Stories: Abortion & the Loss of Motherhood

The other day I attended a small gathering of Christian men and women.   As the speaker started to talk about families she also started to talk about abortion.  Hearing that one word was a reminder of why Women in His Presence exists.

If you were to ask me the purpose of Women in His Presence, I would tell you that it is going to be a women’s ministry without walls.  It will be a ministry that any woman can participate in no matter what church she does or doesn’t attend.  It’s to provide a service that creates opportunities for women to gather, be encouraged, and use their gifting.   But the foundation will always point women back to the Bible because the decisions I made without it, scarred me forever. The Bible and Jesus eventually saved me and if I would have had this in my life in college, it would have saved my unborn baby.

It was my 3rd year in college, spring semester that I found out I was pregnant.  I remember being in the dorm restroom taking a test while my friend waited outside the stall.   The double line appeared quick and like that fear struck me.  “Crap, I’m pregnant.”

My mind had such quick thinking in that moment induced by fear.

  1. I can’t have this baby.
  2. I’ll lose my college softball scholarship.
  3. I won’t be able to play softball.
  4. My boyfriend is not the one. “Though he was 10 minutes before.”
  5. I don’t want to be a single parent.
  6. Who is going to want a girl with a baby unmarried.
  7. Will guys think I’m easy?
  8. I’m going to have to move back to Houston and go to school to be a teacher instead.
  9. I’m not the kind of girl who sleeps around.
  10. What will people think of me.
  11. I know not to get pregnant because my parents had me in high school.
  12. If I have this baby, I won’t be able to give it up for adoption.  I know the moment I would see it, I would want it.
  13. I’m going to be single forever and my dream is to be married and have kids.

This was not what I planned and it wasn’t a part of my dreams.  I was pro-life before, but when it happened to me I felt as if I needed a way out of this mistake…this accident.

My next step was to call my boyfriend and tell him I was pregnant and that I was not having it.   He didn’t say anything that day and I didn’t give him the chance to anyway.

I remember getting it scheduled pretty quickly.   That day, my boyfriend drove me to Corpus to an abortion clinic.  I cried the entire way up there.  Part of me wanted him to say something. Part of me wanted him to ask me to marry him so I wouldn’t have a baby in shame.  Once we got inside, I continued to cry a lot.  I remember a worker coming up next to me telling me that if I didn’t  stop crying the doctor wouldn’t do it.

Once I stopped crying enough, they took me back to the room.   It was determined I was almost 6 weeks. They explained the procedure and what would follow and then it happened. I mainly just remember the sound of the suction and thinking it was all just a clump.  I never thought it had a heartbeat.

After that, I remember filing it away pretty quickly and living life.  After that I had two serious relationships, in which there came a time it was appropriate to share that with the other person.

Each time, I was afraid they would no longer like me and each time the facial expression was of disappointment.

It wasn’t until I was in my early thirties, that the abortion came back and effected me emotionally and mentally.  As I started to become a follower of Jesus Christ and not just a believer and church attender, I began to know Jesus.  In reading the Bible I started to see how the Lord is a part of creation from the beginning.  I began to realize that my decision out of fear could have been given to the Lord.  If I knew the Lord, I would have known that life wasn’t perfect and that I can’t control my life and make decisions that aren’t mine to make.  Had I known the Word, I would of held on tight in the storm knowing that there would be a blessing waiting on the other side that I would treasure forever.  A treasure far more valuable than my career, relationship status, or myself.

The years to follow I struggled with infertility.  At first it was unexplainable and then low levels of endometriosis.  Not the best case scenario to conceive, but not impossible.  The infertility was a constant reminder that at one time I could, but it wasn’t happening now.  At church retreats or conferences, I would hear other women tell their stories of the after affects of abortion.  The emotional pain, regret, shame, and secrets.   Yet, they always testified, “But God gave me children.” So there I sat, wondering why I didn’t get a second chance.   

Divorcing in my 40’s brought another reality.  The opportunity to even attempt to have kids looked real impossible.   

So when I first moved back to Houston it hit me again.  “Here I am in Houston, single, and working in education (which I do love but didn’t plan).” And at the time of the abortion, the thing I was most trying to avoid was being unmarried,  working in education, and living in Houston.

I can’t begin to tell you how different I feel not having kids when around women my age.  I can’t tell you how many times I feel regret when a kid asks me, “Do you have kids?” The answer is, “I don’t,” but inside I’m saying I did.

The regret never goes away no matter how forgiven I am and grieving still comes for what should have been.  God’s will is always better than my will.  Sometimes, it’s a hard lesson to learn and live with.

This is my story of loss and the insight I gained when I became a follower of Jesus Christ and sought God’s truth and wisdom through scripture.

Erica Salazar

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13

 

Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place. Psalm 51:6

 

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Wrestling with God

Wrestling is a physical interaction between two people in which one is trying to gain dominance over the other.

Spiritually, we learn in Ephesians that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against evil principalities. Because of this, there are times that my flesh and my mind wrestle with God.

Last Sunday I woke up with an overwhelming feeling of rejection. That continued as I went to church feeling like an outsider being over 40 yet under 50, divorced, and with no kids. It’s a personal perception of being a modern day leper. Looking around, you see where you want to belong but not having the qualifications of kids or a spouse to quite fit in. Of course this isn’t anyone’s doing, it’s just a perception I have always felt in my position. I felt like that married without kids and now it’s just gone from bad to worse.

I continued in service not able to shake it. I started to really miss my spouse. I started to wrestle with why my best wasn’t enough. I started to wrestle with my worth and wondered how long was I going to have to wait.

I went home and rested in my sadness for the rest of the day.

Sunday Evening
When evening came, I sat with the Lord in my prayer closet with music and started to draw. The word TRUST was written down.

What was at the root of this rejection? Has God not provided for me abundantly? Has God not given me joy in my sadness? Has God not shown himself to be faithful in so many ways? He has! Over and over he amazes me, yet in that prayer closet the root of my rejection was a wrestling that I have with God because I don’t trust Him with my prayers.

I told Him, “I feel rejected by you because it seems as if you don’t answer my prayers. I don’t ask for much.”

There are two things that he has spoken to me and that I believe are prayers of his will but are unanswered. Because of this, I wrestle with feeling as if I’m suppose to settle for less than God’s best. I feel like miracles are for everyone else but me.

Monday Evening
The next evening, I did the same thing. But this time the word TRUTH was written down.

What he spoke to me, comforted me. He reminded me that he has faced the ultimate rejection. Him, the perfect gift of love, rejected by many repeatedly and continuously and that “many” includes me. He showed me that everyone’s life is a whole with fractional parts of ups and downs. Their answered prayer comes when their particular fractional part of hardship is at its end. Mine is more of in the middle. He also reminded me of what he has been able to show me during this time of unanswered prayers and what I would miss and could miss if that prayer was answered in my timing.

Saturday Morning
Yesterday morning I walked with the Lord. This is when he showed me that I’m wrestling with Him. He showed me as I walked along the creek that its beauty is in the bends and where the water flows over the shallow areas where it’s very rocky. The parts of the creek that are still and straight do not bring the beauty. They are boring. He showed me I’m wanting everything to be perfect. Perfectly straight…which is not what life on earth is like. Perfection is only in Heaven and in His Presence.

At that point I got it and He illustrated how this grappling got me to God’s truths.

Position
When I’m wrestling with God, I’m trying to dominate the match and I’m telling God what I see in the natural and that I’m angry and hurt. God, does not let me go. He stays in the wrestling match pinning me down occasionally reminding me of his dominion over all things. However, he doesn’t try to dominate me. He doesn’t force me to give up or give in. He allows me the position to question and guess and at times have a false sense of control.

Perception
1. When I’m in a dominating position, I try to pin God down so he can look up at me and see the situation I’m in and everything that is behind me and surrounds me.
2. God then makes a maneuver and flips the script. He is now trying to get me to look up at Him. However, in my struggle for control and reason, I’m working and wrestling so hard my eyes are pinched shut.

Submission

1. This goes on until His love eventually wills me into submission.
2. At this point, my muscles relax and stop.
3. My eyes open and I see Truth and I see Trust.

Saturday Evening to Tonight
From the point of submission, I can’t even explain how God has unleashed his love. He has sent so many people to me, unknowing to them, with words of encouragement, confirmation, and truth.

God is so amazing in His love for us.

Point to Ponder: When we wrestle with God we win. He positions our perception so that through submission His mission is truly realized.

To God be the Glory

God Gave Me a Stone

My dogs favorite thing to do is have time off the leash. This means they can run fast and crazy without bothering anyone.  It’s complete freedom and bliss for them, which also makes me happy to see.

A couple of weeks ago, we were doing our normal off-the-leash trek when I decided to cut through the grass to a nearby waterhole.   Once there, they did their normal swim and stick fetching until it was time to head back.

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As I was walking back across the grass, I stubbed my toe on something hard.  As I reached down into the uncut grass, my hand stumbled upon a sphere shaped object. Pulling it up for inspection, I found it to be a rock. I found this to be quite unusual. So when I got back to the street, I had to test it.  I threw that rock down hard to see if it would break like mud but it didn’t. Therefore, like all other times an oddity occurs in nature with me, I took it to be some sort of message from God.

As I walked back home, I tossed that rock up in the air repeatedly.  As I did that, a couple of things came to mind:

1. Heft-This rock has the perfect heft to throw far and do damage.

2.  Catapult-This rock would be perfect for a medieval sling that catapults stones to hurt the enemy.

3.  David killed Goliath with a stone.

4.  Jesus’ tomb was covered with a large stone.

When I got home, I looked up the definitions for heft and catapult.

Heft: the weight of someone or something

Catapult: a device in which accumulated tension is suddenly released to hurl an object some distance, in particular.

So what was the message…..

God revealed to me that this stone represented a burden I am carrying.  As difficult as the burden is, he told me the heft and heaviness is exactly what is need to create a deadly blow to the enemy.

My arm on the other hand is like a catapult that the stone rests upon. The heavier the burden/stone gets, the further my forearm will hinge back and down closing in towards my shoulder   However, like a catapult, it will only go back so far.    Eventually, the tension will build upon the hinge until it can go no further. At that moment, with unleashing force, the stone will be released causing a deadly blow to the enemy.

Therefore, the burden that I carry of what is dead, will come back to life.

To God be the Glory

 

 

 

Reading the Bible: Why Should I and Where Do I Start?

Attempting to read the Bible can be intimidating. This is because we have the misconception that it’s too hard, too long, and we really don’t understand why we should.  We think we are too busy, it’s not relevant, and it’s made up of stories that aren’t real. Most of all, we think it’s filled with a bunch of rules we must follow.

When it comes to attending a Bible study, we are afraid to participate.  We think reading the whole thing is a prerequisite for participation. We think we have to actually own a Bible. We think behind those church doors are really smart people engaging in this high level conversation.

But none of that is true.

However, just a little over ten years ago, I was there.  I believed in God and that Jesus died on the cross.  I had faith.  I wanted to start attending church regularly.  I tried to be a good person

Wasn’t that enough?

Well the problem that I ran into once I started reading the Bible was…..

  1.  I realized that prior, I didn’t know what it actually meant to be a follower of Christ?
  2. What I thought was good, ok, or not a big deal, did not line up with the Word of God.
  3. The “rules” were a protective covering that kept me feeling whole, loved, safe, and not lacking.

What I started to gain by reading the Bible….

  1. A personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
  2. A desire to read the Bible out of enjoyment and not out of requirement.
  3. I started to feel alive and complete.
  4. It became my anchor in a storm.
  5. It gave me ability to heal, love, and forgive when I should naturally be bitter.
  6. Etc…..The list could go on forever.

Overall, it unlocked this whole new world that was better than before.  Sure, life still happened.  But, more and more instead of turning to outside solutions to make me feel good, I turned to my Bible.

It is the place where God guides me.   It’s the place where He speaks to me. In there is the truth about life, circumstances, and choices.

Its the only place I can go that gives me peace, comfort, excitement, adventure, purpose, and an understanding of the condition of my heart.

I encourage you in 2018 to give it try.  Journey with me, by reading a Proverb a day.   It’s a great place to start and very applicable to everyday life.

Don’t be afraid.   Be ready to be amazed.

 

Ready for War

He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow, and concealed me in his quiver.

Isaiah 49:2

As the year comes to an end, 2017 has been a year of new firsts, a season of waiting, and a total dependence on the Lord.

As the past lingers with unexpected reminders, so does God’s Truth. It hits hard and is a constant reminder of how things work when someone steps out of God’s will and when you remain under his covering.

It’s been a year of experiencing the truth of living in the light and witnessing when someone chooses to live in the dark.

It’s been a year of focus when God is first, and yet a year of distraction when a career grabs a hold of my heart.

It’s been a year that magnifies the areas of my flesh that need to be scrubbed away. At the same time, I’ve seen how he has also slowly transformed me and my heart.

Overall, it’s been a lesson that’s preparing me to pick up the Sword of the Spirit in 2018 and really fight for the kingdom of God.

I’ve been too passive.
I’ve been too complacent.
I’ve been too worried what people will think.

All the while, people are lost.

I haven’t spread the gospel the way I’ve been called to. I’ve kept too much in, because I’m so focused on something that is God’s business. It involves me, but the saving, healing, and mending is not mine.

He has simply called me to obey Him and wait.

I however, have been too busy wasting time trying to understand it. I’ve wasted time letting my flesh fight being obedient.

But not anymore. I choose YOU-God.

As 2018 approaches, let me encourage you to choose Him too.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t realize that choosing Jesus meant dying to self and living by the Spirit and not the flesh.

It is a constant wrestling, but the Spirit is winning more and more. I’ve been stretched beyond what I thought possible. But it is undeniably comforting, peaceful, and exciting.

When I gave my life to Christ, if I would have known before hand the fire and refining I would go through, I would have been too afraid to proceed. But coming out of it polished and sharpened, I can’t imagine living my life without going through it.

2018 will be a year of conquering and gaining ground.  It will be a year of harvest and hard work for the kingdom.

Set your eyes and heart on the Lord this year.   Let he truly be the king that reigns in your heart.

To God be the Glory

 

Relentless

My grandma has always had a special touch in making a backyard look special and relaxing.

This Thanksgiving morning, I sit in the backyard reflecting, resting, and enjoying the birds, fresh air, and just being alert to what God has to say today.

 

RELENTLESS.

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He reminds me that his love is relentless and so should mine.

I am a STANDER.

Many of you may not know what this is, but it means you are waiting for your marriage to be restored. You are standing in the gap for your spouse in prayer and petition. You do not date. You wait even in they are in a relationship. You wait even if they remarry. You wait for God’s perfect timing for your marriage to be restored. Even if it takes twenty years.

It’s not always easy and it’s flat out crazy, but it’s not as uncommon as you would think. In fact, there are many amazing testimonies and they all have common patterns that include what led to the divorce as well as what happens when restoration begins.

Like Jonah, a stander cannot run from their calling. God makes it clear over and over. He always answers to stay the course when logic and flesh want to take over.

It seems so impossible. There is nothing in the natural that I can see to even have hope for. But, my God is a God of faith, hope, and love.

I am thankful.

1. Thankful for a trial that is truly testing my faith.
2. Thankful for a trial that can only end by God’s strength and power.
3. Thankful for the awareness that I need to grow in prayer and faith.
4. Most of all though, I’m thankful that God has given me the ability to truly love RELENTLESSLY just like he loves us.

It’s the only way to love if you are a stander, because it can be very easy to quit when you are not seeing God’s promises formulating quickly.

RELENTLESS

It’s a strange word that almost sounds violent. Which then reminds me of the cross. Reminds me that Jesus Christ laid down his life for us in the most uncomfortable and painful way.

For us
A group of undeserving sinners
Definitely not logical

So….

Who am I to limit my love, my life, my time, my heart?

You see, what seemed illogical becomes the most logical thing to do when the perspective is through the lens of unconditional love.

Loving like Jesus.

I wear Biblical glasses with lenses set on a prescription of scripture giving me insight to the love of Jesus Christ.

I loved you at your darkest.
Romans 5:8

To God be the Glory

Uprooted

I had a really difficult time about thirteen years ago moving from Houston to a small south Texas town. Even though I had gone to college there, it was still a drastic change from the big city of Houston.

My second year living there was the first time I had heard the saying, “Bloom where you are planted.” From that moment on, I began to embrace the differences and adapt to my new home. It was slow progress, but eventually I loved it. Everywhere I went, I ran into somebody I knew. Wal-Mart was my go to place when I was bored. A drive down the backroads was always relaxing and the outdoors was always near. Friends were like family and across town (15 minutes) seemed far. Traffic was never an issue and summer always brought the best snow-cones and fire flies. No matter the season, the stars were always in view and home was where my heart was.

Uprooted.

Everything I grew to love began to slip through my fingers. It started small, but eventually led to me moving back home to Houston to be near family, find work, and start over with a divorce in the works.

Uprooted.

It hurt. Every root that grew down was tangled around a dream, a spouse, normal routines and friends. And then, it all got pulled out. Trying to cling to every grain of old soil, I fpund that the process rips. Roots don’t let go easy and they take a piece of that earth with them no matter what.

When I saw this tree in the middle of the road I found it to be very interesting. It’s so grown and not like a seed that’s expected to bloom where it’s been planted. No, this seed bloomed already. In fact, it even reproduced. It’s gone through years of growing, storms, branch breaking, and leaves falling and growing.

I wondered, how does it live and not die of shock in the replanting? How do the roots get ahold of something that they never held before? This is new soil. A new territory.

For me, it took support. Luckily I had family to lean on. But, the biggest support was God. Only through the Word of God, could I receive healing. Only through the Word of God, could I receive understanding. Only through the Word of God, could I receive the most delicate pruning. And only through the Word of God, could I have received comfort through this shocking process.

I’m not going to lie. Some of my roots feel a little lost as if nothing quite feels right. Part of my heart isn’t home. Some of my roots are growing deep excited about the new growth to come. But my core root knows to hold tight to only one thing. The root of Jesus Christ. It will always comfort, always provide, and always bring life to my soul.

“For there is hope for a tree, When it is cut down, that it will sprout again, And its shoots will not fail. “Though its roots grow old in the ground And its stump dies in the dry soil, At the scent of water it will flourish And put forth sprigs like a plant.

Job 14:7-9

To God be the Glory