Pretty deep reflections for the week when Santa comes, but I find myself unable to detach from the reality of how my past has met my present and how my present is mapping out my future. It was 13 years ago that I had an abortion and during a time of year when we're celebrating the birth of Jesus, I'm finding thoughts of my unborn child inescapable. His or her birth into the world never happened because in just one moment I chose to do things my way, with no regard for God's way. As I give thought to the path I never walked, I hope to gain insight into the path I will walk. I'm remembering how I did things in the past so I can know what to do and not do in the future. God's plans for me have always been the same, so I find myself examining how they were meant to go had I done things His way. It's impossible to know for certain, but I find clarity in the examination.
One night earlier this week, I wept over the loss of the child I never brought into the world. In an effort to evaluate God's plans for my life, I went back in time to try and figure out what would be different today had I not had an abortion. Though he didn't know about the baby until after I had gone through with it, my high school sweetheart was the baby's father. I never told him I was pregnant because at the time we were broken up. However, more than that, I didn't tell him because I knew he would talk me out of it. Up to that time he and his family had been the leading Bible studying Christian influences in my life and I knew how they viewed abortion. I had just started college and I believed if I told him, he would convince me to have the baby, drop out of school, and get married. I was young, stupid, and extremely selfish, because I let these thoughts and the potential reactions of my family terrify me straight into the medical offices waiting room. I realize now that God's plan was for me to do the very things of which I was terrified because had I done things God's way I would have bypassed the pain and torment of the next 10 years. There's a flip side to all of this though. I would also have bypassed the birth of my son, Ashton, the marriage to my husband, Sam, and the many amazing gifts and people I've been given throughout this last decade. All of it- erased out of existence. When I pictured this, I again began to cry because I can't imagine not having the love that I've known over these last 13 years.
I am so indescribably sorry for having taken the life of a child I was meant to have, but I am so incredibly grateful for the life and child I've since been given. I wouldn't erase it or him for anything or anyone, not even to get back the baby whose life I took away. Instead, I'm forever indebted to that child because he or she, in death, prepared the way for the life of my son today. How? Because the instant I made the decision to end the baby's life, my course was reset down a path that led to many things, both good and bad, but of those things - my son, Ashton. I would never have conceived him had I done things differently. Am I saying I was meant to have the abortion? No, a hundred million times NO. God's plans for me were to have that child, but because I didn't He had to let me walk the path I chose, and though at times it has been drenched in pain, He mercifully blessed me along the way. He has brought me into His plans (the same plans He has always had) via an alternate path, a path on which I've experienced heartache, anguish, and suffering, but also immense healing, restoration, and love with another child.
I don't know where I would be or what I would or wouldn't have gone through had I chosen to do things differently, and I don't need to know because I am where I am. I never knew it then, but I know now that God's plans have always been to use me in service to Him. I can look back at my involvement with the baby's father and family and know that God always intended for my relationship with Him to come first because theirs is a family devoted to God's work. How sweet it would have been to start my service to Him at the young age of 18 when I was meant to start, but had I done that my son today wouldn't exist, and that, I simply cannot fathom. Instead, I look forward to the future, knowing that here on this day - I'm exactly where I'm meant to be. God is getting me to where He wants me and needs me, but the difference between today and my yesterdays is that I'm choosing His path now. I know what it means to follow God's path and I know what it means to follow my own. The thing for which I'm most grateful is that His plans don't change - He always gets us to where we're meant to be. Trust Him to lead you, even if, especially if, you've made decisions that have set you on an alternate path. There's a brutal saying that says "The National Anthem of Hell is - 'I did things my way,' " but no matter how long you've been doing things your way, it's never too late to start doing them God's way. God will bless your alternate path as He has blessed mine. Below are some pictures of how my own path has been abundantly blessed! Also, beneath the pictures is a youtube link to listen to the song that inspired this entry. A couple of weeks ago in church, a talented young member got up and sang her heart out to this song - I've been inspired ever since. I pray that you all have a Merry Christmas and keep focused on God's path for your life.
"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." -Isaiah 30:21
Top image taken from www.squidoo.com
Bottom images taken from my own library, you may NOT copy or download.