God brought me to a place where I was ready to confront the reality of my abortion decision. Up to this point, I had really treated my decision and my past in a very factual way. My abortion was an event that happened in my life. I couldn’t change that decision, so it just was what it was. I had no idea the amount of emotion that I really had bottled up inside of me. I had no idea that I was about to come face to face with the pain that I didn’t even know I had.
The first step in the healing journey was to understand where I had come from. What were my childhood dreams? What had I envisioned for my life? What had I given up as a result of the decisions I’ve made throughout my life? Like most young women, I had dreamed of marriage and a family. I had aspirations for various career paths (they seemed to change as I got older). And like most women, I had made some decisions that changed how I had envisioned my life.
But those same choices and some inspiration of the Holy Spirit had brought me here – to the place that I was about to meet God in the most real way that I had ever experienced.
Do you know the story of Hagar? She was Sarai’s maidservant. God had promised a son to Sarai and Abram (Genesis 15). Because they were advanced in age, Sarai was losing faith and gave her maidservant, Hagar, to Abram to conceive a child. After Hagar conceived, Sarai began to treat her badly, so Hagar ran away.
The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.” The angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” And the angel of the Lord said to her, “Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has listened to your affliction. (Genesis 16:7-11)
So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered. And Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. (Genesis 16:13-15)
What struck me about Hagar’s situation is that she was running from her problems and the Lord met her. He comforted her and then instructed her to go back to her situation. She was to face her fear and her problems. And that’s exactly what the Lord had done with me, too. He brought me to a place where I was to look into the eyes of my abortion, and face my fears even through the pain of it.
I had resisted dealing with my abortion for years. Anytime I saw a billboard or the topic would come up, I would just shrink away – hoping that no one would know my secret. Facing my abortion meant acknowledging that it had happened and that it was real. I had to face the fact that I wasn’t as perfect as I tried to appear… and that I had made an irrevocable mistake.
As I was preparing to face my abortion, I was reassured over and over by the Lord that He was with me and brought me to this place. He didn’t bring me here to open a wound and leave me to suffer alone. Even though I was doing this study on my own, I was part of another women’s study that complimented what I was about to embark on. I had an amazing group of women surrounding me as well as the Lord of the Universe (that’s pretty cool!) ready to walk side by side with me.
I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak. (Ezekiel 34:16)
“What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’” (Luke 15:4-6)
Jesus rejoices when one of His sheep is found! I am one of His sheep. It was overwhelming to think that He was rejoicing over me as I was coming to this place to meet Him – to experience His love, His forgiveness, His healing and His restoration.
For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:17)
…I’d sell of the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you. (Isaiah 43:4)
God sent Jesus on a rescue mission. I didn’t realize it at the time, but He was on a mission to rescue me from the emotional pit I had sunk into and from condemnation. Knowing the Lord’s heart and intentions made me more open to going on this journey. He didn’t bring me to this point to leave me here. That didn’t mean that I wouldn’t experience pain – there is pain in healing. And we were about to open the deepest wound I had ever experienced.
Going through this post-abortion recovery study, I learned that I had dealt with some post trauma stress. I had known the decision was wrong, but felt like I didn’t have a choice. I didn’t remember the doctor or clinic who performed the abortion, blocking out the logistics. I felt a tremendous amount of shame, guilt and regret about my abortion. I rarely allowed myself to cry or grieve over my decision – I didn’t feel like I was worthy enough to allow myself to grieve.
I didn’t realize that post trauma stress was even relevant to an abortion experience. Who knew!? Most of us who have gone through an abortion (amongst various other decisions that affect our lives) learn how to accommodate our past. We learn how to hide our past. We learn how to change the subject if it comes up. We’re really good at putting on our masks so that no one else can truly see the secret pain that we’re hiding.
Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part, You will make me know wisdom. (Psalm 51:6)
The truth is that we’ve bought a sack of lies from the greatest deceiver there is. We’re told that we have to keep it a secret, that no one will accept us because of our decisions, that we aren’t worthy of love or happiness (or children) because we made a deliberate decision to kill our unborn child. We’re taught that we have to find a way to survive by hiding the pain and the truth. If we can just keep it hidden, no one will know and we’ll be OK.
Lies! Lies! Lies!
The truth is that there is a God who loves us deeply and wants nothing more than a personal relationship with us and who desires healing for our hurting souls. He has a plan and a purpose for us and there is hope!
I was terrified of what I’d find if I looked inward. BUT – I realized that God had brought me to this place for a reason. The God who created the universe, who formed me in my mother’s womb, who cares for me personally had invited me to be whole. If He wasn’t going to leave me, then how could I resist going on this journey with Him?
Where are you? Is He knocking at your door to let Him in? Have you received an invitation to walk with Him to face your fears or your past?
What I’ve learned:
- My God is a God who cares for me personally and who wants me to be whole and healed.
- I have to face my past and allow some pain in order to be healed and restored.
- Jesus rejoices when one of His sheep are found!
- The Lord will not bring me to a place and leave me there to suffer alone.
- What past experience(s) have you buried deep to avoid others finding out or to avoid dealing with the pain?
- What past experience(s) has the Lord prompted you to face – either now or in the past?
- How have you responded to His prompting? How do you need to respond to His prompting?
- Who can walk along side of you as you enter your healing journey?
If you need prayer or would like to talk, I’d love to pray for you and talk with you. Please contact me privately.
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