Baby Killer

by Chloe Jeffreys · 20 comments

in faith

pearl_of_great_priceThe day after I published my last post I received a fiery dart disguised as a question via Facebook private messenger from another blogger who ironically markets herself as a “Christian Humor Writer.” This funny lady asked,

“How can you say [the child I aborted] mattered when you killed her?”

I presume this comedian’s question was rhetorical–borne not out of curiosity, but merely meant to hurt and shame–because she immediately unfriended me thereby blocking any reply.

You might think I felt shame or hurt after being called a baby killer by some woman I’ve never met, but what I felt was sadness because now she’s never going to hear the miraculous if decidedly very unfunny story of how Jesus saved even a wretch like me from being exactly what I confessed in that post that I’d become: A selfish, self-centered, battered and bruised, drug-addicted, baby-killing slut.

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

shutterstock_163111787In the Book of Matthew, Jesus tells a story about a good shepherd who leaves his 99 obedient sheep to go find one who is missing. Jesus says that when this shepherd found his one lost sheep he rejoiced over it even more than the 99 who stayed put.

It’s been three months since I published that post about how it was I found myself pregnant and lying on the floor with the wind punched out of me by the father of my baby. But it isn’t shame that’s kept me from writing the next installment of the most important story I’ll ever tell. It’s fear. Fear is always the enemy of a writer.

Mostly I’m afraid that I’m not up to the task of telling this story because this story means everything to me. This story of God’s unwarranted love for me is my one and only precious pearl of great price. This pearl cost me everything. It cost me my self-worth. It cost me my self-respect. It cost me everything I believed about myself and about God. But most of all this pearl cost my child her life, and I can never forget the evil I did and the price my child paid to save a wholly undeserving wretch like me.

I also must confess that I’m afraid that after seven years of alienating most of my Christian audience, I’m about to drive away everyone else by publicly admitting that despite it all–and by “all” I mean all that American Christianity has become, and my myriad of ethical, moral and theological problems with it and everything I’ve said or written about my faith in the past seven years–thanks to this one holy and sacred encounter with the Divine, I remain to this day a true believer in the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

I am the one sheep. And maybe you are, too. And despite my terror, this is me leaping over my fear to find you.

The Plight of the True Believer

Maybe the shepherd has already found you, and like me you also have a miraculous story of God’s unfathomable love and grace, but because others who seem to hold some religious authority have shamed you you’ve learned to keep your own pearl of great price hidden out of self-preservation.

Jesus taught his followers not to bother casting their pearls before swine. Like you, I have also been dismayed to discover that the swine Jesus warned his followers about are not always unbelievers but very often those who have risen to positions of religious power and authority. But why are we dismayed? This is exactly as Jesus found the world when he came in the first place.

Yes, it is disheartening that the other 99 sheep may likely never appreciate our stories of God’s amazing grace and unearned love, but we cannot give them the power to silence us. They have become like the prodigal son’s older brother: resentful and jealous, consumed with showing off their own self-righteousness. Rather than feeling angry at the modern-day Pharisees God puts in our path, we should instead be grateful that we’ll never have their cross to bear. How heavy self-righteousness must be. Even more challenging, you and I must find some way to help our blind and deaf brothers and sisters shoulder the weight of a cross they don’t even know they carry.

Maybe you’re still a very lost sheep who has somehow stumbled upon this blog post and are wondering, “WTF?”. Maybe you’ve become worried that God will never find you. Maybe you even think God has stopped searching for you. Maybe you’ve been told by someone who holds some religious authority that God is no longer looking for the likes of you. This is a terrible lie. Please do not believe it.

Maybe you’re among those who think you’re a very good hider, and God will never find you if you have anything to do about it. Or maybe you just don’t believe God’s love and grace is looking for you because you don’t need it. Maybe that is true. Maybe some people never feel the need for God’s love and grace. Since that’s not me I admit I don’t really understand this. I seem to find myself in constant need of God’s love and grace. Fortunately for me, it seems that no matter how many times I wander off, God always comes looking for me again.

A True Believer?

Being a True Believer doesn’t mean I don’t have doubts about whether there is a God or not. I have serious doubts. But despite my disbelief, I cling to a hope that there is a God who loves us not despite our worst behavior but because He knows that when we’re at our worst is when we need His love the most.

In the months before my mother died, she said to me, “It really sucks to reach the end of your life story and realize that you weren’t the main character.” I’m not the main character of this story. If anything, I’m the villain. I fucked up my life beyond repair, and I have nobody to blame for it but myself.

That Christian Humor Writer reminded me of the gauntlet of angry, yelling “pro-life” protestors in front of the clinic I walked into on that terrible day in early February of 1985 on my way to have an abortion I did not want. It’s not very funny at all that not a single one of them put down their ugly sign to ask me what they could do to help me not kill my baby. Nope, that’s not funny at all.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Michele May 8, 2017 at 8:54 pm

I am so sorry that you felt compelled to have an abortion by such a dick (and that’s me using a euphemism). And I’m sorry that a woman who didn’t even know you presumed to contact you with a barb.

Despite what many pregnant women have unfortunately experienced, not all pro-life protesters offer vitriol and judgmental. (Shame makes people put up their guard, not lower it.) Some of us want to make it easier for women to choose to have the baby, or to help them deal with the emotional ramifications of having had an abortion.

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Carina January 27, 2016 at 12:54 pm

Somehow I miss your latest writings, but when I do see an email pop up with your name, I feel like a child on Christmas trying to unwrap a gift. And your words do unfold as a gift…So thank you for your gift of words! The first time I came across your blog, was when I searched the internet for help in dealing with a b/f addicted to porn. You made me feel better that I wasn’t alone and gave me hope for a “porn-free” Christian future in my relationship. I too have ghosts of past threatening to tear me down and weaken me, but am gently reminded of our redemption though Christ. Sometimes it takes someone like you to help me understand we have all fallen short of His glory at some time or another. I still do fall short of course, but not like I did years ago…..When I am strong enough to come out to the world as you have, I would love to write and blog and touch others…..Thank you once more! And btw–if I had been there at that clinic picketing when you walked through those doors, you bet your bottom dollar I would have snagged you up and helped you in any way I could! Actions always speak louder than words, don’t they? Blessings to you ?

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Andi-Roo December 1, 2015 at 1:42 pm

Chloe, ever time you write something new, no matter how long it’s been, I save the post for a quiet time when I can read undisturbed, knowing it’s gonna knock me off my feet. It’s already been pointed out how authentically you write, and I wholeheartedly agree with that assessment. But that’s not all it is. You’re also so self-assured, even when you think you’re floundering. You’re deep, even when you wonder aloud if you’re being shallow. You’re real and true in a world that is false and full of lies. Most glorious of all, you are YOU.

I, like you, have made a lot of questionable choices in my life. The only difference is that I have zero regrets, and here is why: Either I was young and foolish, or I was making what I thought was the best decision at that time.

Young and foolish decisions should never be regretted. They are part of our story. If I didn’t engage in premarital sex at a young age, I would not have my wonderful son, I wouldn’t have enlisted in the Army, I wouldn’t have moved, and I wouldn’t have met the man who fathered my daughter, and I wouldn’t have met my current husband of almost eight years — the love of my life, whom both my kids call Dad. How can a regret a choice that ended up giving me so many wonderful people in my life? I don’t give space or time to the what-if game. Part of being happy in the NOW means being at peace with the THEN, not wondering “what might have been.”

Likewise, decisions I made which were basically the lesser of two evils — which felt like the best I could do in the given circumstances — like the abortion I felt I needed to have in order to survive that part of my life — are not to be regretted, either. Yes, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, but you know what? SO IS THE ROAD TO HEAVEN.

Some have told me that my attitude is self-serving and a convenient way to hide awa y my shame. To them I say POO. No one has to live with the consequences of my choices but me, and how I choose to go forward from here is up to me, and I’m in charge of my story. I’m okay with the things I’ve done; I’m happy with where I’m at; I am full of hope for the future.

Being a good person means doing good things. It also means trying to make amends when we fail. Intentions matter. Faith is easy to have when its never been rattled; but then, that’s not really “faith” is it? If you be only ever lived in the light, it’s kinda shitty to call out someone else’s choices. REAL faith is when you’ve been in the dark places and still believe in the light.

Your faith shines through you. If I believed in God, I’d think He was using you as a tool to gather up all His lost sheep. You almost make me want to be Christian, Chloe.

Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it, Christian Humor Writer! Chloe is more likely to convert sinners than YOU are. Huh!
Andi-Roo recently posted..It is NOT Christmas Season yet. The calendar is NOT the boss of me.My Profile

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Chloe Jeffreys December 2, 2015 at 7:26 pm

Andi-Roo, I’m so glad I saved up this comment to savor for a quiet moment. You’ve made my day, my week, and probably my year!

Like you, I don’t regret my abortion even though I am sad it came to that. How could I possibly regret a choice that eventually led to the creation of the two children I have?

I felt writing this story was important now that the political rhetoric about abortion is back on the table with the upcoming election. While we decry “abortion” we forget that what we’re talking about is real people going through real problems. And unless we’re ready to step in and help we don’t have a right to our rhetoric. Making abortion illegal will not eliminate unwanted pregnancy. And why is it that I’m always reading about how women shouldn’t get pregnant, but I never read about how men shouldn’t get women pregnant?

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Carol Cassara November 16, 2015 at 8:44 am

I’m always riveted by your personal stories, which always have such a ring of authenticity and courage. It is about love, all about love, always about love, the love of the Divine for everyone. Everyone. Period.

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Rodalena November 15, 2015 at 5:35 am

There is a time to speak, and a time to keep silent. It is your time to speak.

No words, judgment, or advice from me; just know I am virtually sitting quietly next to you, holding your hand, dear friend. ♡love, rho

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Brenda November 14, 2015 at 5:11 am

Sweet friend, I treasure your pearl and am grateful you shared it with me.

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Chloe Jeffreys November 14, 2015 at 9:43 am

Thank you for handling with care, my friend.

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Becky Ann Luschei November 14, 2015 at 4:42 am

Chloe, you are correct in that even wretches like us are loved and cared for by the divine one. Do you ever notice how the most judgmental folks are the most religious? The very ones who are regularly taught “judgeth not lest ye be judged,” yet they are the first and the fiercest to do so. Interesting article you wrote. You found yourself in a bad situation merely because you were young, immature and had lost your way. Hmmmm. Wouldn’t it be boring if we all magically were always on the straight and narrow right from the git-go? No stories to tell? You keep your head held high. You had to bump and battle to find your way. Most of us do. The choices we make are, in fact, the choices we must live with. WE. YOU. Not them. Worry not what they say. I get it. Thanks for the heart felt post. Carry on, smartly.

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Chloe Jeffreys November 14, 2015 at 9:45 am

Thank you for reading. God’s love is not just for those who deserve it and I think this is something we all keep forgetting over and over again.

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Sisters From Another Mister November 14, 2015 at 4:11 am

I love that you wrote this dear Chloe, and I hate that you had too.
Yesterday I cried all the way to the court house, pleading with God to take mercy on my children, even if I were not worthy of the same … I have never prayed so hard, but HE listened, He did.
I write to you with tears streaming, thank you for sharing your heart – it blesses so many who oftentimes feel unworthy and alone.
Love always xxxxx
Sisters From Another Mister recently posted..You deserve all good thingsMy Profile

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Chloe Jeffreys November 14, 2015 at 9:47 am

Thank you for being here. Life is damned hard and I think God knows that. Sometimes we make the best decisions we can and those decisions aren’t good ones. It is awful when we are out of control in protecting our children from harm, especially from someone we onced loved and trusted so much. I pray with you that your children will be safe and that this nightmare will be over for you and them soon. Love you, friend.

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Beverly Diehl November 13, 2015 at 11:10 pm

People of course have a right to their opinions. I don’t always agree with you, but at least I have the ovaries to disagree, when I do, in public, using my own name.

Some “Christian Humor Writer” who sends a PM and then runs away… that’s chicken shit. Those are the kind of “Christians” who make so many resolve to never self-identify with the same label. Whereas the kind of lost sheep you are make Christianity a viable choice for many.
Beverly Diehl recently posted..I’ve Been AWOL #cancer #momswithcancerMy Profile

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Chloe Jeffreys November 14, 2015 at 9:51 am

I appreciate you, Beverly. It is chicken shit. The best part is that after unfriending me she followed me on Twitter (!?). People are weird.

I think it is easy to send someone a nasty little facebook message, but very difficult to actually sit with someone in their pain, just like it is easy to show up at a protest with a sign, but very difficult to put the sign down and ask, “How can I help you?”

My thesis in all of this is that if we want to see the love of God then we ought to demonstrate it more often. God, if there is such a supernatural being, works mostly through us. And as a Christian I think it is high time we stopped sitting around waiting for Jesus to come back and fix up our messes.

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Anne November 13, 2015 at 5:24 pm

If I had to point to the number one reason I’m so opposed to the religious right it would be exactly what you described above. These so-called Christians would rather yell and degrade than actually try to help anyone. They’re too busy playing the holier-than-thou Olympics to do anything Christ-like.

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Chloe Jeffreys November 14, 2015 at 9:55 am

Anne, one of the reasons I’m writing this series is to remind Christians of who they are supposed to be. We’ve lost our way and we should stop pretending otherwise. Jesus did not come into this world to lower our taxes or make sure that everybody could carry a gun. And how my faith has been co-opted by these fringe politcs is beyond me. I stand foursquare against that mindset. That is not the Christianity I practice.

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Melissa Lawler November 13, 2015 at 4:38 pm

How dare anyone, especially someone who claims to be a Christian, judge your life choices.

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Shorty November 13, 2015 at 9:52 pm

I love you Chloe. Still! In all your glory; in all my faults; we are so alike, yet the conclusions we make often differ. That is OK and I love you all the more for it. I wish I was able to bare myself in the ways that you do. I wish for SO many things that I do not have, which do not matter in the least; I mourn for so many things done that cannot be undone, and DO matter a lot- yet despite all that, all that is left, is to bear it and carry on. “All” being: a lot, yet it IS only bearable when in the complete knowledge of the redeeming grace that has been given. I deserve nothing, and He gave it all. What else, after that, is there to say? No a thing. Love you always. xoxo

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Chloe Jeffreys November 14, 2015 at 9:52 am

Thank you, Shorty! You have to be one of my most stalwart readers. I so deeply appreciate that you’ve read what I’ve written even when I’m sure you had to think, “WTF?” And you can never know what that’s meant to me, and how your support has given me the courage to write a post like this one. Thank you. xoxo

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Chloe Jeffreys November 14, 2015 at 9:56 am

Melissa, I was left wondering if she’d actually read what I’d written. I also think there’s a story there as well. Generally that sort of reaction means I’ve pushed a button.

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