The Failed Church… Let us be Encouraged.

This is a video we need to hear. So many of us are feeling disappointed in our churches. Hopefully this can help.

Do you agree with her?

 

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Blessings to you.

Once upon a time… No Fairy Tale Here! – Testimony

Once upon a time a little girl was born into a family that wasn’t rich and wasn’t exactly poor. I suppose they would fall into the “middle class” category of society. They lived in the country and those who knew them thought all was well. But it wasn’t. It was a family filled with deep dysfunction.

As the little girl grew, her hurt and pain grew with her. She was being abused; physically, emotionally, sexually, and psychologically from a very early age. She had no hope, no dreams, and saw no way out. She put on a brave front but inside she was empty, lonely, and angry. Very angry!

One day her neighbor asked her to church so the little girl went so as to escape the misery at home. The preacher spoke of how Jesus saves us. Hope filled the little girls heart and she ran forward and asked Jesus to save her. When she got home she waited and watched. Any sound and she’d run to the window to see if Jesus had shown up to save her from the torture she lived in. She expected the knock on the door any day.

But no knock came. As the days passed she felt hurt and confused, then angry, then bitterness set in.

As a young teen her hell continued at home with added pain piling high. She was gang raped then learned she was pregnant. The child was taken from her womb and placed in the arms of a stranger without her ever seeing her child. Her bitterness grew and any who spoke of God would meet with her wrath.

Her rage and angry roots grew so deep no one could get through. The door was slammed shut to anything pertaining to a loving God. Her pain continued to dig deeper and deeper. She attempted suicide a couple of times but to no avail. God wouldn’t even let her die!

She married in her late twenties and thought all would be okay now. Only it wasn’t.

Her new husband beat her. He stayed out all night and brought women to their bed when she was out of town. He drank and lived in the bars. He got mixed up with the wrong crowd and finally was looking down the wrong end of a gun being held by a killer. Her pain deepened but life must go on.

Where was God? She didn’t ask. She figured He could care less. As far as she was concerned she didn’t exist in God’s eyes. If He doesn’t care why should she?

Once again single she figured single life was okay. She dated, she worked, she had a good time, too. The mask she wore covered her wounded heart.

Four years later she met another man. A man totally opposite of her abusive husband. A Christian man. He didn’t belittle her. He didn’t hit her or call her ugly names. He didn’t drink or chase other women. He supported her and loved her. He didn’t preach to her. He somehow knew better. He didn’t talk about love. He showed her what love is and gradually she was able to toy with the idea that maybe God brought this loving man into her life. She trusted her husband and loved him more than anything she’d ever known.

But bad things happen.

She retired. He retired. They traveled and enjoyed doing the things they had dreamed about doing some day. But all those dreams were never met. He got sick. Five years of fighting his illness and living in hospitals brought her new pain. At least now she was talking to God. Lashing out would be more like it. “If You are real You are going to have to prove it to me!” she screamed silently.

He did.

Soon after she buried her husband she found herself standing in front of a pastor asking Jesus to be her Savior. She wasn’t sure how she got there, or really why she was there, but after that things began changing in her life. Changing drastically! Jesus was now her Counselor and the wounds of the past were being confronted and healed. Her life was being transformed a step at a time.

Her phone rang one morning. She slowly walked toward the kitchen to answer it. While reaching for the phone the Lord spoke softly, “I’m giving back to you what was taken from you.” She heard her long-lost child’s voice for the first time in thirty-six years.

God wasn’t through proving He’s real.

He used her to help others with similar pain from their pasts. He taught her to trust Him. He took her to places she had never been, not just physical locations, but emotional and spiritual places. He’s given her dreams and visions and warnings and encouragement to give to others. He’s used this once hurt and angry little girl in ways that continues to amaze her even today.

Long ago she gave up on Him – but He never gave up on her!

He uses her today to tell those that do not believe or accept Him, that He is real. He wants them to know He cares. He wants them to know they’ll never be alone if they will only accept Him. He wants them to know that He will transform their lives if they’ll just place their trust in Him.

I know because I was that little girl.

God proved He is real and continues to prove it to me every day. He is my life, my healing, my hope, my Redeemer.  He is my all.  What He does for one He does for all.

I pray He will become your all, and that if you haven’t already, you will ask the Lord to forgive you of your sins and come into your heart and transform your life.

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“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Roman 10:9

“He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted. To proclaim liberty to the captives. And the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” Is. 61:1

 

Feel free to e-mail me any confidential questions or comments at: elah501c@bellsouth.net

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Blessings to you.

Dawn’s Light – A Novel

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Carla braces against the wind as she faces the water looking over the sea. Black, ominous, boiling clouds roll threateningly toward the shore. The sky has suddenly turned black, replacing the sun. The wind is hurricane forces, whipping and bending the trees as easily as if they are straws. Pushed to almost the breaking point, their arms sweep the ground. Their trunks lean menacingly, as though being shaken by the strong arms of a giant. A few have been ripped from the ground.

The roar of raging waves fills the air. Crashing against the beach with such force, they leave grooves, holes, then suck the fine sand back out into the gaping mouth of the sea. Their rage cannot be tamed. Their fury is bent on destruction.

The few seagulls that have braved the wind are whipped about like loose paper picked up from the street. They’re being thrown up, around, down, and can’t seem to get a foothold on where to go or how to get there. One bird is driven down, down, down. With every ounce of strength it has, it fights to keep from hitting the ground like a bomber nose diving toward earth with deadly results. At the last second before impact, it swerves, just missing the branch of a large tree and lands in the dirt beneath a wall with the words, “But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth” written on it. Dazed, the bird stands, ruffles its feathers and staggers toward an empty barrel.

“Run!” people scream in terror. “It’s a tsunami” a man hollers as he runs as fast as he can toward the hotel. The waves roar toward the shore, threatening man, beast, and life. Anything in their path will be gone in the blink of an eye, never to be seen again.

Carla grabs her five-year-old daughter’s hand as the little girl screams, “Mommy!”

“Come on, honey, we have to run as fast as we can.”

The little girl tries but the sand seems to imprison her feet. The torrents of rain burn their eyes, raindrops so large they feel like small pebbles pelting their face, bare arms, and legs. Carla stumbles. “Mommy!” the little girl screams as she trips and Carla drags her across the sand.

“Lord help us!” Carla screams as she stumbles again while swooping her daughter into her arms.

Stumbling again, she almost drops her daughter as people rush past her. A woman slams into her, almost knocking her to the ground. She cusses at Carla and continues to run frantically. Mothers yelling for their children to hurry up, children crying in fear, screams are heard and the roar-the roar of the monstrous waves grows louder. Slowly, methodically, like an army of giants, these twenty-and thirty- foot high waves march closer and closer as people frantically try to get out of their path. Nothing will stop them. These monsters have a mind of their own.

Carla runs holding her daughter tightly in her arms. A huge wave roars up behind her and just as it’s about to swallow her whole, Carla’s eyes fly open and she bolts upright in the middle of her bed. Gasping for air, she hugs herself in the dark of her bedroom. Her body is covered in sweat and her heart is racing. Realizing she is grasping a wad of blankets tightly, she loosens her grip. It was only a dream! she thinks, relieved. Her heart finally slows and she lies back down.

~~~~~~~~

“…An intense page turner from beginning to end,…” Angel B. Pennyman – Experience His Freedom Ministries Founder

“…a riveting story of the power, grace, and healing of God…” Steve Wood, Sr. Pastor – Mount Pisgah U.M.C. – Atlanta, Ga.

“…literally captivated me…skillfully woven a mixture of romance, intrigue, Christian values…” Bill McKinnon, Pastor – World Outreach Church – McRae, Ga.

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Blessings to you.

“You Don’t Have to…”

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“You know you aren’t fixing this up for yourself, don’t you?” the Lord said to me in 1999 as I wrestled with sticky wall paper while standing on a ladder.

That was the beginning of what I call my five-year Odyssey. My husband had gone to be with the Lord, I gave my life to Christ soon after and was serving Him through my church and in ministry. My “adopted daughter” (a young woman the Lord brought to live with me that stole my heart and became like a daughter to me) had left the safe nest. I decided it was a good time to freshen up the house with new paint and wallpaper.

Needless to say I had no idea the Lord was planning on my moving to destinations known only to Him. By the time the wall paper was hung and dry and three rooms painted I was being told to start packing. He gave me the name of the realtor I would use and low and behold she was real! She had six weeks to sell my house and as I was to learn over the next five years the Lord always keeps His word!

This was going to be hard lessons that traversed across the United States. “Start packing” would come at the least expected times and it would only be in the middle of the packing that the Lord would decide to inform me of where I was going. One time He sent me to see a niece and half way there He dropped the verbal bomb on me, “Oh, by the way. You’ll be buying a house while there.” I almost wrecked the car!

He would eventually tell me how long I would be in a particular location but He would NEVER tell me why He was sending me there! The frustrations grew stronger with every move. New lessons were learned with each, “Start packing.” He would say those words and obediently I would start gathering boxes, emptying out drawers, donating items He said I would no longer need, and gearing up for yet another destination. Johnny Cash’ song, “On the Road Again” became my theme song.

The Lord never asked me if I wanted to move. He never asked me what I thought about living in such and such a place. It was simply a statement of fact, “You’re moving!” When I reached the sixth location I decided I would unpack only the absolute necessities. To heck with unpacking and packing for a year’s stay and then moving some place else. I had finally gotten this moving business down pat.

To my shock, as I read labels on the packed boxes, the Lord said, “You don’t have to move any more. Unpack all of it.” I was very dubious about that statement, although He had proved faithful for all this time. He repeated, “You don’t have to move any more” several more times before I was able to accept that and unpacked and settled in.

Five years later, totally convinced I am here to stay, I hear His familiar voice. “Start packing.” That has to be the devil! God? You told me I didn’t have to move any more! “Start packing.” I won’t go into the devastation of what those two words did to my faith. The devil was jumping up and down with glee and feeding me lies upon lies and I was falling for them hook, line, and sinker. He got his teeth into me and was shredding every thing I believed about my Lord. But God is greater! “He who is in you…”

It was two moves later, 2 new locations, that I began to realize there is a difference between “You don’t HAVE TO” and “You WON’T.”  As the movers hauled my furniture and boxes into the home I now have the Lord spoke very gently, “Sue, You won’t be moving any more.”

I stopped in my tracks, set the box down and said, “I WON’T be moving any more or I don’t HAVE TO move any more? I need to know clearly, which is it, Lord!?” It was then that it suddenly occurred to me that when He had told me previously that I don’t have to move any more He was allowing me to choose. I could do as He wanted me to do, move, or I could say, “Naw, I like it here. I’m staying put.”

For me, when the Lord either makes a request or makes a statement of His will, there is no choice. I have two definitions for “fear.” “Fear,” as in reverence to the Lord Almighty and bowing to His will, not mine. And “fear” as in, He will knock me flat on my backside with a great big bolt of lightning!

Yes, He gave us free will but in my opinion, if we are followers of Jesus Christ we will do His will regardless of whether we understand it, want to, can afford it, or anything else we can come up with. He always supplies what we need to do whatever it is that He calls us to do. He wants only two things from us as Christians, to trust Him and to be obedient. We cannot do one without the other!

The devil continued to try to convince me that Christ is the liar but now five years in this home and many times of wavering, at first, about whether I would be called to move again, I am totally trusting His promise and that He will be faithful to fulfill that promise of, “You are not moving any more.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You’ll laugh, cry, and rejoice, as God reveals His faithfulness:

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Published 2008

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Blessings to you.

Never, Never, Ever, say these 15 comments to a Victim of Abuse!

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There’s a difference between still being a victim of abuse and a survivor of abuse.

A person that still carries the shame, guilt, unforgiveness, has not healed the emotional issues from abuse, or is still being abused is continuing to be a victim.

The person that can stand tall, speak out with no shame, no guilt, and has walked the healing path is a survivor of the abuse that was perpetrated in the past. It isn’t just having “lived through the abuse.” It is a matter of having walked the healing path and by God’s grace has over come the emotional issues and is walking in freedom from the past.

Many people want to be helpful and many think that their questions and statements are innocent and do not affect those that have been abused, be it childhood sexual abuse or spousal rape and abuse, or physical and emotional abuse.

Over the years I have heard many testimonies of the added pain inflicted upon victims and survivors of these types of abuse. I have experienced many of them myself and I can tell you from experience the survivor of abuse may steal herself/himself for the onslaught of “innocent” questions and statements but these questions and/or statements are knives deeply imbedding in the heart of the one who has survived the horrors of abuse.

Never, never, never, ever say these things to a victim/survivor of abuse: 

1. “You could have done something to defend yourself.” 

Let me ask you how a small child can defend herself against an adult? Or how can a wife defend herself against a husband that is bigger, stronger and wields some object, including his fist, at her? Or a teen girl or boy defend themselves against an angry father or mother? Children are taught to obey! Obey no matter what the parent says to do! Wives are taught to be “submissive” to their husband.

2. “Why didn’t you just leave?”

In the case of a small child, where would they go? A two-year old cannot support themselves, nor a 5-year-old or 7, 10, or 12-year-old. Teenagers? Some do leave and they end up on the street, homeless, the property of a pimp, or within a gang doing drugs, robbing, stealing, scavenging for food in dumpsters, and the Lord only knows what else. Many do not have relatives that will sympathize and take them in. For the grown woman, some are threatened with death if she ever leaves, she has children to consider, a homeless shelter may be a temporary answer IF they are not full, she may not have ever held a job in her life and has no means of support. The list can go on and on and on. I highly recommend the book, “The Walking Wounded: The Path from Brokenness to Wholeness” by Secret Angel for a better understanding of a wife and mother living with an abusive husband.  Available at: www.amazon.com.

3. “Why didn’t you tell someone!” 

Many have, most won’t. With young children some have been told to “keep the secret no matter what!” Many were accused of lying, blamed for the assaults, beaten for “telling such lies,” ignored, threatened with family members being killed (and many other guilt-ridden consequences) Most have been subject to mind control from an early age, manipulated and controlled, blamed for the abuse by the abuser. One of the things I was told over and over as a young child, “Just stay away from him!” At two and three years old I was told, “If you wouldn’t sit on your dad’s lap…” We are made to feel it is all our fault! For teenagers some have been actually thrown out of the house at fifteen or sixteen years old or have run away because no-one believed them and the abuse continued. Some married the first guy to come along only to be abused now by a husband. Victims are seldom believed! Males are laughed at. “Men can’t be raped!” If that’s your attitude then read, “Unhelpful Myths About the Sexual Assault and Rape of Men.” Posted on this blog, June 10, 2015.

4. “Well you should have……” or “Why didn’t you…..?

Unless you have been in our shoes there is no way you can even begin to understand or comprehend the dynamics that are or were going on in an abusive home. To lay this kind of condemnation on a victim is to jab the knife in real deep, smile sweetly, and then twist it!

5. “Did you call the police?” 

Young children don’t know to do that.  Some teenagers do and end up in foster care only to be abused again or bounced from one place to another to another to another. Some, when the police arrive the abuser convinces the police the teen “has some mental problems.” Unless there are obvious bruises and cuts the police will file a report and leave.  With adults, many do but out of a false sense of “I love him” or “He loves me” they refuse to press charges once the police have come. Many do not get that opportunity for the control is so great there may not even be a phone available in the home.

6. “Just get over it! It happened a long time ago!”

There is no way that dagger can be shoved any deeper into the heart of the recipient of this remark. It is one of the most devastating, demeaning, accusatory, condemning and hurtful remarks that can be made to a victim of abuse. Particularly sexual abuse or rape. Which by the way, sexual abuse that involves intercourse is rape!

7. “What’s the big deal? It was just sex!”

This shows total ignorance on the part of the speaker. Sexual abuse encompasses the mind, the will, the emotions, and the spirit of the victim. The ramifications and emotional consequences of childhood sexual abuse can last a life time. In spousal abuse, where the wife is raped by the husband (along with beatings, etc.) the same thing applies. The mind, will, and emotions are all involved and emotional damage can be severe as well as possible permanent physical injuries.

8. “I’m sure they (parents) did the best they could.”

In my opinion, there is absolutely no excuse that can be given for a parent to turn his or her back on a child that is being abused emotionally, physically, psychologically, or sexually! There is always something that can be done or someone who is willing to help. We have had police and laws for centuries. By ignoring the abuse happening is emotional abandonment and anyone who knows or even highly suspects abuse is taking place and does nothing is a co-conspirator to the crimes that are being committed. That means by doing “nothing” you are doing “something” – agreeing with, condoning the abuse.

9. “You just need to forgive and move on.”

Oh, this sounds so Christian! And of course this is done in “love.” Again, it shows the ignorance and total disregard for what abuse does to the victim; physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. The emotional pain of the victim is never taken into account with this statement. This statement gives the impression that the horrors the victim has survived are merely minor infractions. “Here’s a band-aid, I’ll kiss it and make it all better.” The knife goes really deep and twisting it hurts even more!

10. “Are you sure it really happened?”

There’s that knife again! Survivors have questioned themselves until they are blue in the face with this very question even though they KNOW it happened. They do not want to believe that someone they trusted and possibly loved would betray them in such a horrific way. It is very difficult to accept the reality of being hurt, betrayed, and used by a loved one. To have this thrown at them turns the knife at least a full turn deep in their heart. Is essence you are calling them a liar and they’ve heard that from many others.

11. “Give it to God and let it go.”

Oh such a simplistic and uncaring statement! Just twist the knife a little more for this is a platitude that many Christians will spew forth when they can’t think of anything intelligent to say. Yes, we seek the Lord, if we are not so angry at Him for not stopping the abuse.  Some beg, plead, and scream to the heavens.  Many victims of abuse carry great anger and through the grace of God we do heal but to tell us to just hand everything; emotional damage, memories, scars, and what we feel to God like we’re handing Him a stick of gum is irrational on many levels. The issues run deep and much emotional damage has been done. Each issue is dealt with in time with God’s help. We can not put an entire childhood or 20 years of an abusive marriage in a box and just cast it off and go about our merry way.

12. “Maybe it was just a bad dream.” 

You have not only stuck the knife in but have slapped the victim hard in the face. In my case, that would have been an 18 year nightmare! When victims of sexual abuse begin therapy, or even before, this thought does come to mind. “Maybe I dreamed it up. It isn’t true.” Again, it is that deep need to not want it to have had it happen. The bruises in spousal abuse prove this was not dream. A night mare in reality but not a dream during sleep. No, we didn’t dream it. We wish we had because we would wake up and it would go away after the 2nd cup of coffee.

13. “Just don’t think about it!” 

Total disregard for the hurt, betrayal, physical and emotional wounding of victim! Absolutely no compassion is being shown. Victims do not have control over what the Lord will bring to mind that He may deem as time to deal with or the memories popping up “out of nowhere.” Walk away from this person! They do not have a heart for your pain and will only cause more.

14. “Well you must have done something wrong!”

In other words, “It’s all your fault!” We’ve heard this from the first encounter, be it as a child or an adult. Abusers NEVER take the blame! It is ALWAYS placed on someone or something else (usually the victim) and the knife is being twisted around and around as it has been sunk very deep into the heart of the victim. The child victim is NEVER  to blame! With adults, there’s no excuse for a man to hit a woman, ever! Or a woman to hit a man unless in self-defense.

Are you ready? Here is the one that tops all that I have heard over the years! Out of the mouth of a youth pastor that had a seventeen year old victim living with he and his wife to escape the sexual abuse at home came these mighty words of wisdom so confidently spoken to me:

15. “A one time rape is more devastating to the victim than continual sexual molestation, they get used to it.”

I’m still speechless!

Am I saying not to talk to survivors of abuse? NO! I’m saying be sympathetic, compassionate, and caring.  If the person brings up the subject, listen before speaking. Think long and hard what questions you may want to ask. If you are sincere in learning more about what we have to face as the results from the atrocities done to us ask if there are any books we might recommend. Don’t give the platitude or outright lie by saying, “I know just how you feel.” NOT IF YOU HAVEN’T WALKED IN OUR SHOES!

Some survivors, like me, are willing to answer even the questions that you never should have asked. But that’s only because I have had years of therapy and by God’s grace and Christ’s healing I can stand up to the intrusive and inconsiderate questions and remarks. Many survivors will wilt, feel condemned, and damage beyond belief can be done. Words hurt! Words can be that knife in the heart!

Many victims of abuse are sensitive, guilt ridden, filled with shame, low self-esteem, angry, hurt, and  pain so deep only God can bring it into the light. Many continue to feel isolated, unloved, dirty, and unworthy of anything positive.

Love them to life!

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Feel free to add additional hurtful comments in the comment box. People need to be aware of how they can help, not hurt.

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Blessings to you.

When the Load is to Great.

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Sitting on my deck with the ceiling fan twirling the fresh air from the Lord watering my plants and lawn I noticed some weird-looking bug stumbling toward me. Or what I thought was a weird-looking bug.

On closer inspection I realized it was an ant and what was so fascinating was that it had a large dead bug that was three or four times larger than the ant in its mouth. It stumbled toward me and as the wind from the ceiling fan hit it, it would stumble, fall over, get up and try again. It didn’t look like the bug it was carrying was really heavy (from a giant’s perspective) but I’m sure because of the size of the bug and the size of the ant it could not see where it was going. There had to be some destination in the ant’s mind.

As I watched the ant it circled around and headed back in the direction it came, stumbled over a small object lying in its path and made a U-turn. Back in my direction it came when it finally made more progress only to bump into the chair leg that I had as a footstool in front of me.

Back around it went. First in one direction and then in another only to end up back in the same place once again. What struck me, as I sat there watching intently the progress, the loss of progress, the stumbling, circling, and determination, was just that; the determination that ant had! No matter what obstacles it encountered, no matter the wind that blew it off course, no matter the weight or size of what it was carrying or what it bumped into it was getting that bug to its destination!

As I sat transfixed on the incredible fortitude of this ant I couldn’t help but think we are much like this brave little ant. So many of us have the weight of the world on our backs or think its the weight of the world. Anyway, we have baggage we carry and many times its much bigger and much heavier than we can carry efficiently.

Like the ant with his bug we stumble around, when the wind (storm) comes we fall, get up and head right back into the same old patterns we had previously. Watching the ant I noticed there were no other ants around. One lone little ant trying very hard to carry what should have been shared with others to make the task much easier.

Mama ant was probably wringing her hands and wondering, “Where is that kid!? I gave him a simple task and what’s taking him so long to get it done?” While, and I don’t know this, the little ant with his mouth full of baggage might have been thinking, “I gotta do this! I have to prove I’m ‘the man!‘”

How many fathers are carrying the weight of three jobs or the determination to climb that corporate ladder regardless of what object or obstructions are in his way while his kids are out foraging for the love, attention, and validation they are not getting at home through gangs, drugs, prostitution, or homelessness?

Many of us are like the little ant I sat watching as it struggled with its load. We hold onto our troubles for maybe all the wrong reasons. Maybe the ant thought he would be deemed weak within the family of ants. Maybe he had been called a weakling as a young ant and wanted to prove himself as strong and dependable. Instead of laying down the load and reaching out for help the little ant was so determined to do it himself.

Aren’t we like that in some ways? We have this heavy load we are carrying and rather than yelling out to Jesus to take the load,  we’re determined to prove we can “do it ourselves!”  We stumble, we go in circles, we wear ourselves out and like the little ant that I watched for ten or fifteen minutes we finally blindly wander around pointlessly and without direction.

What happened to the little ant you ask? I’m glad you asked. It continued to carry its load stumbling and falling, going in circles and crashing into unseen obstructions and through sheer determination it made it to the edge of the deck and suddenly fell out of sight………still carrying its load.

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Blessings to you.

We aren’t condemned any more!

Many have been abused not just children but adults, too. Abuse comes in many forms; physical, emotional, psychologically, and spiritually. Condemnation is previlent but in Christ there is no condemnation! Stop believing what others have thrown at you. Believe who God says you are.

Cyber Support Group

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 “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,” Rom. 8:1

“You aren’t worth the air you breath!” That was told to me as a young child.

Those of us that have experienced an abusive home life know all too well what being condemned means. We were yelled at for the slightest offense, and many times there was no offense on our part. We were just there! We were used as battering rams for those who could not express their anger at someone else. Maybe it was, or is, a parent, a boss, a poor driver,  a spouse, boyfriend, etc. The anger gets directed at us. We’re blamed for the anger that arises. “It’s all your fault!” And the cuss word’s fly!

In some instances we were used for the cruel jokes of another, made fun of, called stupid, told we were never going to amount to…

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