RACHEL VINEYARD TESTIMONIES
“Going through the motions” is the only way to describe my life prior to a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat. I attended Mass, but did not feel “worthy” enough to be there. I prayed, but felt that God had turned His back on me and I miscarried some pregnancies, believing that was my “punishment” for my two abortions.
Was I ever wrong! I went to the retreat and, as scared and nervous as I was, found healing, love and profound forgiveness. Of all the three words I just used, healing was probably the most prevalent in my mind. You do go back – you do recall things – but you get a sense of love and warmth from the staff and helpers and you feel so protected by them.
I will never forget what I went through with my abortions, and although I sometimes still cry for my babies, I feel worthy of God’s love and forgiveness as I sit with my head held high at Mass on Sunday believing that I deserve to be there.
For anyone contemplating a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat, I can only say what the Nike slogan says: Just do it. You will never regret your decision and will come out of it a better, more whole person inside.
Rachel’s Vineyard retreat (RVR) weekend played a key role in my post-abortive healing process. I was very nervous and apprehensive about attending a RVR weekend mainly because I knew I would be dealing with very painful, suppressed feelings and memories. I was afraid of sharing my experience with complete strangers! All my pre-retreat worries and apprehensions quickly dissolved very early on in the retreat. I felt nothing but love and acceptance from the RVR team, other retreatants, and above all, Jesus, during the entire retreat weekend.
I was given the option to share my story in a group setting and found it very therapeutic as it was the first time I could talk about my experiences with a group who understood what I went through, because they went through it as well. I was actually able to grieve for the first time and focus on continuing the healing process. The RVR weekend was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself! I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulder and now I can finally (after 10 years) start moving on with my life! My healing process is not over but I’m sure heading in the right direction!
To My Precious Little Ones
If only I had known back then the things I know today
I would have never let you go, or taken your life away
I thought that it would be better for you if I took the road I chose
Twenty years have taught me things and only heaven knows
The sorrow that lives within my soul and never goes away
Oh how I wish I’d had the strength to be with you today
Through all this pain and sorrow, I finally see God’s light
He has taken care of you while I have lived this plight
I’ve prayed to Him every day to forgive this sin so deep
And having heard my daily prayers, your souls for me he keeps
So now the time has come to finally hold my lost babies near
To tell you that I love you so and then return you to His care
I wish that I had had the strength to make a better choice
I wish that I had had the faith to hear my inner voice
I ask you for forgiveness as I’ve asked our Lord above
And through His perfect mercy he’s filled my heart with love
Please know my little babies all my love & hope remain
With you my precious little ones until we’re joined again
So many of us who have had abortions have struggled for years as to where we can go with all the hurt and hell we have been left with. We never thought that one tragic act could ever result in the tremendous loneliness and sorrow that was placed in our arms. We should have been bouncing them on our knees, and diapering them, and enjoying the scent of their freshly bathed bodies.
We never could have imagined how hard it would be without them. They never told you that. They tell you to go to the emergency room if you begin to bleed heavy, or it’s only a mass of tissue, or that will be $300 please. And so begins the lie.
But for awhile, we feel relieved. It’s over. We can get on with our lives. And so we do. And then one day something sets it off. It could be the sight of a pregnant woman, children going off to school, your sister’s birth of her second son and then KABOOM! Something breaks from deep inside and begins to seep into every fiber of your being. It is the moment we were separated, the moment they took them from us. The horror rushes in, the terror takes over. We want to tell someone. We try to tell someone.
We get answers we try to make sense of. “You didn’t do anything wrong”, “It wasn’t really a baby”, “Maybe you need to be on antidepressants”, “My sister had one last week and she is fine”, “Maybe you’re crazy.”
…For me the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat was a chance to connect with other women… I struggled with the idea of not going on the week-end retreat. Good thing I was given the right words to get me to the retreat. I had no idea what to expect, I only felt relieved that I could say what I wanted to about something I was never allowed to speak about…. The place was inspiring. God’s presence was definitely there. The food was delicious although it was hard to eat for many of us.
We wanted to be healed. We wanted to go further. We wanted to undo what we had done so many years ago. We never could undo the catastrophe, but we could be healed, we could go further… our priest was brilliant… He took us beyond the tears to life and wholeness.
I can’t even begin to tell you all the healing things we did that week-end… I will always remember the total relief and ability to be who I truly am in an atmosphere of support and common ground. For me, Rachel’s Vineyard was the “Place to Heal”…