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Posts Tagged ‘post abortion syndrome’

Some say, “How could a woman end the life of her child?”  This statement is not intended to be cruel, but it is heard as a  judgment.

Others, hoping to be less judgmental, say, “I would never have have an abortion myself, but I believe every woman should have the right to choose.”  This statement sounds compassionate, but to the woman who has had the abortion, it sounds like a comparison: “Abortion is wrong and because I am a good person I wouldn’t do such a terrible thing, but women not capable of doing the right thing should have a choice.”

Both statements are condeming.  Neither offer hope before or after an abortion.

There is a third response.  Trying to imitate Jesus.  Jesus understands why people like you and me sin.  He came to live among us —  to feel our frustration, fears, and sorrow.  He placed Himself in the midst of a messy world.  Jesus loved us so much that He willingly took on our disgrace, our burden, our sin.  Only by living under His Cross am I able to see those hurt by sin (including my own) in a new way.

Days on which we celebrate life are meant to be happy days, but for many they are not.  In the heart of nearly every post-abortive woman is an empty place that is forever expectant and waitiing.  Although she may have believed the lie that there was no room, a cry of sorrow echoes in the room that was always there… waiting.

We cannot go back to erase years of legalized abortion nor the effect on women, men, children, and society.  Mothers who once believed there was no room in their life for a baby now mourn the child whose heart beat so close under their own.  Fathers who once believed there was no room in their life for a baby are now angry at themselves for failing to protect their son or daugher.  Grandparents who once believed there was no room in their lives for a baby now dream of grandchildren that would have filled the rooms of their homes with laughter.

Sometimes, when I am holding my grandsons, my thoughts turn to Mary.  She approached me after I was finished speaking to a group of women.  She asked for my address and phone number.  In the letters and conversations that followed, she confessed two abortions.  “There has been so much pain in my heart,” Mary wrote.  “I could understand how God could forgive a murderer, but not someone who has killed their own child.”

This pain and the belief that she had committed the sin “too big to be forgiven” held Mary captive.  But, “the reason I want to tell you my story,” Mary continued, “is to thank you.  If, years earlier, I had heard the words of compassion and forgiveness that I heard from you, I would not have had a second abortion.  I would have been reconciled to God and turned my life around a lot earlier instead of wallowing in the muck of sin and accusation.”

“Marys” are everywhere… and they are waiting.  They are silently waiting for a word of hope.  Their broken hearts long to be healed.  God has given to me — to you — His Word to speak in love.  To be sure, the Word of Truth presses hard on the source of pain.  The psalmist (Psalm 32:3-5) writes:

When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.  Then I acknowledged my sin to You, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.”

There is hope for women and men who have been pierced by abortion’s blade.  It is Jesus.  In Jesus, all who confess their sin are cleansed and forgiven (1 Timothy 1:15).  In Jesus, the captive is set free (Galatians 5:1).

(The thoughts of this post are available in a
brochure form upon request from Word of Hope or LFL.)

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Yesterday was not a day of celebration for those wounded by abortion.  Mother’s Day is a difficult day for the women who have an abortion in their past, for men unable to save a child from abortion, and for grandparents.  Mother’s Day, for many people, is a reminder of lost lives and denied relationships.

Abortion continues to be a heated debate in this country, but for millions of American women and for the men, grandparents, siblings, and friends in the lives of those women, abortion is  not a debate — it is a loss.  It is the loss of a son, a daughter, a grandchild.  That’s because motherhood and fatherhood — yes, grandparenthood, too — begin at conception.

Many of us know someone who has lost a child through miscarriage.  We grieve with them, offer the peace of Christ, and entrust their precious little one to God.  But abortion is a secret pain.  It is a dagger of guilt.  It is a loss that is carried deep inside and alone.

The great loss of life should pierce the heart of every one of us.  The numbers are staggering.  More than 3,000 women have an abortion every day.  These women are in our families, congregations, and circles of friends.  They are Christians who worship with us and go to Bible study with us.  I know some of these women.  At least 25 of my friends, relatives, or acquaintances have had abortions.  Seventeen of them are Lutheran.  Three are the wives of Lutheran pastors.  At least three have had more than one abortion.

Abortion has created a new mission field for the church.  There is a need to enter this mission field — but first, we must understand that we will almost certainly encounter denial, anger, self-hatred, distrust, grief, remorse, and the nature, but perhaps deeply buried, desire for reconciliation with the Giver of Life.

For those in denial, I pray my message can gently convict.  For those already convicted, I pray my message will offer hope and my behavior be welcoming.  I pray my arms remain open with the merciful love of Jesus who reconciles us all with God.

When I became a grandmother for the first time, I realized that holding my grandson was surprisingly different from holding my own two sons.  Each gaze upon the child of my child is a generational moment.  The room of my heart excitedly received my first grandchild.  The room of my life rearranged itself.

Often, when holding my first… then second, third, and fourth grandsons, I think of the thousands of other women of my generation whose arms will never hold a grandchild.  Their arms will never hold the child of their child.  That’s because when finding themselves “with child,” these women believed the lie: “make this one sacrifice and choose a better time to be a mother.”  Although the room of their hearts may have whispered a word of welcome, the room of their lives did not.

Because these women either did not hear or did not trust God’s promise, the world captured their every thought and desire.  Tossed in a tumultuous sea, these women reached toward “salvation” in the guise of a “quick and painless” abortion.

But the degrading act goes against all that is maternal and natural.  Sent away from the abortion clinic, women are abandoned to burdens of guilt, grief, and anger that threaten to pull them into cold and lonely darkness, away from the Giver of Life.

So, how do you and I respond?  Please read on to my next post . . .

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The woman carries a burden.  It is the guilt and grief of an abortion.

The deceiver of her soul never leaves her alone.  “Can God ever forgive you?”   “Choice” is building a wall between her and God.  Wouldn’t it be easier to sleep in on Sunday mornings?

Her conscience is stirred.  She remembers that, as a little girl, she attended worship with her parents.  She didn’t really understand the service.  The hymns seemed old and the pews hard.  But, there was a sense of order and peace.  Even her little girl heart identified with that.

So, one Sunday morning, the woman returned to the place of her childhood.  The place of order and peace.  Perhaps her burden made her more sensitive, but something had changed.  Instead of quiet reverence, there was noise and distraction. 

She intentionally chose the more contemporary service.  Even so, there was humility in her manner because she believed she was entering the House of the Lord.   The flurry of activity startled her.  Posters, banners, blinking lights, a latte station, people handing out brochures, and a praise band overpowered her senses.  Making her way to a back pew, she bowed her head.  She wanted to sort out her thoughts.  To pray.  But, all around her people in conversation competed with the vocalists and band.  Her mind wandered away from her prayer.

The woman remembered holding her hymnal when she was a girl.  But, now all the words were on a power point screen.  She couldn’t page through the Psalms or read God’s Word in the hymns.   She couldn’t turn to the page of confession and absolution.  The service moved so quickly.  Along with the others, she was praising her Lord, but what was He doing for her?

The pastor was dynamic.  Charismatic.  He looked almost like everyone else in the room.  She couldn’t help but wonder: How would he receive her?  He spoke about Jesus and mercy and grace, but did she miss the part about why she needed such mercy and grace?

She approached the Lord’s Table with hunger, but was not allowed to kneel, pause before the Cross, and ponder on what she was receiving.   The line of people moved quickly by the pastors and several elders.  She noticed some people looking at their watches.  Perhaps it was her imagination, but the band seemed louder.  Still, it didn’t drown out her pounding heart.  The anxiety.  What am I doing, she asked herself.  Why am I here?

Back in her pew, she again bowed her head.  But, there was no silence.  The praising continued.  The congregation was singing about a great God, a loving God.  But, where was He?  All of the people around her were doing something for Him, but what was He doing for them?  For her?

She had come to His sanctuary, but felt herself in an auditorium.  Sight and sound teased her emotions, but she always felt that way after a trip to the mall, too.

She had come to leave her burden before the Throne of Grace, be received as His daughter, and be equipped for her daily battle with the deceiver of her soul.  But, everyone was so busy taking their hour to praise the Lord.  Perhaps the Lord was receiving her as His daughter, but her head was turned away.  Her eyes were focused elsewhere.

She left with her burden in tow.  She hadn’t really felt like praising God, but wanted Him do something for her.  She wondered, did He give to her and all the others what they needed to engage in daily spiritual warfare?  Or, had they given Him some of their time before scurrying back to real life?

Does this woman sit in your midst?  Does your congregation’s choice of worship direct such a woman to the Cross, or distract her away?  Is she allowed to “be still and know that I am God,” or is she overwhelmed by the choreography of human hand?

Just pondering on the journey…

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