Saturday, May 21, 2011

God really began tugging at my heart about TRULY dealing with this issue in my life. I still did not feel like I could tell anyone that I considered "safe." I was so afraid that no one would love me. Being the people pleaser that I am, I could not deal with that. God had other plans.

The first time God really started speaking to me about dealing with my abortion was when Brice and I decided to go to a banquet at the local pregnancy resource center in Grand Prairie we had recently moved. It was called the Applauding Life Banquet. It is their annual fundraising banquet. I wasn't sure what it was all about before going. My point is I did not know that the speaker was going to be someone who used to perform abortions and was going to spend the entire evening talking about that!!! Can we say uncomfortable??? Not to mention, I was 6 months pregnant with Lauren. At the end of the banquet a lady got up and talked about wanting to start a post abortion ministry at the center. I left the banquet and told Brice I wanted to help with the ministry. He didn't say much. I didn't either after that.....

A Different Kind of Hope


So...at this point in my journey, we are now at the last part of April, first part of May 2010.

In the spring of 2010 the women of our church went to a ladies conference in Tyler, TX put on by the SBTC. It was great!!! It was a nice time of connecting with the women of our church because we hadn't really had anything like this in awhile but it was another knocking at my heart's door from God. At this conference we went to several break out sessions and a few of them were phenomenal but I felt such a connection with one of the speakers. Not only was she a GREAT Bible study teacher but there was just something else about her that I could not put my finger on that just drew me to her. Her name is Carrie Bond. After Carrie was finished with her teaching segment, she talked about a ministry that she was involved in called "Surrendering the Secret" which is a post abortion Bible study. I didn't know if I wanted to pass out or crawl under my chair. Neither one seemed like a good idea so I just sat there trying NOT to draw attention to myself. See, the difference with her is that she can't have children. Carrie has three beautiful adopted children but was never able to conceive her own yet she is ministering to women who have aborted their unborn children. Can I just tell you how much hope I felt at that very moment???

That was the 2nd time I felt God speaking to me about dealing with my abortion and this time it was a little stronger. I took Carrie's card that day and put it beside my computer with the intention of contacting her about the "Surrendering the Secret" ministry. It sat by my computer for weeks. Weeks turned into months and then God finally said enough.....

After months of looking at "Carrie Bond" on the little card beside my computer I never actually called her...or emailed or...or contacted her in any way.

On Sunday, August 15th, our interim pastor was out of town and our youth pastor preached the sermon that morning. The sermon title was "Turn Around." The basic concept was about God's redemptive power. That He forgives and restores us back to a place where we can continue serving him. This sermon CHANGED.MY.LIFE. I do not know another way to say it. I think after about 15 minutes into the sermon I began crying and by the time he was finished my entire body was trembling and I was weeping. I had ahold of Brice's hand and I didn't even need to say anything. He just knew.

At the end of the sermon Joel gave an illustration about a girl in our church (one of my best friends), Kaydi, who was serving in the youth group when she became pregnant premaritally. The story was so encouraging to me and I just knew....I just knew what God was calling me to do.

I knew that day that God was telling me that I had to follow Him...whatever that meant. I knew that I had to tell Him to take it all because I couldn't do it anymore! It was too much. This 3rd encounter with God was enough for me! I could not get away this time. Even if I had wanted to, I couldn't.

I went home and looked for Carrie's card by my computer...it was nowhere to be found! The enemy was already at work. So I Googled her! Yes, she gets a kick out of that!!! The best part....I FOUND HER!!!! That very night, I emailed her. Was I worried about rejection? You betcha! So.....in order to deal with that I will just tell you, my email to Carrie was not the nicest. I basically told her that if she never emailed me back I didn't care because she didn't know me and I didn't have anything to lose. Classy, I know but I could not handle rejection right off the bat. I think she emailed me within the hour and it was one of the most accepting emails that I have ever received and it was the beginning of what is now one of the closest friendships that I have ever had.

The best is yet to come!


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Friday, May 20, 2011

My Love

So I accepted Christ's forgiveness that day in college and really just kind of forgot about it again...never really dealing with the idea of abortion. I did, however, think that I needed to go and tell a bunch of people about it. That didn't work out so well. One girl asked me, "Why did you just tell me that?' That was a good question because I don't know. And I do believe that me telling a really really close friend of mine ultimately cost me our friendship a few years down the road. The timing was not right....it was not God's timing...it was mine.

I do feel like I should tell you about my experience when I told my (now) husband. I had to tell him because I could not let him marry me without him knowing my "secret." I truly felt like I owed that to him. One night in my apartment I cried and cried I think for about an hour before I told him. He looked at me in my eyes and held my face in his hands as tears streamed down my face and he said, "Is that all?" Not to minimize what I was telling him but only saying that it did not matter to him what I had done, he loved me anyway. That was Christ's love portrayed in human flesh for the first time to me and it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I loved him more that day than I had ever loved anyone. It was the hardest thing I had ever had to tell anyone. You see, Brice and I grew up VERY differently. He came from a very Christian home where his parents have been married only to each other for many years and they all went to church every time the doors were opened. He had barely dated anyone much less had a sexual relationship. I was broken but he loved me anyway. And I loved (and still do) him!

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

What No One Tells You

So, there are so many things that people don't tell you about having an abortion. What they do tell you is that it is easy, you can just forget about it, no one ever has to know, and after it is over, you never have to deal with it again. Well, ALL OF THOSE THINGS ARE LIES!!!! I lived those lies for about two years. The details in this next post are kind of sketchy because I cannot remember the exact time frames and the actual details about what happened that day are a little blurry too but I will tell you what I remember....

After the abortion, I did what I was supposed to do...I forgot...or at least I tried to. It came up everywhere I turned, at church, on the radio, on the TV - EVERYWHERE! But I ignored it as best I could...not dealing with it. Until ONE DAY....I went to college at Central Baptist College in Conway, Arkansas. In my career plan and the path I chose, I had to take a Human Growth and Development course. We sat down one day and opened the book to start talking about the different stages of fetal development and I LOST IT!! I am talking broke out in a cold sweat! I thought I was going to pass smooth out.

I knew that when I had my abortion that I was about 8 weeks along. What I did not know was that at 8 weeks gestation that my baby had a good strong heartbeat. What I did not know was that my baby had a perfectly formed little body with a beautifully shaped head and eyes and a nose and ear buds; beautiful little fingers and a mouth. I didn't know all of the intricate little details that God had already used to design this perfect little human person because THAT is what no one tells you. I was mortified and just sick. What had I done?! I took off out of the classroom like a bullet! I ran up to my dorm room and just fell in the floor and wept.

I don't remember much about what happened after that. What I do remember is that someone that I love dearly came to me that day...a friend and knocked on my door. I didn't want to open the door and I said something like, "Who is it?" which was a bit unusual. I had been crying all day and didn't want to see anyone. Long story short, I let her in and we talked...for HOURS. Somehow, for the very first time, EVER, I let someone into my heart and I shared my experience with her. She was loving and accepting and I will NEVER EVER forget that. She cried and prayed with me and she helped me through the darkest time of my life.

The next four years were VERY difficult for me. I sat through a Christian Ethics class where the professor was just a little judgmental as he went through the different types of abortion and talked about how horrible people that have abortions are. I still had not accepted God's forgiveness at this point and this did not help. The turning point for me was one night when I was in my dorm room talking to a dear dear friend...pouring my heart out when she said these words....


"Why do you not think that Jesus' blood was not good enough for you? So, what you are saying is that Christ died for everyone else and every other sin but you and THAT sin? You are too good for Him to die for you?"


You see sometimes we need people in our lives to call us out and keep us honest. That was MONUMENTAL in my life! That was a game changer for me. That was THE DAY that I accepted God's forgiveness for THAT and all sin in my life because you see, God sent His Son to die on that cross for ALL OF OUR SIN no matter how great or small. Yes, I do still struggle from time to time with the "rating system." It is hard to fathom that He doesn't look at abortion and think it's worse than gossiping but it's true!!! God is a forgiving God and I am living proof today that He will restore us!!

And, stay stuned...there is even more to this story! :)

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Story

There have been so many people lately who have asked about my new ministry at church and I have shared this story in public with different forums of people but I thought it was time to share on my blog. I have shared pieces of the story but this is the bulk of my testimony and story. I don't share for any other reason except to let you know where God has brought me from. The story certainly does not end here...there will be more posts about where God has brought me and what he has done. I am so humbled and overwhelmed with God's goodness I could burst!!

Childhood

My mom had me when she was 18 years old. I had a 2 year old brother and then she had my younger brother almost exactly a year after she had me. Due to certain circumstances my mom felt forced to allow my grandparents (my father's parents) raise the boys and she took me to raise.

I was about 2 years old when we moved in with who I consider to be my dad, Gary. We lived with his parents, Granny and Papa, for most of my childhood. My mom, Gary, and I lived off and on in apartments and houses but never anywhere very long. My mom and Gary never married because she was still legally married to my biological father. When I was about 5 years old, I noticed that things were starting to be different. I don't know if it was because that is really when they became different or it was just when I started to notice things. My mom and dad argued a lot and I noticed that things were starting to get very violent. When I was 6, the house that we lived in burned down. Luckily, my dad was out of town that night and we "just so happened" to spend the night with Granny and Papa that night. I later found out that it was all planned for insurance money. I don't think it all worked out in their favor....just sayin....that seems to be what I remember as a turning point in my life...where things just really started to plummet.

As I mentioned before, we lived with Granny and Papa for most of my childhood. Both of my parents were REALLY bad into all kind of drugs and as I got older I started realizing what was going on. To make this part of my story a little shorter I will summarize....I was drug from hotel room to hotel room making drug deals; I was told not to tell anyone about what went on in my house because if I did "the big fat black social worker lady would come and take me away; I watched day after day as my dad beat my mother until life was almost out of her body; I ran with my mother more times than I care to remember only to come back a few days later; I went to school to escape my home life...unsure if I would come home to my mother alive or dead; I would go to sleep at night with the pillow over my head singing as loudly as I could so I couldn't hear the screaming and fighting in the room next to me or I would run down the hall to Granny's room so she could rub my back and hold me while I cried. I went to 17 different schools from kindergarten to the 7th grade! All the while, it was familiar, it was safe, and it was all I knew as my life.

Move to Arkansas

When I was in the 8th grade my mom came to my school and checked me out of school YET AGAIN! I was furious with her. I just knew it was ANOTHER time where we would just be coming right back a few days, weeks later...she would just disrupt my now teenage life for whatever it was she wanted. You see, this time it was different. My mom had stopped using drugs but my dad hadn't. This time he told her if she was at home when he got back that he would kill her. We left Grand Prairie, Texas that day for Hope, Arkansas and we did not return. It was THE LONGEST Greyhound bus ride EVER!!! I was a month shy of fourteen years old. I was so angry at my mom...for a long time.

My mom got a job and bought her first car and really was doing everything well, except taking care of her teenage daughter. Don't get me wrong...I am in no way, going to play the blame game in this blog...I am just writing my feelings. This was the first time my mom tasted freedom!!! She was having the time of her life! She was going to the clubs and having a great time. She was still going to work and paying bills and doing what she needed to do but I was low on the priority list. She didn't have to worry about me...I was a straight A student and I was pretty much capable of taking care of myself.

Accepted Christ

When we first got to Hope, I knew a lot of people there already. My grandparents lived there for a long time and I had lived there before (remember those 17 different schools? Three of them were in Hope)! I already had some friends from like the 3rd grade and they remembered me! I was invited to church and long story short THE VERY FIRST SUNDAY I went to church I asked Jesus into my heart at at back to school party at the home of Charlie and Christi Zumwalt on August 27, 1995!! God had a plan and a purpose for that little girl in Grand Prairie, Texas all of those years and was protecting me for something greater!!! The only problem, my family is not of the same mindset and when I was so excited about the change that had occurred, my family was not as excited. It was hard to live for the Lord in the environment that I was in.

When I was in high school, there was a lady that I went to church with that poured a lot of time and energy into my life. I was NOT an easy person to love at that time. I was needy. I was clingy and needed lots of love and attention. She was always there and willing to give it. After she came and picked me up one night late after my mom had failed to come home yet again, she said, "Why don't you just come live with us?" She had two children of her own. I asked my mother who really didn't give a second thought about it and I did. She supported me financially and treated me just like her own child. I will forever be grateful to her and she will always always be so incredibly special to me. I love her like a mother. Sweet sweet woman!!! She even drove me to college when it was time for me to go! I just cannot say enough about her.

Worst Decision of My Life

When I lived with the sweet couple I started dating a guy. He was a good guy - Church of Christ. He had never really dated anyone before. I had never really dated anyone before. There was quite an age difference however. We dated for a good long while before we really started arguing quite a bit and the lady I lived with would come tell me to get off the phone - he isn't worth it, etc. but we would just argue about stupid stuff and I would just think it was me being insecure. I would apologize, we would make up. We had a very disfunctional relationship.

I noticed one day that I was very late getting my period. I told a teacher and she bought me two pregnancy tests. I took them in the bathroom of the school and they were both positive. I was devastated. Beyond devastated. I immediately began weeping. My best friend was in the bathroom with me and of course didn't know what to do. I threw the test across the room and wanted to go home. My friend would not let me go home. So, I didn't. I stayed the entire day at school bawling my eyes out and telling every.single.person. I came in contact with that I was pregnant. I don't know why I did that. It was just something that I felt the need to do. Why does anyone do what they do when they are in the midst of grief and shock???

Fourth period came. We only had four period days so it was the end of the day. It was my "teacher friend's" conference period and she sent someone to get me from my class that I was in. I went into her classroom and there she was with her friend, who was also a teacher at the school who I didn't know very well...she was an art teacher. My teacher told me that the best solution for me was to have an abortion and her friend was there to tell me all about it. See, she had had an abortion too and she is doing just fine. It was a great decision. She has two kids now and it was easy, you just do it, forget about it and my teacher said that she would take me to get it done. I literally think I just stood there looking at her. That was not an option for me....until that very moment.

That evening I called my boyfriend to tell him to come over so I could tell him the news...no, he still didn't know...I was at school all day and I didn't have a cell phone back then!! I had been given advice from every angle about what I should do. I had at least 4 people tell me on different occasions that day that "the only thing for me to do" was to have an abortion. I was given many different reasons why it was best. My head literally was swimming.

On Saturday, my teacher's husband called to tell me that my teacher would NOT be having any part in this and called me a baby killer and then hung up on me. I am not sure what she told him. I talked to mom who wouldn't say much except that she would take me, she would sign for it but she couldn't afford to pay for it. I found someone to pay for it and my boyfriend ended up paying him back. I made the appointment on Monday and had the procedure in Little Rock on Wednesday...the day before Thanksgiving - November 25, 1998. My mom took me and my best friend went with us.

Because I had told anyone who I came in contact with at school that I was pregnant the previous week, I went back after Thanksgiving break and told everyone that I had a miscarriage. I never spoke of it again until college....almost 2 years later....

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