Series Code: LAC
Program Code: LAC180011A
00:01 I sat in the waiting room of the abortion clinic,
00:02 knowing I was violating everything I believed in
00:04 by being here.
00:06 But I didn't know what to do.
00:07 I felt I had no choice.
00:09 The baby's father was my high school teacher.
00:12 Join me today on Life After Choice
00:13 to hear the rest of my story.
00:30 My name is Grace. Welcome to Life After Choice.
00:33 My story starts when I was in high school.
00:36 I grew up in a nice Christian home,
00:37 both my parents worked for the church.
00:39 I had a rock-solid faith in God.
00:42 But all of that started to change
00:43 when my favorite teacher in high school
00:45 asked me to be his aid during my free period.
00:47 He's been a mentor to me for many years.
00:49 We were very close.
00:51 So I was happy to say, yes.
00:53 I started staying late after school
00:54 to help him grade papers and make photocopies.
00:57 I enjoyed it because it gave us more time together to talk.
01:00 He had a way of making me feel heard and understood,
01:03 and I started sharing more and more of my heart
01:05 until eventually, I had shared it all.
01:09 I had fallen in love with him.
01:11 Now having a crush on your teacher
01:13 is similar to having a crush on a celebrity.
01:15 You idolize them, you look up to them,
01:18 you know, they're out of your league,
01:19 and you definitely don't think anything will come of it, so.
01:22 When he confessed he had feelings for me,
01:25 I couldn't have been more shocked and excited,
01:26 if Brad Pitt himself had to confess
01:28 his undying love.
01:32 After that, we began dating in secret.
01:34 He took me for rides and fancy dates
01:36 on his Mercedes Benz,
01:37 and whisked me away on his motorcycle.
01:41 He made me feel as if I were a princess
01:43 and I thought he was my prince charming.
01:47 He quickly became more to me than just my teacher.
01:50 He had become my everything.
01:53 Many times over the years, I had discussed with him,
01:55 my decision to wait till marriage to have sex.
01:57 And he always told me that he was proud of me
02:01 because not many girls my age cared about that sort of thing.
02:04 But Mr. Everything was 33, and I was 18.
02:09 And he was much more experienced
02:10 in the romance department than I was.
02:12 I hadn't even had a boyfriend before.
02:14 And so when it came to sex,
02:16 I figured it was more of a matter
02:17 of when it would happen than a matter of if.
02:20 It didn't take long for me to realize that
02:23 we weren't equals he and I.
02:25 I was used to having to raise my hand
02:27 and ask permission to go to the bathroom.
02:29 So when it...
02:31 Now that we were technically in a relationship,
02:33 was I still supposed to call him Mr.
02:35 or could I call him by his first name?
02:38 I became acutely aware of my inferiority to him.
02:41 And my greatest fear was that one day
02:43 he'd wake up and realize it too.
02:45 His love for me made me feel as if I were a woman.
02:48 I couldn't bear for him
02:49 to think of me as a little girl.
02:51 And then it happened.
02:53 A day I'll never forget.
02:55 January 7, 2011, the day everything changed.
02:59 My parents were out of town and so Mr. Everything
03:02 came over to my house to stay the night.
03:05 I was wearing my purity ring,
03:06 but that didn't stop me from losing my virginity
03:08 on my little mermaid bunk beds.
03:11 Now I know most people who hear the story
03:13 are likely to wanna put
03:14 100% of the blame on my teacher.
03:17 But I knew what I was doing.
03:19 I wasn't afraid that if I said no,
03:21 that he would fail me and...
03:23 Or he never forced me to do anything.
03:26 This isn't, you know, to excuse his part in it,
03:28 but I was also responsible.
03:31 The fact is,
03:33 I had made him more important than anything else.
03:35 I had allowed him to become my everything.
03:38 He had taken the place of God in my life.
03:41 And so when it came down to choosing
03:43 between sticking to my faith,
03:45 and the possibility of losing him,
03:48 I caved.
03:49 Now, January gets pretty cold where I'm from,
03:53 and I started feeling a bit under the weather.
03:55 After several weeks,
03:58 I came down with a full blown case of the flu.
04:00 At least, I thought it was the flu.
04:03 I was lethargic, I was nauseous,
04:05 I couldn't eat anything.
04:07 Mr. Everything was starting to get a little concerned
04:10 and suggested that I take a pregnancy test.
04:12 I couldn't believe it
04:14 when I stared down on the pink little plus sign,
04:15 which told me that I did not have the flu.
04:20 How could this happen?
04:21 I didn't know anything about pregnancy.
04:23 I don't even know what a cervix was,
04:24 until I started taking anatomy in college.
04:28 Obviously, my first reaction was panic,
04:30 but then I realized maybe this wasn't so bad.
04:34 Mr. Everything said that he loved me.
04:36 I dreamed of us getting married and starting a family.
04:39 I started picking out baby names.
04:40 I wonder if it would be a boy or girl.
04:43 I started getting a little bit excited, actually.
04:47 Obviously, Mr. Everything wasn't exactly thrilled.
04:50 Immediately, his first reaction was
04:52 that we just need to get the baby taken care of.
04:55 "Taken care of?" I asked.
04:57 "What do you mean?"
04:58 He said, "Well, obviously we can't keep it.
05:01 People will find out.
05:02 I'll lose my job, I might even go to jail
05:04 and then we'll never get to be together."
05:07 He promised me that after I graduated,
05:09 we will get married and then he would give me all the babies
05:12 that I wanted to make up for this one.
05:14 As far as he was concerned, it already been decided.
05:17 We were not having this baby.
05:20 All my life, I believe that
05:22 life begins at conception and has inherent value,
05:25 and then having an abortion
05:26 is morally equivalent to murder.
05:29 I could have put my foot down and refused, but I didn't.
05:32 I was afraid of losing him.
05:35 And so for the second time,
05:37 bowing to the idol that he had become,
05:39 I caved.
05:41 In order to stay alive,
05:42 the relationship demanded yet another sacrifice,
05:45 this time the life of my firstborn.
05:50 So instead of walking down the aisle on my white dress,
05:53 I found myself walking through the doors of abortion clinic.
05:56 How had I gotten here?
05:58 I was numb.
06:00 I remember praying that
06:01 there would be pro-life protesters there that day
06:03 blocking the way, but they weren't.
06:06 I sat down with the doctors, he explained the procedure,
06:09 but didn't answer any of my questions.
06:11 Will the baby feel it?
06:13 Would I ever be able to have kids again?
06:15 And was it too late to back out.
06:25 Next came the news
06:26 that the anesthesiologist wasn't there that day,
06:28 and so they wouldn't be able to put me under.
06:31 But Mr. Everything said that we had to do it today
06:33 because we had both skip school to be here.
06:35 So the doctor had no choice but to go through the procedure
06:38 using conscious sedation.
06:40 I was awake the whole time.
06:42 I could still feel everything that was happening,
06:45 and I could still hear all the noises.
06:49 I wondered how my life had turned into such a nightmare
06:51 and how long until I would wake up.
06:55 After that, nothing was the same.
06:57 Mr. Everything pulled away from me.
06:59 He said there is too much suspicion
07:01 going around at school
07:02 and people were starting to ask questions,
07:04 and he didn't want to risk exposure.
07:06 But I already felt exposed.
07:08 I felt like I had the word murder
07:10 all written across my forehead and then everyone can see it.
07:14 The immensity of my loss, hit me like a semi.
07:17 I had lost not only my virginity,
07:20 but the baby, and now Mr. Everything.
07:24 I had fallen so far.
07:26 And I was all alone.
07:29 Now, graduation came and went,
07:30 and it was time to start college.
07:34 I started school at a public university.
07:36 And I saw how other kids on campus
07:38 would go to parties, get drunk, hook up,
07:42 and they were having a great time.
07:43 They didn't seem to be suffering from guilt
07:45 the way that I was.
07:46 It wasn't fair.
07:48 How can they get to do whatever they wanted
07:49 and not feel bad about it?
07:51 And I had to suffer like this.
07:53 I started to think that
07:54 maybe if I wasn't a Christian anymore,
07:56 then I wouldn't have to carry around this,
07:58 this weight of guilt and shame.
08:01 I already felt that God had turned His back on me.
08:03 How could He look at me in what I have done
08:06 and not be disappointed?
08:08 I couldn't help but think of those verses in the Bible
08:10 that say that God hates those whose hand shed innocent blood,
08:14 and that it was better for someone
08:15 to tie a millstone around their neck
08:17 and throw themselves into the sea,
08:18 then to cause one of these little ones to stumble.
08:22 And I knew that those verses were talking about me.
08:26 I felt like I had committed the unpardonable sin.
08:29 And my guilt and shame weighed so heavily upon me
08:32 that it was difficult to breathe.
08:35 Now what I couldn't see,
08:37 was how God was working behind the scenes,
08:39 setting up a chain of events in order to rescue me.
08:41 Right about the time I was about to walk away from God,
08:43 all together, I got the opportunity
08:45 to transfer from the public university
08:46 I was currently attending
08:48 to Southern Adventist University.
08:49 Southern decided to host a Purity Emphasis Week
08:52 and I knew that I would not be attending.
08:54 The last thing I needed was to be preached that
08:56 reminded how your virginity is a special gift
08:58 you can only give once to your husband.
09:00 Not lot of good that did me then.
09:03 But I felt something compelling me to go anyways,
09:06 and so not without knowing why I went.
09:08 A lady by the name of Sue Moore from Forgiven Much Ministries
09:11 was the speaker for the evening.
09:13 She didn't go up there and talk about
09:14 how we all need to do better job
09:16 of being like the Proverbs 31 woman,
09:18 instead, she said that
09:20 we as a church need to start getting comfortable
09:21 with uncomfortable topics,
09:23 and she simply told her story.
09:25 Her story was raw, messy and unedited.
09:28 It was exactly what I needed to hear.
09:30 Her vulnerability and authenticity stunned me.
09:33 How was she able to go up in front of all these people
09:35 and share the story of her shame
09:37 while emanating such an aura of peace?
09:39 After the service,
09:41 I found myself walking up to the front
09:42 where Sue was and I collapsed into her arms,
09:44 a complete stranger and told her my whole story.
09:48 And she listened.
09:49 She connected me with a special group on campus
09:52 that focused on sexual healing.
09:54 The group leader's name was Brandy Kierstone,
09:56 and she became a spiritual guide
09:58 and mentor to me.
10:00 Brandy went online and found out about
10:02 this special women's retreat that was for women
10:05 who have experienced an abortion
10:06 and were looking for healing.
10:07 And God knew how much I needed him
10:10 to intervene on my behalf.
10:12 He was chasing after me hard, but I just didn't know it yet.
10:16 Randomly, one day the coordinators of the retreat
10:18 called me up and told me
10:19 they had found an anonymous donor
10:20 who would sponsor me to go to the retreat
10:22 free of charge.
10:23 All expenses paid, and so I went.
10:25 When I got there,
10:27 I joined a handful of other women
10:28 of all ages and backgrounds.
10:30 But we were all there for the same reason.
10:33 Immediately upon arrival, they gave each of us a rock,
10:37 about this big
10:38 and said that for the duration of the retreat,
10:40 we were to take this with us wherever we went,
10:42 whether it be it's the bathroom, to meals,
10:45 to shower, or even to sleep,
10:47 we were to take it with us always,
10:48 to represent the burden of shame
10:50 that we have been carrying.
10:52 And for the first time my burden became real to me.
10:55 It was a tangible experience of how incapacitating it was
10:58 to have to carry this around with me all the time.
11:03 And during that retreat,
11:04 I opened up the Bible
11:05 for the first time in a long time.
11:07 And I came across the story of Abraham,
11:09 when God asked him to give up his son, Isaac.
11:11 I can't imagine how hard that must have been for Abraham.
11:14 I know what the pain of losing a child is like,
11:16 especially at your own hand.
11:19 But Abraham obeyed, he took his son
11:21 and built an altar and on that altar,
11:24 Abraham was willing and ready to let his son go.
11:27 But God's not abandoned him to his pain.
11:30 He provided a way out.
11:32 You know, I've heard this story many times.
11:35 But in this moment,
11:36 I knew that God was talking to me.
11:38 God could see how the pain of losing my childhood
11:40 had been destroying me
11:42 and he was ready to take that pain away.
11:44 God was asking me to surrender my child to Him,
11:47 so that He could provide my way out.
11:50 Jeremiah 31:3-4, says,
11:53 "God appeared to them from a far,
11:55 saying, 'I have loved you with an everlasting love.
11:58 I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
12:01 I will build you up again
12:02 and you virgin Israel will be rebuilt.
12:05 Again, you'll take up your tambourines
12:07 and go out and dance among the joyful.'"
12:10 The Bible says that God appeared to them from afar,
12:13 meaning that they weren't close to God,
12:16 but He was reaching out to them anyways.
12:18 God here was addressing the nation of Israel,
12:21 and they were supposed to be God's chosen people.
12:23 But they had spat in His face,
12:26 they had cheated on Him with other gods.
12:28 They had prostituted themselves.
12:30 But what did God call them?
12:32 He called them virgins.
12:34 And God doesn't stop there.
12:36 He promises to rebuild them,
12:38 because He loved them too much
12:40 to leave them in their broken state.
12:42 And this verse is not just for the Israelites,
12:45 this verse is for me.
12:46 This is what God thinks about me.
12:48 When God sees me, He does not see me as broken,
12:52 used and disposable.
12:54 He sees me as Virgin Grace.
12:57 And He promises to rebuild me,
12:59 so that I too may rejoin the joyful.
13:04 I felt God's healing arms wrapped around me.
13:07 And I knew that I was ready for Him to heal me.
13:10 So I took my rock,
13:12 which had been symbolizing my pain and shame.
13:16 And I used it to build an altar of my own.
13:20 To represent God's promise that
13:22 He was able to provide my way out.
13:31 He was able to provide my way out.
13:36 For the first time,
13:37 I was able to lay down my burden and breathe freely,
13:41 knowing that there is such a thing
13:43 as life after choice.
13:45 That doesn't mean
13:46 that my choices don't have consequences.
13:48 I will regret the choices that I made
13:51 for the rest of my life until the day I die.
13:54 I will never know what my child would have been like.
13:57 I will never get to watch him grow up.
13:59 And I will never get the chance to kiss him good night.
14:03 But because of Jesus and what He's done,
14:06 I don't have to suffer for that choice,
14:07 until the day I die.
14:09 My guilt and shame
14:12 lead so heavily upon me and I felt as if I had died,
14:16 but I was given another chance at new life.
14:20 So this is me.
14:21 This is Grace, reborn.