Choosing Life

 

shutterstock_16545007I sat in the hot car smelling old French fries. There were always some under the seat where the kids spilled them, but the kids were gone now. I didn’t know where. I looked through the grimy windshield at the building in front of me and read the words on the door over and over again: Planned Parenthood.

Sweat was running down the back of my neck, but I didn’t turn on the air conditioner. I wanted to feel the heat. I wanted the distraction from the pain. My hand strayed to my stomach. I was more than two months pregnant. Still time to kill the baby. And killing was what it was. No one could tell me otherwise. I’d had two children. I’d lost two others. I knew what it was like to feel a child grow inside of me. The little twitches of life, the turning of an elbow or a knee as it rolled across my stomach, the flutter of faint hiccups.

I watched as a young girl and her friend hurried from their car to the building. They slipped inside, with the door banging behind them; I wondered which of them was pregnant. I looked in the mirror. I was 33. Hardly a teenager. I didn’t recognize the woman in the mirror. I saw only shame. 

I wanted to get out of the car, but I couldn’t stop thinking about that hospital in Florida six years before. I’d been rushed to the emergency room. I was bleeding and they were rolling me into the ultrasound room to be examined. The room was freezing, and I couldn’t stop shaking. The technician spread jelly across my stomach and turned on the machine. I expected to see my baby dead, his heartbeat silent, his body still. I’d seen that before, and I braced for it. But God had other plans.

My son was alive and well, his little feet moving. His heartbeat was steady. I stared at him, thankful to be able to peer into his world, to see him safe and sound inside of me. I never felt love like I felt at that moment. A mother’s love. So pure. So natural. His features were undeveloped. His fingers fragile, his toes so tiny. But he was my son, and I knew he would grow up to bring happiness to this world. The ache I felt at that moment was one of expectation, longing, and inexpressible joy.

Very different from the ache I felt as I sat in the hot car outside of Planned Parenthood. I felt no joy, no longing, no hope. Only despair and a desperate desire to fix what I’d broken and to get my life back.

I’d separated from my husband. A selfish choice. Oh, I could tell you a thousand reasons—many of them understandable, maybe even justified, but it doesn’t matter. The bottom line was I’d separated and began a new life, one with another man. It wasn’t long before I knew I couldn’t live with that choice. My two children meant too much to me. Children are supposed to live in a stable home where they grow in the confidence and assurance of both their parents’ love. I couldn’t live with the sadness I saw in them since the separation, during those weeks they stayed with me before returning to visit their father. Their confusion and their fear were burdens I didn’t want them to bear any longer. So I decided to reconcile.

There was also my church. I had left it too—another broken part of my life I needed to fix. I had been publicly excommunicated, shunned. Church members weren’t allowed to eat with me. When I saw them in town, they turned the other way. They saw me as an untouchable, no longer a Christian, no longer a mother. Unforgiven. Cast out. 

I deserved it. I believed that.

I’d received several letters from leaders in the church that my divorce meant I was no longer a mother to my children. If I broke the covenant of marriage, I wasn’t allowed to enjoy the privileges of the covenant—being a mother. In other words, if I left my husband, I had to leave my children as well. I was no longer a mother in the eyes of the church or of God.

I had received a letter just that week from an elder’s wife, telling me “to do the honorable thing and stay completely separate from your children until by God’s grace you repent and live by faith in obedience to God.” My husband had also written to me that I was to “sever all communication and contact with the children: no visits, no phone calls, no emails, and no letters….You are no longer the mother of these children.” 

I read those letters many times, and I knew what I had to do — not just because of the threats but because I loved my children. I wanted them happy again. At peace.

I’ll never forget the day I returned. I went to the elders and begged for forgiveness. I wanted to tell them reasons I’d left, neglect in my marriage — surely some of them would understand —but I didn’t. I kept quiet. I knew what I had to do and I was willing to do it. I was willing to make everything right again.

We sat in a dimly lit classroom at the church. Six men and me. A tribunal of sorts. Bibles open before us. The anger in the room was palpable. So was the grief. The fluorescent lights overhead blinked, and it was raining outside. Streams poured down the windows in thick curvy lines, and thunder echoed through the mountains. The men listened to me and said they would give me the help I needed to fix my marriage, to make my family whole again—if I complied with their admonitions and requirements. I would be a mother again under the authority of my husband and the church.

I went back to my apartment to gather my things, but that night I found out I was pregnant. I had worried about it and put off the test, but I couldn’t live in denial forever. I sat in the bathroom on the floor, my knees pulled up to my chin, and I watched as the red line turned into a cross. My world shattered.

I was at a crossroads. I couldn’t keep my baby and fix my marriage. I couldn’t keep my baby and have my children returned to me. Even then, I didn’t know where they were. They were either with the church people or out of town. I didn’t know. My husband hadn’t told me. He had simply taken them and said I was no longer their mother, that I was dead to them. I wondered if he had told them I’d died. Part of me wished he had.

For two months, I wrestled with what to do. I stayed in my apartment, trying to decide how to face my future, how to fix what was broken. But I knew that some things can’t be fixed. Sometimes we shatter things so badly that all the pieces can’t be put together again no matter how we try. I was going to lose a child somehow. No matter what choice I made, there would be loss—and not just my loss, my children’s loss. They would lose a mother. Everything had changed for them. Nothing would be right or whole. I had created a world by my own choices that brought pain—to everyone. The shame, the isolation, and the guilt were overwhelming. But I deserved it. I deserved the pain, the punishment, the loss. My children didn’t. None of them did. 

I considered giving the baby up for adoption, but the father wouldn’t hear of it. He would raise the child. But the church and my husband refused to accept that. I would not be allowed back to raise my two children, to restore my family, as long as I knew where my illegitimate baby was. The only choice was to deliver the baby, and someone (a person from the church or my husband—I didn’t know the details of the plan) would take her from me without me ever seeing her. I would sign over legal rights and they would give her up for adoption. I could do that because according to the law, the father had no legal right to the child since we weren’t married.

But I couldn’t do it. I knew the father would fight it—a battle I didn’t want to fight. I didn’t even know if I could give my baby up for adoption. How could I live with her alive in this world, alone? My child? One day she would grow up and she would wonder why I rejected her. I couldn’t bear to think of it. Maybe if I’d never raised children of my own, I could do it. But I was a mother. I knew what it was like to hold my child at my breast, smell her new baby smells, feel the softness of her skin. I knew what it was like to hear her first words and see the wonder in her eyes when she swam for the first time, or ate her first ice cream, or learned to read her first word.

The tangled web of emotions and consequences was a noose I couldn’t escape. That’s when I thought about abortion. Killing the baby. It would fix everything. How ironic—how twisted—that I couldn’t bear the thought of adoption but I could contemplate death. Yet, in that moment of darkness, I thought it was the best choice. It would be so easy. Millions of women did it every year. My life could go on like it had before. My marriage whole. My children would have their mother again. God would forgive me. The church would accept me back. My family would be together. My children would be happy. 

But my baby would be dead. 

Could I sacrifice this child on the altar of my selfishness? This beautiful child growing inside of me? A child I was responsible for? A baby I had brought into this world by my own choice to have sex?

The car was like a furnace, and I looked at the door to Planned Parenthood through the haze of heat on the hood. The smell of stale fries brought back memories of my children laughing, of days when everything was good. Maybe not perfect. But good. It could be that way again. Just step out of the car, keep the appointment, lie down on the table, close my eyes, spread my legs, and let them cut out my mistake. 

I opened the car door and walked across the parking lot to the entrance. The sky was so blue and birds were singing, but all I heard was my heart beating. All I could see was the blurry haze of the building in front of me. I stepped inside as a bell on the door jingled, and I felt a wave of cold air wash over me. A woman sitting behind the desk looked up.

“Can I help you?” she asked.

I glanced around the room. The girls who had entered earlier were sitting off to the side. One was flipping through a magazine. The other looked up at me. Her eyes were filled with tears. We looked at each other—a shared moment of guilt, of compassion, of pain—and then she turned away. I couldn’t move.

“Miss, can I help you?” the woman at the desk repeated.

I shook my head. “No. I’m sorry. No, you can’t.”

I left and ran to the car. I can still hear the bell on the door ringing. I started the engine and pulled out of the parking lot. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t kill my child on account of my own miserable mistakes. I didn’t know what I was going to do—I didn’t know what I had the strength to do—but I had to accept the consequences of my choices. I couldn’t end a life to make my life easier or better.

I had to face my pain. Grief is the result of wrong choices. Suffering is the consequence of sin. If we’re willing to sin, we need to be willing to accept the suffering that comes with it. To run from it, to do even worse things to avoid it—piling one wrong upon another—is no answer. It only causes more pain, more suffering—maybe not for you, but certainly for the child you’ve killed.

I didn’t kill my daughter. I’m ashamed that I wanted to—even for a moment. In the end, though, I couldn’t do it. Her blood would not be spilled to make my life easier, no matter how right my motivations might have been when it came to my family. 

Choosing life changed my world forever. It was never the same, and it has been difficult as I’ve struggled to navigate the waters of a broken life. Women who abort their children do it because they say they want a better life. But it’s not a better life they want—it’s an easier one. It’s a life without outward struggle, without the consequences of choices already made. It is easier. But it’s not better. It’s never better. Death is never better. 

If I had chosen to abort my baby, I would have chosen death. Blood spilled to wash away my sins. Another’s life taken so I could have mine, so I could be free of the consequences of my choice to have sex. But the blood of a child can never fix what is broken. That sacrifice is a lie.

The only blood that can bring life has already been spilled. That red line has already been crossed, and it wasn’t in a dark bathroom as I lay curled on a floor. It wasn’t on a surgical table at Planned Parenthood. It was on a hill far away and long ago. A sacrifice already made. A life already given, so we can live ours—not free of pain—but free of guilt and full of joy. 

Members have made 107 comments.

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  1. Profile photo of Jack Nelson Inactive

    That is a very moving story. The part that seemed the most amazing to me was the notion that a group of church elders could tell you that you weren’t allowed to be a mother to your children and thought the right thing to do would be to keep an illegitimate child from his natural father who was willing to raise the child without the mother. What denomination practices this particular brand of compassion and support?

    • #1
    • May 19, 2014 at 10:40 am
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  2. Profile photo of Debbie Stevens Member

    Thank you for sharing this story.

    For many years, I worked as a sidewalk counselor, standing in front of abortion clinics, offering other options to the women going inside. At first, I saw myself as stronger than they were – knowing I would never struggle with these kinds of decisions. As I got older and recognized more clearly my own failings, I realized just how easy it is to rationalize abortion [or any other decision of ‘convenience’] when everything and everyone is pushing you towards it. And that the grace of the One Who shed His blood all those years ago is our only hope.

    • #2
    • May 19, 2014 at 10:41 am
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  3. Profile photo of CandE Inactive

    Wow. Just wow. Can’t say much more than that.

    Reading about your interactions with church members was particularly painful; it seemed to call to mind that adage “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”

    -E

    • #3
    • May 19, 2014 at 10:50 am
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  4. Profile photo of Aaron Miller Member

    Thanks. I’m not sure I had ever read a testimony before from a woman who already had children when she contemplated abortion. It seems a very different calculus. 

    D.C. McAllister: I had to face my pain. Grief is the result of wrong choices. Suffering is the consequence of sin. If we’re willing to sin, we need to be willing to accept the suffering that comes with it.

    Likewise, if we seek the conversion of others to justice and life, we must not abandon them when they make terrible choices. We must suffer for their sake, as well as our own.

    “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.” Sometimes there’s a dissonance between our thoughts and actions. We think we love someone, but we continue to hurt them or to distance ourselves. Perhaps by divorce you had hurt your children and provided a poor example to those around you. But it sounds to me like your church at the time neglected the need for mercy in their pursuit of justice. 

    One of the most important lessons I ever learned is that Christ does not wait on His throne for sinners to come to Him. Love does not wait.

    While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. 

    He comes to you. You walk away, and He follows. Presence, however strained, by itself can mean so much.

    Your church should have followed.

    • #4
    • May 19, 2014 at 10:50 am
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  5. Profile photo of Mate De Coolidge

    When I was training with the Sisters of Life, the nuns told us that when a woman is contemplating an abortion she can rationalize that it is a kind of self defense. That it is either the baby’s life or hers (this is not in the case where a woman’s health may be in danger). That it is the woman’s “life”, the life that she envisioned will be destroyed, perhaps losing the respect of her parents or community, having to stop her education, losing her relationship with the man who got her pregnant. All sorts of reasons but the baby hasnt had a life established yet so in their perspective the baby’s life can be ended in order to preserve the “life” (not physical life) of the mother.
    Frederica Mathewes-Green, a positive-life minded feminist made this accurate quote — “A woman doesn’t want an abortion like she wants an ice-cream cone or a Porsche, but like an animal caught in a trap who gnaws off its own leg,”

    • #5
    • May 19, 2014 at 10:52 am
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  6. Profile photo of Western Chauvinist Member

    Denise, You are a marvel to behold. Not just your candor, but your incredible courage — to walk away and face all the consequences and complexities, rather than making the convenient choice — taking the quick fix? Incredible. It’s a sign of the Divine Life present within you. God bless you and keep you, Darlin’. You’re an inspiration to us all.

    • #6
    • May 19, 2014 at 11:01 am
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  7. Profile photo of Western Chauvinist Member

    Matede:

    …Frederica Mathewes-Green, a positive-life minded feminist made this accurate quote – “A woman doesn’t want an abortion like she wants an ice-cream cone or a Porsche, but like an animal caught in a trap who gnaws off its own leg,”

    I think that’s such an important point to internalize. It’s unwise to make light of or sneer at people’s choices regarding abortion or divorce. The choice may be wrong, but it is hardly ever arrived at blithely. 

    • #7
    • May 19, 2014 at 11:08 am
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  8. Profile photo of Larry3435 Member

    Reading this story, Denise, I felt like I was hearing the nightmare musings of Kafka, rather than the story of a woman I know and admire for her strength and compassion. Besides my heartbreak for you, I was left with one other overwhelming emotion – fury at the members of your so-called “church.” An institution comprised of people so devoid of compassion, so empty where a soul ought to reside, surely have no right to call their assembelage a House of God.

    Telling this story has shown such courage that we have no right to ask for more. But if you feel the urge, I hope you will tell us where your bravery took you next, and how your relationship with your first children is today. If there is anything approaching justice or karma in the world, then surely you reaped some reward for holding to the courage of moral conviction.

    • #8
    • May 19, 2014 at 11:14 am
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  9. Profile photo of EThompson Inactive

    What WC said. I’m also incredulous that your ex-husband and his church thought they had the legal authority to take such actions against you. Thank goodness you escaped that prison!

    • #9
    • May 19, 2014 at 11:44 am
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  10. Profile photo of A.D.P. Efferson Contributor

    Thank you for sharing your story. I’m praying it will move other women to choose life as well.

    • #10
    • May 19, 2014 at 12:45 pm
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  11. Profile photo of Jean Abbas Member

    What church was so evil to put you in that position? If your husband agreed to raise the child, why would they have a problem with that? If anyone was sinned against it was him. Jesus said, Go and sin no more. How can a church ask more of you than that?

    • #11
    • May 19, 2014 at 12:59 pm
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  12. Profile photo of Whiskey Sam Inactive

    I’ve had to deal with more than one church like this, and in my experience, whether sincere or not, they do more damage than good when they treat people without compassion who have fallen into sin. They go beyond the teaching of Scripture and place people under condemnation and bondage to guilt. They have emphasized conforming to the holiness of God at the expense of exhibiting the love of God. They would do well to remember Matthew 9:12-13

    But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

    • #12
    • May 19, 2014 at 1:07 pm
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  13. Profile photo of 1967mustangman Member

    Speechless

    • #13
    • May 19, 2014 at 1:16 pm
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  14. Profile photo of EThompson Inactive

    Whiskey Sam:

    I’ve had to deal with more than one church like this, and in my experience, whether sincere or not, they do more damage than good when they treat people without compassion who have fallen into sin.

    But I’m obsessed with the fact that what these people were attempting to do was not only less than compassionate, but against the law! If anything, this small govt advocate believes in the rule of law.

    • #14
    • May 19, 2014 at 1:17 pm
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  15. Profile photo of D.C. McAllister Contributor
    D.C. McAllister Post author

    John Wilson:

    That is a very moving story. The part that seemed the most amazing to me was the notion that a group of church elders could tell you that you weren’t allowed to be a mother to your children and thought the right thing to do would be to keep an illegitimate child from his natural father who was willing to raise the child without the mother. What denomination practices this particular brand of compassion and support?

     It’s probably best not to identify the church. I knew what the rules were when I joined so I understood the excommunication. However the belief that a mother ceases to be a mother to her children if she divorces her husband was above and beyond. The impact on the children and what they went through was devastating to them. I wasn’t a victim but the children were. 

    • #15
    • May 19, 2014 at 1:28 pm
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  16. Profile photo of D.C. McAllister Contributor
    D.C. McAllister Post author

    Matede:

    When I was training with the Sisters of Life, the nuns told us that when a woman is contemplating an abortion she can rationalize that it is a kind of self defense. That it is either the baby’s life or hers (this is not in the case where a woman’s health may be in danger). That it is the woman’s “life”, the life that she envisioned will be destroyed, perhaps losing the respect of her parents or community, having to stop her education, losing her relationship with the man who got her pregnant. All sorts of reasons but the baby hasnt had a life established yet so in their perspective the baby’s life can be ended in order to preserve the “life” (not physical life) of the mother. Frederica Mathewes-Green, a positive-life minded feminist made this accurate quote – “A woman doesn’t want an abortion like she wants an ice-cream cone or a Porsche, but like an animal caught in a trap who gnaws off its own leg,”

     Yes if you want to help more women not kill their babies help them-really help them–get out of their traps. help them not feel hopeless. Instill them with love and grace. Judgment saves no one. 

    • #16
    • May 19, 2014 at 1:31 pm
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  17. Profile photo of 1967mustangman Member

    D.C. McAllister:

    John Wilson:

    That is a very moving story. The part that seemed the most amazing to me was the notion that a group of church elders could tell you that you weren’t allowed to be a mother to your children and thought the right thing to do would be to keep an illegitimate child from his natural father who was willing to raise the child without the mother. What denomination practices this particular brand of compassion and support?

    It’s probably best not to identify the church. I knew what the rules were when I joined so I understood the excommunication. However the belief that a mother ceases to be a mother to her children if she divorces her husband was above and beyond. The impact on the children and what they went through was devastating to them. I wasn’t a victim but the children were.

     There are too many churches that swing too far to one side or the other of the truth/grace spectrum. Just as DC’s church is clearly wrong for the positions they took there are churches on the other extreme that would have had no problem if she had had the abortion. In fact, there are people with in some denominations that would have said “it was a blessing”. It is my opinion that not only does God save people through the works of Christians, but he saves people in spite of them too.

    • #17
    • May 19, 2014 at 1:37 pm
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  18. Profile photo of Stad Thatcher

    Very moving . . .

    • #18
    • May 19, 2014 at 2:21 pm
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  19. Profile photo of D.C. McAllister Contributor
    D.C. McAllister Post author

    Larry3435:

    Reading this story, Denise, I felt like I was hearing the nightmare musings of Kafka, rather than the story of a woman I know and admire for her strength and compassion. Besides my heartbreak for you, I was left with one other overwhelming emotion – fury at the members of your so-called “church.” An institution comprised of people so devoid of compassion, so empty where a soul ought to reside, surely have no right to call their assembelage a House of God.

    Telling this story has shown such courage that we have no right to ask for more. But if you feel the urge, I hope you will tell us where your bravery took you next, and how your relationship with your first children is today. If there is anything approaching justice or karma in the world, then surely you reaped some reward for holding to the courage of moral conviction.

    Thank you for your generous words, but it is awkward receiving any kind of praise for doing the right thing, especially after doing something so terribly wrong. I wanted to share this story to encourage women to consider their real choices. It is terribly hard when you feel trapped, not only by your own decisions but by the cruelty of others—or even by legitimate actions of others. But it is important to remember that when you’re in the trap, yes, you do feel like you need to gnaw off your own arm. But abortion isn’t doing that. Abortion is, in a sense, gnawing off the arm of another. Choose life and you will find hope. There is no hope in death.

    To make a long, sad story short, I have shared custody with my ex. Children need a father and a mother. I kept my baby. I named her Grace. I later married the father. None of it has been easy. But that’s what it looks like in a fallen, imperfect world. It isn’t easy. But that doesn’t mean we can’t find joy in it, that we can’t try to do what is good and right. Only forgiveness can bring healing. We need to show one another compassion in our brokenness, love in the midst of failure. It’s there that we find strength and true courage, and hope.

    • #19
    • May 19, 2014 at 2:30 pm
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  20. Profile photo of skipsul Moderator

    Wow. Much admiration for sharing this.

    • #20
    • May 19, 2014 at 2:39 pm
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  21. Profile photo of Boomerang Member

    1967mustangman:

    D.C. McAllister:

    John Wilson:

    There are too many churches that swing too far to one side or the other of the truth/grace spectrum. Just as DC’s church is clearly wrong for the positions they took there are churches on the other extreme that would have had no problem if she had had the abortion. In fact, there are people with in some denominations that would have said “it was a blessing”. It is my opinion that not only does God save people through the works of Christians, but he saves people in spite of them too.

    Agreed. Human nature has a hard time blending truth with grace and mercy. When Christians get it wrong, it smacks of an immature faith, and in DC’s case, some powermongering thrown in for good measure. Jesus got it exactly right, and we would do well to follow His example. Anything less smears His name.

    • #21
    • May 19, 2014 at 3:04 pm
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  22. Profile photo of Boomerang Member

    D.C. McAllister:

    Matede:

    Yes if you want to help more women not kill their babies help them-really help them–get out of their traps. help them not feel hopeless. Instill them with love and grace. Judgment saves no one.

    DC, you are so right in this. It is exactly what the much-maligned and constantly attacked pregnancy help centers are quietly doing every day and have been doing since the late 70s: meeting women just like you in the midst their difficult situation and helping sort out the mess, looking for resources, instilling hope, providing love and support and praying for them because sometimes only God can untangle an impossible situation. They are extremely un-PC, so it’s hard for them to raise funds. Here’s my commercial to the Ricochet community — if you care about this issue, you can be a part of putting boots on the ground on the front lines. These people love both the mother and the baby and do not pit them against each other. Find your local pregnancy help center and send them money!

    • #22
    • May 19, 2014 at 3:20 pm
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  23. Profile photo of Boomerang Member

    D.C. McAllister:

    Larry3435:

    Thank you for your generous words, but like I said to WC, it is awkward receiving any kind of praise for doing the right thing, especially after doing something so terribly wrong.

    Denise, you are not the only person to have made wrong choices. But it’s rare for a heart to change like yours did, and for you to make that tremendously clear-headed fearsomely courageous decision for life. I think God’s tears of sadness over the mistakes you made turned into tears of joy when you chose to follow His true heart. I wish you and Grace and your husband and the rest of your family every happiness.

    • #23
    • May 19, 2014 at 3:27 pm
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  24. Profile photo of D.C. McAllister Contributor
    D.C. McAllister Post author

    Boomerang:

    D.C. McAllister:

    Larry3435:

    Thank you for your generous words, but like I said to WC, it is awkward receiving any kind of praise for doing the right thing, especially after doing something so terribly wrong.

    Denise, you are not the only person to have made wrong choices. But it’s rare for a heart to change like yours did, and for you to make that tremendously clear-headed fearsomely courageous decision for life. I think God’s tears of sadness over the mistakes you made turned into tears of joy when you chose to follow His true heart. I wish you and Grace and your husband and the rest of your family every happiness.

     Thank you so very much. I still wish I could fix it for everyone. Heal all those I wounded. But there is only One who can bind up the brokenhearted. I can’t imagine life without his grace.

    • #24
    • May 19, 2014 at 3:40 pm
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  25. Profile photo of skipsul Moderator

    Boomerang:

    D.C. McAllister:

    Larry3435:

    Thank you for your generous words, but like I said to WC, it is awkward receiving any kind of praise for doing the right thing, especially after doing something so terribly wrong.

    Denise, you are not the only person to have made wrong choices. But it’s rare for a heart to change like yours did, and for you to make that tremendously clear-headed fearsomely courageous decision for life. I think God’s tears of sadness over the mistakes you made turned into tears of joy when you chose to follow His true heart. I wish you and Grace and your husband and the rest of your family every happiness.

     Rather reminds me of the message in yesterday’s service: God will forgive our bad choices, but there will always be consequences that we cannot undo. We turn away and make mistakes and there is no going back from that. We turn back to Him, and while the path may be the correct one, it is not necessarily the same path we followed before. We can never go back to being the same person we were before.

    • #25
    • May 19, 2014 at 3:49 pm
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  26. Profile photo of Bryan G. Stephens Reagan

    Thank you for sharing this powerful story.

    • #26
    • May 19, 2014 at 3:53 pm
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  27. Profile photo of Rachel Lu Contributor

    Wow. Just reading through that is pretty intense. Thanks for being willing to tell the story. 

    It’s very hard for churches to find the right path between clear expectations and compassion for those who falter and want to come back. Christ was able to walk the line perfectly, upholding truth and justice and also showing compassion. We mere humans are rarely able to find the perfect balance. But, that makes witnesses like yours all the more valuable. New life can still come, even when all seems hopeless.

    • #27
    • May 19, 2014 at 4:07 pm
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  28. Profile photo of flownover Inactive

    Well, as soon I pick myself up and get back off the floor, I can start to think about whether this is a story I can send to my 26 yr old daughter and / or my 17 yr old daughter .
    A cautionary tale of pure humanity and grace facing the sharp edged institutions that rule the present . 
    Thanks. I can’t help but wonder as to humanity of a church that hasn’t evolved. The Torah is debated endlessly , intelligent and thoughtful people always consider the present and it’s impact on the status quo and tomorrow .

    • #28
    • May 19, 2014 at 4:12 pm
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  29. Profile photo of The King Prawn Member

    Wish I had read this before work. I hate crying like a little girl at work…

    Thank you so much for sharing yourself, pain and all, with us. You will never know how much you help those currently struggling through difficult situations.

    • #29
    • May 19, 2014 at 4:18 pm
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  30. Profile photo of Dave Carter Contributor

    Rare indeed is the person who combines both courage and moral conviction. It’s truly an honor to call you friend.

    • #30
    • May 19, 2014 at 4:34 pm
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