October 28, 2013
Pam Tebow spoke at this year’s pro-life dinner Sept. 28.
The keynote address was an hour long, and yet the audience sat mesmerized. They were silent most of the time, as the speaker, Pam Tebow, spoke of motherhood, mission, and ministry, and they laughed uproariously as she told anecdotes, and sang children’s scripture melodies she had once composed.
It was The Bishop’s 9th Annual Catholic Pro-Life Banquet, and the record crowd of more than 700 people got their money’s worth. They were there to hear stories of life — “God Stories” of life, Tebow had called them — and the audience ate them up, like a second dessert.
Pam Tebow’s national pro-life platform came to her in 2007, partly because she was the mother of Tim Tebow, the first sophomore to have won the Heismann Trophy, and the University of Florida quarterback who wore Bible verses etched in his eye-black. But mainly she gained that spotlight because, in an ESPN interview before the Heisman selection, she mentioned she had been advised to abort her pregnancy with “Timmy,” and refused to do so.
The family, including four young children, had moved to the Philippines, where her husband, Bob Tebow, was working in the ministry that would later become the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association.
“About a year after we arrived, my husband was out in a remote village, and he can’t explain how this came to be, but he suddenly became very aware of all the babies that were being aborted in America. He began to weep over those babies. He got down on his knees and he wept. And it was in that context that he said “Lord, if you give us a son, we’ll raise him to be a preacher. He didn’t ask for a football player or anything else; he asked for a preacher.”
“So he came home and he told our little kids, and they were all excited and began to pray for ‘Timothy,’ which means ‘honoring God by name.’”
The health conditions were not great in the Phillipines, Pam said, and she was already 37 and had nearly died from a case of amoebic dysentery. Nonetheless, “I prayed along with them, and God answered our prayers, and I became pregnant. From the very beginning it was a difficult pregnancy. I had profuse bleeding and cramping, and I kept thinking that I lost Timmy so many times.”
The “best doctor in town” treated her, ran tests, and told Pam it wasn’t a baby, it was a “mass of fetal tissue.” She said if I ignored her words to have an abortion, I would die.
“We listened to her and thanked her, but we didn’t have to make a decision that day, we had already decided we would trust our Master.... At the very end of my pregnancy the bleeding stopped, amazingly, and I was able to fly to Manila, the capital city, to give birth in a hospital.”
|This video, “Dominic’s Vocation,” was shown at this year’s banquet.|
After the birth, she said, the physician told her husband, “This is a miracle baby, because there was just a little tiny bit of placenta intact that whole time.”
“But it was enough to give that little boy the nourishment that he needed,” Pam Tebow said.
The 2013 annual pro-life banquet and auction took place in Fort Worth’s Omni Hotel and was emceed by local Fox sports commentator John Rhadigan. The event attracted people from throughout the Metroplex, many from other denominations. Michael Demma, diocesan director of Respect Life, welcomed the crowd, introducing special guests, such as Dallas Auxiliary Bishop Douglas Deshotel; Holy Trinity Seminary Rector, Monsignor Michael Olson, and a group of seminarians, who later helped with the prize drawings. The Diocese of Fort Worth’s Youth for Life group and the Knights of Columbus Color Corps participated in the presentation of Colors.
Demma introduced groups of people active in pro-life ministries in the diocese: those who volunteer, who pray at abortion centers, or work as parish coordinators, and he invited more people to volunteer.
“In the 10 years I have been asked to do Pro Life, Demma said, with emotion, “I have had many who have mentored me, and who have advised me. I quickly came to realize there is no one person, there is no one group.
“We have to come together — we cannot fight this problem alone. To win the fight for life we must have a team effort. Our team is the Body of Christ.”
Banquet chairperson Donna Springer said, “There are many years between conception and the end of life. Much can happen during those years. And for those who share my passion to serve others, we want to be the encouraging voice, the listener, never to place blame, but rather be the help that might lead a person to make a better decision, or perhaps seek a better understanding of what it means to respect life.”
Praying grace before the meal was Fort Worth Diocesan Administrator Monsignor Stephen Berg, who said the life cause is “…really primary in our ministry in understanding who we are as Christians and as Catholics. So I invite us all to be open to the Holy Spirit this evening, to recognize that this is why we are called. We are here as part of our faith, and we are here because of those who have no voice to speak for them.”
In her address, Pam Tebow defined four essential points for bringing “God Stories” into lives. She named the Master (God), his manual (the Bible), mindset. (thinking like a servant), and mission.
“Did you know God has created us all to have a mission?” she asked her audience. “We are God’s workmanship. God planned good works for every single person in this room, before this world was ever even formed. He planned good works for you to do.
“It doesn’t matter so much how you make your money, but what really is going to give your life purpose, fulfillment, significance, is your mission.” In the Tebow family, all have been exposed to mission, “but our youngest son knows that his is unique, that his podium is different, his congregation is different, and that God answered our prayer for a preacher. He just preaches in a different way.”
|Members of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal listen attentively to Pam Tebow’s talk.|
When Tim Tebow got on his knees years ago at a game in Miami, the image showed up on Youtube, and “even though he’d always done that — through high school and all through college — suddenly our last name ‘Tebowing’ was in the dictionary!” Pam said. “It’s a verb!
“We don’t know if he’s going to be able to continue with his platform in football, but we know that he’s going to continue with his passion for his Master and for life.”
When her son won the Heisman Trophy, and Pam Tebow’s Life platform became public, she received an onslaught of invitations to speak on the subject. “I had to face the reality that I was going to be part of the solution.”
Several years ago, while speaking at an event in Minneapolis, she noticed a table with a vase of 13 roses on it. “Afterward I asked the director of some 30 years, ‘What do those roses stand for?’ He said years before he had been picketing an abortion clinic and he walked back to his car, and just decided to look into the trash can, right by the clinic. He found 13 baby body bags.
“That’s the reality of abortion. He picked up all those body bags, and he buried each one of them. He never wants to forget those babies, and so he keeps 13 yellow roses.
“Abortion is the reality.”
Pam said she thought about that reality while reading research from Human Life International, on all the different people groups that have been affected by the 56 million babies aborted since Roe v. Wade. “They estimate at least 12 Heismann Trophy winners have been aborted,” she said, telling how she wrote a poem about that.
I would have quarterbacked a championship team.
A foundation to benefit hurting kids would be my lifelong dream.
My platform could have been so far-reaching and profound.
Yet, despite all my potential, I never made a sound.
Thus led by godless voices, only my mother cried.
So, though I was never born, in reality I died,
When I was abruptly torn from my mother’s womb,
And tossed, along with others, in a garbage can, a tomb.
“I am so grateful that poem is not about my son,” Pam Tebow said, “but I don’t want it to be about anybody else’s son, or anybody else’s daughter.”
The keynote address was an hour long, and yet the audience sat mesmerized. They were silent most of the time, as the speaker, Pam Tebow, spoke of motherhood, mission, and ministry, and they laughed uproariously as she told anecdotes, and sang children’s scripture melodies she had once composed. It was The Bishop’s 9th Annual Catholic Pro-Life Banquet, and the record crowd of more than 700 people got their money’s worth. They were there to hear stories of life — “God Stories” of life, Tebow had called them — and the audience ate them up, like a second dessert.