Sharon Isley’s Story — conceived in rape, Sharon is now a Chemist and also an assistant pastor at Debra Heights Wesleyan Church in Iowa. She is available for speaking in her area. — firstname.lastname@example.org
I am amazed at God’s love. The sheer delight expressed in Psalm 130 leaves me speechless. How is it possible that the Almighty God, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, actually cares about me?!
How can He look at me, and not see me as a disappointment? I was conceived by an act of violence. From a very early age I knew the story. My father was an alcoholic, and became very violent when drunk. Apparently after my sister was born, that was pretty much constant. He was spending all the family’s money on booze, and my mother and sister lived for about a year on a single bowl of rice daily.
Mom decided to leave my father, and in a drunken rage he raped her. I was conceived. Abortion was never considered by my mother. This is because it was 1964 and it was illegal, and she was Catholic. Abortion per se wasn’t considered by my father either; instead he resorted to violence. After he found out about the pregnancy, he beat mom, kicked her in the stomach, threw her down stairs – all in an attempt to force a miscarriage.
My mother also was hospitalized during the pregnancy for a severe kidney infection. Doctors were sure she would have a miscarriage. Given that my mother has had 4 miscarraiges, it is clear to me that God had His hand on my life from the very beginning. He was helping me to grow, protecting me, and making sure that I was not only born, but born healthy.
I know that pro-choice advocates state that every child has the right to be wanted and loved. I agree with that. However, not being wanted, and not being loved, does not mean the child should be killed. I was not wanted. My mother loved me, but her ambivalence was clear. She struggled with the emotional impact of her own abuse, in turn abusing my sisters and me. I was sexually abused by several family members, beginning at the age of 3.
Despite all of these obstacles, God had a purpose for my life. This difficult beginning has been the foundation of who I am. It has developed my character – both my strengths and my weaknesses. And it has given me a passion for ministering to those who are
hurting, and who need hope.
If a pro-choice advocate had been able to counsel my mother, she would likely have been told to abort me. I was nothing but a living reminder of my mother’s trauma, and a financial burden on a soon to be single mother. Had that counselor been able to see into the future and know that I was to be abused, that would have confirmed it – an abortion would be more compassionate than bringing an unborn child into the world to suffer so much.
But think about what this is saying! How is it an act of compassion to murder an innocent baby, to prevent it from being abused? The abuse, I lived through. I had a chance to grow up, and through the grace of God a horrible beginning has become a story of hope and inspiration.
Yes, every child deserves to be loved and wanted. But first and formost, every child deserves to live! Had my father succeeded in taking my life, I would not be making a difference in the lives of people in my community through my church. My husband would not have his wife. My children would not exist – a thought that is so profoundly sad that I can’t bear to think about it!
I am thankful to my mother for doing all she could to make sure I survived such a difficult beginning. She has made mistakes over the years, and has sincerely repented and is working on her own issues. But above all, I am thankful to God. He loves me. He created me. He knows everything about me. He has a plan for my life. He thinks about me all the time. I am His passion! He loves me so much, He came to earth, suffered more than I ever have, died an agonizing death, descended to Hell itself, and then arose again, just so that I could be forgiven for my sins and live in His presence for eternity.
And He loves you too, much more than you can ever imagine!