Before I attended an abortion recovery class, I felt God could just step in miraculously and sweep away all my emotional and psychological pain relating to this choice. When He didn’t heal my heart quickly, I felt abandoned again and thought, “Perhaps He has sent the agony as a way to punish me for sacrificing my child on the altar of choice?” I never realized that His plan for my life included facing this deep trauma from my past. The ache wasn’t His punishment but simply a consequence of my abortion choice. Addressing the grief would help me heal.
It’s been nearly twenty years since my abortion recovery class. Over the years I have met a handful of women who truly did heal from this pain miraculously. I’ve never doubted anyone healing initially. God clearly can do anything He wants to do. But this “instant healing” is rare.
Today I’m grateful that God loved me enough to know that the process of grieving was good for my heart. By withholding immediate healing, God’s discipline was to let me face the grief of this choice. He would also use the processing of this pain to teach me love for others going through the same grief journey. Just as Jesus needed to come to earth to “walk in our shoes” as humans, I needed to walk through my own pain so that I could help others.
In Psalm 94:12-15 David writes, Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O Lord, and teach us Your law. That You may give him rest from the days of adversity . . . For the Lord will not cast off His people, nor will He forsake His inheritance. But judgment will return to righteousness, and all the upright in heart will follow it. God’s instruction helps us walk through the pain of our choices in life. If He simply removes the pain we may not learn the intimate details of His love, mercy and grace. This pain is something we may need to understand in order to avoid sinning in the future.
Hebrews 12:7-11 offers another perspective, If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
After my abortion I walked away from God’s presence. I believed the shameful message in my head that said God would never want to walk with me since I had abandoned one of His incredible gifts of life. Seven long years of running from this pain left me longing to “partake” in His holiness once again.
My abortion had been a step on the road of many dysfunctional activities that needed to be confessed and resolved with the Lord. The “process” of the abortion recovery class ensured that other parts of my heart were open to revelation and healing. These additional issues were a bigger weight than I had ever imagined and important in my ongoing spiritual health.
In taking a step of faith in directly addressing this loss, I received incredible understanding of God’s amazing mercy and grace. That grieving process allowed me to become a beacon of hope to other struggling hearts.
The only thing to do is to embrace this pain and understand that God is going to use it in our lives. Whatever you may think, God doesn’t enjoy watching His children suffer. God will never give us more than we can emotionally handle. I had always been afraid that if I started crying, I would never stop. I thought addressing the pain could lead me to suicide. I was wrong on both points.
Another thing to understand is the pain is temporary. While you don’t think it will ever go away, there are thousands on the peaceful side of the grief to prove you wrong. We have survived the truth of our choices, grieved our losses, allowed God’s love to help us forgive those who harmed us (included ourselves), and come to the point of peace where God can use us to help others.
Have hope that you won’t feel this pain forever. Ask God to give you moments of peace to understand His love and discipline. He won’t desert you — ever.
If you are struggling with a past abortion decision, please visit Ramah International’s “The Healing Place” for more insight, education and comfort. Pregnancy centers across the world offer abortion recovery services. To locate the center in your area, visit: https://ramahinternational.org/help-in-your-area/