08 June 2011
In 2000, Bobo enrolled in a Bible class — offered by Women of Grace, a ministry of Grace Community Church in Tyler — specifically geared toward women recovering from the ill-effects of abortions. She said her takeaway from the study was transformative.
By Raymond Billy | Resonate News
Barbara Bobo was 16 years old and moments away from a potentially life-saving surgery to repair a hole in her uterus. But, a physician only gave her a 50-percent chance of surviving the injury and left alone “to make peace with God.”
Lying there in her room at Doctors Hospital on Garland Road in Dallas, Bobo began crying out for God's forgiveness — both for her pre-marital pregnancy and the botched, clandestine abortion that ended it and jeopardized her life.
“As I opened my eyes, there were literally demons in the room,” Bobo, now 60, recalls. “They were laughing at me.
“I prayed again and asked God to help me. I didn't see God that day, but it was like an invisible hurricane swept those demons away. Immediately I felt the greatest sense of peace come over me. I didn't know whether I would live or die, but I knew I would be OK.”
But the peace she felt near midnight that night in 1968 was replaced by three decades of guilt over the choice she made to end her pregnancy. She didn't want anyone to know of the choice she had made as a teenager — least of all her Christian friends.
“God began to heal areas of my life that I never dreamed could be restored,” she said, recalling the message of forgiveness and divine healing she received from the study.
That redemptive outcome encouraged Bobo to become involved in helping other women suffering from post-abortion guilt find peace. She will continue that work this week as Christ-Centered Abortion Recovery of East Texas, or C.A.R.E., kicks off an eight-week Bible study for post-abortive women. Bobo said C.A.R.E. provides a ministry that churches should provide also.
“Churches are often the last place women will go for healing because they are afraid they will be condemned for having had an abortion. That's something that needs to change in the church,” said Bobo, who said she couldn't recall hearing much about abortion in church before joining Grace Community.
Bobo said she is heartened by the changes she has seen in the lives of women since becoming a founding member of C.A.R.E. about two years ago.
“When we started C.A.R.E, we started to see women heal. I know from my own experience that God can heal,” she said, later adding “Watching people receive that unfailing love is amazing.”
Even though millions of church-attending women have abortions every year, pastors are reluctant to talk about the issue for fear of inflicting undue emotional hardship on women already suffering from guilt over their decision, Bobo said. Indeed, a poll last year by the Elliot Institute — an organization that studies the effect of abortion on women and society — 73 percent of respondents said preaching on abortion rarely or never occurred at their church or place of worship. Bobo said it is imperative that Christian leaders began to change these statistics.
“The sooner we can get all of our pastors talking about this, the sooner women will begin to embrace forgiveness and start talking about their experiences,” Bobo said. “That can help both in terms of stopping other women from having abortions and showing other women that there's healing.”
Now a mother of three adult children, Bobo said had she not had an abortion herself, she might have been condemning of women who have gone through with the procedure. For that reason, she cautions Christian women that although they should be forthcoming about their abortions, they should not take it personally when they aren't shown grace and understanding. Instead, they should focus on the fact that they have been exonerated by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross — and pray for people who are judgmental.
“If you share your abortion with someone and they react negatively toward you, God is working on that person's heart,” she said. “He's trying to show them the dark parts of their heart and the judgmental attitude that they need to work on.”
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