Today on Twitter, in reply to a post about the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I was asked the question “what is your story” regarding my passion for prolife ministry to women (and men) who are suffering as a result of a past abortion. It’s a long story, but I cannot think of a more appropriate day to share it.
This is what started the conversation: ‘Celebrate choice on Twitter today. Use #Tweet4Choice to tell your story of why you’re #prochoice. We’ll be RTing your stories all day’. It was posted by NARAL Pro-Choice America, formerly the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, then National Abortion Rights Action League, and later National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, an organization that engages in political action to oppose restrictions on abortion and expand access to abortion. One has to wonder why they keep changing their name, but I digress.
Someone tweeted out this response: “I remember pre-Roe. I remember coat hangers. #Tweet4Choice #Roe40” which prompted this from me: “I remember pre-Roe, too. Mostly I remember a baby girl who would be 32 this year. I will forever wish I’d chosen life. #tweet4choice I don’t know why, but I am often amazed at the way God takes something like a Twitter post to touch hearts. I received dozens of heartfelt messages of support and comfort, and dozens of messages thanking me for speaking out. It is even more amazing that God has removed the fear and shame that I once had; there was a day when I could not even say those words to myself much less to anyone else. Here, then, is the rest of the story…
Many people on both sides of the abortion issue remember January 22, 1973, the day that all state restrictions on abortion were declared unconstitutional. I remember 1973, too; I was a sophomore in high school. It really didn’t make any difference to me at the time, but 8 short years later the “right to choose” altered my life forever. I preface this by sharing that Christ reached down, pulled me out of a very dark pit, and claimed me for His own in 1974; there is no doubt in my mind about that. I remember it like it was yesterday. Having been raised in a non-Christian family and surrounded by non-Christian friends, though, it wasn’t long before I walked straight back to the life that I so desperately wanted to leave.
In 1981, I found myself unmarried and pregnant. I was ashamed, I was afraid, and I was without emotional support. The baby’s father was just as ashamed and afraid as I was, I know that now. For years I resented him and blamed him for not stepping up but I have forgiven him, by God’s grace. In no way can I claim that I didn’t know that I was carrying a baby. I knew it almost at once, just like I did when God later blessed me with three sons. I knew with every fiber of my being that what I was doing was very, very wrong. I loved God, I believed Him, but I did not trust Him to take care of the life that He created.
I remember feeling like I was literally being ripped in half. I wanted my little girl so badly, but I listened to the wrong voices. I listened to the voices that said it was very early in the pregnancy. I listened to the voices that said I would be better off without her. I listened to the voices that said no one would ever have to know. I listened to the voices that said it was my choice to make, and I chose the wrong path. I knew it even as I was lying on that cold table, listening to the ‘doctor’ and nurse laughing about where they were going to go that evening. I remember wanting to scream and run away, but I didn’t. I got up and walked out of that clinic and went on with my life, just like the voices told me to. What I didn’t realize is that those voices were straight out of hell. Not only did those voices separate my from my baby girl, they also separated me from God for a very long time.
I stuffed the pain deep down inside of me, and it stayed there for over 20 years. In the meantime, I got married and lived what looked like a storybook life, from the outside. We had 3 perfect sons, we were active in church, I volunteered in the schools; we owned a small business, we had the proverbial ‘castle on a hill’. On the inside of those walls, however, lived domestic violence, drug abuse, adultery, and mountains of bitterness and regret. I went through the motions with a smile on my face; I became an excellent actress. Slowly, or so it seemed, everything started to unravel…
I became so depressed that I couldn’t function; I started having panic attacks out of nowhere. I felt like I was going crazy. God gently led me to prolife resources; I started to read and study His word and light began to shine into my darkness; everything started to click. All of the dysfunction and pain in my marriage, all of the physical symptoms, all of the bitterness and regret pointed right back to that day in 1981, the day I let my daughter go. In 2002 God reached down to bind up my broken heart and set me free. It was not instantaneous; it took a very long time. There was a lot of scarring, a lot of layers that He had to peel back in order to get to the root of the problem. It took many more years for me to admit to another human being that I had aborted my daughter.
I remember so very clearly saying to God, “One of these days, you’re going to ask me to talk about this, aren’t you?” The very thought of ever speaking out about my abortion and the pain it caused almost paralyzed me with fear. I was so ashamed; I didn’t want anyone to have to know. Over time, though, God has taken that fear completely away and replaced it with an incredibly strong passion to reach out to others who are suffering in silence and shame. He has truly taken a life that was in ashes and turned it into something that He can use for His glory. What the Enemy of my soul meant to destroy me, God is using for good. I still feel very fragile sometimes, and I still struggle with fear (which is really unbelief) but God is faithful and continues to sanctify my life day by day.
If your story is anything like mine, if you are suffering, please know that you can be forgiven and free. If there is anything that I can do to help, if you just need someone to tell your story to, I’ll listen. Message me through my blog, or on Twitter @TN_SmartGirl. God loves you. God sent Christ to cover your sins, all of them. Don’t listen to the voices that tell you that abortion cannot be forgiven. If God was able to redeem my life from the pit, He can surely do the same for you. I pray His blessings on all who have taken the time to read my story today. Choose life