|Meet Ashley from Sweetly Worn|
No one ever thinks of the face of the girls there. Maybe because no one knows their faces. But the thing is, that waiting room is not full of haughty eyes and rebellious women. It's full of lonely and scared women who don't realize that Jesus is the one in whom they find their self worth.
There are a lot of reasons I say this. For one thing, 80% of college women will experience date rape. 80% Please wrap your head around that statistic. Out of 10 girls, 8 of them will experience date rape. Most of these women will never come forward. In fact I've known between 10-20 personal friends experience this and I know of one who pressed charges. The legal system failed her, by the way. Rape is one of the singularly most traumatic things a girl can experience. There is nothing that will more shatter her self worth than that. And often, when you find out a girl was raped, the story follows the same pattern. The girl proceeds to allow herself to be used by anyone. Now if 80% of women in college have experienced this, it stands to reason that a LARGE percentage of college age abortion getting women are there because they were raped. Does that excuse their action, no. But do you really have the heart to look at a heart that broken and call her murderer?
Or what about the high schoolers. The high schoolers I saw were brought there by their parents. Do they even have a choice? I can't imagine the fear of going against my parents at 16 to raise a baby they don't want to raise. And these girls are just kids. They are just kids.
Or how about the fact that 1 in 4 American girls are victims of sexual abuse. How do you know how many of those millions of girls getting an abortion aren't suffering the anguish of such a trauma. If rape shatters a girl in one act, I cannot imagine what a girl who has been repeatedly raped by an adult thinks of herself. Does that give her the right to have an abortion, again no. But you have to understand that the women who have entered these clinics are hurting. They are hurting, y'all.
There is a saying which goes "guys use a relationship to get sex, girls use sex to get a relationship." That is where I found myself. It was never like I set out to get there. But I wasn't a very strong Christian, and certainly not a strong person, and I had on 2 occasions almost been part of the 80% and I just didn't think I was worth much. I honestly would think things like there was some invisible brand that suggested to all men that I was worthless and he could push me as far as he wanted. Literally thought that exact thing. And I didn't want to break up with said guy, because I thought if I just stayed with him it would sort of make up for it. And maybe one day we would get married (which we did-nightmare) and then it would alleviate my own sin and I would actually be ok. But in between my giving in and marriage, I did end up in that clinic. And I hated every second of it. I never once thought it was ok. But I had so much pressure from him to go through with it. And I knew that if I didn't that would be the end. And I couldn't wrap my mind around it ending, because then I would really just be a sinner. I so desperately wanted to make our relationship work because I was so fixated with fixing my sexual worthlessness. And I did it.
And for the next several years it tore me up. There were very few years where anniversaries and due dates didn't flash across my mind. To this day, I don't think a week that goes by I don't think of it. I don't think a month goes by where I don't wonder what will it be like to see that child when I go to heaven? Will they hate me? I call Jude my atonement child because from the day I entered that clinic I never felt I deserved motherhood. What kind of mom does that? I actually struggled a lot when I first started teaching because what kind of teacher does that?
When I found out about Jude, I was both relieved and afraid. I was terrified of a miscarriage as God's way of punishing me. Throughout my pregnancy, God began the process of showing me he really did love me. And he didn't save me and expect perfection. And that there was grace grace grace. I picked the name Jude because I loved that it means 'praised'. My heart has praised God everyday for my atonement child. The one who showed me that God's grace was inexhaustible. Unfathomable. Covered it all. He has used Jude to save me from a sense of worthlessness, from a bad marriage, from giving in to the depression and anxiety from my marriage failing, and 1000 other ways.
I share this from the darkest corner of my soul. And I don't want to even think about what this will mean in relationships with people. I guess I can't imagine grace from others very well. But it occurred to me that this isn't my story. It's God's story. He's sovereign over it all. And far be it from me to hold back.
If you remember anything from this story, remember that the girls who walk into those clinics are hurting. At least most of them. They were hurting before they ever got pregnant probably. And before you cast the first stone, try to understand that there's a pain in their souls and an emptiness that only Love can fill. Yes, support your politicians and make your voice heard. But don't forget that there are faces behind policies. Speak up for the babies, by all means. But remember that there are plenty of girls reading your posts that have an ache in their heart that they will live with forever. Speak love to those girls. Take time to ask them what brought them to that place. It will probably break your heart, but it's the broken hearts that are the easiest to lead back home, back to the God who loves them.
Thank you so much for sharing your story of grace, Ashley! You are amazing! Everyone go, go, go, and check out her lovely blog at Sweetly Worn.