This will be short.
While there is no hierarchy of sins, humans are funny. We talk about sharing our testimonies, its power, and how they are supposed to help others break through walls. We shout and scream at the bishop who overcame alcoholism, or the choir director’s tales about his drug induced stupors. Every Sunday,the head jerks of agreement and the increased speed of church fans with accompanying “YESSS! AMEN! I BEEN THERE CHILE” makes it clear that alcohol and drugs are common sins that many Christians, at some point–and usually B.C. (Before Christ)–have experimented and struggled with. And in some ways, the power of someone else’s testimony makes those in the pew say to themselves “Wow, I’m not the only one…and I’m not so bad.” And there is the power of testimony: it validates the human experience. It gives one hope of what tomorrow could look like. And while drugs and alcohol may not be my story, I rejoice with the brave soul who marches up there and strips naked just to reach one.
There is a silent community that my spirit has been telling me is underserved. Really, I didn’t need my spirit to tell me anything, because I witness it everyday. It is a community often able to disguise their pain and their loss with lipstick and heels, degrees and pedigrees. It is a community that cries in the private closets of their hearts, and questions whether they will ever be whole again. Whether they will ever be understood. Whether they will ever be given another chance on something they forfeited. Whether one day, someone will speak specifically to their situation and say “I thank God there is life after an abortion.”
[mic check, is the mic on?] “There is life after an abortion.”
Outside of the pro-life/pro-choice political games, many women go through the loneliness and shame of terminating a pregnancy. This is especially true for those in the church, where somehow, some way, it was universally understood that far worse than murder, was the killing of a child. So we largely ignore the topic for several reasons. It is ignored because most, if not all church beginnings did not allow women behind the pulpit, so women’s issues–even today–are often preached from a male perspective. That said, as a whole, we have largely dismissed talking about women’s reproductive capabilities, except to say “just say no.” Are we afraid that if we tell the truth–that just like other sins, the Lord’s grace is sufficient to forgive your sexual activities, as well as the consequences springing from them–that we are encouraging young women to spread them wide (because we all know that young men are pure and have no sexual desires whatsoever)? Yes, the church’s infatuation with our private parts, while well perhaps intentioned, is often one-sided, lopsided, or no sided, leaving many questions unanswered and many hearts unattended. So all us heathens are left with our sin and our thoughts, with pictures of a constant fiery flame inside your head. And let’s not even add the familial and cultural pressure that makes an already sore wound even more severe. (I am sure I am disappointing many Nigerian relatives right now, since the only thing worse than the sin, is revealing the secret).
So we shut up. Pray silently. And move on. At least try to.
You know why I think abortions are so shameful, especially for women who have a relationship with God? Because it creates a perception that every woman works hard not to create. It is proof you have had sex. It is proof that you were reckless (if the sex was consensual), or that you were violated (if the sex was forced…it is not your fault by the way). It is proof that you made a decision…one that did not show a bulging stomach…one that would rather live in a silent prison than face the judgment of friends and family…one that would not result in whispers and stares…and you chose a future that does not include a little boy or girl, at least for right now. And while we all have free will, for some reason, we still–as a church–are not open to “freest of wills”: the will to not conceive a child.
But the termination of life is not where it ends. My mind often wondered who my child would have been, or what we would be doing at this moment. I wondered which successes I would have never seen…and which plans I still would have been able to accomplish while being a mother. I wondered if anyone would understand that I actually cared about what was inside of me, even though I also felt like a monster for being the executioner. I didn’t need to feel the spit from the pulpit and a wagging finger to know I was punished. And at one time, even though I knew all the scriptures that said otherwise, I believed that God issued me a lifetime sentence of mental anguish.
Oh, how the devil uses our downfalls to feed us the biggest lies.
My God would not include Jeremiah 29:11 if he wanted me to stay emotionally tormented: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Romans 8:1 proves that my God would not grant a life sentence of hell on earth, even if I was willing to accept it, and honors my commitment to serve Him with my life: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
That even with a silent congregation, the Lord provides scriptural healing, and gives us room for acceptance, crying, and a new beginning:
Psalm 6:6: “I am weary with my groaning; All night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears.”
Psalm 25 (like, the whole chapter, but key verses): 25:12: “For Your name’s sake, O Lord,
Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.” 25:16-18: “Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me, For I am desolate and afflicted/The troubles of my heart have enlarged; Bring me out of my distresses!/Look on my affliction and my pain/And forgive all my sins.“
And that God is both judge and comforter, and He is waiting to take you over the hurt. Psalm 30:5: “For His anger is but for a moment/ His favor is for life/Weeping may endure for a night/But joy comes in the morning.”
I do not know who this is for, because this is not something I typically reveal or discuss, and definitely not this public. While I did not wake up this morning and say “I’m going to talk about my abortion today,” I do know that for the last couple of days–even with other possible blog posts swirling in my head–for whatever reason, God told me that there are women of faith who have crucified themselves over and over. I have, however, found myself speaking about at this at the most unexpected times with youth, colleagues, and even some men. This experience–if it did nothing else for me–keeps me so grounded and never surprised to hear anything about anyone. Even when people compliment me on my life, I always remind them that every story has a draft. I accepted that my life is a work in progress, and not an easy one to retell. But that said, I know that the enemy of breakthrough is shame. Shame will keep you crippled and worrisome for much longer than necessary. Drop the shame.
I encourage you not to bury this without facing it. It happened and you should talk with God about it, and perhaps a close friend (real close, though…I’m a fool with very little worries lol, but no need to put it out there unless you are ready). Forgive yourself, as He is willing to forgive you. And if the time ever presents itself where you can minister to another young lady (or even an older sister), then do so. Trust me, He will definitely let you know when and where to reveal it. Because ultimately our stories are to set others free.
I did say “this will be short” right? Lol. Maybe I should be a preacher 😉
You are loved. You are broken. You can be whole.
(Your sin is not the greatest in the world by the way: read Romans 3, and don’t be discouraged by Paul’s wording…He can get into himself sometimes lol. But don’t leave without reading verses 21-26.)