“Although those who’ve had an abortion feel like it is an ‘unspeakable sin,’ it definitely is not,” said Susan Rose. “I believed the lies that abortion promised. I thought that decision would end my problems. But my life filled with denial, anger, unforgiveness, and shallow relationships.
“I look back at my childhood with such thankfulness. My parents became believers when I was a very young child. Their faith profoundly changed the direction of their lives, and therefore mine as well. From a young age, I had the opportunity to learn God’s Word and hear the gospel. I came to know Christ as a five-year-old sitting in a group of children learning the truth about God’s grace and the wages of sin (Romans 6:23). I responded to the gospel that day. From a child’s perspective, I understood who I was and what God had to offer. I became rooted in God’s Word, and the verses I learned in childhood would resurface later in my life, reminding me of His continual pursuit of me.
“As I grew, began to believe some of the lies that the world tells you like that importance is found in how you look or who you know. Then, when I met Dwane (my now husband) at fifteen, I was focused on affirmation from him. I was still involved in my church youth group and studying God’s Word, but the affirmation I was receiving from my boyfriend and the world was much more important to me. When we broke up later in high school, I felt devastated and alone.
“College felt like a place where I could try what the world offered to me. My priorities were no longer my relationship with Jesus, my family, or friendships.
“At 19 I was sexually assaulted by a coworker after a party. At first, I blamed myself. I didn’t believe what I knew to be true from Romans 8:1, “Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” And then, shortly after, I discovered I was pregnant.
“Through fear and a desire to run away, I decided to get an abortion. I didn’t tell anyone in my life what I was doing. I even lied to the people at the abortion clinic about having a ride after. From then on, I denied that my abortion ever happened.
“Dwane and I ended up dating again in college and were moving towards marriage. I told him about my abortion before we were engaged, in case he wanted to back out, but he didn’t. Even in premarital counseling at our church, the pastor noticed an underlying anger in me, but I continued to act like everything was fine.
“Reminders and memories of my abortion started pushing to the surface when we became pregnant. But still, I denied it.
“A few years later, when I was pregnant with our third child, I heard Hebrews 12 for the first time in a long time. In that moment, I felt like God was telling me, ‘You don’t have to keep this secret forever, and you don’t have to feel stuck.’ It was amazing how God showed me the truth about forgiveness in relationship to my abortion. I saw that I was entangled, and I needed to do something about it.
“God continued to pursue me in different ways and show me that my experiences could be used for His glory. A friend advised me to go to an after-abortion class to process and learn more about God’s plan for my life. Eventually, I told my parents about my past, and they met me with grace and love. In very clear ways, I knew God wanted me to share my story with others.
“After so many years living in denial, I started sharing my story with women and in Bible studies as the opportunities arose. While I was actively sharing the gospel through the story of God’s work in my life, I wrongfully continued to believe that this was God’s backup plan for my life, or His second-best. I knew I was fully forgiven from God, but I often thought that my life would be better if I hadn’t made that decision in my past.
“When the vision for The Life Initiative was presented at Watermark, I knew I had to be a part of it. It was clear that this was part of God’s best plan. I wanted men and women to fully understand the value of life and to learn they can find forgiveness and healing in Christ.
“In God’s eyes, you are worthy of a relationship with Him, and your life is worth more than whatever sin or struggle you carry. Satan wants to spin everything to keep us silent. We are all holding on to something, and God wants us to find healing (James 5:16).
“Sometimes, I do still feel a little angst about it, and it is hard to share my story. Abortion isn’t pretty, and it’s not something you can just immediately say to someone in the meet-and-greet time on Sunday mornings. But God’s persistent and radical pursuit of me is just undeniable. Because of Jesus, I have found healing, hope, forgiveness, and freedom. I have learned that my life, the life of my child, and everyone’s life is worth more than what the world is telling us.”
Worth More is a Christ-centered, after-abortion care ministry offering hope and healing to women. All women with past abortions are welcome to participate and process hurts, questions and doubts.