My childhood was spent living on a small farm in Northeast Missouri. Life was simple then - spending my days outside with the animals and my dad. Then tragedy struck when I was 9, and my father was killed in a tractor accident. Life was never simple again after that. I became the child of a single mother, and times always seemed to be tough. There was never an abundance of anything after that, especially money. I began working at the age of 14 and worked hard through school. I had one goal in mind and that was college. I worked hard through high school, attended church, and got good grades.
After high school I went to college and completed my freshman year. During the summer of my freshman year, finances became a real issue. I had moved into an apartment with my brother and figured out that I was going to need a full-time job to pay bills. This forced me to drop out of college, which changed the trajectory of my life. I was far from God and walking a path that led me even further from Him.
I started dating guys that weren’t a good influence and eventually became involved with a man that would lead me down a dark and scary road. I became pregnant before I realized just how controlling and abusive he was. Soon after having my daughter, I was forced to choose between life and death when he came to my door with a gun. Luckily, I had been forewarned and knew not to open the door to him that night. With the help of the police, I was able to leave that night and never look back. That night I returned to my hometown and attempted to start over.
My small town wasn’t exactly welcoming when I returned with a child out of wedlock. For the next several years I hung my head in shame. I eventually found a job in a nearby town, where I made close friends. One of these friends introduced me to her uncle. He was much older than me but seemed interested in me, and we started a relationship. Again, I didn’t make smart decisions and continued to walk a path that was far from God. I eventually became pregnant a second time. I had just started a new job that I very much wanted to keep and also had finally started to regain my reputation in my small town. These selfish reasons made me feel like I couldn’t have another child. When I told the father that I was pregnant, he immediately said that we were going to get rid of the baby. These factors led me down a road of secret pain and agony. A little over a week after finding out that I was pregnant, I took away the life of my child. I was totally doped up on Valium as I walked out of the clinic that day. My mind has tried to block out the events of that day, but I have a vivid memory of the sounds of the vacuum sucking out my baby from the womb.
For seven years I stayed with the man who got me pregnant. If you ask me why, I’ll say I don’t really know. But deep down I think staying with him was me punishing myself. I knew he was not the man for me. I knew he was not interested in making a life with me, or me with him. In fact, I also knew that he wasn’t faithful to me. I stayed, because I didn’t think I deserved anyone to love me. The year following my abortion, death was all around me. I lost three people that I loved dearly – my grandmother, my aunt, and my brother. I convinced myself that God took them to repay me for the life I took. I know now that God loved me through it all and only wanted to comfort me.
Finally, seven years after my abortion, I happened upon a book at the bookstore called The Purpose Driven Life. Little did I know that this book would change my life. I started reading and seeing a change in myself immediately. This led me to walk away from the destructive relationship I had been in. I then started attending church again. God was truly working in my life and, just a few months later, I met the man that God intended for me all along – the love of my life, my husband of 15 years now. This godly man led me to a path to forgiveness. He was the first person who ever told me that the Lord forgave me for my abortion and that I should forgive myself and stop carrying it around with me.
In 2016, I took a mission trip to Haiti. It was during this trip that the Lord led me to find my true healing. Upon my return from Haiti, I contacted a local pregnancy center and began my journey to become a post-abortive recovery leader. At this point, I had never gone through a healing program. Thankfully, that was one of the steps in the process to become a leader. I attended the 10-week SaveOne program, as well as a Project Rachel retreat. Through these programs I was able to find true forgiveness and a deeper connection to the Lord.
I regret my abortion and wish I could go back and change the choices I made. But through God’s leading, I hope to find other women who are suffering from the guilt and shame of abortion and show them the path to forgiveness.