Tag Archives: sexual abuse

America’s Immigration Problem

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

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

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

Montgomery County Superintendent Dr. Jack Smith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2017
Cheryl A. Showers

Fifty Shades of Grey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7  NLT ~

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

~ 1 John 4:8  NLT ~

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

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

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

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

~ 1 Corinthians 13:4b-5a  NLT ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ 1 Corinthians 13:5  NLT ~

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

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

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

~ 1 Corinthians 13:6  NLT ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ 1 John 1:9  NLT ~

© 2015
Cheryl A. Showers

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Share the Love – July 2013

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

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

Two Cents Tuesday – Toys

Two Cent Tuesday Challenge

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

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

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

Tears of a Clown

Picture it & Write

16 Sunday Jun 2013

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

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

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

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

Share the Love – June 2013

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

Words of Jesus – I Am Willing

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

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

~ Matthew 8:1-4 NLT ~

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

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

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

Steubenville Horror – The Truth Shall Set Her Free

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ John 8:32 NLT ~

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

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

Image Credit: breathoflifeonline.net

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

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

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

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

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

~ Matthew 10:26-31 NLT ~

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

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

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Steubenville Horror – Who’s fault is it anyway?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image Credit: (Photo: Keith Srakocic, AP)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ Isaiah 52:14-53:12 NLT ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Steubenville Horror – Does Anybody Really Care?

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

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

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

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

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

Image Credit:
DefendWomensRights.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11 “No, Lord,” she said.

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

~ John 8:1-11 NLT ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Steubenville Horror – Where Are The Parents?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ Isaiah 43:7 NLT ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ Deuteronomy 6:1-7 NLT ~

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

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

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

~ Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT ~

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

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

~ Proverbs 29:17-18 NLT ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ Deuteronomy 30:11-19 NLT ~

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

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

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

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image Credit: abcnews.com

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

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

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

Read more: 

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

Image Credit: abcnews.com

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

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

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

~ Genesis 4:9 NKJV ~

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

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

~ Romans 15:1-2 CJB ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ John 15:12-13 NLT ~

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

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

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

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

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Steubenville Horror – Warning!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ Matthew 24:12 NIV ~

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

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

~ Proverbs 22:6 NIV ~

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

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

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

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

~ Proverbs 29:11 NLT ~

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

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

~ Proverbs 10:23 NLT ~

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

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

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

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

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Steubenville Horror – Heartless?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ Jeremiah 17:9-10 NLT ~

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

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

~ Jeremiah 17:9 NLT ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ James 1:17 NKJV ~

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

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

~ Romans 12:10 NIV ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

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

Which is best?

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

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

By maintaining a lie, who are you really protecting?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Daily Prompt: Helpless

Helplessness: that dull, sick feeling of not being the one at the reins. When did you last feel like that –- and what did you do about it?
Daily Prompt: Helpless

It was Friday, August 31, 2012. I had applied for intermittent FMLA due to chronic and acute back pain, which frequently rendered me unable to work. I remember speaking with my boss that Friday afternoon, before I went home for the day. At that point, she wasn’t sure if I would be approved for intermittent FMLA, or whether I would be forced to go out on disability, because company policy does not allow for modified schedules and workloads unless it is a workman’s comp injury, which this was not.

Photo Courtesy of:http://www.autostraddle.com/playlist-when-youre-feeling-helpless-148190/
Photo Courtesy of:
http://www.autostraddle.com/playlist-when-youre-feeling-helpless-148190/

In my heart of hearts, I knew what the outcome was going to be, and I don’t mind telling you that I was fearful and a little sick to my stomach. If I was forced to go out on disability, I would receive a short-term disability check for 60% of my current pay for no more than 3 months maximum, but likely, for a shorter term, since I had already been out for 30 days that year due to the back pain. For someone who lives from paycheck to paycheck already, the prospect of receiving only 60% of that pay was overwhelming… And the fact is, I didn’t foresee any likelihood of improvement if I was out for the full 3 months. In fact, I suspected that if they chose to place me on short-term disability, I would likely not be returning to my job, and that in 3 months or less, I would have no income.

It was all disheartening and frightening, and I drove home that day feeling very gloomy, as I shared the news with my husband that this may have been my last day of work. I am so thankful that the Lord has blessed me with such a good and loving man, who simply said that we’ll just do the best that we can do. During this whole ordeal, he has shown me love and patience when I am not able to do the things that I need to do.

Shortly after 5:00 that evening, I got the phone call that I had been dreading, and I was informed that effective immediately, I would be receiving short-term disability, and that I was not allowed to return to work until I was released by my physician and could resume my full duties. Light duty was not an option. I won’t lie. For the first month, I battled with depression. The pain has been bad, and at this point, I have no income at all coming in, as the short-term disability ceased in November.

Photo Courtesy of:http://kellyannglupker.blogspot.com/2011/10/jesus-makes-me-clean.html
Photo Courtesy of:
http://kellyannglupker.blogspot.com/2011/10/jesus-makes-me-clean.html

I like to be in control of things, but this is all out of my control, and I have had to learn to really trust in the Lord. That’s a nice sentiment, and so easy for us to advise others to do… “Trust in the Lord to take care of your needs.” How many times have I told others to do this? And now, what could I do but trust in the Lord?

After allowing me to have a month of feeling sorry for myself, the Lord spoke to me around the beginning of October. He told me to stop feeling sorry for myself and to begin writing again. He told me that I was to write everyday for 30 days. I hadn’t written in oh so long, because after working all day, in addition to the other activities that I’ve been involved in, there wasn’t time to write, and I just didn’t have the gumption to do it. However, now, there was no excuse for not writing.

So now the question was what would I write and where should I write? The thought that immediately came to my mind was that I need to start a blog. Ha! I wasn’t 100% sure what a blog even was, but a friend of mine from church has a blog, and so I looked her blog up, saw that it was on WordPress, and signed up. On October 9, 2012, I began my blog and submitted my first post. Since that time, I have submitted 148 posts… This one will be 149. I have been blessed with an outlet to share my hopes, my dreams, my loves, my dislikes, and myself.

I’ve learned a valuable lesson during this time. While I cannot control my circumstances, I can place my trust in the Almighty God who loves me with an everlasting love, because He alone controls my future. So far, though things have been extremely difficult, He has provided for every one of my needs. I am thankful, because even though everything seems to be spinning out of my control, He holds my life in His hands, and He comforts me with His word.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for Me in earnest, you will find Me when you seek Me.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13 NLT)

Though this is out of my control, and there’s absolutely nothing I can do to change it, I know that while I was surprised by the circumstances, God knew about it long before the foundations of the earth were laid. He knew that this would happen in my life long before He placed me in my mother’s womb. He knew, and He had a plan for it — a good plan.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28 NLT)

Just knowing that calms me. I have peace. I don’t know where my next penny or dollar may come from, but God does… You know, I love my children and my grandchildren more than anyone could ever imagine, and there is nothing that I wouldn’t do for their good, if it was in my power. And this is how my heavenly Father feels about me. He loves me even more than I love my children and grandchildren. He loves me beyond measure, and there is nothing that He won’t do for my good, including this.

I don’t understand why or how, because His ways and thoughts are not mine, but I trust Him, because He’s never let me down, and He never will… So, what did I do about that helpless feeling? I rested in the arms of my Savior, and I’ve cast all of my cares on Him, because He cares for me.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Tears in a Bottle

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/tears-in-a-bottle-dolores-develde.html
http://fineartamerica.com/featured/tears-in-a-bottle-dolores-develde.html

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. (Psalm 56:8 NLT)

I just read a beautiful, heartfelt post from Jodi Karren this morning, and one verse of her prayer spoke to my heart, and I need to share it this morning. It’s one of those words that the Lord sometimes gives that just burns within you until you release it. 🙂

I remember as a child, willing myself not to cry when I was cursed, rejected, beaten or abused, sometimes I was successful, while other times, I was unsuccessful in my endeavor to shed no tears. You see, at the time, I had no idea how good tears are. I had no idea that they were important.

All I knew at the time is that I didn’t want to give those who hurt me the satisfaction of seeing me cry. I didn’t want people to see my “weakness,” and so I worked very hard trying to swallow that lump in my throat and trying to harden my heart so that the pain couldn’t touch me. I remember how hard I tried not to cry when I received a beating, because it was my way of rebelling against the abuse being inflicted on me. When I was laughed at and made fun of, I tried very hard to laugh at and poke fun of myself, so that those who were trying to hurt me would feel thwarted in their efforts. At the time, it made sense to me. It was my way of coping with the pain — by not coping with it.

The problem with this is that when you harden yourself like this, the pain within you doesn’t go away. It isn’t released, and so it festers on the inside, and like an infection, it poisons you. Because I was able to stop the faucet of my tears, the tears of others irritated me. My heart became hardened to the pain that others felt.

And then there were times, when we are supposed to be able to cry in order to appear human… such as at the death and funerals of loved ones. The problem was, that I had become so adept at stopping the tears and stopping my feelings, that I was numb in the face of tragedies. When a loved one was sick or dying, even though I wanted and needed to feel something, try as I might, I couldn’t feel, and I couldn’t cry.

http://freedominjesus.piczo.com/post/581058/
http://freedominjesus.piczo.com/post/581058/

It left me feeling empty and incomplete, as though a vital part of me was missing. I felt inhuman, and unloving, therefore, I must be unlovable. Do you see? In trying to protect myself… in trying to shield myself from pain, I also shielded myself from feeling the good things as well, like love and joy, peace and grief. Yes, grief is a good thing to feel as well, because as we grieve, we are able to heal. It’s when we are unable to grieve that our wounds continue to fester and poison us.

After so many years of stifling my tears, I was now unable to cry and feel, and heal. So, I began to pray for tears. Does that sound crazy to you? Understand this, holding those tears back does not get rid of the pain, nor the tears. It just buries them, and the more you bury your pain and tears, the more they build up… and then you begin to have small explosions, as you are only able to hold so much in… and because that pain and the tears have been festering and boiling within you for so long, when they are released in an explosion over some trifle little thing, you end up spewing poison on people who don’t deserve it… often on the very ones you love the most.

God keeps my tears in a bottleI didn’t realize the value of tears, until I didn’t have any. Then, one day, my counselor, a very wise woman, quoted this scripture to me, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” (Psalm 56:8 NLT) 

Wow. Did you know that God keeps track of all our sorrows? I’ve had so many different sorrows in my life, that I’m not sure if I even remember all of them, but God does. Our tears are so important to God that not one of them is wasted. Think about this. God has collected all of our tears… all of my tears… all of your tears…

Do  you know what all means? Dictionary.com defines all as:

  1. the whole of (used in referring to quantity, extent, or duration)
  2. the whole number of
  3. the greatest possible
  4. every

There are more definitions that you can check out by clicking the link, but you get the point, don’t you? All means all. That means that God has collected every single one of my tears, every tear I have ever cried in my lifetime, and placed them in a bottle, and He’s done the same thing for each one of you. Now why would He do that? Could it be that our tears are valuable to God? Could it be that He loves us so much that each and every tear we ever have shed and ever will shed are so precious to Him that He saves them, much as some people save a lock of their children’s hair?

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

And think about this, not only has God collected each and every tear that we’ve shed, but He has also kept a journal of them. You have recorded each one in your book.” This absolutely blows me away. Think about the magnitude of this. I can’t remember every tear I’ve ever cried. I can remember some, but not all. However, God not only collected each tear and placed it in a bottle, He also took the time to make a written record of those tears. I wonder how many pages He’s filled with my tears? I wonder how many pages He’s filled with your tears?

My beloved friends, don’t feel foolish when you cry. Never feel ashamed of your tears, and don’t let anyone else ever make you feel ashamed of your tears, because each and every one of your tears is precious to God. Each one of your tears cleanses you and helps you to heal from the wounds that have been inflicted on you as you walk through life.

In Jesus’ name, I pray that each and every one of you will feel free to cry, and that you will embrace those tears. Grieve when you need to grieve. Allow yourself to feel pain, because even though it’s unpleasant, it is better to feel it and deal with it immediately, rather than letting it infect your heart, soul, mind and body.

May the Lord bless you abundantly, and if you are unable to cry because you, like I, have pushed those tears down, pray for tears so that you may heal. God will hear your cry for tears, and He will give them to you. I prayed for tears for several years, and they came back slowly, until eventually, it was as though a dam had burst. It was frightening to me at the time, and I was afraid I might be losing my mind. Therefore, my instinct was to cut those tears off, but I ignored that instinct, and when I finished crying, I was healed from much of the pain that I had been carrying around. I was able to look at some of the things that had caused me pain before, and find that they had lost their power to hurt me any longer.

If you’ve felt tears welling up within you as you read this, don’t quench them. Allow them to flow and cleanse you, knowing that those tears are valuable, and that God is taking care of them for you. Embrace your tears, and discover the blessing that is found as you release them. God bless you all!

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

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