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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sold-Out For Life, Part 2 - Whose Heart Do You Trust?

Photo Credit: Food For The Poor

What would say to a woman who was raped and wanted an abortion?

She has been wrecked by a wicked crime, and now the poison of evil has brought forth a pregnancy. A pregnancy that would lead to a baby who would share the DNA of a monster...including physical features that would be a daily reminder of the shame giver.

Easy is not in the Christian vernacular (or at least, it shouldn't be).

If you bleed red then your heart cries out for mercy and you empathize with her wanting an abortion. It makes sense. Why traumatize her with a living reminder? Why?

I have not been raped, but I have had an abortion. While I cannot speak for all women, I can say that abortion leaves very similar imprints that rape does: shame, guilt and depression, to name a few. It is a trauma, but one that gets pushed deep down, usually lying dormant for a long time, because while rape is a known evil, abortion is supposed to be okay...just a simple medical procedure. For many women, however, it is not simple at all.

I used to work in a crisis pregnancy clinic where I listened to several women over the period of two and half years tell me that they didn't have a choice, that they had to have an abortion or X,Y, and Z would happen to them (parents would "kill" them, people would know, no money, have to finish school, not ready, etc.). They cried as they watched that second line appear, and they cried as they held their bellies knowing full well that they were about to offer up something more than a clump of cells with that "simple" procedure. They knew. And they hurt.
Rape hurts. Abortion hurts. Women deserve better on both accounts.

Trauma upon trauma doesn't heal a person...it invites deeper pain and longer lasting scars.

Here is the crux of the matter though, it really doesn't matter what we think or how we feel because our hearts are deceitful. We don't have all the information, so to speak, so for us to think we can follow our hearts when they cry for another just won't cut it...it so often leads to wrong, even when we mean it for right. The only heart we can truly trust in is God's heart. He knows all things, he knows the beauty in the speck, and He is more merciful than we could ever dream of being. He is also sold-out for life, because He is the life (and soul) giver. We really don't get it, but He does. We only understand the temporal, but He sees the eternal. There is more.

I hate rape. I hate evil. So while I offer up no easy solutions (there are none), I will also offer up no compromise because I believe in hope. I wrap my arms around the victims of rape and I cry with them and I ache deeply for them. I also hope for them.

Real, messy, hope.

Real, messy, life.

Hope. Life. Trust. I trust the heart of the life-giver, even when my own heart doesn't understand.

"The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure." Jeremiah 17:9

"The hearts of men, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live..." Ecclesiastes 9:3

"For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander." Matthew 15:19

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." Ezekiel 36:26

Holding on to hope works for me.


Carrie said...

There is so much pain in this world. My heart cries out for victims in pain.

But you are right; abortion is not the answer. I'm thankful for women like you, and those volunteering at crisis pregnancy centers. You really are making a difference.

Rachal said...

Very well written! Thank you for speaking out. Many people are either afraid to tell the truth, or water it down to make it more acceptable.
Your compassion shows.... God bless you.

Amber@theRunaMuck said...

This is so so so tough. When I had my abortion, no one told me the pain, so I've been bound to be open about mine. Thank you for your openness, too.

A dear one to my heart recently experienced this, and she suffered intense depression and denial as she opened herself up to the possibility of adoption. She made the lives of an amazing family, and I think she is absolutely the bravest soul I've ever seen. She suffered through a very difficult pregnancy, and now she suffers having put her baby in another mommy's arms. BUT it is so beautiful and right.

It is safe for me to say that until I've been raped, I don't know what it's like to come up against the confusion and anger. The point is, though, that abortion seems like the easiest answer, and that's just not true.

Robin ~ PENSIEVE said...

I was going to reference the Ezekiel passage because I am so thankful my heart has been replaced; what a lovely note to end this unimaginable, painful scenario.

It's so easy to say what "we'd" do until we walk in those shoes. And I guess because I believe even these heinous circumstances don't surprise God, He can use them for the victim's good, His glory, and the advance of the gospel...though that doesn't make any sense at all to me....

I don't know that I could say much to a woman who was impregnated by a rape; I'd just want to cry with her, hold her, let her speak and pleadpray with God to extend His peace.

Debbie said...

So well said! So heart felt! This statement to me is so profound and what moves me the most: Trauma upon trauma doesn't heal a person...it invites deeper pain and longer lasting scars.

I can only imagine the trauma of rape. I too, have experienced the trauma of abortion. No woman needs deeper pain and longer lasting scars... Abortion hurts like nothing else - deep, wounding pain that seeps into other parts of life. Compounding rape with this "answer" is certainly not a good recommendation.

Beautiful post about a devastating topic!

Robin said...

Sara Mae,

Thank you for addressing this. There is so much pain and hurt, but choosing more pain and hurt will not make anything better. The choice would be hard, but we must not trust our wicked hearts to lead us, for we all have wicked, evil hearts. We must fear the Lord and seek His wisdom.

I heard John Stonestreet talk about evil and suffering and one of the things he said really struck me. He said if God took evil out of the world we would all be taken out.

Composing Hallelujahs said...

a have cousin a few years younger than myself and she was raped a few years ago (given a drug at a party). i'm sure it was difficult, but now she has a beautiful little girl and was recently married.

if a woman was truly struggling with the difficulty of the "reminder" factor, i would encourage her to seek out a family who is not able to bare children and turn it into a blessing for someone else.

Bonita said...

So eloquently written. When I was a labor and delivery nurse I had a patient who had the very experience you mentioned only she gave her baby up for adoption. I met her when she was married and giving birth to her second child, first since being married. She was able to enjoy the birth of her child without the guilt of abortion weighing on her conscience. She knew she'd done the best she could for the baby that came from the rape and she was free to focus on the family God was providing for her.

Yes, she was still working through the rape issues to a degree, but she didn't have the added burden of abortion guilt and grief. She had given her first child life and blessed a family with a child they adored and loved deeply.

I feel for these women who have gone through such harrowing experiences. I can't imagine the suffering they endure.

Brittany said...

this is SUCH a difficult topic...and I SO appreciate you tackling it with mercy, grace and love. Never having been in the situation of being raped, I know it's next to impossible to say what I would or wouldn't do, but I've seen the emptiness, hurt and pain in women's eyes that have gone through an abortion. It's a pain I never want to bear.

In speaking to another, I would want to emphasize that our God is the master of making beauty from ashes; remind her that what satan meant for evil, God will use for good. Thank you so much for speaking out, you have so blessed me today!

Anonymous said...

That was so well written with compassion.

I have been raped and I can't imagine having to care such a vile scumbag's child for 9 months or to go through labor and delivery...it would have been a hard decision for me that I thankfully didn't have to make (I wasn't saved when the attack occurred so I probably would have had the abortion).

I do know someone who was in that situation, and whose little girl is such an overwhelming blessing to so many around her.

I think a lot of this is a desire for justice, which our "justice system" does not mete out in these attacks. Many Sex Offenders only get a few years, while the victims get a life sentence. I have one living next door to me. Ugh. I think our internal sense of justice knows that they deserve capital punishment, and since we can't do that legally, we desire to kill the next closest thing...the offspring sired by your attacker, forgetting that the child is also an innocent victim here.

I don't really think that adoption is always the answer either, unless you are completely irresponsible and utterly unable to care for the child yourself. Adoption is a very painful thing. Don't sign any papers on that until after the baby is born would be my advice. Having met many birth moms and adult adoptees, and been through all that myself, there can be lots and lots of pain in that decision too, for both mother and child once they are old enough to understand.

My friend who had a child after rape was called many things...including "selfish" by her pastor for not giving the baby up to a childless couple, and called selfish and "thinking only of herself" when she changed her mind about adoption. We as Christians may not push pregnant rape victims to abort but we do tend to put on double the pressure about adoption...and let's all remember that ultimately it is GOD who gave this child to her and not to the woman we all think is more "worthy". Having stood by my friend I have some, um, passionate feelings on that topic. If a woman chooses that, that's her choice...but I hate seeing someone pressured into a decision with a well intentioned guilt trip that she will have to live with for the rest of her life.

Amanda Jo said...

Well said, Sarah. Thank you for being a champion for the pro-life movement here in the blog world.

Anonymous said...

I was raped by my best friend's husband. I didn't conceive a child from it, but what was I to do if i did? Abortion or adoption isn't easy and both leave nasty scars. Living with a reminder of that incident would be torture. Carrying a child for nine months when my friend didn't know that her husband raped me would have been worse torture. I don't know what I would have picked if I were pregnant but the decision is not simple.

I don't mean that abortion is okay, I just mean that the struggle of rape is bigger than what you could put in a blog post.

(Unsatisfied in OK)

stephanie j. said...

Beautiful, honest, heartfelt and encouraging post for a hurting world...

oh amanda said...

Beautiful post! I knew a girl that was raped and got pregnant. She kept her daughter and eventuallly got married. Her husband loved the little girl like her own...maybe even more.

God DOES bring beauty from ashes...like you said, "Trauma upon trauma doesn't heal a person...it invites deeper pain and longer lasting scars."

Thank you!

Kristy K said...

We live in a fallen world for sure!! And you're so right, Sarah Mae, it's not easy, and I think you've done a wonderful job of putting things in perspective.

Our local paper did a story about a woman who chose to keep the baby that resulted from a rape. Her rapist was African American, so her baby was darker skinned. She also refused a rape kit at the hospital (I'm not sure why, but I think she said it posed a risk to a possible pregnancy). Her sweet husband and two other children accepted her new daughter with open arms and their story is a true example of how God can take something horrible and turn it into something beautiful. The picture they showed in the paper was of her husband sleeping with the baby girl on his chest... she IS his daughter, not the daughter of a rapist.

You have a gift Sarah. Thank you for for sticking with your convictions.

Jenn@Spejory said...

Thanks for your transparency. I am sure this post will help a LOT of women. We were just discussing this subject at my morning Bible study.

I have not had an abortion, but I have been raped and I remember the agony of wondering if I would become pregnant, and what would I do if I were? But I had already decided that if I were, I would keep the baby even though the father had committed such a vile act. It pains me to think that so many women think if they get an abortion, they will make the problem go away, not realizing they will be trading one problem for another kind of pain that will follow them the rest of their lives. Women need our love and honest answers. Not condemnation. Nor the dishonesty they get from society about abortion.

christinnjon said...

There is a dear woman who goes to my church who has suffered through the pains of rape and being impregnated as a result. She still carries the pain with her, and she has kept her son and is raising him. He just turned 6 and he has a heart for Jesus! Even she is still learning all that God has for her and her son. No, she doesn't understand it all, but she is clinging to Jesus and trusting Him - her cries show it week after week. His strength shows in her face.

Proverbs 27:19 said...

I have a family member who was raped and became pregnant because of it. She decided to keep the baby, however, she received much backlash from other members of our family.

They told her that if she wanted to have a child that bad then adopt, (she was not married). They also tried to make her think that she would be "unfit" because she served in the U.S. Air Force and what if she had to go away and leave the child too much. I mean it just went on and on, even up to her son's birth.

"You know you can put him up for adoption right?" was one of the comments made shortly after he was born. Then of course the question of her telling her son about how his father came up.

"You're not going to tell him are you?" In spite of, she pressed on because she belived in life, regardless of how it was concieved. I just think that it's funny how they wanted her to kill life but then "save" a life by offering an orphan a home.


Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

I agree with you Sarah Mae, but I'm sure it must be a heart-wrenching decision for women to make.

But God creates life and even though we don't understand why some things happen - it is all for His glory and our good. We will all suffer trials in this life - of one kind or another.

Being caring, compassionate, praying, telling the truth, and relying on the Lord are some of the ways we can help other women. And you do all of that so well Sarah Mae!

Debbie said...

I noted previously that I had an abortion (about 22 years ago). I also gave a son up for adoption 21 years ago. While both experiences were painful, SO MUCH HEALING came through the adoption experience.

I suffered with Post Abortion Syndrome for many years, not knowing it for what it was. At times, I fell into such black depression that one day I went to the medicine cabinet to see what I could find to overdose with.

But when I saw my reflection in the mirror, I immediately thought of the son I'd given up and wondered what he would think of me and how taking my life might affect him. It broke me and I never sought that route again.

In the end, the adoption actually saved my life. And my son is now a grown young man with the best mom in the world - that I got to pick!

'm saying all of this because I've experienced both sides of this spectrum - never as a result of rape - but I can tell you that the backlash, the scorn, the judgment I faced during my pregnancy coupled with the PAS I suffered - was always met head on with the fact that I chose to give my son life. And nothing could ever take that away.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for such a beautifully written piece. I have never understood how so many feel it is acceptable to punish the child for the violent act of the attacker.

Beth in NC said...

You are so awesome to be putting this stuff on the table. I haven't had an abortion, but if I had gotten pregnant in high school, I'm sure that would have been a plan back then.

I have too many friends who HAVE had abortions and they have been tormented for years over it. The death, depression, the void, the sounds that day, etc ... Only through Christ have they received healing (after years of torment).

I can't imagine being raped. It would have to be one of the MOST HORRIBLE things in the world.

It is just a horrible situation, but what satan means for harm and to destroy -- God can definitely use for good. Love conquers all! His love.

Bless you!