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Sunday, October 10, 2010

When I was 17...My Story...

So, it occurred to me that I may have not posted my own, personal story on this blog.  An odd oversight on my part.  With the 40 Days for Life Campaign in full swing and a Rachel's Vineyard Retreat coming up, I thought that I should rectify things.  Therefore, I am choosing to post my story now.  Here it is - typos, emotions and all - a very personal view on what I experienced as a result of abortion and how I found healing many years later.

It's important that while we must fight FOR LIFE every single day, we also remember to help those who at one time, lost their battle with self in the name of that all-too-familiar mantra of "choice."  Everything we are taught by society leads us to believe that the ability to have an abortion is freedom, makes our lives easier, keeps our lives from having to change, etc. 

My story makes clear that the only freedom I experienced was that of freedom from peace...that the way in which my life became easier was in that I could more easily allow myself to not care about the outcomes of many poor choices that followed...that the way in which I kept my life from changing was in NOT allowing myself to "change" and grow beyond that terrible moment.

I hope that this story strikes a cord in all of you.  Please share it with others.  Silence is our worst enemy.
When I was 17, about a month before my 18th birthday, I found out that I was pregnant. I couldn't believe it. Complete fear and shock went through my body. I immediately began to cry uncontrollably. What would I do? I felt sick. I went into total shutdown mode. Reality no longer applied. This couldn't be real, could it?

Not long after that, I began to get all kinds of support from my friends. Yes, I was the choice of abortion. They all told me how I was too young, what would I do with a kid, where could I go, etc.? I even had someone tell me that adopting the baby would only make it hurt more because I would always wonder where the child was. It never occurred to me that this was also the same girl who was the ex-girlfriend of the guy that got me pregnant, with whom she still shared a close connection and that perhaps, he motives were not altogether good.

No matter. I was numb. I was frightened and too terrified to tell my father. He had always told me he would throw me out of the house if I got pregnant. Going to him would only make me a homeless person on top of everything else. So, I called my mother in New York. Her immediate response was that I would fly there and have the abortion done. Simple. She would take care of all the arrangements - I just had to pay for it.

My mind was racing and I further numbed myself with alcohol. I denied any acknowledgement of what was about to commence. I simply determined it wasn't really happening and that the child inside me was not really there. It was a defense mechanism.

I arrived in New York and within a day, was at an abortion clinic. While I waited in the small room with other women, I tried justifying what I was doing. I actually convinced myself I would most likely miscarry because I had felt a few pangs of pain in my lower back. This was the fool proof way of getting through this - or so I thought.

Going under, I was scared, but felt there was no way out, now. I didn't want this and I didn't want to be there...I kept pushing those thoughts to the very back of my mind. Hoping that I could eventually push them out completely. Never did I imagine that they would be there, waiting for me, as soon as I awoke and then still, for the rest of my life.

Waking up, I heard my own was screaming. I had tears running down my face, I grabbed at my abdomen and screamed for my baby!!! I screamed and screamed for her. They all tried to calm me down, but all I could do was ask for my baby. I complained of pain and they could not calm me. It was as if I knew...I knew at that very moment the horror of what I had just committed. I knew and there was nothing I could do to change it. Immediate remorse and regret. I was changed forever.

The doctor reluctantly put me back under to see if I had any damage. None that he cold see. No, he was thoroughly irritated with me and made no bones about showing me. Because I had been put under twice in such a short time, my recovery took twice as long. Now, my mother was irritated because she surmised I was doing all this for attention. It wasn't that big a deal, so why was I acting this way? I needed to stop it. What? Seriously? Was this happening?

As we were walking out of the building and I was leaning on her for support, she announced that we would never speak of this again. No need to talk about it -we would just forget it and move on. I was shocked...I needed to talk about it. I felt my chest compressing and a weight was placed there...a weight that wouldn't be removed for another 17 years.

I spent a lot of time trying to push the events of that day out of my mind. I suffered from nightmares and a spiraling self image. I wanted my baby and couldn't have her. I was worthless and everyone knew it. I wanted to feel be have someone come in and make it all better. Enter my ex-husband. He initially came with all those wonderful things...he took care of me...he gave me safety...I didn't have to make anymore decisions - it was easier this way.

Fast forward to our marriage. It was cold and demeaning. I wasn't allowed to be a person, I was there to do as I was told. I was watched and all of my decisions...ALL of my decisions were to be made by him. It spiraled out of control and my self esteem was beaten so low that I nearly forgot who I was before we met. I am at fault for that part because I allowed him in...I allowed him to take control and then, I allowed him to believe it was ok.

After a year, I began to fight back by regaining my own personality. I began to snap out of the haze that had been my existence for so long. As a result, our marriage suffered and he had not intention of having me become a person who understood her self worth. Our relationship and marriage failed and then, I went onto several failed relationships afterwards. I didn't understand love - I didn't even really love myself...not enough to think I deserved better than what I got.

Slowly, I began to get pieces of myself back. With every piece, I was able to gain more confidence. With every piece, my bad decisions became less traumatic. Eventually, I found that I could take care of myself and decided to live on my own. It was a good step - a necessary step. Did I make all the right decisions? No. But, I made better ones and learned more quickly from mistakes.

Enter my husband...the man to whom I've been married for nearly 10 years now and with whom I have built a healthy and wonderful life. Not for lack of trying to mess it up on my part, but luckily for me, he is a good and patient man. He saw my pain and looked past it...he's the first person who saw ME and helped me to realize that I was worth every good thing I had previously denied to myself.

After several years of marriage, he convinced me to attend a Rachel's Vineyard Retreat. He knew it was time for me to finally deal with the pain of my abortion...a pain that had always haunted me and a pain that was becoming more and more visible to him every day. He attended with me and to my amazement, participated in all the activities fully. Not only did I receive the most compassionate and loving healing through that weekend, but in breaking out of those chains that bound me, I was also able to be completely and trustingly open to my marriage for the first time. What freedom! I actually felt in control of my no longer controlled me. I was free and on the road to a true recovery.

I now work with others to help their healing. I use my pain and experiences as a way of reaching others. But, I wish always that I could have made the RIGHT choice all those years ago. Regardless of my healing...I would change that decision in a heartbeat if ever given that chance. The years that one moment took from me will never be replaced. No one should have to go through one should have to lose their child in such an unnatural and horrific way. Telling people that murdering a baby living inside your body is ok is one of the most irresponsible and selfish things a person can do.

A child's life is precious. All life is sacred. We must protect it and let our voices be heard. The children need us to speak for them until they are given life and can speak for themselves.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


So, I was having coffee with an old friend yesterday and one of things we discussed was abortion. More specifically, we talked about her pregnancy with her daughter, which just so happened to come up about the time of my abortion. When talking with her, she told me that she had read my story in the EOC in March of 2008. It had touched her heart and although we hadn't reconnected at that time, she was truly happy for me.

That's not the really "forgotten" part about this. While speaking, she made a comment about that time in our lives. She remembered our talking about the abortion a time after it had occurred. She says to me that when reading my EOC article, she was glad because I was "finally allowing myself to really deal with it." Then, she says that she remembers my telling her that "it was the best thing I ever did for myself." HUH? What the??? Really? Seriously? Are you kidding me?

I remember I paused and just looked at her for a moment. I repeated what she had said and asked her if I really said that to her. She said that yes, I had. At the time, she felt that I simply wasn't able to face the reality of it, so she never pressed me about it. So, when she read my article, she was so happy to see I finally allowed myself to do just that.

When I opened my mouth to speak, all I said to her was, "I don't remember ever saying that to you. I don't remember that conversation."

How could I have forgotten that? How could I have erased an entire conversation with a person, who up to that point in my life, had been my best friend since childhood? Was I truly capable to simply blocking out unwanted memories? I guess so.

It simply caught me off guard. At one time, I really had convinced myself that it was the very best thing for me. The pain really was that bad. I did need to find a way to block it out and the only way to do that was to justify it. In fact, that was the word she used...she said that I "justified" having the abortion to her. I was truly shocked at this revelation. I mean, I thought "other" people did that...blocked out things that they weren't proud of or didn't like. Nope...apparently...I do, as well.

So, the change in my ability to deal with all of this came even after I spent years justifying my act. I dealt with the pain by NOT dealing with it at all, whatsoever. Not uncommon for post-abortive persons. Not in the least.

Dealing with our pain...facing it...that's something we must do. But, sometimes, we're not ready when others are ready to "hear us." I never realized my friend was simply waiting for me to fall into her arms and cry my eyes out. I never knew that she had been waiting to be the person who pulled me out of my own and self-imposed abyss. I never realized that the lonliness I felt in that sea of pain was unnecessary because there had been a rescue boat waiting for me the entire time. Sometimes, we are so horrified by our own actions that we literally block out any semblence of hope that might be there.

Do we do this because of guilt? Do we do it because we truly believe that no one is there or will understand? Or...are we simply punishing ourselves for actions that cannot be changed and choices we made in one, terrible moment, that forever changed us and who we would become?

God knows the answers and He, thankfully, is all giving, loving and forgiving. Not unlike a parent, He loves us inspite of all the ways we work so hard to push Him away. I am ever thankful to Him for the blessings I've received and for showing me that I did, indeed, have angels with me during all of those dark moments...I was never alone, although, I failed to see.

Peace be with you.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Another Month...Another Meeting...Another Way of Furthering Our Healing

Last night, we had our monthly "Growing on the Vine" meeting for the Rachel's Vineyard group. From month-to-month, you never really know what kind of group we'll get, how many or the direction in which God will lead us. It's pretty amazing to watch it unfold.

We changed things up a little and decided to begin with the Living Scripture portion of the evening following dinner to allow more time for reflection. I think it was very successful. Isn't it wonderful the way God can speak to each of us on an individual level? I mean...there we all were...listening to the exact same words and yet...we all heard very different things that spoke to us, specifically. God is all powerful - He could hammer it into our brains if He so chose, but He'd rather gently guide us there and allow us to experience it for ourselves. Wow...just wow.

There's something truly inspirational about the way I've watched our group of women grow. We are all quite different, coming from varied backgrounds and different age groups. However, on this one night...each month...we come together as "family" and embrace one another without judgment, without rejection and completely at ease. Anyone who knows anything about women knows that this could ONLY be from God! LOL

Not only have I been able to see these women grow, I've experienced that very growth myself. I love each of them in a different way and I learn from all of them on a regular basis. You see, these meetings don't only affect them, but they affect my sprirtual journey, as well. Being around other people who truly understand your own pain...who accept you with ALL your baggage and can look you in the eye without flinching,'d have to be a person without a soul to NOT have that affect you in some way.

In addition to our monthly meetings, there is a small group of us that get together for coffee from time-to-time. We chit-chat and catch up with each other. We laugh and talk about anything that's on our minds. And, because we all have shared such a level of intimacy, we're able to be completely free of restrictions in our conversations. What a blessing from God, indeed.

This is God at work in our midst. He is leading us toward furthering our relationship with Him by increasing our faith, allowing our spirits to heal, awakening our desire to do more for one another and ourselves and reminding us that there is no sin that he cannot or will not forgive for a penetent heart. Experiencing the breaking of the chains of self-defeating behavior myself, it only further strengthens my own faith and desire to continue with a program such as this when I see countless women break free of their own chains, also.

It's imperative that we not give up hope. Not on ourselves and certainly, not on each other. God placed many angels all around us...they come in the form of friends, counselors, mentors, people we encounter in our daily lives and even a person we might only ever see once. If we will only open our hearts, we'll be able to receive healing in abundance and walk upright toward His welcoming light.

Peace be with you.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Some people try, very hard, to invalidate the post-abortive symptoms that occur in men and/or women. They are very threatened by even the notion that abortion can have a negative affect on a person and their life.

Please do not...DO NOT allow this type of mentality, seemingly shared by much of the population, to keep you from seeking help. Hope is waiting. Healing is there. God is ready for you.

The feelings that accompany a person post-abortion are very real. Often, there is a delayed reaction...once the numbness wears off. There is sadness and depression, sometimes, suicidal thoughts...many, many types of suffering. Many people suffer in silence because no one lets them know they ARE allowed to grieve for their babies. No one told me, so I suffered in silence for 17 years.

If you suffer...if you know someone who suffers...don't continue to do so in silence. Abortion does hurt and there are people out there who are ready to help you find the healing from it that allows you to move on with life. To find yourself again and to be about more than "just your abortion" on the inside.

I found my a Rachel's Vineyard Retreat. They allowed me to tell my find hope, again.

Peace be with you.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Remembering Gabrielle Elise...

I have thought of this poem off-and-on since I wrote it. During my Rachel's Vineyard Retreat, I intended to read it at the memorial service. I actually wrote it the same night I wrote my letter to her. Since it's been on my mind for a while, I thought that perhaps I would share it, publicly. Some day, I may choose to publish the letter I wrote to her and read at the service, but I'm still thinking on that.

Here is the poem to my sweet little girl...

In a meadow I see you
Light dances in your green eyes
Your smile brings warmth
And your laugh ters of joy

I saw you for the first time
You've been waiting all along
Your beauty is blinding
Your heart and capacity to love, endless

Years I spent avoiding you
I was filled with anger and contempt
Unforgiving and unaccepting of mistakes
Each day I have added to the pain of losing you

Now, your hair glows in teh sunlight
Your arms reach out to me and I am there
I wait for you and smile
One day, I will hold you near
One day, I will know you well.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Another Retreat...More Healing Underway

This weekend was, in a word, powerful! It never ceases to amaze me the power of the Holy Spirit at work in people's lives. Amazing. Truly. What a gift God has given us to experience healing on a level far beyond anything we could do on our own.

Rachel's Vineyard is more than healing after's healing after LIFE. What do I mean by that? Simple. Many of us experience the harder realities of life and in experiencing them in a certain way, we are often pulled away from God. As a result, we make choices that only further interrupt our relationship with God and therefore, begin to feel alienated from Him or even unworthy. It's a vicious cycle and one that must be put to an end.

Abortion is a's something that comes along after we've made some other bad decisions already...after we've been desensitized to what it is...or even, after we have become so paralyzed with fear that we feel lost and incapable of making any decisions on our own. The impact it will have on our lives is incomprehensible at that time. Abortion is something we don't realize will only compound what we've already experienced in LIFE to that point and not for the better.

The retreat weekend offers a safe and intimate place to walk through those things with other people who have been there, too. With people who are not there to judge you or what you've done...they're there to walk with you and help you get back on track. Or, if you've never been on track, they're there to provide support as you embark upon the path that is right for you. It's a spiritual and loving place.

The goal of the retreat is to help men/women affected by abortion to find healing or at the very least, begin the healing process. This weekend, I saw 5 very different women come together in Christ and heal from years of pain and suffering before and after their abortions. I saw tears of sadness as well as of joy. I saw women who came in without hope leave with a true sense of self worth in their hearts because they were finally released from the weight of their pain. I saw women take stock of the fact that there were others out there who could understand them and listen lovingly and without judgment. I remember realizing that for myself during my retreat, and the freedom it gave me.

This program is beyond words. Not only have I experienced it in my own healing, but now I've had the honor of watching it help to heal the lives of other people, as well. I was witness to emotional breakthroughs that ONLY God could have brought about. I was part of a group of people who all, equally, extended the hand of compassion and love to each woman, unconditionally. Do you have any idea the power that holds for a person suffering from this kind of pain? To know that someone CAN love you...someone who KNOWS your darkest secrets and can still look at you with the love of Christ in their eyes? It's beyond description, honestly.

I praise God for His goodness and guidance. None of us could have been able to do this without His constant presence. In addition to being able to assist in the healing process of these women, I was again struck with my own healing being furthered. This was the first time I was able to take on this ministry WITHOUT Bill right at my side. It was the first time I had strength enough to walk with God in this ministry and not have my husband having to help keep me emotionally strong. Finally...I followed my own words and trusted, completely, in The Lord. Wow...when I realized how strong God had allowed me to become, I was intensely moved. God works on us always...even when we do not realize it. And, if we truly TRUST IN HIM, there is NOTHING we cannot accomplish!

Please continue to pray for the constant healing of these women. They have begun a journey that will encounter some ups and downs, still yet. However, with the power of prayer, God's light in their lives and the support of all those around them, they will undoubtedly come out of this experience stronger and more capable of releasing their pain, permanently! AMEN!!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

So Far, So Good...Retreat is On!

Well, at this point we are a "go" for the rescheduled Rachel's Vineyard Retreat we are hosting in Tulsa this coming weekend (Feb. 19-21). Catholic Charities actually runs the program here in Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma and can be contacted for information about future retreats as follows:

Mary Lee Ingram

Confidentiality is always kept. Mary Lee is one of the counselor's who runs the Team and is wonderful to talk to. I spoke with her when I decided to first attend a retreat.

At this coming retreat, we had a vital team member drop out of the weekend. She's unable to help and that made a big hole in things. I was humbled and honored to be asked to help fill in the gap. Therefore, this will be my first retreat to be a co-facilitor. I'm truly nervous about it, but excited at the same time. This program means so much to me. Not just on a personal level, but from the perspective of the healing I see is provided to these people who seem so lost when they first attend.

Rachel's Vineyard gives you your voice back. It helps you come to terms with all the pain and guilt you might be suffering as a result of the abortion. It provides a safe and confidential environment in which they can fully express themselves and experience all of their deep-seeded emotions without fear of rebuke or damnation. What a blessing to be a part of that in someone's life!

I thank God for bringing me to this ministry. Abortion affects so many and yet, often people don't know there are programs out there like this. Society tries to tell us it's ok to have an abortion and we don't know that it's normal to feel badly. No one tells us it's ok to grieve, so we are left with this void and all these feelings that make no sense. What do we do? We bury them and simply move on. Little do we know just how much all of that affects other aspects of our lives. Dealing with what we feel is the best way of being able to move beyond the pain and regain control of our lives. God is so powerful and all loving that he helps us to find this healing and reminds us that He is merciful, indeed, and ready to help us along our path.

What a true blessing!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Healing is a Process

I am often struck by the fact that regardless of how far I've come in my healing journey, there's always room for more growth and new levels of healing to be found. In the same way that I'll never forget what I've done, the pain I caused myself as well as my baby, etc., I'll also never stop the healing process. Another gift from God above, I am certain.

In my life AFTER Rachel's Vineyard, I have slowly worked my way up to public speaking, blogging and discussion boards. Wow! Not something I could have imagined prior to the retreat. In doing all of this, I found even more ways of continuing the healing process by the telling of my story in a very raw and open way. In sharing the details, including my own selfishness and cowardice by blocking everything out, I have found a way to move away from the pain of it 100%. Now, I'm motivated by helping to prevent others from experiencing this type of pain. After all, if it were a "simple procedure" as we're so often told, would there be a need for my blog? For other blogs? For discussion groups? For healing retreats? No. There wouldn't.

We need to remember to be compassionate toward those who have gone through with abortion(s). We are all human and therefore, prone to err even in the most terrible of circumstances. Satan is VERY good at using our fear against the point where it simply swallows us whole and we are lost to it. Compassion is one of God's Graces bestowed upon us and meant to be passed around. This Grace has been another factor in my own healing. Not only in receiving it for myself...but, by being able to extend it to others.

I've come in contact with countless men and women (mostly women, to be honest and fair) who come from all sorts of backgrounds and yet, are connected by the thread of abortion. Some are well educated while others are self educated. All of them...let me say this again...ALL OF THEM deserve compassion, love, forgiveness and God's Grace!!! It is such a trying thing to experience and something that stays with you forever. Yet, God looks upon us with love and kindness and allows us to find redemption. How amazing is that?

My healing continues because I received the gift of turning my pain into someone else's healing. My struggle with the post-abortive life is what has given me the ability to help lead others back to a life without constant pain and suffering. For this, I am ever thankful to God. It's amazing what He can do in our lives if only we will get out of the way and let Him do HIS work!!! Amen!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Upcoming Retreat

The next Rachel's Vineyard Retreat in Tulsa will be held on Feb. 19-21. The weekend will begin on Friday (2/19) at 6PM. It will end around 3PM on Sunday (2/21).

Please consider attending if you are suffering from abortion. It is open to men and/or women regardless of your religious background (even though Catholic Charities sponsors it, you do not need to be Catholic to participate). We want to offer a safe and confidential environment for those suffering where they can find hope and healing.

If you know of someone else who may benefit from this weekend retreat (or, you need healing, yourself), please put them in contact with Mary Lee Ingram at Catholic Charities (Tulsa) at (918) 949-HOPE. She is the contact person for the retreats held in Tulsa.

HOWEVER...If you want to get information about a retreat closer to your area, then you can find the retreat schedules across the US at:

Be blessed!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My "Wow" Moment

I had a real "wow" moment yesterday. I want to share it on this blog. Again, not even sure anyone is reading all that I write here, but you never know. Some day, perhaps even after I'm long gone, some kid doing a research paper will stumble upon my rantings, right? LOL

Anyway, I've been really active with posting the healing message on my Facebook page. Joining various pro-life groups and then, posting the healing message on there, too. My status updates generally consist of Rachel's Vineyard information or a blip about my story, whatever I am feeling at the time. I never know if anyone is actually paying attention to any of it, but I keep doing it just in case. I really feel as though God is leading me through this and it's becoming a huge part of my life.

Suddenly, I see that I have an Inbox message and I check it. It's a message from one of the people I "friended" to play a Facebook game (yes, I'm addicted to sad and so not proud of this). She wants to know more about the next retreat. She and her sister want to attend. WOW! Seriously? Really? I'm mean just WOW!!! My heart started to race. I couldn't believe it. Do people really read the stuff I write? Amazing!

I have since corresponded with her and she even called me to talk about things on the phone. Her story is not unlike many - a regretful abortion. But, she feels she's made her peace with most of it. For that, I am thankful. Her sister's story is even more heart-tugging. A situation of abuse, duress, guilt, bad choices, bad marriage, feeling caught, feeling like a horrible person, etc. Oh, my heart hurts for her so deeply. That's all a part of post-abortive life. That's the part that people neglect to tell you...the part that no one wants to discuss. What happens to you AFTER the abortion? Do you simply go home and pretend that it was no big deal? Do they tell you about the years of guilt that will accompany that decision?

There are so many statistics out there that show many abortions are the result of being placed into a "I have no other choice" situation. Whether by parents who mean well, but are misled, or by boyfriends/husbands/friends who think that your best option is to not deal with a baby right now...for whatever reason (you are too young...I don't want children...adoption will only make you sad for that baby...the list goes on and on). Many women don't want their abortions, but are under the heavy weight of duress, fear, guilt, etc. I'm not making excuses, however, people need to understand that in changing society's view of abortion, we must also change people's hearts when it comes to advising others on abortion. It has to start there. Often, people telling women to have an abortion have NO CLUE what will occur...they are numb to the fact that it's completely unnatural to take a child from your body in such a manner. And, that unnatural act will have dire effects long after the procedure is complete.

The women who are pregnant are already afraid and when that fear is compounded by someone telling them "this is the best thing to do" or "you have no choice, you do this or else" well, it confuses and/or further frightens you. You get're afraid and you assume this person you've trusted to help you knows what they're talking about. Or, you are terrified of rejection if you do not comply with what that person is asking of you. You feel trapped, closed in and unable to think or breath.

What these people fail to tell you or don't know themselves is that once you place yourself on that operating table...once you allow that doctor access to your womb in such a destructive way...there are SEVERE consequences that will follow...that will haunt you...that will stay with you every part of every day whether consciously or's always will always have that will always know you should have a child in this world...a child, that by your actions, never even took a breath.

The woman and I spoke for about 30 minutes and I tried to let God do the talking for me, so-to-speak. After all, it's God that is speaking through me with all of this anyway...why would I want to mess all that work up now by taking control, right? We had a good conversation and I was able to provide her with the name and phone number of a counselor with Catholic Charities that could further advise and help her along. If nothing else, the counselor could certainly help her find resources close to her and her sister's areas (they both live in different states). From our conversation, it seems that they will both attend a Rachel's Vineyard Retreat in the near future. I pray that will happen and they both will find the complete healing these retreats help a post-abortive person find.

Ultimately, I may never know how this thing ends. I may never know if the healing is found or if these ladies are able to make a retreat. What I do know is that the message got to them and now, they have their own choices to make. I am incredibly humbled by the fact that God allowed me to help someone by getting them information that could lead to their healing. It has further encouraged me to continue along this keep writing "into space" because if I only ever reach one person, that is one less person walking around with the constant pain and struggle of the post-abortive life. That makes it all worth it.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

March For Life...

So, I participated in something I couldn't have imagined a few short years ago. I participated in the first annual March for Life in Tulsa. Wow. Can I just say that again? WOW! To be a part of something that is so much bigger than yourself is quite powerful. First, I attended Mass. The cathedral was packed to capacity...perhaps a bit beyond, actually. Afterwards, what awaited us outside was a sea of people. From all walks of faith...ready to join us arm-in-arm and stand FOR LIFE. Wow, again.

I am humbled by all those who came to support as well as by those who prayed for the event's success. It was peaceful without any negativity. Even the protestors, of which there were few, were respectful. All-in-all, it was a prayerful and lovely event. An event that I could not have attended had I not received my own healing.

On EWTN today, I watched part of a speech given by a women formerly with Planned Parenthood. She spoke about her conversion and how she came to find herself on the other side of this issue. During her speech, she made a point to say that we all need prayer. That those who oppose pro life and those who have suffered from abortion alike all need our prayers. It is not through angry words or name calling that anything productive will occur. No, it is through our prayerful presence, day-after-day, that people's hearts can be moved. I loved that she said that. I love that she rememebered that everyone is need of God's mercy. That anger has no place in this issue.

Abortion brings such pain and sadness. It does. Anyone who doesn't acknowledge that is hiding from the truth. I struggled with the effects of my abortion for years afterwards. That pain only goes deeper when you are also afraid of being judged and hated for what you've done. To know that there is a hand of mercy extended toward you regardless of your past is more than can be the thing that converts and heals you, too.

There will never be a day in my life where I won't regret my abortion. Nor will there come a day when I won't be acutely aware of the fact that I don't have a child of my own..which is of MY OWN doing. Regardless of my healing progress, I cannot erase that from my past. What I can do is move forward and learn to use that pain and suffering in service of our ensure that something good can come from it somehow.

And,when I hear people speak with such compassion and I watch prayerful and peaceful marches and rallies like I did the other night, I am filled with hope for the future. I am inspired that much more to continue my own healing and through that, to continue helping others to find their healing, as well.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Being able to help...

Wow...God is truly AWESOME...I MEAN AWESOME! His power is beyond imagination and I am humbled by how He chooses to use me at various times.

I was on Facebook (oh...why am I so addicted to Facebook...well...that's another blog entirely) last night. Just to check in on things and get off. Something drew me in and it wasn't any one thing. I started random conversations with people who were logged in; something I don't normally do. Then, I began a conversation with one person in particular. Someone that I've known through Rachel's Vineyard. It started out casually enough with hellos and being excited about tonight's monthly meeting. Nothing to blog about, necessarily.

Then, it changed. Before I knew it, we were in the middle of discussing something very intimate and I was walking with her through something she dreaded. It was as if my words were ready before she even spoke her next sentences. I felt moved to write to her in such a way as to comfort as well as reassure her of things to come. Although I believe myself to be a compassionate and relatively well-spoken person, I realized that those were not my words on the page. Sure, I typed them. But, it was too perfect and too quick to be me. Not that I'm a slow person, but it was the "feel" of the words. How they struck a nerve in exactly the way she needed it at the time that made me realize who was really at work there.

It was like a grand surprise. As I stated to someone else, "It's like a gift you weren't expecting." That's what it feels like when God uses me through the Holy Spirit for such works. I felt so "high" after our conversation. It was joy and a feeling of elation at having helped someone.

When I start to feel sadness for what I experienced or lonliness for a child I will never know, I try to remember all the good that The Lord has allowed me to do as a result of that horrible day. God is so amazing that only HE can take a tragedy and bring joy from it for others' lives. Which, eventually becomes a very necessary part of your own healing. A healing you never thought possible, but a healing that is undoubtedly desired and needed.

I can never take back that day. I can never bring back my child. I will not know her until I am in Heaven. However, God has enabled me to find ways of helping others in the meantime. He has brought me healing and allowed me to take that healing and pay it forward. I am blessed and so thankful for is beyond measure and I hope to bring that same level of healing possiblity to men and women who also suffer from abortion. I am blessed because I can fully understand their pain and can speak to them with true compassion and love. That is the gift He gave me that day...I just didn't realize it until I was finally healed.

Praise God!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Made a Decision...

So, I made a decision today. It just seemed the right thing and although some people may not understand it, I thought it imperative. I felt compelled, actually. Which, leads me to believe that the Holy Spirit is asking me to do this and that it was the right thing to do. Albeit uncomfortable.

On my Facebook status, I began a message decrying abortion. As I was writing it, I decided to make it personal...I stated that I regretted my abortion. Wow! Really? Did I just do that? Yep. It's out there now. For all the Facebook universe to see...those who know of it already will not be surprised, I'm sure. Those who don't know...well, I'm curious to see their reactions to it.

I feel so moved by my own experience to try to help others avoid the horror of abortion. I understand all the fears that go into making that decision. It's terrible. It makes you sick and you basically turn it into an out-of-body experience in order to deal with the reality of what's happening to you. It's a choice that you're making, but you go numb. What my body went through...mentally, physically and emotionally is beyond an accurate description. Of all the dumb things I've done in my life, that is the only one I would change if I could. Everything else, I chalk it up to a learning curve...something that I had to go through. However, an abortion is definitely not something I "needed" to go through at all...but it's something that will haunt me for the rest of my life.

Now, I spend my time trying to help others. Whether it is to heal from having gone through it try to assist them in making a decision that won't be carried with them throughout their life with such pain and agony. Women and men who have dealt with abortion all need our compassion. I say this because it was the compassionate care I received that finally got me through it...that finally gave me my voice back...that finally healed me. Therefore, I extend that same love and true friendship to anyone else who needs it. We have to focus on prevention, but for those who are suffering, we must first focus on healing.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I realized something recently. It is a hard thing to confront, but now that I'm aware of it, I am determined to work through it that much more. There is a part of me that still struggles with the fact that I have been unable to have my own children. Regrettably, I'll never know if this is a result of my abortion or the birth control pills I took for years while I was younger. Still, the fact remains that I am without children and I find that quite bothersome.

For all the healing I received at Rachel's Vineyard, that is the one thing that I cannot seem to completely shake. Recently, while touring the new Catholic Charities facility, we found ourselves in the Madonna House. It's a residence for unwed mothers-to-be and/or mothers. Oh, how I wished there had been something like this open to me at the time I was pregnant. But, that is neither here nor there - it certainly is not healthy for me to dwell on the "what ifs" of this life.

As we walked down a hallway, one of the residents came out of her room. A tiny little thing, she was all baby. Completely adorable. She's due anytime and it shows. At that moment, I found myself envious of her condition. I wanted to have that know life was growing inside of me and that as a result, life would come from me. During her chat with the other ladies, she mentioned that she never wanted children. Yet, there she stood, about to give birth. I found myself admiring her courage and determination. It wasn't about what she wanted, but rather, about the life growing within. That was a courage I had lacked all those years ago. I smiled at her, but could not bring myself to stay there as a few of the other women did. A sadness came over me and I knew it was because I have never known that completeness nor the courage that she was exhibiting as an unwed mother about to give birth - even if she was unaware of it herself. And, at this point in my life, it's very likely that I will never know the gift of having children of my own. Something that haunts me on a regular basis.

It does occur to me that had I not been to a retreat, I would have left the facility almost immediately with tears filling my eyes. The fact that I did not, in itself, is progress. So, I have to be thankful for the healing works God has placed into my life. The sadness, I fear, is perhaps a cross I shall have to bear. A type of penance. Not a penance that is the lot for all who experience abortion. After all, there are many women who have been able to go on and have children afterwards. No, this is all mine. For me. I'm not quite certain how this will play out in God's overall plan, but I do know one thing. It wasn't God's plan for me to abort my child - that was completely my decision. A decision I must reconcile every day for which I accept full responsibility. Had I not attended a retreat, however, I know full well that this sadness would overcome me and I would not be able to be around my many friends with babies of their own. Babies I love and cherish more than anyone can ever truly know. Babies that are blessings beyond belief.

The journey of healing is not always easy. Even after you've received the tools for that healing. What I do know is that the tools give you the strength to face that sadness and move beyond it. Rather than curling up into a little ball, I was able to accept it and allow myself to experience those feelings. Then, I was also able to move away from it. It didn't consume me and it didn't take me over. There will always be challenging days like that one. Thankfully, I have my faith and the lessons learned at my retreat to help pull me up after being knocked down for a moment. I hope that one day, the sadness will be gone, but for now, I am thankful to at least be able to have the strength to walk through it and not be defeated by it when those difficult emotions come for me. At the very least, it means I am still able to feel and that is a good sign.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Facility for Retreat

Well, tonight's meeting in preparation of the upcoming Rachel's Vineyard Retreat weekend was especially great. We were able to tour the new facility (recently opened on North Harvard in December). The rooms, facilities, chapel, everything are amazing. We are so blessed to have had several private donors believe in providing an updated and more functional facility for Catholic Charities.

Our retreat will benefit greatly from this new location. Just the bathrooms alone will be an upgrade!!! In fact, I want their bathrooms in my own home...who do I talk to about that??? LOL It's going to be wonderful. The kitchen is updated and provides everything we'll need to keep the comfort food rolling for our retreatants. It's glorious!

After tonight's meeting, I looking forward to the weekend even more so. We have several people signed up already, so things are moving ahead on schedule. The volunteers working the retreat are all experienced, so there won't be any bumps to figure out...well...nothing that we've planned for and done before...of course...there's always that thing that you deal with for the first time, right? That's ok, God will help us through it all...He always does.

Being able to do help people walk through their pain is a deeply personal and amazing gift God has allowed me to give. It is only because of my own pain and past experience that I am able to be there in such a capacity. For that, I am thankful to God. Would I rather have made the right choice all those years ago? Of course! However, I didn't and I've faced that. The best thing I can do now is to use that trauma to help benefit someone else's not allow it to rule over me, but rather, take it and turn it into something that helps another find the light in their own lives.

Isn't it unreal at times what God manages to do with something that seems so horrible, so terrible that you think no good could ever possibly come from it? That's how powerful our Lord, God is and that's why we should always listen to Him. Even in our darkest moments and saddest times, He has the strength to carry us through it all.

Another Retreat Coming Up

Hello there blogger world. We have begun a new year and with that comes new retreats. Our next Rachel's Vineyard Retreat is the last weekend of January. I have my first prep meeting for it this evening. There's a sense of anticipation for what is to come...a wondering of whether or not we'll have enough participants to conduct the meeting. That comes with every prep, however. We pray that God will provide the right people at the right time. It does always seem to work way or another.

I'm looking forward to again being a part of something so amazing. The weekend is such a combination or raw emotions, unknown journeys and new friendships and bonds formed. When I went through my own retreat weekend, I felt all of those things. No doubt, the women who are preparing to attend as participants are probably starting to feel their anxiety levels rise. Between now and then, there will be more than enough excuses that arise to prevent them from attending. They will have conversations with themselves about whether or not they "really" need this weekend. Perhaps they are overreacting. Maybe they don't need to spend 3 days on this with people they hardly know? Yep...they'll talk all of that through.

That is one of the biggest reasons we pray for them even prior to the retreat weekend. We know the spiritual battles that come along with this, even before they set foot in the facility. But, once they follow through...once they brave those rising waters...the healing that awaits them is beyond measure and explanation. No, it's not an easy thing to do. It's's hard, hard work and you are taken to places that are uncomfortable and at times, may make you want to jump up and run out of the room. BUT...BUT...fighting through all of that is what leads you to the immense healing that awaits. Being strong and trusting in God to lead you there is a blessing that stands ready if only you will accept it.

I know what these women are going through. I know what they'll face during and afterward. I know it because I experienced it firsthand. Since that weekend, I have been free. I have been able to deal with many other things in my life that have allowed me to experience my faith, my marriage, my friends and my life on a level I thought foreign or at the very least, impossible. Rachel's Vineyard gave me the tools and strength to press onward and know that fighting for my life and finding that joy was worth every frightening step it took me to get there.

As you may know, I now use that lesson to help others. I speak whenever possible and I try to be there for anyone who may need help. If we stand together...if we look at one another with compassion and love...there's nothing we cannot accomplish!