As glorious as the sun is, its rays burn if we don’t find shade’s safe solace. We need protection from what could cause harm. As long as we take precaution, the sun is beautiful, inviting even. When we choose to go unprotected into summer’s sun without calculating the cost, the rays scorch as they move from warm to sizzle.
Something beautiful in design turns out to be quite painful to the touch. Our skin in need of healing, because we exposed ourselves to too much of summer’s tantalizing allure. We didn’t count the cost, and the decision to play in the sun made us uncomfortable in our own skin.
I (Tracy) have gotten too much exposure to sun. I’ve also gotten too much exposure to sin. Sinful decisions have scorched my skin making it painful to touch. Only when God’s soothing balm of love and forgiveness covered my former shame-scorched surfaces, did I see my need for God or His healing hand. Once I felt His soothing touch, my pain began to subside. As pain receded like an ocean tide, I began to walk in my purpose.
I didn’t always seek the safety of God’s shade. Now, I know the shadow of His wing is the safest place to hide as He covers me in His love, forgiveness, protection, and healing while leading and guiding my life.
In some ways I think, “Oh what I wouldn’t give to go back and do things differently.” How would my life have looked if I had known Jesus and my need for Him all along? What if I always had known how much He loved me?
But then I wouldn’t be me. I wouldn’t have learned the hard lessons I must have needed to know. Maybe my sin was the only way I could see how good and merciful God is to us—to me. I don’t know. I do know He’s helped me climb many mountains.
Healing can feel arduous, but the outcome is worth all the effort we must put in to fight for it. I’m sitting on the other side of some mountain climbs thanking God and thinking, “I am so grateful You had me start in the valley as You helped me to rise higher. Higher into my healing. Ultimately, higher into my calling.”
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, LORD, preserve both people and animals. How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.—Psalm 36:6-8 NIV
As I have grown to understand my need for God’s love and forgiveness, He has helped shift my perspective on many things. He has helped me (and He keeps helping me) not to become scorched by my own sin.
One place He has shown me a different perspective is in the area of intimacy.
Before I knew the truth of God’s abundant love for me, I was needy in the area of love. I’d search for it however I could get it. Sex too soon and outside of God’s design was only one way I tried to fill the void. There was also striving, performance at all costs, people pleasing, and a whole host of other ways I tried to get people to love me.
Looking for love, operating out of need, is a very dangerous endeavor. We fall victim to Satan’s lies that the allure of sin will somehow help us feel better. We are also easy targets for people who are broken and in their own sin.
God first showed me what an intimate relationship with Him looks like. He met me where I was and held me close. He rooted me in His love, taught me through His Word, and helped me see who I am and how He created me to be.
Prayer became a sweet time to pour my heart out to God as I grew to know He leans in to hear what I have to say. He also taught me how to hear His voice, my listening crucial to fulfill His divine purpose for my life.
Awareness of how deeply known and loved I am by God changed me forever.
Using God’s model of intimacy, He has shown me how to bring genuine intimacy into my marriage. The more I learn and understand of God’s design for intimacy in general, including sexual intimacy, the more I see how duped I was over my lifetime—especially in this area.
God has shown me, and continues to show me, what it looks like to let someone in—really in—to a place and space where I am truly known. It’s vulnerable and real, and that’s what makes intimacy so valuable. I’m loved for who I am, not for what my sexuality has to offer. That’s powerful!
Sex is beautiful. It’s absolutely breathtaking when it’s in the context of a safe marital relationship.
Outside of that context I had no business engaging in those activities. It’s not because God is some sort of prude He asks us to wait. It’s because God desires to protect us. He wants husband and wife to become one. God doesn’t want us letting just anyone into that sacred space. He knows the scars that will be prevented if we take precaution and calculate the cost of giving the most precious parts of ourselves to the wrong person, or even too early to the right person.
I think about all the risk I exposed myself to. I think about the fear and anxiety I had to endure, because I ventured into “off limits” territory. I think about the cost of my sin. It had great expense for me, and for others.
One very costly area I encountered as a result of my sin also became one of the biggest perspective shifts God brought.
I paid the high price of getting pregnant outside of marriage—twice. I remember being very embarrassed that I got pregnant a second time. My pride could not handle having another child without being married.
While I didn’t necessarily believe in abortion, I believed in a woman’s choice. My pride screamed it was my decision. While I chose to keep my first child, I did not choose to keep my second. My sin was multiplied, because I fell to my own fleshly desires and I believed the lies of the enemy. It wasn’t just pride. I was also afraid. I already felt “not good enough” as a mom. There was a laundry list of reasons why I thought this decision was good.
That was only on the surface. I believe deep down I knew it wasn’t right. I even tried to “punish” myself afterward by not taking any of the medications to stop the bleeding or alleviate the pain.
Decades later God showed me a different perspective about abortion. It’s not a choice. It is sin.
I was reading the Ten Commandments. As I read the “thou shalt not’s”, I remember saying in jest, “Well, at least I didn’t commit murder.”
God asked a question in one of His most effective ways, since of course He already knew the answer. “Really?”
He asked the question, and then He waited.
I was very confused at first. God brought clarity. As I dialogued with Him quietly in my head, it was then He told me my choice to have an abortion was murder.
God was gentle and merciful with me, but I will never forget that day. He comforted me, sitting down in the dust of my sin as He soothed my pain from that choice.
When the reality of my decision sunk in, I sobbed. In God’s perfect timing He revealed the truth to me in love, and it was like a flood of remorse broke free. I went from joking around with God to a place of absolute repentance. God communicated in a way that convicted me without making me feel condemned; the beautiful balance only He can pull off. He needed me to walk in truth, because that’s where freedom waits.
God couldn’t heal what was left in hiding. Oh, and did I need healing! I just had never realized it.
It’s another of those big perspective shifts God brought. I needed healing from my decision to have an abortion. In God’s mercy, He brought it. I had been hiding for years from my decision, but that didn’t mean its effects hadn’t hindered me most of my adult life. It had.
Healing was hard, but the soothing aloe of Abba Father helped me through it. He allowed me to see how that decision shaped so many others. How I had bought into lie upon lie about myself. I had been buried in shame. That’s why I kept the decision so well hidden. I remember feeling unworthy of God’s goodness or His forgiveness, but I also grew to know how imperative they both were (and are) to walk in freedom from the sin that once hindered.
God in His infinite mercy gave me my child’s name, Asher. God told me Asher is happy with Him, seated at Christ’s banquet table. What more can a mama want than to know her child is safely seated with God, happy? I don’t know how all that happens, but my faith says it can. It’s one of the hopes I cling to: I will one day meet Asher and get to spend all of eternity with him. I have no right to that privilege, but that is what makes God’s mercy so powerful. We don’t deserve it, but He blesses us with mercy in spite of who we once were.
There’s a lot God can do with a repentant heart.
My decision is now part of my calling. God has placed women in my path faced with making a similar choice. I can’t make her decision for her, but I can share how that decision shaped my life. I can share how much it hurt me, and others. I can share what God shared with me in a way others wouldn’t be able to. God doesn’t let me stray too far from the emotion when I share my story. I don’t walk around “feeling it” all the time, but when I’m engaged in an important, life-saving conversation, God keeps me connected to it all. It’s important for authenticity. I have to go back and visit those feelings. It’s important, because a child’s life might be saved. That possibility is worth remaining connected to things that are hard.
The outcome is solely up to God; He only asks me to be obedient when opportunities to talk present themselves.
Besides my gratitude to God, there’s a powerful reason I want to keep myself emotionally open to engage with others about my biggest mistake. It motivates me to know my son Asher’s life mattered and still does. God brings me conversations with expectant mothers. Any child’s life saved because of a sharing of my story is part of Asher’s legacy. It’s his story too. It’s Asher’s legacy of love as I silently say, “This is for you sweet son.”
It’s also God’s way of bringing beauty from ashes. God redeems what we feel is far beyond His reach and He shows us how He works all things together for our good, even the choices we wish we would have never made. Nothing is beyond His reach. Nothing.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lords holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.—Ephesians 3:14-21 NIV
Has God ever radically transformed your opinion about an issue? What or who did He use to shape your perspective? Join the conversation here or on our Facebook page.
If you think you need help healing from a decision to abort your child, consider participation in Surrendering the Secret Bible study. God used the teaching to heal my heart, and I highly recommend it.
Also know that you are forgiven. Scripture even goes as far as to say that if we claim to be without sin, the truth isn’t in us. He forgives us when we turn from sin to follow Him. (See 1 John 1:8-9) The truth is what sets us free. (See John 8:32)
If I could reach through this screen, I’d surely be giving you a hug right now. I’d tell you it will be okay. Trust God. Lean into Him and let Him heal your heart. Let Him love every part of you back to life. Healing, wholeness, and freedom from shame are all possible. I pray you feel God’s hand leading and guiding you every step of the way. In Jesus’ name, amen!