Despite our government sending billions of dollars to Syrian rebels, and hundreds of millions to Egypt, in the same week of the furloughs, our government found it necessary to cut jobs and force paycuts for hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of Americans. Not that 1% group who may not notice large pay cuts, but simple middle class people trying to eek out a living.
My hubby was one of them.
I wasn’t as mad at our own situation as I was about the injustice of it, and even the fact that other conservatives, albeit well-meaning, announced ‘Yay! Good! The government NEEDS to cut spending! Woo hoo!” They maybe didn’t realize that WE are that cut.
It’s not that we are just all warm and fuzzy about working for the government. But it has been a blessing for our large family, to keep us barely above water as we slowly build our other businesses back up again.
Still, I was angry. But I remembered something I had heard years ago, from Fr. Frank Pavone regarding pro-life work: He said to NOT squelch our anger about the injustice of women and children being harmed or killed by abortion. That surprised me at first… we are supposed to be angry? Yes, he said, our anger is just… HOWEVER, we are not to sit with that anger and stop there. We must use it as fuel to do works of charity, to funnel it into GOOD, to save lives.
And so by the end of Friday, with holy rebellion, I decided that I WAS going to go to that 40 Days for Life rally outside Planned Parenthood on March 4th, the upcoming Monday. I didn’t care if there was a blizzard, and I was going to pack all 8 kids in the van, and darn it, the laundry and whatever else (like business building) would have to wait. In my head, I said, “Really? Gunna try to knock us down with a seCASTRATION? (my new coined word for it)? Well, then, I’ll just get back into fighting for those who have more than their pay to defend. So there. Yeah.”
Why did I challenge the blizzard thing?
Sure enough, right when we were packing up to leave (we live an hour and a half away from the PP location), a whiteout started. Just like that. No visibility, and black ice. Nice.
Normally, all this Florida girl needs is a snow cloud to opt to stay in. Not this time. Go ahead. Try a pillar of fire. I am getting there. (and then I squeaked out a little prayer… “PLEASE, God? Please get us there safely? Pretty please?”
So with gritted teeth I arrived at the prayer rally, kids in tow. As we walked against the brutal 20 degree or less windchill wind, the kids were silent. As for me, I heard myself start to whine. “Oh my gosh, it is freezing! Ouch! My face is burning!”
As we reached the small crowd, I suddenly realized something, and my mind and heart started to give me a nice little reprimand. Maybe it came from the Holy Spirit… I don’t know… but I felt it in my being: “Really, Shal? A little snow is bothering you? Are you serious? You have become too comfy now, haven’t you, in your warm home writing blogs. You think THIS is something? It’s not like there are Nazis next to you with loaded weapons aimed at your kids’ heads. It’s just a wee bit cold.”
I was silent and humbled after those thoughts occurred to me. And I noticed that everyone else was standing still, listening attentively to David Bereit, the humble founder and one of the leaders of 40 Days for Life. I knew that he, as well as the small dedicated crowd around me, had seen many a bad-weather day, not to mention more frightful battles. I surprised myself at how much of a wimp I had become…
I realized that I needed this. I needed to be reminded that fighting for life, just like those who fought for our country’s freedom and those who fought against slavery, is not a sideline activity. Victory won’t be accomplished with comfort or excuses like, “well, I, um, don’t feel comfortable standing out there. You know, it’s not my thing, even though I am pro-life.” Or, “it’s too cold”, or “I have little children”, or “I’m working on my business and we have financial issues.”
Why do I mention these excuses? Because I have used every single one of them, and more. If anyone shouldn’t logically have been out there that day, it would have been me driving through a whiteout with 8 children, including a little baby. But I don’t recall the Gospel and the call of the 12 being all that logical by world’s standards either. Neither was the crucifixion. Neither was Jesus choice of who He even called. I mean, uh, some fishermen? A tax collector?
I and my family are not a logical choice at all. Not only did we lose a ton of money in the past by doing pro-life ministries, but we were discouraged by even our own past communities from being involved. We were discouraged by our past financial losses and our personal family struggles. And certainly, wouldn’t it make the most sense to be putting out resumes like there was no tomorrow the business day after a furlough? Sure, but that would be “man’s” thinking. But God’s ways are not man’s ways. And it just so happens, the man who got the furlough, my hubby, was there, too. That’s because he has his eyes on eternity and truth.
And let me tell you, from the crowd that was there, (and I’m not a betting woman) but I would bet that everyone there had something better they could have been doing than standing in the freezing cold praying for an end to abortion and listening to violent people shout profanity from the side of the road. I wasn’t sure there were any millionaires there, or people with perfect families, or people who have not a worry in the world. Even a priest was there who is fighting thyroid cancer. And there were plenty of children, from babies to teens. So what’s our excuse?
Friends, the battle for life is not for wimps. Yeah, I am pretty wimpy. I like the heater turned up high in the winter and I love steak dinners and chatting with my friends. I love my farm and raising my babies (not in that order ;)) The last thing in the world I want to do is stand in that ugly place of death. If you enjoy standing there, there’s probably something wrong in your head. But I HAVE to. And not because I am just an activist for some political cause. Because Jesus is, and I assure you He IS, going to ask me, and the rest of us, what did I do to care for and love the “least of these”, the poor? There is no one poorer than the naked little baby in the womb who has nothing but an umbilical cord and whose life is threatened for convenience’ sake. They can’t hold up a sign that says ‘Will Work for Life.”
But we can.
We can tell ourselves that there are better things to do. I know I have for a good many years. We can tell ourselves that we don’t want our children in that horrible place. Do you think I do? Of course not. But like it or not, our children will inherit this battle, and I guarantee it will be more intense than it is now. How are we preparing our little soldiers? First, of course, we must pray for strength. But then, what does all our “Lord, Lord” mean if we don’t DO anything about the atrocities being committed in our city of Colorado Springs, and in all the many cities across the world?
I want to thank David Bereit for his great words of encouragement, his humble leadership and declaration of truth, and his commitment to do whatever it takes to defend life. I want to thank all of you who came on that frigid day, not because you are crazy pro-life freaks, but because your love contains sacrifice and depth and willingness to give up comfort for the cause of life.
And I thank all of you who couldn’t be there that particular day, but are also champions for life and participate in the most blessed and fruitful mission of 40 Days for Life, whether by prayer and fasting, or by prayer, fasting, AND being a living witness on the sidewalk. Your prayers are with all of us!
Onward march, my friends, and know that Goliath’s days are numbered!!
Please enjoy these beautiful pictures from the 40 Days for Life Prayer Rally from March 4th, 2013 in Colorado Springs! 😉