I've mentioned before that I'm grateful for the invisible scars that remain from my abortion experience, even though I don't always tap into that gratitude. About a year ago I had surgery for some skin cancer and ironically I have a not too pretty scar right above my heart. Because of the irregular shape and size of the incision, the scar is quite ragged, but I've taken a liking to it. It's become a tangible reminder to me of the stitched up scars on my heart beneath. I have scars from two Cesarean sections from having my two girls, I've come to think of this one above my heart as Grace's scar since I never gave birth to her. Scars can be a reminder that our past is real, or so they say, and I'm grateful that Grace has become real to me and I wouldn't change anything that's happened in the last few years. This ugly scar that is in plain sight for all to see has become a reminder that my wounds don't change how anyone feels about me. The wound heals, the pain subsides, but it still itches sometimes. It will here forever, it's just part of me, but it's not all that I am.
After I first spoke the word abortion out loud to the Good Father who then wrote down the number for Rachel's Vineyard and gave it to me, my life was forever changed. I began this journey that continues today and will forever, which is okay because I've learned that the journey won't end this side of Heaven. I've also learned a lot that makes the journey bearable down here.
My faith has blossomed on this journey in countless ways on this post-abortion walk. I've rediscovered my Church in so many, ridiculously beautiful ways. I've learned more in the last three years than I ever did in years and years of CCD classes. I've read and read and read some more, anything I could get my hands on. I've read the Bible - not cover to cover, but I'm not afraid to open it anymore and I actually understand some of it. I try to read the daily readings every day. I've learned to really pray the rosary. I've learned to pray, period. I don't think I'm very good at it, but rumor has it, Jesus doesn't care. I've learned how to love God with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind - and how that doesn't mean I love my husband or children any less. I've learned to love most of my neighbors and have compassion for people I hadn't before. I've learned so much about our beautiful Mass and what it all means and symbolizes. The Eucharist has become so very much a part of my life and those few seconds after each communion are some of the most joyous moments in my life - just to be with Him and in Him and Him in me. I've studied and learned the truths of our faith and I'm all in with every single one of them. What a relief to know what is true and what is not. I've learned what thoughts I have and "voices" I hear are of God and which aren't. I've learned to stop the thoughts that aren't of God and I'm getting better and better at it. I've learned that the fear after a sweat-inducing nightmare can be quelled with a quiet Hail Mary said over and over until I fall back asleep. I've learned that memories are just that, memories and the only power they have over me is the power I give them. I've learned that I am never, ever, alone. I've learned that Jesus really does love me and He really does listen to me and He really cares about what I have to say. I've learned that I was created in His image out of His love for me. I've learned that I can speak to Mary about all of my fears about being a good wife and mother and she hears me and comes to my assistance. I've learned that most people who I tell that I've had an abortion react with love and kindness and understanding.
This is just a bit of what I've learned and discovered on my journey so far. I kind of can't wait to see what else I learn and discover, and I'm fully aware that I can't learn or grow if I'm too depressed to even get out of bed. So, I continue to be a work in progress, but for now I seem to be progressing in a positive direction - even now - on this night.
So, tomorrow I will mark the anniversary of my abortion by spending my day as God willed my life to be, as a wife and mother, as a daughter, sister, and friend. Then, hopefully tomorrow evening I'll be able to go to adoration and sit with Him for a while.
Thank you, Grace, for leading me to all of these places along the way and meeting me there. Thank you Jesus for the scars I bear from wounds that haven't killed me, but have made me stronger and brought me closer and closer to You.