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A glimpse into my story...

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For every girl who has been deeply wounded by abuse or abortion and carries the pain of this secret deep inside her soul, my story is for you.  You are not alone. You are loved!

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I don’t ever remember a time of not knowing God.  From my earliest memory as a child, I loved Him and felt He loved me -- and although I would spend most of my life questioning, challenging, and feeling unworthy of this love, it would be what ultimately saved me down a very long and broken road.  I now understand... I was chosen --- I am His --- and for that, I am so very grateful. 

  

Fear not, for I have redeemed you --- I have called you by name,

YOU ARE MINE. 

Isaiah 43:1

If given a choice, my life is not the one I would choose but it is the one God chose for me to live, perhaps for such a time as this. If you are like me, mistakes and heartache can often feel like many years of wasted time, but I believe God loves redeeming the hearts of his broken people and multiplying the lost years back to us with great purpose.

   

Like many young girls, I often dreamed of someday falling in love and marrying a man that loved God just as much as I did.  My dad was a youth minister in our church so our lives revolved around church activities and a bunch of teenagers that I loved --- so much that I wanted to marry a youth minister and someday have that same life.

  

From an early age, my heart wanted to please God so I have often asked Him why He would allow my young life to become littered and confused with the debris of sexual abuse.  I was about 8 years old and not fully aware of what was happening to me, but I understood the words and the threats made by my abusers so in fear, I kept quiet.  I wondered if anyone could see what was happening to me... especially God who was able to see all things. Was He angry with me? Did He not care?  These secrets I carried left me fearful and confused. The shame I felt told me it was my fault.

  

Years later our family moved and settled in a small central Texas town where I would start Jr. High School and spend my teenage years.  It was the early 70s and there was a lot of noise going on in our country with hippies and drugs, movements for peace (make love, not war), equal rights for women, and a sexual revolution... all of which did not sit well with the church.  My family was part of an ultra-conservative church that leaned hard into a woman's place in the world and that sexual sin would send you to hell. Girls were taught that sex before marriage would mark them as impure and no Christian boy would want to marry them.  As I grew older I saw that Christian boys wanted sex just as much as any other boy.  Girls were blamed and held responsible for boys' sexual excitement... even in cases of rape.  Married adult men preyed on young girls -- all of which left me confused about God, His rules, and the truth. As a teen, the church felt confusing and unsafe and would create doubt that I would ever be good enough to make it through the pearly gates. 

   

   

I was learning that a girl had no voice, it was a man’s world,

and the church left no room for mistakes.

It was the summer of ’77 just before my senior year of high school and my friends and I were excited about our upcoming senior year together and graduation.  I had been planning to go to Abilene Christian College (now University) since the first time I stepped onto the campus in the 60s. I had big hopes and dreams but all of them would begin to fall apart this summer when a crisis would turn my life upside down and send me spiraling down a path of destruction for many years.

  

The phone call came that summer day with the nurse on the other end telling me she had my test results back and it was positive. I was pregnant. I don't remember much about the minutes, hours, or days that followed the call, but I do remember the panic and overwhelming fear I felt as I was left to deal with a pregnancy at 17 years old and the painful circumstances that landed me there. I had been dating a guy for several months that was known to be the bad boy in school.  Initially, he was attentive and protective which made me feel loved and seen but slowly he changed and became controlling, manipulative, and abusive, and I found myself always trying to prove that I was loyal and good enough for him.  Purity was important to me but not for him so we struggled over having sex on a regular basis.  Over time my no(s) became personal rejections to him, and in one night everything would change when my “no” was not enough.

  

I was now pregnant, alone, and paralyzed in fear as I thought about the potential fallout from church, school, and home... none of them feeling like a safe place to go for help. I felt as if I was staring down a road of shame and rejection from everyone I knew, no matter how I ended up here. I informed my boyfriend that I was pregnant but he did not want the fall-out or responsibility of a child so he gave me money and told me to get rid of the problem.

 

I was alone and afraid in my secret with nowhere safe to go and

everything to lose, so I went looking for a way out. 

 

  

A friend suggested a local OB-GYN clinic so I scheduled an appointment to talk with them. The doctor said I had two choices…  have a baby or terminate the pregnancy as it was now only a blob of tissue. I knew nothing about abortion and was given little information, only that I would not be pregnant when I left and I could go on with my life... so I trusted the doctor, paid the money, and walked into the clinic to terminate. Memories of that day are scattered, but what my heart and mind experienced still falls hard on me today. I was alone, terrified, and sad laying on the cold clinic table, tears rolling off the sides of my face, knowing my "someday" baby would never be.  A part of my heart was being ripped away and I felt powerless to do anything about it. Then the room became quiet and I knew my blob of tissue was gone.  In its place stood grief and darkness. I walked out of the clinic hoping for relief but instead felt heartbroken and somehow knew my life would never be the same.

  

I would grieve alone and bury the secret of my abortion deep inside,

along with all the other secrets I carried. 

 

  

I married the boyfriend after graduation in the hope of redeeming the sin of my abortion and would justify all the physical beatings I took as my deserved punishment. Married less than a year, I became pregnant, was beaten, miscarried, and pregnant a month later.  I packed up and moved far away determined to put the pieces of my life back together again.  

  

It was just me and my baby girl, a new life, a new town, and a new job that I loved but it would not be long before I was drowning financially.  My baby had been sick since birth which often left us with no childcare, missed work, lost jobs, no insurance, and bills that I could not afford.  I desperately needed help. Help came in a new relationship, one that would become identical to the one I had run from.  I became pregnant again and was given the option to have an abortion or he would walk away and leave us on our own. Unable to support the baby I already had, I went with him to the abortion clinic where he walked me in, paid at the front desk, then left as I was processed, put in a room, and asked to lay down on a familiar cold table.  The table would trigger memories of my first abortion and the same tears would begin to roll and puddle beneath me. After it was over, I lay alone in the dark quiet room asking God "WHY?" and wanting to disappear. I felt a tear inside as I disconnected from hope and the dreams I once had. Grief moved in as stuffed yet another secret deep inside, joining the others that were buried there. I left the clinic and would never talk about the abortion again. 

When the secrets took hold of my soul, they had the power to influence every thought, every decision, every relationship, and all self-worth.

 

 

Somewhere along the way, I gave up crying out to God.  From my understanding, He would never want to see or have anything to do with a girl like me.  My heart lived in exile and the love I once felt He had for me was gone. I believed I was going to hell.  So I worked hard to be strong and independent, not weak or vulnerable, proving I was worthy of love and belonging -- while keeping my secrets buried deep inside. 

  

Years later I would marry, believing this would be my fairytale ending... until it wasn’t. After 25 years of marriage, we would divorce leaving my heart again in a shattered mess.  I was now angry and tired of the fight for survival --- for love --- for belonging. I stood at the edge of a cliff with no fight left inside of me.

  

It was at the edge that I saw a vision with a timeline detailing every traumatic event I had been through in my life. I looked closer and saw God standing there in the middle of it all. I had always believed He had walked away from me but there He was in all that pain and trauma.   As the timeline faded, I heard words asking if I was willing to surrender and go on a journey. I was unsure what that meant but was tired and desperate for answers so I said "yes" then closed my eyes and crawled into His lap and held on tight.  

  

The journey was long and difficult as God took me into the dark and broken places of my soul. He slowly revealed all the secrets of my past and the weight I had been carrying since childhood. Fear, grief, sadness, shame, and death had rooted deep within my soul and when I realized all its weight, I broke.  But it was there that He caught me. He bottled every tear, pick me up when I could not get off the floor, and sang over me as I slept and healed.  Then He introduced me to Jesus... and that changed everything! 

 

Do you believe in miracles??  Oh, I do. I not only believe but have experienced them and know Jesus is still doing miracles today. I am His miracle. I was one way and now I am completely different and the thing that happened in between was Jesus. Here is an account of the final miracle Jesus did in the healing that changed my life forever and set me free.   

For the Love of Josiah & Deborah...

 

I woke up one morning feeling the weight of so much loss in my life.  As tears streamed down my face, I begin to hear children laughing and playing and thought it must be coming from outside until a bright light showed up in my room with Jesus standing between two children I had never seen before. Their faces were bright and happy and they smiled at me as if they knew me.  I was captivated as I watched them and suddenly I knew these were my two children.  You see, I had never allowed myself to see or think of them as living children. I had not given them an identity but instead had kept them in the dark secret place buried deep inside my soul.  But Jesus showed me that they were real and fully alive and happy in heaven with Him. He introduced them to me by the names He had given them— Josiah and Deborah --- not names I would have given them but names that would act as a forever reminder of this day and the gift of a beautiful miracle He chose to give me. My heart exploded as He brought Josiah and Deborah out of my darkness and into the light.  He told me I was forgiven and loved and that someday heaven would reunite all of us and give us an eternity together. I could not move or take my eyes off them. I just wanted to stay right there in the joy of smiling faces and giggles and dancing as long as He would allow me to.  My heart was so full.  As the vision began to fade, I felt a new joy and peace and realized what a gift Jesus just had given me... all for the girl who believed she was unseen, unworthy, and unloved!  I went to my knees thanking Him, and it would be here that the chains which had me bound for so long, fell and hit the ground making a loud thud on the floor. I was released and set free.

I now understand the true heart of God, the full love of Jesus, the cross, and that His sacrifice was meant for a girl, especially like me. 

 

 

"El Roi" - The "God who sees" me.  

  

Beloved, as God saw me in all my mess, He sees you too!  He sees your broken heart and the pain suffered from the trauma of abortion, abuse, neglect, divorce, loss, abandonment, etc...  It breaks his heart too.  But He wants you healed and set free. He wants your heart out of exile and back with Him, and to allow Him to write a beautiful new ending to your story. 

“He heals the wounds of every shattered heart.”  Psalm 147:3

  

If you have experienced the pain and regret of abortion, I hope you will find a safe place to share your story and begin a healing process that brings freedom and peace. YOU deserve it. I would be honored to hear your story and give you that safe place to land.  You can contact me directly and privately at Terri@FrontPorchGirl.com.

 

Click here for speaking information.

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