Thank you Message From Karen Ellison

Please click below to hear a personal message of appreciation and ministry updates from Karen Ellison, the founder and president of the Deeper Still ministry. 

Thank you from Karen Ellison (3min 8 sec)
karen video

Offense Can Hinder Healing

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to

 

“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:3

Father, let us walk worthy of the calling set before us, with all lowliness, gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. May we be quick to realize the schemes of offense from the enemy and stand in unity and peace in ministry and with others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Offense is a tool the enemy of our souls uses to steal, kill and destroy. He uses it to steal from relationships, kill contentment, destroy marriages, lives, and even ministries. 

Merriam-Webster gives five meanings to the word offense.

  1. An act of stumbling.
  2. Something that outrages the moral or physical senses.
  3. The act of attacking.
  4. The act of displeasing or affronting.
  5. A breach of moral or social code.

In Ephesians 4:3, Paul made a point to “beseech” his brethren to endeavor to keep the unity, implying there must have been a need to do so.

Human nature is human nature and does not change over the course of time. The Holy Scriptures are encouraging us today 2000 year later with the same charge—walk worthy of the calling, with lowliness, gentleness, and longsuffering, bearing in love, keeping the unity of the Spirit in peace.

Not that this is always easy. Offenses come. The enemy will make sure of it. Our part is how will we act when they come.

Offense is a sticky web and wants all it touches to be entangled by it. If we don’t take the bait, we stay free. If we take the bait, we are caught fighting a battle we were never meant to fight.

We must also be careful to not be the one to offend, to start the offense. There are some who feel it is their responsibility to expose and speak ill of others. This is sticky ground. Does God really have people in the business of exposing faults or shaming publicly?

All of these actions hurt people. There have been times offense has reared its ugly head and sadly there are times I have been caught in it. I understand the wounds an offense can bring. It would be easy to go about spewing my hurts. And at times, I am sorry to say, offense did seep out of those wounds.

The irony is offense was hindering me from receiving my own forgiveness and healing. My offense was hurting me not the one who offended me. This is how offense operates.

When we bring an offense, we must remember, we are attacking. Perhaps someone stumbled and offended us (intentionally or not), but it is not the correct response to respond in offense. It only hurts us and others.

The definitions Merriam-Webster has given for offense are all negative. None of the consequences of offense are positive. The Lord will fight for you. The Lord will defend.  We need only be still. 

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14

Telling My Daughter About My Abortion

There are moments when God steps in and interrupts the day for His higher purposes and glory

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9

Lord, thank you for your leading. Thank you that even when we don’t understand what you are asking us to do, we can rest in knowing your ways are better and higher. Help us to trust you in all things. I pray you would show us when the right time is to tell our stories to others and our children. May our will align with yours.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

There are moments when God steps in and interrupts the day for His higher purposes and glory…

In a half-awake state in the morning dawn, I heard the words in my spirit, I need you to remember that I am good. This message rang quiet alarms as to what this could mean. I went out to my porch with coffee, journal, and Bible in hand, as I often do to speak with my Jesus. In my spirit, I heard surprising words, You need to tell her today.

I knew what the Lord was referring to. I was about to make a video sharing my abortion story for my church. The enemy had been blackmailing me, stating I couldn’t make the video because what if my ten-year-old daughter found out, what if someone told her, what if she saw it. But I knew the video was the Lord’s will and this opportunity to reach women and men in my church who needed healing from abortion was from Him. I had to make the video. I rebuked the enemy and went on drinking my coffee as I opened my Bible and journal. 

Today Lord? She is only ten. She’s so young and I am unprepared for this. I was planning to tell her at some point, but today? No God. I have other plans for today.

I did have other plans. Plans I had full intention of keeping. There was a women’s luncheon at a sister church and many of my peeps would be there. I had registered my daughter (whom the Lord was nudging me to share with) and myself for a sweet day with the Lord and community. No God. I already have plans today. It was decided in my mind, today couldn’t be the day and besides, maybe I’m not hearing from God. The Answer. Is. No.

On the way to the luncheon in the car, this urgency to share with her did not lift but grew heavier. In my spirit, the words, “You need to tell her today” played over and over again in my mind like a chorus. Again, I answered, No, I have other plans for today. I already told them I am coming. No God, not today.

God is relentless and persistent. He is a gentleman but He will make it uncomfortable to get our will to align with His.

My daughter and I arrived at the church. There were beautiful gift bags awaiting both of us at the front door. Grabbing our bags, we said hellos, passed hugs to familiar and friendly faces and made our way to our seats. Breathing a sigh of relief, we began to worship. I thought I had finally dodged the nudge. Then I heard it again—you need to tell her.

Lord?! Really, here?! I wasn’t in a belly of a whale, thankfully it hadn’t come to that—yet, but I knew I needed to obey and this wasn’t going to let up or go away. I whispered to Sarah that we needed to go out to the lobby and that I had something to tell her. We went out to the lobby.  With prayers flooding my mind, I said these words,

“I have something hard to tell you.  It will be hard for me to say and even harder for you to hear. “

She looked back at me intently and conveyed with her eyes and nods she was ready to hear whatever was to come.

“When I was in college, I was dating a boy and I became pregnant.”, my eyes welled with tears.

She gently interrupted by the revealing and leading of the Holy Spirit and quietly asked, “Did you take a pill to kill the baby?”

Thankful I wouldn’t have to actually say the words myself because the Holy Spirit had just given her the words, under sobs the word “yes” came.

“Will you forgive me?”

The next words she said will forever be etched in my mind. With grace beyond understanding, her eyes full of tears and her voice soft, she whispered these words:

“Mom, I forgive you. People make poor decisions when they are hurting and scared.”

Amazing grace–is there any way to comprehend it? 

The grace and wisdom coming from this ten-year-old. I was awestruck. The Holy Spirit was fully in this interruption of the day and His wind was blowing me away.

What happened next is almost too much glory to bear and will be for another story at another time. God leads in the most incredible ways.

I have had many ask me when or how they should tell their children about their abortion. God will show you when the time is right. And don’t be surprised if He just wakes you up one morning telling you

It is time.

 

Abortion is a Spiritual Issue

“You shall not pollute and defile the land in which you live, for [shedding of innocent] blood pollutes and defiles the land. No atonement can be made for the land for the [innocent] b

“You shall not pollute and defile the land in which you live, for [shedding of innocent] blood pollutes and defiles the land. No atonement can be made for the land for the [innocent] bloodshed in it, except by the blood of him who shed it.” Numbers 35: 33

Above all else, abortion is a spiritual issue. Abortion has many consequences, but one often overlooked or not taken into consideration is what happens spiritually when innocent blood is shed on the land.

Innocent bloodshed on the land empowers the darkness in our country. The enemy of our souls has gained access in areas of our country due to this spiritual consequence. And we as a nation are largely oblivious to this spiritual truth.

Pro-choice advocates not only deny the life taken and harmful effects of abortion on the women who are exercising their right to choose, but also are unaware of the spiritual after-effects that are happening as a result of this bloodshed.

There are those who believe there are all kinds of justification for the shedding of innocent blood. People even believe that it is right for one to suffer for the good of many or for some to be disposed of for the good of the masses. This is a common philosophy among the population control advocates. Governments dictate what is considered best for the people and make themselves into a god-like form with powers to declare what is right and good and best for all.

A good example of the evils of this was depicted in the recent Avengers movie Infinity War. The villain in this story believed he was doing the universe a favor by destroying life, even the life of his own daughter. (Sorry for the spoiler.) His belief was she was worth the sacrifice in order to save the planets.

It is a twisted thought process rooted in anti-Christ theology. Some people may even point to Jesus as an example of sacrificing one person in order to save the multitudes. Pardon me for a moment as I untwist this tangled mess.  Jesus was not sacrificed by anyone. He willingly laid down His life out of His love for humanity. No one made Jesus do anything. No one took His life. It is not the same, not even close.

Poverty and disease and all other manner of evils are out there as a justification for killing people.  Poverty in many countries is a result of evil government control and it is not going to end no matter how many citizens are killed. Even in America, we can see the hardships of poverty and the devastation it brings to people. Would we ever suggest killing innocent people to end poverty? However, that is what we do when we defend abortion as a solution to the ills of the world. Is the answer more abortion? Is the answer more evils to counteract the evils?

There is a vicious cycle of death due to abortion and the shedding of innocent blood. The land becomes cursed because of the idolatry and innocent bloodshed on the land. These iniquities open doors for judgments on the land. Killing the unborn and innocents only adds to the debt that brings judgment and curses. As a result, the enemy becomes empowered and more and more death and destruction can take place. When will it end? When will this cycle cease?

The cycle can only cease as we repent, pray, push back the darkness and regain the land. We can take back the land through prayer and pleading the powerful blood of Jesus Christ, the One who atones for all. We can take back the land through using our voices to proclaim truth throughout our nation and the nations of the world. Step by step, prayer by prayer we can reclaim our land and plant spiritual flowers of life, bringing blessing.

We are in a moment in history where Roe vs Wade could really be overturned. What a beautiful cycle of restoration it would be for the curses to be reversed into life and blessing on the land. This blessing could cause a chain reaction of life spreading and healing of the land taking place throughout our nation and world.  

Father, forgive our nation for the shedding of innocent blood. Lord, we ask for you to forgive us and have mercy on our nation and lands. Jesus, Your blood turns back all curses and atones for all sins. We plead the blood of Jesus over our people and land. Lord, even though we don’t deserve it, will you allow Supreme Court Justices to be appointed who will stand for life and overturn the unjust ruling of Roe Vs Wade. We cry out to you for our land. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Praying for a Stranger

whentotakeapregnancytest-min

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

I prayed a prayer the other day for a stranger I may never meet.

The only evidence of this stranger’s existence was on the edge of a toilet paper dispenser in the bathroom of a local restaurant in the guise of a plastic wrapper—a pregnancy test wrapper.

My heart was burdened as I thought of the young woman or girl who laid it there. Questions arose wondering the outcome of the test. Did she leave the bathroom elated or desperate? Was this a happy occasion or one that caused her despair as she wrung her hands at the possibilities that laid before her? It’s just plastic—but it represents a life of a person and her heart in that moment.

This encounter with plastic set in motion a memory which seems surreal as if it were a stranger’s story.    

In life there are moments like pinpoints on a timeline signifying something significant happened here.  These memories are imprinted in bold while some moments drift away to be forever forgotten. It is a mysterious phenomenon. The memory this pregnancy test invoked is one in bold never to be forgotten.

It was the end of my freshman year of college. I had been dating a boy for about a month.  Life was full of promise as summer approached.  However, there were symptoms that perhaps I could be pregnant. Anxiety swept in bringing with it a myriad of questions and what ifs.  We bought a test—a pregnancy test.  Did the thing you do and waited in the other room. Minutes seemed like eternity. Both of us did not want to look but we knew we needed to look. Together we faced the results. There it was—red and bold—a plus sign. It may have been small, but in my mind, it was large, starring at me, hauntingly mocking me. My world was forever about to be changed.

In my mind, a baby was out of the question. I was only nineteen, a freshman in college, not ready to be a mom. What about my future? What about my dreams. Couldn’t everything go back to “normal”, the way it was before the red plus sign? Can I have a “do over” please?

In my mind abortion was the “do over” button. What I didn’t know was abortion is not an easy fix but more like a red nuclear button with tremendous fallout. No one wins. Nothing would ever be the same again.

The short version of this story is I chose abortion. The long version of this story is long and well, more complicated than that. Most stories are more complicated than the short version.

The long version involves my parents finding out about the red plus sign, a wedding planned, a wedding canceled, all my family and friends knowing about the pregnancy and the abortion, a date rape, depression, a breakup, and self-destructive behaviors…until Jesus. Like I said, much more complicated than the short version.

When I saw the pregnancy test wrapper lying in the bathroom that day, I couldn’t help but think, “What is her story? What is her complicated story?” Was this lady also considering abortion, feeling hopeless and alone? Or had she been trying for months or years to get pregnant? Did she leave there rejoicing or anxious with what ifs? Did she leave with disappointment for once again seeing a negative sign or relief?

I said a prayer for her that day, whoever she is. I wish I knew her story. If she was like me at nineteen full of anxious thoughts at seeing that plus sign, I would hold her and tell her:

It’s going to be ok, you can do this. Be strong and courageous. Life is a gift, embrace the gift. A baby may not have been in the plan, but all life is God-given. God has a design and destiny for this life, this baby and He chose you, beautiful you to be this person’s mother. God doesn’t make mistakes, He chose you and this baby is not a mistake. With the Lord Jesus, this is possible. You can do this. Choose life. I didn’t and I can never go back and choose again. With abortion no one wins. You are stronger and more able than you know. This crisis is but one moment on the timeline of life. The crisis will pass and will either symbolize a beautiful gift to love and cherish or empty arms and a heart broken with regret and sorrow.

Would you join me in praying for all facing a plus sign to see life in the womb for the beautiful miracle that it is, fully God ordained and full of destiny and purpose. And would you pray for the hearts of those hoping and waiting for God’s perfect plan.

Father, I pray for every person taking a pregnancy test today. Lord, would you infuse them with hope and courage. Lord, I pray that someone considering abortion would read this today and choose life. May your truth be louder than fear. And for those once again disappointed, hoping and waiting for a child, would you encourage them as well and bring peace to their hearts as they wait on your perfect plan to unfold. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Mingling with Idols

#picoftheday iPhone Layout

“But they mingled with the [idolatrous] nations and learned their ways, and served their idols, which became a [dreadful] snare to them.” Psalm 106:35

Father, forgive us for our complacency and acceptance of what our culture says is normal and common. Father, may our thoughts and measure of what is true, right and good line up with the standards of your Holy Word.  Help us rightly divide Your truth from what is false and stand up for Your truth.  In Jesus’ Name.

My daughter and I were watching a popular talent show on the television the other day.  Some of the acts were funny, others were inspiring. Seeing the gifts and talents the Lord has given others is wonderful. We are all uniquely and divinely created for His purpose and glory. 

One act was a group of talented male dancers from another country. The act was impressive as these well synced young men danced in choreographed harmony. The audience and judges were taken by surprise when all these men changed shoes at one point and put on gold high heels.  Yes, men in gold high heels. The judges and audience applauded the shock factor of their costume change.

My eleven-year-old daughter leaned over to me in a factual voice and said, “This is the world we live in.”

She is right. This is the world we live in. However, it doesn’t mean we are of this world nor have to accept the standards the world sets for us.

The standards around the world for right and wrong, what is legal and illegal are varying.  God’s Word never varies and His standards never change. 

Culture attempts to dictate to us what is acceptable and true, but culture isn’t the measuring stick.

God warned the Israelites not to mingle with the idolatrous nations and learn their ways and serve their idols because these ways would become a snare to them. It is no different today. Sex before marriage and living as married but not is commonplace. Homosexuality is more and more commonplace and accepted. The transgender issue.  Abortion.  

There are Christians who are blind and numb to the truth of God’s ways. These sins place self above God. No condemning here, just stating truth. My heart is to see people free from all bondage, whatever form it takes. God says my people perish for lack of knowledge. What is seen as commonplace in culture can be sin in the eyes of God. Our culture continually denies and pushes the line. Accepting sin never frees or helps anyone, it only pushes them further into bondage. Sin hinders relationship with God and left unchecked leads to spiritual death.  

In cultures and countries around the world, abortion is not only accepted but celebrated. In some countries, abortion is considered “normal” and we have heard several times from different people in other countries, “Abortion is just what we do.”

Callousness comes from cultural conditioning until what was once unthinkable becomes a way of life. Cultural change in standards doesn’t happen as fast as boys changing into gold high heeled shoes off the stage. If it did, we would be shocked and even perhaps reject it. Instead, it happens incrementally until little by little it becomes normal. Cultural decline happens one compromise at a time until we look back and think, “How did we get here?”

May we be diligent in keeping our eyes on the truth of God’s Word so we are not deceived. May we teach our children the truth of God’s Word, His ways and standards. Otherwise, the world around us will imprint its own system of values and measurements of right and wrong, good and evil on our hearts. We must not lose sight of what is true, good and right—a standard only set by the truth of God’s Word, which is not negotiable.

If we just acquiesce to accepting “This is the world we live in”, then we should not be surprised or shocked by whatever comes out from behind the curtain onto the stage of life. We are called to be in this world but not of this world.  I pray that we would live according to God’s ways and not be caught in the snares of the idols of this world. It is easy to trip in gold high-heeled shoes, just sayin’.

 

 

Is Abortion Compassionate?

girl with lollilop

“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 had no business being a 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 devasting 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 devasted in the process. 

For the past five years, I have served at fifteen Deeper Still retreats. Fifteen retreats, where I have seen 100’s of women and men who have had an 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. 

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 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?  Is our God able to rescue and restore lives that are hurting and broken?  Is He not God? Who are we to decide which lives are worthy of living and which are not? There is a greater mission here than some would care to acknowledge. It is worthy of the cost. 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.godeeperstill.org for more information on our retreats.

Tragedy in Ireland

thousands in a crowd as they celebrate the news that they now have the freedom to have abortions. (1)

“Jesus said ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’” Luke 23:34

Father, forgive those who just voted to repeal the ban on abortion in Ireland.  They know not what they do.  Lord, we pray for an awaking in the people in Ireland and around the world to the truth of abortion and the darkness to be exposed.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Miles of air separated us from the ground below as we sped across the country in flight.  The beauty of being in the air is that for a moment, reality seems to suspend and time stands still.  For a moment everything in our world has to wait.  But somewhere beneath all that air, life is happening with all its highs and lows, joys and sorrows, light and darkness.

A newspaper article in the back of the plane jarred me back into reality with the headline, “Quiet Revolution ends Ireland’s abortion ban”.  The title is accompanied by a picture equally as heartbreaking—smiles of hundreds to thousands in a crowd as they celebrate the news that they now have the freedom to have abortions.  In the middle of the crowd, a father smiling with delight holds up his about eleven-year-old daughter (the same age as my daughter) and this girl too is raising her hand in victory celebrating the outcome of legal abortion in Ireland. She has no idea her merriment in this moment holds misery later. 

The irony (if that was even adequate to describe the contrast) was that we had just left a retreat for ministering healing to those who have been wounded by the pain of abortion.  If all those people smiling in the crowd pictured in the newspaper had seen what we just encountered, if they knew the devastation and agony of abortion, would they still be rejoicing? 

As one who ministers to those with abortion-wounded hearts, I can tell you the other side of abortion is void of celebration.  There are no victory cries, smiles, or hurrahs.  The other side is laden with sadness, regret, heartache, guilt, and shame.  If they only knew.  Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.  Have mercy on Ireland, O Lord.  Unfortunately, in time, they will know.  In time, those shouts of praise will turn to sobs of sorrow—anguish so deep it seems even too hard for our God to heal.

Thankfully nothing is too difficult for our God and He can and does heal the broken-hearted.  Ireland is about to embark on a journey into darkness for its people, a darkness that once released is relentless and not easily escaped.  How I wish Deeper Still wasn’t needed in Ireland or anywhere in the world. But even if there were a miracle and abortion ended in our lifetime (which could happen, anything is possible-YES and AMEN!), as of right now, there are millions upon millions who have suffered from abortion, who have an abortion-wounded heart right now.  All in need of healing (whether they are aware of it or not—there is always deeper with Jesus).  My friends, that alone is heartbreaking.  All those millions living in a place less than Jesus has for them.  Many of them living in quiet shame, regret, and guilt—fearing anyone ever knowing the truth, fearing reality. 

Many with abortion wounded hearts are living in an airplane state—if I just stay here, high above my reality, then maybe everything will be fine on the ground.  My reality can be suspended as I live in an alternate reality avoiding what is happening far below in the deep places of my heart.  However, eventually, truth roars on the runway of our hearts often in unexpected, subconscious or shrouded ways.  We search for reasons we act the way we do or have the relationship issues we have or insecurities we face and the “quiet revolution” in our souls ends as we cannot stand to remain the same.  Suddenly facing the pain is the only way to escape the pain.  

The “Quiet Revolution” in Ireland may have ended the ban of abortion there, but there is another quiet torment that is about to begin.  They have no idea the trade they made.  May the next revolution not be so quiet as truth about life is declared and may the silence of the pain of abortion end.

Feeling Unworthy in the Upper Room {Repost}

feeling unworthy

“And he arose and came to his father.  But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.  And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet…for this my son was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found.  And they began to be merry.”  Luke 15: 20-21

 Above the library in the church was a quaint meeting room like an after-thought finishing of an attic–an upper room.   The ceiling angled to a point, stretching as if it begged to reach heaven.  It felt comfortable and safe.  Every Sunday, our Sunday School class would meet there.  An elder couple led the group of couples ranging in age from early 20’s just married to mid-thirties with kids.  I was in the early 20’s group and had recently given my life to Jesus.  Feelings of unworthiness haunted me in spite of the comfortable and safe upper room.  “What if they knew?” My thoughts tormented me.

Then one day I couldn’t take anymore.  I don’t remember the question but my heart was pounding like if I didn’t answer it would burst out of my chest.  In between sobs, my words cascaded like a waterfall dammed up and then let loose.  Darkness clouded my vision, my sight blurry from tears and eyes partly shut.  It was as if part of me rationalized if I can’t see them, they won’t see me.  Maybe they won’t truly see me.

All I could say is:

Jesus has saved me from so much.  I’m not the same person I once was.  I’m ashamed of who I was and I fear you wouldn’t like me if you knew what I have done.  I don’t feel worthy to be in this class or with all you wonderful people.  You all seem like you have known Jesus forever.   I’m afraid I’m not good enough to be here.

After exposing my heart and fears to this group of about 20 young married couples, I’m not sure what I expected.  Perhaps I was looking for a “Me too” or  “I understand.  I’ve been where you are and you are not alone.”  I’m not sure they knew how to respond to all that raw pent up emotion breaking loose.  Then the bell rang and I sat, slightly unsure of my next move.   Maybe I was alone.   Then one girl responded.  She was a new friend.  I didn’t really have Christian friends yet, but she was becoming a friend.  She responded— the only one.

 She walked up to my chair.  It was a moment forever etched in my mind.  Instead of running from my need, she embraced it.  Her words were ones of invitation.  She wanted to know me.  She wasn’t afraid of my brokenness.  She saw me, truly saw me and decided I was worth knowing.  Isn’t that the longing of every human heart–for someone to decide you are worth knowing? And we are still close friends today, nearly 19 years after that initial invitation in the upper room.

Feelings of unworthiness are common for men and women who have experienced abortion.  Feelings of being less-than cause those with abortion-wounded hearts to choose less-than.

My friend knew something I didn’t know at that point in my life—Jesus didn’t see me as less-than

 Jesus doesn’t see me as less-than.  Jesus sees those with abortion-wounded hearts as in need of a healer.  He doesn’t run from the need.  In contrary, He embraces the need.  He embraces you.  He invites you.  He isn’t afraid of your brokenness.  He truly sees you and decided a long time ago you are worth knowing.  You are not alone.  You are never alone and never have been alone.  Your healer delights in you and desires a close friendship with you.  Jesus is just waiting for you to respond to the invitation in the upper room.

If you have had an abortion and have struggled with feelings of unworthiness or feeling less-than, you can go to www.godeeperstill.org to find out how to register for a retreat.  This is your invitation from the One who responds to your every need.

Lord Father, we pray for those who feel unworthy due to the sin of abortion to find healing, freedom and truth.  Lord, thank you that you never run from our need but instead, you run to us and embrace our need.  Lord, we pray for those with abortion-wounded hearts to rise and come to you and receive their robe of righteousness and ring of worthiness in the Son.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

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Stepping into the River {Guest post}

“For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatever disease he had.” John 5: 4

Today’s post was partially written and inspired by Deeper Still Team member, Lindsey Martin. 

During a recent prayer meeting for Deeper Still, the Lord brought to my mind a picture for Deeper Still. The picture was of a raging river, with people standing on both sides. One side had several people standing, gazing across the river with no emotion, just numb. There were several men there.

On the other side of the river, there were team members, softly smiling, calling out to the people on the other side and encouraging them.  Gentle calls of courage echoed telling them not to be afraid.  The team stood with arms open and up, inviting those of the other side to step in.

The Lord showed me the gap between pain and healing is separated by the river. Freedom is on the other side of that river, but it appears scary and impossible to cross. Their eyes are skewed by pain, shame, guilt – and all they see is a frightening raging river and fear strips tenacity. BUT the Lord says that the river is the Living Water, Jesus Christ.  

The Deeper Still leaders and volunteers cheer them on, encouraging them to come and step in. And as they step in. and walk through the river (meeting Christ at the retreat), they are refreshed, healed, renewed and washed clean…stepping into freedom on the other side of the river. On this side, they look back and the river is no longer raging and formidable, instead, it is now calm and inviting.  The river is a place to find rest and refreshment while grace grows deep roots. He will calm the storm, call them deeper, and deliver them from their pain.  ~Lindsey Marin

In John 5:4, it says that an angel came down and “troubled the water”.  The Greek word for “troubled” in this passage is tarasso and it means, “to stir up”.  When the Lord is about to do a healing, He stirs up something inside of us.  He creates “trouble” to invoke in us a deeper desire for healing, a healing that can only come from the Living Water.  

The pool mentioned above wasn’t always stirring.  I believe the Lord creates specific opportunities for healing, He stirs the waters when the time is right and we just need to be willing and ready to step in.  The troublesome water may appear risky, but we can know that when our Lord stirs in our hearts, He is gentle and kind. He will lead us into the water safely.  And on the other side, there truly is a new level of freedom and deliverance.  Don’t be afraid.  Weeping may endure for the night, but joy truly does come in the morning as you are made whole.

Father, thank you for stirring the waters.  Lord we pray for each and every Deeper Still participant across the globe to step into your healing waters and find freedom, healing and deliverance.  Lord, we stand against fear and every other hindrance to healing.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.