I Want a Big LOVE Campaign

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S_Dani

I stepped out of the car, feeling both a looming dread and a sense of relief. It was finally going to be over.

I’d never felt so terrified, lost, and alone.

My driver hustled me past some people standing outside the building. They tried to pass me something. I stretched out my hand, but my companion pushed me forward.

We entered the office. It was quiet. Other women were sitting, looking the way I felt. Hope lost. Defeated. Shut down. I tried to smile at one and she looked away. I felt ashamed for even trying to smile.

My name was soon called and I was brought to a back room.

It happened very quickly. As I lay there, I wished life was different. I had been there before, but this time I was older, I understood a little more. I cursed my stupidity, a deep emptiness forming inside me.

As we left the building, the same group was still there. In my drugged fog I didn’t realize they were protesters. I wondered why they were there.

This time they managed to hand me their brochure. I looked down and saw the words, “Abortion is Murder.” I sucked in air and watched the brochure slip from my hand to the sidewalk.

Something happened in that moment: shame and grief washed over me. I instantly labelled myself a monster.

In the coming years, I would see anti-abortion ads, the billboards a reminder each time of how awful I was. In my pre-faith world, abortion was an acceptable choice. But I knew how Christians felt about me.

When my path did cross with Christian culture, I would shy away, certain they would discover my evil ways. They’d made the message pretty clear: I was a murderer. I didn’t understand what it meant to be Christian. I did however believe in God. And I believed I was hated in God’s eyes because of what I had done.

Then one day I found myself in church, invited by my boyfriend’s mom. I really liked her, but felt nervous about entering a church. As I sat beside my boyfriend, I saw him raise his hand to give his life to Christ. And I followed. We were hustled into a little room and I looked around at people praying. I fought panic, vaguely repeated the words I was told to speak, then left. I wanted to run.

We were stopped by the pastors in the foyer and this is were I met Pastor Helen. She gravitated to me and wanted to hang out. All I could think was, If she knew. If she knew who I really was.

Despite my resistance I found myself setting up a meeting with her in her office. I planned to tell her everything, and figured once she knew, she would leave me alone.

I showed up afraid and ready to be judged. I had done this myself. I was a murderer.

I sat down, and through tears I told my story. I told her about my abortions, listed off my greatest sins, and when I was done, I looked her in the eye and braced myself.

She looked at me, through her own tears. “You know God still loves you, and you are forgiven through Jesus.”

I think I cried an ocean that afternoon. This was not the Church I believed existed. Their billboards and brochures had made it very clear how they felt about me and who I was in the eyes of God.

And in that moment, I had hope. I saw Jesus. 

Why does Hate speak so much louder than Love? I had seen the billboards, “Jesus Loves You,” but I always followed with the quiet thought, Except me. 

I can’t imagine the series of miracles that brought me to Helen’s office that afternoon. Despite it all, God had orchestrated my redemption. Jesus took my shame and I was saved.

But then I think of all the other girls and women who walk in the same shame. Every time I see a hate campaign surfacing on social media or in the news, I cringe. I think of the mothers, walking through life living with shame and grief, believing they are monsters. I feel that same gut punch I felt that day on the sidewalk when I saw those protestors. And I have to remind myself I am forgiven, because that hate feels all-consuming.

I want a Big Love campaign. I keep thinking about what Jesus would do if He was here. I don’t think he would be standing on a picket line, or using Facebook as a soap box. I think he would be walking alongside the people being attacked “in the name of God.”

A Love campaign starts with us. Maybe it’s showing a neighbour that our doors are open.

Maybe it’s resisting adding our voice to an angry thread.

Maybe it’s pausing and checking our heart before we hit the share button.

I want women who are hurting to know God loves them. Just like He’s always loved me.

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Daniela Schwartz
I am a happily married mother of two gorgeous boys ages 2 & 10. I write, create and decorate. I am passionate about all three. I also love naps and staying in my pyjama's all day. I haven't figured out if this is due to laziness or depression, possibly both. I think Jesus is the best thing that has ever happened. I have a twin sister so if you happen to run into me and I ignore you or seem rude, it is probably her. You can tell if it's me because I look a little younger and am slightly prettier (wink). I blog about life at danielaschwartz.com
Daniela Schwartz

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Daniela Schwartz
  • Kristen – Richards

    Very Brave piece… Daniela… Cannot thank you enough for sharing

    • Daniela

      Thank you Kristen. xo

  • Donna-Jean Brown

    Thank you for this, Daniela. Whether before or after we’ve turned to Jesus, forgiveness is central to God’s great story. May we help each other believe that God isn’t mad at us when we fail. Love always wins.

    • Daniela

      Amen Donna-Jean.

  • What a gift if will be today to walk around in the knowledge that I am forgiven and mightily loved by the God of the universe. Thanks be to God for the “Pastor Helens” in our lives.

    • Daniela

      So thankful for God and the Pastor Helen’s Michele.

  • Nicole Walters

    Amazing grace that you found God’s love despite the hate shown to you. Thank you for sharing this with a church that needs to hear how love can transform a life!

    • Daniela

      It is an amazing grace Nicole. xo

  • Erin Wilson

    Amen and amen…

    • Daniela

      xo

  • Lisa

    Most beautiful and honest words in a while. I thank you and love you because I am you.

    • Daniela

      Thank you Lisa.

  • HBurns

    Oh Daniela….I’m all weepy as I read this. I remember that day so well… you were braver than your fear to share with me then and here you share again with such strength. I agree -let’s all have a HUGE LOVE campaign… because love NEVER fails. I love the amazing person you have become and blessed beyond words to know you. xo

    • Daniela

      Helen, you have in your faithfulness and massive heart, transformed so many lives. I thank God for the day you walked into my life. Love you.

  • Stefanie

    A beautiful and powerful post, Daniela. Big Love to YOU. xo

    • Daniela

      Thank you Stefanie. xoxo

  • This is a beautiful post, my friend! I so appreciate your transparent heart. So many people who read this will benefit from it. I love the idea of a Big Love campaign. People need to know how much He LOVES us! Love you! xoxo

    • Daniela

      They do need to know His love enough B. Thank you for your friendship. Such a blessing in my life.

  • cjdeboer

    Beautiful and MUCH needed post Dani. Such bravery, wisdom and truth. Thank you for sharing your heart! Love you. xo

    • Daniela

      Claire, you always manage to get me to dig a little deeper and find my best. xoxo

  • Heather Alexander

    Beautiful post Daniela. Thank you for being so transparent, real, brave and powerful. I remember first getting to know you and to see how God has transformed you is so awesome. I love the idea of a Big Love campaign too. People need to know God loves them no matter what. Go girl!!

    • Daniela

      Aww Heather, thank you so much. Always love hearing from you. xoxo

  • Roos Woller

    Off course I am crying half way through the post. Yes you are so deeply loved and so am I. It’s the hardest words to believe some times it’s funny how our stories can be different but that a lot of us feel a blanket of shame and the exception to the rule we are all loved. Today my banner over myself will be I AM DEEPLY LOVED.

    • Daniela

      You sure are Roos. Love you to the moon.

  • Sandy Hay

    I’m glued to your words, hardly breathing, knowing the emotions your feeling. Then I see the words Pastor Helen and I relaxed, breathed deeply and knew everything was going to be alright 🙂

    • Daniela

      Thank you Sandy. The world needs more Pastor Helen’s I think. But I think we all have that in us. The ability to let people know how much God loves them.

  • Theresa Romero

    I can’t begin to describe the beauty and truth within your words. So beautiful, so life-giving, so hopeful. Thank you. Thank you.

    • Daniela

      Thank YOU Theresa! xo

  • I love you. That’s all. So much.

  • Bev Murrill

    Thank you, Daniela.

    Thank you, Helen.

    Thank you, Jesus.

    Emmanuel.

  • I’ll join that campaign! Beautiful.

  • Joy Howard

    “The act of writing is the act of making a soul” wrote Gloria Anzaldúa In A Bridge Called My Back. I feel this sort of courageous writing here. Vulnerable. Real. And well written. Good grief. Thank you for writing this. I am saving this one. For myself and to give to others.

  • Holly

    Your big heart will be at the helm of this Big Love campaign, of that I am convinced!
    Thank you for this amazing gift. Your words here will change the life of one or two or a dozen women. I hope you know that.
    So grateful for your life, Daniela.