Today is the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. Also today my husband and I celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. Sounds romantic, huh?
On January 22, 2005, a young lapsed-catholic-turned-atheist walked down the aisle at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in a white gown to wed a young, un-churched agnostic man. I definitely did not see how incongruent that was at the time. As a wedding venue, the price was right and it was a place I was familiar with. Plus, it was going to make my parents happy, I reasoned.
Fast-forward 15 years and I’m not as young. I definitely can’t fit into that dress anymore. I’m no longer a lapsed Catholic, I practice a lot. My husband was baptized and we believe that Jesus is God and that he became a human and suffered so that we could be saved and have eternal life with him in heaven. We no longer darken the door of the sanctuary because the price is right or out of convenience or because it makes someone else happy. By God’s grace, we are bungling along together towards eternity with hope that Jesus will keep good on His promise and we’ll live forever with Him. When we made our promises to each other at the altar all those years ago, we were sincere, but I think its fair to say that weren’t thinking about God at all and hadn’t given much thought to the weight of our vows or even fully understood what we were committing to (especially the part about lovingly accepting children). But after much sinning and learning and conscience building, we have come to a place where we, at the very least, understand those vows and are committed to living them out. In the subsequent years we have managed to work towards a less selfish marriage and in the process have created 8 new souls, one of whom lives in heaven and one who currently resides in my womb.
Several years ago in an email exchange, a friend, upon learning that our wedding anniversary was coming up said, “Way to stick it to the culture of death!” He was referencing the fact that the Roe v Wade decision came down on January 22, legalizing abortion and I was pregnant with our 3rd child and celebrating a “fruitful” marriage. When I read that I wanted to jump up in my chair with sword raised and give a Braveheart-worthy battle cry. But I was also a little but bemused. Me? Sticking it to the culture of death? But I haven’t even prayed on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood before…
Until that moment I hadn’t understood what an impact I could possibly have on the culture. I didn’t see that my little family mattered all that much. No doubt, that feeling of not mattering or being insignificant is one of the hallmarks of the culture of death. But when I finally saw our family as my friend saw our family, I was astonished at how God worked and how truly significant we all really are.
I am valuable. My husband is valuable. Every single human life is infinitely valuable. You are extremely precious. The baby in the womb, the guy panhandling on the corner, the person spewing vulgarities online about killing unborn babies, the mother-in-law, the cashier. Everyone. And the only way I am really going to “Stick it to the culture of death” is by starting at home, stepping outside of myself and trusting in God’s perfect plan for my marriage. Saying yes to the needs of my husband and children and no to myself, despite how much I don’t want to. Making difficult sacrifices of comfort, health, money and time to lovingly accept children. There are an infinite number of ways. In marriage and family life the opportunities are truly endless. Even if you’re not married you are called to lose your life for His sake. What will it look like for you to “stick it to the culture of death?”
So today, as you pray for the unborn, please pray for my marriage and all married couples, that we can forget ourselves and trust in Jesus’s perfect plan for marriage. That we can faithfully live out our promises and be fruitful witnesses to life.
“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” Luke 9:24