I wasn’t trying to probe into anyone’s past or coax out a confession.
In fact, I was so new to this church that I was reluctant to share something so personal. Yet, when I disclosed an abortion in my past, I heard from several other women in our thirty-member Bible study group who had also lost a child to abortion. Perhaps these women were relieved to hear someone, anyone, bring up the subject at church. Maybe I just seem like a safe person since I mentioned having written a book about spiritual recovery after abortion. But each one eagerly shared her secret with me that day.
And each story was as different as the woman who told it.
That’s why it matters that we acknowledge the truth about abortion. Withholding the truth may mean we are extending the grief of mothers trapped in their confusion and pain as the shock of the abortion begins to recede.
That’s why it matters what we call an aborted baby.
That’s why we must be clear that a fetus is a living human being and every abortion takes a human life. If there is no child, there is no reason to grieve. But if abortion takes a life, there can be no relief without our grief.
Pastor John MacArthur understands the issue of child loss better than
Abortion interrupts our lives and then leaves a part of us mired in the past, regretting what we have done and missing what might have been.
But the Lord has been showing me lately that even the smallest moment of frustration (or in this case years and even decades of distress) is a God-given opportunity to go to Him in prayer.
If we take Him at His word that He works all things together for the good of us who love Him and are called according to His purpose, then we can praise Him right now for being able to bring something beautiful out of the mess we make of our lives. Even after abortion we can make a new start—a fresh beginning is yours for the taking by faith in Jesus Christ.
Something beautiful. It is there, in the midst of your mistake. It is there, at the end of your sorrow. You only have to take the time in prayer to find it.
We may feel we were abandoned by God when he permitted an abortion we did not want. Or we may fear he will not forgive our choice. Few of us easily believe we are in God’s good graces after abortion.
Yet there is always one sure way to get God’s positive attention and for your spiritual healing to begin, and that is to give him praise.
I’m not talking about thanking him–of course we should have grateful hearts for all that he has done and continues to do for us in sharing his assets each day as our blessings. Are you breathing? Thank the Lord! And I’m not talking about flattery. If you tell him he’s wonderful just hoping to appropriate some of those assets, he will see through you before you even begin.
Praise is an affirmation of God’s unique and valuable attributes which eternally exist apart from us.
Praising God affirms his holiness, his glory, his majesty, his faithfulness, his power, his love, his wisdom, and his everlasting unchanging merciful goodness. We can never run out of ways to praise him. The paradox is that praising God revives us when we feel our hearts and spirits have run dry. Take the effort to think about God until you arrive at something to truly feel good about, and share those good feelings with him. Praise changes your outlook in an instant.
The time to praise the Lord is when you feel like it the least. Praise him in the midst of your season of sorrow—for being the God who created times and seasons and who knows the beginning from the end. Praise him as you look beyond your fear—for being mighty to save and willingly facing a tortured death to rescue us from death. Praise him when you sense how very far you are from him—because he is holy and above all earthly cares.
You can easily access the data which points to abortion being commonplace in America–and with privacy laws shielding abortion providers from reporting their cases, the percentage may even be higher. Yet many of us feel completely alone after abortion. Few of us feel we can openly discuss our experience at church. Some of us swear our parents or other close family members will never know of this pivotal event which forever marks our hearts.
But God knows.
He is fully aware of all that happened, including all that led to the decision and all that was taken out of your hands that day.
Instead of fearing what may happen if others find out, what if you were to open your heart to God who loves you and sent His Son as a sacrifice for all sin? What would unconditional love from God look like to you? Do you have any faith at all that God’s love and mercy is true and can be a reality in your life? What if you began to turn your heart to God’s thoughts toward you, and away from thoughts of self-condemnation, doubt, or fear?
Jesus is the lover of our souls. It’s not what we have done, but what He did for us. His love is available to you right now, even after abortion. Look at the Cross today. See His love in action.
The character on the 60’s sitcom Leave it to Beaver was always overly polite and charming to any parents present. But behind their backs he was a rude schemer who did whatever it took to get his own way and dominate the other kids. Eddie built a reputation as a ‘good kid’ which kept him free to pursue his own agenda.
I wasn’t as bold as Eddie in the ways I tried to please others and manipulate public opinion, but I did front a certain character which didn’t match up with my inner attitudes. My agenda was to build a reputation in church as a ‘good woman’ which would protect against others knowing that I had chosen abortion as a young woman abandoned by my boyfriend when he learned that I was pregnant.
Pleasing others instead of God is a path of frustration which sets us up to fail. We all long for the actual perfection of being utterly pleasing to God, yet we cannot sanctify ourselves. But we can prepare our hearts for Jesus Christ to perfect us—and we can only do this by faith. “Without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
The parents didn’t buy it from Eddie, and God can also see through our efforts to make ourselves righteous in our own eyes or in the eyes of others. When we have an appreciation for the true authority of God, we naturally want to stay within His good graces. We understand and value His loving protection and His kind care for us, so we desire to maintain a good relationship by our actions and our attitudes.
When we develop true faith, we are willing to let God change us instead of flattering Him just to please. And as our faith grows, we learn that in Christ, God has made provision for our unfaithfulness. God sees our faith in Jesus Christ as a return of His love, causing Him to be so pleased He sings over us, delights in us, and quiets us in our hearts. (Zephaniah 3:17)
When you base a life-changing decision on the opinion of others, it can be very difficult to return to the truth of God. And really, that’s where every abortion begins—as an expression of an opinion about the value of life. There can be no question as to the existence of life. Fetology, ultrasound imaging, successful lawsuits prosecuting wrongful fetal deaths, and even our own hearts at a baby shower for an expectant mom all tell us that pregnancy means the presence of a new life in the mother’s womb.
The feminists and abortion counselors deceive by saying that this life is “just tissue,” a “missed period,” “potential life,” or “not viable—simply part of the woman’s body.”
Some religious leaders mislead by saying a baby who hasn’t breathed yet is the property of the mother to do with as she sees fit. They may dress it up with Scripture, but that’s the basic idea.
Postmodernists say no one can know the answer to such a complex question—what’s true for you is all that counts. If you don’t consider it a life, then it isn’t.
Hedonists say that sexual pleasure is all that matters. So just do away with the consequences and rock on. By the way—the same clinic will treat your disease and give you more birth control—all set up for your next abortion visit.
None of the groups who endorse abortion can in any consistent way comfort and allay your concerns afterwards as you try to come grips with the reality that something very precious has been lost. So the next logical point for us as we listen to them may be, “They say I did nothing wrong, yet I feel so guilty and sad. There must be something wrong with me.”
The way out of this trap is to begin to love God with your mind, as He calls us to. Jesus said this is God’s top priority for us (Matthew 22: 36-40). Listening to Jesus instead of the voices of abortion will radically change your thinking. You may be overwhelmed by the thought of facing His opinion of both you and your child lost to abortion. Be prepared to be radically changed by His love.
Abortion is just an idea until you’ve had one (or more). And then you cannot undo what’s been done.
Many of us would take it back and choose life. Even if yours seemed an impossible situation and you believe abortion was the best that could be done, you may still feel that what happened has left you far from God. You may even be fearful that God hates you for taking the life of a child.
It’s easy to think that your faith may have failed when you chose or were coerced into abortion, but God is not the one who has moved when we find ourselves feeling far from His love.
God has said: “Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; For you will forget the shame of your youth, And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.” (Isaiah 54:4, NKJV)
This Scripture helps us realize that we may have become “spiritual widows” because of abortion in our past. Although we did not experience the death of a spouse (and most of us weren’t married), we may have given some part of our hearts to someone who left us alone when the pressure of an unforeseen pregnancy forced the issue of whether there was an actual commitment to one another and our future.
Abortion means a death in the family, but it doesn’t mean the death of God’s love. God’s promises that we’ll “forget” and “not remember” can only be fulfilled through the love of Jesus Christ. He cannot both hate you and die for your sake and for the mistakes and sins of all the world.
His love for us is not based on our behavior, sin, or choices.
He loves and He stays right where He is, so that we may always find Him when we seek Him, no matter what.