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Immeasurable Grace
By Crista Darr

The day my first child died is forever etched into my memory. I can still feel the soft rays of the sun on my face as I walked across the parking lot of the abortion clinic. The birds' melodies filled the air, but the life in my womb was silent.

There were no pro-lifers or protesters. Being a girl at the tender age of fifteen, I had never heard of such people and had assuredly never heard their message. I often wonder if my life would have been different if just one caring person, an advocate for the unborn, had been there to speak the truth to me. I cannot say with certainty that it would have made any difference, but it might have saved our lives, my baby's and mine.

My early teen years had been bombarded by the rally cry of "sex, drugs and rock and roll" that echoed across the world and settled into my impressionable psyche. At thirteen I was already drinking heavily. At fifteen I was one of the few remaining virgins in my wide circle of friends.

One night, I lost my virginity at a drunken party. When sobriety arrived, I grieved. The grief was a mystery to me. Thinking sex would be trivial, I could not comprehend this sudden, painful death of my youth.

A few months later I became pregnant. Alerted by my morning sickness, which I naively thought was a stomach virus, my mother confronted me. She was not surprised. There was no yelling or crying only a stern demand to know what my plans were. Of course I had no plan, but I remember answering, "I guess I'm going to have a baby."

Her retort still stings today, "Oh no, you're not! You are going to have an abortion."

The fact that a death sentence had just been handed down to my unborn child did not upset me. I was actually relieved to have a decision made and a way of escape provided.

The darkness in my heart was so great that I believed the lie that abortion was not murder but an acceptable "choice". I begged and pleaded with my mother not for the life of my child, but that she would not tell my father. I could not bear the thought of him knowing that "Daddy's little girl" was pregnant.

Pleasing my dad had always been my greatest aspiration. When he found out I was pregnant, this hope came crashing down around me in an avalanche of despair. I bolted out the door and ran; my legs and heart pumping furiously as tears coursed down my face. I kept running, trying to outrun the disappointment in my dad's eyes.

With nowhere to hide, I crept back home covered in shame. Burning emotions had cooled and my parents received me with gentleness and love. With the belief that they were choosing the best option for my future, arrangements were made for an abortion.

Without hesitation, I stumbled through my own inner darkness and into the lobby of the clinic. The absence of protesters outside was a stark contrast to the large number of women having abortions that day.

I waited a surprisingly short time to see "Doctor Death".

The common practice of procedural explanation was nonexistent. There was nothing ethical about the rapid-paced disassembly line of infanticide quick and painless for the mother but not for the child.

After the abortion I was placed in the "recovery" room. I still did not have any sense of guilt as I told a joke to another woman present. The fierceness of her eyes, glaring into mine, struck me with my first glimpse of the horror of what I had done.

Giving birth to regret, I arrived home. I threw myself on my bed and cried, "Oh God, did I just murder my baby?" Knowing the answer was yes; I sobbed myself to sleep that night and many nights thereafter. Guilt and sorrow became my constant companions, entrenching themselves within the depths of my soul.

My family and I never mentioned the abortion. We wanted to forget, but I was haunted. Drinking and drugs became my tools to bury this enemy called my conscience.

Years passed and I was able to suppress these memories. They became only fleeting thoughts, but Jesus remembered. The blood of my aborted baby cried out to Him and that blood was on my hands.

Depression began to sink its claws into the shredded remains of my life. Envisioning myself in a pit of blackness, I searched in vain for any hint of light. Hopelessness engulfed me. There appeared to be no way out.

Falling to my knees in despair I prayed, "God, am I an abomination to you?" The word "abomination" was not a word I would ordinarily use. I must have read it as a child in my grandfather's Bible the one my mom had given me after his death.

In a desperate grasp for this same Bible, the pages fell open and a verse seemed to jump off the page at me, "All who behave unrighteously are an abomination to the Lord your God." (Deuteronomy 25:16 NKJV)

The message pierced my soul as His presence filled the room. He had just told me that I was an abomination to Him but at the same moment His overwhelming love enveloped me. Never had I experienced such a love so strong, yet so gentle.

Many years were wasted believing that His love for me was evidence of my salvation. He had spoken to me through His Word and performed many miracles in my life. I became a baptized churchgoer but was still unwilling to relinquish the sin to which I was bound. In my ignorance, I resisted the freedom God was offering and chose to continue down the pathway of drinking, drugs, and immorality. There is no salvation without deliverance from sin. I was deceived. "The one who practices sin is of the devil." (1 John 3:8 NASB)

Despite my hard heart, the goodness of God led me to repentance. It was an extraordinary day of new beginnings. A Christian friend had just given birth to a baby and God used this friend to deliver me also from darkness to light, from death to life.

Her testimony was filled with fantastic miracles, but here was the clincher: these signs and wonders all occurred in her life before the greatest miracle of all her salvation.

An intense fear awakened within me. Can one hear from God, experience His miracles and still be headed for hell? I trembled at the realization of the critical state of my soul.

Now I had something more to lay upon the altar apart from my own selfish requests. My offering, long overdue, was myself. Jesus Christ became my Lord and Savior.

Fully deserving judgment, our God "who delights in mercy" (Micah 7:18) took my punishment on the cross. It is difficult to comprehend the price that was paid for me. His nail-pierced hands that did no evil covered my blood-stained hands, his innocent blood, washed mine clean. As vile as my sins were, "the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant" (1 Timothy 1:14 NKJV) to cover them all, even abortion.

Yielding my heart to Him, He made it His home; replacing my filthiness with an overflowing well of thankfulness for the forgiveness I did not deserve but He freely gave. "For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." (Jeremiah 31:34 NKJV)

Words alone are not sufficient to describe the tender mercies of this "God of all comfort" (2 Corinthians 1:3). A God that I cannot see or touch, tenderly embraces me in my sorrow, wiping away my tears and filling me with His peace.

As shameful as abortion is, it is my reasonable service to my Savior that I share my story of grace. "He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps." (Psalm 40:2 NKJV)

* * *

Since her salvation in November 2000, Crista Darr has had a burden on her heart to fight for the lives of unborn children and the souls of those considering or suffering from the tragedy of abortion. Please feel free to contact Crista care of crista3115@yahoo.com.
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