It was fifty years ago around Easter time that I discovered I was pregnant. I was in my second year at university, What should I do? What will my parents think? Will I finish my studies?
I was aware that the University Medical Center arranged for a student to go to England if she wanted an abortion. Not everyone wanted the responsibility of a child. One was at university to further one’s prospect of a job and career. Having a child would interfere with those plans. Best stop the pregnancy and no one will know, some students thought.
The western world was going through revolution. Youth in the west threw off the customs of their forefathers and guidelines on how to live. The pill was available so one didn’t have to get married. Abortion became available. Music was being blasted over the airwaves about love, all you need is love. The result of throwing off the wisdom gained from previous generations has resulted in millions of children being aborted.
I decided I wanted to keep my child. I didn’t listen to my peers. I wasn’t passionate about a future career. Brendan asked me to marry him. We were twenty years and twenty one years old respectively. We were willing to face the future together as many people before us have done. My daughter Shann was born later that year.
Recently we celebrated Shann’s success in getting the highest mark in her Masters, doing research for community health care. If we had aborted my unborn child we wouldn’t have had the joy of raising and being responsible for another human being. Brendan’s mother wouldn’t have had the joy of seeing her first grandchild and spending many happy days with her. In nannie’s old age Shann cared for her.
Shann has brought love to many. The world would not be the same without her. Shann has been a blessing. She is married to Mark. They have four beautiful children. As a health professional she has worked with sick children and elderly. She encourages her colleagues when they are having a bad day. She is compassionate to her neighbours.
Our eldest child has loved us and her siblings unconditionally. We look forward to many good days together in the future.
This story is the result of my choice fifty years ago not to have an abortion.
Yesterday Brendan and I went to visit a friend who is a prisoner, Brendan’s mother who is 93, and another man who is principal of a school.
The first snow was falling as we drove early to the prison. Our friend was glad to see us. He was cheerful and encouraged us to keep on looking after our family. His wife and all but one of his children do not visit him. He realises what he has lost because of his selfishness. He encouraged us and we encouraged him. He is sure of God’s forgiveness and love and prays for his family. He is hoping for restoration.
Brendan’s mother is settling home after a few days in hospital. Despite her weakness she blessed us with Christmas gifts for our family. She has lived a long life and has seen her children’s children’s children, all sixteen of them. She was widowed young, reared her boys and lived humbly. She is leaving behind a good legacy. She has borne good fruit.
The principal of a school invited us to pray with him. Two hundred and twenty five young children attend the school. Jesus said “Let the little children come to me for such is the kingdom of heaven.” We encouraged him and prayed for wisdom for his task in overseeing forty staff and all those pupils. I always give thanks to God for the school teachers who cared for and taught my children. I was reassured they were being well looked after, while I was busy with my younger children.
Teachers do a great job, but the parents can give the best example to their children. How we live our lives as parents affects our children. We do not get to be selfish for long as we rear our children. One of my favourite verses in Exodus 20 says God promises to bless us to the thousandth generation of those who love The Lord but curses come upon our children to the fourth generation if we disobey God. What choice will you make?
But I believe their is hope for the prisoner and his family. Jesus forgives our sins and promises to restore all that is lost. Over and over in the bible we read about the children of Israel. When they were far away from God because of their sins He always had mercy and restored them. When I was feeling hopeless and about to die of cancer, God sent his healing and restored me. There is hope.
Brendan and I were in Canada and Slovakia recently sharing this hope with many people. God wants to restore families. Jesus shed his Precious Blood to pay the price for our wrongdoing and our forefathers’ wrongdoing. You can go free from guilt and shame. Do not blame, just forgive. And God will restore that which has been lost.
May God bless you and your family in this season of good will.
At seven in the morning it is dark here in my home town of Downpatrick, Co Down, Ireland. As I look out my window I see the main road wind its way out into the distance. During the week day mornings there is a constant flow of pairs of red lights, cars with people on their way to work in Belfast. Later there is a flow of buses and cars into town with school children. Downpatrick is a hub for education. We have great primary and grammar schools here, a good place to rear children.
The road is quiet this morning. I hear the church bells ringing. A call to prayer. What a wonderful Christian heritage we have here in Ireland. Despite the war, people still pray. The bells were silent for a time recently. I missed them. I enquired and was reassured the bells would be ringing again. The bells ring down through the centuries. Everyone hears the bells, whether one is Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Muslem, Chinese, male, female, child or pensioner. It is a beautiful sound, memories of home, neighbours and security.