Birthday reflections p3 – Forgiveness

I think this next 10 years were actually the hardest and bring back the most emotions. Most of the decisions made were made from a terrible place of pain.

The relationship I started in my early 20’s was emotionally & mentally abusive, and it ended with physical abuse. I don’t know why I stayed in the relationship for so long, but anyone who has experienced a similar relationship may understand this. When he had caused me pain, called me names, tormented me, whatever it was, eventually he was the only person who could make me feel better as he was the only one who understood the pain. So I kept going back. At times I thought I deserved the way he treated me, maybe because he told me that many times or maybe because I already hated myself and my life.

When I finally took the step to really end things, he said he wanted to make it worth the break up and he beat me up and then smashed my flat up. I was in this relationship while I was trying to finish university, and I can’t tell you how difficult that was. I don’t know how I did it to be honest but I graduated with a 2:2 in Tourism Management!

My life plan wasn’t going as I had hoped and I ended up going back to university a few years later to undertake a Masters in Social Work. I found I was always helping people (like my mum) and decided I might aswell get paid to do it. Completing a Masters as a single parent is not an easy feat, and at one point I actually thought I was going to have to leave because financially it was killing me. But a friend’s mum provided me with some finance so I could stay, wow – what a blessing!

During my late 20’s I moved out of Manchester. A dream I had had for a long time, of just getting away from all the memories and the bad mistakes. I qualified as a social worker and lived in a brand new area where I knew no one. I was in a new relationship with a guy I got on really well with but he was a drug dealer and ended up being prolific cheater. The feeling of living a double life again was back. I was trying to live a different life, building a career for myself and getting away from the chaos.

Why had I got into another relationship where I was being treated like absolute rubbish? Because I didn’t like myself, I had no self worth or self respect and the more I was treated badly the less fight I had in me to find something better.

It was around this time that I received a letter from the Salvation Army saying that someone was trying to trace me. The only person I could think of, and I was correct, was that it was my dad. I was now 28 years old. It was the wierdest thing, taking my son to London to meet my dad, his wife and my two brothers.

Unfortunately, it was to be a short lived relationship. There were so many things that seperated us – Faith, lifestyle, values, history. We went to visit a few times, but it was very strained and in the end I think he realised I was not going to be the daughter he had hoped. He was very disappointed that I was a single parent, unmarried, living on a council estate, I had changed my birth name and I was not a Muslim. I in no way wanted his approval, but I felt he wasn’t even interested in the adversity I had overcome, that I was undertaking a Masters, I was training to be a social worker or that I had an amazing beautiful son.

The relationship broke down after an argument and we have not seen each other since. I didn’t need another man in my life who would make me feel unloved or not worthy.

I was living in a new area, not knowing anyone and my boyfriend went to prison. Me being me, I rushed into another relationship and was pregnant again. That relationship broke down and I was now a single parent of two. I really wanted my life to change, but I kept repeating cycle after cycle. Why couldn’t I change? Why couldn’t I break these cycles? What was wrong with me?

I was coming for big fall though. I got pregnant again, to someone who didn’t want to have a baby. I was depressed, and knowing how much I struggle with being pregnant and sickness, I came to the conclusion that I had to have a termination. I couldn’t bring another baby into this world, my world. How would I look after the children I had while I was pregnant? However, I had had a termination once before and told myself I would never do it again. I couldn’t have brought a baby into that situation either.

You know, often when I hear people talk about terminations/abortions, they do it in a way that is very impersonal. That it is just black and white and that women make these decisions very flippantly. Now, don’t get me wrong some may do this, but I can imagine for the majority it is one of the hardest things they will ever do and it doesn’t leave you.

This time, it broke me. I was heartbroken, I was grieving, I was angry with myself, I absolutely hated myself even more and there was no way I could forgive myself.

But deeper than that, I knew I couldn’t forgive myself until God had forgiven me. Where had that come from? I suddenly had this deep yearning for God’s forgiveness. I didn’t even know God, but I knew I could not move forward until I had sought him. This was the start of a journey into the next season of my life, one that I wished I had known much earlier in my life. One that could have saved me and my children from so much hurt and pain.

The terminations are one of the hardest things to share, mainly because people are so judgemental, Christians included. It’s not easy to stand up and admit that you’ve had an abortion, let alone two, so I do only share in certain settings because sharing makes you vulnerable. I lost those babies in a way I never wanted too, and I grieve for them, I still do.

What God thinks of me is the most important and in the next blog, I share how I journeyed that next step in seeking him and the forgiveness I so desperately needed.

Amber x

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