Do You Want to be made Well?

When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?'” John 5:6

Do you want to be made well?” How many times have I been asked that question? How many times have I asked that question of others? We may say “yes,” and then continue wallowing in self-pity and self-loathing. I am well aware of this prison. I lived it. Unforgiveness is hard to live with, especially when it is directed at ourselves. So, do we want to be made well? And if so, how?

My sin of abortion left me marred. The behavior that came from that choice had a ripple affect of running in guilt and shame from God for numerous years. All of that running caused more sin and rebellion. Year after year, I laid there and stayed in that prison cell of my own making. It became my home. I mean, how could I leave the comforts of “home.” Many times I thought, “Would there ever come a day when I didn’t feel this way?”

One commentary on John 5:6 stated that this was the only occurrence where Jesus asked a question without being addressed first. Why did He ask that question? It is considered He wanted to awaken the man out of his lethargy and despondency. An invitation into the first step towards his healing. Even when Jesus asked the man that question, the man replied with an excuse to why he couldn’t be healed. He stated in verse 7, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” The lame man’s hope in the pool is very similar to our culture today. How many times do we look to everything and everyone else before turning to Jesus for our healing? We go to counselor’s, take meds, go to all different kinds of programs available, all of which is good and God does use those to heal. Yet it often seems healing is continually one step beyond our reach.

Just recently I have heard several people say, “I do not want to feel the pain.” Of course, who likes pain? It is easy to be disinclined to exert ourselves, comfortable in our pain, and tucked into our shame and guilt. I can remember thinking, “What would that look like to be healed from my past?” The pain fit like an old pair of jeans that is hard to part with, yet there are holes in them and desperate in need of repair. I had fallen into the abyss of apathy with no emotions or feelings left. Indifference became normal and apathy a background tempo. All fundamental hope that personal happiness is possible seemed lost. But apathy does not have to have it’s way. We can give apathy the fight of it’s life and change the beat of our life, even though doing so feels like it will take every bit of energy we have left.

I had lived in despondency way too long, I couldn’t imagine what joy, peace and happiness would even begin to look like. To be free, was a foreign concept to me. Would I even recognize myself? I would no longer be a victim. All that attention that I was getting from being a victim would be gone. The familiarity and sense of connection to the guilt and shame would be lost and a new identity found. Who would I even be after being healed?

Tired and wretched after years of living this way, I wanted nothing more than to step into a life of freedom. And stepping forward, moving slowly, the Lord took my hand inviting me to “Rise, take up my bed and walk.”

He asked me again, “Do you want to be made well?” YES I DID. I made a choice to force myself, yes force, to uproot what resided so deep inside and face the pain. Was it easy? NO. But, every minute of pain that I had to go through to be made well was worth it. Jehovah Rapha, my Healer, surgically stitched me back together again and placed His healing balm in my heart, giving me a new heart- a whole heart. He can do the same for you. He is amazing at healing. All it takes is surrender, to say, “Yes! I am ready Lord.” Please accept His invitation and allow Him the opportunity. Your life will never be the same.

“Rise, take up your bed and walk!”

Jesus, thank you for never giving up on us and always there waiting for us to say, “Yes, we want to be made well.” How grateful we are for Your saving grace and Your healing touch. There is nothing like it. We love you Jesus. Amen

What better way to begin the new year then accepting Jesus’ invitation towards wholeness. Jesus is right there with an invitation to heal, whether it is the first step towards healing or you are already on your journey:

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.GoDeeperStill.org to find a retreat close to you.

Behold Your King

The word “behold” is defined as “to see or observe a person or thing, especially a remarkable or impressive one”. To behold something, we look closely at in such a way that we admire its features and soak in every aspect.

“Behold your King” is a phrase that has been in my mind for several weeks now. While lights twinkle in my living room around a wooden nativity scene, it isn’t hard to think of my King.

“And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For unto you is born this day, in the City of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12 (emphasis added)

Mary gives birth to a baby boy destined to save the world. After days of traveling on foot in her last trimester of pregnancy, in the low light of a barn, she beholds the face of her newborn son. Suddenly nothing else matters. I imagine her taking in every feature of his new face: his nose, his lips, his brow. His smooth skin and tiny hands; ten fingers and ten toes because surely, she checked. Mary is a mother through unexpected and supernatural circumstances. We have made this Christmas scene easy to watch, the reality is it was uncomfortable and unconventional in every way, as would mark the life of Jesus.

Thirty years later Mary would behold her son another time, only this moment invoking grief instead of joy.

“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!” John 19:26 (emphasis added)

This time Mary would not be caressing the smooth skin of her son’s face or comforting his newborn cry. This moment, He is marred beyond recognition, bloody and near death, charged with blasphemy and sentenced to the most gruesome death the government could have chosen. As Pilate presents Jesus to the Jewish crowd, there is another beholding, crowned with thorns and mocked in a purple robe, He beckons the crowds to look intently at Him shouting, “Behold your King!”

Jesus calls to his mother so she can look closely at him. How could she look? My mind can’t grasp this moment.

Today we can look at our King Jesus as both new baby and a grown man.

As good news of great joy and One who suffered greatly for our sins.

As a gift and as a sacrifice.

As grace from God and as God’s perfect justice.

As the Newborn King and as the Risen King.

May we behold as Mary did all those years ago. Let us behold the baby, sweet and innocent, humble and gentle. Also, beholding the King, the Lamb of God, who suffered and stood trial, and was crucified so we could be in relationship with Him, and stand before Him without stain and unblemished. His desire is for all people to behold Him, to accept His free gift of salvation and come to Him. There will be a day that Jesus will come again, and in that day, all will behold him. And all will recognize Him as King. These words “Behold your King” cling to my heart. My home is heaven, with my gaze intently admiring my King. Dear friend, I pray this Christmas season you will behold your king and accept all He has done, and the gift He has given. It is already yours, He is just waiting for you to accept it.

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of Jesus. In your perfect timing and only under your providence Jesus was born. The circumstances were not unexpected to you. God you knew that we could not make our way back to you without Jesus. I pray for salvation for those who don’t know. I pray hearts would not only focus on the birth of your son but on the harder part to look at- his death and resurrection. Thank you for the best gift we could ask for. When we don’t have gifts or words fit for a king, you bring us near anyway. We love you, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Merry Christmas from all of us at Deeper Still!

Praying this New Year brings you much joy and gladness! May the love of Jesus Christ fill you this season!

Loving our Brother, a Christmas Prayer

Favorite hymns and brilliant new Christmas melodies fill the airwaves this time of year. Familiar phrases and timeless lyrics echo through stores, churches, streets, cities. What is familiar to us often goes unnoticed, like a pair of shoes on the stairs that gets passed by while hustling thirty times before you nearly trip over them.

Last Sunday I was in an unfamiliar church setting, perhaps that is why I noticed a verse never noticed before in a familiar old, favorite Christmas hymn, “Oh Holy Night” written by John S. Dwight in the mid 1800s. I nearly tripped over it when I heard it, heralding my attention.

“Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother and in His name all oppression shall cease.”

Below is the full verse.

“Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name”

These verses resonated with me for the broader sense of the truth they carry. We cannot ignore how these verses must have spoke during this period of history and continue to hold a valiant truth commanding continued notice. But the truth these verses proclaimed for me on a cold brisk Sunday morning in an unfamiliar church with unfamiliar people highlighted those who are captive and slaves to sin who we see daily living in spiritual chains.

What kind of chains do our brothers and sisters live in daily and what are we as the body of Christ doing when we see them bound up living under the torment of oppression? This is a question worth contemplating.

These chains can have many names: abortion, pornography, fornication, homosexuality, false witness, theft, etc (Matthew 15:19, Colossians 3:5, 1 Corinthians 7:2). Abortion is one of these chains.

The people we judge in sin are our brothers and sisters. We are no better. Our sin is just as grievous. Who are we to judge our brothers and sisters in the church?

If we, as the body of Christ, would follow the law of love, our hearts would break and our eyes would tear in seeing our brothers and sisters in bondage to past or present sin, and we would run in towards rather than away. I am speaking to myself as well.

“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” Galations 5:14

We cannot see just another person on the row behind us in our churches or just another person behind the counter at the store, or a person begging on the street. Each of these are our brothers or potentially our brothers, each an image bearer of God, made for a purpose.

Oh Lord, give us your eyes to see those you put in front of us and pray for the chains to break, remembering every slave is our brother. Jesus it is in Your holy name all oppression shall cease. Jesus, help us run to those held captive, and not judge, but rather pray and love.

If you are a sister or brother who has been in chains due to the past sin of abortion, there is wonderful news for you! Jesus came in the form of a baby, was wrapped in swaddling clothes, and was laid in a manger not just so it would be cute to sing about. The gospel story is much more scandalous, powerful, and earth shaking. He loves you and came to die on a cross for you and your sins, to free you from the bonds of slavery and His powerful name breaks chains and oppression. This is the good news of the gospel of Christ! This is why He came–to bind up the broken hearted and set the captives free. The power of the gospel transforms lives. Believe. What a glorious Savior! What tremendous news! What a Christmas Gift!

There is a two fold prayer. If you are one who has been enslaved to the sin of abortion or any sin:

“Father, I have committed the sin of abortion. I confess and I repent of this sin. I know it grieved your heart and I am sorry I did not trust you to care for me and my unborn child and thought I needed to take matters into my own hands. I see now how this is a sin. Please forgive me. “

If you just prayed that prayer, God forgives you. His gospel is peace. Jesus paid it all.

The other prayer is for those of us in the church who have judged others in sin or for their past sin:

“Father, forgive us for judging our brothers and sisters who have been trapped in sin. Lord, help us to love them well and for the law of love to be written on our hearts. We know that it is your kindness that leads others to repentance. Help us to love and be kind to those who are hurting and struggling, not indifferent, cold, or harsh. Holy Spirit, may every time we sing “Oh Holy Night” remind us that every person enslaved is our brother that we are commanded to love. I pray we don’t get comfortable with those words, but pick up our cross and walk the law of love out daily and point to You, remembering that Holy Night long ago when you gave everything for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

Enjoy unwrapping the most beautiful Gift this Christmas! The Gift of forgiveness and love, Jesus incarnate, Immanuel. Unwrapped so we can live free.

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.GoDeeperStill.org to find a retreat close to you.

History Belongs to the Intercessor – Our Role in Overturning Roe v. Wade

This Wednesday, Decemeber 1, a historical event will occur. The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organizationchallenging a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. This will be the first time the new conservative majority on the Supreme Court could restrict abortion law and possibly overturn Roe v. Wade.

This is no small matter. Roe v. Wade made abortion legal in the United States in 1973. On Jan 22, 1973, the Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision, struck down the Texas law banning abortion, effectively legalizing the procedure nationwide.

Abortion is polarizing. Life is life. Biology is biology. There are truths that cannot be denied for mere convenience. The truth is that in an embryo, a heartbeat can be detected as early as 3-4 weeks (21-28 days) after conception (www.babycenter.com). This new law bans abortion at 15 weeks, 12 weeks after a heartbeat can be heard through transvaginal ultrasound.

Those opposing the Mississippi Law argue that the fetus is not viable until 24 weeks, meaning it cannot live outside of the womb. However, if left alone, the baby will continue to develop in the womb and grow to full-term. Viability outside of the womb is not a factor for concluding abortion is justified. Abortion is ending a life inside of the womb. The place the most vulnerable of lives should be safest is the most dangerous place on the earth to be with 18% of pregnancies ending in abortion in the United States (www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/induced-abortion-united-states).

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion would be legally determined by each individual state. Currently, 26 states are reported to be likely to ban abortion with 21 of those states having laws or constitutional amendments already in place to ban abortion. These bans would differ state by state and more information can be found on https://www.guttmacher.org/article/2021/10/26-states-are-certain-or-likely-ban-abortion-without-roe-heres-which-ones-and-why .

The US Supreme Court will begin to hear this case on Wednesday, December 1, 2021. It will continue into the 2022 term and will most likely not be decided on until June 2022 (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/05/18/supreme-court-just-took-case-that-could-kill-roe-v-wade-or-let-it-die-slowly/).

What is our role to play in this decision? Prayer. Abortion isn’t just a procedure. Abortion is ending a life, a life that would have most likely gone on to live and thrive, a life created by God with a purpose. Abortion isn’t our right to choose; abortion is stripping the right of a baby to live. Pregnancy is not just a bag of cells attached to a woman’s body; pregnancy is an all together separate life, a baby made in the image of God, designed with destiny.

Will you pray with us for this important case hearing? Please pray for truth to be told and to prevail, for the Supreme Court Justices, for the attorneys presenting, and for all involved.

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, and increased its joy; they rejoice before You according to the joy of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For You have broken the yoke of his burden and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor. As in the day of Midian, for every warrior’s sandal from the noisy battle, and garments rolled in blood, will be used for burning and fuel of fire.

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgement and justice from that time forward, even forever. ” Isaiah 9:1-7

Father in Heaven, we bless Your name O Lord, Your Kingdom come, Your will be done. Lord, we lift up the Supreme Court Justices who will hear this case. Father, we ask for their ears to open to hear, for truth to prevail and be heard. Lord, we ask those presenting to speak truth and give them the words from Your lips O God. May no lies be uttered and may every falsehood be exposed. Lord, we ask for every Justice to listen to your leading. Lord, we know justice in the kingdom of heaven isn’t subject to time. Justice from You is just as it should be. Lord, be Lord over our land. Have mercy on our nation. May those who have been in darkness see a great light, Your light of truth reigning over the land. May what the enemy meant for evil be turned and used for good, to fuel a revival across this land. Jesus, may Your Kingdom be established forever and ever, Amen.

When God Reveals More of Who He Is

“Your sun shall no longer go down, nor shall your moon withdraw itself; For the Lord will be your everlasting light and the days of your mourning shall be ended.” Isaiah 60:20

My fourteen-year-old daughter and I had gone away for a three-day girls’ trip to the beach. It was much needed time away. Three days of sand, peace, tranquility, mixed with laughter and joy. Ocean waves crashing over and over swept away every thought, washing away all the cares of the world. It was complete bliss.

The only complaint during the whole trip was that it was overcast. We saw the sun but perhaps a moment the entire three days. My daughter’s dream of a tan dashed. And at night, we went out on the beach in hopes of stargazing, but again, only darkness as clouds blocked out the moonlit sky. No twinkling little stars to be seen.

My daughter loves stargazing and sun-bathing. This lack of light was dampening but still we relished in the solace of ocean waves and sweet moments of togetherness.

On day three of no sun, I sensed my daughter’s disappointment. She loves sunrises and we had risen early with hopes to catch a glimpse of the sun as it rose above the horizon, carrying with it glorious shades of orange, pink, and gold. But again, we saw very little as clouds covered the beauty that laid beneath. We had prayed for sun. Where was it? What is with all these clouds?

Sometimes God doesn’t answer our prayers the way we think He should because He wants to reveal something new about who He is.

That morning oceanside, I flipped open my Bible and the Lord led me to Isaiah 60:19-20.

“The sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you;

 But the Lord will be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory.

Your sun shall no longer go down nor shall your moon withdraw itself;

For the Lord will be your everlasting light and the days of your mourning shall be ended.”

This word. This passage. The timing.

This passage may be referring to heaven where there will be no need for a sun or moon because of the Light of His all-surpassing glory will fill the whole earth and there will be no more mourning. But could it also be that that Lord wanted to use this passage to reveal more about who He is to me in this moment? And that the lack of light in the natural set the perfect stage for Him to reveal something in the spiritual?  A now word- A Rhema word.

He says He is the Light of the world.

If He is the Light and the sun and the moon are not needed for us to have light, does this mean that no matter what is going on around us or how dark a situation looks or how overcast it appears to be on the outside, we can be full of joy and hope because it isn’t dependent on our circumstances?

Yes. I do believe that is the message the Lord was speaking that day.

I do not know if He kept the clouds over the sun and the moon to make this point, but maybe He did. He does love us that much, to not answer our prayers for sunshine so He can show a new facet of who He is. He is the Light, He is our Light. His is a Light that never goes out and never goes down. It is always present. He is the everlasting Light, always with us showing us the way and leading us.

Could it be then when we have this revelation of who He is and that His indwelling presence fills us with His Light and joy, that is when the days of mourning shall be ended. Not because there isn’t something to mourn but because His light within outshines all else.

His Light is eternal and though darkness fills this earth, His Light shines in and through us. He is the Light.

On a funny note, I shared this message with my daughter, who wittily replied, “That is nice that God is our sun and our moon, and our Light, but can He be my tan too?” 

There might be another lesson in that another day. ; )

Dear Lord, thank you for revealing more of who you are! Thank you that no matter what is going on around us or how dark the world around us gets, you are the everlasting Light. Thank you that you are our sun and our moon and stars. Help us to see Your Light all around us and be the Light within drawing others to you and your glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Application Questions:

  1. Can I recognize or remember a time when God did not answer a prayer like I thought He would, but He revealed something more about Himself to me?

2. Is there a situation in my life where God seemingly hasn’t answered that I can ask what is He saying to me in this?

3. How has God shown you He is Your Light?

Would love to hear from you in the comments as you consider these questions!

His Steadfast Love

There are many Deeper Still Retreats happening across the nation this weekend. In preparation for a Deeper Still retreat I am serving on, our worship leader asked the team members to each come up with one retreat example that is evidence of God’s enduring steadfast love.  I wrote this poem in the spirit of Psalm 136 because I couldn’t come up with just one. Will you pray this Psalm with me for the participants coming to all the retreats this coming weekend? May each of them through the course of the retreat, come to know His steadfast love in deeper and deeper ways.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,

for His steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of grace,

for His steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord of love,

for His steadfast love endures forever;

to Him who alone heals the abortion-wounded,

for His steadfast love endures forever;

to Him who by wisdom formed every child,

for His steadfast love endures forever;

to Him who made them moms and dads,

for His steadfast love endures forever;

the Son to rule over their hearts,

for His steadfast love endures forever;

their lives to reflect His light,

for His steadfast love endures forever;

to Him who brought their stories out of darkness,

for His steadfast love endures forever;

and brought shame out from among them,

for His steadfast love endures forever;

with a gentle hand and an outstretched arm,

for His steadfast love endures forever;

He beckoned the weary and heavy laden come,

for His steadfast love endures forever;

and willingly died for their every sin,

for His steadfast love endures forever;

to break their chains with His blood,

for His steadfast love endures forever;

to make beauty from ashes,

for His steadfast love endures forever;

and collect every tear in His hands,

for His steadfast love endures forever;

To Him who is full of mercy,

for His steadfast love endures forever;

He breaks their every stronghold,

for His steadfast love endures forever;

past sinful relationships, every one,

for His steadfast love endures forever;

and places where little lives ceased,

for His steadfast love endures forever;

and gave them songs of praise and rejoicing,

for His steadfast love endures forever.

It is He who remembered their sin no more,

for His steadfast love endures forever;

and rescued their babies unto Himself,

for His steadfast love endures forever;

He who saves them to serve Him,

for His steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of freedom,

for His steadfast love endures forever.

Yes Lord, we thank you that your steadfast love endures forever. We ask for you to meet every single participant this weekend with your ever enduring steadfast love. Lord, we pray for you to speak life, hope, and healing and bring them into deeper more intimate relationship with you. We ask for open heavens over all the retreats and they would hear your voice clearly whispering your love and kindness. Give them courage to walk through the depths as you lead them in your way everlasting toward hope, healing and lasting freedom. In Jesus’ Mighty name, Amen.

www.godeeperstill.org

“I would NEVER have an abortion.”

I grew up in church and asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior at five years old. I can remember that day like it was yesterday. My brother and sister were at school and I was home with my dad. I asked him if he would help me get saved. I cried and cried tears of joy after we prayed and I wanted to tell the world about Him.

I also grew up with a mother addicted to pain medication, so I was exposed to a lot of trauma for as long as I could remember. After living years and years with an addict, it took its toll on me as a young girl just trying to find her way. I became very angry with God and eventually fell away from Him after my dad was put in jail. He was trying to keep her from driving under the influence and wouldn’t give her the car keys. My mom called the cops and they believed she was a victim of domestic violence. This was not true. I witnessed the whole thing. This sealed the deal in my mind that I was done following a God who would take away the one parent who actually loved and protected me.

For years and years I compromised every value I used to hold dear. I found myself pregnant the summer before my senior year of college. While I had been running away from God for years, I could have never dreamed of having an abortion. I knew it was murder and I knew that it was a life. In fact, I grew up with an aunt who was tormented emotionally for years from participating in four abortions. I watched her involvement with pro-life ministries’ nearly my whole life. I saw the damage that abortion brings. I would NEVER have an abortion.

I was not prepared mentally or spiritually for what was about to happen to me. The person I was in a relationship with, the person I trusted, refused to have that baby. This stung, BAD. I was so close to my own father that it broke my heart to think I could have a child whose own father wanted nothing to do with them. But I still wanted to figure out how to have this baby. It became increasingly impossible as his family continued to pressure me into having an abortion. I felt alone. I felt helpless. I felt defeated. After his grandfather mailed him a check for the exact amount, I went numb. I knew it was happening and I gave up. I told him if he wanted it so bad, he would need to make all of the plans, take me there, and figure it all out on his own. He did. He dropped me off and told me not to look at the people on the sidewalk trying to persuade me there’s another way.

I took the pill. I got in the car, looked out the window in silence and for the first time felt I was living in a nightmare. I felt the weight that I was officially living hell on earth and I had made the biggest mistake of my life.

Not long after, I found my way back to God as I had hit my personal rock bottom. For five years, he would continue to refine me and set me back on a path to Him. I found myself again and it was in the arms of Jesus.

At this point, my aunt and grandmother had found an amazing ministry called Deeper Still. Every time I went home to California they would talk about what God was doing and their search for the right property to hold their own chapter. It would eat me alive listening to them and also make me so happy they found their calling. I knew I was forgiven by God, but there was no way I could admit to my family that I had an abortion too. I didn’t want to ruin the way they saw me. I couldn’t bear for them to know that after all of the years of them fighting against abortion, I went and made the same mistake.

But all glory to God, because He knew I was only operating in half the woman He created me to be. Before their first official retreat on the new property, my grandma’s knee had become injured. My dad was originally supposed to help her in the kitchen to serve the guests, but near last minute, some men decided to attend the retreat. This meant my dad needed to help the men’s team and that left my injured grandma alone in the kitchen. My aunt felt lead to ask me, mind you I live in Colorado out of state, if I would be interested in serving on the team in the kitchen. I can remember thinking how I had been praying for their ministry, but definitely not for myself to be there. But God knows us so well and He knew that to get me to that retreat, I’d have to think I was helping my grandma. I agreed because I wanted to obey what I felt was God’s calling. But in the coming days, I was sick to my stomach knowing I had this huge secret that no one knew about. I knew there was no way I could go serve at an ABORTION retreat, side by side with my family, when I couldn’t even say the word abortion out loud. I prayed and knew I needed to first call my dad, be honest, and let them decide. He then told me I needed to call and tell my aunt. I was so embarrassed, but I trusted God. She was gentle. She told me she thought I should attend the retreat, but that she needed to discuss it with the team because they were full. Even just simply telling the truth out loud to my family had lifted a weight. This was only the beginning.

It was decided I needed to first attend my own retreat before I could serve on the team. So what started with helping in the kitchen ended with the most healing experience of my life; a part from the day I asked Jesus to come into my heart.

What Jesus did for me at that retreat I’ll share on my next post. I’m so thankful for the redemptive work of the cross of Christ. I am a life changed through Him and His ministry through Deeper Still.

Waiting on the Lord…

“Those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like Eagles. They shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint. Teach me Lord to wait.” Isaiah 40:31

As a mother, we want the very best for our children, especially their “yes” in receiving our Lord and Savior into their hearts. My youngest child was certainly not wanting anything to do with following Christ. She was driven by past trauma to stay away from anything Jesus.

In July 2019, she had something happen to her that caused her to sink further into a state of depression that medicine couldn’t help. Only Jesus could be the answer for her devastated heart. She was searching and involved in everything but Him. It was reeking havoc in our home.

I had been praying for her salvation for several years. But now, I was praying for her life. See, she wanted to die. This situation, for me, gave a whole new meaning to waiting on the Lord.

One night in particular, I felt I was in the middle of a nightmare and couldn’t wake up. I went into my “shecave” and was crying like a baby, a ocean of tears were pouring out. I cried out to God saying, “Where are you? I have nothing left to pray. Please give me a scripture, something, anything to give me hope.” All I could say was His name, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” I heard Him say, “Psalms 46.” I scrambled for His Word in desperation, hungry for what He had to tell me concerning this situation.

Psalms 46:1 states, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” I was sure knee deep in trouble and needed strength only He can give. I continued to read and there it was verse 10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” He was telling me, “Wait on Me, I am God. I will deliver.”

Have you been waiting on the Lord to answer you concerning something you specifically want from Him? In our fast pace culture we want everything handed to us right now. We do not like to wait. I know I don’t! Patience is not a virtue I tend to have. We get impatient and forge ahead of God like we are in a race. By the time we have done all we can do and not seeing an answer, we become exasperated, as I was.

When we feel He isn’t answering us quick enough, we start out by fussing to our Heavenly Father, which eventually turns into us having a full blown toddler fit! I know I was having a tantrum that day. I felt I was kicking and screaming to get His attention.

He listens so patiently, then lovingly says, “Wait on Me; Be of good courage, I will strengthen your heart; Wait, I say wait on Me!” Psalm 27:14. In this particular verse, He tells us three times to wait. In the last sentence, He reiterated twice, He knows something we don’t. He most definitely can handle it on His own and so much better than we can. I tend to get in His way.

So instead of getting all bent out of shape, frustrated, beside ourselves with worry, anxiety, and anger, what lesson can be learned? I learned to trust Him and believe His word. I had staked a claim over my family. “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15b. I had to trust that He would bring this to pass.

I drew closer in the waiting. I prayed harder than I believe I ever have for someone or something. All I needed to do was rest in the bosom of Jesus, clinging to Him in the waiting. I decided (even though I could still get in worry mom mode) to rest in His loving arms.

We know He works things to our good, so why fret. I was doing my best to not get in God’s way or be fretful. I know He is faithful and trustworthy, so I laid her at His feet, waiting on Him. (So very hard to do for this control freak).

In July, 2020, my precious daughter gave her “Yes” to Jesus. Now this momma was shouting Hallelujah from the mountain tops. Her life changed that day. My dear friends let me tell you she is on fire for God. She has been at YWAM, a discipleship training school for the last 3 months. She will be going to Tanzania in July of this year for 6 weeks on a missions trip.

See God knew something I didn’t. He knew just how to draw her to Him and He did just that. Of course it wasn’t on my time frame, but His. His timing is perfect. So be encouraged in the waiting…..

Lord Jesus, help us, while in the waiting, to trust You, to draw closer to you, knowing you are in control. Teach us Lord to wait on You because Your timing is perfect. Amen

The Tattoo My Daughter Wants

And through Him (Jesus), He reconciled all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.” Colossians 1:20

Dry heat engulfed us as we walked the streets of our vacation destination. Around every corner the word “TATTOO” jumped off the buildings, catching the eye of my teenage daughter. A conversation was sparked with our family as to what tattoo we would get if we ever ventured into one of those obscure shops. Mostly the talk was light as we fluttered around different ideas, tossing them into the air and went on our way forgetting the thoughts nearly as quickly as they were muttered. Until my daughter said hers. Her idea wasn’t a whim. This one had been formulating in her mind and simmering there for some time. Her idea arrested me as soon as the words were uttered.

My daughter simply said, “The tattoo I want is the word ‘Sister’ surrounded by a heart.”

To the random person overhearing this conversation, this would seem perhaps odd, but then it would be brushed off and reasoned away that she is a sister of two brothers wanting to proclaim her sisterhood to the world. For me, however, this was no mystery, the reason for this tattoo was clear and heart stopping.

Thankfully no one asked why and everyone went on with other conversations, going to the next topic. But this comment lingered in the air, not easily forgotten like the others. This one hovered and is likely not going anywhere until it perhaps lands on her arm or ankle one day.

Today is the anniversary date of when I had my abortion, or more accurately, when I choose to end the life of my first child. Harsh perhaps, but true. It was twenty-eight years ago. Many who have had an abortion suffer when thinking of the anniversary date, but the Lord has redeemed this date for me in so many ways. I actually rarely think of it but knowing it was coming gave me reason to want to write this post.

For years I have written about how abortion impacts lives and hearts, but the sibling component isn’t discussed much in post-abortive or pro-life circles.

Abortion impacts the siblings of the child lost. Being very open about my abortion, I knew it was important for my children to hear about it from me. All three of my children know. Also, I didn’t want to hide my past from them. Secrets are never free.

My teenage daughter, who has a very tender and sensitive heart, has commented on her sister in heaven many times and even has a stuffed bear in memory of her. She loves her sister and like me, looks forward to meeting her one day. My heart breaks a little every time I hear her say something about how she wishes she had her sister here. But she must grieve, as we all must, those we love and lost. It is healthy to grieve and recognize the loss.

I have had much emotional healing in regard to my abortion, so much in fact that it can be possible for me to forget that part of my past and story. It feels like a lifetime ago and I am a different person now, made new by the blood of Jesus. But events like this one are good for me and it is good that I feel a slight twinge when I hear my teenage daughter’s covert pain. To not feel anything would be more concerning and dishonoring to my daughter in heaven. She is a real person. Sometimes it is easier to forget, but I am thankful for the times of remembrance. Her memory is worth more than being tossed out into the wind, forgotten as a careless word on a hot day.

The promise of eternity and of meeting her one day fills my heart with joy and lifts me to a place of peace, resting in the ever present assurance that our God is big and amazing and nothing is too much for Him. No sin is too beyond His forgiveness and no breach of relationship is beyond His repair. We are reconciled to Him and the glorious hope of reconciliation with our lost ones safe in His care.

My teenage daughter may or may not get a tattoo that says “Sister” on it (I’ve asked her to wait until she is at least eighteen) but regardless of an external mark, her name, Kori Danielle, is tattooed on our hearts forever. We love you Kori and look forward to the day we can meet you. We honor you.

Father, we thank you for the glorious hope of eternity. We thank you that while we were still sinners, you loved us and sent Jesus, our Savior for us, and Christ died for us, so we could live forever with you. Thank you that no sin is too big and no breach is too wide. Thank you that the cross and blood of Jesus made a way for us. Lord, we pray for all those who have lost a child to abortion, that they would find hope and healing in you. And we pray for those who have lost siblings to abortion, that you would comfort their hearts and give them reassurance of the hope in you. For those reading this today who haven’t thought of this component before, we ask for your grace to cover and healing balm to soothe hurting hearts. Take us deeper in our healing, knowing you in deeper ways. We love you Lord. Thank you for loving us so well. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

In Case You Missed It!

In 2013, I attended the Deeper Still Fundraising Banquet for the first time. My friend, Emily, invited me. When I received the invitation, I didn’t need to think or even pray about it, I had been waiting for her invitation. I was an immediate yes, I’m in! Every year since for the past eight years there has been a night I join in getting all gussied up, put on my best, and gather with others in a full room to hear testimonies of God’s goodness, redemption, and healing at the Deeper Still Fundraising Banquet. It is a night I personally look forward to every year. This year it looked a bit different.

There were no linen tablecloths, no flower arrangements, no stage or podium. This year it was in the comfort of our living rooms. Instead of evening gowns, we adorned night gowns, and instead of suits, cozied in jammies. The testimonies were as powerful as ever! I watched in the comfort of my living room with my family, which consists of 3 teenagers, my husband and a goldfish named Squishy. Not sure what Squishy thought of it, but my family loved it!

Our oldest son, Joe, who is 18 years old had this to say, “It was very moving to hear a man talking about the bears, his vulnerability was so brave.” What a powerful example of the strength of vulnerability. I was so thankful my teenage sons could hear this man’s story. All three of my kids were moved by what they heard.

We know life is busy and you may have missed it Tuesday night! But another bonus to a virtual event is it can happen over and over again with just the click of a mouse!

My life changed in 2013. I was never again the same. I said yes to a banquet, attended a retreat, and 8 years later, I still love how the Lord moves and works in this ministry. Since that night, I have served on countless retreat teams, traveled to other countries, and the Lord continues to blow me away with His heart to see His beloved free, healed, and whole.

My hope is that I’ve peeked your curiosity! My prayer is that there is a yes in your heart to this invitation! You are invited!

To watch, just go to www.DeeperStillBanquet.org

If you feel led to give to the ministry of Deeper Still, we’d love to have you partner with us!

Three ways to make a donation towards our 2021 Banquet:

Scan the QR code below with your smartphone camera and open the link that pops up at the top

OR you can click here https://secure.egsnetwork.com/donate/D54D27AF4AAA4B9

OR by visiting  www.DeeperStillBanquet.org  to Give Online

Your donations allow us to do our retreats free of charge and support the staff of the Deeper Still Home Office in Knoxville, TN as the Lord continues to expand this ministry across the nation and the world. Our God so longs to heal the broken hearted and set the captives free. It’s why He came! Thank you for investing in the Kingdom!