I was 17, an athlete, a part of the “in crowd”, a girl with dreams, and very very lost! My life as I knew it, at 17, came to a screeching halt when I took an EPT test and it showed up positive. I was on a fun vacation with my best friend, visiting my sister in Florida. I remember thinking this can’t be happening to me, I’m in my Senior year, softball season is about to start, college next fall, so much to think about, but not this. This was NOT part of MY plan. I was ignorant about pregnancy, this wouldn’t happen to a “good” girl like me. How can I make this disappear without anyone knowing? When I returned home from my vacation I told my boyfriend that I was pregnant and that we needed to decide what to do. I knew in my heart what I should NOT do but my head told me it would be better this way and it would be all over soon and life would go on as if nothing happened, a case of just bad luck! From that point, at 17, until I came to know The Lord as my Savior, at 33, is pretty much a blur. I got married to my high school sweetheart and our first five years were pretty reckless. I had two boys in the next years that followed and they were my joy and life. I felt my purpose but little waves of guilt would creep in from time to time about the abortion. Finally, in May of ’96, after attending a local Bible believing church for several weeks my husband and I opened our hearts to The Lord. I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders, however I was still carrying a pretty heavy burden. The day after I asked God into my heart I broke. I didn’t understand it, “why God?”, “why now?”….I buried that awful memory and I didn’t want it to surface. But God gently told me, “confess it to me so you can forgive yourself because I’ve already forgiven you.” That was so difficult because I finally realized what I had given up at 17. God had allowed a life to begin in me and I made a decision to end it not even realizing at the time of the shattering consequences that would haunt me later. God did set me free by putting a wonderful friend in my path that had the same sad experience. She guided me through a post abortion Bible study and God revealed Himself to me during that time and I realized that even though I didn’t have Him in my heart at 17, He was beside me on that fateful day, the day my unborn child’s life ended but came to life in Jesus’ arms as He carried it to Heaven. It took me a long time to really believe I could forgive myself because I know that there are always consequences to sin and sometimes memories are the consequences. But now I focus on the memory that God set me free during that Bible study and that one day I will be reunited with this very loved child. -Sheila

293This Encouraged Me

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