Latest Event Updates
Arlene’s Story – Some names have been changed to respect confidentiality
“I left home at 21, and a year later, started dating *Jason, even though all of my friends told me it was a mistake. I told myself it was a mistake. He wasn’t nice to anyone. He was rude and calloused and went out of his way to make people feel small. But when he liked you….wow. He could make you feel as if his whole universe revolved around you. So much so that I started believing that I had been wrong about him, and so was everyone else. He was just misunderstood. He was blindingly passionate. It was enough to get you blissfully tangled in his web. But then, he’d pounce-call me names, degrade me, especially in front of other people. He put me on a pedestal just to shove me off of it and he how badly he could wound me-how much I’d allow. I’d break up with him only to get ensnared again.
In November of 1999, at 22 years old, I found out I was pregnant. I had always wanted children, so although I wasn’t married to Jason, I was happy. He didn’t share my joy. All of the happiness I felt turned to brokenness in an instant. We were living with his brother and sister in law. I was working, and he wasn’t. He wasn’t even really looking. He told me we couldn’t afford to have a baby, and that I needed to “get rid of it”. I begged him to let me keep my baby. He said that if I didn’t have an abortion, he would push me down the stairs or punch and kick me in the stomach until I lost the baby. I made an appointment at Planned Parenthood for a termination. Just before I had it done, I talked to a counselor there. She asked me if I was being coerced and I denied that I was. She asked if Jason was supportive, and I waffled on my answer, so she asked if he was abusive. I told her that he could be mean sometimes. She told me she could refer me to organizations that helped women get out of that, and suggested I keep my child. What?? And go against what I was told? Go against him? No. He’d find me if I left and he’d kidnap my child, for sure. Or kill my child and me. No. No. No. I HAD to do this. It was the only way out.
Jason came with me that day. He had just gotten a job, but went in late to come with me. I think he really came to make sure I actually went through with it, but he made it seem like he was being supportive. He refused to hold my hand–to comfort me at all. I went back into the clinic. A lot of the details are fuzzy, but I remember asking to see the ultrasound before the procedure, and they said, “No. We don’t want you to change your mind.”. The nurse told me what they were going to do–very matter of fact, clinical. She told me what it would feel like—that it was no big deal, “it” wasn’t really a baby, that I “caught it early”.
And then it began. I remember the sound of the machine when they turned it on. I remember them telling me to relax. Then, sudden, blinding pain that made me scream out ripped through my body and soul. Tears streamed down my face. The doctor said it was “successful”, and that was that. My baby was dead, and I killed her. I felt like I was made entirely of broken glass, and every move tore me apart.
They wheeled me into a large, white room with other women who had just had abortions. Some were crying silently, others were sobbing. No one looked proud or relieved. I remember the girl next to me had long, red hair like me. They gave us juice and a snack. When I was able to leave, Jason went to work. I went home. Alone. I cried for days. Jason told me to stop so no one would know anything. I took my brokenness, my guilt, and my shame and put it away-like it didn’t exist, but a couple of weeks later, when Jason’s sister in law asked me if I had just had an abortion, the pain came flooding back and I sobbed on her shoulder. She told me that God forgave me, but I was Wiccan at the time, so I didn’t even hear that. Jason was furious that I told her, and forbade me to tell anyone else. I didn’t. Some of my friends knew, but he didn’t know that. I just kept the pain to myself.
We got married February 10th, 2000. My 23rd birthday. He started hitting me shortly after. I was actually surprised. He had built me up so much before we started dating and in the beginning, that I held on in the hopes that that man would return again. He didn’t—until I decided to leave. I told him I was leaving him in May, 2001. I vowed to never return to him. I started divorce procedures for cruel and inhuman treatment. I took out a restraining order through Family Court, and when he violated it, I had him arrested and he spent a couple of nights in jail. But where I was living after I left him wasn’t a healthy environment, so when I saw him in court while he was trying to file a restraining order against me (for nothing, of course), we started talking, and he roped me back into his web again. He promised to get counseling, go to anger management. He did none of those things, but promised me he would until I moved back in—just before September 11th. He told me he loved me so much, that he missed me, and that he was sorry for how he had treated me.
Then, September 30th, 2001, I found out I was pregnant again. I was elated. Jason told me after the first time that he’d never make me go through that again, and I believed him. We were married. We could have a family! We had just been talking about starting a family in about a year. It would just be sooner—awesome!
Jason told me he wasn’t ready yet. He told me I’d be fat and disgusting if he “let me stay pregnant”. He said I’d be huge, and that he couldn’t handle that. He told me to get rid of the baby. Again. All of my hopes and dreams were being crushed again. I told him no. I refused to this time. I was putting my foot…down? He reminded me that he was stronger than me, and that he would follow through this time and kill the baby if I didn’t. He threatened divorce and to plant drugs to have my child taken away. He threatened to smear and slander me in court—to make me look bad in any way he saw fit to ensure that I did not get to keep my baby. I caved. I put all my past brokenness, guilt, shame into my backpack of despair and anger, and went to another clinic. This time, they let me see my baby on the ultrasound, and I wept. I touched the picture. Then I was on a gurney, counting backwards from 10. I remember getting to around 6, then black. When I came to, I was hazy, in terrible pain, shattered—and alone. No one was there for me this time. I was given antibiotics and sent on my way. Once again, I had killed my child. I was a murderer. But I had to keep a brave face. Tell no one. Hide. Keep the secret. Act ok.
I was very, very far from OK. I thought about taking my life almost every day.
A few months later, I finally left Jason. All I ever saw when I looked at him was pain, anger, violence, resentment—and more pain. I hated him. He tried so hard to lure me back in, but I managed to escape. Then I escaped to Montana for the next 12 years.
I came to the Lord March 23rd, 2004. I felt such joy, forgiveness, and love that it overwhelmed me. How could God forgive me? Me? I killed two innocent children, among other things. How could I ever be good enough to deserve His forgiveness and love? But that was the point! I couldn’t ever be good enough, but Jesus made a way for me! I have a beautiful 8 year old son—a precious gift from the Lord. I have a wonderful husband, and terrific friends. I am so blessed. But that deep, dark secret I have that caused those wounds upon my heart—that I worked so hard to suppress and hide, it’s still there—the wounds still open and festering. It’s time to let God get the poison out of these wounds so they can finally heal. I know that I am forgiven, wanted, loved, cherished—a daughter of the King. Because I now not only know, but believe I am dearly loved and forgiven by God, today I can surrender my heart, mind, and soul to Jesus and forgive those who have hurt me. I have forgiven Jason, and most importantly, I have forgiven myself.
I know that God will do something with my pain to bring me healing for His glory. I know that He wants me to share my story, and that I don’t need to be ashamed anymore, because He is bigger than my shame! That is worth surrendering my secret.”
Struggling with a past abortion? Click Here
Want to share your own story? Leave your contact information here.
Read Carrie’s story, the first in a new series, Real Abortion Stories on The Passionate Pen. These brave women are speaking out to shed light on the reality of abortion.
“Speaking with vulnerability for the sake of others. That is courageous love.” – Pastor Lori Bradeen
“I am usually quiet when it comes to political opinions and views but I cant sit back and see another positive post or picture regarding how great Planned Parenthood is and the good they do for women. My personal experience with that organization is a very negative one. You see when I was 21 years old I became pregnant and went to PP seeking advice and counsel. They proceeded to tell me what at the time I wanted to hear to make my decision easier but in reality were all lies. They told me that the baby I was carrying was a ball of tissue, they told me I was young and had my whole life ahead of me, they told me it was an easy procedure with very little complications….they told me I was making the right choice.
I will never forget that day as long as I live because on December 17th 1997 at 9 1/2 weeks pregnant I chose to have an abortion. I will never forget how painful the procedure was, I will never forget the other girls faces in the “after” room, I will never forget the instant relief I felt that later became extreme guilt followed by severe depression, I will never forget my first ultrasound at 7 weeks pregnant with Caylie where I got to see her heartbeat and realized at that moment I was lied to by an organization that says they help women….that baby I aborted and had inside of me for 9 1/2 weeks was alive with a heartbeat.
Planned Parenthood says they help women and in some circumstances maybe that’s true but does the good outweigh the bad? People say if you are against PP than you are against women’s rights….what about a woman’s right to the truth, the whole truth. The truth that a high percentage of women suffer severe depression, PTSD, and mental illness after an abortion, the truth that the procedure is very painful and can cause serious reproductive issues later, the truth that when you look at your future children that are “planned” that there will be void there, an emptiness you cant fill, the truth that at around 4 weeks in the womb that “ball of tissue” actually has a heartbeat…..which to me means alive!
I do not judge anyone for how they feel on this issue but I couldn’t sit back and see another positive thing about an organization that in my opinion based on personal experience is full of lies and deceit. 18 years ago I ended a human beings life and although I know I have been forgiven and healed I will always carry the scars that run so deep. I have 2 babies in heaven…one I aborted and one I miscarried and I have peace in knowing someday I will get to see there beautiful faces and tell them mommy loves you.” – Carrie
Are you struggling with a past abortion? Click Here
Want to share your story? Email your 200-800 word story, along with an optional photo and desired level of anonymity using the Contact page.
I’ve tasted, Lord, who I could be,
A heart that dwells so far from thee,
A potential that terrifies me.
Your letter forgotten on my shelf,
I pour my thoughts into myself.
Then dormant traits that lay inside,
come seeping fourth from where they hide:
Selfishness, envy, lust, and pride.
Unnoticed, with me they abide.
Until one day I finally see
This flesh that’s taken over me.
The mirror reveals a sobering view
of my ever dire need for you.
I brush the dust off of your book,
lay bare my heart for you to look.
Renew me by your word and love,
and hide me in your wings above,
For truly in this glimpse I’ve seen
without you, Lord, what I could be.
1 A wife of average character, who can find? She is worth all the spray-on tan
and highlights she buys.
2She takes off the tags of her new clothes before her husband sees them, and brings him to-do lists.
3She stays up on facebook until it is light
and sets the coffee pot for herself.
4She considers a TLC show and watches it.
She sets about her work slowly, with many social networking breaks.
5Her bed is covered with stacks of folded clothes that will be re-folded twice before seeing a drawer.
Her children rise before her and fend for their own breakfast,
her husband also.
6Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting. That’s why she buys Clinique.
7Many women do average things, but you surpass them all.
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I’m found,
was blind but now I see.”
That used to be the song I sung.
I thought that I had overcome,
But now I face the chains again
Of sin’s captivity.
I caught His grace when I was lost,
And walked the life it gave,
For sinners are in need of such,
But what about the saved?
The scars from wounds whose pasts He’s healed
Are trophies of his grace.
But when His own fall down and bleed,
To Him is it disgrace?
Since I am one to Him belongs,
My thoughts and fears are with my wrongs.
If I plead His blood again
Do I abuse such grace?
For sinner’s sin is understood,
But what about the saved?
I’ve chosen wrong a thousand times
Since Jesus came to me,
And tearfully come running back
Where His love greets me faithfully.
There are no words to thank or praise
This love too good to be true,
That every day when I fall short,
I’ll find your mercies, Lord, anew.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28
GOD’S PERFECT TIMING
When I got married at 17, I wasn’t planning on starting a family any time soon. My husband and I had what most newly-weds refer to as the “5 year plan”, although ours was more like 8 years. So you can imaging the rush of negative emotions that came over me staring down at that positive pregnancy test after only 4 months of marriage. My husband was working at a take-and-bake pizza store and I worked at our apartment complex for free rent and had just enrolled for a full credit load at Portland Bible College. We were poorer than dirt. Needless to say, this pregnancy could not have been worse timing. We spent our first anniversary in 2004 in the hospital bringing our beautiful son into the world who was followed shortly by his brother in 2005, and their baby sister in 2007. In the midst of it all I knew that one day I would be able to look back and see God’s hand in interrupting my plans and know that His timing was perfect, in spite of what I felt at the time.
March 28, 2009 I went in to the emergency room with a terrible case of bronchitis. I had some blood taken during the visit and could not believe my ears when the doctor told me that the pregnancy test they had run came back positive. It just wasn’t possible since my husband had a vasectomy a year prior. But there was something wrong. My hCG numbers, (pregnancy hormone) were way too low. The ER doctor consulted with the on-call OB/GYN* who wanted me to come back in two days to ensure that the numbers were going up the way they were supposed to. Of course, after having 3 perfect pregnancies, I wasn’t worried one bit about this one and decided to blow the test off. 4 days later I received a call from that doctor I had never met asking why I hadn’t come in for the test, and that call saved my life. I agreed to get the test just to make this guy happy and my heart sank when we discovered that the numbers, which should have more than doubled, hadn’t changed at all. Whatever I had, I was not pregnant. For two months it continued: weekly blood tests followed by phone calls from a baffled doctor telling me that the numbers weren’t going up or down, and failed medication treatments. It was a frustrating mystery.
WHEN GOD SPOKE
Shortly before my diagnosis, my husband and I were sitting on the sofa in our top floor apartment when both of our boys came running into the room very worked up. They were trying to say that the window in their room was broken, but we dismissed them for a while because neither of us had heard anything that sounded like something breaking. Donnie finally decided that he would get up to see what on earth they were talking about and I followed close behind him. Somehow, the boys had unlocked and opened their window, pushed out the screen, and our 18 month old daughter was proceeding to crawl through it as we walked into the room. The image of my husband’s hand reaching down and grabbing her by the back of her shirt to pull her to safety as she hung half way out of the window will forever be burned into my memory. Had he been even a few seconds too late, she would have fallen into the parking lot below. He gave her to me as I sat on the floor and burst into tears, squeezing her as tightly as I could. That night as I was laying in bed I kept playing the image in my head over and over again. And that is when I heard the Lord speak. I can only remember a few times in my life when I have heard the Lord so clearly, and that night He told me that He gave me that image so that I would know what He was about to do in my life. I knew then that whatever I was about to go through was going to be scary, but that God would pull me back in, and it would be for His glory. That’s why when the diagnosis finally came, I wasn’t surprised at all. I had been waiting for it.
THE “C” WORD
June 2, 2009 was the diagnostic surgery where a camera placed inside of my uterus captured images of the malignant tumor. Some cells remaining from my last pregnancy a year and a half prior had become radical, forming the tumor that put low levels of hCG into my bloodstream. When I woke up I was told that I was going to need a hysterectomy. There was not a lot that my doctor could tell me about this particular disease called a Placental site trophoblastic tumor (Or PSTT) because it is so rare. I began to do some online research which turned out not to be a great faith-builder, or a good idea. The prognosis for this particular kind of cancer is largely dependent on timing because Chemotherapy does not work. Chemo is effective by attacking rapidly dividing cells, which is what most cancers are, but this was a very slow growing type, so the only treatment is to remove the organ that it is in before it spreads anywhere else. After watching my husband’s father pass away from colon cancer only a few years before, “Cancer” wasn’t a word that we liked to let into our home and the reality of what could be was very haunting for both of us. That weekend I flew back to Vancouver from Spokane to visit our church, get prayed for, see friends, and refresh my faith. I had my CT scan to look forward to upon return to determine if it had metastasized and I needed to surround myself with people who were going to speak words of life and encouragement.
The first of many real hopeful moments came when we went out to lunch with some Pastors from Coeur D Alene. The Pastor’s wife is a 4 time cancer survivor. I talked at length with her about the fear battle I had been waging, between having faith in the plans God has for my life and the reality of what was growing inside of me. Some days I was full of faith, other days full of fear, and some days I would go back and fourth several times per day, and asked her how she had dealt with it. She told me, “Scary things happen in this life, you just keep moving forward in the purposes of God.”
THE 10 YEAR PRAYER
One week before my scheduled hysterectomy, I was anxiously waiting by the phone for the results of my CT scan when it rang. But it wasn’t my doctor, it was my sister. I had come to know the Lord when I was 13 years old, but my older sister, Kim, wanted nothing to do with it. I had been praying for her salvation, almost daily, for 10 years and most of our conversations about the Lord did not end so well. I listened to her on the other end of the phone that day, she had been crying, and finally, a purpose for this trial was beginning to come into the light. “You know, I had blamed God for everything that has been happening to you and I was so mad at Him. I went into my room and began to yell at Him and pray and He actually spoke to me. He told me that He loves me and He loves you, and that He’s got you and that everything is going to be okay, and that your scan is going to come back good and He wanted me to call you and tell you. I gave Him my heart today and you needed to know.” Only a few seconds after we hung up my Doctor called me to tell me that the results of my scan had come back, the tumor was completely contained to my uterus and surgery should cure me with no additional treatment needed. I cried, not because of what he had said, but because I was in awe of what God had just done.
The surgery went off without a hitch on June 16th, 2009. Two years later, I am still testing cancer-free! In the middle of my trial, I thought it was all about me, what does God want to teach me? What is He doing to me? But nothing is ever just about us. God is the master of “several birds with one stone” and He used that season to put something eternal into many people. God is love and is always out for our good. If we hadn’t had our children when we did, we wouldn’t have them at all. God always knows. As my friend said, scary things do indeed happen to us in this life, scripture even promises us that. But we have a God who is just that: God. And we have to keep moving forward in his purposes no matter what. We may never know who God wants to touch through our trials.
*Update: My Sister, Kim, was diagnosed with bi cornial uterus and polycystic ovarian syndrome at age 14. I had always told her that I would be happy to carry a baby for her if she was married and living for the Lord. in May of 2012, she and her husband welcomed their daughter, Molly, into the world after a flawless full-term pregnancy and delivery.
Like this post? Check out Grace for the Journey – overcoming depression.