Finding Life in the RedeemerJanuary 30, 2009
Carol Everett seemed too lost and wicked to be redeemed. But God specializes in the impossible. Hear Carol tell how God transformed her from an abortion clinic operator to a staunch pro-life advocate.
Carol Everett seemed too lost and wicked to be redeemed. But God specializes in the impossible. Hear Carol tell how God transformed her from an abortion clinic operator to a staunch pro-life advocate.
Finding Life in the Redeemer
Carol: Six months after I walked out of the clinic, He let me find the 139th Psalm. And as I read how each of us is fearfully and wonderfully knit together, I remember those babies, and that's when I hard to start dealing with the fact that I'd been involved in the murder of 35,000 babies. And by that time, I knew 1 John 1:9, and I struggled with it. I couldn't forgive myself, and I'd go, "Okay, He forgives me, why can't I forgive" – and back and forth and finally the picture that brought it together for me was this – if I said that I couldn't be forgiven, then I was saying Jesus's blood was not enough, and I couldn't do that.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, January 30th. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. We will hear the conclusion of Carol Everett's story today and hear how the blood of Jesus was enough to cleanse her from all her sin.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. We have been hearing a powerful story this week from Carol Everett, and we're going to get to that story and its conclusion here in just a minute, but today is Day 26 in our 40-day Love Dare. We have been going together through the book, "The Love Dare," written by Steven and Alex Kendrick. It was featured in the movie, "Fireproof" that was in theaters last fall and is now available on DVD.
If you are interested in a copy of "The Love Dare" book or the movie, you can go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, and you'll find the resources are available there. Day 26 begins with Romans 2:1, which says, "When you judge another, you condemn yourself since you, the judge, do the same thing." Day 26 is about taking responsibility for our actions in our marriage.
Here is your assignment for today – you need to take time today to pray through your areas of wrongdoing. Ask for God to forgive you and then humble yourself enough to admit those areas of wrongdoing to your spouse. You need to do it sincerely and truthfully. You need to ask your spouse for forgiveness as well, and no matter how your spouse responds, make sure you cover your responsibility in love – even if your spouse responds with criticism, you need to accept it by receiving it as counsel.
These assignments get a little harder as the Love Dare goes along. We are posting these assignments on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com and, again, if you are interested in copies of "The Love Dare" book or the movie, "Fireproof," it's now available on DVD. Go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, and you can order these resources from us.
We've been talking this week about the issue of abortion and, you know, there's a statistic that we've cited this week that more than 40 percent of the women who are of childbearing age in our society have experienced an abortion, which means that somebody you run into today, whether it's a neighbor or the person in the cube next to you at work, or the person who checks you out at the supermarket – it's likely that somebody whose path you cross today is somebody who is still dealing with the emotional scars that come from having had an abortion whether you realize it or not. The emotional damage is still there in that person's life.
Dennis: And we want to speak to the debris and the fallout that occurs in the life of a woman who has an abortion today and offer some hope. And we have with us Carol Everett who has found that hope. Thanks for coming back and interacting with us here on FamilyLifeToday.com.
Carol: Thank you for inviting me.
Dennis: Carol is the author of a book we've been talking about – "Blood Money." She is the CEO and founder of The Heidi Group, which is an organization committed to training and equipping workers for Crisis Pregnancy Centers all across the country. Really, Carol, you've brought our listeners some good news about this crisis, because you've shared that more than 2 million women a year are going to Crisis Pregnancy Centers to receive help and hope from a spiritual perspective, right?
Carol: Yes, I believe that unplanned pregnancies, and the women in those unplanned pregnancies are the mission field of this century.
Dennis: Carol, over the past couple of days, you've shared your story. It goes all the way back to being pregnant and not married at 16. You then had a failed marriage, two children, married again, a husband who demanded that you agree to having an abortion if you got pregnant in that relationship. You married him in spite of that; ended up finding out you were pregnant; had an abortion, and that began a downward spiral in your life of drugs, alcohol, sex, depression. You really have experienced the brunt of this and even additionally because you then went to work in the middle of the abortion industry.
What was it, Carol, in the midst of the swirl and the downward spiral of your life that ultimately began to turn your life around? What was the point where God got your attention?
Carol: Well, as we attempted to expand our pregnancy termination business, we needed help, from a financial standpoint, from a business consultant standpoint, and I met a man, a very strange man.
Dennis: You actually had hired this man to arbitrate some differences between the partners, right?
Carol: Well, the partners were arguing. One of them was the doctor's – the abortion provider's live-in girlfriend.
Dennis: And you.
Carol: And me.
Dennis: So you all three were in an argument with each other, and you hired this guy to come in?
Carol: Yes, so we could stop arguing to expand.
Dennis: And it just happened that he was a preacher.
Bob: Did you know that when you hired him?
Carol: No. He had a business consulting record that was astounding. He was very successful. We didn't know he put Scriptures into place and made the business run, and …
Bob: He had to think, "What am I doing going to the abortion clinic to help them be successful?"
Carol: Well, that's the interesting part. He was the pastor of a church, and he had a parachurch ministry, and both the board of his parachurch ministry and the deacons of his church prayed and believed that God had called him in there because there was someone that God wanted out.
Bob: So he shows up to provide some consultation to try to arbitrate a dispute and what happened?
Carol: He made us agree to meet with him one hour a week for four weeks. At our second meeting, I started questioning him, because I couldn't understand this man. He was not controlled the way the people in my circle were controlled. I controlled everybody in my life, I thought. I had not found a button I could push on this man, so I started interviewing him and finally said, "Are you a preacher?" and he said, "Yes."
Bob: Why did you think he was a preacher?
Carol: I couldn't figure out any other thing he could be.
Bob: So he says yes, and I guess you're ready to write him off at that point, weren't you?
Carol: No, I said, "What are you doing in this situation?" He said, "God sent me." I said, "Wait a minute, let me tell you about God." I quickly told him I was a Christian, I had a Bible in the top right-hand drawer of my desk. I tithed on all that money. His eyes didn't roll back in his head.
Dennis: Now, wait a second, I've got to stop you on that. You worked in an abortion clinic. You were making $160,000, $200,000 a year, and you were tithing off of that money to a church?
Carol: Yes. I did not miss a tithe. The first – I'd deposit a check – the first check I wrote was my tithe check.
Dennis: What's behind the tithing?
Carol: I was buying my way to heaven. I was making myself feel good about what I was doing. It was another way to ease my conscience. Many people in the abortion clinic go to churches and tithe. It's a very common practice throughout the industry.
Bob: You're saying that there is a sense in which they know that they're loading up one side of the scales with sin – so they're trying to show up on the other side with their attendance and their tithes to see if they can just tilt it so that they make it in? That's their thinking?
Carol: That's their thinking. They obviously don't know – we didn't know the Lord.
Dennis: Carol, for someone who doesn't know Christ and isn't grounded in the Scripture, I guess I have to ultimately say, yes, I can understand how someone can think like that, because when I was going my own way, I had those scales in mind, too, Bob. And I thought, "You know, I just did a few bad things," and the scales tipped downward, so go to church …
Bob: Kick in a little extra this month, you know?
Dennis: Sing in the choir, do a couple of good works, but that's not Christianity. It's all about a relationship with God, and when you have a relationship with Him, and it's clear if something displeases Him, you don't buy Him off. You don't pay God off with a tithe and think you're going to get away with it.
Bob: In fact, ultimately, that's what that preacher confronted you with, isn't it? That preacher who was in consulting?
Carol: Yes, essentially. What he told me was something that astounded me because he said he was involved and was going to be involved for 30 days because God had told him there was someone inside that abortion clinic that He, God, wanted out. And then he laid out the plan of salvation for me. He just told me that I couldn't be good enough, I couldn't work hard enough, as a matter of fact, I couldn't buy my way to heaven. But because God loved me so much, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for my sins, and by this simple act of faith in Christ as my Lord and Savior, my life could change.
Bob: You'd heard that before, though, right?
Carol: Bob, I never remember hearing that before.
Bob: Really? You'd been in church a lot.
Carol: I never remember hearing that.
Bob: On that day, your ears were open and your eyes were open, right?
Carol: I heard it. I didn't trust it. But the pastor said to me, "You know, I wouldn't be much of a salesman if I didn't ask you if you wanted to pray that prayer and ask Jesus Christ to come into your life." I said, "Yes," and I made a deal. I mean, I didn't expect that prayer to change me. I prayed that prayer to shut that man up. But it was the weirdest prayer I'd ever heard at that time in my life. He said, "Dear God, I am a sinner. Please forgive me of my sins. Thank you for sending your Son, Jesus Christ, to die for my sins. Reign on the throne of my heart as Lord and Savior. Make me a worker in your vineyard. Amen."
Dennis: You prayed that?
Carol: I prayed that and left laughing because this man thought I was going to leave all this money and go to work in a vineyard.
Dennis: So what did you do, go back to work at the abortion clinic at that point?
Carol: I laughed all the way back to the clinic, but when I got there, something had happened. It was the first time I walked in, and those girls were all sitting in the corner crying. I had never seen that before. And so rather than running back and doing the clinic and rushing everyone through, I started taking these girls into my office and talking them out of having terminations. Simple things – your parents will not kill you, your parents will not hate you, they will not kick you out. Let me go home with you and help you talk to your parents.
Dennis: Now, do you remember the first girl you talked to?
Carol: Vaguely, but I remember there were three that day.
Dennis: That you talked out of having an abortion?
Carol: Yes, and then I'm shocked. I've got two kids in college, they need this $1,000 a month – money, money, money – and so I fell to my knees from the floor of that abortion clinic and said, "Lord, if there is a Lord, if this is not where you want me, hit me over the head with a 2x4." I do not pray for 2x4s now. It was very swift.
Bob: What happened?
Carol: We were caught by Channel 4, the CBS affiliate in the Dallas-Fort Worth area attempting to do pregnancy terminations on women who were not pregnant.
Bob: This is interesting, and you need to explain this for our listeners – the woman comes in, you run the test, and she's not pregnant – you don't make any money on that, right?
Carol: Right, she's a loss, but she thinks she's pregnant.
Bob: You can go and do a D&C on a baby that's not there, take her money, she's happy, and you made the money.
Carol: You scrape out – the doctor scrapes out more in the lining of the uterus.
Bob: And you were doing that routinely?
Carol: Routinely, but we got caught this time.
Bob: Do you think that practice still exists in the abortion industry?
Carol: Absolutely. Today, of the women walking through the door of our pregnancy centers, believing they're pregnant, the profile is exactly the same – she believes she's pregnant, it's a crisis. Sixty percent are not pregnant, and that number is climbing. Sixty percent are not pregnant, two percent have inconclusive tests, and 38 percent are pregnant. If she walks through the door of an abortion clinic today, they are going to try to sell their product. It's been documented all over the country not just in Dallas.
Dennis: Was there a lawsuit filed against you or – I mean – what happened?
Bob: Did you go home and see yourself on the news? What happened?
Carol: Well, it was horrible because, at that point, I was struggling with what I was doing, and I convinced myself that I could lead all these people in the clinic out – they would all come to Christ, and they would know the truth, and they would walk out. And so I was still struggling with that, and on the 27th day after that pastor came in, they aired that special, and they aired it every time the news was shown, documented how we took these women in, there was the sound how we tried to sell her an abortion.
Dennis: What did they do? Set you up with a woman who wasn't pregnant?
Dennis: And had a hidden camera?
Carol: Sent her to the doctor to be certain she wasn't pregnant, put cameras outside so you could get her going in, put a recorder in her purse so it was a recorded that was very, very clear.
Dennis: They performed a procedure on her at that point?
Carol: She left before they were going to but, "Yup, you're pregnant, there it is, babe. You ready to do it today? We can take care of your little problem," and she would say, "No, I think I'll wait" – but caught us red-handed.
Dennis: You said that the series started 27 days after you met the preacher.
Carol: The preacher.
Dennis: Who had been praying, sensed from God that there was someone in that clinic who needed out within 30 days. Channel 4's series went how long?
Carol: It actually ran five days, but on the 30th day, I didn't realize until years later, it was the 30th day, I moved my personal effects out and left.
Bob: Something happened when you prayed that prayer, didn't it?
Carol: Well, I started to believe that prayer was real.
Bob: Uh-huh, you started looking for a vineyard, didn't you?
Dennis: Or maybe the God that you prayed to.
Carol: The God that I prayed to …
Dennis: … was real.
Carol: Was real, and I struggled – how do I, you know, how do I connect with this God in a way that this man did to know what God was dealing with, and how he was speaking to me, and he told me to read Ecclesiastes and Esther.
Bob: Those aren't the typical places you take a new convert.
Carol: No, they are not.
Dennis: This is an interesting Texas preacher you've got here, you know?
Carol: As I say, he had to be a very mean one to reach me.
Because, think about it – I was horrible, I was a baby-killing, woman-killing woman. I ran 24 hours a day, seven days a week, I didn't take time to stop and think.
Dennis: Were you running from yourself?
Carol: I was running from myself, from my lifestyle, from my guilt. See, I not only had my own child – the guilt of my own child's death, I now had multiplied that with 35,000 other babies and in the death of this woman and the maiming of 19 other women. So I could not stand myself. I didn't like myself, but I didn't see a way out.
Dennis: When did you realize you were forgiven for the deaths of 35,000 babies?
Carol: God only gives you what you can handle when you can handle it, and if I'd walked out of that clinic and seen my entire sin, I wonder what I would have done, because I didn't know the Lord, and I couldn't deal with all that. And about six months after I walked out of the clinic, he let me find the – and I was having a quiet time – he let me find the 139th Psalm.
And as I read how each of us is fearfully and wonderfully knit together inside our mother's womb – as I read those words about how the days of our lives are ordained for us before we even were, I remembered those babies, and that's when I had to start dealing with the fact that I'd been involved in the murder of 35,000 babies.
And by that time I knew 1 John 1:9 and, you know, I could accept that for the babies and for the women, but I couldn't accept that for taking the life of my own child. Somehow, and it's not just me, it's men and women who have had a termination think, "We've committed the unforgivable sin." And I struggled with that. I couldn't forgive myself, and I'd go, "Okay, He forgives me, why can't I forgive" – and back and forth, and finally the picture that brought it together for me was this – if I said that I couldn't be forgiven, then I was saying Jesus's blood was not enough, and I couldn't do that.
And so then I started to understand that I could be forgiven, and then I had to walk through a lot of apologies and a lot to reconcile a lot of relationships and to understand how the Lord wanted me to walk through that.
Dennis: As you were talking, it hit me – if you can't forgive yourself, you are also declaring Jesus's words, when He said, "It is finished." You are declaring His Word is not true – that there is still work to be done. Right now there has to be a post-abortive woman, perhaps a man, they want forgiveness, they want cleansing, they want to know it is well with my soul. Would you lead that person, that woman who is suffering from the guilt of those choices she made – or that man – would you lead that person in that preacher's prayer from Texas that he led you through? Because I think it's a good prayer.
Carol: It's a very good prayer. Why don't you bow, and let's pray together. Dear Lord, we come to you today as sinners. Please forgive us of our sins. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins. Reign on the throne of my heart as Lord and Savior, make me a worker in your vineyard. Amen.
Bob: It's a simple prayer but, again, if a heart is open, it's not the words, it's not a magic incantation, it's a heart that says, "I'm ready to surrender, I'm ready to make the turn."
Dennis: And I want to remind our listeners that faith is only as good as its object. Your trust and your faith – if you prayed that prayer – is in a God, the God, who can cleanse, forgive, offer the certainty that you will spend eternity with Him.
Bob: Mm-hm. And any of our listeners who prayed that prayer with Carol, there is a book we'd love to send you. It's called "Pursuing God," and it's designed to help you understand what it means to have an ongoing daily vital relationship with God through Jesus Christ. All you have to do is call 1-800-FLTODAY and say, "I'd like a copy of that book, 'Pursuing God.' I have given my life to Christ, and I want to know what it means to be a follower of Christ. I prayed that prayer on the program," and, again, we're happy to send this book out to you at no cost to you.
Call 1-800-FLTODAY and ask for a copy of the book, "Pursuing God," or just say I'm calling because I became a Christian, and we're delighted to send the book to you.
And speaking of books, let me encourage you to consider getting a copy of Randy Alcorn's helpful book, "Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments." This is a very thorough, very comprehensive book that Randy has written designed to deal with the arguments that are made in our culture in support of abortion but also to provide very practical help on things like the biblical passages that relate to pro-life issues or how abortion has been dealt with in church history. There is a whole section on "50 Ways to Help Unborn Babies and Their Mothers." There is a Sanctity of Life message that someone could give in a church service. There is a sample statement that a church can use or modify to state their own position on abortion; Bible study lessons for group discussion. Randy's just done a great job and, Carol, I know you have endorsed this book.
If you'd like to get a copy, go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, and there is information available there on how you can order a copy of the book. Again, it's FamilyLifeToday.com or, if you'd like, you can call 1-800-FLTODAY, that's 1-800-358-6329 – 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY. When you call, someone on our team will answer any questions you have about the resources that we have available, and we'll make arrangements to get the ones you need sent out to you.
I want to add a quick word at the end of today's program. I know that from time to time you hear us mention here on FamilyLife Today that we are listener-supported and that we appreciate your financial support. I hope when you hear that – I hope a couple of things – first, I hope that you know that we don't ever want to do anything to try to put pressure on you to give or to make it awkward or uncomfortable for you. We really do look to the Lord to provide for our needs. We just want to let you know that if you are able to help, you can be a part of how God answers our prayer for financial support, and we want to make sure that you never do anything to take away from giving to your local church. We believe that needs to be your first priority when it comes to giving, and we wouldn't want to think that you are sending to us money that ought to go there, first and foremost.
So we do appreciate those of you who are able to help with financial support for this ministry. It is greatly needed and much appreciated, and this month if you are able to make a donation of any amount to the ministry of FamilyLife Today, we'd love to send you, as a thank you gift, a copy of the book by Dennis and Barbara Rainey, "Moments With You," a daily devotional guide for husbands and wives that's designed to get you thinking together about a marriage and family-related them each day. There is a discussion question, and an opportunity to pray together each day as well.
The book is our way of saying thank you to you when you do support the ministry of FamilyLife Today with a generous donation of any amount this month, and you can do that online at FamilyLifeToday.com. If you are on our website, and you're making a donation, there is a keycode box on the donation form. Type the word "moments" into that box, and we'll know to send you a copy of Dennis and Barbara's book. Or call 1-800-FLTODAY, 1-800-358-6329, make your donation over the phone and just mention that you'd like the book, "Moments With You," and, again, let me just say thanks in advance for whatever you are able to do in helping to support this ministry. We appreciate your trust in us, and we appreciate your partnership with us as well.
And we hope you have a great weekend. I hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend, and I hope you can join us back on Monday when we want to talk about romance. We want to talk about what husbands and wives can do to more effectively communicate with one another our love for one another. Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus are going to join us for that discussion, and I hope you can be with us as well.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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