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A Wretch Redeemed - Guest Blog by Natalie

Updated: Mar 6, 2023



What I am going to talk about is hard. It’s not easy to read. It’s messy and painful. But this has been a testimony of mine in the making for many years. God has always told me, in many different ways and times in my life, that my story would be used to heal others’ hearts. I never wanted to tell this story, but God had other plans. I just pray that anyone who sticks aroundto read this is changed. Whether they find God’s grace or feel a new sense of purpose to share the truth with a lost group of people- I just pray over this, that it would bring God the glory.


I think I’ve been so afraid to tell my story because a few opposing outcomes can arise from this. Firstly, while the church is beautiful, it is not perfect. And there may be some people that I have come to know and love that will never look at me the same. They may judge me for my past and label me. And this always terrified me. If I continue to serve in our church, there might be whispers or side glances, friendships ruined or new opportunities squandered for me and my family. But what I have been feeling more and more in my heart is the second avenue- what God could do with it. God could use this testimony to call other women who have made thesame mistakes into His grace. God could use these words to touch lives that have been weighed down by guilt and shame. God could use a wretch like me to bring Him glory. I’m going with that instead. So please hear my heart. This is such a hard part of my life to share, but if one woman could find freedom in this; it was worth.


Nearly one in four women in the United States. That’s the statistic. That’s how important this topic is. As a body of believers, we speak on this topic often. Yet somehow, we usually miss the mark in a way. So many organizations and nonprofits dedicate their whole careers to this one thing but rarely speak as publicly to the damage; to the aftermath. What I’m talking about is abortion. While I know these companies have the tools and resources to provide emotional support for these women, what I have come to believe is- so often the vigor at which the church publicly fights for the opposite outcome can set up a disconnect for the woman suffering the shame of their decision to find the healing the church could provide.


I have sat in the deafening silence of my abortion for over a decade. It wasn’t until recently that I felt called to share it. What I want to start with is a message for parents. Church attendance is not a guaranteed deflection of this issue. I was raised in the church. I knew right from wrong. I sat in church multiple times a week and heard the word of God. I knew the truth. And yet my past is proof that this topic needs to be met head-on with a sense of transparency and reality. Please have an open and honest conversation about this topic with your kids. Share this story with them. This could happen to anyone. And does. As I mentioned, the statistic is one in four women (and it is thought to be even higher in the church) will have an abortion before they’re 50. These are your daughters. These are your sons.


I was nineteen when I saw the positive pregnancy test. I was freshly graduated and in community college. I was dating a nice boy from church. No one would have believed that we were involved in sexual sin. And yet the devil already had his hooks in us. Having been a young believer, a youth group leader, and a worship leader, the guilt I felt from my actions ran deeper than I could put into words. The painful reality hit us both differently, but both paths led to the same conclusion- abortion. It’s hard to explain how I was so easily deceived. I was saved, I had the word of God in my heart. And yet the sweet callings from the world promising me a re-do, a do-over, were louder than anything else. My mom and I were not close during this time in my life. I had this idea that if I were to tell her the truth, she would never love me again. We already had a fragile relationship and one more thing would break the camel’s back. Additionally, it didn’t feel like an option to find a trusted older, and wiser Christian at church to confide in. I never heard anyone talk about the reality of teen pregnancy in the church, other than the marches and picketers screaming “abortion is murder” outside of clinics. The silence on this topic in my church led me to believe that I needed to do this on my own. And after a conversation with the guy I was dating, it was clear that he wanted out. Now there was no one left. No one was there to help me or support me. It was the loneliest I have ever been. So, I let the world steal me away into a lie. I let myself believe that abortion would solve all my problems. And instead, I was set on a path of destruction.


The pain of abortion is so personal. It is so deeply intertwined with the soul. I am sure that every person knows someone, or has personally experienced the pain of miscarriage. Anyone who has lived through this kind of loss will tell you that no one else could understand the pain like they could. It’s personal. It’s individual. It’s something that only they carry the way that they do. While it is heartbreaking for others; to mom, it’s heartbreaking to the point that it becomes life-changing. A scar now forever marks their heart and soul. And I want you to understand that this same pain is caused by abortion. But it’s self-inflicted. It’s a bullet straight to our hearts and we’re the ones holding the gun. The Bible tells us that from the moment of conception, we are being actively formed in our mother’s womb. God’s work is being done in that woman’s body. His fingerprints are placed on her abdomen as He writes the story of another soul. I believe the pain we feel so deeply is because, without recognizing it at the moment, we felt God using us for something bigger than ourselves. Psalm 139:13 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb”. A woman is God’s conduit for bringing life into being.


I want to believe that if I could go back and quiet my heart moments after the pregnancy test, I would have heard God's voice speaking over my life; over the fear. But I was not ready to listen. Instead of focusing on the face of Jesus, I focused on the devil's words – “too young, no support, so much life ahead of you”. And I fell for it, as so many women do. I could never know or understand all the reasons that caused these women to believe that abortion was their best option; that one thing that brought them to the conclusion that it was the right choice for them. What I do know is that they were deceived. The devil found a crack in the foundation of their heart and made his bed there. I know this all too well.


You have to understand that in many ways, the devil had convinced me that what I did was the merciful thing to do. The father of my baby was in foster care for many years until finally being adopted. He shared stories with me that broke my heart and forever changed the way I see the system (Plug for how important adoption is. James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress”). Because of his experiences, the devil was able to convince me that not only was adoption NOT the answer, it was, in fact, cruel. I was listening to a lie straight from hell that I was showing my baby mercy by not bringing them into this world of abuse. And this shouldn’t surprise us that the enemy tries to twist the truth. 2 Corinthians 11:14 tells us, “And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light”. The devil was once God’s most beloved angel; knowing the Lord’s heart and love for mankind. And even though he fell, that knowledge and hatred for God’s creation fell with him. John 10:10 tells us that the thief only comes to steal and kill and destroy. And through abortion, he’d stolen my motherhood, he’d killed my baby, and destroyed my relationship with God. All in one fell swoop. Enter our newest characters – guilt and shame.


The emptiness was immediate. This is what the world tries to convince women “doesn’t exist”. They tell women that after an abortion, there is relief. There is pride. There is power! But there was just emptiness. I don’t know how else to describe it other than a hole. A void. I had once felt life in a place that was now empty. And the devil knew just how to make sure I would never find peace. The shame I felt prevented me from approaching anyone from a church. I had learned that everything about my situation was off limits; pre-marital sex and abortion. I could never show my face again. While I tried to fake my way through for a short time, I quickly drifted away from the church and straight into a life that the world deemed fulfilling for a 19-year-old. And I stayed there, in my own filth. Having known that God called me to a life outside of the life I was leading was too much for me to handle. How could God forgive me? How could He ever love me after what I had done? I was fully convinced that my story was over and that He was done with me. I found solace in partying and friendships with people who wouldn’t judge me. My best solution to deal with the guilt was to party it up while I could.


But God, in his loving-kindness and mercy refused to leave me that way. I was the one. I think the songs that speak of Jesus leaving the ninety-nine hit me so hard because I can clearly remember the moment I saw my savior coming for me. I was lost in a world of guilt and shame and Jesus came running to me. He picked me up and put me on his shoulders and carried me back. It was His kindness that brought me home. I was sick for months with something the doctors couldn’t diagnose. It was costing me a fortune that I didn’t have and wreaked havoc on my body every day. But God had placed a beautiful soul in my life; my roommate in college. She was a devoted Christian and had always shared her faith with me. To be honest, she felt like home. As close to the love of God as I was ever going to get. A secret glimpse into the life I could have had.


One night, as I was breaking down about my situation, she said something to me that changed the trajectory of my life. It’s something I had heard before, but never knew was for me. She said to me, “Sometimes God lets you hit rock bottom so that He can pick you back up”. To this day, I have never shared the full truth with her. She still doesn’t know the life she spoke into the deepest, darkest corner of my heart. While it was applicable to my struggle with my disease at the time, it was even more true for my past. The fact that God would go so far as to search me out. At my lowest, to be the hand that pulled me up; it broke me. I didn’t even know that kind of love was possible. In that moment I felt the full mercy of God. How shameful and dirty I was. How undeserving and broken. And yet, God met me in my apartment on Spruce Street and extended His hand. This act of mercy has forever changed the course of my life. On that day I decided to never look back and became sold out for Jesus. While I long for a life free of my past, I am also grateful. The love I experience from the creator is something I’m not sure I could feel so deeply without my scars. I am so undeserving, and yet He loves me. He chose me.


To conclude this, I am going to speak directly with the only two types of readers I could have. First, I am speaking to the person who needed this for personal healing. The “one in four”. The odds that someone who shares this same struggle is reading this right now are very high. This is to you. The person who has lived with this guilt and shame. The person who has lived with the reality of abortion and the pain it has caused. The one who’s been carrying the weight of their decision. I wrote this to tell you that He is after you. The same God who came after me is coming after you. The same God who sought out the woman at the well is coming for you. That same Shepard who left the other ninety-nine sheep to find the one who is lost is coming for you. You are the one. He loves you and He calls you into his mercy. There is freedom in Christ. Freedom from the guilt. And nothing you have done or could do will ever stop His pursuit of your heart. I told my story today for you. I pray that you will not waste one more second under the thumb of the enemy; believing the lies that this is too big for God. Believing that you are marred beyond repair. I know that feeling. I lived there for years. And by the grace of God, I am here today to call you out of that shame.


The Bible says in Romans 8:1, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Jesus Christ”. Without disclaimer. No condemnation. Nothing you could do separates you from the love of God and all his goodness. If you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, I pray that today you’d make that decision to ask Him into your heart to experience true love and true freedom. Something that the world promises to have but can never truly give you. And if you’re like me, a child of God who lost their way; sister, you are no longer condemned. Hear me! The enemy wants you to live with this guilt and shame to render you useless for the Kingdom of Heaven. This is a lie straight from Hell. You are called by the God of the Universe. He is for you. And you now walk in freedom because of the blood of Jesus. Come home.


And for the second type of reader- someone who doesn’t know this pain personally. I pray that this testimony evokes empathy in your heart for the millions of women who dwell in their shame. I pray that you would become like my beautiful roommate; calling others into the grace you’ve found. I hope that you would feel called to speak the love and forgiveness of our God to a broken world. To remind them that no matter what they’ve done, nothing disqualifies them from the love of God and the freedom we find in Jesus. Thank you so much for allowing me to share this with you. God is so good and so faithful. I pray that you have been blessed.



-Natalie



If you’ve read this and you’d like to speak with me more, you can contact me directly via email at awretchredeemed123@gmail.com




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