The other “A” word comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors, and it is the result of many things. It is the solution to many problems. It is the answer to many questions. It is the chosen way out. It is the only way out. It is easy and it is hard. It is freedom, but it is a lifetime of bondage. It is many things to many people. It defined me for most of my life, and it held me in a prison of my own making. Today, I am free from the “A” word. Emotionally free, that is, and free from the captivity it once held me in. I will never be free from the scars it caused, but today it is the scars that give me courage to reach out to others … it is the scars that give me a heart to understand … it is the scars that enable me to see past the reasons and see the outcome. The reasons lead us to be able to justify using the “A” word, but it is the outcome that we carry for a lifetime.
I am sure by now you have figured out that the “A” word is abortion. It is a word that literally causes my skin to cringe, but it is a word I can say now. For most of my life, I was not only unable to say the word, but when someone else said it, my heart would skip many beats, and I would want to run. I felt dirty from the word, and it unraveled in me many emotions (none of which were good). What I went through for over 40+ years I would not wish on anyone. What I felt had been done to me drove me to hate … drove me to be so bitter that I oozed with deceit and insecurities. Abortion defined me and it held me in a self-loathing prison. It took away from me the only opportunity I would ever have to becoming a mother by birth. It did irreparable damage. It drove me to many vices trying to cover up, to self-cleanse, to escape, and it drove me further from the only person who could truly set me free.
I thought writing my book about how it came about … sharing what others had done to me … releasing all my pent-up anger, bitterness, and fear on page after page would give me freedom that I sought for so very long. Over the difficult years of putting one emotion after another on paper, I could feel healing take place. I could feel anger and bitterness dissipate. I thought it was the means to the end. In a lot of ways it was, but in actuality, it was only the beginning. Book published. Book shared. Story out there for the world to read, but I soon learned it was only a small part of the healing process. I still could not bring myself to say the word. I still could not bring myself to verbally discuss my book. Though a large part of me was made whole and healed, there were still parts of me being held in bondage.
It was not until I went to see the move Unplanned that total freedom came. Today I can say the word … today I can openly discuss it … today I do not run when the topic is broached. Today I want to share … today I want to use my pain and suffering to help others. It is what God desires me to do, and it is my greatest joy.
My first opportunity to speak about my abortion came many years ago at a small women’s retreat in the mountainous area of Goshen, VA. A pastor invited me to share my testimony. When she called to extend the invitation, I was overjoyed. I knew this was where God was leading me, and I was on cloud 9. I can remember the day as if it were yesterday. My joy soon led way to fear … great fear! I was so afraid. I had to seek solace in His presence for over an hour prior to the speaking because I felt physically ill at the prospect of talking in front of so many women. Opening up about something so private was terrifying and it went against every fiber of my being. However, the many letters I received from women who were scarred and needed healing was overwhelming. Today, when I feel I cannot share, I re-read those letters and it gives me great courage. That one speaking set the course for the years to come. It is my great desire to continue to share, and I know this is what God is preparing me for in the years ahead.
Abortion is not the only testimony I have in life. When you spend so much of your life encased in anger, bitterness, insecurities, and the like, you do battle with many aspects of life (none of which are pretty). Abortion was just the underlying reason for all the many things God has brought me through. Because of this path, God has blessed me with transparency. Because of the road I once traveled, God has blessed me with the desire to encourage others. Because of the many years of self-loathing, God has blessed me with the ability to see the real beauty in pain. Because of the many years absorbed in great pride, God has taught me humility. Because of the large ego I once had, God has given me a great desire to serve others. There is not one iota of pain I have suffered in life, whether at the hands of someone else or of my own making, that God has not turned into something good … something to be used for His glory and for the benefit of others. Allow Him to do the same for you today.
I am still healing. I am still growing. I am still learning. But, when I look back at where He has brought me from, I am filled with encouragement. I am filled with hope. I am filled with such a desire to serve Him that it literally absorbs me. I still fall. I still fail Him. I still have insecurities, and I still have days where I allow the enemy more room than he should have. I still fail others, but I am a work in progress with a bright future because of the One who holds my future. It is because Of Him that I am able to get back up and move forward, one step at a time. As Joyce Meyer has said on more than one occasion, “I may not be where I need to be but thank God I am not where I used to be.” Of course, we could use that as a means to remain down and I think I did for awhile. Today, however, the only place I truly desire to be is where He wants me. I like to say that my ‘down time’ is shorter these days. I do not desire to be anywhere but going up. What about you?
I know God is opening doors for me that I do not even know about. I know He is working great things out for me. I know all these things because He told me so many years ago. I am sure I hinder His progress with all my downfalls and doubts at times, but it is His promises that continue to strengthen me. I do not know where I would be today without Him. I know where He is leading, and now I just need to give Him more of me each day so He can strengthen me for the journey. Won’t you allow Him to do the same for you today? God bless!