Tuesday, July 27, 2010

YES to GOD Study: Surrendering the Secret/Week 2 & 3


of the book
 Surrendering the Secret

Last Tuesday, I was to post on session 2 and today on session 3. I have to be honest here and tell you, I'm having a hard time working through this book. 
I can blame it on being busy with work and family, but truth be told, what I thought at first was a great idea of hosting this study, has turned out to be a lot harder than I thought. 
And like Jillian Michaels says on her video, "when you begin to hurt, it's pain leaving the body". 

So, I'm late and I'm sorry for that, but here are a few things from sessions 2 & 3. 

SHARING THE SECRET: A Spring in the Desert
Remember, anything in blue is a quote from the book. 

In the journal entry from Pat's journal she is nudged by God to share her story with her BFF, Ann. 
She was so nervous and scared to do so and wrote these thoughts:
Although I am dreading it, I had to tell Ann about my abortion. The secret swelled so fiercely in my heart that I was about to burst! Yet turmoil and panic gripped my chest because I had no idea what Ann would say or how exposing this dark part of my past would affect our friendship. Ann and all my new friends at church seemed so godly and good. What would they think of me? What would they think about the awful thing I had done? It was time---to break the power of secrecy...

Isn't this so true to think no matter what our secrets hold? 
I've talked before about being at a women's conference and thinking, "if only she knew me". 
And surprisingly, when I've shared my past with my friends, they have shown me grace. 
And my sister Michelle. Oh my goodness, God knew exactly who I needed.
 I couldn't have designed a more perfect friend/sister. She has been so incredible. 

In this session, Pat talked of buying into lies. 
If Satan can keep us feeling worthless, keep us feeling guilty, or keep our minds and hearts under his influence, he can keep us out of the glory God intended us to live in and the intimacy God wants us to share with Him. That's why the deceiver continually whispers lies about who we are, who God is, God's heart toward us, and  intimacy with God. 

Continually whispers lies. 
And I continually believe my enemy. 
This cycle of destruction has come to an end. 

Session 3: WALK IN TRUTH

What if when you went to the clinic to get your abortion they took you into a room and told you what you would really feel afterward? 

On page 45, Pat talks about how after having an abortion, the first emotion most women have is immediate relief. Research indicates, however, that this relief is short-lived and is soon replaced by guilt, shame, secrecy, sadness and regret. This strong letdown experience is commonly referred to as Post-Abortion Trauma. 

On my way home from the clinic, I got a phone call asking to serve at church for Easter Sunday that year. I felt so much shame, but quickly regrouped. 
I had to remember that this was MY secret. 
My pregnancy was the result of an affair my husband didn't know of yet, so I had to be careful not to do anything out of the ordinary. Which meant walking around crying. 
So, I stuffed it and went on with my life. 
And tried my hardest not to EVER think about it. 

But after my husband knew and showed so much grace, the guilt and shame would really kick in. And wouldn't you know, Satan stayed around and had fun with this new emotion too. 
He just loves to keep us down and useless. 

This is one decision that we hope we are alone in, but the truth of it is, many many women have had an abortion. We are everywhere...women who have bought the enemy's lie that abortion was our only hope, our only choice, and what we "had to do". 

Okay, that's all I can do for now. 
I will be praying for all of you silently joining this study. 
We are not alone ladies, and our God. 
Our God loves us as is. 

Please visit my co-host, Jennifer on her blog 
for an amazing word. 


*Next Tuesday, August 3rd for Session 4: A Time for Anger: Tearing Down Roadblocks

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

YES to GOD Study: Surrendering the Secret/Week 1

Welcome to the summer YES to GOD study of Pat Layton's book 
Surrendering the Secret.  

First, I want to tell everyone who has left messages of encouragement and letting us know that they're praying, THANK YOU so much! What a blessing you have been!

Anything in blue is a quote from the book.

Prior to each session is a page entry from the journal of Pat, the author. She shares how at the age of 23 she was alone at the clinic. I love what she says here about God: "He's rescued  me from despair and shame, transforming the messes of my life into a beautiful ministry of grace and healing". Her testimony is amazing and to be led through this journey by someone like her through her book, is an absolute privilege.

One thing that Pat mentioned in the beginning of this session is God is here, and He has brought you here. He has a plan for you but cannot take the journey for you. You must take one step: a step of faith to begin walking the path with Him. 

When I first found out I was pregnant, I told two of my friends. Both cried with me and prayed for me and both women begged me not to have an abortion. The only reason they would both bring up abortion is because being married, the baby was not my husband's. I promised both of them that I would never do what I was always so against. It would be years before I would tell them the truth about my "miscarriage". Both forgave me, but the shame I carried was at times unbearable.

Some think God couldn't care less about our pain or that He condemns us for past mistakes, but the Book of Jeremiah gives us glimpses into God's real heart. 
They dress the sound of my people as thought it is not serious, "Peace, peace," they say, when there is no peace. 

Pat goes on to share with us the story in the Bible of Hagar found in Genesis 16. 
If you have never read the Bible before, Genesis is the very first book of the Bible. And let me tell you, some of the stories in here bring out more drama than the writer's of Desperate Housewives could ever dream up.
There are three main characters in this story: Abram, his wife Sarai and her servant Hagar. 
Sarai hadn't been able to give Abram any kids, so in all her womanly wisdom, she tells Abram to sleep with Hagar. 
And he did. 
Hagar became pregnant. 
And Sarai became ticked off and treated Hagar horribly. 
And Hagar did what any pregnant mistreated servant would do and she ran away. 

Shame. Guilt. Shame. Running from the situation. 
Sound familiar? 

The day I was driving home from my regretful time in the clinic, I received a phone call from a guy at church asking me to be a greeter that Sunday for Easter service at the front doors of our church.
"Sure" I said in a forced happy tone while tears ran down my cheeks.
Needless to say, I didn't show up. 

Getting back to Hagar, this is where it gets really good. 
Let's pick up at Genesis 16:7-8
The angel of the LORD found Hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness, along the road to Shur. The angel said to her, "Hagar, Sarai's servant, where have you come from, and where are you going?" 

I LOVE that...where have you come from, and where are you going
Just think of what God has brought you out of and think of where He can and will take you, if you allow Him to do so. 
From a seat in a clinic that left me with shame and complete surrender in all areas of my life. 

Continuing on with Hagar's story, I love this next part. 
The angel told her to return to her mistress and submit to her authority. The he continued to tell her all that God promised to do with and to her. And this was her response to God, "You are the God who sees me." She also said, "Have I truly seen the One who sees me?"

How special she must have felt that day! She ran away in shame and the Lord met her right where she was and HE made her feel special and loved. She knew without a doubt that He saw her.
WHAT a Savior!

So, what does this have to do with us? 
Pat goes on to explain that abortion is a response to panic
Just like Hagar, when we went to the clinic, we ran with a cloak of shame covering our shoulders and more than likely we ran in panic. I know I did. I felt there was no other way out for me. 
And in all of my selfishness, God saw me. He saw me the day I walked into that clinic all alone. He saw me as I sat in the waiting room wanting to run out the doors. He saw me when the cold hearted doctor handed me the pill to end my pregnancy without even looking up at me. God hears your heart's cry! He sees you and feels your pain. He longs for you to look back on this time in your life and ask with Hagar, "Have I truly seen the One who sees me?"

Where have I come from?
A life full of decisions that effected not only me, but so many people I love.
A heart of regret and shame.

Where am I going?
My hearts' desire is to go wherever the Lord wants to take me.

It's time to trust in the God that sees and loves me whether I'm sitting in a chair in an abortion clinic or I'm sitting in a chair in church. 
Regardless of where I'm at in my life, His love for me is endless and unconditional. 
He has forgiven me for taking the life of my child and now instead of keeping me down in the pit of shame,  He wants to use my regret for His glory.

Question is...will I let Him?

Work through this study ladies.
Tough stuff, but let's allow God to break down your secret and let Him take you to new heights.

Please visit my co-leader Jennifer to read what she has written about this week's session.
She has been through this study and is a leader in her church. And what a heart she has for us.
Click here to go to her wonderful blog, Spirit of Truth. Oh, and if you haven't read her poem that she wrote called Out of the Darkness, oh my goodness, you have to read this.

Check back during the week so I can introduce you to some other women that have had an abortion, but have also made the decision to let God use this horrible choice for His good.
Let's tap into the hope we have in Him... 
the God who sees us!

Love you,

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

YES to GOD Study: Surrendering the Secret Intro's

Welcome to the new YES to GOD study of Pat Layton's book 
Surrendering the Secret.  
What better timing to start this book after the holiday that represents Freedom.
I hope you all had a great weekend, now let's get to it.

This book is in sessions, not chapters as I had previously stated. Each day there is something to read and questions to answer. So today, will just be introductions and next Tuesday, July 13th we will share and discuss Session 1: WHERE HAVE YOU COME FROM?

Here is a note from Jennifer, my co-leader of this study... 

Hi everyone! 
I wanted to take a quick minute to introduce myself and tell you a little bit about why I am co-leading this on line study with Lelia. My name is Jennifer Kittredge and I went through Surrendering the Secret for myself in January of 2009. 

This was not something that I wanted to do but God had other plans (He always does). My abortion kept coming up back in December of 2008 and I wrestled with God about it for days. I did NOT want to go back there. Finally, I emailed Pat Layton, the author of our study, and she told me to run to A Woman's Place, which is our local crisis pregnancy center which Pat started about 24 years ago. I did, not actually excited about why I was there but knew God was behind me leading me and guiding me to finally receive the healing I so desperately needed. 

Fast forward to 8 weeks after our study ( I will share more of my journey along the way) I am a new person. My chains are gone and I have been set FREE! Finally free from this bondage that had been holding me down.  

I became a certified leader of STS in May of 2009 and have been leading groups at my church ever since.

I am so excited for each one of you who will share this journey with us. I know that this is scary,but God is with you every step of the way. He wants you healed. He wants to shine His light into your darkest places.

For week one of this study please start in your workbook with Session 1 "Where Have You Come From?". When you are through with your session, please share whatever stood out to you most throughout your session. Please take the Past Trauma Survey on page 17 of your book and share the score of your survey and the key symptoms you recognized in your own life.

"For God did not send his Son into the world, but to save the world through him...But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God" 

John 3:17,21 

From Lelia....

I don't think I've ever fully dealt with what I did. Taking the life of a child is something when done you can never undo and when the reality of that hits you it's a panic one can hardly explain. You think of your baby all of the time. And the "what-ifs" are infinitely long. What if I would've trusted God and just had the baby...What if I would have left the clinic that day, and on and on. The shame is so heavy and so I'm ready to surrender even this to a God that says I am worth His Son's death on a cross. I'm scared and so ready for this journey. I hope if you've made this choice that you're ready too. 
Hand in hand and heart to heart, let's do this together. 

Jeremiah 29:11
 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
*********************** next week, Tuesday, July 13th meet here and if you want to, be ready to share your thoughts on Session 1. If you just want to silently participate, please do so. Whatever your level of comfort in join us at that level. This is a no pressure study. So, if you don't have your book, order it now for it's never to late to join us in this journey toward freedom! Click here to order your book today or for someone you know struggling with the secret of abortion.

Below is the anthem of this study.

Have a blessed week! 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Get your butt in time out

The World Cup has been all over the news and if you are a lover of soccer, you have been glued to the television. I won't mention her name, but according to my sports fanatic friend somewhere in Kansas, when the USA was playing you were just not patriotic if you were not cheering Landon Donavon and his teammates on. I will try to make up for my lack of interest this weekend by wearing red, white and blue.

This morning though, this headline on good ole' informative Yahoo News caught my eye...
Unusual Punishment for World Cup Squad. Ahhh, now they have my interest. So, I clicked and read this:

Nigeria lost its first two World Cup group stage matches but still came just one goal short of advancing with their draw against South Korea. As one of the more heavily favored African nations, the early elimination was certainly a disappointment. So how is Nigeria handling that disappointment?

From the BBC:
Nigeria's president has suspended his nation's football team from international competition for two years after a poor showing at the World Cup.
Special presidential adviser Ima Niboro told reporters the decision by Goodluck Jonathan will "enable Nigeria to reorganize its football."
He said: "This directive became necessary following Nigeria's poor performance in the ongoing World Cup."

Wow! Two whole years in time out for not representing your country in a positive way? That's a long time seems a little harsh over a soccer game.

Just looking at my own walk with Jesus, can you even imagine if this was God's mode of operation?
OH, my goodness, I'd be in time out all the time.
But we serve a God full of grace and mercy. When we mess up and we truly repent, He forgives.
Doesn't mean He never disciplines us, but He does forgive.

A few weeks ago, I put up a post called "Seasons End and Sometimes Friendships Do Too".
Don't go looking for it, if you missed it because I took it down last night. I wrote that post out of frustration and ever since, God has been working on my heart. But I kept ignoring and justifying why I wrote it. If  you didn't see it, I had written about a friendship that I felt was no longer good for me,but this person kept appearing in my life and after feeling unheard by her, I decided to take it to the blog because I knew she used to read it.
OH. Boy.
Let me just tell you, that when you have committed something to be God's, like I have with this blog, and you use it for your own personal platform, watch out. I knew when I wrote it, my post would hurt her, but being  the "godly" woman  that I am, I started the post out with scripture and even backed up my feelings with a Bible story of a friendship gone awry.  And you know what? Hand in hand with Pride, I accomplished exactly what I set out to do.

She's so ugly.
And I invited her and all her ugliness to come into my heart and invade it so that every time I spoke of the situation to my husband, I was left with drops of poison dripping off of my chin.
I was not a pretty sight.
Not to God, to my husband or admittedly to myself.

And then I got a letter about the blog post from my "ex-friend" as I referred to her as in the post.
And she asked for my forgiveness.
And for the first time in a year I felt my heart softening toward her.
So I thought I should take the post down that slammed her, but then Pride quickly stood up with her hands on her hips and said,"No Lelia, leave it up, stand your deserved ground girl."
And, so I did.
Until last night.

Yesterday afternoon, I had my 16 year old chauffeur, Aaron, drive me to Walgreen's and according to him and his friend, I left them in the heat for 30 minutes until I found a birthday card for her. I wrote in it, signed and sealed it, but didn't deliver it. Instead, I went to Bible Study and cried on this one part that Beth Moore shared.

Wouldn't you know, it was on pride?
She shared how she had been trying to work with this woman and the woman just kept lying so Beth had enough. She said she was speaking at a banquet and saw this woman out of the corner of her eye and Beth then made a statement from the stage that only the woman would get. A statement that sliced the lady apart. And immediately after, God dealt with Beth about it. I sat there last night in tears. For a year now I have avoided having a sit down with this lady and sharing our hearts. And like I said I let Pride rear up and hold her ugly head high in my heart because in my mind, I am right and she is so wrong.

After Bible study last night I prayed and asked God to help me and I made my way to the Birthday Girl's home. I let out a sigh of relief as I turned the corner because I was getting off easy; she wasn't home. I went up to the house and was going to put the card in the screen door when through the open door I saw her ninety-something year old father sitting alone watching television. I knocked and let myself in and talked with him for awhile. I hadn't seen him in a year and we used to see each other everyday. I gave him kisses and hugs and just as I was leaving, her sister walked in. I felt a little uncomfortable, knowing she probably knew what had happened, but we hugged and spent a few minutes talking. Again, I was making my way out the door, when my neighbor walked in from her birthday dinner.

Over the last year, I hadn't stepped foot in her home or talked with her and when she walked in and saw me, she opened her arms. We hugged and talked for a few minutes and then I left. And cried. It was her day, so I didn't say anything but Happy Birthday, but it was a start. A start of letting God fill my heart and making Pride get the heck out. A start of making Pride shut up and let me walk in obedience to God. A God who should have done what the Nigerian president did and put my butt in a 2 year time out for using the gift of writing He has trusted me with to rip apart my sister in Christ. For being a poor showing of grace and mercy.

I was wrong in how I wrote out my feelings on my blog and I'm so sorry to her and also to you for roping you into my journey of pride. Some things, we just need to get in the position as this Nigerian player is in and take our junk before God and God alone.
Yussuf Ayila of Nigeria is dejected after a draw and elimination in the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group B match between Nigeria and South Korea at Durban Stadium on June 22, 2010 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Steve Haag/Getty Images)

One thing Beth Moore said last night, was "We better deal with our stuff, our stuff will deal with us".

Let Him deal with you in whatever way He needs to, for He is the only One Who truly knows our needs.

If you want to join an on line blog study, starting Tuesday, July 6th, check it out here and see if it's for you.