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Thursday, January 17 , 2019, 6:02 am | Light Rain Fog/Mist 60º


Jim Langley: Before They Saw the Earth, a Personal Poem and Story

Thirty years ago, I wrote a poem that remains unpublished. I won’t share it in total since some will find it too graphic. As you can probably figure out from the title, it deals with the controversial topic of abortion.

My real passion for the right to life goes back nearly 40 years to a bitter revelation shared by my mom while we were traveling on a farm road in South Central Texas. We were reminiscing about my dad’s last military assignment as acting base commander at McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma, Wash.

I remember relating to my mom about a conversation I overheard her having with our neighbor about aborting their child. Back then, I really couldn’t comprehend the discussion, but carried it with me all those years.

To my surprise, my mom then flippantly stated that she personally went through three abortions, two before I was born and one between me and my younger brother! I did not know how to respond, but I must say that I was troubled for years by her revealing this long-kept secret.

That’s when I realized just how different my life would have been as the middle child of five instead of the oldest of two children almost 10 years apart in age. It’s time to share the opening lines of my poem, “Before They Saw the Earth.

They were sucked out before their time,
Not even considered a crime.
In these days in which we’ve been sent,
So many little ones cruelly spent.

Imagine the pain they must feel,
Torn from the womb, the life they steal.
Bloodied, suffering as did Christ,
His world still bound in sin sufficed.
Why Lord, before they saw the earth,
Were they taken short of their birth?

Let’s stop for now. You surely get the picture of just how I felt. But there’s so much more to the story.

A short time before I penned this poem, my wife was caught in an awkward discussion with my mom. Janet shared with me that my mom told her that she could have easily aborted me as she had three other children. I was astonished by her bold and apparently impenitent statement.

Her comments provoked me to write the poem. I did share it with her several years later, and she stood her ground on the subject but accepted my right to express my heartfelt feelings.

The poem has been put in the hands of several people involved in the right-to-life movement, but to my knowledge it has never been published in any of their literature. That’s fine, but I feel strongly the need to address the issue of abortion, since I know it is not God’s will and I certainly have been affected by it, as have many others in this world.

I need to take this family story a bit further. Several months before my mom’s death, she brought up the topic one more time and she simply asked “Jimmy, will I be able to see my babies in Heaven?”

Before responding to her sincere question, I prayed silently and then answered confidently, “Mom, I’m sure you’ll meet all three of them since they’ve committed no sin to keep them from entering Heaven.”

I’ll never forget the tears of joy that came over her that afternoon.

There’s more I need to convey from that discussion with my mom. She then disclosed to me for the first time that my dad made her have those three abortions out of convenience for his military career.

I did confront my dad on this topic a few months before his death and let him know that he, too, would also have an opportunity to see his kids in Heaven one day, if he’d only get right with God before it was too late. Fifteen minutes before his death, my cousin, Mark, was able to witness my dad acknowledging Christ as his Lord and Savior.

Let me now complete the last few verses of the poem.

Within a heart torn with remorse,
We must steer them to the right course,
That path God meant for all mankind,
Christ is the answer they must find,
He’s our Shepherd in times like these,
In all He did and how He’d please,
Our forefathers who walked this earth.
What if they took our precious birth?
What if they took our precious birth?

I know God is not happy about the taking of any life before one of his children sees the earth. I also know that He is a forgiving Father Who knows that we all make errors in judgment for selfish reasons, as my parents did many years ago.

I’m disappointed in our military looking the other way or perhaps blatantly demanding many in their service to have abortions before it was legalized in Roe v. Wade. Yet all that does not remove the sin and willful disobedience to what we all know is right and pleasing to God.

Let me end by simply saying that my mom, my dad and I all now have peace about what went down so many years ago. I pray that you, too, who have suffered likewise might find peace in Christ as well!

Passages to Ponder

» Isaiah 44:24

» Isaiah 45:9-11

» Psalm 127:3

» Psalm 139:13-16

» 1 Corinthians 1:26-29

» Ephesians 1:3-4

— Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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