Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My Voice for Life - The beginning

My name is Lisa Dudley Adams and I am the Executive Director of My Voice for Life.  This is our first blog entry for My Voice for Life. I decided I should write a foundational history of how and why I have started My Voice for Life. I debated where to start and I realized I needed to lay out not only the events of the past year, but a little of my history to make it all clear. I hope you can see the hand of God in this story as I do and I pray that it encourages you for what you are called to do in the life movement.

I am the former the National Director of Operation Outcry. I worked for The Justice Foundation since 1999 to 2010 (although I took time off when I had my twins starting in 2001). In September of last year I, along with the staff of The Justice Foundation (with the exception of its President and his assistant) were laid off due to the financial state of the foundation. It wasn't a surprise, I had seen it coming for many months, but it is never fun to lose your job after many years of service. I knew I was committed to the women and men of Operation Outcry with or without a paid salary from The Justice Foundation and that is what I told everyone.

When we started Operation Outcry in 2000, no one knew that I was post-abortion. No one ever asked. One day, during a meeting in our conference room, some things were being discussed and I knew that the assessment was completely inaccurate. The only way I could know that is because of my own post-abortion experience. I grabbed a hold of the arms of the chair and was ready to correct what was being said, when I felt the strong presence of the Holy Spirit say to me to “Be still”. I couldn't move, and I couldn't speak. For anyone who knows me, you know that was incredibly frustrating for me. I didn't understand. When I returned to my office, my Bible was open and when I looked down the scripture “Be still and know that I am God” was right there. I knew I was to be still and wait on God regarding me speaking up. So I worked behind the scenes, listening and learning and doing what I could to support the women who were coming forward.

Then in 2005, I had the opportunity to go to an international prolife conference in Israel. The moment we landed, I knew that God had a real purpose for me being there and could feel Him so strongly. While visiting the Garden of Gethsemane, I had another one of those strong Holy Spirit moments. I heard Him say, “It's time – your time has come.” Have you ever heard the voice of God? It is so profound, indescribable and life changing is an understatement. I knew that it was time for me to come forward and to be on the front lines. I stood there and cried.

Fast forward - throughout 2009 and 2010, I had been in prayer and felt that God was pouring into me a restructure and reorganization of Operation Outcry that was necessary to accomplish what God wanted and to better support those who He was calling to do it – the women. It was a long process and I spent months working it out, praying over it and then working it out more. Once I was laid off, I didn't see that anything was different. I just had to find a way to support myself as I no longer had a paycheck.

A lot of things happened that led up to January 2011 and my separation from Operation Outcry. It wasn't pleasant, I was extremely disappointed and hurt. Because of all of those emotions, I couldn't see at the time what God was doing and it was all a part of His plan. God was the one that called me and my trust and faith had to be in Him and follow His path for me, not my own.

My scripture I was given -"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14

When I returned from the March for Life, so much seemed to be unraveling. I was losing my passion for the work because of events and because my focus was not where it should be. I was allowing all of the bad stuff around me to consume me.  I just couldn't get motivated to do anything. I stayed in some communication, but pretty much fell off the radar.  I was depressed.

When God has a calling on your life, it isn't a small thing and it isn't something you just do when everything is okay. It is for your whole life. I have always had such a heart for the hurting women and men and also a heart to use my voice as God wants it used. When we were laid off in September 2010, I was remembering that and all that work for the previous two years in preparation for the future.  What future?  But I got my confirmation verse which is -

And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have.” 2 Corinthians 8:11  

This verse is why despite being laid off and separated from OO, I believed I was to continue on with what God had given me; it would just be under a different banner.  I continued to get this verse throughout 2011, but my question to God was constantly, “But how?”

In May, one of my twin son's checked out Facing the Giants. He went to his room and watched it. When he came out, tears were streaming down his face and he said “That is one of the best movies I have ever seen. You have to watch it, Mom.” I later tried to put it in, but the DVD would not work. Timing – it is all about God's timing.

A few weeks later, my husband checked it out and said, “Hey isn't this the movie John checked out? We should watch it.” I explained I was just too busy to watch at the time so my husband watched it alone. He came out of our room with tears streaming down his face and he said, “Lisa, that movie was meant for you. You have to watch it.” So, I finally sat down and watched the movie.  Wow!

Have you ever watched NCIS? Gibbs is always smacking DiNozzo in the back of the head. That is kind of how God has to do me sometimes. I realized that I had to stop rolling in my mess, remember to Praise God in all things and step out in faith not knowing the outcome to do what God has called me to. Man can't take me out, only God orders my steps.  Facing the Giants was the story it took to remind me of all that. 

Once I took that first baby step, things just started happening and blessings overflowed. My husband and I both were just amazed to see the confirmations of each step forward I was taking and how God was making the way clear. This is when I heard God clearly say that all that He had prepared me for, all that He had given me was for such a time as this. I began talking to a few women and then praying for a name. It came in a dream after a couple of weeks of me wrestling in the flesh with finding a name. When I shared it, everyone confirmed it – My Voice for Life. Ironically, it was the only name we had come up with that was not already taken when doing web searches.

As we planned and prepared, it was clear that not only what had already been given but a broader mission was before us. The name alone showed us that this was no longer just about post-abortion women and men. It would be others affected by abortion. It would be life stories too. Stories to show the full picture, not only to speak the truth but to bring hope. Truth and hope - That is who we are.  

What has become so clear is that everything that has happened, happened for a reason and that God is and has always been in control.  My testimony has always been God took the darkest part of my life and turned it around for good.  That’s what He does.  Sometimes, we have to go through some tough, uncomfortable things to get where God wants us.  It matures us, but it also sets forth the foundation for the future.  I can see that now and I thank God that He is bigger than me and He IS in control.  

We are still working through what My Voice for Life really looks like and what it will do. What I can tell you is that I am so excited for the days ahead and what I believe God will accomplish through this ministry. It will be our voices speaking the truth, but it will also be our voices giving hope to a hurting world. Hope to scared girls who think they have no way out. And through God's grace, provision and plan, I believe effectuate a change to a culture of life where the safest place in the world is a mother's womb and life is cherished and protected at all stages – from the womb to the tomb.

I know this was long for our first blog, but I felt that I needed to share my heart and where we came from. I pray that it has blessed you and if you have a story and feel that tug at your heart from our Lord and Savior to use your voice, please join us!

My next blog will be shorter and set out the direction of My Voice for Life and give more of the confirming verses that I believe God has for our mission.