you were a different person then
For nearly 25 years, I was held captive by the shame and chains of the abortion I had when I was 18. It was the summer of 1980 and I was headed to college and got pregnant just after I graduated from High School. I couldn't believe the mess I had made for myself.
In 1980 - there were no over the counter pregnancy tests -- you had to go get a blood test. The clinic where I went to get tested was also an abortion clinic. As my world fell apart as they told me the test was positive -- the shame engulfed me. All I remember after "the test is positive" is the sobbing.
I've heard it said that a woman chooses abortion like a trapped animal chooses to chew off its own leg. That's how I chose abortion. And I never told my parents. That abortion became the secret I guarded and kept from them and planned to keep forever.
For the next 14 years, I lived apart from God. The prodigal child. I became promiscuous and brought shame upon shame to my soul. Until 1994 - when I returned to Christ and became a passionate for my Faith.
Once I became a Christian, I, of course, confessed my sin of abortion, prayerfully, still silently before God and I knew I was forgiven -- forgiven by God. I was much harder on myself though: I never forgave myself for any part of the summer of 1980 -- or for the following 14 years. Those years became the trash of my life.
I tried to pack my past into the words of Paul when he says: "Forgetting what is behind..." because I wanted that to mean I didn't have to deal with my past. I wanted to move on. But I couldn't move on because there was still a dark corner of my soul where I wouldn't let the light of Christ shine.
I still had a secret that no one could know and in that way, Satan still had power over me. And God will not stand for it.
In 1999, a friend told me about post abortion counseling and I immediately thought to myself -- that's something I will NEVER do. But, in that moment, I felt the tug of God calling me to the local pregnancy center -- FOR MINISTRY!!. I ignored Him. For almost 5 more years, I knew God was calling me to pregnancy center ministry -- and I refused.
I begged God to find something other than the pregnancy center and asked him over and over -- WHY? Why do I have to go there. God's answer was clear. "Because I want to heal you." But I couldn't face the pain of my past and I would just cry. I didn't want healing. I wanted forgiveness to be enough. My secret must be kept no matter what the cost.
The cost was Christ himself. My conscious disobedience cost me fellowship with God. Eventually, a growing desire for Him brought my repentance and I wanted God more than I wanted to hide my abortion. It wasn't until then, that I was able to face my past and let Him open up parts of my heart that had been closed off for so long.
I went to the pregnancy center volunteer counselor training and then to abortion recovery counseling where I found redemption and freedom in a way I never knew was possible. I learned that forgiveness are healing are not the same, I experienced redemption and encountered Christ as my comfort.
I felt God's call to share my testimony with other women who kept their abortion in darkness. But before I could speak publicly, I had to tell the 2 people I never wanted to tell. My parents.
I called my Mother on New Years Day and told her I had something to tell her about something I did a long time ago. She stopped me and said words I'll never forget: "Before you say anything, I just want you to know I will still love you. I doesn't matter what you've done. I will still love you."
Even now, those words move me. What a picture of Jesus Christ who was waiting to say to the 18 year old me: I still love you.
I don't know what my mom expected but, I told her about the abortion and asked her to forgive me. She was very sad and was especially sorry that I'd carried this so long by myself. She forgave me.
A few days later, I had a similar conversation with my father. I called and said "Daddy - I have something to tell you." And I told him. He also replied with words I carry in my heart: "Cathy, that was a long time ago. You were a different person then. And I'm very proud of the person you've become."
Wow. I had carried that secret for nearly 25 years and it had come to this: Grace. Mercy. And love deeper than I had ever known. "If you who are foolish know how to give good gifts.... how much more your heavenly Father." Could it be that my heavenly Father was proud of the person I'd become? That's almost too great a love to receive.
The beauty of God's plan amazes me. Since that experience in 2004, the Lord has called me to serve not 1 but hundreds of pregnancy centers through the creation of websites that contribute to the effectiveness of their ministries. These are works that He planned before the beginning of time - but I refused to participate for so long.
Be reminded that the work of pregnancy resource centers and abortion recovery programs is important.
And maybe share with someone that a life that is fully given, fully open, and fully willing to give over the secret places ...is a life that can be used. Offer your lives as living sacrifices.
~ Cathy, North Carolina