Friday, July 13, 2012

Unspeakable Joy, Everlasting Peace-my day at the abortion clinic

I could not have fathomed how Monday July 2 was going to go for me. A few months earlier Mississippi passed a law requiring any doctor performing abortions at the only clinic left in our state had to be a board-certified, licensed OB-GYN & have admitting privileges at a local hospital. The two doctors that had been performing abortions are from Alabama, at a clinic owned by the same lady, Diane Derzis, who owns the Jackson clinic. It had just recently been closed because these two doctors had botched so many abortions & hurt a lot of women. They do not have the proper credentials.

Sunday, July 1, a federal judge ruled that the Jackson clinic could remain open until their appeal was heard in court. Upset, hurt, angry; none of those feelings truly encompassed how I felt when I got that news after coming home from church that night. I was shocked in a sense, but not really surprised. I know our judicial system is in disarray, but I was really hoping this law would sustain. That night I got a message from a pro-life friend asking me if I could go to the clinic early Monday morning because they assumed a lot of media would be there to cover the story & they hoped maybe they would hear my personal testimony. 
I honestly didn't want to go. I wanted to take my kiddos to the pool & have a relaxing day, but God totally had other plans!

When I first arrived I greeted the other pro-lifers that were there already praying & reading Scripture. They showed me that CNN was across the street & had just finished interviewing the clinic owner & that I should go over there to talk to them. After praying I felt God nudge me to go. The CNN crew consisted of 3 men, a producer, a reporter, & a cameraman. They took my name & number & listened to a bit of my testimony & then in a VERY patronizing way told me they'd have to do a back ground check first. I was puzzled. See, I was a journalism major & I know that anytime you think you have someone who would make a good story you always film them, get your info & do the check later. God told me it wasn't going to happen & I was a little hurt as to why He had me go over there knowing they wouldn't dare talk to me.

I told the men I understood what they were doing. They only came for the story they wanted to show. They really didn't want the truth about abortion. "You'll talk to the owner," I told them, "& you'll show footage of the 'crazy' older white pro-life man with his graphic signs, but you wouldn't dare air the testimony of a woman who's actually had an abortion & has spent the last 14 years regretting it."

The producer tried to patronize me again, but I bluntly told him of my degree & I knew exactly what he was doing & I wasn't mad at him, I understood the game. I just wanted him to know I wasn't some idiot & that if he ever wanted the truth instead of a slant that he could call me. As I was talking a lady who works in the building across from the clinic was turning into her parking lot, rolled down her window & began to SCREAM at me for being on her property talking to them. She & her business HATE the sidewalk counselors who come each day to the clinic to pray & try & talk to the girls going in & out of the clinic. They also often turn on a sprinkler to soak the side-walk counselors...sad isn't it. That's a lot of hate! After the lady screamed at me the producer looked horrified, I told him to make sure he paid attention to which side was truly filled with hate.

I crossed the street back to the sidewalk in front of the clinic & grabbed a sign someone else had brought. The truth is WOMEN DO REGRET ABORTION! I stood in front of the gate, no one ever goes in this way, trying to grasp all that just happened. Why did they hate us so much? Why did God tell me to go over there for that? As I was contemplating all that had just happened, a worker from the clinic opened the gate, bumped me out of the way to hang up the yellow sign you see in the picture. She looked at my sign, rolled her eyes & laughed. I told her women do regret abortion, I should know, because I regret mine. She then laughed again & called me a hypocrite. "That's right, you're nothing but a two-faced hypocrite! You got your abortion & now you don't want anyone else to get theirs!" I tried to talk to her, but she was screaming so loud I couldn't get a word in, then she slammed the gate door & went inside. 

Hypocrite. Hypocrite! I was NOT a hypocrite! At that point I lost it. I had a good break down. I'm talking gut-wrenching, heart-felt, pain-filled cry. I couldn't have stopped if I tried. Before I knew it I was crying to God. My soul was bearing words. How in the world could she call me a hypocrite when all I was trying to do was share the truth of what abortion does to women. All I want to do is stop women from making the worst choice they could ever make! HYPOCRITE!!! I was broken. I closed my eyes & remembered Jesus hanging on the Cross asking God to forgive His persecutors, for they truly did not know what they were doing. So I did the same thing. Then Tenth Avenue North's new song Losing began to play in my head, "Father give me the grace to forgive them, because I feel like the one losing!"
 
 That was definitely a God-moment for me. A precious part of my journey that I will cherish forever. Because that moment I was undone & even though it doesn't come close to what Christ went through, I understood on a whole other level like never before. I thank Him for sending me into that fiery furnace because in the midst of the fire, I felt so close to Christ, for He was with me the WHOLE time!

I decided to take a break because I was emotionally worn down & the heat was UNBEARABLE! Luckily my sweet husband worked to blocks down so I was able to go get comfort from him & cool off for a bit. When I walked back to the clinic there was a lot more pro-lifers there. They were gathered in front of the gate where I had once stood & were praying, reading passages from the Bible & singing hymns. It was a beautiful sight to see these warriors in action. Peaceful, full of love & determination for the Lord. I decided not to interrupt them so I stood with my sign on the corner so the traffic passing by could see my sign & my face. 

All of sudden I heard a lady yelling at me telling me I had to move, I was on their property. I KINDLY told her I was not trespassing, that where the sidewalk is painted white & says "PRIVATE" is their property & where I was standing was public property. She then got in my face, & I mean all up in my face, screaming waving her finger, but I didn't move. I knew my rights & I was not about to be intimidated or bullied. So I stood. By this time the media came out of the clinic from interviewing the owner, & I mean a lot of media, not CNN, but many of our local stations & papers, the Associated Press (who took all the pictures you see on this blog) & the New York Times. They all began to pull out their cameras to capture what was happening. Now I know my face looks fierce in this picture, but I assure I was a lot more calm :). She threatened to call the cops & I told her to go ahead.

Then some of the precious sidewalk counselors came to my defense & the lady continued to scream at them, calling them all sorts of names. At one point she got too close too close to Mr. Ron (red shirt) for my liking so I stepped back in & told them we are here for Jesus & His love & we won't get into a yelling match, that she could call the cops if she felt the need, but I would not be moved! I felt the serene peace of God Almighty wash over me. I knew that no matter what happened, I would stand for Him & if that meant going to jail I was ok with that. After all, it didn't stop Paul!

She went back inside to call the cops, things calmed down for a bit, & I heard someone calling my name. It was my sweet sister in Christ Melissa! She & I went through our post-abortion Bible study, Surrendering The Secret, together. As we walked toward each other we both began to cry & we just embraced & held each other while we continued to cry & pray. This is what abortion does to women. It's an unending pain that never leaves. Jesus has most definitely healed us, but we will always hurt & long for our children that we aborted. We know what this clinic & others like it do to women. They just help you end a pregnancy, they help you kill your child, forever wounding you, & leaving you to deal with it. This is why I do what I do. To give God the glory for redeeming me, to show His love, to warn others of what this "choice" will do to you later, to save the unborn, & to help those who've already made the "choice." God told me years ago He was going to use me in this fight & I am a willing vessel.

Shortly after, three cop cars pulled around the clinic, two drove off while one stayed & pulled up to talk to us. He was very kind. The workers came back out screaming & acted crazy. The officer told her she needed to calm down. She told him we were trespassing, but I showed him the line & the part that said 
private. He said I was fine, to be sure we stayed on the public side, told the abortion workers to go back inside. He left, they went back inside, & we continued to pray & sing. So the abortion workers brought a radio outside & started to BLAST their music to drown us out. They also continued to come in & out of the gate to push past us, bump us out of the way & make rude comments, but it didn't deter us.

As the day went on many of the sidewalk counselors had to leave, but I stayed til God gave me the peace to go. The president of Pro-Life MS, Dayna, stayed as well. She looked at me at one point & said, "You're glowing! You're smiling SO big!" I hadn't even noticed, but she was right, I couldn't stop smiling!!! I had fought a battle that day & even though the clinic got to stay open, even though they yelled at us & were just downright rude & hateful, I feel like God won! He did a lot in me that day! My pastor had just preached a sermon the night before about Peter. How before Christ died he continued to say he would NEVER deny Christ even if it meant death, but then just as Christ said, Peter denied Jesus three times. But after His resurrection Peter changed. He became more bold in his walk, in the power of the Holy Spirit he had in him, even through persecution, Peter never stopped preaching Jesus's Truth, even to his death Peter remained faithful. I learned this day I had an unspeakable joy, an everlasting peace that no one could EVER take away from me. I learned this day firsthand that no matter what, as long as I'm preaching Jesus & doing as God leads me I have nothing to fear. 

I am prepared to fight this battle & any battle God's puts before me until I die, even if it costs me my life. I have an amazing supportive husband & the best prayer warriors I know! I could feel their prayers so thick around me this day, I could see the angels encamped around me. And so I smiled & apparently I glowed.
 




4 comments:

judylynnblunt.com said...

I love you, Sister. I am proud of you. You are my hero, just a little lower than Jesus. One day, I pray I can join you on that sidewalk. "Be not weary in well doing..."

Mel Tales said...

That was just beautiful, Ashley! We serve a MIGHTY God!

Love you!

Kelli Becton said...

God bless you for sharing!

Kelli Becton said...

God bless you for sharing!