This week we share our stories in our group. It’s funny when you get right down to the specifics of the story it takes a lot of emotion to relive the details. It becomes real once again.
Here is my story.
It was almost 20 years ago when I put the paper from Planned Parenthood on the table before I went to work. I came home afraid of what he would say. I was 18 living in a different state…all alone except for my boyfriend and his father, both who were abusive toward me. When I got home later that night he had made me macaroni and cheese for dinner. My favorite. I don’t know what I expected, anger maybe. But not this. We started calling each other mommy and daddy and talking about marriage. He wanted to do things right.
But that was only the beginning of the story.
We told his father I was pregnant. From that point on it was all his dad could do to poison his son’s mind and scare him with ideas of child support to making decisions to buy diapers instead of things he really might want. Finally they both ganged up on me. I remember sitting in the back of a vehicle in his dad’s driveway with him and his father in the front seat pressuring me to abort. (Now I want to pause and say that I am not putting all the blame on them alone. I am merely telling the story. I know that I take most of the blame, it was after all my choice. But these are the real pressures I felt at the time.)
I held out for hope. Maybe his mom would be more supportive. She had always been sweet to me and loved me unconditionally. But the only support she offered was to pay for it. I was crushed. I know now looking back that she probably didn’t want me to end up like her. It wasn’t that she had a bad life, but she did have a hard life raising a child on her own.
I still stuck to my answer. I AM NOT GOING TO HAVE AN ABORTION. But soon it was too much. Too much anger, fighting, pressure. Too much “if you have this baby, I will leave you.” I can still feel those emotions when I gave up on myself, my child.
Fine I said. The anger seething from every letter in the word. Fine, we will do it your way. I felt dead inside already.
When we are silent about things like abortion, we allow it to have power over us. By exposing my secret and bringing it to the light I was able to break the power the lie had over me and I was finally able to experience freedom.
I think freedom for me comes in little pieces. The more I speak about my abortion I gain another piece of myself back. It’s not something that you want to share. There is the fear of being looked at differently. But in the end I had to make a choice that I want people to see who I really am. I want to be the same through and through.
If no one spoke out against abortion, we would be stuck, feeling alone. So we speak out to help others by the testimony of our mouths. We reach out wanting to pick others up and dust them off and tell them, “we have been here before”…”we have been in your shoes and there is hope”. There is hope for you and for others like us. We think we are alone, but we are not!
There is always someone out there dealing with or been where you are. Our words and actions can help those around us. We should exude hope. Breed hope. Live out hope. You can’t help anyone by wallowing in the pit, grasping onto the lie, hiding it, and lying to yourself. We must grab onto someone else and allow them to lift us out. We must not dig deeper into our pit but stand and fight. Let go, but remember where you came from. Leave the lie behind and believe what God says about you now. You are forgiven, you are the apple of God’s eye. Live it.
Psalm 17:8 Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.
On Sunday during the football playoff game, the cable went out. Gasp! So we decided to watch a movie. As I named them off…we settled on Avatar. There is this spot in the movie when the “sky people” betray the Na’vi clan and attack them to get what they came for. Jake Sully who is one of the sky people, but is in an “avatar” body is blamed, thinking he was the betrayer.
Jake has fallen in love with Neytiri and the Na’vi people. He has learned about their way and their customs and wants to fight his own people to keep the Na’vi people safe. Now there are many things that parallel with this movie that are interesting, but one in particular hit me this time.
This might get a little confusing, but here goes. Jake knows that he has to do something big to get into their good graces again. So he summons his flying creature called a banshee to find a toruk, which is another flying creature that only one other Na’vi ruler flew many generations ago. Basically if he can pull this off, he will be looked at with respect again.
He does and arrives at the “Tree of Souls” where he swoops down on his toruk. When he meets up with Neytiri she hold her hand to his face and she says, “I see you.”
This is the part where it struck me. Our first lesson in the “Surrendering the Secret” bible study is the story of Hagar and how she is mistreated by Sarai, because of the wrong choices Sarai made by allowing her husband Abram to sleep with Hagar, her maid servant, so as to produce an heir. So Hagar is pregnant and out in the wilderness running away from Sarai and she comes to a well and an angel of the LORD finds her there and asks her what she is running from, and where is she going. The angel tells her to return and submit to her mistress and her authority and the LORD will give her more descendants than she could count. He adds: for the LORD has heard your cry of distress. Hagar names that well Beer-lahai-roi which means “well of the Living One who sees me.” (NLT)
When Neytiri said to Jake, “I see you”. She was looking inside his heart. She saw through everything and saw him for who he really was. God does that too. He sees through our muck and excuses and he sees deep inside our heart and soul. If you have had an abortion, God sees through all the guilt, shame, hopelessness. He has not abandoned you. He sees you, you don’t have to cover it up. He wants you to come to him the way you are. Turn around and face your secret and I promise you will find healing. I can hear God saying, “I see you.”
Today I was thinking about consequences. I know in my heart I am healed, and I am more whole than when I started this journey. I also continue to heal on this journey in many ways. But I can never be fully healed. This is the consequence of my sin.
There will always be this gap or hole in my soul that longs for that little girl that was knitted and made in the secret place just for me. These are the consequences of my actions. For me it was as simple as giving up my position and giving into the pressure that surrounded me so tightly I thought I would burst.
Then, of course, there is the consequence of the vow I made to myself.
I remember the relief that flooded me as I left the steps of the abortion clinic. But I also remember the anger and hatred that came later. I remember the frustration and pain. I felt revenge, thought I’d show everyone. But once again I only hurt myself. The vow? I vowed to never have children. If I couldn’t be trusted with this precious life, then how could I be trusted with another. To me at the time I felt like this was my chance and I blew it.
Now I have since realized how destructive that vow was, and I have renounced it. But still there are consequences. I will probably never have children.
I know this isn’t the end of the story. I know that I have a daughter in heaven that I will one day see. When my grandpa’s past away, I wondered what they thought when they were greeted by their first great grandchild. I wonder what it will feel like…
Tomorrow is Sanctity of Life Sunday. I am a bit nervous because I will be speaking to my church and explaining the post abortion ministry I’m a part of. When I was preparing for this, I remembered a story told to us by Pat Layton (who wrote the Bible Study “Surrendering the Secret”).
There was a pastor who wanted to help Pat with the abortion ministry. He decided to have a luncheon and invited every pastor he could think of. Pat warned him, because she knew how people tend to shy away from anything having to do with abortion. They are scared to take a stand.
Well, he came to the luncheon and no one showed up. He was so upset, he went home, took out a map and began coloring in the states. The next morning he preached to his congregation and showed them the map. Based on the number of reported abortions, he had a map that represented all the states that would have been lost to abortion since 1973. All these states would be wiped out. It’s amazing to me that we have lost so much, but we still turn our head.
Today I am reminded of the people that have been a part of my healing journey. Many people that took the time to care. Care about me. Care about my child. Care about other women like me. There are many that take their time and make an effort to make a difference even when it feels impossible. Especially when it is tough to see through the hard calloused soul of a woman who has been hurt by everyone she knows. Even then these people care and go that extra mile to show that they are more than just a voice; they are compassionate and real.
Friends see the beauty in us and bring out that beauty for everyone to see. I am very blessed to have such special people that do just that for me. Today one of these special someones (you know who you are) brought me an orchid and made my day! Confirmed to me that writing this blog was the right thing to do. Whenever I have doubts, God brings about these special people to reassure his plans for me.
So thank-you. Thanks to all those that have lifted me up and dusted me off. Those who have told me I am better than I ever thought I was. Those that have encouraged me and told me to go that extra mile when a few feet felt like it would break me. Thank-you for believing in me, loving me, and most of all thank-you for being my friend and letting me return the favor. May God bless you.