Forgiven and Set Free: Finding Hope and Healing After Abortion

Posted by Jen Dansby, Contributing Writer, on Jan 04, 2019

Forgiven and Set Free: Finding Hope and Healing After Abortion

There are so many divisive issues in our society today: immigration, gun control, and abortion. And the list goes on. The one that really grips me is abortion. We get so caught up in the politics of the issues that it seems we forget about the real people caught in the middle and hurting. No matter what side of the “debate” you fall, there is one thing on which we can all agree—God calls us to love. Love those who have been hurt. Love those who are hurting. Just love one another.

For many years, I was so afraid that people would not be able to find it in their hearts to love me. Especially if they knew my secret: In 2001, I had chosen to have an abortion. Regardless of the various factors that influenced my decision and whether you think my reasons were good or bad, ultimately, I was hurting for many years after.

I pasted on a fake smile. After all, I was the first in my family to finish college. A couple years later, I met the man I would marry, went to graduate school, and became pregnant and welcomed a beautiful baby into our family.

Outwardly, I had it all together. But truthfully, I felt abandoned. I felt ashamed. Inside, I wallowed in loneliness, regret, and cover-up. I felt unlovable. Not only did I not love myself, I was not really loving others either.

I didn’t realize it for almost fifteen years, but my decision to have an abortion greatly impacted me and indirectly impacted those around me. The lie I had believed—that once it was over I’d never have to think about it again—failed me. While I carried on with my life, I was not living. I was barely surviving.

Throughout the years that followed, I just couldn’t hold it in. Though I’d told myself no one would ever know my secret, I did share it with a couple of people—but more out of duress than relief. I’d had some precious, private moments with God. And He had tenderly let me know that He’d heard my cries.

And though I had spoken to a counselor and a pastor and I knew God had forgiven me, the pain wouldn’t leave me. I didn’t know how to let it go. So, I tried as hard as I could not to think about it. Bury it. That didn’t work either. Why not? I’d confessed it. I was contrite. I had asked for God’s forgiveness, and I knew that He’d granted it to me. So, why was I still in misery? It confounded me.

God Was There for Me

Just when I thought I’d have to live a life of cover-up and pain forever, as if it was what I deserved after what I had done, I found Chase Oaks Church just at the right time. God knows what he’s doing!

I started attending Chase Oaks in 2014 and got plugged into a LifeGroup—the year before my marriage completely unraveled. 2015 caught me in a whirlwind, and somehow, I just gave it all to God.

Really, I think He just picked me up and carried me through it because there is no other explanation. It was one moment at a time. I was done striving so hard to maintain that perfect exterior. My walls were crashing down, and that was ok with me. I couldn’t hold them up anymore.

But it was also during this time that I began learning, for the first time in my life (even though it was far from my first time in church), what God actually says about sin, forgiveness, and His call to love one another. It was as if the Bible had always been preached to me in Greek, and now, it was in English!

Looking back on it from the other side, I am so thankful for this time in my life. My LifeGroup ladies supported me at every turn. I learned about the importance of doing life together. I was learning about being authentic and how to come to God and others just as I was. But God wasn’t finished. He was (and is still) working to fully transform me.


I began attending ReNew, Chase Oaks’ recovery ministry, for healing from my marriage and subsequent divorce. Through this process of restoration and transformation, I realized I had more issues than just “divorce.” If I was going to live into God’s purpose for my life and one day make a difference, I needed to address the part of my story that remained locked away in private—my abortion.

I still remember the first time I heard a woman proclaim, out loud, that she had had an abortion. It shocked me! I mean, we were in a very small, closed group of women and it was a safe space—but still! My heart stopped. How could she just blurt something like that out? How could she say the word out loud? That word. She had gone through abortion recovery. I knew God was tapping me on the shoulder.

In 2016, I had the opportunity to attend an abortion recovery Bible study held at Chase Oaks Church’s community partner, Real Options for Women (now known as Real Options to reflect that they also help men). I honestly didn’t think that I really needed it. I was still attending ReNew and had been through lots of therapy. But God was persistent. And the idea of abortion recovery became something I couldn’t ignore.

It changed my life. Now, I am the woman “blurting” it out—I have had an abortion. And you know what, God is using it and my story to help unlock the chains that bind many other women. I am forgiven, and I have been set free.

And that is the name of Chase Oaks Church’s new abortion recovery ministry—Forgiven and Set Free. A group of women who have abortion as part of their stories and I are committed to helping post-abortive women at Chase Oaks receive the healing that is waiting for them.

Our 12-week pilot is launching on Thursday, January 31. Many people at Chase Oaks Church are praying for women to take the bold, courageous step toward the love we want to share with women who are hurting from a past abortion. You are lovable.

Please do not wait any longer. To find out how love, grace, and forgiveness can become a part of your story, email us at [email protected]. All inquiries are kept private. A pre-registration conversation with one of the leaders is required before joining the January class. We are eagerly waiting to hear from you! It has been long enough. Step into God’s abundance of grace, hope, and love. It’s time for you to experience how it feels to be Forgiven and Set Free.

Share This:

Recent Stories

Swipe to Discover more

Keep Calm and Parent On: Back to School Edition

Aug 07, 2022

How can parents help their kids gear up for a great year ahead? By being intentional, we can be the life coaches our kids need to be successful, at school and in life.

How To Survive a High School Lock-In

Aug 03, 2022

What happens when a grown adult is voluntarily locked inside a space with a group of high schoolers for a whole night? Read more, here.

Surprised by Church: A Social Recluse's Journey

Jul 31, 2022

Like faith itself, our relationship with a faith community is a unique one that can shift over time. Read about one person's story of relating to—and being surprised by—the church.

Respite Nights Make a Difference

Jul 28, 2022

The Local Good Center and Chase Oaks Foster Care/Adoption Team are helping to meet huge and often-hidden needs in our own backyard. Read about how they are making a difference, here.

Two Essential Back-to-School Checklists

Jul 24, 2022

BACK TO SCHOOL. Whether those words prompt panic or joy, we all want to make this year a great one for the kids. Use the following two checklists (one for “checking off” and one for “checking in”) to make sure everyone is ready to go!

A Process for Making Wise Decisions

Jul 21, 2022

Great decision-making is a critical leadership skill. Chase Oaks Executive Pastor Jack Warren shares a simple, proven process for how to make wise decisions.

Discovering a Passion for Mental Health

Jul 17, 2022

Cindy Park's path has led her from personal counseling to pursuing a new career as a professional counselor. Read more about her journey and newfound passion for mental health, here.

5 Reflection Questions To End Each Day

Jul 10, 2022

How can we prioritize mental and emotional health more? One time-tested way: building a regular habit of self-reflection. Start by asking yourself these 5 simple questions at the end of each day.

How To Be an Influencer Who Leads Others

Jul 07, 2022

Being an "influencer" can mean many different things. Executive Pastor Jack Warren shares key steps for leaders to grow in the kind of influence that puts others first.

Seeking God Together at IF:Chase Oaks 2022

Jul 05, 2022

Life's never too busy for spiritual health! IF:Chase Oaks 2022 provided over 200+ women a welcome break to seek God and connection with others, together.