Exposing the Darkness

***Warning: This is a post on abortion with some graphic detail from my personal experience.*** If you have had an abortion, this may not be a post that you want to read. However, if abortion is a part of your story and you find yourself struggling with pain, guilt or shame, please know that God loves you, so much! And that you need only to come to Him. He is with us always…even in our darkest moments. And His love covers EVERY sin. At the end of this post, there is a song that I believe the Lord laid on my heart for those who feel unworthy to come to Him. I hope you will listen to it…and allow it to be a healing balm from the One who longs to lavish His love on you. (Scroll to bottom for song.)

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For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. Ephesians 5:8-13

Lately, there has been a lot of political activity happening, concerning abortion. My social media is abuzz with memes and articles defending both sides of the debate. I have seen some good points made…on both sides. I have also seen some pretty hateful things said…on both sides. Good or bad, debates are not won – and minds and hearts are not changed – via social media. Most arguments end in something like: “Don’t judge me!” “No one has a right to tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body!” “It’s a woman’s right!” “What if she was raped?!” “It’s a baby!” “Abortion is murder!” “How can anyone be so cruel!” “Anyone who does this (abortion) should rot in hell!”

I have remained mostly quiet on the subject. It’s a sensitive one for me. The abortion debate, for me, is both absolute – and murky – at the same time. I hear the typical rhetoric…but I also hear the hearts behind the words. There are hurting hearts on both sides of the debate.

And there is also a God…who never changes.

I’d like to share my experience with abortion. It’s not something that I talk about much. I wish it wasn’t part of my story. However, because it is, I am hoping that God will use my experiences for good…and for His glory. 

Let me begin by saying that, I have never had an abortion. 

Instead, my experience has been as the surgical technician who handed the instruments to the doctor performing the abortion. I have been there for the entire procedure…from picking out the instruments and supplies to cleaning up after the case and discarding the remains of the pregnancy. 

I have been the medical technician who handed the patient a referral for an abortion, because we did not do them in the office. 

And I have been the the woman in ministry who has walked with women through grief, pain and shame…loving them and pointing them to a God who forgives and who wants them to forgive themselves. 

When I was a surgical technician (20+ years ago), I was still of the mindset that I could probably never have an abortion, but who was I to tell another woman what to do with her body. To be honest, I didn’t really give it much thought beyond that. Abortion became legal the year before I was born, so it was just a part of life…a necessary evil. I carried on with this mindset until the Holy Spirit revealed something to me, at the end of one of my surgical cases.

As a twelve-hour night technician, I usually worked by myself or with minimal staffing…finishing up late cases as the rest of the O.R. headed home; preparing for the next day’s cases; and covering any emergency procedures that might come up during the night. This was also a time for doctors to bring in sensitive cases – oftentimes involving hospital personnel – that they didn’t necessarily want to perform during the day when we had a full staff present. 

It was my last night as a twelve-hour night technician before returning to a regular day schedule. I received word that I needed to set up for an emergency D&C. I was confused as to why the procedure wasn’t just tacked onto the next day’s schedule, until I saw the patient. It was someone I recognized from the medical dorms (I was in the Air Force, at the time). To respect her privacy, I avoided eye contact and just carried on with my duties while the nurse took care of patient interaction. Because we were a training hospital, there were a couple of interns helping with the case, as well. 

The procedure was carried out, as usual, and as I started to gather up my instrumentation and begin the clean-up process, one of the interns asked if he could cut open the suction bag in order to identify the contents of the pregnancy. Although this was something that should have been done after every D&C – to ensure that nothing was left behind in the uterus that may cause infection – this was a first for me.

The intern laid the bag on my back table, cut it open, and began to root around in the blood and tissue. First, he found an arm, severed just above a tiny bent elbow. It was a perfect little arm and hand. Next, a fully formed leg…and then another leg. And then the kidneys, the other arm, and so on. This went on for about 5-6 minutes as the intern, essentially, reassembled…a baby.

Once he was satisfied with reassembly, he turned and helped transfer the patient from bed to gurney, and everyone left the room.

And there I was. Faced with the reality of what abortion truly is. In that moment, the reasons why it needed to be done didn’t matter. I had always thought that D&C’s were a violent procedure to begin with…this just made it even more so. For the first time, I felt the loss of life and my heart was grieved. As much as I wanted to quickly clean up and forget what had just happened, I couldn’t move. It’s like I needed to sit with the revelation until it had truly sunk in. The only thing I could think was, “Oh my God, it’s a baby. It’s a BABY.” 

I’m not sure how long I stood there. But once I was able to move again (my arms now feeling as heavy as lead), I began to gather up the garbage from my back table – along with the contents of the pregnancy – and threw it all away in the biohazard trash bag, destined for the incinerator. 

I didn’t know it then, but that moment would play an integral part in my own pregnancy story. It was just four days later that I found out that I was pregnant with my first child.

My husband and I had only been married for three months. I’ve heard people speak of the first year of marriage as being like an extended honeymoon. That was not the case for us. The first year was hard…really hard. I lost count of how many times I contemplated divorce during that first year.

I also wasn’t so sure about having a baby.

It was a dark time and I was in a very dark place. The decision to not have a child at that time may have been an option, if it wasn’t for the revelation that had taken place in that operating room.

Women have their reasons. 

Yes, many use abortion as birth control. I saw those women – some, repeat offenders – come rolling through the O.R. They bought the lie that a fetus is just a clump of tissue. The lie that so many of us accepted as truth, either in ignorance or, in order to ease our consciences. 

And some have reasons that will break your heart. As a woman who spent over a decade in women’s ministry, I can tell you that there have been stories that led to abortion that wrecked me for days. Stories of force and violence and betrayal and abandonment…with a very broken woman left to pick up the pieces. 

Yes, women have their reasons…their very real reasons.

But, God.

Oftentimes, it’s easy for us to disregard the preciousness of each individual life (no matter how they came to be or how “imperfect” they are), because we are so unaware of just how precious we, ourselves, are to our Creator. Even professing Christians struggle to comprehend just how cherished, loved, and delighted in that we are by our Father in Heaven. And if the Christian struggles, those who do not know Christ are certainly not going to have a clue.

We also have an enemy who is hell-bent on making sure that we do not know the love of God. He sneaks around in the shadows, seeking to devour us. Sometimes, he shows up disguised as love, enticing us to give ourselves away to something that looks like love, but in the end, leads to the death of a baby. Sometimes he works through a man who does not see the preciousness of a woman, enticing him to violate her in the most appalling ways. Sometimes he works through the mother of a seventeen year old girl – a young girl who made some wrong choices, but wants to keep her baby – and instead of helping her daughter, mom follows her to the O.R. and stands outside the door until her daughter is under anesthesia, to ensure that her daughter goes through with the abortion.

These aren’t just stories, for me. There is a name and face behind every example.

Satan is a liar and the father of lies. He tells us that it’s not a baby, but just a clump of tissue. He tells us that it’s just a fetus and it doesn’t feel pain. He tells us that it’s our right…that we have the right to decide what we do with “our” bodies (even though science has proven that the fetus is separate, with it’s own DNA).

We buy the lies. The world tells us, “Do what feels good and don’t worry about the consequences.” “No worries!”

But God, through His Word has said:

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.James 1:13-18

It is the enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy…but Jesus came to give us life – abundant life! (Jn.10:10) The enemy works in the shadows – in darkness…but God is light. (1Jn.1:5-7) And not only is God light, but He also calls us to walk in the light as He is in the light. Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), drawing us away by our own evil desires. But those desires – that feel good in the moment – will always lead to death. 

We need to understand just who our enemy is and how he operates, so that he might not outwit us, for we are not unaware of his schemes. (2 Corinthians 2:10-11)

Our enemy is not the protester screaming “My body, my choice!” Our enemy is not the “christian” screaming Bible verses outside of an abortion clinic. Our enemy is not the woman walking out of the abortion clinic with a recently emptied womb. Our enemy is not the man who raped her. Our enemy is not even the doctor who tore the baby out, limb by limb. There is forgiveness and freedom waiting for every single one of those individuals if they repent – turning from their sin and surrendering their life to Jesus who, because of His great love, died for each of them.

Our enemy is Satan.

For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.Luke 8:17

The enemy has operated in the darkness of abortion for too long. I believe the current political climate is God shedding light on what has been going on in secret…and the enemy is reacting. God has been exposing this darkness for awhile now, but we continue to carry on with our day-to-day lives as though evil does not exist. A remnant has been shouting truth…but the world labels those messengers “crazy” or “conspiracy theorists.” And the children of God have been asleep.

But now is our moment. Now is the time to do what we are called to do: if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14) He is not talking to the world – He is talking to HIS PEOPLE, His followers.

When the Freedom Tower, at Ground Zero, was lit up pink in celebration of the choice to terminate a pregnancy up to the time of birth, I believe it was a message…from the enemy to God. It was on this same ground, in St. Paul’s Chapel, that our country was dedicated to God. And love him or hate him, God has been working through President Trump to overturn abortion laws. Of course that is something Satan is going to fight, because he demands child sacrifice! Although it has taken a slightly different form, child sacrifice has been around for a long time (ex. Ba’al/Molech worship). But the enemy is overplaying his hand because Christians are gettin’ woke and those who were indifferent about abortion – much like I used to be – are beginning to see it for what it is…an abomination.

Molech by Charles Foster c.1897 {{PD}}  Wikimedia Commons

I would like to close with this. We are to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 31:8-9). This is for the babies, YES! And it is also for the women who have aborted and now live in pain, guilt and shame…whether they realize they are carrying those burdens, or not. Sometimes guilt is stifled and redirected to harmful behavior…and sometimes, it comes out as justification and defiance. No matter how it manifests, there is great pain behind it. And we are called to LOVE. Because love covers a multitude of sins (Proverbs 10:12; 1 Peter 4:8). The love of Jesus in the shedding of His blood to wash away all of our sins…and the love we are called to give as His followers.

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV

Brothers and sisters, stand up for life – but please do it in a loving manner. Evil is real and pain is overwhelming and destructive. Love those who are hurting and allow Jesus to change their hearts. Loving someone, even if you are opposed to their decisions, is not compliance or agreement. Trust me, if they know you’re a Christian, then they know what you are against. And oftentimes, it can feel like you are against them. However, there comes a moment when the Holy Spirit reveals truth to a lost or hurting soul. They will want nothing more than to turn to a place where they know they will be safe and loved…understood. By the power of the Holy Spirit, be that space – be that person – be that light.

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:5-7

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Here is the song I mentioned at the beginning of this post. I pray it brings hope and healing. Be Blessed, Beloved.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Dawn Ivey says:

    I was 19 when I got pregnant with my daughter and my platoon sergeant (I was in the army at the time) suggested I end the pregnancy. He said I was young and had my whole life ahead of me. I’m thankful I didn’t. My mom had always encouraged me not to do that if I ever got pregnant. My daughter is 22 now and my only child. Like you say, I’m glad that we always have God’s forgiveness no matter what we’ve done in our lives.

    Like

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