121 Stories - Forgiven and Restored

A powerful story of finding God's healing after an abortion.

Michelle Matthews
Apr 4, 2020    15m
In this message a woman shares her testimony of finding God's healing after an abortion. She tells us how that choice affected her for many years, and how a chance meeting changed her life when she discovered a Bible Study course aimed to help women heal after abortion called 'Surrendering the Secret'. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Michelle Matthews...: 00:00 Hi, my name is Michelle Matthews, and my story is a story of God's grace and his redeeming power.

Michelle Matthews...: 00:09 So growing up we were in and out of church, and later on, my parents divorced and we moved. And that's when I felt like my world was turned upside down, and I started looking for things to numb that pain and fill that void. And I turned to relationships and alcohol, and that's where things, where I feel like my world turned upside down and this deep sense of loss was created, and the enemy just swooped in to fill that void. Thankfully, my dad started taking us to church consistently and there I learned about Jesus, and who he is, and I accepted him as my savior. Although I wasn't ready to turn away from the life that I was living, I still received the Holy Spirit, and I can feel him just gently nudging me and trying to pull me away from the life that I was living.

Michelle Matthews...: 01:23 In college, it was my sophomore year, it was a spring break trip with a big group of friends, and that's when I tried drugs for the first time. And the feeling that those gave me just took the pain away, completely took the pain away, temporarily. So over the next several years, I just found myself in a lifestyle. And moved again for a job and then found myself in a relationship that ended, and then found out that I was six weeks pregnant.

Michelle Matthews...: 02:02 So I was scared, I felt alone, ashamed and embarrassed, and I didn't know what to do. And I was making a choice that I never thought I would make, until I was the one who was pregnant and alone. And so about a week or two later, I chose to have an abortion, and I didn't realize the impact that decision would have on my life. And in fact afterwards, I felt a little bit of relief, because nobody would ever have known that I was pregnant or that I decided to make that choice. And I was actually just in a little bit of denial and shock, and at the time I didn't realize the consequences of that decision, or how it would impact me for the rest of my life.

Michelle Matthews...: 03:23 And things continued to spiral downhill, and I just wanted to get away, run away, from everything. And so I moved again, but however, again just changes in scenery. We're not changing the way that I was feeling inside, and the pain that I was trying to cover up. So my emotions would control me at different times, just guilt, a lot of guilt, sadness, depression, anger, and I didn't connect these emotions with my abortion at the time.

Michelle Matthews...: 04:02 And finally, I decided to give up the life that I was living, and follow the Lord wholeheartedly. So I joined a church, I was baptized, I started volunteering in church and during this time is when John and I were dating and got married. And then it was when I was pregnant with our son, Luke, that just an emotional title wave hit me. And I didn't realize it, but my emotions from the choices that I made were about to make war with me. And I knew that I needed some kind of help, and so I went to a Christian therapist to help me deal with my anxiety, and I shared part of my story with her and asked her if she thought that I needed healing from the choice that I had made. And she said, absolutely, yes. And so she helped me with the plan, and she let me know to give the baby a gender neutral name, and then write a letter of forgiveness and seal that letter up. And so that's what I did, and I felt better, it helped, I felt a lot better.

Michelle Matthews...: 05:23 That was temporary though, there was still at my core, there was still some pain there, but I just pushed it down internally for about another five years or so. And then it was spring of 2011, I decided to get proactive about finding some kind of healing out there. I knew that there had to be so many other women who were feeling the same way that I was feeling, and that there had to be something out there that could help us, some kind of therapy, or Bible study, just something. And so I began researching online, and I found out that PTSD can happen from having an abortion, there's something out there called post abortion syndrome. All these things that I didn't know could happen, but they were real things that can affect women who've had an abortion.

Michelle Matthews...: 06:27 And so right around the same time I had started up a business. And sorry, I guess you can just edit this out, because I don't know how to get around this part. Okay. Right around that same time that I was searching online for some kind of healing for women who've made the same choices that I had made, I began my business, and I went to a women's conference. I was setting up my booth right across from a lady setting up her booth, and so I walked over, introduced myself. And within the first five minutes of meeting her, she let me know that she was a Bible study leader for this Bible study called 'Surrendering the Secret', which helps women who have had an abortion in their past. And I just looked at her like you have no idea, I just knew at that moment that God had arranged our meeting, it was absolutely a divine moment.

Michelle Matthews...: 07:40 And so after that I went back home and researched online, I found the Bible study that she was talking about, 'Surrendering the Secret'. I called them up and asked them if this was something I could do, if I could lead this Bible study in my home and help other women feel better and find their healing. And they said, absolutely I could do that. But they suggested to go through the Bible study myself, to make sure that I had gone through the healing before helping other women find healing. And so that's what I did, I found a local leader and I called her up, and she faithfully came to my house every week for about six weeks to walk me through that Bible study. And from that first chapter, I knew exactly why they suggested to go through the Bible study of myself before trying to help other women.

Michelle Matthews...: 08:40 It's a deep, deep, spiritual bootcamp Bible study, that just uncovers so much of the buried pain, and it just pulled my emotions out by layer. And I do credit my leader in 'Surrendering the Secret' with showing me the path to healing, but it was Jesus Christ alone who helped me get through that. He walked alongside me through that Bible study, I could not have gone through it without him. I finally realized what it meant for Jesus to take away my sin on the cross, I understood that he took away my sin on that cross. Everything else that came with it, all the sadness, and depression, and all the consequences for my sin, everything that I had reaped, everything that I had done, he nailed it to the cross and I chose to release it all to him forever, and then just receive his forgiveness and his grace. And that was the moment that I finally felt free, that I was no longer being held hostage to the choice that I had made it. I was free, it was gone, he had taken it all for me.

Michelle Matthews...: 10:07 And so knowing what I knew after going through that Bible study, I needed other women to know as well. I didn't want to keep it a secret, I wanted others to know what Jesus had done for me, and I wanted the same for them. I wanted them to feel the same way that I was feeling, because it is so...So knowing what I know now, after going through that Bible study and what Jesus did for me, it hurts my heart to know that there are so many women out there still in captivity to their shame and their secret. Because there are so many, there are, the statistics are high, 43% of women have experienced this in their life.

Michelle Matthews...: 10:59 So we are surrounded by friends, moms, daughters, sisters, there's so, so many of us. Every woman that I've walked through this Bible study has been God ordained, God arranged, he's brought them into my life, he's introduced us, and there are so many wonderful stories.

Michelle Matthews...: 11:21 There's one story that I would like to share. And I was finishing up my healing, and we were about to go on vacation with some friends. And even though I hadn't gone public with my testimony yet, I felt God working on my heart that it was time to start sharing it. And I wanted to share it with somebody, because it was so wonderful what he was doing in my life, I wanted to share it with somebody else. And so I prayed that God would give me the strength, and just provide an opportunity to share my story with her.

Michelle Matthews...: 12:02 We had driven to Florida and we unpacked the car that night, and we unloaded everything, including my Bible that had this folded up letter in it from when I first started the process of my healing, that letter forgiveness that I had written was in my Bible. And went inside, spent the night. The very next morning, I went shopping with my friend and her daughter, and her daughter picked up this letter off the driveway and gave it to her mom to read, to see what it was. And her mom, my friend, opened it up and started to read it. And I quickly grabbed it from her hand, realizing that was my letter that had fallen out of my Bible. And she looked at me and said, what is that? And I said, oh, it's just, it's something I'll tell you about later. But I was secretly hoping that she would forget, not realizing that God had actually just answered my prayer for an opportunity to share with her.

Michelle Matthews...: 13:04 And so later on, we were on the beach and she looked at me and she said, okay, I'm going to be nosy now, but what was that letter about from earlier? And so I just looked up at the sky and said, okay, God, here we go. And so with tears streaming down my face, I shared my story with her. And I was nervous, I was scared, I didn't know what she would think, just those old feelings of shame were creeping in. And she just looked at me and she looked shocked, and she had tears streaming down her face. And then it occurred to me, maybe she had had that in her life too. And so I asked her, and she had, and so she shared with me her story.

Michelle Matthews...: 14:00 And we were amazed by that incredible moment of grace, because there is no way that letter should have been on the driveway overnight, on a windy night, there's just no way. So it was, God did that, he put that letter in her daughter's hands, and we were both just so thankful how God worked on both of us in our healing process through that vacation. So when we got back home, and I completed my Bible study, she was one of the first ones that I walked alongside through the Bible study. And since then she has publicly given her testimony at her church, and she became a leader for the Bible study, and has led ladies through the Bible study to find their healing as well.

Michelle Matthews...: 14:54 So that's just one example of what God can do when you just share what's happened in your life with somebody else, he brings those moments into our lives. So today I am free, I'm no longer being held hostage to the choices from my past, I am completely healed because of Jesus Christ. I'm married, we have three kids, and life is good. It's not perfect, even though I'm completely healed from all of that, there's still things that come up and happen. But because of God's grace, his love, and mercy, and because we have Jesus in our lives, we are able to work through anything that comes our way.

Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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121 Community Church
2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051