Before My Eyes Saw You: Discipling the Next Generation to Treasure Life

The day before our fifth child was born I was out and about with my three youngest kids. As we slowed for a red light, I noticed a group of pro-life advocates standing near the intersection with signs in hand.

On two of those signs were images of aborted babies.

I am as pro-life as pro-life gets, but I felt a bit sick that my children were about to be exposed to something their little eyes should never have to see—something I wasn’t sure they were prepared to handle. Sure enough, seconds later I heard the concerned voice of my then-six-year-old daughter: “Mommy, what’s wrong with those babies?”

Like it or not, I had two choices: I could either evade the question or I could address it head-on. With an internal plea of “Lord, help me,” I chose the latter.

“Those are babies who were killed in their mom’s tummies.”

There were gasps of horror. The fact that I was “great with child” made this all the more significant to them.

“What?! How?”

“A doctor put poison in the mom so they would die.”


“Because sometimes mamas don’t want their babies or think they can’t take care of them. And some doctors choose to do very bad things.”

“What about the dads? What did they say?”

“Sometimes it’s the dads who tell the mamas they have to kill their baby because they don’t want to be dads. And the moms think they don’t have any other choice.”

Question after question.

Then my six-year-old said, with desperation in her voice, “Oh, we need to pray for those babies in the pictures.”

I couldn’t stop the tears from filling my eyes. “Those babies are with Jesus now. But let’s pray for the babies whose mommies are trying to decide whether they should keep them or not.”

I listened in awe as my daughter petitioned the God of the universe on behalf of these babies and their moms. After we prayed, the conversation continued. I told them about pregnancy resource centers, how I used to volunteer for one, and that there are people who spend their lives loving these moms, dads, and babies. Their eyes lit up with hope. 

We’re over a year out from that experience, and I’m still amazed that what I thought would traumatize my children, God used to place a burden on their tender hearts. To this day I regularly see evidence that He allowed their exposure to unimaginable evil to be used as an opportunity for me to disciple my children and increase their understanding of the value of life from the moment a baby begins to form in its mother’s womb. 

Value from Womb to Tomb

It’s a tragedy that we live in a world where such horrors as abortion exist, tainting the innocence of our children from a young age. However, I am increasingly convinced that rather than running from these realities, we should be actively preparing our children to face them. Does that mean we knowingly expose them to every evil out there? Absolutely not. But as much as we might seek to protect their tender minds and hearts now, they will be increasingly exposed to the devastating realities of sin later. And it’s our job to faithfully ground them in truth, saturate them in the Word, and teach them how to apply that truth in their actions, words, and attitudes. 

So how do we begin to teach our children to value the lives of His image bearers from “womb to tomb?” First and foremost, by God’s grace alone. But here are some ways we can practically put that grace into action. 

1. Grasp it. 

If we’re going to faithfully teach our children, we need to understand for ourselves what the Bible teaches about the sanctity of human life and why it’s significant. There’s no single verse that says, “You shalt not kill a baby in the womb.” However, the whole Bible testifies to the reality that God is the giver of life, that we have intrinsic value as His image bearers, and that He alone has the right to decide the span of a person’s life. 

Right in the first chapter of the Bible we see that God was purposeful in creating human beings.

Genesis 1:27 says, 

So God created man 
in his own image; 
he created him in the image of God;
he created them male and female.

God created us in His image—male and female alike. And in light of that reality, we’re more valuable than any of His other created beings. Jesus affirms this in Matthew 6 when, speaking of how God cares for His creation, He says, “Aren’t you worth more than they?” (v. 26). That’s an astonishing reality.

Psalm 139:13–16 testifies to the truth that God not only ordains the days of a person’s life, but that He’s intricately involved in every detail of our being from the moment of conception.

For it was you who created my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I will praise you
because I have been remarkably and wondrously made.
Your works are wondrous, 
and I know this very well.
My bones were not hidden from you 
when I was made in secret,
when I was formed in the depths of the earth. 
Your eyes saw me when I was formless;
all my days were written in your book and planned 
before a single one of them began.

I would argue that whether we’re talking about the subject of abortion or any of the other current, pressing matters regarding our human identity, it’s never been more consequential for us to truly comprehend who God is, how He ordered this world, and how we fit into His providential narrative. 

2. Teach it.

Along with being firmly planted in truth about the value and dignity of life ourselves, we should also purposefully seek to instill these truths into our children or others who’ve been entrusted to our care. We need to ask the Lord to help us keep our eyes and ears wide open for opportunities to weave these biblical truths into the conversations of our daily lives. 

Specifically in regard to life in the womb, my husband and I have sought to do this by bringing our children into the joy—and also the grief—that comes with pregnancy. We usually tell our children very soon after finding out another sibling is on the way, allowing them to enter into the anticipation. Although I’ve never lost a baby, we’ve been close to many who’ve experienced this through miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss, and we’ve had many conversations about these tragedies with our kids. Our desire is that they grasp how valuable each life is from the moment it is conceived, long before the human eye can see it, whether they learn it through joy or sorrow.

We also seek to teach them what honoring image-bearers looks like beyond babyhood. When I hear my children demean themselves or others in some way with their words, I try to bring them back to the reality that all of us are created by God, and as such we are responsible to view and talk about ourselves and others in ways that glorify Him. These moments then often become a perfect doorway to talk about the reality of sin and the hope of the gospel.

There are countless ways this daily discipleship can take place and no step-by-step guide for how to handle them. But as we seek the Lord for His wisdom, He’ll enable us to take every opportunity to point our children back to Him and His very good design for life. 

3. Live it.

Lastly, we need to be sure we’re living in such a way that displays that we truly believe what we claim to believe. As the saying goes, lessons are caught more than taught. Here are some questions we can ask ourselves to evaluate how we’re doing in this area:

  • How do I speak about and treat other image bearers of every age, ethnicity, and demographic?
  • What is my attitude about (and toward) children? 
  • How do I react to unplanned pregnancy, either mine or someone else’s? 
  • Is there anything in the way I act or speak that demeans the value of another human life?
  • Do I need to repent of any ways I’ve been prideful or treated others as lesser than myself? 

I’ve often found myself praying Psalm 139:23–24 as I evaluate these questions in my own life: 

Search me, O God, and know my heart! 
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting! (ESV)

Our children and those under our influence need to see that we’ve been transformed by the gospel and empowered to live what we say we believe. They need to hear it in our words and see it in our actions. God can and will enable us to live this out as we submit ourselves to Him. 

Wondrous Works

At the end of every baby book I make for my kids I include a picture of their ultrasound next to a picture of them at one year old. I want to dispel any doubt that they weren’t loved dearly from the moment God began forming them in my womb. I long for them to grasp that their lives are gifts and always have been. For the kiddos who were a surprise to us, I want them to hear from my lips that God knew the timing for another child infinitely better than we did, filling our lives with delight. I want to combat any lie from the enemy that they’re an inconvenience, a hindrance, a “Plan B,” with assurances of my love and—more importantly—God’s love and perfect plan for them. And I pray that, compelled by this love, they go into this dark world and proclaim the truth of our perfect Creator to those who need to know their life matters too. 

Take time this week for further reflection on the sanctity of human life by joining Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth for the series “Life Is Precious to God” on the Revive Our Hearts podcast, then check out additional Revive Our Hearts content on the topic of abortion in our resource library

About the Author

Heather Cofer

Heather Cofer

Heather Cofer is a wife and mother of six living in northern Colorado with a passion for encouraging women to love Jesus. She is the author of Expectant: Cultivating a Vision for Christ-Centered Pregnancy, and has also written for Set … read more …

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