I realized I wasn’t alone in what I had carried for so long. We told our stories and I saw the same pain, same guilt, same shame and anguish that was in my own heart......Click here to read more of Connie's story
A dear friend, who knew about my abortions and the guilt and shame I experienced as a result of them, first told me about CARE 6 years ago. I told her that I didn’t need to go or want to go to their retreat because I was dealing with it on my own by praying and trusting God for His healing. Nothing about going to a retreat, sitting in a room with other hurting ladies and talking about what happened 35 years ago appealed to me. It sounded like more pain, more guilt, more digging up things that I just wanted to forget. I finally agreed to go… mostly so my friend would stop inviting me. It was a long way off anyway and I figured something would come up that I could use for an excuse not to make it when the time came. The time came. Nothing came up. There was no way out.
To be honest, I went to the retreat grudgingly, with the attitude that I could leave if it got too tough. I was welcomed with hugs, smiles and compassion. I saw other ladies arriving and I was surprised that they looked so much like me… like all the ladies I see at church every week. I realized I wasn’t alone in what I had carried for so long. We told our stories and I saw the same pain, same guilt, same shame and anguish that was in my own heart. It was real…almost too real. I wanted to leave, run away, get out of there! But at the same time, I felt a hope in my heart that once we got through it, there was light on the other side of the darkness we all carried. And there was! There is.
The godly women of CARE, who volunteer their time, prayers and hearts to walk alongside women like me, who have had abortions, are a true gift from God. They cried with us, they shared their stories; they ministered to each of us individually, sharing scripture that has meant so much to them in their own healing. It was so personal, so much truth, a miracle that they could be so raw and open with us…and so full of love. This ministry is thoroughly saturated in God’s word, which IS the ONLY thing that can heal a brokenness like abortion creates in the heart. I can see now, how every lesson and activity in the program is there for the purpose of walking us down the path of… a) Recognizing what has occurred, how it breaks God’s heart and how it has broken us. b) The fact that God has already provided healing and restoration to Himself thru the blood of Jesus. c) We can trust every promise God has given and there are NO exceptions…including taking the lives our own children. d) My sins aren’t just covered, or carried…they are REMOVED and I am RELEASED from the prison I put myself in. This is only because of being shown exactly what Jesus did for me! I AM A NEW CREATION IN JESUS CHRIST!
I wish I could share every experience, moment of revelation and quiet reflection, and how God spoke to my heart in so many ways while I was on this retreat. God is using these women and this program in a mighty way…even in stubborn and resistant women like me. It was amazing to watch Him work thru the facilitators at the retreat and to see the difference in the ladies (including myself) who arrived solemn, fearful and searching for answers and relief. Then, seeing them leave the retreat with a light and joy on their faces, full of love and peace and hope. I have carried this secret for so long. I left the retreat with a knowledge of freedom in Christ that I truly never realized was available to me. I am forever grateful to Christ, first and foremost… and also to the churches that support this ministry, the ladies who facilitated the study and who serve and minister to hurting women…and to my friend who didn’t give up.
Finally, this ministry is hard evidence of how God can take something so devastating and dark and turn it around for good in His Kingdom. He has done this for all of us. Nothing I can say would come close to expressing how grateful I am for who He is! Praise, praise, praise Jesus Christ!
The statistics given concerning abortion in our country absolutely blew me away, and that day, in that training, God gave me a heart to help these women who were a part of those statistics.......Click here to read more of Erma's story
After retiring in 2011, my husband and I moved to Troup. Before we moved, I told Father God that even though we were retiring, I knew there were too many hurting people for me to just stop everything and move to the country to sit in my rocker on the porch, that I wanted to somehow, be involved in helping hurting people.
Before we moved to Troup my husband began reading the Troup news on internet. He came in one day, handed me a print out and said “here is where you can volunteer when we get to Troup”. The article told of a new ministry beginning in Troup for men and women needing a new start in life. As soon as we moved I volunteered to do a weekly Bible study with the women. After several months of leading the study, I was approached by one of the young women. She said that she had had an abortion just before entering the program, that this was her second abortion, and she was struggling with what she had done and needed help. I told her I would help her all I could, but I knew as I was telling her that, that I really had no idea how to help her.
I shared this with a new friend that I had met at church and who was also involved with CARE. My friend told me that CARE just happened to be having a training day coming up to teach volunteers how to help women who were struggling over a past abortion, and then she took me for the training.
To say I was overwhelmed at the training would be an understatement. The statistics given concerning abortion in our country absolutely blew me away, and that day, in that training, God gave me a heart to help these women who were a part of those statistics.
This was a HUGE God thing to say the least. You see, early in our marriage, I had had three miscarriages, and much difficulty having children. As a result, I had developed a very strong opinion about women who in my thinking, would choose to have an abortion when I had wanted children so badly, and had had so much trouble having them. As I said, my opinions were very strong against these women, but now, God had taken my hard heart and given me a heart that truly wanted to help these women.
Even though Father God placed that desire in my heart, I was just sure that He could not use me in this kind of ministry because my thinking was “not having had an abortion myself and knowing how they were struggling, how could I help these women”. During the next month of praying, Father God brought six women across my path who were all going through that struggle. The statistics and the needs were slapping me in the face. The clincher took place when I went back to our previous town and visited with several women who had been in a Bible study that I had led for fifteen years. One of the young women came up and asked what I was doing since retirement. I told her about my volunteering, about the girl needing help and about the training I had had. She looked me in the eye and said “Mrs. Erma, I just want you to know that you are needed to do this. Then she said “no one but God knows this, but I had an abortion several years ago and I have had no one to help me in my struggle. God has gotten me through it, but it has been so hard because I have had no one I could talk to or to help me.” That broke me. This girl had been in my class week after week for years, and I had no idea and couldn’t have helped her if I had known because of my strong opinions and lack of Christ-like love and knowledge.
I came home not with just a burden, but a passion to do all I could to help women learn of the forgiveness and freedom that only Jesus can give. I have KNOWN for many years that any of us can be deceived by the enemy, especially when we are at our weakest point. I have LEARNED that these women did not choose abortion because they did not want the child, but were truly deceived by the enemy and those working with him.
There is another part of this story though. At the time that I had my three miscarriages, a woman having a miscarriage basically was not allowed by anyone to grieve the loss of that baby. It just wasn’t acknowledged as a “real baby”. A miscarriage was considered, at least by the women in my life, as a blessing because “something was probably wrong with it, or you weren’t far enough along for it to matter, or it was for the best”. I was told to just forget about it, that I’d have other children. I wasn’t allowed to grieve the loss of my three babies.
Now, fast forward forty-five years. I went to a CARE weekend Bible study thinking that I was going to help in the kitchen, but at the encouragement of the study leaders, I ended up sitting in on the study. At the point where the models of the babies at different stages of development were brought out, as I saw the stage of development that my babies had grown to before I miscarried each of them, I was overwhelmed with grief. And God in His way and as only He does things, used those women, women I had carried such strong opinions against at one time, to help me heal from a wound that I didn’t even know needed healing. As I broke down, they not only allowed me to grieve (which no one had done before) but they grieved with me. God poured out His love to me through women whom I had at one time judged so very harshly.
I stand in awe and profound joy each time we come to the close of a Bible study. Seeing the women come in to begin the study, so burdened down with their feelings of guilt and shame, believing that they could never experience God’s forgiveness and freedom, and then seeing them walk out a totally transformed woman because they now know and experience that forgiveness and freedom, is a feeling that cannot be explained. You can only as I said, stand in awe at what a truly awesome and mighty God we serve, and have such an overwhelming joy to know that God loves each of us so unconditionally. God is using CARE to help one woman at a time, and class after class to experience His forgiveness and freedom and unconditional love.
And personally, I am so humbled and filled with such gratitude that He would not only change my harsh, judgmental heart but fill it with such passion and then allow me to be a part of such a ministry as CARE. All I can say is to God be the glory, great things HE has done!
I had an abortion with my boyfriend when I was 18 years old. After that my whole world came crumbling down. From age 18 to 23, I did more drugs than any person should be able to do and live. I felt like I wasn't worth loving.......Click here to read more of Chelsea's story
Anxiety, anger, blame, loneliness: all of these feelings were my best friends for so long. It was all I knew. It was the only way I knew how to survive.
I had an abortion with my boyfriend when I was 18 years old. After that my whole world came crumbling down. From age 18 to 23, I did more drugs than any person should be able to do and live.
I had my first child at age 23. Of course I stopped using drugs during my pregnancy, but after my son was born I looked to beer, prescription drugs, alcohol, shopping, anything to take my mind off the fact that I hated myself.
My relationship with my husband was awful. We were always fighting and we ended up getting divorced when my second child, a daughter, was six months old.
So here I am at 25: two kids, divorced, and still miserable. And I kept running and running from myself, running from the pain. Even though we were divorced, my ex-husband and I still saw each other, and we ended up getting pregnant. I was 27 years old and I did it again: we had an abortion. From that point on I was completely dead.
My ex-husband moved back in about a year later and we had our third child, Jackson, in 2009. In 2011 Jackson was diagnosed with autism. It was at that point that I knew something in my life had to change, but it wasn’t until last year that I began to live again. Through scrambling to try to find someone to help me, I came across the CARE Group. I was told about them when I was in a counseling session at GraceWorks Ministry.
February 8, 2014 was the day that I let the Lord back in my heart. It was the hardest and most beautiful thing I’ve ever done in my life. Because of Barbara, and all the other wonderful women in my CARE Bible study group, I can look at myself in the mirror again and thank God every day that I’m where I’m at now. I am a decent mom to Austin, Camryn Grace, and Jackson. I am now present as a wife to my husband Noah, and I am letting him love me, where before I felt like I wasn’t worth loving. The women in my group love the Lord so much, he was so present, and they showed me how to open my heart again. I will be forever grateful. I’m so glad there’s a place to get help for people like me. I am so grateful and blessed that through CARE and our merciful and gracious Heavenly Father, I have found my joy and I have hope.
They knew the hurt I was hiding and they very gently, very lovingly walked me through the doors of truth. Which leads straight through the doors of grace and healing......Click here to read more of BJ's story
After several random encounters, I finally decided to get some information about this ministry. You see I have served in Women’s ministry for years at this point, and I actually believed myself to be “healed” from the abortion I had 20 years ago. I openly shared my story when prompted by the Holy Spirit, and I had a huge heart to fight for women facing a crisis pregnancy.
I was still caught up in a lie. What I had not told a soul, is that a few years after my first abortion, while I was working in a gentleman’s club, I got involved with a man and got pregnant. I was at such a deep dark place in my life, and believe it or not pregnant exotic dancers are not in high demand, and so I made the decision to abort. Again. I never told anyone. Not even told the man who I was pregnant by. I simply drove to Dallas and “got rid of the problem”.
I was told in order to get involved with CARE, I had to go through a Bible study for Abortion Recovery. I agreed, believing it was a waste of time knowing I was already “OK”. That first evening as I sat around a table with a small group of broken ladies I realized that I had built a wall around my heart so thick I was sure nothing could penetrate it, concerning my second abortion. It seems so strange looking back, but somehow I had managed to convince myself that because the abortion Dr. refused to let me see my baby on the ultrasound, that I must not have really been pregnant.
Yes I know that is absurd… the truth is, he did not want me to see my baby because he knew I would most likely choose life for her had I seen her on that screen. The heart can do crazy things to protect itself. In my case it made believe that I was never truly pregnant. That I had merely had a “false procedure” so that the Dr. could still get paid. I buried that day so deep down, that it was truly as if that day had never happened.
The facilitators at CARE quickly saw through me… They knew the hurt I was hiding and they very gently, very lovingly walked me through the doors of truth. Which leads straight through the doors of grace and healing. Though I have been a Christian for many years now, I have struggled with the sin of abortion. In my mind I knew I was forgiven, but unfortunately that knowledge had not carried over into my heart. Until CARE intervened on my heart’s behalf.
Now I know and have experienced complete freedom like I’ve never known was possible. I have learned that despite my own feelings that abortion was my unforgivable sin, Christ’s blood covers ALL of my sins. Even the really hard deep down sin of abortion. I am free.
I felt trapped and alone and thought my only option was to have an abortion. ......Click here to read more of Jo's story
I was raised in a minister’s home by loving parents who stressed that God was always to have first place in our lives. At the age of 20, I left home to be on my own. I met a young man and our relationship went beyond the boundaries of dating. Shortly into our dating I found out that I was pregnant. It was hard for me to believe that this could happen to me. I was in shock for several days, and then I began to get excited thinking that we would get married, have a baby and live happily ever after. My dream of happiness came to an end when I told my “boyfriend” I was pregnant. He told me he wasn’t ready to be a father and wasn’t ready for marriage. He suggested I talk with his sister-in-law and maybe she could help me get an abortion since she had had one. I felt trapped and alone and thought my only option was to have an abortion. There wasn’t any way I could tell my conservative parents that their only daughter was pregnant.
I was terrified and didn’t know what to do so I made the most horrible mistake of my life. My friend and I located an abortion clinic, so I made an appointment. My “boyfriend” took me to the clinic and left me. I was all alone.
I had the abortion and left the clinic feeling as if I had had my heart removed. The next day would be the last time I would ever see my “boyfriend”. I have cried for many years because of the loss of my child. No one informed me of the pain, suffering and disgrace I would feel after the abortion. What a lie the world wants you to believe. They said it would be a quick procedure, problem solved and then you can get on with your life. What they don’t tell you is that abortion is something you never get over.
With the exception of a very few close friends, no one knew about my abortion. My parents didn’t know – I had succeeded! For years I lied to myself and refused to acknowledge that I had an abortion. I remained in church and worked for the Lord serving in different roles, but yet the abortion hindered my relationship with the Lord. I knew God had forgiven me, because I had begged him to so many times, but I could not forgive myself. I knew of His forgiveness but my guilt demanded that I pay the debt anyway. I believed the lie from Satan that God’s forgiveness wasn’t enough; I needed to carry this burden also.
I lived with this secret for 27 years until the Holy Spirit began to deal with my heart about it. He told me that I had not given Him my whole heart. Through much prayer and reading His Word, the Holy Spirit so tenderly brought me to the place that I totally surrendered my life to Him. The amazing Grace of God covered me through this time of rededication. It was the best decision that I have ever made and I have not regretted it for one moment.
The first thing I had to do was to tell my husband and father (my mother had already gone to be with the Lord) about my abortion. That was one of the hardest things I have ever done since that was the reason I had the abortion. My husband was so forgiving and loving; my father and I hugged and cried and he forgave me and told me how much he loved me. The Lord did a marvelous work and the chains of bondage of abortion were broken that day. Jesus had set me free! I no longer had to keep my “secret” from anyone.
I had told the Lord that I deserved to suffer and be ashamed. He reminded me that He took my sins and my shame to Calvary. “Yet it was our weaknesses he carried, it was our sorrows that weighed him down…But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we would be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5 NLT
So I gave Him my sorrows; I gave Him my pain; I gave Him my abortion. What freedom He gave to me! The Lord began a healing that day. He has freed me from the shame and suffering from my abortion. I will never carry that burden again because it belongs to the Healer.
Jesus has set me free from all condemnation and my Hope is in the One that gives peace to the brokenhearted. I am a child of God redeemed from the hand of the enemy, forgiven, more than a conqueror, and an overcomer by the Blood of the lamb and I refuse to allow Satan to hold my abortion over my head. He no longer has any control over my life.
God has given me a wonderful husband and we have been married over 40 years and we have a precious daughter with a family of her own. I know that my first child is in heaven waiting for me. I have grieved the loss of my child through my own selfish choice but I want to honor his life that was taken much too soon. His name is Aaron and I am anxious to hold him in my arms.
God has placed on my heart to work with an abortion recovery ministry for men and women that have made the choice of abortion. I want others to know the healing, forgiveness and peace that comes with surrendering their abortion(s) to the Healer, Jesus Christ. Working with CARE had been so rewarding to see someone that is burdened down because of this sin and see the joy and happiness restored to them. There is such freedom that comes from surrendering your abortion to Him.