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God's Amazing Grace After An Abortion

by Kathryn Berkowitz

I am always amazed as I ponder our Heavenly Father's grace and mercy, and how it is so evident in the new life He has given me. I am blessed with a beautiful family; a husband and four children, and in spite of all of the turmoil in the world around us, He gives us His joy and peace.

I wish I could tell you that it has always been this way, but it would not be the truth. You see, several years ago, before I had a relationship with the Lord, I was facing a very real battle that threatened to rob me of any hope in life, on earth or in heaven.

At the age of nineteen, I had an abortion, a decision I was later to regret. It was a desperate one, based on fear and misinformation. Like many young women, I had made some very bad choices that led to my crisis pregnancy and when I discovered that I was pregnant, I felt so afraid.

At the time, I was in the middle of a divorce, as were my parents. The father of the baby was not at all agreeable with the idea of becoming a father, and urged me to end the pregnancy, And since there were no voices telling me that it was in any way possible to have the baby without "ruining my life", I submitted to his wishes and made an appointment at the abortion "clinic".

When I walked into the "clinic" that Valentine's Day in 1978, 1 was terrified. I was almost 13 weeks pregnant by then. I was only 6 weeks or so when I had made my appointment, and was told that I needed to be at least 12 weeks, or the procedure would not be as "effective," I had been dreading this day for seven weeks, and though I had fantasized mothering this child, the cold reality that I had no support system was something I could not escape. The abortion providers sold me what I thought was a way out of my problems, but little did I know that they had only begun. By exercising my "freedom of choice", I lost control of everything that the abortion was meant to preserve.

The atmosphere at the "clinic" was something I will never forget. I wanted to leave as soon as I arrived, but I decided to be "brave, and just get it over with." The "procedure" was indescribably painful. The room was so cold, and the sound of the suction machine as it hungrily consumed the "products of conception" was so loud that was impossible to hear what the "nurse" and the "doctor" were laughing so hard about. After it was over, I felt as if I were dying from pain and grief, but the "nurse" stood there holding my hand and telling me that I had done "just wonderfully." That evening I cried as I told the baby's father, 'What if the baby felt pain during the abortion, and why do I feel so depressed?" He, a medical student, replied, "Don't worry, you've done the right thing. Your hormones will regulate in a few days. You'll be all right, just give yourself time."

The emotional and physical pain was so overwhelming that I was forced to make a decision in order to keep from loosing my sanity. I knew if I completely gave in to what I was feeling that I would cry for eternity, I decided that when I woke up the next morning, I would never speak of the baby or abortion again. I had to do this, I told myself, in order to survive.

I am one of the millions of women who walked into the deceptive smokescreen of the "Reproductive Freedom" propaganda, and "chose" to abort my first child. Consequently I emerged on the other side with a damaged perception, unable to discern that I had thrown away something that could never be retrieved. In truth, someONE. Separate in his own rights, and yet so much a part of me that I would silently and tortuously grieve our amputation.

I didn't realize this until almost two years later. It was at this time that things seemed to be going well for me. I was now married to a wonderful man, and pregnant again with a "planned" child. I was very much looking forward to becoming a mother, but memories of my first pregnancy caught me off-guard every time someone commented on my obvious condition. "How exciting", they would say. "Is this your first baby?" "Yes it is," I would answer. But in my heart I knew it was a lie.

Unable to deal with those issues, I would push them down emotionally every time they attempted to rise, hoping I could drown them forever in the murky water of my soul. The denial continued until I was faced with a more obvious loss. Twenty-four weeks into my new pregnancy, I gave birth prematurely to a tiny son. His lungs were not mature and he did not survive. We named him Nathan Joel. As I lay devastated in my hospital room, I was brought a birth certificate, and told that I would need to plan a funeral for him. He was so tiny, barely two pounds, and lived for just a few minutes after he was born.

Then I remembered a friend of mine who at that very same hospital had aborted a baby at twenty-four weeks. His birth had been induced by a syringe filled with saline solution, that burned him to death and caused him to be aborted from his mothers body.

How ironic, I thought, This hospital tried to save my baby, but helped my friend end her baby's life. They give me a birth certificate, and tell me I need to call a funeral home, but her son was a non-person. Why did this hospital try so hard to save the lives of some premature babies, while others were removed like unwanted growths? The question that haunted me was, at what point does life really begin? At conception, at 13 weeks? At 24 weeks? At birth? According to that hospital it seemed that a baby's personhood depended on whether or not his parents wanted him.

As I researched this further, I discovered that a baby could be aborted right up to the moment that his mother gives birth. I was once again confronted with my greatest fear, I had indeed murdered my first child.

I did not know God at the time, and even though I believed that there was a God, I felt sure that He would not want anything to do with me. My religious orientation was New Age, and I believed in reincarnation and karma, and that the death of my second son was payback for the abortion. I believed that the only way that I could atone for what I had done was suicide. Satan wanted me to believe that if I ended my life that I would have a chance to mother my children in another life. But God had another plan!

My husband, a Jewish man, had recently heard the gospel and had accepted Jesus Christ as his Messiah. He was urging me to go to church with him, and in an attempt to leave him with a happy memory of me, I agreed. Going to a church service before I died seemed like a good thing to do, and die I did! But not the way I planned. At that church service, the old sinful me was crucified with Christ, and the new me was raised up in newness of life to the glory of God, my Father. I was instantly delivered from all of the guilt and torment, and was very sweetly given the freedom to properly grieve the deaths of my two babies. Only in that freedom could I be given the hope that my little ones were safely hidden in Christ until all things will be revealed. After what He had done for me on the cross, I knew I could trust Him completely.

Shortly after my conversion, I became involved with pro-life ministry, particularly ministering the forgiveness of God to people whose lives have been scarred by the horrible sin of abortion, I've heard hundreds of stories, so similar to mine. My heart is burdened for so many people whose "choices" have brought them nothing but death, pain and destruction.

Those who cry out for what they believe is a woman's sacred "rite" will never offer comfort to those of us who deeply regret our "choices." The spirit behind the pro-abortion camp has operated in the same cruel fashion since the beginning. Satan uses deception, tempts us, and then when we sin, he mocks and torments us for giving in to his lies.

Recently the eyes of our nation were focused on Union, South Carolina, where a mother confessed to the drowning of her two small boys. We were all deeply saddened to find that her story of the boys abduction was totally false, and we were all asking, "How could a mother do that to her children?" Our hearts were grieved, as they should have been, over this tragedy.

But I was no less guilty than Susan Smith when I chose death for my child, and then tried to drown his memory forever in the dark cold water of my sinful heart.

Every day in this nation, over 4000 mothers walk into abortuaries, pay an executioner to kill their babies, and just like Susan Smith, deny the truth about how their children died. May God have mercy on us all for not being just as heartbroken over these deaths as we were for little Michael and Alex Smith.

Maybe you know the kind of grief I'm talking about right now. Maybe you've had an abortion, and you are hurting. Or maybe you're a father of an aborted baby, or a grandparent, an aunt, a brother, or sister. I want you to know that God forgives.

The devastation experienced after an abortion can only be cured by the ministry of the Holy Spirit, Only He can reveal the truth in the person of Jesus Christ. Only He, by His Word and His resurrection power can cleanse the wounds that are caused by our sin, and replace them with love, joy, and peace in Him. We can fully trust that He will not reject us as we truly seek His mercy. We can pour out our hearts before Him without fear that He will be shocked or horrified. He's a big God, He's heard it all before, and He can take it. There is nothing that can separate us from His love. I know. I've experienced it ever since I came to Him for help. It is my earnest prayer that you will experience His love too.

Beauty for Ashes Ministries is a Christian ministry dedicated to helping anyone who is suffering after an abortion. Our volunteers have personally experienced abortion and understand the emptiness and heartache that so often follow. We provide confidential peer counseling and encouragement through our Bible Study/Support groups. We offer hope that can be found in Jesus Christ. The foundational scriptures for our ministry are these:

Paul wrote to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 7:10:

"For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death."

Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 61:1-3:

"The Spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified."

Article copyright Kathryn Berkowitz
Used by Permission

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Kathryn Berkowitz, a Midwifery student and Childbirth Educator, is the Director of Facilitator Training for Beauty for Ashes Ministries. She lives with her husband, Bruce, and their four children in Newton, NC. You can visit her website at Milk and Honey Moms.

If you have had an abortion and would like to talk with someone, or if you share their vision and would like information on how to start a post-abortion ministry in your church, please contact Beauty for Ashes Ministries at (704) 462-4498 or email Kathryn at Birthdance@aol.com.

Beauty for Ashes
Joy for Despair
Comfort for Anguish
Courage for Fear
Love for Hostility
Peace for my Strife
Freedom for Bondage
Your death for my life.

Value for Worthlessness
Jewels for Dust
Fruit for my Barrenness
Faith for Mistrust
Blessings for Curses
Virtue for Blame
Laughing for Crying
Glory for Shame

Truth for Deception
Riches for Debt
Vision for Blindness
Hope for Regret
Health for Affliction
Victory for Loss
Kindness for Cruelty
A Crown for a Cross

Love for Hostility
Peace for my Strife
Freedom for Bondage
Your death for my life.

Copyright Olive Branches Music 1995

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