Since going incredibly about my painful past, my parents have been so supportive. They have prayed for me, watched my kids while I travel, and loved me through the tough days. In many ways, however, they have been silent about their feelings. I knew they needed time to process, grieve, and go through all of the emotions that abortion brings. Last night, I received a letter from my Mom…and I want to share it. It’s an honest look at how it feels to be the mother of a girl who’s had an abortion and the grandmother of aborted grandchildren…and it’s a reminder that abortion affects so many more people than we even realize.
This morning, a series of events led me to go to your website. I have spent the last several hours reading your blogs and the comments that follow. I am asking the Holy Spirit to guide my mind and hands as I write this letter to you. I am writing this with a heart filled with love and admiration. My heart aches for the pain you have endured and it yearns for the clock that I wish I could turn back and change the mistakes your father and I made in raising our daughters. It is not fair that hindsight is so clear!
It would be very easy for me to defend every decision your dad and I made as you were growing up. I could say, “We did the best we could”, or “You have no idea what we were going through”, or how about this one…“We were young and stupid and no one taught us how to be parents!” We made a conscience effort to protect our daughters from every hurtful, damaging, and unsafe situation that came along. Because we both grew up in very “unsafe” families, we thought that was the answer to raising happy, healthy daughters. Every decision we made was with that goal in mind. I think that was a noble goal…but, with unintended consequences.
As I have learned more and more about the struggles that you have overcome, I keep asking myself the same question. “Why didn’t Kelly come to me and let me help her through this time in her life?”; “Why did she feel she could not trust that I would walk with her through her pain?”. What you don’t know is that I WAS struggling with you through this time…I just did not know WHY. I was not strong enough to ask you for the truth because I was afraid of the answer. In my heart, I knew the truth…but I was so afraid of losing you and my grandaughter, I stepped into the shadow and prayed that God would protect you both.
As you are learning each day, parenting is like shooting at a target. Sometimes you hit a bulls eye, but most of the time, you are just lucky to hit the target! If your dad and I could look at your “growing-up” target, we would see a few bulls eyes, but I know there were far too many near misses and, Lord knows, there were too many complete misses! My heart aches for another shot at it, knowing what I know now!
As I watch you and your sister raising your children, I am grateful that you have taken the mistakes that your father and I made and are working so hard to correct them in your parenting. Sometimes, I have to smile when I hear you both make comments to your children that result in the same rolled eyes and sighs that you made. In a strange way, that feels really good.
But….here is the real reason for this letter. For every daughter that has aborted a child, there is a mother and a father who must find healing from the guilt and pain they feel. There are so many emotions that we feel…abandonment, shame, sadness, fear, depression, confusion, and failure. I have wrestled with “where did I go wrong?” and “what else could I have done?” ever since I learned your story. I have prayed that God would show me what to do with all of these emotions and then clearly reveal to me how to channel my confusion in a way that would glorify Him. I have asked that my shame be replaced with grace and God has granted that request.
My journey has led me to many interesting places. I have a never-ending thirst to find my purpose. I believe your story has led your father and me to become more mature Christians with a discernment that can only come from God. Like you, we know that the past is the past, but it is our past that makes us who we are today. Without our struggles and pain, there would be no reason to search for answers. In our weakness, we have been drawn closer to our Savior. We are listening more than we ever have. Some of God’s answers scare me to death, but I know He is enlarging our territory in ways that we could have never imagined. All of this is happening because of your story. God has used the heartache of your experience to help other post-abortive women and He is molding, shaping, and leading your dad and me to be more bold in our daily lives. We are waiting for His lead and I feel we are on the brink of some important answers!
My prayer is that other parents who find themselves in this situation will drop to their knees and ask God to form their words and direct their paths. “Blame” is an awful word. It causes so much harm and has the potential to cause irreparable damage. We have learned that many of the emotions you have felt after your decision are many of the same emotions we have felt. Your healing has been a difficult journey. Our healing has been difficult for some of the same reasons. It takes time. I fear that there are many parents who are suffering silently.
Kelly…help me to help other parents….maybe that is where God is leading us!!
With love and passionate prayers,