Today’s post was written by Ashley Gregory. Ashley is a mom of three, resides in Central Illinois and has a huge heart desire to share Jesus with others! This post was re-posted with permission and originally published on her blog site Grace Upon Grace.
I had a measure of healing before heading to Hudson, IL. “Enough healing” I decided. I had been through enough sharing, enough forgiveness, enough prayer and experienced enough love to get me to the point where enough became just that… enough. With the Lord’s nudging, heading to Hudson became something I thought would be helpful, but not necessary. Three short days later and my heart’s soil would be tilled, turned, and tossed with fresh seeds of Truth. Healing at Hudson was His plan all along.
If our stories always stopped with us knowing best, God’s goodness would not be shared from the lips of those who have seen Him work. The restoration work ordained by the Lord for this Deeper Still weekend retreat reminded my weary soul that our God is a God of providence, detail, and timing. He cares deeply for us and exists in the details of our lives. Details don’t bog God down and overwhelm Him.
No, details reveal Him.
In the details, we see where He has been and where He’s headed. God doesn’t keep his plans a secret; He gives us His knowledge and wisdom. He creates using careful detail, He speaks in detail to his people, and He lays out His plans with detail. Tabernacles were built and nations defeated with detail. Jesus was born and the cross came to pass with careful detail. God loves the details. The details of my road to healing were overlooked and underappreciated until recently.
The morning was cool and windy in April 2005. A morning made colder by the death surrounding the building I found myself in. I can’t remember the exact date right now, that’s a detail I’m trusting God to reveal when He knows I’m ready. I can remember the neon pink T-Shirt and gray cut-off sweatpants I wore that day. My choice in attire was meant to facilitate “my comfort” following the appointment. Nineteen years old was too young to experience such emptiness and heartache. All I knew was that life would be better in fifteen to twenty minutes. It had to be or else what was the appointment for? Just a simple procedure to fix everything: my present and my future in the hands of one doctor and a set of nurses. I’ll never forget the month of April 2005.
Baby Alexandra was born in April 2015. That date, I’ll always remember- April 7, 2015. One decade after having my abortion, I held her fresh, new life in my arms and nightmares reawakened with the diagnosis of a heart condition that came seemingly out of left field. Her tiny heart had a large hole that pediatric cardiologists warned us “may fail around six weeks old”. By then, I had a relationship with the Lord and remember praying that if God did not let me keep her, it would be because I deserved to lose her. I fought all the voices that told me this was my fault, but the lies were relentless. With both the birth of my newest child and the birth of deeper shame and grief giving way, I prepared for my life to come apart. Although I had accepted Christ, I still could not fight the idea that the God of the universe despised me for my choice. I found myself surrounded by cold chills and looming death in April.
April 2019 brought about another milestone. God would bring me to a retreat to receive further healing for my abortion-wounded heart. Healing that I didn’t know I needed, but He did. This April was different than the ghosts of Aprils passed. I would have the opportunity to reconcile and grieve the child that I never got to hold in my arms. “A son”, the Lord told me. I felt it deep inside my spirit, like the feeling mothers get when they just know. God impressed the gender on my heart, whispering this: “Sweet daughter, you are his mother and you know”.
I closed my eyes and prayed as the other men and women in the room selected bears representing the lives of children they had lost, too. I waited and prayed, shaking in my seat and holding back tears. I am certain I was only being held together by God’s mighty hands. Lord, strengthen my feeble hands and steady my knees that want to give way, help me be strong.
With tears rolling down my exhausted face, I held my bear, a symbol of the son I never got to hold tight and close. I imagined what he would look like- my nose and his dad’s bright blue eyes. I was a mother mourning the death of her child, coming to terms with what Calvary was really for. Jesus held me firmly at the same time He held my son, rocking and weeping with me, a Savior familiar with pain. He called me to come boldly to His throne of grace, throwing off all that hindered. He wrapped me in righteousness and truth. He removed my sackcloth and wiped off the ashes. The time for mourning, sadness, and silence in April was over.
In April, the light of my child’s life brought me home to the feet of Jesus. Sitting at the memorial service on the last day of the retreat, my assigned seat offered me a perfect view of the lake surrounding the retreat center. I sat completely still in my chair, staring out over the crisp water as my son’s name was given to him by the Lord.
Hudson, firm and assured the name resounded. Throughout scripture, God gives names to children by way of revelation to the parents. Samuel to Hannah, John to Elizabeth, Jesus to Mary. This time, it was my turn.
“Hudson could not be his name”, I thought. “Lord, all of my children have names with an ‘A’ at the beginning- you know this! Hudson won’t fit. Hudson is the name of this place, not a child.”
The “A” pattern was my detail, not God’s; His ways are not mine.
Baby Hudson, who would have been born in November 2005, his life celebrated for the first-time earthside on April 28, 2019. His existence wholly recognized and honored, his spirit dedicated to the Lord. As quickly as his life ended in a cold, sterile clinic, He entered the presence of Jesus who will keep him for me until I get home. Oh the contrast!! Leaving this dark world and entering the warm, “so-bright-your eyes-water” presence of God. I, Hudson’s mother, hidden in Christ and loved well until the day we will meet face to face. Former things won’t be remembered, removed from God’s sight.
God’s sovereign hand reigning over my past, present and future, reached into April and redeemed all of the details. He is the Creator and Keeper of time, the Ancient of Days still on His throne.
Brothers and sisters, God will make beauty from your ashes. He receives your brokenness and gives you a new name. Your empty hands, crushed spirit, and wordless groans are all He needs to complete the good work He began in you.
Let him restore all that has been taken from you. Your past has been stolen and destroyed by an enemy that doesn’t want you to believe God can do great things with your life. Trust Him with the details.
Scripture references: 1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 27:14, Isaiah 65:15b-19, Proverbs 3:5, Hebrews 4:16, Romans 8, John 10:10, Philippians 1:6, Isaiah 35:3-4
Thank you Ashley for sharing your beautiful story of God’s redemption with us today! To read more from Ashley, be sure to visit her blog site Grace Upon Grace.
If you or someone you know needs emotional healing from the trauma of abortion, please go to GoDeeperStill.org to learn more about our healing retreats and find one near you.