Today's post was written by Brook Hills member, Debbie Popejoy, who leads one of our Surrendering the Secret groups.
"So do not be fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my mighty right hand." -Isaiah 41:10
I am writing to you on a topic that had me confused for a long time. As women, I believe we always know how to help one another far above helping ourselves. We tend to minimize our own pain and our own healing. I want to share a path that God has lead me on to show me that some of our past requires the healing that only comes from the Mighty One Who saves.
I became a Christ-follower later in life than some of you. I had tremendous gratitude for the salvation that I had finally accepted, but I also had a past. I didn't know what to do about that past initially, but I was sure that God did. I was forgiven, made clean, a new creature, but the road to restoration was very different from anything I could anticipate.
I had married a wonderful, godly man, was involved in children's ministry, and was humbly asking God to show me the steps He had ordered for my life. I read in the Brook Hills bulletin about a workshop to train women to facilitate a ministry for women who had experienced abortion. I couldn't stop thinking about it. Of course, my excitement was about helping other women and the compassion I could bring since that was part of my story. I signed up, showed up, and then came the surprises.
The ministry is called Surrendering the Secret and was started by Pat Layton. Pat was at the workshop and shared her personal story of being instrumental in helping pass Roe v. Wade into law. She also had an abortion in college, was married, and had two children when God called her to Him. She was a very loving and inspirational speaker, and the morning of the workshop was great.
Then came lunch and the news that we were to break into groups of five and tell each other our own story. I felt sick. I felt panic. I wanted to run. But somehow I managed to sit at a table and tell my story. As I told that story for the first time in thirty years, I was shocked at the raw pain that still lingered in my heart. It became evident that God would never want me to suppress that kind of grief that lay dormant for all of those years.
I know that stuffing the pain of abortion is a common thing we women do. I know that the thought of other people knowing our secrets is not appealing. I realize that feeling that degree of agony all over again is a thought we avoid at all cost. But, ultimately, we want to be healed vessels for Christ. We want to be healed by His hand.
This ministry offers two of the most powerful tools on earth for our healing - the truth of God's Word and the extended hands of His daughters who have walked this same path. It is a redemptive community that is confidential and restorative. My personal journey has given me a new view on what God can do with a sin that was designed by the enemy to destroy us. Nothing can take down a woman like the destruction of her own child. Only the love and grace of our Saviour can use what was meant for evil to not only transform us, but enable us to help one another.
I have been blessed to be a participant of the STS ministry as well as facilitate a group for the past few years. I have met the most amazing women along the way, and God has used those women to deepen my love for Him in my heart. When we meet, the Holy Spirit is always invited and present in the room to comfort us. I encourage all of my sisters who have this trauma in your past to join us. You will be welcome and loved in the process.
Sometimes the greatest blessing comes from pain. God has never failed to send joy my way when I allow Him to lead me.
If you are interested in participating in a Surrendering the Secret group, please visit this site. If you would like to have a one-on-one conversation with a woman in the church whose story involves abortion, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.