To err is human, to forgive is divine
Anxiety, fear, sorrow and shame. Those were just some of the feelings that the Reverend Lashonna Smith grappled with when, at 17, she made the painful decision to get an abortion.
It was March 17, 2000.
She thought God was going to allow her to die right there on the table while having the procedure — she spent many years trying to heal from the loss.
Mrs Smith talks about the physical, spiritual and emotional journey in her book, Forgiven.
“Now, because the release of my book, March 17 will be significant for another reason,” she said. “It will represent, for me, new life, redemption and forgiveness.
“Many of us have that one thing that we’ve done that we believe is unforgivable and as a consequence we live our lives in shame and are never really free. We let those things that we’ve done confine and define us — that’s what I did for years.
“However, I found healing, freedom and forgiveness and I wanted to share my story about how I did that. I believed that by sharing my story it would help people to heal, find peace, gain hope and that it would ultimately point them to the God who saves, forgives and whose unconditional love endures for ever.”
It took her two years to write the book. God continued to reveal things to her along the way, and she discovered she was stronger and more resilient than she thought.
As she reflected on her journey, she was reminded just how faithful God is and how His love for her had never changed, even during her darkest moments.
“I also learnt that each of us has a story to tell and if we can find the courage to tell our story, the process can help us to heal and can help others as well,” she said.
It was also during that time that Mrs Smith and her husband, Pastor Jahkimmo Smith, became first-time parents.
She has found being a mother to be “an honour and privilege”.
“Noah is truly amazing,” she said of her now six-month-old daughter. “I cried and just thanked God when I found out that my husband and I were expecting. I was just so grateful to God, because he didn’t have to allow me to conceive. Noah is evidence of God’s faithfulness, love, and forgiveness.
“I love our daughter so much and I am so grateful that my heart is able to experience this kind of love. She is my world. I never knew a love like this could exist.”
In collaboration with the launch of her book, Mrs Smith started #ForgivenChallenge on Facebook, encouraging believers to share what God’s love and grace means to them.
The message she hopes everyone walks away with is that forgiveness is available to anyone through Jesus Christ, no matter what they have done.
“I want people to know that we are not our mistakes or the negative choices that we have made,” she said. “Anybody can become a new person in Jesus Christ. It is up to us to make the choice to receive forgiveness and move forward and live a more meaningful, purposeful and God-centred life.”
• Buy Forgiven for $10 from lashonnasmith.com, Amazon.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Next Wednesday, it will be available on Kindle for download. For book signing details look for Lashonna Smith on Facebook, @RevLashonna on Instagram, Rev. Lashonna on YouTube and RevLashonna on Snapchat
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