Friday, December 1, 2023

Part 1 of an #Interview with Camille Cates, Author of Moving Forward After Abortion

 

Part 1 of an Interview with
Camille Cates, Author of
Moving Forward After Abortion

Even though each woman’s story is different, the challenges that follow an abortion can be similar. Counselor Camille Cates has spent nearly three decades counseling women and helping them to answer these questions. In Moving Forward after Abortion: Finding Comfort in God, she speaks to women who may be facing hurt, confusion, and unanswered questions after an abortion, helping them find grace and mercy in God’s love. She helps readers to see that God is forgiving, gracious, merciful, and loving and offers comfort to those who come to him to experience restoration instead of brokenness.

 

Q: Could you share a little bit of your own story and why you have such compassion for women who have had an abortion?

 

I was twelve years old when I came to know Christ while I was at a summer church youth camp. But I went home after that experience and didn’t have any one-on-one discipleship. My family life wasn’t really centered on Christ and no one taught me how to cultivate my relationship with Christ. 

 

When I got into high school, I began dating and became sexually active. Midway through my junior year, I became pregnant. The young man with whom I became pregnant didn’t want anything to do with me or the baby, so I was on my own. My parents eventually found out that I was pregnant and my mom asked me if I wanted to have an abortion. I told her, “No. I want to keep my baby.” Thankfully, my parents were supportive, I graduated a year early, and two weeks after my baby was born, I began college full-time.

 

I was trying to get my life back on track but still craved a romantic relationship and wanted my daughter to have a father. I began dating another young man who seemed to care about me and my daughter, and our families had similar values. We became sexually active, and I became pregnant again. We were considering getting married, but when my parents found out, they began pressuring me to have an abortion and questioned how we were going to raise two children while we did not even have stable careers yet.

 

However, we never came to a decision together as my boyfriend next did something that turned my world upside down. One evening, he was watching her while I was at work. My mom came up to my workplace and told me that I had to come to the hospital because something had happened to my daughter. I found out that he had sexually assaulted her and had shaken her to death. She was gone. He was arrested, and I was alone . . . and pregnant.

 

We hadn’t even left the hospital yet and my parents started pressuring me to have an abortion. The days after my daughter’s death were a blur. I really wrestled with the Lord and was drowning in grief and confusion. I succumbed to the pressure and had an abortion four days after burying my daughter.

 

My life spiraled for a few years, but God brought me back around to him and his faithful love. I ended up getting married, but my previous abortion was wreaking havoc on our marriage. God evidenced his love and grace to me again when he helped me to find biblical healing through a Bible study written to help women who have had an abortion.

 

Seeing God work so incredibly in my life through his Word really fostered compassion in me for other women who have had an abortion to experience hope and healing in Christ. I began to share my story with others as well as how the gospel of Jesus radically transformed my ashes into beauty for God’s glory.

 

Q: Each chapter addresses a common question that women ask following an abortion. What are some of those questions you cover in the book?

 

There are seven chapters, and each chapter title asks a different question that so many women I have counseled have asked:

Who Can I Turn to after My Abortion? is meant to guide women on the importance of seeking help first and foremost from God, then being able to share their thoughts and struggles with a trusted friend, pastor, or counselor.

 

Is God Going to Punish Me for My Abortion? is a prominent question in the hearts and minds of women who have had an abortion. This question is answered by looking at God’s nature, his care for his children, and his goal to change us to be more like Christ, not punish us in anger.

 

Why Can’t I Just Move On? was meant to address why many people who have experienced abortion feel stuck. The reason this happens is often due to trying to justify their decision to abort. I explore what God’s Word says about the desires behind their abortion so that they can begin moving forward.

 

Will I Ever Stop Feeling This Way? discusses the complexities of emotions a woman (or man) feels after an abortion and how to work through and respond biblically instead of either being driven by their emotions or feeling numb in trying to suppress them.

 

What Do I Do with These Thoughts about the Baby? guides the reader to biblically process their grief and aids them in acknowledging and celebrating the personhood of his or her aborted baby.

 

Why Am I Struggling with Forgiveness? exposes the myth of self-forgiveness, which many women have believed is essential to moving forward after abortion. Instead, it helps them to believe in and accept God’s forgiveness. Additionally, this chapter encourages the reader to extend forgiveness to those who were involved in the abortion decision.

 

How Do I Leave My Abortion in the Past? Helps the reader identify how the past might be affecting the present, especially within marriage, parenting, and sexual purity. It also leads them to discover the importance of sharing their testimony of what God has done to heal (sanctify) them from their abortion.

 

Q: Of course, we focus on the stories and emotions of the women who have had abortions, but what about the men you refer to as the forgotten fathers?

 

Abortion impacts men too, the forgotten fathers of an abortion decision. Whether they pressured the mother of their child to have an abortion or they were helpless as she made the choice without considering how it would affect him, men need to biblically process their abortion experiences too. They are often hurting and live with incredible guilt and shame, and many have the same questions that the women do but they have never been able to voice them to anyone. It’s important to remember that both the mother and father are impacted by the sin of abortion.

 

Q: Many women who become Christians after having an abortion fear that God will punish them for what they did. What encouragement do you offer them in letting go of that fear?

 

In Moving Forward after Abortion, I challenge the reader to consider the nature of God. It’s important to understand that God doesn’t punish us as our sins deserve because judgment fell on Jesus on the cross. It’s vital to understand the difference between punishment and God’s design for discipline in our lives. He disciplines his children because he loves us. “Is God Going to Punish Me for My Abortion?” is a great chapter to dig in to find comfort from God’s Word by looking at his loving nature and discovering how he sees us in spite of our sin.

 

Q: Can you talk about the importance of acknowledging and grieving your baby?

 

Some women and men who have experienced abortion never acknowledged their baby. They seem to think only of the abortion as an act that occurred. It’s as if they have never stopped to reflect on the nature and personhood of their baby or even the fact that it was their baby that was aborted. For those who had abortions further in the past, it could have been harder to think about abortion as ending the life of their child because ultrasound technology was not very advanced and it was not as easy to see the personhood of their unborn child (especially when they were coached to believe it was a simple cluster of cells). Now we have advanced technology that enables us to see the features of a baby in the womb and know that a heartbeat, brainwaves, and more occur at a very early age of gestation. Not only that, but from Scripture we see that life begins at conception. The Bible relates conception to personhood. In the Old Testament, the word conception means to be “with child.” In the New Testament, the word root word for conception means “to receive a person.” 

 

Acknowledging that abortion caused the death of your baby brings the freedom of being able to grieve the loss of that child. For many who chose abortion, they don’t believe they have a right to grieve over their loss because they caused it. But it is good and right to grieve over what God grieves over and he grieves the loss of your baby. He welcomes you to grieve with him over that loss and to let him comfort you as only he can.

Moving Forward after Abortion: Finding Comfort in God

Ask the Christian Counselor Series

By Camille Cates

September 5, 2023 / Retail Price: $11.99

Print ISBN: 978-1-64507-312-3

RELIGION/Christian Ministry/Counseling & Recovery

Click here for the full interview.

Read a Preview

About the Author

Camille Cates is a biblical counselor and a public speaker with a passion for ministering to women in crisis. She has written and spoken extensively on the topics of pregnancy care ministry, post-abortion trauma counseling, sexual abuse, and God’s design for sex and sexuality. 

 

She is the author of Moving Forward after Abortion and the minibook Pregnancy Crisis: This Wasn’t the Plan

 

Cates and her husband, Troy, have three adult children and reside in the metro Cincinnati, OH area. 

 

Learn more about Camille Cates and her story at www.agrittygospellife.com. You can also find her on Facebook (A Gritty Gospel Life) and Instagram (@agrittygospellife).






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