In an honest and heartfelt interview, Greg Smalley, Vice President of Marriage at Focus on the Family, opens up about what it’s like to be a post-abortive father.
Raised in a Christian home, under the leadership of a prominent Christian minister, Greg Smalley understood that his life choices would affect more lives than his own. In his early twenties, under the misconception that it would salvage his future, his girlfriend’s future, and the future of his father’s ministry, Smalley became a post-abortive father.
“This is thirty years ago, for me,” Says Smalley, “and it still hurts.”
Smalley describes the day of the abortion with as much triggering detail as is provided by many post-abortive women.
“I can remember sitting in the waiting room. There’s a fish aquarium,” he raises his left hand as though the tank is still beside him, “and then there was music being piped in. I can’t tell you the name of the songs,” Smalley grows silent as he remembers. “but if they come on, and I hear them on the radio… I will have a sick reaction. My stomach literally churns.”
The Ripple Effects of Being Post-Abortive
For Smalley, the ripple effects of losing his son resonated throughout the rest of his life. After having made a decision he felt was wrong and even cowardly, the lies he believed about himself dictated the way he responded to his God-given role in marriage and parenting. For a while, Smalley even abandoned his call to the ministry, thinking there was no way God would forgive him after what he had done.
Today, after much inner-healing, Greg Smalley has become a pillar of wisdom at Focus on the Family. He shares his life experiences to help build strong husbands, fathers, and families as a whole.
When asked about how he was able to forgive himself and find inner healing, he lists off God-orchestrated events that brought about healing and freedom from his past. When asked what he would say to young men who are currently faced with similar situations, he meets the question with the boldness of a steadfast father.
Every Fearful Father: A Gideon Story
Smalley refers to Gideon, the would-be warrior, who was hiding food at the time of the Lord’s calling (Judges 6). While Gideon was living in fear, the Lord spoke the truth over him:
“The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, ‘The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.'”
At first, Gideon didn’t believe the angel. Gideon was all too familiar with the disheartening past of his people.
“‘Pardon me, my lord,’ Gideon replied, ‘but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.'”
Gideon knew his past, but the Lord knew his future.
“The Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
“That’s what I would so love to do,” says Smalley, “to be able to be with that young man and call out that mighty warrior within him.”