On Abortion and When You Have Hidden Hollow Places


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When you’re unmarried and eighteen, and you find out you’re pregnant, every secret inside you begins to grow. Every untold thing ever tucked in, every precious lie you’ve hidden and made your pet gets pushed-down harder and begins to grow like a rooted seed. Surely, by the day, so many lies crescendo like a swell of wasps. There’s hardly any swatting them away on your own.

In a time of crisis what anyone needs is community. This is why I so desperately want to live in a way that gives those around me the courage to reach out when in need. This is why I wrote Wild in the Hollow and why I’m quick to tell you how I struggle. There’ll be no healing for the ones who don’t even know they’re sick.

I was 18 and pregnant, and I had no idea where to go. I was scrounging for Jesus back then, looking for him anywhere. I snorted him off bathroom countertops in stranger’s houses. I looked for him in the pitch black woods on my sneaky way back to the house. I looked for him in vodka, my friends, electric guitar, and the bass.

By the time a child is 18, she should see the church be especially good at taking in those on the brink. She should see a people unafraid of crisis, as if it might rub off on the squeaky clean believers. By the time a child is old enough to have sex, she should know the myriad of monsters Jesus loved and loves still. By the time a child edges on adulthood, she should hear the church confess her own brokenness, the ever transforming, broken but healed church. Doesn’t our Wounded Healer teach us so?

Last week Ann Voskamp wrote: “Abortion isn’t so much about a woman having a choice — but a woman feeling like she has no choice at all.” She said, “I am not sure when I realized that I would best describe myself as thoroughly Pro-Woman: pro-woman in utero, pro-woman in a hard place […] not turning a blind eye to any distress of any human anywhere.”

My babies wake in the morning messy headed. My features borrowed from my mama and daddy and passed down. There we are all, all the generations before us, rolled into these four sons I have. When I was 18, I gave up one of the most precious things of my entire life. I had an abortion because my fear was greater than my idea of God and His goodness. My fear was certainly greater than any concept of grace or any experience of grace from the church.

The church, she is beautiful, but I hadn’t seen it yet. Maybe I only needed eyes to see. I do not blame her for my decision, but maybe back then all I saw was the upright in glitter and gold. Maybe the more beautiful thing would have been to see a little more limping – maybe some dingy kneeling.

When we pray for the virtues of this nation, let us pray even more for our own healing in the church, that fear would no longer be master in the way we serve those in need. Long before we point the finger to the rest, let us turn to our siblings and say about ourselves, “Hold me up. I’ve got this God limp. I’ve got this wrestle. I’ve got this addiction, this panic in my heart.”

Let us look to each other as long as it’s called today and say, “Peace be with you.” Let us speak it with authority down to the bone. Let us squash the wasps.

Today I share a turning point of my abortion story on Ann’s blog, and I would love for you to read it. Isn’t it beautiful, even still, that the church isn’t our Savior? The eyes of God roam. His ears are to our hearts. The Spirit of God is a hound, a Finder. Read more of my story here at A Holy Experience, and read the entire story in my book, Wild in the Hollow.

 

amberhaines
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5 Comments

Kelly @ Love Well
Reply August 17, 2015

"By the time a child is old enough to have sex, she should know the myriad of monsters Jesus loved and loves still." This hit me so hard, I hardly have air in my lungs.

This is EXACTLY the Jesus I have come to know and love. But even at 43, this is not what I hear the Church proclaiming. We talk about being good, about staying clean, and our focus alienates every broken person. Which is every one of us.

Thank you for pouring out your own life, warrior friend. I am enriched by the wild Jesus I see in you.

Melinda Viergever Inman
Reply August 17, 2015

Thank you for your transparency, Amber. I am with you - this is how we must live if we are to comfort others with the same comfort the Lord has given to us. Judgment begins with the church, and our current social crises are caused by the church's actions that drive hurting people to seek help elsewhere. WE, the church, are why our country is in such a mess. It has nothing to do with politics. There wouldn't be those Planned Parenthood videos if the church had begun a system of support for needy pregnant women back in 1973. There wouldn't be fear of the church if all of us remembered just how broken we are and extended grace to others.

When I was a pregnant teenager in 1977, the authorities considered taking away my status as valedictorian, since I was graduating from HS. They didn't, but I did lose my full-ride college scholarship. Teachers, coaches, friends, so many people pressed me to abort. Even though I was far from the Lord, he somehow enabled me to stand alone, keep my baby, and resist all the people who presented abortion as my only option. We had no support as we began married life at 17 and 18. Beginning behind as we did and way too young, things were hard and still are, even thirty-eight years later.

I'm sorry the church let you down. I'm grieved that the hypocrisy of believers terrified your heart. I'm glad Jesus heals the wounds of teenagers who carry babies too soon, no matter what choice they make. What a precious Savior we have! Dear sister, would that there were more women like you!

Kelly Chripczuk
Reply August 18, 2015

"A little more limping . . . " I'm trying so very hard to believe that these days. We all walk with a limp, some are better at hiding it than others.

Megan
Reply August 21, 2015

Amber, my heart sat in my throat as I read this post. Thank you for your willingness to share your story and to be honest. I can't wait to read your book!

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