November 16, 2009

A Life Choice

When I got contacted by PureFlix Entertainment to review their upcoming DVD "Sarah's Choice", I was more than willing to do so. We always are looking for quality films that our whole family can see - since there are so few of them being made by Hollywood these days. I offered to preview the movie if they wanted to send me a copy of it. It helped that the lead actress was Rebecca St. James (a Christian Music pop star that my daughter already loved).

Here's one of her songs here if you haven't heard of her and wanted to listen in:

On Sunday after dinner we settled down to a "family movie night", complete with popcorn and sweet tea. I wasn't really thinking about the subject matter of the movie. I didn't know it would be one of the hardest reviews I would write. Talk about a tear jerker.

"What's the movie about mama?" Asked my eldest (almost 13) as we pushed 'play'.

"It's about a girl who gets pregnant and decides to keep the baby," I said, not thinking about the struggles or emotions that might play through the story and how they would personally affect me.

We've had 'the talk' with my kids, so they understand a lot more that some kids their age - and got the advantage of hearing it from mom and dad (and not the public school locker room). I wasn't worried about them getting educated on the birds and bees since they already knew that babies didn't arrive by stork. However, when the topic of pregnancy comes up, you always want to be sure (as a mom) that the movie covers it in a positive and tactful light. This movie was very discreet and there weren't any scenes that a kid would not be able to see - even while covering such a delicate topic. I was impressed. Even the few kissing scenes in the movie were more 'loving' and emotional than physical. That's something you won't see in Hollywood since the death of the 'black-and-white' oldies. I can't recall a curse word or a moment when the actors didn't have on clothing during "Sarah's Choice", either. Two thumbs up!

The main thing that made this movie so awesome was that it tackled real issues - ones that matter to people today. It is about time that parents and churches start talking about unexpected pregnancy; after all, it isn't as if it doesn't happen. The statistics in America are staggering - and they do not respect religious lines. Just as many young girls brought up in a church environment end up with unexpected pregnancies as those who aren't. You can blame it on anything you want - the parents, the kids, the public school, the church... but the fact is that it happens. It hurts lives, it breaks hearts, and sometimes it kills innocent people - the children yet to be born.

I'm not sure why PureFlix contacted me in particular for this review. I wondered, through tears - as the movie moved my heart, if they had read the story about my teenage abortion... or my miscarriage. It seems that God had already been touching my heart on this issue all week leading up to this review. Just days before, I had read an article about the Catholic Church (Priests for Life) putting out a YouTube video about first trimester abortion (one I was unable to force myself to watch after having my own first-hand experience with it). On the Priests for Life website, I also saw a quick photo-video with a picture of a tiny baby's hand (you could almost see the fingernails and fingerprints on it) - one that made me think back to my own 'choice' and how it affected my child and my heart forever.

The question on the photograph was, "Everyone Against Abortion, Please Raise Your Hand!"; and there was this miniature, perfectly formed hand... missing it's tiny little body. It is a picture worth far more than a thousand words; one that can alter a world-view and change a million minds about the truth of what abortion really is.

With a subject matter that is so touching and controversial in our day and time, "Sarah's Choice" couldn't help but be an awesome family-devotional ice-breaker. A long discussion with our kids ensued after the movie was over. My husband and I both told them that we wished our parents had discussed things openly with us as kids so that we might not have made some of the life-choices we made growing up. There was a preacher that we listened to when we first became Christians in our young 20's that said, "Past sins limit your future possibilities." So true. You have to live with your choices, even if you are forgiven. I'm so glad that my kids can face the future knowing their parents' hearts on this issue - in case they are ever faced with making a life or death choice like I did. I pray that they would not follow in the path that broke my heart and destroyed a life.

In addition to the main character in the movie who has to decide what to do in the face of an unexpected pregnancy, the movie also portrays the grief of a woman who has to live with the memory of a past abortion. Often I have had moments of sadness looking in to the eyes of my precious three kids. I have hesitated when answering medical forms when the question is asked: 'How many children do you have?' Then the real kicker appears under it on the form: 'How many pregnancies have you had?' The doctors know. They know that so many of us have children we 'didn't claim'... lives and family lines cut short. No matter if we talk about it or not, you can't sweep it under the rug. The woman in "Sarah's Choice" who was dealing with her past loss had a lot in common with me. It is time that the movies finally caught up with this ugly and all-too-common reality.

I've never shared about how I feared that God would take my children from me once they were born. I had read the story about David's son dying because of his choice to kill a good friend and steal his wife. I slept with one hand on my eldest son's chest for months, assuming that God was going to steal his breath in the night to get me back. I knew I deserved it. My husband finally told me, "Heather, God has forgiven you. It isn't our son that deserved to die for what you did, it was YOU; and you are still here. You are forgiven. You need to let go and believe that He loves you and this baby." My broken heart began healing. When we lost a baby in 2007, I had a revisiting of my doubts. Maybe that was God finally settling the score, I thought. Of course, my husband helped me through those feelings - again. I know that God doesn't have a score card and isn't keeping tabs. Love keeps no record of wrongs and I've been forgiven for my sin. Yet the pain and regret of the past is a monster in your closet... even if you trust in God's mercy. It is much better to not have that cold, steel table... or those sounds, images and tears to remember. Life is much easier without remorse.

So to answer 'Who thinks this movie is worth watching?' I raise my hand, "Yes!" To answer if I'm against abortion? I raise my hand, "Yes!" I thank God for the 10 hands that live in my home... and I hope I get to one day hold the four that wait for me in heaven. I'm also thankful (all year long - not just in November) that God forgives us - even when it is hard to forgive ourselves ...even when the sin and 'choices' we made affected other lives and not just ours. I'm thankful that He goes on to heal us and bless us with amazing love and hope - even when none of us deserve it. What an awesome God - to create life, to give His up for us, to renew us (right HERE and NOW) and take us home to be with Him for eternity even when we were never worthy. He is the most wonderful Father. I'm so glad He's mine.

If you want to see this positive, family-friendly movie, you are in luck: it will be available on November 17th (tomorrow)! Get your copy where good Christian flicks are sold.


Tracy said...

Fabulous! Can't wait to see it!

Unknown said...

What an awesome review!! We have much in common as I lost a baby in January 2006. I now have a wonderful son born in April 2007. Hugs to you for sharing your heart!

Christi said...

"Past sins limit your future possibilities." No, no, no! Past sins may still effect us because of the consequences (i.e. the liver disease from excessive drinking doesn't suddenly go away, the STD doesn't disappear). But God can redeem anything. That relationship that David had with Bathsheba birthed the baby that died but also the baby that would grow into King Solomon.

God has forgiven you and Jesus cleansed you from all unrighteousness - not all except that one sin that He is going to keep punishing you for.

Furthermore, by sharing your story you are effecting others. Mom's will share more openly with their children; a teen contemplating abortion might hear your story and decide against it.

Don't keep beating yourself up.

Kelly @ Wisdom Begun said...

Hugs, sweetie! Great post and also, good to know about that movie. Love ya!

Sprittibee said...

Tracy - :)

Tara - Thanks. It is good to have sweet little arms and hands and eyes here with us... to love and hug and look at. Children are a window in to God's heart. So glad you have your blessing and me, mine!

Christi - Yes, I know what you mean that all sins are forgivable. There is restoration, but there are still consequences. They are sometimes permanent, too. That baby will never be here on this earth because of my choice. I will always remember it and regret it - even though God has blessed me and forgiven me. :) I am not afraid that punishment awaits, but I had unrealistic fears over it and they were a natural consequence of my remorse. :) I just want others to know that that's OK. You can get through it - even if sometimes you doubt, worry, and feel anguish over it... that healing and blessings will come. Although, there will always be a sad spot there - and that's the way it should be since your heart is affected by your choices.

Kelly - Thanks! It's a really good movie. :)

MommyLydia said...

*hugs* Thanks for the review

Wonder if it will be rentable? I just spent my birthday money on "Mysterious Island"

Unknown said...

Heather, thank you so much for sharing your story. God called me out of an abortion clinic.

You are by far not the only Christian with a sinful past. Though I listened the day He called me out of that clinic it was six long years after that before I turned to Him as my Savior.

Though I walked out of the clinic that day I chose to put my baby up for adoption. I, too, am sometimes haunted. Like you, I slept next to my boys, listening to them breathe, praying God would not take them from me as punishment for me giving away my first child. (No, I know God does not operate that way but it is an irrational fear that sometimes attacks)

I cannot wait to see this movie. Thank you for being so honest. I love your blog.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your heart. You touch lives with your honesty. (((Hugs)))

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your review and for the link to your own story.

Because of the tremendous pain and shame that it brings, I have never shared my story with anyone. I began dating for the first time when I was 16. He was the only many I ever dated and I eventually married him. While dating, I became pregnant. I was truly ignorant of all things related to pregnancy and to abortion. After being persuased, I had an abortion. Though I KNEW it was wrong, I continued being intimate with my then boyfriend. I believed the lies that are out there and thought we were being safe. Still, I became preganant again (I hate myself for this) and again, I had an abortion. I was a Christian at the time of both abortions. I am horrified at what I've done. Truly horrified. I cannot believe what suffering those two tiny babies went through because of my selfishness. I had no idea that the pain that I'd carry would be infinitely worse than the pain of confessing to my parents that I was pregnant. I have fully repented and know that God has forgiven me. He has healed me in many ways, but I will never forget.

Through His great mercy, he blessed us with two children. I worried until I became pregnant, off and on all throughout the pregnancy and again when our children were born because I knew that I didn't deserve these children.

Abortion is not the easy way out. If you have even a modicum of conscience, it will haunt you for the rest of your days.

Anonymous said...

I felt that way about the movie Bella.

Mrs. Darling said...

Thanks for sharing your story and feelings so openly. Having never had an abotion I never thought about the forms asking how many pregnancies as referring to abortions. I just thought it meant live births verses miscarriages. I have had two miscarriages so that was my frame of reference. Once again it points out the way we all view our worlds from our own life experiences and perspectives. I dont think I could watch the movie. I am just an old sentimental wreck these days!:)

Jenna said...

You are a kindred spirit, and I love the way you shared your heart during this review. hope you have had some further healing as a result!

Amanda said...

I just wanted to write that your post really touched me. I became pregnant at 18 and struggled with the choices I had to make, having been accepted into a prestigious college and not having a child be any part of my plans. I decided to keep my son because I knew that physically, mentally and emotionally I would be able to raise him alone (his "father" decided early on I would not force him to be a "father".)

As happy as I am with my decision I have friends who have had abortions and I know that they would not have been able to go ahead the same way that I did, they would not have been able to handle raising a child.

The hardest part of my decision to keep my child was the stares, judgement and difficult road I faced as a young, pregnant, single mother. The "christian" community was more than ready to brandish me and cast me out as a screw up. I really wish that I would have been embraced for my decision to keep and raise my child, than judged for the act that brought him into the world...

momteacherfriend said...

Powerful review!
I felt like I was reading my testimony for a moment. God bless!

Rachel R. said...

I am way behind on my blog reading, so I'm just getting around to reading this. Thank you for your review - and for sharing your heart. Far too often we either ignore this societally-sanctioned sin, or else, at the other extreme, we forget that there are people involved in these unfortunate situations and that they hurt - perhaps because so few are bold enough to share their stories openly as you just did.

I'm so sorry for your losses. :(



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