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.