Eeleah. I am so incredibly blown away with the choice you have made to live your life for others. Your creativity and passion to see restoration and healing to young women is so beautiful to watch naturally pour out of the way you live and the ministry you invest into. May you continue to see God's hand of favor and blessing over every aspect of My Life Centre as well as your personal walk with God and your relationship with Tim.
By Eeleah Cummins
Depression. Eating disorders. Anxiety. Unplanned pregnancy. Cyber Bullying. Negative self/body image. Unhealthy dating relationships. Sexual identity crisis. Sex. Rape. Self harm. Abortion. Drugs and alcohol. Improper use of social medias. Lack of positive role models. Fatherlessness. Abuse....
Where do we even start?
Sometimes when I reflect on all of the issues and battles that young women face today, I feel overwhelmed, hopeless, and defeated. When did life become so complex? So many layers of issues and problems...where do we even start to deal with things? Where do we even start to heal and recover?
I had a young girl come into my office recently seeking help. I work at a small charity that offers free and confidential services for young women such as unplanned pregnancy support, mentoring for low self esteem and unhealthy relationships, after abortion care, school programs and more. This young woman had booked an appointment for After Abortion Care. I did the usual initial intake form, gathering basic information. Then I asked her what her story was.
Kara* grew up in a home with a mom with mental illness. Her mom had recently just attempted suicide and was dealing with depression. Kara herself struggled with depression and used drugs to cope. Kara had gotten pregnant a couple years ago, which ended in an abortion. She had booked an appointment with me to talk about her recent abortion, which was a couple months ago. She didn't want to do another abortion, but she felt trapped in her circumstance. Her mother threatened her, that if she kept her baby, she would get worse, maybe even kill herself. Kara obviously cared about her mother and didn't want to add more stress to her already fragile state. So, Kara chose to abort her baby. The deep regret and guilt she felt inside was overwhelming. Not only from her choice, but from all the years of struggles with her family, her mother's mental illness, other issues in her own life... It was layer upon layer of life's tragedies, struggles, and consequences of choices... As she sits across from me desperate for help and support, I listen attentively and lovingly, knowing that I could have been in her shoes... that in a sense, I am Kara. Sure, I haven't made the same choices or grown up in the same home etc., but I'm not near perfect. I've been poor decisions in my life, as we all have.
Everyone has a story. Sometimes our stories are made up of a series of events that are the result of our own choices... and sometimes they are result of someone else's choices that have affected us - negative or positive. Some things are beyond our control, and other things, we have to power to make the choice.
I heard a quote once that said, "Our choices dictate our future". Not just our choices with what to eat, or what career we go into, or what we do with an unborn child.. but also choices like how to treat someone after they have mistreated us... or how we choose to forgive others, or if we choose to deal with issues in our life that we would rather shove under the rug.
So, what do we do when we have a friend who has a complex ray of issues? or what if we do ourselves? Where do we even begin?
If you are a Christian, then you ask God to reveal to you which issue He wants you to deal with first. And you ask, how does God do that? Sometimes we have to take the first step in our journey in order for God to have the liberty to reveal things. By this I mean, joining a support group like 12 Step or attending Celebrate Recovery. Programs like these give opportunities for us to dig deep into our lives, to get to the root of the problem. We become open and honest with others in a safe environment. We hear stories from others who struggle too. There is great strength in the body of Christ when we become the church Jesus intended us to be: The Bride of Christ that heals, restores, and loves the way Jesus has first healed, restored and loved us. I myself have attended groups such as these and have found great hope. I have also discovered things that I never knew about myself and my behaviours, or things I had thought I had dealt with appropriately. God continues to reveal things to me in my life that are out of line or broken. God will reveal things to you in time, and your healing journey begins with the step of reaching out. Of course other programs such as individual counselling and therapy, are great resources to aid in your journey as well.
If you are not a Christian, or still figuring things out for yourself which spiritual journey you want to embark on, the suggestions above are remotely the same. If you feel that you have several issues, think about which one is in your head most of the time (currently). Maybe it's a past abortion, or abuse, or self hate... whatever it may be. Start there.. seek out support groups (even church programs, you can attend if you don't believe everything; they will welcome you regardless), counselling, community centres etc. The worst thing we can do is keep things inside. Barbara Wilson, from the book 'The Invisible Bond' says, "Avoidance blocks healing.". A no-brainer... but so often we avoid our feelings and struggles without even consciously thinking of it.
It takes a lot of courage... I mean a lot of courage to take the first step - every muscle in your body, every ounce of energy, and every muster of strength you have. But the rewards of healing far outweigh the anxiety you feel on the first couple meetings or appointments.
See, for Kara, she needed healing in regards to her most current abortion. That is what was on her mind. Although, unplanned pregnancy is often a result of deeper issues inside. Abortion was a by-product of many years of struggles, pain, heartache, unhealthy beliefs and choices. But, she made the first step in reaching out, knowing she could not heal on her own. None of us can heal on our own.
We are all in need of authentic love.
We are all Kara's.
*name has been changed to protect confidentiality.
To find out more about My Life Centre and/or After Abortion Care, or to donate, please visit: www.mylifecentre.ca
*name has been changed to protect confidentiality.