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.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

I'm a sinner! Who are you? Are you a sinner too?

Whew. It has not been a fun few weeks let me tell you. But, I’m still here. I still feel kind of wobbly and uncertain, but I’m still here. I do feel, thanks be to God, a lot better now than I did just a few weeks ago. I’m sleeping a bit better. No nightmares for the last week. I've started walking and I've walked 6 times in the last 2 weeks! I still think about suicide, but it's not as oppressive as it was. I've enjoyed some good days with my family. I'm trying not to spend as much time in my room, alone.  And I spent one, glorious night with an entire bottle of wine and forgot about everything for a while.  That was fun.  The morning after, not so much, but fun while it lasted.  Everything in moderation, as they say.

I knew Mother's Day could go in any of many directions and it went in a bad one for a while.  I ended up hightailing out of my home and away from my family because I just couldn't fake it until bed time that day, not for another second.  I drove to the nearby retreat center where I attended both of my Rachel's Vineyard's retreats.  I sat for a while.  Then some other people showed up so I got back in my car and headed to another retreat center that isn't too far and there is a beautiful, peaceful, sacred little chapel and I found myself alone there for a few hours.  The wind was whipping up outside and the sound of it coming through the old building in the dimness of the chapel with its stone walls and high ceiling made it feel like Heaven, or somewhere closer to Him.  I sat there for a good long while arguing with myself and God.  I had to make a decision that day to live or die and if I was going to live, well then I had to figure out a way to do just that.

I'm not naive enough to say that this will be the last time I sink down into a pit of depression.  Especially now that I've kind of sworn off any medication, it's inevitable that it will happen again and again.  I hope I remember whatever it was that started to bring me out of it because something always brings me out of it.  I've spoken about always just having the tiniest bit of something inside that keeps me alive.  Hopefully, with each time I'll remember sooner and sooner to tap into that tiny part of me where, obviously, He dwells, and remember why I'm here.

It was kind of the perfect storm leading up to Mother's Day.  I was following the Gosnell trial with voracity and then all of the other under cover videos that Live Action was putting out there.  I prayed outside the abortion clinic the Saturday before Mother's Day.  I was thinking that I was fighting the good fight, but all of the coverage that I was consuming all day long was eating away at me in ways I don't think I recognized clearly.  I even posted about Gosnell and how everyone was so up in arms about his particular brand of abortion and how it was no different than the abortion that I had.  Which, following the logic, makes me no different than Gosnell himself when it comes down to brass tacks.

Reading and watching and analyzing all of the condemnation of Gosnell by everyone on blogs, on social media, and on the news once the story took off - I think I began to believe all of the same about myself.  Why? Because some of it was true!  Gosnell performed however many abortions - I had an abortion.  In my mind it was the same thing.  It's still the same thing.  It started to become that every time I read his name or heard it said I would crumple in on myself a bit more.  The whispers would begin... see, you did that too.  Your baby was ripped limb from limb and put in a jar.  You're no better than he is.  Stabbed in the back of the neck or sucked through a cannula - it's all the same thing.

A bit of a repreieve came when the verdict came in guilty as charged on so many counts.  And just as quickly, the discussion turned to saving Gosnell from the death penalty.  The argument began to surface about mercy for Gosnell.  Whoa - wait just a damn minute... mercy? For him?

Yes.  Mercy for Gosnell.  Mercy for me.  Mercy for us all.

When Abby Johnson first came onto the scene, I had similar feelings towards her.  Wait just a damn minute.... we're going to give her a pass because she suddenly figured out what she was doing was wrong?  How's that fair?  I didn’t want to like her. I wanted to hate her, condemn her. I was guilty of thinking that she didn’t deserve anything good. Abby was the counselor who spoke to me before I had my abortion.   Abby was the woman holding my hand as I lay on that table with silent tears falling down my cheeks. Abby was the woman who gave me three months worth of “the Pill” as I walked out the door of that clinic. Abby was all the girls and women afterwards that I tried to befriend and align myself with in the hopes of coping with what I had done. So, now Abby Johnson gets mercy?

Yes.  Mercy for Abby Johnson.  Mercy for me.  Mercy for us all.  

So, let's take the whole abortion argument out of it altogether.  What about just a your run-of-the-mill sinner?  What do they deserve?  What if I never had an abortion?  What if my biggest sin was premarital sex and some vulgar language?  Tell me then what would I deserve?  What we all deserve, quite frankly – hell. But, thanks be to God – there is abundant mercy and infinite grace to be had. Too often I forget that part. Too often do I minimize the abundance of His mercy.  All too often do I become consumed with my own little pity party when instead I should be on my knees 24/7 thanking Him for sparing me from the loss of Heaven.  In all of my narcissistic self loathing I forget that He loves me. 

Thank God - for He has placed in the tiniest recesses of my tortured and scarred heart a tiny place where only He dwells.  Where from he reminds me that He loved me into being and everything that I have is because of Him in spite of myself.  And that is what I must cling to for dear life, with slippery fingers and the Devil himself stomping up and down on my knuckles trying to get me to just… let … go.

He loves me.

He loves Kermit Gosnell.  He loves Abby Johnson.  We are all the same sinners and we all can be awash in mercy and forgiveness and love whenever we ask for it. Sometimes, I forget to ask.  Or, sometimes I ask, but I don't listen to the answer or wait for a response.  Hopefully the next time I feel a backslide coming on, I'll run a little faster to Him.  Maybe I'll meet him halfway.  Maybe someday, I'll never leave His side.


  1. Thank you for pouring your heart and soul out here for other post-abortive moms to relate to and be encouraged by. What you've said here is heart-wrenching because I see myself in your story. But I also see myself loved unconditionally by Him because of your eloquent and powerful reminder of HIS infinite grace. I pray you are at peace today and in the days ahead. We have the hope of Heaven, and the hope of reuniting with our lost children to look forward to. Blessings, Joan Richey Canning, OH Regional Coordinator Silent No More Awareness

  2. that's the best thing I could ever hope for by writing, or typing, all of this out. Thank you so much for sharing with me and for all of the good work that you do.

  3. I listened to a sermon just this morning, about in the Bible how Paul said he was the "Chief of All Sinners" because of his persecuting followers of Jesus and even having them killed or put in jail. But later, he changed his name from Saul to Paul, follows Jesus (the very person he used to hate) and he becomes a saint! The bottom line of the message was, if there's hope for Paul, there's hope for all. I bet Paul wishes people wouldn't think he was so great because he can still see the blood on his hands too, but he knows God loves him. I don't want to minimize your low feelings because I have those too, suicidal even, but as you said, I also have something tiny inside me that helps me to keep going. I do have hope, because God loves me.

  4. So glad to hear you are doing better, if only a bit. I was a bit upset that all of the LiveAction stuff came out around Mother's Day, it just seems insensitive to so many.

    Continued prayers for you. I think you should print this post, fold it up and keep it in your purse, a reminder to yourself to cling to him. That His Mercy is for you, and that you are worthy of it, without question, without exception.

  5. Dear Grace,
    That's an ironic name to find at the end of this post! I have a couple of thoughts for you b'c I battle with depression and self-condemnation also. If a sin is a sin is a sin, which I actually agree with you about (primarily because even one sin makes me a sinner, and whether I have sinned once or a billion times Jesus paid for them all!), and you are no better than Gosnell, than you are no worse than Mother Teresa (or fill in whoever is the most worthy, holy person you can think of). Without God's grace and Jesus' blood, even the Pope is too filthy to enter God's presence.
    Another thought I have for you is that rather than comparing yourself to the worst sinner who still believes he has done nothing wrong, compare yourself to the apostle Paul. He literally hunted Christians--in the name of God--until God confronted him on the road to Damascus and struck him blind! You do not continue to do the evil that you once were a part of; you have repented of this evil and now you fight against it! You are not Kermit Gosnell; you are apostle Paul!
    Finally, please read Romans 8, at least the first verse. "There is, therefore, now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!" If the Creator of the universe (and you, and your babies) does not condemn you, why do you condemn yourself? Grace doesn't make sense. It is very hard to accept. It is a leap of faith, but he promises us that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. It doesn't say "If we confess our sins and then go serve as a missionary in Africa" or "If we confess our sins and never sin again", b'c it is not about us, it is about Him! Miss Grace, I feel like you and I probably fight some of the same battles. I will look forward to reading more!

  6. Have you heard about Iman?

  7. Ma'am,

    I hope you consulted with a physician before going off medication for depression. For your own safety, you know. Nevertheless, am encouraged by your ongoing story. It gives me hope that maybe, maybe one day this all will stop.


  8. my prayers for you go on...that you will know Heaven's strength more intimately than your own weakness.