Many years ago, a woman in her early twenties (made up name of Janet) and her son (made up name of Tommy) came into my life. Janet was going through a rough patch and needed a place to live. So, like many pro-lifers have done for so many years, I opened my home to her and Tommy.
Over the course of a few weeks, as we got to know each other better, she told me that she had been pregnant four times. One pregnancy ended with her releasing her baby for adoption; another ended in miscarriage; the third ended in the delivery of Tommy; and the last ended in abortion.
I will always remember her anguish as she told me that the one outcome she regretted the most, the one she would give anything to do over, was the pregnancy that ended by abortion.
At the time, I remember thinking, “You have this beautiful son. How could you have looked into his face, then killed your next child??”
I didn’t realize it then but now know that sometimes we do things (sometimes awful things) that don’t always make sense to the world, and often, after the fact don’t make sense to us either.
I would offer this as a classic example of both: The CDC reports that more than half of the women who got an abortion in 2009 had at least one previous live birth.
Eventually, Janet and Tommy moved out of my life, but that short time with them was a great lesson for me. We all do things we later wish we could change—and hope no one finds out.
With abortion many women hope against hope that no one ever finds out about a life-and-death decision they made which they regret with all their heart and mind.
I know that a lot of women are hurting. A lot of women are in silent pain because of a decision they made to take the life of their unborn child, whether recently or many years ago.
If you are one of those women, the right-to-life movement has a message for you: We care. We don’t judge you. We love you.
We also want you to find the courage to seek help. Whether it be a priest, pastor, psychologist, or family counselor– if you are struggling with your decision; if you are having those nightmares, times of depression, periods of weeping– please help yourself.
I thought of Janet and Tommy again as I listened to the song, “You Are More,” by Tenth Avenue North. It speaks about past mistakes—including an abortion–and the healing that is possible through a loving Savior. (You can watch and listen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwtcwQwgdsA.)
There is a powerful reminder and reassurance in these lyrics
You are more than the choices that you’ve made;
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes.
You are more than the problems you create;
You’ve been remade. You’ve been remade.
Cause this is not about what you’ve done,
But what’s been done for you.
This is not about where you’ve been,
But where your brokenness brings you to
This is not about what you feel,
But what He felt to forgive you,
And what He felt to make you new
If there is any chance that “Janet” will read this, I want her to know that she will always have a special place in my heart. Thank you for sharing your story with me.
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You will probably never know the impact you made on my life. I learned more about genuine compassion and non-judgmentalism because of you. I hope I can pass along understanding and acceptance so that the hurting women in this country will have the support they need to find healing.