The following is an excerpt from Pat Layton’s newly revised and updated study, Surrendering the Secret: Healing the Heartbreak of Abortion. This powerful, redemptive study helps each hurting woman find her personal path to healing. Order your copy or see a free sample today at LifeWay.com/SurrenderingTheSecret. You can also pick up a copy at your local LifeWay Store!
For many women, their first emotion after having an abortion is relief—relief that they’re no longer burdened with an unplanned, unwanted pregnancy. Research indicates, however, that this relief is short-lived and is soon replaced by guilt, shame, secrecy, sadness, and regret. This strong letdown experience is commonly referred to as Post-Abortion Trauma. According to some sources, approximately 40 percent of post-abortive women experience intense traumatic responses to abortion and 80 percent will experience some level of symptoms. Some psychologists believe the statistic is actually as high as 100 percent of women suffer some measure of trauma.
We are everywhere … women who have bought the enemy’s lie that abortion was our only hope, our only choice, and what we “had to do.” Estimates conclude that one in three women will have an abortion by age 45.1 Research indicates that half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended; out of those, more than forty percent will end in abortion. In the U.S. alone, close to 1 million abortions are performed each year,2 making abortion one of the most common surgical procedures performed on women today.
Over the years as Surrendering the Secret has reached thousands of women dealing with the heartbreak of abortion, these are a few reasons we have shared with one another:
- Having a baby right now would interfere with my plans.
- I can’t afford a child.
- I don’t want to be a mother yet.
- My doctor said my health would worsen with having a baby.
- My doctor suspects a fetal abnormality.
- My pregnancy is a result of rape or incest.
Heated debate about when life begins still exists, but the Creator of life gives us a perspective we can’t ignore about the lives of mothers and babies:
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day” (Psalm 139:13-16, The Message).
Here’s an important reminder: The truth can be difficult to face. Today, you may be experiencing more pain and shame than when you originally started Surrendering the Secret. It’s important to remember what God’s Word says about the truth. Through it we are sanctified (John 17:17). The word sanctified means to be set apart, to be made holy, or to purify. It’s a vital part of growing in Christ. John 8:32 says that the truth sets us free. While it may seem easier to remain in denial and darkness, truth results in freedom, sanctification, forgiveness, and release, which are much more fulfilling.
Hold on, my friend, to the fact that God’s Word will never condemn or cause more guilt. Rather, it will always lead you in the truth, which ultimately brings freedom. Be encouraged and strengthened to know this next step is rooted in love and is essential for complete healing and freedom.
As we acknowledge the choice to end our baby’s life, we tend to retreat back into those dark places in our souls where we feel trapped. But rest peacefully, sweet sister. Jesus knows where you are, and He won’t abandon you! Read Psalm 139.
Many remedies we’ve grasped to relieve the pain of our abortions have been offered in dark places. Many of these remedies—including drugs, alcohol, and meaningless relationships with men—are self-destructive. Many of us are going through this healing journey because we’ve already discovered that we can’t find our way out of our dark places alone. Our rescue begins when we acknowledge that we’re powerless to heal our lives on our own. Only the Savior can rescue, recreate, and restore us from the inside out.
If we want to experience healing, we must be willing to trust Jesus to take us on the unfamiliar and challenging path to it. Take some time for prayer and reflection, asking God to give you a deeper insight into all you’ve considered so far. It has probably been a lot of new information. You may never have envisioned the child of your abortion as being knit together by God (Psalm 139:13). Give God time to show you His heart for you as you proceed toward His full healing.
God created us in His image (Genesis 1:27) with the freedom of choice. Ever since Adam and Eve chose to disobey God, the world has been anything but paradise. Our freedom to choose has destroyed life across the ages, but God willingly created us with the freedom to make our own decisions. We always have free choice, but choices always have consequences.
Before entering the promised land, Moses challenged the Israelites saying, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” (Deut. 30:19, NLT).
Will you reject the past with its shame, curses, and death, choosing instead the path to life, freedom, and blessing with Jesus?
- Joe Carter, “5 facts about abortion in America,” The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, accessed 15 Nov 2018. Available online at erlc.com.
- “Christians spend $100 million per year on abortions,” Care Net, accessed 11 Nov 2018. Available online at care-net.org.
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