In the initial paragraph of our last quarterly ministry newsletter – Part One – I told of the baggage I brought into our marriage, but some of the closing paragraph included……”The good news is that today the baggage has been removed, the memories of the past have been healed and no more nightmares.”
It was literally a miracle of God that this occurred. Yvonne and I had prayed on these areas and we would see victory and defeat both come and go. There was not a consistency factor involved. To recap a bit, due to painful physical and emotional abuse heaped on me as a young child in some of the foster homes I was in, coupled with a father who left my mother when I was but a year old and was never really a part of my life, I grew up with bitterness, resentment and anger, and carried that into my marriage. If you are unfamiliar with what I am saying you may want to access our Website and read the April-May-June issue. (Note: I do need to add here that not all of the 14 foster homes I was placed in were “bad.” Some were terrific and left me with good memories.)
The anger within me, and sometimes it was well hidden, caused me to not get too close to people as I did not want to “get hurt again.” Outwardly I was friendly but inwardly there was constant turmoil. I kept reliving some of my horrific experiences plus my anger toward my father kept growing, especially when I found out he wanted me aborted. There are millions of men who still do not recognize the importance of a father-child relationship and how it impacts the child’s relationship with God. Many boys and girls struggle with that relationship with God because of what they don’t have with their father. I believe I was in the 5th grade when a neighborhood pal invited me to his Sunday School class. I went. Just once. Why just once? Because that particular Sunday the teacher in trying to illustrate a point said, “Now kids, remember God your heavenly father is just like your earthly father.” I sure did not want to get to know a God that was like my father, so I never returned.
In the previous newsletter, you read what all this did in my marriage with Yvonne. I will not repeat all that so I will segue into the “good news,” and at the close of this, I will list some helpful resources for you or someone you know who is in need like I was.
I had heard of a Christian who was mightily used of God to pray with people who had baggage in their childhood. This person lived in Canada, so when we had some marriage conference speaking engagements in their area we had a two-hour session with this Christian. I asked Yvonne to also be in the room, along with the pastor of the church. I do not have this person’s permission to use their name so I will use the name of “Counselor.”
The counselor had me relax in a chair and step-by-step all those negative and hurtful experiences were paraded through my memory, and together we discussed the Lord’s presence even during those days, and committed everything to the Lord in prayer, claimed His healing and I extended forgiveness to each person involved, including my father, all of whom are now deceased. This was not hokey and there were no “surprises,” meaning no repressed memories suddenly popping up that I do not recall ever happening. Everything in my memory was clear and what I had experienced. You may ask, “Why didn’t you do something like this years earlier?” A valid question, and unfortunately like too many men, we brush things like this aside with the comment, “No big deal. It is in the past.” But like the true cliche goes, “You cannot get on with your future, effectively, until you deal with your past.” I finally did. Years after I should have, but now at least it was done. No more nightmares and when thoughts of my past enter in there is no more angst.
Yvonne noticed an immediate peaceful countenance when the session was over. That was many years ago and that positive change remains. Solid.
After our last newsletter was read many people contacted us and wanted to know if we could recommend any publications that dealt with this general subject. Some men said they carried anger into their marriage and it remains today. Men and women wrote to us about their own hurtful experiences and memories in their childhood. There IS hope and following are some resources we encourage you to purchase either for yourself or someone you know. God wants you to be able to “redeem the time” and “occupy until His return” and do so effectively, with a clean mind, heart and soul. To do less than that is in reality a “waste of time” and since God created time and everything He creates is holy – then time is Holy. Since Yvonne and I do not want to waste holiness, many years ago I finally took the steps to have the healing of my memories. Selah
We requested a few friends of our ministry to send us resources they recommend based on the subject matter of our Part One. Pastor Jim Garlow of the Skyline Church in San Diego County asked Paula Bement who serves as an assistant in their prayer ministry team to send us the titles of three they use as teaching aids in their prayer ministry: (1) “Deep Wounds Deep Healing” by Charles Kraft, Servant Publications — (2) “Possessing Your Inheritance” by Chuck Pierce and Rebecca Wagner Sytsema, Gospel Light Publications – (3) “A Woman’s Guide To Spiritual Warfare” by Quin Sherrer and Ruthanne Garlock, Servant Publications.
Fortunately in all those bad experiences in my childhood, although there was physical and emotional abuse, there was not any sexual abuse. However Pastor Jeff Meyer of the Arizona Community Church in Tempe recommends two books that deal with childhood memories that mainly center on sexual abuse, an epidemic today. These might be helpful to some of you. They are (1) “Restoring Innocence: Healing The Memories And Hurts That Hinder Sexual Intimacy” by Alfred Elis, Nelson Publishers, and, (2) “The Wounded Heart: Hope For Adult Victims Of Childhood Sexual Abuse” by Dan B. Allender, NavPress.
Dee Arnold, wife of Pastor Ron Arnold of the Kaimuki Christian Church in Honolulu recommends a book by Beth Moore, “Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free From Spiritual Strongholds,” published by Broadman and Holman. Dee points out that in chapter 14 (Overcoming the Enemy) Beth warns on page 308 that “in some counseling of child abuse victims, Satan is having a field day with ‘memory retrieval.’ It has almost become faddish.” Wise counsel to be taken seriously. Fortunately, with me, the ‘Counselor’ was not faddish but was 100% Holy Spirit guided.
Deb Tatum, wife of Pastor Paul Tatum of the First Church of God, Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, recommends these three publications: (1) “Beyond Betrayal” by Carolyn Koons, Guideposts — (2) “A Classic Healing For Damaged Emotions” by David Seamands, Victor Books — (3) “The Wounded Heart” by Dr. Dan B. Allender, NavPress, and Pastor Maurice Phelps of Glad Tidings Church in Morehead, North Carolina, recommends Steve Shamblin’s two books – “Healing Of The Wounded Spirit” and “The Rejection Cycle.”
Another one we have appreciated is Rita Bennett’s “Emotionally Free” which is now out-of-print, but probably can be tracked down on either Amazon or Barnsandnoble. In fact, possibly many of the above-mentioned books are out-of-print, but they too can be tracked down via the above two websites.
Neither of us have read all of the above books but we trust the recommendations of those who were kind enough to make those references. We also greatly encourage you to support your local Christian bookstore in person and purchase any of the above there (even though you might pay a dollar or two less elsewhere). If you or someone you know is in need of baggage removal of the past, we encourage you to purchase one or several of them, read them carefully and allow God to guide you with the information you are reading.
And a beloved friend of ours (Carri Taylor) has a website we encourage you to peruse, too – www.cgtaylor.com.
Thank you and may our Lord continue to bless and guide your every day.