Tag Archives: forgive

It Takes a Team…

TeamYou expect me to say nice things about SaveOne. It is after all, the non-profit I started 16 years ago. But did you know there is a whole TEAM of people behind me, beside me, and around me who love this organization almost as much as I do? They are creative, funny, smart, committed, loyal, and trusted, dear friends to me. Some of them have been with me all 16 years! I want you to listen in on what one of them has to say, because they inspire me and remind me why we do what we do. Becky states so eloquently…

“I have always been against abortion, but other than speaking out about it I did little to stop it. One day I realized I needed to do something…anything to make a difference. I knew my friend Sheila had this ministry called SaveOne, but I didn’t really know much about it. So, I decided to look into it and see if God wanted me to get involved. As I read the book, God did something pretty amazing. He showed me areas of my life where I was needing forgiveness and grace to move in and change me. I wept through much of the book. I was moved. I have never had an abortion, yet God used this book to change me. I had to get involved. I wanted other people to realize just how amazing God’s grace truly is.”

For years I have had people tell me if you have not had an abortion you cannot possibly help someone who has. Nothing could be further from the truth. The author here, Becky Gould, becky-gouldhas been a tremendous catalyst for countless individuals to experience healing after abortion. Read on…

“SaveOne is not about an agenda or a ‘do these things and you will cope’ type of help. SaveOne is a heartfelt, loving, grace-filled study that will truly dig deep and shine God’s love into a person’s life. It is so loving, yet so truthful. I found I simply could not argue with the logic and truth it shared. The first class I held I was blown away at how different my student was in the few short weeks of our class. God had touched her just like He touched me. I was hooked!”

I tell people all the time, the seat they sit in as a SaveOne chapter leader is addictive. You are literally sitting on the front row of God’s miracles. It’s easy to get hooked just like Becky did when God allows you to be a part, up close and personal, to a life transformed.

“But there is one more truly wonderful thing about SaveOne. We don’t only care about women. We care about men too. God’s healing and forgiveness are available to everyone. Men have been pushed to the side on the abortion issue. They have had to suffer in silence and isolation in a way we just cannot fathom. SaveOne empowers men to be who God created them to be. It has helped to heal many families as men found forgiveness and/or healing and began to walk in the knowledge they gained.”

How cool is it when the people around you buy into your vision? When I first started talking about including men in abortion recovery some people thought I was crazy. Now, helping men, women, and the entire family is not just what we do, it’s who we are. Families finding restoration through Jesus Christ is an every day occurrence at SaveOne. I love Becky speaking out about how unfairly men are being treated in this situation. The more Beckys, and healed fathers we empower to talk about this issue the bigger the army, the louder the voice!

“This study is powerful and I am so thankful I get to share it with others. I got involved because I want to make a difference. I want to help men and women find their voice and understand their testimony. We need to hear the stories of those hurt by this industry so we can keep others from making the same mistake. Through SaveOne and the power of God’s word we are able to help people find freedom and forgiveness, and help save babies.”

And that is exactly what Becky has accomplished through her years at SaveOne. She has saved many babies by helping those who know the truth of abortion get to the healing only Jesus Christ can bring. Those men and women in turn tell others the truth behind abortion instead of sitting in shameful silence. It’s a beautiful process and I couldn’t be happier that Becky is a valued and needed member of the SaveOne team. Thank you Becky for taking time to talk about the value of SaveOne in your life!

Thank you

Becky Gould is a regional chapter coordinator with SaveOne. She cares for every chapter we have across the great state of Tennessee. Her loving and passionate way about her lets the chapter leaders who are under her care know they are not alone, but rather greatly supported, cared for, and prayed over.

Becky would love to answer any questions you have about her job, so please comment below and she will be sure to get in touch with you.

 

Top 3 Causes of Burnout…or at least they were my top 3

I have been amazed how much the subject of burnout has resonated with so many pastors, their wives, and people in general. I’m very happy my transparency made others stop and reassess where they were. I have people who have scheduled vacations, sabbaticals, and are releasing some things from their lives. But this is my last post on burnout. I got REALLY transparent in this one. I may revisit this subject again at a later date, but I feel it’s time to move on…Enjoy!

17135984132_f694fe1ab0_zThe Christian/Church world is really no different in many ways than the world outside the church. I know we all want to believe it’s different, but it’s really not. We are just providing a central location for people who are screwed up to come and try to get themselves figured out. The difference that makes the church world really cool in my opinion is you get to do this “figuring” with others who are on the same road, going in the same direction.

I just came off a 3-week sabbatical where I removed myself from everything and everybody. Many people much smarter than myself told me 3 weeks was not long enough and I believed them. So I made the most of every moment being very intentional in my thoughts and actions. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish with no phone, no social media, no work, and no appointments. I was living in this temporary utopia and I was determined to make the most of it. I realized I needed this adult “time out” to process some things that have happened over the last 8 years since we planted a church.

Before we started the church Jack and I had experienced great success at the church before us, at the same time as building a very prosperous, successful business. I was building SaveOne and every year had been better than the last. I went into this church plant thinking it would be more of the same. Success, growth, new friends, great people, locking arms, and marching forward into this new area of success! Everything golden, everything lovely. Before we planted we talked to some dear friends of ours who had started a church about a year before us. We asked them to tell us what we didn’t know. I will never forget my friend saying these words to me, “You’ll make more enemies than you ever dreamed.”

Fast forward 8 years later and I was in a place of believing we had more people who hated us than loved us. I could have never dreamed of the amount of people we would tick off, sometimes just by our very presence. I could lay out for you story after story of the lies, the betrayal, the rejection, the anger, from people that we considered friends and would stickUntitled design by us through thick or thin. I became very disillusioned through this process to the point of fantasizing about moving to a foreign country, going off the grid, or moving to a remote cabin in Montana, growing all our own food and learning how to sew. You know it’s bad if I was thinking about domesticating.

So here I was, 8 years later. I felt finished. Depleted. Done. I had tried everything I knew to do to fix myself and nothing was working. I had watched my husband over the last year head up the construction of our new church building. It was so stressful on him I literally laid awake at night sometimes, worrying if he was going to die. Being a part of this process did not help me and where I was headed. We were both a mess and needed a break, so I had the idea of a sabbatical. The church was completely understanding and even recognized we looked tired. 🙂

Off we went into the land of burner phones and empty calendars. Even now as I write this I’m sitting in a cabin in the woods (not in Montana) soaking in the sun squeezing every last minute out of my time. And I’m seeing more clearly as to the cause of my distress. Here are the top 3 reasons my life led to burnout.

1. Stuffing. As a pastor’s wife it’s kind of an unwritten rule that we don’t step in and get in the middle of church conflicts unless they involve us. It’s hard though to sit by quietly and be the good little wife when someone is railing on the hubs unjustly. I believed I needed to be quiet, and in most cases I still should! But one thing I failed to do is deal with those unresolved feelings of anger, resentment, and betrayal I felt from these people. Many times we have made friends with people in our church. We have loved on them, visited them in the hospital, helped them out financially, loved their children, and did everything I know a church should do/could do and then the people left and talked badly about my husband, me, or my church family. I stuffed those emotions thinking I was being the good wife. Instead of pulling out how I felt and dealing with the pain before the Lord, I allowed these people into my mind and my heart to fester and become an unresolved wound. The way I have always handled conflict is, we talk and we get it worked out and we love each other again. But when the conflict isn’t with me, but rather with the church that I love, or my husband, who I love even more, I’m unable to do that. I have to find another way to deal with this pain and it is through releasing it to God. The people who leave us are not our enemies even though they may act like it. They may treat us and think of us as an enemy,  but they only become my enemy if I decide they are. The real enemy is the power behind their actions; a very real devil who wants to upset us and keep us in turmoil and distracted from the ministry He has called us to complete. Years of stuffing this type of pain led to many, many layers of hurt that finally toppled into an ugly mess. Now at the same time, not everyone who leaves does so in a negative way. There’s a way to leave a church and remain friends, confidantes, brothers and sisters, and there’s a ways to leave a church that doesn’t cause hurt, division, gossip, and betrayal. When someone you love walks out of your life, do not stuff those feelings down any longer. Pull them out, grieve the loss, forgive them, and move on to the people who God has put before you.

2. Guarding. In my mind I knew I needed to love people. But loving people, letting them into my life, getting into their lives, and working through the muck and mire together was what led to the pain I was feeling. Several of these people left me and I felt myself backing away, guarding my heart, guarding my actions, guarding my words, feeling suspicious of every move, and it led to me being guarded with God. If God called us to start this church, then why was so much pain involved in the process? The process was what I could not back away from. I had to stay engaged and love people regardless of how they love me back. Men and women have been brought into our lives for a season. If someone is standing in front of me who needs my help, I need to give it. I cannot expect their loyalty, their friendship, their commitment or anything else in return. I need to give of myself and allow God to do the rest. If God has brought them before me for this time then He trusts me to help them. He believes there is something I can give that will better their life. So instead of backing away to avoid pain and thinking only of myself, I have to dive into the process and embrace the friendship, and everything that comes along with it. Guarding myself leads to isolation and that is all the devil needs to strike; an isolated heart and mind.

3. People-pleasing. Don’t pass by this paragraph thinking this does not pertain to you. It does. Or it will. I have a tendency to remember the negative. You know that moment when I can have 999 people I just spoke to tell me what a great job I did and 1 say something negative and I go home and obsess about the negative. It’s the same with the church. People say some of the most unbelievable things to pastor’s wives and pastor’s. I mean stuff you just can’t even possibly imagine. I don’t know why the public thinks the wife is the dumping ground. The place to come and complain about the pastor, a problem they perceive with the church, critique her clothes, her weight, her money, her car, her children’s actions, well you get the gist. Remembering these hurtful words led to me altering my behavior, my clothes, my actions to please different people who had said different things. I never saw that as people-pleasing, I started out thinking I was helping the church and being a good pastor’s wife. But in the process somehow I lost myself. I ended up being this person I didn’t like very much because I was just bland, gray, non-adventurous, saintly Sheila. I allowed others to set the rules and I bent over backwards to follow everyone else’s rules for me. I’m recognizing this and I’m trying to work out of it. I’m still discovering the areas in which I have allowed others expectations to rule.

These three areas are what I have pinpointed as my demise a few months ago. I don’t like sounding so negative like being a pastor’s wife is all this and nothing else. The positive moments equal no other. Like when someone has been through a harrowing circumstance and they call for help because they trust you more than anyone else. That is a privilege that still to this day brings tears to my eyes. That moment never grows old. There are people who left a good, secure, church (the right way) and came with us to the unknown to plant a new church, and are still with us today. These people are our lifeline. They hold up our arms, they pray for us, they are trusted friends. I could write a novel on the moments over the last 8 years that I will treasure forever. What I know for sure is there will always be people I have to keep my mouth quiet about…there will always be people the Holy Spirit warns me to guard myself around…and there will be times I need to get over myself and please other people. This is life, and it’s not all bad.

Recognizing these things in my life, and their out of control state, has helped me pinpoint my turnaround spot. While on this 3-week adventure I read 2 books, “Leadership Pain” by Sam Chand and “When Words Hurt” by Warren Bullock. I would recommend both books, but Sam Chand says, “You’ll grow only to the threshold of your pain”. Those are incredible words of wisdom. Time after time there have been examples all through God’s Word of people who went through an incredibly hard, painful time that led to an incredible victory. Well, I know Victory is coming! I can’t say I am completely out of burnout. I don’t feel 100% myself again, but I know I’m going to get there. I’m working diligently about being in the moment. That’s just a freebie. One of the things I recognized is that I was constantly thinking about what I needed to do next, where I needed to go next, how much time I had at this stop, determining ahead of time how much time I would give a problem, etc. Right now this moment is pretty cool and I want to bask in it. It’s freezing on this porch where I’m writing, but the cold mixed with the bright sunshine feels too good on my skin to give it up. My dog is sitting at my feet, I smell the fire in the fireplace waiting for me, and as far as I can see in front of me are mountains yet to be hiked.

Sabbatical…YES PLEASE!

1“Almost everything works again if you unplug it for a few minutes. Including you.” Words by Anne Lamott

If you have kept up with my blog at all, you know my husband and I took a sabbatical this year. First. One. Ever. It was wonderful, and I’m here right now to show you why you need to take one too. Sabbaticals are not just for pastors. They’re not just for people who are stressed out. A sabbatical is for YOU reading these words and let me tell you why…

Have you ever completed a “cleanse”? There are liver cleanses, colon cleanses, etc. We know we need these cleanses when stuff starts getting backed up. Don’t make me go into detail, but you know what I mean. It can get really gross, yucky, stinky, and clogged inside. It makes us feel bad and affects other parts of our bodies. Having a dirty inside can cause everything from bad breath, to acne, to hair falling out. One of the greatest cleanses you can ever do for yourself is go on an extended fast. It releases everything inside you. WATCH OUT! It’s the ultimate cleanse! 3

Often times we go on these cleanses, or fasts because of pain. We want the pain to go away, so we take necessary steps to rid us of pain. It’s the same with a sabbatical. When a person is in leadership, whether they are leading a church of thousands, or a corporation of hundreds, or a family of 2, there is pain involved. This pain may be mental, spiritual, or emotional. Sometimes we allow this pain to pile up and we become clogged. If you’re like me you start self-medicating. This “medication” can be watching TV, spending way too much time on social media, eating comfort foods, avoiding people, or (insert your 2“medication” of choice here). Escape becomes the means in which we try to deal with this pain.

If you can relate to anything I’m saying you may just be ripe for a sabbatical. You may be thinking everything will fall apart, I have too much to do, and all the other excuses we come up with. But God needs you to be the best you can possibly be. He needs you to cleanse/detox occasionally, and we do that by shutting ourselves off from the world.

Turn off the TV.

Get rid of the junk food.

Put your phone on airplane mode.

Take yourself to the corner in time out.

What God has called you to do is way too important to complete halfway, less than excellent. When you don’t have much time, (I know a month long sabbatical is unreasonable for some) then you must be intentional. Spend every day with progress. Grab hold of God and don’t let go until He blesses you, each and every day. Feed yourself good food or fast. Don’t lie to yourself and say you will not pay attention to your phone. Back away from your phone and all social media. Airplane mode is your friend. Get a little burner phone and only give that number to a couple of people. Let your mind rest, let your soul rest, let your emotions rest, let your heart rest. You will be amazed what is released when you stop putting junk in.

You may not be able to rid yourself of all pain during a sabbatical, but you will be able to see it from a different perspective. I read a book titled, “Leadership Pain” by Sam Chand while I was away and it showed me how pain will always be in my life as long as I’m dealing with people. I have to make friends with the pain. Pain is necessary for growth. When God allows me to experience pain He is breaking me out of a plateau, readying me for victory, stretching me to live more, love more, experience more. When I try to avoid this pain, self-medicate this pain, or end the pain then I end growth. God can only take me as far and as high as the pain I can endure.

Let’s look at a sabbatical as a cleanse, or a detox. You’re cleansing your emotions, your spirit, and your mind by removing all the junk and only putting good stuff in for an extended period of time. I promise you won’t regret the results.4

 

Please let me know if you decide to go on sabbatical and I will be praying for you during the time you are away. I cannot encourage people enough to do this for themselves, their families, and the ones they lead. The world will continue to spin without you. At the same time the world will spin better if you are the best you, fully rested and ready for your task at hand.

HOW TO TELL IF YOU ARE ON THE BRINK OF BURNOUT

My pastor husband and I were walking down the familiar halls of the hospital. We were visiting a lady from our church who had a non life-threatening illness and had to be put in for a couple of days. As I stood by her bed I felt an old friend surface. I was aware of what I felt, but it made no sense to me. Why in the world would I feel…jealous?

I went back to my office that day wondering what the heck was going on? Why would I feel jealousy toward a lady in the hospital? As I picked apart these feelings trying to get to the root, I realized how odd this was. Most women are jealous of Victoria’s Secret supermodels, but no, I’m jealous of a woman laying in the hospital. Suddenly it hit me why! She was stopped. She had an excuse to stop. No one expected anything from her. She didn’t have to answer as to why she wasn’t at work, why she couldn’t make an appointment, why her house wasn’t clean, why she couldn’t pick the kids up at school, why she didn’t get the newsletter written in time, why she didn’t make that bank deposit. The why’s stopped and I felt jealous of her, and a little embarrassed at myself. Okay, a lot embarrassed.

At that moment I looked at my life and wondered where my mind was. I was healthy, and instead of thanking God for my health I felt jealousy toward someone wishing for theirs.

I can’t imagine even one of you reading this blog relating to what I am saying, and that’s all right. I’m just being totally transparent here and allowing you in to the far out way my mind thinks sometimes. After telling myself I needed to slow down, get some stuff off my plate, live in the moment more, blah, blah, blah. I promised myself I would and I did for about a nano second.

Fast forward two years and my husband has me hauled into the car and on our way to the emergency room thinking I’m having a heart attack. I’m scared, he’s scared, I’m wondering if I’m really having a freakin heart attack at 48 years old! I go through a battery of tests, and as I’m laying under one of the machines I hear God clearly speak into my mind these words,

“Is this what you want?”

My tests came back great. I had a healthy heart! But I knew God was trying to get my attention. I needed to slow down. I needed to get some things off my plate. I needed to work through some of the hurts and betrayals suffered at the hands of “friends”. I needed to be more present in the moments of my life and not constantly thinking about the next meeting, the next plane to catch, the next whatever was thrown at me. I desperately needed to make some changes to get some of the stress out of my life, but what? Will the world fall apart without me? Will people be lost and wondering in the wilderness if I’m not there to lead the way? Will the world stop spinning? I was afraid to find out. I went back into my life and made a couple of changes. Those changes relieved a little pressure, but only for about a minute this time.

Those of you who know me know I’m wound pretty tightly. I’m easily excitable, I have a flair for the dramatic, and everything is larger than life. I started noticing months after the ER scare that I didn’t “feel” things like I used to. I know that sounds a little cheesy, but when you’re used to feeling things big, when you don’t, it’s noticeable. I wasn’t excited about great news. I didn’t get teary-eyed at what used to make me cry. I didn’t feel love for people I hadn’t seen in a long time. I wasn’t sad when someone was no longer in my life. I didn’t care when I saw certain injustices. I noticed that my anger level was quicker and louder than it used to be. My tears now came at moments that made no sense. I didn’t know what was happening to me. It was like someone turned the light off and I was groping in the darkness trying to find the switch to turn it back on.

I started making sure I took a day off, I started trying to get rid of stressors in my life, I started praying a whole lot more, but nothing was working. I was completely numb…scrambling. I kept trying to make the changes I had made before but this time nothing was changing. I knew it was probably just menopause. Isn’t everything menopause’s fault? I knew I would snap back eventually, but I wasn’t, and I didn’t.

Fantasizing about moving to another country, going off the grid, or retreating to a mountain hideaway in Montana seemed like a nice option. I’ve never even been to Montana, but if it was good enough for Gus and Caw it’s good enough for me.

I finally confessed to my husband through tears that I wasn’t sure ministry was for me anymore. I didn’t feel tough enough, and I was experiencing flight mode. Burnout is ugly. Trying to explain burnout to someone who has never experienced it, is like trying to explain the level of tired associated with jetlag. You think you understand it, but then when it hits it’s like a 2X4 between the eyes and you just know, yep that’s jetlag. Well burnout is the same way. I knew that’s where I was, and I needed to get healthy. I felt myself retreating. I knew I was headed in the opposite direction I was supposed to be going but I couldn’t get myself turned around. I always thought burnout was for those people who never rested. I arrogantly believed I was immune because I took a Sabbath. Burnout was for “other people”. I realized I was those other people.

There’s a line in a movie spoken when the main character, Michael, is upset because bad people had done bad things to him. Another character, Hyman, looks at Michael pointing his 80-year-old crooked finger in his face and chokes out angrily, “THIS…IS THE BUSINESS WE’VE CHOSEN!” I think of that line now as I realize ministry is not pretty, it’s not easy, and it’s not for the weak. It’s a place where bad people, myself included, rid themselves of bad things. Others get caught in the crosshairs at times and have to learn to deal with the shots taken. Yes, this is the business we’ve chosen and will continue to choose as long as God will have us.

Over the next few weeks I am going to be writing about burnout and the symptoms, causes, and solutions I experienced and am still working through. I hope you will bear with me, as me and God work through this openly. I know what I am learning is not just for me. There are others reading this blog, I believe, that will see themselves in these symptoms and hopefully be able to stop burnout in its tracks.

Have you ever suffered through burnout? What was your response? What did you learn in the process? Please leave your comments below. Your response may just be what I and others are looking for. Thanks!

Your Child’s Crisis, 3 Ways to NEVER Respond

I had a very wise man say to me one time,

“When your child comes to you in crisis, they will always remember the first words you speak.”

I have never forgotten those words. My husband and I have both been very cognizant of the moment when our boys have had to tell us bad news, or a mistake they made. We want to always err on the side of love when it comes to our kids. When we don’t know what to say we just speak love until we find an answer together. Words are very important. They can speak life into a situation or they can speak death.

My friend who spoke those words to me was explaining the moment his unmarried daughter came to him with the news of her pregnancy. He knew whatever words spoken first would be what she always remembered. He could have completely broken down the relationship with harsh words, or he could become her hero, all in those first few seconds. He easily became her hero, and she turned to him throughout her pregnancy. He loved her during that difficult time in her life, assuring her life was going to work out just fine. Because of that love and acceptance he may have easily saved his own grandchild’s life.

Becoming the hero is not always the goal in some households. Take my friend for instance who got pregnant at 22, was unmarried, and making some pretty bad choices for her life in those days. When she told her father of the pregnancy he said three things to her that she will never forget…we can learn many things from this father’s response.

1. “You are an embarrassment to me.”
Now I don’t know about you, but even on my best day I would not want anyone saying these hurtful words to me, much less a parent! At the moment she needed to feel loved and accepted by the one person who was supposed to be her hero; he turned against her for the mistake she had made. I’m not glossing over her actions, but there she was, trying to make a good decision finally after years of poor choices, and it wasn’t recognized. She may have very well been an embarrassment to him, but how much of a difference could he have made in her life with a positive remark instead of further degrading her?

2. “I don’t want you at my church because I’m so embarrassed.”
If you are like me, your mouth is hanging open. I can’t believe a parent would say these words either. My friend wasn’t breaking down the doors of any church in those days, but at this point she sure wasn’t going to now. To hear her tell the story, she felt so dirty and it backed up the lie in her head that even God didn’t want her. At a point in her life when the doors of the church, and back to God, could have been flung open for her return to Him, they were sealed tighter than ever by these painful words. Don’t ever send the message that your child has to “straighten up” before he or she is welcome in God’s house.

3. “You are no longer my daughter.”
There is never a time in a child’s life when they should hear these words. Our kids deal with so many mixed messages in society, their family should be the one place they can always turn to no matter what. Our kids have to know that as parents they hurt us with their mistakes at times, but not one action they ever take can make us love them less. My friend was shown conditional love. That statement told her as long as she stayed in step, met her father’s expectations, then she will still be able to receive love from him. What message did these words send this young girl about God’s love? A father has a great responsibility to model God’s unconditional love to his children.

These 3 statements may never cross your lips. Your heart may be hurting for this young girl too, thinking about what kind of parent would speak these words. Allow your mind to think about where you may be showing conditional love to your child; or wanting him/her to hurt like they hurt you; or saying those things that hurt instead of heal your child’s perceptions of God.

We have to lay the groundwork before the crisis to make sure our child turns to us at that moment. In the case of an unplanned pregnancy, how many of our sons and daughters have had abortions because they know, “my dad would kill me” or “it would crush my mother to know I did this”. So our children are continuing on in the mistake by choosing abortion, instead of knowing they can turn to a parent who will be their hero in that moment of crisis.

Don’t wait for your child’s crisis and respond out of hurt and anger like this father did. Start today being the hero in your child’s life. You just may be saving the life of a future grandchild in the process.

Do you have an example of the first words spoken to you in crisis; good or bad? Are they words you have always remembered? Comment below with your example and how you responded to it. You just may help others along the way.

SaveOne- The Ripple Effect

It’s always exciting and a little scary when I have a new book published. There’s a part of me that still cannot believe God is allowing me to work for Him, using such an ugly part of my past to help others. Then, if I’m completely honest, there is a part of me that beats myself up, believing I will receive criticism, and no one will like it. I don’t say those words to make you think I’m fishing for a compliment…I’m just being transparent about the voices in my head.

But then you run across a blog like the one I have copied below. I first saw it on my friend Susi’s blog, who is a fantastic writer. Check her out at www.survivingsibling.wordpress.com. I knew this was the perfect way to kickoff and announce my latest book.

What you read below may be the first time you have ever thought about the abortion issue from this point of view; but I can promise you, the SaveOne staff and myself have been dealing with this for many years. We continually have grandmothers of aborted children, siblings of aborted children, aunts, uncles, friends of aborted children come through our SaveOne classes. We have even had people come through our class to deal with the fact they drove a person to the abortion clinic and for two decades regretted that decision, feeling as though they were an accessory.

Abortion has a ripple effect.

We can no longer focus primarily on the woman and think we are getting the situation worked out. We MUST deal with the entire scope of the family to make sure they are whole, healthy, and intact as they move forward as a unified whole. Please read what I have posted below from an anonymous writer and let your mind open to a different realm of the abortion debate.

From Susi’s blog…

When I was a kid, my mom was very involved with the Right To Life movement. She volunteered with fundraisers, helped lead educational groups in our area, attended rallies, manned an educational booth at the county fair, and did other things I am unaware of because she didn’t really talk much about that work. What she did talk about was the value of human life, and the importance of protecting unborn babies, and I took her very seriously because she seemed to have a lot of knowledge through her work with Right To Life.

At the age of 12, my vision of my mom shattered. As she was driving me to a Bible club at our church, she brought up in conversation that she’d had an abortion at the age of 18 (before she was with my dad.) She gave me a brief bit of info on the abortion, including the fact that she had been told the gender (a boy) by a nurse, after he was born. I sat silent in the car, and had no idea how to respond to her.

I spent the rest of my teen years feeling incredibly angry at my mom. I felt like she had betrayed me. It seemed like she was trying to white-wash her abortion history by getting involved with the Pro-life movement, only to later reveal that she had done the very thing she was speaking out against. I hated my mom for taking my brother away from me. I blamed her for the fact that I’d always longed for an older brother and felt a close bond with my cousins who would have been similar in age to my brother. I became obsessed with thinking about my brother. I wrote him letters, wrote poems about him, tried to draw out what I imagined he would look like, kept careful track (as best I could) of how old he would be, named him, and deeply grieved over all the things in my family that my brother hadn’t gotten to witness or be a part of. It was an intense grief process that took me years to walk through, and a very silent pain that no one, not even my own family knew about.

This writer goes on to say later in the blog…

Last year, I went through training to become a volunteer with a pregnancy center. The information they went over in training was just incredible! I suddenly felt like, for the first time, my mom made sense. All the quirky things she did, like suddenly shutting down, not responding to things in emotionally appropriate ways, rejecting affection from myself and my dad and siblings, and many other things sounded like symptoms of PTSD from her abortion. I realized that she was like many other post-abortive women (and men) who tried to push the abortion aside and move on with life, and bore some incredible wounds as a result. That training prompted me to talk with my mom, for the first time since middle school, about her abortion. I learned some shocking details about what she experienced, and understood a little better why she was so quiet about it (to this day, even her siblings don’t all know that she aborted.)

A wound carried through decades of this writer’s life, finally made sense and began to heal when she learned more about the symptoms of Post Abortion Syndrome. She was able to finally understand her mother and begin to forgive her. Education into this subject opened the doors for them to talk and come to grips with the mother’s choice. This is what we see happen every day in our SaveOne classes. We shine the light on grief, symptoms, reasons, and God’s forgiveness, bringing families back together with great restoration! Read on…

I wish that people realized how much my mother’s decision to abort at age 18 affected my whole family, how every Mother’s Day was a day when my mom cried and cried and felt completely unworthy of affection, how the gentle touch of myself or any other family member would make her jump or even feel excruciating pain, and how my mom’s secret about her abortion became the secret my whole family was forced to carry. The abortion industry tells women that abortion will remove the embarrassment, shame, and worry of telling people that they are pregnant, and then having to go through the birth process and the process of raising a child. The reality is, abortion creates a world of hurt and pain, anxiety, shame, guilt, intimacy issues, and host of other difficulties. Those emotions don’t just belong to the woman who goes through the abortion, but her family as well.

That last paragraph has incredible insight into what happens to the future family of each abortion survivor. Read on, this next paragraph is extremely important….

My mother is still a loving mom, despite the fact that she aborted. My heart hurts to see, however, that a piece of my mom died with my brother. She is not like other moms. She’s broken. And she will never get the piece back that left her on that fateful day. But my mom’s story can prevent others from enduring that heartache. Her story can echo through the ages as a reminder that abortion is a terribly tragic act, and something that can never be undone. And there are whole families like mine, quietly protecting these wounded women, while we grieve the loss of a family member as well. My prayer is that one day, I will be able to speak openly about my family’s abortion journey, and validate those who feel voiceless in this boat. Until then, I will speak privately or anonymously, with this important story. When we speak up, there is power there!

I feel this blog from an anonymous writer speaks volumes as to why, “SaveOne- The Ripple Effect” needed to be written. This book mirrors the SaveOne Men’s and Women’s Studies, so it will be very easy for a loved one to go through the class with others. Please contact our office for more information, or go on the site at www.saveone.org to order your copy today.

“…saves the world entire.”

We walked the streets of Furth, Germany for 3 hours and to tell you the truth I was a little tired. No, I take that back I was exhausted. I had been traveling and speaking every day, and I was looking so forward to going back to my friend’s office and just relaxing with a cup of coffee.

When the time came, and I finally landed in a comfy chair with coffee in hand was when it happened.

The group of people I was with were all talking, sharing cookies, and having a good time when our quiet, unassuming city tour guide slowly removed 8 gold bands from his case. First he was only talking to me and my husband Jack. He was trying to explain over the laughing, coffee-drinking crowd, about a scene from the movie, “Schindler’s List”. Many of you may have seen the part he was trying to explain. I wasn’t all the way focused on what he was saying, so I couldn’t remember although I was trying to picture it in my mind. I didn’t understand why I was having to focus my mind on a movie when I was so tired and I just wanted to relax.

As he explained his motive behind bringing the gold bands, his eyes filled with tears and his chin began to quiver. One by one my laughing and coffee-drinking friends began to take notice. One of them took a seat nearby, then another, then another, until he had our complete, undivided attention.

I realized with his emotion this was extremely important to him so I forced my mind to zero in on his words and what he was saying. Our tour guide, Tom, brought it all home when he said the words from the movie that were inscribed on the gold band the Jewish survivors had fashioned for Oskar Schindler.
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“He who saves a single soul, saves the world entire.”

This man whom I had just met 3 hours prior then handed me and every one standing there a replica of the ring fashioned for Oskar Schindler, complete with inscription. He continued on to tell us the work we were doing through SaveOne was having the same lasting effects on generations to come.

My heart flooded, my eyes spilled over, and I was completely engulfed in a moment I knew would last for many years in my memory. I had never been told words so profound. I had never felt so unworthy of the comparison, but yet so honored to think of the multiplied-thousands of lives God has saved through SaveOne.

There is much more to abortion recovery than what we see with our eyes. This issue, this choice, its after effects run deep. So deeply, oftentimes it takes a process to heal the gaping wound a person is left with. I saw how our work moved this man to tears as he thanked us for making a difference. And I felt so honored to be a part of an organization that God has used mightily to prevent abortion and end abortion on a grand scale.

If you or someone you know is suffering after an abortion do not wait one more day. Contact us, we can help you. We would also love to hear from you. In the comments below, please let us know your story, and please share this post to help others who may be suffering after abortion to not suffer any longer.

Stand with us because “He who saves a single soul, saves the world entire.”

I hated you when you walked through that door…

I know you’re going to love hearing Timothy’s story as much as I have been privileged to watch it unfold!

From Timothy…
Talk about being put on the spot! Actually I love sharing my story now. First man to go through a SaveOne class, hmmmmm.

Should he be here?

That inquiry is what I saw on the faces of those around the circle. If it wasn’t for the unanswered questions I was desperate to get answered, I would have turned around in the parking lot.

There were a million unknowns. What kind of interrogation were the ladies in the class going to put me through? Would they accept me, my story, my answers? Would they be shocked that I felt grief and love for my child? Sheila had no idea what I would say, how the other ladies would react, etc. But God knew the end result before the beginning. Thank God everyone accepted my answers and my story unconditionally. It turned out to be extraordinary.

Misconceptions were shattered.

I heard their regret and they heard mine.

Our sharing melted hardened hearts in that room over the course of the SaveOne class. One of the ladies confessed to me at the end of the 12 weeks, “I hated you when you walked through that door just because you were a man, but now I’m glad to call you a brother in Christ.” I will cherish those words forever.

Finishing the class was one of the best things I’ve ever done for my life, my marriage, and my family. When I finished SaveOne I knew I would share my story and hoped God would use it for His glory. I’m an average, normal guy, so if this affected me so strongly, I was sure it would affect other men.

Sheila asked me what it feels like to be the inspiration behind the men’s study. The tears well up knowing there are men everywhere looking for answers, trying to put words to their feelings and needing to know they are not struggling alone. Seeing the men’s study book really motivated me to share even more. But I had no idea this idea/movement/help would spread throughout continents.

As I’m writing this I’m reminded that women need to hear my story as much as the guys. Ladies, we may not express our feelings as eloquently, but deep down we need healing too. Our struggles are different and the same. And more guys than you realize wish we could turn back time and be a better man than we were. I miss my daughter and I can’t wait to meet her.

Men, we can’t change how we reacted or what we did/didn’t do to complicate the circumstances. But today we can allow God to heal our souls and be a healing agent to others.

To everyone, follow me as I follow Christ. Spread the light of God’s love and forgiveness. Inspire those that I can’t. Hug those out of my reach. I love every one of you. My heart rejoices at the thought of you.

Need comfort? I got your comfort

Have you ever helped someone with a problem, then realized the aid you gave was from a place of learning in a dark stormy part of your life? Or what about the times we seek help for our own problem from someone we know has walked this path before us? Either way, we gave or received comfort.

It’s such a satisfying moment when we understand a difficulty we faced, and what we learned in that difficulty we could later transfer to someone else. I have to be honest that’s a pretty good feeling. It makes you think about your problem differently, like you didn’t go through it just for yourself. Maybe you had to travel that path to help the person sitting right beside you. When you’re able to give the help needed, you feel somewhat like the person out front hacking down the weeds first so everyone behind you will know the way.

I have been the one to benefit from such help on more than one occasion. But the time this kind of help changed my life so drastically was a deep, dark, secretive, and emotional time for me. I had lived seven years with the secret of my abortion. I was now married and had two children. My family was taken on my emotional roller-coaster daily. I heard a local group was offering help for those who had chosen abortion. I knew I needed the benefit of their wisdom, so I struck out on this path, taking a chance these people I did not know, had forged a path I could walk on.

Many of you who know me, know this was the start of a lifelong journey I would walk helping others along the way. On this path hundreds have struck out on their own forging new paths, helping men and women who have chosen abortion. It has been a beautiful thing to watch those who needed help and comfort, receive help and comfort, then turn around and offer that same help and comfort to others.

At the end of 2014 I was sitting in a church service when my pastor (also my husband) read a scripture. I’m sure I had read it before but this time it was a beacon of light for me. 2 Corinthians 1:4 which says, “He comforts us in all our troubles so we can comfort others. When they are troubled we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” I knew…THAT’S IT! That describes perfectly what we do at SaveOne.

Our chapter leaders and staff members have allowed God to heal and comfort those places that were most hurt after abortion. They in turn took that knowledge they learned from this process and are now helping others who are troubled and in need of comfort. It’s a beautiful progression as we walk forward on this path God has laid out for us. I loved this verse so much I made it our theme verse for 2015! I want everyone reminded of why SaveOne exists and what we do.

Can you take time to comment on this blog and tell us how God used you to comfort others, or how comfort was given to you? Maybe you know someone who has had an abortion and needs comfort. Share this blog with them, point them to SaveOne, and let’s reach more people than we ever have in 2015! Let’s show how these words can come to life in our friends and families’ circumstance!

The picture attached to this post is a great example of how comfort flows from Jesus through individuals and out to others. The ladies in this picture are just one of many examples of why SaveOne is successful. It’s because they have enacted 2 Corinthians 1:4.

Welcome to the Big Time!

I received the following letter from our SaveOne Europe Director, Sonja Horswell from a girl she took through the SaveOne course. It was too great not to share. When God shows up BIG TIME in your life, it’s very difficult to stay quiet about it. This young lady shared her story and I want to scream it out to the entire world. THIS is the truth of what abortion does to a person. THIS is the truth of God’s Word applied to that gaping wound of regret, shame, humiliation, guilt, and remorse abortion leaves one with!

The Big Time is where the hardest work, the greatest realizations, and the most wonderful love encompasses us in our most vulnerable moments. Please read the words below and know that you too can be free from the bondage of abortion.

I would have never imagined, dreamt or wished.

Paralyzed by desperation and shame, the emptiness was so excavating and present, the pain so indescribably crushing, the fear so breath-taking. Fear of every second and minute of the present, of every hour and every day of the future. The abortion tore something apart in me which I did not realize immediately. Staggering in shock, for a time of my life functioning outwardly. But it was there, this invisible wall between me and reality. The sense of me and my body was gone, giving way to a deep inner emptiness.

In the (SaveOne) course, we carefully removed the wall brick by brick. In an environment where I had room with all my thoughts and feelings which were heard but never judged or evaluated. It was so freeing to finally put into words the disappointments, self-reproaches, and hurts that had walled me in. Everything was allowed to be and be said. Continually, in a speed that was adjusted to me, until I came to the surface. And now I can look closely, accept the past, enjoy the present and look forward to the future. More than words can say has happened inside of me in the weeks and months of the course. But this one thing is the greatest miracle: I smile again. And for the first time in years it comes from the inside, from the heart. (because I know and sense in my heart that God has forgiven me and therefore I also can forgive myself.)

Everyone senses pain in a different way and deals differently with grief. But no one desires to have an abortion one day, to give up one’s own child. The emotional consequences are crushing, barely endurable. Therefore I ask you, almost beg you: do not let this time of your life be taken away from you, dare to take a look at it, to give yourself space, for the tumbling of the walls, the letting go of the reproaches is worth the labor. Every day can be worth living it again. I know it takes courage but trust that you will not have to walk it alone, not one step of it.

When we take the time to draw near to God, He draws near to us BIG TIME and mighty change occurs. Come and enjoy life again in the BIG TIME. We can show you how! www.saveone.org