Learning to Face the Truth

Woman sitting with legs crossed

Learning to Face the Truth

On Monday, I talked about how being transparent can free your soul (read the full post HERE). For me, being transparent about my abortion freed my soul, and I began talking about that a bit on Monday. Here’s the rest of the story:

It was a story I did not want to tell. But as Sanctity of Life Sunday approached, my pastor asked me to share my story with the church—the story I had kept secret for many years. My abortion story. And while I understood this message could help other women find forgiveness, I also knew it meant I’d have to tell my kids—something I dreaded.

My kids were ages ten, seven, and five. Although I was their mom, I thought they’d hate me when they knew the truth. After all, just how do you tell your kids they’d have another brother or sister if it weren’t for their mom’s bad decision?

John and I prayed about how to tell our children. We knew that although they’d heard the word abortion before, they most likely didn’t understand what it was. Since they were still young, they didn’t need to know details. We also wanted them to know why many women terminate their pregnancy—because of fear, worry or pressure from other people.

A few days later, my husband and I explained to our kids that abortion meant a woman did not want to be pregnant and had an operation to end the life of her baby. I could tell from my kids’ faces they were horrified. John shared why a woman might do this, and they expressed sadness for those women. Then, with tears in my eyes, I told them my story.

When Sin is Allowed to Grow

With a shaky voice, I explained that when I was in high school, I had become pregnant. I said that when I visited a clinic, the workers told me it really wasn’t a baby yet and that everything would be better if I had the procedure. I told my kids that I had always wanted to be a mom, but I was afraid of having a baby as a fifteen-year-old. I was worried about what people would think.

I told my kids I wanted to believe what the clinic worker said was true because it seemed like an easy way out. So I ignored the nagging voice in my head that told me I was ending a life. After the abortion, I was heartbroken and numb. It took many years for the emotional pain to go away.

John and I also explained I had not been following Jesus, and I had wanted things my own way. I read James 1:14–15 to my children: “But your own evil longings tempt you. They lead you on and drag you away. When they are allowed to grow, they give birth to sin. When sin has grown up, it gives birth to death” (NIrV). In this case, my sin led to the death of their brother or sister. My kids listened, and I could see sadness on their faces.

Finding Forgiveness

Months after my abortion, I saw a woman wearing a Precious Feet pin on her sweater. When I commented about it, she told me that her pin represented the size of the feet of a ten-week-old fetus. I knew then that my baby had a body, feet, hands and a beating heart. The reality of my decision became clear. Overwhelmed with guilt, I became self-destructive and made more bad decisions.

But when I was seventeen, I accepted Jesus. I realized I’d been making wrong choices, and I asked God to do something with my life.

I told my kids I had asked Jesus to forgive me. I asked for their forgiveness, too, for ending the life of the sibling they’d never know on earth.

It only took a few seconds for three sets of arms to wrap around me. “It’s OK, Mom. We love you, and we forgive you!” they told me.

It was like a dam broke within my soul. For so long this secret had been swelling against the wall I had built. Sharing the truth and seeing they still loved me made my chest light and warm. Tears spilled as I held them in my arms. As a mom, the last people I wanted to disappoint were my kids.

Their hurt was evident. But their love was even greater.

Sharing the Story

Whenever my children brought up the subject, whether it was weeks, months, or even years later, we would talk about it. A few times they told me about friends who asked them about what I’d shared at church, and they were able to explain my story. Later, when I told my story to other groups, I shared with my kids how my story helped those who needed to know about Jesus’ forgiveness, too. We would talk about how God could use even the painful stuff in our lives to help others.

When my daughter was sixteen, she returned from a youth social gathering and told me that the subject of abortion came up.

“Mom, many of them said a woman should have a choice,” she reported, “but then I told them your story.”

My daughter had shared with her peers about my heartache and pain. “Many women do not know what they are choosing, and they suffer for years afterward,” she told them, “just like my mom.”

Originally, keeping my secret seemed like the right thing to do, but sharing my experience has allowed others, my children included, to better understand decisions and consequences—and the truth about pain, loss and regret.

Steps You can Take:

1. Pray. Pray. Pray.

2. Write down key points you want to make before you share your story

3. Be open to other opportunities to share your story—and for others to share their stories with you.


Today’s Prayer

God, thank you for your forgiveness and for your forgiveness exemplified in others. Please give me courage as I share my story, and give me a heart of understanding toward others and their stories.


Resources

Her Choice to Heal
A Surrendered Life: Finding Freedom, Healing and Hope after Abortion
Abortion: My Choice, God’s Grace


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Comments

  1. This is such a beautiful story, Tricia. Thank you for sharing it.

  2. Tricia, thank you for sharing your story. I think you and your husband handled telling your kids in the best possible way, praying beforehand and letting God lead you as you spoke to the kids. I’m glad you had the freeing experience of telling them. There’s healing when we share things with the people we love most. That’s one of the many reasons God places them in our lives.

    Blessings,
    Andrea

  3. Tricia, You are so brave to open yourself up to the ones you love the most. Your story is going to save lives that otherwise would have been lost. Your testimony speaks so wonderfully of forgiveness, freedom and grace. God bless you always. 🙂

  4. Samantha says:

    Tricia, great story. I think a lot of young women having abortions are just ignorant and purposefully getting brainwashed. Instead of being mean, hateful or judgemental, pro-lifers should help these women 🙂 Thank you for sharing your story!

  5. One in five women have had an abortion. I bet many of those women in your church were blessed by your testimony. God bless you!

  6. Wow. Thank you so much for sharing this. Jesus is so amazing, and this story of redemption is just one more proof.

  7. Thank you for sharing your story, it is a very hard thing to reveal. I am 54 and had an abortion when I was 18. I too didn’t realize what “abortion” actually entailed, I was naïve and didn’t ask enough questions. My boyfriend felt this was best to do, and I was too afraid to tell my parents, especially my mom. I was raised in a very religious upbringing and I felt that my mom would be so devastated and disappointed in me. I did tell her much later on when I was in my late 30’s. She was incredibly sad to know that I couldn’t come to her with this situation. I did recently share this with my daughter whom is in her early 30’s and her response was that of a loving and forgiving one. I have not told my two grown sons I feel this will be very hard for me, . I have kept this buried because of the shame. Now in reading about your story, I pray that I too may be able to unburden myself. Thank you for your inspiration.

    • Kelly, I can relate so much. I wanted to “hide” what I’d been doing. I’ll pray that God will be with you and you’ll share as He leads you. May He continue to bring you freedom from the pain and shame! Hugs to you!

  8. Rebecca Altman says:

    Tricia, I didn’t know this part of your story until just now. I’m so sorry for the heartache and pain you’ve been through, but thankful for your willingness to share the truth–truth that not only helped bring healing to you, but to many others as well. I’m pretty confident your story has also saved precious lives. You are such a gift and a treasure. The more I get to know you, the more I love you!
    My mom has a similar story that she shared with me when I was about 12. I was heartbroken, and still wonder about my older sibling that I will one day meet in heaven, yet I am so thankful to know the truth. I have compassion for these young women, most of whom are manipulated by the world and by the enemy and who don’t truly understand what they are doing. Many times these young women are victims themselves…
    You are a blessing, my friend!

    • Rebecca, yes, the world leads women to believe it’s a “better” choice, but so much heartache follows. I’m thankful your mom told you. I’m thankful for friends who love a care!

  9. Thank you for sharing your story. Light has broke through the darkness..love it!

  10. Susan F. says:

    God bless you Tricia. This had to be so hard. This and the story of one other this year has taught me there is a different side and I have no reason to be judgmental. I’m afraid hearing some females brag that they’d had more than one made me form a sense of bitter reaction to anyone who had an abortion. Thank you.

  11. Tricia, I am so blessed by how your children responded and at the wisdom that God gave to you and John to share your path with them. God is so good to forgive all of us and to use our pain for good. Thank you for not keeping your abortion a secret, and for blessing us with the ways God has redeemed your circumstances.

  12. Tricia, God has redeemed your mistakes and pain in so many amazing ways. May He continue to use you to encourage women in the years ahead. Blessings!

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