“Then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Gen 2:7)
The phrase “breath of life” took on a whole new meaning when, at seven months pregnant, I found out our preborn son may or may not be able to breathe once he was born.
In that darkened ultrasound room, I was told that Luke had Congenital Cystic Adenomatoid Malformation, or cysts, in one of his lungs. This was a serious condition. The doctor told me that Luke may survive birth, or he might die when he was born. I needed to prepare for the worst. I called my husband in tears to tell him the heartbreaking news.
Those final two months of pregnancy were very difficult, not physically, but emotionally. Seeing mothers with newborn babies put me into depression, knowing that my Luke might not survive. As a mother who had given birth seven times previously, my focus on my preborn babies had always been, “Hurry up and grow so you can be born.” For the first time in pregnancy, I did not want my preborn child to hurry up and be born. I wanted Luke to stay in the womb, where I knew he was in the safest place he would ever be.
This difficult time was a blessing in disguise though, for God worked on our hearts and developed in us a deep love for preborn children that we had only had a glimpse of before. We experienced how precious life was on a whole new level, since we knew it could be gone in a heartbeat.
When Luke was born at St. Luke’s Hospital in Denver, the staff was ready for the worst. How would they save this child who may not be able to breathe, whose lungs may not function properly? On Aug. 9, 2006, Luke was born. As he let out a strong cry, we cried with him. Luke’s cry was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard before or have heard since. The medical staff rushed Luke to NICU, put him in an oxygen tent, and monitored him very closely.
Luke had surgery the next morning, at one day old, to remove 2/3 of his right lung. In surgery, the laparoscopic equipment malfunctioned resulting in massive blood loss. The surgeon had to do CPR to revive our little baby. Praise be to God that Luke pulled through! Luke was placed on a respirator and spent 5 weeks in NICU with many victories and many setbacks before he could come home on oxygen. Luke went through some difficult times in his early years, but he is now 13 years old and is a healthy, kind, and energetic boy. His right lung has grown back.
“For the Spirit of God made me, the breath of the Almighty keeps me alive.” Job 33:4
I tell the story of Luke and his miraculous breath of life because the culture we live in today is in dire need of that breath of life, that breath which can only come from the Holy Spirit. We need that breath of renewal, in our own lives, in the lives of our families, and in the world. I can see this breath of life happening within the 40 Days for Life movement, as people who participate are drawn closer to God. The fruits of the Spirit are seen all over the world. We hear stories of women who have been helped to choose life, women and men who have received healing from past abortions, and abortion workers who have quit working in a place of murder and death. Abby Johnson, featured in the movie Unplanned, left her job at Planned Parenthood and went to ask for help from those she knew from the sidewalk who participated in 40 Days for Life.
40 Days for Life is a peaceful movement of prayer and outreach in which we go to God in prayer and fasting and ask him to change hearts and heal our fallen world. Once again, Colorado Springs will have a 24/7 vigil this fall: Sept. 25- Nov. 3.
I challenge you to make a difference in our fallen world and sign up for hours to pray at the sidewalk. I call on our faithful Knights at Night (Knights of Columbus and other faithful men) to sign up for nighttime hours. Babies have been saved in the middle of the night, as Jim Ball, the 40 Days for Life leader in Green Bay, Wisconsin, has experienced.
Do not underestimate the powerful witness of a person praying at the sidewalk. Here is what one woman shared with 40 Days for Life volunteers: “Because you were out here with your sign, I changed my mind. Here is the result, my beautiful little girl.”
I call on those of you who have participated before to invite at least one new person who has never been to the sidewalk before to pray with you this fall. We can double our efforts that easily! Let us all be the voice for the voiceless and be the witness in which the Holy Spirit can breathe life into the culture of death.
Find out more and sign up for prayer vigil hours at the newly updated website: www.40daysforlife.com/coloradosprings or download the 40 Days for Life app. Contact Michele Mason at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-659-2097.
• SUP (Sign up) Rally and free showing of “Unplanned” at Holy Apostles Church — Sept. 23, 6:30 p.m.
• 40 Days for Life Kick Off — Sept. 24, 6:30 p.m. Sidewalk near Planned Parenthood, 3480 Centennial Blvd.
(Michele Mason is director of the Colorado Springs 40 Days for Life campaign.)