It was Mother’s Day, 2009, and I received the surprise of my life. My husband and I were getting ready to go to church and as he was in the shower, he heard the Lord speak to him. We were getting in the car and he told me that the Lord had a word for me. I asked him to share it. My husband began by telling me that he had no particular thoughts about anything as he showered, and that what he heard was certainly not from his own thoughts. He told me he was absolutely clear it was God. I pressed him to tell me, curious what on earth the Lord wanted me to know. Norm said, “The Lord said that your son, who is 28, wanted to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day. He wants you to know, ‘it’s ok,’ and he will see you again one day.”
Well, I wasn't expecting that. I really came unglued and burst into tears. My husband knew that I had had an abortion when I was younger, but I had never gone into much detail about it. I instantly knew there was no way on earth he could have come up with the age of that child. I had to quickly do the math, and sure enough, the child I had aborted when I was 16 would have been 28 that year. I was stunned. I grieved and grieved and finally let out all the pain I had suppressed for so many years. I cried for two days straight. I grieved over the fact that the child I had written off as dead was still very much alive in heaven. How do you explain that to another person? Nothing sounds like a good reason for why you made the choice to end someone else's life if you have to explain it to them. The shame I felt at that moment was just as real as the days after that traumatic event. The sin I tried to escape from so many years before had found me out, and it was unbearable.
Abortion is something that many women can do in private and think they got away with it, but nothing is actually secret when it comes to the reality of heaven as our witness. Do you have any idea how it feels to be confronted with your own selfishness, knowing that your own comfort and convenience were more important than someone else's life? Try explaining that to the person that just showed up to let you know they are still alive. Neither the Lord nor my son asked for an explanation, but the thoughts went through my mind just the same. No earthly judge or jury convicted me. They didn’t have to. I was very convicted and I felt guilty. Absolutely horrible. I can’t even explain how sick I felt about my own actions all those many years before. You see, a person can try to forget, but their spirit knows their guilt. Your spirit wants to know your sin is forgiven. I had brushed it under the rug with everything else when I accepted Christ as my Savior, but I guess God knew better than I did that I needed to deal with old issues in order to be truly healed from it. He will go as far back as necessary so that we can be made whole. I grieved over the fact that I had never had the consideration to give this child a name or allow him the chance to fulfill his destiny. And yet, I knew he was telling me that he forgave me for that selfish act. Not only did he forgive me, but he wanted me to forgive myself! He wanted me to know that he was ok and someday we would be together again. What a comfort! I can only give hope to other women because of the fact that I am 'in Christ.' I know that because Jesus is my Savior my sins are truly forgiven. I can offer hope to other women who struggle with the issue of abortion regret, because even when we have done the wrong thing on purpose, God can forgive that sin and make us whole again if we are willing to confess it to Him. I can offer hope to other women because I know that without a shadow of doubt that even when a baby's life has ended here on earth, I know with all assurance that they are very much alive in heaven. Aborted babies, miscarried babies, children that have left this earth prematurely are certainly in heaven with Jesus. I recently listened to the testimony of a young boy named Colton Burpo, who testified of his trip to heaven during an emergency lifesaving surgery at the age of four. Colton is a little older now and he and his father Todd have written a book called “Heaven is for Real.” Recently Colton testified during an interview with Fox News that babies that died in miscarriage or an early death continued to grow up in heaven until they reached the age of young adulthood, and then they stopped aging. My husband was so encouraged by his testimony because it confirmed what he had heard in the shower that day. If we continue to remain 'in Christ' we have the assurance that someday we will be reunited with the children we have lost. They are waiting for us! However, it doesn't mean that we should use that as a comfort to excuse our own responsibility towards preserving life and valuing every life that comes into the womb.
After all the crying, praying and asking God to send a message back to the son I never knew I had, I was finally able to forgive myself. I knew in my heart that was one of the things the Lord wanted me to gain from this encounter, but I believe there is so much more as a witness and a testimony to be shared with others, too. I had been 12 weeks along when I'd had the abortion. No one can tell me that life does not begin at conception. A 12 week old fetus is a human being and has every right to life as much as someone that has already been born. It is still a child, even if it is not yet completely formed and viable outside of the womb. That child has a mind, is forming thoughts and emotions and has the spirit of life within them. I told the Lord I didn’t know what He called him, but I wanted to finally give him a name after all those years. I named him Justice. I gave him a name that was significant of what I had taken from him. I felt I owed him that. Giving him a name helped me to begin to really heal.
My hope is for women to find places to share their testimonies and help each other heal. We need to share compassion and love. Part of my healing was released with a divine encounter on Mother’s Day 2009. It helped to know that I finally gave my son a name and acknowledged his life. Sometimes our healing is tied to becoming the voice of the advocate and speaking for those that cannot speak for themselves. We cannot afford to suffer in silence. Injustice is the result of good people staying silent when they should speak up. We need to be a voice for those innocent lives that have their voice taken away from them. Babies enduring the pain of abortion cannot be heard. Justice has a voice. Imagine my surprise as Justice spoke that day on Mother's Day 2009. He used his voice to ask the Lord to give a message to me; a message of forgiveness, healing and hope. And now I offer you, the reader, the same message of forgiveness and mercy from our loving Father. He is very intentional to extend an olive branch of peace and He wants to heal us from our wounds.
I also write this to help other women take a new look at their convictions for being pro-choice. Perhaps it is time to look for a new perspective on an old argument. I believe we are strong enough and resourceful enough to come up with positive solutions. We do not need to destroy our most precious commodity. Children are our future. I don’t believe the majority of women who choose abortion do so because they want to; I think they do so out of fear. Fear that they aren’t able to care for that child, fear of becoming a parent or fear of a lot of unanswered questions. Instead of focusing on fear, perhaps you could focus on a whole new set of ‘what ifs.’ Perhaps there is someone reading this right now and you are pondering your options. What if this child has been sent to you because God saw something in you that you can’t see in yourself, something this child will greatly benefit from? What if this is an opportunity to have your heart and life changed forever by the unconditional love of a child? What if this child will someday save you? What if this child in your womb is destined for great works someday in their future? What if this child could only become the person they need to become, are destined to become, only by coming through your womb, and the unique life experiences that can only be attributed to your specific family and situations that pertain only to you? Think back about the Bible stories of Tamar, Bathsheba, or Mary, the mother of Jesus. Consider these women’s circumstances. One got pregnant as an older woman through the act of prostitution. One got pregnant from an act of adultery while still married to someone else and her ‘boyfriend’ (King David) had her husband killed. One was a teenage mom who hadn’t even had sex yet and was about to be stoned and divorced before she could get married. How’s that for some messed up, backwards state of affairs? Those were some pretty complicated situations! But without each one of these women we wouldn’t have Perez, Solomon or Jesus. If God could get them through the things they faced, don’t you think He can get you through whatever you might face? What if God chose you to raise this child and trusts you with a job no one else would do quite the same? When you stop to think about it, why else would He put a child in your womb? He is not daunted by the things that we fear. There are many things to consider.
Understandably, not all women conceive a child in love. Some are not given a choice, if a predator makes prey of them. It is a most difficult dilemma to try to decide what to do if a woman finds herself pregnant by someone that she despises or has been used to hurt her. Yet, even in the worst of situations there is opportunity to look for a different perspective on the issue if a person is willing to yield to God and allow their heart to be changed. Apart from God, yes, many things would seem to be an impossible task. But with God all things become possible. In our weakness God can give us strength to do what we cannot do on our own. Perhaps what is viewed as an unwanted pregnancy is an opportunity to change a destiny, to be a life giver instead of one who destroys life. Perhaps what the enemy meant for harm is an opportunity to allow God to turn something bad into a testimony of His goodness. Sometimes the greatest gift of life and blessing comes out of tragedy, darkness and despair. Perhaps you have that opportunity now. I implore you to please consider everything I have shared through my own testimony. We can all aspire to make a difference in another person’s life. Many people would embrace the chance to love and nurture a child and give them opportunity to fulfill their God-given right to life and destiny. God can take any mess and turn it into a miracle if He is just given the chance!
We live in a nation that demands our freedoms and takes many of them for granted. The demand for free choice and women’s rights to decide is in the foremost arguments on pro-life or pro-abortion. We have political leaders that will change their convictions on any given moment as long as it helps their political career path and gets them votes for popularity. We live in a society that has given their approval, whether by vote or by silence, that human life is expendable upon our whims as long as it doesn’t inconvenience us. But the moment we stop fighting for one another we lose our humanity. Even the unborn have purpose. Though many of their lives are short lived and may end prematurely, the conviction of these tiny lives brings many people to salvation. I cannot pretend that the child I aborted sent me that message in vain. There was purpose to it not just for my personal healing but as a message to be shared with others. Any sin can be forgiven as long as we bring it to Jesus and allow His blood to wash us clean. We can be reunited with children we have aborted, if we will just hold on to Jesus until the day we are called home. But, in the time we have left, someone has to be a voice crying out against injustice. Someone has to speak up on behalf of the children that are being deprived of life and destiny. It is not ours to take. Maybe if we all speak loud enough, together we can change the course of history.
I thank You that your grace and mercy is bigger than my sin, mistakes and bad decisions. I thank You that even when I’ve done the wrong thing on purpose, You are still willing to forgive me and You are able to cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I surrender my secret to You, and ask You to help me forgive myself. I choose to forgive myself and ask for healing from this painful event.
Father, I pray for those that have lost children prematurely, that they would be comforted by the fact that they are in heaven with You. I pray that You would heal them of their wounds. Please heal our fractured souls and fill the emptiness with Your love and peace. There are so many shattered and broken people, Lord Jesus. Put us back together again. Release waves of grace and healing and let them pour over me, and others that are also affected by abortion regret and the trauma of loss. Holy Spirit, set us free with the truth You reveal. Please let Your love release the healing that each of us need.
On behalf of those in my family, my ancestors and the forefathers of my city and community, I confess our guilt and ask You to forgive the sin of innocent bloodshed. Father, as a nation of people, we have made room for a spirit of death. Give us judges, leaders and government officials that will help stop the legislation that allows this great tragedy. Lord, I also know that the conviction of it must start with each individual. Let the value for human life be precious to each person. I pray that women would choose life for their unborn babies. I pray for the hearts of the people in our nation, in my family and in my city; that each of us would change, to value life and take the appropriate measures to protect and preserve it. In Jesus name, amen.
**An excerpt from the chapter Healing from Abortion Regret, in the book Healing the Heart of a Woman, available on Amazon.com.