3.) What is the benefit of seeking “recovery” from a past abortion if you have accepted the forgiveness of Christ for your sins?
What I described yesterday, in answer to question 2, was how I felt after I’d accepted Christ’s forgiveness for my sins. I was going to church and bible studies and small groups and volunteering and raising babies and doing my darnedest to be the good Christian girl. I knew my sins where forgiven, in fact it was the abortion that led me to seek out the grace of Christ; I just didn’t know that I needed to recover from my abortion.
The Officer and I call folks like us, the forgiven but not yet healed post-abortives, the walking wounded. We’re the people who are serving our butts off because we’re so thankful that Jesus would go to the cross for our sin; but we’re doing it all with a sucking chest wound. Mostly, we think we’re fine, that this is as good as life as a Christ-follower gets for people like us.
It took a lot of prayer – of the God, there’s got to be more of You for me variety – and a lot of scripture reading (Please, please, please don’t beat post-abortive folks up with Ps. 139! It’s true and it’s marvelous in its description of God’s loving care; but please remember that it’s NOT meant to condemn those who chose abortion. God loves the post-abortive just as much as He loves the aborted!). And one very brave and supportive church leadership team to offer an abortion recovery study before I could see that I actually needed to go back and heal from this devastation experience.
For me, I had to first admit that I needed help, that I wasn’t over this event that took place nine years in my past. And then I had to delve back into my past and sift through years of coping mechanisms and hiding strategies to find the original wound itself. I had to face truth – that I’d lost a daughter – and work through the grief that followed. I had to trade all my self-loathing and condemnation and anger and misery and loneliness and shame for the grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. And I had to accept His love of me, as well as His divine ability to make me a new creation, completely redeemed and worthy through Him to be called a daughter of the King of King, co-heir with Christ.
Thus, while forgiveness is the necessary first step, abortion recovery is a process. It is one that changes you from the inside out, as you allow Jesus into the darkest corners of your heart to deal with all your painful memories and destructive coping patterns. It’s a way to becoming more sanctified in Christ. And it’s the only way to heal the brokenness inside of you.
4.) What does it mean to be “healed” from abortion?
Like any recovery, it’s a fluid and organic process that’s different for everyone. There are helpful steps that facilitate this progression; but like all recovery, everyone moves through these at his or her own pace, circling back around to ones that come up again from time to time. It takes the support of loved ones and the only true source of grace and healing: Jesus Christ.
Abortion is my scarlet letter. But like Hester Prim, how I wear it has changed.
Before recovery I wore it shackled to my heart so that no one could see. When I found healing and freedom through Jesus, I embroidered gold around it and wore it on my chest so that any and all who have this wound in their past could find this healing and freedom as well. It’s not something I brag or flash about. But it is something that God can use in me to be a minister of reconciliation for others.
I will never not be post-abortive.
It’s a part of the story of God’s grace in my life. And God uses it to His glory all the time, in ways big and small. But God the Father, His Son Jesus, nor the Holy Spirit have ever identified me as: Jen, post-abortive, now redeemed and healed. God has always called me Jen, His beloved.
And I think that’s what “healing” looks like: being able to use what Christ has saved you from to bring the healing of Jesus to others, so that God is honored and glorified in your life. And knowing who you are in Christ.
Join us tomorrow for questions 5 & 6, or on Saturday for closing remarks in the mini-series "Sanctity of Human Life Sunday & Post-Abortive People." Or look back at questions 1 & 2.
If you have experienced an abortion in your past, 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.
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)
Me: Jen Baros, firstname.lastname@example.org |or| @jenkbaros on twitter