Search This Blog

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Is No One Here to Condemn You?

On Saturday, August 20, the Tulsa Rachel's Vineyard Team met for a 1/2 day retreat.  It was a way of reaching out to one another and recharging our batteries, so-to-speak.  Usually, when we're together, it's in some way connected to working for/toward a retreat or a post-healing meeting (we have those, monthly).  This was different.  It was a chance to be together as people, hear the Word of God, and share Christ's love by simply "being" for a short while.  Not something many of us are able to do.  The Retreat was a success and wonderfully done!  We are blessed with dedicated members and leadership, indeed!

Early during the retreat, our Deacon (recently ordained and gosh, we ARE proud of him!), reflected upon a very familiar living scripture.  It was the woman caught in adultery.  Many of us are quite familiar with the story of the poor woman who was dragged into the center of the crowd as a means of testing Jesus.  It is heart wrenching to think what that woman must have endured in those moments, all eyes on her.  Who knows what proof, if any, these men even had.  Yet, she was there, moments away from losing her life in accordance with how they understood the law.  The so-called "leaders" were poised to catch Jesus in contradiction and thereby, undermining his teachings and leadership role they felt had been stolen from them.


But...what does Jesus do?  How does he respond to what has occurred?  He ignores it.  Instead, he bends down to write in the ground with his finger.  Many have disputed what that may have been, but all we know is that Jesus was not going to respond in the manner they expected.  He knew their evil and manipulative plans.  He was most likely tired of this game they insisted on playing. 

As we know, his answer to their questions was the same and quite simple. 
"Whoever among you is without sin may cast the first stone."
Can you imagine the power of those words?  The air must have been thick with anticipation.  People probably began to shuffle their fit in discomfort (as was discussed in our retreat) and looked to see who might be the first to do so.  Nothing.  Instead, they left.  One-by-one, the crowd dispersed until only the frightened and lone woman remained. 

I, myself, imagine her body trembling all over.  I imagine her face in the dirt, holding her breath, waiting for the pang of pain to strike her at any moment.  As the crowd disperses, she probably doesn't notice it because she is crouched in fear.  Her body is damp with perspiration, her lungs heavy with the dirt she is inhaling while breathing the dust of the ground...her lips dry and pressed tightly together.  She waits.  The sound of her pulse is nearly deafening inside her ears, now.  The feet begin to shuffle around her and she thinks the end is near.  Enthralled in agony of anticipation, she allows tears to escape and begins to weep, but her fear is so intense no sound leaves her mouth.  When the impact doesn't come, when she feels the wind in her hair because the wall of people previously preventing it has gone, she finally lifts up her head to see what has happened.  She is speechless.  In utter confusion, she looks at Jesus and His gentle expression begins to lift her from the agony of fear.

We all have felt like this woman at one time or another.  We have all experienced the complete condemnation of those around us.  We have all suffered the total loss of our dignity.  Placing ourselves into that story, we can all feel the woman's racing heartbeat and nearly hear her thoughts.  When we have made a mistake that is bigger than us...when we've gone too far...when we've realized that we have been found out, and every time we think to ourselves, everyone must know what a wretch I am...we are that woman!

This is what abortion feels like.  This is the moment right after the procedure, when we awake from our slumber to the full weight of our actions.  Knowing we cannot turn back.  Realizing the finality of the deed and all-at-once feeling the despair of that act in every fiber of our being.  Once the panic sets in, we wait and wait for that final judgment to come.  It is out there...taunting us...we sense it...ready to strike us down into the ground at any moment. 
How many of us know this term all too well?  How many of us have felt each letter of that word stomped into our brains as a permanent seal of our fate?  How often have we wielded it as a weapon against others in the hope of deflecting its weight for even just one moment?  Too often, I fear. 

Recently, while on my Facebook group page (Healing After Abortion), a comment was made by one of the members that stated,
"Abortion is cold blooded murder, the sinner should face prison for life."
Extremely strong words to be used on a page dedicated to finding loving means by which to end abortion.  A page that focuses on helping others heal from abortion.  Not something I expected in that particular group, but it probably confirmed many who fear such people are out there...ready to judge...ready to write them off.  I'd say this falls heavily under condemnation, don't you agree?

Isn't this the condemnation we, as post-abortive persons, have awaited? 

But what about Jesus' words? 
What about His reaction? 
Where is Christ in us when we use such tools to condemn others?
Is this the result of anger at being helpless in some way? 
Because a person has sinned, does that give anyone license to take away their dignity?

No.  It is not.

Is anyone out there without sin?

No. No one.

Jesus showed us all the way.  Not only in this story, but in several others.  He was trying to tell us, even all those years ago, that focusing on the sin wasn't right.  That everything cannot be about justice without mercy.  That if we are going to assign such permanent sentences to those who sin, then who will be left to carry out those sentences when all is said and done?

He was trying to show us that compassion towards those who sin is what was necessary for true and complete healing.  He was reaching out to someone that everyone else had given up on. He was a single voice of reason amongst indignation and hate.

Do not misunderstand.  He did not state that sin was ok.  No, his words were quite the contrary,
"Has no one condemned you?  Then neither do I condemn you.  Go and do not sin any more."
Jesus basically tells her to stop the crap!  LOL 

I like to imagine that He helped her up from her frightened position, dusted her off and then, set her on her way.  There's no proof of that, of course, but it's a nice visual in my head, any way.  He didn't tell her to feel badly about it and chastise herself over it.  Nope.  He said to "Go and do not sin any more."  In other words, He was letting her know that He was aware of her sin, but equally aware of her repentance and the suffering she had already endured.  He was also equally aware of the fact that no one in that crowd was without the stain of sin. 

Now, He was asking her to go forth into the world a new woman, a just woman, a faithful woman.  He didn't brow beat her, tell her she owed Him one, or even tell her she was somehow less of a woman now.  No, He simply told her to stop sinning.  She was asked to stop doing that which was causing her to be known as this terrible stop doing what was keeping her from God.  Wow. 

Do we realize the power of those words?  Do we fully grasp the implication of His act? 

Huh.  So, according to His standards ... pick ourselves back up, stop feeling like crap about something that has been done already, and for which we have suffered enough (humiliation, judgment, fear, anguish, repentance), and go out into the world to sin no more.  No mention of beating ourselves up, feeling like poop every day, believing we are without value, or thinking we are less worthy than the next person of finding happiness, love, and/or good things in this life. 

It almost sounds as if He now expects us to go out and do good in His name, even.  Hmmmm...

Now that sounds good to me!  Way better than the life-long guilt trip I had previously planned for myself.  What do you think???

Ladies and Gentlemen...Praise God always.  Remember to pray daily.  And, when you find you've had a hard day or feel you've failed Him somehow, then pray for forgiveness.  Do not wallow in your misery.  That brings no glory to God. 

Get rested.  Try again.  Keep trying until you get it right.  Never give up.  Always turn to Him in all things.

It's helpful if you remember...on the day you meet God, of all the things He's going to ask you, what He won't be asking you is how many times you succeeded...He'll be much too interested in talking about whether or not you tried.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

When Others Want You to "Get Over It"

Recently, I have encountered many spiritual as well as physical battles. As you know from my latest post, my physical battle includes various reproductive issues. In spite of Satan’s attempt at drowning me in despair, I have found support and love through Christ and those with whom He surrounds me. I have found, however, the more good I do in this world the more obstacles are placed in my path.

One of the more interesting sentiments I encounter from time-to-time is the whole “get over it” mentality of people who are tired of hearing about the suffering or listening to how abortion affects those who endure it. It’s as if they were willing, at one time, to be sensitive and supportive, but now, they feel that we should move onto something else.

Why is it still on our minds?

How can we be traumatized over something that is long gone?

This, my friends, is a terrible symptom of our society and the desensitization that has occurred in regard to abortion. The conversation becomes cumbersome and they long for a way out of it. Surely, we have got to get to point in our lives where we are “over it” right?

Um...let’s see...W-R-O-N-G!

That way of thinking is one of the reasons we battle so much when it comes to this particular topic. That is why abortion doesn’t get the attention as a MAJOR issue that it truly deserves.

This is why men and women continue to suffer alone...because we are made to feel we have “x” amount of time in which to grieve and discuss it.

Then, it becomes off limits...

It’s not comfortable.

It’s a mood killer.

It is divisive.

Can’t we just all get along?

Can’t you “see someone” about that if it’s still bothering you?

As if someone can put a limit on how much pain a person is permitted to feel before they are required to “be better.”

How much of that seems familiar to you?  How often have those words been spoken to you through the actions of those around?  Sometimes, even by those you love who mean well?
How many times have you been made to feel something was wrong with YOU because you can’t find a way to move past it?

Ladies and gentlemen, don’t give in!

Do not allow our skewed society with its focus of relativism regarding morality to overtake you. It is unjust and unfair to assume that anyone “simply gets over” or “moves on” from what we have done and lived through. Does anyone ever get over the loss of a loved one? Do parents suddenly stop missing their child who died? Does anyone decide one day they no longer miss that person they loved who passed away? If there were things left undone or unsaid, does that regret simply vanish and one just shrugs their shoulders and moves on?

Let me put this another way...does anyone say this to MADD (“Mothers Against Drunk Driving”), AA (“Alcoholics Anonymous”), people going to therapy for a variety of reasons, and other groups developed as a direct result of some kind of loss (whether loss of a loved one or loss of self through addiction)?


People and society acknowledge that there is a very REAL need for support of people affected by certain things. That people can’t simply “get over” some things. The people in their lives also work to understand, to support, and to hold up those people because they recognize it as a legitimate problem for them.

So, why is it different with abortion?

Why do so many find it difficult to acknowledge a post-abortive persons ongoing grief?

That’s easy...the abortion industry, in its attempt to keep people looking in the wrong direction, has done a superb job of billing Post-Abortion Syndrome ("PAS") as something made-up. They know, full well, that acknowledgment of this condition will only put a microscope onto what abortion REALLY IS and DOES, which might allow people to realize it is not such an uncomplicated procedure simply dealing with tissue.

After all...has anyone had to attend a support group, therapist, or weekend retreat due to grief brought on by missing their gallbladder or a kidney?

Those are “simple procedures” that are only removing tissue and/or non-vital organs, right?

According to their reasoning, it is the same thing, right?

So...if that is true...either I should be writing a blog about my removed gallbladder...OR...there IS more to abortion than they are telling us.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

When the Grief Returns

So, dealing with abortion is not a one-time thing.  We do not have a vaccine against the damage it does to our hearts and minds.  Even through healing, we still find the pain returns in different forms to taunt us throughout our lives.  I would love to say that is not so, however, living as a post-abortive woman, I know it would be a lie to tell anyone it goes away.  This is why it is imperative we DO seek healing...that we surround ourselves with those who will support us on those days...that we continue to pray and stay close to God even when we feel like curling up into a little ball and shutting out the entire world.  Satan is a master at beating us down, often, with our own words and thoughts.

It's perfect really...think about easily we can fend off attacks that are from the easy it is to solicit help from loved ones when the predator is clearly visible to everyone.  What's not so easy is to recruit help for the battle inside our own minds and hearts.  Oh, how weary we become when waging a war that no one can see, no one can hear, and no one feels.  You hear it...all of the time...his quiet and whispering voice tells us:

Reinforcements are never coming.  
You can't keep this up.  
You are weakening and the battle shows no sign of ending.  
Give up and find peace in the darkness with me.  
Lie down and allow yourself to become lost in the abyss of darkness.
Don't fight so hard against it, you know you cannot win. 
It's not worth it to struggle.  
You'll never have the strength and stamina you need for this war.

When writing them down it is quite easy to see the laughable lies being told.  It is easy to see through the attempts at weakening our soul.  Placing words before us gives us the power to really "see" what is happening and adjust our course as necessary.  Yet, how many of us take the time to do just that?  How often do we seek the assistance of the pen and paper/computer and screen to put words to our darkest feelings and thoughts in order to release their power over us?  Not often enough, I tell you.  And that is how the Evil One gains ground upon us.  He seeps in as a shadow upon our hearts and begins to tighten his grip upon our very existence.  His plan is to separate us from all fragments of love, honor, and, ultimately, God's embrace.  His goal is create such doubt in our own minds about the lives we've led and healing we've accomplished thus far that we simply abandon all hope and succumb to the darkness calling to us each day.  He works to separate us from one another because "divide and conquer" is his motto.

All of this I endure because of just one "choice" that was my right, according to the Supreme Court in 1973.  All of this because (supposedly) it is no more than simple tissue and an easy procedure.  All of this because "it's not really a baby, not yet."  All of this because of one dark moment that everyone said was the "best thing for me."  All of this because in one moment, I chose to be a coward rather than take the time needed to think through a emotionally painful, terrifying, and overwhelming situation.  All this because the "choice" I made was to make no choice at all.

All of us have those moments in our lives when we can look back and see...there it is...that's when it all changed...that's when I took a different path.  August, 1991, is MY moment.  20 years ago this month, I walked into a clinic in New York City with my mother.  I sat in a waiting room with strangers.  I walked into a room with a nurse and doctor and allowed my body to lie still on a table while life was taken from me.

Now, 20 years later.  No other children.  No other known pregnancies.  ...I find out the permanency of that fateful decision when I was just a frightened, 17-year old girl.  I must schedule a hysterectomy because of medical problems that have recently heightened to a point of extreme pain and suffering.  I have known for a couple of years this time would come, however, there was still hope.  That piece of me still thought that a miracle could occur.  Somehow, I might beat the odds and become pregnant.  What an amazing gift and triumph that could be, indeed!  This month, I put that dream to rest and schedule an operation that will forever make it impossible.

Given that at 17 I had no idea that was the one and only time I might be pregnant, I cannot spend much time in anger at that younger version of myself.  I had to let that go long ago.  How could she have known?  At 17, I was healthy, vibrant, and the entire world was out in front of me.  Who would think such a thing could happen?  I had plenty of time to become a mother when I was older, married, and ready.  How could a 17 year old girl think beyond that moment and possibly consider the long-term consequences of that one act?

I submit to each of you therein lies part of the problem with our society.  Therein lies the question as well as the answer.  At 17, are we capable of such decisions?  No.  At 17, should girls or boys be engaging in sexual behaviors...behaviors that can lead to long-term and irreparable outcomes?  NO!!!  While our society focuses on "safe sex" and educating our children, sexual disease and abortions continue to rise.  The pain and suffering of our people rises with those numbers, as well.  What then, have we accomplished by telling everyone that it's ok because it's "their choice" after all?

While so many issues come from abortion, we must remember that abortion is merely the SYMPTOM of the true problems in our lives.  It is imperative that we take the time to look beyond the act of abortion and address the problems present in the lives of those women who are choosing abortion.  Whether it is the problem of becoming sexually active too soon, living in abuse, or succumbing to pressure and sometimes even threats, it is vital we look to solve those problems rather than look at pregnancy as a "disease" or "problem to be solved."

A post-abortive person suffers a great deal.  Either they do so in silence or their actions cry out for help.  Regardless of their backgrounds or paths taken since the abortion, the pain and loss that exists can overtake a person quickly and seemingly come from nowhere.  How do we combat such an enemy?  What about those of us who already gave in and live with abortion in our lives?  What about the people who attended retreats, receive healing, and still yet, suffer the relentless attacks upon our souls?

I submit to each of you that prayer and faith are our best allies.  And, as I mentioned earlier, we must...MUST...surround ourselves with people who know the signs of our downward spiral.  We need people in our lives who will NOT give us "that look" of frustration or, worse yet, misplaced pity, when we find ourselves suffering as a result of it.  We must reach out to one other post abortive persons who KNOW EXACTLY what we feel.  It is in our shared pain that we can rise out of the depths and remember that the pain is normal, but not something that will kill us.  If we reach out for help towards others in our time of need, then we can find the support required to march onward and survive the battles that come from time-to-time.

My abortion will never go away.  I will never know what it feels like to carry a child in my give it cradle it in my arms and kiss its sweet face while my husband holds us both.  I gave that up.  As much as I would love to run far from that fact, I can never escape the horror of that one act.


I am deserving of love.  I am a good person.  I learned from that terrible decision.  I want God to lead me now and forever.  I have great friends and a loving husband.  I have sisters who are loving and protective.

Even on the days when it is so very difficult to keep all of those blessings in mind, I must persevere.  God stands with us even when we forget He is there.  In my darkness, I seek the light and pray that He consoles me until I am able to walk out of that cave and receive the gift of love awaiting me.  Some days, I am all in and ready for it.  Other days, I struggle to find the opening and still yet, to even walk through it when it is found.  It is so important that I never give up, however.  I am human and therefore, I suffer.  What I cannot forget is that my suffering is not WHO I is simply a cross to bear.  That requires total honesty from me not only with others, but most especially with myself.

For if Christ is with us, who therefore, can stand against us?