My Secret
By Lysa TerKeurst

“I sought the Lord and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant. Their faces are never covered with shame.” Psalm 34:4-5 (NIV)

The young teenage girl named Sidney sat across from me with eyes full of emotion. Her voice choked out a whispered, “thank you,” as she turned and kissed the chubby-cheeked little boy sitting in the baby carrier beside her. Just one year earlier, I’d sat across from this same precious girl listening to her plans to have an abortion the next day. Panic, confusion and fear consumed her and made her feel as though she had no other choice. As soon as she spoke those words, tears fell from both of our eyes. Hers were tears of relief. Mine were tears of redemption. Both were wrapped in the hope that God truly can take even our worst mistakes and somehow bring good from them.

Yesterday, you read Luann’s beautiful devotion about her making the last minute decision to not abort her baby. Sixteen years ago I was also a young woman panicked and sitting in an abortion clinic. Only unlike Luann and Sidney, tragically, I kept my appointment. And I can honestly say, the grief that entered my life that day has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to face. For years I kept this secret buried deep within my heart. I was so ashamed, so horrified, so convinced that if anyone ever found out I’d had an abortion, I’d be rejected by all my church friends and deemed a woman unfit to serve God.

So I suffered in silence, wrapped in a cloak of shame.

Going to church was incredibly hard during those years. I was convinced I was the only Christian woman who’d ever had an abortion. I’d never heard another Christian woman share this as a part of her testimony. Never did I hear of anyone speak of the hope and grace that Jesus provides to those of us who were suffering from making that decision. I only heard well-meaning Christians debate the issue of abortion with very strong words. Their words stung, made my heart seize and my eyes feel like they’d explode into a flood of a million tears.

Don’t get me wrong, the issue of abortion is serious and we should take a strong stand against it. But we must also remember that it’s more than a topic of religious and political debate. For one in three women within the church, it is one of the most painful parts of their life story. One for which they want to find forgiveness and healing, but are too afraid of being judged to share their secret with anyone.

So they suffer in silence, wrapped in a cloak of shame.

Sweet friend, is this you? Are you in this place? Can I offer you a lifeline today? There is hope and healing that can be found. It is possible to be forgiven and to let go of the emotional pain. For me, there were three things that helped my healing more than anything. First, I sought help from my local Crisis Pregnancy Center who offered a Post Abortion Bible Study. Secondly, I named my baby and wrote a letter promising to make his life count by sharing our story to help others. And lastly, I kept my promise to my child and asked God to give me the courage to share my story with someone in order to help them.

Remember Sidney? She was one of the first people I ever told. Seeing God bring good out of what Satan meant for such evil in my life, did more to heal my heart than almost anything else.

Dear Lord, please tenderly give us the courage to face the secrets hidden in our hearts. Lord, we ask for your forgiveness. And we ask for your healing. Please help us see some kind of good come from our past mistakes. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources
Visit Lysa TerKeurst’s blog to read the letter she wrote to her child that she referred to in today’s devotion.

Who Holds the Key To Your Heart? by Lysa TerKeurst. This book and Bible study were written specifically for people who are suffering in silence due to shame from their past.

Spend some time asking Jesus how He wants you to respond to today’s devotion.

Take time to pray for women in your community and church who are suffering from the pain of abortion.

Consider giving your time and resources to help your local Pregnancy Care Center minister to women in your community.

Power Verses
2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (NIV)

Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (NIV)

© 2008 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thankyou Lysa,
I never thought of naming my baby who I so selfishly put to death. Her name is Tina Marie, she would have been thirty five. Forgive me Lord. Thankyou for loving me as I am, a sinner learning how to live in your love and light. Amen!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too was an expecting 16 year old. Due to my procrastination, I showed up at the clinic too late to have an abortion. When I finally told my mom and went to the dr., he gave me 3 choices. 1-go to a home of unwed mothers; 2-give up the baby for adoption; 3-be put into early labor and deliver a dead baby. I chose none of them. I now work at a high school and at first felt like I shouldn't share my age afraid of what people would think of me having a baby so young but God has also used me in that I can share my experience with them and help them to see that God doesn't make mistakes, we do, and that no baby is a mistake. I thank you for sharing your story to show those who made that choice that God loves you no matter what and he can use you in any situation. Thank you!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise God for how He can use those most painful moments in our lives for His Glory.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was 19 when I decided to take the life of my child. That was 24 years ago. At the time, I felt it was the only solution because I was the oldest of 4 children, in college and my father was the pastor of a small church. For fear of him losing his church, I kept this a secret from all family and only a few girls on my dorm hall knew about it. In later years I prayed for forgiveness and finally felt a peace about it, although, the memory and emotional pain comes alive often. I told my husband when we were dating and he accepted it and forgave me. We have been blessed with 2 beautiful children who are now in their teens. This secret of mine remains in my heart to this day. My burden has been for teen girls who have self esteem issues. Their idea of being accepted is so twisted. Thankfully, my daughter is a sweet Christian young girl who surrounds herself with other christian teens. She hasn't wrapped herself up in the peer pressures of high school. I pray for her daily, as well as, my son.
I pray for forgiveness and purpose, for God to use me for His Glory!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was 17, in love with my first real boyfriend and pregnant. In my immaturity I thought we would get married and live happily ever after. You can assume if I'm writing on this blog that my fairy tale never happened. I never thought I would abort a child, I was in love and was excited about having his baby. When my world came crashing down and I realized that he wasn't going to marry me I allowed my fears and embarrasement dictate my actions. Move forward a few years, I'm living away from home, lonely and in need of some love. Yes, you guessed it I find myself pregnant again, only this time I don't love the man and find this a huge inconvenience.
Jumping ahead another few years, I've given my life to Christ, He has forgiven me for these sins and too many more to mention. Like the other woman has mentioned, the memory still comes back and with it pain and shame but each time I go to Christ. I have 2 grown children and 3 grandchildren that I love dearly. I praise God each time I'm reminded of how far He has brought me. If I can encourage anyone with this testimony then it was worth reliving this painful time in my past.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this topic and for giving me the idea of naming my baby. He is Edward James, and would be 24.
The regret never goes, but I know God has forgiven me, and He promises to make all things well.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i too was going on 17 when i had taken life of my little Alexander, God was always there, i have suffered with rejection, and trying to get past the past for years,up until 6 years ago did i feel and experience true forgiveness because i couldn't forgive myself, God has bless me with a wonderful husband and 2 beautiful children, i am now 34 years old, i do pray for young people because they are faced with life decisions that will affect the years to come. One of my favorite scripture old things have passed away and behold all things have become new. thanks for sharing your testimonies.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My story is somewhat different. You see, I was married and very much wanted a baby. It took me over a year to get pregnant and we were so happy to finally be. I will never forget the day that my husband came home and removed his shirt. The fear must have washed over me when my husband saw the reaction on my face. He was covered with a prickly rash over his torso. German measles. The news was not good. The doctor immediately talked about abortion. He laid out all the complications that I would be facing. Being young and very impressionable, I didn't know what to do. We decided to go on the advice of my doctor. Unfortunately I did not make God part of the decision. In His infinate wisdom and abounding grace, God intervened. When I went in for the procedure, my baby had already died. I still had to go through the agony of the decision, and for 4 weeks had to carry my child knowing he was already dead. I know that God has forgiven me. If there is anything that I can say to anyone, it is this, trust God for the answers. God has given me a peace about my experience. I have not shared it openly with many but have with a select few as opportunity has presented itself. I thank God for his forgiveness,mercy and grace

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too was young (18) unmarried and pregnant. I called myself a Christian, attended a Southern Baptist Church and was raised in a loving home. Out of cowardice I choose the "easy" way out. For years after my abortion, I suffered in shame and silence. At the urging of my husband (thank God for him) I attended post abortion counseling at our local Pregnancy Care Center. Through that program and the realiztion of God's unending grace, the shame I once felt is gone. I urge those of you who are still suffering to reach out for healing; God will place people in your path that you can trust and who will love you without judgement (He does!!)
My Jesse would be 25, not a day goes by that I do not think of him. The differnce is how I think of him. I look foreward to the day that I meet him, hold him in my arms, and tell him how I have loved and yearned for him through the years

Blogger eph2810 said...

What a powerful post, Lysa! Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How powerful, you have brought me to tears. I have been living with my secret for years. I was fresh out of college, just moved to start my new life. Found myself alone and pregnant. The father was unwilling to believe it. I didn't know what to do. I was scared, ashamed and alone. I selfishly chose to put my baby to death to save myself the shame and embarrassment, now only to realize that I didn't save myself from shame and embarrassment, I caused a life full of it. I am still living with the regret daily. I can barely pull myself out of bed on that dreadful day each year and then I have to celebrate the birthday of my son just 3 days later. This is extremely hard to swallow. God has blessed me with 2 beautiful children and in many other ways in my life but I still struggle with this. I have not told anyone about this other than my best friend. Still to this day, I feel alone. Thank you for sharing your story. I have asked for forgiveness and know God has forgiven me but the pain and the reminders never seem to go away. I pray God will use my life and story to help others as well. I can't wait to see my Ruby Marie and tell her how much I love her. Thank you!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your transparency and for your sharing of this very personal secret.

Full redemption-when God is allowed to take everything from our past (even our secret sins) and use them for his glory. It's obvious to me that, if is hasn't happened before today, it's happening now. For so many.

I am a strong advocate for the unborn; I am also a strong advocate for the love and grace of Jesus that covereth...simply covereth. I carry my own "secrets" and have tasted the grace of God in full measure.

Today, I thank God for his Calvary portion and for all the women who have made this choice and those, who even today, are on the edge of doing the same.

Not long ago, I wrote a piece on my blog entitled "Beyond Zero." The post sprung forth from a question that my daughter asked me...

"Mommy, when I was born was I zero?"

Perhaps it might help someone who is struggling this day with the decision of abortion. The link is:

As always, Lysa, thanks for your heart and your ministry to others. I'm holding you up today.


Blogger Sandra Garcia said...

Hi Lysa,

I started my blog more for my children. My 19-year-old daughter reads it regularly and encourages me to keep writing so that my younger children will someday benefit from it as well. The very first post on my blog is my testimony. It's similar to what you posted today. There are so many of us who have made such a tragic decision and the only good thing about it is that God will use it for good. I, like you, kept my abortion a secret from many for a very long time but I finally decided to tell my daughter about it when she was 16. She got pregnant when she was 18. I didn't find out about her pregnancy until she was six months along. I had talked to her till I was blue in the face about abstinence, about staying pure for her groom, so she was ashamed and afraid of my reaction. I was shocked at first but I soon felt nothing but love and grace for her. She shared with me that although she didn't listen to me about abstinence, she did take my abortion and how it affected me, to heart. I get a lump in my throat thinking that by sharing the horrible thing I did some twenty years ago, saved my grandbaby's life. We need to share; I know God wants us to.


Blogger steph said...

My story, too, is a little different. Aren't they all. I was 18 and married. I was very excited to be pregnant, my husband was not. He had plans. This did not fit into those. I was given an untimatum. I was newly married, very young, unsaved and terrified at the embarrassment of being a young single mother.

I knew immediately aborting my baby was the wrong decision. I have been plagued with guilt and shame ever since. It's one of those mountains I go around with God continually. "I know you forgive all Lord....but this???" I know he does, I just need to continually forgive myself. I did name him Anthony a few years ago, he would be around 19 now. I don't know if it was a son or a daughter. But I suppose because I had four daughters that the one I chose to do away with was probably the son I have always wanted.

God redemption is amazing, I have four amazing daughters. Something God had done for me recently? My oldest daughter's boyfriend is 19. He told me, not too long ago, I was going to be a great mother-in-law someday. It made me realize, wow,he does restore absolutly everything. Someday I will have 4 sons-in-law, something I hadn't thought of. Our God is an Awesome God...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

After 10 years, the memory of my cowardly action still haunts me. Sadly, my decision was dictated by my parents and my boyfriend and I was not given an option. There isn't a day that goes by, that I don't imagine what my child would've been today.

Recently, I have taken a special interest in the prevention of this barbaric practice. Interestingly, things that coincide (like your blog) keep popping up. I suppose in my quest to find God's will he has placed my mission firmly in front of me. I will be attending the 40 Days for Life constant vigil in front of the very doors I passed through at 16. I am also looking into getting more involved with the Center for Bioethical Reform and the National Right to Life organizations. I want to open the eyes of young girls feeling helpless to the options available to them.

Thank you for posting this blog at just the right time. You are clearly an instrument of God. I believe that continued involvement in Pro-Life activities is my final step to forgiving myself the way Christ has.

P.S.: God has blessed me with a beautiful, healthy two year old boy. Even though I am a single mother, life is not impossible. There is hope. I agree with one of the other posters that said 'no baby is a mistake.' Seek His face and you will find peace. God bless and thank you again.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank You!!!! For 20 years I've carried the secret of an abortion from my children. I know that one day I'll have to tell them because this is part of my testimony I must tell to help other young women along this path God has prepared for us. My husband know, I told him when we first start dating. God forgave me and I forgave myself. I am now blessed with 4 beautiful children, whom I adore and admire. "Beauty for our ashes, Joy for our pain." For those who are hurting let the Word of God heal you, that others may be healed. Yes, abortion is wrong. May peace rest in your heart and the joy of the Lord overtake you. Be blessed!!!!!

Blogger Shawna said...

Lysa, it is a very good thing that God has used you so powerfully to help others. What a blessed opportunity to help heal so many hurting women.

I am surprised by so many different stories. I was naive in thinking there was only one or two paths to abortion. Thank you for showing me the truth.

I pray God heals each and every woman so that they may reach out in love to others who are hurting so very deeply.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

God is truly amazing at His timing and allowing me to see how He can heal my friend who is suffering and needs God's touch from an abortion.
Continue to share the truth!

Blogger Maryea said...

I have never had an abortion but I have committed other sins just as bad...out of pride, selfishness and they were sins that even this world would conisder bad and I committed them as a Christian. I will not name them because I do not feel in my case it would be helpful. I have had a very hard time accepting God's forgiveness and even harder time forgiving myself. For years, I cried out to God, why, why did those things have to happen, why did you allow me to do that? I still don't know all the answers, but God has shown me that I needed to see my sin. I grew up in a Christian home, always went to church and tried to live "right." I knew that I was a sinner based on what I'd been taught but I never saw my own sin. I thought I was a very good person! It took some very bad experiences on my part to see my sin. And for a while, I felt like King sin was ever before me! It's taken several years, but now I know that God truly has forgiven me, and I have forgiven myself even though it is still not easy. It seems like knowing why it had to happen in my case has helped me a lot. I also believe that God is going to use it in the lives of others who were involved. I haven't seen this yet but I do believe that will happen in time. Thank you for sharing your story!

Blogger Maryea said...

I wanted to add, that working through these issues has brought me much closer to my Lord and Savior! I now live a life of faith that I only dreamed of before and I know that as I stay close to Him, I will grow deeper even in Him. It is a wonderful relationship and if I had gone on thinking I was ok, I might never have appreciated what Christ has done for me.

Blogger Unknown said...

My eyes widened as I read your devotional from Encouragement For Today. I especially love reading your thought provoking, down-to-Earth, and encouraging blogs, but was taken back by this, and therefore prompted me to actually write a comment. I never would've imagined that such a Godly woman had a secret, just like mine. In reading other's comments, it' reminded me that I, too, have something to share.
Much like many others, I made a choice that to this day I regret with all my heart, and wish I could take back. I was already a single mother, in a new job where I let the assumption of "they wouldn't understand", my mother's remark of "how could you be so stupid", and the relationship I didn't have with the father rule my decision. I was a Christian, by salvation only, and thought that I was giving my child to God whom could take care of her and love her much better than I. A pill magically took care of my problem, but little did I realize that it was only the beginning to much larger ones later. Two years later, I knew that I had to confront my issue as it began to effect my work, relationships, and life where I sought counseling from the Pregnancy Crisis Center and received wonderful, Biblical counseling from a Godly woman who helped me see God's grace, mercy, and forgiveness. My baby's name is Meagan Rae, the name I had picked out for a girl since I was 15 if I ever had a girl. I felt in my heart that she was a girl. I was blessed to be the mother of an amazing young man, 12yrs, who is my only child. Meagan would be 4 yrs old. The guilt still creeps up at times when I think that Meagan may have been the only chance at having another child (and sibling for my son), but I continue to call on God to take away that guilt, and have at times felt the calling to share my testimony with others, but don't know where to start. Too often, I think that even woman who have turned to the Lord as a result of thier choice still fear the rejection, judgement, and criticism through their church. I commend you, Lysa, for speaking up in your position, and letting others know that we are indeed, human, and make human choices. But by the grace of God, we are forgiven and can feel we're not alone in our daily struggles with our choices. Some of us may persue reaching out to others with their story while some may just find the peace and comfort of reading and knowing that you care enough about our healing to share your story. Thank you, and God Bless.

Blogger Pat said...

I posted on your blog but my heart just breaks as I read the stories and comments here. I would be so blessed to have any woman who is still in pain as a result of her abortion, come and visit our website at or
God has a healing plan for every woman!
Thank you sister,

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Lysa,
God bless you for your authenticity. My sister had an abortion when she is a teenager. She dealt with her pain by indulging in alcohol and eventually becoming an alcoholic. Praise be to God for pulling my sweet sister out of that pit. She turned her life over to her Savior and is now counseling young pregnant women to point them in the direction of Jesus.

Thank you again for sharing your story. May God be glorified!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Just earlier this week, I had decided to recommit my life to God. I am a Christian, but I felt as though I was still missing something in my life. So I bought a book at a local Christian store and started reading it. It was from the women of Proberbs 31. So I went to there website to read the daily devotional and this is the first time I had been to the site and the first devotional I read, and it applied directly to me. I had an abortion when I was 17 that was about 11 years ago and I still think about it all the time. Thanks so much for the ways to overcome it, I had asked God for forgiveness lots of times, but I now know that I don't have to keep doing that, that he has forgiven me and that I need to stop carring that burden on my heart. I truly think that God had me go to your website that day just to read your story. It was inspirational to say the least. Thanks- God bless you.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I notice that so many of us are anonymous. I can't describe the shame that haunts the woman scarred by abortion. I too, am one! I've never told ANYONE! The only person who knows is my husband. He took me that disgusting day to the clinic. I wasn't pregnant with his baby, I had been dating another guy and we had broken up before I found out.
My husband was a PK and he loved me so much that he wanted me for himself. The pain that he has lived with has been way deeper than my own.
I truly feel God's forgiveness for my decision. But for him....he has struggled for the last 19 years!
He is also a pastor.
We have three teenagers together and every thing that ever happened to one of them, my husband has related it to that one sin!
Our first child was born with maconium aspiration and was in NICU for a husband felt it was his fault and that we were getting what we deserved.

In the last few years, he has served on the board of our local preg. care center and has been very instrumental in building that ministry up.
I will never be able to change the way things happened for us. But I do know that God is so forgiving and so merciful. He has set me free...and I know that someday...I will meet my child in heaven.
Now, I have a passion for helping other's.....and my own kids are on fire for purity in their own lives. Something I wish had been a part of my life way back when.

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