For many years I worked as a client advocate for Advice & Aid, and a part of that role involved encouraging women to consider the outcome of choosing abortion. Having never experienced abortion myself personally, my understanding of the negative impact post-abortive women can experience came from what I had read and heard through training and reading.
In the past few years, I have had the privilege of working with the Awakenings program at Advice & Aid. Awakenings is a Bible study intended to help women find healing from the trauma of having chosen abortion. Women of all ages have attended the study, some out of a desire to find hope and healing. Others come because they desire to work as client advocates at Advice & Aid and taking the study is a required step in that process for women who have an abortion experience in her past. These women often feel they have received forgiveness and healing and are ready to help other women considering abortion. Yet, just a few weeks into the study God uncovers hidden things in their hearts that have been locked away. He often reveals His mercy and grace in fresh ways they may not have experienced before. For every woman who comes, it is a spiritually enlightening experience. When the light and truth of Jesus shines into the dark places of our heart, no darkness can remain.
Facing Regret, Guilt & Shame
One of the most painful results of abortion is the deep regret women often feel. Because the abortion is often experienced in secret, women who have lost a child cannot openly grieve the loss. There will be no funeral, no grave to visit, no name to remember. Even between the closest of couples and friends… when abortion is chosen, the memory of the abortion is often avoided and not discussed. As a result, these women remain stuck in guilt and shame.
Women often build protective walls of denial in order to keep from fully facing what really happened during their abortion. If they have a relationship with God, they often do not go to him for help because they know the sin they have committed, and it separates them from Christ who could be their greatest comfort and source of healing. If they do not have a relationship with God, they believe they cannot come to him because they feel the weight of their sin deeply. Many women believe there will be eternal consequences for choosing abortion and that nothing can change that. They often feel that if they do have an eternal home with the Lord, their child will harbor bad feelings toward them for the abortion.
Finding Healing and Forgiveness
What has been most impactful to me is seeing how tenderly God works in the hearts of these women to correct these misguided beliefs and to comfort their fears. The study is beautifully designed to be a safe place where they are encouraged to connect to Christ for the first time or to reconnect to Him. He is their greatest source of healing. They find the courage to face their denial and think about the children they have lost as real people who are in Heaven with Jesus. They are given the opportunity to mourn and grieve the loss of a real person, their child. It is not easy, but they are encouraged to know that Jesus is right there with them, and they have the support of the women in the study who have walked in their shoes and can empathize with their experience. They begin to understand that their child is in Heaven and will be happy to see them one day, for no one who is with Jesus is unhappy, but joy-filled.
A verse we often look to is Psalm 34:5; “those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” It is a beautiful experience to see hearts transformed from sorrow to joy as these ladies courageously face what was often a very dark and very difficult time in their lives.
No matter where you are in your post-abortion journey – whether it was a recent decision or one you made in year’s past – you may see a little of yourself in this article. You know that you have struggled with regret and shame since your decision, but it has remained tucked deep inside.
If you are ready to let go of that regret and shame, and find healing and forgiveness, we are here. There is never any shame or pressure here. Just women who understand what your heart feels and can help guide you back to relief from the pressure of guilt.
Learn more about our Awakenings Program here . . . and if you are ready to take the next step, simply schedule an appointment from that page. We’re waiting to help.