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
If you only know one thing about me, I'd love for you to know this: I love Jesus, justice and living juicy. I also happen to drive a minivan and drink my lattes plain. (My life is exciting enough!) Nineteen years ago, I moved from Taiwan to Canada to marry Scott. We have two teenagers, a preteen, a Bernese Mountain dog and a restaurant. (Ask Scott to tell you our love story.) In 2010, I founded SheLovesmagazine.com and it has now grown to include a Dangerous Women membership community, a Red Couch Bookclub, events and gatherings. I'd like to think of it as curating transformational spaces for women in community. I long for women to be strong in our faith and voice, so we can be advocates for God’s heart for justice here on earth. As an Afrikaner woman, born and raised in South Africa during Apartheid, my story humbly compels me to step out for justice and everyday peacemaking. I have also seen firsthand the impact injustice has had on the lives and stories of women around the world. I refuse to stay silent. I am anti-racist and also a recovering racist. I am a Seven on the Enneagram, an INFP and I mostly wear black, with a dash of animal print or faux fur.
Idelette McVicker