My next lessons from God were hard ones and it cost a life for me to learn them.
My son was about two years old and I was not doing a very good job as a single parent. I was impatient, often angry, and I felt overwhelmed a lot of the time. It didn’t help that I was looking for love in the arms of the occasional one night stand and got pregnant again.
At first there was no question in my mind that I would have the baby. I strongly believed abortion was a sin and I had always judged women who had abortions as selfish even before I became a Christian. I didn’t know how I was going to cope with two children when I was doing so badly parenting one but the idea of abortion didn’t enter my head. It was something I was absolutely certain I would never do.
Then I found out the father of the baby was mouthing off all around the small country town we lived in. He was saying the child I carried was not his. He was calling me a liar and saying I was just trying to trap him.
I was furious and mortified. The idea of people calling me a liar was intolerable and his behaviour added to my already distressed state of mind. This made me receptive to the advice of my best friend. She pointed out I was not coping and asked me if I thought it was fair to bring another child into the world to suffer at my hands. (My friends tended to have the same poor opinion of me that I had of myself in those days but that’s another entry!)
I began to think of the issue from the child’s perspective. How would it feel growing up in a world where it’s father denied it and it’s mother was called a liar? How would it feel growing up with no father and a mother like me? I decided no child would choose such a life and the idea of abortion began to make sense to me.
I spoke to my doctor and my other friends. They all agreed I would not cope very well with a second child and they all approved of me considering an abortion. I did not speak to any of the Christian friends I had. I didn’t have many anyway because I had stopped going to church.
I didn’t need to speak to my Mother or my Christian friends. I knew they would oppose the idea but I did speak to God about it. Many times I prayed and asked Him what I should do and he never once answered me. In the end I made a deal with Him – if He did not send me a clear sign that I was not to have the abortion I would assume He was giving me His permission to go ahead with it.
I got no clear sign from God so I assumed I had His permission to have an abortion and I went ahead and did it.
When I awoke after the operation I fell apart. My old belief that abortion was wrong came back in full force and I refused to believe God had permitted the child to be killed. I felt flutters in my womb and I knew the baby was still there but I was terrified the attempt to kill it had damaged it in some way. The nurses attempted to soothe me and reassure me the child was gone, the abortion had been successful, but I knew they were wrong – I could feel my baby moving inside me and I knew God would not have permitted me to become a murderer.
They explained the movement was just wind, told me the child would not be old enough for me to feel its movements even if it were still there, they tried to reason with me but I was beside myself and they ended up sedating me.
My state of mind was such they had to keep me sedated for three days before I was able to accept the abortion had been successful and my baby was gone.
I went home and fell on my knees before God. There was no longer any doubt in my mind that what I had done was wrong but I tried to shift the blame for my actions onto God. I reminded Him I had asked Him to give me a sign. I told him I would never have had the abortion if he had given me the sign. I asked him why he had let me go through with the abortion when he must have known how it would affect me. I asked Him how I could have justified bringing a second child into the world to suffer at my hands as my son was suffering.
God spoke to me for the first time since I had found out I was pregnant. He told me he did not send me a sign for two reasons. The first was that he had already given me written instructions on the matter – “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” The second was because I would not have seen any sign he could have sent. He said I did not want to be told not to have the abortion so I would not have listened if he told me.
I was devastated to hear that God saw me as having deliberately closed my eyes to His will and His commandments and I asked Him if I had committed the unforgivable sin. Was I now headed for hell? And what of my baby? Where was he now?
God was gentle with me. He said “The little one is with me”. He reminded me that He knew I was going to commit this sin and Jesus had already died to pay the price for it. Forgiveness was available. All I had to do was repent, which I had already done, and ask forgiveness.
I asked forgiveness and received it but then it was time to mourn. I told God I still did not know how I would have coped with another child and God said He would have helped me cope. I asked God how I was going to live with the knowledge a life was lost because of me.
God said He can bring good out of anything, even this, if I would let Him.
I asked Him how anything good could possibly come from what I had done and God told me to remember who I was before it happened. He told me to think back to how I thought, felt and reacted to other women saying they had aborted a child.
God said: “You were very judgemental on this issue. You were so positive this was something you would never do that you felt you could afford to be judgemental of others who did do it. How do you feel about others who abort their children now?”
I said I still believe it’s wrong but I understand now that it isn’t as easy as I thought to do what is right.
God said: “There is something you need to realise – there is NO sin you would not commit if the circumstances, the setting, the background dictated it. The only reason you never had an abortion was because you were never placed in a position before where abortion looked to be your only, or the best, option.
You were a Christian. You had strong beliefs that abortion is wrong. You had a clear command from Me that you were not to do it. You had everything you needed to avoid committing this sin and you were not able to stop yourself. Think how much harder it would be for someone who has no faith, no clear directions, no firm beliefs about what is right and what is wrong.
A life has been lost but it will not have been completely in vain if you take this knowledge away from the experience – judge not lest ye also be judged.”
I took the knowledge with me. I make no judgements about what other people do any more. I know for certain it is highly likely that I would be doing exactly what they are doing if I had been born into their skin and had lived their life. Whenever I am tempted to judge the actions of another human being I remember my aborted baby and honor his memory by putting my judgemental impulse in the bin.
I also check the bible whenever I have a question about what I should do because I know now that God tends to ignore my questions if he has put the answer in writing for me.