Archive for August, 2012

“I press on towards the goal…” (Philippians 3:14).

For nearly forty years, Nellie Gray was the power and motivating force behind the March for Life movement. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken place in Pro-Life rallies around the world since 1974, when Nellie Gray started the first March.

When Nellie decided to do something to try and stop the government from intruding into the lives of the preborn babies, she only thought that she was having a meeting to discuss the issues. The people who met at her house thought that they would have one march and that would be it. This first March drew 20,000 people. Nellie later told reporters that they had $400 left after the March. They decided to try to hold another one the next year, and the rest as they say, is history.

Next year, 2013, will be the fortieth anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, and the 39th March for Life will take place in January as usual. Everyone who knew Nellie will miss her. She inspired many other leading lights in the Pro-Life movement. Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest called Nellie Gray, “a visionary woman who understood the importance of a national memorial event to commemorate the significance of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Like the majority of women, she understood the power of women’s voices in the debate over the importance of a life-affirming society.” Nellie “had a fierce heart that valued all people – born and unborn – fearlessly working to create a picture worth a thousand words – the sight of hundreds of thousands of peaceful Americans calling on their courts and their legislators to defend life in law,” said Yoest.

Who is this remarkable woman? How did she come to be such a fierce defender of the preborn? How did this humble woman, who only wanted to save even one life begin the Marches that would draw hundreds of thousands to protest for the unborn?

Nellie had served as a corporal in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) during World War II. She noted that many men went out to defend the lives of others, risking their own. She was also deeply moved by the events of the holocaust. It wasn’t just the overwhelming number of Jews who were killed that tugged at her heart strings. She believed that it was wrong for even one person to be intentionally killed by the government for no other reason than that the government wanted to eliminate certain persons. The government should not have that kind of authority. It was evil and should be stopped.

After she retired from the service, she began to relate the holocaust to abortion. To save even one life from the evil of abortion would be worth any effort she could put out. No government should be allowed to authorize the killing of even one preborn child. Praise God, her efforts have resulted in the saving of many lives.

Nellie’s feeling about abortion went deeper than for most people, because she was a lawyer. She practiced law for twenty-eight years as an employee for the federal government, and so she was no stranger to Washington politics.

Nellie was against compromises. Whenever a measure was to be voted on that had limitations in it, she warned others that it was not thoroughly Pro-Life. She realized how important it was to save as many lives as possible, but was wary of “exception clauses”. As soon as the government said that it might limit abortion “except for this or that” she knew that they were still retaining the power to kill the babies who did not meet the criteria. All of these attempts were meant to decriminalize abortion, which she could not tolerate.

As time went on, Nellie began to realize that the men and women who had been harmed by abortion could speak out and have an impact for the Pro-Life movement. She became a strong supporter of the “Silent No More Awareness Campaign” and asked men and women from this group to be on the platform with her at the March for Life rallies. She encouraged them to walk in the front of the March holding signs that read, “I Regret My Abortion” or “I Regret Lost Fatherhood”.

Janet Morana, co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign praised Nellie Gray for making the Silent No More group a huge part of the Marches for Life. She said, “We are so grateful that Nellie Gray shared our vision of Silent No More, and recognized that the women who have had abortions speak with unquestioned authority about the ways they have been harmed by this choice. Every year more women and men come to march and to share their testimony. Nellie Gray helped make that possible for us.”

Another area that Nellie was intensely aware of is the discrimination against minorities, especially blacks, in the abortion industry. Elsewhere on this Blog, I have posted the statistics showing that Planned Parenthood targets black children for abortion. Dr. Alveda King, director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life acknowledges this, “Nellie Gray knew that abortion took a heavy toll from the black community and she urged us to lend our voices to the fight against this terrible injustice,” said Dr. Alveda.

And finally, we can appreciate that Nellie Gray also fought for unity among those in the Pro-Life movement. She was an inspiration to Protestant and Catholic alike through her own personal example of determination and hard work. She was a tireless warrior for the unborn. Nellie longed for unity in the movement – a unity that was based on truth. The truth is that the being in the womb is a human being from the moment of conception and no government or other power has the right to destroy life.

Thank you for your hard work, Nellie. Many will miss you in January, but everyone will remember who started it all. As Charmaine Yoest declares, “When we march this January in solemn commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Roe, we will miss Nellie and her unflagging determination to press on toward the goal. But march we will, with deep gratitude for the example she set of sacrifice and commitment to the human rights struggle of our day.”

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Still More Books About Courageous Women

There are short stories posted on the blog about these extraordinary women. I highly recommend the books. You will be blessed and encouraged as you read about them.


—  Bogle, Joanna, Caroline Chisholm: The Emigrant’s Friend, (Gracewing: Fowler Wright Books, Herefordshire, 1997 edition).

“With an attitude of service and a sense of trying to be faithful to what she had promised God and felt Him accept, she now went ahead in faith” (pg. 59). This was the hallmark of Caroline Chisholm’s life (1808 – 1877) as she went about the task of reforming the conditions for women who were emigrating to Australia during the nineteenth century. The British government was ignoring the plight of these women, but Caroline took them to task for it. She got laws changed and improved the traveling conditions. When she was in Australia, she insisted on clean, safe, and affordable housing for the women until they could find jobs. You will be amazed as you read about how this courageous woman even spent the night with rats in order to get a home for the women (pg. 65). Caroline was one of the most famous women in her day. Florence Nightingale modeled herself after Caroline. Her example of what can be done in the area of social reform is an inspiration to all.


—  Collingwood, Jeremy & Margaret, Hannah More: The Woman Who Brought Hope to England’s Darkest Places, (Lion Publishing, Oxford, England, 1990).

Hannah More (1745 – 1833) was widely known as a social reformer in the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century. She was also a writer (plays, poems, and tracts) and an educator, helping start Sunday Schools. She knew many famous people, including William Wilberforce, the famous abolitionist, and helped give the abolition movement a public voice with her writings. She wrote poems about slavery that dramatically showed how they were being mistreated. She was also one of the best known philanthropists of her day. She was clever and witty and even up until her last years, many people loved to visit her. She lived just long enough to see slavery abolished in the British Empire (1833). You will really enjoy reading this story. The Collingwood’s include excerpts from her writings and poetry. Also not found very often in biographies is a wonderful index which is a veritable “who’s who”  of 1800.


—  Hege, Ruth, We Two Alone: Attack and Rescue in the Congo,  (Emerald House Group, Inc., Greenville, S.C., 1997).

From the preface: “My days in the hands of the Congo terrorists were one long testimony to the fidelity of my loving Heavenly Father….I gratefully own my indebtedness to all who prayed for my safety and rescue.” Ruth Hege and her companion, Irene Ferrel, underwent one of the most terrifying experiences on the mission field imaginable (January, 1964). Irene Ferrel was murdered by insurgents and then Ruth Hege underwent four days of terror before being rescued. This is one of those books that is hard to put down. You will appreciate what dedication and love the missionaries have for the lost, willingly dying if necessary to bring them the Gospel. Ruth Hege would eventually serve in the Congo and Venezuela for thirty-two years. Irene’s story and Ruth’s testimony would move many young people to desire to serve God.


—  Stuart, Arabella, Ann Judson, Missionary Wife, (Corner Pillar Press, Forest, Virginia, 1855, republished, 2011).

Ann Judson (1789 – 1826) was the first woman missionary to Burma. Actually, she was probably the first woman missionary to leave the shores of the United States for a foreign country. America was a young country. Foreign missions were just starting. Ann showed incredible courage and fortitude to go with her now famous husband, Adoniram Judson to a land halfway around the world. Though she suffered from ill health, loneliness, the deaths of her children, and opposition from the people back home, she never lost sight of her purpose to bring the Gospel to the Burmese women. “I desire no higher enjoyment in this life than to be instrumental in leading some poor, unreached women to the knowledge of the Savior. … Let me have no object in life but the promotion of Thy glory.” She gave her all so that others might know the joy of the Lord.


—  Wilson, Dorothy Clarke, Granny Brand: Her Story, (Paul Brand Publishing, Sandy, Oregon, 1976).

Evelyn Harris was born in 1879 in England. As a young woman she felt an emptiness in her soul. Then she went to India and met Jesse Brand. They were married and served together until Jesse’s death in 1928. Evelyn continued to minister to the diseased and poverty-stricken people until her own death in 1974, at the age of 95. Evie prayed that she would be able to reach all of the hill people in India. With her indomitable spirit, she continued on in spite of the broken bones, fevers, and illnesses that she endured as she got older. She talked about the Savior everywhere she went. Even in the hospital she went room to room talking to the other patients. Outlasting many other missionaries, “Granny” Brand seemed to get younger as she got older. God truly answered her prayer to be useful in one of the hardest places to work in the world, “Let me be like that Lord, flowering best when life seems most dry and dead.”

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How far would you go to save a life? The purpose of this blog is to encourage women to live a life that is honoring to the Lord Jesus Christ. All of the stories on this blog are about women, and most of them are stories specifically about an individual woman who bravely faced down her culture to serve the Lord by doing what is right no matter the circumstances.

This week’s posting is about a remarkable Chinese woman who rescued over thirty babies, abandoned in the streets or even in dumpsters. I do not know if Lou Xiaoying thought about God. She lives in a Communist country. But there is no question about her love, compassion, and courage in spite of the fact that her government is hostile to the things that she has done.  There is no doubt that she puts those of us living in a comfortable, relatively free country to shame.

What have you done lately to save the life of a helpless being? What have you contributed to the Pro-Life cause? Time and again on this blog, I have tried to encourage women to do whatever they can, no matter how insignificant it may seem, to just do something. (See the postings under the “Social Commentary” category.)

Do we need to have an oppressive government before we will wake up? Must we suffer persecution before we get it?

Lou Xiaoying’s story is popular on the Internet right now. You can go and find the complete account in many places. I would like to just quote the main part from LifeSiteNews.com.

BY Kathleen Gilbert

JINHUA, ZHIEJIANG PROVINCE, China, July 30, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) –

Although 88-year-old Lou Xiaoying may now be close to death, she will not soon be forgotten in her home city of Jinhua.

The Daily Mail on Monday recorded the astonishing story of the elderly woman, whose meager living recycling trash did not stop her from bringing home and caring for all the abandoned infants she came across – all 30 of them.

“I realised if we had strength enough to collect garbage, how could we not recycle something as important as human lives,” she said.

“These children need love and care. They are all precious human lives. I do not understand how people can leave such a vulnerable baby on the streets.”

Under China’s one-child policy parents must obtain a pregnancy permit or face severe penalties, and it is estimated that some 35,000 abortions are committed per day in the country – many of them forced. Investigations have revealed that human rights abuses under the policy are rampant, with family planning police often dealing with “illegal pregnancies” through forced abortions and infanticide.

The woman says her rescue effort began in 1972, when she found a little girl “lying amongst the junk on the street, abandoned.”

Today, Lou suffers from kidney failure, and pictures show her on a hospital bed, where two smiling children interact with her.

Her youngest child, seven-year-old Zhang Qilin, was found in a dustbin as an infant when Lou was 82 years old.

“Even though I was already getting old I could not simply ignore the baby and leave him to die in the trash. He looked so sweet and so needy. I had to take him home with me,” she said.

Last week, outrage shook the Internet when it was revealed a premature baby girl in Anshan city, Liaoning province, had been thrown in the trash with umbilical cord still attached, in a plastic bag with her throat cut. Doctors said she would have died of suffocation within minutes, and had the cut been any deeper, it would certainly have taken the baby girl’s life.

One fan quoted by the Daily Mail said that Lou’s remarkable charity to unwanted infants has put China’s Communist Party to shame and made her a local hero.

“She is shaming to governments, schools and people who stand by and do nothing. She has no money or power but she saved children from death or worse,” said the fan.

I would like to add that she is also shaming Christians who name the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ who blithely live their lives as if there aren’t thousands of babies being brutally murdered every day in the abortion clinics.

Lou Xiaoying has been called a “modern-day guardian angel, who selflessly protected the children she found and gave them a home with lots of love. She did not have money to give and there were no good moments that she had to help, but she did anyways. She gave her life and devoted her time and love to raising the rescued children the best she could. Lou Xiaoying gave over 30 children the one item that money or any material items could not buy, and that was the love of a selfless woman.”

Lou paid for the upkeep of the children by recycling the trash that she found and collected for that purpose.

Every child that Lou rescued was placed in a home. Most of these were friends of Lou and her husband. They were so impressed with her selfless acts of love that they felt compelled to extend the compassion to the children themselves. She inspired others with her love all of her life and is now dying of kidney failure at age 88. Even on her hospital bed, she puts others before herself. She exemplified that Christ-like characteristic better than many Christians do.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant… (Philippians 2:3-7).

Lou Xiaoying was very different from most people. I am ashamed to say, even very different from most people in our country.  How very tragic that many who call themselves Christians believe that abortion is ok. There is something really wrong here when an ostensibly non-Christian woman can see the beauty of life when we can’t. How the Lord Jesus must be weeping when He sees how selfish we are.

I am really happy to share this story of a woman who was truly generous and giving even in poor circumstances. It should shame us, but it should also be an encouragement that all you need is compassion. The time to do something is NOW. Let this story encourage you to pray for the unborn and their mothers.

Then, if you have never joined a Pro-Life group or given to one, do it now. There are many loving people on the front lines of the Pro-Life movement, unsung heroes and heroines, who are rescuing babies. Will you be one of them?

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Then the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to s son.” (Judges 13:3).

The words in the verse quoted above look a little familiar to us because we have seen something similar in other places in the Bible. These words were spoken to the wife of Manoah. She and Manoah were the parents of Samson. She is not given a name in the Scriptures, but God blessed her and gave her important work to do.

An angel of the Lord appeared to several women in the Bible and gave them the good news that they would bear a son. God Himself also met women during their times of sorrow and promised them children. We have their stories that clearly show that God is in charge of life. The Father is sovereign and sometimes He allows His children to have sorrow for a time because He has something special in mind. Only He knows what His purpose is and we must be patient and wait for Him.

Here are a few examples of women whom God blessed with children at special times and in special circumstances in their lives.

Sarah:  “Then the Lord took note of Sarah as He has said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had promised. So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him” (Geneses 21:1,2).
Something to note here and with all of the special mothers in the Bible is that the Lord granted them children in His own time. Sarah was probably ninety years old before she bore her son! Her story shows us that God is faithful, that He keeps His promises, and that He has His own sovereign way of doing things.

Ruth:   “So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife, and he went in to her. And the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birthto a son” (Ruth 4:13).
Ruth had been widowed before she could have children. There didn’t seem to be anything further for her in her life. She bravely followed her mother-in-law, Naomi, back to Israel to begin a new life among a people who were not her own. She may have thought that she would live out her days taking care of Naomi. But God blessed her beyond what she thought she deserved with a new husband and a son. This son was to become the ancestor of King David and our Lord Jesus Christ. Ruth had faith in a sovereign God and trusted in Him.

Hannah:   “And it came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birthto a son; and she named him Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked him of the LORD” (1Samuel 1:20).
Poor Hannah! She was not only barren, but she was cursed with a rival wife who had children. It would have been easy for most women to be bitter, but Hannah prayed and waited on the Lord. Like Ruth, Hannah would have a son who would do mighty things for God. Hannah praised God in a song of thanksgiving that shows how mighty He is. “There is no one holy like the Lord. Indeed, there is no one besides You, nor is there any rock like our God. … for the Lord is a God of knowledge … He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy”  (I Samuel 2:2-8). Hannah’s faith in her sovereign Lord was strong. God would bless Hannah with five more children.

Elizabeth:  “Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she brought forth a son” (Luke 1:57).
Like Sarah, Elizabeth was barren and “advanced in years” (Luke 1:7). She probably thought that she and her husband Zacharias, a priest serving in the temple, would never have any children. Then one day and angel of the Lord appeared to Zacharias and announced that Elizabeth’s petition to God for a child was being granted. We know what happened next in this popular story. Zacharias failed to believe the angel and so he was struck dumb until the baby was born. Like the other women in our story, Elizabeth had a special son. John the Baptist would become the forerunner to Christ. Elizabeth was doubly blessed because her cousin would actually be chosen to be the mother of Jesus.

Mary:  “Now the birthof Jesus Christ was as follows. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18)  “And it came about that while they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she agave birthto her first-born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn”  (Luke 2:6,7).
Now, here is a woman who was probably NOT praying to be with child. Mary was not married and was completely surprised when the angel of the Lord showed up to announce to her that she would be the mother of the Savior of the world. Yet, she completely trusted God and was able to say, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Nothing more needs to be said about the incredible blessing to Mary, or about the wonderfulness of her Child.

Samson’s Mother:  The story of Manoah’s wife also shows the power and love of our sovereign God. There are similarities to the other stories above. She was barren. She and Manoah were living in times of distress. During this period in Israel’s history the children of God were alternately obeying and disobeying God. When they foolishly served other gods, the Lord sent enemies to oppress them. At this time, the Philistines were ruling over the Israelites. God’s people would cry out for help, and the Lord would raise up a judge to deliver them. In our story, God is preparing the way for Samson, one of the most famous judges.

An angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah’s wife and promised her that she would have a son. This son, like the others that God promised to the women in our story, would be very special. Samson’s mother would do all that she was asked to by God. She would probably be the most faithful woman in Samson’s life. She would praise God confidently even when her husband had doubts.

These women were rare and special. Not because they were super women, but because they were willing to accept what God had for them. God does not give all of us a child who will grow up to be a high priest, or a judge, or a king. But He does give each and every one of us a calling that only we can fulfill. Our job is not to question why or how the Lord does things; our job is to just be faithful to His word.

My prayer is that as you meditate on the lives of these women, you will be encouraged to wait for what God has for you. God’s timing is sometimes mysterious to us, but He loves us and knows what’s best. In your life right now be thankful as Sarah, Ruth, Hannah, Elizabeth, Mary, and Manoah’s wife. Give glory to God for His goodness.

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