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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!