With this post I begin an occasional series I am calling, “God Works in Difficult Places.” These posts will consist of conversations with special friends who live in different parts of the country. (Their real names will probably not be used most of the time.) I am thankful they are willing to let you listen to our conversations. The first conversation is with a young woman whose ministry is with women who have experienced abortion. She is in her late twenties and is a part of a fine church in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.
“Samantha,” tell me something about your ministry.
Someone Cares is a ministry developed to help women recover from and deal with post-abortion stress. After an abortion most women feel some amount of brokenness and pain, but there is great hope. We stress to these women that God is still in the restoration business--mending broken hearts and spirits. We ask these women to trust Him and His awesome forgiveness so that they can forgive and finally accept themselves.
Someone Cares is an outreach of the heart to people hurt by past abortions. Our goal is to see them fully restored to fellowship with God as well as accepting His forgiveness and finally receiving the freedom that is in Christ Jesus alone. Participants are women from all walks of life. Some have had one abortion while others have had multiple experiences. They are single or married and of all ages.
Group leaders for Someone Cares are women who have experienced the painful aftermath of abortion themselves. Though they are not licensed counselors, each has found healing through God's precious grace. Facilitators are committed to "walk the road" with these women during this painful process. This very special group is designed to free victims of abortion from guilt, shame and bitterness. The curriculum is biblically based; each class lasts twelve weeks.
I went through the class myself about seven years ago. It changed my life completely and I formed a bond with “Lulie” who leads the ministry. She and I would meet at least once a month for dinner just to check in with each other. A few years ago we came up with the idea of having weekend retreats for the women who had gone through the class in past years. Someone Cares just seemed to always be in my life in some way ever since I went through the class.
You mentioned in the beginning that these women have experienced great brokenness. Will you elaborate on that? It sounds as if you experienced much of that brokenness yourself.
One of the biggest feelings a woman experiences after an abortion is shame. Having been raised in a Christian home, I knew right from wrong and chose the wrong path regardless. Those bad choices and the shame that followed was enough to cripple me. I immediately lost a large amount of weight after my abortion, while most girls were putting on their “freshman 15,” and my mother noticed right away. She noticed me withdrawing from the family and from myself really. Depression set in and then I found myself in the position of making more bad decisions to cover up the previous ones--just a downward spiral really. I hated myself and wasn’t in a place where I could allow other people to love me, which caused me to enter into an abusive relationship, drink heavily, and only sit in the pew on Sunday mornings. There was no real relationship with God anymore.
Abortion is such a secret sin. Women isolate themselves as a way to not only punish themselves but also as a way to protect themselves from the judgments that they fear others will place on them. Most of the women who come to the class aren’t sure why they are so angry, depressed, or stuck in destructive patterns. Since the women (and society really) see abortion as something we chose to do (unlike a miscarriage, which is unintentional), they don’t feel as if they have the right to grieve. Years of not allowing themselves to grieve the death of their child will take its toll on them. Until I went through the class myself, I wasn’t aware really of all the emotions I was feeling and how they all were connected. I didn’t realize how damaged I had become.
I am thankful for “Samantha” and for her willingness to have a conversation regarding her ministry with these women. Part 2 of this conversation will be posted tomorrow.