I Am ProGrace: A Series On the Impact of Thinking/Talking differently about abortionMar 23, 2021
Today, I would like to introduce you to Krysta Masciale. Krysta grew up in Derby, Kansas and moved to Los Angeles fifteen years ago. Her work as a brand strategist has given her a front row seat to the inner workings of some of the biggest brands in the world, and her passion for the Gospel has afforded her and her husband leadership roles in the local church. When we met Krysta, we were looking for input on how to refine our marketing efforts. Now, more than a year since our initial conversations, she is still with us and currently serves as our Director of Communications.
Tell us about your perspective on abortion prior to your work with ProGrace:
Well, I grew up in the Bible Belt. My mom became a born again Christian after my parents divorced and I remember going to abortion clinics to picket with her. In fact, I was about 4 years old and held a sign that said, “I love babies.” I was exposed to pamphlets from ProLife advocates that were so graphic, I didn’t know what to do with the information. The images were confusing, the content certainly not age appropriate, and the tactic gave way to a life-long tension between who I felt Jesus to be and the trauma that comes from fear-based teaching in His name. As I spent more time in the church, I inherited this idea that to love Jesus was to be an anti-abortion and ProLife. If I’m honest, I never questioned what that actually meant, but I knew it included assumptions about the kind of person who would find themselves in a situation where they were facing an unintended pregnancy. Outside of that indoctrination, I never really thought much about it until I had kids.
I want to say, for the record, that I could have done better by other women prior to having children. A lot better. I often judged women in the workplace for leaving early to pick up their kids from school without giving merit to the value they added to our team or even realizing that they came in two hours before me. I absorbed the biases that to be a mom meant that you were less useful and certainly less committed to your work. I was also raised to believe that women facing unintended pregnancies were all promiscuous teenagers. While I didn’t fully believe this, abortion wasn‘t a topic I chose to question critically because I didn’t think it concerned me. Here’s where I was wrong: as a follower of Christ, I don’t need to experience injustices, oppression or dehumanization in order to step into that space and offer God’s grace. In fact, I’m called to do so regardless of my lived experience. And I do so by asking questions and living in proximity to those who have different experiences than I have.
What were your tensions around abortion before becoming ProGrace?
As an adult, I began feeling a tension around the inconsistencies between what I know to be true of Jesus and the way I was taught to respond on His behalf. I began thinking more critically about positions I had taken without doing my own homework.
Becoming a mom only unlocked a flood of biases I held towards myself because I had internalized the communal rhetoric that women weren’t valued if their behavior wasn’t perfect. I often felt isolated in those early days of motherhood because I thought I alone had to make decisions; I wasn’t taught that men were also a part of the equation. When I had my daughter, I felt a distinct fear that she would immediately be combatting beliefs about who she is without being given the opportunity to tell her own story.
Becoming a mom shouldn’t be a requirement to better understanding the complexities of unintended pregnancies, but it helped me to view the situation differently. We have failed women and we have failed our churches when we form opinions in the name of Jesus without first understanding the full story of the woman’s experience.
Where did you first experience a shift in your own perspective?
My perspective shifted the minute I challenged my own assumptions. I started to see the full story when I saw ProGrace’s research on the woman’s experience as she faced an unintended pregnancy. She became real. I could see myself in her. I wanted more for her than what the ProLife or ProChoice language confines us to. Once I started opening up to her experience, I started digging for real social solutions.
What I didn’t anticipate as I interacted with ProGrace’s work was the shift I experienced in my own relationship with Jesus and the new lens through which I began to see the world. I found my faith on a fast track to maturity because I was learning the discipline of asking better questions. I became free of the tension that came with tying my faith to anti-anything. What’s most freeing about my experience with ProGrace is that I approach conversations that dehumanize anyone in our society with grace and curiosity, which has given me confidence that I‘m actually reflecting the heart of God.
Tell us what this shift in perspective has meant for you.
First of all, it should be noted that this work has felt more like true discipleship than a quick exercise in semantics. The work ProGrace has done (rooted, of course, in Lacey’s research) has changed my life. What ProGrace has done for me is to affirm God’s heart for humanity. This work has helped absolve me of the tension that I had to choose a life–but only one life–to care about. It has also made clear the need to provide equitable pathways for women and children to thrive in our communities and safe places for them to be nurtured. No judgement, no agenda, no tension, just compassion.
I see the decision a woman makes as a reflection of the health of a community. Judging her decision without considering the role we play in her ability to see herself and her child thriving in our communities is the opposite of God’s grace. This shift in perspective has trickled down to full community engagement for me: from homelessness and childhood poverty, to racism and inequality. Most notably, it has shifted how I see my own value which gives me renewed motivation to extend the same acceptance to my neighbors … just as they are.
I hope you enjoyed meeting Krysta. If you have stories about how this work has shifted your response to abortion, we would love to hear from you! Tag us on Instagram or Facebook with your story and use the hashtag #iamprograce.
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