Sunday, May 17, 2009

What Ails Me

I have been a stress case most of my life. I take on a lot and then fall under the pressure of it all. It is something I have worked on, but hasn't changed. This morning it hit me. What stresses me most and what takes me out of the game is not the stress of all I do - its the stress of expectations behind all I do. That is what I want freed from. I have no desire to say "screw the world" and hold up a middle finger to all who come across my past in an effort to push against expectation, but instead to let those expectations fall off my back instead of letting them define me. The schedule is not the problem - or maybe not the main problem, but instead the pressure to perform and get by without harsh words of those around me. The truth - I can't change the harsh words, but I can change how they affect me. This death to the people pleasing process seems to be taking forever and I wish I could be done with it yesterday, but I will keep moving forward, for I know God will see me through. I just need a transfer from what I know in my head to go into my heart so that I act out of security in Christ instead of fear. It will be reality for me - someday :).

Friday, May 15, 2009

My IRMA Story

As a girl, I set a standard for myself to save sex for marriage. I was 18 and getting ready to graduate high school when that standard was broken. It was a devastating reality, but instead starting over and trying again to stay pure, I gave in and continued having sex with my boyfriend. While most of my life was spent living with my mom, I lived with my dad and step mom in Germany the last two years of high school. The summer before starting college at Texas Christian University (TCU), I stayed with my mom in Ohio. My boyfriend and his family relocated to Pennsylvania. After being in Ohio a short time, I discovered I was pregnant. I took several tests hoping the results were wrong, but I was, indeed, pregnant. I called my boyfriend to tell him the news and as if he knew what I was going to say, he asked me to marry him. I rejected his request because it wasn't the choice I wanted to make. His next request was that I have an abortion. I told him I couldn't because I knew abortion was wrong. My original plan was to choose adoption for my child. As a military dependent at 18, my doctor visits were both free and confidential. I thought I could go to college and carry the baby to term, then choose adoption; keeping the secret from friends and family. The idea of allowing someone else to raise my child became too painful and fear of exposing my sin mounted. I was scared of ruining my pristine reputation as the virgin and good Christian girl. Up until that point, I had been the victim in life; now, I was the one who had committed wrong. I also had plans of college in the fall; being a single mom was not apart of that plan. I wanted to go back in time, and prayed I would wake up and no longer be pregnant, but, of course, that never happened. Finally, I allowed fear and the voice of my boyfriend's request to control me. My boyfriend's mom made an appointment and I boarded a bus to Pennsylvania. My boyfriend, his mom and I went to the appointment. It was nothing like what I had envisioned. There were no picketers - no commotion at all. It was a quiet office in suburban office complex. The doctor performed other procedures besides abortion, so it just looked like a regular doctor's office. My boyfriend paid for the abortion. I filled out some papers and took a Valium before heading to an examination room. I got on the table, while the doctor looked at the ultrasound – I was not allowed to see. He thought I was about 6-8 weeks along. A nurse came into the room and held my hand during the procedure. The doctor started the sucking process and the pain began. The nurse told me to breathe, but I couldn't – the cramping in my abdomen was more than I could bear. When it was over, the doctor told me the pain would get a little worse before it got better. I was given milk and cookies to help stop the cramps, but I still recall crying in pain. The doctor attempted to lighten the mood by making jokes about a promise of my future fertility. I stayed a few days at my boyfriend's house before returning to Ohio. I went to college at the end of the summer. As I started a new life in a place where I knew no one, I was left alone with my thoughts. The reality of my choice settled in – I had killed my baby! I went to a place of utter despair and spent my first year of college an emotional wreck. I can recall people in my dorm hearing me crying in the bathroom and asking if I was okay, but the truth was - I wasn't. The pain didn't subside; I just got better at suppressing it. In my junior year, I confided in a Bible study leader about my past abortion, and she suggested I attend a support group at the local pregnancy care center. I decided to join the group and began my journey of healing. The pain from this experience never completely disappears, but as I worked through the grief, I was able to function without suppressing memories. Now, at times, certain places or circumstances stir up emotions within me, but I am able to see a baby, talk about abortion and hear people's opinions without getting defensive and distraught. It was important for me to not only understand that I was forgiven, but also deal with the grief that was in my heart. I needed to allow my heart to experience the pain of that choice so that I could move on with life. It's a journey that takes a lifetime. While I regret my choice of abortion, I will never regret facing the pain.