(LifeSiteNews) — Very often in the abortion debate we hear about the supposed need for rape and incest exceptions. While these acts are indeed horrendous evils that plague the world, neither can detract from the beauty of a new life that would result from them.
My guest on this episode of The John-Henry Westen Show is Steventhen Holland, a pro-life speaker and musician conceived after his mother was raped.
Holland recalls finding out as a boy that he was adopted by his family two years after his adoptive mother suffered a miscarriage, a pain he believes God used to get them to begin fostering. While Holland didn’t recognize that the color of his skin was different than the rest of his family until friends at school confronted him about it (a conversation that prompted his mother to tell him of the adoption), he maintains that love goes deeper than skin color and blood. However, he also recalls that it was the first time he ever asked God, “Why?”
“’Why do I have to be the wrong color? Why do I not look the same?’” Holland remembers. “But what really hit deep was why would a mother not want her son? I felt like I was thrown away, that I wasn’t worth enough to be kept. So that little eight-year-old boy is struggling with that.”
Holland also remembers asking God a similar string of questions in high school when he had a back surgery that ended his football career, a sport he played to find worth. In spite of the injury, however, Holland says that God used to bring him to a small school in Bristol, Tennessee, where he met his wife. The two would ask God about the reasons for her miscarriage during her first pregnancy while Holland was serving as a minister. Holland and his wife suffered another miscarriage during her third pregnancy, the unborn infant needing to be surgically removed from the womb.
Shortly afterward, Holland’s wife got pregnant again, and in the midst of pain and depression, Holland says he heard the Spirit of God tell him to begin looking for his mother. Holland had a folder his adoptive mother gave him when he was a child, containing documents like his birth certificate. Holland began googling with the help of the documents, and on the third day found a man that shared his mother’s last name, a magician and ventriloquist named Steve Holt. While Holland had trepidation about looking further because of his fear of clowns, he felt as though he had to keep looking.
“I look on his bio and every single name on my paperwork from 1982, I was born March 31, 1982, matched what his online information said,” Holland tells me. “One specific name was Glenda Sue Holt, who is a baby sister. And that’s my mom. That’s my mom’s name.”
Holland sent Holt an email and spoke with him on the phone, meeting his birth uncle at the age of 27. Holt told Holland about the circumstances of his birth, explaining that the Holt siblings’ parents died when they were young, leaving the six children to go to orphanage. On top of that, all save Steve were mentally handicapped, Glenda Sue only acting as though she were 11 years old. When she reached the age of maturity, she became a ward of the state of Georgia and was placed in a mental health facility, Holland explains.
While living at the facility, Holland’s mother was raped by five men. Holland does not believe that anyone at the facility raped his mother, the rape occurring outside of the facility and resulting in her pregnancy with Holland. However, his mother being mentally handicapped, she did not understand what happened to her and was afraid. While the facility pressured her to abort Holland since she could not support him, Glenda Sue ran away from the facility and was homeless for the duration of the pregnancy, giving birth in Whitwell, Tennessee, where one of the Holland boys found her.
The Hollands took Glenda Sue in for two weeks, after which time she gave birth to Steventhen in the hospital. Holland met his mother at Holt’s invitation during their meeting. While the two went to the mental facility Glenda Sue was living in the following day, with a plan to meet her in her room, Holland met her while Holt was performing a magic show for the facility residents after she and Holland sang “Amazing Grace,” a meeting that can be found on YouTube.
“I was at peace,” says Holland about the meeting. “Just to have the opportunity to look my mom in the eyes and tell her that I loved her, and thank you for giving me life, that’s all I needed, and I would have been at peace with that. But God, I think, gave me so much more. That I was loved, that I did matter.”
“She wanted me, but she just didn’t have the mental capacity to care for me, but she did have the love to give birth to her son,” he continues. “She valued me enough, even though the world was telling her that it wasn’t worth it, and she shouldn’t have to go through that, even with an eleven-year-old mental capacity, she knew the value of life and the strength of a mother. She truly is the hero of the story.”
Glenda Sue died on Thanksgiving Day 2020, having lived in a situation used by abortion advocates to push for abortion. In response to the message supporting abortion for victims of rape, Holland says that his life matters, and that despite the fact he was brought into the world in one of the most horrific of ways, God still has a plan for such people.
“In my opinion, all life is sacred, and hopefully I can be an example of that with my story and be bold enough to share,” Holland asserts.
“I tell people I have to touch my pain a lot of times. Every time I share, I shed tears. But I know somebody watching this is maybe going to find a healing, and that’s part of the purpose that I have on this planet … because somebody saw value enough to choose life for me, even though the circumstances were not great.”
Touching upon his mother’s life, Holland says that his children called her “Grandma Gigi” and that she managed to play with dolls and color with her grandchildren. “Her life had worth and value, even though a lot of society would say, ‘Well she only functions [as an] 11-year-old. She’s mentally handicapped and challenged.’ But she’s somebody’s mom and she somebody’s grandmother, and she deserved to be loved and respected,” Holland tells me.
Before the close of the show, Holland tells me that the name of his organization, Broken Not Dead, comes from his own suffering. He uses the image of kintsugi, a Japanese art form dealing with mending broken pottery with gold lacquer to explain that even though one is wounded, he is not yet dead.
“We have to take [our] brokenness and surrender it to the Master Potter to do the healing,” Holland says, comparing suffering to the art form. “But once you’ve been restored, the cracks become the beauty of the object. So you actually do have purpose, even though you’ve been through the brokenness. There’s still purpose for your life. You’re actually worth more. That object’s worth more now than it was in its original state, but it had to be broken, then restored.”
Continuing the comparison, Holland explains that when one shines a light on kintsugi pottery, the gold lacquer used to repair the pottery reflects light.
“I feel like for the image people out there in the world, that’s what this means,” Holland tells me. “Yeah, I’m broken, but so what? I’m not dead yet. So I still have breath in my lungs, and a heartbeat in my chest. So I still have work to do. I still have eternity … to push towards and bring as many people as I can with me.”
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