For as long as I can remember I have always felt worthless, not good enough for anyone or anything. My parents had a nasty divorce and like most young children, I believed it was somehow my fault. In the years after my mom fell into a deep depression and lashed out all her anger at me often telling me I was worthless, just like my dad. My self-esteem continued to be shattered as I was bullied through out middle and high school. Not only did the girls spread nasty rumors about me, but they also poured soda in my locker, would steal my books, and threaten me. As if their torture wasn’t enough to break me, an upper-classman raped me my freshman year. I was 14. Like many girls who are raped, I kept it a secret as much as I could. Who would believe a nobody like me?
By my senior year the count down to graduation was on! I promised myself as soon as school was out I would leave my small town and start a new life, a fresh clean start. That year ended up being the worst. Two of my best friends died and a guy I trusted decided to drug and rape me. Yep, again. I was raped again! This time I couldn’t pretend it didn’t happen because this time I was pregnant. I drank and partied a lot, even made out with guys, but I didn’t sleep around. There was no doubt how I got pregnant and at that moment I wanted to die. A week before my rape I was videoed saying, “Abortion is wrong! Even if I got pregnant I would NEVER have an abortion.” Yet living in that moment I didn’t see another way out. I was completely terrified. Graduation was fast approaching and all I wanted was to leave, to escape, to be someone else. I had been told by almost everyone I knew that I was no good, worthless, a nobody. Why couldn’t I just disappear. Suicide seemed like the best answer. I stood in our kitchen with a carving knife in my hand ready to end it once and for all. This was how I would be brave. I went back and forth debating to slash my wrists or cut my throat. Tears flooding from my eyes. I wanted to leave a big bloody mess for my mom to find. I wanted her, the mean girls from school, the guys who raped me to know they caused this. They pushed me to end my life. In the midst of my sobs and the chaos going through my mind I heard God say, “This is not the end for you. I will use this someday for good.” I really thought I was losing my mind. Why would God care whether or not I died? He didn’t protect me from any of this! Where was He when all of this was going on? I was so angry with Him! I heard my mom getting out of her bed so I threw the knife down and went to my room.
The next day I wrote the guy who raped me a letter telling him that if he paid for the abortion I wouldn’t tell anyone what had happened and I would move away when it was over. I did confess to a few friends, but no one tried to talk me out of the abortion. There was no Google or YouTube for me to search for truth in 1998. I didn’t know about pregnancy resource centers who are available for girls with unplanned pregnancies. I was too afraid to tell my mom or anyone in my family, the ladies from my church, school teachers, or any other adult. I was frightened they wouldn’t believe me about the rape, that they would tell me I deserved it and I would have to stay trapped in that town forever. When I was 16 I had watched a movie that showed protesters outside an abortion clinic screaming “baby killer” and threw things at the girls going inside. The movie also had the protesters blow up the clinic. On the way to my appointment I hoped those protesters would be there. I knew if I was faced with any opposition I was chicken out. I was not brave, I was scared, numb, naive, and greatly confused. I knew what I was a bout to do was wrong and I desperately wanted someone to stop me, but when I got to the clinic no one was there.I walked in and told the receptionist I was raped and wasn’t sure if I wanted to have an abortion. She told me to talk to the nurse. I told the nurse and she told me to tell the counselor. I told the “counselor” and she told me to sign a piece of paper saying I understood the procedure. I signed it even though I didn’t understand. I didn’t understand anything. How come no one wanted to help me? I guess what everyone said was true, “If you get pregnant from rape, you have an abortion.” And so I did.
I kept my promise and moved a few days later. I didn’t just leave my small town, I left the entire state. I moved in with my dad and began college a week later. I thought I could finally start over. That’s the lie they tell you when you have an abortion. You can go on with your life as if nothing happened. Only something did happen and it was only a matter of time before it caught up with me. I started going to a Christian club on campus. I had gone to church enough to know how to act like a Christian. Smile a lot, carry a Bible, don’t drink, don’t party, be good, be happy. Then one night I began to have horrible nightmares. Bloody, gruesome nightmares. A little boy was screaming for me to help him, but my rapist was there and I was paralyzed with fear. Many were much worse and vivid, so much so I started to drink again to numb me. I couldn’t tell my new Christian friends or the director of the club. I believed they would, judge me and kick me out. I was afraid they would call me a murderer and would realize that I was worthless. This went on for months until I was arrested for under-age drinking. Instead of kicking me out, the director and his wife sat me down and asked me what was going on. At this point I realized I had nothing to lose so I confessed everything to them. I held my breath waiting for them to scream “baby killer,” but they didn’t. They told me they loved me and they were sorry I had gone through all of it. They also told me that Jesus loved me and they led me to Christ. I wish I could tell you it was happily ever after, but that’s not how Satan works.
Shortly afterward I met my husband and we began dating. He came from a good, Christian family and I assumed he was too good for me. I had told him about my past and for some strange reason it didn’t scare him away. I transferred to a university the following year, he had gotten his first job four hours away. I was gone from my Christian friends who knew the truth about me and Satan let me believe that I couldn’t talk about it at my new school. Satan loves to get us isolated, feeling alone or abandoned. It’s easier for him to attack us that way. My nightmares came back and I began drinking again to escape the pain I felt. I wrestled with God about my abortion. By this point I didn’t care about my rape anymore. I finally understood I didn’t abort my rapist’s child, I killed MY child. My flesh and my blood. I knew Jesus forgave me, but I refused to forgive myself. I diligently worked toward forgiving my mom, the bullies, and my rapists for the things they did to me, but I vowed never to forgive myself. Finally one day I fell at the altar at church and cried out to God, “What do you possibly see when You see me?” And He told me He saw me as beautiful. That day I quit using alcohol to cope with my issues. I graduated, got married, started teaching, had a baby and I thought that was it. My life is good. Except that I killed my child. That was still there.
I figured I could volunteer at a CPC and try to keep other girls from having an abortion and that would somehow right the wrong I had done. The precious director of the CPC told me because i was post abortive I couldn’t volunteer until I had gone through a post abortive Bible study for healing. I tried to explain to her that I was a Christian, I was good, Jesus forgave me, all was well. But she insisted I do the class so I gave in, That’s another lie Satan tells us, that we are ok. He will gladly use the Bible to convince us we don;t need further help or healing. He wants to keep us in bondage so we aren’t free to be who God created us to be. I hated the class! I hated having to talk about my abortion, about my anger, my grief. I held on to my fear, shame, & worthlessness with every fiber in my being because I deserved to carry that pain. Only that’s why Jesus died, to set me free. And one night during the study I read from Isaiah 43 and as I read the words, ” Do not fear, for I have REDEEMED you, I have called you by name, you are MINE!” I could feel the Holy Spirit releasing me from the shackles I clenched to. The more I read the more I could feel the love of Christ wash over me and I was healed! No more shame, no more guilt, no more fear, no more worthlessness! It was gone! I felt like a new creation!
At the end of our Bible study we had a memorial for the babies we aborted. It was a beautiful time that brought even more healing. I realized it was my unborn son, Joshua, who led me to Christ. My love for my son is as real as my love for my other children. My love for him and knowing he was with God in Heaven made me press hard to truly know Christ. Joshua never took a breath on this earth, but he helped lead his momma to Christ! Every life is valuable and important. No matter how conceived, every person is created by God, in His image, and He has a plan for everyone! The Lord has since called me out to speak about my rape and abortion. I now lead other women through a post abortive Bible study to help them find further healing in Christ. I’m active in many pro-life ministries in my state and nationally. God has truly given me beauty from ashes. He has turned the absolute worst thing in my life into something for good. The epitome of Romans 8:28.