Her Mother Survived the Holocaust and Told Her, “God Saved Me So I Could Give You Life”

Opinion   Melissa Ohden   Oct 23, 2018   |   5:38PM    Washington, DC

In an October 16, 2018, interview with Susannah Hutcheson in USA Today, designer and entrepreneur Diane Von Furstenberg reflected upon her career, her lessons learned in both her work and life, and the philanthropic role she now undertakes in numerous organizations.

Although it was the emblazoned words “empowering women” that drew me to read the article on a recent early morning flight, I found myself pleasantly surprised by a key detail of Von Furstenberg’s life story. As she described her philanthropic efforts in raising funds for the Statue of Liberty museum opening in May 2019, she provided insight into what led her to that role as a board member. Her mother, she recounted, had called Von Furstenberg her “torch of freedom.”

Von Furstenberg transparently explained the genesis of that term of endearment, stating, “My mother was a survivor of the Holocaust (at age 22 she was a prisoner in Auschwitz). She always told me, “God saved me so that I could give you life. By giving me life, you gave me my life back….””

A beautiful account, indeed. And although I can probably accurately assume what Von Furstenberg’s views of abortion are, considering her career and those she’s surrounded by in our culture, I’m not going to go there today. We could all point out the inconsistencies that are probably inherent in her views as opposed to her mother’s experiences in her life being devalued and targeted for death.

But…I’m not going to get into the specifics of her prolife views. What I do want to talk about is her mother’s profound statement:

“God saved me so I could give you life.”

Ever since I heard the words, “your birthmother had an abortion during her pregnancy with you and you survived it,” I knew God was calling me to share His story with the world. And although I know I’m making a difference in peoples’ lives, in organizations, and hopefully the greater world, I know this isn’t the only purpose for my life. Yes, pro-life ministry is my calling, but giving birth to my children, being a mother, is also a part of my purpose.

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I’ve known since my pregnancies with each of them that God had a plan for them, but as our children continue to grow, and I see the strengths and talents that they possess, I have no doubt that they are going to leave their own indelible mark on society, no matter what it is they do.

And in reality, they’ve already left an indelible mark in our world by being born.

Our daughters are living proof to the world that God’s mercies are endless, that abortion has a lasting impact not just on one life but the lives of future generations, and, likewise, that saving a life has a beautiful impact on not just one life, but future generations.

Our daughters are a reflection of the great love that mothers have for their children, that children don’t derail mother’s lives, but enhance them and allow us to come to a greater fullness of who we’re made to be. Because that’s what our girls have done in my life, and I’m blessed to share that with the world.

And although my experience is unique as an abortion survivor, I know I’m not alone in my belief that so closely mirrors that of Von Furstenberg’s mother.

I hear story after story, wherever I travel, from women who share how their children brought their lives full circle…how they know they were saved from their own difficulties and sufferings, and that giving life to their children is one of the very things they believe they were saved to do.

“God saved me so I could give you life.”

Olivia and Ava [Melissa’s daughters], I know that you know I was saved by God to do mighty things in this world, but nothing, I believe nothing, is more important than giving each of you life. Your very existence has redeemed and restored so much in my life, so much in our world broken by abortion. I thank God for allowing me to be your mother, and I look forward to seeing how God continues to use your lives in this world. And maybe, God-willing, someday you, too, will say likewise to my grandchildren:

“God saved me so I could give you life.”