"When God heals your heart, the enemy doesn't want you healed." -- Machelle Montgomery, who aborted her baby at 15 and went on to experience forgiveness through Jesus Christ and a full family.
Brad: This is Brad Lindeman for the In Business for Life podcast, welcome. Reaching, living victims of abortion, and setting them free through the forgiveness, faith, and freedom that only God can give us is essential to re-establishing a culture of life in America. Few have done more to do just that then has our next guest, Machelle Montgomery. Machelle leads the abortion recovery ministry of the Indianapolis pregnancy help center that goes by the name of Life Centers, a ministry that I'm very, very familiar with. And Machelle, you truly are a life-minded hero of mine. Welcome to the In Business for Life podcast.
Machelle: Thank you Brad.
Brad: Since the Roe V. Wade decision legalizing abortion on January 22nd, 1973, over 60 million innocent and defenseless American lives have been lost to abortion, but the tragedy doesn't end there. Conservative estimates tell us there are another 60 million-plus posted aborted women and men living with a wide variety of negative consequences, hence the reference to “living victims.” Having personally ministered to hundreds of these living victims, Machelle, what are the most natural and common consequences you've seen them experiencing?
Machelle: Well, you know, Brad, when I think about natural consequences, there are many natural consequences from allowing someone to take the life of our children. And as I began to look and as we begin to heal and allow God to do that work, he let us see just a little bit into what that natural consequence is and there are several, several. I can't just even say one. But one of the things I think that the Lord has allowed me to see from a personal standpoint are the generations that are lost; it's generation after generation, after generation.
Brad: So we're not in an individual situation. It's not just the one life that's lost. It's the generations that would have come from that life as well. Is that what you're saying?
Brad: Wow, that's heavy. So, what do you see? You deal mainly with women, but we also deal with men through the ministry, are there some common threads among them?
Machelle: Absolutely. When we allow someone to again, take the life of our children, we cannot undo what we've allowed someone to do. You know, if you go to the store and you take a candy bar, you can go to the store later and say, you know what? I did this, here's a dollar, whatever it is. With abortion, it takes the life. We cannot undo that. And then to come into a realization of that, you cannot, this is where you have to have healing. If not, we exist and we do not live
Brad: Exist, but do not live. Oh my goodness, yes. Well, clearly the name of the abortion recovery ministry you lead, provide some insight into how best to help these post-aborting people. It's called Spiritually Oriented Abortion Recovery, also known as SOAR. I love that name. What are the keys to SOAR's success Machelle, and leading abortions, living victims, towards recovery?
Machelle: You know, Brad, one of our ladies that went through this program years ago when it was called Grace, and then the name was changed to SOAR and GRACE was God's Real Acceptance, Compassion, and Encouragement. And then of course, like you just said, with SOAR; Spiritually Oriented Abortion Recovery. And I love what she said. She said, “Machelle, I feel like we've been given grace to soar.” But the quote-unquote success to that would be Jesus. Brad we cannot do this without him. In one of our retreats one time, the spirit of God was so heavy, His presence was so heavy, and as I looked around and women were weeping, we were all weeping actually, and just on the floor, all of us, the facilitators; the participants. And it's so reminded me the disciples; just they're sitting in the presence of the Lord. So when I would say that, I mean, it really, I mean, we make these plans and we have an agenda, but truly it is the Lord that does the work.
Brad: I have to agree. It's impossible to find the forgiveness and then the freedom that follows, but for Jesus. This is just so true. And Machelle, I have personally been privileged to witness on many occasions firsthand, how you lovingly ministered to these living victims with such great empathy and compassion, and I know that emanates from a deep, personal place. Would you mind briefly just sharing your own abortion story that called you into this amazing recovery ministry that you lead today?
Machelle: Well, you know, Brad, my abortion has been now 40 years ago and when we walked into the abortion clinic, really not knowing that life and our lives would forever be changed. I think about that often. And my mom, we went in together and I had really no idea that her life would be forever changed as well as mine. And for many years did not deal with my abortion in a positive way. It was a very negative way, and then came to Christ and I'm kind of shortened this up; came to Christ at age 21, and that was the first thing it's like, Oh God, forgive me of my abortion, and (I) married a man who actually invited me to church. We kind of come from two different sides of the track, and when I married him, I didn't tell him about my abortion.
He obviously knew about my son, Brandon because, after my abortion 15, I was pregnant again at 16, (and I) had my son. So there was just a lot going on. I mean, he knew I had issues, obviously, but not to the degree in which he would soon find out. So long story short, you know, when God wants to heal your heart, the enemy doesn't want you healed, so there becomes this crazy warfare. And at the time being a young believer, I didn't understand it, but God began to bring me through and bring me to people who just loved on me in our church. And that ended up being a breaking point to where God began, that healing process.
Brad: And this man you're referring to, I believe his name is Steve. Am I correct?
Machelle: Yes, Steve and we've been married now 32 years. And you know, Brad, he's there at the memorials. He supports me. He has loved me through this.
Brad: I tell you what; just being around you guys is a blessing. And I have really, really grown to love and appreciate Steve, and can definitely see the critical role that he played at that time in your life. One thing as you said so clearly, you know, the only real solution is the forgiveness that comes through Jesus. But I know in counseling with the women and the men, even after accepting Christ’s forgiveness, it's so difficult for so many to forgive themselves. What would you tell them, Machelle?
Machelle: Well, I think of it kind of like, there are several different examples in God's word. And I was thinking of Peter this morning. You know, when you do something that you cannot undo, and he did. His reaction was to deny Christ. And when that eye contact is, when you come to that place, it’s like, “Oh God, I cannot undo what I just done.” But I love God's word, how He always, just like Peter, "do you love me?"
"Peter do you love me?"
"Peter, do you love me?"
“Then go and go feed my sheep.”
And so when you think about that, that's really, you know, this healing is for us Brad, but it's not just for us, it's for others. And I would say, “Come on, come with me, come to that place of freedom; come to that place.” Not that it's all unicorns and rainbows. You know, we walk through natural consequences. Sometimes they're difficult, and as one of our facilitators says, “it stings,” but we're not paralyzed anymore. The enemy cannot paralyze us anymore. And we will walk with Christ to go feed those sheep.
Brad: Wow, what a beautiful picture. And don't you love that some of Jesus's final words were addressing the very ones that put him on that cross? And he said, “Father, forgive them for, they know not what they do.” And those words so directly apply to post abortive men and women, do they not?
Machelle: Right, they do. They do.
Brad: So we've got a post-abortive woman, we know this by some means. I can't explain how, but we've got 30 seconds in an elevator. This may be your only shot. What do you say to her?
Machelle: You know, I would just say, come, come; come to that place with us. Again, it is just come. Don't stay in that existence. Come and live and see what the Lord has. See what he has.
Brad: Does that invitation change at all if it's a man, a post-aborted man in that elevator?
Machelle: No, it does not. That is for everyone to come, come to him. Just like you said, come to him. He wants to heal our heart. Now is the time. Now is the time for that.
Brad: I particularly have a heart for the man because I just believe the data's pretty clear, the influence that that male partner has upon an abortion-vulnerable woman at her greatest time of need. And there's that classic statement that we hear so often where he might say to her, “I'll support you in whatever you decide.” What would you like to tell the man making such a statement?
Machelle: I think I would like to say, just add a word to that—support her in life. Even if the two of them are not together, even if they do not stay together, if he would just simply say, “I will be there for you. We may not get married. We may not continue this relationship, but I will be there for you and this baby.” That makes such a difference. That kind of support makes the world of a difference. And then, the flip side to that, Brad, is there are women who abort, who have never shared with the father of the baby.
Machelle: Or they'll share afterwards and that's devastating to men. So it's a difficult situation on both, but if men would just say, “Hey, wait, I'll support a decision of life. That would make a difference.
Brad: Yeah, boy, wouldn't it though? Yeah, it occurred to me, we have often hear the worn-out phrase of “woman's right to choose.” But beyond this, “I'll support you” kind of a thing…. As a father, that father has a right to an opinion, right?
Machelle: Right, should, yeah.
Brad: Really does. You know this is a 50/50 deal; admittedly, the woman now carries the heavier load, but in terms of responsibility, it's a 50/50 deal. So to just say whatever you want and not voice an opinion is kind of a cop-out. Machelle, you've probably got so many stories, it's difficult to pick one, but if you were to pick one abortion recovery story and give us the cliff notes version of that, which one would it be? Tell us about that story.
Machelle: You know, I was just talking-- you're right, there are so many, but one gal yesterday we were just sharing and I was sharing her story. She shares that publicly and she struggled. She had an abortion when she was, I believe, 18 and got married. Married five years, trying to have children, so she adopted then she was just having a lot of medical issues and had come through the program probably about nine years since marriage. Finally, she came through the program. She was wanting to be a counselor, and in order to do that, you would need to come through the program so we can make sure that you're safe in the counseling room and so is the client. But anyway, her doctors had even suggested that she have a hysterectomy on and on and on, but she didn't, and she thought she would just wait. So after she took and came through the program and released so much, she released this heaviness off of her. She came into the center, so she was counseling by then. She came into the center and she said, “I'm pregnant.” Brad, this was 10 years after marriage using no birth control, no nothing. So we call Maxi; his name's max. We call Maxi or little grace, baby.
Brad: That is so powerful. You know, I just realize as I was looking at my questions here, you referenced the program. We really didn't cover what you cover in that program. Can you give us about 30 seconds on that so our audience knows what the SOAR program is about fundamentally?
Machelle: Yeah, what the book is designed to do is to really bring you to God's word, to draw you closer to him. So for example, like the first chapter we use Linda Cochran's book Forgiven and Set Free, and we've used that for years. There were a lot of other books out there, but this has seemed to work very well because it was just packed full of God's word. But the first chapter we would go into would be, how do I know where I need healing because it ripples out? You know, just like we said, this starts to ripple; it's generation after generation. What have I done? How do I know? So it kind of brings it a little bit together. And then the next chapter is “The character of God.” Who is He? And I remember one lady, she said, “Machelle, if I didn't get that chapter, I couldn't have gone on through the rest of it.” So, you know we kind of peel back like an onion, or, God's word does. And then, there's relief and denial, forgiveness, I mean, on and on, but it will get to the core, it'll get to the core.
Brad: Well, and I can say having gone through the Memorial service that this all culminates in, and to see the countenance of the women from the beginning of that service to the end. And they've gone through weeks of the, of the curriculum that you just mentioned. But in the beginning of that series or that Memorial because it's rather somber at first, right? I mean, we're trying to put a stake in the ground from the grieving standpoint, but to see their countenance, literally, their faces change throughout that two hours or so. And by the time is over, they are literally beaming. And it's just such a blessing to see that change take place. Well, I don't know if I made this up Machelle, or if the Lord gave it to me, but as I added these things and tried to figure out how we can save more, the phrase came to me “When men man-up, women are freed up to follow their words.” What are your thoughts on that? Does that ring true to you?
Machelle: Yeah, like I said Brad, there are so many that come into the center and there are so many clients that we see and very few men. A lot of times men are scared and they run from this situation. But one thing, too, that I do, and I like to share this, and I don't know, Bernie [Lacy] may have shared this when he was on. But, he had shared a song and it's by Kenny Chesney and it's called There Goes My Life. So what I will do is I will share with those men, “Hey, look at this.” When they come in with her, “Hey, you guys, when you leave here, go check out this video; this song, There Goes My Life.” And I'm telling you, it's one of the most powerful. And we have had people come back and say, “I went and listened to that; makes a difference.”
Brad: Wow. Well, as we wrap up, let me just say this, you just made a difference. That's a very pleasant surprise because I was so touched by that song. I actually got in touch with Kenny Chesney's agent and tried to persuade them to do something very special on tour for the cause of life. And you inspired me to go back to the well on that one, so thank you, sister, I so appreciate that. That is an amazing, amazing song. Especially as you know, part of my story is one of our sons got his girlfriend pregnant when he was only 15. I saw him live that song, so thank you. Thank you so much for that reminder. Well, with that, we're going to wrap up this podcast with my life-minded hero, Machelle Montgomery, the director of the post-abortive SOAR Ministry with Life Centers, that's www.LifeCenters.com. If you'd like to go to their website and learn more about what they do. I believe part of what a business, people who are bold enough to stand proudly and publicly for life, I believe that the number one thing that they need to do is to support their local pregnancy help and resource centers, wherever they are. So I leave you with that challenge. And Machelle, thank you so much for spending some time with us today on the podcast.
Machelle: Thank you, Brad.
 Bernie Lacy interview from IBFL episode 5: https://www.inbusinessforlife.org/home/ibfl-podcast-ep20-03-bernie-lacy-of-litho-press-indianapolis.
 Kenny Chesney, “There Goes My Life.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xP-Sxfntdb4.