Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Learning to Value Life, Day 3

Leslie Basham: Here's Laura de Chavez Gonzalez. 

Laura de Chavez Gonzalez: Before you run to do an abortion, why don't you run to the Bible? Why don't you run to someone who can sit with you and tell you what the Word says about life, about the sanctity of life, about how we are created in the image of God, and about suffering, and about how God can use suffering for His purposes in a very redemptive way in your life.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth for Friday, January 15, 2016.

This Sunday we'll be observing Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. It's the day we mark the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that effectively made abortion legal in the U.S.

Later in the program, Nancy will help all of us make sure we're cultivating the value of life.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: You see, the value we place on life—the value we really place on life—is not so much seen in what we call ourselves (in what label we put on ourselves) as it is seen in how we view and treat other people, including children.

When I hear somebody say, "I can't stand children," I'm thinking, This is not a pro-life person! They may call themselves "pro-life," but if you are pro-life, you will love children!

Leslie: But first, we'll hear from Laura and Fausto Gonzalez. This is the third day in a series telling their story. They entered marriage with opposing views of the value of children. Then, they chose abortion when told it was medically necessary. God changed their hearts, and they discovered what it meant to be forgiven through the work of Jesus—and that began their changing their hearts about children.

Let's begin by reviewing some of what we heard earlier in the series.

Laura: Fausto was not "into" children.

Fausto Gonzalez: I did not have a good relationship with my father. He would say, "I don't like children" in front of us. He would say, "Take him away!" Like, "I'm watching TV," or "I want to listen to this." I also thought I would never be a good parent. So, I knew at some point Laura was going to say . . .

Laura: Okay, it's time to try to have our first child.

Fausto: Then I'm going to have to say "okay," but I would have delayed that as long as I could have, because I didn't want them. Then it happened. . . she finally got pregnant, and I remember when Sarah was born. When you find yourself playing the part, you see that you didn't go to rehearsals.

Laura: It would be good to have another child, and I kept talking to Fausto about it.

Fausto: I didn't want that!

Laura: About two weeks after we went to Orlando, I got chickenpox. I got it really bad, so I went to my family doctor. The first thing he did was a pregnancy test. I said, "Oh, no, I'm not pregnant!" And yes, I was! The doctor said there are many cases of birth defects when children are conceived in that part of your chickenpox. He said I needed to see other doctors, and everybody concluded that I needed to get an abortion.

Fausto: So I convinced Laura, "We need to do this." Again, it was good with me, because I didn't want to have another child. I remember the day of the abortion . . .

Laura: It was in 1991, and that was the most horrible day of my life! I can remember the sound of the vacuum, and I remember driving home—I felt so miserable.

I put in a cassette and this lady was talking about how God had changed her life. I remember sitting down at my kitchen counter, listening to that, and my eyes were opened. I understood life in a minute. I understood I was a sinner, that Christ had come to bear my sins, and had washed me with a sacrifice. I understood the gospel in an instant!

Fausto: After that, it all made sense. I understood everything and our lives changed completely!

Leslie: Here's part 3 of Laura and Fausto's story.

Fausto: When Laura and I met Jesus, eight days apart, we went crazy. It was madness, good madness! We left everything behind.

Laura: When I came to Christ, immediately the first sin that came to mind was my abortion. That's when I realized I had committed a sin. I had thought I was a nice person. I thought I was a good person.

It was when I started reading the Bible, I realized I was a baby killer. I killed a baby, but immediately I felt the grace of God! Christ is too great a Savior and His grace is so unmerited and His blood is so sufficient, so I've never felt guilt after knowing Christ. I've just felt the sense of loss.

Fausto: One Sunday morning, it could have been the third Sunday or the fourth Sunday after our conversion, I looked toward the ceiling and I said, "God, if in order to have You as a Father, I have to not have one, or have the one I had, I'm okay. I'm okay, because I wouldn't exchange this for any excellent father on earth."

The father I had was worse than not having one. Because if you don't have one, you just don't have one. You miss him, but you don't see him; he's not there. But having a father and not having a relationship with him, not feeling loved by him, not seeing him wanting to be with you, feeling unloved . . . Then now feeling this incredible love that fills you . . . The One who sends it, the One who gives it to you says He's your Father . . . that's amazing!

My father died five years before my conversion, without Christ. I remember thinking, Wow, Father [God], if I had known You before my father's passing, I would have gone to him. When my father died, we were not speaking. We had been away for years.

I would have gone to him, and I would have forgiven him. He probably would have wanted to ask forgiveness, but I didn't get that chance. But then, right there, that same second, it was like God said, "Don't worry. I knew that, and this is how I wanted it to be." And I settled that right there, and it's never been a problem for me, ever.

________

God moved our hearts to go back to the Dominican Republic after almost twenty years in the U.S. We'd had no plans for going back to the Dominican Republic, but we just wanted to do what God wanted us to do.

I became an elder at our church in Santo Domingo . . . a family pastor! We felt called to minister to marriages. I guess that's how it started.

Laura: The mercy of God! Even though we were murderers, He allowed Fausto to become a family pastor, to talk to young people, and to share with them the blessing of the family. He taught them not only to be pro-life—that you don't kill babies—but that you have them! You welcome babies. You don't try to avoid them.

Fausto: I see in church many young men who have believed the lie that, even though you're in Christ and your life belongs to Jesus, you have to live for yourself and get the things you want and achieve the goals that any man should achieve. In that, children will get in the way.

I know a lot of young men in their late twenties, early thirties, with the mind-set that children are going to be a problem. All you can do is just take him to the Word. What does God think? What does God say about children? It's not what you think. As a Christian man, it's no longer what you think or what you want or what you think you need. It's what God says is good, even if it goes against your nature and your tastes and your wants and your needs.

Laura: Now Fausto has embraced God's vision for families.

Fausto: Isn't it just like Him? That thing I didn't want . . . Now He rescues you, He changes you, and He gives you something that's opposite.

Laura: It was been very rewarding and a blessing to see Fausto around grandchildren. It's a blessing to see the way they love him and how they call him Bello, and how he is just around them—very loving. We live very close by, and they call our names from their house to our house. They're very much a part of our family, and we're very close.

So, having known from where he came to where he is at, it's just a work of restoration and redemption that is beautiful to see!

Fausto: I know the difference is Christ—that's the whole difference—because now I feel love for children.

Laura: We have three grandchildren, and they come to our home every Thursday for lunch. We have a table full of children now, and it's so amazing. God's grace is just amazing. He can redeem everything! He restores the years that the locust has eaten.

Fausto: Now, in Christ, I can see my daughter as a mother, for the first time in generations, doing it right.

Laura: And for her, maternity is a blessing, for her maternity is a calling. I didn't know that when I started having a family. But for Sarah, maternity is a calling. I know it's a product of her being in the gospel since she was young, but also because of our own experience.

She knows how that affected us, and she knows the Bible, and she knows God's heart for children. She's invested her life in her family and in her children.

Fausto: God has given Laura and I spiritual children, and we have young men and women—dozens and dozens of them—who call us Papa Fausto. It's like they're our own grown children. In due time, we can look back and see what He had in mind, what He wanted to show us. And not only that, but how many are now being blessed by this story.

Laura: One morning, I think it was three or four years ago, I was sitting in my morning quiet time, not expecting to hear anything special from the Lord. It was March. I was reading this devotional, and this lady was talking about when she had a pregnancy and she was recommended a therapeutic abortion.

But she knew about the sanctity of life and how children are a gift from the Lord, so she decided, "No, I'm going to trust the Lord. If He wants me to have a child with defects, that is God's purpose for my life. If He doesn't, then that is God's purpose for my life. So, praise the Lord for both things."

She had her child; she chose life. The child came perfectly. She was totally healthy, so the moral of the story was how then she grew up to be a missionary. Now this child was serving the Lord, being a missionary. The child's name was Rebecca, which was the name that I would have liked to have my child to be called by.

At that moment, even though for years I had known the forgiveness of the Lord, I felt the consequences of my sin. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about who that person that could be in our family.

Fausto: I really never thought much about it. Maybe I blocked it out, like many other things from my past. I didn't want to think about it. But I do remember one time, taping/translating a program for the Spanish Revive Our Hearts [Aviva Nuestros Corazones].

Laura and I were playing the voices of this older couple, and they were talking about their family and their children and grandchildren and the importance of family.

I remember, as I was being the Spanish voice of this older pastor, saying, "Childrearing is an art. It is not a science. It's not a list of things that you do. It's a life of investment."

That idea, that thought sinking in, about how I didn't want to have more children. For me, I don't think it was so much the abortion, but the fact that in my heart I didn't want children. I didn't like them. When it really hit me was when, in our radio program about families, we decided to have a small series on procreation.

One of the four programs was our personal testimony, and in preparing that is when I think I first felt the pain. I knew it, but I didn't think about it. But that's the first time I told my soul, "You killed your child!" And that was hard; that was hard.

Even doing the program and teaching about God's forgiveness through Christ, I knew I was forgiven. I knew, I had no doubt. But it's that sense of doing what's so against God—killing—and killing your own. Not just killing an animal, but killing your own—the life that He gave you.

He entrusted you with that life and you chose, "I don't want it!" So I think God dealt with me in deeper areas than the abortion itself, even though that was my grand act of selfishness.

Laura: The Bible says that children are a gift from the Lord. Even special children, children with birth defects, are a gift from the Lord. I wish I had known that when I had the counsel of the wicked telling me that people that are not perfect should die.

That child can be a gift for you. It can be a gift for your family, and it is a child created in the image of God. Before you run to do an abortion, why don't you run to the Bible? Why don't you run to someone who can sit with you and tell you about what the Word says about life, about the sanctity of life, about how we are created in the image of God, and about suffering and about how God can use suffering for His purposes in a very redemptive way in your life.

One thing that broke my heart lately in the media is seeing those videos with the little parts of children. Immediately, I thought of my own child—she could be in a little dish. That breaks that my heart!

I see that life is not valued at all. Nowadays, they value more the life of an animal than they value the life of a child. I just wish everybody knew what God says about life and about the sanctity of life and about humans being created in the image of God—that there is life from the very beginning, and not just later on in the pregnancy. From the very beginning there is life!

Leslie: As we've listened to Laura and Fausto Gonzalez, I hope you've been evaluating your own heart. Even if you say you're pro-life, are you truly valuing children and families in your heart? Are you promoting life all you can?

Laura and Fausto have gone from aborting a child to actively investing in young couples, encouraging them to celebrate life as a gift from God.

For the rest of the program our host, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, will help you explore the question, "Are we really pro-life?" She'll pick up on a line from the True Woman Manifesto which says . . .

Nancy: "We affirm that human life is precious to God and is to be valued and protected from the point of conception until rightful death."

Leslie: Here's Nancy . . .

Nancy: Most of our listeners, I think if a poll were taken, would identify themselves as pro-life. Not all, but certainly most. nd I would say that, undoubtedly, most in this room today would consider ourselves to be "pro-life."

But then the question comes, do we really treat all human life as precious? If we're so pro-life, what are we doing to honor our Creator's view of life? Do we value and protect life around us?

Let me just, in a bit of stream of consciousness here, give you a few things to think about along this line. First, a question: Are you, or perhaps your children, being entertained by movies, shows or video games that sensationalize or trivialize murder, or that promote a cheapened view of life?

Think about the shows that you go to see, the movies that you rent and bring into your home, the TV programs you watch, the video games your kids are playing . . . are they showing a cheapened view of life? If so, maybe you're not as pro-life, truly pro-life, as what you claim.

You see, the value we place on life, the value we really place on life, is not so much seen in what we call ourselves (what label we put on ourselves) as it is seen in how we view and treat other people, including children.

When I hear somebody say, "I can't stand children!" I'm thinking, This is not a pro-life person! They may call themselves pro-life, but if you are pro-life, you will love children!

God loves the poor, and none of us would say, "Oh, I don't like poor people!" But how many of us go out of our way to avoid having to engage with somebody whose needs are such that we know it's going to call upon a response, and we just don't want to go there.

Whether we're really pro-life is seen in how we view the poor, how we treat them—how we view and treat those with disabilities, the elderly, those who can no longer care for themselves, how we view and treat our parents, in-laws, difficult people, those of other faiths, people who are immoral, people with whom we disagree—politically, theologically, ideologically. These people, and everybody else I could name, they are precious to God, and they need to be precious to us.

Leslie: That's Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, helping each of us to evaluate our hearts. Are we truly living out what it means to be pro-life? To hear more on that topic, you can listen as Nancy teaches through the entire True Woman Manifesto.

That archived series is available at ReviveOurHearts.com. That's also where you can support the ministry and make sure you continue hearing teaching from God's Word and stories that illustrate biblical themes.

When you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount, we'll say thanks by sending you the workbook that had such a huge effect on our guests, Laura and Fausto Gonzalez. The workbook is called Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival.

Nancy and co-author Tim Grissom will walk you through steps of personal revival: getting rid of your sin; asking God to take over through the power of the Holy Spirit; making genuine change in your life.

I hope you'll get a copy of Seeking Him and go through it yourself, or call and order additional copies and go through it with a group. Call 1–800–569–5959 and ask for Seeking Him.

Before we go, let me ask, what do you pray for yourself? On Monday, Nancy will begin leading us through ten ways she prays for herself. This list doesn't include clothes and more money. It's way better than that. Hear more, Monday, on the next Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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