What’s in a Name?

“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.” John 10:3-4

Have you ever had the opportunity to give something, or someone, a name? Maybe it was your favorite stuffed animal, a pet, or an even more precious- a child. A couple of weeks ago, Sue shared with us about her daughter, Kori Danielle. Sue shared what Kori’s name meant and how she came to know this would be the name of her sweet daughter. In true God fashion, I had been pondering names and how important they are to each of us and to those giving us a name. Names have carried meanings for centuries and identified who a person belonged to and even called out their purpose. Throughout the Bible you will find the same to be true. Parents gave children specific names and God renamed his people as they stepped into his work.

In the scripture above, John is documenting Jesus’ sermon where Jesus describes himself as the Good Shepherd. An important part of being a good shepherd lies in naming their sheep. I imagine shepherds naming their sheep based on color, markings, and personality. 

The shepherd says, “Your name will be Domino because of that big black circle around your eye.” To the next sheep he says, “Your name will be Jazzy because of your spunkiness within the herd. You have energy for days!” And to the next he says, “I think I’ll  name you Pearl because you just look fancy. Your wool is cleaner than all the others, too” and so on. The shepherd would need to pay special attention to his sheep to give them names.

He doesn’t just yell “Hey sheep!” but he calls each individual name “Domino, Jazzy, Pearl” and the best part is…they each know their name.  

For those of us who are in Christ and have accepted Jesus as our Good Shepherd, we know He is pleased with us and He knows us by name (Exodus 33:17). He gives us a new name that reflects our belonging and divine potential in Him. My name is Ashley, this is the name my parents gave me and identifies who I am as an individual. The world has given me lots of different names over time like “Forgotten, Unloved, Broken, Trash, and Disappointment.”  Theses names weighed me down with shame and a heavy yoke. I couldn’t carry one, but more kept coming. 

But then Jesus called my name. My Savior called me at the most unexpected time and gave me a new name. In Him, I am:

Chosen (Colossians 3:12)

Masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10)

Forgiven (Colossians 1:14)

Sweet fragrance (2 Corinthians 2:15) 

These names gave me a sense of security, safety, and protection.  Jesus gently whispered these names when he first called me, and nothing felt truer in my entire life. For the first time feeling completely known and completely loved. Only a Good Father who gives good gifts can give names like these. 

Have you heard Jesus calling you by name? Or are you holding on to the name the world has given you- one that carries burden, shame, and guilt? Let go of all the names that bring your hurt, pain, and burden; and take up the names given you to by the Good Shepherd. 

God, I am in awe at your attention and care for us. I cannot fathom all the time you spend paying attention to each of our individual needs. You do this for us as you use your Holy Spirit to call us by name. I thank you for your Holy Spirit that guides us, comforts us, and leads us to the heart of the Father. This is where we find our true name and identity. I ask that you speak to each, and every person reading this and call them by name. God call them out of the darkest and into your marvelous light, one name at a time. The has never been a moment we were not perfectly known and perfectly loved by you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

If you have had an abortion and you are ready to let go of the names that have tried to define you as a result of your abortion, please go to http://www.DeeperStill.org to find a retreat near you. Jesus has a new name for you.

Our Secret

“Those who look to Him are radiant; and their faces shall never be ashamed.” Psalm 34:5

Secrecy is a fearful place to be. We sit wondering, living in fear that one day someone will find out that ugly, shameful secret we are carrying around. Abortion. The dark little secret no one wants to talk about because of the scandal of it all.

As long as we think we have our sin safely hidden, the accuser will keep our hearts in bondage. The disadvantage of that bondage is that we continue to suffer in silence. We may look all put together on the outside, but inside we are living in emotional chaos. Freedom will be just out of our reach, although we long for it desperately.

James 5:16a states: “Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.” I believe God’s word is quite clear about how we obtain our healing, our freedom. I went through a program, and one of the things they taught us is this: “We can not heal what we do not acknowledge.” This is why it is important to tell our story. Our secret.

I didn’t want others to know I had one abortion, let alone three. In my mind, one was shameful enough, but to admit to multiple abortions, well, I didn’t dare. So, in comes the uneasiness that someone closest to me (mainly my children) would find out and their perception of me would be marred. What would others think? The lie I was fed was this; “You’re an awful person for ending the lives of your children. Not one, but three, no way that secret is coming out.”

So, I ran and hid just like Adam and Eve. I was covered in shame. That humiliation affected every area of my life. Especially my relationship with my Heavenly Father.

It brought about a lack of intimacy with God. However, God came looking for me just as He did with Adam and Eve. He knew what was hidden behind the veil. I wasn’t hiding anything from Him. Jesus had already given His blood for me. He had already corrected my wrong. Who was really suffering here? Me.

It’s imperative that we bring the hidden sin into God’s glorious light. Proverbs 28:13a states: “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, he who confesses and abandons them will find mercy.” I looked up “find mercy.” In the Hebrew it means this; “It’s a deep sympathy and sorrow felt for another struck with affliction, accompanied with a desire to relieve the suffering.” God so graciously chooses to have mercy on us and to alleviate our inner suffering.

When I chose to be transparent, my children and others didn’t love me less. I was met with compassion and forgiveness. God had prepared the way. He covers and protects us. We must trust Him to take care of those scary details.

Sharing our story brings a certain amount of freedom. Ignoring it and pretending you are okay will never allow your wounds to heal. It remains a hidden sin.

Psalm 34:5 states: “Those who look to Him are radiant; and their faces shall never be ashamed.” Go to God. Look to Him to be in the midst of your confession. Prayer beforehand is a must. God will surely bring peace into the situation. You can TRUST HIM in all things.

It is the beginning to receiving a complete healing and transformation in your life. It also brings about a more intimate relationship with God and your loved ones. Truly, it is about trusting Him with your uttermost secret. It is knowing that He will work this secret out for your good when you confess.

What He wants most for us is healing and freedom. Lean into the One who knows and loves you most. Jesus gives beauty from the ashes of abortion. He did it for me, He will definitely do it for you.

Jesus, thank you for bringing beauty where there were ashes. We praise you for your mercy, compassion and forgiveness of our sins. Thank you for the freedom you bring into our messes. Amen.

Deeper Still is 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 DeeperStill.org to find a retreat close to you.

Is Abortion Compassionate?

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

There is a belief that “pro-lifers” do not care about children after they are born but rather they just do not want women to have the choice of abortion. This stance may coexist with an opinion that it is more compassionate for a woman to have an abortion than for a child to grow up in foster care, abandoned, in poverty, drug-exposed, abused or raised by someone who wasn’t able to parent. In this view, abortion is the more compassionate choice. Curious, I did a little reading on the pro-choice side to increase understanding of this viewpoint. 

In an article entitled, “Argument for Abortion: A Q & A with Rebecca Todd Peters”, the author writes:

A reproductive-justice framework highlights the difficulties women face when they do have children, raising those children in a country that tolerates obscene levels of poverty, obscene levels of racism and damage to vulnerable children and families. 

She further says:

Having a child, I argue, is a larger moral decision than having an abortion, because the moral requirements of motherhood are enormous.

Even writing those words breaks my heart. This viewpoint neglects vital facts. One is our Creator God who has designed each person and formed them together in the womb and knew each of their days before they were even born.  (Psalm 139)

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. Psalm 139: 13-16

Also, each person is uniquely created by God for a divine and specific purpose, fashioned together with His perfect design. Abortion squelches a life meant for divine purpose and design. It snuffs the life out of a person who had a life to live. Sixty-million lives lost this year in the world through abortion. Children who will never grow to live out their full God-given destiny and purpose. 

In addition, the viewpoint expressed by this author and others also dismisses individually responsibility for being a parent and takes God completely out of the picture.  How many grown men and women living and active today as productive and life-giving members of society have come from less than desirable beginnings? All people are precious and deserving of life no matter where they are or where they come from. 

Thirdly, this viewpoint discounts the devastating results of abortion on an individual, families and society as a whole. Abortion steals and destroys a mother and father’s heart. No wonder there are so many in our culture and world unable to parent effectively and nurture the way the Lord intended. Our mother’s and father’s hearts have been destroyed in the name of choice. And children around the world are suffering for it. But to continue the cycle by validating the vicious culprit that had much to do with the poverty of spirit to begin with makes as much sense as drinking poison to try to cure a different poison ingested. Only further harm results and lives are devastated in the process. 

For the past nine years, I have served at about forty Deeper Still retreats. Forty retreats, where I have seen 100’s of women who have had abortions, as well as men who fathered children who were lost to abortion. These women and men come broken, hurting, damaged, and desperate for healing. Abortion hurts women and men. It steals, kills and destroys. There is nothing life-giving in it. It is only through the blood of Jesus and His restoration and healing power that these lives are transformed and healed.  And then these men and women rise up to speak the truth and the positive cycle can advance. 

When asked about the question of rape. In this tragic and traumatic situation, abortion only adds trauma on top of trauma. She needs love, support, and care. Abortion is not an answer.

We must continue to speak the truth and counter the darkness.

Children are precious and every child deserves to be in a loving home, but even if that cannot be the case for everyone, is destroying the life before birth the answer? Is that compassionate?  And is it compassionate for the mothers and fathers who make that choice? Or does that excuse people from responsibility and further aggregate the poverty of our society’s conscious and sense of what is right? Is our God able to rescue and restore lives that are hurting and broken?  Is He not God? Are we to decide which lives are worthy of living and which are not? These children lost to abortion are worth the fight and God is bigger. He is God and He is able. He is compassion. He is life. He is love.

Father, we pray for those who have been blinded into believing that abortion is compassionate. Lord, I pray for eyes to be open to your truth about life and who you are as the Creator and Giver of life. Father, I pray for those thinking about abortion this minute to be awakened to the truth of who you are and how you will make a way for them and their child to live if they just reach out their hands to you. Lord, we also pray for every child that is being born into less than desirable circumstances. Would you rescue your sweet ones and protect them from the one who comes to steal, kill and destroy. May your truth that you have come to bring life shed hope on the hopeless, lost and broken. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

If you have had an abortion, there is healing. Go to www.deeperstill.org for more information on our retreats.

Lives Worthy of Honor

“…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.”

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the cross.  Thank you that you have reconciled all things, things on earth or in heaven.  Lord, I pray for the truth of life to flow and that those lost to abortion would be reconciled to their earthly mother and fathers and honored as your beloved children.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Several years ago while attending a women’s conference, one of the speakers spoke about her daughter who had passed away at six weeks old.  My heart ached for her.  Afterward, I went up to the speaker and expressed how sorry I was for the loss of her daughter.  She joyfully said, “I love sharing about my daughter…it gives me the opportunity to talk about her.  I get to talk about my son playing soccer and how he is doing in school, but this is the only time I really get to talk about my daughter.”

There was something in the way she spoke of her daughter and honored her life that caught my attention.  A mother grieving her daughter, saying she missed her and loved her, stirred up in me a longing…a longing to talk about my daughter.

I have a daughter Sarah, who is beautiful and now fifteen years old. And I talk about Sarah all the time, about her dancing, her sweet spirit and heart for God.  But today I want to tell you about my other daughter…the one I will never hold this side of heaven. The one I will never take to dance class or tie her hair up in the pony tail.  I will never rock her to sleep as I gently sing a goodnight song or take her shopping for a new dress for Easter.  My daughter…Kori Danielle.

A part of me even feels that perhaps I lost the right to talk about her.  But then a quiet whisper reassures me.  I am not the same person who ended her life.  Yes, I said it– I ended her life.  My choicewhat a lie.  But please understand, she is not a blob of tissue and it was not just a procedure or a choice…she is a person, a real person and I grieve her loss.  And I want to honor her.  I want to talk about her.  I want you to know she is real. 

According to Urban Dictionary, Kori means “Perfect. Perfection in every sense of the word thus more complicated than life itself.”  It also says, “Kori is the result of a complex mathematical equation that can’t be calculated by the human mind.”  I find that interesting to say the least!  Kori is indeed perfect and I don’t think my mind can quite fathom all of that.

But the meaning that I have heard before and I love is from a baby names site, www.thenamemeaning.com, and it means, “God’s peace.”  Oh how I love that! 

God has indeed given me much peace and it brings me peace to know Kori is with her Heavenly Father and is indeed perfect.

Danielle is her middle name and the Lord gave me her middle name at the Deeper Still Retreat I went to in April 2013.  When I first heard what Danielle meant, my heart sank.  Danielle means, “God is my judge.”  Ouch.  Really?  Lord, why would that be her middle name?  Then the Lord answered me, “Because you see, others cannot judge you, I am your judge and you are acquitted by the blood of Jesus.  Jesus has paid the penalty and I find no guilt in you.”  Again, perfect.  Kori Danielle.  What a perfect name for a perfect daughter. 

I believe her hair is dark with olive colored skin.  She tans really well and has gorgeous green-brown eyes.  Her heart is only pure, never knowing the pain or sin of this world.  And she loves me. 

There was a time when I didn’t feel worthy of her love.  But the Lord has told me, “All she has ever known is my love, how could she not love you.” 

In a world, where no one wants to hear about the baby lost due to choice, thank you for allowing me to honor her today.  Kori Danielle would have been born in 1994 and she would now be 22 years old.  Her birthday would have been around this time of year.  Thank you for allowing me to share a little about my daughter as a doting mom would.  I know you may not understand, but thank you for this space to share.

I honor you Kori and look forward to the day when we can meet face to face.-  Your loving mother, Sue

October is Infant and Child Loss Awareness Month. For any of you who have suffered the loss of a child through miscarriage, abortion, stillbirth, accidents, illnesses, we grieve your loss with you. We are so sorry for your loss, and we know nothing we can say can ease the pain. We love you and pray comfort and healing for you today. We honor your child with you.

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 DeeperStill.org to find a retreat close to you.

Does God Really Forgive All Sins?

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:15

Many who have had an abortion struggle with believing they are forgiven and often it is hardest to forgive oneself. We know Christ died to forgive all our sins, however, we tend to qualify our sins. Shame shrouds our minds and entices us to believe Christ died to forgive some sins, but the lie is that there are sins beyond His grace. Abortion is one that falls under this fallacy. Our ideology that condemns us needs to be stripped away and banished with the same measure the Lord used as a picture of His unconditional forgiveness and grace–as far as the east is from the west.

This doesn’t diminish or negate what abortion is, but rather magnifies the greatness of His mercy, love, and grace towards every one of us. Is there any without sin?

The west cannot touch the east. There is no point in which they converge. The same is true of our sins. The blood of Jesus Christ cancels our sins and our debt. Your sins are so far removed that Father God even forgets they were ever yours. As the east cannot touch the west, your sin cannot touch you once you have laid it down at the foot of the cross of grace.

Today as you look across to the east or west, will you picture your sins at the edge of the horizon, then further. If you take one step towards them, they take one step back. It is an unattainable quest! Praise be to our Lord Jesus!

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 DeeperStill.org to find a retreat close to you.

Surrendering Our Spoiled

“The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord; ‘Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.’ So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.” Jeremiah 18:1-4

When we consider the sovereignty of God, there is much mystery and wrestling with the unknown and what our minds cannot comprehend outside of divine revelation. Some may consider abortion to be part of God’s will, and if it wasn’t, it wouldn’t have happened. Is everything that happens God’s will? Where does free will play into that? These are age old questions that we will not seek to answer today. However, in His sovereignty, God will use our mistakes and sins and turn what was meant for evil for good if we allow Him.

Abortion was my decision, and with it all the consequences thereof. God says He fashioned all my days in His book. I believe He had a better plan for my life, even though knowing all, He knew every moment of my life and every choice and circumstance that would face me. Our wandering hearts often drift from His plan, “spoiling” His original design. Thankfully for us, God always has a plan. He is always ready with clay in hand to make us into a new creation, a new vessel, for His new intended purpose.

I can’t help but think that the day I choose abortion God already had a plan for what He would do with what I spoiled, already dreaming about the new vessel He would create when I surrendered to His hand.

This is the hope we all have. All sin in some way spoils the intended use of God’s chosen vessels. But when we surrender our messy clay back into His hand, trusting Him to work it into an image of His glory, a miracle of transformation transpires. This is His amazing, ongoing invitation, to take what was broken and make us new. His divine exchange.

Perhaps another way to picture it is like we have fallen into a pit, deep and impossible to climb out, thereby becoming a prison. But there is a door inside the pit, and all we have to do is open this door into freedom. This door is labeled “Forgiveness”. The simplicity of the gospel is why it is beautiful. And all that is needed in order for God to rework and reshape the clay that was spoiled is like that open door, to forgive and ask for forgiveness– an open invitation out of the pit into freedom.

The Way out is easy. The Way of Jesus is one of restoration, hope, transformation, making of all things new. This is His promise. If you have felt stuck in the pit because of the past sin of abortion or believed God could no longer use you as His vessel, take courage, He already has in mind the vessel to be reshaped into His new creation for His chosen purpose. Through His forgiveness, He leads us into freedom, remolding us for His purposes, as it seems good for Him to do.

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

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