructive,” was one thing she said. Mahriyanna also made an announcement about the upcoming fund raiser for Loving Choices.
After the service, which lasted about 45 minutes longer than usual people really acknowledged me for getting so involved in this issue and thanked me. A young woman said she was going to start volunteering at the Open Arms center. Another person asked me more about praying at the vigil. One friend said with deep conviction and passion, “Patricia, I am so glad you and your family are spearheading this. ” I read into her words that she had wanted herself and the church to be more active.
My children also were acknowledged for their participation. Already they are thinking about the next birthday party this week in Fayetteville where they want to schedule a prayer vigil time before the festivities.
I felt uplifted, inspired, encouraged, and stoked by this experience. I think I just might be able to be a motivational speaker and apologist for the pro-life movement. Although I feel comfortable speaking, I have thought I am better one on one sharing. But now I am seeing the possibility of being a speaker. Whatever I can do to help the pro-life movement, I want to do it.
I just thank God and everyone who is doing the 40 Days for Life for helping me to discover what I am really passionate about promoting. In doing so, I also am part of the great Commission, for I think when people really wake up and see how destructive this silent holocaust is, pro-life Christians will be seen in a much more positive light and will be more open to receiving Christ as their saviour.