This room full of women posed a threat. She would reveal her sin and be judged. They would stare and ridicule her choices; condemn her actions. She would wilt like a flower in her embarrassment and tearfully flee from the room, the aroma of her unworthiness trailing behind her like the stench of death. These were the lies the Enemy had whispered in Sally’s ear. The trouble was, the Enemy didn’t realize that earlier that day as she sat in the sunshine surrounded by the mountains of Boonsboro, Maryland, God had already told Sally what to do to be free from the shame of her past and this time, she wasn’t going to listen to or believe the Enemy’s lies.
Sally always knew that if someone taught her how to get to know God, her life would be better.
As a young woman, she went searching for him on her own by attending a different church almost every Sunday. However, she didn’t find a body of believers in time to help her through some of the toughest years of her life.
In the midst of her searching, she met a young man who would become her first husband. Within six months she was pregnant. She was shocked, scared and happy all at the same time. However, she knew she couldn’t tell anyone about the pregnancy because her husband didn’t want children. She caved into the pressure from her husband and had her first abortion. The shame and guilt of that action pulled her into her first experience with depression. She felt alone and had no one to talk to, so she held her feelings inside and attempted to forget the pregnancy. She tried reading her Bible and praying but nothing seemed right anymore, so she put one foot in front of the other and continued going through the motions of living and working.
In 1990 she found out that she was pregnant again. The arguments with her husband started literally as soon as the pregnancy was confirmed, so to avoid conflict with him and prolong what she believed to be inevitable, she made the trip to the doctor and had her second abortion. This abortion took a major toll on her, both emotionally and physically. She didn’t recover as quickly and ended up in the hospital for three days. She was so depressed that the doctors kept her an extra two days for psychiatric evaluation.
Upon her release she went to stay with her sister for a few weeks in an attempt to continue to heal. She prayed with and over Sally multiple times every day. She showed her scriptures in the Bible that told Sally she was forgiven; that God loved her and understood the depth of her pain. She told her that God would forgive her the minute she asked him to but until Sally forgave herself, the healing process couldn’t begin. Sally experienced anger directed at her husband and at herself for allowing herself to be manipulated.
Next she moved to feelings of guilt, but that’s where she got stuck; and she never grieved.
Someone told Sally years ago that she had no right to ask for forgiveness and no right to grieve the loss of her two children because she made the decision to have the abortions. Yet, 29 years later as she drove to the women’s retreat in the mountains of Western Maryland and embraced the beauty all around her as she traveled, she heard the still small voice tell her she was making this particular trip for a reason. After she arrived, she sat in the autumn sun and felt full of peace for the first time in many years. She heard God speak into her spirit, “He’s been with me for almost 30 years. You gotta let him go.” Sally adds, laughing, “I didn’t know that I was going to do that in a room full of people.”
She sat in the back of the room in a breakout session on grief and loss. When the leader asked the participants to speak their grief, she quietly said, “Abortion.” And no one shamed her. When the leader asked the participants to speak to the lies they’ve been told about their grief, she spoke up again sharing how she was told that she wasn’t allowed to grieve because it was a choice she made.
And quite unlike what the Enemy had her believing for much of her life--that anyone she shared this part of her story with would blame and accuse--she found unconditional love and a room full of women who celebrated her courage in sharing her painful story and her honesty in seeking forgiveness. She had asked God to forgive her for her sins and now she asked him to help her forgive herself.
Since that day God has revealed some major plans for her life. He is birthing a ministry out of her grief and guilt to help other women let go of their guilt and pain so they don’t suffer as long as she did. She wants other women in her situation to know they can move into the destiny God has planned for their life.
Sally Hight took over thirty years to tell her story. God brought about healing in her life and now, she finally has courage to share it with others in order to help someone else heal.
“I have a testimony now,” Sally says. “I never thought I would, but now I have a testimony about God’s unconditional love and forgiveness.”