Tuesday, November 15, 2016


I am returning from facilitating on a Rachel's Vineyard weekend retreat in Maggie Valley, NC this past weekend. Despite some mountain wild fires due to our dry and parched land, our weather and retreat experiences could not have been more of a blessing! I was convicted by the Holy Spirit while I was there this weekend that I need to "get back in the game," and stop dilly-dallying around with post-abortion healing ministry and my calling from God to do this work. As a full time employee in behavioral health management and a counselor and retreat leader, full time mom to a very energetic 9 (almost) year old, wife and artist, (not even counting the laundry, cleaning, cooking and shopping that have to be done), it is very easy for life to steam roll me sometimes. I prayed for God to renew my Spirit, to show me my clear path, to infuse my words, actions and pursuits with His purpose for me. And that prayer is actively being answered already. I vowed as I asked for guidance that I would turn my eyes back to God in my daily life to a greater degree than I had been. I have allowed my devotion and scripture study time to be sucked away by all of the details of daily life, and I confess, time with God would get pushed to the back burner, without ever intending to do that! It just happened, but I became aware that I AM the only one who can put the breaks on and say, "no more, I WILL make time, I WILL spend time just being still and listening to my almighty and righteous God! I WILL spend time in His Word and in prayer! It IS a priority! So, as if I needed confirmation that God was listening, I downloaded an app with daily devotions from Girlfriends in God, and wouldn't you know it, the first one I click on is "Broken Into Beautiful!!" I know you will understand my excitement when you read the wonderful story that Gwen Smith has been so gracious in sharing! May God bless her richly for being courageous enough to share her story openly for those of us who are post-abortive to benefit from! 

Broken Into Beautiful
Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth
“Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame” (Psalm 34:5, NIV).

Friend To Friend
I remember the phone call to my college boyfriend. Through sobs, I managed to tell him I was pregnant. There was a long pause on the other end of the phone … and then came the speed round of questions and comments: “What are we going to do? Do you think we should get married? Oh, my gosh ... Oh, my gosh … what are we going to do? Do you want to have this baby? What are we going to do? What about volleyball? What will your parents say? What will my parents say? Oh, my gosh!”

Like trapped animals, we were frantically looking for a way out. Then we made our decision. We would take care of it. It wasn’t time for us to have a baby yet.

God wasn’t consulted. He wasn’t invited into our decision.

Adam and Eve hid in the garden after eating the forbidden fruit. My boyfriend and I hid from God and did what we considered to be our only option. We made a plan. He would pick me up and take me to a clinic that I read about in the yellow pages.

When the day came, we drove in icy silence. I was Fort Knox. No one was going to break through the emotional walls I had constructed for protection.

You see there was never a moment that I believed having an abortion was the right thing to do. I only stubbornly and naively believed that my choice was the only ladder to grab out of the horrible pit I had dug for myself.

I was wrong.  Dead wrong.

There, in the sterile room of that stale clinic, I used an alias. I wasn’t Gwen. My charts did not say that I was Gwen, the girl who was raised by good parents, the girl who was raised in the Word of God to know right from wrong. The counselor I had met with said that using my name could have made me feel uncomfortable with the “harmless and legal procedure” I was having done that day. Nobody else needed to know. I was anonymous.

It was my secret. A secret of chains that bound me in silence for the ensuing fifteen years - a secret kept because I mistakenly assumed that no one else could handle the ugly truth of my sinfulness with grace and forgiveness. I was a Christian girl. Christians don’t get pregnant when they aren’t married, and Christians don’t have abortions, right? It was all too scandalous, and I was crazy afraid of the consequences.

Most of that day was a blur. It was a dark, cold January day. Though the clinic was lit with bright fluorescent lights, the flame of dignity and hope in my heart had grown dim. I blocked out all the voices in my head as they contested what I was doing. I was desperate and scared.

For weeks following my abortion, I went through each day under a dark cloud of despair. I couldn’t reconcile what I had done with who I was, and who I was supposed to be. My heart was broken. I felt hopeless and was horribly ashamed. I hated what I had done, and I hated myself for doing it. I was responsible for the death of my baby. It was my fault. I knew it, and it haunted me.

Voices of accusation used to scream in my head. They shouted things like: Murderer! Baby killer! Hypocrite! You can never tell a soul about this! Condemnation kept me shackled. Without realizing it, I was a captive to my own acceptance of those words. I was guilty. A wretch. No excuses. My heart was paralyzed by death. Words just can’t express the depth of anguish my soul experienced.

The dark days turned into weeks, which turned into months. Although I could turn on the fake charm like water from a faucet … oh, how my plastic smile served me well in those days ... I was dying inside! At night, my pillow soaked up rivers of tears. I would lie awake, wondering if my baby was a boy or girl, or if my baby had felt any pain as she was being sucked from my body.

I wept. I wept for both my baby and for myself. It was necessary. It felt right to cry. And though the tears helped my soul grieve, none were as healing as the ones I cried to Jesus when I finally turned back to Him.

Like Peter after the rooster crowed, I wept bitterly at the feet of Jesus in raw repentance. Then, as the psalmist did, I “waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God” (Psalm 40:1-3). Although I didn’t deserve His mercy, Jesus forgave me. My forgiveness was immediate and complete, but the healing took time. He gave me a new song.

Hallelujah! I’ve been forgiven and transformed by the unconditional love of God. I was dead in my sins, but am now alive in Christ! I am free and it is my privilege to encourage you towards that same freedom in Christ. God longs for you to experience His perfect healing and hope too – no matter what you’ve done, no matter where you’ve been, no matter what has left you broken.

What’s your story? Jesus came that we would have life abundantly (John 10:10). Not because of anything that we have done to deserve it, but because of what He has done.  His grace is sufficient. The guilt, pain, and shame of our pasts tell us we are disqualified to move on, to serve God, to be free, and to know peace. But to believe this lie is to believe that your sin is outside the scope of God’s grace. Nothing could be further from the truth. You have purpose in this life. And though you may have gone through a season of hurt, rejection, or pain, God can and will pick you up and place you back on track. I’m living proof.

There is no condemnation for those in Christ. While the enemy loves to cast false guilt, our Lord loves to extend grace and forgiveness, which is the remedy that restores all your broken pieces. Don’t hold onto those pieces. Don’t hide them behind a plastic smile. Bring them into the light, lay them at the feet of Jesus, and let go. Allow your wounds to be healed today.

Let’s Pray
Holy Father, today I come to You with the broken pieces in my life that I have been hesitant to deal with. Take my hand and lead as I walk past my fears and doubts to the refuge of Your forgiving arms. Please take what is broken and transform it into beautiful. Please free me from the lies that have me shackled in silence and that keep me from believing that Your forgiveness can be mine.  Help me to trust that You can redeem and restore every area of my life.
In Jesus’ Name I pray,

Now It’s Your Turn
Ask yourself these questions:

What secrets or lies am I allowing to hold me captive?
How could God use my story for His glory?
Am I willing to share my experiences and failures for the transformation power of Christ to be seen by others?

Then, read Luke 7:36-50.

More From The Girlfriends
Okay … take a deep breath with me! Some of you may feel disturbed that a locked door in your heart has been nudged open this morning. I also know that 30-40% of you that are reading this devotion share my experience of abortion. There is healing and forgiveness for you, too. Through the help of my local Pregnancy Care Center, I went through a post-abortive Bible study that helped me to know complete healing. If you have not taken that step toward healing, I encourage you to contact the Abortion Recovery CARE line at 1-866-4-My-Recovery (1-866-469-7326) - visit www.AbortionRecovery.org - or call your local Pregnancy Care Center today to sign up for a post-abortive Bible study or retreat.

Portions of today's devotion are taken from Gwen's book, Broken Into Beautiful. Her full testimony is featured in the book, along with Scriptural truths and stories of how God has brought restoration the hearts of many other women who had painful life wounds. God delights to transform lives … including your own. Experience God's healing and hope in your life today as you read Broken Into Beautiful! To order the book online, please visit Gwen’s website at www.GwenSmith.net/store.

To listen to the song Broken Into Beautiful or to request prayer and connect with other GiGs, click over to Gwen’s Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/GwenSmithMusic .

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

How Is Healing After Abortion Ever Going To Be Possible For Me

I receive the question, "How is healing after my abortion ever going to be possible for me," all the time. I remember when it seemed like such a far stretch and a vague, unrealistic destination for me too. Some people don't believe it's possible, and trust me, I get that. Others, like myself, have experienced God's gift of healing and will tell you without hesitation it IS possible.

But even if we assume it is true, I often also get the question, "how will I know if/when I'm healed?" My reply? "It's different for every person, and all of the ways it is realized are valid." When you have healed from abortion's wounds, the scar is still there and never leaves, but the pain no longer lingers in your heart and mind; with healing, you no longer feel like your pain, sorrow, guilt, torture, despair and (fill in the blank with your greatest struggle), is controlling you and your life. Everything does not revolve around your abortion history. You don't fight and struggle against the daily onslaught of intrusive, negative thoughts and feelings about your abortion experience. You have accepted forgiveness from God, you have forgiveness in your own heart for you, and you have integrated this event(s) into the story of who you are. The abortion(s) is part of your history and that is a fact you can finally live with; you acknowledge that you will never like this fact, but it is your reality. You are not struck with horror at the thought that someone may "find out about it," and judge you and reject you; you will not wear it like a badge of courage, but you will recognize that you can be helpful and open to others that are hurting after abortion. You will have a peaceful understanding with God that He has brought a calm into the storm that followed your abortion, that had possibly lingered for years, even decades. You will have a heightened sense of how awesome God's grace and mercy is for his children, and how incredibly humbling it is to know his sacrifice has covered your abortion sin(s) as well. You will know, even if you can't explain how it happened, that healing is real in your life and you  will be on fire to share what you have with others that are in their dark places, still stuck in the mire like you used to be.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of spiritual healing from the disease of abortion. It is the most crucial component and without this divine gift, I would agree that complete healing is not possible. It was not until my Rachel's Vineyard retreat in 2009 that I fully received the spiritual healing that I did not even realize was missing. The Holy Spirit working through the ministry of the retreat team and the sovereign presence of God with me that weekend changed me in ways that I am not fully able to explain. It is similar to acceptance of Christ as your savior and the born again experience, yet even that doesn't describe the fullness of it. I had studied the Bible, I had prayed countless prayers and cried innumerable tears in search of healing and wholeness, and all of those steps were necessary and important; yet in the end, there was work only the Great Physician and Healer of all of our wounds could provide on a soulful level on which we as humans do not have access.

I was truly amazed at my retreat as I realized the fullness of why God had brought me there! He knew I had to have time away from everything and everyone in my life in order for me to be completely open and focused on Him and His spirit within me. If you are approaching your healing in a pragmatic way, with logical steps that "should" equal a feeling of healing in the end, please know, He is waiting for you to invite Him into those inner most places where your pain and sorrow are held. As always, Jesus will not force His will on you, it must be you who asks Him in.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Abortion and Birth Control

I have encountered people in my work that believe that if a woman has had more than one abortion, she must be using it as a form of birth control. Speaking as a woman who has had two abortions and have counseled many women with multiple abortions, and continue to counsel them, I disagree strongly.

One example that comes to mind took place when I was dining with a very nice, Christian woman, whom I had previously met in a photography class. That evening at the restaurant we were discussing ministry work. She talked about her family touring to perform and preach from place to place and all of the work they had done as foster parents over the years for troubled youth. I was impressed at how dedicated they were and imagined all of the young males that they had given safe harbor to and assisted over the years they had committed to doing this type of ministry.

We both agreed that we had felt a kinship during our semester long class together and felt perhaps God led us to each other to open a door for another kind of ministry he had planned for us to do together. We talked about opening a youth program involving the arts in some way, since we both had skills and experience in artistic endeavors. We were enjoying a wonderful time talking about all of the options and possibilities.

Then the conversation turned to my ministry work and what that looks like. I shared about Rachel's Vineyard and the weekend retreats that we offer as an Interdenominational site, and she was immediately interested to hear more. She openly shared that she had an abortion when she was a teenager and had kept it a secret all these years. She further said that she was okay and didn't think about it very much and didn't feel it was an issue of grief for her. I shared that I had experienced abortion too and that I had struggled for many years to cope and accept these losses and their impact on my life. She caught the plural reference I had used and realized I had chosen more than once to have an abortion. Her demeanor and body language immediately changed and she shrugged her shoulders and said that women who have more than one are just "using it as a form of birth control," and tagged something derogatory that I cannot recall, to the end of her sentence. In that moment, watching her face and her eyes that would not meet mine, I could physically see her judging me for the same exact experience that she had had all those years ago. She discussed no further our collaboration in ministry work and we soon wrapped up our dinner together. I could tell she was uncomfortable and wanted to flee the scene, and I felt somewhat dismayed as I realized the fullness of her denial, as she hid behind me to keep from judging herself.

She wasn't the only person, there have been many. Another woman that comes to mind attended a retreat that I facilitated. Though she had had an abortion when she was in college, the sharing of my abortion experiences revealed a strong sense of disdain and judgment for the sins I had committed. It is so clear and definitive when it happens, there is no mistaking the change that takes place in those who judge.

I think it is interesting that we even judge each other for sins that we have both committed, errors that we both have made. Why do we do that? Why do many of us do that? It has always felt so bizarre to me to consider, because in my experience of meeting and hearing the story of women who have had three or more abortions, I do not consider myself better than them or able to stand in judgement for them whatsoever. Rather, my inclination is to think about how much harder it must be to carry that burden from day to day; it compels compassion and empathy in me, not condemnation and superiority.

I believe we as people need to take a moment and realize that we are all humans, incapable of perfection and flawed in a variety of ways on and on to infinity. We need to realize how much power words have and the consequences of words we utter without taking the time to consider how we would feel on the receiving end of those words. We must stop hurling blanket statements at others regarding experiences and choices, and yes mistakes, with which we have no experience and or comparison to understand. Even if I stand by another post-abortive woman and we share of our experiences in those cold, closed places, our stories will be monumentally different and varied, as will our reasons for and beliefs about those experiences.

Research has shown that having multiple abortions is the greatest indicator of trauma, in many instances giving the woman a method or pathway for continuing to reenact her shame, self-loathing and grief, to name a few, that she has become so accustomed to in her past experiences. These are not conscious thoughts or plans or behaviors, but ones that happen covertly through our choices and decisions, or lack thereof, that lead to the abortions.

I remember a supervisor many years ago, when I first started my counseling career who, one day in consulting about a teenage girl's case, said, "well, if she is not taking birth control, then she is trying to get pregnant!" She made this statement definitively and continued to repeat it, in response to mine and another co-worker's expressions of disbelief, I would imagine. I remember thinking, "that's not true in my situation. I wasn't taking birth control, but I absolutely, positively was NOT trying to get pregnant!" However, sometimes I have to wonder if subconsciously I was trying, without even knowing it. Let's put it this way, I was not consciously, knowingly not taking birth control so that I could get pregnant and have an abortion, of that I am positive. I remember the utter and complete panic, crippling fear and overwhelming emotions that erupted with being informed that I was with child; no one in their right mind would choose for those experiences to happen. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

To Tell or Not to Tell

When I was studying various sources during my work toward healing following my abortions, I read differing views about sharing abortions with others and whether or not it was recommended as a healing step to take.  There are various camps that see this issue from opposing viewpoints.  I have my own views about it, which were established following doing a little of all that I researched and thought was "the right way" to do it, combined with what I actually did and my experiences from it, and others' experiences that have been shared with me.

One source I read was quite convincing that the post-abortive need to confess their sins in front of others in order to be fully healed following an abortion.  Isn't that what the Bible says after all, "confess your sins one to another..?" (James 5:16) The last part of that verse is, "and pray for each other so that you may be healed."  I believe this verse applies to those of us who are post-abortive, but I believe we need to be extremely careful who we confess this sin to, because as we know, information like this is not safe in everyone's hands. I do not believe this is a blanket statement or recommendation for every person who encounters this dilemma.  I know a woman who also serves in post abortion ministry, who believed that she was expected to stand in front of her church and confess this sin to her congregation.  She was convicted, she said, to do this, and felt led by God to stand in the pulpit and make this confession publicly.  She followed what she felt was God's leading in her life, and did confess her abortion from many years prior, when she was 16 years old.  Unfortunately, as you might suspect, she was judged harshly by many of the people in her church, which led to her being rejected on a completely different level.  She was very wounded by the behaviors of some of the people there, Christian people she believed she could trust.  I also believe that sharing these experiences with others can be extremely helpful and healing, but we must scrutinize every individual with which we contemplate sharing it.  Because, there are many people who care more about judging others in an attempt to cast themselves in a more favorable light, than there are focusing on praying for healing for the person who shares this raw information.  I am sad to say it, but not everyone is worthy of such delicate and potentially harmful confessions.  Some people absolutely love to get their hands on juicy details of others' lives, so that at an opportune time, they can use it to damage another person's reputation and character.  We can easily recognize the evil root of these types of behaviors.

I have found comfort in sharing my story with a very trusted friend of many years.  I would have trusted my life with her, and at the time, I did in a very real way.  She received me with love and showered me with support to heal from the pain she could see all over my face and body.  She extended God's love in that time, and in the years since then.  I picked this friend very carefully, because I knew her heart was after God's heart and that she did not intend evil toward me or my family.  She has never experienced the devastating pain abortion can bring to one's life, but her husband has and after our conversation her eyes were opened to a whole different dimension of his person-hood.  She was able to extend love, compassion and mercy to both of us, which was very healing to each of us in our own ways.  She and her husband continue to contribute to our Oaks Studio Team's work on our site's Rachel's Vineyard Retreats in very special ways.  What a blessing they both are to us and those we serve!

My point in a nutshell is we MUST be careful who we share our experiences of abortion, and in what way we do that.  Make sure that you are confiding in a very close and trusted friend or family member.  Sharing with a therapist may be a good first person to share with, as they have no other connections in your life and can hopefully be completely objective about their counsel of you during that time.  Even with a therapist, I would recommend establishing trust and rapport with them before venturing into this very treacherous territory.  Make sure you understand their views generally regarding abortion, because it is important for them to match your views closely.   There is more to share on this subject, so I will say more in a different post soon.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Abortion's Storm

There are so many twists and turns in life, sometimes it's hard for me to believe that they just keep coming.  For so long, I've wondered when my life would be in a calm and peaceful place.  It seems that about the time I get through one storm another one is raging in the distance and I'm bowing up my shoulders to brace myself for what is to come.  A friend and I were talking this week, "Sometimes I think God must think I'm a strong person, since He has promised to never give me more than I can handle," she said followed by our soft laughs.  Then reality chimed in and there was a brief silence as both of us looked through the flood of images that came to mind of events and experiences that have challenged us and caused great growth, even though we would just as soon be without them--growth or not.

I often thank God for my healing following my abortions, both physically and emotionally, and I'm thankful that abortion grief is no longer a debilitater for me.  There were many years that the abortions were my "storm" and my "devastation."  There were times that I thought I would never come out of the depression, gloom and dark fog that surrounded me.  I believed I would always be there, that I was being swallowed up by it and consumed; all the while much of me believing that if I was, it would be what I deserved to have happen to me, as atonement for my unforgivable sins.  Years later, I know better, I know that dreadful time was for my grieving and was necessary to find my peace and come to terms with my past choices. 

Many women that I work with in therapy are interested in knowing how they will know when they are "healed" from their abortions.  Sometimes the people who attend the retreats are wondering the same thing, even feeling somewhat guilty, if they don't feel 'healed' by the end of the weekend.  I've had some say, "I'm afraid to come to the retreat, what if it doesn't work and what if I'm not healed by the end?"  My response is, "you'll be healed when you are healed, don't try to encapsulate it into a defined time period, because grief doesn't work that way."  I encourage all people who approach me in various ways seeking the release from the pain and sorrow they feel to wait and listen and allow the process to happen in their hearts and minds and bodies.  I am honest with people, I always share that they will know when they are healed because they will be able to think of their lost children and not be overcome with emotions, whether they are guilt, sorrow, longing or some other personally disturbing emotion.  This is a personal process, grief always is.  Abortion leads to a complicated type of grief that takes an enormous amount of time to work through, before the final stage of acceptance can be eased into with any kind of permanency.  Many people are miserable and want instant relief and a quick fix, but I'm afraid the best we can do is help them cope with their symptoms as they allow this long and painful process to unfold. 

Those of us who have had involuntary abortions, in the sense that we felt coerced instead of willing and ready for our choices, will have a scar for life that will never go away.  What does eventually go away are the ways in which we torture ourselves as we come to terms with why and how we came to be post-abortive.  The symptoms that take over and derail our lives subside as we work through the pain and grief, step by step and little by little.  It is a painful process, which is why so many people divert their attention elsewhere and avoid facing the truth of the pain head on, leading to differing ways of numbing our pain through various types of addictions/distractions and poor methods of coping.

It is not easy or quick or painless, but healing is possible for those who seek it and are willing to do the emotional, mental and soul work that is necessary.  A happy and fulfilling life can be ours again, even for those struggling after an abortion, but we must work through it instead of running away from it.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Forgiving Myself

The struggle of forgiving ourselves for our abortions is the greatest and toughest common denominator I see in all of my work in post-abortion healing.  We all wrestle with the feelings and thoughts of NEVER believing we deserve to forgive ourselves, and with the questions about whether or not we REALLY are forgiven by God.  I hope these words will help to clarify the path to working through this spiritual and emotional conflict, and lead you to a sense of peace and understanding.

Accepting God's forgiveness for our abortions is a decision and a choice that we make in faith.  God invites us to do this, and we must be open to receiving His grace for our sins.
     1 John 1:9 tells us, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." I believe this verse holds so many paramount truths for the post abortive world.  I believe God included the word "all" for us, because we feel our sin is greater than any other!  It is confusing to think of God being "just" yet forgiving us for this particular sin.  We think that justice for what we have done would be for us to die too.  We feel that is what we deserve after we have chosen abortion.  Clearly, that is not what God has in mind.  Jesus died on the cross, so that we all may have forgiveness and salvation.  For all sins, he died, and ALL sins are forgiven.  And not only does he forgive us, but he also purifies us of our unrighteousness.  Have you ever felt dirty because of your choice?  Have you ever felt you could never bathe yourself enough to ever was away the filth of what you have done?  I've been there, I too felt that way before; but it is a lie the accuser uses to keep us in bondage, to keep us believing we are unworthy of the grace God has extended to us every minute of every day we live.

Today, make the choice to accept God's forgiveness, even though you may not feel it.  Make the choice to accept your own forgiveness, even though you may not feel it or believe it.  Accept these gifts by faith, not sight or feeling.  Accept them to be true, because you know God is faithful.  Because you know he is just.  Because you know he is righteous.  Remember that when we can't accept his forgiveness, we cannot forgive others.  If we're not accepting grace, then grace cannot flow out of us to others.
1 John 3:20 tells us, "whenever our hearts condemn us.  For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything."  It is no doubt that our hearts will condemn us, and that the accuser will condemn us, but God is greater than our hearts and definitely greater than our adversary.  We must reaffirm each time this lie flies up in our faces and remind ourselves that we have confessed our sins and that God has forgiven us, even that we have forgiven ourselves.

Don't wait on your heart to agree with your head.  It will not happen for a long time.  Your choosing to accept the grace God gives, and further extending that grace to yourself, is a worthy choice that assures God that you believe his promises.  He has made it clear in his word that our confessed sins are forgiven and cleansed.  Every time you hear the accusing words start again in your head, say to God in the silence of your head or as loud as you want with your voice, "I have accepted your forgiveness, Lord and I thank you for helping me forgive myself.  I believe in your faithfulness.  I believe in your grace.  Thank you, Lord for purifying me today."  Believe me when I say that over time, you will have peace of mind, when it comes to accepting God's forgiveness and forgiving yourself.  I promise you, if you practice this prayer and meditation, you will feel in your heart what your head knows is best right now.  May God bless you as you accept his forgiveness and extend that grace to yourself.  


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Thought loops

     Lots of thoughts clamor around in my head; back and forth, in and out, up and down.  Making sense of the the mumbles and whispers, and even shouts at times that make my heart pound is scary and tiring.  How many times do we think a thought before it is a dead thought, a waste of time, I sometimes wonder.  Why do I think the same things over and over again and expect to understand the answers more clearly?  Is "beating the dead horse" going to get me anywhere?  Apparently my mind thinks so, it keeps revisiting over and over the same areas and thoughts.  Psychologists, counselors and others call these thought loops.  They play over and over and become quite intrusive at times, seemingly taking away our ability to focus, concentrate and maintain our serenity.  These thought loops are sometimes productive.  Sometimes, I think they draw attention to areas we still need to keep excavating and examining for meaning and connection and purpose in the grand scheme of our lives; they are the why's, the how's, the what-if's in life.  They're like someone, whose trying to get our attention, who stands beside us pecking on our shoulder, "excuse me," they might say, "have you thought about this yet...," or "maybe it's this..."  It is endless and natural, and we can only hope, productive at times.  Productive in that they reveal to us new bits and pieces of understanding into who we are, how we arrived at our current state of being, and our unique purposes in life.