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Place Your Pain With Him – A Testimony

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This is a testimony I gave before a church congregation several years ago. (Sue)

 

“…You saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a Father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.” Duet. 1:31

In this verse the reference is to the Israelites being led from Egypt to the Promised Land. As they followed the path that Christ led them along they suffered many trials and tribulations.

For us today, this verse can mean that Christ has carried us from areas that we dwelled in, or are now dwelling in; darkness, sadness, feelings of being alone. Many of us have been in such situations, where we feel so alone that we wonder if there really is a God.

I didn’t know the love of Christ because my parents didn’t believe in Him. If the adults in our lives do not believe, they will not pass on that Jesus Christ is our saving grace. How can a man or woman, who put their selfish need ahead of the welfare of their children, hand down Christian love? How can they show the unconditional love of Jesus Christ?

When human needs; alcohol, sex, gambling, or even a job that requires 80 hours a week, are prominent in a home, there is no room for the children’s needs, caring, or Christian love.  If children are being physically, emotionally, and sexually abused they are in an atmosphere of pain, suffering, and putting the adults needs ahead of any child’s needs.

The child is thrown in the arena of sin, in an environment filled with sinful deeds that the innocent child has no power to control. When we as adults replace unconditional love with drugs, alcohol, sexual abuse we all suffer, not just the children.

Those of you who have experienced a home where drugs and alcohol are predominant – where is the unconditional love displayed? In a fix? In a bottle? What about those of us who have been ignored emotionally? Is this what Christ calls Agape love? We have been set aside until our presence is forced upon others.

The responsibility of parents (adults) toward children is stated plainly in scripture:

“Train a child in the way he should go,

and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

Prov. 22:6

“Assemble the people before Me to hear My words

so that they may learn to revere Me

as long as they live in the land

and may teach them to their children.”

Duet. 4:10

It is the adults responsibility to lead children toward Christ, not away. Those responsibilities are all of ours. The spiritual, as well as the physical and emotional is placed in our hands by the Father God. When we shirk those duties the children suffer. They are not taught Christ’s teachings, but the lessons of humans. They see Satan at work, not Christ.

How can children believe we have a loving God if all of their experiences evolve around evil? They can’t! And as adults that grew up in that environment, we carry those same belief systems with us – unless there is someone who will bring the light of Jesus Christ before us.

When I was growing up in an abusive, dysfunctional home I would not have known His light. A neighbor took the time and invited me to their church, and because being away from the house for a few hours meant I would be free from the abuse for that length of time I went.

The minister spoke about Jesus, who I had only heard of briefly. At 7 years old I heard the minister say that Jesus would save us. In my ears I heard, “save me,” (from the abuse) so I went to the altar to ask the preacher if Jesus would save me.

That altar call did not stop my abuse. But it did save me, although I did not know it at the time. I now know that Jesus Christ stood at that altar beside me, holding my small hand He cried just as hard as I did.

Forty something years later I invited the Lord into my heart, mind, and soul. He has brought me from the devastation of years of sexual abuse, the years of being beaten and humiliated,  through the pain of being gang raped at an early age, the years of being married to an alcoholic, womanizing, wife-beating husband who died at the wrong end of a gun, and the devastation I felt when I lost the only human being I ever trusted, the husband the Lord brought me, my late husband.

He has brought me through years and years of pain, guilt, fear, and shame to where I can stand tall, stand here before all these people and tell you unequivocally that the only healing, the only hope we have from the pains we had in the past and the places we are right now in life’s situations is Jesus Christ.

He suffered as we have suffered. He knows the sting of insults, the searing pain of wounds being inflicted by physical abuse, the feelings of being left alone and deserted. He not only walked in our shoes – He died there.  You don’t have to die as Jesus did. You don’t have to dwell in the darkness of feeling alone, forgotten, or cast aside. The Lord Jesus is right here. He’s sitting right beside you!

Reach out and take His hand. Let Him lead you through the wilderness you may be feeling. He can, He will heal the wounds from the past and those that you have right now.  Let Him fill your heart with a peace like you have never known before. You can only feel that peace if  you invite Him in.

Allow the Lord to carry you once again, He knows your needs, trust in Him and walk free.

“You dear children, are from God and have overcome them,

because the One who is in you is greater

than the one who is in the world.

They are from the world and therefore speak from the world,

and the world listens to them.

We are from God, and whoever is not from God does not listen to us.

This is how we recognize the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of falsehood.”

John 4:4-6

A short time ago Satan knocked me flat. Being the slime bag that he is, he blind-sided me and I was in such an emotional state that I could not even pray. The Lord Jesus knew my needs and allowed the Holy Spirit within me to write this poem. I’d like to share it with you.

A little girl

Just seven years old

Walked in church

eyes aglow.

She was a child

who felt beaten and lost

But she found the courage

to approach the cross.

All she could whisper

as she accepted His grace

Save me, Jesus

Save me.

Grown, old and gray

She’s once again

Been knocked to her knees

With Satan’s glee.

But now, as then

As she approaches the cross

All she can muster

from deep inside her heart

Save me, Jesus

Save me.

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Blessings to you.

 

God Saved my Life – Testimony

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Written by Laura – Angels by Grace Pub. – Nov. 1997

A hospital in Jekyl Island was having a yearly reunion for those of us that had once been patients there. It included workshops on our recovery and was supposed to be a time of growth and renewal. I attended this reunion with the feeling that I had come far in my healing from childhood abuse. I had high expectations and when everyone was enjoying the Saturday night dance I was, too.

At some point during the dance I decided I wanted to go for a walk along the beach. The room was stuffy and I needed some fresh air. One of the men offered to walk along with me and I agreed. That was the turning point of a week-end that started out wonderful. It ended as a nightmare that I wouldn’t soon forget. I was raped.

During the rape I could do nothing to stop this man. I begged and pleaded, but nothing I said or did stopped him. I started to pray that God would save my life. When it was obvious that I could not stop this man I gave up fighting him. My hands and feet had become numb from the struggle, I gave my destiny to God.

That rape, the horrible crime against me took place three years ago. For a long time I thought, Why me? I felt God had betrayed me that night, but now I know He didn’t. I’m here today, alive. Christ did answer my prayers that night.

When I was finally able to pray about it God shed new light on that horrible night. I learned that the man who raped me had let it be known that he was going to rape someone. Anyone who he could get alone. And I just happened to be the one.

Satan was on the side of my rapist. But I had God on my side! I was put in a storm and during the test I chose God. Does God hate me because He allowed this to happen to me? No! God loves me very much. He knew that someday I would be able to share my story of that night.

As with the abuse I suffered in childhood, God brought me through it, He’s healing me, and I’m able to share that pain to help others through their’s. God wants me to tell everyone about His love and compassion. How Satan tried to destroy me but Satan’s attempts has only made me stronger in my faith.

God isn’t the one who was testing me three years ago, it was Satan! I can almost hear him saying, “What’s going to break this person?”  Satan had a plan. But my Lord and Savior also had a plan. “He who is greater in me is greater than he who is in the world.” (1John 4:4)

I know now that there is nothing I can do to change that night except to forgive my rapist. And I’m working toward that forgiveness.

Over the past three years the Lord has been showing me that He is stronger than Satan. His power is greater and I was not and will not be destroyed because of this crime.  God has helped me to overcome the anger. He has shown me that there was nothing I could have done any differently that night. That I can stop blaming myself. It was a test that I went through and my faith in Christ brought me through.

But I wonder, how many tests must you go through before you understand that God loves you very much and wants you to see and feel His love. He wants you to know that it was not He who hurt you. Be it childhood abuse or rape.

The people who hurt us as children, the man who raped me made the choice, God or Satan. The people who hurt us chose Satan’s ways, not God’s. God does not hurt His children. Man does! Man is the one who makes the decision to do right or wrong.  God knows that. He also knew that I would grow from these hurts. That He would enable me to tell my story, and to understand that He was hurting with me.

I now know that when we are sad, Christ is sad with us. He wants us to have a happy life but with no storms there is no growth. We grow, learn, stretch when things aren’t all rosie. The trials are put there to help us. It is how we deal with those trials that cause us to grow. Do we choose to remain in the pain? Do we choose to ask God to help us through the pain?

I want to close with one thing God told me to pass on. God loves you no matter what has happened to you. No matter what you have done in your life or what has been done to you, He loves you just as you are.

He is waiting to help you through whatever area of healing you need. All you have to do is ask.

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Blessings to you.

 

We aren’t condemned any more!

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 “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,” Rom. 8:1

“You aren’t worth the air you breath!” That was told to me as a young child.

Those of us that have experienced an abusive home life know all too well what being condemned means. We were yelled at for the slightest offense, and many times there was no offense on our part. We were just there! We were used as battering rams for those who could not express their anger at someone else. Maybe it was, or is, a parent, a boss, a poor driver,  a spouse, boyfriend, etc. The anger gets directed at us. We’re blamed for the anger that arises. “It’s all your fault!” And the cuss word’s fly!

In some instances we were used for the cruel jokes of another, made fun of, called stupid, told we were never going to amount to a hill of beans. We were poked fun at in many ways, some were physically assaulted, sexually assaulted, and emotionally tormented as though we were no more than a pile of numb and dumb rocks.

Life isn’t easy and at times some of us have felt that life isn’t worth living. “They’d be better off without me.” Oh yes, we know what being condemned means and praise be to God that through Christ I am free forever from condemnation! (Ro.8:1,2)

God did not create us to be condemned by others. John 1:12 says that I am God’s child. That makes me think of when we see our first born immediately after he/she enters the world, the love that wells up inside. A love we cannot even express. How much more God must be filled when He looks down on His new child. The child He has adopted as His own. (Eph.1:5) I’ll bet’cha a months wages He was grinning like a Cheshire cat!

Because I have accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior He has forgiven me of my sins; past, present, and future. Praise God for that or I’d really be in big trouble! When we confess our sins and ask Him for forgiveness He forgives, and not only that, He never remembers them again! (Heb. 10:17) Then why the heck am I beating myself up over some sin that He doesn’t even remember any more!?

I have been established, anointed, and sealed by God. (2Cor.1:21) Oh wow. He’s anointed me to do anything He calls me to do. Does that mean my little short fat legs can run a marathon or I can write a book or speak in front of thousands, or paint a portrait? Woooow. And I’m immediately a citizen of heaven. (Phil.3:20) Oh praise God, I hate really hot temperatures!

I’m now free from any condemning charges against me, by Him when I was an un-believer, and by those who have condemned me. (Ro. 8:33,34) See, they’re liars! The enemy tries to make me believe their lies. God says, “Oh My precious child, Sue, I created you and you are worthy of the air that I give you to breathe and so much more!” All of God’s children are precious in His sight and His heart and His mind. We children of God are worthy! We’re worthy because He has deemed it so through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.

When the memories of abuse flood back I can find His grace and mercy. (Heb.4:16) I start crying to God and He’ll be right here to comfort me or to explain something I need to know to help me better understand. I don’t have to be afraid any more because Christ has given me power , love, and a sound mind, not a spirit of fear. (2Tim 1:7) I confess, at times I’m not so sure about the “sound mind.” But I definitely have the power to overcome all that was done to me because He is with me and loves me with an everlasting love that I can’t even fatham.

Hey Satan, guess what? You can’t touch me any more! I am born of God (1Jn.5:18) I can be influenced, I can have demonic oppression but I belong to God and there’s not a flippin’ thing the enemy can do about it except try to turn me away from God. That ain’t going to happen! So Get behind me, Satan! And God has told me that all things will work together for good (Ro. 8:28) and I’m confident that what God started in me will be perfected. (Phil.1:6)  So back off, devil, I’m God’s and I believe Him!

If all of this is true, and it is, then why do we continue to hang onto the lies and judgments and condemnation that others have placed on us through childhood and even adulthood?  By continuing to believe the lies of the past we are calling God a liar. Sorry, but that’s true. His word tells us just the opposite of the crap, (excuse my language) that others told us so why do we hold on to the crap and refuse to believe what God tells us? He loves us! He loves us unconditionally. He isn’t the one who lied, called us names, told us we were as stupid as a door knob or as dumb as a rock. He isn’t the one who used us as His tool in unspeakable ways. So why are we willing to continue to believe the evil one who worked through others to destroy us? God said,

“… that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.…”

Eph. 4:23,24

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Blessings to you.

 

Stand Guard – But they didn’t!

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Psalm 25 is a plea for the Lord to guard, protect, forgive, and a statement of repentance.

As a child I went to others when I was being hurt by someone I trusted with my very life. I begged for protection and asked that this person stand guard over me so I would not be harmed any more.

Because of our human nature we do not always understand the voice of our children. I asked to be protected, that this person intercede because I was too small to defend myself, yet I was not heard.

I asked this person to stand guard, to be my knight and to do the battle that I could not. My life was in the hands of others. That’s the way God intended when He placed me within my family. Each parent was to be as a sentry at the gate of my heart. To love me as their child and to make sure I was safe from harm.

As a parent, each has the responsibility given to them by God to raise a child with fear (reverance) of God Almighty. To teach them to love God as well as others, and to be an example of what His love is.

Because they each had chosen a different path than the one that Christ had lain out, this child was not taught what Christ’s love is. This child was not taught that to forgive means that we leave the punishment, the judgment, and the retributions up to the Almighty.

To ask a person that does not know Christ what it means to repent would be like asking someone to explain a passage in the Bible that has never read the Bible.

To repent, is telling the Lord that I will turn away from whatever sin I have just told Him about, that I have confessed to God. To repent, does not mean I will never do that again. It means that I will change my thinking or actions. It means that I realize that those thoughts or actions are not what Christ wishes me to have or to do, so, I will do my humanly best to change. I will do my humanly best to be more like, act more like, think more like Christ does.

With the past filled with abusive acts I must forgive those who inflicted the wounds. I must try to see them as Christ see’s them. That is not easy nor is it possible if I have a heart that is filled with bitterness and hurt.

As long as the wounds from the past are still oozing their poisons we are not able to think about forgiving and as long as we are not able to forgive how then can we repent?

How can I think as Christ does if my heart is filled with anger, frustration, and hatred instead of love? How can I change my present pattern of thinking and acting if I don’t trust even God who created me to love, to love Him as well as others?

In Psalm 25 David is pleading with the Lord to show him how. He is telling the Lord that he is unable to do these things without the Lord’s help and guidance. He’s telling God he wants to change, he wants to repent and asking God to forgive him of his ungodly ways.

How can I ask God to help me if I am mad as the dicken’s at God? If I’m mad at my parent’s, at myself, at the world and at God, whom I feel has forsaken me, I can’t very well forgive my parents, myself, the world, or even God.

When we are mad we are not in love. And when we do not love we cannot repent, for God is love. Remember, repenting is to be more like Christ. How then will I even want to be more like Christ if I blame Him for the abuse I suffered from humans?

Humans are not perfect. They are going to fail a little, a lot, miserably. God doesn’t! Because we are conditioned by external things we look to humans and expect all of our needs to be met. Humans can not do that. God can!

For Christ to be a viable part of our heart we must remove those things that crowd Him out; the anger, the bitterness, those thoughts of “they don’t deserve”. All those areas that prevent us from experiencing love must go.

As David cried out unto the Lord, “To You, O’Lord, I lift up my soul; in You I trust, O’ my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me…” (v1-2) so must we put our trust in the Lord. So must we give Him our soul.

For it is our soul and spirit that abuse has hurt. And as long as our heart is filled with hurt, guilt, shame, fear, hatred, and bitterness, our enemies are still triumphet! And it is that triumph over us that is our shame.

How then do we become triumphet over the wounds from our past? How do we defeat the enemy that holds us in bondage?

We do as David and many, many others – we cry out to the Lord. God loves each of us. It is His perfect love that delivers us. It is He who created us to love and be loved that we can reach out to and be heard.

“Teach me Thy way, O’ Lord.”

Psalm 86:11

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“Which way do I turn?” – A Testimony

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Written by Kelley – Angels by Grace Publication-June 1998

Have you ever been bombarded with questions stemming from abuse, in any form, and there was nowhere to turn? Opening up to friends or your counselor just didn’t seem to help at all? Yet the questions do not go away and it is torment. Every person needs a safe place to turn when dealing with any issue. Yet, I have come to realize friends or counselors aren’t always aware of our needs to open up, no matter how childish it seems.

God has allowed me to see that I have been looking to people to meet the emotional needs in my life. Needs such as,  knowing what it’s like to have someone put their arms around me and say they love me when I feel crappy about myself. Having someone to hold me and let me cry out without judging me, or reassuring me when things aren’t going well. We all need this.

All these needs stem from what we didn’t get growing up. If we are saved, spiritually, then in that regard we know (or should know) who we are in Christ. If we are a man or a woman, we know because the evidence is there.

Where is the turmoil at? It is our emotions. There is a big gap between our spirit and our physical bodies. The emotions are there and they are damaged, which brings doubt, insecurity, fears, etc.  Satan has his fun by doing everything in his power to prevent us from getting out what we really feel. He does this by getting us to focus on the situations in our lives, instead of focusing on Christ.

A good example of this is me being without a job for a little over six months. The first thought is survival and that results into not tithing, for example. It is easy for me to trust God when things are going great because I feel like He loves me. However, when a trial hits that means depending on Him, it is now the hardest thing to tithe. But tithing is my responsibility no matter what happens.

After the not tithing issue, my value as a person takes a beating as never before. Satan will use looking for a job as a way to compound the emotions of rejection, feelings of not having any abilities that would interest someone enough to hire me, etc.

Who does a person turn to after finding out that the things of the world, friends or counselors can’t help or stop the pain? The Person to turn to is God! As much as I cover my true emotions up with anger, He is the only One I can turn to. I honestly can’t say the blank feeling with people is His fault because God knows the right people to bring into my life.

However, when there is no other safe place to turn, He is our refuge. Kirk Talley does a song called, “Sometimes a Soldier Cries.” Its message is that it is okay for a soldier to cry, not feel strong, etc. And that we can turn to God’s arms of love.

Do I ever feel His arms around me or His love? No! However, God really uses music to comfort me, to remind me of His love, that His arms are really there. Yes, I have been frustrated with things I have gone through involving job hunting, things in life, and counseling. I can honestly say that God’s purpose was to get me to realize He is the only place I can truly turn and just be me. I really believe that His love is going to flood my emotional hurts in such a way that I will never be the same and that the torments of thoughts will be less and less.

Recently, God allowed me to attend a funeral of a nine-year old boy. One of the preachers there shared a very touching sermon and it hit home for me. He talked about Job and how Job never blamed God. The preacher also shared about God’s Sovereignty in the boy’s death.  He pointed out that in God’s Word that our days are numbered and that the car accident was the means of God calling His child home.

How does this relate to abuse of any nature? Very simple. We have a Sovereign God who is in control. Yes, we could go into the question of if He’s so Sovereign, why did He let it happen? I have wanted to do that many times in an angry way because it hurts so much. God understands me doing that but, it would be my way of covering up the tears, the pain, and the need to release these feelings even though I’m scared.

There is no reason to blame God and get into the “What if’s” concerning myself or any circumstances that contributed to it. There is only forgiveness and letting His love flood my emotions. I know that God will always remind me of these things daily as a source of encouragement because He knows that I have the worst habit of focusing in on the circumstances and other people instead of focusing on Him.

 

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Trust and Believe

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Trust and believe, my gentle friend

In all you say and do, 

For Christ will take you by the hand

And He will see you through. 

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Trust and believe, my gentle friend

No matter what’s in store;

The Lord will be there at your side,

As He’s always been before.

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Trust and believe, my gentle friend,

With all your heart and soul –

The Master will take care of you,

And help you reach your goal.

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Trust and believe, my gentle friend,

Reach out to heaven above,

And God will smile down on you,

And touch you with His love!

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Written by Hope C. Oberhelman – Angels by Grace – June 1998

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Blessings to you.

Scars in life

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Some years ago on a hot summer day in South Florida a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind the house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went.

He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore. His mother in the house, was looking out the window, saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, she ran toward the water, yelling to her son as loudly as she could.

Hearing her voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a u-turn to swim to his mother. It was too late. Just as he reached her, the alligator reached him. From the dock, the mother grabbed her little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began the incredible tug-of-war between the two.  The alligator was much stronger than the mother, but the mother was much too passionate to let go. A farmer happened to drive by, heard her screams, raced from the truck, took aim and shot the alligator.

Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal. And, on his arms, were the scratches where his mother’s fingernails dug into his flesh in her effort to hang on to the son she loved.

The newspaper reporter who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, “But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because My Mom wouldn’t let go.”

You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars, too. No, not from an alligator, but the scars of a painful past. Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep regret. But, some wounds, my friend, are because God refused to let go. In the midst of your struggles, He’s been there holding on to you.

The scriptures teaches that God loves you. You are a child of God. He wants to protect you and provide for you in every way. But sometimes we foolishly wade into dangerous situations, not knowing what lies ahead. The swimming hole of life is filled with peril – and we forget that the enemy is waiting to attack. That’s when the tug-of-war begins – and if you have scars of His love on your arms be very, very grateful. He did not and will not ever let you go.

You just never know where a person is in his/her life and what they are going through. Never judge another persons scars, because you don’t know how they got them.

Ginger – Elah Publication – Aug. 2003

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Blessings to you.