The moment daddy’s sperm met mommy’s egg the first miracle of your life occurred: your full set of DNA determined what your hair color would be now (assuming it isn’t dyed), what your eye color would be (assuming you haven’t altered it with colored contacts), etc.
At week five, with your entire body the size of a sesame seed, your heart had its first beat: LUB DUB
Around weeks eight to ten, scientists finally would call you a fetus, a Latin term for “young one” or “living one.” You were five-eighths of an inch long, but you had basically everything you have sitting here reading this right now: arms, legs, little fingers and toes, lips, a nose, and what would become your eyes and organs. You could even move, but your mom didn’t feel you yet. Brain activity likely began occurring around this time.
And so you began developing so on and so forth until the moment you were born, got your nose and mouth suctioned out by the person delivering you, let out first piercing cry, had your umbilical cord severed, were cleaned, wrapped, and given to your mom to hold for the first time in your whole life.
Today at church, the executive director of the local Pregnancy Counseling Center came to speak with us, to educate us, as were raising money to help fund her volunteer-based organization which helps hundreds of men and women in our area each year.
According to her data (if I am recalling this correctly), about 3,000 abortions occur in the United States every year, and about 400 of them occur right here in our area, a surprisingly (and yet also not surprisingly) large portion of the total.
She shared with us that she doesn’t give counsel as to what a mother should do with her unborn child based on her own thoughts and opinions, but it is her job to educate those mothers about what they are choosing to support or terminate with their decision.
She described the numerous programs they offer at their center for both women and men: groups for up and coming fathers to educate and support them, pregnancy education, medical care for the first six months of pregnancy, post-abortion counseling, and more.
On the topic of post-abortion counseling, I admired her courage and confidence in speaking to the church. “In the church, we have post-divorce counseling, classes for drug and alcohol abuse, and more. What we don’t have is post-abortion counseling. It is one of those things that we tend to, as a whole, ignore, fail to acknowledge, turn our heads away from and pretend the need doesn’t exist. We teach that Christ forgives ALL sins, and that is true, including terminating a pregnancy that involves a human life. However, I have seen woman after woman, Christian and non-Christian come to me with a real, pressing need after an abortion. The Christian ones I can remind of the cross, about the fact that they are forgiven, their sins are paid for. That forgiveness is critical to their recovery. The ache, though, it doesn’t go away upon knowing they are forgiven. They have experienced very real physical and emotional trauma that needs to be addressed, and that is why post-abortion counseling is so important.”
She also shared that there are two part-time paid employees in her organization and the rest, upwards of seventy plus people, are all trained volunteers. I was very impressed by this.
Of course, though, while she spoke, it all comes down to that little mystery that happens inside the womb. It is incredible. During my Anatomy class this semester, we spent a lot of time learning how things develop in the unborn child, and it is truly a miracle that anybody is born somewhat healthy and “normal” after all that has to go on with both mother and the developing child.
This has been on my mind today as I went about my business, and I was reminded, through conversation with a friend, about two verses that have been very near and dear to my heart over the years, both as I think about a baby in the womb when the topic of abortion comes up, and when I think about myself as I have grown and begun to age. I thought about them when I went to work after church and interacted with my elderly client, a healthy reminder that my youth is a gift short-lived.
The first is Isaiah 46:4 (NIV):
Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
The second is Psalm 139: 13-16 (NIV):
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
All this got me thinking: I’ve been given life. For whatever inane reason, my particular genetic code came together so I could be me, so I could exist. My heart beats, my lungs breathe, my blood flows, clots when it should, and carries nutrients, my brain thinks, and my muscles move.
What will I do with these gifts which I have been given? What will I do with past mistakes I have made, with past hurts I have felt, and with past circumstances I’ve experienced? What will I do with my strengths, and more importantly, what will I do with my weaknesses? What will I do with my life?
“There are only two ways to live your life: one is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” –Albert Einstein (1879-1955)