Sunday, April 8, 2012

Day 20 (Part 2)

The past two days since TheCall have been filled with farewells, a banquet, a church service, a couple of team meals and many many tears. I have been busier than I thought, but I will attempt to describe Day 20 and the day of TheCall. I may do it in small segments as the days were filled with so many unforgettable moments. I will definitely never be the same...

Day 20

We felt as a team Day 20 held a significant finish line for us as it was the last long mileage day and the last day without schedules and cameras. We were to do approximately 9 miles. The route took us through many low income areas and very busy streets as we were well into Dallas city limits. Many of our friends and fans came out to cheer us on. (warning: rather emotional content ahead)

My sister was one of them. I have dedicated this walk to her, her incredible story of fighting for babies, and little Richy. I have stood helplessly beside her for 12 years watching her go in and out of hospitals holding fragile infants and endure countless hours of just waiting. Waiting in her times of bed rest. Waiting in Neonatal Intensive Care. Waiting to hear Richy breathe AGAIN. Waiting in the ER as he is examined by a neurologist AGAIN.. Waiting for Richy to see. Waiting for Richy to walk. Waiting for the twins. Waiting for hope. Waiting for the grief to lift. Waiting for Toby. Waiting for Brynn. Waiting while raising the money to adopt a baby. Waiting for Tristan to be born. Waiting to take him home. And waiting for her heart to be healed. Her entire journey is about the value of the life, in and out of the womb. As a sister who has had very little grief in comparison to hers, I have felt helpless and unqualified to offer her true comfort. She once told me it is sometimes more helpful for me to just sit quietly than to try to console her with words I do not truly understand. I have told her countless times, she is my hero. She is brave, patient, resilient, and incredibly determined. And she's just getting started.

She often says she does not feel like a hero, but I think she should ask her children. Her determination has allowed them to experience life on earth. Who has enough courage to have a special needs child, 2 children close in age, AND adopt a baby? She is an inspiration to many including myself.
So my patient endurance of over 400 miles of training, 250 miles of open road, 80 hours of walking, and over 400,000 steps were dedicated to her. My purpose was to pray for the ending of abortion but my motivation was my memory of a picture of the twins after they were born. Life begins the moment of conception. It is a human. It deserves life. And every life has value.

When I rounded the corner around mile 6, I saw someone waiting up ahead. As I got closer I realized it was her. All the miles and pain I had endured disappeared in a moment as I saw her face. There she was, my last day of pushing through endless miles, cheering me on. I was leading the line so I didn't have time to weep, but a significant part of my journey was complete at that moment.

I love you Jessica. And I'm so glad you are who you are. May we continue fighting together to see the ending of abortion and may our lives on earth echo through the halls of heaven.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

DAY 20!!

Another day, that felt like three in one!
The Day in pictures:

Last day for this look!

Praying for Laura
Dallas looms!

My inspiration!

Canada's Esther!

LIFE friends cheering us on!

My support system!

My posse!

Tearful finish line
Singin in the hood!
Esther chant!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Days 17/18

Oh my goodness! It is so difficult to capture the past two days in words. So much has happened that it feels like everyday is about three. 

On Day 17 we had the incredible honor to be visited by the head of the Texas Apostolic Prayer Network and his team of intercessors.  The have been working on so many issues in prayer in Texas for decades. They have been watching the Walk and covering us faithfully in prayer. The Lord began speaking to them about the significance of the team entering into Dallas county. They felt that we are carrying authority through our journey and needed a prayer of commissioning to ensure our safety and victory as we enter. As they were driving to Ennis, where the team was staying they passed the Dallas county line. As they passed the line, 5 intercessors saw a wall of angels waiting for us when we cross! They also informed us that there are over 10,000 intercessors praying for us that they know of in Texas alone! Wow.

The service was powerful and sobering. We truly felt the weight of the coming generations on our shoulders as we accepted the seriousness of the matter we will address on Friday at the federal court. The intercessors feel that we are a significant part of a journey they have been addressing for years and that the Lord has promised us victory that RoevWade will be overturned. 

Day 18
As we we began our day today, we noticed some high chances of rain. So we decided to get an early start on the day to attempt to beat the rain. As we crossed the line into Dallas county, singing and declaring LIFE broke out. It was a tremendously significant moment for all of us. So many months of preparation, countless hours of walking, endless prayers and tears.... over 200 miles down and 20 left. To see that sign was so moving as it represents the beginning of the finish line. I think like an athlete, so to be so close to the goal is incredibly exhilarating.
Here we are singing.

As we began chanting LIFE, an echo began reverberating back to us so loud that it started many of the girls. 
You can see this clearly in the video.

And then, an hour or so later after we crossed, the most dangerous outbreak of tornadoes in 30 years occurs in Dallas. We were on the bus headed to the hotel when Nate called and said get off the highway now and take cover!  We started to exit at a Flying J truck stop when suddenly the bus driver said, "I want to go to the next exit, I never have liked that truck stop."  We went two more miles to a "Loves" truck stop to take shelter.  The Flying J received some of the worst damage in the city!  It was a harrowing experience as we somehow got separated from our security guy and most of the staff. 

We have been miraculously protected multiple times during this journey.  I dare say heaven is watching us and the atmosphere is being shifted!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Day 14

We begin the day every morning with devotions and worship. This morning the Lord had something special in mind. Many of the women are post abortive and are in various stages of healing. Some have been silent for decades, while some have more recent scars of loss. All have been forgiven and washed by the blood of Jesus, but few are completely free from condemnation and shame. One woman began sharing this morning of an encounter she had with Jesus during our walk yesterday. She received divine revelation of the powerful and beautiful mercy of Jesus and accepted the grace to forgive herself. Through the utterance her revelation, it began to set other women free. The Holy Spirit did what He loves to do when He is free to breathe on the human heart and began surgery. One by one, the women opened the door of their heart to the One who says, " Woman, where are your accusers now? " As the women began mourning the loss of babies they would never hold, some grieving for the first time, we held each other and wept with those who wept, and mourned with those who mourn. As a whole, we entered into pain, loss, regret, and suffering. We repented on behalf of the church, who does not know how to help the women trapped in fearful silence. We repented on behalf of mothers who did not help their daughters become mothers but pressured them into the termination of pregnancy. We repented on behalf of the men who did not honor them as women and become fathers to their babies. We repented on behalf of family and friends who do not know what to do with the honest confession and choose to pretend it never happened instead. And we received the sweet presence of the Great Healer, who alone can fill this place in their hearts.

Then, we laced our shoes and walked in silence, in honor of babies and siblings that we will never meet in this life. Through walking in the pain, we were acknowledging that these brave women are making a way for thousands to come behind them into healing and freedom. These women chose not to stay silent behind the shame and grief, but to live their lives out loud in front of the nation. They chose not to stay in the safe comfort of home, but to become a prophet to the nation through testifying of the inconceivable redeeming power of what JESUS did at the CROSS. They chose not to believe the voice of the accuser, but to trust in the scandalous mercy of the loving Father who loves to forget. They will each unashamedly share their story on our webcast and believe that in living rooms across America, the truth of their words will pierce the hearts of women hiding behind walls of shame and regret. We believe as this sound of freedom is released over the air waves, it will BREAK the power of deception and release the power of TRUTH!

God, release a moral outcry from the women of this nation to beak our covenant with death and save the unborn of tomorrow!!!

As you can imagine, it was difficult to walk 13 miles after the emotional journey of the morning. We all felt much heavier and physically tired than we had so far. But what I love about that is that this journey is costing me something. I can not expect to walk this trail of tears on behalf of 54 million babies and it not be painful. I count it honor to shed every tear, wrap every blister, and lift my foot every step.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Day 13

The following is the telling of "a day on the walk" by my friend author Susan Tyrell with Bound4LIFE. If you don't already follow the Bound4LIFE blog Moral Outcry, I highly recommend it!  She joined us for one day and beautifully captured a day in the life...just though I'd share it with you!

12 miles in their shoes

On Tuesday I joined the Back to Life ladies and walked the whole day with them. This blog is a bit longer than usual, but I hope it conveys some of what their daily life is like and the special grace they have for this hour.
As a graduate student in Texas in 2008, I often drove 3.5 hours from College Station , TX to Lindale, TX. It takes a series of back roads to get between the two, including one merciful stretch of Interstate 45 between Normangee, TX and Buffalo, TX. Most weeks, I drove this route; on Tuesday I walked part of it as I joined my friends at Back to Life who are walking from Houston to Dallas. (Please click here if you missed our blog on what they are doing and why).
As I walked along I-45 with plenty of time to remember my drive, I wondered how many times I’d driven that same stretch of highway, as a genuine committed believer and follower of Jesus, but with no real vision for LIFE. It would be several months before my call to LIFE in late 2008. On Tuesday, as I walked up that road with the 39 women giving up their lives, comfort, and convenience to spend three weeks praying and standing for the ending of abortion, I gazed at the wildflowers and realized what God had done in me in such a short time.
I didn’t know I’d get to spend the day walking with them until last week so there was no time for training. I happened to be in the area on vacation, and, thanks to their graciousness, was able to schedule a day to walk with them. The walk was one of their shorter ones so far, 12.4 miles, mostly hills (!), which don’t look too big until you walk them. Someone (me!) was ill-prepared for a 12-plus mile walk in the heat (and I have the sunburn to prove it), but what I learned was worth every one of those 20,000-plus steps.
There are things I wish I could convey to you. I know my words can’t do this movement justice but walking in their shoes for one day I learned many things I want you to know. I knew some of the girls beforehand, but even the ones I did know, I’d not spent much time with. What I saw was beautiful.
For over 12 miles these girls walked in total unity, they sang worship and praise songs at the top of their lungs, sometimes with dance motions as if they were in church, rather than walking uphill on an interstate feeder road. They prayed, they laughed. No one complained. No one snapped at anyone else. This wasn’t a workout; it was vision for LIFE and 11 days and over 140 miles in, it was still going strong. They weren’t putting on a show for their guest; they were living their call before the God who has called them.
Every so often a volunteer car came along holding up a few fingers “three!” And three girls who needed to be taken to the restroom would get in the “go car” and be shuttled to the RV. They’d come right back and rejoin the line, often before I knew they were missing. A couple who had been sick or injured still walked most of the way, even when they had to rest in a car for a while. Another car with more kind people toted water, fruit, protein bars–and encouraging words. Every time they went by me they’d ask how I was doing.  As I walked along with the girls I’d fall in line with a few different ones each time, catching up with some from when I lived in Kansas City, getting acquainted with others I only knew from Facebook, and meeting some for the first time. It all felt like I was walking down the road with friends I’d known forever. We were, for that day, all in it together. I wasn’t treated like an outsider, even though I’d had no idea of the training and gruel of their days. On Tuesday I was one of them and walked in their shoes.
Every morning they spend the first 39 minutes walking in single file silence. It’s a solemn start to the day, with personal worship, prayer and remembrance of why they are doing what they are doing. Later, sometimes, the word would come from the front of the line, “single file!” and each one called it back to the next person in line, usually indicating there was traffic or some other hindrance that necessitated us being in one line. Other times when they had to organize us to cross a major intersection near and exit, we’d group up while someone held a flag and crossed this mass of 39 women, and all the volunteers. It was certainly a sight! But mostly we heard honks of support, usually from truckers on the interstate; it was heartwarming. A couple times someone slowed to take pictures of us. But mostly it was just walking, praying, worshiping and remembering what the whole purpose of this walk was.
As I walked, I also observed. Whether I want to or not, I sometimes look at groups from my research background. This was no ordinary group. Any group analyst who studied them would be stunned that after 11 solid days of strenuous activity and being thrown together constantly, they were acting more like people excited to be at church on a Sunday morning than anything else.
What they do is physically hard. Texas, even in springtime, is warm, and sometimes rather rainy. It’s not for the faint of heart but their hearts soar as they do it.
It didn’t escape me the whole time that I was walking down a road I’d driven, never knowing I’d be back to walk it as a small part of a big movement. For me personally, it was a picture the Lord put before me by placing me there at that time on that road and reminding me of the road of His call to LIFE for me.
For these ladies there are many stories, all different, with one united thread: All have a story that called them to LIFE, some are tragic and have been redeemed; all are hopeful. Perhaps that’s why an outsider could come in halfway through and walk the day as if we were all connected: Because that’s the part of the story no group dynamics research can detail well. It’s spiritual unity, as the Psalmist says in Psalm 133:
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Running down on the beard,
The beard of Aaron,
Running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the Lord commanded the blessing—
Life forevermore.
Behold how good it is when the Back to Life walkers walk in unity, under an anointing and grace of prayers and LIFE forevermore!
These are strong godly women speaking out to change a generation, to reverse the culture of death. They have stepped out to take the land. My favorite moment of the day was when we had to detour because of a construction zone on the feeder road. Even the cars couldn’t come with us, so we were led around it, on the grass, and it felt like we were walking through Bible history.

My words can’t adequately convey the awe I felt with these ladies Tuesday. They feel your prayers. They get that they are being carried by a loving Father through the prayers of His children who are giving them love, prayers, and financial support.  They have made the sacrifices to give up weeks of life as they know it to fight for the Life of those who may never know it.
Today is their 13th day on the open road. They are well past the halfway point and are going strong. So strong! Please commit to pray for them as they finish strong as well.  This seemingly small act from us is a huge surge of strength to them. Each walker will tell you it’s not their physical prowess that is carrying them but the spiritual strength the grace and prayers.
Thank you, ladies, for letting me walk in your shoes for a day; than you for standing for LIFE in such a powerful way!
Walkers who arrived waiting for the others at the finish point for day 11.
Editor’s note: Each day Back to Life webstreams live three times a day, as well as provides a prayer guide for their prayer focus, so you can join them even from afar.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day 12

  Today was a "move" day, meaning we loaded our bags this morning before our walk, and then go to a new town for the next couple of nights.  The last three nights we have been in Centerville, and today moved to Fairfield.  A small Assembly of God church "hosted" us in Centerville.  The church was just a few hundred feet down the "feeder road" from the hotel, which worked out perfect, because there was no meeting room for meals or stretching at the tiny hotel.  They fed us, did our laundry, and served us continually as we walked!  This morning, as we were about to leave, the Pastor and his wife anointed our feet and prayed for us.  It was moving and beautiful.

  As we faced another 12-mile day, I decided to change tactics of how to conquer the mileage.  Typically the walkers tend to separate into the fast(er) and not-so-fast walkers.  It has been a challenge to keep everyone "happy" as we have so many fitness levels represented.  I've been concerned about the morale of those walkers who typically finish at the end of the group.  So I challenged the team with Philippians 2 and to "think of others as more highly than yourselves" and change their places in the line.  We honored the girls who generally finish last and allowed them to finish first!  It was a lesson in humility for some, and a feeling of victory for others.  It was all worth it to see the smiles at the end of the day!

Not quite...look again!

Nate thinks this is taking awhile!

Day 11

Here are a couple of video updates.  Sorry about being a day late; the internet has been a bit unavailable in some small towns!

In other news, I DID end up taking an ice bath.  (Nate encouraged me by standing there and laughing.)  The first two minutes were comparable to labor pains...I endured for five minutes.

Our prayer focus today was on the hearings at the Supreme Court concerning Obamacare and the abortion provisions contained within.  We have been praying for righteousness and truth to prevail in the government of our nation.  I find it amazing that there was no way to predict or plan that we would be walking at the same time this law is being reviewed.  The Supreme Court agreed to hear this case in November (2011), but the walk has been planned for well over a year now!  I believe heaven is hearing our prayers!!!

(Also, I say "Day 10" in the video, but really it's Day 11...)