The following is a sharing by Christine (not her real name) who attended Rachel’s Vineyard, a post abortion healing retreat
I was a cradle Catholic and attended a Convent school when I was young. Yet my childhood was particularly traumatic. I was almost raped by uncle on many occasions. These drove me to move out to stay with my first boyfriend. That relationship broke down and I had to stay on my own, feeling isolated, unworthy and unloved. I began to distance myself from the Church and God, partly because I had the impression that God would be wrathful. I felt suicidal, and I started to drink and lead a promiscuous lifestyle which led to my first abortion when I was 21.
After a few years of this self destructive lifestyle, I started to crave for stability. At 24, I married a Christian, and attended Protestant churches. My body was not ready when I had my first pregnancy and I miscarried. I became pregnant again, but after my first child, I had severe post-natal depression and felt suicidal. I had another child the next year. My husband refused to attend church, and became physically abusive. I suffered another miscarriage. The marriage broke down after six years. I was so disappointed that I fell back into my old, self-destructive lifestyle again, this time taking up smoking as well.
Later, I entered another relationship, this time with a Catholic. Let’s call him A. We went to Mass nearly every weekend and received the Eucharist; but I felt it wasn’t right. I got pregnant but I aborted despite his protests. A few months later, it happened again. He told me he hated me for “killing” his children. I didn’t think much of it at the time, and still felt it was the right decision for practical reasons. We broke up soon afterwards, and my life started spiralling out of control again.
Around the same time, my friend S also got pregnant. Her sister had been trying for a child for a few years. I told S about her options but instead of advising her against an abortion, I even brought her to a clinic for an abortion. I feel so remorseful now that I am reminded of it. I had murdered my own children, and was an accomplice to another’s act of the same. With A’s words still ringing in my ears, I have also become painfully aware after Rachel’s Vineyard, how these experiences are not isolated to women.
With all these weighing heavily on me and being in denial, I met the man to whom I am now married. Through God’s grace, our nine year journey together led us both back to the Church and, for me, to Rachel’s Vineyard. At the age of 42, during the retreat, I finally faced up to all these scars from my past, the hurt, the guilt, and the shame, I realised how mentally tiring and emotionally draining these years have been, how during those times, it was impossible to be close to God. I was helped during the retreat to ask forgiveness from God and also for the children who were aborted because of my decision.
I learnt at the retreat to change my view of God from being a wrathful judge to a forgiving father and to commit to God all pain, all the anger, and ask for healing too. I also learned how to avoid falling back into old modes of behaviour. Instead, I have to pray for continual healing while facing my past.
God has been gracious to me. He will be gracious to you too.
Rachel’s Vineyard is a post-abortion healing retreat for any women who have had an abortion; and also for others who may have provided the abortion or pressured someone to carry it out. The weekend retreats are specially designed to help participants experience the mercy and compassion of God, and give them the opportunity to release their repressed feelings of anger, shame, guilt, and grief, in a safe and comforting environment.
The next two retreats will be held on Mar 21-23 and Mar 25-27.
For more information and registration, please visit http://www.rachelsvineyard.sg or contact Rose at 9818 5102. Enquires will be held in the strictest confidence.