Tammy, said... "How has love changed your life?":
Life has been busy. You know the everyday stuff along with 2 birthdays and anniversary (my husband and I have been married 21 years today!). I have thought about writing but somehow other things have taken priority. So, I'm just going to do it... Write.
I volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center, which I love doing. About a year ago I was asked to be the program coordinator for the abortion recovery. Now, if you had told me that is where God would have me serving, I would had said, "you're crazy." I never thought that I would be helping other women in revealing their "secret sin. " I know what it is like going through life thinking you can live with this secret... he would have been 18 in July.
I can still remember the day that I walked into the clinic, asking God to forgive me, believing that this was the only answer. No, I wasn't a desperate teenager, my whole life ahead of me college student, a single mom or a married woman who had an affair. I was married and it was my husband baby but to us the timing wasn't right and our marriage was rocky. I won't touch on every detail that happened that day but when I walked out of that clinic my life was different. At the time I couldn't have put my finger on it, I just knew that I had left a piece of me behind.
For the next 10 years life was a blur and I had feelings of anger that I could not explain. It didn't make sense; I was a Christian who was somewhat involved in the church. I was still married and about 2 years after the abortion we had a beautiful little girl. The day that she was born I told myself "I'm going to be the best Mom in the world" and for awhile I was. But something happen along the way, I became withdrawn, I heard a voice in my mind that reminded me of that November day back in 1989. It said " You killed your other child and then you went an had another one, you fool. " I know "kill " is such a strong word and to hear that it just made me feel that I could never be the mom that she desired. I didn't know back then, but the enemy will do or say anything to make us feel ashamed and worthless.
Life seemed to be getting darker but I continued to pray hoping to get some answers to my questions... "Why can't I be like the other mothers?" "Why does she seem to hate me?" "What am I doing wrong?" "Why can't I get close to her?" My heart was breaking for all I wanted was to love her.
I know now that God was listening. That he was being ever so gentle with me. He began to heal the wound that had gone deep, so deep that layers of skin had grown over it but it was still infected. One Sunday at church there was an invitation for a bible study for women who had an abortion, that was the first nudge. I signed up, hoping no one would see my name...
I Wanted To Change.
As I was going through the Bible study it began to show me how I had rationalized my reasoning for the abortion. How I denied myself to grieve. How I was telling myself that God could never really forgive me; could He? The study took about 12 weeks and at the end I did feel better. My relationships were being mended; I started to feel a closeness with my daughter.
But I still had that "secret sin" hidden in my heart. I had told my best friend the truth, but everyone else thought I had a miscarriage; notice how I added a lie to cover up my secret. Day by day things started getting tough again. The hate and anger started to seep back into my heart and I didn't know why. I tried so hard to love my daughter, to be the kind of mother she would be proud to call "mom." To a lot of people it's hard to understand, how could anyone feel that way? How could someone who calls themselves a "christian" show that much anger and say awful things about their own child. Believe me, I didn't understand but I so desperately wanted to....
Well, it had been about two years since my bible study on Forgiven and Set Free. Things once again started to spin out of control, but my husband and I decided to give our marriage one last ray of hope. We meet with a pastor that someone said could help us. My husband and I had already been to about 4 or 5 worldly counselors and they were as mixed-up as we were. We figured going to a pastor that he would have the answers to why this marriage wasn't working and if he didn't this marriage was over.
During that meeting, God spoke to my heart to trust Him and if I was willing, He would do the rest. I have to be honest I was scared, in my mind the big "what ifs" were floating around. Let's face it, I hadn't trusted Him up to this point in my life. If you looked at my history you would see that I had one failed marriage, another one about to fail and don't forget the secret...my abortion. Then a thought came to me, could it be just that, I have never trusted Him?
I Had To Deal With It...
Trusting God is not easy for us humans especially when we think we have all the answers. So, why would I trust Him now, maybe because my life wasn't going so well?
I was tired of being against my husband instead of being for him. I hated the depression that hang over me all the time. I became exhausted wandering into the night life looking for love in all the wrong places. I so desperately wanted to be that "mommy" who sat on the park bench enjoying the laughter of her little girl. Yes, I was ready to give in to "Trusting God."
It started out slow. First it was submitting to His will and not mine, to love my husband the way God loved him, unconditionally. It wasn't easy but that's where trusting God comes in to show us that the impossible is possible. Little by little things began to change. My mind was being renewed and my life was transforming. I was now starting to live the life that He had planned for me, the plan that He had set in place before my very first breath. But I still had one small corner of my heart that I didn't want anyone to see, not even God. I feared judgment. In my mind I believed that if I kept my "choice" at a distance and hidden I would avoid judgment. Yes, I did ask God (many times) to forgive me. But notice I said "many times" I myself didn't believe that He would, I hadn't yet fully trusted in His Word.
Years have gone by since God whispered to me to trust Him. Many of my desires have faded and have been replaced with His desires. God has given me opportunities to share my story on how He healed my marriage, to teach bible studies and to share with others the joy that we can receive by submitting to His will. To most people my life seemed pretty perfect except for that little dark area in my heart. Remember?
About 2 years ago God led me to volunteer at CPC where I first answered phones and was a mentor to pregnant women. About a year later I was offered and took the position to be Program Coordinator for the abortion recovery. I was very passionate about this subject and I thought...I had dealt with it.
A Dark Moment
I thought I had dealt with my abortion. I had gone through all the steps of the Forgive and Set Free bible study. Week after week I turned pages that revealed truth to me. But still there was my actions and words of anger that was directed towards my daughter.
Every once and a while there would be times when we would talk for hours about God, school, girlfriends and even boys. She would share with me her everyday struggles, her dreams and fears. On those special days love would fill the air and I would say to myself, "today I will be the mommy she needs for the rest of her life." It was those moments that made the rest of our relationship so confusing. Confusing? Because in my heart I felt hatred, please forgive me for using such a strong word and for what I'm about to share with you but I need to be totally honest.
It was a September morning and my daughter who like must teenage girls was having a "moment." It always seemed that our mornings would end in a argument because of one thing or another. But this day turned out to be one of my darkest moments. Our arguing had ended in a shouting match. We said some awful things to one another and I was determined to break her. I remember watching her as she stepped up into the bus with her eyes looking at the floor and tears rolling down her face. As soon as the bus pulled away, this feeling of victory came over me. I said to myself "I'm glad she's hurting." I had put her in her place. It was those places were I wouldn't be able to hold her, to love her and in time a place were she would forget that I was ever her mother.
Walking back to the car feelings of guilt, shame and condemnation came over me. I slipped behind the wheel and in my head I heard "shame on you." I began to cry uncontrollably. I started to drive back home as depression tried to over come me. I had been there before, I knew what it felt like to be depressed . "Oh God, please help me I don't want to go back there again." As I was trying to catch my next breath, I was sure that this time God wouldn't hear my cry.
The phone started to ring as I opened the front door. When I answered it my friend, Dorothy was on the other end, she said "God had pressed on her heart to give me a call." I know now that God heard my cry. Here I was someone who was so undeserving yet God continued to love and woo me. That day I spent reading God's Word. I was searching for answers to my feelings of hatred, my cry to God was "Help me understand, I don't like who I have become." My daughter was a gift from God and being her mom meant that loving her was to come natural...but I didn't know how.
Yet Another Nudge
It had been a year since that awful day in September. The day that Satan put his finally plans into motion. He was out to kill, steal and destroy every area of my daughter’s life and he was using me as the final touch.
It had been a year of praying, of doubtfulness as a Christian leader and pretending I was that ‘got it all together mom’. Even as I continued to struggle in reaching out to my daughter, God continuously reached out to me. He was persistent. He never left me, but directed me to what would later be just another step closer to my secret sin.
My days’ volunteering at the center was causing my heart to be broken, to be filled with compassion. I must confess, at times it seemed hard for me to reach out to women, who just like me, had made the same bad choices. But there I was every week at the center surrounded by the very thing that caused my heart to turn to stone. Week after week I would see the pain and desperation on the faces of the women who came looking for answers. It seemed like every time I was there, I would be asked to do a pregnancy test for someone waiting to find out the answer to her future. I know now, that God was drawing me to a place of total healing.
I knew that it was where God wanted me. I wasn’t there to make a decision for them on what to do next with the information that they had received. But I was there to share the truth, to share my story with these women.
As I got more comfortable revealing my past to the women at the center, God started to nudge me yet again, to share my story, but this time with a larger audience. He wanted me to share with the teens in our youth group at church. It had been sometime since I had visited the youth group because my daughter, on more then one occasion, made it known that it was her time to be an individual but that night I decided to step over the line. I told her that I just wanted to check it out and promised that I wouldn’t humiliate her. At the end of worship the youth pastor began talking about some of the subjects that would be shared in the upcoming weeks and one of them was on abortion.
Immediately I thought, I know all too well about that subject. Could it be another nudge from God?
To Tell The Truth
The house was quiet on the morning of October 2007. My husband was off to work and like every morning, I had just returned from dropping our daughter off at the bus stop. I grabbed my cup of coffee, my Bible and notes that I had been working on for the last couple of weeks. I was preparing the testimony that I was going to give on Wednesday night to the youth group at our church. As I sat down at the kitchen table to put the final touches to the last part of my story, I was still struggling with one small piece of my heart. My heart felt empty and distance towards my daughter. Every time I tried to hold her, I would be reminded of how I was ever meant to be a mom. Many times, I would hear the voice utter to me “A good mother would desire to have children, to nurture them, not destroy them.” The voice had a way of reminding me “She hates you, for what you have done to her sibling.”
I need to stop here to take you back to about 3 years before that October morning. My husband, my daughter and I had just finished watching the movie…Tilly.
It’s about a woman and her husband who had an abortion in the early years of their marriage. They never spoke about it until, something triggered her to begin to think about their child again and she started to experience Post Abortion Syndrome.
Many of you might be thinking why would we watch this movie, how could my 10 year old possible understand this act of abortion. I assure you, she only knew that abortion was not the will of God and it meant a life had been ended. This movie is wonderfully done and speaks of forgiveness.
At the end of the movie we all sat there with various mixed emotions. I will never forget her turning to me and in her soft voice whispered “Mommy, do you know anyone who had an abortion?” After taking a deep breath...I replied “Yes.” Then came the one question I feared the most, once again in her child-like voice she asked “Mommy, did you ever have an abortion?”
At that moment my world stopped. It was like everything else stood still except me. I wasn't sure what to say. I had prayed many times for the opportunity to tell my children, but not today...I wasn’t ready. I knew in my heart God was opening the door to my secret sin. He was about to take me one step closer to the place called…trust. Immediately, my eyes began to fill with tears. I looked over at my husband, as if to say “Should we tell her?”As soon as his eyes meet mine, I know the answer. I reached out and place her hand in mine, while all the time praying in my heart that God would give me the words to help her understand. I wasn’t sure if I could ever help her to comprehend why we made such a choice…I knew it was time to tell her the truth.
There was someone else who also needed to know the truth and that was my son, from a previous marriage. We had told him at the time of my pregnancy that I had a miscarriage. I knew in my heart in order for me to share my story with others, I had to share the truth with my children.
So, God in his sovereignty after two years of revealing the truth to our daughter, opened the door to uncover my hidden secret with my son. Telling my children was far from being easy, but the burden of not talking about my other child was destroying me and my family. For so many years I feared judgement from my children but what I received was forgiveness.
Forgiveness was something I desperately want from my children,yet so afraid to tell them the truth. Leading up to the moments before I revealed my secret sin, I wasn’t sure if my children would ever forgive me for making the choice to put my life before the precious child I once carried inside of me. It’s hard to describe the fear of rejection, I’m sure you’ve all been there one time or another. For me, it was to think what if I was to expose my secret would they a walk away one by one?
But they didn’t.
They had questions…I answered. They had ‘what ifs’…we dreamed together.
I was now free to share my (our) story with the rest of the world. So, there I sat at the kitchen table writing the last scripture into my testimony when I laid my pen down, bowed my head and asked God once again “Why can’t I love my daughter?” “Why do I always push her away with the very hands I long to hold her with?” I was tried of asking these questions...why was God taking so long to answer? Didn’t He want me to be close to my daughter? Couldn't He see I was killing her, too?
My mind began to spin thinking about all the words of anger and rejection that spewed out of my mouth. Words cutting deep into her soul, these words had started to build a wall between us and if our relationship continued down this path, she would fade away.
I began to sob uncontrollably from the pain that was welling up inside of me. Lifting my head off the table, my eyes focused upwards and with a loud shout, I cried out “God, what is wrong with me?” “I know you have forgiven me and in my head I believe it’s true but my heart, it’s empty…why?” I wiped the tears from my face and placed my head on the kitchen table once again, but this time in complete surrender. Within a few minutes, I felt His presence, call me crazy… but I knew He was there. His voice was so soft, almost a whisper as He spoke my name. I lifted my head from the table and responded “What is it, Lord?” Then the words of truth came out of His mouth like a two-edged sword “You can’t love Sydney, until you love your aborted child.”
Why did the truth have to be so raw? I thought God was all about love...saying the truth in love isn’t it what we learn as Christians? I knew He was right, just like the woman at the well; I too, needed the truth spoken to me. I could see His arms reaching towards me and then I saw him, my child. “Go ahead,” God said, “Hold him, you need to hold him.” God was speaking directly to my heart, for my heart had never held my baby.
At first I hesitated,if I held him it would mean my child just wasn’t about a Bible study for the post-aborted woman or even words of how sorry I was for making this choice. By holding him,placed him next to my heart, a place I skillfully guarded for years. It would be the first time in 16 years I looked into the eyes of Jesus and saw His heart…not mine. He wanted me to love this child…the way He loved him. He wanted me to be free to embrace the life…he would have had. He wanted me to lay the burden of never physically holding him at the foot of the cross…to holding him in my heart.
I must take a moment to catch my breath; it’s a day I will always remember. It's the day I was reconciled back to God.
Heal The Wound
I discovered this song by Point of Grace during the time of sharing my story 'My Secret Sin.'
This song has ministered to me many times,reminding me it's God's mercy and grace that gives me the freedom to reveal my scars. May you also be blessed and encouraged.
Psalm 34:4-5 (NLT)
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
Many years after my abortion, I tried not to wonder what kind of life my child would have experienced. Why wonder? It wouldn’t have changed anything. I had looked at my circumstance as a roadblock and the only way around it was to walk up to the clinic and opened that door. On that day,I decided to place myself first and for me to trust God…well, it seemed impossible.
I’m sure God had spoken truth to me before, but at the kitchen table that day it was overwhelming, because I was exhausted from running and searching for the next best place to hide. So there I stood, completely clothed in filthy rags and filled with shame. I was finally willing to hold my baby, to see him as a child of God and not just a situation. As I drew him close to my heart the rags fell and was replaced with a cloth of rigthousness. The shame pored out of me like a floodgate opening up to a river of grace.
I was broken and restore as I laid my burden at the cross. My Jesus took the shame, anger, guilt and bitterness I had carried for years and spoke these words “Now give it to me, don’t pick this up again but turn around, walk away and live.” I could feel the weight being lifted off of my shoulders as I handed Him my burden…once again. But this time it was different, this time I completely trusted Him to take what the enemy meant for evil and use it to His glory! I had finally stopped trying to forgive myself and I started embracing the forgivingness of Jesus.
I could now begin to wonder….
So…I wonder,what my relationship would have been like with my daughter today, if God hadn’t spoken truth into my heart two years ago. I wonder, if I had refused to let God unlock the door to the room in my heart that was meant for my unborn child, how would I be serving Him today? I wonder,what my life would have been like if I had kept my secret to myself…would I’ve continued to carried my burden standing upright so everyone around wouldn’t suspect the choice I had made on November 12, 1989.
I’m not much of a poet, but God laid these words on my heart that day.
I wonder… if you would’ve had your father’s eyes.
I wonder… if you would’ve had your mother’s hair.
I wonder… if you would’ve been tall, short, meek or strong.
I wonder...what foods you would’ve liked, what books you would’ve read, what dreams you would’ve accomplished.
I wonder… Christian Daniel
Just Do It
I would like to thank all for reading my story (God’s Story)…I didn’t share my story to shock anyone; My intention was to show God’s grace and how we can trust in His Word.
There are days I still visit my past, not so I will walk around with my eyes looking at the ground full of shame…oh no! But just like Joseph, I’m reminded how God took this awful experience and is now using it to His glory. What Satan meant for evil, God is using it for good; I give God all the glory!
Since I have begun telling my story, whether it be at the hairdresser’s or at a speaking event, God has saturated me with His love and has given me the courage to speak about this difficult subject. My heart goes out to women who at one time in their lives felt abortion was the only answer. I know what it’s like to hide a secret and to be afraid to tell anyone, in fear of judgment. I must admit every time I would push the button to publish my post I could hear the voice of the enemy, whispering to me that no one would care to read about my secret and I would be hurting my daughter by sharing my thoughts of hatred towards her, that I once had. I want to assure you before I even started to share; I had a heart to heart talk with her and she gave me her blessing.
Talking with her about her brother isn’t easy, but it brings healing. We’ve even planted a Japanese Cherry tree in our flower garden and placed a statute of a little boy reading a book while seating on a bench in memory of Christian Daniel. A little over year ago I went to a memorial for about four women who went through our abortion recovery Bible study at the center, where I volunteer. I, myself had already been to a memorial for children lost through an abortion, miscarriage or stillbirths, this part of the program is very healing. But I needed to be there for this one because of my involvement with the bible study, so this time I invited my husband and daughter to participate and they did. The service was held at my church and my pastor spoke at the memorial. Many tears were shed that day; many hearts for the first time spoke the name of their child (children) and my family, it was the first time we as a family mourned for Christian…publicly.
You may not have had an abortion, but I’m sure something has touched your life to the point of drawing you closer to God or maybe it's kept you at a distance. It may not be the time for you to share your secret but when it is…God will let you know.
I’m not sure what God has planned next for me with this new found way of communicating…blogging, but whatever it is I promise to step out in faith and just do it!
Revelation 12:11 They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony;