God Speaks Today is pleased to introduce you to Danise DiStasi, our guest blogger. Danise is an author, speaker and workshop facilitator. She is the president of DiStasi Advisors, LLC, focused on business development and training using leadership lessons she’s learned from Louie, her rescue dog. Louie’s Leadership Lessons and Love Like Louie, which Danise co-authored with her granddaughter, Evi, are available on Amazon. www.louieleads.com
In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. ~1 John 2:9,10
“No child of God sins to that degree as to make himself incapable of forgiveness.”
The vision of love that God blessed me with long ago is still very clear to me as I journey through my more ‘mature’ years. I remember that vision, and lovingly reflect on my earlier days as a mom, daughter, sister, friend and career woman. At the age of 28, I was given an opportunity in the corporate world without any real knowledge of business. I was hired to sell Nuclear Medical equipment and was immediately thrown to the wolves. I was strong-willed enough that I knew I could make it, and through many difficult trials, I actually became a very good sales rep.
As the skill set and business acumen grew exponentially, my behavior also changed. I became prideful and uncaring about others. I was easily angered and would lash out. And, though I never showed it to others, I struggled with doubt, fearing that people would think I wasn’t really so good at my job. If you had looked at me or even interacted with me, you would never have known those struggles were going on inside. The further up I moved in business, the more prevalent these self-doubts became. Pride became the mask I wore to hide my deepest fears. The world saw a strong, bold woman, but in reality, I was just plain pushy, rude and weak.
I didn’t understand it then, but I now I know that my behavior was rooted in one lie I’d come to believe about myself: I was not worthy. And that lie, which had been planted in my spirit many years earlier and had germinated in the soil of guilt and shame, fostered fear and pride.
My senior year in high school, at age 16, I met a boy and we fell in love. And then I became pregnant. I knew I couldn’t tell my parents. They would have been mortified, disappointed, heartbroken. And for all I knew, I would be cast out from my family. So I went to the only place I felt I could go — Planned Parenthood. The people there seemed kind, helpful, almost caring. They told me I did not have a choice (an interesting use of words), that I would not be able to finish high school, that I would be stuck with a kid and would have to get a low-paying job. I had no idea what my options were, but one thing I knew for certain, I would not hurt my parents by sharing this news with them.
Planned Parenthood helped me arrange a trip to their clinic New York City for a safe and quick little “procedure.” I told my parents I was going shopping with friends. Only my boyfriend and my “shopping” friends, who served as my alibi, knew the truth. Off I went to New York, all by myself, to take care of this nuisance that would keep me – at least from PP’s perspective — from achieving all my dreams. After all, it was no big deal. It just some tissue.
I made it home safely within hours of the procedure, and went on with life. I never told my parents.
I pushed down any regret or guilt. I buried the lie so deep, building a fortress around my heart. I ignored everyone that ever spoke about abortion or unborn babies. I brushed away the pangs that whispered, “Perhaps it was really a baby.” It is my body…and my soul.
That is until 1978.
I married in 1976 and was pregnant two years later. I was working as a Nuclear Medicine tech at the time. We had just purchased a brand-new ultrasound unit, and decided to try it out on me when I was ten weeks pregnant with my daughter, Marisa. I could see the baby and I was thrilled. And then it hit me: I had killed a baby. And even though the reality of what I’d done, rocked my world, I ran from that thought, and buried myself in my career, my image, my success.
It wasn’t until 1990 that I finally began to understand real love. I understood that Jesus came to this earth in the form of a baby, lived, died and rose again so I could be free from all the guilt and shame of living in a fallen world. I understood a true and authentic relationship with Jesus. But because of the lie rooted so deeply within me, I didn’t believe that He would ever forgive me for having had an abortion. How could He?
My mom had given her life to the Lord, and I struggled with telling her what I’d done so many years before. She passed in 1996, never knowing. Barely a year after my mom passed, God gave me a beautiful picture of His love and forgiveness. As I was sitting with my daughter at our kitchen table, I envisioned my mom standing there just as vivid to me as my daughter was. Mom was beautiful and radiant as she stood there looking at me. In her arms was a beautiful baby. She didn’t speak, but looked as though she were saying, “Look who I have.”
My mother was holding her first grandchild! God pulled back the curtain of heaven to show me how much He loved me and valued that baby. Such a picture of forgiveness I will never ever forget. Never. That baby had been sucked from my womb limb by limb because of a lie I believed, and yet God showed me a baby that was whole being held by Grandma.
The veil of guilt and shame was lifted, the need for validation from others was crushed, and I knew I was so loved and totally forgiven. I only needed God’s validation. The freedom I’ve experienced since has been incredible.
You don’t have to have gone through an abortion to feel guilt and shame. No matter what lie you may believe about God or about yourself, I want to share this truth with you: Jesus loves you no matter what you’ve done. He died for you so that you can be free to live an abundant life He has created you for. The place to begin is to ask Him for forgiveness, trust that He has forgiven you, and ask that He help you walk out a life of freedom.