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Project Rachel: Forgiveness is a process

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During the month of October, the Church celebrates Respect Life Month. The Pilot will present several 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 the hope that other women and men who have suffered in the aftermath of an 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.

I made a huge mistake a long time ago. It has haunted me my entire life until I had to /wanted to do something about it. But what can be done to make right something so horrible? I thought to start with a confession (or whatever they call it these days). I had never even said out loud that I had an abortion, but I believed a priest would be required to keep my secret. I didn't have such a hard time admitting I was sorry, boy was I sorry, but it was hard to ask for forgiveness because I wasn't sure I could get it.

To my surprise God is so very forgiving. The priest said I would be forgiven by God. What a huge weight off my shoulders! But the priest said I had to now learn to forgive myself. How do I do that? God was working on that, too. It was his hand, I believe, that I noticed an ad in a bulletin of a church I didn't even go to regularly, let along read their bulletin. I learned of Project Rachel and just knew that was what I had to do. I signed up for the day long retreat to begin the process of learning how to forgive myself.

The first thing I realized is I was not alone. There are other women who had abortions and although every story was so very different, we all had similar feelings. For me, forgiveness is a process. It has happened slowly but gradually. Hey, I carried the guilt for many years. How was it going to be instantly right? But with the huge help and guidance of Project Rachel, it is happening. When you are ready to face yourself and wade through the feelings, I can attest it does get better. God will forgive you, now you need to learn to forgive yourself. Try it, you never know, and it can only get better.

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