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  • Terri Kelley

Part 3 - But then God...

Lauren Daigle – “Rescue”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYR0xP1j4PY


You are not hidden, there's never been a moment you were forgotten You are not hopeless, though you have been broken, your innocence stolen

I hear you whisper underneath your breath, I hear your SOS, your SOS


There is no distance that cannot be covered over and over You're not defenseless, I'll be your shelter - I'll be your armor

I hear the whisper underneath your breath, I hear you whisper, you have nothing left


I will send out an army to find you in the middle of the darkest night it's true,

I will rescue you I will never stop marching to reach you in the middle of the hardest fight, it's true, I will rescue you…


As a young girl, I believed in miracles. God miracles. Perhaps that belief was planted in my heart as a two-year-old girl who witnessed the near-death accident of my one-year-old brother and then watched God do a miracle over several months to save his life. It has been said our entire life that he was God's miracle story.

As I got older, my belief in miracles would disappear as I started to believe they were not meant for a girl like me. I built walls around my heart protecting me from the pain of people and a God I felt abandoned me.

But after the birth of my last son, God would begin a slow pursuit of this walled-up fragile heart. He did it through miracles. These miracles had no reasonable explanation except that they spoke directly to my heart and to my pain. They slowly created a new belief and left no doubt that I had been touched by my Creator. I believe God knew the most powerful way to begin healing my broken heart would be restoring the faith of a young Jesus-girl's belief in miracles and assure her that they are meant especially for her. And that is just what He did.


“Where our Fairytale Ends, God’s Redemption Story Begins”.


I collapsed on the floor in a melt-down with what felt like my heart in ashes and no way to put it all back together again. The full weight of a lifetime of hurt, trauma, shame and now the ending of my fairy-tale all came crashing in on me. The pain felt like more than I could bear any longer, and I begged God for a way out. I laid there in a full-on ugly cry, screaming at God that I didn't understand why I could not have my happily-ever-after. I was done!

As I wore myself out it a fit, I suddenly felt a calmness come over me. Then I heard a voice in my spirit say, “Look up”. I had come to know that voice over the last 17 years and knew to listen closely. I opened my eyes and saw the ceiling lit up above me and what looked like a timeline stretched out across the room. Then God’s pointed finger began to weave its way like fire through the timeline. He would reveal the childhood traumas, the abandonment, each abortion, each marriage and divorce, and every blow that my body took in abuse while revealing His spirit along-side me in every painful moment. Then He said, “See, I have never left you but carried you through it all”. He gave me a moment to soak in what I was seeing and then the light was gone. I laid there for some time amazed and wanting to ask so many more questions. As I got up, I felt a renewed spirit. A new energy. Then it came- the words that would change everything. “It’s time to go on a journey”.

I was totally aware of my fragile self but more eager to understand why I kept ending up in these broken places. I had a feeling something was about to be revealed, something hidden deep inside my soul. With an anxious heart, I agreed to go but would made one last request… “please be gentle with this broken heart”. Then I curled up in the lap of Jesus and took a journey into the most painful dark places of my soul.

The journey would soon begin with a girl that I had grown to love over the past few years as we bonded over our shared similar stories of childhood abuse and pain. But something would soon change in her… a new brokenness that seem to shut her down. When I found her, she was in a puddle of shame and grief, one I knew very well. She couldn’t speak the words to tell me what had happened but the spirit in me knew what it was. I began telling her my most painful secret… my abortion. I had only blurted out my story once before and that didn’t go well but the words were coming out as if I had little to do with it. I explained the fear and pain that led me to my abortion decision and how that would then lead me into a life of many more destructive decisions. I did not want that for her. Then she crumbled and said… “me too”. She had recently gone through an abortion and the loss was hurting her something fierce. We would spend the day talking and crying and I would tell her of God’s love and mercy and forgiveness. It didn’t remove the pain from her heart but would begin a process of healing and would help unburden the grief and guilt she carried in the days to come. I drove home stunned at what had just happened. I knew the Spirit had given me every word to say to her because I had never spoke anything like that before. The truth is I had never accepted those words over my own life. But today would crack a light into my own broken story and set me on a path towards healing.


“Healing Began the Day I Told My Story”

So now my secret was out.

That night I called my sister-in-law who was one of my greatest encouragers and always seem to believe in me even when I did not believe in myself. She loved hearing my miracle stories and without hesitation, always encouraged me to dive into each one. I decided to tell her what had happened today… the girl, her abortion, the words that flew out my mouth, and yes, my own abortion story. I waited for the bomb to drop. But her words would not condemn but instead offer love and grace- just as Jesus would do. With excitement she then said, “Now it all makes sense- your life, your choices, your pain- it all makes sense. This may be what God is calling you into”.

This would be a defining day for me, one that opened my mind and my heart towards a desire for truth and healing. The journey would be long and hard but one that I am so grateful for as it has led me here with you.

A few months later, I packed up all my belongings, put it in storage, and set out on a journey to find God and myself. It had become clear to me that I had no clue who I was or who I had become, only that I was good at being what everyone else wanted me to be. I was so eager to know who God said I was. I remember the moment of shutting the door to the storage unit, starting my car and thinking- where am I going? I had no plan. It was a bit scary but honestly, the dreamer in me had never felt more alive and freer. I put the car in drive and started on my way.

My road trip would be one of the best growing times of my life. I’ve always loved being outside in nature and the open road was about as close as I could get to that. I felt the Spirit with me every step of the way as we talked, cried, laughed, studied, sang and rested. I was experiencing one on one what His love and grace looked like and what freedom in Him felt like. It would be one of the first times in a long while that I remember feeling safe in Jesus… like He had me. In that safe place, He would begin revealing all the stuffed pain of my past that was pinned up in my broken heart. The pain had manifested itself into a lot of suppressed anger and it became clear that I needed to forgive and let go of many things. This was a real fight for me because forgiveness seemed unfair and letting go felt like releasing control that I desperately needed. But Jesus would lead me into places and study that opened my eyes and my heart to undeserved forgiveness and the freedom it brings. It wasn’t about giving others power over me but about giving the power to the one who sits on the throne and desires your full untethered heart. So, I bundled up all the messy events and people of my past and present, spoke truth and forgiveness over each one, and gave them over to Jesus to deal with. Let me just say... this was the most unburdening thing I had done so far. It set my heart free… free to love… free to live. It was a miracle.

After months on the road, I felt the Lord was saying it was time to land the SUV and get to work. I went to see the movie “Unplanned” and was caught off guard with all the similarities of our abortion experience and the emotional pain suffered before and after. It also made me aware of the shame and guilt I continued to carry each day. I got settled into my new townhouse and began my research and study about abortion trauma and recovery. My eyes were now wide-open as I began to realize I was not alone in this pain. There were so many. One-in-three, actually! My heart was crushed. I read every article, listened to every documentary and testimony that I could find and went through any healing program that I could get my hands on.

I spent months purging the pain and sin to God and letting myself go to those areas of grief that I had not been able to go to before. This was a hard season. I now had a new awareness of the two lives I had ended so many years ago and felt a tremendous loss inside my heart. I was grieving and unable to move past it. The crime felt too big. I knew God loved me and forgave me, but I could not buy into the idea that He would reward me into heaven. I just wasn’t sure what He would do with me. This kept me stuck and unable to forgive myself and move forward.

I believe that God does not want us stuck in pain and isolation even though people in the world may judge and feel we deserve it. He wants us free. So He took my story through to completion to set me free.

I got up one morning feeling heavy-hearted in my loss. I jumped in a hot shower hoping it would soothe my soul. My tears would turn into sobs as I thought about my lost babies and begged them to forgive what I had done. I began to hear children laughing and playing. I thought the noise was coming from outside but then that familiar light showed up in my bathroom and began revealing Jesus standing there with two children next to him-- all of them looking directly at me. It took me a minute to fully understand and believe what I was seeing. There was a boy on one side of him and a girl on the other. Their faces were bright and happy and smiling directly into my heart. I knew then that these were my children. Then Jesus looked at me and said, “You will all be together again in Heaven someday - know that we love you and forgive you”. I felt my heart open up and soak in all their love and forgiveness as well as the idea that I would be with them again. I asked what their names were, and he said, “This is Josiah, and this is Deborah”. I thought, ok! Cool... strong Biblical names. I sat there watching with a full heart and then they were gone. Oh, how I wanted to stay in that moment! I jokingly shouted out, “did that just happen?” The Spirit said, “yes— you will know by their names because you would have never chosen Josiah and Deborah”. I laughed as I said, “those were my thoughts exactly”.

After getting ready I went downstairs to my living room floor and with my arms stretched out wide, I thanked God for introducing me to my children, for naming them and allowing me to see the love and forgiveness they had for me. And I thanked Him for stretching out His arms on that horrid cross and taking on my crime as well as the guilt of my crime. I thanked him for loving me so much that He would step into all this pain so many years later and want to set me free. The moment I said those words, the heavy chains that had me bound for so many years released and fell to the ground. I physically felt them fall off. I had never felt so light and happy. I was finally free.

I spent the rest of the day talking to Josiah and Deborah, studying their names in the bible and promising them that their death would not be meaningless but serve a greater purpose.

God would bring a note to my mind that I had written many years ago. When I heard the words, I instantly remembered writing it down. I searched everywhere looking for the note-- in every book and journal then found it stuck in one of the pages. Here it is…

This note was God's reminder that my miracle journey began many years ago when I asked Him to show me the things that break his heart not knowing that He would use my own broken heart to show me just that. Yes, He hurt over my abortion decision but the pain, suffering, shame and guilt I experienced for so many years is what broke His heart. Those 1-in-3 wounded hearts break His heart every day and He is calling us into healing and redemption—for such a time as this.

If you have an abortion wounded heart, I want to encourage you to reach out to me or someone for healing. You are safe here and I promise it will be the most amazing journey of your life. It is available for everyone. Join us as we turn our pain into purpose.

With all of my heart…

Always speak love,

Terri

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