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Carli Salzberg was a typical American girl. She was young, full of life, and had a beautiful smile. She grew up in a Christian home with loving parents.

Everything changed at the age of 17, when Carli found out that she was pregnant with her boyfriend who was cheating on her. Broken and sacred, Carli did the only thing she thought she could do at the time. She chose to get an abortion.

Carli had a rough time in middle school after her parents went through a divorce. She turned to drugs, alcohol and boys to fill the void that was in her heart. This ultimately led her far away from the Lord.

“I was so far from where I started, that I thought I was making the right decision,” Carli states. She was so afraid to speak up, she didn’t tell a soul.

“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.”

Carli didn’t know at the time, but even in the moments of pain God was working in her heart. Her small group leader was working diligently to try and get her to come to church. She said she wasn’t ready at the time to accept God into her heart, and let Him see the dark parts of her heart.

Later that year, Carli set off for college. She remembers praying for Christian friends before she left. She stated, “I didn’t really know why, but I wanted to be different, and I wanted to know who Jesus really was.” Carli jokes about being a slow learner, but after a while she began to see that Jesus would heal 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. Carli felt that she was disowned by her Heavenly Father.

“I kinda thought he hated me,” said Carli. “But I was wrong. God had not quit on me.”

God kept working for Carli, though, and showed her that she was valuable no matter what choices she had made before.

“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.”

Carli took a year off of dating, and decided to put her focus on God completely. She let Him back into her heart, and He revealed His love for her.

“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.

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Wingchi Poon

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