Honoring Their Lives
“Trust us,” my abortion recovery leader requested. “A memorial service for your aborted child will be a healing experience.”
The concept of a funeral service for my aborted child seemed overwhelming back in 1992. My heart was ready to flee the class and never return when I heard this comment. Sadly, I was in the wrong place in the room to excuse myself without embarrassment.
Attending an abortion recovery class was NOT my idea. I had fought the concept for months. What good could come from focusing on the role I played in aborting my child?
The abortion recovery class was the only “requirement” that I had agreed to in accepting a position of my dreams in 1991 – helping pregnancy centers worldwide through a prominent pro-life ministry! I had agreed to attend the class but I put up boundaries in my heart and said it was simply, “a work assignment.”
You see, the thought of helping women make better choices than abortion thrilled me. Abortion was the worst decision I had ever made. It had impacted my heart, soul, mind and body traumatically. My hope was to spare one woman and child from the pain of abortion, thus ensuring my unborn child’s death was not in vain.
I was still apprehensive of the memorial two weeks later. That day I had stayed home from work because I was upset. Yet I pushed myself to develop a floral arrangement for that evening’s service. My middle son, Michael, was just nine months old then. I had saved a beautiful bassinet-shaped vase that I pulled out and simply took flowers from my garden.
The church was quiet when I arrived. I placed a bouquet of flowers and candle on a special table at the front and sat down with the other members of the group. We were all very subdued in those moments, contemplating the service ahead.
During the service, the pastor shared the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead in John 11. After Jesus commanded Lazarus to come out of his crypt, the Bible states in verse 44: The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
Comparing us to Lazarus, the minister concluded, “You are very much alive inside but still tightly bound by the grave clothes of your aborted child. We are simply here to help you go free.”
Later in the service, after lighting Jesse’s candle, I went forward for individual prayer, revealing my child’s name. This clergyman simply asked God to remove Jesse’s grave clothes.
Instantly, I lost 40 pounds. The weight of my abortion sin felt extinguished in one prayer. I felt the physical release of that sin burden.
Yet it wasn’t just one prayer. It had been nine weeks of prayer, Scripture reading and processing with the other women to arrive at the final point where God took away the weight of my abortion.
I sat down with peace that passes all understanding, full of joy. If it hadn’t been so quiet, I would have sang the song from my youth that described the newfound peace in my heart:
O what a wonderful, wonderful day – day I will never forget;
After I’d wandered in darkness away, Jesus my Saviour I met.
O what a tender, compassionate friend – He met the need of my heart;
Shadows dispelling, With joy I am telling, He made all the darkness depart.
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul,
When at the cross the Saviour made me whole;
My sins were washed away –
And my night was turned to day –
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul!
Born of the Spirit with life from above into God’s fam’ly divine,
Justified fully thru Calvary’s love, O what a standing is mine!
And the transaction so quickly was made when as a sinner I came,
Took of the offer of grace He did proffer – He saved me, O praise His dear name!
Now I’ve a hope that will surely endure after the passing of time;
I have a future in heaven for sure, there in those mansions sublime.
And it’s because of that wonderful day when at the cross I believed;
Riches eternal and blessings supernal from His precious hand I received.
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul!
With my head bowed, I asked God to take care of Jesse for me. While it had taken so long to recognize his presence in my soul, God had done a mighty work and it was time to release Jesse into His care.
While a memorial service is a nice idea, lost children can be remembered in a variety of ways. You can plant a tree in your yard, write a poem, create a work of art, write a song or anything that will help you remember your child. However God leads you, this is for your healing.