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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas - We are Saved!

Today, I write to say Merry Christmas to all of you.  Some are post-abortive like myself.  Others of you simply support life and/or those who suffer from abortion.  I say Merry Christmas and Christ's peace on Earth to you all.

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 pray. 

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.

 His love is capable of overcoming all fear, doubt, anger, sorrow, despair, hurt, fury, denial, and self-loathing. 

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?

The answer to that is simple...no.

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

God's Plan vs. My Plan

So, lately I've been thinking a lot about God's plan for my life and how that differs from what I may have thought it might be at one time.  After all, I had planned on having a few children by now and raising a family.  I didn't know what that looked like, exactly, but I always knew God had placed a strong "mothering" drive upon my heart.  Therefore, it was logical to assume I would have children of my own, right?

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,

A - M - A - Z - I - N - G

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. 

Peace.