I have three friends who are post-abortive. Though they have been committed to helping other women in similar circumstances through the ministry of the crisis pregnancy center where I volunteer that is not how we met. Rather our acquaintances began as most do: at the soccer field. Through my son’s preschool. Via mutual friends. In some cases I knew them for years before I knew their stories.
One evening I had a group of women at my home in sort of a preparatory brainstorming session for a Bible study I’d hoped to begin. I don’t remember how the conversation turned but one of my aforementioned friends ended up sharing her story of loss and redemption. She pulled me aside later and told me she had never shared her story without at least one woman present eventually confessing a shared post abortive past. “I want you to know,” she told me, “so you can be ready. Women like me are everywhere. We are sitting in your pews and beside you at soccer games and we are silent because of our shame.”
I’ve never forgotten neither her testimony of God’s amazing grace nor her warning of the many women who may be–and no doubt are–suffering, hurting, grieving, all in silence because of abortion.
In her book Cradle My Heart: Finding God’s Love After Abortion, author Kim Ketola offers hope to those crushed under the weight of post-abortive guilt and condemnation. Sharing her own story of abortion and the forgiveness and grace she found in Christ, Ketola speaks the truth in love and humility, graciously holding out the word of life and the hope of the gospel.
And it is truth that Ketola speaks. I admit to a little wariness prior to reading the book. So much of what is offered Christian women is really self help fluff that does no more than seek to soothe hurt feelings and thus grants no help whatsoever! In contrast Ketola speaks directly and honestly, identifying abortion as murder and sin in no uncertain terms; yet she does so with heartfelt compassion. Over and over she testifies of the grace and forgiveness that can only come through Christ and that this is the only hope for the post abortive woman. Repent and believe God’s love, she asserts.
Ketola also encourages women who find new life through the gospel to be bold and courageous enough to share their testimonies of redemption, much as my friend did in my living room so many years ago. Women need to know the good news that Jesus saves–all women, indeed, including women anguishing in silent shame because of the horror of their abortion.
I’m not without my critiques of the book, however slight they may be. In each chapter Ketola relates an incident from the Bible employing modern day scenarios. For example the crippled man at the pool of Bethseda (John 5) is “Wheelchair Man” in Ketola’s story. No doubt it’s a matter of personal opinion but I’d rather just have the Scripture! Also, at the end of each chapter Ketola offers a prayer and some action points to consider in response to that chapter’s truths. Some of the prayers are somewhat more “familiar” than my prayers may be: “Lord, how I wish you were present physically so I could touch you and show you my great love. I would kiss your feet and stroke your hand. I would ask you where you got such a big heart, how it can hold so much love.”
One response point at the end of a chpater made the statement that perhaps the reader knows she’s been forgiven but she still needs to make Jesus the Lord of her life. I found this quite interesting–not to mention theologically questionable–because she never employed such language in the chapter, a chapter incidentally on faith and believing the truth of gospel forgiveness.
A couple of minor points, as I said, but on the whole this is a compassionate and tender plea to women devastated by abortion to believe the gospel and to find hope and healing in Christ.
Many thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group for providing the review copy of Cradle My Heart in exchange for my honest review. As part of the blog tour, the book’s publisher Kregel will be hosting a live webcast event on September 20 at 8 PM EDT featuring authors Kim Ketola (Cradle My Heart), Teske Drake (Hope for Today, Promises for Tomorrow), and Dawn Scott Jones (When a Woman You Love Was Abused). From the press release,
The webcast will allow women to come together to share their struggles and fears in order to move toward healing and hope. Women will able to support one another and discuss shared experiences in a non-threatening, open and loving environment. To register for the event, just click here.