My boyfriend’s voice was flat and emotionless. “I’ve found someone else.”
How could he do this to me after all the time we spent together? I said to myself. What about our plans to get married? I had no idea that my boyfriend’s leaving, my dad’s rejection, and my search for love would lead to alcohol, promiscuity, and a decision to abort my baby.
Everything made me cry. My father told me I couldn’t come home. In his mind, I had a job and was making money. Yet my two sisters and brother-in-law moved home when they had problems. Why not me? I wondered. I felt worthless.
* * * * *
At eighteen and nowhere to go, I went to a psychiatrist for support. I felt like a zombie after taking the prescribed antidepressants. Then he suggested that I socialize with other people and encouraged me when I told him co-workers had asked me to go to bars. He didn’t know that I would become an alcoholic. Let’s put another nail in my coffin.
My idea of committing suicide intensified to a plan of action. When I placed the knife on my wrist, the phone and the doorbell rang at the same time. The psychiatrist was calling to check on me, and the woman at the door was a co-worker returning my vacuum. I understood then that God stepped in to protect me from irresponsibility and madness, and to show me that He loved me and knew what I was doing.
The co-worker took me for a drive, but I didn’t tell her everything.
* * * * *
In the bar one night, I took a guy home. This happened a lot in my quest to find love. I told myself that if guys wanted me to have sex with them, they must love me. Then I got pregnant in a one-night stand. Not knowing who the father was and fearing what my family would say, I opted to abort.
Even though I vowed to never choose abortion, it was the only way to keep my pregnancy a secret. I believed the lie that in the early stages of pregnancy the fetus was “tissue.” Then I reasoned, I will never think about it again.
Alone and afraid, I sat in the hallway of the hospital and hoped that a nurse would come and tell me the procedure could not be performed. Then I would have a reason to walk out. I wasn’t strong enough to walk out on my own two feet and say, ‘I’m not going to do this.” I shoved feelings of wanting to be a mother deep inside.
Feeling numb after the abortion, I struggled to move forward. But when I thought about what I had done and how depressed I was, back to the bars I went.
* * * * *
I found myself pregnant again. This time I determined to keep the baby, believing it would remove the heartache. Unfortunately, I miscarried and returned to the same lifestyle.
My way of living always left me feeling worse. So when a friend invited me to church, I attended and asked Jesus to come into my life. But I kept the dark places of my heart off limits. Because I didn’t fully surrender everything to Jesus, I returned to bars on Saturday night and attended church on Sunday.
On one Sunday afternoon, I met a man in the park. We chatted, then dated and talked about getting married. When he drank, he became violent, and I broke up with him before realizing I was pregnant.
When I told my family the news, they were not pleased. However, I determined to love the baby and be the mother and parent I always wanted to be.
My boss, a Christian, told me I could not raise the child alone. I believed I needed to find a husband who would love me and be a father to my son, but I did not believe I was good enough to have such a relationship. So I was drawn toward unhealthy relationships, all of which ended before they could develop into anything permanent.
When my son was eight years old, I experienced date rape and found myself pregnant again. I felt that I was being punished for all my past choices.
* * * * *
After the birth of my second son, I chose love over resentment and was baptized during a church service. God gave me Deuteronomy 31:8: “And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you, He will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” I determined that God was going to be the provider for my sons and me. I knew He would be faithful through every struggle.
The worship leader led us in a song that ended with words that spoke directly to me about God being everything, more precious than a priceless jewel. I made foolish decisions in my life, and didn’t want to be a fool any longer. I went to Bible study classes to learn more.
In my studies, I came across Isaiah 6:5-8:
“Woe to me! I cried. . . . For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”’ (NIV).
In the last part of verse 8, Isaiah said, “Here am I. Send me!” I knew the Lord was healing and forgiving me. Cleansing tears flowed. I didn’t understand what the Lord wanted me to do, but I was willing to go, to do whatever He wanted me to do.
* * * * *
At age forty-six, I married for the first time. God blessed me with a man who loved me and treated me the way He intends for a man to treat a woman. Although it was a major adjustment for both of us, God has been with us through everything.
Several years later, I assisted my pastor’s wife with Bible studies for single moms, a ministry I believed God called me to. Encouraging those sweet women helped me grow in my walk with the Lord and say “yes” when God asked me to do something.
One spring morning at church, my emotions were here, there, everywhere when I shared my testimony and confessed my abortion for the first time. My pastor’s wife told me about a session on abortion that was going to be at the next women’s conference. I volunteered to help and read Bible studies addressing the heartbreak of abortion and skimmed through a workbook. The study resonated with my past experiences.
Though led to take others through the healing process, I needed to go through the course as a participant. Tears flowed at night when I wrote in my journal and expressed anger, hurt, sadness, regret — as directed in the workbook.
Surrendering the secret to God has given me a freedom I never dreamed I could experience. I know Jesus died on the cross for me and forgave all my sins — even the sin of abortion — the day I invited Him into my heart and life.
* * * * *
Post-abortion trauma is real. I experienced it, and since going through the healing process, I no longer battle depression and anger that I lived with for thirty years.
Women live in fear that their deepest-held secret will be found out. It is these women God has called me to advocate for. Leading several through the process and seeing a change in their demeanor from broken to free is a blessing to treasure.
Based on a true story. Used by permission.
Consider Six Things
- You are not alone.
- There is a life inside you, and that life was made by God. He has entrusted you to protect and cherish it.
- Abortion is not the best choice; life is.
- Don’t believe the lie that the life inside you is only tissue.
- If you have had an abortion, God knows all about it and wants to forgive you. He loves you so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to the cross to die for you. Open your heart to Him, confess and repent, and receive His forgiveness.
- Healing is a process; it takes time. Embrace the process with God by your side.
— Priscilla Tate Gilmore