Tag Archives: abuse

America’s Immigration Problem

As I watched the preceding interview the other night, I grew more and more outraged.  Have we, the people of the United States totally lost all reason?  Have we lost the ability to judge between right and wrong?  What is wrong with deporting criminal illegal immigrants?  

The attorney defending Henry Sanchez Milian, the rape suspect in this interview, is callous, as he lays out his plan to accuse the victim, a fourteen year old girl, of falsely accusing the perpetrators of raping her.  Instead, he cold-bloodedly states, the girl had consensual sex with these men.  Would anyone with an ounce of sense actually believe that a fourteen year old girl would want to have sex with two men in the boy’s bathroom, during school hours?

Do you want to know what is equally disturbing?  Since that interview, where is the outcry from enraged feminists jumping to the defense of this poor little girl?  Wouldn’t you think that ALL women would be infuriated, knowing that this attorney intends to place the VICTIM on trial, in the place of the perpetrators?   

Montgomery County Superintendent Dr. Jack Smith

Yet, instead of an outcry against this heinous act, and the abominable plans of the defense attorney to attack the young victim, people defend these two young criminals’ right to be here in this country.  In fact, the school superintendent of Rockville, MD was actually offended by the many parents, who were upset with his school district for having these two men in the same class as fourteen year old children.  He even went so far as to threaten the parents in an email, “While I know this tragic incident has become part of a national political debate, I want to remind community members that the lives of real students have been forever affected.  While many have chosen to engage civilly in the conversation, far too many have crossed the line with racist, xenophobic calls and emails.  MCPS is working with law enforcement to identify those who are making threats toward our students and schools. This behavior will not be tolerated in our community.”

Has he lost his mind?  Should parents not be concerned?  A child was raped in one of his schools by not one, but two illegal immigrants, one of whom was a legal adult, at the age of eighteen, and the other, who lacked being an adult by months.  Perhaps Dr. Smith would better serve the public by protecting the lives of innocent children, rather than lecturing their concerned parents and accusing them of being racists and xenophobes, and threatening them for voicing their opinions.  After all, the first amendment still stands!

Then, in Martha MacCallum’s interview, the seventeen year old perpetrator’s attorneys blamed President Trump’s vitriol for people’s disgust with his client and the other perpetrator.  Really?  Does it not seem logical that people are angry because these two criminals broke the law by illegally entering this country, and then they broke it once again, by raping a little girl?  

Why is it so hard to understand that we are a sovereign nation of legal immigrants?  Immigrants are welcome to enter our country legally.  There are many legal immigrants who now live in this great land of ours, and they love our nation, and our nation loves them.  They are here because they chose to obey our nation’s immigration laws, just as our forefathers did.  Like every other sovereign nation, we welcome those immigrants who want to obey our laws.

However, those who choose to enter this country illegally are not welcome, because by doing so, they are breaking the law of the land.  Can this country sustain all of the illegal immigrants who sneak into it?  Should this country provide all of the rights and privileges that are afforded to our citizens and the legal immigrants and refugees that enter it?  Does this sovereign nation not have the right to decides who  enters into this land???  Let’s look at it another way…

Suppose someone broke into your home, and you caught him and called the police. When the police arrived at your home, they removed the intruder and took him away.  A few days later, when you returned home from work, you discover your young daughter lying on the bathroom floor, weeping and crying out for you.  Sobbing, she tells you that the intruder from the other night broke into your home and raped her.  

Outraged, you once again phone the police, and when they arrive at your home, you ask, “Why did you set that intruder free?  He raped my child.”

“I’m sorry this happened,” the officer replies, “but really, he had just as much right to come into this house as you do.  Although he wasn’t born in this home and this family, doesn’t he have a right to live in a nice home?”

“Indeed he doesn’t,” you reply.  “This is MY home, and MY family!  I have a right to lock my doors and protect my family from ALL aliens who do not belong here.  Furthermore, my daughter would never have been raped, if you had locked that criminal up, when you caught him the other night!”

“Sir, I’m sorry your daughter was hurt, but this man’s illegal entry into your home has nothing to do with her rape.  Lots of women and girls are raped in many different places.  Don’t be racist or xenophobic by not allowing anyone who wants to come into your home to enter, just because your daughter got raped this one time.”

Does this scenario seem reasonable?  Of course not!  It’s ridiculous – and yet, so are the many arguments and accusations being thrown at those who are against illegal immigration.  I’ve written this post from a logical perspective, yet I’ve heard many liberals accuse people who believe this way of being inhumane, and even unchristian.  Therefore, in my next post, I’ll address this issue from a biblical stance…

© 2017
Cheryl A. Showers

Sacrificing to the fire of Molech

21 “Do not permit any of your children to be offered as a sacrifice to Moloch, for you must not bring shame on the name of your God. I am the Lord.

Leviticus 18:21  NLT

The worship of Moloch is believed to have begun with the Phoenicians, a group of people who inhabited Canaan between 1550 BC and 300 BC.  Ashtoreth, the goddess of fertility, was considered to be Moloch’s consort.  Therefore, those who worshiped Moloch, also worshiped Ashtoreth.  Sexual immorality, prostitution, fortune telling and divination, usually in a grove of trees, were all a part of Ashtoreth worship.  As part of their worship of the fertility idol, women often sacrificed either their hair or their chastity to it…

Because Ashtoreth was considered Moloch’s consort, ritual prostitution was an important part of worshiping Moloch, as well.  Yet, what sticks out in most people’s mind, when thinking of Moloch, is the abhorrent practice of sacrificing children (usually firstborn sons), to the idol, by “passing them through the fire.”  It is thought that Moloch idols were giant metal statues that had a bull’s head and a man’s body.  There was a hole in the stomach, or an open mouth, in which a fire blazed.  Parents would place their children and babies on the statue’s outstretched arms, which were angled like a ramp, so that the children would roll or slide down the slippery arms, into the raging fire, to be burned alive.  People sacrificed their infants and children to ensure prosperity for themselves and their future children.

The whole thing sounds disgusting, doesn’t it?  Just last week, I was reading about one of Judah’s most wicked kings, King Ahaz, and it was while reading about him (2 Kings 16 and 2 Chronicles 28), that I started thinking about Moloch, and the depths of mankind’s depravity…

Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years.  He did not do what was pleasing in the sight of the Lord, as his ancestor David had done.  Instead, he followed the example of the kings of Israel.  He cast metal images for the worship of Baal. He offered sacrifices in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, even sacrificing his own sons in the fire.  In this way, he followed the detestable practices of the pagan nations the Lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites.  He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the pagan shrines and on the hills and under every green tree.

2 Chronicles 28:1-4  NLT

Do you wonder how someone could sacrifice his/her own child to an idol?  I remember reading about this practice as a child, feeling horror that such a thing ever happened.  Now, as an adult mother of two, and grandmother of ten, I feel even greater horror that this ever took place.  Yet, what is even more disturbing to me, is the fact that this wasn’t just an isolated event in history.  You see, men and women throughout the world continue to sacrifice their children for their own prosperity.  The only thing different, is the name of their idol.  Although men and women no longer sacrifice their children to Moloch, here in the United States, they sacrifice their children to an idol called “Choice.”

Woman 20 Weeks Pregnant With Twins Has Abortion Last Week
Woman 20 Weeks Pregnant With Twins Has Abortion Last Week

Again, just last week, during the same time period that I was reading about King Ahaz, I saw an article about a mother (click picture link above), who decided to abort her unborn twin girls at twenty weeks gestation, because she already has daughters, and doesn’t want any more girls.

What an abomination!  Just as King Ahaz, sacrificed his children for selfish reasons, this woman chose to murder her unborn twins, because they  were girls.  And, just as Ahaz and this woman sacrificed their children on the altar of Moloch, or “Choice”, so, too, do many others.

The Lord said to Moses, “Give the people of Israel these instructions, which apply both to native Israelites and to the foreigners living in Israel.

“If any of them offer their children as a sacrifice to Moloch, they must be put to death. The people of the community must stone them to death. I Myself will turn against them and cut them off from the community, because they have defiled My sanctuary and brought shame on My holy name by offering their children to Moloch. And if the people of the community ignore those who offer their children to Moloch and refuse to execute them, I Myself will turn against them and their families and will cut them off from the community. This will happen to all who commit spiritual prostitution by worshiping Moloch.

Leviticus 20:1-4  NLT

I’m not suggesting we stone women who abort their babies, nor those doctors who perform the abortions.  However, I do believe it is important for us to cry out against abortion, and to try to influence our government legislators to revoke the current laws that legalize the murders of the unborn.  If we do not take a firm stance against the idol of “Choice,” God Himself made it clear that He would turn against us and our families, cutting us off from His community.  With 57,762,169 unborn babies aborted since 1973, when Roe vs. Wade made abortions legal in this nation, is it any wonder that our country is in such turmoil?  And yet, if we will stand against this evil, and turn from our wicked ways, God promises that He will heal our land…

14 Then if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14  NLT

While it’s true, the unborn are not placed on Moloch’s golden arms and rolled into the flames, as children were in Ahaz’s day, there are a number of different, but no less inhumane ways in which the unborn are sacrificed today.  Also, while they are not consumed by flames, we must understand that unborn babies feel pain, just as a newborn infant, a toddler, a child of any age, or an adult, like you and I feel pain…  (For more information, click this  link about Fetal Pain)

  • “At 20 weeks, the fetal brain has the full complement of brain cells present in adulthood, ready and waiting to receive pain signals from the body, and their electrical activity can be recorded by standard electroencephalography (EEG).”
    — Dr. Paul Ranalli, neurologist, University of Toronto
  • An unborn baby at 20 weeks gestation “is fully capable of experiencing pain. … Without question, [abortion] is a dreadfully painful experience for any infant subjected to such a surgical procedure.”
    — Robert J. White, M.D., PhD., professor of neurosurgery, Case Western University

It is utterly foolish and naive to believe that abortion is the mother’s choice only, and it hurts no one else.  Obviously, it not only kills, it also hurts the tiny human within the mother’s womb.  To understand this, let’s look at what is involved in some of the abortion procedures performed in the United States…

  • RU-486 – a drug that can be taken after the mother misses her period, and can be taken up to the second month of pregnancy.  This drug works by blocking progesterone, which is necessary to nourish the developing baby.  Without this hormone, the baby cannot grow, and it will die.  A second drug is administered to stimulate the uterus, so that it will begin contracting, and the baby will be expelled.
  • Suction Aspiration – after the woman’s cervix is paralyzed and stretched open, a hollow, plastic tube is inserted in the woman’s uterus.  It has a sharp, knife-like edge as it cuts and suctions parts of the unborn baby and its placenta from the walls of the uterus into a bottle.
  • Dilation and Evacuation – performed after the third month of pregnancy.  After the cervix is dilated and expanded, the abortionist inserts an instrument (similar to pliers), grabs hold of the unbaby’s limbs, and begins tearing and pulling the limbs from the baby’s body, until all that remains is the baby’s head.  The final part of the procedure is to crush the baby’s skull and remove it.  After the procedure is completed, like a puzzle, the nurse must place the various parts in order to ensure that the entire baby was removed.

For those who wish to read more about it, there are several other abortion procedures that are performed in the U.S., which you can learn about by visiting How Are Abortions Done?  

Abortion is a violent, invasive act, and sometimes, we get so caught up in the philosophy of it, that we lose sight of the brutality of it.  Many people claim that while abortion is not for them, all women should be able to choose their own course.  For those who refuse to take sides, I have included a video of an actual abortion procedure.  To watch this procedure and still uphold a woman’s right to choose, is to endorse infanticide, which makes us no better than other countries that engage in such atrocities…

http://www.herestheblood.com/

Everyone must take a stand on this issue, and if you refuse to stand on the side of life for every unborn child, you have chosen death.  I leave you with the words that Moses spoke to the Israelites before they crossed into the promised land, and like he did, I urge you to choose life!

11 “This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you, and it is not beyond your reach. 12 It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’ 13 It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’14 No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.

15 “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. 16 For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep His commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in His ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.

17 “But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, 18 then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.

19 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20 You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying Him, and committing yourself firmly to Him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

Deuteronomy 30:11-20  NLT

© 2016
Cheryl A. Showers

Woe to You Barak Obama!!! Woe to You Citizens of the United States!!!

But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in Me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Matthew 18:6  NLT

 All sides are weighing in on this most recent outrage of Obama, and it’s plain to see that he is intent on leaving this nation a legacy of selfishness, perversity and sin.  Obama wants to build a monument to honor the LBGT community, by erecting a monument on a piece of parkland across the street from the Stonewall Inn, in Greenwich Village, because this is supposedly the birthplace of the American LBGT activist movement.  Apparently, the movement began as a result of protests in 1969 against police raids on Stonewall Tavern.

obama-gender-neutral-school-bathroom-1-678x381

Frankly, he could have stopped there, and it would have been bad enough, but now he’s taken things further, choosing to put our nation’s children at risk, for the sake of a few confused souls.  Make no mistake, by trying to create a law allowing both males and females into children’s and teen’s bathrooms at school, the president is not only establishing his legacy of wickedness to the nation, he is also endangering this nation’s children.

Advocates for this cursed reform, claim that this new law endangers no one, it simply allows transsexuals to be themselves.  However, by opening this door that has heretofore been closed, we are saying that any man who claims to feel as though he is a woman can enter a female bathroom, to relieve himself, and vice versa.  For the sake of a few, are we willing to put all of our children at risk of pedophiles entering their bathrooms, by claiming to be transsexual?  Yes, there are those who say pedophiles will commit their crimes anyway, and yes, this is true.  However, does this mean we should make it easier for them to commit their crimes against our children?  Think people!  Has this nation completely lost its mind???

Do you really wonder why this nation has such poor choices in the upcoming presidential election?  Have you entirely lost your ability to reason???  Take heed United States of America, or you will suffer just as Israel suffered many years ago.  Take heed, or you too, will topple like Sodom and Gomorrah.  Hear the word the Lord spoke to Isaiah the prophet, and let us recognize the similarities between then, and now…

He said, “Go, and tell this people:

‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive;
Keep on looking, but do not understand.’
10 “Render the hearts of this people insensitive,
Their ears dull,
And their eyes dim,
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
Understand with their hearts,
And return and be healed.

Isaiah 6:9-10  NASB

Does this not sound like America’s current status?  People see what is right and true, but they don’t see.  They hear the truth, but they don’t understand it, because their hearts are insensitive.  They just don’t care about endangering our children.  Their own sinful urges are all that matter to them.  Do you wonder why our only choices for the presidency of this country are Hillary Clinton, a known liar and a criminal, Bernie Sanders, a socialist fool, and Donald Trump, a bully and a womanizer?

21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

Romans 1:21-32  NASB

Beloved readers, if we don’t rise up and cry out against our nation’s foolishness and corruptness, maybe God will still excuse us.  However, when a nation begins sacrificing millions of innocent children, so that others may freely and openly practice their sinful ways in freedom, and we stand idly by, doing nothing, it is inexcusable!  Oh, wait a minute!  We’re already doing that now, aren’t we, by sacrificing millions of unborn babies every year to abortion, so that millions of women are free to sin as they wish, while perverted baby-killing agencies (perhaps better known as abortion agencies), get rich off the sacrifice of these babies.  So, America, what shall we do now?  Once again allow our nation to sacrifice millions more innocent children to the fires of Molech?  Or shall we arise, lock arms, and take this as far as we can, even by pulling our innocent babes out of the schools that allow people of all sexes to enter in the bathrooms?

21 You shall not give any of your offspring to offer them to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the Lord.

Leviticus 18:21  NASB

Beloved readers, hear me when I say that God will not allow this to continue forever.  There is coming a day, when He will step in to avenge the millions and millions of infant lives already taken, and do not think He will overlook the lives of the innocent children that Obama is putting at risk.  Obama will one day answer for his crimes against God, and against His children, and so will we, if we do nothing to protect the innocent.  “But how can I help the children?” you may ask.  I will tell you.  Do not send your children to schools that enforce Obama’s hateful toilet policy.  Write, protest, cry out against it.  Refuse to vote for anyone who endorses these policies.  And take this wise advice from the prophet Micah…

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:8  NASB

Do justice, people.  Do justice.  I was violated by a pedophile, who lived in my own home – my stepfather.  Though she knew what happened, my own mother failed to protect me.  Now, Obama wants to place our nation’s children in harm’s way, and we have an opportunity to take a stand against this great evil.  I praise God for North Carolina’s state government, for their strong stance against this, as well as Texas’ state government.

It grieves me to say that Governor Jack Markel of my home state, Delaware, welcomed this latest policy with arms wide open.  In a statement to the press, he stated, “Our mission to build a welcoming and accepting state that can compete in the global economy requires laws that reflect our values,” Markell declared. “Today, we guarantee that our transgender relatives and neighbors can work hard, participate in our communities and live their lives with dignity and in safety.”

How dare he???  It is not ever a good mission to welcome and accept everyone.  I do not and will not, welcome pedophiles, nor any other sexual deviants to have access to my children, my grandchildren, nor any other child, as long as I have breath.  I know firsthand the damage that can be done to a child who is traumatized by someone’s perverted sexual deviances, and I would never want to even risk something like that happening to another child.  Will pedophiles continue to commit crimes, regardless of this latest grievous law Obama has tried to enact?  Yes, however, that doesn’t mean we should make it easier for them to access innocent children!  How interesting that Obama didn’t enact this law while his girls were in public school…  Oh, that’s right!  His girls go to private schools, and are surrounded by the secret service, who protect them from harm’s way!

The time for silence has passed.  The time for civility has passed.  It is past time for Christians to be “nice.”  As a matter of fact, nowhere in scripture are we told to be nice, although we are commanded to be kind.  The difference between nice and kind is that nice people say and do whatever makes someone happy, whether it’s good or right or true, or not.  Kind people know how to speak the truth in love, even if it is painful to the person hearing them, because that is what’s best.

Today, you have a choice, so be wise.  Will you choose to stand up and protect our nation’s children, and fight for them till the end?  Or will you choose to sit quietly, ignoring what is happening all around us, as our country sinks deeper into wickedness and perversion?

14 “Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Joshua 24:14-15  NASB

© 2016
Cheryl A. Showers

Envy – A Deadly Vice

Envy

by Ben Huberman

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. Not sure how to participate? Here are the steps to get started.


What is envy?  Dictionary.com defines envy this way:


Envya feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, possessions, etc.


Have you ever felt envy?  I sure have, and I can tell you, envy is a horrible, sickening feeling that won’t allow you to rest or feel peace, because someone else has something that you feel they don’t deserve, or more accurately, someone else has something that you believe should be yours. 

Beloved reader, believe me when I tell you that nothing good has ever come from envy.  If you cultivate envy in your heart, you can be sure that bitterness will take root in your heart immediately, as you fixate your thoughts on why you, and not the other person should be the recipient of his/her bounty.  It matters not whether it is material possessions or emotional or spiritual possessions that you envy and desire, because all envy leads to bitterness, and bitterness leads to anger, wrath, hatred, and murderous thoughts.
You see, I know all too well that this is the path envy takes, because for years, I was envious.  And understand this, too, envy may begin with one lone instance and one lone person, but all too soon, it spreads to others as well.  I can remember envying my sister for our parents’ love, and then it spread to others, friends, neighbors, enemies, etc.  All too soon, I even envied people I didn’t personally know, because they had what I longed for and thought that I deserved.
There’s something else you need to know about envy.  When you allow envy to blacken your heart, it also blackens your vision, and all too soon, you are unable to see the truth that is in front of you, because your blackened heart only sees that it has been wronged.  When your heart is in this blinded envious state, you are unable to see that there are others who may offer you the very thing you long for (in my instance, it was love), therefore, you will ignore, overlook or even push away the very ones who truly do love you.
I remember being so envious of others, who were popular, and seemed to have it all, the love of their parents, good looks, riches, intelligence, etc., while I had nothing.  I was so blinded and bitter from my envious thoughts, that I couldn’t recognize the truth from a lie.  If someone claimed to love me, I was so sure they wanted something from me, and wanted to hurt me, that I doubted their love, and pushed them away.

16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.


It was crazy.  I hated my parents for not loving me enough.  I hated my sister, because I blamed her for taking all of my parents’ love away from me.  I hated children at school, who seemed to be loved by teachers, other classmates, and their parents, while I believed that no one loved me.  This crazy envy that had led to bitterness and hatred, also led me to do many other stupid things.

I began to lie, in order to win people over to me.  Now, isn’t that the craziest thing ever?  After all, no one loves a liar.  Jesus even said this to men who had lied and deceived themselves and others (I would have been included in this also).

44 For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.


You see, in my bitterness and envy, I had also become a liar, and I was indeed a child of the devil, who was a liar and a murderer from the beginning, and had no truth within him.  Please don’t think I’m exaggerating, because this is truly the course that envy leads us on.  You see, envy led me on a murderous course, one that could only lead to judgment, condemnation, death and hell…


15 Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.


It wasn’t until I met and fell in love with Jesus, my Lord and Savior, that my eyes were opened to the truth about my petty little life.  I had been living a life filled with envy, anger, malice, hatred, and murder, which had completely blinded me to the truth.  You see, I even had the audacity to feel justified in my bitterness and envy, when the truth was, that I was just as guilty, and in many instances, even more so, than those who had sinned against me.

Proverbs 14-30
As Jesus began revealing these truths to me, through His Holy Spirit, I began to see that I was the one who needed to repent and to seek forgiveness from those I had sinned against, and the first one I needed forgiveness from was God, so I asked Him to forgive me in Jesus’ name.
The next one I needed forgiveness from was my sister.  You see, the things I blamed her and envied her for, weren’t true.  She didn’t steal my parents’ love from me.  She couldn’t control the actions of the adults in our lives as a child, nor could she control our parents’ actions as an adult.  She was a little girl, caught in the middle of what must have been a horrible situation for her too, but envy had blinded me to this truth.  I am truly sorry for the envy, bitterness, hatred and malice I held against my sister for far too long, while at the same time, as crazy as it seems, I loved her like crazy.  You see, I deluded myself into thinking that it was okay for me to be angry and bitter towards her, but it wasn’t okay for anyone else to hurt her.
It took the love of a merciful Savior, to show me that it was never okay for me to have anything, but love for my sister.  And, do you want to know something amazing???  When I allowed Jesus to strip the envy from me, bitterness, hatred, malice and murder left my heart.  In its place was pure, unconditional love for this sister whom I had envied for far too long.
We’ve never had a close relationship, and for that, I share some of the blame.  Maybe, we’ll never have a close relationship, because the fact is we were never encouraged to cultivate one as children.  Indeed, we were often pitted against each other as children and even as adults, but I can honestly say this.  The envy I once felt for my sister is dead and gone, as is all bitterness against her.  She will always be my baby sister, and I will always love her, even if it’s from afar.
Beloved reader, if your heart is filled with envy and bitterness against someone or against many, I urge you to relinquish that envy and bitterness, because it will only destroy your life, and you will miss out on all the love and joy that God has for you.  Please ask for God’s forgiveness, and for the forgiveness of those your envy has harmed, then stand back, and wait for the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, to fall upon you.  Finally, beloved reader, remember this:

 


12 Hatred stirs up quarrels,
    but love makes up for all offenses.

Proverbs 10:12 NLT


© 2016
Cheryl A. Showers

Don’t Tell a Soul!

Evasive Action

by Michelle W.

What’s the most significant secret you’ve ever kept? Did the truth ever come out?


Don’t Tell a Soul!

I grew up in a house of secrecy, where things weren’t what they seemed.  To the world outside, we seemed to be a normal, happy family, but inside, was a different story.  That’s not to say there weren’t happy times, because there were.  However, the abuse within, made my happiness fleeting.

Within the house, there was a lot of fear, anger and bitterness, which was hidden from the rest of the world.  The most significant secret I ever kept was when my stepfather began molesting me as a little girl, and for several years after.

The first time it happened, I did exactly what they tell children to do in school…  I called my mother at work, and told her what he had done to me.  Thus, the biggest secret in our household began.  I called my mother at work, around 3:00 that afternoon, as soon as the man I called “Daddy” left the house.  As soon as Mom answered the phone, I burst into tears and told her what my “Daddy” had done to me.  She spoke softly, so no one else in the office could hear her, “Did he rape you?” she queried.

“No,” I responded as I tried to hold back my tears and listen to her.

“Okay,” Mommy replied.  “Your sister will be home in a few minutes, so you should be alright until I get off work.  He won’t do anything else to you, while she’s there.  Now don’t say anything to her, because you don’t want to hurt her, right?”

“Yes Mommy.  I won’t tell her.”

“Good.  We’ll talk about this more, when I get off work tonight. Okay?”

“Okay, Mommy.”  I was disappointed that she wasn’t going to come home right away and hold me, because I was so scared.  I then began to imagine what would happen when Mommy got home from work.

I pictured her coming home and telling my “Daddy” to leave, and never come back.  Things would be hard, I figured, but I would help my Mommy with the cooking and cleaning, and I would take care of my little sister, too.  It would be hard, but we loved each other, so it would work out.

Isn’t it sad that things seldom turn out the way we hope and imagine they will?  When my mother got home from work, instead of confronting my stepfather with the truth, she kept the fact that she knew the truth, secret.  Instead, she simply told him that I had called her up and told her that I was afraid of him.  He then, kept His secret from her, and responded that I was afraid of him, because I had been bad, and he’d had to spank me.

My mother, then came to my room, and asked if my stepfather had spanked me for being bad.  I was genuinely confused.  “No Mommy.  I told you what happened.”

She nodded her head, and then said, “I don’t think you have anything to worry about anymore.  I told him you’re afraid of him, and he said you’re afraid because he had to spank you.”

“But Mommy, that’s not true!”  I cried.

She nodded and continued, “Now, don’t tell your sister what happened.  You don’t want to hurt her, do you?”

“Okay,” I choked out, but inside, I was crying, “What about me???  Don’t you care about hurting me?”

“One more thing,” my mother said.  “Your daddy wants to talk to you.  Okay?”

What could I say?  Did I really have a choice?  “Okay,” I said, trying not to cry.

Mom walked out, and a few minutes later, my stepfather entered my room.  I had a hard time looking at him.  My eyes stared into the distance, at nothing.  I just couldn’t make myself look at him, as he told me that he had talked to Mom and told her that he had spanked me, and that’s why I was afraid of him.  He told me not to say anything else to Mom or anyone else, because I didn’t want to hurt my sister, did I?  I’d already been through this with Mom, so I just nodded my head in agreement.  He then left my room, and Mom entered the room again.

“I don’t think you have to worry about anything happening again, but if it does, just let me know, and we’ll figure out what to do next, okay?”  I nodded silently, as she continued.  “Let’s not tell anyone about what happened, okay?  You don’t want to destroy our family, do you?”  I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders, as I agreed to keep the horrible secret.  It was abundantly clear that my feelings, and my safety weren’t as important as everyone else.

And so, I kept my secret for more than twenty years, because I didn’t want to destroy my family.  Meanwhile, over the years, I felt as though my life was crumbling around me.  I felt unloved and unlovable, until I met Jesus, who began to rock my world.

As I came to know and love Jesus, He began to speak truth to me.  It was He who told me my worth…

13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

Psalm 139:13-14  NASB

As He began speaking life to me, He also spoke the truth to me.  It was He who led me to let go of the lies and the secrets that had bound me for so many years…

Layout 1

Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

Psalm 51:6  NLT

31 Jesus said to the people who believed in Him, “You are truly My disciples if you remain faithful to My teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:31-32  NLT

Jesus wanted me to let go of all the lies and secrets, and to begin living my life in truth.  I wanted to obey Him, but I was extremely frightened.  After living for most of my life shrouded by secrets and lies, I was afraid to let go of them, and begin living a life of truth.  What if I destroyed the family?  Finally, after living a life of secrecy and lies for most of my life, with the love of the Lord enveloping me, I broke the vow of secrecy that I had been forced to agree to, as a child.

I was terribly afraid that when I revealed the truth, I would destroy my family, but it didn’t.  When I first revealed the truth, my family drew closer together, in their anger and rage against me.  It broke my heart, as it became clear that my pain didn’t matter to them.  Yet, although my family turned against me, God was closer to me than ever before, as were my husband and my children…

Even if my father and mother abandon me,
    the Lord will hold me close.

Psalm 27:10  NLT

I can truly say that during that difficult time, God remained close to me.  And though my family forsook me, He held me close.  Eventually, over time, I was able to make peace with my family, though my stepfather never repented or apologized for the sin he had committed against me.  He went to his grave without apologizing to me, even though he had claimed that I had caused him to molest me.

Now, twenty years after revealing that terrible secret that I had held onto for so long, I can honestly say that I am thankful the Lord helped me release that secret.  You see, as long as I held onto that secret, I also held onto the lies that I had been told…

… the lie that it was my fault that I was molested.

… the lie that if I told the truth, I would destroy my family.

… the lie that my feelings didn’t matter.

… the lie that I was unimportant.

I no longer hold onto secrets and lies, because I’ve been set free from the terrible secrets and lies that destroyed my life for so many long years.  That’s why I’m so grateful to Jesus for setting me free…

32 “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:32  NLT

36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.

John 8:36  NLT

© 2016
Cheryl A. Showers

Obedience = Love/How to Be Filled With the Holy Spirit

Spirit filled

18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.

Ephesians 5:18-19  NLT

The first part of Ephesians 5:18, (Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life…”) is a no-brainer.  We’ve all known and loved people who allow drunkenness to ruin their lives and the lives of their loved ones as well.  Too much liquor over a short time, can at the very least, cause people to act foolishly, and at the very most, cause death, either from alcohol poisoning, or by drinking and driving.  Drunkenness leads to a loss of self-control, and clouds one’s mind, leading to broken families, broken marriages and much pain, to oneself and to those who care about that person.  This is a warning that all should heed.

Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.

Ephesians 5:18b-19

… Be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.  Be filled with the Holy Spirit…  What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit and how do we get filled with the Holy Spirit?  On the night before He was crucified, Jesus told His disciples how to be filled with the Holy Spirit…

john14_15-16

15 If you love Me, obey My commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, Who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it isn’t looking for Him and doesn’t recognize Him. But you know Him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you. 18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. 19 Soon the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me. Since I live, you also will live. 20 When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you. 21 Those who accept My commandments and obey them are the ones who love Me. And because they love Me, My Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal Myself to each of them.”

John 14:15-21  NLT

Let’s examine this passage closely, and see what Jesus says about being filled with the Holy Spirit.  The very first thing we must do, according to Jesus is to love Him and obey His commandments.  Let’s ask ourselves, “Do I love Jesus?”  If we do, we will obey His commandments.  These aren’t my words or interpretation, they are the words of Jesus…

15 “If you love Me, obey My commandments.

John 14:15  NLT

Those are powerful words.  Obedience isn’t popular these days.  Perhaps obedience has never been popular, but it is absolutely necessary, especially if we claim to  love Jesus.  Do you love Jesus?  If you do, obey Him.  Do you hate Him?  Then don’t obey Him.  It’s just that simple.  Those who truly love Jesus, obey Him.  Jesus makes this very clear to us.

22 Judas (not Judas Iscariot, but the other disciple with that name) said to him, “Lord, why are You going to reveal Yourself only to us and not to the world at large?”

23 Jesus replied, All who love Me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and We will come and make Our home with each of them. 24 Anyone who doesn’t love Me will not obey Me. And remember, My words are not My own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent Me. 25 I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. 26 But when the Father sends the Advocate as My representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—He will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”

John 14:22-26  NLT

A lot of people say they love Jesus, but their lives tell another story.  All who truly love Jesus will do what He says.  Again, those aren’t my words.  They are the words of Jesus.  Anyone who doesn’t love Him, will not obey Him.  These words force us to examine our own hearts.  Do I obey Jesus?  Or do I rebel against Him?  What are Jesus’ commandments?  An expert in religious law once asked Jesus this question:

36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”

37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:36-40  NLT

1-the-greatest-commandment-rose-santuci-sofranko

Do we love the Lord, our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength?  According to Jesus, this is the first and greatest command.  Therefore, if we love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, we will obey His commandments, and that means that not only will we love Him, but we will love our neighbors as we love ourselves. 

So, who is our neighbor?  When He was asked that question, by an expert of religious law, Jesus answered by telling him the story of the good Samaritan, who showed mercy to an injured man, who normally would have been his enemy; while those who should have loved him and cared for him, left him to die.  (See Luke 10:30-37)  Therefore, according to Jesus, our enemies are our neighbors, and we must show them love and mercy.

So, let’s ask ourselves, “Do I really love Jesus?  Do I truly want to be filled with the Holy Spirit?”  If your answer to these questions is yes, then we must obey His commands.  We must love our neighbor and our enemy, as we love ourselves…

43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Before we continue with our study of being filled with the Holy Spirit, let’s examine our own hearts.  This command that Jesus gives us is not an easy command.  It isn’t easy to obey this command to love our enemies. 

I’ve heard many people preach and teach about loving your enemy, and I’ve heard a lot of false teaching about it, so I want to be sure that we truly understand Jesus’ command.  The best example for knowing how to love our enemy comes from none other than Jesus.  Let’s see how He handled His enemies, beginning with His betrayer, Judas Iscariot…

Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that His hour had come to leave this world and return to His Father. He had loved His disciples during His ministry on earth, and now He loved them to the very end. It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had given Him authority over everything and that He had come from God and would return to God. So He got up from the table, took off His robe, wrapped a towel around His waist, and poured water into a basin. Then He began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel He had around Him.

John 13:1-5  NLT

Fully aware that Judas Iscariot had betrayed Him, Jesus still chose to lovingly wash his feet.  Later, after the foot washing was done, Jesus spoke about His betrayer…

18 “I am not saying these things to all of you; I know the ones I have chosen. But this fulfills the Scripture that says, ‘The one who eats My food has turned against Me.’ 19 I tell you this beforehand, so that when it happens you will believe that I am the Messiah. 20 I tell you the truth, anyone who welcomes My messenger is welcoming Me, and anyone who welcomes Me is welcoming the Father who sent Me.”

21 Now Jesus was deeply troubled, and He exclaimed, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray Me!”

John 13:18-21  NLT

Think about what Jesus must have felt as He knelt down on His knees to wash Judas Iscariot’s feet, knowing that this man, whom He had loved and cared for, was His betrayer.  What strength Jesus showed, in kneeling before him, and washing his feet, just as He had washed the feet of His other disciples.  What kindness He showed Judas, by not revealing His betrayer’s identity to the other disciples…

22 The disciples looked at each other, wondering whom He could mean. 23 The disciple Jesus loved was sitting next to Jesus at the table. 24 Simon Peter motioned to him to ask, “Who’s He talking about?” 25 So that disciple leaned over to Jesus and asked, “Lord, who is it?”

26 Jesus responded, “It is the one to whom I give the bread I dip in the bowl.” And when He had dipped it, He gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. 27 When Judas had eaten the bread, Satan entered into him. Then Jesus told him, “Hurry and do what you’re going to do.” 28 None of the others at the table knew what Jesus meant. 29 Since Judas was their treasurer, some thought Jesus was telling him to go and pay for the food or to give some money to the poor. 30 So Judas left at once, going out into the night.

John 13:22-30  NLT

Whenever I read John 13, I can’t help but marvel at the great love Jesus showed to His betrayer.  Although He knew very well that Judas was a thief (John 12:6), as well as His betrayer, Jesus treated Him with great lovingkindness and mercy.  Just think about it, the closer you are to someone, the more painful the betrayal.  Jesus loved His disciples like brothers, and this brother’s betrayal cost Jesus His life.  Yet, even knowing this, Jesus didn’t shout his name out, so the other disciples would perhaps take care of Judas Iscariot on their own, and get rid of  him, using any means necessary.  Instead, Jesus lived what He taught.  He lived a life of love and obedience.

What about you?  Have you ever been betrayed?  Have you been stolen from, lied to, used or abused?  Do you love your abuser?  Or do you hold on to your pain, hating those who have hurt you and betrayed you?  Do you want to be filled with the Holy Spirit?  Then choose to obey Jesus’ commandments, starting with His command to love…

Father, I pray that You would touch the heart of every person who reads these words, and that You would fill our hearts with Your love.  Help us to love those who don’t love us.  Help us to love those who love those who have harmed us.  Help us to love others, just as You have loved us.  In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

© 2016
Cheryl A. Showers

Duggar’s 19 Kids and Counting Canceled: My Response to the Revelation of Child Molestation Committed by Josh Duggar & His Family’s Response to the Revelation

Josh Duggar

“Twelve years ago, as a young teenager I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends. I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life. I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption.”  (Josh Duggar – May 21, 2015)


If you live in the U.S., and you have access to newspapers, magazines, the internet or television, then by now, you’ve no doubt heard about Josh Duggar’s shocking statement, in response to allegations of child molestation.  Many people have commented and weighed in on this subject, with some valid points and some foolish ones.  This is an extremely difficult situation, for the victims of Duggar’s actions, first and foremost.  It is also extremely difficult for his parents, the siblings who weren’t molested, as well as Josh’s wife and children.  Many people have already cast judgment on Josh Duggar and his parents, and while I can’t judge the Duggar’s hearts, what can be judged is their behavior at the time Josh molested five different girls, and their behavior now.  In judging their behavior, let us remember that it is the responsibility of Christians, to help our brothers and sisters in Christ, when they fall into sin…


Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.  (Galatians 6:1  NLT)

20 “If righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and ignore the obstacles I put in their way, they will die. And if you do not warn them, they will die in their sins. None of their righteous acts will be remembered, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 21 But if you warn righteous people not to sin and they listen to you and do not sin, they will live, and you will have saved yourself, too.”  (Ezekiel 3:20-21  NLT)


As a former victim of child molestation, I feel compelled to share my thoughts on this indredibly painful topic.  First, I’d like to address the announcement that Josh made.  One thing that jumps out to me in his account is the fact that Josh appears to tiptoe around the subject.  While he comes across as sounding regretful and repentant, there is a part of me that questions Josh’s sincerity.  If you glance at Josh’s statement, he seems to address the issue, but read it again.

Never once does Josh confess his sin, which is all over the tabloids.  Not once, does Josh admit to molesting anyone or committing incest, not to mention pedophilia.  Instead, he merely says, “I acted inexcusably…”  A teenager acting inexcusably could be guilty of any number of offenses, ranging from minor ones to major ones.  Perhaps, you think I’m being too picky, and that Josh’s disclosure of his “inexcusable actions” is enough.  However, the fact is that he hasn’t said enough.  In his statement to the press, Josh never really confessed to the crimes of molestation, pedophilia and incest that he allegedly committed.  Is it necessary for him to say the words?  Absolutely.  Just as an alcoholic needs to confess that he/she is an alcoholic, so too, a pedophile and a child molester must admit that he/she is a pedophile and a child molester.


If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (1 John 1:9  NASB)


According to scripture, we must confess our sins in order to be forgiven.  According to dictionary.com, the definition of confess is:


verb (used with object)

  1. to acknowledge oavow (a fault, crime, misdeed, weakness, etc.) by way of revelation.
  2. to own or admit as true:
    I must confess that I haven’t read the book.
  3. to declare or acknowledge (one’s sins)especially to God or a priest in order to obtain absolution.
  4. (of a priest) to hear the confession of (a person).
  5. to acknowledge one’s belief or faith in; declare adherence to.
  6. to reveal by circumstances.
  verb (used without object)
  1. to make a confession; plead guilty; own:  to confess to a crime.
  2. to make a confession of sins, especially to a priest.
  3. (of a priest) to hear confession.

According to the above definition, when Josh Duggar gave his press report, he did not confess to, or own the crime he committed.  He only admitted to acting inexcusably.  Many of us have acted inexcusably, but our inexcusable actions did not include child molestation or incest.  Josh Duggar needs to own and confess what he has done, without hiding behind words that are meant to minimize the crime, so that it doesn’t sound as bad as it is.

Another thing that greatly disturbed me when I read Josh’s statement was this comment:


“… I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life…” (Josh Duggar – May 21, 2015)


Perhaps you’re wondering how I could possibly find this statement disturbing, but I urge you to read his entire statement, and take note on whom he focused.  Josh understood that if he continued down that road, he would end up ruining his life.  He’s absolutely right.  He may well have ruined his life with those actions, but what about the lives of his victims?

Regardless of whether he continued on that path, he certainly, at the very least, damaged the lives of his victims.  And who, besides God and Josh, truly knows how many other victims there were?  We do know that Josh’s actions have already harmed the lives of at least five, not including the rest of his brothers and sisters, his parents, his wife, and the babysitter and her family, as well.

I also found it terribly disturbing that in their interview on  The Kelly Files,  Mr. and Mrs. Duggar repeatedly minimized the seriousness of their son’s crime against his victims, two of whom were their own daughters!

duggars_kelly


J.B. Duggar:  “… And the girls, we talked to them, and they didn’t know that anything had happened because they were asleep…”

Kelly:  “Like when you went to bed at night during that time frame, were you scared?  Were you worried?  You know, he’s 14, he’s having this problem.  What’s going to happen when we go to sleep?”

J.B. Duggar:  “Right.  Nothing ever happened like that again in the girls’ bedrooms after that.”

Kelly:  “Ok.”

J.B. Duggar: “Ok.  So, we had safeguards that protected them from that.  But there was another incident where — two different incidents where the girls were, like, laying on the couch, and it was — he had touched, like, over the couch and actually touched their breast while they were asleep.  And so –“

M. Duggar:  “Over their clothes.”

J.B. Duggar:  “– over their clothes. And so it was a very difficult situation. But as we talked to other parents and different ones since then, a lot of families have said that they’ve had similar things happen in their families. And so — I mean, this is, for us, of course, this is public shame that our son did this back 12, 13 years ago…”

J.B. Duggar:  “… All of theseagain, this was not rape or anything like that, this was like touching somebody over their clothes. There were a couple incidents where he touched them under their clothes, but it was like a few seconds and then he came to us and was crying and told us what happened, and it was after that third time he came to us is where we really felt like, you know what?…”

Kelly:  “And we’ll going to get to that in one second. The subsequent incidents after the first one involved daughters who were awake, at least a couple of them?”

J. B. DUGGAR:  “There was a couple, yes. And they didn’t really understand, though, what happened.

Kelly:  “Yes. What –“

M. Duggar:  “It was more his heart, his intent. He knew that it was wrong. But in theirs they weren’t even aware. They were like, you know, it wasn’t — to them they didn’t probably even understand that it was an improper touch.”

Kelly:  “I know that the ultimate one before you really got help involved a very young daughter, and I’ll avoid the age because I don’t want to identify anyone specifically, but a single digit. I mean, what was that like for you to hear? You know, one, you must have thought for some time this is a pubescent boy, I don’t know what he’s going through, but he’s testing. But when it moves to a young daughter –“

J. B. Duggar:  “Right. At that point, that’s when we pulled him out of the house and we said, he can’t be here. And so, we pulled him out and then, he went through working with that man –“

Kelly:  “Yes. He goes through counseling.”

J. B. Duggar:  “Yes.”

Kelly:  “And then when he was done with the counseling, this is not like a licensed therapist, it’s somebody, a Christian-based –“

J. B. Duggar:  “Christian based. But I’ll tell you why.”

Kelly:  “Treatment facility…”


Kelly:  “… I’m asking you more as the father of your girls than as the father of Josh. You know, it must have been very hard to look at your little one and know the behavior had been ongoing, as difficult as your position was.”

J. B. Duggar: “Right. I was so thankful, though, that Josh came and told us. And our girls, even though this was a very bad situation, as we’ve talked to other families who have had, you know, other things happen, a lot of their stories were even worse…


To read the entire transcript of the Duggar’s interview, please click this link:

kelly_duggar_060415

The repeated minimization of Josh Duggar’s criminal actions against his sisters is disturbing.  In much the same way that King David, of Old Testament times, ignored the brutal assault that his son, Amnon, committed against his half-sister, Tamar, the Duggar’s also appear to ignore and minimize the traumatizing effects of their son, Josh’s, sexual assault against their daughters.  Indeed, protecting and defending their son’s reputation seems to be more important to them, than acknowledging the seriousness of the crime committed against their daughters.

As a matter of fact, the following statement, made by J.B. Duggar, shows just how out of touch with reality they are…


J.B. DUGGAR: I think you actually said pedophile, and a pedophile is an adult that preys on children. Josh was actually 14 and just turned 15 when he did what he did, and I think the legal definition was 16 and up for being an adult preying on a child. So he was a child preying on a child.

KELLY: You do not view Josh as a pedophile?

J.B. DUGGAR: No.


Just to clarify, Wikipedia provides this definition of pedophilia:

Pedophilia or paedophilia is psychiatric disorder in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children, generally age 11 years or younger.[1][2] As a medical diagnosis, specific criteria for the disorder extend the cut-off point for prepubescence to age 13.[1] A person who is diagnosed with pedophilia must be at least 16 years of age, but adolescents must be at least five years older than the prepubescent child for the attraction to be diagnosed as pedophilia.[1][2]


While it may be true that Josh committed these crimes when he was between the ages of fourteen and fifteen, at least one of the children was more than five years younger than he was.  Furthermore, what difference does one year or two make in a situation like this?  Let’s remember that Josh molested one of his sister’s, who was under ten years old.

The Duggar’s appeared to be more concerned about the release of Josh’s records, than the crimes he had committed against his sisters.  Quite frankly, this whole situation is troubling to me, though many Duggar’s fans claim that they are being unfairly attacked because of their Christianity.  I’m a Christian, and I find both Josh’s actions and their response to his actions terribly troublesome.

I believe the Duggars mishandled this situation from the very beginning.  Josh Duggar should be on the sexual predators list, just like all others who commit the same crimes.  Also, because of the nature of his crimes, he should never be left alone with children, who are unable to protect themselves.

Perhaps you think I’m being too hard on Josh Duggar and his family, but I would suggest that they did not then, and still have not taken this situation seriously enough.  I love the Lord, and I’m not questioning their faith in God, but consider this… 

Suppose there was a really nice young man at your church, who taught Sunday School, or worked in the nursery, and his background was just like Josh Duggar’s?  Would you, as a parent, feel comfortable leaving your children in the care of this man, who says he is a Christian, and he’s turned his life around, or would you remove your child from his class?  Knowing this person’s background, I believe that any parent who left their children in the care of someone who had committed incest and pedophelia, would be grossly negligent.  

Even if this person had totally turned his life around and given his heart to the Lord, I would not leave my child alone with him, because even after we are saved, we still struggle with temptation, and though I pray Josh has truly changed, to risk a child’s well being, when only God truly knows his heart would be a sin.  You see, up until very recently, this was something that was hidden in the dark, and it wasn’t Josh who brought it into the light.  He was content to leave it in the darkness, and because God hasn’t revealed whether or not it is now safe for Josh to be alone with children, I reiterate that it would be sinful and grossly negligent to leave a child alone with him.

19-kids-and-counting

Because of this scandal, TLC has now cancelled the Duggar’s hit television series, 19 Kids and Countingand I believe it was the right decision.  While I understand that many Christians love the Duggar’s show, and they see a double standard here, believing that this cancellation is an attack on Christianity, again, I disagree.  Should the Duggar’s be held to a lesser accountability than other television stars, who have fallen in disgrace due to their sins?  Should they be allowed to continue to air their show, when Bill Cosby, for instance, who has been accused of drugging and raping numerous women over the years, has had his syndicated series’ cancelled?  I would have to say no.  

Friends, let us remember that we, as followers of Christ, are held to a higher degree of accountability than the world is, and although we may have sinned and committed crimes before our salvation, we are not exempt from the consequences of those sins and crimes, just because we are born again.  Accepting Christ as our Savior does not give us a “Get out of Jail Free” card.  What we receive instead, is a much greater gift, instead.  For, when we are saved and delivered from our sins, we receive eternal life, and a “Get out of Hell Free” card.

I won’t deny that this scandal tripped many triggers in me, due to my past.  However, I’m not condemning Josh Duggar or his parents.  I truly do pray that he has turned his life around with help from the Lord.  I also pray that Mr. and Mrs. Duggar will stop minimizing the incest and molestation committed by Josh against their children and their babysitter, and face the true scope of their son’s sin, and the harm that was done to the victims, so that all of them can truly heal from their pain.  

As for my fellow believers, let us all agree to pray for deliverance and healing for everyone who was involved in this crime, both the victims, their families, and the perpetrator and his family. 

© 2015
Cheryl A. Showers

The Evil All Around Us

The evil all around us permeates the atmosphere, invading homes, neighborhoods, cities, towns, municipalities, states, regions and nations with fear and angst, deception and theft, as well as hatred and murder.  From racist cops to criminals and terrorists, including many others in between, evil is all around us.  How did this evil get here, and who is responsible for it? 

While most people like to believe that mankind is basically good, with only a few who are capable of evil, I subscribe to another, less popular viewpoint.  It is my belief that since Adam and Eve partook of the fruit, forbidden to them by God Almighty, the Creator of mankind, everyone birthed thereafter, was born with a sinful nature, which makes each one of us susceptible to evil.  Indeed, as the knowledge of man increases, so does his capacity for evil, and it is the sin, into which we are all born, that destines us to death. 

Image Credit: nymphschampions.wicki.com
Image Credit:
nymphschampions.wicki.com

Many, who don’t ascribe to my views often pose this question to those who believe as I do, “If all of mankind is truly born into sin, then how can there be any good people?  The answer to that question is that the Creator of all humanity has given everyone a free will, which enables them to choose whether to succumb to their sinful nature, or choose to do good.  Furthermore, He gave people (who, because of their sinful nature, were all condemned to die once, and after that, receive judgment), the option to receive the free gift of salvation and redemption, if they would simply choose to have faith in Him and His Son, Jesus.  However, as simple as that sounds, our humanity rebels against the notion that our salvation rests on something as simple as having faith in the One who created us.

When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. 
(Romans 5:12  NLT) 

Adam’s single act of disobedience to God’s command led to the first murder, which, incidentally, was also the first death, when his and Eve’s firstborn son, Cain, killed his younger brother, Abel, in a jealous rage.  I’m certain, that when Adam and Eve partook of the fruit, in an act of rebellion against their Creator, they never dreamed that this single act of disobedience would lead to the devastating loss of not just one, but two sons.  For when Cain slew his brother, Abel, not only was Abel lost to them, but Cain was as well, for the Lord punished him by cursing the ground he walked on, forbidding it to yield crops to him.  He also banished Cain from the land, and condemned him to walk the land as a homeless wanderer.  From Cain’s vicious and murderous attack on Abel, man grew more and more sinful, and more and more violent.  If Adam’s one act of disobedience could have such devastating effects, that have continued to grow more and more horrible, with each generation that followed, how do we effect the world and the people around us, when we reject our Creator and His commands?

Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. 
(Ecclesiastes 7:20  ESV)  

Image Credit: truth459.blogspot.com
Image Credit:
truth459.blogspot.com

Because each of us is born with a sinful nature, sin is instinctual to us.  Children need to be taught what good is, and how to do it.  Yet, no one has ever had to teach a child how to sin, because that comes naturally to us.  Have you ever noticed that when a child begins to crawl around and walk, discovering the world around him, he immediately begins discovering the many dangers around him?  Though we try to baby proof our homes, there is always some danger that the toddler discovers, that causes our hearts to pound in fear for him.  It is during this time, that we begin to tell the little one, “No,” and the child quickly learns what “No” means.  However, although that child knows that it is wrong to touch certain objects or to go to certain places within (or sometimes even outside) of the home, for some reason, the child seems to gravitate towards those things.  Did you ever wonder why that is?  It is because that baby, just like every other baby born after Adam ate the forbidden fruit, is born with a sinful nature, and it is the responsibility of the parents and those who are involved in that child’s life to teach him what is good, and how to do good.

Though all of us have different weaknesses, every one of us has been guilty of some wrongdoing, and no one had to instruct us on how to do the wrong thing.  Indeed, no one even needs to tell us that it is wrong.  For just as we are all born with a sinful nature, we are also born with the knowledge of right and wrong, because God, in His infinite mercy, has written His law on the hearts of mankind, so that no one can truly say, “I didn’t know my actions were wrong.”  In fact, that very law that is written on our hearts not only checks our actions, but even our very thoughts, so that we also feel guilty, when we are simply thinking about those things that are wrong.

14 Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know His law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. 15 They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.
(Romans 2:14-15  NLT)

“If this is true,” some may ask, “then why do so many people commit such heinous crimes, without feeling any guilt?”  The answer to this question is very simple, yet very profound.  For although we may feel guilty when we first commit a sin, the more we engage in that or other sins, the less guilty we will feel about it, until, eventually, our conscience is seared. 

12 Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters.  Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God.  13 You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.
(Hebrews 3:12-13  NLT)

This is true for all sins, no matter how big or small they may seem to be.  For God does not measure the size of a sin to determine one’s guilt or innocence.  God hates ALL sin, because sin is deadly.  It’s like cancer, killing and destroying every cell within us, until we, like every man, woman and child, since Adam sinned against God, finally die.  For those, whose hearts are hardened against God when they die, there will be no other chance for redemption.  Those, who choose to believe in their Creator, and His Son, Jesus, will receive eternal life, though their earthly bodies have died.

Yet, in spite of God’s great mercy and compassion on mankind, the overwhelming majority of mankind will choose to reject their Creator, choosing, instead, to follow their own sinful nature.  Although God has written His law on the hearts of humanity, they will still choose to go to hell, rather than heaven.  Indeed, despite the knowledge that is written on every heart, they will still choose to ignore that knowledge and follow the road to destruction.  They even make jokes about it, saying, “Well, if I go to hell, I won’t be alone.  All of my friends will be right there with me.” 

13 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate.  The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.  14 But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” 
(Matthew 7:13-14  NLT)

When I look at the world we live in today, it both saddens and sickens me to see how much evil has increased since I was a child.  When I was a child, there were the occasional fights in school, talking too much in class and chewing gum.  Most crimes were limited to big cities, which were far away, and though we had bomb drills, and lived during the Cold War, we had no fear, for who would ever be foolhardy enough to dare attacking us on American soil?

12 Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. 
(Matthew 24:12  NLT)  

Now, I am fifty-four years old, and in today’s world, children and their parents fear they might not come home from school, alive, each day.  We now live in a world, where children plot and kill their parents, and where not only fathers, but also mothers, murder, abuse and molest their own children.  There are also police, who are corrupted by power, and use it to commit violence and homicides against both innocent citizens and unarmed criminals, thereby violating their duty to protect and defend.  Though they have made an oath to heal to the best of their ability, and to do no harm, doctors and nurses murder the very patients they have sworn to care for.  Yes, things like this have been happening since Adam’s rebellion, yet it is becoming more and more prevalent, and the crimes that people commit against one another are becoming more and more heinous.

Image Credit: openwalls.com
Image Credit:
openwalls.com

As we look at the evil all around us, and perhaps even within us, it would be easy to lose heart.  Yet, the very God who created us, also loves us with an unfathomable love, and He knew, long before He created the heavens and the earth, that Adam would sin against Him, thereby ushering sin into His beautiful creation.  Therefore, because sin is so deadly, God had a plan worked out for the redemption of mankind, who was created in His image, even as He breathed life into Adam and Eve.

For the penalty for sin is death, and because sin is so deadly, there are no exceptions.  Whether you eat a forbidden fruit, or whether you destroy the life of another human being, the requirement for the atonement of sin is the death of the sinner, for the sins he has committed.  Yet, despite the evil all around us, God’s love for mankind was so great that He made a way to redeem the life of man…

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” 
(John 3:16  NLT)  

God knew the depths to which the depravity of man would sink, still, even so, His love for us was so great, that He was willing to sacrifice His only Son, so that we could live.  He knew that Nero would be born, and that he would commit terrible, torturous atrocities against those who followed Christ.  He knew that Adolf Hitler would one day, destroy the lives of untold millions, and in the process, slay six million Jewish men, women and children.  God knew that Osama bin Ladin would rise up and kill thousands, in the name of his false god, Allah, as he spewed out violence and hatred.  God also knows that one day the antichrist will rise up against Christ and His people, torturing and killing countless men, women and children.  Still, God chose to give the life of His one and only Son, so that you and I could live and be with Him in eternity.  And don’t think that Christ had no say in the matter, for He made it very clear that His love, is so great, that He laid His life down for us willingly…

17 “The Father loves Me because I sacrifice My life so I may take it back again.  18 No one can take My life from Me.  I sacrifice it voluntarily.  For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again.  For this is what My Father has commanded.” 
(John 10:17-18  NLT) 

Yes, it is true that we live in a world with evil all around us, yet we don’t have to be discouraged or afraid.  For Jesus has told us in His word that as long as we live here on earth, there will be pain and tribulation, but we mustn’t fear, for He has overcome the world.  In fact, the word of God also tells us something else that many Christians in the western hemisphere have chosen to ignore…

12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.  13 Instead, be very glad – for these trials make you partners with Christ in His suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world.

14 If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you.  15 If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs.  16 But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian.  Praise God for the privilege of being called by His name!  17 For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household.  And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News?  18 And also, “If the righteous are barely saved, what will happen to godless sinners?” 

19 So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for He will never fail you.
(1 Peter 4:12-19  NLT)

Sadly, not only do these “leaders of the church” ignore this passage, they also accuse those who suffer of having weak faith, causing believers to doubt their own faith in God, sometimes even causing them to turn away from the Lord, because they feel hopeless.  Those so called “leaders,” who make these false claims that someone’s suffering is their own fault, because a true child of God would claim healing and walk in it, will be held accountable for every false statement they have made in the name of God.  Indeed, the blood of every man, woman and child they have caused to stumble and turn away from God, will be on their hands.  For those who do these things, causing emotional pain and spiritual death, are just as evil as those who cause physical harm to another human being, and God will hold them accountable for every sin they committed in the name of Jesus.

As I stated earlier, there is evil all around us.  The spirit of evil dwells in the hearts and souls of many men and women, and it also exists in Satan and his demons.  Even so, when the enemies of our souls attack us, remember this, and take hope; though the evil all around us can steal our bodies and our minds, those who belong to Christ, should have no fear, for the evil cannot touch our spirits, which belong to Christ, and will one day arise from the grave in triumphant victory, clothed in our heavenly bodies.  Therefore, when you read of evil in the news, or watch it on the television, fear not!  For if God is for us, who can be against us?

It’s Not a Black Thing or a White Thing – It’s a Jesus Thing

The following is a letter that I posted on Facebook this morning, and I believe it’s important enough to post here as well, for it is vital to the life of our church and nation:

Greetings to ALL My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

To each and every man, woman and child, who has surrendered themselves to God in Christ Jesus our Lord, out of a heart filled with love and gratitude to our Savior, who willingly paid the penalty of death for your sins and for mine, I greet you in the name of Jesus.  I’m writing this letter to you because my heart is filled with love and grief for the church, and for this beautiful nation that God has blessed us with.  I have always felt honored and blessed to live in this great nation, which was founded on the principles that…

… all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness… (Declaration of Independence)


I believe with all my heart that this is true, not because the Declaration of Independence says so, but because the bible tells me so…

26 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.  28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female.  For you are all one in Christ Jesus.  29 And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.  (Galatians 3:26-29  NLT)

Beloved readers, do you understand what this means? It means that once you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you become a child of God and a joint heir with Jesus, Himself!  It doesn’t matter whether you are rich or poor, a servant or a king, black or white or any other shade in between, you are a child of God, who loves each of His children equally.  It doesn’t matter whether you are very intelligent, or whether you have a learning disability, your Daddy (Abba/Father) loves you just as much as He loves His other children.  It doesn’t matter if your parents loved you more or less than your siblings, because God is your Father now, and He is just.  He loves you just as much as He loves me.  He loves you just as much as He loved King David, the Apostle Paul, Peter, James and John.  Do you understand?

If you understand this, you need to understand something else.  When you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and you become God’s child, you also gain some new siblings, who are also children of God.  Do you know what this means?  It means that you have brothers and sisters from every race and culture, and because they are your siblings, you have to love them, no matter what, because Daddy loves them, and if Daddy thinks they’re worthy of His love, don’t you think they’re worthy of yours too?

Now, I’ve told you that I’m writing this letter because my heart is filled with love and grief for the church, and for our wonderful nation, and I’ve established a very good case for why we should love ALL of our brothers and sisters in the Lord, so now, I’m going to take this love thing a step further, before I share my grief with you.  Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord, not only are we supposed to love our brothers and sisters, but according to the bible, we’re supposed to love our enemies too…

43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”  (Matthew 5:43-48  NLT)

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”  (John 3:16  NLT)

After reading these words of Jesus, it is very clear that God expects us to love each other AND our enemies. There is no wiggle room, no way to escape this.  And, beloved reader, please allow me to make this perfectly clear, for it is of the utmost importance that you understand.  Jesus isn’t saying, “Try to love your enemies.”  He isn’t saying, “Love good people.”  Jesus is COMMANDING us to LOVE our enemies.  Do you still need more evidence?

9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me. Remain in My love. 10 When you obey My commandments, you remain in My love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in His love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is My commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  (John 15:9-13  NLT)

14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  (Matthew 6:14-15  NLT)

Do you want to be forgiven?  Then forgive ALL who hurt you.  Do you want to remain in God’s love?  Then love ALL mankind.

This brings me to the reason for my grief.  We are all aware of the deep rooted racial anger that exists in our country.  It is like a dark plague that is killing the church and this once great nation.  You may ask why I say it is killing the church, and I will tell you, but first, I will remind you of my love for each and every one of you, my beloved readers, friends and enemies.  Some may read what I am saying and take offense, and I can live with that. However, one of the things that truly grieves me is that some of my brothers and sisters in the Lord may take offense, and it is this very thing that is killing the church.

Let’s talk about what is going on in our country, not as black or white people, but as Jesus’ people, okay?  You see, when we became children of God, we took on HIS identity.  I am no longer defined by my race or ethnicity, and neither are you, brothers and sisters.  I am now called “Christian,” and when I interact with people of the world, I want them to see Christ in me, not the white in me.  Also, when I look at my brothers and sisters of different races, I don’t see the color or lack of color in them, I look to see the same Jesus, who lives in me, in them too.  When I see the Christ in you, my beloved brothers and sisters, how can I help but love you?

Not only that, but when I look at those who don’t know Christ, it isn’t their color that I care about, it’s their heart.  My heart is filled with love for those who don’t know Christ, because I know the One who could set them free from their anger and bitterness against people of different races.  I grew up in a racist household, and I know firsthand that racism breeds bitterness, and that terrible root of bitterness chokes the life out of every other relationship the bitter person has.

Church, the reason I’m grieving is because WE are supposed to be different from the world.  WE are the ones who are supposed to be setting the examples for the world, and yet, how many of us have found ourselves caught up in the anger that is all around us?  How many of us are part of the problem, instead of trying to be part of the solution?  What if God’s people united as ONE, just as Jesus prayed we would be, and what if we humbled ourselves and prayed, and turned from our wicked ways?  And what if we joined together, seeking God’s face, and asking Him to bring unity and love to our land?  I believe God would hear our cry and He would heal our land.  Do you know why?  Because the bible says so.

14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.  (2 Chronicles 7:14  NKJV)

But sadly, something is preventing us from uniting and praying together, and do you know what that something is?  This may be offensive to you, but the words I write are written in love.  My heart’s desire is for God to heal our land, and in order for this to happen, we must humble ourselves, but PRIDE is preventing this from happening.  You see, there are some among us, who are proud of our race.

Now, I have to be honest with you, and if it offends you, I encourage you to study God’s word, and pray about it.  You see, there are some white people who are proud of their lack of pigment.  There are also some black people who are very proud of their dark pigment.  Now, here’s where I stand on the matter.  I’m white, but I’m neither proud nor ashamed of it.  I didn’t choose to be white.  In fact, I had nothing to do with it, because long before He laid the foundations of the earth, God had determined that I would be a white woman.  He’s the One who carefully formed me, and knitted me together in my mother’s womb, and for reasons that only He knows, He didn’t bless me with as much melanin as some of my darker brothers and sisters.  That’s okay.  I don’t feel slighted.  In fact, in the whole scheme of eternity, my lack of melanin, and someone else’s abundance of melanin is really unimportant.  After all, the current tent that I dwell in is only temporary, and at nearly fifty-four years old, it’s starting to break down.  In fact, one day in the not so distant future, it will finally wear out, and my spirit will leave this body.  At some point in time that only God knows, I will eventually receive an eternal body (my forever body), which will never wear out and die, so why should I care about the color of my current flesh?

Indeed, people of God, why should any of us care about our skin tone?  You don’t have to tell me the answer to my next question, but it is something you need to pray and talk to our Father about it.  Do you have white pride?  Do you have black pride?  Are you prideful of your race?  If so, you need to lay that pride aside and humble yourself and pray for forgiveness. You do know that Lucifer was cast down out of heaven, because he was proud of the body God had given him, right?  Do you think that God likes racial pride?  Think again.  If you want something to boast about, children of God, boast about this:

30 God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made Him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; He made us pure and holy, and He freed us from sin. 31 Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”  (1 Corinthians 1:30-31  NLT)

14 As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. 15 It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. 16 May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God.  (Galatians 6:14-16  NLT)

Beloved children of God, it’s time for us to stop allowing our flesh to control our thoughts and our attitudes.  It’s time for us to stop taking sides in the current trouble our nation faces.  The fact is that there are good white cops, and there are bad white cops. There are good black cops, and there are bad black cops.  There are good black men, who have been the innocent victims of bad white cops, and vice versa.  However, there are also dangerous and criminal black men, who have attacked good white cops, and been shot in self-defense, and vice versa.  So, what can we, as children of the Most High God, do to bring peace and righteousness to our land???

We can start by repenting of any pride that we may be clinging to.  We can unite as One church in this battle for peace in our land – no more “white” churches or “black” churches.  Let us come together as One people, not to preach or shout or argue about why “I” am right and “You” are wrong. Instead, let us come together as the sons and daughters of God, and let us humble ourselves, as Jesus did…

1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from His love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.  3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.


You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.  6 Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.  When He appeared in human form, 8 He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

9 Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  (Philippians 2:1-11  NLT)

My beloved brothers and sisters, do you want to heal our land and bring about a true and lasting peace?  Or, do you want to hold on to your bitterness and anger? Do you want to prove that you are right, holding fast to your pride?  Or do you want to surrender it to Christ and join together with ALL of your brothers and sisters, humbling ourselves and praying?  Do you want people to see the black or white in you?  Or do you want them to see the Christ in you?  Are you willing to risk offending friends and family for the sake of the cross?  Or are you ashamed of this gospel of peace?

Shall we teach our children to respect law enforcement officers and pray God removes the bad ones?  Or should we teach them to rebel against the law? Shall we love our friends and hate our enemies? Or shall we love our enemies, with no regard to race, and bless them, as Jesus commanded?  The choice is yours.  Shall we choose a time to unite and come together to humble ourselves and pray and seek God’s face?  Or will we hold on to our bitterness and malice towards another race, refusing to forgive?  The choice is yours.  If you want to meet and join together, please leave a comment, and we can figure out where and when to join together and cry out to Jesus for our children, our law enforcement officers and our land.

In closing, I’d like to share the priestly blessing with each one of you.  For not only are we children of God, but we are also a royal priesthood…

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

In the blessed name of Jesus, I remain,

Your Sister Cheryl

© 2015
Cheryl A. Showers

Creflo Dollar’s Plea for More Dollars

Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life. Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding. Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions.These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy.

~ 1 Timothy 6:3-5  NLT ~

TBN Logo

I absolutely refuse to watch TBN and many of the other “Christian” television stations.  Does this shock you?  At first, I thought there was something wrong with me, because many other believers love televangelists like Creflo Dollar, Jesse Duplantis, Benny Hinn, T.D. Jakes, Paula White, Joyce Meyer and so many others.  Therefore, something has to be wrong with me, right?

However, as I searched the scriptures and compared the gospel preached by these people, to the Gospel of Christ, I discovered that they were preaching a false gospel.  Not only that, but in addition to deceiving many good men and women who are seeking the truth, these false teachers and false prophets also fleece their followers.  

These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy.

~ 1 Timothy 6:5  NLT ~

These men and women make the proud and boastful claim that they need your money in order to save a lost and dying world.  However, when Jesus walked this earth as a man, He touched the hearts of a lost and dying world, without pilfering anyone for money.  Furthermore, when the apostles went to Jerusalem, Judea, and the uttermost parts of the world, they did so without begging for money. Indeed, the gospel was shared by many of them, as they fled from persecution. Not only that, the Apostle Paul, who traveled through many countries, sharing the gospel to a lost and dying world, was careful not to be a financial burden on the people that he served…

Preaching for Money Church

17 If I were doing this on my own initiative, I would deserve payment. But I have no choice, for God has given me this sacred trust. 18 What then is my pay? It is the opportunity to preach the Good News without charging anyone. That’s why I never demand my rights when I preach the Good News.

~ 1 Corinthians 9:17-18  NLT ~

12 When I was with you, I certainly gave you proof that I am an apostle. For I patiently did many signs and wonders and miracles among you. 13 The only thing I failed to do, which I do in the other churches, was to become a financial burden to you. Please forgive me for this wrong!

14 Now I am coming to you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you. I don’t want what you have—I want you. After all, children don’t provide for their parents. Rather, parents provide for their children. 15 I will gladly spend myself and all I have for you, even though it seems that the more I love you, the less you love me.

~ 2 Corinthians 12:12-15  NLT ~

Don’t you remember, dear brothers and sisters, how hard we worked among you? Night and day we toiled to earn a living so that we would not be a burden to any of you as we preached God’s Good News to you.

~ 1 Thessalonians 2:9  NLT ~

You see, Paul wasn’t interested in how much money he could get out of believers; he wanted to win their hearts.  Paul truly sought to save a lost and dying world.  Today’s televangelists, evangelists, teachers and various other ministries could learn from his example.  For though many of these ministries claim they want to seek and save the lost, their lifestyles paint a different picture.  

Let’s look at Creflo Dollar, whose website, on Friday, March 13. 2015, announced a new project entitled, Project G650. 

According to this video, the ministry’s current jet is over 30 years old and is now out of service.  Therefore, they now need a new one, which will cost $65 million dollars.  Really???  He and his ministry team aren’t able to fly commercial flights, like the rest of us???

In doing research on Dollar’s life and ministry, I discovered that his church began in the Kathleen Mitchell Elementary School cafeteria in 1986, to a congregation of eight.  In the years following that, his ministry began to grow, and eventually moved to a chapel.  Around this time, Creflo Dollar began preaching on the radio, and he began having four services on Sundays.  The church continued to grow, from the tithes, offerings and donations they received from parishoners and people around the world, and World Changers Church International (WCCI) eventually built moved into the World Dome, a sanctuary that seats 8500 people, located in College Park, GA.  This $18 million dollar church was built from the donations of many men and women, with no bank financing.  WCCI also has a church in New York as well.

The ministry isn’t all that has prospered since its humble beginning; Creflo and wife, Taffi Dollar have also prospered.  Though he has refused to disclose his salary for many years, it is estimated that Mr. and Mrs. Dollar’s net worth is $27 million dollars, much of which has come from the tithes and donations of many men and women like you and me.  

When giving to a ministry, I want to be a good steward. I want to know that my offerings are going to help the needy, widows and orphans, as well as the disabled.  I want to know that the money is being used wisely, according to God’s will, and not the will of a greedy man.  I would be very angry to think that I have given money to bring the gospel of Christ to those who have never heard Jesus’ name, and to help those who in need of food, money and shelter, according to God’s will, only to find it has been used to line the pastors’ pockets.  

Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful.

~ 1 Corinthians 4:2  NLT ~

Heal the sick, bring the dead back to life, heal those who suffer from dreaded skin diseases, and drive out demons. You have received without paying, so give without being paid.

~ Matthew 10:8  GNT ~

Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!

~ Matthew 10:8  NLT ~

Pardon me, but I have to ask, how much of the money that is donated to the ministry, for the salvation of souls and to help those in need, is actually going to the needy?  Dollar and his wife not only have a net worth of $27 million dollars, as I stated earlier, but he also owns two Rolls Royces, a $1 million dollar home in Atlanta, and a $2.5 million dollar home in Manhattan.

Creflo Dollar Mansion

With all of this wealth, I find it very brazen for Dollar to ask 200,000 members to donate $300 so that he can get a new jet!  After all, his wealth has come from the donations of many people who have a net worth of little or nothing, because he preaches a false prosperity message and claims that if his congregants will give at least ten percent of their income, they too will prosper.  Frankly, with his wealth, Dollar can either purchase his own jet, or he can do as the rest of us do, and fly the friendly skies on a commercial airline!

Minister Creflo Dollar Attempts to Raise $65 Million to Purchase Private Jet
Minister Creflo Dollar Attempts to Raise $65 Million to Purchase Private Jet

Beloved reader, true ministry begins with you and me, not with some preacher, who is more interested in what you can give him, instead of how he can help you.  Do you want to reach a lost and dying world with the gospel?  Then share the Good News with your neighbors, your coworkers, and the people you see on a day to day basis.  Pray for them.  Love them.  Talk to them about Jesus, not about your church.  This is how souls are won, not by sending your hard earned money to a charlatan who preaches a false gospel.

Finally, since I have shared my concerns about Creflo Dollar and his ministries and net worth, I would be remiss if I did not address one other scandal that was in the news in 2012.  On June 8, 2012, Creflo Dollar was arrested for Simple Battery Family Violence and Cruelty to Children for allegedly throwing his fifteen year old daughter on the ground, choking her, punching her and hitting her with a shoe.  The girl’s nineteen year old sister witnessed the alleged assault and told the same story her sister did, when questioned.  Below is his daughter’s 911 call.

Dollar told a different story, stating that he and his daughter were arguing over a party that he said she couldn’t attend because of her bad grades.  He stated that after entering the kitchen and asking why she was upset, his daughter was disrespectful to him, and he tried to restrain her.  After restraining her, he said that she began hitting him, and he wrestled her to the floor and spanked her.  Below is a copy of the actual police report for Creflo Dollar’s arrest:

Fayette County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Report –
Creflo Dollar

On the Sunday following his arrest, Creflo Dollar spoke to his congregation, and listeners all over the world, about his arrest.  Below is the video of his address.  

Now, here is the issue I have with Mr. Dollar’s address…  Firstly, I want to address the congregation’s response, when Dollar entered the pulpit.  I was greatly disturbed by the standing ovation and the cheers and whistles that arose in support of him.  With absolutely no evidence of his guilt or innocence, the congregation loudly cheered this man, who had been accused of abusing his daughter.  The congregation gave no thought for the troubled teen.  Now, please understand, when I refer to Dollar’s fifteen year old daughter as a troubled teen, I am in no way implying her guilt or innocence in telling the truth.  Either way, this was a traumatic event, and anyone would be troubled by what allegedly happened.  On the other hand, if she did indeed lie, as Dollar’s statements implied, she would still be considered troubled, for contriving a lie.  In their loud cheers for her father, who was potentially her abuser, the congregation made it clear that she and her feelings were unimportant.  

Secondly, I want to address the following statement by Creflo Dollar, by sharing his own words from this address… “I will never put any fault on my children as Jesus would never put any fault on me. I love her with all of my heart. Amen?”  That statement, sounds as though it comes from a benevolent and loving father, doesn’t it?  However, in keeping it in context with this very same address to his congregation, and all, throughout the world, who view this statement, I have to ask, who, then, if not his daughters, is he faulting?  Certainly not himself!

  • “As everyone knows, raising children in our culture of disrespect, is a challenge and a responsibility for all of us who are parents.”
    • Isn’t this just another way of saying that his daughter was disrespectful, and in so doing, isn’t he putting the fault on her, something he said he would never do”?
  • “The truth is, she was not choked.  She was not punched.  There were not any scratches on her neck, but the only thing on her neck was a prior skin abrasion from eczema.  Anything else is an exaggeration and sensationalism.”
    • It was his daughter who called 911 and also reported to the deputy that she had been choked and punched.  Therefore, isn’t this just another way of saying his daughter exaggerated and resorted to sensationalism (another way for calling her a liar)?  Again, wasn’t this something he said he would never do”?
  • “I mean, I can’t imagine. If I punched my kid, (emphasizes by punching open palm) I would hurt her.  If I choked my kid, you would see visible signs on her neck.  But to come and take a picture of a mark that’s been there for ten years, and not have enough intelligence to at least ask the parent what it is, is appalling.”
    • Let’s remember that Creflo Dollar had been accused, by his fifteen year old daughter of choking and attacking her.  Don’t you think the officer asked the girl what the mark was from?  Why would he ask the alleged perpetrator of a crime how she got the mark?  How likely would he be to tell the truth?  I wonder, how likely was he telling the truth in this statement? Also, let’s not forget that her nineteen year old sister corroborated her statement.
  • “Again, I would never approach one of my children to inflict bodily harm.  I love my children enough to establish proper boundaries and help them make right choices.”
    • Again, he is implying that his daughters are lying about what happened. I do believe that he was trying to establish proper boundaries and help them make right choices, but I also believe that it is entirely possible he lost his self-control in the heat of the moment, and threw his daughter to the floor, choking, hitting, and punching her.
  • “I will never put any fault on my children as Jesus would never put any fault on me. I love her with all of my heart. Amen?”
    • His entire statement has one goal… to deflect the blame off himself, by placing the blame onto his daughter.
  • “I want to say this very emphatically: I should have never  been arrested.  Never!  And when the facts of this come out, you will be appalled.”
    • Again, though he doesn’t actually say the words, his statement implies that his daughter lied about his assault on her.
  • “You’ve got to understand something.  It’s not as much against me as it is against this message of grace.  The devil knows in order to discredit the message, you have to first of all discredit the messenger…”
    • Here, Dollar implied that his daughter was used by the devil.
  • “… I want to close and I’ll have nothing else to say about this.  I want to close in the book of Psalms, chapter thirty-five, and it’ll describe to you, what is going on.  Verse eleven, Psalms thirty-five…

11 Malicious witnesses testify against me.  They accuse me of crimes I know nothing about.  12 They repay me evil for good.  I am sick with despair.  13 Yet when they were ill, I grieved for them.  I denied myself by fasting for them, but my prayers returned unanswered.  14 I was sad, as though they were my friends or family, as if I were grieving for my own mother.  15 But they are glad now that I am in trouble; they gleefully join together against me.  I am attacked by people I don’t even know; they slander me constantly.  16 They mock me and call me names; they snarl at me.

17 How long, O Lord, will you look on and do nothing?  Rescue me from their fierce attacks.  Protect my life from these lions!  18 Then I will thank you in front of the great assembly.  I will praise you before all the people. 19 Don’t let my treacherous enemies rejoice over my defeat.  Don’t let those who hate me without cause gloat over my sorrow.  20 They don’t talk of peace; they plot against innocent people who mind their own business. 21 They shout, “Aha!  Aha!  With our own eyes we saw him do it!”

22 O Lord, you know all about this.  Do not stay silent.  Do not abandon me now, O Lord.  23 Wake up! Rise to my defense!  Take up my case, my God and my Lord. 24 Declare me not guilty, O Lord my God, for you give justice.  Don’t let my enemies laugh about me in my troubles.  25 Don’t let them say, “Look, we got what we wanted!  Now we will eat him alive!”

26 May those who rejoice at my troubles be humiliated and disgraced.  May those who triumph over me be covered with shame and dishonor.  27 But give great joy to those who came to my defense.  Let them continually say, “Great is the Lordwho delights in blessing his servant with peace!”  28 Then I will proclaim your justice, and I will praise you all day long.  (Psalm 35:11-28  NLT)

Creflo Dollar continued, as though this next passage was a part of Psalm 35, but it wasn’t….

10 Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you; give justice to those with honest hearts.  11 Don’t let the proud trample me or the wicked push me around. 12 Look! Those who do evil have fallen!  They are thrown down, never to rise again.  (Psalm 36:10-12  NLT)

Now, as you read the scripture above, imagine that you are Dollar’s fifteen and nineteen year old daughters, who signed a witness statement against him.  Certainly the pastor’s word, this “man of God” carries more weight than a disrespectful fifteen year old and her nineteen year old sister, who are both indirectly referred to as “malicious witnesses” accusing him of crimes he knows nothing about.  After all, he has always taken care of them, even when they were sick, and he’s fasted and prayed for them, and look how they have repaid evil for his good.  See how gleefully they have joined together attacking him?  Because of their behavior, they have caused people he doesn’t even know to slander him… 

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever had a pastor preach a message against you personally, but I have.  I pray this has never happened to you, because there is nothing more painful than to have the word of God aimed as a weapon of destruction against you.  It doesn’t matter whether you are truly in the wrong or not.  It is painful to be exposed, and know that there are others who are listening to the sermon, who also know that the pastor is using you as an example.  God’s word is not intended to be taken out of context to condemn or destroy someone else.  As you read the scripture in the way Mr. Dollar presents it, he is the victim of a terrible injustice.  

Finally, after praying for God’s intervention, just as David prayed against those who treated him injustly, Dollar curses his attackers (in this case, his fifteen year old and nineteen year old daughters, who called the police and signed the report against him) asking God to humiliate and disgrace them, and cover them with shame and dishonor.  Regardless of who was speaking the truth, or who was lying, how do you think Dollar’s daughters felt as they listened to their father’s speech that morning?  Do you think they were drawn to God?  Or did they feel shamed and humiliated by Him?

The assault charges against Mr. Dollar were eventually dropped in January, 2013, in exchange for him attending a pre-trial intervention program, which included him attending an anger management program.  In addition, Dollar had to pay $1,072 dollars in fees and court costs.

There are many reasons to be wary of this man’s teachings.  His sermons usually revolve around a prosperity message with money and personal wealth as the focus.  It’s the kind of message that people want to hear; the kind of message that makes them happy, but is it true?

For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.

~ 2 Timothy 4:3-4  NLT ~

Study_to_Show_Thyself_Approved

This is why I strongly urge you, beloved reader, to seek God’s face.  Study His word for yourselves.  When someone preaches or writes a post (including me), read the scriptures to see if what this person is preaching or teaching lines up with what God says.  Then, if it doesn’t, find someone who speaks truth, while you continue to study God’s word.

Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.

~ 1 John 4:1  NLT ~

15 Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.

~ 2 Timothy 2:15  AMP ~

Finally, beloved reader, pay attention to the way leaders conduct themselves, when preaching, and when they’re not in front of a group.  What does he/she like to talk about most frequently?  If the person talks mostly about money, that’s because this is what is most important in his/her heart.  How does he/she treat his/her followers?  Does this person like to serve, or does he/she expect to be served?  For a true leader will lovingly and joyfully serve his/her followers, expecting nothing in return. 

Abundance of the Heart

18 But whatever comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this is what makes a man unclean and defiles [him].

~ Matthew 15:18  AMP ~

12 So then, whatever you desire that others would do to and for you, even so do also to and for them, for this is (sums up) the Law and the Prophets.

~ Matthew 7:12  AMP ~

43 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.

~ Mark 10:43-45  NLT ~

The scriptures above are the qualifications of a true leader, given to us by the King of all other kings, and the Lord of every lord.  If the minister you have been following does not meet these qualifications, prayerfully seek one who does.  This person should be willing to give to his/her followers, not to take.  In light of this, where does Creflo Dollar fall in the spectrum?  You decide.

© 2015
Cheryl A. Showers

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Fifty Shades of Grey

Please note ~ the following post deals with sexually explicit material that may be offensive to some, or may trigger others.  However, my intent is not to offend or hurt, but to cast some light on a dark subject…

When the book came out, I was still working, and I remember many of my coworkers going on and on about “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and how good it was.   Most would tell me how great it was, and then say, “But you shouldn’t read it, Cheryl. You wouldn’t like it.”  Most of my coworkers knew that I was a minister of the gospel, and that I wouldn’t enjoy this kind of book.  Most of my coworkers knew me well, yet I worked for a retirement facility, that employed more than two hundred people, so there were others, who were only casual acquaintances.

I remember this one woman who worked the evening shift.  She usually came on duty just as I was preparing to leave for the day.  One evening, before I left for the day, she stopped by the office, where I was working, to see if I knew where our boss was.  After telling her, she turned to leave, so she could finish administering medications to the residents she was caring for, but suddenly, she spun back around, facing my office mate and me again, as she asked, “Do you read?”

“Well,” I jested, “we’re not illiterate.”

Laughing at my comment, the woman gushed, “Then you just have to read ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.  It’s so good.  It’s a love story with a little ‘soft porn.'”

After hearing so many people rave about this book, I was curious to know what the big deal was, and why so many people were talking about it.  Therefore, I went online, and looked to see what it was about.  Needless to say, I was shocked.  After reading an overview of the book, I wondered how so many good people call this book good?  Though it’s been touted as a “love story,” nothing could be further from the truth.

shades-covers-1024
Image Credit: People Magazine Evangelicals Offer to “Trade Your Shades” for “Christian Perspective” Intimacy Book

I really never thought too much about “Fifty Shades of Grey,” after that, until the movie was released, on Valentine’s Day, and yet again, people were boasting about this “must see” movie event, which raked in more money at the box office than any other movie has ever done.  Numerous people, from all over, flocked to see this “romantic film.”  Really???  Give me a break!  I’ve remained quiet about the subject until now, but enough is enough, and if I don’t share what’s on my heart about this, I just  might explode.

Therefore, let’s just call a spade a spade.  While I haven’t read this book or seen the movie (nor do I intend to), I still know enough about it to comment on it.  This serial (“Fifty Shades of Grey” is the first installment in a “Fifty Shades” trilogy.) is neither a love story, nor a romance.  Hence, in order for us to determine if “Fifty Shades of Grey” is truly a love story or not, we must first know what love really is.  To discover what love is, let’s look at the best definition of love that has been revealed to man…

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7  NLT ~

But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

~ 1 John 4:8  NLT ~

Now, let us look at “Fifty Shades of Grey,” in light of this definition…  As we examine the relationship between the two main characters, Chrisian and Ana, it becomes obvious almost immediately, that there is no patience or kindness between the two.  As Christian treats Ana as his personal sex slave, there is not romantic or loving about their relationship.  It is both cruel and hurtful.  These two characters are involved in an unhealthy relationship, instead of a healthy and loving one, where both people treat one another with respect and dignity.  This is an abusive relationship where Christian domineers Ana.

Image Credit: The Busy Mom Heidi St. John
Image Credit:
The Busy Mom
Heidi St. John

I must say that I am really surprised that more Christians have not spoken out against this novel/movie, and I’m also surprised that most women’s rights groups seem to be uncharacteristically silent on the subject.  Such an unhealthy relationship should be denounced for implying that women actually enjoy being tied up, beaten, and verbally, sexually and physically abused.

… Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude…

~ 1 Corinthians 13:4b-5a  NLT ~

Love is not jealous…  The main character, Christian, is jealous of other men who are a part of Ana’s life.  Now, I’ll grant you that there are some women who think it would be nice if their boyfriend or husband was jealous of other men in their lives, but that’s because they’ve never actually experienced the jealousy of a lover.

Jealousy is ugly.  Those who are jealous are mistrustful and resentful.  Because resentment can quickly grow into hatred, it also often leads to violence.  Many times, when a man is jealous of another man who is involved in the life of a woman he cares about, that jealous rage will be taken out on the woman that he supposedly cares about.  Does this sound like love to you?

Love is not boastful.  Someone who truly loves someone else will not flaunt his/her advantages to the one that he/she loves.  The one who truly loves will not ever want to make his/her beloved feel as though he/she is unworthy.

Likewise, the one who truly loves, will not allow his/her pride to enter his/her relationship.  The partner who truly loves, will be willing to humble him/herself to the other person.  The one who loves will be willing to submit to the wishes of his/her beloved, just as the beloved will also be willing to do.  True love is a partnership, in which both parties are willing to give 100% to their relationship.  If only one party is willing to do so, then there is no relationship, for a relationship requires two people.

Love is not rude.  Love would not even suggest that one partner submit to being tied up, whipped, gagged or sexually abused.  Love understands that these actions constitute rape, which is a violent act committed against someone.  Rape is not fun or sexy.  It is extremely damaging and harmful to the victim, long after the act has occurred.  Indeed, most people say that rape is not a sex act, but an act of violence.  Violence is not love.

or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.

~ 1 Corinthians 13:5  NLT ~

Love does not demand its own way.  Women, girls, men and boys, hear me now.  Love does not demand its own way.  If someone truly loves you, he/she will not demand or insist that you participate or allow him/her to sexually abuse or exploit you.  If this person truly loves you, he/she will accept it when you say, “No.”  If the person you loves demands that you participate in sexually deviant acts, (any sexual act that is not condoned in the bible), even after you’ve said, “No,” then he/she does not love you.

If the person who claims to love you becomes angry or violent because you have told him/her, “No,” they are not treating you with love.  If the person begins to list all of the times you’ve failed to do what he/she wanted you to do, this person is not acting in love. Instead, he/she is acting selfishly, which is the polar opposite of love.

It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 

~ 1 Corinthians 13:6  NLT ~

If the person who claims to love you takes pleasure in hurting you, (physically, sexually or emotionally), he/she is rejoicing about an injustice that has been done to you.  This is NOT love.  It is not fun.  This is cruel and harmful to you.  If the person you are in a relationship with does not rejoice in the truth of these words that I’ve written, then he/she does not truly love you.

Now, I’d like to share a few words with those of you who read the book and/or went to the movie, 50 Shades of Grey…  How would you feel if your daughter, your sister or perhaps, even your mother was involved in this type of relationship?  Would you talk to her about it?  Would you worry for her safety?  Would you worry about her emotional stability?

Or would you find it tantalizing?  Would you think it was exciting and sexy?  Would you encourage her to go ahead and do it, if she asked for your advice?  Would you want her to tell you all about it for your pleasure?

If you would find it disturbing for your beloved daughter, sister, or mother to be involved in this type of relationship, then why would you take pleasure in a book or movie that celebrates this type of behavior?  Suppose your daughter, sister or mother, knowing that you had read and enjoyed this book, shared that she was involved in a relationship like this?  How would it make you feel?  How could you argue against your loved one taking part in this?

Suppose your son, brother or father was involved in this type of relationship.  Would you feel proud of him?  Would you trust your daughter to be alone with him?

Maybe you’ve read what I’ve written here, and you think I’ve carried it to far.  I don’t think so.  This needs to be discussed.  We need to examine our hearts, for none of us should take pleasure in these things.  If this is something you wouldn’t want your loved ones to be involved in, then ask yourself why you’re involving yourself in it.  For when you purchase books such as these or go to see this movie, you’re condoning it, and welcoming it into your own life.

Perhaps you’re angry at what I’m sharing.  I can live with that.  For the fact is, that there are young women, wives and girls who are involved in sick relationships like this, and they would give anything to get out of it, yet they are trapped.  And then there are those who will copy what the movie or the book showed, and they will end up raping and hurting other women, and feel perfectly justified in doing so.  After all, the movie implies that women like to be treated this way, and every man and woman who bought the book, or a movie ticket also signified this was okay.  How would you like it if your spouse or boyfriend treated you like Christian treated Ana?  By taking pleasure in this book and/or the movie with him, haven’t you sent that message to him???

Do you think I’m exaggerating the dangers of this movie? If so, I urge you to read this newspaper article taken from the Chicago Tribune on February 24, 2015, by clicking the link below:

Prosecutors: UIC student charged with assault said he was re-enacting ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

Finally, I urge you, therefore, my beloved readers, to do something that many, especially those within the Christian community, are often reluctant to do.  Talk with your children, both male and female, and let them know how much God values their lives.  Let them know that they are worth too much to devalue themselves as someone’s sex slave or whipping boy/girl.  Make sure they know how much God loves them, and how much you love them, and let them know that they will always have a safe place to come to, if they do get involved in an abusive relationship.

And if you, my beloved reader, have taken pleasure in this perverted story, you are not so far away from God’s mercy and grace that you cannot be forgiven.  You have only to repent and confess your sins to Him.

But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

~ 1 John 1:9  NLT ~

© 2015
Cheryl A. Showers

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Adopted Into God’s Family

God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.

~ Ephesians 1:5  NLT ~

Image Credit: The Journey of Faith
Image Credit:
The Journey of Faith

For every heart that has ever been broken, destroyed by abandonment, rejection and betrayal, and for those that have not, you have been loved with an everlasting love before there was time.  These words the Lord spoke to Israel are for all who will call upon His name:

Long ago the Lord said to Israel:
“I have loved you, My people, with an everlasting love.
    With unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself.

~ Jeremiah 31:3  NLT ~

Do you doubt that these words are meant for everyone who will call on His name?  Not only did God love Israel with an everlasting love, He also loves ALL of mankind with a love so strong that He was willing to sacrifice His One and Only true Son for the sake of ALL of us.

For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.

~ John 3:16  NLT ~

Those who have been broken, abandoned, rejected and betrayed all long for that one thing. Whether you are willing to admit it or not, there is an ache deep within your heart, a longing for love that cannot be quenched.  And how do I know this?  I know this because I am one of the broken, abandoned, rejected, and betrayed, and my first memories are of a little girl who had a hunger for Someone to love me no matter how bad, or how ugly, or how undesirable and unlovable I was.

When I was very young, my mother and father divorced.  After they divorced, I can count on one hand the number of times I saw my birth father again. Now that I’m an adult, I understand that my father’s abandonment was not because I was bad, ugly, undesirable or unlovable.  Instead, it was his problem, but as a child, I believed every single one of those things about myself. 

God-knows-uWhen I was around two and a half, my mother married my stepfather, a man that I grew up thinking was my daddy until right before I entered the first grade, and I had to learn how to write my name.  You see, up until that time, I thought my name was Cheryl Mitchell, and I already knew how to write that, but now I learned that my real name was Cheryl Payne, and I didn’t really belong to the man I called Daddy.  I wondered why God had made someone like me.  You see, even then, I knew there was a God, and though I didn’t yet know Him personally, He knew me, for He was the One who had knit me together in my mother’s womb, and He had a plan for my life.

13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in Your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.

~ Psalm 139:13-16  NLT ~

I was one of those children that trouble seems to follow, or maybe it would be more accurate to say that I was the one following trouble.  I hated school, from the first day I set foot there.  It seemed like I was always in trouble once I was in school.  When my parents went to parent/teacher conferences, they were told that I could do better if I would just apply myself.  I always dreaded those parent/teacher conferences, which would lead to my parents’ cussing me and telling me how worthless and stupid and lazy I was, as they beat me over and over and over again.  I was afraid to go to sleep at night, because they would come into my room over and over again throughout the night, until they went to bed, pulling me out of the bed and beating me yet again.

Cheryl - Grade 6
Cheryl – Grade 6

When I was in the sixth grade, I really did something stupid,  You see, if I brought home a bad report card, I would receive several beatings, then be punished for the following nine weeks, until the next report cards were issued.  My punishment consisted of being banished to my bedroom to study for those nine weeks. I was not permitted to go outside, receive phone calls, play or watch television during those long weeks. I was only allowed out of my room to use the bathroom, eat dinner, go to school and to go to church.  I thank God for the church bus that would pick my sister and me up on Sunday mornings, because that was when I was able to laugh and sing and feel loved.  

Anyway, when I was in the sixth grade, I received an “Inc.” (Incomplete) on my report card for not writing my fire prevention essay.  Don’t ask me why I didn’t write it, because I honestly couldn’t tell you.  I knew the incomplete was coming, but I didn’t worry about it until it was actually there, on my report card.  When I saw that grade, I panicked, and then I got this “brilliant” idea.  I had learned that if you licked the tip of an eraser, you could erase ink.  As soon as I got home from school, before my parents came home, I did just that, and changed my grade from an “Inc.” to a “G” (the equivalent of an “A”).  I actually got away with my ruse until nine weeks later, when report cards were once again issued.

In those days, we carried our report cards to each class and the teacher would call you forward and print your grade on the report card.  My heart pounded all morning long, and through lunch, until it was time to go to my Language Arts class.  By then, I was really worked up.  I must have had millions of butterflies in my stomach – so many that I was beginning to feel ill.  When my teacher called me, my whole body shook with fear, yet still, I walked forward to her desk.  As soon as she took my report card out of the envelope, she looked at me and stated loudly, “You erased this!”

I looked behind me, hoping against hope that my classmates hadn’t heard her, but of course, all eyes were on me.  I shook my head emphatically, as I looked her in the eye and whispered, “No I didn’t.  You did. Don’t you remember?  You accidentally put someone else’s grade on here, and you changed it,” but she wasn’t buying it.  

“You erased this report card and I’m calling the principal.”  With that said, she stood up and walked over to the intercom to call the principal. I was truly panicked by this time, and I didn’t care that my classmates were all staring at me as I cried and pleaded with her not to call the principal, but to no avail.  She stood by the intercom and told the principal what I had done, and he hurried to our classroom, where I was weeping inconsolably, and pleading with her and then him not to call my parents.

At that point, I was such a wreck, that they sent me to the nurse’s office.  The nurse tried to quiet me, and then she began prying into my business, asking why I was so afraid.  She asked me if my parents beat me.  Did they abuse me?  As she questioned me, all of my fear now turned to anger and hatred, not against my parents, but against her.  I was already in enough trouble, without her being nosy and trying to make things even worse for me.  It wasn’t until nearly thirty years later, that I realized she wasn’t being nosy.  She was trying to help me, but I was too blinded by fear and misplaced anger to realize it.

I thought about running away, but I didn’t know where to run to, and I was too afraid to do it.  So, I just sat in my bedroom waiting until my mother came home at 6:00 that evening.  By then, my fear had grown immensely, and with good reason.  Soon, the bedroom door was opened, and there stood my mommy and my stepfather, whom I thought of as my daddy.  My mother began shouting at me, and then my daddy began to speak, and the angrier she got, the louder she was, while the softer his voice got, the more I feared him.  They told me how stupid and lazy I was.  They said that I was worthless and nothing but trouble.  And then, my daddy said the words that really crushed me, “I’m ashamed that anyone thinks you’re my daughter.”

Then they each took turns beating me, but as bad as the beatings were, the thing that still hurts, even now, at 53 years of age, were those words spoken by my “daddy,” the man I truly adored.  I wasn’t angry at him or my mother, though, because they were right, I thought.  I believed every single curse they spoke over me, and it took many years for the Lord to finally set me free from them.  All night long, until she finally went to sleep, my mother would sit in the den smoking cigarettes and thinking about what I had done, and the more she thought about it, the angrier she became, again and again.  Then, she would burst into my bedroom, snatch me out of bed and begin beating me again and again.  I laid in the bed, shaking with fear, and crying, and it seemed like every time I would begin to doze off, my door would slam open, and I would be snatched from the bed and beaten again and again.

I was punished for the following nine weeks until the next report card was issued and my grades were good, but until then, I was berated over and over again.  I wasn’t angry with my mommy and daddy though.  I was angry with my teacher and myself.  I hated her for many years, but I hated myself for many more.  

On the church bus every Sunday, we would learn different scriptures, and one of the first ones I learned was John 3:16

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Now, I remember my thoughts when I first heard those words, “For God so loved the world…” 

“Yeah,” I thought, “but He doesn’t love me.  He knows how bad I am.  He knows everything about me, and there’s no way He could ever love me.”

It wasn’t until many years later, on a Saturday as I prepared a Sunday School lesson for children who were the same age that I had been when I first heard those words, “For God so loved the world…” that He revealed to me that those words included me too.  While preparing a lesson on Psalm 139, as I read, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made,” the Lord spoke to my heart and said, “Cheryl, you are fearfully and wonderfully made.  It was I who knit you together in your mother’s womb, and I knew every single day of your life before you were born, and I loved you.” 

Beloved reader, can you believe that? Those words are not just for me. They’re for you, too. And get this, the very same God who knit each and every man, woman and child in their mother’s womb, decided long before then that He would adopt those of us who wanted Him to be their Daddy.

God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.

~ Ephesians 1:5  NLT ~

Isn’t that wonderful? And do you know why He chose to adopt us?  He didn’t do it because He pitied us, or because He felt like it was something He should do. No!  He adopted us into His own family through Jesus because He wanted  to do it!  Not only that, it gave Him great pleasure to adopt us!!!

Beloved reader, has your heart ever been broken, abandoned, rejected and betrayed?  Have you ever felt unloved and unlovable?  Have you ever longed for a Daddy who would lavish His love on you, without feeling like you must earn His love?  Do you have a hole in your heart that cries, just as mine did, “Please won’t Somebody love me, even though I don’t deserve it?”  

Image Credit: Pinterest.com
Image Credit:
Pinterest.com

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.

~ 1 John 3:1  NIV ~

Beloved reader, my whole life, I felt like I was nothing but a burden to my family, who I loved deeply.  But I now have a Daddy who loved me long before He formed the earth, and He chose me to be His adopted daughter, because I bring great pleasure to Him.  

I shared all of this with you, not to make you pity me, but so you can rejoice with me.  For you see, I was always loved, even when I felt like no one loved me, and I am no better or worse than you.  God loves you, just as much as He loves me, and if you want to experience that love, call upon His name.  The following prayer that Paul prayed many, many years ago is the prayer that I now pray for every person who reads this post:

14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit.17 Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

~ Ephesians 3:14-20  NLT ~

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

God Loved Us Even Before He Created the World

Galaxy

Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. ~ Ephesians 1:4  NLT ~

One of the things I love about the Lord is that He loved us even before He made the world. Isn’t that wonderful? Just think about  what that means… Who knows how old the earth is? Only God truly knows, but before He even laid the earth’s foundation, long before the earth was ever formed, God loved us. Do you know what this means?

It means that even before the heavens and the earth were made, God loved us…

It means that before we were planted in our mother’s womb, God loved us…

It means that before our mother even knew we were planted in her womb,
God loved us…

It means that before our eyes were opened in the darkness of the womb,
God loved us…

It means that before we ever drew our first breath,
God loved us.

It means that though we were born sinners from the moment we were conceived,
God loved us.

 It means that even though no one else does,
God loves us.

So, you’ve heard this before, but what does it mean to you? Perhaps, like me, you’ve lived a lifetime feeling unloved, and even though you’ve heard that God loves you or Jesus loves you, you haven’t experienced it.

Believe me, I understand those feelings. I grew up in a home where I felt unloved and unlovable. I was always in trouble for something. Sometimes I got in trouble for things I had done, and many times, for things I hadn’t done.

I hated school. When I went to school, I was tormented by the other children. I had buck-teeth, and believe me, I was called every name you can think of. Not only did my classmates hate me, my teachers did as well, and when I went home, I felt no reprieve.

When report cards would be issued every nine weeks, my grades were often lower than what my parents expected of me. This doesn’t mean that all of my grades were terrible. They just weren’t good enough. “C’s” were considered to be as bad as “F’s”, and if I received an “A” one marking period, and a “B” the next, I was subject to punishment.

Punishment for bad report cards was extreme. For a “bad” report card, both parents would beat me. Then, I would be banished to my bedroom for the following nine weeks. I was only allowed to leave my room to go to school, go to church on Sundays, and to accompany my parents when they went to visit my aunt and uncle. On those occasions, I was banished to the living room to sit by myself, while Mom and my stepfather played pinochle, and while my sister played with my cousins, who would take turns walking past me, to laugh and point at me.

When I was in the sixth grade, I had a pretty good report card, except for an incomplete in Language Arts. As an adult, I can see the stupidity in a plan I conceived, but at the time, I wasn’t thinking about the future or getting caught. I was just thinking about how I could avoid getting in trouble at that time. Therefore, even though the grade was written in red ink, I licked the tip of an eraser (a trick I had learned for erasing ink) and I erased the red “Inc.” for incomplete, and I changed the grade to an “A”.

I knew my mother would notice that the grade had been changed, so I blatantly lied, saying, “Mrs. Murray was looking at the wrong line and accidentally wrote someone else’s grade on my report card.” It’s nothing I’m proud of, but I was a believable liar, and so, I was free from punishment for the following nine weeks.

Of course, nine weeks later, we received our report cards again. Things weren’t computerized in those days. The grades on the report cards were handwritten. So, at the beginning of each class, we would read and work on lessons until the teacher called our name. Then, we would go forth, with report card in hand and the teacher would place your current grade on the report card. 

Fear and dread filled my heart when I got to Mrs. Murray’s class, and it only grew with each minute that passed. Since my last name began with the letter “P”, I was one of the last students to be called forth to receive my grade. My heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest as I walked forward, 

I was shaking all over as I handed Mrs. Murray my report card. I foolishly prayed that God would make her not notice what I had done, even though the evidence was very clear. As soon as she pulled my report card out of the envelope, she looked me in the eye and said so loudly that the entire class heard and every eye was on me, “You erased this report card.”

Fearful and ashamed, I whispered softly and desperately, “No I didn’t. You did, don’t you remember? You accidentally wrote the wrong grade on here and you had to change it.” I was so scared and so embarrassed. The kids in my class already made fun of me, and I didn’t want to give them another reason to torment me.

“No, I didn’t change your grade,” Mrs. Murray stated very loudly. “You did, and I’m going to call the principal and have him call your parents.” 

Every eye in the classroom was on me, but suddenly that didn’t matter to me. All that mattered was convincing them not to call my parents. “Please don’t call my parents,” I cried, as she walked over to the intercom and called the principal, once again telling what I had done in front of the whole classroom of students, who were snickering. Still, it didn’t matter, as long as I could convince them not to tell on me.

I begged Mrs. Murray not to tell on me, and when the principal came to the classroom, I begged him not to tell. The principal took me to the nurse’s office because I was so distraught, and she began to question me. “Cheryl, why are you so afraid for us to call your parents? Is everything okay at home? Are you afraid of your parents? Cheryl, do your parents beat you?”

As I sat there sobbing uncontrollably, I looked at the nurse with hatred. Then I responded angrily to her nosy questions, “I’m not afraid. I just don’t want to upset them. Everything’s fine. I’m not afraid of my parents. No, they don’t beat me,” I lied, answering all of her questions. I knew what she was up to. She just wanted more ammunition to get me into even more trouble than I was already in, and I wasn’t giving it to her. It wasn’t until many years later, when I was an adult, that I came to realize the nurse was trying to help me. She wasn’t trying to harm me.

When I got home from school that day at 3:30, I had to wait for two and a half hours for my mother to get home. I sat in my room, fearfully dreading her arrival, and the long wait only increased my anxiety. I knew what was coming, and I prayed God would protect me.

I was still in my bedroom when Mom got home. Dad (my stepfather) had gotten home an hour earlier, but he hadn’t said anything about report cards, and I certainly wasn’t going to bring that dreaded topic up. As soon as I heard my mother open the door my heart began to hammer my chest, and my whole body trembled. I could hear her talking to Dad about what I had done, but I couldn’t hear his response. That did not bode well, for when Mom was angry, she was loud and shrill, but the angrier Dad was, the quieter he spoke.

All too soon, I heard Mom’s feet stomping toward my bedroom, followed by the shuffle of Dad’s feet following her. Then, my door burst open and there she stood, with her eyes flashing in anger. I realized it would be foolish to lie now, and so, when I was confronted with the truth about erasing my report card and changing the grade, I admitted that I had done it and I was sorry. 

Mom and Dad were both cussing at me and telling me how worthless and stupid I was. Then one would beat me, while the other watched and waited for his/her turn. I had never seen such fury in Dad’s eyes before, as he told me that he did electrical work for the school, and that the principal was his friend. Then he spoke the words that just crushed me. For you see, though I was bruised and battered from the beatings, I eventually healed from them, but the verbal and emotional abuse took a lifetime to recover from. Indeed, it seems just when I think I’ve got it licked, those old feelings of worthlessness raise their ugly heads at me.

“I’m ashamed that Mac (the principal and my stepfather were friends) knows you’re my daughter. I wish I could tell him I don’t even know you and you’re not related to me,” my stepfather said softly and angrily. My birth father was like a stranger that wandered in and out of my life only a few times when I was growing up, and I loved my stepfather as though he was my daddy, and his words just crushed me. Then he beat me again.

After this, the first round, he and Mom left my room and Mom prepared dinner. I was summoned to the dinner table, even though I wasn’t hungry at all. “What’s wrong with your dinner?” one of them asked me.

“Nothing,” I replied, trying to swallow the big lump in my throat that wouldn’t allow me to eat.

“Do you think you’re too good to eat after your mother worked all day and then came home to fix your dinner?”

“No,” I choked out, as tears streamed down my face. I was rewarded by another beating, though I can’t remember if one or both administered it, nor can I remember who did it. I was then sent to my room, which was a welcome reprieve for me, though not for long.

Within a few minutes, I heard the stomping sound of my mother’s feet coming toward me. I hurried up and sat up, just as the door burst open. I don’t remember what words were spoken to me, only that they hurt, and then I was beaten yet again.

Off and on all night, the door would slam open, and I would be cursed and beat. I was terrified of falling asleep, for fear that the door would bang open, and Mom would curse me and beat me again. And she did, over and over again, all night long. Sometimes, I would drift away into an exhausted sleep, only to feel my arm being grabbed, as Mom pulled me from the bed and beat me over and over and over again.

I was a nervous wreck, and I believed every curse they spoke over me. I was stupid, lazy, worthless and, unlovable. I was a whole lot of other things too, but they aren’t worth writing. You get the picture anyway…

So, I grew up feeling unloved and unworthy of love. I knew the scriptures that said God so loved the world, but I truly thought that meant everyone but me. Even when I married my husband, I believed that if he knew the real me, he wouldn’t love me. Like I said, I felt I was unlovable.

i-am-chosen-before-the-foundation-of-the-world-e1392133248302

But, as I began to know Jesus more and more, I began to feel His love. Psalm 139 forever changed my life…

13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and
knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! 
      Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter
seclusion, a
s I was woven together in the dark of the
womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
      Every day of my life was recorded in Your book.
      Every moment was laid out before a single day had
passed.

17 How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God.
    They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them;
    they outnumber the grains of sand!
    And when I wake up,
    You are still with me!
~ Psalm 139:13-18  NLT ~

I remember preparing a Sunday School lesson for my students, based on Psalm 139, and though I had read this before, this time the words spoke to me. God had made all the delicate inner parts of my body, and He had knit me together in my mother’s womb. Suddenly, I began to see myself through God’s eyes, and not through the warped reflection of what others thought of me, nor even what i thought of myself. God makes all things good, and that included me, with buck-teeth, scoliosis, and all that made me the unique being that I am. Indeed, He saw me before I was even born, and His thoughts about me are not terrible, but precious. Though my understanding of God’s love continues to grow, back then, it was my first glimpse of His love, and for the little girl inside me, who always hungered for love, it began to heal some of my wounds.

Fast forward to five or six years later, my daughter (who was pregnant with her first child) and I were going for a ride, and as we rode along, we talked about baby names for her little girl. As we talked about the various baby names she was thinking of, she would share the meaning of those names.

Suddenly, I asked my daughter, “Do you know what Cheryl means? “When she said, “No,” I responded, “Cheryl means “Beloved.” It was then that I heard the Holy Spirit speaking to my spirit. “Beloved, I gave you that name before  you were conceived in your mother’s womb. Indeed, before the foundations of the world were laid, I named you Beloved, for you are My beloved.

“When you were a lonely little girl crying and longing for someone to love you, I loved you. When you longed for your parents love, I loved you with a Father’s love for My daughter. When you thought no one would ever fall in love with you, I made you My bride. Child, I have loved you with an everlasting love.”

Long ago the Lord said to Israel:
“I have loved you, My people, with an everlasting love.
    With unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself.
~ Jeremiah 31:3  NLT ~

Beloved reader, do you feel unloved and/or unlovable? If you do, rejoice, for God is no respecter of persons, He loves you just as much as He loves me, and who knows? Perhaps God had me share this lesson now, for such a time as this, so that you would know that God loved you, too, even before He created the world,

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Something Beautiful

Image Credit: Dr. Dana Marie
Image Credit:
Dr. Dana Marie

There’s an old gospel song that never fails to move me.  The words were written by Gloria Gaither, and her husband, Bill Gaither composed the music in 1971.  If my life was a television show, I would make this my theme song.  For though the tune is old and outdated, and despite the fact that I’m not a fan of Southern Gospel music, this song strikes a chord, deep within me.  Listen to the words of this song, and as you listen, know that my prayer is that these words will minister to you, and that God will make something beautiful of your life…

Beloved reader, I don’t know about you, but there’s been a whole lot of ugliness in my life. I’ve had many ugly things said and done to me, that left me feeling ugly and broken in their wake…   And sadly, I’ve also said and done ugly things, and those things left me feeling even dirtier and uglier.

Cheryl - Grade 3_v1The fact is that my earliest childhood memories are filled with ugliness. My mother and my birth father were divorced when I was just a toddler, and my father quickly married the woman he had committed adultery, with while still married to my mother. Before long, he  went on to father another daughter, and played a very active part in her childhood, while I could count the number of times I saw him, as a child, on one hand. This left me feeling unwanted, unloved and abandoned. Have you ever been there?

Meanwhile, my mother fell in love with the man who became my stepfather as soon as she got her divorce papers.  I often felt ugly and unlovable, while growing up with my mother and my stepfather.  I was always in trouble for one thing or another. In fact, one of my earliest memories is of my stepfather angrily lifting me from the table by my left arm, while he beat me with his free hand, as I dangled midair, like a pinata. My crime? Failure to eat my peas. (To this day, I HATE peas!)

I share these stories because I want you to form an image in your mind of a little girl, who felt ugly, unwanted and rejected. Children like this are not pleasant to be around, and I certainly wasn’t. Indeed, I had a huge chip on my shoulder, and because I felt so ugly and rejected, I also felt very sorry for myself. I was whiny and clingy, and the harder I worked to hold on to people, and tried to make them love me, the more I pushed them away from me. I didn’t understand that at the time.  

Looking back through the eyes of time, I now see that my desperate longing for love only turned all of my relationships into high maintenance jobs.  For I required constant reassurance that I was loved.  I constantly needed someone to demonstrate their love for me and make a declaration of their undying love, thereby proving my worth.  It was a vicious cycle.

Cheryl - Grade 6
Cheryl – Grade 6

Because I was so desperate to win the approval of my parents, teachers and peers, I lied. I lied alot. I lied because I was afraid of what would happen if the truth about me was known. I lied because I felt justified in doing so. I lied so much that sometimes, I even convinced myself. I lied because I was ugly, inside and out, and because I hated myself, I was convinced that no one could ever love the “real” me.  Therefore, I lied as I tried to be someone, anyone other than me.  Beloved reader, do you know what it’s like to hate yourself and to feel ugly and unworthy?  My prayer for those who do, is that God will heal your broken heart.

When Jesus saved me, He delivered me from many things… lying… bitterness… smoking…  But some areas in my life took longer for me to overcome, and there was one area in particular, that took much longer for me to overcome. You see, years of rejection, combined with physical, sexual and emotional abuse left me feeling different, unworthy and alone. I felt uglier than anyone else and unworthy of God’s love…


3 To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His own glory. ~ Isaiah 61:3  NLT ~


Cheryl - Grade 7
Cheryl – Grade 7

And so, in His great love and mercy, God began to minister to the ugly little girl who still lived inside of me. You see, I grew up being told how stupid and worthless I was, and how ugly too, and I believed it was so. Therefore, God had to change the way I thought…


2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. ~ Romans 12:2  NLT ~


As  I began to read and study the word of God, my way of thinking began to change, as promised, in the scripture above. I discovered that much of what I had been told and taught wasn’t really true. In fact, I realized that many things I believed about myself were nothing more than lies…


“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ~ John 8:32  NLT ~


The more I studied God’s word, the more I learned about myself. My whole life, I was told I would never amount to anything. I was told how stupid I was, and how ugly too, and I believed every word spoken against me… But when I studied the bible, I started to learn the truth about me… I learned that I was created in God’s image!


So God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. ~ Genesis 1:27  NLT ~


Not only did God create me (and everyone else!) in His own image, but just look at the care He took when forming us…


13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — how well I know it. 15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! 18 I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, You are still with me! ~ Psalm 139:13-18  NLT ~


Now, please allow me to ask you a question, beloved reader. As you look all around you and see all that God has created, the birds in the air, the fish in the sea, the sun, the moon and the stars, as well as the oceans, the continents, the mountains, the valleys, the forests and the deserts, not to mention every other living creature, as well as mankind, would you say it was all the workmanship of a Master? Or would you say this was the feeble attempt of a mere child? Of course, it’s obvious to see that only the Master Creator, the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords could have created all of this, and His workmanship is marvelous!

Therefore, having come to that conclusion, we must acknowledge that this God, who changes not, did not make a mistake when He created me (you too!). He did not create everything, except me (or you), and call it good.  Further, God did not love the whole world, excluding me (or you)…


“I am the Lord, and I do not change…” ~ Malachi 3:6a  NLT ~

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. ~ Hebrews 13:8  NLT ~

“For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16  NLT ~


Do you see, beloved reader? Despite what anyone says to the contrary, God created you in His image, therefore, you cannot be and you are not UGLY. Indeed, the God who knit you together in your mother’s womb with excellent workmanship, made us (you and me)  BEAUTIFUL… 

And although you may feel that you are UNWORTHY of His love, understand that the love He lavishes on you, makes you worthy


“Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are?” ~ Matthew 6:26  NLT ~

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. ~ Romans 5:1  NLT ~


Do you feel ugly and unworthy of love? Beloved reader, read and study the word of God. As you study His word, you will learn the truth about who He says you are, as He begins to make “Something Beautiful” of your life. 

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

This happened to me. Here’s something you can do, so it doesn’t happen to your daughter

This post touched me deeply when I read it, and I felt that it was important enough to reblog. For every mommy and daddy out there, please read this post and share the wisdom within with your children, so that they will learn to listen to their God-given intuition.

Share the Love – July 2013

PrintHallelujah! I really look forward to Sharing the Love with one of my fellow bloggers each month, but I have to tell you, July 1 came really fast. I’ve known who the Lord wants me to showcase for a while, but life has a way of slipping in and throwing us off course. I’m really struggling with pain today, and your prayers are deeply appreciated. 🙂

In the meantime, I’m really excited to introduce July’s featured blog and author to some, and to present her to others, so without further ado, (drumroll please), I present CHRISTian ~ poetry by deborah annDeborah is truly a woman with a heart for Jesus, and her love for Him is evident in every poem that she writes, not for her own glory, but for His. I know this blesses the Lord, and I’m certain that’s why He wanted me to Share the Love with her. Continue reading Share the Love – July 2013

Two Cents Tuesday – Toys

Two Cent Tuesday Challenge

Your “two cents” is exactly that – your opinion on the topic posted – it may take any form that you find most expresses your point of view: a quote, a motto or saying, an essay or article by you or attributed to someone else, a piece of music, a song, a video, a work of art, photograph, graffiti, drawing or scribble.  As with most things, the choice is yours…

This fortnight’s Two Cents Tuesday Challenge theme – Toys – suggests that everybody’s got their something…
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My daughter and now, both of her daughters have one toy that they cling to. For my daughter, it was her “Doll-doll”. I remember how she brought this rag doll with her everywhere we went. She couldn’t sleep without her “Doll-doll,” and it was crisis time if we visited someone and accidentally left “Doll-doll” behind. There was such weeping and wailing. The same  holds true for her oldest daughter, who has her “Puppy” and for her youngest, who has her “Bun-bun”.

I often wondered how it is that they formed such an attachment to stuffed animals or a rag doll, but then, I look in the toy room, where the grandchildren come to play, and I see Harvey. Just thinking about Harvey puts a smile on my face. Suddenly, I realize that the apples didn’t fall too far from the tree. Continue reading Two Cents Tuesday – Toys

Tears of a Clown

Picture it & Write

16 Sunday Jun 2013

Posted by  in EliabethPicture it & Write!
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Tears of a Clown

Words cut deeper than the sharpest razor or sword, piercing a person’s heart, and severing  his/her very soul, killing his/her as the life just drains out of him/her like blood gushing from an open wound…

Wanda sat in the middle of her bed, trembling and hyperventilating as she rocked back and forth. Her stuffed animals and school books  were strewn all over the floor, where she had thrown them all in a fit of rage when she got home from school. “I can’t take it anymore,” she said to herself, as the tears that she’d held inside all day began to pour down her cheeks in a steady flow, mingling with the snot that freely flowed from her nose, as though the floodgates had been opened. Grabbing a tissue from her nightstand, Wanda blew her nose, though the tears and the snot continued to flow unchecked.

Grabbing a piece of paper and a pen, Wanda began to write… Continue reading Tears of a Clown

Share the Love – June 2013

PrintGreetings, my beloved readers! It’s time once again to Share the Love with another great blog. I was really excited when the Lord placed it on my heart to feature this month’s blog, Prayers and Promises, authored by Diana Rasmussen. I was excited when the Lord placed Diana’s blog on my heart because Diana is a woman who has been through hell and back, and just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, her clothes aren’t even scorched, nor does she smell of the smoke from the fire. Continue reading Share the Love – June 2013

Words of Jesus – I Am Willing

Large crowds followed Jesus as He came down the mountainside. Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached Him and knelt before Him. “Lord,” the man said, “if You are willing, You can heal me and make me clean.”

Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” He said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. Then Jesus said to him, “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”

~ Matthew 8:1-4 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://www.idri.org/blog/?p=666
Image Credit:
http://www.idri.org/blog/?p=666

To understand the beauty of this passage of scripture, we need to understand the ugliness of leprosy in biblical times. To fully comprehend the magnitude and glory of this passage, we must first come to grips with the shame and disgrace of leprosy…

Leprosy was very common in biblical times — much more so than it is today, although people still get the disease even in this day and age. Leprosy is an infectious disease that causes horrible disfiguring skin sores and nerve damage. Some leprosy sores look like large, painful open blisters or ulcers, but they are not painful, even when pricked with a needle, because the person with leprosy has lost their sense of feeling where those sores are. Still other manifestations of leprosy may have pale spots or even what  looks like ringworm with a loss of feeling. Lepers (those with leprosy) may have thick, square earlobes, thick eyebrows, and deformed hands and feet. Continue reading Words of Jesus – I Am Willing

Steubenville Horror – The Truth Shall Set Her Free

*** Warning – This post contains some graphic descriptions which may be offensive. My purpose in including the descriptions is not to offend, but to inform, so that the reader may know how to pray for and help “Jane Doe” and others like her. I place this warning at the beginning of the post, so that you have the option of closing this post before being offended. May the Lord bless each of you readers with His divine wisdom and understanding so that you can help those who have been broken by the evil acts of others. ***

Since hearing about the cruel and senseless rape of sixteen year old, “Jane Doe,” in Steubenville, Ohio, my heart has burned with anguish for the victim, who suffered this inexcusable rape. As if the pain of the rape wasn’t enough for this sixteen year old girl to bear, she has been shamed and blamed by her rapists, by the community of Steubenville, Ohio, and even by the news journalists as they mourned over the “two promising young men” whose lives were ruined by their guilty verdict. Since watching ABC’s 20/20 episode entitled, Steubenville: After the Party’s Overmy heart burned with the following questions, which I’ve addressed in individual posts for each of the first six:

  • What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?
  • What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?
  • Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?
  • Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?
  • When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined? 
  • How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?
  • How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?

Tonight, I’d like to address the final question… 

How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?

One of the reasons the Steubenville Horror has aroused such anguish from me is not merely a matter of sympathy, but empathy instead. You see, it’s easy for me to imagine how this girl must feel, because I know how I felt when I was a little girl between eleven and thirteen and my stepfather, the man I called Daddy, did the same to me as those boys did to “Jane Doe.” I remember the fear and the horror, followed by the shame and embarrassment that followed, when I awoke from a nap to find my daddy sitting on the edge of my bed, with his fingers penetrating me beneath my robe. At first, I tried to pretend that I was asleep, hoping and praying that he would stop, but he continued his unwanted and uninvited probing, and as he leaned forward kissing my mouth, I opened my eyes and said, “No Daddy. Please stop.” 

Image Credit: http://fab.com/inspiration/1965-princess-phone-light-blue

I praise God that He stopped my dad that day, before it went any farther, as he got up without a word, and walked out of my bedroom. I heard the garage door slam shut a few minutes later, and ran to peek out the window in time to see his little red Ford Falcon drive off. With my heart thumping wildly, I ran from the living room into Mommy and Daddy’s bedroom, quickly grabbing their blue princess phone from the nightstand on the right of their bed, and listening carefully to make sure I didn’t hear him coming back, my shaking fingers dialed my mother’s number at work. My sister and I weren’t supposed to call Mommy at work unless it was an emergency, but I figured this was an emergency. What if he came back and killed me or something? 

What happened to me was in a different time and place, but with some similar results. The blame for what happened was placed on my shoulders… If I had worn clothing under my robe, this wouldn’t have happened… If I told anyone, I would destroy the family… If I talked about it to my sister, it would hurt her, and I wouldn’t want to do that, would I? 

There were all sorts of lies and cover-ups to protect the perpetrator, while I was left unprotected so that he could attack me again and again. Not only that, but all of the shame and the blame was placed squarely on my shoulders, much like “Jane Doe’s” perpetrators and the citizens of Steubenville have tried to do to her. I share this with you not to gain your pity, because praise God, I’ve overcome the shame and the pain of my past. I merely shared a piece of my past with you so that you will understand that when I answer the question, How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?, I am speaking from my own personal experience, and I know what works and what doesn’t work.

One of the ways for “Jane Doe” to pick up the pieces is to know the truth. 

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

~ John 8:32 NLT ~

There have been a lot of rumors and lies circulating about “Jane Doe” since the night of her attack. She’s heard lies from her rapists, lies from other teens who attended the parties and lies from adults who have placed the blame for the attack on her shoulders. She’s heard people speculating that if she hadn’t done this, then her attackers wouldn’t have done that. She’s heard others speculate that if she had only done this, then her attackers would have done something else. And here’s the sad fact about most victims of crimes like this:

Victims tend to blame themselves for the crimes committed against them.

Image Credit: breathoflifeonline.net

When you combine this natural tendency to blame yourself for an attack against your person, along with the accusations from her attackers, friends and adults, the weight of that blame becomes a heavy burden for anyone to bear — let alone a sixteen year old girl. That’s why it’s so important for this girl to know the truth, so that she won’t begin to self-destruct, as so many victims do. She needs to know the truth not only about what happened that night, but she also needs to know the truth about who she really is. 

You’ve heard the lies and the names people have labeled her with. She already feels terrible about what happened, and like I said before, she’s probably blaming herself for what happened to her. This is why it is vital for her to know the truth about who she really is.

I’ve been to Christian counselors, psychiatrists and psychologists, and my recommendation for “Jane Doe” would be to receive counseling from a Christian counselor, who can assist her in knowing who she is in Christ. You see, in Christ, people like “Jane Doe” and me are no longer victims, and we’re not merely survivors just hanging on. In Christ, we are victorious. In Christ, we are overcomers. In Christ, we are blameless. In Christ, we are no longer rejected, we are chosen. These are important truths that “Jane Doe” needs to know in order to pick up the pieces and move on with her life.

Another reason for “Jane Doe” to receive Christian counseling is so that she can talk about what happened to her. Too often, people try to hide what happened by ignoring it. This will lead to nothing but anxiety and emotional pain for “Jane Doe,” and she’s already suffered enough. Her perpetrators tried to silence “Jane Doe” to hide their own sin, and it only caused her more pain. She needs to talk about what happened. She needs to talk about her role in what happened, and the roles of everyone else involved. It is only when she is able to speak the truth openly, out loud, that she will begin to overcome the lies and the pain.

“But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything will be revealed; all that is secret will be made public. What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ears, shout from the housetops for all to hear! Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill you. They can only kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Not even a sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to Him than a whole flock of sparrows.”

~ Matthew 10:26-31 NLT ~

By speaking the truth about what was done to her out loud, she will overcome her tormentors, who tried to destroy her. 

Lord, I cry out to You for “Jane Doe.” Father, continue to minister to her, and draw her close into Your loving arms. Father, please set her free from the sin and the pain that have come together to destroy her. Lord, Your word says that the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, and I pray, in Jesus’ name, that You would give “Jane Doe” life more abundantly. Save her, Lord and heal her in Jesus’ name, amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Daily Prompt: Happy Happy Joy Joy

Daily Prompt: Happy Happy Joy Joy

by michelle w. on March 28, 2013

We cry for lots of reasons: sadness, pain, fear . . . and happiness. When was the last time you shed tears of joy?
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I haven’t responded to a Daily Prompt since March 18, because I’ve been sick and tired and depressed for quite a while, but when I saw today’s prompt I had to respond!

Since you don’t know me well, let me start off by telling you that for many years, I was unable to cry. I learned years ago to stifle my tears, out of fear, pride, bitterness and rebelliousness. As a child who was made fun of for having “buck-teeth” and the last name of Payne, I learned to swallow my tears, because even though my classmates tormented me, I refused to give them the satisfaction of seeing just how badly their words wounded me.

Image Credit: http://mybedsidemanner.blogspot.com/2012/07/ kind-word-turns-away-wrath.html

And then, there was my home life… All too often, if I would cry, my mother would warn me to, “Shut up or I’ll give you something to cry about!” And she would too. I can remember getting beatings from my parents, and nearly choking on my tears, trying not to let any escape past the huge lump in my throat, sometimes with success, and sometimes unsuccessfully. 

Did you know that you really can will yourself not to cry and not to feel? The problem with that is when you begin blocking one emotion, it inevitably leads to blocking all emotions. When that happens, we become so out of touch with our feelings, that we really don’t know how we feel about anything. I remember not knowing how I felt about things, and so I would carefully watch how others responded to certain situations, to see how I “should feel.” I eventually came to the point that I was unable to cry — whether I was happy or sad. The tears just wouldn’t come.

It is a good sign if a person is able to shed tears. An individual who had had much experience in spiritual matters once made this statement: Giving your love to a person who cannot shed tears is like handing over your money bag to a thief to keep. This is quite true. A person often feels uneasy about giving his love to one who cannot shed tears. For tears are the one thing that is indispensable in this world. It can rightly be said that a person who is unable to shed tears has lost something of the very essence of man: he can no longer be considered as being human.

~ Practical Issues of this Life ~
by: Watchman Nee

To be unable to cry was a terrible thing. As a child, I learned to repress my emotions as an act of self-preservation, but by doing so, I killed something inside of me. You see, tears are an outlet of the heart. So what do you do, when that valve has frozen and will not let any tears escape? 

You could do what I did. I remember reading the following verse from Psalm 56, and how it caused me to begin to ponder and pray to God about it.

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.

~ Palm 56:8 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://waitingatthewindow.blogspot.com/2012/10/tears-in-bottle.html

Isn’t that amazing? God keeps track of all our sorrows. He knows how deeply wounded I was as a child, and He cared. I can’t help but be amazed about this every time I read it or think about it! He has collected all of your tears, and all of my tears and placed them in His bottle. Imagine that! Your tears and mine too, are so important to God, that He has collected each and every one of them. Isn’t that awesome? And get this — He has a written record of every single tear that you have shed throughout your entire life, because those tears mean that much to Him. Do you remember every single tear that you’ve cried? I don’t, but God does.

When I read that scripture and realized how important our tears are to God, I began to pray, first, asking God to forgive me for quenching my tears, and then, asking Him to give me back my tears. Lord, help me to cry again. Restore my tears in Jesus’ name.” I won’t lie to you. It took a few years for me to have the privilege of crying again, but I got those tears back.

Having said all of that, 2013 has been an especially difficult year for me so far. Lord willing, the worst is behind me, and the best is yet to come! I lost my mother in February, the day after Valentine’s Day, and my heart has grieved for her. I never dreamed it would be so painful, and though I knew I loved her, I never realized how much I loved her. I’m sitting here weeping as I share this.

Anyway, January and February were both difficult months, as I dealt with my own physical issues, and my mother’s dying. Then, in the beginning of March, I got terribly sick — to the point that I thought I was dying. I had a horrible infection called Clostridium Difficile. It was terrible, and I was hospitalized for several days because of it. After returning home from the hospital, I was extremely weak and nauseous for several weeks — actually up until just a couple of days ago. 

Image Credit: http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/eyes/images/
16143904/title/tears-photo

It was horrible. With all that has gone on in these first few months of the new year, I was unable to attend church during this time of trouble, and I fell into a dark place, as the spirit of heaviness oppressed me. During the last few months, I’ve wept more tears of pain and sorrow than I ever remember crying. You would think those tears would just dry up, but they just keep coming. However, if I have to choose between shedding those tears or repressing them, I choose to shed them, because there’s a release that comes after I’ve cried, as though those painful things have been cleansed. It also helps, knowing that my dear sweet heavenly Father values my tears.

I shared all of this so that you can truly appreciate my answer to the question, “When was the last time you shed tears of joy?” The last time I cried tears of joy was last night, when I attended a very special worship service at my church, as we celebrate this holy week in remembrance of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. As I walked into the sanctuary with my pastor, who drove me to church, because I was unable to, I felt the joy of the Lord wash over me. As I helped prepare the communion, pouring the juice into the individual cups, and then helped to prepare the altar for the service, my heart was filled with contentment.

Have you ever been homesick? That’s how I’ve felt these last three months, and when I entered the sanctuary, I felt as though I’d come home. And then, my pastor asked me to open the service in prayer, and overwhelming joy flooded my soul as I realized that in spite of everything, I had been through, the Lord could still use me to bless others. When it came time for the foot washing, in remembrance of when Jesus cleansed the disciples feet, my pastor called for the ministers to come forward to wash the feet of the least among us, the children, and so, the other ministers and I knelt at the feet of the children in our congregation, and washed their feet as we prayed over each child. 

“But many who seem to be important now will be the least important then, and those who are considered least here will be the greatest then.”

~ Mark 10:31 NLT ~

What a privilege to humble ourselves and serve the children and the youth! My pastor then had the ministers sit down, as she humbled herself and washed the feet of the adult members of the church and the ministers. After this, she singled out one of the children, a girl who is often angry and rebellious, a girl who reminds me a little bit of myself as a child, in that she feels overlooked and unloved, and so she acts out sometimes. It was this girl that she asked to wash her feet, as she told her that the Lord had chosen her over the adults and ministers, to pray for her and wash her feet. You could see how seriously this girl took this invitation, as she soberly looked into her pastor’s eyes, with tears glistening, and then knelt at her feet and slowly, solemnly and gently washed first one foot and then the other, quietly praying.

After this, we sang together as the Spirit led. My heart was flowing over with joy, and last night, for the first time in such a long, long time, I wept with joy, and as I wrote this post, I was again, weeping with joy!

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Steubenville Horror – Who’s fault is it anyway?

As I’ve been studying the Steubenville Horror, and witnessed the lack of sympathy for the sixteen year old girl whose life was forever changed by the unwelcome invasion of her body by her two rapists, while the two perpetrators have received undue sympathy from their community and even from journalists, my heart has been heavy. In this series of posts, I have been tackling the following seven questions that have been very troubling to me.

  • What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?
  • What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?
  • Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?
  • Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?
  • When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined? 
  • How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?
  • How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?

I’ve already addressed the first five questions in posts which are listed below under “Related Articles,” which leads me to the sixth question.

How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?

As I address this question, I want to make one thing clear from the  outset, so that there are no misunderstandings. Although “Jane Doe” placed herself in a dangerous position, she did not ask for nor did she invite her rapists to ravage her body. This little girl should not and must not be blamed for the crime committed against her. The blame for the rape, the filming of the rape and the defamation of her character rests squarely on her rapists and their enablers’ shoulders.

Image Credit: http://www.godui.org/news/?p=112

Having said that, it is important, if we want to protect our children and teens, to address this question. How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position? No one can argue that anyone attending this wild party of teenagers, with alcohol running freely, was extremely unsafe for male or female.

It really saddens me as I read the accusations that have been thrown against the victim of this crime, while the boys who committed the crime have had sympathy heaped on them, as though they were the victims of a crime that she committed against them… Doesn’t anyone remember what it was to be a teenager?

Image Credit: http://listoftheday.blogspot.com/2012/10/ news-of-day-family-makes-disturbing.html

If I think really hard (actually, it’s not that hard to remember), I can remember what it was like to be a sixteen year old girl. I remember what it was like to have a crush on a guy… how my heart would flutter and how I would blush if my current crush happened to glance at me. Does anyone else remember that? And if the guy walked up to you and began to talk to you, do you remember how your heart would pound, and your thoughts would be jumbled up, as you batted your eyes and giggled foolishly, while still trying to look cool? Or was I the only one?

Do you remember feeling as though you would just die if the one you had a crush on chose another girl? Do you remember those awful feelings of rejection, and how lonely and miserable you felt? It felt as if the world around you was crumbling. Do you remember wanting that boy so badly, that you would be willing to do almost anything just so he would want you too?

Image Credit: http://imgfave.com/search/+hey%20arnold

Teenage girls don’t always think rationally. They don’t always make the best or wisest decisions. Their hormones are running wild, and they haven’t yet matured enough to control all of their emotions. Unfortunately, rather than rationalizing things and thinking things through, teenage girls are often led by their emotions.

That’s why it is so important for parents to protect their daughters, because chances are, if they don’t, their daughters can get into all sorts of trouble — not because the girls are bad, but because they are immature and lack wisdom that only comes with age. It is the parents’ responsibility to check up on their teenage sons and daughters. Parents should know their children’s friends. They should know their children’s friends’ parents. When their child is invited to go somewhere overnight, check it out. Take them there and go inside and talk with the adults. Ask if the children/teens will be staying there, or going somewhere else that evening. If they are going somewhere else, get the address of that location. Don’t be afraid to go to that location later on and check it out, and don’t be afraid of embarrassing your son or daughter by making them come home if they are at a party that is inappropriate. It’s a whole lot easier to get over being embarrassed by your parents than it is to get over possible drug addictions, alcoholism or rape.

Before judging this girl, who placed herself in a very dangerous situation, try looking at things from her perspective, and remember, she was just a teenage girl, like many of us were, or for the men who are reading this post, just like your wives once were, or perhaps, like your daughter may be. Most teenage girls think with their emotions instead of their brain. Let’s look at the following statement that “Jane Doe” texted to Trent Mays, because it gives you a clear picture of the victim’s mindset that night she went to the party:

“Ok I liked you a lot and I left that night because I thought you’d take care of me. You were part of it. I was drugged. I never said you raped me but you and your friends did humiliate me. You should have protected me. Anyone with a heart would have.”

Think about it. Here was Trent Mays, the popular, good-looking football player that she “liked alot.” Isn’t it obvious that she had a crush on him? She wanted him to like her too, and she was drinking. Was it wrong for her to be drinking? Absolutely. Did she deserve to be raped for drinking way too much? Absolutely NOT!

Image Credit: (Photo: Keith Srakocic, AP)

Isn’t it clear from reading her text, that her motives and his motives were entirely different? She wanted to be with the handsome football player that she really liked, and she trusted him. It’s clear that she thought he liked her in the same way that she liked him. What young teenage girl doesn’t dream of the handsome football player “liking” her and taking care of her? It’s foolish, but most young people do act foolishly, and that isn’t a put down, most just don’t have the maturity necessary to think past their emotions. Did her foolishness merit rape? No way.

So to get back to the question, How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position? I think it’s pretty clear. She did what a lot of other girls did and still do when not supervised by adults — she behaved immaturely. But when I look back over my life, there were so many times that I behaved immaturely as well, and I didn’t deserve to be raped. Did none of you ever behave immaturely? Did you deserve to be raped? Of course not!

Both the girl and the boys, and all of the other teens who were at the party behaved immaturely, and should have been monitored by responsible adults, who in my opinion also acted immaturely by not keeping a closer eye on their children. The difference is that this girl was violated and raped. The only crime she committed was a misdemeanor — underage drinking. The boys, however, violated and raped this girl physically and emotionally, and then ridiculed her on social media, for all the world to see, as they completed their acts of humiliation against her. They committed several crimes:

  • Underage drinking — misdemeanor
  • Rape — felony
  • Taking pornographic pictures of a minor — felony
  • Harrassment — misdemeanor

The other teens who witnessed the violations against this girl and took pictures committed the felony crime of taking pornographic pictures of a minor. Those teens who witnessed the violations against the girl and did nothing to stop or report what was happening were guilty of enabling these fiends to further degrade and eventually rape the girl. All behaved immaturely, just as the girl did. Did any of these deserve to be raped? Of course not, and neither did the victim.

Finally, let’s look at all of the adults involved, parents, teachers, coaches, etc. Did any of them check up on their children who were out partying and getting drunk that night? Did anyone hear the commotion outside while the teens were chanting and encouraging one another to urinate on the girl, and try to stop it or call the police? Did Nate Hubbard act maturely by throwing the partiers out of his house instead of calling the police or their parents? Did any of the coaches, teachers, parents and other adults act maturely or responsibly after this crime was committed:

  • Teaching their sons that it is wrong to take advantage of a girl?
  • That it is wrong to video a girl being raped and debased?
  • That it is wrong to laugh at a crime being committed against a teenage girl or any other victim?
  • That it is wrong to go to parties and get drunk?
  • That it is wrong to stand by silently watching while a crime is being committed?
  • That they should call the police in order to stop or prevent a crime from being committed?
  • That they should shower compassion on the victim of the crime, not the perpetrators?

A terrible crime was committed on August 11, 2012, and that needs to be acknowledged. People in Steubenville, Ohio are no different than people in any part of this country or other countries. If this had happened in my hometown, I have very little doubt that people would have responded the same wrongful way as the citizens of Steubenville did. You see, for some reason, people think that if you’re physically attractive, smart and talented at sports or music, or whatever, then you’re a hero.

How wrong they are. Let me show you a real hero:

Many were amazed when they saw Him — beaten and bloodied, so disfigured one would scarcely know He was a person. And He will again startle many nations. Kings will stand speechless in His presence. For they will see what they had not previously been told about; they will understand what they had not heard about.

Who has believed our message? To whom will the LORD reveal His saving power? My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot, sprouting from a root in dry and sterile ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about His appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected — a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way when He went by. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses He carried; it was our sorrows that weighed Him down. And we thought His troubles were a punishment from God for His own sins! But He was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on Him the guilt and sins of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet He never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, He did not open His mouth. From prison and trial they led Him away to His death. But who among the people realized that He was dying for their sins — that He was suffering their punishment? He had done no wrong, and He never deceived anyone. But He was buried like a criminal; He was put in a rich man’s grave. But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush Him and fill Him with grief. Yet when His life is made an offering for sin, He will have a multitude of children, many heirs. He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD’s plan will prosper in His hands. When He sees all that is accomplished by His anguish, He will be satisfied. And because of what He has experienced, my Righteous Servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for He will bear all their sins. I will give Him the honors of One who is mighty and great, because He exposed Himself to death. He was counted among those who were sinners. He bore the sins of many and interceded for sinners.

~ Isaiah 52:14-53:12 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://www.lostseed.com/extras/free-graphics/images/jesus-pictures/jesus-crucified.php

Jesus was a hero. He never played a football, basketball or baseball game, and He never wrestled on the wrestling team. He just came to a lost and dying world and healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, voices to the mute, and life to the dead. He showed love to the unlovable, mercy to those who knew no mercy, acceptance to those who were rejected, hope for the hopeless, and He gave grace upon grace to all who were willing to accept it. He is my hero, and friends, no sports figure can match Him!

Do you know what He would say to the girl who placed herself in a dangerous situation? He would say:

“Don’t be afraid, beloved. You no longer need to live in shame. Come to Me, and I will make you forget the shame of your youth. Cast all of your cares on Me, beloved, for I care for you. 

“Beloved, don’t let others shame you, because I love you. Trust in Me, beloved, with all of your heart, and don’t try to figure things out for yourself. I am with you, beloved, and I will never reject you or turn My back on you. You are My beloved. Behold, I have called you by your name and you are Mine.  When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, and I will be with you wherever you go. 

“Now, My beloved, hold your head up, and be not ashamed, for I am with you. You were wrong to get drunk, beloved, but you did not deserve to be raped. This was not your fault. The fault is not yours, My beloved. The blame rests on the shoulders of ALL who condemned you and trampled on you, so hold your head up, child. You have nothing to be ashamed of.”

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Steubenville Horror – Does Anybody Really Care?

*** Warning — There are some graphic terms in this post, as there were in a previous post — not because I approve of such language, but because I felt I needed to refute it. 

For the past few days, I’ve been writing about what I refer to as the Steubenville Horror. When I heard about this heartbreaking rape, my heart was flooded with a mixture of emotions, and there were seven questions that arose from those emotions that I was compelled to address.

  • What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?
  • What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?
  • Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?
  • Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?
  • When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined? 
  • How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?
  • How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?

I’ve addressed the first four questions in previous posts, which are listed at the bottom under “Related Articles,” and tonight, I will address the fifth question on my list:

When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined?

Image Credit:
DefendWomensRights.org

I addressed the parents of all of the Steubenville teens who attended the now infamous parties on August 11, 2011, but now I want to extend my post to include all of the adults who reside in Steubenville, Ohio and beyond. I have to tell you that I am blown away by the number of adults from this town, as well as journalists express so much sympathy for these young men whose lives, which showed such promise, are supposedly ruined by the verdict.

Image Credit: http://d22r54gnmuhwmk.cloudfront.net/ photos/0/he/gt/flHeGtgYPJaTaXs-556×313-noPad.jpg

Excuse me — were they the victims of a crime? As far as I can see, these two young men received a merciful sentence for their unmerciful crime against “Jane Doe,” a sixteen year old girl with a real name, who was raped by these two “promising young men.” And I don’t mean to sound heartless, but I’m calling it as I see it… Those two “promising young men” apologized and cried only after they were found guilty by a court of law. Prior to their arrest, if you’ll recall, they were quite proud and cocky about their actions, judging from their own tweets and posts on social media.

As overwhelmed as I am by the outpouring of sympathy for the two “promising young men,” I am truly underwhelmed by the outpouring of sympathy for a sixteen year old girl, who was not only physically raped by those two “promising young men,” but emotionally raped by them as well, as they posted nude pictures of her and called her all sorts of crude names — such as:

  • Whore — dictionary.com defines whore as a woman who engages in promiscuous sexual intercourse, usually for money; prostitute; harlot; strumpet… 

    • According to this definition, a whore is a woman — this was a sixteen year old girl.
    • This girl did not engage in promiscuous sexual intercourse with these “promising young men” for money or any other reason — they raped her.
    • This  girl did not consent to have promiscuous sexual intercourse, therefore as I stated before, these “promising young men” raped her.
  • Bitch — dictionary.com defines bitch as a female dog…
    • As I have stated before, this girl is not a female dog — she is a human girl, one who has human feelings and emotions, one who should be treated with honor, dignity and respect, no matter how drunk she got that night.
  • Slut — dictionary.com defines slut as an immoral or dissolute woman; prostitute.
    • Although the defendants’ attorneys and the good townspeople of Steubenville have tried to label her as a slut, I will say it again — this was not an immoral or dissolute woman or prostitute. She was a girl.
    • This girl did not engage in consensual sex with the two “promising young men” — they raped her.

As I’ve read, and listened to the news, and watched numerous videos online about this case, I keep coming back to the adults in Steubenville and the adult reporters and journalists, and I wonder, “Does anybody really care?” Just look at some of the comments made by the adults from that town:

  • “The rape was just an excuse, I think. What else are you going to tell your parents when you come home drunk like that and after a night like that? She had to make up something. Now people are trying to blow up our football program because of it.” ~ Nate Hubbard, Steubenville volunteer football coach
Image Credit: http://therealwithdarylanddevon.files.wordpress.com/ 2013/03/21655391_bg1.jpg

Do you know what’s really interesting about this? Nate Hubbard admits right here that the girl was drunk. Remember, Nate Hubbard’s home was the location of Party #1 that night, and it was he who told the drunken teens to leave his house on the night of the rape. He knew she was a drunk sixteen year old girl, and as a leader of the community’s youth, shouldn’t he have called her parents at the very least, instead of sending her and other drunken teenagers out to drive under the influence. As a coach of the city’s youth, didn’t he care that they might endanger themselves because they were clearly under the influence? Didn’t he care when he heard that the sixteen year old girl had been raped? It seems obvious that this leader and role model for the students didn’t care about them… His comments make it clear that he only cared about their football program.

In fact, the football program was so important to him, the other coaches and the parents, that the other teens who were at those infamous parties were not punished for their despicable behavior. Instead, knowing the garbage that had been plastered all over social media, the coaches, teachers, principals and other school officials allowed them to continue playing football. And let’s not forget the parents who could have punished their teens for their immoral behavior, but instead, allowed them to continue playing football. Meanwhile, across the river, in another town, a young girl’s life was tragically altered after she was raped. Does anybody really care?

“don’t feel bad bc we r talking about a girl also known as stubenvills “train whore” going to parties there every weekend and foul s- – – going down…” Deidre Myers, Steubenville resident

Nice. I just have to make this clear once again — this is a sixteen year old girl we are talking about, not a woman, not an adult, not a dog. However, even if this case was about an adult prostitute, the acts committed against her would still be rape. This girl did not give those boys permission to touch her, remove her clothes, insert anything into her body, or take pictures of her naked body. She was rapedDoes anybody really care?

Image Credit: http://www.handsintothelight.com/ steubenville-city-residentsgood-people-of/ 2012-10-26-rape-victims-accused/

I am appalled at the people who have tried to paint the rape victim in the worst possible light, while referring to the two perpetrators of the crime as “two promising young men.” Not only does my heart break for the victim, but it breaks for other teens who are being raised with that same mentality. My heart breaks for the people of Steubenville and other communities, who do not care how their boys behave, as long as they do a good job on the football field. I added other communities to that statement, because this attitude is not limited to one geographic location — it can be found all across the United States, even in my own community. It seems that sports “heroes” (and I use that term loosely) are deemed by many to be above the law. As long as they play well on game day, they can rape and pillage to their heart’s content, and their fans will gladly blame their victims. Does anybody really care?

As I’ve listened and read how people have justified the actions of those “promising young men,” and how they have vilified the victim, I’m reminded of the passage of scripture where the Pharisees brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus, and I look at His response to her, a woman who was not raped, but had consensual sex with a man who was not her husband, and I think of many things that we can learn from this.

1 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning He was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and He sat down and taught them. 3 As He was speaking, the teachers of religious law and Pharisees brought a woman they had caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. 

4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” 

6 They were trying to trap Him into saying something they could use against Him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with His finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so He stood up again and said, “All right, stone her. But let those who have never sinned throw the first stones!” 

8 Then He stooped down again and wrote in the dust. 9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to her, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” 

11 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said,“Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

~ John 8:1-11 NLT ~

Isn’t it interesting that the Pharisees brought only the woman who was caught in the act of committing adultery to Jesus? The law about adultery also applied to men, so why didn’t they demand that the adulterous man be stoned? Think about this — the Pharisees wanted to condemn only the woman involved in adultery, although justice demanded that both the man and the woman be condemned. Do you see a parallel? Steubenville wants to condemn the victim for being drunk, which a whole lot of others at the party were as well. It seems they believe that only she should be accountable. Does anyone see the injustice here? Does anybody really care?

While the girl was guilty of underage drinking, her two violators were as well, but Steubenville adults want to condemn the girl. While the girl’s only crime was underage drinking, a misdemeanor, and please don’t think that I minimize that, because it is a big deal that I’ll tackle at another time, the boys, those “promising young men,” committed the same misdemeanor, and a felony as well… They raped her, but the adults in Steubenville choose to condemn the girl’s actions. Is this their idea of justice? Does anybody really care?

Image Credit: http://images.acswebnetworks.com/1/325/c_lent_5.jpg

When Jesus was confronted with the adulterous woman, He who is perfect and never sinned, did not condemn her. Instead, He set her free, telling her to go and sin no more. Jesus refused to condemn a woman who was engaged in consensual sex, choosing to forgive her and set her free instead, but many of the adults in Steubenville would choose to forgive the rapists, while condemning the victim! Do you see the irony? Does anybody really care?

There has been talk by the news media about how the lives of these “promising young men” have been ruined by their guilty verdict. I say that if their lives have been ruined by anything, it was ruined by their criminal actions. They chose to rape a girl, and the consequences of their crime is really lenient, in my opinion. They committed an adult crime and could have been tried as adults and been sentenced to several years in prison, as well as being listed on the sex registry. Instead, they were tried as children (although children younger than they have been tried as adults for the crime of rape), and received the minimum sentence for their convicted crimes, possibly having to remain in juvenile detention until they are twenty-one years old. Richmond was given a minimum sentence of one year, while Mays, who was found guilty of disseminating pornographic pictures of the girl, who is a minor, in addition to the rape, was sentenced to the minimum of two years. They may not even be added to the sexual offenders registry when their behavior is evaluated after they are twenty-one years old.

Think about this, juvenile records are often closed once the person reaches adulthood with no further charges. Therefore, in just a few short years, this could all be behind those two “promising young men.”

Image Credit: http://wmc.3cdn.net/2e14d66f22ebcf87da_vvm6bnk26.jpg

However, the scars that “Jane Doe” received on August 11, 2012, against her will, will last her a lifetime. Rape is a crime that haunts a woman for many years, and the emotional scars that it leaves are devastating. When those boys are set free in a year or two, enjoying life and putting their past behind them, “Jane Doe” will most likely feel the pain of those scars, as the wounds are ripped open once again. Does anybody really care?

Father, I cry out to you for the adults who have failed so miserably in supporting and caring for this hurt and broken little girl. Have mercy on them, Lord, and change their hearts. Lord, fill them with Your compassion for the victim, and give them the wisdom to teach their children to love and respect all humans.

Lord, give them wisdom to teach their young men to respect girls and women, just as You do. Give them the wisdom to teach their young girls to respect other young girls, and to watch out for one another and protect one another. Lord, give the adults the wisdom and the hearts to watch out and protect those who are weaker. Teach them to care, in Jesus’ name, amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Steubenville Horror – Where Are The Parents?

I began this series of posts in response to ABC’s 20/20 episode, entitled, Steubenville: After the Party’s Overwhich reported on the rape of sixteen year old “Jane Doe,” and the use of social media to further demoralize her. It was as I watched this report that the following questions arose in my spirit, beckoning me to respond to them.

  • What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?
  • What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?
  • Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?
  • Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?
  • When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined? 
  • How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?
  • How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?

In the last couple of days, I’ve addressed the first three questions, which brings me to tonight’s question, and I have to tell you, this has really been burning in my spirit. 

Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?

Image Credit: http://www.npr.org/

How many different teens were at those three parties that night? My understanding is that there were around fifty teens at those parties, so I can’t help but wonder — were all of the parents of  fifty teenagers out of town that night? Were there no adults in either of the homes where the parties were held?

Were there no neighbors near any of the homes where the parties were held? Were the at least fifty teens who  had been drinking that night, at the various parties so quiet that no neighbors heard them when they were standing outside laughing at a sixteen year old girl who was throwing up? Did none of the neighbors hear any commotion? Did none of the neighbors hear the people at the party taunting her, while they chanted and cheered as a Steubenville High baseball player dared bystanders to urinate on her?

Image Credit: http://therealwithdarylanddevon.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/21655391_bg1.jpg

When twenty-seven year old Nate Hubbard, volunteer coach for the Steubenville Big Reds came home and found the drunken teenaged partiers at his home, why didn’t he phone the police? Isn’t underage drinking a crime in Steubenville, Ohio, or didn’t the twenty-seven year old assistant coach know that? Isn’t drinking and driving a crime? Why then, would he order the intoxicated minors to leave, without at least offering to drive them home?

Image Credit: http://writetodeepakbhatt.blogspot.com/2011/12/alcoholism-and-its-adverse-effect-on.html

What adult bought the alcoholic beverages that were consumed by the teens that night? Did none of the fifty parents know where their children were that night? When their teens told them where they were going, did it not occur to any of the parents to call other parents to see if their children were telling them the truth? Did all fifty of those teens have their own cars, so that their parents didn’t need to take them to their destinations that night? Of those parents who drove their children to the party or to their friends’ homes, did any of them walk inside with their teens and talk with any other parents that night? 

Image Credit: http://www.speechbuddy.com

How many of the at least fifty teens who were at the various parties that evening owned their own cell phone? Out of those teens that owned a cell phone, how many were bought by their parents? How many parents paid for their teens’ monthly service? How many of those parents had ever checked their children’s cell phones to see what kind of pictures, texts and other media messages their children received and posted before that night? How many of those same parents have ever checked their children’s cell phones since that night?

One has only to look at the reactions — or should I say lack of reactions from the parents, neighbors and other adults in the community to gain an understanding of why there was no one to defend “Jane Doe” on August 11, 2012. We need to look at the adults of the community who failed to teach their youth the difference from right and wrong. Do I sound harsh? Perhaps, but I am speaking truth. 

Image Credit: http://news.yahoo.com/lightbox/left-defense-attorney-adam-nemann-client-defendant-trent-photo-214631608.html

I heard the parents of the two boys who were convicted of rape talk about their boys, and what good boys they were, and how their boys wouldn’t do something like that, and it sickens me. I love my children, but when they are wrong, even though it breaks my heart, I cannot defend their actions. As I listened to them, and even some of the media lamenting for those poor boys, and how this has ruined their lives, I was struck at the lack of empathy for “Jane Doe,” who was victimized by those “poor boys.”

Did “Jane Doe” place herself in a dangerous situation? Absolutely, and I’ll talk about that in my next post, but no matter how drunk and foolish she may have behaved, the abuse inflicted on her by those “poor boys”, and by the other teens who were mocking her, photographing her and smearing her name all over cyberspace, was inexcusable. She was the victim, not those “poor boys,” nor any other person involved.

This is a wake-up call, America. We have become a selfish, self-centered culture, placing our own wants and needs above all else, which is completely contrary to the lives that God has ordained for us to live. You see, we were created for His glory, not for our own pleasure. 

“All who claim Me as their God will come, for I have made them for My glory. It was I who created them.

~ Isaiah 43:7 NLT ~

This horrific case has broken my heart for everyone who was involved, the victim, the perpetrators, the bystanders and the parents, and though I don’t want to see something like this happen again, it will, unless people are willing to make a change in their lives. Not only will incidents like this happen again, but I tell you with certainty, that the crimes will become more and more vile and heinous, unless the people of this nation repent of their sins and cry out to God for His mercy. 

Image Credit: http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/474.html

I’m sure there are some who disagree with me, but the facts speak for themselves. If the parents of those teens had been proactive in their children’s lives, rather than reactive, perhaps this wouldn’t have happened. What if the parents of any of those teens who attended the parties that night, had checked up on their children’s plans before and even during the parties? This could have been prevented, right? 

Suppose the parents of the teens who attended the parties that night had brought their children up from childhood to love the Lord as the Scriptures say?

1 “These are all the commands, laws, and regulations that the LORD your God told me to teach you so you may obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy, 2 and so you and your children and grandchildren might fear the LORD your God as long as you live. If you obey all His laws and commands, you will enjoy a long life. 3 Listen closely, Israel, to everything I say. Be careful to obey. Then all will go well with you, and you will have many children in the land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you. 

4 “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. 5 And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again.”

~ Deuteronomy 6:1-7 NLT ~

It’s sad that many of the parents of the teens involved in this horrible crime likely would never dream of missing their child’s football game, but few would ever insist on their children learning to love the Lord God with all of their heart, soul and strength. How many of those parents have bought the music those teens were listening to that night, like “Way too Gone”, by Young Jeezy? How many bought their teens Nirvana’s “Rape Me”? I wonder, if the boys had been listening to something different, like the song below, do think it’s possible that it would have squelched their evil desires that night?

Suppose the parents of those teens taught their children from the time they were small to be kind to others…

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

~ Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT ~

Suppose, instead of defending their teen’s heinous actions, they disciplined them?

17 Discipline your children, and they will give you happiness and peace of mind. 18 When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is happy.

~ Proverbs 29:17-18 NLT ~

My dear readers, it’s too late to change what happened in Steubenville, Ohio on August 11, 2012, but it’s not too late to change future events. If you are a parent, grandparent, or an adult that children and teens look up to, teach them to love the Lord Jesus Christ by your words and by your actions. Children aren’t stupid. They are looking to the adults in their lives to show them how to live, not only by what they say, but by what they do. 

It isn’t enough for a father to tell his son to respect women, when his son observes his father looking at pornography and cursing his mother. Do you think the son will do as his father says, or as his father does? It isn’t enough to tell your kids to be truthful, when you tell lies. 

Parents, you can’t be friends with your children while they are still children and teens. You must be the responsible adult, and you must discipline. Parents who truly love their children will discipline them. Parents who tell their children they love them, but do not discipline them, do not show their children love. Instead, their lack of discipline shows them that their parents don’t really care about them. 

Do you want to do what is best for your children, and hopefully prevent your children and teens from committing despicable acts against others?

  • Pray for your children.
  • Dedicate yourself and them to Christ.
  • Lead them by example.
    • Show them mercy and compassion toward others
    • Live a disciplined life.
    • Pray with your children.
  • Discipline your children.
  • Maintain a loving relationship with the child’s other parent.
    • Even if you are no longer married or together, respect the child’s other parent and never put him/her down.
    • Even if you are no longer married or together, pray for your child’s other parent.
  • Talk to your teens about this case and others that have happened.
    • Ask your teen how they would respond to that situation.
    • Offer suggestions, so that if something like that ever happens, your teen will know what to do.

My beloved readers, I truly believe our country is at a deadly crossroad, and each one of us must choose which way we will go and lead our children. Will you lead your children on the path of righteousness? Or will you choose to lead your children on the path of destruction?

11 “This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand or perform. 12 It is not up in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go to heaven and bring it down so we can hear and obey it?’ 13 It is not beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear and obey it?’ 14 The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it. 

15 “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between prosperity and disaster, between life and death. 16 I have commanded you today to love the LORD your God and to keep His commands, laws, and regulations by walking in His ways. If you do this, you will live and become a great nation, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. 17 But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, 18 then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy. 

19 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live!”

~ Deuteronomy 30:11-19 NLT ~

Father, I pray for all parents, not only those who live in Steubenville, Ohio, but for every parent throughout this country and throughout the earth. Lord, I pray in Jesus’ name that You would give parents a hunger and a thirst for righteousness. I pray that You would give them godly wisdom, so that they can make good decisions for their children and themselves. 

Father, build a wall of fire around the youth in this nation, so that the enemy can’t penetrate their hearts. Lord, I pray that You would reveal Yourself to every man, woman, teen and child who might come across this post and draw them to You, for salvation is found only in Christ. 

In Jesus’ name, Father, I pray that men and women throughout the world who love You would humble themselves under Your mighty hand and pray to You and repent and seek Your face, and that You would hear our cries, and heal our land. Amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Steubenville Horror – My Brother’s and My Sister’s Keeper

Image Credit: http://thefreeman.net/journal/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/dog-bone.jpg

Sometimes, when the spirit within me is stirred up, I’m like a dog with a bone. I just can’t leave it alone. It’s like that when the Lord places a word on my heart. I can’t sleep or rest until I’ve said, written or done what He has compelled me to do. This is how I’ve felt ever since Friday night, when I watched ABC’s 20/20 episode, entitled, Steubenville: After the Party’s Over, which informed us about the physical and emotional rape of a sixteen year old girl, referred to as “Jane Doe” on August 11, 2012. After viewing this program, I was haunted by the following questions, which I began addressing in a series of posts:

  • What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?
  • What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?
  • Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?
  • Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?
  • When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined? 
  • How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?
  • How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?

I’ve addressed the first two questions in two other posts, which are listed under Recent Articles, at the end of this post. Therefore, today, I’m going to address the third question…

Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?

Image Credit: abcnews.com

It was reported that several girls present at the first party were concerned for the victim, and tried to talk her out of going with Mays and Richmond, but the inebriated girl did not heed their warning, so they let her go. How terrible… Look at this statement one of “Jane Doe’s” friends made to the police:

“I could tell that she was gradually getting more drunk and worse throughout the night,” 16-year-old Farrah Marcino is seen saying in the video, obtained by ABC News. “Just, like, that she couldn’t, like, she didn’t walk.”

“She wanted to go with Trent. Like, we just kept trying to tell her: ‘You don’t want to do this. You don’t want to go with them,’” Marcino told detectives. “I just let her do what she want(ed), which I understand was wrong.”

Read more: 

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/steubenville-investigation-video-shows-fellow-students-concerned-victim-article-1.1297103#ixzz2OXiOUGyY

Image Credit: abcnews.com

It’s obvious that the teenaged girls who attended the parties were concerned for “Jane Doe,” but their concern meant nothing, because they failed to act on their concern. I can understand that they may have been afraid to stand up to the boys, perhaps, but all of them had access to a phone. For goodness’ sake — most, if not all of them had their own cell phones that they could have used to call a trusted adult to come and rescue the girl, who was obviously too impaired to make any decisions for herself. Or, if the teens were afraid of calling an adult to help the girl, they could have called the police to come and rescue her! So, why is it that none of the concerned girls or boys at the party did anything to protect her?

This reminds me of the discussion between the Lord and Cain, after he had murdered his brother Abel:

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

~ Genesis 4:9 NKJV ~

Here is yet another example of the values that many parents have failed to instill in their children. Are we our brother’s (or in this case, our sister’s) keeper? YES!!! We are indeed, our brother’s and sister’s keeper. 

1 So we who are strong have a duty to bear the weaknesses of those who are not strong, rather than please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please his neighbor and act for his good, thus building him up.

~ Romans 15:1-2 CJB ~

God’s word is very clear to us. Those of us who are strong have a duty to bear the weaknesses of those who are not strong, rather than please ourselves. Each of us should please his brother (or sister) and act for his (or her) good, thus building him (or her) up. I really want to break this down, because this is something that every parent needs to understand, so they can teach it to their children both by words and deeds.

Image Credit: http://3.bp.blogspot.com

Those who were strong on the night of August 11, 2012, were all of the teenaged boys and girls who did not physically or verbally participate in the victimization of the girl that night. Those who were strong that night are the ones who tried to convince the girl not to leave with the boys. Those who were strong were the ones who witnessed what was going on, and felt bad about it, but said and did nothing to prevent the situation from growing worse. 

Those who are strong have a duty to bear the weaknesses of those who are not strong. Just to be very clear, the one who was not strong that night, was “Jane Doe,” and her weakness was the amount of alcohol she had consumed, which rendered her unable to make wise decisions. Her weaknesses that night, made it impossible for her to defend or protect herself. She needed one or more of those who were strong to bear her weaknesses and act for her good, thus building her up. 

But sadly, the strong ones failed in their duty to bear her weaknesses and act for her good. Why did they fail? Could it have been out of selfishness? Is it possible that they were afraid to call a trusted adult or the police, because they didn’t want to get in trouble? Did they think it was better to let “Jane Doe” be raped and hurt than to risk getting in trouble for being where they shouldn’t have been and doing what they shouldn’t have been doing? Were they supposed to be their sister’s keeper? YES!!! 

Image Credit: http://thetimehascome.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/living-sacrifices-romans-12.jpg

What a sad time it is for the people of this country! We have cast the Lord Jesus aside, and embraced our own selfish desires, and then, when disaster strikes, we demand to know how a good and loving God could allow such atrocities. It’s time for the people of this nation to get a grip. No longer do parents bother to teach their children how to worship the Lord and be a living sacrifice. Instead, they teach their children to worship themselves and sacrifice others!

How many more times will the same scenes be repeated, before men and women begin to sacrifice themselves and teach their children by word and by example that those who are strong must care for those who are weak? Do you want to see a change in this nation? Do you want to see a change in your children? Then teach them to do as Jesus commanded…

12 I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. 13 And here is how to measure it — the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends.

~ John 15:12-13 NLT ~

Please join me in praying for those teens who attended the party, and though they didn’t actively participate in the assault on “Jane Doe,” by their silence, they enabled the crime…

Heavenly Father, I pray for each person who attended the parties on that fateful night, and I ask You to touch their hearts and draw them to You. Lord, show them where they went wrong, and show them how to do what’s right from this time forward. Father, I pray that You would give each one of these teens a compassionate heart, filled with Your love for those who are weak. 

Inspire them to lay down their lives for others, Lord. Give them wisdom not to attend anymore parties like that, and if ever they are involved in a situation where someone who is weaker than they, is being harmed or exploited, enable them to be courageous and strong as they take a stand for what is right.

Father, I ask You to continue to watch over “Jane Doe,” and heal her broken heart in Jesus’ name, amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Steubenville Horror – Warning!

*** Readers Beware – I do not usually use any graphic language or descriptions in my posts, because first and foremost, in all that I do, I want to honor God. However, in this post, there are graphic descriptions and links to song lyrics, which denote the vileness of the crimes committed against the victim. My wish is still to honor God, however, in doing so, I must include the graphic descriptions below, in order to illustrate the evil that we must begin to battle in order to save our nation, our children, our elderly, and even ourselves. The time has come to wage war against evil, rather than standing by silently hoping it will disappear.

In the wee hours of this morning, I wrote the first post, entitled, Steubenville Horror – Heartless?, in a series about the callous rape of a drunk sixteen year old girl, and the equally heinous atrocities that followed. In the first post, I listed a seven questions that I would be addressing in this series, dedicating that first post to the first question:

  • What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?
  • What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?
  • Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?
  • Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?
  • When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined? 
  • How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?
  • How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?
Image Credit: http://www.elefterian.com/files/mix_4/lavina2.jpg

In this post, I will attempt to address the second question from my list. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, however, as you examine this case, it is very evident that something has gone terribly wrong in our culture, and like a snowball that gains momentum in an avalanche, unless we make some drastic changes to our lives, many more lives will be devastated and destroyed. Therefore, as I share the events of that terrible night on August 11, 2012, look at it as a warning sign for every man, woman and child in this nation!

What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?

As horrible as the rape of this girl was, I was equally appalled by the cruelty shown by other teenaged boys, both those who were at the parties, and those who learned about the rape later. Briefly, on the night of August 11, 2012, a sixteen year old girl from West Virginia attended three parties that took place in Steubenville, Ohio, along with several other teenaged boys and girls. At all of these parties, the minors were consuming alcoholic beverages, and it became apparent to all by around 10 or 10:30pm, at the first party, that the girl, “Jane Doe,” had become extremely intoxicated, as she stumbled around, slurring her words.

Image Credit: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/01/steubenville-high-football-rape-crew/60554/

This is a very loose timeline of the events that occurred that evening, and I truly believe that this is like a shot heard ’round the world, and we must heed  its warning:

  • People at the party started making fun of “Jane Doe,” as one of Steubenville High School’s baseball players dared people to urinate on her.
  • A couple of hours later, “Jane Doe” left the party — now unable to walk on her own, Steubenville High School football players, Trent Mays, Ma’lik Richmond carried her by her hands and legs, as though she was an animal to Mark Cole’s Volkswagen Jetta. According to witnesses, she “was sleeping.”
  • On the way to Cole’s home, Mays exposed the girls breasts and penetrated her with his fingers, while Richmond drove and Cole recorded the crime on his cell phone, as the song, “Way too Gone”, by Young Jeezy played in the background. The lyrics to this song are truly vile and disgusting.
  • There were apparently three parties that night, and by the third party, witnesses report that “Jane Doe” was unable to walk on her own, and that she vomited several times, eventually winding up on the ground, naked, silent and motionless.
  • While at Mark Cole’s home, witnesses Anthony Craig and Evan Westlake testified that they saw Ma’lik Richmond behind the girl, with his hands between her legs, penetrating her with his fingers, while Trent Mays repeatedly smacked his penis against her side.
  • The victim woke up the next morning naked, in a room and a home that she did not recognize, unable to find her cell phone or her shirt.
  • The victim learned about what had happened to her from Twitter, Instagram, YouTube videos and texts.
Image Credit: http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18ah4v28dxs5tjpg/original.jpg

One of the many things that makes this so disturbing is the way other teenage boys responded to the girls victimization. They laughed about it and told crude jokes. They took pictures of Mays and Richmond violating the girl and posted them online.

One young man, who apparently wasn’t present at the incident, posted a twelve-minute YouTube video, where he laughed about the rape. He even commented via Twitter, “Song of the night is definitely Rape Me by Nirvana.” I checked out the lyrics of “Rape Me”, and they’re chilling.

Image Credit: http://www.realisticimaginations.com/Wallpapers/Loveless/loveless1400.jpg

There is something seriously wrong with a culture that raises teenaged boys to have such contempt for the lives of others. If “Jane Doe” had been one of their sisters, or mothers, would these boys have found such humor in her victimization? Because the girl was from another town, did that justify their behavior? Because the girl was drunk, did it make their actions less heinous? 

Is this anyone’s idea of harmless fun? As I read and learned about these boys who could have and should have stepped up to the plate and stopped the attack on this girl, I’m reminded of the bullies who laughed and cried out against Jesus when He was arrested. We like to pride ourselves in thinking of how far we’ve come from the violence of days gone by, but the truth is, mankind has not evolved into a kinder being. The true is that with each passing generation, as America has turned her back on Jesus Christ, she has become more evil and more debased. 

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold…

~ Matthew 24:12 NIV ~

Think about it, not one of the boys involved in the parties had any love or compassion for a helpless sixteen year old girl, who was not able to even walk away from the first party. Parents, what are we teaching our children? What are we teaching our boys? Are we teaching them to respect the lives of others? Are we teaching them to protect, respect and care for women? Or are we fueling their egos? Heed this warning, people:

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

~ Proverbs 22:6 NIV ~

Image Credit: http://s1341.photobucket.com/user/MrsRaZella/media/compassion_zps3b56214e.jpg.html

Are you training your children to love others and put others ahead of themselves, or are you teaching them to look out for number one? I may not be popular for writing this, but it has to be said. How many of the teens who attended these parties bought and paid for their own cell phones and service? Or were they a gift from Mom and/or Dad? How many of the parents of those teens regularly check to see what their children are posting and texting? How many of the parents of the teens at these parties buy the music that their children were listening to that night — music that encourages rape and drunkenness? How many parents knew where their children were that terrible night, and if not, why not?

Didn’t any of the boys at these parties feel any compassion for the victim, or have their egos been stroked and groomed so that they think football players, wrestlers, baseball players, and anyone else deemed popular by the so-called “in-crowd,” is above everyone else? Are we raising a culture of boys who think that they just have to play a game well in order to be considered a “star” or a hero? Every single boy who came in contact with “Jane Doe” that evening had the opportunity to become a heroic man, and sadly, every single boy chose to be cowards and fools.

A fool gives full vent to anger, but a wise person quietly holds it back.

~ Proverbs 29:11 NLT ~

Parents, the fact is that we are raising a generation of fools by covering up for their sins, buying them whatever they want and fueling their over-sized egos. Raising strong and wise young men requires hard work and much prayer. It means withholding those things which are bad for your children, no matter how much they badger you for it. It means that you must give up your own “me” time to devote yourself to teaching your child wisdom. Contrary to popular belief, doing the right thing does not come naturally to people — doing the wrong thing does. We must teach our children wisdom, and that means sacrificing our own desires for their good. It means that our children need to learn that life is not always fun. They must be taught the value and pleasures of wisdom.

Doing wrong is fun for a fool, while wise conduct is a pleasure to the wise.

~ Proverbs 10:23 NLT ~

This is my prayer for foolish teenaged boys throughout our country:

Father, forgive us, because rather than living according to Your word and teaching our children how to live according to Your word, many of us have become wise in our own sight. We thought it would be best to spoil and coddle our boys, rather than teaching them how to grow into strong and courageous men of God. In catering to their whims and desires, we have taught our children selfishness, rather than how to be selfless as Christ was.

Forgive us, Lord, and teach us as parents how to train up our children in the way that they should go from this day forward. Lord, Your word says that if we will obey You and ask for anything in Jesus’ name, according to Your will, that it will be done, do Father, in Jesus’ name, I’m asking You to touch the boys who are growing up in today’s world. Draw them to You Lord, and teach them to love You first and foremost. Show us how to teach them to love others first, by demonstrating that love for them. Show us how to teach our children repentance, by our own example of repentance. 

And Father, in Jesus’ name, show us how to teach our children and youth of today the value and sanctity of life, so that they will grow into strong and courageous heroes and men of God, no longer bound by the foolishness of their youth. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Steubenville Horror – Heartless?

Friday night, I watched an episode of ABC’s 20/20, entitled, Steubenville: After the Party’s Over, and ever since watching it, my heart has grieved, and I can’t help wondering, Why? There are so many different perspectives here and you just have to ask yourself what went wrong? With all of the turmoil there has been in my life recently, it was really easy to fall behind on the news, and so when I saw this program, I was shocked and appalled by everyone involved in this horrible incident, and several questions began to brew in my spirit…

  • What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?
  • What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?
  • Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?
  • Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?
  • When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined? 
  • How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?
  • How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?
Image Credit: http://abcnews.go.com/topics/news/steubenville-rape-trial.htm

The case has been tried, and two boys, Trent Mays, age 17, and Ma’lik Richmond, age 16, were convicted of rape on March 13, 2013. My reason for writing this post is not to question their guilt or innocence. My reason for examining this case and writing about it is to encourage parents, children and teens to talk about what happened in Steubenville, Ohio, and thereby, hopefully deter another horrific incident like this.

Therefore, in a series of posts, I will be addressing each of the questions that I listed above, beginning with the first question…

What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?

Were Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond completely heartless? Did they think that they were better than the girl they abused? What made them think they had a right to treat “Jane Doe” in such a callous manner?

9 “The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? 10 But I know! I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” 

~ Jeremiah 17:9-10 NLT ~

I don’t believe for a moment that these two boys were completely heartless, especially in light of scripture. Do you see it? The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked… The problem with these boys is not that they are heartless, but that their hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked. Both Trent and Ma’lik had a heart problem that neither were aware of, and before we examine this any farther, I need to be up front with you… You and I are not exempt from this heart problem. Let’s look at verse 9 again:

“The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?”

~ Jeremiah 17:9 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://cdn.hiphopwired.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/steubenville-football.jpg

The scripture doesn’t say some hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked. It very clearly includes all human hearts — that includes yours and mine… So what could have led these two boys to humiliate, abuse, molest and rape this girl? 

Image Credit: http://collegecandy.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/steubenville.jpg?w=600&h=350

These boys were “stars,” adored by Stuebenville’s football fans and their families. They were built up and put on a pedestal as star athletes, who were somehow better than others. Let’s be real, we see this adulation of high school athletes all over the country, and not only high school athletes, but college and professional athletes as well. They are given star treatment, often receiving special perks for being good-looking, talented and intelligent, and as the scripture says, “The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked…” 

All too often, when people are built up like this, it goes to their heads, and they begin to believe that they really are special… that rules and laws don’t really apply to them… that they are entitled to receive special treatment… and that their needs are more important than the needs of others. While it’s true that not everyone who receives this kind of “special” treatment responds in this way, there are many who do.

It isn’t healthy or wise to put people on a pedestal. Certainly, it is good for parents and teachers to acknowledge a child’s accomplishments and to encourage him/her. But it is equally important to teach a child humility. Every child should know that while he/she may be gifted, their talents are just that — a gift from God, and that gift does not make someone more important than anyone else. Indeed, those who are given gifts must also be taught how to be responsible.

 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

~ James 1:17 NKJV ~

Parents, it’s up to us to teach our children the difference between right and wrong. We are the ones who are responsible for teaching our children not to look out for number one, but to put the needs of others above even our own needs…

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.

~ Romans 12:10 NIV ~

We need to recognize that while it is damaging to give a child low self-esteem, it is equally damaging to build a child’s self-esteem so high that they believe they are above others.

What if those boys had been armed with the knowledge that their hearts were so terribly wicked and deceitful? What if they were taught that their talent was a gift given to them by God, not because they were any better or more deserving than anyone else, but simply because of His grace? And what if those boys had been taught to honor others (including “Jane Doe”) above themselves? Is it possible that the Steubenville Horror could have been averted?

My beloved readers, do you have children… grandchildren… nieces and nephews… students… teen-aged friends? Talk to them about this horrible atrocity, and ask them what they would do if they were in the position these boys were in. Talk to them about how these boys should have responded and why what they did was so utterly and terribly wrong. Talk to them about the consequences of their actions…

And please, join me in praying for Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond…

Father, in Jesus’ name, I cry out to You for Trent Mays’ and Ma’lik Richmond’s hearts, which are most deceitful and desperately wicked, and I ask You to create a clean heart within them. Lord, let them see the wickedness of their actions against “Jane Doe,” and fill their hearts with remorse and repentance.

Lord, let them learn from this, and let each young man repent of his sins and find salvation in You. I pray that You would set them free from the lies that they have told themselves, and that others have told them. I pray that You would reveal to them that they are no better than anyone else, and that they would begin to place others above themselves, seeking ways to help others, rather than to harm them.

Lord, I also cry out to You for the girl that they damaged. Father, please protect this young woman, and touch her heart. Let her feel the warmth of Your embrace, and let Your rivers of healing waters wash over her, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Little Girl Lost…

The following story is for the __picture it & write blogging challenge…

Image Credit: http://ermiliablog.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/photo-1-3.jpg

“Ring around the roses, a pocket full of posies. Ashes, ashes, we all fall down!” 

“London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down.
London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady.”

“See, see, my playmate,
Won’t you come play with me?
And bring your dollies, three?

Climb up my apple tree?
Slide down my rainbow,
Into my cellar door,
And we’ll be jolly friends,
Forevermore, 1, 2, 3, 4!”

Image Credit: https://www.makewav.es/story/425830/title/
shouldchildrenbeallowedtoplayout

Tears slid down her cheeks as she walked into the yard of her childhood, hearing and seeing the children playing again in her mind’s eye. Was it possible that she had once been so innocent and carefree or was it all only a dream, a wish for what could have — no, for what should have been? Nostalgically, she walked over to the swing that was still tied to the old oak tree, fingering its chains and testing the wooden seat before easing her weight onto it. Someone had obviously taken great pains to care for this swing, to ensure that the ravages of time wouldn’t render it a danger to other children who might use this swing, or in this case, so this now middle-aged woman could sit here, close her eyes, and remember…

She remembered playing with her neighborhood friends and her cousins until well past dark on those steamy summer days and nights, and then rising early the next morning, to do it all again. The year was 1971, and things were different back then. This was an era where you’d better be on your best behavior, because the neighborhood mothers kept watch on all of the children as if they were their own, and if you acted up, Suzy’s mommy would spank you for misbehaving, and then she would call your mommy, and she would spank you too! She smiled, remembering that Suzy’s mommy had indeed spanked her on more than one occasion, for her mischievousness.

Image Credit: http://www.gettyimages.com/
creative/hairbrush-stock-photos?page=2

She smiled as she gazed at the steps leading to the upper level of the yard, envisioning the little girl with her little purple hotpants under the cute little mini dress, wielding her brush as though it was a microphone, as she put a record on her record player and prepared her one-woman stage show, imagining the audience below, which sometimes included neighborhood children, and other times was completely imaginary. A lone tear slid down her cheek as she remembered that little girl standing right there, with her imaginary audience applauding as she softly sang Donny Osmond’s, “Go Away Little Girl.” 

She remembered staying up late on hot summer nights, catching lightening bugs with her cousins and her friends. Life up until then was so carefree, as it should be for a little girl of ten, but that all changed one dreadful night when she was playing a game with her cousins. It was a dark, moonless night, and they were playing one of their favorite games, “Midnight in the Graveyard.” She was “It”, the “Ghost in the Graveyard,” and she had to find a hiding place, where her cousins wouldn’t be able to find her, but if they did find her, she still had a chance of winning, if she could escape without them tagging her and run to the empty swing, which was “home base.”

She remembered finding the perfect hiding place. She shuddered now, as she remembered that night, hearing the voices of her cousins, as they counted the hours until they could go and look for her… “It’s One O’Clock in the graveyard, and I see no ghosts,” they counted. “It’s Two O’Clock in the graveyard, and I see no ghosts,” they continued, as she softly giggled, crawling towards the big bushes on the left side of the house. The other kids were scared of bugs and spiders, so they would never try to find her in the middle of these bushes, she thought, when suddenly, from behind, someone grabbed her foot and clamped a hand over her mouth.

Image Credit: http://beatrizmartinvidal.deviantart.com/art/Kidnapped-girl-57670485

“That’s not fair!” she thought angrily, as she squirmed to get away and tell whichever cousin had cheated, but as hard as she wiggled and tried to escape, he wouldn’t let her go. And then she realized that whoever it was that held her was much too big to be one of her cousins. This person had strong, hairy arms, like a man, and he smelled too — like he needed a bath and some deodorant. She kept trying to wiggle away and get his hand off her face, because she couldn’t breathe. What was wrong with him? Didn’t he know he was too big to play this game? “He doesn’t even know the rules!” she thought angrily. “Just wait till I tell my daddy about this,” she thought. “I bet he’ll straighten him out.”

She wasn’t frightened until he opened the door of a dark van, and threw her down in the back, while ripping a piece of duct tape from a roll, and placing it on her mouth. Her daddy and mommy liked to watch “The F.B.I.”, and her heart started pounding rapidly, as it suddenly dawned on her that she was being kidnapped by a stranger. “Oh God,” she prayed silently, as tears began to fall rapidly, and her struggling ceased as fear paralyzed her. “Please help me. Please don’t let him kill me, Lord.”

Image Credit: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-order/school-kidnapper-edwin-john-eastwood-makes-shock-confession/story-fnat7dag-1226539868318

The back door of the windowless van slammed shut, as her kidnapper opened the front door and climbed in, starting the van and turning the radio up loudly, as The Doors sang, “Riders in the Storm.” As she lay weeping on the hard, dirty floor in the back of the van, Shelley suddenly realized that her life had just changed drastically, and there was nothing she could do about it, but pray and try to survive. Her mommy and daddy had always said she was headstrong, and that trait would prove to be necessary for her survival.

Her husband quietly walked up to her, as she sat on the swing, reminiscing, softly speaking, “Are you ready to meet them, Shelley?” before he touched her. In their more than thirty years of marriage, he had learned to never walk up behind her and touch her or grab her, without first announcing his presence, lest he trigger a traumatic episode. He looked at his wife of many years with deep love and admiration for her courage. Over the years, she had fought her way past many obstacles that might have stopped anyone else, but she was determined to be whole, for her own sake, as well as for his sake, their children’s sake, and now for their grandchildren as well.

It had taken her many years of prayer and counseling to work past the painful memories that she had locked deep within her mind, as she allowed each one to surface. Sometimes, only one memory would surface periodically, and other times, she would be brutalized by an onslaught of many memories. Sometimes, they came in broken, hazy fragments, while other times, vivid, sharp memories bombarded her soul.

Image Credit: http://healingbrokenhearts.com/receive-the-doctors-diagnosis/

Still, with the help of her loving Savior, she had continued to press through those memories, which had led her here, to this place, her childhood home, that she hadn’t seen since that dreadful night in 1971, when her idyllic life had been ripped away from her. And God, in His infinite mercy and kindness, had kept her parents alive. She hadn’t seen them since that horrible night either, and she nervously stood up from the swing, and lifted her hand to her hair, to smooth it, glancing up at her husband uncertainly. “Do I look okay?” she asked him worriedly, and he smiled warmly, cupping her chin in his hand as he replied, “You look beautiful.”

Hand in hand, as the two of them climbed the steps to the upper yard, she glanced to the left at the bushes that were supposed to have been her hiding place on that dreadful night, so long ago, and shuddered, as the door opened and she saw the aged faces of her mother and father. Though time had left its toll on their faces, in the forty-two years since she had last seen them, she recognized them immediately, as they fell into one another’s arms, weeping for joy. “I thought we’d never see you again,” her mother cried, as she held her tightly, as though afraid to let go, for fear that she’d vanish again. 

“My little princess,” her daddy choked out as she was engulfed in his arms. “I’m so sorry I didn’t protect you better,” he groaned helplessly.

“Don’t say that, Daddy,” Shelley gently replied, as they made their way into the living room. “You were wonderful parents, and you had no way of knowing that such  horrible predators lurked about.” It was a joyful reunion, as Shelley introduced her parents to her husband of more than thirty years and showed them pictures of their grandchildren as well as their great-grandchildren. 

Their conversation soon took a more serious tone when her mother asked, “Can you tell us what happened, Shelley? Why did it take you so long to come back to us? There hasn’t been one day that we haven’t cried out to God to bring you back home to us,” she said, as she sat on the faded green sofa, leaning against her husband, who periodically swiped at his nose and his eyes with a wrinkled white handkerchief. 

“It was awful, Mommy,” she said softly, as she shared the story of her abduction while playing with her cousins on that fateful night. She told her parents how he raped her repeatedly, and then forced her to prostitute herself in the city, against her will. She told her parents that she had tried to escape numerous times, and how he would find her and beat her each time, until she finally stopped trying to run away from her captor.

She told them of her arrest at the age of fifteen, and how it had changed her life. When the police had picked her up, she told them of her abduction and her forced prostitution, and how they arrested her kidnapper, charging him as a rapist and a pedophile and locking him away for a very long time. The one thing she didn’t share with the police was her real name. 

The truth of her identity was locked somewhere deep within the recesses of her mind, but the years of repeated abuse and rape had wreaked havoc on the child’s fragile mind, and it would take years to unlock some of the secrets within. Because times were different then, there was no computer database for kidnapped children, and no DNA testing, which made it nearly impossible for the police to locate her family. By God’s grace, the courts were very kind to the broken teen, placing her into the home of a Christian couple who lavished her with love. They loved her when she acted out in anger and rebellion, and they loved her when she cried herself to sleep each night. 

It was this loving couple who introduced her to Jesus, and demonstrated His unconditional love to her in so many ways. They took her to Christian counseling, several times a week at first, then, as she began to heal, less and less. Throughout the years, she and her foster parents had prayed for Shelley to be reunited with her parents, especially when she married Gabe, and again, when each of their three children were born, but though she saw their faces in her dreams, she couldn’t remember their names. She wasn’t even sure if Shelley was her true name, until two weeks ago, when after more than forty years, there had been a breakthrough, and she suddenly remembered her name, her parents’ names, and even her former address. “I was surprised to discover that you still live here,” she finished amid the tears.

“Shelley,” her father said gently, “we thought of moving many times over the years, but we just couldn’t bring ourselves to leave, in case you escaped and came looking for us. We had to stay here so you could find us, and I’m so glad we did,” he cried,  getting up and throwing his arms around her and her husband.

“Shelley,” her mother said softly, “Would you like to see your old bedroom or would it be too traumatic?”

“Mommy, I have longed to see you and Daddy, and my old room for so many years,” she responded, standing up, and grabbing her husband’s hand, as the four of them headed up the wooden staircase with the gold shag carpet. She laughed delightedly, as she saw pictures of herself as a child hanging on the wall to the left, as they ascended the stairs, running her hand along the oak banister. Sadly, the wall seemed incomplete, as the pictures went from infancy until the age of ten, and then they just stopped. There were no prom pictures, no sweet sixteen pictures, no graduation pictures.

It suddenly dawned on Shelley just how ghastly this must have been for her parents, who never got to experience the joys so many other parents enjoyed. Her mother never got to share with her about the changes that happen when a little girl becomes a woman. Certainly, she had been deprived of these joys, but so too, had her parents.

Waves of compassion swept over Shelley as she, her husband and her parents stood in the hallway outside of her bedroom, and impulsively, before they opened the door to her bedroom, Shelley turned to her mother and whispered, “Mommy, I’m so sorry for all of the joy that you and Daddy missed out on. I’m so sorry for the pain this has caused you, and both of you need to know this was not your fault. You did all that you could do, and what that horrible man intended for evil, God has turned into something good. You see, if none of these horrible things had happened to me, I might not be working with teenage prostitutes and rape victims. This has all worked out for good, because I love God, and He has called me for this purpose.”

After comforting her parents, Shelley turned and opened the door to her bedroom, which had remained unchanged for forty-two years. The bright purple bedspread on the white for poster bed, and lavender walls covered with posters of Donny Osmond brought a smile to her face. There were her old record albums and her record player. She smiled as she saw her collection of stuffed animals neatly arranged on her bed, just as she liked them. She picked up Mr. Bean, a fat fluffy golden stuffed cat, cradling him in  her arms as she had done as a child, and walked to the window overlooking the trees and her swing.

“I’m home now, Mr. Bean,” she whispered quietly, as she turned around to look at her family, and with tears brimming from her eyes, she fell to her knees, as her husband joined her, and reaching for her parents hands, they all joined hands and prayed, giving thanks to the Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth, who in His infinite love and mercy, had reunited this broken family, and restored the years that the enemy had stolen from them.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

When Life Just Doesn’t Seem Fair! ~ Part 1

Image Credit: http://youngunsofindia.blogspot.com/2011/10/life-is-unfair.html

Sometimes it’s so hard living in a world that is so unfair. There are some days when it seems nearly impossible to make it through, because of those who lie about you… reject you… use you… abuse you… blame you and shame you… There are so many days when it seems like the wicked prosper, while those of us who try to live godly lives are trampled on and squashed like bugs, as we struggle, not to get rich for ourselves, but to survive and to help others.

Have you ever asked yourself why life is so unfair? Have you ever questioned God about why life is so unfair? Have you ever just wanted to throw in the towel and give up, because of the unfairness of it all? Have you ever envied the wicked one who seems to have it all, while you, the man or woman who tries to live uprightly before the Lord, have nothing?

My beloved friend, you’re not alone in your struggle. Many times, I’ve cried out to God and told Him, “Lord, that just isn’t right!” And He knows that. Let’s look to the Word of God, and see what the Lord says about these things through David in Psalm 37:1-4, and bear with me while I break it down, bit by bit, because this Psalm is so rich, that I don’t want to miss a thing…

1 A psalm of David. Don’t worry about the wicked. Don’t envy those who do wrong. 2 For like grass, they soon fade away. Like springtime flowers, they soon wither. 3 Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. 4 Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you your heart’s desires. ~ Psalm 37:1-4

Image Credit: http://www.lifeinitaly.com/garden/lawns-italian-gardens.asp

Think about this, my friend. Don’t worry about the wicked and don’t envy those who do wrong, because they won’t always get away with it.

Have you ever looked at someone’s beautifully manicured lawn? I love looking at rich people’s lawns. They’re so lush and green and perfect, and then, I look at my patchy lawn that is full of dandelions and weeds, and while it looks good when it’s mowed, it certainly isn’t beautiful like the lawns I’m talking about, with their diamond patterns mowed into them. Still, at the end of the summer, or certainly after the first frost, the same thing happens to those richly manicured lawns that happens to mine. The grass dies.

Image Credit: http://freecodesource.com/myspace-graphics/spring/

And don’t you just love daffodils and tulips and hyacinths, and all of those lovely springtime flowers? They are so beautiful and fresh smelling, aren’t they? But do you know that a daffodil usually only stays in bloom for 8-10 days? Tulips only last for 1-4 weeks, and hyacinths mostly only stay in bloom for 3-7 days, and then they begin to wither. King David compared the wicked to grass and springtime flowers. Don’t envy them, my friend, and try not to fret about them, because they won’t last long.

Instead, beloved, trust in the Lord and do good, so that you will live safely in the land and prosper. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Now, I’ve heard many preachers preach that if you do good and delight yourself in the Lord, you’ll get that mansion and those cars you’ve dreamed about. I’ve heard them say you’ll become a great entrepreneur and that you’ll become independently wealthy… (all for the sake of the Kingdom of course)… 
heart on fire_v2But I want to share the truth with you. My dear reader, I used to have all those desires, just like anyone else, but something funny happened when I began to delight myself in the Lord. You see, as I began to take joy in being in His presence, I wanted to get to know Him better, and so I began to read and study His word. Then, as I studied His word and learned more about Him, my prayers started changing. You see, the more I prayed to Him, the less time I spent asking Him for things that I needed, because I found that my desires were changing. Now, I desired to know Him more… to see His face… to hear His voice… I couldn’t stop thinking about Him, because I was falling in love with Him, and the more I loved Him, the more I wanted to please Him. Now, I didn’t worry so much about me. Instead, I began to love the things He loves and hate the things He hates. Instead of looking at the weaknesses and vices of others with condemnation, I began to have compassion on the people.
Image Credit: https://marc5solas.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/its-not-supposed-to-be-like-this/

Now, instead of hating those who hurt me, I felt mercy for them, as the Lord began to reveal their pain to me. I began to feel empathy for others who were trapped in sin, and my desire was to set them free from its death grip on them. Beloved, as I delighted myself in the Lord, He truly did give me the desires of my heart, by changing my desires. Now, I pray for those people who God loves and longs to set free from the bondage of sin… death… fear… rejection… abandonment… hopelessness… envy… strife… bitterness…

 
Beloved, when life just doesn’t seem fair, believe me when I say that there is One who is fair and just, and He sees it all and remembers it all. When you’re discouraged because of the unfairness of life, read Psalm 37, where you’ll find hope. Meditate on what I’ve shared with you today, and return tomorrow, when I’ll share some more of Psalm 37 with you. Meanwhile, this is my prayer for you today:
Heavenly Father, watch over my beloved brothers and sisters today, and comfort them. Comfort them with the knowledge that You see their pain, and You see when they are misused and abused, and that their perpetrators will soon fade away like grass and wither like the flowers in spring. Lord, I pray that You will help them to trust in You with all their hearts, leaning not on their own understanding, as they acknowledge You in all their ways, and You direct their paths. I pray Father that they would take great delight in You, finding joy in Your presence and in Your word, as You reveal the truth to them and set them free, thus giving them the desires of their hearts, in Jesus’ name, amen.
© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Truth or Lie? To tell the Truth or Continue the Lie?

Which is best?

    • To reveal the truth and hurt those who have believed the lie?
    • Or to allow the lie to continue in order to protect those who have believed it?

If someone’s life is based on a lie, doesn’t that hinder them from being all that they could be, if they knew the truth?

By maintaining a lie, who are you really protecting?

    • The one who has believed the lie?
    • Or yourself?
Image Credit: http://evangelicalinthewilderness.blogspot.com/2011/08/boundaries-of-emotional-pain-revisited.html

By maintaining the lie, so as not to hurt those who have believed the lie, do you continue to hurt the person who was originally harmed by the lie over and over again, each time the lie is repeated or maintained?

Is the old saying, “The truth hurts,” really true? And if so, how does that line up with scripture? Is it really the truth that hurts? Or is it that those who have believed the lie now have to come to terms with the fact that their lives have been built on lies, which were bound to crumble beneath them?

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, But those who deal truthfully are His delight.
(Proverbs 12:22 NKJV)

Scriptures tell us that lips that lie are an abomination to the Lord… The Hebrew word for abomination is Tow`ebah, which means a disgusting thing, abomination, abominable… If we repeat or maintain a lie, our very lips are vile and disgusting to the Lord. In fact, He looks on our lips with loathing if we speak a lie…

On the other hand, if we want the Lord to look on us with delight, we need to be truthful, according to His word. That means that we can no longer continue to uphold or maintain the lies that have been spoken for years by and to our families.

Image Credit: http://imgfave.com/view/1351997

Those of you, like me, who have come from abusive and dyfunctional families know what it is like to live a lie. We know what it is like to be forced to maintain and uphold that lie, at all costs. So many of you, like me have been told that we must never discuss the abuse against us, because that would only serve to hurt other family members. Of course, no one stops to consider what the lies have cost you, the victim of the lies and the abuse. 

The pain that many of us have suffered from the physical, sexual and emotional abuse didn’t just end with the act of the abuse. Instead, the pain was exacerbated by the lies that were also told, in order to protect the abusers. Lies were told about us when we acted out as a result of the abuse, in order to turn friends and family members against us, while protecting our abusers. For those of us who fled from the situation, sometimes leaving our family behind in order to protect ourselves, we were often portrayed as cold, heartless, and uncaring, for breaking the hearts of our loved ones. Because they didn’t know the truth, members of our extended family have rejected us, leaving us to feel alone, unloved and unwanted.

It’s a vicious cycle. As long as we continue to maintain the lie, we are destined to remain forsaken by those family members who only know the lie.

And yet, this leaves us with another problem. For you see, there are still those family members that you dearly love, who know the truth, but they do not want you to reveal the truth, because they say that this will only cause others to suffer and hurt. It’s sort of like a catch-22. You’re an abomination to God if you don’t speak the truth in all things… And you’re an abomination to those family members that you dearly love and yearn to have a relationship with when you do speak the truth…

Image Credit: http://sweetanniesjewelry.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/emotional-pain.jpg

Have you been there? For too many years to count, this deep, dark family secret was kept, in order to “protect others from being hurt,” while the lies repeatedly ripped your heart into shreds. Because no one outside your immediate family knew the truth, did your aunts and uncles, your cousins and friends, look on you with condemnation for hurting your “poor parents” who lavished you with love? Did they believe the lies that your immediate family spewed about you? Were you, like me, estranged from your family, because you were the bad seed, who never gave your parents the love and the respect that they deserved? Were you the bad child — the hateful daughter who caused your parents years of undeserved pain and suffering? No one ever knew the pain and rejection that you suffered, and yet again and again, were you told to uphold the lie?

My beloved brothers and sisters, do you long to do the right thing, but because of the pain and lies that have been repeatedly told to you through the years, do you question what is really right? Do you wonder if you should speak the truth, or continue to lie in order to “protect others” from pain? Do the lies really protect anyone? Or do the lies cause more pain to those family members who want to love you, but can’t, because they believe that you are cruel and unkind to your family members? What does God say about truth?

“But the time is coming and is already here when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for anyone who will worship Him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
(John 4:23-24 NLT)

pain-sorrow-234412
Image Credit:
http://khongthe.com/wallpapers/abstract/pain-sorrow-234412.jpg

You see, it was the truth that set me free, and it is my desire that all of you walk in freedom from the spirit of deception that has destroyed our relationships. Indeed, my prayer is that your families and mine would all be set free from the terrible destruction of lies. Jesus makes it clear that the only way to be set free from the bondage and pain of lies is to know the truth…

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
(John 8:32 NLT)

There is no point in hiding the truth from our families, because it does not shield them from pain. You see, by continuing to agree with, maintain or uphold the lies that have been told to protect our abusers, we forsake the truth, which brings freedom. When we withhold the truth from our family members, “to protect them from being hurt,” we prevent our loved ones from being set free by the truth. I don’t want to be guilty of withholding freedom from those that I love, do you? We need to understand that all of the things done in darkness will one day come to light as Jesus said…

“For everything that is hidden or secret will eventually be brought to light and made plain to all.”
(Luke 8:17 NLT)

I have determined that I want to leave my children and my grandchildren a legacy of truth and love, not because I am any better than my parents werebut because I know the truth, and I have been set freeWith the help of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I will speak the truth in love, to all I come in contact with, and I will no longer silently condone the lies that have been spoken against me. 

 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
(Ephesians 4:15 NIV)

I will share the truth with my children and my grandchildren, and with anyone else who wants to know the truth. I will share the truth, not to turn people’s hearts against those who abused me, because my abusers also suffered a lot of pain, and the truth is that I loved my abusers. I hate what was done to me, but I love those who hurt me, and I truly pray that they made their peace with God and received His forgiveness as I have.

My prayer for each one who reads this post is that you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. I pray in Jesus’ name, that you would leave a legacy of truth and love for your families and friends, too. God bless you!

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Cleanse Me

This story is for the Picture it and Write! blogging challenge… 

What follows is a story very loosely based on the women that I’ve ministered to. The woman in this story is not based on any particular one, but rather on many.  Also, the “church woman” in this story is not me. She is only a reflection of the woman I would like to be. God doesn’t call Christians to stay within the four walls of a building they call “church.” Rather, He calls Christians to be the church, and to go and minister to people where they are… in the malls… on the streets… in the bars… in the crack houses… not in condemnation, but in love, sharing His love for the lost.

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Photo Courtesy of: Picture it & Write!

Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10

I felt so dirty as I soaked in the tub. I laid there so long, the bubbles were all but gone. I had scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed… and no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get rid of the stench of having sex with all those men. “Oh God!” I whimpered as I slid down in the tub, placing my feet on the wall, in an attempt to hide my private parts that I no longer wanted to see… those parts that I had sold to four men last night for $80.

For some reason, my “career” left me feeling… filthy today. I was almost okay with it until that church woman had shown up. What was a church woman doing out on the streets, anyway? Didn’t she know how unsafe that was? But this lady was different from any church woman I’d ever met before.

When she drove up next to me, rolling her window down, asking how much I charged, I figured she was just into women. The woman agreed to pay the price, so I got into the car with her. It was a nice car, white with black leather seats. “Are you cold?” she asked, as I nodded. I was freezing because I wasn’t wearing much, in order to attract business. She turned the heat in the car up, and then she turned a seat warmer on. Oh man! This was luxury. “Are you hungry?” the woman asked.

I looked at her suspiciously. “I’m out here to earn a living, not spend my money on food,” I replied.

She laughed joyfully, and said, “If you’re hungry, it’s my treat, and don’t worry. I’ll pay for your time as well.” I looked at her closely, trying to figure her out. “Well?” she asked again. “Are you hungry?” I was about to answer her, when my stomach growled and answered for me.

“Great, we’ll have to go to Denny’s, because they’re the only restaurant open at this time of night,” she said cheerfully. I studied her as she drove us to Denny’s. She was different from most of my clients — I mean besides the fact that she’s a woman. Most of my clients are sort of dark and creepy, you know? But she seemed like she was full of light and really happy. She seemed like she should be in a home with a family, not on the streets late at night picking up hookers.

When we got to Denny’s, she requested a booth in the back. I walked behind her, observing her blue jeans, and a sparkly purple top that seemed to flow as she walked. She was really very small. She looked like a tiny angel with her top flowing as she walked.

After we placed our order, she leaned forward with her hand out and said, “My name’s Joy.” I shook her hand, shaking my head. Tricks normally like anonymity. “And you are?” her bluish gray eyes seemed to peer into my soul as she waited for my answer.

“I’m Julie,” I found myself answering. Now what’s up with that? I never shared my real name with my johns, but it just slipped out without me meaning to let it slip.

She smiled warmly at me and said, “Julie, I didn’t pick you up to have sex with you. I want to talk with you, then I’ll pay you when we’re done talking, okay?” I looked closely at her, not quite sure what was going down.

“Oookay,” I replied, looking at this little woman as though she was crazy.

My look didn’t seem to faze her in the least, as she continued, “The Lord says that He’s heard the cries of your heart, and He knows how desperate you are to get enough money to pay your rent and show that you can support your son, so you can get him back from the foster home he’s in.”

My jaw dropped and my heart started pounding. “Who told you that? And who are you really?” I blurted out fearfully.

“I told you, I’m Joy, and the Lord told me that He’s heard your cries, and He loves you and wants to help you, but you’ve been running from Him for years, Julie, when all He wants to do is help you.” She took a sip of her soda, as I sat there trying to digest what she was saying.

“What do you want?” My heart felt like it could jump right out of my chest it was beating so hard.

“Nothing,” she replied, “but God wants your heart. He said that if you will delight yourself in Him, He will give you the desires of your heart.” I stared at her dumbly.

“How old is your son?” she asked, and I found myself opening up and sharing that Troy was almost four, and that he was a special child. He has Downes Syndrome. She listened with tears in her eyes as I shared all of the trips we had made to the hospital when he was first born, because his little heart was so weak. I told her that I had been married to a lying, cheating loser.

She put her hand on top of mine, telling me how sorry she was for my pain, and I couldn’t help it… tears began to run down my face, and the next thing I knew, I was sobbing like my heart was breaking all over again, and you know what? I think it really was, only this time, I wasn’t by myself, and this woman seemed to care more about my pain than my own mother did.

I told her how my ex had gone into a rage the last night I saw him, when we argued about his other woman, and how Troy kept crying. I told her how Billy kept yelling and screaming so loud that the neighbors called the police. And then he slapped Troy’s mouth, causing him to cry even harder.

Then the police showed up, and when they saw that someone had hit Troy, it was Billy’s word against mine, and we were both arrested for child abuse. They took my baby away from me. I had no money, and no one who cared enough about me to bail me out, so I stayed in jail until the trial. Billy and I both were found guilty of child abuse, and I spent the next year in jail.

When I got out of jail, I had nothing. I had no home to go to, and no job, because no one wants to hire an ex-felon, especially one who’s been found guilty of child abuse… “So I became a working girl,” I finished, looking at her, stunned to see tears rolling down her cheeks. This woman who didn’t know me seemed to care more about me than my own family ever did.

“Julie,” she spoke softly through her tears. “I’d like to help you, if you’ll let me. My church has a home for women who have been through hard times. While they live there, we mentor them, teaching them how to care for themselves and their children. We help those who are interested get their GED, and if they’ve already completed high school, we help them get into the local community college so they can get a good job when they graduate. We also work hand in hand with social services, and many women who have lost their children to the foster care system, are able to reclaim them once they’ve been in our program for six months. Would you be interested?”

I broke down. I couldn’t believe her kindness. I couldn’t believe that God would love me enough to send this woman into my life. I accepted her offer, and I’m gonna drain this water and scrub myself once more. Then I’m gonna go downstairs to meet the rest of the women and children who live in this home. And in six months, I will bring my little Troy here.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

American Pastor Imprisoned In Iran To Go On Trial Next Week

Head to your favorite online news source. Pick an article with a headline that grabs you. Now, write a short story based on the article.
Daily Prompt: Ripped from the Headlines!

I visited the Fox News website, and as soon as I saw the following headline, I knew that I must participate in this prompt. The link below will take you to the fox news website, where that article can be read.

American Pastor Imprisoned In Iran To Go On Trial Next Week

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/01/14/trial-date-set-for-american-pastor-imprisoned-in-iran/?test=latestnews#ixzz2I09Tx4ny

What follows is my telling of this story, but before I continue, I want to cry out to all of my brothers and sisters in Christ to please join me in praying for this young Pastor, Saeed Abedini, as well as for other Christian men, women and children throughout the world who are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.

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Photo Credit: Pastor Saeed Abedini (COURTESY OF ACLJ)

And when the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their witness. They called loudly to the Lord and said, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long will it be before You judge the people who belong to this world for what they have done to us? When will You avenge our blood against these people?” Then a white robe was given to each of them. And they were told to rest a little longer until the full number of their brothers and sisters — their fellow servants of Jesus — had been martyred. (Revelation 6:9-11 NLT)

In July 2012, Saeed Abedini, a 32-year old Pastor and United States citizen, was arrested in Iran while working on an orphanage project that was not affiliated with any religion. However, because Mr. Abedini, a former Iranian citizen, had been deterred and interrogated in Iran once before, in 2009, for converting from Islam to Christianity in 2000, and for helping to create a network of underground churches in Iran, he is now being held for trial, which is to begin on January 21, 2013, for trying to convert Muslims to the Christian faith, which is punishable by the death penalty.

My friends, this is a gross injustice and a violation of Mr. Abedini’s human rights. Let us not forget that while Saeed was once an Iranian citizen, he abdicated his citizenry to that country, and is now a citizen of the United States of America. It saddens me greatly that the United States government has remained silent regarding this matter. There has been no action from any of the U.S. government agencies on Saeed Abedini’s behalf. It’s as if he doesn’t exist.

(Photo: American Center for Law and Justice) Iranian-American Pastor Saeed Abedini with his wife, Naghmeh, and his two children. While visiting his parents in Iran in July 2012, Abedini was arrested by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard for his previous Christian work in the country. Read more at http://global.christianpost.com/news/us-pastor-saeed-abedini-faces-notorious-hanging-judge-in-iran-88027/#oj7lu77c2oUlwuOk.99

This man is not only a Christian, but a husband and the father of two children. Surely he deserves our prayers at the very least. It has also been reported by Mr. Abedini, in a letter (please click link to read) that was written to his wife, that he has been abused by his captors.

When I first determined to write this Daily Prompt, it was just another opportunity for me to share the gospel in my writing, but as I’ve been researching this story, it has become more than that to me. This is a very personal issue. Men and women of the United States, do you realize how very blessed we are to live in a country where we are free to worship as we choose? Whether you are Christian, Buddhist, Islam, Atheist or whatever religion you are, if you live in the United States of America, you have been granted your God-given right to practice your faith in this country. I don’t care what your faith is or is not, every U.S. citizen who reads about Mr. Abedini’s imprisonment should be outraged by it.

And if you are not a U.S. citizen, but you have been granted the freedom to worship as you choose, you too, should be outraged by his incarceration as well. For those who are living in a country that does not afford you the right to freedom of religion, please know that my heart goes out to you, as well. No one should be imprisoned, beat, tortured or put to death for practicing your faith in God.

This is why I am urging everyone, aged 18 and older, whether you are a U.S. citizen, or a citizen of another country, to sign the Petition to Free American Pastor Saeed Abedini, by clicking the link.

I’ve never before written a post where I asked people to take action, but I strongly feel in my spirit that I must do so now. Saeed Abedini’s case has been turned over to Judge Pir-Abassi, and his court date is next Monday, January 21, 2013. His trial date and the charges against him were withheld from his attorneys until less than a week before his trial. He desperately needs our prayers and action now.

Judge Pir-Abassi, who was named in 2011 by the European Union as an individual subject to sanctions for human rights violations. The judge has reportedly presided over a number of cases against human rights activists, often handing down long prison sentences and even several death penalties – with some calling him one of Iran’s “hanging judges.”
Read more at http://global.christianpost.com/news/us-pastor-saeed-abedini-faces-notorious-hanging-judge-in-iran-88027/#I5vljeXtx1VHQg2X.99

Therefore, I am doing something I’ve never done before. I am asking every person who reads this article to sign the petition, and you have my permission to either reblog what I’ve written, or copy from it. I don’t care or worry about any copyright infringements on this article. What matters most is that we unite together as human beings to free this man of God, who was simply trying to start an orphanage for Iranian children when he was arrested.

Many thanks for reading this, and many more thanks and blessings to all who take action. May God bless you all!

Cheryl A. Showers

This is Freedom

Here is your Free Write Friday Prompt… 

What Does Freedom mean to you?

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

(Galatians 5:1 NIV)

In order for someone to truly grasp just how precious freedom is, he/she must also understand how dreadful bondage is. There are three types of bondage, physical, emotional and spiritual. Slavery is a horrible, despicable crime against mankind. Many people wrongly think that slavery ended with the civil war, and Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, they are wrong. 

Photo Credit:http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/october/bonds-of-freedom.html
Photo Credit:
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/october/bonds-of-freedom.html

Slavery is rampant throughout the world. In Sudan and other Muslim countries, Christians are beaten, tortured, murdered and kidnapped to be sold as slaves. Men, women and children throughout the world, on every continent are forced into labor against their will everyday. Men, women and children throughout the world, including the United States of America, are sold into prostitution against their will. 

In addition to that, we must also include men, women and children from many dysfunctional families, who are enslaved by an abusive parent, spouse, or child. These people can be living right next door to you, and seem like very nice people, while behind the closed doors of their home, they hold their very own family members, the ones that they are supposed to love and care for, as their personal slaves who must cater to their every need, and if they don’t do as they are commanded, they are often tortured, both verbally and physically.

And let us not forget those who are held in spiritual bondage, as our nation has become the breeding ground for people like Jim Jones, David Koresh, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and Fred Phelps, the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church. The list goes on and on.

So, what does freedom mean to me? I’ve lived in bondage and fear. I know what it is like to walk in constant fear of being molested, of being beaten, of losing all that you love and hold dear. I know what it’s like to hear the footsteps coming to your door, as you pray that they will just pass by and leave you alone. I know what it’s like to try to please the one who rules over you, and I know what it’s like to suffer the consequences of falling short of his/her expectations of you. Being enslaved is to live in constant, tormenting fear.

I know what it’s like when you break free from your slavery, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, you are still bound, as you live in constant fear of someone discovering the truth about you… Sadly, you want to be free from all of the pain and the fear, and yet by keeping the secret, you subject yourself to remain in that vicious cycle, because although you are now physically free, there are still invisible chains around you, that have to be broken. You see, even though I was physically free from the abuse I suffered as a child, once I got married, I still had a slave mentality that kept me bound.

But praise God! Though I once was enslaved, I have been set free. You see, when I came to know Christ, and His word, He loosed the chains that bound me, with these words…

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32 NLT)

Photo Credit:http://www.atlanta-bankruptcy.com/wp-content/uploads/home-page/freedom.jpg
Photo Credit:
http://www.atlanta-bankruptcy.com/wp-content/uploads/home-page/freedom.jpg

You see, people who are enslaved to other people are often enslaved by lies. I was told that I was stupid, that I would never amount to anything, and that I was too lazy to breathe. I was called all sorts of names that I don’t care to write, as well as being told that I was worthless. And I believed every single lie that was spoken over me, because Mommy and Daddy wouldn’t lie, would they? 

But the Lord spoke the truth over my life, telling me that I was fearfully and wonderfully created in His image, therefore, since I am the image of Christ, I cannot be stupid, because the Creator of the universe is very intelligent. He told me that I can do all things through His strength, therefore, I would amount to something. He told me that the Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life, therefore, I can’t be too lazy to breathe, because I am alive. He told me that I am more precious to Him than jewels, and that Christ died for me, therefore, I am not worthless. I am worthy of Almighty God’s love and affection. As the Lord spoke life over me and broke the chains made out of the lies that I had once believed, I began to taste freedom for the first time in my life.

What does freedom mean to me?

  • Freedom means that I can sleep at night, without worrying that someone will come and wake me from my sleep to beat me and curse at me. 
  • Freedom means that I don’t have to live in fear anymore.
  • Freedom means that no matter what my circumstances are, I can be at peace, knowing that God makes all things work together for my good.
  • Freedom means that I can breathe.
  • Freedom means that I can worship my God, anywhere and anytime.
  • Freedom means that I don’t have to worry about my children being victimized and enslaved.
  • Freedom means that I don’t have to carry the weights and burdens placed on me by other people. 
  • Freedom means that I can live.

I praise God for all that I’ve been through, for it is because I have lived without freedom, that I can truly appreciate the freedom I now have.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Don’t Judge Me – Love Me

Judge Me

This is a post for the Picture it & Write Blogging Challenge at Ermiliablog!
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“What are you looking at?” she snarled, when she saw me staring at her. I couldn’t help it. She was just a little girl — she couldn’t have been more than eleven or twelve, but she was hard as nails. The bitterness and hatred that sparked in her eyes broke my heart. I knew her, all to well, and now, my challenge was to reach her before it was too late.

“Oh Lord,” I silently prayed, please don’t let it be too late for her. “Give me the wisdom I need to reach her, Father, before it is too late.”

“Well?” she brazenly demanded. “I asked you a question.”

I smiled at her, and answered her question. “You know very well what I’m looking at, or should I say who I’m looking at? I’m looking at you. Are you Candi?”

Giving me a hard look, she took a deep, exaggerated drag from her cigarette, then slowly exhaled the smoke from her nostrils before she answered me, “Who wants to know?” she replied, as she flicked some ashes on the ground.

I couldn’t help myself. I burst into laughter as I walked up to her and took the cigarette out of her hand, dropping it to the ground and stamping it out. “I’m Jenny,” I replied as she gave me a dirty look. “Don’t you know those things are bad for you?”

“Who cares? Why did you do that? Those things are expensive, you know!” Fire was flashing from her blue eyes, and if looks could kill, I wouldn’t be here now.

“I care,” I replied, looking her right in the eye. “That’s why I’m here. We need to talk.” The other children, presumably her brother and sister were staring at us with eyes as wide as saucers. 

“Why should I talk to you? I don’t even know you,” she replied angrily, crossing her arms in front of her chest and stomping her foot on the dirt road. Her unkempt blonde hair flashed in the sunlight, as she shook her head at me.

I bent over, until I was eye to eye with her, and I told her why she should talk to me. “You need to talk to me, because I’m here to help you. You need to talk to me, because you want to protect your brother and sister, but you can’t do it alone. You need to talk to me, because I’m probably the only one who doesn’t think you’re just a brat. You need to talk to me, because I care about you and your brother and sister, and I want to help you.”

As I was speaking to her, I saw fear flash across her face briefly, before she quickly hid it behind that hard, cold mask she was wearing. “Why do you want to help me?” Candi asked, looking me up and down. Not for the first time, I wished that my job didn’t require me to dress as a professional, in my navy blue pant suit, with a white shell, and a pair of bright red shoes. My auburn hair was tied back from my face with a red scarf, which completed the outfit. It would have made my job as a social worker so much easier, if I could have worn my faded jeans and a tank top, so that children like Candi could relate to me better.

“Candi,” I responded, “I want to help you, because just a few years ago, I was a lot like you.” She eyed me in disbelief, as I continued. “Look, kid, don’t let these fancy clothes fool you. I didn’t always have nice clothes. I didn’t always have a home either, and when I did have that home, I wished I didn’t have to live there. Living on the streets was better than living with my mom and all of her boyfriends, ya’ know?”

I could see her guard beginning to drop a little, and after instructing her brother and sister to go ahead and continue playing without her, she followed me over to my car, and joined me as I sat on the hood. “So what do you want to know?” she whispered as we sat side by side.

Turning so that I could see her face, I softly replied, “I need to know everything. Listen, I don’t want to hurt you or get you in any trouble. I just want to help. I need to help you. Do you want to know why I studied to be a social worker, Candi?” Her big blue eyes focused on mine as she nodded, and I continued, “I wanted to be a social worker so that I could rescue girls and boys like you, girls and boys who were like me when I was your age.”

Candi nodded, and gulping, she asked, “Did your dad ever –?” She looked away, struggling to get the words out, but terrified of what might happen if she spoke them out loud. 

Taking her hand in mine, I lifted Candi’s chin up so that she could see my face, as I nodded yes to her question. I didn’t try to force her to speak, because I knew that she was almost ready, and if I tried to push her or rush her, she might never speak those words out loud. “Do you have a brother or sister?” she asked me.

I nodded, and replied, “I have a little sister, like you do.”

“Did your dad ever… ever… did he ever do that to your sister?” a lone tear slid down her cheek.

“I don’t know for sure. I only know that I tried to protect her, but we never talked about it, ya’ know?” She nodded her head.

“I think my dad is… is… I think he’s going to hurt Reba if I don’t stop him.” She looked earnestly into my face, as the tears began to flow freely, leaving a dirty wet trail down her cheeks. I took my scarf off and handed it to her so she could dry her tears and blow her nose. I never think to bring tissues with me, but the scarf could be replaced. My heart ached to see her pain, but I knew that I couldn’t hold her yet. She wasn’t ready to be held yet. 

“Can you help us?” she whispered softly.

“I can,” I answered with all seriousness, “but you have to tell me everything.” Haltingly, over the next forty-five minutes, Candi shared the torment that she had endured at the hands of her father. Such things should never be.

After she shared her story with me, I explained that the police would be here shortly, and she and her brother and sister would be removed from their home, and placed in foster care. I told her that I would do my best to keep them all together, but there would be no guarantees. Then, we called her brother and sister to come to us, so that we could prepare them for the change that was about to occur in their lives.

Throughout the entire process, I couldn’t help but admire this woman-child. She was old beyond her years, comforting and caring for her brother and sister, as though she was their mother. I felt confident that given the right environment and the right set of circumstances, this young woman would not only survive her tumultuous childhood, she would thrive and overcome the pain of her past. 

“Lord,” I silently prayed, as the police arrived, and I loaded the children into my car, “watch over these beautiful children, and give them the chance that they deserve. Set them free, Father from the pain and the sorrow that has been inflicted on them. In Jesus’ name, let them know peace.”

I chose the foster family to care for these children. I knew them personally, and they were good, caring people… the people who had once cared for me not so long ago, and raised me as though I was their own child.

Do you see that little girl in the picture? Don’t judge her — love her!

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Trifecta Challenge: Intention

Trifecta Challenge: Intention
The weekly prompt comes from a place many of us associate with the beginning of a new year.  Do you make resolutions or think it’s all just hogwash?  Did you make any this year?
INTENTION (noun)
1: a determination to act in a certain way : resolve
2: import, significance
3a : what one intends to do or bring about
b : the object for which a prayer, mass, or pious act is offered

Please remember:
  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
  • Only one entry per writer.
  • Trifecta is open to everyone!!  Please join us.

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Here I am again, Lord, crying out to You. O God, I need Your mercy and Your peace now more than ever. Father, give me the wisdom I need to face each day, and help me to be a blessing to others, and not a curse. Give me words of life to speak to others, words that will edify and encourage, rather than tearing them down and destroying them. 

Lord, when I got up at 1:00 again, this morning, it was not my intention to write a post, nor was it my intention to spend this time pouring my heart out to You. I suppose this was Your plan all along, and I have to say, that I am so thankful for that. 

I praise You Lord, for every person You lead to read this prayer, and I ask You to speak to their hearts, Father, in Jesus’ name. For those who are sick and in pain, Lord, touch their bodies as they read this prayer, not for my glory, but for Yours. For those with a spirit of heaviness, Lord, in Jesus’ mighty name, I ask You to loose those chains of heaviness, so that they may know that You are the God of deliverance.

Father, in Jesus’ name, I ask You to lavish Your love on each and every person who reads this prayer. Let them know that You truly are the God of love, and that You care so much for each person, that You’ve even numbered the hairs on our heads. For the ones who are mourning, grieving for the loss of loved ones, whether that loss was by death or abandonment, please, wrap Your loving arms around each one. Send Your peace, and calm the storms that are raging in so many lives, just as You calmed the wind and the waves so many years ago, when You said, “Peace! Be still.”

Lord, I love You with all of my heart, and it is my desire to lift You up, because You are worthy of all praise glory and honor. Amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Daily Prompt: Helpless

Helplessness: that dull, sick feeling of not being the one at the reins. When did you last feel like that –- and what did you do about it?
Daily Prompt: Helpless

It was Friday, August 31, 2012. I had applied for intermittent FMLA due to chronic and acute back pain, which frequently rendered me unable to work. I remember speaking with my boss that Friday afternoon, before I went home for the day. At that point, she wasn’t sure if I would be approved for intermittent FMLA, or whether I would be forced to go out on disability, because company policy does not allow for modified schedules and workloads unless it is a workman’s comp injury, which this was not.

Photo Courtesy of:http://www.autostraddle.com/playlist-when-youre-feeling-helpless-148190/
Photo Courtesy of:
http://www.autostraddle.com/playlist-when-youre-feeling-helpless-148190/

In my heart of hearts, I knew what the outcome was going to be, and I don’t mind telling you that I was fearful and a little sick to my stomach. If I was forced to go out on disability, I would receive a short-term disability check for 60% of my current pay for no more than 3 months maximum, but likely, for a shorter term, since I had already been out for 30 days that year due to the back pain. For someone who lives from paycheck to paycheck already, the prospect of receiving only 60% of that pay was overwhelming… And the fact is, I didn’t foresee any likelihood of improvement if I was out for the full 3 months. In fact, I suspected that if they chose to place me on short-term disability, I would likely not be returning to my job, and that in 3 months or less, I would have no income.

It was all disheartening and frightening, and I drove home that day feeling very gloomy, as I shared the news with my husband that this may have been my last day of work. I am so thankful that the Lord has blessed me with such a good and loving man, who simply said that we’ll just do the best that we can do. During this whole ordeal, he has shown me love and patience when I am not able to do the things that I need to do.

Shortly after 5:00 that evening, I got the phone call that I had been dreading, and I was informed that effective immediately, I would be receiving short-term disability, and that I was not allowed to return to work until I was released by my physician and could resume my full duties. Light duty was not an option. I won’t lie. For the first month, I battled with depression. The pain has been bad, and at this point, I have no income at all coming in, as the short-term disability ceased in November.

Photo Courtesy of:http://kellyannglupker.blogspot.com/2011/10/jesus-makes-me-clean.html
Photo Courtesy of:
http://kellyannglupker.blogspot.com/2011/10/jesus-makes-me-clean.html

I like to be in control of things, but this is all out of my control, and I have had to learn to really trust in the Lord. That’s a nice sentiment, and so easy for us to advise others to do… “Trust in the Lord to take care of your needs.” How many times have I told others to do this? And now, what could I do but trust in the Lord?

After allowing me to have a month of feeling sorry for myself, the Lord spoke to me around the beginning of October. He told me to stop feeling sorry for myself and to begin writing again. He told me that I was to write everyday for 30 days. I hadn’t written in oh so long, because after working all day, in addition to the other activities that I’ve been involved in, there wasn’t time to write, and I just didn’t have the gumption to do it. However, now, there was no excuse for not writing.

So now the question was what would I write and where should I write? The thought that immediately came to my mind was that I need to start a blog. Ha! I wasn’t 100% sure what a blog even was, but a friend of mine from church has a blog, and so I looked her blog up, saw that it was on WordPress, and signed up. On October 9, 2012, I began my blog and submitted my first post. Since that time, I have submitted 148 posts… This one will be 149. I have been blessed with an outlet to share my hopes, my dreams, my loves, my dislikes, and myself.

I’ve learned a valuable lesson during this time. While I cannot control my circumstances, I can place my trust in the Almighty God who loves me with an everlasting love, because He alone controls my future. So far, though things have been extremely difficult, He has provided for every one of my needs. I am thankful, because even though everything seems to be spinning out of my control, He holds my life in His hands, and He comforts me with His word.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for Me in earnest, you will find Me when you seek Me.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13 NLT)

Though this is out of my control, and there’s absolutely nothing I can do to change it, I know that while I was surprised by the circumstances, God knew about it long before the foundations of the earth were laid. He knew that this would happen in my life long before He placed me in my mother’s womb. He knew, and He had a plan for it — a good plan.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28 NLT)

Just knowing that calms me. I have peace. I don’t know where my next penny or dollar may come from, but God does… You know, I love my children and my grandchildren more than anyone could ever imagine, and there is nothing that I wouldn’t do for their good, if it was in my power. And this is how my heavenly Father feels about me. He loves me even more than I love my children and grandchildren. He loves me beyond measure, and there is nothing that He won’t do for my good, including this.

I don’t understand why or how, because His ways and thoughts are not mine, but I trust Him, because He’s never let me down, and He never will… So, what did I do about that helpless feeling? I rested in the arms of my Savior, and I’ve cast all of my cares on Him, because He cares for me.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Tears in a Bottle

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/tears-in-a-bottle-dolores-develde.html
http://fineartamerica.com/featured/tears-in-a-bottle-dolores-develde.html

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. (Psalm 56:8 NLT)

I just read a beautiful, heartfelt post from Jodi Karren this morning, and one verse of her prayer spoke to my heart, and I need to share it this morning. It’s one of those words that the Lord sometimes gives that just burns within you until you release it. 🙂

I remember as a child, willing myself not to cry when I was cursed, rejected, beaten or abused, sometimes I was successful, while other times, I was unsuccessful in my endeavor to shed no tears. You see, at the time, I had no idea how good tears are. I had no idea that they were important.

All I knew at the time is that I didn’t want to give those who hurt me the satisfaction of seeing me cry. I didn’t want people to see my “weakness,” and so I worked very hard trying to swallow that lump in my throat and trying to harden my heart so that the pain couldn’t touch me. I remember how hard I tried not to cry when I received a beating, because it was my way of rebelling against the abuse being inflicted on me. When I was laughed at and made fun of, I tried very hard to laugh at and poke fun of myself, so that those who were trying to hurt me would feel thwarted in their efforts. At the time, it made sense to me. It was my way of coping with the pain — by not coping with it.

The problem with this is that when you harden yourself like this, the pain within you doesn’t go away. It isn’t released, and so it festers on the inside, and like an infection, it poisons you. Because I was able to stop the faucet of my tears, the tears of others irritated me. My heart became hardened to the pain that others felt.

And then there were times, when we are supposed to be able to cry in order to appear human… such as at the death and funerals of loved ones. The problem was, that I had become so adept at stopping the tears and stopping my feelings, that I was numb in the face of tragedies. When a loved one was sick or dying, even though I wanted and needed to feel something, try as I might, I couldn’t feel, and I couldn’t cry.

http://freedominjesus.piczo.com/post/581058/
http://freedominjesus.piczo.com/post/581058/

It left me feeling empty and incomplete, as though a vital part of me was missing. I felt inhuman, and unloving, therefore, I must be unlovable. Do you see? In trying to protect myself… in trying to shield myself from pain, I also shielded myself from feeling the good things as well, like love and joy, peace and grief. Yes, grief is a good thing to feel as well, because as we grieve, we are able to heal. It’s when we are unable to grieve that our wounds continue to fester and poison us.

After so many years of stifling my tears, I was now unable to cry and feel, and heal. So, I began to pray for tears. Does that sound crazy to you? Understand this, holding those tears back does not get rid of the pain, nor the tears. It just buries them, and the more you bury your pain and tears, the more they build up… and then you begin to have small explosions, as you are only able to hold so much in… and because that pain and the tears have been festering and boiling within you for so long, when they are released in an explosion over some trifle little thing, you end up spewing poison on people who don’t deserve it… often on the very ones you love the most.

God keeps my tears in a bottleI didn’t realize the value of tears, until I didn’t have any. Then, one day, my counselor, a very wise woman, quoted this scripture to me, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” (Psalm 56:8 NLT) 

Wow. Did you know that God keeps track of all our sorrows? I’ve had so many different sorrows in my life, that I’m not sure if I even remember all of them, but God does. Our tears are so important to God that not one of them is wasted. Think about this. God has collected all of our tears… all of my tears… all of your tears…

Do  you know what all means? Dictionary.com defines all as:

  1. the whole of (used in referring to quantity, extent, or duration)
  2. the whole number of
  3. the greatest possible
  4. every

There are more definitions that you can check out by clicking the link, but you get the point, don’t you? All means all. That means that God has collected every single one of my tears, every tear I have ever cried in my lifetime, and placed them in a bottle, and He’s done the same thing for each one of you. Now why would He do that? Could it be that our tears are valuable to God? Could it be that He loves us so much that each and every tear we ever have shed and ever will shed are so precious to Him that He saves them, much as some people save a lock of their children’s hair?

http://waitingatthewindow.blogspot.com/2012/10/tears-in-bottle.html
http://waitingatthewindow.blogspot.com/2012/10/tears-in-bottle.html

And think about this, not only has God collected each and every tear that we’ve shed, but He has also kept a journal of them. You have recorded each one in your book.” This absolutely blows me away. Think about the magnitude of this. I can’t remember every tear I’ve ever cried. I can remember some, but not all. However, God not only collected each tear and placed it in a bottle, He also took the time to make a written record of those tears. I wonder how many pages He’s filled with my tears? I wonder how many pages He’s filled with your tears?

My beloved friends, don’t feel foolish when you cry. Never feel ashamed of your tears, and don’t let anyone else ever make you feel ashamed of your tears, because each and every one of your tears is precious to God. Each one of your tears cleanses you and helps you to heal from the wounds that have been inflicted on you as you walk through life.

In Jesus’ name, I pray that each and every one of you will feel free to cry, and that you will embrace those tears. Grieve when you need to grieve. Allow yourself to feel pain, because even though it’s unpleasant, it is better to feel it and deal with it immediately, rather than letting it infect your heart, soul, mind and body.

May the Lord bless you abundantly, and if you are unable to cry because you, like I, have pushed those tears down, pray for tears so that you may heal. God will hear your cry for tears, and He will give them to you. I prayed for tears for several years, and they came back slowly, until eventually, it was as though a dam had burst. It was frightening to me at the time, and I was afraid I might be losing my mind. Therefore, my instinct was to cut those tears off, but I ignored that instinct, and when I finished crying, I was healed from much of the pain that I had been carrying around. I was able to look at some of the things that had caused me pain before, and find that they had lost their power to hurt me any longer.

If you’ve felt tears welling up within you as you read this, don’t quench them. Allow them to flow and cleanse you, knowing that those tears are valuable, and that God is taking care of them for you. Embrace your tears, and discover the blessing that is found as you release them. God bless you all!

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Trifecta Challenge: Survive

Trifecta Challenge: Survive
This week we want you to write on the third definition of:
survive
1: to remain alive after the death of <he is survived by his wife>
2: to continue to exist or live after <survived the earthquake>
3: to continue to function or prosper despite : withstand <they survived many hardships>

Please remember:

  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
  • Only one entry per writer.
  • Trifecta is open to everyone!!  Please join us.

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For everyone who has been abused, misused, betrayed, rejected and put down, I want to encourage you, because I too, have experienced the sorrow and  anguish of abuse and rejection, and one thing that I’ve learned in life is that hurting people hurt other people, so the cycle continues.

http://www.ibtimes.com/could-delhi-gang-rape-victims-death-really-change-india-979932
http://www.ibtimes.com/could-delhi-gang-rape-victims-death-really-change-india-979932

For everyone who has ever been a victim (and I humbly submit to you that many victimizers were once victims), you need to know that you need not remain a victim. Did you get that? You do not need to remain a victim of your circumstances. You have options.

One of the things that victimizers do, is convince their victims that there is no hope. They do this by wearing their victims down with lies… You’re stupid… a mistake… worthless… unlovable… unwanted… Hear me friends, if you want to be set free, you must know the truth for every lie that has been told to you.

This is my prayer for each one who reads this post… that you would no longer be a victim. To merely survive is not good enough for you either… I pray that you would become an overcomer, a conqueror, one who knows the truth and has been set free from the lies of your abuser(s).

God says that He carefully knit you together in your mother’s womb, fearfully and wonderfully in His imageTherefore, you cannot be stupid, worthless, ugly or any of those things your abusers said you were, because God is perfect.

God says that He chose you long before the foundations of the earth were even laid, and that He loves you with an everlasting loveTherefore, you are not unwanted, or unlovable, because He loves you and desires you.

Beloved, I could go on and on, but my words are limited. Therefore, I encourage you to call upon the Lord, and allow Him to guide you in all truth, so that you are no longer bound by the chains your abuser(s) placed on you.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Daily Prompt: Un/Faithful

Tell us about the role that faith plays in your life — or doesn’t.
Daily Prompt: Un/Faithful

Hallelujah! I was really excited when I read today’s prompt, and I started to write this long dissertation about what I believe, based on the Apostle’s Creed, but it came out sounding so cold and… boring! And my faith is anything but cold and boring. So, I left the computer, took a shower, then sat down and fell asleep. (I’ve been sick since Christmas, on top of having chronic constant back pain, and the meds leave me feeling exhausted.) Anyway, those who have read and/or follow my blog, can immediately see that my faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is everything to me, and after trashing what I wrote earlier (I’m so thankful for the delete option computers have :D), I’m going to share from my heart, rather than my brain, the role my faith in Jesus Christ plays in my life.

Have you ever been in love? I mean really, totally head over heals in love with someone? Have you ever had a friend who is totally head over heals in love with someone? When someone is completely madly, passionately in love with someone, what does that person spend nearly every waking moment thinking about? The one they love, right? Not only do they spend every waking moment thinking about the one they love, they also talk incessantly about the one they love, whether someone wants to hear about it or not. 😀

That’s how I feel about Jesus. I love Him with my whole heart, soul, mind and strength. I think about Him in the mornings when I wake up. I think about Him throughout the day, and my dreams are filled with Him. Almost always, whenever there is a prompt or challenge that I participate in, my thoughts turn immediately to my Lord and Savior, the Lover of my soul. You see, to put it simply, He has ravished my heart, and everything that I do, reflects that.

Now, some people might ask, “How can you love someone that you’ve never even seen? How do you even know He exists?” And you know what? I think those are fair questions. I’m not at all offended by people who raise those questions, because there was a time when I had questions too. To be perfectly honest with you, there are still things that I question, not because I doubt Him, but simply because I don’t understand. You see, God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are not our ways. As a matter of fact, as high as the heavens are from the earth, so are His ways higher than our ways, and His thoughts than our thoughts.

So back to the questions… I know He exists just as I know the wind exists. Even though no one has ever seen the wind, we know it exists because we have felt it and seen its effects. I know Jesus Christ exists, because I have felt His presence, and I have seen the effect He has had in my life and in the lives of others. I’ve heard His voice as He speaks directly to my heart through Scripture, and I’ve also heard Him speak audibly to me. He has whispered words of love to me, when no one else cared, and He has quieted me with His love.

I love Him because He loved me first. I love Him because He has changed me. I’m not the same person I once was. He has delivered me from all fears. And let me tell you, I had many fears and phobias. He has taken my low self-esteem and replaced it with confidence in Him, and in myself. You see, I now know that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

He has taken this woman, who spent so much of my life feeling anxious and worried to the point that my hands constantly shook, my heart raced, and I had trouble catching my breath… a woman who once spent twenty-one days on the psychiatric ward of a local hospital because I suffered panic attacks, a woman who constantly battled depression, and He gave me peace. He didn’t change my circumstances — He changed me. You see, even now, as I’m dealing with chronic back and leg pain, and am unable to work right now… even though I now have no income, and there seems to be no way that things will work out, He is with me, and He has given me peace.

I wanted so badly to get my seven grandchildren Christmas presents this year, but my income has ceased… I wanted to have my children and grandchildren come for Christmas dinner and Christmas cookies, but again, there was no money to provide for this… I went ahead and invited them to come anyway, by faith, trusting the Lord to provide, but I wasn’t sure there would be enough food on the table. Then I got a message on December 20, that I had one more check from work. Suddenly, I had $200, which enabled us to get each grandchild a gift, and put food on the table for Christmas. Do you wonder why I love Him?

Jesus loves me and takes care of all my needs. He was the One who told me to begin writing again, which is why I started this blog. He is the One who gives me life, and even though I’m in a lot of pain, I can still give Him glory, because even in the midst of the pain, He is with me, comforting me and encouraging me to press on.

It is my faith in Christ that gives me hope that I will one day be free from this chronic pain, whether here and now, or when I pass on. It is my faith in Christ that removes my fear of death, because if I’m alive in the flesh, I get to spend my life loving and being loved by Him. And if I die, I’ll finally get to look upon His glorious face, to behold Him in all of His glory, to caress His nail scarred hands and touch His brow that bore the pain of the crown of thorns.

I’ll get to finally gaze into the eyes that have gazed upon me and loved me, even when I was unlovable. I think that’s one of the things I love most about Jesus. He has loved me through good times and bad. He loved me when I didn’t love Him. He remained faithful to me, even though I was unfaithful to Him. He never gave up on me. When others looked at me and saw nothing worth loving, He looked beyond my sin, beyond my failure and He saw the woman that He created me to be.

And do you know what? He looks at you the same way. Each one of us was lovingly fashioned and knit together in our mother’s womb by His hands, and each one of us was created for a special purpose.