Grieving mom receives forgiveness after abortion
Now glorifies God through special ministry
By Barbara Shoun
January 10, 2006
JEFFERSON CITY – Had he lived, his name would have been Jeremiah; but little Jeremiah was one of the 1.8 million babies lost to abortion every year in the United States. He would have been 25 years old by now. His mother still mourns his death.
“Forgive me, Dear God, for what I have done, For I know my child would have been a son,” says Paula Talley in a poem she wrote for her aborted child in 2004. While she did not know the sex of her child at the time, she feels strongly that it was a boy and has named him accordingly.
Jeremiah’s very existence was a secret Talley felt she could not share. When she developed a heart problem last year, she realized she wanted her daughters to know of their sibling. Fearful that they would stop loving her, she had grieved in isolation for 24 years. When she confessed, they responded with compassion, and support. Her confession and their support paved the way for a ministry to other women who have had abortions.
A Fenton resident and member of Concord Baptist Church in St. Louis, Talley had been praying for a ministry ever since the death of her husband, Larry, in 1999. What she had in mind was a ministry for single women and widows. For nearly five years, she prayed the prayer of Jabez, asking God to enlarge her territory and give her a ministry. She had trouble understanding why it wasn’t happening.
Then came the confession, and things immediately began to happen. A friend who had known about the abortion called from Memphis, saying God had awakened her in the night and brought Talley to her mind. When she learned Talley had told her daughters about the abortion, she put her in contact with someone at the Pregnancy Resource Center. As they talked, this woman told Talley, “God’s going to use you in a beautiful way.”
Through this contact, she was led into a Bible study and then to a retreat for post-abortive women.
It was at the retreat that Talley began to experience healing and release from feelings of guilt, anger and shame. In a special ceremony, participants were crowned as “Daughters of the King.” Of the crown, she says, “When I was young, I was in some beauty contests. I saw how that crown had rusted and gotten old. Then I had the beautiful new crown they gave us as daughters of the King. That [physical] beauty fades quickly, but the beauty of the Lord never fades. We all cried, we all shared our abortion stories, and we named our children.”
It was also at the retreat that Talley realized she had found her ministry. “When I confessed that secret sin, then He could use me.”
Shortly thereafter, her pastor, Dave Martin, asked her to prepare her testimony as a means of reaching out to the lost and hurting. After he read her testimony in a worship service, the congregation affirmed her with applause. She says it was then that she began to live again.
Martin went a step further and suggested that other women seek her out. He encouraged Talley to start a Bible study support group for post-abortive women. “She has a great heart. She loves and wants to help other gals,” Martin told The Pathway.
Initial response was slow, but Martin reminded her that many women fear the stigma that is associated with abortion, similar to the stigma divorced persons faced in years past. He encouraged her to keep going.
Meanwhile, other doors began to open for Talley to share her story. She has given her testimony publicly many times since then, including an interview on “Focus on the Family.” In it, she tells of her abusive childhood, of being raped at age 18, of being left by her first husband, of raising her two daughters (Jill and Paige Hare) as a single mom, and of her successful career in the travel industry.
She also tells of her second husband, who married her 25 years after falling in love with her in high school.
Talley has recently agreed to serve as Missouri state leader for The Justice Foundation, the non-profit organization that is representing Norma McCorvey, “Jane Roe” of Roe v Wade and Sandra Cano, “Mary Doe” of Doe v Bolton, in an attempt to overturn the two major Supreme Court rulings that permitted abortion on demand.
In the year that she has been speaking for post-abortion women, many have quietly come forward to talk about their pain. She urges women who have had abortions to speak up rather than suffer in silence.
Talley still cries over her child at times; but, as she says, “I am healing and I know that I will see him face to face in heaven some day and I will say ‘Son, forgive me for what I have done.’ And, of course, he will because when Jesus was dying on the cross, He said, ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.’ And I know I have been forgiven for this sin.”