Haven was 11 days old when Anne hesitantly told me she had something she wanted me to see. I strained to see a very dim second line on a pregnancy test, and at that moment I realized I was now a father. The verb father means to procreate and according to that pregnancy test, I had done just that.
The ability to procreate. Wow. The more I read and researched about what fruit she was compared to at each week, the more I was amazed about what goes on behind the scenes to form what I would one day hold as my little girl. There’s an amazing video that shows the science behind what happens at conception. At the moment, when my genetic code combined with Anne’s, everything about Haven was decided. Hair color, eye color, height, nose shape – the hundreds of traits that would one day have us asking Who does she look like? were all determined in an instant.
Let me paint a different picture. Of the 300 million sperm that enter the race, only a few dozen survive the gauntlet and reach the egg. And of those few dozen, only one actually fertilizes the egg. So, one out of 300 million. Your chance of winning the Powerball is 1 in 175,223,510. You do the math. And that one brave swimmer carries with it a specific message that determines everything about the baby. So when I saw that pregnancy test, this code had already been tirelessly working and carrying out the orders to form a human for 11 days. My daughter. Incredible. You can watch it here :
My whole worldview as I knew it had been drastically altered. The question of when life began was no longer ambiguous for me. Life had been created. And I was now responsible to do everything as her father to make sure her life was protected from that day forward.
As a Christian and as a human with a conscience, I always knew abortion was wrong and that I was supposed to be pro-life. But if I'm being honest, I didn't actually care enough to say something or speak up in controversial settings. If asked, of course I’d say I’m against abortion, but more often than not, I sat passively in the bleachers and never spoke up for those who had no voice of their own. Given what I know now and what I feel in my soul, I can no longer be silent. My hands would be bloodied as each passing day many babies are never given the chance to live.
You see, I had a choice one day. A choice that will forever be to me, the face of Haven…
Going into marriage our plan was to have Anne work for two years, save up some money and then begin to try and grow our family. Little did I know that two weeks into our marriage God would gently ask me a simple question: Do you trust me with your family plan? Of course I knew the answer to this question should be yes. Of course I do, Father. (thought bubble.....)
(We were going to be like them. So happy. So sane with their appropriately-spaced children.)
But would my leading and actions align with this new conviction? And so I hesitantly presented this dilemma to my new wife…. “Hey you know that two-year plan that we originally had, well I know it’s been two weeks but I feel like God is challenging me with this…” We talked and prayed about it and my wife graciously said she didn't have my same strong convictions, but she trusted that I had heard from God and she would trust my leading as her husband. Side note: He who finds a good wife, finds a good thing. Amen.
Because we were using a Natural Family Planning method of birth control, we knew when our chances were high to get pregnant. Which presented us with a choice because when the rubber met the road, we could stick to our original plan or throw it out the window and follow the Lord. We decided to stop living by that chart and hold our future in open hands. We look back with joy and thankfulness that we did, because that decision led us down an unknown path that required faith and trust that God knows what is best for my family. I can happily say now that the choice we made to trust God (He acted immediately) is one of the best decisions I've ever made. Had God not asked me that question in our early days of marriage, or had I made any other choice, we would not have celebrated Haven being with us for six months yesterday. When I think about the reality and the weight of that decision to trust God, I’m moved to tears. The choice to trust God produces life. John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. Life, whether spiritual or biological, comes from God and therefore it is always good, no matter the situation surrounding that circumstance.
So for me, the argument is not about whether or not an individual should have the choice to have a baby but really about the choice of trusting God and believing that all life is precious and good. Our story is not everyone’s. This is our own journey with the Lord. But there is a question that applies to us all: Do we believe that God is good and if so, is life from God a good gift? One cannot say yes to that question if they do not believe or know God personally. If we don’t trust him as we consider how to plan our family, the choice for them will be downstream where the water is muddy and the current is strong. Where life has already begun.
The battle against abortion is not about pro-life vs pro-choice. It’s a gospel-centered issue seated in the heavenly realms, waged in war and waiting for those who have been given life to take a stand. If someone is desperately seeking an answer in the midst of a crisis situation, of course he or she will respond to the first lifeline thrown at them. Desperate people respond desperately. What if the first lifeline was an introduction to Christ instead of an introduction to a way to quickly and easily end a pregnancy? What if Christians didn’t condemn from afar but got their hands dirty doing the hard work? How about introducing our friends and neighbors in desperate situations to the Giver of Life before casting judgments from the sidelines? We can introduce them to One who is trustworthy and good; One who loves and knows them deeply; One who came to die so that in His death, death would be no more. We must show the world love because in the quiet waters of love, love never fails.
Haven was God’s idea not mine. And like any good architect who plans every detail of his work, God thought about every detail, every building block, every genetic pairing that would reveal his image in this perfect, without error, very good gift to us. God’s idea has a face, a personality and a purpose.