A Life Changed—Paul’s Story
|By: Kristin England; ©2001|
|In a deeply moving article, Kristin England describes her memorial tribute to her aborted son and the steps she had to take before she could make that tribute. This is part sixteen of a series dealing with the after-effects of abortion.|
Remember the first time you fell in love…you would do anything to please them. You showed your love and adoration in any way you could. You thought of nothing else but your love for that person. Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:37: to “love the LORD, thy God, with all they heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” God desires our total love. When we love God and want to please Him we will listen for His voice leading us. I’m so glad I listened to the Holy Spirit prompting me to give my testimony at church…thankful that because of my obedience Paul is now a brother in Christ.
God used many people to accomplish His saving of Paul. A Sunday school class at church had faithfully prayed for Paul for several years. Paul’s best friend Steve had fed him the word of God. It is amazing to look back and see God’s miraculous hand in every step along the way.
I want to share with you a letter Paul Scates wrote me after he read my first article for John Ankerberg because I want you to get a glimpse of how awesome it is to see the salvation of a dear brother. I hope that Paul’s story will help give you courage to give your testimony if the Holy Spirit leads you to do so. And remember it is by God’s power that others are saved. There is nothing we in ourselves can do to save anyone so don’t be afraid that you won’t say the right words. If we tell others what Jesus has done for us they will see His mighty work in our lives and want this joy that we have.
- Thanks for sharing, Kristin; it reminds me of the Sunday almost four years ago when you gave your testimony in the old sanctuary. I had visited, for the third time, the week before (Friend Day…I came once a year out of respect and love for my best friend, Steve). But “for some reason” (I know now it was the drawing of the Holy Spirit) I decided to surprise Steve and June and come back the next week (and they weren’t even there that week; they had gone out of town!).
- First the lady did an interpretive dance. (I remember thinking, “Dancing? In a Baptist church?! They’ve come a long way since I was last in a church as a kid.”)
- But then you got up and opened your heart—and my life has never, will never, be the same: when you talked of the guilt, the heartbreak, the emptiness and shame, I started crying…because that’s what made up my life (and rightfully so: my life was one long quest for MY pleasure, and on top of that, I actively argued against the existence of God, in any form. But I knew about emptiness and despair, and I knew, deep down, that I was guilty…of too much to even begin naming).
- God used your testimony—about how far from Him you were, and how He still loved you enough to reach down for you and bring you to Him—to shatter the sin-hardened walls I had built around my heart over the years: These walls I had started out building to protect me from the hurt and disappointments of life, but which had become a prison from which I thought there was no escape; in my cynicism, I didn’t even believe in “believing in” ANYTHING—that’s when you get disappointed and hurt all over again, when you believe in and trust someone or something. So I was trapped in a prison of my own making; I knew I was in trouble, that I needed something outside of myself, but I wasn’t able to trust in anything or anyone enough to even seek help.
- And hearing you talk of the same kind of despair and hopelessness that filled my life, and that God had reached down into the midst of that darkness and loved you and forgave you…well, the biggest surprise of my life happened: deep inside, a tiny flicker of something like hope (which I didn’t even believe in!) came alive. And as you poured out your heart, that tiny flicker grew, even though I fought against what I knew it meant. I didn’t WANT to believe in it, because my experience had taught me that I would just be setting myself up for a fall, again.
- So I brought all my cynical, pseudo-intellectual, half-baked “sophistication” to bear against what was happening inside my heart. I reminded myself of all the so-called Christians who lived worse lives than I did; pretty much all the negative things about organized religion I could think of. But when God finally gets a foothold in a heart, He’s not about to let go.
- By the time you had finished, my heart was broken, as were those walls of cynicism and disbelief. But I stubbornly clung to the thought, “If I can just make it through this service and get out of here, I’ll be all right.” Isn’t that incredible: realizing how ruined I was, yet I still didn’t want to let go of the “control” I’d always had. It’s amazing that God can love people who can be so blind and stupid. Of course, I know now that such nonsense was my flesh and the devil talking. If I had made it out of that service without turning to God, I definitely would NOT have been OK.
- By this time, I was openly sobbing…and at the same time, just wanting to get out of there. Then Brother Gary stood up and began preaching. I don’t remember how he started (it seems now like it was the first thing he said, though I’m sure it wasn’t), but I remember clearly when he quoted a verse about not putting your faith in the philosophies of man. For that’s what I had done all my life: I wouldn’t believe in anything or anyone, except my own intelligence and ability to reason… and look where THAT had gotten me!
- It was like everything in that sanctuary just faded away, like everything got really quiet, even though Gary was still preaching. And though there wasn’t a blinding light or an audible voice, it was as if God Himself reached down and touched my heart, and said, “It’s alright; I’m really here, and you can trust in Me.” I can’t explain it, even now; but it was like a pure light from heaven pierced my heart… and suddenly I realized how wrong I had been: about God, about how I lived, about what the Truth really was. In that moment, I realized that God really is, and that He loves me… so much that even all the years of denial and sin couldn’t make Him give up on me. In the midst of my amazement and wonder, I clearly remember thinking: “so this is what it’s like to believe in something….”
- In that instant, the walls I had thought were impregnable came crashing down, exposing my tortured, sin-scarred heart. I didn’t even try to resist any longer: I wanted to be bare and exposed before the God I had spent a lifetime denying. Though I was still sitting in the pew, my spirit was facedown before God, broken-hearted at what I’d done with my life, at how I’d sinned against Him. In the midst of the stunning (to me) revelation that God really exists, and really loves me, all I could do was plead for His forgiveness, and say over and over “I’m sorry: I didn’t know.”
- For two days I cried and wrote—confessions, mostly: God brought before my consciousness all my past, all the hurt I’d caused, all the sins I’d committed. I wasn’t working, so day and night there wasn’t an hour that passed that I wasn’t sobbing and crying out to God my sorrow for the awful waste of my life, and my sin against Him. I slept maybe two hours Sunday night, less than that Monday night. Then sometime in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, January 23, 1996, I remembered something from my childhood excursions to Sunday school: if God is real, then Jesus is real…and it’s only through Jesus that we’re saved. And there in my bedroom, among tear-stained sheets, I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior….
- The tears really came now, but they were tears of joy and gratitude, not of sorrow. For months I walked around “like a deer caught in the headlights”: I am still in awe of the patience and mercy and compassion of our God. I hope I never get over it.
- And though I tried to tell you once, I’ve never really properly thanked you for your part in this. Thank you for your faith, and for your courage in sharing your heart. Because of God’s love, and your willingness to let Him use you, my life is changed forever (literally). I’m so glad your story will be available to others; possibly reaching lost souls who have given up, like I had. God bless you, Kristin; and glory and praise to Him for being so gracious that he would use us to do His work!
- Love in Christ,
I pray that as God heals your pain of abortion you will choose to give Him all the Glory and Praise that is due Him. I pray that you will allow Him to use you to help others know His Amazing Love.