By Lisa Gould
“Listen to advice and accept instruction that you may gain wisdom for the future.” ~ Proverbs 19:20
I spend a lot of time talking with ladies age eighteen to eighty while sipping coffee, tea, or the occasional Coke Zero. They come to me because they are hurting, need advice or are in a trial of some kind. They believe I can provide Biblical insight and wisdom for their situation. Many life-changing conversations have happened at one of the local cafes or at someone’s kitchen table. I’m about to let the cat out of the bag! Up until now it’s been a secret between me and the Holy Spirit, but I really have no idea what I’m doing. I just show up with coffee in hand, weave some portion of my testimony into our conversation like overcoming the shame of abortion, breaking free from abuse, walking in spiritual authority and identity through the power of Christ’s Fierce Forgiveness and VOILA the Holy Spirit takes it from there.
Speaking the truth of God’s Word, I’ve seen strongholds broken, chains loosed, wisdom gained, and freedom and victory in Christ attained. Many of the ladies God connects me with have had abortions and have held on to shame in secret, sometimes for decades. Through sharing our stories with one another in a safe environment, they begin to see with spiritual clarity the lies they have believed and the prison they have been in. Nine times out of ten, the root of their spiritual imprisonment is unforgiveness towards themselves, someone else, or even God. They need to be forgiven and fiercely forgive!
Lately I’ve been thinking about what I would say to my eighteen-year-old self if I could sit down and grab a coffee with her like I do with these women.
For the average eighteen-year-old, graduating from high school is a year of exciting changes. The world is their oyster, full of options and opportunities that can set the course for the rest of their lives. I was no exception to feeling that excitement. I had a full scholarship to college and had planned to become a kindergarten teacher. I was excited about the future because I was finally going to be free from the abusive and alcoholic home I had grown up in. I had planned to move on campus away from it all. However, that excitement all came to a screeching halt when during my senior year I found out I was pregnant.
I was told many times as a teenager by my mother that if I ever came home pregnant, I would be disowned by both my parents. It was my role in the family to keep everyone happy, and I never wanted to disappoint anyone…especially my parents. My experience was that love and acceptance were always based on how well I performed or behaved. I had no identity or self-esteem and relied on everyone else’s approval to feel accepted and loved. My experience was that if I disappointed one or both of my parents, rejection was the consequence. The father of the baby (who later went on to become my abusive husband of eleven years) said that if I had “it,” that he wouldn’t have any more to do with me. I had no friends; no one I could confide in, no one to turn to. I was so confused and didn’t know what to do. I felt I had no alternative but to have an abortion.
I spent years living with secret shame, never telling a soul.
The only person who knew about the abortion was the father of the baby, and we never spoke of it from the day I had the abortion. I was not brought up in a Christian home and was taught that until a baby is born “it’s just a blob of tissue”. But I knew as soon as I had the abortion that I took the life of a baby. I just knew. I wish I had someone who would have told me there were other options. If only someone was there to confirm what I innately knew in my heart–that I was carrying a little human inside me, not a blob of tissue.
Here’s what I would I say to my eighteen-year-old self or any woman who is contemplating an abortion today: Lisa, I know this pregnancy was not in your plans and the timing is all wrong. You feel alone, scared, and that there is no one to support or help you. You think everyone will abandon you, reject you and shame you because you are pregnant. It appears that every aspect of your life will be ruined if anyone finds out that you are pregnant. You feel so much pressure to have an abortion to keep the peace and make everyone else happy. You’ve been lead to believe that this baby is just a “blob of tissue”’ and not really a baby. Society tells you that it is your right to choose what happens to your body, and you feel societal pressure to just “take care of the problem” by having an abortion. However, those feelings and voices that are screaming in your ear are lying to you! This is a baby and this baby doesn’t have a choice as to whether or not you decide to give or take his or her life. Deep down on the inside of your soul you know the truth, but fear, confusion and panic have clouded your understanding. Lisa, I know you don’t know anything about the Bible, but God speaks timeless truth to us through it. He loves you. He will not reject you, or abandon you in this time of crisis. He wants to help you and this baby. He says in Jeremiah 1:5 “ Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” This scripture is telling you that He knew you before you were even born. He knew this day would come and that you would have to decide what to do about an unplanned pregnancy. He also knows the little one you are carrying in your belly. He has a plan for this child; a life and destiny for this child to live out. I know you are scared but this pregnancy will only be for nine months of your life. A lot can and will change in nine months. People that you think will reject you may accept and support you. But even if they don’t, and you decide you cannot raise this child, there are many couples who are praying for someone like you to give them a baby like yours to love and raise as their own. Adoption could be God’s destiny for this child. God works all things together for the good! What seems to be your worst nightmare can be someone else’s dream come true. There are many crisis pregnancy agencies that will help you with your prenatal care and connect you with adoption agencies if that is the best decision for you and this little one’s life. Having this baby will be the most selfless and courageous thing you will ever do, and God will be there with you every step of the way!
Unfortunately, I was not there to speak truth to my eighteen-year-old self, and no one else spoke this truth to me either.
Shortly after my high school graduation, I made a decision based on the lies I believed and had an abortion. I carried the tormenting shame for years sabotaging myself at every turn because I felt I needed to be punished for taking my child’s life. In my mid-twenties I asked God to forgive me for the sin of abortion and became a Christ follower. He washed all that shame away by His Fierce Forgiveness. I was able to forgive myself as well. He has redeemed me, set me free and given me beauty for the ashes of my life. There is no sin too great, and no one too far gone for Christ to forgive. Jesus paid the price for all sin, every bit of it when He shed His blood and died on the cross.
If you are a woman who has had an abortion, God wants to take all that shame from you and replace it with His love and acceptance.
Ask Him to forgive you and to restore you. He will do it. I named the son I lost to abortion Isaac, which means laughter. There will be laughter in heaven on that great and glorious day when I see him face to face and can give him all the hugs and kisses I have so longed to give him. If you aborted a child, I encourage you to give that child a name. It’s important to the child and to your healing process. Rest assured, if you are a follower of Christ you will be reunited with your child in heaven one day. I’m thankful to God for His tender mercies and love and everlasting love!
If you are in a crisis pregnancy and don’t know where to turn, contemplating abortion or have had an abortion, you can contact Care-Net.org , Prolifeacrossamerica.org, or Prolifeamerica.org. They will be able to connect you with local agencies to help you with prenatal care, adoption resources (if that is the route that is best for you and the baby) or with post-abortion counseling.
Lately there have been a lot of outrageous things happening in the political arena when it comes to the loosening of abortion laws. Let’s just call it what it is–infanticide. We must take a stand against what is happening in our country. It all begins with speaking the truth about the lies and deception and declare what abortion truly is–the murder of innocent babies! Check out sba-list.org for 10 Steps to Get Involved with the Pro-Life Movement.
Read Lisa’s blog “Fierce Forgiveness” here. She has recently published a book by that title which you can order here. Shipping and handling is included. Forgiveness sets us free so that the experiences that hurt us no longer hold us hostage and in bondage. Jesus came to set us free! That is good news! Lisa is a ministry partner of Women of the Word .
Lisa Gould describers herself as an ordinary lady who encountered THE extraordinary God! Growing up in an abusive home Lisa had an abortion at 18. She married an abusive man at 19 and then got radically saved at the age of 25. She
began to realize her identity in Christ and that He did not intend for her to live in abuse. Lisa and her children have been set free from it all! She worked her way off welfare to become a daycare provider and then a kindergarten teacher in a Christian school for 10 years. She has served churches building volunteer teams and overseeing close to 300 people in those ministries. She ministers to many women one on one to speak identity in Christ to them through encouragement, prayer and guidance by the power of the Holy Spirit…. which is her ultimate passion! She now lives in the Albany NY area with her husband David. They serve together in providing spiritual guidance to couples through a program called SYMBIS( saving your marriage before it starts). They have 5 grown children between them who live from Maine to British Columbia Canada and places in between. Lisa will never forget the Fierce Forgiveness she has experienced through Christ’s redemption and love!