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Posts Tagged ‘Deeper Still’

Two post-abortion stories: one denial and one confession

Young women speak with one who is older and wiser. Thank you for making her work possible.

Young women speak with one who is older and wiser.  Thank you for making Debbie’s work possible.

by Jacqueline Hawkins

A UNC Greensboro student walked up to the Deeper Still (DS) post-abortion counseling table.  She told Debbie Picarello that seeing the pictures had “completely undone any healing that I had accomplished until now.”

As Debbie asked probing questions, the young woman said she believed her child would be reincarnated.  She reasoned that because of the abortion, she could now help more people, that she was better off, and so on.

This student wound up sharing her justifications with a small group of like-minded female students who had gathered around.  They were adamant that Debbie’s approval of the pictures was hurting women.  They told Debbie she really didn’t care about them.

But Debbie stood her ground.  She said healing comes through Jesus Christ alone.  In her words, “Acknowledgment that we murdered our children is essential to being forgiven, because that is how God sees what we did.  Our opinions are trumped by His Truth.”  Amid much scorn and scoffing, another female student opened up.

Holding back tears, Jackie said she had been raped by a police officer and had an abortion.  Debbie expressed her deep sorrow for the young woman, and came out from behind the table to speak with her privately.  She asked if she could hug Jackie and the young woman cried even more.  The angry, mocking group of girls became silent.  Debbie took Jackie off to speak privately.

Jackie is a Christian,  Debbie pressed a Deeper Still pamphlet into her hands.  Looking her in the eye, Debbie told the young woman that she believed her child is in heaven and holds absolutely no unforgiveness towards her.  Her baby looks forward to the day when they will be reunited.  The girl allowed Debbie to pray with her.  Afterwards, Debbie encouraged her to get help as soon as possible for the rape and the abortion.  Jackie’s did not have to carry these burdens by herself; she could find healing through Lord Jesus.

Debbie hopes to see her someday at a Deeper Still healing retreat.  Debbie sewed the seeds — and so did you, because your support made this encounter possible — and now we pray for God to bring the fruit.

Jacqueline Hawkins is a CBR Project Director and a regular FAB contributor.

Needed: More post-abortive women (and men) to share their stories.

Debbie Picarello

Debbie Picarello

If you are a post-abortive woman (or man) willing to share your story, there is no better place to do it than in front of our GAP display.  You can reach more people in one day on campus than in a whole year at your church.  You can reach people who really need you.  And who better than you to warn students of the consequences of “choice?”

Here is an essay from Debbie Picarello, someone just like you who is deeply committed to helping others find healing from their abortions.  Read about her in student newspapers at the U of Central Florida (link here) and the U of South Florida (link here).  In addition to standing with us on campus, she also volunteers with Deeper Still, one of our favorite post-abortion healing ministries.  We pray that God will send us more like her.  Perhaps He will send you!

Hope and Healing on Campus
by Debbie Picarello

I was in college when I had my abortion.  Living without my child and living with the consequences of my “choice,” I have had a deep desire to reach men and women in this age group.  Guttmacher estimates that half of all abortions are performed on women of college age, so the college campus is ground-zero for either preventing abortions or ministering to those already wounded.

My recent mission trip to Florida with the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) was my most productive to date.  At the GAP displays, I set up a Deeper Still post-abortion healing table a few yards away from the display.  My sign says, “I’ve had an abortion, you can ask me anything.”  At the University of South Florida, I was approached by so many post abortive women and men, I lost count.

Stories from the men and women varied.  Some regretted their decision to abort and wanted information about healing.  Some tried to justify why they don’t yet regret their abortions.  Others were somewhere in between.  It was interesting to hear people share how, over time, it has become harder and harder to justify their “choice,” because it hurts.  They hurt.

Some said that because I had an abortion, I was the only one who could speak authoritatively on the subject.  I know that is not true, because abortion is still takes the life of a pre-born child, whether or not the mother feels regret over it.  Nevertheless, that was the sentiment of a lot of students that stopped by the Deeper Still table. There is great power in testimony, especially the testimony of a healed man or woman.  We can speak with the authority because we have been there, but we can also speak about Jesus, The Healer Himself.

I still find myself missing my twenty-something I aborted so many years ago, wondering what life with her would have been like.  Sharing her story over and over keeps her memory alive.  GAP has been a wonderful opportunity to share not only what abortion does to the pre-born child, but also to show that there is hope and healing in Jesus Christ after abortion.

Anyone can do what I am doing.  Your story matters and there is someone desperate to hear it.  CBR gives GREAT training, and they will teach you ‘how’ to share your story in the context of the whole larger abortion debate.  And men — this is a men’s issue too — your story needs to be heard as well.

Please join us on a short term mission trip to a college campus near  you.  I promise, you will NEVER be the same!  These trips have forever changed me because I have gotten to see first-hand that hearts, minds, AND lives are saved by these outreaches.

Debbie Picarello and Sandie Sendall speak with students at UK

Deeper Still volunteers Debbie Picarello and Sandie Sendall speak with students about their abortion experiences at the University of Kentucky.

When talking wasn’t enough, pictures saved another baby’s life.

Debbie Picarello

Debbie Picarello

When talking wasn’t enough, abortion pictures did more than talk.  They saved a baby’s life.  Denise was born just a few weeks ago, but pictures saved her life back in May!

Although grieving a previous abortion, her mother Vicki still planned to abort her child.  Fortunately, CBR volunteer Debbie Picarello (who also volunteers with Deeper Still, a post-abortion recovery ministry) was able to show abortion pictures to Vicki online.  Recalling the conversation, Debbie said it was clear that “talking wasn’t enough.”  With your help, CBR had trained Debbie to use abortion pictures … when “talking wasn’t enough.”

CBR and Deeper Still together: Saving lives and healing abortion-wounded hearts

Sandy Sendall and Debbie Picarello minister to abortion-wounded hearts

Deeper Still’s Sandy Sendall and Debbie Picarello minister to abortion-wounded hearts. What a blessing to see them share the love of Messiah Jesus!

A 20-something male student approached the Deeper Still table at the U of Tennessee.  He was ready to share his story.  His girlfriend “at the time” — few relationships survive abortion — decided to abort their child against his wishes.  He offered to support her and the baby fully, but she would not be deterred.

The abortion, the loss of his child, had wounded his heart profoundly.  He took some information on Deeper Still and said he would share it with the mother of his aborted child.  Let us pray for this young couple … that they find healing and forgiveness in our Messiah Jesus.

Denial is the biggest obstacle to healing men and women from abortion.  Until people can understand the sin, they can never repent and heal from it.  Overcoming denial is the first step.  That is why we are so blessed to be partnering with the good people from the Deeper Still post-abortion healing ministry in our on-campus outreaches.

As 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, offering hope and healing to any and all who would ask for help.

Deeper Still’s Karen Ellison and Kay Smith at Market Square

Deeper Still’s Karen Ellison and Kay Smith at Market Square.

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!

Post-abortion healing at the University of Kentucky

Debbie Picarello and Sandie Sendall speak with UK students about their abortion experiences.

Debbie Picarello and Sandie Sendall speak with UK students about their abortion experiences.

We are so thankful for ministry partners like Deeper Still, an outreach to post-abortive women (and soon post-abortive men as well).  Two of their volunteers, Debbie Picarello and Sandie Sendall, both post-abortive themselves, joined us for GAP at the University of Kentucky.  Debbie shares her experience:

Visiting the University of Kentucky was a wonderful experience.  Sandie Sendall, a friend and past Deeper Still participant, helped man the post-abortion healing table.  Both Sandie and I have experienced the negative consequences of having the “choice” to have an abortion.  We came to offer not only our personal experiences with abortion, but also to offer the hope, healing, restoration, and reconciliation only Jesus can offer.

The Deeper Still table, stationed in between the Planned Parenthood table and the GAP display, gave us plenty of opportunities to speak with college students and older adults.  There were two signs on our table.  One said, “I’ve had an abortion. You can ask me anything.”  The other declared “Freeing the abortion wounded heart…Deeper Still.”

Many students stopped by just wanting to know what Deeper Still was, both pro-lifers and pro-choicers alike.  I had numerous opportunities to share that abortion comes with a very high price tag, a price to be paid for many years to come after the procedure that was supposed to help me “get on with my life”.

This table became a place to come and share personal pain.  One male student’s girlfriend aborted their baby a year ago and he was hurting very badly.  We gave him local info for Rachel’s Vineyard which offers ministry for men.  Deeper Still has the vision to offer free healing retreats for men wounded by abortion, yet currently only offers ministry for women.

Another young woman had been raped and was looking for help.  We referred her to Jane, a GAP volunteer who also worked at one of the crisis pregnancy centers in Lexington.  Jane and Sandy were able to pray with her and exchange contact info.

Another young male college student told us how he was almost the victim of abortion, due to his problematic conception.  He was exceptionally glad that we were all out there standing for life.  Many pro-life students said they were so glad we were there.  We had the opportunity to speak with and challenge protesting medical students, as well as several of the Planned Parenthood students.

We were only 2 of the several post abortive women who volunteered to help with GAP at UK.  I am convinced that having post abortive women and men at these GAP’s strengthens the impact it has.  There is power in personal testimony that could not be refuted.  We left the students with a lot to think about.

Post abortion healing ministry in Knoxville serves clients nationally.

Deeper Still's Karen Ellison and ____ Smith at Market Square.

Deeper Still's Karen Ellison and Kay Smith at Market Square.

While doing GAP on Market Square last week, we were pleased to be joined by Deeper Still, a post-abortion healing ministry based in Knoxville.  It was the perfect message for our community, emphasizing both the horrifying reality of what abortion is and does, but also emphasizing the forgiveness and healing available to every abortion-wounded heart through Jesus Messiah.

Deeper Still invites abortion-wounded women to participate in weekend retreats that help bring healing and lasting freedom.  These are offered free of charge, not only to women in the Knoxville area, but nationally and internationally as well.  Please visit their website!

Deeper Still President Karen Ellison talks about Deeper Still:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owN4z8rcoo0