Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Learning to Value Life, Day 2

Leslie Basham: Here's Laura de Chavez Gonzalez.

Laura Gonzalez: We are not more of a sinner because we had an abortion, but we can feel guilty because of our sins. The only way to deal with your guilt is to run to Christ.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth for Thursday, January 14, 2016.

Yesterday we began hearing the story of Laura and Fausto Gonzalez. As a young wife, Laura wanted to have kids, but Fausto was digging in his heels, not wanting to be a dad. Today, we'll continue hearing how Fausto and Laura learned to embrace and value life. And Nancy will talk with us about what it means to encourage life.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: We affirm that human life is precious to God and is to be valued and protected from the point of conception until rightful death.

Leslie: We'll hear more from Nancy later. First, let's review some of what we heard yesterday from Fausto and Laura.

Laura: We had no idea that you could have a relationship with God. We just knew that there was a God. We married in February 1987, and we went to live in Florida. Fausto was not into children.

Fausto Gonzalez: I didn't have a good relationship with my father because he would say, "I don't like children," in front of us. He would say, "Take them away." I also thought I would never be a good parent, but I knew at some point she was going to say . . .

Laura: Okay, it's time to try to have our first child.

Fausto: It happened. She finally got pregnant, and I remember once Sarah was born, and you find yourself playing the part, you see that you didn't go through rehearsals. No one showed you. So you're just there, sitting, seeing things pass you by. One day, one year, three years, and hoping she'll grow up, and then, okay, it's over.

Laura: It would be good to have another child, and when I talked to Fausto about it . . .

Fausto: I didn't want that.

Laura: About two weeks after we went to Orlando, I got chicken pox. I got it really bad. So I went to my family doctor, and the first thing he does is a pregnancy test. I said, "Oh, no, I'm not pregnant." And, Yes, I was! That pregnancy occurred while the chicken pox was being incubated. He said there are many cases of birth defects when children are conceived in that part of your chicken pox, so you need to see other doctors. And everybody concluded that I needed to get an abortion.

Fausto: So I convinced Laura we needed to do this, and, again, it was good with me because I didn't want to have another child.

Leslie: Here's part two of Fausto and Laura's story.

Laura: They suggested I get a therapeutic abortion. So we agreed to doing that. We heard the counsel of the wicked.

Fausto: When you have to do something like that, you want to get it over with right there, but we had to wait, like, two–three weeks. There were times when I think she would say, "What if we don't do it?"

Laura: To me, it wasn't an easy decision because I wanted this child.

Fausto: And I remember having to be firm in, "No. This is what we need to do."

Laura: I wanted the child.

Fausto: At the time, I would say, "This is what the experts recommend," even though they never said you have to. They said, "Chances are high," and they would show us the numbers. But that was good reason for me to go through with that. But deep inside, I had this gladness that, whew! This was my way out. This was my escape door out of this situation that I didn't want to have to deal with.

Laura:The bottom line was that we did not want to suffer. We thought that life was for us to be happy, and this would be a complete disruption in our lives. We were just blind. It's amazing how blind you can be when you don't know the Bible, the God of the Bible.

Fausto: I remember the day of the abortion.

Laura: It was 1991, and that was the most horrible day of my life. It was horrible. I remember arriving to this place.

Fausto: There were Christians with signs outside on the sidewalk.

Laura: They would say, "Are you sure you want to do this?"

Fausto: But I just passed them by.

Laura: And I ignored them.

Fausto: We just walked past through them.

Laura: I was sitting in this waiting room with a whole bunch of teenagers—I was thirty-one.

Fausto: I wasn't allowed to go with Laura into the surgery or operating area, so I sat there in the waiting room. I think I didn't want to think about it.

Laura: I can remember the sound of the vacuum. I can remember it right now. It's an unforgettable experience.

Fausto: I just sat there with a magazine, trying not to make it something important.

Laura: I remember that after that I had to sit in the waiting room for a while, and I just could not stop crying.

Fausto: And I thought, Well, there is sadness in the world. So this is a sad moment.

Laura: I had no idea what I had done. I had no idea what God thought about what I had done, but I felt horrible. I cried and cried and cried and cried.

Fausto: And we'll just get by, and life will go back to normal.

Laura: I remember driving home, and I felt so miserable.

Fausto: Even then, I couldn't imagine it now, but even then, in our blindness, there was a sense of: not good . . . something wrong. This is not like just spraining an ankle. This is something different. But then you tell yourself, Think about something else, get busy, don't . . . Even when she would get emotional, I would just try to do something to not think about that. And then days go by and weeks go by.

Laura: It took a lot longer of time for me to just understand what had happened, but I did not feel a sinner because of that. I cried because I wanted the child.

After that, a year passed. I remember my doctor said that I could try, if we wanted another child, we could try a certain number of months later. We did not try right away. By that time, we were building a home, a second home, and we were in the process of building the home. There was a lot going on in our lives, and I got pregnant without us trying again.

Fausto: I guess when she got pregnant with this one, our third, again, you would never find me clapping and celebrating. But I thought, Well, this would be the second one, and we'll close. That'll be it. So you train your mind. You talk to yourself. And I was okay. If we have to do it, let's do it. She got pregnant, here we are again. Let's do this.

Laura: This was around Christmas of 1992, and we were going to travel to the Dominican Republic for Christmas. We traveled there, and when I got to the Dominican Republic, I started spotting, and it wouldn't stop. I wouldn't stop spotting, a little here, and then for two days I was fine. I had some cramping. They took me to a gynecologist in the Dominican Republic. When they did an ultrasound, they realized that the baby had been dead for two weeks. In my heart, I thought God was chastising me because of what I had done.

Fausto: I remember the time that even though I wasn't a Christian, I thought, Hmmm, so this is how You do things. I was talking to the "Big Guy" up there, like, "Oh. We did this, and with this other one, now You do this. Okay, that's fair. I win because I don't want anymore, so I'm okay with it. Good deal." But I knew Laura was sad. She wanted another child.

Laura: I believed in God. I just didn't know Him. I thought that He would punish the bad things, and I thought maybe I did something bad because I knew there were issues about abortion. Was it bad? Is it good? Should we do it? Should we not do it? So I thought maybe I shouldn't have had that abortion, and God just . . . I took one out; He takes one out. That's what I thought God was doing.

Fausto: It was almost like someone was on my side. Someone is looking after me. Someone knows that I'm not fit to be a parent, that I have all these deficiencies and all these problems, all these handicaps, and someone is making sure that the least babies I have, the less I'm going to mess it up. So I was, "Great. This is good. This is going to work."

Laura: I didn't know Christ. I didn't know forgiveness. I didn't know God. So that was really sad for us. They did a D & C in the Dominican Republic. I was devastated. We flew back to the United States, and after that, after some months, I tried, we tried many times, and I never took the pill again, and I never got pregnant again.

Fausto: In those ten years between '92 and '02 . . .

Laura: . . . we had everything that we thought we needed

Fausto: We bought a brand new house, and we had nice cars, and we would travel, and we had the baby.

Laura: Fausto had a thriving dental practice.

Fausto: We were making money.

Laura: When I turned forty, I started feeling an emptiness.

Fausto: We were living that life that I always wanted.

Laura: But I felt empty.

Fausto: So it was a picture-perfect life.

Laura: One day I just thought, Is this life—just going to work in the morning? I would play tennis day in and day out. What was the purpose of it?

Fausto: I never felt that. I felt like we were moving on. Things are good. Keep it . . . stay in track. Don't lose focus. Just keep going. We're heading the right way. I'm enjoying my life and planning my weekends and my vacations. That was life for me. That's how Christ knocked on my door.

Laura: What I did to investigate the purpose of life was to start reading philosophical books. They all sounded like they would give me an answer for life's enigmas, but I had that emptiness.

One day my sister-in-law traveled to Orlando from the Dominican Republic. She spent the day there. She was in Miami and drove to Orlando. She was a Christian. She had a friend, and this friend said, "Oh, what a beautiful life you have. You have a nice family. You have a nice home. But you're missing Christ."

I said, "No! What are you saying? I know Jesus Christ. We go to church every Sunday. I pray. I know the Lord."

Then, I used to go to Fausto's dental office to help him every week—filing the insurances and dental records. The receptionist had known Christ recently, and when I told her this story, she realized that I was searching. So she said, "Let me have you hear something."

She had a cassette tape of a testimony, and she gave it to me one day. That week, Fausto went to Ft. Lauderdale for a seminar. Our daughter, Sarah, went with a friend. I was home, just cleaning, and I put the cassette in, and this lady was talking about how God had changed her life.

I remember sitting down in my kitchen counter, listening to that, and my eyes were opened. I understood life in a minute. I understood that I was a sinner, that Christ had come to bear my sins and had washed me with His sacrifice. I understood the gospel in an instant. It was amazing.

I even remember (I don't like to say this because some people think I'm weird), but I felt water. I felt water washing over me, and I was joyful. I remember when Fausto came home that evening, I said, "Fausto . . ." I had never read the Bible in my life, but I said, "Fausto, I think I was born again today." And I didn't even know the term. I said, "Fausto, I feel like I was born again."

And Fausto said, "Oh, she's crazy."

And then, I was joyful, I couldn't even sleep after that. I was so joyful the next weeks after that. That happened on a Saturday. Monday, I used to play tennis, and I'm playing tennis and next to me there are two friends hitting. One of them tells to the other, "Oh, have you seen this Bible-believing church that was opened in Apopka?" which was very close to us.

And I hear, and I say, "What church is that?"

"Oh, it's just a non-denominational church."

So I said, "That's the church I need to go to," because I never knew what was revealed to me. I never knew it in this other church, so I need to go to this one. I got home, and I told Fausto, "This Sunday, I'm going to go to this church. If you're not coming, I don't care. I'm going to go to this church."

All week long Fausto thinks I'm going to forget that. Sunday comes, and I'm getting ready to go to this church. So Fausto thinks he needs to come with me because I was very weak in my mind, and he thought, What are they going to do to her in that church?

So he and Sarah came.

Fausto: I sat there, and the minute the pastor started preaching, I started crying and feeling guilty, like I was the worst person in the world, like I had killed someone, and they had found me. That's what I felt, that I had been hiding, and the police finally caught up with me. That's the feeling I felt and the despair of having been found out. They know who I am.

I cried and cried and cried through the whole service until the man stopped talking. Then I composed myself, and didn't even know what happened. I had no clue what had happened. I thought I'd had a nervous breakdown. I thought I had some emotional episode, that I went crazy. I didn't know.

And by then, gradually, as the following week we came back, and I heard some more, and listening to Laura talking, I started connecting dots. I thought after week two, Well, apparently this is spiritual. This has to do with church and God and Bible. After that, it all made sense. I understood everything, and our lives changed completely.

Laura: First of all, we are all sinners. We are not more of a sinner because we had an abortion, but we can feel guilty because of our sins. And there is no way you can get rid of your guilt by trying to cover up what you did or by trying to run from what you did. The only way to deal with your guilt is to run to Christ.

Christ is your Savior. Christ is your Redeemer. Christ is the person that can forgive you, that can forgive your sins. He died for you on the cross because of that abortion that you committed, because of that sin. And His blood is all sufficient, and you can be forgiven for eternity for that sin. Your sins will be nailed to the cross.

There's a Scripture that is engraved in my heart. It is to know that my abortion was nailed to the cross and I have been forgiven that horrible crime. I will have to deal with the consequences of my sin. There is a member of my family that is missing, but I have been forgiven. I have been forgiven because of Christ.

Fausto: That was my first experience, my first personal experience with God, a feeling that He would be the father I didn't have. I remember having that conversation with Him one Sunday morning. It could have been our third Sunday or fourth Sunday after our conversion. I remember sitting there, maybe they were worshipping, and I'm sitting there.

I looked to the ceiling, and I said, "God, if in order to have You as a Father I had to not have one or have the one I had, I'm okay. I'm okay because I wouldn't exchange this for any excellent father on earth." I remember years later someone said, I think it was a class of sorts, "I have found that people who haven't had a good experience with their father find it difficult to see or feel God as Abba, as a father." And I thought, No! For me, it was the opposite.

I didn't have a father, or the father I had was worse than not having one because if you don't have one, you just don't have one. You miss him, but you don't see him. He's not there. But having one and not having a relationship with him, not feeling loved by him, not seeing him wanting to be with you, feeling unloved, and now feeling this incredible love that fills you, and then the one who sends it, the one who gives it to you says He's your Father. That's amazing.

I remember having that conversation with Him, and even then, telling Him (because my father died five years before my conversion, without Christ) . . . I remember thinking, Wow, Father, if I had known You before my father's passing, I would have gone to him (because when my father died, we were not speaking; we had been away for years). I would have gone to him, and I would have forgiven him, and he probably would have wanted to ask for forgiveness. But I didn't get that chance."

But right then, that same second, it's like God said, "Don't worry, I knew that, and this is how I wanted it to be." It I settled that right there, and it's never been a problem for me ever.

Leslie: We've been hearing the story of Laura and Fausto Gonzalez. This is a story of a couple who chose abortion early in their marriage but have learned to value life by God's grace. Laura was part of the very first True Woman conference in 2008, and God did amazing things in her life there.

At that conference, the True Woman Manifesto was unveiled for the first time. It includes this line about the value of life:

Nancy: We affirm that human life is precious to God and is to be valued and protected from the point of conception until rightful death.

Leslie: For a few minutes, we'll hear from our host, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, unpacking this line from the True Woman Manifesto.

Nancy: God was intentional in creating human life. He created us for His kingdom purposes. We were not a random thing that God did, just like an afterthought. "I think we'll have something different." God was intentional in creating us, and He has a mission, a plan, a purpose for each human life.

That plan has been in place from eternity past, before we ever were. Before we were ever conceived, God knew us. He designed us. We were created in His mind, in His heart in eternity past with a specific plan and purpose for our lives. Scripture tells us that.

I love that verse in Ephesians 2, it's right after the verses 8 and 9 that talk about "by grace you were saved through faith. It's a gift of God, not as a result of works that no one should boast."

And then it says in verse 10, "For we are His workmanship [God formed the man. God made the woman. He shaped, He built. We are His workmanship], created in Christ Jesus [for a purpose] for good works, which God prepared beforehand [before He ever made us, He planned those works] that we should walk in them."

Your life is not an accident. God put you here for a purpose. God said to Jeremiah in chapter 1 of the book of Jeremiah: "Before I formed you in the womb, before anyone had ever thought about you, before there was a cell in your being, before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you, I appointed you a prophet to the nations." God says, "I had a purpose for you. I had a design for your life."

Now, God's design for your life may not be a prophet to the nations, but it's something. God knows what it is, and it was designed for you before you were even born.

Leslie: That's Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth talking about the reason that we value life as a gift from God.

Earlier in the program we heard from Fausto and Laura Gonzalez talking about how they went from choosing abortion to fighting for life. One big turning point in their story came when they went through the Bible study, Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival.

This study by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth and by Tim Grissom will take you through a deep process of getting right with God and right with other people. When you go through it, you'll take a fresh, hard-hitting look at topics like humility, honesty, repentance, and grace. You'll see how these get worked out in practical ways. You'll find freedom through asking for and offering forgiveness. And you'll experience joy as you walk in holiness.

I hope you'll go through this study and experience personal revival for yourself. We'd like to send you the workbook Seeking Him when you donate any amount to support Revive Our Hearts. We'll send one copy per household for your donation of any size this week. Ask for Seeking Him when you call 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

So, tomorrow, we'll hear part three of Fausto and Laura's story. Find out what they're doing now to encourage young couples to value life. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.