"Then I said to them, "You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire.Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace."Nehemiah 2:17
Nehemiah is an amazing book that depicts the pathway to personal restoration. The story opens with Israel having rebuilt their Temple in Jerusalem, yet living within the ruins of the rest of the city for over 100 years.
The broken down walls and burned gates around the temple represented a structure without any external defense against oppression. We may identify with a restored Temple (rebirth), but also acknowledge our vulnerabilities, some of those broken places in our soul that have been around for a long time.
The Lord wants to "secure our borders" so that we can carry His presence and walk in the Spirit unhindered!
The Lord is the Glory and Lifter of our heads. He does not want us to live in a place of disgrace, rather He desires to bring us into a place of restoration. Nehemiah was chosen by God to do just that for Israel.
Interestingly, Nehemiah's name means, "Comforted by Yahweh". The Lord knows how painful the restoration process can be, so He provides comfort through His Spirit to assist us in our journey to wholeness.
When Nehemiah first heard of the condition of Jerusalem, we are told that he sat down, wept, fasted and prayed for days. His grief is a picture of the Spirit's concern and tender mercies over the broken places in our lives.
His prayer begins with worship. When we view the Lord as greater than anything that stands like a mountain before us, we will gain security in His ability to deliver us. Not by might or by power, but by His Spirit! (Zechariah 4:6)
Nehemiah faced intense opposition from the moment he began the restoration process until the last stone was in place, and we can expect the same; but here is what he declared to the enemy from the very start; "The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it." (Nehemiah 2:20)
Nehemiah declares success to the rebuilding process and puts a stake in the ground for future dealings with his opponents. He uses legal terminology to inform the enemy that he had no share, claim, or historic right or remembrance in Jerusalem. Satan, the accuser is legalistic, so Nehemiah let the enemy know that he knew his rights to claim full restoration!
Be encouraged if circumstances have brought to light a breech in your wall. Redemption includes not only rebirth, but the restoration of our souls (our full identity as God intended).
Whenever we take a step in the direction of our promised land, opposition will arise and attempt to turn our attention to the hopelessness of the situation. That is when we must see what God sees, and say what God says about us.
The God of all hope intends to see us fully restored!
by Debra Neybert, Training Specialist
by Mary Peterson, Housing Consultant
I recently had the opportunity to share dinner with Michaelene Fredenburg, creator of AbortionChangesYou.com. While our conversation covered a wide range of topics, it was filled with insights about grief, loss, and the healing journey.
Here's a few that have implications for maternity homes:
In Michealene's experience, she has found the term reproductive loss and grief to find more resonance with a widespread audience than would other terms we commonly use with clients. By using reproductive loss and grief to describe the suffering of abortion, people intuitively understand that the loss resembles the pain associated with miscarriage, stillbirth, and infertility.
"When I am talking to therapists and other health professionals from a variety of backgrounds and belief systems,” Michaelene said. “I have seen the light blub go off as they make the connection between the grief of miscarriage—which is commonly acknowledged—and the loss of abortion."
Changed: Making Sense of Your Own or a Loved One’s Abortion Experience
By conveying the real experiences of real people, Changed teaches providers to sensitively and compassionately communicate with others about abortion as well as offering interactive suggestions for those affected by abortion to begin the healing process.
Grief & Abortion: Creating a Safe Place to Heal
Grief & Abortion introduces abortion in the context of human grief and loss. It is a guide for counselors and leaders who walk with clients on their healing journey and is a natural companion to Changed.
The experience of a woman who is grieving in the days following an abortion varies significantly from the grief of an abortion carried in secret for 15 years. The models of healing programs vary accordingly, often having been developed to address the needs that were becoming evident.
Because of the pro-life movement’s awareness of this dynamic over the years, those affected by abortion can choose between a variety of wonderful programs with different formats, models of healing and philosophical foundations.
Our role in the maternity home setting is to help a woman find the most meaningful program or method in her particular stage of grief.
Representing a time of safety and community, the context of the maternity home may be an ideal environment for entering into deep healing work. But, a woman must have the freedom to face her grief according to her own timeline.
To prevent adding additional trauma, our role should always be information and invitation.
Resources such as AbortionChangesYou.com use a self-directed approach with online tools and a moderated sharing format to give women from various backgrounds an opportunity to begin exploring their grief.
Resources like these can often bridge the gap between unacknowledged grief and the road to healing, which, we know, often takes place within the setting of a maternity home.
“At Abortion Changes You, we understand ourselves as a gateway, or a starting place," Michaelene said.
Since the process of healing from reproductive loss and grief is at the same time essential and unique for each woman, here are some helpful tips to use in your maternity home ministry, starting today.
For more information about Abortion Changes You, visit www.AbortionChangesYou.com or www.CreatingASafeplace.com.
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