Happy? Mother’s Day

Today is Mother’s Day and I have avoided turning on the T.V., going to church, and those things that remind me of what a mother is supposed to be but that many of us did not experience.

Growing up in an abusive home where the abuse is ignored or perpetrated by the mother does not leave happy memories for many of us. Whether it was the Dad doing the abuse or the mother inflicting the physical or emotional pain, it leaves more than just a bad taste in the mouth of the surviving child/adult.

We hear from the pulpits across America the testimonies of those mother’s that raised their children in loving and caring homes. I’m happy for those children that have those memories. They are truly blessed more than they probably realize.

But what about the others? Those of us that hear the wonderful testimonies and sit quietly trying to hide the tears and shut out the memories of abuse, betrayal, and mother’s that chose to be far less than what God wanted her to be. Every child loves their mother whether they admit it or not. That’s why the pain is so deep.

Many people do not want to hear the testimonies of hurt, pain, and betrayal within a family, especially within a church. “This isn’t the place for that” is what I’ve heard after giving a testimony of an abusive childhood. Even though those testimonies reveal the healing power of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. “It’s just too awful to hear.” So the pulpits are sadly quiet about what reality is to many and how the Lord has healed the hearts of many.

Many of us that have experienced the healing power of Christ do forgive, as difficult as it is. And many times we have to forgive over and over and especially on days like today; Mother’s Day.

In my case, my mother is with the Lord. Praise God because she accepted Christ as her Savior in her late 80’s so I know she is with Him.

But what about those who still have their mother’s? Those who, out of a sense of obligation and a bad taste in their mouth, send the flowers and cards? Honoring your mother and father, as Christ commands, causes some to feel that dreaded obligation but what it means is that you are acknowledging their authority, their position, as your parent.

Forgiveness is a powerful thing. It does not say what they did was right. It does not say we have to have contact with them or a relationship with them. It says we release the hurt, the anger, the guilt, the shame, and the unforgiveness. For our benefit not theirs. Our Father in heaven forgives us as we forgive others. If we won’t forgive then He will not bless us with His forgiveness.

I pray that we may hand our hurt to the Lord and celebrate that there are mother’s who exemplify the Father’s love of His children and set aside the hurtful memories. Forgiveness does not render amnesia.

Blessings to you.

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A Little Twist to Matthew 14

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Some of the ladies from my support group and I decide to go on a retreat at the lake. We rent a small fishing boat, nothing fancy or anything like a ship. We row our sun tanned selves out to sea as we sing row, row, row your boat and enjoy the warmth of the sun. Kicked back and relaxing on the smooth blue water the wind begins to pick up.

In a very short time waves start slapping the sides of our boat. The four of us sit wondering, “What’s going on? It was smooth just a few minutes ago.” One lady looks at me, then another. After all I am the facilitator of the group and don’t I have all the answers? The waves begin to get larger. The wind picks up even more.

We sit a little closer to each other but no one says the dreaded words, “I’m scared.” Water starts splashing over the sides. The boat rocks and is getting tossed about. Hands cling to the sides with white-knuckled death grips.

As I sit there wondering what to do I look out over the expanse of the water. Off in the distance I see what I think is a man. A man, out here? I must be hallucinating! I guess I’m not, for the man comes closer. Oh my gosh, I am hallucinating! He’s not swimming out here to save us, He’s walking on TOP of the water! The others have now seen Him, too.

The four of us huddle together. We’re scared more of this “ghost” than we are of drowning. I try to reassure the others, “Don’t be afraid, it’ll be over soon. We’ll all jump overboard before it gets here.” Arms squeezing each other, a death grip, clinging together, we watch as the “ghost” gets closer and closer. “On the count of three we all stand up and jump,” I whisper. Our eyes are riveted to the figure that’s slowly strolling across the water, like He’s taking a stroll in the park on a sunny day, the figure approaches.

Suddenly realization smacks my brain. “This isn’t a ghost! We don’t have to jump to our deaths! It’s Jesus ladies! Hip hip hurrah. Three cheers for the Lord,” I shout. Not thinking we could tip the boat in a split second, we all stand up. Some look closer to make sure I’m not playing some game with their minds. Jesus comes closer and says, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” (v.27)

With a huge sigh of relief we all settle down. As the wind dies down frowns and tears turn to sighs of relief. But, I still have some doubts. I mean okay I’m sure this has to be Jesus. After all nobody I know can walk across the top of water. “If You’re REALLY Jesus, tell me to come to you, on TOP of the water”, I say in a cocky voice. Jesus just looks at me like, no problem. “Come!” is all He says.

Without hesitation, we four put our heads together. “Are you going to get out of this boat?” one asks me in a whisper while sneaking a peek at Jesus.  Glancing over my shoulder, then turning back to the others, “Do you think I should? I mean, He is Jesus!” Another whispers,”You can trust Him, I think.”

Jesus stands waiting patiently while I make my decision. He knows this is a tough request because He also knows my past. Christ doesn’t say, “Oh come on! Don’t be a chicken.” He just waits. Standing there right on top of the water like it’s no big deal.

Christ has no doubts, but I do! Glancing at Him then looking to the ladies I bravely state, “Okay, but wait a minute. I have to fix my hair. I’ll get a shower cap or something just in case I sink. I don’t want to get my hair wet.”

Jesus waits. I scrounge around the bottom of the boat and finally find a swim cap and pull it on over my head. My mind starts racing. He wants me to get out of this boat! That’s deep water out there! Is He nuts or what?  Standing in the middle of the boat I suddenly feel a tug on my T-shirt. One of the ladies says, “Maybe you shouldn’t do this.” I look back at Jesus. “Are you sure this is what You want me to do?” I ask Him. With a smile that could melt butter He looks at me and never says a word but I can tell what He’s thinking, “You don’t trust Me. You think I’m going to ask you to do something that will hurt you.”

Hesitantly stepping to the edge I place my hands on the boats rim and pick up my right foot to swing it over the edge. I stop. “Maybe I need some make-up. After all, He is good-looking.”  With a quick, “Just a sec,” I jerk my foot back into the boat. Rummaging around again I find a tube of lipstick and quickly slather my lips.

Some may find this quite odd but we survivors are always ready for the unexpected. We learned to be prepared and cautious and not to trust just anyone because we never knew who or what was lurking around the corner or would show up in the dark. But lipstick?

Jesus waits. He doesn’t sneer. He doesn’t tap His foot making little splashing sounds. He smiles and waits with the patience of Job, and waits. My mind races. Maybe I better find a float. What if a fish swallows me? I wonder if there are sharks out here. I glance back at the Man on the water. “Should I really trust this Guy?” 

Finally I gulp and take a deep breath and place one leg over the edge of the boat. “Oh jeeeeez this water is cold!” Bravely I tug at my shorts, take another breath and slowly sit on the edge with both feet touching the water. I hear a whispered, “The fool’s going to drown.” I slowly stand and woe, I’m standing on top of the water!”

All eyes are on me. Intensely I look at Jesus and think, This is cool but I must be nuts! Cautiously placing one foot in front of the other I take cautious steps and suddenly shout, “Hey, I’m walking on water!” Taking more cautious steps I keep my eyes on Jesus. With a little more confidence I get a little spring in my step. Smiling, Jesus is four or five feet in front of me. Love and patience glows across His face.

Wanting to tip-toe and maybe do a little dance I feel wonderful! Keeping my eyes glued to Jesus I feel like this is the greatest thing I’ve ever done but suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I see wind coming across the lake and it’s headed straight for me.

Fear grips my belly. I’m not sure what to do. Just for an instant I look toward the wind and in that split second down I go! The cold water engulfs me up to my waist and my face is a picture of terror. I hear the loud gasps from the others in the boat. My eyes are the size of meat platters and I scream, “Lord, save me!”

The words no sooner leave my lips and Christ reaches His hand out to me. “You of little faith,” He said, “Why did you doubt?” (v.31) He helps me to climb back in the boat and the ladies begin to worship Him. I am safe. We are safe. Jesus is here. We all bow our heads in prayer. “Thank you Lord that You are the One we can trust and look to for all of our needs.”

As the little fishing boat gently glides to the shore we continue to praise and worship Jesus. People are gathered cheering and waving as we approach the shore. We each disembark and without a moment’s hesitation begin telling all those we can about how Christ saved us.

“and all who touched Him were healed.” (v.36)

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Blessings to you.

Can Light Penetrate a Black Heart?

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My child sized heart pumped fiercely as I ran away. Fear filled me. I felt like the devil himself was close behind breathing down my neck. “If he catches me I’ll never survive.” I scream out, “Jesus save me” but He didn’t appear at my door. (I thought He would come to my house and save me from the abuse.)

That’s when the devil got his foothold. The anger at God for rejecting my plea intertwined with the fear. The roots of disappointment and a lack of understanding was transformed into a bitterness that grew deeper. With each injustice, betrayal, hurtful word, and rejection another black spot replaced what God created. Hatred filled spaces unknown within a normal pulsating heart that was created to love. Instead of the red blood of Christ filling a beautiful, pumping pink organ, the enemies blackness was trying to fill it to the brim.

Life continued with struggles and the bitterness against man and God continued to grow. God’s light would try to penetrate my darkening heart but with snarled lips and vehement words God was rejected. “If there’s a God then why……..?” “Don’t talk to me about this so-called loving God!” was spewed out from a heart filled with pain, rejection, bitterness, and a hatred so deep it seemed no light could penetrate. God would step in but the door was quickly slammed shut.

God is a persistent God! He never gives up pursuing the lost. He didn’t give up then and He hasn’t now. He continued to chase me down and at my lowest point was standing there to pick me up. I accepted Him and He taught me much. With much love and patience He began healing the heart wounds from all the years of hurt and betrayal and gradually I learned who I am in Him. The blackening of my heart began turning grey. Some of the black spots of evil dissipated. But with a news report I learned it was still filled with hatred. The roots of hatred and bitterness still ran deep. I desperately needed surgery! The kind only Christ can do.

God’s light broke through the darkness within a dream. In the dream the flames within the cage roared about the body of man while ISIS stood watching with vile, wicked grins and slapping each other on the back for a job well done, I screamed out, “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!” It wasn’t the man being burned alive, it was me! Just before I awoke, I glared at the evil men and said, “If Mohammed was here I would spit in his face!” I awoke suddenly with my chest filled so full of hatred that I thought I was having a heart attack.

The hatred grew within me until I thought my chest would burst. I prayed in English, I prayed in tongues, I asked God what was happening to me. At one point I felt I wanted to jump out of bed and scream at the top of my lungs. I didn’t because it would wake the whole subdivision. I couldn’t move. The chest pain continued until I thought my chest would explode right there in my bed. I prayed some more. I rebuked the devil to no avail.

Confusion swirled around in my head, “Was I feeling what Christ must feel?” I told the Lord I know He loves those people but, “Forgive me, I want them to suffer every scream, every cry for help, every pleading agonized breath and feel every pain that every person and every child felt, for all of eternity in hell!”

My chest grew, the hatred increased. It was vile, it was ugly. I could barely breath. I could taste the wickedness of it. I prayed some more. I cried out for understanding and even threw out the fact that Jesus got mad and threw tables around the Temple. “I can’t ask You to forgive them because You will if they ask, but they won’t!” And, “I won’t pray their heart be changed! They are Satan’s incarnates! That’s like transforming Satan’s heart! It ain’t going to happen!” My thoughts whirled around like a balloon skittering around a room when suddenly released of its air. One minute I was thinking like Jesus might want me to and the next I was lashing out with hatred.

I don’t know how long I spewed the vile hatred I felt for what is going on in this world. The evil that surrounds us all. I confessed, I quoted a couple of scriptures, I did everything I could to try to rationalize and try to understand what was happening to me. Had I not been wide awake I would have thought I was in the middle of a horrible nightmare.

Suddenly a thought dropped into the midst of all the praying, all the arguing and expounding on why I should hate these people,“You have hurt people, too.” That shut my mouth for a moment but then of course my first response was, “I haven’t chopped off anyone’s head! I’ve burned no-one alive! I’m not robbing and stealing and raping!” Then the realization took hold, I have hurt people with my words, some deliberately and some not. I have rejected others, and above all, I rejected God and His Son for many years.

The pain in my chest began to slowly dissipate as that realization took hold. A calming began to replace the pain of hatred. It seemed as though my chest was deflating slowly and as that realization of my own sin penetrated my heart I realized that maybe, just maybe, it was my heart that needed to be changed.

There was no glowing translucent light filling the room. No angels appeared in white robes. No heavenly choir songs rang out from heaven. There was only a hushed silence as I whispered, “Is it my heart that needs changing, Lord?” The pain suddenly vanished! I was left limp and exhausted.

Many of us have prayed, “Search my heart O’Lord.” He takes that seriously and in my case He used the evil of ISIS on a T.V. newscast to reveal the depth of hatred in my heart and not only to expose it and make me aware of its depth but to taste the vile bitterness of it. “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” I was hating the sinner as well as the sin.

We’ve all suffered pain of some sort. We all have areas of hurt. There are no pure hearts in humanity and He’s still working on mine. By His grace I am saved, not perfect.

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”

Ps. 139:23

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Blessings to you.

 

 

 

 

Dealing with Betrayal

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Betrayal can come in many and  various forms. It can be as simple, if you want to call it simple, as someone betraying your trust through telling another what you thought was told in confidence. There is the betrayal within marriages through adulterous behavior. Betrayal can come through domestic abuse. Maybe someone at your job betrayed you by lying to the boss. There’s many examples of how we are betrayed.

In my opinion (and many psychiatrists) the most damaging, deep, and most heartfelt betrayal is through a parent sexually abusing their child. From within the womb we are totally and completely dependent upon our mothers and fathers. Upon birth that dependence grows even more for the child. The child depends on the parents for nurturing, education, love for God, not to mention clothing, food, and housing. God instilled in us love. We are created to love and we do it naturally as a child. We love our parents regardless of anything they do.

Children are taught to hate, to distrust, to be suspicious and to take the blame. They were not born with that negativity. We’ve all seen cases where a child is horribly abused and yet they will protect the parent. It isn’t always that the parent/abuser has threatened them to keep quiet, it’s because of that God-given love instilled within us toward those who God chose to be our parents.

I was asked recently if after having been sexually abused if having my Dad admit to the abuse, if that was emotionally more difficult than the actual abuse. My answer was no, not for me. For me it was confirmation that the abuse really did take place. It stopped all the mind wrestling of whether it happened or not and put an end to the lies that were being told about it didn’t happen. But not everyone can answer that way. It is always very difficult to admit we have been betrayed. Especially if that betrayal was from someone we love.

Sexual abuse/incest is the most damaging of all abuse to a child. It attacks the body, soul, mind, and spirit of the child. The issues that are left from it are so vast it can take years to heal from the devastation. Most abusers will not admit their guilt. Many mothers will blame the victim or deny it happened or choose the husband over the child. Hopefully with disclosure becoming more prevalent that will change.

Who of us want to have to admit to ourselves that those who were given to us by God could do such a thing? Who wants to admit that the man we chose to love for the rest of our lives would sneak around behind our back in an adulterous affair? Or that our best friend would reveal a deep secret we shared, with someone else?

Betrayal will leave deep wounds. Whether they are bleeding wounds that we ignore, or ones that we continue to pick at is our choice. In the case of sexual abuse it may take years to heal those deep wounds. In Psalm 27:10 The Lord says, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.” Betrayal through abuse , by a parent, is forsaking the child! They have forsaken their God-given responsibility to care for, in a Christ-like manner, for the child that was placed in their care. Mothers and fathers that do nothing to protect the child, a co-conspirator, has emotionally, and in some cases physically, abandoned the child. Christ is there to receive you!

With any betrayal it is hard to “wrap our minds around” what was done. There is hurt, anger, denial, and eventually acceptance. We have a big choice to make. Do we forgive or do we continue to bleed? It can be mind-boggling to think that our own parents could betray us in such a way but if we do not release that hurt, through forgiveness, the betrayal will be like a gunny sack filled with rocks on our back.

With any form of betrayal do we choose to live with a heart filled with hate and bitterness toward those who have betrayed us or do we turn to Christ and give Him our pain? By holding onto the pain, not forgiving, we are bringing God’s judgment against us.  (Matt.5:22) We are hindering our prayers, (Matt.5:23) we’re causing a root of bitterness to take hold, (Heb.12:14-15) we’re allowing demonic strongholds to take hold, (Eph.4:26), and halting our healing (James 5:16).

Freedom from the heart wounds inflicted by an act/s of betrayal is obtained through our ability to seek Christ’s forgiveness and to offer our forgiveness to others.

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Blessings to you.

God’s call

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“Heal me, Oh Lord, and I will be healed.” Jer. 17:14

 

ATTENTION SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVOR’S – MALE AND FEMALE

The Lord has impressed on my heart to start a new blog, “Cyber Support Group” Hope, Healing, & Deliverance for sexual abuse survivors.

I have ministered to both men and women survivor’s of childhood sexual abuse over the years and led Christian based support groups for women survivor’s for eleven years. I have never done an internet support group and am totally relying on the Holy Spirit to lead me. He is faithful.

If you are a survivor or know someone who was sexually abused I ask that you share this blog site with them. Support groups are few and far between. In my experience I have found them to be of great value in the healing process. This is a new endeavor on my part and although there are many wonderful sites offering encouragement, the Cyber Support Group will require active participation.

Be sure to read the “About “ – it will give you the information about the support group. I just published the first article and am praying it will be informative to not just survivors (we know what abuse is) but to shed light on misnomers and heighten awareness.

Go to: http://www.cybersupportgroup.org There’s also a “follow” box.

If you have confidential questions feel free to e-mail me at: elah501c@bellsouth.net

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Blessings to you.