Don't protect them from this

We protect our kids from a lot of evils but maybe we shouldn’t protect them from this.

My parents never talked about abortion.  I don’t believe they kept me in the dark on purpose, I believe they didn’t think about it at all.  They didn’t have the knowledge to share.  I do and I’m not going to withhold or protect my children from the knowledge I’ve gained.

Abortion, sex, drugs, abuse, bullying, self harm, pornography and a whole host of other topics need to be freely talked about at home.  In your home is where the information is going to be filtered through a godly perspective instead of the cultures ideas of what is acceptable.

When I was growing up, heavy subjects just weren’t talked about.  I didn’t know what abortion was beyond the idea that an abortion could make an unwanted pregnancy go away. 

The church my parents raised me in was conservative in many ways with a lot of rules.  It seemed like when most kids got to their teen years they didn’t pay much attention to those rules.  We knew that it was bad to have sex before marriage but I’m pretty sure most parents in my church were not explaining why.  

 I don’t get it.  Did they think we were just supposed miraculously know?  Did they think we wouldn’t be exposed to all kinds of ideas while at public school?

 I grew up at a time when MTV was being introduced to teens and the television programs were taking a turn towards more open promiscuousness.  Our parents didn’t see it coming or the need to educate us when they were clueless themselves. 

Rules don’t help kids understand the heart of why we are teaching them the things we do. 

 In my home, all we were taught was that it was a rule and that God would be mad at us if we broke the rule.   

I broke the rule.                                                                      

I felt a little guilty, but mostly I focused on how much fun it was to live on the edge. 

I hung out with older kids, I began to drink, I was deceptive and at fifteen I was no longer a virgin. 

At night when I was alone, lying in my bed, I felt disgusting.  I had to keep up a double life because I felt like if my siblings or parents knew my dark secret, they would love me less.  Honestly, back then, they would have loved me less because I was a rule breaker and they didn’t like rule breakers.

With a friend’s help, I went to Planned Parenthood in order to start taking birth control pills.  I didn’t know what Planned Parenthood actually did.  They were nice and welcoming and I’m sure they wanted my repeat business like most businesses do. 

I’m thankful that I never got pregnant, I’m thankful that I said “yes” to a God who relentlessly pursued me when I was a mess. 

One of my friends from church called me and through tears she told me that she was pregnant.  She sounded scared and confused.  I was only a sophomore in high school so I didn’t have any more wisdom or information than what she had.  I expected that I would be holding her baby in about nine months.  I considered the shame she would endure and I felt sad for her.  It should have sobered me up immediately but I still kept up with my own way.  And then all the sudden she stopped answering my calls.  Her mom, who happened to be my mom’s best friend, became really short with me.  My friend had told her mother that she had not shared her pregnancy with anyone. 

And then it was over:  no more baby and my friendship was non-existent.

What was so confusing to me is that after knowing this family my whole life, I knew that they valued life.  They had many kids and loved babies.  Why did this baby have no value?

Life went forward, I grew up and got married and so did she.  Our friendship was rekindled for a few years but we never spoke about her pregnancy again.

I was already an adult before I was taught what abortion is.  Not just that it makes a pregnancy go away but that a life is taken.

I’ve had to see firsthand what drugs and alcohol can do to a person’s life.  I wasn’t prepared for my heart to break the way it has.  Pornography is doing an extreme amount of damage to young children and marriages.  We need to talk about it.

If abortion is an important issue to you, then don’t shield your children from what it really is.  If you view sex before marriage as being outside of God’s design for our bodies, then educate your children.

Annoy your children with helpful information!  They may act like they don’t want to hear it, but we would never send a soldier out to battle without knowledge and training, so we shouldn’t leave our children alone to figure out these very difficult subjects.  Find ways that you can get into their world and ideas.  Make them feel loved so that they want to come to you with questions.

Talking to your children is different than having a conversation because conversations include listening.  Our kids need to be heard and they need to feel safe in asking any question that they have.  It’s our job as their parent to give them guidance and answers to what is going on in this crazy world.

I haven’t talked to my friend who had the abortion for many years.  We aren’t connected on any social media and our families have drifted apart.  This is what I would say to her:

 Dear Sweet Friend,

I’ve never looked down at you.  Even though guilt and shame feels like it comes from within us or from other people, it doesn’t.  Guilt and shame has been a tool that the enemy has used beginning with the time he deceived Eve in the garden.  Sometimes he uses people to speak untrue words and it’s sad to me that people willingly give in to his ways.  You are loved, you are forgiven, and you are more than your past.  You don’t owe anyone an explanation or an apology.  I hope that your life has been filled with joy and peace.  I pray that you have felt the unconditional love that God has for you. 

With all sincerity,

Your Friend