* WARNING: This post contains some material that isn’t appropriate for children, so please keep curious, little eyes away from the screen.
You never know how your words might touch someone.
When I shared these thoughts, I figured I might get an email or two or some comments prompting further discourse. In fact, an old professor of mine actually did start a very charitable discussion over on Facebook about some of the issues related to the pro-life movement.
Debate, tough questions, and often words of encouragement from those who share your worldview. These come with the territory when you proclaim your pro-life views. What I didn’t expect was for one of the most moving, poignant emails to drift into my inbox. Nor would I have ever thought I’d discover it at nearly 2 am the second it landed there. I was up way, way, way past my bedtime for myriad reasons when I saw that I had a new email. I opened it and became very still as I took in the words of a woman whose acceptance of her human wounds and God’s mercy offered her new life.
The woman opened her heart to me and showed me her wounds before Holy Week, but the email bore such an Easter theme that I re-read it again recently.
What is dead returns to life. Dead works transformed into a living faith. In Him, the wounded become healers.
My spiritual director recently said this to me, “None of us can really explain healing until we’ve been wounded. You have to be wounded in order to be a healer.”
This past Sunday the priest gazed out to the pews filled with small children preparing to make their First Communion and said something similar. “There are three things you must believe. First, you are wounded. Second, God can forgive and heal all human wounds. There’s nothing you can do that can’t be forgiven. And, third, if you believe this, you must share it. You must bring the Good News to others.”
In these words, I thought of this woman and what I saw in her email testimony: The amazing power to heal. God’s healing and her own now that she knows how painfully beautiful it can be to be created anew. At her most wounded hour, God started to mend her brokenness, tenderly, gently, and now she has the power to tend to other hurting souls.
“Would you mind if I shared your testimony anonymously on my blog?” I asked her in my email response.
She blessed me; she blessed you, I hope, by granting me her permission to put her story out here.
In her original email, she explained why she was pro-life. To do so, she had to revisit painful parts of her past.
Without sharing too sordid of a picture, a stranger violently raped her when she was 17.
“I don’t remember all of the details,” she wrote. “I do remember getting back to my hotel room [she was spending the night at a hotel with her friend because it was the night of her junior prom], knocking on the door. When my best friend saw me, she flipped out because I was covered in blood. I told her I wanted to take a shower, and at that point she knew what had happened. I sat in the bath tub and held myself while she cried and cleaned me off. She begged me to go to the police, but I never did. So he got away. I was young and scared.”
Recently, the woman, who is now a married mother, had a pro-choice friend challenge her specifically on the issue of rape.
Because she knew the pain of rape, but she also knew intimately well the transforming power of bringing goodness – new life – out of something evil, she said she would keep a baby – even a child conceived under the most heartbreaking circumstances. It would not be the baby’s fault, she had explained to her pro-choice friend, and why make more darkness out of such sad, hollow pain by taking an innocent life?
Then she shared this*:
“Today I can rally against all abortion because I’ve also been there as well. When I was 19, I had an abortion. I was born into a God-fearing family and had been pro-life my entire life. But I freaked out and did it anyway. It didn’t ‘fix’ anything. It didn’t make anything go away except a life. It felt like my soul was being ripped from me. To this day, I still have dreams of the baby I gave up. I told [my pro-choice friend] that because I have been down that road, because I have faced that decision, and because I chose to make the wrong decision, I can rightfully say how wrong it is.
It’s so easy for people to say to pro-lifers, ‘You just weren’t put in that position.’ Well, I was. The baby I gave up could have been that baby who would shake the nations, the baby who would bring people to Christ. That baby never had a chance. But because of His stripes, I do. Because of Him, I have redemption.
I grew up with parents addicted to drugs who neglected my siblings and me. I moved out of my house when I was 11 and moved in with my grandparents. I became a very angry teenager who barely graduated from high school. I didn’t care about school. I didn’t care about much of anything. After barely graduating, I started to starve myself in an attempt to control a life that was in a steep decline. I was living with a guy, and I did whatever drug came my way.
I’m not telling you these things so that you will pity me. I’m sharing this because I am the product of prayer and of God’s grace and healing. I am here today because of my grandparents lying prostrate in petition for me. I am here because God placed the desire in the hearts of others to lift me up. Today I’m a married mother who is in love with Christ. Life can still sometimes be tough, but I know I’m never alone.
I know this email is scattered, but the Spirit urged me to write you, so I have. Please pray that I will not be comfortable with a complacent relationship with Christ.”
I hope this woman’s willingness to share her wounds as well as her healing touched you as deeply as it touched me.
He is risen. And we are risen with Him. Alleluia! Now let us live lives that proclaim this Good News!
“For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.”
*I changed some of the identifying details to protect her identity.