Whispersfrommyheart's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘confusion

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“Me”?

I point my finger at my chest, and question, almost in utter disbelief. “Surely, you don’t mean me?”

“Yes,” He said. “I do mean you.”

I tried to wrap my head around that thought. Me. A Jew asking me, a Samaritan for a drink?

I continue to draw water into the earthen pot. I didn’t expect to see anyone here. Usually, I make a point to come to the well long after the other women have gone. I don’t like the looks they give me… or the contempt – I have enough of that for myself. I really don’t need them to tell me what a failure I am. All I have to do is go back home to a man I am not even married to, or think about the amount of suffering I have endured from the hands of men since my childhood. Men using me for their own gratification. These women only care to see the outside, and they will assume what they want to assume. They don’t care to look beneath the surface. But, this man speaks to me of secret things he could not possibly know about me. His words strike my heart. My soul is set ablaze by the words he speaks. I want to hear more.

As I ponder his words, I offer him a drink. How does this man know these things about me? He doesn’t look familiar. I don’t believe I have seen him here before. Certainly, as a Jew, he is breaking all the rules of the traditions the Jews hold in high esteem. Ha. Ha. Can you imagine what the other women would think about this?

“If you knew who it is speaking to you, you would instead ask me for Living Water. This is the water, that, if you drink of it, you will never thirst again.”

“Are you serious”? The words came out so fast, I couldn’t stop them. I slapped my hand over my mouth. It was the strangest concept I have ever heard! “Sir, are you telling me I could drink this water and, magically never thirst again? That is the funniest thing I have ever heard. You have nothing with which to draw water from the well. How am I to taste of this water, sir? Are you greater than Jacob, our Father, who gave us this well? Please, sir, give me a taste!”

His eyes were gentle. His face kind. “First,” He said, “go and get your husband.” His eyes penetrated my soul with such love and warmth, I felt as though my insides were melting.

“My husband?” I stammered. “Sir, I do not have a husband.”

“You have spoken the truth. You have had 5 husbands, and the man you are with now is not your own.”

I dropped my pot to the ground as his words penetrated my heart, yet again. His words burning my whole being. He bent to steady the vessel for me. “You must be a prophet, sir. You know, our ancestors worshiped here on this mountain, but you Jews claim the only place to worship is in Jerusalem.”

Believe me, woman, a time is coming when those who worship God won’t worship him on this mountain, or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship, yet you do not really know who it is you worship. We worship God whom we know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet, I tell you the time has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth. These are the true worshipers the Father seeks. Do you understand that God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth?”

“I know, sir, the Messiah will come, and when he does, he will explain it all to us.” My heart skipped a beat. For the first time I could see a smile spread across his face. A twinkle lit his eyes.

“I, the one speaking to you now – I am he.”

Such profound words falling upon my ears. I didn’t notice the Disciples walk up. The realization of who I was talking to was still sinking into my heart and soul. Somehow, I already knew. In the way his words cut right through me; straight to the heart.

The Disciples didn’t seem pleased Jesus was talking to a Samaritan, and a woman at that! But they didn’t say a word. They just looked on with eyes wide open. But, I didn’t care. The Messiah was standing right in front of me! The One who was coming to free us all. He was here, speaking to me, a woman of great sin.

I have to go. I must run back to my village and let them know who is here and how he has come to set us free! The Messiah is here! And he has chosen me, a woman of lowly stature, and ill repute, to go and preach the Kingdom of the Gospel of Christ.

Do you see what he has done? He has come, even for the likes of me. An outcast of society, he has come to save. He has come.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you recognize this story, it is from John chapter 4, “The Woman at the Well.” An idea of the conversation that may have taken place on that day.

Award winning, poet and author, Cheryl A. Thompson, has been a single mother to Trey, Charlie and Brett since October of 1989. Through the trials of her childhood, and the struggles of single-parenthood, Cheryl has learned the importance of a heart attitude toward life and God, and how that attitude impacts a person’s soul and their relationship with God. She is a 1983 graduate of Christ For the Nations, Institute, in Dallas, Texas, and a 2012 graduate of Mid-Continent University in Mayfield, Kentucky. Cheryl has been published in the FaithWriters quarterly book, FaithWriters online magazine, and a contributing writer for the Christ For the Nations—60 Years of Service coffee table book released in October of 2009. She has published articles in Heart Magazine 2012 and WHOA Women Magazine 2013. Her first book, Whispers From My Heart – Emotional and Spiritual Healing from Childhood Sexual Assault, was published in November 2009.

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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.

(Courtesy 123RF)
You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed
Psalm 139:16 (NIV).

It was a struggle for me to understand.
Before I was ever born, God knew what would take place in my life… and he let it happen. He knew what those men would do to me, even before they were ever born… and he allowed them to be born. He allowed them to grow into men who would sexually abuse little girls.

Why?

That question plagued me for years. It was the source of my discontent with God. The wall that separated us.

Why? God seemed distant. Cold. Uncaring.

Why became the reason of disbelief.

Why? You must not love me. If God loved me, he wouldn’t have let this happen. He would have protected me. He would have answered my pleas for help.

Why became my reason for rebellion.

Why? If you don’t love me enough to keep me safe, then I won’t love you. God doesn’t deserve my devotion. I will live my life for myself. I will do what I want to do. I will use men the way they used me.

Why became self preservation and protection.

Why? Since you don’t love me enough to protect me, then I will live for myself. No one will get close enough to hurt me that way, ever again. I will keep relationships at an arms length. I won’t be vulnerable again.

Why became the fuel for my anger.

Why? You don’t care! God doesn’t care, so why should I? God doesn’t protect people, he is a distant, angry, uncaring deity that doesn’t deserve me. In fact, I hate him! If I could, I would slap him in the face for tricking me into thinking he did care about me.

Funny, even in my anger I didn’t deny God existed…

It’s hard to reconcile a loving, caring, personal God with the bad taking place our lives. One who knew everything there is to know before we even existed. We associate love and protection together. We love our own children and we protect them… or, we love our brother, sister, spouse and we protect them. We do everything we can to make sure they do not suffer. So, when bad things happen to good people (especially) we can’t wrap our minds around it. It is almost unfathomable to us that an All-Powerful God, who certainly has the ability to stop bad things from taking place, doesn’t.

It’s taken me the majority of my life to come to terms with it. Why? no longer haunts me. Sure, I still have questions, but those questions don’t stand in a gulf between God and me. God really doesn’t mind the questions.

In all of the days God saw for me, before even one of them began, just as our verse states, some one else was making plans. Someone who did not have my best interest at heart. Someone whose plan was to destroy my life with God before that relationship ever had a chance to begin.

The scriptures tell us, in 2 Corinthians 4:4, Satan is the god of this world.

Look at what I John 3:7 & 8 says:

GOD’S WORD® Translation
Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you. Whoever does what God approves of has God’s approval as Christ has God’s approval. The person who lives a sinful life belongs to the devil, because the devil has been committing sin since the beginning. The reason that the Son of God appeared was to destroy what the devil does.

By his Word, we know those who are not following God — obeying his commands — follow Satan, whether they accept it or not. Those men and women under Satan’s power are influenced to behave as he would have them behave, to accomplish his end. He [Satan] used those men, in their sin, to create havoc in my life. The ultimate purpose was to destroy my relationship with God (See John 10:10). To thwart the good plans God had for me (See Jer. 29:11).

God gave those men in my past a choice. They chose to sin against God by disobeying his command. And, they chose to sin against me by giving into their sin. Their choices had no bearing whatsoever on God’s intention for me and my life. Not then, and not ever.

Does that make sense?

One of the greatest things God gave us, other than his Son dying for our salvation, is the ability to make choices. We aren’t robots. We have a conscience that should help control our actions. But, when sin has such a grip on us — and child molesters are definitely held in the grip of that sin — personal control may or may not be that easy.

In my opinion — and this is just my opinion, I haven’t done any research to back this up… yet — Sexual sins are harder to control because of the physical pleasures they produce. The chemicals exploding in our bodies during sexual pleasures are very intimate and personal, and once they begin, are hard to get back under control. This is how I view my rapist, and my molesters. Men, so deeply trapped in their sexual sin, unable to resist the urges that plague their minds and their bodies.

Even though I understand what happened back then, it neither excuses their behavior, nor does it absolve them. I believe, with every fiber of my being they will be held accountable, and if the blood of Jesus has not covered their sin, that particular sin of rape and molestation will be the nails securing the lids on their coffins. They will have to stand before the Living God and answer to him.

Yes, God saw every one of my days, including the ones where terror and pain existed, before even one of them ever came into being. He saw them and provided the way in which those days could be overcome.

Isaiah 61:1 Jubilee Bible 2000
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to preach good tidings unto those who are cast down; to bind up the wounds of the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those that are bound;

That is the message today. God saw every one of your days, before they ever began. He knew the pain and terror that would fill some of those days, and he provided the way for you to overcome. He provided Jesus, not only as salvation for your soul, but as healer for your heart.

Be Blessed and #WalkInTruthToday

Psalm 119:107
I have suffered so much. Give me a new life, O LORD, as you promised. God’s Word ® Translation

I read Psalm 119:107 during morning devotions a couple of days ago. I was struck, in particular, over the sufferings of several friends and families. So many postings on Facebook about the death of loved ones. Personal trials. Heartache. Medical issues. Hurts. Pain. Suffering.

I also was taken back to my own personal sufferings. The life of sexual abuse I endured as a child. The fear suffered through adolescence and early adulthood. They abuse I suffered at the hands of my husband. The heartache of my divorce. Raising my three sons without a godly man in their lives. The sufferings of a single parent: not enough of anything. Loneliness. Depression. Heartache. And, as an adult, suffering through the memory of my childhood. The struggle to become free from the past. Suffering. And, surveying the landscape surrounding me in this space and time, suffering from the loss of my job over two years ago. Running out of savings. Uncertainty of the future. Suffering the loss of my mother — who lived with me for the past 18 years — and the loss of my car, and the loss of my house — all three within six months time.

Pain. Heartache. Suffering.

My life isn’t that much different from anyone else. The whole world suffers. Turn on the nightly news and the suffering of mankind is right in front of us. Well-dressed men and women recite the turmoil, heartache, and debasement of mankind at six, twelve and ten.

Some people suffer for no other reason than pure evil.

There is no rhyme or reason to the suffering of innocent children. Abuse. Abandonment. Starvation. Trafficking.

There is so much suffering!

I won’t lie to you. I don’t have all of the answers. I think I have a tiny piece of understanding that helps me make sense of it. I address the subject in my book Whispers From My Heart more in-depth, but I’ll try to give you the shorter version without compromising the heart of the answer.

Did you know Jesus, the Son of God, had to learn obedience?

It’s shocking to think of, isn’t it?
Wasn’t Jesus the only sinless person who ever walked the face of the earth? He was. Yet, we are told, Jesus learned how to be obedient. Look at the first part of Hebrews 5:8

Hebrews 5:8 GOD’S WORD® Translation
Although Jesus was the Son [of God], he learned to be obedient…
Other translations say the same thing.

Why would the Son of God need to learn how to be obedient? Didn’t he already know perfect obedience?

The Perfection of God took on the imperfection of humanity: Human Flesh. Flesh in its fallen state. Drawn toward the propensity to sin. Not only did Jesus fight temptation in the desert for forty days after his baptism, he had to fight against the daily lure of sin in his flesh just like we do. His body was 100% human, and his flesh waged a war against his spirit just as the bible says it does against our own flesh (See Heb 4:15, Gal 5:17, James 4:1 & 1 Peter 2:11). We learn through scripture that He was tempted in every way, just like us, but he did not sin. The one thing we haven’t seen yet is how he learned.

We all know we learn through lessons. Hands on experience. So did Jesus.

Let’s read the entire verse of Hebrews 5:8 Although Jesus was the Son [of God], he learned to be obedient through his sufferings.

So, through suffering, Jesus Christ learned to be obedient.

Hebrews 2:10 GOD’S WORD® Translation
God is the one for whom and through whom everything exists. Therefore, while God was bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was the right time to bring Jesus, the source of their salvation, to the end of his work through suffering.

The word suffering in the Greek is

:pathéma: that which befalls one, i.e. a suffering, a passion. In particular for verse 10: 1. that which one suffers or has suffered; a. externally, a suffering, misfortune, calamity, evil, affliction

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary says this:

Whatever the proud, carnal, and unbelieving may imagine or object, the spiritual mind will see peculiar glory in the cross of Christ, and be satisfied that it became Him, who in all things displays his own perfections in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Author of their salvation perfect through sufferings. His way to the crown was by the cross, and so must that of his people be.

If Jesus did, and we are to follow his example, then we, too, learn obedience through the things we suffer.

1 Peter 4:13 GOD’S WORD® Translation
but be happy as you share Christ’s sufferings. Then you will also be full of joy when he appears again in his glory.

It’s not pretty.
We, as his followers, are to share in the sufferings of Christ. Just take a look at the way the new church in Acts was treated. Look at the way Christians in third world countries are treated. Martyred. We are greeted with words like, “Love not your life until death,” “He who endures to the end,” and “Pick up your cross.” Those are not words of comfort and ease, my friend. They are words of hardship and trials.

Here in the United States, most of us suffer from the things we bring on to ourselves. We disobey God and suffer the consequences of our own decisions, then get mad at God because he is allowing us to suffer. But suffer we should. That suffering, even if it is of our own doing will be our teacher. We will learn.

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary has this to say:

1 Peter 4:12-19 By patience and fortitude in suffering, by dependence on the promises of God, and keeping to the word the Holy Spirit hath revealed, the Holy Spirit is glorified; but by the contempt and reproaches cast upon believers, he is evil spoken of, and is blasphemed. One would think such cautions as these were needless to Christians. But their enemies falsely charged them with foul crimes. And even the best of men need to be warned against the worst of sins. There is no comfort in sufferings, when we bring them upon ourselves by our own sin and folly. A time of universal calamity was at hand, as foretold by our Savior, Mt 24:9,10. And if such things befall in this life, how awful will the day of judgment be! It is true that the righteous are scarcely saved; even those who endeavor to walk uprightly in the ways of God. This does not mean that the purpose and performance of God are uncertain, but only the great difficulties and hard encounters in the way; that they go through so many temptations and tribulations, so many fightings without and fears within. Yet all outward difficulties would be as nothing, were it not for lusts and corruptions within. These are the worst clogs and troubles. And if the way of the righteous be so hard, then how hard shall be the end of the ungodly sinner, who walks in sin with delight, and thinks the righteous is a fool for all his pains! The only way to keep the soul well, is, to commit it to God by prayer, and patient perseverance in well-doing. He will overrule all to the final advantage of the believer.

We’ve all suffered. Here on this earth, in this fallen state, we will continue to suffer. And, by those things, we too, like Jesus, will learn how to be obedient to our Father, even to the point of death. Once this life is over, our reward is eternity spent in God’s presence.

This is the life God has promised to those who follow him.

The Apostle Paul tells us the glory waiting for us far outweighs the suffering. I like how the Aramaic Bible in Plain English says it:

2 Corinthians 4:17
For the suffering of this time, while very small and swift, prepares us great glory without limits for the eternity of eternities.

If you would like to do a more in-depth study, you can find more scriptures on suffering here.

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I don’t ever remember not being abused. The memories I do have are sporadic, with gulfs of darkness spanning the length from one memory to another.

However, I will never forget him.

He was supposed to be my father’s best friend. He was married with 3 daughters. I was friends with his oldest. Our families lived in Norfolk, VA. My father was stationed aboard the USS John King, just like he was.

I was afraid of him, *JP. Apparently he had already done something to me the night his daughter asked me to spend the night. They were eating dinner at my house. NP and I were upstairs playing Barbie wedding (Barbie married G.I. Joe since I didn’t have a Ken doll).

“My dad said I could ask you to spend the night.” NP casually told me.

Immediately I stiffened. “Oh, I don’t want to.” I told her.
She understood, “Okay.” NP said and we continued playing.
My father called up the stairs to tell NP her folks were ready to go. I followed my friend down the stairs to the living room.
“Cheryl,” my father looked at me. “Get your stuff to spend the night.”
Fear gripped my heart.
“Why?” I asked, petrified.
“Because you’re spending the night.” My father said.
“But, I don’t want to.” I said, silently pleading my father would take notice of the fear on my face, and forgive me for even thinking about disobeying what he told me to do.
“Why not?” He asked, already irritated that I would make a fuss in front of company.
“Because, I don’t want to.” I said. My heart was pounding in my throat. I couldn’t breathe. I’m sure the whole room could hear the fear running through my veins.
“Don’t be stupid.” My father said sternly, “go get your things to spend the night.”
Fear took over and I began to run from the living room, into the dining room and into the kitchen screaming and crying. “I don’t want to go, I want to stay home!” I pleaded with my father when he came to pull me back into the living room.

He was angry.

“Give me a good reason why you don’t want to go?” My father asked.

Did I tell him what his friend was like? Would he believe me? Would he protect me? Would he still make me go? So many questions went through my mind at that moment. I looked from my father into JP’s eyes. Was he afraid I would rat him out in front of everyone? Would he say it was my fault? Would my father believe JP over me?
“I just don’t want to go. I want to stay home.” I finally told my father with tear filled eyes.
My father swore.
“Cheryl Ann, stop acting like a @#*#@ baby, you’re going and that’s final, now, GO GET YOUR STUFF.”

There it was; I didn’t matter.

I walked up the stairs to get my nightgown. NP followed me. “NP, I want to sleep on the top bunk. Is that okay?” I asked my friend. Since my father wasn’t going to save me, I had to find a way to make it difficult for him to get me.

“I’m sure it will be okay,” NP told me. I felt a little better.

Walking to their car was like a death march. My heart continued to pound. I apologized to my friend for making a scene; she held my hand the whole way to her house.

By the time we were told to go to bed I began to climb to the top of the triple-decker bunk bed. NP stopped me. Her father said I was too big to sleep on top. I had to sleep on the bottom because he didn’t want my weight causing the bed to fall on top of his daughters and suffocate them. I was big for my size, but not that big… maybe this is where my weight struggle began?

I felt doomed. He was going to get me and he knew there was nothing I could do about it. He had won. “Maybe, just maybe, I could fall asleep really fast and he would leave me alone.” I thought. “Maybe I would be okay.”

I heard the soft sounds of sleep from the girls above me. I prayed he had fallen asleep too. “Please God, keep him away from me. Just make him fall asleep.” I prayed. “Please, don’t let him get me. Save me, God, please save me.”

I don’t know where I learned about God. Mom didn’t take us to church that I can remember. Although, there was one time, I can recall standing on the stairs of a Presbyterian Church mom wanted to check out. The Pastor, in his flowing robes, stood there and told me how much God loved me. I remember a hatred welling up in me, and thinking, “If God loves me so much, then why does he let men do bad things to me? Why won’t he protect me?” Other than that, I have no other memory of being anywhere near a church.

About an hour had passed by when I heard the creak of the floor coming from his bedroom directly across the hall. “Oh God.” I thought. “NO. God, please, let him just be going to the bathroom!” I was prepared to beg God, to promise God anything in order to save me from this man.

It didn’t matter. My prayers hit the ceiling and fell like lead around me.

His foot steps were now in the room. Fear choked my breath. My mind, screaming silent cries to a silent God, whirred: “What can I do? Where can I go? Who will save me from this horrible man?”

He sat on the bed. His weight causing my body to turn toward him. I pretended to be asleep. I felt my nightgown go up and my underwear come off. He spread my legs, I closed them. He opened them, I closed them. He cursed under his breath and opened them with more force.

He took my hand. I became frightened by what I felt. More prayers hit the ceiling.

Pain. Hot searing pain.

 
I cried out.

He ran out.

After a few minutes I went to the bathroom and locked the door. I checked to see if I was bleeding. I held myself as I sank to the floor in the corner. I wanted my mom, but I was too afraid of what my father would say. I didn’t think he would want to come and get me… no, I didn’t think I mattered to him.

I froze when a soft knock came on the door. “Cheryl, it’s me.” NP whispered through the door. I unlocked it and let her in.

“I’m sorry my dad hurt you.” NP said. I cried as I told her how much he had hurt me. I told her I wanted to go home, but was afraid of my dad. NP told me not to worry, that her dad would probably leave me alone for the rest of the night.

We stayed in the bathroom for a good 15 minutes when JP knocked on the door. By that time she had been able to revive my spirits, but his knock and voice caused fear to well up in me.

“It’s time for you girls to quit playing around and go to sleep. N., your mother has to work tomorrow so go to bed.”
I think I flipped him off through the door. N.P. laughed.

The next morning, Saturday, was hot. I had brought my swimsuit so we could swim in their pool. NP’s mother was at work and her dad was inside. All three of the girls and I were splashing in the pool when they said to go ask their father if we could have some Pepsi.

“You ask, Cheryl. He’ll let you have it, he likes you.” They begged me.
After a half hour of begging, I gave in to their request. When he came out to check on us, I asked. They were right. He said only I could come in to get them. Once inside he made me open the Pepsi bottles and pour them into each glass. The whole time he fondled me under my swimsuit.An hour later I was allowed to go back outside.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
That took place in the summer of 67 or 68 (I thought it was the early 70’s, but I was informed my dates were wrong) but I remember it just as if it happened yesterday.

My whole life was affected by the abuse I suffered, not only at his hands, but also at the hands of four other friends of both of my parents during the same time period. One taught me how to masturbate so I could “think of him” anytime during the day or night. The other took pornography pictures of me.

I went from being a straight A student to struggling. Teachers sent notes home about my decline in school–those that dared to notice.

My parents never noticed my soul had died that night. I don’t blame them, they were broken and trying to survive with 6 kids in a hostile marriage.

We moved numerous times, but, I seemed to attract the pedophiles.

At the age of 14, I became a Christian. Too many issues associated with that to list, but, I struggled with “being good enough” for God.

After an abusive, short lived marriage I turned back to God, and eventually, in my late 30’s, sought counseling. I had wanted to just die, but I couldn’t take my own life. God seemed distant, harsh, uncaring, oblivious to my pain. I could barely be both mother and father to my three boys. Through a wonderful woman, God slowly began to peel back the layers upon layers of wounds in my soul.

Today, I still struggle with who I am and God’s love, and I continue to experience some depression, BUT, I am just about 100% healed. It took almost 5 years before I could talk about my past without breaking down, and another 5 before I begin writing about it.

Currently, my book “Whispers” (which was published in 2009) chronicles the issues I dealt with during my walk toward freedom from the past. The above story is found in chapter 8, “Dear Daddy Know You Know.”

I maintain a Facebook page under the same name, dedicated to helping survivors overcome the issues of abuse.

2 Corinthians 1:4 gives my suffering purpose.
“…who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” ESV

As well as, Romans 8:28, “All things work together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purposes.” I look at it this way; What Satan meant for my destruction, God is using to lift up other women (and men) whose souls are devastated because of what happened to them.

There is hope. That is my message.

Be Blessed and Walk in Truth today.
~Whispers
Cheryl A. Thompson

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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.

Pain.

Sorrow.

Heartache.

Tears.

Many of us have experienced these things at one time or another during our lifetime.

We’ve prayed, and have not received an answer. We have confessed our faith, and then experienced loss during our first trimester; the child we so desperately wanted. We’ve believed, and watched our spouse lose their battle with cancer.

Every day, throughout the entire world, people suffer. Most of us turn our eyes heavenward and ask the question; “Why?”

“Why me?”

“What have I done to deserve this?”

“Why is God punishing me?”

Each of us has had these thoughts enter our mind. It is part of human nature to want an answer for the things that bring us such pain. To validate it and to give it purpose. We do not want our suffering to go unnoticed.

But is God the cause?

Has God orchestrated events that create pain just to teach us a lesson? Would he cause heartache in order for us to grow? I believe God is very much aware of the circumstances that touch our lives, and he allows them to happen. I don’t pretend to understand the reason fully, but I will attempt to offer some explanation.

We live in a world that is fallen from the original glory in which God created it to be. Because of sin, even the earth groans underneath its weight. As long as this is true, there will continue to be symptoms of sin; i.e. sorrow, pain, heartache and tears.

Our world will continue to fall apart. Our hopes will continue to be shattered. We will experience death and destruction in various forms until God calls us home, where the stains of this world can no longer touch us, or, Jesus comes back, and the corruptible puts on the incorruptible.

God never promised us a life free from sorrow or pain. What he did promise is that he would always be with us. He promised to be there in the bad times, just as he is in the good. We can count on him.

Jesus reminds us we are not of this world. The symptoms of this world may touch our lives—such as the loss of a baby during pregnancy, or in my case, rape and molestation—however, those symptoms do not have the right to touch our soul.

Forgive.

Forgiveness goes both ways. God forgives us as we forgive him. I know it sounds weird to say, “God, I forgive you,” but, in our unanswered questions is the emotion of anger. We hold anger toward God because he did not protect us from pain. Our anger rages for the loss we have experienced. In that anger is ill will. We feel like God owes us something and we’re angry because he doesn’t pay up. Forgiveness relinquishes that “right of repayment” we feel we are owed for our suffering.

Romans 8:28 reminds us that God causes all things to work together for good to all who love him and are called according to his purpose” (NKJV)

The pain we experience, though it feels like the end of the world, is not the end. It is the beginning of the rest of your faith walk. It is at this cross road, if you chose to walk forward, that your faith, rooted and grounded in a faith that could only be possible by the things you suffered.

Are you still holding on to God?

Have you entrusted your future to his hands?

If you aren’t there yet, don’t worry. There are still processes you have to go through, emotions you need to vent, but in the end, where will you go?

One verse resonated with me through the years of my struggle.

“Where else can we go, LORD, for you have the words of life.”

Peter uttered those words after following Jesus became hard to take; after the crowds, disillusioned by his words, abandoned him. Jesus asked the twelve, “And what about you?” (See John 6:60-68).

He still asks the same question today.