April

April

Female, 21, Abortion, College
“I was embraced by people who didn’t judge me…”

In a moment of fear and panic at the age of 21, I made a decision that would forever change my life and reshape my heart. I chose to have an abortion. I was in a long-term, committed relationship at the time, but becoming parents wasn’t on our list of priorities. The fear of being a mother still in college and not yet married terrified me. The social stigma of that combined with the fear of my dreams disappearing on a nine-month timeline resulted in my choosing to have an abortion. It was a spontaneous decision, made and fulfilled within 24 hours. The following 24 hours were the worst of my life. The guilt was instantaneous, while the shame was slower to reveal itself. The regret came later, then disappeared, then returned. For months, I lived through this cycle of feeling fine one day and reeling the next. I often felt isolated and completely detached from my friends and life happening around me. One random evening several months later, I was driving home and heard a particular song. It hit me like the weight of the world had been heaved into my arms and I couldn’t hold it up. I was wracked with guilt and began to sob. I found an empty church parking lot and pulled in. I sat in my car begging God for the opportunity to go back in time and change my decision. I begged for time to stop; I begged for it to be a dream. I cried out for forgiveness and for peace, for another chance someday to become a mother. Hours later, I pulled out of that parking lot thinking I’d found peace, thinking I was going to be OK and thinking I was going to make it through this season. While I’d found forgiveness in that moment, I hadn’t embraced all the things my Father had to show me.

It wasn’t until my late 20s that I fully surrendered my life back to God. In that season of falling back in love with Christ, I began to realize I needed more than forgiveness. As God began to chisel away the hard parts of my heart I’d frozen and hidden away, I began to see my decision in a new light. Instead of seeing the guilt and the shame, I saw the hope and the redemption. I sat on my knees visually imagined that image of Jesus suffering on the cross because of my sins. That image was heartbreaking and devastating to see. But then, the beautiful redemption of Christ’s death became clearer. Instead of envisioning Christ on the cross because of my sins, I began to see Him on the cross for my sins. There’s a clear and distinct difference. Because of my sins means He was forced there, by His Father, by me, by the world. But for my sins meant it was a sacrifice, full of love and with no expectations. It meant He loved me so much, He died a brutal death so that I might live and so that I might live freely—no matter the sins in my past. To understand and grasp that kind of overwhelming love and freedom from someone else is powerful. I wish that for everyone I know, and I especially wish that for every woman who made the decision to end a pregnancy.

I was one of the lucky ones. I was embraced by people who didn’t judge me and by friends who loved me. They walked alongside me in a season of self-awareness, finding forgiveness and understanding the breadth of God’s love for us. I wished I’d had them in my life sooner, and I wish I could’ve prepared them for what was to come from my journey. We were all walking blindly through this together, none of us familiar with the scars an abortion brings. My hope is for every woman who’s struggling with her past decisions to find the love and freedom I’ve found in Christ and to know guilt and shame don’t have to be part of their lives forever. Through sharing my story, I’ve found so many other women with similar scars. Very few have found true healing or restoration, and it’s my prayer they and that you do. If this is your story, you need to know you’re not alone, there is healing and peace and there are people who will be more than willing to be in this with you. This isn’t a road you have to walk alone; I wished I’d known that all those years ago. But my story is here to inspire you to take courageous steps forward in your own healing. You’ve got what it takes to start your own journey.