Four Words I’ll Never Forget
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The Author

I'm a wife and mother, a WordPress web designer and developer. I love my husband, reading great books, Jane Austen, tea in china cups, photography, Caryll Houselander, my Catholic faith, Ansel Adams and my fearsome foursome. I'm a convert, a '97 graduate of Texas A&M WHOOP! and founder of the Coalition for Life. Find me at santaclaradesign.com - @stclaradesign - theLoveliestHour. com - bookishcatholics. blogspot.com

fourwords

Four years ago, my son Jonathan found me sitting in front of my laptop, tears running down my cheeks. I had read an email and had been stunned to tears and silence. I was in shock with joy. The email was about Abby Johnson, the director of our local Planned Parenthood (the number one abortion provider in the nation). Abby had just announced, after years of working for Planned Parenthood, that she had experienced something that made her walk out the front door of Planned Parenthood, drive over to the Coalition for Life offices and tell them, “I want out.”

I’m sure many shed tears of joy that day. But, I had a special, although distant, connection to the news. 10 years earlier, I had scraped together money left over from my grad school grant and quit my job at St. Mary’s to attempt the start up of a new non-profit: the Brazos Valley Coalition for Life. We became a group dedicated to helping mothers and fathers find alternatives to abortion. Specifically, we countered Planned Parenthood, offering their clients alternatives.  I spent 3 years as Director. And, much of my time was focused on Planned Parenthood. I protested the ground breaking, protested a foundation being poured, protested walls going up. I prayed over opening day ceremonies. While Abby Johnson was a college student volunteer at Planned Parenthood, I stood on the other side of the fence, handing out information to moms willing to receive it.

Eventually, I passed the reigns over to those much better equipped to lead the organization, and it prospered and expanded greatly under their guidance.

So, on that day when Abby Johnson’s ‘defection’ became world-wide news, I wasn’t only joyful…. I could see us standing there on opposite sides of that black iron fence, two women who really thought they were doing the right thing for women, but with two completely opposing answers. And all of a sudden the fence was gone and our answer was the same.

To me, it wasn’t just a news story. It was a cosmic earthquake.

My tenderhearted son saw my tears and asked me what was wrong, why was I crying. “I’ve just read some VERY good news!” I burst out. I went on to tell him the story of Abby: how she had been in charge of the abortion clinic where he had prayed. I told him that Abby had been called in to assist an ultrasound-guided abortion, something she had never been asked to do before. While she held the ultrasound wand for the abortion doctor, she saw the baby fight for his life. She saw him pull away from the vacuum inserted to pull him apart and out of his mother’s body. And, in that moment, I told my son, Abby Johnson realized that this WAS a baby. After all those years, she realized that abortion was wrong, and she was finished with Planned Parenthood.

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photo credit to Litchi at flickr

“I’m SO happy, Jonathan!” I told him. “This is an answered prayer! That is why I’m crying – these are tears of joy.”

“Oh. Wow.” he said. Eyes on the ground.

He looked up at me, his blue eyes hopefully wondering.  And then, the words I will never forget.

“But, what about the baby? Did they save the baby?”

Silence.

Even I, with my history and knowledge, had brushed right past that little baby and on to the celebration.

And I had to tell him the truth.

My son went to his room in tears that day, too. But they weren’t tears of joy for Abby. He was thinking of that tiny baby that was no more.

You see, my son didn’t understand the incredible implications that Abby Johnson’s change of heart meant for the Pro-Life Movement.  He knew that building where she had worked. He had been to those sidewalks many times before, at first in my uterus, then in his stroller, and later on his own two feet. He had seen the men and women go in and out. In his mind, uninfluenced by media, movements or politics, Abby Johnson was not a national phenom, an inspirational figure or the newest leader of a movement. To this boy, she was just a person. A person. Like that baby. Like those mothers and fathers coming in and out of Planned Parenthood’s doors. To him, they were all equal. And precious.

As it should be.

 

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matt. 19:14

 

And so, on this week of the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, my family and I will go to our state’s Rally for Life in Austin. We will hold signs and march down Congress Avenue. We will probably holler out some pro-life chants in unison with our fellow pro-life friends. We will smile politely at those who protest us at the Capitol gates. And, my son will see Abby Johnson up at the podium. Her strong, powerful, inspiring words will echo out over us all. We will be moved. Those protesting at the gates will no doubt hear them, too. And, I’m certain, as Abby carries a new life within her womb right now, that she will gladly encourage us all to remain focused. Not to get too distracted by talking points, political positions or strategy. To remember why we are all here, now all on this side of the fence together. Our voices and hearts will echo with my son. We will never forget, “What about the baby?”.

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30 Comments
  • http://twitter.com/jdzondo Jason Elizondo

    Lauren you really shouldn’t have made me tear up at work. Great post!

    • Lauren Gulde

      oops! sorry! :)

  • Julia

    Thank you, Lauren, and all those who work in the vineyard to defend and protect life, by pouring love and hope into this ministry. How wonderful it is that this experience is so close to home for us!!!! How can we not continue to hope, and believe, that lives can be transformed when we see stories like this??? Thanks be to God! May we pray for our society to strive to see with such clarity, and seek truth with our hearts and not let our minds get in the way.

    • Lauren Gulde

      thanks, friend!

  • http://soulpainter.com/ Cristóbal Almanza

    Such a beautiful post. When I read pro-abortion blogs there always seems to be so much anger, selfishness, and hate, but this is only filled with love and respect for all life.

    For anyone joining the rally on Saturday, remember to tweet with #TXLIFE

    http://www.austincnm.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/TXLIFE.pdf

    • Lauren Gulde

      Thanks Cristobal. :)

  • http://twitter.com/gailfinke Gail Finke

    You made me cry. What about the baby… You’re right, we must never forget.

  • Paula

    Excellent article, Lauren! Our children are our sanctification, in so many ways! Thank you for your yes and your voice… then and now!

    • Lauren Gulde

      “Our children are our sanctification.” YES! I think I’ll be borrowing that quote from you!

  • http://inspiredangela.wordpress.com/ Angela Sealana

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Pingback: Four Words I’ll Never Forget… | The Loveliest Hour

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.williston Chris Williston

    Seriously… amazing. Absolutley wonderful post.

    • Lauren Gulde

      Thanks Chris

  • Brandon Posvar

    Very powerful. Hope it is read by many and that it is an inspiration for all to “Stand & Pray.” We never fully know what fruits our prayers/actions bear, but we do know God is faithful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/akfrailey Ann K Frailey

    You brought truth to light. Thanks!

  • http://www.callherhappy.com/ Jenna @ Call Her Happy

    Even though your son couldn’t save that one baby, he should be so proud that he is taking part in hopefully saving many more! Bravo, kiddo! And Bravo to you too :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kate-Thompson-Eschbach/100001044712356 Kate Thompson Eschbach

    Oh my goodness – so many memories just came flooding back of you and Brian working at that office… cleaning, finding rugs at goodwill… protesting together. Hugs to you!

    • Lauren Gulde

      Yes, Katie! Many wonderful memories! Miss you guys!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/davidbereit David Bereit

    Lauren, a beautiful and poignant reflection … and an important reminder of what this IS all about. Thank you for starting the Coalition for Life and for inviting me to get involved. Who could have imagined what God would do through your inspiration and leadership, and the faithfulness of so many Aggies! I appreciate you and the whole Gulde family!

    • Lauren Gulde

      :) God is good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/crid21 Crystal Kupper

    That is just so heart-breaking. My kids similarly stop me in their tracks with bits of wisdom.

  • Amy

    Thank you for teaching us all through the wisdom of a child. And thank you for your faithful service and prayer and raising a son who immediately knows what is most important in all pro-life work because he has seen and heard your faithful witness.

    Your son has probably already considered this by now, but as I read I imagined trying to answer him or one of my children (now young adults) as if it were right now -

    No, sadly this precious baby was not saved. But because of what Abby saw and learned that day, she is helping to save many, many babies all over the world by teaching people about the real value of all human life and about the reality of abortion and the industry around it.

    Yes, first and most important in our minds should always be, “What about the baby?”

    • Lauren Gulde

      Very true, Amy. Thank you.

  • Katherine Hardacre

    Great post. Thanks for sharing, Lauren!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bobby-Rodriguez/1041371491 Bobby Rodriguez

    She quit because word is they were going to can her. . I suspect she was so wounded by this rejection that she became “pro life” and will spend the rest of her life fighting her former employer as a disgruntled former employee You can read the inconsistencies in her story here http://feministsforchoice.com/abby-johnsons-story-doesnt-hold-water.htm

  • http://www.facebook.com/Michelle101767 Michelle Connor

    children are much wiser than we think. my 7 year old cries for the babies and animals

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  • Sandra

    Thank God that His arms are the first to hug those precious babies.

  • Pingback: you know that radical anti-abortion chick? Yeah,that’s me. | The Loveliest Hour

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