Keeping Secrets Keeps Us Sick {Guest Post}

Today’s post is a guest post written by Mara Petro. Mara is on staff with Life International and serves on the Deeper Still team in West Michigan. She wrote this post to explain what it is like for someone who has had an abortion attending a Deeper Still retreat. This post has more information about what happens at our retreats to help those considering attending understand more about the experience.

Thank you Mara for sharing with us today!

Nervous.  Hesitant to dredge it all up again.  She doesn’t want to feel the weight of guilt and shame that she’s been stuffing all these years.  She thought it was buried – but it doesn’t stay buried.  She thought it was manageable – but it’s not. It gets in the way – of everything.  It keeps her from loving fully. It keeps her from living fully. There’s always that fear of them finding out.  She knows that keeping her secret is keeping her sick — so she goes. 

With trepidation and doubt, she steps out in faith, reaching for the hem of the garment of the only One strong enough to take her burden and set her free. Jesus. The Savior sent to rescue her has been waiting to heal and redeem her secret, eager to say, go in peace.  In His loving arms, her baby waits to meet her.  But she’s not sure of that — yet.   

 This is how many women and men come to a retreat called Deeper Still, a post-abortion healing ministry.    

 In a beautiful setting away from life’s demands, several Deeper Still team members are waiting to share the love and compassion of Christ with those God is calling to Himself.   

Women and men who have come to the end of themselves are desperate for healing.  

 Several books and Bible studies are available to help abortion-wounded hearts, but Deeper Still retreats are unique.  At my own retreat and the subsequent retreats I have served on, there was an overwhelming feeling of God’s love and the love of the body of Christ. A kiss from heaven, some have said:  

God’s love leads to repentance and salvation, bringing healing and lasting freedom from guilt and shame.  

 From the time they arrive at the lakeside cottage on Friday until they leave for home on Sunday, our guests are prayed over, sung over, listened to, cried with, laughed with, and fed well with delicious food and the Word of God. They are guided in prayers of repentance, taking every thought captive into the obedience of Christ and exchanging the lies of the devil for the truth of God’s word.   

 Each morning brings assurance of God’s mercy and forgiveness. Ashes are exchanged for beauty. Mourning turns into dancing. Guilt and shame nailed to the cross of Christ, taken to the grave, and removed as far as the east is from the west.  

The crimson blood of Christ washes us white as snow. It is finished, and we are whole again. Forgiven.   

 Now she is sure her baby is with Jesus, waiting to meet her.  Though he was violently taken from her womb, she knows he’s been safely loved in heaven.  She knows that her son doesn’t hate her for what she did because he’s never known sin — only love lives in heaven. Believing God gave her a boy, she named him Joshua, and now she’s eager to meet him too.    

 No more secrets. Like the woman at the well, she is running to tell everyone about the Man who told her everything she ever did — and still loved her — still died for her — still chose her to tell His story of redemption.  

 These are the truths taught at Deeper Still retreats.  Jesus is the way out of guilt, shame, and fear.  Jesus is the way to healing and lasting freedom.  Jesus is the truth that dispels the lies of the enemy and the world.  Jesus is the life that saves us from death.    

 If you or someone you know has experienced an abortion or is contemplating one, there is help, hope, and healing waiting for you here. We understand you and love you.  We want to lead you to the Father who created you and your baby, the Father who offers you love and forgiveness through His son Jesus Christ so you can be free to live the abundant life, He came to give you.   

 Come to a place where truth meets grace.   

  

  

  

  

  

No Matter What has Happened, I’ll Always be Your Mother

In a moment, I put a price tag on my freedom to choose and your life was the cost.

I was supposed to be your mother.

Nearly a decade would pass before I would give you a name and honor your life. Recognition that didn’t come with your birth, stolen by my choice.

I was supposed to be your mother.

The date was April 2005 when choice made you a statistic to the clinic. Another crisis averted. An unfortunate situation handled. $400 paid, consent signed, silence kept.

I was supposed to protect you as your mother.

In April 2015, your 2nd sister was born. A mother for the fourth time, but only able to physically touch three. I waited for God to take her from me, one child in exchange for another, exactly 10 years later. But God isn’t a God of retribution and He allowed me to continue to be a mother.

Lies told me I didn’t deserve to be a mother.

In April 2019, God did something miraculous. I finally acknowledged your life. I grieved for you, rocked with you, named you. My Deeper Still retreat called me “mother” for the first time in a way that did not bring shame or condemnation.

And I loved you for the first time as your mother.

Until I get to be with you again our Heavenly Father cares for you.

One day, you’ll know me as your mother.

To all the mothers who have lost children to abortion, perhaps Mother’s Day was a difficult day for you. Your child is with Father God and for those who are in Christ Jesus, one day you will see him/her again. You are a mother. You are honored and loved as a mother. The honor that God gives to women parenting children on earth, he also bestows to you as His Beloved. El Roi, the One who sees, meets you right where you are. May this truth bring comfort and joy to your heart.

Abortion Recovery Awareness- Let’s Talk about This

Ouch. This is hard to talk about. Abortion is hard to talk about and uncomfortable for those outside the pro-life movement, and even some inside. Do we really need to talk about this? Is it ok to talk about this? Yes, please please please talk about this.

We sat in a foreign land where family planning wasn’t left up to individual choice for life. The pendulum had swung 180 degrees the other way where parents no longer could choose life after giving birth to one child. That policy has changed some since that time, but it takes time for cultural pendulums to shift course and swing for life. We sat across from ears hungry to hear about healing the abortion wounded, ears that never had heard anyone talk about the pain of abortion. Experienced pain–yes, but silence ruled, deafening the truth that abortion hurts women, abortion hurts men, abortion hurts families, abortion hurts cultures.

One of the ladies we were talking with had a look of surprise frozen on her face. She hesitantly asked, “Are you really going to talk about this? No one talks about this.” But her question wasn’t in offense, it was in hope, with a look and tone that begged us to talk about it…please talk about this.

If we don’t talk about it, who is going to?

1 in 4 women sitting in our churches have had an abortion. 1 in 4. Look down your row next Sunday and let that sink in. Look at every row allowing this sober truth to stir your heart.

As I sit here writing, it is difficult for me to go back to that place, the place of not being healed. But I try to remember.

Recovery looked different in various stages. The stages can mimic those of the stages of grief, after all, there is a loss and it is traumatic.

  1. Denial: I was hurting but didn’t see how I could had made any other choice. My uncle asked me if I regretted my decision a few months after. I said, “No”.
  2. Anger: Anger set in as I blamed my decision on others, lack of support, and judgement.
  3. Bargaining: I would have done anything to change how I was feeling. Numbing became my chief tool. I wanted to hold onto the relationship with the boyfriend and father of my child lost to abortion desperately. Because it seemed if I could hold onto him, it would all be ok somehow.
  4. Depression: This was through all the stages but deepened after the loss of the relationship with my boyfriend.
  5. Acceptance: When I came back to Jesus, 5 years later, He began the healing journey. It has been through this journey that I have found peace and joy restored. It was long and arduous. I still hate that I choose abortion but I do not beat myself up for it or condemn myself any longer. Jesus paid the price in full, and He is the only reason I can be at peace.

Recovery can look different for each person and no two people recover and heal exactly the same. Jesus isn’t cookie cutter like that. Jesus isn’t into formulas, He’s into friendship. He wants to be your friend, and walk with you on the journey to recovery.

A healing retreat may be His next step for you or your first step. Whatever your step is, He wants to hold your hand and He won’t let you tumble. It isn’t His desire for you to stay in a place of condemnation or despair.

Friends, we are here to talk about this. We want to come alongside you in your healing journey. If you’d like to know more, please go to DeeperStill.org. If you are a pastor or ministry leader and want to know more, please reach out to us by email. It is time to be aware. It is time to talk about this.

Father, You know the end from the beginning. You know the choices we make and those we wish would could change. Father, lead us as we seek you for healing. We are desperate for you Lord. Father, I pray for you to bring a greater awareness of how abortion impacts women and men and families. May you bring healing and shift the pendulum in the direction of life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Joy Comes After the Mourning…

We are going to touch on a hard subject this time around. Death and mourning. Now don’t stop reading, because Joy is coming…

Mourning: the act of feeling or expressing sorrow. What are the stages of mourning a loss? We all know the process of mourning a death. But, with abortion, it is a different type of mourning (in my opinion), accompanied with plenty of other feelings that do not necessarily go with that particular process.

I chose to take the lives of my babies. Yet, we grieve all the same. Whether by choice or forced we lost a child(ren). We do not understand the emotions, especially if we chose it. Either way, the grieving process starts. We are mourning a loss.

For my abortion wounded heart, regret and sorrow was immediate. I automatically fell to my knees begging God to forgive me, as sorrow filled my soul. There was an aching in my soul I had never experienced.

Because of the shame and secrecy that is attached to abortion, we are left to deal with the grief alone. We tend to dismiss the grief. We do not want to talk about it nor do we feel we should or can. Emotional pain oozed out of me in my choices, numbing myself daily one way or the other. The buried pain of grief pushed through in my behaviors, it could not be contained.

After many years of self-reproach, I went to a healing program at my son’s insistence and there let go of my children. The woman who helped me through this grueling process was an angel. She is the one who encouraged me to let them go and stayed on the floor with me until I released them. When I did, I found some joy. Mostly, I found forgiveness from God and gave myself forgiveness.

At this program, they have a dance party to celebrate our hard work. This was a dance of rejoicing, of freedom from our yesterdays. I was in my sock feet twirling, running and jumping around like the set free girl I now was. I felt so light and free. Psalm 30:11 says, “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness. My sackcloth and ashes were gone. I was a different person. I could see the girl I was before I had my abortions. I felt a huge burden lift off of me and began to deal with the loss in a healthy way.

In 2017, my love for Jesus became real in my heart. I fell in love with my Savior as He led me deeper in the process of healing and my joy became stronger.

Then in the Spring of 2018, I went to my Deeper Still retreat. Little did I know what Jesus was going to do for me there. I had even told some friends before I went, “I’m healed. I’m just going to see what it is all about.” At that time I was becoming involved in the Deeper Still chapter in Arkansas and to serve on the team, it is required to first go through a retreat. Unbeknownst to me, I was still mourning some choices I had made. While there, I dealt with some hateful feelings towards a few men. At Deeper Still, I found total healing and my mourning was completed.

My Redeemer restored my joy! When I came back home, I was given a name by a sweet friend of mine, our chapter leader. She calls me “The Joy Messenger” and I treasure that name. I was dead inside for so many years, to finally be filled with God’s joy was quite foreign to me. I had never seen myself as full of joy. I was healed, set free and chains fell off, my life made new! My life has changed because of what my Jesus did.

I can now worship the Lord with carefree freedom from constraint. I love the scripture Isaiah 61:1-3. My favorite is verse 3; “To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” The Holy Spirit brought thankfulness that has joy bubbling at its edges. The merriness seeps from my person. The darkness and valleys of death became places where the presence of God brought healing. Now that is something to celebrate! He has given me His oil of joy. He has plenty and He is waiting to spill it out on all who desire it. Psalm 43:4 says; “Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy; and on the harp I will praise you. O God, my God.” See, a joyful ending!

Lord, last weekend we celebrated Easter, a celebration of NEW LIFE in Christ! We ask for you to anoint our lives with the oil of joy, a joy only found in You alone. Allow the light of Your glory to burn brighter and hotter with Your oil of joy. Thank you for turning our mourning into dancing and filling us with joy. Amen!

Also this weekend, there are 7 Deeper Still retreats being held across this nation. Will you pray with us for joy to be restored for all those attending as they lean into the healing and freedom from our Jesus!

Searching for a Savior

For years I was lost, broken, trying to fill a hole. I found myself pregnant at the age of 19, in college, without hope. Those closest to me brought condemnation, shame, and guilt at the news. Out of desperation, I chose abortion with a false hope that my world would once again be “normal” and life could go on as usual. What I didn’t know was back to normal was not what I was searching for, what I was truly searching for was a savior. For a brief moment, I chose abortion to be my savior. This false savior left me more broken and more desperate than ever. It was an empty promise, and one that cost me dearly. Not only did it not deliver “normal”, but threw on heavy doses of shame on top of my already shaky world.

When we look to anything other than Jesus to be our hope, security, or escape, we are choosing a false savior. Only One can meet us at our greatest need and longing. He desperately desires to meet us there. Our idols are always a poor substitute for a savior. And when we continue to choose false saviors, we will ultimately need rescued from what we thought would save us.

Today we celebrate Good Friday. We rejoice because of the sacrifice Jesus, our Savior, paid on the cross, ALL our sins are washed away and we have been made new.

“For the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

The “joy” set before Him was you. He did it for you and me.

The choice of words “despising the shame” intrigue me. He was disregarding shame, calling it worthless. He was basically saying to shame, “You are worthless. You have no more power or authority.”

Eventually, after 5 years of trying to save myself through other false saviors, at the age of 24, I realized I needed the One true Savior. He rescued me and He wants to do the same for you. If you have been chasing after false saviors or trying to get back to “normal” on your own, today you can surrender your will to His. He defeated death and the grave. He is a personal Savior, and the only thing He requires is a heart saying yes to Him.

Jesus conquered sin and shame all for you, His beloved child, the apple of His eye, His joy, the reason He endured the Cross! This is the Savior we celebrate. He said, “It is finished!” and He meant every word. He is the only true Savior. He makes all things new!

Happy Good Friday!

2022 Deeper Still Virtual Banquet



Greetings Deeper Still Friends and Family!

It’s been a month since our 2022 fundraising banquet at Bridgewater Place. If you were able to be there that night, I know you were blessed and inspired by the awesome testimonies of Ric & Jocelyn, Greta, and Michelle. Only God can heal and restore abortion wounded hearts.
 
If you were unable to attend, no worries!! We videotaped their testimonies so you could watch them (below) and please, feel free to share them with others @ DeeperStillBanquet.org
 
Our theme for the night was I am Imago Dei. This translates to I am in the image of God.

The world tells us that babies in the womb are not persons, but merely a biological mass with no moral relevance. Often the women who’ve had abortions or the men who were the father of those babies do not understand that an abortion is taking the life of an image bearer of God.
 
The Bible teaches that we are all imago Dei. We are all made in His image and our value is priceless in our Father’s eyes. Our souls cannot bear the moral guilt of the shedding of innocent blood. When the blood stain of abortion is taken to the Cross of Christ, then forgiveness, healing and restoration is what our Savior offers in exchange.
 
Deeper Still is like a hospital for the abortion wounded. Jesus commissions us to be ministers of reconciliation. When abortion wounded women and men are reconciled to God they can be spiritually reconciled to their aborted children. When the offense is cancelled the healing begins.
 
Deeper Still has launched 24 chapters in the US in addition to our special outreach to Chinese both in the US and Asia. The Father is blessing this healing movement because He longs to see His sons and daughters reconciled, healed, and set free from the bondage of sin and shame.
 
When abortion gets dismantled in our country, the ripple effect will be immense. The Deeper Still “hospitals” must be ready to heal our wounded and heal our nation.
 
Will you join us in this healing movement? We estimate 6 new chapters to come on board this year. We can’t grow these chapters without our donors undergirding our work. Our 2022 budget is about $500,000. We take your investment very seriously, as we are stewards of Kingdom resources. Thank you for your Kingdom investment! Click here to donate now, but please take few moments of your time to watch these incredible testimonies! 

Our 2022 Virtual Banquet

(29:14 minutes in length)
   ~ A few photos from our in person banquet in Knoxville ~  Special thanks to:
Bridgewater Place – venue
Bill Roop Photography 
Windsor and Willow – floral design

All Our Amazing Volunteers!

 
Deeper Still Staff 
(L to R: Sue Molitor, Julie Whitlatch, Karen Ellison, Jacque Murphy, Sheppard Tucker)

Banquet Speakers (L to R: Ric and Jocelyn Sun, Greta Bates, Michelle McCauley)  

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Thank you for your continued outpouring of love and support for Deeper Still! You can make a donation HERE.    

Retreats this Spring…go to www.GoDeeperStill.org to register for a retreat
   

   

And the Waves Came

“The boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.” Matthew 14:24

Horses, like humans, have peripheral vision. Their eyes are on the sides of their head, which indicates that they are hunted. They are even able to sense what is sneaking up on them. Their instinctive traits of always looking and listening to everything around them, keeps them nervous and make it difficult to maintain their focus. Therefore, horses are easily distracted and nervous creatures. Horses wear blinders to reduce stress, which is critical to their safety, their rider and anyone in it’s path. These coverings help them to focus on the task at hand and causes them to relax and trust the driver.

Horses are quite similar to human beings. Like horses, we can become easily distracted by life and all that that entails. Out of nowhere certain thoughts can creep back into our minds. We know that distraction, fear, and worry are tools the enemy uses to get our eyes off of Jesus. I know it is for me! Is it for you?

Let’s look at Matthew 14:24; “The boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.” The disciples were alone out in the sea, or so they thought. Then the storm came up and Jesus proceeds to join them and does so by walking on the water towards the boat. They are troubled because they did not recognize Him, which caused them to cry out. Then in verse 27, Jesus states: “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” Peter doubts that it’s Jesus and wanted Him to command that he join Him on the water. Jesus did just that! Peter, looking at Jesus, walks out onto the troubled sea. But right in the middle of the miracle, He takes his eyes off Jesus and sinks. A pair of blinders would have come in handy in that moment.

Peter was distracted by the massive winds and waves. We have an enemy who wants to distract and throw us into the sinking ocean of doubt concerning our healing. He is sure to remind us of our sin of abortion. Once we are set free from the bondage, the enemy will dig his heels in and war begins. He does not want us to live in freedom!

Warning, waves are headed our way. The enemy is always ready to remind us of our past, with swells of guilt and shame sweeping over us, causing us to lose balance and be tossed under.

If we could only wear those flaps over our eyes, keeping them fixed on who goes before us, we would be ready for the incoming waves. When we take our eyes off Jehovah Rapha, our Healer, we tend to fall back into old patterns of negative condemning thoughts, causing us to sink into despair.

But then Peter proceeds to cry out and asked the Lord to save him. Notice he had to ask Jesus for help! Then verse 31 says; “Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Jesus is calling us to walk on the water with Him, to trust Him, even when the waves of our thoughts are billowing over us.

I read that draft horses develop a keener relationship with the driver when wearing blinders. I need to have blinders to protect me from getting caught up in the wind whispering how I use to see myself due to the abortions. When these thoughts come, as they sometimes do, I will consciously start saying; “All I see is my Lord and Savior and how He redeemed me from my sin.” That is all Jesus sees as well.

It takes daily encounters with the Lord. We need to concentrate on His truths, His promises, His character and TRUST He is who He says He is. We also need to remember that we are who He says we are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8 tells us exactly who we are in Jesus. We have been forgiven and there is no more condemnation through what He did for us on the cross. None.

We may not have physical “blinders” to wear, but His word, His presence, worship and praying unfailingly will keep our eyes focused and our feet firm when the waves come. With eyes on Truth, we can stay walking on the waves, living in freedom.

Lord, in this day and time there are so many distractions and pressures in our minds. Help us to keep our eyes firmly set on You, the Author and Finisher of our faith. Our Shepherd, Savior, Healer, and our Peace. Draw us close to You, with our gaze forever looking straight into Your face. We ask this in Jesus name. We love You Lord. Amen

An Emotional Wreck…

“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness.” Psalm 107:19-21

Having an abortion is a traumatic event for those who have been through one. After experiencing a traumatic event, it is common to encounter strong emotional feelings and then find we are behaving differently. We may not recognize the behavior for quite a while and we certainly do not associate it with our abortions. Unbeknownst to us, the emotional consequences from that trauma have just started. The abortion world does not tell you that you will suffer emotionally. They tell you it will solve your “problem.”

I have spoken to many women who have suffered emotionally from abortion. I am one of those women. The emotional side effects alone can be devastating in a life. Let’s take a look at the emotional side effects of abortion: Guilt, shame, depression, anxiety, unworthiness, unforgiveness of ourselves and others, fear, numbness of feelings, deep regret, thoughts of suicide, reduced motivation, lack of trust, drug and alcohol abuse, abusive relationships, promiscuity, acting out in anger or rage, loss of interest in relationships, difficulty with intimacy, difficulty sleeping, nightmares, excessive crying, appetite disturbances, grief, irrational behavior, detachment, (difficulty bonding with your living children), overprotective of living children (this was me), and expected retribution.

I personally experienced almost everyone of these emotional side effects. Our reaction to things are bigger than logic. This is where Post-Abortion Syndrome shows up. This happens when your traumatic experience triggers old unresolved issues or is just simply too traumatic for your brain to process. I was not processing what happened, but rather spiraling out of control living in shame. I couldn’t face myself. I was masking the pain not knowing at the time, that my behavior was due to the abortions.

Shame is a painful feeling that is a mix of regret, self-hatred, and dishonor. Shame alone brings in all the other side effects of abortion. I had dishonored not only God who is the giver of life, but also dishonored my children by taking their lives and their God given purpose away. My self-hatred lead to a horrendous lifestyle of self-abuse along with allowing others to harm me. I felt I was living in a horror movie that had no end. I had put myself, through my choices, in a cavum so deep, I saw no way out.

The abortion world claims abortion will give you peace of mind in your unplanned situation, however the truth is it most often destroys a woman’s emotional well being and self-destructive behavior can result.

Darkness had surrounded me too long. I was desperate for change…

Change came. There is always hope with God. I thank Him everyday for protecting me through those times, pursuing me. God loved me, wanted to save me, and protect me. He is my rescuer. Hallelujah! He can set you free also. He is faithful, loving and forgiving. He restores, redeems and rescues. If you have had an abortion, there is a God who wants to heal, restore and redeem you! There is freedom waiting, just let Him in.

You can contact Deeper Still and sign up for an upcoming retreat. Miracles happen at this retreat. At my retreat, I was emotionally set free and physically healed from Fibromyalgia!

Lord Jesus, Thank you for setting this captive free, and delivering us from so great a death and that You still deliver us daily. I am grateful that I can tell others of Your healing power, so that all may be set free. All glory and honor are Yours Lord Jesus. We love you!! Amen.

Do You Want to be made Well?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Rise, take up your bed and walk!”

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

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

Deeper Still is a ministry that offers free weekend healing retreats for women who have had abortions and the men who fathered children lost to abortion. If you have had an abortion and would like more information about our retreats, please go to www.GoDeeperStill.org to find a retreat close to you.

Behold Your King

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As a gift and as a sacrifice.

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

As the Newborn King and as the Risen King.

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

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

Merry Christmas from all of us at Deeper Still!

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