Transcript 19 Jan 2023 Abortion Healing Provider Webinar
Host: Lisa Rowe, CEO Support After Abortion


Lisa Rowe 1:56

Hello, everyone. Welcome to the first Abortion Healing Provider meeting of the new year. We are so glad you’re here. Thank you for coming today. We have a hungry group. I’m so excited to see all your faces. Thank you for making time today to be here with us. I know that the first month of the year is always busy, so it’s so meaningful that you would spend your time with us today.

As many of you know, my name is Lisa Roe. I have the privilege of serving as the CEO for Support After Abortion. I am really excited about today’s message because it’s so important, especially as we’re looking at the beginning of the year. We’re assessing what went well last year. We’re looking at our health goals and our vision boards. And I am going to speak to every single one of you. I know that everybody is coming to this meeting today with something that either they tried already to change and that’s already fallen off because you had that piece of cake last night, or you’re really working on doing something different, keeping that boundary, taking hold of a new habit. And it just seems to be that this month always has that in store for our culture. So we felt like it would be really important to talk to you about what it is to serve from a full cup. What does it really mean to be a healthy helper today?

And I have the awesome opportunity to do these conversations often because as a clinician, I train interns. And it’s not uncommon for my interns to really struggle at times with our clients. Usually when they are struggling, it’s not because they don’t know what to do. It’s because something about that interaction with that client triggered a part of them that has yet to be healed.

So I want to just draw our attention to what that might look like for us and our practices in abortion healing and serving others who may also struggle with this. I know at times I have just felt so tired and drained that I couldn’t give another minute of myself to one more person. Or I got really snippy or short with a client. I think the worst is when I had a client text me and ask, “Are you okay today?” It was a real eye opening experience to think, what did she see that I didn’t know about myself? 

Hopefully today’s meeting will carry some of these practical, self-evaluating experiences for you as you journey forward in 2023. I’m going to use a presentation to help me articulate most of what I’m sharing today. But then I’m going to ask you if you’re open, to be vulnerable, to share with us if you can relate to this message. Partly because when we can see ourselves in someone else, it is very validating… when you know that people on this call struggle with something that you struggle with. Maybe it’s that imposter syndrome that we walk with, or that pride that we walk with. Our ego starts to dismantle, and our vulnerability allows us to grow.

Why Do We Serve?

I want to start with these conversations that some of us face as we’re working with our clients. Why do we serve? Why did you choose to take an hour out of your time today? To get better at what you do, to be a part of a community that is yearning to grow and affect change in abortion healing. We all have our own reasons. We all have a why. And here are some of them that we hear throughout our journey.

When I had an unplanned pregnancy, I felt so scared and alone. I want to protect other people from that experience. 

I believe God called me to do this. 

My daughter died from SIDS at a year old. When I was having a hard time, a nurse helped me. 

I want to give back. I want to serve, to feel better about my life. 

Maybe, I didn’t have anybody there for me, and I don’t want that to be another person’s story or When I was getting divorced and experienced X, this particular neighbor stepped in in a place that I really needed, and I want to do that for somebody else. 

We all have those experiences. I want us to start with truly capturing that before we move on to the next slide. Maybe you have a little sticky note on the back of an envelope, whatever that is. When you think about why you serve, don’t think about it for too long. I want you to think about what is your reason? Why did you come to today’s call? What is your reason for serving? Let’s capture that. 3 seconds. Write it down. Take a minute to really contemplate that.

In the chat feature, some providers shared their “Why”:

After my abortion I was desperately seeking support that didn’t have a religious agenda.  I wanted to be the therapist people felt comfortable to reach out to without fear of being shamed or judged.

I had an abortion when I was in my teens. I want to share with others so they perhaps can avoid going through what I did.

I know the way abortion destroyed my life and the healing God brought me. I want to share that with others who need healing. 

If you’re having to really stretch yourself about why you do what you do, I want you to really be open to why it’s so hard for you to identify that. But for most of you, you’ve figured it out and you know why.

Are You Pouring From an Empty or Full Cup?

Now you’ll see a picture of a cup that’s overflowing and a cup that’s empty.

You’ve heard this analogy before. We want to pour from a full cup. We can’t give from an empty cup. But perhaps this message might sound a little different today as I think about the times in my life when my cup has been absolutely empty.

It wasn’t because I wasn’t feeling good. It wasn’t because I didn’t have money in my bank account. It wasn’t for all the tangible things that our world would say. It was for all the invisible things that nobody else knew about unless I talked about them.

It was that I had been silently stuffing the pain of a relationship that failed and didn’t talk to anybody about it. The things that emptied my cup that were invisible might have been that I yelled at my daughter before she went to bed, and I didn’t want anybody to know about it. Or that I cheated a customer out of X, Y and Z money to pay for something that I wanted. Again, invisible. Nobody saw it. I had been cutting my wrists and nobody knew about it; I wore long sleeves to work. I had been drinking wine every night for the last 30 days to try to numb the pain of this relationship that failed again. That’s where in my life I have realized the emptiness comes from.

We don’t often understand in those moments that that is depleting our cup. We are in robot mode where we are trying to survive the pain. And many of us, because we are serving from a place of brokenness, because we do want people to not experience the pains that we did, sometimes end up trying to do both – trying to heal ourselves through these really broken places and trying to help other people.

And it just doesn’t work well. Because if we don’t have nourishment in our heart, if we don’t have nourishment in our cup, we can’t give to those people. So what did it look like as I started filling my cup? And don’t think for one second I have this figured out! I am very tired today, and I’m thinking about my week, and I haven’t worked out once this week. I haven’t gotten up early enough to do my morning time and not feel rushed in the morning. Those things, they take away from me. So as we think about the things that fill our cup, it might be just those things like physical exercise, mental health support, maybe it’s taking care of your space, keeping it organized. Maybe it’s eating well or having a structured financial plan. Maybe it’s giving to you in a way that serves you where you wake up in the morning, do these things and you feel full, like there’s something that’s overflowing that you can give to somebody else. If we’re really evaluating ourselves, how well are we taking care of ourselves?

If you’re anything like me, I have seasons where I’m taking great care of myself, and then I have seasons where I think I figured it all out and then I stopped taking care of myself. As we really look at what we did well in 2022 and how we are moving into 2023, I want you to really be mindful. Do you even know what fills your cup? Do you know what empties your cup?

Part of this journey is an understanding of, this is why I feel this way today, this is why I’m feeling tired. This is why I’m feeling like I can’t give anymore. This is why I feel irritated at that co-worker. But, if we don’t know why, because we’re not naming it, we struggle to treat it. It’s the same thing a doctor would say, I need a diagnosis in order to prescribe the prescription. So this image is so important for you to evaluate, because what is your diagnosis right now?

Are you living with a full cup? Are you doing all the things that you need to do to create the space to give? Or are there a lot of things in your life right now that are taking away, maybe because you intentionally are allowing them, or maybe because life has a lot of bumps in the road right now and you’re navigating them.

So let’s diagnose ourselves, so to speak, in this presentation so that we can move forward with the prescription, because sometimes it is easier than we make it seem. Perhaps I need to make that vulnerable phone call to my therapist and tell her I fell off the wagon and I need some help. Or I need to call that neighbor who I’ve been avoiding for the last three months to try to mitigate this pressure that’s between us and figure out the fence, whatever it might be. We don’t understand the heaviness of the things we carry until we start to look at them like this.

Pouring from an Empty Cup

So what happens when we pour from an empty cup? Well, many of you will think, Duh, I know this answer. But some of us need to see them named so that we can truly identify them.

Burnout or compassion fatigue is one of the largest things that comes with helping when you’re not helping yourself. I tell my interns, you cannot sit with other people’s junk until you sit with your own. If you think about that and you really think about the heaviness of that, if we’re sitting with other people’s junk and we haven’t dealt with ours, of course it’s going to get heavy. Of course we’re going to have limitations in what we can see and do. Of course it’s going to feel daunting because you can’t see the way out of your own stuff. You’re going to struggle to sit with other people.

Spinning Wheels Some of you might feel like, I keep seeing this client over and over and over again, and nothing’s changing. I don’t feel effective. Nothing seems to work. Maybe you feel like every day it’s Groundhog Day. You get up in the morning and it’s the same old, same old, same old. Perhaps you’re tired. Perhaps there’s something in your world that is drawing away the energy that you need to feel like you’re connected to your purpose.

Ineffective Truly the most important thing I want you to hear is that if you are giving from an empty cup, you are ineffective. Not only that, but you can be very damaging to the clients you serve. Some of you might have seen this with your coworkers or with the volunteers that you work with. When we’re ineffective or when we ask questions that are inappropriate, or hurtful, or out of our own pain, we can do more damage working with our clients than we can if we are centered in ourselves, full and receiving the care we need so that we can care for others.

Filling Your Cup

When we’re filling our cup, here are the categories I want you to think about as you’ve diagnosed yourself and you’re providing the prescription.

In what ways are you caring for each part of your being? Here they are:

How are you caring for your mind? Do you have a place to write down your thoughts? Do you have a place to talk about the things you think about? Do you have a place to talk about your vision and the way that you are hearing and seeing the world?

How are you taking care of your body? Do you constantly feel tired? Are you challenged by maybe a new diet that you’re trying to help reduce your cholesterol? Are you taking walks? Are you caring for yourself in the ways that your body needs you to so that you can be fully present with the clients that you’re serving?

How are you taking care of your heart, your soul? What are you doing to care for your feelings and the way that you experience the world through your heart? What are you doing to take care of those old wounds that have left holes in your heart? Are you trying to ignore them? Are you trying to work through them? Are you moving into the next layer of growth? How are you doing that?

How are you taking care of your spiritual needs? Are you part of a spiritual community? Do you believe that there’s someone higher than you? Most of us on this call believe there is a God higher than us who cares deeply for us. But how are you investing in that personal relationship?

If we aren’t filling our cup in these areas, how can we expect to help clients fill their cups like this? So, as you think about these four areas, I want you to jot one idea down in each of these areas that you could be doing better. Some of you are feeling compelled by this message, and you’re thinking Oh, this is exactly what I needed to hear today. Others are thinking, Oh, I don’t want to hear it, but I need to. 

So perhaps this is an opportunity for you to create a goal or a way of moving into tomorrow, the next day, next week, next month, because the better you are, the more effective you’re going to be, the more you’re going to feel connected to the work that you’re doing. And most importantly, the better you’re going to feel about everything.

Carrying our Baggage

Something that I think shocks a lot of people is that we often carry our bags into the rooms of those that we serve.

I love this picture, and it really is the reason I wanted to provide the presentation today, because I want this to sit with you, and I want you to picture the baggage that our clients bring to the conversations they have with us.

Maybe it’s that first phone call they made. They probably were thinking about making the phone call for three weeks, and they finally get the courage to pick up the phone and call us. And when they call us, they don’t realize they’re carrying everything, but they are carrying things from way, long ago.

And it’s our voice on the other end. It’s the things that we say on the other side of that call, on the other side of that waiting room, on the other side of that visit, that allow them to begin to maybe drop some of these bags at the door, and some of their bags will stay with them unknowingly. We know our clients are carrying them, but are we identifying that we are also carrying these things?

As I envision this, I see a client walking into our office with all of her invisible bags. She’s waited three weeks to come. She finally has the courage to come in, and she’s met with one of our staff members who’s carrying the same amount of baggage as her. And maybe that person who meets her at the door knows how to put a smile on in the midst of her thing because it’s a defense mechanism she’s developed.

How does that client benefit from that staff member? When they sit down in that quiet room, I can envision them, one on a couch, one on a chair, and they both invisibly let down those bags. How are you today? One says, I’m not so good, and the other has to absorb that – but through the filter of all her bags she brought into the room.

Our goal as helpers is to find a way to work through our baggage so that we’re bringing minimal bags into that room with the client. I don’t think that we would ever not bring bags. We’re humans too, but we don’t want to be bringing all of our bags into that office. You might say, Lisa, duh. That makes sense. I know. Leave your personal life at home. That’s the same mantra that our culture has, right? But the reality is, some of us don’t even know that we’re carrying these heavy things.

Some of us don’t even realize that that child abuse wound from 25 years ago, that abortion wound from 19 years ago, that divorce wound from six years ago, the mortgage company who’s written you two letters to take your house, your child who is abusing drugs, your own obsession or temptations, those are all things that, if we’re not dealing with them, are becoming bags in our life or we’re holding on to them.

So I want you to evaluate yourself, almost envision yourself, and train your teams. What are you bringing with you when you come into these conversations? Because if you’re bringing the same amount of bags with you as your client is, we’ve got a problem. And we only know the problem when we see it and we name it.

Perhaps this is speaking to you today. Perhaps you know somebody who is struggling with this. Let’s be a friend and offer a very direct, crucial, loving conversation to them to say, Hey, how is this impacting you? And What do you need to do to take care of that? 

Because I guarantee you, when you choose to take that really courageous step to address those things yourself, you’re going to have more courage with your clients. When you’re sitting across from them and you say, Hey, I’ve been where you are. When are you going to take this next step? What do you need? You’re going to have more boldness in that because you will have walked that journey a little bit ahead of them.

What’s in Your Baggage?

So here’s just some suggestions, if I haven’t named them all yet, that we might see in terms of baggage with both our clients, our volunteers, those that we’re working with ourselves, and they all have different impacts on us.

Job loss, foster care, sick parents, broken relationships. We talked about abortion and divorce. Look at this one: mold in our home. Somebody might think Oh, that’s easily addressed by a construction worker, but we don’t know what that does to somebody. We don’t know what kind of impact that might leave on somebody. Sex trafficking, addiction, substance abuse, domestic violence, codependency, self harm, sick children, other stressors. These are all things that our lives have been touched by.

We all, based on our temperament and our previous experience, deal with these things differently depending on where we are in our life. So it’s really important that we identify what’s happening and what kinds of tools we have.

A sick child when you’re 30 years old might not feel so heavy, but maybe you’re on your 6th child and you’re 47 years old and there’s a lot of other stressors in your life. A sick child at 47 might feel really different than at 30. An abortion at 19 might feel heavier for someone than at 35, or vice versa.

Baggage Distracts

I think it’s important that we don’t say it just matters at this time in our life, but these things impact us over our lifetime. It’s important that we continue to evaluate.

Our baggage distracts us from the things that we’re called to do. I think of a client I worked with who had experienced abortion, had a living child later in life, and was struggling in her marriage.  She ended up becoming the helicopter mom to her living child, which we see often with families who’ve experienced abortion. When her son turned twelve post-COVID and she was getting ready to send him back to school, they learned that he has a diagnosis of pretty significant Type One Diabetes. She worked with him on a regiment, and was getting really overwhelmed with it. Within a week, the school had figured it out. It was not nearly as difficult as she had thought it was. She couldn’t believe the school could get a handle on this when she was struggling most of the summer to figure it out.

She said, Lisa, I didn’t realize, but I wanted so badly for him to need me. So every time I would walk in that room, I would find everything wrong with him, everything wrong with this new disease that he has. I would look for every issue. I didn’t want to find anything bad, but I just wanted to know I was doing everything good as a mom and that he needed me. And then here he goes to school and he doesn’t need me, and the school doesn’t need me, and they’re not seeing all the things that I was seeing. 

What I hope you’re hearing as I tell this story is that this was an innocent mom who wanted to do her very best. But every time she went into her son’s room to help him, she was bringing that baggage from her abortion experience. She was bringing the baggage from her past. She was bringing all that regret and all that shame with her and it was blinding her from what her son really needed. Now she can say she is so grateful that the school stepped in because if they hadn’t, she would have babied him through this experience and who knows what kind of pain or consequences would have come for her son as a result. She said her son is not even phased by this diagnosis, that he can handle it himself. He can recognize the signs and symptoms of his low blood sugar. He knows exactly what to do. And she really believes that the school helped her negotiate that.

But she would be the first one to tell you that at the beginning her bags were too heavy, they were too distracting, and they blinded her from what her son really needed in that moment.

Perhaps that story is relatable to you as you think about your clients or yourself. There are things that you can’t see right now because of the things that you’re walking through. And maybe you can’t see them, so to speak, but you can feel that there’s something off, or you feel like you’re beating your head against the wall. Maybe this is an opportunity for you to say, what else is there? What more could there be? What else is going on? What bags might I be bringing into this? What other things are causing this distraction or blinding me from what I really need to be doing here? There’s always something. Always.

Unloading Your Baggage

This is what we always encourage at Support After Abortion. It’s what I encourage as a therapist. It is absolutely important, if we are going to help people, that we fill our cup and unload our own baggage. If you are unwilling to touch that one thing from the past, maybe today is the day to say, It’s time. It’s time to take this next step because it’s super hard to meet somebody in their brokenness if we haven’t dealt with our own things. 

We’re going to be so much more effective when we choose to take that deep dive into our healing. I have not met one person who has taken that deep dive in their healing and hasn’t been so grateful they did and says, I keep meeting people just like me, and I’m helping them. I’m able to tell them my story, and I’m able to give back in ways I couldn’t before. 

Discussion and Q&A

I’m going to stop here. And like I said, I’m really hopeful that we could have a conversation about this. I’m really hopeful that maybe we can bring some faces to the table that could really bring our humanity as we look at 2023, really looking for some vulnerability in this conversation.

Maybe you’re recently walking through this. Maybe it’s sparked something in you today, or maybe you’ve walked through this in different parts of your life. I’d love for us to be able to share some of the experiences, maybe what we’ve learned as a result in today’s meeting. Then I’ll open it up for questions after we’ve had some time to share. There’s opportunity to discuss in the chat – there’s a lot of chat going on right now. I’d also like to stay on the heart connection for a moment and bring people to the screen. I’d love to hear from those who would like to share about how you’ve maybe poured from an empty cup and what you learned about that process.

Althea 30:41  – Importance of devotions and supporting colleagues

I’ll share, so I’m not really pouring from an empty cup right now. One of the things that we do here is we have devotions, and we talk about specific topics. Like today, our topic was on love and working together with our coworkers and everything. What’s good about our clinic is that we are able to come to each other when we are overwhelmed with something, either individually or collectively. We’re able to come together and just hash it out and talk it out. I end up sometimes being the person that leaves the door open because I’m the counselor here. I not only counsel the women that come in here as far as the clients, but also some of my coworkers. We’re a pretty close, tight-knit group. We call ourselves sisters. One, because we spend a lot of time together, and two, because it’s important for us to watch over each other and be there for each other, so that when we feel those days of being overwhelmed, we have a safe space to be able to talk and everything.

Lisa Rowe 32:04

Thank you so much. So there’s one of the things that you might consider in your workplace: to offer an open environment like we’re hearing, where there is a safety to bring these kinds of things so that you can have a place, a community that is helping you. I appreciate that. Thank you for that. Um, Georgia, you can go next. Georgia Barker.

Georgia 32:30  Emptiness Leads to Ineffectiveness

Thank you so much. I volunteered as a Patient Care Advocate at a pregnancy resource center here locally, and I also facilitated the abortion recovery class for the center. I’m just now branching out on my own. I remember one of the things that I noticed was that emptiness does lead to ineffectiveness. We prayed up every time before we started meeting with a client, but at the same time, if whatever you’re pouring out, if it’s not heartfelt, if it’s not genuine, if you’re just going through the motions, then you leave that room not feeling effective. You leave that room feeling as though you haven’t impacted this woman  who needed to be impacted. So I found that it’s forcing me to put on paper what I need to focus on and what I need to intentionally work on to make sure that my cup is full so that I can be effective.

Lisa Rowe 33:55

Thank you for sharing that. I really appreciate it. And what I heard you say is that you might have been effective in that room, but your own security could steal that from you. So if you’re not filling your cup, you don’t walk with a lot of security, which makes you spend a lot of brain space on something that might not even be real. Thank you for sharing that. I think we all can hear the noise in our head at times and the inability to turn it off. Thank you for that.

Kathy 34:47  Caregiver & Therapist – Addressing My Own Baggage 

I’m caring for an ailing parent, and that really spoke to me. I find it to be so ironic caring for the one that cared for me and then me being able to care for others in that process. So I really appreciate the opportunity to recognize what my baggage is right now and take that time I need to process my baggage and that it actually will make me a much more effective therapist and helper in the world. But it is very hard. And compartmentalizing those thoughts and all of the duties that go with that has been difficult, and I’m working through it. But that’s a hard piece of baggage to let go of. I think it’s more like putting it on a shelf that I get back to. So I appreciate you showing me and helping me recognize where my role is as a therapist for other people in addressing my own baggage.

Lisa Rowe 36:04

Awesome. Thank you, Kathy, for your vulnerability. I think many people on this call can relate to that, and perhaps they’ve been trying to do the very same thing, put it on a shelf. And it just doesn’t work like that. I appreciate that.

Nancy 36:28  Team Support & Studies Help to Rid Baggage, Heal, Minister to Clients

I’m recovering from hip replacement surgery, and my role at Caronet is changing. I was a Center Director and also a New Day Director, which is help after abortion and other pregnancy losses. We have a pregnancy loss support side of that. So this was just really good to kind of help me put in perspective because there’s a lot now. There’s the surgery, recovering, changing roles, working from home, all these things that can empty my cup really quickly. But I’m really grateful that God has given this team of women (we have about ten of us on the New Day team). I oversee the team. We are each other’s support group. I think it’s so important when you are ministering to clients all the time, and we all have our own losses. So just to be able to have that support group where you can bring those things that we’re struggling with to this group of people who can understand and help us with that. We do studies that help our team members to get rid of some more of the baggage. We’re doing the Path of Sexual Healing right now with Linda Cochrane. We’re just starting up that study, and several of us have been through it together as a team. So just things that will continually help you to get rid of your own baggage and to continue those layers of healing and that support from a group, I think is so important to be able to minister well to our clients.

Lisa Rowe 38:31

Absolutely. Well-articulated. And I think about your experience, Nancy. You probably did a lot of preparation for your hip surgery, but the real life aftermath looks probably a lot different than what you prepared for. So to provide space for that and naming that today, I think is really helpful for all of us to hear. Thank you for that.

Jeannie 7 39:04  Slowing Down and Taking Time for Self Care

Hi, everybody. I’m happy to be a part of this today. I was able to listen, and I think I’ve lived most of my life with an empty cup trying to give out. I’m just recognizing that at this moment – being a codependent and always feeling like you don’t take time for yourself because you have to do, do, do, do. I think that stopping and acknowledging the fact that it’s okay for you to take that time and recognize what it is that you need. That’s huge because it’s always been I’m okay, I’m fine. I’m used to this rhythm. It’s almost like you’ve got to be in desperation to where you almost get physically sick because you don’t recognize it. What do you mean I have to slow down? What do you mean I have to get myself okay. I need to be there for ____. For me, the adult daughter of four kids, with my mom, I was one who just had to do. So doing recovery and working for the last 15 years with pregnancy centers, I’ve learned I have to definitely take the time to just slow down and get my own healing. Also I have to allow myself to be accountable to others, being transparent, knowing that I need for you to tell me. You know what, Jeannie? You don’t look good today. It’s layers, after layers, after layers. When you’ve been doing this kind of work, it’s okay for me to slow down and get healed and take the time out. The world is not going to stop because I slow down. So I know I’ve said a lot, but I’m very grateful for this community and hope to continue to be a part of it for a long time. Thank you, Lisa.

Lisa Rowe 41:30

Thank you. That was very powerful. I think Jeannie said it best that healing comes in layers. It’s not a one-and-done. It’s a journey. So we never arrive. I think that’s a big gift. Thank you for sharing that.

Greg Mayo 8 41:48  Awareness, Serving  in the Moment, and Refilling Your Cup

>Hello, everybody. It’s a funny thing, this work we’re all involved in. It’s draining. It takes a lot out of you. Then on top of all that, we have life. Right? Sitting here listening to this presentation today, what really hit me as my biggest example, was in February or April of 2020, my father had a stroke. And caring for him for the next two years almost was like playing life on defense. I wasn’t prepared for it. I was doing this work and then dealing with that, and it was constant reaction. Right? He was fine and then one day he wasn’t. Dad passed in February, and now my mom has cancer.

Yesterday, I took her to her first chemo appointment. Now, this is where I talk about being available to the moment. Right? And, Lisa, you talked about awareness. Driving over to pick Mom up, I acknowledged and got in touch with what I was feeling. I was sad. I was scared. I was a little angry. Right? Acknowledging that and being honest with myself about that, by the time I arrived at Mom’s house, I was able to process what she needed for me today. She needed someone in good spirits to keep her spirits up, somebody that was taking copious notes with the doctors and the nurses. So I did all those things for her. After getting her home, getting her fed, and leaving, then I allowed myself to feel the emotion I was a feeling. And then this is, I think, a very important piece of this: I allowed myself to give myself what I needed, which for me is taking a walk by water. In Indianapolis, we have great canals and a river. And so I spent an hour and a half just walking around downtown, breathing, talking to God, allowing myself to just be still for a minute. That made a difference. That was kind of the whole package of the day – preparing for it, setting my junk aside for a minute, not ignoring it or denying it, but just setting it aside for a minute so I could be present for my mom and give her what she needed. And then I allowed myself to cry and walk and breathe and talk, if all that makes sense.

Lisa Rowe 44:01

Absolutely. And I think this is spoken from somebody who’s further along in their healing journey. What Greg was able to do is identify on the way there, create that awareness. When he got there, he was able to stay present, but he knew afterwards that he needed to fill that cup back up. Too many of us have taken two years, 20 years, before we acknowledge that we need to fill that cut back up. Greg, what a great model, because that’s practical. Our days are filled with things that we can expect and things we can’t. But to know in that moment, you needed space for yourself, that’s powerful. And I’m so grateful you would share that.

Greg Mayo 44:39

Can I just say one more thing really quickly? Another big thing about that was my wife supported me in that. When I walked out my mom’s door, I texted her and I said, Leaving Mom’s, I need to go downtown for a little bit. And she said, Love you, see you soon. And that was huge, too, having that acknowledgment and that support from her.

Lisa Rowe 44:59

Wow. Yeah, that’s awesome. Because that might not be the same story with somebody else. That could have been a codependent response, and they would have gone home, perhaps, but we need to stay committed to take care of ourselves. So I appreciate that perspective, Greg, thank you.

Lisa C. 45:22  Repositioning Myself – I Can’t Give What I Don’t Have

Good afternoon, everyone or morning to those of you who may be Central Time or maybe further out west. I do want to say thank you, Lisa, for sharing this today. It is very timely at the beginning of a new year. One of the things that guy was just pressing upon me is that I have to reposition myself. And that is a constant work. Every day is repositioning myself. Because how can I anticipate God doing what he does if I don’t take a step forward? So one of the things that I recognize, and I help clients do, is I always tell clients even myself, nothing changes until it changes. Which means nothing is going to change until we begin to start changing the things that need to change. I have to preach that to myself every day – that I do have to take care of myself because I can’t give what I don’t have. And oftentimes I don’t have it. It’s like if you go out to your car and you have no gas, well, where are you going? I’m not going anywhere. I’m just going to stay stagnated. So we have to continue to do it. One of the things that I put in the chat box, is a caption I saw that said, self care is not selfish. I think oftentimes people will come back at me, But doesn’t the Bible say that we have to esteem others more than ourselves? And I say, <i”>Well, Jesus took a time out. Who are we? We’re not the master, we’re not the teacher, we’re not the great. I am right? We’re not that. So why do we anticipate that we have to show up and be present for people all the time? One of the things that I recognize for myself is that I let it go. There are things I can control and there are things that I can’t. And when I know the difference, then I give up the things that I can’t control. So I just love that you’re bringing this to the forefront, Lisa, because again, it’s a great way to start off the new year, recognizing that we don’t have control over everything. But what we have control over, we control those things. So thank you so much for sharing.

Lisa Rowe 47:32

Reposition – and I say this a lot when I think of codependency and when you’re talking about control – it comes to mind: If we can start to see the world as Hula Hoops, our own Hula Hoop, and everybody else has their own Hula Hoop. And we decide today that we are going to stay in our own Hula Hoop and control what is in our Hula Hoop. And we give people back their Hula Hoops and let them take care of what they need to take care of. We would be so much more free.

Lisa C. 48:01

Well, we would. And I also think we are people pleasers. And we want everybody else to feel okay and feel good because we know what it feels like on the other side. But at the end of the day, it’s not going to change. We all make choices, just like God gave us a choice. Either you will or you won’t. You’re going to serve me or you’re not. And so everybody has choices, so people have to decide what they’re going to do for themselves. And so I’ve made a decision, whether it’s family, children, friends, colleagues, whoever it is, I’ve made a conscious decision that I have to do me first. And if you think I’m being selfish, so be it.

Lisa Rowe 48:41


Jess 48:53  Self Care Questions to Ask, Setting Goals, Being Open to Counseling

This is so wonderful. I just absolutely love seeing so many people and we’re all kind of doing the same work. That’s just wonderful. I’ve been involved in post-abortion ministry for twelve years… I’m currently in ministry full-time and doing post-abortion ministry. I work for a pretty amazing person who has made it really important for us to focus on self care. He didn’t care what it was, he just wanted to know, What does it look like? What does your time with Jesus look like? How are you caring for your bodies? How are you taking care of yourselves? So I just wanted to share that.

I’m someone who wants to do things perfectly, and I want things to be done quickly. But I’ve learned that that’s not really how it works. So I started at the beginning of 2022 deciding that I was going to get up earlier than I wanted and spend time with the Lord. I actually enjoy exercising, so that wasn’t hard to commit to, but I did that and kind of had this set regimen. It’s just been so interesting walking into this year 2023 after committing to that for a whole year, which can be what’s been really hard for me. Now I’ll say I’m in a season where I don’t have small children anymore. So anyone hearing me saying, I wish I could do that with small children – I could not do that with small children. I swear I’d have a plan, and then I’d wake up and two of the three would be sick or my whole day would be off the rail. So I am in a season where my mornings are way more predictable… I opened the Word of God, prayed, journalled, wrote things down. It really has paid off over the year.


It’s been a slow process, but I’m walking into 2023 for once feeling like my cup is full. I have good practices in place.

I’m just starting a Bible study group for single moms at my church because I feel that’s a part of my ministry. Right? They did what we’ve asked them to do, so now I need to support them. We’re committed to this really deep dive Bible study for the next six months and I’m just so excited to do that on top of still leading groups. I feel like I always get something out of those groups, every time I’m healed more even though I’ve been doing it for twelve years. I can’t believe it. God is just so good.


Lisa Rowe 53:22

You’re so awesome. Jess. I think all of us would say we want some of that energy. Good job filling your cup. What a beautiful gift. Thank you.

All right, so Kylee’s going to pop back on. There was a question. This chat is just blowing up today. I’m so grateful. Thank you for those who chose to share. It’s always helpful to see another face on the side of the screen that says, I’m not alone in this journey. So I do hope that those vulnerable conversations we just had will bless you. Thank you for those that did share.

Kylee Heap 54:01

So we’re really excited because we have people in this Zoom Live right now. We also have a whole group of people watching on Facebook. On Facebook, a conversation was happening from this question: My organization’s management didn’t allow for self care to be part of our work environment. How do we catch up while still maintaining our workload? 

Lisa Rowe <54:22  Choices When Facing an Unhealthy Work Culture

That’s a great question. Work culture is super important. If we’re going to talk about Hula Hoops like we did before, there are certain things you can control and certain things you can’t control. If you have a corporate culture that does not support self care and isn’t open to hearing about it, you have a couple of choices. And these are things that land in your Hula Hoop. You have a choice to choose to accept the culture and choose to take care of yourself in ways outside of that culture. You have a choice to leave, or you have a choice to feel stuck in it. It really depends on the circumstances. But I would say to anybody that’s a leader here, corporate culture, work culture is huge, and it’s all about retention when you have a healthy culture, it’s all about performance when you have a healthy culture. And if those things aren’t in existence, I’d like you to get aware of it and how are you going to protect yourself in that environment.

Kylee Heap 55:22

That’s great, Lisa. I love that we have job opportunities being posted in our chat right now. So please look into that if you’re looking for a job. What a perfect segue to Lisa’s comments. Next question is What is Shared Baggage Syndrome, and how do I address it within my life? The way the question was conveyed is that it is difficult to hear about how other people are hurting, and it becomes part of this person’s baggage that they carry.

Lisa Rowe </span56:14  Helping with Burdens v. Taking On Others’ Responsibilities

<Okay, so that goes back to the very beginning of our conversation. What is your purpose? Why do you serve? Is there a personal element to it? Have you walked through your own healing journey? Are you walking through your healing journey? we cannot fix another person. We can walk alongside of their journey. We can help them if they want help. But it is not our job to carry things that they’re unwilling to carry. And so oftentimes, one of the biggest things that I ask people who are struggling with this is, What is your motivation when you go to help somebody? Are you doing it because you don’t want them to hurt? Are you doing it because you can see yourself in their pain? Are you doing it because you feel guilt and shame because you might have had something to do with their story? All of those things are impure motives.

We are not God. We can’t solve people’s problems. We were gifted with things to help us help other people, but it’s their job to carry their responsibilities. I heard a sermon one time where this was said so much better than I just said.In the Bible, God says, help carry other people’s burdens. And this gentleman who was sharing in the sermon said that it’s like when I needed help carrying my grand piano to the basement, I needed to call my four friends to carry it down the stairs. That’s a burden. I could not do that by myself. It was a one time event, a one-part season. Right? But when I went to mow my lawn the next day, that’s a regular, everyday, or every week occurrence. That is not their burden to carry. If I would have called those four men to come help me mow the lawn the next day, that is not their responsibility. We can sometimes enable people – for example, if those four men would have come back to mow the lawn, right? Someone who will come every single time you call – then that person doesn’t own their own life and their own experiences. So perhaps that might help you understand that we are called to help carry burdens, but everyday experiences are not burdens.

Kylee Heap 58:25

Two last questions, three minutes. Lisa.

What are three tips for identifying empty cups across my team? 

Lisa Rowe 58:31  Signs of Pouring from an Empty Cup

I’m going to name more than three things:

  • Tired. That would be my first thing. 
  • Irritability. 
  • Sometimes gossip.
  • Tardiness to work
  • Complaints from clients about them. 
  • Distractibility that you haven’t seen before. 
  • Late getting their work done. 
  • Inconsistencies that you haven’t seen in the past. 
  • Changes in behavior all the way around. 

Kylee Heap 59:06

We also have some chat comments [to add to the list] melancholy and dread to go to work. Last question is, Can you share who is invited to the clinical provider webinars and how they differ from this webinar that we’re in right now? 

Lisa Rowe 59:22  Monthly Clinical Webinars

That’s great. We offer clinical webinars. In fact, we had one yesterday. They are a very similar platform, except my co-leader Greg Hasek, who’s also a licensed mental health counselor, shares the time with me. We invite a topic. Yesterday was on the impact of abortion and marriage. We shared a story from a man and a woman who experienced abortion and then chose to get married and how it’s impacted them. And then we dissect it from a clinical perspective, how we might help in the therapeutic environment.

We don’t talk about this a lot in our therapeutic world, reproductive loss, but specifically abortion. Next month, we’re going to talk about parenting amidst abortion. So parents who have living children and have a previous abortion or choose abortion in the midst of parenting living children, what are the impacts and what are the implications and what can we do as clinicians to serve them well and help support those clients?

Wrap Up

I want to thank you so much for coming, being so brave and sharing and talking. I really hope that this was one deposit into your cup today.

We have moved all of our Abortion Healing Provider meetings to 12:00 noon ET on the third Wednesday of each month. I believe they’re going to share the registration link in the chat for you. So we will see you next month and continue to build this community so that you don’t feel, like Jeff said, that you’re alone. There are more people doing what you do than you realize. And this is a space for you to connect and grow and nourish your healing ministries. Thanks for joining me today, and I look forward to our next meeting!