When I speak of “hiding” I mean that I was hiding from God, and everyone else. This wasn’t necessarily the Church’s fault. It was mine for believing the lie that, even after repenting and turning my life over to Christ, I wasn’t worthy of the love and forgiveness of Jesus. I believed, as many post-abortive people do, that I had to work to earn my place in God’s family, and if anyone found out, they would cast me out for the sinner that I was. Because what I had done was so much worse than what anyone else had. So I hid; a captive to fear. But we know that true love casts out fear, and that there is no condemnation for those who are in Jesus Christ. So we need to be taught this in our churches and bible studies, reminded of what this looks like in our small groups, and shown how to live this out by mature men and women of the faith.
This is an area where the Church falls short; church isn’t a safe place to share your struggles most of the time. It’s easier and less messy to slap on a smile and spout “everything’s good,” when in reality so many of us are broken and hurting on the inside. But that is because of human pride. We want to be accepted and “good enough,” in when fact not a one of us is. We each are equally not good enough, save our redemption through Jesus Christ. Thus, as a grace-filled and faithful people, we need to be the safe place, for the only genuine and lasting solution to broken and sinful humanity is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While the truth of the gospel is salvific for those who respond, it is the process of discipling people – helping fellow believers grow in their relationship with God, working out our sanctification among a healthy and mature group – that enacts change in the life of the believer. We are to be building one another up in the faith, teaching the younger among us how to walk righteously and live godly lives, to encourage and support and helping one another when we fail. We are to be a people of grace, in theory and practice.
There are churches that excel in this practice. Indeed, had it not been for one very brave women’s ministry leader and an extremely supportive and God-honoring church leadership team, I might be burdened with the guilt and shame from my abortion still. Though they didn’t understand the nuances of the prison post-abortive people find themselves in, even after salvation, this church knew that Jesus came to heal the broken-hearted, and that included the post-abortive population (which they admit they had no idea was as big as it really is). And they did this because they believe the gospel – that the heart of God is to see His people redeemed and set free from the effects their sins have upon their lives.
And I know now, after hiding for 9 years in the backs of churches and staying silent at bible studies and small groups, that transparency and vulnerability breed further transparency and vulnerability. It takes those who have truly found freedom in Christ to say, “This is my story of the grace of God in my life,” so that others may know the power of the gospel and the truth of a changed life. Truly, had it not been for the testimony of a post-abortive women some 14 years ago, I might not be among God’s people today. For the enemy is overcome by the blood of the lamb and word of our testimony, to the glory of the Lord. This is what a grace-filled community looks like – realizing that no one is “good enough,” that we are all equally “bad” except for the grace of Jesus, and that our stories are for His glory. That is how we attract new followers: living out changed lives, filled with God’s grace, among a world in such desperate need.
If you are someone who has experienced and abortion in you past, please know that you are LOVED. And you are not alone. Please know that you can reach out -- there are so many genuine and loving people who want to help you through your pain. The links below are to ministries that I am personally acquainted with and trust. Or you can contact me. I am willing to answer any questions, offer what help I can, and pray with you -- confidentially. Because you, dearest one, are loved by the Maker of the Stars.
Click the following link to see a video presentation of why abortion recovery is so important, for women, for men, for couples, and for church leaders. Abortion Recovery
Surrendering the Secret (Nationally for women and couples)
Rachel's Vineyard (Nationally for women and men, Catholic)
ARIN (Nationally for women, men, and couples)
Life Choices Pregnancy Center (in Colorado)
To see where we've been in this mini-series on "Sanctity of Human Life Sunday & Post-Abortive People," go to questions 1 & 2 or questions 3 & 4 or questions 5 & 6. Thank you for joining us.