“I sought the Lord and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant. Their faces are never covered with shame.” Psalm 34:4-5 (NIV)
The young teenage girl named Sidney sat across from me with eyes full of emotion. Her voice choked out a whispered, “thank you,” as she turned and kissed the chubby-cheeked little boy sitting in the baby carrier beside her. Just one year earlier, I’d sat across from this same precious girl listening to her plans to have an abortion the next day. Panic, confusion and fear consumed her and made her feel as though she had no other choice. As soon as she spoke those words, tears fell from both of our eyes. Hers were tears of relief. Mine were tears of redemption. Both were wrapped in the hope that God truly can take even our worst mistakes and somehow bring good from them.
16 years ago I was also a young woman panicked and sitting in an abortion clinic. Tragically, unlike Sidney, I kept my appointment. And I can honestly say, the grief that entered my life that day has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to face. For years I kept this secret buried deep within my heart. I was so ashamed, so horrified, so convinced that if anyone ever found out I’d had an abortion, I’d be rejected by all my church friends and deemed a woman unfit to serve God.
So I suffered in silence, wrapped in a cloak of shame.
Going to church was incredibly hard during those years. I was convinced I was the only Christian woman who’d ever had an abortion. I’d never heard another Christian woman share this as a part of her testimony. Never did I hear of anyone speak of the hope and grace that Jesus provides to those of us who were suffering from making that decision. I only heard well-meaning Christians debate the issue of abortion with very strong words. Their words stung, made my heart seize and my eyes feel like they’d explode into a flood of a million tears.
Don’t get me wrong, the issue of abortion is serious and we should take a strong stand against it. But we must also remember that it’s more than a topic of religious and political debate. For one in three women within the church, it is one of the most painful parts of their life story. One for which they want to find forgiveness and healing, but are too afraid of being judged to share their secret with anyone.
So they suffer in silence, wrapped in a cloak of shame.
Sweet friend, is this you? Are you in this place? Can I offer you a lifeline today? There is hope and healing that can be found. It is possible to be forgiven and to let go of the emotional pain. For me, there were three things that helped my healing more than anything. First, I sought help from my local Crisis Pregnancy Center who offered a Post Abortion Bible Study. Secondly, I named my baby and wrote a letter promising to make his life count by sharing our story to help others. And lastly, I kept my promise to my child and asked God to give me the courage to share my story with someone in order to help them.
Remember Sidney? She was one of the first people I ever told. Seeing God bring good out of what Satan meant for such evil in my life, did more to heal my heart than almost anything else.
Dear Lord, please tenderly give us the courage to face the secrets hidden in our hearts. Lord, we ask for your forgiveness. And we ask for your healing. Please help us see some kind of good come from our past mistakes. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Who Holds the Key To Your Heart? by Lysa TerKeurst. This book and Bible study were written specifically for people who are suffering in silence due to shame from their past.
Spend some time asking Jesus how He wants you to respond to today’s devotion.
Take time to pray for women in your community and church who are suffering from the pain of abortion.
Consider giving your time and resources to help your local Pregnancy Care Center minister to women in your community.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (NIV)
Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (NIV)
© 2008 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.