Jane and I grew up together. We were raised by Christian parents in the same Lutheran congregation. We were confirmed together, enjoyed youth group together, and were bridesmaids in each other’s weddings. But, our paths in life were very, very different.
When Jane was a senior in high school, she began dating a college man. He made Jane feel special. She was flattered to receive the attention of an “older” man. But, he was not a Christian nor did he share Jane’s values or dreams. Things began to move fast. The pressure was on. Jane let her emotions take the lead. The relationship changed when she and her boyfriend became sexually intimate. Marriage was the next step for a “good” Christian girl.
Marriage had always been something Jane dreamed of. But, doubting God’s good plan for her life, Jane hurried things along. Worried that she might be left behind, she crossed protective boundaries to make choices based on feelings and fear. I’m convinced that Jane loved her husband and he loved Jane – the best he could. But, without God, he could not truly cover his wife and love her patiently, kindly and unselfishly. In time, they moved far away from her parents, friends, and church family. She was not encouraged to find a new church family. It was too easy to remain anonymous and, thus, accountable to no one.
When Jane gave birth to their first child, she wanted to be the kind of mom her mother was. But, she failed to trust that God would help her in that vocation. In fact, she didn’t see it as a vocation. Not only was Jane intimidated by motherhood, she believed her identity would be found outside the home.
She did find an identity outside the home. She was good at her job in the business world. But, her choices left her heart and soul in conflict. Choosing day care, she believed her child was in expert hands… more expert than her own. Choosing more worldly friends, she was more easily tempted. She developed a critical spirit and became discontent at home.
Jane became pregnant with a second child, but her husband was not the father. There was an abortion. Then divorce. Jane quickly found herself a single parent in a cold, lonely and confusing world.
I was well aware of my friend’s divorce, but I didn’t know about the abortion. Wouldn’t you know it? I had just become involved in Lutherans For Life. I was speaking up about the sanctity of each human life — born or unborn. One day, I briefly mentioned my involvement to Jane in a letter. Jane’s angry response left me stunned and in shock. Our friendship began to unravel, but I didn’t know why. All of a sudden, it seemed Jane and I didn’t have anything in common. She was a successful career woman, I was a stay-at-home mom. Jane was surrounded by feminist friends, I was surrounded by Christian family and church friends.
The Holy Spirit was at work. His was the quiet voice that nudged me to stay in touch with Jane by dropping her casual “thinking of you” notes. When Jane’s father died, my family became the support for Jane’s mom. I couldn’t see it at the time, but God was very, very faithful. Today, Jane tells me that my persistent, yet carefully-worded encouragement welcomed her back on the road of life. She had taken a detour. It was painful, ugly, and embarrassing. But, said Jane, “God used a bridge of friendship to restore trust.”
Jane’s story is evidence that God’s mercies are new every morning. It was not His desire for Jane and her child to be on their own. When the time was right, God brought a Christian man into her life who covered her with his name and took her hand in marriage. He encouraged Jane to be the full-time mom she had dreamed of. To be sure, there were new challenges – there will always be challenges in this life – but “two are better than one.”
Each time we visited, Jane trusted me with a little more of her story. By the time the Spirit encouraged Jane to tell me about the abortion, the Spirit had also prepared me with a warm and welcoming heart.
Jane and I continue to have long, honest talks. Jane has taught me valuable lessons about life. She taught me that:
- Wrong choices are made when we are fearful and fail to trust God.
- We are easy prey for Satan when we doubt God.
- It is seldom a good idea for young girls to take up with older men.
- We are more vulnerable without Christian friends.
- Men may not want to hurt women, but they do when they don’t remember God’s Word and use it.
- Abortion doesn’t return a woman to an un-pregnant state but, rather, makes her into the mother of a dead child.
- Those who most fiercely defend abortion have often been hurt by its piercing blade.
- Faithfulness even in awkward friendships can be used by God for His glory.
- God’s hand is never so heavy that it crushes us; instead, when we confess our sin, His hand lifts us from despair .
- When the world deceives us and then betrays us, we have hope in Christ.
For the rest of Jane’s story, see
“A Daughter Learns of Her Mother’s Abortion…
and the Lord’s Mercies for Generations”