ever hear someone say to you "I love you but...."
When I used to work in full time ministry here in Northern Virginia before I had Judah I would often get asked "do you regret your decision of having your abortion". I was pretty confused as to why people would ask me that and I always felt that the person's love and acceptance for me was based off of how I would answer this question. Would they still love me if I said no I don't regret it. Then the other day when I was speaking to the reporter from CNN she asked me something similar, she said "Jessica what would you have done differently". This is what I told her and this comes from the deepest part of my heart.
When I was 17 and dating Alex I couldn't see past the abuse. I was daily fearful of my life but most of all I didn't even know this person who I've become, I was afraid to have opinions or to speak up. I was afraid to reach out and ask anyone for help in fear of what Alex would do if he found out that I told someone. I was literally paralyzed in fear. Now if someone came into my life when I was pregnant and said "Jessica, I will take you far far away, I can guarantee you that you will never see Alex again and I will give you a safe place to have your baby. That your child will never know who Alex is". If someone was able to say these words to me and rescue me from my abuse then yes I would have packed my bags and ran away from this evil man and never looked back. But, I didn't have that option. I lived in fear and this fear wasn't just formed from my relationship with Alex, it was something that was ingrained into my heart from my father. I dated someone who mirrored who my father was. I felt trapped my entire childhood and fell into an even bigger trap by dating Alex. I don't know if any of you have tried to help an abused animal, he or she will not trust anyone and many times they wont leave the spot they are in. So when someone asks me if I could go back and change something, you know what I would have changed, I would have changed the father I was given then I wouldn't have dated men that mirrored who he was. Then I would never have met Alex. I probably would have waited till marriage just like my husband waited for me.
My husband and I want to try to have a baby this year, once I get the clear from my new OB. If my doctor told me while I was pregnant "Jess your baby will have Tay Sachs (I am a carrier) or they will be born and only live just a few hours or they may have downs syndrome". I would still keep my baby, I would choose to stay pregnant and have my child and give him or her a loving home just like we have given Judah. I would trust that the Lord has allowed me to get pregnant and that He is in control of the outcome of this child's life and of mine.
I also told the reporter when I worked in full time ministry I volunteered with the high-school students. Two girls that I worked with and formed relationships with called me when they found out they were pregnant. They were still in high-school, un-married and they had no idea what to do. These are girls that grew up going to church. Granted they were not in an abusive situation like I was, but they knew of my story and they felt that I was one of the few people they could talk to. They didn't want to be judged. The first girl was pregnant at the same time I was pregnant with my son Judah, so I drove her over to Babies R Us so she could help me find things to put on my registry. What I was really trying to do was to see where her heart was and how I could minister to her heart. She struggled, she wasn't sure if she wanted to keep her baby or not and her mother recently sat her down and suggested that she have an abortion so she can finish out high school. I told her about my abortion and how even now my heart still grieves for my baby. I helped her find ways to enroll in a local school that she can attend while being pregnant and complete after she had the baby. I also found some women who donated clothing and baby gear to her. I was able to love her in a tangible way, I was able to give her options. She kept her baby. But if she decided to go have that abortion, because she was feeling pressure at home from her mother. I would not personally drive her to that clinic. I also would not write her off from my life because I know if she did have that abortion that she will need more love and grace than ever before! She would have a long road of healing and recovery in front of her and I would not want to be that person who turned her away from the love that Christ commands for us to give each other. I don't want to be the one to judge her but I wanted to be that person who tried in my earthly body with my earthly heart to love her the way Christ would love her.
So when people ask me do I regret what I did. I can honestly say I can't see past the abuse and its hard for me to answer that question. Do I wish I had someone rescue me and take me away from the abuse so I could raise my sweet baby, of course! But when I look back all I can see are the beatings, the rapes and the fear. Since I've written my story I have had many brave women email me stories of their own. These precious women who have been afraid to share about the hurt they still hold in their hearts from abortions they have had in the past. Women who for a brief moment feel free of judgement and who reach out with a longing to be healed and loved.
No one came to rescue me when I was 17. But afterwards when I was in the pit of despair, hating myself and just wanting to die and accepting the abuse from Alex. I just like that women at the well came face to face with my Savior Jesus Christ, the only one who could rescue me and mend my wounded heart.
The woman at the well
comes face to face with her Emmanuel
shame stains her crimson cheeks
He studies her and begans to speak
His truth resonates her heart inside
tears surface in her hazel eyes
my secrets she says...how do you know
I have living water He says I wish to show
I will guide you along the way
reside in your heart, if you let me stay
she says there is a Messiah, coming for me
I who speak to you am He
- Jessica West Judkins (5/6/09)