Taming Thanksgiving Triggers After Abortion


Hello!  I’m Sydna Masse, author of the book, Her Choice to Heal: Finding Spiritual and Emotional Peace After Abortion, and CEO & Founder of Ramah International, an outreach organization designed to offer the hope of healing to abortion’s wounded around the world.


Next week our nation will celebrate Thanksgiving.  Gathering with people who could have encouraged or discouraged a past abortion decision often activates old memories of abortion pain. While many will avoid these gatherings, others don’t have that luxury.


For those that have not embraced God’s healing after abortion, family meals can be a traumatic experience. Consider eating turkey while sitting next to the aunt who dragged you off to the abortion clinic?  

Or with the cousin who previously bragged about her two abortions?


An abortion decision is often wrapped in deep emotions with multiple people offering their advice or family members who force an abortion decision.  Rarely is the abortion ever discussed afterwards.


Many believe they can take this secret to their graves.  Sadly, many find the emotional and spiritual pain of abortion can peak after being triggered, particularly during holiday events.


Meeting with someone who was involved in an abortion decision can trigger a great deal of anxiety along with other emotions like shame, hatred and disgust.  


The undercurrent of such a meal is often uncomfortable. Obvious grief often goes unrecognized as most around the table don’t even know an abortion occurred.


Many women can face hostility from those who worked to discourage their abortion decision.  Underlying emotions of anger and hostility can still rage in these hearts against the post-abortive person making it difficult to even converse.

Having a meal with those who recommended abortion can trigger memories that are difficult to forget. While the abortion may never be mentioned, that doesn’t mean the abortion wound is not inflamed.


Or it could be the birth of a subsequent child and the igniting of “motherhood wonderment” where a new child prominently outlines just what the mother lost in making that abortion choice.  


Few of us realized when we chose abortion that reminders of our lost child would surround us as we grew older. Seeing a young person even today that is the same age that my abortion child, whom I later named Jesse, can impact me.


I never thought I’d be grieving the potential grandchildren Jesse would have provided to my life.


However these triggering events arrive, it makes no difference. A past abortion can be suddenly illuminated in the secret room of a person’s heart and the light may never go off again until God restores them to His peace.


Thankfully, there is the hope of God, whose desire is to heal this part of our hearts. His grace and mercy can bring us to the point where we can forgive ourselves for making such a choice, grieve the lost child and find joy again.


If you are growing anxious over the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, here are four ways to help your heart:


Give Yourself Permission to Cry

Psalm 126:4-5 reveals the spiritual benefits of grief – Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy…

Please allow yourself to mourn.  Grieving a child lost to abortion typically helps post-abortion pain at a temporary level. Tears are the body’s way of ridding itself of toxins.


Weeping also begins God’s cleansing process, starting the process of settling His peace into your heart to help you cope and endure.  Crying releases deep emotions and lifts burdens, bringing God close.


Secure Prayer Coverage

If you know of an unhealed abortion wound, or are facing hostile or involved family members, be sure to ask for prayer coverage before any family event.   


If confrontations could be looming during the family gathering, it’s best to have God involved.


Develop New Family Traditions

Starting a new tradition of having a moment of silence to memorialize family members who have passed away is a great idea. Using this time to allow yourself to memorialize the aborted child can be very healing.  Understanding that this child is in God’s good care can also be comforting.


For those who may have encouraged or discouraged the abortion, they also need God’s grace and mercy evident during the meal versus tension and discord.


Resolve to Embrace God’s Healing

If heartache surrounding a past abortion continues to be triggered, it’s time to embrace an abortion recovery program. Such a journey with God can bring restoration and peace to your soul, and even bring joy back into a wounded heart! 


For those of you who were unable to stop an abortion decision, it’s time to begin the process of forgiving everyone involved.  Likely they are suffering in more ways than you can ever know.


If you regret encouraging an abortion decision, a simple apology can bring great relief and peace.  


God’s healing after abortion is available to everyone who may have been involved in an abortion decision. The Holy Spirit often uses reminders to help us begin to understand the emotional and spiritual pain and find His peace.


2 Corinthians 4:15 outlines the benefit of thanking Him for the blessings of your life – All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

If you, or someone you know, is struggling after abortion, HerChoicetoHeal.com can help! 

From all of us at Ramah International, have wonderful Thanksgiving!

Module 1 Devotional


Hello!  I’m Sydna Masse, author of the book, Her Choice to Heal: Finding Spiritual and Emotional Peace After Abortion, and CEO & Founder of Ramah International, an outreach organization designed to offer the hope of healing to abortion’s wounded around the world.


King David is one of my favorite authors because I can relate to his written word.

In Psalm 40:1-3 he writes, I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth – Praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord.


The night before I was to return to the abortion recovery class to share my testimony, I was scared and pleaded with God to “incline” Himself to me.


My dreams were filled with memories of my abortion. I devoted great energy to keeping these thoughts pent up in my heart over the years. Now they were bubbling out uncontrollably.


The consequence of obeying God in addressing this sin was that my shame was always before me. In Psalm 6:6-7, David related the same pain, I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes.


The long-buried grief tears flowed freely from my heart. I thought I was going to go crazy from the sorrow.


The realization that I would never hold my lost child this side of heaven overwhelmed me. I suddenly longed for this child.


Second Samuel 11-12 relays the story of David’s unexpected pregnancy. As a King with many wives, David saw a beautiful woman bathing on her rooftop. He wanted this lovely lady, but she was the wife of Uriah.


David used his authority to take advantage of Uriah’s wife while her husband was away battling for Israel. Bathsheba then became pregnant, so David brought Uriah home to sleep with her to provide his unborn child with legitimacy. As a loyal soldier, Uriah refused to sleep with his wife while his men were on the battlefield.


When his plan to trick Uriah about who was father of the expected child, it didn’t work, David found another way out of the unexpected pregnancy by sacrificing Uriah in battle. He ordered his leaders to place Uriah in harm’s way on the battlefield and desert him there.


Uriah was killed. Then David took Bathsheba as his own wife and acted like nothing had happened.


God created David’s child and knew everything about his conception. David communicated with God directly. He had lived through the miracle of killing Goliath and had eventually defeated Saul.


God loved David and refused to leave him in spite of his sin. He saw David’s sin and sent the prophet Nathan to confront him.


When David finally realized his murderous sin, he turned to God, repented, and asked for forgiveness. In spite of the fact, his child conceived through Uriah’s wife died.


God heard David’s lament after this child died and forgave his sins. He then blessed Bathsheba with another son – Solomon.


The lineage of David through Solomon would eventually include God’s own son, Jesus. This proves that David’s sin of murder due to an unexpected pregnancy was redeemable.


Like David, God knows your heart. You simply cannot hide from Him. He has sent people to help you, just like Nathan helped David. While the truth of our sin may hurt us deeply, the truth will set us free.


Jesus’ poignant words in John 6:40 relay, For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”


No matter what you’ve done in the past, God knows it all. As He forgave and restored David, He will do the same for you. Know that God will be with you and comfort you, giving you strength and a new purpose. Trust in Him!


If you, or someone you know, is struggling after abortion, HerChoicetoHeal.com can help! 


Module 2 – Sharing Your Story


Hello!  I’m Sydna Masse, author of the book, Her Choice to Heal: Finding Spiritual and Emotional Peace After Abortion, and CEO & Founder of Ramah International, an outreach organization designed to offer the hope of healing to abortion’s wounded around the world.


I was walking down the stairs at work when a memory leaped out of my heart. I was standing in front of the mirror over the kitchen sink at home. My mother was washing the dishes as I dried them.


Knowing I was pregnant, I was hoping for a way out from choosing abortion. I couldn’t tell my mother the truth. So, I simply hoped she would ask me, “Is there anything wrong?” Then I would be free to share about my unexpected pregnancy with her.


My eyes searched for hers in the mirror hoping she would notice my crisis. She noticed my stare and then dropped her eyes. She focused on scrubbing a pot.


Years later she would say that she knew something was wrong but never dreamed it was a pregnancy. Her old phrase about learning about difficult truths was, “I guess I’m better off not knowing, so please don’t tell me.” She was in denial as well.


For three weeks I indirectly worked to get my mother’s attention, but she never asked me what was wrong. I returned to school. My abortion appointment was the following Saturday.


I felt abandoned and began to hate her. In that moment of remembering her avoidance after reading the symptoms of Abortion PTSD, the familiar anger against her returned to my soul.


God’s convicting voice spoke into my heart – “You took the life of her grandchild and hated her for it. She’s not guilty of your sin.”


I hadn’t thought of it that way, so I knew that was God’s voice in my heart. I had to consider that my abortion hurt her too. She didn’t deserve ANY blame.


I repented of the anger and asked God for help. While our relationship wasn’t salvageable at the time, God wanted me to accept responsibility for my own sin and not shift the blame to anyone else.


This memory occurred after I read a pamphlet that outlined the symptoms of post-abortion syndrome. The list described my pain perfectly. I had struggled with many traits – guilt, anxiety, depression, anniversary reaction, interruption of bonding process with future children, alcohol and drug abuse. I could see a bit of myself in every symptom!


Diagnosis of a problem is the first step in healing. In knowing my pain was centered on my abortion, I knew that in dealing with it, I could be whole again!


While that realization helped, I still found myself crying that night. I missed my child more than I ever realized.


What was God doing to my heart? He was renovating it – sweeping it clean and scrubbing the floors until they shone. C.S. Lewis talks about how God renovates us in his classic book Mere Christianity:


“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild the house. At first perhaps, you can understand what he is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the rooms and so on. You knew that these jobs needed doing and so you weren’t surprised.


But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not make sense. What on earth is he up to?


The explanation is that he is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing but a new wing here, putting an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but he is building a palace. He intends to come live in it himself.”


What memories are coming to your mind today? Do they bring back any old emotions?


Ask God what He wants you to do with these recollections. As David said in Psalm 7:1, Lord my God, I take refuge in you… God will sweep your house clean in His good time and comfort your heart as He does so.


If you, or someone you know, is struggling after abortion, HerChoicetoHeal.com can help! 


Module 3 – Denial


Hello!  I’m Sydna Masse, author of the book, Her Choice to Heal: Finding Spiritual and Emotional Peace After Abortion, and CEO & Founder of Ramah International, an outreach organization designed to offer the hope of healing to abortion’s wounded around the world.


How will I ever KNOW that God has REALLY forgiven me?


This is a question I have heard the most over the years of my ministry life. Many times, we simply lack confidence in God that He has forgiven this sin that feels worse to us than any other sin we have ever committed.


Many feel led to “make it right” through “works” to ensure God will forgive them.


That need is topped off with our feelings of guilt over our abortion. This makes it very difficult to accept God’s forgiveness.


Unhealthy shame also overwhelms us through the voice of the enemy of God who speaks cruel things into our hearts.


If you haven’t forgiven yourself, it can be very hard to know, in your heart, that God has forgiven you. There may be others you need to forgive as well.


That lack of forgiveness can hinder you from experiencing God’s amazing forgiveness. There is no sin that God cannot forgive – even abortion!


Colossians 2: 13-14 says – When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.


If we have truly repented and asked God for forgiveness, it has been granted! It is a fact. But facts don’t always give us good feelings. They are just facts.


Facts are something we can bank on in our hearts and minds. Receiving the truth of God’s forgiveness into our hearts is more difficult.


It takes readjusting our thoughts by speaking the truth to ourselves. We must think and live the truth of God’s forgiveness.


A good way to begin is by visiting Biblegateway.com.  In the “search box,” type in the word “forgive.” Start to read the listed passages to fill your heart with God’s Word relating to this amazing concept of His forgiveness in any situation.


Often we have not forgiven ourselves, which robs us of knowing we have God’s forgiveness. Working through the healing process will free you to experience God’s exoneration.


If you are still in denial about any area of your abortion, then it is possible that you may not feel forgiven. God still has more work to do.


Dan Allender, author of the book, A Wounded Heart, says that, “Denial separates the mind from the agony of the heart.”


This is a painful thing to tackle. Your agony over abortion may be keeping something at bay that needs to be brought to the light. You need to examine your heart and pray that if there is something preventing you from knowing and accepting God’s forgiveness, He will reveal it to you so that you can surrender that to Him.


Feeling forgiven is hard, especially if you think your relationship with God is beyond repair. The most essential task you must do is to accept, emotionally, what you already know intellectually. Lean heavily on Scripture that promise unwavering forgiveness from God. A few are outlined below:


Romans 8:1 – Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.


1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.


 Psalm 130:3-4 – If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness.

If you, or someone you know, is struggling after abortion, HerChoicetoHeal.com can help! 



Module 4 – Anger


Hello!  I’m Sydna Masse, author of the book, Her Choice to Heal: Finding Spiritual and Emotional Peace After Abortion, and CEO & Founder of Ramah International, an outreach organization designed to offer the hope of healing to abortion’s wounded around the world.


The opposite of anger is peace. Hebrews 12:14-15 commands us to, Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.


In processing the realization that my child died at my own hands, red hot anger against myself fired through my soul. As my abortion recovery class progressed, that anger was replaced with God’s amazing peace.


The calm was unexpected. I never realized how much energy was taken up by this hostile emotion!


A few years later I was standing on the steps of the Capitol, waiting to address the 750,000 people gathered for a pro-life event. As I waited, I listened to many angry tirades from those who spoke before me.


They were angry that abortion was still legal. I then heard one speaker offering judgmental words against those of us who had made this choice.


As I realized that I was following these angry speakers – who held a great deal of respect from the crowd due to the thunderous applause – I prayed for God’s help. He put Romans 12:1 on my heart, Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. I knew then what God wanted me to say.


Affirmed with God’s peace, I took my place on the platform. My image was projected on huge screens all around me. My first words echoed across the lawn. “I am someone who chose to abort my first child.”


There was an immediate hush. If it is possible to hear a pin drop in a crowd of 750,000 people, then that was the sound that echoed back to my ears.


God had their attention. I was to sacrifice myself so that His message could be heard. The 90-second message went something like this:


“I am living proof that He (God) can use a sinner. You know, there’s no sin that the Lord can’t forgive. My sin in this choice is always before me. None of you can judge me any more than I have condemned myself over the years since my son’s death.


I know that my child rests in the arms of Jesus and I’ll see him someday. God has chosen to heal my heart and given me a task in this work.


Many of you share my sin. You are here to lend your voice to stop this bloodshed. I am here to simply ask you to consider those of us who are walking in shame as you proceed. We are everywhere and need to know that God loves us too.


When the day comes that God ends abortion in our land, you will all rejoice. Yet those of us who minister to abortion’s wounded will have a great deal of work to do. Please take a moment to pray for our efforts.


Pray for those who have made this choice that they may find God’s mercy, grace and peace as I have. In everything you do, reach out to our hearts with God’s compassion. Thank you.”


Afterwards I headed down into the crowd alone. Only one person stopped me to say, “Thanks.” Most didn’t notice me. I was a still small voice that day for God’s own purposes.


The next morning The Washington Post printed a quote from my speech. Of all the powerful players that had spoken that day, my tiny voice was one of the few amplified in this publication. They shared, “I’m living proof that He (God) can use a sinner.”


You never know when God will amplify His wonderful message of hope through your own sacrifice. It is your reasonable service to be obedient in His leading!


 If you, or someone you know, is struggling after abortion, HerChoicetoHeal.com can help! 

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