| from Lauren Roman |
The pregnancy test was positive. I was positive my life, as I knew it, was over. How could someone so “smart” be so stupid?!
It was an existential identity crisis. I could not be that girl. I could not imagine having that conversation with my parents – the shame would be unbearable. This could not be my reality!
Crying hysterically, I made a desperate call to a trusted confidante. She assured me she could help, she knew of a “good abortion clinic”… I could make it go away, keep it a secret, and move on with my life as planned. My boyfriend had always been pro-life, but when it was his own future in question, suddenly it was the only one that mattered. He felt just as trapped as I did. Abortion was the only “way out,” it would “undo” the situation. What a lie.
It’s heartbreaking that there was never a pause. No one involved ever said, “Let’s think through this.” Never. The only thinking I did was imagining my parents’ reaction. My mind conjured their shock, disappointment, anger… that was it. No need to think beyond that. Short of breaking the law, I’d do anything to avoid an irreversible fall from grace.
“Grieve what isn’t, accept what is” could’ve changed everything.
If I truly understood my parents’ love and acceptance of me, I could’ve thought beyond the initial crisis. I didn’t comprehend that they could be angered and saddened by my actions, while simultaneously loving and accepting me as their daughter. I had conflated the two in my mind: the praiseworthiness of my actions equated to my worthiness as a person.
When “my actions = my worth” becomes the calculus for our decisions, “we fear the consequences of confession more than the consequences of concealment.” (Andy Stanley)
Adam and Eve proved this truism immediately after the original sin! It was compounded by concealment. When sin covers sin, it can go on ad infinitum… until we choose to break the cycle, to “kill the spider,” as Dr. Kathy would say.
After years of struggling with guilt, depression and numbing coping mechanisms, I finally broke the cycle. Through a post-abortion Bible study, I found complete forgiveness and healing. Although I’m eternally grateful for my freedom in Christ, it doesn’t erase the loss for me… or my parents.
When I finally told them about the abortion, their response was: “We are so sorry you felt you couldn’t come to us.” Acceptance, not judgment. Empathy, not anger.
This is why I exhort parents every chance I get: by all means, prepare your kids for the best – encourage them, challenge them – also make sure they know you will love them through the worst!
We all fall short. We all need God’s grace and mercy. He rejects our sin, but if we are in Christ, He accepts usas if we have the perfection of Jesus Himself! (That’s a mind-bender for a future post…)
Mere mortals can’t accomplish that level of unconditional love. The imperative is to make sure your kids know, if and when they fall, your grace and mercy are reliable like an interwoven, ever-present safety net. They can always tell you when something bad happens, even if it’s something they did. We are human beings, not human doings. Who we are is not equivalent to what we do.
Of course, actions have consequences, and a safety net can only stretch so far. God disciplines those He loves, and godly parents do well to follow His example!
When family is built on a foundation of love and acceptance, it fosters an environment of forgiveness. In a forgiving environment, mistakes and discipline are just a part of life, not the end of the world. That environment of forgiveness builds trust, reduces shame, and keeps communication lines open. When we have open communication, in a forgiving environment, with a foundation of love and acceptance, that helps keep bad choices from multiplying. (As long as we really listen and respond!)
If I understood my parents’ love and acceptance was a rock-solid foundation, I could’ve brought truth into that environment of forgiveness. We could’ve moved through the crisis together. We could’ve grieved what was lost, accepted our reality, and, with my child in our family, we would’ve gained more than we could’ve imagined!
That’s the power of love and acceptance. It changes everything. One choice at a time.
If you have been impacted by abortion, you’re not alone – help is available and healing is possible. Please contact: supportafterabortion.com/contact-us Both Dr. Kathy and I know the leadership of this group and we value their approach.
Lauren Roman is an enthusiastic encourager, creative communicator, and truth teller who captivates audiences of all kinds. Her eclectic career began as an actress in her teens (ABC’s “All My Children”) and now encompasses speaking, singing and writing – all to inspire others toward true identity and counter-cultural freedom in Christ. As Lauren shares from her own life with bold transparency, emotion, humor, and humility, interweaving practical biblical insights, hearts are engaged and stirred to change. Dr. Kathy is excited to welcome her to the team as a Celebrate Kids Associate Writer and Speaker.
Lauren keynotes live and virtual events for pro-life, women’s and youth ministries throughout the US and beyond – for more information, visit: laurenroman.com