Thank you for being honest and candid in your book Unbreak My Heart.
I especially applaud you for sharing your fear that God punished you for an abortion by afflicting you with lupus and your son with autism. I hope my words may bring you some release from any lingering anxiety related to these fears.
Fear of God’s punishment after abortion is a common problem among women who choose it. We know in our hearts, as you said, we have participated in the taking of a life. Also, you are correct in saying that while you are a mom of two, you know in your heart there is a third child in your family. These are huge steps in your healing journey. I applaud you for breaking your silence to speak the secret, acknowledging your need to repair your relationship with God, and accepting the reality of the existence and intrinsic worth of your missing child.
So many women continue to justify the decision. When you appeared on The View I noticed Whoopi trying to appease your conscience with the excuse, “You weren’t ready [to parent]!” She continues to justify her own abortion past with that line of thinking. But it’s a trap which cannot satisfy the wounded conscience since it denies the worth of the child and places us above God as the One who gives and takes when it comes to life.
The fact that there is spiritual abuse in your past makes your experience that much more poignant. I too was very ignorant of the truth of God’s love toward us when I chose abortion. And financial and social pressures drove the decision in my case too. What I have learned and teach others in the aftermath is that our guilt often stands in as a way to avoid experiencing the grief we feel as mothers of lost children. The grief is so difficult to see because our culture continues to deny the worth of the unborn child. And we may even feel we don’t have a right to grieve what we ourselves destroyed. In our confusion we may come to believe that to grieve (and thus be relieved of the sorrow) might also mean to lose the one connection we feel to our missing child.
These complications all land in the envelope called guilt. And any new grief seems only to serve to compound the issue. Surely it was a moment of grief to hear your child diagnosed with autism—just as any chronic health condition is initially troubling news for any parent.
I hope you can begin to see the pain we experience as parents as grief rather than guilt. Doing so allows us to turn toward God for comfort rather than hide from Him in shame.
As to the guilt, Toni, if you believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins then I hope you can accept that your sorrow is ending soon! The punishment that brings us peace with God is upon Christ—not you nor your beautiful autistic son. By the suffering Christ endured we are healed. It is already accomplished. Just believe and you will find your peace.
I am very proud of you for not sugar-coating the truth that stands at the center of so much heartache in your life. I hope that you continue to grow in grace as you experience the truth of God’s love. He’s promised never to leave you nor forsake you. He’s welcomed into His eternal presence the children you and I rejected in this life and He’s always in prayer for us and our living children for our good.
The afflictions we and our children suffer are not God’s punishment but rather a taste of what Christ willingly took on for our sake to make us right forever with the Father of us all. As we share in that suffering we look forward to sharing in His glory. May it be so in your life and in your heart today.