Whispersfrommyheart's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘family

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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When I got out of bed this morning I was in a mood. There was a knot in the pit of my stomach. I was angry. Depressed. I began to read my morning devotion and the knot became persistent.

“What’s wrong with me, LORD?” I wondered. For the past couple of days all I have wanted to do is cry!

“Delicious.”

The word popped into my mind. Then,

“Mom.”

The tears began to fall. “Yes mom.” I whispered, “The weather is delicious.”

I can see her now.

That was mom’s thing. When the first crisp days of fall rolled around, she donned her “Someone Special Calls Me Nana” sweatshirt, soft pants & fuzzy slippers and gleefully made her first cup of hot cocoa. She would take that first sip, lick her lips, and let out an exaggerated, “ahhhhh”! As if that particular cup of hot chocolate was the best thing she had ever tasted. She would look at me, with bright eyes and a smile, and say, “The weather is delicious!”

I’d mumble something to her as I poured my first cup of coffee.
She would then proceed to tell me, again this year, just how much she loved the cooler weather. It reminded her of when she was a child. She would tell me, again, about the old, Appaloosa speckled, plow horse, with hooves as big as dinner plates, she used to ride through the fields. How she would stay outside, all day, until her grandmother would call her in to eat.

She would, once again, giggle as she told me if she wasn’t outside riding a horse, or if the Iowa weather didn’t permit her to be outside, she was inside pretending to be a horse. Her nickname was Trigger. Yes, named after Dale Evans’ and Roy Rogers’ horse. In the morning she would tear her shredded wheat into a bowl – without milk – put the bowl on the floor, and eat it on her hands and knees… like a horse eating its hay. Then, she would gallop around the house, whinnying. Saying things like, “Whoa, Trigger.” Or, “Giddyup.”

Then, as if the channel changed, she would tell me how she helped her grandmother in the garden. Or, picking a juicy peach off of the tree, biting into it and letting the juice run down her chin. Again, she would tell me how she sat for hours, in the crook of a tree while reading a book. She loved to read. The myriad of books that lined our coffee tables, shelves and around her chair, were proof of that. She would tell me, once more, how no one worried about where she was, or what she was doing. They knew, if Margie – that was her real name – wasn’t galloping in the house, or riding the plow horse, she was sitting in her favorite tree, reading.

Later on she would want to go for a ride to look at the trees. One year, after a particularly wet summer, the colors were brilliant. She oohed and awed, like a child, enjoying the beauty of God’s creation in the fall. One year, we drove to Bald Knob Cross to view the colors from the scenic overlook. Of course, the foggy, misty day didn’t dampen our spirits as we walked to the overlook. We both fell silent as we surveyed the expanse of earth from the top of that hill. As a treat we would stop for lunch, or, just an ice cream cone. Simple times. Good times.

This is my first fall without her.

The air is cool this morning. I should go get her canister of hot cocoa and make a cup, lick my lips and let out an exaggerated “aaaah,” but I can’t. I can only cry. The tears fall as I think about her and the things I miss. The sound of her voice. The light in her eyes. Her laugh. Her presence. Her.

My coffee cup warms my hands. I look out the window and let my mind linger on mom. And, even though I have heard her stories one thousand times, I would give anything to hear her tell them to me one more time, especially when the weather is delicious.

I miss you mom.

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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.