November 9, 2016
During the 40 Days for Life a common question was asked by many who came to pray.
How busy is this place?
To tell you the truth I didn’t know exactly.
All I could tell them was that the parking lot was full and overflowing every day surgical abortions are offered.
I became burdened that we should know this, we should all know.
I set about to see and experience this loss in a tangible way. How could I honor and remember the little ones?
When the Fall 2016 40 Days for Life campaign ended I gathered a conservative estimate from the ever present sidewalk counselors.
My heart sank, every 40 days, 256 heartbeats are silenced here.
Even one is one too many. These children belong to 512 parents, 1,024 grandparents, and countless siblings. The impact of their short lives touches us all.
I chose to hold the ceremony on November 9, the first day surgical abortions were offered after the last day of the 40 Days, November 6. November 9 was also the morning after what very well could be the craziest election our country has ever participated in. It was critical to me that this sacred memorial not be confused with politics or an attempt to rally the Republican voter. I was stunned along with the rest of the nation that Donald Trump, not Hillary Clinton, was elected.
Of November 9,
“Today is not about shaming or blaming those who are left behind.
Today we determine to see and grieve, to touch and to know, to remember and share.
Mother Theresa once said, “Children are like flowers, there could never be too many of them.”
A single delicate rose represents each fragile life.
I brought them to the place in our city where tiny arms are broken so that they can never become jewels around the necks of their mothers.
They are broken by the lie that abortion is the solution to whatever circumstance led their mother here, to this place in our city where wombs full of life are forcibly emptied.
Today on the sidewalk, though it won’t be easy, I shall remove the petals.
I remembered what I had seen from the sidewalk. I remembered the confident and friendly woman who politely declined my offer of help guarding the choice already made in the heart. There were little ones who were rushed here without a second thought.
Another mother deliberated with many tears, wavering in the waiting room before deciding with determination there could be no other way. Yes, this rose was for that baby.
Then the womb that held not one but two babies. Each fetus was measured and the cost of termination was set on their length.
This one was wanted desperately by her father who fought with kind words and promises of support for her life, in the end it was out of his hands. Her father cried with us outside while she was taken.
This other one’s father sealed their mother’s choice with his cruel actions, making the gift seem like a trap and abortion the desperate act of self-preservation.
Many of these had fathers who had been told that they had no right to speak for their child because it was growing in her body, so silently they supported this unwanted choice.
How the mother of this one begged her own mother to support a choice for life, but grandmother wouldn’t hear it.
This one was large and beautiful 20 weeks old.
Not this one, the organs of this baby at 8 weeks were very tiny yet functioning with miraculous precision.
An ultrasound had showed that this baby was differently formed and abled that was why the dignity of a natural death had been stolen.
How can I know these little ones?
The evidence of their existence was poured down clinic sinks and ground by industrial strength disposals, carried away with all the rest of the city sewer water, or boxed up to be shipped of as medical waste by Stericycle. Lord, you knew them when you sent them as a blessing, and you knew them when they returned to you. Not one of them is lost to you.
I couldn’t help but choke up as my hands became nimble, skilled in this task and stained as I touched every one. Every single abortion request had become the choice of those who as a team carried it out.
How can this be the only way? There has to be a better way. Petal after petal falls, filling my lap with so much sorrow. I am pressed for time and now nearing the end I remind myself not to rush. Today we are determined to see and to grieve and to touch and to know and remember an ongoing tragedy too great to comprehend.
256 stems laid bare, cold and stiff for the 256 mothers.
I begin the journey with the petals thinking of these.
I know you are here, all around this city, and beyond. You sit next to me in church, you show up to the same family gatherings I do, my neighbors, former clinic workers, former abortionists, my ministry partners, my friends. Abortion has hurt you.
More than anything in the world you would like to go back to that day whether it was in the past 40 Days, or 40 years, and get your baby back. It is such a heavy burden to bear. You are why I am here.
You matter to me.
You matter to God. He knows you intimately, your story and your name.
By the power of his unfailing love I declare today, healing to the brokenhearted.
Have you heard of the great things he has done?!
1 I will exalt you, Lord,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
2 Lord my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me.
3 You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
you spared me from going down to the pit.
4 Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
praise his holy name.
5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.
6 When I felt secure, I said,
“I will never be shaken.”
7 Lord, when you favored me,
you made my royal mountain[c] stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.
8 To you, Lord, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:
9 “What is gained if I am silenced,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
10 Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
Lord, be my help.”
11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.”
Rachel Rollins Photography / Professional Photographic Documentation
Alex Schmitt, firstname.lastname@example.org / Professional Cinematography
Masterpiece Flower Company / Donated Roses
All who stood with me in prayer and support, including my dear friends from Sidewalk Advocates for Life.
Please Join Us in Our Pro-Life, Pro-Love, Pro-Woman Efforts
The Spring 40 Days for Life Campaign Begins March 1 and Ends April 9. Find out how to get involved.
“Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?” Luke 21:6
Please join us in prayer for all the estimated 512 local mothers and fathers, 1,024 grandparents, countless siblings, and friends who are now dealing with the aftermath of this abortion choice, as well as the millions who grieve after abortion worldwide.
Please join us in prayer for those who work at 320 Fulton unknitting the beautiful children God has placed in their mother’s wombs. May these workers choose life for themselves and begin using their passion and unique gifts to protect women and babies both from abortion.
We value the lives of all who work here.
Please join us in continued prayer for God to work in the hearts of the mothers and fathers who come to 320 Fulton (and all over the world) seeking abortion as a solution for themselves and their children, that they would be equipped with the hope needed to choose life for themselves and their children.
Please join us in prayer for the church to rise up in prayer and increasing provision to meet the ongoing physical and spiritual needs of women and children, and families in our community, for pregnancy centers (Pregnancy Resource Center, Help, and Alpha Women’s Center, and those all over the world), sidewalk ministries (Garden of Hope and Sidewalk Advocates for Life) and all the prolife ministries (40 Days for Life, Life International and many more…) and families working to adopt children and families providing homes for children in foster care, and for the children.
Please join us in an outpouring of thanksgiving to God who alone is due all the glory! We are celebrating the lives of the 7 babies, who were brought to 320 during the 40 Day for Life to be aborted, but praise be to God, their mothers had a change of heart!
Families spared the heartache of abortion! These little babies continue to grow and will soon kiss the cheeks of the mothers who carry them! May the Lord bless and guide them!
(If you would like to contribute gifts to these families please let us know. We are in contact with those who wish to stay in contact with us and have baby showers planned!)
We are giving thanks for the many individuals, representing the 40+ churches, who came here to pray during this recent peaceful prayer vigil, 40 Days for Life. Thank you Lord!