My husband Kevyn and I first heard about Biking for Babies in 2015, when a close friend of ours was fundraising for the ride. This year, that same friend encouraged Kevyn to apply to be a rider, and we dove into the ministry excited to see what God had in store for us.
We’ve been married for almost three years now, and I feel like I’ve learned so much about teamwork since the day we took our vows. I was recently reminded (at a wedding, no less!) that we are ‘Team Kevyn and Ashley’. Some days it takes work to stay on the team. Sometimes, I need the extra support from his half just to get through the day. Some days it’s the reverse — but every day it’s Team Us. And Team Us always gets us the best outcome.
TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK
When it comes to Biking for Babies, even though Kevyn’s officially on #TeamNOLA, we’re still Team Us. I can help give advice and edit letters and thank you letters, I can encourage Kev to get his workouts in, and on days that we’d both rather sleep in and eat bacon, I can be the cheerleader that says “You can do it!” (and have post-workout bacon ready).
Marriage, at it’s best, is selfless love. When it comes to loving selflessly, I am definitely not the valedictorian. I am constantly tugging on the Virgin Mary’s hem, asking for prayers, for her to teach me how to “die to self”, and for the physical and spiritual well-being of my family.
The Biking for Babies riders are practicing such an amazing degree of selfless love as they train for the ride. Their dedication to training, fundraising, and spiritually supporting resources for women in crisis pregnancies is an overwhelming example to me of laying down one’s comfort, schedule and prayers for others. It is downright inspirational when my husband returns from a ride and says, “I dedicated my ride today to protestors of the pro-life movement, and I feel like maybe it can help them.” Amazing.
GRACE, IN ABUNDANCE
His sacrifice for the pro-life movement is outward. His training is physical, the conversations he starts with friends, family members and even strangers are out-loud, the parish talks and the t-shirt selling – it’s all out in the open.
But what about me? My sacrifice is maybe more unseen. While my awesome husband is doing a 40 miler at 5:00 AM, I’m waking up with our 19 month old daughter, starting the morning routine, and holding down the fort at home. Kev comes back from a workout tired, but so obviously fulfilled – and in a way – energized. When I watch him fill out his training log, when we see the donations for these centers roll in, I see real progress.
On the other hand, three’s not a lot of progress to be seen for taking care of a toddler (except that, we’re both alive when he returns, and mostly* sane). The thing about washing a sinkful of dishes, is that they’ll be back after the next meal. Honestly, taking care of business at home, it doesn’t often feel like a whole lot of progress.
It’s become a daily practice for me to take my day one-thing-at-a-time. In some ways, it feels like ½ of Team Us is out there doing amazing things, adventuring and training, diving in to support a movement that will move our generation one inch closer to a Culture of Life. But my ½ of Team Us gets easily overwhelmed by the working mom, housework, home-life gig.
Here’s where the hidden grace of sacrificial giving really hits me. I have to say, there are two unimaginably beautiful things about God’s grace. The first is that it is a totally free gift that we can’t warrant, and truthfully, we don’t deserve. The second is, that when we ask for it, we do receive it in abundance. I’d been praying for this grace to help me through the day-to-day tasks, and the extra responsibilities at home while Kevyn balances grad school, life, and Biking for Babies training.
One morning in between breakfast and dishes, I felt from within a deep sense of purpose. I started thinking about the riders and their physical, emotional and spiritual sacrifices for the babies. That phrase “for the babies” struck such a chord with me, that I heard in my heart, “You can do these dishes, for the babies.” 5:00 AM wakeup call? For the babies. Hauling the laundry to the laundry room again? For the babies. Convincing the almost-two-year-old to eat that dinner I worked hard on (to no avail)? For the babies.
I felt a deep, deep conversion in this. We’re not new to the pro-life movement, but never before had I thought that some part of my life that is so mundane could be so valuable. My time at home gives Kevyn the time to train, to work towards the goal, to spark these challenging new conversations about the sanctity of human life with people around us. Spiritually dedicating chores doesn’t make the chores any physically easier, but this feeling of peace, and dare-I-say joy when Kevyn triumphs his 60 miler and comes home to a clean home** and warm breakfast, and knowing that those actions can be for the babies, is an unbelievable feeling.
YOU CAN HELP TURN THE TIDE
What can you do? You don’t have to train 5 days a week for the babies, but your day can be full of intentions for the pro-life movement. You can be a witness to the movement with simple changes in your day-to-day approach. And I have some ideas how:
Approach your pro-life conversations with charity and a soft heart. Too often in our zeal we alienate each other. I know it’s hard. I know we have the Truth, and I know that unspeakable things are happening in our world that so directly oppose the beauty and sanctity of human life. Sometimes, it’s hard to remember the “love one another…” commandment in the middle of explaining why we’re right on this one. But I believe the best defense of life is through love. We can’t lose sight that the love of Christ gave us new life, and that same sacrificial love is how stony hearts are made tender, and all things are made new.
Spiritually dedicate part of your day today to the pro-life movement. Make a sacrifice that takes you out of your comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be ground-breaking. It can be a chore you hate doing (like the dishes that can’t be washed in the dishwasher), you could fast from Netflix tonight, you could dedicate a workout or spend an hour in prayer.
What for? For conversion of hearts on both sides of the issue. For every woman who is surprised today to find out she is pregnant, and doesn’t have an answer to: “what’s next?”. For families and friends to show accepting love to women in crisis pregnancies. For the conversion of employees in the abortion industry and their safe transition out. For crisis pregnancy center counselors, receptionists, nurses, directors, volunteers and program facilitators. For the innocent lives that deserve our protection and love. For the babies.
* And I do mean mostly, people.
** Ok, ok, mostly clean.