rising up from the ashes
My journey begins with my son James. He is such an amazing little boy. I do not know how I could have made it through life without my little man. In a way, James saved me from many years of pain. It was because I was pregnant with him that I stopped partying and started focusing on school and eventually on getting my teaching degree. When I found out I was pregnant, I almost ended his life to take care of the “situation,” but somehow I found the courage to do otherwise.
I love our relationship and we are very close. He is a quiet, sensitive young man with a big heart. He is always concerned with how I feel. James has a bright future ahead of him, which I know will involve serving the Lord.
I wish this was really how my story unfolds but it does not. I never had the joy of watching James come into this world or holding him in my arms. I never experienced cuddling with him before bed. He was never part of my reality because twelve years ago I became pregnant and instead of keeping him I chose to end his life by having an abortion.
If you were like me, you felt shame every time someone talked about abortion. I was worried that someone was going to discover my secret and I carried it with me for years before I could open up and share my story with other women. At the time I convinced myself that the only way out was an abortion. It seemed so easy going into it, and our culture had normalized it so much so that this seemed to be the best path. I ignored my other options.
No one made a big deal out of it. So I must be doing the right thing. Once I told my doctor I was pregnant it seemed like this choice was the next step in the process. It was even a fairly inexpensive solution. It was a small price to pay for a huge mistake. My friends at the time seemed so supportive. They were telling me that I was making the right decision. “It was just a medical procedure.” “It is not even a child yet.” “No one is going to find out.” “No one should tell you what you should do with your own body.”
I arrived at the clinic that day and was moved through the abortion mill like product through a factory. After the “procedure” I found myself lying next to a line of women that had just done the same. Regardless of how they were acting on the outside, if they were like me, they felt empty on the inside. I got dressed and left. It was on that ride home that I felt the depth of the pain inside my heart.
It is amazing how this one incident had an affect on how I viewed the world around me for the rest of my life. I was scarred so deeply and no matter how much I tried to put a bandage on my wound, what I really needed was some major surgery. There were so many unexplained emotions that would spring up when just the topic of abortion was brought up. Yet I needed to defend my “choice”. I wanted to cry every time I saw a child that would be the age of my child. I wanted to reach out to women that were contemplating abortion, but who was I to tell them not to go through with it. I had given in to the pressure myself. I constantly felt anxious and I could never really put my finger on the cause of this emotion. Anger, fear, depression, shame and so much more seemed to surface in my life at different times and I did not know why. Someone would say something that would make me feel like I wanted to share, but I was too ashamed. I could never reveal my true self because of what I had done. There was always that deep, dark secret.
Fast forward a few years and I become a Christian. I take to heart the fact that I am saved, but somewhere deep down inside I know what I have done and wonder how I could ever be forgiven of that sin. I finally meet my wonderful husband Eric and I can’t believe how lucky I am to get such an amazing, Godly man. I keep waiting for him to realize who he is dating and to run the other direction. God calls me to share the experience of my abortion with Eric. I expect Eric to end the relationship… but with the revelation of my shameful secret he responds by telling me he loves me and that he knows I’m not the same person I used to be. We get married.
Being a pastor’s wife, I wonder if I am worthy of this position. Why would God call me to this life? Do I really deserve to be standing next to my husband? We try to have children, and nothing happens. It’s a difficult time. I just can’t get pregnant. Finally, we see a doctor and she tells us that it is nearly impossible for me to get pregnant. I knew that this was going to be the time in my life where I was going to be punished for my past. This was it. I was finally getting my pay back. The shoe that I had been waiting to drop finally fell – this time punishing not only me – but my wonderful husband as well.
In order for God to heal this deep wound inside of my heart I needed to take the first step. I needed to realize that He was not going to take me on this journey only to dump me at an extremely vulnerable time in my life. Through a powerful prayer time with a group of women from my church I realized I needed to join our post abortion bible study. It was hard for me to take that step because I was worried about what people were going to think of me. My shame almost held me back, but it would have robbed me of a healing that my heart so desperately needed.
God presented His support by giving me a group of women to walk along side me through this process of healing. I was finally able to mourn the loss of my precious boy James. Every step of the way I felt God supporting me. He gave me a very powerful scripture that helped with the process, Isaiah 61:3.
You see God does not leave us in our time of need. He stands by us. We serve a God that can take the ashes of our lives and turn them into life. He wants to take our mourning hearts and exchange them for joy and praise. And our healing WILL be used to glorify the Lord. I thought the Lord was punishing me for my past by not blessing me with children, but God came through. When the doctors said “NO”, the Lord said “YES!” He not only blessed us once, but we have two amazing little boys that are the joys of our lives.
I have a picture in my mind of my three boys, James, Denzel and Derek. They are sitting side by side on the couch watching television together. Derek is in James’ arms staring not at the picture on the screen but into the face of his oldest brother smiling from ear to ear. My middle son Denzel is sucking his thumb and resting his head on James’ shoulder. This picture in my mind reveals a trio of brothers that will look out for each other and love each other always.
I know that I will not be able to experience the pleasure of seeing this here on earth. I hold onto the promise that one day Denzel and Derek will meet their oldest brother and they will have the chance to love him. I also know that I serve a faithful God. He is so faithful and forgiving that I will too see James in heaven and he will not hate me for what I have done. He will love me and be so very glad to see his mama. When I had that abortion, God ushered my child immediately into heaven. But, God grieved for me and the pain I would endure from that day forward. God eventually healed my heart. If you share a similar story, God wants to heal your heart too.
~ Jennifer Disney, Corona, CA