Mother Finds Forgiveness After Secret Abortion
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CBN.com "Secrets make you sick, and this secret was killing me," Christina Ryan Claypool admits. "I worked in ministry, a Christian TV ministry, and I didn’t want people to know. My mother didn’t know. My best friends didn’t. No one knew."
Christina was a single mom in her mid-20s. She was a victim of childhood sexual abuse and, as a result, suffered from low self-esteem. She even attempted suicide. Christina was completely unprepared to raise her son Zachary on her own.
"When I had not been able to buy my own son’s diapers for two years – I lived on welfare, lived in a shelter – it was so difficult. I wanted him to have better," she says.
Zachary gave Christina a reason to live. Hard as it was, she finished her bachelor’s degree and found work. But she still had to deal with the pain of her past somehow.
"When trauma came into my life," notes Christina, "I had an ability to survive. The way of surviving was by shutting down and medicating with drugs and alcohol."
Christina found another boyfriend, and when Zachary was nearly 3, she started feeling tired and sick, like when she was pregnant.
"[I was] thinking, This can’t be happening again. We’re just getting on our feet. This can’t be happening. I couldn’t think of it as a child. I couldn’t think of it as his brother. I could only think that I could not be pregnant again," she remembers.
Christina never had a pregnancy test; she didn’t want to be sure. Then on a bleak December day, she decided to walk past the protestors, sign-holders, and name-callers.
Christina recalls, "When the nurse informed me I had been pregnant, almost immediately I realized I’d made a tragic, tragic mistake. This is one secret you can’t tell someone -- I took the life of my child. It’s an incredible, incredible guilt and shame. The lie is if I have this abortion, then my circumstances will change and life goes on. It doesn’t go on. This unbearable grief becomes part of your life. For me, it was unlivable. I could not live knowing I’d taken the life of my child."
Christina was so despondent after a few years that she was hospitalized. The pastor of a church she’d visited came every day to see her. He explained the gospel and forgiveness to her. She soon gave her life to Christ and started to heal. But she was still too ashamed to tell anyone about the abortion.
"For some reason," says Christina, "I thought that if anyone knew, everything would be taken from me – I couldn’t work in ministry, people wouldn’t love me, wouldn’t respect me."
Fifteen years later, Christina finally told her mother. To her surprise, Christina found acceptance and love. She started to tell friends, and in time, she spoke to groups. It healed her to help others.
Christina met Larry Claypool after one speaking engagement and married him in 2002. His love and encouragement have furthered her healing and given her the courage to write Forgiven.
"Abortion is a terrible sin, a blight upon our society, yet God’s grace is so sufficient. We need to say that God’s forgiveness covers this sin," says Christina.
Christian has come a long way from believing that the child she had inside her was just a mass of cells.
"When you look at something through the eyes of a regenerated mind, one enlightened by God, you can’t imagine that you could have believed that this was a glob of tissue. But I needed to believe that," she notes.
Christina has definite opinions about the claim that abortion is a woman’s right.
"When you understand that two lives are intertwined, that the life that you’re carrying and your own life are absolutely inseparable, you have to see that both people have rights," she says. "It’s unfortunate when you say, 'Do you have the right?' You never have the right to take another’s life – never."
Christina continues to write articles and to speak. She encourages all Christians to reach out to post-abortive women.
"We as the Church have to support them with more than a bag of diapers once a year," she says. "I will never know what would’ve happened if someone had come out of that crowd and put their arm around me and said, 'Do you know God loves you and I want to help you? What do you need? Do you need a bedroom to stay in? Need food, you and your son, until you have this baby and can make a choice?' "
Today Christina is rejoicing in her forgiveness from God, but it wasn't always easy to believe that.
"Just like I had to accept that God could save me, an emotionally unstable, drug-addicted person, I had to accept God’s forgiveness for my abortion by faith," she says. "The enemy will try to tell me I don’t deserve that forgiveness, and he’s so right. I don’t. That’s why Christ died on the cross."
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