When I was nineteen, I got pregnant and had my first abortion.

Like the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:17, I had been with many men and I wasn’t sure who the father was. Hoping it was the truth, I told my high school boyfriend that he was the father and he took me to get an abortion.

We didn’t talk about having the child or making an adoption plan. These alternatives just didn’t come up which is ironic, considering that I am adopted.

We felt that we had no other choice other than the choice we made.

Afterward, I remember feeling a sense of loss but it was vague, kind of like a dim flickering light going out somewhere in the distance. I quickly went on with my life.

Although my Mom and Dad believed in God, we didn’t go to church.  I had no understanding, from a heavenly perspective, of the choices I was making. Adrift spiritually, for months, I continued being promiscuous and soon broke up with my high school boyfriend.

During this time God began to speak into my life. With the help and encouragement of a few close friends, I gave my life to Christ. I soon met and married a wonderful Christian man. We were married for 6 months when I became pregnant.

We were young and we had plans that, to our thinking, didn’t yet include children so we sought out an abortion.

Again, after the abortion, I felt the same distant sense of loss but we had asked for Christian counseling and input from the pastor who had married us and we were told that the Bible was “unclear” about the subject of abortion and so we felt justified.

My husband continued his education and I continued to travel the world as a Pan Am flight attendant. When we got pregnant again, nearly two years later, we couldn’t ignore the fact that God wanted us to have a family.

As my first born grew inside me and then was born, the sense of loss from my previous abortions began to creep into and then flood my emotions.

As my husband Mark and I gazed into the eyes of our newborn daughter, we realized with grief, sorrow, and shame that this child should not have been our first born.

Throughout the last 30 years, we have had 2 other children and 4 grandchildren born into our family. During those years we have prayed and asked for forgiveness, received forgiveness and continued to be saddened by the loss of the children that we aborted.

We have gained an understanding of what Psalm 139 means, “created in my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” I am certain that those babies await me in heaven!

Eventually, the Lord led me to the Heart ministry of First Image and a more complete understanding of God’s grace and His capacity for forgiveness.

With the help of Heart and the Bible study book we worked through, Forgiven and Set Free, I have learned that for those of us who have had an abortion, God meets us with a heart of compassion and not condemnation.

He alone can heal our broken and wounded hearts and that is what he desires to do. God wants to draw us into a healing and loving relationship with Himself where He alone can take the grief and loss and shame that we may feel from the choices we have made.

As I write this today, I wonder if there are others who have made the same choice that I made. To those of you who have and are hurting, I say please seek the Lord and His healing as I have.

My healing is not unique. It is available to all who seek it. Some have called me brave and courageous for sharing my story. I can tell you that my courage, like my healing, is not reserved for me alone. It’s available to you too. Philippians 4:13 tells us that we can do all things through Him who gives us strength.

Lastly, I want to share that if you suffer in shame and fear from an abortion choice, seek God. I believe you will encounter His love, healing, and forgiveness. Seek the courage that God offers. If you are interested in taking a step towards greater freedom and healing and want more information about our Heart ministry and groups we are here for you. Please call the Heart confidential voicemail at 503-22-HEART or 503.224.3278.

As I move forward I realize that I need to let God define me and not the world or others who might condemn me for my abortion choice. Galatians 1:10 reads, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God?  Or am I trying to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

I must believe what God says about me and receive it; that I am loved and uniquely made, that I am forgiven and that He has a plan for my life as talked about in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares The Lord, ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Finally, I stand on God’s promise of Roman 8:28 and believe that “all things work together for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.” Did the Lord intend for me to abort my children?  No, of course not!

But I stand here before you and testify to his love and forgiveness, believing that he will use my experience to reach out to others so that they might find his love and forgiveness waiting for them too.

-Heart Graduate