Twenty Candles

20 candles.

20 babies.

7 women.

All loved equally by their Abba Father.

I was honored to attend a memorial service for babies who had been lost to abortion, but quite honestly, I was also a bit uneasy about what I was about to witness. As we gathered together in the pastor’s office in love and reverence, I heard their stories.

“I didn’t know it was a baby”

“I thought it was the right thing to do”

“I was forced to do it”

After being together for several weeks in the Post Abortion Support Team (P.A.S.T.) recovery group at Fellowship Monrovia, they have cried together, they have grieved together, and they have loved each other through painful memories. Now these precious women were gathering together one last time to acknowledge their mistake in giving up the life of their child or children for the sake of convenience, and to lay their children to rest in the arms of the Father.

They were sorry. So deeply sorry. Many had not been able to move forward in life, even though it had been years. Some carried the physical scar of not being able to get pregnant after multiple abortions and not knowing exactly why.

The medical community had no answers.

They tortured themselves with whys and what ifs.

Their friends and family said to get over it.

But they couldn’t.

These women are part of the beautiful few who have chosen to come to Jesus with their post abortion pain and accept healing and wholeness. Each one wearing white and lighting a candle for each baby.

Previously unnamed, each child was given a name by their mother. One young mom even brought a box of baby things to lay on the altar of forgiveness and grace.

I heard them, one after one, say “I now know I can still be a woman of God and move forward into my calling even after having an abortion.” And “I’m so comforted to know I will see my baby in heaven.” So profound. So heartbreaking. And so beautiful. As God forgave them, each one had to work through the process to come to a place of forgiving themselves. And that is the hardest thing.

There were tears. Oh yes, there were tears. This night showed me the messy beauty of God’s love. He loves us in our mistakes. He loves us in our mess. And he brings people alongside us to help us out of that mess. Also part of the group that night were women who were many years beyond a similar program of healing. Now they were turning their pain into purpose by leading these women to the very throne of God where they could lay down their past and be renewed in His spirit and His truth to walk in forgiveness and healing.

20 candles.

20 babies who will never be forgotten.

7 women who are now walking forward in wholeness and with hope.

“For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
    and I will remember their sins no more.”

Hebrews 8:12 ESV

 

Walking in Freedom part 2

About a month ago in March, I went on a mission trip to Mexico with my church. We went into Tijuana to work with our church plant and share the great news about Jesus and the new church.

I had no idea what to expect on this trip.

No one did.

God moved in ways I couldn’t even come up with!

I feel there are multiple steps to be able to walk in freedom. The first one I mentioned in my blog “Walking in Freedom,” which to summarize is to allow Jesus to enter the place of shame or guilt or anger or whatever it may be and picture him there with you. I did this for a certain area of my life and recently Satan tried to bring me back to that place again, but I pictured Jesus grabbing my hand and walking me out of the situation. It was freeing.

The other part to freedom, I feel, is surrendering all that you are to God and letting him come into every crack and filling it. I experienced this for the first time when I told God out loud “I SURRENDER EVERYTHING TO YOU!” And then I experienced so much joy that I began to laugh and rock back and forth uncontrollably. It was incredible and very freeing.

My friend Brea has been deaf in her left ear her entire life of 25 years. She has been praying for God to heal her because she believes he can. In Mexico, God said, “Now is your time.” Brea went up to the pastor during worship and told him her story. He began praying for her and I felt I needed to go up and pray for her too. Me, the pastor and other girl named Rachel were laying hands on her and praying for her. The power of God was so mighty and powerful that she was bent over as the pastor was laying hands on her ear. He told her she had something inside of her that was holding her back so he prayed healing and freedom over that area of her life. She fell on her knees and we continued to pray for her. Rachel was praying over Brea in her left ear, and Brea told her to pray again. Brea began to scream and exclaim, “I CAN HEAR! I CAN HEAR!” And we all jumped up, started cheering and crying and praising and giving glory to God!

 

God healed her!

 

She said before she heard Rachel pray in her ear, she heard God say to her, “You are my child.”

That is walking in freedom. Free from the bondage.

God wants to free you from bondage. He wants you to walk in the freedom he has given us.

“And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Cor 3:17-18

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(Me and Brea in Mexico)