Forgiven

THE LIES BEGIN

“I’m not marrying you if you are pregnant. You will have to get rid of it.” Those words spoken to me in the spring of 1972 changed my life.  I was 17, still at school and pregnant. Until that moment I had never realised that ‘it’ could be got rid of. I had assumed that I would have got married, had the baby and lived happily ever after. It wasn’t to be. The lies began.

We went to my local GP, and as instructed by my boyfriend, I told my GP I would not be able to cope. He gave me some tablets saying that if they did not start my late period, then to go back. I went back. He then booked me into the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital (EGA) in London where, for the first time, I was examined. It was possibly here that I first heard the word abortion, although I cannot be sure. They only booked me in on condition that I went on the Pill afterwards, to which I agreed. I had to wait a couple of weeks before actually having the operation. During that time I pretended everything was ‘normal’, even attending school. Apart from one friend and my boyfriend, nobody knew I was pregnant. That was my boyfriend’s main concern – secrecy. My mum found out due to the morning sickness but I was so mature (in my eyes) that I insisted ‘it would all soon be sorted’ and I went to the EGA without listening to anything my mum may have wanted to say.

In those days it was not something that happened in a couple of hours. I had been booked in from Sunday to Tuesday, with the operation due to take place on the Monday. As I awoke from the operation on that Monday (15 May 1972) my boyfriend asked me if I would marry him as he had the opportunity of moving from his bed-sit to a flat but he needed to be married. I thought the engagement ring he offered me was ‘nice’ and so I agreed. I was not allowed home on the Tuesday, but had no idea why not. Adults knew best, especially medical people and I didn’t even know what questions to ask. All my life I had been told what to do without question and now was no different.

On the Wednesday I can remember holding onto the bedstead and screaming in pain. A nurse walked past and said “It is your own fault” but I had no idea what she meant. After a few hours the pain suddenly stopped. I couldn’t understand why none of the women in the ward wanted to talk with me and I imagine that they realised that I hadn’t a clue what I had just gone through.

On the Thursday my mum came to visit. She had had no idea where I was all this time. Had she not visited I would have gone to my boyfriend’s mum’s home in Chelmsford to live, saying that I had rowed with my mum. That is what my boyfriend had said to do and say. However, my mum said I could go home and on the Friday I arrived home. I had been told by my boyfriend that what had happened was never to be discussed again.

My boyfriend was not welcomed at home and I couldn’t wait until we were married. Our wedding was booked for 30 September 1972 at the local registry office. The only times during our marriage that I ever mentioned I had had an abortion was when I booked the ante-natal appointments and they asked if there had been any other pregnancies. I had so wanted to talk about it but the nurses didn’t want to know, and so I kept quiet.

When I gave birth to my first son I remember thinking that the labour pains had been the same as the pain I went through on the Wednesday whilst in the EGA. But I pushed that thought to the back of my mind. My next pregnancy ended in miscarriage. I was rushed screaming to hospital where I was given a D&C operation as the doctors said they thought the baby was still inside me but was dead. Following the operation a doctor asked me how far gone the pregnancy had been. I told him 18 weeks and he said the baby had only been 12 weeks formed. I wondered how he could tell as I had no idea about the development of the unborn child, but again I didn’t ask any questions and it was something else I put to the back of my mind.

We eventually had a second son then moved from London to Milton Keynes in June 1982. For the sake of my sons I behaved like a normal, good mother but there was something deep within me gnawing away and our marriage was on very rocky ground. We thought the move would give us a new start.

HOW JESUS CHANGED MY LIFE

To say that the Lord had his hand on my life is an understatement. We moved into a brand new house on a new estate. One family on the estate began a baby sitting circle and I began to sit for them. I didn’t know it at the time but they were going to Bible Study each Thursday. Whilst in their home I began to read their books and listen to their Christian music and we had long chats when they arrived home. We became friends.

When their son was old enough to join the Boys Brigade I was asked if my eldest would like to join as well. I readily agreed. It meant that he would need to go to Sunday School each week, but I had no problem with that. I had been to various Sunday Schools all my childhood and I had wanted to attend church for some time but didn’t have the confidence to go on my own, or to ask to go with anyone. Not only did I take my sons to Church each Sunday but I began to go to the Bible Studies each week. These were now often held in my friend’s home.

It was at the end of one of these that I went to help make the coffee. I stood at the door and my friend asked me if I was all right as I looked awful. I said I didn’t know what was happening and she said I needed Jesus in my life. I told her I didn’t know what to say and she led me in a prayer of repentance and salvation. As soon as I had prayed, I broke down and said “God can’t love me. I have had an abortion!” She told me He could even forgive that and prayed for me. We were both laughing and crying and hugging each other. A massive weight had just been lifted from my life. I had been ‘born again’.

The rest of the group were equally delighted and they confessed they had been praying for me for some time. Although I didn’t tell the rest of the group about my abortion, I was so relieved to have finally told someone. I ‘floated’ home that night and promptly told my husband “I am now a Christian. What do you think of our abortion?” Immediately I was told in no uncertain terms that I was not to mention that again or I knew what I would get. I knew exactly what that meant and so I tried to keep quiet. But I desperately needed to discuss it and on occasions tried to do so, but to no avail. I knew it was wrong – deep down I always knew it was wrong but I had been caught in a sort of treadmill that I couldn’t get off.

At home I would pray and read my Bible. I threw myself into the church activities, becoming a Boys Brigade Officer and Sunday School Teacher. I prayed that my husband would find salvation and forgiveness through Jesus and that our marriage would become a Christian marriage. He did attend occasional church events, even coming to a Billy Graham meeting at Aston Villa. I shared about my abortion with a few more friends at church and as far as I was concerned, I was healed as we had prayed for forgiveness that first night. How little I knew about the depth of the sin in my life caused by the abortion.

In the February of 1985 my husband eventually left me for someone else. Had I not been a Christian my world would have fallen apart. That same year the Church paid for me and my sons to go to Spring Harvest with a group of others from the Church. I had no idea what this was, but it would be good to be with so many other Christians. One night, myself and two friends went to see the video ‘Silent Scream’. I knew it would be painful but I also knew I would be okay as I was ‘healed’. We sat there, with me in the middle, all holding hands.

The tears flowed. My abortion had been 10 weeks, the same as the baby in the video that was being aborted. I was absolutely devastated. It was as though I had been kicked in the stomach. Afterwards I just cried and cried. Sadly, at that time Post Abortion Syndrome had not been recognised and so nobody had thought to have a counselling room ready. Whilst someone tried to organise one for me, a little lady came up to me, put her arms around me and said “Never mind dear. When you get to heaven your son will come up to you, put his arms around you and say “Hello Mum””. I know she meant well, and I really am glad that she said that – but at the time it actually made things worse.

Watching the film I had just realised that my abortion meant I had killed my baby – that my baby had a fully developed body and had been alive. Now, with her words I realised that not only did my baby have a body but also a spirit. I couldn’t believe how much I had offended God by killing my baby. I sobbed for three hours solid. I asked all the “Why” questions and was given no answers. In hindsight, as one Christian to another, I should have been told that what I had done was wrong. It was a sin. I had killed my baby. I was (and still am) a mother of a dead child. But I was probably told that my reasons at the time meant I had no choice, or other such platitudes to try to stop me hurting and make me feel better. By the morning I did feel better, and again I thought I was healed.

Some months later I went on a weekend retreat with the Parish. There was to be a debate and the subject was abortion. A couple of people agreed to speak ‘for’ abortion and a couple ‘against’. Nobody in this group knew about my abortion and so I watched and listened. The debate began and all I wanted to do was shout “No. Abortion is wrong. It kills babies” but instead I ran out. The words of those speaking ‘for’ abortion were too painful. After the debate, in tears, I found out that one of the ladies on the ‘for’ team had had an abortion but she said she had dealt with it. But I had never heard her speak out against abortion and I was one of very few who now knew. The only other time after that that she mentioned anything to do with abortion was when she came in one day and told a few of us about Psalm 139 that she had come across.

At the beginning of 1986 I changed churches and went from a C of E Anglican Church to a Charismatic House Church. My friends who had watched ‘Silent Scream’ had also changed churches so we were still together. These were the only people in this new church who were aware that I had had an abortion. In the August of 1986 I re-married. My husband had been a widower and he had one son. I had told him everything about my past, including the abortion. With my two sons, we moved into a smaller house and had no intention of having any more children and so used condoms.

Within 10 weeks of being married I found out I was 5 weeks pregnant. We actually discussed having an abortion as there was no way we could afford a baby – we would have to move to a larger house and get a bigger car and we just couldn’t do it. We thought we could do this and not tell anyone. Thankfully there were a number of other ladies in our house group who were pregnant and when we told everyone they were all delighted for us. We knew we would manage somehow. Sadly, after another 5 weeks I miscarried. I had been ill throughout and so it wasn’t a great shock. I did think maybe that it was my fault as I had initially not wanted to be pregnant but I was assured this was not the case.

A month of so afterwards I saw an announcement in the church newsletter to say there was to be a meeting about abortion. I decided to go along as I was now against abortion and no one need know that I had actually had one. However when I walked in the meeting I saw one of the ministers who had been at that weekend retreat when there had been an abortion debate. I couldn’t lie anymore, to myself or to others. The meeting had been organised by The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) and at my first branch meeting I went along early and said I would be willing to speak out against abortion from a personal perspective. This offer was gratefully acknowledged.

Over the years I was put in contact with British Victims of Abortion – a division of SPUC – and I even went and spoke in Poland on their behalf. I became a counsellor for them and went through numerous counselling courses, each time finding more and more personal healing. A number of times I went to Northern Ireland to speak. Once when alone in the B&B I was watching the news on the TV. There had been a mini-bus crash in the UK killing a number of school children. The reporter was talking to the headmaster and he was so choked about the deaths of these children that he could hardly speak. I broke down in tears, realising that there had been nobody to grieve my unborn baby’s death because it had been a secret.

Another time I was speaking to a group of teenagers in Blackpool. I asked them their ages and they said 17 and 18. I just burst into tears. Initially I couldn’t understand why but in a plenary meeting the speaker said “It is your generation that has been killed”. I knew then that my child would have been their age. The tears flowed again.

All these years I had been in denial about the truth and consequences of my actions. During another counselling course I realised what must have happened in the hospital at the time of my abortion. They had removed one baby on the Monday by suction, but probably following tests, realised there was another baby in my womb and I expelled that one on the Wednesday. I cannot prove this, but I just know now it was twins. I had been through labour and I had recognised the pain when I had given birth to my son.

Jesus said in John 8 verse 32 “Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free”. It is not enough to know the truth but we must speak out once we know it and make sure others also know the truth about abortion. Abortion kills young unique children. It is never right. It is always a sin. No amount of justification on our part will change that. Our sin deserves punishment, and many women try to punish themselves. But Jesus died in our place. The price of our punishment is paid. By His grace, not by anything we can do, we can come to Him and in spirit and truth, seek and accept the forgiveness He offers.

My healing took place over many years, yet how much quicker may it have been had there been more people willing to speak out personally against abortion, instead of remaining silent through pride or shame?

Anyone who has been involved with killing of children by abortion – whether it is the baby’s mother, father, grandparent, a friend, doctor, nurse, social worker, politician or whoever – if you think you have ‘dealt with it’ but are too ashamed to speak out and admit your part and thus prevent others committing the same sin – you are still in denial and actually have not come into full repentance and forgiveness. We pray for revival in the land. This will not happen until those who have played any part in the killing of children by abortion are ready to repent. That includes crisis counsellors who just give all the information so the mother can make ‘an informed decision on the three options’ (keep the baby, have the baby adopted or have an abortion). Abortion is not an option but a sin. Mothers need to be told this. How free are you if you are too ashamed to speak out? I am free from the devil’s hold over my life because I do speak out.

Please earnestly seek the Lord in this. Each of us is accountable for our actions or in-actions at the end of time. Could our silence have meant that someone never knows the redemptive power of Jesus?

I know the personal forgiveness of the Lord Jesus for my sin of killing my baby (or babies) by abortion. As a Christian I also believe that killing children by abortion is no different than sacrificing our children to Molech as stated in the Old Testament. Our Lord God declares this as utterly detestable. If we love the Lord then we must make it our priority to tell others of His saving grace and that even the sin of child sacrifice is covered by His dying on the cross, if we genuinely repent.

Whilst it is very laudable to try and change the law of the land by lobbying and voting in pro-life MPs, or going into schools teaching youngsters, we can never change hearts that currently dismiss God as our creator. Only He, through the finished work of Christ on the cross and the power of the Holy Spirit moving across this land, will destroy the evil that we are up against. That is not to say we must not continue to do all we can to stop the killings, but if we deny our Lord when we speak out, then He will deny us. This nation has turned from Godly principles since the early 1900’s and accepted humanism as the new religion. There have been eight and a half million babies killed by abortion in the UK since 1967 and the laws and the education syllabus has just got worse despite all our efforts to the contrary. Now is the time for Christians to speak out.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians Chapter 6 Verse 12.

Please pray

  • that the Lord will have mercy on each and every one of us and our nation.
  • that the scales will fall from all our eyes.
  • that our hearts will be softened and that we might all know the heart of the Lord.
  • that we will desire to know His ways and to walk in them.
  • that we will all choose life and be blessed.
  • for an awakening of Christians everywhere.
  • for a return to our first love of Christ.
  • that the Holy Spirit will move on each person and convict each of us.
  • that the Father will stay His hand of judgement on our nation.
  • that we might all come to know the Lord more each day.
  • for a return to Christian values.
  • that salvation, forgiveness and healing through Christ will be found by all those who genuinely repent.
  • that all the Glory will go to God and not to any individual.