Luke 8:54

"And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid arise." Luke 8:54

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Courtship Defended Part II

Spiritual Lessons 

Courtship Defended

Part II 

I recently read a post from Facebook that made a case that Courtship is flawed and even detrimental. I enjoy discussions on such topics and it interested me that this man was a homeschool graduate, a Christian, a lover of writing and had read “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”. This was someone I could relate to! And yet, as I read, I realized we had little in common on this subject. By the end of the post I was actually appalled with the advice he was giving young people and equally dismayed that many Christians (even some friends of mine) were being swayed by his argument. I decided to write a “reply” to this well liked post. I realize that everyone is entitled to an opinion, but just as he wrote to influence, I also write to take a stand on this vital issue. 
(Because of his lengthy post I will have to make “installments” of my post.  Click here to read Part I )

Why the Courtship Divorce Rate is So High

The Writer: ... I have seen a spike in divorces amongst couples who courted. I have a few theories as to why this is. Young people whose parents often maintain veto power on all of their decisions are then expected to make this most important decision without any experience in good decision making. They have no context of who they are, past decision making or any idea of what they are looking for in a spouse.”

Response: This amused me. I have a heavenly Father that “maintains veto power on all of my decisions” and this does not leave me confused on how to make decisions, or wondering who I am. Could it be that our grandparents generation had less divorces than our own because of their era, not the fact that they dated? It was socially taboo to divorce during our grandparents time. Now it's the norm. I don't know that it has anything to do with the fact that couples courted.

The Writer:How can you know what personality you fit well with if you only go out with one other person? The result can be a mismatched couple and a marriage that is difficult to sustain.”

Response: Our God happens to be a big God. He doesn't need to imitate the World's way of finding mates. When we are moving in and out of relationships on a whim, we aren't giving God much of an opportunity to bring someone into our life in His own creative way. It isn't our job to find the perfect personality match. He will! And it is foolish to believe that we must date in order to know what personalities clash or meld with ours.

Advantages of Traditional Dating

The Writer: Less Temptation – “It is hard to fall in love with Bob on Tuesday when you know you are going out for coffee with Bill on Thursday.”

 Response:  It is? To me it sounds emotionally draining. And when sharing your heart with someone exclusively, it doesn't really matter if you only see them twice a week, you are bound to become emotionally attached. (At least I can be sure from a girls perspective. Maybe some men are able to move from one relationship to the other without consequence. Sounds brutishly predator like). Just as we are to save ourselves physically for one man, we must also save our hearts. Our bodies are really only half of who we are....our heart....(mind, will and emotions) is equally important to guard. If we are to keep our heart with all diligence (Proverbs 4:23) than giving access to Bob on Tuesday, and Bill on Thursday....really doesn't sound like we are doing that.

The Writer: More Interaction “I know many homeschool girls who are frustrated that they never get asked out on a date. It is not uncommon to find a 21 year old stay at home daughter who has never been asked out on a date. The reason for this is not because the girl is unattractive (although that may be the story she convinces herself of over time).
The real reason is that few guys are willing to ask permission from a woman’s father to marry her before being able to ask her out on a date to get to know her. Even when this permission is requested, it is unlikely to be given.”

 Response: Is there something wrong with a stay-at-home young woman of 21 never being asked out? Is 21 the year of the old maid? There are plenty of young women who have never been asked out for a date and don't grow insecure in their looks because of it! By 21 I had a few young men approach my father. I have never been officially asked out to date. Does this bother me? Not at all. And for goodness sake – I'm 22!!! By the way young men go to my father I realize that young men see me as a treasure. I'm someone worth protecting. I have a father and two brothers who are proof of that statement. I consider it an honor that young men do not see me as just "up for grabs". I'm not on the cheap table to be pawed over. Attractiveness has nothing to do with it. And if a guy is turned off by the fact that he must reach me through my protector first, then I really have no interest in him. Obviously I'm not worth it to that guy.

The Writer pointed out that most men don't really want to ask the father, because they realize the fathers expectations of a visit to call on his daughter means courtship....and they just wanted “to get to know” the girl. If a guy wants to get to know the girl...then he should. He doesn't have to date her to find that out. Courtship is stage 2. It's for serious relationships only. The best way a guy can get to know me is by observing me with my family, in my home, doing my hobbies, interacting with other people. Not by taking me out to dinner.

The Writer: I know several godly, hardworking and attractive homeschool guys who have been rejected by as many as a dozen fathers. I respect their tenacity. Getting turned down by courtship fathers is tough on guys because the fathers are rarely gentle or kind. So if you are a courtship-minded girl wondering why the guys are not calling, you may want to ask your dad how many guys he has run off.”

 Response: If a young man has been rejected by as many as 12 fathers....maybe the guy should stand back and take a good humble look at himself. Maybe he is being a little hasty. Maybe he has some growing up to do that the fathers are seeing. Maybe it's the fact that he went after as many as 12 different girls in the same month, convinced that they were “it”. Are fathers of girls who court tough and rarely gentle or kind? I guess I can't really say since I don't know all of them, but the fathers I can speak for, have always been very protecting (which with that territory comes a dose of toughness, thank the Lord) but were always polite. If there are unkind “courtship fathers” than this fact would not be proof of courtship's failings. I'm sure there are some unkind “dating fathers” too. It would be a matter of failings on the fathers part. He failed to be kind while protecting his daughter.

I believe that the Lord works through my Dad. God is bigger than my Dad's “no”. If my Dad “runs off” the right guy, I know the Lord will lead the right guy back to me because I am trusting Him, and the right guy won't give up. Not all guys are Prince Charmings. Some of them are predators. Some guys are worth running off.

Lastly he points out that:

The Writer: With Traditional Dating, asking a girl out on a date is no big deal. All the guy is asking to do is to get to know the girl better. Maybe this leads to a deeper relationship, maybe it doesn't. Either way, the interaction is easier and more fun when it is not so intense.”

 Response: When I am ready to begin a relationship with someone, I want it to be a big deal. By the time it passes the Friendship (stage 1), I am expecting Courtship (stage 2) to be a big deal. I want it to mean more than getting to know me. I'm not really concerned about how much fun I can get out of it. And like I said earlier, dating is a big deal. It will involve intimacy to some degree. Non-commital-relationships are unhealthy and a risk of heart-ache.

The Writer: Less Heartbreak – One of the promises of courtship is that it can lead to less heartbreak than dating. I laugh at this to keep myself from crying. This could not be further from the truth. Calling off a courtship can be as emotionally wrenching as calling off an engagement. It can take years to recover from a “failed courtship.” 

 Response: He has a point here. Theoretically, courtship is a period where the young couple and their families evaluate the compatibility of each other. At any point either person can politely bow out if they believe that the marriage may not work, without heart ache on either side.

Courtship is a safe guard, but of course our hearts are frail. We still find ourselves attached, even under the most ideal, secure and practical scenarios. Having a courtship called off can be as devastating as a “break up”.

Courtship cannot guarantee no heart-ache. It merely provides some sensible safe gaurds. Yet, break ups in courtship shouldn't be common. Unlike dating, courtship does not assume your relationship is temporary, just for fun, or a short term trial. This is why courtship is taken seriously, and is stage 2. Courtship actually strives to minimize the risk of wounded hearts from a constant sting of temporary relationships. Courtship encourages open relationships without foolish emotions or temptations.

So a “failed courtship” will most likely be heartbreaking. But that is why courtship includes such seriousness. It isn't meant to be temporary, begun then broken.

The Writer – More Marriage – Let’s face it, most married people got married because they dated first. I would even submit that most homeschoolers who do get married supplemented with dating at some point in their journey. Courtship is not resulting in many marriages despite having been advocated by (sometimes unmarried) conservative leaders for nearly 20 years.”

 Response: If most married couples today dated instead of courted, that would make sense. Our culture dates. Courtship is tried by a minority. And yet, most courtships I have seen have resulted in marriage. Because marriage is the expected outcome of courtship (unlike dating), then it would make sense that courtship leads to marriage.
The Writer may be implying that courtship families are keeping their young people from getting the chance to marry. I don't see that in the people I know or talk to. But even if courtship lessened the likelihood of marriage (which I don't believe it does; it just lessens the likelihood of becoming involved in multiple relationships beforehand) we have to remember that being single is not a curse, and marriage is not our goal in life. Life does not begin at marriage. If young people, including the Writer, could only see singleness as the gift it truly is, there wouldn't be such a desperate frenzy. Who is in control of our lives? Even if courtship was only a radical, extreme and careful attempt to purity, the Lord would not be hindered by it. If anything He would reward our sincere desire to obey Him in keeping our hearts pure. Our abandonment of our love life to His care can only result in Him taking it over. (What's so bad about that?). But our management of our love life is sure to lead to lesser results.

The Writer – “More Fun"- The institution of marriage is crumbling. Of the last two generations, one won’t get married and the other won’t stay married. A smaller percentage of people are married in America than at any other time. Part of what helps perpetuate the institution of marriage is making the process of getting married fun. My grandmother made dating in her day sound really fun. Courtship on the other hand can be awkward and emotionally heartwrenching.”

 Response: Is the institution of marriage possibly crumbling because the unpopular method of courtship has made getting married a bore? Or, could it be that the trend of dating  has taken away the habit of commitment? Maybe...just possibly.

Let's really face it. Is marriage a pleasure ride? Who says in order to perpetuate the institution of marriage we have to make the process fun? Marriage is not all honeymoon. Marriage is a life time commitment to someone through sickness and in health, for better or for worse. Marriage is where two people come together to be one flesh...a very self sacrificing thing. Where the husband gives himself up for his wife, and the wife submits herself to her husband. Of course there will be fun times. But “fun” has nothing to do with marriage... or courtship.

The Writer: “Dating also trains people to continue dating their spouse after they get married.”

 Response: It does? What if your precious Bob makes you you start to pine away for Bill on Thursday? Why wouldn't courtship encourage a couple to continue to pursue their spouse after marriage?  Courtship is all about commitment.  

The Writer: “The kind of parents who are the strongest advocates of courtship are often the ones who go on the fewest dates with each other.”

 Response: Where did he get that stat? I found that rather odd. In fact, I have two married friends (who courted) that live close to me, and I've never known two couples who have gone on more dates than they have.

The Writer – "More Matchmaking”- Modern Courtship doesn’t really have a mechanism for matchmaking. How can there be blind dates if the man must first get permission from a father?”

 Response: Well, courtship doesn't offer matchmaking tips because it assumes you believe that Someone bigger than you is orchestrating your love life. Who wants to go on a “blind date” if the Lord has someone already in mind?

The Writer: “Courtship relationships are so intense that even introductions can be awkward. I know many happily married couples who met through a blind date or an online matchmaking service like eharmony. Matchmaking is a time-tested practice that Traditional Dating is fully compatible with. Courtship? Not so much.”

 Response: If you jumped right into courtship without ever knowing the person, than yes, the introduction would be very awkward. But the Writer here has totally overlooked the fact that there is a stage 1 of friendship.

Online match-making really seems to be it's own topic. But online dating isn't exactly a plus, is it? It seems to be a place people go when they are desperate. Not to mention it isn't really romantic. So if it isn't really compatible with courtship, it doesn't pose that big of a problem.

Of course these reasons alone wouldn't be enough to stand on to prove that online dating is wrong. It is plausible for a couple to meet online and fall in love and have a good relationship. But of course, it is equally as possible for two people to meet at the local bar, fall in love and have a good relationship. Just because it works doesn't mean it's ideal. The fact that God can use our less-than-best choices is evidence of His care and mercy more than an endorsement for online dating.

Even “Christian” online dating sites have a emotionally driven, humanly manipulated romance. Not to mention that someone online can be just about whoever they want to be. Like dating in general, online dating seems to be a less-than-best approach to relationships. If God created romance, than He certainly can create a beautiful rendition for you.

Also, a little note --  The Writer continually refers to dating as "traditional".  Like modern medicine, dating is "conventional", not traditional.  Courtship is traditional.  But honestly, just because a method is long established doesn't mean it's right or the best.  

The Writer-- More League Awareness -  Not everyone has the same level of attractiveness, character, intelligence and wealth. Parents tend to see their own children through rose-colored glasses. Homeschool communities can be a bit like Lake Wobegon where all the children are above average. It is easy for “no guy to be good enough for daddy’s little princess”. The sad result of enforcing this mindset is a daughter who becomes a spinster. With traditional dating guys learn their league by finding out what girls say “yes” to that second date. Girls learn their league by seeing what kind of guys ask them out.”

 Response: This is a sad statement.
If there are leagues...then it would not be defined by attractiveness, character, intelligence and wealth. That is how the world defines worth. Traditional dating is an ego booster to the ones that fit in certain leagues. But for the rest of us that aren't up to par in attractiveness, personality, intelligence or wealth it rates us as less.

In Christ, our attractiveness, character, intelligence and wealth have little bearing. We are all “out of His league” and yet He chose us to be His bride. He considered it worth dying for us He loves us and will never leave or forsake us. Thank the Lord His love is faithful and true. Marriage is an earthly picture of Christ's marriage to us (the saints). Courtship is an accurate image of this heavenly relationship. Thankfully Jesus doesn't abide by any “Bill Bob Bill” rules. 

Next Post:

The issues of "Group settings", Is courtship biblical?, Arranged marriages and Is courtship delaying marriage?. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Courtship Defended Part I

Spiritual Lessons 

Courtship Defended 

I recently read a post from Facebook that made a case that courtship is flawed and even detrimental. I enjoy discussions on such topics and it interested me that this man was a homeschool graduate, a Christian, a lover of writing and had read “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”. This was someone I could relate to! And yet, as I read, I realized we had little in common on this subject. By the end of the post I was actually appalled with the advice he was giving young people and equally dismayed that many Christians (even some friends of mine) were being swayed by his argument. I decided to write a “reply” to this well liked post. I realize that everyone is entitled to an opinion, but just as he wrote to influence, I also write to take a stand on this vital issue. 
(Because of his lengthy post I will be making “installments” of my equally as long defense)

The Flaws of Courtship

This writer (who I will be referring to as “the Writer” throughout this post) begins with the flaws in courtship. Firstly, he points out the fact that courtship is ill defined, while also pointing out that we should stick to the old custom of dating like Grandma and Grandpa.

I would like to begin by saying that courtship really is not a new movement, but a rediscovery of age old family-oriented marriage customs. Of course the name “courtship” may be more modern, (depending on your definition of modern) but the practice in and of itself is quite old.

Also, courtship really isn't a formula. No one has come up with a formal definition. This may be because of the fact that each couple is bound to have unique circumstances with unique convictions.

The fact that courtship has flaws is quite undeniable. That is because it involves human beings. Of course there will be flaws! And yet this method has worked beautifully for many families and couples I know.

So what is courtship anyway?

The writer of this post seemed greatly disturbed by the fact that courtship seems to have no exact definition, as if this was a negative trait. He is right, there is no “exact” process. That really is the simplicity of courtship. Every family determines their own standards and rules of conduct. Courtship is a process based on biblical principles.

The Writer's definition of courtship is as follows:

The man must ask the woman's father's permission before pursuing the woman romantically.
High accountability (chaperonsmonitored correspondence, etc.)
Rules about physical contact and purity.  (The specific rules vary...)
The purpose of the courtship is marriage
High relational intentionality  and intensity. 
High parental involvement.  Fathers typically hold a "permission and control" role, rather than the traditional "advice and blessing" role held by the father.

I would agree with most of what he says here. Other than the “intensity”, and his odd remark on the traditional “advise and blessing” role.

Courtship is all about pursuing a mate in security, with pure standards and honorable intentions in God's way and in God's timing.

Young people, like myself, who are committed to courtship are people who have decided they want more than what the World offers. We realize that romantic relationships must be approached objectively and with counsel because of it's seriousness.

This writer also has one huge misconception about courtship. Over and over he points out the foolishness of the “intensity” of courtship and how ridiculous it is to go from being acquaintances and then suddenly to the betrothal-like method of courtship. His misconception is this: he has entirely ignored the friendship stage.

In the courtships I have seen, the first stage seems to be friendship. Before any inklings of matrimony there is an informal friendship on the part of the young man and woman. The young man and young woman will get to know each other as a brother and sister in Christ. Many basic, yet crucial things can be observed from this safe perspective.

Christian maturity
How they treat authority
How the opposite gender is respected
Treatment of children
Character traits
Friends (company)
Family relationships
Financial habits

In the ideal situation, the families have already known each other, are like minded, and have spent time with each other before the young man pursues a relationship with the young woman.   But obviously, that is not the case for everyone. Thankfully, courtship is not a regulated formula and so fits the needs of varying situations. If the father does not know the young man well, he will need to find out enough about him to know if marriage is a possibility. Biblically, the father is the daughter's protector, and in such a critical time in her life must be involved. Of course there are situations where there is no father. Yet even then, courtship has worked in such situations. So first comes the friendship stage.

The Writer was concerned by the caution and seriousness of courtship. Courtship is taken with caution and seriousness because courtship is stage 2, not the beginning. We must remember that hearts are vulnerable and sensitive and who we marry will affect us the rest of our lives. When hearts and relationships are valued it is obvious to use caution and a healthy dose of seriousness.

The Case for Traditional Dating

This writer often refers to his grandmother's success in dating. There are dating success stories. This doesn't mean it's the ideal method. He mentions his grandmother's advice called “The One Dating Rule”. Basically: Don't go out with the same guy twice in a row.

He explains:
So if she went out for soda with Bob on Tuesday, she had to go to a movie with Bill on Thursday before she could go to the school dance with Bob on Saturday.
... The lack of exclusivity helped them guard their hearts and kept things from getting too serious too quickly. The lack of exclusivity kept the interactions fun and casual.”

He also points out that by dating over 20 men, his grandmother knew which “Bob” she wanted to marry when she was ready. How else would she have known?

The first red flag is the words “fun and casual”. Friendships are “fun and casual”.
What makes dating “casual”? If young people wanted to have a fun casual relationship then they would be okay doing things in groups, as friends. But this wouldn't be dating.

By “casual”, the Writer in actuality is striving for the idea of “non-committal”. He is encouraging a method of relationships without commitment. A temporary thrill without any other motive. A playing at true intimacy, yet not the real thing. A recreational relationship. This is why courtship is offensive to the Writer. Because courtship encourages a serious, faithful and real relationship with motives beyond temporary pleasure.

A couple going into a dating relationship, believing it to “just be fun and casual” are deceived. When becoming “an item” or “pairing off” the couple has begun an emotional driven attachment. It's inevitable; especially without the accountability of a group setting. Even with it being “fun and casual”, they will become attached informally. The dating environment initiates emotional intimacy, and encourages an emotional response. Even with only “casual and fun” intended. Is this wrong?

It is wrong when emotional intimacy is stirred up for someone you have no intention on marrying. The problem with non-committal-relationships (Dating) is that you are playing with vulnerable hearts. It might be “fun” for a while, but it is temporary. You will not marry every Bob and Bill. And when you “break up”, wounded hearts are the outcome. Suddenly it doesn't seem so fun or casual. That's because we aren't meant to invest ourselves romantically in someone temporarily. Especially multiple people. Courtship protects that intimacy for the one you will one day commit  becoming “one flesh” with, for the rest of your life.

The Writer tries to make a case of a difference between dating and “going steady”. It sounds nice, but really they are just different shades of dating.

The Writer mentions that by sticking to the One Dating Rule (Bob, Bill, Bob), you are not in an exclusive relationship and therefore it must be easier to guard your heart. And yet, on Tuesday you are exclusively Bobs, on Thursday exclusively Bill's, and on Saturday exclusively Bob's again. I think it could be proved by the simple fact that if anyone had tried to go out for a soda with Bob and you, you would be quite miffed. Why? Because today you're Bob's girl. It's just another shade of dating.

Really, this definition of dating seems to diminish the spectacular beauty of a God-planned love story, and exchange it for a “fun and casual” recreational one. The word courtship doesn't even have to be's the methodology of what people have titled “Courtship”. It defines relationships, it maintains honor, it gives God preeminence, in involves security and selflessness.

The writers “specific challenges” that he identified with courtship were:

Identification (Finding that other person)
Interaction (Spending time with the other person)
Initiation (Starting the relationship)

He goes on to say that...

Each year I waited for courtship to start working and for my homeschool friends to start getting married. It never happened. Most of them are still single. Some have grown bitter and jaded.”

The first thing I'd like to mention is that singleness is not a curse. It is a gift that God has given to us for a season. If marriage is our life's goal then of course it will become discouraging if years pass and we don't “achieve” marriage. Marriage is also a gift. There is so much more to life than just the gift of marriage. There is so much to live for, and learn. God's timing is best. When we give Him our love-life to orchestrate we can rest in the fact that He knows best and take this time to not only prepare for marriage but to fulfill His present plans for us.

Many of my friends wanted to marry early, but when the Lord had them wait, later on they were so grateful. They had personal spiritual battles yet to go through, lessons to learn, families to support. The Lord knows what He is doing! In reality, this is a trust issue, not a question of courtship's method.

Identification: God has no problem showing you the identity of your future mate. Of course the Lord reveals “the one” to us in individual unique ways, since each one of us have unique and individual circumstances.

But, how does the Lord show us anything in our lives? He shows us through prayer, our authorities and His word. And certainly with something so imperative as our life's mate He won't leave us in the dark.

We serve Jesus. The Almighty Creator of the universe. Why do we fear that He can't possibly orchestrate our love life for us? We don't have to sit on the side lines, passively yawning our single years away. We are to be industrious, knowledgeable, prayer warriors...that doesn't magically happen when we walk down the aisle. That is why we pursue these things now in our singleness. If we let Him choose, we will receive the best. By pursuing Bob on Tuesday, Bill on Thursday and Bob on Saturday, we leave God out of the equation.

Interaction: I'm unsure exactly why the Writer sees this as a challenge. I have seen over a handful of courtships. Yes, there are awkward moments. Are there not in dating? Maybe not. But if awkwardness is a cost of a pure relationship, then it is a small cost. Seeing a courting couple interact has only been a sweet thing to behold. The young people I know have only positive things to say when it comes to having their parents involved in their courtship.

Initiation: The Writer mentions that people committed to courtship wait until they are ready to get married before initiating a relationship.
Readiness can become a carrot on a stick, an ideal that can never be achieved.”

In a sense he is right. Of course we will never be perfectly ready. There will always be room to learn and grow. But the idea is to only pursue a relationship in the Lord's timing. He knows when we are ready. If we believe we should move forward then we simply pray for that green light. He cares, He will let us know.  

To be continued....

Next Post:  The Writer discusses the" Advantages of Traditional Dating" 
(ie: More League awareness, More Matchmaking, More Fun, More Marriage, More Interaction, Less Temptation and Less Heartbreak.)

For Part II click here.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Cry for the Voiceless

Political/World Issues 

A Cry for the Voiceless

What was there to attract the Lord Jesus to these crowds? Their need, you answer. Yes, no doubt, their terrible need did move Him with compassion, to the hurting point. But was there more than this? Something He saw...some lingering trace of the Father's face in these faces? His eyes were very keen. He had seeing eyes. And these men have all been made in the Father's image. Has that image ever been wholly lost? – terribly blurred and scarred by sin, yes; but wholly lost? Do you think so? I think not.
Was it as though the Father's face cried out to Him out for these poor beaten faces? ...He says, 'inasmuch as ye did it to one of these my brethren, these least, ye did it unto me.' (Matt. Xxv.40)
...What is done for them is done to Him. Their need is His need.; their cry, His. It's Jesus coming to us in these crowds. Their need is Jesus Himself appealing to us. And the Jesus in us will answer with heart and life...the God image crowded back within is helped to get out into free expression.
You may not be sent to some distant field... Your personal place may be at home. But the crowd, the need, is everywhere; at home, in the social circle, and among the men in this dangerously prosperous land of ours. Need of body even here, and deeper need of spirit.
...the Spirit will guide. He has a passion for men in their need. He will take command of your life here as elsewhere. He will lead you into a life of personal service in helping man.” ~ S.D. Gordon

My brother Chris and I arrived at the Coeur D'Alene Fair at 10:00 am. We purchased our tickets and made our way to the booth. It was the first time I had ever seen the abolitionist booth. A very unassuming roofed structure with two tables and some posters stacked against it. I prayed. I wanted to be a support to Chris, and a blessing to these people.

Since we were the first to arrive, we started to hang up the poster signs. As I helped Chris clamp the posters, I read them. The one we were hanging said, “Which of these two human beings was conceived in rape?” I looked at the ultra-sound pictures. The two babies looked almost identical. Little heads, the outline of the nose, a little hand... Underneath the pictures it continued, “And which of these children does not have the right to live?”

This summer, Chris started to actively pursue evangelism. During “Lost in the 50's” Chris preached on the street for the first time. I feel it was a privilege to stand by and pray for him. I also helped him pass out gospel tracts to the crowd. During Sandpoint's Music Festival we also passed hundreds of tracts to the people waiting in line.

But this was the first time I would be directly involved with the abolitionist movement. For years I've desired to speak up against abortion and reach the women that contemplate having or have had one.  
Several years ago I wrote "The Choice" in an effort to do just that. And yet, that wasn't enough. I would inform people on my blog, and donate to the Life Crisis Pregnancy Center in Sandpoint . But I had readers write... “You're right...this is an atrocity. It is widely ignored. But what do we do about it?”

I never quite knew. And now, I found an outlet: AHA.  Here was an opportunity to actually speak out. 

Then came the crowd.

The mass of people, most of them there to enjoy themselves, were about to be burdened about murdered babies. My personality is to please people; I normally do not enjoy confrontation. But who was going to speak for these innocents? Many people stand up for the homeless, the abused, the molested, the orphaned, the poor -- all noble causes, but not many dare to speak for the voiceless.
With what we call drop-cards, we also passed out gospel tracts. I stepped out of my comfort zone and started approaching people.

As I began, the crowd no longer were a mass of strangers to me, but became individuals. Human beings, most of them deceived on the vital issue of life.  Present life and future.  We weren't only there to talk to them about the little lives aborted every day, but also their lives, as unsaved people, walking blindly into Hell.

Men and women ignore the fact that they are sinners. If we have ever stolen something we are a thief. If we've lied, even once, we are a liar. If we have looked on another person with lust, we have committed adultery in our heart. And if we have encouraged, condoned, or committed an abortion, we are a murderer. Our sin has made us an enemy with God. And as a just Judge, He is obligated to find us guilty.

Yet, “God commendeth His love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Jesus Christ took our punishment, then rose from the dead for us.  If we repent and trust Him, God will grant us everlasting life. There is hope, and His name is Jesus Christ.

I was able to talk to several people, whose faces are burnt into my minds eye. Faces with their Father's image traced in them. People who said hurtful things but behind their words were cries; cries from bitter hurting hearts. Others who shyly approached me with secret cries from used and wounded souls that didn't dare voice their pain.  Confused cries from empty souls.  S.D. Gordon's quote came back to me... "Their need is His need.; their cry, His. It's Jesus coming to us in these crowds. Their need is Jesus Himself appealing to us."

And I had the answer. I know the One who heals wounds, and fills voids. I realized, not only was I speaking for the voiceless babies, but also for the ones who held hurts in their hearts and didn't even know how to cry out. In a way, both the innocent and the guilty were in need of a voice.  That voice in the wilderness.  

One young lady I spoke with couldn't have been a day older than sixteen. She asked me what would “someone” do, if she were 13, and found herself pregnant, and she was scared....scared of her parents...scared of being a parent. What then?

As I watched her “come up” with this scenario, I realized she was speaking of herself. Here was my opportunity to be a voice.  

I shared that no matter the circumstances, and how that baby was conceived, like all babies, that baby was still a human being, made in the image of God, and therefore deserved to live. I told her I realized it would be a frightening situation, but to go through with an abortion would be committing murder.

My heart broke as I spoke to her. So this was compassion to the hurting point. This is what Jesus felt when He spoke to the crowd. They weren't a mass....they were individuals. Just as a baby isn't a mass of cells, but an individual human being.

I told her of Jesus. Even if that “someone” had an abortion, she could find healing and forgiveness through someone named Jesus.
Jesus... His name is a balm itself. In the midst of all the hate, all the disgruntled people, all of the ridicule, the emotions, the lost, the hurting, there was Jesus. How thankful I am to know Him!  I need to share Him!

A voice crying in the wilderness (John 1:23)

56 million babies have been murdered since 1973*. They need someone to cry out for them.

   56 million people died in the year 2012 worldwide**. They need someone to cry out to them.

Will you be a voice?