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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!