At the Crimson Crossroad
My favorite dress was crimson red and had white Hawaiian flowers all over it. That dress was long and flowy, and would cover my toes; that dress made me feel happy and beautiful. The first time I had an abortion, I wore that dress because it was the only thing that made me feel comfortable. That day, however, destroyed the way I felt about that dress and myself.
At the time of my first abortion, I was going to school to become a nurse and I was on the cheer team. Having a baby didn’t fit my life at the time, so my family and I made the decision to abort my baby. The day that I went into the clinic changed everything. As I waited for the doctor, I spoke to my baby for the first time.
Looking back, I believe God was trying to speak to me in the midst of my decision, but the plan was set and a decision had already been made.
The doctor came into the room and administered medication to me so that I would be asleep for the procedure.
I woke up the next morning around 2 am, feeling angry at the decision I had made. I grabbed my crimson red dress and every picture of myself in that dress took all of it down to the alley outside my home and lit everything on fire. As I watched the pile burn, I began to realize what I had done. Panicked, I tried to grab my dress from the flames, but it was too late. The dress crumbled in little pieces in my hands and that’s when I realized the same thing had happened to my baby.
My baby was gone, and it was too late to save that life.
The second time I became pregnant, I was actually happy and excited, but the person I was with did not feel the same way. Conversations about the cost of a baby were had and so the decision was made once again - I would abort this baby. I didn’t want to bring a baby into the world that was not wanted.
I went back to the clinic to have the procedure done, but things went differently. The doctor did not give me enough medication to fall asleep, so I was very present the whole time. I could feel everything, hear everything and I saw everything that was happening - it was horrific and I was devastated.
I went home afterwards and got in my bed to watch television. The channel that I had turned to showed a grown woman who was sharing her story about how her mother had gone in for an abortion, but she had survived. The woman lived through a procedure that should have killed her, but now she was sitting on my television screen talking to the world. I began to sob as I thought about my baby and how I wished my baby would have lived, but I knew it just wasn’t possible. I knew I was doing something wrong with my life, and made the decision to fully follow God with my whole being.
Longing to Make It Right
Being a post-abortive woman, I spent most of my young adult life trying to atone for my sin. I was filled with shame and remorse for so long about my decisions that I overcompensated in business, relationships, finances and education.
Whenever something bad happened in my life, I assumed it was deserved and a part of my punishment.
Although I gave my life to Christ at 10 years old, I began to believe that the church had no room for a girl like me. If I was in service alone, seats on either side of me were always vacant. I would get connected just long enough to share my story but, when I did, the silent rejection was enough to isolate myself once more. It wasn't until my divine appointment with God at Sandals Church that my life and walk with Christ truly began.
I had been quietly attending services and volunteering at Sandals Church for a little over two years when I started to question my purpose. I was always able to be kind while keeping people at arms-length. I was always able to smile while keeping my emotions beneath the surface. Unfortunately, I was going through the motions every day; simply existing. I knew that being real was an important pillar of the church but, I had yet to share my crimson past with new friends that were eager to know me.
I allowed my guilt to keep me separate from the real relationships that God was trying to cultivate in my life.
Simultaneously, my heart was stirring about the issue of abortion but, because I had so many negative experiences, I chose to keep it hidden.
But God had another plan.
Front and Center
On the first Sunday of a new year, God intended to bring me into the light. I arrived to service late that morning and the only seats available were in the front; dead center. I thought “Funny God, real funny”. I never sat that close to the stage… ever. But there I sat. God needed me to hear Him; without question.
The message that morning was about the Gospel of the Kingdom and all that it consists of. The pastor had a way with words that cut through me like a Swiss blade every time he spoke. He was the perfect minister to reach my heart. I knew this message was serious, and for me. He went on to talk about how love is "your action toward the good of someone else" along with true faithfulness, justice and mercy.
I seemed to be dodging a bullet until he crept into the topic of human dignity. He spoke of slavery, racism and other things that rob people of human dignity. Then he paused, took a deep breath with watery eyes and said "abortion". The whole room went silent and he said nothing. He stepped back from the podium to gather himself before proceeding.
He said "...you erase one life and destroy another..." I froze.
At that point I looked at my feet immediately. My heart was in my throat and I was trembling all over. I thought, “Here it comes, God's going to speak to me…” The pastor emotionally went on to say that the church needed to talk about it. Life begins at conception. A zygote was created in the image of God. He told those of us who've had abortions (me) that God loves us and wants to heal us...and use us to heal others like us.
Right then and there, with tears streaming down my face, I finally understood. I thanked God for what he had done to reach me. I finally allowed myself to feel his unfailing grace that was always there. In my vulnerability, I trusted God and his plans for the very first time. I knew that the rest of my life would be given to the preservation of life. I knew that my life as I knew it would be forever changed.
Used to Make a Difference
A few months later, confirmation came through an unlikely scenario during a shift on the Labor and Delivery unit of Riverside County Regional Medical Center. One of my co-workers went home sick and I was asked to take her last patient. She warned “this lady is kind of weird because she won’t hold her baby. She’s a first-time mom too…” I followed the normal protocol, introduced myself, and continued her plan of care as scheduled. As other staff became more irritable with my patient, I spoke calmly as I educated her about infant safety and feeding. She never looked at me or her baby before my shift was over. As I headed to the elevator, I watched as a nurse wheeled the new mother over to the Postpartum unit. When I got to my car I heard “There you are! Are you in a rush? That patient is crying and asking for you”.
I got to her room and she was eager to tell me why she could not love her baby. She shared that she had several abortions and felt unworthy of such a gift. Humbled, I shared the love of God I experienced with her. I told her that He saw her decision before she made it. Before I finished, she extended her arms to hold her baby boy. When I emerged from her room, a few nurses were leaning against the wall. “How’d you manage to do that?” I simply replied, “I didn't. That was all God.”
Shortly afterward, I reached out to Riverside Life Services, a crisis pregnancy center, to volunteer and was offered a job instead. Next, I was on a plane to Virginia for Obstetric Ultrasound Training to share God’s love through sonography.
I have the opportunity to meet with young girls who are pregnant and don’t know what their options are. I am able to share with them my own story and let them know about adoption and also about who Jesus is. I find that more often than not, these girls are open to hearing about Jesus and are open to prayer. I have invited these girls to Sandals Church, and some show up, and many of those still attend.
Some girls don’t think anyone can understand what they are going through, and that’s why I share my story with them. I want them to know they are not alone.
When you feel that you’ve been given an opportunity or a gift, you begin to ask, “Who is going to do it if I don’t? Who is going to put their whole self into it if I don’t?”
If anyone would've told me that this would be my life two years ago, I’m pretty sure I would've laughed out loud. Today, the smile on my face genuinely matches the smile in my heart.
God has done something amazing in my life when I expected the worst. His message to all of us is simple: There is hope after hopelessness. There is life after loss.