Over the years I have had several friends confide in me that they have had an abortion, and the one question they have all asked was, "Will God forgive me?"
This question is usually said with a catch in their voice, and often with tears.
I always tell them that God is our Father, and of course He forgives them; the very fact that they ask this question indicates that they deeply regret their decision. There were always "reasons why" they made the decision to abort, but God also knows all of that already. I'm not sure why they felt that they could confide in me, but I'm glad that they did.
But since this column will appear on the eve of the Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, I will confide something I hardly ever talk about: My first pregnancy was very difficult. Simply because I was diabetic, doctors told me that I should abort.
It makes me wince to think of it now—I wanted this baby more than anything—but given my difficulties, my first doctor was pressuring me to "terminate the pregnancy." Thankfully I found a wonderful high-risk physician who was willing to work with me, through delivery. If I hadn't found that brave second doctor, I might have been persuaded to at least consider an abortion.
When you are struggling, and the medical people are so forceful, the idea of abortion blips through your mind, unbidden, because you're told it is a real option, and when you're emotional, it's easy to fall for fall for rhetoric.
Having been told by doctors about all the risks and complications for me and the baby, once I was in the hospital yet again during the pregnancy, for a brief moment, I heard that blip in my mind.
I thought about it, and the idea that I thought of it at all, even for a split second, makes me cringe even now. Maybe that is why I feel compassion for those women who have in a time of weakness, or difficult circumstances, made that decision. I am 100 percent pro-life, but we need to be understanding, and we need to tell women in this position that we will help them, and that God loves them, that he is always merciful, and ready to forgive the moment we reach out to Him. They are not alone.
Sadly, I did end up miscarrying that baby, and it broke my heart. I went into early labor and had been rushed to the hospital. The contractions stopped, and we thought I was out of the woods; I had just been taken to a regular room when I discovered that I was losing him. The nurse ran off to get the doctor. I was hysterical, crying uncontrollably.
I "saw" in my mind's eye Jesus to the right of me, holding a baby in his arms. The baby was looking at me, and Jesus wore an expression of compassion on his face as if to say, "don't worry, I have him." Because I was in shock, I thought I just wasn't thinking right. I had seen a photograph of my dad as a baby, and the baby in my mind looked like that picture did.
Later on, I asked my ex-husband what the baby looked like. He said, "He looked a lot like your dad."
Did the Lord give me that picture in my mind? I don't know, but it comforted me. I know that I will see my first son one day, and that the Lord has him safely with him. Women who have aborted their babies, and who live with such regret, will one day be with their little ones, who are safely with God.
I was so very blessed to eventually become a mom, and when I held my son for the first time, I knew I held a living, breathing miracle—I thank God for him every day—but I always remember my first baby as well.
In the story of the Prodigal Son in (Lk. 15:11-32) we read about the son who, after hitting rock bottom, comes back to his father in repentance. The father is watching for him, waiting with open arms to receive him. He is overjoyed to have his son back. The whole of Luke 11 is Jesus telling parables about God's unfathomable love for us sinners, and his forgiveness, mercy, and compassion. God understands our human weaknesses, and is always ready, with open arms.
When my son was little, I told him that nothing he could ever do would make me stop loving him—that I might not always like all his choices, but I would always love him and be there for him. If I, as a flawed human mother, have that kind of love, how much more does God our Father love us?
Heaven is full of sinners—repentant ones, and they are called Saints! "For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God" (Rom. 3:23).
Abortion breaks God's heart. Life is his precious gift—all life from conception to natural death. Each soul is special, and a treasure to God. The sin of abortion hurts God, not only because it is his will that each conceived little soul will have the chance to live and become what they were destined to be, but because abortion hurts so many women and men who believe the lie that it is a "choice." I have met many of these aching women. I have thanked God over the years many times that I didn't make that choice; even though I lost my first baby, it wasn't by my hands. I know that God would have forgiven me, but I'm not sure if I would have been as forgiving to myself.
As we pray for an end to abortion, to save the many little lives that are lost, let us also pray for those who have been hurt by it to be healed.
1/21/2011 5:00:00 AM