The videos released about Planned Parenthood on social media are disturbing for reasons we are all aware of.
Ryan and I have been praying (a lot) about how to respond to you; the readers, our FM community…on a marriage blog.
We’ve questioned if should respond on social media or would we be adding to the noise? However, as Christians, Ryan and I can’t be silent, because in the midst of death, the radical nature of our God is to bring healing, redemption, forgiveness and life. Staying silent in this conversation about abortion is not an option.
The idea that it is a small/quick medical procedure that won’t have any lasting affects is a lie from the enemy. Abortion has deep, complex and lasting affects. Ones so heavy that they could crush a marriage; unless Jesus comes in to do what He does best: extend deep grace, reveal his unconditional love, and redeem our lives – our souls back to Him.
One of the ways we felt God’s love and voice could be better communicated is through personal stories directly from people who have experienced the deep pain of abortion, and the affect it’s had on their life/marriage.
This is the first of a few, and we are incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to share one beautiful story of pain and redemption; with the hope that you also will prayerfully consider how to respond to the PP videos. Without further adieu, we would like to introduce you to a very special young woman: Ciara.
Almost 11 years ago, I had an abortion.
I don’t know what day it was on, I don’t know if it was in June or July, but I do remember that it’s something that I have always tried to forget.
I was 16 years old and had just made the team for my second year as a varsity cheerleader. A young, reckless, wild child who fell under the weight of peer pressure and because of my choices, I ended up pregnant. I was a sophomore in high school – too young and too confused to accept “16 and pregnant” as my reality.
My parents are compassionate, loving people who are very involved in our church, but at the time, I felt that me being pregnant would be too much for them to bear. I did not want to hurt, disappoint and embarrass them, so I chose to take all of that on my own and have an abortion. I was terrified but felt like there was no other way.
So, I went to a local Planned Parenthood.
There they gave me instructions on how to go through the entire process without ever having to tell my mom and dad. I was relieved that they would not have to be involved, but I also knew deep in my heart that what I was doing wasn’t right. It went against everything that I knew and everything I’d been taught.
I remember thinking how absolutely crazy it was that I was able to actually have an abortion without my parents knowing anything, but I couldn’t even go to an R-rated movie, or go in a tanning bed without their permission. I would have never been able to get a tooth pulled without them or get on a bus to go on a field trip without them knowing, but I could have a medical procedure done, under the radar, with help from my state, so that we were the only ones who knew. It was such a confusing message. It made no sense.
Fighting and Hiding
I felt defeated, I felt ashamed and I was alone. At a time in my life that I needed my mom and dad the most, a wedge was created between us that would later take years to restore.
Emotionally, I was unable to process, cope, or handle the trauma of having an abortion and unconsciously, I buried that day, deep in my mind, attempting to never think about or feel it again. I didn’t speak about it, I didn’t cry about it, and if it ever did come into my mind, I pushed it out as fast as I possibly could.
But, the pain grew, and because I didn’t know how to handle it, I masked it with anything that I could. Creating new unhealthy habits and dependencies.
By the age of 22, I was heavily addicted to opiates, physically and emotionally – tired of fighting and hiding.
My end, His beginning.
I was at the end of my rope and knew I needed help. On a night that I could have lost my life, I finally broke down and begged God to save me. And less then a few weeks later:
“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support.” (Psalm 18: 16-18)
God literally picked me out of my mess (faster than I was expecting, but right on time) and with the help of my parents, I went to a recovery program in LA called the Dream Center. There, I was able to get the healing and care that I desperately needed and was able to restore my relationship with Jesus.
This passage in Hosea describes that season of my life so well. It says:
“But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt.” (Hosea 2:14-15 NLT)
It was an irreplaceable 14-month journey. The place where Jesus met me. Where He took me so that He could speak to me and where I would finally hear Him. In every sunset, every breeze, every tear, everywhere I turned and everywhere I looked, there He was.
And because I found Him, the source of healing and life that I had always been looking, I was able to find myself and become a woman with purpose, hope, and dreams.
Marriage: Grace and Redemption
Today I am five ½ years sober, I am more than happily married to my best friend and love of my life, Joshua. AND WE are first-time parents to a perfectly healthy 13-month-old baby boy named Ransom (Mark 10:45). A privilege denied to many.
The night Joshua and I met, was the night that I was giving my testimony at Celebrate Recovery. He heard my entire, brutally honest and painful story and fell for me anyways. Our story is a story of grace and redemption. Our past was broken and messy and because of that we have worked hard to get where we are. It wasn’t easy… recovery never is, but it’s necessary to live a healthy, beautiful life.
I believe that the abortion was a significant force behind my addiction, and it is only by the grace of God that I am able to share about the freedom that I have received. But, my hope and prayer is that we can help spare young girls in the future, as well as women who may have experienced abortion; from being led down the same self-destructive path that I was. Too many already have, and too many haven’t found their way out.
What can the FM community do?
If you or your spouse is emotionally suffering because of abortion, we urge you to do the necessary steps that it takes to find true healing. Maybe you’re like me and didn’t realize that the abortion(s) you’ve had have affected you at all, and if that’s so, please know that you are not alone and that complete restoration is available.
Pursue the Lord and His truth, receive forgiveness, and even seek professional help. Whether you choose counseling or something like a Celebrate Recovery program, it will honestly be worth your hearts investment.
As for all of us, let us pray for continued awareness and responsiveness. That we would be a force for good and that God would equip us with the right words to say, the right prayers to pray, and the right next steps to take.
Praying for change!
Ciara & Josh
(Header Image by Erinn Hargis Photography)
Have you heard of the The 31-Day Pursuit Challenge?
Every marriage begins with passion, purpose, and pursuit, but few stay that way. That’s why we wrote Husband in Pursuit and Wife in Pursuit Together, they make what we’re calling the 31-Day Pursuit Challenge. Couples are encouraged take the challenge together. We’re already starting to hear stories of transformed marriages! Are you up for the challenge?