Unmarried and pregnant at age 18, Sue Liljenberg chose to end her unborn child’s life. Over the next 10 years, she went into a tailspin of guilt, loss, and shame.
Then a coworker, who did not know about Sue’s abortion, lovingly told her that we can be forgiven because Christ paid the penalty for our sins when He died on the Cross. Sue couldn’t believe anyone would want to forgive her, but the Lord broke through and changed her heart.
When we understand the ultimate source of our problem—that Adam’s sin marred all of us—it is easier to understand that we need help from outside ourselves.
About a year after her conversion, Sue’s conscience again tormented her. “I know God can forgive me,” she thought, “but how can He forgive me for that?” She intensely studied the Bible and found healing that freed her from the guilt and shame.
Soon Sue began to share with other post-abortive women what she had learned. She saw they still struggled with anger and bitterness and needed the same answers from God’s Word, starting in Genesis. When we understand the ultimate source of our problem—that Adam’s sin marred all of us—it is easier to understand that we need help from outside ourselves. And we can get that help in Christ. These women needed to hear more than just advice. Sue believed they needed to hear the many rich teachings of Scripture speaking directly to their brokenness so they could heal.
“Just talking about it doesn’t heal them, like it didn’t heal me. Searching out God’s Word for myself is what actually healed me,” Sue says. Eventually she decided to write a Bible study, Binding up the Brokenhearted, specifically for post-abortive women.
Binding up the Brokenhearted is a counselor-guided study that requires women to examine their hearts closely in the light of God’s Word. The study focuses participants’ minds on who God is and who we are. He is the Creator and Savior, and we are fallen sinners. Sue had struggled to understand how she could ever kill her own child. But a light bulb went on when she heard the truths of Genesis. “I did it because I was a sinner,” she realized.
As Sue ministered to women through her Bible study and God’s grace and love brought healing into their lives, they wanted to help other women. So Sue developed a training program to equip women to disciple others dealing with the same guilt.
Almost 20 years ago her Bible study and training program became Healing Hearts Ministries. It not only ministers to women directly through online counseling but also helps train women in churches to minister through Bible study and discipleship, motivated by God’s grace and centered on the gospel.
For many churches and pastors, abortion is a difficult issue. But Sue believes our churches are full of wounded people who can and must be helped. They have found forgiveness in Christ, but they have not yet experienced the healing available to them. Sue says, “Healing involves sanctification; it’s a process. Christians are forgiven, but they can still be really broken and wounded.” Healing Hearts strives to bridge that gap.
God has forgiven, and He desires to heal all the emotional and physical scars from our sins, no matter how grievous. “Abortion is sin, but when we repent, Jesus forgives completely,” Sue says. “Understanding that is when restoration and healing begins.”