The following article is written by Melissa Ohden, a supporter of Advice & Aid, an abortion-attempt survivor, and now a speaker and writer on this very important topic.
She has a unique perspective on the issue of what happens with an unplanned pregnancy. Her words here are spoken truly from her heart, and from a place few people have been. Yet she fully understands the turmoil of the mother with an unexpected and unwanted pregnancy.
Romans 8:28 reminds us “that God works all things together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose.”
It’s an oft-quoted Bible verse, one that so many people find comfort and hope in, myself included, particularly in times of difficulty or distress. To know that in the midst of whatever storm we’re facing in life, God is working it all together for good is comforting, indeed.
God’s redemption and restoration in our lives, as blessed as it is, doesn’t just occur in a time-frame that is typically far outside of our expectations and wishes (let’s admit it—things either unfold much quicker than we had planned or much longer), but it also frequently doesn’t look anything like what we had planned for ourselves.
As I transparently share in my memoir, You Carried Me, my identity (and the pain that accompanied it) as an abortion survivor was a part of my life that I initially tried to run away from. Learning at the age of 14 that I survived a saline infusion abortion, which involves delivering a toxic salt solution into the amniotic fluid surrounding the preborn baby in the womb, poisoning the child to death before premature labor is ultimately induced, thereby expelling the deceased baby from the womb, was a horrific, life-changing, experience.
Looking back on the twenty-seven years that have passed since I first learned the truth about my survival, though, I now appreciate who God made me to be, survivor and all.
My identity is in Christ, through Christ. No circumstance about my life will change that.
That’s an important lesson for us all.
Admittedly, though, this is not what I expected my life to look like—from not only being an abortion survivor to being a speaker, writer and activist when my background was in teaching and social work, to living a life in the public eye when I’m a private and quiet person. However, I’m forever grateful that His plans for me were so much greater than anything that I could have imagined for myself.
His timing, His plans, may not always make sense at first glance, but I encourage you to trust that in the midst of whatever you’re experiencing, God is working things together for your good and the good of others in your life.
When I spoke at an Advice & Aid banquet a number of years ago, my life looked quite different than it does now. What I know about my survival is dramatically different. The relationships with members of my biological family are also markedly changed. God has continued to unfold the storyline of my life in such a powerful way. And He’s doing likewise in yours, too.
We know God is the author of life, but remember, as an author, He’s not done writing!
I’ve learned so many lessons along this journey of life, but as I look back on the last few years, I’d say this one is the most significant. I have continued to put my trust on God, time after time, but I’ll be honest. I didn’t foresee the extent to which He was still unfolding the story of my life. I didn’t understand the depths to which He planned for restoration and reconciliation in my life and the lives of my biological family.
“Would you like to meet your birthmother?” was a question that I remember Jim Daly or John Fuller asking me years ago. I can’t remember if we were even on the air when we had this conversation, but I remember the topic. “I would love to,” I replied, “but I continue to trust that it’s in God’s hands, and if He intends for it to happen, it will, in His way, and in His time.” Those were my words, but if you had read my heart at the time, my heart would have admitted that I didn’t think it was in His plans.
The battle to find her had been quite hard. The response of her family, indicating that my messages would not be passed along to her because they were estranged, felt like nails in the coffin of any future that we could have. And so my trust in His plans was half-hearted, at best. Because in reality, I needed to trust that He was working good in our lives, and that His plans are, indeed, always greater than what we have in mind.
Is there something in your life that you’re struggling to believe God is working good in right now? Is there something that you’re having trouble trusting Him to have great plans in restoring or a relationship in reconciling? Trust Him. Not half-heartedly, but whole.
Look where God has taken me! Not only did He save me from the abortion attempt that was meant to end my life, not only did He bless me with health, my amazing adoptive family, a purpose for serving His kingdom, and a family of my own, but He has redeemed and restored the broken pieces of my heart and life.
Since I first moved to Kansas City almost six years ago, now, I have been connected with a maternal cousin, my two maternal half sisters, a maternal aunt, and yes, even my biological mother! Even though much of the information that I learned about my survival and those responsible for it all was incredibly painful, God surrounded me with these amazing women who all love me, and have loved me all along.
No one but God could bring us all together and rewrite the narrative of our lives that began forty years ago when the abortion was forced upon my birthmother and the tangled web of sin and lies began to be weaved.
No one but God could bring about good in the midst of the suffering we have all experienced over the past four decades.
No one but God could unite us with the power of unconditional love and forgiveness.
Truly, what man intended for evil in our lives, God intended for good, as Genesis 50:20 reminds us.
Continue to trust in Him, and I know you will be blessed to see Him work His plans of restoration and reconciliation in your own life.
If you have found yourself facing the unexpected, what you need most right now is the time to process, the time to learn, and a friend to walk alongside you, giving you time to figure out what your next steps are.
Here, you find no judgment, no agenda. We will simply give you answers, and be there for you.
If the unexpected has happened, take that first step and make an appointment to talk to us.
Like Melissa, who thought her story was shame-filled and couldn’t have any good to it, you may just begin to see the good in your story! We can help with that.