Whispersfrommyheart's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘#Choices

Courtesy of The Kelly File

Courtesy of The Kelly File

Jessa Seewald and Jill Dillard, two of the victim sisters of Josh Duggar, broke their silence on The Kelly File Friday night. I watched, intently, to see how they spoke about their abuse, and how they reacted to personal questions regarding said abuse. And, do you know what I saw?

Grace.

Forgiveness.

Mercy.

I saw tears, too, but not where I expected them.

I expected the girls to break down when they were asked about what their brother did. I expected them to react like I did — like so many of us do when we recount our abuse — with tears, anger, and yes, some bitterness that Josh Duggar stole something precious from them — their innocence.

But, they didn’t.

Their body language was relaxed. They looked at ease through most of the interview. They smiled, laughed, and comfortably spoke about what took place in their home. It wasn’t until the subject of the media was brought up that, at least, Jill’s body language changed. She stiffened up and began to cry as she gave her personal feelings about the release of their sealed report. Jill recalled calling her husband on that day, over two weeks ago, when In Touch Magazine posted the police report for all the world to see.

“We’re victims,” Jill Duggar Dillard exclaimed. “How can they do that to us?”

Jill continued to fight back her emotions as she explained how they felt they were being re-victimized “a thousand times worse” than the original offense. She, and sister Jessa, both said multiple times, “We had already dealt with it, we moved on. Josh confessed to us, we forgave him; we moved on.”

So, why can’t America let it go?

Is it because we are disgusted with this kind of “sin”? As well we should be. As one who has endured years of childhood sexual abuse, I can say first hand that molestation is disgusting. It is vile. It is reprehensible. Repulsive. Repugnant. Vicious. Nasty. Shocking. Appalling. And, yes, contemptible. A lot of the posts I have seen over the past few weeks express those very words. Some would like nothing better than to take Josh Duggar out behind the woodshed and execute him. We have no problem understanding, or accepting, the words that express our disgust of Josh’s actions. We applaud those words. We exhort those words. But, there is another word we’ve heard that makes us just as mad as Josh Duggars actions against his sisters and baby sitter. A word that infuriates us and enrages us, and causes us to strike out in shock and disbelief that such a word could even be muttered over such a reprobate .

Forgiven.

WHAT? Forgiven? How could anyone forgive what he has done? He’s a pig. A worm. He doesn’t deserve to live. I’ve seen the words written all over the internet, newspaper sites, blog posts, Facebook statuses, Twitter feeds… they’ve all basically said the same thing. “Josh Duggar is a vile human being, and therefore must be punished in a manner that is acceptable to us.”

But, we don’t get to make that call, do we?

Josh didn’t molest us, he molested his sisters and baby sitter, and they are the only ones who get to determine whether or not he is forgiven. Period. And they chose to forgive him.

Deal with it, America.

I was very impressed by Jill and Jessa. They have given us a peek into something holy. A humble, beautiful example of Agape Love. True love that covers a multitude of sin (1 Peter 4:8). Along with a heart of love, they have given us a clear example of what true forgiveness looks like. A perfect example of how our LORD, Jesus Christ, treats every one of us who repent and turn from our sin to follow him.

The Duggar girls aren’t angry. The don’t exhibit signs of bitterness. They aren’t bashing their brother. Instead, their words toward him are seasoned with grace and mercy. They have said they have dealt with it, they have forgiven him, and they have moved on.

I believe them.

Is it possible, the reason we are so outraged is because we just expect the Duggar girls to feel the same way we do over our own abuses (or how we feel over a family member/friend who was abused)? And, because they don’t we think there must be something wrong with them?

I mean, who does that?

Victims forgive.

Why?

Because forgiveness doesn’t release the offender from the responsibility of his or her actions, rather, it releases the victim from the prison of emotional upheaval and life altering issues caused by the offenders actions.

The Duggar girls understand this.

They don’t need our help. No matter how much we think our two cents (even this blog post) is spot on, they don’t need our help. They’ve got it covered. And, they don’t need the internet counseling sessions. Their family dealt with Josh’s abuse. DCFS cleared the parents, and even complimented them on how they handled the situation. And, certainly, the girls don’t need our criticism for their right to forgive their brother.

These girls have suffered twice now.

It’s time to allow them the dignity to live their own lives with their own convictions.

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I was 28 years old with two children, ages one and two, and five months pregnant with my third when I met with a counselor. I needed courage to leave my abusive husband and thought I could find some there.

Counselor: “Tell me about your childhood.”
Me: (Thinking what does my childhood have to do with anything?) “Well, it was a childhood. You know… normal.”
Counselor: “It was happy??
Me: “I don’t know. It was… norm… (a dam of memories breaks open in my mind)… wait, no, that’s not right.”
Counselor: “What isn’t right”?
Me: “My childhood. It wasn’t normal. I was mo… (there is a flood of emotions rising to the surface)… I was mol… (I am having trouble saying the word. My throat is closing off my words. Tears are choking me). I was molested”!

As that realization tumbled to the forefront of my mind, I felt as though my life shattered into a million tiny pieces. Each shard stabbing me with it’s truth. As the details began spilling out, my soul felt like it was being ripped apart. The pain was excruciating. Unbearable.

I don’t know how long I cried, but when I calmed down he asked…

Counselor: “How have you handled all of that”?

The truth is, most of us don’t know how to “handle” what we’ve been through. We’ve turned to food, sex, drugs, alcohol, self harm — other avenues to dull the pain. We don’t want to feel that kind of pain so we stuff it further and further down by any other thing that makes us feel better.

The other part of the truth is, this: We can’t heal unless we allow the reality of abuse, and the pain, to rise to the surface. To be validated. To be known. To be released.

No matter how painful it is, facing our past needs to be done in order to heal. Mine pounced on me while looking for an ounce of courage. I’m glad it did because today, the pain is no more.

What God has done for me, he WILL do for you!

I know. It sounds flippant. But, really, it’s not. I really am sorry. I didn’t mean to do it, again. I didn’t mean to give in to a moment of weakness.

But, I did.

I hate when I give in to sin. It is usually followed by a sense of distance between God’s Spirit and me, and a bout of guilt that continues until I break down, confess myself to God, and repent of my sin.

That’s how it went today. Happily, in short order.

Sin is deceitful. It draws us in by constant bombardment. At times, we are able to stand firm against it, and it lessens the pull against us. However, there are those moments of weakness when we give in to that temptation. It seems so exciting, so good, so inviting, when we are being tempted. But once we have given into the sin, and completed the sin, the guilt and shame enter in. The guilt and the shame create the distance that develops between God and our self. Sin always causes us to shrink away from God. Sin and God cannot stay in the same place.

That’s how sin works.

That’s why God tells us to resist the devil and he will flee from you. – James 4:7.

I can hear you saying, “But, you don’t know how hard it is…”!
Oh, yes I do. That is why I also come bearing good news.

We are all human. While we can learn to overcome sin, we are bound to fail. God, in his mercy, has already made provision for us.

The work that Jesus did on the cross, not only provided us with salvation, but total forgiveness of sin. Total. I mean, everything we did in the past, everything we do today, and everything we do in the future. Covered. Taken care of. Blotted out.

“Are you telling me if I let loose of a string of cuss words, I’m covered? I can do whatever I want?”

I didn’t say that.

“But, that’s what it sounded like.”

No, that is not what I’m saying. Otherwise, the guilt I felt when I gave in to temptation is of no use.

When Jesus died he died ONCE and FOR ALL for ALL sin for ALL TIME, Romans 6:10, he took care of sin for ALL TIME for ALL who come to him.

“You mean, me, too?”

Yes, you, too.

However, if, once we have accepted Christ’s payment for our sin, if we continue to live in sin his sacrifice is null and void for us – See Hebrews 10:26.

A Christian who willingly sins hasn’t died to sin – Romans 6:2.
One who humbles him or herself in the sight of God allows God’s Spirit to work sin out; to conform us to the image of Christ.

As one who is overcoming the issues of Childhood Sexual Assault, falling off the sin wagon is huge. Since control is a big issue, loosing control matters. Not controlling my mouth, or my body, or my attitude, brings about huge disappointments. As soon as I give in to sin, the cycle begins: I retreat from God, and as I make that retreat, I remind myself; “You’re so stupid, you can’t do anything right.” “You are dumb.” “God hates you.” These thoughts take me even farther away from God. They increase my distance from him. Thankfully, God’s Spirit also begins his work, reminding me God’s mercy is new every morning -Lamentations 3:22 & 23. Drawing me back. Closing the gap.

You see, God knows we are going to fail.
He has already forgiven us.
Already given us the way back.
Already closing the distance between us, and him.
Already drawing us back in.

The scriptures tell us in Romans 8:39, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Our failures don’t make us unlovable to God. They won’t cause God to abandon us. He won’t run away from us. We’ll be chastised because he loves us – Hebrews 12:6. We’ll have to suffer the consequences of our choices, but God will never turn away or forsake us.

Don’t hold back.
He’s calling you to turn back to him.
He’s telling you, you’re already forgiven. Already covered.
Even if you are enduring tough circumstances because of your choices, God is still there, right beside you. Waiting for you to run into his arms.

We are human.
We’re going to stumble and fall.
But, you are more than…your sin.

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We’re all in the same boat.

We all have a part in this journey we call life. Some find the journey easy, light, carefree, while others find the journey hard, difficult and full of drudgery.

I don’t know if the view of the journey is based on our attitude — I know bad attitudes don’t help — or whether some are just destined to live a life of ease and others a life of hardship.

Even when Jesus walked the earth there were those yoked to the cost of daily living; those who were lost in the every day happenings that it took to live, and there were those who dined in palaces with royalty.

I’m not making a distinction between the rich and the poor, because that line will always be hanging around. What I am pointing to is the choice of the journey itself. Life. No matter where your journey began, and how it is playing out on the grand screen called earth, each of us have a choice to make. Do we choose to walk out our journey of our own accord, or do we grab onto the hand of Jesus Christ and allow him to lead us to our eternal journey?

Many years ago — when I was young — I made a choice to grab onto Jesus. Back then, I chose to walk this particular path because I was afraid of ending up in hell. But, because life continued to happen (IE: Bad things happening to good people), the choice to continue to walk on this same path — holding the hand of Jesus — took on a whole other meaning.

Pain has a way of inserting itself into your life in unexpected ways. Buried things get dug up. Scars are ripped open. Memories emerge. Suffering begins… and continues. Abuse. Job loss. Marital disharmony…. Real life. Sometimes, hardships are so intense, so difficult, that we are tempted to throw in the towel. Give up.

It is during these times of immense suffering we must ask ourselves a few questions. Does pain and hardship quantify the goodness of God? Or, are the circumstances surrounding our lives indicators of God’s pleasure/displeasure?

No matter how the questions are answered, one has a choice to make. Do I continue this journey with Jesus, even though the path has become difficult? Even though the walk has become a climb, or a crawl?

I faced extreme difficulties in my journey.

My 3 & 1/2 year marriage was over. I had 2 little boys, and one on the way, when I left my abusive marriage. I faced financial devastation, not once, but twice in my life. I have lived in extreme poverty, and barely made a living. I’ve worked for the same company for 15 years, then found myself unemployed. I’ve struggled with body issues, image issues, weight issues, peer issues; I’ve been a loner and a single mom for 25 years.

It was easy to follow Jesus when things were going good. But with each hardship; as the journey became difficult, my journey with Jesus became more of a statement of faith than it did a way to escape hell.

Through each and every hardship & difficulty I was able to overcome, I noticed something. I became stronger. My faith deepened. My journey with Jesus became a deep relationship. Good came out of bad. Order came out of chaos. Peace was found in the midst of the storm.

The following poem is my statement of faith:

I’ve chosen to walk down this path

This journey that’s called Faith

No matter what the circumstance

No matter what the fate.

I’ve made my choice, I make my stand

My heart is fully set;

I choose to follow Jesus Christ

And there is no regret.

Although the road gets steep and long

And jagged is the path;

When walking becomes difficult

I’m tempted to go back.

Or when the road, at times, descends

Into a valley low;

Through muck and mire I trudge along

Each labored step is slow.

But onward is the task at hand

Regardless of the cost;

In spite of rising obstacles

This path I have not lost.

I’m led by Hands I cannot feel

And Hands I cannot see;

And when I stumble or fall down

These Hands will carry me.

For God has never promised us

A journey free from pain;

But promised if we did walk on

With Christ we then would reign.

So when this journey finally ends

By Faith, in Him, I rest;

No matter where my path has led

This journey’s for my best.