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What Should We Do About Planned Parenthood?

If you've had any contact with social media over the last few months, you've heard about the horrible accusations against Planned Parenthood. If you haven't, take a few minutes to watch the videos. I beg you...take the time to watch them. They're hard to watch, and should make your stomach turn, but it's necessary to watch them so you can have a full understanding of just how bad it really is. As someone who has spent a good part of her professional life working to serve women in unplanned pregnancies, I'm sickened (but not shocked) by what the general public is now seeing, perhaps for the first time. I'm not shocked, because I've heard the storiesbefore from real, live women who have been on the receiving end of such atrocities.

Abortion is one of the most polarizing issues of our day, but it's grossly misrepresented in media. Across my own breakfast table this week, I had an argument about the kind of woman who has an abortion. Most anti-abortion groups believe women who have them arrogantly disregard life and flippantly come to the conclusion to cut it off.

Not so.

Certainly some are that way, but the women I sat across from at the pregnancy center where I worked told an entirely different story. Their stories were filled not with the battle cry, "it's my choice," but with the desperation of, "I don't have another choice."

One woman entered our facility late at night broken, bruised, and bloody...a "reminder" minutes before her arrival from the baby's father of "the only right decision." She didn't want to abort her baby, but felt she had no other option if she wanted to save her life. Despite our efforts to help her see there could be a different way, she chose abortion.

Another woman came to us believing she would be killed if she had her baby. She was in the US on a school visa, and believed her family would force her home if they discovered her pregnancy, then kill her because she brought shame on the family. Despite our efforts to help her, she chose abortion. To her, it was a real life or death decision—hers.

These women's stories changed the way I talk about and understand women who have abortions. Their stories helped me understand exactly why a woman would choose abortion. Do I believe it's the right choice? That it honors God? That's it best for the baby or best for the woman? No. I believe it's the opposite of all those things. But I understand why women choose it. I understand because I listened to the story.

And it's story that I want to talk about today.

The question I keep getting, as I share the various videos condemning Planned Parenthood via social media, is "What do we do?"

People are enraged about what's happening behind closed doors at Planned Parenthood. People who have never cared before, care now. People who have always cared, care more. But none of us seem to know what to do about it. There are petitions floating around the internet to defund Planned Parenthood, but our government won't take the allegations seriously. The people want justice, but justice is being ignored.

So what do we do?

We tell the story.

I've thought for years that no amount of legislation would keep women from having abortions. I don't concern myself much with overturning a woman's right to abort, because experience tells me that if she feels there's no other choice, she'll do it whether it's legal or not. I would love our country to honor God by making abortion illegal, but I don't think it's going to happen. My greater concern is for the men and women who are being mishandled, mistreated, ill-informed, and down-right lied to, and the babies who are being killed.

The only way to change the abortion problem in our country...to stop Planned Parenthood from taking advantage of women for their own profit—is for the women who have been hurt by them...hurt by abortion...witnessed the atrocities...to tell their stories.

I'm talking about the woman who had an abortion, and regrets it. The one who ended up aborting her only chance at life, because her abortion rendered her unable to have more children. The man who coerced his girlfriend into having an abortion and wishes he had another chance. The woman who suffered depression because of her choice, destroyed relationships, severe medical issues, chronic lifestyle problems. The man who was never given the choice to keep his child. I'm asking the nurses and doctors who have performed abortions, witnessed the lies, the stretching of the truth, the cold-hearted desire for profit, the misrepresentations...those who have witnessed women's lives torn apart by abortion, who have seen infants born alive during an abortion procedure, then left for dead...

I'm asking them to be bold and courageous, and tell the story.

I'm one of those women. No, I've never had an abortion, but I'm a woman with a story. I've seen the damage abortion can do to a woman's heart, body, and soul. I've seen women torn apart physically, emotionally, and spiritually by their choice to abort. I've seen the tears, the vomit, the blood. I've seen fathers weep over the child they weren't given the chance to hold. I've witnessed the desperation, the need to grieve over something they feel they have no right to grieve, and the deep need to be forgiven.

And forgiven they can be. I would be remiss if I didn't say it. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). That's you. That's me. If we're in Christ—meaning we've accepted his gift of salvation and made him Lord of our lives—we're completely and utterly forgiven...even for that. Even for the worst thing we could ever think of. Forgiveness exists for all of God's children, no matter what they've done. God longs to grant forgiveness and restoration. He wants to heal.

So if you've experienced abortion—whether because you've had one personally, worked with women who have, or had any part in the process—I humbly ask you to tell your story. Maybe, for you, that doesn't mean baring your heart on a blog for all the world to see (maybe it does). Maybe it just means telling your neighbor, whose teenage daughter is pregnant, about your choice and why you wish you'd done something different. Maybe it means opening your home to a pregnant mom so she can get away from the circumstances that make it impossible for her to choose life. Maybe it means going through counselor training at your local pregnancy center so you can comfort others with the comfort you've been given (2 Cor 1:4). Maybe it means opening your wallet, and funding your local pregnancy resource center. Maybe it means going through a post-abortion counseling group, so you can find freedom and forgiveness yourself.

I don't know what it looks like for you, but I'm asking you to be bold,  because your story has the power to change the world we live in.

Tell it.

Tell it today. Tell it every day. Tell it until someone listens, until it makes a difference, until the world is different.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you" Deuteronomy 31:6.

If you want to tell your story, and need help knowing how to do it, please contact your local pregnancy resource center. Most have intensive trainings to guide you and help you make your story count for someone else. To find your local center, click here.

Welcome!

Before you read anything I've written, I’d love for you to know this about me: I’m just a girl who loves Jesus, a boymom who needs Him more and more every day, a wife whose husband loves her way more than she deserves, and a sinner whose past no longer defines my present. If you don’t remember anything else about me, like where I went to college, or how many books I’ve written, just remember those things? Because they represent the real me…the one who’s probably a lot more like you than you might think. We’re in this together, friends, and I’m here to help you find hope in the messes of daily life.

Cleats

You can find me writing each Thursday at the MOB Society blog—where we're encouraging and equipping parents of boys as they raise godly men.

But if  you really want to stay in touch, I'd be honored for you to subscribe to my Bits of Brooke newsletter. That's where I really share my heart, and even some exclusive programs I develop just for you. When you subscribe, you'll get my FREE 5-day prayer challenge for mothers of boys, Covering them From Head to Toe (hint: it's written to boymoms, but it's great for mothers of girls, too).

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If you really want to get to know me, check out my full bio, take a look at my books, and just browse this site for some of my old, but still good posts on finding hope in the messiness of life.

Thanks for stopping by!

Here's where I am...

It's been a while... And I just wanted you to know that I'm still here. I've been working hard to hear from the Lord recently, asking Him to be so very clear in the path He has for me. He's been faithful, and I've been taking notes like a crazy woman!

In addition, my family is gearing up for a run of speaking engagements over the summer, and there's a remote possibility that my husband might be speaking with me at one of them. We'll be sharing about how to fight for those hard-to-handle boys, and we've been asking the Lord what, if anything, he should contribute to the session. He's an Appalachian-style storyteller, you guys, and while he's confident among friends, he's a bit hesitant to share his gift publicly. So we'll see. But let's just say that if he comes out of the background, I may lose my job!

I've been honing some messages the Lord has on my heart for these sessions, asking Him exactly what to share with those of you who will be there, and to minister the truth of His Word to me, too. Cause I'm still a mom in the trenches, who needs to #ChooseHope as much as the next mom. So I'm here, fighting alongside you, pressing into the Lord for hope and watching Him fulfill my prayer for 2014 in incredible ways.

If you're interested in where I'm speaking this year, there's a fun schedule in the right sidebar. Just scroll down a bit and you'll see it. Hope to see you there!

Creating a Culture of Prayer in Your Home

I'm excited to be over at The Better Mom today talking about how we're creating a culture of prayer in our home. In case you're saying, "huh?? What's a culture of prayer?" the easy definition is just that I want my boys to grow up talking to Jesus as much as they talk to me. So we're taking some intentional steps to try to make that happen.

And in case that's not interesting enough for you, head over to the post and you'll also find the story about how I recently dropped a large, heavy cutting board on my toe and lived to tell about it.

There's always that.

Go over to the Better Mom! (And PLEASE mark your calendars for March 18th?? I have something so exciting to share with you that day and I do NOT want you to miss it!)

Encouragement for moms from REAL Titus 2 Women

Tuesday, I wrote a post dedicated to those women who have already raised their children well. It was my way of begging these amazing moms to be nice, and leave a legacy of grace for those coming behind them. Sadly, it doesn't always happen that way. Sometimes, older moms feel the need to crucify rather than edify. 

Right after the post went live, I received an email in response from a dear mentor mama in my life. Funny thing is, I only just met Jan Skaggs a couple of years ago, and she lives in Austin, TX. It's not like I get to see her every day, or sit on her (amazing) front porch and sip sweet tea as we talk about life. But since I first met her, she has deliberately pursued me with grace, taking every opportunity to pour life, truth, and encouragement into my heart.

When someone does that, I listen. 

Reading her words confirmed everything I know to be true. They were so good, in fact, that I felt compelled to share them with you. So what follows are Jan's words of encouragement to me after I was criticized by a mean mom.

But I also thought it would be fun to collect the thoughts of some other Titus 2 women I know who are getting it right. After Jan's thoughts, take a minute to read some more encouragement from my friends Kate Battistelli (Francesca Battistelli's mom, ya'll), and Sally Clarkson.

Encouragement from REAL Titus 2 Women

We tend to view our precious ones in “snap shots” of time, but we’re really living an epic movie.

Note: It really would be helpful for you to read Tuesday's post first. Take a minute and then come back?

From Jan

  1. Raising children is a loooooong process! We tend to view our precious ones in “snap shots” of time, but we’re really living an epic movie. The goal of godly, spiritually mature adults is still way out in front, and no one can (or should ever) be judged by one frame in a lifetime.
  2. It’s not a matter of “controlling your children," it’s a matter of training them. Again, a process. My favorite wisdom about this comes from my brother: “Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard.” Over time, they’ll get it.
  3. The woman whose words were so hurtful probably either has NOT raised her kids as well as she thinks, or she HAS and she’s taking credit for it, not recognizing the incredible grace of God to her. There is a mystery to how children “turn out," due in no small part to their own personalities and choices. The good Lord, our perfect Father, recognizes that children have a mind of their own—He gave it to us—and parents of little ones are not responsible for everything their children do (or don’t do).

From Kate

It's an amazing honor to raise children to serve the Lord. Those of us who've done it have survived the daily battles/joys/frustrations of parenthood and lived to tell the tale! Our job now is to encourage women younger than ourselves, to affirm they are doing a great job and also to remind them this mothering gig is not easy and it tests every bit of Christian virtue we think we have!

As a mom with a grown child, I encourage older moms to help younger moms in these three ways.

  1. Remember. Try to remember what it was like when you were a young mom. We've been out of those days for awhile and just like the pain of childbirth, it's easy to forget what it's like when you're no longer in the trenches. It's easy to throw around cliched comments, easy criticisms and lame advice. It's far more fruitful to offer to lend a helping hand or a warm hug, time to talk and cup of tea. Take time to get to know the young moms. They need someone to tell them they really are doing a good job and sometimes they will make mistakes but it's ok and it rarely does any lasting damage to their children. Please don't constantly remind them how quickly their children will grow up. When you're in the day-to-day, believe me it doesn't seem as if it will EVER end, especially if you have toddlers or elementary-aged children. Cut them some slack and try to remember you didn't run a perfect household with perfectly behaved children either.
  2. Times have changed since we were moms. Technology exists today we didn't have. Cell phones, social media, the internet. These are all new and provide young moms unique challenges and distractions we never faced. Information continues to explode, the world is getting more confusing, not less, and they are facing temptations we never had to deal with. Be patient and be gentle. Our job is to help give them concrete examples of eternal principles as they raise their families. We teach by example, by modeling biblical womanhood. It's a process. We teach and admonish, correct when necessary (if we're given permission to speak into their lives), set a Godly example and be the woman they want to imitate. Live the truth and the truth is this: love rules!
  3. Use your words oh-so-carefully. Death and life are in the power of the tongue. Words can be creative and build up or deeply destructive and tear down. Avoid criticism because, well, see point number 1! I want to remind younger moms, including my own daughter, that they are doing a remarkable, world-changing, incredibly difficult job in a world growing darker by the day. I want to offer them hope and remind them they CAN do it and also, the season they're in will come to an end. I want to be a light to guide the way and a signpost to point them in the right direction. Let's be women they want to follow. Women who can say with confidence, "... this is the way, walk in it." Isaiah 30:21

From Sally

As a mother who has raised her children, my desire is to encourage and give hope to the mama’s who are right in the thick of the battle. God has not called me to judge young moms, but to help them. Having made so many mistakes along the way, and often feeling so alone in this great calling, I did not want other mamas to go the road without providing some encouragement, hope and help along the way.

Motherhood is a very long-term journey. God intends that each child have someone devoted to them their whole lives—a mom! But each mom needs her own coach and cheerleader to walk beside her—to mentor her and to help her understand spiritual righteousness; to help her patiently love her children so that she will give emotional health; and to teach her to create a haven where the lives of their children might thrive in a loving, protected and stimulating home that the mom has created.

Yet, today’s moms are supposed to do all of this without help or training or support systems—or next door neighbors to help her in times of need. All of us have good days and bad and lots in between. But the role of a Titus 2 woman should be to give hope, inspiration and training to the mom who feels alone in her home.

One of my favorite aspects of Jesus’ words this year in my personal study is that He is “gentle and humble of heart,” and He then says, “Learn from me” (Matthew 11:29). When someone is humble, merciful, gentle, kind towards me, then my heart is open to learning from them, because I trust they will have my best in mind. However, if I fear I may receive more criticism or harshness, I will run far from that person. And so in the spirit of Jesus, let us come to each other humbly, in gentleness, to give hope, to walk as a shepherd tenderly caring for her sheep—as that is the picture I think Jesus gives us, so we may guide and encourage the mamas He brings into our lives.

*******

I'm so blessed by these precious women who truly get what it means to pour into the next generation. What a treasure they are to those of us still mucking through the trenches of motherhood. Thank you for being so loving and kind, ladies!

Pray with me, friend?

Lord, my heart is hurting for those among us who don't have a real Titus 2 woman in our lives to help us walk through life with grace. So I want to lift those women up to you now, and ask you to meet this need in their lives somehow, some way. In Jesus' name.

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Like this article? You might find these resources helpful:

Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe (Sally's book co-written with Sarah Mae).

Growing Great Kids: Partner with God to Cultivate His Purpose in Your Child's Life (Kate's book).

Hope for the Weary Mom: Where God Meets You in Your Mess

How to Control Your Emotions, So They Don't Control You: A Mom's Guide to Overcoming

Surprised By Life: Five Ways to Respond Well When Life Doesn't Go as Planned (Free)

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