On the Other Side of Abortion: When Grace Tells Another Story

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I saw words that spoke of my potential, not my mistakes.”

By Daniela Schwartz | Twitter: @dannyschwartz

 “He forgives your sins—every one.

He heals your diseases—every one.

He redeems you from hell—saves your life!

He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.

He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.

He renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence.” – Psalm 103:3-5 (The Message)

I wish I could come up with a story sad enough to justify my actions. A story that would tug at your heart and somehow make what I did, seem okay. Something that would justify my actions.

That’s not going to happen.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

We can’t rewrite our past; we only have today.

My hope is that in telling this story, it could change someone else’s story. That a woman held in bondage from her past would be set free. Or maybe change the way someone thinks about another person who has made the choices I have made.

I am talking about abortion.

When I was 15 and found myself pregnant, I was scared out of my mind. I was one step away from homeless and I wondered if there was a way I could keep the baby. In my ignorance I thought that because I drank alcohol one night, I had ruined the baby anyhow. So even if I had him, he would be damaged and how would I take care of him? At that time, I couldn’t even put a roof over my own head. I got the money for the abortion and ended the pregnancy at 15 weeks.

I wish my story ended there.

When I was 17, I was having unprotected sex with my boyfriend. At this point in my life, my heart was hard. I knew what the consequences could be, and didn’t care. The people in my world had let me down and I refused to love or be loved. I got pregnant, again. This time I did not hesitate to choose abortion. I did not want to end up a single mother. I definitely did not want to be tied to my current boyfriend for the rest of my life. So I ended the pregnancy at 19 weeks. Refusing to acknowledge the life that was in me.

When I was 20 years old, I found Jesus. I was told I was a new creation, cleaned from all sin, but there were choices I had made in my life that fired a war on my soul. I felt like certain things I had done in my life were too big for God. I was covered in guilt and shame. After two years I backslid from God and walked away for seven years.

Looking back, I still see God was working in my life. The very fact that I can write this today is proof of that.

I married when I was 27 to a wonderful man, and we were expecting our first child by our first anniversary.

Any mom, when you hold your baby for the first time, knows the wonder of the miracle that has taken place. The child that grew in your body. A life full of future.

When Owen was four, I wanted him in Christian school. Why this was so important, I can’t tell you; particularly when I was only attending church at Christmas and Easter. I requested a reference letter from my church and it was completed by an Associate Pastor who has known me since the beginning of my journey. She filled out my application and when she got to the part about my involvement at church, she talked about what she saw in me and what she believed for me. In that moment, I had hope. I really wanted God and needed him in my life.

I saw words that spoke of my potential, not my mistakes.

I got involved in serving and planted myself in the house and about eight months later, I recommitted my heart to Jesus. I learned that I could go through the motions, but until I opened my heart, it was impossible to grow. In my willingness to serve and be obedient to God, however, walking through the doors that were opening, I believe it allowed God to begin a work in me. The actions of trusting God with my life allowed my heart to soften enough to put my hope in Him.

So now Israel, what do you think God expects from you? Just this: Live in his presence in holy reverence, follow the road he sets out for you, love him, serve God, your God, with everything you have in you, obey the commandments and regulations of God that I’m commanding you today—live a good life. – Deuteronomy 10:12-13 (The Message)

Ryan and I had been trying to have another child since our eldest turned two. After several failed fertility attempts, we were diagnosed with “unexplained infertility.” I began to think of my abortions. The lives I had ended and the one I was trying to begin.

Condemnation and guilt entered into my heart and I was tormented by what I had done.

I began to feel like a con-artist. The life I was living, stolen. “I should be a single struggling mother,” I thought to myself. “I should have never met Ryan, and had my beautiful Owen. I should not have this beautiful life. It was my horrible choices that brought me here and I am a living fraud.”

I believed those words and they robbed my joy.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, (s)he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. – 2 Corinthians 5:17 (New King James Version) (gender included)

By the grace of God, I got pregnant at 35, seven years after my first born. I had my first ultrasound at seven weeks and saw that miraculous little heartbeat. At 20 weeks, I saw the miracle of our little baby in a 3D ultrasound.

I felt that tug at my heart, for my unborn children.

Grace.

We had a guest speaker come to our church, and it’s not that I hadn’t heard amazing sermons on grace, but I felt like this message was about me and my abortions and my life that God gave me. God spoke to my heart and truth resonated in me.

The hardest part of Grace, for me, was understanding it. When we truly understand the Grace we live under when Jesus enters our lives, we are not pushed to our knees by guilt and condemnation, but instead we gratefully fall to our knees in worship to the One who paid for it all. Jesus.

I don’t deserve this life I have. None of us deserve our lives. It’s by Gods grace we have a second chance (sometimes a third and a fourth). God saw across the oceans of time and saw me at 15, 17, 27 and 35 and loved me the same. The blood of Jesus covers my sins.

It is not that my heart doesn’t ache when I think of those babies; I sit here in tears thinking of them. It will always hurt, but I don’t live under condemnation. I have a new life by the grace of God. I know some of you may not understand and maybe have the urge to hurl a few stones my way, but I would bear the scorn of a thousand to help one person learn what it took me 15 years to learn.

Here’s more of what I learned: If you are recovering from an abortion, God knows your story and is still smiling on you; your child is in heaven with Him. God still loves you and always will. Your child still loves you. Jesus’ blood covered all of your sins. He covered every, single, sin.

And then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.

My strength comes into its own in your weakness. -2 Corinthians 7: 10

If you can stand nowhere else today, let’s stand here: God’s grace is enough. Maybe it is not an abortion that keeps you tied up. Maybe it is something else you have made bigger than Jesus. Let’s know this together: nothing is BIGGER than God. In our weakness, God makes us strong. I love that.

God looks at us and loves us, just as we are.

______________________________________

About Daniela:
Daniela is loving her role as stay-at-home mom. She loves Jesus, her husband and kids and jumps feet first into opportunities to serve in her community. Daniela lives by this statement, “Preach the gospel always, use words when necessary.” She loves to live life big and laughs a lot. She blogs with her twin sister Trinity at Lime in the coconuts.

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Idelette McVicker
I like soggy cereal and I would like to go to every spot on the map of the earth to meet our world’s women. I dream of a world where no women or girls are for sale. I dream of a world where women and men are partners in doing the work that brings down a new Heaven on earth. My word last year was “roar” and I learned it’s not about my voice rising as much as it is about our collective voices rising in unison to bring down walls of injustice. This year, my own word is “soar.” I have three children and this place–right here, called shelovesmagazine.com–is my fourth baby. I am African, although my skin colour doesn’t tell you that story. I am also a little bit Chinese, because my heart lives there amongst the tall skyscrapers of Taipei and the mountains of Chiufen. Give me sweet chai and I think I’m in heaven. I live in Vancouver, Canada and I pledged my heart to Scott 11 years ago. I believe in kindness and calling out the song in each other’s hearts. I also believe that Love covers–my gaps, my mistakes and the distances between us. I blog at idelette.com and tweet @idelette.
Idelette McVicker

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  • http://www.OnLoanFromHeaven.blogspot.com Lindsay

    I just found your blog and I jus wanted to thank you for being so open and transparent with something as painful as abortion…. and thank you for emphasizing the forgiveness and grace that doesn’t MAKE it ok but makes God’s love bigger than our mistakes.

    I know a young woman who is contemplating abortion as I type and my heart hurts so badly for her… and for her unborn child. Please pray for her. Please pray that she finds God and doesn’t have to write a post like this later in her life.

    Thank you :-)

    Lindsay

    • Daniela

      I will pray for her. Thank you for your comments they really mean a lot. xo

  • Ashley Rogers

    Powerful Daniela. Love you and am sooo proud of you!

    • Daniela

      Thank you Ashley. xo

  • http://www.sattvayogaonline.com Ali Valdez

    Hello, Daniela– How inspiration, raw and honest. Thank you for your story and also the frusterations around trying to conceive again. So many women have found themselves in a world without options, and I love that you share a story of grace for those still mourning in the shadows. Nicely written, too! with love, Ali

    • Daniela

      Wow, thank you so much Ali.

  • http://amandajsalmon.blogspot.com amanda salmon

    you are completely right, none of us deserve the life Christ has given us–Thank You Lord that we surrendered to His grace and can now live an amazing new reality. There is a line in a song that spoke to me as a struggling young adult, trying to do the right thing and failing: “There’s no life, away from You.” Thanks for being brave enough to share this story.

    • Daniela

      No life is nothing without Him. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  • Musu

    I applaud you and truly hope many others will find hope in your story of grace

    • Daniela

      Thank you Musu.

  • http://www.sethgogo.com Seth Gogo

    I saw the link to your article on twitter (retweeted by Idellete). I just loved it. God bless you for sharing and I hope anyone who comes into contact with this material will have a fresh understanding of Grace. Stay blessed.

    • Daniela

      Thank you so much Seth. That is my heart and prayer for this message.

  • http://www.shelovesmagazine.com idelette

    I am so blessed by you, friend. You are bold and beautiful. I feel so tremendously blessed that you have graced me and everyone of us here with your story … It is precious. I have been so very tender today, just thinking about Grace … whatever our story is. God is totally speaking to me today and thanks to you, He is nudging me to a place of greater understanding of what Grace is and I am so thankful for that.

    Can I just say again how much I love you, your tenacity and your heart. xo

    • Daniela

      Wow idelette, thank you for creating this safe haven. I have spent the day tender and raw as well. Love you very much. xo

  • kelly

    you are fabulous….. <3 kelly

    • Daniela

      xo

  • http://www.firstimpressiondesigns.com shannon haerdi

    Thank you for your beautiful and heartfelt words, I am so proud of you for sharing this and I know this will help many people overcome guilt and shame for things that are holding them back. I love your words of honesty and I cherish our friendship, you are amazing.

    • Daniela

      Thank you my friend. Miss seeing you!

  • Danyelle

    Thanks for that touching blog, Daniela. As I was reading I felt as though I was reading parts of my own life. Having gone through similar situations. “I was weak but now I am strong”, and through His grace I get through every day. There is not a day that doesn’t go by I dont think of my little babies, but I rejoice that one day I will see them again in heaven. It took me a while to accept that God really has covered all my sins and everything that is old is now new, and although in some of the worlds eyes my abortions were unforgivable I know that the One that matters has forgiven me and stregthens me ever day. God Bless, Danyelle :) xo

    • Daniela

      Wow, thank you for writing this danyelle. Encouraged by your comments. Thank you for sharing your heart and your part of your story. I’m honored. xoxo

  • Stacy

    Today, on the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, many are talking politics. I love that SheLoves is talking redemption. Thanks for this very personal story of grace.

    • Daniela

      Thank you so much Stacy. I had no idea it the anniversary of roe vs wade. Gods timing is so perfect, and thankful we were obedient in his timing. His voice of love through so much hate and anger. xoxo

  • http://www.coercedfilm.com Katherine Folkers

    You are so beautiful Daniela. Thank you for sharing this story so courageously and with such love. I have seen so many beautiful friends go through this also I wish they could know about the grace you discovered. This will be an inspirational story to those women that I believe will bring healing in their hearts. Thank you you stunning transparency!

    • Daniela

      Thank you Katherine. You are such a great encourager, thankful to have you in my life. xo

  • Trinity

    It always hurts to look back and remember these things. I’m glad you could share this. Going through times like these it is so easy to give up on yourself and to stop seeing your value. I pray this message reaches the people who need to hear it.

    Love you,
    Trin xo

    • Daniela

      Love you. xo

  • Donna

    My dear, dear Daniela…..you have known in your heart that one day you would share this story …. and that day has come. I must say my heart has felt so tender today as I contemplated your story knowing there were so many stories out there and that your story will help to bring healing to others. For all of us….we can only go forward …. with God’s grace…we will not allow the enemy of our soul to rob us anymore.

    God’s grace truly is enough….how wonderful when we really get that into our souls.

    You are a beautiful woman…who is also a wonderful wife and mother. I am so proud and happy that YOU are my daughter-in-law. God has a wonderful plan for your life and I am so thrilled to be a part of it.

    Love always.

    PS….I LOVE being gramma to your beautiful sons.

    • Daniela

      I love that YOU are my mother in law. Thank you for being such an encouragement in my life. Love you Donna.

  • http://www.clairejdeboer.com Claire J De Boer

    Thank you for sharing this story Daniela – it takes great courage and I pray that you will have reached many women struggling to accept their past with your words :-)
    Claire xoxoxxo

    • Daniela

      My prayer too Claire. xo

  • grace

    I never, EVER publicly do this, but I just had to come and thank you for for sharing this. You and I (though we don’t know each other) share a bond. I am a 30 year old “on the other side” too. Ten years and still struggling with the choice I made and how it has affected me every day since.

    Thank you for this.

    And yes, my name really truly is Grace. Odd, no??

  • Daniela

    Grace (I love your name),

    Thank you so much for your boldness. I pray that you would find peace in this life. I believe God wants his women free from the bonds of our past so we can freely fulfill out God given purpose on this earth. Thank you thank you thank you for your step of boldness. I pray it is the first step of many that will set you free. xo

  • http://www.fakeleft.com/blog/ Stephanie Motz Skinner

    Daniela, I really appreciate your courage, boldness and transparency. Thank you for this reminder that we are enough and that God’s grace is bigger than our past and present struggles.

    xox.

  • http://www.kathyescobar.com kathyescobar

    thank you so much for sharing your story. i am just now catching up on a few posts and so sorry for the late response. i, too, have a similar story & the healing that has come from honesty has been the greatest gift. what feels so clear is how many women are out there holding these feelings inside alone, ashamed, sure that they are the only one. when we tell our stories, others know they aren’t. thank you for your courage. it is beautiful. isaiah 61:1-4 is one of my favorite passages of scripture and it really is true–God can make beauty from ashes. again and again and again.