This week, my 14yr old daughter, with the help of our good friend from Ukraine (who is a video-making-master) put together some video interviews for a project she's doing at school. I think the assignment was to make a presentation about a controversial topic, and share an opinion.
Lia is sharing about LIFE. In a culture where already-born children being mowed down with gunfire stirs a grief that is palpable but the millions of not-yet-birthed children who die silent deaths in back rooms of abortion clinics are too often validated and sometimes even celebrated by those who want to make their death about someone else's "rights," there are still voices saying that LIFE is precious.
I sat quietly, blinking back tears on Tuesday, hearing stories from two local women who offered to come alongside Lia and share their stories about abortion and adoption and life and pain and hope.
These are women who know the secret to courage.
They do what most of us will not: they dare to be vulnerable.
They tell their stories.
Shame loses its power when truth is given words.
Lia heard from a woman who will now forever be a friend, because she let us into her story. She spoke of abortions she had and the wounds her heart sustained as a teenager, and instead of tucking that into a dark, shame-filled corner, she shines a bright beam of truth on it and holds it up for us to see, and she uses her truth as power. She hopes her pain can be formed into a tool that carves away the lies we believe in this fix-it-quick culture.
She wants women to know that abortion hurts girls' hearts.
She wants to see girls have real choices. She doesn't believe that choosing between college-if-you-have-an abortion or welfare-dependency-and-barely-scraping-by-if-you-keep-the-baby is a real choice. She believes there are bigger "boo-boos" on the hearts of girls, and abortion is at best a tiny bandaid, not a solution. She knows that living after an abortion feels like having a life that is a rocket crashing high-speed into the ground. She knows suffering silently inside is no way to live.
She wants women to have hearts that are whole, not aching and all patched-up.
Then, Lia met with another friend. She spoke to the one reason that seems to be popping up every time young people (or not-so-young-people) talk about abortion, as the one loophole that "MUST be ok all the time, right?" - rape.
This friend was raped. And instead of being a victim of a crime and then on top of it all, a victim of a society that sometimes vilifies women who are victims of sex crimes, she chose to be an example of strength. She did what many would not have expected or ever dared to do: she carried that baby to term, gave birth to that little girl, and she chose a family to adopt her. She refused to be a victim twice. A man hurt her once, but she didn't let that be a reason to suffer the pain of abortion. She took a situation that is horrible, and she made something precious come from it.
She wrote the ending to her story. And she lives without regret.
These women are powerful.
They are strong, because they refuse to live with their hearts behind walls.
They model courage in ways that make me want to be braver.
They dare to tell their stories without any guarantee of how those stories will be received, because they've become resilient to shame. They know it shrinks in the light.
They are willing to make their own hearts vulnerable, because they care so much about the hearts of other women being whole.
(I'd like to say a humble thank-you to our friends who shared with Lia, to Kanishko for the wonderful video work, and to Shepherd's Godparent Home as well as First Step Pregnancy Resource Center for your contribution to the project.)