Some of you may not be aware that I recently decided to pursue higher education and obtain college degrees. I've been on this journey for the past 2 1/2 years and recently graduated with an associates from a community college. Now, I am a student at a university pursuing my bachelor's in social work. It has been a wonderful journey thus far and one I cannot imagine being possible without God, my husband, and Rachel's Vineyard.
Particularly interesting to me is the ability I now have to engage people from various backgrounds, ages, and ethnic heritages in many subjects, including that of abortion. The fact is that before Rachel's Vineyard, I could not even speak "abortion" aloud. After Rachel's Vineyard, I was quite good at it, to a fault. I had to learn balance and compassion in my tone. The years leading up to my retreat, I had become more and more Pro Life, but not to any degree where I would engage in conversations for the most part. Afterwards, I sought every opportunity. I had trouble having a conversation with someone who was Pro Choice or undisturbed by what occurs in women (and men) post-abortion. Emotions would often take me over and I grew more and more aggressive, but not always taking into consideration remaining respectful. I was charged!
God has helped me a great deal in this area. He has helped me through exposure to people who believe quite differently. I had to navigate conversations, face-to-face, and avoid heightened emotions taking over. A challenge, indeed. However, it was one of the best things that could have happened. Not only did I grow in conviction about this issue, I grew in understanding how to speak with others about it without harshness. There is something lost when debating on such a subject online instead of in person. People lose sight of one another as "people" and feel free to speak rudeness and hurt freely. Too freely. Having to navigate these conversations in the "flesh" has been another gift from God.
I have friends, whom I love dearly, that still feel a woman has a right to an abortion at-will and that do not acknowledge the pain and suffering associated with abortion. I could never have imagined calling people with whom I so vehemently disagree "good friends" prior to my school experience. My how God does put things into our lives to further educate us in His Will! As a result of all this, I found a more compassionate voice. I found a way to be passionate and assertive without pushing people so far from my message that it becomes lost in an abyss or rejection. I could not have learned that lesson if I had kept my debating limited to online discussions or among like-minded people. God knew that and He provided an opportunity geared toward my growth.
I am not suggesting that everyone suddenly take up the task of bringing debates into person-to-person situations haphazardly, however, I am encouraging everyone who has a calling to "speak out" to do so in more than just one venue. We should all be well versed in multiple mediums if we hope to successfully spread The Truth, especially as it concerns those who are lost, hopeless, or even angry and resentful. Although some Pro Choice persons are without reason and spew vile filth, it is important to remember that they are actually a minority. Most who support that position are actually disillusioned, misinformed, or simply cannot accept life beginning with conception. Those things do not make them evil, just as my succumbing to an abortion at 17 did not make me evil. God has great mercy and love for all of us, just waiting to be accepted. If we forget all we endured as a result of abortion touching our lives in some way, then how can we ever hope to bring that healing to those who need it?
These are just some of my thoughts brought on by the amazing things God has put into my life. I praise Him in all things and thank Him for helping my suffering bring about a whole new world healing, openness, and forgiveness, which may have otherwise been lost to me.