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The back story: I have a Master’s degree in Professional Counseling and hold Licensure in the state of Tennessee as a Professional Counselor-Mental Health Services Provider. Additionally, I am a certified Mandatory Pre-screening Agent, meaning that I can sign an involuntary commitment to place someone in a psychiatric hospital.  I have worked as a therapist in a Community Mental Health facility, as a Crisis Responder, as a group therapist in an Alcohol and Drug Addiction program. My current position is in drug and alcohol abuse research for a state university. I do not claim to be an expert, but I do claim to have a fair degree of common sense and I look at people as people, not as labels. I have seen the mental health system from the inside, and it isn’t pretty. This post is my opinion concerning the usefulness, and the great potential for damage, when labeling people with a mental health diagnosis. The population that I am talking about here does not include those who have proven themselves to be dangerous; I am referring to the average person who seeks counseling.

The news media seem to be embracing the idea that mental health is the real issue that should be addressed in background checks that affect one’s ability to own a firearm. I have heard some pundits pushing for repeal of HIPPA protections in regard to mental health records, going to far as to say that therapists should have the power to add people to a firearm “no-buy list”. This position appeals to emotion, it sounds reasonable to those who are uninformed about the process. I have to wonder, what is the origin of this narrative? Is it coming from professionals in the mental health community? Or is it coming from the government and the state-controlled media, people who really have no idea what they are talking about? While I am in complete agreement that anyone who would aim a gun at a room full of children and start shooting is a special kind of crazy (I prefer the word ‘evil’), the idea of mental health providers being mandated to release records of their clients troubles me on many levels.

Those who are advocating for release of mental health records need to do some serious research regarding exactly how a mental health ‘diagnosis’ is made. Do they know that a DSM label is required in order for a provider to be reimbursed for services by insurance companies?  Is there a blood test or a scan of the brain that shows abnormality? Is there any objective test that can demonstrate that a person has PTSD, or Major Depressive Disorder, or any other mental health condition listed in the DSM-IV-TR? For that matter, what is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders? How is this book, the ‘bible’ of psychiatry and professional therapy, put together, and by whom? This video will answer some of those questions:

My personal observation from working in the field of mental health is that DSM diagnosis is often sloppy and done for the convenience of the provider. I cannot count the times that I have seen young and otherwise healthy adults given some sort of label and prescribed one or more psychotropic medication(s). Even more heartbreaking is the number of children who have been labeled and medicated in much the same way. It is a travesty, and it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. People begin to identify themselves by their labels. They begin to embrace the lie that they are inherently flawed and unable to function in society. Often they file for disability based on their diagnosis, and they go on to live a life of hopelessness and despair. All because a psychiatrist or professional therapist talked to them for an hour (or less), looked up a few of their self-described problems in the DSM, and casually assigned them to a certain category in order to be reimbursed for services. But I digress.

To get back to the original reason for this post, it is beyond ridiculous to suggest that my 2nd Amendment right to own a firearm, or yours, should be based upon the completely subjective diagnosis of some sort of mental health disorder. On any given day, based on behaviors reported by others or by self-reported struggles, the DSM cookbook can be pulled out and more than one diagnosis can be arrived at and justified by a provider. Far too many in the field, good people who genuinely care, are forced to make these diagnoses by the system so that a funding source is satisfied and payment is made for the service. The whole thing stinks, and it will only get worse with Obamacare regulations.

We need to be very, very careful about advocating that mental health providers be mandated to release mental health records for ANY reason, especially to restrict the freedoms of fellow Americans, and we need to be doubly cautious about giving therapists the power to put someone on a list that denies the right to own a gun.

Mercy

January 22, 1973, was the day that all state restrictions on abortion were declared unconstitutional in the infamous Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade.  Now, 40 years later, children are sacrificed daily on the altar known as ‘choice’, most of them simply because to let them live would be an inconvenience or an embarrassment. Although an accurate number of abortions performed since 1973 is hard to pin down, a safe estimate is somewhere in the range of 55,000,000. Approximately 43% of women in America will have an abortion by the age of 45. These are staggering numbers.

I share my testimony here because I am deeply disturbed about the failure of the church to minister to women who have an abortion in their past; women like me. God sent his Son as a sacrifice for sin-including the sin of abortion-and women can be forgiven and set free. It breaks my heart that millions who are suffering from a past abortion are so ashamed of being judged by the church that they keep quiet about the secret that is eating them alive. I believe it also breaks the heart of Christ. Satan loves secrets; he is the father of lies. While the church remains mute, the hearts and souls of countless women (and men) are hemorrhaging. Abortion is not a political issue, it is a spiritual war, and the silence coming from Christ’s church is deafening.

In 1973, I was a sophomore in high school. Roe v. Wade really didn’t make any difference to me at the time, I’m not sure I even knew about it.  Only 8 short years later, however, the “right to choose” altered my life forever.  I was a Christian; Christ had reached down, pulled me out of a very dark pit, and claimed me for His own in 1974; there is no doubt in my mind about that. I remember it like it was yesterday. Having been raised in a non-Christian family and surrounded by non-Christian friends, though, it wasn’t long before I walked straight back to the life that I so desperately wanted to leave.

In 1981, I found myself unmarried and pregnant. I was ashamed, I was afraid, and I was without emotional support. The baby’s father wanted nothing to do with the pregnancy. He was just as ashamed and afraid as I was, I know that now and I have forgiven him, by God’s grace. For many years, though, I resented him and blamed him for not stepping up; our relationship was toxic to both of us. In no way can I claim that I didn’t know that I was carrying a baby because I knew it almost at once, just like I did when God later blessed me with three sons. I knew with every fiber of my being that what I was doing was very, very wrong. I loved God, I believed Him, but I did not trust that He would take care of the life that He created. I was afraid.

I remember feeling like I was literally being ripped in half. I wanted my little girl so badly, but I listened to the wrong voices. I listened to the voices that said it was ok because it was very early in the pregnancy. I listened to the voices that said I would be better off without her. I listened to the voices that said no one would ever have to know. I listened to the voices that said it was my choice to make, and I chose the wrong path. I knew it even as I was lying on that cold table; listening to the ‘doctor’ and nurse laughing about where they were going to go that evening. I remember wanting to scream and run away, but I didn’t. I got up and walked out of that clinic and went on with my life, just like the voices told me to. What I didn’t realize is that those voices were straight out of hell. Not only did those voices separate me from my baby girl, they also separated me from God for a very long time.

I stuffed the pain deep down inside of me, and it stayed there for over 20 years. In the meantime, I got married and lived what looked like a storybook life, from the outside. We had 3 perfect sons, we were active in church, I did volunteer work in the schools; we owned a small business, we had the proverbial ‘castle on a hill’. On the inside of those walls, however, lived domestic violence, drug abuse, adultery, and mountains of bitterness and regret. I went through the motions with a smile on my face; I became an excellent actress. Slowly, or so it seemed, everything started to unravel…

I became so depressed that I couldn’t function; I started having panic attacks, seemingly out of nowhere. I felt like I was going crazy. God gently led me to prolife resources; I started to read and study His word and light began to shine into my darkness; everything started to click. All of the dysfunction and pain in my marriage, all of the physical symptoms, all of the bitterness and regret pointed right back to that day in 1981, the day I let my daughter go. In 2002 God reached down to bind up my broken heart and set me free. It was not instantaneous; it took a very long time. There was a lot of scarring, a lot of layers that He had to peel back in order to get to the root of the problem. It took many more years for me to admit to another human being that I had aborted my daughter.

I remember so very clearly saying to God, “One of these days, you’re going to ask me to talk about this, aren’t you?” The very thought of ever speaking out about my abortion and the pain it caused almost paralyzed me with fear. I was so ashamed; I didn’t want anyone to have to know. Over time, though, God has taken that fear completely away and replaced it with an incredibly strong passion to reach out to others who are suffering in silence and shame. He has truly taken a life that was in ashes and turned it into something that He can use for His glory. What the Enemy of my soul meant to destroy me, God is using for good. I still feel very fragile sometimes, and I still struggle, but God is faithful and continues to sanctify and redeem me daily as I surrender to Him.

This leads me back to my original point. Where was the church when my life crashed down? Why the silence? Why did I have to pursue resources from other places? By not saying anything, the church speaks loudly and women understand that this particular sin is not to be discussed. Why do we not actively and intentionally reach out and minister to women and men who are in bondage from the lies of abortion? The church is supposed to be the body of Christ; why are we not doing what He would do? It is a travesty; one day we will stand before a Holy God and He will be the one asking why…

 

 

Today, I attended Certified Leader Training for Surrending the Secret: Healing the Heartbreak of Abortion. It is designed as a small group study. Please, if you are one of the millions who suffer, allow God access to your heart. He will “bind up the brokenhearted, free the captives, and make beauty from ashes” (from Isaiah 61:1).

He did it for me; he will do it for you. Don’t suffer any longer.

BlogProLife

On the 40th anniversary of Roe V Wade in 2013, I tweeted out a reply to a post about the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. I was asked the question “what is your story” regarding my passion for prolife ministry to women (and men) who are suffering as a result of a past abortion. It’s a long story, but I cannot think of a more appropriate day to share it. Again.

This is what started the conversation: ‘Celebrate choice on Twitter today. Use #Tweet4Choice to tell your story of why you’re #prochoice. We’ll be RTing your stories all day’. It was posted by NARAL Pro-Choice America, formerly the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, then National Abortion Rights Action League, and later National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, an organization that engages in political action to oppose restrictions on abortion and expand access to abortion. One has to wonder why they keep changing their name, but I digress.

Someone tweeted out this response:I remember pre-Roe. I remember coat hangers. #Tweet4Choice #Roe40” which prompted this from me: I remember pre-Roe, too. Mostly I remember a baby girl who would be 32 this year. I will forever wish I’d chosen life.  #tweet4choice I don’t know why, but I am often amazed at the way God takes something like a Twitter post to touch hearts. I received dozens of heartfelt messages of support and comfort, and dozens of messages thanking me for speaking out. It is even more amazing that God has removed the fear and shame that I once had; there was a day when I could not even say those words to myself much less to anyone else. Here, then, is the rest of the story…

Many people on both sides of the abortion issue remember January 22, 1973, the day that all state restrictions on abortion were declared unconstitutional. I remember 1973, too; I was a sophomore in high school. It really didn’t make any difference to me at the time, but 8 short years later the “right to choose” altered my life forever. I preface this by sharing that Christ reached down, pulled me out of a very dark pit, and claimed me for His own in 1974; there is no doubt in my mind about that. I remember it like it was yesterday. Having been raised in a non-Christian family and surrounded by non-Christian friends, though, it wasn’t long before I walked straight back to the life that I so desperately wanted to leave.

In 1981, I found myself unmarried and pregnant. I was ashamed, I was afraid, and I was without emotional support. The baby’s father was just as ashamed and afraid as I was, I know that now. For years I resented him and blamed him for not stepping up but I have forgiven him, by God’s grace. In no way can I claim that I didn’t know that I was carrying a baby. I knew it almost at once, just like I did when God later blessed me with three sons. I knew with every fiber of my being that what I was doing was very, very wrong. I loved God, I believed Him, but I did not trust Him to take care of the life that He created.

I remember feeling like I was literally being ripped in half. I wanted my little girl so badly, but I listened to the wrong voices. I listened to the voices that said it was very early in the pregnancy. I listened to the voices that said I would be better off without her. I listened to the voices that said no one would ever have to know. I listened to the voices that said it was my choice to make, and I chose the wrong path. I knew it even as I was lying on that cold table, listening to the ‘doctor’ and nurse laughing about where they were going to go that evening. I remember wanting to scream and run away, but I didn’t. I got up and walked out of that clinic and went on with my life, just like the voices told me to. What I didn’t realize is that those voices were straight out of hell. Not only did those voices separate my from my baby girl, they also separated me from God for a very long time.

I stuffed the pain deep down inside of me, and it stayed there for over 20 years. In the meantime, I got married and lived what looked like a storybook life, from the outside. We had 3 perfect sons, we were active in church, I volunteered in the schools; we owned a small business, we had the proverbial ‘castle on a hill’. On the inside of those walls, however, lived domestic violence, drug abuse, adultery, and mountains of bitterness and regret. I went through the motions with a smile on my face; I became an excellent actress. Slowly, or so it seemed, everything started to unravel…

I became so depressed that I couldn’t function; I started having panic attacks out of nowhere. I felt like I was going crazy. God gently led me to prolife resources; I started to read and study His word and light began to shine into my darkness; everything started to click. All of the dysfunction and pain in my marriage, all of the physical symptoms, all of the bitterness and regret pointed right back to that day in 1981, the day I let my daughter go. In 2002 God reached down to bind up my broken heart and set me free. It was not instantaneous; it took a very long time. There was a lot of scarring, a lot of layers that He had to peel back in order to get to the root of the problem. It took many more years for me to admit to another human being that I had aborted my daughter.

I remember so very clearly saying to God, “One of these days, you’re going to ask me to talk about this, aren’t you?” The very thought of ever speaking out about my abortion and the pain it caused almost paralyzed me with fear. I was so ashamed; I didn’t want anyone to have to know. Over time, though, God has taken that fear completely away and replaced it with an incredibly strong passion to reach out to others who are suffering in silence and shame. He has truly taken a life that was in ashes and turned it into something that He can use for His glory. What the Enemy of my soul meant to destroy me, God is using for good. I still feel very fragile sometimes, and I still struggle with fear (which is really unbelief) but God is faithful and continues to sanctify my life day by day.

If your story is anything like mine, if you are suffering, please know that you can be forgiven and free. If there is anything that I can do to help, if you just need someone to tell your story to, I’ll listen. Message me through my blog, or on Twitter @TN_SmartGirl. God loves you. God sent Christ to cover your sins, all of them. Don’t listen to the voices that tell you that abortion cannot be forgiven. If God was able to redeem my life from the pit, He can surely do the same for you. I pray His blessings on all who have taken the time to read my story today. Choose life.

Regret

Wednesday, January 22, 2014, marks the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion in the United States. The decision invalidated all state laws that restricted access to abortion in the first trimester and limited restrictions in the second trimester. Over the last forty years, all restrictions have fallen away and today abortion is legal at any point in pregnancy. A full-term, healthy baby can be brutally killed in a barbaric procedure labeled ‘partial-birth’ abortion. While Liberal politicians use children as props to further their agenda of gun control in an effort to ‘save just one life’, they rabidly support access to abortion at any point in pregnancy for any reason. They claim to support late-term abortion only to protect the mother’s health. Really? How anyone with a soul can justify pulling a baby from the womb by its feet in order to leave the head in the birth canal, allowing the abortionist to puncture the skull and suck out the brains of the child so that the child will be born dead (isn’t that the ultimate oxymoron?) is beyond comprehension. But I digress.

Abortion based on gender is more and more common (China, anyone?) and prenatal testing has led to the abortion of a high percentage (estimates range from 67-90%) of babies with Down syndrome. Children are sacrificed daily on the altar known as ‘choice’, most simply because to let them live would be an inconvenience. Although an accurate number of abortions performed over the last 40 years is hard to pin down, a safe estimate is somewhere in the range of 56,600,000. That number is roughly equal to eighteen percent of the total population of the United States. Let that number sink in, and consider this one: approximately 1.3 million babies are aborted annually. That number is equal to 114,500 monthly; 26,400 weekly; 3,800 daily; roughly 158 per hour, 2.6 babies every second of every day.

In 2012, United States voters re-elected the most radically pro-abortion president in our history. The man who holds the highest office in our land, the “leader of the free world”, repeatedly voted as an Illinois senator to deny care to babies who somehow survive abortion procedures. After all, why should a woman who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant be “punished with a baby” (Barack Obama, March 30, 2008)? Why, indeed. Instead, let’s punish her with an abortion. Let’s punish her with abusive relationships, PTSD-like nightmares and flashbacks, depression, and alcohol and substance abuse. Let’s punish her by forcing her to suffer in silence and keep a secret that eats her alive, because in spite of being told that the baby she aborted was just ‘tissue’, a woman knows; a mother knows-instinctively.

Abortion does more than kill a baby; it destroys something deep in a mother’s heart. It separates her from her child and from God. However, God sent his son as a sacrifice for sin-even abortion-and women can be forgiven and set free. What is happening in American is much more than a political war, it is a spiritual war. I wonder…what if all the mothers who deeply regret the loss of their children, who suffer in silence for a ‘choice’ that was supposed to be easy, came out of the shadows and told the truth? What if we all spoke so loudly that the media could not ignore us (yes, I said WE)? What if we show the love and forgiveness of Christ to other women, and empower them to speak the truth as well?

Christians, let’s start telling the truth, the real truth: the war on women is real. Very real. It’s being waged every day in those clinics where innocent lives are snuffed out and women’s lives are plunged into darkness. It is not a war with Liberals, or Progressives, or Communists; they are merely the pawns in a much darker game. We are at war with Satan himself, and I’ve read the end of the book. Satan is defeated. Christ reigns. We win. Let’s start acting like it.

The following incident happened at a high school only minutes from my home in East Tennessee. I am sure that no one outside of our immediate region has ever heard the story, because the only person who was shot-and killed-was the gunman. These types of stories don’t fit the narrative of those who want “gun-free zones” and so are ignored by the national media. In this case an armed Security Resource Officer, Carolyn Gudger, became a local hero and saved an unknown number of lives by holding the gunman at bay until backup arrived. The text below is drawn from a local news website, Tricities.com. The story is not viewable on mobile devices, probably because it is so old. If you wish to view it on your PC, here is the link: http://tinyurl.com/ckqfcvf

Security Resource Officer Carolyn Gudger

Security Resource Officer Carolyn Gudger

Gunman killed at Sullivan Central

“On Monday morning, August 30, 2010, Thomas Richard Cowan loaded 13 bullets into two handguns, left his German shepherd chained to the fence and drove eight miles from his home in Kingsport to Sullivan Central High School. Whatever his mission, it was the 62-year-old Vietnam veteran’s final drive. For about an hour, Cowan’s armed invasion spread panic throughout the school before a burst of officers’ gunfire brought him down. No others were injured.

No one knows why Cowan pointed his Honda in the direction of the Blountville, Tenn., high school, where his brother is a janitor. He is described – in court records and interviews – as a peculiar man with a history of erratic, sometimes criminal, behavior and a deep suspicion of the government. He parked his car Monday morning in a handicapped space just in front of the school’s main entrance. Second period was just getting under way at 9:10 a.m. when Ashley Thacker, a junior, arrived at the main entrance of her high school. Thacker, 16, had been at a doctor’s appointment and was on her way to a music theory class as she approached the locked doors.

She noticed a man standing in the 10-foot waiting area between the two sets of doors, waiting to be buzzed in. His bald crown was framed with brown hair. He had a mustache, she remembered, and he was holding a cane. He told her to go on ahead of him. But she never made it through the doors. Instead, Melanie Riden, principal of Sullivan Central, came striding through the locked doors. “He pulled out his gun and started pointing it at people,” Thacker said. Cowan trained a .380-caliber semi-automatic pistol at Riden’s face, said Sullivan County Sheriff Wayne Anderson.

Carolyn Gudger, the school resource officer, drew her gun, then shielded the principal’s body with her own.

Thacker remembers Cowan shouting something – possibly including the words “10 years” – but she isn’t sure. She turned and ran out the set of public doors to the mulch pile in the front of the school, and hid behind bushes. “He might shoot someone,” Thacker remembered thinking. “I just wanted to get out of there.”

Riden fled and Gudger inched back into the school, leading Cowan through the scattered pastel chairs in the empty cafeteria. It was a tactical move, meant to lure the gunman into a more contained place, Anderson said. Sullivan County dispatch sent out a chilling alert: “Man with a gun at Central High School.”

Gudger told him to drop his weapon; he demanded she drop hers. Once, he tried, unsuccessfully, to lunge for her gun. Cowan repeated one thing only, Anderson said. That he wanted to pull the fire alarms. “I don’t know why, we can only speculate about that and I think everyone will speculate why he wanted to pull a fire alarm,” Anderson said. “Either to get the kids out of class or, I don’t know. We don’t know.”

Flattened against the bushes, Ashley Thacker waited two minutes, she thinks. “I didn’t hear anything else, so I thought Officer Gudger had arrested him.” She was wrong. As she approached the school, two assistant principals opened a window and yelled at her to run away. Crying and shaking, Thacker ran to her car and drove a half-mile to her parents’ business.

 The view from the classroom

At about 9:15 a.m., a shaken voice came over the intercom. “Code red. Lockdown.” There was profanity in the background. This was no drill, students realized. With the announcement, teachers sprang into action – locking doors and papering over windows, turning off the lights and closing window blinds. Students huddled in the corners of classrooms, sitting in the darkness and searching for information with a storm of text messages.

Casey Deel, a 17-year-old senior, was on his way to a doctor’s office when his girlfriend, Alicia Edwards, sent him a text at 9:15 a.m. “There’s a code red lock down. im scared,” the 16-year-old junior texted from her government class. “r u serious?” Deel texted back. He skipped his appointment. In Kayla Nichols’ cosmetology class, students squeezed into a storage room the size of a parking space, and locked the door, the 17-year-old said. Ryan Kendrick was in algebra class, just off the main office. The 17-year-old senior thought he heard the gunman making threats – about not leaving the building alive and taking others with him – and Gudger urging him to calm down.

Then he heard a volley of gunshots. Kendrick and his friend, Andrew Ray, began to pray. Landon Sillyman was in his honors biology class, where the teacher had instructed students to put their heads on their desks in the darkened classroom. The 14-year-old freshman estimated the suspense lasted about an hour. But it was all over in minutes, Anderson estimated.

One hundred and twenty seconds after Cowan drew his gun, two deputies, Lt. Steve Williams and Sam Matney, arrived. They entered through separate doors and met Cowan and Gudger – still in a moving standoff – as they reached a science pod behind the cafeteria. Cowan wavered; he jerked his gun from Gudger to the other deputies then back again. The three officers told him, again, to drop his weapon. He wouldn’t. So they opened fire. Some students counted five shots, others counted six. Anderson would not say how many rounds hit the gunman.

Cowan fell to the ground, his shoes just feet from door to the library full of teenagers. The pistol in his hand had seven bullets in the magazine and another in the chamber. He had a second handgun in his back pocket, loaded with five rounds. “That’s how close he was,” Anderson said. “We all know this could have been much more dangerous.”

Yes, it could have been much worse. It could have been another national headline about multiple deaths, sparking a national outcry for stricter gun laws. But it wasn’t. Why? Because the good people of Tennessee have enough sense to place armed officers inside of our schools to protect our children.

Below is a post that I wrote on January, 2011. But first, I have to tell the rest of the story. Praise God, my son is currently in a Christian discipleship program and God is working a miracle in his heart. Only God can heal the fallout…

The experience described below pushed my son over the edge. He started drinking, then using drugs, to kill the pain in his heart. Today is April 11, 2012, and he has been fighting an addiction to opiates, Oxycontin and Roxycontin, for almost 2 years. First he swallowed them, then he snorted them, then he started injecting them. He has been through rehab, he has been clean for weeks or months, and then relapsed, then been clean, then relapsed. Today, he is clean but there really is no promise that he will be tomorrow. He wants to be, but he is in bondage.

He has been on a rollercoaster. So have I. He is making progress in his recovery, but it is hard. He has lost more than his child…

He had a 4.0 GPA in high school. He led worship in our church. He is an extremely gifted musician, vocalist, and actor. But his dreams are in ashes…He lost a full scholarship, he has lost at least 3 jobs, he has lost more money than I care to think about. He has stolen from every member of our family to support his habit. He has destroyed the trust of everyone who loves him. He has been in jail twice and is on probation.

His life became a trainwreck. And a young woman’s ‘right to choose’ without his knowledge or consent pulled the switch that started the train. Men hurt too…

I don’t know how to say goodbye…
Originally Posted: January 26, 2011

For those who believe that abortion is just a choice that a woman makes, one that should be left to her and to her alone, please read on. Abortion breaks the hearts of men, too. It breaks the hearts of grandparents, and the hearts of uncles and aunts. It breaks the heart of God.

This is a true story about my son and the baby he named Gabriel…

Early last summer, my son was told by a young woman with whom he had had a casual sexual encounter that she was pregnant. He didn’t tell anyone for four months, but God finally broke through his denial in late October and he told me. Since the end of July, this young woman had been sending him text messages about his child. He had an ultrasound picture-at about 20 week gestation-that was sent to his phone of the baby she said was his son. I had the same picture on my phone the day after he told me about this child.

She sent these messages several times a day with comments like ‘your son likes Oreos’ or ‘your son doesn’t like tacos’. They talked about how he would play football. They talked about what he would look like. She went into great detail about her visits to the doctor, always saying her mom took her. She said her mom wanted to raise Gabriel, but that my son could be as involved as he wanted to be. She told me these same things. She and I talked several times on Facebook about her doctor visits, her heartburn, and her questions about pregnancy.

We welcomed her into our home and we welcomed the child into our family and into our hearts. My daughter-in-law gave her a basket full of baby items for him. Gabriel had Christmas gifts in my closet right beside those for my granddaughter and grandson.

Then, suddenly, in late November my son received a message saying that she was having cramps and that her mom took her to the doctor. She said that his child was ‘small for dates’. She said that the MD was putting her on bed rest to try and avoid premature labor. She said they wanted to give his lungs a chance to mature. She said she was going to stay at her mom’s.

Somehow, it had never been convenient for her for my son to go to the doctor with her, or to go to her mom’s home. But he did manage to get her mother’s phone number from a mutual friend and so, that evening, I called her mother. I told her my name, that I was his mother. She said nothing for a second, then just a rather confused “yes?” I said that her daughter had told my son that she had been to the doctor and was experiencing complications, and that I wanted to know if she was alright and if there was anything we could do. She was silent for a few seconds, and then said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t know what you’re talking about…..”

There was no baby. The young lady aborted him early in the pregnancy, but continued to let my son, and ultimately the rest of my family, believe that he was alive. It was such an elaborate web of lies that it is almost beyond belief. I told her mother enough of it to impress upon her that her daughter is in serious need of professional help, and I said I would pray for them. I don’t know what happened to her. I continue to pray for her healing.

What my son did was wrong, and he knows that. He stepped up to the plate and took responsibility for his actions. He asked God for forgiveness. He asked our church family for forgiveness. I am so very proud of him for that. I don’t think I could have done what he did.

He was never in love with this young woman, but he did fall in love with Gabriel. So did I. But Gabriel’s birth was just the fantasy of a very disturbed young woman. There has been a death in our family. My son, my grown son of 23, so strong, so confident, cried his heart out for days on end. So did I.

When I am in pain, God uses writing to help heal my heart. In my grief last winter, I wrote these words:

I don’t know how to say goodbye…

God desires for us to pour out our hearts to Him, to offer up to Him the deepest pain in our hearts. He cannot heal what we do not allow Him to touch. This is a lesson that I have learned the hard way, because for many years I thought that if I denied feeling pain, if I pretended everything was ok, then the hurt would go away and nobody would know. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I couldn’t sleep last night, so I started writing, trying to make some kind of sense out of this loss…

“Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
my eye is wasted from grief;
my soul and my body also.
For my life is spent with sorrow,
and my years with sighing;
my strength fails…” Psalm 31:9-10

Our “little angel that came out of nowhere” only existed in the mind of a very sick young lady. But to us, he was still very much alive.

I don’t know how to say goodbye…

How can something seem so real when it has vanished?
How can you love someone so much that will never exist in this world?

Brown curly hair…
with just a touch of ‘nappy’.

Perfectly soft sweet skin…
just a bit darker than mine.

Dancing green eyes…
that sometimes seem brown, or grey.

Chubby little arms with ten perfect fingers…
reaching up to be held.

Chubby little legs with ten perfect toes…
running into my arms.

Bumps and bruises…
as he learned to crawl, then walk, then run.

The voice of an angel…
singing silly made up songs.

Getting into everything…
as little boys do.

There were already so many dreams…

His first Christmas, lights dancing in his eyes…
playing around the tree with his cousins…

His first birthday…
cake and ice cream smeared all over his face…

His first day of school…
tears and excitement rolled into one…

Playing football…
a slightly crazy linebacker with no fear…

Singing and acting and dancing…
gifts and talents sent straight from heaven…

His name was Gabriel…

He never got a chance to live,
but still, I’ve lost a piece of my heart…

I don’t know how to say goodbye…

My prayer is that God will be glorified through this experience that is so beyond my understanding. I know that He holds us in His hand, I know that He will bring us through this nightmare together, just as He has brought us through so many times before. Although this deception was unquestionably evil and meant by Satan to destroy, I know that God will take it and use it for good.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13

Abortion kills a child and wounds a mother. Perhaps the experience of abortion caused this young lady’s psychological problems. Perhaps she had them already. I don’t know. What I DO know is that I would have gladly taken my grandson and raised him as my own. His name was Gabriel