My Personal Testimony- Sanctity of Life Sunday
In the Bible Psalm 23: 1-3, King David wrote “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
The 23rd Psalm, for me, is a song of deliverance- reminding me of just how far the LORD has brought me and just how much I need to only trust Him. GOD my GOOD Shepherd has brought me out of deep dark sin into to the marvelous, Light of His miraculous glory and grace. I am confident that The LORD delivers us because of the unfailing, life affirming love He wants us share.
The god of this world lies and persuades us that we have a right to ourselves; to indulge and enjoy ourselves, as if we somehow have paid or even created our own lives. Life only belongs to the One Who can create it out of nothing. And our lives belong to Almighty GOD whether we are willing to yield to Him or not.
The public debate over when life begins and when it ends involves the right to choose life or death. Sin tells us we have rights like a right to choose. A right to life. A right to die. A right to own a gun to take another life. To the contrary we can live for GOD’s right to do have and do His way instead. The LORD’s right way is a free will decision to live with a high respect for every life only He can give. It is not a campaign slogan or a belief system.
The right way of the LORD a powerful, empowering choice often overshadowed by our human desire to BE right, even though without our Holy King there is no right within us.
So I share my personal testimony in hopes Holy Spirit might use it to work a good work as it is His right to do. My story is not uncommon and like so many other life stories it describes how some are easily over looked and marginalized from the so-called “inalienable rights”; this process most often begins before birth and is it spreads across lifetimes. And only the Omnipotent, Omniscient love of GOD can heal the gouging wounds of sins’ deceit. This is what He has done and is doing for me.
Where I found myself 45 years ago was having to make a decision between GOD’s gracious love everlasting or the personal, temporal rights of human destruction. I have to learned through tragic experiences that people’s temporary, sinful decisions deny GOD’s sovereign will only to bring about unnecessary suffering. I am privileged to stand here this morning to tell you that it took a Most High GOD to deliver me from innumerable sinful decisions. I praise GOD that my own bad decisions and the dreadful decisions of others, cannot keep me from the life-giving true love that the Father has for me. So if I shed any tears over the next few minutes, please know they are not tears of pain or sorrow. No. If you see me cry please know my tears flow from the tremendous, un-shake-able joy that has embraced my life as the LORD in the power His might delivers, heals and redeems me. HIS HEALING SPIRIT IS PERMANENT AND I LIVE THIS LIFE NOW BECAUSE I AM DELIVERED, HEALED & REDEEMED!
My story, I was born an unwanted child; I am a victim of emotional abandonment and paternal suicide. I am a survivor of a traumatic childhood pregnancy, physical and mental abuse, sexual deviancy and assault. I am a recovering substance abuser. I have held a gun in my hands with the intent to take the life of someone else on more than one occasion. I am a witness to and near participant in legal abortions. I have witnessed life from its beginning and as it slipped slowly and painfully away. My life on earth, by human terms and actions, is constantly marginalized. I live in a world that openly tells me that my life has no value. I am a survivor of wickedness and shame so deep there are not enough words to explain it. And most importantly I am a beloved child of GOD Almighty Who holds my life in the palm of His hands.
My biological father was a man whose name I barely know. He and my mother were estranged. I have recently learned small details of how he lived life during the American pre-Civil rights, rural South. No doubt like other African American men of his time, my father’s life was filled with spontaneous physical and psychological battery all triggered by the color of his skin.
The records show that one day in the early sixties he made a decision that changed both of our lives forever. In 1962, in East Thomas, Alabama, under broad daylight my biological father stood in the street in front of his family’s home, leaned against the barrel of a shotgun he had braced in an upright position on the pavement, and pulled a trigger one last time. He blew his brains out as his family and neighbors stood by in terror.
At the time of his suicide my mother, my older siblings and I were somewhere between Alabama and Los Angeles. My mother told me things were so bad for her in 1958, that when she found she was pregnant with me- she seriously contemplated killing herself.
We grew up- my mother, my two sisters and my two brothers- in South Central Los Angeles, an area just outside of Watts. In the 1960s it was so violent there that LAPD made news by saying they would refuse to answer emergency calls in our neighborhoods. They said they would just let us kill ourselves.
The persistent violence, though much less now than then, can be directly associated with real, disrespected feelings of entrapment and hopelessness. In 2015 I dove through the area where I spent most of my early life. It is still covered by poverty, unemployment, unwanted pregnancy; an under-served community riddled by the things people do when they have no reason to live. I grew up, like refugee children in war torn countries, understanding violence as a part of everyday life. I had my first fist fight when I was just about 5 years old.
My mother, a single parent, worked nights and it was my job to walk home alone from kindergarten each day. It was a few city blocks and down a couple of alleys. One day when I was just down the street from home, a group of kids decided I was in need of a beat down. Mercifully they pushed the smallest one in the group to beat me up. Later when my older brothers and sisters came home from school, they found me in the house bruised, shattered and crying. They woke my mother and told her. The next day or so she took me back down the street to find those kids. A small crowd gathered on the sidewalk and in the middle, on my mother’s orders and the crowds urging, I landed a few solid blows across the face of the other child; at least enough to cause her tears and pain. From that moment on it was beat or be beaten, both physically and mentally.
As a little girl I wanted so much to feel safe, secure and loved. But too often survival trumps safety, security and love. Even today lives that should be respected and cared for are exploited and discounted. Immediate gratification is the rule of the day as money, sex, drugs, alcohol and anger take control.
Looking back, I know I demonstrated provocative sexual behaviors at about 4 years old. I understand now such behaviors are directly related to some inappropriate adult physical contact committed by the people who were responsible to care for me. Someone else’s bad decisions opened the door for my own poor choices.
I used drugs for the first time when I was 11.
Over time, I became increasingly sexually active which eventually resulted in an unwanted pregnancy. I was 12 years old and I had no idea what to do. One day I walked several miles to a Planned Parenthood clinic, looking for an abortion. They confirmed my pregnancy and offered me something but I was so overwhelmed that I don’t remember what or how it was to happen. I had no one to talk to and I felt like there was no one who could understand.
I was so afraid of my mother who spared no anger or emotional outrage throughout my childhood. You see my mother had her first child when she was 16 and unmarried. Then my oldest sister had her first child when she was 16 and unmarried. Sure, you might say- don’t you people know better?
NO! We did not know any better and if you take anything away from my story let it be that someone has tell people what they do not know. It’s a biblical concept.
“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” Romans 10:14.
People, young women and men, children do not know that they are more than the sum total of their body parts. Too many children for years have not learned that they are loved beyond measure and that they can be safe in the arms of an invisible GOD.
Anyway, it was an Ectopic pregnancy; meaning the egg was planted outside of the womb. I did not have the normal development of pregnancy and was about 8 months pregnant before my sisters began to notice the changes in my body. Then they told my mother.
At the time my mother worked as a nurse in an abortion clinic at a small hospital. After she found out I was pregnant and reacted, she took me in for an evaluation. The baby was not forming properly and my body was beginning to shed the dead tissue. I was bleeding heavily when the doctor examined me and scheduled me for an abortion to be completed in the following week. Foolish doctor.
Only GOD Almighty could have helped me after that examination because that doctor had no idea of what would happen in the days following. The LORD stepped in and saved me from that abortion.
The night before the abortion was to be done, I began to hemorrhage internally and my body overfilled with blood. That next morning I woke up in severe pain from the poisoned blood that was circulating and settling throughout my body. I know today if that abortion had been performed there was no way, except by a miracle, that I would have survived. I had lost most of the blood in my body from hemorrhaging and an abortion would have caused me to bleed completely out. That was December 13th, 1973.
My next memory is waking up several days later with my oldest sister standing over me smiling. I think I was out for a few weeks. I praise GOD because He is so merciful! He took that baby so I wouldn’t have to live with the guilt and responsibility of having an abortion. And only GOD could know the congenital defects that little person would likely have endured because of my sinful, childish decisions.
I wish I could say I was healed of my sins’ diseases and renewed to live for Jesus. But I didn’t know Him and such deeply embedded sin just does not go away easily.
The 10 years that followed the day I almost died were filled with more really bad, devastating decisions on my part. I guess, though I thought of repentance, I believed I needed to be punished and did not deserve the goodness the LORD has shown me. I felt so unworthy. It was season of self-abuse and self-destruction that GOD continues to heal, deliver and restore me from today.
In 1980, I married the love of my life and went to nursing school in 1985.
Training on the maternity ward at Camp Pendleton, I witnessed the miracle of birth for the first time. A few weeks later, another nursing student who I called my good friend asked me to take her to Poway for an abortion. She was older than me and a divorced mother of twin pre-teen girls. She told me she could tell she was pregnant with twins again. Her reasoning was so clear. She simply could not have the babies because she couldn’t afford it, they were the product of a one-night stand and she would be bringing them into such a terrible situation. I don’t recall our sharing of the Gospel but I know we talked about it. The I, a born again Christian, drove her to Poway.
The months following, I realized we were no longer friends. And then about 15 years later I ran into another nursing school mate and learned that my friend had two other abortions in 1985, before we graduated from the six-month course.
Since that time I have had the extreme privilege to serve as a nurse tending to 6 men and women as they began to cross over into the next part of their journeys. With all that I know about the LORD and all that He has done for me, I still struggle with death and the right to life questions. But I have decided to hang my heart on the truth that GOD has proven to me personally through His WORD and His actions. Jesus loves me and that is all I need to live.
Prayerfully search the scriptures and you will find the following to be true.
- ALL Human life proceeds from GOD. Genesis 2:7; Acts 17:25.
- EVERY single life is precious to GOD, no matter what we do or who we are. Genesis 1:27; Genesis 4:10-11; 2 Samuel 18:12-13; Matthew 6:25-26.
- EVERY life is protected by GOD even when things are hard. Deuteronomy 22:8; Genesis 4:15; Numbers 35:11-12; Jeremiah 22:3.
- Death, no matter how difficult or painful, is by GOD’s appointment. Job 14:5.
Whatever other people decide about protecting their rights and the lives of others, I have made the decision to no longer allow my life to be based on lies and deception.
My love and respect for the lives of other people must be manifested in the way I live. That is how Jesus walked the face of this earth, loving and respecting the lives of others; Forgiving people’s shortcomings and showing them a better way. And that is how He has brought me so far.
Our Heavenly Father GOD allows every person to choose and decide whether we will live for Him in His Light, or on our own terms- choosing what we can never really have. I either release my so-called rights (that do not line up with His teaching) or I cling to the deception of having something I can never really own. I choose the life only GOD gives. It is a life filled with His Love; Where my freedom and power shine through as I live a life of real forgiveness, a respectful acceptance of others and the Master’s unspeakable joy.
I hope my life will prove that about me.
My testimony- Psalm 23
23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.