I remember the day very well as if it were only yesterday…that sort of thing stays in the mind of a child forever….I guess. It was the year 1974 and I was only eight years old when it happened.
Against my mother’s better judgment I sneaked and turned on the television to get a glimpse of what was happening with this shootout between the LA swat team, and the Symbionese Liberation Army, the SLA. Although I didn’t understand all that was related to the story , I did know one thing….and that was that Donald DeFreeze, or General Field Marshall Cinque, as he was called, was my father. I say “was” because I had become painfully aware that day that a prayer I prayed would never be answered. My father was killed in that shootout along with his comrades, and I knew he would never come home as I had prayed. I would never know what his voice sounded like, I would never sit on his lap, and I knew that I would never have the opportunity to ask him the many questions I would have in life. A part of me died that day with him.
I set out subconsciously in life to create the family I longed for …… one with a mom AND a dad, to fill the void of his absence by seeking attention in all the wrong ways, and from all the wrong men. Not to make excuses or rationalize the behavior, but I was “guessing” at what to do , and at what the “right” man would be like because I’d never learned that….perhaps these were some of the questions a father could have answered.
The first relationship was with a twenty year old boy and things were great and exciting at first. I was only sixteen, and pregnant. I gave birth to a baby boy a few months after my seventeenth birthday and the young man and I later married. The happiness lasted only a short while, and then he became extremely abusive. I ended up having to literally flee for my life and that of my unborn child. I never imagined my life turning in this direction…..twenty years old with a three year old, a new born and no husband . This was not the plan…MY plan was for a mommy and a daddy for my kids…. A “Family”.
Over the next several years I would find myself in and out of several relationships always hoping and being promised marriage, but only ending in more brokenness , including the loss of three children due to the “Choice “ to abort the precious lives God had chosen to entrust to me. I didn’t see it that way at the time, and I believe it was partly because of the lack of information shared with me at the abortion clinic. I don’t ever recall hearing the life referred to as a baby. It was called tissue, and material. They always used the word procedure as if it were some kind of operation like getting a tooth pulled or something. I was a Christian even then, and had little understanding about the word of God and its power, nor did I understand that Jesus was real and wanted a relationship with me, yet I somehow felt the need to encourage other women sitting in that dark and lonely waiting room, all waiting for the same thing…..to hear their name called. No one spoke, no one smiled, and everyone seemed to be looking down, including me. That’s when I noticed the journal on the table for lonely, hurting women to write their stories. I felt compelled as I began to write how that even as a Christian God would somehow fix this situation, and I wanted others to have hope to go on and to know that God loved them still. I don’t recall all that I wrote that day, but It eased my feeling of hopelessness.
It was so sad for me to know that I would be leaving without the life inside me that I once experienced through a change in appetite, a change in my sense of smell, and by breast changes. It was all so confusing back then cause even though I knew I was pregnant with a child, I kept hearing the words “tissue” and “procedure”…it all seemed so clinical and normal even though something inside didn’t feel right, but I was alone and not wanting to have yet another child without a father. I wanted to spare these children the pain that I had always experienced of not having a father. I know today, that that was not my right to choose.
I continued on my journey always hoping to meet the one man that would fill the hole in my soul of needing a father, and a father for my children. Having raised them alone, I was painfully aware that they carried the same wound as I.
I returned to high school at the age of twenty-one, having dropped out at seventeen, and there met the young man who fathered my third child, and whom I later married. Even though he was much younger than I he was so mature, and I was so emotionally immature that we seemed to just fit. The marriage only lasted three years as he outgrew me and moved on to start a life with someone else. I got a beautiful baby girl out of the relationship, but found myself raising yet another child without the benefit of a two parent family.
Fast forward to 1999. I had for many years by this point studied the Bible and applied its truths. I had resolved the need for a relationship to fill a void, and had received much healing and maturity in the area of my emotions. It was a good season for me and I had begun to speak in a variety of places about the many lessons the Lord had taught me over my journey, and even the failures of my past…always desiring to bring hope to others. It was during this time that I would meet a man at my church, we became friends and at some point we would marry. He said he desired children and a family, for he had had neither and he was an older man. I was thirty five at the time and the desire to have this “perfect” family would return once again. We married and everything changed. He desired no sexual intimacy nor any other relationship with me. It was during those few years that I would cry out to God “Papa , Papa! Do you see how he’s treating me?, don’t you care?” I would cry night after night for years, and one day He began to speak to my heart saying “IAM the Father to the Fatherless….Delight yourself in ME and I will give you the desire of your heart.” From that day forward I told the Lord that I would wait for Him to move my mountain, that third husband, and that if HE taught me about this man that I would meet, like a father should have had he been around, then I will recognize him, and I will wait. He did move my mountain because the husband suddenly packed up and just left.
So I studied Gods word for a total of eleven years, not dating, not desiring, and not hoping…just learning. I had a great peace in my life. I was preaching the “Good News” in prisons, radio, and wherever the Lord would open a door I’d go.
It was just last fall that I would experience some major changes in my life and career, and even in ministry, and I had become very discouraged. I had become weary in well doing, and struggled with the feeling that God had forgotten me. I knew He didn’t, yet I struggled in my faith having lost so much, including my children so it felt, because they had all grown up. I went to the alter for prayer at a conference last fall, and for the first time spoke out sharing my feelings that I felt God had not kept His word to give me the desire of my heart…..I was deeply depressed and feeling empty, like I was just barely existing. Shortly thereafter “Gary “ suddenly showed up at my church. I avoided him at first, but felt led to chat out of not being rude, and one of the first things he asked was if I was there with my family .It stuck a cord of sadness inside as I answered “No”, and that I was all alone. He then asked If I had the desire to start all over? I quickly answered ‘No’, feeling too embarrassed to tell the truth. I spent the next nine months or so intentionally studying this man’s life to see if he was the one my Father sent to me, all the while falling in love with the spirit of God in his life. Everything my Heavenly Father taught me was there. God knew that I would meet a man like him and fall head over heels in love, for the first time. We dreamed together and talked of having a family, for he too had raised a son and two daughters without a mother and desired to experience a two parent family. He is a wonderful man of God, but not perfect like Jesus. We had physical intimacy in July and struggled with forgiving ourselves. I was able to move past it but Gary continued to struggle, broke up with me and said he couldn’t even be my friend because it would be too hard. We remained apart for a little over a month, and one night he called saying he could not be without me. We discovered two weeks later that we were going to have a baby. We were so happy and exited and began to make plans for our future together….and even began to speak of more children. He said he wanted four. We looked at things in the baby section, and I cried, so humbled that God would choose to bless us in spite of our circumstances. We even began to discuss names and parenting, and began to share the news with friends and family…some were graciously excited with us.
We lost that little miracle on September 19, 2012…….I cried, he held and consoled me with the promise of more children. I struggle even now with the loss of this little angel I never had the privilege of holding, but believe that one day I will. I will see his or her lovely little face, and learn their names. I say they because I had sought the Lord for why He would allow the loss of a baby “WE” desperately wanted. Knowing that the bible says in Romans 8:28 that God causes all things to work together for good,,, I wasn’t angry, grieving , yes, but not angry. I knew that this precious little ones life, and the other three that I aborted. can now be properly grieved, and had a purpose. I asked what the Lord wanted to do with their lives and HE said let it be a drink offering for others.
With internet and so many other resources women, younger and older can “SEE” that these are children, from God. NOT tissue. I’ve had the opportunity to learn so much about my babies…when their little hearts began to beat, their little fingers and toes developed, their organs, So much information available unlike when I was young those many years ago…We must seek to make it know to not just women, but men too, that these children have a right to life, they have purpose long before they are even recognized as babies, and even when they have gone.
This is why I am PRO-LIFE…. We must grieve these precious little ones, and make it known that we cannot lose any more children and call it “Choice”.