Many people come to the sidewalk ministry because they feel called by God based on their own history of abortion. It is very important to consider whether these women should first go through a post-abortive healing program before coming to the sidewalk. In this article, I present the pros and cons when considering options for whether post-abortive women should be on the sidewalk too soon in the healing process.
I come to this topic with personal experience. I had an abortion over 40 years ago, and never received any kind of healing. For 40 years, it was a deep dark secret. I started sidewalk ministry and continued in sidewalk ministry for about five years before telling anyone that I served with that I had had an abortion. God continued to gently guide and lead me. To my absolute shock and surprise, He used me. I was so weak, so shy, so broken and so ill-equipped to do what He was calling me to do … yet He used me mightily. For this I am incredibly grateful. Unequivocally, being a powerful presence on the sidewalk through the gift of the Holy Spirit working in me, I did find great healing; however, it came with a great cost.
After about five years of ministering on the sidewalk, I did go through an online post-abortive healing program. It was helpful, but my healing was more directly due to God using me on the sidewalk. I believe this, but I want to be sure a warning is also included. Satan is real, and spiritual attack can be devastating. I suffered very severely during those first five years on the sidewalk, especially in the first couple of years. Family relationships crumbled, our savings crumbled, we went through several periods of job loss, and we suffered with struggles in every area of our life. During that time I was diagnosed with breast cancer and other serious illnesses. It was a very, very hard few years. I don’t know why I didn’t give up, other than the grace of God and that His power is made perfect in our weakness.
After the abortion healing program, I knew God was telling me I had to tell my teammates about the abortion and I had to go public. First, I talked with my children who had known nothing about it. It was one of the hardest days of my life but they were so gracious in their response. Next, I told the leaders out on the sidewalk, and then finally the entire team. After that, I began speaking openly to the abortive women and on the microphone about the abortion.
There is no doubt that when I released that terrible secret burden, I was more fully free to do the work God had called me to do. The terrible burden was definitely lifted. I want to also make it very clear that the consequences of that terrible sin from so long ago are still reverberating in my life. I know I am forgiven but there was a terrible price to pay for that sin in my life. For that reason, I feel even more compelled to warn abortion determined women. I have a powerful testimony, but it is one I wish I didn’t have.
I think the wiser way to deal with post-abortive people who want to minister in front of an abortion center is not the path I took. I think there have to be certain key elements in place that we as ministry leaders need to look for. First, the woman needs to be a strong believer in the Lord and fully abiding in Him. She needs to have regular and very intentional devotional time alone with God. She needs to be in a strongly supportive church. She needs the support of her family and their knowledge of her past. If all those elements are not in place, I would definitely recommend she go to a healing program before ministering on the sidewalk actively.
‘There is no doubt that when I released that terrible secret burden, I was more fully free to do the work God had called me to do.’
If all those elements are in place, I believe it is possible to find healing while ministering. I would definitely warn her about the absolute likelihood of severe satanic attack. I would warn her and encourage her in how to fight that spiritual battle through spiritual armor.
There are some attacks that are going to come for certain that any post abortive woman ministering on the sidewalk needs to know about. First of all, the pro-abortion crowd will call the woman a hypocrite, and proclaim that we have no right to speak against abortion when we have had an abortion ourselves. We must be prepared to counter that. We must be prepared not to let that get under our skin and discourage us. My response is to go on the offensive, and often go on the microphone and talk about the horror of my own abortion as well as the despair and the lifelong consequences. I remind people listening that who could better warn them about the consequences of abortion than someone who has been through it.
Secondly, post-abortive women serving on the sidewalk need to be prepared for the very likely attacks in their home and on those they love. I think my experience was extreme, but I have heard many women tell me the same story to a lesser degree. It is very important to acknowledge disruption in your family and lives and health as potential attacks and to be prepared to fight them. I think it would be very easy to give up; but if we give up, we give Satan the victory and I would want to remind every post-abortive woman, that is the last thing they want to do!
I do not want this to be a discouragement to post-abortive women seeking to serve God in this way. I believe some of the strongest counselors I know are post-abortive. That does not mean you need to be post-abortive to be a great sidewalk counselor. God is a master at using what Satan intended for evil, and turning it to something God can use for good.