PEACHTREE CITY, Georgia, May 21, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Thirty-five years ago, in 1978, everything seemed to be going Kim’s way.
The 23-year-old, blond-haired beauty had recently put herself through broadcasting school. Now she was being offered the job of her dreams, which would lead to her having her own program in a big city. She also had a man by her side with whom she planned to enjoy all the good things that life offered.
But just three months into her new career, Kim found out that she was pregnant. Her partner wanted nothing to do with a baby, telling her that he was not ready to become a father. Kim’s close friends told her that since he would not support her, she would just have to “take care” of herself – i.e. get an abortion.
Kim Ketola told LifeSiteNews.com in a recent interview that she viewed the pregnancy as a threat to her future.
“I did not in any way see how I could [have the baby and] withstand the shame of being a single mother and being someone who had been in love with a man who would treat me that way,” she said.
Kim didn’t agonize over the moral questions raised by abortion. She simply assumed that abortion must be moral since it was legal.
Kim remembers that while the abortion procedure was not traumatic or painful physically, it was “very traumatic spiritually.” After the procedure, she realized on some deep level that she was guilty of having “taken a life.”
“I believed I was going to hell. I believed that God hated me,” she said.
Grief and sorrow became Kim’s constant, but unacknowledged companions. She tried to bury her spiritually devastating abortion experience in her demanding career. The betrayal she felt from the man who had promised to be there for her in times of need destroyed the young couple’s once flourishing relationship.
A marriage five years after the abortion lasted less than a decade before ending in divorce. Kim remarried. Her second husband was interested in God and together they began attending a scripture-based pro-life denomination.
“As I would hear the sermons, it was just shattering because what my heart had known and sensed to be true … I was now hearing confirmed in scripture,” she said.
“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5), she heard on one occasion. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb,” (Psalm 139:13) she heard at another time.
But while the words of scripture beckoned her to begin a healing journey, Kim still had a long road ahead.
“There was no ‘child’ until that point. It was just too terrible to think about a baby or to try to picture a little one,” she said.
After being with the denomination for eleven years, Kim attended a discipleship retreat where a woman openly shared her abortion experience. At that moment, Kim knew that the time had come for her to acknowledge what she had denied and kept buried for so long.
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“Someone confessed an abortion and that made it safe for me to share my secret,” she remembers.
Kim learned at that retreat that Jesus had died for her and all her mistakes, including her abortion. She learned that nothing she had done was so terrible that God wasn’t big enough, merciful enough, and loving enough to forgive.
“God released me. As that shame receded, something really beautiful happened: Christ affirmed for me that my child is safe with him in Heaven.”
She name her child Emmanuel, meaning “God is with us”.
For the first time, Kim was able to publicly grieve over her child lost through abortion. And then, from her new vantage point, she took a hard look at her broadcasting career, pursued at the expense of her God-given child, and saw it as so much sawdust.
Help over the radio waves
Kim went on to work with Ruth Graham, who ran post-abortion healing workshops, in 2007. She wrote a book about her journey titled Cradle My Heart: Finding God’s Love after Abortion, published last year by Kregel, which tells her story and those of 10 other women.
Then, last year, when Kim moved to Georgia, some friends encouraged her to use her three decades of broadcasting experience to reach out over the airwaves to women hurting from abortion. With no budget and no backers Kim approached a radio station manager to ask for an hour a week. She was surprised when the station manager responded “Yes.”
Cradle My Heart Radio with Kim Ketola was first broadcast last September. In the past eight months, Kim has featured first-person stories of healing after abortion with expert commentary from leading Christian voices, including Cecil Stokes, producer of pro-life film October Baby, Ryan Bomberger of the Radiance Foundation, pro-life nurse and blogger Jill Stanek, Pat Layton, founder of Life Impact Network, Reggie Littlejohn, founder of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, abortion worker turned pro-life activist Abby Johnson, and Rachel’s Vineyard founder Dr. Theresa Burke.
Cradle My Heart Radio is live on 11 stations and streamed over the Internet on Sunday evenings at 9 ET. Kim’s begins every program with the tag line: “A safe place to connect with others. Finding God's Love After Abortion. This is Cradle My Heart Radio.”
On the show, Kim encourages listeners to call in and share their abortion related stories, ask questions, and make comments. “We are live and interactive so people will know that there is a safe place to go and to call,” she said.
Kim sees the radio show as a “beautiful ministry” to women hurt by abortion who just might hear the words they need to see the dawning of a new hope in their lives shattered by abortion. With about an estimated one-third of American women having an abortion during their reproductive lifetime, Kim knows that her program is not falling on deaf ears.
“What I know is that there are a lot of people who have stories to tell and some of them are very different from my story,” she said.
Kim does not see her program as a one-woman show. She relies on the pro-life movement to be there for the hurt and broken women who call in. She tells callers thinking about abortion that local pregnancy help centers offer the best information. She has a list of locations and numbers at hand. “The pregnancy help movement are the hands and feet of the pro-life movement,” she said.
Listeners tuning in on Sunday evenings will hear Kim say that abortion never solves problems, it just creates bigger ones. Kim said that if she knew a young woman had tuned in who was in the same situation she faced 35 years ago — on the threshold of a big career, in an uncommitted relationship, and pregnant — she would know exactly what kind of advice to give this woman.
“Pregnancy is nine months of your life,” she would say. “Once you are pregnant, there is nothing that can turn back the hands of time: You are a parent. Your only choice at that point is whether you’re going to make a loving decision for the good of your child or whether you’re going to act selfishly, out of fear and self-protection.”
“If you make a loving decision on behalf of your child, it may involve releasing that child for adoption, which is a difficult and painful choice. Or it may involve getting married when you weren’t planning to. Or it may involve single motherhood.”
“While all of these options have their own difficulty, none of them involve taking the life of another human being. You will never have to live with the guilt and the grief of having taken what belongs to God into your own hands and having to live with that for the rest of your life.”
“Yes, I understand the fear in your heart. But perfect love drives out fear. If you love this child, you can do the loving thing and have a decision that you can live with for the rest of your life."