Holding Grace

I'm not marching today.  The big boys will go off, bundled against the cold. But I will stay home with the wee ones and read stories and sip hot chocolate. Snuggled next to me with Katie on the couch will be a little girl with golden-red curls.  Her name is Grace.  And Grace is a living, breathing tesitmony to the power of prayer and love over the culture of death. 

Three years ago, Gracie was safe inside her very young mother, Emily.  She was what the media call "a crisis pregnancy."  And while there is no doubt that when an unmarried sixteen-year-old is pregnant it is a crisis, Gracie was never in danger.  Emily was living in a culture of love. She sacrificed her senior year in high school, her last chance to be a dancer, her waning days of youthful irresponsibility.  And she became the mother of Grace.

Gracie was born hours after I miscarried.  I was with Emily in the delivery room and I heard God tell me quite emphatically that there are many ways a child can be born into my life. I had no idea at the time how much I'd grow to love that baby.  On that day, I could barely look at her, my own wound was so raw.

Emily chose to raise her baby, with the constant and devoted help of her parents.  I chose to play a very active role.  Emily goes to college locally.  Gracie spends her days with me. It's not all roses.  Emily continues to sacrifice. She works really hard and is a stellar student.  She tries mightily to spend a quantity of quality time with her daughter. She has given up the carefree innocence of unencumbered youth that most teenagers take for granted. (And she's pretty much given up sleep, too.)

But she has given those of us who love this little girl an incredible gift.  What a privelige it is to watch her grow!  What a miracle it is to know how easily she could have been in peril before we even knew her.  Emily has talked about how easily and how often other girls in her Catholic high school chose abortion.  It looked like the easy choice.

But what we know is that Emily's courageous choice saved Gracie's life but it also saved Emily's life. Whatever sacrifices Emily makes, whatever real and heavy burdens she will bear, she will never carry the cross of having had an abortion. She never even considered an abortion.  I think that that is because she grew up in a culture of absolute unconditional love. She was never confused about what a gift a child is, what a gift she is. God had big plans for Emily and He spoke them plainly. I think she was saved by Grace.

How can we create a culture of love?  How we can make sure that the young women in our lives know that they are loved despite their frailties, despite their sins?  How we change the world, change the culture, reclaim life in the darkness of death?

For each of us, this answer will look a little different.  For some of us, it will be obvious.  We will be given the gift of a great opportunity, a chance to be a tangible blessing to a young mother and baby. Gracie is a joy to me.  But, sometimes it is a bittersweet joy.  She is not mine.  These days of holding her close are not forever.  There will be sorrow.  I won't even let myself think of the deep pain it will cause my children when the "Gracie Days" at our house will be over.

But I know that born of that pain will be the indelible lesson that every life, every child is precious.  Born of that pain will be the powerful witness of Emily's example. Because we know Grace, we know the child in the slogan "It's a child, not a choice." And, oh my, is she beautiful!

We can reclaim the culture for love.  We can reclaim it one child, one choice at a time.  I pray for the day when we can all know the love that comes from curling up inside on a cold January day, when there are no more marches to march, when the fight has been won, when we all have the privilege of holding Grace.

Marybeths_pics_053_4 Marybeths_pics_055_1

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • Guest

    I don’t think your time with Gracie will ever end. Your relationship with her mother and Gracie will keep all of you together through out her life. My granddaughter bonded with her day care teacher, Miss Louise. Later, some years later, my family joined a local church. There was Miss Loise in the choir and most happy to see Jenna again! Then, when my family goes to the library Miss Louise is there and asked my daughter to read to children on evening a week and she did. So, even though we thought our days of being cared for by Miss Louise were limited, they weren’t. Jenna went to day care when she was four and now she is eleven years old an still hugs Miss Louise. I attended their midnight Christmas service and had the please of hugging Miss Louise. Her husband died this past year but she must be adapting well because at the celebration of our Savior’s birth Miss Louise was smiling brightly singing with the choir and happy to find me after the service and hug me. We love her. We never had any idea Miss Louise would become part of our lives but she has and that is as God wanted it to be. As the sanying goes “don’t count your chickens before they hatch”, you may have Gracie in your life for a long time or a short time but it will always be in God’s time.

  • Guest

    I too am privileged to be able to be with a little one, just over a year old, whose mother was told to abort him. This little guy is a delight to be with and whenever his mama, who is now attending university needs him to be taken care of, I am always thrilled to do so. The other day, we were able to take care of him, and we took him shopping. I carried him into the store and my husband begged to hold him, so I handed him off to my happy to be holding the little one husband.  

    We are over the hill, have three grown children and two in the early teens and yet, LIFE, with all of its goodness has blessed us with being able to be a witness to his mom's incredible sacrifice.

    God is good – ALWAYS! blessings to you and little Gracie.

MENU