This July we continue to Celebrate Life and Freedom. June ended with three OUTSTANDING decisions from the United States Supreme Court confirming there is still hope.
Freedom and Life come from God. Those who deny or hate God also deny or hate Freedom and Life for anyone other than themselves.
I was stabbed four times while working at a part time job. The stabbings were: in the back, a quarter inch from the heart; the head; the hand; and the leg. Scars of those stabs and chest tubes are present today. I was rushed to the hospital in the back of a police cruiser. They called my wife to hurry to the hospital as they did not expect me to make it another half hour. Two brand new doctors attended to me. There was nothing they could do. I left my body to the edge of the wall and ceiling and saw them working on me. I heard a voice say: “It is not your time”. Then I returned to my body and felt pain and heard the two brand new Doctors… in there second week…yell “He’s back.”
This is not a subject that is regularly talked about in the family. At the time I had one daughter, who could have ended up being an only child, however God had other plans and made sure that did not happen.
June 25th this year seemed to be good day to share the events of that day in 1976. This happened at 11:30 PM and I was dead for twenty minutes, yet I was not saved until 1980.
I often say my two other children are miracle children. All three of them are precious to me as well as to God
This shows how precious you are. God knows the future and had you planned from the beginning.
Well, they are definitely glad I came back and still here!!! So am I.
This gives an added meaning to; this the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.
My oldest remembers her mother definitely telling her that story, and she definitely remembers me mentioning it as well… It just seems very surreal!
Some people who experience trauma suffer for years with a whole host of problems such as anxiety, depression and even PTSD. Some self medicate with prescription, alcohol or illegal drugs. By God’s Grace I never had those issues.
Some people had abortions suffer from regret, shame, guilt, anxiety, depression, self loathing, and even PTSD. Some self medicate with prescription, alcohol or illegal drugs.
“No matter what it was caused by, shame can hurt us for many years and may become a “nourishment” for the opinions that we have about ourselves. Under the influence of conditional love or rude and abusive treatment, a person, consciously or not, assimilates a certain “disordered pack” of ideas about their own personality. You may find many women say about themselves: “There is nothing good in me”, “I am stupid”, “It’s my own fault that I became pregnant”, “I need to hide this for the rest of my life”, “I am not worthy (or capable) to be a mother”, “I am not worthy to have normal relations with a man”, “I had one abortion already, why shouldn’t I have one more?”, “I need to punish myself or let other people treat me badly because I don’t deserve anything else.”
While feeling of guilt can be corrected, in some instances rather quickly, by asking forgiveness for our mistakes, feeling of shame can only be healed by love and truth and may require much longer time.
In freeing yourself from the power of shame, a woman needs to remember that who she is, is not defined by actions or opinions of other people. No matter how many mistakes she personally made, she is a human being that deserves love and respect for her dignity. Since feeling of shame may have its roots in very early childhood or due to rude and abusive treatments, this woman may need strong reassurance from friends and family, that no matter how bad her mistakes were she is loved unconditionally. (4)
On the day I shared the events of 1976 I did not know God had been orchestrating events that would culminate in affirming: our right to defend ourselves (1); our right to determine how we govern ourselves (2); our right to pray (3). God was orchestrating these events as He did in providing the tree Zacchaeus the Tax Collector would climb on to see Jesus (Luke 19:1-10); and providing that Joseph would be in charge in Egypt after being sold into slavery by his brothers. Joseph’s brothers meant it for evil but God meant it for good (Genesis 50:20). Joseph saved many lives.
Another time God was orchestrating events, according to Kelvin Cochran; slavery saved many lives and was good for African Americans in long run (5). You can watch his testimony in Freedom Sunday video below. Kelvin Cochran was fired as the Fire Chief for writing and publishing his Christian family book “How did you know I was naked”. Kelvin Cochran also shared how his faith sustained him. The city of Atlanta settled with Kelvin Cochran for $1.5M. He shares how his faith in Jesus carried him through.
The church has a tremendous opportunity to walk with everyone who hurts or have hurt others, no matter the circumstances, to help each one of them become the whole, healthy, joyful people God intended them to be.
Freedom Sunday | June 26, 2022
(1) Download and read the actual ruling:
NEW YORK STATE RIFLE & PISTOL ASSOCIATION, INC., ET AL. v. BRUEN, SUPERINTENDENT OF NEW YORK STATE POLICE, ET AL. (Second Amendment)
(2) Download and read the actual ruling:
DOBBS, STATE HEALTH OFFICER OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, ET AL. v. JACKSON WOMEN’S HEALTH ORGANIZATION ET AL. (Abortion – Roe v Wade)
(3) Download and read the actual ruling:
KENNEDY v. BREMERTON SCHOOL DISTRICT (Praying Coach win)
“There’s a difference between still being a victim of abuse and a survivor of abuse.
A person that still carries the shame, guilt, unforgiveness, has not healed the emotional issues from abuse, or is still being abused is continuing to be a victim.
The person that can stand tall, speak out with no shame, no guilt, and has walked the healing path is a survivor of the abuse that was perpetrated in the past. It isn’t just having ‘lived through the abuse.’ It is a matter of having walked the healing path and by God’s grace has over come the emotional issues and is walking in freedom from the past.
Many people want to be helpful and many think that their questions and statements are innocent and do not affect those that have been abused, be it childhood sexual abuse or spousal rape and abuse, or physical and emotional abuse.
Over the years I have heard many testimonies of the added pain inflicted upon victims and survivors of these types of abuse. I have experienced many of them myself and I can tell you from experience the survivor of abuse may steal herself/himself for the onslaught of ‘innocent’ questions and statements but these questions and/or statements are knives deeply imbedding in the heart of the one who has survived the horrors of abuse.
Never, never, never, ever say these things to a victim/survivor of abuse:
‘You could have done something to defend yourself.’
Let me ask you how a small child can defend herself against an adult? Or how can a wife defend herself against a husband that is bigger, stronger and wields some object, including his fist, at her? Or a teen girl or boy defend themselves against an angry father or mother? Children are taught to obey! Obey no matter what the parent says to do! Wives are taught to be ‘submissive’ to their husband.
‘Why didn’t you just leave?’
In the case of a small child, where would they go? A two-year old cannot support themselves, nor a 5-year-old or 7, 10, or 12-year-old. Teenagers? Some do leave and they end up on the street, homeless, the property of a pimp, or within a gang doing drugs, robbing, stealing, scavenging for food in dumpsters, and the Lord only knows what else. Many do not have relatives that will sympathize and take them in. For the grown woman, some are threatened with death if she ever leaves, she has children to consider, a homeless shelter may be a temporary answer IF they are not full, she may not have ever held a job in her life and has no means of support. The list can go on and on and on. I highly recommend the book, “TheWalking Wounded: The Path from Brokenness to Wholeness” by Secret Angel for a better understanding of a wife and mother living with an abusive husband. Available at: www.amazon.com.
“Why didn’t you tell someone!”
Many have, most won’t. With young children some have been told to “keep the secret no matter what!” Many were accused of lying, blamed for the assaults, beaten for “telling such lies,” ignored, threatened with family members being killed (and many other guilt-ridden consequences) Most have been subject to mind control from an early age, manipulated and controlled, blamed for the abuse by the abuser. One of the things I was told over and over as a young child, “Just stay away from him!” At two and three years old I was told, “If you wouldn’t sit on your dad’s lap…” We are made to feel it is all our fault! For teenagers some have been actually thrown out of the house at fifteen or sixteen years old or have run away because no-one believed them and the abuse continued. Some married the first guy to come along only to be abused now by a husband. Victims are seldom believed! Males are laughed at. “Men can’t be raped!” If that’s your attitude then read, “Unhelpful Myths Aboutthe Sexual Assault and Rape of Men.” Posted on this blog, June 10, 2015.
‘Well you should have……’ or ‘Why didn’t you…..?’
Unless you have been in our shoes there is no way you can even begin to understand or comprehend the dynamics that are or were going on in an abusive home. To lay this kind of condemnation on a victim is to jab the knife in real deep, smile sweetly, and then twist it!
‘Did you call the police?’
Young children don’t know to do that. Some teenagers do and end up in foster care only to be abused again or bounced from one place to another to another to another. Some, when the police arrive the abuser convinces the police the teen “has some mental problems.” Unless there are obvious bruises and cuts the police will file a report and leave. With adults, many do but out of a false sense of “I love him” or “He loves me” they refuse to press charges once the police have come. Many do not get that opportunity for the control is so great there may not even be a phone available in the home.
‘Just get over it! It happened a long time ago!’
There is no way that dagger can be shoved any deeper into the heart of the recipient of this remark. It is one of the most devastating, demeaning, accusatory, condemning and hurtful remarks that can be made to a victim of abuse. Particularly sexual abuse or rape. Which by the way, sexual abuse that involves intercourse is rape!
‘What’s the big deal? It was just sex!’
This shows total ignorance on the part of the speaker. Sexual abuse encompasses the mind, the will, the emotions, and the spirit of the victim. The ramifications and emotional consequences of childhood sexual abuse can last a life time. In spousal abuse, where the wife is raped by the husband (along with beatings, etc.) the same thing applies. The mind, will, and emotions are all involved and emotional damage can be severe as well as possible permanent physical injuries.
‘I’m sure they (parents) did the best they could.’
In my opinion, there is absolutely no excuse that can be given for a parent to turn his or her back on a child that is being abused emotionally, physically, psychologically, or sexually! There is always something that can be done or someone who is willing to help. We have had police and laws for centuries. By ignoring the abuse happening is emotional abandonment and anyone who knows or even highly suspects abuse is taking place and does nothing is a co-conspirator to the crimes that are being committed. That means by doing “nothing” you are doing “something” – agreeing with, condoning the abuse.
‘You just need to forgive and move on.’
Oh, this sounds so Christian! And of course this is done in “love.” Again, it shows the ignorance and total disregard for what abuse does to the victim; physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. The emotional pain of the victim is never taken into account with this statement. This statement gives the impression that the horrors the victim has survived are merely minor infractions. “Here’s a band-aid, I’ll kiss it and make it all better.” The knife goes really deep and twisting it hurts even more!
‘Are you sure it really happened?’
There’s that knife again! Survivors have questioned themselves until they are blue in the face with this very question even though they KNOW it happened. They do not want to believe that someone they trusted and possibly loved would betray them in such a horrific way. It is very difficult to accept the reality of being hurt, betrayed, and used by a loved one. To have this thrown at them turns the knife at least a full turn deep in their heart. Is essence you are calling them a liar and they’ve heard that from many others.
‘Give it to God and let it go.’
Oh such a simplistic and uncaring statement! Just twist the knife a little more for this is a platitude that many Christians will spew forth when they can’t think of anything intelligent to say. Yes, we seek the Lord, if we are not so angry at Him for not stopping the abuse. Some beg, plead, and scream to the heavens. Many victims of abuse carry great anger and through the grace of God we do heal but to tell us to just hand everything; emotional damage, memories, scars, and what we feel to God like we’re handing Him a stick of gum is irrational on many levels. The issues run deep and much emotional damage has been done. Each issue is dealt with in time with God’s help. We can not put an entire childhood or 20 years of an abusive marriage in a box and just cast it off and go about our merry way.
‘Maybe it was just a bad dream.’
You have not only stuck the knife in but have slapped the victim hard in the face. In my case, that would have been an 18 year nightmare! When victims of sexual abuse begin therapy, or even before, this thought does come to mind. “Maybe I dreamed it up. It isn’t true.” Again, it is that deep need to not want it to have had it happen. The bruises in spousal abuse prove this was not dream. A night mare in reality but not a dream during sleep. No, we didn’t dream it. We wish we had because we would wake up and it would go away after the 2nd cup of coffee.
‘Just don’t think about it!’
Total disregard for the hurt, betrayal, physical and emotional wounding of victim! Absolutely no compassion is being shown. Victims do not have control over what the Lord will bring to mind that He may deem as time to deal with or the memories popping up “out of nowhere.” Walk away from this person! They do not have a heart for your pain and will only cause more.
‘Well you must have done something wrong!’
In other words, “It’s all your fault!” We’ve heard this from the first encounter, be it as a child or an adult. Abusers NEVER take the blame! It is ALWAYS placed on someone or something else (usually the victim) and the knife is being twisted around and around as it has been sunk very deep into the heart of the victim. The child victim is NEVER to blame! With adults, there’s no excuse for a man to hit a woman, ever! Or a woman to hit a man unless in self-defense.
Are you ready? Here is the one that tops all that I have heard over the years! Out of the mouth of a youth pastor that had a seventeen year old victim living with he and his wife to escape the sexual abuse at home came these mighty words of wisdom so confidently spoken to me:
‘A one time rape is more devastating to the victim than continual sexual molestation, they get used to it.’
I’m still speechless!
Am I saying not to talk to survivors of abuse? NO! I’m saying be sympathetic, compassionate, and caring. If the person brings up the subject, listen before speaking. Think long and hard what questions you may want to ask. If you are sincere in learning more about what we have to face as the results from the atrocities done to us ask if there are any books we might recommend. Don’t give the platitude or outright lie by saying, “I know just how you feel.” NOT IF YOU HAVEN’T WALKED IN OUR SHOES!
Some survivors, like me, are willing to answer even the questions that you never should have asked. But that’s only because I have had years of therapy and by God’s grace and Christ’s healing I can stand up to the intrusive and inconsiderate questions and remarks. Many survivors will wilt, feel condemned, and damage beyond belief can be done. Words hurt! Words can be that knife in the heart!
Many victims of abuse are sensitive, guilt ridden, filled with shame, low self-esteem, angry, hurt, and pain so deep only God can bring it into the light. Many continue to feel isolated, unloved, dirty, and unworthy of anything positive.
WHICH MOMENT OF JESUS’ LAST WEEK ON EARTH SPEAKS TO YOU THE MOST?
Mark 15:16-19 carefully details the mockery that Christ endured at the hands of a battalion of about 500 Roman soldiers inside the Praetorium. After He was falsely accused of leading an insurrection, the soldiers taunted Jesus by putting a twisted crown of thorns upon His head, wrapping a purple robe on His bloody body, placing a fake scepter in His trembling hands, and saluting Him with sadistic glee. Through enduring these various forms of abuse, Jesus as our high priest took upon Himself the shame of innocent victims living in a fallen world. Victims of verbal, emotional, sexual, and physical abuse need to know Christ as not only a guilt-bearing Savior but also a shame-bearing Savior—one who identifies, empathizes, and heals.
—Mika Edmondson, pastor of New City Fellowship in Grand Rapids, Michigan and author of The Power of Unearned Suffering: The Roots and Implications of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Theodicy
Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane—“Not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39)—is one I think about often, as it reveals much about the nature of prayer. When we pray, we are not asking God to magically do things we want, but rather we enter God’s presence and ask that our hearts and minds be transformed. We’re tempted to see problems in the world as out there, in other people; it’s much harder to recognize the darkness, greed, hate, lust, and anger in our own heart. In prayer, we follow Jesus in asking for our own transformation—not to make us better people, but to make ourselves available to embody God’s love and compassion in the world.
—C. Christopher Smith, editor of The Englewood Review of Books and author of How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church
After all Jesus went through His last week on earth, He could have said “OK, Father, I’m done with them.” But that’s not who Jesus is. I find it moving that He took the time to come back to the disciples a second time after His resurrection—and in particular that He decided to give Thomas a chance to touch His wounds and believe. He could have been “done” with Thomas, but He proved Himself again. He did that so there would be a record of it for people like me. I appreciate that about Jesus. He knows us, and He loves us still. His love is never done.
—TaRanda Greene, member of Cana’s Voice and solo vocal artist. Her latest album is The Healing.
I can’t imagine being at the table with Jesus in the upper room. After He took the cup and bread, giving thanks, He said six words I can’t shake: “Do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19). I kind of think of communion now as part of a progressive dinner party that began in the upper room and ends in the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. We attend the same meal those disciples did; we’re just down the street a little. Believers who come after us attend the same meal, but it’s held at another house. The body and the blood is timeless, and believers get to be there for the finale in heaven. We remember every time, but He remembers as well. It’s His covenant with us, and I can’t wait to find place settings with my name and yours at the ultimate Easter banquet.
—Sarah Harmeyer, speaker and founder of Neighbor’s Table