The month was December. I was 11 weeks pregnant with my first child.
I had to hurry up. My appointment was at 8:30 and we would have to make the drive through rush hour a few towns over. We would need to leave early in order to make it there on time. My sister was accompanying me to this important appointment.
We hurried out the door, got in the car, and made the drive up to the appointment.
I remember pulling up to the office building. It was small, I thought. Such a small building for this big and important appointment. We parked the car and went inside.
I walked up to the counter and signed myself in. The woman at the counter instructed me to have a seat and said someone would be with me shortly. So I sat with my sister and waited.
A while later, another woman opened the door to call the next patient. “Debbie.” That was me. It was my time. I walked up to the woman at the door and she ushered me back.
I’m not sure how long I was on the other side of that door. My memory is pretty blank from that moment up until the next memory I have from that day. I woke up, freezing cold, in a recovery bed. I was no longer 11 weeks pregnant. I wasn’t pregnant at all. It was all over. And my only feeling was that of relief.
As I sit here today recalling the memories I have of that day, what hurts the most is not the details of the events from that day, but the details of how I felt that day — or, rather, how I didn’t feel that day. I had no remorse for what I had just done. I wouldn’t even realize the magnitude of what I had just done until years later.
I remember clearly how I viewed abortion during that time in my life. I had been in a volatile relationship. I wound up pregnant because of my own stupidity, and all I could think about was the fact that I didn’t want to be tied to this person for the rest of my life. I didn’t want to have a child. I didn’t want my life to be changed forever by becoming a mother. I wasn’t ready for any of it, and I wanted this person out of my life. All I kept thinking about was me, me, me, me. Forget about adoption. Forget about keeping the baby and having nothing to do with the father. I just wanted the whole situation to go away. So I thought I could arrange for that to happen.
Today I sit here 13 ½ years later and I grieve over what I’ve done. I wish I had the sense back then to realize that this wasn’t just a problem I was solving. That was a precious child — a precious life. That was my child I arranged to have murdered. That was my child that I threw away. And that was my child that I chose not to allow to take a single breath in his or her life. It was as simple as filling out some papers, paying $70, walking in pregnant, and coming out with it all behind me…
Or so I thought.
This will never be behind me. I will live with this decision for the rest of my life. I think of my first baby often, and I realize I don’t even have the right to call him or her mine. I don’t deserve that right.
I know I can never do anything to change the past, but my mind often goes back to the what-ifs. What if I chose LIFE? What if I had someone there to stop me and tell me what the future would be like? What if someone told me that I would remember this baby years from then, and that the ugly, disgusting, evil reality of abortion would slap me in the face one day when I grew up? (Though I want to be perfectly clear, this was MY decision, and I don’t think anyone could have really stopped me.) What if I had realized that this was a human life I was allowing to be murdered? What if I stopped to consider that this was a life created by God, and that I would LOVE this child if I just gave him/her a chance to live and grow in my womb until I could hold him/her and see their face for the first time? What if I knew that this would all make indescribably painful sense one day when I had children that I actually wanted and realized the beauty and value of a human life that started in my own womb? “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13
Restored by Hope
It saddens me to think that at the time of my abortion, I believed I was a Christian. I had raised my hand in church and said the sinner’s prayer probably a dozen times by that point. I thought one of those times it had to have worked. I convinced myself that the abortion would be okay because I could always ask for forgiveness later. Well, after the abortion I did talk to my own made up little god in my head and asked for forgiveness…many times, in fact. However, there was no real repentance; no evidence of me turning from my sin or that God had changed my heart, resulting in a changed life.
In the next three years that followed, I met my husband and got married. We had a rocky start to our marriage. Despite separating literally every 6 months for the first 3 years of marriage, and completely by God’s grace, we managed to have two daughters of our own in the first 2 years of marriage, then went on to have a third daughter years later, and we are currently expecting our first son. In the early years of our marriage, I went about life believing I was a Christian, saying my prayers and going to church here and there. The interesting thing about it was that I never read the Bible, and yet I believed I knew God and had a close relationship with Him. I knew the god the world told me about, and that was good enough for me. I liked this little god; he didn’t require much of me. The trouble with this little god was that he couldn’t forgive me for my abortion. I still lived under the guilt and shame of my past, and no matter how many times I asked for forgiveness, the guilt and shame never went away. I was sure this little god could never forgive me and that I was destined for hell because of what I’d done.
Fast-forward to two years ago, 11 years after the abortion and 8 years into my marriage. By the grace of God, my family started attending a church regularly and I began to really read the Bible for the first time in my life. I attended a women’s summer Bible study through my church. I remember carefully and prayerfully choosing which Bible study I should sign up for, out of the several that were being offered that summer. I chose the Virtuous Woman study, based on the Proverbs 31 woman. I had my own ideas and expectations of what I wanted to get out of this study, but God had other plans. I believe it was during that study that God saved me.
One night during my study, I came to a part in my Bible reading of the book of John where it took me through the story of the Samaritan Woman. This particular part of the study also walked me through a portion of the book of John, where I read about Jesus’ crucifixion and His death. I vividly remember reading John 19:30, “When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished,’ and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” That one single verse just hit me like a ton of bricks. For the very first time, my eyes were opened and I was able to see who I was before a Holy God. I was broken before the Lord, grieving over my sin and what it cost precious Jesus. By God’s grace I was able to finally put my faith in Jesus Christ and accept forgiveness for my sin. I bowed my head in tears and laid it all at the foot of the cross. The guilt. The shame. I finally knew that I was forgiven. Not only for the abortion, but every sinful way in me. God took out my heart of stone and granted me a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:36 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”) He caused me to lay my life down for Him, to take up my cross and follow Him. (Matthew 16:24 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.'”) I died to my sin that day and became alive in Jesus Christ. (Romans 6:11 “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”) I was born again…FORGIVEN. I was restored to a right relationship with God for eternity by the power of His infinite love and mercy, and I finally knew that my sins had been washed away forever.
The most beautiful part about all of this is that it was all God and His grace, granting me the free gift of repentance and faith. I contributed nothing except the sin that made it necesarry.
It is Finished
One thing I realized that night was that Jesus paid it all, and His finished work on the cross was enough to cover my sin. The meaning of that finally hit me. “It is FINISHED.” I had lived for years thinking that God could never truly forgive me for what I had done. That night I realized that in thinking God could never forgive me for my abortion, I was essentially saying that Jesus’ death on the cross wasn’t enough to cover my sin. I was so wrong. His grace and love are far greater than my sin.
Coming out and sharing my story publicly isn’t easy. But when the Lord granted me repentance and brought me to Truth, I started to learn about the sovereignty of God and how that ties in to my past. I know He has a plan for my story and that doesn’t involve keeping it to myself.
As ugly as abortion is and as horrific as it is to now understand the reality of my actions, I know that God is sovereign in all of it, and that gives me hope because I know that He has a greater plan and a purpose for what happened. Romans 8:28 “ And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Everything works out one way or another for the glory of God and for the good of His children. I believe the Lord wants to use my story to bring glory to His name and to touch the lives of other girls or women who might be in a similar situation. It is my hope and my prayer that by sharing my story, it might help other women think differently about abortion and that anyone who reads this and is considering abortion might think twice about the tiny precious life inside of them. I didn’t see my pregnancy as a life inside of me. I saw it as a problem that I could easily get rid of. It doesn’t work that way. Even as I sit here forgiven and free from the guilt and shame, I will always grieve over the child I will never get to meet in this life because of my selfish decision.
I wish I had someone there in December 2001 to tell me all of these things. I didn’t. Not one person warned me about the reality of abortion. Not a single person tried to help me understand what I was about to do. I wish they had, but I know that God sovereignly decreed for all of this to happen for a bigger purpose. I am forever grateful for His grace and mercy, and I give my life and my story to Him, that He might use it however He wills.
The Good News
Aside from shedding some light on the reality of abortion and the fact that it isn’t just a simple choice that you make and then move on with your life, I pray that my story is useful in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and the hope, salvation, and freedom from guilt and sin that can only be found in Him. If you’ve been living in unrepentant sin, or if you’ve been weighed down by some sin that has you plagued with guilt, know this: You are not alone. Every one of us is is a sinner in need of THE Savior. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” -Romans 3:23.
Even though we are sinners who deserve hell for sinning against a holy God, God in His infinite love and mercy has provided a way for us to be reconciled to Him. He provided a Savior — His son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who lived a perfectly sinless life and died on the cross, suffering the wrath of God for the sins of all those who will turn and trust in Him. Three days later, Christ defeated death and rose from the grave.
God commands us to turn from our sin and put our faith in Christ alone for forgiveness and salvation. If we turn to God and put our faith in Christ, we are saved and born again, restored to a right relationship with God our Father for eternity. All of our sins are imputed to Christ who has already paid the penalty for those sins, but it doesn’t stop there. Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us, so when God sees us, He doesn’t see a sinner, He sees His Son. This is the reality for all who repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
If you want to be forgiven for your sins and have your heart changed forever, I’m not going to tell you to repeat after me, say a scripted prayer, and raise your hand. All I’m going to tell you is that Jesus is the only way and God alone has the power to save. Turn to someone who knows about the gospel and can point you to Christ. Repent — turn from your sins and ask God for forgiveness. You need to start reading the Bible and yes, pray. If it’s God’s will for you to come to true repentance and faith, to call on Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then He is the One who will change your heart and grant you repentance and faith. Especially by the reading of His word. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” -Romans 10:17
In the Bible, God promises us that His word never comes back void. It will accomplish everything God wants it to. “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” -Isaiah 55:11