“I’ve confessed my sin, Sydna, to you and God,” the woman outlined. “I’ve attended a weekend abortion recovery retreat as well. Why isn’t the pain gone now? Why isn’t God healing me faster?”

Post-abortive women often spend a lot of emotional energy in denying or forgetting their abortion ever happened. When the truth that a tiny human being was lost in the abortion process, emotional and spiritual pain can overwhelm our hearts, throwing us into long-denied grief. Painful thoughts about our past choices are hard to address because they hurt!

So why doesn’t God just take away this pain when we come and confess our sin to Him? We all know that is within His power.

Whatever you may think, God doesn’t enjoy watching His children suffer. He has a reason for us to experience this pain if He requires that we endure it. God will not waste our pain. 

When God took the curtains off my eyes – showing me that I had lost a human being in choosing abortion – the initial revelation was overwhelming. I could not stop crying or thinking of this child in heaven. Sadly, it took eleven years for me to get to that point.

My family was surprised at my instant agony. My husband said, “Why bring all of that up now?  It’s in the past and is better forgotten, right?”

“The pain is sticking in my throat. I can’t swallow it anymore. I must face the truth of my sin in choosing abortion!” I responded.

My husband understood that word picture and agreed to support me in God’s healing process. He also reviewed the abortion recovery study to ensure it was based on God’s word. After each class, we’d sit together and review how God was moving in my heart, which brought us much closer as a couple!

Still, I expected that God would step in miraculously and sweep away all my emotional and psychological pain. He obviously forgave me, but He chose not to heal my heart instantly.

God knew about all the other sins that I committed after my abortion that had to be confessed as well. I had to work through each additional transgression with God’s help after this class was completed. Because He created me, God understood my heart could only bear so much at one time.

As I waited for my abortion recovery class to begin, I thought of other fast ways to heal. Perhaps sharing my secret publicly could be a way to obtain quick healing? Being the first woman to speak publicly about my abortion on a radio show that reached millions should have earned me some relief, right?  Wrong.  

Then I hoped that helping to save one child from abortion’s fate could produce a deeper level of restoration from God. That didn’t work either, despite the fact that a wonderful life was saved. I then ended up carrying a lot of other people’s burdens long before I was equipped with God’s deep healing to do so.

There were times when I wondered, “Was this agony a way for God to punish me for my abortion?” That idea didn’t sit well in my soul because I knew God’s character to be gentle, merciful and forgiving.

Finally, I embraced that God’s plan for my life must include experiencing this pain and working through it with His help. The ache wasn’t His punishment but simply a consequence of my abortion choice.

Embracing the pain and the process of searching my soul through an abortion recovery program truly helped me heal. While it wasn’t quick, it has endured and allowed me to do great things with God’s help ever since.

Over the years I have met a handful of women who truly did heal from this pain miraculously. In most cases, they did not know God at the time of their abortions. Their salvation experience included their abortion confession. I’ve never doubted anyone’s healing. God clearly can do anything He wants to do. But this “instant healing” is rare after abortion.

Today I’m fully grateful that God loved me enough to know that the process of grieving was good for my heart.  By withholding immediate healing, God’s discipline was to let me face every angle of the pain of this choice.

God would also use this healing season to teach me love for others who had yet to be reached with the hope of His healing. Just as Jesus needed to come to earth to “walk in our shoes” as humans, I needed to walk through and understand my own pain before I could help anyone else.

In Psalm 94:12-15 NIV David writes, Blessed is the one you discipline, Lord, the one you teach from your law; you grant them relief from days of trouble, till a pit is dug for the wicked. For the Lord will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance.  Judgment will again be founded on righteousness, and all the upright in heart will follow it.

If God simply removed the pain, we may not learn the intimate details of His love, mercy and grace. This pain is something we need to understand in order to avoid sinning in the future, as outlined in Hebrews 12:7-11 NIV:

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Because I knew God when I made that choice, I walked away from His Holy Spirit’s presence when I left that abortion clinic. I then believed that God had rejected me due to my abortion sin. Truth was, He didn’t leave me – I left Him. Eleven years later, I longed to “partake” in His holiness once again.

The emotional and spiritual pain of the abortion healing process is a temporary condition.Tens of thousands of us have survived the truth of our choices, grieved our child(ren), allowed God’s love to help us forgive those who harmed us (including ourselves) and come to the point of peace where God can use us in His kingdom. That healing is deep and changed each one of us deeply in a good way!

Have hope that you won’t feel this pain forever. Ask God to give you moments of peace to understand His love and discipline.  He won’t desert you ever and is always close to the broken hearted!