Churching

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

Today I was texting a friend of mine who tested positive for Covid last week to check on her. She is more than a friend, she is a spiritual mom and prayer mentor for me as well. She’s in one word…amazing. She sent me a text back that read:

“Improving…Thanks for churching…Gaining strength.”

“Thanks for churching” caught my eye. I immediately knew it was one of those funny iphone word corrects for “checking” but something about the word “churching” just seemed appropriate. I’ve never heard church used as a verb before but I like it!

In Psalm 23:4 we read, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

There have been times when I was in a valley, either physically, spiritually or emotionally, and there were people whom the Lord sent to be His hands and feet for me.

I remember a time when I was very sick, it was several years ago and I was sick for a couple of weeks…bad, couldn’t get out of bed, felt like I could die kind of bad. There was a friend who churched by bringing dinner for my family. There are many examples like this.

Friends have sat with me in hard places, listening, praying with me, crying with me in the middle of emotional turmoil and pain.

This is the body of Christ at work and it is needed and it is indeed churching.

Jesus churched.

Jesus was never afraid to step into the dark places, the hidden sin, the pain and suffering of His people. And we want and need to follow His example. He is with us in the valley, in our lowest points. Because of that truth, we can fear no evil for He is with us, His rod and staff comfort us.

Jesus often sends tangible evidence of His presence through others. When He seems quiet, look at the different ways He may be gently whispering, I’m here.

Perhaps you are one who is the valley today. If you are, please know you are not alone. I know what it is like to be in a valley and feel stuck. I know what it is like to want desperately to climb out of the valley, digging my heals in seemingly in vain just making tread marks in the dirt. I know what it is like to climb one step at a time, thankful for each time I felt more footing and the light at the top seemed to grow closer with each step.

Today, whether you are in a valley or feel on top of a mountain, I want to exhort you today to look around and where you might church. If you are in a valley, helping another often lifts us a step up as well.

Beloved, like Jesus, we need to be willing to be with our sisters and brothers in the valley, sitting, listening, praying…churching.

Jesus never meant for us to be alone in the valley nor feel alone. The Church was meant to come alongside and to walk with others in the valley and not fear, giving comfort. What joy it brings when someone is willing to sit in our pain with us, knowing we are not alone. What a kindness this is. This, my friends, is churching.

Heavenly Father, we thank you that you never leave us nor forsake us. Even in the valleys and darkest moments, you are there with us. Lord, I pray that You would show us how to be the Church and that we would be mindful of those around us. May the world see and say, “Thanks for churching!” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Deeper Still is a ministry that offers free weekend 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.GoDeeperStill.org to find a retreat close to you.

Heavenly Perspective

There was a tug of war going on in my soul the morning after the election. I woke up and knew I needed to pray before checking my phone to see the “results”. I tried to go about my normal routine before I went ahead and looked up the decision of the American people. Much to, I’m sure, everyone’s chagrin, still no certainty on who would be the next President. I could feel literal heaviness begin to overwhelm me as I sat in the uncertainty of an earthly circumstance. My mind began to wander over many scenarios that could occur, regardless of who wins.

I decided to take a walk. I took my dogs and walked down to the lake nearby. My plan was to put on worship music and walk away my anxiety. God had other plans. I have felt a bit of a dry spell when it comes to writing and hearing from God. In all honesty, it’s because I had been looking down. I realized it when I noticed the reflection of trees in the water. I heard the word perspective.

I had been looking down at the reflection of these trees in the water; but when I actually looked up, I saw the trees for what they actually are, upright, and not upside down. I continued to hear in my mind, “set your sights on things above” over and over again. So I found a rock nearby on a small hill and began to read Colossians chapter 3, where that verse lives. 

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earthFor you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God (Emphasis Added). In that short moment, I realized I had been saying with my voice that I trusted God. Yet, I was walking around with the heaviness of the world. I was looking at everything upside down. I feared man and placed my hope in earthly things, rather than setting my sights upward to Heaven on the REALITIES:

The reality that earthly positions change constantly and Christ’s position at the right hand of God does not.

The reality that His position was sealed when Jesus Christ was crucified for the sins of the world.

The reality that Jesus Christ rose to NEW LIFE three days later. The reality that He is preparing a place for us and WILL return for HIS children.

The earth will look upside when the only way we look at it is from an earthly perspective. When we set our sights on heaven and see the earth from its rightful perspective, only then are we are able to see that Christ is still in control. God does not change based on our earthly conditions.

Let us set our sights on HEAVEN, the true reality. Not on the things of a fleeting and dying world. We will always fall short, be disappointed, and left with a void when we try to fill our purpose with the things of this world. But, when we set our sights on the things above, we will be filled with love, mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience (Colossians 3:12), all things a broken and decaying world needs.

Dear Heavenly Father, Please help me to posture my sights upward to you, on the realities of Heaven. Please forgive me for looking down and for losing YOUR perspective. Please help us all to quit looking down at earthly troubles, and to instead look up towards Heaven and the reality of who YOU are. Please help us to be loving, merciful, kind, humble, gentle, and patient so that others can see you in our actions. Please bring more people into your family so that they will also spend eternally with their creator and Heavenly Father. We love you and we trust you. In Jesus Christ’s saving name I pray, Amen.

Today’s post was written by Traci Young, who is a contributor for the Deeper Still Devotional Blog. Traci calls Broomfield, Colorado home, and loves spending quality time with her husband, baby girl, and two red doodles.  She left the workforce to become a stay at home mom and sees it as her mission field! Traci serves on the Fallbrook, CA Deeper Still team.

Deeper Still is a ministry that offers free weekend 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.GoDeeperStill.org to find a retreat close to you.

When Love Looks Different than Expected

“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister Mary and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. “ John 11:5-6

One of the most instrumental words in John 11:5-6 is the connector word, “So”. Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus, so he stayed. This is powerful when we break it down. It was because Jesus loved them that He didn’t go to Lazarus right away. He seemed to be late, or to not care that Lazarus was sick or didn’t really understand how serious it was. I mean Jesus should have been there…right? Except, He loved them so He stayed where He was and didn’t go heal Lazarus right away.

There is much mystery we don’t always understand. It makes no sense for Jesus to wait. Why would He let Lazarus die? Didn’t He care about His friend’s physical condition and didn’t He care about his sisters’ broken hearts? All hope seemed lost.

If you aren’t familiar with this passage, I encourage you to go to John 11 and read it.

After he arrived at his friends’ house where Lazarus had been in the tomb already 4 days, Jesus said something extraordinary.

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this? John 11:25-26

When things die in our lives (this could be anything from relationships, dreams, hopes, expectations, etc), we can feel like Mary and Martha did: disappointed, disillusioned, baffled, uncertain.  Basically saying, “Jesus, I don’t understand. Where were you? Why didn’t you come and rescue. Why did you allow this to happen?”

His answer. Because of love.

In a Bible study I am currently doing, Lisa-Jo Baker asks us to complete this statement:

“Lord, if You had been here, my _______________ wouldn’t have died.”

Jesus loves you and He weeps with you, grieving with you over whatever it was that died. Then full of hope, Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life…Do you believe?”

Do you believe He can resurrect? Do you believe He can make all things new? Do you believe He redeems all things?

Like Lazarus, perhaps there is a dream, hope, expectation, unhealthy relationship, that had to die in order to see the power and glory of His resurrection.  

Jesus is asking today, “Do you believe this?”

Father, we thank you that You love us so much that you will wait to rescue. We thank you that you are never late and you are never careless with our hearts or unaware of our situation. You are very much involved and know all things. Thank you for rescuing us in your perfect timing and resurrecting the things we assumed were dead. Thank you for restoring hope, resurrecting, and bringing life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

An Invitation to Invest

If you’re like me – when I keep my eyes on the crisis-de-jour in our world, I’m tempted to run and hide in my own “safe world” and wait it out. But my attempts to shelter myself do not protect me nor help anyone else. It is a false sense of security.

But…

When I keep my eyes on Jesus and join Him in His mission to  “rescue the perishing”, then a fresh courage rises up in me and I chose to engage in the lives of people who are desperate for healing. 

When you financially invest in Deeper Still you also demonstrate “Kingdom Courage”.  You, in essence, commission us to be the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus.

In the midst of chaotic times we are working hard to bring the healing presence of Jesus to all those He sends us.

In the last 3 months we have hosted 3 retreats (with Covid guidelines) and shifted our Chapter Leaders Conference to a virtual event. These have all been awesome events and we are thrilled with the outcomes. However, we have also depleted our financial reserves and as you will read in this e-newsletter, we have much on the horizon in the coming days in fulfilling His calling for this year! As we head into Fall 2020 we need to ask for your financial help. Our next retreat is this coming weekend. Our staff has been working diligently to keep things moving forward seamlessly, and I’m so proud of them.

Will you help us stay the course and finish our Fall events and activities fully funded? We know you are making many sacrifices this year already. We are asking the Lord to bless you as you sow into Deeper Still.

You can donate any amount as a one time gift today using the link below or scan the QR code below:

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=JRSGRWK8UXLDE&source=url

If you would like to make a recurring donation, please visit: www.GoDeeperStill.org/giving

Thank you for investing in Deeper Still and, as a result, the lives of those who will enter into HIS safe refuge.

Until all are healed,

Karen A. Ellison

President, Deeper Still

Forgiveness, Freedom

Marriage: Forgiveness Part 1—What Does Forgiveness Look Like? | Doing  Family Right
“And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he forgave and prayed for them. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.” Job 42:10

The purpose of forgiving people is not to let them get away with what they have done or to live as if their actions didn’t harm you. The purpose is to let yourself stop being angry, bitter and having to fight off resentment in every area of your life. This applies to forgiving ourselves as well.

In 1987, I had my first abortion. The consequences of that sin began a journey of me digging a massive pit that I threw myself into. My womb was empty at my hand and I thirsted for the child I had just killed. The realization of that set in immediately. So did unforgiveness. Self-loathing began, while self-destructive mode set in.

I was doing anything and everything to numb myself from the pain of what I had done. This included drugs, alcohol, partying, and men. At this point I was uninterested in the rest of my life. I was going through the motions. If it wouldn’t have been for my son, I believe I would have ceased to exist. My choices led me to two more abortions, 5 husbands and reckless living. My life was in shambles. Most of the relationships I chose were physically, sexually or verbally abusive.

Depending on your depth of unforgiveness and how long you’ve been carrying it around, it will certainly destroy your life. Unforgiveness is a killer to your soul and your health! I became callous, unsympathetic, and heartless. One of the men, whose child I aborted, told me I was the most coldhearted (I’ll be nice here) person he had ever met.

The weight of unforgiveness is grueling; it will paralyze you. I couldn’t live with the fact that I had killed my own children. Thus, my pit that I was living in.

24 years after my first abortion, I finally forgave myself (it was harder than natural childbirth). It was laborious to say the least. Grueling even. To offer myself forgiveness, seemed unattainable. By the grace of God, I did. Freedom came. To some extent…

“Bearing a grudge can hold you back and even damage your health.” Dr. Ken Hart. “It is a major reason why people don’t heal.” Bowie, MD

I was so full of bitterness, unforgiveness and hate towards the abusers, that my body hurt constantly. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2014. The causes of Fibromyalgia include emotional trauma, viral infections, and physical injuries. Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues.

In the spring of 2018, I went to my Deeper Still Retreat. Its name rings true, I did go deeper still. I went through the process of “Debt Paid in Full” where we were to forgive others, ourselves, judgments that we held against ourselves, and how we punish ourselves. I fought painfully hard to forgive the abusers. The stress of that process caused me to have a migraine that day. The amazing thing that took place through that act of obedience, is God healed me instantly of Fibromyalgia (which was caused by emotional and physical trauma). I was set free.

“Forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you MUST do.” Colossians 3: 13b

God delights in our obedience, especially when you obey Him in challenging times. You are positioning yourself for His blessings of peace and healing. That day my Savior gave me both. I have a joy that burns inside of me for what He has done for me.

He can do the same for you as well. Forgive, let it go. There you will find freedom… And forgiveness…

Thank you Jesus for your forgiveness. Where would we be without it? Help us Holy Spirit to choose forgiveness. We lay this request at your feet. You receive all the glory. In Jesus name.

Today’s post was written by Randi Stanton, who is a contributor for the Deeper Still Devotional Blog. Randi lives in Maumelle, Arkansas, and is married to Tom. She has two children, three stepchildren, and two gorgeous grandchildren. She also enjoys hiking in the mountains, playing with her dogs, reading and studying God’s Word. Randi serves on the Arkansas Deeper Still team. 

Deeper Still is a ministry that offers free weekend 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.GoDeeperStill.org to find a retreat close to you.

Shame and Worthiness

“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.” Ephesians 4:1

Funny how an event that happened early in our formative years can have lasting impact. Words have power, and shame showered on us from others leave us wet with a belief system rooted in falsehoods.

It is important to note that much of the shame we carry isn’t founded in truth. Shame has to do with identity, and the enemy wants nothing more than for us to be weighted wet with shame. Perhaps that is where the expression “like a wet blanket” was formed. Shame is a robber, stealing energy, calling, and confidence.

Shame places us outside of our identity in Christ and who we are as the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, fully in right standing with our Creator God.

And we need to cast off that wet mess and tell it to go.

A couple years ago, I remember a specific time when feelings of unworthiness flooded my mind drowning out the truth of my worthiness being in Christ alone. This happened right before I served on a ministry team.

How often I had prayed the verse in Ephesians 4:1, “That I would walk worthy of the calling to which I was called.” Somehow though I never felt worthy no matter how straight I walked.

Sharing with a trusted friend how I felt unworthy, he questioned, “Have you done something or sinned that would make you feel unworthy?” In all sincerity, I couldn’t think of anything specific. It was just a general feeling of being less-than.

Over the last many months, the Lord has been showing me the root of this lie and how shame put on me by others in my youth led to social anxiety, low self-esteem, and fears of rejection.  However, I now am seeing how this “less-than” or “not enough” feeling is no more than a ghost, not based on truth.

In the light of truth, shame loses power, dries up, and fear withers.

The Lord gave me a different interpretation of Ephesians 4:1, as He has told me to “Walk in my worthiness.” –that our worthiness is founded on right standing in Christ, and not based on what we do or don’t do.  Our best works are as filthy rags compared to His glory. Most women who have had abortions feel unworthy. Our works do not impact our worthiness.

Instead of wearing a wet blanket of shame, we are clothed in a robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10). This is the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Today, will you throw off the old shame garment, and allow Jesus to place a beautiful clean white light robe on you?

Father, we thank You for Your Word and Your Truth. Today, we choose to cast off shame and allow You to place Your robe of righteousness on us. Help us to walk in our worthiness and believe these truths of who You say we are in Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Deeper Still is a ministry that offers free weekend 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.GoDeeperStill.org to find a retreat close to you.

The Truth Around How Abortion Impacts Lives

“Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” Genesis 1:3

In the beginning, the earth was without form, and void; and darkness covered the earth. Darkness has always been since the beginning. There is nothing new under the sun even before God spoke the sun into existence. In the darkness, the Spirit of God hovered. In a flash, both in moment and in vision, everything changed.

In the womb, there is only darkness. The Spirit of God hovers, creating in mysterious ways our finite minds cannot understand and He has always been and always created before time. It is too wonderful for us to know and how can our minds comprehend?

God speaks and there is light. God breathes and there is life.

Darkness is not unfamiliar to our God. He is well aware of the darkness and how to maneuver and create and transform the darkness into life.

“If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall fall on me,’ even the night shall be light about me; indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You.” Psalm 139:11-12.

When God spoke light, the darkness was still there. There is both light and darkness, and until the day of Jesus’ return and the day He gloriously reigns, darkness will be.

Darkness deceives. When I was small I was afraid of the dark and thought there was a pirate in my room, on my closet door. Funny how the mind works. I slept with the light on for years and interestingly, the pirate never came into my room when the light was turned on.

There is a darkness out there, deceiving, sharing opinion as truth. Turning down the light one degree at a time wanting us not to notice the incremental change. A darkness that claims life isn’t valuable inside the womb and in fact, we aren’t even sure it is valuable outside the womb. If a life is an inconvenience or stands in the way of my “happiness” then it is harmful to me and worthy of riddance.

What a horrendous lie which has aided and contributed to the devaluation and annihilation of people groups, genocide, abortion, population control and other evils in this world. Any stand that is against humanity, created in the image of God, is evil.

We are in a battle for life, light, and truth, and there is hope. The weapons in this battle aren’t traditional, but they are powerful. Two of these weapons are our testimony and prayer. At first these weapons may seem small—in likeness to the boy who only had two fish and five loaves.  However, these two weapons are powerful in the spirit, and when flung create massive holes in the darkness. “What good will one testimony do?”, you might ask. The first one starts the crack, and all we need is a crack for the light to enter. Then as countless others share and we join together, one becomes a thousand and then an army is formed, standing strong with thousands to millions of candles burning brightly. Fighting together, each testimony and prayer weakens the enemy’s hold and light overtakes the darkness.

God spoke and there was. His words brought light. Words can bring light, and light begets life.

Today we stand against the lie that abortion doesn’t impact lives. In a moment of darkness, I made a decision to have an abortion. This decision impacted me in devasting ways. I went down a path of self-destructive behaviors in attempts to numb shame, voices of condemnation, and lies of unworthiness of anything beautiful and lovely. I was locked up, unable to escape from my prison. Even after I came back to Christ five years later, I felt unworthy of Christian friendships. I questioned if I could be a good mother and heard suggestions as condemnation. Abortion impacted my marriage, my relationships, my mothering, my confidence, my self-worth.

This is only a glimpse into my story and the despair and hopelessness I felt after having an abortion.

Jesus was and is the only One who can break through that kind of darkness. He knocked, and with one knock, He spoke, and the lies began to crumble, the prison doors opened, and light penetrated the dark.

Thankfully, the Lord has freed and healed me only by grace through the blood of our Lord Jesus. For twenty-two years I have been on a healing journey with the Lord, gently and tenderly leading me into deeper and deeper places.

I know firsthand the pain of abortion, and I also know through working with hundreds of women and hearing their stories, the holistic harm of abortion.

Abortion is a lie and as the truth is shared, pieces of darkness shatter and fall, and the Spirit of God hovers saying, “Let there be light.”

To read more of my story, you can go to: http://livingfreeinhim.blogspot.com/p/my-story.html

To hear other testimonies and stories, you can go to:https://www.godeeperstill.org/about-us/testimonies.html

Together we can bring light.

Today’s post was written by Sue Molitor. Sue works with the ministry of Deeper Still in International Relations. She lives in beautiful East Tennessee and loves spending time with her husband and 3 kids. She enjoys reading, coffee with friends, and taking long walks. She has been writing for the Deeper Still Devotions for 7 years and loves to encourage others and cheer them on towards finding freedom and healing.

Deeper Still is a ministry that offers free weekend 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.GoDeeperStill.org to find a retreat close to you.

National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children

Today is National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children.

Today we honor each of these lives and recognize the humanity each one represented. These were humans–full of destiny and purpose.

As we reflect on these lives lost, let us also remember those who grieve a decision made in perhaps a moment of crisis that left a scar of a life-long regret.

Fr. Frank Pavone wrote the prayer below. Would you take a moment of silence to honor these precious lives and pray for those who have lost a child to abortion.

Lord of all Life,

You have entrusted us to the care of one another, and called us to be one Body in Christ. You call us to rejoice with those who rejoice, and to weep with those who weep. Hear our prayer today for our brothers and sisters who have lost children to abortion. Help us to understand the pain that is in their hearts, and to be a living sign to them of your welcome, your mercy, and your healing. Help them to undergo with courage the process of grief and the journey of healing. Never allow them to feel alone; always refresh them with the presence of Your Spirit., and of their brothers and sisters in Christ. Console them with the sure hope that you love and care for their children. Give them new strength, that even while they grieve what they have lost, they may look forward to all the good that you still have in store for them. Lord of healing and hope, give us all the forgiveness of our sins, and the joy of your salvation. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.

Deeper Still is a ministry that offers free weekend 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.GoDeeperStill.org to find a retreat close to you.

From Shame to Glory

No more whispers no more secrecy no more fear.

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36

“They’ll know,” she thought quietly near the back.

“It’s probably written all over my face: Liar, hypocrite, selfish.”

“As long as I stay in the back and close to the exit, I’ll be able to hear the word of God, and not risk anyone learning the truth about me. It’s better this way.”

“I gave my voice up the day I swallowed that pill. If I proclaim to be a Christian and stand up for truth and goodness, I’ll only be seen as a hypocrite.”

“If they only knew…” She ached inside as she tried listening to the sermon. She could hardly hear anything besides the many thoughts flooding her heart and mind.
These were just a few of the lies whispered to me by the enemy.

I believed my Savior forgave me with every fiber of my being. He was changing my life, healing and renewing my heart. However, even though I knew I was forgiven, I could not hear the word abortion without recoiling in my skin, feeling sick to my stomach, and wanting to run toward the nearest exit. Nothing in that sounds healed to me; triggered – but not healed. I was afraid to get too close to anyone at church, or any person for that matter. I believed that if anyone knew the real me, they would reject me.  For a while, I allowed people in from a distance.  For five long years I lived half alive; forgiven yet hiding in shame.

Then, as the Lord would have it, I was given an opportunity to serve at a Deeper Still retreat, helping cook meals for the guests. My aunt was the one who invited me to serve. For years I wanted to stop hiding and tell the people I loved about my abortion. But something in my mind always convinced me to stay silent. When my aunt asked to serve, I knew that God was telling me it was TIME- it was time to share my secret.

God instilled on my heart that if I was going to help at a retreat, I could not risk my family finding out while we were there, it would take the focus off of the guests and onto me. I called my dad and then my aunt. Both my dad and aunt were so gracious. They told me I needed to go as a guest and not to serve. I thought I was forgiven and didn’t need to attend… but boy was I wrong!

I love how God works. I thought I would be serving God’s kingdom by cooking meals, but He had mightier plans. He knows us so well. He knew I didn’t think I needed any more healing and that the only way to get me to a mostly family lead retreat would be if they asked first!

At the Deeper Still Retreat, the Lord brought healing on more levels than I even knew existed within my heart and soul. Not only did God forgive me, He revealed that He never intended for my voice to be silent and hidden. God used Deeper Still to give me my voice back. Instead of shame, I saw a testimony.

My eyes began to open to the hurting. I realized that if I had been hiding in shame for years, how many others were doing the same exact thing? How many others were also afraid to be viewed as frauds? Instead of hiding in shame and fear, He encouraged me to speak up. No more whispers, no more secrecy, no more fear.

And the lies that once silenced me, now were turned into opposite proclamations of truth!

“They’ll know HIM,” she proclaimed!

“It’s written all over my face: Forgiven, Loved, FREE IN CHRIST!”

 “I will no longer stay in the back, close to the exit, because I cannot risk anyone not learning the truth about Jesus Christ!”

“I gave my voice to CHRIST the night I asked for His forgiveness. I will proclaim to be a Christian and stand up for truth and goodness! I am not hypocrite.”

If they only knew…” She ached inside, wanting others to know Jesus is ready to release them from their own bondage.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for rescuing us from deaths grip. Thank you for dying on the cross for our sins and making a way for us to come to you – through believing in your son, Jesus. I pray for the ones hiding in plain sight, living in bondage to a lie that they are too shameful, too far gone, too damaged. I pray in Jesus name they would leave those worries at the foot of your cross and ask you into their hearts, if they have not done so already. I ask that you would give us godly courage to speak your truth to the ones in our lives. I pray your mercy and truth over us all and thank you for redemption. Thank you for healing. It is in Jesus’ holy name I pray… Amen.

Today’s post was written by Traci Young, who is a contributor for the Deeper Still Devotional Blog. Traci calls Broomfield, Colorado home, and loves spending quality time with her husband, baby girl, and two red doodles.  She left the workforce to become a stay at home mom and sees it as her mission field! Traci serves on the Fallbrook, CA Deeper Still team.

Deeper Still is a ministry that offers free weekend 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.GoDeeperStill.org to find a retreat close to you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laying in the Lap of God

Whether you have 12 candles on your cake or 102, you have a Father who is celebrating you and knows you infinitely. You are His beautiful daughter--coming of age, becoming more like Him. His lap is always ope

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” Psalm 56:8

“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7

My oldest daughter turned twelve recently. This addition of another lit candle on the cake also flamed a change in my heart. When the candles were blown out and the smoke lifted, I saw her in a new, and admittedly, scary way. She’s no longer an unsteady toddler or toothless elementary school kid. Her long legs far surpass the days of the dark oak crib that once towered over her. This birthday felt different; less celebratory and more serious–the ushering in of the coming of age–my little girl becoming a young woman.  This once little girl who was learning to share and use “big girl words” is now developing a mature, responsible, and more independent demeanor.

My first baby doesn’t need me as much; she has handled big things this year gracefully and without much help from me. 

I look at her wearing twelve year old skin and tears begin to well in my eyes. I can’t understand why I’m so emotional as I run my fingers through her dishwater blonde hair; this head in my lap that I’ve kissed so many times. She’s a good and perfect gift, just like all gifts that come from God. I look at her and recall the things I know about her- her favorite food, favorite color, what makes her happiest, what annoys her the most, who her best friends are and what she desires to be when she’s older. I know where she wants to go to college, who she wants to live with, and her favorite animal. I know weekends that she has to leave her dads and come back home always make her sad; I know living in two different houses is frustrating for her at times, and I know that often she feels like “she doesn’t belong anywhere”. I know what makes her heart ache and that coffee will always make it better.

Then I think, “If I can love her this much, how must God feel when he sees her?”

This thought then sparks a truth powerful enough to light every candle…If I can love my daughter this much, how much does my good good Heavenly Father love me? And as much as I yearn to be her provider and protector, how much more does my Heavenly Father desire to be mine? 

God’s word says He knows every hair on our head, and every tear cried, and every thought. He knows every sorrow and pain.

This is true for all of us. We are cared for, loved, and accepted by God, not because we could ever earn it but because we are His daughter. The worthiness given to us because of whom we belong to cannot be blown out because we fall short. We will always fall short, that’s why we need Jesus. With our heads in His lap, God wants us to trust Him and look to Him for all we need.

One of the greatest gifts given to me was the picture of God as a parent. Like the prodigal son can return home into welcoming, open arms, we also can return home, and our Father throws a party when one of His children come home, with cake and all! I picture God often in this way; especially when I need a reminder that I am loved and accepted fully regardless of where I’ve been or what I’ve done. My prayer is for all reading to know this truth:

Whether you have 12 candles on your cake or 102, you have a Father who is celebrating you and knows you infinitely. You are His beautiful daughter–coming of age, becoming more like Him. His lap is always open, and His love for you burns like an everlasting candle, unable to be snuffed out. 

Father God, You are the beginning and end of who we are. You knit us together with such care and take notice of us when no one else does. Thank you for your love and devotion; thank you for being the lap in which we can rest our weary heads; thank you for being our protective Father. Amen.

Today’s post was written by Ashley Gregory, who is a contributor to the Deeper Still Devotional Blog. Ashley lives in Mt. Sterling, Illinois and is married to Mark. They have 3 children and she serves on the Central Illinois Deeper Still team.

Deeper Still is a ministry that offers free weekend 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.GoDeeperStill.org to find a retreat close to you.