Friday, April 26, 2013

On Loving the Post-Abortive and Those in Unplanned Pregnancies

As someone who has both had an abortion and chosen LIFE, I want to address the way the Church handles both post-abortive women, as well as women facing unplanned pregnancies. This is a post I've had in my heart for quite a while, and am finally sitting down to actually write it out...

It saddens me deeply when I receive harsh comments from Christians who say nasty things about my abortion. The way this society makes post-abortive women feel really makes my heart hurt. Many women carry the secret of a past abortion for decades because it is a forbidden topic of grief. They suffer in silence because they are terrified of what people might say or think of them, since it was their choice and quite frankly, the Church often paints a woman who has had an abortion as one who is unworthy of forgiveness.

I am here to tell you that women (including me) regret their "choice."

On one hand, many in this society are telling women that having an abortion is "the easy solution" to their "problem" and it is their choice and "no big deal." While on the other hand, others in this society are blaming women for believing these lies and for choosing abortion. We live in a world that is constantly bombarding us with messages of "choice," so why would we be surprised when people believe these messages? I think that the women who choose abortion are often victims of "choice" and have no idea what they are getting themselves into. People around them are saying it's "just a clump of cells and not a real baby." If abortion were not a legal "choice," I never would have chosen to have one (and I know many, many post-abortive women who agree with me).

Once women grasp that it is indeed "a big deal" and they come face-to-face with what they've done and realize not only did they lose their child, but they were the cause of this loss, do they really need Christians telling them they have no reason or right to grieve? Do they need to be called "baby-killers," "heartless," "murderers," etc.? Would we rather women not regret their abortions?

The Church judges and condemns women for choosing to have an abortion, yet what are we doing to encourage women to choose LIFE? Are we supporting them (practically, emotionally, and spiritually) in their moment of crisis? It's easy to say and think whatever we want, but what are we doing to change anything? The unborn and the women in unplanned pregnancies both need to be fought for. We need to pray and ask for God's heart for both sides because He has a plan and purpose for both and loves both equally! Being Pro-Life means being Pro-Every-Life.

When I was in my crisis pregnancy, my parents welcomed me back home with open arms. I pray that the way my parents responded to me in love will be an example to others to also respond in love to women facing similar circumstances. Women who do choose life need to have support and be honored for their choice of life.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, Lily (unwed at the age of 19), I felt ashamed at times for others to notice my growing belly, wondering if they judged me to be a sinful woman, undeserving of love, acceptance and forgiveness. It seemed as if people were looking for a wedding ring on my finger. I think the fear of such harsh judgement is what makes many women choose abortion. They cave in to the lie that it will be easier to live with that secret than it will be to face the hateful shunning and nasty glares of others.

It seems that women are judged if they choose to have an abortion, yet they are also judged if they choose LIFE.

I pray that the Church of Jesus Christ will learn to respond with love and mercy to those in unintended pregnancies, as Jesus responds to each of us in our sin. Rather than freely exhibiting disapproval, forgiveness and unconditional love needs to flow to the women who are suffering alone in their difficult situation, from which they see no hopeful escape.

Amy Ford, Co-Founder of Embrace Grace, said this on her twitter page this morning:

"What if a scared girl has a crisis pregnancy and she immediately knew three options:   abortion, adoption or keep and the Church will help."

What is Embrace Grace? Here is a little description from their facebook page:

Embrace Grace is an organization (pending non-profit status) formed for the purpose of providing emotional, practical and spiritual support for single young girls that find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy. The primary goal of Embrace Grace is to empower churches across the nation to be a safe and non-judging place for the girls to run to when they find out they are pregnant, instead of the last because of shame and guilt. We provide curriculum for the churches as well as offer grants to organizations that may not be able to afford the expenses involved with helping young women with crisis pregnancies. If the church, the body of Christ, would join together to support these girls that choose life, young moms will be more open to not abort their baby. Whether they keep their baby or place for adoption, Embrace Grace is a support system for them as they begin their journey of being a young mother or blessing another family with their baby. Emotionally and spiritually healthy mommies parent emotionally and spiritually healthy babies. Through the Embrace Grace program, lives are saved and generations are being changed. God loves these babies and their mommies and we do too.

Please, take the time to check out this amazing ministry and consider supporting them in whatever way you can. I pray God opens up Churches in this way across the country and world!

So, how can the Church be a support?

It's crucial, when ministering to these women, to remain calm and remember that God knew about these children before the creation of the world. Though it may be appalling to you, He is not surprised. Although sexual sin is wrong, it is not unpardonable, and the precious lives conceived are innocent of the sin involved. Just as the unborn are deserving of compassion from their mothers, women who end up with unplanned pregnancies, as well as those who are post-abortive, are deserving of compassion afforded them from the Body of Christ. Just because the Church links with these hurting women in a loving show of support does not indicate moral weakness within the Church body. On the contrary, such support displays Jesus' character. Once sin has been remorsely confessed and repented of, congregations are called upon to welcome the women back into fellowship, forgiving them of their sins and focusing on loving them throughout their pregnancies.

Practically, the Church can pray with and for these women and their babies; provide support as a listening ear and shoulder to cry on; offer words of hope and encouragement; remind them that God has a plan and purpose for their lives and the lives of their unborn children; drive them to necessary appointments, including offering to take them to a Crisis Pregnancy Center where they can hear and evaluate all possible options, take classes and acquire necessary supplies to help them care properly for their babies; give them baby showers; lend maternity clothes; provide free childcare; help them obtain employment and housing if necessary, etc.

It is necessary to promote all aspects of life in our Churches: teaching the value and dignity of human life at every age, participation with Crisis Pregnancy Centers, walks for life, speaking out on Sanctity of Life Sunday in January, being willing to not just support adoption, but actually adopt, and demonstrating loving action as you live out the pro-life message. It is positive life-affirming action to lead Bible studies specifically geared to living with the repercussions of abortion, and inviting speakers equipped to aid post-abortive women to share healing testimonies and stories of comfort and hope.

I am working on a post where I will share more practical ideas for how to get involved in standing for LIFE.

We can be Pro-Life and against abortion, yet loving, kind, merciful, and compassionate to those who have had an abortion (just as Christ doesn't condone our sin, yet He loves us in the midst of it).

No matter what anybody says to or about me, I will never quiet. I will love my Luke into Eternity and I will keep my promise to him alive as long as I am - I will be his voice!

May we show others the very mercy that Christ has shown us, instead of kicking the wounded when they are down. Abortion isn't worse than other sins, though humans may put it a category of it's own. God is mighty to forgive us and wash us clean of each and every sin. As Corrie ten Boom said, "There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still."

Before judging, may we remove the plank from our own eyes (Matthew 7:5) and drop our stones (John 8:1-11).

I want to add that I realize not every Christian responds in an unloving manner and I appreciate those of you who are already showing the mercy and love of Jesus!

Please listen to this song and let the words sink into the depths of your heart...then pray and ask God how He's asking you to move!



Jesus, Friend of Sinners
Casting Crowns

Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth's become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You but they're tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I'm so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours

Yeah...

Jesus, friend of sinners, the one who's writing in the sand
Made the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember we are all the least of these
Let the memory of Your mercy bring Your people to their knees
Nobody knows what we're for only what we're against when we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours

You love every lost cause; you reach for the outcast
For the leper and the lame; they're the reason that You came
Lord I was that lost cause and I was the outcast
But you died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

'Cause You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks Yours

And I was the lost cause and I was the outcast
Yeah...
You died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

Photobucket


This post left me:

7 comments:

  1. Why do you assume that the person who was commenting yesterday was a Christian?

    Why do you feel like it is your responsibility to preach to the churches about how they should react to crisis pregnancies?

    Why do you feel that keeping the baby is ALWAYS the best option? What if the mother has nowhere to live, no means to support herself and let alone a child, and no desire to be a parent? Is it really in that child's best interest to be brought into the world?

    Why do you blame the church and society for your abortion? I'm sure that when you found yourself pregnant, you were presented with options. Nobody forced you to have an abortion. You were more afraid of what people would think of you than doing what you felt was right. Just because something is legal doesn't make it right for everybody. Smoking is legal - but do you smoke? Don't say that you only had an abortion because it was legal.

    You were a person who clearly didn't learn from your mistake (whether you count that mistake as the pregnancy or the abortion is up to you). You found yourself pregnant again.

    Did it ever occur to you that you should be preaching to young girls that they don't need to have sex to feel loved. Abstain from sex while you're not in a committed relationship, and you won't find yourself in a crisis pregnancy.

    Babies she be made and born out of love between parents...not some accident.

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    Replies
    1. Hello Anonymous (sorry I have to keep referring to you as that, but since you won't stand behind your words, I have no choice)...

      I don't assume that the person commenting yesterday is a Christian...that's why this post is directed towards Christians, because I don't expect non-Christians to have the desire to respond like Jesus to women in these circumstances. I have received comments from Christians in the past and that is who I am writing to.

      I am not preaching to anyone, but using my own experiences to share how the Church can better respond.

      It's ALWAYS in the child's best interest for the mother to choose LIFE...no, it's not always the best to parent, but that is why adoption is a selfless, beautiful choice. The gift of LIFE is something that is never to be regretted (no matter the outcome). But, abortion is regretted much of the time.

      I don't blame anyone for my abortion - I take full responsibility for my sin, just as we all will when we stand before God one day...yet, there are reasons behind why I chose to have one. I thought it would be easier to live with the secret of abortion than it would be to live with the choice of LIFE. I was wrong. Just because abortion is legal doesn't make it RIGHT AT ALL. A big reason why I had an abortion was because it was legal. If it hadn't of been, I never would have sought one out. I believed the Planned Parenthood counselor when she told me I would quickly get back to my "normal life" and put my abortion behind me...how wrong she was. There are other reasons why I chose to have an abortion, as there are many reasons why anybody chooses to have one...however, I do take responsibility. There is a difference between blaming someone and giving reasons for something.

      I clearly am someone who learned from my mistakes...my mistakes were having sex before marriage and having an abortion. A baby is never a mistake or a sin, but can be a consequence of sin. I chose LIFE the second time. I turned back to God and walked away from my sinful lifestyle.

      I completely agree with you - a big part of my message is that people should remain pure until marriage because that honors God and His design for our lives and honors our future spouses. We were never meant to give our hearts and bodies away to anyone but our husband or wife. I want others to see the pain I've experienced and choose not to make the choices I made, but rather wait until marriage. That way there will be no more crisis pregnancies and no more abortions. Yet, when people do sin and make mistakes, they need to know the love, mercy, redemption, and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.

      Why do you (whoever you are from Calgary, Alberta) keep coming back to my blog and reading? If you don't like what I write, you don't have to be here.

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    2. Great response. you have a lot o patience.

      Delete
  2. Byron Patrick MathisApril 26, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    Great post! I hope this hits people in the heart. We are all sinners in one way or the other. Abortion is in no way worse than any other sin, as God forgives them all. Any Christian that looks down upon someone whom had had an abortion need to reference John 8:1-11, but especially verse 7. The point of being pro life is to embrace and protect all people, not just babies, the post abortive mothers need love shown them more than the rest of us could possibly know. Not only have they lost a child, but it is to their own hands, so to speak. Pro life to me is to try and save lives, not save the baby, but destroy the mother by kicking her while she is down, rather lifting and comforting her in her time of need.

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  3. Dear Hannah Rose, I don't understand how anyone could say you are trying to avoid responsibility by blaming others, after reading or hearing much of what you have shared with us on here. :( I am so sorry people are being mean.

    Recently I was discussing something with Susi O Fanabba of Abortion Hurts Siblings and Others - and she pointed out a category of victims of abortion who are rarely thought of- children who lost their mothers to botched abortions. This post reminded me of that discussion, because I've since been thinking that the harsh attitudes you mention might frighten such children away from coming forward and sharing their testimonies from their side of this tragedy. I can imagine some people telling them: "Well, your mother deserved to die, etc."

    There are so many groups that need care and healing as a result of abortion.

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  4. Hannah this post really touched me.I think you are so brave to share the story of you abortion and precious Luke.I have always felt abortion is murder.But until I started following your blog I felt that a woman has a right to choose.My views have changed since then.I am pro life nowIt's all because of you.There are some girls who will be disowned when the family learns she is pregnant.I also wonder about how the fathers feel.Did they want the baby?God forgives everyone.God also tells us not judge others.I'm proud of you for sharing your storyStand strong Hannah

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  5. 1)Loved this post...when I was found with my unplanned pregnancy, I was sooooo afraid to turn to the Church...but when I finally did, they embraced me! And because of that love, I was able to receive healing, and choose life.
    2)I love Embrace Grace
    3)You hit the nail on the head...the Church needs to love the women in crisis and praise them for choosing life. It's so sad that unplanned pregnancy has such a stigma and women who choose life feel more judged than when they choose abortion. I wish that the whole "premarital sex" part wasn't so closely attached to the pregnancy. The premarital sex was the sin...but the pregnancy itself is in no way sinful...and therefore we need to rejoice in that life and not keep reminding women of that sin that just so happened to occur before, especially if they have already sought repentance for it.

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