Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Swimming in the Deepest, Darkest Waters

Leslie Basham: Lisa Dudley has witnessed the aftermath of abortion.

Lisa Dudley: Many women come to that point where they just don’t want to live anymore. It’s hard to live with yourself when you’ve taken the life of your own child.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, January 21.

Tomorrow marks the day when the court decision Roe v. Wade was made in 1972, making abortion legal in the U.S. This decision has affected countless women like today’s guest. While on the road, Nancy recorded a conversation with her.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I had the privilege last night of attending a banquet hosted by the Justice Foundation in the Dallas, Texas area. I heard some remarkable stories and met some remarkable people who are actively involved in advocating for life and the choice of life. I heard some powerful testimonies from women who have in the past not chosen life, but how God has redeemed their life from destruction and is now using them to call others to choose life. One of the women I’ve met here at this banquet is a gal named Lisa Dudley.

Lisa, thank you for taking time in the midst of this busy conference—you’ve got meetings galore and a lot of things going on and sharing your story in different settings. It’s such a joy to welcome you to Revive Our Hearts.

Lisa: Oh, well, thank you, Nancy, and thank you so much for having me. I appreciate the opportunity to be able to share.

Nancy: Lisa, I’ve met a lot of women who are friends of yours involved in a program called Operation Outcry, where women are telling their stories about the devastating consequences of abortion. You’re saying, “We’re not going to keep this a secret anymore. We’re not going to cover this up. We’re going to let God use even the failures of our past as part of our life message.”

That’s part of making it redemptive. Not only has God redeemed your life from this past, but He’s now using you to touch and bless others.

A number of the women we’ve met and talked with came out of backgrounds where they did not know the Lord, did not have Christian families, came from dysfunctional families, and it’s maybe not surprising that their lives took the trajectory that they did. But as you and I have talked, you grew up in a background where you were exposed to the things of the Lord.

Tell us a little bit about your home background.

Lisa: Absolutely. I was born into a wonderful family with two godly parents. I was on the cradle roll in church from the moment that I was allowed to be in public after birth and grew up in church. My mom taught Sunday school and was a charter member of the church I grew up in. I was involved in all the activities growing up, all the way through youth group—really a wonderful background and upbringing.

I got married to a young man who was my high school sweetheart. He had some problems and was very abusive. I’d never had an experience like that in my life. It did something to me. That’s the best way I can describe it to you. Anytime you go through that type of abuse, physical and emotional abuse, it can change you.

I did get out of the marriage. I divorced, and I started making some bad choices.

Nancy: Let me back up here. You had come to know the Lord as a child?

Lisa: Yes. I gave my life to the Lord when I was eight years old. I can remember hearing the voice of God when I was as little as four years old.

Nancy: So you had a time of seeking the Lord and walking with Him.

Lisa: Absolutely, absolutely, and I even taught in high school. I was involved with Campus Life. I taught a Bible study group in my high school. I was very, very close to the Lord. So this particular time when I walked away, it was a choice I made to start walking away from Him and start making bad choices.

So I was dating a man and was sexually active with him, and I wasn’t married.

Nancy: And by this time you’re . . .

Lisa: By that time I was—I started dating him when I was 22-23 years old.

Nancy: Did your parents have any knowledge of what kind of lifestyle you were involved in?

Lisa: No, absolutely not. I was not living at home anymore. I already had one child from my first marriage. I did have my oldest, and I was living on my own. They had no idea what was going on in my life, but I was doing things I shouldn’t be doing, and I got pregnant when I was 24.

Nancy: Did you tell your parents then?

Lisa: No, absolutely not.

Nancy: How far were you living from home?

Lisa: In the same city—not far at all. I spoke with them. I had a very close relationship with them, but they had no idea what was happening.

When I took the pregnancy test, I remember, I was just—I couldn’t believe it. I told my boyfriend, and the first words out of his mouth were, “You’re not having it, are you?”

Nancy: It?

Lisa: It. I looked at him, and I said, “Well, I guess not.”

Nancy: What was going through your mind?

Lisa: I think I was shocked. On one hand I believe that I knew he didn’t want this to happen, so I wasn’t too surprised about that. But the other part of me was that I really felt that need for him to step up and say, “It’s going to be okay. I’m going to take care of you, and I’m going to take care of the baby.”

I think every woman who gets pregnant—no matter whether you’re married or not—you’re depending on that. The way God created it in marriage is for your husband to be there to support you and to be there for you. Of course, I didn’t have that because it wasn’t right to begin with.

All my friends had told me, “Lisa, you can’t have another child on your own.”

I didn’t make a lot of money. I was divorced. My friends had had abortions, and they said, “If you do it under twelve weeks, it’s really no big deal. It’s not really a baby.”

Nancy: Had you ever really thought about abortion before?

Lisa: No. Not really. It never came up.

Nancy: Had you been taught anything about abortion growing up, that abortion’s wrong or was it just not talked about.

Lisa: It wasn’t talked about. It just wasn’t talked about. You knew it happened, but I think I had the concept in my mind that it was other people that happened to, that lived different lifestyles. Of course, now I’m living that lifestyle.

Nancy: Had you ever walked through this with any of your friends who’d had abortions?

Lisa: I did. When I was in college, I had several friends who’d had abortions, but they didn’t want to talk about it a lot. I just kind of held their hand through it, and that was that.

Nancy: Were you ever with one of them to actually get an abortion?

Lisa: Yes.

Nancy: So you’d been in an abortion facility.

Lisa: I had been in an abortion facility. It was actually an OB-GYN who, on certain days, performed abortions and on other days he saw patients. I took her because her boyfriend didn’t want to go. It was hard. She spent a couple of days not okay, and I took care of her, but she didn’t want to talk about it.

Nancy: And now that you are in this situation, they’re telling you it’s going to be fine.

Lisa: They’re telling me, “Go have the abortion. It’s going to be fine. It’s really not that big of a deal.”

So I didn’t feel like I had any support system there. My parents . . . I was so ashamed of getting pregnant outside of marriage. The shame was so heavy there because of what my upbringing was, I was terrified to tell them. I didn’t feel I had any option to do that.

Nancy: What did you think would happen?

Lisa: I don’t know if it was the judgment, feeling like they would be upset with me disappointing them. It’s been some time ago, so I don’t really remember all the thoughts that were going through my head. There was a great deal of fear of how my parents would take this because of who they were and how I was taught. I knew better.

So I fell into the lies. I bought into the lies. When I share my testimony publically in a lot of other places, especially in church, I tell them, “I was using abortion to cover up my original sin.” So I used one sin to cover up the first sin I’d committed, which was having sex outside of marriage. I shouldn’t have been doing that.

Nancy: Yes.

Lisa: And there was a consequence to that. I got pregnant. Then instead of saying, “Okay, I’ve made this mistake, but I need to deal with this consequence the way God would expect me to deal with this consequence,” I used abortion to cover up that sin.

Nancy: Which is really the alternative to repentance, dealing with it God’s way.

Lisa: Yes.

Nancy: It’s interesting that at each point God gives us the possibility of repentance and to receive His grace. God gives grace to the humble, but that is where we face a choice: Do it our way, or do it God’s way.

Lisa: Yes. I wrestled for a long time with—because I did know God and God has always had His hand upon me. Even through the dark times in my life, when I was not doing things His way, He was still there, and I thought, “God, why didn’t You stop me?”

God allows us to make choices that He does use later on. I won’t know until I’m in heaven with Him all of the answers to that.

Nancy: Were you conscious at that point of conviction of the Holy Spirit?

Lisa: Once I was in the abortion facility, I did. Before that I was terrified, and I just tried to focus on, “I’ve got to fix this problem.”

I didn’t allow myself to identify with the baby, and most women who are going to have an abortion don’t. I don’t think anybody wants to have an abortion.

Nancy: Since you’d already had a child, you knew this was a child, if you’d stopped to think about it.

Lisa: Yes.

Nancy: But you couldn’t let yourself do that.

Lisa: When I had my abortion, I was eight weeks pregnant. So what I was told, not only by the abortion facility but all of my friends, was that if you do it early, it’s okay. If you do it early, it’s okay.

I think that’s what I wanted to hear because I was so scared, and I needed the problem fixed.

Nancy: Was this just a moment you said, I’m just going to . . .

Lisa: I don’t really remember. I know my friends were around me. I don’t even remember when I called to make the appointment and how all that took place now. I don’t remember all those details.

Nancy: Was there an abortion clinic in your area?

Lisa: Yes. There was one that was in the phone book. I called it up, and they scheduled me on a Saturday.

Nancy: Did you go by yourself?

Lisa: No. My best friend that I had taken before [to the abortion clinic] when we were in college, she was now taking me for my abortion.

So we went to the abortion facility, and it was like any other facility that you would walk in. It looked normal. You went through the normal admission procedures of filling out papers, which, unfortunately, I didn’t read real closely. They did a urine sample to confirm my pregnancy, and then we had to sit and wait.

Then I was called in with five other women into a room which they called counseling. A woman was talking to us about reproductive health, about birth control, about STDs, and the only thing she told us about abortion was that it’s just a blob of tissue and it’s just a quick, simple, easy procedure—20 minutes, and you never have to think about it again.

Then she goes through and polls each one of us and asks us, “Is this what you really want to do?”

We’re all kind of nodding. I remember there was a lady sitting next to me—she was a Hispanic woman—and she said, “I’ve already got five kids, and there is no way I can have another child. I can’t afford it, and I’ve already had five abortions. It’s no big deal.”

It did two things for me: I was appalled, because it took everything in my power. I was terrified to be there that day, to be there just for one abortion. I couldn’t imagine anybody doing that five times.

But the other thing that it did was it confirmed for me: This is no big deal.

They did do a sonogram, but they didn’t want to let me see the screen. I told her I did want to see. I said, “Please. I’ve already had one child. I’ve had a sonogram before. May I see it?”

She kind of sighed and said, “Okay.”

So she rubbed my stomach again with the probe, and she clicked some buttons. Then she turns the screen to me, and the she points to a white dot on the screen. She says, “That’s all it is. It’s just a dot.”

I thought, “Okay, I can do this.”

I didn’t see a baby, and what I know now is that she wasn’t showing me my baby. I don’t know what she had on the screen, but she wasn’t showing me a baby.

Nancy: That just demonstrates again the deception in this whole industry.

Lisa: A lot of lies and deception all the way through.

I was then taken into the room where the procedure was to take place, and this is where it was just unbelievable. It was different than any other room in the facility. It was dark. It was cold. The windows were boarded up.

She put me up on this metal table, and they’re all preparing in the room—there’s several people in there. She puts a mask over my face to administer medication that was supposed to relax me, but it wasn’t relaxing me. I was terrified.

Then the door flew open and in blew the abortionist, and I gasped, because I realized I knew him. He was a client in the law firm where I was working at the time.

Nancy: Would he have recognized you?

Lisa: Absolutely. He knew me very well, but he didn’t look at me. He didn’t review a medical chart. He didn’t examine me. He sat down and began the procedure.

I won’t go into all the gory details for your listeners, but I can tell you it’s the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. It was just horrific. It was a nightmare.

As I lay there, and the machine—the procedure I had was a vacuum aspirator—was loud. It just seemed like it was taking forever. I felt like my body was being violently shaken off of the table, and I had no control over what was happening. Tears were just streaming down my face.

I remember lying on that table, and that’s when I had that moment. I cried out to God, and I said, “Please forgive me for what I’m doing. I’m so sorry. I can’t believe that I’m here, that I’ve come to this.”

The lady who was holding the mask on my face was rubbing my forehead, and she said, “Go ahead and cry. It’s good to cry.”

I remember thinking, “Why is it good to cry? Why is this okay if this is just a simple medical procedure?” I was so confused as I lay there.

When the procedure finally ended, I heard the clanking of the metal instruments and the snap of his gloves as he took them off. He slapped me on the side of the leg and said, “Good luck to you,” and then he walked out. He never even looked at me. He had no idea who he’d performed an abortion on that day.

Nancy: So there was no doctor-patient relationship?

Lisa: No doctor-patient relationship whatsoever. I couldn’t believe that he didn’t acknowledge me or anything like that, but I was also relieved because the shame had already set in. I just did not want him or anyone to know what I was doing or what had happened.

As they helped me to get up off the table, blood poured out all over the floor, and the nurse was yelling at me that I was making a mess on her floor. I was shaking, and I was weak. They helped me to get dressed and then took me to another room which was called recovery. That room was then bright again like any other facility that you would walk into. There were recliners with snack trays lined up, and there were girls on either side of where I was sitting, curled up in fetal positions, crying in pain.

I remember my hands were in fists, and I was trying to stand as upright as I could, because I wanted them to know that I was okay so I could get out of there. I was desperate to get out.

I wasn’t in a lot of pain at that point, and I told them, “I’m okay. Can I just leave?”

They said, “No. You have to wait twenty minutes. Drink your juice and eat your cookies.” Then she walked out. So I waited.

She came back in and she gave me a piece of paper and said, “You need to call and set up a two-week follow-up appointment.” Then she gave me a prescription for antibiotics.

I remember thinking right then and there, “I will never set foot in this place again.”

I didn’t even go and fill the prescription for antibiotics because I was so ashamed of where I was. I didn’t want there to be any record. I’m a paralegal, and I didn’t want anybody to know what I’d done, any medical records beyond what was in the abortion facility.

I took really a huge chance because I was very susceptible to infection. There’s a lot of things medically that could have gone wrong. I was very blessed that God’s hand was upon me, and I didn’t have those types of complications, but I just had to get out of there.

When I left the abortion facility, I was in a lot of pain. I rested for a while. That day I had been dishonest with my mother. She had my child—he was there—and . . .

Nancy: What did you tell her you were doing that day?

Lisa: Some activity with my friend. I don’t remember exactly what I told her, but it was not the truth, obviously.

I was gone all day and my mom had called and wanted to know when I was coming to pick up my son, and she invited me for dinner. I remember thinking, “Okay, that’s fine. I’ll come to dinner.”

So from that moment, that’s when I began wearing a mask that lasted years. I have a very close family, and they had no idea anything was wrong with me. I went to dinner that night like nothing had happened.

Nancy: Wow.

Lisa: The following week was when I began a life that was even worse than what I’d lived before. I was in the night clubs, drinking. Drugs were offered. I began sampling drugs. I was doing anything I could do to numb the pain I was in. I didn’t realize at the time it was from the abortion. I don’t think I had a conscious thought about it. It was something I was just doing.

Nancy: Lisa, as I’ve talked with a number of women here at this pro-life conference, I’ve heard this over and over and over again. They had the abortion. Obviously there was, in most of the cases, some promiscuity that led up to that. But then what you’ve just said I’ve heard repeated—got into drugs, into drinking, into the party life, and into greater promiscuity. Why does that seem such a common progression there?

Lisa: Well, abortion kills your soul, and your self-esteem just plummets. You carry so much guilt. You’re punishing yourself. I was self destructing, and I couldn’t stop. You want to numb that pain that you feel. You don’t know what that pain is, and you don’t know why you have that pain, but you’re doing whatever you can to escape that. When you use drugs and alcohol, you are high, and you don’t have to be in that space of dealing with whatever that guilt and shame is you’re carrying, and mine was from abortion.

There was greater promiscuity. My relationship with my boyfriend ended almost immediately. I couldn’t stand him after that, and I just started making more bad choices. I was very blessed not to have gotten pregnant again under those circumstances. A lot of women who experience abortion experience repeat abortions because they do go into a promiscuous lifestyle that’s even more so than what got them pregnant to begin with. They get pregnant again, and then they find themselves in abortion facilities again, and it becomes a cycle.

Nancy: And all of this is going on, and your parents still don’t know about your lifestyle.

Lisa: They have no idea. They have no idea that I’m partying. They have no idea that something’s wrong with me.

I began suffering from depression and panic attacks, for which I had to take medication. I’d never had those problems before. The only thing I didn’t do was attempt suicide. I was never suicidal. I never wanted to take my life. Many women come to that point where they just don’t want to live anymore. It’s hard to live with yourself when you’ve taken the life of your own child.

Nancy: Were you in church at the time?

Lisa: I was not. I wasn’t going to church at the time because I started walking away from that.

Nancy: Your parents knew that?

Lisa: They did know that, and that was one red flag that my mother did have that she says, looking back on. She would fuss at me. She’s like, “You need to get back in church.” I would give her whatever excuses I would give her.

Nancy: Did you have any Christian friends?

Lisa: I still had some of my Christian friends, but a lot of my friends were—some of them were churched, but they weren’t . . .

Nancy: . . . didn’t really have a relationship with the Lord.

Lisa: No. They did not have a relationship with the Lord. They weren’t walking with Him, but God is such an amazing God. I did give my life to the Lord, and He never forgot about me.

It was a slow process. I like to equate it . . . My father loved to fish. When I gave my life to the Lord, I was His. But when I started making the choices to walk away from Him, He let me go. It’s like being that bait on the end of a hook, or a fish on the end of the hook. You’re on that line, and I made the choice to walk away, or swim away from Him. I went into the deepest, darkest waters I could get into to hide my sin, to hide my shame and my guilt, but I was still connected. God didn’t forget about me.

He began to reel me into Him slowly. I started letting to of some of the things that weren’t good in my life. I did start going back to church, and then finally, one day, it was like, “I can’t live that kind of life anymore.”

My Sunday school teacher invited me to come to her Bible study, and I began going. It was an interesting Bible study. I certainly could identify with it.

Nancy: What were some of the topics or themes—the point was to help post-abortive women?

Lisa: Absolutely.

Nancy: So what kinds of themes did they address?

Lisa: Well, first just dealing with what you had done and identifying with that sin, dealing with anger issues.

Nancy: So you needed to call this a sin? You needed to identify it that way?

Lisa: You have to admit that it’s a sin. You have to confess that it’s a sin. It’s the only way you can be redeemed.

Nancy: Did they talk about identifying other sins that related to that—the sexual immorality, for example?

Lisa: Yes. We did talk through that.

Nancy: So it’s leading to a process of repentance?

Lisa: It was. It was absolutely through that process, and I was able to really walk through all those parts.

Nancy: Did it deal with forgiveness issues?

Lisa: It does once you get further along into the Bible study.

Nancy: Okay.

Lisa: You have to get through those anger issues, because you can’t forgive until you’ve dealt with the anger inside you.

Nancy: What’s the object of the anger—in your case—or in other cases?

Lisa: It can be many things. In abortion, it’s usually the partner you were with, the abortionist, yourself. The hardest thing for a woman who’s experienced the pain of abortion is that many times they can take the step that, “God might be able to forgive me, but I can’t forgive myself for what I did.”

That’s what keeps them held in bondage so long. You have to learn to forgive yourself. There are a lot of people to forgive who are involved in abortion. For many people who experience abortion, their parents were involved—they forced them into abortion. A lot of our ladies have talked that they, too, were involved in church situations, and because of the original sin of getting pregnant out of wedlock, the mother would insist on her daughter going in to have an abortion to hide that sin.

Nancy: So parents involved are feeling the shame and wanting to hide.

Lisa: Absolutely. So there’s a lot of people that can be involved in dealing with anger issues. Once you deal with that, then you can get to that place to forgive—to forgive them and then to learn to forgive yourself.

Nancy: And this study, it’s Forgiven and Set Free—that’s the study?

Lisa: Yes.

Nancy: We’ve recommended this study to women who need to deal with this issue. Does it point you to Christ?

Lisa: Absolutely. That’s the only way. I don’t think anybody can go through abortion recovery and be healed without Jesus Christ. I don’t think it’s possible because the only way you can be healed is because of the blood of Jesus Christ who forgives your sins.

Leslie: Lisa Dudley has been talking with our host Nancy Leigh DeMoss about the forgiveness available to anyone who has participated in abortion. We’ll hear the second half of that conversation tomorrow, the anniversary of the court decision Roe v. Wade.

Lisa’s story will provide hope for anyone who’s been through an abortion. It’s available on CD, and we’d like to send you a copy for you or someone you know who could use it. Just donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts, and we’ll send you the CD series, From Abortion to Redemption.

We’ll also include two copies of a booklet called, The First Nine Months. One is for you to keep, and the other is to give away to someone who needs to be struck by the wonder of life.

These are yours when you donate any amount at ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us at 1-800-569-5959.

Lisa Dudley will describe the hope she’s found after abortion tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

 

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