You cannot read the news today or tune into social media without one thing becoming crystal clear—the abortion debate is on the forefront like never before. As I watch the videos exposing the atrocities of the industry, I have two responses—my stomach turns and my heart breaks. My heart doesn’t just break for the unborn, no, my heart also breaks for the women – millions of women—who walked into an abortion clinic and walked out carrying, not a baby, but the burden of guilt and shame.

My heart breaks for these women because I know they were deceived and carry a silent grief.  I don’t blame them. I blame the enemy.  Jesus said that Satan is our real enemy who seeks to kill, steal and destroy and his mastery is deception. With his lies, he twists and distorts reality so that women believe their only hope is elimination.  The enemy doesn’t play fair, because right after he tempts and deceives us into sin; he turns and becomes the primary accuser. So for any woman who made this life-altering decision, he becomes her biggest accuser—speaking to her lies of shame and worthlessness.

When the first Planned Parenthood video posted a few weeks ago, I felt God say in my spirit, “The cross of Jesus is open wide to anyone. Jesus can take the woman who’s had one abortion or ten and wash her clean and make her whole.” Grace heals abortion. I want to take each one of these women in my arms, put her head on my shoulder and let her weep for her loss. I want to lead her to the only Healer of her soul, Jesus Christ.

When I wrote my book Sex and the City Uncovered, I did so to expose the emptiness and brokenness of the culture that says, “sex is no big deal.” Promiscuity is glamorized, and the world paints a picture that is far from reality. I lived this lifestyle and realized the heartbreak that comes from it. What seems like a quick route to happiness is actually a road to destruction. One of the chief consequences of sex outside of marriage is the unplanned pregnancy that accompanies sexual promiscuity.  In Sex and the City Uncovered, I shared my friend Ashley’s story (not her real name). I want to share it here with to encourage any woman who feels she’s beyond God’s grace.  You are not! Jesus specializes in redeeming broken girls, I should know, He redeemed me, and I’m only alive today because Jesus is stronger!

Ashley’s Story

To say I was goal oriented is an understatement. I always knew I wanted to be a cheerleader—you should have seen my back handspring. I set my mind to make the honor roll and student council officer—I accomplished both. I always hoped I would be the homecoming queen—I still have the crown. But there is one thing I never imagined I would become, and that was the girl in the waiting room of an abortion clinic.

How did I get there?

I was not a slut. Not yet anyway. Quite the contrary. I was in love and thought I was getting married. No, this is not the story of the one-time slipup. Sure, I was sexually active. But it was with my boyfriend. Every girl in my sorority slept with her boyfriend. And I was the homecoming queen, for heaven’s sake. It was all so normal. Love on campus. Football sweethearts. Summer love. Young love. Great bodies. Great smiles. Shiny hair and pom-poms. And a half dozen abortion clinics within walking distance of campus.

No one told me it would be so painful. The doctor and nurses chatted and joked while they pried open my cervix. In reality, it took only a few minutes, but I felt like I was there an eternity. The machine went to work, and my “problem” went away.

Everything changed.

The relationship ended. It seemed my boyfriend, and I couldn’t communicate anymore. We broke up a few weeks after the abortion. Something inside my soul died that day. I only thought I was empty before. Words cannot describe the black hole my soul became after the abortion. No boyfriend, no baby—I was miserable and alone.

I emerged from that experience a different woman. Gone was the cheerleader with a bright smile and high hopes. The woman who surfaced from the pool of regret and shame was hard, tough, and cold. I was so emotionally numb that it was easier just to stop feeling. So I did. I didn’t feel anything.

Men became conquests, not lovers. Sex was about control, not love. I’d go out at night hoping a hook-up with a guy would give me an ego boost. Then the next morning I’d wake up with even less self-respect than I had the night before. But, it didn’t seem to stop me. Now, I was easy. I didn’t think very much of myself. Anyone could have sex with me, and they knew it.

The drugs helped to soothe my heartache for a little while.

I started doing cocaine casually at first. Everyone in my circle was a social user. But after “the incident” I needed it more and more. I desperately needed an escape from my reality.

As it would happen, I started dating the campus drug connection. Easy access. Six months later I was pregnant again. This time I didn’t tell anyone. Not the guy, not a friend. I just made the phone call to the clinic and went through the whole scenario again.

I was so out of control. It was easy this time around. This started a whole year of even more degrading sexual activity. Guys I wouldn’t have looked at three years before I was now going home with on a regular basis. One-night stands, random hook-ups. Two-week flings.

My heart stopped being broken. It was too numb to notice.

Then one night I overdosed on cocaine. I was spiraling and spinning into a deep abyss. God used a trip to the ER to talk some sense into me. A nurse looked at me and said, “You are going to die if you don’t stop.” You can’t hide from dying. I woke up.

I dropped out of college just a semester shy of graduation. I went home, back to my old bedroom filled with all the accolades of the girl I once was and the girl I could have been. I sat in that room surrounded by old prom corsages and pageant trophies, fell on my knees, and cried out to God for help.


—–

Ashley came to the end of herself, and she cried out to God for help. So, how does God respond to a girl like Ashley? The Bible tells us in John 8:1-11 just exactly how Jesus reacted to a girl much like my friend. Let’s look at that story together.

Dust swirled about the crowded street as angry men dragged her from her bedroom into the broad daylight. Busted. Caught in the very act of adultery. In that culture, sex was not only assumed to be for marriage, but also adultery was punishable by death. This moment wasn’t really about her, though—or the man with whom she was sleeping. This moment was a trap set for Jesus. Would He uphold the law, or would He pardon the condemned?

Condemned, she was for sure. The men who dragged her into the temple courtyard seethed with contempt and scorn. They judged her actions and called for punishment.

“Stone her!” they cried. And then all eyes turned to Jesus. What would Jesus do?

The woman stood before Him, haggard. Head down, afraid to look up, and too ashamed to do so. She wasn’t proud or angry . . . She was hurt. She’d been looking for love, and this is what she’d found instead. Where was the man she was sleeping with? He certainly wasn’t there to defend her. Alone and afraid, she awaited her accusers.

These religious leaders didn’t care about her; it was Jesus they were interested in. She was just a pawn in their little game of religious chess. Would Jesus walk into their carefully crafted trap?

Jesus knew their motives, just as He knows every heart. Instead of facing their challenge head on, Jesus slowly and deliberately began to write on the ground. What did He write that day? Some speculate He wrote the Ten Commandments; others think He wrote the words He spoke to the crowd: “He who is without sin can cast the first stone.”

Silence.

Stone silence.

Jesus did it again. Stunning the crowd and confounding the guilty, He met their challenge and opened their eyes to see the situation as He did—through eyes of mercy. A light dawned in darkened hearts. The Scripture tells us that one by one the men dropped their stones and walked away, each realizing that they had no grounds to condemn this woman to death for they, too, had sinned.

So, back to our question: How does God respond to a girl like Ashley who has fallen into sexual sin? He responds to her with the offer of grace and a new beginning. In the conclusion to this story (John 8:2–12), Jesus turned to the woman after all of her condemners had walked away and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

Forgiveness and grace—that is the message of Jesus Christ. He reaches out to us in our pain, shame, and brokenness and offers us a fresh start. He realizes that looking for love in a hook-up is emotionally and physically devastating to us. That is why He comes to set us free from the lies that hold us captive and to give us new life.

The Rest of Ashley’s Story . . .

Jesus met me there.

In my high-school bedroom, just a shadow of the girl I once was, Jesus took the broken pieces of my life, and He made me a new creation. The Bible says God gives us “beauty for ashes.” My life was definitely in rubble and ashes—and years later, I can tell you He has made it something beautiful.

Jesus desires to give every woman what He gave to my friend Ashley and to the woman caught in adultery—He wants to give you a fresh start. Only Jesus can do this; He is the God of new beginnings. He is the only One, who can take the broken pieces of our lives and make us whole. Jesus wants the rest of your story to be something beautiful. I know this one from experience.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. -1 John 1:9

 

**Stay tuned: Next week on the Redeemed Girl blog we will provide resources and hope for women who’ve had abortions.

-Marian Jordan Ellis

@marianjordan

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