Our Dashed Dreams

Our Dashed Dreams

Our Dashed Dreams
by Toni Weisz/Spiritual Disciplines

Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Isaiah 61:7 (ESV)
Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy.

I never imagined I would abort my first child. I grew up in a large Italian family (my mom was one of ten children). At our family get- togethers there were always children running around. I was the oldest granddaughter so it was my job to look after the younger ones so the adults could talk without interruptions. I loved children and I even thought about getting a teaching degree. What happened to my childhood dreams? How did I go so far off the path I thought would be my life?

Sin destroyed my dreams. I decided that being the “good quiet one” wasn’t working for me anymore. I wasn’t getting the love and attention I needed so I decided to take matters into my own hands – a true recipe for disaster. At 12 years old, I started experimenting with alcohol and began sneaking shots of scotch whiskey while my parents were at my brother’s football practices. My sister and I were left at home to do the dishes for a short while but that’s all the devil needed – a little bit of time to get me alone and wanting. My child-brain started thinking of ways to get my needs met, but in unhealthy ways. This destructive path the enemy led me down was one of drugs, alcohol, numerous sexual partners, and then my abortion at 21. It was a dark and destructive journey. I hid in my secrets and was tormented by the devil. How did I get here? One bad choice after another after another…it happens that fast.

I would continue in this self-destructive pattern for 22 years. Thankfully, God finally rescued me at the age of 34, when I heard the gospel for the first time. Jesus died on the cross for MY SINS. I had never heard that before. I desperately needed and wanted someone to take all my sins, shame, and guilt. I needed a Savior – someone to love me just for me. I found all those things in a relationship with Jesus. I am so grateful for the love, forgiveness, and peace I found in Him.

God has turned my mourning into joy. He has given me a new name, a new life, and a new calling. No matter what you have done in your past, God is able to forgive and redeem what the devil has stolen. You can still have a wonderful, fulfilling, God-glorifying life-it just may look a little different from your original plan. But rest assured, God is a good Father and has a good plan for your life. Will you allow Him to help you dream new dreams?

Questions & Final Thoughts:

  1. What were some of your childhood dreams?
  2. Did the devil steal your dreams of having children and a family?
  3. How have you been able to move on and dream new dreams?

I pray that the Lord will minister to your broken heart and give you new dreams.

I hope you know how much you are loved,
Toni

Read more of Toni's blogs HERE!

Abortion: Our Only Option

Abortion: Our Only Option

Abortion: Our Only Option

By Toni Weisz/Spiritual Warfare

Genesis 3:15 and Genesis 1:27

Genesis 3:15

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”

Genesis 1:27

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

 

It takes courage to be healed from a past abortion. Going back to look at the sins that contributed to our abortion decision is hard.

Did we seek God? No.

Did we ask a Christian friend? No.

Did we ask our parents for help? I didn’t. How about you?

From the time we are little girls, the enemy’s plan is to isolate us. That way, he has us exactly where he wants us when we are faced with life-altering decisions: alone.

In the book of Genesis, we learn that Satan’s purpose was to destroy the seed of the woman who would give birth to the Messiah. God’s response to Satan in the garden describes the struggle that would ensue because of this purpose: “I will put enmity (hostility) between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15).

Since that very moment, every child in the womb has become a target for Satan to destroy. Satan hates humans because we are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). He takes this hatred one step further by convincing women that abortion is a good thing. How sinister is that? It is evil and unnatural for a woman, a mother, to kill her baby. Yet all of us on this conference call have done just that.

How did we let this happen?

Here are a few questions we can ask ourselves to uncover the reason(s) behind our abortions. I’ve included my own answers.

Questions:

  1. What were the circumstances that lead to your abortion(s)?

Toni: I was in college living an ungodly life filled with drugs, alcohol, and sex. I was running away from my past pain. I just wanted to escape from my life, and this sinful lifestyle gave me some relief for a little while. So, when I found myself pregnant, I was fearful my child would be severely deformed from all the drugs and alcohol. I also feared my parent’s reaction.

  1. When you found out you were pregnant, who did you tell?

Toni: I told one of my housemates who also had an abortion; she said it was no big deal. She had just had one recently. I told one of my boyfriend’s sisters; she even told me where to make an appointment.

  1. Did you tell your parents? If yes, what was their reaction?

Toni: No, I was too fearful of their reaction, and I didn’t want to hurt them. I wish I would have had the courage to tell them. I made a mistake and I needed help, but I did not have the courage to do that.,

  1. Did you talk with the father of the baby? Did he have a say?

Toni: He just assumed I would have an abortion. He didn’t know what his role was. We really didn’t talk about it. The father of that baby is my husband and we will be celebrating our 40th anniversary this year.

  1. Does your abortion decision still bring you deep pain and regret?

Toni: I still mourn the loss of my son, Joseph. But by the grace of God, He has healed me from my past abortion. And I look forward to the day when I will see my son face-to-face. Thank you, God, for this gift.

 

The members of My Ashes to Beauty are here to walk alongside you and to help you. This ministry offers you hope and healing through a relationship with Jesus, the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, and a safe community to share your heart and your tears from your past abortion.

God wants His daughters healed and whole to live the abundant life He came to give them. Please reach out if you need additional help and healing. Email me at arwsg4u2@gmail.com.

You are loved,

Toni

Read more of Toni's blogs HERE!

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace
by Toni Weisz/Abuse Recovery
Ephesians 4:29-32 and Numbers 6:24-26

Ephesians 4:29-32
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ forgave you.

In the Moody Handbook of Theology, Paul Enni defines God’s grace as the unmerited or undeserving favor of God to those who are under condemnation. I did not grow up in a home where grace was displayed. I experienced and witnessed harsh judgment for the smallest offenses. As a child, this caused me to be fearful and to hide because I did not want to face this treatment from my parents. I went to a church that was big and dark inside and they spoke in a foreign language. The school associated with this church was very much the same. Students were hit with rulers when they disobeyed. Because I did not see grace and love in these formative places, I began to believe that my faith in God was based upon my good works: if I am good, I will be loved and accepted, but if I disobey, I will be severely punished. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I didn’t run to God when I was 21, unmarried, and pregnant. I was fearful that He too would judge me harshly and punish me severely.

During my adult life, I once again encountered a harsh church environment. My family and I attended a legalistic church for several years where it was all about following the rules with no room for grace. The Holy Spirit in me was so grieved that I could barely feel or sense His presence. At first, I didn’t recognize it, but I was experiencing spiritual abuse. Even so, I wanted to serve Jesus. If that meant wearing dresses 24/7and obeying ridiculous rules, then that’s what I would do. This spiritual oppression greatly affected my soul and inside I started slowly dying. Unfortunately, my children (who were in high school at the time) were also subjected to this spiritual abuse. I was so grateful when we finally got away from that toxic environment.

Similarly, I have experienced harsh treatment from other ministry leaders as well. In those situations, I felt like I could never do anything right and was always under a microscope. Every little thing I did was magnified and made into a public example. I was so discouraged. Until one day, God brought in a leader who was kind and gentle. She gave me permission to just be me and fostered a safe environment in which I could open up and share about the emotional and spiritual abuse I was experiencing. I trusted her and she truly encouraged me. It was so refreshing to have a leader that was sweet and kind, just like Jesus.

In our ministry, we want each woman to feel safe and know that she can share her story without judgement. We encourage her to use her voice, perhaps for the first time in her life. We want her to see the love of Jesus in our words and our actions. God wants our words to speak hope and life into the lives of the women He brings to our ministry and that is what we will always try to do. God has given us His heart for these courageous women. We are honored to walk alongside them on their healing journeys. You too are welcome here, courageous woman. Come as you are; we are waiting for you.

Closing Thoughts
What is Grace?
Grace is a gift from God; it cannot be earned.

Grace is overlooking someone else’s faults and loving them where they are.

I am so grateful for God’s overwhelming love and grace in my life. This grace compels me to love others, to extend mercy, and to be kind to all people. This grace humbles me when I think about what Jesus did for me on the cross…a gift I can never repay.

Number 6:24-26
“The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”

 

Reflection Questions:

  1. Do you judge yourself harshly?
  2. Do you judge others harshly?
  3. Have you received God’s grace?
  4. Are you able to extend grace to others?

You are loved,
Toni

 

 

Read more of Toni's blogs HERE!

The Importance of Community

The Importance of Community

The Importance of Community

Ephesians 4:4-6, 11-16, Romans 12:15 and Ephesians 3:17

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

I have noticed over the years, the women who stay connected and accountable in a safe community continue to grow spiritually, they feel safe, they feel deeply connected and they feel loved. These women have huge victories in their lives because they are dedicated to following the Lord and living in community. Each of us has been given a role in the body of Christ by God. We see in the scriptures above that Christ is the Head and each one of us is apart of the body, we are called to do a specific job in the body to keep the body functioning properly.

Why is community so important? You have all heard the saying, “There is safety in numbers.” That is true for your spiritual life also, not just your physical safety. When we stay connected in community, we are protected from the enemy’s fiery darts. His primary goal is to get Christian women isolated so he can lie and torment us. How many of you know what I am talking about? We have all experienced the loneliness and despair that overcomes us when we are isolated. Especially women with abuse and abortions in their past, we are an easy target for the enemy. But after we join a safe group and stay accountable, we are now protected.

It’s not just being apart of a group that protects you, it’s being an active member of the group, serving and participating consistently, not just being an observer. We must invest in the group by sharing our hearts, our tears and our prayer requests. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. (Romans 12:15) This is how the church is supposed to operate.

My hope and pray for each of us is that our faith will grow stronger. That our relationships with one another will grow deeper. That we will be mature strong confident believers in Jesus. That we will not be tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine. That we would have a Biblical world view. That we are rooted and grounded in love and in the Truth. That everything that we do is pleasing to God and that our words will always speak life and encouragement to others. God has so much more for us to accomplish in the upcoming year, but we as a group must be ready and equipped for this season in the ministry. I pray you are encouraged to step up your game and make Jesus and sharing His love your priority in everything you do. I am honored to be serving with you in this ministry. It truly is a beautiful thing to watch God work in and through us.

What are some areas in your life that you are working on?

For me I am working on being forth coming with a certain member of my family regardless of the situation. Secrets give the enemy a strong hold.

I want to hear more specifically from the Lord by taking time to hear from Him and to journal regularly.

I have learned to pray about everything no matter how small.

What is God leading you to do?

I need to keep my focus on God at all times and not to project into the future.

How can we be praying for you?

That I will trust God completely with my children’s health issues.

 

You are loved,

Toni

Read more of Toni's blogs HERE!

The Courage of Mary

The Courage of Mary

The Courage of Mary

Abortion Recovery Women’s Support Group (ARWSG)

Luke1:26–38, 1 John 1:9, Deuteronomy 22:20–21, and Romans 8:28

In the book of Luke, we read about an incredibly brave teenager named Mary. Mary was a common name back then; it meant bitter. The people were bitter because the prophets were silent for 400 years. There was no revelation at all between the Old Testament and the New Testament for all this time. They felt bitter because they thought God had forgotten them and His promise of their Messiah.

We see this incredible dialogue between Mary and the angel Gabriel. He said to her, “Rejoice highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women! Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” He proceeded to tell her she would conceive and bear a Son and shall call His name Jesus. God used this young woman mightily to bring forth the promised Messiah, Emmanuel—God with us. Instead of running from her situation or panicking, she prayed and sought the Lord’s leading. Why didn’t we trust God when we found ourselves with unplanned pregnancies? If you have confessed this sin to Him, He has forgiven you. 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Mary could have been stoned for being pregnant outside of marriage because that was the law back then. Deuteronomy 22:20–21 speaks about the laws pertaining to sexual sins. Not only could Mary have been stoned, but Joseph, her espoused husband, could have walked away from the relationship by writing a bill of divorcement because they were legally betrothed to one another. But God protected Mary from both of these consequences because she had not sinned. She was supernaturally impregnated by the Holy Spirit of God. She was so courageous and brave. She risked her own life and reputation to obey God. What a beautiful testimony we see in her life.

This week will be 41 years since I aborted my son, Joseph, on December 10, 1980. I wish I had the courage like Mary to have my baby, but I allowed the fear of man to push me to abort my baby. I cannot change my past, but I can learn from my mistakes. God used my abortion to bring me into a relationship with Jesus. Now, I have the distinct honor of walking with all of you on your healing journeys. God has certainly taken my ashes, my horrible sins, and turned them into something beautiful for my good and His glory, and you are all a part of that. I believe that God makes all things work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). God, through the work of the Holy Spirit, is continually sanctifying us and conforming us to the image of Jesus. You all are so precious to Him; I hope you know that.

 

Questions

  1. How long has it been since your past abortion(s)?
  2. Are you still holding onto your secret of abortion(s)?
  3. Have you allowed God access to all your broken places so that He can heal you? If not, trust Him today. He wants you healed and whole so that you can become the woman He created you to be.

You are loved,
Toni

 

 

Read more of Toni's blogs HERE!