Soon afterward a woman I barely knew confessed an abortion in very plain terms. Her simple honesty made it safe for me to speak the truth. And something amazing happened. When I confessed, my heartbreak began to be healed. I felt the love of Jesus Christ enter into the space in my heart I had always kept closed just for the memory of that day. I knew without doubt that my child is safe with the Savior in heaven. 

Such mercy! Such blessed relief and joy—as if I’d been handed a new life. And that’s just what God did for me. He assured me that my child was not destroyed forever. And he helped me receive the forgiveness he secured for me on the cross. He has made everything new.

As we confess to God our guilt is removed (Psalms 32:5) and as we confess and pray with others our grief is healed (James 5:16). Being forgiven allows us to forgive others. 

This wasn’t always easy for me—especially forgiving those who lied and said it wasn’t a baby, “just tissue.” But when we obey God and forgive those who don’t deserve it, our memories, even painful ones, minister to us in our grief. 

Remembering my deep disappointment at hearing my fiancé choose abortion; my fear of being incompetent to parent this little one all alone; how God touched my heart to try to move me to choose life, and how I had been too far gone to listen. Surely these memories, though painful, spoke of me having had a mother’s heart even though I had failed to find a way to act out of that love. This gives me hope—I know God can build on the smallest seeds of love. 

Healing continued in a post-abortion Bible study where I gave honor and dignity to my child in heaven. I gave him the name Immanuel, and he is part of my forever family.

As I look back now, I am so grateful for that receipt which witnesses my child’s all-too-brief life and devastating death. Tucked away unread for all those years, that small slip of paper helped me begin to be able to tell the story. Facing the truth of all I lost has moved the grief from my heart into healing conversations with friends and family who care. They have helped me see that I’m not who I was when I made that fatal mistake. 

And today I can say God’s grace has replaced my guilt and grief.

I’m guessing you’re different now too.

So, what’s your story? Where have you laid the past aside, but not put it to rest? 

I would count it a privilege to listen in confidence and help you remember the child you never met. I join my heart with yours to pray God will provide others in your church, your family, your circle of friends who will patiently help you to process your loss. As Jesus goes with us to grieve, he gives us peace. His love binds up the wounds of our hearts. 

I’m praying the time for your healing has come.

Kim Ketola is a broadcaster, writer and speaker. Her faith and life experience inform her understanding of one of the biggest untold stories of our time--the spiritual impact of abortion on the women and men who choose it. Her award-winning book Cradle My Heart, Finding God's Love After Abortion (Kregel, 2012) features a Foreword by Ruth Graham. Kim also hosts the weekly national program Cradle My Heart Radio with live and interactive stories of healing and hope after abortion (www.cradlemyheart.org).

Publication date: January 4, 2013