In order to prepare our hearts for the World Meeting of Families and the anticipated visit from Pope Francis to the United States, we as a team are reflecting on a catechism on family life entitled, Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive. Each week we will reflect on one chapter from this catechism. You can learn more about the World Meeting of Families at WorldMeeting2015.org.
WEEK 10: Choosing Life – Reflection by: Kristan Hawkins
I will be one of millions traveling to DC and Philadelphia next week to participate in several events surrounding the Holy Father, Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. I’m excited that he is coming and wonder what his messages will be to us. The theme of his visit is “Love is our Mission.”
The Church began out of Christ’s love for us who taught us to spread the Good News to the whole world. God gave each one of us a unique specific mission to participate in this plan. What is your mission? Do you pray to know and understand your mission and embrace it with love?
At a young age, I was called to work in the pro-life movement, first at the local pregnancy center in my hometown when I was 15. I loved working with the women and they are what changed my heart towards my life’s mission of ending abortion. Meeting with those who were hurt, vulnerable, and seeking love taught me compassion, how to engage in true social justice with someone, and about the extreme importance of family.
Today, while my “work” of leading Students for Life of America is different than those first few summers at AIM Pregnancy Help Center, my mission has remained the same. Now, my goal is to reach those who are being directed targeted and lied to by the abortion industry and to make sure she’s never alone and feels like abortion is her choice, that one of our 900+ groups will be there trained and ready to love her and her child without fail.
And while I accepted a long time ago the calling God placed on my heart to help bring an end to abortion, I’ve come to learn what He has called me to is even greater, building my family.
I was raised in a typical middle-class family with 2 kids. My parents provided the best for my sister and I and are responsible for who we have become today. However, for our family, my husband and I decided to be open, even when scary at times, to the possibility of more children.
Today, we are the parents of four precious human beings: Gunner, Bear, Maverick and Gracie. And these children have dramatically shifted our lives. We’ve devoted everything we have to them. When our oldest, Gunner, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a deadly genetic disease – my husband’s and my worldview shifted instantly. At that moment, what I thought was important for his life and my husband’s and my life was radically altered.
Our faith and marriage has been tested like I never thought possible. We’ve moved across the country, away from family and friends, to be closer to medical care. We’ve become a homeschooling family with my husband becoming a stay-at-home dad. Changes too numerous to list in a short blog post.
But needless to say, every sacrifice has been worth it. While Gunner and his sister, Gracie, who also suffers from cystic fibrosis, may not been seen as “perfect” in the eyes of our literal throw-away culture, they are loved fiercely and they have taught our family how to make love our number one mission.
While serving and leading my family closer in their walk with Christ and ending abortion are the callings I seek to fulfill every day, love is the way I do it.
A huge thank you to Kristan Hawkins, president of Students Life of America for this week’s reflection.
Kristan was hired in 2006 to lead Students for Life of America (SFLA). Since launching SFLA’s full-time operation, Kristan has helped more than triple the number of campus pro-life groups in the United States, from 181 to almost 800 in 49 states, and grow the SFLA National Conference from 450 in 2007 to 2,000 in 2012, making the event the largest pro-life conference in the nation.
Kristan is known for her work leading the successful 2009 Stop the Abortion Mandate Coalition which brought together over 70 pro-life and pro-family leaders in a national coalition dedicated to stopping government funding of abortion in healthcare reform. In addition, she launched HealthcareforGunner.com in 2009, a website and coalition dedicated to her son Gunner who suffers from cystic fibrosis, to raise the issue of healthcare rationing in government healthcare systems. studentsforlife.org
Week 8 A Home for the Wounded Heart
Week 7 Light in a Dark World
Week 6 All Love Bears Fruit
Week 5 Creating the Future
Week 4 Two Become One
Week 2 The Mission of Love
Week 1 Created for Joy