If your name starts with an “A” and you’ve had an abortion…

Trigger warning: abortion, photos of a former abortion procedure room, adult content follows.  For Post-Abortion Counseling, click here 

Dear “A”,

You only met me once.  My family member was dating you, and I was overjoyed for his happiness.  I celebrated mightily when I heard that you were engaged to my dear loved one. It took almost a year for me to find out the whole story.  I still remember every detail of that conversation; sitting on the carpet in my living room while my toddler napped next to me as my pregnant belly was filled with the kicks and antics of my active baby and I spoke quietly with a family member who told me the entire story.

I sobbed carefully, so as not to wake my toddler.  I could not understand you, “A”!  Why would you choose my dear family member out of all the men in the world to do that to?  All of his life, he wanted to simply be a dad.  Somehow, you chose him to prove a point to your father.  You got pregnant, thinking that somehow, your dad would have to approve of my dear one.  Then, you panicked and had an abortion, without even telling my dear one that you were pregnant.  After you told him everything, his grief overwhelmed him and became his god, leading to a tragic, early death.

I honestly dabbled with hating you for years. I blamed you, “A”, for stealing my dear one’s hope, life, and joy.  But GOD had other ideas. He has had me on a journey of forgiveness for the last four years.  I say “journey” because forgiveness is not just a bumper sticker emotion that can be slapped over some rust; it’s a sacrifice of choosing to love where you hurt. Some days, it’s as intentional as taking in a deep breath and letting it out slowly as I pray, “God, forgive through me today! I want to rip this person’s face off for all the hurt that they have caused, BUT GOD, please give me your eyes and your heart for this person!”

The incredible thing is that when I give him the shattered pieces of my jagged heart, and I ask for His eyes, He shows me how I have also hurt others…intentionally and unintentionally. Nevertheless; I have caused hurt in others, making me no different than you, “A”.  My hating you is no different than anything else that you have done. I have had to forgive myself.

I had to forgive myself for not getting your number at that first brief meeting, for not staying in better contact with my dear family member, for not being a better friend.  I had to forgive my dear one for getting stuck in the moment of his grief, for not choosing to live his life, in pain and agony of soul, but still live beyond that moment. As you may already guess, I also forgive you.  Please forgive me for my lack of compassion and loving kindness.  Forgive me for judging you, for my wrath, and for failing to see how desperately lonely you were.

This weekend, I was privileged to participate in a worship service at the Life International Prayer Chapel. I walked into the building, and saw this:

“A”, it took me a while to finally go into the room. It’s left as a memorial to the preborn, including your son, that none of us were able to meet. “A”, the figurine is entitled “HOPE”, and it shows a depiction of Jesus meeting with a woman who also chose to end the life of her preborn child. I pray that you find hope, “A”!  I pray that you are overwhelmed with His love! I pray that you will allow yourself the opportunity to talk about your choice and allow yourself the room and space to heal, if needed. This beautiful prayer chapel also has a Children’s Memorial Garden in honor of the preborn children who aren’t here with us today. I hope and pray that someday, that garden brings healing however you may need it.

I pray that you feel no judgment in this letter, but only my deep level of regret for failing to see your hurt. I forgive you, “A”, and hope that you can find it in your heart to forgive me.  I have no idea where life has brought you, but I hope that you are well, fulfilled, and healing.

With a heart desiring the best for you,

Gracie K.

Advertisements

A Swollen Heart

Like an animal hide that is stretched and pulled in the heat as it is secured to a tent peg; my heart is swollen. My heart doesn’t swell in pain, necessarily, but with the juxtaposition of an “easy burden”, or a “liberating mantle”.  My heart is swollen with the truths that I have learned and discovered this past year. If I had one, just one thing that I could miraculously communicate to all of the people on Earth at one time; it would be this:

YOU ARE LOVED, SO DEEPLY LOVED!

I would travel village to village in remote places; setting aside my Instagram and Facebook account, and my photo-ops; and simply wash dirty feet.  I would hug lepers, and rescue children caught in sex trafficking. I would punch their traffickers in the face, and remind them that their actions are deplorable.  I would reaffirm the value and worth of the innocent and shame-filled, restoring their decency.  I would call out the crooked money makers; seizing their ill-gotten gain; and restore justice to the widows, poor, and the orphans.  I would take down the drug lords who seize food and commodities that the poor are dying for.  I would stop the murder of the innocent; whether their blood screams from a foreign land, an inner-city ghetto, or a clinic. I would cry daily as I was reminded of how deeply I am loved; faults, shortfalls, insecurities and all. I would advocate for justice while fully understanding that we are to live out the following: 

 “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

I would listen.  My silence would communicate love. My tears would speak empathy. My heart would be moved with compassion. My advocacy would be tireless and courageous. I would face corruption with a relentless determination to restore justice. I would bless my enemies, and pray for revival in those who persecute me and my loved ones. I would walk where I was directed to walk, fixing the eyes of my soul on the author and perfecter of my faith.  I would bask in HIS love for me, and stand my feet so securely in HIS love, that no matter what, my heart would be tethered and fettered to HIS character.

My identity would be found in His character. Everything else in this life would be viewed as “petty” and “trivial” in comparison to being lost in the love that He has for me, and living out that love so that others may see it tangibly!

My heart is full, so full; of the goodness of the LORD. His love NEVER quits!

Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits.

This last year, we have lived through homelessness, being entrusted with a beautiful rental, more car repairs than we can count, four hospitalizations, three road trips of faith, being given money THREE DIFFERENT TIMES BEFORE WE EVEN ASKED FOR IT, the privilege of meeting and encouraging members of a persecuted church (here in America!), the honor of worshiping together with tens of thousands of people who simply wanted to celebrate the worth of Jesus (Yeshua), seeing miraculous healing in many different people, being surprised by food and grocery deliveries, being brought through horrifying situations only to discover that God’s love never quits, and in all things; seeing the tender goodness of our loving and kind Abba God.

As we look to 2018, may we ALL, no matter our religion, skin color, culture, persuasion, age, class, spirituality, gender, ethnicity, upbringing, beliefs, or dogma; be blessed on this earth with a fresh revelation of the great love that YHWH has for us. May HIS love open our eyes, restore our faith, and redirect our gazes where they belong…on HIM. May His love overwhelm us and flow through us EVERYWHERE He takes us. May our pierced hearts be captured and mended by HIS love. May HIS peace push out the chaos of this life, and may we be vessels of justice, kindness, and humble mercy as we are forever taken hold of by His love.  May His love change us, renew us, and restore us. AMEN.A Swollen Heart

Determination

I want to be like this photograph! I don’t care if I am surrounded by tumultuous waves that crash and surge; I want to grow and persist! Even if I feel isolated in moments, I will remember that I am not alone! I will overcome the obstacles that I find myself surrounded by, and I will (by God’s grace) become a beautiful, vibrant testimony to the fact that even a seed dropped into a rocky crag, surrounded by surging water can go on to bloom…even if the waters eventually become this:

DSCN0023

Niagara Falls (c)Gracie K Harold 2017

Tulips

#nofilter

Enjoy the beauty found here on the farm!

#PureMichigan

Mundane Vessel

 

Do you ever feel like you are caught up in a cycle of living life through mundane moments?  Do you wonder how other people manage to live their lives in an almost constant state of wonder and awe, with incredible depths of holiness?  Over the last months, we have settled into a sometimes predictable pattern of work, school, family time, spouse time, sleep, church on the weekends, repeat. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that “steady is sexy”, but I yearn in my heart for the depth of closeness that comes from truly abiding in the presence of my Maker.  He didn’t call me to be another average “susie-homemaker”; He called me to leave a legacy of faith, kindness, love, and selflessness.

As I have been preparing for the next season of life, learning and leadership; I have immersed myself in study and listening.  I have studied politics, historical figures, Biblical figures, the wisdom of leadership, the fashion of leaders, the food of fit people, the needs of those around me, the frustrations of those who feel un-heard, and the sermons of those much wiser and more eloquent than myself. I was voracious in my study, feeling soul-parched as I consumed wisdom to satisfy my “thirst”.

It has often felt like I was wearing someone else’s shoes. It’s worked, but it hasn’t resonated that I am fully living my life the way that I was designed to live it. I have often felt the pressure to act a certain way in a certain situation, to look a certain way at certain times; and I fully understand the importance of honoring others with a respectful appearance and decorum; but I am not like every other person in the world, North America, and especially within the West Michigan culture. I AM ME.

God has specifically allowed every single moment of my life to shape me for this moment, and the next. Who am I to limit Him by trying to be someone that He didn’t create me to be?  It’s a form of using His name in vain. Think about it.  He created a specific purpose for me, as I am; to fulfill. By me changing things to be “more acceptable” or more “palatable”, then I am really saying that I don’t trust him fully to use me as I am.

This morning, I just longed for a deep connection with my Maker.  I sat in my window seat with my Bible, and just absorbed the quiet; asking Him to silence my preconceived ideas, to silence the distractions of the enemy through Jesus Christ, and simply to speak.  I sat in silence, thinking about God’s kindness and goodness to me. I opened my Bible to Psalm 81.

There’s a part in it that mentions the “feast of the new moon”, and I wanted to know more about it so I searched the term, the history, and the origin.  I learned that it was designed to be a monthly re-focus and dedication for the Hebrew people. It was a time of renewal; but it was held as something deeper than that. It was believed that the Hebrew people were actually “making the new moon holy”. Below is an excerpt that explains it:

Do you want to understand this? Take a lesson from the serving vessels in the Holy Sanctuary. Moses sanctified the tabernacle. Who sanctified all the tabernacle’s vessels? You might think that Moses did. But actually, what happened was that a High Priest would bring a simple mundane cup or other vessel, and put something holy in it, and the cup would automatically be holy. It worked the same was as when Moses sprinkled sacrificial blood on the altar and it became holy; or when he poured a wine libation, or performed any aspect of the Holy Temple service with any mundane vessel, and it thereby became holy. -Midrash Shmos Rabbah 15:24 [emphasis mine]

 Leviticus 20:7-8 is below:

“Set yourselves apart for a holy life. Live a holy life, because I am God, your God. Do what I tell you; live the way I tell you. I am the God who makes you holy.

~~~~~~~~~

Do you see it, beloved?  Do you understand?

The Hebrew people were called away from their past traditions and routines, to intentionally and deliberately focus on the cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night.  Their daily life consisted of traveling, following, walking, eating, setting up camp, and resting…with worship at the tabernacle on the Sabbath.

How mundane is that?

Yet, the act of faith in following is the process for God to fill our mundane lives with His  Holiness!

For example, if we consider ourselves to be the “mundane vessels”, then what or who is the “Holy” inside of us?

The Holy Spirit!

The Holy Spirit makes us holy!  As we turn our backs to past patterns and traditions, to the former ways of life; we face God the Father. As we seek to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength; following Christ’s example, the Holy Spirit within us is the holiness!

Think of a plant! If you place it on a plate, without dirt, it will eventually die because it needs sustenance for its roots, light, and water. We are like the plant in our spiritual growth!  We need to be rooted in studying God’s word (Jesus) and in focusing on the light of God the Father’s love, dependent on the Holy Spirit inside of us! The plant can’t just be moved into a greenhouse or a garden and hope to grow; it also needs the life within for it to grow and flourish!

We, the mundane vessels, as we go about our days; are filled with holiness through the Holy Spirit. By Christ’s grace, we are holy just as our Father is Holy. So focus in amazement and awe of Him in His Holiness, goodness and love; as you celebrate the beauty of the one who chooses us as we are…mundane vessels, being filled with his Holiness!

mundane vessels

“Mundane Vessel” (c)Gracie K. Harold 2017

Beautiful Strength

If you think that your past disqualifies you from the present,

YOU ARE MISTAKEN!

You are NOT defined by your past!

Just because there was pain, that does not mean that there won’t be beauty!

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.” – Hosea 2:14

DSCN4530

Beautiful Strength (c)Gracie K. Harold 2017

This cactus blossom reminds me that any beauty in this world is a reminder that

God is love.

He could have left us in our sinful, painful choices; but instead, he enters our pain

and provides comfort, love and redemption.

Today, may you see past the pain; and may your eyes be open to see the beauty that He has for you!

Beloved, you are loved so much more than you comprehend!

Rest in His love today, receive the beauty!

Love, Gracie K.

Springtime on the Farm

 

#PureMichigan

Love Reflections

How much do I cherish and seek after love? What am I willing to lay aside in order to receive love more fully? (What would possess a person to wear shoulder cut outs in a snow storm? Am I proud of how quickly I am distracted from focusing on Love? Nope…I am shameless; and in that lies my redemption.)

I am unflinching in my confession that I have no hope of ever being kind, unselfish, or loving on my own. Instead, I admit that there is not a shred of anything good in me, except by the Love of God.

Yesterday, I was very upset with my dear husband. I felt that I deserved an apology, I felt that it was delaying beyond what I wanted; so I prayed out my feelings (and my opinion) to God. I told Him that I wanted an apology. I prayed that God would “move his heart to see his error”. (This sounds absolutely awful as I type out the reality of yesterday, but, it’s what I did.)

Anyhow, as I am praying for my husband to be convicted in his spirit for offending me, I felt like I was being asked a personal question.

“Gracie, did you apologize before I died for you?”

Gulp.

Then I remembered the following:

I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.”

JOHN 13:34‭-‬35 AMP
http://bible.com/1588/jhn.13.34-35.AMP

Hmmm…

How have I been loved? Oh, that’s right, Jesus didn’t just forgive me before I apologized; He took the consequence that I had chosen, before I chose it.  Additionally, He prayed on my behalf, seeking forgiveness for me, before I apologized.

“Just as I have loved you…”

Before an apology.

Before repentance.

Before I even knew that I had sinned.

Ouch.

Instead of simply praying, “Father, forgive him for he knows not what he is doing”, I was also praying;  ” Father, forgive me, for I know not what I am doing. ”

Yesterday I was reminded that I was not reflecting the Father’s love.

What does my story have to do with you?

Are you reflecting His love?

Are you, like Him, praying that the Father forgives them, for they know not what they are doing?

If not, may the Father forgive you, for you know not what you are doing.

<3,

Gracie K.

Lightbreak in the Burrow 2

Lightbreak in the Burrow