Video

Lynn Messer: Watch DISAPPEARED March 26, 2017

 

American Gothic

Lynn’s story will be the season opener for the show DISAPPEARED on the channel Investigation Discovery.  Next Episode – Season 8 – Episode 1 : American Gothic, March 26, 2017

In Missouri, bible teacher Lynn Messer goes missing from her family’s farmhouse, and investigators must decipher a cryptic handwritten note; two years later, skeletal remains are found in a wooded area on Messer’s farm. kerry-messer-and-lynn

Watch the trailer here:

Quote

Aarron Messer: FHE, Kerry Messer

These are Aarron Messer’s own words from his public Facebook page. He is once again allowing me to post his thoughts to my readers.
Side note: I posted the Petition to FHE: Remove Kerry Messer on FHE’s public FB page and it was quickly removed.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
FHE
Today, a letter requesting that FHE distance themselves from my father began to circulate. I, too, am surprised that FHE has continued their relationship with my father as a representative of the organization. I understand it’s hard to take that step and separate yourself from someone who has been a champion and celebrated voice of your community. Being homeschooled was one of the greatest advantages of my life. It has been something I have been proud of. The work my dad has accomplished for FHE and many wonderful institutions supporting families throughout Missouri has been immeasurable. I, too, do not want to see Kerry’s ministry and work tarnished in this way. I want to pull back the curtain today. The point is not trash homeschooling, my parents or FHE, but just to remind us all that we are people.
Every movement every cause has supporters. Each church is filled with people as in our families and homes. Those people are sinners. They make mistakes and their lives are scarred by the consequences of their actions. Just to illustrate that I am going to share some details with you. Many of you will know the people I am talking about. They are my family and yours. I won’t give names, but I want you to know that your champions are flawed. Every one of them. I am no different and neither are you. You, too, can fall. Sin can wreak havoc in your life just as it has in many of our friends and loved ones in this community and in mine.
Homeschooling is wonderful, and it is rooted in a basic return to fundamental truth. Children are the responsibility of parents. Teaching and preparing your children for the world is your duty as a parent. Let me tell you about my family. If you were homeschooled, you may have had similar experiences or heard stories much like those I am about to share. My parents were from a rural community in Ste Genevieve County, but that isn’t the whole picture.
See my Grandparents on my dad’s side left Arkansas when they were 17, got married and moved to Illinois. Seven months later, my Uncle Danny was born, and no one talked about it. My grandfather was illiterate. He had lived in poverty working is his entire childhood as a sharecropper. His family owned nothing. They worked to keep a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs. He taught himself to read as best he could from the Bible.
He did what he could as a 17 year old father and husband – he went to work. He worked in meat-packing in East St. Louis. He worked hard to support his 3 boys and a daughter who wouldn’t live past her 1st birthday. He worked hard and long hours on the kill floor. He saw the money being made from farmers bringing their beef to be processed. He dreamed of having something of his own. He bought the family farm my dad owns now and tried to become a farmer over and over again. He would borrow money, buy a herd and inevitably sell off the herd to pay off the loan. He didn’t make it, but when he moved from Illinois to Ste Gen County and to the farm multiple things happened.
The family had no phone. The boys in middle school were held back a year. Danny, Kerry and Gary lived on DD. As many of you who have lived in this county know, they were labeled as trouble makers from K Road. My dad was a loner – he was from a a Baptist family in a Catholic county. They were snubbed in Ste Gen and they made Festus home for all their shopping needs. The school policy prohibited the kids from taking school books home after school. The bus ride an hour away to Ste Gen was more than enough distance to separate a family from the school. With no phone, the school had little contact with my grandparents who were unaware their kids were held back a year. My dad was a classic middle kid. His older brother and younger brother ganged up on him. They skipped school together and when my dad threatened to tell, they broke his arm.
My grandfather was a quiet man who didn’t really know how to communicate with his kids. There wasn’t much family bonding shall we say. I know every one of his kids was cut at one point or another by his chainsaw gathering firewood. He wasn’t abusive, but he was just kind of unobservant. Danny, the oldest, graduated and joined the military. Gary was popular as the youngest, but he went off to Florida and unfortunately was killed by a drunk driver. From the rumors my dad shared when I was kid, he was probably in Florida running drugs.
The stories I was told of my dad’s school experience went something like this: he didn’t want to do homework. If he didn’t do homework, he got a whipping at school, but he just took his whipping everyday. He could take that and then he didn’t have to do his homework.
Don’t get me wrong; dad is smart. He remembers and shared how college and career day in Ste Gen high school consisted of every kid from in town being taken to college tours. The county kids were given job applications for the factories and mines. He told us of teachers who were drunk in every class, who gave grades on the basis of how short your dress was and if you sat in the front row uncrossing your legs often enough for him to have a peek.
My dad fondly kept a creative writing paper on how to make the perfect peanut butter sandwich which he turned in 3 or 4 times to the same teacher cutting the grade off each time. The teacher was too high to notice it was the same paper. He fondly recalls fostering a relationship for a whole year with the psychology teacher just to tell him off on the last day of class. That’s right – my dad spent the entire semester becoming the teacher’s pet just to be able to call the teacher an asshole in class on the last day of school.Respect for teachers and the education system was not exactly fostered in their home.
Just over the fence from the farm was an old one room school house long abandoned. It had fallen in before I came along, but I remember it and my dad shared how he learned more sneaking into that building and reading the old books left behind in it than from his teachers. Now, my dad is no dummy. In Jefferson City, many people assume my dad is an attorney because of his familiarity with the law. He isn’t. He never went to college – not one day. In fact. he told me not to bother going – it’s a waste. Unless you have to have a degree for your job, you’re just wasting money to go to school.
My mother grew up with 2 sisters. She was a middle child and rebellious against her catholic family. When she fell for dad at 14, she turned her back on her family and it got ugly. My dad was older. He graduated and went to work in St. Louis at a grain elevator. At 17, my mom ran away from home and lived with my dad’s parents. In December, they got married. It was her senior year and the school looked at her academic record. She had all her credits needed to graduate, but getting married. . .ah…you didn’t need to do that, so they refused to give her a diploma. Few people realize that high schools can actually withhold your diploma and refuse to allow you to graduate for any reason they want.
Fifteen months later in St. Louis, I was born. Thirteen months later, Abram came along as well. Young parents popping out kiddos, their hands full, a mortgage, a job, volunteering with their church as bus captains and youth leaders – active as can be. Enthralled with the theological fallacies of the day, they fell headlong into the “Tim Lahaye-the-end-is-near” malarkey. They thought, “We don’t have time to raise a family. We need to be busy serving God.” So, my dad had a vasectomy. A few years later when they tried to get it reversed and the reversal failed, my parents wept over never being able to have more children having believed that it could be reversed anytime. Not having the money for the private Christian school at their church and living in the City of St. Louis, my mother and father were disgusted with public schools, so as my mother would say, “If I can teach them to tie their shoes and teach them the alphabet, I can teach them to read and write.” So we were homeschooled.
Now, homeschooling was technically against the law in Missouri at the time. My parents – true rebels and in probably their most radical years – made a plan. If anyone tried to stop them from homeschooling, my mother would take us and drive to Arkansas to family who would hide us from the authorities. My dad would stand boldly and dare the State to arrest him for teaching his own children. He went and stood on the steps of the capital in Jefferson City and publicly declared, “I am homeschooling my children in violation of the law, arrest me or change that law.” This is how Kerry Messer started to fight for homeschooling in Missouri. Just as the theologians and the Christian Coalition kicked off in the 80’s, MFN my dad’s ministry began and he has served in the political field for years since. Yes, we stood by families threatened by DFS for homeschooling. We saw the laws change and Missouri has the best homeschooling laws in the entire country.
But, that doesn’t make us good people – we are just people who have done some good. My dad is hard headed and self-determined. Of course, that apple hasn’t fallen far. You know when I learned of his secret affair with his new Girlfriend back in April and May of 2015, I confronted him. My single biggest objection and concern that I shared with him over and over was how all the good things, all the positive work, all the people who have been blessed and honored by his service and his ministry now have to face the question, “Who is Kerry?” How can his work mean anything when he is a liar and a cheater and maybe he did something awful to his wife?
To quote a Senator from Missouri when asked about Kerry this legislative session, “He wasn’t welcome in my office before he killed his wife.” My father has tarnished and ruined the reputation of his ministry and our family. I sat and I implored him and I was baffled at his replies.
My father decided within weeks of my mother’s “disappearance” death that having a girlfriend was more important than the entire ministry of MFN. It was more important than all the organizations he ever represented, than every cause every belief he ever represented. That made no sense to me.
How is it possible for a man to decide, “My wife is missing, but I would rather have a girlfriend today than honor my wife’s memory, her passions and beliefs, my own family or their beliefs and ideologies. I would rather give up every cause and every good thing I have ever stood for so I can have my girlfriend.” But he did it.
We are all sinners. We all screw up. Did Kerry do wonderful things for FHE? Absolutely. But does his life represent the values he once stood for? No. He no longer represents Missouri Baptists, his own church and many of his supporters have quietly walked away. And I warned him and I told him this was the result, and he chose this path knowing it would happen.
But let me tell you, in the community of homeschoolers, the families I have known – we are close. We grew up together. You don’t think that parents will let you down. My whole life, I was that weird kid whose parents weren’t divorced. I was the kid whose mom didn’t work and who cooked every meal at home and who sacrificed everything to raise us because it was her duty – her sacred privilege to teach us and to raise us to be godly, young men. And she did it.
I look around and I see those same parents, sacred elders, revered friends, folks I considered to be family – I see divorced homes. I see families suffering from mothers who left for careers they had abandoned or for men that had written them from prison and seduced them into leaving their husbands. I see a young man my age – a genius who earned full ride scholarships to be nuclear engineer – who had to raise his own brothers and sisters when his dad took his own life. I see that man espousing atheism and rejecting everything he was raised in. I see people who I revered and who I now know molested their own children. I see friends who lost their family farm because their dad died from a heart attack after his wife left him. I see my friends struggled to pay the bills left behind from their mother and father’s divorce. I see family after family who were homeschooled whose children are struggling realizing that their parents weren’t the saints they thought they were. I saw friends who were raised in loving homes, but who married selfish men who cheated on them and they live alone afraid to remarry or even date because of how they have been wronged.
Sin. I remember that spirit of rebellion and defiance so ingrained and so natural spouting through me. In the second grade Sunday School class, my teacher asked me, “What’s your favorite Bible story?” Showing off, I said, “That one where the lady drives the tent peg through that guy’s head.” In horror, the teacher said, “Oh, I don’t think that’s in the Bible.” My rebellious, little mouth shot off, “I know more about the Bible than you.” Then, the next week, I brought my Bible and pointed out the passage and proved how much smarter than her I was.
As a high school freshman, I left the youth department. The immaturity and lack of depth in the Bible study just drove me nuts. I started teaching the young adult class at 15. I went on mission trips. I was so sure of myself. I was better than the rest of you – or at least I was smarter, and, if not smarter, I was at least right and you were wrong.
Then I married someone. And I had no idea what I was doing. I stumbled in the dark for a dozen years – lost and confused and afraid. Afraid to ask for help. Afraid to admit sin. Afraid to say, “I am no better than anyone else.” Afraid to admit that I wasn’t smarter than you. Afraid that you might know better than me. Afraid that I might be wrong. I worked hard-headed and cock sure and my boss fired me. Two years later, he hired me back and he called me Aarron 2.0. He worked with me and he held me accountable. He made me say that I was wrong and that I was sorry. It was like being forced to hold your hand in the fire. It hurt. I grew. I learned that I am wrong. I make mistakes. I am fallible. My wife left me and I hit bottom, oh so hard.
Now, I know the truth. We are all guilty. We have all done wrong. We all need salvation. We need humility. I hurt when I see the pain of sin in my friends in my family. I cried when I read that letter.
If you have been a part of the homeschool community, your life has been deeply affected by the work of Kerry Messer. He had championed you and your cause for 30 years, but he chose to walk away from his values and his family.
I don’t like it, but he does not represent what he has done in the past or FHE or you or me anymore. I am so sorry. We love you and we love him, but don’t let his personal failure be the end of your passion. It won’t be the end of mine.

Petition to FHE: Remove Kerry Messer

I’m calling all Missouri homeschooling families to write FHE; Families for Home Education Lynn Messerand request Kerry Messer’s removal as the state lobbyist. We, homeschooling families, DO NOT want our movement splashed across media headlines due to Kerry Messer. I believe he needs removed…for several reasons. (Please forward this to your homeschool contacts.)

Numerous homeschool families were appalled to see Kerry Messer at the homeschool rally in Jefferson City, Tuesday, March 6, 2017. Is FHE aware that people were not clapping for Kerry and several families walked out due to Kerry’s presence?

Below is a letter FHE and its leaders received yesterday from Cheryl Bowles Summers. You may copy and paste this letter in its entirety, or in part, and send it to the  contact list at the end of this post. I sent it to the leadership of various homeschool groups around the state.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

My parents, Charles (Chuck) and Marcia Bowles were instrumental in the home education movement in the early to mid-1980s.  We were one of two families named in the class action suit filed in federal court in 1984 and are listed in the history of FHE-MO on the “About” page of your website.

I was one of those kids threatened with placement in foster care for educational neglect.
I am writing to implore you to remove Kerry Messer from his position as FHE’s lobbyist.  I am ASTOUNDED that he would be invited to speak at the event in Jefferson City yesterday.  What does this say to the young eyes of today’s homeschool students who were watching?
While much ambiguity surrounded Mr. Messer when his wife, Lynn initially went missing, that ambiguity has been removed as Aarron and Abram Messer have bravely shared the truth that they know.
That ambiguity has been removed as Kerry’s dishonesty has been revealed.
That ambiguity has been removed as Kerry has publicly admitted to the “Missouri Times” that he initiated a romantic relationship with Spring Thomas just WEEKS after his wife went missing.  http://themissouritimes.com/29221/record-messer-answers-questions-raised-missing-wife/
Kerry has also publicly admitted a physical relationship with Spring prior to the discovery of Lynn’s body last fall.  In a July 2016 St. Louis Post-Dispatch article, he said, For the first time in 39 years I kissed someone other than my wife, Lynn. If you want to call that an affair, then you call it that term.”  http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/missing-woman-case-tears-apart-jefferson-city-lobbying-team/article_685b6b96-c31e-5f66-907b-afc86f6f304f.html
Does a married man who ostensibly is unaware of whether his wife of over 30 years is alive or dead immediately begin pursuing another woman?  This is not behavior fitting the nobility of Families for Home Education.
I can only imagine that what is self-evident to many of us who have read Kerry’s posts and the interviews he and his sons have given to the press is also self-evident to many in Jefferson City.   It’s probable there was either an incredible act of violence in the Messer home leading to Lynn’s death or Kerry discovered that Lynn took her own life and has spent the last almost three years covering up what he knows.  He cannot possibly be an effective representative of your organization.
I implore you to make this right.  Keep this organization above reproach.
Sincerely,
Cheryl Bowles Summers
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Here is a brief request I sent to FHE in August of 2016 for which I did not receive an acknowledgement or reply.

In light of Kerry Messer’s admission to an extra-marital relationship with Spring Thomas, and due to the investigation of Lynn’s disappearance, revolving around Kerry; I respectfully ask you to find a different lobbyist for Missouri Homeschoolers. Kerry is not above reproach, and as Christ followers, we need to protect the innocent first. Our homeschooling families are innocent. I suggest you call the Ste Genevieve County Sheriff’s office and ask them if Kerry has stopped cooperating with the investigation, and if he is the main suspect.

Sincerly,

For a different perspective on the case there are 5 articles on the subject that I have written: Lynn Messer: 3 Objectives (These included links to newspaper articles. There are currently 29 articles I have written on Lynn Messer; some of which are interviews with Lynn’s son, Abram Messer and letters by Lynn’s son, Aarron Messer.)

Here are the contacts for FHE:

Video

Toxic Tuesday: Unsafe Relationships

patrick-doyle

 

Are you confused by a relationship?

Does the person you love seem not to appreciate, or to like little, or to like nothing about you?

Do you feel mildly harmed?

Do you ever think about the other person, “Oh, that wasn’t very nice. Or…Oh, they didn’t mean it”?

Do you justify the words and actions of this person?

Do you find yourself denying your instincts?

Are you the person responsible for making everything in the relationship okay?

Or worse…

Do you feel greatly  harmed?

Do you feel like you’re losing your mind?

Do you feel like you can’t do anything right?

Do you feel manipulated?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions—the below video may be the best invested 22 minutes of your week.

Gain strength, become educated, increase clarity, seek help. For me, Patrick Doyle is the best of the best for sorting out relational questions and difficulties.

 

 

 

Toxic Tuesday: #1 Sign of Emotional Abuse

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard small

If you want to have a stressful life or know what a stressful life is; live in an emotionally abusive relationship. Within the church I think this is more prevalent. And oh boy, would I like to know why!

*Disclaimer— Emotional abuse can take place in any relationship: Friendships, neighbors, parent/child, siblings, co-workers, extended family, but for today’s purpose I’m referring to marriage. Although men can also be the victim, most of the people I come in contact with are women who are suffering in emotionally abusive marriages, or have left an emotionally abusive marriage.

I’ve heard many women say if only he would physically abuse me so someone could see the proof!

If someone hits you in the face and you get a black eye; it will be easy for onlookers to understand what happened. People will say, “Oh, he hit you; that’s wrong. He shouldn’t do that. I’m going to call the police.” Simply put: It’s physical abuse.  On the other hand; when you are alone with him and he says things to you no one knows about, he ignores you, gives you the silent treatment, withholds physical intimacy, withholds finances or necessities from you, and you rarely can do anything to please him, but can’t prove it; you feel hurt, crazy, afraid, intimidated, broken hearted,  unloved and neglected. This is more difficult on so many levels but also just as wrong as physical abuse; it’s emotional abuse.

Here is an example: A husband has a good reputation at church for his service, work, ministry, and/or is known as kind, with warm smile. At home he’s neglectful, doesn’t take responsibility for his actions, he never repents, picks fights, he’s verbally mean, or… he never says anything. He completely rejects the person and disregards them.

Do you recognize yourself in the above scenario? Do you feel like you’re losing your mind?

When you’re with someone who never takes responsibility for their actions you start to feel like you’re crazy. You’re know there’s a problem but when you go talk to your husband he responds, “No, I didn’t do that…you did that…you over react, you read too much into things… that wasn’t me. ..and you…and because…and that’s not why…scriptures says you’re supposed to …you can’t say that… you know…because that’s why…figure it out…I’ll be patient and give you time.”

You’re left wondering what on earth is going on.  Your head is spinning and you feel confused, lonely, hopeless, depressed at one time or another, and like you can never get an answer to your question, an apology, or closure to an issue.

Ask yourself this question. Does he ever take responsibility for his actions? No?

Then you need to know this: If you could hold an Abuse-O-Meter to the heart or head of your difficult person it would read, “Unsafe abuser” because the best gauge, the number one indicator for an unsafe abuser is that they never take responsibility for their behavior.

Yet in scripture God instructs us to confess our sins, to take the log out of our own eye, and if we know our brother has something against us—to go make it right with him. God does not tell the abused or offended to make restitution with the abuser or offender. The Bible places responsibility on the offender to make peace with the offended.  Can you imagine there is a human being on planet earth who will never need to take responsibility for a rude action, offensive comment, or ill treatment of someone?  That’s not realistic.  I only know of one person in the history of the world who could have done that and He is Jesus. Yes, the One and Only Son of God who is now seated at the right hand of our heavenly Father.

So if you’re with someone who never takes responsibility, explains everything away, justifies every word, thought and action—that’s a clue.

Next you need to understand that they are in complete denial and don’t realize what they’re doing. And no, you stand no chance of explaining it to them. You would be better off talking to a wall because any time, energy, emotion, logic or love you spend attempting to break through to them will simply cement in their mind that you are even crazier than they originally thought.

Counselor, Patrick Doyle explains DENIAL  as = Didn’t even know I was lying. That’s how much unsafe abusers believe in themselves

It takes an excellent counselor/psychologist to understand the self-deceived abuser who  believes their own rhetoric, lies, denial, rationalization, minimizing, justifying, and spiritualizing. Abusers believe every word they say. That’s why they’re so convincing.

You can’t perceive their nonsense which seems like pure foolishness to you. Although you may feel like you’re losing your mind; let me assure you, you’re not. Don’t believe it for a moment. And if you’re concerned you will lose your mind then you should seek professional help. Strong people seek help. When you’re in the middle of such messiness it can be difficult to see clearly, discern wisely, and respond with logical application and consequences. Let someone not emotionally involved see through the fog for you.

If you wonder if you’re in an unsafe relationship; locate ‘SOLUTIONS-HOTLINES-HELP’ in the margin of this blog and click ‘Mosaic Threat Assessment.’ It will direct you to an assessment questionnaire which is a strong indicator of possible danger.

Here is what I keep hearing from wife after abused wife:  She goes to a Christian friend, a spiritual leader, or her pastor and she receives this counsel, “Be Patient. Wait on God. Love him more. Be kind. Forgive him, kiss him more passionately, be more available in the bedroom, be more interested in his day, engage him in conversation, speak words of affirmation, show him respect and he’ll come around.”

Here is what Christian, counselor Patrick Doyle has to say about such advice: “I can tell you right now that if somebody has that much denial and they’re that harmful; loving them more will only embolden them to take more ground and be more mean…in their, kind, sort of way because of how they interpret it. When you start being nice; they figure you realize what’s going on and you finally came to your senses. Now you’re going to do it their way which is the right way; obviously, because that’s the only way there is! Their denial is so thick; they believe it!”

There you have it. The number one indicator of an unsafe abuser: They never take responsibility for their hurtful behavior.

emotional-abuse-pic

Video

Recognize and Prevent Emotional Abuse

psy-abuse

This is for those of you who don’t have time to watch the almost hour long video attached at the end of this article. If you are in an abusive relationship and you do have time to watch; you will be greatly validated and encouraged. You’re not crazy…it’s really happening…you’re living through untold trauma, and you are incredibly strong to have endured for so long. My prayers are for you.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

I present to you, Patrick Doyle, counselor at Veritas Counseling and theDOVE.us

Recognize and Prevent Emotional Abuse

The core of marital counseling revolves around emotional abuse.

I was aware of a situation involving a woman in another state. Her husband was a very well respected man who early in the marriage; and thereafter, was abusive.  He was a stalwart member of the church who was well respected. The abuse kept going on until finally the woman realized through some counseling, and finding out her husband had a longtime porn addiction, that she needed to speak up. Well, her church didn’t really get it; they didn’t understand what she was trying to say. They genuinely wanted to help but they thought maybe she was making this stuff up…how could this be; we all think this guy’s great. As time goes on and she becomes more and more bold about revealing the truth to the pastor of her large mega church, he finally gets it. She actually went in the pastor’s office and had him watch my (Patrick Doyle) video on emotional abuse. Here are some excerpts from a letter that he wrote to his leadership after watching the video and ‘getting it’… about what the church is going to do to deal with this issue because he’s starting to see that they’ve missed the boat on this.

I am disturbed by the fact that women are coming forward telling me sad stories of long-term calculated abuse by their husbands. I’m aware of 6 or 7 cases that are current. These are good women who have experienced long term, 10-25 years, of abuse to varying degrees.  In some cases the abuse has been physical leading to domestic assault charges and imprisonment. In other cases the abuse is more subversive yet no less damaging. Emotional abuse, verbal abuse, psychological abuse, roll abuse, financial abuse, and sexual abuse.  Sometimes I wish they would all just walk into my office with a black eye so I could see the indisputable evidence and call the police. Instead they tend to walk in with blackened and bruised hearts that bleed pain. It is more difficult to discern the extent of non-physical abuse but I am becoming more attuned to the signs of an emotionally and psychologically battered woman. These are not crazy women who are trying to find some sinister way to get out of a marriage; thus, submitting false charges against their husbands. I’m talking about good and godly women who over time have lost hope that they will ever be treated with honor as a wife, a woman, or a fellow heir of the grace of life. I am typically taken off guard thinking that their husbands were charming, gentlemen of God. Oh, what a false front an abuser is able to display.

We all know there is a difference between a difficult marriage and a destructive marriage.  We all have difficult marriages to some extent. There’s no such thing as a pain-free, argument free marriage. There is anger in every marriage leading to disputes, hurt feelings, and the need for healing. I have not called this meeting to discuss difficult marriages, but I am talking today about destructive relationships where one person is being systematically and consistently broken down by the other.

I am most deeply disturbed by the fact that in several of these cases these men are protecting their place within our church while the abused is made to feel like an outcast. The abuser sings in the choir, sits in the front row, leads in the men’s’ ministry, carries the friendship or support of a pastor or an elder, serves on some ministry team, plays in the band while the wife is made to feel like an unforgiving, un-submissive, self-willed, hardened sinner. The wife feels embarrassed around our church people while the abusive husband smiles and drinks coffee with his boys (church members).

Here is a transition: This man wants to do the right thing, but it’s hard because people come in and you don’t know if they’re trying to work you, manipulate you, or what.

Listen, someone who is in an abusive relationship…one thing abusers do is they never take responsibility.

Abusers never take responsibility. This is a key to recognizing one. As Christians we should be leading the way in taking responsibility. With abusers you can never get a clear answer in a question, or there is a constant blame shift, avoidance, minimization, justification, and spiritualization. They shift blame and everything becomes your fault.You start to feel crazy and doubt yourself which empowers the abuser all the more.

In the church what is said is, “If you’ll just love them more, if you just cook them the right meal, if you just have more sex with them, if you’ll just be patient then this will clear up.”

Listen, if you allow an abuser an inch they will take a mile. The more you submit to their abuse the more they are going to abuse because every abuser I’ve worked with is in abject denial. The abuser believes their own rhetoric. They will stand in front of you, look you dead in the eyes and believe what they are saying. When this happens; listen to your spirit!

For outsiders who wonder if someone is in an abusive relationship; listen to your spirit. You may want to ask the woman or her children, in a safe setting, if there is abuse in their home and ask if they need help.

When someone says they are a believer but they have no conviction or comfort—they don’t have the Spirit. I don’t care what they say, how many church services they go to, how much Bible they know—the evidence is in whether or not they are convicted. The conviction will lead to the fruit of the spirit. Right? You can feign the fruit of the spirit for moments at church, in front of your pastor, in Sunday School, at a pot-luck dinner—but behind closed doors with the person who knows you the best…if they aren’t the ones seeing it, then I’m really concerned.

If your wife (and kids) are feeling abused (and I don’t care if you’re an abuser or not)—that’s real—and we have to deal with that. If the wife, or kids, are misinterpreting something it will be easy to fix, but if they’re not then maybe we can heal the marriage before it absolutely is destroyed.

Sometimes they do this sham of responsibility taking…”I’m sorry. I know I did that.” Then they just keep on doing it. Listen, the evidence of conviction is a change in your behavior not just words. God does not convict in general; He convicts specifically. So when the abuser comes to you they need to confess specifically the sinful words, thoughts and actions (to God and to their spouse). Changed behavior is the evidence of conviction. Conviction, repentance and changed action all have to take place.

Are  you abused and feeling trapped (which is part of the abusers arsenal) but you’re at a point where something has to break, something has to stop; you recognize that it’s coming to a head?

I say this with all due respect. Don’t call the church. (Yours may be the exception, but there are tragic stories about women who went to their church and were placed under church discipline for talking poorly of their husband, and/or removed from the church for separating from or divorcing their abuser.) I don’t know if the church is prepared for this; you’ll have to make that assessment. Somebody has to know what they are doing and someone has to be willing to get involved. If somebody comes to counseling he can get involved in a certain degree, but really where the church has the ability to be transformational is to get involved in a big way on a day-to-day basis. That’s how we can really help these people. In my church we’ve set up funds to support women temporarily; to give them money so the abusive husband can’t control them financially. I’ve seen it a thousand times if I’ve seen it once. They start controlling the money. How’s the woman going to live? Those are real questions. That’s where we can come (help) balance the power.

If you think you are, or might be, in an abusive relationship talk to somebody who knows what they’re talking about. If you’re going to go to someone who gets involved and then they back away; that is way worse. In that case, don’t even broach the subject until you know you have support that’s going to stay. This is where the church has done a lot of damage. They get involved and then they back out because they get uncomfortable, in over their head, or whatever.

Do your research, ask around the community, take the knowledge you’ve learned to find long-term support because I’ve never seen an abuser who has gone that far and said, “Oh, you’re right. I’m going to quit being abusive.”

It’s possible churches get it and they do want to help; such as the pastor who wrote the email read at the beginning; earlier. They recognized it and set up something in the church to address abusers and the abused. The pastor; along with church staff and leadership took training for it because they care about the people.

Much of this teaching can also apply to parent/child relationships.

 

This is Carolyn speaking: There aren’t many Christian counselors out there who know how to handle abuse in the Christian home. Most will want the abused wife to attend counseling with her abuser. THIS SHOULD NOT BE. When calling a counselor’s office ask them what their policy is for helping abuse victims and their abusive spouse. Separate counseling is best. I’ll give you three recommendations for the St. Louis area at the bottom of this post. They do not take insurance; so you have to file ‘out of network.’ If you’re local and have an excellent referral please comment with contact information at the top of this post. There is also a link in the margin for Focus on the Family: Counseling service and one time free referral.

 

Counselors in the greater St. Louis area:

Terri Dempsey – (West county & Farmington) Encouragement, validation, and practical application for setting boundaries…with humor.  Double majored in Psychology and Theology receiving a Bachelor of Arts from Blue Mountain College.  Received  Master of Arts degree in Psychological Counseling from Southeast Missouri State University in May 1991.  The combination of a Christian and secular education allows her to understand and fit into both worlds.  Scripture tells us to be in the world but not of the world.

She treats most mental health issues and specializes in trauma, personality disorders, and difficult cases in adults, adolescents, and children.  She is certified in EMDR. In treating anxiety and depression whether in adults, adolescents, or children, there is often a common thread – trauma.  Trauma can be the basis of eating disorders, anger management issues, and severe stress as well as identity issues in children and adolescents.  If your spouse suffers from a personality disorder you will find help for staying, or leaving.

(314) 983-9300, by text at (314) 960-7589 and by email at hopecrossingcc@gmail.com

St. Louis Office
Castlewood Baptist Church
1220 Kiefer Creek Rd. Ballwin, 63021

Farmington Office
#7 South Jefferson
Farmington, MO 63640

Dr. Clay Coffee (St. Louis County) received his Ph.D. in Family Therapy from Saint Louis University and his Master of Arts in Counseling and Masters of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary.  He is a Counselor in Training working with couples, families, and individuals.  For typical marital issues he does couples counseling. For family issues he does group family therapy. He has served as a pastor and counselor in church-based settings for over fifteen years: working with couples and families in conflict

providing premarital education and counseling

caring for individuals and families walking through divorce and remarriage.   His additional areas of clinical interests and experience include working with adults experiencing grief and loss

anxiety and depression

the trauma of emotional, physical, and spiritual abuse

spiritual transformation and relational distress

parenting issues and season of life transitions.

Clay has also taught graduate courses on ethics and counseling and presented at national conferences on topics such as addressing family violence in the church and coordinating care between counselors and churches for the well-being of clients. His dissertation explored the influence of at least one partner’s religious conversion on the marital relationship and developed a tentative theory for helping both partners navigate potential loyalty conflicts.

Clay has a wife, 3 children and a black lab named Pepper.  He enjoys playing tennis & golf with his wife, co-managing a fantasy football team with his sons, watching and discussing movies with his daughter, and playing his guitar. (314)720-2710 ext 5  clay@killeencounseling.com 

 

Christy Brimm (St. Charles county) at Kaleo Counseling: kaleostl.com – Her bio states she works mostly with kids, but I’ve been told she is terrific, due to her passion and personality, for women who are in extremely difficult and abusive relationships.
Christy received her Master of Arts in Counseling from Missouri Baptist University and her Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Covenant Theological Seminary. She has gained extensive experience working with children, adolescents, women, and families via her 20+years serving in the Church. Her ministry experience has come in the form of working in children’s ministry, youth ministry, leading a life group for young families, and through leadership in Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS). Christy has training in both school and clinical settings and is interested in offering gospel-centered counseling to youth and adults who find themselves in need of healing and wholeness. She also has a special interest in doing play therapy with children and working with families on parenting and relational issues. Christy is a Provisional Licensed Professional Counselor and is supervised by Martha Ankney, LPC. She sees clients at the St. Charles office and is an out-of-network provider. You may email Christy at cbrimm@kaleostl.com.

 

 

Lynn Messer: Reversal of Destiny?

Today I am recalling words from, Pastor Pat Crisler, who spoke at Lynn Messer’s memorial service. A few phrases from the eulogy piqued my curiosity to a possibility…

“Lynn always loved education and learning new things. She later in life went on to college learning soil sciences, and agriculture which she was able to use later by serving on the local Soil and Water Board.

Lynn fell in love with foreign missions in Ecuador where she made numerous trips, made friends, and was looking forward to not only teaching and leading people to the Lord, but also was making plans to use her knowledge of soil science to help teach the indigenous people of Ecuador how to use their natural resources to better provide for their families.”

…I’ve thought about the possibility, prayed about it, and studied more about it since hearing the words. Then today I pulled up Pat’s notes which he sent at my request and with Abram Messer’s permission. (I used the eulogy a few weeks ago here…) To my utter delight I found the title of Pat’s message is part of the Bible study I’ve been doing for this exact blog post.

The words from Pat’s message reminded me of something that happened in my life; a reversal of destiny.

Let me explain a bit. The reversal is called a chiastic structure and I learned about in the study, Esther: It’s Tough Being a Woman written by Beth Moore.Chiastic Structure

 

chiastic-structure-copyExamples: Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.

 

 

 

 

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled. Whoever humbles himself will be exalted. chiasatic-structure-2-copy

To help you understand where I’m going with this; below is the title of the message and a few abbreviated points from, Pastor Pat Chrisler.

Message Title: FOR A SUDDEN, UNEXPECTED DEATH

Mark 4:35-41 (HCSB)

Wind and Wave Obey the Master

35 On that day, when evening had come, He told them, “Let’s cross over to the other side of the sea.” 36 So they left the crowd and took Him along since He was already in the boat. And other boats were with Him. 37 A fierce windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38 But He was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke Him up and said to Him, “Teacher! Don’t You care that we’re going to die?”

39 He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Silence! Be still!” The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 Then He said to them, “Why are you fearful? Do you still have no faith?”  41 And they were terrified and asked one another, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

 Introduction

Seeking a break from the demand of the excited crowds, Jesus took a boat, and with some of his disciples, sailed off for some rest and relaxation. Suddenly their leisure day was disrupted by a violent storm. In that sudden storm, Jesus did an astounding thing. And in that we learn some things which can help us in the light of the devastating experience we seek to navigate through based on these last two years, and in the days to come.

First of all, we are reminded although the Sovereign of the universe is on the boat, it is no guarantee against the sudden—in this case, verse 37 tells us, a sudden storm.

Second, it may appear in these sudden experiences of life, which grieve us and threaten our sense of God’s nearness and care, that God is not doing anything.

Third, we can respond like Jesus’ disciples. Fear can replace faith. Jesus did hear their cries for help. He sprang into action. He spoke, and the winds ceased and the waves curled up around His feet like submissive tigers under the voice of their trainer. He then asked a penetrating question, “Why are you so afraid?

When the sudden comes in our lives, the Sovereign Savior is looking for us to look at him.

Sudden storms also serve to turn us to Jesus as we see in verse 38.

The Sovereign of the Sudden does something else in our storms. He will assist others—who see us coming through our assault—so they too may find blessings in the storms they are facing.

Finally, storms remind us the Sovereign of the Sudden is in control.  In verse 41 the disciples were overwhelmed by what they had seen. They had a new fear: a reverential fear. They had seen Jesus, with a word, rebuke wind and waves. They were reminded the Sovereign of the Sudden is in control when everything else seems to be totally out of control.

God’s plan and purpose for Lynn and for our lives are not subject to whims, accidents, circumstances, illnesses, and evil. God works through these to bring about his will.

We are not expecting the situation we have been put into. But what we do before any event in our lives is in preparation for how we handle the event. We have two options, we can react or we can respond. When you react it is negative when you respond it is positive. God allows us the choice to handle adversity either looking at it from a worldly lens or looking at it from His perspective.

It could be sort of like if one of Lynn’s grandkids were playing on her living room floor and looked up and saw her sewing a cross-stitch. From their perspective on the floor looking up they might say, “Grandma what are you doing, you are not making any sense, it looks like a mess?” Lynn would respond by saying, “I got it, I’m making a beautiful picture.” But all the child could see from where they sit was a mess. From Lynn’s perspective she responded with “I have this; I’m making a beautiful picture.” It would not be until the grandchild would stand up and walk around the chair so they are now looking over Grandmas shoulder would they be able to see and appreciate how beautiful a creation Lynn had truly been making all this time. Often times we look up into the heavens and we say, “God what are you doing? It doesn’t make sense, I don’t understand.”

 All we see from our perspective is a messed up tapestry and yet God is saying, “From My perspective I am making a beautiful picture, do you trust me?” In those moments when you can’t TRACE THE HAND OF GOD, YOU HAVE TO TRUST THE HEART OF GOD!

 

We read in the book of Esther a celebration of a reversal of destiny. Although we read nothing of God in the book of Esther, the life of Esther has the fingerprints and heart of God all over it. History shows us what Esther at the moment couldn’t see. Yet she remained obedient to what she knew to be true. This is a wise and beautiful lesson for us today. When we can’t figure out what God is doing, where He is, perhaps we can’t sense His presence and we wonder if we will ever find Him; we must remember God is there. Some day we will look back on the most important or difficult times in our life and we will see God all over it! It may look like it took months, years, or a life time for  the something to happen yet we will often see it had a turning point that was sudden.

In the book of Esther, everything Haman meant for evil; for the death of Mordicai and the destruction, slaughter and annihilation of the Jews; God suddenly reversed allowing the plans to be used against Haman, and provided for His chosen people to be saved. The intervention can only be explained as a work of God.

Here are more scriptural reversals of destinies:

  • Joseph’s brothers decided to harm him. They sold him to get rid of him. Joseph later sells food to his brothers to save them: Joseph’s brothers hated him and refused to listen to anymore of his, “You bow down to me dreams.” His brothers sold him to merchants on their way to Egypt. While in Egypt Joseph interpreted dreams, became 2nd in command over all of Egypt, saved his brothers, his father and their families, and the brothers bowed down before Joseph. Sold as a slave; becomes a ruler. Genesis 37-45
  • Pharaoh’s horses and riders surround the Israelites at the Red Sea. The Red Sea surrounds and drowns Pharaoh’s horses and riders. Exodus 14
  • King Nebuchadnezzar, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” He is driven away from people to live as a wild animal outside his kingdom. After 7 years King Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges that the Most High God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes. God restores Nebuchadnezzar’s sanity and kingdom to him. Daniel 4
  • King Darius’ men falsely accused Daniel so Daniel would be thrown in the lion’s den to his death. God saved Daniel, and the King’s men were thrown in the lion’s den to their deaths. Daniel 6

The Book of Esther

  • Queen Vashti was summoned to be seen. Suddenly she was seen no more.¹
  • Haddasah an orphaned Jewish girl among the exiles; the least and the last to ever be chosen becomes the Queen of Persia; royalty, wife of King Xerxes.
  • Haman who thought he had planned his own parade of honor suddenly finds himself parading around the person in his world who he hated the most; Mordicai.
  • Haman builds a 75 foot high pole in which to hang Mordicai but suddenly finds himself hanged on the very pole.
  • The irrevocable edict that will destroy, kill and annihilate the Jewish people and nation suddenly allows for the Jewish people to do the very same to anyone who tries to kill them.

The reversal that happened to Haman is a warning to us that vicious consequences can happen to us when planning violent acts or traps for others.

  • “God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.” II Cor. 5:21
  •  From darkness to light: “and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.  For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,”Col. 1:12-13
  • “Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” I Peter 2:10
  • Robber on the cross, not a believer, who was at that moment destined to hell; confessed with his mouth and suddenly, within minutes, found himself in heaven. Luke 23
  • Peter and John were fishers of fish who became fishers of men.
  • Paul: A persecutor of Christians became the persecuted.
  • Rich man; poor man, the rich man and Lazarus died and went different paths. The rich man enjoyed all his good on the earth and his agony in eternity. The poor man, Lazarus, received bad things on earth and comfort for eternity. Luke 16

When life feels heavy and bleak; as if the time for finding an answer is about to expire, we must remember that for those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, God sees us and He is actively at work in our lives.

As I was listening to, Pastor Pat Crisler, speak at Lynn’s memorial service the idea of praying about a reversal popped into my mind.

Remember how Lynn studied soil and wanted to help others through that studying? Put it in terms of a reversal:

Lynn studied soil to reveal a better life—end of life will be revealed through the study of soil.

If someone was responsible for her death: Whoever hides the death of Lynn on soil—from the soil they will be found out.

Remember: the forensics testing has not yet concluded and the results have not been released. If I read or heard on the news correctly, the FBI took soil samples which means they will be looking at all the layers of soil, fallen leaves and natural debris to see if it matches up with what was found on and around Lynn’s remains. It could possibly reveal if Lynn’s remains were located there the entire 2 years and 4 months, or if she was placed there after the fact. Forensic Soil Analysis is the use of soil sciences and other disciplines to aid in criminal investigation. Soils are like fingerprints because every type of soil that exists has unique properties that act as identification markers.²

God, through scripture, has set the precedence that reversals can happen; which means we have permission and authority to pray for one. In doing so, let’s speak the Holy Spirit’s language: Scripture. As we ask our mediator, Jesus Christ, to present our requests to our Heavenly Father we can be assured that our desires are in line with what God can do and has delighted to do throughout history. If a crime was committed against Lynn Messer, let us together seek a reversal of destiny for the person or persons who need to be brought to justice. Lynn’s family longs for answers and justice over this traumatic event through which they are currently living.

All the ‘sudden’ unknowns to us are known by God. When the enemy interjects events and plans into our lives he thankfully doesn’t have the last say. Christ does! And Christ can intervene any way of his choosing. God can use the horrific, the thing we hate doing the most, and/or the crime or abuse that has been committed against us for good; it’s scriptural: “And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose,” Romans 8:28 (NET)

Let’s agree in prayer and pray these scriptures over the Lynn Messer case:

Matthew 18:19 (NIV)

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

Proverbs 13:16 (NIV)

All who are prudent act with knowledge, but fools expose their folly.

Proverbs 16:22 (NIV)

Prudence is a fountain of life to the prudent, but folly brings punishment to fools.

Proverbs 18:6 (NIV) – The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite a beating.

Proverbs 18:7 (NIV) – The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives

Proverbs 26:27 (NIV) Whoever digs a pit will fall into it;
if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them…

Ecclesiastes 4:5 (NIV) – Fools fold their hands and ruin themselves.

Psalm 52 (NIV)

Why do you boast of evil, you mighty hero?
Why do you boast all day long,
you who are a disgrace in the eyes of God?
You who practice deceit,
your tongue plots destruction;
it is like a sharpened razor.
You love evil rather than good,
falsehood rather than speaking the truth.
You love every harmful word,
you deceitful tongue!

Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin:
He will snatch you up and pluck you from your tent;
he will uproot you from the land of the living.
The righteous will see and fear;
they will laugh at you, saying,
“Here now is the man
who did not make God his stronghold
but trusted in his great wealth
and grew strong by destroying others!”

But I am like an olive tree
flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love
for ever and ever.
For what you have done I will always praise you
in the presence of your faithful people.
And I will hope in your name,
for your name is good.

 

If there was deceit in Lynn’s sudden death we pray for the evidence to show truth and sudden revelation.

As was the case with my reversal of destiny, God was using the lapse of time to bring not just temporary protection and deliverance but permanent protection, deliverance and justice. God knows the truth of what happened to Lynn. Let’s pray for the investigators to find truth and gain closure.

Let’s pray specifically. If we ask for nothing we can’t be disappointed. I like to throw caution to the wind; after all, our Great God commands the wind! I’m well aware that God is not a genie in a bottle. He answers in His time and His way with His Father heart full of love, mercy and wisdom, and sometimes the answer is—no, or not yet. But…when we specifically pray; God often precisely answers. When He does answer, and I know it’s an answer to a question or request I prayed, there is nothing more exhilarating than watching my little, tiny mustard seed of faith through prayer move Heaven.  Knowing the God of all creation loves me, hears me, and interacts with me is the most fun, the highest high, the coziest comfort, and the biggest gift—EVER! All while knowing I did nothing to deserve it. I simply pray for His heart and will to be done and that He will override my wants with His best; basing my prayers on His words; scripture.

I’ll add to, Pastor Pat Crisler’s, message title…For a Sudden, Unexpected Death, A sudden, Expected Answer.

Thank you for joining in this prayer.

 

 

_______________________________________________

¹Esther: It’s Tough Being a Woman, Beth Moore; LifeWay Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 2008

²http://www.crimemuseum.org/crime-library/forensic-soil-analysis/

Video

Toxic Tuesday: Do You Have Biblical Permission to Leave a Toxic Spouse?

Today I’m sharing the blog post that has daily, for 3 1/2 years, remained the most read article I’ve written. I’m not an expert in the field, but rather a survivor of a student field trip. I’m passing on lessons learned that took me years of relational toil, prayer, counseling, Bible study and research. Later in the article, and in the margin, I link to Leslie Vernick who is a godly professional on this topic. I cannot say enough good about Leslie. I wish she had been around 19 years ago when I was in the middle of dealing with my toxic husband who was a pastor, abuser, and pedophile who suffered from mental illness and had a personality disorder.

(*Disclaimer: Mental illness does not make one an abuser, pedophile or criminal, nor does is diagnose one with a personality disorder. Most sufferers of mental illness live a normal, productive and fulfilling life with the help of therapy, dietary lifestyle changes, and/or medications.)

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard small

 

Do You Have Biblical Permission to Leave a Toxic Spouse?

 

No matter how they treat me; I will choose agape love.

No matter what they do; I will forgive. Over and over.

No matter how messed up they are; I will be their helpmate.

No matter the mental illness or personality disorder; I will love in sickness and in health.

No matter the inability to parent; I’ll keep the children safe and sheltered.

No matter the addictions; I will pray for healing and restoration to come.

No matter the anger; I’ll wait for the therapy to work. I know they will get better with the help of a godly professional.

No matter the grounds for divorce; I will pray for forgiveness, restoration and family unity. After all, as Christians with God on our side, we can do the hard thing and make it through.

But what happens when you are the only one practicing these principles and actions?

Have you been to counseling, done the homework, practiced the applications, prayed and fasted but you are the only person in the equation who participated in all the above? This is the point where putting all the marriage and Christian help books away is beneficial. These books are for people in a relationship with a mentally healthy spouse. We all have issues. We all sin. But living with a toxic person is not the subject of these books. They are terrific books—wrong subject.

Did you attempt an intervention with the goal of leading your spouse to repentance, restoring the relationship, and providing emotional healing only to be told, “It’s all you. You’re the one with the problems. There’s nothing wrong with what I do or how I treat you”?

Did you serve them therapeutic separation papers to show how serious you were about saving your marriage and saving your family? Have they shown no serious action to remedy the situation? Or have they shown minimal—surface only, “Is this enough to satisfy you?” action? Yet there is no change in heart, attitude, addictions, words or actions.

If you feel led by God through much prayer; keep going: Agape, forgive, help, remain true to the covenant, protect, seek professional help, pray, fast and pray some more. Over and over. If this is your decision I highly recommend you visit Leslie Vernick’s website.

 Here is where the strategy must change:

Are you concerned for your safety and/or and the safety of your children due to abuse?

I want you to hear this in the sweetest most tender voice as I envelope you in a hug and gently declare, “God does not expect you to live like this.”

Are you concerned you will not be alive come tomorrow morning due to an angry and/or violent spouse?

Imagine I have my hands on your shoulders, as we look at each other tear-stained face to tear-stained face, “God does not want or require you to live under such conditions.”

Many theologians, pastors and Christians with the best intentions have written on this subject.  I am in no way an expert or professional and this is why I always reiterate the importance of praying, fasting and seeking godly professional counsel.

I grew up believing divorce was wrong. Period. Christians work it out.

It took years of experience and additional years of biblical counsel, Bible study, prayer and fasting to realize there were biblical grounds to leave a toxic relationship.

For more background information on toxic relationships, toxic people, boundaries, intervention, and therapeutic separation please read past ‘Toxic Tuesday’ posts.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

God states that He hates divorce; not the divorced. God has experienced what it feels like to have someone leave Him. He knows the heartbreak His loved ones will endure and He understands the generational stronghold Satan will attempt to wield over the family members. He desires to protect us from the hurt, pain, consequences and future oppression of divorce.

Scripture does not clearly address divorce due to  the circumstance of being married to an abusive; toxic spouse but we know, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” 2 Timothy 3:16.  If we have a question about life we know we can find applicable help in God’s word.  Here are some verses to consider when in an abusive relationship:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,  and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church.” Ephesians 5: 25-29

 “The same goes for you husbands: Be good husbands to your wives. Honor them, delight in them. As women they lack some of your advantages. But in the new life of God’s grace, you’re equals. Treat your wives, then, as equals so your prayers don’t run aground.” I Peter 3:7

But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.” I Corinthians 5:11

 “Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.” Proverbs 23:9

 “As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.” Proverbs 26:11

“Stone is heavy and sand a burden, but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both.” Proverbs 27:3

“Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding them like grain with a pestle, you will not remove their folly from them.” Proverbs 27:22

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Matthew 18:6

 “Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh.” Philippians 3:2 

“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20

 “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them.” Titus 3:10

“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” Matthew 18: 15-17

 “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” Ephesians 5:11

Stay away from a fool, for you will not find knowledge on their lips.” Proverbs 14:7

Our nation and our individual states have laws regarding abuse. If  something below is taking place in your home it needs to be reported to a law official immediately and you need to take safety.

  •          It is against the law to abuse another person.
  •          Physical and sexual abuse against children is against the law.

Also report it to the social welfare/department of family or child services office, a doctor of psychology, a local child advocacy center and possibly the Victim Witness Advocate at your local District Attorney’s office. You can call the Victim Witness Advocate at the state Attorney General’s office if you need help locating an advocate in your area.

Yes, your spouse may be arrested, but maybe this will make him/her realize the seriousness of how out-of-control they have become; possibly leading to real help, true repentance and possible restoration; although statistics backing this up are slim. You have every legal right to defend and protect your children and yourself. God does not expect you or want you to endure such abuse.

To say your abusive husband cannot change would be to deny the power of Christ. The flip side of praying, waiting and hoping for an abusive or severely mentally ill husband, or a husband with a personality disorder, to change is this: They have free choice and God will not make them do what they do not ask for or want.

The Bible gives two reasons for divorce; adultery and abandonment. Theologically many argue abandonment strictly means the physical state. I submit, in the case of abuse they have  emotionally and physically abandoned you through; abdication, blocked intimacy, isolation, loneliness, neglect, rejection and lack of protection. They have also; most likely, physically abandoned  a sexually monogamous relationship with you. I mention infidelity because I am yet to hear of abuse that did not include unfaithfulness; it’s possible but rare. They have left you with permanent psychological scars, often financially restricted or stranded you, verbally destroyed you (at this point many women wish they had the bruises and broken bones to prove the abuse) or; physical and/or sexual abuse of you and/or your children.

I view abuse as abandonment for these reasons: When the marriage covenant is made on your wedding day your husband promises, (the wife’s covenant is the same to her husband) “To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, honor, cherish and protect her, forsaking all others for as long as we both shall live.” When a husband is verbally and emotionally assaulting, beating/abusing his wife and/or children (I am not talking about thoughtful and lovingly administered spankings to teach your children right from wrong and to keep them safe from danger) he abandons the vows he made to his bride on their wedding day. Women who have suffered through a sexually unfaithful husband and an abusive husband can testify that the abuse is worse than the sexual infidelity. When her husband beats her, verbally shreds her, emotionally rejects her, or sexually assaults her, he has abandoned their vows and his relationship with her.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Do you feel trapped, despairing, brokenhearted, hopeless, devastated, betrayed, frightened or dead due to abuse?

Christ came to set the captive free as prophesied in Isaiah 61.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.  Isaiah 61:1-3

Freedom is found in Jesus.

Boundaries are necessary.

Safety is essential.

Healing is possible.

Tomorrow will come with ‘the oil of joy instead of mourning.’ It takes time; time does not heal. God heals—in time—even though scars remain.

Naghmeh Abedini One Year Later

I, along with many of my readers, repeatedly prayed for Naghmeh Abedini as soon as she disclosed she had suffered abuse from her husband, Saeed Abedini.

Naghmeh worked tirelessly to achieve freedom for Saeed from being unjustly imprisoned in Iran for trumped-up charges by the Iranian government. I imagine more than anything she was hopeful Saeed’s heart, soul, mind and strength would be physically and spiritually delivered once he left his captors. It was one year ago that Saeed was released and returned to America.

Naghmeh recently disclosed on her Facebook page this message:

Naghmeh Abedini photo“It is with a heavy and broken heart that I inform all of you who have prayed and wept with our family the last few years, that Saeed has rejected counseling for anger and abuse and has filed for a divorce. There will be a time to share more fully, but for now, we appreciate your prayers.”

 

 

Prayer warriors who have lived through their own abusive marriages and managed to break free to safety prayed that Saeed would be one of only a few, if not the first, to see he is abusive and desire to seek help and healing. But alas, he took the road most traveled, refused to repent, refused to acknowledge he needed help for addiction and abusive behaviors, and is actively working toward his marriage ending in divorce.

Since Saeed must like his life style and choices, I’m grateful that God has provided Naghmeh the avenue of divorce to achieve safety, sanity and healing.

It has saddened, frustrated and angered me to see people post on Facebook that Naghmeh could possibly try harder, pray more, forgive again, be more fun in the bedroom (this one infuriates me), and…wait for God to change Saeed’s heart. Seriously! If being starved and tortured in an Iranian prison for three years didn’t allow the Holy Spirit to prick his conscience that God wanted to work on his heart condition I don’t know that anything can grab Saeed’s attention!

Why do so many people in the church believe abused wives must stay with their abuser? Why do they believe the wife holds responsibility in how her abuser treats her?  God does not love the institution of marriage more than he loves people. Yes, he created marriage but he also created the divorce decree, and He created it for situations like this. Naghmeh has biblical grounds to allow her marriage to end through divorce. Why do well-known Christians still support Saeed through finances, speaking engagements and asking him to help with other prisoner negotiations. Saeed needs to receive consequences from the Christian community for his abusive treatment toward his wife and for his non-repentance.

The church needs to be a safe place for victims; not a cover for abusers. Yes, abusers need the Lord and the church, but in context…for consequences, accountability, serious professional counseling, in-depth Bible study, mentoring, and massive amounts of prayer.

A year later, I celebrate Naghmeh Abedini for her quiet, godly spirit throughout the last year. I adore that as life became rougher, she became calmer—anchored to the Lord God Almighty. Resting in His sovereignty, accepting His peace, waiting on His timing, obeying His voice, and seeking His healing.

Naghmeh tenderly expressed through a brief exchange with me yesterday that the Gary Thomas article, Enough is Enough,  “is the heart of what I believe and am praying for.”

 

Original posts below:

Naghmeh Abedini’s Leaked Letter, December 8, 2015

She Said He Said: Naghmeh and Saeed Abedini, February 2, 2016

Naghmeh Abedini: How Do We Respond? March 1, 2016

Naghmeh Abedini: How Do We Respond? Part 2, March 3, 2016

Naghmeh Abedini: How Do We Respond? Part 3, April 8, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link

Remembering Lynn Messer observations & interview

Lynn Messer

 

From the Find Lynn Messer Facebook page, January 13, 2017, written by Kerry Messer:

(Most media is only interested in sensationalism rather than helping us to find any true answers. To sell advertising they create as much drummed up drama as they can. Thus it is getting harder and harder to discern which media may be willing to report on facts and truth, verses those looking for and creating false accusations just to hype their ‘so called’ ‘news reports’. This is why I have reinstituted our 33 year old policy of no longer allowing media onto our property or in our home.)

I haven’t found any media outlets sensationalizing information and drumming up drama to sell advertising. This remark sends up another red flag to me. It reminds me of how some people have the innate ability to detract from the problem at hand (usually something to do with them self) to keep people off-balance, or to hide the truth. I think the media have been unusually easy on Kerry Messer; possibly due to his political standing in the state. I haven’t heard, or read, of any tough questions proposed to Kerry.

A popular Facebook trend is to leave a one word status describing you or someone else, or a character trait you want to be known by. The word that comes to my mind for the above post is, ‘bizarre.’ As for accusations, Mr. Messer has left himself wide open due to the nature of his posts on his Find Lynn Messer Facebook page, coupled with his relationship with Spring Thomas and the fact that Ms. Thomas is never mentioned by him in the posts. He seems to long for Lynn as if Ms. Thomas doesn’t exist and doesn’t matter; or could it be he wants to hide his relationship with Spring Thomas from the modest loyal followers he has on his Find Lynn Messer page?

The below interview mentions a protective order separating the family at this time. I found it interesting the reporter didn’t mention who was granted the ex parte; order of protection. The judge heard credible testimony which allowed for the order to be granted.

As for Aarron and Abram; they remember what mattered most to their mom: God, love and family. They draw from the lessons their mom taught them about selfless love. They choose to, “honor her and carry on—not for her—but in her stead”¹  “together; by being there for each other,” and by using the lessons she taught them to help guide them.

I hope Lynn was allowed to gaze down from heaven during her memorial service to view her sons’ love in action. More so, to see all her grand children lined up in a church pew together; enjoying each other’s company. Affectionate smiles, giggles and heads leaning in to one another—cousins chatting while patiently waiting for the service to begin.

Witnessing loving relationships. Hearing about the goodness of the Lord in the midst of difficult circumstances. Holding on to hope. Serving others. Loving God. These are the lessons Lynn taught, and these are the lessons being lived out that she would have seen from heaven’s view.

 

Click below to read more and watch:

Remembering Lynn Messer, family reflects on disappearance

 

 

 

¹ http://www.kfvs12.com/story/34245902/remembering-lynn-messer-family-reflects-on-disappearance

Gallery

6th Anniversary: Traumatic Brain Injury

AJ

 

Today I celebrate because today is the 6th anniversary of my son, A.J. being released from the hospital after suffering a severe traumatic brain injury.

004

Those eyes. Those cheeks—that I never tired of squeezing when he was little.

A severe traumatic brain injury rocked our world and almost claimed A.J.’s life.

(Original Post is here.)

 

A.J., at age 7, was supposed to be in the P.I.C.U. for at least two weeks…whatever! He was released from the hospital on day 6! This was due to the power of prayer. I placed medical problems on Facebook or his Caringbridge page with specific prayer requests…and then I sat back and watched God answer! Requests such as:

January 1, 2012 – We are still waiting for A.J. to wake up from his surgery that went through the middle of the night to the wee morning hours. (Little did we know; his score on the coma scale was so low that he should not have awakened the same A.J. with the same mental and physical abilities.) It took a couple of days, but he woke up with the same personality and intellect as the boy we took to the New Year’s Eve party before his injury happened just before the stoke of mid-night.

10:30 a.m. January 3, 2011
Please pray for the next half hour to prepare the way for the doctors and techs who will be removing the breathing tube. Pray that the swelling is down and that AJ can breathe on his own so he won’t have to be reintubated.

11:30 a.m. Tube successfully removed

Next up: Please pray for the inter-cranial pressure monitor to be removed. This surgical procedure will take place in A.J.’s room and the environment needs to be sterile. Pray for his vital signs to remain steady and in good range.

Another answered prayer: Removal went well and A.J.’s vitals were super!

Around 2 p.m. – A.J. is crying for a drink of water but due to just having his intubation tube removed; he can’t drink anything for 1-2 days.  (The doctor in the E.R. intubated with an adult size tube which did some temporary damage to A.J.’s throat; and we just noticed, knocked one of his baby teeth out.) The P.I.C.U. doctors said A.J. could asphyxiate on the water so we can only allow him to suck water off of a small sponge.

Late afternoon – A.J. talked the doctors into allowing him water. He’s now allowed sips of water. He is so grateful.

January 4, 2011 – Moved to the neurology floor.

January 4, 2011 – Speech therapist wants to begin therapy; however, A.J. can’t stay awake past the couple of bites of cereal she fed him. It take so much energy to chew. Please pray for him.

A.J. informed me  that he’s ready to start back to school if I’ll take him home from the hospital. Sweet happy tears running down my face.

The physical therapist came in the room to attempt to have A.J. move around, get out of bed and walk. A.J. can’t hold his head up on his own and can’t begin to move his legs around to sit on the edge of the bed. He cannot possibly walk…yet. He needs to begin walking. Please pray about this.

P.M. A.J.’s surgeon came in and with some incentive and motivation A.J. held his head up on his own, swung his legs around to the edge of the bed, and took a walk in the hallway with his doctor who held A.J. under the arms. I could barely see through my tears. There was no explanation for this; except, God answered prayers.

January 5, 2011 – A.J. ate over 2 full bowls of Lucky Charms that his speech therapist gave to him. He was talking like normal, but she was a bit concerned about how he was rapidly changing subjects. We assured her that was perfectly normal for our talkative, verbal to the max. son.

P.M. – A.J.: “I just love talking. I’m in word heaven. I just think a word and it happens.”

January 6, 2011 – Released from the hospital to go home; at least 2 weeks earlier than what doctors anticipated.

Aspects of A.J.’s healing that should have taken weeks or months were, through the power of prayers going up and answers coming down, happening in minutes and hours. Never before had I witnessed anything like it.

I asked God to show me His glory through what He chose to do in A.J.’s life that night while A.J. was on the life flight helicopter.

And our Great Physician did!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’ll never tire of it.

Praising God, that is.

He has answered so many prayers in huge, glory making ways! (Original Post is here.)

God is so wise not to allow us to know our future. I cannot imagine how this child would have lived his life had I known what was in store for him. Would I have allowed him out of the house? Would I have bubble wrapped him? I most certainly would have made him wear a bike or baseball helmet AT ALL TIMES!

A.J. 001

Baseball 1 1/2 years later

Today my joy abounds as I recall snapshots my heart has taken of A.J. over the last six years. Snapshots of answered prayers, therapy appointments, fun times, teachable moments, frustrating moments, caring moments, ornery moments, giggles, spiritual growth, church moments, friend moments, a deep thinker who I do not always have an immediate answer for, a boss man who has great potential as I teach him to become a servant leader,  an avid debater (pros and cons), brother moments, tender moments, a young man on his way to only God knows what. My heart if full!

Our family benefited from McDonald’s charity, through the Ronald McDonald room in Children’s Hospital. A.J. ran in a 5K fund-raiser for them three years later and was able to speak to the crowd after the event.

 

 

 

 

 

Video

My Reversal of Destiny and His

 

As this new year begins I remember back on monumental life changing events. This life event comes to mind because I was recently reminded that these are they types of changes our Lord takes pleasure in setting in place. In the days to come I will be asking my readers to pray for a reversal of destiny regarding a woman whose family longs for answers and justice over a traumatic event through which they are currently living.

I am going to share excerpts of my personal journal from almost five years ago. This entry begins with a Bible study invitation of which I had no idea would bring about an answer to a long prayed over request. For the record: It was the longest petition, to date, that I had ever prayed over a matter with such intensity. This was not my first choice of a Bible study, due to the heavy dysfunctional life experiences it was geared toward, but it was the Bible study my daughter and her side kick wanted to do. As it turned out the videos for my choice of study were not available at the time through our church so I borrowed the videos the girls favored. I had been through this same study twelve years ago and I knew, back then, that one day I would take my daughter through it. I was so certain of this that I bought the study book for her twelve years ago. As I prayed over leading the study for our mother/daughter group I sensed God was up to something; something big.

On December 18, 2011 I sent this email to my Bible study group consisting of eight moms and our combined ten teen daughters:

Breaking Free: Making Liberty in Christ a Reality in Life will be our next study and I am really looking forward to it. 

 Please email me your prayer requests that day if possible and I will print them out ahead of time to save some precious time on this first night.  I will attempt to send a courtesy reminder about this.

 I am excited about this study in a way I have not been for previous studies.  Can’t wait to see what God is up to!

 Blessings and Merry Christmas,

Carolyn

March 7, 2012

While viewing the week 4 video of Breaking Free: Rebuilding the Ancient Ruins by Beth Moore, I had something replay in my memory from an earlier study on Esther also by Beth Moore.  It was about a reversal of sorts called a chiastic structure. Think of it as a reversal of destiny or a reversal of fortunes.  Since doing the ‘Breaking Free’ study twelve years ago I Chiastic Structurehave been delivered from the chains and bars of Steve.  Now I will pray that to the chains and bars of prison, Steve, will be delivered.  I’m reminded that my Jesus can do it! I will daily ask for it and not take no for an answer regarding the safety of my family, children, and children of other families.  Steve made war on us and many others through the years and I am declaring our victory over Steve.  I will pray it into existence beginning with God’s word which is alive and active and sharper than any two edge sword. And I will pray it out loud of course because scripture sets the precedence that there is power in the spoken word.

Psalm 107:17 (NIV)

Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities.

Proverbs 13:16 (NIV)

All who are prudent act with knowledge, but fools expose their folly.

Proverbs 16:22 (NIV)

Prudence is a fountain of life to the prudent, but folly brings punishment to fools.

Proverbs 18:6 (NIV) – The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite a beating.

Proverbs 18:7 (NIV) – The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives.

Ecclesiastes 4:5 (NIV) – Fools fold their hands and ruin themselves.

Psalm 52 (NIV)

Why do you boast of evil, you mighty hero?
Why do you boast all day long,
you who are a disgrace in the eyes of God?
You who practice deceit,
your tongue plots destruction;
it is like a sharpened razor.
You love evil rather than good,
falsehood rather than speaking the truth.
You love every harmful word,
you deceitful tongue!

Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin:
He will snatch you up and pluck you from your tent;
he will uproot you from the land of the living.
The righteous will see and fear;
they will laugh at you, saying,
“Here now is the man
who did not make God his stronghold
but trusted in his great wealth
and grew strong by destroying others!”

But I am like an olive tree
flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love
for ever and ever.
For what you have done I will always praise you
in the presence of your faithful people.
And I will hope in your name,
for your name is good.

April 19, 2012

Early morning – Working on my Breaking Free bible study this morning, Week 9 The Steadfast Mind, Day 1 –“A View from the Old.”  “God will never send us into the valley and ask us to bow to His authority there without sooner or later bringing a harvest from the ground watered by our sweat and tears.”  The personal discussion question is, “By any chance, are you still waiting to see the first signs of fruit from a previous valley?  If so, can you think of ways God could use the lapse of time to bring forth an even greater harvest?”

I decided to see what my answers were twelve years ago when I did this study for the first time.

#1. Riley’s protection from Steve. #2. My deliverance from Steve . # 3. Steve being permanently removed from the ministry.  As for the lapse of time I will wait, trust and obey.  God is so much smarter and more creative than me which once again makes me glad He’s my God.  I know He’s working it out; I just have no idea how.

Now I’m praising God for #1. Done! #2.  Done! God provided for our protection.  #3. I know God is communicating to my heart, soul, mind and strength at this very moment; depositing knowledge that did not originate from my own thinking or from my own mind.  “Child, I’m bringing you full circle this week; week nine, day one from the time you wrote these words twelve years ago.”

I now have chills all over me and I’m laughing, crying and thanking God. Weeping. Tears of joy. Tears of awe. “I am overwhelmed at Your goodness.” Hot tears falling down my face. “Who I am I that you allow me this piece of information? This peace? It has been such a long wait but I’ve always known you were working it out. Oh my…this week?  It’s going to happen this week. You are so good, God. You are so good.  This is so like You!” I felt like God lifted me up from the depths of years of toiling through heartache and allowed me to reach the top of the mountain that I had been telling, “Move, in the name of Jesus.” God was allowing me to see that the time had come. The mountain had moved.

Unbeknownst and unseen by me God was using the lapse of time to bring, not just temporary protection and deliverance but, permanent protection and deliverance.  Protection and deliverance I could not provide.  How can He love us this much? He is such a magnificent mystery to me and His word is a stunning tapestry of which I never tire of finding beautiful new threads woven throughout the pages.  The Bible is like buried treasure and the more I study it the more wealth I find.  Wealth of who He is and there is always more of Him to find.

3:00 p.m.—Chasady, my sister, just called to tell me she googled Steve’s name and found a forum post saying he had been arrested and was sitting in jail. (We new of an ongoing investigation and we’re hopeful an arrest would be made.) By the time I got off of the phone I wanted to find a place to just go have a good cry; however, I was in a doctor’s office sitting with my boys and didn’t have the liberty to ‘take 5’ for a very needed cry of relief and thanksgiving.  I did have my time alone with God after we arrived home.

I thought God meant He would be placing in motion this week the harvest of fruit from our sweat, tears and prayers, but no He meant: Today!   “Child, I’m bringing you full circle this week; week nine, day one from the time you wrote these words twelve years ago.”

I’ll never get over God! Ever. Not on earth. Not in heaven. I will declare His goodness, faithfulness, protection, provision and love all the days of my life. Then I will transfer to eternal praises! The best part of that is I will finally have a beautiful voice; pitch perfect praise.

There were some happy (and teary) moms and daughters celebrating and bragging on the goodness of our God for the answer of our group’s prayer over the last year. We had committed this request to God; asking Him what His heart and will was for this situation. We then asked Him for it; in the name of Jesus!

Link

In Loving Memory of Lynn Marie (Hoog) Messer

Lynn Messer

Born: June 4, 1962

Disappeared: July 8, 2014

Recovered: November 1, 2016

 

Last weekend, December 17, 2016, nestled  between the hours of two winter storm systems, Lynn Messer’s sons and their families,  Lynn’s extended family, and Lynn’s friends held a private, memorial service to celebrate a life well lived. A family friend, Pastor Pat Crisler officiated at the service. It was a quiet, peaceful goodbye filled with loving memories.

I felt honored to attend and was given permission to share Lynn’s eulogy with my readers. Many of you have shown compassion, understanding and agreement with Abram and Aarron’s testimony and questions surrounding their mom’s death.

Many people have taken great interest in this case and have faithfully followed every news outlet awaiting evidence and answers; hoping and praying for Lynn to be found—and now for truth to be revealed.

So for you who have felt helpless during the wait and wondered what you could do that would make a difference; I have a way you can participate in a purpose that was dear to Lynn’s heart. You may click on the link at the end of this post to leave a memorial gift in Lynn’s name and show the family that you haven’t forgotten. Let’s keep Lynn’s  memory alive and help further a ministry important to her.  Most of all, continue to pray for Lynn’s family as they wait for answers.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

Lynn Marie (Hoog) Messer,

BORN: At Saint Anthony’s on June 4, 1962

To the best we know, Lynn Died in July of 2014 under unknown but sudden circumstances. It is not for us to debate the cause of her death here today. But we will remember the life she had with us and celebrate her everlasting life with our Eternal Father at His throne in Heaven.  

Lynn was a beloved and devoted daughter to her parents: Mother—Flo Hoog (with us today) and Father—Charles Hoog (gone on to be with the Lord in 2014. She was the middle sister of three; the oldest being Debra (Hoog) Donze, and youngest sister Julie (Hoog) Rayfield. Lynn was an adoring and beloved mother to her two sons Aarron and Abram; a protective and doting grandmother to her grand children; Emily, Morgan, Isaiah, Gabriel, Gideon, Grace and Gage. Lynn was a caring, mentoring mother-in-law to Elizabeth and Kris. Lynn was a cherished and loved friend to all of us.

Most importantly, Lynn was a true child of God.

Lynn grew up in Arnold Missouri, and moved to Bloomsdale when she was 13 years old.

Her childhood would be described as a loving member to a warm and loving home; spending time with her cousins and sisters where they would put on skits and perform little shows for their parents and family.

She really loved going out to her grandparents hog farm by Tower Rock… where she developed a lifelong dream of someday having her own hog farm.

Lynn attended school in Saint Genevieve, MO graduating from Valle High School.

Lynn always loved education and learning new things. She later in life went on to college learning soil sciences, and agriculture, which she was able to use later by serving on the local Soil and Water Board.

Lynn’s life was full of great and wonderful accomplishments for a small town girl from Southeastern Missouri. She served in a wide variety of programs and projects at church. She fell in love with foreign missions in Ecuador where she made numerous trips, made friends and was even looking forward to not only teaching and leading people to the Lord, but also was making plans to use her knowledge of soil science to help teach the indigenous people of Ecuador how to use their natural resources to better provide for their families.

At her home church, Lynn was extremely active in Vacation Bible School, WMU, Sunday school, home missions projects, mentorship programs such as Apples of Gold, and nursery; particularly having a heart in any area which included children.  

Previous to living in Saint Genevieve County, she was instrumental in creating Backyard Bible Studies in St. Louis where she lived, and was involved in inner city ministries.

She was also heavily involved in the home school community. She created multiple coop classes, organized field trips and immersed herself in her children’s educational experience.  

Lynn’s hobbies and interest included a love for painting, drawing, quilting, gardening and farming. She would spend hours in front of her sewing machine making clothes, quilts for people at church who were having babies, designing and creating props for teaching aids in ministries, and doll clothes for her granddaughter’s dolls.

She loved crafting, and creating gifts and decorations which made her house a warm and welcoming home to everyone.

Her love of animals and her desire to encourage her grandchildren to develop an interest in animal sciences helped her to become involved in 4H, and group projects with her grandchildren.

If you had to pick one defining character trait for Lynn it would be Love for others, all others.

Ask anyone who has ever met Lynn and they will tell you she was filled with a love for people. She was filled with a desire to demonstrate by her life’s example and Christian testimony how the love of God knows no limits. She was always looking for an opportunity to tell somebody of the hope which she had found through Jesus Christ. For her, the relationship she had with Christ was not simply a part of her life, but rather it was a driving force which motivated her to put her life into action for God. She saw it as her duty to live out her faith. There are countless stories over the years of how she would go out of her way to minister to total strangers.

A scripture from the Bible which best describes Lynn’s life, and one of her favorite passages was:  1 Corinthians 13 (HCSB)

If I speak human or angelic languages
but do not have love,
I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy
and understand all mysteries
and all knowledge,
and if I have all faith
so that I can move mountains
but do not have love, I am nothing.
And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor,
and if I give my body in order to boast[a]
but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind.
Love does not envy,
is not boastful, is not conceited,
does not act improperly,
is not selfish, is not provoked,
and does not keep a record of wrongs.
Love finds no joy in unrighteousness
but rejoices in the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.
But as for prophecies,
they will come to an end;
as for languages, they will cease;
as for knowledge, it will come to an end.
For we know in part,
and we prophesy in part.
10 But when the perfect comes,
the partial will come to an end.
11 When I was a child,
I spoke like a child,
I thought like a child,
I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man,
I put aside childish things.
12 For now we see indistinctly,[b] as in a mirror,[c]
but then face to face.
Now I know in part,
but then I will know fully,
as I am fully known.
13 Now these three remain:
faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love.

 

Please click here to leave your tax-deductible memorial gift in Lynn Messer’s name. This will redirect you to the Sainte Genevieve Area Center for Life secure website. In the ‘NOTE” section please enter “In memory of Lynn Messer”. You may add anything else to the note also.

Or mail a check, Memo: ‘In memory of Lynn Messer’ to :

Ste. Genevieve Area Center For Life

P.O. Box 375

Ste. Genevieve, MO 63670

 

~Thank you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Video

MOSAIC: Threat Assessment for Abused Women

domestic-stats

Do you realize something isn’t right in your relationship or marriage? Not just inconvenient or annoying, but seriously wrong…hurtful, mean or controlling? Or are you aware that you’re already in an abusive relationship? Do you have friends, who have witnessed what they consider possible abuse, ask you if you are abused? Do you have family members who are concerned for your safety?

A caring childhood friend of mine, who also has a heart for people in abusive relationships, brought a new method of measuring abuse and safety, the MOSAIC method, to my attention. Thanks, Michele!

MOSIAC, created by Gavin de Becker,  is fascinating and helpful in that it “looks at the key elements of domestic violence and all the factors relevant to safety and puts them in context with each other. In the process, it helps filter out personal bias and denial.”¹

“Much like de Becker’s book Gift of Fear stresses the importance of listening to one’s intuition when fear signals arise in the body, in order to avoid dangerous people and situations, “MOSAIC is artificial intuition,’ says de Becker in one of his online videos. He says the test takes all the pieces of a potentially dangerous situation and puts them together, like a mosaic, to see what image emerges.'”²

“MOSAIC an ‘eye-opener’ in that it can help survivors more clearly see the reality of their circumstances, and helps advocates come up with the best safety plan for each survivor.”³

 

Watch this 7 minute video: Gavin de Becker on Mosaic – Assessment of Domestic Violence

 

 

To take the assessment test click here:  MOSAIC Threat Assessment Method

A situation might call for assessment as the result of someone’s intuitive feeling of risk, maybe because of threats or other sinister expressions, maybe because of verbal or emotional abuse, maybe because of violence, or maybe because friends or family are concerned about risk or danger.

The MOSAIC assessment needs to be taken on a computer that cannot be compromised—hacked. One thing most abusers have in common, which most victims or wives aren’t unaware of, is that abusers regularly hack into your emails, social media accounts, and phones. As of right now, every abused woman I’m in contact with shares story after story of her abuser hacking/spyng through avenues of technology.

Be safe!

Consider using a friend’s computer or go to the public library to use a computer. Use a safe password that nobody could know or figure out. And lastly, don’t tell your abuser or difficult person that you are taking the assessment; not for any reason! You don’t know the immediate or long-term reaction you might receive. Also, allow at least 30 minutes for the questionnaire.

The Mosaic treat assessment covers several types of threats and violence.

  • Domestic Violence (male offender)
  • Domestic Violence (female offender)
  • Workplace Violence (concerning a male)
  • Workplace Violence (concerning a female)
  • Threat by student (school)
  • Threat by student (university)
  • Threats (against public figures)
  • Threats (against judicial officials)

If you or someone else is currently in danger; leave and/or seek help immediately and call the police.

To take the assessment test click here:  MOSAIC Threat Assessment Method

mosiac-threat-assessment

 

¹,²,³https://www.domesticshelters.org/domestic-violence-articles-information/threat-assessment-tool-created-by-em-gift-of-fear-em-author#.WE-AerIrLIV

Lynn Messer: Adventurous Bride or Not? Q’s & A’s

Investigate

 

 Editor’s Note: Abram is answering questions and sharing what he recalls of his relationship with his parents, and the relationship he observed between his parents. He is sharing his facts, opinions, and what he believes to be true. (I fully understand there are more than two sides to a story: Abram’s side, Aarron’s side, Lynn’s side,  Kerry’s side—which all have limited views; and God’s complete view; the whole truth.) Abram’s dad, Kerry Messer, is a public figure of interest. It is not illegal or defamatory to share opinions, beliefs, and personal stories publicly. In order to prove that anyone is being defamatory, it would need to be shown that Abram, or I, did so with intentional malice.  

Abram and his family have lost friends, family relationships, and community relationships for publicly bringing into the light what Abram calls a different side to his dad than other people have seen. He is putting all this aside to help ensure more people are not deceived, his mom’s memory and spiritual heritage are not tainted or destroyed, women who are in destructive relationships see hope, and churches who minister to these women rank safety, sanity and truth over the institution of marriage. Abram’s private conversations and correspondence with me have emphasized his resolve.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

The below questions are in response to points made about Lynn on the Find Lynn Messer Facebook page, or comments Kerry Messer made in media interviews.

 

Question: Your dad tells story after story of your mom’s many adventures. Was your mom known for being highly spontaneous and adventurous?

Answer: Sometimes. She was spontaneous when it came to helping others. She would change her plans at the drop of a hat to help someone out… doing things like pick up people who were stranded and drive them hours away. But she typically would plan, or rather over plan, most things. She was adventurous in that she was up for trying just about anything. Rather than adventurous I would say she was creative.

Question: Referring again to Ma’s many adventures in your dad’s Facebook posts. Did she often refer to life’s happenings as her adventures?

Answer: I have heard her use the phrase “it was quite an adventure…” but no, she did not use that kind of phraseology on a regular basis. It was extremely rare. And when she did it was her way of trying to stay positive about a circumstance that went wrong.

Question:  Was your dad in the habit of referring to your mom’s antics as adventures while she was alive?

Answer: No. never. EVER. The only time he ever told stories about things that she did was in one of two circumstances. 1. If they had company over, or they were someplace where he was trying to seem friendly, then he would often bring up something that she did. However, there was ALWAYS this underhanded connotation that she was either incompetent or just too dumb to know better. She was the punchline of her “adventures.” 2. He would relate something that she did to me or to others as a complaint. I’ve mentioned that I have never felt comfortable with the way he has treated her pretty much my whole life. That extends to the way he talked about her. Here again she (aka the “woman”) was the punchline.

Question: Kerry refers to her as his bride in the Facebook posts. Did your dad ever, or often, refer to her as his bride while she was alive?

Answer: I have never heard him call her that… ever… in my entire life. He just called her “woman.”

Question: Had your dad mentioned any household items or your mom’s personal belongings as missing? Her pillow, clothes or pajamas?

Answer: No, not till after the fact… He told a reporter with the Missouri Times in an interview that he had the matching John Deere pillow there at the house with him. According to him, absolutely nothing was missing from the house, none of her personal items or anything was gone.

Question: Had you noticed any of the items found with your mom’s remains missing from the house over the last 2+ years?

Answer: Honestly, no. I was focused on the medications (antidepressants, Viagra etc.) But after seeing the pillow that my mom made with the John Deere cover at the scene I really feel like we should have noticed.

Answer from Elizabeth Messer: I recently recalled a memory from around the first week. Lynn’s pajamas were not on the bathroom hook where she kept them. I asked Kerry at that time about Lynn’s pjs and he said the police took them, the hair brushes and some other stuff… but… Lynn was in her pjs when they found her remains.  I also asked about other stuff belonging to Lynn, but Kerry sent me on a goose chase and told me to check the basement, the attic, the Jefferson City house; he only immediately said that the police took the pajamas.  I’ve asked the police about this but I haven’t received an answer; other than, they did take stuff for the dogs to smell.

Question: Did the sheriff show your dad where your mom’s remains were located?

Answer: Yes. After the FBI released the scene the Sheriff took my father up to the scene. I am not privy to everything in the investigation, but I do know that because of my father’s lack of cooperation most communication is going through the coroner—although he has told media outlets that the FBI took him to the scene.

Question: At one time you mentioned to me that some quilts belonging to your children were missing. Were those found with your mom’s remains?

Answer: No. They were not. My oldest son’s baby quilt that my mom made can be seen in photos that have been posted on social media where my father used them as props at missing persons’ events.

Question: Did your mom tend to stay grounded and on task regardless of circumstance?  Had it been a pattern in her life, or was she easily shaken? (I would think she was a strong woman since she had endured your dad’s alleged treatment of her for most of her life.)

Answer: I would say yes. She tended to muscle through whatever she decided that she was going to do, even when it caused her pain. Like going out to work with the cows after her hip replacement or sewing for hours after her shoulder surgery.

Question: Were you aware of her being emotionally downcast over health issues? 

Answer: Sometimes. But she typically kept things hidden pretty well. I was totally shocked when I found out that she was going to have hip replacement surgery. I didn’t even know that the doctors had told her that the replacement hips where not going to fix her hip pain until I was talking to Elizabeth, after I had argued with my mom. That’s when Elizabeth told me.

Question: If her pain level was as severe as mentioned in the Find Lynn Messer Facebook posts, how did she help your dad on the farm in the days leading up to her death? 

Answer: Thursday she drove the tractor mowing for several hours. Friday and Monday she didn’t do any farm work, but Saturday we were all supposed to go to a get together for a friend (the husband was home from the army so it was a big deal for us all to go and see them), and I had talked to my dad asking if we were going to need to work on Saturday (July 5th) hauling the hay out of the field. But he told me that we didn’t need to worry about it until Monday since there was no rain in the forecast till Monday night. On Saturday, my mom called Elizabeth to tell her that she wasn’t going to be able to make it to the party. Heading to the get-together we drove past the field with the hay that we were going to move on Monday, and there they were, my mom sitting in the truck while my dad was loading round bales with the tractor. That is all that I know of the farm work that she did leading up to her disappearance.

Question: The Find Lynn Messer Facebook posts cause me to wonder if her pain level was so high that she should have been bedridden. Did she spend a significant amount of time in bed or sitting around the house due to pain?

Answer: She had an insanely high pain tolerance, so she would literally force herself to do things. Like spend hours on the tractor in pain… come home sit for a few hours with ice packs on her hips… then get back up and start doing house work. Or get on the treadmill for a few hours. Or simply go back to work.

Question: I don’t know if you read the Find Lynn Messer FB page but it appears to me, over the last few weeks that your dad has possibly been writing in a way that could portray your mom as emotionally abusive, or borderline emotionally abusive to him with the way she, according to him, laughed at him when he made mistakes or was hurt. Which leads to my next question: Was your mom emotionally abusive to your dad? Did she often laugh at him or take delight in him making mistakes or getting hurt?

Answer: No, I would not say that my mom was emotionally abusive of my dad at any time. You have to understand that my father is so controlling and demanding that when we would be working on the farm doing different things, he demanded that everything be done a very specific way. Most of the time he would come up with a new way of doing things, almost every single time (which was of course the “right way” to do it). The result of changing the way we do things all the time occasionally meant that somebody got hurt. Safety has never been a concern. From time to time when he would get hurt while we were working, it was a direct result of the specific way he was doing things; such as arranging the cattle panels or the truck differently when working with the cows, or something like that. So because of his insistence that we didn’t know how to do anything and he did… the results were from time to time a little bit humorous (obviously not the slightest bit funny when anybody actually got hurt). But his descriptions of laughing along or finding the humor in things are total misrepresentations. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen him scream at my mom for her nervous giggling. Even though he would outright laugh and mock us if we got hurt (doing things like making me run the chainsaw with a broken hand and laughing at me as I turned pale and winced in pain, and making me cut and haul brush with broken ribs). I have never seen him respond the way he has described in his FLM Facebook page. The most common response has been outrage, and placing the blame on others for his mistakes. Responding by basically saying it’s your fault that my plan didn’t work, even when she would gently try to redirect him to a much more reasonable way of doing something. I have seen him hit my mom with sticks of firewood he was tossing out of the truck and then yell at her for not paying closer attention to him.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

You may be asking why Abram feels the need to talk about all this here on my blog, and Aarron on his Facebook page notes.  In my opinion, it’s common for individuals suffering through trauma to repeat their story over again – not only to tell us, but to tell themselves that it really happened. They possibly believed lies and have a need to repeat the truth so it will cement in their minds. If this is the case, remember that it will take a long time to mend their hearts and minds from the past way of incoming information being tightly controlled—to freely and logically thinking through new information, memories and experiences.