Whispersfrommyheart's Blog

Archive for September 2012

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No longer is my name to be

“Survivor” any more;

For I have long since been redeemed

My life has been restored.

 

And I no longer will be seen

As one whose grief is worn;

Like medals from a battle won

For which my heart has mourned.

 

And shame no longer has the right

To claim me as its own;

Disgrace, dishonor are replaced

With Love, He has atoned.

 

And hate no longer covers me

Within its evil shroud;

Weighing down my heart and soul

To keep my spirit bowed.

 

For when I claimed Survivorship

My heart believed the lie;

That grief and shame were evidence

Of what my past implied.

 

But Jesus came and set me free

Then showed me what was true;

“Survivor” kept me victimized

And kept my heart askew.

 

And as He taught me how to live

As one who’s overcome;

Instead of holding to the past

I now hold to the One.

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It was June 15th, 1904. The Klontz’s, part of the 1,358 members of Kleindeutschland (Little Germany), a very tight knit German immigrant community that had surrounded Tompkins Square on the Lower East Side, boarded the General Slocum around nine a.m. at a pier on Third Street and the East River. The family was excited about the annual picnic that was being held at Locust Point in bucolic Huntington on Long Island’s North Shore. Every deck was filled to capacity on the Slocum and a band played merrily as the steamer started out. Most of the passengers were women and children.

Not long into their excursion, cries of “fire” were heard. Panic began to set in. The speed of the Slocum caused the fire to spread quickly; too quickly! The life boats had burned before the crew could get them into the water. The Klontz’s found themselves with nowhere to go.

The decks soon began to collapse upon the passengers. People were jumping into the water, some women threw their children overboard in hopes they would somehow survive.

Miraculously, a little boy–**John Wesley Klontz–had been thrown overboard. He was one a the few who was pulled from the waters, and could only watch as the Slocum continued to burn at Hunts Point in the Bronx.

Verna Johnson was born in October of 1896 in the small, rural community of Laurel County, Kentucky, to George Washington Johnson and Mary Alpha Carter Johnson. Tragedy struck the Johnson household in double measure before Verna was born. Preceding her birth were twin brothers; Hubert was still-born, and Delbert died at 6 weeks of age. In the early 1900’s, when Verna was around 6 years old, the Johnson’s loaded up their covered wagon, and made the trek to Cincinnati, Ohio.

The rail road had built a station within a mile of her Cincinnati home, and Verna would climb up the old Oak tree near the track and watch the train pulling in, and out of the station. As the train passed, there would be a young man on the caboose, who waved to her. Verna became fond of their ritual, and each time the train came in, Verna found her heart beating wildly at the chance of seeing his handsome face.

One hot July afternoon in 1911, Verna climbed the Oak tree to watch the train. The train pulled in as usual, but this time, she noticed the tall young man stepping off of the train. Her heart began to pound as she watched the young man walk toward her tree. She quickly jumped down, and waited, as he strode toward her.

John Wesley Klontz removed his hat and held it over his heart.

“Afternoon, Ma’am.” John blushed, with a distinct accent.

Verna smiled and curtsied. “Welcome to Cincinnati.” She responded.

They became fast friends, and within a month, John asked Verna to be his bride.

“Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Verna, happy birthday to you!” Verna smiled as she closed her eyes and made her wish. She drew in a deep breath, enough to blow out all 15 candles at once.

As they sat around the table that October afternoon in 1911, Verna looked at the faces of her family, and smiled. She had reached a milestone, and this was the reason they celebrated. She was 15; a woman by modern day standards, and on this day she would become Mrs. John Wesley Klontz; the wife of the German Immigrant. A few months afterward, John and Verna left Ohio, and moved to Ottumwa, Iowa.

Grandma Verna raised Margie, after Margie’s mother passed away during an epileptic seizure, when she was 9 months old. At 18, Margie entered the Navy, met Carol Eugene Mason, married and began a family. After 6 children, time and money had not allowed the trek to Iowa all too often, and in 1998, it had been over 8 years since Margie had seen Grandma Verna.

By this time, Grandma Verna had reached another milestone in her life. In October of 1998, she had celebrated her 102nd birthday. Margie had not been able to attend, so when November rolled around, close to her own daughter’s birthday, they decided to celebrate by making the trip to Iowa. Margie and her girls spent the weekend of November 14th with Grandma Verna and their great Aunts and Uncles, re-living the past adventures of Grandma Verna, sitting in the tiny living room of the 1-bedroom home Verna still lived in.

Upon arriving back home, Cheryl noticed the Mother-in-laws tongue plant that Verna had given Margie 30 some odd years ago, had bloomed. Even though the plant had bloomed once since Margie received the plant, it should not have bloomed until another 50 years had passed. Cheryl sensed in her spirit that Grandma Verna would soon be going home and, in December of 1998, three weeks after their visit to Grandma Verna, she passed from this life, into life forever, leaving the legacy of 102 candles behind.

*Based on the life and times of my great-grandmother, Verna Klontz. Although the events of the Slocum are true, it is pure speculation that John Klontz was the little boy who survived. It was used to enhance the story of my grandmother’s meeting of her husband, John.

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Hold up a finger for each one…

1. God is who He said He is

2. God can do what He said He can do.

3. I am who God said I am.

4. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

5. The Word is alive and active in me.

Point to your heart and say, “I”

Point to your head and say, “Believe”

Point to the sky and say, “God”

I choose to believe what the Word of the LORD says, no matter how I feel; not matter what is happening in my life.

I believe God.

Beautifully written! SHE Thailand.

Jetset Times

BY CHERRIE CHEN

On my transfer flight from Bangkok to Phuket, I, in one of those sleep-deprived deliriums, asked myself what sorts of trouble and adventures I would be getting myself into this time. I was traveling alone and only knew one person in the entire country. My little game of “worst-scenario possible” ended when my two neighbors noticed and laughed at me, drifting in and out of sleep, and told me to keep awake for the landing because the descent was not to be missed. Phuket, for them, was their veteran vacation spot, and they said that watching the plane land was one of their favorite parts. As I took their advice and stared out my window, I understood why this province and city continues to attract scores of tourists each year: it is gorgeous. Nonetheless, I knew that its natural beauty aside, something else rather disturbing also attracts…

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(Photo courtesy of Larry Wilson)

I’d never seen Mom so sick in my entire life.  Somehow she had contracted meningitis and strep pneumonia in her blood, and the doctors at John Cochran’s V.A. hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, delivered the grim news to my three sisters and me.   We sat there in stunned silence as the doctor told us that mom was only the twelfth person in the United States to contract these two infections together, and so far, no one had survived.  The doctor didn’t expect mom to regain consciousness, but said she would more than likely slip into a coma and without actually saying it, it was understood that he expected mom to die.

I was devastated.

How could God allow this to happen when He knew how much I needed mom to stay here with me?   She had become more than just the woman who gave birth to me; she was my companion, my confidant, and my best friend.  She had given me support after my divorce, and became a surrogate parent to my three boys.  Because of mom, I had been able to return to work and not have worry about where my children would stay, and how I would pay for it.

It was more than I could bear.

After the doctor left, we began discussing the prognosis.  We were scared, but we disguised our fear with jokes.  Late one night, when my sisters went to the ICU waiting room to sleep, I went into my mother’s room to sit with her.  Mom had been unconscious and thrashing around in bed for three days, and as I sat there watching her; I began to cry and pray; “God, please don’t take her.  I don’t know if I’m strong enough to make it without her.  God, help me to be strong enough to handle your answer.”

Thy Will be done.

When I finished, I remembered I had brought my bible to the hospital and the thought, “I need to read to mom,” popped into my head.  I told the ICU nurse that I was going to read the bible to mom, and she gently warned me, “Don’t get your hopes up, honey.”  I looked at the nurse and told her, “But, I believe in the power of prayer,” and walked through the doors to the lobby.

After I got my bible, I went back into mom’s room and opened it up to Ephesians 1 and whispered the entire chapter to her.  When I was done, I began to quietly sing, and before I finished the first song, mom opened up her eyes and looked right at me!

“Oh my God she’s awake!” I screamed in my head.  At first I couldn’t believe it! She was supposed to die!  I controlled my voice–trying to remember all the other ICU patients–and squeaked out a high-pitched, but soft “Hello!”  I wanted to run and jump, and scream and shout; I was ecstatic, God answered my prayer-and  quickly.  I went to get the nurse and told her mom was awake–but by the time we got back to the room, mom was back asleep.

I felt so good, and after three days of little sleep, little food, and high strung emotions, I felt it was safe enough to sleep.

I was awakened an hour later by the same ICU nurse.  “Is your name Cheri?”  She asked.  “Yes,” I said. (Mom always called me Cheri.)  “Well,” the nurse told me, “your mother is awake, and she is asking for you by name.”  I jumped up from the chair I was sleeping in and ran into mom’s room, but she was asleep again.  So, I went back to the waiting room to lay down again.

I don’t know how long I had been asleep, but the sun was shining when another nurse came into the waiting room to wake me.  “Your mother is asking for all her girls.”  She said.  I got up, smoothed my hair as best I could, and ran to mom’s room.  I’ll never forget the sight that greeted me when I walked in her room.  Mom was sitting up in bed, smiling and talking to my sisters. I knew mom was going to be okay when she looked at me with wide eyes, laughed and said, “Oh, poor Cheri.”  (Making a joke about the way I looked– usually don’t appear in public without perfect hair and makeup.)

Mom left the ICU ward that very same day. Her story circulated the hospital; the hallways, the nurses stations, and even the cafeteria; everyone was talking about the miracle woman, and asking if she was our mom.  Not only did God cause her to survive two deadly infections, her recovery was without side effects from the meningitis!   God miraculously healed her completely, and ten days later, I took her  home.

I remembered to say one more prayer as we drove away from the hospital that day… “Thank you God, you are able to do so much more than I could hope or imagine.” Ephesians 3:20

God sized faith comes in all shapes and sizes. God took my faith, smaller than a tiny mustard seed, and worked a mighty miracle for His glory.  Through that miracle I had the opportunity to speak to an entire hospital about God’s love.

I continue to tell the story of God’s mercy toward my family, and His miraculous power of healing today.

SHE.

A worthy cause.

Hundreds of thousands of women and children are trafficked every year.

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I had been on the Daniel Fast for a couple of weeks when I had the dream.

The first week, as my body rid itself of caffeine, sugar, and toxins, I had an excruciating headache. Almost as if someone held my brain in their hands and squeezed it on all side, all at the same time. The night I dreamed, though, I felt really good. My headache was gone and I was beginning to adjust to the benefits of a vegan lifestyle.

I lay on the bed. My thoughts centered on Jesus. I remember thanking God for the day. I thanked him for leading me. Guiding me. I asked him to speak to me. He did.

Isn’t it funny, when you dream, it’s as if you are floating above yourself, watching the scenes unfold. Almost as if you are watching an exciting show on the big screen!

I walked along the mountaintop with my nieces and nephews. I thought, ‘How funny they are so small, like toddlers, when I know they are adults now.”

We walked along, singing a song. I held their hands in mine.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him. He was a huge, scaly, ugly, fire breathing dragon. He swooped down from the sky. I saw a white picket fence to my right side, and I was able to hold it up, over my head—like a shield—in one hand, while scooting the children behind me with the other.

The dragon flew all around us, snarling and baring razor sharp teeth. I could feel the presence of evil as the dragon continued to threaten us. Then, he stopped in mid-air, drew back, and then, with a forward motion of the dragon’s head, he began to breathe fire.

I could see intense hatred glaring from his eyes. I knew he wanted to kill me.

The fire that proceeded from his mouth was electrified. It was almost as if thousands of bolts of electricity created the fire and made it blazing hot.

I looked through the slats of the fence. The children clung tightly to my legs. I could hear the trembling of their bodies. They were frightened. I could see the dragon, but his fire could not get through. When it hit the fence, the fire of his breath flowed over the fence and fell on either side of the children and me.

It couldn’t touch us.

I laughed and told the children not to be afraid anymore, because, even though the dragon looked scary and had the ability to breath fire, he could not touch us right now. We were shielded from his fire.

I looked up at the dragon, and with the confidence of authority I looked that old dragon square in the eye and said, “I rebuke you in the Name of Jesus.”

The dragon breathed his fire again, but it had lost some of its potency.

“I rebuke you in the Name of Jesus!” I said again, “Now leave us and don’t come back!”

The dragon vanished.

I awoke with one thought.

He can’t touch me the real me.

Oh, yes, I’ve had circumstances that would make you cry. I’ve experienced events that would make you angry. I’ve had problems that disappoint and despair so deep you couldn’t see daylight. I’ve been sexually molested, raped, physically and verbally abused. Yes, I’ve had a lot of stuff happen that was meant to destroy me. And, a good many things have taken their toll on my physical body… but they haven’t touched the REAL ME!

The real me is the redeemed, blood-bought daughter of the Most High God. My physical body may be beaten or used, but my spirit is shielded from the torment Satan desires to put me through. God shields the fire from the beast from ever touching me. And, do you know what else is true?

He does the same for you.

God loves you. He knows difficult, and sometimes horrific, circumstances have touched your life. You have been lead into despair, but I tell you, he [Satan] cannot touch the real you! Yes, there will still be days and times when circumstances touch your physical body… BUT, he can’t touch you!

This body, the shell that holds our spirit—the real you and me—will one day crumple back into the dust from where it came. When that happens, the real you and the real me will step into heaven. We will emerge from this physical world, protected from the breath of fire the dragon breathes… we emerge…

Unscathed.