This post is part of our Ordinary Time, Extraordinary Mercy series, in which CatholicMom.com contributors will share their own experiences of living the Year of Mercy. Beginning at Pentecost and continuing through the summer, we’ll cover many aspects of the Works of Mercy in family life.
Mercy changes everything….. No truer words have ever been spoken. There are moments or encounters in our lives where Jesus’s mercy not only touches you, it transforms you. As a post-abortive mother, I struggled for years with accepting mercy or forgiveness into my heart. I didn’t believe I deserved it. After all, I committed the ultimate sin. How could God forgive me? How could I go back to my Catholic roots and be involved or accepted back in the church again? I spent a portion of my young adult life coping ineffectively from my painful choice to terminate my pregnancy. As years unfolded I sought out, and went through a couple of different post abortion healing programs. I received a lot of healing, but I never felt fully forgiven, or at peace with my relationship with God or myself. I came back to my faith and I received healing through reconciliation, which brought me some peace and a deeper level of faith. As life continued on I became caught up in my life and family, but I wasn’t completely happy, or joyful.
A few years ago, after church one day I was looking through a bulletin and there it was…. It was an ad I had seen before, but that day it was different. It pulled me in, and I felt the Holy Spirit gently prodding me to call the number. So I did, I reached out to Bethesda Healing Ministry’s confidential phone number. After speaking with one of the ministry team members, I had an open evening that allowed me to join the next meeting.
What I encountered that first evening at the meeting was beautiful. I encountered hope, acceptance, friendship, humility and compassion.. I encountered God’s mercy in a way I had never experienced before. I saw joy and I heard laughter and I saw many tears all flow in one evening. There was a safety and a knowledge that I knew whatever I shared was kept in confidence. I also felt a sense of belonging and support/family, that was ongoing and continuous, which allows a person to establish trust and be vulnerable again! The men and women I met that night traveled a journey similar to mine and they were finding or found peace in their hearts. Seeing that gave me hope that I could achieve that as well, and I knew it would start there.
That evening I left feeling as if I not only felt Jesus, but I met Jesus in the people who fed me, hugged me, prayed with me and listened to me. That night was the first night that I experienced a joy and a peace that I never knew before. I have been attending those meetings on and off for a better part of five years now. As the years passed, I accepted his forgiveness, and I then extended it to those Jesus called me to forgive. His mercy changed everything in my life! It changed my heart, and I have found joy and peace in my heart, and spirit. I came out of my fear filled isolation, I no longer feel uncomfortable in my own shoes. I know I am a loved woman of faith, and of God! Mercy restored my faith, gave me self-confidence, self-love and a peaceful self-esteem.
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Over the last two years I have volunteered my time to help other men and women struggling and suffering from the painful emotional, spiritual and psychological effects of abortion. God does not desire for any of us to condemn ourselves for our choice. He wants to take the suffering and pain we experience, gently heal it and bring us closer to him and show us who we are in him. He is such a gentle man, so kind, so forgiving and he waits patiently for us to choose him. If you are reading this, and you too have felt lonely, isolated, hurt and fearful of rejection or have carried the burden for a long time. Please know we love you, and Jesus does too. I know your pain, I know your struggles and I understand your suffering. You are not alone and please do not suffer alone, please know his mercy changes everything.
Copyright 2016 Mary. Originally published at Divine Mercy for Moms and reprinted here with the kind permission of the author.