About the Artist
Virginia Van Boven is a homemaker and artist. She thanks God for her artistic talent and for her family, especially for her husband who has patiently supported her artistic ventures throughout the years. The couple met in college and have gone through many lifestyle changes together, finally landing in the arms of Jesus Christ and his church. Virginia has two grown children and two grandchildren. She painted “Journey Out of Ramah” in 1998, 30 years after her abortion in college. She continues to paint Christian subjects as well as landscape, still-life and figurative work.
When I left the clinic that autumn day after my abortion I felt numb in a different and frightening way. Would I ever feel lighthearted again? Only eighteen, but I suddenly felt so very, very old. My boyfriend tried to be supportive by bringing me flowers, but my depression just seemed to crush their loveliness. Besides the strange numbness I felt a deep longing to hold something, or someone, in my arms. I felt… like a mother.
At eighteen I was not a Christian and liked to proclaim that abortion was every woman’s right. Abortion had seemed the best choice for me because I thought I was too young and too emotionally unstable to be a mother. Other girls at college had abortions all the time, so it must be okay! Why did I feel so bad, now that it was over?
In the months to come nightmares about the abortion haunted me and self-destructive behavior dominated my life. My boyfried and I stayed together but a huge wall came up between us. We never talked about the abortion. After we had our children I constantly tried to prove to myself and him what a good mother I was. Yet, I had panic attacks and feared going crazy. Depression rarely left me and my self esteem was rock bottom.
In my early thirties I ran out of therapists and self-help books. I began to hope God might realy exist, because I was at the end of my rope and I needed him desperately. Little by little He began to draw me to himself and his church. My abortion was still a painful secret in my life and I decided to seek help for it. I found Healing Hearts Ministries and took their Bible Study, “Binding Up the Brokenhearted”, written for post-abortive women by someone who had been there herself.
Through the Word of God applied to my situation and the love of the women in my group, I finally found the healing I needed. I came to understand God’s grace and his love for women like me who had aborted a child or children; how he wants to accept our repentance and envelop us in his warm embrace forever. He wants to heal our brokenness and fill us with his joyful Holy Spirit. He wants to bring us out of the darkness and into the light of his love and truth!
Thirty years ago when I aborted my first child and brought years of painful consequences upon myself, I could not have imagined the freedom and joy I would later find through the healing love of Jesus Christ. Painting has become a part of my healing process – helping to clear out the fog of my past and express the truth of God’s love.
The desire of my heart is that my story on canvas may bring glory to God for what He has done in my life, and offer comfort, conviction, and truth to those who see these paintings. I hope that those who have aborted would be moved to repent and be healed, and that those faced with a choice about abortion would decide against it.
– Virginia Van Boven