I remember stepping into our garage with a bag of garbage heading for the dumpster only to find my husband and one of our two sons in a heap of tears on the garage floor. I dropped my bag of trash and ran to the scene.
“What in the world is going on here? What happened?”
I immediately began looking for blood or bruises. All I found were tears.
Our son had been in a discussion with his Dad about an upcoming event for the ministry we had founded together. A Crisis Pregnancy Center. We were just days away from our annual fund raising banquet and my husband had agreed to the very rare act of speaking at the event and sharing his part of our personal testimony as a couple. It was not an easy assignment for him but one he felt God called him to do.
I had been sharing my part of our story and the abortion we had experienced together, for many years. He, however, had chosen to be the silent wind beneath my wings. Until this event. God had clearly shown Mike that this was the time for the voice of a man, involved in a “woman’s choice” to speak out.
Our sons had been raised up in our ministry. My husband and I stepped into this “calling” from God just a few short years after becoming Christians when both of our boys were very young. The story of our abortion was laid out before our corner of the world in a very transparent and public way as we boldly proclaimed the lie of abortion and the truth of God’s Word about life.
We had made every attempt to share with our sons as “age appropriately” as possible over the years and had never kept our past mistakes and sin a secret. Nor were we ever quiet about God’s redeeming love and grace. Our desire was to reveal God’s love through our own redemption stories. He gets our weaknesses. He is ever ready to save and redeem what the enemy means for evil.
We knew that both sons knew our story. Then this happened.
Our now teenaged son was helping his Dad with the lawn when he began to ask questions. “How Dad? Why Dad? When Dad?”
My husband had stopped the yard work and sat down in the middle of our garage with our son to answer his questions. Honestly. Transparently and Humbly. He shared our story, again at this NEW age appropriate level.
Our son wept.
He wept for his lost sibling.
He wept from his broken heart.
He wept with his new revelation.
He wept at God’s grace.
He wept out of love and admiration for his Dad and me.
That day a new ministry, a new passion, a new level of love and respect for us and for God was born.
That day a new man was born from a boy.
The Bible clearly tells us two things we must confront as we parent our children:
1. We overcome the destructive acts of the enemy through the Word of our testimony.
We protect our sons and daughters by sharing our redeemed sin. Revelation 12:11, which interestingly in “The Message” Bible is titled “The Woman, Her Son and the Dragon,” says this:
“They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”
The “word of our testimony”—GOOD AND BAD—along with the Blood of Jesus, overcomes the plans of the enemy.
2. God’s word clearly commands us to “teach” our children from our experience, and that includes our mistakes.
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” Proverbs 22:6.
“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them” Deuteronomy 4:9.
“Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” Deuteronomy 11:19.
It is not easy as parents to share our mistakes and our brokenness but, when done with prayer, for the correct reasons and in the right timing, God covers the details and brings the deliverance.
I joined my husband and our son on the garage floor. We prayed and we thanked God for His love and for our son.
Then, I emptied the trash.
Pat Layton is the author of Surrendering the Secret, a post-abortion recovery program from LifeWay used all over the country to help women heal from abortion. She’s also written A Surrendered Life, Baker Books (2014) and Life Unstuck (Revell, 2015).
If you’ve suffered the pain of an abortion, please find a local crisis pregnancy center with a post-abortion recovery program near you by searching at Surrendering the Secret.