Whispersfrommyheart's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘forgive

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.

(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

Do you think God speaks to us through dreams?

If he does, then why can’t we remember most of them?

Scientific research tells us why we can recall some of our dreams, but, it doesn’t clue us in to whether God uses dreams to speak to our hearts.

There are very few dreams I can remember with great detail. I recall bits and pieces of a few others, but most of my dreams are lost in oblivion once I wake up. However, there is one dream, even today, that I can recall as if I just dreamed it last night.

I had a bystander’s view of myself looking into a mirror.

Webworms—what I call Silk-worms—had nested in my hair. They had spun their silken webs; so much so, my hair was no longer visible.   I ran to the bathroom and hung my head over the tub. I grabbed a comb in one hand and the shower head in the other in an attempt to rake and rinse the worms, and their webs, out. But, as I combed, I smashed the worms.  I kept trying, and trying, but, the more I tried, the worse my hair became. The worms kept multiplying, and the more they multiplied, the nastier my hair became. I became frustrated with the sticky, gooey, matted mess that covered my beautiful blonde hair.  I couldn’t see it at all, just the nasty, dark smelly mess from the worms. I put down the comb and began to let the water run over my hair. As I rinsed, the water in the tub began to fill up. As I looked, the water began to turn dark and murky. Bits and pieces of Webworms and shreds of silken web floated on top of the water. I kept letting the water flow over my hair until all of the worms and their webs were gone from my hair, and the water became clear.

For a long time I did not know what this dream meant. It weighed on my heart for months. And then, late one summer day, as I walked along the Tunnel Hill Bike Trail in Vienna, Illinois, God ordained an object lesson for me.

I came across a young Oak tree web worms were just beginning to take over. There were several silken nests spread throughout the branches. I began to think about how destructive these insects were to a healthy tree. The caterpillars had spun their webs and enclosed the tips of the branches. Inside of the web, they feasted on the foliage of the tree. When they ran out of food in one web, they encased another branch and continued eating. Webworms have been known to cover an entire tree making it unsightly. The beauty of the tree can no longer be seen or appreciated because it is hidden. The worms have also been known to strip all the foliage off of a tree within a few weeks, and once they strip one tree, they move on to the next. According to the experts, while their attacks defoliate a tree, the damage is not significant, as the foliage will return the following year.

I pondered that little Oak as I walked. As I thought about it, God suddenly reminded me of the dream. Immediately, I understood the correlation between the assault of the silk worms on that young Oak and the spiritual assault that had taken place in my own life.

Just like the caterpillar’s webs covering the beauty of that little Oak tree, so, too, the lies of sexual assault covered me. There were webs of lust and confusion weaved throughout my childhood. A web of unworthiness embedded into my heart, and webs of emotional, and psychological, lies hiding my true identity. The real me—a redeemed, blood bought daughter of the Most High God—was there, but I was undetectable beneath the webs that had been so carefully woven to conceal me.

I understood my feeble attempts to “fix” what was wrong in my life—represented by the comb in my hand—added to the gunk that was already there. Each time I tried to comb the Silkworms out, I made a bigger mess. The moment I applied just water—representing the work of the Holy Spirit—the worms washed out, and the webs were gone.

The difference between real life and my dream is that the foliage eaten by the Silkworms will return the next year (unless disease hits the tree), but when the true beauty of a life, redeemed by Christ, is hidden beneath the tangled webs of the enemy’s assault, sometimes it can take a lifetime before the beauty of that life can emerge.

Be blessed and walk in truth today!

It’s just not fair!

How often have you said that? Me, I’ve said it so often I own the copyright! Not really, I’ve just said it many times in my life, especially when life became hard.

Why is it that things in life can be going along just fine, and suddenly, one thing goes wrong, like too much month at the end of your money, or the loss of a job and not being albe to pay the bills. I’ve experienced both quite recently.

The very first thought to run the gambit of my mind is how unfair life has been to me, (I have a masters degree in the college of hard knocks, and working on my Ph.D. in strugglenomics). I question why God allows me to continue to squeak out a living throughout life—I’ve been a single mother to three boys since October 1989 and life hasn’t been very easy raising three boys alone. I question why God wouldn’t help me rise above the poverty line. I question why everyone I know seems to be doing well and I continue to struggle just to make ends meet.

Why me?

That’s another question that worms its way into my thoughts. Why is it always me?

When I’m in the middle of a particular hardship, it’s hard to see past the turmoil to the other side. I can’t see the strength and character this particular trial will produce because I’m wrapped up in the here and now. I’m focused on the problem I am facing and not on what that problem will accomplish in the spiritual realm.

Let’s face it, no one likes to face difficulties. Wouldn’t we rather have life happen to us with ease, with little discomfort and have every day filled with happiness? Of course we would, but life isn’t like that, is it?

No. It sure isn’t.

Life is full of struggles that won’t seem very fair, and it will continue to be so. God allows hardships in our lives to strengthen our walk with him. To break our dependence on things, and turn our dependence onto him and him alone. Trails are never to punish us, but to prove us—to provide evidence of our faith in God.

If you or someone you know is facing a tough situation right now, hold on! And remember, God is still in control. He is faithful and will not leave you on your own. He delights in watching your faith and character develop.

He is with you.

Image

Photo taken in front of Parliament, Hull, Quebec, days after 9/11

You knew him once upon a time, so many years ago; He offered you his friendship but, Dear Daddy, did you know?

One night he led me into hell, with terror to bestow; And stole your daughter’s innocence, Dear Daddy, did you know?

That night I pleaded, terrified, ‘Oh please, don’t make me go’; You said ‘Enough! It’s settled now.’ Dear Daddy, did you know?

I didn’t want to go there but, I went there any way; Endured the pain and agony, Afraid of what you’d say.

I didn’t call when he was done, nor think that you would come; Or want to save your little girl, now broken and undone.

I’ve often wondered through the years, why Daddy didn’t see; The fear that was so obvious, and cries that came from me.

And, how could Daddy never see, His daughter’s soul had died; Behavior, attitudes that changed, was evidence denied?

I’ve held this anger in my heart, since I was only eight; I’ve blamed you dad for everything, and given in to hate.

Realities of what you said that echoed through my mind; Became the ache of memories transcending years of time.

But Daddy there is something else, I want for you to know; Despite the pain and suffering, compassion’s seed has grown.

My Daddy’s Who’s in heaven has redeemed my ruined past; He taught me how to love; forgive, and walk through life at last.

There’s one more thing that you must know, straight from your daughter’s heart; if I’m to bridge this gap at all, today’s the day to start.

I’ve chosen to release you from, responsibilities; That once demanded justice for the shame inside of me.

And with release I now forgive your words from long ago; The secret of my troubled past, Dear Daddy, now you know.

Copyright Oct 2009 ‘Whispers From My Heart‘ By: Cheryl A. Thompson

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When God created the human race, He included the fact that men would one day become the shepherds of little girls.  That relationship, between father and daughter, is an important one.  A father is supposed to be both the provider and protector to his daughter(s).  By his example, he teaches his little girl what the manly value and worth is that is placed on her life.  His actions, as well as, his re-actions to her become the perceptions of the life lessons she will carry into adulthood.    His life is a reflection, an earthly representation, of how her Father in Heaven loves and accepts her.  What she learns from her father here on earth becomes what she will believe about her Heavenly Father.

A little girl trusts her daddy implicitly from the moment she wraps her little fingers around his and understands the concept that he is with her.  To a little girl, her daddy is strong.  She isn’t afraid when he is near.  And, when she does become afraid, he is able to calm her.  When she is sad, he comforts her.  A daughter looks to her father with trusting eyes because she has faith that her daddy loves her, and would do anything within his power to help her.  A father not only represents God as his daughter’s Heavenly Father, but this earthly man also becomes the representation of what kind of a man his little girl will eventually marry.  Interestingly enough, daughters learn a lot from the relationship they have with their father…

In the summer of 1970, my father invited a friend, his wife and their daughters over to our house for dinner.  Somewhere during the course of the evening the oldest daughter asked me to spend the night with her.  I immediately replied that I didn’t want to, and thinking the matter settled, never gave it another thought.  Little did I know, but arrangements had already been made for me to spend the night, and when they were ready to leave my father told me to get my stuff.  I can still recall the look I gave him and the absolute terror that filled my heart.

I don’t want to, I want to stay home.”

I’m not sure what transpired between that statement and what I remember next, but the next scene that plays through my mind is one of me running through the house screaming and crying, begging my father not to make me go.  I assume my behavior embarrassed and angered my father, but the words he said to me that evening became the sentence of a prison term that would last for 35 years.

Stop acting like a baby; you’re going”.

There it was.

I didn’t matter…

That night, while his daughters slept in the bunk above me and his wife asleep across the hall, this so-called friend of my father’s raped me…

The message my little girl heart received that night was, “Cheryl, you don’t count”…

Satan accomplished what he set out to do; he convinced that little girl she wasn’t good enough for her father to care about, much less God.  He succeeded in his attempt to twist her perception of her earthly father, and ultimately, skew the perception of her Heavenly Father.  Satan had successfully separated her from God…

Every one of us needs to have an understanding of who our enemy is and what he is trying to do.  The scriptures tell us that Satan’s main purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy (see John 10:10), and that is exactly what he did in my heart…

From ‘Whispers From My Heart’ Chapter 5