The theme of this year’s Answers for Women conference is Embrace: Compassionate Answers in a Fallen World. As I explained in my earlier post on the conference, we want to help women understand the effects of sin in our fallen world (in addition to confronting people about their sin) and offer practical help and hope based on God’s Word and found in Jesus Christ. I am very pleased that Camille Cates, Youth Division Director with Healing Hearts International, will present her story about abortion and help us know how to minister to those burdened with the sin of abortion. This is what Camille had to say about her testimony and ministry:
As I have had the privilege of getting to know Camille over the last several years, I know her heart and am confident that you will be equipped and encouraged by her presentation. Register today to take advantage of the early bird special (ends February 1st) and remember the price includes a two-day Creation Museum admission for attendee, spouse, and children.
My heart felt like it was doing jumping jacks in my chest as my husband and I walked into our pastor’s office to meet with him and his wife. What were they going to think of me after I told them my story? Would they want my husband to resign his youth ministry position at church? How could they continue to have a woman with a past like mine mentoring teenage girls?
The Lord brought to mind my Bible reading that morning: “Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good” (Psalm 25:7, NIV). I simply had to tell them about the incredible healing I experienced over the last 3 months working through the post-abortion Bible study with my Healing Hearts Ministries counselor. How could I keep silent anymore, like nothing had happened, while I knew others around me were still hurting?
Feeling my husband’s hand on mine, I began to share with our pastor and his wife that I had an abortion at age 19 from a previous relationship while in college. Instead of being condemned and rejected by the godly people sitting across from us, I found Christ-like love and acceptance. Not only that, but they wanted to support my training to lead Healing Hearts’ Bible studies for women in our church.
Next, they asked me to share my testimony with the congregation. Once again, I was received with open arms, many coming to me privately afterwards and sharing their own sin struggles. I ached to see them set free from the pain of the past and embrace hope and healing through Jesus. For many who went through the Bible study, freedom was found!
Abortion is still rarely discussed in the church today. Unfortunately, even more seldom will you hear of an offer to help those who have been effected by their decision to abort their unborn child, or their involvement in an abortion. This is unbelievably difficult to understand when the most recent statistic for professing Christian women (Protestant) who have had at least one abortion is 37%.* This is more than 1 out of 3 women sitting in the pews on Sunday. However, I do not believe the reason for this is because the Church is calloused or indifferent, but because they often don’t realize how to share compassionate answers.
For nearly twenty years working with Healing Hearts Ministries, I have seen God reach hurting women of every age and background, churched and unchurched, by the power of His Word and through the gospel of Jesus Christ, embracing them with His great love. I am honored and excited to share from God’s Word how we can reach out to embrace hurting women more effectively than ever before at the upcoming Answers for Women Conference—Embrace: Compassionate Answers in a Fallen World. I look forward to seeing you there!
Camille Cates is the Youth Division Director for Healing Hearts Ministries International. She is the author of First Love: Embracing a Love that Lasts available through www.healinghearts.org/youth. As a public speaker, Camille has been the keynote presenter for various Pregnancy Care Center and women's ministry events. She is currently pursuing biblical counseling certification through ACBC (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors). Camille and her husband, Troy, have three children together and reside in the Cincinnati, Ohio metro area.
Keep fighting the good fight of the faith!
* Rachel K. Jones, Lawrence B. Finer, and Susheela Singh, “Characteristics of U.S. Abortion Patients, 2008,” Guttmacher Institute, May 2010, http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/US-Abortion-Patients.pdf.