Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Choice Lessons from the Threshold of Hell

I woke up that morning humming "May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart, bless Your name, bless Your name, Jesus." Seems God was gently reminding me, before I put my foot in my mouth, to watch my tongue.

After all, we were getting ready to enter the threshold of Hell.

It wasn't quite Gandalf's warning to Merry: In fact, it would be best if you just said nothing at all. But I know lots of people were thinking it about me. Heck, they might even have been praying it.

When we got there, Liza grabbed Life Tape--red duct tape with "Life" written on it--and handed me a piece.  I just looked at her.
I am disinclined to acquiesce. Means 'no.'
No. If there's an opportunity to speak, I'm gonna speak. And that's that.
Liza looked a little worried.
I think Life Tape sends a very powerful message from a lot of pro-lifers to a lot of pro-aborts. But it's not for me. And it's not a rule. I stuck in on my shirt.

But I'm getting ahead of myself...
Liza and I boarded the metrorail for downtown, and as we took our seats, I saw the reserved seating that said, These seats must be vacated for seniors and the disabled.
And I was being transported back to my thirteen years of misery in South Florida, where we were invaded every winter by 'snow birds', a euphemism for loud, rude, penny-pinching, obnoxious old people from New York. I hated every minute of it. They have absolutely no concept of an indoor voice, and they make Oscar the Grouch look like Pollyanna. They don't even need us goyim to get going. They just have at it with each other. My mother-in-law, who shares a bit of their, uh, ethnicity, thought I was overreacting and was concerned by my prejudice.

Then we took her to the movies.
It took about fifteen minutes in line with 'them' for her to turn to me in shocked disbelief.
You thought I was making this up, nu? I smiled smugly.
You want to send me to Hell? Send me to Century Village. I'm not kidding.
My time in South Florida permanently obliterated the myth of the 'sweet old lady.'

I wish I knew then what I know now.
Rise in the presence of the aged.
I always thought implicit in all the honor commands was the assumption that the honored were honorable.
We don't honor anyone because they are honorable. We honor them because that's how we honor God.
So as I sat there on the metrorail and all these thoughts swirled in my head, it hit me.
We all have trouble honoring. Thirteen years of South Florida living means I must make a conscious choice to honor the aged, a demographic my experience tells me is often not honorable.

On the other hand, the pro-aborts don't honor pre-born humans. That's their demographic. And we pro-lifers tend to romanticize the babies we're trying to save. But let's be honest. Some of those babies will grow up to wear orange shirts and shake their fists at God. Some of those babies will become the twelve-year old neighbor who bullies your kid and teaches him some new vocabulary. Some of those babies will grow up to become Osamas and Adolfs and Rob Bells. Yet they all bear the image of their Creator. And that's why we honor the pre-born...
because honoring the pre-born is the way we honor God.
Lesson #1: I choose to honor God by honoring the aged and the pre-born.

We got off the train and headed for the  Capitol grounds. As we closed in, it was quite obvious that 100 or so of us pro-lifers were going to be seriously outnumbered by 2,000 orange pro-aborts. "Welcome to the threshold of Hell," I whispered to Eliza.

The first thing we did was attend a prayer meeting. And I was overcome with a need to pray for orange. "Lord, let those women in orange today have an encounter with the Living God. Even as their mouths say one thing, let their hearts be pierced by the truth of the Gospel." Where did that come from?

Then we assembled for a press conference in which women who had had abortions shared their experiences. And they were heartbreaking. But two stories stand out to me. "Toni" shared how her boyfriend pressured her to abort. When she attempted to leave the clinic, she was held down--HELD DOWN--by the nurse and injected with something. When she woke up, her baby was gone. That's not choice; that's China! I wonder who was there to defend Toni's choice.  "Maria" told her abortion story, and her words rang in my ears. "All they told me was that it was legal, but they didn't tell me what it was."

What do you mean? You didn't know what an abortion was??? Are you kidding me? And suddenly, I learned something. One of the biggest tools of pro-lifers is education. Show sonograms. Use diagrams. Explain the process in detail. But one of the biggest tools of the pro-aborts is ignorance. Restrict sonograms and take their money. One abortionist, according to "Julie's" story, shook his fistful of dollars at her and sneered, "I love stupid women!"

Oh my goodness. Ignorance had never occurred to me. All along, I've been thinking this was a level playing field, that they had the same information we did. But Maria said it herself. She only knew it was legal; she didn't know what it was. Not until the deed had been done.

There is a difference among the ranks of the Lost. And there is a difference in our response. There is a Psalm 15 commendation for the righteous man "in whose eyes a vile man is despised." But there is also a Jonah 4 compassion from the Lord for the sinful but ignorant: "And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city in which there are 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left...?"

Did God excuse Nineveh because of their ignorance? No, Holy God did not excuse their sin. Rather, he brought them to repentance. That sea of hateful, vicious orange out there? Some of them are vile...but some of them don't know their right from their left. I began to pray for God's elect in the orange crowd, those who are His but are not yet regenerate. Lord, draw them out, and set them free.
Lesson #2: I choose to believe that some pro-aborts are just ignorant.

We entered the Capitol Rotunda next, where the shouting was beginning. Three levels up were ringed by a mixture of orange and blue, mostly orange. Behold, the wide path. I found myself standing next to an orange shirt. I was praying; she was holding a peace sign. As we looked down into the Rotunda, I felt impressed to focus on the woman next to me. So I began to pray. I prayed that she would think about this later. I prayed she would meet the Lord. The orange shirts took up a new chant. Pro-choice is not pro-death; pro-choice is not pro-death. Huh? three of us blurted out. How can they say ? A blue shirt two people over said, "Moron." Thank you, Lord, that was not me. I should pass her my Life Tape. She needed it more than I.

Suddenly, the orange woman next to me turned and said,"Thank you. Thank you for coming and standing for what you believe. I know we're on opposite sides, but this is important."
Quick. Think of something sincere and truthful. I'm really not glad she's here to oppose a bill that will bring us closer to Life. Ummmm...
"The political process, you mean?" I asked.
She nodded.
"Mm hm. It's a good thing," I said. She smiled. And we returned to our silence.
Praying, praying, praying.
Finally, she stepped back and turned to her friend. "I gotta go." We both faced each other then.
"Well," she said, "thanks." I extended my hand and smiled. "It was nice to meet you."
She smiled back and shook mine. "It was nice to meet you, too. I'm Dixie."
"And I'm Noel."
We nodded to each other, and she was gone.
Maybe not much of a conversation. But a bridge was built that moment. While a battle raged in the heavenlies and in the Rotunda, we found a little bright spot across this ugly chasm. I came expecting to meet and make enemies. I left with a new burden for a new friend.
Lesson #3: I choose to go to the Throne for Dixie, the woman in orange.

A man was roaming the second floor looking for a debate. My eyes perked up. Liza put her hand on my arm.
What? He wants to.
Be nice.
Who, me?
He found someone to engage, and we slipped off to eavesdrop. It was a bunch of gobbledy gook, in which he confused spontaneous abortion with artificial abortion. I simply pointed that out. And a reporter was asking for my name and furiously taking notes. No lesson here; just a funny interaction.

The battle continues to rage tonight at the Capitol. The orange shirts have taken up "Hail Satan" as their chant, and they are literally circling the pro-lifers, two of whom are my amazing daughters.
I told you it was the Threshold of Hell.

But this morning, as I was mulling things over and getting choked up, I spent my whole prayer time on Dixie.  And this song came on that I thought was a good anthem for the duration of this evil battle. I'll need to choose everyday to love what God loves, to be most satisfied in Him, and to remember that the battle is the Lord's. And I'll be praying for Dixie.

Let me be in love with what You love. Let me be most satisfied in You.
Forsaking what this world has offered me, I choose to be in love with You.
I will choose to be in love with You.
Let me know the peace that's mine in You; let me know the joy my heart can sing.
For I have nothing, Lord, apart from You. I choose to call on Christ in me.
I will choose to call on Christ in me.
For in the fullness of who You are, I can rest in this place.
And giving over this, my journey, Lord, I see nothing but Your face.
Let me know that You have loved me first. Let me know the weight of my response.
For You have long pursued my wandering heart. I choose to glory in Your cross.
I will choose to glory in Your cross.
And I bow down; humbly, I bow down.
My beloved, here I am. I bow down to You.

Choose by Christy Nockels


  1. Thank you for this excellent account of the event and your gentle spirit.

    1. See, Chris, but that's just it. If I came off as gentle, it was Christ in me. That's not my natural dispostion. It was a really amazing day.

  2. Hi There,

    I am friends with the Howards and I realy enjoyed your latest posts. Our family is prayerfully considering a move to Texas, so who knows maybe we'll be neighbors someday. God Bless

    Valerie Hubbard

    1. If you get her, let me know! :) Thanks for reading.

  3. Excellent article! I agree with you wholeheartedly! While I was listening to the pro-abort chant and reading their signs about being for women I was so confused. Aren't I a woman? You say you are for me but yet you stand against me? My choice was taken away from me when I walked into an abortion clinic.
    God blessed me with Tuesday at the capital with one of the greatest gifts! After testifying at the committee hearing I met another woman who has almost an identical story as mine. I knew there where others out there like mine. It is an awful experience to have to share with someone else but it is a relief to know that I am not the only one who had her baby murdered from her, stolen out of her body in a nation that proclaims freedom for all.

  4. Thank you so much for this article! Brought tears to my eyes reading it. Thank you for your support and for your witness to those who oppose the bill. Your presence there is encouraging to me.
    God Bless!