What About the Women?

mother-teresaIn all of the rhetoric that comes out of things like the Women’s March and even the March for Life I never hear of anyone speaking about what happens to the women in the life or death situation called abortion.  This is a very personal and very emotional choice that happens to hundreds of women every day.

I wonder if anyone ever thinks about what happens to the women who decide to have an abortion?  Does anyone recognize the pain and the hurt that these women experience?  I don’t think that all these women walk out of the clinics thinking ‘I feel better now that it’s taken care of’.  I think most are crushed, shamed and emotionally devastated.

You see, I was one of those women, back in the ’70s, who walked out of a clinic.  The situation was bad; I was not married and had gotten myself tangled in a sexual situation that I found I couldn’t get out of.  Sexual addiction is a topic for another time, but that’s where I was.  When I got pregnant I went to the baby’s father and he just wanted me to “take care of it”.  Abortion hadn’t even crossed my mind until then.  I had to get the money together and with every ounce of courage I had, I walked into that clinic and had an abortion.  The amount of emotional pain I experienced can’t be explained.

The story doesn’t quite end there.  I couldn’t get out of this sexual situation.  It was an actual addiction; I hated and loved it at the same time.  So later when I thought I was pregnant again I couldn’t handle even thinking about it.  It was one of those stupid things that people do; if I don’t think it’s true, it isn’t true.  When I started bleeding I was relieved.  Then I didn’t stop bleeding.  I finally went to the doctor, who put me in the hospital thinking I was having a miscarriage.  This time my parents needed to be informed  and the shame was compounded.  I overheard the doctor talking to my mother that the baby was “viable” and the bleeding was from a severe infection.  He had decided to go ahead with the “D&C” (abortion) because of the situation.

I was so emotionally devastated that I couldn’t talk about what had happened, not with my parents, my pastor or my friends.  I ended up bottling it up inside me.  I would cry at night when no one was around.  Everyone around me thought I was doing alright but I was a mess inside.

One night while I was crying, I heard an audible voice (only to me, I’m sure) that said “you killed my children!”.  Of course I knew this.  I knew who was speaking to me.  I was raised in the church.  I knew the sixth commandment.  I ended up confessing it all to the Lord and afterwards I felt His love and His peace.  Yes, I’m forgiven and I know this with a peace that I don’t understand.  The emotional pain and grief that I feel now is like a person would feel when a child dies.  I mourn the loss of my children.

What about the women?  In all the talk  I don’t hear anyone address the issue of the women.  The emotional and mental stress of having an abortion is overwhelming.  These women need love and acceptance.   We must be sure that women who have made this choice in their lives get to hear that they can be forgiven.  When we are speaking against abortion, we need to be mindful of those who have walked that road.  These women do not need to be judged by others. The anger and hate that I have seen do nothing but compound the shame and pain that this procedure causes.  I know, because I have felt it.  For this reason I don’t talk about abortion very much.  This isn’t an abstract idea for me.  It’s very personal.

We need to be aware of the emotional and spiritual consequences of abortion.  It’s not just killing a baby.  It kills a bit of the mother as well. We need to hold out our hands to the women who, for whatever reason, have suffered this emotional pain in silence.  We need to reach them and let them know that the Lord loves them, even if they think that He couldn’t.  They need to see that they don’t need to carry the burden of guilt and shame.  Yes, the pain remains.  But for me it’s a reminder of our Lord’s forgiveness.  I carry those children in my heart and I hope to see them in heaven one day.

The Sacrifice of Separation

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?  Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?” Psalm 22:1

At our Good Friday service last night we looked at the bare wood of an altar that had been stripped of all the usual ornamentation, and we heard about the special sacrifice Jesus made for us.  One we don’t think about very often.  When Jesus took the sins of the world upon himself, he was temporarily separated from the Father and the Holy Spirit.  He was stripped of the companionship that He had enjoyed since birth.  He became in one final way like us:  separated from God.  He was utterly alone.

Although I have often heard about the physical sufferings Christ endured on the cross,  I  don’t think I had contemplated this deep emotional pain before.  Think about it.  Even when the earthly friends of Jesus did not understand Him, or deserted Him, He had his union with the other two persons of the trinity to comfort and sustain Him.  Now he lost that, too.

I’ve been married for 44 years, so I have become accustomed to this union with my husband.  When we are separated for just a few days, I feel uncomfortable.  I want to talk with him and I can’t;  I need some help and he is not there;  I long for a hug and he is out of reach.  If my husband were to die, I would experience deep grief and pain. Probably greater than any other pain I can imagine.  Multiply that many, many times and it still doesn’t come close to how Jesus felt. His union was perfect and continual.  Jesus knew this would happen.  He contemplated it in the garden. Yet He still submitted to His Father’s will.  He made this sacrifice for me and for you.  How does this make you feel?  What are you willing to give up for the one who sacrificed so much for you?

“Although He was a son, he learned obedience through what he had suffered.  And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, …” Hebrews 5:8-9″