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From Darkness Into Light (Rachel's Vineyard)

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1 From Darkness Into Light (Rachel's Vineyard) on Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:35 am

Our-Lady-Of-Victory

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(Hope)

From Darkness Into Light

I remember my whole life I was always in the darkness. I had lost my father at an early age, 5 years old. I am the youngest of 6 children and throughout my life I never was really able to count on any of them. I married young, right out of high school and moved away from my mother who I loved dearly. I got pregnant at 18 and had my first child by the time I turned 19, actually 3 months after I turned 19. My husband was abusive and we had a violent marriage. It finally ended and I moved down to VA to be with my mother. The mess was about to begin. My self esteem was so low, I had sex with anyone and everyone. My life was a blurr, literally, I led such a life of sin, you name it, I did it.

In 1979 I got pregnant and wound up having an abortion. A friend drove me to the local Planned Parenthood. I remember that so well. I walked into this place and you could hear a pin drop it was so quiet. No one spoke. As I walked up to the front desk, the nurse there handed me some papers to fill out. The only questions she asked me was my name and "do you have a ride home?". She told me to fill out the papers and then wait till my name was called. As I sat waiting, I noticed that no one looked up to smile, there was some crying, but very quietly. I remember the place being so dark. I thought to myself, this sucks! My mind had been wandering somewhere, when I heard my name called. My heart started to race, my hands were sweaty. The nurse that was bringing me to the back to change told me that it was a "piece of cake". This procedure won't take all that long, you won't feel a thing. They will put you in a "twilight sleep", where you won't feel a thing. Don't worry, everything will be fine, the doctor has done a lot of these procedures. The funny thing is that they couldn't even call this an "abortion", to them it was a "procedure". The next thing I remember was being on this cold steel table, in a cold room, I couldn't get warm enough. The doctor came in and said "don't worry, I done a lot of these procedures, it will be over in no time and then you can back to your normal self". I heard that machine, loud I thought, and it was painful, I heard that machine, sucking out the life that was growing inside me. I thought, well they said it wasn't but a "blob", it really wasn't a baby, it couldn't survive. Your'e much better off they told me.

In the recovery room I remember the nurse coming over and asking me if I was in pain. Pain, she asked, I was in pain, I was rolled up in a ball, rocking back and forth, and I was bleeding like a stuffed pig. She says to me, "don't worry honey, that will subside in a week or two, then you can get back to your life, like nothing happened".

I continued on with my life all right, I was getting out of control. I slept around so much, worked in bars, my husband now had my daughter and was living in Ohio. Great! I had to do something, I had to clean up myself. I tried to get back with my husband, but in the back of my mind I knew that wasn't going to happen, he got a 1 bedroom apartment. Where was our daughter going to sleep? I moved in with him and everything seemed to be going ok until he got angry again. We were supposed to have guests over for dinner and he got angry and pulled me around by a necklace I had on which caused a rather obvious sign of his violence. I had to wear a turtleneck to cover the mark. It wasn't long after that that I got a job. I was working and one day in the rain I come home and the locks had been changed and my suitcase was outside. I didn't know anyone there, the lease was in my husband's name, what am I going to do? I called my boss. He came over, picked me up and took me to his house for the night. He contacted a lawyer friend of his and things happened so fast, my head was spinning.

I basically had to show the courts that I was able to care for my daughter, had a decent place for her to live, someone to watch her while I worked, etc. That all came into place. In the meantime, I started doing drugs. I was worried that things weren't going to happen. I took speed. That seemed to help me get going, to get things done. I finally got custody of my daughter. I thought I would never let anything separate us again.

I wound up living with this guy, and got pregnant again, this was in 1981. He said I had to have an abortion, so he drove me to the local Planned Parenthood and waited for me outside. I couldn't beleive I was going through the same thing, all over again. I thought "this isn't happening". Again, the same thing, as I entered the Planned Parenthood, all was quiet, you could hear a pin drop it was so quiet. Some talking was going on but it was more whispering than talking. No one smiled, everyone stayed to themselves. I was horrible! This time I felt the pain of my abortion even stronger than the first time. That sound of that machine, sucking out my baby. Still I let this happen, what is wrong with me? I had to get out of this situation, this person was controlling my life, making decisions for me. I had no say in whether to have a baby or not. Besides, I remember what I was told before, "oh it's just a blob of tissue". Was that true I wondered? Why was the pain so intense? Why did it take a little longer? I didn't have any answers to any of these questions. I kept these questions to myself, and then I tucked this shame, guilt, anger, frustration deep down in side, down in that dark place within you where no one knows. You know that place I mean!

I got away from this guy and my daughter went down to VA, again. This time things were worse than before. My life was nothing but sex, drugs, booze. I didn't care about myself. I made sure though that my daughter didn't see any of these things, not this side of me. I worked as a waitress and cocktail waitress trying to make ends meet. Then I met another guy. He was so nice, good looking and I thought wow, he wants me. My self esteem was practically nill, nada, nothing. I figured, ok why not. Well, he moved in with me and things were going great. My daughter left one summer to be with her dad in Tennessee. That was in 1983, I got pregnant for the 3rd time. I thought that this guy wanted a family, I mean he really loved my daughter, my daughter really loved him so I figured wow this would be great. Great was not what it was. He didn't want a baby, no way, shape or form. I had to get an abortion. That was final! He wouldn't discuss anything any further. That was the end of that! The next day we called Planned Parenthood for the appointment.

He dropped me off to Planned Parenthood and said he would be back. I went inside. "My stomach was tied up in knots" I wanted to vomit. I didn't want to go through this another time, I was starting to show. My heart started to race as I went to the desk. The woman told me to fill out some papers, asked me the same 2 questions, "what is your name, and do you have a ride home?" I sat back down dreading this time what I was going to have to endure. Man I thought this really sucks! I had no one to talk to, no one to tell me that this was the right thing, no one to tell me I had options. I didn't have options, I didn't have a voice. I was so numb at this point that all I could think of was to get this over with. I don't want to deal with this anymore. I just want to die! As I was thinking these thoughts, my name was called and I was led to the back. I remember this time though, hearing sobbing, and crying. I was wondering what was that all about, what's going on. I was scared, I felt paralyzed. I felt like I wasn't even there while this was happening again. I really am a monster.

I dressed into my gown and was led to the "procedure room". They still called it a "procedure" when in fact it was an abortion. They said they were going make me feel relaxed, and that I wouldn't feel anything. I've heard that story before I thought. Whatever they did, it wasn't enough. This time everything that happened, I felt. I felt the doctor go inside me and probe me like I was a piece of meat. I heard that machine, the sucking machine, it was like a vacuum cleaner and when he put that tube up inside me, I thought that that was pain, but that was just the beginning. This time I felt the so called "blob" being ripped apart. The doctor kept that sucking machine on for such a long time. I saw stars! That is how painful it was. It was then that I really realized that he was taking a lot longer than he normally should have been. Apparently I was further along than they expected. I just kept remembering how intense the pain was, how I wanted to scream at the doctor to tell him to stop, I can't take this anymore. Stop. He didn't stop until all of my baby was gone. I was sobbing on the table this time I was so upset. I was distraught, I was disgusted! I went to recovery and remember that I couldn't stop crying. It was finally time for me to go home and as I went outside, I felt nothing! I was crying all the way home. I got home and went to bed and cried myself to sleep. I felt empty inside, I had nothing left I thought. I was so filled with guilt I didn't know what to do. Well, this guy and I finally broke up, how surprised was I when that happened.

From 1983 until 2004 I existed. I was empty inside. I couldn't understand why I would cry whenever I would see baby commercials, or why I would envy mothers walking their babies. I loved kids, I grew up around kids with my siblings. What kind of woman was I. No good, I thought. I was so ashamed of what I had done, I didn't want anyone to know my secrets. I kept them hidden for 29 years. I went through horrible times. I was depressed, I just didn't know what to do with myself. I went down that path again, the sex, the not caring about who I was, what I was, had no self esteem, I was just this empty, nothing. It was like being in a cave, dark, alone, afraid.

It wasn't until I married a wonderful man in 1999 and became a Catholic did my life change. Not all at once, it was gradual. God had major plans for me, but I didn't know at the time. I was in church one February evening in 2004 when this Irish woman asked me a question. I told her I didn't know, but with her gentleness, she would show me. We became very dear friends and God had given me an angel that day. She led me by the hand to different things in the Catholic church. She taught me many things and introduced me to a wonderful priest by the name of Father John McFadden.

On October 15, 2004 I attended a Catholic Unity Conference which was entitled "By His Stripes you will be healed". The conference was about "abortion". How wonderful God is and how blessed I feel. I attended that conference and had a life confession with Fr. McFadden. I was introduced to Adoration and was told to spend an hour with Jesus so I could find out the sex of my children. I found out that I had a son, whose name is Matthew, another son whose name is Thomas and another daughter, Katherine. Jesus told me that he named them after great saints. During that weekend I lectored for the very first time. I was also instructed by Fr. McFadden that I needed to attend a Rachel's Vineyard Retreat.

On March 11, 2005 I attended a Rachel's Vineyard Retreat. I cannot tell you how wonderful this retreat was. It changed my life. It was a difficult journey to go through, but I didn't do it alone. Everything I had gone through in my life, I was forgiven. Me, this humongus sinner, who chose to cut the lives of 3 children, who did anything and everything under the sun, was given the grace of healing, a truly blessed miracle. I was no longer in this dark, deep cave, I was no longer full of shame, guilt. I was no longer the woman I was. God through the ministry of Rachel's Vineyard has blessed me and shown me that I am His child, I am a child of God, a child of Light. Jesus says, I am the way, the truth and the Life. Whoever eats of my flesh will hunger no more, whoever drinks of my blood will thirst no more. Come to me all you who are heavy laden I will give you rest.

The joy that I feel now being a child of God is wonderful. Rachel's Vineyard has been such an amazing healing for me. I will no longer let the darkness take over me as it did. God has forgiven me of my sins, He has laid down His life for me. I know that if I were the last person on this earth, Jesus still would have died for me. Rachel's Vineyard has given me the beginning of a new life in Christ. I made a promise to Jesus and told Him that my children will have a voice, they will be silent no more. Praise and Glory to you Lord Jesus for telling me "Neither do I condemn you".

May the peace of the Lord Jesus be with all of you. God Bless.
--- Grateful Victoria


Source: http://www.rachelsvineyard.org/emotions/stories.aspx

2 Rachel's Vineyard Retreat on Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:51 am

Our-Lady-Of-Victory

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A Rachel's Vineyard weekend is a chance to get away from all the daily pressures of work and family and focus on this painful time in your life through a supportive and non-judgmental process. The time away provides an opportunity to deeply enter the grieving process and identify all the ways your abortion may have effected you.

Rachel's Vineyard has a number of powerful exercises which allow the soul to speak its grief and sorrow. The exercises help to connect participants to their inner voice, to each other, and to the love and compassion of God. The retreat exercises help participants to accept forgiveness for themselves and others. There is also an opportunity to re-connect with the children that have been aborted on a spiritual level, to give them honor and dignity through many special and creative spiritual exercises as well as in a memorial service.

The weekend is a lot of work, but those who are willing to journey through their grief will experience the power of resurrection in their own lives. They will find meaning in what has happened and allow God to transform the experience into something that gives hope, liberation and peace.

Rachel's Vineyard belongs to those who intuitively sense that life is a precious seed which has been given to us for cultivation. We acknowledge the loss of that irreplaceable life and the grief that comes from relinquishing one so intimately connected to us.

Rachel's Vineyard is meant to help those who are trying to fit the very normal epiphany of grief into a world that would rather have them feel numb and blind, so as to maintain a safe distance from the truth.


Its purpose is to allow the process of birthing self and faith to proceed, rather than to be squashed by rhetoric, denial and avoidance. It provides a safe, loving and non-judgmental environment to search the fabric of our lives, the innermost depths of the soul, an opportunity to be supported through bereavement and grief and a lighted path to discover forgiveness and reconciliation.

Mourning and grieving are necessary milestones which must be passed so that our lives can continue. When this process is complete there is re-birth and resurrection. There is new life within our spirit which gives us hope in the future. There is an opportunity to explore our lives, and appreciate our human fragility. Through a very personal and intimate encounter with the Living God, we come to know that God knows and loves us despite our many weaknesses and human failures.


Contact Rachel's Vineyard http://www.rachelsvineyard.org/contact/international-headquaters.htm praying

3 For Men - Rachel's Vineyard Email Buddies on Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:01 am

Our-Lady-Of-Victory

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For Men - Email Buddies

John is 45. He and his wife live with two of their children in Virginia, and their oldest son is in the United States Marine Corps....[more]

David is 46, and more than 20 years ago he lost his son, Matthew Peter, to abortion. As a result, his relationship with Matthew's mother also came to an end....[more]

Scott is 45 years old is married and has one daughter. He is an ordained minister with the Pentecostal Assemblies and operates a soup kitchen on skid row...[more]

Steve is 45, married, managing two group homes for the mentally retarded, a licensed chemical dependency counselor, and currently working towards his Ph.D....[more]

Fr. Jim is 50, a full time hospital chaplain in Minneapolis, MN....[more]

John is 45. He and his wife live with two of their children in Virginia, and their oldest son is in the United States Marine Corps. He is a regional vice president of service within the office products industry. John and his wife have been married for 25 years. They had an abortion together 28 years ago in 1975. After 25 years of silence between them about their abortion experience (not one word of it spoken for 25 years), John dared to break the silence after seeing a notice for a Rachel's Vineyard retreat. They discovered a shared desire to break the silence and to seek understanding of why. Together, they experienced the healing Grace of God's reconciling love for them and felt the love between them grow in the truth and fullness of acknowledged life. Today, they share a vocation together in post-abortion ministry.
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David is 46, and more than 20 years ago he lost his son, Matthew Peter, to abortion. As a result of the abortion, his relationship with Matthew's mother, Emma (a pseudonym), also came to an end. David kept this double loss silent for nearly 17 years before finally revealing it to his parish priest. David attended a Rachel's Vineyard retreat in 2002 and gained much needed emotional and spiritual healing with the help of the loving members of a Rachel's Vineyard team. David is an attorney in private practice, and he teaches subjects such as American Constitutional Law, State and Local Government, American Criminal Procedure, and the American Criminal Justice System. "Men suffer when we lose our children, especially when it is as a result of abortion. Despite what the culture says, these children are ours, too, and we are entitled to find healing and peace for the hole in our lives that their absence causes."
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Scott is 45 years old is married and has one daughter. He is an ordained minister with the Pentecostal Assemblies and operates a soup kitchen on skid row in a major city. He does some construction work on the side in the summer time. He experienced an abortion in his life 25 years ago when he allowed his girlfriend to abort their child without resistance. The ensuing guilt, anxiety and grief drove him to seek healing from the God of his fathers. The forgiveness and help he received lead him to follow his God into the ministry. He enjoys going on hikes with his daughter who is four years old.
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Steve is 45, married, manages two group homes for the mentally retarded, is a licensed chemical dependency counselor, and is currently working towards his Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy. He became involved in Rachel's Vineyard when his wife attended a retreat and he supported her by attending the memorial service. Although not post-abortive himself, he has experienced the struggles of his wife's post-abortion aftermath during the years prior to finding Rachel's Vineyard. Steve attended a national leadership training conference where he felt a calling to become more involved in post abortion ministry. He and his wife now coordinate Rachel's Vineyard retreats in Fort Worth, Texas. He believes that men also suffer after abortion, and that their suffering manifests in a different way. The retreats help men and couples to heal as much as it helps women. In his free time, Steve enjoys writing and taking Kung Fu classes.
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Fr. Jim is 50, a full time hospital chaplain in Minneapolis, MN. He was ordained in 1990 for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Fr. Jim has served at several Rachel's Vineyard weekend retreats in the Twin Cities. He is active in the charismatic renewal, in the Secular Carmelites, and he is also the primary chaplain for the Twin Cities "Courage" and "Encourage" ministries to those with same sex attraction and their families. Fr. Jim can especially help with questions you may have about Church related and bio-ethics related issues.

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Source: http://www.rachelsvineyard.org/men/email.htm#john praying

Steven


Thank you for these powerful testimonies and for the info about Rachel's Vineyard. I saw a silent no more video of post abortion men several months ago. Very powerful.

Steven

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