What it Means to be Pro-Life

Sometimes there are these hallmark moments in your life.

You know what I mean? The moment your clumsy baby rises to his feet and stands, only to take his first steps. You couldn’t have orchestrated the ordinary glory of that moment if you tried, and it’s a moment you will never forget.

Or the moment you sit in your living room with an assortment of various women, crying tears together unashamedly, communing together for one purpose.

It’s two am on a Friday morning and I’m wide awake with a grateful heart for that. But the story doesn’t start there.

What does it mean to be pro-life? I’ve been asking myself this question all throughout the summer, in the aftermath of ISIS and Planned Parenthood and the refugee crisis, thinking about all this havoc of death in our world. So much death and I’m over here asking myself, What does it mean to be pro-life?

In between picking weeds in my wanna-be garden and watering plants in those porch window boxes chipping royal blue paint, splashing in the waves at the beach and scrubbing hardwood floors and buying baby gifts for the new swarm of babies coming into the community, I’m asking myself if I really am pro-life.

Because you can have all the philosophy in the world that you want, but if your philosophy doesn’t take form in your life, it is nothing but philosophy and that means nothing.

I need something tangible. What does it mean for me to be pro-life? I want to get beyond the polls and get real. I’m not saying it doesn’t matter, but voting doesn’t touch people’s lives and change people’s hearts.

My sister sat in a doctor’s office this summer and had a doctor offer her an abortion. “I know abortion is real,” She said to me, “But when all of a sudden, you have someone offer you an abortion, it changes how you think about it.”

I’m staring at these pictures.

Anja_blackandwhite7 IMG_4405 Anja_blackandwhite13IMG_4383 IMG_4394 Anja_blackandwhite2

Tucked inside my sister’s skin, somewhere underneath her heart, there is a precious baby girl with a beating heart. Her name is Anja Adelle and she has been diagnosed with spina bifida.

And there are people in this world who would have willingly snuffed out her life, who would have taken her very breath, because they can and because our 21st-century mindset says that we’d be doing Anja Adelle a favor not to live.

You look at the love on that mother’s face for her child and you tell me that we’d be doing Anja Adelle a favor not to live, not to breathe, not to know the favor of a father’s blessing and the nurture of a mother’s love.

You look at the love on that mother’s face for her child and you tell me that we’d be doing Anja Adelle a favor not to see her mama’s big blue eyes smile at her.

You look at the love on that mother’s face for her child and you tell me that we’d be doing Anja Adelle a favor not to meet her brother and her sister who tell their parents, at four and two years old, that they are going to take care of their baby sister and help her.

You look at the love on that mother’s face for her child and you tell me that we’d be doing Anja Adelle a favor not to ever see the sun shine and the leaves change color and the snow fall, not to ever hear rain on the roof and the wind blowing through the trees and the melody of music.

Anja Adelle is not the one that is handicapped. We are.

If we have gotten to the place in our lives as people, where we think we’d be doing our unborn children a favor not to live, we don’t know what it means to live.

Tonight, in my little living room on North Morgan Street, candles burned and music played and a group of women gathered on a blustery October evening to celebrate the gift of Anja Adelle.

And I felt it, as the tears ran down my face, as women shared blessings of hope and prayed powerful words and spoke life to my sister and her unborn daughter, that this is what it really means to be pro-life.

Seeing every child – every person – as the fearfully and wonderfully-made gift that they are. Voting pro-life, talking pro-life and taking a pro-life stance does not necessitate that we are pro-life. We must be pro-life.

We must be the people that come alongside every mom and says, “I’m here. I’m going to be your community. I’m going to bring you a meal and you don’t have to have an immaculately clean house when I come. I’m going to be your friend, the kind of friend that’s there to give you a hug when you need to say “I CAN’T do this anymore”. I’m going to be the community that drops by your house just because – because we all need a friend and a person and a face from outside our own four walls sometimes. I’m going to be that person that will take your colicky baby from you and tell you to go on a walk for some space to breathe. I’m going to be the community that doesn’t just shower the mom with blessings for her first baby, but recognizes that every baby needs celebrated.”

If we are going to say that we are pro-life, we must be the people that do more than cast the votes and give the money. We must be the hands that serve and the feet that go. We must be the kind of community that answers yes to caring about every issue that interfaces with humanity. We must be the voice that says, “I’m here for you.”

I have wrestled deeply with my humanity this year, as my heart has wanted to do so much more than I, one person, possibly can. The reality is? I simply can’t be a good mama to my Cub, a loving wife to my Man, the personal rescuer of sex slaves, the liberator of the Isis-persecuted, the housing for refugees in crisis, the answer to all these humanitarian problems. I want to be and I can’t.


if we are the people that say yes to every life, we are the people that care about every life. We are the people touched by the horror, inspired with courage, and compelled by love to willingly, openly and unapologetically stand for every life starting in our own communities.

And I think that is what it really means to be pro-life.                   Anja_blackandwhite.


15 thoughts on “What it Means to be Pro-Life

  1. Bravo!! We have been attending revival meetings and last evening the message was a tribute to Mothers! I came away blessed and encouraged in God’s choice and plan for me to embrace the gift of motherhood. God convicted my husband and I many years ago that it was up to Him how many children we should have and we believed Him and walked in obedience to that conviction. He gave us 13 living children, and has 4 waiting for us in heaven. God did not choose for us the path of a handicapped child, he led us down our own very difficult path, but He has been GOOD, through it all. He is Lord!! We didn’t do it all right!!! Oh how we know that! But He led us and we followed and I am so thankful to Him! I have asked Him many times why he allowed infertility in one of my daughters, handicapped child in another, and such fertility in me, one so very imperfect. Then I read these blogs and I think, well, maybe all of our parenting imperfections have worked in the lives of those he gave us to bring Glory to His Name!! Hallelujah! That’s what we live to do!

  2. Yes, Mom, glory to His name! He is good all the time and I am SO thankful that God never asks us to do things perfectly, but trust in Him! He is a Redeemer! Love you.

  3. As the mother of a daughter who also has spina bifida, I appreciated this piece. We wouldn’t trade our “Sunshine,” as her dad calls her for anything. Not only does she have a life, she has a good life. Every baby is placed in his/her mother’s womb by God, and He knows what He is doing. 🙂

  4. My cousin was born with spina bifida. At birth his mother was told that the nurses would just take him away(to let him die). My aunt refused. The hospital refused to provide an ambulance to transport him to another hospital that would provide care. He couldn’t be in a regular car seat due to the sack of spinal fluid on his back. They told her they would not help because he would not live through the night. Doctors told her later he would not live to 6 months, then 2 years, finally at 4 years she told them she didn’t want to hear it anymore. He turned 32 this year.

  5. What a way with words you have! Beautiful, poetry. What a blessing to God’s family is Anja Adelle.

  6. Yes!! This is so true, Dirinda. God bless you, brave mama, you. What a GIFT you have given your daughter, and what a gift you have received. God IS a giver of good things.

  7. Your words are beautiful. I too have been wrestling with what is required of me in relation to all the babies being killed in this country. Thank you for putting your words here for us to read.

    About a year ago, I received a basket from your ladies group. It was filled with gifts for our family and the coming baby. The card said, “we are excited about the fourth Zehr baby.” I am crying to remember how much that card and box meant to me.

  8. Renee, my friend,

    I love that you are blogging again. These past few days, I have been mulling over your words. My lips have always said, explicitly, that I am pro-life, but my thoughts, actions, and the implicit meaning of my words far too often have not.

    I have realized….to expect friends not to ask me to give my ‘free’ time to babysit their kids, because I am not the one who chose to have all those kids, is NOT pro-life.

    To be jealous of my sweet mama friends because I want a husband and kids of my own, is NOT pro-life.

    To wish that one or more of my students with all their neediness would not be in MY class, is NOT pro-life. Jesus, help me.

    Your words encouraged my heart this morning as I scrubbed my friend’s floors after getting up with her kids at 6:30 on a Saturday. Suddenly it didn’t matter that I have stacks of my own work waiting and haven’t had a free Saturday since I-don’t-know-when. “This,” I thought, “is pro-life.”

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