Abortion pictures lead to post-abortion healing

Judy Townsend

Judy Townsend

We are thrilled at the work of Deeper Still, a post-abortion healing ministry based here in Knoxville that reaches out to hurting women, not only in Knoxville and East Tennessee, but anywhere in the world.  Post-abortive women from Deeper Still are frequent volunteers at our GAP displays.

I attended Deeper Still’s fundraising dinner last Tuesday night, and one of the speakers was Judy Townsend.  I have known Judy and her husband Jeff for a couple of years.  In fact, Jeff’s company organized our hugely successful event last year that featured Gov. Mike Huckabee as the keynote speaker.

It was our GAP event on Market Square in Downtown Knoxville that captured Jeff’s attention and led him to offer his help in organizing the dinner for us.   Deeper Still had joined us at this GAP event to let hurting women know that healing from abortion is available.

What I didn’t know (until just last Tuesday night) is that this same GAP event captured Judy’s attention and led her to seek healing for her past abortion.  She found this healing through the work of Deeper Still.

Here are her remarks:

I had my abortion in 1985 when I was 19 years old.  I had joined the USAF, and I was just beginning my own independent life.  I had gone back home after my basic training and had become pregnant by the guy I had been seeing just before I entered the air force.  I was completely shocked and scared and couldn’t believe this was actually happening to me.

I didn’t tell anyone except my mother, and she said to me “just have an abortion and it will all be over soon.”  But it would be anything but “over soon.”  I had the abortion in a clinic after one of my shifts.  I remember being so afraid and sick to my stomach.  The details of what happened that day are blurry because I have buried them so deep for over 26 years.

It wasn’t until I attend the Deeper Still retreat that I came to understand why I was so bound by shame, guilt, and self-hatred.  I asked myself,  “How could abortion cause so much pain when society tells me that it’s my choice and it’s all ok?”  Yet, in my heart I knew the truth was that my actions were murderous.

I lived my entire adult life in a shroud of secrecy and shame concerning my abortion.  I denied myself relationship with children, including my own daughter who was born a year later.  I held her at a distance because I didn’t believe I deserved to be her mother.  This caused a great deal of strain in our relationship.  All the while, I kept my secret.  In fact, I buried it so deep, that I was denying to myself that the event even happened.  That’s how strong and deceiving denial can be!  But I trudged on through life and never told anyone.

I accepted the Lord as my Savior on May 31, 2000 and, for the first time in my life, I felt so much joy and comfort.  But still, I could not believe that I was worthy of His love and blessing.  I believed that He forgave me for my abortion, but that He was still very disappointed in me.  I even thought that when I would see Jesus face to face, He would tell me that there was a certain place in heaven reserved for people like me that had had abortions.  I would not allow myself to fully embrace His grace and forgiveness.

I could never bring myself to tell my husband Jeff about my abortion.  Even though he was the one person in my life with whom I was the most intimate, I still felt I could not cross that barrier of shame in order to bring him into my “secret sin.”

In 2008, Jeff began to work for a ministry that helped women facing crisis pregnancies.  I would cringe inside and shake every time I was in earshot of any of the conversations about abortion.  I would say things like, “I feel so sorry for these poor girls. If only they knew how important life is.”  But then I would feel like a hypocrite for even saying that.

Our move to Knoxville seemed to coincide with the Lord’s timing for me to finally deal with my abortion.  One day, while we were walking around Market Square, we came upon a display that showed images of aborted babies along with images of other forms of holocaust.

I was confronted with these awful images starring me in the face.  I was mad, angry and disgusted.  I couldn’t even let myself look at them.  On the other hand, my husband wanted to take a closer look and talk to the people displaying them.  We obviously were looking at them from very different vantage points.

The Lord used that experience to surface the things that I would never have allowed myself to face on my own.  But He also didn’t just leave me there in my silent torment.

It was shortly after that when Jeff and I met Karen Ellison and some of the Deeper Still ladies.  As they shared with us about Deeper Still, I remember instantly feeling like I would love this ministry.  I already loved these ladies.

In the weeks that followed, some other painful things surfaced that rattled my cage enough to make me finally e-mail Karen, tell her my story, and ask her if I could come to one of the Deeper Still retreats.  She of course said, “Yes, you must come!”

I had 7 more months before the retreat would be here and the Lord used that time to prepare my heart in so many ways.  But the enemy also worked overtime during those months to try to discourage me and talk me out of it. 

I also knew that it was time to tell my husband my story, and when I did, he was so full of grace and compassion for me and he wholeheartedly blessed me to go on this retreat.

The week before the retreat, I asked Karen if I could possibly just attend one day of the retreat and leave early on Sunday morning.  But she encouraged me to attend the entire retreat.  I thought to myself, “Uh, oh.  This isn’t going to be a superficial meeting with ‘church women’.”  I knew deep inside that this was going to be important and I was scared to death.

Somehow the Lord guided me there.  I remember telling myself, “I’ll just drive into the parking lot and check things out; if it looks scary then I can just leave.”  I parked the car and the next thing I knew, this beautiful, blonde, bubbly, smiling woman came toward me.  I thought “Oh, no!  Here she comes!  I can’t leave now.”  That was Jenna Collins.  She was so kind as she greeted me and she made me feel so welcomed.  I knew there was no turning back now and I am forever grateful.  Almost immediately, I found myself weeping and weeping.  I looked around and I discovered that was that I was not the only one crying.  We all were.

The Deeper Still team was a conduit of the love of Christ for me that weekend.  I had an encounter that I will never forget.  My self-imposed walls of separation were abolished and I found myself seeing and accepting the true love of Jesus.  I understood so much more fully the enormity of His sacrifice for me.  I understood that my abortion was a violent sinful act, but that Jesus was bigger than my sin.  His sacrifice covered it all and my debt was PAID IN FULL!

I am now walking in freedom that I never thought possible and I’m ready to walk out the destiny that He has ordained for me.  Praise His Name!

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One Response to “Abortion pictures lead to post-abortion healing”

  1. October 31st, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    CBR and Deeper Still together, saving lives and healing abortion-wounded hearts says:

    […] an example of how this works, please read Judy Townsend’s story.  She saw our photos at a GAP in downtown Knoxville.  Deeper Still was also working nearby, […]

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