“Healing For The Brokenhearted”
June 22, 2012
We often pass this swirling creek and enjoying its winding view.
The large white rocks covering the bank makes this setting even more appealing.
Listen to this message on your audio player.
“Healing For The Brokenhearted”
Today’s story is written with sensitivity as I share a sad chapter from my own family’s story. It’s also a little longer than usual but I’m hopeful that it will be of some comfort to those who struggle with their past from deep wounds and be a reminder that forgiveness is key to moving forward in our personal lives and upward in our walk with Christ.
I had two grandfathers: Elbert and Elmer. Their names are similar but their lives stood in great contrast. The name, Elbert, brings a smile from deep within my heart while the name, Elmer, stirs up sorrow and heartache from past memories.
My dad was raised in the Arkansas mountains by Elbert and Faye Sherrell. Elbert was a very godly man from whom I trace my spiritual heritage.
On the other hand my mom was raised in Colorado by a very ungodly man, Elmer. He was an avowed atheist who wouldn’t allow any household member to speak the name of God unless it was accompanied by an expletive. Elmer was a vile, immoral man who was physically and sexually abusive driving a great deal of fear into his wife, my grandmother, and his seven children. He was also an alcoholic and a gambler.
Mom rarely spoke of her painful childhood experiences but there was one that she told me several times. Being the oldest child she would accompany her father on some of his trips to town. He’d park outside the bar and tell her, “I’m going in for a drink. You wait in the car.” Well, one drink led to another and the obsessive gambling often accompanied the drinking. Many hours later my mother would still be sitting in the car shivering into the late, cold, dark night.
Mom spent her childhood in Fraser Colorado where a compassionate local physician, “Doc Susie”, repeatedly saw the horrible effects from the physical and sexual abuse my mother endured over the years so she reported Elmer to the authorities. He fled with his family to Oklahoma to escape the police, and from that time on my mother resided in the Tulsa area.
Elmer ran from the police but he never ran from his sin. He continued to abuse and was turned in to Oklahoma authorities where he eventually paid for his crime. I never met him because he was in prison by the time of my birth and was released only a couple years before his death.
To her dying day Doc Susie was endeared to my mother’s heart. Ten years ago we were in Colorado for a family reunion on Stephen’s side and on the way to the resort we passed through the small town of Fraser. My Mom had passed away less than a year earlier so I was unable to talk to her about our trip. But when I saw her home town I wanted to explore my mother’s roots and also see if I could find more information about this heroic doctor whom Mom spoke so highly of.
Doc Susie was well-known throughout the Fraser Valley. As we were walking about the small town we saw a poster advertising that Virginia Cornell, author of a book written about “Doc Susie” was giving a lecture and slide presentation that very evening at the Fraser library! Interestingly, the doctor happened to be quite a pioneer, as she was a female doctor in the mining camps and to the railroad workers in the early 1900′s.
We jumped in the rental van and quickly found the library, only to be greeted by the friendly folks of Fraser with a delicious community potluck supper! After the presentation I privately shared with the author the story of my mother’s background and her great esteem for the doctor. The author related that such compassion was very typical of Doc Susie’s character and she especially cared deeply for the children of the county.
My mother had deep lasting pains from her childhood but after settling in Oklahoma she met and married a man from the hills of Arkansas. Brooklyn had a Christian background with godly parents, a great contrast to Mom’s atheistic father. Mom and Dad raised us in the ways of the Lord, but sadly they spent a large portion of their adult years in a backslidden condition. About six years before their deaths they both recommitted their lives to Christ and demonstrated a growing faith in Christ until He called them home.
My heart reaches out to those of you reading this who have deep pains from your past. Though each of us have experienced some form of brokenheartedness, I have especially observed the ongoing struggles and serious forms of brokenheartedness among those who have experienced abusive childhoods, both in regard to my mom’s background and in the course of our ministry. This is particularly painful when the abuse comes from the very hands of the one in whom God appoints as our protector.
I consider the comforting aspect of Christ’s ministry that “He heals the brokenhearted”. How inspiring it is to read of those who have experienced Christ’s healing from an abusive childhood or abusive relationship of any kind. Tragically, my mother found peace about her father’s abuse only months before her death. Her biggest struggle was learning to forgive him for the irreparable harm he did her. There’s an interesting quote that serves as a powerful reminder of why it’s important to forgive: “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting for it to kill your enemy.”
Today I encourage each reader to turn to the One who “heals the brokenhearted” and allow the ointment of His Holy Spirit to bind up your wounds enabling you to forgive your offender and pray for him or her. God may very well want to use you as a conduit for His compassion to be extended to one in need. He uses us to funnel His love to others in pain. We can look back at what we’ve learned on our faith journey and share it with those in pain.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, it is under Your wings that we find You to be a refuge in sorrow! How our heart yearningly turns to Your rest! Often when earth has no balm for our healing, there we find comfort and there we are blest. Under Your wings, there is precious enjoyment! There we will hide till life’s trials are o’er; sheltered, protected, no evil can harm us, resting in Jesus we are safe evermore. Under Your wings our souls shall abide, safely abide forever. Amen.
(Adapted from the hymn, “Under His Wings” written by William O. Cushing)
PS: Prior to posting this message Stephen and I prayed for readers who are overcoming a painful childhood, that you will experience God’s mercy and the healing of a broken heart.
Note: Due to a very long (and very hot day) of chaplain service we were unable to get a daily encouragement message off yesterday.
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Under His Wings” Video Slim Whitman
“You’ve Been Mercy All The Way” Video John G. Elliott
“He Will Carry You” Video Scott Wesley Brown
“Rescue The Perishing” Video Billy & Cindy Foote
“Blessings” Video Laura Story
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