A precious friend recently asked me if I might consider writing about how God redeemed me from my abortions as an addition for a book that she was publishing. I have never really written out the whole story before. Even though I have done interviews, spoken and shared my testimony openly and freely, placing ALL God did to redeem me into mere words has seemed almost impossible. However, I could hear Jesus prompting me saying, “it’s important, Rhonda.” So, I am sharing my story in the greatest hope that Jesus will use it for His Glory. I must say upfront that these words can never do justice to ALL Jesus has done in my heart and mind, but perhaps through them maybe one person will begin to hear His Voice calling out, “Roll away the stone”,so that she is fully free to experience Christ’s love for her. I was at a Crisis Pregnancy event last night where I was reminded of how important it is to release our story into God’s hands. Once we turn that story that tends to weigh our hearts down over to Him, the whole story changes and what we thought was an ending to a story called, “never read again,” suddenly instead becomes the climax to a whole new story. It becomes a Jesus story, one that we could have never imagined was possible, and one that we can be sure ends with a, “and they lived happily ever after.” I will never get over the fact that our WHOLE story is SAFE with Jesus, even those parts that have hurt and tormented us throughout our lives.
“All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:8-10
Sometimes, all it takes is a little courage to walk back through the door into the darkest parts of our story, and believe that, this time, the Light of the World is going with us, and His Light changes everything. Who knew that the same room in my heart that the enemy used for so many years to steal, kill, and destroy me would become the exact same room that Jesus would use and cause me to know and understand His abundant Life in ways that I never could before.
I pray that, if you read this, you will do two things. First, pray for those mom’s out there who are pregnant right now, that they will not choose abortion. Of course, my heart is to save the babies, however as a woman who has chosen death three times, my heart is just as much for the mothers who are loved and deeply cherished by Jesus every bit as much as their babies are. Second, please pray for those women who have already chosen death, that they will believe that God can and wants to go back and re-write their story. Pray they will let Him. As I said in my testimony below, “the Cross becomes so big when it become so personal.” As many babies have been aborted, there are mother’s hearts still here, on earth, sinking under the weight of sin who Jesus wants to redeem and make new.
I had a vision one morning while in prayer of a street lined with tiny baby shoes on both sides, as many as the eye could see, representing the lives of those who have been taken through abortion. Then I saw a group of women running down the street, heads held high, arms raised in praise towards heaven. These were the mom’s of those little babies, mom’s whose feet Jesus had washed in His blood and made new by the power of His redemption.
Oh, Let it be unto us as You have said, Jesus!
“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.” Rev. 22:14
The book that my friend asked me to be a part of fell through. However, God caused me to write this story and share it as an instrument to use in His hands. Like a stone David released from his slingshot, I am praying it lands exactly where it needs to. Pray that this testimony lands at every heart Jesus intends it.
Jesus, may You continue to do abundantly more than we can ask…I love You because YOU ALWAYS faithfully love me so well. AMEN.
Here is my testimony, enjoy!
“And he said in the presence of his brothers and of the army of Samaria. “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore it for themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, and burned up ones at that?” Nehemiah 4:2
“You make beautiful things. You make beautiful things out of the dust. You make beautiful things. You make beautiful things out of us.” -Gungor
“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live” Deuteronomy 30:19
“How can someone so tiny affect your heart in such a profound way?”, these are some of the first words scribbled down in my abortion recovery journal. I keep this journal, as well as all my keepsakes from that season of healing set aside in special box in my closet. The box looks like any other, yet it is anything but, filled with tear stained pages and three tiny hands knit hats, tucked with scriptures inside, reminders of a sacred journey that Jesus led me through to do what I never expected or even knew what was possible, even for Him, to reunite me down here on earth with my three babies in heaven, babies whose lives I aborted.
Sometimes we have no idea how Jesus is using all the seemingly insignificant details surrounding us to come together at just the right moments and in just the right ways to create a hole in us that only He can patch. Like the simple stones laying at David’s feet, Jesus knows how to use things of earth and dust to sling in such a way that they cause a Goliath in us fall, even one that we didn’t know was there.
That is the only way I know how to describe how Jesus began taking me down the road that eventually reconciled my heart to my three babies whose lives I had taken through abortion. It all began with Benjamin. He was the perfect baby boy who was to be born to one of my best friends with whom I taught a women’s’ bible study class. Only God knows for sure why, but my heart became especially knit to this little one in my friend’s womb. I loved watching him grow inside his mommy’s belly and was so excited when I discovered her ultrasound was coming up and I was going to be able to see with my eyes this little one who was already taking up room in my heart. I happened to be in one of church offices the day the ultrasound was due and overheard a couple of ladies softly talking and praying and I heard my friends name and just knew, I knew that Benjamin was gone. My heart was broken.
I don’t know where the thought came from, but I remember how ironic it was that I was so devastated by the loss of this little one, yet I had willingly gone into a clinic and taken the life of what would have been my firstborn when she was just about the same age in my womb. I had even seen her on the ultrasound, and heard her heartbeat, and cried in amazement that God had placed life within me. I tried to suppress the thought of it, but somehow it wouldn’t go away. Benjamin’s loss had ripped open the hole that only God could close. Where were these thoughts coming from? I had perfected shoving them down, and even placing the band-aid of, “Jesus, You forgave me for that,” over it all, but that band-aid seemed useless now. Grief, shame and loss all tumbled out, like the giant body of Goliath that I didn’t have the strength to shove aside anymore.
I was teaching at the time over the story of Nehemiah and as I read the words from Chapter 4:2, I could not stop thinking about the babies I aborted. “…will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, and burned up ones at that?” I had never once thought about what happened to their bodies, but my heart broke with the awareness that they were probably discarded like common trash, and perhaps burned. Their bodies, just as their lives, had become as weightless as an ember blowing through the wind. At least that is what I thought at that point in my journey. Jesus would later prove me wrong.
How can ashes be so heavy? This is what I was thinking as the lyrics from our worship song suddenly hit me and I heard God’s voice singing His own song of invitation to me through them. You make beautiful things. You make beautiful things out of dust. You make beautiful things. You make beautiful things out of us. “Rhonda, do you think I can make this beautiful too?”
God had offered me the chance to bring beauty from my three abortions. I had no idea the journey that He was calling me to but I knew I must go forward. To stay in the ashes was not an option.
Within two weeks I found myself front and center at a pro-life dinner, an event I would not have attended before saying yes to Jesus. Even though I knew I was forgiven for my abortions, I still did not feel the freedom to open my heart fully to such programs due to my past. There is a difference between being forgiven and being redeemed, and I had not yet been redeemed.
During this event there was a video shown about a woman who was trying to decide whether to have an abortion or not and it was done in such a way that it showed what her life might be life if she had her baby and what it would be like if she aborted. For some reason, before THAT moment, I had never let myself think of my babies as Real to me. I had encapsulated them into a box called “Rhonda’s forgiven sins.” I had seen the videos, I knew their bodies were real, but I never REALIZED that they were really MY children. That night they became real to me and I began feeling the magnitude of what I missed out on in their lives. I realized that I was a mom, not only to my three children here on earth, but to my three in heaven and I had forfeited my right to know and love them through aborting them. I lost all composure that night as I sat there and wept as I had never wept before. All I kept saying was, “I’m so sorry, I was blind, but now I see.” It was after this night that my journey with Jesus took on a new depth. I wanted to not only be redeemed, but if there were any part of my babies that I could have here on earth, I wanted it.
I happened to notice a tiny announcement at the bottom of our church bulletin offering an abortion recovery class and I knew that God sent that class just for me. At the time I was still too afraid to tell many church people about that part of my story, yet I really needed to process all that was happening in my heart. There were just four of us that met weekly, two being leaders. I didn’t realize until I became a leader myself that these are the type of classes that Jesus handpicks us to attend. They are small, yet each woman who comes is only moving forward on a path that He has already been orchestrating.
That class offered me a safe place to tell my story for the first time ever, to grieve the loss of my little ones, and all the losses that came with the shame of trying to cover up my story for so many years. The walls of that little church room became the courts of heaven, where all became strangely dim in light of God’s glory and grace, and I could SEE the truth, that my babies are alive and waiting for me, and like Jesus, they have been waiting for me to become fully uncovered from the shame that I was bound in because of aborting them.
Through this experience, the Cross of Jesus became a million times bigger to me than I had ever imagined it to be, and I could see the TRUTH of what happened those three fateful days when I decided to trust myself instead of God. Jesus was with me those days, extending His Life out to me, in hopes that I might take it and trust Him enough to respond to Him instead of what I saw as just a set of circumstances. Just as He says in Deuteronomy 30:19, “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live.” He was bearing witness of Himself, yet I chose to not see Him and instead respond to flesh. And as I allowed the lives of my babies to be taken from my fleshly covering, Jesus immediately placed them under His. He was waiting for them. I didn’t realize that on those days, it was I who was aborting myself. My babies lives on earth ended but they never died, only I did. Just after God pronounces His witness over His children, He extends it in Deuteronomy 30:20 by saying, “loving the LORD your God, obeying His voice, and holding fast to him, for He is your life and length of days….” My heart became seared as I nailed down my choice of death over life, of curse over blessing and I felt it. My heart became harder the day I took the life of my firstborn, so much so that it was much easier to offer up that of my what would have been my third, and fourth child as well. I had chosen to take myself out from under God’s covering, but here He now stood, robe outstretched, waiting for me still to come in, and become unaborted.
And as I entered back into my Father’s robes, I found that there were three little faces there waiting to meet me too. “The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it.” John 1:5. It’s miraculous what God has waiting for us in His Light once we are willing to trade our darkness in for it.
About halfway through my abortion recovery, I began longing to know my children’s names. I knew that I could name them, however Jesus had raised them and surely, He had already named them by now. I began to pray to know their names and whatever God wanted to show me about them. There was one day when I was really struggling to hear God, or so I thought. I kept praying but all I could hear was the word, “olive.” I was a wreck that day yet was determined to do nothing but pray and listen until I knew the names of my babies. My phone kept going off, but it was just my friend, a neighbor who lived around the corner. I would call her back later, right now I needed to listen to God.
I was a little upset when I heard the knock at the door, I knew it was her, my neighbor who had been trying to reach me. With a resigned sigh, I opened the door and she came in and immediately and excitedly began sharing with me about a message she had heard on the radio that morning that she knew I would have loved. “It was all about this olive farmer in Israel,” My ears began to hang on every word she was saying, “and how there are three presses that happen to the olives.” My eyes began to fill with tears. “And the first press is to make the most sacred oil, the oil that goes into the temples.” “The next press was when they pressed the baskets the olives were left in, this oil was used for lighting lamps.” My legs were growing weak, as I just kept hanging on every word she was saying. “And the third press was for making medicine and oil for foods.” “And then the olive farmer was talking about how the word for Gethsemane means olive press.” My heart broke as I heard this, and I suddenly realized that Jesus had intertwined the names of my babies with His own story of redemption for their mother’s heart.
Olivia, who would have been my first-born daughter, but instead became my first press. My heart pressed away from Jesus as her tiny body was pulled from mine.
Luke, who would have been my second son, and my son Joshua’s only full blood brother, but who instead became my second press. The stone rolled once more over my heart, sealing and searing it even more from any light and life to enter in.
And Aisha, who would have been my second daughter, but who instead became my third press, leaving my heart hard, and so empty that it no longer hungered for life anymore.
As my neighbor left I fell into a heap of tears as I heard the words of Jesus coming to both restore and heal me, “Rhonda, three times you rejected Me when I came to bring to you life. Do you love, Me?” Three times He asked me that question and three times I said, “yes, Jesus, I love You.”
I had once believed that I had the ability to enter a doctor’s office, have a procedure, and remove these three little lives from ever affecting my life in any way. How wrong I was. I may have aborted their lives from this world, but the truth is the stone that my heart became due to their loss affected my heart in such a way that no part of my life was ever the same. I had chosen the path of death and my choosing didn’t stop once I left those procedure rooms. In fact, had Jesus not come for me, I am sure that I would have just kept on going down that path of death and would not be here today to be writing about this right now.
It is interesting that He came for me while I was pregnant. This time with my daughter Faith, who is my second child here on earth, my fifth in Life. I was going through a divorce during the pregnancy. The path of death I had chosen had caught up with me and I had lost everything. That is were Jesus found me and offered me a new start, a clean slate, a chance to choose life over death. Only I didn’t yet know that He would also require me to roll away the stones of death that I had rolled over my heart through choosing to abort my children, the children I never wanted to talk about with Him.
Yet, they are the children He used to press my heart into His like nothing else could. They are the children whom I chose to try and crush out of me, out of my life, my circumstances, and my memory. But, in God’s grace, He never let me blot them out completely. In His time, in His way, He allowed the stone to be rolled away, and with it, my children came walking out, carrying all the pieces of my own heart with them, the pieces I had tried to bury for so long.
Olivia, my first daughter, the one who reminds me of Christ holiness, that I am a temple of the Living God, and that nothing can keep Him from me, because His holiness is greater than ALL my sin.
Luke, my third child and second son, who reminds me that Christ’s light is greater than ALL my darkness.
And Aisha, my fourth child, and second daughter, who reminds me that Christ’s love is always present to heal, to feed and restore, even the faintest heart.
“The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” Psalm 118:22-13
Jesus took the sinful stone of my abortions and let it roll upon Him. There is a knowing and understanding that comes with being redeemed from abortion that helped me SEE the Cross more than I ever could before. Three times, I chose death. Yet, three times, Jesus was pierced for my transgressions. The Cross becomes so big when it becomes so personal. There was nothing that could separate me from receiving His grace towards me except my own willingness to trade my truth for His. And His truth is that Jesus died to reconcile me to Himself, and restore to me all that was lost, including my children.
Our recovery class ended with a small ceremony at a Cross on our church grounds, in which we prayed, listened to a song, wrote messages for our babies on balloons and let them go. My husband came with me, comforting me as I struggled to try and stuff words onto three balloons that only heaven could understand.
And as I let the balloons go, I knew my heart was not ready to let go yet. I felt as if I had just been given a peep behind heaven’s gate, a glance at my three children and Jesus and I didn’t know how I was going to close that gate and go back to life as usual.
As a few weeks passed, I felt Jesus reminding me that He and my babies were waiting in heaven, but that I needed to tuck this all away for now and focus on where He was taking me next. I found out that there was a need for an abortion recovery leader at a Crisis Pregnancy Center just around the corner from my house. God had gone before me and prepared a path of Life my feet to dwell on, one that included bringing my three babies in heaven along.
I told God that I am sorry for taking the opportunity away for Olivia, Luke, and Aisha to have a crown to cast at His feet, and I let Him know that if there is ever any opportunity I can have to give them that chance back, I want to take it. God has honored that request. I have been able to share my redemption from abortion testimony now on national television, in various articles, and interviews. Perhaps, more than any other part of my life, Jesus has used my ashes of abortion to share the wonder of Christ’s glory.
Isaiah 61:1-3 says of Jesus, “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,…to comfort all whom mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” I am one for whom Jesus has taken from the ash reap, set free, and been given a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. I keep the remnants of my story in at the top of my closet in common box, however there is nothing common about all the ways Jesus has unbound my heart, restored me and set me free, even free to love my three babies whom I aborted.