I've grown to the point in my life, I realize everything we go through in this life is an opportunity to give up and say "I'm done" or choose life and say "I'll take one more step." This is the story behind the song The Lord's Lullaby.
In November 2009, I witnessed one of the greatest possible experiences I believe I've ever encountered. I was invited to witness my oldest grandson's birth. Well...I was allowed to be in the room, anyway. Too exciting for words. To hold a tiny person who was not from you but still a part of you was more to take in than I have the ability or words to express. I was filled with awe and wonder. When he was a few weeks ago, I was holding him while I was in my mother's kitchen and I heard this tune playing over and over in my head. I found myself singing it to him over and over as a lullaby, which was soothing to him, and me.
It would be about two years later I would embark on one of the most difficult seasons of my life. A season ordained in time for me to face my own need for full disclosure. It was time for me to face what I had done 20 years earlier. I didn't realize how much a choice I made 20 years ago not only affected me, but everyone in my family as well.
The year was 1991, August. I was married. Not a good marriage either. I found myself surviving, not thriving. My daughter was two years old and life was difficult. I found out I was pregnant again, eight weeks pregnant. I reasoned within myself it was not fair to bring a child into a situation like we were in, so I had an abortion. In December of the same year, I found out I was six weeks pregnant. Our situation was not better, so I had another abortion.
In February of the next year, I found myself unable to cope and I planned suicide. I cried out to God and said, “Just take me home, I can't handle anything anymore.” He showed me a picture of my daughter's face in my mind and told me if I couldn't find the strength to go on for myself, I'd better find it for her because she needed me. So I tightened up the bootstraps and went forward. I buried everything.
Five years later I was at church and the first words out of my pastor’s mouth was, “I knew you before you were formed in your mother's womb.” I did not realize it was Sanctity of Life Sunday morning. I grabbed my Bible and my keys and said to myself, “When every head is bowed and every eye is closed, I'm outta hear. I can't handle this.” The Lord spoke to me and said "No, I want you to stay. You need to hear this." So I stayed. I can't remember anything that was said. I never raised my head. I never stopped crying.
I then remembered each visit to the abortion clinic. I remembered seeing other women sitting in the waiting room. I remembered being taken into a counseling room and a woman asked me, "Are you sure this is what you want to do?" I remembered being on the table in the procedure room. I remembered seeing the doctor and the nurse. I remembered hearing the sounds of the suction of the machine used to perform the abortion. I remembered the pain.
I left the church that morning as fast as I could. I got home and I cried for hours until I had no strength. I didn't know I could cry so many tears. I couldn't comprehend how I could have done such a thing, not only once, but twice. I said to God, “I should die for what I’ve done.” The Lord spoke to me, and He said "Just as I am here with you now, I was with you then and I still love you." I knew by the end of the day that God had forgiven me.
But it wouldn’t be until the summer of 2011 that I could forgive myself. By divine connections, I began volunteering at a pregnancy resource center who also sponsored an abortion recovery and healing program. For several weeks, we went through layers and layers of reasons, ill-effects and processes of how to overcome knowing you are personally responsible for ending your own child's life. Incomprehensible.
I went through memory after memory of that time in my life while I was married, of how I felt like I was dying inside and knowing my daughter was affected by my inability to give more of me. I thought of how much I loved her but struggled to show her more of the love I had for her. I realized for the first time that as my daughter got older and would tell me she felt I was smothering her and not allowing her to go to places her friends could attend was deeply rooted in my fear of something bad happening to her--a form of PTSD, a very real after effect of having an abortion. I remembered if I saw a baby, I would smile but I did not want to be anywhere close to one, not realizing it was because of the loss I experienced but never grieved and an emptiness for which I never shed a tear.
Having the abortions caused depression and inability to trust others. It affected my relationships and ability to get close to anyone. Having the abortions caused me to doubt my ability to accomplish anything good, my ability to be a good mother to my daughter and moreover, I felt like I was a complete failure. I never spoke about having an abortion, even after that Sunday morning on Sanctity for Life. I couldn't. I was sure I would be shunned as an outcast. It wasn't that I didn't have support at the church where I went. I was simply too broken to take a chance on being rejected by those who at the time where the only source of stability I had.
Through a series of divine appointments and TBN, the Lord, very patiently and lovingly took me by the hand and let me know he loved me and he would never let me go. It wouldn't be until I saw a late night talk show on TBN who took phone calls on the topic of the night that I was finally able to briefly tell my story--but only anonymously.
That summer of 2011 marked a new beginning in my life. My children now bear their rightful names and they were properly memorialized for the lives God gave them. And, I was able to put a voice to my grief in a poem, which continues to bring healing and strength to me. I not only faced my own brokenness and was able to finally place it in the hands of Jesus to heal me and restore my soul, I was able to tell my children, my mother, my brother and my sister there are two little ones they never met who they will one day meet when they get to heaven. I didn't know how it would turn out. Would they get mad and disown me? Would they yell and scream? There was mixed emotions. But as my family has proven over and over, love endures all things.
Through the course of my ministry, I have encountered those who have had abortions and tell of the difficulties they too have endured as a result of making their choice to abort their pregnancies. I have met those who are determined we have a choice and I should just accept that fact and "get over it!" And of course, there are those who are complacent and indifferent. Complacent and indifferent I can never be. There are simply too many lives at stake.
I owe my life to Jesus Christ and the many people who have prayed for me and pray for those who have gone through abortions. Abortion is something we can stop. Not only does abortion end a human life, when a woman gets pregnant, her body and brain is forever imprinted with the physiological changes her body makes after conception. This cannot be denied and needs to be realized by all, before more damage is done to those left behind. Denial does not make this go away. Although having an abortion may seem to solve an immediate "problem," the after effects will last for a lifetime.
I now have three beautiful grandchildren who I have the great delight in hearing them call me "granny." "Children are a heritage from the Lord. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them."
Know that if you or someone you know has had an abortion, God loves you and wants you to come to him so he can heal you. Healing can be found through God's forgiveness and love.
The poem I wrote for the memorial service of my two children in heaven became a song soon after. I remembered the tune that popped in my head when I held my infant grandson in my mother's kitchen that evening in 2009. I placed it at the beginning and the end of the song, as it were, like a music box playing The Lord's Lullaby. Take a minute to listen and let me know what you think.
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