“Abortion hurts many people: how do we help those who are affected?” Angela Coakes, from the Revive Company talks about her experiences and shares her thoughts.
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;[a]
he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;[b]
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favour,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.[c] Isaiah 61:1-3
Brokenness after my second abortion led me straight to Jesus. His people showed me such love and kindness so that at last I felt safe. The wounds of my abortions healed as I met with the Shepherd of my heart through their patience and careful sharing. I was loved into a safe place and I have been there more or less, ever since.
Relationships that had been a part of my life during the times of both abortions had broken up and my heart hurt from that. My soul felt literally shattered. It took many years for mending to come and trust to be re-established. In some cases, it never was.
Primarily though, it was the intense grief of losing two children, whom in my heart of hearts, I had wanted, which hurt my heart the most. I felt ugly, weighed done, under a fog, and hidden from the real world. My world became small, the shame of what I had done keeping it secret. Guilt sprung up every time I saw a baby or a pregnant woman. The triggers were multiple; the sight of the abortion clinic, the mention of the word abortion, the smells and sounds of the hospital when I gave birth to my first live child, the uniforms of Doctors and Nurses.
I used to cry hysterically without any apparent reason. For a time, I lost myself in drugs and drink. The will to find answers for the pain led me to look at new age practices. I visited a white witch who called herself a spiritual healer. I then had some nightmare situations come at me which frightened me off this track.
But what was the answer that I wanted? Those people who belonged to Jesus came and rescued me. They gave me love that I needed. They listened to me, fed me and eventually prayed for me and shared the truth of Jesus, when I was ready.
If you want to connect with and pastor post abortive women and men, there are some things which I have discovered that work. It takes enormous love, patience and sacrifice to connect with those who hurt and post abortion stress reaction hurts. It hurts a lot. You don’t trust anyone: you don’t know whom to trust.
So here are a few ideas for you. I hope and pray that God will bless you mightily as you get to grips with them.
1. Be a safe person: confidential, trustworthy and reliable.
2. Let them know that you love them unconditionally with absolute positive regard.
3. Use gentle language
4. Don’t ask questions that start with WHY or make bold statements or air strong opinions. Your opinion does not matter: Jesus’ love to them through you is all that matters.
5. Avoid religious overtones, or mumbo jumbo answers. If you don’t have the answer, just say so. It’s ok.
6. Listen to them more than speak.
7. Reflect back what they are saying to you so they can reflect on it themselves. Two reasons: they will know that you are listening which is a gift of affirmation for them and secondly, it’s their story and they will want to “un-muddle it.” Let them do this.
8. Pray (in your head) for God to pour out His love to them, to minister through His angels, His beauty and love and kindness to their hurting hearts.
9. Do not rush them, let them dictate the pace.
10. Introduce a solution focus: give them some hope by asking them. “Do you know that people have recovered from the pain of abortion?” or words to that effect. Signpost them to some help, local or national.
11. Let the person end the conversation and move on if they want to. If they stay, offer them a soft drink.
12. Before wrapping up to conversation, make sure you talk about other things not related to the abortion in order to put them in a safer frame of mind.
• Help and support to all post abortive individuals.
• Training days for those of you who want to know more about pastoring post abortive people.