FIRE IN MY HANDS


Joyce is the host of Beyond the Bandaide, a radio talk-show. Her experience includes guest hosting on Daystar’s Denver Celebration TV. Joyce appears with Norma McCorvey, who was "Jane Roe" of Roe v. Wade in the internationally released documentary "I Was Wrong.”

(By: Joyce Zounis)

Inwardly my gut churned with guilt, because I knew how true the message was. I was holding a sign that read "ABORTION KILLS CHILDREN." I wasn't the only one there. There were hundreds of people, all holding signs. I was determined to fit in, to appear cool and unnerved, But I had a secret I could never reveal. The others might understand, might forgive one abortion, perhaps even two, but seven would be too much to even hope for. I was sure none of the others had ever faced the abortion decision. They couldn't understand that with each I was convinced that I was doing the right thing for myself. Neither would they understand all the circumstances that practically made the choices for me. In their minds, there would be no earthly justification to cover the children who had died in my own womb-in the one place they believed should have been most safe.

Or how could any of these people have the desire to listen and offer comfort? For I esteemed them agents of God, who would be stern judges like my dad. Now, under this sign I felt the same conviction I would have expected from him, if he knew-if I had even tried to explain why-where things had gone wrong.

Every summer our family (including 5 kids) would pile into the family car and head for South Carolina to visit my dad's parents, his 12 brothers and sisters and their large families. I was just 6 years old at the first reunion, and was paired off with a 5-year-old cousin. We were running through the fields and stopped among the tall corn. He turned to me and touched me in a way that I knew, even at my young age, was wrong. I was shocked into not being able to tell him to stop. What that child did is still painful to remember, and I can still feel the soundless scream from the bottom of my soul. And every summer, for five years the same thing happened even though I'd promise myself I wouldn't let him touch me.

I felt ashamed, that I had disappointed God. I couldn't tell my dad because to him, an Army first sergeant, everything was either clean and correct or it was punishable. Nor could I have God's love or speak to Him, for I feared he was like my dad. I was ashamed, unworthy of love. Then when mom and dad came to kiss and hug my sister and I good night, they'd kiss her and find me pretending to be asleep. They'd turn away and softly close the door. Neither they nor I knew I was sinking into hell-knew how important that hug could have been.

Still, I was a Christian, attending Sunday school. Sin was never mentioned in the church. But in the Wednesday young girls class it was. As a result, although I longed for God's presence, I felt so impure, so defiled that I had no hope of God's love for me.

At 13, I became promiscuous. I liked pot because it released me from the pain of being separated from God and unable to talk to anyone.

The only love I knew was sex, and I was its dedicated child. My parents couldn't hug me, but a mere acquaintance could join with me in the singular most intimate act. At the beginning of my Sophomore year an older boy whom I had recently met at a beach came to town. We smoked pot, drank and ended in his hotel room.

I gladly aborted his child-a loveless sacrifice upon the altar of sensuality. Others were following the same course: unrestrained passion, pregnancy, destroy the child. It was the accepted wisdom. And I was the head of the class, the girl to emulate: a cheerleader, honor-roll, Keywanettes president, homecoming Queen, High School Beauty Queen, I'd even kept the same boyfriend all through high school. And still there was constant uncertainty, no dedication or lasting meaning, only the intimacy of sex that had to be repeated countless times. In 1979, my junior year, I had another abortion "You are only getting rid of a piece of unwanted tissue," they said. It was what a girl had to do to keep her boyfriend.

After college I connected with another man who enjoyed the favors of irresponsible sex, who had no use for the children he begat. So, thinking I was giving unconditional love, I had two of his children aborted. But now there was the realization that I'd lost something precious. But I suppressed it not allowing it any expression. We were married and I destroyed two more children within my own womb. I was obsessed with the need to keep him happy, at any cost. But adultery ended the relationship and four babies never knew the delights of childhood.

Another relationship with a child-man and I gave birth to my first child, Costa. His father could not be found during that birth. During recovery I listened to God. I would end that abusive relationship. My baby didn't need such a father and I didn't need such a husband. Three months later I finally obeyed and said, "no more!"

It was like Heaven heard and on the that same day, I met God's man, Ted Zounis. He not only loved and needed me, he fell in love with my little guy. I began to get a whole new take on life-life being restored to my dead heart. In fact, with the birth of Costa, I began to sincerely grieve my dead babies.

I loved my baby so much, and it was my first pure love-a far sweeter exchange than I had ever known. And I often wondered, how much would I have loved the ones who died within me. Sometimes seeing an empty swing or toys scattered about someone's yard would slice my heart. On the anniversaries of their deaths I would count the years and wonder what they would have been like had I preferred them above my boyfriends now long gone. And between those times the guilt would rise to haunt my quiet and sleepy hours. It gave me no peace.

In 1990 at Calvary Chapel of Ft. Lauderdale, I found myself in the awesome presence of the God of my childhood, the true lover of my soul, the one I'd forsaken so very long ago. But every time the pastor would speak of abortion or an upcoming event, called Life Chain, I would cringe and grip the arms of the chair with such strength as to leave impressions. For I feared someone would look at me and see a sign above my head flashing "murderer." I felt like I was drowning in guilt and shame. I wanted no one, including Ted to know I'd had seven abortions.

During that time the enemy was whispering, "No matter how much you love God you will not be with him when you die. You will be in Hell with me!" Even though it was a familiar fear, I chose to disregard his evil counsel, and participated in "Life Chain."

For I knew the truth of the words on that sign, "ABORTION KILLS CHILDREN." And with that fire in my hands was the realization of the truth it spoke. A month later I was listening to Carol Evereton on Christian Radio. She spoke a truth I'd heard several times before, became alive to me. It was Jesus suffering, mercilessly beaten and hanging for nine hours on a cross in unspeakable agony as a legal substitute for my punishment! I did not need to face God's wrath or hell! The love I couldn't imagine was there all the time in measureless abundance . . . and my dad? ...how unfair I'd been!

That revelation pierced through my heart. What unspeakable love! I was made clean, not by my efforts or anything I could do. He did it! My abortions were no worse than Saul's sins of murder before he became a chief apostle. All I needed to do was confess my sins and ask God's forgiveness, and seven abortions plus years of sin disappeared from His sight.

I did it with a gratitude that radiated from every nerve and pore. I was bathed in his love, hugged, comforted, and covered in a blanket of peace. I realized then that the fire I had held in my hands was the fire of the Holy Spirit, preparing me for restoration to my Father, the God of my childhood.

Dear Reader - are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. You can even have that assurance RIGHT NOW! Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you...please don't make such a tragic mistake.

To get to know God, to be at peace with God, to have your sins forgiven, to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity, to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help you understand the importance of being reconciled to God. What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one. Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life, because in Christ, it is impossible to put a value on the worth of your soul in light of eternity.

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Remember: All that we do in this life comes back to our God-given purpose which is to serve and glorify God. The money and assets we accumulate, the fame and power we've attained or seek to attain - all of the things of this nature will one day pass away, but those lives of others we impact for Jesus Christ will last for eternity, and we will be rewarded for the part we helped play by impacting those lives ... for eternity. (Matthew 6:19-21 is our assurance)