And the winner of Hidden Joy In A Dark Corner is….
…Oh, Dear!!! Yay! Congratulations!!! Please email your address to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I know you were blessed by Wendy’s story and touched by God’s redeeming grace. Thanks for all of your comments. I want you to know that I’ve prayed for each of you and trust that God will in His great mercy touch, heal, comfort and bless you all!
Now, grab a cup of coffee, iced-T, or cola and sit awhile with my friend, Gwen Smith as she shares about her book, Broken Into Beautiful. You’re gonna love her! Gwen never meets a stranger. She is fun, personable, and has many passions–Jesus, family, music, and sharing the Word of God through speaking and writing.
Gwen, tell us about your family.
Sure! I’m blessed to be the wife of Brad, my hunky college sweetheart. We have been married for 16 years and have never, ever fought. TOTALLY KIDDING! ;0)~ We strain and struggle to stay connected and to place our marriage in the center spot of our family, like any other couple. We have three very cool and crazy-active children: Preston (12), Hunter (10) and Kennedy (8 1/2). We are constantly on the go, trying to complete homework, get to ballgames, music lessons, and practices on time. Fun stuff. Continuous challenges. Wouldn’t have it any other way!
Gwen, recently you felt the nudge of God to share a secret from your past. Will you share with us today?
Well, Micca, as a young person, I was a good Christian girl who loved Jesus, was raised by God-fearing parents, and made a fair amount of good choices. I went off to college with great momentum, great expectations from my life, strong morals, and a strong faith. Once I got to college, my faith collided with temptations and choices that left me broken. I entered a season of secret compromises that resulted in an unplanned pregnancy. When the stick of my pregnancy test turned blue, my heart turned black. I reacted by rushing past the values I’d been raised with, the convictions of my heart, and the fundamentals of my faith…to the blurred “solution” of death. I had an abortion.
You see, there was never a moment that I believed having an abortion was the right thing to do. I only stubbornly and naively believed that my choice was the only ladder to grab out of the horrible pit I had dug for myself. I was wrong. Dead wrong. There, in the sterile room of that stale clinic, I used an alias. I wasn’t Gwen. My charts did not say that I was Gwen, the girl who was raised by good parents, the girl who was raised in the Word of God to know right from wrong. The counselor I had met with said that using my name could have made me feel uncomfortable with the “harmless and legal procedure” I was having done that day. Nobody else needed to know. I was anonymous. It was my secret. A secret of chains that bound me in silence for the ensuing fifteen years – a secret kept because I mistakenly assumed that no one else could handle the ugly truth of my sinfulness with grace and forgiveness. I was a Christian girl.
Christians don’t get pregnant when they aren’t married, and Christians don’t have abortions, right? It was all too scandalous, and I was crazy afraid of the consequences. Most of that day was a blur. It was a dark, cold January day. Though the clinic was lit with bright fluorescent lights, the flame of dignity and hope in my heart had grown dim. I blocked out all the voices in my head as they contested what I was doing. I was desperate and scared. The love I had for Jesus was tucked into the icy trunk of my heart on that snowy winter afternoon.
How did God bring beauty from your brokenness?
For weeks following my abortion, I went through each day under a dark cloud of despair. I couldn’t reconcile what I had done with who I was, and who I was supposed to be. My heart was broken. I felt hopeless and was horribly ashamed. I hated what I had done, and I hated myself for doing it. I was responsible for the death of my baby. It was my fault. I knew it, and it haunted me.
Voices of accusation used to scream in my head. Condemnation kept me shackled. Without realizing it, I was a captive to my own acceptance of his words. The dark days turned into weeks, which turned into months. Although I could turn on the fake charm like water from a faucet, I was dying inside! I wept. I wept for both my baby and for myself. It was necessary. It felt right to cry. And though the tears helped my soul grieve, none were as healing as the ones I cried to Jesus when I finally turned back to Him and confessed my sins.
In that moment, I experienced God’s peace, and He began a process of restoration in my life. I didn’t deserve to be forgiven, but God forgave me…and His forgiveness is complete! But after that, I felt disqualified to serve God. I thought that I was disqualified because of the choices I made. The truth is, shame was still controlling my thinking and my life. I believed many of God’s truths, but not all of them.
Eventually, God showed me, through His Word, that the Great Commission is for all of us…not for the perfect among us. He began to peel back the lies I was believing and to transform my mind as He replaced those lies with His truth. The beauty and healing is found in Him. In His forgiveness, love and grace.
What advice can you give the woman reading this today who carries a similar secret?
God calls each of us to use our lives to point to His hope. Right before He ascended into heaven, Jesus said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8, emphasis added). That call—that commission—will look different for each of us. While some might be called to share before groups of women or large congregations, many of us are called to share with a friend who is hurting, with a woman who is struggling to know freedom, with a sister who needs to hear that healing and forgiveness are always possible with God.
Whether you’ve had an abortion or lost a baby through a miscarriage—whether you’ve been sexually abused or have had an affair—whether you are divorced, widowed, single, or married—whether you’ve experienced infertility, infidelity, or insecurity, God can use your story to help others. If you have a child or spouse with a disability—if you battle depression, illness, a drug or alcohol addition, an eating disorder, or have anger management problems, God can use your story.
However God leads you, I pray that you will not hesitate to share the brokenness you have encountered and the beauty you now know in Christ. Use your life as a living testimony of God’s transforming power, “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). Ultimately, the love of God that radiates from your story will result in a reflection of that love back to God and to others who are in desperate need
of His healing.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your story today?
I’m living proof that God delights to transform lives. If you’re like most women, you have things in your past you’d like to forget. The result? Guilt. Pain. Shame. You feel unworthy to move on, to serve God, to be free, and to know peace. While the enemy loves to shackle you with accusations, the Lord loves to extend grace and forgiveness. He is the God of the great exchange. We bring Him our hurt – He gives us healing. We bring Him our sin and shame – He gives us forgiveness. We bring Him our weakness – He gives us strength. The chorus of a song that I co-wrote that bears the same title as my book, Broken Into Beautiful, speaks to this perfectly. It says:
You change worthless into precious
Guilty to forgiven
Hungry into satisfied
Empty into full
And all the lies are shattered
And we believe we matter
When You change broken into beautiful
Your blog friends can hear the song by visiting http://www.brokenintobeautiful.com/. The song Broken Into Beautiful is featured on my latest CD, Unsearchable – which is available at my website (http://www.gwensmith.net/), Christian bookstores, or on iTunes.
Gwen, thank you for being my guest. Your story truly speaks of God’s redeeming mercy in each of our lives. I pray His mercy touches each of you today!
Be sure and leave a comment and enter to win Gwen’s book, Broken Into Beautiful.