Saturday, March 1, 2014

And I Want You To Tell it: Chad Watson's Unyielding Faith

And I Want You To Tell it: Chad Watson's Unyielding Faith: "My message is, don't turn to pain pills, sleeping pills, or alcohol. Just turn to Christ." -Chad Watson   Chad Watso...

Chad Watson's Unyielding Faith

"My message is, don't turn to pain pills, sleeping pills, or alcohol. Just turn to Christ."
-Chad Watson 

Chad Watson's life was forever changed on January 2014. That night his happy family faced unbelievable tragedy as his beloved wife and eight of their cherished children perished when their home burned to the ground. Mr. Watson and his only remaining child, eleven-year-old Kylie, were flown to Vanderbilt in Nashville with life-threatening burns.

This tragic event occurred less than twenty miles from our home, and for weeks tore at the hearts of everyone who knew them  as well as an entire nation. Home folks and celebrities alike covered Mr. Watson and Kylie, in the days of their loss and fight for their own lives, with prayer and gifts. Both are recovering from their physical wounds, though the emotional pain remains.

Recently, Mr. Watson granted an interview with When I read his words to the hurting people of the world, I wanted to get his testimony to those who  might not otherwise hear of this man's unyielding faith. Rather than mess it up with my own inadequacy, I've chosen to let Chad Watson speak through the words he gave reporter, Paul McRee.

Mulenberg County - 2/26/2014

"Sometimes it's hard to keep one thing in mind when you're going through your own  grief...and I have been through a lot. But, the fact is, everyone around me has gone through a lot, too. I wasn't the only one who grieved. I'm not the only one who is hurting. It may be appropriate to say that my pain is more than theirs...or the loss is closer to me than it is to them.

But, the truth is (and this is true of everyone), every one's tragedy is as big as it can be to them...While my tragedy has generated a lot of human interest, and garnered the attention  of a lot of media outlets, the truth is, whatever tragedy a person has to deal with is enormous to that particular person.

God is gracious, it seems to me, in that He prepares us, I have never suffered anything like this. But, He prepared me by having me feast on Christ. He prepared me by thinking about where people should turn in times of loss. He prepared me in being able to console others in time of loss, not even knowing the pain they were going through.He prepared me for my own tragedy through small steps along the way. But, I would say to people who are suffering and who hear my story, that I know their hurt is as great to them as mine is to me.

That's why I can say, with a heart full of assurance, that it's the same God that rules over us both. And they can look to God and He is there to comfort them as He was there to comfort me.

God has a plan for my life...God writes the story of our life, and we have to trust the author. So, while I definitely have hopes for me and Kylie; while I certainly have thoughts about the future, I am completely open to whatever direction God leads me."

When Mr. Watson did get out of the hospital. He was only then told about the many people from around the county, the country and the world who offered assistance to Kylie and him.

"Nikki and I and the children struggled in a way that I won't try to describe.  But we had done it for so long, it became pretty run of the mill for us to have the perception that we're out here, on our own and we're trying to make ends meet. We're not relying on anyone else. That's just the way it was. We had made our life what it was and we were happy to do the best we could with it.

But, when the county and surrounding counties, and the nation...but especially Mulenberg County, demonstrated the show of support that it did, and especially when they honored our family the way they did, I was touched.

Like I said on Sunday, it softened our sorrow. To God be the glory!"


As I have read, re-read, and now typed these excerpts from that interview, I am increasingly struck by this man's gift of ability to speak humbly yet powerfully to broken hearts--regardless of the cause of that pain. And his words remind me that God truly is sufficient--sufficient for death, grief, pain (physical, emotional, and mental) loss and disease. And I an ashamed of my own lack of faith in the face of an ugly and disablimg disease. I, too, want my life to glorify our God, "Lord, help me in times of discouragement and fear to know that You are sufficient."

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


We will never know, this side of Heaven, how our life has affected, for good or bad, the people we have known on earth. God, in His loving wisdom, keeps that from us lest we get trapped in the terrible sin of false pride. But, every once in a while, to encourage us, He sends someone to speak a word of gratitude for some way they are thankful for our presence in their lives. I call these special messages "dewdrops from Heaven".Yesterday I read to my husband the following cherished words from a precious lady who has become a trusted friend:

    I know it makes you sad not to be in group and meet new girls. But, I want you to know something. When the group starts up again and I get to go, this is one thing I have to share. A very special lady who never even met me changed my life. She listened when I was broken hearted; she sent me scriptures when I was in need of the Lord; she understood my feelings of guilt and shame; she taught me to trust again, and she loved me without asking anything in return. She gave me hope and believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. So, you see, Sweet Friend, though you may not be there physically, you will be there with me and all the women who hear of our sweet friendship and your caring,

When I finished reading, there were tears in my eyes. My husband smiled and said, "You have a lot of girls, don't you?" It overwhelmed me and I began to weep tears of gratitude. For, he was right. I have many cherished friends, several "daughters", and a special "granddaughter" who honors me by calling me "Mamaw". She says I remind her of her beloved Mamaw whom she misses since she passed away. As I thought about these special "girls" who have so touched my life as they taught me, cried with me, trusted and shared their hearts with me, listened as I shared with them, and allowed me to experience with them the power of Jesus setting us free, I could not help but lift my heart and voice in praise and gratitude. How very blessed this side of Heaven I am! So, perhaps a more appropiate title for this post would have been "Showers Of Blessings" --one of the songs I belted out the words to before I knew I was holding the songbook upside down. But, gratitude was tinged by a shadow of sadness that I have not been able to completely shake. I shared this with my friend and she replied with the words above.

There is s song that we sang often, when I was still able to attend church, entitled "Lay Me Down". The message of this song is that we offer our lives to Jesus while trusting His will when He chooses to set us aside. I meant those words when I sang them. So why am I struggling so? Did I think that because He had blessed me with His passion for hurting women that I was in some way special, or that I was indispensable to the Kingdom of God? I suspect there was a bit of ungodly pride that I was guilty of--in fact I know there was, though I can see it much clearer in hindsight. When God chooses us for a certain mission, He can use us in our weaknesses. But He will not  allow us to accept the glory that is His alone. I would like to think that I have been set aside just long enough to grasp this lesson and that I can continue the precious "work" to which He called me, but I want to be willing to be set aside if that is my Savior's will. And I pray that doesn't sound as if I want to be a martyr. I'm not that brave!


It occurs to me that I have not told you about another group of people who are the pride of their parents--the five daughters, nineteen living (I think) grandchildren (two who proceeded us to Heaven), and six living great-grandchildren (with another awaiting us in the arms of Jesus). I say we share them because Dick and I each had children when we married in 1976. We are a blended family, and our girls are a part of another blended family whom they love. One of them once wrote an essay in High School describing the benefits of being a part of a family with so much variety. Another wrote and read an essay for her 4H group describing why she so loved her stepfather. We are Nana and Papaw to each of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Our family has given us much joy through the years. Has the sailing all been smooth? Of course not. Strength comes from facing our shortcomings and differences, accepting one another, helping each other through times of grief, sickness, disagreements, betrayal's, sticking together through the bad times, and laughing together through the good ones. I like the quote that was on face book today and feel it can speak of families as well as couples: "Falling in love is easy; staying in love is special."  I would add, "and well worth the effort."

One day I was preparing our Thanksgiving meal and decided I wanted to write something that would express my heart to everyone. After Dick had given thanks, I asked them if they would give me just a few minutes to read something. Overlooking the understandable groans of the children, I shared what I had scribbled. When I finished, each of our daughters said they wanted a copy. I am going to be egoistical enough to "share" it below.


Our Family

We came together in '76,
This wonderful family of ours.
God gathered the two of us from lives adrift
and tied a knot with His power.
"But, not too tightly,''
He gently spoke.
"We'll save room in your hearts
for those yet to come."
So, it loosens more for each new one.
Two couldn't stay, they went on Home
where they play today around God's throne.
But, fourteen others came to stay,
becoming each a precious delight.

You girls we share are now all grown
into women. wives, and moms so bold;
We've watched with ever-wrinkling brow
as you've surpassed your every goal.
Like the two of us, it's taken a while
for you to trust God's love and  smile.
But in His Word there's a promise true
that He will save us and our households too.
So, we've loosened the strings you thought were so tight,
knowing in the end, He'll make all things right.

Always know you're each one loved
by your earthly families and God above.
For, though we share not all the same genes,
all the same goals or all the same dreams,
the same knot that tied us two together,
has stretched to include you each
today and forever.

From Daddy/Dick and Betty/Mom
Papaw and Nana, too--
Happy Thanksgiving to our family
in this year 2002!

Thursday, January 23, 2014


It's been a while since I've attempted to write anything--mainly because I am now limited to pecking what I post with my left hand. I want to begin this post with selections from a beautiful poem my sister enclosed in her Christmas card a few days ago. But, first I would like to repeat my position on something. I cannot believe that injustice and perverted pain inflicted on innocent people is ever part of God'S plan for anyone. As long as evil exists in the hearts of sinful man, pain and injustice will be a part of life. The theme, then, of this post is not that God sends pain but rather that He is constantly making of that pain, when allowed to do so, somethimg from which we can learn, an example of His grace which can benefit others, and a means by which He is glorified. To me, it is in this context alone that pain makes sense. "God never hurts us needlessly; He never wastes our pain...and He never sends us pleasures when our soul's deep need is pain." In 2003, a dear friend and her husband felt God leading them to begin a ministry of counseling to hurting people. As they wanted the blessings and spiritual support of their church, they met with the elders. One of them expresed the opinion so prevelant, even preached from the pulpit in some churches, that people should just get over things and get on with their lives. (He is now one of their strongest supporters--both in prayer and financial support.) I can't say that he was completely wrong as many people nurse bitter feelings toward those who have hurt their feelings or treated them wrongly. But my friend's desire was to help those whose souls have been too deeply wounded to be able to put the past behind when it is daily affecting their lives years later. As one person put it, "The past isn't the past as long as it affects the present." But when my friend shared this remark in 2003, the phrase "poverty of pain" crossed my mind. It wasn't anything I remembered having heard or read, so I wanted to spend some time meditating and writing my thoughts on it. I've reached the following conclusions which I pray God will continue to develop and correct. At that time, I wrote the following words:"I believe we suffer from a poverty of pain. As humans, we have the propensity to fear pain and do everything in our power to avoid it. For years, I carried a great fear of pain and didn't like to hear anything about sufferimg for Christ." Since I've been diagnosed with Parkinson's and lost so much mobility, I've been told by friends that it isn't God's will for any of us to suffer and if I had enough faith, or if I confessed some hidden sin, God would heal me. I now know how Job felt when his friends came to "comfort" him. I've digressed from my topic, somewhat. But Ive discovered that there is a lot of pain as my muscles stiffen and refuse to move. This morning was the first time my husband was unable to get me out of bed and we were both in tears. In 2003 it was much easier to come up with lofty ideals because of my own poverty of pain. And as my joints have become swollen, stiff, and deformed, there is added pain. The doctor has done blooodwork to see if it might be rhuematoid arthritis. So, I will probably edit what I was going to share. Although I know there are people who suffer greater pain daily, I now don't feel too improvershed of it. This has caused me to rethink some of the things I wrote im 2003. But, it also reafirms others. Pain brings out a person's true character. And I admit I have not liked some of the things it has brought out in me--self pity, anger, self-absorption, etc. But, I am blessed with a husband whose sense of humor keeps us laughing at each other. We are honest enough to cry together when we need to, but the laughter ourweighs the tears. Pain and seemingly unanswered prayers for healing test whether our faith is dependent on what God does for us or in His Soverign wisdom and will for our lives--regardless of the circumstances. Although I would love to be whole physically, I want ro reach the place where my heart longs above everything to allow Him to be glorified through me smehow. Pain gives us greater capacity for compassion for others who are suffering in some way. Until we lose someone close to us in death, we can't really grasp their grief. It is the same with physical or deep emotional pain. The old saying, "Don't jusge someone til you've walked a mile in their shoes" is great wisdom. I realize I've rambled a lot and for that I apologize.

Saturday, November 2, 2013


I'm  going  to attempt to finish this today. If you are reading this and are a praying Child of God, I ask that you pray for strength for me. Parkinson's has weakened my body until I tire  easily.

No one should ever live with the shame of someone else's sin, but the victim of sexual abuse almost always carries a shame that belongs to the person who abused them. Sometimes we live with shame without recognizing  it. But, it is important to understand shame (also referred to as s elf-contempt) because it is one of Satan's most powerful weapons to sabotage the life God meant for  us  to live. We owe it to Him, to our self, and to those we love to recognize its source and its effects on us.

It's important to separate false shame for what others have done to us and the rightful shame for our own sins. Each of us has committed sins against our God for which we need to repent. It's too easy  to fall into a habit of  blaming our sins on what has happened to us. The other extreme is to accept blame that isn't ours. For a victim of sexual abuse, this can be confusing and hard to separate, and we may need an objective person to help in the process.
There are two ways contempt can be directed. I am not sure what makes some people  direct their shame inwardly toward themselves (as I did) while others direct their angry shame (contempt)  outwardly toward others. Which ever way we direct that shame, it is harmful to us and those we love.

I was so surprised when I recognized my behaviors as described in Dr. Dan Allender's four stages of self contempt below. Like I, you may recognize behaviors that you exhibit in more than one of these stages.

Least severe contempt (shame) is when we have a sense of unworthiness. Here are some issues a person struggles with in this stage:
          1. Being uncomfortable when someone compliments us.
          2. Uncomfortable when somone shows  interest in us as a  person.
          3. Feeling unworthy of attention.
          4. Mistrust of peoople who are kind to us.
          5. Surprised when someone genuinely appears to be happy to see us.
          (I exibited all of the above behaviors for years.)

Midly severe contempt (shame) involves comparing ourself to others and rebuking the loser.

        1. Rebuking ourself for making a  mistake.
        2. Beating up on ourself for sinning.
        3. Having a pattern of finding fault with others.
        4. Thinking of ourself as ugly, fat, stupid, dumb, inadequate, or unfeminine.
        5. Being critical of other people.
        6. Giving excuses for our actions when they are challenged.

        (In this category, the behaviors  I exibited most were #'s 1, 2, 4, & 6)

Moderately severe contempt  (shame) is often played out in fantasies. Issues may be:

         1. Being aroused by fantasies, descriptions, or depictions of women being abused or degraded.
         2. Daydreaming about taking revenge.
         3. Enjoying violence in books, movies, etc.  
         4. Abusing food (overeating, under  eating, or vomiting, etc.) but not enough to be life-threatening.
         5. Witholding relatiionships as an act of  revenge toward those with whom  I love.

(As far as  I know and understood my own actions, I don't believe I exhibited any of the above behaviors.)

Very severe contempt might drive a person to harm herself or another. Issues persons struggle with in this stage are:

       1. Thinking about suicide often.
       2. Thinking about killing someone often, or about that person dying.
       3. Thinking about hurting myself physically by cutting, scratching, burning, etc.
       4. Thinking about hurting someone else.

(I am very ashamed to have to say that I not only thought about suicide, but attempted it at age 32. The reason I am ashamed of it is because God has revealed to me  that my trying to take the life He gave me has hurt Him more than anything I've ever done or anything that has ever been done to me. It hurts to know I've hurt the heart of  my God.)

I pray that, if you have identified behaviors in one or more of these stages that have puzzled or shamed you for years, you will find a Christian person who can help you. I am blessed to have as my best friend a wonderful lady who, with her husband, has a counseling ministry in Madisonville called "Transformation Ministries". Martha and I were co-leaders of the sexual abuse recovery groups in our church for the past five years. Parkinson's makes me unable to continue that ministry. However, Martha will be continuing the groups with another co-leader. The two of them will be a great  team.

God is opening new doors for me to minister to hurting women from home. It has become a precious means for me  to tell who our God is and what He wants to do in each of our lives. My greatest desire is to be able to "tell it", as He asked, for as long as I have breath.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


John 10:10 - "The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill  and destroy, but I have come that they may have life and have it to the full." NIV
1 John 3:8b -  "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work." NIV

I wish I could find the source of what I'm about to write, but since I can't, and since it fits so perfectly into what is on my heart today, I'm going to paraphrase it from memory:
     "If I were Satan and wanted to make sure that I had a person for life, I would send a person with  a perverted mind to sexually abuse a child. Then, while that child was too young to know the difference, I would whisper into her heart that she was evil and should br ashamed all of her life. I would then have that person's mind as mine."

Now that I've paraphrased that, I wish even more that I could find the original source, for  it falls far short of the full meaning of  that original source. But, I think it makes the point.

Some of you may be thinking (especially if you are one  who has never experienced sexual abuse) why I keep writing on this subject. You may have felt that I'm a bit absorbed with the subject. The truth is, I  am --passionately. And the reason is that I know there are thousands of  people, both men and women, who are suffering in silence and shame as I did for years. I want to be a  voice that both validates their suffering  and offers them hope, true hope based on both experience and the promises of God. I want them to  know that there is  healing, complete healing in the name of  Jesus Christ.

Shame seems to be Satan's most powerful grip on the mind, heart, soul and body of a sexual abuse victim, years after the experience, and as I've quoted Dr. Allender before, "Time seems only to intensify this stronghold ." And, it is usually the hardest to overcome. Shame, also referred to as self-contempt, is "a cancer that seems to fester and affect everything in our lives, including our relationship with ourselves, others, and the God who loves us unconditionally....Our experience becomes something we can't talk about....We may have developed an all-consuming terror of being exposed for who we really are...We may fear that if others really see us for who we are--defective, shameful, unlovable--they will abandon us." (Julie Wooley, from her workbook, "In The Wildflowers")

I remember so vividly wondering why I was different from other people. My shame was intertwined with an equally powerful feeling of fear--nothing spicific, just a general unnamed fear. We were in revival one year with a well-known evangelist who opened the floor to questions the last night. Feeling this was a safe place to ask and maybe find an answer to the cause of that  fear, I asked, "What would make a person live with a general fear?" He looked at me as if I were a child and quoted from James, "Perfect love casts out fear." My shame level raised significantly and I wished I could just grow tiny enough to not be seen. I had exposed my heart and let others know there was something lacking in me. I determined not to make that  mistake again.
I don't mean to put that man down in any way for he was a powerful man of God. But, my experience and the affects it had left on me was not something he knew about in order to understand where I was coming from. There is a great need for churches to realize that they have a lot of people in their congregations who need help for healing from traumatic childhoods.I am so grateful our pastor understands that and is one of the strongest supporters of our sexual abuse recovery group.

But, back to my theme of shame. When we finnd a safe place or person and begin to speak out the horror of what happened to us, we have made the first step in overcoming the grip shame has on us. When we find others who understand and accept us just as we are, we have  the courage to continue our journey. That is the power of groups. We are surrounded by other hurting women who understand us on a level no one else can. And, as we listen to their lifes stories, we begin to see that we are actually acting and feeling normal--for someone who has been sexually abused. And when one person shares what God has done in the area of healing, hope rises in our own hearts. That's why it is so important to share our stories. We are fulfilling a scripture in Isaiah 43:12b: "You are my witness", declares the Lord, "that I am God."

I have not begun to write all that is on my heart, and this is full of mistakes that spell check can't take of. But, my hands are growing tired and I need to rest them. So, more later.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


It takes a lot of God-given courage to speak about sexual abuse, especially to say "I'm one of the one in every three women (or one in six boys) who has been sexually abused."

I read something a few moments  ago about breast cancer survivors. The caption read "The real heroes are  those who speak about it."

How much more heroic are those who are willing to speak about their abuse in order to break the silence that keeps them and so many other victims in bondage?

If you are one of the persons whom God has healed, or is in the process of doing so, give Him the glory. Then pray for the wisdom and guidance that you can find a safe place to tell of what He's done for you. If you've never sought help, I pray you will find a safe person--doctor, pastor, trusted Christian friend, family member (unless you were abused by a family member and know they might not be willing to believe you), Christian counselor or therapist with whom to share your experience.

It's important to choose someone you think will believe you, for not being  believed is another form of abuse in itself. I chose to confide in our doctor who had known me for many years. It was a good choice, for after I told him, he looked at me and said, "Well, now I understand you". He then admitted the help I needed had not been a part of his training.  But he made an appointment with someone who was trained to help.

Sexual abuse is a worldwide problem that leaves deeply wounded children in its wake. These children grow up to live seemingly normal lives. But, in reality they are filled with deep emotions of fear, shame, silent rage, and deep soul pain.

Time is a great healer. But, it does not heal the damage  that has taken place in the soul of a  sexual abuse victim. The majority of women and men who have been abused live in denial--either that they are victims or  that it affected them in any way. 

But, God created our hearts to be true. For, that reason, He will continue to help us clean the basement of our soul by bringing what we stuff there to our conscious mind. And, no matter how many times we cram it back down, it will  eventually surface in a way we can no longer deny. And, you are never too old! Our last group was made up of women ranging in age from sixteen to seventy plus.

I once read a true story of a precious woman in her nineties who lay in the hospital on her deathbed. The nurse noticed that the usual calm with which she had accepted her death had been replaced with agitation. As she heard the nurse's footsteps, she opened her troubled eyes and  motioned to the nurse to bend down. The nurse understood that she wanted to say something, so she put her ear to the dying woman's  mouth. With a quivering voice, the old lady whispered, "I was sexually abused as a little girl." Those were her last words, but as the tears poured down her cheeks, the nurse whispered a prayer of thanks that the woman had found peace in the last moment of her life by telling the hateful secret with which she had lived for better than eighty years.

When I read this, I cried. I had never confided in anyone  at the time, and I knew the pain that lady carried for so many years. I'm grateful that I sought help when I was in  my late forties. And I can never praise him enough for the work he has done in my life. And I have been blessed every time I've had the opportunity to be obedient to "tell it". Praise the name, the holiness, the power and  the love of Our Heavenly Father. It is so everlasting and personal.

It is  vitally important to understand that  we are not to blame for the abuse that was done to us--whether we were three or a teen when it began. The blame for the abuse lies squarely with the abuser, and it doesn't matter if he was drunk, acting from his own perverted  childhood, or any other reason. He may be a damaged adult, but he made a choice and that choice was his alone. And only we can make the choice to seek His healing, restoration, and redemption. May He ever be glorified in my life and yours.