It started with this confession. My face to the floor of Bartle Hall during The Call in Kansas City in 2007. My 7-week-old son asleep next to me in the stroller. Lou Engle’s voice thundering in the background.
“But I know that you care, God. I want to care about what you care about. I want my heart to move over the things that move your heart.”
And that was it. There were no tears. Just an honest confession of my sin and an earnest desire to grow in intimacy with Jesus. In that moment I opened up enough to allow the Lord to move me out of my complacency and into his heart.
You see, only 8 years before this, I had walked into a Planned Parenthood for emergency contraception. Go back 2 years more and you would have found me wearing one of my favorite t-shirts broadcasting my feminist, pro-choice view; A picture of a woman with a dialog bubble coming from her mouth. Its contents: a coat hanger with the universal “no” symbol over it. This t-shirt was free when I signed up to receive mailings from Planned Parenthood at a music festival.
So, how did I get from there to here? One might ask. Simply put, I discovered my true identity in relationship with a man named Jesus. In the past, I put on different masks that I thought would bring me acceptance and value, feminism being one of them. The funny thing about being a feminist, though, is that it brought out in me everything but femininity. I shaved my head and hid behind black t-shirts and baggy pants. I had bought into a lie there was something wrong with being a woman. I didn’t know who I was, but I identified myself by being a feminist-vegan-punk-rock chick. That was cool and I had “friends”. But I despised myself and I really didn’t fully understand or buy into the things that I was advertising by my t-shirts or subscriptions. I was being marketed to by the mainstream subculture. Thankfully, at the lowest point in my life, the man whose arm is not too short to save nor is he too aloof to care, saw me struggling in the darkness of lies, confusion and death and he pulled me out!
Fast-forward back to the weeks following my confession. A dear friend from high school came to visit and she opened up about her experience with abortion many years prior. The lingering emotional pain was still so deep. It came out for many years in her art. She carries around a lasting emptiness and lots of questions.
Our conversation led me on a search for the truth about abortion. Hours and boxes of Kleenex later I sat stunned that killing babies is legal and praised as a safe alternative to giving birth. Remembering the invitation to the Pray-Vote-Obey covenant of Bound4LIFE and knowing that a Planned Parenthood abortion center is planted at the heart of my city, I looked for a local chapter with which I could be involved. Finding none, I started the Bryan/College Station chapter during the Spring of 2008.
Not that there wasn’t already a strong pro-life presence here. Fortunately, according to Gloria Feldt, the former president of the Planned Parenthood Association of America, I live in the “most anti-choice place in the country”! Bryan is home to the Coalition for Life where the 40 Days for Life campaign began in 2004. The Planned Parenthood at which we pray is the location where former Director, Abby Johnson, assisted with an ultrasound guided abortion in 2009. In a moment, her life was forever changed and now she is an important advocate for the pro-life movement.
With all of this activity already taking place, I have at times felt rather silly and maybe even presumptuous leading a Bound4LIFE chapter here. Especially since most weeks, we top out at about 5 to 6 people participating with us in the silent siege. That is, 5 to 6 adults. Most of the regulars on the siege wall are moms with kids under 5. So on any given week, there are between 5 and 10 children having a picnic, blowing bubbles, and using sidewalk chalk. While the wonderfully dedicated and kind Coalition for Life sidewalk counselors are reaching out to the men and women that enter Planned Parenthood, sometimes tripping over toys or kids, we stand there (semi)silently, with tape over our mouths issuing muffled corrections and instructions to our children. More times than once I have felt like we are doing nothing.
Nevertheless, Bryan/College Station is still home to an abortion center that kills, on average 375 babies per year. Over time, the Lord has shown me that our relationship with the Coalition for Life is valuable. We are a powerful part of what God is doing in our community. Very recently, as we were praying during our weekly siege, I felt a wave of thankfulness wash over me that we are able to freely gather and pray in this manner and with our children! What a privilege we have to partner with Jesus in such a tangible way. However, in the same moment the words of Jesus from John 9 came to mind. We must work the works of Him who sent us while it is day. The night is coming when no one can work.
LifeNews Note: Karen was born and raised in Bryan/College Station, Texas where she leads the local chapter of Bound4Life. She also serves joyfully in the College Station House of Prayer.