the shape of leadership

New Life After Abortion

‘My abortion was the most regrettable mistake of my life’

Sheila Harper on January 15, 2021

No little girl ever dreams of the day she can grow up and have an abortion. Yet, on March 29, 1985, that was me. I believed I was ridding myself of a problem. In reality, I was making a choice that changed the trajectory of my life.

As a young child, I experienced sexual abuse from a family member. I carried the shame from that abuse for many years. The enemy planted lies in my mind about who I was and why I was created, distorting the way I thought of myself and God.

I later came to know the Lord through a church my school friends were attending. I fell in love with Jesus, but I didn’t understand He could transform my thinking. So, I continued believing I was worthless.

In college, I met a young man who swept me off my feet and away from church. Eighteen months later, I was living alone, struggling to make ends meet, and pregnant. I was in disbelief that everything had changed so quickly and drastically.

I turned to a friend, who recommended abortion. Her advice was what I wanted to hear. It seemed like an easy way out.

I informed the young man, who pleaded with me not to abort. I thought he wasn’t thinking straight. I believed I could have this abortion and get right back to life.

Besides, I figured the Supreme Court would not legalize abortion if it was wrong.

I could not have been more misguided. My abortion was the most regrettable mistake of my life. I spent the next seven years trying to forget that day. When drugs and alcohol didn’t make me forget, I attempted suicide.

God never stopped loving me and pursuing me. But the abortion compounded my twisted sense of identity, making the enemy’s lies bigger and louder in my head. I saw everything in my life through the filter of abuse and abortion. I was convinced I had no future, no hope, and no purpose.

During those seven years, I married, and we had two children right away. I was mentally unstable and took my family on an emotional roller coaster.

Truth sets us free, but before we can experience freedom, we must uncover the lies holding us in bondage.

Then one day, I heard a radio commercial from a local pregnancy center. They were advertising a class for people who were struggling after abortion. In that moment, it was as if a heavenly host of angels were singing, and a light shone on my car.

I couldn’t believe there were others who were suffering too. I started attending the class weekly, and my life was transformed.

That simple Bible study introduced me to a Jesus who loved and forgave me. He changed my identity by washing away the lies with His truth. Since then, I’ve been unable to keep quiet about Jesus’ saving grace.

I immediately volunteered at the center and taught their abortion recovery program. Repeatedly, I heard the phrase, “If I could just save one unborn baby, I would tell my story.”

God revealed to me that the abortion wounded needed a platform to tell their stories so we could indeed “save one.” He showed me through Revelation 12:11 that our stories are more powerful than the enemy.

This realization was the catalyst for starting SaveOne, a global nonprofit that helps people recover after abortion. It has been 20 years since its founding, and SaveOne is making a difference around the world.

We offer three studies for abortion-wounded women, men and families. Churches can offer one abortion recovery small group, with each person using a book pertaining to his or her situation.

Over the years, I have come to realize sexual trauma and abortion are frequently intertwined. The enemy uses sexual abuse to bring confusion and destruction, often on multiple generations.

In Jesus, we can find healing and forgiveness. Truth sets us free, but before we can experience freedom, we must uncover the lies holding us in bondage. When a person is looking at life through the filter of abuse, abortion seems justifiable.

It’s easy for hurting people to think, How could someone like me be a good parent? I’m already ruined; an abortion isn’t going to hurt me. Who would ever want someone like me, especially with a kid?

These are just a few of the things we have heard from those seeking help after abortion.

Some people have asked me whether I was able to forgive my abuser. The answer is “yes.” After months of counseling, God did a miraculous work in my heart to help me forgive. In fact, God even gave me a heart of love toward that person. He can do the same for you.

When we speak of what God has done in our lives, our testimonies become more powerful than Satan’s tactics.

Never underestimate your story. Speak it loudly. Speak it often. Overcome the enemy.

Our stories are powerful tools in the hands of a powerful God!

This article appears in the January–March 2021 edition of Influence magazine.

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