There is a story in the Bible, about a woman caught in adultery being brought to Jesus. A crowd has formed and they are heaping judgement upon this woman, and are quite literally ready to heap stones of judgement upon that woman. To add insult to this injury they bring her to Jesus, using her as a pawn to test him. She must be so broken, so torn, so sad in this moment, so humiliated. Everything is laid out there in public for all to see. Is she worthy?
I can't begin to imagine the depth of awfulness she must be feeling in that moment. Nothing I have ever experienced can compare to that,but right now I am getting a taste. A small taste of what that looks like. Each week a new part of me is laid bare and judged, then this judgement is turned into an official document and given to a group of strangers. Each week a new part of me is deemed worthy, as I sit and wait and wonder if I am. It started just with me, basic me, and then went onto a psychological evaluation, next a home study, where a social worker will look through my house, then a medical exam, where every intimate part of me will be exposed, next a detailed report of my sexual history going all the way back to high school. The next time I see the strangers whose baby I carry, I will be half naked in an exam room. So not nearly as intense as that woman in the story, but pretty in depth.
Her decision led her to that place, and so does mine. Mine isn't really hidden away, and is different for sure, but the results are similar. Judgement. And the more I share my decision, the more it heaps on me. The more criticism I get, the more "words of wisdom" and warnings. The more I hear how hard it will be, and what a risky, crazy decision it is. Yesterday someone even asked me if it was too late to back out of it, and urged me to do so. With each awkward stare, and shift in the conversation I feel it, that judgement. I am grateful though, that it isn't hidden away, I am grateful that it's at least out there. I know that if I get to the point of round belly, it will only get worse. People will ask, and they will judge, and they will make assumptions and form ideas. I get it, I do that too.
I am seeing in a new way though, how hard that is, how unhelpful, unnecessary. No one knows how crazy my decision is better than me. When we got the email saying we had been chosen and that the home visit and attorney meetings needed to be set up, I was hit with a rush of panic and emotion. I began to worry about being tired and sick and the toll it would take on my family. I looked at my body in the mirror and wondered if it would ever be the same again. Every doubt, every regret from every bad decision I had ever made came flooding forward. I judged myself and my decision a thousand times more harshly than anyone else ever could.
So as each new person was told and questioned my decision, told me how sick and tired I would be, how crazy this was, it didn't help, it just made me feel like less of a person and more deserving of any trouble I heaped onto myself. I started thinking about how i would just have to suffer through any negative affects of my decision in silence, because I didn't want them to see that they were right, that I was stupid for doing this. I wondered how as such a vocal person, I could pack it all away, and if I could just keep my mouth shut.
But then this morning I saw this story, and I saw Jesus' response to the woman. He diffused the situation, he sent away her attackers, by showing them their own inadequacies and he showed her love, compassion and freed her to live a new life, with no condemnation. He showed her she is worthy.
Now, I know my situation is different. I know that my decision isn't the same as hers. There is good to my actions, to my choice. Though it will bring pain and struggle to me for a time, and some to my family, it will also bring joy to all of us, and love to a whole new family. That is what my focus needs to be. That is where my head needs to go, to this new life. Jesus sent her off to a new life. That is where his focus was, to who she was and could be.
I need to focus on that. I need others to focus on that part of this journey with me. I don't need to hear the negatives, I don't need the judgement, I have enough of that, and a stack of papers in some file I will never see, but many others have. I am excited about this journey, and I am more than happy to share that with others, to answer questions. This is weird and fascinating and unknown, and I get that. So ask away, but please, don't tell me how painful, how hard, how tiring it will be. I get that, I have thought that. Don't stare at me with concern or pity. Instead lets think about the great things that can come of this. Think of this new life, that could come. , and when I am tired and sick, reserve judgement, suspend the I told you so, and remind me of the good, because believe me, I will be aware of the bad.
I hope this experience helps me to see people more clearly with the eyes of Jesus. To understand the pain of judgement and condemnation, of the shame we heap on ourselves, and see how badly people need to be loved and encouraged, even if it's their own choices that led them to that place. I hope I understand what it means to help someone be free to see new life, and new possibilities in the midst of pain and humiliation. I hope it makes me slower to speak, slower to anger and quicker to love. The more judged I am, the more I realize just how much I have judged. I am so grateful that Jesus' love and grace for me, is not equal to what I have shown to others, and I will take more seriously his words that as I have judged so I will be judged, than I have before. I want to see others as worthy first, before I see anything else. If nothing else, comes of this, at least I have that. At least I have a better understanding,at least for a bit.