Toni's Journeyfriend of God, wife, mom, advocate
Life is a journey, and we all get to have our own story...
I was in shock and disbelief when I went to the women’s clinic near the college I was attending in Ohio. My period was late, but I never expected to hear the words, “You’re pregnant.” I didn’t know what to do first: yell, cry, or run away. I did know however, that I couldn’t tell my parents. I was “the good quiet one” in the family. If I told them I was pregnant, the mask I had created and been wearing for the last nine years would fall off and be destroyed. Lord knows I kept wearing the mask until I was 50, but that’s a story for another time.
It was Thanksgiving, 1980. Like most college students, I went home to visit my family for the holiday. Being home during Thanksgiving was always a very busy time. My brother was one of the stars on the local high school football team, so of course we attended the big game. We all loved watching my brother play.
While a few of us were gathered in the kitchen that Thanksgiving, my mom asked, “Guess who’s pregnant?” I held my breath for a few seconds, heart racing. I had no idea how she could have found out. Then again, I believed my mom had eyes in the back of her head; it was uncanny how much she could find out. Still holding my breath, the conversation continued. Mom answered the question she presented and said, “Your Aunt Kathy.” Aunt Kathy was standing in the kitchen with us during Mom’s announcement, so I kissed her on the cheek and congratulated her. That was a close call, a little too close. I needed to do something about my pregnancy, and I would, when I returned to school.
The night before my planned abortion, I drank and used heavy drugs. By the time my appointment rolled around I was terribly hung over. As I drove myself to the clinic I thought, “This is crazy. What am I thinking? I should have had someone drive me.” Clearly, at that point I was not thinking much of anything.
When I arrived at the clinic, which was very upscale, they asked me if I had eaten anything. “Yes”, I replied. The woman behind the counter said, “You can’t have this procedure today because you ate something.” I was so discouraged. I asked the woman if she was sure. She responded in the same way and added that as per clinic policy, I would not be allowed to have my abortion that day. I couldn’t believe it. It was the beginning of December, well into my second trimester.
On the drive home, the city was desolate. It was 7:30 AM on a Saturday, so no one was on the road. I felt so alone, and now frantic. I had really messed things up this time. I could not have this baby.
For starters, I believed that my child would be severely deformed because of the heavy drugs, alcohol, and smoking I was doing. On top of that, I couldn’t let my parents know that I was pregnant outside of marriage. As for the father of the baby, well, he didn’t have much to say about the situation. He basically allowed me to make the decision on my own.
I decided to make another appointment, this time at an inner-city clinic. You can probably guess that it was not as nice as the previous clinic, but I was prepared this time around and ate nothing before the procedure. The date was December 10, 1980. It was a very sad day in my life, one I will always remember.
Up until then, my past was littered with the debris of unhealthy relationships and people pleasing. For years I suffered silently, feeling unloved, rejected, and unworthy of love because of it. As if that weren’t enough, I was about to plunge head long into the throws of deep, dark despair. Depression, loneliness, suicidal thoughts and bouts of uncontrollable crying became my life.
If I could have stopped my 21-year-old self from making that decision, I would have in a heartbeat. It was one of the worst decisions I ever made. As a result of this abortion wound, I would continue to make bad decisions in an attempt to cover up my sins.
All the while, Jesus would be watching me, weeping for me. He knew the destructive path I would continue down for many years and His heart broke with mine the day I aborted my beautiful, baby boy.
Now, I am 59 years old. I became a born-again believer in Jesus Christ at the age of 34. I started my abortion recovery journey on September 11, 2006.
I have dedicated my life, my resources, my time, and my energy into abortion recovery and healing for myself and other women.
This is my story, and God has used it for my good and His glory! I am so grateful for Jesus’s mercy upon me, His forgiveness of my sins, and for cleansing me from all my unrighteousness. I am a new creation in Christ; old things are passed away; behold all things have become new! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
I have a new life, a new purpose, and a new song all because of Jesus, my beautiful Savior.
You are in a safe place Beloved; my team and I are ready to walk with you on this healing journey.
Read my post entitled: MY MASK OF PERFECTION
Thank you for pain Lord because without it I might not have found you.
Jeremiah 29:13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
Pain is a good thing; it makes me aware that there is a problem. I believe God gives us the ability to feel pain to let us know something is wrong and needs our attention.
I never developed a voice when I was younger; instead, I stuffed all my feelings from the time I was a very young child through my late 20’s and early 30’s. It was during that time that my health was failing, and I was experiencing all kinds of pains in my joints and lower back, fatigue, and depression. The doctors thought I had Lyme disease, so they started me on antibiotics.
When I didn’t improve, they doubled my dosage, which caused me to get antibiotic poisoning. Because of this high dosage, my blood pressure dropped and so did my body temperature; I felt horrible. I just needed some relief. I believe God used my health issues to get my attention.
I was having an emotional breakdown as well. All the stuffing I had done throughout my life was starting to come out sideways, and I had no control over my anger and rage. I felt shame and guilt after my outbursts because of the things I would do and say. I would kick out windows and punch walls. I would grind my teeth and growl. It was a scary sight, especially for my children. I was out of control.
I was so broken and was barely able to make it through the day. I was tired of wearing the mask and pretending. I just wanted to be loved and accepted for who I was.
Because of my fear of rejection and abandonment, I was terrified to take the mask off and be open and vulnerable. But, wearing the mask became increasingly more difficult and exhausting to do.
I couldn’t pretend anymore that my life was perfect when in fact it was falling apart.
In my past I used drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, cigarettes, shopping, anything to help me cope with the pain. I needed something or someone to take my pain away because those things stopped working for me.
I was getting tired of waking up on the bathroom floor after a night of drinking and thinking, “I don’t want my kids to think this is ok.” I needed help, desperately.
I never learned to communicate properly in my home of origin. As a result, I stuffed and held back my feelings of hurt or disappointment. I couldn’t even ask for what I needed.
All that pain of not being heard or having a voice was a very heavy burden on me.
I had allowed others to manipulate, abuse, and control me all my life. I believed I was not a person of value or worth, because if I were, people would have treated me differently. I recognized that I enabled this unhealthy behavior because I had no boundaries and I did not love and respect myself.
How could I expect others to treat me with love, kindness, and respect when deep down I believed I deserved to be abused, especially after my abortion?
I finally came to the end of myself and was willing to give God a try.
I knew I was messing up my life and really had nothing left to lose. It was just after Christmas, 1993. I was painting my daughter’s room and I heard a message about Sarah and Abraham. The Holy Spirit started drawing me and gave me boldness to go and talk to my husband. I went downstairs and said, “What time is church tomorrow?” I thought he was going to fall off the couch.
“9:30”, he replied.
“I would like to go to church tomorrow with you.”
“Great, we need to leave around 9:00.”
“Good, I’ll be ready.”
At the time, we were attending two separate churches on Sundays: the kids and I went to one church, and my husband another. But things were about to change, radically.
That Sunday in January 1994, for the first time, I heard that Jesus died on the cross for my sins!!! It blew me away. I had never heard preaching like this.
Within 4 weeks, I surrendered my life to Jesus, confessed my sins, and received the gift of forgiveness that God freely gives to all who cry out to Him.
On February 6, 1994 I was born again.
It was the sweetest most beautiful day of my life.
Finally, I found someone who could take away my pain, shame, guilt, and sin. What a beautiful Savior.
So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find;
knock, and it will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds,
and to him who knocks,
it will be open.
How has God used pain to get your attention?