About six months ago three men and I began the journey through a Bible study I wrote featuring the Beatitudes, titled “Missing Arrows.” The purpose–to find fatherhood restoration for the children they had lost through abortion.
On this beautiful day, amid a grand grove of trees, a memorial wall stood tall to receive their remembrance of those children. This wall is a beautiful, red granite memorial. It stands as a statement of emotional and spiritual healing for all who come to its commanding presence. Hundreds of women and men have placed memorial plaques, supplied by the National Memorial for the Unborn, on the wall. Many include names and bible verses, some, names only. This memorial wall is the testimony of these mothers and fathers great transformation from self-judgment to the great freedoms found in Christ. His redemption settles all.
After an abortion loss there is a new normal. For Chuck, life became a downward spiral with thoughts of suicide. Mark worked all the time but had a hard time completing anything. Greg moved around a lot, never could quite “find himself.” All of these men used their choice of medications to mask the pain. During and at the completion of the study the transformation reoriented them to the way God sees them, with the daily invitation to enter into His vision by His plan for their future. A major and notable shift was in how these men identified their relationship with their Heavenly Father. While, at one time their chief self-description was “a sinner saved by grace,” the realization of being a New Man in Christ gave meaning to Ephesians 1:5 which states, “His adopted son saved by and into grace.” A new lens one might say!
Each father experiencing deliverance from the pain of abortion loss knows the radical difference of being in bondage to the chains of identity with past failure and the restoration of life in Christ as a redeemed son. The Grace of God through Christ to forgive the unbearable weight of the participation in the elective destruction of their children cannot be expressed in words, but it was very real to each of them.
Why is this true? First backward—then move forward. The day before conception it was just you and her. Identity was easy. A man, a woman. But the day after conception WOW, how things changed. The change was silent, but the presence of your baby carried the equivalent power of an atom bomb as it relates to redefining identity. A man, now a father—new identity, a woman now a mother—new identity. A new identity and more than a few big tests. Is there room for love? Love of self, love of one another, love for your baby?
Now, you are a mother like your mom, or a father like your dad, but you aren’t ready! You’re scared. More likely panicked! Did the baby change the meaning of your relationship? Now, the future is rushing toward you. You must make decisions, plans, grow-up, be responsible for not only the relationship with one another, but for the baby. TIME OUT!! …you shout, but there is no time out. Time is your nemesis. Unidentified expectations for each other are piqued. One wrong word, gesture, or silence can say too much or not enough. What can be read into those first seconds after you know? Wrong conclusions, then wrong decisions, then comes another day. The day before the abortion. Can the decision be undone? Yes, but often it does not happen. The seconds, minutes and days after are too late.
The abortion has no power to undo the new identities, only the evidence—the baby. The day, even I say days and years after the abortion never change your identity. Now, a new identity torments you. In your own heart of hearts, you killed the baby. You think of yourself and your mate differently. Is there room for love? You hope there is but for God’s sake how? Can I love myself? Why, How? Can I love my lady? What we have done can’t be undone. Guilt, shame, blame, anger, depression, a ceiling of self- condemnation and lack of trust puts you in an emotional vertigo. “We’ve killed our children… How can God love us?” (a quote from one in the group)
Some or all is a part of the new normal. But, is there cultural permission to talk it over? Can someone listen who has the answers—how can I ever make this go away?
Well, the answer is a qualified yes—God can and intends to work to mend the damage. He won’t likely make it go away (Job can tell you that) but He will walk with you through it in His love and healing Power. Jesus reminds us that we will be blessed with comfort as we grieve. Many have found comfort in Christ and His redeeming forgiveness and restoration. It is true by the “Law of God” you feel guilty, but He has mercy, you have anger and blame, but He has forgiveness, you have sorrow, but he has comfort. You’re out of control but he brings order. You’re anxious but He brings peace. You feel dirty, abused and cast down but He brings peace and a pure heart. You feel powerless, but he gives you authority over the lies of the enemy and restores your ability to provide, protect, praise and worship Him. We have an Awesome God!!
What is your story from the fear and damage in your life to the journey into His Love. Have you started that journey yet? You can, you have permission and we have the resources to help along both the broad and narrow parts of the Beatitudes healing journey.
Start now to change your identity from that of a heavily burdened man with unbearable loss to a man free from judgment and condemnation by the Law, yourself and others. You are in fact a redeemed man because Jesus finished judgment and condemnation on the Cross. He said so “…It Is Finished.” Take the invitation to reconcile your losses in Him and move toward the capacity (high calling) He knows you have in this life. You are only a short way from being His ambassador for others. “… now go and comfort others with the comfort you have received (or are about to have) in and from Him!
- Find the Bible study Missing Arrows at: http://www.menandabortion.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Missing_Arrows_2014.pdf
- Find information about the National Memorial for the Unborn at: www.memorialfortheunborn.org/honor-your-child