Sarah Northwood is the wife of Father Rob Northwood, who serves as the rector of The Church of Reconciliation (Charismatic Episcopal Church) in Bel Air, Md. She and her husband are the parents of six children. A couple of months ago, Sarah participated in an event in Washington, D.C.
Unlike some events in which clergy wives participate, this event put Sarah in a place where she was exposed, vulnerable, and open to potential ridicule. A woman of courage and commitment, these are her own words:
“This year I was given the opportunity to stand with the women and men of Silent No More at the March for Life in Washington, D.C. This is a campaign which exists to make the public aware of the devastation abortion brings to women, men, and their families. Knowing from my own experience how painful abortion is, I knew immediately that I wanted to join them as they shared their testimonies on the steps of the Supreme Court following the March.”
“Holding a sign which said, ‘I regret My Abortion,’ I didn’t know what to expect as the marchers filed past. Would they judge me? Would they hold me in contempt? After all, probably not many of them have done such a horrible thing. But, as God is gracious, so are His people. I found compassion in their eyes. Many stopped to hug each one of us and to tell us that they appreciated our willingness to share our stories for the benefit of others and the babies.”
“When my turn to speak came, I was blessed to find that once again, when we open our mouth in the Lord’s service He will fill it. I told of how I had the abortion when I was 19. Believing that having a child at that age would ‘ruin my life,’ I chose to end the pregnancy and put it behind me. Little did I know that the abortion is what would ruin my life.
“After years of stuffing the pain, being numb to the guilt, thinking there was nothing wrong with me, I met Jesus Christ. He was gracious enough to give me a vision of my child. When I ‘saw’ him in heaven, he was a complete person, with talents and personality. I saw the relationships he would have had and it was at that point I began to really grieve and repent of the sin of abortion.
“It took years of healing. I attended a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat just this past June and was blessed to find that the Lord has taken me through all the stages of the healing process. I am forgiven, but I will never stop regretting the abortion I had. I believed the lie that I would be better off, but a woman does not kill her own child and get rid of that pain with no ill effects. She may think that it does not affect her, but that is when she should be asking, ‘Why? Why is this not bothering me?’”
Sarah then shared the chorus of a song that she wrote about her abortion experience:
“Where’s the shame? / Covered with Christ’s blood / Where’s the pain? / Being healed by God’s love / Where’s the truth? / It’s a sharp sword in my mouth / Where’s the fear? / By love it’s been cast out!”
Over the years, I have met many such women — women who had abortions and silently suffered the pains of guilt and regret … sometimes for decades. Abortion says to someone struggling with an unanticipated pregnancy that “death is the answer,” but as Sarah discovered, the death of her unborn child was only the beginning of her own personal anguish.
Even six children couldn’t erase the memory and the guilt of what happened to her first child — until she experienced a profound repentance followed by God’s forgiveness and unconditional love.
Sarah’s message is twofold: 1. Don’t make the mistake she did, and 2. If you did (and this includes the men who participated in the destruction of their child), you can be forgiven.
There is hope after despair and there is life after death. After years of being quiet, Sarah Northwood is silent no more.
[David Epps is the pastor of Christ the King Church, 4881 Hwy. 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277, between Peachtree City and Newnan. Services are held Sundays at 8:30 and 10 a.m. He serves as a bishop to the Diocese of the Mid-South and is also the mission pastor of Christ the King Fellowship near Champaign, IL. He may be contacted at email@example.com.]