Today is the 44th annual March for Life. It’s also my birthday. In a grand irony, the two coincide this year.

My birthday is bittersweet. I was born out of wedlock to a poor teenager in Eastern Europe. The terrified young woman who gave me life is my hero. She made a courageous choice to be my mother, even if it meant she could only remain in the role for a few days. The only tie she will ever have to me is her blood and her genes.

Another woman, equally heroic, stepped into my life. She willingly became my mother and made me her permanent daughter.

Both women loved me. Both made choices that will affect my life forever. 

Every day, thousands of women face similar decisions. Many demand control over their bodies and the “right to choose.” How do we convince them to make the same life-saving decision I’m eternally grateful my mother made for me? 

Your Calling Too

While I have a personal connection to the pro-life issue, I believe every Christian should lovingly speak on behalf of the unborn. But it’s not easy. Debates over abortion are some of the most emotionally charged conversations in the public square. And too often we find it easier to fight about the political issues than to persuade others to join us in defending life. 

The real fight, though, isn’t in Congress or the courts. It’s in the hearts and minds of our neighbors—the men and women who sit next to you in church, serve at your favorite coffee shop, live next door. If we truly want to abolish abortion, we must recognize that the battle begins by loving and changing the hearts and minds of individuals, one person at a time.

While I think the March for Life is an incredibly powerful display of commitment, the real work happens in our homes, our churches, our neighborhoods, our communities. Every one of us has an essential role to play in changing views on abortion, because we are uniquely situated to influence our neighbors.

Steward Your Voice

Think of those who’ve affected your life most. These are likely the people who have invested time and energy getting to know you on a deep, personal level. They’ve listened to your thoughts and opinions, been there through your hurts and struggles, and loved you regardless of what you’ve done.

That kind of love is how we’ll save the lives of the unborn. The men and women in our lives need to know we care deeply about them and their unborn children.

Are you willing to lovingly advocate for the unborn? Will we use your breath to speak life into the hurting, the helpless, the broken? Will we use your lungs to proclaim that every life—no matter the ethnicity, disability, or sex—has innate value and is dearly loved by God?

As thousands gather on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., today, I’ll remember the courageous woman who made it possible for me to celebrate my birthday. I want to use my voice to advocate and speak up for those who don’t have one. I hope you, too, will leverage your words and actions to be a beacon of hope and healing to a hurting world.