In 2002 I was a seventeen year-old high school senior. On Friday, September 13, I found out I was pregnant. I had big dreams for myself. I wanted to be a news reporter. I had my goals set on that. I was living in Phoenix, Arizona, at the time. *ASU has an awesome broadcast school: the Walter Cronkite School of Communication. I was going there, and nothing could change my mind.
When I found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted an abortion, and so did [the father]. There was no question. So I went to Planned Parenthood about a week later. The waiting room was full of people. I was listening to them as I filled out my paperwork. I was kinda feeling uneasy. I really didn’t know what was going on. All I can say is that it was the first time God started dealing with me. People were laughing and talking on their cell phones. I thought, “It’s like we’re at a dentist’s office.” I didn’t grow up in church, so I don’t feel like I had great morals to stand on. So the way I was feeling wasn’t from [inside] me. I was looking down trying to fill out my paperwork, and there were big tears in my eyes. I knew if I blinked I wouldn’t be able to stop crying, so I left.
Because I really wanted to get it over with and because I was kinda being pushed into it, I went back about a week later. My boyfriend kept telling me over and over that I really needed to do it. They had to do an ultrasound to see how far along I was. As the nurse was doing the ultrasound I asked if I could see the baby. She said, “No,” but she printed out the picture and put it on my file, put the file in front of me, and walked out of the room. Then I saw her. I saw her fingers and her toes, her head and the outline of her body. Then I left again. I couldn’t do it.
This time about two or three weeks went by. I didn’t want to go back in there. I made up a whole story I was going to tell my parents. I tried to convince [my boyfriend]. He just would not go for it. So about four weeks later on October 10, he made an appointment, picked me up, and dropped me off. It was 5:30 in the afternoon. I walked in, they gave me some Valium, and twenty minutes later it was over. I had my abortion. It was awful. They actually had to hold me down because I was trying to get up.
After the abortion, I went to the recovery room. It was [furnished with] beanbag chairs. I was the only one crying, so the counselor was talking to me. She said, “You know your baby wouldn’t have had any kind of life.” I looked at her and said, “Before, you told me it wasn’t a baby, that it was just tissue.” It was then that everything just came down. I did graduate, but I almost dropped out of school. My grades went down. I started partying. Drinking was like my best friend. I became a complete 180 degrees of what I was before [the abortion].
Later, at age nineteen, I was dating Jeremy, who is now my husband. He pretty much told me if I wanted to continue dating him I had to go to church. I said, “OK.” It’s odd that I said that, but I did. On my way to church, I was so nervous. I kept making him pull over because I was getting sick. I told him, “When I go into church the walls are going to fall down on me,” but they didn’t. I survived.
“While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” [Romans 5:8] As I thought about that I realized [God] knew what I would to do even before I was born. Yet he still loved me and died for me. I don’t have to be some perfect cleaned up version of myself. I just have to be me. It’s like the song, **“Who Will Love Me for Me?” I love that song. People believe that when they come to church they’ve got to be clean, put on their smiles, and have it together. That’s not what it needs to be like. It’s like, “Just come as you are.” Christ loves you for who you are, not for some JCPenney version of yourself.
*Arizona State University, www.asu.edu