My Identity in Christ (Part 1)

My Identity in Christ (Part 1)

2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he (she) is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

John 15:15 “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”

When I was a little girl, I remember having an overall sense of happiness and freedom to be a child. But as I grew older and began to develop the awareness of my identity within my family unit and became the victim of verbal and physical abuse, my perspective on who I was began to change.

In my mind’s eye, I was ugly, stupid, and overall, a pathetic girl that no one loved or wanted to be with. I can remember my father saying over and over, “Why can’t you be like your brother or why can’t you be like your sister?” He was referring to the older siblings that had gone on and became successful, in his eyes. Out of his frustration and unchecked anger, he lashed out and made us feel unwanted as he put us down by abusing us verbally. My mother was a quiet, submissive woman with multiple (total of 15) kids to care for. She wasn’t involved in our lives except to care for our physical needs. And the brothers that were still in the home, treated me with great contempt and regularly beat up on me. At age 11, I was being molested by two of my older brothers and by the age of 12, I lost my virginity to a drug-addicted man that was 14 years older, who lived in the neighborhood. He literally took advantage of my desperate need for love and affection and convinced me to cooperate with his selfish intentions. I told no one as I thought they would blame me; I believed in my young heart that it was my fault.

I felt like such a failure, that by the time I was a young teen, I began to medicate with wine and beer, and at one point, I felt so hopeless, I attempted to take my own life! Obviously, I wasn’t successful, but at the time, I believed that I was a failure even at that! I not only felt unworthy to be loved but I also felt dirty and had a great sense of shame that covered me like a thick cloud.

As I grew into my teens, I continued to abuse alcohol, adding hard liquor and was introduced to all sorts or illegal drugs, which I experimented with daily. I lived a destructive life of substance abuse and promiscuity. And at age 24, I committed what I thought was the unforgivable offense by having an abortion, essentially ending the life of what would turn out to be my only biological child. This event plunged me deeper into a sense of self-loathing and emptiness that I had yet to experience. By the time I was 25, my sense of self-worth was in the pit; I had no hope and no purpose for my future.

Then it happened! The Lord Jesus, who had been pursuing me for years through the witness of other Christ followers, opened my eyes to His amazing acceptance, love and mercy for me. And I can remember the sense of hope and love that flowed through me like a rushing river! It was incredible! My self-perspective changed that day. I dared to believe that I could be something more than I had settled into. And I embarked on a lifelong mission to get to know the God who would be willing to die for me, a pathetic, sinful, ugly and stupid girl. It took years of Bible reading, support from other believers in Jesus and some Biblical counseling, for me to accept my new identity as I embraced 2 Corinthians 5:17, which tells us, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he (she) is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Today, after walking with the Lord for over 37 years, having His amazing Holy Spirit living in me, I embrace the truth that I am God’s precious daughter, loved and cherished beyond my wildest dreams! He has given me dignity, self-worth and a future hope. I no longer condemn myself because according to Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” I no longer accept the attempt of others to manipulate or put me down. I have come to understand that I can have boundaries and stay in control, by the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Blessings,

Luci

Testimonies

Surrendering the Secret Bible Study

Teleconference Call

Testimonies

God Connects Hearts and Threads Lives

I had a wonderful opportunity to co-lead a Surrendering the Secret Bible study via conference call with Toni and Jane.

I have done these studies for years but not in this format. It was such an amazing experience, and we saw God quickly connect our hearts with the women in the group even though we didn’t meet face to face.

Each woman’s story helped another, and trust was built. The women were so transparent, and we saw God’s hand throughout as He threaded our lives together.

Personally, I was so encouraged by seeing God’s immense love for each of us and how He desires for us to be healed from the pain and shame of our past abortions.

He walked with each of us so tenderly through this healing journey bringing His truth and light. Somehow new life was born within as God gave each of us unique purpose where there was once deep pain, shame and guilt.

I am so thankful to be a part of this ministry where I see God’s grace, forgiveness and freedom experienced!

My hope and prayer are for many women to take a courageous step and begin this transforming healing journey.

Julie Cruz

The Conference Call was a God Send

Over this summer I was able to participate in “Surrendering the Secret” (STS) phone conference Bible study.

In the past, I had been on Toni’s Sunday’s conference calls, so this wasn’t new to me. The Sunday conference calls are topical in nature and were a great support for me and my walk with the Lord. I learned so much on these conference call sessions and was excited to join in on the STS study.

Our STS study was on Thursday evenings and lasted 1½ hours. We had some amazing girls in our group, and over the course of the weeks I grew to love them and pray for them. I was in awe of what the Lord was doing in their lives.

It’s amazing to see the healing in others and connect with women that were wounded the same way I was, from a past abortion.

The phone conference Bible study was so convenient because it allowed me to be at home and not have to travel. Many of the women were about 1 hour away.

This study reminded me of how the Lord can bring healing to hurting women that desperately need freedom from the chains of shame and brokenness. I had taken the class several times and this was the first time I did it via a conference call on the phone.

God was in our midst and He was able to walk us through those areas that needed light and truth. I’m so thankful for Toni’s heart and desire to bring this study over the phone so anyone can join and distance is not a factor.

Praise God for He is Good and Mighty to Heal.

God Bless, Sharon

God Is Preparing Us to Be a Voice

I have been a part of the My Ashes to Beauty abortion recovery for a few years now. Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in the Surrendering the Secret Bible Study. When I embarked on this journey, I felt confident that I was in a good place with my abortion recovery and was looking forward to a little more healing.

This study was via conference call, once a week at a specific time, which made it very convenient and accessible for me to participate due to my busy schedule.

As I began this study, I realized I was just beginning my healing journey. I was taken to the deepest part of my soul which for 19 years I had locked my secret away so tightly. I walked through my ever-erupting emotions in a safe place for the first time ever in my life and was able to honestly share my story, shame, guilt, fear, disgust and pure hatred of myself because of what I had done to my child. As we all shared our stories and our heartbreak, I could see the healing taking place.

When we speak of unspeakable things, we are released from the bondage and hold it has on us, and we can begin to heal.

My healing journey was beginning, I was grieving, crying, having trouble sleeping and anxious, but as I continued the study I was smiling, laughing and had peace in my heart for the first time.

I was able to come to terms with what I had actually done, found forgiveness and have peace that my child is with my Lord in heaven, and one day I will be reunited with him.

We all have different reasons and circumstances as to why we made the choice to abort our child or children, but there is healing available to each and every one of us.

I believe that as each of us is healed, God is preparing us to be a voice for our children and all the children that have been aborted.

I am excited for the opportunity to be used by God to help other women in post abortive, prevention and anywhere He leads me.

Rhonda Bouchlas

I Received Significant Healing

Back in April, I was desperately searching for some help with my abortion healing and recovery.

I had fallen into a deep depression that I couldn’t get myself out of. I had covered up my abortion for 2 years and told no one about it.

Luckily, I found Toni, who graciously welcomed me into her Sunday conference call, as well as the Surrendering the Secret Bible study during the week.

The Surrendering the Secret study was more intimate with only a few women. The study was about 2 months long, and all of us held each other accountable to be on the call every week.

The Bible study conference calls were something I looked forward to every week. I knew that every week I was able to talk with people who cared and understood what I was going through.

We went through the readings and questions, diving deep into the core of our trauma. This wasn’t an easy process; it was emotional to get through.

Every week I gained more clarity. I can honestly say that by the end of the study, I received significant healing.

This bible study was a blessing that God gave to me, and I will never forget it.

Erika

Passionate About Changing Lives with Teleconference Venues

My abortion experiences occurred when I was a teenager and young woman, around the time that Roe v. Wade was passed and Planned Parenthood grew into the abortion business it has become. I hadn’t thought about these tragic events much anymore. I had been a victim of rape at the age of thirteen and continued with a rebellious, unchallenged lifestyle without God in my life or much supervision, throughout my teen and young womanhood years. This led to my secretive, deadly choices, without counseling or telling my parents or friends.

During the spring of 2019, I began a “Surrendering the Secret” (Pat Layton, 2008) Bible study group, as part of an abortion recovery requirement for consideration to become a counselor at a local First Care Women’s Clinic crisis center.

At first, I attended weekly sessions with a group of women at a church about an hour away from my home. When I started a new job, the work hours conflicted with this group. I contacted the director of the study group, and she connected me to Toni Weisz and her weekly teleconference group.

This was the best possible scenario. I am so grateful God made this possible. It was convenient to drive home and join the call and participate in comfort and privacy. I could even have my dinner as we began our class, since our phones were on mute as we proceeded.

Toni and the co-facilitator, Sharon, were comforting, gave wonderful guidance and made the whole experience easy and fulfilling. There were two other women in my group, who were wonderful to spend time with as well. We each listened to each other, timing was perfect and we followed along in our books and the format Toni designed with Scripture and discussion.

As we reached the end of the eight week series, we gathered for a memorial service during the seventh week, prepared by Toni and Sharon at a private home. This was touching and comforting. We enjoyed a light lunch meal and fellowship. It was joyful to meet everyone in person for the first time and chattered (as females do) about experiences, ideas and future plans for our personal healing and ministry to help others.

I highly recommend the teleconference format and look forward to participating again and leading groups myself. It is not only a great option for women (and men) who don’t live near each other and have hectic lives filled with family and work. It is private option for people who are uncomfortable meeting in public places for this personal subject.

These study groups are not readily available at churches and other venues, which is something we all feel passionate about changing so that more lives can be touched by this healing ministry and the loving forgiveness of Jesus. I am grateful to Toni, Sharon, First Care Women’s Clinics, Surrendering the Secret author Pat Layton and the other women I spent time in study with.

Nanette Gordon, Boca Raton, Florida August 24, 2019

Abortion Recovery

Sunday Teleconference Call

Testimonies

I Now Have a Healthier Perspective on Who I Am in Christ

In 2017, Toni asked me to join in the conference calls to encourage the women who were struggling with the life choices they had made and were sometimes continuing to make.

These include abortion, substance abuse, unhealthy relationships and many other life choices that keep us from growing in our walk with Jesus.

Each week the facilitator discusses a topic which includes godly principles along with scripture to get us thinking on how we can relate to that particular life choice or past hurt that we need to heal from and how God can bring this healing into our lives.

We then have opportunity to share as she opens the call to all participants who feel comfortable and would like to share what is on their hearts and minds.

My experience from participating on this call has been so incredible! I have not only been used of God to encourage and build other women up, but I have grown in my walk with the Lord as we pursue the discussions.

God is using this ministry to bring healing I didn’t realize I needed and a deeper understanding to my life experiences.

It is giving me a healthier perspective on who I am in Christ.

Luci