Who Determines the Value of Life?

I cannot begin to know the feelings and emotions that are experienced when a medical professional states that a baby is not going to be born with the “ten-little-fingers-ten-little-toes perfection” that one initially expects. But one thing I do know: from His heavenly view, God does not look down upon newborns in hospital nurseries and ever once utter an “Oops.”

When a baby is not born how we may have originally envisioned, questions sometimes arise regarding the quality of life, but it is human-defined quality. We look at potential future and gauge it in human terms and measures.

A couple of particular families who have children with special needs have been on my mind lately. Their lives will never be the same, but their growth, maturity, and love has increased dramatically through this unexpected turn in their lives. These situations do not have to mean the end of a dream. They can signify the beginning of a new one.

Years ago, a couple brought their son to our apartment door to trick-or-treat for Halloween. He was dressed as an adorable pumpkin, and to my knowledge was unable to walk or speak. The smiles on their faces as they participated in a special family moment together are forever etched in my mind. Numerous times in the few months we lived there, I saw the father, who had a rugged and rough exterior, interact in a beautifully gentle manner with his son. I watched the mother show devotion and dedication to her boy whenever they were out and about. I will never forget the bond I observed between those parents and their cherished son. That extraordinary family modeled what genuine love looks like. And any questions in my mind about the quality of life for people who are not deemed ideal by this world’s standards disappeared forever.

In similar circumstances all over the world, we can see precious children who touch others in remarkable ways. They bring out in others the capacity to love and nurture in ways they previously did not know were possible. And parents experience a strength borne out of a love that they maybe never realized they were capable of.

The One who knit us together in our mother’s wombs gave us life. Every life is a gift from God and a gift to others. Every life is sacred, and the life lessons we learn through others are sacred. Every life is valuable and adds value to others’ lives.

God is the One to go to if we are wrestling with a question concerning quality of life. After all, He not only sees the value in all of His children, He is the One who places it there.

 

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Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you;  Jeremiah 1:5a
For you created my inmost being;  you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13

My First Pregnancy, My Faithful God, and My Firm Stand

My first pregnancy did not end with me giving birth. It ended early-on in a hospital with me in tears just days before Christmas surrounded by well-meaning medical personnel that continued to call my miscarried baby a gestational sac and gestational tissue, a doctor with a less-than stellar bedside manner, my husband that was as heartbroken as I was, and my supportive family that was gathering for a Christmas celebration. Hardly how I pictured it… I’ve thought back to that day often, and I get it. I mean, I guess I get it…I get that quite possibly, people that work in hospitals make a subconscious or conscious decision to avoid referring to unborn babies as…babies. Maybe the loss of life is easier for them to deal with that way. And I would guess that they think that it makes it easier for patients to navigate through the loss if they aren’t thinking about the miscarriage as a death.  I would imagine that using the terms ‘loss of tissue’ or ‘no gestational sac present’ are their attempts at trying to prevent us from going through the stages of grief.

I spent the next several months being bitter. I had worked through my sadness and proceeded right to anger. First it was anger at myself because I was convinced I had done something to cause the miscarriage. Then it was anger at God. If I had done something to cause it, He was God and He certainly could’ve reversed it…He could’ve saved our baby. He knew my husband and I were ecstatic about being parents. How dare He take this baby away? Yep, I said those words to the Creator of the Universe. I looked upward, right up to the sky and screamed, “How dare you!” Looking back on that moment and the bitterness I harbored for quite some time afterward, I sometimes think, “Wow, God, it takes a lot of nerve for an almost 22 year-old woman to challenge Your sovereignty. Thank You from the bottom of my heart for being patient with me and lovingly waiting for me to realize there was no one to blame.” I wasted a lot of time being mad at God when I could’ve spent that time being comforted and held by Him instead.

While I attended college, I occasionally volunteered at a prolife location where I manned the phone, read pregnancy tests, and was a listening ear. One couple came in and asked for a pregnancy test to confirm what they were 99.9% sure of. When the results came back positive and they openly discussed not being ready financially or emotionally to be parents, I followed my informal protocol and reached for the models of babies in the various stages of pregnancy. I will never ever forget the look in their eyes. They stared at the plastic image of an unborn baby at the estimated age of the one inside her body. The young man gasped, and his next words, “it’s really a baby” will forever be etched in my mind. At that moment, something clicked with them and they realized her visible baby bump was in fact, a baby.  Society has told us something else: it’s a gestational sac, a clump of cells, and an inconvenience. Guess what, Society: I’m done. I am done tolerating that terminology and especially that mindset. It IS a baby. It is a BABY. I will never apologize for saying the truth of the sanctity of human life has been cruelly ripped from our world and replaced with a lie that says until a baby is born, it’s not worthy of being called a human or being treated as one.
The recent Planned Parenthood videos bring to light the inhumane manner in which we have decided it is acceptable to view an unborn child. The Pro-PlannedParenthood group wants us to focus on the so-called secretive way in which the videos were recorded. Seriously? That’s what we should be concerned about? The part of the videos that I find troublesome is the entire content of the videos. How unbelievably cold can those shown in the videos be? They talk about babies as if they are as trivial as the salad they are munching on while negotiating prices for human organs.

I sympathize with those that are not ready to provide their child with the home and upbringing that they believe a child would thrive in. Whether it be financially or emotionally or in some other way that they see the position they are in as inadequate, there are people with open arms that are more than ready to love that child right into their adoptive family. There ARE other options when an unplanned pregnancy moves into the territory of being an unwanted pregnancy. Would you agree with me that finding ways to make options more available to women facing unplanned pregnancies is a mission worth pursuing? We can step up with prayer, with finances, with counsel, with open arms, and with all of the above. Not just saying something, but actually doing something. While I don’t have all the answers to the ‘unwanted pregnancy’ dilemma, dare I say that if our world truly began to act again as if human life at all stages is amazingly valuable and precious, some of those questions would be answered naturally. And for those that have chosen the abortion route, there is real forgiveness given by a God that wants to wrap you in his arms, take the emptiness and sadness away and replace it with His joy and His peace. Nothing compares to God-given joy. Nothing compares to God-given peace.

When our children were young, because of certain questions they had asked us, we explained to them that our first child “died while still in Mommy’s tummy.” I don’t know if my son, Tyler, remembers that as a young boy, he came to me and requested that we name his older brother, Kevin. He very sweetly wanted me to know that his older sibling, whom he never met, mattered to him. I will always cherish that moment as one that displayed his compassion and the value that he placed on human life. Side note: apparently, he had decided that his older sibling was a boy! I agreed to the name, knowing that when I meet my oldest child in heaven, there’s a 50% chance I’ll feel the need to apologize to my daughter for referring to her as Kevin. 😉

Social media will make certain that we remember Cecil the Lion. Yes, he was created by God and was quite majestic, and we should be looking for ways to protect and respect God’s creation. However, more importantly can we please remember Kevin who was knit together by the very hand of God? Can I quite candidly ask you to go to a higher ‘level’ of remembrance and respect for humans? I know I’m asking you to be politically incorrect. I know that asking you from a blog to be or do anything can seem quite comical and naive. But, friends, we are engaged in a battle whether we signed up for one or not. Your God, the One that fearfully and wonderfully created every human, is being questioned. His wisdom, His plan, and His omnipotence – all of it – is being attacked. If that’s not a cause worth fighting for, I don’t know what is.
Human life at all stages is precious beyond words. Look outside your window at God’s creation. The beauty of the trees, mountains, wildlife, landscapes, and sunsets is absolutely breathtaking. Now I’m going to be direct and say that God went above and beyond on purpose when He exquisitely designed humans. He is a Master Designer carrying out a Master Plan in which humans have the opportunity to live in a loving, close-knit relationship with Him. Will you boldly proclaim, knowing that God is on your side on this issue, that it is time for the sanctity of human life to be made known and fought for? The value we place on human life dictates every decision that we make. Please boldly fight for, and please place unequalled value on ALL human life. God does.