Dear Christian Sisters,
People’s lives are messy.
The circumstances surrounding a woman’s decision to abort are messy.
We need to be the love of Christ to women in their messiness. We are responsible for the Great Commission, and we should think of these women as potential disciples.
Who I am Today
Because most of you don’t know me, let me paint a picture of who I am today. I am married to an evangelical Christian man, Russ, who helps support the airlines so their planes stay in the air and not on the ground—which I know you all appreciate.
I have 2 boys school-age boys—one with Aspergers and one with ADHD. They were in public school until recently, and now I homeschool them both.
I have a bachelors degree in technical communication, and I nearly finished my master’s degree in instructional technology. Before I decided to stay home to raise boys, I was a project manager leading teams to create web-based training for big corporations like Target, Northwest Airlines, and 3M.
A couple years ago, I went back into the workforce at our church until this year when I chose to stay home to homeschool my high schooler.
I am on the prayer team, I am in bible study class Sunday mornings, and I am in a special needs moms’ small group—although I have to admit that my kids’ special needs are so much easier than all my girlfriends’ kids.
But what I love about that group is that they understand that life is hard.
Because, you see, my home while in high school was not easy.
Well, it started easy. I am the spoiled youngest of three. My sister and brother are a bit older than me, so when I was done with 5th grade, they were both off at college, and I was the spoiled only child.
Living in a Home Tormented with Schizophrenia
But in the middle of 10th grade, my sister and her 6-month-old baby boy came home for Christmas and never left. Her husband had left her because she had a mental illness that he couldn’t handle.
Suddenly, I was the neglected middle child.
This situation led to a lot of arguing in my house. As some of you know, having three generations living in the same house is challenging because parents and grandparents don’t always agree on how to raise the child, so you have that natural tension.
Now add a mother who is not doing basic things for her child because she can’t think straight, because she is hearing voices that aren’t there.
It took two years for the doctors to diagnose my sister. She has paranoid schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is different than multiple personalities disorder. With schizophrenia, you hear voices and have hallucinations. For my sister, she had a “friend” that she talked to in gibberish while pacing. Evidently her “friend” was funny because she would talk and talk and talk, listen, and then laugh.
The priority in my parents’ house was my nephew. And rightly so.
But I didn’t get the attention that I needed as a teenage girl.
My parents missed a musical that I was in because of my sister. They made the best out of a difficult situation, but I was hurt, and my defenses went up.
My parents didn’t ask me about my day or what I was doing at school, so I stopped telling them.
My parents didn’t ask me why I was upset about friendships, so I didn’t share anything with them.
And then I met a guy.
Spending time with him was so much more peaceful than listening to my toddler nephew whine at the dinner table, my mom correct him, and my sister get upset about my mom “interfering” with her parenting—you know, the parenting that she wasn’t doing.
I was home for dinner, but only because my parents required it. I hated being at the dinner table.
But as soon as dinner was over, I took my homework to my boyfriend’s place.
Now, are any of you surprised that I got pregnant?
It was the end of my junior year in high school. Having lived with my nephew for a couple years and all the fighting that happened around parenting him, I had NO interest in raising a child.
I was busy with extracurriculars at school:
- I was first chair alto saxophone player in the band.
- I was editor of the high school newspaper.
- I was a straight-A student.
I did not want the burden of a pregnancy and most especially did not want to see the disapproving looks or hear the disapproving comments of my classmates or my teachers. So I decided to have an abortion.
My mom was so stressed out about my sister and my nephew that my decision to have an abortion seemed like a relief to her.
My dad was distraught, but he never said anything to me until after the abortion. Then he realized that he needed counseling more than I did. I was fine.
My dad was the church choir director. He still is today. He just turned 80, and I’m certain that he will be the choir director until the day he dies.
My mom was a former church organist. She’s a preacher’s kid. She volunteered for everything at church, including leading the children’s choir and teaching Sunday school. Today, she plays handbells at her church.
I had been a leader in the church youth group. I could’ve been the president of the youth group the following year, but Mom and I convinced Dad to leave the church.
This was shortly before I got pregnant. We were so stressed out at home, and our pastor made our church work even more stressful. No one was helping us deal with my sister’s schizophrenia—or at least I didn’t think they were.
Church was a burden. So we left.
In the dozen years that followed, I—
- lived with my boyfriend,
- bought a house with him, and
- married him–in that order. The wrong order.
It was a one-sided marriage in that I loved him, but he didn’t love me—but I didn’t believe in divorce.
I didn’t think that he believed in divorce, either, but after 13 years together, 9 of which we were married, he decided he wanted a divorce.
About a year and a half later, I found the love of Christ. My husband, Russ, is the hero in my salvation story.
We don’t have enough time for me to tell you all those details, but in short, when we met—
- I was politically liberal,
- very skeptical of evangelicals, and
- I was sure that my politically conservative, evangelical boyfriend would be scared away by my abortion.
He wasn’t. He loved me anyway. He showed me the love of Christ.
And it was because Russ showed me the love of Christ through his acceptance and love of me that I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior.
Faces of Abortion
Now, I want you to stop and think about how you picture the faces of women who have had abortions. Did you picture me?
The angry women that you see in the pro-choice movement are probably faces of abortion. They are faces of pain. They are faces of messy lives.
This last winter, I went on a mission trip through church to Uganda where I had a life-changing conversation with one of the pastors about abortion in Africa and in the United States.
Since returning, the Lord has made it clear that I am to change the conversation about abortion.
Knowing that I was going to go public with my abortion online, I began telling my family and friends so that they would hear about my abortion from me and not by reading it online.
In the process, I have found out that some of my friends have had abortions, too. Turns out that their lives have not been so perfect, either.
You don’t know how many of the faces you see every day belong to women who have had abortions. Have they experienced the love of Christ through you?
Or have they heard judgment as you comment on all the pro-choice mantra that comes from “liberal media” or the Women’s March?
What the Great Commission Means
We seem to forget that the Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20) was told to us disciples, that we are responsible for the Great Commission. When we hear the Great Commission, we hear “go to all nations”…
…but we forget that “nations” means ethnic groups. We forget that Jesus, a Jew Himself, made the Great Commission while in Israel, talking to Jews. He was telling them to make disciples of all the Gentiles—us.
The U.S. is the melting pot of nations, of ethnic groups. The Great Commission is meant for us—as well as all other nations.
Yes, some people are called to go on mission trips. I am. You might not be. But all of us are called to think of every trip
- to work,
- to the grocery store,
- to the drive thru
as a mission trip.
[For more on the Great Commission, read my blog post, “Abortion & the Great Commission.”]
Missionary to McDonald’s
For example, my Sunday morning routine includes going through the McDonald’s drive thru. Now, before you judge our eating habits, know that this quick breakfast allows me to do my prayer walk, take the dog for a run, and get everyone out the door for church without fighting.
There are two women who are usually working in the drive thru–Susan and Gloria. Susan is from India. Gloria is Hispanic. My goal every Sunday morning is to make them smile because I’m sure that they get many grumpy customers. Besides, they got up at 5 am to make breakfast so that I don’t have to.
One day, I hope to have a relationship that allows me to share the gospel. That’s my prayer.
Call me a missionary to McDonald’s!
Share the Love of Christ
So I urge you to share the love of Christ wherever you go. You have no idea what is going on behind those faces.
Your job is to make Christ appealing to them so that others want to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior—even if those others are pro-choice.
With the love of Christ,