Bungee Free

“Every time I got pregnant I miscarried. My gynecologist said it was because of the abortion. Dynah was a miracle. But…there’s more to it than the physical part. It’s been twenty-nine years, and I’m still not over it.” That is an excerpt from one my favorite books, The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers.

According to Planned Parenthood, stories like this and the information I shared with you in my last speech are “unfounded claims”. They state abortion to be a “relatively benign procedure in terms of emotional effect” and describe “abortion as a positive coping mechanism”. Today, my goal is to convince you that not only is abortion anything but benign or a positive coping mechanism, but that there are many men and women hurting emotionally. They need to know there is healing and that they are not alone.

Merriam-Webster defines benign as “having no significant effect, harmless”. In my last speech, I shared with you that I have been leading post abortive recovery groups since 2010. What I did not mention was that in 2006 I went through that very same study. Going through the study, helped me realize that unbeknownst to me choosing to have not 1, but 2 abortions did have a significant effect in my life and were indeed harmful to me emotionally and possibly physically.

Now, grant it, in 2000, at the time I had my abortions, I did see my choice as a positive coping mechanism for my careless behavior. However, 6 years later after completing the recovery journey, I realized because of my abortions my self-confidence was non-existent and the dreams I once had, had become (in my mind) unattainable. In exchange for my right to choose, I relinquished my right to dream. As mentioned in the study I completed and now facilitate, Surrendering the Secret, I considered myself a “used rag”; unworthy of anything good, let alone great.

Planned Parenthood and many sources I have read on the subject, including the 2009 Bioethics article entitled, Post-Abortion Syndrome: Creating an Affliction, claim there is no such thing as Post-Abortion Syndrome. I am no medical expert nor can I speak for every post abortive man and woman, but I can say for myself and the many men and women I know who have chosen abortion, it is not harmless nor a positive experience.

Imagine I am trying to walk out of a door. There is nothing in my way nor is there is anything holding me back from leaving this room. But what if there was something keeping me from walking out of the door, like a bungee cord for example? Outside of that door there is freedom and a future, but if I am tied in here all I know is what occurs in this room. It may not be all bad in this room, but outside there is so much more. I can tell you that my decision to abort my babies kept me on a bungee cord for a very long time. I was able to move forward, but could only get to a certain point before I was pulled back.

Now, several years later, I still struggle with insecurities, fears and doubts, but am wiser and more aware when they arise. I am also aware of my higher chance of miscarriage or even infertility is not a punishment from God, but a consequence to my “right to choose”.

Because of the media and public opinion, there are millions of men and women today (possibly in your life) that do not know they are suffering because of their choice to abort. Even if they do associate their symptoms with their abortion, they are probably too ashamed or riddled with guilt to seek the help they need. I know that was the case for me.

Although society and media say abortion is benign and a positive coping mechanism for an unplanned pregnancy that is not the case for everyone. I understand I may not have convinced all of you, but if you or someone you know ever comes to a place where abortion is an option, I pray the seed I planted today will sprout and remind you that everything you are told in the media is not always true.

In closing, I don’t know any of your stories. I don’t know what has tainted your life, but I want to reassure you that if abortion is part of your history, it no longer has to be a bungee cord holding you back. I want you to know that I was once held back myself, but through God’s grace and forgiveness those choices will no longer define me. I now embrace and recognize my 2 children in Heaven and know one day I will be reunited with them. I am one voice, just one person, but if my words have stirred something inside of you, I encourage you to please contact me or someone who will help. Please know that you can live bungee free.

– A persuasive speech I wrote and presented in speech class. –

Redeeming Love

My birthday has always been a day where I am allowed to be selfish. I get to do what I want to do, to eat what I want to eat, not to mention, gifts! This morning I woke up with those same selfish emotions, but they were quickly extinguished as I walked out the door heading to work.

Walking out of the house, I saw that I had missed a call from my dad. As I listened to his singing and words, an overwhelming sense of love and joy penetrated my heart. What is so extraordinary about that is that I haven’t had the picture perfect relationship with my dad. For many years, anger and resentment had gathered in my heart creating a levee-like barrier which prevented me from seeing my dad as anything but a foe. The past couple of years, this levee had been springing leaks; and this morning, as I sat in my car, the levee broke. Everything that I had not allowed myself to feel for my dad came rushing out. It was overwhelming.

In hopes of regaining my composure, I began to read the birthday wishes posted on my Facebook page; unfortunately, I again started to weep. The composure I had regained was, indeed, short-lived. The words chosen to describe me were simply overpowering. Words such as “amazing”, “wonderful”, “godly”, “role model” were being used to describe me. The thought of me, a sinful woman, being described by such affirming words was inconceivable and impossible to fully process. The tears would not stop and my flawless make-up was now, well, flawed just like me. Any other day, I would have reveled in such compliments; but today, I felt sick, nauseous and completely inept. I was reminded of how none of those words could ever be used if it were not for Jesus. It is His character that radiates and what others are describing.

So, as my head continues to throb and my stomach continues to ache from all the tears shed, I will enjoy this day, not because it is my birthday and I have an excuse to be selfish; but because I have once again been overtaken by His redeeming love for me!

Never Ceasing to Amaze

Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor [Trouble] a door of hope. There she will respond [sing] as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.Hosea 2:14-15

I have once again fallen, my Lord. Fallen away from You and instead of leaving me to rot, You have lifted me up, [once again] washed me with the blood of Jesus, and caused me to sing as I did in the days of my youth and innocence. You will never desert me. You will never be disgusted or ashamed of me. You are proud to call me Your own.

You transform my valley of trouble into a door of hope. Yet, as You take me by the hand and guide me into the wilderness I expect words of reproach, but instead You speak tenderly to me returning to me what I have so frivolously given away. Thank You for loving me as You do! You can take the worst places and turn them into beauty. After so many times of running away from You, You still continue to allure me back into Your arms. I praise you for mercy that never ceases nor never ceases to amaze me! You are my One True Love!

Shine vs. Shield

In the Bible, when we read about a person, their name is usually followed by a description of where they are from or their trait; Jesus of Nazareth, John the Baptist, Ruth the Moabitess. Now, Jesus and John had it pretty good. Their titles were positive and had no negative connotations associated with them. Ruth’s, on the other hand, said she was a foreigner, an enemy of the Israelites.

What if we all had titles that described who we are? Some people already do. Someone with a title of  M.D. or PhD, is known to have gone to school for a long time, they have knowledge in their field and quite often are immediately respected. Anyone would be proud to have such a title. But what if our titles had nothing to do with our career or our accomplishments, but our character? What if the world gave us our title? Would you be proud of your name?

When Ruth left Moab for Bethlehem, she was known as Ruth, the Moabitess. Now, this may not mean anything to us, but in those days, her title basically said she wasn’t welcomed and wasn’t able to take part in certain freedoms. It said she would have to struggle in this land. In addition to her title, people knew she was a widow, had no family and no wealth. She was lower than low. Imagine that kind of life?

So many of us have similar struggles with our titles, but what is even worse are the traits associated with those titles. Let’s use my titles as an example. Some of the my titles are divorced, single parent, non-degreed. Traits associated with those titles are failure, damaged, used. Because of these titles and their associated character traits, my success/happiness expectancy plummets.

Now, the Biblical/Christian response to the whole “title” thing is God doesn’t see our titles or isn’t limited by the expectancy of such titles. True, but what if I said He was the one who gave us such titles and allowed such negativity to be associated with those titles? I believe this to be true and Ruth is a prime example.

Ruth’s title said that she wasn’t worth much and nothing worthwhile could ever be expected to come from her life. I believe God loved that. I believe He used it to His and Ruth’s advantage. Because He knew that when He turned Ruth’s life around by allowing her to marry Boaz,which in turn included her in the lineage of Jesus, it all could only be attributed to His divinity! No one would have ever seen that coming! God proved her title and the character traits associated with it did not determine nor described her future.

What if the same is for you? What if the title of weak, fearful, failure, lost, damaged, or used may be the truth for your past, but not the truth for your future? What if the titles you have been given or given yourself, make His promises and victories for you only that much sweeter? What if instead of holding you back, your title is actually what God is using to  push you forward? What if instead of hiding behind your title, you stood in front of it proud of how God is and will continue to shine through it?

Sins of our Fathers…and Mothers

Whether we like it or not the behaviors of our parents (good or bad) have affected us in some form. We are, as much as we deny it, like our parents. Their makeup is what makes us their children.

As Jake gets older, his mannerisms, his laugh, his reactions, become more and more like his dad’s or mine with some of his unique personality mixed in. Sometimes it is great to see a mini me, but other times, it hurts me to see that a lot of my behaviors have influenced how he sees and reacts to this world.

In the midst of my most selfish days, I did a lot of things I shouldn’t have. Because of God’s grace, I have been forgiven and have repented of those sins, however, as much as I want to, I am not able to erase the consequences and the damage the exposure of those sins have had on Jake. So, instead of wallowing in regret, I pray for him, teach him the Truth and, probably the most difficult, apologize to him.

Intercessory prayer and the teaching of God’s Word is critical to guiding our children in their present and their future, but apologizing addresses the past. We, as parents, need to apologize for our behaviors and try to keep the influence of those behaviors away from our children. For example, Jake is at a difficult age; on the cusp of boy and manhood, the choices he makes are influenced by what he has seen and learned. However, by confessing my wrong behaviors and apologizing for exposing him to them, he can identify that what he has seen and learned from such behaviors should not be considered when making his own choices.

Apologizing to Jake was the most difficult thing I have done thus far. I almost didn’t even do it because I kept thinking it wouldn’t make a difference and what was the point if I already had forgiven myself and had received forgiveness from the Lord. But when I did, I felt such peace and another level of freedom from those sins. Jake, at first, had no idea why I needed to apologize, but when I explained that I didn’t want my bad choices to be an influence in his life, his expression changed. It was mainly a one-sided conversation because my son isn’t into conversing before fully processing what he has heard, so I am not sure what his thoughts are, but my prayer is that by confessing and apologizing, the sins of his mother don’t have as much power as they once did.