I met Sonja a couple years ago. What always struck me about her was her openness and her hunger to serve the Lord. When you meet her, you know who she is representing...Jesus. She has a heart for teenagers and leads an abstinence program that goes into the high schools and teaches our teens the benefits of waiting for sex until marriage, and the consequences of not waiting. Her service is making a difference. We need many more Sonjas in our world.
David B. Bohl said, “The essence of all growth starts with a willingness to change for the better….Many times we are faced with situations that are actually growth opportunities in disguise.”
In the moment I realized that God had crafted the place I was standing in, I gained incredible courage. Not in myself, but in the One that had opened the door to that moment. A door that I had slammed shut and locked from prying eyes. And standing in the doorway of that moment, peering into the place of restoration God had prepared for me, I saw peace. Arms open, heart beating, run-for-all-you-are-worth peace. So I ran.
That day I stood up and told about 500 people my testimony of abortion. It was a secret my husband, myself, and my best friend had carried alone for 12 years. Twelve long years lost to the darkness of a secret that I thought I was keeping which was, instead, keeping me. And it is a haunting secret that keeps thousands upon thousands of other people as well. That is why you have arrived with me here. In the name of the Restorer, Jesus, I hope that you will be free to peer into the place of peace He has prepared for you as well.
Statistics estimate that approximately one million abortions are performed in America each year. Some statistics put the number higher, some lower. These women are from many different backgrounds, ethnicity's, socio-economic diversities. And many of them are professing Christians….actually about half. I was a young 23 year old married woman from a good Christian family with two children. I cannot make any excuse for the choice I made. I could try, but they all ring empty to me so I won’t try to placate you with them either. We made the choice out of fear…..plain and simple. Had I known that Crisis Pregnancy Centers even existed then things might have gone differently for me. That is one big reason that I started volunteering at our local Pregnancy Center (www.prchc.com). ….more on that later.
I won’t go into detail about the procedure I have since learned was performed, or the emotion of that day….I did my best to be without emotion ….I was completely numb. If you want to read more about that experience you can visit my blog (www.hiswarriorprincess.weebly.com) But, I will let you see into the days following the abortion and you will see a measure of transformation that is only able to be explained by God Himself. Because of health concerns three days after the abortion I found myself crying out to God for healing, understanding and for forgiveness.
And I found it.
And I found Him.
And He found me.
In the wake of the despair, in the chasm of my sin, in the mourning of the life I had laid aside for my own selfish reasons, when I should have found condemnation in the eyes of a holy God….I found FORGIVENESS. (I cannot possibly give that word an emphasis as huge as it deserves….it is paramount as we consider moving forward) And I moved forward from that moment, forever and irrevocably changed inside. And it has been a long road. I won’t try to put a nice, pretty bow on it….it was hard!! But, to give you an idea of the years to follow it went something like this….
It began by going to church more (we had fallen away from attending), so my family and I became more active in our home church. Then I started picking up my Bible and reading it for myself….praying to a God that I knew then to be alive and real. Then, I started going to Bible studies for women. Devouring the Word and the fellowship and growing deeper in my faith. Then, one study we did prompted us to find an outlet to show God’s love outside of the church. The Pregnancy Resource Center of Henry County was where God would take me, but I had not a clue why. I remember filing out the volunteer paperwork the PRC gave me and the conspicuous box that wanted me to admit if I had had a past abortion. It would be my first time sharing my secret. I stared and stared at that box. I had spent eight years trying to move past the abortion like it hadn’t happened (it didn’t work by the way…especially on the anniversaries!). So in one brave stroke of my pen I checked yes and pushed the paper away. It was one small victory for truth and God began to move me into a deeper place of dependence on Him. I found out that many Pregnancy Centers offer Post Abortion Counseling (if you are struggling with a past abortion….no matter how many years ago or how recent it was PLEASE seek out counseling….start with your local PRC….you won’t know what a blessing it is until you go!!)
So now, six and a half years later, I have been teaching an abstinence based sex-education program in our local middle and high schools through a ministry outreach of the PRC. God has allowed me to present the possibility of choosing abstinence to thousands of students. He has also challenged me with leading the volunteers that make up our ReNew Program at PRC Henry (https://www.facebook.com/RenewPRCHenry?ref=hl) These are years that challenge me and have taught me the values of a strong spiritual walk, spiritual warfare, and a strong connection with other believers.
For sure the most defining moment I have had in all of this was the moment God prompted me, as I mentioned in the beginning, to share my testimony with my church. It opened the door into a more authentic life story and created a place for me to meet many women and men that have hidden this secret (and many others) with no hope of release. Maybe that is where this finds you today? Do you need release from a past sin….abortion or not? Or maybe it opens your eyes to the struggle of a woman/man in your life? Depending on where you are will determine your next step. Maybe you will gain encouragement from this verse God has given me, Isaiah 61:3 “To all that mourn in Zion he will give beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair. For the Lord has planted them like strong and graceful for His own glory.”
God seeks to restore you to Himself today. Take a step into His open arms.
“Heavenly Father, I am boldly asking that You be present in the life of the woman reading this today that needs you so desperately. Find her, Lord, like you found me…. in her hiding place where she has shut herself in in false protection. I pray that she would seek to find You and take a step towards restoration. I pray that You put people in her path to help her and encourage her. You are worth it. She is worth it. Let nothing stand in her way. In Jesus name, Amen.”
But, each step I seek to honor the life of that child I will meet one day. And say I am so sorry and that my love for them has been immense and that their life was not in vain….however short it was…I sought to make it count.