The basket of stones was a tangible reminder that my aborted child had not died in vain. My friend, Judy Squier, gave me this basket during one of Focus on the Family’s pregnancy center conferences that I managed in 1996. She included one large stone with the name “Jesus” written on it. There was a smaller stone marked with her own name, “Judy.”
In presenting this gift, Judy shared, “This is a Joshua Basket. Remember in the Bible when Joshua was directed by God to have the high priests step into the flooded river Jordan with the Ark of the Covenant? The minute they stepped in, the waters parted and all the Israelites were allowed to cross on dry ground. After all had crossed over, God instructed some to go back and gather twelve stones from the middle of the dry area in the river.”
Joshua 4:4-7 relays the rest of the story – So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
Judy concluded, “Put a stone in this basket and write on it the name of every life God touches through your lovely heart. This basket will serve to strengthen your ministry and encourage your heart in years to come that God is using you mightily. I’m glad that my rock is there first!”
As I accepted the gift, I felt led to only include the names of children God had used me to save from abortion. I found different rocks in various locations while traveling to speak at pregnancy center banquets.
One special rock features the name, “Jake.” His mother called me from an airport in a frantic state because her pregnancy test was positive. Her husband had a vasectomy and she was certain this was the child from a horrible encounter with a co-worker.
“I didn’t tell him about the man that accosted me. My husband will certainly leave me over this and my daughters could lose their father,” she said frantically.
We did everything to help her, even getting her into a pregnancy center in another town for an ultrasound. Sadly, she wasn’t far enough along so it was difficult to view the humanity of the tiny human growing in her womb. She remained determined to abort at that point.
Her final words rang in my heart for many days – “Either my baby will die on Good Friday or he’ll be born near Christmas.”
This mother rocked my world as I fervently prayed for her family. When Good Friday came and went, I was overwhelmingly sad, believing her child had passed away.
That Easter Sunday, I received a call at my home number. This dear woman’s husband was on the line. He said, “I understand you’ve been speaking to my wife.”
I listened to him share with an excited heart, suddenly realizing that I had grieved a child that was still very much alive! This husband relayed that his wife had indeed gone to the abortion clinic but had fled after they showed her a film of the procedure. On her hands and knees, she had told him the truth about her pregnancy.
When I asked about his reaction, he said, “Oh, I love my wife. This is my baby. I understand what happened.”
I was so relieved and spent the rest of that Easter Sunday praising God. That tiny human has grown into a man who continues to bring his parents great joy!
When the Joshua basket reached 62 rocks – each representing children spared from abortion – I felt led by God to stop this recording effort. The basket was enough to remind me that the brief life of my aborted child – whom I named Jesse – had great value on Earth. He certainly had not died in vain. It was time to stop keeping track so tangibly because at some point, my own pride could take over the fruits of God using me to reach these hearts.
God should always receive the glory and credit for every life spared from abortion. When individuals or groups tout figures relating to the number of lives saved through their organizational effort – and neglect to include God’s name – they may be taking personal possession of God’s own fruit.
If we take over God’s fruit of saved lives, we then must also take personal responsibility for every life lost. There are many names on my heart that did not make it into the Joshua basket because their mother’s chose abortion. Over the last 25 years of ministry, I remember the lives lost far more often than the lives God used me to save.
In these painful memory moments, I pray for these post-abortive mothers, knowing that God has a plan in even an abortion tragedy. I praise God for taking the responsibility for every child’s life – even those who are sent back to His care.
What rocks are in your basket? Do you think that God can use you to help others? He certainly can and it will have little to do with you but everything to do with God working through your heart. The blessing of holding a child that God used you to save is an amazing part of the pregnancy center ministry effort. As Matthew 25:40 relays – ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
It takes all the pressure off to realize that God wants to use us as a vessel of His peace. While our vessel may be cracked and broken, God has graciously assembled us back together into His beautiful vase so that His Holy Spirit could work through our heart! 2 Peter 1:21 shares this truth – For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.