Celebration of Life Worship Service calls for affirmation, acceptance and applause

by Bonnie Shaw on January 25, 2021 in News

“We’re not big names, we’re ordinary people, and if God could help us face difficult decisions and give us strength to get through them, then He could definitely do the same for you,” David Sanchez, director of Ethics and Justice at the Christian Life Commission (CLC), said as he gave his testimony during the 2021 Celebration of Life Worship Service.

The service was hosted by the CLC on Jan. 23 at Meadowridge Baptist Church in Fort Worth, where it was also streamed live on Facebook and YouTube. The service was held as a way to affirm those who choose life when the choice is not easy, accept those who are grieving over past choices and applaud those involved in foster care and adoption. This holistic point of view focused not just on preventing abortion, but healing those who have experienced it and promoting adoption and foster care.

Worship was led by the Meadowridge Baptist Church worship team.

Affirming those who choose life

Katie Fruge, associate CLC director and director of Hunger and Care Ministries, shared her testimony with her daughter, Eve. Fruge spoke about the complications that came with her pregnancy with Eve, sharing that the doctors recommended terminating the pregnancy since it was considered very high-risk for both her and Eve. Ultimately, Fruge decided to continue the pregnancy, trusting in the Lord to provide no matter what happened.

Fruge acknowledged the fear and anxiety that can come with pregnancy, whether it is potential health risks, financial uncertainty or social stigmas. She encouraged those facing a scary pregnancy to lean on God.

“We want to encourage you to remember that God is still there and to lean into Christ, because there is so much life to be had,” Fruge said. “Deciding to trust the maker and giver of life was the best decision I ever made.”

Sanchez also shared his family’s testimony about a high-risk pregnancy with his wife where they were told their daughter had a chromosomal disorder known as trisomy-18 and that it was unlikely she would survive past the first year of life. Sanchez explained that as he pondered Psalm 139:13-14, he wondered how his daughter could have a disorder when the Bible describes God as a God of order.

“God is a God of order, but that order doesn't always make sense to us. And He is also a God who gives us peace in the midst of chaos. And that was what we experienced because, even though we knew our future with our daughter looked very bleak, we still had moments of inexplicable joy from the comfort of knowing we were trusting God with the result instead of making the choice ourselves,” Sanchez explained.

Accepting those who grieve past choices

Fruge also shared a personal story of discovering that a close family member had an abortion years ago and had been too afraid to tell anyone. Fruge explained that this family member had been grieving and hurting alone and felt trapped and isolated in her pain and unable to be honest about her life and her struggles.

“I started realizing when we talk about pro-life, we often separate the people from the numbers… and I think we have really fooled ourselves if we think this is an issue that hasn’t impacted the people in our churches and in our pews,” she said.

She encouraged those in attendance to consider the story of Jesus and the woman at the well. She reminded them that Jesus met the woman where she was, in the middle of her shame and hurting, and still loved and spoke with her.

“There is plenty of space in Christianity for conviction and compassion. We can have conviction and passion for the vulnerable among us, and that is good. But that should never stand apart from people who are hurting and also need compassion… if we don’t have that compassion, we’re like the Pharisees who sit and point out the sins of others without actually sitting at Jesus’ feet,” Fruge said.

Affirming those called to foster care and adoption

David Ummel, director of Faith Fosters Texas, shared about the importance of foster care and adoption, explaining that the foster care system in Texas is considered to be “in crisis” due to the large number of children. He encouraged attendees to get involved with helping these children, whether through fostering, adopting or providing resources and encouragement for others that have.

In Texas, 60 percent of foster families quit after less than a year due to isolation and stress. Churches need to stand by these families to give them the support they need to continue fostering, Ummel explained.

“We need to see these children, not as a number or a statistic, but as the children in our community and the kids our kids go to school with. We need to see the problem, and we need to see ourselves as the solution,” he said.

The service was closed with a prayer from Randal Lyle, pastor of Meadowridge Baptist Church.

The full service can be streamed here. For more information about the CLC, go to txb.org/clc.

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