Slaughtering the Defenseless

When I was twenty-one, I attended a party at a relatives house along with several mutual friends. It was a safe environment – we were young and looking for a good time. While most of us were raised in church with a strict list of what will send you to hell, we thought we’d explore for ourselves. And people think it’s just the preacher’s kids that rebel.

We’d been playing cards, like many of us had grown up watching our parents play, all while sipping on wine coolers, wild turkey, royal crown, and whatever other liquor was popular at the time. Our card game soon turned into a game of quarters – something I had never played before and never played again.

I remember making my way to the living room and passing out on the couch. I faintly remember a relative changing my shirt, as I had vomited all over myself, and putting me back to rest on the couch.

When I woke, I wasn’t bright eyed and bushy tailed, I wasn’t even groggy – I was in an in-and-out type of wake. All was black and quite… except for the faint breathing I could hear as I bobbed up and down with my back flat to the floor. I remember trying to figure out why I was on the floor as I remembered being on the couch, all the while feeling this touch between my legs that felt good – odd, but good. I lay there… bobbing – hearing myself moan.

Slowly, I became increasingly more awake and it hit me… I felt my pants at my ankles and heard the sound of steady heavy breathing. I tried to rise only for a hand to push me back to the floor… and I screamed.

Later that day, nearly night again, I was whisked away by mother to the hospital where they ran special test, gave me a pill to swallow, and brought in the police. I was naked and ashamed, with complete strangers wanting to know about every detail… and all I could think about was that my father was mortified and couldn’t speak to me. A daddy’s girl I had always been… now everything was lost, stolen, in a moment.

A few days later I had a detective show up at my work, where he proceeded to take me to his car in the parking lot and drill me about the incident of that dreaded night. I sat in his car, embarrassed as all of work could see – visitors coming and going could see – it was if the whole world could see and hear every horrifying detail of what had just happened. I listened to this detective no longer drill me but accuse me of “asking for it”… word had gotten around in the town I liked to drink, and since my engagement had been called off, I also liked to sleep around. My bad choices in a two year span had left a detective feeling entitled to belittle me – the victim, whose name had already been listed in the small town newspaper with all the horrific details of my reported attack. I was made to be the bad person.

For reasons I won’t disclose, I was the girl that had no self-esteem. And in that moment, this detective convinced me that I was the one at fault and this would be best left alone… and I believed him. Without a trial – justice is served.

Only a handful of people know this about me – it’s not something you share publicly. Of course, there was a time when I shared with another that was too a victim of rape – healing is found in testimony. But it’s not something you broadcast to the world.

So why do I share now?

I read an article today that stirred anger within me – honestly, it’s been stirring since all the Bill Cosby garbage has been taking place, but today I go a different direction with it. The direction…

Abortion.

“New York Assembly Passes Bill Allowing Shooting Babies Through the Heart With Poison to Kill Them”

They have now stated that you may kill a child in a mother’s womb in the third trimester, no more for simply the mother’s life being at risk, but for whatever reason deemed fit… including but not limited to, physical well-being, emotional well-being, family issues, and the mother’s age. Weeks, days, and even minutes before birth, you may now kill your baby.

What kind of society do we live in when it is acceptable to murder an infant? I am literally sick to my stomach thinking of such perverseness.

I didn’t realize until some years later the pill given me in the hospital that night was something to prevent pregnancy. I remember months passing and me sweating at nights thinking I could be a mother at twenty-one to a kid I didn’t want… I didn’t want the reminder in my face day in and day out of what had occurred that night. I didn’t want to look in the face of that child and see the face of that guy. But I knew, even at twenty-one, if there were a kid, it was innocent. Someone would love that child, want that child, not ever knowing how he/she had come into this world and would fully embrace all that child had to offer.

My “story” had already been published. People already knew. I rarely showed my face to people out of shame and embarrassment. What would nine more months be to me in something I already knew, something I was already living? The shame of a bad choice which landed me publicly humiliated and my life altered, forever – hell on earth.

Yes, I would have carried a child I didn’t want because it was innocent.

I understand the morning after pill. After time it became obvious I took it, and I now carry mixed emotion, which tends to lean more for it than against it. Perhaps that sounds hypocritical while I rant on about the killing of a third trimester baby. I’m all for woman’s rights, yet I cannot stand with them on this matter. Women’s Rights came about in order that women may have equal rights as men. I’ve never know a man to be pregnant and therefore cannot call this equality in any shape or fashion. It is murder. Nothing more, nothing less – the slaughter of the defenseless. I pray God have mercy on our souls.

To those whom have had abortions, I say this – I know you carry a burden of shame and unforgiveness toward yourselves but I believe God’s mercy offers us a new beginning while His grace provides us an opportunity to heal others. We overcome our own burdens, our shame, and our fears by sharing our story with others – redemption given to you exuding to others.

To those who were victims of rape, I say this – it is never your fault. Whatever mistakes you’ve made in your life never warrant you becoming the accused. Do not be intimidated by people’s words or fearful of judgment by bullies who have their own secrets to keep. Demand justice and make your voice heard. You are not defenseless.

We all have things we keep secret – wrongs we struggle with, shameful choices taunting us, wounds too fragile to ever expose. These things keep us from being loved wholly and from loving wholly. But to all that pain, that guilt, that shame, I say this… there is mercy, there is grace, there is redemption.

“Every choice you’ve made… Every good thing… Every bad thing… Every regret… Every risk… Every gain and every loss… Every moment in your life has led you to this moment of your life. Lessons learned, celebrations earned. Your past has made your present and your present will give way to your future – never does it define you but always is refining you. Embrace you – the good, the bad, the past, the present – love and be loved. Life is too short to hide behind walls. You – you are beautiful in every way… a work of art, a treasure – you are valuable… because of your past, your present, and your future. You’re a story worth telling yet still unwritten.” ~ Pj 02/2014

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One Unfolding Story of Redemption

"... It feels like redemption, raining down on me..."

My Biblical Faith professor gave an assignment to the class, instructing us to write a Reflection Paper, a 1250-1500 word essay, answering the following questions:

1) How does understanding the Bible as “the story of God” shape the way I view my own personal story of faith?

2) How do stories shape us as people?

3) What stories have shaped me personally?

4) What happens when I begin to see the Christian faith as the story of God redeeming the world He created?

5) What role does that mean God has for us as individuals, but also as a corporate group of people?

6) Does the “story of God” end with the book of Revelation or does it continue on today?

7) How does my own story fit or not fit into “God’s story”?

While I’m sure I did not answer all of his questions, I did take a deep look within myself. I’d like to challenge you to search deep within yourselves for the answer to these questions… can you tell someone what it is exactly that you believe and why you’re so rooted in your faith? No matter our stories, I pray that we all come to know that we are forgiven. Our dept was paid and we are now dead to sin. We are free from bondage, the chains are broken, and we are redeemed.

Here is what I wrote:

In the beginning of the semester you stated that the Bible was nothing more than one unfolding story of redemption. While I had never referred to the Bible as just a story, nor had I heard that particular statement, it is the story of redemption that is most valuable to me in my life. God has countlessly given me grace and mercy through my life. He has redeemed me in every aspect there is known. I understand that your denomination believes that there is room for errors in the scriptures and I understand why this is, however for me this is just not so. He is truth and His words are truth, even if only in my life. If I do not believe this then I certainly cannot live it and reflect Him to others. The Bible is God’s word and therefore a powerful presence in my life. It is not something that I use to control or manipulate my life, it is however where I go and ask, “How can You use me?” I recognize that the Bible cannot be considered in isolation from my life and faith and the surroundings of which I am a part. It is the very thing that reminds me that I am a sinner saved by grace just as Rehab, David, Elijah, Timothy, and so many, many, countless others. So many similarities throughout these stories are my own personal stories just with different characters. Having these stories of scriptural truth induces an interaction between my own experiences, the encounters with what it is I am reading and the reality of seeing God through all of it. These stories give birth to hope within me and assure me that what I have walked in this life is not in vain; my life is not an accident, it has been predestined.

As God heard the cries of the Hebrew people suffering under oppression in Egypt, He also hears my own cries and sees my tears. These stories help shape me and mold me. They help me know that in spite of walking through the valley of the shadow of death, I will survive, as He will never leave me nor forsake me. Without these stories to aide in my own personal experience, I would not mature and grow. I would not know what faith is, what hope is, nor would I know what love is. These stories challenge me to reflect upon my own commitment and to do all things as if I were doing them for Him. (Which is a chore in and of itself at times, hence the word challenge.) Because of this, the Word of God comes into my own situations various ways. I know that it is not simply another source of knowledge about me or the world, but it is a dynamic, which demands a response. If I do not respond, I will never mature. If I do not respond, I will never transform. If I do not respond, I will never come to comprehend the fullness of His redemption, His grace, His mercy, His love – I will never come to know him.

Life has provided many blessings and curses; defeats and victories. I have walked through sexual abuse; domestic abuse (consisting of both physical and verbal abuse); rape; promiscuous living; attempts at suicide; depression; and the list could go on. But it was stories like Elijah escaping to the desert to die; David having an affair; Jonah running from obedience; Rehab; Esther; God protecting His children by opening up the ground and swallowing the enemy; Job; Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection; Paul and Silas; Daniel; and countless others that offer me hope and assurance. These stories resonate within me, giving me an example to live by in the same situations while also challenging me to see God for who He is.

When I see God as actively present, not only as the creator but also the sustainer of this life (my life); as the God who meets people where they are, it is at the moment I can be actively transformed. It is at that defining moment that I realize that He is, He was, and He always will be in pursuit of me. In coming to this knowledge I cannot help but be transformed by His redeeming grace, mercy, and love, allowing it to change me. If I can believe that God spoke to such a people in the past – that He entered into actual history and made Himself known to particular people at special times and places – then I too am subject to historical exigencies and cultural patterns which means I can believe that He can come into my life today and transform me by His presence. It is precisely in the struggle of my own circumstances that God’s patience and mercy toward me can stand as an example, as reflected in Hebrews 11. In finding truth in faith, I find that He snatches me from myself, I no longer depend on my own strength, conscience, and experience; instead, I realize that God’s story is the absolute, unchanging, and transforming element in scripture. It stirs within me to want to search for Him, be like Him, and have a relationship with Him. This relationship will result in transformation as we see Him longing to redeem us.  His words, stories, are not intended to merely teach me but to reform me. This is where we see God taking hold of us and removing us from ourselves.

Now having this knowledge, this awareness of who He is and His power and authority in our lives, it is our responsibility to go into the world and reflect the same mercy, grace, love – redeeming story – for all to see. It is not enough for us to simply read the word we must speak the word; we must inevitably walk the word. Before we can do this, we must acquire the same vision as Jeremiah by allowing God’s laws to be written on our heats so that it not only permeates our thinking but also becomes our very life and breath. We must always be growing, maturing, developing. As a result of such, we will seek to engage ourselves in what it is that God has for us which, in turn, equips others to not only receive God’s redemption but also to share His redemption story.

Jesus came, died, and lives so that we, the people of today, may receive and know God’s redemption. Revelations is merely a story of what is to come; His final judgment – His final victory. From generation to generation to generation, we are free to receive, to know, to walk in God’s story of redemption. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. God’s story of redemption is still very much a part of us today. He is continuously interceding for us, working all things for our good. The story is not over, it has only just begun.

My story is God’s story. As stated previously, His word is not to merely inform me, it is also to interpret my own world and me. The experience of past Christians, referenced in the word, and the confessions of their faith is my own experience and confession. I cannot appropriate the truth of His story of redemption if this relationship is not already being experienced by making His story my own.  I often hear that the Bible is a blueprint for our lives however, recently I heard a man state the following: “The Bible should function much more like a musical score than a blueprint for our lives. Score gives guidance but it must always be played afresh.” God’s story of redemption never changes however; I get to make His story my own story, every day, in my own way – by “playing it fresh”.

“I know how hopeless feels when you’re starring at the bottom of an empty hole. In my life I know how forgotten feels, wondering if the world even knows who you are. But I’ve never known anything, felt anything, like the love of Jesus. And it’s hard to describe what’s happening inside, but right now all I know is… It feels like redemption, raining down on me. It feels like forgiveness is come to set me free. All my chains have been lifted, ’cause when the hands of love touch a broken life, it feels like redemption. Now I know how thankful feels ’cause I am overwhelmed with this gift of grace. And I know how healing feels, ’cause all my pain and all my shame and all my tears have been erased. Say goodbye, the past is ending. Say hello, to a new beginning. No more night, the sun is shining. I cried out to the Lord, He heard my cry, He healed my heart, and He touched my life. It feels like redemption.”

Artist: Michael English; Songwriters: Sam Mizell; Matthew West

Copyrighted by reflectionsbypj 2009/11/30