Saturday, October 24, 2015

I'm still here

It's been over a year since I stood before a group of women and told my story of abortion, and the story continues.

I remember being nervous, but not overwhelmed. As I stood there at the podium, I would peak up from my notes to see tissues in hands, wiping wet eyes. God gave me strength I didn't know I could have. I still mixed up my words, I stumbled over my notes, I shed a few tears of my own, but I got through it. In the end I was overwhelmed by the women who came forward to the cross. I finished up with the offer to come to the cross with their own burdens that held them from a true relationship with God. I was greeted with tears and hugs, words of appreciation and encouragement.

As we cleared away the table decorations and stacked up the tables and chairs, I had the opportunity to collect a stack of notecards that had been tacked to the cross by the ladies who had come forward. I found an array of pain and struggle that came as a bit of a surprise to me considering I knew a large number of the attendees. Many of the cards where the struggles we all struggle with, jealousy, bitterness, anger, resentfulness toward a spouse, but there were a few that really touched my heart. One said she took the life of her child (abortion) and one said she had an affair with a married man. Even as Christians, we deal with the big things in life, we struggle with the same things non-christians do. It's been over a year and I still have those cards.

Life happens around us and sometimes to us. We are faced with choices of how to deal with the issues and with whom we can rely on for support during those times. As a Christian, a believer, I found I have a rock solid support, that will see me though the worst of times. Being I grew up with the knowledge of God and his son Jesus, it was easier to accept that I could have a relationship that would support me no matter what. It's been as an adult that I chose to truly believe and rely on that belief. But I've come across so many who were either raised in the church and said that's not for me, people who were hurt by people in the church, or look at it as a random story that has no relevance in their lives. When I think about what this must look like from the outside, looking in, and yes it comes off as a bit strange. I have a great pain in my heart for them, and struggle with how to make it real to them. All I can say it that I've seen God's grace, forgiveness and love in my life over and over again. You ask how, well it's hard to explain some times, but a load of groceries that show up when you have a real need, unexpected money that covers a bill that has come due. A job at just the right time, or funny enough, to be laid off just when a friend or family member needed special care during a health crisis, and I was free to be there and fill that need. You begin to realize that things happen in your life that are way beyond your control, and its okay. God's got my back. He is there, encouraging me, prodding me along to do things that stretch me beyond what I might be willing to do myself. When in comes to my abortion, it was me who held on to the shame and guilt far too long, God was there, willing to forgive me all along, but I had to make the choice to accept his forgiveness.

Since I've made the choice to accept that forgiveness, and accepted his challenges to do something  with this experience, I have found several interesting things have occurred. I have realized that I have a voice, both written and verbal. This blog has become proof of that alone. Last year when I spoke to that group of ladies, I had around 7500 views to this blog, but now a year later, I'm getting close to rolling over 10,000 views. I haven't spent much time here, I had felt like I have run out of things to say. But God has used this little blog about my story to share with you and others all over the world. I thank God for bringing good out of something that was horrible.

I've also begun to find my verbal voice, after speaking last year, I found myself with the opportunity to speak again this year at the same conference. I shared the microphone with a small group of friends, as we each talked about our struggles as Christian women. How we fight with all the distractions life has to offer, exhaustion, family demands, TV, computers, cell phones, etc; with finding time to spend studying and praying to God.

Life is what we make of it, and how we get through the tough spots will reflect on the rest of our lives. Will we be bitter or resentful, or will we find grace and forgiveness.  I pray that you will find peace in the difficult things in your life, and if you don't know God, that you at least give it the time too check it out for yourself.

God has given me a new task, he gave me a voice. I may not be here often, but I'm still here, and I'm still praying for you.

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