At First Image each year we walk with countless women as they find hope and forgiveness from their past. It is our mission to renew God’s Image in the lives of those who have been impacted by abortion. This is why we offer Heart, a group where women come together on a healing journey to find freedom in Christ. It is our prayer that every woman leaves Heart with a greater hope and peace in Jesus than when they first came in. Hear from a recent Heart graduate share about her experience.

I never really wanted to take the Heart class.  I had already been through hours of counseling at Union Gospel Mission’s Life Change program and I had no desire to dredge any more of my past up.  But, the women’s facilitator encouraged me to give it a try.  I went into the interview with the Heart leaders and their compassion was welcoming.

 

My abortion story began when I was 18 years old. I had a boyfriend at the time, but I was looking for love and to me, sex equaled love. We both had bright futures ahead of us. I was going into the Navy and he was starting college.

 

Then it happened. I became pregnant. 

 

I was due to fly out to Orlando, FL in less than a month to begin my Navy career.

 

We felt we had to do something quick. The abortion was only $300. 

 

My mother and boyfriend split the cost. I don’t know why I remember that so well.  I remember the procedure just like it was yesterday, not 31 years ago. There were other girls in the recovery area along with me.  When I got to the door to leave, I opened it and there was my boyfriend. I felt horrible inside and out.  The next week I flew off to join the Navy. During the initial phase and physical exam testing before boot camp, the doctor gave me the news that I was pregnant. I was so angry and screamed, “You don’t know what you are talking about. That can’t be! I ended my baby’s life one week ago today!”

 

It turned out that my hormone levels were unbalanced. It had caused the test to appear as though I was still pregnant, even though I clearly was not.  Then I received the news that I would be sent home but could come back after  six months to try to join the Navy then. I felt angry and betrayed. I had just ended my baby’s life for this, and that should have counted for something. I thought, If they didn’t take me now, I would never consider the military again.

 

So, things moved in a different direction. My boyfriend was in college, but we continued a physical relationship. I was offered a job as a dancer and since the money was good and I didn’t have any other prospects, I took the job.

 

After several months, much to my surprise I found out I was pregnant again.

 

This time I was already five months along! My mom and my boyfriend wanted me to have another abortion.  But, I refused.

 

I just couldn’t end another life. I decided to keep the baby.

 

I finished my dancing career and got into a new relationship. He had two other children from a previous marriage. So there I was, 19 years old with 3 children all under the age of 2. That was a lot for a young girl, who was still a teenager herself.

 

Then it happened for a third time. I was pregnant again.

 

This time, I just couldn’t go through with having another child.

 

I didn’t feel I could handle another infant. I felt like there were already too many I had to take care of. I was overwhelmed. I didn’t think I was capable of handling four babies at the same time.

 

So I scheduled another abortion.

 

After waiting another two weeks for my appointment, when I got to the clinic, they had to cancel and reschedule for next month. This news was devastating. I was ready to be done with it. I needed a way out. Looking back, I feel like that was God’s way of giving me an escape, but I didn’t take it. I couldn’t get over the overwhelming feeling of taking care of four little children. It was just too much and I felt I had no other choice.

 

When the day finally came the next month for my appointment, I had to walk to the hospital by myself for the abortion because my boyfriend wouldn’t take me.  I woke up from that procedure hooked to an IV. I had hemorrhaged during the procedure and lost a lot of blood.  I decided at that point I would never have another abortion again.

 

Since then, I have had one miscarriage, one ectopic pregnancy, and a D&C procedure, as well as giving birth to 4 more beautiful children.

 

That was 29 years ago.  I shoved the 2 abortions down deep and they stayed there until 2009.

 

I was very apprehensive to go through Heart. I talked with my first boyfriend and the father of the baby and let him know about taking the Heart class. He was all for it and encouraged me to do whatever I needed to find healing.  He let me know how much he regretted his decision and how he wished he would have done the right thing back then.

 

There was a deep, dark, spot in the depth of my soul.

 

Taking the Heart class restored forgiveness back into my life. 

 

I knew God forgave me but because of the grief I was in, I was also in denial about how much it really hurt me. Coming to the place of understanding that I had unresolved grief about the abortions was very eye opening.  It explained my depression as well as why I would be angry at people for no apparent reason. It also helped me see the reason I would always try and bargain with God about stuff. It was an “If you do this, then I will do that” kind of relationship.

 

It wasn’t until I went through the “Forgiven and Set Free” Heart group that I understood about acceptance and the unforgiveness I had toward myself and my relationships. During the class, toward the end, we were encouraged to put closure on the event and to give a name to our babies. God has seen fit for the father of the baby and I to be on speaking terms. He was supportive of me going through Heart and I thought it might be helpful if he helped me name the baby. This was from my first abortion.

 

I wanted to name the baby Theodore and he wanted to name him Robert. Since he had nothing to do with the naming of our daughter Natasha, I let him decide. We named him Robert Theodore.  I named my other baby Zoe Lane.

 

I must let you know that when I came to a place of self-forgiveness through Jesus, the dark pit I had in my soul vanished and I have forgiven myself through the process of going through this class.  I believe my ex-boyfriend was even able to get some closure on his pain and loss as well.

 

I am now co-leading the HEART class in Coffee Creek Correctional Facility and am amazed already at the healing work of Jesus.  He has restored my heart, my mind, and my strength.  I am so grateful to God for allowing me forgiveness and the opportunity to help other women and men alike receive the restoration and reconciliation God desires for us all.