EXTREME FINANCIAL INSTABILITY MADE ME TAKE THE JOB. After my divorce, I moved in with a man who seemed to be the right one, finally, only to find out that he was wrong in every way. Selling drugs while telling me he was financially buttoned up, when in fact his house was in foreclosure was a rude awakening to my poor choice, and in desperation I sought the closest security within reach.
Suddenly single and frantic to provide for my son and me, I took a job at an OBGYN office where I had worked previously that had recently added a new arm devoted to pregnancy terminations. That side of the business was booming. They were seeing 50-60 women on their designated procedure day, Thursdays, with appointments starting to spill into Wednesdays and Fridays. I made it very clear to them that I didn’t want to be involved in anything directly connected to the abortions, but even as they allowed me to greet patients, coordinate scheduling, and perform other administrative duties, a little voice kept saying, “Who are you kidding? You’re involved as much as anybody else is.”
The voice got louder when I found myself cleaning instruments from the abortion procedures. I tried to push it away as much as possible.
My world changed the day that I was asked to be the chaperone for a male medical student. That was no problem. I fully agreed with the policy of allowing women to feel comfortable with men in the exam rooms by having a woman present. I put down my stuff and walked with the med student to where the doctor led us. As we walked down the hall, I realized that we were not headed for the other eight rooms where gynecological exams took place, but directly to Room 4: the abortion procedure room. I felt myself freeze up. Before I could get a word out, we had stepped inside and I was met with the anxious stare of a young girl waiting for someone like me to come alongside her and hold her trembling hand.
When I held her hand, her strong grip told the story—she was scared and coming apart. I hadn’t had a moment to prepare for it. I was suddenly at ground zero, caring for this girl while the death of her child was taking place, and trying not to reveal that I was about to lose it. The sound of the procedure, with the canula moving inside her, was enough to make my skin crawl. I remember thinking I would never be able to unhear it again, as if immediately imprinted on my mind. I may have been holding onto her as tightly as she was holding onto me.
When it was over, the doctor removed the canula and all of a sudden, a small saclike object the size of a large egg simply fell from her. “Wha—What have we here?” he said, rather amazed.
He and the med student conferred with astonishment as to what it could possibly be. I thought, “They don’t know what that is?”
“Mind if I take a picture of it?” the doctor asked.
The girl looked helplessly at me, “What is going on here?”
“I bet you never thought you’d be having a photoshoot, right?” I said, trying to lighten the mood.
As soon as I could, I excused myself and ran to the bathroom, where I cried. “I’m sorry, God. I’m so sorry,” I said over and over.
It should have been enough to leave, but I was immobilized by shock and fear of the inability to care for my son. But the reasons to resign from that office continued piling up. One afternoon, an attending doctor had already left when a girl sitting in recovery began hemorrhaging terribly. I had never seen so much blood in my life.
Another time, when a coworker and I were asked to prepare a room for a patient, I noticed the POC (products of conception) bag and the bloody instruments on one side of the room and the procedure table on the other. I asked her if I could I prepare the table, leaving the rest to her—I couldn’t emotionally handle the blood and body parts.
As we worked feverishly to finish so we could clear the room for the next patient, I heard my coworker walk out. I noticed when I turned around that she had cleaned up, but left the POC bag and surgical instruments behind. With no time to run and find her, I had to gather them and walk them to where the bag needed to be disposed of and the instruments sterilized. Instruments in hand, I was stricken with the realization that I was holding a murder weapon. Once again, I ran to the bathroom; this time, however, I sat on the floor against the wall and cried for an hour. I knew I needed to get out of there.
Soon I came across a copy of the movie Unplanned, based on the life of Abby Johnson, at Walmart. I knew of the film because my church rented a theater to show it one night when I was unable to attend. I bought it, took it home and watched…and cried the entire way through. I ended up texting the word HOPE to the number given in the movie’s final frames, and was immediately contacted by Kris of AND THEN THERE WERE NONE. When Kris routed me to my client manager, Klara, I simply sat on the phone with her and sobbed. Part of my emotional wrenching was knowing what I had to do. I had to leave, and I was gripped with fear. I knew the office was going to play rough with me—they still had two of my paychecks and a Paid Time Off check as well. I couldn’t lose that money. I had rent and a little boy depending on me.
But Klara had great news. AND THEN THERE WERE NONE was going to provide financial assistance, have my resumé written professionally for free, and help me find a job. For what I had been through and contributed to, I felt I didn’t deserve it. It was too much grace. What I was feeling wasn’t false humility—I was overcome with shame at what I had done, and suddenly the influx of love coming from Klara and the team just didn’t fit; it didn’t make any sense.
But I have learned, through many, many tearful conversations on the phone with Klara, that such is the love of Jesus. He doesn’t give us what we deserve, only what His love demands. I now have a new job, which I love, and a new life, which I love even more. I’m humbled by the forgiveness of Christ and amazed by how much God’s lavish love can change someone’s future.
I’m moving forward in my healing from these experiences in the hope that truth will be known. The question asked by the doctor that day in the abortion procedure room still begs an answer that deep down, we all know to be true.