Listening to All Women: Michelle’s Hurrah and Rachel’s Lament

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Massacre of the Innocents by Peter Paul Rubens

A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted,
Because they are no more.”

Michelle Wolf’s recent display of insensitivity concerning abortion has prompted me to share a poem that I wrote near the turn of the century after I read Dr. David Reardon’s book,  Making Abortion Rare: A Healing Strategy for A Divided Nation.

In the book, in his research, and in his entire ministry, Dr. Reardon focuses on the women in crisis who are daily exploited for profit by a massive abortion industry in our country and around the world.  It’s not that he doesn’t care about the unborn; he just understands that what is genuinely best for any pregnant woman will be best for her unborn child as well.  And that’s the message we need to bring into the public discussion of abortion.

I call Michelle Wolf’s attempt at comedy in defense of abortion insensitive because it is the kindest word I can find for it.  She has to be oblivious to the pain she could cause the millions of women who grieve the death of the millions of children sacrificed on the altar of abortion “rights.”  I can’t imagine that any woman would deliberately salute and celebrate a relentless instrument of human destruction, if she actually understands that it tortures and torments millions of her sisters.

Twenty years ago, Dr. Reardon made me think deeply about those sisters and their   heart-breaking stories of loss, regret, and grief.  I wrote Rachel’s Comfort for them, and I share the poem now to encourage more of them to boldly enter the discussion we must have.  I don’t want to persuade those who celebrate abortion to change their minds.  I do want to persuade them to listen to the grieving women who are living victims of abortion.

Justice Kennedy’s retirement has finally forced our nation to have this long overdue discussion about the reality of abortion that goes deeper than bumper stickers.  Dr. Reardon’s research showed me that the emotional and psychological pain that abortion caused women I know and love is common, and we must be allowed to openly acknowledge that emotional and psychological pain is “a highly probable side-effect.”  Since Roe v Wade made abortion on demand the law in our nation, millions of mothers have been convinced that destroying children in the womb is legalized violence against women for profit, and their voices must be heard.

Rachel’s Comfort is the story of the woman who believed she had no choice but to end the life of her child. It is the story of the woman whose choice to keep her child was stolen from her by circumstances, parents, an irresponsible father, or abortion advocacy.  It is a story of all the women who found out too late that abortion is bondage, not liberation.

 

Rachel’s Comfort*

In the heart of the Father a child was conceived:

God made man from dust and life to him breathed.

In beautiful Eden with creation’s work done

The Lord walked with Adam like Father with son.

With His image reflected in husband and wife,

God gave them His seeds to perpetuate life.

But a once perfect creature, now with pride-blinded eyes,

Watched loving companions he chose to despise.

A false promise of freedom tore them apart.

It was death to God’s children and grief to God’s heart.

 

In a moment of passion a child is conceived:

Sweet blessing rejected with parents deceived

By the same subtle creature who still whispers lies,

For those of God’s image he will always despise.

He reaps from the curse that was sown by his deed

When he started the great war against woman’s seed.

He continues to promise her freedom of choice,

While crushing each mother who follows his voice.

Now using a surgeon he tears them apart;

It’s death for her child, and it’s grief for her heart.

 

In the heart of a mother the child she conceived

Left her with an anguish that can’t be relieved.

For the guilt that she carries presses on her each day

As she longs for the baby her choice threw away.

Like Rachel in Ramah, she weeps in distress

While she clutches her two empty arms to her breast.

She must live with a secret too painful to share;

Her freedom was sold in a trap of despair

Where memory lingers as dark as the tomb

Of one precious life that was sucked from her womb.

 

In the womb of a virgin a Child was conceived

To bring Life Eternal for the world to receive.

God came to His own as the Lamb who was slain.

His cross was our price which He freely ordained.

The sin of the world crushed One pure, sinless heart,

As the cross bridged the gulf that kept us apart.

God suffered and died for His children that day

Blood poured from His side to wash sin away.

Then rising in power Christ set captives free,

With the right to choose life in God’s family.

 

In the heart of the Father a child was conceived,

With pardon and healing for the one who believed

In the Father of Life and the Son Whom He gave

To die on the cross so her soul could be saved.

In this world her baby cannot be restored,

But there’s comfort in knowing he is held by her Lord

Who recorded each teardrop when she wept alone

And gently, so gently kept calling her home

Until she surrendered to His voice of love.

Now she is God’s child: she’s been born from above.

 

*I have always imagined this poem set to simple music in a range that any woman could sing.  I pray it may become a song to bring healing to the living victims of abortion. 

 

 

 

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God’s voice in the storm

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From early Friday morning until late Saturday afternoon, images of whirlpools and roller coasters flitted into my mind again and again, as seven women plunged deep and soared high exploring the endless love of God together.

It began with a rather humorous reminder that our loving Father in heaven cares about the details of our lives.  If we watch carefully we can see His hand in the what, the when, the where, the how, the why, and the who of everything.  On Friday morning we were paying close attention.

Our plan to overnight at Camp Harmony to discuss the feminine in the image of God had been in place for two months when an impending ice storm threw everything into question.  On Wednesday Kristina and Mary Ellen cancelled, but Shari accepted a last minute invitation. Teresa was still undecided, but Joy, Natalie, Anna, Elaine and I were committed in spite of the ominous forecast. Just before I went to bed on Thursday, I emailed Camp Harmony to confirm reservations for six and possibly seven.

Friday morning while I was still asleep, Elaine and Natalie exchanged a flurry of messages to explore the possibility of meeting somewhere along the turnpike for a few hours instead of overnight at Camp.  Anna awakened me with a text to tell me that a location for our meeting was under discussion. I emailed Deb (the office manager at Camp) to warn her of a possible cancellation, and sent a text to Joy.  The hook-up along the turnpike presented a few problems: Natalie wasn’t free until four, we didn’t have immediate contact with all involved, and I can’t drive on unfamiliar roads after dark because of my cataracts.

It was after eight when I discovered that Elaine and Natalie were not texting as Anna had assumed, but rather they were using Facebook messenger.   I still had no contact information for Shari who I hadn’t met, or Judy who decided to come with Shari after I signed off Facebook on Wednesday. I emailed Deb again to say there were three possibilities: reservations for five, reservations for six, or complete cancellation.  Then Teresa joined in on messenger to say she decided not to venture out into the coming storm. (Reservations for five)  I acknowledged her wisdom and wondered if perhaps we should all just follow her example.

Joy finally entered the fray at 8:30 and she was game for anything! She suggested that the two of us meet Anna and Elaine for just two hours, but for me the appeal of staying warm and safe in my own home during an ice storm grew stronger.  So I asked the Lord to make our path clear—and the phone rang.

Elaine was on her way to pick up Anna (without night gear). They would drive the entire distance to Camp, meet us in the cabin from 1-6, and drive the four hours back to reach home before the ice hit. Of course Joy was totally in favor of the new twist in our ever-bending plan. We agreed to stay in the cabin overnight and drive home Saturday after the roads were cleared and the sun was high.  Natalie was at work and off the grid, but we assumed she would join us.  Both the identities and the plans of Shari and Judy were still a mystery to us as we moved forward.

This time I called Deb to confirm that we would have at least three for the overnight with two day visitors.  She laughed and said that the cabin was open on Saturday night and we could stay till Sunday when the roads would be completely clear.  I called Anna and told her Joy and I would meet them at the cabin, and mentioned that it was open the next night. Without Elaine’s night gear (which includes bedding), that option was off the table for the two of them.

I picked up Joy just after eleven.  We laughed about the ups and downs in the five hours of wild texting, messaging, phoning, and emailing that brought us to that point. That point, to be precise, was less than a mile into our journey. Joy’s phone pinged. Elaine’s message said they would not reach Camp until two because they were circling back to get her night gear so they could stay with us until Sunday morning!   While I got gas, Joy called Deb to confirm the cabin for two nights.

We didn’t do the normal thing, the tempting thing. We didn’t cancel our plan to gather in His name because of the storm, and heaven alone can record the powerful blessings God poured out on that tiny cabin in the hours that followed. Total strangers became close friends. Charismatic and Anabaptist worshiped in harmony.  Democrat and Republican experienced unity of Christ!  Together we found insight, healing, and direction for the days to come.  We were paying careful attention, and with our minds fixed on Him, we saw the mighty hand of God moving constantly in our midst.

The Lord speaks most often in a still small voice. We only need to listen.