Not so Compassionate

The other night I spoke to a group of gals at Birthchoice –a nonprofit supporting the parents of unplanned pregnancy.  It was the usual crew of girls albeit a few new faces.

The topic was pregnancy and exercise and the level of interest was slim to none.  I know not every talk I give will raise the roof, but is a small rumble too much to ask for?

One of the new ladies was either mentally disabled or had fried her neurons from excessive drug use.  I was warned by the leader that she had been very disruptive the week before and interrupted the speaker constantly.   I prayed for Holy Spirit intervention or at the very least, enough humor to keep it light.

Every few sentences I uttered, the woman chimed in.  I found out it was her fourth pregnancy and she walked an hour a day and the names of her kids and a thousand other details all while I was supposed to be speaking.

I kept thinking of Henri Nouwen and the lessons Jesus was trying teach me about compassion and empathy but my frustration level subtly rose notch by notch with every interruption.

I asked the girls a few questions to figure out their lifestyle and discern their difficulties in finding balance between exercise and babies, work and education.  

  1. How many of you work?                              None
  2. How many of you are in school?                One

And then I realized how my stupid my questions were and I got pissy and a little defeated.  One of the girls had been showing off her hair extensions earlier and when I looked up, she flipped her glorious locks over her shoulder. 

I think it’s what set off my internal envy switch.

I am standing up speaking and what’s going through my mind is pure evil…This is so unfair!  I want hair extensions for my scrawny tresses but they are too expensive and my kids need new shoes.  Some days I want to stay at home and not work two jobs to pay the mortgage and all the sports fees and endless activities for my kids; so what gives you the right to be lazy and Welfared and sooooo relaxed while I have heart palpitations and still take more time out to volunteer and share with you how to exercise when you are going to laugh at me and eat Cheetos anyway and then just have another baby? (was that a run-on sentence or what?)

After an exhausting thirty minutes, I finished up and exited quickly.  Normally, I hang out and talk with the girls but I needed to sort out my heart and emotions.

Jesus clearly needed to take the wheel back from Satan.

Here is what I discovered once I calmed down and dug into my crusty soul.  Like everything in life, nothing is black and white.  I admire these women for choosing life and not aborting.  I love them as sisters in Christ and I can champion and promote their desire to overcome adversity and grow into responsible citizens and loving mothers. 

But I cannot take on their burden if or when they choose to operate with entitled and lazy behavior, nor will I condone it. 

I volunteer and give because God called me to encourage and love these women and it’s possible only a few will hear the message and respond.  But even if it’s only one or two or even none, they are precious to God and to me.  My agenda is love and to come alongside them -not  to fix.  And in all honesty, at my worst, I am no different.  I too want to be coddled and cared for and take the easy road some days. 

But at my best, when someone believed in me –even when I didn’t believe in myself, it allowed me to experience a sliver of hope and to dream of a different and courageous life. 

A life where God can take a selfish and self-righteous girl –despite her complete and utter unworthiness, and allow her the grace to grow and minister to other women. 

 

 

 

beautiful mistakes

There is nothing quite like a captive audience (even if you have to bribe them to be there). Tonight I am so excited to speak for the second time at Birthchoice. For those of you unfamiliar with this nonprofit, they are a pro-life health clinic dedicated to helping and equipping young moms (and even a few single dads) with parenting and life skills, as well as preparing them to have healthy relationships.

When the young parents attend a class they earn points which can be used towards diapers and baby clothing. Therein lays the beauty of the scenario…a group of teens and young adults, all paying rapt attention. This is virtually unheard of in most realms.

One thing I learned from my last class is teen moms are just like all moms, but younger (profound, I know…).  No matter what the topic, all they really want to know about is labor, pain and nursing. And this ultimately, is what all expectant mom’s want to know about because it’s the big scary unknown.

I could have spoken on car seat installations and the first question would have been, “How bad does nursing hurt.” (Then again, maybe they weren’t paying attention?)

Of course, being the great instructor I am, I was completely honest and told them it hurts like hell.

One smarty-pants girl retorted, “Only if you’re doing it wrong.” (La Leche clearly has a new advocate)

Honestly, I was a little scared the first night I showed up. I didn’t know what to expect when I walked in the room and encountered all these curious eyes staring at me.

I didn’t know my heart would pound so nervously before I spoke, or how much I would enjoy bantering and playfully razzing the group. I certainly didn’t anticipate my spirit swelling with a profound ache.

Their courage was tremendous and it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I wasn’t that brave at their age. I made mistakes.

I believe abortion is often (though not always) the quick fix and the easy way out.   I know that’s a loaded statement and many will disagree. I also know there are situations where rape and incest are involved and that certainly changes the parameters.

But this group of kids, despite the circumstances, were willing to take a risk, even though it was by far, the more difficult (at least initially) of the two paths.

I imagine few will ever regret their decision, while another generation of young women and men will struggle with shame and remorse for making a different choice.

I am humbled by their bravery.

We all screw up eventually, but few will choose to make beauty from ashes.

And a baby just might be the most beautiful mistake ever made.

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