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Tell Me Your Story—Three Abortions and God’s Grace

DSC_3703_2Dear Readers,

Since our theme this month is God’s forgiveness, it seems appropriate to run the following interview with a godly sister in Christ. Since abortion continues to touch many women’s lives, it’s so important that we talk about it.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, “nearly half of pregnancies among American women are unintended, and four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion…Each year, two percent of women aged 15-44 have an abortion; half have had at least one previous abortion.”

As Christians, will we gain a heart of compassion for women facing unintended pregnancies, will we move our hands and feet to help in their time of need, will we give our money to support them?

Three Abortions and God’s Grace

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Abortion is a very sensitive subject. I so appreciate your willingness to share about this painful area of your life. You’ve had not one, but three over a five-year period. Would you tell us a little about what happened?

I never felt very attractive to the opposite sex and put up strong walls to keep men away. When a college date flattered me, this targeted a vulnerable area in my heart. I had never been sexually active before, and didn’t plan to be as I saw myself as a good Christian girl. In hindsight, with what I know now, our encounter constituted date rape. The morning after I intuitively knew but procrastinated getting a pregnancy test, because I could not face that I’d been sexually active. There was this disconnect. Once the pregnancy was confirmed, the only emotion I felt was outright panic. I could not face my parents and friends with a pregnancy, nor did I want to jeopardize the future career I’d laid out for myself. There was no question in my mind that abortion was the only option.

What happened at the abortion clinic?

I’d been in pure panic mode, but after the procedure, my conscience seemed to speak for the first time. I remember the nurse telling me that if there was anything I needed, anything at all, I was to call her. When I asked “How do I deal with the moral consequences of what I have just done?” she replied harshly, “You will have to deal with that on your own.”

Did the man know you had an abortion?

No. About six months later I ran into him and confessed what happened. He was sympathetic and said he wished he’d known so that he could have supported me. I started seeing him again. I so wanted to believe that I could not have made such a bad choice in being with this person in the first place. To my shock, I got pregnant again, but when I told him, expecting support, he simply vanished. Again, no question I was getting an abortion. No way was I going to have his child. I felt such humiliation. This is not to be confused with humbling oneself before the Lord. I was humiliated that I was such a fool in the world’s eyes, letting someone take advantage of me. It was hard to admit the part I played in the series of events.

What about the third abortion?

The third time a long-term boyfriend and I made this decision together. He was supportive, but since neither of us wanted marriage, we simply moved on. My defense mechanisms were not high like they were with the first individual. I was able to be more emotionally engaged and operated less on panic. Now my heart was softer but still not able to absorb the seriousness of my actions toward another human being and God.

You talked about a “disconnect.” Would you share what you mean by that?

Though identifying myself as a Christian girl, I never saw myself as a sinner; therefore it was easy for me to lay blame on someone else for my poor judgment. Since I was a “good person,” a “good girl” and not “a sinner,” I could not see that it was my rebellious heart that put me in the company of people I shouldn’t be spending time with.

What caused a change in your viewpoint?

In hindsight, the reason I did not see myself as a sinner throughout my pre-saved life, was because I was comparing myself to other people by the world’s standards. I did not ever consider I had killed three babies until I started to understand God’s standards. Later, I started comparing myself to God’s holiness, and it was clear that I was a “sinner” of huge proportions. This took me years to understand. I believe it took so long due to my strong defense mechanism. Taking ownership is hard, but only then can you grow from your mistakes.

What was the beginning of a real turn around for you?

I met my husband. We decided to get married in the church as he had been raised in the church as well. As part of a premarital counseling assignment, we were to write letters to each other that included any unfinished business. I knew in my heart that I needed to be honest with myself as well as him. I wanted my future husband to know the truth about me and let him decide if he wanted to marry me. Our marriage (if there was to be one) needed to begin with complete honesty. I was so blessed when my fiancé responded with grace, acceptance, and love, and we drew even closer. I believe the Lord put that confession on my heart and used it as a stepping stone towards Him. God was very patient with me in this process of slowly drawing me to Himself.

How did you become a committed Christian?

In high school I fell in love with the Bible, astounded by the depth of God’s Word. I read material from other religions, but the Bible was the only book that spoke to me in profound ways. Despite these early seeds, I did not understand that Jesus wanted a personal relationship with me. In college I lost touch with my Christian friends and God’s Word. However, once I was married, an older couple reached out to us. We started attending Bible studies on parenting, marriage, and spiritual growth. Again, I see how God was drawing me to Himself by opening my heart to respond to their invitation.

As you grew in your relationship with the Lord, how did you begin to find healing from the trauma of abortion?

One of the most important lessons was learning that my identity was in Him as my Creator and Savior. I could lay down my pride, fueled by insecurities, because now my worth came from the God of the Universe. Once I understood this, I had a safe footing from which to start looking at myself more closely. I saw myself as a sinner who needed His forgiveness and direction. I realized if left to myself I would be lost. As I began studying the Bible, I was able to see the lies of the world more clearly. I realized that all my life I had sought my own selfish will and desires. Though raised in the church, I had never considered that God’s will stood above my own. This independent way of life was empty and pointless and led down a path I no longer wanted to follow. Finding my identity in Christ was such an amazing, freeing experience—I still marvel at the wonder of it. God reached down to me! No need to question my worth ever again.

Were there any symbolic steps that helped in your healing?

I came up with the idea to bury three separate sheets of papers with the cry of my heart written on them to symbolize each life I had taken. I planted a flower to represent each grave site, and this was very meaningful. I do have to say that my healing process has not
stopped. I still struggle at times with my past, the shame of my selfish actions. However, I’ve learned that my feelings of shame confirm that pride still needs to be rooted out of my heart. But I can accept that I’m still a work in process. In the meantime, it’s a fact that the Lord does not remember nor hold against me the sins of my past. I am forgiven. He’s given me a transformed heart; I am new creation; the old has passed away.

You are a woman who cherishes truth. Tell us why truth has become so foundational for you.

I bought into lies prevalent in culture, adopting the world view love songs portray, for example. This mindset led down a painful road. Later, the Holy Spirit and the Word cut through the deception and revealed the right path. God’s truth is the absolute reference point by which to test cultural “truth.”

What words of wisdom would you have for a young woman contemplating abortion?

Not too long ago I read, “Abortion stops a beating heart.” Plain and simple. A human being’s heart stopped, which means it was once alive and now it is no more.

Do not go into the fight or flight mode to protect yourself, but seek help on behalf of the baby and yourself. There are alternatives to abortion such as adoption. I look back and remember a high school classmate dealing with an unexpected pregnancy. She’s still married to the father of her baby whom they raised together. I realize this is not the right choice for all couples, but a beating heart is still beating and this life is thriving and contributing to the world.

I had multiple abortions, repeating this sin over and over again without apparent outward consequences. Yet it has affected my marriage in multiple ways, despite having a loving, accepting husband. There are always consequences for our actions.

I’m so grateful to a merciful God who provided grace to me through His son. He has forgiven me and showed me that not forgiving myself is rejecting Jesus’ work on the cross. To not accept God’s forgiveness is like saying that Jesus’ work was not enough to save a sinner like me. That is a lie that comes directly from Satan. No other religion has a God that is so merciful, so forgiving, so grace-filled and so worthy of our love, admiration and our life.

To a young woman contemplating abortion I want to say that in God’s loving, faithful arms you will be kept safe as you make the right decision to give your unborn child life.

  1. Wow, thank you for sharing this story! I am very encouraged by the woman who shared and by the interviewer who was curious. Thank you so much!

    Comment by Amy Smith — January 2, 2011 @ 2:17 pm

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Ruth. Very important topic, even though as Christians we’re uncomfortable with it! We need to be supportive of women who have been through this, instead of judgmental…The pain of abortion never goes away, and being called a “murderer”, etc., does nothing but open wounds that these women have worked hard to heal.

    Comment by Cindy F — January 2, 2011 @ 10:27 pm

  3. This is a wonderful interview. I had an abortion before I was saved, or even a Christian, when I was 20. It has taken me 16 years to finally forgive myself and begin to move on. What finally spoke to me was hearing a minister say, “If God forgives and moves on, why do you insist on beating yourself up over and over?” That is exactly what I had been doing.
    I would have never thought I would have been the girl in that office…in college on a scholarship, the world at my feet, never in trouble. And after it, a life that spiralled out of control with drinking, promiscuity, marrying the wrong man way too young, 3 children in 4 years and a divorce shortly after the third…anything to make the pain go away for a little while.
    Even after all these years, knowing what I know now and realizing that my life would be completely different, I wish I had walked out of that office…

    Comment by MAA — January 18, 2011 @ 11:51 am

  4. I too am a woman who chose abortion for an unplanned pregnancy. My heart is to give women who have made this regrettable choice the ability to tell their story and receive healing from Jesus. There is a Bible Study called Surrendering the Secret. If you are interested in walking through this healing journey with the Lord and other women who have had an abortion, contact your local pregnancy resource center or pastor to find out what is available in your community to help. One of the biggest comforts is knowing that we are not alone, there others out there who are willing to listen and help.

    Comment by Nancy — January 21, 2011 @ 9:02 am

  5. I am thankful for this story. I have 3 abortions and I’m only 19. My first one was by a boy who didn’t really care and I was a junior in hs playing basketball. My second and third one was by another boy and it affected me and his relationship. He was mad because I was goin off to college out of state and I wouldn’t have a baby trying to manage college. I have made my choice to stick to birth control until I’m ready to be a mother. I won’t be gettin anymore abortions I promise god that and myself. I really appreciate others like me instead of constantly hearing negativity thanks

    Comment by Aisha — July 25, 2011 @ 8:43 am