My point in writing this isn’t political. It isn’t to sway an opinion. It isn’t to revolutionize this topic with my spin on it. My point in writing this is simply…this is my story. God is the author of redemption and healing. This is a story of that. I knew this day would come. As a writer, I knew that there would be a day when I was so compelled to write that it would finally come pouring out and I would share it with others. Today is that day. I have shared this with some in an email, but now I am sharing it with you all. So here I am writing to you telling you that seventeen years ago I had an abortion. Seven years ago I kneeled before the Lord and trusted Him as my Savior. What I am writing now is to tell you about my experience seventeen years ago, to tell you about my experience with it now, and to give you the perspective of a pro-life, post-abortive, born-again Christian living in a time when the temperature on this subject, abortion, is extremely hot.
When the two pink lines showed on the pregnancy test I wasn’t sure what to do. Who do I call first? What do I do next? What have I done? The inner turmoil began. I didn’t want to make this decision. I wanted someone to make it for me. I felt like I would ruin my boyfriend’s life if I had the baby. I was addicted to him. In the unhealthiest of ways. He didn’t make me do it in the same way he didn’t stop me. It isn’t his fault. I thought there was no way my parents would let me give their grandchild up for adoption so I thought that option was out of the question. I didn’t tell them. (This past year, after tremendous healing, I have told my parents.) My thinking wasn’t rational or sane. It was panic induced. Obviously not capable of making wise decisions, I turned to my friends, the ones I knew that had already had an abortion. They didn’t regret it and said they knew it was the right decision for them. I heard that from three of my close friends. That number baffles me. If three of my very closest friends had one, then how many more of my acquaintances had?? I was in my first years of college at a fairly liberal school. At the time I regularly drank, smoked, and did a myriad of other drugs. Had I already hurt the baby? Could the baby already be damaged? Is it a baby? I do remember thinking it wasn’t a baby yet. So many questions and confusing thoughts but from the very first moment I started a process I wasn’t even aware of. I began to push down feelings deep down to a place I thought would be unreachable. I was preparing myself for the decision I knew I was going to make.
My boyfriend and I went to a pregnancy crisis center in that college town. I didn’t realize what a pregnancy crisis center was. A few minutes after walking inside I realized what it was and that the agenda was to save the baby. I felt like a paper bag holding a diamond inside. As long as the diamond was saved the bag didn’t matter. I could just be crumpled up and tossed to the side and go back to being the trash I was. They asked to pray for the baby with us. When my boyfriend said no they did it anyway. My boyfriend was getting angrier the longer we were there as he was realizing the Christian viewpoint that was being offered. Now in saying this I am in no way discouraging pregnancy care centers. I hope to one day volunteer at one as the Lord leads. The experience I’m sharing is not to disparage the intent of those working there but to let you see the state of mind I was in during that time. These were self inflicted labels and my eyes and ears were closed. I am not saying the diamond isn’t important. It is! Oh it is! I am SO thankful for the people and the places that exist solely to save the lives of innocent children. I am thankful for the marches and fundraisers and awareness that is being raised because of the Christian pregnancy crisis centers around the country. I am so grateful for any and every life saved because of them and I praise God for their diligence and passion and ministry. My point is this. There are two hearts that need to be saved. In trying to save the one you need to reach the other. I needed the gospel! Marches, pickets, signs, lobbying, and social media can’t reach someone the way a one on one, face to face, outreach of the gospel can. My hope is that for every picket sign held there is a discipleship relationship happening with a young person you know. My hope is that for every march there is an evangelism outreach happening in your neighborhood or the neighborhood you’ve never been to. My hope is that for every shout of the law “thou shout not murder” there is a pleading for the soul of another to kneel and give themselves to Christ. I needed the gospel. How can we expect someone to not sin if they don’t know Jesus as their Savior? This is sin we are dealing with. It isn’t an agenda, it isn’t left wing or right wing, it isn’t feminism, it is sin. Sin can only be reached and slayed by the blood and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I don’t remember every detail of the day it happened. I actually don’t know the date at all. I can pinpoint the year because of where I was living and the circumstances surrounding that time. I can’t remember the name of the place I just know the city it was in. I wanted it washed out of my mind, so holding on to facts surrounding it wasn’t something I was interested in. I do remember exactly where I was when I made the call. I remember the apartment I was in, the chair I was sitting on, and the phone book I used to look it up. I remember that I couldn’t say “abortion” so I told them I needed to make an appointment to terminate a pregnancy. I could never say that word until recently. I remember the day we drove there and I remember walking in. I remember what the waiting room looked like and that there was a television with a sitcom on. I remember filling out paper work and being taken through another door where I filled out more paperwork. At this point I was alone, my boyfriend had to wait in the waiting area. I was in a hallway and there were several rooms off from it with other women in them. Many, many, other women. I overheard conversations. I remember hearing from some that is wasn’t their first time. I remember hearing laughter. Chit chat. The cramming down of emotions continued for me. Stuff it down Holly. Way down. To that place. It won’t be reached. You won’t have to feel this again. I convinced myself it wasn’t a baby yet, but the idea of a future baby I was getting rid of was still sad. It was finally “my turn”. I do not remember what the doctor looked like. I do remember a nurse who had kind eyes. As I was laying down I heard noises, machines, and the inner turmoil began to bubble up. Stuff it down Holly!!! I was screaming on the inside, shove it down!!! Put these feelings in that place, it will be unreachable. It was over and I was a different person. I now was a mom who killed her child. I would now be nursing a scar that seemed to never want to heal. I had to go to a waiting area with other women sitting in chairs around the room. Some were chatting. Every part of my body was raging. I was bleeding. I kept having to get up to go with the nurse to the bathroom to change my pads. I was quickly becoming nauseas while back in my seat. I told the nurse I was going to throw up. She gave me a bed pan to throw up in. In that room, with all those other women, my body was so violently reacting that I couldn’t catch my breath. I was panicking. I was begging for my boyfriend but because of privacy issues they couldn’t let him in. He was waiting out the back door entrance in the car. No one else was throwing up. I seemed to be the only one having a reaction like this. Every emotion I had tried to stuff down to that unreachable place was being hurled back up all over me in my bile and blood. What had I done. When I was finally cleared to leave I went out the back door. You don’t exit where you enter. That would be bad for business. I got in the car and didn’t speak a word the whole way home. I cried and bled.
When we got home I stayed at my boyfriend’s apartment for two weeks. I told my parents and my work that I was sick. My boyfriend tried desperately to cheer me up. He took me to Carowinds; as if rollercoasters and funnel cakes could fix me. He just wanted to see me smile. Some part of him loved me because he was trying to fix it. I have two pictures from that week that my boyfriend took. I look hollow. That’s the only word I could come up with to describe how I look in those pictures. I waited tables for a living at that point. I remember the first time I waited on a family with a baby in my section after I went back to work. That is when I picked back up with and got better at pushing it all back down. The unreachable place. I developed a good poker face. Years of hiding it. Years of lying. Years of pretending it didn’t bother me when someone had a conversation with me about abortion. Pretending that song or that commercial didn’t bother me. Realizing that no hateful words or labels or judgement from others could make me feel any worse. Words like “murderer” don’t hurt; an empty womb does.
In those following years that boyfriend and I broke up. I continued pursuing a career in restaurant management. I met and married my husband. I continued drinking but stopped most of the other stuff. I was settling in to “adult” life. Friends were getting married and having kids. We still weren’t. In those years of not conceiving the self condemning continued. I deserve this. Of course I’m not going to get pregnant again, I shouldn’t be allowed to. In those years I was all over the place in my religious beliefs. I had enjoyed taking classes and studying eastern religions. I was beginning to look into and believe we are connected by energy. The universe as a vast web of minds. I was getting very far away from God in my thinking and exploring. The times I did entertain the notion that God was real and heaven and hell were too, I decided heaven wasn’t a place for me. I had done the ONE thing and had gone just too far. There were times I rationalized my decisions with fate and destiny. A lot of twisted things going on in that head of mine. Things started to disintegrate again. So many of my mistakes and decisions were catching up with me. I got a DUI, lost my license, community service, the whole humiliating deal. We still weren’t able to conceive a child. My marriage was on the verge of ruin because I was selfish, controlling, angry, and not trustworthy. Like a bulldozer pushing mounds of dirt on me I felt like I was being buried alive. That is when I could feel God putting His hand down in that pit of dirt and denial and pull me up. He reached the unreachable place. I couldn’t escape the compelling nature of a God who was pursuing me relentlessly. That is when I began to see my sin and call it that. It wasn’t just bad decisions it was sin. It wasn’t just a past of mistakes, it was sin. I was brought to salvation by a mighty and loving God, who could, yes, love EVEN me.
Now let me tell you a story of redemption. It is mind blowing! God is the best author there is. He wrote an amazing book that is alive and active and he continues to write our testimonies and our life story and I just can’t believe the one I get to live. In the beginning, after I was saved, all I knew to do was pray. I began running and praying. It was a sweet time out alone in God’s creation talking to Him. I was learning how to be a better wife. My sweet husband was forgiving and patient. After my first five mile run I came home and on a whim took a pregnancy test. It was positive. We were going to have a baby. It brought up emotions that I still hadn’t completely healed from but God continued to replace that with the truth. The cross is enough. You are forgiven. My sweet daughter was born and we realized soon after I probably wouldn’t conceive another. Cysts, removal of an ovary, endometriosis, were all contributing to the difficulty with conceiving. Adopting became a conversation. It had in the past but this time we started really talking about it. I was so clearly being led to adoption. Now I need to add something in here. My husband isn’t a Christian. During that time I was coming to know the Lord He was realizing his own beliefs. Even though we have two totally different world views and beliefs, our marriage is restored, thriving, and wonderful. I have such a kind husband. He just doesn’t know his Savior like I do. But my God is faithful. So back to adoption. We started the process and became licensed to foster/adopt in our county. A year and a half after we began the process we got a call about a little girl born on my husband’s birthday who needed a home. Her mom was brave enough to carry her and protect her for nine months. I admire her so much. I am so grateful for her decision. I am so thankful God let me be a part of this adoption story which reminds me of ALL of our adoption stories when we come to put our faith and trust in Christ. That being said, getting our second daughter brought up some of those emotions again. Do I deserve her? Would people be so happy about what we were doing if they knew what I had done seventeen years ago? Some lies and fiery darts were flying. But God in the sweet way He always does filled me with truth. One morning at church I was holding my daughter who woke up right before the service was over. Communion was starting. We were sitting in our seats getting ready to drink and eat to remind us of the blood and body of Christ. The song lyrics that were playing were “sin had left a crimson stain and He washed it white as snow.” As I sang those words and tears poured down my face and I looked down at my daughter I felt God’s arms wrapping around me. What a reminder of redemption!!! What a reminder of the life transforming power of the gospel!! My scarlet letter had followed me, that blood I could never wash off my hands, and Christ came, a perfect sinless loving Savior and spilled all his bile and blood for me. For every part of me. For the seventeen years ago massacre that happened in my body.
I needed the gospel. There are girls that are confused. There are women that are callous. There are victims of horrific acts that now have a life in their womb. There are girls scared of their parents. There are women trying to protect a reputation they think they have. There are women who believe their child would be better off in heaven. There are woman who think there is no other option. There are those that feel the burden so heavy they can’t carry it. There are women who say they don’t care if they’re going to hell. There are women who never regret it and there are women who never get over it. There are women who heal and there are women who give up. They all need the gospel. We all do. The fight for sanctity of life has to be fueled by the gospel message. I know there are those that will disagree. I know there may be someone reading this who feel no regret. My point in sharing is not to add to an argument or create a divide. I want to simply share the power of Jesus Christ to redeem and heal the hole that is there and to bear witness to his great love that saved me.
I am writing this now because my hope is that there would be less emphasis on a Facebook post with an ensuing battle in the comments to affect change, and more focus on souls needing to be won to Christ. I am speaking to my self as well and would ask that you pray for me. Pray that a discipleship relationship would be opened. Pray that I would clearly see what the next step is for me with my message and point of view that I pray God will use to save lives! Pray that I would be able to build a relationship with the Pregnancy Care Center when and if that is the direction God wants me to go. I do not feel this epidemic, this mass killing in our country, will be changed by shouts, by hateful words, by pointing the finger and condemning, by ranking sin, or by giving up. It will be changed by Jesus Christ. One person at a time hearing about and coming to know Him as their Lord and Savior and then continuing to be discipled in love and truth. Policy makers, lobbyists, and government regulations won’t change the heart of a women who is determined to end the life of her child. But Jesus can!