- Posted February 12, 2013 by
peachtree city, Georgia
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Have you had an abortion?
I was in my early twenties when I began my career in radio in Minneapolis. Since I had dropped out of college four years earlier, achieving this position was a dream come true which marked a new beginning.
Just three short months later I learned that I was pregnant. But I was completely unprepared when my fiancé refused to marry me or to support the child.
I was devastated. How could I support myself, establish a career, and be a single parent at the same time? It seemed impossible. On top of that, I was ashamed of having been sexually active with a man who had now rejected me.
Appearance meant everything to me at that time. I wore a mask of perfection and competence to hide the emptiness and insecurity I felt inside.
It was sad to live in hiding, but the mask kept others from getting too close. I was lost, but I didn’t know it. Despite a carefully crafted image, I had no inner core of strength to help me face such a big challenge to my character and my almost-forgotten faith.
Feeling I had no other choice, I went along with his decision to get an abortion. I was already a master at detaching from my feelings, so I steeled myself to get through it. I was determined to forget it completely once it was over.
I kept my head down through the whole process, trying not to speak or make eye contact with anyone. Even now, I recall few details of what took place. For years, I couldn’t even recall the season of the year. I had come to the point where my mask even obscured my ability to see or share my own hurt.
My fiancé tried to comfort me, but my heart was firmly closed to him. We split up a few months later.
One of the so-called benefits of abortion is the secrecy. No one needs to know. Soon you begin to nurture this secret rather than nurturing yourself or others. I cycled through many years of despair over what I had done, and denying that it had any impact on my life. Back and forth I went between denial and despair. If you didn't know me, you might think I "chose" my career. Inside my heart, the pain of knowing I had put myself before my child--even out of fear--was a fact I just couldn't seem to fully face.
Several years after the abortion, I married. We had two beautiful children. Though we attended church, I didn’t really know Jesus—or how to risk being vulnerable and share my deepest heart. The marriage failed eight years later, a casualty of emotional baggage and the absence of Christ.
Completely broken, I began attending a twelve-step group. There, I met a woman who saw beyond the mask. Whenever I expressed guilt or despair, she would say, “Kim, Jesus loves you, and you have confessed, you are forgiven.” She said it so often that I found myself meditating on that promise. In April 1990, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes and I finally understood the meaning of Christ’s sacrifice.
Through God’s gentle hand, I learned to let him see beneath the mask.
As I became more authentic before God and others, I remarried, and we joined a church which taught the truth about abortion from God’s Word. This truth helped me accept that the condition of my heart had kept me from the full love and unconditional acceptance of God.
Today, I live unmasked and free to be myself as God’s own child. By God’s grace and with support, I’ve been able to forgive each person who had any part in the loss of my child. I have also accepted God’s forgiveness for the part I played. Best of all, my children and my family now know the truth. They forgive me, accept me, and love me just as I am. And we are no longer controlled by any secrets from the past.
God redeemed my broadcasting career as I transitioned from general market radio into Christian radio. Eventually I also let go of my stage name, which kept me linked to that desperate sin of choosing a career over the blessing of a child. Now I host a weekly broadcast (cradlemyheart.org) to encourage others with God's love after abortion, sharing stories of those whose lives have been transformed by Christ after abortion. This program and accompanying book benefit the pregnancy help movement which is offering women a true choice so that no one ever needs to go along with someone else's decision as I did.
Living without a mask can leave us feeling vulnerable at times, but it’s the only way I know to fully see the beauty of God in the fullness of His loving heart and connect with others to share the hope I’ve found in Jesus Christ.
Being authentic has led to many new opportunities as I write and speak about recovery from abortion. I have travelled internationally for several years with Ruth Graham and Friends conferences and with other groups listening to the heartbreak of others and leaning into God's love to pray for their healing and hope.
Truly, He makes everything beautiful in His time.
Kim Ketola, is a broadcaster (formerly known as Kim Jeffries) and author or “CRADLE MY HEART, Finding God’s Love after Abortion” (Kregel, August 2012) featuring a Foreword by Ruth Graham. Her live program is broadcast nationally on select stations Sunday evenings and podcast at cradlemyheart.org.