How do you live with the guilt and shame of taking the lives of four of your children by legal abortion? Only through the blood and healing of Jesus Christ.
Within the next three months after my last abortion, I tried to take my life twice by overdosing on drugs. Friends and family knew nothing except that I had returned to the drugs and was once again out of control. The truth was that I hated myself and couldn't live with the memory of my decision.
However, the Lord allowed me to live and then radically saved me. I was 35 years old. The night of my salvation I told the Lord that I would do whatever He asked as long as He never let me go back to my old life. We have both kept our promises.
A few weeks later at church, a woman spoke about needing people to help hold signs during Life Chain Sunday. My pastor gave an altar call for those needing to repent for abortion, and after much wrestling with my flesh, I went forward for prayer. It was one of the hardest moments of my life.
Going forward in church meant everyone would know about my hidden sin. The parishioners already knew about my former drug and alcohol addictions—but murder, that was something else. That morning the Lord touched me and showed me that He had forgiven me for my abortions.
But how could I forgive myself? It was too much to comprehend. The shame was eased, but the guilt remained. I was still bound by chains of unforgiveness.
More than seven years later I heard about a Bible study named Forgiven and Set Free for women who had been hurt by abortion. I desired to help young women in crisis pregnancies and wanted to volunteer at our local Pregnancy Care Center. The director told me that I would have to complete the Bible study before I could counsel the women.
I told her I was fine and that I knew I was forgiven and didn't need to go through it. She said nothing and just smiled across the table at me. So I agreed for the sake of the young women, not because I thought I needed it.
There were six ladies in our group. We met once a week for 10 weeks. The first night I drove home crying, very angry at the Lord. Why was He making me go through this? I didn't want to go back to where all the pain was, and I didn't want to remember all those hidden, deep, dark places. I wanted to stay in denial where I was "fine" and I was forgiven—but where I would never forgive myself.
Each week the Lord poured out His love for us through His Word and healed us from our anger, guilt, shame, depression and unforgiveness toward others involved in the abortion decision. When the Bible study started, it was as if I was carrying a backpack full of bricks. Each week the backpack became lighter and lighter.
Near the end of the study, we dealt with the unforgiveness we had against ourselves. I realized that by not forgiving myself, I was not accepting the forgiveness Christ had extended to me through His death on the cross. So I did accept it and forgave myself.
The final week was spent in accepting the humanity of our children and taking the time to grieve their loss. We prayed and asked the Lord to reveal our children to us, and to give us a name for each one. We did this to give them dignity and the honor they deserve as human beings.
The Lord was faithful. He showed me the sex of my children and even revealed their personalities to me. I named each of them and am grateful to have the assurance that they are with Him and that I will have a glorious reunion with them one day when I get to heaven.
We then had a memorial service to dedicate them back to the Lord and say goodbye. Each woman did something special in remembrance of her child. Some wrote letters or poems and read them out loud. One woman read a letter and later planted a tree outside her bedroom window in memory of her son.
I wrote a love letter to my children and also became a monthly sponsor, through World Vision, to a 6-year old girl named "Rose Camene" in their memory. She is now 14, and I will sponsor her till she is grown. The memorial was a beautiful time of remembrance and brought closure for all of us.
I'm so thankful that the Lord healed me completely. I thought I was fine, but He knew I was still a very wounded woman. The Bible study totally changed my life, and I can now truly say that the chains of guilt, shame and unforgiveness are broken and that I am forgiven and set free from the pain of my abortions.
Since completing the study, I have led more than 40 women through abortion healing. The Scripture in the front of the book we use reads, "What a wonderful God we have—he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does he do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us" (2 Cor. 1:3-4, TLB).
The Lord poured out His love, forgiveness, grace and mercy upon me, for which I will forever be grateful, and now He is using me to help others. My prayer is that if you have lost a child to abortion, you will allow the Lord to heal you, also, so that you may give to other hurting women the same help and comfort God gives you.
Rebecca Porter is the national declaration collection team leader for Operation Outcry, a project of the Justice Foundation that collects abortion testimonies as legal evidence to change abortion laws. She worked as the state team leader of Florida for five years and continues as a Florida leader. Porter has shared her testimony in the U.S. and internationally on radio and cable TV with more than 5 million people.
Porter is a former client services director at a Pregnancy Care Center and has worked as a certified facilitator for the Forgiven and Set Free post-abortive women's Bible study for the last eight years. She also serves as an at-large director for Florida Right to Life and worked to help pass the Florida Women's Health and Safety Act and parental notification legislation for a minor to have an abortion.Porter leads “A Cry Without a Voice", a memorial that allows women to commemorate their child’s life by attaching a card with the aborted baby’s name to a pair of baby shoes. This memorial, representing more than 1,000 aborted babies, has been displayed in the U.S., Israel, Holland, Hungary and Germany.