I'm in my 30's now (as of today, HA!) but this story starts when I was 21. Or maybe this story starts before I was born. My mom has her own story of healing, forgiveness and life that is tied up in my own existence, but it is her story to tell. I digress. At 21 I was a Texas transplant, college dropout and a "typical" 21 year old. I drank-a lot. I handed out affection a little too easily and I lived to serve no one but myself. I knew that if I ever found out I was pregnant I would terminate the pregnancy. I absolutely wanted children someday, but not before I figured my life out. That is so many "I" statements. *sigh*
So in October of 2003, the interviewer at MEPS told me I was pregnant and couldn't join the Air Force like I had planned. She said that I could terminate the pregnancy and come back 3 months later. My stomach turned, my head was spinning. Her words hit me like a ton of bricks. There was a tiny part of me that was happy that I even *could* get pregnant, since I was told at 17 I would probably never have kids due to illness. The second thought was, "now that I know I can, I will take care of this and know that I can have a family when I'm ready."
I was sent home where there was no running water, no electricity and the man I'd been dating for just a little over a month was on a trip to PA. I couldn't get a hold of him for 2 days, where I freaked over what I would do. I had no money, no one to go to and no hope. When I was finally able to contact Allan, he came straight back, but to say things were strained would be putting it lightly. I moved in with him, because I was living in hell. Strange men kept coming to my house saying my deployed roommate said they could live there. I said before there was no running water or electricity. Allan was an amazing man, but we had a lot of fights then. How could we not?
So I looked up abortion several times. Everytime I'd look up a website, I would weep uncontrollably. I couldn't figure how I'd been so confident to do this before and now I was a wreck. I blamed it on hormones, but there was something inside that would die everytime I considered abortion. I spent so many days crying, alone while Allan was at work. Finally, my options ran out. I was at 12 weeks and I had an idea in my head that 12 weeks was my cut-off date. Allan and I had decided that we would attempt to make it work. Shortly afterward we felt our baby kick for the first time. We were watching a movie and Allan had his hand on my belly and the baby gave a strong, swift kick at his hand. I was in awe at how we got to share that moment. We both laughed and I think that was the first time I realized that this family would be my redemption.
As the weeks passed, I prepared to become a mother. We found out our baby was a little girl and I was surprised to discover that I could discern her personality while she was still in my womb. She was stubborn, strong and so beautiful. She was a symbol of hope and healing to me. We decided to name her Grace, after my paternal grandmother who meant so very much to me. Her middle name was to be Anne, but we crunched those together and decided on Rayne for her middle name...because her mom and dad loved to chase storms across the Texas plains before we knew her.
She was born at a birthing center in WA state-such a healing event for me and her daddy. When I laid eyes on her and got to know her, I knew that I could never again consider abortion and I knew that the society that told me it was a solution to a problem were wrong. I just didn't know why.
Since then our faith in Christ has been renewed, we have gotten married and moved back to Texas. We've had 4 more pregnancies, 2 ending in live birth and 2 ending in miscarriage. I can say that until June of 2010 I was pro-life, when convenient. By that I mean that I was all about abortion being wrong and a great injustice to not only the children, but also to the mothers victimized by it. But I didn't believe that I could handle more children, despite my big God, so we took permanent measures to ensure we would not have more children. At that time I was pregnant with a child God had prophesied to me before his conception. I'm sure I lost a lot of you right there. Pass it off how you will, (or ask for details one day) and just bear with me, please. I had very vehemently not wanted more than the 4 we had at that point. But I knew better than to argue with God. I slowly, over the course of 40 days, fell in love with this baby, whose face I saw 2x via ultrasound. Whose hearbeat I saw 2x. Whose life was foretold to me. Whose sisters were so excited to meet. The day after Allan's vasectomy, we found out our baby was gone. Just gone.
And I wrestled with God. HOW COULD YOU TELL ME ABOUT THIS BABY AND TAKE HIM AWAY? God has brought me full circle with healing since then, but the number one thing He taught me in all of it is that He is calling us, as Christians, to open our homes to unwanted children. Because we can't tell these women, "You can't abort that baby, you have to take care of it." That can't work. We have to show them there is redemption and healing in allowing that child to live and we have to be willing to open our homes to the children they cannot or do not want to take care of. We cannot be surprised by what the world would do, especially when they are inconvenienced, but we should be VERY surprised by the fact that we are not willing to be inconvenienced, either. I'm sure the cross was pretty inconvenient. I am sure a life of servitude when you are THE King of kings is inconvenient. I promise you (now that I know better), the life of a child will never be an inconvenience. If we allow Him to, God will redeem the child, the birth family and the adoptive family through that life. The system is broken because we Christians are not doing what we're called to do! Care for the widows and orphans in their distress!
When I look back on where I was when I found myself 21 and pregnant, I sympathise with that woman. The situation was absolutely hopeless, except for the hand of God I can see everywhere in it NOW. But I promise I didn't see it then. I sympathise with her and I forgive her for her thoughts and plans, (though I am devastated to think I might have ever lived my life without my Gracie-Rayne!) Primarily I see what would have been if I had gone through with a termination. I would have been left feeling empty and depressed(All the post-abortive mothers I've spoken with tell me very sad tales that the clinics don't tell you about!) Allan and I would have broken up-forever, hopelessly intertwined in some intimate way, but never able to reconcile. I wouldn't have joined the Air Force, because I was just barely brave enough to do it at that point, let alone 3 months post-abortive. I probably would have moved home and who knows if I'd be dead or if I'd have been redeemed elsewhere, because we do serve a mighty, loving God and I know He has a plan for me, despite my bad choices. But my life now is so sweet. I am so glad God saved me from myself all those years ago. I am so grateful that He chose me to have and give life!
So to post-abortive moms I say, THERE IS HEALING AND HOPE AND FORGIVENESS FOR YOU!! If you can't find it in the church, those people are not of Christ. Look to our savior and accept that forgiveness. You will be redeemed and your ashes will be traded for beauty! If you find no one, I promise you there were over a thousand women at The Esther Call who are praying for your healing. We love you.
To moms considering abortion I say, LOVE yourself and LOVE your child and give that child the gift of life. You are already a mother! The clinic will tell you they can fix your "problem" but they don't tell you they will just TRADE it for other troubles. If you really have no one, find an adoption agency that will place your baby with a family that believes Christ will redeem you through the life of that child. A family that is invested in your healing. A family that will take great care of your baby. Please find someone to talk to. Leave me a message if you have no one else! I will help you pray through this and put you in touch with the right people!
To my pro-choice friends, I love you, too. And in this country we DO legally have a choice to terminate our pregnancies. And I respect that law, though I disagree with it. Find no condemnation in my words, please see through to the love behind them, despite our differences of opinion.
Our 2 boys-Joshua and Josiah-were only with us for very short times, but their lives MATTER and the lives of all the unborn MATTER and the lives of these poor women who are just looking for a solution MATTER, but abortion bastardizes all of that. It tells women who have miscarried that a baby prior to 12 weeks doesn't matter-so get over it. It tells society that the unborn don't matter. It tells post-abortive mothers that all their problems are taken care of, so be grateful and don't speak of it again. We cannot continue to hide these wounds, these women should have voices! These children should have voices.
Now my little Gracie-Rayne is almost 8 years old and an amazing person. She loves life, she loves people. She loves the unborn. She gives with her whole heart-because she has been given to. She is beautiful and funny and smart! She matters. And she was GraceAnne Rayne the minute she was conceived. She was GraceAnne Rayne before I felt her kick. She was GraceAnne Rayne before I could even discern her personality. Her heart started beating before I missed my period. Her fingers and toes were perfectly formed THE DAY I missed my period and the interviewer at MEPS told me there was a shadow of life inside of me apart from my own.
I pray this post speaks to those it was meant to speak to. Amen.