A Theft In The Night

Cursed, a city can’t get out of the way as nature steers a direct hit….


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As the gale’s howled and thunder rumbled, torrential rains inundated where fears were so fragile. You laid in bed worrying, wondering, and praying as God was the only one who would hear. Awake, the tears streamed. Feeling helpless, you wondered what the morning would bring. Looking at the clock – no electricity! The world had stopped and Satan reigned. A peaceful night’s sleep had turned into a hell you couldn’t imagine. The night was darker as the pressure closed in…

 

Preparing for another enjoyable day of work and a sunset cruise on the lake later tonight, I was unaware that a few hundred miles away Satan had unleashed his fury. Cursed, a city can’t get out of the way as nature steers a direct hit. Sympathetic, I listened to the news as a tear comes but there’s nothing I can do.

The phone rang. I answered, “Hey Sam….”

He responded, “Pack your bags! We are heading out in an hour.” My first thought, oh God protect us!

 

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By sundown we were the first to arrive on the scene. Now a deserted city, only the traffic lights work. We found a hotel on the outskirts of town where the first floor is flooded. The second floor is bearable; it has water but no electricity. Too dangerous to venture out in the dark, we are bedding down early not knowing what tomorrow will bring.

 

Day 1:
At daybreak, we knew it was the DMZ all over again. Firstly, and before breakfast, I walk into a hotel. The skylight on the twelfth floor is destroyed; windows in the lobby – gone! Walking on broken glass, there is nothing left worth saving. Staring at the walls, the wallpaper is peeled off by the gales and glass. Walking down the halls, all the offices show how high the waters were recently. Four feet up all the sheetrock and insulation is to be removed by our crews….

 

Day 2:
House calls, normally illegal…. this is life and death now. Breaking and entering, we look to see if anyone stayed behind. The stench unbearable, perishables ruined, all the memories of livelihood gone in a wrath. Antiques destroyed, soggy scrapbooks scattered on the floor and bookcases are turned over. Just nothing salvageable! Even the toilets are reversed – disgusting. Now, to the next house. It’s pretty depressing after eight hours.

A Theft In The Night

Day 3:
Drained, my disposition is uncomfortable. Not assured of anything, I just want to go home. Knowing it’s not just a race but a race against time, obligations prevail. Innocent victims, who never invited Satan’s hell, needs me…I’m off! Kicking in front doors, wading in water, pushing floating furniture out of my way, we feel for bodies submerged beneath our boots. Alone, we pray to God everyone is okay.

 

Day 4:
The tide is turning; some electricity, finally! It’s spotty though. Dryer roads, blue sky, and there is a God, I think to myself. Helping strained folks that can only afford a smile, “just sufficient” is enough to make our day worthwhile. People begging for water, I emptied my cooler in the first hour.

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God knows, it takes a catastrophe to bring people together. Though it’s the most deplorable of conditions, it does bring out the colors of some. Humanity and integrity equals dignity for your fellow man, no matter your race.
After arriving home where normal was real, I prayed for those who will never find their normal they lost again. I hugged my family and reminded them to never take life for granted. Be humble of what God has blessed you with every day…..

 

God bless all victims of Hurricanes Irma, Harvey, and Maria!

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Author’s Notes:

 

I was there….2008, after Hurricane Ike. It’s an image that instills forever.

A memory of helplessness…. a war against the elements.

A loss just immeasurable…..

 

The Silenced

A Christian’s View of Domestic Violence

The Silenced cover

 


In the solitude, I listen to the temper, from the many contained in an environment of unforgiving. I, too, stand in the congregation and see the smiles like fake news. I wonder if your joy may be camouflaged, like a father who stands on top his child’s shoes. You look so pretty dressed up in your Sunday attire; your hair is curled – “putting on the dog”, it was once called. But I watch the language of your husband as he hums along with the choir, forgetting the words. Staring over to see who you’re watching, like blinders on a horse, your eyes are only focused forward. The pastor’s last words are spoken, “Go in peace” and you’re the first out the door.

Arriving home, the bedroom door slams and his ultimate persuasiveness begins like a lecture from the pulpit. You just can’t wait until Monday morning when you hand him his lunch pail, turn your cheek, and wish him well. So you build a world where no one’s allowed…. only God and he’s on hold. Looking for an escape to the abuse that never takes a break, your world has caved. Tied to your apron strings, dinner is on the table. You begin to recite grace but it does no good.

 

Psalm 11:5
The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.

 

The week begins just like the last week ends….accusations and demands that come from malice. He’s his father’s son. Only his mother knows the hell she put up with when he was very young. Like the family farm, the recipe is passed on. The abuse becomes intolerable, love becomes a routine, and romance is the world you built deep within your mind. There’s no peace on the outside as Dr. Jekyll thrives. You tiptoe like a child that comes in after curfew.

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Domestic violence comes in many shapes, not necessarily gender oriented or form. I, too, share the pain as many on the outside never saw the trauma I lived with at home. Giving your suffering to God is the only way out! Living with scars of a broken home resonates for generations, both past and present.

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I read the clips of those I know are mistreated by their family and peers. Where has God gone when the choir begins? Your sacraments of holiness are never enough. Being judged under the dirty microscope shows every blemish. Who, though, are we to make that call just because that’s way it used to be. You become a person with little left for God to see. You’re whittled to the size of a toothpick and now pray for a mustard seed.

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But as the sun breaks through upon your escape, you will discover there is another world….one of love and beauty. God anoints the living. You call it “a lease on life” – getting out of the web Satan held you captive in for many years. Yes, this is the works of Satan and his angels!

 

Remember you’re not alone! Reach out to the non-judgmental and let our almighty Lord renew you from the inside out. Praise God that He has saved you and serve others in His name. God’s desire for those involved with domestic violence—both victims and abusers—is healing and wholeness.

You are loved! God bless, God speed…….

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A Christian’s View of Domestic Violence

 

Why would God allow such a thing to happen to me?? Does God really love me?? Where was He when I was being abused? Why God, can’t you help me to change him/her?? I’m a Christian – I can’t leave!

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All are justifiable questions that “the abused” do ask. Understand that abusers have unresolved issues that have led them to violence, perhaps routing back to childhood. If an abuser is willing to admit his or her wrongful deeds and desires help, there is hope. But it is important to know that the vast majority of them do not feel the problem is within themselves. Marriage counseling is not an appropriate solution. So healing has to begin with YOU!

 

1 Corinthians 7:15

But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace.

 

Undergo individual counseling, especially Christian counseling, to go through the healing process. If children are involved, family therapy. Children should never be put into an abusive situation or be expected to remain in one! Watching or hearing a parent being abused will have severe psychological implications. They learn by example so let them witness you taking the lead.

Psalm 127:3

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.”

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Join a support group with other survivors. “Outsiders”, cannot understand the web you broke through so look for love and comfort from those who can identify with your situation.

 

Allow time to heal before starting another relationship. The magic formula is half the time you spent within the walls of that confinement.

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Read anything and everything you can about domestic violence – particularly books of narcissism. Seek understanding.

 

 

Serve our Lord! Join bible study groups at church; if financial means allow, take a mission trip; help the poor by participating in homeless shelters; sit with Seniors at nursing homes. You will find your worth, once again, in others.

Matthew 20: 26-28

Jesus told His disciples, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”

 

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Local police stations can take you and your children to a shelter for assistance. Safety is first!

Psalm 72:14
From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood in his sight.