Testimony resulting from Transformed By Grace seminar in September 2011……
I was pregnant as a result of abuse. I wanted my baby regardless of how she came into being. My father did not want me to have her so he intentionally destroyed my pregnancy.
When my tiny daughter was born, I took time to hold her in the palm of my hand, look at her, and say good-bye. Then, I did the unthinkable. I flushed her down the toilet. I didn’t know what else to do. I couldn’t go to the hospital. They would have asked too many questions and breaking the family “code of silenced” was unacceptable. The images of what I had done haunted me for years.
I left my abusive family the next night. Shortly after leaving, I was raped, which resulted in multiple babies. When I miscarried, the pain was too much. I had not faced what I did before, so in great pain, I flushed my babies. I’ve carried the shame, pain, and images around with me for years. This was the part of my life I never talked about.
I heard about Transformed by Grace at the last minute. I emailed Lana to ask if I could still attend and briefly told her why I wanted to. I was asked to introduce myself to her when I arrived…so I did. I was treated with love and respect and for the first time ever I sat face to face with someone and told my horrible secret.
I was terrified but based on the love I encountered I felt safe enough to do it. I didn’t know what to expect, but was not prepared to be treated with the kindness, gentleness and understanding I experienced.
God used this encounter to tell me He was not mad at me for what I did. The flood gates opened to tears that had not been given a “voice” until now. They gushed forth. He helped me understand that He is my Abba (Daddy God)…the One who will protect, fight for, love and heal me.
He showed me at Transformed by Grace that He is the contradiction of my earthly father who did everything he could to destroy me. Understanding this opened another flood gate as I shared my secret. I needed to tell so I could trade my ashes for His beauty, my heaviness for His praise and my mourning for His joy. It was amazing!
I’ve taken much away from this encounter, plus the transformation continues. While I found freedom from the pain of flushing my first baby, I had not yet opened up about the babies from the rape. In the week following the encounter, I finally shared with Lana but left to continue to hold onto the shame. Jesus reminded me He had set me free at the encounter, and asked me if I wanted to walk in that freedom. I told Him yes! He told me I had to let go of the condemnation and shame. I didn’t know why it was so hard to let go of, so I asked Him. He said “it was fear of others…that they may hear what I did and shame me for my actions, so it was easier to shame myself first. He said I do not condemn you. You are through this experience, now let it go. If you choose to stay stuck you won’t be able to help others through their pain.” So I finally gave Him the last piece…why would I want to continue to hold onto this pain???
My children were in His hands before they passed through mine. We will have eternity together. The brief moment of flushing them will never be an issue there…so why should it be here? Now, looking back, I’m not feeling guilt, shame, horror or condemnation.
THANK YOU JESUS!!!!
Thank you Ray and Lana for being willing to do the work God has given you. I know all of this started by us saying “yes” to the encounter…to saying “yes” to what the Lord wanted to do.
Transformed by grace, I am Victorious
The revelation that I received at the Transformed by Grace Encounter has forever changed my life!
As a Christian this was not the first time I turned to Christ for answers to my questions and healing for my wounds . An endless blaze of rage burned inside of me . Shame held me captive by my throat, dictating every move I made.
A prior life of being used as the scapegoat, the problem, worthless, and burdensome broke my spirit as a young child. Abuse and confusion left me to live life hopelessly looking for some solution to ease the never-ending pain rooted in me. I knew that God had this solution somewhere, but I wondered why he was withholding it from me.
During the TBG Encounter, I unlocked the darkest places of my heart and invited God to come in. He enabled me to forgive those who hurt me and pray that they would experience God’s healing. Forgiveness freed me from endless torment and for the first time, my heart felt free and light.
I was tormented by anxiety attacks, worthlessness, self-hate, an eating disorder, shame, guilt, night terrors, fear, and doubt. God removed those things from my heart and opened my eyes to see how much he loves me. Wow! I must be God’s favorite. His love and grace for me is never ending. He jumped through hoops just to be the center of my affections. My life is forever changed. I want to live every day marveling at his grace and soaking up his love for me.
In His grace,
Personal Testimonies of Attendee’s of previous seminars….
This is my story of victory ~ after many years of pain
I had an abortion in 1973. There is a lot I can tell you of the pain and anguish it brought into my life. I almost died from the infection
the feelings of self-loathing how I became an alcoholic and lost custody of my children and much more.
If you’ve had an abortion, you know at least some of that. What I really want to share with you is what Jesus did for me through Beauty for Ashes Ministries. I had come back to the Lord and was active in a church, but I was still suffering from the pain of abortion. You see, without healing, it doesn’t get easier as the years go by; it gets harder, and I got harder. It was my deep dark secret! I knew Jesus had forgiven me, at least in my head, but I continued to feel such deep regret and loss and shame and guilt. I felt like a spiritual stepchild.
Then I went to volunteer at a Crisis Pregnancy Center to make up for my abortion and met Lana Sanders. I didn’t want to tell her that I had an abortion because I thought that would disqualify me. I didn’t want to take that chance. Lana openly told me she had an abortion and it was so obvious that she was healed. She told me how much Jesus wanted to heal my heart I was finally able to talk about it. I was offered Beauty for Ashes and gladly enrolled.
Through this ministry, I found out that Jesus paid for abortion and my healing on the cross. By getting to know Him better through this incredible Bible Study, I found out He never stopped loving me, and that there was nothing I could do that would make Him love me any more or less than He did when He made me. I found healing in many areas of my life in this safe, confidential place.
Lana also helped me realized that God didn’t bring me to this ministry for what I could do for Him but for what He wanted to do for me. And ya know what? I don’t just know it in my head ~ up here; I know it in my heart! I have a peace like I’ve never known. And best of all, I don’t feel like a stepchild anymore, I know I’m His own. I so hope those who read this, who know this pain and shame will come to know this amazing healing. Jesus is waiting to touch and heal every part of your heart.
From A Healed Heart
I want you to know how good Jesus is to me so Lana is writing this for me. When I came to BFA I had a special problem. That didn’t matter to Jesus and it didn’t matter to Lana or anyone else in BFA. I shyly told Lana and Dorene I couldn’t read or write. They said that was all right and that God would provide. My sister-in-law said she would help me with the home Bible Study and Dorene said the group would help me read in small group. I was so happy. The first night Lana asked if anyone needed a Bible. I had never had one so I raised my hand. The next week Lana brought me a BFA Bible. My small group encouraged me. Soon after that, when I opened my new Bible during group and looked at a Scripture we were sharing, I could READ! Oh my gosh! It was like being blind and then seeing! Then at the retreat the first words I wrote in red from the Lord in my journal were; “I Love You!”
Now I know that my heart was broken when I was raped ten times and that is why I couldn’t learn to read and write. It means so much to me to read my Bible and to write a little but my healed heart and knowing Jesus is crazy about me is the best part. Trust Him and nothing is impossible!
From Lana: Carol taught me so much about trusting in childlike faith! She could not have written a volume of best selling books that would have taught me as much as watching her blossom over the twelve weeks she shared her joy and trust in her Jesus with all of us in BFA. Carol will keep me going when the going gets tough!
I was 17 years old, a senior in high school, and in an abusive relationship with a boy I thought I loved. When I got pregnant I was scared to tell my parents and my boyfriend told me to have an abortion or else. So I did. On December 4, 1984, I did what I thought would solve the problem and had an abortion. My boyfriend and I broke up soon after the abortion. I found a new boyfriend, became pregnant again and knew I didn’t want to put myself through another abortion. So, we married, I had my daughter and then a son and at age 22 was widowed. I had a high school educati0on, two babies, no job, and wondering, “how was a mommy to survive?” I did! Then God sent me a wonderful man who loved Jesus and I started attending church with Rick regularly. Still I wasn’t complete and knew a part of me was missing. Since then, and for 18 years, I carried the guilt and shame of abortion and much more, all while sitting on the front row of church as my husband led worship.
I felt like I was the only one in church who had ever committed such a horrible sin as abortion! I finally found out I wasn’t the only one. I volunteered at a Pregnancy Center to try to help other girls make a decision for LIFE. It was there I heard about the post-abortion ministry of Beauty for Ashes. God has done miracles in my life through that ministry and changed the un-forgiveness and bitterness to love, joy, and peace. It is a freedom I never knew existed. I have gone back to BFA to help other women heal as well. I am hoping my testimony will help you. Just know there is HOPE!
In His Grace,
I am a twin. Our birth mother abandoned my twin brother and me by the time we were 18-months old. We were adopted at 5 after living in many different foster homes, some of which were abusive. The loving family who adopted us took us to church and I accepted Jesus as my Savior at the age of 8, on Mother’s Day. I had head knowledge of Jesus but not heart knowledge.
I drifted away from Christ and due to the strong root of rejection in my heart; the abandonment issues affected every relationship, including divorce. I plunged headlong into promiscuous sex, drugs and alcohol, and anything else that would temporarily numb the pain in my heart. I had a son and when he was only 4 years old I was struggling in shift work to support us and met a man 11 years younger than I was.
My lifestyle was so terrible with this man that even my loving parents threatened to have my son taken from me so he wouldn’t be hurt. I ended the relationship not knowing I was pregnant. It took a while for me to realize I was pregnant because my periods continued. When I went to an abortion clinic in Pasadena Texas they confirmed that I was almost 4 months pregnant and told me I had to make a decision quickly. I went into a daze but remember the woman from the abortion clinic calling me everyday, giving me no other choices, and pressuring me to abort. So, I shut down, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, and on December 19, 1980 I aborted my baby daughter.
I was supposed to be put under but I remember as they began I sat up and screamed Nooooooo! I remember the nurse pushing me back down and saying “honey, its too late now!” My life began a downward spiral at that point. The drugs and alcohol abuse got worse and after 3 DWI’s and 11 miserable years I got sober through AA. I felt I had let everyone down especially God but I so needed His touch and healing.
God brought me to a Crisis Pregnancy Center event 6 years ago and with a tee shirt that was displayed I saw I needed more. I went to volunteer at the CPC and when asked if I had ever experienced abortion a flood of tears were met with arms around me and Lana saying, “I know how you feel.” Alas, my beginning in Beauty for Ashes Ministries where I was healed and have served ever since. I named my baby daughter in heaven, Alana Elizabeth. I am forgiven and my journey from grief to grace has been totally life changing and so it will be with you too.
Praise His holy name,
I want to share with you what Beauty for Ashes did for me.
It helped me to realize why I went through some terrible times in my life. Clinical depression is one of so many symptoms I experienced after my abortion. Knowing the reasons for the things that happened to me through the years following my abortion was the beginning of healing on my journey from grief to grace.
Listening to other women share their experiences and hurts also played a very important part in my healing. With the Bible Study lessons I became much closer to the Lord. Closer than I had ever been before. The most beneficial lesson for me was on the Holy Blood of Jesus. I cannot describe the spiritual peace I felt in my heart during that lesson.
Lana’s teaching on Psalm 23 and learning of my Good Shepherd was the healing balm I so needed. I want to encourage you to complete each lesson and pray daily that you will not miss any classes. The devil will try to steal it all from you and keep you from your restoration. Putting the Lord first will ensure that you receive all that God wants to give you. I feel more peace in my heart now than I’ve ever known was possible.
God Bless you,
I came to volunteer at a Crisis Pregnancy Center pro-life, and lying on my volunteer application. I knew far too well what abortion was and I knew it was wrong.
You see, I was a Christian! I had been a Christian since age 7. I trained and went on to counsel women in the CPC and was in disbelief when they would admit they had abortions. The thing you need to know is; I was the one who brushed her teeth while standing backwards to the mirror because I could not stand the sight of myself. I soon became the director of that CPC and with my new position I was required to go to a Director’s Conference on post-abortion healing.
The Lord sat Lana Sanders across the aisle from me on the airplane and she spent the entire time ministering to me. After a panic attack in the first post-abortion healing workshop of the conference I left the room with fear, panic, and heart-palpitations. Lana followed me and told me I did not have to continue and that what I needed was healing for my own heart.
Another year went by, another conference and another panic attack. I was a Christian and a Director of a Pro-Life Crisis Pregnancy Center. I told Lana but I could never tell anyone else. Then I heard Lana was about to begin a post-abortion healing Bible Study. After 4 phone calls and hang-ups I finally placed the call. I thought this could be the end for me. It was hard to attend for fear someone might recognize me. I would turn my car around multiple times on the way to the Bible Study and sit at the back of the room so I could run if necessary.
It was in Beauty for Ashes that I learned we are forgiven the moment we ask God for it in Jesus’ name, but that healing was a process. I learned what grace truly means, and that as a leader I must be healed before I can help anyone else. I let my wall down and trusted Jesus and others enough to admit that I not only had one abortion, I had four! To my surprise, I wasn’t the only one. I am no longer ashamed and when I speak of my abortions.
Now I speak of grace that only God can give. When Pastors give altar calls for us to come forward and lay all our burdens down, it takes all my strength not to jump up and yell out, “SHE CAN’T, SHE NEEDS TO BE HEALED AND WE SERVE A GOD THAT WANTS TO HEAL HER!” Instead I pray for the women who sit in the pews in shame as I once did and rejoice that I am forgiven and I am free! I am still the Director of that same center, everyone knows about my abortions and my restoration, and I now lead other women to the same grace that set me free.
In His grace,
The things that really spoke to me when I went through healing for my abortions was I am loved and valued. It was powerful to learn that it is not necessary for me to forgive myself, it is not biblical nor do I have the power or authority to do so. What I needed was to receive the forgiveness God offered me through Jesus Christ and to forgive others. He wants us set free from the accuser who wants to cripple us through life primarily for the purpose to keep us from being victorious, which is only accomplished by a genuine, trusting, unhindered relationship with God through Jesus and the abiding Holy Spirit.
If you will yield your scarred, tired, hurt or hardened heart, God will give you His Holy Spirit in abundance. O, what a burden lifted, a new life to face without secrets and loneliness, but fully dependant on the One who will carry me and you through life-victoriously through all the future valleys and mountains. Leave that cocoon and trust Him to give you wings, sister!
Loving Him and you,
A letter to Lindale Church in Houston
Pastors Randy and Jana Meeks
I wanted to drop you a line to let you know what a blessing your church has been to me the last three months. I was part of the Beauty for Ashes post-abortion healing Bible Study led by Lana Sanders
For years I have carried the scars of my past and two years ago a friend spoke in my Sunday school class abut BFA. Like we so often do, we think they must be talking to those poor hurting people in our midst that haven’t been delivered from their sin. I was heavily involved in my small group at church and had been delivered from so much for years, but, the warmth and compassion I felt that Sunday was something I had never experienced. I was referred to one woman that leads post-abortion healing who then referred me to Lana Sanders.
From the moment I spoke to Lana, I felt a degree of love and warmth from her that I had not known since accepting Jesus as my Savior. Lana explained the Beauty for Ashes Bible Study was hosted at your church and I was a little apprehensive when I started thinking about attending such an intense Bible Study with people I didn’t know, but the Lord pressed me and I couldn’t put this off any longer. From the time I first entered the fellowship hall at your church, the ladies of Lindale were so warm and accepting and had such servant hearts that I watched and was led these many weeks through a blanket of love I can’t describe in words. Lana gave me the biggest opened arm hug as I entered and continued to embrace me throughout the worship and prayer time. God began to heal me from the inside out the first night. This taught me what it means for Christians to embrace others in their pain and hurting and even in their sin.
The ladies who served us dinner every week worked endlessly, decorated the hall as if dignitaries were coming and darted around and ran around us like we were royalty and did this with cheerful hearts. They literally made me feel like a Princess. Never in their faces or eyes did I see even one glimmer of judgment, condemnation, or shame. When we are conditioned by our past and the enemy to hear how rotten a sin we’ve committed, how bad we should feel, how much we will have to pay for what we have done, we begin to believe it. Then when we hear over and over how much Jesus loves us and how crazy He is about us, how much He paid for us and how He pursues us, we begin to really believe it! Hallelujah!
Lana, your depth in God’s word grew me. The scriptures were amazing! I loved it when you kept saying, “God is crazy about me!” and you taught me He is crazy about me too! I am truly filled with love now because that is what was given to me in BFA. Truly God is using the ladies of Lindale Church and BFA to heal the hearts of men and women in Houston and heal their families too. I want you to know that I appreciate you, Ray and Lana, Pastor Randy and Jana, for opening your hearts and church to me so Jesus could heal me and set me free. I am recommending Beauty for Ashes to every woman I meet and most of them need you. Please keep doing all that you are doing!
I have been redeemed and I’m so happy I want to shout! I Peter 1: 22 says; Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth, so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from your heart.
In His Amazing Love,
God really has a way of setting you up for what His will is for your good! I met Lana through my job nursing and caring for her mother. As she was leaving her home one night I asked where she was going. She said, “I teach a Bible Study on Thursday nights ”. I said, “I want to go”. If you know Lana you wouldn’t be surprised that she sweetly asked – THE QUESTION – “have you experienced an abortion?” My instant reply was “NO!” Time went on and a friendship developed and she kept going to teach that Bible Study.
After a year or so, we talked and she told me that a few ladies were coming to Beauty for Ashes for sexual abuse and she asked that question too. I answered that one positively and soon found myself as part of a small group in Beauty for Ashes for sexual abuse as a child. It was a precious experience and God touched and healed my heart in many wounded places. Through the trust gained during those weeks I admitted that I had experienced an abortion and Lana encouraged me to go through the next BFA session for that wounding and, so I did.
The next group was hard for me. I had buried my emotions over abortion so deep that I went through most of the group feeling absolutely nothing and wondering what was the wrong with me. All this time I am growing in the Lord Jesus more than I realized. It was during the retreat that I finally had some breakthroughs and feelings returned as I began to understand that feeling pain in Jesus arms is far better than being numb. You see, the whole truth is that I had more than one abortion, and as that truth surfaced, and I brought the shame and guilt to the finished cross of Christ, my heart began to sing again. My small group facilitators were so patient and encouraging as I continued to disconnect from any feelings toward my aborted babies The Memorial, where I gave dignity and identity to my babies in heaven, is where I first connected with my children that I aborted, and now know are with my Lord Jesus in heaven.
Finally I could truly experience the depths of feelings that brought the depth of healing that I so desperately needed! That further restored my soul. It is all about Jesus and the healing truth of God’s trustworthy Word. I have grown in Christ beyond my ability to imagine or express. I needed to be free from guilt and shame to even receive the nourishment from God’s word. I don’t have words to tell you how much this has meant to me. Some blessings you just have to go after by faith. Sister, you don’t need to forgive yourself, or lie, or refuse to feel or to cry. You only need to submit your heart to the healing Word of God, others that have experienced the same pain and healing, and trust the blessing of what God has provided for you on your unique journey from grief to grace.
See you there,
After years of living with the secret of a past abortion, a series of events led me to participate in a Bible Study called Beauty for Ashes. I was fortunate to finally deal with the grief and trauma caused by abortion. This study gifted me with more than words can express, but I will try to share a tiny bit of what I received.
Through “Beauty for Ashes” I learned how precious life is, including mine. I thank God for His diligent pursuit of me. My child was not an extension of my body, but an individual. God has placed unique worth on all of us individually and thus cares for mother and child. I thank God for creating that life I am now thankful for my own, but in a way that differs from my college days when I was only concerned for my life and reputation, even at the expense of my child’s life.
When I was 19 years old I had no understanding of God’s view of abortion. My tall, dark, and handsome boyfriend didn’t want to get married so we both decided to have an abortion. Afterwards I did not want to have any children. I got married to the next guy who said he loved me. After 9 years I realized my biological clock was ticking so I got pregnant and had my daughter. I divorced her dad when she was 4 years old and being a single mom and working I never bonded with her.
I remarried and we have a son. A few years ago, I started getting survey calls, asking if I was Pro-Choice or Pro-Life. I always said I wasn’t interested in answering because if I said I was Pro-Life I felt like a hypocrite because of my abortion 23 years before. God was listening to all of those calls.
Then I met Lana Sanders and volunteered at the Crisis Pregnancy Center she directed. One of her requirements was that if you had experienced abortion you needed healing before you counseled others. I attended the Beauty for Ashes Bible Study and the Retreat and Memorial was where God put it all to rest at the foot of His cross. He has healed me of all the guilt and shame from my abortion.
It is such a great blessing and is why I have returned to become a facilitator for other women to be restored as I was. Now my beautiful, Godly daughter, I could not bond with, is becoming involved with this ministry also. God is so good!
My name is Nydia and I attended Beauty for Ashes in February 2003. This was a life-changing experience for me. This Bible Study helped me heal from my past abortion. It also helped me to understand the true forgiveness of God. The best part is that I got to know Jesus in a completely different way. I discovered how passionate He is about me, and that alone set my heart free! I also want to add that the people who ministered to me, and all of those behind the scenes are the best bunch of men and women God could have sent me to. God is soooooo good!
I live in Arkansas and last year I lost 20 pounds and toned up significantly by regular exercise. On the outside I appeared to be a new person. God made it possible for me to do this post-abortion healing Bible Study long distance, staying in touch with my small group facilitators and group members by e-mail. I came to Houston for the weekend retreat, already acquainted with these women but the love I experienced from everyone made me at home immediately. Through the Bible Study I strengthened my believing muscles. I accepted Christ’s forgiveness for my sin and began to stand on the Biblical fact that Jesus paid it all! My abortions are gone, forgiven and absent from the mirror. God has given me many opportunities to open my mouth about my abortions and my healing. Beauty for Ashes has unlocked truth I already knew plus gave me an example of how to give back what I have received.
In His love,
When it was first announced at Lindale Church that they would be hosting a post-abortion Bible Study I immediately wanted to be involved because of my desire to help hurting women. When I was invited by my Pastor’s wife to join the carefully chosen hospitality committee I was thrilled! I was quick to attend the planning meeting. It was here that I opened my mouth and to my surprise I admitted I had an abortion at 17 in front of God and all these ladies I knew! Of course, Lana compassionately compelled me to allow God to heal my heart before serving others.
So, I went from serving the tables to sitting at one and being served. During the course of the program I realized I had never forgiven the 17-year old girl – me, for having the abortion. By the end of the Bible Study I laid that girl on the altar of God and accepted the finished work of the cross.
At the Memorial Service Jana, my Pastor’s wife and spiritual mother stood beside me as I laid my baby at the cross. The Lord sent her to stand beside me, which is something my mother, was never able to do. Jana willingly took that role and prayed a sweet prayer over my baby in heaven and me. Then we both – laid that precious little baby and wounded young girl – finally rested in the loving arms of Jesus!
God be praised,