Make your donation today! https://www.councilforlife.org/about/online-donations.html
On April 6th, 2013, Council for Life supports participated in a 5K race to benefit the Gladney Center for Adoption and Bucker International. The Run for Life was a success thanks to our wonderful participants and supports including The Cambridge School, the Westcott family, and race chairs Cathy and Amanda Sisk.
Alfonso Gonzalez took home to prize for 1st place and Adam Helm came in as our 2nd place winner. Congratulations guys!
What a wonderful day God gave us to celebrate life and adoption!
Neiman Marcus’s flagship store in downtown Dallas, hosted Council for Life’s Luncheon Committee for a special event featuring Joan Hornig’s latest jewelry collection. Hornig presented her latest collection pieces and donated 100% of her profits to Council for Life’s “Celebrating Life” Luncheon, which will be held November, 18th at the Hilton Anatole Hotel.
Lissie Donosky and Jolie Humphrey serve as the Luncheon co-chairs.
More than 300 business men
and community leaders attended Council for Life’s Men Standing for Life
Breakfast in The Great Hall of Park Cities Baptist Church on Friday, February
22. The fifth annual breakfast featured a personal testimony from Michael
Mauldin, who ran for a seat in the Texas Senate, and keynote speaker Dr. Jim
Denison, founder of Denison Forum On Truth and Culture. Stephen and Christy
Barnes served as the event co-chairs.
Council for Life will host their 5K Family Fun Run & Walk on April 6, 2013 at the SMU Westcott Field. The Gladney Center for Adoption and Buckner International will be the beneficiaries for the run. Visit www.councilforlife.org for more information and to register for the run.
More than 200 guests joined Council for Life at its annual Life Lessons Box Lunch event on Tuesday, January 22, 2013, at the Museum of Biblical Art in Dallas. The event celebrated Sanctity of Life month and featured a personal testimony from Rivers Teske of Hidden Choices, an outreach ministry for women, teens and children. Teske shared an inspiring testimony about crisis pregnancy.
Council for Life will host its fifth annual men’s breakfast, Men Standing for Life, on Friday, February 22, 2013, at The Great Hall in Park Cities Baptist Church. The breakfast will feature speaker Dr. Jim Denison, Founder of Denison Forum On Truth and Culture. Visit www.councilforlife.org for more information and to register for the men’s event.
Written by Becky Broderson, co-chairwomen of this year's luncheon.
Last Thursday at noon in the Hilton Anatole over a year’s worth of time and effort culminated in an event that I lived, ate and breathed every day since January 2011. Rebecca Lutz and I were at the helm of the Council for Life Luncheon, which has been held every fall for the past eleven years.
New to this group, and fresh out of the gate of the world of stay at home moms, I soon learned that while I was helping my children memorize vocabulary words, build molecules, and pass calculus, that volunteering had been elevated to the status of running a small business! Though Rebecca and I were ultimately responsible for the Luncheon’s success, we were in no way the only ones who contributed to it. Along with the support of the Council for Life Board, we had a committee of twenty-three capable women who were our extended eyes, ears, hands and feet. These are not just any women.
From my very first meeting as secretary of the Board I was acutely aware that there was something different about this bunch. There are lawyers, accountants, decorators, small and large business owners, women who have other exciting things to do, but choose to devote countless hours of time and energy to a cause that is dear to their hearts. Whenever we are all together, it is not about income levels or street addresses, it is all about the unborn child.
Since the purpose of the Luncheon is to raise funds for carefully vetted beneficiaries we needed the help of an adept underwriting chairperson. Shannon Graham, who is no stranger to the fund raising world, was the perfect fit. She kept up with the numbers while Rebecca and I, signed the fourth contract with Scott Pharr at the Anatole, hired Patrick Cone to make our luncheon video which highlighted the work our beneficiaries do, met with Junior Villanueva at Garden Gate, considered table cloths at Posh and La Tavola, and prayed like mad that we would reach our goal to meet the commitment we had made to the adoption agencies, pregnancy centers and counseling ministries.
Time and time again I was overwhelmed by people’s generosity and willingness to help us - people like Bill Noble who donated a diamond cross that looked like it was found in the jewelry box of Anastasia; others like Jim and Betsy Sowell and Bob and Myrna Schlegel who opened their homes so we could thank our generous donors; Jack Boles whose valet service is staffed with the happiest people I’ve ever met; and Shirley Williams at Allcraft Printing who tirelessly worked with Rebecca to design our beautiful invitation. Further, Rebecca and I leaned hard on the wisdom and guidance of founder Ann Carruth who kept us focused on the mission of Council for Life.
On the Wednesday night before the big day, Rebecca and I chose to stay at the Anatole in case of an emergency. However, we needed not worry. Rebecca had wisely acquired the help of Sandy Ammons who though she could run the world, humbly agreed to run our day of events, down to the minute. It was Sandy who kept us on schedule and made us look organized and relaxed as she controlled the lights, action, and sound.
Looking back now, when Laura Carlock called and asked me to join the Board of CFL over two years ago, I told her I had to think about it. Even though my last child was graduating from high school, I was not sure I was qualified for the job and frankly, I was afraid. But after two years and many new friends who have become the sisters I never had, I am so grateful that I accepted her offer. This is not just a group of people who can raise serious money for a great cause, these are lovely individuals who have become like family.
Attending the luncheon? You will have a last chance upon arrival to purchase raffle tickets to win this beautiful 18K white gold & diamond cross necklace donated by William Noble Rare Jewels, valued at $10,000.
Council for Life held its annual Patron Party on October 30th at the beautiful home of Betsy and Jim Sowell. The night featured appearances from Council for Life’s donors, patrons and beneficiaries of the upcoming luncheon. Council for Life’s annual luncheon will be held November 8, 2012, at the Hilton Anatole Hotel.
This year's beneficiaries are Catholic Pro-Life Committee, Chosen Child Adoption Services, Just Say Yes, Dallas Pregnancy Resource Center, Fort Worth Pregnancy Resource Center, Justice Foundation, Lifesavers Foundation, Life Talk Resource Center, Mid-Cities Pregnancy Center, Real Choices PRC Grapevine, Pregnancy Resource Center of Rockwall and Mesquite, Venegas Medical Foundation, White Rose Women’s Center and YoungLives.
Thank you to William Noble Rare Jewels who graciously donated this lovely 18 karat white gold & diamond cross necklace valued at $10,000. for the Nov. 8th CFL luncheon raffle. Raffle tickets are $50 each or 3 for $100 at the luncheon or online click here to purchase raffle tickets.
Eric Metaxas Announced as Keynote Speaker for 2012 Troutt Lecture Series
Best-Selling Christian Author and Radio Host Visits Dallas to Speak at 4rd Annual Troutt Lecture Series
Council for Life today announced Eric Metaxas as the keynote speaker for the 4rd annual Troutt Lecture Series. Best-selling author Eric Metaxas will speak to Council for Life members and guests at the Troutt home on Tuesday, October 2, 2012, at 6:30 p.m.
"What a blessing it has been to hear from brilliant minds on life's biggest issues over these past years, and we look forward to continuing the intellectual dialog in Dallas with this year's extraordinary speaker, Eric Metaxas." said Lisa Troutt, founding member of Council for Life and co-host of the Troutt Lecture Series.
“Eric Metaxas is changing the way society views the Christian community with his humor and cultural commentary and I believe we are in for a fascinating evening with his lecture,” said Kenny Troutt, co-host of the Troutt Lecture Series.
Metaxas is the author of the New York Times #1 bestseller, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, which was named “Book of the Year” by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. Metaxas is the founder and host of New York lecture series "Socrates in the City: Conversations on life, God, and other small topics. Metaxas is the voice of BreakPoint, a radio commentary that is broadcast on 1,400 radio outlets with an audience of 8 million. In 2011, Metaxas was the 17th recipient of the Canterbury Medal awarded by the Becket Fund for Religious Freedom. Seating is limited and reservations are required. To register for the Troutt Lecture Series, visit councilforlife.org.
Council for Life’s annual luncheon will take place November 8, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. at Hilton Anatole Hotel. Award-winning documentarian and best-selling author Ray Comfort will serve as the luncheon speaker. Underwriting opportunities are available for the luncheon. Individual tickets are available for $150. To purchase tickets contact Stephanie Dowdall at email@example.com.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all,
how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
The following recap by Elisabeth Jordan recounts the touching testimony at our Party with a Purpose.
Many of us
grew up in good homes with parents who loved us. Our lawns were always
mowed, our trees trimmed and pretty flowers bloomed in our yards. We had
an abundance of new clothes and got to eat at nice restaurants. We got to
go to college. Many of us didn’t have to pay for college. Some of
us didn’t even have to have a “real job” until we graduated.
Lots of us were raised in church. We know who God is. We’ve learned about him for a long time. At some point, for many of us, the faith of our parents and community stopped being enough for us. We wanted to “test the waters,” and find out for ourselves what we might be missing out on.
So it was for Sarah, the young woman who shared her story with a group of 20 and 30 somethings on June 7 at the Mason Bar in Uptown. Beyond having told a few close friends and family, Sarah had never shared her story before. As she got up on that little stage and sat on the stool, she took the microphone and began to tell her story of a family upbringing much like the one described above. She talked to us about being a rule follower, but how at some point in college she got tired of following all the rules.
So she decided to spend more time out and about, and that extended to post-college when she moved to Dallas. One night, Sarah got pregnant. After many pregnancy tests (she compared it to the movie Knocked Up), it was clear she was, in fact, pregnant.
So she went to the doctor at six weeks and heard her child’s heartbeat. At three months, she told the child’s father, who she had just met that one time.
While we listened to her story that night, no one moved or talked. We were glued to her. That could be any one of us. She was just like us. She decided not to have an abortion. As she explained it, something with a living heartbeat is a life to her.
Through many difficult months and conversations, she and the baby’s father decided to place their precious little girl up for adoption. They picked out the adoptive family, and when the time came, gave their daughter to them.
Sarah’s life and story is so beautiful. I am awed that she had the courage to tell all of us that story just a little over a year from the birth of her little girl.
I will leave with this. As Sarah shared with us, her story is not over. You see, there is a possibility she will know her daughter one day … and not just through the pictures she gets from the adoptive family. Sarah told us that although for the first eighteen years of her child’s life they will have a limited relationship, one day, her daughter might want to know her birth mother; and even if she doesn’t, as Sarah says, “My child has a life.” You see? Sarah’s child is ALIVE, and she may get to know her in this life.
No one is without a story – a personal account of their life’s journey, the ups, the downs and all that falls in between. And even though we all have stories that include sadness and, at times, darkness, most everyone has at some point desired to rewrite, change, or wish away parts of their story. Why we do this remains a mystery, for it is often through the real stories of other people that we are touched and compelled to change and grow. And like a small spark, one story can set ablaze a dozen others and lead those who hear and those who share towards authenticity, honesty, and life.
Such was the story that Susan Saffron, of Susan Saffron Fine Jewelry, shared with a group from the Junior Members of Council for Life on the evening of March 8th. What a precious night of fellowship at Susan’s shop! At the end of the night, Susan shared her own story with us and she has allowed us to share it with you...
Pregnant with triplets, Susan and her husband faced a decision: choose to end the life of the smallest triplet as her doctors recommended or let all live and take the chance the lives of the other two might be compromised in some way by the weaker one. She and her husband chose life for their third “weaker, smaller” child, and the life of the son they chose to keep serves as a daily reminder to her of God’s providence and sovereignty over creation. He did not make a mistake when giving her three to grow in her womb. And that little boy is today the epitome of life and vitality!
Susan bravely shared because, as she told us, “If I can help one person make a choice to help save a child and use my story to meet them in need, then it is the right thing for me.”
This event was a reminder that we each have a story and that there is power in sharing it. Susan’s story reminded us the difference that we can make in our individual lives and as a group as we fight for Life. As Susan said, when we choose to share our stories with others, who knows where that may meet them: in need, in pain, in a tough decision … it may even save a life. Be bold, be transparent, and share Life – you never know who it may touch!
Abigail Powell, Amanda Sisk, Sadie Morgan
Bailey Ross and Susan Saffron
We’re pleased to share this update from Michelle Covington, Communications Specialist for Just Say YES (Youth Equipped to Succeed), which launched a new peer-to-peer mentoring program, STARS (Students Teaching About Relationships and Success). As a beneficiary, Council for Life helped makes STARS possible in the Dallas-area.
A gang affiliated student in Garland ISD is turning his life around thanks to the Council for Life grant that allowed Just Say YES—Youth Equipped to Succeed to implement a new peer-to-peer mentoring program. Before joining the program, this young man was a problem student with multiple fights and referrals for bad behavior on his school record. In January, he joined STARS (Students Teaching About Relationships and Success). Since then, the fighting has stopped. This teenager who never smiled, now smiles proudly at mention of the positive change in his behavior. His school attendance and attitude has improved dramatically and in the three months he’s been in the program, he has not had a single behavior problem.
In the fall, we partnered with Friends First to bring STARS to the Dallas area. Friends First is a Denver-based peer mentoring program that has developed a nationally recognized sexual risk avoidance (abstinence) curriculum - STARS. It pairs younger at-risk students with older teens who have volunteered as mentors for the program. Mentors must sign a pledge that they will avoid participating in all risk behaviors – drugs, alcohol, sexual activity and bullying. The goal is to reach at-risk students through positive role models before they start down the path of poor decision making. STARS students focus on setting goals for their future and learning what it will take to achieve them.
This peer-accountability model has shown amazing results for both mentees and their mentors. Students who volunteer to act as mentors grow just as much as the younger students they teach. It is so impactful in their lives that they won’t let anything get in the way. One mentor moved into a homeless shelter outside of the district during the winter break. A school administrator asked if he wanted to continue at Garland or if he wanted to attend a school closer to the shelter. The student responded that he wanted to continue to go to Garland so that he could keep mentoring his students.
It’s so exciting for us to see the changes that this program is bringing to the lives of these students. We hope to expand and continue this program for years to come.
To hear more about what students and administrators have to say about the STARS program, watch our video.
Since its beginning, Council for Life has been committed to raising significant funds for non-profit agencies who share its mission of honoring the sanctity of life. To date, the Council has raised in excess of $3.3 million. The 2012 Beneficiaries have been carefully selected. Each of these beneficiaries is committed to serving daily in implementing the Council’s mission of empowering women, men and youth to make life-affirming choices and to raising the public awareness of this complex issue. The Council is grateful for the faith-based, compassionate services these agencies provide and for their passionate commitment to the sanctity of life.
Representatives from Life Talk
Representatives from Dallas Pregnancy Resource Center
Catholic Pro-Life Committee of North Texas / www.prolifedallas.org
The Catholic Pro-Life Committee exists to educate, organize and mobilize Catholics in the Diocese of Dallas to restore respect for human life. The funds will be used for the Abortion AfterCare-Healing Ministry, which offers abortion recovery retreats, support groups and professional counseling.
Chosen Child Adoption Services / www.chosenchildtx.org
The mission of Chosen Child Adoption Services (CCAS) is to place children into Christ-centered homes. The funds would go toward hiring an External Relations Liaison and launching an advertising campaign to increase awareness of CCAS.
Dallas Pregnancy Resource Center (DPRC) is a life-affirming evangelical ministry that works with women in unplanned pregnancies. Since 1983, the staff and volunteers have come alongside clients to offer educational information and spiritual, emotional and material assistance. The funds will be used to support the medical clinics of all three locations: Jupiter Road, Greenville Avenue and West Dallas.
Fort Worth Pregnancy Center / www.fwpc.org
Fort Worth Pregnancy Center began in 1996 to encourage, through education, the recognition of human life from the moment of conception and to minister the name of Christ to women and men facing an unplanned pregnancy. The funds will be used for a marketing campaign using billboards, benches and bus stops.
Operation Outcry is a ministry of The Justice Foundation that seeks to end the pain of abortion by exposing the truth of its devastating impact on women, men and families. The funds will be used to produce a media packet for women in Dallas that includes video and custom print materials for churches, conferences and counselors.
Just Say YES – Youth Equipped to Succeed / www.justsayyes.org
Just Say YES is a Dallas-based educational organization committed to teaching abstinence through churches, schools and youth organizations. The funds will be used to support the life-affirming message of Just Say YES by creating movie clips and a study guide for the Look Before You Leap DVD to equip youth pastors to teach abstinence.
LifeSavers Foundation / www.lifesaversfoundation.org
LifeSavers Foundation is a faith-based, non-profit corporation that exists to empower and assist those in crisis through its resale shop and Community Mobile Sonogram program. The funds will be used to purchase a second Community Mobile Sonogram RV.
LifeTalk / www.lifetalkrc.org
LifeTalk is a Christ-centered resource center founded in 2008 in Frisco. The center offers free pregnancy testing and educational classes in abstinence, STDs and post-abortion. The funds will be used for the salary of a nurse sonographer.
Mid Cities Pregnancy Center provides faith-based services for abortion alternatives, pregnancy testing, ultrasound technology and lay counseling. The funds will be used to train two bilingual nurses in ultrasound technology.
Pregnancy Resource Center of Rockwall and Mesquite was established in 2000 to offer free and confidential pregnancy tests, counseling, STD information, sonograms and educational classes. The funds will be used for the salary of a part-time nurse sonographer, 2 exam tables, a monitor, and the purchase of Mobilebaby to allow the Medical Director to remotely read ultrasounds in a timely manner.
Real Choices Pregnancy Medical Clinic/ www.RealChoicesDFW.com
Real Choices Pregnancy Medical Clinic in Grapevine ministers to women by sharing the gospel and providing life-affirming prenatal support and education. The funds will be used to hire an Hispanic Client Services Manager and to purchase a new portable sonogram machine.
The Venegas Medical Foundation, Angels Clinic/ www.angelsob.org
Angels Clinic opened in May of 2008 dedicated to nurturing the mind, body and spirit of women with unplanned pregnancies by providing free prenatal care as well as psychosocial support in a nonjudgmental environment. All physicians staffing the clinic volunteer their time and services. The funds will go toward the salary of an Executive Director.
The White Rose Women’s Centers in Dallas are dedicated to assisting women and saving the unborn through counseling, education and technology. The funds will go toward the salary of a nurse sonographer and a stipend for the lead presenter of the Window into Life mobile ultrasound program.
YoungLives, a ministry of Young Life/ www.younglife.org
YoungLives is the ministry of Young Life that connects pregnant and parenting teenage girls with Christian mentors who build relationships, and more importantly, introduce them to the love and hope of Jesus. The funds will be used for the salary of a regional coordinator to start and equip YoungLives groups throughout North Central Texas.
Members of Council for Life, are you ready for our Spring Coffee?
Ryan Bomberger is our featured guest Speaker. He is the Chief Creative Officer
of the Radiance Foundation. http://www.theradiancefoundation.org/
Also, Council for Life is excited to be announcing our 2012 Beneficiaries.
See you tomorrow at the Dallas Country Club at 9:30am.
Each and every one of us have a prime opportunity to make a profound stand for
life this weekend!
Go to the movie and see OCTOBER BABY!
OCTOBER BABY hits select theaters
across the country this weekend with a resounding
message about the sanctity of life.
Please click on the link below for details.
Online ticket purchases can be made in numerous D/FW area theaters including Highland Park Village Theater http://www.hpvillagetheatre.com/showtimes.asp
*Bulk ticket purchases (50+) can be made TODAY
or anytime during business hours at the HPV ticket office by calling Dave @
Every ticket purchased for OCTOBER BABY is a
vote for life. The producers of OCTOBER BABY have assigned 10 percent of the profits of the
movie to the Every Life is Beautiful Fund, which will distribute funds to
frontline organizations helping women facing crisis pregnancies, life-affirming
adoption agencies, and those caring for orphans.
Please email family and friends, near and far, to encourage them to go to see OCTOBER BABY this weekend.
Celebrate Life with Council for Life!
event at Susan Saffron Fine Jewelry last night was wonderful!! Susan and
her staff set up a beautiful, delicious, bountiful table of food and wine, in
her absolutely gorgeous shop. It was the
perfect environment for intimate fellowship in an elegant,
Kay McCray opened us with one of her Spirit-filled prayers and set the mood for the sharing. Susan Saffron gave her sweet testimony of choosing life for a child she was encouraged to abort, and Mona Wilson tied it all together with an introduction to the mission of Council for Life, with encouragement specifically for the junior group. Then Cristin Parker explained the upcoming Ester Call to them as an opportunity to put action and prayer behind the Christ-centered, Life affirming messages they had just heard. Each talk was short, but power-filled, and I overheard many encouraging conversations coming from the fellowship that followed.
If you all have not been by to see Susan Saffron's gorgeous shop, I encourage you to do so, and while you're there thank her for supporting us. It is in Inwood Village next to Cantina Laredo...5550 W Lovers Lane, suite 166, 75209. The charms she has designed specifically for Council for Life are fabulous! I bought one, and can't wait to pick it up!
Thank you so much for your prayers and your support.
The Mesquite Pregnancy Resource
Center was blessed to be able to open its' doors due in part to a grant for
startup costs from Council for Life several years ago. Then, last year we
were approved for a grant to purchase an ultrasound machine for our Mesquite
location. Our machine arrived on Friday, January 20th. While our
nurse was getting the machine turned on and receiving some training from the
representative an abortion-minded client walked in the door. She was 17 years old and had shared that day with her high school counselor that she was
having an abortion the next day at 9:30 a.m. She lived with her
grandmother, and her grandmother decided that she needed to abort.
The school counselor brought the student to our Mesquite location immediately so that this girl would be able to fully explore her options. Our Nurse Manager, although barely trained on the new machine, decided to do an ultrasound for this client.
The ultrasound revealed a 19 week old little girl. The student cried. We were able to educate this client that this decision was hers to make. She could not be coerced into making a decision. We were able to refer her for Medicaid and answer the many questions that she had. She chose to carry to term.
This baby girl will live because of the grant made possible by the Council for Life. Words cannot express our gratitude
Joanne and everyone at the PRC of Rockwall/Mesquite
Many of our members and friends have inquired about Council for Life's perspective on the recent news of Susan G. Komen's funding of Planned Parenthood. We appreciate the efforts of organizations seeking solutions for breast cancer and other diseases that target women. Nancy Brinker has been an extraordinary leader on the forefront of this battle, and we applaud her life-affirming achievements on behalf of women.
We are saddened that Komen has been sidetracked from its
original mission by the publicity surrounding its decision to redirect funds
away from Planned Parenthood and
its subsequent reversal of that decision. We see the revelation
of Komen's association with Planned Parenthood and the dialogue surrounding it
as an opportunity to educate our members, friends and community and remind them
of our core values which are:
* We believe in the sanctity of Life and that Life begins at conception.
* We exist to equip and educate our community about issues concerning Life.
* The Word of God is our foundation of truth.
* We seek to insure that all our endeavors glorify God.
* We are committed to undergirding everything we say and do with love, mercy, grace and forgiveness, acting in compassion.
* We believe God redeems us and restores us.
* We educate, but we do not legislate.
We are about maximizing the possibility of LIFE! We share our message through educational events and our annual fundraising luncheon. We desire to provide the woman in an unplanned pregnancy every opportunity to choose Life, and we support agencies that walk her through giving birth and beyond. We also support ministries that bring healing to women and men who did not choose Life and are hurting as a consequence. Rather than editorializing over the Komen-Planned Parenthood controversy, we ask our members to join us in prayer for both organizations. Please pray that through this episode our culture will be changed, that Komen and Planned Parenthood will understand the sanctity of Life and God's truth will prevail. Please check our website’s Resources tab for links to other relevant articles.
Thank you for standing with us in encouraging and celebrating Life. Please attend as many of our events as possible to become better educated on championing life-affirming agencies. Join the conversation on the Council for Life Facebook Page .
Together for Life,
Council for Life
Council for Life member Lisa Sterling shares her story on adoption and the misconceptions she encountered throughout the process.
Five years ago, my husband and I started down the exciting and emotional road of adoption. This was familiar territory to me because I am an adoptee, so coming to terms with the fact that our family would be created through the miracle of adoption was not all that difficult. We both believe that God's ultimate plans prevail and we would end up with the family He intended us to have. Working with the Gladney Center for Adoption, we were well prepared for the process - the wait time, the paperwork and the opportunity to meet the birth mothers of our children.
What I was not prepared for was the amount of misinformation and misguided opinions people have about adoption. The perceptions were all new to me since I had the fortune of growing up with a great group of kids, many of whom were also adopted. It was not by design that many of my friends were adopted - my parents didn't create this bubble for me so I would not feel "different". It was simply through the fact that God places people in our lives for a reason. I had never knowingly encountered anyone who viewed adoption as anything other than what it is: a very loving, unselfish decision made by a birth mother who chose life for her child.
I was very open about the fact that we were going to adopt. My family
needed to know, of course. I had to squelch the "grand baby"
talk once and for all with a firm plan to provide one (or two) children.
My colleagues needed to know since there is no way to predict when the
Stork would arrive with my new bundle of joy. My friends also needed to
know - I dearly love my girlfriends and rely on their support.
As I set out sharing our happy news (much as a pregnant mommy would), I was shocked at the range of reactions from people. On one end it was as if WE were making the ultimate sacrifice (almost Sainthood status) by agreeing to take on someone else’s burden. A burden? We wanted a family more than anything. How is that a “burden?” On the other end of the reaction range it was as if we were snatching a baby from its mother's arms. People wondered how could anyone ever give up their baby without considering the fact that they wanted something for their child that they knew they could not provide?
It was suddenly clear to me that adoption suffered from poor PR. There are opportunities abound to educate and inform young ladies who find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy and for others in general that adoption is a very loving option for all involved. The message is simple: A life has been created. So many men and women are hoping to become parents, and they would love a child so unconditionally, much as our Heavenly Father loves us.
Not a day goes by that I don't think about my children’s’ birth moms. They each shared with us very specific dreams that they had for their babies. For my son, "raise him to be a man of character.” For my daughter, "ensure she is intellectually stimulated; nurture her talents." We will not fail these young ladies in their dreams for the babies they entrusted to us.
It is an awesome feeling, as an adoptee, to be “doubly” loved by my birth mom who loved me enough to give me life and the chance to have the things she felt she could not provide and by my parents, who gave me a family, their unconditional love and every opportunity in this world to have “good character” and be “intellectually stimulated.”
Our love for our children is as pure and real as any parent would have for
their child. We did not miss the biological experience of being pregnant
and bringing a life into this world ourselves. Our heart's desire was for
a family. God has provided that, in His way and in His time. How can that
Council for Life member Jennifer Shelmire shares her thoughts on past Life Lessons Box Lunch events and shares a preview of this year's event:
Council for Life will host their annual Life Lessons Box Lunch event on Tuesday, January 24, 2012, to celebrate Sanctity of Life month. The Box Lunch was the first event I ever attended for Council for Life. The crowd is smaller and more intimate than the luncheon, and the low cost makes it easy to invite all of the friends and family I want to! The Box Lunch event always has a great speaker and message; one year I pulled my daughter and niece out of school to attend the event! I’ll never forget seeing their faces as the speakers told their stories about Life.
This year’s event will feature Reverend Philip Jones, Senior Pastor at All Saints Church in Dallas, and his wife Claudia. They will be sharing personal stories on what Sanctity of Life Month means to them and how unplanned pregnancy has played a role in their family.
I hope to see you there!
To learn more and to register for the Life Lessons Box Lunch, visit www.councilforlife.org.
During this season of giving we pause to thank Harriet Maclay, 2011 Council for Life Board President, for her generous gift of time and leadership to our wonderful organization. On behalf of the 30 board members who served with Harriet during 2011, the hundreds of people who interacted with CFL this year and the countless lives Harriet touched because of her willingness to hear the call of our Lord to join Him in His work, we offer you our sincerest gratitude. Harriet made this 10th year of celebrating Life a remarkable and memorable year for so many.
When I asked Harriet what some of the highlights of her year have been she replied, “Oh, I haven’t thought about it.” That is a very significant statement and says a lot about Harriet. She never thought about what she had done. Instead she is always thanking the Lord for what He had done and thanking others. The following quote captures the heart of Harriet: “It is when we forget ourselves that we do things that are most likely to be remembered.”
Calvin Coolidge said, “No Person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.”
And Harriet has given SO much! Let’s take a look back:
She began the year long before January with countless emails and meetings to prepare for the events of 2011.
Together with Libby Hunt, the CFL “Life Lessons” Box Lunch in January was a success with the Lafferty’s sharing their inspiring story of Life.
Everyone enjoyed a glorious weekend at the Board Retreat thanks to Jessica Thackston’s hospitality, Shannon Graham and Mona Wilson’s training and Harriet’s leadership.
The deep freeze we experienced in February did not deter Harriet, Diane Becket and committee from planning our Men’s Event for 400 men. The Lord provided safe passage for about 325 brave and faithful souls to attend the breakfast. Guest speaker, Stephen Arterburn’s flight was one of the only ones that landed the whole week at DFW airport. Oh the prayers that were offered and answered for that event!
Harriet along with Jennifer Shelmire and Belinda Heraty hosted a wonderful kick-off for the 5K Run. That turned out to be another outstanding event that included a great opportunity for Juniors to participate in a Council for Life event.
Gina Lu Petty worked with Harriet to gather much needed items and funds for Pregnancy Resource Centers through Brighter Beginnings in March 2011.
Then came the 5K Run! Remember that glorious day when so many came to support Life? Thanks to Belinda, Jennifer and Harriet and all of the volunteers, Council for Life was able to write a check to Gladney for $54,600.
God brought two amazing speakers to our Spring Coffee who shared His passion for Life with all of us in messages we will never forget. Rebecca Lutz, Spring Coffee chair, and Harriet provided all of us with a beautiful morning. Harriet’s daughter Meredith informed her about Claire Caldwell and she agreed to speak, and our prayers were answered when our second speaker, Lila Rose, took a 6 a.m. flight to be on time in order for her to be at the Coffee to speak at 10 a.m.
Amanda Richard, Claire Smith and Harriet planned an event in May that brought the Junior group together and created a momentum that will carry us forward with a very special group of young adults sharing Life!
Shannon Graham, Mona Wilson and Harriet shared an evening of role play and training that allowed each of us to improve our elevator speeches for Life!!
At our September board meeting Harriet lead the way for a unanimous vote to proceed with Council for Life 10 Year Project to establish the first CFL Affiliate.
The Lord continued to bless CFL with an amazing evening at the Troutt’s home in October. Betsy Hunt, Lisa Troutt and Harriet orchestrated a perfect evening. Chuck Colson spoke with conviction about the sanctity of life. His passion for Life and love of our Lord was shared with a record crowd of 370 people.
We took short break to celebrate 10 years with the Council for Life Founders at a luncheon in mid-October. It was the kickoff to what has been claimed “a glorious success!”
We praise the Lord for what He did through Harriet, Sara Lee Gardner and their Luncheon Committee at the Celebrating A Decade of Life Luncheon. Praise the Lord for this spectacular event! He is so faithful and was so evident in every detail.
In the midst of all of these wonderful events Harriet has cared for her family, Doug, Meredith, Claire and Douglas. The Lord has carried her through the death of Doug’s father and her sister’s stroke.
“This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it … the Lord is his name. Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:2-3.
We have all learned great and unsearchable things from Harriet.
“What the heart gives away is never gone. It is kept in the hearts of others.” Robin St. John.
Our hearts are full of your most generous blessings. Thank you from the very bottom of our hearts for all that you have done and will continue to do for Council for Life.
Happy Holidays from Council for Life!
2012 Council for Life President
More than 1,100 guests joined the Council for Life in the
Chantilly Ballroom at the Hilton Anatole on November 10, 2011, for its annual
luncheon, “Celebrating a Decade of Life,” featuring keynote speaker Kathy
Ireland, CEO of kathy ireland Worldwide.
Council for Life was founded in 2001 by 11 Dallas women with the goal to fund and equip life-affirming organizations such as pregnancy resource centers, teen abstinence and sex education programs and adoption agencies. This year’s 10th anniversary luncheon celebrated Council for Life’s accomplishments over the last decade and put the spotlight on a national affiliate program beginning in January 2012.
“Since 2001, Council for Life has raised more than $2.7 million for 29 beneficiaries, and we hope to empower other communities to support life-affirming organizations,” said Harriet Maclay, president, Council for Life. “We look forward with great expectancy to watch our vision unfold as we expand across the country.”
Kathy Ireland took the stage and spoke about her relationship with God and her journey to becoming pro-life, a decision that affected her both personally and professionally. Ireland also encouraged the audience to initiate positive change when it comes to helping someone make a life-affirming decision.
“I was told speaking about being Pro-Life could end my career,” Ireland said. “Don’t let anyone silence you or let your fear silence you. It’s a human life. There is no comparison.”
To learn more about Council for Life and to view a video celebrating the 10th anniversary, visit www.councilforlife.org.
With our luncheon “Celebrating a Decade of Life” just around the corner on November 10, chairwoman Sara Lee Gardner shares her thoughts on this year’s event and why you should attend.
Ten years ago when the Council for Life was created and the first luncheon was held, my sweet mom, who is in heaven now, asked me to attend because she said there is something different about it. I said I said I was too busy, but my mom bought me a ticket anyways so I would attend. Mom was right in asking me to go, and I left the luncheon relaxed and at peace as I felt the love and forgiveness in the room.
A decade later, the feeling is still there. The luncheon provides a wonderful opportunity to support those who serve daily to honor God’s gift of life. It also serves to help love and support those who do not feel loveable due to choices they have made and to educate about God’s will for the unborn. Our growth has been substantial, and during this special event, a surprise announcement will be made about the impact our reach has had.
Guests of this year’s luncheon will also have the privilege of hearing supermodel turned super mogul Kathy Ireland share her thoughts on Life. Kathy is a very gracious and well-spoken business woman and mother who will reach out to the audience to illustrate why she chooses Life and why she chose to change her views from pro-choice to pro-life. Kathy is very inclusive of all God’s children, whether they are Christians, non-Christians or agnostics, and believes all can be taught the sanctity of life.
A short video highlighting the celebration of Life will be shown at the end of the luncheon. The video shares various aspects of Life, including a touching story about a lively 10-year-old who was saved 10 years ago because of the Council for Life!
Tickets are selling fast, but there is still an opportunity to attend! You can buy a single ticket or you can request tickets for a small group for you and your friends, family or colleagues! Your time will be blessed by attending the luncheon.
Learn more about the Council for Life and the “Celebrating a Decade of Life” luncheon by visiting www.councilforlife.org.
The Council for Life celebrates its 10th anniversary of service and commitment to raising awareness of life-affirming issues. As one of a series of events this fall, Ellen McStay graciously hosted a luncheon in her home on October 12th honoring the Council for Life 11 founding members and 10 past presidents.
Founding member Judy Ferguson spoke about Council for Life’s mission and how each of the founders has contributed over the past 10 years. Founder and current board member Ann Carruth spoke cordially about the Council’s efforts and outreach and how the organization has grown to extend the message of human dignity and the sanctity of life. Sara Lee Gardner offered toasts to the founders, presidents and past presidents, giving sincere thanks for their commitment and involvement.
Council for Life's annual luncheon takes place on November 10 at 11:00 a.m. in the Chantilly Ballroom at the Hilton Anatole Hotel. Supermodel turned super mogul Kathy Ireland will serve as the luncheon speaker. Individual tickets are available starting at $150. Underwriting opportunities are also available. For more information, visit www.councilforlife.org.
Council for Life’s Celebrating a Decade of Life Luncheon is just around the corner! In honor of this year’s luncheon, Sue Gragg Precious Jewels has graciously donated a beautiful diamond cross pendant which will be raffled off at the luncheon on Thursday, November 10. Those interested in winning the pendant can purchase a contribution ticket for $35, and the winner will be announced on stage at the luncheon.
This year’s luncheon features speaker and supermodel turned super mogul, Kathy Ireland, and will take place at the Hilton Anatole in the Chantilly Ballroom. Click here to purchase a contribution ticket for a chance to win the Sue Gragg pendant or to purchase tickets to the luncheon.
For more information on Council for Life, visit www.councilforlife.org.
A record 370 guests attended the Troutt Lecture Series at Kenny and Lisa Troutt’s home on Monday, October 3, 2011. The event marked the 10-year anniversary of Council for Life, which was formed by 11 Dallas women including: Ann Carruth, Judy Ferguson, Elaine Harman, Bette Hoag, Sue Justice, Suzanne Nash, Sarah Perot, Janet Quisenberry, Kim Rozell, Jill Smith and Lisa Troutt.
“I don’t think any of us could have imagined the plans that God had in mind when He called this group of women together 10 years ago,” said Lisa Troutt, founding member of Council for Life. “We are thrilled to see the efforts of those who are a part of the Council for Life raise awareness and funding for so many life-affirming causes and organizations.”
Well-known author, speaker and radio commentator Chuck Colson spoke about the sanctity of life and the uniqueness of the American culture to support life-affirming decisions. Kerby Anderson of KLTY’s Point of View radio show was the master of ceremonies.
“We have been blessed these past few years to have scholars and theologians speak at the Council for Life lectures,” said Troutt. “They teach and remind us that human dignity is God-given because he created us in His image. It was such a privilege to hear from Chuck Colson, a modern-day William Wilberforce, who is changing culture through teaching and writing about God’s calling in our lives and how we should live.”
Council for Life’s annual luncheon will take place at 11:00 a.m. on November 10, 2011, in the Chantilly Ballroom at the Hilton Anatole Hotel. This year’s luncheon will celebrate a decade of Council for Life and feature former super model and fashion designer Kathy Ireland as a speaker. Individual tickets are available starting at $150, and underwriting opportunities are also available. For more information, visit www.councilforlife.org.
Troutt Lecture Series:
The Troutt Lecture Series will take place on Monday, October 3, 2011, and feature speaker Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship, BreakPoint, and the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Colson has authored several books, including Born Again, Loving God, How Now Shall We Live?, The Good Life and The Faith Given Once, for All—that have shaped Christian thinking on a variety of subjects. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to hear this great speaker!
Celebrating Life Luncheon:
Join Council for Life in celebrating a decade of life on Thursday, November 10, 2011, at the Celebrating Life Luncheon. The luncheon will take place at the Hilton Anatole and feature Kathy Ireland of Kathy Ireland World Wide. Kathy Ireland had dedicated her life to those in need and living for Christ. This is sure to be one of the best celebrations of the year!
Want to learn more about Council for Life? Click here.
“Is your life workin’ for you?”
“Do you know there’s another way to live?”
“Have you heard how much God loves YOU?”
These are questions burning in my heart when I lead a young woman into a counseling room at the DPRC. At the same time, my heart desperately requests “Take over, Jesus. Use me, but get “Me” out of the way and meet this woman with Your Presence. Here. Now.
And off we go together. I listen to her story, asking poignant questions and offer her an ear, understanding, hope, comfort, and possibilities.
Thursday afternoons for me can’t get any better.
Late last spring, Bonner, my 18 year old, and I curiously went to a Martha’s Cookies training evening in the neighborhood. Both of our hearts were surprisingly touched. The need for women to speak truth and grace to other women in unplanned pregnancies was so apparent and tugged at us to learn more. We knew we were clueless how to help should a woman in need cross our path. “Train us” was both of our hearts’ desire that night. Avery, my 20 year old, came home from college for the summer soon after and wanted to join us. None of us knew what to say, how to help. “Equip us” we asked. Equip us they have and they continue to. Weekly, we spent the summer observing advocates in action at the DPRC and reviewing the great material they provided. Great training in a body of knowledge and insights is ongoing and personal.
The girls went back to school, better equipped to speak to their generation. I have continued to serve at the DPRC. It is a front row seat for seeing Jesus touching hurting hearts.
Each encounter seems divinely orchestrated. Each one is unique.
Every person who comes through the door at the DPRC is never the same because each had been touched by God’s love. Each responds differently and many are warmed in the Light of the Greatest Lover and His love story for them.
We offer our five loaves and two fish and He blesses.
I’m learning to be available. And not fearful.
What a privilege.
What about you?
One rhythmic sound melted it all away: all the sadness, all the anger, all the loss of dreams, all the heartache – all dissolved in an instant at the familiar drum-like beat.
You see, it was the heartbeat of my unborn granddaughter.
Our pediatrician had phoned to inform us that the pregnancy test on our 17-year-old daughter was positive, and as my world crumbled silently within my soul, he proceeded to recommend a pediatric obstetrician, explaining that teenage girls suffer a higher risk of pregnancy complications. I had never imagined until that very moment that pediatric obstetricians even existed. Such a sad oxymoron.
The young female specialist was very kind. As she listened for a heartbeat, she smiled, then turned to me and asked if I’d like to listen. The entire situation had seemed so unreal to me; perhaps I was in denial that my baby girl was to have a baby. But after hearing the strong, steady whooshing of blood, reality set in right along with the tears and I knew beyond a doubt that there was a little living, breathing person in there who was my grandchild. I was instantly in love.
The doctor gently inquired as to our plans for the pregnancy, and I told her that we were still looking into the options. Pregnancy termination was definitely not one of those options, as my daughter had very wisely declared early on. She said that, as inconvenient and emotionally troublesome as this pregnancy was, she simply could not murder her baby. Termination and murder were synonymous to her.
Beginning that day, we sought the counsel of our pastor and others whom we hoped could give us sound advice, knowing without a doubt that the final decision would be our daughter’s. On the recommendation of a friend who had two precious adopted children, we visited The Gladney Center in Fort Worth. We took a tour of the facilities, spoke with numerous people who worked there, and came away quite certain that our daughter would most likely be going to Gladney for the duration of her pregnancy. We especially wanted her to have the excellent counseling they offered, but most of all, we wanted the decision regarding the baby to be hers, and hers alone.
On the plane ride home after the emotionally grueling day at Gladney, neither my daughter nor I were much in the mood for small talk. However, the flight was full, and we were obliged to smile at the 35-year-old woman who took the aisle seat on our row. I turned my face towards the window and feigned ardent interest in the handling of bags below, but my daughter was unwittingly drawn into conversation with the nicely dressed stranger.
“What brings you to the Dallas/Fort Worth area?” she asked my daughter. I closed my eyes out of pain for the ensuing dialogue, but my teen dove right in and told her the truth: “I’m pregnant and my mom and I have been to Fort Worth to check out The Gladney Center. I might place my baby for adoption.”
Wide-eyed, the woman proceeded to explain that she, too, had placed a baby through Gladney as a teen. The rest of the flight, which “flew” by, was spent in an incredibly healthy exchange that left us dumbfounded. God had placed that woman beside us, and He had made his intentions quite clear!
Having our pregnant daughter living four hours away during the last half of her senior year in high school had to be one of the most difficult things my husband and I have ever encountered. I cried for days after we left her there. I called every day, wrote every day, prayed every day, and visited as often as I could. She was able to finish her senior year at Gladney, and accompanied by a small group of family members, we attended her graduation. The transcript was sent to the high school she had attended before entering Gladney, and the diploma graciously bore the name of that school. I had certainly never envisioned my daughter graduating from high school pregnant, but she did.
Having cooled down and processed the dilemma our family faced, my husband and I had decided that we would be more than willing to adopt our daughter’s child and raise her as our own; but our daughter, who has always been a very independent sort, thought that it would be too difficult to be around her child and not have parental authority over her. She wanted desperately to keep her baby, but she knew that life as a single mom would be very hard for her, and her child, and she really didn’t want the birth father to be in her life forever, so after months of intense counseling, she made the agonizing decision to make an adoption plan for her baby.
It seems that was only a heartbeat ago. But just last week, we met our 21-year-old granddaughter for the very first time! It was a satisfying and memorable experience that we will treasure into eternity. God opened up the curtain on the life we had missed and allowed us a peek behind the scenes into her world. My daughter had held, rocked and sung to her baby several times in the hours after she was born, but my husband and I had never seen her, held her, or even known the sound of her cry. Now finally, finally we were privileged to meet the most unbelievably beautiful young woman any of us had ever seen.
That memory of her heart beating had been in my mind for years. To actually meet the young lady to whom that heartbeat had belonged was the fruition of a long unfinished dream. She is a young woman any grandparent would be proud of, and she’s had amazing, Godly parents who raised her much as we would have. We are so grateful she’s had such a fulfilling upbringing, and we are very hopeful that we’ll have at least a small role in her life in the years to come.
Whenever I hear people say someone “gave a baby up for adoption,” I literally cringe. They usually say it through clenched teeth, indicating the woman who committed such an act must be a horrible person, but I know that placing a baby for adoption is an unselfish act of love, and the birth mother who places her baby is putting the welfare of her child before her own desires. It is a heart-wrenching decision that is not made lightly.
I wish I’d known my granddaughter since that initial heartbeat that melted mine, but I now know that she’s had a wonderful life with her adoptive family, and I know she’s been right where God wanted her to be all that time.
She may not have lived with me, but she’s always been in my heart.
Written by L. J. Charles
April 2, 2011, arrived it was a beautiful day. The crowds showed up. The gun went off. And over 600 runners and walkers – kids, adults, and even family dogs – began the race. I waited at the finish and watched the runners come across the finish line one at a time. Joy came over me. I had been given a chance to give back to a cause that is very personal to me. I was adopted as an infant because my birth mother was unable to care for me the way she wanted so God placed me in a loving home. The Council For Life 5K Run benefited birthmothers through Gladney’s Next Step Program. Now, because of the funds from the CFL Run, Gladney Center for Adoption will be even better equipped to help more birthmothers improve their lives after they have made a choice for life.
by Ellen Porter
Since the beginning of our marriage, my husband Reid and I had always been interested in adopting internationally. We tried to conceive children naturally for more than 2 years before we finally decided to start the adoption process.
Adoption is scary. It is SCARY!!!! It is a great pit of the unknown. You are scared to death about who the mother of this child is going to be, will she be healthy carrying my child, will the baby be healthy, what will he look like, will he be cute, will people stare at us, how can we afford it, will my child have developmental or behavioral problems, will I love him?
Those fears are based on the illusion of control. We think, “If I were to have my own biological children, I know what I am putting into my body when I am pregnant. I know that I will have good prenatal care, and I know what my child will look like more or less. If I adopt, who KNOWS what I will get!”
For us to think in our arrogance that we should NOT participate in adoption because we are not in control is an affront to the sovereignty of God. We are NEVER in control – only God is. The only reason that we don’t all fly apart in some cataclysmic tragedy is because God is holding all the atoms together in perfect harmony as we speak.
In hindsight, had we had a whole bunch of biological children right off the bat, I don’t know if we would have been obedient to the call of adoption. Too many kids, too busy, who knows what kind of child we will get, etc… Praise His holy name – He made absolutely sure we would not miss out on the blessing He had planned for our lives. In our disobedience and laziness, we could have missed it! We could have missed the amazing child that is our firstborn son, Caleb Porter!
What if we had not adopted Caleb? Who knows where he would be right now if he weren’t upstairs playing with his fire truck? What bed would he be sleeping in if he weren’t in his cozy blankets, with his head lying on his beloved bunny next to his brother and best friend Bennett? What would he be eating for breakfast if he weren’t at my table getting syrup all over the place? Would he be hungry, cold, and detached after years of going without all the hugs and kisses that we have given him? Would he still have that “mega watt smile” as our minister Bill Lamberth likes to call it, or would he be hollow and sullen? Would the people working at the orphanage ever know all of his tickle spots and that his favorite thing in the world is to be chased, tackled, and tickled until he can’t breathe? Would they know he can work puzzles intended for 8 year-olds? What if his birth mother had not chosen life for him and he didn’t even exist? I can’t imagine life without my Caleb. All I do know is that I would have missed him – more than words can describe – without even knowing it!
Ellen Porter and her husband Reid adopted their son Caleb through Gladney. Let’s all celebrate life by supporting adoption! Please join us for our Council for Life 5K Run on Saturday, April 2, benefiting the Gladney Center for Adoption and specifically Gladney’s Next Step Program, a program which helps birth mothers with the transition back into society by arming them with knowledge, education, practical tools and confidence. For more information about the 5K Run, please go to http://www.councilforlife.org/get-involved/take-steps.html.
Truth for Us Became Truth in Us:
Coming to know more truly what we thought we knew already
Outline of Talk by Patrick and Christy Lafferty
Council for Life Box Lunch Series - January 18th, 2011
We’ve all had the experience of thinking that we knew something, and then coming to know something more truly. It’s not that what we thought we already knew was wrong; we just came to realize that our knowledge of it was at best superficial. And while there was a measure of pain on our way to that knowledge, it was a grace, in the end, to have our knowledge deepened. Today we’d like to tell your our story, in a conversational way, how we came to know more truly what we thought we knew already about life.
What we thought we knew about life already
Life is precious. How did we “know” life was precious? Scripture says a lot about it:
God made life (Gen 1:27f). And anything God has made has an intrinsic value and dignity to it by virtue of the fact that it arose from His Will.
God purposed life (Gen 1:28ff). God gave life meaning by giving it a reason for being. Life didn’t exist for its own sake. It wasn’t created and then sent off wandering to find its own purpose, or create its own purpose. Life came into being to reflect, in part, the nature of God—the One who’d fashioned it. Life came into being to experience the gift of participating in God’s world. To hear birds sing, to taste a good pie (or pinot noir), to feel cool grass beneath your feet, to wonder if someone a million miles away would ever see the light from a flashlight you’d pointed into the night sky. Such experiences are gifts and the living are their beneficiaries. Mostly, though life came into existence to experience communion with the One responsible for life. All those speak to the purpose for life.
God abhors its misuse (Gen 3:13-19). I think the Fall of man, in a sense, centers around an attempt to live life detached from what establishes life. So the curse of God in making death our destiny is itself a reflection of His regard for life in that He will not countenance its misuse.
God mourns its loss (Gen 4:10, Jn 11:35, 38). When Cain kills Abel, God says the ground is crying out with his blood. He is enraged by the taking of a life. Jesus himself weeps over Lazarus’ death—the condition to which all humanity is subject.
God is sovereign over it (Gen 4:15, Deut 32:35). Though life comes from God, life is not more important than God. Sometimes God authorizes the taking of life, but He says it is His, not others’ decision. He is sovereign over it.
God sacrifices for its flourishing (Jn 3:16, Rom 5:6-12). You can’t understand Jesus or His Gospel unless you recognize that God was willing to sacrifice what was precious so that “though we die, yet shall we live.” And while we live we might live with his joy.
God adopted us as His children. How did we “know” that? Again, the Scripture is unambiguous.
God means for the world to know He is Lord. That’s the most prominent theme of the whole Bible—not because He feels lost if He’s not known, but because we’re lost if we don’t know Him–we’re too prone to making something or someone else equivalent to Him and ultimately find, too late, that thing or person to be insufficient.
Our estrangement from God required a unique intervention on His part to help us come to know Him intimately.
The essence of that intervention is to make us His own through Sovereign grace, Costly sacrifice, Binding promise of steadfast love. Those three interrelated acts form the heart of what it means to adopt.
So God makes Himself known to the world by doing all that for us. He adopts us, makes us who were not part of his family a part of his family.
I can rattle off to your heart’s content all those heady ideas that are true about what God thinks of life, but I can still end up thinking of life as no big deal in the way I treat other lives. So God has led us through some experiences that have made the truth we knew superficially into truth we’re coming to know more authentically.
What we came to know about life more truly
Like most modern American couples with a Protestant heritage, we started marriage with a respect for a life, but only insofar as it would be convenient for our enjoyment for the rest of life. While we could (and do) respect the necessity of discernment in asking ourselves whether we could provide for and care for children, if we’re honest, our reasons for pushing off bringing forth children were more like what Paul Reiser said in his very funny reflections on parenthood, “we didn’t want to have children because we wanted to preserve our ability to hop on a plane for Aruba—even though we’d likely never hop on a plane to Aruba.”
One chapter: Our pursuit of bringing forth children, its frustration, and the wonderment of seeing it happen before our very eyes.
The story. Set out to start a family. Discovered our inherent obstacles, medically speaking. We prayed and researched the ethics of assisted reproductive technology. Sought the help of the medical community, while at the same time asking our friends to pray. Not just that we bring forth children, but that we would be content with His will irrespective of the outcome. We sought medical attention twice; both times yielded a child: Seamus and Savannah.
Its lesson(s). Life is a gift. It’s not a given that we’ll see life or bring it forth. We’re not entitled to have life or bring forth life—which then engenders appreciation for life. Life is wondrous. To be able to see the astounding simplicity of life in its earliest moments—and to grasp that from that simplicity arises an immeasurable complexity—evokes a real awe at what life is. Participating in life is an enormous responsibility. Though we’d prayed and researched the ethics of undertaking this process, towards the end of the second time, from which Savannah came forth, we felt the burden—physically, emotionally, ethically—of seeking life in this fashion.
Another chapter: Our celebration of bringing forth a child without assistance, and our devastation in that loss.
The story. Bittersweet turn: surprised to learn of pregnancy without help! Crestfallen at learning of an anomaly in her chest cavity: lung lesion. Condition required vigilant monitoring, and perhaps even strenuous measures. Condition in her lung improved; other anomalies observed but were considered manageable. Two days after she was born, we learned of her true condition: Trisomy 18; two more days later she left us, as we cradled her, sang to her, prayed with her.
Its lesson(s). Life is astounding. Just as we were amazed to see life at its earliest stages, to understand just how many things can go wrong with the development of life underscores the impressiveness of life. It’s a wonder we ever get out of the womb alive intact, considering how delicate is the process of development. Life is precious. No one had to tell us or teach us to mourn. It came naturally. That we mourned the life of one we’d only seen and held for a few days tells us that we know, innately, that life is to be cherished. Life is worth fighting for. Though we could’ve terminated the pregnancy upon discovery of a serious anomaly…we felt like her life was worth fighting for. Though we could’ve taken measures to add to our knowledge but which could’ve put our baby at risk (e.g. amnio)… we felt like her life was worth fighting for. Life is meaningful. (Now I Lay Me…) Even in the tragedy of untimely death, life is worth every effort to ennoble it—even by capturing an image of it in the wake of life’s loss.
Most recent chapter: Our musings on adoption, our trepidations at the last moment, our delight in having committed to it.
The story. We’d always considered adoption—not as a second choice, but an alternative. We’d made informal attempts at adopting, then sought the help of a wonderful agency, Chosen Heritage. Got a call on Monday: Seamus said to Daddy, “I have a little brother”. Met him on Thursday; went home sullen and scared. Prayed like we never had, sought the counsel of a few wise people. Brought him home on a Monday and finalized the adoption three weeks ago.
Its lesson(s). Life is worth the sacrifice. Without sacrifice, this little life would’ve been discarded or neglected. It costs to rescue, sustain, and nurture life. But what we’ve received in return from this little life in just a short time helps us see the worth of the sacrifice to make him ours. Life is worth the risk. Much of our fear centered around what might become of our family were we to bring another unfamiliar life into it. But those fears are based on ideas we cannot see. And love is by nature an act of risk. So we learned, and are learning still, that life is worth the risk because love is itself a risk. Life is a blessing. God makes Himself known by adopting us, but He also makes Himself known by us adopting others. What he does for us, he means to also do through us in a sense. We don’t save Jedidiah, but we take the same steps God does for us because we’re compelled out of love. We “knew” all those things in part, but we came to know them more fully through His grace.
Isn’t it interesting how much of our life and our growth has resulted from our relationship to four babies? Jesus’ calling the children to come to Him has special significance to us. If children reflect the kind of posture toward God that God calls from us, isn’t it interesting that we’ve come to discover more about what true faith before God is like in our experience with bringing forth and raising children?
Life Lessons Box Lunch on RSVP Calendar:
Welcome and thank you for reading the first post for Council for Life’s blog! I have the privilege of serving as President this year. Many people ask me how I got involved with Council for Life, so I would like to share my story with you. Four years ago my heart was touched by a desire to invest my life in things that have eternal value. I prayed that God would give me an opportunity to serve Him in this way. A year later, I became involved in Council for Life, a group who is motivated by Christ-like compassion and exists to empower women, men and youth to make life affirming choices. Last year I was asked to take on a big leadership role with this group. I believed God was calling me to do this but I felt very inadequate. Because of my church’s involvement in West Dallas, I was familiar with the Pregnancy Resource Center there and I was touched by their desire to reach out to women facing unplanned pregnancies to encourage them to choose life for their babies.
After receiving training to become a peer advocate, I began volunteering once a week. A few weeks later, I found myself in a counseling room with Karen, a 19 year old girl who was pregnant and uncertain about her future and her baby’s future. My heart went out to her as I listened to her story. I told her that I believed that God created all life and that He values all life. I told her that God has plans for her and for her baby, plans to prosper and not to perish. I opened my Bible and read Psalm 139:
13 For you Lord created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 16 All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” After asking her about her spiritual beliefs, I had the privilege of sharing my faith with her. Praise God that Karen prayed to accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior and she chose to give life to her baby. God saved two lives that day and impacted Karen’s family for generations to come.
I am so thankful that we can celebrate the value of human life and that each life is unique and worthy of our protection. I believe that all life is precious because God created all life in His image. God was faithful to equip me for the work He called me to do, and He will be faithful to equip you. If anyone is interested in getting involved in this ministry, I encourage you to go to www.councilforlife.org and become a member today!
Love Life! Give Life! Celebrate Life!
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