Mother’s Day around here has been met with mixed emotions in years past, but this year I
will be meeting it with new hope thanks to Daddy’s redeeming hand. I am so entirely thankful for my four precious blessings that I have the joy of raising here and now, they are a beautiful reminder of the image of Daddy himself in all their giftings. However, in the past Mothers day had brought forth painful memories, guilt and condemnation of the two children that aren’t with me here on earth. This however is a beautiful story of hopelessness that Daddy has since redeemed into hope, a story of loss, that Daddy has turned into a platform.
On Mothers Day twenty years ago I came home from college to do one of the most difficult things I ever had to do in my life, tell my mom I was pregnant. Twenty years old, in college, not married, the fear of this day was suffocating. I still remember it so clearly, we went to church that morning and a little girl at the door was handing out flowers to all the moms. I will never forget it because she handed me one, the first mother day’s present I ever received was a small red carnation. I tried to give it back to her explaining that I wasn’t a mom but she would not take it. Later God revealed to me that, that was him honoring me, showing me that I was in fact a mom. Reminding me that I carried inside of me a life even if it wasn’t known by anyone else yet. That moment wrecked me the entire service. After service we went home and I remember standing in my parents kitchen and telling my mom, the first thing she said was “That girl at church gave you that flower.” She had noticed the significance in that small gift as well.
I had a previous abortion, in silence, at the age of 17, afraid and ashamed I did not tell my parents. I told just a few close friends and a school counselor. From that experience, I knew that this time I wanted it to be different, I wanted to keep this child or give her up for adoption. I will not go into all the details that happened between that Mothers Day and what I will speak of next in honor of those who were involved, but what I will say is that it was hard. It was the darkest moment in my life thus far, my wishes were not respected, there was little support, and it got ugly fast. Sadly, I believe a lot of it was based on the fear of how people would perceive the family because of this. I stood strong for weeks with my resolve, until I couldn’t any more. I will not point a finger of blame in any direction as that belittles the gravity of the decision, but the way it played out lead to the loss of my second child.
I clearly remember the night before I was scheduled for my second abortion because Daddy let me hear my precious daughters voice for the first time, I heard her begging “Mommy, please don’t do this.” I remember crying and telling her how sorry I was. The next day I remember asking the ultrasound technician to see the image, and she refused. I remember the process, the pain, both physical and emotional. After that day I wanted to die, I thought about ways to end my life but Daddy in his goodness saved me, he rescued me, for that I am so thankful.
It took me many, many years to even speak about my children that I aborted. It has been a long journey, 20 years. My family does not talk about it still, but I can no longer remain silent.
It took several more years of Daddy’s tender guiding for me to be able to forgive those who hurt me in the process, I understand why they did what they did and I have fully forgiven each of them. It was only recently however that I was able to forgive myself. Time and again that voice in my head would say, “What kind of a mom does that, what kind of a mom hears her daughters voice and kills her any way.” The guilt and condemnation I heaped on myself was way worse than what any outside person would be capable of. Twenty years of beating myself up, I was exhausted from trying to do enough to feel like I deserved Daddy’s love. One day Daddy said to me, “Julie, every time you beat yourself up over this you are taking me back to the cross, every time you try to punish yourself thought thoughts and actions you are saying what I did wasn’t enough to cover this sin. He told me it was time to trust in his sacrifice and lay down my own.” I had gotten to such a point of exhaustion I did, I laid it down at his feet and forgave myself.
This journey of heartache, pain, and suffering he has already turned into some beautiful moments as I have been able to help others along their post-abortive journey. A year ago while on a Marriage Event in Colorado, I asked my husband if he would be willing to adopt my two children so that they would have an earthly father as well as a heavenly father and he agreed, another beautiful moment of redemption.
When we returned from that trip I felt that I was finally ready and able to honor my two children, Michael Dale and Suzanna Joy, by having their names placed in two places. The first being The Garden of Hope in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The second being in Chattanooga Tennessee, at The National Memorial for the Unborn. This winter I was able to visit for the first time the Garden of Hope in Grand Rapids and see my children names on the memorial. It was a bitter sweet day, but it gave me such peace, for they would finally be know and recognized as the beautiful children who were created by God alone.
All of our children know about their big brother and sister who are with Jesus, and they are excited for the day, as I am to meet them in heaven.
This Mothers Day I pray for each mommy, those who have children here and those who are waiting like me to met theres in heaven. May it be a day of God’s abounding joy, peace and love. I pray he would speak words of comfort over you and if you are one still struggling to forgive yourself that he would convince you as he did me to put down the stick of condemnation and rest in his loving arms of Grace, none of us deserve the love he offers, it’s a gift.
Finally, I can look at this part of my journey and all that he has revealed to me about it and see his beauty in the mess, that is a wonderful place to be in.
UPDATE (May 12, 2015) This post touched many women as I saw in the response I’ve received from it. I appreciate those who took the time to email and messaged me thanking me for my honesty and courage, I love seeing Daddy use this to his Glory. Since it’s release my story has recently been highlighted here at The Journey of Healing, if you’d like to check it out.