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Andrea’s Story: Fear, Longing, and my Unplanned Pregnancy.

with | June 24, 2022
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What do you do when abortion is part of your story? Andrea opens up about her unplanned pregnancy — and how God openly showed His love in her pain.
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  • What do you do when abortion is part of your story? Andrea opens up about her unplanned pregnancy — and how God openly showed His love in her pain.

What do you do when abortion is part of your story? Andrea opens up about her unplanned pregnancy — and how God openly showed His love in her pain.

Andrea’s Story: Fear, Longing, and my Unplanned Pregnancy.

With
|
June 24, 2022

FamilyLife Today® National Radio Version (time edited) Transcript
References to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete.

Fear, Longing, and My Unplanned Pregnancy

Guest: Andrea
From the series: Andrea’s Story: Fear, Longing and My Unplanned Pregnancy
(Day 1 of 1)
Air date: June 27, 2022

Andrea: I was terrified because I knew it was wrong. I remember even being there, on the table, asking God [emotion in voice], “God, please don’t look. God, please look away. I know what I am doing is wrong, and it is against Your heart. Please don’t watch.”

Ann: Welcome to FamilyLife Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I’m Ann Wilson.

Dave: And I’m Dave Wilson, and you can find us at FamilyLifeToday.com or on our FamilyLife app.

Ann: This is FamilyLife Today.

Dave: There are some things that are bigger than politics.

Ann: That’s true.

Dave: I mean, we all know that. It sort of feels like today is a holy moment, like we are sitting in a moment that you need to embrace and experience—feel the very—it’s a big moment—

Ann: It is big.

Dave: —in the world and in our nation. It isn’t a political moment; it’s a moment to say: “Let’s lift our eyes upward. Let’s go vertical and try and understand the heart of God in this moment.”

Ann: I think His heart is for life and the sanctity of life.

Today, we get to have a conversation with one of our friends about life and how precious every single life is. We have Andrea with us today. Andrea, welcome to FamilyLife Today.

Andrea: Thank you. It’s so good to be here with you guys.

Dave: You know a lot of our listeners don’t know who you are, and you and your husband have a critical role, here at FamilyLife. Tell us a little bit of the story.

Andrea: When my husband and I first got married, we moved into and lived in an RV travel trailer for 15 years, and then we planted and pastored a church for 13 years. Just recently, my husband has accepted a position to be the Vice President of Content, here at FamilyLife; so we moved our family down at the end of January.

Ann: You and Trent have been speaking for the Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway for how many years?

Andrea: Sixteen years.

Dave: Well, we discovered recently that you have a story that connects to the sanctity of life.

Andrea: Yes; so I actually grew up going to church every Sunday—really, every time the doors were open—but I did not understand any of what I was seeing. I remember, at Christmas, like looking at a manger scene and just thinking, “Why?” Then at Easter, we’d see the cross. I knew the story, but I didn’t know why.

I was kind of a leader at my church—I would sing solos on Sunday night before the pastor would preach; I was a leader in the youth group—but I lived a very different life outside of my church.

Ann: So you are saying you were there, but you really didn’t understand the gospel yet; so you hadn’t committed your life to Him yet.

Andrea: Exactly; but I thought I had because I thought that knowing the stories was enough. I didn’t know that God had to take out my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh and change me, so I was just going through the motions. It was very empty, which is a horrible place to be.

Ann: So you are leading a double life. Here you are, with the church people, living a certain kind of life. Do you think people would be surprised if they saw the other side of you?

Andrea: For sure. So when that other side started to come out, I would do everything I could to hide it. I became a very good liar. I wanted people’s approval, but I wanted my own way; so in order to do that, I became a very good liar.

I knew that I was supposed to marry a Christian—but I just thought, “It doesn’t matter who you date,”—so I dated non-Christians. One guy in particular: I found out, one summer, that I was pregnant.

Ann: How old were you, Andrea?

Andrea: I was 17.

Ann: Wow! So what did you feel?

Andrea: I just remember being shocked—and just condemnation immediately—just not knowing: “What do I do? I don’t know where to go with this. People think I am one thing,”—because that’s the image I’ve given them—“but this is reality kind of hitting me right now.”

Ann: What did the self-condemnation/what did that sound like in your head?

Andrea: I was no good; the choices that I had been making had led me to this point. It was very self-loathing, and just a feeling of being totally lost, and really having no idea which direction to go.

Ann: So what did you do?

Andrea: My parents knew I had been dating this one particular guy for a while; they kind of wanted to get to know him. I asked, “Hey, can I have this guy over for dinner one night?” They said, “Sure.”

Well, I think my parents must have known that things weren’t quite on the up and up. So when we arrived there to have dinner that night—me and my boyfriend—

Dave: And he knew: you told him?

Andrea: Yes; yes.

Ann: So was this the night you were going to tell your parents?

Andrea: We were trying to feel it out.

Ann: Okay.

Andrea: We were trying to find out: “Can we tell them? Is this a safe place?”

Ann: Yes.

Andrea: My mom worked at the local crisis pregnancy center. My mom had invited the director of that pregnancy care center over for dinner that night. I had no idea he was coming, and my mom had no idea what was happening in my life.

Dave: So you’ve got sort of—I mean, I didn’t know your mom worked for the crisis pregnancy center—so not only are you a church girl, who was shocking yourself and anybody who is going to find out—your mom—

Andrea: Yes.

Dave: —is actively involved. You had to be carrying/talk about: “I’ve disappointed, not only God, but I’ve disappointed my family.” Is that what you were feeling?

Andrea: Beyond disappointment. We were raised to know right; but my knowing right didn’t prevent me from doing all the wrong, from running after anything I could, to fill the void in my heart.

Dave: Well, I want to know about the night.

Andrea: Yes. [Laughter]

Dave: What happened at dinner?

Andrea: Yes, it was a pretty awkward dinner. We just kind of sat there, like deer in headlights, the entire night.

Dave: Do you think she was trying to send a message to you guys? She didn’t know what was going on; but still, she was trying to get a message to you through him?

Andrea: I think she totally was trying to send us a message. She was doing it, maybe, the only way she knew how/was to bring someone else in.

Ann: What did that make you feel?

Andrea: Just more pressure—more pressure that I couldn’t live up to—it was just one more expectation that I disappointed them again.

Dave: So you get in the car, I’m guessing, after.

Andrea: We do. We get in the car after dinner, and we drive down to a pier. It was kind of at that point that I just said, “I can’t tell them. There is no way.” We decided that I would have an abortion, and I did go through with that decision.

Ann: Were you scared?

Andrea: I was terrified, because I knew it was wrong. I remember even being there, on the table, asking God [emotion in voice], “God, please don’t look. God, please look away. I know what I am doing is wrong, and it’s against Your heart. Please don’t watch.”

Ann: What did you feel like God thought of you?

Andrea: I felt like my sin pushed Him further away, and I had lots of sin. I just kept thinking that my lifestyle was pushing Him further and further away; and that He was angry, and He was stiff-arming me, and really wanted nothing to do with me. I felt like I needed to crawl over broken glass to get back to Him; but I didn’t know how, and I didn’t know what that broken glass looked like.

Ann: When you walked out of the clinic, what did you feel?

Andrea: I cried all the way home. I just thought, “What have I done? There is nothing I can do to reverse this.” I thought, “I’m forever marked. I’m forever changed, and no one can ever know. I’ve done this. I have to hide it, and no one can ever know what I’ve done.”

Ann: Take us on the next journey of what happened in your life. Did you stay with your boyfriend?

Andrea: No, we did not stay together at all. I so naively had thought, “He’s the one I’m going to marry; he’s the one I will be with forever.” But after that decision—of course, he’s older than me—I’m about to be a senior in high school; so he goes off to college, and I continue on into my senior year of high school.

But something had changed in me; something had broken. Whereas before, it was just one relationship, where I had been immoral; after this, it became many. I really didn’t care. I started drinking to kind of cover that pain—to hide it/to mask it—just looking anywhere I could for love, for acceptance, for approval—just, really, was living a reckless life.

Ann: On the outside, what did people see?—at church.

Andrea: Yes, they still saw the girl, wearing a mask, trying hard—reading my Bible, singing in church, going to youth group—maybe not as frequently, but still there.

Dave: So how did you dig out? I mean, it feels like it destroyed you in a way; but here you are. So walk us through from darkness to light. What happened?

Andrea: I felt destroyed—I felt like there was no answer—no way out. But God, in His grace and in His mercy, He got me to a place where I was around believers/true believers. When I would watch their lives, their lives were so different than mine. They would desire purity in their lives, and they would make choices and steps to make sure they walked in purity.

I might have a desire for it, but there was no way I was going to put myself out to pursue it. I watched them walk in grace and in forgiveness, and it was something I had never seen. Their genuineness and the true Christianity I saw in them exposed that I did not have true Christianity.

Ann: —like they were obedient—you are saying—but it wasn’t out of obligation it sounds like.

Andrea: It was deeper than what I had. I had a surface obedience/a surface love; but theirs was deeper, and it was genuine. It was a freedom that they obeyed out of love, not out of duty/not out of they had to.

Ann: And it was attractive?

Andrea: It was very attractive.

Dave: So you must have said—what?—“I’ve got to have this,” or—

Andrea: Well, I read my Bible pretty consistently. I did not understand it, but it was something you were supposed to do—so I did it—I read my Bible. One morning, I was up, reading my Bible. The Lord just so clearly spoke to my heart; He said, “Andrea, you have got to get honest about your past. You’ve got to bring this into the light and quit playing the game.”

I was terrified to do that, but I knew He was my only hope. If that’s what God was telling me to do, and He is my only hope, I knew I needed to do it. I went and pulled the pastor’s wife out of a Sunday morning service; and I just said, “I need to get honest with you.” I just started telling her about my past. It was difficult, just forcing the words out of my mouth to explain where I had been and how I’d lived. She and her husband started asking me questions.

Remember I told you that I was a good liar? So I had always been able to lie my way out/wiggle my way out; but when they were asking me questions, it was like they nailed me to the wall. I was exposed. And for the first time, I could see my sin the way a Holy God has seen it the entire time. I was undone, because I had always justified it.

I didn’t know what to do, because I thought I was a believer; so I just started at the top of my head, and I went all the way down to my toes. I just said, “God, I’ve got to give You all of me. I want to be Your child. I want to obey You. I want to submit. You are the Designer; You are the Creator. I want to do it the way You have designed for me to do it.”

Dave: And so did you feel forgiven?

Andrea: No.

Dave: No?

Andrea: I did not feel forgiven. In fact, now, I had a new view on my sin; and the sin got bigger—so big, in fact, that I made myself physically sick; because I started learning who God was—that He is the God of life; that He is the God of love; that He is a Protector. I had been the exact opposite of that. My choices had led to death; I didn’t protect my unborn child. It was like the shame and the guilt grew bigger.

Ann: Yet, you had heard that God forgives you; but you just couldn’t grasp it?

Andrea: I couldn’t believe that God would forgive what I had done.

Ann: So when did you discover the freedom that He offers, and also His love, and His grace, and His total forgiveness for all of what you have done and for what we have all done?

Andrea: It has been a journey, for sure. During that part of my life, I tried everything to get well: I ran to doctors; I tried anti-depressants; I tried strict diets. I tried everything, and nothing was working for me to physically feel better.

But I had heard that, also, this pregnancy care center, again—I had heard that they had a curriculum for women to go through, who had experienced abortion—I just thought, “You know, I’ve tried everything else. It couldn’t hurt; I’m going to go.”

I went, and I met with a very amazing woman—also named Ann—who had gone through an abortion previously. The pregnancy care center had developed a whole little workbook that you could go through. As I was going through this workbook, it was leading me into the Word. What was happening every day is that the mound of Scripture was growing: that God was a forgiving God; that He was a God, merciful and gracious, abounding in steadfast love; that He was a God who took our sins and threw them as far as the east is from the west. This mound of Scripture was getting bigger and bigger; and it was on one side, and my thoughts and feelings were on the other side.

I got to the point, where I had to make a choice: “Which one am I going to believe? Am I going to continue to believe what I think and what I feel or what God’s Word says?” It feels ironic because you think what you think and feel is really humble—because you’re feeling so bad about yourself, and you’re trying to punish yourself—but I started to learn that is really pride, because I’m believing what I think/what I feel more than the God of the universe has said.

When I started to see it in that light, I started to see pride in a way that I had not understood it before; and I wanted nothing to do with it. I wanted to grab a hold of everything that God had said. I am still on that journey; that is not a journey that was over all those years ago. Every day, I have to fight to believe what God says over what I think or feel.

Ann: So Andrea, as I listen to you—and thank you for sharing that—I’m sure so many of our listeners have either experienced something—maybe an abortion—or their friends have, or sisters, or they’ve had a part of that. What would you want those women to know?

Andrea: [Emotion in voice] I would want them to know there is a God who forgives; and there is a God who loves you, who sees you. It is the whole reason Jesus came, because He knew we would never be able to live out a perfect life. We would fail—we are broken; we are sinful; we are fallen—and that is why Jesus had to come.

Ann: It’s the gospel.

Andrea: It is the gospel. He came, and He lived out our perfection for us; because He knows we never could. And then He took all of those sins on Himself on the cross, and Jesus paid for that sin in full; so we don’t have to anymore—in fact, we never can—but Jesus took all of that sin onto Himself, and He paid in full. The Scripture tells us that: “He who knew no sin became sin for us”—and it goes on to say—“so that we might become the righteousness of God.” I can’t even fathom that.

Ann: Me neither.

Andrea: But that’s why Jesus died: He took our sin, and then He clothes us in His righteousness. So today, we stand free and forgiven all because of the gift of Jesus.

Ann: I think of Jesus saying, “I’ve come to set the captive free.” That is what I feel like I have needed to know over the years of even having sexual abuse: “He has come to set me free.”

Andrea: That’s right.

Ann: For our listeners, if you feel like, “Oh, I am not free,” He is the One who has the power to set you free. And if you have never shared—maybe a secret or something that has happened—I would encourage you to find a trusted believer and friend and share your story with them. Allow God’s Word—I love that you were always in His Word, too—I love the visual of the truth and promises of His Word were stacked so much higher than the lies that you were believing about yourself.

Dave: It is so beautiful that God gave you forgiveness. When you said that earlier, Andrea, I thought, “You felt: ‘I can’t be forgiven of this.’” I think we all have something that we’re like: “My sin is too far beyond everyone else. I’m the worst.” Yet, you sit here forgiven. We’re forgiven.

A woman listening who has, maybe, made the same decision is forgiven, and there is new life in Christ. You are living it.

Andrea: That’s right.

Ann: I think, too, Dave—we as a church—now, it begins where we can walk alongside women in our church:
• who are struggling with this decision;
• or maybe they have made a decision of abortion [in the past]: to walk beside them;
• or maybe, now, women have decided: “I’m going to keep this baby”; and we can walk with those women in our community, in our church, in our families.

Even hearing your story—if my daughter comes home with this announcement to me—I want to respond in a way that she knows: “Oh, as Scripture says, ‘This child is a blessing from the Lord.’ Now, let’s decide: ‘What should we do?’ We know this life is precious, and we will save this life. How can we help you? How can we partner with you? How can we take this before God, who knows you, sees you, and loves you?’”

Andrea: Yes; thinking about that—if one of my daughters came to me and said, “Mom, I am pregnant now before I am married,”—I would hope my response back to her would be [emotion in voice]: “Beautiful woman, I love you so much. I know that where you are finding yourself today is not where you wanted to be—it’s not the plan that you had; it’s not the plan that I had for you—but now, that you are here, let’s move forward, doing it the way the God of life would want us to do life. He’s the Creator; He designed life, and we want to live our lives lined up for Him. He’s a God of life, so how can we move forward in here, choosing life?”

There is a verse that I love in Deuteronomy; and it says—God is speaking, and He says—“But if from there”—and there was a place that the Israelites did not want to be; they did not want to be where they were; and God says—“If from there, you will seek Me with all of your heart, you will find Me.” I think that is a promise for all of us—that no matter where we are: if we are in a very dark place of our own making/maybe, we put ourselves there—God is still saying, “From there, if you will seek Me with all your heart, you will find Me.” God makes a way; He is a God of life. We don’t know all of the answers, but God will make a way as we take steps forward, looking for Him and choosing life.

David: This is David Robbins, president of FamilyLife®. Andrea’s story is a remarkable example of how the love of God is able to penetrate each of our lives and redeem every circumstance. It’s also a reminder that God’s love is most often expressed through people: people just like you and me.

Here’s what I know as I listen to and reflect on today’s program: as followers of Jesus, we have an opportunity to gladly and intentionally come alongside mothers and, also, fathers and children, who need to experience the tangible love of Jesus. We are His hands and feet to those who need physical, emotional, and spiritual help.

Andrea’s story reminds us that we do not always know the deeper parts of someone’s life. My encouragement today is that we worship the Author and Giver of life by being pro-active in our love for all image-bearers. May God give you eyes to see every person in your corner of the world, with compassion, and extend grace that points them to Jesus, the Source of life itself. These are the relationships that matter most.

Shelby: FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife, a Cru® Ministry.
Helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.

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