Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sexual Abuse and God

I teach a class twice a week for Patsy’s Place.  That’s a ministry in Amarillo that houses women who have recently been incarcerated.  The one year program offers Bible Classes and life skills to help them as they return to the “real world”.  Over the weekend as I prayed about my next class the Lord spoke very clearly that He wanted the topic to be over sexual and physical abuse.  I very clearly told the Lord I didn’t want to do it and I was not qualified to do such a class.  He assured me my lack of qualification was so that I would be sure to get out of His way so He could do it Himself.  I cried all weekend as I wrote the curriculum as He gave it to me.  It was a 1.5 hour class so I can’t share all of it with you but I want to share two parts that may help anyone else who has been the victim of abuse.
#1-  This past weekend my son had a sleepover.  The next day he discovered that $40 had been stolen from his money bank.  I felt outrage.  Someone dared to come into my home and steal my son’s birthday money from him!  I wanted to call all the parents (even though we felt we knew who the offender was) and have them question their sons.  My husband asked me to calm down and just let him handle it.  Yesterday Roman came home and placed two twenty dollar bill on the counter.  “There is Josiah’s birthday money”. . .I gave him a questioning look.  He then rolled up his shirt sleeve and showed me a bandage wrapped around the middle of his arm.  “I just paid the debt with my blood”, he said!  (He had gone downtown to give blood/plasma which pays exactly $40).  He then used this as a word picture to give our children.  Daddy just bought the “birth-right” that was stolen from you back with his blood.  . .I was then able to use this story with the women I ministered to today.  I told them the Fathers heart felt anger and outrage that someone would dare to come and steal from His daughters what did not belong to them.  But their Father purchased that debt back with His blood.  Not a dry eye in the room. . .

#2-  We ended the class with a foot-washing.  I told them that opening up wounds from the past was painful but necessary for healing.  I talked about the phrase “pouring salt in an open wound”.  It’s painful, but it draws out the infection.  I placed Epsom Salt in the wash basin.  I told them that even in the pain God was there to soothe the pain. . .the Epsom Salt had lavender sent.  I played them a song called “Hold Me Now” by Jennifer Knapp https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usIOKssjm4c  and prayed over them as I washed feet.  The last thing was to apply a foot balm. 

Jeremiah 8:21  Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me. 22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?

God has a healing balm waiting, but we have to choose to reach out to Him.  God is a gentleman who will never touch us without our consent.  I know that healing the wounds inflicted by abuse does not happen in a short class. . .but healing does begin with that first cry to God.  If you have suffered abuse I pray His salt be poured  on you to clean the wound, and that His healing balm restore your soul.  I pray you accept that your Father paid for what was stolen for you with His very own blood.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

2nd Lesson: Cherry Pie and a Deck of Cards

I decided to post the series I wrote for the local Newspaper entitled "Lessons from Grandma".  This is lesson two from the article: Cherry Pie and a Deck of Cards.

Cherry Pie and a Deck of Cards

 After several years of talking to people that I don’t know very well and commenting on and “liking” a status from mere acquaintances on facebook, I have decided to try and brave friendships without the internet.  Hello Dear Readers, this month your lesson from Grandma is on the value of keeping friendships personal.

Does anyone remember the day (not so long ago) that you had to call a friend and actually hear the sound of their voice instead of just sending an “LOL” text with a little winkie face?  Or go back just a little further to the times when one had to take out a sheet of paper and a pen and handwrite a letter to be sent by mail.  The letter may not arrive at its destination for an entire three days. Whoa! Stop the press! If you have ever received a hand written letter you know it is worth waiting on.  In fact most good things in life are worth both our time and our investment.  Some of the best stories that my Grandmother tells me involve friendships that her and my Grandfather have kept over the years.

  When they first married my Grandparents; Pattye and J.C, were as poor as church mice; as were many of their newly-wed friends.  So what did they do?  Well every Friday night Pattye and J.C would get together with another young couple to play cards.  Tradition was to have a homemade cherry pie and spend the evening gambling with match sticks worth a tenth of a cent.  She tells me that by the end of the night you might have lost (or won) a nickel.  It seems very simple but a cherry pie and a deck of cards is a worthwhile investment when it creates a close friendship.  Most of Pattye and J.C’s friendships have lasted a lifetime.  On their 50th wedding anniversary their good friends, James and Pat Hart, sent them a “Get Well Soon” card joking that it was the only one on sale!  A few years later my Grandmother sent the exact card back to them on their 50th to return the “favor”. (I believe it has been sent back and forth among them since that time.)

More than twenty years ago my grandparents attended the wedding of a good friend’s child.  At the reception each table had a small bottle of Champaign. My grandmother has kept that little bottle for over twenty years, and plans to one day give it to the “newly-weds” as an anniversary gift.

As small as these gestures may seem, they are personal gestures from the heart. I want to have those real friendships that last forever.  I want cherry pie, champagne friendships. They take much more time and energy than a simple “like” on face-book but I believe they will be worth the investment.  So Dear Readers, this month I encourage you to take a lesson from Grandma and instead of sending that e-mail, try sending a card by mail.  Instead of face-booking that you need to get together, call your friends and extended a dinner invitation. I promise you will bring a smile to a friend, and perhaps fifty years from now you too will smile when you receive your “Get Well” card in the mail!
(Note:  friendship may not seem like a spiritual topic but remember David and Jonathan as well as Jesus with His disciples.  We need one another for accountability!)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Lessons From Grandma Series

I named my blog Wholly-Holy so that it would cover a multitude of life topics that bring us in wholeness and holiness. . .and because it's also the name of my book ;)

I just got home from a four day trip to spend a Ladies Weekend with my Grandma.  My Grandma is my very best girlfriend and the picture of what I someday hope to be as a wife, mother, and woman.  Several years back I wrote a monthly column for our local Newspaper entitled "Lessons from Grandma".  I have decided to post that as a series for my blog.  I hope you enjoy it.  Below is lesson one. . .first published in 2008.

To Become a Woman. . . Again
Hello Dear Readers, as we celebrate Mothers Day this year I have a confession for you;  I am learning to become a woman again.  As little girls we watch our mothers put on make-up, perfume and jewelry.  We observe all of the Disney character princesses, and dress up our Barbie for a big date with Ken.  One day we seem to change from an awkward little girl to the woman we watched so closely.  The new woman one day meets her handsome prince and they ride off into the sunset.  On the other side of the sunset is a change that the fairytales forget to tell us about.  The beautiful woman becomes a mommy. 

I love being a mother but over the past nine years I realize that I have lost the beauty of being a woman.  My life is about having time to take a shower; forget the makeup.  I help with homework, make school lunches, and potty train two year old little boys.  Many years ago my purse was exchanged for a diaper bag.  When youngest son Jacob turned two years old last year,  I told Roman that I was planning on becoming a woman again.  After eight years of toting a diaper bag my first step to being feminine was to buy a new purse.

This quest to feel female again was part of the inspiration to write about the life of Pattye Louise Hopkins.  In every way a lady.  Yes a wife, yes a mother, but always a woman.  So to recapture the art of femininity a few years ago I started an annual girl’s weekend with Grandma. People have many different learning styles.  I learn by observation.  So I thought what better way to grasp womanhood again than to spend it observing my favorite gal. When I planned the first weekend away,  I had never been away from my children for more than twenty four hours.  I called my best friend and we flew down to Austin to spend some girl time with Grandma.  The weekend couldn’t have been more perfect.  We slept in and Grandma had breakfast waiting for us each morning.  Of course sleeping in for me these days equates to about 7:30a.m!  Grandma took us to “A taste of Thyme” for an afternoon tea and after that we went out to tour a wine vineyard.  The tour included a wine tasting and she had us pick out a bottle of our favorite wine to take home. Later that afternoon we went shopping to pick out my new purse.  The next evening Grandma told us to get all “Gussied Up” in our nicest attire. She had made reservations at Russo’s the fanciest restaurant in town.  Russo’s sits overlooking lake LBJ and we had a quiet meal overlooking the water. No one spilled there milk, no one made funny “potty-jokes”, no one asked me to get up and get them anything.  I just sat and enjoyed the company of my best friend, and my best gal!  My favorite part of our weekend however was sitting up talking life, marriage, and just asking Grandma for wisdom and advice.  I don’t know how she managed throughout the years, but somehow my Grandmother never lost the beauty of being a woman.  I know she loved being a mother and a wife but somehow in that she never lost the identity of being Pattye Louise.  I think perhaps the key was in living in every moment.  Every season of life she has fully embraced.  When her kids were young she was in the stands at all of their baseball games.  That side of her life did not stop her from getting “Gussied Up” and heading into town for a date with my Grandfather either. She realized a women is many things all at once.  I wonder if perhaps she read Proverbs 31 and put its words into practice? 

For all mothers out there who may feel a little less than feminine these days, take this lesson and apply it to your own life.  Find time to celebrate the beauty of being wife, being mother, and being woman.  When I returned home I felt refreshed and renewed to do the job this season in my life calls me to be.  After all Dear Readers, what is more feminine than to be called “Mommy”!