Enjoy this devotional written by a FlourishWriter’s Student…
It had been over two years since our daughter graduated from university, married and moved away. I missed her like any mom would miss her only child. She was my best friend, and in many ways, we grew up together. We shared clothing, shoes, purses, books, life lessons and belly laughs. One day my daughter’s words of truth would pierce my soul causing the protective layers of my heart to strip away.
As parents, we want to protect our children from pain, and often we teach using our own mistakes. When Crystal was in junior high, God opened one such opportunity during a car ride to a True Love Waits youth rally.
Through tears, I shared a story of my own teenage heartache. At that time, I did not understand how valuable, loved and beautiful I was to God. Because of this I easily gave myself away. These choices resulted in a pregnancy at age 16. Rejected. Alone. Wounded. Ashamed. I ended the pregnancy by abortion.
This was the painful life lesson I shared with my tween daughter. It was my heart’s desire that she grow up knowing she was treasured, valued and loved. An unexpected, precious gift from God, one that I did not deserve. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and would do all I could to teach her what I was not taught.
After she married and moved several states away, I eagerly awaited letters from my daughter. When the mail arrived, my anticipation would grow; hoping to see her handwriting on one of the envelopes.
One crisp fall day, I was overjoyed when such an envelope appeared in our mailbox. Our backyard is a haven for birds, trees, and colorful landscape, so I took my treasured letter to the patio, excited to connect, to learn more about Crystal and Jeremiah’s newlywed life of adventure.
As I began reading, her words caused me to stop. My vision become blurred as my breathing quickened, and the tears began falling from my eyes. She wrote, “Mom, God knows the choices we are going to make and yet He still chooses to love us unconditionally. God has already forgiven us of everything when Jesus died – it was a future forgiveness that covers all shortcomings. Abortion is sometimes labeled as the unforgivable sin, but that is a lie straight from the enemy. You are forgiven.”
Her words continued, “Mom, there are times where I see something in your face or hear something in your voice that tells me that you don’t like yourself very much. This is a common effect of abortion – women punish themselves for the rest of their lives even though God has redeemed them. You have been redeemed. You are loved and loveable (even if you don’t always feel that way).”
It felt like I was punched in the stomach. I thought I worked through the pain after surrendering to Jesus as an adult, but clearly, the wound remained.
Because of God’s kindness combined with Crystal’s sensitivity to His leading to speak the truth in love, I was able to acknowledge my sorrow and the shame that remained. That day was the beginning of a healing journey with God. It was then I stopped denying that the abortion affected my life deeply.
For 28 years I did not mourn the death of my child because there was no evidence that a baby ever existed. I became aware of the need to grieve the loss of my unborn child when I realized that time does not actually heal all wounds.
On that healing journey, the Lord met me in my sorrow and healed my broken heart.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalm 34:18 (NLT)
When I sank deeper into the fullness of His love, received His unconditional forgiveness, and escaped buried shame, all the leftover guilt lifted. I finally forgave myself. Jehovah-Rapha, my Healer, tenderly led me through a two-year grieving process of reconciliation.
One Memorial Day, family and friends gathered to plant a tree in our backyard under the shining, bright sun. It was part of a memorial ceremony for my unborn child. A son, who I named Benjamin after Rachel and Jacob’s son. In Genesis 35, with Rachel’s dying breath, she named her baby Ben-Oni, “son of my sorrow,” yet Jacob redeemed the name calling him Benjamin which means “son of honor.” In the same way that love covered sorrow, I chose to honor my unborn son with the name Benjamin.
My sweet, beloved husband, Eddie, prepared the tree: a white blossoming tree to symbolize purity, cleansing, and innocence for both me and Benjamin. It was fitting that Crystal was also by my side to recognize her brother.
I shared my story, both the beautiful and the ugly – the story God knew He would redeem, the story of His unfailing love and acceptance.
On that Memorial Day, I let go of the sin, shame, and sorrow of my past which was covered by God’s perfect love. I was healed and set free (John 8:36) to fully embrace the future He planned for me long ago.
Each day I remind myself of the truth that I have been redeemed and forgiven. I am loved and loveable.
Do you have unattended wounds? Wounds that you thought you processed, or did you simply tuck them out of sight?
Jehovah-Rapha is speaking to you today.
You are loved and loveable. Receive His love and His healing for you.
Laura Pettit is an imperfect person loved by a perfect God. Born and raised in the Chicago area, she met her husband-to-be when he was a boy and she was 7 years old, and they married 12 years later. They love visiting their one and only daughter and son-in-law in Colorado Springs as well as their two chi-weenie puppies. She is a reader, a learner, an information collector, a listener, an encourager, and a talker who enjoys laughing and sharing life. God has blessed her with a career in the insurance industry where she has worked nearly her whole life while always dreaming of writing. She is passionate about healing, wholeness and walking in victory with Jesus.