Project Rachel: Voices of hope and healing -- My story
During the month of October, the Church celebrates "Respect Life Month." This week, The Pilot presents another in a series of reflections offered by women who have found healing from the pain of abortion through the post-abortion ministry, Project Rachel.
These women have offered to write about their experiences in hope that other women and men who are living in the often secret pain of abortion will come to know the same peace and healing of God's divine and tender mercy. Due to the nature of the subject, the names of the authors have been withheld.
Thirty seven years ago I had an abortion. I immediately stuffed it deep down inside of me and never spoke about it to anyone. I was married and had two young children. It was a difficult time in my marriage and I was due to realize my dream of being the first person in my family to graduate from college. How could I have a child at this time? I am embarrassed to tell you that even though I was a mother of two I had never seen fetal models. There were no ultrasound machines back then. When they told me at the abortion clinic that this was just a mass of cells I believed them. They lied. Had I been where I am now with my faith I would have known without a doubt that this was a baby; a beautiful, precious, gift from God.
Thirteen years ago I was volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center. It was during this time that everything came bubbling to the surface and I realized all the negative ways the abortion had impacted my life. I became depressed, I felt empty and shattered inside, I hated myself, I was sure I had done the worst thing anybody could ever do. I was falling apart and crying all the time. I confided in a friend who encouraged me to call Project Rachel. I was very fearful and it took me awhile to muster up the courage to call because I didn't know if the person who answered would be judgmental. The woman who answered my call was so kind, gentle, compassionate, understanding and non-judgmental. I felt safe talking to her. She suggested that I might want to attend the retreat that was coming up in the fall.
It will be thirteen years this November since I attended my Project Rachel Retreat. During that life-changing weekend I knew somewhere deep in my heart that God called me there because He still loved me and wanted me to experience His tender mercy and forgiveness. That weekend was the beginning of my healing. It didn't happen overnight, it wasn't a lightning bolt that came down from Heaven... it slowly and warmly seeped into my heart and soul... I knew I was going to be okay. I still felt I didn't deserve it but, in time, with God's grace and lots of prayers, I came to forgive myself. The self-loathing went away, the pain lessened and I became whole again. Do I still feel sadness? Do I miss my child? Yes, but do I live my life in shame, sorrow and guilt? No.
I came to know my child on that weekend. After deep, heartfelt, prayer I knew that my baby was a girl, her name is Mary Elizabeth.
I want to offer you the assurance that God loves you and wants to heal you. I offer you the hope that it absolutely can happen. He can make you whole again. He did it for me and He wants so much to do it for you. Just open that door and let Him in, He is an awesome God.
For more information on Project Rachel, including an explanatory video, visit the website at www.ProjectRachelBoston.com or call 508-651-3100. All calls are confidential.