The family is the oldest institution 


on earth. 


Family is the cornerstone of our society. 


The family is the basis, the backbone, 


the foundation, the infrastructure, 


the root of civilization, and the bedrock 


from which all other communities 


and nations stem from.


The family is just as relevant as it ever was. 


Our families carry our history with them.


Who better than family can reminisce with us about our childhood?


A connection to a strong and godly family provides 


a certain type of social support that you can't get from other people. 



No matter how much life changes, 


those strong families will probably continue to be needed… 


in one form or another.


One of the most important 


purposes of the family 


is to impart a godly heritage. 



Family should teach its members well... 


filling our communities, cities, states, countries, and 


the entire universe with God-fearing, decent, fair, honest, 


upright, morally mature, emotionally sound, respectful, 


Spirit-filled, righteous, productive citizens... 


who will not have to recover 


from their childhood, 


but will in turn, teach and raise a godly heritage.


The challenges in life we encounter become easier to handle 


when we have a godly family to encourage, comfort, and assist us. 


When we have a loving family, if one falls, 


those family members will be there to pull them up.


Strong families are able to work through things they disagree about 


by focusing on the problems, rather than by 


"tearing each other down."



Strong families provide the physical, emotional, 


social, economic, and spiritual needs for its members 


so that they can become productive members of our society.


Strong families are the most reliable unit in society. 


Family teaches us how to function in the world. 


It provides love and warmth to all of its members.


Strong families facilitate more rewarding sibling relationships. 


They give its members the support they need 


to make it through those tough times in life. 



Strong families actively listen to what the other members are saying. 


They allow members to communicate their side of the story 


clearly and honestly. 



Strong families have open lines of communication 


where they can impart or exchange information, 


news, or ideas… and all family members, 


regardless of their station in life, 


feel heard and respected.


Strong families allow all family members to talk things out... 


no matter how young or old. 


They are able talk about their thoughts and feelings... 


expressing themselves, in appropriate ways, 


and not having their honest expressions and ideas disrespected, 


disregarded, or ridiculed.


One of the best ways to strengthen family 


is to increase our listening skills 


and those of other family members. 



Until we can hear each other, 


we cannot build strong relationships.


Family should be the birthplace of passion. 


Family should encourage their members 


to set and reach goals, 


take on the assignments God has for their lives, 


follow their dreams, travel, 


or do whatever drives their passion in life!


Although family life is often been viewed as a safe haven, for some, 


family can be difficult and painful… 


always filled with conflicts and tension. 


While we often expect families to be above the chaos that exists 


in the rest of society… that outlook seems to be unrealistic 


for my family of origin.


My family, since dad passed, has been filled with conflict. 


Although stress and disagreements in families are common, 


they can be destructive… especially when conflicts and clashes


 are pushed and pulled in many directions and they get out of hand.


Consequently, what my family is realizing is... 


toxic resentment, no support system,


no safe haven, 


and sibling estrangement or... 'Cold war'.


This project is not intended to put my family on blast. 


This project is about broken pieces 


and God's power to turn those broken pieces


into masterpieces.



I believe this story has a purpose. 


I have come to realize that the afflicted 


can be most effectively used by God. 


Afflictions, as painful as they are, can benefit us greatly. 

Afflictions stir us to pray and keep us dependent on God. 


As long as we can handle things in our own strength, 


we won’t see God’s power. 


It’s when the burden becomes unbearable... 


that we see God's power made perfect in our weakness... 


collectively and individually.


 2 Corinthians 12:9

It has been demonstrated, across a variety of investigations, 


that writing yields a number of intellectual, 


and emotional benefits to individuals.


Tragedies, sorrows, and sufferings can be blessings in disguise. 


The most terrible events seem to always contain hidden blessings. 



While in the classroom of our season of pain… 


these times of pain and disappointments 


can give way to God's mighty appointments.


Through the ups and downs, one viable option that has proven 


to be therapeutic for me time and time again is writing.

 

Writing allows brainstorming, logic, and other forms of complex thought 


to be entered on my computer's notepad. It keeps me so engaged... 


I have no time to get caught up in any long and negative discourse.



Writing is a powerful life tool that gives me an outlet of expression 


and it helps to keep me grounded.


Writing helps me to better see, process, 


find my voice, and understand certain experiences



Writing seems to be an emotional release 


which helps to unclutter the mind. 


 For me... writing also helps me to steer clear of the chaos


and create more positivity.



Taking those swirling thoughts and putting them on my notepad


helps to clarify my thoughts and feelings... 


and put things into perspective. 



Writing helps me release the emotions involved, de-stress, 


and focus more on God... and how, even in the worst case scenario, 


He is working all things together for the good. 



Writing has allowed me to explore thoughts and feelings 


of the events in my life, become more resilient, and give language 


to dramatic experiences that may have deeply wounded me. 



Writing empowers me to shift my viewpoint 


so that I will not find myself backsliding 


into a stressful pity party mode.



The mind, so I've been told, is for processing... not for storage.


Writing helps me clear the clutter from the mind 


so that I am able to see all sides, objectively.



Others may be able to connect with my pain and struggles


and hopefully have a more insightful way to approach and resolve 


their struggles and pain.



People in pain really just want to have validation that...


what they are going through is difficult.


They need to know that they are not alone.



If you feel strained in your relationship with your family... 


trust... there are countless individuals who know 


exactly what you are going through.



Those who have been there and done that... 


know all too well what that feels like and 


would never try to diminish your experience.


While we may not be born into families of people who think like us 

and share our values, there are many people in the world 

who can provide the support that our family members 

may be unable to give.

It is my firm conviction that in one way or another… 


many of us need healing of our inner hurts. 



I am sharing my story in hopes that it may help you and me 


to patiently endure and see God's hand in our situation.


For those who have experienced life circumstances 


that may have caused you great pain... 


it is  my prayer that you will come to realize 


that your hurting is only temporary.


God knows your hurt, and


He will not ignore your need.



Right now, I am back on the battlefield, and 


I decided... rather than allowing others to destroy my inner peace... 


I would quiet myself and do some journaling. 


When someone else does something bad or dishonest or unkind 


we can only control our reaction to it.  


The way we conduct ourselves in tough times 


speaks volumes about who we are.


It is my prayer these offerings will be encouraging, useful, and substantial 


for anyone who may also be subjected to family dysfunction.


For some, dysfunctional families have become 


the breeding grounds for abuse and neglect. 


Some members will do everything in their power 


to keep you from attaining your goals. 



There are people whose desire and aim is to wreak havoc, cause pain,


excommunicate family members, and outright destroy relationships. 


In this instance, they are my family members 


and/or their small circle of friends.


“If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 


If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; 


but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, 


therefore the world hates you. 


Remember the word that I said to you:

 

'A servant is not greater than his Master.’ 


If they persecuted Me, 


they will also persecute you.”


In my family, it appears that nobody is happy 


unless everyone stays in their place 


and become a part of their twisted belief system… 


where they redefine what truth is.


Unfortunately, the more some members grow and evolve, 


the more others, who aren’t ready to do the same, will do... 


to back the evolving member into a mental corner... 


just so they might be able to hinder the evolving members' growth... 


sometimes, even stooping to levels of serious dysfunction.


Some seem to relish in going over and above to 


immobilize those growing members.

It is painful when you find those who should want the best for you... 


resenting you instead.


Some family members will do whatever they can to hold members back. 


They can be cunning, crafty, and quite deceitful in their scheming. 


They seem threatened by a family member’s need to evolve.


When the old pattern is interrupted 


by a change in the familiar functioning, 


and a member begins to think differently... 


it seems as if their sense of security feels challenged. 


It’s like a big barrel of crabs… 


whenever one of the crabs attempts to climb out and escape, 


the other crabs will grab hold of him and pull him back down 


in a useless "King of the hill" competition.


They get stuck in the competition rut,


which is often one-sided, 


because the abuser is the only one competing! 



All of the struggling crabs could easily escape from the barrel, 


but instead as one ascends closer to the top of the barrel,


nearing their escape...


The entire system will shift in response 


and clamp their claws to one's ankle and drag him back down 


into the barrel.


They don't want to see him succeed.

This crabs in a barrel mentality has created the worst kind of loyalty. 


It is like some honor code that prohibits anyone from changing or growing. 


The mentality is...


“If I can’t get out of this barrel of crabs, 


nobody is getting out.” 


Some will do and have done unfathomable undermining


to control and contain family members.


Transformation of another seems to send some into a tailspin. 


They continuously mock, belittle, 


and discourage the others efforts 


in hopes that they will finally cave 


and rejoin them in their bucket of misery. 



Once the member caves... they immediately accept 


that individual back into the barrel of crabs.


When we try to walk in our calling... we will have "haters".


Their main objective is to get us off course... 


to pull us down and keep us down.


Some people actually suffer from, the unfortunate, 


crabs in a barrel syndrome.

 


Sometimes our own family can become our worst enemies


in an effort to derail our efforts and destroy our spirit. 


Unfortunately, we live in a world where there are people 


who will lash out just to be mean and ugly. 


There will always be those who try to tear us down, 


but regardless of the words or actions of the naysayers, 


on the sidelines, we can always choose to take the high road.


At the end of the day...


it is taking the high road that will bring us inner peace, 


even in the midst of the useless turmoil others may try to create.



No matter what obstacles come against us, 


let us keep the Golden Rule of...


"Doing unto others as we would have others do unto us."


This is a command based on words of Jesus


 in the Sermon on the Mount.


Treating others as we would like to be treated... works.



Let us press on... and not do evil for evil. 


Let us keep our eyes on the prize...


and always stay true to ourselves and our God. 


We tend to think of bullying as something that happens 


in the schoolyard amongst kids 


who are being mean and abusive to one another. 


However, as incredible as it might seem,


verbal abuse and emotional abuse 


through power, control, domination, 


and subjugation are the weapons of choice 


to gain control over others...


in some families. 



There are families that scapegoat a loved one from childhood,


into and including adulthood.

One’s family of origin can target one member for accusations, 


blame, criticism, and ostracism. 


They belittle, excommunicate, and slander, in an attempt to 


assassinate another’s character.


Why would a family choose a loved one to bully and scapegoat? 


Scapegoating is often a way for families 


to hide problems that they cannot face. 


At times the scapegoat is targeted by the sibling 


who was always the bully of the family. 


In that way, the less favored sibling becomes the repository 


of everything that is wrong in the family.

It’s sometimes right to defend your reputation 


before those who have slandered you. 


However, it is possible, when the scapegoat argues 


and pleads their innocence before the family… 


they can sometimes find themselves 


further blamed and persecuted.

Some families are blessed, after a death, 


to realize a closer-knit family unit. 


Close-knit families leave no opportunity 


for any of their members to fall through the cracks. 


They are supportive, they share similar goals and values, 


they are united by certain convictions and common characteristics,


and they, for the most part, work together as a unit.


In many cases, we find that the close-knit family 


encourages every member to succeed, 


lovingly uplifting each member on toward their destiny. 


Some people come from very helpful families—


ones where the inhabitants form a helpful ladder 


for the members to climb up and out.


The death of a loved one can have a major impact on families. 


Each individual family member must reconcile 


the end of their physical relationship with the person who died 


and their ongoing grief over the loss. 


Unfortunately, this often means that at a time 


when the family could benefit from being closer than ever... 


misunderstandings and differences set them at a distance.


Death can bring out the worst in families. 


While some adult siblings bond more closely 


after the death of their parents and or other siblings, 


others find that the loss brings unresolved tensions 


and old rivalries to the surface.


We all grieve in different ways 


and for different periods of time. 


It’s not uncommon for family resentments to boil over 


in the wake of grief, which often leads to hurt feelings 


and arguments after the death of a loved one.


However,


 greed is an even uglier 


common reaction to death. 


You can almost see the tentacles of materialism and greed 


reaching and grabbing, pushing and shoving into every sphere.


There are those who take advantage of a death in the family 


to line their own pockets, even if it means going against 


the wishes of the deceased.


You might assume that a will or estate plan ensures 


that money will go to the intended heirs — 


but inheritance theft is a treacherous and underreported problem 


that can cost families dearly. 


And since inheritance thieves are usually family members, 


the fallout often is not only about money, but also family ties.


There are many, like me, who see grief turn into greed, 


the vulture mentality, or… out and out corruption.

Some people are opportunistic and greedy. 


Money and things, for some, is thicker than blood. 


Anything that gives some people a sense of gain 


can bring out the most horrendous side of that person.


Some are clever enough, brazen enough, 


and merciless enough to find a way to claim and seize 


that which is not theirs. In a nutshell, 


my older and only living sister and my younger brother 


willingly and intentionally took advantage of the family 


at our most vulnerable low point.


It’s never fun to have the realization 


that someone has taken something from you, 


but it really adds insult to the injury 


when we discover that the thieves are family members.

It turned out that mother’s will was changed 


months before she passed. She was confused and disoriented 


and very close to death. She had been forced 


to make changes to her will against her wishes 


by our overbearing sister.


Mother told my oldest living brother and me


that she was not comfortable with my sister 


and “That thing”, (mother's words), she is married to. 


Mother expressed that she felt she was in some kind of danger 


when they were around and she did not trust them.


My sister has always had a pathological need to control others


and she uses many lies to accomplish it. 


It is as if... every single action employed by her stems from... 


habitual and compulsive lying 


and a pathological need to control others.

She lies effectively and will go to any extent 


to bring her agenda to extort supply to fruition. 


She goes over and beyond to make people, in the family, 


surrender their identity, their power, and individualism. 


Her sense of entitlement is delusional... 


much like Jacob offering Esau a bowl of stew for his birthright.


She would rather win the argument and push the point...


that she is right (which is usually not the case)... 


and not ever consider respectfully attempting 


to resolve the conflict.

Conflicts can escalate when the people involved 


are too acrimonious to listen to each other. 


Misunderstandings can fuel arguments. 


When we are constantly interrupted 


and the conversation is redirected by unrelated issues... 


nothing gets resolved.


 My sister acts as if her goal is to devalue family members, 


take away their worth, 


and have family accept her self-serving abuse as normal… 


or else.


My sister has a desperate and debilitating love for family… 


which has absolutely nothing to do with love. 


I often wonder if her dishonest, pretentious, 


manipulative behavior is due to crowded loneliness, 


a desire for love, or a need for acceptance.

Her actions are unscrupulous and mean spirited with family, 


but quite the opposite around those whom she feels the need to impress.


Because I knew what Mother’s concerns were... 


regarding my sister and her partner... I became my sister’s whipping post, 


scapegoat, and fall guy. She has treated me with disdain and disgust 


in an attempt to manipulate me. 


When I speak up for myself she attempts to "Gaslight" me ... 


this is to impress upon others that I am crazy, 


should not be listened to, respected, or taken seriously.



Trust, I did not volunteer for this position. 


I was pretty much slam dunked into it.


My mom would say one thing to me... 


and would be afraid to address my sister 


and would say whatever my sister wanted to hear. 


This power over mother was gained... 


when dad passed, in 1992.


The conflicts and clashes have been brewing for decades


 with my sister and younger brother versus me. 


My older brother told me that she has disliked me since birth.


Sibling rivalry may sound like a stretch, 


but it is as old and as unavoidable as time itself. 


It is the "Bad blood" unfriendliness, malice, loathing, 


tension, feuding, or hostility between brothers and/or sisters


which manifests itself in circumstances much like 


the sibling rivalry as seen in the pages of the Bible.


Our family was held together by our now deceased parents. 


When they died… the vultures came out to grab the spoils 


without considering the pain and family strife that would unfold.


In the case of dad, mother, and the middle brother who died, 


my only living sister and younger brother, 


whom I shared the same parents with… 


positioned themselves to benefit monetarily 


from our loved one’s death.

These covetous two, now executors of the estate, sprung into action! 


They engaged in criminal behavior, forging signatures, 


creating strife, fighting about everything, hurling slanderous… 


unfounded accusations, and they told out and out lies… 


repeatedly, to cover their tracks. 


These two appropriated inheritances not meant for them; 


without remorse! 


Where is the justice in this?


Tragedy in life can come with betrayal and compromise. 


My siblings seemed to have been okay trading their integrity and dignity... 


for thirty pieces of silver. The ugly deeds my siblings have performed... 


are NOT okay. These terrible acts of lies and betrayal 


have torn our whole family apart.


Their evil deeds had to require a strong stomach for dishonesty, 


a willingness to submit to self-delusion, 


and a heartless ability to ruin the future of legitimate heirs. 


And in doing so… they showed blatant contempt and disrespect 


for our middle brother, mother, and father’s final wishes.


Let’s face it, most thinking people know that these devilish deeds, 


in any court of law, is considered as… outright thievery. 



Isn’t it interesting how, supposedly, “overwhelming grief” 


takes an immediate backseat to potential monetary gain?


As hard as it is for many of us to admit, countless families 


who we never imagined... have found themselves in despicable conflicts


over material things. 


They are suddenly overwhelmed by major disagreements 


and power struggles over money and things.

Money and things can become a slave master and drive people 


to do all sorts of things.


The love of money, not money itself, 


is a source of all different kinds of trouble and evil.

Wealth is morally neutral; there is nothing wrong with money, 


in and of itself, or the possession of money. 


However, when money begins to control us,


that’s when trouble starts.

Greed causes people to do all sorts of things they wouldn’t normally do. 


The love of money is what motivates people to lie, steal, cheat, 


gamble, embezzle, and even murder.


According to Scripture, people who have a love for money 


lack the godliness and contentment that is the true gain in God’s eyes.


In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, 


“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one 


and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one 


and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money”


(Matthew 6:24).

This verse comes at the end of a passage in which Jesus tells us to 


“Lay up treasures in heaven” (v. 19). 


Here, Jesus likens a “love of money” to idolatry. 


He refers to money as a “master” we serve 


at the expense of serving God.


We are commanded by God to have “no other gods”


before the only true and living God 


(Exodus 20:3); the first commandment).


Unfortunately, not all siblings express love for one another. 



Many of the famous sibling groups mentioned often


 throughout the Old and New Testaments are known 


for their interpersonal conflicts and even hatred for each other.


Cain killed Abel out of jealousy, 


thereby committing the first murder

 

(Genesis 4:3–8). 



Jacob and Esau were at odds 


from the time they were in the womb and into adulthood 


(Genesis 25:23; 27). 


Jacob was jealous of Esau's birthright 


and his father's favoritism (Gen. 25:28-34). 



Leah was jealous of Rachel's beauty (Gen. 29:17).



 The rivalry between Leah and Rachel was bitter, 


made worse by their father Laban, a devious and unscrupulous man.

 


Rebekah overheard Isaac's decision to bless Esau. 


Rebekah loved her son Jacob more. 


She schemed to get the blessing for Jacob 


(Gen. 27:8-10,14-17).

 


Joseph's brothers were jealous of him. 


His brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt 


(Genesis 37:12–28). 



Even Martha and Mary’s story contains 


a disagreement between the sisters 


(Luke 10:38–42).


Jesus Himself had siblings—


brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas, 


and an unknown number of sisters 


(Matthew 12:46; 13:55, 56).



Jesus once used His family 


as a picture of His relationship with His followers: 


“While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, 


His mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to Him. 


Someone told Him, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside, 


wanting to speak to You.’ He replied to him, 


‘Who is My mother, and who are My brothers?’ 


Pointing to His disciples, He said, 


‘Here are My mother and My brothers. 


For whoever does the Will of My Father in heaven 


is My brother and sister and mother’” 


(Matthew 12:46–50).

Many, if not all, cases of birth-family abuse can be traced back 


to jealousy, selfishness, parental partiality (real or perceived), 


or envy in the abuser’s heart.

We know that in the real world sibling rivalry exists, 


but we are often blindsided by it because it is the last thing 


we would expect from a family member.

 


Brothers and sisters argue and fight each other, lie and trick each other, 


and generally treat each other horribly at times.


It never feels good... in fact, it is very painful to be the target... 


a whipping post for siblings or anyone else. 


It can be very painful being on the receiving end


of another person’s verbal assaults. 


Words laced with poison can be just as emotionally 


and/or spiritually excruciating as physical blows, 


and those that hurl words as a weapon 


are often quite skilled at using them.


My siblings seem to constantly assume I am the rightful catch-all for 


anger, criticism, and judgment. 


To my siblings, it seems that the name “Carole” 


is synonymous with “whipping post”.



Apparently, they do not realize that their words and deeds 


have an impending doom. 


They are blinded by the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:3–4),


 bound in darkness (Col. 1:13, Acts 26:18),


 and caught in Satan’s snare (2 Tim. 2:25–26).


One of the most sobering facts about life is that 


all humans have a supernatural enemy whose aim is 


to use pain and pleasure to make us blind, stupid, and miserable. 


The Scriptures call him “the devil and Satan, 


the deceiver of the whole world . . . the accuser” (Revelation 12:9–10),


“the ruler of this world” (John 12:31), 


and “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4).


Satan is our “adversary who prowls around like a roaring lion, 


seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). 


Yet, in the most appalling and unwitting bondage, 


the whole world willingly “follows the prince of the power of the air, 


the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2).


 At his most successful, his  subjects march obliviously 


to destruction and take as many with them as they can.


The Scriptures speak about the reality of a conflict 


we face as believers. 


We call that conflict “Spiritual warfare.” 


Satan and his forces are real.


A tactic of manipulators is intentionally 


setting up misdeeds and then questioning 


the victims' sanity for reacting to those misdeeds. 


They provoke negative emotions, 


then dismiss the victims' legitimate concerns 


with labels like “crazy”, insane”, and “sensitive”.



They are patronizing, unapologetic, and cowardly. 


When they realize they are unable to manipulate a strong soul… 


they begin to manufacture insanity and chaos.

I believe God has intentionally allowed me


to have more than I can handle 


so that I'm forced into deeper dependence on Him. 



Understanding my limitations frees me to put my trust


in God's limitless power and wisdom. 


It allows me to live out my faith in front of my family. 



When I come to the end of myself, I arrive at a divine opportunity 


to see God's grace show up amid the chaos.


The devil has tried to bait us with false teaching, 


lure us into sin, and turn us against each other. 


He does this to keep us from glorifying God 


and walking in our calling. 


He seeks to devour us (1 Pet. 5:8) 


so we can no longer be a light to a lost world.


The enemy wants us to mess up (fall into sin), 


give up (get discouraged), get puffed up (live in arrogance), 


split up (divide), or shut up and quit spreading the Good News.


 Messed up people are used to mess up others. 


People who are messed up seem to get some comfort 


or consolation from knowing that others are messed up 


and miserable too.


In spreading the Good News it requires intentionally 


taking the light into the darkness. 


Satan is fighting against us because 


we are God’s witnesses to the world.


We must stand firm, press on, 


and boldly march into the enemy’s kingdom 


to do the work of we have been assigned to do.



Satan's goal is to keep us from proclaiming 


and living out the Good News that sets people free. 



One of Satan’s subtle strategies is to entice us to operate 


in our own ability.



David the shepherd boy 


took on the giant in faith and dependence,


knowing that the battle was not his in the first place, 


but rather the Lord’s (1 Sam. 17:47).



When he became the king, though, 


David sought to know just how mighty his own forces were 


as he leaned more on himself than on God (1 Chron. 21:1–5). 


Ego stepped in and steered him in the wrong direction. 



By the way; here’s food for thought: 


ego is the acronym for easing God out. 


When God is not in the forefront... 


our doom is near.



The enemy delights when we become full of ourselves—


when we’re much more like David the king... 


than David the shepherd boy.



The very task of spreading the Good News 


places us in the sights of the enemy. 


The devil doesn’t want us to reach non-believers, 


develop and plant healthy seeds of encouragement, 


or see us cultivate a close, intimate relationship with God.


God tells us to “go ye”. 


God sends us out where people are perishing!


The wider lesson is...


when we have been blessed, by God... 


those spiritual blessings are not for us 


to keep to ourselves or hide under a bushel basket. 



God gives the bread of life to us 


so that we might break it and share it with the world. 


This means that we are offensively 


engaging the enemy’s territory... 


we can know that the enemy will fight back.


We do genuinely wrestle against principalities and powers (Eph. 6:12), 


but the devil and his forces have never been outside of God’s control.



Warfare is the devil’s attempt to deceive and divide believers. 


But, 


the enemy we face... 


is a liar and a defeated foe!


We needn’t fear. In the power of God, 


we must simply love God and live and speak for Him 


in such a way that God is glorified...and an already-defeated Satan 


is threatened (Acts 19:11–16).


After many years of pain and disgust 


from the blatant and heinous acts of my 


younger brother and only living sister… 


the two older brothers who witnessed the hellish hand I was dealt... 


did not have the guts to stand for truth and speak up, 


yet, they speak of righteousness all the time.



They seem to be oblivious to the silent thief, 


deceiver, destroyer, and murderer they have, naively, embraced.



The following quotes of Dr. Martin Luther King 


are appropriate... for such a time as this:



The hottest place in Hell 


is reserved for those who remain neutral 


in times of great moral conflict."




"Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light 


of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness."




"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous 


than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."




"If a man has not discovered something that he will die for, 


he isn't fit to live."




"The ultimate measure of a man 


is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, 


but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."




"The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was:

 

'If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?' 


But... the good Samaritan reversed the question: 


'If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?'"




"He who passively accepts evil


is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. 




He who accepts evil without protesting against it


is really cooperating with it."




"In the end, we will remember 


not the words of our enemies,


but the silence of our friends.”




"Our lives begin to end 


the day we become silent 


about things that matter."


"The ultimate tragedy is not 


the oppression and cruelty by the bad people, 


but the silence over that by the good people."




"There comes a time when silence is betrayal."


Where love, compassion, and support 


were so desperately needed, instead, I found myself on another battlefield. 


Why?


I wish I could answer that question intelligently. 


I wish I knew why so many people go sideways 


when death visits a family. 



Now, I am being accused, criticized, 


and lied on by the older brothers 


whom I looked up to and respected. 



Recently, the one brother that I shared 


painful 50 plus year old memories with... 


has not honored the truth… 


and confidence was betrayed. 



For years I believed he was a high soul, 


a God-fearing man who was upright, 


fair, and guided by integrity. 


Obviously, his actions proved that he was unable 


to be who I thought or needed him to be.



It is hard enough when one is attacked 


and conspired against by the enemy and the world, 


but when the fiery arrows come from those whom we love


and have bared our soul to... the hurt becomes magnified.



Betrayal is one of life's hardest blows. 


Jesus knew what betrayal felt like. 



Jesus was betrayed into the hands of His enemies by Judas, 


for thirty pieces of silver, 


and Jesus was deserted by all the rest. 



The very people Jesus had helped, 


healed, fed, and encouraged cried… 


CRUCIFY HIM!


 

The very ones Jesus blessed… 


became His enemies.



Trust is the most vulnerable state of being. 


When we give it away... all our weaknesses are exposed 


to those who it has been given.



Betrayal is the vindictive violation of trust. 


A betrayal is an act of double-crossing another. 


The sting of betrayal can be dreadfully agonizing 


and become so embedded in our subconscious mind... 


that the betrayal may become too difficult to extract.



Betrayal is, therefore, pain... 


and also a profound education. 


Sometimes betrayals can be a blessing in disguise. 


It can be that rude awakening that we so desperately needed.



To be betrayed by a person you fully trusted 


is probably the most heartbreaking thing anyone can experience. 


Recovering from it may take a while 


or may affect our future judgments in meeting new people. 



What makes it hurtful is the fact that our trust 


was violated by someone we never knew 


could do such a thing.



The one person who I told everything to, 


was actually hiding everything from me.


This particular brother was verbally insulting and hurtful. 


His words, tone, and actions were devilish. 


He began venting these hostile, uncaring, mean, 


destructive, and false accusations, 


and the evil words he vented seemed 


as if he had harbored those thoughts for a while.



The deepest scars are those we do not see. 


The simplest little words, which we take for granted, 


have the power to hurt or heal, to inspire or discourage, 


to help or to hinder.



A thoughtless word... 


downloaded into another’s head 


can devastate one's life. 



Words have great power and often the negative words 


are remembered long after they are forgotten 


by the one who spoke them.



Words can cause physical changes in our body 


and change the Spiritual atmosphere. 


Research shows that words have an emotional, 


physical, and spiritual impact. 



Words are messengers; they carry defeat, 


they bring worry, and death... 


or transmit victory, peace, and life for many! 


Familial betrayal is, to me, the most heartbreaking kind – 


because if you can’t trust your family to love you and protect you, 


who can you really trust?



My older brother condemned and verbally abused me 


without concern as to how harsh and brutally hurtful 


his baseless allegations were.


Our thoughts are the seeds of our actions. 


We need to notice and make sure the seeds we broadcast


 are in alignment with what is righteous.

 


Betrayal gives tremendous insights 


into one’s character as well.



My brother unleashed a cascade of slanderous remarks. 


It was as if the truth he knew… mysteriously evaporated. 


He totally disregarded the truth, 


and did not appear to be interested in considering 


the full ramifications of his rantings. 


The lies he was spewing...


seemed to have been more welcomed than the truth


His rage was really outrageous.



 I always thought my brother was mature enough 


to have a discussion without being petty 


and stooping to the points of hurling such unkind name-calling 


and untrue accusations. 



He seemed locked into the lies he was spewing… 


and seemed quite comfortable with it. 


It felt like his main intention was to antagonize 


and seriously wound me with those painful 


and poisonous accusations. 


His choice of descriptors for me were venomous and 


certainly not indicative of the brother I thought I knew 


or wanted him to be.




Being more conscious requires effort, and once we have made it a habit... 


it becomes second nature, for most. I really thought he was there.

 


However, when we listen to the rantings of the wrong voices… 


we tend to believe things we should not. 


Listening to the wrong voices can have one unleashing 


anger on someone undeserving of it. 



Until we know what voices someone else has been listening to, 


we don't know how to understand them.


Within each of us lies the power to direct 


the flood of feelings that surges forth.

1 John 4:1 reminds us:


Beloved, do not believe every spirit, 


but test the spirits to see whether they are from God.



For some, Satan’s lies become their truth. 



My brother accused me, sentenced me, 


and nailed me to the cross without thinking about 


the awful accusations he was making … 


versus, what he actually knows to be true.



It appears that both, 70 plus-year-old, brothers 


are using this precious time of their lives 


trying to find fault and making unkind remarks about me.... 


their baby sister!


They are making accusations of horrendous nature 


where no evidence exists to substantiate those accusations.


Seventy plus years of life has to be and mean...


much more than that. 


There are far greater things to dwell on.



The oldest living brother and I were very close. 


In the midst of all of the family drama... 


his girlfriend of over 20 plus years 


decided she would express how much she hated me


and couldn’t wait to see me living under a bridge. 


She apparently insisted that my brother


 no longer communicate with me 


and apparently he followed her lead. 


So, now there is a wedge. We no longer communicate. 


She told me never to call there, anymore.



I was floored that my brothers, 


knowing and witnessing all of the hell I have gone through, 


and not even understanding why these things were happening either, 


would shrink back and not stand up for truth.



My question is... 


how can a man allow someone, 


that he has never said that he was in love with, 


have that kind of control over him? 


This woman seems to have taken his manhood and is now...


more like my oldest brother's puppeteer. 


My oldest brother is unable to communicate with me. 


This is baffling and also; yet, another dismal low 


in my family dynamics... 


to say the least. 



My brother who spoke harshly to me now seems to be needy for acceptance, 


from the older brother, and the klan of crabs. 


Now, he has gone back into the barrel of crabs. 


He is entertaining those, inside the barrel of crabs, 


by gossiping and making unfounded, 


slanderous remarks about me, in their presence.

 


It’s as if both older brothers, by their actions and words,


are projecting their pain onto me, 


and slandering me for their unhappiness.



If my two older brothers would be honest... 


they would tell the truth and admit that I’ve been vilified... 


without cause. 



The only thing I have ever done is loved and respected them. 


The only sense I can make out of this is that 


they would rather quietly sneak back into the bucket of crabs 


and not get involved or.


 

 Apparently, someone has blown something way out of proportion... 


and created something much deeper than it is, was, or should be. 


The more they conspire and spread lies... 


the more it is growing into this uncontrollable 


avalanche of unfounded allegations!



I'm still confused about the events leading up to 


the relationship breakdowns with my brothers.


I’m trying to make sense out of the nonsense… 


to no avail.



Most incredibly, these senior members of my family have finally caved 


and have been accepted back into the bucket of crabs. 


It appears that they are deliberately trying to destroy my character, 


my zest for life, and my desire to walk in my calling.



Why? 


Is this part of their initiation 


back into the bucket of crabs?



Don’t they realize they, too... 


have a calling on their lives?

It is very disappointing to see these men, whom I looked up to... 


and respected, have nothing to share with the world other than 


devilish gossip and pettiness.



For the past two decades... these 70 plus-year-old men 


both witnessed all of the lies, slander, and forgeries 


that caused so much pain and hurt for me; yet, they remained silent.



I really am disappointed because I really thought 


they would be encouragers... not men determined to discourage 


and go to this extent to break my spirit. 


I don’t know what they have to gain 


in being so hurtful and negative.


Now, the brother who recently made all of the hurtful remarks... 


is attempting to minimize what happened 


and deflect by playing the victim to the circumstances he, 


along with his coaches, created. 


Maybe their silence is due to fear 


of our loud and brazen sister.



It seems they would rather surrender their dignity 


and crawl back into the barrel of crabs 


rather than assert themselves, 


and tell the truth.

 


What they have shown me is… 


they are not the men of bravery and brilliance 


that I thought they were. 


What a shame to all of a sudden land in a space


where you have caused yourself to be distrusted 


and no longer respected as a man.



When someone whom you loved, 


respected, and trusted is the betrayer... it can cause very deep wounds. 


When a person can lie, slander, and betray someone who trusted them… 


they won’t tell the truth… they don’t own their lies… 


they won’t find the courage to speak up 


against all of the ignorance and injustice… 


or won’t man up and apologize for being hurtful and disrespectful… 


one has to wonder… 


where are those men who professed to be high souls?


High souls are one with Truth. 


High souls would do what they could to make things right... 


if it were in their power to do so.



Betrayal is common for men with no conscience. 


Where are the men whom I thought were awake, aware, and upright?



The brother who was recently slandering me seemed possessed. 


His words and deeds have been devilish. 


The God I serve would never dispatch anyone 


spewing the venomous remarks he did.

 


After my brother finished speaking, 


I just stood there in shock and disbelief. 


I tried to see who was speaking through him. 


Certainly, it was a major blow for me, because he was someone 


whom I held in high esteem. 


I thought very highly of him and had great respect for him… 


sadly, I trusted him.



It was as if he was trying to elicit a certain reaction from me 


to make himself feel fulfilled. 


Thank God, his rantings could not dictate or define 


my reactions or behavior.


I have discovered the way to end a fight 


is often by refusing to engage... period.


Yes, I had a rude awakening! 


I guess I really had to be awakened to clearly see...


that my older brothers were not what I wanted 


or expected them to be. 


I had to see, as hurtful as it was, 


who my brothers really are.



"He that has eyes to see and ears to hear 


may convince himself that no mortal can keep a secret. 


If his lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips; 


betrayal oozes out of him at every pore." 


– Sigmund Freud

Obviously none of us like to deal with the hurtful behavior 


of someone who is lashing out at us.  


It is heartbreaking when it happens; however, 


I do believe with all my heart 


that as much as it may cause us to feel bad, 


it isn’t something we should ever allow to drive 


how we feel about ourselves.  


We should never let our view of ourselves 


be determined by another person who is lashing out 


because people aren’t perfect and people aren’t all-knowing – 


Only God is. 

By the grace of God rather than becoming enraged, 


as probably expected by them, 


God had me to remain still and silent. 


He reminded me that this battle was not mine.



Jesus also knows the feeling of support falling away. 


He is all too acquainted with having the very ones 


who should stand up for Him… 


to shrink back and turn against Him.



What a blessing it is to know that Jesus knows exactly how I feel.

 

Not only is He touched by our feelings of betrayal, 


but...


"He is that Friend who sticks closer than a brother."


Proverbs 18:24

It is easy for my siblings and others to sit and look in 


from the outside and criticize, disparage, 


or otherwise cast aspersion on me, 


but God knows... 


He has witnessed it all.

 


God is our Perfect Judge,

 


and we can trust God, implicitly.



I am reminded of a quote of Albert Einstein, he tells us, 


“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, 


but by those who watch them without doing anything.”



I am now seeing how... even the people who betray us 


are part of God’s Master Plan. 



Jesus could not get to the cross 


without Judas and his betrayal.


Of course, it is very disappointing to witness this kind of demonic behavior, 


and it saddens me that after all was said and done... 


I took a long look at my brother, and my heart ached. 


What I saw was a confused and mean-spirited being 


who appeared to be lost.



As this reality check soaked in, 


I realize that I held my older brothers in higher regard 


than they deserved. 


The mistake was mine, for trusting them.… 


by trusting where I shouldn’t have trusted. 



They do not seem sorry they have been so devilish and petty, 


but they may be sorry that I found out. 


Truth is… they do not need to be sorry… 


it is all on me. I trusted them. 


That was my mistake, not theirs. 


I thought that my brothers had high character 


and my best interest at heart… 


shame on me for being so gullible.

I have been prayerfully trying to find my way 


through this hellish haze of madness. 


I’ve tried to rise above the foolish distractions,

 

and I am trying to see my siblings… 


not as demons, but as struggling souls.



True, they were attempting to hurt me by betraying me, 


revealing confidences, slandering me, and concealing the truth, 


but obviously, what they have not come to realize is 


how they are betraying the God part of themselves.



Their participation with Satan and all of the noise, 


confusion, and chaos that comes along with him, 


is silencing and keeping them from hearing the directives 


of the still small voice of God inside of them. 



I am sure if they knew better... 


they would begin to do better by resisting Satan... 


and not falling for his evil schemes.



In this particular instance, I need not try to defend myself. 


I will give it some time. 



Jesus says, 


“Have no fear of them, for nothing is covered 


that will not be revealed, 


or hidden that will not be known” 


(Matt. 10:26). 


The truth will win in the end.


I am trusting time will reveal the truth. 


God is able to see behind enemy lines. 


God knows exactly the strategies that will be used against us. 


With God as our witness, 


e will not be outwitted by Satan. 



By the grace of God, 


the truth is relentless, unyielding, inevitable, and invincible. 


It’s the king of come-from-behind victories!



I love Spurgeon's metaphor: 


“A great lie, if unnoticed, is like a big fish out of the water—


it dashes and plunges and beats itself to death in a short time.”



Thank God, time moves on. 

The sting from all of this is giving way to accepting reality. 


I know things will never be the same. 


I also realize not everyone has the same value systems 


as to how to treat others, and that it is easier to criticize 


or abandon those in need rather than be 


a positive part of the situation.



I’ve learned another important lesson as well — 


the definition of “family” is not necessarily 


what you were born into. 


A real and true family are those who stand by you, 


unconditionally and without reproach or judgment.



God is allowing me to rise above the madness 


because He is with me... 


physically, emotionally, spiritually 


and every imaginable way that one can be there 


for another in a most desperate time of need.



Furthermore, not only is God with me... 


God has placed high souls all around me who encourage, 


enlighten and support the calling God has placed on my life. 


I know in my heart that God and these high souls… 


will always be there for me.



Our storms might look different in this life, 


but they all offer the opportunity to change us, forever. 


And God can take what seems tragic and devastating 


and turn it around for good. 


It may not happen as quickly as we'd like, 


it may feel like a struggle, and we might find ourselves 


longing for another way, but blessing will come from it. 


For it's the way God works. 


The "good" will shine through. 


And we won’t ever be the same again. 


For the person who eventually walks out of the storm 


will be different than the one who walked in.



We can be assured, that God's work within us is never for harm, 


but to strengthen us, to build deeper character and faith, 


and to bring us out as "gold," leaving lasting impressions 


for His glory in this world.



With God in the forefront of our lives nothing can truly harm us, 


but this isn’t a guarantee that we will experience no pain. 


It’s a promise that everything that comes to us, 


including our trials, 


is part of God’s Master Plan.



The truth is, God doesn’t promise certain limits to suffering. 


He doesn’t guarantee personal happiness. 


He doesn’t ensure our escape from pain, 


but He gives us the strength to endure. 



He will never give us more than 


He has equipped us to handle.


God’s people are often crushed beyond measure:


the Bible makes that abundantly clear.


Here are some guarantees God’s Word does give us:



  • Suffering will come, 

  • but we will also share in Christ’s glory (1 Peter 4:12-13).



  • All that happens will be for our good, 

  • to make us more like Jesus 

  • (Rom 8:28-30).


  • Nothing can ever separate us from God’s love 

  • (Rom 8:38-39).


  • God won’t let us be tested – 

  • beyond what we can bear,
  •  
  • but will provide a way for us to endure it 

  • (1 Cor 10:13).


  • God will give us all we need for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3)

  • In our weakness, He will give us strength 

  • (2 Cor 12:9-10 cf 2 Cor 4:7-12; Phil 4:11-13; Col 1:11-14).


God never promised us this life would be easy, 


but He does promise that 


He is bigger than any storm we face... 


and He's always working for good.


The lessons garnered from all of this:


1. God knows what is in us, and even when others purposefully overlook us… 


God is fully aware of the treasure He placed in us.



2. People are either part of the problem... or part of the solution.



3. We must be careful who we trust. We must tune into our own 


intuitions... turning within to see what is true and false in any dynamic. 


We need to trust those who are capable of being trusted. 


We are not obligated to trust those that we love. 


And we are not obligated to trust someone... just because other people do. 


We must trust our own gut feelings. 


Trust our ability to see what is happening without denial. 


Trust can be lost within seconds,


takes a lifetime to regain, 


and is never as strong again afterward.



4. Strong people lift others up; it’s beneath their dignity 


to knowingly oppress, suppress, or depress others.



5. When people harshly judge others… 


it is usually something within them… that they don’t want to face.

 

When one is a forward-thinker 


and begins to make progressive moves in life... 


some may see it as a threat to their goals and interests.



6. The one who follows the crowd… goes no further than the crowd. 


One becomes who they spend time with.



7. If we are under attack, the blessings must be close. 


The vaults are loaded and the thief is dying to rob us. 


When we are betrayed, we must release disappointment at once… 


so the bitterness has no time to take root in us. 


We cannot waste time hoping someone will suffer 


the consequences for what they did to our heart. 


If we don’t let go of the crazy-makers and let God abide... 


it allows them to hurt us a second time in our mind. 


God knows... an God can handle them.



8. When God calls us… He fully equips us. 


We are not expected to be perfect. 


God equips us with everything good for doing His will.


Followers of Jesus have experienced this truth 


through the centuries from the calling of the first disciples. 


The disciples were ordinary people like you and me. 


They were not the most highly educated, charismatic, perfect, 


or influential people of their day. 


They did not hold the highest positions with the best pedigree or 


resume filled with accomplishments and awards.



Jesus called the ordinary and then did extraordinary things through them. 


He changed the world and continues to change the world!



Without God, I know would fail, miserably. 


I am totally dependent upon God... 


moment by moment to give me what I need 


and equip me to do what He calls me to do.



So naysayers, say what you will... 


God is the greatest! 


It would behoove you to find your calling and walk in it. 


Wasting your precious time and energy trying to find 


a spot or wrinkle on me or creating obstacles and roadblocks 


is not helping you at all. 


You’re doing nothing but exhausting yourselves. 


Think About it, and you may see how necessary it is to 


take care of your own journey. 


You have a calling on your life 


that you may not be able to answer 


because you’re not in your lane. 


Stay in you lane so that you can answer your call...


before it’s too late.


We will all have to answer.



9. If what we are doing is not fixing or improving the situation then… 


it is time we open our eyes and see that 


we are wasting precious moments of our life 


that we will never be able to recoup.



10. No pressure no diamond. 


Without manure, the plant may suffer and fail to grow.



11. When someone betrays you, it is the reflection of their character, 


not yours.


May we always remember and never forget:


Even if our pain is the teacher… 


there lies an opportunity for growth.



12. People may make cutting remarks, make jokes about us, 


gossip about us, dig up bones, or even hate us for being different 


and not following the ways of the world, 


but if the truth be told, 


they would love to have the guts to face their fears, 


dare to fail, and do the same.



13. Some people we need to forgive them in our heart 


and allow them to get off the bus of our life, 


and take all of their toxins with them.



Yes, we have to let go... and allow those who find joy 


in creating pain in our lives... to get off the bus.


To allow them to exit... can be the best decision ever. 


Sometimes we have to reward 


loyalty with loyalty… 


and disloyalty with distance.



14. If you have a dream for your life, 


then a crab bucket is no place for you to remain. 


If you feel like you’re suffocating, or have joy and spirit drainers...


it might be time to fight your way out... 


quickly detaching from the toxic bucket of crabs.



I love my family because I know God is within them, 


but until they come to that realization... 


I will have to love them from a distance.

 


As I’ve told my older brother on numerous occasions... 


I don’t like what my older sister and younger brother did


 and what they continue doing, 


but I don’t hate them. 


Hating them would be beneath my dignity. 


In fact, I have taken this matter to God 


and God knows that, in my heart, I have forgiven my siblings 


and wish them no ill will. 



According to Scripture, I don’t need to let pride or ego 


take me off course by trying to fix what God is handling. 



Scripture reminds us:


“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, 


but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: 


‘It is Mine to avenge; 


I will repay,’ says the Lord.” 


Romans 12:19 


I have come to realize... We are often apprehensive about forgiving 


because we feel that forgiveness means we must once again 


expose ourselves to the same toxic, mean-spirited, destructive abusers... 


and trust them again. To the contrary... 


forgiveness does not mean denying reality... 


forgiveness is based on grace. 


Trust... is something one must earn. 


Yes, we should be cautious of someone who knew we would be hurt... 


and they did it anyway!



Detaching is not a decision that is easily made, 


but I have had my fill of all of the sibling squabbling.


I will not engage further. 


It’s important to remember that the reason for detaching


is not because we loathe family... 


it is for the preservation of our emotional and spiritual health.



15. We must be careful who we vent to and listen to. 


There are some individuals who may be knowledgeable in some areas,  


but their spiritual practice may not line up.


 My older brothers have often told me, 


especially when I am talking about God, to “Save myself.”


According to Ephesians 2:8, the Scriptures tell us, 


“For by grace we have been saved through faith. 


And this is not our own doing; 


it is the gift of God.”

I understand that I cannot save the world. 


It is a fact that we cannot control what other people do. 


We cannot make someone else act with integrity, 


or make someone else do the right thing, 


and we cannot make someone else be a good person,


but I do believe words and ideas can change things.



Having a personal realization and relationship with God 


impels me to inspire others, encourage, 


and share whatever God gives me to share with others... 


with gentleness and respect.



I am not a preacher or teacher, 


but I am willing and immensely honored 


when God allows me to be used as His vessel to share... 


not to put on a show. 


I dare not go around and beat anyone down by 


condescendingly quoting scripture 


and trying to be holier than Thou... 


that is not who I am.



I am grateful to God that I am blessed to have the liberty 


to share edifying messages that can positively impact 


and uplift lives internally, externally, and eternally.


It is not to secure applause and/or accolades 


or to stimulate and flatter the ego. 


My goal, at this juncture in my life, 


is to trust God with all my heart 


and not lean on my puny understanding, 


to try my level best... to do God’s Will,


to honor God with my gifts and talents, 


and not allow side liners 


to attempt to be more knowledgeable than God 


in an attempt to discourage me.



God has granted me with the breath of life, 


and I dare not waste this precious and most valuable energy 


creating obstacles and roadblocks for those 


who have abandoned me or are otherwise sitting in judgment... 


that’s not who I am or what I have ever desired to do or be.

I have asked myself, “Who is my real support? 


Who has stood by me and continues to do so? 


Who is a positive presence in my life? 


Who has eased my journey?” 


The answer is God. 


God has been my healer, 


God makes a way out of no way, 


God loves me, 


and God is. 


God is my Pilot... I am the passenger. 


With God as my Guide… evil doer’s are spinning their wheels. 


They may have hoards of helpers, 


but I know that... 


one with God is the majority.

 


Life is too short to allow man’s evil words and deeds 


to reside in our mind or spirit. 


We must move past the past 


and keep pressing on to higher ground 


where people are progressive, growing spiritually, 


and trying to do God’s Will.

 


High souls, who are trying to do God's Will, 


would see gossiping and slandering as being petty, 


a waste of precious time, and beneath their dignity.



I know I am far from perfect. 


Actually, no one is perfect – 


apart from Jesus. 


Cultivating a close relationship with God 


does not require one to be perfect.


I can’t and don't intend to deny the reality 


of what God has done in my life. 



When I reflect on my past


 and the many times I made poor choices 


and bad turns… I look and see... 


undeserved grace and mercy... 


all over me. 


When I think about illnesses, prayers answered, 


close calls in traffic, 


and the many storms that we have weathered… 


I see where God’s grace and mercy, 


which I could never earn


was there to keep us. 


When I am reminded of the times I felt like I could not make it... 


or take another step, but somehow I did… some may say it was “Luck”, 


but Believers will say it was 


the power of God’s Divine “Grace” 


that imparted the strength 


to help me endure and get through it.




God’s grace ignites gratitude within me. 


Apart from God...I am nothing short of a broken woman. 



I sincerely believe, anything less than full acknowledgement 


of how powerful God’s love is for us, 


and how He pours out His goodness on us 


like we had never sinned… 


renders one as a total ingrate.



How can one feel justified in praising man, the finite... 


with his limited knowledge and understanding


yet, shrink back and not share 


The Good News about the Creator, 


Who is Infinitely above 


anything and everything, visible and invisible, 


we can attempt to discern or express?

 


All things in Heaven and on earth are under God's  


immeasurable, boundless, immense, endless, 


forever, and Omnipresent authority.



“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” 


(Philippians 4:4). 



Hebrews 13:16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, 


for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. 



Many times we want to shine, without the pain and uncertainty 


of what those seasons of pain taught us. 


We long to reflect beauty without the glaring weakness of deep cracks 


that line our stories and fill us with holes. 


We want to cover what was broken and scarred, 


masking the struggles of a past 


that took us down difficult pathways. 


And yet, embracing the beauty of the broken 


is what enables us to live free... 


with greater purpose, 


changed hearts, and renewed vision.



When we overcome, 


we are able to strengthen others. 


Out of our greatest tests comes our greatest testimony.



Proverbs 3:27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due 


when it is in your power to do it. 



Proverbs 11:25 Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,

 

and one who waters will himself be watered.



Lifting God’s Name up, and even blogging… being a conduit, 


a vessel for God to use doesn’t require one to be perfect. 



One main command of the gospel is to spread it, 


to tell the Good News.



The Gutenberg Bible contains these words:

 

“God suffers in the multitude of souls 


whom His word cannot reach.”



God’s truth should not be confined or imprisoned. 


Instead, God’s steadfast love and faithfulness 


is the treasure that all of God’s Creation should be exposed to.


Mercy is the way grace in us reaches out to others. 


Grace calls us to step out of ourselves. 


Mercy shows us where to go. 


Grace is our primary encounter with God. 


Mercy extends that encounter to others. 


Grace is the presence of God within. 


Mercy is the action of God within.



Let us break the seal which seals up holy things 


and give wings to Truth in order that she soars 


and wins every soul that comes into the world. 



May God’s truth be multiplied 


and reach souls throughout all of God’s creation.


We can’t open someone’s heart 


to the truth of the Gospel—


but God can.



Let us always remember and never forget: 


God does not call the equipped; 


He equips the called. 


Sharing our faith isn’t just a suggestion, 


it’s a command. 


And God is with us when we obey Him.



For those sitting on the sidelines finding fault… 


The questions become… 


Are you afraid of what others will think of you? 


Are you a fresh wind that causes the seed of the Good News to spread,

 

or are you an obstacle that keeps it from moving further and faster?


God is lavish in His grace, often liberally dispensing His favor 


without even the least bit of cooperation and preparation on our part. 


We can routinely avail ourselves of these revealed paths of blessing, 


or neglect them to our detriment.



I am humbled and grateful to God for allowing us to remember 


and cultivate our core calling and convictions. 


Thank You, God, for allowing us to boldly 


and indiscriminately proclaim The Good News!




Love always,


Carole C. Good