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very personal way – not as an ‘issue’, but with recognition that abortion is a deeply hurtful, an even traumatic, event for women and men. Encourage them to attend a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat for Healing, or another post-abortion counseling program.

Keep their confidence and continue to be supportive. If they can trust you, they will listen and count on your suggestion for help.

Pray for them and have peace. God’s love is incarnational, which means that we will experience the Love of God the Father through other people. The post abortion healing movement is made up of people who have offered themselves as instruments of mercy and love. With the help of others, we see the truth more clearly. With the eyes of compassion, we are free to explore the truth and embrace it without denial or distortion. In doing so, we stand before the mysteries of grace and life, of heartache and love, and recognize how very small and powerless we actually are, looking upwards with eyes of faith.

Be a light in the darkness. Abortion serves to cut off avenues of love before they are fully traveled. Life brings love, and love is God. By grieving the loss of life, we open ourselves to being comforted by love. Through effective post-abortion ministry, we can light the pathway to Christ, the Healer who binds up the bleeding wounds in our throbbing souls.

Rachel’s Vineyard Weekends are an integrated psychological and spiritual process for healing after abortion. As part of the suffering body of Christ, we travel through the paschal mystery of our own lives and unite our suffering with Christ. On the third day, out of the trauma and the many tears shed in grief work, we discover resurrection and new life. Those who could barely life their heads from the weight of shame on Friday night are transfigured into radiant faces on Sunday because of a profound encounter with the Living Lord.

We travel into the heart of the fiery blaze of our own passion: abandonment and betrayal, recognizing the death in our own hearts caused by sin, and express the grief caused by relinquishing our children to the cross of abortion. Yet when it is finished, and the cup of grief is emptied to the bitter dregs, we rise up from the ashes into a world of grace and a new identity in Jesus Christ.

Theresa Burke, Ph.D., is the founder of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries and the author of Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion. Rachel’s Vineyard will hold more than 350retreats this year in 46 states and 17 countries. In addition, Rachel’s Vineyard provides leadership and clinical training for CE credits and treatment models for groups who seek to minister to those suffering after

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