Choosing Life

Who would have guessed that a billboard in Waco, Texas, and a life and death decision in Colorado would be related? The sign at Waco Drive and Lake Air declares: “Despite the circumstances, Mary and Joseph chose life.” I saw the billboard on the same day I read the headline: “Mom dies during childbirth to save ‘miracle’ baby’s life.” Both messages refer to women who wore their faith on their sleeve, defying appearances and the odds.

Karisa Bugal of Aurora, Colorado, was in a hospital delivery room on November 3, excited to welcome her son, Declan, into the world. It was then that tragedy struck. Karisa learned that she had an extremely rare condition called amniotic fluid embolism. The condition happens when protective fluid around the baby escapes into the rest of the mother’s body, which leads to a breakdown of her organs. Running out of time, she was faced with a choice: allow doctors to perform surgery that would save her own life while endangering Declan, or have them perform a cesarean that would save Declan’s life but likely end her own. She chose the latter. Her physician reported that Karisa was physically able to ask only one question after surgery: “How big is he?” She later passed away. Karisa was set to celebrate her eighth wedding anniversary with husband Wes two days later, closely followed by her thirty fifth birthday. Wes said he doesn’t yet know how he will tell the story to their newborn son and his older sister, but he’ll find a way when the time is right.

Mary’s story of courageous obedience demands to be told as well. Go tell it on the mountain, stand up and shout it to the four winds, bend over and beat it out on talking drums, use whatever means available, just find a way to broadcast the news. Mary chose life.

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.”(‭Matthew‬ ‭1‬:‭18‬, KJV)

“Then said Mary unto the angel, ‘How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? ‘ And the angel answered and said unto her, ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.’ And Mary said, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.’ And the angel departed from her. ” (‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭34-38‬, KJV)

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