Sitting With Jess

“I SAT DOWN WITH JESS AT A TABLE…”


It was the same table we sat at on every break. She wore a smug look of exhaustion as I started talking about what happened on my weekend. I started describing this Moral Revolution conference I attended and the wonderful things I heard. Things I’ve never thought of before… Things I was eager to share, but still unable to fully comprehend. Almost instantly, Lauren could see Jess was uncomfortable and brought up the topic of homosexuality. You see you don’t know Jess, but she has been openly ‘out of the closet’ for some years now, and Lauren wanted to know my stance.

I cared about Jess. I guess you could say I even loved her, of course without all the mushy-gushy feelings and whatnot. But I wanted to believe what the Bible said was true. I could sense my friendship with Jess straining under the pressure of Lauren’s inquiry. It was like I was dangling off the edge of a cliff, and the bottom harbored ravenous wolves as they waited for my reply.

I sent up a silent prayer before I hesitantly opened my mouth to speak. I decided to focus my answer towards Lauren, because I was afraid that if I looked at Jess directly I would lose all confidence. As if acknowledging Jess was some form of accusation, and would be misinterpreted. As I began to differentiate same sex attraction and homosexuality, I could see Jess shift out of the corner of my eye. Unable, to hold my focus I turned and noticed a flash of curiosity on her face. Instantly, I felt a surge of bravery and started to become more bold and animated during my explanation. I talked about how God created man for woman and vice-versa, but because hurt, neglect, confusion, ridicule, or sexual abuse people can develop same sex attraction. Like an untreated sore, same sex attraction can fester and bring about the final proclamation of homosexuality. However, if God indeed made you that way, then you have every right to question Him and His judgement. But if He didn’t, and the Bible is telling the truth, then you are held to that truth and are obligated to seek resolution.

Lauren couldn’t believe it. In fact, she refused to believe it. She exclaimed, “So you’re telling me all homosexuals are broken people?!” A hush fell over the table. I gathered my thoughts and replied, “No, but who’s to say that broken people are unable to affect you? Have you ever thought about that?” Although, the thought was a bit incomplete, Jess opened up. Unable to withhold what she wanted to say the whole time.

Jess began describing how she was molested by her grandfather when she was three years old. She told her parents what was happening, but they refused to believe her. The abuse continued well on into her pre-teens. When it was finally time for her to settle down after college she got married to a long-time friend. However, after 8 years of marriage infidelity crept into her home. One day, she came home early from work and caught her husband with another woman! The table was silent once more, and I quietly dismissed us both.

When we were finally alone she confessed, “I don’t know how to trust men.” That was it! That was the answer. That was the lie that penetrated her heart at the tender age of three. I wanted to tell her about Jesus. I wanted to convert her, but instead I held her… gently.


Aborting Fear

THE HEART OF THE MATTER


I never thought I’d be able to say this, but, here it is:

I understand why women have abortions.

Now, I’m not trying to get up on a soap box, to say I know it all – the pain, the confusion, the terror- but I am sharing my own experience, to try to bring a little understanding and compassion to the ones we will meet in our lives who may not see life the same way you or I do.

Early on in our marriage, my husband and I decided that I would discontinue our use of hormonal contraceptives, because its side effects were beginning to wear on both of us. Almost immediately, I felt “unprotected,” and I began living under fear: I was terrified of becoming pregnant. I was kicking and screaming inside against the idea that my life could suddenly change, and I might have to lay down my life- my hopes and dreams- to take care of someone that I didn’t really want.

Someone I wasn’t planning on.

Sounds harsh, doesn’t it?

I remember having my period come late one month and wondering, “What herbs might cause a miscarriage…?” You see, a “real” abortion was not an option on my list, but if it happened “accidentally,” well, then I wouldn’t be doing anything wrong! I was overwrought with fear, anxiety, haunting thoughts… I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I was terrified of what would happen to my life, if I was pregnant.

What was motivating these thoughts?

Fear.

A lack of trust in God.

I didn’t trust that God would have my best interests in mind by blessing me with a child, therefore, “my life would be ruined” if I got pregnant.

If I, a sold-out, God-fearing Christian in a healthy, vibrant marriage can feel this way, can you imagine what the rest of world might feel like? I can go to Him for comfort, for help, for perspective and truth. But where do you go if you feel there are no hands holding your world? Especially if you’ve been raped, abused, are in an unhealthy relationship, or if things are really complicated?

You do what you can to protect yourself.

Those who have abortions may say that they’re being powerful, steering their lives even. But what if, they’re actually just scared and vulnerable, in need of a protective, providing Father?

Think about it.

The next time you begin to pray “against” abortion, stop. Consider changing your tactic. Instead, pray for the ones who are considering them. Pray for the men and women who need comfort, courage, strength, and a revelation of God’s constant care for all of His children. Pray for truth. Pray for hope. Pray for the root of the matter — their hearts.