It has taken years to get here. I told myself I would never, ever tell anyone this. It would be my secret to keep for my whole life and I would never utter a single word. Three people knew…the only three people that had to know. That day was somber, surreal and so much like a dream that I felt like I was watching it instead of participating in it. I was hoping to wake-up as if I were in a really bad dream, but the aftermath would not allow me to. As soon as it was all over, I tied the memory of it to a brick and dropped it into the ocean of my heart.

From time to time over the last 25 years the topic of my secret has popped up in the news. It’s politically charged and over the last twelve months the controversy has heated up. Mostly, I have chosen to remain silent fearing the pain of my own hypocrisy and feeling that if stand for something I’d done, it would make the brick in my heart heavier.  I also feared exposing my secret because I didn’t want to be judged harshly by people who didn’t know my childhood story and how broken my heart was, and I knew by talking about it I would have to grieve something I never allowed myself to grieve. I wish this wasn’t me sharing this secret.  I wish I didn’t identify so closely with the statement below:

“I don’t want this to be part of my story.” Lysa TerKeurst

But this is a part of my story and I can no longer stay silent. As a Christian woman I feel God knocking on the door of my heart to share. Maybe for my personal healing; maybe for someone else’s. Maybe God wants to use my sin and my redemption for a purpose I am not privy to but that is His business not mine. I am simply asked to obey and after 24 years in Christ I am ready. God has worked day and night to redeem what was lost and to bring that brick up from the depths of my heart to the surface where it can be dealt with.

“Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out!” Psalm 107:2

My journey to reveal my truth started unfolding a few months ago with a story I posted about an abortion I almost had and how thankful I was that I didn’t go through with it. My daughter (who is now 27) is an amazing person and I am blessed because of her. But, that was not the entire story. The truth is that two years after not showing up for my abortion appointment I found myself in the same situation again…pregnant and unmarried.  This time the shame of my actions was overwhelming. I felt like I was becoming my late mother…a person I promised myself I would never become. Then there was my father, I could not face him or anyone else in my family. I truly felt I had no choice.

I scheduled my second abortion appointment and at six weeks (the earliest they would let me come) I got into the car with a co-worker who drove me to the clinic. I don’t remember much except feeling like I was in an assembly line. Sandwiched between other girls I worked my way one by one down the hallway until it was my turn. The actual procedure was a blur. I hardly remember any of it. Then when it was time to go home the nurse walked me out the back door to a cold, dark alley…no farewell greetings wishing me well, no caring sentiment for what I had just been through just an apathetic escort to the exit.

The next few days were unpleasant and very uncomfortable (I won’t get graphic but it was horrible). I had no understanding of how this would affect the rest of my life. I went back to work like nothing had ever happened, and the brick sank so deep that I consciously remembered it no more.

Fast forward almost two decades later. I was struggling with the trauma of my childhood and many young adulthood mistakes that had built brick walls around my heart. Anxiety, fear and depression were surfacing and I sought professional help.  It was in the safety and security of my counselor that I remembered what I had done. For the first time in nearly twenty years I whispered, “I had an abortion.” Tears of pain ran down my face. Grief for my lost baby swelled up and I wondered if it was a boy or a girl. I wondered if he/she felt any pain and if he/she would forgive me.

Over the next few years I worked though the trauma of having an abortion.  I learned that my secret was undermining my ability to make decisions. Somehow, I had unconsciously reasoned that I could no longer trust myself to make good choices, therefore, I needed others to make them for me. Deep down I felt like I wasn’t worthy of having a happy life and I constantly second guessed myself. WOW! That is the destruction that secret sin can cause and the enemy loves to use secret sin against us to keep us from moving towards freedom in Christ.

“For He has rescued us from the one who rules in the kingdom of darkness, and He has brought us into the kingdom of His dear Son. God has purchased our freedom with His blood and has forgiven our sin.” Colossians 1:14

The truth is that Jesus came to carry my brick…a burden too heavy for me. He paid the price for my sin by nailing it to the cross and that includes my abortion. I am forever thankful and humbled by God’s love for me despite my unspeakable actions. The greatest comfort I receive is knowing that my baby went directly into the presence of God and I know I will see him/her one day.

So, I offer my story…a story I wish wasn’t mine…back to God to use for good, to shed light and to bring healing. To tell the world that abortion hurts. I have a unique perspective because I have experienced the reality of not showing up for an abortion appointment and for showing up. I know what it means to say “yes” to life and what it means to say “no” to life. I know what it feels like years later to see the life I said “yes” to bring joy to this world!  I know what it feels like to live with grief and regret for the life I took into my own hands.

If you are facing a choice between life or abortion don’t believe the world and the culture. Abortion hurts.

It might seem like the quick and easy way out of the difficult situation you are in but it won’t go away just because you’re no longer pregnant. You will have to deal with the internal impact of taking the life of your own child for the rest of your life. Believe me I know!

Choosing life is the best choice!

If you have had an abortion you might feel alone because you have suffered in silence and in secret. Like me, many women stuff their feelings and try to pretend it never happened. I was astounded to find out what the statistics reveal about the number of women who have had an abortion.

“Approximately one third of American women will have an abortion at some point in their life.” LivingWell Medical Clinic 

If you are secretly suffering from the pain of an abortion, I pray that my story gives you the courage to tell someone. A trusted friend, a counselor or your doctor. If you can’t speak it out loud yet, maybe you can write a letter instead. If you’d like you can write to me. I will be your safe place (jj@chickeningin.com).

Also, I pray that my story gives you the courage to come before God. He is waiting for you, with open and loving arms, to come to Him. In Jesus we find healing, forgiveness and redemption. The enemy would love nothing more than to keep you and me trapped by our sin and to keep us believing we’ve done the unpardonable, however that is not what the Bible says. Jesus died once and for all for ALL sin. He rose again to restore our life. God can turn the ashes of your story into beauty. He’s calling you and He loves you!

“To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.” Isaiah 61:3

Here is a podcast by Focus on the Family that will help too:  Finding Healing After an Abortion.  Focus on the Family also has many other great resources and you can find many of them here.

Please, please share this post with everyone. Many women who are considering having an abortion never tell anyone. Many women who’ve had one never tell anyone either. I pray my story will bring hope to both of these women.

Live Courageously,

JJ @ Chickening IN

More reading on this topic:

The Abortion I Almost Had

Is Your Secret Hurting You?