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I want my child to be proud of me…

My journey back into the arms of Christ is centered around this scripture in Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 29:11-14

"For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope. When you call me, when you go to pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, you will find me with you, says the Lord, and I will change your lot."

My story begins in college, during my junior year. When I was 19, I became unexpectedly pregnant by my high school sweetheart. Being the "gifted child" of my family and the first woman on both sides of my family to ever graduate from college, in my mind, I had no choice, but to continue the path I was on to my so-called "success". I couldn’t face the alternative.

I told no one, except the father, his sister and my OB. Full of fear, I went to see my OB to confirm my pregnancy. He asked me what I wanted to do. I cried and explained to him that I was accepted into a summer program on an island in Lake Erie and would be leaving in a few weeks. He told me that he couldn’t tell me what to do but...he gave me the name of a doctor friend of his near where I was going. With money borrowed from my soon to be ex-boyfriend’s sister, my decision was made. Sixteen years ago, I aborted my child- no video, explanation, pamphlet, ultrasound. It was disguised in a hospital. No one would know...

Life went on and on and on, in and out of bad relationships, living a pretty empty and selfish lifestyle. I slowly became distant from the church and God. For 10 years I was beating myself up, I was blind, lost and in denial. The devil had me where he wanted me -- pure self-destruction. I felt no remorse.

Ten years later, after traveling the world and living abroad, I accepted a job in Kentucky (the bible belt). This is where the story of my healing began. I started to feel an emptiness that no one or nothing could fill. I clearly wanted God back in my life. In hindsight, the Holy Spirit was tapping me on the shoulder. The rest was up to me...

The people around me who "had God" seemed to be very happy. So, I began attending a church many of my co-workers went to. It was there that I learned how to have a relationship with Jesus. God sent me 2 angels, 2 girlfriends who taught me the meaning of Christ’s death on the cross. I was beginning to let go and let God. God began to slowly work in my life. I changed my lifestyle dramatically...broke off sexual relations with a boyfriend and began to center my life around God and the things of God. I turned my life over and began to trust Him.

2 Corinthians 17-- "Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come."

I was on my way to a new life in Christ. But to God, this was only the beginning...God couldn’t begin to heal me and I couldn’t get closer to Jesus, unless I answered his call and changed my ways, my lifestyle. You see, I had to address the cause leading up to the abortion.

My boyfriend at the time, listened to my conversion, the way I was letting God back in my life, and my promise to save myself for God until I was married. I wanted to reclaim what was once lost. Because of these decisions I made in my life, my boyfriend left.

It was then that the true healing began. I was spending a half an hour every day meditating, praying and journaling my thoughts to Jesus on paper. It was during this time that the pain started. The pain would not go away. I was starting to feel the repercussions of my past choices. How could I have done such a thing? Why wasn’t God with me then? I mourned for the loss of my child. While I grieved, He was there with me to wipe my tears away.

He has been by my side throughout all my life. He was with me that day, 16 years ago when I walked into that hospital and followed through with a decision that forever changed my life. He was there waiting. Our God has a lot of patience. He waited for 10 years until I finally came home to him. Just at the poem "Footsteps" refers to: When I finally felt his presence in my life, I looked back and I only saw one set of footprints- His. During my past it was Jesus who was carrying me.

Jeremiah 29:11-14

"For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope. When you call me, when you go to pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, you will find me with you, says the Lord, and I will change your lot."

God already has a plan laid out for each one of us -- a plan to give us a future full of hope. If we don’t go to Him and ask what that plan is, and be ready to do anything to fulfill that plan, whatever it is, we’ll never know our potential to love ourselves, each other, our children, our lives. In the past, I made decisions on my own, ignorant of the Lord’s way. If I never turned my life over and let God direct it, I never would have reached a life full of mercy, love, and forgiveness. He always knows the better route to take.

So, how can we connect with this plan of hope? Through our hearts. If I just call him or go to him -- he will listen to me. When I only look to Him, I will find Him. But, When I seek Him with all my heart, I will not only find him, but I will find Him with me, comforting and wiping the tears away and giving me a future full of hope.

I knew God was by my side my whole life waiting for me to meet Him at the foot of his cross. With opened arms he covered me with His mercy. The blood He shed on the cross was for me that I might begin a new life in Him.

Even though I understood I was forgiven and that He would never leave me, the pain was still there. It would take some time to heal the wounds.

At this time, I knew I had to completely give myself to God in order for Him to mend the wounds. What does dying to self mean? Having God lead my life, not me…being obedient to Him.....chastity, prayer, forgiveness, loving others and myself. Once we allow this to happen, he will pour out graces that will sustain the pain...then the blessings will flourish.

Galatians 2: 19-20

".....In order that I might live for God, I have been put to death with Christ on the cross, so that it is no longer I who live but it is Christ who lives in me. This life I live now, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave his life for me."

At that time my parents were encouraged and concerned at the same time. Encouraged that I had found God, but concerned that it wasn’t at the Catholic Church where I could be receiving the sacraments. My mother stopped by the Catholic Church up the street from my townhouse and had me run in and get a bulletin so hung it on my fridge.

I began to miss the sacraments. The Eucharist.... I began to long for Jesus. To be in communion with him again. It was through the mercy of the sacrament of reconciliation and the graces received from the Eucharist that I began true healing. I started to go to daily mass. This was my purification. I was purging all my old ways. Jesus was possessing me daily which assisted in my healing. I learned to love myself as much as God did. That little voice inside you, not the good one, but the evil one can deceive you into thinking you aren’t worthy of forgiveness. What’s done is done! That is why we must prepare ourselves for any and all attacks the devil might try.

Ephesians 6:11

"Put on all the armor that God gives you so that you will be able to stand up against the devil’s evil tricks."

A couple years later God sent me my husband. The most Christ-like man I’ve ever met. I had been praying for quite awhile that I would meet someone like him. We had known each other for 20 years, but I was just a friend to him. He claims the Holy Spirit hit him over the head. God is number one in our house. If you ask us what we have in common we would both tell you our faith and our love for the Lord.

Being open to God’s will in our lives, we conceived our daughter a month after we were married. About 4 months into the pregnancy, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. The doctors immediately wanted us to make life choices. Take the baby or treat me early and risk losing the baby or wait treatment and risk the cancer spreading. After much discernment and prayer, we decided to wait -- if this was going to be our only child, we didn’t want anything to happen to her. The risk we took was if the cancer would spread one millimeter, than I would need a hysterectomy. We trusted God, He would take care of us no matter what the outcome. Satan tried to convince me it was because of my abortion that I had this condition, I didn’t deserve a normal life. This time I had Jesus and St. Michael with me to protect me from his evil.

The rest of my pregnancy was very peaceful. We had many people praying for us. About 3 months ago I had surgery and a small miracle happened. Only pre-cancerous cells remained after the pregnancy and were removed during surgery. I was out of any danger we would be able to have more children.

Some of you probably are wondering what motivates a person to stand up here and give a testament about their mistakes, especially abortion. I’ll try and explain...God has blessed me in so many ways:

-- marrying the man God has chosen for me

-- a beautiful baby

-- curing my cancer

How can I accept all these blessings and just continue on with my life? Everyday I want to thank God for delivering me from a painful life. My way of thanking God is to hopefully, through some of my words, reach out and touch one of you to embark on your journey of inner healing.

When I take my eyes off God, I fall into selfishness. Am I really forgiven? Do I deserve this wonderful life? Will I ever have anymore children? I’ve confessed my abortion five or six times to several priests. The last time a priest told me never to confess it again, I’m wasting precious time God has given me in my new life. How can I help Him accomplish His will here on earth? Certainly not beating myself up over my past. I suppose this is part of our humanness that we must live with.

When we ask questions like this we begin to play God. How can we question the salvation of God? When I feel like I’m falling, I ask for the grace to be reunited with Jesus at the foot of his cross. I often find reconciliation and peace in front of Him during Eucharistic adoration.

Looking back...

I remember the love my husband had for me before he asked me to marry him. He took me to the opening ceremony and blessing of the tombstone for the unborn at church. It was there that began to pray for my child. And it was then that I asked my child to pray for me. This is when the spiritual relationship between my child and myself began.

My conversion was gained at the cost of my child’s life. I’m not going to waste that sacrifice, by dusting the abortion under a rug, trying to forget about it and move on. No, I want my child to be proud of their mother. I’m taking the evil choice I made and turn it into something good and then use it to accomplish God’s work. It’s not easy, facing the past and all it’s truths.... there's pain and suffering that goes along with true healing. But, really, what choice do we have? It is such a small sacrifice compared to the sacrifice Christ and my child made. I didn’t want to waste that opportunity.

When I look into the eyes of my daughter I often wonder and long to hold my other child, my sixteen year old. But, with Christ’s mercy, I see the face of Jesus through my daughter’s eyes. She’s leading me closer to Christ.

Romans 8:38-39

"For I am certain that nothing can separate us from His love: neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers or powers, neither the present nor the future, neither the world above nor the world below- there is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord."

Priests for Life
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