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.