Isaiah 43:18-19, 21-22, 24b-25
2 Corinthians 1:18-22
…your sins I remember no more. IS 43: 25
God’s love is so amazing. He offers us His mercy brand new every morning! He even says that He doesn’t remember our sins! Never doubt God’s forgiveness. He always invites us back with open arms. This is a story of that gift.
Just as I was starting my freshman year of college, I found out I was pregnant. I had dated one guy all through high school and right before I left for college, we got drunk and I slept with him (3 years of firm resolve out the window in one night). We went to Planned Parenthood because I didn’t know how to tell my parents. We were told it was just a blob of cells and that my problems would be over quickly. I didn’t see any other option, so I shut off my emotions and just went ahead with it. Little did I know that the "quick fix" would cause many other problems, which would last for years.
The weekend after we aborted our baby I went home with my roommate. Her mother was ranting and raving and threw a magazine down on the table for us to see. It was the picture of an aborted baby at 10 weeks. It was a picture of my baby. I almost got sick. I couldn’t believe what we had done. I went straight to confession, but I didn’t feel forgiven. I just couldn’t believe that God could forgive such a horrible thing. I was convinced that He would never forgive me and that no one could love me if they knew what I had done.
After that, whenever the topic would come up, I would spiral into a place of self-hate and fear of God’s judgment. Finally, eight years later, when I went to a priest for the umpteenth time to confess my sin, he explained to me that God had forgiven me the first time I went to confession. He said that I just hadn’t forgiven myself. He read me this verse from Isaiah and helped me to believe that God could and did forgive me. It was the beginning of my healing and of finding peace. What a wonderful day that was!
I think it’s very important for people to be careful how they talk about this subject. Let’s help women (and men) find healing, not heap condemnation on them. Many people believe that God can’t forgive the wrong they’ve done, but He can and He will and He does! Don’t let your past or present mistakes rob you of God’s total forgiveness and love for you. Believe the truth and let it set you free!
Janice Carleton and her husband Jim live in Portland, OR and partner with Passionist Fr. Cedric Pisegna in Fr. Cedric Ministries. Janice also leads women’s retreats. She is the mother of 4 grown children and grandmother of 2, soon to be 3.