Dear Church (There’s something I need to talk to you about),

(From a guest poster who wishes to remain anonymous)

Dear Church,

There’s something I need to talk to you about.  This isn’t easy and I’m nervous. In the past these attempts have left me a little bruised, but lately I’ve been feeling this is too important of a conversation to just avoid because you are sometimes downright crazy when it’s brought up.  You see, on Right to Life Sunday, the words you choose are usually laced with such venomous anger that I end up leaving with the skin around my heart singed, burned, and hanging in shreds.   On Mother’s Day, when you take the time to acknowledge the women who have experienced miscarriages and tell them Jesus is near the brokenhearted, you usually forget to say anything about the dull ache in the pit of my own stomach.  I pull out of the parking lot fighting back hot, salty tears until I get home.   It’s difficult sometimes based on the way you speak to not feel like because I have had an abortion, I am somehow considered an enemy of yours, some anonymous monster of a woman that must be stopped at all costs.

We get it.  We killed our kids. For whatever reason at the time we thought this was our only option.  We don’t need to be reminded how awful it was.  We were there.  We got undressed.  We heard the machine.  We felt the pain as more than just our dignity was ripped from us.  We sat woozily in a recovery room surrounded with many others who were making the biggest mistake of their lives, aware that eating the pretzels wouldn’t actually make us feel better. 

We walked out and saw your signs that said, “Mommy, don’t kill me”.  Some of us saw the pictures you shoved in our faces of what our children looked like dismembered, dead, and gone.  We went home that night, yes, with some sense of relief, but mostly filled with contempt for ourselves.  As the days went on, for all of us, it became harder and harder to fight off the despair, the shame, the guilt.  And then, the nightmares began.  Depression became a familiar fog, a blanket shrouding over all our lives.  Denial was the easiest way to avoid the travesty of what one simple choice had taken from us.  Suicidal thoughts lurked around every corner, threatening to overcome us.  Self-injury didn’t seem like it was so terrible of an idea; at least we felt something.

Oh Church, how I wish you knew how many women come through your doors carrying the scars of motherhood denied.  How I wish you were aware that statistically speaking, just as many evangelical Christians seek abortions as a way to hide their sin as do those who are not affiliated with any church.  It’s not simply an issue of the poor, the uneducated, the left wing liberals, or the feminists.  It’s an issue for all of us because chances are you sit next to one of us every Sunday.

 While I don’t know if there’s an exact stance or formulaic response for the church to take in saving innocent childrens’ lives, I do have some inkling that it starts with grace for the women who are normally spoken of as murderers.  How powerful would it be if the church became a place of healing for those who have already made the choice?  What if instead of talking about how awful it is for so many babies to have been killed by their mothers, we shifted our concern to caring for these women?  What would happen if we made sure those women knew Jesus’ overwhelming love, acceptance and forgiveness could cover yes, even this bloody, life altering sin?

Oh Church, I know it’s much easier to feel like we are doing our part by just always voting for Republicans and never supporting March of Dimes in the grocery store checkout line.

Believe me, I know that being committed to offering Jesus to women who’ve chosen abortion will involve sleepless nights, spaces where words aren’t enough, and more anguish than we are humanly wired to deal with. 

But what if it was worth it?

What if reaching out to these broken women was the answer?

What would happen if, instead of speaking words that leave us feeling marginalized, abused and pushed aside, you empowered us to share our stories? 

What would happen if, instead of failing to address us, you acknowledged that ours is a unique pain that doesn’t have to be dealt with in secret? 

What if you focused on making sure we knew the freedom that forgiveness brings and then taught us how to be a part in offering that freedom to others? 

I’d like to think if we did this, Church, we could save lives.  Not because we passed out flyers, or because we gave our donations to the pro-life clinics, but because we acted like Jesus, who comes to stand in the broken places, and promises us that nothing we have done or are doing or will do can separate us from His love.

Sincerely,

An anonymous pew mate

About allisonbuzard

Follower of Christ. Wife. Social Worker. http://twitter.com/AllisonBuzard
This entry was posted in Community, the Church, Women. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Dear Church (There’s something I need to talk to you about),

  1. Bethany Morrill says:

    Sweet friend, my heart aches that you’ve had to go through this – the original pain, and the pain that’s taken place every day since then. This letter must have been a hard one to write, but it’s one that we (all) need to hear. Thank you for sharing so honestly, and for working to make us aware of a change that will help so many. I pray that we, as a church, know how to make that change and that it comes soon. I hope that the replies to this post will make you feel surrounded by love and prayer, precious one.

  2. Marion McNealy says:

    Dear Sister in Christ,
    I have struggled with what to write to you, since it seems like a lot of self-pity has gone into writing this. HOW is the Church supposed to KNOW that this is a need in the church if you don’t open up and talk about this? Ministries are developed first by finding a need that needs to be addressed, not by reading the minds of the congregation during announcements! If no one knows what you struggle with, no one can come along side you to help you.
    Satan is using this secret to keep you in chains, he’s probably telling you that everyone will judge you and throw you out of the church. But that’s not true, and you know it! God has forgiven you, but you aren’t healed, and healing only comes by confessing the problem and seeking healing. Look up all the stories of healing in the Gospels and Acts, people didn’t get healed by sitting around, hoping that they would get healed, but they went out and sought healing, and their friends sought healing for them too. The woman with the bleeding sought Jesus out and touched the edge of his cloak in the crowd anonymously. He could have let her be healed anonymously at home, without her seeking him out, but he wanted her to take some responsibility for her healing, and he wanted the credit for the healing. He wanted the glory to go to God, and that could only happen through a public healing where the woman could explain what exactly she had been healed from, so that others with the same problem could know that they could be healed through Jesus!
    Ask for prayer in your women’s Bible Study, confess your experience to trusted Christian friends, seek healing at healing services, get counseling, but above all, don’t keep this a secret from those in the Church, it will eat you up from the inside and hold you back from the wonderful healing love of Christ.
    There are many ministries out there to help women heal from abortion, here are the first two that came up on Google:

    http://www.afterabortion.com/

    http://hopeafterabortion.com/

    Maybe its God’s plan to use this horrible experience in your past to start a ministry at your church and in your area to minister to women like you? Maybe God is trying to use this bitterness in your heart about your past abortion and your church’s lack of response to it to bring the blessing of healing from these chains to you?
    Stop sitting in the pew and feeling sorry for yourself, get out there, confess and seek to be healed. Then get involved healing other women, stop waiting for someone else to do something about the problem, maybe God is calling YOU to do something about it!

    Yes, I’m aware that this probably comes off as a bit harsh, but I’m praying that God will use my words in the right way.
    Love, Marion

    • Thanks, Marion, for responding. It’s obvious this letter touched you, so thank you for taking the time to reply and to even look for resources. I can’t speak to my friends’ experience, but I can speak to areas in my life when I have experienced deep sorrow and hurt, and needed healing (whether a consequence of my actions or a consequence of other’s actions). I know that healing takes time, and it’s a process. Even after confessing and asking for healing, healing wasn’t instantaneous. There are areas of hurt in my life that seem to never fully heal. There have been times on my journey to healing when others said or did something that re-opened up the fresh wound that had just begun to heal.

      And when I read this letter, what I saw was an appeal to the church to not re-wound through our words, or emphasis, our callousness. When I read this, I thought, “Have mercy, God, for when I haven’t created a safe place for people to share their deep wounds.” Yes, as Christ-followers we are called to confess to one another, but it’s hard to confess in an unsafe or judgemental group.

      I guess what I mean to say is that I think we all have responsibility in this Christian life. Responsibility to create open safe places for people to share, and places that are full of hope and restoration, not condemnation. We have responsibility to talk about our areas of brokenness. And we have a responsibility to use our brokenness for the healing of others. But all of that doesn’t happen immediately.

      I think my friend has come a long way on her healing journey. It takes great courage to write out something as honest and raw as this. It takes healing to be able to globalize one’s experience and appeal for the masses to help.

      I guess my hope in this series is that we put more responsibility on ourselves to examine our hearts, our words, our belief in true redemption and restoration, and less responsibility on the writer.

      Again, thank you for your time and thoughtfulness, the more comfortable and honest we are to talk about issues like this, the more healing we will experience!

    • Rebekah Cline says:

      Dear Marion-
      It’s interesting that we could read the same blog and have different reactions. I did not see any self pity in this blog. What I saw was a plea for the Church to wake up and see what is happening around them. I understand we can’t respond if we don’t know, but I don’t know how we would find out if when addressing women who have had abortions we speak to them
      in this way.

    • Jarrod Briggs says:

      Unfortunately the church is kinda famous for treating symptoms and not the real problem.

  3. Lindsey says:

    It make me sad that this has been your experience in church. God is a God of unconditional love, forgiveness and life-transforming power! I recently heard Nancy Alcorn from Mercy Ministries speak and she said, “You may have done what they say you did but you are not who they say you are.” We are new creations in Christ!

  4. divinealign says:

    Beautifully and Touchingly written. We know that especially in these “World Times” that the voice of Christ is needed more than ever to let those who feel disgraced or outsast know that there is NOTHING that they can ever do to be separated from the love of God. It is this that will allow them to come out of hiding from dark corners and into the light of life. Thank you for being His mouthpiece–a voice crying out in the wilderness…

  5. Oh, such sorely needed message…this convicts me of areas where I have not been grace-filled…I know this wasn’t easy to write, but I love you for it. Thank you, thank you, sweet friend.

  6. Elizabeth Polzin says:

    This post does make me think about how we should say things to others (I’m a counselor, so of course that regularly crossed my mind), but I also can’t help but think that if our churches were focused on confession, absolution, and the redeeming grace of the Gospel, rather than social issues, maybe we wouldn’t be so focused on the people sitting next to us, but God himself.

    Churches should be the healing place for those who have sinned, whether it be through abortion, adultery, or what our society deems as a “less severe” sin. It seems that our church society forgets that ALL have sinned. EVERY Sunday, forgiveness should be pronounced for all sins the believer has ever committed, not an announcement about supporting the latest anti-abortion clinic. If our churches regularly announced the forgiveness of sins and peace of Christ, we wouldn’t have individuals hurting like this guest writer. But, instead, most churches choose to focus on issues and forget that their job is to preach to redeemed sinners in Christ.

    Also, to the guest writer–I hope that if your church is talking more about social issues than the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is that He lived, died, and was resurrected for you to inherit eternal life, that you’ve found a new church that faithfully preaches the Word of God and announces the forgiveness of sins.

    Also, I hope my “tone” through writing doesn’t sound careless, but I wanted to be direct and clear.

    • Thanks for weighing in, Elizabeth. I think you make a really good point about churches getting caught up in causes rather than the message of Jesus. The truth is, though it’s hard for churches to stay out of cases. Denominations take sides on issues and causes, pastors take stances, people asisgn weight to sin. I think it’s important to remember that it’s not just church leadership/church that bears the weight of responsibility to love and proclaim forgiveness, it’s all of ours.

      I think regardless of the church we attend, it’s up to us. Each of us. To think before we speak, to love well, and to remember our own forgiveness,

  7. Megan Wilder says:

    Oh thank you for your story, for you showing your heart. I do appreciate it and the reminder of the pain you faced. We too often forget to just love people in their brokenness. Our mistakes often come out of brokenness and hurt. We are quick to point fingers, blame and shame people for the mistake rather than seeing past that and into the broken place. How sad it makes me.

    As you said above:
    “How powerful would it be if the church became a place of healing for those who have already made the choice? What if instead of talking about how awful it is for so many babies to have been killed by their mothers, we shifted our concern to caring for these women? What would happen if we made sure those women knew Jesus’ overwhelming love, acceptance and forgiveness could cover yes, even this bloody, life altering sin?”

    This would be powerful. This is how Jesus loves.

    To you who wrote this:
    You are the one Jesus LOVE. Always. Unconditionally. He looks on your face and see you as beautiful. White. Clean. Always without question. You are the one He loves.

  8. Pingback: Dear Church (series sum up) | Allison Buzard

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