The election is over and the country is divided. Literally almost down the middle, 50/50, via popular vote. The #nevertrumpers are getting ready to leave for Canada, crashing the immigration website overnight, while the slogan ballad "Make America Great Again" is projected by all ages and demographics across our great country.
Regardless of your stance, plan your next words, and next steps in humility and grace. You never know what your cruel words can do to the soul of someone.
Which brings me to a topic on the heart of our ministry: Post-Abortion Trauma.
Abortion is a sensitive topic. Oftentimes it's more convenient to remain ignorant than to confront the statistic that one in five of all pregnancies end in abortion. It's easier to avoid the topic altogether under the weight of our busy lives.
But the following isn't a monologue about ending abortion. Instead, this is a monologue about helping those whose hearts, bodies, and lives have been harmed by the choice to abort.
With 1:5 women of childbearing age carrying the weight of abortion in their hearts, there is the potential for a large portion of our society to be suffering from the undue negative burden of post-abortive trauma. This trauma can effect every detail of their lives, physical and emotional health, down to the way the relate to other people, like spouses, children, and friends.
I want you to take a moment to put yourselves in the shoes of someone who is post-abortive.
You may have tried to repress memories of the abortion, like the sounds of the vacuum aspirator, or the date it occurred, or even the music you were listening to when you found out you were pregnant.
But here you are, today is the anniversary. You don't even have to be keeping track of the date. It's like your subconscious just knows. And now you can't escape the black cloud you feel around you. You sit in your cubicle uncontrollably sobbing and you don't even know why.
A couple weeks later, your daughter finds a new favorite song, THE SONG you've successfully banned from your life for the last couple years because it was on THAT DAY. But she just discovered it, and you can't tell her why you have to stave off a rising panic attack every time it comes on..
Then, on Thursday's, like every Thursday for the last six months you've been renting your apartment, you hear your neighbor turn on the vacuum. You haven't quite put a finger on why him vacuuming each week sends you spiraling, but if you're home when he does, you get a migraine that paralyzes you for the afternoon.
Let's switch scenarios.
You are still you. You've had an abortion your freshman year of college because your whole education, your dreams... his dreams, were ahead of you. You didn't feel bad at all about going to the clinic because it was a safe procedure and you've always been a part of the pro-choice rallies.
Not a big deal, even after he left you.
But one day, you saw the ultrasound of your best friend's baby at the same gestation your fetus was at termination. Weird. You didn't realize all ten fingers and toes were visible and in motion at that point. You start questioning what you know, but every time someone mentions abortion, you rally just as hard for pro-choice because you're part of the 21% of women who have undergone this normal procedure.
As you keep researching fetal development your heart begins to soften. You start feeling a gnawing sense of guilt, a feeling of dirtiness over what you did when you first started college.
Someone tells you about Jesus, and offers you a way to be free of your guilt, to be "washed in the blood" you think she said. She invites you to church and you go. The church is discussing abortion today. How convenient you think, because this is just the message I need to feel clean again!
Instead of compassion, members of the church begin to start interjecting words like "murderer" and "hell fire" and you realize this isn't the place for you. Not at all. If this is Jesus, I'm out.
I want you to think deeply about both scenarios. The first one describes the perpetual damage caused by common triggers. For some, triggers can be children. Even the sight of them can cause emotional pain, or even physical pain. For others it might be the constant discussion of abortion in the news and social media, triggering flash backs or specific physical reactions like tension and nausea.
In the next scenario, I wanted you to consider how someone who is post-abortive and hurting, and hearing a church spew- in her mind- hate rhetoric for those who chose abortion. She might very well view herself as a murderer destined for Hell, but she didn't come to the church to have it affirmed. She came for healing. She didn't come to be condemned by the congregation, the pro-life group, or "misogynistic" men and their wives. She came because she thought the hands and feet of Jesus would lead her to the great I Am.
I share this because the number of post-abortive women AND men - remember, it takes two to make a baby - is staggering. There is a very good chance they may need help coping.
So please, I beg of you, be sensitive as hands, feet, and mouth pieces for Jesus. Your "pro-life rhetoric" might be standing between someone who wants to get help for their hurt, and their solution.
And are you wondering what the solution is? The solution is Biblical grieving and forgiveness.
At First Choice, we offer Abortion Recovery. It's designed to help anyone who has been impacted by abortion and cannot seem to move past the trauma. The program is offered individually and is readily available in both centers.
Please, if you are suffering from Abortion PTSD, call today. There is help for those who are struggling to cope.
Interested in implementing this program in church or organization? Call us, we'd be happy to share our resources.
Remember, humility and grace will always go further than murder and hell fire.