I am excited about my life and what is ahead, but it hasn’t always been that way. Many painful experiences beginning in childhood had left me feeling alone and heavy-burdened. I felt unnoticed and alone and yearned for someone to take time with me and to care about what I was going through. Although having a special needs sibling brought much joy, it also produced challenges and a strain within the family. However, it was the endless turmoil of being pulled into constant fighting that took its toll. It left me screaming for help on the inside. All those past hurts over the years had mounted into a heavy load that I had gotten used to carrying. I didn’t fully recognize just how heavy it actually was, until that changed.
You see, I wasn’t raised in the church but I loved going whenever I could. At eight years of age, I accepted Jesus as my Savior during a Vacation Bible School event. Around that same time, I was sexually abused by a stranger who gave me some nickels afterward. I convinced myself that nothing bothered me so I could detach from the pain that the abuse was causing. The nightmares stopped. Separating from any trauma or chaos seemed to work, I thought. But as the years went by I began getting in trouble in school and was using my lunch money to buy pills. I started smoking cigarettes, marijuana, and drinking alcohol. I started battling with a long term sex addiction. Closely held pride, rebellion, and the need to control was wreaking havoc on my life and to those around me and I engaged in illicit relationships that hurt families. I suffered with anxiety, anger, depression, and the effects of PTSD, and became defensive and overly self-conscious. I felt rejected, emotionally abandoned, and had low self-worth.
As soon as I turned 18 years old I had an abortion. It seemed like an easy solution to avoid being screamed at for being pregnant. As I lay on the table during the procedure, I told the assistant standing beside me that I would NEVER do this again! But then a couple of weeks before my 26th birthday, I found myself there again for another secret abortion. I couldn’t allow myself to think about anything except getting it over with and moving on with life. As a result, I buried it again as deep as I could.
God led me to a place of opening my eyes, and that’s when things started to change. I began to see the connection of my past in relation to how I was living and I began to feel again. For a while, I didn’t know how to manage those feelings, emotions, and the overwhelming pain I felt. The nightmares returned. I started cutting in an attempt to divert the pain away from my emotions because I could no longer bury them. Questions and beliefs I’d held deep down for a long time surfaced. I wrestled with things like why God allowed those men to sexually abuse me, and the belief of God loving and choosing others over me. Consuming thoughts of planning my suicide began plaguing my mind again. I felt deeply hurt towards God and couldn’t trust Him to get close to my pain, even though I knew He was the answer. I went through a season of not being able to pray, held God at arm’s length, and rejected His voice. Yet He never stopped showing His faithful and unfailing love for me over and over again, slowly tearing the wall down I had built around my heart.
Areas of my life began to heal, yet I continued to struggle and didn’t know why. I hadn’t realized the disconnection towards my abortion decisions as the cause of the inner turmoil and agony within that left me questioning, “What is wrong with me?”. It just didn’t make sense to hurt so deeply over what I had chosen to do myself. I experienced God leading me even deeper into my abortion past...not to condemn me, but to bring me closer to Him through the reconciliation with my babies that I didn’t think I had a right to because of the decisions I had made. It was through that, where I saw such mercy and compassion being poured out for me in the depths of my pain through the love of Jesus. And I knew I was loved without measure and accepted.
In Psalm 31:7 it says, “I will be glad and rejoice in Your unfailing love, for You have seen my troubles, and You care about the anguish of my soul.” God didn’t withdraw or turn me away until I could get myself together. No, He stepped in closer! He pulled me up out of how I was living and led me on a journey of healing towards a life of hope, purpose, and freedom in Him. Because of all Christ has done, and the continuing work in me, I can say that I am excited about life and what the future holds. God replaced the lies I had believed with the truth and has shown me that He is a good Father and trusted Friend. I saw that His tender love is far, far greater than any pain ever endured. Knowing I’m safe in Him has helped me to become even more heart-wrenchingly honest and open with my deepest feelings and thoughts.
God has given me what I needed so that I can now honor and embrace the lives of my babies lost to abortion; as well as continuing to work in the relationship with my daughter and three grandchildren. God pulled me up out of how I was living to lead me on a journey of healing towards a future of hope, purpose, and freedom. I hadn’t gone unnoticed or been unloved like I had felt all along.
Maybe you’ve had things happen to you that are causing a great deal of pain in your life. Or maybe you have done something you thought you would never, ever do and you’re carrying a heavy load of guilt and shame. If you are currently walking through a difficult season in your life and getting discouraged – do not give up! You are loved and valued too.