Guardians of Life

Madonna and Child by Raphael

Madonna and Child by
Raphael

Sometimes the mind-boggling fact springs upon me: I can grow human beings in my body. It seems like fairy tale magic or a science fiction movie. A human being that will have eye lashes and finger nails, desires and talents, buttons to be pushed and flaws. My very body is made to be a guardian of life. Heartbreaks, pride, anger, first kisses, a love of raspberries, bad eyesight, bad tempers, good heart, a good singing voice, best friends… All of that lies in waiting inside of me.

Sometimes, when my family is home, I look around the table and marvel that my three siblings and I once were housed safely in the refuge of my mother. We, the towering Clarksons, we were once small. We stretched and pained her, and she bore us. Each of us scratched lines in her belly so she wouldn’t forget we’d been there. And now…we are an alphabet of personality types, a instagram filter of colorings, a Thomas Hardy novel of burgeoning desires.  A solid 24 feet between the 4 of us. And I look at my mother and I am astounded. I wonder if she ever knew that we laid waiting inside of her.

The womb seems to me the most powerful feminine space. I have at times thought it unfair that women bear all of the ramifications of pregnancy, but I think they bear most of the glory too. Miracles can grow inside of us, and I think that makes us rather miraculous. For many, this miracle is their greatest fear, and that makes sense. It is not my fear, but give me a few years and a belly full of a human and I may change my mind.  2 Corinthians 4:7 says “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels…” It was perhaps not the intention of the verse, but as a little girl I intuitively connected this verse to women. Treasure in earthly vessels. It reeks of the sacramental.

What wonderful, mighty, and mysterious creations we women are.

When I dwell on the miracle and mystery of life, pregnancy, and birth, I am filled with a sense of awe. I feel I should take off my shoes for fear of treading on holy ground.

Lost in this wonder, I am brought down with a thud. In this most holy and feminine place, people come wielding sharp tools and vacuum cleaners. What I see as the someday ENFP’s and ADHD’s, someone sees as “tissue donation.” I balk and gag at the horror, but am told not to worry: It’s all quite legal. When did something being legal ever make it right?

“Safely”, “legally”, and about 1.2 million times a year, life is sucked from the womb. The miraculous is swallowed up in death. I can’t comprehend it. I don’t know what it means. I fear I might break in two if the reality of it fell upon me.

Have we grown so cold and calloused that we can speak of these miracles and massacres in forensic terms? How can anyone, while crunching salad, speak of crushing bodies with a careless, old-hat sigh? How do our stomachs not turn? How do we not cry out?

I used to think that some things were universally indefensible. Though it never particularly came to my mind as a salient possibility, selling (or compensating or donating or whatever rhetorical term you want to try and give it) the body parts of crushed infants seemed to me to be on that list.  It baffles me with what nonchalance these allegations have been received. It is not as though these actions have been denied; no, indeed! They have been justified, qualified, given different names, and made out to be actions which might make a woman feel like her “experience” was more meaningful. Rhetoric certainly is powerful, but I can’t help but think that plain old self deception wields an even mightier grasp.

Surely, we have eyes, but do not see.

We have ears, but we do not hear. (Jeremiah 5:21).

Could there be any greater violence against women than this?

With my ear against the wall of my country’s public sphere, I hear angry voices shouting “LIFE!” and “CHOICE!” Perhaps we have forgotten what these words mean.

Life.

This gift we all receive and do nothing to merit.

Choice.

Power which shapes our lives given to us with our first breaths. Yes, choice is a grace we could not have were it not for the gift of life given to us in the womb of a willing woman.

And so, we as a Nation choose to use the gift of life to enable us to choose those we deem able, deserving, and convenient of this gift, and those we deem unfit, undeserving, and inconvenient. Oh, we are presumptuous on the mighty power that has wrought these choices in us. We should tremble.

Sometimes the mind-boggling fact springs upon me: I can grow human beings in my body. It seems like fairy tale magic or a science fiction movie. More than this, it is a grace and a holiness. One which shapes who I am. And I find myself fierce with the desire to protect these holy spaces, to be awake to their majesty. I want to be a guardian of the mystery, the grace, and the right to life.

For You formed my inward parts;

You wove me in my mother’s womb.

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Wonderful are Your works,

And my soul knows it very well.

Psalm 139:12-14

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17 thoughts on “Guardians of Life

  1. Thank you for this. I think you’ve captured so well a defining piece of the true feminine – the wonder and mystery given to Eve, the mother of all living. How deep the enemy’s enmity against women that he has woven such a lie – that woman would not only reject the gift of life but demand her right to destroy life (and, in so doing, herself).

  2. Joy – this is stunning in its passion for life.

    “I can grow human beings in my body. It seems like fairy tale magic or a science fiction movie. More than this, it is a grace and a holiness.”

    “Have we grown so cold and calloused that we can speak of these miracles and massacres in forensic terms?”

    “I find myself fierce with the desire to protect these holy spaces, to be awake to their majesty. I want to be a guardian of the mystery, the grace, and the right to life.”

    I am going to pray it will be read by many.

    A tiny correction you may want to make “…my countries (country’s) public sphere…” (SMILE)

  3. Well said! I am currently 24 pregnant so this really touched me, it is a mystery and a glorious one that God gives us women the privilege to bring life into this world. I hope many read what you’ve written and realize this truth.

  4. This is so simply and beautifully put, I had tears rolling down my cheeks for so much. For too long I’ve scrolled quickly past all the posts and videos–I just couldn’t handle thinking about it for very long…but this post, Joy, God used to break my heart for what breaks His.
    Lord Jesus come quickly.

  5. Joy, How beautifully you express your passion for life, for fullness and for God’s amazing glorious grace!
    My heart breaks with every cry of “choice!” and I tremble at what that cry has wrought. A country callous to the least and most defenseless among us, a people who wave their banner of “rights” and exercise those rights at the expense of others, a company who buys and sells baby parts without a thought of the loss of life! Oh God, forgive us for our arrogance, our lack of love and the closing of our eyes to tragedy. Waken in us the same passion that Joy has to protect precious life. Amen.

  6. You so beautifully put into words what my heart and emotions feel!! I have cried so many tears over the years about murdering the unborn and how frightening it is for people to shake their fists in God’s face as they continue to be involved in the horrors of it! Joy, thank you for writing this post and may God continue to keep His hand upon you as you live your life for Him!!!!

  7. If you care so much about human life, stop crying over dead cells and focus your efforts on the hundreds upon thousands of people who die every year from hunger, poverty etc. Get off your high horse, you don’t know everyone’s life story and why they may choose to abort.

    • The lives that were cut short by ‘Choice’ may well have been a life that would have had the cure for AIDS, led the fight against world hunger, started a campaign for poverty…..you don’t even have the courage to leave your name

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