I didn’t always love Him. To love Him meant to follow Him, and truth be told, I followed every shallow desire but Him. He wrote His name on my heart when I was seven, but I understood love to be captured on a stage. If I performed, I was loved; rewarded. Good grades, making the cheerleading squad, honors in band, having the right friends, and following all the rules equated with acceptance. It was early in my teens when I grew tired of the performance. At 14 I drank something from a mason jar that burned my throat, and though I hated the taste, I loved the euphoria. The fire flowing down extinguished the performance, if just for a night.
At 17 and pregnant someone came to call. He was of short stature, rounded in the middle with waves of white on top. He walked slow and crooked up our washed out gravel drive, unhurried. He held in his hand something he said was just for me. A brochure with a cross inviting me to come, and rest from my weary running. “He loves you, you know?” And then he was gone. I didn’t even know I ran from the God who hounded, wildly…furiously. I gave off an aroma of pride mingled with shame and the scent of a God who gave up. I ran to places I never thought Jesus would go,
like the abortion clinic.
So there I sat, in a room filled with women decorated with brilliant threads of ethnicity. Sisters banded together by an Image, surrounded by husbands, boyfriends, mothers and friends all in support of a woman’s choice. Some holding shaking hands as whispers soothed the common ground of fear barred behind steel hearts. Some stared at the floor, while others leafed through magazines too ashamed to look up and meet another sister’s eyes.
Maybe if someone would have told us we were all sisters we could have looked deep enough into one another’s broken souls, joined hands, and with borrowed bravery opted out of all this…together.
At age 20 and on my third pregnancy, I had been listening to the same voices the rest of these women had been listening to, voices promising freedom for an all clear future. Clear of responsibility, clear of unwanted multiple children, clear of single-parenting. These voices helped to drown out the whisper hush of bones forming, hearts whooshing, brains weaving. Their language bore no sound, but if we were still long enough we could hear them, expand with them. The voices all around sold us freedom. A small price if we remained deaf to the ones void of speech.
And there I sat in a room filled with women shutting out the life forming quiet. All seeking the same answers to the one question we had anguished over for hours, days, weeks, “Should I have an abortion?” Somehow on this day we found ourselves in the middle of all that was wrong dressed up in right. It was then someone said my name, and there it hung…somewhere in between two rooms. I ached to stay in the room where I was drowning in sick and shame, the air thick with the stench of leaking blood and spilling hearts. I knew what would happen in the room beyond this circle of chairs,
a room where the knitting of lives were unraveled, falling into Hands of holy. I was desperate for a way out.
Once inside, I was told to undress, put on a gown and get comfortable on the table. As I laid there with knees raised, awaiting the routine ultrasound before the procedure, I turned my head to the side and scanned the line of sterile instruments, each in its place, orderly. Forceps small enough to enter through the small round of a cervix, yet powerful enough to crush a tiny skull lay next to a vacuum. The smell of disinfectant masked the invisible trail of intermingled blood of babies and mamas on the cold steel underneath of me.
Remember, it’s just a blob of tissue.
“Six weeks,” he said, and then he was gone. Time stood still as I began to drown in waves of emotion, His breakers washing over me. I was desperate for a life line, our life line. Was there any way out?
Halfway up the middle of a whispered prayer, the nurse returned and brought with her words of freedom. “We cannot let you have this procedure. In reviewing your information, we see you have a short history of taking anti-depressants, and it’s against our policy to grant an abortion to anyone who has been treated for depression without consent from the doctor who prescribed the medication.” It was like one giant love-wave swept in and ushered me out in a violent rush of grace. The One who releases captives and takes them captive for His glory had unshackled me; my bonds burst. I had walked in bound, oblivious to policy, hoping to gain freedom in exchange for a life. But it wasn’t the exchange of my baby’s life that bought my freedom that day, it was the exchange of Christ’s life for mine.
Jesus stooped low and drew a line in the sand for me that day. He roared and called me home. He has been rescuing me ever since. I’m not sure why I was spared from an abortion that day. In my mind I had already committed the act. So I stand with sisters who grieve what was and proclaim to them that no sin is too dirty, no heart too broken, no spirit too crushed, no human will a match for Love on a cross. Take my hand, and take His life.