Tag Archive | bible

Forgiven & Set Free ~ Introduction

Originally I had kept this F&SF subject matter in with my “Random Thoughts” category, but it has since taken on a life of its own.  So I created a F&SF category to house just my thoughts on my abortion experience and the Grace given to me by God to get through it to the “other side”.

I’m finding, as of this 12/12/12 writing, that the process didn’t end with my post-abortion Bible study, counseling and hours, weeks, months of insight and talking with friends about the subject.  Each day brings something new, something different to think about, to ponder.  As I’m going into the Christmas Season, new thoughts of my little boy, who would’ve been born the week prior to Christmas, had he been allowed to go to full term.

I cannot deny the sadness and regret I still feel on occasion, but for the most part it has been replaced with comfort and joy, and the knowledge that I will be with him some day once again.  Of that I am sure.  It is that that gives me some semblance of peace. 

So I will continue to post in this section of my blog as my thoughts merit.  Your thoughts and comments are welcome on this, or any other post on my blog.  And I thank you for your consideration.

Revealed Chapter 9: Faith ~

We’ve taken up residence, the kids and I, in two separate battered women’s shelters in Onondaga and Cayuga Counties between 1990-1998.  On more than one occasion, we had to move out of our home while BB was away (he was an over-the-road trucker this time) and enlist the help of friends, relatives and people with trucks to do it.  Our moves were always clandestine.  While we lived in Cayuga County, it was difficult for me to get any “action” from law enforcement there, because BB’s family were all “buddy-buddy” with sheriffs, judges etc. ~ it seems everyone was a farmer out there!  If I called the sheriff for domestic violence, if they did manage to come, they always poo-poo’d the circumstances, even the time BB assaulted me in public in the Sears store in Fingerlakes Mall, then went and slashed my car tires afterwards so I “couldn’t leave him”.  Law enforcement assured me things would eventually “calm down”, and that I shouldn’t do anything rash.  Feeling thwarted by those who were supposed to help protect me and my children, I always wound up going back to him and reconciling just to keep a roof over our heads and some continuity in our lifestyle.  Does that even make sense?

 The stress of living in this fashion, never knowing where you’re going to be from one day to the next, was not without it’s humorous and even memorable times.  Once, my eldest was on a class trip for the weekend, and returned home to find to her surprise that we had (yet again) moved.

 We spent an entire summer at Vera House in Onondaga County.  Kristen was on her own by then, so it was me, Karalyn, Brian and Katie staying in their suburban accommodations.  Karalyn got a job at the nearby Burger King, Brian joined a summer soccer camp and we all spent time at the nearby town pool.  Additionally, Vera House provided for miniature golf and other activities.  We took walks (it was in a nice village), and watched the fireworks on July 4th over the river.  I was able to retain my car for the time being, so we had transportation, and yes, I looked for a job.

 But, in the end, I always caved in and ended up back with BB ~ usually I would get an apartment and he would eventually moved back in with us.  I was weak… what can I say?  you don’t know it until you’ve lived it.  Yes, I would time and again put myself and my children in danger by my actions… I am absolutely guilty.  It is a domestic violence “mentality” that I can’t even begin to reason.

 I remember those last few years (before I was finally able to get up the backbone to be on our own) by incidents rather than a time frame.  Most memorable was the fight that BB and I had that turned very physical and could’ve been tragic.  I was throwing him out of our house this time, rather than me taking the kids and running.  But he wasn’t going to go without a fight, and without whatever money he could steal out of my purse before he took off.  Once I realized what he was really after ($$), I made it my business to defend what little money I had from working with which I had to support my children.  I wasn’t going to let him get it.  Somehow, we wound up in the kitchen, both of us tearing at my purse and he was about to gain control when I decided it was time to put this to an end.  I grabbed the nearest butcher knife within reach and I sliced at him with it.  I didn’t connect, but it must’ve been enough to make him realize how serious I was, as he let go and bolted out the door.

 Another “memorable” event that still makes me cringe to this day was when we were driving in rural Cayuga County on our way to “somewhere” that I just didn’t want to go, but he was making me.  We were about a mile from our current residence on Blanchard Road, and he was driving his pickup truck with me in the passenger seat.  The truck’s brakes needed considerable work, and I was afraid to ride in it, but he insisted we had to go.  As we proceeded up the road towards Montezuma, I continued to protest and complain that I didn’t want to go etc.  He finally became so furious that he suddenly slammed the transmission of the truck into reverse (without stopping!) and the truck jerked to a halt then went into reverse as BB had his size 13 boot on the accelerator all the way to the floor.  The truck bolted backwards and BB floored it until we were headed backwards at about 50-55 mph on a rural (but not untraveled) road back to our house.  It all happened so fast that I was in a panic and utterly terrified.  As we crested the hill that led DOWN to our home, still going backwards, he tried to brake to slow us down but the truck’s brakes failed miserably.  We must’ve been going around 55-60 down that hill backwards when he shifted the truck down into a lower gear and threw on the emergency brake as we approached the house.  We slowed somewhat, but he eventually decided we would have to go off the road in order to stop, so he passed our driveway and hit one of the trees in our yard at about 30 mph.  It demolished the rear of the truck, needless to day.  Too scared to be furious, and too furious to be scared, we went at it with each other with an intensity that wouldn’t be rivaled.  Finally he left, in that battered piece of crap of a truck, and left me shaking and crying and marveling at the fact that I made it out of that escapade alive.  It was one of those many, many moments that I wished he was dead.

 There were so many other “incidents” where violence played a part in the lives of my children and me.  Far too many to list here in detail.  There were many court dates, orders of protection, move here, move there.  One of my biggest humiliations, oddly enough, was having to go to work, my place of employment, with a black eye on numerous occasions.  I was always nursing bruises, cuts, abrasions.  And the non-profit that I worked for sponsored one of the domestic violence shelters that took us in!

 The start of 1997 was really the beginning of the end of this chaotic fiasco that had been a relationship with BB.  I was finally able to secure a decent apartment for me and my family, without him.  I had a decent job at a local manufacturing company in Auburn, and was determined to rid myself of the lifestyle that had kept us all hostage for 13 years.  I must admit, it was miserable trying to break free of it.  Even though we were at peace, for the most part, I was lonely and depressed.  Over the summer of ’97, BB finally found someone else to prey on.  And, although he and I were still dealing with issues like child support and visitation, at least we didn’t have the “in-house” violence and stress that we’d had for the decade prior.  It was oddly difficult for me to adjust to the independence, even though I welcomed it!  Me and three of my children were now living in an apartment “alone”, and I was solely responsible for it all… first time in my life.  What a scary prospect!  But this is what I had wanted, and now it was mine.  I did finally feel safety was at hand for me and the kids, well, as long as BB was preoccupied with the new love of his life… he wasn’t bothering us.  Brian and Katie went to visit with him on some weekends, during which time I was guarded.  But things were starting to become a new normal for us, with only my temper to have to deal with, and that was more than enough for all.

 I’m not sure what led to it, but over the months until around early August 1997 I became more and more depressed and lonely.  It’s a self esteem thing.  But I was sure that I was never again going to find happiness, and I was still wallowing in that “all about me” phase that seemed to go on for years!  I was occasionally “seeing” some of my FWB (friends w/benefits) that I’d accumulated over the past 7-8 years ~ I haven’t mentioned much about that phase, but I had a “collection” of FWB, some that I had been seeing short term and some longer term to fill the various voids in my life starting around 1990 or so.  But something was missing, something was tugging at me and I was looking for that white picket fence yet again.  I simply refused to let that dream die.  But now it seemed like an impossibility, and the thought made me despondent. 

 One night, after the kids were in bed or watching t.v. downstairs (I really didn’t keep track), I was in my room and pretty much headed for the end of my rope.  I’d never been one to be “spiritual”, and I surely didn’t believe in the Bible or God or any of that “crap”, but I was at my lowest point and decided what the heck?  It couldn’t hurt… so I got down on my hands and knees, more of a slump on the bedroom floor, and I prayed to “God”, saying “If you’re there, if you’re real, I need you right now ~ I don’t know what else to do.”  I begged Him to come into my life and take control because I couldn’t do it alone anymore, I couldn’t do it at all.  My life and my kid’s lives were in a train wreck, God, and I wanted out.  I must’ve been on that floor for about 30 minutes, in tears and in prayer, before I finished what I had to say to this imaginary God and got up and climbed back into bed.  The despondency waned and I began to feel tired and eventually fell asleep.

It must’ve been about a week later that I was perusing the Personal section of the Classified ads of the local newspaper (yes, they had those back then).  Seeing nothing promising, I decided to place and ad, myself.  Couldn’t hurt.  It was free, and I had total control of the situation, which was perfect for me.  I place an ad, and people call this 800 number and leave a message, then I check the messages 1-2 times a day and return phone calls to those of my choosing.  Fascinating concept.  I wrote up what I thought to be an interesting and intriguing advertisement (which I still have!), and I placed my ad.  Well, maybe after about 3 days of listening to “gentlemen” leave me messages of every sort, I came across a possible “date-able” person, and I returned his call.  His was the only call that I would return from around 20+ messages left.

We ended up talking on the phone to each other 2-3 times a week for a few weeks, but really didn’t meet until November (I think).  It turned out that this gentleman was a customer of the place where I worked as a receptionist!  During the course of our conversations, he said he remembered me, and sounded quite excited at the prospect ~ guess I made an impression on him.  I, however, did not remember who he was in relation to my employment… so our meeting would be a surprise for me.  He showed up at my door with a huge bouquet of flowers, in a snowstorm.  He was taking me to dinner at a nice restaurant in Weedsport, NY, and we were going there in a snowstorm.  I was game for adventure.  We chatted extensively during the dinner, and I was beginning to realize that, although he was good looking, polite and nice and everything, we just had nothing in common.  He was a “Christian”, believed in God and all that crap; he was politically conservative (are you kidding me with this?!), and it seemed a lot of our evening discussion revolved around these two areas ~ religion and politics ~ neither of which I was interested in.  When he dropped me off home later, with a kiss on the cheek, I was sure I would not be seeing him again lest I be bored to death with uninteresting conversation about subjects I didn’t care about.

 However, he did continue to call me, and I called him.  Second date, third date… things were going well.  What?  He wanted to read the Bible with me?  Seriously?!  Well, ok, I’ll give it a try, even though I thought the Bible was a book of simple “hearsay” passed down over hundreds of years by people who didn’t even know or see Jesus Christ.  How accurate could it possibly be?  I’ll humor this guy who had begun to find his way into my heart with his humor, manners and he was obviously infatuated with me ~ that was the most important part.  So we read the Bible together… or he read it to me.  I asked questions, a lot of questions.  He always had seemingly good answers.  I was beginning to understand this “faith” thing of his.  Maybe, just maybe this was something we could share.

 Well, to make a long story short, we cultivated our relationship and were married in less than a year.  Yes, the kids liked him too.  It looked like I was going to get my white picket fence after all!  Well, sort of… it would’ve cost a small fortune to install one on our new yard in Jordan, NY, so I was happy with just imagining it surrounded our property.  I had faith that it was there, even if I couldn’t see it!

Revealed: Introduction ~

It’s time.  This is it.  For so many years, friends and family have been encouraging me to write a book about my life’s experiences thus far.  It’s taken until now to finally feel the inspiration from God to put myself out there, after all, I have nothing more to hide.  I thought telling about my abortion at age 14 (Forgiven and Set Free) would’ve been the hardest thing to reveal, and I’ve done that.  It’s time to “come clean” with the rest, and pray that I can help someone else in the process.

I guess I would classify my story as surviving, what some could call, hell on earth, then finding my spirituality and turning my entire life around.  As shocking as some of my reveal may seem to some, it’s meant to encourage others to not give up, and to listen when God speaks to you ~ and He WILL, if you let Him, if you listen.  He can bring you through any circumstance, if you trust in Him.

“With God, all things are possible.”  ~ Matthew 19:26  

So, I’m not writing a book, exactly.  I’m going to blog about it.  Each post will be like a chapter, with this being The Beginning.  I’m not going to change any names “to protect the innocent”, but I will use initials out of respect for those who deserve it, and for those who have passed away ~ and, yes, even for those who don’t deserve it (respect)!  I make no apologies for what I’m going to reveal.  It is the truth ~ my truth, my perspective.  I will attempt to write each chapter in chronological succession, but I will be writing as my inspiration tells me.  I trust He will not steer me wrong.

Before I begin with the Chapters, I want to notably make clear that I had what I consider to be an awesome childhood.  I loved my parents, even though I didn’t know that until it was too late.  I love my siblings ~ all 4 are older than me, but not necessarily wiser… maybe in “some” ways.  I believe I had a “typical” childhood of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s.  My parents were loving people, albeit strict and they believed in corporal punishment, as do I.  We vacationed as a family each year, went to the company Christmas party at the Landmark Theatre in Syracuse, I learned to wash dishes by hand before I could reach the sink using a step stool.  We grew up in rural Upstate New York, and strung toilet paper at the “four corners of Plainville” on Halloween night, then watched as the tractor trailers drove through them and blew their horn.  My story doesn’t really begin until I became a pre-teen/teenager.  I’ll get there.

I also want my four amazing children to know, before I even begin, that I love them above and beyond anything they can ever imagine.  I would not change one aspect of my life, as that’s what it took to bring them into this world and get us to where we are today.  They have survived the tyranny, chaos and abuse I raised them under, and have become incredible adults with gorgeous children of their own.

Lastly, and most importantly, I must acknowledge my husband, Al (whose name I won’t initial), for coming into my life just when I needed him most.  I must confess that it was Al that brought God into my life… or was that vice versa?  *smiles*  They came into my life simultaneously, and I have been abundantly blessed ever since.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  2 Corinthians 5:17

A starred sunset over Lake Ontario from Brennan Beach RV Park & Campground near Pulaski, New York.
http://www.sthomasphotos.com or Viewsinfinitum.com

Oh, and the photo?  I’m borrowing it from another site:  www.sthomasphotos.com   I also want to recommend the blog:   http://viewsinfinitum.com/ .  This particular photo is a favorite of mine and has the effect of calming my mind and my soul, allowing me to reconnect with my Lord and God when stress is particularly abundant.  This photographer has many such “calming” photos, many involving waterfalls, nature and landscapes.  The blog is well-written and insightful, always stirring my imagination and emotions.  Worth a look.

Forgiven and Set Free ~

I am a child of God.  I am His daughter, His princess, His brown-eyed girl and his devoted and loving child.  I’m pretty happy with this arrangement, and I’m sure so is He.  I spent a good deal of this early summer learning and getting comfortable with myself, and my God.  It took a lot of hard work, tears and revelation to be able to admit, privately and publicly, that I had an abortion when I had just turned 14 years old.  It’s not something you can just discuss over lunch with a friend, or blurt out at some perceived opportune moment.  Even now I have difficulty putting this “out there” for all to know, but the difference is now I know it serves a purpose.  If telling my experience can save just one girl/young woman/woman from choosing abortion over any other option, I will consider this sacrifice of privacy a success.

   Yes, I found myself pregnant at the age of 13, in 1974.  Surprised?  I was!  As a 13 year old in 1974, I was extremely naïve, and just plain didn’t know much.  So when a young man approached me (he was also 13) and wanted to be my boyfriend, and he gave me lots of attention, I was flattered and loved the attention.  Who wouldn’t?  We took that next step, and we weren’t careful.  As I look back I think “What was I thinking???”  Well, obviously I wasn’t.

   There are some blank spots in my memory surrounding that summer.  Somehow our parents found out, and took it from there, making the decisions and all of the arrangements to get things taken care of quietly so that he (the baby’s father) and I would be able to continue on with our lives without interruption or inconvenience… I guess.  The next thing I knew, I was being admitted to Crouse Hospital for three days, and my parents left me there alone.  I wouldn’t discover until decades later that I was never alone.  But here I was.  This was not to be your “simple” abortion, by the way, somehow months had gone by before my admittance, and I was now almost 5 months along, well into my second trimester.  So a “saline abortion” had been ordered by my OB/GYN.  Now, at my age, I had no idea what was even happening, all I cared about was if it was going to hurt.  As I stared at the 10″ needle that was about to be inserted into my uterus, my doctor and his attending nurse tried to reassure me.  I closed my eyes and gritted my teeth, thinking about being able to go home and go horseback riding… after all, it was summer vacation! 

   Somewhere in the middle of the night the contractions began and kept me awake.  I labored for the better part of 10 hours in my hospital room, by myself, as I watched the nurses going about their routine outside in the hall.  I remember thinking to myself when would this end and what would be the result?  When could I go home?  Then I remembered “three days” and knew I’d be able to leave the next day.  The nursing staff pretty much ignored me and left me to myself as I felt like my stomach was about to explode.  Why hadn’t I been allowed breakfast that morning when I woke up?  Finally, after an eternity, I had to push and my child was born in the hospital bed.  I felt the little arms and legs jerk between my legs, and I called for a nurse.  A 40-something year old woman came into the room and seemed surprised to see a baby there, but she began to wrap him up and prepared to whisk him away to who-knows-where.  I quickly asked if it was a boy or girl, and she hastily told me my son had been born alive… then they were gone.  My parents picked me up the next evening after they finished work, and they took me home as if I’d just had my tonsils out.  It was never mentioned again, by them or by me.

   Decades later, when I began having bouts of depression and uncontrolled crying, my husband and I were stumped as to why.  That is, until I began having thoughts and memories of that summer in 1974, and regrets and doubts about what I should’ve/could’ve done to change my baby’s fate.  See, now I had become a Christian woman, a woman of God, and I didn’t believe in abortion… under any circumstance.  I believe in life at conception, and under no circumstances should a person take that child’s life or it would be considered murder.  Was I really seeing myself in that new light?  Certainly I could not be considered a murderer, as I had no control over what my parents did.  And they couldn’t be murderers, they were my parents, doing only the best that they could for my benefit and future.  Certainly neither God nor I could blame them!

   Well the depression and crying continued intermittently.  I sent to Crouse Hospital for a copy of the records of that abortion, and I got a clinical 4 page assessment of what happened.  “Products of conception” he was called.  My baby boy.  This year, 2012, it hit me again ~ very hard this time.  I confided in a friend, who told me about a post-abortion Bible study group from our church that might be helpful, and she gave me a name and a phone number.  I was skeptical, but I made the call and the arrangements to meet with this “group” and commit myself to getting through this and getting better, getting results, getting to the bottom of this.  The group was to be 10 weeks long, and we met once a week.  Two incredible young, devoted and loving women from church lead the group ~ each confessing that they, too, had been there and back, and that we would get through it and come out alive and better for it.  Seriously?  Who ARE these people?  But I devoted myself to my Monday night sessions, and to the homework as well, which consisted of reading a “workbook” and answering a myriad of questions in addition to reading Bible passages that pertained.

   I learned so much from this Bible study.  I was finally able to mourn the loss of my child.  Society supports women who have lost a child due to miscarriage, or after birth, but nowhere is there recognition or support of a woman who has had an abortion ~ also the loss of a child.  And society would say, “Hey, you’ve had 38 years to get over it,” in my case, but does any mother ever truly “get over” the loss of their child?  I put it right up there with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), and in fact, it is referred to PAS (post abortion syndrome), and it is real.  Go figure?  Finally a NAME to address what I’d been experiencing, and an avenue in which to get better!  I learned how to forgive myself, as God has forgiven me, for being complacent in going along with the plans for my son.  I did nothing to thwart his death.  I also was able to forgive all of those people involved in this:  my son’s father, my parents, his parents, even the OB/GYN.  I needed to forgive and show mercy.  Having mercy means that we no longer hope in our hearts that they’ll get what they deserve, no longer want to see them punished.   I could finally put the depression, anger, guilt and even the suicidal thoughts behind me.  I was finally beginning to feel my life come back to me and my spirits lifted.

   At the end of the 10 week study, I felt like a new person (2nd Cor 5:17) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  I realize that there will be times when I think about my son, who has since been named, but I know how to deal with these emotions, and on who I can rely and trust.  I am my Father’s daughter.  Those of us in the Bible study, and our study leaders had a memorial celebration at the end of the 10 weeks at the church.  It was beautiful!  There were flowers, candles, music and speeches in memoriam of our children.  At the end, we let go of helium balloons outside and watched them glide away.  Al and I also purchased and planted a beautiful red oak tree in our front yard in memory of the loss.  The oak tree will grow big and strong, as I know my son would have.  He must’ve been a strong little guy to make it through and survive as long as he did.

   And now I’ve been able to move on and put the past behind me.  I know someday I’ll be able to see him again in Heaven, and I’m looking forward to that day.  Until then, I can rest each day knowing he’s with Our Father, and that my future is set.  And I’m thanking God each day that I’ve been Forgiven and Set Free!

My little red oak tree, planted in memory of Kirk Leroy Thomas (so named by his father and having the same middle and last name as his father). We call it “Kirkwood” for short. The yellow mums were planted from the memorial, as well as the white roses that were given to me by a special Sister in Christ at the memorial. Kirkwood has survived the weather/storms better than any of our other oaks or maples, including my King Crimson maple that stands not far from the strong little oak.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4-3-2013 Update ~ Recently our church, Word of Life Assembly of God, in Baldwinsville, NY, helped facilitate a promotional video of the Forgiven and Set Free experience.  It can be found HERE on You Tube.  It breaks my heart and sets me free each time I see it, remember it, remember him (Kirk Leroy Thomas) and hear that song (about abortion).  I hope you’ll visit the link and listen in … can you tell which one is me?

God bless!