My Mentor: Joanne

I am a poor wayfaring stranger

Traveling through this world alone

And there’s no sickness, toil, or danger

In that bright land to which I go

And I’m going there to see my mother

And I’m going there no more to roam

And I’m only going over Jordan

And I’m only going over home now.

I was so very honored to know Joanne, who faithfully mentored me for about 38 years. I was so honored to assist in her ministry for many years. At the same time, she encouraged and empowered me, and faithfully taught me to find God who directed my path. Joanne was never ambitious for herself, to get a name for herself or to become popular. Her first goal was to bring souls to the kingdom of God, to see them set free and healed. Her desire was to strengthen others so that they, in turn would do the same for other people, and so on and so on. Joanne taught me how to be able to do the work for God, and not to expect a big fanfare or reward here on earth, we are only here to bring God glory and to show others how to do the same once their hearts are converted to Jesus. I am deeply feeling the void of her absence in my life right now, though I know she is with her Lord Jesus, whose beautiful face she has long desired to see. I cannot imagine her being any other place but safe in His loving arms.

I wrote a chapter in my book “The Girl Without Shoes” called, “My Mentor”. This chapter was dedicated to Joanne, who not only mentored me but so very many other people. I love and miss you, Joanne very much.

Here is an excerpt from the book: ” It is a very important asset to have someone who is willing to mentor you with truth and integrity. A mentor is someone who you are accountable to, to keep you in a place of strength. Their guidance is vital to gaining the safety and security over who and where you are, relative to your environment. True support means your mentor is someone who is willing to speak truthfully into your life and attempt to make you stronger and more effective than you have been in the past. Everyone needs a support network when things get confusing or traumatic and an honest mentor raises you up to be more empowered, more aware of who you are in the face of any environment. A respectful mentor will send you out and encourage you to be a good mentor to others. Joanne has done all of these things for me; she is a fine role model. I hope I can be a help to many others, which is what any mentor wants you to do.” Pages 115-116

Thank You, Mamma

There will be no more pain, or tears for you rest peacefully in the arms of your Jesus.

Not Your Shame

One of the most painful issues that I hear about as a counselor, is sexual abuse. Anyone at any age, gender, ethnic background, or social status could fall victim to sexual abuse. Many times when the abuse happens to us when we are older, people blame themselves. This may also be seen with people who had sustained negative impact of sexual abuse as a child. We are left with the sense that there must have been something about us, who we are, how we looked, we conjure up our own reasons to take on the blame. If you are from families with no support or love, they may blame you gladly. I have heard horrible stories of how families in denial have treated the victims of abuse. Leaving the children to suffer in silence.

In general, statistics show that a high risk for victimization would be any child younger than 4 years old or with children with developmental disabilities. Though stats often vary it has been quoted that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 13 boys in the US experience child sexual abuse. It is estimated that 91% of the perpetrators of sexual abuse may be known and trusted by the child or child’s family—this reality may be found in cases of older victims as well. The total lifetime economic burden of child sexual abuse in the US in 2015 was at least 9.3 billion dollars.

Examples of consequences include: sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, physical injuries, chronic conditions later in life including heart disease, obesity, cancer and mental health complications.

Some of the known mental health conditions may include: depression, PTSD, low self-esteem and other anxiety disorders.

Some examples of behavioral consequences: substance abuse/misuse, including opioid or other drug addictions, alcohol addiction, cycles of a variety of other addictions like, eating disorders, workaholism, self-harming disorders, codependency, rage. Other behavioral consequences: risky sexual behaviors, or behaviors that could result in pregnancy or poor health due to STI’s through multiple partners. Increased risk for perpetration of sexual violence, increased risk for suicide.

Studies have also shown that females exposed to child sexual abuse are 2-3 times at increased risk of sexual violence victimization in adulthood. Studies also indicate that people who experience child sexual abuse are at twice the risk for non-sexual intimate partner violence (DV).

If you or anyone you know has experienced unwanted sexual advances or sexual abuse as a child or adult, I want to say to you, ” I am so sorry that it ever happened to you. It was not your fault, there is “no shame on you” no matter what degrading experiences you may have had to endure, you are not to blame.” Forgive yourself for ever thinking that it was on you or your fault. These figures that I posted, with exception from my own commentary, are stats from CDC.Gov.

Why is there such a problem of sexual abuse in our nation has always baffled me. Statistics on child sex trafficking are also astounding to me how many corrupt people make money with this abuse and corruption in our society.

If you struggle with self acceptance or other mental health issues due to this issue of sexual abuse- I encourage that you find a counselor that you trust, with good rapport, and get counseling to free yourself of all the pain of the past. Even though you were not to blame for this happening to you, everyone still needs to learn to grieve all the pain, grieve all losses that you endured because of the abuse, and learn to let go, forgive and move on with your own life.

Here is a quote:” Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.” I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”” This life is what you make it. No matter what, things will happen to derail you on occasion, it’s important to let go of the past and choose to help someone else who may have been derailed in the same way as you.”

Rise above, be empowered, not everyone out there wants to hurt you.

National Sexual Abuse Hotline:1-800-656-HOPE

Hebrews 12:1-2

“Such a large crowd of witnesses is all around us! So we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won’t let go. And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us. And we must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete. He endured the shame of being nailed to a cross, because He knew later on He would be glad He did.”

People become derailed by the sin that is in the world, but by faith we choose to rise above what the plan for evil may have been, something good will always come with faith in Jesus from the broken things of our lives. He makes all things new.

“Truth Prevails”

“There is nothing hidden that will not be found. There is no secret that will not be well known.” Luke 8:17

” The Lord said: “Be honest and fair! Soon I will come to save you, my saving power will be seen everywhere on earth.” Isaiah 56:1

” I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Jesus answered, “Without me, no one can go to the Father. If you had really known me, you would have known the Father. But from now on, you know Him, and you have seen Him.” John 14:6

In Ephesians 6:10-18 it says, ” Finally, let the mighty strength of God make you strong. Put on the whole armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil’s tricks. We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm. Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist and let God’s justice protect you like armor. Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet. Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Let God’s saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God’s message that comes from the Spirit.” “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you.”2 Thess. 1:6. John 14:6 Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. We are saved because we come to the Father through Jesus.

I felt it important to share this whole section in Ephesians about spiritual armor and warfare as you can see, truth is one of the listed weapons that God commands us to use against the enemy. God’s message is the word of God that is a weapon that is also listed as a piece of armor. From what I can see, each weapon points to the truth, or the Lord Jesus, Who is the word made flesh. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Romans: 10:17. Faith is another weapon listed. The desire to tell the good news is the message of the gospel, which is the word of God.

If you have accepted Jesus into your life, then you have dwelling within you Father God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. You also have the Word made flesh. (Again Jesus). The Word is the powerful weapon that we need to use against the fiery darts of the enemy. 1 John 5:4 says: “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

Truth always prevails, always overcomes evil.

God’s word always prevails!

“Thy Word”

“What God has said isn’t only alive and active, it is sharper than any double-edged sword. His word can cut through our spirits and souls, and through our joints and marrow, until it discovers the desires and thoughts of our hearts. Nothing is hidden from God! He sees through everything, and we will have to tell Him the truth.” Hebrews 4:12,13

Psalm 119:105 ” Your word is a lamp that gives light wherever I walk.”

Years ago, when I was not restored, I would say about 46 years ago. I was in a very desperate place emotionally. I had just buried my firstborn child and had slipped into a social-phobic state. I would not go out of the house, because I had it in my head that I was in danger anywhere I went. I wish I could say I was crying out to God, but I was not crying out to anyone. But the Lord saw fit to cry out to me. He spoke to me audibly, told me to go get the bible. I did not have one, but I dug in a box of an old roomie’s things and found a bible. He took me to Daniel 3: the whole chapter. It was the story of King Nebuchadnezzar who had commanded that a statue of gold be created and set up that the King wanted his followers to worship before all men and all were commanded to bow down to this statue and worship it with song, instruments and their hearts.

The King said that anyone who refuses to bow down and worship this statue would be thrown into a flaming furnace. There were three Jewish men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego- who refused to bow down to worship this statue that the king had set up. The King was furious, he told his soldiers to throw these three into the furnace. The three said to the king, “We don’t need to defend ourselves. The God we worship can save us from you and your flaming furnace. They also said but even if He doesn’t, we still won’t worship your gods and the gold statue you have set up.” So, they were thrown into the furnace and people throwing them in were killed by the flames, and those watching could see the images of 4 people walking around in the fire. Then the King was able to see the four images walking around, no longer bound up but walking free in that furnace, so he called the three out of the furnace. The men were not burned or scorched in anyway-they did not even smell like smoke. King Nebuchadnezzar said: “Praise their God for sending an angel to rescue His servants, he made a decree that no harm would be done in that region against these men. To be in the drastic state that I was in and read such a miraculous story I was able to see that though they were bound and thrown into the flames, God delivered them out of that situation, I began to see how God was showing me that I would be able to be delivered out of the state that I was in. God certainly had my attention! Though there is a lot more to this story, I want to remain focused on how important God’s word was in speaking into my life, calling me out of darkness back into His glorious light. I was drawn to a church and then remained in a state of restoration for years to come. He had also told me at this time the importance of staying into His word, it will teach us all that we need to know. My love and passion for God’s word, came by personal invitation from God, as He could see what a mess I was. I thank God that He loved me that much! He loves all of us that much!

“Be like newborn babes who are thirsty for the pure, Spiritual milk that will help you grow and be saved. You have already found out how good the Lord really is. Come to Jesus Christ. He is the living stone people have rejected, but which God has chosen and highly honored.”1 Peter 2:2-4

Read His word daily for direction, strength and life.

Give Thanks To God

“Don’t worry about anything but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God.” Philippians 4: 6,7

1 Corinthians 4:15 “All of this has been done for you, so that more and more people will know how kind God is and will praise and honor Him.

“2 Corinthians 9:15: ” Thank God for His gift that is too wonderful for words.”

Psalms 18:29: “Tell the Lord how thankful you are, because He is kind and always merciful.”

I personally witnessed an amazing amount of God’s mercy on my life, my family’s lives. I could never thank God enough just to be alive today, for my children’s lives- for each day is a special gift of life. I am thankful to God for His sacrifice to us of His only son, Jesus.

1 Corinthians 15:57: ” But thank you God for letting our Lord Jesus give us the victory.” I thank God for each and every victory that I have been given in life.

Colossians 4:2: ” You have accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord. Now keep following Him.

Today as I have searched multiple scriptures about thankfulness to God, I have developed a list of just a few things that the word tells us we need to thank Him for.

In accepting Christ as Lord, “we have been a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and in that kingdom, we please God by worshiping Him and by showing Him great honor and respect.” Hebrews 12:28

–He is so kind to us

–He is so good to us

–He rescues us

–He gave us the gift too wonderful for words, Jesus

The focus for today is thankfulness, remember to give thanks, honor, and respect to the God who gives us each breath that we breathe.