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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!

Session 1: WHERE HAVE YOU COME FROM?
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. 
JEREMIAH 6:14 NIV

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 guilt....to 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,

5 comments:

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

Lelia - I just want you to know that I am praying for you as you minister to other women. God will us you mightily and I pray nothing by His precious Holy Spirit upon you.

Darlene said...

Lelia,

Each our stories are so different, but if we let Him in, each will have the same healing in Christ. Powerful words here today.

I was a teenager and did not come into the Lord's grasp until some 16 years past my teenage abortion. And a few years later, He restored me. I didn't know it was possible, but then I met The Man with whom all is possible. Praise God!

Lord, please guide each one reading these posts and open hurting hearts so You can enter with Your forgiving & loving balm. In Jesus' name, Amen.

And Jennifer, your poem touched me when I first saw it and again today.

Blessings.

Andrea said...

GOD bless you as you are HIS hands to those who are hurting and scared.
Blessings and hugs,
andrea

teresa Humphrys said...

I have just stumbled onto your blog today through Beth's blog at "aninstrument4hisglory". I am praising God for your honesty and witness to your heartache many years ago. May God bless you as you minister to others and show them forgiveness and God's unfailing love.

Thank you so much for your blog!
teresa @ nonniesblessings.blogspot.com/

HisPrincess said...

You are amazing Leila. But I'm not there yet. I don't think I can.