God Turned My Mess into a Message
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word mess as "disorderly, offensive, or unpleasant because of blundering, negligence, or misconduct." If you could put a face with this definition, it would have been mine.
My Tragic Choice
Outwardly, no one would have assumed I was a mess. I was active in our church, but I had a dead heart to the things of God. I was desperately longing for love and acceptance apart from a relationship with God, and I was looking for love in all the wrong places. I never could have imagined where this trek would take me.
Just recently, I had a conversation with my twelve-year-old son. I needed to share with him, as I have with my other children, about the journey the Lord has had me on. As I shared with him, there was tenderness, compassion, and forgiveness. Through my story, my son saw Jesus as our Redeemer in a greater light than he ever has before.
You see, I became pregnant at the age of eighteen and had an abortion. At the time, my hard heart just buried the regret. That plan worked for a season, and I became a confident woman working in the corporate world. I had a great job in a beautiful city, far away from my troubled adolescence.
God's Grace Invades
At the same time, God's grace began to invade my barren soul, and I began to embrace Him with responsive love. I committed to serving Him with my life. I married a godly man, having our first child just a few years later. My world felt complete. But then the unexpected happened.
On the day of my first ultrasound, I watched my baby moving inside me. Exquisite. Delicate.
Vulnerable. Suddenly, my past came flooding over me. I was trembling, yet somehow made it out of the hospital before I broke down in a wave of bitter weeping. In that moment, it was as if God spoke to my heart and said, "My daughter, I am trusting you with this little life, and I love you." Under a beautiful Florida sky, I was learning the true definition of God's love. A love that led Christ to leave heaven and endure the cross. A love that enabled Him to bear all of God's wrath against sin so that He could freely give love and forgiveness to all. A love that was for me—this self-centered girl who had chosen to abort her child.
Walking in the Light
About a year after our daughter's birth, I had to tell my husband the secret from my past. Oneness in our marriage meant no more hiding. We spent two days talking through the mess, and for the first time, felt a new level of openness praying together. My husband communicated to me that he believed God wanted to use my story to impact others.
I thought, No way! This is as far as it goes!
I began to discover several powerful principles about healing from the things that bind us.
First, the power of sin is in the secret. When I hid behind what I had done, my heart developed wounds of paralyzing fear, shame, and self-loathing. But Jesus wanted to set me free! Colossians 1:13 says, "God has rescued us from a domain of darkness." I fully understand what that darkness looks like, and I'm so thankful God has removed me from that place.
Second, we need others in order to heal. The apostle James tells us, "Confess your sins to each other, and pray for one another so that you may be healed" (James 5:16). We not only need the forgiveness that comes from confessing our sins to God (1 John 1:9), but also the prayers, encouragement, and accountability of others.
Finally, God uses us most out of our areas of weakness. The apostle Paul was once in such distress that he "despaired of life itself" (2 Cor. 1:8). In the same letter, he gives us the purpose for adversity: God "comforts us in all our troubles" so that we can comfort others going through similar trouble (1:4). That can't happen unless we're willing to share our messy stories, though. There is an unexplained freedom and joy that comes when the worst facts about you are known and you have nothing left to hide. You can finally help others.
An Unexpected Ministry
Today, God has given me an unexpected ministry out of the brokenness of my abortion. After sharing with my husband, I began serving at our local pregnancy care center. I spoke at their banquet, giving public praise to the Lord for His enduring love and forgiveness.
I have the opportunity to share all over the country as my husband and I travel and share the biblical truths of honesty, humility, and forgiveness. These truths truly set us free to walk in obedience, having an eternal impact for Christ in our sphere of influence. My secret of having and hiding an abortion is one many of us share. Countless women have come up to me and said, "You just shared my story, and I've never told anyone." As I've seen others become real and vulnerable, the joy of freedom begins to radiate on their countenance. They dive into the deep end of trust with God and learn to love and worship Him in a new and fresh way.
It's been an amazing journey of God's grace. I now have six children! I blew it so badly, but God refuses mercy to no one—not even me. My life is not about me anymore. It's all about Jesus, and it's really beautiful! God, as only He could, turned my mess into a message of His redemption.
Written by Maryann Loveing