Saturday, October 14, 2017

Saturday's Seminar - We Must Be Informed - Deadly Topic - September 30, 2017

My eyes are opened. My ears hear differently.  My heart hurts.

Twenty-five percent of marriages are abusive.
One in four women report being in an abusive relationship.
Twenty-four percent of women and thirteen percent of men report experiencing severe physical violence from an intimate partner.
Every nine seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten.
Fifty percent of men who assault their wives frequently assault their children.
Forced sex or sexual assault occurs in forty to forty-five percent of battering.
Mothers in abusive relationships said that their children witnessed twenty percent of the sexual violence the mother experienced.
Eighteen percent of Intimate Partners of Sexual Violence (IPSV) said their child witnessed their rape at least once. 
(Source-Darby Strickland's Notes) 

I will never let bad-awful, uneducated advice come out of my mouth ever again to any woman who is struggling with abuse. I have learned way too much.

Two weeks ago in Lancaster on a Saturday, with my soul-friend, Pam Hopkins, I attended an Abuse Seminar at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Lancaster. Here is a smattering of what Darby Strickland had to share.

Smattering of Saturday's Seminar:

Emotional abuse is a heart problem, stemming from an abusive person's un-Christlike drive to attain and maintain dominance.

God designed marriage to be a place of mutual trust, sacrifice, care and honesty.

Your calling is not to submit to and accept rampant destructive behavior. The opposite is true. God cares about safety.

Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive, controlling, or abusive behavior that is used by one individual to gain or maintain power and control over another individual in the context of an intimate relationship. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, exploit, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure, or wound an intimate partner.

It is not that the perpetrator of the violence is 'out of control' it is quite the opposite. They are using violence to maintain control. 

It is not about anger management. When a man is selective about when , where and to whom he is abusive, the problem is not he looses is that he takes control.

The oppressed experience being owned, confused, enslavement, crushed, alone, physically ill, feels responsible, devalued, angry, guilty.

Oftentimes what we see is not what is! This is the kicker for me. This is where I failed so many.

Do you have the freedom to be yourself, make decisions, give your input and to disagree?
Do you ever feel fearful around your partner?
Have you ever been threatened or physically hurt?
Have you ever been an unwilling participant in a sexual act?

Violence only escalates and it always picks up from where it left off.

One Love is an app and it is all about safety planning.

You might know just enough to be dangerous and put a victim at more risk - 1.800.799.SAFE (7933)

The Bible does not say to stay and suffer abuse and violence.

Sex Abuse: Rape - Unnecessary Roughness when you clearly say something hurts and it does not stop - Unwanted actions - Causing damage - Duration and or frequency with insistence and punishment.

Marriage does not equal consent.

Hyper-headship is a satanic distortion of male leadership...

Does he exhibit control-oriented leadership?
Demand submission and unquestioning loyalty or obedience?
How does he utilize Scripture in daily life and in conflict?
How does your spouse pray for you?
Are guilt, fear and intimidation used control and manipulate you?

Is he closely watching what you buy? Hiding assets? Using your social security number to obtain credit without your permission? Running up debt? Refusing to give you money? Not including the victim in investment or banking decisions? The list goes on...

Abuse doesn't start out looking like abuse: whirlwind romance, gifts-obligation, jealousy, show up unexpectedly, check your phone, see you all the time, sexual pressure as can't help myself.

What happens when you give negative feedback? When you have needs? When you have a different preference? When they are disappointed? When there is conflict? When he interacts with his family? When there is physical intimacy?

You, the oppressed, you are not responsible for another's sin. Your oppressor will blame you for their anger and rage. But God clearly says it is never your fault. You do not deserve this. You are being oppressed not because of your part or current sins but because of your oppressors current sins.

The oppressor needs to admit fully to all past patterns, admit behavior was wrong without blame-shifting, understand it was a choice not lack of control, recognize effects and show empathy, identify in detail past entitled and controlling attitudes, develop respectful behaviors, replace his distorted view of spouse, make amends, accept consequences, commit to non repeating, give up past privileges, understand lifelong process...

Signs of not changing - he tells you that you are the one that is abusive, uses counseling sessions or info against you in any way, pressures you to to go therapy for yourself, he is minimizing the abuse, he demands a second chance, he says it is impossible to change without your support, he expects something in return from you for attending counseling, he is pressuring you to make up your mind about the relationship or to move back in together, he is pressuring you to drop criminal charges.

~Bancroft, Lundy. Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men -2003
~Holcomb, Justin and Lindsey Holcome, Is it My Fault?: Hope and healing for Those Suffering Domestic Violence - 2014
~Strcikland, Darby Entitlement: When Expectations Go Toxic Journal of Biblical Counseling - Winter 2015, p. 19-33
~Vernick, Leslie. The Emotionally Destructive Marriage, - 2013

Zephanaih 3:19 - Psalms 119:34 - Psalms 11: 5-6 - Proverbs 22:3 - Luke 4:18-19

And to help us distinguish between God's voice and Satan's voice here is an excellent list:

God stills you, 
reassures you, 
leads you, 
enlightens you, 
forgives you, 
calms you, 
encourages you, 
comforts you.

Satan rushes you, 
frightens you, 
pushes you, 
confuses you, 
condemns you, 
stresses you, 
discourages you, 
and worries you.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Happy Birthday David O. Burkholder - 90 is Impressive - September 27, 2017

To know David O. Burkholder is my distinct privilege. He is and has been my father in law since August 2, 1986. Today he turns 90 and I am so thankful for the thirty two years I have known him.  If I would have known what I know today about being Lynn Burkholder's wife and all that it means - I would have been entirely too impatient up until the time I met the man Lynn! And to think of missing all that I have enjoyed being married to Lynn - I shudder. I can not even. Just stop!

To have missionary in laws is a gift that continues to give into my life equally pouring over into my children's lives as well. My soul is content. The prayers that Dad and my mother in law have prayed for us - we tangibly see today. The stories between the two of them - GOLD. My mother in law has journeyed on beyond, she has left the planet a little earlier than the rest of us. So today I sit alone with my father in law soaking in his stories, his cherished stories. 

My father in law so loves His heavenly Father. I feel it, I see it and I am thankful for his relationship with Our Father who is in heaven! All of His stories swirl around either God's goodness and mercy or the adventures he has had spreading the gospel.

One Saturday ago, as clouds are piling on top of one another, my father in law and I are unaware of the storm brewing outside the kitchen window. We are processing one of the many adventures in his life- a time when he and his sister, his future brother in law - Johnny and another friend are called to go and share the gospel. And on that Saturday, he sits in a chair, calm, composed, and patient, while I retype the story he wrote many years ago.  He is a such a good story teller - I am freezing, cringing, squirming and hoping I make it out alive. He's good.

David, my father in law, is young, he is brave, and he and his four gospel-driven friends are simply not thinking as they head to a reservation with little to nothing on their backs except one pack-sack between them. I am imagining angels debating amongst themselves whether they should just show up in bodily form and shove them back to safety. The four cross a frozen body of water and had they been familiar with these parts they would have known there is real danger underneath their feet. Typically, this spot does not freeze due to the current. But their guide, familiar with these parts, has left them. No one is there to warn them of the danger. They are on their own.

Today, the man, some seventy years later, relives his story as if it was yesterday. He recalls the exhaustion, his legs bone tired and extremely sore. He has his theories as to why that is. He also has his theories as to why the guide left, all of which he shares with me but desires it not to find its way to print. I try to persuade him otherwise but I know the point at which I must relent. This is his story.

Today he turns 90. He lives supported by His Heavenly Father who has graciously allowed Him to see His hand provide. Dad Burkholder is a man of prayer and you can hear him audibly calling out to God in his home. He completely depends on Him.

He and I have much to accomplish with the book he is writing. I am selfishly asking for continued longevity along with good health so that we can finish this task. The effort is made easy due to all that he has written since the 50's. In essence we are collectors and gatherers of his written material. This is a privilege.

Happy Birthday Dad and thank you for your warm welcome you gave to me many moons ago. To watch you and your wife always put the LORD before earthly possessions or pursuits has been the best sermon a daughter in law could ever ask for.

My birthday wish for you is that while you are still on the planet you can witness a remarkable shift in the atmosphere at Pikangikum. God is a good finisher and He has heard your prayers. I just desire for you to see them answered.  May your faith increase to new levels going beyond what you can even imagine.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Father's Heart Curriculum - September 15, 2017

The Father has tunnel vision for you!

The privilege of writing this year's Children's Church Curriculum along with a woman I just met this summer, is all mine. The woman, Melissa Lake, is a gift to me. I fire hydrant ideas and she puts them into well ordered streams. My ideas do not stop and sometimes that's just painful for the listener. But not her. She tames the wild as we discuss mammoth amounts of topics swirling around the theme - the Father's Heart. We are calling it God, My Good Father.

I change my ideas and she nods her head and guides me gently back to the land of reason. Visually, I lack the knack to make lessons look sensible or orderly. But she knows and makes random look orderly. She condenses me into good sense. Melissa develops curriculum for her vocation and clearly this not only is her skill but also an incredible talent. There is only one other person I know of with enough patience to do this for me, my daughter Robyn.

The time Melissa and I spend working on this is true church. The Holy Spirit downloaded seven, we call, tent pegs that each child will learn this year about the Father's Heart. He has so lovingly guided and directed our time together.

Here is the Tent Peg Chant I created to be chanted to the beat of Uptown Funk:

What does my Father provide? He provides a place for me! Why does He provide a place? Oh because He loves me so!
What does the Father long for? He longs to be with me! Why does He long to be with me? Oh because He cherishes me!
What does the Father desire? He desires for me to love him back! Why does He desire my love? Oh because He delights in me!
Who does the Father protect? Who does He discipline? He protects and disciplines me! Why? Because He cares for me!
What does the Father promise? He promises to rescue me! Why does He promise to rescue me? Oh because He wants me!
Who does the Father save? My Father saves you and me. How does He save us both? He saves us through His only son! And because He first loved us.
Who does the Father call to rest? He calls me to rest! Why does He call me to rest? Oh because He works for me!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Gazebo Love - September 12, 2017

Tuesdays are full on Gazebo duty. I am wide awake at 5:30 am - I lie - brewing excellent pots of coffee - I speak truth - turning on Gazebo lights and putting up the OPEN flag. I love it. Meeting you every morning on your way to school, to work, to babysit, to clean, to teach, to bank, to finance, to waiter, to counsel, to submit proposals, to pick up cars, to do your horse thing, to drive an hour out of your way for coffee, is my pleasure and most definitely my privilege. I appreciate you. In fact, I am living my dream - with you.

Some days you come in dragging and let me in on why. Some days you come in brimming over with good news and you share it with me. Some days you come in with your new baby to introduce. You will never know how much that means to us! I am your coffee lady, we are your coffee sustenance, but some of you have crossed over into fields of friendship. You high school students, submitting a mural painting of an oversized Twin Valley Toddy - do you know how much that blesses us??!! We really hope you win!

Our family calls Gazebo time a love fest. Everyone is happy to be swirling around the universal catalyst for conversation. My heart swells with excitement over all the connections I have made and have facilitated in this little piece of property. The networking, the reunions, the introductions, it is more than I ever dreamed or imagined.

Today, you came in with mixed emotions. Your three sons entered the halls of education and of course Mrs. Albright is the perfect kindergarten teacher for these rambunctious little boys. But this is a big deal, a really big deal and it makes sense why this is so bittersweet. You entered a new phase and you definitely needed Toddys. And to be introduced to the newest member of the Frisco family - does it get any better? Welcome Lila, welcome. You might be the pinkest baby I have ever seen.

I love Gazebo time and tomorrow morning I look forward to another fest.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

His Love Doesn't Ever Stop - July 18, 2017

I live in a realm where I can scale mountains with no gear, swim through treacherous storms with no life vest, race through parched deserts with no water. I can do all things. And the greatest thing I can do is love past your pain. He taught me.

He demonstrated sacrificial friendship the day He died for me. And now He nudges me towards you while filling my heart with a sense of privilege and joy. He sees through your hurt, pain, walls of defense and guides me, sherpalike, through your treacherous heart scared paths.

Every step I take towards loving you, I see Him. I see his search and rescue mission for me. I see his painful death, for me. I see my debts vanish like vapor leaving me with more money in the bank then I will ever need. The geyser of thankfulness welling up from within the depths of my soul gushes out, to you. Don't blush. Accept.

His love multiplies like cells out of control taking over every inch of someone's body. His love spreads like an oil slick invading every green inch of the environment. His love burns like a wildfire raging toward a dry and brittle village. His love invades with more precision than any desert trained soldier will ever accomplish. His love moves forcefully like an unexpected tsunamis overcoming densely populated areas. His love floods an entire planet.

His love is out of control: out of our control.

Friendships in this realm know nothing of burning bridges. They simply know His love's width, breadth, and height. Massive. His love just doesn't stop. Nor will it ever.

I love you.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

June 20, 2017 Stories Upon Stories -

David Burkholder pulling his son Lynn Burkholder
 in a wooden box he crafted which
they called "The Ark"
My Father in law has stories upon stories upon stories.  The other day as I sit at his kitchen table I am overcome with emotion. He is telling me yet another one and I am about to wail. He informs me has something to get in the back room. This makes me smile, it just might be a back room getaway to give the daughter in law time to compose herself.

I am overtaken with gratefulness for the life he and his wife were privileged to live and I have been privileged to know. I am remembering the times in their modest, Red Lake, Canada, home. This is a place filled with love and always with music wafting from the Moody Bible Christian radio station streaming out of Winnipeg. The home is peace and I relish in all things peace. My tears flow.

I am in a candy store, feeling the love, and all I want to do is share all of this with you. I have payed attention to the stories over the last thirty years. And I am always asking for more details. I have listened to my mother in law and her siblings at family reunions. I have listened to them reliving memories with their former missionary friends. I have even spent time alone with their friends and family. And I am now thankful for all I know as I am helping my father in law pull together a book. It is a task with a mountain of stories before us.

Typical scene for the pioneer missionaries called
to the North Country
"Dad, I do not think there is anything for you to write. Instead you are surrounded by your written material. Our job will be that of curator and editor. You are sitting on a treasure trove." So Dad and I begin a blog and he calls it: Walking Ojibwe Trails in Ojibwe Moccasins. Our goal will be to post what we find and hope that maybe you and others might be able to help us with some fuzzy details. And beyond that, his earnest desire is that you will be encouraged; encouraged to hope, dream, pray, and maybe even consider following the call in

to mission work.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day - June 18, 2017

In 1986, Lynn and I upon saying "I do" acquired two fathers.  Lynn loves and adores my father. I love and adore my father in law. We both feel blessed with these two men.

We were raised in safety. Boundaries were maintained while love flowed. Jesus was freely discussed in each of our homes. People were flowing through our homes as we both witnessed hospitality exercised on a daily basis. Our dining room tables were always filled with amazing folks. The stories we have are book worthy.

David and Robert know and love Jesus. We both have witnessed our dads loving past sins spending time with people others leave behind. David spent his life serving Jesus as a missionary on a reservation. Robert spent his life serving Jesus as a social worker (missionary) serving in a number of hospitals. These men have impacted hundreds of people for Jesus' sake. Hundreds.

Lynn and I are equally grateful for the impact they have had on our lives and now are thrilled to watch them, significant players, in our children's lives. We love having our father in law every week for a meal. And when my father comes to visit he makes it a point to connect with our children in meaningful ways.

We have wealth that will never be robbed. Thank you David and Robert!