Choices

There are some things that beg to stay in the darkness.  But because of Christ, we are the light and the light exposes the darkness for what it is.  I have spent some time, a lot of time, in the darkness.  Ecclesiastes 3:7 says “A time to tear and a time to mend.  A time to be quiet and a time to speak.”  For years I refused to speak when God asked.  It was too much and too painful.  Then 2 and a half years ago, I learned that my husband had a long running affair and my world shattered.  That experience and the subsequent healing that came from bringing it into the light taught me something I never thought possible.  That is it necessary to share the darkness and bring it into the light because only then can the wound be completely healed.  Ecclesiastes 3 talks about there being a time for everything. This is my time.

A wise man once told my son that you are never more at peace than when you are doing what God ordained you to do and never more miserable than when you aren’t.  I know this is true and I have felt that misery for years.  I literally spent 41 years running from God.  I didn’t want to speak from the darkest place in my soul and I avoided the subject altogether.  When I finally wanted to speak out in my blog, God allowed me to do so one time and only briefly – just a mention of the pain and the heartache.  But recent events in my life have caused the floodgates to open and I can no longer be silent.  The good news is, God won’t allow me to be silent any longer.  It is time to bring light to the darkness.  Over the years I have shared bits and pieces of this story but I have never shared it in its entirety.

Before you read further, please know this is from the deepest parts of my heart and is no reflection on anyone or anything else.  This is my story alone.

The year was 1976. I was 16, just shy of my 17th birthday.   How I got to where I was at that moment is a story for another time but suffice to say, it wasn’t my finest moment.  I sat alone in the doctor’s office. In a few moments I would hear words no young woman wants to hear “You are pregnant.” In that moment I would make a decision that would forever change my life and I would do it for purely selfish reasons. You might be able to easily forgive me if I was unsaved when I did this.  I wasn’t. I was very active in my church, had an active music ministry, had helped start and participated in the Bible club at my high school and I loved the Lord Jesus more than words could ever say. But I had still engaged in sexual intercourse (on more than one occasion) and was now carrying a child.  At that point in my life, there wasn’t even a huge stigma attached to be pregnant, in fact, had I chosen to carry my child, I had a number of young women in our small town that would have been able to offer a great deal of love and support.  I chose the alternate path.

Now, before I continue with my story, let me put some perspective on things.  Abortion had been legal for only 3 years.  There was no internet with numerous videos of babies being born early and living. In fact, back then, early births most often ended with the baby dying. Not always but more often than now. I had been very sheltered and didn’t understand a lot of things so I believed the lie about the early stages of pregnancy.  There was no one to tell me differently.  I didn’t tell anyone in my family, not even my parents.  The only people who knew were my doctor, my boyfriend and one person my age I had asked for advice.  Three people.  That’s all. And that’s why things happened as they did.

Because I wasn’t telling my parents and because I had no money of my own, I had to find other resources.  My doctor wrote a note for me about the pregnancy which I then took to the Welfare office in Fresno, CA.  My boyfriend went with me.  At that time, in the state of California, it was possible for a minor to obtain an abortion without the consent of her parents or legal guardians.  However, if that minor had no funds of her own, other avenues were available.  Such as the Welfare department.  We waited in the room until we were led to a tiny office. We were told that we needed to fill out some paperwork for our unborn child.  They then explained what would have to happen in order for us to get financial help.  The child I was carrying would have to be declared a viable person in order for it to collect the welfare funds needed to terminate its life.  This meant filling out the paperwork, going before a judge and having my unborn child declared a person.  My unborn child…I can close my eyes and see the words Unborn _________(last name omitted to protect the identity of the father) and then __________Unborn on another document.  The letter from the doctor was presented as evidence to the judge and in a matter of minutes, my baby had collected its first and only welfare check.  I was now able to schedule the appointment at the clinic.  As I look back now, I cannot believe I could be so matter of fact in such a monumental decision.

But it gets worse. Because I was doing this during school hours and without the knowledge of my parents, I knew I could not be put to sleep while the procedure was done.  So, I was awake and watching as my unborn child was sucked from my body.  I can still close my eyes and see it all, hear the doctor explaining what was being done. Nearly 41 years have passed and I can still see it all when I close my eyes.

I know this is graphic but I need you to understand completely what I have lived with for over 40 years.  At this point, you might be wondering what made me decide to abort my child rather than carry it full term and give it up for adoption.  That’s where it gets even uglier.  You see, I wasn’t ill, my life wasn’t in danger, there was nothing wrong with the baby.  I used abortion to get myself out of an uncomfortable situation.  I didn’t want to see pointing fingers or hear the “I told you sos”.  I didn’t want to quit school to be a mother. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to marry the father of the child.  I certainly didn’t want to do anything that would affect my Christian witness…like I said, purely selfish reasons.

Some of you will quit reading about now.  You will toss me into a pile of people you no longer want to associate with.  I am one of THEM!  Someone who had an abortion.  But if I can prevail upon you for a few more minutes, I want to share my heart.

Up until this moment, I have shared these facts as what they have become, documentation of a very dark and painful part of my life.  It is the only way I could share them at this point in time.  But here is what I WILL share emotionally and without apology.  Abortion is wrong.  My child was alive and now he/she is dead.  A life that could have been amazing was selfishly ripped from this world.  Since the legalization of abortion, 58 million babies have lost their lives.  Mine was one of them.

It took a long time for me to come face-to-face for what I had done.  I had every excuse under the sun but none of them were true.  I avoided the subject until the day I miscarried a child in 1982.  It was at that time I finally told my mother what I had done but even then I didn’t tell her the whole story.  I couldn’t.  What I had done was beginning to eat away at my heart.  I had never asked God to forgive me for what I had done.  I can’t tell you the exact moment I came out of the dark and came face-to-face with God. But I can tell you what started the process.  Focus on the Family was reading a book on the air.  It was called Tilly and even before I knew what it was about, I was crying. Once I realized that this book was about a woman dealing with an abortion she’d had years earlier. the magnitude and guilt washed over me in such a way I felt like I was drowning.  I wasn’t able to catch my breath and I felt an overwhelming sense of grief.  That is the reality of abortion. Your unborn child becomes so real in your heart that you mourn as if they just died.

I know God has forgiven me but I have yet to forgive myself.  I have 5 grandchildren now but how many would I have if I hadn’t been so selfish back then?  What might my child have accomplished in their lifetime if I had chosen life instead of death? I miss my unborn child each and every day but there are 2 times a year I mourn deeply:  the month when their life ended and the month they would have been born.

So many things in my life are not what I thought they would be.  It seems as if the potential I had back then, the true reason I chose death over life, died with my baby.  I will not ever know but I can tell you this.  My Heavenly Father knew the choices I would make and as much as they broke his heart, he planned how best to use them. In 1998, I wrote a skit for the 25th anniversary of Roe v Wade and it was performed at Blackshear Place in Georgia.  One part of the skit used “A Baby’s Prayer” by Kathy Troccoli.  I do not know what effect that skit may have had on the people watching it but I do know that it and the song had a profound effect on me.

All through scripture there are references to the child in the womb.  To use the excuse that a child isn’t a person until they have taken their first breath is perverted and evil.  But this is the lie I bought back then and it is the same lie being told today.  It is my time to stand, uncompromising, on the side of life.  It is time for me to speak up and out as loudly as God deems necessary.  This is where the healing truly begins.

Today, abortion is so ingrained in our country that to even mention it creates dissension. Our current political climate is split between pro-life and pro-choice.  We must choose life. Always.

 

2 Responses to “Choices”

  1. Kim Erickson says:

    Linda, you are beautiful, brave, strong, and forgiven – washed white as snow, as far as the east is from the west. Praying for how God will use your story and your light. ❤

  2. Shelly Filkins says:

    Beauty from ashes! Thanks for telling your story and for taking a stand for the unborn. We are in desperate need of God’s healing grace in our nation. Confessing our sins and being honest about the consequences are a vital part of our deliverance! God bless you and God heal our land!

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