“Trust us,” my abortion recovery leader requested. “A memorial service for your aborted child will be a healing experience.”
With each video release about Planned Parenthood’s sale of aborted baby body parts from the Center for Medical Progress, America is now realizing the humanity of aborted children. For post-abortive individuals, many are just now understanding what they lost in choosing abortion.
The concept of a funeral service for my aborted child seemed overwhelming back in 1992. My leader then outlined another truth, “During this class we will also encourage you to name your lost child(ren). It will help your heart to personalize them with a name.”
My heart was ready to flee the class and never return. But I was in the wrong place in the room to excuse myself without embarrassment.
Attending an abortion recovery class was NOT my idea. I had fought the concept for months. What good could come from focusing on the role I played in aborting my child?
The abortion recovery class was the only “requirement” that I had agreed to in accepting a position of my dreams in 1991 – helping pregnancy centers worldwide through a prominent pro-life ministry!
The thought of helping women make better choices than abortion thrilled me. Abortion was the worst decision I had ever made. It had impacted my heart, soul, mind and body traumatically. My hope was to spare one woman and child from the pain of abortion, thus ensuring my unborn child’s death was not in vain.
Two weeks later I found myself encouraged by the fellowship of post-abortive women in my class who shared my pain. God made His love real in my heart in those weeks. Each week I faithfully completed the homework assignments and grew closer to God through Scripture.
The night we were scheduled to present our children’s names, my child was still nameless. I asked for God’s help while driving to class and felt a statement shoot through my heart.
“Your child has been in Heaven for eleven years, Sydna. Don’t you think I’ve named him? His name is Jesse.”
Feeling God had given me a name, I joyfully shared the story ten minutes later with the class. I listened to others sharing how God had helped them in the naming process. We all parted with unexpected joy. Our lost children were no longer nameless and that was a real comfort!
I was still apprehensive of the memorial two weeks later. The church was quiet when we arrived. I went forward and placed a bouquet of flowers and candle on a special table at the front as directed.
The pastor shared the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead in John 11. After Jesus commanded Lazarus to come out of his crypt, the Bible outlines in verse 44: The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
Comparing us to Lazarus, the minister concluded, “You are very much alive inside but still tightly bound by the grave clothes of your aborted child. We are simply here to help you go free.”
Later in the service, after lighting Jesse’s candle, I went forward for individual prayer, outlining my child’s name. This clergyman simply asked God to remove Jesse’s grave clothes.
Instantly, I lost 40 pounds. The weight of my abortion sin felt extinguished in one prayer. I felt the physical release of that sin burden.
Yet it wasn’t just one prayer. It had been nine weeks of prayer, Scripture reading and processing with the other women to arrive at the final point where God took away the weight of my abortion.
I sat down with peace that passes all understanding, full of joy. I could nearly hear heaven rejoicing that this sinner had come home at last! That healing has never left my heart.
A year later I found myself on the phone with my first abortion-vulnerable caller. We spoke for hours about the pain of abortion. It took her over two weeks to make a life decision for her child.
While I never outlined my aborted child’s name, “Hope’s” decision of life fulfilled my simple dream of ensuring my Jesse had not died in vain! Peace was deepened with that truth but God had an extra gift for me…
Seven months later, a message waiting on my desk from “Hope.” It read, “Hope’s baby born. 7 pounds, 11 ounces. His name is Jesse!”
For the rest of my life, I have Hope’s Jesse as living proof that my child did not die in vain! I look forward to the day I’ll finally meet my Jesse in Heaven.
By the way, in Hebrew, Jesse means Yahweh (God) Exists!
If you have experienced abortion, there are hundreds of compassionate abortion recovery programs that can help you find peace, new strength and God’s healing. To discover your local pregnancy center, that typically offers abortion recovery services, visit https://ramahinternational.org/help-in-your-area/.
Sydna Masse is President and Founder of Ramah International and author of the book, Her Choice to Heal: Finding Spiritual and Emotional Peace After Abortion.