I have carried ten babies inside my womb. Five of those babies have grown big and strong. They have grown hair and eyelashes, big cheeks and dimples. They have cooed and giggled. I have experienced that incredible moment when they were handed to me, healthy and breathing and crying, and the months of vomiting multiple times a day, and the nights of not sleeping because my belly was bigger than the rest of me, and the aches of bending over yet again when I just couldn’t, and the hours of intense labor and pain have wafted away as nothing. Because my eyes and my mind and my heart were full to the brim with my child.
But five times I have experienced the moment of sudden void when I knew that my baby was no longer tucked safely inside of me but neither was it safely meeting the world. “Too soon!” my heart has cried. To anyone who has not experienced it, it defies description when you realize that as much as you wanted your body to protect that life, there is nothing you can do. Nothing you could have done. There was life within you and now it is gone. And whatever scientific facts you’ve read about how many weeks along such-and-such happens or when it’s technically life suddenly aren’t very comforting in the dark when you are weeping over a void you can’t explain to another soul. Something was there. Someone was there. And now he’s not. She’s not. Who were you, sweet one? How I long to know! And you start to pick up the shattered pieces of your heart and hope that it will heal again. And by the grace of God, and only through His power, it does heal, and when it is restored you notice there is one more piece than there was before. And it belongs to that baby you just held in the palm of your hand. And the crazy thing is that all of your other babies, and your husband, and your Lord, and your family – they still have their pieces just the same, but there’s somehow room for this new piece as well. This is the miracle of God’s heart within your own. It is possibly the most beautiful miracle of all how His heart expands for each of us and then how He recreates that expansion in us, His creation.
There is so much discussion and argument on whether we are pro-baby or pro-woman. Let me tell you this with no room for doubt. There is no separating those two. Two heartbeats. We can’t choose one to protect and the other to toss aside. Wanted or unwanted, prayed for or dreaded, once there is life inside a woman they are connected at the core of their beings. Our heart beats out of our chest at that child’s slightest sadness, fear, triumph, or joy. And I can tell you, that begins early. There is no “abortion recovery” like there is recovery after your appendix has been removed. There is healing, thanks be to Jesus, just like the healing of any other loss. There was life within you and now it is gone. And whatever scientific facts you’ve read about how many weeks along such-and-such happens or when it’s technically life suddenly aren’t very comforting in the dark when you are weeping over a void you can’t explain to another soul. Something was there. Someone was there. And now he’s not. She’s not. Who were you, sweet one? How I long to know!
One Sunday because of a beautiful ministry at our church in Austin, I came face to face with the unspeakable void of a woman who had experienced that empty womb by choice. And the Lord grabbed my attention and reminded me that unfathomably worse than the loss I have experienced is the loss of a child by choice. She had spent a lifetime with everything she did, everyone she loved carrying her back to this choice made as a young woman. She had walked away from life that day and that choice became reflected in every other thing she touched, poisoning every relationship as she realized that she had embarked on a deadly journey, not choosing a better, freer life for herself, but a strangled, hidden one. It took her a lifetime to understand where to go and what to do. And do you want to know one of the saddest things about this “pro-woman choice?” Do you have any idea how many women are forced or driven into abortions by boyfriends, husbands, fathers, mothers, counselors, friends? But who lives with that void the most? Not them…she does. How many women realize one moment too late that they were told lies about what was inside of them? How many women find out too late that they had beautiful, redemptive options? This woman we are so determined to “free” from the new life within her will now spend the rest of her days with “what ifs” as her constant companion. Is any of this sounding pro-woman to you? When will we realize that, whatever you can concoct as your scientific backing for the viability of life, THESE WOMEN ARE DYING FROM THE INSIDE OUT?! Some recognize it. Others may not. Those aborted babies are experiencing perfection with their Lord while their mamas are living in a hell of grief. Pro-woman, this is not. There is no time for unending politics. There is only time for lifesaving search and rescue.
It overwhelmed me today that I needed to speak this letter on my heart to a mama. Not a Roe vs. Wade statistic. A mama. You became a mama the day you conceived that life. But you know that more than anyone else does. If you are reading this somehow, because somebody somewhere passed it on and it ended up on your screen, and you have walked this torturous road, then YOU are why God put me on this computer tonight. I don’t know who you are or why He wanted me to do this tonight, but this is for YOU.
Dear Mama with the Unspeakable Void,
I love you. Very much. I ache with you and for you. Our Jesus (He is every bit as much yours as mine) is so, completely big enough for what you have done! So, completely beautiful enough to engulf all the ugly, dark, evil, horror of your void into the great, shining, white, gloriousness of His righteousness. I want you to hear the same thing He has spoken to me those five times of loss. He has your baby. Let there be no doubt. We may have the option to make a choice for them here on earth…oh, but He makes sure that is not the last word! Each of those millions and millions of babies…safe. Safe. SAFE. And dear, broken mama, may we do a better job of tending to your open wound, your gaping void, before your very life pours out of it. May we point you to the Healer and Forgiver so that you in turn can reach women I never could with the truth. The truth of this “choice” and all that it means for them. Do not be afraid to open your unspeakable void to the light of His love. The enemy would like for you to think that it will hurt too badly, that you won’t survive, that you won’t ever be loved again. This is his lie to keep you in this pit of ignorance and pain. His light will bring healing at last to your emptiness. You know that miracle I mentioned earlier about the heart’s expansion to allow more room for more love? It doesn’t stop there. His expansion of love fills all void where He is invited. Even the unspeakable ones. Oh loved one, even the baby-shaped, self-inflicted ones. It is the simplest thing in the world to call His Name. See, voids cannot last in the Presence of the Name. It fills every crack and cranny. Try it. See if I am not telling you the truth. What do you have to lose and what infinite possibilites might you have to gain? And while many who have claimed to bear His Name have done a poor job of representing Him, there are many, many, many who would love you and hold you and help you on a path toward life again. He will show you where to go. He will send others to help you. Just like He sent this note to you.
May we find them all. May we find them before the void is created. May we offer choices, support, hope, truth. God, show us.