I went in circles deciding if I wanted to share the biggest heartache I’ve ever had. See some decisions we regret almost instantly, and some it takes growing up and maturing to realize those choices are permanently damaging. And unlike the decisions I have made in the past, I prayed for God to lead my heart if sharing this with everyone was the right thing to do, not for myself but for His plan for me.
Eleven years ago, I made a choice that permanently damaged my heart and my life.
As I sat waiting for my doctor to walk back in I could hear my heart beating in my chest loudly as if I had it right next to my ear. My hands were sweating and I couldn’t seem to catch my breath. I felt nauseous and was ready to vomit at any given moment.
My doctor walked in and, very seriously, stood in front of me and in a calm and quiet voice she told me what I had feared and suspected.
Everything around me started spinning and through my loud sobs I could barely make out what the doctor was saying. All I could think about was that I could not be a single mother, especially not at 19. I could not do it alone. What would my parents say?
And just as though she was reading my thoughts, she said, “There are other options. But I need to know what you’re going to do so I can mark your chart.”
As I walked out of the family clinic that day, with pamphlets on Planned Parenthood, I didn’t know what to do. I rummaged through my bag frantically looking for my cell phone to call him.
When I told him I was pregnant and was going to have his baby, his nonchalant response to me was, “What are you going to do? I don’t think you should keep the baby.”
I knew having a child with someone who wasn’t committed to me would only bring on more problems than the ones we already had. Without hesitation and time to waste I headed to Planned Parenthood, the place I had been taught to believe would help me through this.
For years I would say I didn’t regret my decision because I wouldn’t be where I am today or have what I have and who I have in my life. But every time I said it, I knew I was lying to myself. I knew I had to face the decision and come clean, not just with God, but with myself.
I faced some of the emptiest and darkest years following that decision.
I attended church and went through the motions, feeling like the biggest hypocrite ever. All the while, God kept calling out to me. I ignored him.
Finally, I couldn’t ignore him anymore. His voice grew louder and louder in my ears just like my heart did that day at the doctor’s office.
I confessed and went to reconciliation many times. I confessed the same dark sin over and over. I had an abortion. God bless the priest’s heart for each of the kind words he said to me. “God knows. He is forgiving.” Those words, so soft and so true. I refused to believe that I could so easily be forgiven.
See, I knew of the Lord my whole life. I was raised in a Catholic, Mexican family–attending mass every Sunday was an obligation. It wasn’t until my mid 20’s that I started to build a relationship with Him. He had been calling out for me, and I finally began to listen.
I became actively involved in helping with the church youth group. Still, I masked a dark secret I hoped nobody would ever find out about. I prayed every day that none of the youth I had come to love would ever have to make a choice like the one I had made.
One evening at youth group, us leaders chose to confess.
It was my turn in line and like every other confession my palms were sweaty and I was talking to God, preparing my heart. “God, how can I move past this. I need to empty my heavy heart out and fill it with your love. Empty me of me.” I blurted out the same dirty sin I had been confessing for the last few years. Only this time, I burst into tears, finally emptying my heavy heart.
Then, Father asked me, “Have you named your child?” Not knowing if I had heard him correctly, through my sobs I looked up and asked, “What?” That evening Father reminded me that someday I would come face to face with my unborn child and I needed to be at peace with the decision I had made because God had forgiven me.
I needed to begin forgiving myself.
I walked out of confession feeling like God was calling me closer to Him yet again. I knew He had forgiven me, but was I ready to forgive myself? Why did He keep calling out to me? I had done so much wrong, why would He ever want me? I felt unworthy of His love.
Each day that passed, I asked God to help me forgive myself a little more.
A few months later, I walked with a large group of pro-lifers down the streets of Los Angeles at One Life LA. I knew that to truly forgive myself, I would have to stand up for something that was bigger than me. I could no longer keep God’s love and forgiveness for myself, I had to share it.
Marching down those LA streets, I took each step in honor of my baby. I couldn’t go back in time and change that decision, but I could do small things with great love. And it was with great love that I took each of those steps. A love I would only find in seeking Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.
After coming home from One Life LA, I shared with my mentor the experience that I had and knowing that God was calling me to share my story. I was still having difficulty with forgiving myself. “You are not greater than our Lord, He has forgiven you. He is merciful. You must forgive yourself. In not doing so, you are saying that you are greater than God.” Those words filled my heart with hope.
I believe that everyone we meet and everyone that comes into our lives, God has put there for a purpose. It’s as though He, if only for a moment, was present in my mentor to tell me He loved me and forgave me.
Every day I am closer and closer to forgiving myself and everyday my love and relationship with God grows stronger. I seek Him like the moon seeks the sky at night and the sun at dawn. I seek Him today knowing that my life is a blessing and that the forgiveness and love I have in my heart is only through Jesus Christ.
My hope for anyone struggling with their guilt and struggling with seeking forgiveness from their families, from God, and themselves, will seek Jesus. Ask God to lead you toward Him, ask God to direct you, ask Him to forgive you and ask Him to bring you peace in accepting His will for your life. It has been only by His blessing that I am able to share my testimony – not just with those closest to me but with those who read this post.
Most importantly it’s not that this testimony is about me, but about the love God has for us.
Everyday, women like Lupe are being manipulated into choosing abortion. Sign below to stand for women in unplanned pregnancies–women who deserve resources, support, and love!
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