The Story of a Life.
“Your current circumstances are part of your redemption story He is writing”—Evinda Lepins.
I don’t believe God originally wrote abortion into my life, as God is the Creator of life, but when it was introduced by man, or in my case, a woman, He rewrote the story of my life around it, to create the story of a life that is more intricate, more redemptive, more grace-filled, than anything anyone else could have planned or written.
“How do you know that you are not part of a book? That someone’s not reading your story right now?”—Jodi Picoult.
Everyone has a story. Everyone. But every story is different, and how we are called to use our story is also different. We are not all called to share our stories publicly; we are not all called to write a book. What we are each called to do, however, is live out the story of our life as God has written it, and believe it or not, as we live out the story of our lives, others are reading it, right along with us. What are they reading in the story of your life? The story that you’ve worked to edit or even create for yourself, or the story that God wrote for you?
Life. Unplanned. Unexpected.
“Nearly all the best things that came to me in life have been unexpected, unplanned by me”–Carl Sandberg.
The words unplanned and unexpected are often faced with fear and dread in our world, especially when it comes to pregnancy. But behind the unplanned lies great opportunity for unexpected joys and blessings. Yes, great challenges, also, but even greater potential for growth.
The most powerful blessings in my life have come in very unplanned, unexpected ways. I may not have experienced an unplanned pregnancy, but both of my daughters and the son that I miscarried have brought me the most unexpected of gifts—love, lessons about life and faith, and yes, the most unplanned of difficulties from time to time.
Facing our youngest daughter’s medical issues has been one of the most defining moments of our lives. I did not expect for her to face so much in her first year of life, and although it was hard, it was an unexpected blessing. She taught us so much more than we even knew before about God’s presence in the midst of suffering, His healing power, His purpose and plans for every life.
We were never promised that life would be easy. What we were promised is that God would never forsake us. And His promise is true.
I’ve lived out the unplanned, the unexpected in my life in many ways, and I understand how frightening the unknown in our lives can be. I want to encourage you, though, to take that first step out into the unplanned, the unexpected, and experience the amazing blessings that come from living out the story of your life, even when you can’t see the story in its’ entirety to know how it will end.
Life Comes Full Circle.
“The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it”—J. M. Barrie, The Little Minister.
The little girl who was supposed to die in an abortion grows up to be a woman that brings life and restoration to others.
While encouraging others to pray for the mothers, the fathers, the children who are being impacted by abortion, the baby who was prayed for, (along with all of the babies at risk of being aborted), over thirty years later comes face to face with a number of the very people who had prayed outside of St. Luke’s Hospital in Sioux City, Iowa, in 1977–the very year, the very hospital where she survived the failed abortion.
The very hospital where her life was supposed to end in the abortion, a place that signified death and suffering to her, is transformed thirty years later into a place that holds the most beautiful memories of her life, when she gives birth to her first daughter there, herself.
There are no coincidences. This is the story of my life.
Doing So Will Not Only Change Your Life, But It Will Change The Lives Of Others.
“One decision, one single moment, can have such a detrimental impact on so many people, living and dead, born and yet to be conceived.”
If you’ve ever wondered what goes through an abortion survivor’s head on their birthday, I’ll give you a sneak peek into mine on my 40th birthday. 12:33 am: I’m woken up by our 3-year-old. I glance at the clock, realizing it’s now the 29th. I say a prayer, thanking God for being alive and continue […]
Well, as promised last week when I wrote about grief, I said that I would rejoice on the day of my birth. And I did that today. When I was woken up by our three-year-old a little after midnight, I glanced at the clock and thanked God the first of many times for this day. […]
I’ve been emotionally and physically exhausted lately, on the verge of tears for what appears to be no reason for the past few days. Restless. It’s been nearly impossible to get anything done. I can’t focus. Something’s been bothering me, but I’m not sure what. I have nothing to be upset about, besides the everyday […]
Earlier this week, I posted Part 1 of this 2-part article. Here’s the link to the first if you need to catch up…http://melissaohden.com/unplanned-part-1/ 2. Understand that there is power in saying “yes” and power in saying “no” to things. I’ll admit it. I have a hard time saying no to people, especially when it comes […]
“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it. God’s purpose is not limited by your past. He turned a murderer named Moses into a leader and a coward named Gideon into a courageous hero, and he can do amazing things with the rest of your life, too. God specializes in giving people a fresh start” — Rick Warren.
What happens when an abortion survivor finds her birth mother, who never knew her daughter was alive?
Melissa Ohden is fourteen when she learns she is the survivor of a botched abortion. In this intimate memoir she details for the first time her search for her biological parents, and her own journey from anger and shame to faith and forgiveness.
This intensely personal story of love and redemption illumines the powerful bond between mother and child that can overcome all odds.
No matter what you are facing, there is hope and there is help!
These sites and organizations can put you in touch with Pregnancy Resource Centers and local providers who can be of support and assistance to you and bring you the hope and help you deserve.
If you think you might be pregnant, please contact one of the following organizations or visit their site:
Even though I am the child who se life was supposed to end by abortion, I have nothing but love and compassion for anyone who has faced an abortion decision in their life. Likewise, I have nothing but that same love and compassion for anyone who has coerced or simply failed to be a support to someone who was considering abortion. There is hope and healing for ALL who have been impacted by abortion—women, men, family members, friends, medical workers.
These sites and organizations can put you in touch with post-abortive healing resources and supports:
Rachel’s Vineyard: www.rachelsvineyard.org/contact/international-headquarters.htm
Silent No More: www.silentnomoreawareness.org/about/
Abortion Recovery International: www.abortionrecovery.org
Heartbeat International: www.heartbeatinternational.org
Adoption is a choice that EVERYONE can live with. Although adoption is not the solution to an unplanned or unexpected pregnancy, it is a life-affirming (for everyone involved) option that should be discussed. Personally, I believe that giving life is one of the most beautiful and important things a woman can do, and if need be, making an adoption plan for a child is one of the most beautiful and selfless decisions a woman can make.
The following sites and organizations can be of assistance to anyone considering making an adoption plan for a child or considering adoption.
Bethany Christian Services: www.bethany.org/
Christian World Adoption: www.cwa.org/
Alliance for Children: www.allforchildren.org/
I am often asked what tips or tools I have used or know about that can be of assistance to adoptees, adoptive parents and birth parents when we consider the adoption search and reunion process and healing for all who are impacted by adoption.
Here are a few resources that I hope you find helpful:
Sherrie Eldridge—Your Adoption Coach: www.sherrieeldridge.com/index.cfm
Great site with helpful tips, books and workbooks for adoptive parents and adoptees.
- Twenty Life Transforming Choices Every Adoptee Needs to Make. Sherrie Eldridge.
- Questions Adoptees Are Asking. Sherrie Eldridge.
- Twice Born: Memories of an Adopted Daughter. Betty Jean Lifton.
- Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self. Brodzinsky, Schechter, & Henig.
- Journey of the Adopted Self. Betty Jean Lifton.
For Adoptive Parents:
- Twenty Things Adoptive Parents Need to Succeed. Sherrie Eldridge.
- Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wished Their Adoptive Parents Knew. Sherrie Eldridge.
- Forever Fingerprints. Sherrie Eldridge.
For Birth Parents:
- The Other Mother. Carol Schaefer.
- Out of the Shadows: Birthfather’s Stories. Mary Martin Mason.
- May the Circle Be Unbroken: An Intimate Journey into the Heart of Adoption. Lynn C. Franklin.
Search and Reunion, The Adoption Triad:
- Lost and Found. Betty Jean Lifton.
- The Adoption Reunion Survival Guide. Julie Bailey & Lynn Giddens.
- Search: A Handbook for Adoptees and Birthparents. Jayne Askin.
Your call in life...
Speaking. Writing. Advocacy. A life in public ministry is part of my calling. Each of us, though, have unique strengths, skills and interests that we are called to use in the protection and respect of all life (the lives of the preborn and the born, women and children, the young and the aged).
God doesn’t’ call those that are equipped to serve. He equips those that are called. Are you being called to get involved in the cause of life?
There are so many things that you can do, but here are a few ideas on how you can use your calling to make a difference for life:
–Do some soul-searching. Reflect upon what your strengths are and what you could best use them for in the cause of life. Where would those skills best be put to use? At the local pregnancy center as a volunteer? At your church as a prayer leader, pro-life group member, or in post-abortion outreach? Could you offer your skills in writing, editing, event planning or even website design and marketing to assist a pregnancy center or pro-life group?
-Pray. Privately and/or publicly at abortion clinics. Pray for your local pregnancy center and the patients that they serve. They likely have an email list you can be put on to be updated about specific prayer needs.
-Speak the Truth In Love. Use your daily interactions with people, your time on social media, to share the truth about abortion and its’ impact on all of us. Share that truth with love, not condemnation. Share with others about what resources exist in their community for women and children in need. Most people know where to get an abortion. What they often don’t know is where to get support and resources.
-Don’t Leave It For Someone Else To Do. If you feel called to get involved, please act on that prodding to do so. We can’t leave it up to someone else to get involved and do something. We must do it, ourselves, joining with others are getting involved, also.
“I wish I knew, like you, what I am supposed to be doing with my life,” I often hear. I understand that. Trust me. I spent years of my adulthood questioning if I was doing what God intended for me to do with my life, even after I knew about being a survivor, and having a good foundation of understanding the general direction that God had for me in my life.
Maybe you need some help and encouragement in accepting your life story or maybe you need some support in better understanding the book of life that was authored for you, the person who God created you to be.
In numerous places, scripture talks about not only how we are each given gifts by God, but how we are called to utilize these gifts. As 1 Peter, Chapter 4, verse 10 (NIV) states, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
Sadly, I meet a lot of people who don’t believe that they have any gifts with which they are purposed to serve others in their lives in the areas of work, volunteering, or even in raising their children and being a faithful spouse. In my opinion, most people tend to overlook the God-given gifts that they’ve been given, because they don’t fit the unreachable mold or standard of our society that values success, money and fame and talents, not necessarily spiritual gifts.
In determining what your calling is in life, I would encourage you to reflect upon what your particular gifts are. What are some specific skills that you possess? What are some of your greatest strengths and abilities? What brings you the most joy in life? Makes you feel the most purposeful? At peace? What do others have to say about your skills and strengths are? (Oftentimes, others can see within us something that we don’t yet see within ourselves).
These questions can help you on your journey in discovering your particular calling in life.
One of the biggest keys for me in discovering and truly accepting my calling in life has been letting go. Letting go of who I knew myself to be to understand who God has made me to be.
This letting go is not easy. Letting go of the perceived sense of control over our life is not easy. It took me a number of years to truly let go of my career to accept my calling. It took me years to let go of the life that I had carved out for myself, to embrace the life that he had written for me.
Take it just one step at a time. Be willing to loosen your grip ever so slightly to begin the process of letting go and finding and embracing your calling. Is your calling going to look like mine? Probably not. All of our life calling’s look different, as each of us is unique, but I can tell you that in accepting that calling, whatever it is, you will find joy, contentment, fulfillment and peace.