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Addressing the Elephant in the Room…

When his brothers got ready to leave Egypt, Joseph called the manager of his palace once again, and ordered, “Fill the men’s packs with as much food as they can carry, and put each man’s money just inside his pack.  Then, put my silver goblet just inside the youngest one’s pack, along with his grain money.”  The manager of the palace did as he was commanded.

The brothers left with their donkeys at daybreak, but before they were far from the city, Joseph gave this order to his palace manager, “Chase after those men and when you catch them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid good with evil?  Why did you take my master’s silver cup that he uses to predict the future?  What you have done is evil!'”

So, the palace manager took off and chased them, and when he caught up with the brothers, he exclaimed, “Why have you repaid good with evil?  Why did you take my master’s silver cup that he uses to predict the future?  What you have done is evil!”

Joseph’s brothers were shocked at the man’s accusation, and replied, “Why do you speak this way, my lord?  We would never do such a thing, may heaven forbid it!  Don’t you remember?  When we found the money inside our packs, we brought it back to you from the land of Canaan!  So how could you think that we would steal silver or gold from your lord’s palace?”  Confident that they were guilty of no crime, they finished with, “If you find the goblet on any one of us, put him to death — and the rest of us will serve as your slaves!”

“No,” the palace manager replied.  “The one who has my lord’s silver goblet will be my slave, but the rest of you will be blameless.”  Then, each one of the brothers hurriedly placed his pack on the ground and opened them.  The manager searched each bag, starting with the eldest brother, and ending with the youngest, and he found the governor’s silver goblet where he had planted it, in Benjamin’s pack.

When the brothers saw this, they moaned and ripped their clothes in grief.  Each of them remembered their father’s fearful countenance, when he had finally allowed Benjamin to travel to Egypt with them.  Losing Benjamin, on top of his continued grief for Joseph, would kill him, and then, his death would be on their shoulders, too.  Each of them, except for Benjamin, who didn’t know of their sin against Joseph, realized their sins had finally caught up with them.  They believed that God’s retribution was finally upon them.  Therefore, each one quickly reloaded his donkey and returned to the city to face the governor.

Joseph was still in his palace, when Judah and his brothers arrived, and all of them fell down before him on the ground, trembling with fear.  Joseph was startled to see that all of them had returned, and he said, “How could you do this to me?  Don’t you know that I’m able to see into the future?”

Judah fearfully replied, “O my lord, what can we say?  There’s no way for us to prove our innocence.  God is repaying us for our sins, so here we are.  We have all returned to be your slaves, not just the one with whom my lord’s silver cup was found!”

Again, his brothers surprised him, and Joseph replied, “Heaven forbid!  I would never do such a thing.  Only the man who stole my goblet will be my slave, and the rest of you may go in peace to your father.”

Judah’s heart broke as he remembered both his father’s fear of losing Benjamin just as he’d lost Joseph, and the promise that he had made to protect Benjamin from harm.  So, he arose and beseeched Joseph, “Please, my lord!  May I speak freely with you, without arousing your anger?  For you are as powerful as Pharaoh himself.” 

At Joseph’s nod, Judah proceeded, “Do you remember when you asked us, ‘Do you have a father?  Or a brother?’  We truthfully answered your questions, my lord, telling you about our father, who is an old man, and about our youngest brother, who is a child of his old age.  We told you that this youngest brother also had a full brother, who is dead, and that he alone is all that remains of his mother’s children, and our father loves him greatly.

“Then, when you ordered us to bring our brother down to you, so that you could see him, we told you, ‘The boy can’t leave his father, for if he were to leave him, our father would surely die.’  When we told you this, my lord, you said that we would not see your face again, unless we brought our brother back with us, so we went back home to your servant, my father, and told him what you had said, and when our father told us to return to Egypt to buy some grain, we told him that we couldn’t.

“We said, ‘We can’t go down to Egypt again, unless our youngest brother is with us, because the governor won’t let us see his face without him.'”

Wiping tears from his eyes, Judah drew a deep breath, and continued, “Then your servant, my father, said, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons.  The one left and never returned, for he was surely torn to pieces by some wild animal.  Now, if you take this son away from me too, and something happens to him, you will send this white-haired old man down to his grave with grief.’

“So, how can I go to your servant, my father, without his youngest son?  For his heart is bound up with the boy’s heart, and when he sees the boy isn’t with us, it will kill him.  If his heart is broken yet again, the grief will send our white-haired father to his grave, and it will be my fault.  For I, your servant, guaranteed my brother’s safety.  I told my father, ‘If I fail to bring him to you, then I will bear the blame forever.’

“Therefore, my lord, I beg you to let me stay as your slave instead of the boy, and let him return home to my father with our brothers.”  Judah sobbed, remembering Jacob’s pain when he lost Joseph, because of his and his brothers’ sin.  Now, more than twenty years later, his father still grieved for Joseph, and losing Benjamin would no doubt kill him.  “Please, my lord,” Judah pleaded, “allow me to stay as your slave, and let Benjamin return to our father, for I couldn’t bear to see his anguish, if I return without him.”

When he saw their compassion and discerned their repentance, Joseph could contain himself no longer.  He ordered his servants and attendants to leave the room immediately.  Then, when no one but his brothers remained, Joseph wept loudly, and revealed himself to them.  More than twenty years of torment were loosed with Joseph’s tears.  Indeed, he wailed so loudly, his entire household and even Pharaoh’s household heard his keening.

“I am Joseph!” he gasped in the midst of his wailing.  “Is it true that my father, Jacob, still lives?”  His brothers were so dumbfounded at the governor’s actions, that they couldn’t speak at first.  So, Joseph beckoned his brothers, “Please!  Come closer.”

elephant in the room 3

They approached him hesitantly, as fear and hope warred within each of them.  “I’m Joseph, your brother, whom you sold as a slave to Egypt,” he told them.  Their eyes widened in alarm, as the truth of their sin was finally exposed, and the elephant in the room was addressed for the first time in more than twenty years.  “Don’t be sad and angry with yourselves for selling me into slavery here,”  Joseph said, as the tears continued to flow down his cheeks.  He looked into the eyes of each of his brothers, who had betrayed him, starting with Reuben, the oldest, all the way down to Zebulun.  As he looked into each of their eyes, they at first tried to avert his gaze, but then they each looked back at him, and tears soon flowed from their eyes too.

Meanwhile, Benjamin stared at Joseph, completely enthralled by his brother, and filled with joy.  He couldn’t wait to share the good news with his father that Joseph, who had been lost to them for more than twenty years was found.  He couldn’t wait to see his father’s joy when he discovered that his son, whom he thought was dead, still lived!

Joseph grinned at him, then turned back to his other brothers.  “Don’t be sad and angry with yourselves for selling me into slavery here,”  Joseph said again, as he fully addressed the elephant in the room.  “For it was really God who sent me ahead of you to preserve your lives.  Indeed, the famine that has been over the land for the last two years will continue for yet another five years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvest.

“Don’t you see?”  Joseph asked.  “God sent me ahead of you to ensure that you will have descendants on earth and to save your lives in a great deliverance.  So, it was not you who sent me here, but God, and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of all his household and ruler over the whole land of Egypt.”

Joseph drew closer to them and said, “Brothers, hurry up and go to my father.  Tell him that Joseph says, ‘Elohim has made me lord of all Egypt!  Come down to me and don’t delay!  You will live in the land of Goshen and be near me with your children, your grandchildren, flocks, herds and everything you own.  I will provide for you there, so you won’t be impoverished because five more years of famine are yet to come.’

Artistic close up of an African elephant in black and white

“Brothers, you can see with your own eyes see that it truly is me, Joseph, speaking to you.  Benjamin, you see with your own eyes that I am truly Joseph, your long-lost brother!  Now go,”  Joseph said, as yet more tears began to flow from his eyes.  “Tell my father how honored I am in Egypt and everything you have seen, and hurry up and bring him down here to me!”  Finally, Joseph gathered Benjamin into his arms, and wept as he embraced him.  Benjamin, too, wept into Joseph’s neck.  Joseph then kissed all of his brothers, washing them with his tears.  Then, Joseph’s brothers finally began to speak to him, and each one finally gazed at the elephant in the room, the horrible sin they had tried to bury, and addressed it…

If we acknowledge our sins, then, since he is trustworthy and just, he will forgive them and purify us from all wrongdoing.  (1 John 1:9 Complete Jewish Bible)

© 2019
Cheryl A. Showers

 

Feast in the Midst of Famine

As the famine ravaged the land, and their supply of grain dwindled down, Jacob feared that his family would starve.  Therefore, he gathered his sons together and said, “Go back to Egypt and buy us a little more food.”

“Abba,” Judah replied sadly, as he gently gazed at the old man, who seemed to grow more and more frail, with each passing day, “The man was serious when he warned us, ‘You won’t see my face again unless your brother is with you.’  If you send Benjamin with us, we will go down and buy more food.  But if you don’t let Benjamin go, we won’t go either.  Remember, the man said, ‘You won’t see my face again unless your brother is with you.'”

5-they-get-home-and-tell-jacob

Jacob’s heart constricted, and he regarded each of his sons, before he finally settled his gaze on Benjamin, his youngest.  The heavy weight of pain that he had carried for years, seemed to grow heavier, as he contemplated losing yet another son, and tears flowed freely from his eyes.  “Why were you so cruel to me?” Jacob moaned.  “Why did you tell him you had another brother?”

“Abba,”  they gently replied.  “The man kept asking us questions about our family.  He asked, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?’  So we answered his questions.  How could we know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here?'”  It grieved all of them to see what the anguish their sin had brought to their father.  If only they could go back and change it all, but that wasn’t possible.

How long, O Lord, must others suffer for our sins?” Judah silently prayed, as he gently laid his hand on Jacob’s shoulder.  Guilt and shame washed over him, for his part in bringing his father to this piteous state.  The results of his and his brothers’ evil acts were far worse than they could ever have imagined.  His abba was wasting away, not because of the famine, but because of their evil act of jealousy.  No longer the vibrant man he had once been, their Abba was now a shell of his old self.  He had grieved for Joseph for more than twenty years, after Judah and his brothers had given him a death sentence, and now, they were asking Jacob to trust them with Benjamin.  Who could blame him for his fear?

Judah spoke tenderly to his father, “Send the boy with me, and we will be on our way.  Otherwise, we will all die of starvation—and not only we, but you and our little ones.  I personally guarantee his safety.  You may hold me responsible if I don’t bring him back to you.  If that happens, let me bear the blame forever.  Abba,” he earnestly said, “if we hadn’t wasted all this time, we could have gone and returned twice by now.”

Jacob sighed and prayed,  “Which is worse, Adonai?  Losing Benjamin to his brothers’ wicked schemes?  Or watching him, and my other sons and grandchildren die a slow painful death before my very eyes, due to starvation, because I’m afraid to trust You?”  Jacob blew out a deep, shuddering sigh, as he answered Judah,  “Alright.  If it can’t be avoided, then at least do this.  Pack your bags with the best products of this land.  Take them down to the man as gifts—balm, honey, gum, aromatic resin, pistachio nuts, and almonds.  Also take double the money that was put back in your sacks, as it was probably someone’s mistake.  Then take your brother, and go back to the man.  May El Shaddai give you mercy as you go before the man, so that he will release Simeon and let Benjamin return.  But if I must lose my children, so be it,” Jacob said, as he drew in a quivering breath, and clutched his right fist over his heart, which pounded rapidly.

The brothers immediately packed their belongings, with Jacob’s gifts and double the money, as soon as he announced his decision, and headed to Egypt with Benjamin.  They watched over Benjamin protectively, as they made their way to Egypt, lest any harm fall upon him.  As soon as they arrived, the brothers sought out the governor, and presented themselves to him.

When he saw Benjamin with them, Joseph’s heart soared within his chest, and he informed the manager of his household, “These men will eat with me this noon.  Take them inside the palace.  Then go slaughter an animal, and prepare a big feast.”  So his manager did as he commanded him, and led the brothers to Joseph’s palace.

When they saw that they were being taken into Joseph’s palace, his brothers were terrified.  “It’s because of the money someone put in our sacks the last time we were here,” they said.  “He’s going to pretend we stole it, then seize us, make us slaves and take our donkeys.”

Fearfully, they approached the manager of Joseph’s household, and said, “Sir, we came to Egypt once before to buy food.  But as we were returning home, we stopped for the night and opened our sacks.  Then we discovered that each man’s money—the exact amount paid—was in the top of his sack!  Here it is; we have brought it back with us.  We also have additional money to buy  more food.  We have no idea who put our money in our sacks.”

The household manager smiled at the brothers.  “Relax.  Don’t be afraid.  Your God, the God of your father, must have put this treasure into your sacks.  I know I received your payment.”  Then he released Simeon and brought him out to them.

All of the brothers rejoiced when they saw Simeon, and took turns hugging him and patting one another on their backs.  The manager then led them into Joseph’s palace and gave them water to wash their feet.  He also provided food for their donkeys.  Informed that they would be eating here, they prepared their gifts for Joseph’s arrival at noon.

An overwhelming array of emotions filled Joseph when he came home that day, and his brothers bowed low to the ground before him, presenting him with gifts from their (his) homeland.  He felt great elation as he looked at his brother, Benjamin, who knew nothing of their brothers’ treachery, and great nostalgia for his father and his homeland when his brothers presented their father’s gifts to him.  He also felt some doubt and misgiving at his brothers’ seemingly changed hearts.  Had their hearts truly changed?  Or was their professed shame for betraying him, merely a ruse?  After receiving their gifts, he asked the brothers, “How is your father, the old man you spoke about?  Is he still alive?”  With bated breath, he awaited their answer, and anxiously prayed for his father’s health.

“Yes,” they replied.  “Our father, your servant, is alive and well,” and they bowed low again.

After he expelled a breath of relief, Joseph again looked at his brother Benjamin, the son of his own mother.  Feigning ignorance, he asked, “Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?”  When his brothers acknowledged that this was indeed their youngest brother, Joseph was overcome with emotion.  “May God be gracious to you, my son,” he gasped, before he rushed from the room and raced to his private room.

Tears began to run down his face, as soon as he exited the dining room, and raced to his room.  Joseph quickly slammed the door behind him, threw himself on his cushions and wept with great misery.  How he longed to hold Benjamin in his arms and shower his love on him…  He yearned to see and hold his father again…  And, despite their betrayal of him, his heart ached to love and forgive his other brothers, but could he trust them again?  Finally, after shedding many tears, Joseph regained control over his emotions, washed his face, and returned to the dining room where his brothers and  his cohorts were gathered.  Then he ordered the meal to be served.

Joseph told each of his brothers where to sit, and amazed them by seating them according to their age, from the oldest to the youngest.  The waiters served Joseph and his Egyptian cohorts at his own table, and his brothers were served at a separate table, because Egyptians despised Hebrews and refused to eat with them.  Then Joseph filled his brothers’ plates with food from his own table, giving Benjamin five times as much as he gave his other brothers, and they feasted and drank freely with him.

Adonai had indeed blessed these errant sons of Jacob, by allowing them to feast in the midst of famine.  For the first time in the more than twenty years since their great sin against Adonai and their brother, Joseph, the brothers felt hope arise within them.  Could it be that He had seen that their hearts were broken and contrite?  Had they prayed to Him as their descendant, David, would do one day?

Psalm 51
New Living Translation

Have mercy on me, O God,
    because of Your unfailing love.
Because of Your great compassion,
    blot out the stain of my sins.
Wash me clean from my guilt.
    Purify me from my sin.
For I recognize my rebellion;
    it haunts me day and night.
Against You, and You alone, have I sinned;
    I have done what is evil in Your sight.
You will be proved right in what You say,
    and Your judgment against me is just.
For I was born a sinner—
    yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
But You desire honesty from the womb,
    teaching me wisdom even there.

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Oh, give me back my joy again;
    You have broken me—
    now let me rejoice.
Don’t keep looking at my sins.
    Remove the stain of my guilt.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
    Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from Your presence,
    and don’t take Your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
    and make me willing to obey You.
13 Then I will teach Your ways to rebels,
    and they will return to You.
14 Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves;
    then I will joyfully sing of Your forgiveness.
15 Unseal my lips, O Lord,
    that my mouth may praise You.

16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.
    You do not want a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifice You desire is a broken spirit.
    You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
18 Look with favor on Zion and help her;
    rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then You will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit—
    with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings.
    Then bulls will again be sacrificed on Your altar.

 

© 2019
Cheryl A. Showers

 

When All Hope is Gone…

The burden Joseph’s brothers carried on their shoulders, when nine of them, and not ten, left Egypt was crushing.  “How are we going to tell Abba that Simeon is now imprisoned in Egypt, and their governor wants to see Benjamin as well?”  Reuben choked out, as he fought back the tears that flowed freely from his other brothers eyes.  As the eldest brother, he had to be strong for the others.  “This could kill him!”

“I know,” Judah sighed.  “But perhaps El Shaddai will show him mercy.  For it was we, who sinned against Him, when we sold Joseph into slavery and death, not Abba.  This punishment should be ours alone.”

“Maybe,”  Levi said.  “But I’ve noticed that every time we sin against El Shaddai, everyone, even the innocent, ends up suffering.  Look at Abba.  He has suffered enormously since Joseph died, and look at Benjamin.  He certainly committed no sin, and yet, he too, has suffered.  Since Joseph’s death, Abba won’t let him out of his sight.  He smothers Benjamin in his grief.”

The brothers nodded in agreement, then fell silent, as they made their way home, with their donkeys.  They made camp by a river, as the sun began to set, and a few collected firewood, while others led the donkeys to the river to drink.  Then, after the donkeys had their fill of water, one of them opened his sack to get some grain for his donkey, and discovered his money on top of the grain.  He face paled, and he began to tremble, as he called for his brothers to come.  “Look!  My money has been returned; it’s here in my sack!”

Their hearts sank, as they gazed at the money in his sack of grain, and they, too, began to tremble.  Fear filled their hearts and minds, and they asked each other, “What has God done to us?”  But no one had an answer to that question.  Needless to say, no one slept well that night, and they were up before dawn.  They quickly packed their belongings, and were headed home, just as the sky began to lighten.

When the brothers got home to the land of Canaan, they went to see their father, Jacob.  There was no point in putting things off.  “Did you get the grain?”  Jacob asked, expectantly.

“Yes Abba,” Reuben spoke for the group, and continued, “but the man who is governor of the land spoke very harshly to us.  He accused us of being spies scouting the land.  We told him that we are honest men, not spies.  We said that we are twelve brothers, sons of one father.  We told him that one brother is no longer with us, and the youngest is at home with our father in the land of Canaan,

“Then the man who is governor of the land said, ‘This is how I will find out if you are honest men.  Leave one of  your brothers here with me, and take grain for your starving families and go on home.  But you must bring your youngest brother back to me.  Then I will know you are honest men and not spies.  Then I will give you back your  brother, and you may freely trade in the land'”

Tears welled up in Jacob’s eyes, as he gazed at his sons.  “He took Simeon?”  Jacob whispered and the brothers nodded, with their eyes downcast.  Then they opened their sacks, and everyone saw the bag of money, which they had used to pay for the grain, in each man’s sack.  Jacob began to wail, and he mournfully ripped his robe, as terror swept over him and his sons. Then he exclaimed to them, “You are robbing me of my children!  Joseph is gone!  Simeon is gone!  And now you want to take Benjamin, too.  Everything is against me!”

Reuben knelt down in front of his father, and the tears he had kept at bay for so long, ran down his face and into his beard.  He gently placed his hands on his father’s shoulders and waited for Jacob to look into his eyes.  Then Reuben said to his father, “You may kill my two sons if I don’t bring Benjamin back to you.  I’ll be responsible for him, and I promise to bring him back.”

Overwhelmed by grief and anguish, Jacob had lost all hope.  He had forgotten that El Shaddai, the All Sufficient God, cared for him and his sons.  He forgot the visions and dreams he had received from El Shaddai over the years.  He forgot the many times El Shaddai had provided for him and his family.  He forgot the promises El Shaddai had made to him, his father, Isaac, and his grandfather, Abraham, before him.  In his pain, Jacob was blind to the many blessings El Shaddai had given him.  He only saw what he had lost. “My son will not go down with you,” he spat at Reuben.  “His brother, Joseph, is dead, and he is all I have left.  If anything should happen to him on your journey, you would send this grieving, white-haired man to his grave.”

Beloved reader, have you ever felt such searing pain and loss?  Have you been so blinded by grief that you are no longer able to even see the many blessings God has given you?  I have.  When such agony envelops you, it is impossible to rise above it, as wave after wave of despair encompasses you.  But thanks be to God!  Even in the midst of our suffering, He is with us, ready to heal and deliver us from those broken places, if we will seek His face.  When we are overwhelmed with hopelessness and grief, let’s cry out to God, as this psalmist did:

Psalm 42
Complete Jewish Bible

Just as a deer longs for running streams,
God, I long for you.
I am thirsty for God, for the living God!
When can I come and appear before God?

My tears are my food, day and night,
while all day people ask me, “Where is your God?”
I recall, as my feelings well up within me,
how I’d go with the crowd to the house of God,
with sounds of joy and praise from the throngs
observing the festival.

My soul, why are you so downcast?
Why are you groaning inside me?
Hope in God, since I will praise Him again
for the salvation that comes from His presence.
My God, when I feel so downcast,
I remind myself of You
from the land of Yarden, from the peaks of Hermon,
from the hill Mizar.
Deep is calling to deep
at the thunder of Your waterfalls;
all Your surging rapids and waves
are sweeping over me.
By day Adonai commands His grace,
and at night His song is with me
as a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God my Rock,
“Why have You forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
under pressure by the enemy?
10 My adversaries’ taunts make me feel
as if my bones were crushed,
as they ask me all day long,
‘Where is your God?’ ”

11 My soul, why are you so downcast?
Why are you groaning inside me?
Hope in God, since I will praise Him again
for being my Savior and God.

© 2019
Cheryl A. Showers

 

The Heavy Weight…

When Jacob’s ten eldest sons left Canaan for Egypt, guilt weighed heavily on each of them.  Foremost in their hearts and minds was the image of their father, so frail and old now, with fear for his youngest son, Benjamin etched in his face, as he refused to let him travel with them.  Their father had been such a strong and vital part of their lives, as he cared for them and their mothers over the years.  He had always had such a strong, unshakable faith in El Shaddai, but in the years since Joseph’s death, even his faith seemed to have failed him.

Nothing had worked out as they had imagined it would.  Their evil actions hadn’t brought them more of their father’s love, without Joseph there to steal it.  Instead, it had brought them more pain and loneliness.  Instead of earning their father’s undivided love, they had earned his fear and distrust, as well as a heavy burden of guilt, like a massive weight that threatened to break them, as they carried it with them everywhere they went.  Indeed, in the twenty years since they had sinned against their brother, Joseph, their burdens had only grown heavier.

When they entered into Egypt, they learned that they would have to ask Egypt’s governor to allow them to purchase the grain needed for their families to survive, due to the severity of the famine.  Therefore, they lined up, behind the others who had gathered to collect the much needed grain.  Finally, after waiting for many long hours, the ten brothers stood before the governor of Egypt, and immediately dropped to their knees and bowed before him.

Joseph, the governor, paled at the sight of his ten older brothers, bowing down before him.  He recognized them instantly, and caught his breath, as his heart pounded furiously within his chest. It felt like it might break free from his ribs.  As the lump in his throat grew, Joseph fought the tears that threatened to spill.  Looking at them now, bowed down before him, he couldn’t help but remember the dreams he’d had as a youth, in which, his brothers had bowed down to him.

Struggling to pull himself together, Joseph’s voice was harsh as he spoke to his brothers, “Where are you from?”

“We come from the land of Canaan,” they replied.  “We have come to buy food.”

Although he had immediately recognized his brothers, they didn’t recognize Joseph, and why should they?  In their minds, they imagined that he had probably died, or at the very least, was still a slave to a foreign master.  Joseph didn’t reveal himself to his brothers.  Instead, he pretended to be a stranger, and said to them, “You are spies!  You have come to see how vulnerable our land has become.”

How rigidly he must have held himself, so as not to break down in front of these brothers that he had loved as a child, only to be betrayed by them when he was just a teenager.  Beloved reader, have you known the pain of betrayal at the hands of a family member?  If so, surely you can understand how difficult it must have been for Joseph to maintain control of his emotions.  How conflicted he must have felt.  For, on the one hand, he loved these brothers, and he must have longed for news of their family.  Yet, on the other hand, he must have felt an intense explosion of rage welling up within him, to see his betrayers, for the first time in twenty years.

Proverbs 29:11
Complete Jewish Bible

A fool gives vent to all his feelings,
    but the wise, thinking of afterwards, stills them.

Fear gripped the brothers’ hearts, and they quickly responded to Joseph’s accusation, “No, my lord!  Your servants have simply come to buy food.  We are all brothersmembers of the same family.  We are honest men, sir!  We are not spies!”

Joseph continued his charade.  “Yes, you are!  You have come to see how vulnerable our land has become,” he insisted.

“Sir,” the brothers replied, desperate to make him understand, “there are actually twelve of us.  We, your servants, are all brothers, sons of a man living in the land of Canaan.  Our youngest brother is back there with our father right now, and one of our brothers is no longer with us.”

Still, Joseph insisted, “As I said, you are spies!  This is how I will test your story.  I swear by the life of Pharaoh that you will never leave Egypt unless your youngest brother comes here!  One of you must go and get your brother.  I’ll keep the rest of you here in prison.  Then we’ll find out whether or not your story is true.  By the life of Pharaoh, if it turns out that you don’t have a younger brother, then I’ll know you are spies.”

So, Joseph put them all in prison for three days.  How tormented he must have been, as all of the emotions that he thought were long gone, came rushing over him.  It was like reliving his brothers’ betrayal and brutality all over again.  How he must have cried out to ‘Elyon, to strengthen him, and give him wisdom.

Psalm 3
New King James

Lord, how they have increased who trouble me!
Many are they who rise up against me.
Many are they who say of me,
“There is no help for him in God.” Selah

But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
I cried to the Lord with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah

I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people
Who have set themselves against me all around.

Arise, O Lord;
Save me, O my God!
For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone;
You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.
Salvation belongs to the Lord.
Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah

On the third day of their imprisonment, Joseph spoke to them again.  “Look, I am a God-fearing man.  If you do as I say, you will live.  If you really are honest men, choose one of your brothers to remain in prison.  The rest of you may go home with grain for your starving families.  But you must bring your youngest brother back to me.  This will prove that you are telling the truth, and you will not die.”  The brothers agreed to Joseph’s terms.

Speaking among themselves, the weight of their burden of guilt was evident, when they said, “Clearly we are being punished because of what we did to Joseph, long ago.  We saw his anguish when he pleaded for his life, but we wouldn’t listen.  That’s why we’re in this trouble.”

Tears ran down Reuben’s face, as he asked, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy?  But you wouldn’t listen.  And now we have to answer for his blood!”

His brothers, who still didn’t know Joseph’s true identity, had no way of knowing that he understood every word that they had spoken, for he had been speaking to them through an interpreter.  Upon hearing his brothers’ words, he turned and walked away from them and began to weep.  The emotions, and the weight he had been carrying for more than twenty years, was simply too much to bear, as his brothers openly spoke of his betrayal.

So deep was their own fear and anguish, that the brothers took no notice when Joseph turned away from them.  They were all lost in the midst of a storm that had been brewing for more than twenty years.  When Joseph regained his composure, he spoke to them again, and chose Simeon from among them.  He ordered Simeon to be tied up before their eyes.

Then, Joseph ordered his servants to fill his brothers’ sacks with grain.  He also gave them secret instructions to return each brother’s payment at the top of his sack, and he gave them supplies for their journey home.  So, although ten brothers had started on the journey to Egypt, only nine returned home, and the weight they carried grew heavier with each step…

© 2019
Cheryl A. Showers

The Elephant in the Room

Can you imagine Jacob’s torment?  Can you imagine the pain he must have felt, when his sons returned to his tent, the day they sold their brother Joseph into slavery?  He thought his son was dead, and the pain nearly killed him.  It aged him overnight.

I wonder how much greater his pain would have been, had he known what really happened to Joseph?  Do you think he ever suspected foul play at the hands of his older sons?  Do you ponder whether Jacob ever doubted the validity of what his ten oldest sons claimed had happened to Joseph?  The bible doesn’t say for sure, but I reckon Jacob suspected more than he let on.  Yet, as in most dysfunctional families, too often, there are just some things that are too painful to be spoken out loud.

Jacob must have known how much his other sons hated Joseph, for they had made no attempt to hide it from anyone.  They openly mocked him at every turn, and their jealousy of Joseph was evident to all.  It must have seemed dubious to Jacob, when Joseph turned up dead, after he sent him to check up on his brothers.  After all, he knew full well, when he sent Joseph to them, how angry they already were with Joseph.  After all, hadn’t Joseph given their father a bad report about them, just days earlier?  And what about the beautiful robe Jacob had given to Joseph?  It was the same robe his ten older brothers later returned to Jacob, covered with blood.  Their rancor towards their brother had known no bounds, when Jacob rewarded Joseph with that beautiful robe.  Indeed, Jacob had made it abundantly clear, over and over again, that Joseph was his favorite son, which caused their loathing for Joseph to burn even deeper.

Elephant-in-the-room (1)

Yet, as in most dysfunctional families, they ignored the proverbial “elephant in the room,” and no one ever addressed the issue.  The ten eldest sons never spoke directly to their father about the pain he had caused them, in showing favoritism towards Joseph.  Instead, they allowed their bitterness to fester, turning into a poison that blackened their souls, until their hearts turned violent.

Indeed, this wasn’t the first time that these ten sons of Jacob had turned violent.  They had slaughtered and plundered an entire town, after a man named Shechem, the prince of that town, raped their sister, Dinah.  True, what Shechem had done was evil, but what these ten sons of Jacob had done, was no less evil.  For they had tricked the men into believing that they had forgiven Shechem, and they would allow him to marry their sister, Dinah, if he, and his entire town would be circumcised.

Eager to make amends and marry Dinah, Shechem, and his father, King Hamor, agreed to the deal, and when they met with their council, they agreed too.  Therefore, all of the men in that community were circumcised.  Then, three days later, while all of the men were still in great pain from their circumcisions, the ten eldest sons of Jacob attacked and killed every single male, and afterwards, they took all of the town’s livestock, and enslaved the women and children who remained.

elephant-in-the-room

Yes, Jacob surely knew the violence his oldest sons were capable of, but, again, like the proverbial elephant in the room, he didn’t discuss his suspicions with them, because to actually hear the truth spoken aloud was too much for him to contemplate.  And now, as famine swept across the land, Jacob worried about his family’s fate.  There was no grain to be obtained in all of Canaan, but he had heard that there was grain available in the land of Egypt, so he assembled all of his remaining sons, and had a family meeting.

“We’re going to starve if we don’t get some grain,” Jacob spoke bluntly to his sons, who exchanged glances with one another, but said nothing.  “Why are you standing around looking at one another?” he asked impatiently.  “You know what I say is true.  However, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt.  Therefore, I want you to go down there and buy enough grain to keep us alive.  Otherwise, we’ll all die.”

“You’re right Abba,” Benjamin, Jacob’s youngest son, replied.  “We must go to Egypt right away.  Come brothers, let’s pack up and leave for Egypt at first light tomorrow.”

“NO!”  Jacob shouted.  “Benjamin, you will stay with me, and your brothers will go to Egypt.

“But Abba,” Benjamin protested.

“NO!”  Jacob shouted once again, as he fought the panic that boiled up within him.  His heart pounded loudly in his ears as he drew a shuddering breath, trying to slow his heart rate, and speak calmly.  “No, my son,” Jacob repeated.  “This is a job for your older brothers to handle.  You must stay with  me.”

Benjamin looked closely at his father, and noted the terror in his eyes.  Then he knelt down beside Jacob, and gently hugged him.  “Alright Abba,” he whispered softly.  “I will obey and stay here with you.”

Jacob’s oldest sons exchanged guilty glances with one another, for they, too, had seen the fear and pain in their father’s eyes, and they knew that they were the cause of his agony.  Though no one said a word, once again ignoring the elephant in the room, the brothers knew that Jacob wouldn’t allow Benjamin to travel alone with them, for fear they might harm him, just as they had harmed Joseph.  

Both Jacob and his ten eldest sons felt guilty.  Yet, still, they didn’t speak of what they had done.  Each was trapped in his own torment, and it seemed there was no hope for redemption.  Each one was a captive of a moment that had long since passed. Jacob was trapped in the moment when he had chosen to love Joseph more than all of his other sons.  In doing so, he had rejected their love as insignificant.  His rejected sons were trapped in the moment, when they had taken their anger out on the wrong person, their brother, Joseph, rather than confronting their father for neglecting to love them as a father should.  They were all, utterly without hope.

Yet, in the midst of all this turmoil and anguish, El Shaddai had a plan.  It was time for each one, Jacob and every one of his sons, to face the elephant in the room, and address it once and for all.

© 2019
Cheryl A. Showers

Nothing Compares…

Adonai had truly blessed him.  Joseph smiled as he gazed at his wife, Asenath, who slept on their sleeping mat, her arms gently cradling their second son, Ephraim, who was born the day before.  Her belly was still swollen from carrying their son, but Joseph didn’t care if her belly stayed that way, for she was by far the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, and she was his.  After giving her a gentle peck on the cheek, Joseph slid from the covers, and walked around to the other side of their sleeping mat.

As he knelt down beside his wife and his newborn babe, he was struck by how tiny and perfect the child was.  He had ten fingers and ten toes, each one with nails.  He had long dark eyelashes, like his imma.  He smiled as the babe suckled in his sleep, though nothing was in his mouth.

Joseph stood and tiptoed quietly to the cradle, where his firstborn son, was also sleeping, his long, dark lashes resting quietly on his chubby cheeks.  He gently caressed Manasseh’s soft cheek, smiling as the toddler gave a contented sigh.  After leaning over and placing a gentle kiss on Manasseh’s forehead, Joseph quietly exited the bedroom, and walked onto the balcony, where he knelt down on his prayer mat.

Psalm 30
Complete Jewish Bible

I will exalt You, Adonai, because You drew me up;
You didn’t let my enemies rejoice over me.
Adonai my God, I cried out to You,
and You provided healing for me.
Adonai, You lifted me up from Sh’ol;
you kept me alive when I was sinking into a pit.

Sing praise to Adonai, you faithful of His;
and give thanks on recalling His holiness.
For His anger is momentary,
but His favor lasts a lifetime.
Tears may linger for the night,
but with dawn come cries of joy.

Once I was prosperous and used to say,
that nothing could ever shake me —
when You showed me favor, Adonai,
I was firm as a mighty mountain.
But when You hid Your face,
I was struck with terror.

I called to You, Adonai;
to Adonai I pleaded for mercy:
“What advantage is there in my death,
in my going down to the pit?
Can the dust praise You?
Can it proclaim Your truth?
10 Hear me, Adonai, and show me Your favor!
Adonai, be my helper!”

11 You turned my mourning into dancing!
You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 so that my well-being can praise You and not be silent;
Adonai my God, I will thank You forever!

“How my lips praise You, the living God, who saw me in my time of trouble, and in Your great mercy, You heard my cries and delivered me from all my fears!  When my brothers tried to kill me, You, O Lord, heard my cries, and saved my life from the dark pit.  When they sold me into slavery, even then, O Lord, You heard my desperate pleas, and sent me to a kind master.  In the midst of slavery, You  set me over my master’s entire household.  Then, when his evil wife tried to seduce me, You kept me from being killed for a crime I had not committed.  Even in the dark dungeon, where I became a prisoner, lower than a slave, You raised me up, and gave me charge over the prison.

“Then, if that were not enough, You raised me again, from the dark dungeon, to Pharaoh’s second in command, over the entire nation of Egypt!  You gave me a beautiful wife, who loves me, and a son, Manasseh, to help me forget all my troubles, and my father’s family, who betrayed me.  And now, You have blessed me, yet again, with another son, Ephraim, for you have made me fruitful in this, the land of my grief.

“Who is like You, O Adonai?  Who can compare to You, my King?  Indeed, there is no one like You, Adonai.  For You are King of the Nations, and none can compare to You.  Indeed, there is no other god who would stoop so low, as to lift a prisoner and a slave from his prison!

“Adonai, I give You thanks, not only for what You have done for me, but for the seven years of abundance You have given to my wife’s people.  As the time of famine draws nigh, El Shaddai, thank You for providing for our needs by giving us these seven years of abundance, to carry us through the the dreadful famine.  Thank You for seeing to it that my children will not go hungry, nor will the people of this land, for You have provided for all our needs.

“And Adonai, I would be remiss, if I failed to ask for Your hand of blessing to fall on my father, Israel, and his household, especially Benjamin, my full brother.  Protect them, ‘Elyon, from all evil, and deliver them from the coming famine.

“O Adonai, guard my heart from bitterness.  Please, ‘Elyon, bless the brothers who betrayed me also, for my father loves them deeply, and I would not want him to suffer anymore pain and anguish by losing yet another son.  Therefore, please protect Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar and Zebulon.  Most importantly, El Shaddai, protect Benjamin from all harm, especially at the hands of our brothers.  Don’t let them do to him, what they did to me, Adonai!  Protect him.

“Adonai, You alone are worthy of praise.  You alone are holy and just.  In You alone, I have placed my trust, and I know that nothing in heaven or on earth, nothing in the oceans and the seas, nor in the graves, indeed nothing on the highest peak of the highest mountain, nor nothing in the lowest valley can compare to You.  It is to You that I pledge my life, O Adonai, for nothing compares to You.

“In times of feasting, I will praise You.  Even in the coming famine, still, my lips will sing Your praises, for nothing compares to the greatness of knowing You, Adonai!”

Rising from his prayer mat, Joseph lifted his gaze towards the heavens, smiling, as he heard Ephraim’s wails from the bedroom.  “No, Adonai, nothing compares to You!”

© 2019
Cheryl A. Showers

Not Forgotten…

In the time after the cupbearer’s release, Joseph ran the prison like a well-oiled machine.  He cared for the prisoners, the guards and even the accounting and record books.  Indeed, no other prison or business for that matter, ran so smoothly, for the Lord continued to be with Joseph and bless him.

While he toiled in prison, a full two years later, Pharaoh had two dreams one night, that deeply troubled him.  When day broke, Pharaoh arose, and immediately sent for all of Egypt’s magicians and wise men to seek an interpretation of his disturbing dreams.  However, not one of them was able to interpret the dreams’ meaning to him, which caused him even more anxiety.  “Is there no one in this entire land that can help me?” he cried out.

“Your majesty,” the chief cupbearer finally spoke up.  “Forgive me, for today, I am reminded of my failure.  Do you remember when you were angry with your officials, and arrested the chief baker and me, sire?”  At Pharaoh’s impatient nod, the cupbearer quickly continued.  “One night, while we were in prison, both the baker and I had dreams, which greatly disturbed us.  The next morning, a young Hebrew man, who was a servant of the captain of the guard, came to care for us, and asked why we were so downcast.  So we told him our dreams, and he interpreted each one of our dreams individually, for us.  What’s more, those dreams came to pass, just as he had prophesied.  I was restored to my office, and the baker was impaled.”

“This is true?”  Pharaoh asked.  At the cupbearer’s solemn nod, Pharaoh summoned Joseph to court.

Joseph, meanwhile, was in the midst of his morning prayers, before beginning his duties as the warden’s assistant. 

Psalm 13
Complete Jewish Bible

How long, Adonai?
Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?
How long must I keep asking myself what to do,
with sorrow in my heart every day?
How long must my enemy dominate me?

Look, and answer me, Adonai my God!
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death.
Then my enemy would say, “I was able to beat him”;
and my adversaries would rejoice at my downfall.

But I trust in Your grace,
my heart rejoices as You bring me to safety.
I will sing to Adonai, because He gives me
even more than I need.

 

Then, as he finished his prayers, guards from the royal palace came and led him quickly out of the dungeon.  After Joseph shaved himself and changed his clothes, he was led into Pharaoh’s presence, where he respectfully knelt, his heart pounding frantically.  “O Adonai,” he silently prayed.  “Protect me and deliver me from my foes.  Give me wisdom, to know when to speak and when to be silent.  Adonai, let me speak Your words, and not my own.”

“Last night, I had two dreams,” Pharaoh told Joseph, “and there is no one here, who can interpret them, but I was told that you are an interpreter of dreams.  Is this true?”

“Pharaoh, I am not the interpreter of dreams.  El Shaddai is the giver and interpreter of dreams.  If you will share your dream with me, El Shaddai will give you an answer that will give you peace,” Joseph said gently.

Pharaoh's Dream 1

“Very well,”  Pharaoh responded.  “In my dream, I stood at the edge of the river, and I saw seven fat and sleek cows emerge, and they fed on the swamp grass.  After they came, seven more cows emerged from the river, but these cows were sickly and emaciated.  I’ve never seen such a sorry group of cows in all of Egypt!  Then, the scrawny, miserable cows ate up the seven fat cows, but even after they’d devoured them, you would never guess they’d had anything to eat at all.  For they were still as miserable and sorry looking as they were before they ate.

Pharaoh's Dream 2

“At this point, I awakened, but I quickly drifted off to sleep again, and I had another dream.  In this dream, I saw seven full ripe ears of grain growing out of a single stalk, and after that, I saw seven more ears of grain spring up, but they were thin and shriveled up by the east wind.  And then, right before my eyes, I saw the shriveled ears swallow up the seven ripe ears of grain!

“This morning, when I awakened, I summoned my magicians and wise men, and I shared these dreams with them, but not one of them could explain them to me.  Are you able to interpret these dreams?”  Pharaoh questioned Joseph.  

Joseph listened intently to what Pharaoh shared, while also listening to what the Spirit of the Lord spoke to his heart.  Now, he felt the peace that only comes from ‘Elyon, as he drew in his breath and began to speak.  “Pharaoh’s dreams are the same.  God has told Pharaoh what He is about to do.”

Joseph spoke with the authority that only comes from God, and Pharaoh and his counselors all leaned forward, to hear every word he uttered.  “The seven healthy cows and the seven good ears of grain represent seven years.  Likewise, the seven scrawny cows and the seven blighted ears of grain also represent seven years of famine.  This is what ‘Elyon, has shown Pharaoh He is about to do.

“There will be seven years of abundance throughout the entire land of Egypt, but afterwards, there will be seven years of famine.  Indeed, the famine will be so dreadful, that Egypt will forget all of the abundance from the previous seven years.  Indeed, the famine will consume the land, and it will be truly disastrous.

“Do you wonder why this dream was doubled for Pharaoh?  It is because the matter has already been decreed by Elohim, and it will happen according to His word very soon.

“Therefore, Pharaoh should look for a wise and discreet man to put in charge of the land of Egypt, so that he can appoint supervisors over the land to receive a twenty percent tax on all of the produce of the land of Egypt during the seven years of abundance.  All of the food produced during the coming seven years of abundance should be gathered.  Some should be used for food in the cities, and the rest should be stored.  This will be the land’s food supply for the seven years of famine that will follow the seven years of abundance, so that the people do not perish as a result of the famine.”

Joseph’s demeanor and his wise suggestions impressed Pharaoh and all of his officials.  Pharaoh looked at his officials and asked, “Can we find anyone else like him? The Spirit of God lives in him!”  His officials agreed wholeheartedly with Pharaoh, so Pharaoh released Joseph from his position as a slave and prisoner that day, and placed him in command of all of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh himself.

“There is no one as wise and discerning as you,” Pharaoh told Joseph.  “Therefore, today, I am placing you in charge of my entire household.  You will rule over all my people, and they will obey what you say.  Only when I rule from my throne, will I be greater than you.”  Then, removing his signet ring from his finger, Pharaoh placed it on Joseph’s finger and continued, “This day, you will not only rule my household, but the whole land of Egypt.  I, Pharaoh, decree that without your approval no one is to raise his hand or his foot in all the land of Egypt.  Furthermore, your name shall henceforth be Zaphenath-paneah.” 

Pharaoh then called his servants to bring him fine linen clothing, and a gold chain, which he placed around Joseph’s neck.  Pharaoh also gave Joseph a wife, whose name was Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On.  So, at the age of thirty years, Joseph took charge of the entire land of Egypt, serving in the court of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt.

Afterward, Pharaoh sent some of his servants to the royal stables, to bring his second best chariot to Joseph, telling him ride the chariot throughout the land of Egypt.  As Joseph rode the chariot through the streets of Egypt, his servants ran before him, shouting, “Bow down!” to the citizens of the land.  Thus, when Joseph left Pharaoh’s presence, he inspected the entire land of Egypt.  

In the midst of all that was happening around him, Joseph found time to give thanks to Almighty God.  For though others may have forgotten him, the Lord had not forgotten him.

Beloved reader, do you think the Lord has forgotten you?  Do you feel as though you are alone in your circumstances?  Fear not, for though a woman may forget her child, God will not forget you.  If you continually seek Him, you will find Him.  He has a plan for you, His beloved child, even in the midst of the worst circumstances.  You are not forgotten.

Isaiah 49:14-15
New Living Translation

 

14 Yet Jerusalem says, “The Lord has deserted us;
    the Lord has forgotten us.”

15 “Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child?
    Can she feel no love for the child she has borne?
But even if that were possible,
    I would not forget you!”

© 2019
Cheryl A. Showers

Not Just an Animal

Today, I feel, I must write about the unbelievable choice to deny the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would ensure that babies born alive after being aborted, would be cared for, hospitalized and afforded the opportunity to live, by the U.S. Senate this past Monday.  The final vote count on this act was 53 in favor of the bill, and 44 opposed.  How could there be any opposition to this bill?  Don’t we live in a land that is supposed to guarantee that all men are created equal?  That we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights?  That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?  Don’t we elect our senators and congressmen and women to protect these rights?

I won’t lie.  I HATE abortion.  I believe that it is infanticide within the womb, and that one day, we, as a country, will have to answer to Almighty God for this sin.  However, that is not what this article is about.  The purpose of this article is to decry infanticide outside of the womb!

Once a child is born alive, no matter the circumstances or his/her birth, or his/her condition when born, that child has as much right to live, as any other child that is born.  The penalty for destroying a bald eagle egg is between $10,000 and $250,000, depending on what state you live in, and up to 5 years of imprisonment.  Yet, the very people we elected to serve and protect us, refused to pass a law that would penalize doctors for killing and/or refusing to care for a child born alive after an abortion!  Does anyone else see the depravity in this?  Is anyone else outraged by this radical decision?

Children are not animals to be euthanized when they are sickly or too much trouble for their parents or physicians.  They are human beings, created in the image of God, who are supposed to be protected under the U.S. Constitution.  Who gives anyone the right to decide whose life has value, and whose life isn’t worth living?  Doctors don’t have that right, and neither do parents.

Beloved readers, you and I are the ones who have elected our current representatives into office, and I will be honest with you.  I am just as angry with our Republican senators as I am with the Democrat senators, who voted against this bill.  If ever a bill should have been passed unanimously, it was this one.  However, the bill did not pass the senate because of its arcane voting rules, which demand a 2/3 majority to pass.  Our senators have been more than willing to bypass this arcane rule, using the “nuclear” option, when voting for justices and other things that are important for the country, however, in this instance, they have shrugged their shoulders and looked helpless, claiming outrage at the outcome of this bill, while doing nothing more than posturing.  Meanwhile, the other side has done a victory dance over the failure of this bill.

Beloved readers, I ask you, is this not one of those instances when the “nuclear” option should be invoked?  If our senators were truly as outraged as they proclaim, would they not use this option immediately?  Beloved reader, are you as outraged by this bill’s failure to be passed as I am?  Think and pray about this very carefully, because you will be  held accountable by God for your choice.  If you are outraged, then you must act.  Contact your U.S. Senators and urge them to vote in favor of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, and, if necessary, to enact the “nuclear” option.  Also, contact your U.S. Congress Representatives, and urge them to vote in favor of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, as well.  If your senator or representative refuses, remember this, and do not re-elect him/her when he/she runs for office again.  To do nothing, is to condone this wickedness.

Remember, beloved reader, babies are a gift from God.  They are not animals to be put to sleep when they are no longer convenient or healthy.

© 2019
Cheryl A. Showers

P.S. – If you are unsure of what to say to your senators and congressmen/women, here is the letter that I have sent to my representatives.  Please feel free to copy it fully or in part, but please act today!

Dear (Insert Senator’s name or Congressperson’s name),

I am writing to urge you and your colleagues to bring the Born-Alive Survivors Protection Act to the floor to be voted on once again, this time, using the “nuclear” option to pass this bill. Surely, the Senate’s arcane rules regarding a 2/3 majority should be overruled in this instance, when protecting a child born alive, from infanticide!

As a member of the Senate, you have sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution, and to protect your citizens from murder and injustice. I appreciate that you voted in favor of this bill, but it is not enough. We, the citizens of this country need you and your colleagues to bring this bill to the floor once again, and to pass it into law as soon as possible, lest our country slide further down the slippery slope into infanticide than we have already descended. Your opponents, the democrats, have made no secret of their agenda, and if you fail to act now, our country is in danger of losing all the rights that we hold so dearly.

Thank you in advance for your prompt action on this matter, and please remember, that time is of the essence!

Sincerely,
Cheryl A. Showers

 

Do You Want to Be Free?

Who knows how long he had lived this way?  Can you even begin to imagine what it must have been like for him?  Have you ever been in that position?

His life was completely out of control.  He had no hope.  Filled with pain, fear, anger and bitterness, life was totally meaningless.  His thoughts were a jumbled mess, and most of the time, he was unable to put a sentence together in his mind, much less speak coherently.  And throughout it all, there was the constant barrage of noise coming from the voices in his head.

No one else could hear the voices, but it didn’t make them any less real, because he heard them.  Night and day, they whispered and shouted at him, constantly accusing him, telling him what a failure he was.  There was no peace.  There was no quiet.  He couldn’t escape the voices that taunted him constantly.

They were vile and evil, yet he was powerless to fight them, so he tried to escape them by cutting himself, hoping to die, but always, to no avail.  Day and night, he howled in pain and outrage, and breaking all restraints that were placed on him, he would run into the wilderness, screaming at his tormentors, which no one else could see.

Family and friends had long since given up on him.  He had no one to care about him.  He was all alone with his demons, living in a graveyard outside of town.  He was what we might call a zombie today.  Indeed, he was a dead man walking.

Do you know any walking dead men or women, boys or girls?  Do you know any like this man, filled with violence, rage, fear and animosity?  Do you know any who suffer as this man did – hearing those tormenting voices constantly attacking him?  Do you suffer as this man did?  Is there any hope?

Today, doctors use medications to quiet the voices, but those medications often leave you in a fog, with many side-effects, and though the voices are quieted, they are still there…  So, what can be done to help people?  What can be done to help you or your loved one?

schizophrenia_by_valeriobefani-d5r4unj

From a distance away, the man saw Someone step out of a boat, and he ran toward Him.  Did he somehow recognize that this One could help him?  I’ve thought about this, and I can’t imagine why the demons who tormented the man would want to run up to Jesus, because they recognized Him immediately, and they knew what would happen to them if they entered His presence.  Therefore, I can only conclude that this poor, desperate man must have felt the fear in his demonic tormentors, or perhaps he somehow knew that this was his one chance, and he made a beeline for Jesus, bowing low before Him…

Fearfully, the demons screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Please, I beg You, don’t torture me!” (Luke 8:28)

Jesus spoke to this demon, called Legion, for there were many in the man, and commanded the demons to go, casting them into a herd of pigs, who then ran off the side of a cliff, drowning in the lake below.  The keepers of the herd, upon seeing this, fled to the nearby village, fearfully telling the villagers what had happened.  When they and the villagers returned, they saw the once naked and wretched man fully clothed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, conversing with Him, and they were terribly frightened.  In their fear, they begged Jesus to leave them.  (Matthew 8:28-34 NLT)  (Luke 8:26-39 NLT)  (Mark 5:1-20 NLT)

I’ve never understood that.  Wouldn’t you think they would have rejoiced to see that poor man restored to sanity?  Wouldn’t you think they would be relieved that they no longer had to worry about him attacking them or their loved ones?  I would have thought they would have thrown a great celebration, and sought to know the One who had set this captive free…

And yet, that’s not what happened.  Just as the people of Israel didn’t want to hear the voice of God or know His ways, so these people rejected His Son.  Is it possible that they were afraid He would change their lives?  Were they afraid of the sin and the demons He might expose within them?

18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s Light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the Light, for their actions were evil. 20 All who do evil hate the Light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21 But those who do what is right come to the Light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”  (John 3:18-21 NLT)

What about you, beloved reader?  Will you run to Him and let Him set you free?  Or will you beg Him to leave, as the villagers in Gadarenes did?

© 2019
Cheryl A. Showers

Words of Jesus – Great Faith

When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with Him, “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.”

Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.”

But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have You come into my home. Just say the word from where You are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”

10 When Jesus heard this, He was amazed. Turning to those who were following Him, He said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel! 11 And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. 12 But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

13 Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” And the young servant was healed that same hour.

~ Matthew 8:5-13 — NLT ~

There was something different about this Roman centurion. He was humble and reverent, and on top of that, he had the kind of faith we all long for and need. He had storm-stopping, mountain-moving, sea-parting, water-walking, blind-seeing, deaf-hearing, mute-talking, sickness-healing faith. This gentile heathen had a deep abiding faith that even the Jews, God’s chosen people couldn’t match. Continue reading Words of Jesus – Great Faith

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

GMOs – Diabolical Alchemy?

 TRIFECTA: WEEK SEVENTY-TWO

ALCHEMY (noun)
1: a medieval chemical science and speculative philosophy aiming to achieve the transmutation of the base metals into gold, the discovery of a universal cure for disease, and the discovery of a means of indefinitely prolonging life
2: a power or process of transforming something common into something special
3: an inexplicable or mysterious transmuting

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.
  • If you know your post does not meet the requirements of the challenge, please leave your link in the comments section, not in the linkz.
  • Trifecta is open to everyone.  Please join us.

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Genetically modified organisms (GMO) produce an alchemy of nutritious crops, according to the FDA, and eating foods with GMO are not harmful to humans. Unfortunately, there’s no data to base these claims on. No one in the FDA has monitored the impact of GMO foods on human health. In fact, it could take years or even decades to determine all of the health problems these foods are creating in our country. Continue reading GMOs – Diabolical Alchemy?

Dark Night of the Soul

Image Credit: caddoveil.com

When I got up this morning, I had no intentions of posting anything other than for Sis Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays, but right after posting that, I was strongly led to write another post. I knew I wouldn’t have time to do it this morning, because my husband and I were going out of town to see my son, daughter-in-law and five of my seven grandchildren. Also, to be honest with you, this wasn’t really a post that I wanted to share with anyone, however, when I returned home, the compulsion was there yet again, to share this post, and there was also a promise as well. You see, I believe with all of my heart that this post I am sharing with you has the power to mend broken hearts.

As many of my regular readers know, 2013 has been an extremely difficult year for me thus far. Beginning in January, towards the middle of the month, I had to take my husband to the emergency room, because his foot became extremely swollen and so painful, he could hardly walk. Then, my mother was taken to the emergency room and admitted to the hospital because she was very ill, and before the month was over, I was taken to the emergency room for chest pains (I had pleurisy, which is extremely painful… If you’ve ever had it before, you know what I mean.) 

February was no kinder, as my mother’s condition grew worse, and we came to the realization that her time on earth was coming to a close. She passed away on February 15, and was laid to rest on February 22, and it broke my heart. I didn’t realize how much I loved my mom until I lost her. And then, my husband’s other foot started swelling and hurting, and the doctors couldn’t figure out what was going on with  him…

Then, as we marched into March, I became terribly ill. I thought I had a stomach virus, but as many of you know from a post that I wrote, I had developed C-Diff, a terrible stomach infection, that caused me to be hospitalized for several days. When I finally left the hospital, I was placed on an antibiotic for 20 days, and though I returned home, and felt somewhat better, all of my strength was gone, and up until this past week, I was extremely nauseated.

Image Credit: http://content.bandzoogle.com/users/ tabladrum/images/photos/gallery/445726.jpg?0

In this midst of my illness, my husband’s illness, and grieving for the loss of my mother, I fell into a deep, dark depression. It was truly a dark night of my soul, and I couldn’t seem to pull myself out of it, as the spirit of heaviness weighed down on me, smothering and oppressing me. I was so sick, I couldn’t eat, and was constantly exhausted. I didn’t want to be around anyone, and at the same time, I was extremely lonely, if that makes any sense.

I hate depression and its lies. I thought I was a woman of great faith, and then to find myself wallowing in anxiety and depression brought shame to me. You see, I’m a minister of the Most High God, and many times, I’ve ministered to others who have been depressed, but now, I found myself struggling with a depression like I hadn’t had in many years. I thought those days of darkness and depression were long gone, when the Lord had helped me to overcome them years ago. For crying out loud, I’m a prayer warrior, a mighty woman of God, but now, I was reduced to a weeping, painful, lost little girl.

I loved the Lord, but I couldn’t write as much as I wanted to, because simply sitting up at the computer made me feel as though I was going to throw up, which fed the depression, which kept growing like some dark, black monster. Then, my daughter and her family moved to Georgia, a couple of weeks ago. The Lord revealed it to me before they even told me, so I asked my daughter, who was dumbfounded, because she said she and her husband had only talked about it the night before…

It broke my heart that they were moving more than twelve hours away from me, but at the same time, something happened within my spirit… The Lord had spoken to me again. A spark lit my hope, which had nearly died… In the dark night of my soul, God had not given up on me. He was still speaking to me.

Image Credit: http://propheticverses.com/rev01/rev0101/ rev0101bjesus/0101b23isa49.htm

Then, one day last week, I was talking to a friend, and the Spirit of the Lord came upon me, and I prophesied to her, confirming everything the Lord had spoken to her earlier during her devotional time with Him. It had been so long since the Lord had used me to prophesy, and in the dark night of my soul, I had feared that I was destined to spend the rest of my life like this — alone and miserable, no longer able to hear the Lord’s voice as I once had, no longer useful to Him.

It had become hard to pray, because I was no longer sure if God could hear me. As I write these words, I’m struck by how weak I was, how deceived I was, but when the enemy ties you up in those chains of deception and covers you with those robes of heaviness and oppression, it’s hard to see the truth through the darkness.

As the Lord ministered to me, igniting my hope and reminding me of His great love for me, I made a decision to go to church last Wednesday night, no matter how I felt. He had exposed my problem, showing me that I had a spirit of heaviness, and I knew what needed to be done.

6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and in His good time He will honor you. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about what happens to you. 8 Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour. 9 Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. 10 In His kindness God called you to His eternal glory by means of Jesus Christ. After you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation. 11 All power is His forever and ever. Amen.

~ 1 Peter 5:6-11 NLT ~

As I cast all of my cares upon Him, I felt a weight lift from me, as the Lord ministered to me. You see, I had bought into the lie from the enemy that I was a failure, no longer fit to be used of God. In my grief, and pain, the enemy just kept coming after me, with more and more ammunition, and in my weakness, I buckled under the weight of it all, forgetting that which is true…

His anger lasts for a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes with the morning.

~ Psalm 30:5 NLT ~

The Lord ministered to me that night, as He’s been ministering to me all week, reminding me of His great love for me… He reminds me that though I was disappointed in myself for being weak, He was not disappointed. 

13 The LORD is like a Father to His children, tender and compassionate to those who fear Him. 14 For He understands how weak we are; He knows we are only dust. 15 Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. 16 The wind blows, and we are gone — as though we had never been here. 17 But the love of the LORD remains forever with those who fear Him. His salvation extends to the children’s children 18 of those who are faithful to His covenant, of those who obey His commandments!

~ Psalm 103:13-18 NLT ~

How grateful I am that I have a Savior who loves me just as I am. Though the enemy came to steal my joy, kill my hope and destroy my life, I serve a Savior who redeemed me. He purchased my freedom, and paid my ransom with His life. He not only restored my life, He gave me abundant life. 

10 As a result, I can really know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised Him from the dead. I can learn what it means to suffer with Him, sharing in His death, 11 so that, somehow, I can experience the resurrection from the dead! 12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be,but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.

~ Philippians 3:10-14 NLT ~

My beloved readers, there’s no doubt in my mind that the Lord placed it in my heart to write this post not to expose my weaknesses, but to encourage you. I know that some of  you are battling with grief and depression, just as I have been. I know that many of you are in the midst of a dark night of your soul, and you wonder if you will ever again see the light of day. Listen to me, my beloved friend, as I pray for you, for the Spirit of the Lord God is upon me…

1 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, 3 To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

~ Isaiah 61:1-3 NKJV ~

Father, in Jesus’ name, I cry out to You for every man, woman and child who You lead to read this post, that You would bind up the brokenhearted. Comfort those who mourn, Lord, in Jesus’ name, and set those who are imprisoned and bound by depression, affliction and addiction free. Lord, I know that what You have done for me, You will do for others, because You are no respecter of persons, and You don’t love me any more than You love Your other children. 

Arise, O Lord, and show Yourself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are loyal to You. Father, give each person who is weighed down by that spirit of heaviness, a garment of praise in its place. Lord, let them begin to praise You in the midst of their pain, and as they do so by faith, Lord, set them free!

Father, for those who are in the midst of a storm, in Jesus’ name right now, I  speak to that storm, and I say, “Peace — Be still!” For those who are bound by fear, I speak to the spirit of fear right now, and I cast that spirit out in Your name, because You are love, and perfect love casts out fear. For those who are in the midst of that dark night of the soul, I loose Your Holy Spirit and Your Word, in Jesus’ name, because in You there is light, and the darkness must flee. 

Lord, I believe that You allowed me to go through this dark night of my soul, so that You could minister to others who are going through similar pain, and so I loose Your Spirit to each of those that You lead to read this post, and in Jesus’  precious and holy name, I speak life, peace and hope to each one. Amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Unquestioning

This post is in response to the Blog Challenge by Tilda Swift at her blog, Swift Expression. This is my entry for number 1.

If any of my readers derives inspiration from this post and would like to do something similar on their own blog, please provide full credit to the owner of the original Blog Challenge (as stated above) to abide by copyright laws.
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Unquestioning

Image Credit: http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/curiosity/topics/ conception-through-birth-pictures.htm

When does life begin?
There seems to be some confusion…
Does it begin at conception?
Or is it true that life is mere circumstance — just a chance?

Why are we so unquestioning
When a man or woman proclaims
The thing within the woman’s body
Is not a baby, not even human?
It’s merely a  fetus, a parasite to be destroyed
By choice…

Image Credit: http://themahoganyway.wordpress.com/2009/09/18/six-weeks/

How can we deny the baby’s humanity
When only six weeks after conception,
The child has a face,
And a heart that beats
A heart that will one day love…

Why are we so unquestioning
When a man or woman proclaims
The thing within the woman’s body
Is not a baby, not even human?
It’s merely a fetus, a parasite to be destroyed
By choice…

Image Credit: http://izzym.hubpages.com/hub/Normal-Pregnancy -and-Childbirth#slide3398945

How can we not call
This precious one “Baby”
When at only twelve weeks
He sucks on his thumb
And yes — even feels pain?

Why are we so unquestioning
When a man or woman proclaims
The thing within the woman’s body
Is not a baby, not even human?
It’s merely a fetus, a parasite to be destroyed
By choice…

Image Credit: http://www.verumserum.com/media/2009/07/21-week-fetus.jpg

As time marches on,
Baby changes and grows…
With all organs in place,
By her twenty-first week,
She clings tenaciously to life!

Why are we so unquestioning
When a man or woman proclaims
The thing within the woman’s body
Is not a baby, not even human?
It’s merely a fetus, a parasite to be destroyed
By choice…

Image Credit: http://izzym.hubpages.com/hub/ Normal-Pregnancy-and-Childbirth#slide3398926

As Baby’s second trimester comes to a close,
She yawns and she stretches
And hiccups and kicks,
While she sucks her thumb.
If she were born now, this child could live!

Why are we so unquestioning
When a man or woman proclaims
The thing within the woman’s body
Is not a baby, not even human?
It’s merely a fetus, a parasite to be destroyed
By choice…

Image Credit: http://izzym.hubpages.com/hub/ Normal-Pregnancy-and-Childbirth#slide3398969

As Mommy’s belly expands and it stretches,
She knows this is no tumor or parasite…
The evidence is clear, leaving no doubt
That within the depths of her womb
Human life is unfolding…

Why are we so unquestioning
When a man or woman proclaims
The thing within the woman’s body
Is not a baby, not even human?
It’s merely a fetus, a parasite to be destroyed
By choice…

Image Credit: Huffaker Photography

And now the time has come,
This tiny human is ready to be born…
But what if now, after all of this time,
Mommy suddenly changes her mind?
Does this child have no rights?

Why are we so unquestioning
When a man or woman proclaims
The thing within the woman’s body
Is not a baby, not even human?
It’s merely a fetus, a parasite to be destroyed
By choice…

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

What Must I Do To Be Saved?

Image Credit: gracespieces.com
Image Credit:
gracespieces.com

Caddo’s Seven Sentence Story

She quietly paced back and forth in the emergency room, too agitated to sit, as her prayers ascended to heaven like the smokey sweet cloying scent of incense rising to the throne of grace. Although she nervously paced back and forth, crying out to God for the life of the one she loved, who lay lifelessly bound by all of the wires, tubing and medical equipment, she had no fear — indeed, she was strikingly calm and peaceful.

The hospital staff, ambulance attendants and others who were present that night were mesmerized by the tranquility that emanated from the room, where her beloved lay drawing closer to death’s door with each passing moment. Her love for him was evident to all, and yet, it soon became apparent to all that she wasn’t alone in the room with him, as someone else appeared, seemingly from nowhere, and held her in His strong arms, comforting her, while she laid her head on His shoulder. The hospital staff watched in wonder, as they heard Him whisper to her, “Fear not, for I am with you, My beloved, and I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Then, as her husband of more than 60 years drew his final breath, the staff and her family watched in amazement as the Prince of Peace gathered both of them effortlessly into His arms as a brilliant light encompassed the room, and the three of them ascended in a cloud of smoke, leaving nothing but two empty and lifeless bodies… Immediately, the room was filled with the cries of a repentant people crying out, “Lord, what must I do to be saved?”

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be Healed

 Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, For You are my praise.

(Jeremiah 17:14 NKJV)

This is a prayer that I was fervently praying Sunday night as I sat in the emergency room at my local hospital, feeling sicker than I ever remember feeling in my life. I started getting terribly sick Saturday evening, after getting home from my granddaughter’s birthday party, and the sickness continued into Sunday morning, and Sunday afternoon, and Sunday evening, and I seriously thought I was dying. Now, before anyone else says it, I’ll say it for you — I am a total wimp when it comes to nausea. I don’t much like pain either, but if I have to choose, I’ll take pain over nausea any day!

I was so sick Sunday, and I’m usually filled with hope, but that day, I couldn’t muster any hope up. I was in a dark black place that was pretty awful, and I began having terrible thoughts of dying. In the midst of that blackness, I caught a glimpse of my own mortality, and I was frightened. After refusing to go to the ER all day, despite my husband’s numerous suggestions, suddenly, I was afraid to turn the light out and go to bed, I was so sick. I was exhausted, but so miserable that I couldn’t sleep except for five to ten minute snatches here and there, and the nausea was unbearable, and somewhere in the midst of all of that nausea and sickness, I got an unrelenting headache that wouldn’t loose its grasp on me.

I knew I should pray for myself, but I couldn’t, except to groan and cry, “O God! Help me! Jesus – please help me!” And truthfully, I didn’t do a whole lot of that either. I whined, and I complained, and I moaned and I groaned. Let’s just say that those who think of me as a strong and mighty warrior of Christ would have been terribly disappointed at this pitiful weakling. I won’t lie, in the midst of all of my sickness, I was disappointed in me. Finally, at around 9:30, Sunday night, I agreed begged to go to the hospital. 

What a horrible experience! There were several people ahead of me, and though the vomiting had stopped, the diarrhea had not, and neither had the nausea. My husband had to get a wheelchair to wheel me in there, because by this time, I was too weak to walk. As I sat in the waiting room, there were several other sick people, and blaring loudly was the television, or as one of my former pastors used to call it, the “hellivision,” showing Mob Housewives, a show that I’d never seen before, and never wanted to see again! 

What a horrible thing to have on in an emergency room, where there are sick people! At that time, I wanted to hear words of hope, or some soft quiet music… Or, better yet, SILENCE over that! Instead, while my body was being assaulted by the spirit of infirmity that was attacking it, my ears and my vision was assaulted by that hateful, hopeless show…

That’s when I began to desperately pray over and over and over, Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, For You are my praise.” It wasn’t an eloquent prayer. I can’t even say it was a very faith-filled prayer. Rather, it was a desperate, monotone repetition. Looking back on it, I’ll be honest with you. My faith was weak and wavering. I kept repeating it, because I was desperate to believe that God would heal me.

The physician’s assistant finally decided to admit me at approx. 3:30 Monday morning, so I told my husband, who was suffering with a painful, swollen foot, to go home. Then, at approximately 4:00 that morning, he came back to say the doctor didn’t want to admit me. There I was, alone in the emergency room, sick and scared, and now they weren’t going to admit me? I must have looked like a pitiful mess, because he told me to just stay there for another hour or so, and when the doctor came, just tell him I was too sick to go home. That’s what I did. I was finally admitted to the hospital under observation at approx. 7:30 am. 

My early afternoon, I was feeling better, though still really weak. I actually thought I might be going home, when the nurse practitioner came in to see me at around 3:00pm, and informed me that I wouldn’t be going home that day, because I had C-Diff, which is a nasty intestinal infection, that can indeed be deadly if not treated. I was stunned. I thought I had probably gotten a stomach virus. They began treating me with antibiotics right away, and also giving me medication to replace the good bacteria that the antibiotics were killing. 

I am so blessed to be at home and alive now, and I am so thankful to a God, who loves us in our weakness. Indeed, His strength is made perfect in our weakness, and though my faith was weak, He still honored His word to:

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, For You are my praise.

(Jeremiah 17:14 NKJV)

I came home this evening, and I’m going to go to bed as soon as I finish this post. Hallelujah! I get to sleep in my own home, with my husband, in my own bed! I’m alive. I am loved by the God who still has much work for me to do. My recovery is nothing short of amazing, and I know that God honored His word, even though my faith was weak. If you don’t believe me, just google this illness and see how bad it really is…

I’ll share more at another time, but for now, I’m wiped out, and my bed is calling me. Brothers and sisters, hold tightly to your faith, and cling to God’s word, because it truly is living and active, and He truly does honor His word. Thank you all for your love and prayers, and I pray that the Lord will bless each of you with a heart that seeks Him. His word also says:

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

(Jeremiah 29:11-13 NKJV)

Many blessings to you all!

Love,
Cheryl

Updated Update on Mom – 1/31/2012

Image Credit: http://images.sodahead.com/polls/000495795
/polls_inChristPrayerLittleGirl_2944_960947_poll_xlarge.jpeg

My Beloved Readers, Followers, Friends, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

My mother suffered a mild heart attack last night. Please continue to pray for Mom, my sister, and me. Mom is really having a difficult time, with the dementia, loss of independence, and failing health. She must be so scared. It breaks my heart, because I love her so much, and I hate to see her suffering.

My sister also needs your prayers and love. She is carrying a lot on her plate, between caring for Mom, as her POA, and work, and her family. Please pray that she feels the Lord’s love, strength and comfort during this difficult time.

Image Credit: http://lessonsinashell.blogspot.com/2011/04/prayers-and-praises_27.html

Please also continue to pray for me… I love both my sister and my mom very much, and want to be there for them and help them as much as possible, but pain is hindering me. Please pray for the Lord’s strength so I can be there with them and help them both.

I’m going to try to rest some now – much love to you all. I am so thankful to be a part of this great family of believers, who continue to edify and pray for me though we have never seen one another face to face. Much love to you all!

God bless you,
Cheryl

Update on Mom – 1/31/2013

My beloved friends and brothers and sisters in Christ,

Thank you for the prayers that you are lifting for my mother. We didn’t have a good day today. It started off pretty good, but it soon took a turn for the worst.

Mom became very angry and frustrated, and I became frustrated and hurt too, because she wouldn’t let me help her. She said some hateful things, and I let it get to me… In hindsight, I now know that she was starting to feel worse, and she was getting frustrated, because she wasn’t able to do the things that we all take for granted, like feeding herself and caring for her own personal needs. She was feeling weak and probably frightened, which caused her to snap at those closest to her… my sister this morning, and me this afternoon.

Because of our past history, I took it personally, and missed what was really going on. Tonight, at around 9:30, she went into acute distress, having difficulty breathing. She had to have another breathing treatment, and more tests and meds.

Please continue to pray for Mom, my sister, and me. Pray that the Lord gives me wisdom to recognize what is really going on, so that I don’t take things so personally, when she says hurtful things. I love her, and I know she loves my sister and me too. This dementia can be both a blessing and a curse.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers… I know that the fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much, and if two or more will touch and agree, according to God’s will, it will be done.

Much love to you all,
Cheryl

Update on Mom

My beloved readers, followers and friends,

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Ladybee2009/Thank%20You/
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It’s about 1:15am on Wednesday, January 30, 2013, and I am getting ready for bed, but I just wanted to give you a quick update on my mom. Her fever is down, praise God! However, she still has some “crackling” in her lungs, and she is coughing now. My sister and I are praying and believing that the coughing is a good thing, because it is breaking up the fluid in her lungs. 

Please continue to pray for her. She asked me if Dad came to see her last night, and I said no, and then, later today, she asked my sister why Dad hasn’t been to see her. My sister didn’t want her to think that Dad didn’t care for her, so she reminded mom (who has dementia) that Dad had passed away.

Please pray for my sister too, because I know that was hard for her to do, and she really misses Dad (who died more than a year ago) too. I love her. She is a good, strong woman, who has been a good daughter to Mom and Dad, taking care of them on her own, when I couldn’t be there for them. I pray that the Lord will let me be a blessing to both my sister and my mother.

At any rate, this has been a difficult day for Mom. Dementia can sometimes be both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing, because Mom is able to forget her grief a lot of the time, but it’s also a curse, because whenever she is reminded of Dad’s passing, it’s as though she begins to grieve all over, and for her, it’s like it just happened.

I need to go to bed now, but thank you for praying, and please don’t stop. We all need your prayers.

I pray that the Lord continues to bless each one of you, my beloved brothers and sisters, for sacrificing your time to pray for my family…

One final thing – although I hadn’t planned to write anything today, the Lord gave me a strong word, which I posted a few minutes ago. Please pray for the word that He released through me tonight, that it will touch the hearts of each one who reads it, and accomplish all that He has sent it to accomplish.

Much love to you all,
Cheryl

God’s Miraculous Provision for Me

Give your burdens to the LORD, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. (Psalm 55:22 NLT)

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I limped clumsily into the brightly lit local pharmacy, feeling great pain, and more than a little frustration as I went to get my prescription for pain medication filled. On this cold and blustery night, my husband and I had ridden out of town, to several pharmacies, looking for one that had my prescription in stock, at the lowest price, since I no longer have health insurance. I turned the seat warmer on to try and take some of the chill off as we drove around. Finally, after driving all over, I called one last pharmacy, located in my home town, not really expecting them to have my medication either, but wouldn’t you know it? They had my pain medication, for the same price as the out of town pharmacy I had gone to. I could have saved money and time if I had just called this pharmacy in the first place, but I just assumed because of past experience, that this pharmacy would be too expensive. On the way back to our hometown pharmacy, I dozed off, as the seat warmer did its magic and soothed my aching back.

As my husband and I walked into the pharmacy, I hobbled past the rows of grocery items, and the candy shelves, trying to keep my eyes from wandering to the chocolates, which I dearly love, but don’t need. We walked down the book and magazine aisle, on my right, and I briefly glanced at the books, thinking to myself, one day, one of my books would rest on these shelves, in the midst of the flashy magazines and novels.

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As we approached the pharmacy counter, a woman who appeared to be in her mid-sixties, with what appeared to be Miss Clairol Nice ‘N Easy ash blonde hair, reddish brown glasses and a warm smile, asked if she could help us. When I presented my prescription to her, she grinned saying, “Oh, you’re the lady I just talked to on the phone.” I smiled back at her and gave her my birth date and my address, and then walked to the brown seats on the left side of the counter, where I gratefully sat and rested my aching back and legs, while waiting for my prescription to be filled. 

A couple of minutes later, the same woman called to me, stating that she had a pharmacy discount card for me and she just needed my phone number so that she could hopefully save me some money. I thankfully shared my phone number with her, as I no longer have health insurance, and just this prescription alone was going to cost me nearly $100. As soon as she ran the discount card through, she popped back over to the counter and spoke to me again, saying, “Mrs. Showers, I just wanted to let you know that with this discount card, your prescription has been reduced to $45.”

“Oh hallelujah!” I responded, and my response must have pleased her as she walked away smiling joyfully.

A couple of minutes later, the pharmacist, a slightly balding dark-haired man with black plastic rimmed glasses called to me, as he worked on filling my prescription, asking what kind of insurance I carried. I explained to him that I was no longer employed, and therefore I was no longer insured. He then asked me if I still had my old insurance card. I wasn’t sure, but after looking in my wallet, I found it and gave it to him. He then ran it through his computer system, and couple of minutes later, he returned it to me with a big grin on his face, as he informed me that my expired insurance card had indeed gone through, and my prescription would now only cost me $17.50. 

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If I wasn’t in so much pain, I would do a happy dance! I can’t even begin to describe to  you the joy I’ve found in these months since I’m no longer working. It’s been a hard road… I haven’t received a paycheck since November, and my husband’s business has been extremely slow, and yet, the Lord has continued to meet our needs every step of the way, and I am so thankful. This is just another example of God’s supernatural favor on me, not because of my goodness, but because HE is so good and kind. He takes wonderful care of His children. 

My friends, I just had to share this wonderful testimony of what God did for me tonight, and I want to let each one of you know that God loves all of His children equally. He doesn’t love me any more than He loves you… And for those of you who do not know and love God, He loves you too, and He longs for you to turn away from your sins and turn to Him in Jesus’ name, so that He can care for you as well. This is the prayer that I pray for each one of my brothers and sisters in Christ, for those who already are, and for those who will one day become children of the Most High God:

When I think of the wisdom and scope of God’s plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will give you mighty inner strength through His Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. 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 really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now glory be to God! By His mighty power at work within us, He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May He be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21 NLT)

May the Lord bless each of you!

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Daily Prompt: Apply Yourself

Describe your last attempt to learn something that did not come easily to you.
Daily Prompt: Apply Yourself

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I remember taking swimming lessons about six years ago, when I was 45 years old. I don’t know what possessed me to take swimming lessons, after all of these years of not swimming, other than the fact that my work place had offered the lessons for free to the first ten people who signed up for it. I’m a sucker for things free, therefore, I was among the top ten…

Now, you must understand that I took swimming lessons as a child, and while I learned and grasped the technique in my mind, when it came to actually swimming, I just couldn’t do it. I did learn how to float on my back, quite well, if I do say so myself, however actually swimming required something that I was both unable and unwilling to force myself to do… It required getting your face wet… Now, lets fast forward thirty-some years to my adult swimming lessons.

This was the most challenging, frustrating thing that I’ve ever attempted. You see, it turns out that after all of these years, swimming hasn’t changed much. You’re still required to get your face wet, and lo, these many years later, I have maintained my aversion to getting my face wet… In case you’re wondering, I have figured out how to shower without getting my face sprayed… I use a washcloth to clean my face, but I never willingly stick my face in water, or allow the shower to spray my face… Sorry, I digress…

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Back to the subject. Aside from the “get your face wet” requirement, adult swimming lessons required a few added components, which made swimming lessons difficult for me. Unfortunately, I was so blinded by the free swimming lessons, that I hadn’t stopped to think that I would actually have to wear a bathing suit in front of other people that I know… my peers and co-workers…

You see, I’m overweight… I don’t look like I did when I was a 103 lb young adult… I have jiggles and wrinkles that I don’t even like to subject myself to seeing in a mirror, let alone my co-workers. Therefore, when I showed up for my first swimming lesson, I made it clear that I was not removing my tee-shirt, and if they required me to remove my tee-shirt, I was out of there. (I was secretly hoping they would not agree to this, but they very kindly allowed me to take my lessons in my tee-shirt.) 

Every week, for the next six weeks, I forced myself to show up for swimming lessons after work. I borrowed a bathing suit from a friend, because I didn’t have one of my own, and since these were free swimming lessons, it would have defeated the purpose if I went and actually spent money to buy a swimsuit for the free swimming lessons. I faithfully showed up to each of the lessons, because when I commit to something, whether I like it or not, I follow through with it, however, I refused to stick my face down in the water. (There are just some things I’m not willing to do, regardless of whether it’s free or not!)

Finally, the last night of swimming lessons arrived, and we had been told the week before to wear clothes and shoes that we did not mind getting wet, because we were going to jump into the deep end with our clothes, so we could see what it was like, in case we were ever on a cruise ship and fell overboard. Presumably, by experiencing this, we would learn what to do, in order to keep ourselves from drowning… We would also be required to jump into the deep end and remain afloat for one minute in our bathing suits.

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I showed up for that final night, and I really intended to follow through with this… But then it hit me! If I jumped into the deep end, my head would go under the water until I came back up to the top… If my head went under the water, my face would get wet! What was I thinking? Everyone went to the edge and one by one, they took their turn and jumped into the deep end, except for one woman, who had quit swimming lessons the first week due to her fear of the water, and then it was my turn to jump in.

I looked at my instructor and the other students, and I very calmly told her that I would pass on this part of my swimming lessons. She began to cajole me, urging the other students to “encourage” me as well, and in her attempt to goad me into jumping in, she said, “Look, Cheryl, everyone else did it, and you won’t pass your swimming lessons if you don’t jump in.”

What not to say to me. This only enforced my resolve not to jump in, as I replied, “I am 45 years old, not a teenager, and I do not cave in to peer pressure. Thank you for your lessons, and fail me if you must, but I will not jump into the deep end.”

In her final attempt to sway me, she said, “But Cheryl, what will you do if you’re on a cruise ship and you fall overboard?”

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To which I laughingly replied, “I get sea-sick, and I don’t make enough money to go on a cruise anyway. Therefore, this part of the swimming lessons is totally unnecessary for me, but thank you for your concern.” With that, I left the facility…

So, my dear readers, I leave you with this final thought… The best things in life are not always free.

Heal Me, O Lord, And I Shall Be Healed

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, For You are my praise.

(Jeremiah 17:14 NKJV)

I’ve been in a lot of pain lately. For the last two years, I’ve suffered chronic back pain, and my back seriously hurts all the time, except for a few days, that could probably all be counted on one hand. It’s been — well — painful. As I’ve said before, I’ve had to stop working because the pain has been so great.

But last month, things took a turn for the worst. My chronic pain became acute pain. Whereas before I suffered from frequent insomnia due to pain, I now suffered from constant insomnia. The pain would not let me rest. But God! 

I don’t want to write something dark and gloomy, nor do I want to make my pain any more or less than what it is. I thought my pain was pretty horrible up until a month ago, when suddenly, for some unknown reason, it became more acute than before, and this time, instead of the pain radiating on my left side, it moved to my right side. It was a sharp, constant burning/aching pain. It’s been horrible.

At any rate, Friday, my church was having a special service, with an Evangelist that I had never met before, and I wanted to go — especially since I hadn’t been to my own church in more than a month. Therefore, I called my pastor to come and pick me up, because I was not able to drive with the pain medication I’ve been taking. It causes drowsiness, and I didn’t want to risk falling asleep at the wheel and killing myself or someone else.

I was in a lot of pain when my pastor picked me up, but I was determined to go to the service. As the evangelist was ministering, she suddenly stopped right in the middle of her message… right in the middle of a sentence, and she said, “Oh, ouch. I’ve never felt like this before. Oh the pain. I’m feeling a sharp burning pain in my back, like a pinched nerve, but it’s not my pain. Someone here has terrible pain in their back. I feel it. It’s sharp, like a pinched nerve.” I listened closely. I knew in my spirit right away, who she was talking about, and she mentioned it a couple of more times as she was preaching, but I said nothing to indicate she was talking about me.

You see, I figured if the Lord had a word for me, He would reveal to her who it was that had the pain. As soon as she was finished preaching, she walked over to me, and began to pray that the Lord would heal my back. She was for real. After she prayed for me, I sat down. I was still in pain, but the Lord whispered this scripture in my heart, and told me that I need to speak it over myself…

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I went home that night, and I was too wired to sleep. Again, I felt no improvement, but I knew that the Lord had put that scripture on my heart, and so I repeated it to Him… Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise. When I finally went to bed at around 2:00am, I slept until 12:30pm. That’s the longest I’ve slept in months!

Then, when I got up that day, the acute pain was gone. Yes, I still have this nagging, chronic pain, but I can deal with that. I couldn’t deal with the acute pain. I can’t even begin to describe how debilitating that was for me, but now, the Lord had delivered me from that acute pain. It’s now Tuesday night, and yes, I’m in pain, but the acute pain is still gone. Hallelujah!

And since the Lord put that scripture on my heart, I’m one who likes to dissect the word and see what it means… Therefore, I’m going to break this down — as much for me as for you.

Heal me, O Lord and I shall be healed the original Hebrew word for Heal is Rapha (pronounced raw-faw), which means:

  • to heal, make healthful
  • of God
  • healer, physician (of men)

When I pray this, I am telling the Lord to heal me, make me healthy, and I believe that when I speak these words, I shall be healed. If God put it on my heart to pray this prayer, would He then not do what His word says He will do? 

He also tells me Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. (Psalm 37:4 NASB) So, let’s be clear on this. I am supposed to delight myself in the Lord. If I’m going to do this properly, then I need to know exactly what it means to delight myself in the Lord.

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The Hebrew word for delight is `anag (pronounced aw-nag’), and that means:

  • to be soft, be delicate, be dainty
  • to be delicate
  • to be of dainty habit, be pampered
  • to be happy about, take exquisite delight
  • to make merry over, make sport of

Therefore, to delight oneself in the Lord is to have a soft spot for Him. When you’re in love with someone, have you ever had a place within your heart that’s just like mush for him/her? And when that person looks at you, or whispers an endearment to you, you know how your heart does a little flip-flop? Sometimes you feel weak in the knees? You feel sort of shaky and breathless? That’s how God wants us to feel about Him.

You know how it is when that one that you love starts walking to you, and you get all giggly and excited? You’re extremely happy that he/she is coming towards you or calling you or texting you… Have you ever felt like that? This is what it means to delight yourself in the Lord. You get all giddy as you read His word, and as He speaks to you. There’s an excitement and a joy within you that’s palpable. This is how it is when you delight yourself in the Lord.

When we delight ourselves in the Lord, it moves Him, because He delights in us. Did you know that? Check this scripture out — it’s one of my favorites!

The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.

(Zephaniah 3:17 NIV)

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Do you see? It’s when we delight ourselves in the Lord, that He is delighted in return, and He then gives us the desires of our heart… He quiets us with His love…. Sometimes, I need to be quieted, when my body is wracked with pain… When my heart is broken, and I just can’t seem to get past it… When I’m angry… When I’m fearful… These are the times, that I begin thinking on the goodness of the Lord… and as I do, He begins to quiet me with His love.

As He rejoices in my love for Him, He begins to sing over me… Sometimes, if you listen closely, you can almost hear His voice as He sings His songs of love for us… And as I delight in Him, He gives me the desires of my heart… 

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, For You are my praise.

(Jeremiah 17:14 NKJV)

Save me, and I shall be saved The Hebrew word for save is Yasha` (pronounced yaw-shah’) and it means:

  • to save, be saved, be delivered
  • to be liberated, be saved, be delivered
  • to be saved (in battle), be victorious
  • to save, deliver
  • to save from moral troubles
  • to give victory to
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What binds you? What holds you captive? Is it sex? Money? Drugs? Alcohol? Bitterness? Unforgiveness? So many people try to make deliverance more complicated that it is. If the devil, the enemy of your soul can convince you that it’s impossible, then deliverance from these things will be impossible. Deliverance is really very simple, but people have bought into the enemy’s lies, and so they repeat those lies to you… “You’ll never change”… “My whole family is like this, and I can’t help it. It’s in my genes”… “I tried Jesus, and maybe that works for you, but it doesn’t work for me”… “Well, God knows my heart. He knows I want to quit ____, but I just can’t.”

Have you bought into those lies? Let me tell you the truth. Jesus is not just something you try for a while to see if it works out for you. He is the Son of the living God, not a new soft drink or recipe that you try to see if you like Him or not. Don’t fool yourself. He does know your heart, better than you do, and He knows if you sincerely want a relationship with Him or not. 

Do you know that when I married my husband more than 31 years ago, I made a vow to love him for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, for better or worse, until death parts us? Let me tell you, he’s had a lot of sickness. He’s had five surgeries that I can think of right off the top of my head (I think more, but can’t remember them all)… He’s had numerous hospitalizations. I haven’t seen the richer part, but I’ve sure seen the poorer… We’ve had some wonderful times that would classify as for better… And we’ve had some worse times, times when my flesh wanted to call it quits, but the Lord kept reminding me that I made a vow to love him, even when he was being unlovable. (And for the record, my husband has gone through some poor times, some sick times and some worse times with me, but he made a vow to love me, and he has kept that vow.)

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I shared all of that to say to you, it’s not enough just to “try” Jesus and see if He gives you what you want. I made a vow to Jesus that I would love Him for richer or poorer, just as I did with my husband, and I’m not rich in material things, but I am rich in love, and in mercy and grace. I don’t care if I have to scrape my next meal out of a dumpster, I will still delight myself in the Lord, because I trust Him to take care of me, and if I die, hallelujah! To be absent from my body is to be present with the Lord.

Until I am completely healed, or until He takes me home, I will continue to delight myself in the Lord, because He makes all things work together for my good — even the pain — because I love Him and He has called me according to His purpose. And what is His purpose? He came to heal the brokenhearted, to preach the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison doors.

Until I am completely healed, or until He takes me home, I will continue to declare the goodness of God, and I will also continue to pray:

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, For You are my praise.

(Jeremiah 17:14 NKJV)

Are you sick and tired? Are you lonely and brokenhearted? Are you deaf, mute, blind or lame? The same Jesus who worked miracles over 2000 years ago still lives, and He still works miracles. Why don’t you cry out to Jesus? Don’t just try Him, commit yourself to Him… delight yourself in Him, and watch how He changes your life.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Writing Challenge: Starting Over

In this week’s writing challenge, we’re asking you to write a short piece of creative writing (fiction/poetry/prose poetry/freeform mindjazz/whatever floats your boat) on the theme of Starting Over.
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Earlier today, I was listening to this song in my car, and a story began to formulate within my brain. Then, I came home and saw that the theme was Starting Over, and it all came together…

They think I’m crazy, Kara. Hmph! I’m crazy like a fox. Just because I’m old and I sometimes forget things does not mean that I’ve gone mad! I know plenty of young people  who don’t remember things, and nobody calls them crazy. They just say, “Oh, they have a lot on their mind.” Well, I’m ninety-six years old – I’d say I have a whole lot more on my mind than they do – ninety-six years of memories and thoughts!

They brought me here to this nursing home ten years ago ’cause your momma, my precious Kelley couldn’t take care of me anymore. She had cancer. She was the only child I had left. I don’t mind telling you, it left a great big empty void in my heart when she went home to the Lord. My sons, Miles and Jeffrey had been gone more than ten years and my husband, Charles, passed on more than thirty years ago. 

So here I am, left in a nursing home, and I don’t mind telling  you, I’m tired… real tired. Most of the staff are very kind and caring, but there are some who aren’t. There’s some, like Carly and Tina, that scare me, and I want ask somebody to help me, but I’m scared. If I tell somebody and they find out it was me that told — no! I don’t even want to think about that. 

But I can talk to  the Lord, right? He won’t get me in trouble with those girls. See, if I don’t “cooperate,” the nurses here give me this medicine that makes my mind fuzzy, and that’s why I can’t think straight sometimes. I don’t want to put nobody out. I just need help sometimes, and some of the girls, like Pearl and Barbie, get real angry if I bother them, so I try to keep quiet, unless one of the nice ones is on.

You want to know about one of the nice ones? Well, my favorite is Emily. She works on the day shift. When she comes into my room of a morning, she always has a smile. A real smile, ya’ know? Not one of those fake I couldn’t care less smiles. She always says, “Good morning, Sunshine!” to me, and she walks straight over to my windows and opens the curtains, ’cause she knows I like to look outside and see what’s going on. 

Then she comes over to check and see if my bed is dry, and I’m ashamed to say it’s usually wet. Old age is hard on the bladder, but Emily doesn’t make me feel dirty or embarrassed about it like some of the others do. Some of ’em holler out in the hallway, “Miss Ella’s wet the bed again. Can someone bring me some more pull-ups?” It’s so humiliating. And some of ’em get mad at me for having an accident, and they make me sit in it — even if it’s a b.m. until the next shift. 

I get a lot of rashes and ulcers, and I’m sure that’s why. I don’t like having to depend on others to take care of my personal needs like that, ya’ know? And what’s really bad is when one of them will take me to the toilet and forget me. I sat on the toilet for two hours one day and it left a blistered ring around my backside. The nurse said my skin broke down. She asked me which aide left me there, but I was scared to tell her it was Marge, ’cause she’s a friend of hers, and I didn’t want ’em to get mad and hurt me worse, so I just pretended I didn’t know.

I thank the good Lord that I’ve still got my wits about me and I can talk and think, (except when they give me that medicine to make me behave), which is more than some of the other folks that live here can do. I still have a lot to be thankful to the Almighty for. You know, I try to share His love with the old people in here, ’cause some of them don’t have much hope left in ’em.

There’s poor Mrs. Stanley. Her family brought her here six years ago, and they haven’t been back to see her once! She cries and she cries everyday for them, but they never come. It breaks my heart for her. I usually try to save her one of my cookies when we have them, ’cause it cheers her up and lets her know somebody loves her.

I try to share His love with everybody I see, even the mean hateful ones, ’cause Jesus said to love your enemies, and I tell you what — some of them are my enemies. There’s the hateful ones, which are bad enough, but then there’s those that like to laugh at us old people. They’re the worse. They treat us like we got no dignity. They have no respect for their elders, and when I try to tell ’em so, they just laugh at me and make fun of me, like I”m stupid.

But that’s okay, because things are about to change here. See, I’ve been writing this letter, and it’s almost finished. Forgive the shaky, crooked letters. I used to have beautiful penmanship, but arthritis makes it harder to write, as I’ve got older.

Still, I’ve talked to the Lord about this, and He told me to write this letter and address it to my granddaughter, and once I’ve finished this letter, I’ll be gettin’ me a fresh start. Yep. He said He’s gonna take me home when I get finished with this letter, ’cause I told Him before I go home, I wanted to help the other old folks here, who can’t stand up for themselves. Then, once my granddaughter gets this letter, she’s gonna take it to the authorities, and they’re gonna investigate this place so that all the other old folks here will get a fresh start too, at someplace that will love them and take better care of them.

My fresh start will be when I cross over the Jordan and see my Savior and my Father. I’m almost finished with this here letter, Kara, and once I place it in the sealed envelope, the Lord said I can come home and start over. I can’t wait. Ninety-six years is a long time. My body is tired and weak. 

Kara, honey, don’t cry for your old Nana, ’cause I’ll soon be home and I’ll be free from all my sorrows and all my pain. I’m gonna start new and fresh — gonna trade in this old worn-out body for a strong new one. And my precious Lord Jesus is gonna wipe every tear from my face, as He gathers me up in His arms and carries me to the Holy of Holies. 

Honey, the time’s comming soon, I can’t hold this pen for much longer, and I must seal it in the envelope if I want to be sure you get it. Please take this to the authorities, baby. Help my old friends get a new start too.

Love,
Nana

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Chronic or Acute?

clockIt’s currently 12:55am where I live, and I’m up again, not because I’m not tired (because I am), but because I’m hurting again… or should I say still? For the past year and a half to two years, I have lived with chronic, constant pain, and now I’m unable to work because of it. I went to bed at 10:00pm last night, thoroughly exhausted, and quickly fell asleep, as my eyes wouldn’t stay open, only to awaken at 12:17am, hurting and in pain. I tossed and turned for several minutes, finally giving up somewhere around 12:35am, and here I am.

I don’t share all of that to make you feel sorry for me… Please don’t, because I have much to be grateful for. Rather, I’m sharing all of that, not knowing where this is going, because I was reading a friend’s response to something that I had written, and she used the word chronic, and my mind and my heart started churning, and I was compelled to write. I truly hadn’t planned to write anything, but I felt an urgency within to write, so here I am.

I looked up the word chronic at dictionary.com, and this is how it was defined:

  1. constant; habitual; inveterate: a chronic liar.
  2. continuing a long time or recurring frequently: a chronic state of civil war.
  3. having long had a disease, habit, weakness, or the like: a chronic invalid.
  4. (of a disease) having long duration ( opposed to acute ).

This is a word that many people use frequently… perhaps chronically, in reference to our habits, our weaknesses, and yes, even our pain. But I wonder… do we ever stop to think about what we’re saying, when we use it?

For example, when I tell you that I have chronic pain, I’m telling you that I hurt constantly, but it’s not the chronic pain that keeps me from finding rest, because the Lord has made His people very resilient. Those of us who have chronic pain learn to live with it, like it or not. We adjust to it, and we continue with our lives, learning to survive. We learn the things that help us cope with the pain. For example, when I sleep, I keep a pillow between my legs to help relieve some of the pressure from my back, thus decreasing the pain that runs from my back to my legs. I’ve learned that when I go to the store, I need to use a cart and lean on that for support… For me, sitting is more tolerable than standing or laying… These are the ways that the Lord has given me to cope with the pain, in addition to pain medication, which I hate having to take.

Regardless, it isn’t the chronic pain that awakened me from a dead sleep, because my body has grown accustomed to that. I was hurting before I went to bed… It hurt when I climbed the stairs to go to bed… I was in pain when I fell asleep, so the chronic pain didn’t awaken me. The problem happened when at some point, while I was sleeping, my chronic pain became acute pain, which is defined this way by dictionary.com:

  1. sharp or severe in effect; intense: acute sorrow; an acute pain.
  2. extremely great or serious; crucial; critical: an acute shortage of oil.
  3. (of disease) brief and severe ( opposed to chronic ).

So why am I sharing all of this? The Lord just quickened my spirit and I started thinking about the way we use these words in reference to our lives, and when I share this with you, I want you to know that this word came to me, because I’m the chief among sinners. I’m not pointing fingers at anyone but myself. If Holy Spirit chooses to prick your conscience, know that He pricked mine first. Also, please understand, this is a message for Christians, because common sense tells us that those who are of this world will live and behave as the world does, but we who are not of this world are supposed to be holy, set apart.

http://www.lundbeck.com/us/our-commitment/community-involvement/raise-your-hand
http://www.lundbeck.com/us/our-commitment/community-involvement/raise-your-hand

Since surrendering your life to Christ, how many of you have ever thought or said, “I sin constantly… or I’m a chronic sinner… or I struggle with unbelief constantly… or I have chronic unbelief?” That big hand in the front is mine… Some people even quite piously say, “I’m a sinner saved by grace… or the only difference between me and the rest of the world is that I’m forgiven.” Ouch. Those last two statements have come from my mouth countless times…

Here is what the Lord just spoke to my heart… Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV) Do you understand the importance of this? Let me break it down for you… First of all, I’m not a sinner saved by grace… I was a sinner saved by grace. And if the only difference between me and the rest of the world is that I’m forgiven, then I make God a liar, because His word says that I’m a new creation. I’m different now… I’m not the same as everyone else… I’m not even the same person that I once was.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ… what does that mean? Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the Gardener. He cuts off every branch that doesn’t produce fruit, and He prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned for greater fruitfulness by the message I have given you. Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful apart from Me.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing. Anyone who parts from Me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you stay joined to Me and My words remain in you, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted! My true disciples produce much fruit. This brings great glory to My Father.

“I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me. Remain in My love. When you obey Me, you remain in My love, just as I obey My Father and remain in His love.” (John 15:1-10 NLT)

Brothers and sisters, if we remain or abide in Christ, we should be producing good fruit. Do you understand this? We need to ask ourselves what kind of fruit we’re bearing, because if I chronically sin, or if I walk in chronic unbelief, then Houston, we have a problem…

So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict.  But when you are directed by the Holy Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law.

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there. If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or irritate one another, or be jealous of one another. (Galatians 5:16-26 NLT)

Brothers and sisters, we need to ask ourselves what kind of fruit we’re bearing, because if we’re not producing a harvest of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, then we are not abiding in Christ, and apart from Him, we can do nothing. His words, not mine. Further, if I’m living with chronic sin… if I’m constantly, chronically sinning (and unbelief is sin – So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that there is a God and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him. {Hebrews 11:6 NLT}), then I’m not abiding in Christ and I’m not walking in His Spirit.

Do you remember that I told you that I’ve learned to tolerate my chronic pain? Well, the fact is that when we chronically sin, we learn to tolerate that as well. We even justify it to ourselves so that we won’t feel bad about it by saying things like, “Well, God knows my heart,” or “At least I’m not as bad as so and so…” Brothers and sisters, if your conscience isn’t pricked when you sin, or if you find yourself justifying your sins, because they’re only “little sins”, you need to cry out to God for mercy.

Our God is not a God of sloppy grace. Yes, He is full of mercy and compassion. Yes, He is a God of grace, but don’t kid yourself when you say, “Well, God knows my heart,” because you’re right. He does know our hearts, and this is what He has to say about that, The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? 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) 

You see, the word of the Lord says, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV) Do you understand what this means?

If you abide in Christ, you’re a new creation. You’re not supposed to be the same way you’ve always been. No more, “Well this is just the way I am,” or “I’m just being real.” If you’re just “keeping it real” as you sin, then you’re not being true to yourself.

What would you think if I told you that my Aunt Bertha passed away? You’d think she was dead, right? Well, when we come to Christ, those old sinful things that we used to participate in, should be dead. We should not be living in chronic sin. Indeed, if we truly are in Christ, we cannot live in chronic sin, because that part of our lives died the instant we were born again, and everything became new.

Does this mean that we’ll never again mess up? No, as long as we have flesh, we will have times of struggle, but we should be winning the battles most of the time, and this is where the acute pain that I talked about comes in. Remember, I said that I’ve learned to live with the chronic pain… I’ve learned to tolerate it, but there are times, when the pain becomes acute, and it is very disturbing. It causes me great distress.

When I sin against God, no matter how big or small the sin is, because God hates all sin, it should cause me acute pain. As a new creation, sin, my sin and the sin of others, should be very disturbing, very distressing. When I or someone else struggles with sin, including unbelief, it should be so discomforting, that I am unable to rest… much as I am unable to rest tonight, because of my acute pain.

http://mancrohns.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/wongbaker.gif
http://mancrohns.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/wongbaker.gif

So I ask you brothers and sisters, where do you stand on the pain scale? Is your sin chronic (constant, but tolerable) or acute (not often, but causes great discomfort and distress when it occurs)?

My prayer for each one of us, (yes, I need to pray about this for myself too), is that God would search our hearts, and show us where we stand on this sin scale. Am I waging war against sin? Or have I learned to tolerate it? Search us (me) O God, and know our (my) hearts. Try (me) us and know our (my) anxious thoughts, and see if there is any wicked way in us (me), and lead us (me) in the everlasting way. Lord, let us (me) be loving of others, but intolerant of sin. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Daily Prompt: Use It or Lose It

Write about anything you’d like, but make sure the post includes this sentence
“I thought we’d never come back from that one.”
Daily Prompt: Use It or Lose It

She looked at the clock for what surely must have been the millionth time. “It shouldn’t be taking this long,” she muttered to herself, as she paced the floor of the waiting room. She had grown tired of trying to read, and the television couldn’t hold her attention either. As desperately as she wanted to be distracted, her eyes kept looking toward the clock, which kept ticking the time away, second by second… minute by minute… hour by eternal hour…

“How much longer, Lord?” she prayed. “How much longer?”

As fear tried to dig its miserable talons into her heart, she fought to maintain control of her emotions. “I will not panic… I will not cry… Lord, I will trust in You with all my heart, and lean not on my own  understanding. Father, I don’t understand! Help me! Be near me, O God, and hear the cries of my heart! Keep him safe, Lord, because I don’t know if I could stand losing him,” she prayed, as she choked back a sob, drawing a deep breath slowly through her nostrils, and then releasing that breath slowly, slowly, through her mouth.

English: Original Artwork by James P. Gray, M....
English: Original Artwork by James P. Gray, M.D. 2007 (author) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She thought back to that day a couple of weeks earlier, when she and her husband met with the doctor. “The Nissen fundoplication is a common procedure, that usually only takes us around one to two hours perform, barring any complications. We will perform this surgery laparoscopically, unless we run into any complications, in which case, we will have to open his stomach to complete the surgery. Of course, we’ve performed this surgery numerous times, so it is very unlikely that we will have to open him up.”

She didn’t worry when the clock passed the two-hour point and moved to three hours. After all, she had been with enough family members to know that surgeries often times took longer than they were projected to take. Still, at the four-hour mark, though she tried not to, she began to worry, and now, after more than eight hours, her calm facade had dropped, and she had begun pacing the floor of the waiting room, looking again and again to the clock, which had somehow grown into an ominous enemy, as the hours continued to tick by.

Day Services Unit waiting room
Day Services Unit waiting room (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She felt the panic within her trying to gain control, as she tried to stamp it down. She was alone in the waiting room, except for her fifteen year old daughter, who had made the hundred mile trip to the hospital with them. It was only her daughter’s presence that kept her from giving in to her mounting fears. Finally, after nearly nine hours, the phone in the waiting room rang, and she pounced on it, fearful of losing whoever might be on the other end.

“Mrs. Hopkins?” the impersonal voice on the other end asked.

“Yes,” she said breathlessly, her daughter looking expectantly at her.

“As you know, we ran into some complications during the surgery –”

“Complications?” she interrupted. “What kind of complications? Is he ok?”

“Didn’t anyone come out and talk to you?” Now the voice on the other end wasn’t as impersonal as before.

“No one has come to see me. My daughter and I have been here since early this morning,  and no one has told us anything. Is — he okay?” She lowered her voice, not wanting to upset her daughter.

“He’s doing much better now,” the voice on the other end spoke gently, comfortingly now. “He’s in recovery, and this is against our normal policy, but would you like to come down and see him?”

Monitor
Monitor (Photo credit: Thirteen Of Clubs)

“Oh yes,” she whispered gratefully, looking at her daughter and nodding with tear-filled eyes, that she fought to keep at bay. “Our fifteen year old daughter is here too, and I can’t leave her alone. Can she please see her daddy too?”

The person on the other end acquiesced, and after receiving directions, she and her daughter hurried to the recovery room to see her beloved. As she pressed the button to gain access to the recovery room, she was met by a nurse, “Mrs. Hopkins?” It was the voice she had spoken to on the telephone.

She nodded and hugged the nurse in gratitude, as the nurse explained the complications that had arisen during surgery. “The wall of his diaphragm was so thin, that the laser punctured it, collapsing his left lung. Therefore, we had to abandon the laparoscopic procedure and open him up. He looks pretty bad right now, and he’s in a lot of pain, because we had to open his stomach up, but we expect him to make a full recovery. He also has a chest tube on his left side, to keep his lung from collapsing again. We expect him to be here for at least a week before he can go home. Now, would you like to see him?”

She and her daughter both nodded, as the nurse led them around the corner to the only occupied bed in the recovery room. There he was, her beloved. The man who had captured her heart almost twenty years before, laying there with tubes coming out of his chest and his stomach, groaning in pain. She grabbed his hand, and he opened his eyes, smiling at her and their daughter. And though he wasn’t strong enough to tell them, his love for both of them was evident in his eyes.

Though she requested it, she and her daughter were not allowed to spend the night with him, so at around 11:00 that evening, they drove back to their hotel room, planning to be back to the hospital early the next morning. His recovery was slow, requiring him to remain in the hospital for more than two weeks, before he was well enough to make the two-hour drive to their home. Her daughter had gone home with her grandparents the day after the surgery, but she stayed behind with her husband, to nurture and encourage his recovery.

Finally, after what seemed a lifetime, he was discharged, and the two of them began the long journey home. It was a difficult ride for him to endure, because he was still so sick, but both were glad for him to be out of the hospital. Perhaps once he got home he would heal quicker. When the two finally arrived home, and she helped him to settle in the hospital bed that had been donated to them for  his recovery, he grabbed her hand, looking into her eyes with great love and said, “I thought we’d never come back from that one.”

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

Weekly Writing Challenge: Shift Your Perspective – Help Me Dr. Phil!

Weekly Writing Challenge: Shift Your Perspective

This week, we’re challenging you to explore how different narrative modes affect your writing.

Dear Dr. Phil,

Please allow me to express my sincere apologies to you one more time. I can assure you that when I was backing out of my parking place, I had no idea that there was anyone behind me, and I certainly had no idea that someone was you! I would never intentionally hurt or back over anyone, so you can imagine my dismay, when I heard the horrible thud, immediately followed by your painful shrieks.

English: Phil McGraw photographed for the cove...
English: Phil McGraw photographed for the cover of Newsweek magazine by Jerry Avenaim (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Again, I humbly ask for your forgiveness. I know that I hurt you, but what you may not realize, is that I too, was traumatized. I haven’t been able to get a good night’s rest since that tragic accident. I keep having the same recurring nightmare of you flailing around on the pavement, wailing in the same horrible, high-pitched way you did when I backed over you with my car. It’s just horrible!

I’m so ashamed, and I feel really foolish for asking this, especially after the pain that I’ve caused you, but Dr. Phil, is there any way that you would consider helping me recover from this trauma? I really would appreciate it.

Sincerely,
Jane Doe

“Ladies and gentlemen, can you believe this? Can any of you wrap your mind around the horror I suffered at this woman’s hands? Or should I say her car?

“Picture this, if you will… I was walking across the parking lot after stopping off at the grocery store for a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk, feeling rather pleased with myself, because for once, I had gotten everything on the list that Robin had requested.”

“Excuse me, Phil! Hon, excuse me,” Robin interrupted, raising her hand and wriggling in her seat as she sought her husband’s attention.

Dr Phil.
Dr Phil. (Photo credit: RubyGoes)

Dr. Phil looked over at his wife with raised eyebrows, irritation in his voice at this interruption, as he responded to Robin, “Yes, hon?”

“I can’t believe she would interrupt me in the middle of a live show after all I’ve been through,” he thought to himself.

Robin smiled sweetly, thinking, “He’s such a sweetheart, but bless his heart, he can’t remember squat.” 

“I just wanted to make sure we tell everything accurately,” she said. “Because you actually didn’t get everything on my list. I also asked you to get me some Excedrin for my headache, but you forgot that.”

“Are you kidding me?” Phil expostulated loudly. “You interrupted my dialogue to tell me that? After all the agony I’ve been through?”

Robin’s sweet countenance fell, as she glared at her irate husband, “After all the agony you’ve been through? What about me? Do you know what this has been like for me? There I was, in the midst of a terrible migraine headache, and the police show up at the door to tell me that you’ve been run over! So I had to get myself together and rush to the hospital, while still in the midst of a painful migraine. And did you show any sympathy or consideration for my pain? No, you just laid there on the gurney, screaming and hollering and moaning and groaning, like you were going to die, you big baby!”

Looking straight at the cameras, Dr. Phil responded, “And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Men, consider this a learning experience, when your wife interrupts you in the midst of your work, remember to smile at her and agree, because if you snap at her, you could suffer for weeks, like I’ve got a feeling I’m about to do.”

“I’m sorry, Robin, you’re right. I did forget to get your Excedrin.”

https://opensky.com/robin-mcgraw
https://opensky.com/robin-mcgraw

“What a sanctimonious jerk,” Robin thought, as she smiled sweetly at Dr. Phil and said, “That’s okay, honey. I love you.”

“Now, ladies and gentlemen, as I was saying before, my wife reminded me of my forgetfulness, can you place yourself in my shoes? I was minding my own business, when this woman negligently throws her car into reverse and backs over me, knocking me off my feet, and leaving me in excruciating pain. And I have to tell you my friends, that’s not even the worst of it.

“I’m sure you’ve all seen the terrible pictures on the news broadcasts and all over the internet. Stupid paparazzi! Someone even recorded my screams of pain, and now there’s this embarrassing YouTube video that’s gone viral. How many of you have seen it? That’s what I was afraid of.

“And now, this woman has written a letter, asking for my help. What would you do?

“When I first read her letter, I was taken aback. I couldn’t imagine anyone having the nerve to back over someone and then ask that person for help. But there was something in the letter that just kept drawing me back to it, and the more I read it, the more interested I was in discovering what kind of person could be so stupid as to back up over someone and then expect him to help her get over the strain of it.

http://articles.nydailynews.com/2009-02-14/gossip/17915993_1_dr-phil-show-james-white-divorce
http://articles.nydailynews.com/2009-02-14/gossip/17915993_1_dr-phil-show-james-white-divorce

“Are you as curious as I was? Good, well then, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I would like to introduce you to ‘Jane Doe.’ By the way, just so everyone is clear about this, ‘Jane Doe’ is just a pseudonym we’ve chosen for the woman who almost killed me. Come on out, ‘Jane.'”

After the introduction I just heard, I questioned my sanity in asking for help from Dr. Phil. It seemed very likely that he was about to throw me under the bus (no pun intended) for accidentally backing over him. As I walked on the stage and saw the devilish gleam in his eyes, and that nasty smirk on his face, I quickly looked away. My heart was nearly pounding out of my chest. I looked at the curious faces in the audience, and then my glance caught the sympathetic look on Robin’s face. In her eyes I saw pity and compassion for me. It was obvious that she already knew something that I was just beginning to understand, as I looked into Dr. Phil’s eyes, which looked back at me with undisguised hatred in them.

It was that look that settled the matter in my mind. Dr. Phil wasn’t interested in helping me. He wanted to heap his vengeance on me, and it was very likely that I would be defamed and ridiculed at best, and painted as a wicked villain at the worst. As I quickly sorted the pros and cons in my mind, I made my decision and turned tail and ran.

I ran as fast as I could run off the stage, grabbed my purse from the green room, and ran into the parking lot, where already, a man with a camera followed me in close pursuit, along with Dr. Phil. There was no way I was going to let them catch me. “I’ll just have to live with the nightmares,” I thought as I hurriedly jumped into my car, throwing it into reverse. And then suddenly, I heard a horrible “thud” followed by the loud, high-pitched wailing of Dr. Phil. “Oh man! Can anyone say ‘Groundhog Day’?”

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers