The Sixth Street Bridge

The Sixth Street Bridge
At the tender age of 17, I walked across this bridge, alone, into Downtown Pittsburgh, with $300 in my pocket that my mother had given me to get an abortion. I went into the Fulton Building (in the picture) and did what I was told to do. I didn't have a choice - if I did, I wouldn't have chosen abortion.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

For my two girls...

I saw this online the other day:

A girl's heart should be so close to the Lord's that a man would have to seek after Him to find her.
When I wonder about and question (again and again) how I got to where I am now, a lot of the time the answer is in the faces of my two innocent little girls who know nothing of my journey, but I hope someday I'll be able to tell them about it.  If anything, so they can learn from my mistakes, from my life.  I hope that I'm learning from my mom's mistakes.  If I can do the above and instill in both of them a love of Jesus, a healthy self esteem, some solid truths that they can cling to - then I think our chances are pretty good.  They are fortunate too that they have an awesome Dad in all ways who is always mindful that he is raising two women and not just girls as they are now.  He knows that every action of his will shape every relationship they have with boys and men later and eventually a husband if that is God's will for them.  I can only hope that they get as lucky as I did in the husband department!

This week I'm supposed to be writing a letter to the father of Grace - boy it's still hard to type her name.

The problem with this particular task is it causes me to overlap my two lives - my past and my present.  By acknowledging this person, I feel as though I'm slighting my husband in some way, which I know isn't the case and is just my poor self esteem at the healm of my thoughts.  Writing a letter that will never be sent is still going backwards in my mind to a time when sex was not a pleasant thing for me, it was a means to an end sometimes, it was a way to fill a void, get attention, steal boyfriends, and a host of other horrible reasons to have sex with someone.  And at times, it was not exactly consensual although I won't allow myself to be labled a "victim."  I was utterly clueless.

Hopefully throughout the day today I'll be able to jot some things down to him.  I never told the father that I was pregnant, I don't think I was planning on telling anyone until my Mom figured it out and confronted me which was pretty horrible and probably in a matter of an hour completely ripped any semblence of self esteem right out of me.

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I did tell him... would Grace be here with me today?  Would have, could have, should have...

Monday, June 27, 2011

I thirst for you...

And for when I'm really at a low point...

I Thirst for You

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock… (Rev. 3, 20)

Jesus Crucified

It is true. I stand at the door of your heart, day and night. Even when you are not listening, even when you doubt it could be Me, I am there. I await even the smallest sign of your response, even the least whispered invitation that will allow Me to enter.

And I want you to know that whenever you invite Me, I do come – always, without fail. Silent and unseen I come, but with infinite power and love, and bringing the many gifts of My Spirit. I come with My mercy, with My desire to forgive and heal you, and with a love for you beyond your comprehension – a love every bit as great as the love I have received from the Father ("As much as the Father has loved me, I have loved you…" (Jn. 15:10) I come - longing to console you and give you strength, to lift you up and bind all your wounds. I bring you My light, to dispel your darkness and all your doubts. I come with My power, that I might carry you and all your burdens; with My grace, to touch your heart and transform your life; and My peace I give to still your soul.

I know you through and through. I know everything about you. The very hairs of your head I have numbered. Nothing in your life is unimportant to Me. I have followed you through the years, and I have always loved you – even in your wanderings. I know every one of your problems. I know your needs and your worries. And yes, I know all your sins. But I tell you again that I love you – not for what you have or haven’t done – I love you for you, for the beauty and dignity My Father gave you by creating you in His own image. It is a dignity you have often forgotten, a beauty you have tarnished by sin. But I love you as you are, and I have shed My Blood to win you back. If you only ask Me with faith, My grace will touch all that needs changing in your life, and I will give you the strength to free yourself from sin and all its destructive power.

I know what is in your heart – I know your loneliness and all your hurts – the rejections, the judgments, the humiliations, I carried it all before you. And I carried it all for you, so you might share My strength and victory. I know especially your need for love – how you are thirsting to be loved and cherished. But how often have you thirsted in vain, by seeking that love selfishly, striving to fill the emptiness inside you with passing pleasures – with the even greater emptiness of sin. Do you thirst for love? "Come to Me all you who thirst…" (Jn. 7: 37). I will satisfy you and fill you. Do you thirst to be cherished? I cherish you more than you can imagine – to the point of dying on a cross for you.
I Thirst for You. Yes, that is the only way to even begin to describe My love for you. I THIRST FOR YOU. I thirst to love you and to be loved by you – that is how precious you are to Me. I THIRST FOR YOU. Come to Me, and I will fill your heart and heal your wounds. I will make you a new creation, and give you peace, even in all your trials I THIRST FOR YOU.

You must never doubt My mercy, My acceptance of you, My desire to forgive, My longing to bless you and live My life in you. I THIRST FOR YOU. If you feel unimportant in the eyes of the world, that matters not at all. For Me, there is no one any more important in the entire world than you. I THIRST FOR YOU. Open to Me, come to Me, thirst for Me, give me your life – and I will prove to you how important you are to My Heart.

Don’t you realize that My Father already has a perfect plan to transform your life, beginning from this moment? Trust in Me. Ask Me every day to enter and take charge of your life. – and I will. I promise you before My Father in heaven that I will work miracles in your life. Why would I do this? Because I THIRST FOR YOU. All I ask of you is that you entrust yourself to Me completely. I will do all the rest.

Even now I behold the place My Father has prepared for you in My Kingdom. Remember that you are a pilgrim in this life, on a journey home. Sin can never satisfy you, or bring the peace you seek. All that you have sought outside of Me has only left you more empty, so do not cling to the things of this life. Above all, do not run from Me when you fall. Come to Me without delay. When you give Me your sins, you gave Me the joy of being your Savior. There is nothing I cannot forgive and heal; so come now, and unburden your soul.

No matter how far you may wander, no matter how often you forget Me, no matter how many crosses you may bear in this life; there is one thing I want you to always remember, one thing that will never change. I THIRST FOR YOU – just as you are. You don’t need to change to believe in My love, for it will be your belief in My love that will change you. You forget Me, and yet I am seeking you every moment of the day – standing at the door of your heart and knocking. Do you find this hard to believe? Then look at the cross, look at My Heart that was pierced for you. Have you not understood My cross? Then listen again to the words I spoke there – for they tell you clearly why I endured all this for you: "I THIRST…"(Jn 19: 28). Yes, I thirst for you – as the rest of the psalm – verse I was praying says of Me: "I looked for love, and I found none…" (Ps. 69: 20). All your life I have been looking for your love – I have never stopped seeking to love you and be loved by you. You have tried many other things in your search for happiness; why not try opening your heart to Me, right now, more than you ever have before.

Whenever you do open the door of your heart, whenever you come close enough, you will hear Me say to you again and again, not in mere human words but in spirit. "No matter what you have done, I love you for your own sake Come to Me with your misery and your sins, with your troubles and needs, and with all your longing to be loved. I stand at the door of your heart and knock. Open to Me, for I THIRST FOR YOU…"

"Jesus is God, therefore His love, His Thirst, is infinite. He the creator of the universe,
asked for the love of His creatures.
He thirst for our love… These words:
‘I Thirst’ –
Do they echo in our souls?”
Mother Teresa
Mons. G. Sergio De la Cerda Z.
Vicar General
Tijuana, B. C. México.

Trust in God's Mercy...what's the alternative?

I've watched the above clip from The Passion of the Christ more than 100 times.  Sometimes I watch it to remind me of God's Mercy.  Sometimes I watch it because there are days when I feel just like the woman in the video - not because I had committed adultery...worse,I had an abortion.

When I started this blog a week or so ago - I was feeling pretty good and was hopeful about all the people I could help with my story.  Then after a few days, the shadows return and I find myself having to chase them away again.  That's the thing with abortion - it's always there, it will always be there.  There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about it.  Even before I started talking about it or uttered a word about it to anyone - it was on my mind and in my heart.  Sure, I stuffed it down pretty deep but it was there.  It was there, underlying my bad choices.  It was there feeding the destruction of my self esteem.  It was there every time I allowed myself to be used for sex when in my heart I knew there was more for me, that I was meant for better.   I just didn't know how to get there for a long, long time.

Then, one day, my life changed in an instant.  The day that I met my husband.  So in my joy after that day and all the happiness that followed and continues to today - I was able to stuff the feelings down deeper.  But, they remained, however dormant and festering beneath the surface.  The voices that told me I'm not good enough for my husband.  He's going to leave me.  I'm nothing.  My children don't even like me. 

I wish I could journal a "day in the life of a postabortive woman" for you.  The smallest of things can bring it all to the surface.  A sound, a voice, the news, a church, a baby.  At least now I'm finding my way to channel all of it toward the greater good - I hope - for myself and for whomever else I may reach with my story.

For a long, long time, I was this woman, crawling in the dust and dirt, feeling the judgement from others reigning down upon me, feeling the threat of a trip straight to hell when I died, never ever worthy to even look up at Jesus - who would never condemn, whose mercy is bigger than anything I've done.  And there are days even now when I'm back down in the dust and dirt - but I force myself to look up, say a prayer, call for help even if it's the silence of my own mind.  Even now I call out with a twinge of despair that I won't be answered but I have to believe that He's there when I do look up. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

An Introduction

So, I've created this blog to chronicle my healing from an abortion I had when I was 17.  When I first began this healing journey - I took a lot of time figuring out and trying to remember even the remotest of details surrounding the events.  The actual procedure - well, that I remember in vivid detail from sounds and smells to pain and tears and silence. At that time, there was no "medical abortion" or "surgical abortion."  There was no anesthesia.  I remember what I wore down to criticizing myself for wearing open sandals into the "big city."  What a dumb move - my feet were getting so dirty!  Did I even think what I was about to do to the rest of my body?

What I had a hard time remembering after years of burying this day in my life - were the details about time and dates and even years.  With some investigating and and pictures I had dated from that time - I realized that I was a year off in my recollection altogether.  I had only told one person about my abortion outside of my parents.  My mom knew that very day, my dad found out a few years later.  But, I did tell my husband within a few weeks of our dating.  Why him?  Well - I knew from the moment I met him that I was going to marry him.  I knew that my life was going to make a dramatic change and he had to know because it wasn't fair for him not to know.  But I do remember telling him then that I was 16 at the time of my abortion - but it turns out I was 17 and it was the summer before my senior year in high school.  The year I was to fulfill all of the dreams and aspirations my parents had for me up to that point.

I hope to expand on my story in time with this blog - but for now, I'd like to tell you about my first child.  I've typed this line about 10 times now and deleted back and started over - it's that difficult - even now.

My first child's name is Grace Anne.  She was likely conceived in June of 1987 and would have been born sometime in March of 1988 - had I not aborted her on August 22, 1987.  She would be 23 years old this year and when I picture her in my mind now (and I have pictured her for the last 23 years in moments of grace) - I think of her as being 23 years old and with our Lord in Heaven.  I'm not sure what she looks like or what I think she looks like for a few reasons I hope to discuss later on.  When I was pregnant with my other children - the name Grace was on the short list of baby names, but something always nudged me away from the name.  I know now why.

So, on this journey so far, I'd like you to know Grace who is now glorified with our Lord in Heaven and who I like to think of as interceding on my behalf and on the behalf of her sisters.

Just in case you have no idea what it is like to be a post-abortive woman - just typing the above has filled my mind with thoughts from teenage sex that was not even remotely close to what sex is supposed to be about, to the sounds that filled the room the day Grace left my body, to my feeling her with me on retreat with Rachel's Vineyard.

Just for the record, the last 15 minutes or so of turmoil in my mind, heart and spirit while writing this - that's not "health care" and it's not "good for women", any woman.

What is hope?

What is hope?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Temptation to Despair...

Mother Angelica On The Temptation To Despair

Any temptation to despair is not of God, and you need to remember that the enemy wants you to despair. Know your enemy. He's not handing you roses, he's handing you hell. So be careful of any kind of despair. Those temptations come directly from the liar, the enemy who was a liar from the beginning. He cannot give truth. He cannot give beauty. He can't give you anything that is good. He wants to take that good away from you. The only thing he can do to a human being is to encourage him to despair -- what a waste of time it is to listen to a liar. Listen to the Lord, pray for the grace to overcome the temptation, and keep moving.
 - Mother Angelica

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A beautiful expansion on Blessed PJP II's message to postabortive women...

This is a beautiful expansion on Blessed Pope John Paul II's message to women who have had an abortion. This has been and remains my "go-to" piece when the temptation to despair wins yet another victory over me. In Our Lord's good grace, however, it doesn't last as long as it once did.

USCCB - PJP II's Message to Women

Friday, June 17, 2011

An Imaginary Confession: The aborted Child and redemptive Love

An Imaginary Confession: The aborted Child and redemptive Love

A fantastic article. I have thought or spoken just about every word in this imaginary confession. The first priest I confessed my abortion to did not absolve me. It was not a good experience. I have carried the feelings from it around for years. The Church teaching then and now is so vastly different and now I understand why that priest said what he did to me, but the scars remain. Every priest and seminarian should have this at the ready.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Blessed PJP II speaks to women who have had an abortion...

Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life):

"I would like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly."

"If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. You will come to understand that nothing is definitely lost and you will also be able to ask forgiveness from your child, who is now living in the Lord."

"With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone's right to life. Through your commitment to life, whether by accepting the birth of other children or by welcoming and caring for those most in need of someone to be close to them, you will become promoters of a new way of looking at human life."  

The above is an excerpt from the Encyclical letter of Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life) 1995, #99