Sunday, August 2, 2015
Looking for comfort and compassion?
Do you need someone to listen and help you through the grief and confusion?
Rachel's Vineyard Ministries can offer that to you. In the Tulsa area, a retreat is scheduled for October 2015. Below is a link to the site to get more information. Feel free to share this with others.
Retreats are held across the country...find one for you...find yourself and receive healing grace!
This is where I began to rebuild my own life...this is where I found my voice again...it takes great courage and yields great reward!
Saturday, November 15, 2014
No children...no pregnancy...no motherhood in the traditional sense.
No, this was final, but not a surprise. Then, I realized, that no matter the preparation and healing, the simple fact remains...I wanted children...my heart desired motherhood...this is a sad day. I accepted it and permitted the feelings to swell and flow as needed. It was short-lived, but certainly needed.
It is important to remind ourselves that emotions are not dangerous nor things to avoid. They permit us to know we are FEELING and then, we can choose how to best navigate those feelings. Stifling them only leads to more pain and suffering later. This is the trap Satan sets. He revels in our despair and enjoys watching us twist around-and-around in this snare of his. I say STOP! We must face those emotions and permit them their due. Then, we can work through those things by seeing that hope and healing are real...that although we might suffer more than once from our pain...we are never doomed to remain in that suffering eternally...
God provides us with all we need to endure even the most terrible of things. He never abandons us and never turns away.
While reflecting upon this time of my life, I wrote a simple note to describe the up-and-down emotions I have experienced in recent years. My hope is this story will feel familiar to someone else, so they might realize they ARE NOT ALONE and that we endure all things TOGETHER. We are sisters and brothers even without having met. Our plight is one shared because countless others are ready and willing to reach out and lift up those in need. We are strong because God gives us strength to press onward in spite of pain.
The point of this is to say, "It's ok to feel sad sometimes!" It's normal. It is NOT however the end of us...it is simply a moment in time. Surround yourself with hope by reaching out in those moments that threaten to develop into despair. Christ is our rock and His love envelops us! Nothing shall prevail against Him!
I placed this onto the Facebook page I manage, but thought I should list it here, also. Hopefully, it can be increased in size to read it.
May you be blessed always and if you feel alone, remember that we are all out here...waiting to help you find healing and hope!
Monday, September 1, 2014
Now that we are caught up, I am inclined to discuss the topic at hand. Contradiction has come to mind lately in regard to the abortion issue. Yes, those of us who are Pro-Life often see the contradiction of the Pro-Choice arguments. On one hand, they state that a woman has every right to make the "choice" herself and yet, when it is suggested that she be provided ALL of the information available in order to make an educated "choice," they run the other direction. Or, the argument that it is not a "baby" unless the mother wants it - how is this scientifically sound as an argument, by the way? Another point made is that the "baby" cannot feel nor be impacted by abortion negatively and is a non-entity until out of the womb…yet…these same persons are appalled when seeing a pregnant woman smoking or drinking.
In my master's program, our professors talk a great deal about the impact of trauma upon children as well as adults. They inform us about the long-term and far-reaching effects of any kind of trauma that is experienced early in life. Interestingly, two of my professors recently brought up the impact of trauma on children that is experienced IN THE WOMB!
Yes, unborn persons (who, by definition of Pro-Choice persons, are not really persons) experience the trauma and stress felt by the mother while in the womb…a pre-born "non-entity." I found this interesting considering the widely held opinions of most of my professors that highlight the right of a woman to choose her "reproductive health" options. So, I wonder, if the baby is able to feel trauma while in the womb…and the baby can be negatively impacted by smoking, drugs, alcohol while in the womb…and the baby can come into the world already at a deficit because of things that occurred inside the womb…then what, exactly, is "choice" really about??? Are we now saying it is ok to kill simply because we want to kill? If that is the case, then where does this "right to kill" begin and end? Truly…where? Who says? How is it justified? What is the evidence behind making that decision? Hmmmmm...
- How can we support abortion when it causes pain and suffering to the baby on a permanent level as well as trauma to the mother and others involved (i.e., baby's father, parents, etc.)?
- If we recognize the baby's ability to experience things inside the womb, then how can we then justify extinguishing what is obviously a living human being based solely upon a twisted view of choice?
- How do we ignore the suffering inside and out of the womb?
- How can we ethically walk away from actions that impact so permanently?
It is sad that so many are totally blind to the contradictions all around them. It saddens my heart that while we recognize the lasting impact of trauma upon multiple lives that we continue to perpetuate that trauma in spite of this knowledge. Society pays lip service to the idea of "do no harm" and yet, remains complacent in its repeated offenses. As a social worker, as a human being, as a Catholic, I am bound to help those who suffer and to find ways for people to heal. I am called to protect those who cannot protect themselves…I am called to social justice wherever I see harm perpetuated on one or more persons…and yet, some would have me turn away from this group of traumatized and suffering persons.
How can I ignore the suffering? How can I look past the hurt and pain, and simply do nothing? How can I serve those in need if I ignore the blatant contradiction of this type of thinking? I do not believe I can…no...I do not believe I can...
Thursday, October 11, 2012
It is by her strength that I am reminded that it does, in fact, take a great deal of it to speak about such personal experiences in an open forum. Regardless of the "friendliness" of the crowd in attendance, nothing is easy about telling a group of people that you endured an abortion that caused the death of your unborn child and... that you did it willingly...but...that now you grieve that loss every day of your life. No. It isn't easy. Often, leading up to or directly following public declarations of this nature, a spiritual warfare ensues and your very being is challenged from multiple angles. Sometimes the attacks manifest as sadness or a general feeling of being overwhelmed. Other times, it is a sudden urge to hide away from everyone's sight so no one recognizes YOU said those words. Still others, the attacks come in the forms of arguments with others, several bad days at work/school, or just generally being at odds with those around you. Speaking the truth about what is "abortion" and all that comes with it angers the Enemy and poses a threat to anyone who desires the continued perpetuation of this harm upon others in the name of "Choice." That "choice" comes with enormous consequences...
Why do it? Why put ourselves deliberately in the line of fire? Why place ourselves on a platform for all to see and judge? Why? Why? Why?
Simple answer...one word answer..God. It is by His Will that we take courage and go out into the world to speak the Truth. It is by His Grace that we can look back onto the horror of our actions and remain strong enough to speak about to others in the hope they will understand the true nature of this tragedy. It is because God loves us so much that we are forgiven and are able to extend that revelation to others who may not realize GOD REMAINS OUR FATHER WHO LOVES US DEEPLY REGARDLESS OF OUR MISTAKES!
That's right. God loves me even though I took the life of an innocent. He has the power to take my pain...the pain of others like me...and use it for good...use it to help other people. He can take evil and use it as a tool to find forgiveness and hope. How amazing is that?
As I prepare to speak to a sympathetic crowd on Saturday (at the Garden of Hope, Tulsa), I have taken time to reflect upon these things and also, upon my own abortion experience. While I take courage in Christ, the weight of that long-ago decision still threatens me from within. Particularly as I recently was able to figure out the age of my baby at the time of the abortion. That was a tough one for me last week, I must say. Especially with all the information I have now about a baby's development and since I now realize that the baby is capable of feeling pain at an early stage. But, it was something I had to face and because God knew I would one day encounter this detail, He prepared me with love as well as the healing of Rachel's Vineyard. Those things make it possible to feel the hurt and pain of my deed without necessarily reliving them. Instead, I have the ability to transform them into hope and healing.
My baby girl, Gabrielle Elise, was on the cusp of what the abortionist said was "just barely in time" so that he could still perform the abortion. That statement has haunted me for years and last week, I finally gained the courage to look up the State of New York limitations on abortion (I had my abortion in NYC). I found that abortions were legal at different stages, but only in certain settings. For instance, an abortion could be conducted at a clinic up to the 12th week. After that, a patient must have the procedure done in a hospital setting on an in-patient basis. This means, I was either in the 12th week, or just prior to it.
Wow. No words. Just a heaviness in the chest.
Some facts of what had developed in my child by that time:
- Vocal chords
- Eyes move closer together
- Ears are in proper position
- Intestines move into position
- Liver begins to function
- Pancreas is producing insulin
- Kidneys secrete urine into bladder
- Brain development is rapid
- New nerve ending connections are made, daily
- Most systems are fully formed
My fear, my inability to act in contradiction to all of those opinions swirling around me caused pain, suffering, and death to a perfect little being that was supposed to be safely tucked away inside my womb. Again...if not for the healing mercy of God through Rachel's Vineyard and the loving support of my husband, this information could have very easily caused me to spiral into significant emotional pain all over again. I had my suspicions until now and this was confirmation of what I had actually done.
How does a person reconcile something of this magnitude? How does a person overcome such an act of selfish fear? Again...I say to you...G-O-D! It is by His MERCY that I am able to carry onward today in spite of recognizing this horror. It is by His WILL that I am guided so that my mistake may not be someone else's. It is by His GRACE that I overcome this trauma so that I might help others through theirs.
Why do I speak about something so incredibly personal?
Because how will others know of God's love and the healing awaiting them if those who suffered in silence continue to remain silent themselves?
God is love and He teaches us that loving one another, especially through our pain, is of the highest priority. It took others loving me through mine to get me here. How could I not, in turn, bring that miracle and hope to someone else? How could I say "no" to God when He said "yes" to me?
May you always keep God close in your heart.
May your suffering be healed.
May your voices be heard.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Some of you may not be aware that I recently decided to pursue higher education and obtain college degrees. I've been on this journey for the past 2 1/2 years and recently graduated with an associates from a community college. Now, I am a student at a university pursuing my bachelor's in social work. It has been a wonderful journey thus far and one I cannot imagine being possible without God, my husband, and Rachel's Vineyard.
Particularly interesting to me is the ability I now have to engage people from various backgrounds, ages, and ethnic heritages in many subjects, including that of abortion. The fact is that before Rachel's Vineyard, I could not even speak "abortion" aloud. After Rachel's Vineyard, I was quite good at it, to a fault. I had to learn balance and compassion in my tone. The years leading up to my retreat, I had become more and more Pro Life, but not to any degree where I would engage in conversations for the most part. Afterwards, I sought every opportunity. I had trouble having a conversation with someone who was Pro Choice or undisturbed by what occurs in women (and men) post-abortion. Emotions would often take me over and I grew more and more aggressive, but not always taking into consideration remaining respectful. I was charged!
God has helped me a great deal in this area. He has helped me through exposure to people who believe quite differently. I had to navigate conversations, face-to-face, and avoid heightened emotions taking over. A challenge, indeed. However, it was one of the best things that could have happened. Not only did I grow in conviction about this issue, I grew in understanding how to speak with others about it without harshness. There is something lost when debating on such a subject online instead of in person. People lose sight of one another as "people" and feel free to speak rudeness and hurt freely. Too freely. Having to navigate these conversations in the "flesh" has been another gift from God.
I have friends, whom I love dearly, that still feel a woman has a right to an abortion at-will and that do not acknowledge the pain and suffering associated with abortion. I could never have imagined calling people with whom I so vehemently disagree "good friends" prior to my school experience. My how God does put things into our lives to further educate us in His Will! As a result of all this, I found a more compassionate voice. I found a way to be passionate and assertive without pushing people so far from my message that it becomes lost in an abyss or rejection. I could not have learned that lesson if I had kept my debating limited to online discussions or among like-minded people. God knew that and He provided an opportunity geared toward my growth.
I am not suggesting that everyone suddenly take up the task of bringing debates into person-to-person situations haphazardly, however, I am encouraging everyone who has a calling to "speak out" to do so in more than just one venue. We should all be well versed in multiple mediums if we hope to successfully spread The Truth, especially as it concerns those who are lost, hopeless, or even angry and resentful. Although some Pro Choice persons are without reason and spew vile filth, it is important to remember that they are actually a minority. Most who support that position are actually disillusioned, misinformed, or simply cannot accept life beginning with conception. Those things do not make them evil, just as my succumbing to an abortion at 17 did not make me evil. God has great mercy and love for all of us, just waiting to be accepted. If we forget all we endured as a result of abortion touching our lives in some way, then how can we ever hope to bring that healing to those who need it?
These are just some of my thoughts brought on by the amazing things God has put into my life. I praise Him in all things and thank Him for helping my suffering bring about a whole new world healing, openness, and forgiveness, which may have otherwise been lost to me.
Sunday, June 10, 2012
The funny thing about Satan, however, is that he is patient and never gives up. He awaits that moment when he knows we are weak...he whispers to us so subtly that we are barely aware of his presence. He comes in the shadows through our desires and feeds upon our insecurities. He is the master at manipulating our emotions and can encourage the resurgence of an abyss in our hearts. If we are not careful, we are likely to fall prey to his devices and ruin the progress made thus far.
Some of you may be wondering why this post appears so dark and almost poetic in its descriptions of feelings that should no longer exist, right?
I was confused by that very thing. For weeks I have struggled with an inner sadness and dark spot on my soul. No matter how I tried to rise out of the abyss, I continued to sink further and further into it. My prayers became like dust in my mouth without substance. My words felt hollow. I continued to follow my "duty" in life at work, church, home, etc., however, none of "felt" right or good. I was empty...I have been completely empty.
Then, finally, God spoke to my heart and reminded me of a pain I try so hard to put away. I recalled that it was, in fact, in May/June that I became pregnant 20+ years ago. It was, in fact, the summer time that holds that darkness for me. It was, in fact, in August that I made a decision that would forever influence my life. In August, 1991, I ended the life of my child and it altered everything from that point forward.
Thinking on this now, I realize that every summer...since that fateful year...I descend into what someone once termed, "The Valley of Chris" where I lose my ability to truly feel God's presence in my life and shut everything and nearly everyone, out of my life. It has been a subconscious occurrence and until now, from year-to-year, I had not even made the connection. Why then, now do I become aware? Why is it that I finally "see" what is happening? How is it that I was blind for 20 years to this within me and only NOW realize it?
It is through HIM that we truly "see" things in our lives. It is because of HIM that we are able to pull ourselves out of darkness whenever it wraps its tentacles about our throats. It is by HIS WILL and STRENGTH that we find our way back to the light and remember that our past DOES NOT DEFINE US!
Funny that I missed noticing how Satan still had his sharp claws within me, isn't it? That is how crafty he can be...he is patient and subtle and not always the "big bad scary" that leaps at us with blazing eyes and evil sneering.
No, often he comes in a form that is difficult, if not impossible to recognize.
He floats in unnoticed and then, begins his gradual tearing down of our defenses.
I believed my healing journey began that wonderful weekend at Rachel's Vineyard. And, in fact, it had. However, the mistake I made was believing there was nothing more to it other than accepting the healing and simply, moving onward with God's revealed Will for my life. Satan planned on that given that he knew he had already lost one battle. So, he was patient and seeped into a hidden part of my soul waiting for the moment when I would be weak and unguarded. Little did I know that when I began my journey of healing, I was also challenging the ENEMY to "up his game" because I was continuing to move away from him and reaching for the light of our Saviour.
You see...Satan failed to destroy me through my abortion. He failed to keep me from that healing Grace offered by Our Lord God through the people at that retreat. He further failed when I found my voice and accepted God's direction for my life.
One epic fail after another, and I imagine I frustrated the hell out of him, no pun intended!
I was so swept up in my new found confidence, that I forgot how calculating he is when it comes to these battles on Earth. I left, unprotected, the vulnerable place in my heart that belongs to my sweet Gabrielle Elise. I permitted his infection to surround my heart in a way that was almost imperceptible until I was suffocating from its embrace.
I am certain now, that he is once again angry. I am certain now, that he is recoiling and aiming to strike me in a new way. I am certain now, that he is not finished with throwing stumbling blocks into my path. However, I will not allow that to deter me in any way. I have spent the past month in a lake of sadness and despair. I will NOT continue along that road and refuse to be further distracted by his deceptions.
The point of this post is to set out a reminder...not only for myself, but for all of us. Healing is a continual process and there are no guarantees that we will not find days that are difficult for us even after we have found healing in certain ways. However, we must always remember the promises of love, mercy, and joy that we experienced at our retreats. Whenever possible, we must return to that "safe place" in our retreat rooms where we realized that God is there and ready to walk with us through all of the pain and sorrow. He has NEVER abandoned us and when we feel separated from Him, we must resolve to pray that much harder and with more determination.
"Who is here to condemn you?"
"Then, neither do I condemn you. Go in peace and sin no more."
Life is not about "feeling good" all the time. Life is about serving God the best way we can and that means choosing the right path, even when it is hard to do so. Faith is about doing the right thing, even when we are "feeling it" at that moment. Our faith is what shall carry us through those dark moments. Satan hopes we will remain there and give up. God knows that we can rise above it, however, which is why Satan tries so desperately to separate us from Him.
DON'T GIVE IN!
I gave Satan the past month of my life. During that time, everything lost its appeal. I felt no joy, no happiness, no true emotion. I disdained myself. I felt no draw to any other person. I refuse to continue in this feeling...no more!!!
My abortion will be something I carry with me always because I can never "undo" it. I accept that. I will not have children, naturally (unless God feels a miracle is in order, which would be in accordance with His Will). I accept that. I DO NOT accept, however, Satan's charge that I am worthless and doomed to fail in this life and prevented from entering into the next with my Lord God as a result of my abortion. He will undoubtedly "up his game" once again as a result of this epiphany, but I will draw strength through Christ continually.
Remember that our abortions do NOT define us. Satan will try to keep us living in our past and sinking into that unworthy feeling. No, rather, we can use the pain of our past to create a brighter, more loving future for others. We can use our loss as a way of helping others through theirs. God can do good with anything, all we have to do is remain open to His Will!
However, when Satan does try to pull us down with shame and temptation, remember how St. Teresa of Avila handled him,
"When the devil reminds you of your past, tell him of his future!"
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Destruction of life is not a lightweight thing to carry around and yet, people who are "for choice" seem to believe it is not such a serious matter. Some believe that because we "chose" abortion that we should not continue thinking on the matter or worse, we don't deserve to grieve. Others believe that why they might "personally" be against abortion because they believe it is wrong, they do not have a right to tell someone else they cannot have that "choice." It saddens me that while someone can admit it is wrong that they cannot apply that truth toward others. As a result, we have far too many abortions completed each day (thousands) and far too many living victims of that act that continue to suffer the loss of their child.
Since obtaining my own healing, I realized that I could no longer remain silent in this matter. Why would I ever want another person to suffer my fate? How could I sit idly by and watch it happen? No. I must work to help others protect those without a voice and also, those who would otherwise suffer the pain and loss of that precious life.
The following is a copy of the note that I wrote in response to some of the people I encountered online. One person, in particular. I hope you will read it and consider the importance and value of each life. The mother, father, and unborn child must all be protected. Peace to you.
So, recently, on the Pro Life discussion board (on Facebaook), someone accused me of having a "pseudo psychological" experience with regard to my abortion. Later, she also said that I was using "scare tactics" when sharing my own, personal abortion story.
Hmmmmm...so, if I share my story...a very real perspective of a first-hand abortion experience, then I am using scare tactics and, my experience is invalid...not genuine...not noteworthy on any level. Well...I replied to her that if she is "scared" by the story, then she should try imagining what it was like to be there, going through it. If my story frightens anyone, then perhaps it is because it strikes a chord...hits a very real nerve...it highlights how unnatural and wrong abortion is and the damage it can do to a person. Not only does it extinguish a life, it forever changes another person...or...persons.
My heart is sad to think that people can be so focused on their own agendas and opinions that they would rather deny any possible pain associated with abortion rather than deal with the genuine effects of it on countless men and women. They would rather ignore an entire group of people and deny them any sort of help rather than admit that this could, indeed, be the cause of some serious problems.
We need to pray that much harder and that much more. To think that our society is becoming this heartless and without conscience is truly a frightening thing. Once we lose our ability to be sympathetic...to give dignity to others...once we give in to only "reacting" to the things around us and running on personal desire and passions alone, then what...exactly...separates us from the animals???
If anyone tells you that "post abortion syndrome" is not real and to "just get over it" then they are living in denial. It is VERY real. Most men/women suffer in silence because no one told them they are allowed to grieve. No one provides them with the outlet to talk about it and discuss how it has affected them. Healing is out there...do not despair...do not give up hope!
God is waiting. Hope is waiting. If you are suffering from the effects of abortion, then please contact Rachel's Vineyard Ministries. Their Web site is: www.rachelsvineyard.org.
Additionally, there is a Rachel's Vineyard Retreat in the Tulsa (OK) area on the weekend of March 16-18. If you would like to consider attending this retreat, please contact Catholic Charities at (918) 949-HOPE. Ask to speak with Mary Lee Ingram about Rachel's Vineyard. The journey toward healing begins here. It certainly did for me.
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Recently, I was approached by a brave young woman who asked me to share her personal story with others. I am deeply honored she would ask me to do such a wonderful thing. Therefore, please take the time to read her story of anguish and courage. For the sake of privacy, I have changed her name and the name of her daughter, but not the details of her story, which remain true and intact. We should pray that more women exhibit such strength in the face of untold opposition and fear.
My name is Mary and I would like to tell you a story. A story about a young, 22-year old girl who was terrified, but made a choice for life against all odds and in opposition to what today's society teaches us. This is my story. The events relayed here happened to me a very real person who was faced with the ultimate moral decision. Do I truly respect life, or do I only respect the lives of those who come into being with forethought and desire for their presence? I was about to find out.
My husband and I had recently separated and my marriage was gone. I went to visit a friend and have a drink. In fact, she decided to throw a party that evening and I proceeded to drink two beers. I cannot tell you if the party was fun or if I enjoyed it in the least. Why? Because I do not remember even the slightest detail. What do I remember?
Waking up the next morning...disoriented...naked...headache...and upset stomach. I was extremely conused. I asked my friend what happened the night before?
She told me I had passed out, so she decided to place me in one of the empty bedrooms to sleep it off. Beyond that, she doesn't have any idea what happened beause she was busy elsewhere in the party. She assumed, sadly, I was safe. Although, even at that moment, nothing occurred to me, either. I didn't consider something terrible happened to me that evening and simply went home and thought nothing of it. Nothing, that is, until something changed two months later.
I began to feel sick and the smell of even my most favorite foods would cause me to wretch. It was then I began to fear what was happening to me. With imploring eyes and terrified heart, I searched my mother's face for answers. The words that came from her mouth shot complete horror and disbelief through my soul. She said I was pregnant. I was stunned. No, that could not be true. I told her that you only get pregnant when "doing things" that could result in pregnancy. And since, at this time, thinkgs still weren't coming together, I did not believe anything could have caused me to become pregnant.
Still, I decided to see a doctor the next day. What I found out there would irreversibly change my life forever. I was terrified, but knew I needed to get answers. While in his office, I described what I was feeling and then, we ended up talking about that night, two months prior, where I experienced the odd set of circumstances including my waking up in a highly suspect state. The doctor, oddly enough, had been at this same party. What a coincidence! I conveyed to him what my friend told me about the night before and how I woke up the next morning. It was then he described the "date rape" drug to me and I felt sicker than I have my entire life. My body began to shake and I was all-at-once experiencing something totally unimaginable. Was it possible? Was this really happening to me?
The doctor had to take some time to calm me down after that. He was kind to me and seemed to understand what I must be feeling. I submitted to a pregnancy test and to my astonishment and shock, I tested positive. Was this really happening to me?
It wasn't, however, until several weeks later that I accepted and realized I was, indeed, pregnant. With that realization came the consideration of whether or not I was truly ready for another child. My first child was born when I was 20, only two short years prior to this event. I was suffering a broken marriage and I was utterly alone. How could this be happening to me? Why?
My pregnancy was a tormented state for seven long months as I continued to contemplate the possibility of abortion. Yes, during that entire time, I kept thinking about the "choices" I had and whether or not that might be the best thing in the long run. After all, I was alone, I already had one young child, and this was a child of rape. What life could I offer it? After those thoughts of abortion finally passed, I moved onto thinking of adoption for all of the same reasons. It was an emotionally taxing time for me.
Finally, during the eighth month of pregnancy, I snapped out of my self-loathing and confusion. I refused to permit what happened to me and the person who did it to have any further control over me or my life! I was done! I also decided that my baby, my child, my daughter deserved a mother, her birth mother. I accepted my role as her mother from that day forward and would never again change my mind!
The day I gave birth to Sarah was one of the happiest of my life! I thanked God for supporting me during my time of grief and trouble. I thanked Him for helping me decide against abortion.
My daughter is now five years old and I love her, dearly! She has a few areas of concern and has ADHD but we work on those things together one day at a time. Never would I consider giving her up or changing my mind to give her life. Sarah is my precious gift from God and I could never have given that chance up. I am grateful I was not swayed to do so during the time of my vulnerability.
Today, I have three children in total. I also have experienced the loss of a child through miscarriage. Although I love each of my children, I have to admit a special place in my heart particularly exists for Sarah, alone. It was her life that gave mine hope through the act of courage and strength I was able to exhibit through my decision to choose life. A decision I will never regret and for which I am eternally grateful!
Mary's story is so touching and heartfelt. It is one that speaks of great courage and commitment to LIFE above and beyond what society told her she should do. The love she experiences through her children and most especially, through her daughter, shall be a gift she can hold onto for all eternity. How precious a gift each child is to us. How sacred those defenseless lives carried in the womb.
Imagine the anguish Mary would now feel if she had NOT chose to respect that life?
Imagine the tragedy of a world without the lovely and precious Sarah.
I would also like to add to this story the fact that we, as post-abortive women, know full well the answer to the "imagine if" question posed above. Therefore, I implore each of you to seek healing if you suffer from abortion and also, to help others be prevented from suffering so very much unnecessarily. I hope Mary's story shall serve as an inspiration to us all.
Mary is a strong supporter of LIFE and also, remains an advocate for adoption as an alternative to abortion. Although adoption was not her choice, she feels it is a worthwhile choice for women not ready or unwilling to parent. It is a choice to provides dignity and respects the Sanctity of Life.
NOTE: If anyone has questions for Mary or even comments, please leave them below. I am happy to forward them to her on your behalf. Any responses she has will be placed in the comments box below, as well. Thank you for respecting her request to remain anonymous at this time.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Today, I attended a prayer breakfast featuring the Pro Life leader Georgette Forney of the Silent No More Awareness group. It was a good opportunity to show support for this great cause and listen to a national spokesperson discuss abortion. It was great to see so many turnout for the event. I saw many people with whom I have worked on past campaigns and also, friends with whom I still remain in contact. I hope that some were able to gain some insight and perhaps, additional information about the abortion industry. I hope people walked away with additional knowledge of yet another resource for the Pro Life minded person.
What struck me, however, is the Personhood Act subject matter that arose at the end of the speaking engagement. I was hoping to learn much more about it, especially where it concerns our National Conference of US Bishops. We were all encouraged to show support for this legislation, but unfortunately, I do not feel the questions to which I needed answers were addressed. One woman brought up the very question I had, however, I do not believe our speaker (not Ms. Forney at that point in the presentation) was familiar enough with the opposition considering his response.
Therefore, I did a little research on my own. As you know, I support the dignity of LIFE with NO EXCEPTION. I never want another man or woman to suffer as the result of an abortion. I never want to see an innocent life destroyed because they have no voice in the womb. It stands to reason that I should support Personhood given all of that, right? I'm still unsure.
Yes. Unsure. I say it because while the cause is noble and makes sense, there may be unforeseen consequences that end up negatively affecting our LIFE cause. So, I am still weighing my support and determining for myself where that support should lie. My reasoning was found while I did some research and came across what the Bishops and Interfaith communities stated as their concerns over supporting the measure of Personhood.
For your convenience, I am pasting what I found below. I encourage each of you to do your own research, pray, and determine for yourselves where you stand in this matter. Do not simply believe it because someone whom we trust is in support of it. It is vital that we know well what it is that we support and all the aspects of it. Don't you agree?
Here is the information I came across (link where I found this particular information is listed below, as well - I did note that it supported much of the information I read on other sites and sources, as well):
Read more: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-11-09/politics/30376845_1_abortion-restrictions-ban-abortion-pro-life-activists#ixzz1jTySdPCK
Another reason for my doubt is that the National Right to Life organization, who is (in fact) affiliated with our Oklahomans for Life, is opposing statewide measures at Personhood. Oklahomans for Life is currently rallying statewide support via petitions and I am holding back from signing them at this time. Again, I point to the real concerns that arise and if something like this, on this level, could in fact hinder our abolition of the Roe v. Wade decision, then I have serious reservations about supporting it. So, I will continue to research and discern where my support should ultimately rest. Until then, I shall refrain from supporting either position.
This is a matter of deep, personal consideration. While we strive to end abortion on a nationwide scale, and while we continue to support laws that provide more and more protection to the unborn as well as the mothers, we must be careful not to become so lost in our zeal for LIFE that we ignore possible road blocks or total wreckage ahead. If we can avoid them, we absolutely should. Regardless of your position, I do not believe that anyone should take their decision lightly. Research, pray, and decide for yourself.
Life is too valuable. From conception until natural death. Peace.
Sunday, December 25, 2011
As a post-abortive person, Christmas can sometimes become a struggle. There are so many messages out there celebrating the coming of our Savior into the world. Other messages herald our Lady's courage in saying "yes" under extreme circumstances - a very Pro Life message, indeed. The ultimate one, in fact. However, when we fail to forgive ourselves and permit God's love to shine upon us, then these messages can be daggers to the heart instead of the hope-filled ones intended. To some, it can become devastating, causing further retreat into oneself. So, what do we do?
We remember that Christ came for ALL OF US and He came most especially for the sinners. He came because there was much work to be done and much that needed redemption. He did not come for the righteous, but for the opposite. He came to be the hand that reached out to us when we fell.
It can be particularly easy to further punish ourselves during these times of year. Especially when families are gathered and we look around a room that should be filled with one or more additional voices. Voices that we ended before they spoke a single word. The pain of acknowledging that is difficult on any normal day...it is excruciating on days like these. I speak to each of you as someone who knows the pain and suffering, personally. I ask you to turn toward God's light rather than away. I humbly beg that you listen not to the self-hating or denying voice of Satan who only wants you to continue running from God's loving embrace.
Remember, especially today, He came for us! All He is waiting for is you to turn to Him and give Him the pain you carry.
Nothing is too powerful for Him. All you need to do is ask it of Him and it shall be done.
Let this Christmas be one of hope and release from captivity. Allow Christ to fulfill His promise to you and let go of the shadowy darkness that has followed you for so long. God is with us, always. Especially in our pain. He is awaiting us at every turn. He loves us so much, He gave His only begotten son. Is there really anything we could do to be unworthy of Him now?
Peace and blessings to you all. I pray you have a Merry Christmas and receive God's mercy and love every day of your lives.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Needless to say, my plan is vastly different than what God had in store for me. Rather than "mothering" my own children, I find myself working with young adult mothers and pregnant women.
Huh? Wait. I thought you meant...oh...I see...
While I thought, for all these years, that perhaps I would have my own children one day, God was merely preparing me for the role of another kind of mother. One that takes care of others, but not in a traditional sense. That drive upon my heart I mentioned earlier...that was God leading me toward something greater than myself and my own, personal desires. He was laying the groundwork for my new career choice as well as revitalization of my faith life. Yep, that God, He's a funny one, indeed.
"Ask and you shall receive" - isn't that the saying?
Well, I asked for the opportunity to take care of others, I just wasn't aware that God had a particular plan in mind that did not necessarily include my own children. LOL Well now, isn't that interesting?
If you've read over my previous blogs, you will know that I have been unable to conceive since I was 17 years old. At that time, I chose abortion and my life became a series of bad decisions directly after that incident. It was the worst "choice" of my life and not one that should have been available to me at all. However, regardless of the ways in which I numbed myself to the thought of what I was doing, the bottom line is I made that decision...even if my decision was "no decision" at all. I permitted other people to decide the fate of the innocent life within my womb. Is it any wonder I punished myself so much for years afterwards? The guilt, the horror, the sadness was my constant companion no matter the "outer shell" I presented at the time.
I received healing from attending a Rachel's Vineyard Retreat around 4 1/2 years ago, however, and I continue to grow in my love for The Lord daily. Healing is a process and one that I gladly take on in order to find ways of helping others who might also suffer. If my suffering aides another person, then it was not in vain. What a wonderful God we have who knows the despair we feel and is able to find ways of using it for good, in spite of our many attempts at messing things up! Good thing He is in control and not me, that's for sure!!!
As I have traveled the road towards acceptance of my fate, I've struggled with the knowledge of never again conceiving a child of my own flesh. Later, I also had to reconcile the fact that my husband and I are quickly growing beyond the age limits for eligibility for adoption, as well. During my journey of emotions, I found a great deal of peace in my faith and in turning to others in my times of grief. It has been the love of Christ that delivered me from pain. The people God placed into my life were also key factors in my healing process and I am ever grateful and humbled for each of them along the way. Although I chose to end my sweet baby's life and therefore, some might say I have no right to grieve my infertility, I know that God understands my grief and He knows my repentance for that terrible act is sincere. It gives me great hope to know He is such a loving and forgiving God that no sin is so great that it reaches beyond His all-encompassing hand of mercy.
Now, in my 38th year of life, I am without natural children and little hope for adoption considering the direction of my life at this time (yes, I am a student in college). It strikes me how amazing the gift God placed in my hands ever so subtly truly is. I am speaking about my career choice and degree plan. What better way of acting upon the motherly spirit of caring, love, guidance, advocacy, understanding, and helpfulness (all characteristics of any mother) than to be in the midst of those who need those very things the most? Can you imagine a better way to serve our Lord than to be among the people whom He loves? I cannot. And, it occurs to me that if I did get my original wish...if I had been able to conceive and bear my own children, I would never have experienced the joy that is now my life.
Working at the Madonna House (residential program for pregnant women who are in crisis) and attending college for social work are things that bring me more fulfillment than I could ever imagine. I am able to bring Christ to "the least of these" every day and that is, in a word,
Every day at work, I am encouraged to bring Christ into every aspect of my interactions with the ladies at Madonna House. I am constantly surrounded by reminders of our Lord God and the Staff works together to ALWAYS be the Hands of Christ to each person we encounter. Wow...just wow!
I could never have the time to commit to such a career if not for my infertility. I could never work toward a college education in the field of social work if I had my own children. Yes, some can and do pursue such things while being parents...I am simply aware of my own, personal limitations...whatever I do, I go "all in" so if I had children, I simply wouldn't be able to balance other things such as schooling and an intense career. I have deep respect for those who can...I am simply not that talented! So I suppose that I am finding blessings even in the midst of suffering and isn't that what God hopes we will come to eventually? Rather than focus upon the hurts of lives or disappoints, shouldn't we always strive to embrace the positive and joyous moments instead?
God is all knowing and all powerful. He could easily have forced His way into my life...forced me to choose what He wanted for my life...and given me no choice at all. Sure. He could have left me to suffer an entire lifetime of despair after my abortion, as well. But, no, we have a loving and merciful God. He is not only a just God, but He balances the two things, perfectly. Justice and mercy go hand-in-hand. I suffered for all of the missteps of my life, whether through accountability or simply consequences to my own actions. However, never did God withhold His love and mercy during any of those times.
It is by His permissive Will that I came to make my mistakes, even though He cried at what I had done. It is by His Grace and the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ that I was able to return home to Him afterwards. And, it is because I chose (yes, CHOSE) to follow Him in spite of all my mistakes that I now experience the joys of a loving and supportive marriage, unimaginable joy in my career, and the thrill of growth in spirit and mind while attending college. He permitted me to choose and because I freely came to Him, I am even more committed to fulfilling His Will for me...His Plan than I would have had I been forced into it.
So...my plan was basic and simple...essentially, going through the motions of life until I figured out something...anything. I wanted children, but had no real plan. I wanted to feel fulfilled and thought I had a plan. That plan fell apart and I was lost. Then, God placed a few things in my path and fortunately, I was ready to start listening to Him. Since that day, since that journey of humbling myself to His Will began, I have experienced more true happiness than I could have ever "planned" for myself. Through all of the anguish in my life, God gently lifted my chin, wiped away my tears, and helped direct me onto a path that would lead me where I wanted to go because He knew better than I what I searched and longed for in my life...even if it was different than the map I had in my hand at the time.
God is good, indeed. We should all learn to "let go and let God" more often.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
With that said, much has happened, lately. I've encountered situations where my faith has been put to the test as well as my viewpoints on things such as abortion, contraception, and even, being a devout Catholic. Some of the challenges have come from the usual suspects in debating forums or posts on Facebook. Others have come from sources closer to home through conversations with friends, family, co-workers, and classmates.
What I truly and sincerely enjoy is the opportunity to talk with people who can clearly articulate a viewpoint even if it is in direct opposition to mine. By "clearly" I mean a person who expresses their passion through educated debate and not by meaningless dribble like, "because I said so" or "I will if I want to" or even resorting to name-calling...or...one of my favorites, deflecting the conversation entirely onto another topic because they've realized they cannot intelligently defend their position. Where has the art of debate gone? What happened to people using civilized means by which to have discussions? Be passionate...absolutely! I sure am! But, there is a difference between passion and anger resulting from frustration at an inability to communicate one's point. Don't you agree?
I spoke to a group of youth a few weeks ago at a Pro Life lock-in. Their ages ranged from 14-17. I was asked to share my own abortion story with them and then, field questions. So, I shared the most pertinent part of it...the moments after I awoke from having had the abortion. I shared what it was like to be 17 and in that situation and how all it would have taken for me to reconsider that life-shattering decision was ONE VOICE. Initially, they didn't know what to say. Then, after one question, here came the hands, one after another. I thanked God at that moment for allowing me to have the strength of knowledge behind my words. These kids were looking for more than a personal story...they wanted facts, information, resources. I praised God that He had led me to be a Pro Life advocate and not just a person with a story to share because in that moment, I was able to give them what they desired.
This is why I continue to do what I do via Facebook, in person, by writing letters, posting blogs, and speaking at various public engagements. Because one person can and does make a difference. There is no telling how many people will receive the information I put forth that night, but even if only one other person is reached, then it's one person more than there was prior to that night. One of the "tidbits" of new information I provided that night was the resource of Abby Johnson. She is the former Planned Parenthood Director who now advocates for LIFE.
I've stated it before and I'll restate it now...so often, when working with post-abortive persons, I hear time and again how they waited for someone to "rescue" them from going through with their abortion. They waited for someone, anyone, to stand up and tell them they didn't have to do this...and...most often, that person they awaited was the child's father...sometimes sitting in the waiting room feeling lost, alone, and regretting what was happening while feeling helpless himself.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
The Tulsa Area 40 Days for Life Kick-Off Rally is scheduled for
tomorrow (Wednesday), 9/28, beginning at 6:00 PM. It will be at the
usual location (The Garden of Hope), across from Tulsa's abortion clinic
near 31st & Sheridan. I ask that you consider one or more of the
- Plan to attend the rally and show your support for the various speakers, one of whom is giving testimony about her own abortion story!
- Pray for all those who suffer from abortion and also, for the unborn!
- Pray for the peaceful gathering of 40 Days for Life supporters and that their prayers for ALL affected by abortion are heard!
- Sign-up for at least one (1) hour of prayer at the site sometime during this year's campaign!
- Forward this information onto your friends and family members and ask them to do one or more of the following!
I thank each of you for considering these items. The unborn are precious and deserve dignity. We pray, daily, for their souls and the souls of all those who are involved with abortion in any way. Often, men and women suffer in silence. Once they go through with abortion, they are unaware they DO have the right to grieve the loss of that child.
While we focus our prayers on the prevention of future abortions and for the unborn, themselves, it is also vital we pray for the people who suffer as a result of abortion. That includes the abortion clinic doctors and staff. That includes the brothers, sisters, friends, grandparents, aunts, and uncles who lost the opportunity for that person to be in their lives, as well, because they were aborted.
Simply put. Abortion hurts. It's about more than statistics. It's beyond the fact that it is life. Abortion destroys motherhood and is the irrevocable act that brings despair to all who encounter it on one level or another. I know that feeling all-too-well. I work so that others may avoid making that desperate decision when they feel lost, alone, and terrified. I pray that God gives me strength, wisdom, and patience to do His work here on Earth for an eventual end to the devastation that IS abortion.
Peace be with you all.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Christine Monteith (@Mondabi2000) has shared a Tweet with you:
"Mondabi2000: In our fight against abortion, let us not forget how people get to a place where they are considering it!
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Early during the retreat, our Deacon (recently ordained and gosh, we ARE proud of him!), reflected upon a very familiar living scripture. It was the woman caught in adultery. Many of us are quite familiar with the story of the poor woman who was dragged into the center of the crowd as a means of testing Jesus. It is heart wrenching to think what that woman must have endured in those moments, all eyes on her. Who knows what proof, if any, these men even had. Yet, she was there, moments away from losing her life in accordance with how they understood the law. The so-called "leaders" were poised to catch Jesus in contradiction and thereby, undermining his teachings and leadership role they felt had been stolen from them.
But...what does Jesus do? How does he respond to what has occurred? He ignores it. Instead, he bends down to write in the ground with his finger. Many have disputed what that may have been, but all we know is that Jesus was not going to respond in the manner they expected. He knew their evil and manipulative plans. He was most likely tired of this game they insisted on playing.
Can you imagine the power of those words? The air must have been thick with anticipation. People probably began to shuffle their fit in discomfort (as was discussed in our retreat) and looked to see who might be the first to do so. Nothing. Instead, they left. One-by-one, the crowd dispersed until only the frightened and lone woman remained."Whoever among you is without sin may cast the first stone."
I, myself, imagine her body trembling all over. I imagine her face in the dirt, holding her breath, waiting for the pang of pain to strike her at any moment. As the crowd disperses, she probably doesn't notice it because she is crouched in fear. Her body is damp with perspiration, her lungs heavy with the dirt she is inhaling while breathing the dust of the ground...her lips dry and pressed tightly together. She waits. The sound of her pulse is nearly deafening inside her ears, now. The feet begin to shuffle around her and she thinks the end is near. Enthralled in agony of anticipation, she allows tears to escape and begins to weep, but her fear is so intense no sound leaves her mouth. When the impact doesn't come, when she feels the wind in her hair because the wall of people previously preventing it has gone, she finally lifts up her head to see what has happened. She is speechless. In utter confusion, she looks at Jesus and His gentle expression begins to lift her from the agony of fear.
We all have felt like this woman at one time or another. We have all experienced the complete condemnation of those around us. We have all suffered the total loss of our dignity. Placing ourselves into that story, we can all feel the woman's racing heartbeat and nearly hear her thoughts. When we have made a mistake that is bigger than us...when we've gone too far...when we've realized that we have been found out, and every time we think to ourselves, everyone must know what a wretch I am...we are that woman!
This is what abortion feels like. This is the moment right after the procedure, when we awake from our slumber to the full weight of our actions. Knowing we cannot turn back. Realizing the finality of the deed and all-at-once feeling the despair of that act in every fiber of our being. Once the panic sets in, we wait and wait for that final judgment to come. It is out there...taunting us...we sense it...ready to strike us down into the ground at any moment.
How many of us know this term all too well? How many of us have felt each letter of that word stomped into our brains as a permanent seal of our fate? How often have we wielded it as a weapon against others in the hope of deflecting its weight for even just one moment? Too often, I fear.
Recently, while on my Facebook group page (Healing After Abortion), a comment was made by one of the members that stated,
Extremely strong words to be used on a page dedicated to finding loving means by which to end abortion. A page that focuses on helping others heal from abortion. Not something I expected in that particular group, but it probably confirmed many who fear such people are out there...ready to judge...ready to write them off. I'd say this falls heavily under condemnation, don't you agree?"Abortion is cold blooded murder, the sinner should face prison for life."
Isn't this the condemnation we, as post-abortive persons, have awaited?
No. It is not.
Is anyone out there without sin?
No. No one.
Jesus showed us all the way. Not only in this story, but in several others. He was trying to tell us, even all those years ago, that focusing on the sin wasn't right. That everything cannot be about justice without mercy. That if we are going to assign such permanent sentences to those who sin, then who will be left to carry out those sentences when all is said and done?
He was trying to show us that compassion towards those who sin is what was necessary for true and complete healing. He was reaching out to someone that everyone else had given up on. He was a single voice of reason amongst indignation and hate.
Do not misunderstand. He did not state that sin was ok. No, his words were quite the contrary,
"Has no one condemned you? Then neither do I condemn you. Go and do not sin any more."Jesus basically tells her to stop the crap! LOL
I like to imagine that He helped her up from her frightened position, dusted her off and then, set her on her way. There's no proof of that, of course, but it's a nice visual in my head, any way. He didn't tell her to feel badly about it and chastise herself over it. Nope. He said to "Go and do not sin any more." In other words, He was letting her know that He was aware of her sin, but equally aware of her repentance and the suffering she had already endured. He was also equally aware of the fact that no one in that crowd was without the stain of sin.
Now, He was asking her to go forth into the world a new woman, a just woman, a faithful woman. He didn't brow beat her, tell her she owed Him one, or even tell her she was somehow less of a woman now. No, He simply told her to go..to stop sinning. She was asked to stop doing that which was causing her to be known as this terrible sinner...to stop doing what was keeping her from God. Wow.
Do we realize the power of those words? Do we fully grasp the implication of His act?
Huh. So, according to His standards ... pick ourselves back up, stop feeling like crap about something that has been done already, and for which we have suffered enough (humiliation, judgment, fear, anguish, repentance), and go out into the world to sin no more. No mention of beating ourselves up, feeling like poop every day, believing we are without value, or thinking we are less worthy than the next person of finding happiness, love, and/or good things in this life.
It almost sounds as if He now expects us to go out and do good in His name, even. Hmmmm...
Now that sounds good to me! Way better than the life-long guilt trip I had previously planned for myself. What do you think???
Ladies and Gentlemen...Praise God always. Remember to pray daily. And, when you find you've had a hard day or feel you've failed Him somehow, then pray for forgiveness. Do not wallow in your misery. That brings no glory to God.
Get rested. Try again. Keep trying until you get it right. Never give up. Always turn to Him in all things.
It's helpful if you remember...on the day you meet God, of all the things He's going to ask you, what He won't be asking you is how many times you succeeded...He'll be much too interested in talking about whether or not you tried.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
One of the more interesting sentiments I encounter from time-to-time is the whole “get over it” mentality of people who are tired of hearing about the suffering or listening to how abortion affects those who endure it. It’s as if they were willing, at one time, to be sensitive and supportive, but now, they feel that we should move onto something else.
This, my friends, is a terrible symptom of our society and the desensitization that has occurred in regard to abortion. The conversation becomes cumbersome and they long for a way out of it. Surely, we have got to get to point in our lives where we are “over it” right?
That way of thinking is one of the reasons we battle so much when it comes to this particular topic. That is why abortion doesn’t get the attention as a MAJOR issue that it truly deserves.
This is why men and women continue to suffer alone...because we are made to feel we have “x” amount of time in which to grieve and discuss it.
Then, it becomes off limits...
It’s not comfortable.
It’s a mood killer.
It is divisive.
Ladies and gentlemen, don’t give in!
Do not allow our skewed society with its focus of relativism regarding morality to overtake you. It is unjust and unfair to assume that anyone “simply gets over” or “moves on” from what we have done and lived through. Does anyone ever get over the loss of a loved one? Do parents suddenly stop missing their child who died? Does anyone decide one day they no longer miss that person they loved who passed away? If there were things left undone or unsaid, does that regret simply vanish and one just shrugs their shoulders and moves on?
Let me put this another way...does anyone say this to MADD (“Mothers Against Drunk Driving”), AA (“Alcoholics Anonymous”), people going to therapy for a variety of reasons, and other groups developed as a direct result of some kind of loss (whether loss of a loved one or loss of self through addiction)?
People and society acknowledge that there is a very REAL need for support of people affected by certain things. That people can’t simply “get over” some things. The people in their lives also work to understand, to support, and to hold up those people because they recognize it as a legitimate problem for them.
That’s easy...the abortion industry, in its attempt to keep people looking in the wrong direction, has done a superb job of billing Post-Abortion Syndrome ("PAS") as something made-up. They know, full well, that acknowledgment of this condition will only put a microscope onto what abortion REALLY IS and DOES, which might allow people to realize it is not such an uncomplicated procedure simply dealing with tissue.
After all...has anyone had to attend a support group, therapist, or weekend retreat due to grief brought on by missing their gallbladder or a kidney?
Sunday, August 7, 2011
It's perfect really...think about it...how easily we can fend off attacks that are from the exterior...how easy it is to solicit help from loved ones when the predator is clearly visible to everyone. What's not so easy is to recruit help for the battle inside our own minds and hearts. Oh, how weary we become when waging a war that no one can see, no one can hear, and no one feels. You hear it...all of the time...his quiet and whispering voice tells us:
When writing them down it is quite easy to see the laughable lies being told. It is easy to see through the attempts at weakening our soul. Placing words before us gives us the power to really "see" what is happening and adjust our course as necessary. Yet, how many of us take the time to do just that? How often do we seek the assistance of the pen and paper/computer and screen to put words to our darkest feelings and thoughts in order to release their power over us? Not often enough, I tell you. And that is how the Evil One gains ground upon us. He seeps in as a shadow upon our hearts and begins to tighten his grip upon our very existence. His plan is to separate us from all fragments of love, honor, and, ultimately, God's embrace. His goal is create such doubt in our own minds about the lives we've led and healing we've accomplished thus far that we simply abandon all hope and succumb to the darkness calling to us each day. He works to separate us from one another because "divide and conquer" is his motto.
All of this I endure because of just one "choice" that was my right, according to the Supreme Court in 1973. All of this because (supposedly) it is no more than simple tissue and an easy procedure. All of this because "it's not really a baby, not yet." All of this because of one dark moment that everyone said was the "best thing for me." All of this because in one moment, I chose to be a coward rather than take the time needed to think through a emotionally painful, terrifying, and overwhelming situation. All this because the "choice" I made was to make no choice at all.
All of us have those moments in our lives when we can look back and see...there it is...that's when it all changed...that's when I took a different path. August, 1991, is MY moment. 20 years ago this month, I walked into a clinic in New York City with my mother. I sat in a waiting room with strangers. I walked into a room with a nurse and doctor and allowed my body to lie still on a table while life was taken from me.
Now, 20 years later. No other children. No other known pregnancies. ...I find out the permanency of that fateful decision when I was just a frightened, 17-year old girl. I must schedule a hysterectomy because of medical problems that have recently heightened to a point of extreme pain and suffering. I have known for a couple of years this time would come, however, there was still hope. That piece of me still thought that a miracle could occur. Somehow, I might beat the odds and become pregnant. What an amazing gift and triumph that could be, indeed! This month, I put that dream to rest and schedule an operation that will forever make it impossible.
Given that at 17 I had no idea that was the one and only time I might be pregnant, I cannot spend much time in anger at that younger version of myself. I had to let that go long ago. How could she have known? At 17, I was healthy, vibrant, and the entire world was out in front of me. Who would think such a thing could happen? I had plenty of time to become a mother when I was older, married, and ready. How could a 17 year old girl think beyond that moment and possibly consider the long-term consequences of that one act?
I submit to each of you therein lies part of the problem with our society. Therein lies the question as well as the answer. At 17, are we capable of such decisions? No. At 17, should girls or boys be engaging in sexual behaviors...behaviors that can lead to long-term and irreparable outcomes? NO!!! While our society focuses on "safe sex" and educating our children, sexual disease and abortions continue to rise. The pain and suffering of our people rises with those numbers, as well. What then, have we accomplished by telling everyone that it's ok because it's "their choice" after all?
While so many issues come from abortion, we must remember that abortion is merely the SYMPTOM of the true problems in our lives. It is imperative that we take the time to look beyond the act of abortion and address the problems present in the lives of those women who are choosing abortion. Whether it is the problem of becoming sexually active too soon, living in abuse, or succumbing to pressure and sometimes even threats, it is vital we look to solve those problems rather than look at pregnancy as a "disease" or "problem to be solved."
A post-abortive person suffers a great deal. Either they do so in silence or their actions cry out for help. Regardless of their backgrounds or paths taken since the abortion, the pain and loss that exists can overtake a person quickly and seemingly come from nowhere. How do we combat such an enemy? What about those of us who already gave in and live with abortion in our lives? What about the people who attended retreats, receive healing, and still yet, suffer the relentless attacks upon our souls?
I submit to each of you that prayer and faith are our best allies. And, as I mentioned earlier, we must...MUST...surround ourselves with people who know the signs of our downward spiral. We need people in our lives who will NOT give us "that look" of frustration or, worse yet, misplaced pity, when we find ourselves suffering as a result of it. We must reach out to one another...to other post abortive persons who KNOW EXACTLY what we feel. It is in our shared pain that we can rise out of the depths and remember that the pain is normal, but not something that will kill us. If we reach out for help towards others in our time of need, then we can find the support required to march onward and survive the battles that come from time-to-time.
My abortion will never go away. I will never know what it feels like to carry a child in my womb...to give it life...to cradle it in my arms and kiss its sweet face while my husband holds us both. I gave that up. As much as I would love to run far from that fact, I can never escape the horror of that one act.
I am deserving of love. I am a good person. I learned from that terrible decision. I want God to lead me now and forever. I have great friends and a loving husband. I have sisters who are loving and protective.
Even on the days when it is so very difficult to keep all of those blessings in mind, I must persevere. God stands with us even when we forget He is there. In my darkness, I seek the light and pray that He consoles me until I am able to walk out of that cave and receive the gift of love awaiting me. Some days, I am all in and ready for it. Other days, I struggle to find the opening and still yet, to even walk through it when it is found. It is so important that I never give up, however. I am human and therefore, I suffer. What I cannot forget is that my suffering is not WHO I AM...it is simply a cross to bear. That requires total honesty from me not only with others, but most especially with myself.
For if Christ is with us, who therefore, can stand against us?