My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:15-16)
It was a rather warm, early afternoon, if I recall properly, a long-ago day in April of 1978. Our oldest daughter was in grade one, our second daughter was attending kindergarten and the two younger ones were napping soundly. I was cleaning up after lunch and rather contemplating a nap myself when the telephone rang. Picking it up, the voice of an old acquaintance came through. “Christine? This is Anna Piller.”
“Yes, how are you Anna? Good to hear your voice. I haven’t heard from you for quite a while.”
“I’m fine.” There was a silence and I heard the clock ticking through it.
“How are your girls?” I recalled that Anna had four daughters. She had taught at the local Christian school for a while, but had left to move south to the London area.
“They are fine.” There was another silence. Then Anna continued, continued rather hesitantly. “Actually, they’re not fine. That is to say, Rachel is….”
I tried to help her: “Is something wrong with Rachel, Anna?”
“She’s pregnant, Christine. And here’s the thing. I wonder if she can stay with you for a while? If you would take her into your home.” Rachel was the second of Anna’s daughters. Anna was a divorcee. Her husband had committed adultery, had not repented and had left her and the girls a number of years prior to her teaching at our school.
“Is the father of the baby,” I began softly, but was interrupted.
“There’s not going to be any wedding, Christine.”
“Oh,” I answered, and then went on, “and you want Rachel to stay with us?”
“You have such a nice family,” Anna rushed on, “and I would feel so good to know that she is with you.”
When someone tells you that you have a nice family, pride oozes through your veins. You instantly feel good about yourself and when Anna complimented our household, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to help. “How far along is she?”
“She’s only two months and she feels sick as a dog every morning.”
I was expecting our fifth and not sick in the least. But I felt instant empathy for Rachel. No husband to help her, she was probably worried about what the community would say and she was so very young. I ventured to guess she was only seventeen or so. Compassion filled me. “I’d have to speak with my husband, Anna, but I think that we could make room for Rachel.”
“There’s something else, Christine. Rachel is going to abort the baby before coming to your house.”
I was knocked for a loop and honestly did not know what to say for the next minute or so. “Oh, Anna.”
“Yes, I know.” There was a long drawn-out sigh and the clock on the wall kept ticking.
“You know this is not right. Why would she….”
“I’ve spoken with her, Christine. I’ve tried to persuade her to keep the baby but she won’t listen to me. There are counselors…. and they say…. I just think that after the abortion she’s going to feel pretty low and that she won’t feel good about being here and being with you might just raise her spirits and be a good influence on her.
Again Anna’s sentence stopped midair. Unconsciously I had put my hand on my belly, as if to shut out the influence of the secular world from my unborn, and very much wanted, fifth child. I took a deep breath. “I’ll drive down to where you live, Anna, and speak with Rachel myself. I’d like to try and change her mind. You see we are also expecting another baby and maybe I could….”
In the end, after discussing it at length, my husband and I decided that Rachel would be welcomed into our home with open arms if she chose to keep the baby, if she chose to stay pregnant. We would help her, encourage her, pay for what she needed and love her. But if she chose to abort prior to coming to our home, she would have to make other arrangements.
I drove to the London/Woodstock area shortly after that and had two long conversations – one with Anna and another with Rachel. Rachel almost agreed to come home with me, but in the end she changed her mind and opted for abortion. Anna, the grandmother of the little unborn, was sorry about the situation but it was obvious that she would have found it most convenient to board out her daughter. I drove home sorrowful and have never found out what happened. Both my husband and I were convinced that God would provide for Rachel through ourselves if she chose life. Perhaps, in the end, she did and we were never apprised of the fact. We pray that she did.
Mark Jones, pastor of the Faith Reformed Presbyterian Church in Vancouver, Canada, has recently (2019) written a book entitled If I Could Speak – Letters from the Womb. In it are fifteen chapters. Each chapter is a letter written from the womb by a tiny fetus named Zoe. Zoe begins each of her letters with a statement – statements such as “I can hear your voice,” and “You and daddy put me here,” or “I’d rather be adopted than aborted.”
The letters are obviously beyond the capacity of a little fetus. The reader is asked to overlook that and to indulge pastor Jones who in this touching and straightforward manner is arguing for life. He’s making the case that abortion stops a human being from being able to laugh; from being able to give love; from being able to graduate from school; from caring for parents; and so on. He is, in effect, making the case that abortion is murder.
(There is one troubling aspect in chapter 11 of this little tome in which pastor Jones begins by having the fetus say “I wish I were a baby eagle.” Going on to laud the parental virtues of the eagle family, he suggests that scientists would be aghast if eagles, or other animals, would poison their offspring. He says: “We would even say a mutation has happened in the so-called ‘evolutionary’ process. I mean, as far as evolution is concerned, one of the main goals of animals is to leave offspring (DNA) behind in order that the stronger may survive. So to kill one’s offspring is a fundamental reversal of the evolutionary process. A bit of a suspect paragraph that. Does pastor Jones believe in evolution? Just be forewarned. Evolution denies God’s existence and in doing so negates the intrinsic value of human beings.)
In these days when new laws are being enacted and abortion in Canada is legal at all stages of pregnancy, (funded in part by the Canada Health Act), it is good to make this a matter of much prayer. Canada is the only nation with absolutely no specific legal restrictions on abortion. Human life is sacred because we, all of us, have been made in the “image of God.” God alone has authority over life because He alone is its Author.
Christine Farenhorst is the author of many short story collections including “Hidden: Stories of War and Peace” which you can find on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.