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After not receiving much love and affection from my family while growing up, as a young man I longed for someone to love me. At the age of 19, I thought I found that someone in my 1st girlfriend. Very quickly our relationship became sexual and 3 months later we found ourselves with an unplanned pregnancy. From our perspective we had limited options: 1) Have the baby or 2) have an abortion. Though we thought that we really did love each other, we felt like having a baby right now would get in the way of our future plans. Neither of us was willing to stop school or felt ready to be parents or get married. So we rationalized that having an abortion was the best thing to do for our lives and our relationship. We shared with our moms and they also thought that that was best, and I told my girlfriend that I was pretty convinced that it was the ‘right’ thing to do. So she had the abortion and was immediately very traumatized by the procedure. There was nothing that I could do or say to comfort her. How could I say I really loved her when I had failed to protect her from this pain or our child from death? Instead of our relationship moving forward unfazed as we thought, we drifted apart in a short time. The loss of the relationship along with the guilt of the abortion was overwhelming at times. In attempt to medicate my pain I became very promiscuous, partied and stayed drunk on the weekends and during the week pursued a college degree with reckless abandon (there was a need to prove that I was not a failure).
My lifestyle choices led me to another unplanned pregnancy at the age of 22. Because of the guilt of the past abortion, I decided to get married and choose life for the baby. This was not because I loved her or was pro-life but, in some sense, wanted to do what is right and atone for my past mistake. I was filled with rage, and it was often directed towards my wife. We had a son, and it was hard for me to be overly excited at his birth and to really bond with him. I was not committed to my wife (adultery) and wasn’t around a lot for my son as I continued to medicate my pain (alcohol, sex, career). Four short years later at the age of 26, our marriage was heading towards divorce. As my life was falling apart, I came to know the forgiveness, grace and truth of Jesus Christ, and He began to radically transform my life (sex, alcohol, relationships, life). A little over a year later I was in full-time ministry and 4 years later remarried (which I have now been for 12 years and we have 4 children). As a Christian man growing in my relationship with Christ there were still times when I struggled with outbursts of anger, battling depression and low self-esteem, feeling an inability to lead, and finding it hard to grieve loss (my mom passed suddenly in the summer of 2011).
In March 2013, I was asked to share my story at a Pro-Life banquet in Cincinnati. After the event, Brad Mattes from Life Issues Institute asked me what I had done to invite the Lord to heal me from the effects of my past abortion. My thought was, “That happened 22 years ago, I’m good now.” He gave me a book to read titled 'Fatherhood Aborted'. As I read the book I began to see that some of the things that I was still dealing with were effects of the abortion. I do not know if I would have ever made the connection. I got together with a male counselor and went through an 8 week study. Through it God has brought new levels of healing and forgiveness to me as I learned to receive and give forgiveness, to live out of my identity in Christ, and to grieve the loss of my unborn daughter, Miriam. And this is why I am silent no more!
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