Bound and Gagged, Now Unchained

Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.” Acts 16:26

After having an abortion, life can feel like a prison, locked in a cell of secrecy. This is a dark and lonely place–a place of confinement. Confined, because of that secret, and the guilt and shame that comes with it. Chains can become wrapped securely around the heart, gagged and bound, some of us for years.

In Acts 16:25-26, we find the story of Paul and Silas being thrown into the inner prison where their feet were fastened in the stocks. There was no way they could escape that cell. Yet, they began to worship and sing hymns to the Lord. They were dealing with their situation best they could.

Those with abortion wounds and trauma, may be able to worship in chains as Paul and Silas did, but our hearts have a lock on the door. It is securely wrapped and bolted tight. We may know God forgives us, but we can’t seem to receive that forgiveness. Some of us are not open to receive that precious gift. We do not feel deserving or worthy of such love that only comes from Jesus.

The key out of the chains, the only key that works, is our Healer Jesus.

Verse 26 is the one I want to focus on. It states: “Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.”

Suddenly. When I went through the Deeper Still retreat, like an earthquake, God shook apart the foundation of shame, guilt, and my voicelessness. It all came crumbling to the ground in a pile of ruin. Thank you Jesus!

After all that bondage was shaken loose, it was time to rebuild the infrastructure. First, I had to give Him the authority to work on me by throwing up a white flag. Complete surrender was a choice. Then, suddenly, a new soft and pliable heart began to come forth.

I received a new identity. No longer was I a slave to my sin of abortion. I was finding out just who I was to my Savior. I began to walk through open doors of healing and restoration. Reformation began. I could finally relate to Isaiah 55:12. I went out with joy, and was led out with peace. Peace, something that was foreign to me.

To experience freedom, joy and peace after living in prison– I am not the same woman I use to be! I am being changed from glory to glory ever drawing closer to my Father. He who opened the door to my heart and unfastened my chains, be glory, honor and praise forevermore. I no longer live in a prison cell. Chains no longer have me bound. I have been set free!

Thank You for the freedom that comes from you Jesus. Help us to stand firm, and to not let ourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. For you have set us free, and because of You, we are free indeed. Hallelujah!! Praise, glory and honor to You, our Redeemer!!

To Have and to Hold

The outside of the building seeped with corrosion. Around the windows, doors, the roof lines, the foundation…all rusting, decaying, seemingly from the inside out. It was an accurate reflection. For what was happening inside this building for decades was now spreading, like a virus, to the outside…reflecting death, rotting with decay.

This building was the Planned Parenthood I had visited at the tender young age of 19 years old. In 2014, I revisited this building, only this time, it was to repent publicly and ask the Lord to heal this land. This building is where I had entered scared, confused, unsure, naïve, desperate. My young mind thought this building was offering hope, a way of escape, a solution to an inconvenience for a young girl who found herself with a red plus sign on the other side of a test. A red plus sign was all I saw and with it all the fears of not being ready to be a mom, and the false belief that all my dreams would vanish the moment a baby appeared. But that fear alone confirms what we instinctively know, a red plus sign means a baby is growing inside the womb.

How many times have I wished that moment back, the opportunity to make a different choice, choosing life instead of death. Life for me, life for my child, life to generations to come.

My daughter whose life I chose to end that day would now be 28. Maybe she would also be a mom by now, perhaps I would have a grandchild, she would have been a sister, and who knows how life would have been different for better or worse, but it doesn’t matter. Life is life regardless. It doesn’t hold less value whether it is better or worse, richer or poorer, sick or in health. As in our wedding vows we eagerly proclaim, we choose to love in all situations. That is what life is, that is what love is. If only these vows were for the children we conceive as well.

“To have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live.”

But that day when I entered the building in 1993, there were no vows, no promises of love, only the false promises that ending a life would mean I could keep my dreams and ambitions, as if children were a hindrance to life. The very opposite is true.

On the other side of the procedure no one wants you to talk about because it is horrific was a deep deep emptiness and regret. There was a knowing that what just happened was not only wrong, but cruel, and rooted in evil. I was a “Christian”. I had been since the age of four and grew up weekly going to church, church camps, retreats, Awanas, etc. I knew Jesus. I wasn’t living my life for Him at that time, but I knew Him. That day, it seemed He could never love me again. In the recovery room, there wasn’t freedom and joy of a solution, but crying, the hyperventilating type of crying where you can’t catch your breath so intensely I thought I’d never stop. A lady in the recovery room said to me, “I don’t know what your situation is, but I want you to know Jesus loves you.” All I could think is,

“How? How could He love me after what I just did?”

My boyfriend drove me home, not a word was spoken. I was devastated by my choice, knowing I had done something that in my mind was unforgiveable. Immediately I didn’t feel relief, I felt depressed and full of shame.

The promise of hope, and getting my “life” back, whatever that means, in reality led me into despair. Just as the outside of that building reflected what was happening internally, what happened inside of me was framed by the outward choice I made that day. Unworthiness, shame, and guilt consumed me, compiled with using alcohol to escape reality, and trying to feel loved through meaningless sexual relationships. I was rotting inside, without hope, in desperate need of a Savior.

Hope wouldn’t come until 5 years after my abortion when I declared my need for Jesus to be Lord over my life and never turned back. From that day forward in 1998, I followed Him “to have and to hold, for better or for worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health”, I have followed Him. He revealed to me His forgiveness, His healing, His freedom, free of cost, free of any payment, because He paid it all. He paid it in full. I don’t have to atone or work or do anything. He did it all. What I do, whatever I do, isn’t for a need, it is out of a heart that is forever thankful for what He did for me.

I think back and wonder if Roe V Wade hadn’t been in place in 1993. I wonder if I would have made a different choice if abortion wouldn’t have been as easily accessible, or if we lived in a culture that celebrated life and valued life and made the truth known about life, it’s Creator, and the miracle that life is. Would I have made a different choice? I can’t say. We never know what would have happened if circumstances were different.

But this I can say, I am thankful for any life that will be saved due to abortion being less available.

The Planned Parenthood I visited in 1993 is still open, still decaying. But, because of Jesus, my insides no longer reflect the decision I made 29 years ago. I have been made new… forgiven and free. Full of purpose and hope. This side of heaven I won’t be able “to have and to hold” my child, but I can rest in the assurance that Jesus has and holds us both.

Deeper Still is a ministry that offers free weekend healing retreats for women who have had abortions and the men who fathered children lost to abortion. If you have had an abortion and would like more information about our retreats, please go to www.DeeperStill.org to find a retreat close to you

From Scorched to Watered…Finding Strength after Placing My Child {Guest Post}

Guest post by Eren Moore

“And the LORD will continually guide you and satisfy your desire in the scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.” Isaiah 58:11

The scorched places.

We all have them. Those traumas—hurts induced on us by others. The sins we committed and the consequences of them that seemed to mar or change us forever. The places that need to be spoken out and named but we’d rather hide them because of shame.

Maybe God is revealing some of your scorched places even now as you read this. I’ve learned that we must name them, for naming them brings them into the light so that they can be grieved and repented of.

Naming and telling is where my healing began.

IN MAY OF 1991, AT 17 YEARS OLD, I FOUND OUT I WAS 8 WEEKS PREGNANT.

I knew before I even took the test, but denial is powerful. I dismissed the thought for a few weeks until I figured I better find out for sure. The only place I really knew to go for help was the Planned Parenthood I drove by every day on my way to school.

The only statement the nurse said to me as I walked out the door was, “We can help you take care of that.”
I said, “You mean to have an abortion?”
She nodded.

Overwhelmed I rushed to my car driving south on a two-lane highway, fighting the urge to turn my steering wheel to the left so as to drive over the median into the north-going traffic. I was devastated, hopeless, scared. Scorched.

By God’s grace I made it home that day. But then, I faced weeks of struggle. Thoughts of telling my parents terrified me. There seemed to be no words to even begin that conversation. Surely they would kill me or at the very least kick me out.

What kind of example would I be to my younger sister and brothers? What about my future at college? To answer these questions, I sought unwise counsel from misguided friends and co-workers. I remember being surrounded by those who chose abortion telling me,

“It’s no big deal.”
“You don’t need a baby now.”

That all seemed so true.

At one point, I visited a family who had adopted a few children. That dear woman invited me into her home, and I saw firsthand the love that an adoptive mom can have for her children.

God was awakening my heart to adoption.

However, the battle raged within me. No one could know I was pregnant. Shame, guilt, lies. It was easy to justify that what was living inside of me was “a clump of cells” at ten weeks. The father of my baby fed these lies to me daily, himself wanting to get rid of the problem altogether. The sooner I could abort, the better. Time was ticking.

THE NURSE AT PLANNED PARENTHOOD GAVE ME THE ANSWER I NEEDED: ABORTION.

And even better, the state I lived in did not require me to tell my parents about the abortion as long as I had a counseling session at the time of the appointment and it was approved. Easy enough.

The day arrived and the father of the baby and I sat in the waiting room. I nervously leafed through some magazines while he paid. In the magazine, I came across a type of postcard that read, choose life with a picture of a fetus in the womb. I abruptly closed the magazine and threw it to the side.

I heard my name called, and like a robot, I went through all the preliminary tests, one of which included an ultrasound which was turned away from me.

Finally, I arrived at the counselor’s office, knowing I would finally have the procedure done afterward. I just wanted to get it over with, so I tried to hurry through the session, not thinking too much about my answers.

At the end of my time with her, I hurriedly got up and rushed to the door.

But that counselor stopped me in my tracks with her words, “I won’t let you have an abortion today.”

“WHAT?! Oh yes, I will!”
She continued, “Not on my watch. You can come back tomorrow but it won’t happen today.”
“Why?” I responded.
She shared, “There were too many red flags. You said you weren’t sure if you want to kill your baby. People don’t say that. I can’t let you do this today.”

Kill my baby? I didn’t even remember saying those words. Feeling trapped and confused, I wondered what I would do.

Feeling disillusioned, I had no choice but to leave. As I pushed that big door to exit, I noticed the brightness and warmth of the spring sunshine. It was like a blanket of comfort surrounding me, and I knew I was never going back to that place. It took me 25 years to understand that God was guiding me in this scorched place. He put the card in the magazine, the counselor as a barricade, and gave me a protective love for my baby that day.

After I left the abortion clinic I see that God was giving me strength.

Even though the relationship with the father was falling apart, mostly because I wouldn’t go back to get the abortion, we both told my parents about the pregnancy. And how I underestimated them! Were they disappointed? Absolutely. They were sad to see my hopes and dreams take a back seat or possibly end. But they loved me, and they would support me as much as they could. I love them for that. God gave me the strength to tell.

AT THIS TIME I REALIZED I HAD A CHOICE TO MAKE.

Will I parent this child or place him in another home for two loving parents to raise?

My parents wisely set up a boundary I didn’t appreciate at the time: They would allow me to live at home for one year after the baby’s birth. After that, I had to move out on my own.

As difficult as that was to hear, it propelled me into reality. I began to investigate the option of adoption. I shared this thought with my teacher, Jan, at the alternative school I attended in the latter part of my pregnancy. She had me journal several times per week.

One day the topic was titled: I am a parent of a 5-year-old, what does my typical day look like? Another day: It is five years post-placement, what does a typical day look like?

I used to think Jan took an added interest in me because she worked with so many pregnant teens and it was rare for one of them to consider adoption. But I see now that Jan simply loved me. God was guiding and giving me strength through Jan.

Journaling, observing some single moms in their everyday lives, and hearing a few experiences from birth mothers helped me make a decision. Then one day out of the blue, my dad came home from work and told me that he knew of a couple that was looking to adopt. I was intrigued, so I made contact with those friends.

From the moment I met Mark and Paula, I knew that they would be excellent parents. A few things I knew for sure: I wanted my baby to be the oldest in the family and I wanted the mom to stay home with him. They were kind and open and they met all my requirements! Things seemed to be falling into place. Strength.

MY DUE DATE WAS LOOMING.

I knew I had to make a solid decision before I delivered. If I was not solid in my decision, I would cave once I saw him and keep him, even if that wasn’t the best choice for us. I had to resolve in my mind to place this baby.

Honestly, I was not ready to be a single mom. I didn’t want him to be in childcare all day and not have a dad that was consistent in his life. Even at eighteen, I knew those things were important for a little boy to become a man. So, I resolved. Strength.

The day finally arrived. I delivered a healthy 8-pound baby boy. The delivery was not without complications, one of which was my lung perforating. It was minor.

Once I laid eyes on this sweet boy, denial came back like a flood. He was beautiful. He was perfect. I held him, I was his mommy and I just wanted to pretend it would be that way forever. I spent two days in the hospital fulfilling that role by changing him, feeding him, and taking every detail of him into my mind.

The night before he was to go home to his new family I begged God to give me one more day with him. Not two or three or five, just one was all I needed. I would be more ready.

The next morning the doctor came in. He said he wanted to watch that perforated lung one more day. How good is our God? Full of lovingkindness! For the next 24 hours, I did not put my baby down as I watched the second hand on the clock tick away hoping it would just stop. But I knew the time must come for him to go home.

As planned, I laid him in his bassinet for the last time as the nurse rolled him away. My social worker was there for me to cling to as I saw my baby boy for the last time. It was heart-wrenching.

They were taking my whole heart out of that room that day. But I still knew deep down that it was for the best for both of us. I knew he was safe and he would have such a better life than I could provide at the time.

TIME HEALS. BUT THOSE FIRST DAYS, WEEKS, MONTHS WERE SO EMPTY.

My arms felt empty, my heart felt like a cavern. I eventually went on with life. Almost every year I received pictures and letters from the family, keeping up on his beautiful life. And although my heart aches, even today, 30 years later, when I miss him, I have never once regretted placing him for adoption. Strength.

Much of this story was buried in my heart until a day in April of 2013 when I turned from my own dry, parched ways to the Source of Living Water. Ever since the day He rescued me, He has guided me, strengthened me, satisfied me, and watered all the dry, barren places.

The Living Water irrigated my broken sexuality into a garden of purity by renewing my mind and heart with His word. I now have a Father in heaven that has built a bridge by His Son so I have all the love and affection a daughter of the King needs. I have a Father who sees me from the inside out and loves me still.

From scorched to watered. Only our God.

Eren Moore is a birth mother, adoption supporter, and advocate for the sanctity of life. Since 2014, she has counseled women experiencing unplanned pregnancies at the Bloomington Pregnancy Resource Center. She also helps men and women with abortion-wounded hearts at Deeper Still retreats.

“Roe” Triggers

All around us are people with abortion wounded hearts. We don’t know who they are, but they are there…sitting in the same pew as us, in the grocery story, in our small groups. Everywhere.  

As 2022 unfolds and Roe V Wade is being overturned and the abortion battle pivots to the States, please be aware that millions of abortion wounded people are cringing with every newscast. Most don’t even know that there is a way out of their pain and shame. Most believe that God wants nothing to do with them or that His gift of forgiveness and healing is too good to be true. 

When someone has an abortion wounded heart there will typically be one of two responses to “triggers” –either to bury feelings deeper and search for another distraction, or determine to fight back by shouting louder than the feelings in their heart and thoughts bombarding their head.  While trying to convince themselves and others they are “fine,” they surprisingly lash out in a burst of anger or slander when someone or something “pokes” at the tender wound. 

You may be shocked by the level of rage, violence and intimidation being triggered by the media attention on the Supreme Court case that will determine the future of abortion in our country. Some of those protesting can be considered “hired thugs”, while others are fighting for a worldview; believing abortion is always justified. Still there are those acting out of their unresolved abortion wounds. For every abortion wounded person that is “shouting out” their abortion, there are millions that we will never see or hear from because they live in secret, silent torment. Remember this – even if abortion is not your story, it’s the story of someone you love. 

As a partner with Deeper Still, you can be the bridge that connects those hurting to us. If the Lord puts you in the middle of a “divine appointment” conversation it’s because He wants you to make the introduction. Invite them to our website, DeeperStill.org. This is usually the least intimidating way for people to make an initial contact with us. 

We live in an abortion wounded nation. It’s time to heal our people and heal our land. You can help turn someone’s triggers into triumph. The time is now and Deeper Still is ready. 

Until all are healed, 

Karen A. Ellison, President

Deeper Still  

Keeping Secrets Keeps Us Sick {Guest Post}

Today’s post is a guest post written by Mara Petro. Mara is on staff with Life International and serves on the Deeper Still team in West Michigan. She wrote this post to explain what it is like for someone who has had an abortion attending a Deeper Still retreat. This post has more information about what happens at our retreats to help those considering attending understand more about the experience.

Thank you Mara for sharing with us today!

Nervous.  Hesitant to dredge it all up again.  She doesn’t want to feel the weight of guilt and shame that she’s been stuffing all these years.  She thought it was buried – but it doesn’t stay buried.  She thought it was manageable – but it’s not. It gets in the way – of everything.  It keeps her from loving fully. It keeps her from living fully. There’s always that fear of them finding out.  She knows that keeping her secret is keeping her sick — so she goes. 

With trepidation and doubt, she steps out in faith, reaching for the hem of the garment of the only One strong enough to take her burden and set her free. Jesus. The Savior sent to rescue her has been waiting to heal and redeem her secret, eager to say, go in peace.  In His loving arms, her baby waits to meet her.  But she’s not sure of that — yet.   

 This is how many women and men come to a retreat called Deeper Still, a post-abortion healing ministry.    

 In a beautiful setting away from life’s demands, several Deeper Still team members are waiting to share the love and compassion of Christ with those God is calling to Himself.   

Women and men who have come to the end of themselves are desperate for healing.  

 Several books and Bible studies are available to help abortion-wounded hearts, but Deeper Still retreats are unique.  At my own retreat and the subsequent retreats I have served on, there was an overwhelming feeling of God’s love and the love of the body of Christ. A kiss from heaven, some have said:  

God’s love leads to repentance and salvation, bringing healing and lasting freedom from guilt and shame.  

 From the time they arrive at the lakeside cottage on Friday until they leave for home on Sunday, our guests are prayed over, sung over, listened to, cried with, laughed with, and fed well with delicious food and the Word of God. They are guided in prayers of repentance, taking every thought captive into the obedience of Christ and exchanging the lies of the devil for the truth of God’s word.   

 Each morning brings assurance of God’s mercy and forgiveness. Ashes are exchanged for beauty. Mourning turns into dancing. Guilt and shame nailed to the cross of Christ, taken to the grave, and removed as far as the east is from the west.  

The crimson blood of Christ washes us white as snow. It is finished, and we are whole again. Forgiven.   

 Now she is sure her baby is with Jesus, waiting to meet her.  Though he was violently taken from her womb, she knows he’s been safely loved in heaven.  She knows that her son doesn’t hate her for what she did because he’s never known sin — only love lives in heaven. Believing God gave her a boy, she named him Joshua, and now she’s eager to meet him too.    

 No more secrets. Like the woman at the well, she is running to tell everyone about the Man who told her everything she ever did — and still loved her — still died for her — still chose her to tell His story of redemption.  

 These are the truths taught at Deeper Still retreats.  Jesus is the way out of guilt, shame, and fear.  Jesus is the way to healing and lasting freedom.  Jesus is the truth that dispels the lies of the enemy and the world.  Jesus is the life that saves us from death.    

 If you or someone you know has experienced an abortion or is contemplating one, there is help, hope, and healing waiting for you here. We understand you and love you.  We want to lead you to the Father who created you and your baby, the Father who offers you love and forgiveness through His son Jesus Christ so you can be free to live the abundant life, He came to give you.   

 Come to a place where truth meets grace.   

  

  

  

  

  

No Matter What has Happened, I’ll Always be Your Mother

In a moment, I put a price tag on my freedom to choose and your life was the cost.

I was supposed to be your mother.

Nearly a decade would pass before I would give you a name and honor your life. Recognition that didn’t come with your birth, stolen by my choice.

I was supposed to be your mother.

The date was April 2005 when choice made you a statistic to the clinic. Another crisis averted. An unfortunate situation handled. $400 paid, consent signed, silence kept.

I was supposed to protect you as your mother.

In April 2015, your 2nd sister was born. A mother for the fourth time, but only able to physically touch three. I waited for God to take her from me, one child in exchange for another, exactly 10 years later. But God isn’t a God of retribution and He allowed me to continue to be a mother.

Lies told me I didn’t deserve to be a mother.

In April 2019, God did something miraculous. I finally acknowledged your life. I grieved for you, rocked with you, named you. My Deeper Still retreat called me “mother” for the first time in a way that did not bring shame or condemnation.

And I loved you for the first time as your mother.

Until I get to be with you again our Heavenly Father cares for you.

One day, you’ll know me as your mother.

To all the mothers who have lost children to abortion, perhaps Mother’s Day was a difficult day for you. Your child is with Father God and for those who are in Christ Jesus, one day you will see him/her again. You are a mother. You are honored and loved as a mother. The honor that God gives to women parenting children on earth, he also bestows to you as His Beloved. El Roi, the One who sees, meets you right where you are. May this truth bring comfort and joy to your heart.

Abortion Recovery Awareness- Let’s Talk about This

Ouch. This is hard to talk about. Abortion is hard to talk about and uncomfortable for those outside the pro-life movement, and even some inside. Do we really need to talk about this? Is it ok to talk about this? Yes, please please please talk about this.

We sat in a foreign land where family planning wasn’t left up to individual choice for life. The pendulum had swung 180 degrees the other way where parents no longer could choose life after giving birth to one child. That policy has changed some since that time, but it takes time for cultural pendulums to shift course and swing for life. We sat across from ears hungry to hear about healing the abortion wounded, ears that never had heard anyone talk about the pain of abortion. Experienced pain–yes, but silence ruled, deafening the truth that abortion hurts women, abortion hurts men, abortion hurts families, abortion hurts cultures.

One of the ladies we were talking with had a look of surprise frozen on her face. She hesitantly asked, “Are you really going to talk about this? No one talks about this.” But her question wasn’t in offense, it was in hope, with a look and tone that begged us to talk about it…please talk about this.

If we don’t talk about it, who is going to?

1 in 4 women sitting in our churches have had an abortion. 1 in 4. Look down your row next Sunday and let that sink in. Look at every row allowing this sober truth to stir your heart.

As I sit here writing, it is difficult for me to go back to that place, the place of not being healed. But I try to remember.

Recovery looked different in various stages. The stages can mimic those of the stages of grief, after all, there is a loss and it is traumatic.

  1. Denial: I was hurting but didn’t see how I could had made any other choice. My uncle asked me if I regretted my decision a few months after. I said, “No”.
  2. Anger: Anger set in as I blamed my decision on others, lack of support, and judgement.
  3. Bargaining: I would have done anything to change how I was feeling. Numbing became my chief tool. I wanted to hold onto the relationship with the boyfriend and father of my child lost to abortion desperately. Because it seemed if I could hold onto him, it would all be ok somehow.
  4. Depression: This was through all the stages but deepened after the loss of the relationship with my boyfriend.
  5. Acceptance: When I came back to Jesus, 5 years later, He began the healing journey. It has been through this journey that I have found peace and joy restored. It was long and arduous. I still hate that I choose abortion but I do not beat myself up for it or condemn myself any longer. Jesus paid the price in full, and He is the only reason I can be at peace.

Recovery can look different for each person and no two people recover and heal exactly the same. Jesus isn’t cookie cutter like that. Jesus isn’t into formulas, He’s into friendship. He wants to be your friend, and walk with you on the journey to recovery.

A healing retreat may be His next step for you or your first step. Whatever your step is, He wants to hold your hand and He won’t let you tumble. It isn’t His desire for you to stay in a place of condemnation or despair.

Friends, we are here to talk about this. We want to come alongside you in your healing journey. If you’d like to know more, please go to DeeperStill.org. If you are a pastor or ministry leader and want to know more, please reach out to us by email. It is time to be aware. It is time to talk about this.

Father, You know the end from the beginning. You know the choices we make and those we wish would could change. Father, lead us as we seek you for healing. We are desperate for you Lord. Father, I pray for you to bring a greater awareness of how abortion impacts women and men and families. May you bring healing and shift the pendulum in the direction of life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Joy Comes After the Mourning…

We are going to touch on a hard subject this time around. Death and mourning. Now don’t stop reading, because Joy is coming…

Mourning: the act of feeling or expressing sorrow. What are the stages of mourning a loss? We all know the process of mourning a death. But, with abortion, it is a different type of mourning (in my opinion), accompanied with plenty of other feelings that do not necessarily go with that particular process.

I chose to take the lives of my babies. Yet, we grieve all the same. Whether by choice or forced we lost a child(ren). We do not understand the emotions, especially if we chose it. Either way, the grieving process starts. We are mourning a loss.

For my abortion wounded heart, regret and sorrow was immediate. I automatically fell to my knees begging God to forgive me, as sorrow filled my soul. There was an aching in my soul I had never experienced.

Because of the shame and secrecy that is attached to abortion, we are left to deal with the grief alone. We tend to dismiss the grief. We do not want to talk about it nor do we feel we should or can. Emotional pain oozed out of me in my choices, numbing myself daily one way or the other. The buried pain of grief pushed through in my behaviors, it could not be contained.

After many years of self-reproach, I went to a healing program at my son’s insistence and there let go of my children. The woman who helped me through this grueling process was an angel. She is the one who encouraged me to let them go and stayed on the floor with me until I released them. When I did, I found some joy. Mostly, I found forgiveness from God and gave myself forgiveness.

At this program, they have a dance party to celebrate our hard work. This was a dance of rejoicing, of freedom from our yesterdays. I was in my sock feet twirling, running and jumping around like the set free girl I now was. I felt so light and free. Psalm 30:11 says, “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness. My sackcloth and ashes were gone. I was a different person. I could see the girl I was before I had my abortions. I felt a huge burden lift off of me and began to deal with the loss in a healthy way.

In 2017, my love for Jesus became real in my heart. I fell in love with my Savior as He led me deeper in the process of healing and my joy became stronger.

Then in the Spring of 2018, I went to my Deeper Still retreat. Little did I know what Jesus was going to do for me there. I had even told some friends before I went, “I’m healed. I’m just going to see what it is all about.” At that time I was becoming involved in the Deeper Still chapter in Arkansas and to serve on the team, it is required to first go through a retreat. Unbeknownst to me, I was still mourning some choices I had made. While there, I dealt with some hateful feelings towards a few men. At Deeper Still, I found total healing and my mourning was completed.

My Redeemer restored my joy! When I came back home, I was given a name by a sweet friend of mine, our chapter leader. She calls me “The Joy Messenger” and I treasure that name. I was dead inside for so many years, to finally be filled with God’s joy was quite foreign to me. I had never seen myself as full of joy. I was healed, set free and chains fell off, my life made new! My life has changed because of what my Jesus did.

I can now worship the Lord with carefree freedom from constraint. I love the scripture Isaiah 61:1-3. My favorite is verse 3; “To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” The Holy Spirit brought thankfulness that has joy bubbling at its edges. The merriness seeps from my person. The darkness and valleys of death became places where the presence of God brought healing. Now that is something to celebrate! He has given me His oil of joy. He has plenty and He is waiting to spill it out on all who desire it. Psalm 43:4 says; “Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy; and on the harp I will praise you. O God, my God.” See, a joyful ending!

Lord, last weekend we celebrated Easter, a celebration of NEW LIFE in Christ! We ask for you to anoint our lives with the oil of joy, a joy only found in You alone. Allow the light of Your glory to burn brighter and hotter with Your oil of joy. Thank you for turning our mourning into dancing and filling us with joy. Amen!

Also this weekend, there are 7 Deeper Still retreats being held across this nation. Will you pray with us for joy to be restored for all those attending as they lean into the healing and freedom from our Jesus!

Searching for a Savior

For years I was lost, broken, trying to fill a hole. I found myself pregnant at the age of 19, in college, without hope. Those closest to me brought condemnation, shame, and guilt at the news. Out of desperation, I chose abortion with a false hope that my world would once again be “normal” and life could go on as usual. What I didn’t know was back to normal was not what I was searching for, what I was truly searching for was a savior. For a brief moment, I chose abortion to be my savior. This false savior left me more broken and more desperate than ever. It was an empty promise, and one that cost me dearly. Not only did it not deliver “normal”, but threw on heavy doses of shame on top of my already shaky world.

When we look to anything other than Jesus to be our hope, security, or escape, we are choosing a false savior. Only One can meet us at our greatest need and longing. He desperately desires to meet us there. Our idols are always a poor substitute for a savior. And when we continue to choose false saviors, we will ultimately need rescued from what we thought would save us.

Today we celebrate Good Friday. We rejoice because of the sacrifice Jesus, our Savior, paid on the cross, ALL our sins are washed away and we have been made new.

“For the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

The “joy” set before Him was you. He did it for you and me.

The choice of words “despising the shame” intrigue me. He was disregarding shame, calling it worthless. He was basically saying to shame, “You are worthless. You have no more power or authority.”

Eventually, after 5 years of trying to save myself through other false saviors, at the age of 24, I realized I needed the One true Savior. He rescued me and He wants to do the same for you. If you have been chasing after false saviors or trying to get back to “normal” on your own, today you can surrender your will to His. He defeated death and the grave. He is a personal Savior, and the only thing He requires is a heart saying yes to Him.

Jesus conquered sin and shame all for you, His beloved child, the apple of His eye, His joy, the reason He endured the Cross! This is the Savior we celebrate. He said, “It is finished!” and He meant every word. He is the only true Savior. He makes all things new!

Happy Good Friday!

2022 Deeper Still Virtual Banquet



Greetings Deeper Still Friends and Family!

It’s been a month since our 2022 fundraising banquet at Bridgewater Place. If you were able to be there that night, I know you were blessed and inspired by the awesome testimonies of Ric & Jocelyn, Greta, and Michelle. Only God can heal and restore abortion wounded hearts.
 
If you were unable to attend, no worries!! We videotaped their testimonies so you could watch them (below) and please, feel free to share them with others @ DeeperStillBanquet.org
 
Our theme for the night was I am Imago Dei. This translates to I am in the image of God.

The world tells us that babies in the womb are not persons, but merely a biological mass with no moral relevance. Often the women who’ve had abortions or the men who were the father of those babies do not understand that an abortion is taking the life of an image bearer of God.
 
The Bible teaches that we are all imago Dei. We are all made in His image and our value is priceless in our Father’s eyes. Our souls cannot bear the moral guilt of the shedding of innocent blood. When the blood stain of abortion is taken to the Cross of Christ, then forgiveness, healing and restoration is what our Savior offers in exchange.
 
Deeper Still is like a hospital for the abortion wounded. Jesus commissions us to be ministers of reconciliation. When abortion wounded women and men are reconciled to God they can be spiritually reconciled to their aborted children. When the offense is cancelled the healing begins.
 
Deeper Still has launched 24 chapters in the US in addition to our special outreach to Chinese both in the US and Asia. The Father is blessing this healing movement because He longs to see His sons and daughters reconciled, healed, and set free from the bondage of sin and shame.
 
When abortion gets dismantled in our country, the ripple effect will be immense. The Deeper Still “hospitals” must be ready to heal our wounded and heal our nation.
 
Will you join us in this healing movement? We estimate 6 new chapters to come on board this year. We can’t grow these chapters without our donors undergirding our work. Our 2022 budget is about $500,000. We take your investment very seriously, as we are stewards of Kingdom resources. Thank you for your Kingdom investment! Click here to donate now, but please take few moments of your time to watch these incredible testimonies! 

Our 2022 Virtual Banquet

(29:14 minutes in length)
   ~ A few photos from our in person banquet in Knoxville ~  Special thanks to:
Bridgewater Place – venue
Bill Roop Photography 
Windsor and Willow – floral design

All Our Amazing Volunteers!

 
Deeper Still Staff 
(L to R: Sue Molitor, Julie Whitlatch, Karen Ellison, Jacque Murphy, Sheppard Tucker)

Banquet Speakers (L to R: Ric and Jocelyn Sun, Greta Bates, Michelle McCauley)  

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Thank you for your continued outpouring of love and support for Deeper Still! You can make a donation HERE.    

Retreats this Spring…go to www.GoDeeperStill.org to register for a retreat