A young woman walks into a Truman State volunteer fair, ready to serve. Little did she know that through her desire to help others, she herself would receive healing.
Perusing the booths, she discovered Lifeline Pregnancy Help Clinic, and was intrigued enough to volunteer. When she looked up the website, among the tabs of services provided by Lifeline was the post-abortion bible study. She had been praying for an opportunity like this, for she herself had experienced the emotional turmoil initiated by abortion: anger towards herself and God for letting her follow through, sadness for the act itself, and heartache over feeling like she no longer belonged to her heavenly Father.
But God is good, and He never abandoned her.
I had the opportunity to ask this former Lifeline client about her healing experience, now three and half years after the abortion. The obstacles she has confronted are daunting. “The biggest part was realizing God still loved me and cared for me as His child,” she said. “It is also extremely hard because you do not want to be looked at differently, but you want to seek help. Many times when I would break down crying because it hurt so bad, but it was such a comfort knowing there were people who cared about me was a support and comfort.”
This woman, and other post-abortion clients like her, meet with a peer-counselor weekly for a one-on-one, scripture-based study. They are encouraged to be authentic and ask any questions they may struggle with. The study includes take-home prompts to foster self-reflection.
When asked about her experience with Lifeline’s post-abortion counseling, she expressed how embraced she was. “It was a welcoming place where I felt like I could work through my emotions and be honest about being mad or angry, but also sad and feeling like my heart had been broken in two pieces,” she explained. “The people I came in contact with were always caring and made me feel like I belonged and not ostracized for having the abortion done, but rather looking forward to what God was going to do with me and my story.”
She referred to Isaiah 1:8 as a source of guidance: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be white as wool.” God is more powerful than the seemingly inescapable darkness we all stumble into. He wants to make every one of us into a brand new canvas, a surface on which He can illustrate His love. No one is too far for His heart to reach, and at Lifeline we strive to ensure that every person who walks through our doors becomes aware of that truth.
Because He is good, He made sure this woman felt loved. He spoke through His word, through counselors, through the post-abortion study materials, but ultimately through His Spirit to bring her further into His grace. She says, “I have learned that God is always there for you and He cares for you no matter what you do. The most important thing is to not hide from Him but rather turn to Him so He can comfort you. I have become stronger and have realized God has been preparing me through these last three and a half years to be strong and continually seek out what His plan is for me.”
She then told me of a beautiful practice of hers: “I now have a flower garden in memory of my child, and every year I plant new flowers around the perennial flowers that continue to give me hope for the upcoming years.”
What a stunning image: the comfort of Christ germinates deep within our hearts, and blooms from year to year. Even when darkness like winter eradicates our hope, it does not destroy the roots of redemption He promised to always provide.
His grace is even greater than perennial; it is everlasting.
By Kathryn Farmer