When Lisa (not her real name) had an abortion at age 17, it was like something had been stripped away, she said.
Now 34, Lisa has found healing and hope through a Bible study and retreats with Garden of Hope in Grand Rapids, Mich.
“We as post-abortive women can find hope that Jesus is hanging onto our babies until we can see them again,” she said. “You can’t imagine the healing that comes over you.”
Talking with women from Garden of Hope who are also post-abortive helps people like Lisa. “It’s more comforting when you are taking this journey when they’ve been through it too,” she said. Garden of Hope has a retreat center where women can grieve and pray for healing.
In addition to counseling for women who have had abortions, Garden of Hope helps women who are considering having an abortion. At the house it owns next door to the Grand Rapids abortion clinic, supporters pray for these women and they encourage those who are at the clinic for an abortion to reconsider their decision.
Mary VerWys, a member of First Christian Reformed Church in Byron Center, Mich., has offered sidewalk counseling with Garden of Hope for 23 years. “Our goal is that every client who comes for an abortion in Grand Rapids knows there is a variety of help available,” she said, “and that people would stand with them if, at that last second, they changed their mind.”
With support from donors and local Christian Reformed churches, Garden of Hope has bought vehicles, purchased baby furniture, and paid rent and other bills for women who choose not to have an abortion. Each woman who decides to continue her pregnancy also receives a baby gift bag.
Lisa said there is work to be done for women who have had abortions. “I want post-abortive women to know that they are allowed to grieve their aborted babies, they are allowed to surrender their secret, and they are allowed to begin the healing journey and not be paralyzed by their choice,” she said.