This is a historical sketch of the foundations of Deeper Still. This is intended to be a historical record for all those who have interest in Deeper Still.
In the Fall of 2000 Sharon Anderson, the Ex. Director of Choices Resource Center , in Oak Ridge, TN approached me and asked if I would help her get a post abortion outreach started in her center. I already had a relationship with Sharon Anderson because of working with her and her center through Alternatives Group (later becoming LifeSteward Ministries).
At this point the only post abortion programs I had been involved in were Bible Studies. The primary one I used was Forgiven & Set Free. So that’s what we used in the late fall and winter of 2000/2001 at Choices Resource Center. Because we were having difficulty keeping our participants committed to our weekly meetings, we decided to end the study with a retreat and we would crunch the last 3-4 sessions of the study into the weekend. So that’s what we did.
In reflection upon that whole experience (of the study and group), I (Karen Ellison) decided that it was not worth all the time, effort and travel to continue running those groups with such little participation. I was planning to tell Sharon that I could no longer do it. As I prayed about it further, I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me in a new way. I felt He challenged me to “think in a new way”. He said to me “take the core truths that you know need to be part of the healing process for post abortion wounds and put them all in a weekend retreat – and I’ll bless it.”
And so it began,... I got Sharon’s blessing to introduce a new approach to post abortion healing. So over the next 7 years I sought the Lord for His leading as I experimented, wrote and rewrote and tried new ideas as He would give them to me. I think it was the 3rd retreat that I got the name “Deeper Still”. The post abortion program for Choices is called Healing Hearts. So we had always called our retreats Healing Hearts. During those years of development with Choices Resource Center I worked under 3 different directors.
Over those 7 years of developing the retreats and the materials, the Lord had blessed our efforts in tremendous ways. We began to see amazing fruit in the lives of our participants. We also saw a lot of growth in our numbers as well as maturity in the development of our team. As this became more apparent, I had several people begin to encourage me to make these materials available for other groups to use. So, I began to sense that the Lord had a bigger plan in mind for Deeper Still than just through this local PRC. As I continued to write and make revisions I tried to do it through the eyes of others who would take these materials and implement them through their ministry entity.
It was July of 2008 that we officially came out from under Choices Resource Center and established an entity of our own. Throughout the fall of ’08 we started the search for a graphic artist to help create a logo and a “look” for us, we began to design a website, and we started the process to Trademark our name. Throughout that fall I also spent a lot of time helping team members, friends of Healing Hearts and Deeper Still to emotionally and spiritually make the transition.
As we launched out, I put together a Deeper Still Directional Team. This team helped to establish our new Organizational Sandbox and our new identity. Our first Deeper Still retreat was in the spring of 2009, we had another in the fall, with our first 2 international participants. By the end of 2009 our Trademark was approved.
At the start of 2010, we changed the corporate name of Gate Builders to Deeper Still. Most of the former board members resigned and the DS Directional Team were voted on as new board members and we added a few additional board members.
In March of 2010 we held our first fundraising banquet and are continuing to make ourselves known in our Knoxville community as well as nationally and internationally. We now host 3 Deeper Still retreats a year. Our mission is to train others in how to start Deeper Still chapters so that the movement can be multiplied.
So, this is a recorded history of Deeper Still. All that has come about so far is because of the hand of God and for His purposes and for His glory. It will be our commitment that as we move forward, our history will always be His “His-story”.
To God be the glory! Karen A Ellison