She was 22 years old and it wasn’t the first time. There were at least two others before this one and it’s likely there had been one more before those. No one knows for sure. Twenty-two and this one was a bit more of a surprise.
You’d think she’d know better by now but it was 1968 and some things about life remained shrouded in a heavy cloak of myth and mystery and now of course, it really didn’t matter.
She was 22. God only knows how old he was and as far as she understood, this time it was love. However, the United States Navy had a price on his head and a uniform on His back. Little did she realize, she was simply another “call” in another port and somewhere else another woman wore his ring.
And in 1968 it wasn’t easy to find yourself in this “predicament”. She was a long way from her Indiana home, having burned most of the bridges she’d crossed to get here. She knew there were ways this “problem” could be dealt with. Women like her had a choice now, didn’t they? And by this time, it was nearly legal, clean and “safe”.
Yes, she had a choice. And she chose.
On December 16th, 1968, all alone she went to a hospital in Plant City, Florida, and there– a child was born.
She named her baby Lorretta Lynn and “this one”, she would later say, was just “different”.
That was my mother and this is our story or at least the beginnings of it as best as it can be told now that there’s no one left to ask.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my mother, Mary Louise. It’s been more than a dozen years since she left this planet and the longer she’s gone, the sweeter the memories grow. God is kind to us that way I think– allowing the pain to slowly fade so that eventually the beautiful is all that remains. He promised to give us beauty in place of our ashes and this is one of those ways I see it most.
Across from where I sit right now I can see our first little formal portrait… maybe done at Woolworths or some such place. On the back, in her handwriting it reads “1969 Mary and Lorrie, 4wks”. She looks sorta shy but young, beautiful, strong and proud. Me? Squished up and not too attractive, but the shine in her eyes is unmistakable: love. I can see it clearly.
She had a choice and she made it no matter what it cost her then, or cost us both for the rest of our lives. She chose life and she chose love. She chose vulnerability, pain and sacrifice.
She continued to choose good and choose badly and in both, she modeled for me how to choose well anyway. By the grace of God, she gave me life and the chance to become the woman I am today; the mother, the wife, the teacher, the mentor…the writer and follower of Christ I am today.
So… yes, I am pro-life but it’s more than a mere label I’ve adopted by virtue of the fact that my mother gave me life so I could say I am…or not. I am pro-life because I’m learning to live in daily awareness of what true Life is– how one decision can resonate forever in all directions and depending on where I stand, it becomes a testimony either for life or for death.
I’ve learned that
- being pro-life is vastly more than taking a biological, procreational stance on a touchy, uncomfortable subject.
- It’s more than political rhetoric or media spin.
- So much more than a tug of war using unborn children and stem cells as pawns in a power play of perceived justice.
Choosing life means daily choosing to live in a way that is life-giving.
It means speaking life so that I’m supporting and enhancing life.
It means being available as an agent for life whether it’s volunteering time and resources to a crisis pregnancy center, or the most important work of mentoring and discipling young mothers who need to know and experience the hope of the Gospel and see what that looks like lived out in real life.
It means caring for the sick, the debilitated, the physically, psychologically and emotionally challenged with dignity and respect and the guiding hope of the Gospel.
It means giving care to the elderly… being pro-life for as long as life remains.
Choosing life is not simply a choice to save an unborn child or protect a mother and father from lifelong regret: it’s ultimately about saving souls. As a Christian, being pro-life means I fully understand abortion is wrong and harmful to everyone involved but
stopping it is not enough;
it’s only the beginning.
Jesus teaches this in Mark 8:34-38 , specifically in verse 36:
“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”
The question becomes more personal if I say, “What good is it to shout and holler and picket against Planned Parenthood to stop a woman from having an abortion if I’m not going to help be a part of the solution and lead her in love to the life-saving Gospel?” That’s where real life begins.
Each day I learn a little more about what living like this means and I am thankful for what God has taught me so far. Like my mother, some days I choose good and others I choose badly but because she chose life for me, I have the opportunity to choose well anyway.
I pray that with God’s strength and guidance I will continue.
I hope you will too.
There are many ways to get involved in being part of the solution–just look around your circle of influence and see where God is at work, join Him and
Need some ideas? I know some folks…message me. Do you have some ideas? Please share them in the comments below. I am blessed by you already!
0 thoughts on “choices”
Beautiful story and message through your life and your words! Thank you for reading mine too, at Inking the Heart.
I really like this. I was “saved” too. While I didn’t get to stay with my mother, like you did, I do have the utmost respect for her, mainly just because I’m breathing today. Thank you for continuing to work in this area. Thanks for linking up at FunkiPlanet.com too!
You are welcome Debi! You know, God has a way of promoting and preserving and guiding those who need to hear and need to know and need to share His love. This is a great tribute for His glory. Bless you Sister!
you have spoken life in this tribute to your mother.
thank you for passing on her love-torch to others.
Thank you Kelli….I wish I could share so much with here now that she’s gone but I know that the best way to re-gift the gift she gave to me is to love and serve Jesus and, as you said, pass it on. Bless you back! 🙂
Beautiful, beautiful post.
Keep writing, and keep choosing life.
By God’s grace 🙂
Thanks you Emily and I do believe that as we write and tell about the Gospel in us…that’s the best of choosing life there can possibly be. Thanks for stopping by…Blessings!
Linking up after you at Imperfect Prose – and so glad I came here. Thank you for this very beautiful picture of what it means to be a mother, to be a life-giver, even in difficult circumstances. I am blessed by reading your words.
Thank you Cherry, I am just grateful to have a chance to tell the story and give others a glimpse of the hope I’ve learned to see in all these things. Blessings!
“What good is it to shout and holler and picket against Planned Parenthood to stop a woman from having an abortion if I’m not going to help be a part of the solution and lead her in love to the life-saving Gospel?”
How incredibly and positively true. This is a subject that screams to me as well, as I became pregnant with my son at 16 in a similar situation as your mother, and sadly I was pressured to make a “choice” and nearly did. Thank the Lord for His conviction on my heart to say no to the pressures of that choice. My son is now 11 and I am still in awe and gratefulness that I chose Life. And my heart BREAKS when I think of the women who make a different choice, not only for those precious unborn souls, however, also for the woman, for what she lives with, for pain, guilt, shame she may carry, not knowing the freedom of Jesus Christ and redemption.
Thank you for reminding me of what is important. To not just say “pro-life”, to share the life-saving Gospel in love.
Oh bless you Sister! See…you have a beautiful testimony to share here as well and God will allow you the opportunity to be the balm in those other situations needing to hear that there IS hope and God can, will and DOES give beauty for ashes. Thank you RaZ…for sharing here and for being a sweet Mommy.
Gee, Lorretta, way to go. Again. Thanks for sharing.
And thank you for “praying it forward” too! In the hands of our Redeemer, NOTHING is wasted.
The United Methodist Church had a program called Genesis for a number of years. I volunteered as an attorney to counsel regarding adoption, custody and child support issues. Because I am away from the big cities, I only received 2 referrals. I believe in choosing life, but that has to include offering the parent(s) life as well as the child. When a parent is not ready to be a parent, the child may be physically alive but suffering in so many other ways. I am currently working with over 60 children who have been abused, neglected and abandoned, emotionally if not physically. Preventing abortion does not mean the child has the life God intends, we must work to offer each child the best,
Most definitely the solution to the problem does NOT stop with preventing abortion but is instead what must happen next and next, and again….next. GOOD news! The CPC of Augusta under the leadership of Susan Swanson is opening a satellite office in Waynesboro, GA so now there will be at least one more way to serve well these families and children and possibly lead them to adoption as well if the parents are not ready to be parents.
I am soooo blessed that your mother chose life for you. As I go today and tomorrow to work with young ladies at the local Pregnancy Resource Center, I’ll have in my heart a beautiful story to light the way into the hearts of the ladies and their little ones who are precious in the sight of our Almighty Father.
Wow, thanks Tyler? Beth? Either of you..This is part of my inspiration and I”m grateful to God that I can call you “family” in the most important way of all–for Life and Eternity. Love ya!
Yep, it was me, Beth, but I guess I didn’t check whose account I was on, and I know Tyler is sooo blessed to have Aunt Lorrie in his life, too!. Love ya!
I thought it was you and anywho I feel the same way about Tyler as well! Love you BaBeth!
What words would be significant to tell you how precious this story is? Your story is amazing and beautiful … on and on I could go. Thanks for sharing this
These words are good choices Sue. Thankyou. I think what means the most to me at this point is knowing that while I can’t hear it from my Mom, I can hear it for her and it is a salve to my heart. Bless you Sister!
Beautifully written. Poignant. Personal. Thank you.
Oh. Wow. This is wonderful.
And the site is simply, positively, gorgeous.
Thanks sweet friend! Thank you also for letting me pick your brain some and for your solid heart and sound advice.
My dear friend, you and your mom are so beautiful and so is your beautiful life. Smiling/remembering Mary, drinking coffee across the table from her. She would be so proud!
I love you Linda Gill! Thank you.
What a wonderful testimony. I an overwhelmed by your sharing of this. What a blessing you are. I am challenged to do more. Thank you.
Bless you Deborah..I am glad for the opportunity to help “spur” another person on for this great Gospel work.
Just beautiful and an awesome challenge to “do” and not just “say”.
Thanks Donna! You are a stupendous cheerleader!
This was beautiful and oh so, sO true!
Thank you, and to your mother.
Love love love this. What a testimony. I was not a big fan of Jerry Falwell, but I heard him speak once. He stated, “It’s not enough to be Pro-Life is we do nothing to sustain life. That realization is when I opened my first crisis pregnancy home of women in pregnancy crisis.” I have never forgotten those words. And I HAVE worked in maternity homes as a my effort to sustain life.
Yes Tina…very much yes. I know God is not through with me here…we have a CPC opening up in our town and our church will sponsor it a great deal. And there are so many ways to be involved. The initial counseling is just the easy first step. Taking that next step to commit to helping for the long term and give good advice…that’s the challenge. Wow.
Thank you Dearest Sister Nikki! Proud to know you and your story as well.