Alive Again Ministries
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Helping broken people who truly want to change their lives

Deanna's Story

 

     In 1988 when Tim and I entered the abortion clinic, we had no understanding of the destruction that we were about to set into motion. We didn’t think of this as ending the life of our child, we were only thinking of saving our own lives. For the sake of our reputations and our convenience, we believed that abortion was the only option. We gave no thought to how it would affect us individually or as a couple.

     We’d only known each other for a year, and while we’d been good friends during that year, we’d only been dating each other for a few months. We didn’t think about the future of our relationship because we didn’t think there would be a future. I was 21 years old that spring and Tim was 23. Neither of us had finished college, and both of us were working a dead end job at a local restaurant. In our eyes, at that time, it looked even more hopeless to think of adding a rushed marriage and a child to the picture.

     I had always been involved in church, even more so since high school. At this point in my life, even though I wasn’t actively involved in church, I was still very much connected through relationships that I still maintained. I’d seen the looks and heard the comments from so many people about those girls who got pregnant before they were married. At times, I’d stood there and given those looks and made those same comments myself. There was a difference now. I was one of “those girls” who would be looked down upon, judged and criticized and forever defined by my pregnancy. I didn’t want to be one of those girls, and I felt the only way out was to have an abortion.

     After the abortion, the emotional consequences and their effects began almost immediately. I felt empty, and I knew that we’d done was an unspeakable thing. I responded the way I always did when it came to those unspeakable things – I pushed aside my emotions and pain and refused them. I not only refused to feel my pain, emptiness and sorrow, I refused to even acknowledge that those feelings existed within me. Within my mind, the pregnancy, the child and the abortion became a chapter of my life that had never been written.

     However, I was left with physical complications from the abortion that were not resolved for several months afterwards. I was ignorant and naïve and I had no idea how serious these complications really were. The clinic workers were unconcerned with anything I experienced once I walked out the back door. It was the Lord who spared not only my life but the lives of the children I would later give birth to. It was many years before I realized that even in the midst of this deep sin He cared for me.

     Tim and I were married the following spring and still never spoke of the day we ended the life of our first child. When I became pregnant again four years later we were overjoyed – on the outside. Inwardly I was terrified. I was afraid that this is where my punishment would begin. I was convinced that God would finally deal with me for that abortion and He would do it through this child. While I enjoyed my pregnancy and eagerly anticipated this child’s birth I was fearful of getting too attached because I believed God would probably take this child from me. It was during this pregnancy that the nightmares began. The nightmares remained with me for the next twelve years increasing in frequency until I could not even take a nap without seeing these terrible images. Eventually I learned that I could sleep approximately four hours before the nightmares would begin. I lived this way for several years on a very strict self prescribed sleep diet. I could function and get by on four hours sleep for about two weeks before I’d begin to have migraine headaches. So I allowed myself one full nights sleep every week or two.

     During those years my first daughter was born. When she was a year old I was pregnant again but lost this child during the fourth month of my pregnancy. I first glimpsed God’s mercy in that loss. I realized then that God had not taken that baby to pay me back but that He had allowed that loss after the birth of our first daughter, such a beautiful, sweet perfect little girl, for me to see what I’d done. He was drawing me, calling me to repentance for sacrificing the life of my first child. I finally heard Him and for the first time allowed myself to feel some of the sorrow and grief for what I’d done and for the life of the child that I’d ended. Tim and I talked about that baby for the first time but only briefly. I asked for forgiveness and I believe God did forgive me. Then I shut that door and tried to move on.

     But sin wounds the soul. The deeper the sin, the deeper the wound. This abortion was no flesh wound. What I was trying to do was the equivalent of putting a band-aid over the place where a limb had been ripped from my body. Just closing the door on that part of my heart wasn’t enough to stop the pain or heal the wound. It began to pour out in so many other areas of my life and in so many other forms – anger, obsession with proving myself to be The World’s Most Amazing Mother, obsessively over protective of my children, increasingly fearful in so many ways and of so many things – some rational yet some not so rational.

     During the next few years Tim and I went on to have two other children yet our marriage was crumbling around us. We were both very committed to this marriage and doing whatever was necessary to make it work but rather than dealing with the root issue of our pain and anger we turned on each other. Those were years filled with much anger and being consumed in our own private pain we lashed out to hurt each other. Eventually our relationship had deteriorated to the point that we were more like roommates than husband and wife – very bad roommates.

     Year after year Tim became increasingly more depressed. It would still be several years before I would recognize the cycle but during that time his depression became very predictable. It would begin in late spring/early summer and continue until the end of the year. By that time I was so frustrated and angry with him for being depressed that I wasn’t speaking to him beyond just maintenance conversations about bills or the kids. Sometime after the beginning of the year we’d try to talk and figure out how we could continue in this way but it never lasted long because spring was always just around the corner. We continued like this for several years. The only thing that kept me in that marriage during those years was the Lord. My marriage to Tim was one of the first things in my life that I knew with such a strong certainty, I KNEW that we were supposed to be together. That strong knowing came only from the Lord and that is what He used to keep me from giving up and walking away.

     God began to stir my heart, to draw me to a deeper more real relationship with Him. One night during one of my middle of the night conversations with a close friend I told her about the abortion. She didn’t react like I’d always thought someone would – she was not judgemental or condemning. This eventually led me to believe that if I was ready to talk about the abortion then maybe God could use me to help other young women who were considering abortion, to tell them my story to keep them from what I’d experienced. Although to my knowledge at that time all I had experienced was overwhelming guilt, emotional pain, and sorrow. I still didn’t realize how all of the anger, the nightmares, the issues within my marriage, Tim’s depression, all connected with that abortion. This desire to help other women led me to a crisis pregnancy center where I was told I’d need to participate in a post abortion Bible study before I could counsel with those women.

     This began the real journey for me to healing. I didn’t even realize I needed to heal until God began to show me, even before this Bible study began, how deeply wounded I was. He showed me how empty my life really had been despite all of my attempts to show it as otherwise. He showed me that I didn’t only end the life of my child that day in the abortion clinic but I’d also brought that same death into my own life and that piece by piece, a little at a time I had brought death upon myself. What I’d been doing since that day was not living but merely waking up and breathing. But the Lord had so much more planned for me than this emptiness I’d been calling life. He intended for me to really live without the fears, the anger, the condemnation, and the shame. He intended for me to really live in Him, with Him, with joy and peace and hope. In healing my wounded heart He’s given me all of that and so much more. He’s restored my marriage, deepened my love for Tim and drawn me into a deeper relationship with Him.

     The once unspeakable and unforgivable choice that I made has now been spoken of to the Father and forgiven by the Father. The God that I believed to be eagerly anticipating the pain and punishment that I deserved showed Himself to be a God of tenderness and mercy and love and forgiveness. It is because of His great mercy and healing that I tell my story. The work of destruction that I set into motion in my own life was deep and all consuming. Yet to the glory of God, His healing is truly the greater work.