People have many thoughts about abortion, mostly political at times. To think this issue doesn’t touch us is not reality. Statistics show one in four women in our churches have had an abortion, not to mention the men affected by it as well. It is all around us and we need to talk about it. Today, I want to share another side to the story, to think about the lives lost and also those all around us who are alive but deeply wounded from a decision made long ago in crisis. As my 11-year-old daughter said in the moment of grace when I told her about my abortion, “People make bad decisions when they are hurting and scared.”
The world doesn’t allow or make room in our society for women or men to grieve the loss of a child in pregnancy. If someone loses a child through a miscarriage, we call it is miscarriage instead of losing a child or a baby. If someone has an abortion, there is a whole other element of shame and guilt because it was intentional.
Someone who has an abortion pays for someone to end the life of their baby. So how in the world do you grieve that loss? And do you have any right to grieve that loss or even acknowledge the loss? So you just go on with your life and try to forget it ever happened. And you hope that no one will ever find out, so you live in silent shame, guilt and a wall barricades that part of your heart. Denial and secrecy become your allies. You hide behind that wall and can never let anyone ever get too close because to be known, fully known is too risky. You hide hoping no one will be able to see you have secret to keep. This secret robs you of fully embracing your relationship with the Lord and others. A part of your heart is dead and you can’t explain it and may not even be fully aware of it. This loss is too much to come to grips with, so it stays hidden, unnamed and unspoken of. However, there is a pain, an ache in your soul from a loss you have never grieved. For you cannot grieve your loss if you cannot name or acknowledge your loss.
Christians don’t know what to do with it. They don’t know how to comfort you or help you grieve your loss. And you certainly can’t tell your friend who had a miscarriage about it because they wanted to have their baby. It is not a pure grief, it is a muddy pond of grief. For it to become a pure grief, guilt and shame have to be extracted from it.
But too often, we as Christians pile shame on top of the shame already put on those with abortion wounds and the grief of that loss is buried somewhere under all that shame, unable to be identified or expressed, but the wound is seeping and causing all kinds of issues in a person’s life.
It takes revelation from the Lord Jesus that He has once and for all paid the price for all sin. All sin. And the Lord took our guilt and shame and nailed it to the cross with Jesus. Jesus took it all so we could live healthy and whole and in freedom. He came to bind the brokenhearted and to set the captive free.
When we believe we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and we are free of guilt and shame, then we can name our loss and grieve our loss in a redemptive way.
We believe Scriptures support that these children go to heaven to be with Father God.
“Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. “ Ps 27:10
”But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.“ 2 Sam 12:23 (David is grieving over the death of his child with Bathsheba)
“And the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” Ecc 12:7
“It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body there is also a spiritual body.” 1 Cor 15:44
There is a part in the Deeper Still retreat on grieving and reconciliation. In the retreat, tangible symbols are used as a way to help us enter into hard things that our brain has otherwise found ways to avoid processing. Often we have been emotionally disconnected from our heart and so we have formed a well-worn path in our brains for how we process painful things.
For women and men who have had abortions, it is crucial that they understand the work of the cross, Jesus Christ has made the way to reconcile us first to the Father, and then to each other. Jesus paid the price for these moms and dads to be reconciled with their children. This profound truth allows them to embrace the existence and humanity of their child without the guilt and shame of once rejecting them. This opens the door for healthy release. Emotions can include thankfulness, sadness, sorrow but also joy. This array of emotions is normal during the process.
We have seen such beautiful expressions of healthy grieving during this time and mothers and fathers are finally able to connect in a healthy way to their children in heaven and then release them in a healthy way into the arms of Jesus. This kind of healthy grieving can only be explained through a supernatural miraculous work of Jesus Christ. He is the Healer, Restorer, and Comforter of our souls.
Father, I pray for those with abortion wounded hearts to be able to accept your forgiveness, healing and finally be able to grieve the loss of their children in healthy ways. Lord, we recognize this is impossible without your hand moving and your healing touch in these lives. Father, I specifically pray for those coming to the retreat this weekend to enter into this grieving and reconciliation and fully receive all the healing you have for them this weekend. In Jesus’ Mighty Name, Amen.
For more information on grieving loss due to abortion or to find out more about our Deeper Still retreats, please go to www.GoDeeperStill.org.
*(Part of this post was taken from the Deeper Still Training Manual and Retreat Manual written by Karen Ellison, the founder and president of the Deeper Still ministry. Karen has a book coming out in 2019 called Healing the Hurt that Won’t Heal. More information on that will be provided in the coming months.)