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The truth is, my life is messy too
Amber Albee Swenson
by Amber Albee Swenson
June 14, 2021

A couple months ago, I interviewed two women who had abortions. The particulars of each pregnancy—that neither were married, neither father wanted the pregnancy to continue, and neither woman told anyone—left them thinking their only option was to terminate the pregnancy.

Now, years later, both women are confident their families would have supported them. But to admit to a pregnancy outside of marriage seemed . . . well, impossible at the time.

Those who aren’t familiar with the church might not understand that the church isn’t made up of perfect people who’ve made all the right choices. It’s made up of forgiven people who, by the grace of God, are putting one foot in front of the other. We’re not trying to rectify our bad decisions or atone for mistakes. We’re praying for guidance, supporting one another through the tough stuff, and realizing when we go the wrong way that Jesus’ blood covers even this.

One of the most brilliant songs to hit contemporary Christian music last year was from Matthew West. He realized that if being a good Christian meant that he had to be fine all the time, then he couldn’t be a good Christian.

The title of the song is “Truth Be Told.” Matthew sings about acting like he’s fine or in control all the time, but he’s not. He’s broken. Aren’t we all like that at times? Check out the song when you have a chance.

I’ve found that when I’m honest with others and let them in on my struggles, they tend to open up too. The truth, when we’re ready to admit it, is that all our lives are messy. The more people understand that, the more likely they will be to come to us and say, “I’m in a situation.”

As long as there are still young women in the church who would rather have an abortion than seek out an older woman, as long as young women would rather walk away than walk through our doors, and as long as there is someone somewhere who doesn’t understand the love of Jesus—we, the church, have work to do.

Because the ugly truth is, I’ve messed up too. I have plenty of regrets. Because I KNOW I am forgiven through faith in Jesus, I don’t think about them anymore. Whatever you’re dealing with, no matter how screwed up your life looks, I’m willing to walk alongside you. And a whole lot of other people are too.

Matthew West asked: Shouldn’t church be like a hospital? Shouldn’t it be a place of safety for those who are sick, who are scarred, who’ve wandered from the faith and come back?

Yes, Matthew. I think that’s exactly what Jesus had in mind. And I pray that’s exactly what the church will be.