September 17, 2014

Since I began working for Lutherans For Life, I have had many opportunities to share my “story”—how I got involved and what inspired me to do what I do. My story started out probably similar to many of you. I was raised Lutheran and so I was raised to respect life. I always knew that abortion was wrong but it was never more than just an opinion—something I believed but didn’t really think about that much.

As I got older, my inaction started pressing on my conscience. I began to feel more and more strongly that my view about the sanctity of life was more than just an opinion, but rather something that I was being called to act upon. I found myself longing to do something more but struggling to figure out what that meant. I knew I needed to act, but I didn’t know how.

Many of the students I work with have expressed similar feelings to me. They have a desire to change things and a passion for life, but struggle with how to make a difference and feel ill equipped to answer the tough questions. It can be a very scary thing as a teenager or young adult to make a stand that much of the world deems “radical.”

Y4Life programs are here to help students who are wrestling with these feelings. I was talking with a friend recently who shared with me how difficult it was to share her faith and her beliefs with her peers, but that after attending a Y4Life presentation, she felt encouraged and equipped to keep trying.

I have seen this many times. With a little bit of knowledge and a lot of encouragement from the Holy Spirit, our students have the gifts it takes to share the message of life on their campus, in their communities, and where ever life may take them.

If you are a student who feels this way, or if you work with students, I have a few pieces of advice for you, a mix of guidance and encouragement as you consider getting more involved in life issues.

Educate yourself.
It is amazing what a little bit of knowledge can do for your confidence. Just like playing a sport requires practice and repetition, standing for life involves “brain exercise.” The more you know, the more prepared you will be to make a stand. A great place to start your For Life education is right here at Lutherans For Life. We have a wonderful online library full of resources that you can use in your church, school, and community. We also have an online training course that answers some of the toughest questions about life issues. You can also consider attending our annual conference. There you will hear from wonderful speakers and have the opportunity to connect with other For Life Lutherans. There are special rates and activities for students, so please contact me for more information. Lastly, I am always happy to do in-person trainings at your church or school.

Connect with local ministries.
Chances are, there are already life-affirming ministries in your community that would love to welcome the energy and passion that youth bring to the table. Connecting with one of these ministries will help you find practical ways that you can serve. Y4Life servant events specifically help Lutheran high school students make these connections. If you are interested in hosting one of these events, I would love to speak with you. Finally …

Remember who is ultimately in charge of ALL life.
While God calls us to serve others and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, ultimately He is the Lord of Life who has already won the victory over death. I cannot tell you how many times I have spoken to someone about life issues, whether as a sidewalk counselor, in a classroom, or on social media, and had no idea what decision that person made or if what I said impacted them at all. I have learned that, in those instances, my job was simply to plant the seed, to share the message. I trust that the Holy Spirit does the work of changing their hearts and revealing the truth to them. You will not always know the fruits of your labors, but you can be confident in the victory Christ won for us on the cross.

I remember the uncertainty I felt when I first got involved in life ministries. I know it can seem like a scary and overwhelming vocation. But I have seen first hand the wonderful work God is doing through students and I pray that Y4Life can continue be a resource and a support our Lutheran students turn to in order to find the courage and the knowledge they need to be voices for Life.

For more information about Y4Life and how it can help you speak for life in your community, contact Laura Davis at Laura Davis is the director of Y4Life.