To Have and to Hold

The outside of the building seeped with corrosion. Around the windows, doors, the roof lines, the foundation…all rusting, decaying, seemingly from the inside out. It was an accurate reflection. For what was happening inside this building for decades was now spreading, like a virus, to the outside…reflecting death, rotting with decay.

This building was the Planned Parenthood I had visited at the tender young age of 19 years old. In 2014, I revisited this building, only this time, it was to repent publicly and ask the Lord to heal this land. This building is where I had entered scared, confused, unsure, naïve, desperate. My young mind thought this building was offering hope, a way of escape, a solution to an inconvenience for a young girl who found herself with a red plus sign on the other side of a test. A red plus sign was all I saw and with it all the fears of not being ready to be a mom, and the false belief that all my dreams would vanish the moment a baby appeared. But that fear alone confirms what we instinctively know, a red plus sign means a baby is growing inside the womb.

How many times have I wished that moment back, the opportunity to make a different choice, choosing life instead of death. Life for me, life for my child, life to generations to come.

My daughter whose life I chose to end that day would now be 28. Maybe she would also be a mom by now, perhaps I would have a grandchild, she would have been a sister, and who knows how life would have been different for better or worse, but it doesn’t matter. Life is life regardless. It doesn’t hold less value whether it is better or worse, richer or poorer, sick or in health. As in our wedding vows we eagerly proclaim, we choose to love in all situations. That is what life is, that is what love is. If only these vows were for the children we conceive as well.

“To have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live.”

But that day when I entered the building in 1993, there were no vows, no promises of love, only the false promises that ending a life would mean I could keep my dreams and ambitions, as if children were a hindrance to life. The very opposite is true.

On the other side of the procedure no one wants you to talk about because it is horrific was a deep deep emptiness and regret. There was a knowing that what just happened was not only wrong, but cruel, and rooted in evil. I was a “Christian”. I had been since the age of four and grew up weekly going to church, church camps, retreats, Awanas, etc. I knew Jesus. I wasn’t living my life for Him at that time, but I knew Him. That day, it seemed He could never love me again. In the recovery room, there wasn’t freedom and joy of a solution, but crying, the hyperventilating type of crying where you can’t catch your breath so intensely I thought I’d never stop. A lady in the recovery room said to me, “I don’t know what your situation is, but I want you to know Jesus loves you.” All I could think is,

“How? How could He love me after what I just did?”

My boyfriend drove me home, not a word was spoken. I was devastated by my choice, knowing I had done something that in my mind was unforgiveable. Immediately I didn’t feel relief, I felt depressed and full of shame.

The promise of hope, and getting my “life” back, whatever that means, in reality led me into despair. Just as the outside of that building reflected what was happening internally, what happened inside of me was framed by the outward choice I made that day. Unworthiness, shame, and guilt consumed me, compiled with using alcohol to escape reality, and trying to feel loved through meaningless sexual relationships. I was rotting inside, without hope, in desperate need of a Savior.

Hope wouldn’t come until 5 years after my abortion when I declared my need for Jesus to be Lord over my life and never turned back. From that day forward in 1998, I followed Him “to have and to hold, for better or for worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health”, I have followed Him. He revealed to me His forgiveness, His healing, His freedom, free of cost, free of any payment, because He paid it all. He paid it in full. I don’t have to atone or work or do anything. He did it all. What I do, whatever I do, isn’t for a need, it is out of a heart that is forever thankful for what He did for me.

I think back and wonder if Roe V Wade hadn’t been in place in 1993. I wonder if I would have made a different choice if abortion wouldn’t have been as easily accessible, or if we lived in a culture that celebrated life and valued life and made the truth known about life, it’s Creator, and the miracle that life is. Would I have made a different choice? I can’t say. We never know what would have happened if circumstances were different.

But this I can say, I am thankful for any life that will be saved due to abortion being less available.

The Planned Parenthood I visited in 1993 is still open, still decaying. But, because of Jesus, my insides no longer reflect the decision I made 29 years ago. I have been made new… forgiven and free. Full of purpose and hope. This side of heaven I won’t be able “to have and to hold” my child, but I can rest in the assurance that Jesus has and holds us both.

Deeper Still is a ministry that offers free weekend healing retreats for women who have had abortions and the men who fathered children lost to abortion. If you have had an abortion and would like more information about our retreats, please go to to find a retreat close to you

Your abortion doesn’t have to define you.

It’s time to find the freedom you deserve.