On the outside, Carli Salzburg looks like the all-American girl.
Blonde hair, beautiful smile, a sweet southern accent and a contagious love for Jesus, she instantly looks like someone I’d want to be best friends with.
Like so many strong Christians today, Carli hasn’t always walked in the way of the Lord. In fact, at one point in her life, she felt so far from God that she actually believed she was making the right decisions for herself—particularly when it came to having an abortion.
According to the World Health Organization, there are an estimated 50 million abortions performed around the world each year. That equates to approximately 125,000 abortions per day. 125,000 lives that are ended before they’re even given a chance.
After turning to drugs, alcohol and boys to fill a void in her heart following her parents’ divorce, Carli found herself pregnant at 17 with an abusive boy who was more interested in playing games and manipulating her than he actually was in Carli .
“I had no idea who Jesus was,” Carli admits. “I had no idea that he was just waiting to wrap his arms around me, and just for me to come to him—brokenness and all.”
In her brokenness, Carli made the decision to have an abortion.
“I was so ashamed, I didn’t tell a soul.”
She didn’t know it at the time, but God was working in her heart. Later that year, Carli set off for college. But before doing so, she remembers praying for godly friends.
“I didn’t really know why, but I wanted to be different, and I wanted to know who Jesus really was.”
Carli jokes that she’s a slow learner, but in time, Jesus heals all wounds. The pain of her parents’ divorce, the abusive relationships, the abortion, the heartbreak, it has all been made perfect in God’s perfect timing.
Carli says she often thinks back to the decisions she made before she came to know Jesus. She reflects on her decision to abort her baby, and like most women in her position, it can be hard not to experience regret.
She thought she would surely be disowned by her Heavenly Father after her sinful decision.
“I kinda thought he hated me,” said Carli. “But I was wrong. God had not quit on me.”
In seeking God, and surrounding herself with Godly community, the Lord revealed to Carli that she IS worthy, and she IS valuable.
“He made it known to me that I am so much more than that pain and regret that I had been facing, and the decisions I made, and that’s not who defines me.”
In the end, Carli hopes others who are carrying around the regret and weightiness of guilt that comes with having an abortion, will know that God is not finished with you yet.
“God showed me–the girl from a Christian home, who had the abortion, who’s familiar with the regret and the shame–what it’s like to be wanted. God pursued me. All the past, all the failure, all the junk, He pursued me, out of all people.
What would happen if you realized He was doing the same thing for you?”