Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sanctity of Human Life Sunday - Jan. 23, 2011

The following is written by a friend of mine about a Sanctity of Life Sunday at Sandhills Presbyterian Church when I pastored there. I remember that day very well!

Sanctity of Life
By Steve Crain, January 19, 2011

“When I was in Teen Challenge, as a student, I dealt with my drug abuse and my addiction to alcohol, but God showed me one day that he wanted to deal with a part of my life I was so afraid to turn over to him,” said Debby DiBianca, as she spoke about three abortions she experienced. 
DiBianca gave this “testimony” to an audience at Sandhills Presbyterian Church (PCA), Southern Pines, N.C., on Jan. 24, 2004. Her husband Sal DiBianca serves as director of Sandhills Teen Challenge (TC), a Carthage, N.C., drug and alcohol rehabilitation center that is part of Teen Challenge, a ministry founded by the Rev. David Wilkerson, whose work with N.Y City gang members is reported in the book “The Cross and the Switchblade.” The DiBiancas graduated from TC and became leaders in that organization.
“This isn’t easy for me to share,” DiBianca said. “I want everyone just to think I’m the great mom that Jamie and Brandon need.” (Sal and Debby’s children, Jamie and Brandon, were teenagers at the time she gave this testimony.)
DiBianca said God wanted her to forgive herself for three abortions she experienced, but she kept pushing the problem aside.
“I gave my virginity to Sal when I was 15 years old,” said DiBianca, who became pregnant and underwent an abortion. “I found myself, again, at the age of 16, in the same line at Planned Parenthood, getting my second abortion…When I was a senior in high school, I was in the same line, signing for them to rip out my third baby.”
DiBianca, who said her operations cause ongoing physical problems and pain, became a Christian.
“From the day I accepted Christ, until our wedding day, Sal and I were abstinent,” DiBianca said.
After graduating from Teen Challenge and serving as TC leaders, the DiBiancas moved to Moore County, N.C., to work with Sandhills Teen Challenge in the late 1980s. They received invitations to speak on moral issues in public high schools. When a friend asked Debbie to speak about her abortion experiences, she hesitated but decided to overcome her anxiety and guilt.
“I walked out (on the stage) at Pinecrest High School in 1989 on a Friday in January and told 1350 kids about the damage these abortions did,” she said. “Six girls cancelled their abortions that were scheduled for the next day in Fayetteville (N.C.).”
DiBianca said her faith in Christ helped her handle life’s pressures, but that some days weren’t easy. 
“I wanted to kill myself, sometimes,” she said. “Not just because of the three aborted babies, but because of the damage those abortions did. Sal and I have eight babies in heaven. I’ve lost five babies because they got attached to the unhealthy part of my uterus.”
DiBianca expressed happiness about being the mother of her daughter Jamie and her son Brandon.
“I’m an over-protective mom,” she said. “I’m afraid the enemy is going to come and snatch them, again. So, I still have these issues in my life. But I’m so glad I let Jesus come into that part of my life and deal with it. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he has forgiven me. And, yet, I had to forgive myself…I turned my life over to Christ, 100 percent…He’s so faithful.”
DiBianca concluded and the Rev. Steve Hill, then serving as the assistant pastor at Sandhills PCA, spoke to the audience.
“I don’t want anybody leaving this place feeling condemned,” Hill said. “In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says, ‘Come to me.’ If you’re carrying that guilt, if you’re carrying that shame, like Debby was, Jesus says, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened.’”
Hill said Satan continues accusing and condemning in order to keep a person from being able to “go ahead” with a future.
“Jesus will let you rest,” Hill said. “He’s not mad at you. Debby’s identity is not ‘murderer’ but ‘blood-washed, forgiven, child of God.’”
Hill said, “Whether you’re a Christian or not, you’re made in the image of the God of the universe.” He read from Genesis 9 and said God will demand an accounting for murder. “When you destroy the image of God, you’re going to have to deal with him. Death dishonors the image of God.”
Hill read Jeremiah 1:5. In that verse, Jeremiah said God spoke to him, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.”
“Children,” Hill said to younger audience members, “your parents loved you the minute they set eyes on you…but God loved you before that, before you had a name, before you had a thought.”

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