Whispersfrommyheart's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘#GodSpeaks

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.

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!

Many nights, throughout my life, were filled with deep sorrow, hours of shed tears, and my mouth open in silent screams. I didn’t know how to verbalize what I felt inside. Dead. Betrayed. Hurt. Shattered. Alone. Desperate. Needy. Just tears and silent screams. I don’t remember saying too much, except, “Oh, God.” But, God still heard me, and understood. It was during this time I wrote the following:

Whispers in the Dark
The darkest, quietness of night
In stillness as you lay;
The only sound or rhythm heard
Are words your mouth can’t say.

The tears that burn your sleepy eyes
A fist in anger clenched;
The cry that asks “Why me, Oh Lord?”
The soul, in anguish drenched.

And though it can’t be verbalized
Into a single word;
A whisper’s heard with every beat
Your heart is being heard.

God hears you, Beloved. Even though you think he has ignored you. Even when you think he doesn’t care. But wait, if you listen long enough, you can hear it. In the stillest, quietness of night, the heart will whisper the tale of its journey to its Creator. And, there in the darkness…God is whispering back.

Excerpt from, “Whispers From My Heart – Emotional and Spiritual Healing from Childhood Sexual Assault.

I read a blog today that kind of got my ire up.

I have to say that I agree what this woman writes. You’ll have to read it yourself, but the gist of the blog is over Dave Ramsey’s blaming the poor for their circumstances.

There are some things that are out of our control… such as the loss of a job, the loss of your home, the loss of your vehicle… the inability to land another job… in my own situation, my faith could not be stronger than it’s ever been before in spite of what I have been through. Just because I have landed on hard times does not mean I am lacking in faith. When my boss said, “I can’t pay you anymore…” I didn’t lose my faith, I leaned more on God. When I couldn’t find a job, my faith didn’t bottom out, it remained intact. When they came to take the stuff I made payments on, I didn’t walk away from God, I ran closer. Having more faith does not mean I will have more money or more stuff or become insanely wealthy, not even becoming debt free will make me extremely wealthy…

Faith is faith. It isn’t something that can be conjured up, it is given to us by God. It isn’t dependent upon the amount of money I have in the bank or whether or not I am in debt.

I think the mentality of “I am blessed by God because I have so much money in the bank, or a big house, or a nice car” is a slap in the face to those impoverished who continually beat themselves up mentally and spiritually because they haven’t been able to “conjure” up the faith enough to rise above their situation. I’ve seen the impoverished single moms working their tails off in order to supply their children with food, clothes and a roof over their heads, only to be left with too much month at the money. I’ve been that single mom. I’ve worked myself to the bone, plus went to school full time, only to be beat back down by one set of circumstances or another. All through my life I have always hung on to God and His word. I tithe (except now since I still do not have a job) I have given with the expectation of a 100 fold return… and yet, I am still in the same shoes… living with my sister and her husband… with my faith intact in the God I know who loves me beyond my circumstances.

Do we really think God will say, “Well done my good and faithful servant. You lived in that big house. You ate choice meats and drank choice wines. You slept in that Mahogany bed and wore the best clothes. You drove that Mercedes and were able to take your kids on the best vacations. You never had to worry whether you could pay all of your bills in any given month. You have done well for yourself while your neighbor did not make it to your status.” I don’t think so. Remember the rich man and the beggar Lazarus, who sat at his gate and the dogs licked his sores? The rich man was told that he received his comfort while on earth, and in death, Lazarus received his (See Luke 16:19-31).

Notice in the story of Job how his friends assumed Job was sinning and that is why God took away his wealth, health and prosperity. In those days prosperity in Israel was a sign of God’s blessings, but not so in the New Covenant. The New Covenant says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of God” (See Matt 5:3). The “richness” we receive is not the wealth of this world, but of the one to come.

Money is good when used properly. Anyone who wants to live in this world must have money in order to do so, but it really angers me when I see all of the so called “Faith Preachers” informing everyone all they have to do is “give” (to their ministry of course) and God will bless them up to 100 Fold.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in Dave Ramsey’s practices. I believe in getting yourself debt free. I believe in giving to the work of God (not to a building or one individual, but to a purpose of advancing the Kingdom of God and helping the less fortunate). What I don’t believe in is selling a “False Hope” to the poor; taking their money while one person gets stinking rich. Promising them God “WILL” bless them for their faithfulness, yet, the majority of those who faithfully give are still living in poverty so extreme it is not funny.

… Stepping down from her soap box.

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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In today’s portion of “My Utmost for His Highest,” Oswald Chambers made a perplexing statement. “Has God trusted you with a silence…? His silence is the sign that he is bringing you into the marvelous understanding of himself.”
When I first read it, I was befuddled; confused. I thought, “How does God’s silence bring me into a marvelous understanding of Him?” As I began to ponder this question, I wondered how I got a deeper understanding of God. Where did I go to find the things I wanted to know?
I don’t know about you, but for the most part of my life, God has been silent. I don’t hear an audible voice telling me where I should go, what I should do, how I should act, or re-act. I’ve wanted him to. Especially in times of hardship, confusion, and trouble, I have longed to hear God whisper in my ear, “I’m here, Cheryl. I am with you. Go here; go there.”
But, he hasn’t.
When I came to Christ, at the age of 14, I was told, “Jesus wants to have a personal relationship with you. He wants to be involved in every aspect of your life. He wants to know your hurts, your fears, your happiness and your tears; every part of your life, he is interested in.” And so, I talk to God, in my head. I tell him things; I pray – for others and for myself. I sometimes sing, in my head, too. I pray in the spirit, and with understanding. I ask questions, in my head, during these times too. To this writing I have never heard God answer me with an audible voice. I’ve expected it. Isn’t that part of a relationship? One person talks, the other person talks…
What do we do when God is the silent partner?
I used to get jealous when people would say, “God told me…” I would love to hear the voice of God on a daily basis. I want that intimate, personal relationship where the Savior of my soul whispers in my ear! Maybe I’ve held back. Maybe I haven’t given 100% of myself to God. Maybe my relationship with God is all one sided.
But, is it?
I have pondered God’s silence before, and received… well, silence as an answer. But, what is God speaking when he has nothing to say? Is God’s silence, as Oswald Chambers has said, the sign that God is bringing us into a marvelous understanding of himself? The more I think about it, the more I believe the answer is “YES!”
As I stated earlier, I’ve been a Christian since I was 14 years old. (I now have 26-years experience at being 25. You math whizzes will catch on quickly.) I have matured in my walk with Jesus. And, like a child who grows up and lives independently of his or her parents, I, too, am not as needy, in Christ, as I once was. I’ve read the bible many times, and throughout the years, gained understanding. I know what the Word says.
There are 66 books that make up the bible. We have words telling us what the voice of God had men write down. Every aspect of our lives can be touched by something contained within one of those books. We can hear the voice of God through what we read. We hear the character of God, and his love for mankind, in the pages.
We are assured of his everlasting love; his forgiveness, and our eternal home; we know he will never leave us or forsake us, because our maturity – our growing up in Christ – and his word, have told us so. We have heard it through the Word, and we have believed it with our heart; confessing it with our mouth (See Romans 10:9). We believe it. We stand on it, even though we have not heard God speak those words to us in an audible voice, we know we can take it to the bank!
We find comfort, in times of trouble, with the Psalms. We find hope, encouragement, trust and faith between the covers of the bible. It’s all there. Everything we need to know about God is contained in the bible, and what we can’t find in the bible, can be found in creation—the love and care he took to provide a place for us—in our surroundings. We can hear the voice of God in what we see and what we read. We hear the voice of God in the people we meet; with children at play; music that touches our soul.
God’s voice is everywhere!
As I pondered the years of my life I realized something. In spite of the silence, I have grown. Even when I was angry over God’s supposed silence, I still matured. I read his word, and I grew up. God’s silence drives us to dig deeper. It matures us. It causes us to believe what we read is true. Faith deepens. Trust endures. And, in that way, we find, we have been taken into a marvelous understanding that only God could give us.
God has indeed entrusted us with his silence.
Father, God, thank you, for the words you gave us long ago. Thank you they have been compiled for us already. Thank you that you still use those words to speak to our hearts, and minds. We may not be able to hear your voice, in an audible way, LORD, but you speak to us through the written Word. In those times of silence, God, when we seek to hear your voice, comfort our hearts in knowing you have already spoken. Guide us in your words. Strengthen our hearts. Deepen our faith and trust in you. In Jesus Name.