As the pastor closed the service, he led us in a thought…“Ask Jesus to show you what He has saved you from.” Shame overwhelmed my thoughts as I sat and reflected what came to mind: Thirty-three years ago, I contemplated aborting my first child ...
In my early years and into high school, I enjoyed church activities and was active in youth group. But after high school, I felt lost and I struggled to know what God wanted for me. While I waited, I moved into the city with my sister and found work.
That Christmas I decided to leave the province to attend a winter session at Bible School. A short time later, I was smitten by a fellow student and was quickly drawn in by his dark-haired and handsome city-boy appeal.
“Remember, what we do here, you can never undo.”
Before I knew it, I was caught up in a whirlwind of emotional abuse and manipulation. My boyfriend knew how to compliment me enough that I would desire his approval but at the same time, he seemed to know how to keep the bar slightly unreachable. He was skilled in managing my thoughts and emotions and soon convinced me to leave Bible School, move back to his hometown, and turn against my own family.
As time went on, I functioned as if I had no feelings or emotions and if they surfaced, I shoved them way down to avoid ridicule from him, as he was convinced that the challenges he had experienced in life were worse than anyone else’s. As a result, he justified all his actions and I had an indescribable desire to please him and to rescue him from anything difficult.
A $250 "Solution"
After a year of being kept a safe distance from my home and family, I discovered I was pregnant. By now my boyfriend was essentially the master of my thoughts and convinced me the only option was to have an abortion. We were both only 19 and the reality of our choices loomed in front of us.
I was in fear of what this pregnancy would do to our relationship and what others would think. I became very adept at doing whatever I could to please him. And although he convinced me that this child was better off dead, he had no intention of walking this journey with me.
I contacted Planned Parenthood and rode the bus there, alone, to start the process. As I entered the clinic, a cold unfamiliar feeling came over me. My stomach was in knots as I waited. The intake nurse explained the procedure and stated the cost would be $250.00. We did not have this money but I booked the ultrasound for the following week. My mind raced with thoughts and feelings of guilt and uncertainty – feelings I was too afraid to share with my boyfriend because I felt he would not have understood.
The next week I took the long bus ride, alone again, to the clinic for the ultrasound. When I saw my baby and her little heartbeat of life, I felt an awakening. Then the nurse said, “You’re further along than expected, we will need to proceed next week.” She paused - I’m sure she saw the uncertainty in my eyes - and said, “Remember, what we do here, you can never undo.”
I don’t remember how I found the right bus or the ride back to where I was living…I was in a fog of replaying the ultrasound and the nurse’s words in my mind, “You can never undo.” I knew I had to defend the child inside of me!
A $250 Confirmation
At the time, I was working as a live-in-aid for a lady crippled from polio named Elaine. She was my mother’s age and it brought me some comfort to be able to talk with her since I was so far from home. I would often spend weekends with my boyfriend at his apartment, but this weekend I decided to stay with Elaine. Her and I did not necessarily share all the same values, but it was good to share with someone how afraid I really was. We discussed possible options and she encouraged me to move back to Manitoba with my parents.
The day following my ultrasound appointment and chat with Elaine, my boyfriend called saying his car had been impounded. He had been caught driving it unlicensed and he was without a driver’s license. When he told me the cost to get his car back would be $250.00, I knew this was not a coincidence.
At this point, he still assumed the decision had been made for me to have an abortion and that I simply needed to carry on. I rode the bus to his place and told him that I would not have our baby aborted and that I would move home to raise my baby on my own.
Just telling him this brought unbelievable relief. I felt more alive than I had in a very long time and so I knew I had made the right choice.
More to the Story
I did not end up moving back home to my parents as I planned. Although I had stood my ground about not aborting our baby, my boyfriend maintained control over me. After telling him that I was keeping our baby, he convinced me to elope. He then wrote a letter to our families telling them that if they couldn’t accept and be happy for us they would never see their grandchild.
We eloped just weeks after my ultrasound and that fall our baby girl was born. I chose to do my best at being a godly wife and mom and at times felt my husband was giving an honest effort at family life, so we had three more children.
However, when our youngest was only ten days old, my husband left us for another woman with whom he had been having an affair. This was a difficult time for the kids and me, but God was so close. He worked out every detail and the kids and I were able to settle into the town where my extended family lived.
‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ John 13:7
My focus for the years that followed was on the emotional and spiritual well-being of my kids. I spent hours praying and seeking God’s direction on how to single-parent. And I am so thankful for each of them! They each have personal relationships with Jesus and are each on their own journey of seeing what God has saved them from. He has been preparing great things for each of them!
When I look back, I see that God was there with me and He went before me. The right nurse saying the right words. The $250.00 fine being the same amount as having an abortion. The friend I worked for and lived with. God never left my side. By God’s grace and sovereignty, He protected my unborn baby girl! By relying on Him I drew inner strength to live out the conviction of His plan. He protected me, from making the worst mistake of my life!
‘He knew her in her mother’s womb’…Psalm 139:13
My daughter is now a beautiful wife and mother of three here on earth, with a precious boy in heaven that we look forward to meeting one day. When she lost her preterm baby boy, she realized the need in our community for support for moms. As she herself grappled with her loss, she decided to make a difference and start an infant loss support group. Her passion to reach out to others is inspiring and I have often pondered what life would have been like without her. Who else would have missed out if she wasn’t here? What would have become of me if I had followed through with the abortion? Would the guilt have destroyed me?
"Your baby is loved already!"
One year ago, I disclosed this story to her. I wanted her to know that God saved her long before she knew she was saved. He had a plan for her that neither I nor her father could stop!
In humility and deep thankfulness, I celebrate what I have gone through. God uses messed up, broken and sinful people. He doesn’t waste any experience or opportunity. He is our hope and makes a way for us.
What About You?
As I write this I am praying for you. I am praying that whatever situation you are in you will know that you are not alone. That as you hear or see your baby's heart beating or you stare in disbelief at the positive pregnancy stick, that you will open your heart to knowing that there is a plan and a purpose for this precious life. Possibly an incredible journey of love and healing as you take the first step in trusting Jesus with you and the future of your baby! Please know that there are always choices. Your baby deserves an advocate. God has put your child inside YOUR body for a purpose. Your baby is loved already!
About the Author:
Lorna is amazing! In addition to raising four kids, she also managed to find time to become a nurse. These days she is a busy grandmother of eight (soon to be nine) adorable grandkids. Lorna has a beautiful servant heart and is steadfast in a world that is unpredictable. She also loves cute coffee mugs.
'Heartbeat of Life' originally appeared on thereismore.ca and is republished here with permission.