by Ellen Philpot, STS National Trainer
Recently I drove past a consignment store by the name of “The Second Chance”. There was a big sign out front with balloons stating that they were having a grand re-opening in a few weeks. It reminded me of how many chances God has given me, certainly more than a second chance. In some areas of my life, I just don’t “get it” and He has to keep re-doing that lesson with me time and time again until I learn it the way He wants me to know it. Other times, He’s reached down through old grimy layers of shame and guilt to touch me and say, “I’m here for you."
Most of us, as post-abortive women, have that moment in time when He reaches out to us. There’s a trigger; maybe an event, a conversation with a friend, or even a post on Facebook. We all remember it. Whether we respond immediately or ignore to His nudge to our heart is our choice. He won’t force it His presence.
For me, that “moment in time” happened in 2002 while attending a Women of Faith conference in Charleston, SC. It was a great conference, but it was the grand finale at the very end of the conference when God tapped my shoulder. As we were all getting a bit restless, anticipating the end of the conference and a long drive home, a lone man appeared on the stage. Not the witty, humorous, spiritual team of women we had seen all weekend, but a man. There were no men at this conference. Even all the men’s restrooms had been converted to women’s restrooms!
Steve Arterburn was brave enough to stand up on that stage and give his story of a past abortion. A man talking about the pain his abortion had caused him! Yikes! Then it hit me and my tears started. I was stuck to my seat as my tears seem to weigh me down. Over 30 years of stuffing down and numbing seemed to come out all at once. Okay, God. Now, I know why I attended this conference. I stood in line, waiting to speak with him and purchase his book. Gazing around the arena, I felt as though I was the only woman in this crowd of Christian women to whom he had spoken. No one else had the same past I did. No one else could feel as stricken. I felt alone in this mass of women, but I wanted to get close to the man who had my past. A man who had the courage and bravery to say to a crowd of 10,000+ women that not only had he participated in his girlfriend’s abortion in college – he had coerced her! I wanted what he had. To be free from my past pain so that I could have the courage to give my testimony and speak truth to the lies that had been spoken over me so many years ago.
The line got shorter and finally, I was next. I connected eyes with him. A steady gaze with my now swollen, watery eyes had to have been obvious. Surely, he knew – he had to know! We had a common bond. Both of us of had made an irreversible decision in the time of crisis. I glanced down at the title of his book, The God of Second Chances, with the subtitle; “Experiencing God’s Grace for the Rest of Your Life”. He signed my copy of his book, with Ephesians 3:20 written down below his name. “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.”
How true that verse has been in my life in the 10 years since that encounter with God! How about you? Are you ready to clasp the hand of Christ? Are you ready to respond to His gentle nudge to your heart? His grace, His love and the gift of restoration is available through His healing touch. He’ll wait patiently if you don’t respond this time. But, why wait?