I regularly tease my mother about a turning-point conversation she and I had when I was 7 years old.
We were wandering around a local music store in Erie, Pennsylvania, and I proudly announced I wanted to learn to play the saxophone and the drums. I have no idea why I was interested in either of those instruments. But my mother paused for a moment and replied, “Let’s start you out on the piano. It’s a good primary instrument, you’ll learn how to read music, and then you can branch out into other instruments.”
It took me years to figure out she had no intention of ever letting me honk on a saxophone or bang on the drums in our very small house. I think she figured I could learn to play the piano on an electronic keyboard – with my headphones on.
So I dutifully started taking piano lessons. And, lo and behold, the piano became a passion for me and a central part of my formative years. I ended up studying music with a concentration in piano in college. Music was integral in my upbringing and afforded me all sorts of experiences that have greatly enriched my life and the lives of others. Though my life at Human Coalition consumes a lot of my time, I still play the piano each Sunday in church, and I occasionally accompany soloists or groups.
I never did learn to play the saxophone or drums. Ironically, my oldest son is a naturally gifted percussionist, and my younger son plays saxophone and oboe. Go figure.
Sometimes Mom was more pronounced in her opinions and directives. When I was a freshman in high school, I asked her if I could try out for the football team.
“Absolutely not. “
And that was the end of it.
Considering I was only 4 feet 10 inches tall at the time and had very little athletic ability, her perspective seems pretty sound in retrospect.
Moms have a way of knowing what’s best for their kids. The kids don’t always agree with her. Sometimes the moms’ friends and other family members don’t always agree with her. But moms have a sixth sense – an intuition about how to best protect and provide for their children.
Jessica and I attended Human Coalition’s 4000 Steps near Dallas on April 28. It’s an experiential walk event that allows folks to “walk a mile” in the shoes of a pregnant woman at high risk to abort. It takes about 2,000 steps to walk a mile – and our biblical mandate is to walk another mile with her, thus the name 4000 Steps. So participants see, hear, and feel the stresses and pressures of being a pregnant woman in America today. It’s a powerful few hours.
My favorite part of the event (in fact, it’s my favorite part of any Human Coalition event) is when a client shares her story and we get to meet her baby.
During 4000 Steps, a young woman told a beautiful, heart-wrenching story about not being able to afford her preborn child and being pressured by others to abort. She and the baby’s father (now her husband) came into our women’s care clinic, saw their son on the ultrasound monitor, heard about the support we provide and left the clinic wrestling through their situation. By God’s grace and over time, she decided to choose life for her son. And we all got to meet them both that day.
Her motherly instincts kicked in. Her innate desire to provide and protect surfaced, and she stood in the gap for her son. Today, she’s married, she is in a stable living situation, and she has a beautiful, rambunctious little boy. She overcame the culture of death. She conquered because of her love for her son.
Women are created to provide and to protect. They are created to nurture. And this is one of the many reasons why abortion destroys not only the child, but also the mother. I’ve heard countless testimonies from women who aborted their child and then went on to suffer in awful and degrading ways. Abortion not only ends a child’s life but also robs a woman of the opportunity to be a loving, caring, awesome mom.
Our culture propagates the lie that abortion provides freedom and health for women… that abortion somehow makes life easier for women. It’s simply not true.
No one ever promised that motherhood would be easy. It wasn’t easy for my mom, and it wasn’t easy for yours. But motherhood is good. It’s an adventure. It brings struggles, pain, joys, and sorrows.
And women are up to the task. Moms are giving, selfless, patient, enduring. They are society’s best model of sacrifice and unconditional love.
On this Mother’s Day, thank your mom. Thank another mom. Encourage any expectant moms you encounter. And let’s be unbelievably vigilant about protecting and providing for preborn children who are at risk of being aborted – by providing for their moms. Sometimes all a mom really needs is an encouraging word, a helping hand, and the promise that we will stick by her through the trials of life.