Thursday, January 29, 2015

Meet Nicole : powerfully changed from death to life

Nicole Gallagher - changed by God
Last week, many were reflecting on the Roe vs. Wade decision and Sanctity of Life Sunday. Rather than entering the conversation in an abstract or hostile way (which is sadly often the case), I asked my dear friend to share her personal story of God's work in her life--how he led her to choose life when it would have been much easier not to do so. Many women are aware of the obvious effect on the child, but rarely is the fuller picture of how the abortion will affect the mother discussed. I asked Nicole to speak to this issue as well. Her passion for God is evident from the moment you meet her! It was such a blessing to get to know her when we attended church together before moving back north. Our Presbyterian church needed her 'Praise Jesus' and Hallelujahs' and many were moved by her tears of thanks to God during the services (and still are, I'm sure). Read on, and may you be blessed and encouraged by Nicole...

I want to begin by saying that my story is not at all one of how I found Jesus, but instead of how Jesus picked me up out of the literal pit of destruction and set my feet upon a rock.
I was 27 years old and had already been on the path of destruction for seven years, before my eyes were opened to the consequences of what I was doing. I had been going hard all day, every day, getting high on crack cocaine and doing everything I was grown enough to do to support my monstrous five hundred dollar a day habit. Which sadly was most easily funded by street prostitution. Prostitution was an epidemic in Sanford at the time, the city I had run away to when I was 21. I hated what I had to do to get high, but being young and pretty made everything I needed readily available. This included being shacked up at the drug house, with the dope dealer’s brother, who also got high and loved the cliental I brought his way. This was the place I called home for the majority of the seven years I wasn’t in jail. At that point, I had frequented the jail more than 30 times. 
I was appalled when I found out that I was pregnant; who was going to want me if I was pregnant?? This was really going to put a damper on my everyday activity. So I asked one of my sugar daddies to pay for an abortion. He said he would, but only if I went and talked to someone first. I remembered how painful my first abortion was, as well as the promise I made to myself that if I was dumb enough to ever get pregnant again, I would give the child a chance. It is one of the worst physical pains I have ever experienced. Also, now knowing the infinite love of God for both me and the child I aborted, I realize that it is a spiritual pain that breaks the heart of God and leaves a scar on your soul.

I highly suggest that any woman who made the choice to abort a child, as I did, seek counseling through any pregnancy center in her area. When a woman (or man) comes to know the depravity of the sin of abortion, she will need healing and deep restoration. There is loving forgiveness from the Father in heaven, who can heal any pain that sin has caused. Seek the opportunity to honor that child's life through sharing your pain with someone who can help you. To any woman who is considering abortion, please know that you have other options for this child's life, who God has created on purpose for a purpose. Please also be mindful of those who cannot have children and would consider it the blessing of a lifetime to teach and raise your child.
The day I walked into the Sanford Crisis Pregnancy Center, which was oddly enough on the very same corner where I worked as a prostitute, I was greeted by a warmth and kindness that I will never forget. The ladies at the center told me that "life or death" was a choice. How could they be so kind to me after watching me jump in and out of cars with different men on a daily basis? I remember the words that Andrea spoke to me even today, “Why should I judge you Nicole, you just sin differently then I do."
I spoke with these ladies and let them know that I would be open to adoption, but made it very clear that I had absolutely no intent to stop doing what I was doing. I had no idea that from that moment, a spiritual war was waged concerning whether or not I would continue to self-destruct and possibly destroy the life inside me. I had no idea that I had been befriended by warriors in the kingdom of God that specialized in saving and preserving life in every form.
After meeting with the couple that would adopt my child, I wondered why such a nice Christian couple would want my baby, knowing that the father was African American and that it would possibly be born with some defects because of my selfishness. I had no idea that my blind eyes would be open to Christ’s love for me through this child's birth. Annalise was born on December 25th, a bit premature as an effect of my rampant drug use. Miraculously, she was not born with any defects or addicted to drugs and alcohol; Annalise was born with a 100 percent clean bill of health!!

It was three more years before I would be supernaturally delivered from addiction, and I have my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to thank, as well as the ladies at the crisis pregnancy center. The women continued to encourage and pray with me every time they saw me outside, and the adoptive parents of my daughter funded me to go to a rehab facility. Andrea, the director of the center, three years later continues to encourage me in who I am in Christ. She is my biggest cheerleader in every moment of victory that I have in my new life in Christ. Truly He makes ALL THINGS NEW!!

A couple of final notes from Ruth: Though I do not know your story, dear reader, and how your life may have been touched by abortion, I know you can find comfort in Jesus, the Friend who will walk with you every step of the way. He is WITH US and FOR US.  I will also add that in the case of an ectopic pregnancy there is little to no chance for the baby to survive (and that the mother's life could be at risk). 

One last story... when I attended a prominent church in Colorado Springs, I was in a college and career group with a brave single woman who had been raped and yet chose to carry her baby to term! She humbled herself and moved back in with her parents for support during the pregnancy. I do not know if she put the baby up for adoption or raised the child herself, but I will never forget her testimony. She always said that it 'was not the baby's fault' and she did not want to add a second wrong to the first wrong.  

Additional resources for your encouragement or to share with a friend:

Focus on the Family Dignity of Human Life video
Article on how Abortion Harms a Woman's Health from FRC
David Crowder - Come As You Are - worship song

May God shower you with grace as you walk the road ahead of you...

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