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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

 

Daily Prompt: Alma Mater/The Path of Life

Daily Prompt: Alma Mater

by michelle w. on April 7, 2013

You’ve been asked to speak at your high school alma mater — about the path of life. (Whoa.) Draft the speech.
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Greetings to each of you, students, faculty and board members of the Seaford School District. I’m sure one of the first things you’ll notice about this copy of the speech that I will be presenting to you is the date of submission. I am fully aware that this copy should have been submitted to you yesterday, April 7, 2013, and that I missed the deadline by one day, and all I can say to that is that I guess some things never change. I’m sure those of you who went to school with me, or taught me, remember that I was notorious for missing deadlines, however, I offer a different excuse to you this time.

Since I no longer own a dog, and since I am a minister, I can’t lie to you and tell you that my dog ate my homework assignment. Instead, I will just stick to the truth. Yesterday, when I received this request, I was stunned. As a student of Seaford Senior High School, I was at best, a mediocre student, and without a doubt, a member of the “unpopular” crowd. I wondered at first if this were some cruel practical joke, like the kind that many of my former classmates used to delight in, and I wasn’t sure how or if I should respond. On top of that, yesterday, I was having internet issues, which made responding impossible. Finally, after much deliberation, I decided to respond to your invitation, regardless of your motives, because the subject matter, the Path of Life, is one that is near and dear to my heart. Continue reading Daily Prompt: Alma Mater/The Path of Life

Daily Prompt: Third From the Top

Daily Prompt: Third From the Top

by michelle w. on April 6, 2013

Head to “Blogs I Follow” in the Reader. Scroll down to the third post in the list. Take the third sentence in the post, and work it into your own.
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Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son.

~ Psalm 72:1 ~
Third Sentence in Third Post on My List
“A Psalm For Saturday”

In Love With The Lord Poetry and Prose

This is a prayer that King Solomon, son of King David offered up to  the Lord. It is a beautiful prayer asking the Lord to help him lead his people in righteousness. Let’s take a look at this powerful psalm.

1 A psalm of Solomon. Give justice to the king, O God, and righteousness to the king’s son. 2 Help him judge your people in the right way; let the poor always be treated fairly. 3 May the mountains yield prosperity for all, and may the hills be fruitful, because the king does what is right. 4 Help him to defend the poor, to rescue the children of the needy, and to crush their oppressors. 5 May he live as long as the sun shines, as long as the moon continues in the skies. Yes, forever! 6 May his reign be as refreshing as the springtime rains — like the showers that water the earth. 7 May all the godly flourish during his reign. May there be abundant prosperity until the end of time. 8 May he reign from sea to sea, and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth. 9 Desert nomads will bow before him; his enemies will fall before him in the dust. 10 The western kings of Tarshish and the islands will bring him tribute. The eastern kings of Sheba and Seba will bring him gifts. 11 All kings will bow before him, and all nations will serve him. 12 He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them. 13 He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and he will rescue them. 14 He will save them from oppression and from violence, for their lives are precious to him. 15 Long live the king! May the gold of Sheba be given to him. May the people always pray for him and bless him all day long. 16 May there be abundant crops throughout the land, flourishing even on the mountaintops. May the fruit trees flourish as they do in Lebanon, sprouting up like grass in a field. 17 May the king’s name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun shines. May all nations be blessed through him and bring him praise. 18 Bless the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does such wonderful things. 19 Bless His glorious name forever! Let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and amen! 20 (This ends the prayers of David son of Jesse.)

~ Psalm 72 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://www.jonmcnaughton.com/
mending-the-nation/

I wonder what kind of world we would live in, if every king, president, prime minister, and emperor sincerely prayed this prayer? I wonder what kind of world we would live in if our congressmen, senators, governors and mayors sincerely prayed this prayer?

What would it be like, if President Obama began to pray this prayer for himself and the people he has been ordained to lead. Now, I know that many Christians may disagree with me about Obama being ordained to lead this country, because he has so obviously proven himself to be a man who stands on his own selfish principles, and against the statutes of God. However, my beloved brothers and sisters, I would admonish you to read the following scriptures and pray about it.

1 Obey the government, for God is the one who put it there. All governments have been placed in power by God. 2 So those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow. 3 For the authorities do not frighten people who are doing right, but they frighten those who do wrong. So do what they say, and you will get along well. 4 The authorities are sent by God to help you. But if you are doing something wrong, of course you should be afraid, for you will be punished. The authorities are established by God for that very purpose, to punish those who do wrong. 5 So you must obey the government for two reasons: to keep from being punished and to keep a clear conscience. 6 Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid so they can keep on doing the work God intended them to do. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and import duties, and give respect and honor to all to whom it is due.

~ Romans 13:1-7 NLT ~

Now that’s a pretty hard pill to swallow, isn’t it? Not only did God place Obama and all of the U.S. Senate and House in their positions, but He also placed Korea’s dictator,  Kim Jong-un and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in office. What’s more, it was God who placed the Emperor Nero into his position of power, and many centuries later, He placed Adolf Hitler in charge of Germany… So what’s up with that?

Image Credit: http://www.vice.com/en_za/read/ win-a-chance-to-be-at-hitlers-trial

Are we supposed to obey a corrupt government, like Hussein’s Iraq or Hitler’s Germany? After all, Romans 13:1 clearly states that we are to obey the government and that all governments are placed in power by God. The answer to that question is yes, unless that government commands you to do things that go against the law of God, such as denying Christ as Lord, murdering, and harming others or stealing from others, etc.

But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.”

~ Acts 5:29 NLT ~

I must address another question that must be on many minds… Why would a holy and righteous God place a corrupt leader to rule over a nation? Now this might now set well with many, but I can live with that. You see, the answer to this question can be found in 1 Samuel 8, which I’ll paraphrase for you, along with a bit of history from the book of Judges in the Old Testament as well. (click the link if you’d like to read the chapter that I’m paraphrasing)

Back in Old Testament times, long before the nation of Israel had kings, God placed judges over the people. Some of the judges were good and obedient to the Lord, leading the people in the ways that they should go, but then, there were others, who were wicked, leading the people astray. The people of Israel would walk in obedience to the Lord for a while, but then, they would turn from the Lord, and instead of obeying Him, they would do what seemed right in their own eyes. Doesn’t that sound familiar? Wouldn’t you say that is how we Americans, and indeed, much of the world now lives?

Image Credit: http://www.israel-a-history-of.com/ enoch-the-prophet.html

When the people lived in obedience to the Lord, He never failed to bless them and their nation with success. However, when the people turned against Him, He placed evil leaders over them, and those leaders treated the people harshly, causing other nations to war against them, and often to rule over them. During these times of tribulation, when the people were oppressed, they would begin to think back on other times, when their people prospered, and it was then, that they would remember the Lord, and they would begin to follow His ordinances, and cry out to Him for mercy. And here is the most wonderful part — no matter how many times Israel turned her back on God, whenever she repented and cried out to Him, He forgave her and delivered her from bondage.

Now, Samuel was placed over Israel as a judge, and he was a good judge, who loved and served the Lord faithfully, but already, the people were beginning to turn from the Lord, as they looked to other countries. And when Samuel got old, he placed his sons as judges over Israel… the problem was, Samuel’s sons were not faithful to God like he was. They were completely and totally corrupt, for they were greedy for money. They accepted bribes and perverted justice. So the people came to Samuel, and pleaded with him to give them a king, like all the other nations had.

Samuel tried to warn the people that a king would not be good for them, but the people insisted. They didn’t want the righteous Samuel to lead them any longer, nor did they want his corrupt sons to be their leaders, and Samuel was very upset with their request and went to the LORD for advice, telling the Lord everything.

“Do as they say,” the LORD replied, “for it is Me they are rejecting, not you. They don’t want Me to be their King any longer. Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually forsaken Me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment. Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about how a king will treat them.” (1 Samuel 8:7-9 NLT)

So Samuel, though brokenhearted, did what the Lord had ordered him to do. “This is how a king will treat you,” Samuel said. “The king will draft your sons into his army and make them run before his chariots. Some will be commanders of his troops, while others will be slave laborers. Some will be forced to plow in his fields and harvest his crops, while others will make his weapons and chariot equipment. The king will take your daughters from you and force them to cook and bake and make perfumes for him. He will take away the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his own servants. He will take a tenth of your harvest and distribute it among his officers and attendants. He will want your male and female slaves and demand the finest of your cattle and donkeys for his own use. He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you will be his slaves. When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you are demanding, but the LORD will not help you.” (1 Samuel 8:11-18 NLT)

Image Credit: http://entretenimento.r7.com/rei-davi

Now with a warning like that, you would think the people would see that it would be better for them to serve the Lord as their King, rather than a man. But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. “Even so, we still want a king,” they said. “We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will govern us and lead us into battle.” (1 Samuel 8:19-20 NLT)

So Samuel told the LORD what the people had said, and the LORD replied, “Do as they say, and give them a king.” Then Samuel agreed and sent the people home. (1 Samuel 8:21-22 NLT)

So the people got what they asked for… They got King Saul, and if you read the scriptures, King Saul turned out to be a lunatic, and he did everything that Samuel had warned the people he would do…

So, what does all of that history have to do with 2013? I believe that the Lord has heard the cries of the majority of people in this country, and in other countries around the world, and He has given them the leaders they and we desire in our hearts. Those countries and our country, like Israel in the Old Testament, have rejected Almighty God, and chosen to do what seems right in our own eyes, and men and women throughout the world are reaping what we have sown.

Image Credit: http://www.jonmcnaughton.com/content/ Obamanation.html

Having said all of that, I do not believe that mankind is doomed. I believe that as long as there are men, women and children who do still love the Lord and serve Him, they will be lifting their voices and crying out to God for mercy, and He hears those who love Him. I believe that as long as Jesus tarries, delaying His return for the sake of mankind, there is hope…

The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise to return, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so He is giving more time for everyone to repent.

~ 2 Peter 3:9 NLT ~

Even though the kings, presidents, prime ministers, senators and congressmen throughout the world do not pray the prayer that Solomon prayed in Psalm 72, all is not lost. What if the men and women of God throughout the world began to pray for their leaders, as scripture commands?

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. As you make your requests, plead for God’s mercy upon them, and give thanks. Pray this way for kings and all others who are in authority, so that we can live in peace and quietness, in godliness and dignity.

~ 1 Timothy 2:1-2 NLT ~

I believe that if Christians all over will pray for their leaders and one another, God will honor their prayers. If we will join together in praying Psalm 72 over our nations and our nations’ leaders, God will answer our cries, just as He did in the days of old, when He spoke these words to Solomon:

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

~ 2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT ~

Image Credit: https://www.facebook.com/ GatewayPrayerandIntercession/ posts/300418160071370

How about it, men and women of God? Instead of griping and complaining about the terrible state our country is in, why don’t we quit murmuring and complaining (God hates murmuring and complaining anyway)? Instead, let’s join together and humble ourselves and pray, for our president, our congressmen, our senators and legislators, the judges, and the kings, dictators, and rulers of other countries. And let each one of us examine our own hearts and repent, turning away from our wicked ways. Then, just watch and see how God responds to our prayers! For He is still the same God who parted the red sea, turned water into wine, cleansed the lepers, made the blind to see, the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, the mute to speak, and the  dead to rise. He has not changed, and His eyes run to and fro throughout the entire earth, seeking to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are loyal to Him… Let us join together in prayer for our countries, and then watch in awe, as God heals our lands, just as He promised to do.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Writing the Wrongs

Image Credit: http://magicinthebackyard.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/writing-the-wrongs-jagged-little-pieces.jpg

“Here is your FWF prompt… I found this quote yesterday and posted it to my Facebook page. I liked the snarky feel of it and so did a lot of others. So I thought it would make for a great prompt! Here is your opportunity to vent. A chance for you to ‘write the wrongs’. Share a time that you have felt wronged or treated unfairly, either by way of a situation or another person.”

When I saw this week’s prompt, I felt a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I think it would take me days and days to write all of the wrongs in my life. I could write several books about those wrongs — maybe even several volumes. Shoot — I could probably write a library of the wrongs in my life!

But what would that accomplish? If I write the wrongs in my life, would it right the wrongs? I don’t think so. 

If I write the wrongs in my life, would it help anyone? Would it make anyone else feel better? Would it make anyone happy? Would it change the course of history? Probably not.

If I write the wrongs in my life, will the ones who wronged me be sorry? Will they even know I’m talking about them if I don’t use their names? Will they even remember wronging me? Maybe, but then again, maybe not.

If I write the wrongs in my life, will it bring me joy? By writing the wrongs in my life and thereby hurting the wrongdoers, will it bring them or me peace? By writing the wrongs in my life, am I seeking vengeance? By writing the wrongs in my life, do I become like those who wronged me?

I wasted many years of my life living and reliving the wrongful, hurtful things that were done to me throughout my life, and do you know what it got me? Pain… and more pain.

You see, the more you dwell on the wrongs that have been done to you, the more you become entangled in them. When your focus is on your pain, every movement you make causes more pain, and each time you relive that pain, the wound is ripped open again, so that it never has a chance to heal… and as that wound continues to fester within you, it becomes infected, and that infection then begins to spread into other areas of your life, infecting them as well. Before you know it, other relationships become contaminated, and you are unable to fully trust and fully love… 

Beloved, I don’t want to be tormented by the wrongs that have been done to me. Therefore, I choose to right the wrongs in my life…

  • I choose to forgive those who have hurt me…
  • I choose to love my enemies and bless those who curse me…
  • I choose to turn the other cheek…
  • I choose to think about the good things in life, rather than the wrongs…

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable,   whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,  whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if  anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

~ Philippians 4:8 NASB ~

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Daily Prompt: Dear Mom

Write a letter to your mom. Tell her something you’ve always wanted to say, but haven’t been able to. 
Daily Prompt: Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

A birthday cake
A birthday cake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s interesting how the Lord works. Today, the day before your birthday, the daily prompt is to write a letter to you and tell you something that I’ve always wanted to say, but haven’t been able to. And now, when I could say something to you about this, I find that I can’t, because I don’t think you would understand, and I don’t want to cause you anymore hurt or confusion than you already have to deal with. Therefore, I’ll write this letter to the woman you used to be, the younger you, who would be able to comprehend what I’m saying.

I love you Mom, and I want to tell you that I finally understand. I couldn’t have told you this years ago, because I didn’t understand then. I was so ravaged with my own pain that I was unable to understand why you abused me, and why you allowed Dad to abuse me as he did. I always wanted to ask you, “Why?” and, “How could you?”

I remember when I confronted you and Dad about the abuse and told you how deeply it hurt me, I didn’t ask why, because for some reason, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. And the truth is, I don’t think you could have told me why, because I don’t think you understood it yourself. But Mom, I get it now. I understand why, and I understand how you could have done it and allowed it, and I wish I could share it with you so that you could understand yourself, and forgive yourself.

You grew up in such a painful dysfunctional family, and you tried so hard to always say the right thing and do the right thing, and I understand how horrible it is when you have so much self-disgust. I understand what it’s like to think you’re not quite good enough, and to try and hide behind a mask of self-confidence, because you’re so fearful that if anyone discovered the truth about how you really feel, and what you really think, they would hate you as much as you hate yourself, and that could destroy you. Mom, I wish that you knew that I understand because I used to have those same feelings, and they’re wrong.

You never had to bury and hide the real you because God loved you anyway, and I would have loved you no matter what. In fact, I did and I do love you in spite of the years of abuse. I loved you despite the fact that you allowed Dad to continue abusing me, because you couldn’t handle the truth.

I understand so much Mom, because I inherited some of your coping mechanisms. It’s easier for me to ignore the unpleasant things in life, rather than facing them until I have no choice. It’s easier for me to wear my happy mask than to be open and let others see what I’m really feeling. It’s easier for me to be “strong” and numb, hiding my feelings even from myself, rather than acknowledging and allowing myself to feel pain, sadness and sorrow, and anger. But the problem with living like this is that it’s all to easy for our whole lives to become a lie, and when we refuse to feel, our hearts become hardened, and then it becomes all to easy for us to begin hurting others… Hurting people hurt people.

Mom, I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit who lives in me, because I could have very easily turned into a hardened, embittered woman, who is unable to love her family and those outside of her family, because she has no love or mercy for herself. Mom, I wish you could see yourself as God sees you. You are a beautiful woman, who has suffered much, and that suffering could have been used for good, if you had allowed it.

Even now, that you’re in the nursing home, I think that if you would allow Jesus to heal your broken places, He would give you peace, and empathy for others. My prayer for you, Mom, is that you would know Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, and that you would allow Him to be Lord of your life, so that He could begin the good work of healing you from all of the years of pain that you’ve held bound in your broken  heart. I pray that you would know, as all of God’s people should know, the length and the width, the great heights and the depths of God’s love for you. And I pray that you would love yourself as God loves you. I pray that you would know real peace and real joy, both here and now, and in the next life.

This is what I would express to you if you could understand. I love you Mom, and I pray that you have a wonderful, blessed birthday.

Love always,
Cheryl

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

Daily Prompt: Success!

What is a life well lived to you?

Dictionary.com defines success as:

  1. the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors.
  2. the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.
  3. successful  performance or achievement: The play was an instant success.
  4. person or thing that is successfulShe was a great success on the talkshow.
  5. Obsolete . outcome.
SUCCESS (magazine)
SUCCESS (magazine) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t see it that way. There are many very wealthy, prosperous people who have achieved great position or status in life, and many who have received numerous honors, but that does not mean that their lives are a success. Just because someone’s career is a success does not mean that their life is a success.

To me, a successful person is one who has loved, even when he/she hasn’t received love in return. A successful person is one who lives his/her life giving glory to God, because we were created for His glory. A successful person is one who forgives the wrongs committed against him/her, and continues to love those who wronged him/her.

A successful person puts the needs of others above his/her own. A successful person gives of him/herself, without expecting or even wanting recognition. A successful person is selfless. A successful person knows the purpose which he/she has been created for, and works to fulfill that purpose.

A successful person will stand firmly for what he/she believes in without compromising his/her values. He/She has counted the cost and is willing to pay the price for taking a bold stand for what is right, no matter how many may turn against him/her.

A successful person leaves a legacy when he/she dies – not a legacy of money, which can be blown pretty quickly, but a legacy of love, a legacy of others who desire to be just like that person. When a successful person passes away, he/she can pass easily knowing that they accomplished what they were created to accomplish. That’s the kind of success I pray for.

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers