My ugly, grace-covered heart.

I’ve had a long period of silence on this dear blog, and I’ve decided it’s been long enough. I haven’t written partly for the lack of words, but mostly because if I wrote something from my heart, I feared it might be too ugly. And that’s because it is — it is ugly.

But in the past year I’ve realized that it’s the ugly parts of our hearts that we should share. When other people see the ugly parts in our own hearts, they realize that they’re not so alone and that if there’s ugliness in them and ugliness in me too, it’s probably just a regular part of being human.

And then there’s grace. Because I recognize that my heart isn’t always pretty, only then was I able to also recognize that I need grace. And grace — it’s far too beautiful for this old heart of mine, but Christ knew that when he gave it to me. That’s what grace is for. It’s for the ugly hearts, the angry hearts, the hurting hearts. If grace was meant for the beautiful ones, there wouldn’t be a need for grace.

So here I am, standing before you with an ugly heart that’s being painted beautiful by grace. And I want to share my heart with you again — the ugly parts, the grace-filled parts, the parts I want to hide in a closet and never let anyone see. Because when we’re all human it’s easier to share grace, easier to accept grace, and easier to know that we’re not alone. You’re not alone. I’m not perfect either. So let’s do this life thing, together, hand-in-hand, heart-in-heart, the truth and ugliness out in the open, so grace can come in and paint us beautiful again.

I understand why some women get abortions.

When I was living in Texas, Rafael and I accidentally got pregnant. It was so accidental he laughed when we walked down the pregnancy-test-aisle at Walmart. And it was so accidental that he didn’t believe me when I said it was positive.

It was so accidental because we didn’t technically have sex. We did stuff we shouldn’t have, and because of that I nervously scoured the internet for people that accidentally got pregnant like we had. Yes, it was possible. No, Rafael still didn’t believe me. So we went to urgent care and they did a test again. “Why did you come,” they asked. “Because I wanted to be sure,” I said. They told me if a pregnancy test is positive, it’s definitely positive. If it’s negative, you could still be pregnant, but if it’s positive there’s no doubt.

So I was pregnant. For a brief moment I thought, No one has to know. If I just get an abortion, it could all go away. No one would ever know what we did.

If you know me at all, you know that I’ve always been pro-life. Always. But I also never imagined myself getting pregnant before getting married. I never imagined the shame that I would feel of being the Christian girl who got pregnant before her wedding. But now I was. I got knocked up. So the thought did cross my mind.

The shame of abortion quickly overpowered the shame of having a baby, so I dismissed it, but it was there. That fleeting thought once occupied my mind and I felt dirty. I felt more shame because I had thought that at the expense of this little life inside of me, I could hide my sin.

I thought of how my life would change. My whole future flashed before my eyes, and it was hard to see. No more Costa Rica. No more spontaneous adventures. No more freedom or late night taco runs or midnight movies. For a moment, hiding the ugliness, stopping this “mistake” before it grew, that seemed better than the death of my freedom.

I understood, right then, why some women get abortions.

But I didn’t get an abortion that day. While abortion did cross my mind, it was drowned out by the thought of this is my baby girl. We didn’t know it was a girl at that time, but somehow I knew that baby was my little girl. I would take on the shame if I had to. I would lock up my freedom and throw away the key if that’s what it took. This little girl was my little girl and nothing, not even my own selfishness, could take her away from me.

Some months later, while I still felt ugly and ashamed, while I was hurting and depressed, God began to paint my heart with grace.

It’s ok, baby girl, he told me. It’s ok. This is why I died for you. For this. Don’t you remember? While you were still a sinner, I died for you.

It all made sense. That’s what grace was. It was for the sinner, for the imperfect, for the ugliness in our hearts. I didn’t feel worthy of the grace, but that’s exactly why it was given to me.

In his grace, I found beauty. Her name is Sofie Grace. And I’m so glad God chose me to be her mama.

** If you have had an abortion or are thinking about having one, know that you’re not alone. If you think there’s no other option, there are women who will be there for you and would love to help you. Love and grace are for you too.

One thought on “My ugly, grace-covered heart.

  1. Oh Hannah, this just about had me in tears. Thank you for sharing your heart. And thank you for being strong and for sharing the beauty of God’s grace. You are so loved, and so is your beautiful baby girl (who definitely has her face up on our fridge. I always tell Teddy “Look! Your girl-friend Sofie!”) I know this must have been hard to write, but it was so beautiful to read. Loved it, and I love you.


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