One of the initial goals of Ramah International when we began our work in 1997 was to help post-abortive individuals find God's healing so they would be empowered to share their abortion testimony with others -- particularly the abortion-minded. This mission is outlined in Revelation 12:11: "And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death."
This verse indicates there will be a sacrifice in order to overcome the enemy through a testimony. Many times our family members join us in this sacrifice. My public abortion testimony caused my parents a great deal of pain as they believed it was inappropriate to "air your dirty laundry" in public. My mother specifically felt that I was telling the world she was a bad mother in spite of the fact that she was not directly involved in my abortion decision. Her generation had been conditioned to be silent about their sins, which completely ignores God's mandate outlined in the verse above.
When I first started sharing about my abortion, nothing magical happened. In fact, sharing immediately resulted in great pain and embarrassment to my parents. That intense pressure only drew me closer to God to determine if sharing this testimony was His real will for my life. With a series of confirmations, I continued to speak in spite of the fact that it was wounding my parents. God's voice in my heart said that the needs of the many outweighed the needs of the few (my parents). Thankfully, He took care of my parents during that difficult period, providing comfort and support and eventually brought healing to our family.
Many express this calling to share their abortion stories as a desire to break free from their self-imposed prison of secrecy and become "silent no more." This phrase originated with a book by that title. I read it when I entered the pro-life arena in 1991 upon my employment at Focus on the Family. The post-abortive stories allowed me to understand that my pain was typical and that many of my apprehensions in life could be related to my abortion choice. I enrolled in an abortion recovery program, experienced God's miraculous healing, and was released from the emotional pain and depression that had haunted my life since my abortion decision.
God made it obvious to my heart soon thereafter that He was calling me to outline my personal struggle with abortion to offer the same hope of God's healing to other wounded hearts. I must confess that sharing publicly wasn't a calling I initially embraced. I fought it, but God's hand was heavy upon my heart.
While I feared rejection and judgment, the first audience to hear my story responded with love and compassion. God later opened the door for my story to be shared on the Focus on the Family daily broadcast with Dr. James Dobson. In those days, I was one of the very first to share publicly about the spiritual, emotional, physical, and psychological aspects of abortion. Since that time, I've openly shared my story all over the world. I've testified before audiences as large as 750,000 and as small as one person. Each time is just as difficult as that first testimony.
To be at a public level is a very difficult calling and one that requires a great deal of spiritual depth. It is fraught with pain at every sharing as I specifically experience the horror of choosing to end the life of my first-born child every time I share. For days afterwards, I will grieve again for the child that I will never hold this side of heaven. The only consolation in this pain is that God has a bigger picture and is using my testimony for His own glory.
|THOSE WHO WANT TO SHARE PUBLICLY
ARE SOMETIMES THE LEAST QUALIFIED TO DO SO.
Over the years, I've watched the pro-life movement openly encourage and even solicit the post-abortive testimony for various pro-life awareness efforts. Sadly, I've also ministered to the women that participated in these events only to discover that their emotional pain has been intensified as a result. This has convinced me that a public abortion testimony is a rare calling because of the intense responsibility and spiritual depth that it requires. In addition, it's not enough to be able to share — we also must be able to tangibly help those who come forward as a result.
Leaders of many awareness campaign efforts are well-intentioned but typically not involved with direct pregnancy care ministry. Their primary focus is to end abortion at a political level, not to help the post-abortive find God's healing. Unfortunately, many awareness groups are also unqualified to verify each candidate's healing and spiritual maturity before utilizing them at a public level. This is the main reason Ramah International does not support any current awareness campaigns, particularly if their goal is to make a political impact using the voices of women who have chosen abortion. Too many women have been wounded at a deeper level by sharing before God's preparation and calling had been fully realized.
A post-abortive person who accepts the invitation to speak about his or her experience must consider many things in preparation for a public testimony. These include:
Completing an Abortion Recovery Program
Without God's healing and empowerment, post-abortive voices fall flat and other emotions, such as anger, can take center stage. My heart breaks when I hear of post-abortive individuals shouting their testimonies and displaying great anger against those who support abortion rights. Their intense pain is evident, and the public spectacle they present is not a productive means to turning hearts against abortion. This is the reason for using extreme caution before enlisting post-abortive speakers lest you hurt them or expel them backward in God's healing process.
It is imperative that this secret first be shared with friends and family before it goes public. From my desk at Ramah International, I've taken many calls from family members agonizing over discovering this truth from outside sources versus the people themselves. One never knows who is listening to a presentation and the consequences that can result.
One woman who completed an abortion recovery class accepted the request to share at her pregnancy center's banquet. She never anticipated the judgment that could result from members of the audience. One listener knew the presenter because their children were friends. The presenter had not told her 7-year-old daughter about her abortion, believing she was too young to understand. After the banquet, the judgmental listener went home and told her child that she could no longer play with the presenter's child. When the child asked why, the woman replied, "Because she killed her first-born child and I don't trust her anymore." Imagine the horror the presenter's 7-year-old felt upon hearing from her friend that her mother killed a brother or sister.
This is a true story. There are countless similar tales that show that without full disclosure, the public abortion testimony can further wound family members.
Over the years, I've worked with thousands of post-abortive individuals and know that many are initially dysfunctional, depending upon where they are in God's healing process. I am always amazed to hear that some post-abortive individuals are actually seeking out the public platform and feel great delight in being open about their pasts. I find this troubling and feel that those who want to share publicly are sometimes the least qualified to do so.
Determining Your Motivation
God's empowerment is the most critical element in sharing. Many share as a form of penitence — a way to atone for what they have done or to earn God's forgiveness. Some enjoy public attention in any format! A few are sharing with vengeful hearts, intent on publicly discrediting those who participated in their abortion choice. Many want the pain to go away and think that a public platform may be the means to that end. When they leave the podium, these individuals often do not experience the desired relief from pain and, unless they have the emotional support of a compassionate mentor, can fall into deeper despair because of sharing.
Ministry Training Required
Detailed training in abortion-vulnerable and post-abortive advocacy must be completed to equip each testifier to minister to those who may respond to their abortion testimony. My favorite time after sharing is meeting the few people that come to say, "You just shared my story." If the testifier is not trained in both post-abortion and abortion-vulnerable ministry outreach, she may be unable to extend the same comfort to those whom God uses her to reach. If a person comes forward saying that she is contemplating an abortion, the testifier must be able to provide deeper insight into abortion complications at a personal level immediately. General pregnancy center training must be part of their background before sharing publicly.
Individuals who are considering public speaking should consider several important questions:
• Is it God who is calling you to speak?
• Are you seeking attention or reward?
• Have you shared this story with family/friends first?
• Do you think that sharing can cleanse you of sin?
• Can you speak without being overwhelmed with emotion?
• Does your spouse/family support your sharing?
• Do you enjoy public attention?
• Will you focus your message on God?
• Are you trained to assist those who may respond?
While Ramah does not recommend post-abortive women to current post-abortion awareness groups that have a political agenda, we do support the work of pregnancy care centers and a few select organizations that are laboring diligently to empower individuals who have received God's calling to responsibly share their abortion testimony. Through Christ-centered abortion recovery outreach programs, many individuals are embracing this healing and being mentored to make a difference in the lives of others considering this choice or who are struggling with their own abortion experience.
For the select few individuals who truly have God's call upon their hearts to share this story at a public level, being mentored by the staff of local pregnancy centers is essential. Many are victoriously at various levels: state capitols, pregnancy center banquets, church programs, abstinence education efforts, and many other arenas. The emotional support provided by abortion recovery leaders further enhances the fruit of these testimonies. These humble, prepared hearts are indeed making a true difference in turning the hearts of our world against the evil of abortion.
|A PUBLIC ABORTION TESTIMONY IS A RARE CALLING
BECAUSE OF THE INTENSE RESPONSIBILITY
AND SPIRITUAL DEPTH REQUIREd
God has given me a protective heart when it comes to the post-abortive. I've always been grieved to discover pro-life individuals who use the post-abortive person to advance their own passion to end abortion. Being before God's healing and without His empowerment can be disastrous, further wounding the post-abortive individual. If unequipped to address immediate physical, psychological, and emotional needs in the midst of an awareness campaign, facilitators may leave attendees feeling more confused and helpless. Ill-equipped event coordinators can damage the mission to reach those wounded by abortion with the hope of God's healing touch.
God has impressed upon my heart that our world doesn't need a great number of individuals speaking out. What we need are a few strong and godly voices, operating at a Gideon's army level (Judges 6), to make a difference in the hearts of our nation. That takes time and mentoring on the part of those who want to be involved in this effort. While we never know whom God will use to end abortion, we do realize that He owns this battle and we just have to wait for His victory. In the meantime, many more need to know about His grace and mercy after an abortion decision.
For more information on Sharing the Secret of Abortion, visit Ramah's website and order the booklet by this title.
Sydna A. Massé is the Founder and President of Ramah International whose mission is to encourage post-abortion healing throughout the world. She authored the book, Her Choice to Heal: Finding Spiritual and Emotional Peace After Abortion (David C. Cook Publishing, 2009). For more information, visit www.ramahinternational.org or contact Sydna at 941-473-2188 or send her a message. Ramah International, 1776 Hudson St., Englewood, Florida 34223.