For years my abortion story went untold. It was a secret held tightly by a locked heart – my worst nightmare and darkest memory. Not something I wanted to talk about. Certainly not a story that I thought could be used for good.
Conversationally, it was unapproachable… simply impossible to discuss. On the rare occasion when I allowed my mind to go there, I wished I had a different story: one of life, not death – of joy, not pain. A story of a time when I’d made the best choice, not the worst choice.
But that’s not my story.
And because it’s not, for years I was convinced that my mistakes demanded silence. That because of what I’d done and where I’d been, I was bound to be quiet whenever the sacred topic of life arose. Certainly, I had no right to speak… or so I believed.
Shame buttoned my lips.
Then I came to know a deeper grace. A grace found in the testimony of redemption. God’s grace. A grace that testifies of hope, healing, and restoration. A grace found in the sharing and releasing of my broken heart-places. Amazing grace that boasts in the truth that all things can work together for good to those who love God and who are bound to His will and purpose (Romans 8:28).
By the grace of Jesus Christ, I now understand that – knowing what I know and having been where I’ve been – I am actually uniquely qualified to speak and encourage others toward life… forgiveness… and hope.
A few years ago, the Lord led me to participate in a post-abortive Bible study and a weekend retreat that allowed my heart to experience healing in places that I didn’t even know were wounded. I was given the opportunity to sift through my grief, to name my child, and to honor her tragic, unlived life in a beautiful memorial service. My story is now one of healing – and I will tell it until I take my last breath and meet my precious baby in heaven.
For those of you who share my broken story, I encourage you toward this sacred healing – toward deeper grace. Death’s grip is suffocating and scary… but it’s not more powerful than the forgiveness and love found in Jesus. Don’t allow fear and shame to keep you from the restoration Jesus died for you to experience. Call your local pregnancy care center and ask about their post-abortive Bible studies and retreats.
For those of you who are pregnant and afraid, I encourage you to choose life. I know the fears you are facing and the doubts that are screaming relentlessly to your heart. Silence them with the hope found in the center of grace. Whatever this looks like for you – whether it’s parenting or adoption – I implore you, from the deepest recesses of my heart, to allow your baby a chance to breathe, love, laugh and live. It will be one of the best choices you will ever make.
For those of you who don’t share my story, but who support the efforts of life-affirming ministries on the front lines of this battle, I encourage you toward generous giving. I applaud you for your participation. Because of you, lives are being saved… and diapers are being changed… and dreams are being dreamed… and God is being honored. Because of your support, sacred hearts are beating. Thank you. A thousand times: thank you.
“But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:20b-21).
Dear Lord, I approach Your throne of grace today in reverence and humility, with a trembling heart, fully aware that You are holy, and I am not. Speak, Lord. Show me the plans You have for me. Bind me to Your Word and to Your strength so I will have the courage to obey, to forgive, and to accept forgiveness. May my brokenness be restored for the beauty of Your glory. Please help me to trust your plan and grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE
Okay … take a deep breath with me! Some of you may feel disturbed that a locked door in your heart has been nudged open. I also know that 30-40% of you that are reading this devotion share my experience of abortion. There is healing and forgiveness for you, too. Through the help of my local Pregnancy Care Center, I went through a post-abortive Bible study that helped me to know complete healing. If you have not taken that step toward healing, I encourage you to visit SurrenderingTheSecret – or call your local Pregnancy Care Center today to sign up for a post-abortive Bible study or retreat.
Is there someone you know who needs to read this message? Forward this email. Post it on social media. Share the hope of healing. Swing by the comments section for reflection and prayer.
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Hi Gwen – this is so real to me…..I experienced this at the age of 29 during a relationship that was so very wrong. I was only 2 or 3 weeks pregnant, but I was a divorced, single mom with a 6 year old son already, and there were literally no support groups in place 40 years ago. My parents would have been devastated if they had known and I also feared losing their love by this pregnancy. I cried and begged the child for forgiveness all the way to the agency and all the way back. Only my best friend and oddly, my ex-husband knew what had happened for years. And after God blessed me with a wonderful, new husband who shared with me my pain over the abortion, I was frightened to share with anyone at our church because they were older women and certainly not able to give comfort to me in my quiet pain. Then other women my age came to church and we started a Bible study together, and shared things in our lives that had scarred us. I hesitantly shared and received comforting love from these gals and some of them had my sad experience also. Still, I felt quietness was the best as my parents had moved close to be with us and I never wanted them to know what I had done. When my dad died in 2020 at 101 and 4 months of age, I finally felt totally free to share with our congregation my experience, and how God had finally given me peace from the tremendous guilt. Our local pregnancy center, which my husband and I support as well as our whole church family, also has the post-abortion Bible study which I want to be able to take in the fall this year. I have named my baby, whose gender I didn’t know, Amanda Rose, and I have a beautiful baby doll who represents the baby I will meet in Heaven. I also have a beautiful bride doll who represents Mandy Rose as a bride that she might have become. They give me comfort in thinking about meeting this child some day in Heaven. I am so looking forward to the study, and thank you so much for sharing your experience. I encourage all those who are in the place where they are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy to choose life for their child….it makes the problems experienced during the pregnancy all worth it. There are now so many wonderful pregnancy centers and support for you when you need it ! May God bless you for your ministry my dear!
God bless you for your story
My 1st, one and only grandchild would be 8 this year. My then 18 year old senior in high school daughter dating a “bad boy” (that treated her horribly) who suffered horrible panic attacks, anxiety and hypochondriac. I prayed with/for her over the years as she cried, called in the middle of nights in a panic, trips to the ER because she felt she was dying and the hardest….wanting to die to make the “feelings” go away. Even trying a Christian counselor who also counseled me as a mom. I found out she was pregnant by accident and had the privilege to attended 2 ultrasounds with her. Weeks later she called me from an abortion clinic crying how scared she was as I was crying and pleading for her to leave immediately and come home. Thankfully she did. I told her we will figure this out together and her dad and I would do everything to make it work. I thought she was doing well, I was planning a baby quilt, etc.. While (our family) was at a youth retreat in the chapel singing a youth leader that happens to be a Dr. tapped me on the shoulder and motioned my husband and I to come outside. She then told us (with our youth pastor present and a couple friends) that we need to take our daughter to the hospital immediately! Why, what happened I asked? She said she could not say but we need to leave right now. While waiting in the waiting room talking with her it sounded like maybe there was something wrong with baby because at this point no one else knew she was pregnant. During the check in they asked for her insurance and then gave me her wallet to hold for her. She was called to the back and the nurse said we were not aloud to go back with her. Thought that was weird but she is considered an adult so went and sat back down. About an hour and half or so, the registrar came up to me and asked me a question about her insurance so I went into her wallet to find the ins. card again, and when I opened the wallet a loose business card fell to the ground. I bent down to picked it up. My heart both raced and sank and extreme fear took over. It was an appointment card from the same clinic she called from before. The date on the card was the day we left for the retreat. I was in shock and disbelief that the date on the card was just two days ago. I keep telling myself that she must have not shown up to the appointment time. Wrong. When I was finally summoned to to her room, she was laying there hooked up with an IV, emotionless. She said she was tired. I firmly asked her…what did you do? three times without an answer from her. I just remember running out of that hospital in disbelief and crumbling to the ground not being able to breathe and pleading to God, why why why?? That was in 2015 the worst day of my life. During the two ultrasounds I attended, she was stone faced with no emotion. Although I was very disappointed in her choices I tried to get her excited about the baby whose heart you could see beating and was clearly a formed baby. Still no emotion. At one point she said she just wanted this thing out of her. The boyfriend (who has a son) wanted her to keep it and I found out later she didn’t want to have any attachment to him no matter how much we prayed and try to encourage her that the baby deserves to live no matter what! I know I will meet that grandchild one day, but my mom heart still can not comprehend that I have a daughter (who grew up in a loving Christian home) could be capable of ending a life when she saw that baby alive on a screen and heard their heartbeat. I still have the ultrasound pictures hidden way back of a rarely used cabinet, afraid to look at them. Over the past 8 years her behavior has not changed much. She is our prodigal. I’m praying, I’m waiting, I’m trusting. What do I do with these pictures? I’ve wanted to talk about this experience with others but feel I should not expose other’s stories. It’s theirs to tell. I’ve given it to God, so I thought every day. But why does it still hurt so much and why did God allow me to see the ultra sound twice? How is this tragedy going to help anyone else if it means exposing my daughter’s horrible choice. The last two years or so I finally have some peace over it but it creeps in whenever she makes bad, harming choices. Of course I know that I just need to continue to pray she makes her way back to her Lord, but in the meantime I feel so alone and angry that the enemy won. Those pictures in my cabinet haunt me but I can’t just throw them out. I know God has a plan but what in the world could that plan be for me to see/hear my grandchild growing inside my daughter and then not?. I’m not condemning women who have gone through with this process, I’m trying to understand why a loving God allowed me to see that and hear that baby twice! Why I have to live through my thoughts of having a daughter capable of such a thing? We knew and she still went through it. It wasn’t a secret. We had plans. Many friends, pastors had conversations with her and what the consequences would be for her anxiety and that her parents love her and would be along side in anyway possible. She wasn’t alone or unloved. Her village was surrounding her. I take on the guilt of not being a very good mother (of 4). Young mothers will ask parenting advice and I don’t know what to say since it’s obvious I did not do a good job. My apologies if this isn’t the right place to release an event that has been bottled up for so long, but so appreciate you and your devotionals and bible studies you’ve led online. Thanks for your inspiration and time out of your life to inspire others. You are truly a blessing!
I have had an abortion and also attended, “Surrendering the Secret”. I would encourage you as a grandmother to attend STS or some post-abortion Bible study. Encourage your daughter to go, but even if she doesn’t, I believe you would benefit from going.
I, too, am a grandmother to who would have been my son’s one and only child. He was so against abortion until his girlfriend got pregnant. He, as a teen had accepted Jesus as a teen. His GF wanted to have an abortion. I accidentally found out the day before their appointment. It was not something he would even talk to me about. I cried. It was that time he walked away from Jesus. This was 33 years ago. He has no children and he calls himself an atheist so I grieve for 2 lives. The baby I will one day meet in heaven, when I will rejoice that he/she got to live in the presence of Jesus, but also grieve at the pain my son continues to feel but has buried and doesn’t know God’s grace. The GF went on to marry someone else and have 3 children.
I always look forward for your devotion, your testimony. My story is not about abortion but about having a miscarriage and not even knowing I was pregnant until they got me to my Doctor. I was hemorrhaging so bad and then I heard the Doctor say, you had a miscarriage. It was suffocating, heart ache, the tears and the feelings and thoughts I’ve carried all these years still enter my thoughts and my soul. I am about to be 70 years old and only my grown daughters know. My Father in heaven has my sweet child that I will see when God calls me home. I pray no matter the circumstances a young woman is going through in her life let God into your heart allow him to be your comforter, your strength your stronghold. Back in my twenties the one constant that I had to talk with was my Father in heaven. You didn’t talk about the loss or abortion. My story is I had Jesus and I ran to him. Today I think of that day at work then the turn of events that happened and I still lean on the everlasting arms of Jesus.
Gwen, Thank you for serving and sharing our one true God.
I recently felt God wanted me to give up my dirtiest secret of abortion. I did so at our church retreat for ladies. They listened intently, then circled around me and prayed over me and for me. It was beautiful and transforming, after 46 yrs I am free. But even more beautiful was how my opening up and sharing gave other women the courage to share their deep burdens and wounds, then getting to pray over them too. Thank You Jesus!