The cold morning air awakened her senses as she jogged through the park.

As the sun broke through the dark horizon, other women kept pace, many pushing jogging strollers with babies swaddled up to deflect the cold.

As the mothers began a new day, most of the babies slept in the sweetness that could make the hardest of hearts melt.

And she thought of Jenny.

Well into her 30s, the jogging woman had not married or entered into a lasting relationship with anyone. As she passed the strollers, focusing on the finish of her three-mile route, she understood that Jenny would never experience the sweet countenance of a sleeping baby.

Though the run through the park was refreshing, she wondered what it would be like to propel a stroller bearing her sweet sleeping Jenny. Though her heart was full of love for Jenny, her eyes were moist from the tears that came every time her baby came to mind.

She tried to imagine Jenny taking her first steps, saying her first “Mama,” heading off to 1st grade, experiencing her first crush, looking beautiful in her prom dress and walking down the aisle on her wedding day.

As she passed an older jogger pushing what was apparently her grandchild, she knew Jenny would never give her that opportunity. Even those closest to her did not know Jenny once existed, and remains forever in her mother’s love.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that Jenny had a name, though she came into existence over a decade ago. When Jenny was aborted, her mother was alone and confused and misled by norms that saw Jenny as nothing more than a “mistake.”

The “mistake” was only 12 weeks into development, with perfectly formed fingers and toes and, most of all, a beating heart. Jenny’s mom didn’t know this because she had not seen an ultrasound like the one available at the local pregnancy care center.

Just a teenager, Jenny’s mom believed her right to have the “procedure” held precedence. She believed it was the best option under the circumstances. Jenny, whose heart would never beat outside the womb, was denied the most basic human right... the right to live and be all the things her mother would have wanted.

Through guidance from post-abortion ministry volunteers, she was able to finally identify Jenny as a person, give her a name and bring about the closure she lacked. Now she is blessed to work for the cause of life through a pregnancy care center, assisting other women considering the terminating life before it can emerge from the womb.

She still can’t talk about Jenny to others; but she finds hope in the declining abortion rate. Though her heart still breaks for Jenny, she can smile and praise God for the precious gift of life known to these moms passing by on their morning jog.

My unmarried birth mother conceived three children under the worst circumstances... the kind of things that would suggest to many that my birth was a “bad choice.”

But Anna Pearl Linton chose life because, even lacking ultrasound evidence, she knew we deserved a chance. Though troubled by physical and emotional issues until she died at an early age, Anna Pearl consented for each of us to be adopted by loving parents.

I believe that each time she passed a baby stroller on the streets of Henderson, she silently thanked God for life.

Peace.

Mr. Clinton retired as executive editor of The Messenger in 2011. He and his wife, Barbara, live in Lone Oak.

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