Nichole, 30, North Carolina, USA
For most of my youth, I lived a life of drugs, alcohol, self-hatred, shallow friends, and lonely, disappointing attempts at finding love. At age 16, I got an abortion.
At age 22, I came to know Christ. He immediately started cleaning house — a little too quickly, if I’m being honest. The Holy Spirit nudged in some places that were still painful, such as the abortion, and I resisted His healing. I didn’t want His help in that area, so, He left it alone. This was a problem. As Romans 8:2 reads,
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”
Jesus set me free from sin and death, but, from age 22 until only eight months ago, I hid the pain of my abortion below the surface. By holding onto this sin, I missed out on the complete freedom Jesus died to give me. This stunted me spiritually. Soon after meeting Jesus, I was no longer able to feel the glorious Presence that I felt upon our initial meeting. I was tremendously confused. I couldn’t understand why I was unable to “fan into flame the gift of God” (2 Timothy 1:6 NIV).
I read the Word everyday and begged God to draw close to me, but I felt nothing. Every morning, I sat in my room with my Bible in the air, sometimes sobbing in desperation, pleading, “You said ‘draw near to Me and I will draw near to you’! Where are You? You said ‘seek and I will find, knock and the door will be opened.’ For how long do I have to knock? I just want to be close to You!”
For eight years, I got no answer. In fact, for eight years, I could probably count on one hand the number of times I actually heard the Lord speak to me. But, I never lost hope. I knew that the God I’d initially encountered was still with me.
Still, out of loneliness, I began slipping back into some of my old habits. I hung around after work and drank the night away. When I woke up to conviction, tears of joy would stream down my face. “Conviction, You are here! Thank you,” I’d whisper. I may not have been as close to Him as I wanted to be, but He was certainly with me.
I eventually found a Christian mentor, who plugged me into a solid community of believers. The nonsensical drinking stopped, but it — and other sins from my past — continued to plague my mind. Outwardly, I led a happy life, but I was battling an inward struggle against condemnation and shame.
Finally, in March of this year, I heard the Lord say, “I’m going to take you deeper.” I burst into tears! Finally, the answer to eight years of prayer. I was overjoyed.
A week later, my stomach bloated overnight. I woke up forty pounds heavier, with an unexplainable, pregnant-looking belly. My doctor ran a full metabolic panel and concluded that it was water retention from stress. Somehow, that weight was retained only in my belly.
Days later, some good friends of ours lost their newborn baby. We were all heartbroken, but my friend’s only response was “our baby is in the arms of Jesus and it is well with my soul.” When I heard this, this insane faith in the midst of a catastrophic storm, my heart and mind were shaken to the core. Something stirred inside of me.
The next morning, as I was trying to read my Bible, I couldn’t help but weep over our friends’ loss. Suddenly, I heard God again: “They didn’t have a choice but you did.” I knew He was referring to the abortion I’d had 14 years ago. In a split second, the thing I’d “successfully” stuffed down rose up to the surface and I knew I wouldn’t be able to push it down again. I then heard God say, “I want to take this from you once and for all, so we can be close.”
I started wailing. This festering thing inside of me was exposed. My husband tried to comfort me, but I was useless and broken. The wall I had built up against the pain of the abortion was gone. Not really considering Jesus an option, I felt that I had no one to turn to.
I begged God to take this from me. I asked Him to take full control of everything that I had been keeping from Him — all of the pain, guilt, and unforgiveness. I surrendered to Him, truly, for the first time. As soon as I uttered those words, God lifted the shame of my abortion as if it were a stray hair. It felt as though seven hundred pounds were lifted off of me. And, of course, my stomach finally deflated.
I couldn’t believe that the weight was gone! For the next few days, I woke up expecting it to feel it; instead, I was greeted by the sweetest Presence I could have ever imagined. The Holy Spirit had been with me since I was saved at 22, but now that I’d surrendered, I felt Him in full. The Spirit showed me that even when I wasn’t fully committed to a life of following Christ, He was — and He never stopped intervening, eventually leading me to accept His second offer of total surrender, which resulted in the intimacy that I’d been craving!
A few weeks later, I got lunch with a friend whose husband is a dentist. She talked to me about an abscessed tooth, explaining that the festering infection is under the surface, so the dentist has to cut deep, clean out the wound, then refill it. This mirrored my walk with the Lord; my mind was blown!
The next morning, I remembered her words and thanked Jesus. Immediately, I had a vision of my belly inflated to the size it was before. I then saw Jesus holding a needle. He poked my belly and it deflated back to its normal size. I wept tears of joy.
The Lord then revealed that women who undergo abortions experience tremendous emotional and mental pain. He instructed me to seek post-abortive healing. Conveniently, I soon saw a friend’s Facebook post that read: “Call this number if you’ve had an abortion and want to talk to someone about it.” I called the number and joined a ten-week, post-abortive recovery Bible study.
During those ten weeks, I received more healing and deliverance than I thought possible. I finally forgave my mother, who I’d previously blamed for the abortion, and I accepted responsibility. For the first time, I repented. I forgave myself. I also finally healed from some sexual trauma from my childhood and adolescence.
Near the end of recovery, our leaders instructed us to ask God the gender and name of our children, since they’re not just dead, but in Heaven. Very quickly, God gave me both answers: I had a son named David.
As I walked out on the last day of my recovery program, I made a promise to my now-fourteen year old son David: “Since I ended your life and didn’t give you a chance to live, I will, in your honor, do everything in my power to defend women from the deception and I will defend life.” And God is making it so.
In August, I, along with 3 other women, started a post-abortive ministry called Beautiful Redemption. Beautiful Redemption serves as a safe place of healing and freedom for women facing the devastating aftermath of abortion. I also reach out to women via my personal and ministry social media accounts in the hopes of encouraging broken and hurting women with all kinds of trauma.
Since I surrendered 8 months ago, Jesus has done more in my life than I ever could have dreamed. My journey has made many things clear, one being this: God wants to set us free. Whatever you’re holding onto, God can and will free you from it. He truly is the Redeemer. He gives us new memories to replace the shame and guilt that once wrote our stories.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)