A devotional shared courtesy of Abortion Recovery InterNational
By Gwen Smith
November 6, 2009
Today's Truth "Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame." Psalm 34:5
Friend to Friend,
I remember the phone call to my college boyfriend. Through sobs, I managed to tell him I was pregnant.
There was a long pause on the other end of the phone ... and then came the speed round of questions and comments: "What are we going to do? Do you think we should get married? Oh, my gosh ... Oh, my gosh...what are we going to do? Do you want to have this baby? What are we going to do? What about volleyball? What will your parents say? What will my parents say? Oh, my gosh!"
Like trapped animals, we were frantically looking for a way out. Then we made our decision. We would take care of it. It wasn't time for us to have a baby yet.God wasn't consulted. He wasn't invited into our decision.
Adam and Eve hid in the garden after eating the forbidden fruit. My boyfriend and I hid from God and did what we considered to be our only option. We made a plan. He would pick me up and take me to a clinic that I read about in the yellow pages.
When the day came, we drove in icy silence. I was Fort Knox. No one was going to break through the emotional walls I had constructed for protection.
You see there was never a moment that I believed having an abortion was the right thing to do. I only stubbornly and naively believed that my choice was the only ladder to grab out of the horrible pit I had dug for myself. I was wrong. Dead wrong. There, in the sterile room of that stale clinic, I used an alias. I wasn't Gwen. My charts did not say that I was Gwen, the girl who was raised by good parents, the girl who was raised in the Word of God to know right from wrong. The counselor I had met with said that using my name could have made me feel uncomfortable with the "harmless and legal procedure" I was having done that day. Nobody else needed to know. I was anonymous.
It was my secret. A secret of chains that bound me in silence for the ensuing fifteen years - a secret kept because I mistakenly assumed that no one else could handle the ugly truth of my sinfulness with grace and forgiveness. I was a Christian girl. Christians don't get pregnant when they aren't married, and Christians don't have abortions, right? It was all too scandalous, and I was crazy afraid of the consequences.
Most of that day was a blur. It was a dark, cold January day. Though the clinic was lit with bright fluorescent lights, the flame of dignity and hope in my heart had grown dim. I blocked out all the voices in my head as they contested what I was doing. I was desperate and scared.
I was Peter. Simon Peter was a fisherman Jesus had called to be a fisher of men. His relationship with Christ was passionate and intimate, but far from perfect. He was a disciple, one of Jesus' closest friends. Jesus called Peter "the rock," and he would eventually go on to build the foundation of the Christian church.
But before he did, the Bible shows us, in Luke 22:54-60, that the night Jesus was arrested, Peter "followed at a distance," sat in a courtyard with enemies of Jesus, and denied the Lord he loved three times. Remarkably, Jesus knew Peter would betray Him, yet still extended advanced mercy as He said to him, "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers" (Luke 22:32).
I imagine that when Peter betrayed Jesus on that long, dark night preceding the crucifixion, he must have felt a physical illness and emotional angst similar to the one that shattered my life the day I said yes to death and betrayed my Lord. Luke 22:62 tells us that after he had disowned Jesus three times, Peter "went outside and wept bitterly."Peter knew Jesus, yet still betrayed Him. He loved Jesus. I knew Jesus, yet still betrayed Him. I loved Jesus too.
But that love was tucked into the icy trunk of my heart on that snowy winter afternoon.
For weeks following my abortion, I went through each day under a dark cloud of despair. I couldn't reconcile what I had done with who I was, and who I was supposed to be. My heart was broken. I felt hopeless and was horribly ashamed. I hated what I had done, and I hated myself for doing it. I was responsible for the death of my baby. It was my fault. I knew it, and it haunted me.
Voices of accusation used to scream in my head. They shouted things like: Murderer! Baby killer! Hypocrite! You can never tell a soul about this! Condemnation kept me shackled. Without realizing it, I was a captive to my own acceptance of those words. I was guilty. A wretch. No excuses. My heart was paralyzed by death. Words just can't express the depth of anguish my soul experienced.
The dark days turned into weeks, which turned into months. Although I could turn on the fake charm like water from a faucet...oh, how my plastic smile served me well in those days...I was dying inside! At night, my pillow soaked up rivers of tears. I would lie awake, wondering if my baby was a boy or girl, or if my baby had felt any pain as she was being sucked from my body.
I wept. I wept for both my baby and for myself. It was necessary. It felt right to cry. And though the tears helped my soul grieve, none were as healing as the ones I cried to Jesus when I finally turned back to Him.
Like Peter after the rooster crowed, I wept bitterly at the feet of Jesus in raw repentance. Then, as the psalmist did, I "waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God" (Psalm 40:1-3).
Although I didn't deserve His mercy, Jesus forgave me. My forgiveness was immediate and complete, but the healing took time. He gave me a new song. Hallelujah! I've been forgiven and transformed by the unconditional love of God. I was dead in my sins, but am now alive in Christ! I am free and it is my privilege to encourage you towards that same freedom in Christ. God longs for you to experience His perfect healing and hope too - no matter what you've done, no matter where you've been, no matter what has left you broken.
What's your story? Jesus came that we would have life abundantly (John 10:10). Not because of anything that we have done to deserve it, but because of what He has done. His grace is sufficient. The guilt, pain, and shame of our pasts tell us we are disqualified to move on, to serve God, to be free, and to know peace. But to believe this lie is to believe that your sin is outside the scope of God's grace. Nothing could be further from the truth. You have purpose in this life. And though you may have gone through a season of hurt, rejection, or pain, God can and will pick you up and place you back on track. I'm living proof.
There is no condemnation for those in Christ. While the enemy loves to cast false guilt, our Lord loves to extend grace and forgiveness, which is the remedy that restores all your broken pieces. Don't hold onto those pieces. Don't hide them behind a plastic smile. Bring them into the light, lay them at the feet of Jesus, and let go. Allow your wounds to be healed today.
Holy Father, today I come to You with the broken pieces in my life that I have been hesitant to deal with. Take my hand and lead as I walk past my fears and doubts to the refuge of Your forgiving arms. Please take what is broken and transform it into beautiful. Please free me from the lies that have me shackled in silence and that keep me from believing that Your forgiveness can be mine. Help me to trust that You can redeem and restore every area of my life.
In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Now It's Your Turn.
Ask yourself these questions:
What secrets or lies am I allowing to hold me captive?
How could God use my story for His glory?
Am I willing to share my experiences and failures for the transformation power of Christ to be seen by others?
Then, read Luke 7:36-50. Consider the secrets in your life. Place them at the feet of Jesus, repent and pray that God will forgive you, restore you and reveal to you how those secrets can be used for His good. Step out of the darkness of secrecy and into the light of unconcealed freedom. Share your story with a close friend. Allow God to use your life for His purposes...the good, the bad and the ugly. Ok...take a deep breath with me! Some of you may feel disturbed that a locked door in your heart has been nudged open this morning. I also know that 30-40% of you that are reading this devotion share my experience of abortion. There is healing and forgiveness for you, too.
Through the help of my local Pregnancy Care Center, I went through a post-abortive Bible study that helped me to know complete healing. If you have not taken that step toward healing, I encourage you to contact the Abortion Recovery CARE line at 1-866-4-My-Recovery (1-866-469-7326) - visit www.abortionrecovery.org - or call your local Pregnancy Care Center today to sign up for a post-abortive Bible study or retreat.
Abortion Recovery InterNational http://www.abortionrecovery.org/
Visit Gwen Smith's web site at http://www.gwensmith.net