When I was 18, my life was falling into a pattern of smoking dope and drinking as much as possible on the weekend. I went away to university and was trying to maintain a heavily science-based course during the week, preparing for a career in astronomy. For the first time I had plenty of time alone with my boyfriend. Around Oct. that year I woke up one morning and went immediately to the washroom across the hall and threw up. I thought, oh great, the flu. It happened every morning for a week or more and I began to worry what was wrong with me.
I went to the doctor and after few deft questions and an examination, he said, "You're six weeks pregnant." It hit me like a ton of bricks - the thing I had most dreaded had happened. (Getting 'knocked up' was a fate worse than death, to me and my girlfriends. We couldn't even have explained why.) I felt a combination of terror and panic and a frozen incapacity to take it in. I had no coherent thoughts really, just a gut-level wrenching rejection of the whole idea. I can't describe it.
The doctor went on, "Don't worry, we will take care of it, with a 'therapeutic abortion'. Luckily, you're old enough, so you don't need your parents' permission." My desperate mind grabbed onto his words and thought, "Oh, there is a way out, this doctor is offering a therapeutic treatment." I wouldn't allow myself to think logically because of where that might take me. I do remember saying yes to him, and thinking, "It doesn't matter what anyone thinks, I'll take all the responsibility." When I told my boyfriend all this, he actually did raise a protest, "Wait, should we be doing this?" I shut my ears, and like a train barreling down the track, there was nothing that could stop me.
I was terrified, panicked, and determined, and so I went to the clinic for the abortion soon after. As I signed the permission document before surgery, I looked at the page and wondered how it might affect my life afterward: would anyone find out? (I did not let myself think of how my action was affecting my child's life. It was only a blob of tissue after all...) I was given anesthetic and heard the doctor counting down, 1,2,3,... as I went under. The procedure used suction, with d&c. When I woke up, I remember feeling sore, and grumpy like there was something wrong, and very sleepy. My boyfriend drove me back to the residence and I slept for a long while. I healed quickly and got on with university, but had a stressful year. I got frustrated, and took a year off. I lived at home while I sorted out what I wanted to do with my life. My boyfriend and I broke up.
I did not feel guilty or disturbed about the abortion. But a little something bothered me in the back of my mind. I wrote my brother, because I felt a need to tell someone. He did not lecture me, but later I learned that he considered the fetus a baby and so was against abortion. Seemed primitive to me, but I thought maybe I should go to confession, 'just in case'. I am Catholic, so it was like tying up a legal loose end, sort of. So I went out with that in mind and walked to the priest's house. I stood outside on the street pacing back and forth for while trying to work up courage. My high school was across the street, and this priest was an old friend of our family's, although I always found him severe, righteous, humorless, disapproving; in short, scary.
He must have seen someone hanging around the front of his house because stuck his head out the door and said, "Hello? Do you want something?" I went up to him and said I would like to speak to him. He brought me into his office, and I sat down in front of his desk. I said something like, "I don't go to church anymore, but maybe I should confess to God that I have had an abortion. I don't think it's wrong, but please don't tell my mother because it would upset her." Not very repentant, but God saw a girl in need of Him and the truth, who was reaching out to Him.
At that time, I didn’t know it, but many people praying for me - my mother, brothers, friends, even our cleaning lady. One day I met Michelle, a friend of my brother Tom, who talked about Jesus like He was right there and leading her in everyday life. She loved the Bible and was always getting excited at some new passage that had meaning for her. She would close her eyes and ask Jesus for help or thank him for some joy we had experienced. When I was with her, I felt close to God; when she wasn’t around it was like I was alone again. God was still outside me.
Soon I felt the roads of life diverging and I knew I needed to decide which one to follow. One night we went to a prayer meeting and a scripture was read, part of Psalm 33: "Taste and See that the Lord is Good". It spoke inside me like God was talking to me; answering many years of longing to know Him in a real way. More messages were spoken: "I want my lost sheep, find my lost sheep"; and "Though your sins be as scarlet, yet they will be made white as snow." Isaiah 1:18. The others hugged and thanked God for the messages He put on their hearts and didn't look at me at all; but I knew who the lost sheep was. I talked to the pastor later, about my search for God. He asked if I wanted to commit my life to the Lord, and I knew that was just what I needed to do. I knew my old friends would think I had gone “nuts”, but that didn’t matter as much as this invitation from God. And so I gave my life to the Lord that night and prayed: “Holy Spirit Fill Me!”
I felt so wonderful that I stayed awake that whole night (without a single urge to smoke! That pack-a-day addiction was gone!) I talked out loud to God, calling Him “Daddy”, knowing He loved me. I felt close to my own father too, who had died when I was 13 (I was now 20). I felt he had been praying for me, and was witnessing this awakening. With some trepidation, I opened the Bible, which had never made sense to me, but this time I understood what I saw. “He will place a new spirit within us that cries out Abba, Father!” (Abba means Daddy, in Hebrew.) That was the first of many scriptures the Holy Spirit brought to life. The Holy Spirit that Jesus went to the cross to win for all who accept Him.
From that day, the deepest desires of my heart were transformed. I tasted the joy that comes from the Holy Spirit and discovered that nothing else even comes close. My motives, and desires, changed from the kind that hurt and kill to ones that lead to love, goodness, health. Walking with God is exciting and full of joy!
I am 57 now and have experienced God's amazing love over a lifetime. Recently, God gave me an incredible life-saving miracle; but that's another story. I wanted to share my experience as a youth with other women, firstly so they would not be deceived, and kill their own child with an abortion. Also, to witness that if we have sinned, God is quick to forgive when we go to Him; He is all healing, love, and no shame.