Tomorrow is day 30. We are now three-fourths through our 40 Days for Life vigil. Ten days ago, when we hit the half-way mark, I said to my husband, “Wow, I can’t believe it is already half over…it has gone so fast!” Now, on day 29, I have changed my mind. September 26th seems like an eternity ago, and another 10 days seems like it may as well be a year.
This is when the exhaustion sets in.
I shouldn’t feel discouraged. God has blessed our efforts during these 29 days. There has been good participation at the vigil, and our team has been united and joyful! We have seen three women choose life at the last minute, after seeing our prayerful witness at Planned Parenthood, and we have found out about another two babies that are alive today because their mothers saw our witness during past campaigns! So, why am I struggling? I think it is a spiritual struggle that is going on. Discouragement is Satan’s most effective weapon and he uses it well against us.
If you are feeling tired as well, if you are wanting to retreat from the battle to end abortion…I would simply like to use this blog post to exhort you to pray more. We really need to increase our reliance on the supernatural power of God if we are going to be able to persevere. God knew what He was doing when He came up with 40 Days for Life. By putting prayer first…by relying TOTALLY on GOD to end abortion…and by limiting the campaigns to a 40 day time frame, (thereby giving us periods to rest in between)…we are able to continue this fight without burning out or giving up.
Getting into the disciplined routine of daily prayer is VITAL to our spiritual strength. We simply MUST have a daily prayer life if we are going to be able to endure and continue to be effective in this battle.
Good intentions only go so far. Loving God and hating abortion is not enough. If we try to rush into the battle unprepared…
We will be crushed.
God wants to use us to save lives and draw lost souls back to Himself. But we need to be strong in HIM in order for him to use us! We need to be GOD STRONG! Daily prayer, fasting and offering our sufferings for his purpose will make us fit instruments in his hands.
When we are spiritually strong, God will use us to save the weak.
I intended to write this blog to exhort those of you who are feeling tired…but I think I wrote it mainly to encourage myself.
If you have not already committed to a regular prayer time each day, please begin now. If you are not fasting on a regular basis, please try to incorporate some sort of sacrifice into your eating habits if possible. If you have avoided coming to the vigil at Planned Parenthood to pray, please ask God to give you the courage and the selflessness to come.
We need you. The babies need you, and their families need you.
Now for today’s sidewalk stories…
Charlene wrote from the 7-9 am shift:
Today was such a peaceful, prayerful day. Oh, we had some negatives and it was chilly, but that did not break our mood. Peg and I started with today’s devotional, blessing PP (that everyone who enters leaves), rosaries (Peg on her knees). We were joined by Bill who does a great job greeting people and handing out literature. I noticed that Katie’s chalk message gets more attention than the sign in PP’s window. I brought chalk to freshen up the message and left some in the trunk and some in the traveling case if you are so inclined to do the same! Prayers that your shift is as peaceful and prayerful as today.
Cathy had the 9-11 am shift and wrote:
It was a quiet shift. It was a privilege to pray with Barbara, Molly and Colleen from Sts. Anne, Bernard and Winifred parishes. I was able to share a few “Everyone’s Biography” with a resource card inside. (These are good for leaving on the bus and in public bathrooms, etc.)
Barbara and Richard filled in for the 11-1 shift and wrote:
The sidewalk was already full as Cathy handed over the shift manager lanyard. Three women from Mount Lebanon Rosary Group were just about to leave. Guardians for Life arrived one by one, and then more from their group, and then Father Tim.
For almost two hours, they filled the sidewalk with prayer and hymns. We had a dozen red roses. People were invited to take one and lay it on the sidewalk in front of PP. The roses represent the babies whose lives are taken by abortion at Pittsburgh Planned Parenthood.
The chilly air warmed and I think the sun came out. A Clean Water Group marched down our sidewalk, about 150 people.
“This was organized by native Americans who came from many states,” said Carol.”I am against abortion, capital punishment and for all life issues.” Drums accompanied the marchers. Most of them smiled as they passed. “Clean water is a prolife issue,” they said.
Bob from St. Mary in Kittanning arrived just as we were about to leave. “I come down when I can,” he said. “My friends and I are scheduled for the last day of the Fall 40 Days.”
Chris came and Richard and I bade him farewell.
Chris wrote from the 1-3 pm shift:
When I arrived to relieve Barbara and Richard, I joined two prayer warriors, Eileen and Bob. Eileen told me she ran a San Diego pregnancy center in the 1980s. Toward the end of my shift, Geri, a born-again Christian, stopped by and said she’d like to volunteer at a pregnancy center. Eileen wrote down the address for the Women’s Choice Network location on the Northside. A man stopped by to thank us for being there, saying he had been adopted in 1961and my friend, Alex, stopped to say a prayer with us. There was very little traffic in and out of PP, maybe six people over the two hours. On this cold and blustery day I didn’t hear any negative comments.
Jeannie was the birthday-girl shift manager from 3-5 pm:
It was not an uneventful day down at Planned Parenthood this afternoon. I would definitely say that our presence , including the flowers and the chalking on the street, is definitely “getting to “ those who oppose us. We had three incidents of Pro PP people lashing out at us. Many many more were supportive of what we were doing, and when one guy acted out a couple of others said “you’re doing the right thing”. One young woman personified every mistaken pro abortion argument: “don’t you want women to be safe ?” she asked us. We explained that women weren’t safe in abortion. “What if the baby is not going to live? “ We explain that babies who are dying do not have to be killed. “ it’s just a clump of cells” she said, But when we pointed out the 12 week model as typical for a surgical abortion she said “no abortions are done at that time”. Her final argument was that some unborn children are actually killing their mothers and need to be aborted. !!!! I explained that we do not need to help a dying child die. An employee of Planned Parenthood came out after her shift and actually poured water on to Katie’s chalked sidewalk and message and took paper towels and tried to rub it off. I took the opportunity while she was cleaning to talk about how I knew she was doing what she thought was right but there were other ways to help women…. Another young man purposefully stepped on one of our roses And Wal-la when the rose became a collection of petals they filled the bumper zone. The Planned Parenthood workers had to come out walking over a bed of rose petals. How ironic as it is the symbol of the pro-life movement! I was joined by Regis and Mary and Sarah from Saint Paul’s Cathedral and my lovely sister Claire from Saint Bernards. We were a hearty prayerful group, and it was good to be there witnessing for the unborn.
Joe K. wrote from the 5-7…
Wooo,…, Sooie!!! What a ride for today’s shift – should’ve known that it was a full-moon tonight (the Hunter’s Moon)…
Started the shift greeting / serenading the birthday girl – Jeannie and was informed that it was an “interesting” afternoon. But, little did I know that I would see it first hand…
Jeannie tried to educate a young woman with the truth who had been past the vigil a couple of times, but this time finally stopped to “talk”… but the Kung-Fu in this young woman lept out as she sprang into action to show off her “skills”… … …
It was beautiful how Jeannie tried to reason with this person, but ugliness within in this young woman tried to rule the day – though we know the light always wins!!!
Interesting how the roses that Jeannie had spread around that got kicked and stomped on through the day ended-up beautifully showering the entire area with rose petals – remember, the light always triumphs…
Also spread out through the area were the signs that had the baby pictures on them – Claire, Jeannie’s sister, explained that a lot of people walk past the vigil and just look down – brilliant!!!
Blessed and honored to have a full-shift of vigil attendee’s – Trusty Benson and Audrey joined Mary Jane, Regis, and Lynda for all / portions of the shift – Thanks all of “yinz”!!!
Saw a former co-worker, Bill, that stopped by to say hello / offer support.
A weekend escort of 933 Liberty walked into the building with her significant other and child…but not before tramping on a rose and looking back at me in delight – I just smiled… The Bert Sommer (Woodstock) song Smile comes to mind:…
Smile and the world smiles with you
Smile all the love is in your hand…
Yes, my brothers and sisters it is in all in our hands how we handle the good, the bad, and even unfortunately, the ugly…The significant other, came through later and stepped on one of the baby pictures.
Please pray EXTRA for this family…
Faithful Tom packed us up for the night, but we shall persevere / return!!!