As I introduce myself as Michele (Smith), I do not take my name lightly any longer. Some people refer to me as “Michele with one L”, but there was a time in my life that I really did not know who I was and what the significance of my name was (more on that later). In my teenage years, I decided to spell my name with two L’s for more acceptance since most people spelled it that way. I look back at that time in my life with sadness at the thought of that and not really understanding my identity as a child of God and who He created me to be.
I was born in Newark, NJ and then moved to Irvington, NJ when I was five-years-old. Even as a young child, I was fearful of the “what if’s” or the “what could happen if I…..”, etc. It seems being surrounded by fear of rejection, abandonment, fear of danger, and just overall fear of not being able to protect myself or others I loved from harm, influenced a lot of my decision-making process from an early age. I never really understood the driving force behind that until just a few years ago.
Finding out over two years ago in 2020 from my then 91-year-old-mom that she attempted to end my life in the womb through chemical abortion and (saline?) shots, helped me to connect some dots that I was never able to previously do in my life. My mom and dad already had six children before me, and when my mom found out she was pregnant with her seventh child (me), she again went to see her doctor out of desperation for the financial pain they were in and not knowing how they would provide for yet another child. I say “again” as my sister Rose, who is 11 months older than I, also survived the same chemical/saline abortion procedure where our mom saw her OBGYN for three consecutive days and where she received what we think were saline shots (we believe it was shots into the amniotic sack, but my mom cannot remember) along with taking 18 pills a day of methotrexate for three days in a row. That is how desperate my mom was – to try it a second time in the hopes it would work with me, and that is why she has carried so much shame with that decision. I quickly forgave my mom and wanted her to know that I loved her and that God wanted her to be free from her shame in this area.
As I was able to recently see the movie, “Jesus Revolution”, more pieces of the puzzle began to come together. For the first time, I was able to share with my husband, Louis, my testimony through the eyes of this movie and the revolution that Jesus brought to America in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. I was born in 1962, during a time of division and unrest. My oldest sister Donna actually gave her life to Jesus on the back of a motorcycle in 1974 through a young man that we would probably consider to be a hippie. My sister Donna began a Jesus revolution in our then Catholic family that continues to burn to this day.
The reason I share this story is that as my sister shared the Bible with us around the dining room table, the Word of God began to penetrate my soft heart that was already ripe for a life-changing experience to take place. From the time I can remember, I always had a strong awareness of God in my life—always wanting to know Him more but at the same time was always full of emptiness. How was I going to reconcile those two things? In our church, we were not encouraged to experience the born-again experience or read our Bibles for ourselves. Even so, my hunger for God never left in the midst of my emptiness.
I believe that the hands of Jesus kept me safe inside the womb as the chemical abortion procedure took place. I also believe this is why there has been that keen awareness of God and His presence in my life even from a young age as He spared my life in the womb. As the puzzle pieces keep coming together pointing to the trauma the enemy of our souls tried to put on me in the womb, I see patterns of brokenness in my life that God has been and is still wanting to heal. I am grateful for His love and compassion as He walks with me through the continued healing process knowing that I am coming from a place of victory already in the midst of it because of what Jesus has done for me on the cross.
The interesting thing about my sister and my abortion survival is that the same doctor who guided my mom to end our life is the same doctor who delivered us both. My story is just a little different than my sister Rose’s story in that my mom did not have a name for me at the time of my birth. That always bothered me along with her not having any photos of me when I was a baby or toddler. My mom always shared with me that the Dr. was the one that named me and called out, “That’s a Michele” to which my mom replied in so many words, “I will take it”. Even in the midst of me trying to overcome that pain, Jesus ever-so-gently said to me recently, “That doctor didn’t name you, I did.” Wow, isn’t Jesus so good! I then discovered that my great-grandfather’s name was also Michele (Italian for Michael) through the recent discovery of some Italian immigration documents with his name on it. God reminded me at that point that I did belong in my family even though I had felt like an outcast in my family for so many years. In every part of my story of pain, there He has been with His loving-care over me. He is the faithful one and the lover of my soul!
As I write this story about me, I am reminded that it really isn’t my story. It is His story of redemption and love in my life – His rescue plan first for me physically and then spiritually as I asked Jesus to take over my life in 1978. Emptiness was gone at that moment, and His love started the long process of discovering who I am in Him! What an amazing journey it has been with Him by my side.
Today, I celebrate life as a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend. My husband, Louis and I enjoy time together living in Louisiana serving Jesus, enjoying our family which of course includes our 6 beautiful children and 11 grandchildren. We also enjoy serving others through our ministry of Louie’s Pizza and Prayer, Inc. (a non-profit 501C3) where we love people through the gift of free New York Style Pizza events on our pizza trailer. We have even had the opportunity to do two events with two crisis pregnancy centers along with selling pizza in our community around my husband’s full-time job. We are involved in a local fellowship where we learn more and more about who Jesus is through the study of His Word. I have also had the opportunity to connect with other pro-life organizations in our community and have started a small activist group of pro-life believers from our local community. So far, we have had the opportunity to attend a few events to share the story of life along with providing information about ASN, Louisiana Right To Life, and many local crisis pregnancy centers to be a voice for hurting moms and their unborn babies.
I first heard about ASN on a post on Abby Johnson’s Facebook page where someone mentioned this amazing group but wasn’t ready to really engage in the group at that point. It wasn’t until I was watching an episode of The Gospel Truth with Andrew Wommack as he was interviewing Melissa Ohden in January of 2022 that I was ready to connect with ASN. That interview with Melissa stopped me in my tracks as I heard the amazing story of how God saved Melissa’s life and what she was doing to minister to other survivors like me. I immediately called my sister Rose and told her all about Melissa. It was after a very traumatic situation that took place in my life that I actually reached out to Melissa who in turn connected me to our sweet Kara, who called me on the phone and heard the pain of what I was going through and how it related to my own survival in the womb. From there, my sister and I began Melissa’s healing notebook, “More Than A Choice” journey with Priscilla and Kara both facilitating. Wow, what a journey that was and what a blessing to have been covered with so much love by Kara and Priscilla as they exemplified the love of God through that wonderful healing notebook Melissa created for all of us.
Words cannot express my gratitude for the faithfulness of God and the covering of love through ASN as I look forward to sharing my story as I complete the final steps to Speakers Training that is provided through ASN. My desire is for God to reach those with His love hurting from the trauma of abortion through the story of my own journey.
Thank you for letting me share a little bit of my journey toward healing with you!
In His love,