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Related Collections (20)
Contents:


  1. Religion From Raffles Bookstore
  2. Comprar Libros de Religion | IberLibro: Raffles Bookstore
  3. Brokenness vs. Wholeness
  4. Prison Without Bars – Graham Swann Testimony
  5. But I believe this one.

The memories of those days also bring back all the departed senses that accompanied them. The scent of sizzling bacon drifting over the caravan park and my grandma calling me for breakfast; the smell of toast made with real butter. As far as I knew, my grandma made the best toast in the world.

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Religion From Raffles Bookstore

I try to recapture those feelings of innocence. I was a small boy with nothing to worry about and everything to look forward to. My maternal grandma reminded me of Hilda Ogden from Coronation Street. She had a tiny Yorkshire Terrier who she appeared to love more than my granddad. The little dog was very protective of grandma and would snarl whenever anyone approached her. Granddad was a pint-sized man who was never without a pipe and the smell of his Condor tobacco still lingers. He was extremely fond of a drop of rum too. He used to tell me stories about his time in the war, such as the occasion when he and some mates had been given water to drink that was contaminated to the point of being poisonous.

Out of his group of ten, all nine of his mates died; only he survived. Allegedly, the doctors told him that because his stomach was coated with rum it had diluted the effects of the poison. He was an old school sailor, covered in tattoos and full of similar ripping yarns. He never tired of chatting to me and I looked at him with love and admiration.

She just laughed. Things changed for everybody, including me, and not for the better. The innocence and simplicity of our former existence became troubled and pressured. My brother, Tony, began to bring distress and anxiety into the family. He was always fighting and beginning to get into trouble for breaking into properties.

I remember he would often run away from home too. One minute I was a happy kid, content with life, then almost overnight life became tainted. Circumstances out of my control began to intrude. The effect all this had on mam and dad was both immense and Behind the jovial words was a darker reality — one which I would have first hand experience of in the not-toodistant future.

I remember the day when things came to a head. Appropriately, it was raining. A torrential downpour assaulted the streets of Loughborough. Men were running holding newspapers over their heads and women huddled under umbrellas. I ran home from school as fast as my legs would carry me. Entering the house, I sensed the heavy atmosphere. Mam was crying, her head in her hands. I went to see what was the matter. I looked at her blankly. I followed her gaze out of the window and caught sight of my dad at the bottom of the garden.

He was wandering around like a lost soul, shaven-headed, staring at the ground. All his beautiful black hair was gone. His shoulders looked more bowed than normal, as though they were carrying the weight of mankind on them. I could see his mouth forming words. Punctuated by sobs, her Mam nodded.

Comprar Libros de Religion | IberLibro: Raffles Bookstore

So here I was: Tony was mostly absent, mam was heartbroken, sobbing uncontrollably. My world was plunged into confusion. Life was never the same again. Dad never really recovered and Tony continually brought aggravation home. The police were regular visitors, knocking on our door at all hours. But all it did was fuel my insecurities.

They were trying to protect their youngest son, I know, but it felt as though everyone had stopped loving me. The quiet calm and confidence I had known until then were gradually being replaced with uncertainty, self-doubt and a lack of confidence. Gone was the innocence; gone was the happy naivety. Alongside the dawning reality that my formerly safe, secure, family environment was crumbling, I was being bullied. It had started a couple of months earlier. Maybe I would have spoken up about it in different circumstances.

But because of the turmoil at home, where everyone was consumed with their own problems, I stayed silent. The feelings of insecurity I felt were surfacing at school and the other kids had begun to pick up on it. I became vulnerable, a target for those who were inclined to be hurtful and unkind. Cracks appeared and my smiles turned to tears. Soon I became the headline attraction for the warped It began with childish name calling, but the nastier kids soon elevated that to intimidation.

From there it became a game: terrorise the easy target; get the scrawny lad who you could give a good kicking. At first it was shoving, needless confrontation, the odd punch in the face; eventually it was just sheer evil. I was beaten on a daily basis and forced to hand over my pocket money.

I was small for my age and skinny. Frail in body, but now in mind too. The bullies robbed me of the last vestiges of my selfconfidence. Now each day was to be approached with fear and dreaded anticipation, instead of my former carefree optimism. I was immersed in a world where others controlled my thoughts, manipulated my actions, and had a hold over my life. Too many abusive occasions to recall here resulted in perverted entertainment for others and depression for me. Beacon Hill is an area of great natural beauty and a place rich in history.

Brokenness vs. Wholeness

For me, however, it was the crucible of my pain and suffering, where I was humiliated and tortured. Tortured is a strong word, I realise, but I can only describe it as that. The bullies abused not just my body, but my mind. Frequently I was ordered to strip down to my pants and run. I was given a head start and then hunted down like a terrified fox. They pursued me, chanting and shouting. I never managed to outrun them, not once.

When caught I was thrashed with branches; hounded like prey and then whipped. To them I was a parasite, a cockroach that needed stamping on. It was a shadowy, damp place, thick with oak trees, with a small brook running alongside. There used to be a rope swing tied to one of the branches of a huge oak tree.

It was here that I was brutalised. There were a group of boys who seemed to share a passion for the mistreatment of others and spent as much time as they could inflicting misery on the helpless. They would tie my hands tightly with the rope and then push me down the hill. My cries went unheeded as I tumbled down, unable to break my fall, the rope cutting into my wrists. Then, even as I pleaded for mercy, they would beat me with sticks. As adults, unresolved issues from our past, wanted or unwanted, refuse to lie down and die.

Here I was, a grown man, waking up to another day that would be dominated by the lost boy of my past. The unspoken trauma that I had obediently kept a secret drained the life out of my existence. This ominous silence hung over me, subdued me, suffocated me. Those painful days had come and gone, but emotionally I was still in the thick of them. I was severely depressed about the way my life had turned out.

Beer, all too fleetingly, took that feeling away. In truth, I had such deep feelings of utter vulnerability that no No one understood. Why would she?

I was trapped in a cycle of pain followed by numbness, followed by more pain. I took my shower. It felt like just a few minutes elapsed as my mind turned things over.

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In reality 40 minutes passed by. Have a Nice Day by the Stereophonics was playing on the radio when I walked into the kitchen. I made myself a cup of tea. We had six chairs in the kitchendiner but I only ever used one. I slumped down in my usual spot. But my depression was getting worse.

There was no way I was going to simply snap out of it. My mind travelled the same tired, worn out territory as before. There had been the bullies and then there had been him — the man who had further sought to rob me of my innocence and extinguish any last spark of hope. Hate barely described the revulsion I felt for them.

I was angry at them for taking my life away and leaving me with derelict emotions, but I was equally angry at myself for allowing it. Living daily with the fallout had exhausted me and was exhausting those around me who had to witness it. I drove people away from me.

I was beyond help. I finished the dregs of my tea and looked out of the kitchen window. No matter how depressed and confused I felt inside, the garden was always the complete opposite: neat, well ordered, with not a blade of grass out of place. I looked dead behind the eyes, I thought. Eleven forty-five came around quickly and I had done nothing with my day but relive my past.

Maybe it was time to lay at least one of my ghosts to rest, I thought. A part of me had died because of him. I needed to either reclaim that part or completely let go of it if I was ever to move forward with life. Yes, I had been terrorised and bullied, but I had never told a soul that I had also been sexually abused. My stomach tightens, not from the chain-restaurant omelette, but from the knot of longing.

I wanted to say I understand. But how can I? Who can understand such pain?

Prison Without Bars – Graham Swann Testimony

I wanted to have some great words of comfort, but none came. What do you say to a mother who lowered her son in a grave long before his time? So I listen. And I pray. And I realize that her story is sadly not rare enough. I realize that all around me lie the ruins of brokenness.

But I believe this one.

I realize that the journey through this world is one split by selfishness and greed and hatred and heartache. And too often, hopelessness. The one where Hope stepped onto the landscape of the world, took on its brokenness and stretched it out on a cross. The one where the sky split open and grace descended. I think incredible stories are mostly just that—in-credible.

And this one is most incredible of all. I mean who can absorb the notion that God would come to earth and pour Himself into flesh? Not just flesh, but infant flesh.


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And that He grew into a divine man with the power to heal and to forgive? And then in that power He looked behind and ahead to all mankind—to me and to you—and saw each moment? Each broken moment. Each unholy moment. Each gunshot fired. Each drug injected. Each harsh word or cold slap. Each tear shed.

Matthew West - Mended (Lyric Video)

That He had the power to see my pain and my disease and my injustice and…my sin, and declare it wiped away? Not because of a Sunday school flannel board, although it was fun. And not even because I read it in an ancient document, although I now treasure that holy book. I believe it because His story collided with my story and it became our story. There was no making sense. There was only doubt and fear and a sense that I would never be okay again. And then that story. A man who died on a cross, yet lived. A man who stretched out His arms and declared it finished, yet just beginning.

He looked though the corridors of years and saw my tears and desperation and I saw Him. It was Hope and Resurrected Life. And that this is not the forever world. But there is one waiting for us that needs no words to explain it or make it make sense. A world where a mother who walked this earth years past her prime stretches renewed arms out to her young son who never reached his in an embrace that knows no sorrow. A world where there is no more death or grief or tears or pain. A world that makes sense of all that is and was. A world that once only existed in my make-believe mind. I got a peak into that world during my deepest suffering.

The curtain was pulled back and I knew. I knew the story was true. I knew that it was possible to live when everything else was dying. Our breakfast dishes had been cleared away and we sipped the last of our coffee through tears and through laughter. She knows the story. Heaven came down when her son was taken up. She suffers. She longs. She questions. Yet she knows. She believes. This broken road ends in wholeness. I hope you can believe that. I hope you can take it all in despite how in-credible it sounds.

The suffering, the heartache, the senselessness. If something in you has died, if all hope is lost, I hope you will believe the story. And you can find joy despite suffering, hope despite hopelessness, and life despite death. Please leave me a comment below and let me know if you believe the story. Samara helping Lyza with her Play-Doh creations. Easter is less than two weeks away. Still, I do want to be intentional to remind my children that Easter is about an empty tomb that once held Jesus, and to keep our activities focused on Him.

With so little time and even less creativity, I love it when those ultra-creative moms do some of the work for me. I hope you find some new ways to celebrate Easter this year and perhaps start some lifelong traditions. Resurrection Eggs —There are all sorts of these, but these are my favorite for ages 5 and up. Grace Garden —I absolutely love this one from Ann Voskamp at aholyexperience. Fun for the whole family. Definitely going to be a new tradition for us. Easter Bingo —Telling the Easter story with symbols and a game for ages The Jesus Tree —There are all kinds of variations on this, but this is simple Yay for me!

Resurrection Scavenger Hunt —My kiddos have always loved scavenger hunts, and this one is one for all ages. Salt Dough Empty Tomb —A keeper and one we will do this week. Pop-Up Easter Scenes —For those of you who are beyond the coloring pages, these are awesome. Clothespin Donkey —Just in time for Palm Sunday, little crafters will love this.