His Word Over Deception

Deception came early… and stayed long.  Sandy felt unloved by her father.   She went to church with friends, but always wondered: Is God really here for me?  In college, it was easier to turn away from faith toward alcohol and drugs.   Once out of college, she believed sexual intimacy would fill her emptiness.

Sandy moved further away from God and the father of lies settled in.  The floodgate of emotions burst when she heard the words, “Your test is positive.”  For perhaps the first time, Sandy knew real fear, shame, and loneliness.  Her father would be so angry!  He’d never been there for her before, so why would he be there now?

Before the door of the abortion clinic, Sandy paused only long enough to name her baby.  I’m sorry, but I can’t be your mother.  There is nothing else I can do.  Now the deceiver sang his own praise.

Sandy moved back home, but did not confide in her parents.   The whole experience, Sandy believed, was finished.  But, the difficult relationship with her father had not changed.  Sandy spent as much time out of the house as possible… and met her husband.

Satan continued to play his game of deception with the goal of stealing all confidence from Sandy.  The first years of her marriage to a loving man were made difficult by hissing sounds.  “You can’t be a good wife.”  In caring so little for herself, Sandy resisted the love of her husband.  She resisted the love of God.  But God, unseen yet faithful, was present and involved.

Sandy and her husband had kept their distance from church, but when their son was born, they realized their need of a church family.  Shortly after their son was baptized, Sandy finished adult instruction and was baptized as well.  A daughter was born two years later.   She, too, was carried to the baptismal font.   Something was changing in Sandy.  She wanted her children brought up in the Kingdom of God.  The deceiver moaned, but kept a talon in the door of Sandy’s life.

It was difficult for Sandy to look at her children and not be reminded of her first baby.  The hissing continued.  “You weren’t a good mother then.  You can’t be a good mother now.”  Mother’s Day was a day of mourning for Sandy.  The burden of guilt and sadness weighed heavy.   Most pressing of all was Sandy’s question, “Am I right with God?”

The question was answered by a bold, but caring pastor.  In Christ, you are a new creation.  There was prayer.  Honesty.  Trust.  A listening ear and gentle nudging with the Father’s Word.  Oh, Jesus, my Savior, I lay it all before You.  With confession, the weight was lifted  (Psalm 32:3-5).  With each day of healing, the hissing subsided.

Sandy had not been able to explain the sense of sorrow that overwhelmed her during the month of May.  Why did joy elude her during the season of new life?  God was faithful to help Sandy realize that May would have been her first child’s birth month.  With each bit of painful truth also came a bit of freedom.

There’s so much more to Sandy’s story, but here’s what she wants us to know.  God is faithful.  His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).  With His life-changing Word, God used the mom who didn’t think she could be a good mother to mentor a Christian daughter.  Sandy was open and honest about her past.  And, when her daughter did not reject her, Sandy’s confidence grew.   Mother and daughter reminded each other of Jesus’ merciful and abiding love.  Together, they cried… and laughed.  With each laugh, satan moved farther from their door.

I am privileged to be included in the lives of both of these women.  I have witnessed the deceiver overpowered by God’s Word at work in both mother and daughter.  Today, Sandy’s daughter is a deaconess.  She is a deaconess with a deep passion to help post abortive women.  Why?  Because God is faithful.

In setting Sandy free (Isaiah 61:1), God covered both mother and daughter with a robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10).  The deceiver has no hold on them.

(First published in LifeDate, Fall 2010
Lutherans For Life)

Jane’s Story

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:

  1. Wrong choices are made when we are fearful and fail to trust God.
  2. We are easy prey for Satan when we doubt God.
  3. It is seldom a good idea for young girls to take up with older men.
  4. We are more vulnerable without Christian friends.
  5. Men may not want to hurt women, but they do when they don’t remember God’s Word and use it.
  6. Abortion doesn’t return a woman to an un-pregnant state but, rather, makes her into the mother of a dead child.
  7. Those who most fiercely defend abortion have often been hurt by its piercing blade.
  8. Faithfulness even in awkward friendships can be used by God for His glory.
  9. God’s hand is never so heavy that it crushes us; instead, when we confess our sin, His hand lifts us from despair .
  10. 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”