God Will Raise You Up Above Your Woes
The winter of 2003 was not an easy one. My father-in-law had died of complications from diabetes and I was struggling to live. As I lay there in bed listening to the doctorís speech about how I was not getting better, fear entered my heart. Was I about to die? Did I have my affairs in order? Was I ready? Thoughts raced through my head of the decisions and choices that had filled my life. Yet one more than any other haunted me. It was the decision that I had made as a teen to abort my unborn child. Yes, that single decision brought about the fears of the fires of hell and the eternal damnation that I thought all murderers thusly deserved. I was scared. Was I to die an untimely death only to awaken in a fiery pit for all of eternity, or was I to live and find a way to seek forgiveness and move on in Godís light and love? Little did I know at that time how the course of the next few years would progress. But God definitely accomplished one thing; he yanked me out of the fearful life that I had been living and brought me into the realms of wondering about my eternal soul.
Soon after leaving the hospital I began to make phone calls. I spoke to counselors and people of all sorts. I wanted to change and I knew that I had better get moving. Counselors talked to me about my depression and even about forgiving the people who had been instrumental in what led to the abortion as well as other issues in my life. Talking to them seemed to only complicate matters and at times make things worse. I was still not at peace. I needed more. I sought out people who spoke to my deceased loved ones on the other side and hoped and prayed that they would guide me through their words to know what to do. I sought out palm readers and psychic healers. I meditated. I chanted. I kept on seeking. Something kept on telling me there was more. There was more than what I had been finding. There was more than what I had been told. Keep looking was the ever present message in my head. And as usual, I did as I was told.
As a child I almost always did as I was told. If I did not I dealt with the pain of the good ole "rubber spatula," or the paddle, or my daddyís hand on my backside. I can recall being held down and paddled with the weight of my fatherís body pressing down on mine so that I could not stand up. I recall verbal abuse and emotional traumas. As a teen I grew into a stage of rebellious attitudes and actions. I did not care anymore. No matter what I did I could not please my mom. I felt unloved and alone. I gave up and sought love from a source that I trusted.
In the spring of my senior year of high school, I fell head over heels in love with Edward. We had been dating for quite some time when I discovered I was expecting our first child. I can still remember taking my urine sample to the clinic, making the call, and getting the test results. I can recall being awestruck as the lady told me that I was going to be a mother. I wept and I shook all at the same time. The joy was more than I can detail in mere words. When I told Edward he was pleased and we were both anxious to share our good news with his family. His family reacted with concern yet with love over our blessed news. Later that day Edward and I spoke of marriage. We spoke about our futures together. All seemed well.
It was time to tell my family, the family that had raised me in a supposed Christian environment. I was scared. I was afraid to do what had to be done. I knew in my heart that I had to tell the truth. I had to tell them. So I did. I confronted the issue alone. I attempted to explain as I sat there and heard something that I will never forget. The decision was that I was to abort my baby. I was told that this is what was best for all concerned. I didnít know what to say. Thoughts raced through my head of Sunday sermons denouncing such a procedure. My mind raced as my mother explained to me that I had to use my own money. I was told to take the money out of my savings and to have Edward drive me to the city. I had done the damage. I had to fix it. I feared abandonment, having no home or support. I was told that I would be thrown out into the streets. So, I did what my mother demanded.
Edward drove me to the city. It was a long, quiet drive. I entered the establishment and listened to people speak for what seemed hours. They told us all about birth control methods and they explained a little bit of this and that. I sat there and thought about Edward who was out driving around the city. Did he feel as empty as I did? Would he come back and tell me to get up and leave this horrible place? What would I do if I kept the baby? Where would I go? Who would help me? I was scared. The truth of the situation was settling in. They told us to go to a room and change out of our clothing. I obeyed. Then I entered a room where the procedure was to be done. I lay there on the table as they began to work on me. Lying there staring at the ceiling I prayed for guidance and it came. I was to ask them to stop. I orally stated, "Stop." I stated it firmly and I meant it, but I was too late. They told me they had to continue. I had waited too long. At this point I knew in my heart I had killed my own child. I was numb.
I walked out of the office to find Edward waiting for me. I didnít need to say a thing, he knew. The ride home was longer than the ride up. I kept crying and lay there on the seat of the car in fetal position. I listened to the music on the radio as the words kept playing over and over, "Having my baby Ė what a lovely way of saying how much you love me." I cried a river of tears. I cried and I ached to the core of my being. For the first time in my life I wanted to die. I wanted the pain to stop. I felt as if I had not only killed my child but also the pure essence of who I was, a loving human being placed on this earth for a reason. My baby had been a gift from God. What had I done?
For years to come I kept a vow of silence. Only a special few knew of what I had done. Even family members were blanketed by a vow of secrecy formatted by my mother and followed by all who revered her. I wept internally and thrust myself into a life so filled with activity that no space remained for quiet time. No space remained for thoughts about God. If I thought about God I became angry and wondered why he had allowed such a thing to happen. How could it be that I had been raised in a house where we went to church every Sunday, and yet when it came time to truly rely on him I could not? I felt abandoned by God and by his church and by his people. The anger swelled and the hatred grew. How dare those hypocrites judge me and scoff at me. I grew weary in my soul and my health faltered. I was no longer living with Godís love. I had abandoned him for I felt that he had abandoned me.
Then came the time when that wee voice spoke to me again. It told me to continue to seek. It told me it was time to heal. I listened and once again ventured out into the realms seeking answers. I began to call womenís groups wanting to volunteer as a speaker. I wanted to tell those people that they needed to be better Christians. I wanted to throw my anger at them and tell them not to do to their daughters what my mother had done to me. I wanted to tell the preachers to stop tossing guilt in my face by speaking of abortion as murder for as a visitor I didnít want to be reminded of what I had done. I wanted vengeance. I would have accepted no less. Yet, as I spoke to the leaders of those groups a new demand arose. I was asked if I had taken the time to heal and to ask for Godís forgiveness. I told them no that I had not. It was then that I learned of the bible study at the Richland Pregnancy Center, and it was then that I called to make the appointment. I wanted to speak and by Jove I was going to, so I would play the game! I would go and do as they asked and then I would go out and speak! I knew how to obey a command. I had had lots of practice.
Then came the moment of truth. All that anger, all that pain that had welled up in my soul for all those years needed to be resolved. I was asked to commit my life to Christ there in that small meeting room at RPC. After much thought, I did it. I said the words and joined the masses.
Today I am attending a local church where I hope to become a member as well as a member of the choir. It is a beginning. As a child I used to love to sing the words to this favored hymn. "And he will raise you up on Eagleís wings. Bear you on the breath of dawn. Make you to shine like the sun and hold you in the palm of his hands." Back then I just went through the routine. I sang. I attended. I volunteered when I could. But today, I stand in the palm of his hand on my journey upwards. I do not look back, nor do I look down. I shall keep my eyes ever fastened upwards into his.