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Do they have names?

March 9, 2009
“You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?” -Psalm 56:8

My dad shared that verse with me last Saturday. We discussed what the part meant about God keeping our tears in a bottle. “I think it means they are precious to Him,” he said.

Precious. I think he’s right. God doesn’t simply know and see our trials from afar; every small and secret detail is precious to Him.

“Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His godly ones.” -Psalm 116:15

I have been increasingly aware of the death surrounding me. Today President Obama lifted the ban that prevented my money from paying for the destruction of human life. It’s difficult to fully understand what is at stake. I sanitize the information by thinking in terms of embryos, cells, and statistics. I would rather not think about it, and so often I don’t.

But what is too inconvenient or disturbing for me, is precious in the sight God. He tells us that not even a sparrow will fall to the ground apart from Him knowing about it, and “Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”

Throughout the Bible is the theme of God knowing both the tiny and the vast: the grains of sand, and the stars in space, the hairs on our head and the depths of the seas. There is great hope in knowing this:

Lift up your eyes on high
And see who has created these stars
The One who leads forth their host by number
He calls them all by name;
Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power
Not one of them is missing.-Isaiah 40:26

There are an estimated 100 billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. If our Lord has a name and a number for each of those stars, surely He has not lost track of a single one of the more than 400,000 human embryos frozen in our nation.

I wonder if He has given them names. I like to think that He has.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Hailey Allen permalink
    May 20, 2010 6:54 am

    Hi Terra,

    I didn’t realize upon first reading your blog how extensive your convictions are- to embryonic stem cell research and birth control as well as abortion.

    I have a question for you about womanhood- I see your deep respect for fertility and motherhood and I appreciate it, it’s a feeling I believe we both share. My question is about your thoughts on the other potential roles for women-

    If a woman lives as you would like to see her live- in a loving committed marriage free from the use of contraception to prevent pregnancy- how do women go about seeking education and meaningful employment? Our biology makes us quite fertile, on the whole- how do I go about graduating from medical school and working in a community if I am liable to be pregnant over and over again?

    As a woman who wants for her life BOTH a family and a career that I love, I look forward to your reply-

    • May 23, 2010 3:43 am

      Hailey,

      Thank you, THANK YOU, for these fundamental questions. It is one we all need to ask, and answer, and lately I’ve felt it my “mission”, in a sense, to look at these issues.

      First off, I will concede that my feelings on these subjects are certainly in the minority, even within my own Christian/Conservative circles…I am a bit of an oddity. Second, these are NEW convictions for me, within the last year or so. I mention that because I want you to know that this is an attitude I’ve grown into, not one that has always been engrained into my being.

      My formal reason for opposing hormonal birth control and IVF is they can involve the “collateral” damage of destroying human life (embryos). But as you elluded to, there are other, more philosophical reasons, which I am less dogmatic about, but equally passionate.

      First, regarding “control”: this came up in a discussion with a friend recently. My friend admitted that she hadn’t studied the ethics of birth control much, and its use was quite accepted in her circle of friends, but as a Christian, she nonetheless was instinctively troubled by the idea: the idea of joining the words “birth” and “control”. I could sympathize with her sentiment.

      I don’t know what your religious beliefs are, so I realize this might not hold any weight with you, but the Bible is full of celebrations of birth, children, and fertility. It is also clear in the Bible, that we are not the ones who hold the keys of life and death. And so in a sense, the very phrase “birth control” is an invitation to ask “who are we fooling?”. Which in a way, explains why the explosion of contraception has not solved the “problem” of unplanned pregnancy. Maybe the idea that a pill could and should give us control over our family was a farce all along.

      Regarding fertility, yes, I believe that is a beautiful part about being a woman. Hormonal contraception doesn’t just prevent pregnancy, it destroys fertility–it treats the natural function of a healthy woman as a disease. This not only changes her body, it changes her emotionally and sexually as well. Those on all sides of the birth control debate will acknowledge that blocking ovulation changes a woman’s sexual arousal, the type of mate she prefers, and the way men respond to her.

      Finally, regarding children and the “meaning of life”. Our American society places supreme virtue on personal freedom and self-determination. I value those things too, but believe they must always be integrated with duty and relationship. I believe that once a woman is pregnant, she has a duty, to her child, that supercedes her freedom. Likewise, I believe a man, when he gets a woman pregnant, has a duty, that supercedes his life goals, to care for that woman and her child. A society that “contracepts” its way into freedom and self-determination places less value on relationships.

      As a single woman, I have incredible freedom to do what I want to do, and explore the possibilites that I want to explore. I enjoy that, but I am also missing out on the personal growth that only comes about by commiting to the inconvienent “duties” to other people. As a single woman, I can easily delude myself into believing “I’m a pretty good person”. Once I get married, that mask will quickly be removed…once I have children, I will find out how selfish I truly am. But I need to look at that. Once I’ve made that commitment to marriage, if it comes down to picking sides, I need to be willing to put relationship and at least the possibility of children, no matter how unglamorous that is, above career, “self-actualization” and material gain. My future husband will need to make the same commitment as well, though his role will look different, because he, afterall does not have a female body. đŸ™‚

      Don’t get me wrong, though I am opposed to hormonal birth control, I am not condeming every form or instance of birth control or delaying pregnancy. NFP, for instance, is a great, natural, highly effective way to delay pregnancy. What I am challenging, however, is the thought that an unplanned pregnancy is the end of the world. I hear many newly weds speaking this way…as if the very thought of accidentally getting pregnant would be a tragedy. I get it, I know it can mess up life plans, be incredibly inconvienent. But isn’t that what life’s about?

      I will end with this thought from author, Amy Julia Becker: “I have learned more about love, I have known more of love, because of our children. Because of these uncontrollable, inconvenient children of ours, I have known more of our God.”

      Thank you Hailey,

      Terra

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