I Struggled To Forgive
When I was about twelve years of age, my older teenage sister became pregnant twice by her boyfriend. I only had small clues as to what was going on at the time and quickly got the impression I was never supposed to discuss it. I was young and yet something inside of me thought that she must have had at least two abortions. I was terrified to know why or how or even to find out if my hunch was correct. I didn't find out the truth until nearly 20 years later.
When my sister was about 20 years old, she became a believer in Jesus Christ. By this time, she was married to the same boyfriend, and pregnant for the third time. She had a precious baby girl. I was 14 when I became an aunt, and I was thrilled! It was probably the happiest day I had in my teen years. During this time my mom went through her third and fourth divorces, and I consequently lost my third and fourth fathers. My life was in constant turmoil.
My sister later had two more daughters, and they all became the joy of my life during the years when I didn’t have a family of my own. I never asked my sister about the abortions. I figured that if she had actually had an abortion, it was probably the hardest and most painful experience she had ever gone through, without me stirring up the pain. Much later, when I was in my mid twenties, my sister's prayers for me were answered, and I too cried out for salvation and became a follower of Jesus Christ.
At age 29, the Lord miraculously blessed me with a wonderful husband. The miracle of giving birth and becoming a mommy was truly more awesome than I had ever imagined. It was around this time that I began to wonder about the abortions again.
It turned out that my mom was the one who had advised my sister to have the abortions and who took her to have them done. I was shocked, horrified and angry. I was living overseas at the time, and it was a good thing, because, at that point, I didn’t know what to do with all the painful feelings inside me. I knew I had to forgive her, but I but my heart ached to think she put my sister through that agony and that she had even instigated killing her first two grandchildren.
Soon after, my husband, our 1 1/2 year-old daughter and I moved back to the States where my mom lived. I had a hard time being in the same room with her. As I listened to her rave about how cute my baby daughter was, I stewed inside over how she'd rejected my sister's first two babies. Over and over again I asked the Lord to help me forgive her, but the gut-wrenching feelings overwhelmed me.
It wasn't until Jesus showed me the same wickedness in my own heart, that I was able to be free of the bitterness toward my mom. I was pregnant with our second child and the Lord led us to a wonderful Christian midwife who was like an angel sent from Heaven. She and her husband had six children at the time and she was pregnant with their seventh. The day I met her, I had come for my prenatal check-up and there she was in her office (a cozy bedroom in her home) - laying flat on the bed with a big tummy and a big joyful smile. She had been on bed rest for a couple of weeks and had to continue this for the rest of her pregnancy, because her water broke early. She was only in her fifth or sixth month. I was amazed at her, smiling and being so concerned for my pregnancy and me, and yet her own baby's life was at stake.
All through my pregnancy, I looked forward to my appointments with my midwife, just to feel the Lord's loving presence beaming from her. Her baby son was born and survived a very early delivery. A couple months later she delivered my second child, also a son, in our home! It was a miraculous moment to say the least.
During our appointments with her after the delivery, we asked her how she viewed birth control as my husband and I had wrestled with the topic throughout our marriage. She said, with a smile, that when she and her husband prayed about the issue, the Lord showed them that if they used birth control, their motives were exactly the same as the motives people have for abortion - that children are a burden rather than a blessing.
My husband and I looked at each other and something clicked in both our hearts. We were filled with joyful expectation about all the precious blessings we hoped to receive. We also received an immovable faith that our Heavenly Father would provide for our children no matter how many. It wasn't a faith we'd mustered up on our own; it was the type of faith that is purely a gift from above, eliminating all worry and fear.
But something else also clicked in my heart. I looked back and saw all the things I had done before I was a believer - sleeping around in my quest for love and all the times I had used birth control. I started to imagine all the dear faces of the precious babies I had rejected. My husband had once said to me that if I were ever raped, we would keep the baby and welcome the child into our family as our own. And yet I had rejected all of the children from the times I had willingly had relations with men.
As my heart sank with overwhelming sorrow, guilt and conviction, the Lord lovingly wiped the guilt part away with the words, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do". From that time on, I was released from all the bitterness in my heart towards my mom and was finally sure that I had totally forgiven her for instigating my sister’s abortions.
I realized that my mom, just like me, had no idea of the magnitude of what she had done; if she had, she would be horrified too. By Jesus' miraculous grace, I did not feel condemned; rather, I was so very thankful to see that I had been 100% just as much a sinner as my mom! And it made me love the Lord Jesus and what He's done on the cross for me so much more. His love and mercy are truly higher than the heavens!