Finding Healing in Ukraine

     Each morning, since returning from Ukraine, I make my way to this familiar spot. And each morning, in this same spot, I have found that I am in search of new words. I look for the words that will describe those experiences and these amazing people. I try to pick just one story - of so many - to relay. But each one flows into the other, making them nearly impossible to separate. Like roots in a system feeding the larger bloom, they converge to create the whole of my experience. Most morning, I give up. Unable to describe, in words, even one single event. But today, I am determined. Today, I must try to tell just one. And then tomorrow, maybe another will come. At least, that's what I hope. Because I know you'll be blessed. I know, you need to hear. But mostly because - I know,  I need to tell you. 
    The drive to Vinnytsia was one of the most beautiful I have experienced. Field upon field of enormous and vibrant sunflowers lined the highway. Overcome with awe and excitement, we requested our driver stop, multiple times, because sometimes beauty demands to be acknowledged. And we wanted to, literally, be amongst the beauty. Those fields continue to inspire and bless me, even now. 

   This road was taking us to a neighboring region where an additional crisis pregnancy center had recently been opened. As we traveled, we discussed the history of the center and how they came to be. We talked about the number of women served and the number of volunteers serving them. For a myriad of reasons women in "crisis pregnancies" make their way to an MTU (Mission to Ukraine) center seeking help and counseling. Both of which they receive. As I listened, I was excited about all that this center was doing, and I began to sense the Lord might have something for me here, too.  

    Once we arrived, our first "order of business" was to meet the volunteers - those on the front lines. We sat in a circle, facing one another. They were eager to share and we were eager to hear - all that God had been doing in their midst. Each story and woman and volunteer an encouragement and blessing to our hearts. But one story in particular strikes me through...

   She had come to the center after deciding she might not want an abortion, after all. I am told many women, upon learning someone cares and is willing to help, will come to the center just to see if it's true. That someone is willing to help. Willing to come alongside. She received counseling and subsequently made the incredibly brave decision to keep her baby - this precious life. Months had passed and she and her baby were now being cared for at the center. Receiving diapers and formula, as well as, emotional and moral support. After months of building this relationship a rapport is established and bond created. So much so, in fact, that when an MTU volunteer sees this precious mom outside of an abortion clinic, the volunteer offers and is granted permission to counsel her again - for this new, precious life. The mom agreed and was counseled but in the end she chose to go through with the abortion. 

But the relationship does not stop. 

The mom and her other precious baby still receive services - are still being loved and supported. And, sadly, when she comes to the center several weeks later she is beginning to show signs of (and is incredibly common) post-abortion depression. But, the staff at MTU is there for that, too. 

Being the very hands and feet of Jesus. 
They have not stopped loving this mom because she made the choice to abort her baby. Their hearts are broken for this loss of life. And they are broken for the loss this mother is now experiencing. But they will continue to embrace and care for her because that is what Jesus does. And what He calls them - and us - to do. 

  I listen to this story and am breathless. It has special significance, for me, as I too made the decision to abort my baby almost 19 years ago. (I have told this story HERE in detail.) And I too was distraught over the reality of that decision and the resulting loss of life. But unlike this mom, I did not have an MTU supporting and loving me. But by the grace and mercy of God, He rescued me from my self-destruction and saved my life. Forgiving me when I could not forgive myself. And then restored and redeemed my life. 

  I am told this mom might be present at the center for an event that had been planned, later in the day. It had been arranged for us to meet several of the moms being served by the center and I had been asked to share my story. I agree, and in a moment almost too holy and significant for the page - I share the story of my abortion and redemption - in person, for the very first time, in a tiny room, in Ukraine. 

  As I sit here today, I can now see, healing from abortion, is a process that is probably never complete. And, I see that my trip to Ukraine was as much about my heart as it was about the women I went to serve. God spoke to me through the love and compassion that was shown to this woman, by MTU. That's just how amazing and loving and personal our God is, friends. Oh, and one thing I forgot to mention... 

My very favorite flower is the sunflower

Loving and praying for you all, today.


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