“Deliver me from Evil”..escape from a living hell

ALLOMA GILBERT

“In April 2007, foster mother Eunice Spry was sentenced to 14 years in prison for abusing children in her care. She beat the youngsters with metal bars and made them eat vomit. On Saturday, in our first extract from a new memoir, one of Spry’s victims, ALLOMA GILBERT, revealed how she survived her ordeal. Here, in the final part, she describes how Spry allowed her to be sexually abused – and the bitter-sweet moment her tormentor was brought to justice…

My foster mother was incandescent with rage. “What’s this?” she barked, holding up a bag of porridge oats. I knew better than to say “a bag of porridge oats” – that would certainly have earned me a beating, or worse. There was obviously something seriously wrong.

“You left it out,” continued Eunice accusingly, tipping the bag’s contents on to the kitchen table. I could see that mixed in with the oats were little brown lumps – mouse or even rat droppings.

There had, I knew, been some rats recently around the dilapidated old farm where we lived, and I dare say she was right that I had forgotten to put the bag away the day before.

Eunice said nothing more, but scraped up the oats and put them into a saucepan, droppings and all. She then poured in some water, and stirred.

“I’ll make your breakfast for you,” she said.

When the concoction was cooked, she spooned a large, steaming helping into a bowl. It was a far bigger portion than she would usually allow me for breakfast – Eunice was unbelievably mean with food.

She handed me a spoon. “Eat it,” she commanded.

When I didn’t move, Eunice pushed the spoon into the bowl and brought it up against my closed lips. “Open wide.”

It was pointless to resist. Obediently, I opened my mouth and swallowed the vile mixture. It tasted like the soles of my Wellingtons after I’d cleaned out the chicken shed.

My gorge rose and I could see a glint in Eunice’s eyes – her satisfaction would be complete if I threw up there and then.

But I didn’t. Instead, I fought to turn myself off at the emotional mains and ate the whole lot.

I could tell Eunice was waiting for me to give up so that she could give me a beating, but I was determined to show her what I was made of.

She was obviously disappointed. “Well, you do that again and you’ll get it again,” she said.

By now my stomach was churning. I have to hold it down now, I told myself. Just blank yourself out.

Eunice started tidying up and I feigned as much nonchalance as I could muster. I could feel my gorge rising again, but I swallowed hard as saliva filled my mouth and kept my face as blank as I could. Slowly, I moved towards the kitchen door.

The second I was out of Eunice’s sight, I ran like the clappers down the field, where I threw up the entire contents of my poisoned stomach.

But I hadn’t given her the satisfaction of seeing it. And most important of all, I had chalked one up to me in our battle of wills.

Alloma Gilbert

If my childhood with my foster mother Eunice Spry had been traumatic – as I described in this paper on Saturday – my young womanhood, before I finally escaped from her evil clutches at 17, was quite appalling in its physical and psychological brutality.

At least when I was young I had been to school for part of the time, having contact with other adults and children.

I had even very occasionally seen my natural parents. Now I was being taught at home and living as a virtual prisoner, half-starved, on a rundown farm in the middle of nowhere.

I also hadn’t had any contact with my family for years.

I still wonder whether Eunice used to lie in bed at night thinking of the next horrible thing she would do to us all. Certainly, some of her punishments involved a good deal of ingenuity on her part.

One of her favourites was a torture she’d devised, known as the “invisible chair”.

We had to crouch down on our haunches in a sitting position, with our backs or shoulders leaning against the wall, sort of squatting, and we’d have to stay there for ten minutes to an hour, maybe even two.

I found it incredibly difficult to stay upright, and my legs ached terribly, so I’d often fall over.

But Eunice would watch and hit me with a stick, or shout that I had to get back into the upright, crouching position in the invisible chair and stay there until she was satisfied.

Later, when I got a bit older, the punishments changed slightly to cause me the maximum psychological and physical discomfort.

Eunice would sometimes, for example, make me stand naked at the end of her bed – something I found hideously embarrassing, as I was extremely self-conscious about my developing body.

If she fell asleep I’d quickly cover myself up, or lie down on the floor. But then she’d wake up again and shake me or shout at me, and I had to spring back to my standing position. Naked again, all night long.

Eunice’s attitude to nakedness and sex was somewhat ambivalent, and made life very confusing for us as growing teenagers.

On the one hand she would say it was natural and fine for us children to be naked, but at the same time she was also very prudish about anything to do with sex or sexuality, perhaps because of her strict interpretation of her Jehovah’s Witness faith.

During those years of puberty she certainly gave us no sex education or guidance to prepare us for the adult world, and because we never mixed with other young people, we were completely ignorant of the most basic facts of life.

As a result, I was completely unprepared for a catalogue of sexual abuse I suffered over a period of many years at the hands of one of Eunice’s old friends, a man I shall call Kevin.

I don’t know where Eunice knew him from but he was quite a rough type who seemed very interested in my developing body.

Whenever he came to visit, he would make me sit on his lap while he put his arms round me. Then he would put his hands on my legs and move them up my thighs.

One day, he put his hands on my crotch. “You know, you’re a very attractive girl,” he said in a leering voice, which completely freaked me out. I had no idea what was going on.

Another time, Kevin sat me on his lap and told me to touch his trousers in the crotch area. “Go on,” he said. “I’ll give you a quid if you touch it.”

By “it” I sort of guessed he meant his penis, as I knew men were different.

I was utterly confused and didn’t feel right about what was going on between us but I suppose, on some strange level, Kevin provided me with human contact, some kind of touch and warped affection – so starved was I of love and attention after years and years with Eunice.

Later, when I was around 16, Eunice even seemed to want to encourage Kevin’s behaviour towards me, telling me how much he liked me, as if she were matchmaking.

On one occasion, when we went on a holiday with him, she even made us share a room together, albeit with one of the other children.

I protested, but even then Kevin continued to molest me and indulge in gross indecency in my presence.

I spent literally years trying to convince him that I wasn’t interested. When I finally succeeded, he became extremely aggressive and unpleasant.

Compared with all this, something else that Eunice made us do was probably quite benign, although it still makes my stomach churn when I think about it.

She used to make us give her a massage, as though we were her young slaves.

She would lie on the floor or on a sofa and read a women’s magazine and we would have to massage her feet and her back.

It was revolting to have to touch and give pleasure to this woman who hurt us so much.

Also, I found her physically disgusting, and as I was being told to pick the dead skin off her flat feet, or massage her bony shoulders, I would look with fascination at her saggy boobs hanging around her armpits, or her dry wrinkly skin.

Afterwards, we would laugh about it together and mimic her, although very quietly. It was one of the few times we were united against her.

I’ve never really been sure why Eunice took on children after her own two daughters had grown up, but I’m convinced that part of the reason was that she saw us as a financial meal ticket.

The allowances she was paid for looking after us gave her a good source of income – although she was always after more.

For example, she worked out that if she had us registered as disabled for some reason, she would get more money.

So at different times during our childhoods Eunice campaigned to get me diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum.

She would be eligible for disability carer’s allowance for each child, if she succeeded.

So it was only a matter of time before Eunice decided, when I was about 12, that I was a suitable candidate for some “treatment” and I was taken to see a psychologist.

Before I went into the room to meet the doctor, Eunice primed me on how I was to behave, on pain of punishment if I didn’t.

I had to pose as if I had Asperger syndrome. She had done her research carefully and explained I had to be very inarticulate and shut down.

I had to say absolutely nothing if I was spoken to, and not reply if I was asked a question directly. I had to keep my head down, look at the floor and she would do all the talking.

On this occasion, however, the psychologist smelled a rat. For some reason, and I don’t know why, the psychologist did not buy into the Asperger’s stunt and sent us home without a prescription.

As I left her office, she said: “I think you’re playing games with me.” I wanted to burst out laughing.

Eunice was, of course, utterly furious and told me I would be dealt with the minute we got back to the farm.

Once home, and after a thorough beating, Eunice decided to see for herself if I had Asperger or not, and gave me some of the other children’s prescriptions of Ritalin for a week.

From an adult perspective, and as a mother myself now, I believe it was not only incredibly dangerous to give me drugs prescribed for somebody else but also evil and utterly irresponsible because, in doing so, Eunice set me off in a direction which, until then, I didn’t know existed.

I got hooked on the drugs – they brought me complete psychological relief from all the isolation, fear and pain that I was experiencing.

Every day I helped myself to her supply, taking around ten or 12 tablets. Later, I’d be taking 14 or 16.

Eunice had hoarded so many pills – I guess she kept getting repeat prescriptions – that she didn’t notice her stash was going down. So I continued to take Ritalin for a long time, probably three years or more.

I have mentioned that we were badly and erratically fed, and as a result were all extremely thin.

Eunice noticed, however, that by the time I was in my teens I enjoyed the fact that I had a slim figure – it made me feel as though I might be attractive.

Since happiness was not allowed, now that I wanted to be thin, she decided maliciously that she had to do something about it.

Eunice had a new eating plan: I was to eat lard. A whole pound before every meal. “You need fattening up,” she’d say.

I had really never eaten anything so revolting in all my life. Even the rat-poo porridge was not as bad as having to fill my mouth and my system with this stinking, oily, piggy-smelling gunge.

To this day, the smell of sausages cooking still turns my stomach.

By the time I was nearly 17, I had been enduring Eunice’s hideous regime for a decade and, very gradually, it was beginning to dawn on me that I might be able to make my own way in the world.

I used to take our dog for long walks, which gave me a real taste of freedom. These stolen moments without being watched helped a new idea crystallise in my mind – scary, but also exciting.

I had reached an emotional and psychological crossroads.

I started to drop enormous hints to Eunice, and she must have got sick of my nagging, because one day she suddenly said: “You’ll be leaving tomorrow, so you’d better get yourself sorted. Be ready by nine in the morning – I’ll drive you.”

Without even saying goodbye to the others the next morning, I clambered into the car, wondering where my destiny lay.

“I’m taking you to Bristol,” Eunice piped up suddenly.

Bristol? I knew nothing about Bristol. Why there?

“You’ll be in a youth hostel. I’ll pay your rent for a month.”

Perhaps she hoped that by taking me to a huge city she could ensure I didn’t meet anybody I knew and spill the beans, or maybe she thought I’d be unable to survive and come crawling home again.

Either way, what she did that day when she walked away from the youth hostel was effectively to abandon me.

I had no knowledge of how to survive on my own, no funds, no phone, no list of people to turn to if I needed help. I had nothing.

The months that followed my release from Eunice could be described as the very steepest of learning curves.

With the help of a charity for homeless people, I found accommodation in various hostels around the city and learned how to apply for both benefits and employment.

Off the leash at last, I caught up on my lost youth in what I now call my “wild time”.

I tried drink and drugs of various kinds and discovered for the first time in my life my ability to attract men of my own sort of age.

This was not a positive experience. I was, I believe, the victim of an attempted date rape, and I had several other fleeting and unsatisfactory sexual encounters.

By the time I was 18, I was pregnant by a man I’d met while working in McDonald’s.

The relationship was never going to last more than a few months, and so I became a single mother, living alone with my baby girl in council accommodation at the age of just 19.

It was very difficult at first. I had no idea what to do, and although I was still with my baby’s father, he was unsupportive.

Perhaps because I was having such a tough time, one day in August 2004, when my daughter, Ivy, was three months old, I finally decided it was time to track down my parents, which I did by writing to every address in the road where they used to live to see if anybody knew where they’d gone.

Our first meeting was very emotional and a bit awkward at the same time. There was so much to catch up on, and I didn’t quite know how much to tell them about what had happened.

They seemed genuinely delighted with their granddaughter, though – my mum kept crying and hugging her and my dad looked pleased as punch.

He told me on later visits that my mother couldn’t sleep at night for feeling so bad about what had happened to me during all the years we were estranged.

Soon after I re-established contact with my parents I received a huge package from them. In it were masses of cards: they had gone out and bought a card for every birthday and Christmas that they had missed with me (to replace all those that they knew Eunice was binning), as a way of saying sorry.

Both of my parents had written little notes in the birthday cards, saying things like, ‘Happy Birthday, Bright Eyes’, marking special events like my eighteenth birthday.

They still feel sad that they have missed so much of my life.

After my disastrous relationships, I was in no hurry to start another one. But I had begun chatting to somebody on the internet who had become a virtual “friend”.

He was very helpful and supportive through difficulties, and eventually we decided to meet.

The attraction was mutual, and we have now been an item for a year. His name is Sy and he works as a drugs counsellor in Bristol.

He is so thoughtful and kind that I finally told him a bit about life with Eunice – as much as I could bear to talk about – and he was horrified. And when the ghosts of my past came back to haunt me, Sy was there to support me.

The fact that Eunice was brought to trial is down to the bravery of Sarah, who after years of torment eventually confided in members of Eunice’s Jehovah’s Witness congregation, who encouraged her to go to the police.

Quite rightly, they didn’t want people to think that their religion would ever condone such behaviour.

When the police contacted me to ask if I was happy to make a statement to support Sarah’s case, I said I was. Of course I was.

However, I don’t think the police, or anyone else for that matter, knew what a can of worms they were opening. Or more like an ocean full of poisonous snakes.

Eunice was arrested in February 2005, although it took two years before she came to trial.

On March 20, 2007, as I was sitting watching Ivy playing with her toys, the phone rang. “We’ve got a conviction.”

The detective constable sounded ecstatic in my ear. “She’s been found guilty of 26 counts including child cruelty, unlawful wounding and assault.”

A month later, Eunice was sentenced to 14 years in prison. She’ll be 72 by the time she gets out and Ivy will be 17 – the same age I was when Eunice abandoned me in Bristol.

Now, when I have nightmares about life at the farm, Sy is by my side. He is a wise, kind man who protects me and makes me feel like I am a good person and worth something.

He is wonderful with Ivy, and we are slowly growing into a family. A loving, caring, normal family, which is all I ever wanted. I don’t know what the future will bring but I am hopeful that we will spend it together.

Adapted from DELIVER ME FROM EVIL by Alloma Gilbert, to be published by Pan on March 7 at £6.99. ° Alloma Gilbert

 

Fat Sheep don’t Get a Free Pass

 

‘And as for you, O My flock, thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats.

18 Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? And to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet?

19 And as for My flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet, and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet.

20 “‘Therefore thus saith the Lord God unto them: Behold I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle.

21 Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns till ye have scattered them abroad,

22 therefore will I save My flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle.

23 And I will set up one Shepherd over them, and He shall feed them, even My servant David. He shall feed them, and He shall be their Shepherd.” Ezk 34: 17-23

When the Lord finishes judging the Fat, disobedient shepherds, He turns His attention to the flock, and proceeds to lay into them and call out the differences and injustices amongst them, according to their doings. “And as for you, O my flock, thus saith the Lord God”……,….The Lord makes a distinction between them calling some rams, and some of them he-goats. I would venture to say the he-goats are the “tares” in the Lord’s flock. He-goats are smelly, obstinate creatures known to eat anything, (and believe anything), and can be mean as well, attacking and fighting others.. They shouldn’t even be allowed in the flock. Remember, the Lord Jesus never told Peter, or His church to feed His goats. He said, “Feed my sheep”, those that belonged to Him…….

The fat head strong rams are there bullying, abusing and lording it over the milder, gentler sheep of the flock.

We’ve seen these bully types in the church, who always seem to be next in line to the pastor perhaps holding leadership positions, such as “elder” or “deacon”, have more money and influence and often times sitting on the board. They also tend to butt sheep away from the shepherd when they get too close, because bully rams want to have the preeminence.

According to the Lord’s description of the rams and he-goats, they have selfishly taken the best for themselves and not ministered to the needs of the weaker sheep and lambs in the flock, but have pushed them aside and possibly even out of the flock to fend for themselves, much like one of the troublemakers Apostle Paul had to deal with..

 I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. 10For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church. 3 John 1: 9-10

That’s the bad news…the good news is the the Lord said He was going to remedy this situation. Apostle Paul knew the Truth, that the Lord Jesus is the Head of the Body of Christ, not those who set themselves up to be somebody and rule over the flock with manipulation, demanding to be the ones served and catered to….Apostle Paul resisted these types of hirelings, bullies and tares in the Church, and we should as well by not supporting them, or even participating in their leaven. The Lord Jesus has given us every means to know His gospel and how to learn, mature and serve Him.

spiritualabusesanctuary@yahoo.com

 

It’s Time for the Church to go Out of Business

You’ve heard church folk say, “You can’t put God in a box”

That’s very true, so it makes me wonder why they keep trying to put him in a box? Their box shaped church?

Don’t they know that God doesn’t dwell in a house made with hands?

“However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says:

HEAVEN IS MY THRONE,
            AND EARTH IS THE FOOTSTOOL OF MY FEET;
            WHAT KIND OF HOUSE WILL YOU BUILD FOR ME?’ says the Lord,
            ‘OR WHAT PLACE IS THERE FOR MY REPOSE?

Acts 7: 48-49

 

 

Are You an “Isolated” Christian?

Are you a Christian who for whatever reason find yourself without fellowship with other Jesus loving, bible believing Christians? Are you a Christian who was perhaps spiritually used and abused in the organized church system? Or did you leave because of false brethren or teachings you encountered in the Institutional church? Or, maybe you were either driven out by persecution, or even brought out by the Lord Jesus Himself as some of us have been? Well, join the ranks…there are many of us who have gone through various and yet similar circumstances and find ourselves isolated from fellowship with other believers, and/or the church system. Take heart and be encouraged because you are not alone.

If we have walked out, or been driven out of the church doors of the organized church, they tend to look at us this way, that we have become disobedient rebels or we would not have left their assemblies:

“Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. 19They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.”

The Institutional church tends to believe that you must “go to church” with them or else you are not a “real” Christian. Friends that mindset is typical of what church folk have been taught, but very well may be upside down from the truth, and quite opposite from what they believe and say. For example, it may be the organized church that departed from the Lord’s remnant believers, or at least a majority of them. Think about it!

In any case, I want to bless and encourage you to continue in the faith and keep seeking the Lord Jesus Christ with all your heart. He has not left you by any means. He wants you to trust Him in all things. I know you will be blessed and encouraged by watching and listening to the video I posted. I was 🙂 For you see, I have been “isolated” too, if you want to call it that….I simply think of myself as being “set apart” with Him for His purposes, not “isolated” in that sense or alone, and for possibly just a season. Who knows? I’m just trusting Him with my life daily. You can do the same. He knows all about it and how to work things out in His time and in His way.

 

 

Apostasy: Domestic Abuse Against Women in “Church” and Home

Should not these “forbidden” issues be talked about in Christian circles? I think they must be, especially when these “forbidden” issues continue to go on in supposedly Christian homes and “churches” all over the United States. A “Christian” country?

Yes, of course, I do have to tend to my own walk with Christ, and have plenty of my own spiritual needs and issues to look at,  and mend. But nevertheless, since I have seen Christian women who I know and love being abused verbally and even physically….and….because the very name of my blog is “Spiritual Abuse Sanctuary”, there are times when I feel compelled to speak out. If that offends anyone, I must ask the question “why”? Is our spiritual walk so high and lofty that we can’t see the very serious down to earth problems in the church and take them seriously, and speak out in behalf of our abused sisters? I would hope not. The Lord Jesus Christ was very down to earth as the Son of Man as He walked this earth, even though He was on a very high spiritual plane. He was concerned with both the spiritual needs of those He ministered to, as well as their real life, day to day problems, which in reality, are spiritual issues as well.  How different than most “churches” of today.

http://cryingoutforjustice.com/2014/11/14/a-translation-of-pipers-clarifying-words/

 

Note from Scarlett: Color coding not available on this quote. See original:

Colour coding: John Piper / my translations / my comments

The full text’s of Piper’s “Clarification” may be found here.

Begin translation:

Clarifying Words on Wife Abuse.

Just the title makes this a women’s issue. “Wife abuse.” Why not use the terminology “men who abuse their wives?” Omitting the noun for the abuser — and his gender — makes the abuser less visible and less culpable.

John Piper: “Several years ago, I was asked in an online Q&A, “What should a wife’s submission to her husband look like if he’s an abuser?”
It was so long ago that I wish people would stop bugging me about it already. I mean we took it off of the DG website and everything. But darn the Internet for never forgetting things. Oh well, I guess, I’d better try to save face.”
Cry for Justice: “I continue to assert that Piper’s career should have ended in 2009 when he said “simply hurting her.” That it didn’t, that he still has an audience and over half a million followers on Twitter, is an indictment on the Church and a huge warning signal declaring that Christians still don’t comprehend what abuse is or what to do about it.”

 

SO, YOU’VE COME OUT OF THE CHURCH….NOW WHAT?

da

I came across this precious sisters message this morning and was not only captivated by it, I wept. It not only brought back some painful memories of my own departure from the IC, along with the reminder that leaving is just the beginning of our journey…
There is absolutely nothing I can add to her message, but to encourage all who are contemplating leaving the IC, or who have already stepped out, to read what she says here; it is a call to the BRIDE.

http://lovestthoume.com/

SO, YOU’VE COME OUT OF THE CHURCH…
NOW WHAT?

“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” Revelation 18:4.

Over the past 50 or so years, multitudes of believers have answered the call to come out of the religious systems and follow Christ. For many it has cost them very dearly on a personal level. There is a price for bucking the system. No one is going to give you a pat on the back for going against the flow. If you are among this number, then you know exactly what the repercussions are. Shunning is still alive and well in this modern age we live in, and is used against the wayward seeker by family, friends, and those whom they formerly worshiped with. I remember well what I encountered when I left my Church home. Rumors were flying… outlandishly ridiculous accusations were made… all in an attempt to humiliate and intimidate me into complying with their way of thinking. One of the things that I was struck by, was the fact that not one person from the Church “family” I had been faithful to for so many years ever even called to ask if any of what they were hearing was true, or if I was alive or dead. It was a traumatic experience; one that I could not have weathered if not for the comforting presence of the Lord. One day when I was reading the Word, with all of these things churning around inside me, the Spirit of the LORD quickened this passage to me:

Psalms 55:4-14 My heart is grievously pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling have come upon me; horror and fright have overwhelmed me. And I say, Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. Yes, I would wander far away, I would lodge in the wilderness. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! I would hasten to escape and to find a shelter from the stormy wind and tempest. Destroy [their schemes], O Lord, confuse their tongues, for I have seen violence and strife in the city. Day and night they go about on its walls; iniquity and mischief are in its midst. Violence and ruin are within it; fraud and guile do not depart from its streets and marketplaces. For it is not an enemy who reproaches and taunts me–then I might bear it; nor is it one who has hated me who insolently vaunts himself against me–then I might hide from him. But it was you, a man my equal, my companion and my familiar friend. We had sweet fellowship together and used to walk to the house of God in company. [Ampl.]

This Psalm of David expressed exactly what I was going through… what every believer encounters sometime along the way if they continue to follow Christ. We are not going to encounter anything that others before us have not faced. The Word tells us that there is nothing new under the sun. Yet when it is happening in ‘our life,’ it takes on entirely new dimensions. All these things that we suddenly find ourselves being confronted with are only happening because we stepped out of the ‘accepted’ religious comfort zone and answered the Master’s call.

According to most of today’s Shepherds, ‘Sheep’ aren’t supposed to listen to anyone but them. Conflict inevitably arises when sheep begin to develop a living relationship with the One True Shepherd of their souls… and those earthly leaders cannot keep themselves from exposing that they are in fact ‘hirelings,’ who care nothing for the welfare of the sheep. Jesus addressed this in John 10:12-13 But he that is a hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep. To the hireling, the sheep are his bread and butter, they feed his ego as well as his bank account. Insubordination will not be tolerated. Any rebellious sheep will be dealt with speedily, so that the rest of the flock doesn’t get any ideas that there might be another way of doing things, outside the control of all of the religious camps.

So, now that your out… what’s next?

Well, if your expecting that the Lord is going to raise you up and send you back in to ‘set the captives free’… first there are a few things that the Spirit of God must deal with in this (His) little sheep. He does take us out to bring us closer to Himself. But the process is often times not even remotely as we imagined it would be. First of all, we must get our bearings, which includes suffering many things. Sometimes there are breakups in families over this kind of rebellion, with great pain and heartache for all concerned. Some ‘outsiders’ lose everything that they loved in this world… Home, Family, Reputation, Livelihood… all can be included in the price to follow Christ. This may sound very strange to you, if you have grown up in the ‘Prosperity – Bless Me Camp.’ In fact, this entire piece will be unintelligible to all who are comfortably satisfied with the forage provided by the Mega-Churches across the board. Don’t worry, this isn’t addressed to you folks. This is addressed to those souls who have been called to step out into the ‘Wilderness’… to leave all that is familiar behind and step out in faith much like Abraham did.

As you journey along, ‘loneliness’ may well seem like your stalwart companion. The WORD may be your only source of comfort and guidance, pointing the way where there seems to be none. Your beliefs and attitudes will be tested, tried, and brought into conformity with the ‘will of God’… whether you like it particularly, or not. You had a choice when you were still part of the dutiful flock. You could have refused the call of the Shepherd, and remained where all appeared to be comfortable and secure. But there comes a point in this walk that you no longer have a choice. Your love for the Shepherd is so all consuming that it supersedes and overrides all else. Your own will, wants and desires are gradually shaped, molded, transformed even, until you don’t even recognize yourself anymore.

There will be battles, in all shapes and sizes, on a regular basis. But if you continue along the path set before you, (we each have our own path you know), you will discover that the greatest battles are within… in our own heart, mind and soul. There are things inside of us that we don’t even know about. But God sees them, and He knows exactly how to bring them to the surface, and get them out in the open, so we are forced to deal with them. Anger, jealousy, bitterness, strife, unforgiveness, covetousness, pride, vanity, selfishness, the list can go on and on. Yes, even at this stage of our walk, these seeds can be buried deep down inside of us. But never fear, nothing that is there is a surprise to God. He loves us in spite of them, but He is not content to allow them to remain. As we travel along this strange new pathway, we learn pretty quickly that there is no such thing as coincidence or chance. God is in absolute control of everything that happens. And yes, He allows some pretty painful, unpleasant things to happen in our lives.

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered” Hebrews 5:8. Jesus is our only example. Suffering is part of ‘taking up our cross and following Christ.’ What for centuries has been common knowledge among believers, has been nearly obliterated from the Christian mindset in this generation. The struggles those being called-out today face have a great deal to do with letting go of everything we have been taught… all we thought we knew. Its one thing to come out of the Church, now the struggle is to get all the bad attitudes, false teachings, and self-righteousness out of us, and only the Holy Spirit of God can accomplish this task in us. We soon learn that we can do nothing of ourselves or in our own strength. No indeed, we are dependent upon the LORD for each step we take. There are many pitfalls and snares awaiting those who step out in faith and obedience. Just conquering the initial obstacle of breaking out seemed monumental! Not caving in to the peer pressure, the loving admonitions that “God wouldn’t do that.” “If you leave this Church you are going to hell.” “Touch not God’s anointed,” (that would be in reference to disagreeing with those leader shepherds who would stand in your way and block your progress). You may have already been there and done that, and though you may have acquired a few battle scars, your inner man has grown. You are being fed from the Word and recognizing the Spirit’s witness in a wonderfully new way. But this was just the first leg of the journey dear friend. There is more to be overcome.

While back in the comfort zone of religion, you talked amongst yourselves about the sons of God, the overcomers, all the interpretations regarding the last days, and developed some pretty darn good theories and opinions. We called them beliefs. It is one thing to be opinionated about something, such as ‘what is going to happen’ and ‘what does God require of us?’ … While it is quite another thing to actually live and experience first hand the provision and the chastening of the Almighty. We had grown very adept at pleasing men. Now we are learning how to be pleasing in God’s sight. It has become a personal issue. We can no longer be content with some one else’s assessment of our spirituality. The opinions of others cannot hold a candle to the raging fire that is God’s all consuming love… and we must hear it from Him and Him alone, no other voice will satisfy our longing.

Some of the snares and pitfalls…

Just as the seasons change in the natural world, there are seasons that we walk through spiritually. Highs and lows, journeying forward alternated with times of resting in the Lord. Being outside the camp has taken some adjusting. Initially we may experience a momentary high… that we stood our ground and obeyed what the Lord was telling us against great resistance. But soon loneliness seems to be our closest companion; often his buddies despair, fear and nagging doubt try to join in. ‘How can this be of God?’ …we ask ourselves. The ‘joy of the Lord is my strength,’ so where is my joy? How can I be strong when I am struggling to simply survive? Then there is this longing for the fellowship, the singing and times of worship that we once shared with our brothers and sisters in the Lord. It may not have been perfect, but wasn’t it better than this isolation? ‘How can this be of God?’ What about, Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. And so the battle rages, between our reasoning mind and our inner witness.

We may discover that there are ‘things’ we can do, that offer us sweet, if temporary, relief. Opportunities may present themselves to ‘minister to others’ in some way. Many are taken in by these apparent ‘answers to prayer.’ We are in the process of beginning to discover how deeply ‘doing the work of the Lord’ has been ingrained in our psyche. We have yet to fully grasp that:

…what we do follows after what we are, not the other way around.

… How little all of our knowledge about Him amounts to, when compared to being in Christ and walking by His Spirit, in this darkened world.

We may be outside of organized religion per se, yet we inevitably fall into the trap of trying to do something… ‘Street ministry,’ setting up a ‘mission’ or ‘feeding the homeless.’ We fail to recognize that although these things are ‘good’ and ‘needful,’ they are distractions, even hindrances… from our pursuit of knowing God. Stepping up to the plate and engaging in some kind of productive activity is something that our flesh sorely needs, even craves. We may think that we have a lot to offer, we have been through the fire and survived. Now that we are outside, we see the errors of our former ways we think that we are ready to spread the ‘good news’… isn’t that what we are supposed to do? Fulfill the ‘Great Commission?’ Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Isn’t that where it’s at, isn’t that what we are supposed to be doing?

What we must come to understand is simply this… there is a work that must be brought about in the heart and mind of the believer before we can ‘go forth.’ Religion has taken the LIFE out of the Word of God. They freely use Jesus’ name, even while denying His Person and refusing to keep His commandments. Jesus said,”For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers”Matthew 23:4. The new life in Christ is relegated to an ineffectual back seat.

Focusing instead on their interpretations, according to their doctrines and beliefs, as they have been handed down by the traditions of men. God has no use for the ‘traditions of men.’ Our first and foremost priority must remain what it was from the beginning… to hear and obey God. Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. All the wonderful ‘works’ we could ever accomplish by our most diligent efforts will always fall short of the mark. Ministry is not the solution. Fulfilling the greatest commandment is the solution. Putting God first and foremost, above everything else is the requirement for ‘genuine sonship.’

We have ample evidence before us everywhere we turn that going into a ‘ministry’ is a very dangerous thing. You discover that in the process of ministering to others, there are subtle rewards. It feels good to give, it feels good to share, and before you know it others are coming to you for direction and help and answers (we are to be signposts pointing to Christ. He alone is the door). It is amazing how quickly little seeds of pride and self-worth can spring up in our hearts. The very thing that we thought we had crucified and put to death still has roots, and with the first little drops of acceptance and approval from others, the “I am worthy” weed springs back to life. If this ‘weed of self’ is not immediately recognized and ripped out, it will grow with amazing speed. That is how all of these BIG NAMES came into being. It’s all about feeding ‘their ministry’… lifting up ‘their name’… outdoing one another with their ‘great works and exploits.’ But it all started with good intentions, don’t you know? You, who were once outside the camp with loneliness as your companion, now find yourself engaging in meaningful discourse with seekers. Beware my friend, that you do not become overly comfortable with this new role, and leave off following after knowing God. It is ironic that becoming entrenched in the ‘doing’ can stop our forward progress of growing up in Christ… dead in its tracks.

The call to ‘come out’ is continually going forth, and with each move of God in this generation, there have been those who heard the call and responded. Many did come out, only to spiritually die in the wilderness. We face the same requirements of God as the Israelite’s of old. We face the same struggles as the Israelite’s who were brought forth out of Egypt… with ‘great signs and wonders’… only to perish during the forty years they journeyed through the wilderness. Today many ‘spiritual Jews’ are perishing in the wilderness, after having been delivered from their taskmasters by God’s mighty hand. The wilderness is not our destination! It is not acceptable to set up camp and start our own little ‘work of the Lord.’ It feels good to our flesh, our flesh thrives on activities. We can point to it and say, “see what God has done… this is why I had to come out.” What we fail to understand is that we are settling for another version of what God brought us out of in the first place. Only this time it is one of our own making. And if we settle down there, we will fall short of what God desires to bring us in to, missing the mark completely. It is one thing to come out from under the systems of men (organized religion), and it is quite another to get the Religious Attitudes we acquired along the way out of us. Man can only judge outwardly, by appearances, speech, conduct, all outward manifestations… while God alone judges each man’s heart condition. That would be OUR heart condition… for ours is the only one that we can do anything about.

Today there are probably as many believers ‘out-of-church’ as there are still within. Many of them have gone on, many are pressing in to be conformed to the image of Christ. Many others have been snared and taken captive by false teachings convincingly presented as truth and light. Many have become discouraged and bitter, and given up the fight. We are continually challenged as long as we are in these fleshly bodies. The battle will not end until we are changed from the corruptible to the incorruptible. We should not think that just because we are no longer controlled by a man or organization that we have somehow arrived, or that we are somehow further along than those still being ruled by denominational doctrines and creeds.

The sad truth is that although we may have left the building, we have taken much of what we learned there with us. It is all too common to see and hear very ‘religious’ statements of belief coming out of the mouths of individuals who left the tutelage of men long ago. Despite all the lessons they have learned, there are still areas that have not yet been dealt with. Remember that our being conformed to the image of Christ does not happen in the twinkling of an eye. We must grow up into Christ… and at each step of our growth, a little more of self is crucified and put under. There are always things (beliefs, understandings) that we have held for so long… that we are honestly unaware of them. They are as natural to us as breathing. We have never pulled them out into the light of God and held them up for inspection. Oh, we may have debated them with other believers, but we have never gone to the Father and asked Him if what we are so confident of is in fact truth. How can we know if we have such an area in our life? Listen to what comes out of our mouth. When we make statements regarding the person and nature of God, The “I AM,” we had better be beyond sure… we had better have the witness of the Spirit validating our words.

It is possible to receive revelation in one area of Biblical truth, and be gifted to share it with others to the benefit of all, while in other areas we are still infants in our understanding. Unconsciously we fall back on predigested teachings that are so deeply rooted within our beliefs that we would never consciously question them. One indicator could be statements that connect “I” with “believe” and “God would or wouldn’t.” The entire premise of ‘religion’ is man’s attempt to explain and represent GOD. This process requires extensive study, interpretation, rules, explanations, and of course the all important rituals and traditions. Our words expose us for all to see. Just because we have received light in one area of our understanding, does not mean that we are now full of light. We can still harbor prejudices and misconceptions regarding Who GOD Is, and what is or is not pleasing in His sight.

The problems that trip us up are seldom the major issues, although they can also be sources of contention. We usually are in proper alignment when it comes to the basic tenets of the Gospel of Christ. Our weaknesses and errors usually involve the seemingly small, trivial points of our walk. Especially when it comes to applying our convictions to other people, passing judgment, and declaring what God would or would not do.

Too often we fail to seek the Lord’s guidance on the small stuff; the little things that we assume we can handle on our own. These are the things that can trip us up, and cause us to stumble and even grieve the Holy Spirit. Until we are completely emptied and can openly acknowledge that ‘there is no good thing in me,’and’I can do nothing of myself,’we will continue to stumble and be a stumbling block to others. There is a very simple reason for this … man has always had it backwards. Man views God as the supplier of all of’our’needs and wants. The Salvation message is often presented aswhat God wants to do for you. When the reality of the situation is actually the exact opposite; what can we do for God is more to the point. And all we can do that is pleasing is believe and obey. We see Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

God created all things for HIS PLEASURE. That puts a whole new spin on things now, doesn’t it? It makes an enormous difference whether we are God centered or man centered.

At our very best, our best could never be good enough to be an acceptable offering to a Righteous, Holy God. 1 Corinthians 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. God does not desire our wisdom or our good works. What God desires is our obedience. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:5.

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” John 14:6. And again in John 6:44 “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

It is ALL GOD. He calls us out to draw us unto HIMSELF. That we may know Him as He Is, not just as we imagine Him to be.

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you” Philippians 3:10-15.

“But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth” 2 Corinthians 10:17-18.

This is the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of all the things we are suffer and don’t understand. That we may be commended, not by mere mortals, but by our heavenly Father.

That we may hear Him say, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

Be encouraged! You are never alone! He that has called you out Is Faithful!…and He Will bring you unto Himself. This is all just part of being made pure and spotless, that we may be presented before a Holy and Righteous God and not be consumed.

Amen

Cathy Morris
http://lovestthoume.com/
August 10, 2008

Brittneys Story of Being Abused in Church

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Hi there!
My name is “Brittany” and I stumbled across your blog quite by accident but I am glad I did. I have a story to share with you and your readers. I am keeping this post anonymous and have changed my name because I am afraid of being discovered with my story.
For seven years I was an active member of a small non-denominational church in the Northern United States. While I noticed some controlling behavior, it didn’t bother me because I came from a broken home and loved the idea of being accepted into a family. Aside from Sunday services, I also went to church meetings and functions throughout the week and I was well liked within the congregation. One summer, I was offered a chance to be a missionary to Haiti with an outside church group. I jumped at the chance and my church family seemed to be behind me as it was a longtime dream. The only real trouble I noticed was that my church leaders seemed to have much more communication with the people I was travelling to Haiti with than I did. I also found that they were warning this group that I was ‘immature’. (I am a professional adult with a good, stable life and they had nothing to base their accusations).
I went to Haiti and felt VERY controlled by the group that I was with. I told my home church about what was going on and they urged me to come home, so I did. When I got home, they were eager to pick me up and get me feeling better. Unfortunately, all I wanted to do was be alone and process things. They did not like that. I noticed things started to get really tense with my church. They stopped inviting me to functions and started to hold their gatherings in secret. I was promised to be included on certain activities but then they held them without me. People started blocking me from their phones and once great friends would no longer speak to me. Saddened and confused, I asked the pastor to arrange a meeting with myself and one of my church friends to get to the bottom of this excommunication. He agreed and I was relieved that this was all going to be settled. I arrived at the meeting expecting things to be worked out–but instead I was verbally assaulted and abused. Vile, horrible untruths were spoken about me; the pastor pointed his finger at me and spewed so much unholy anger. We didn’t pray, we didn’t try to reconcile, it was an all-out attack.
I have a medical illness that the church group knew about. When the stress of the situation started to put me in serious medical danger, they laughed at me and ignored my cries for help. I used my cell phone to make calls to people from the church that I knew. No one offered support for me. In fact, in the coming days no one would even confront the pastor about his behavior for fear that he would exile them as well.
During that meeting, several elders walked in unannounced and continued the ambush. I now believe that it was planned.
Aside from the PFA I obtained, there is nothing the police will do to shut this church down because of the separation of church and state laws in the United States. To this day I am haunted by nightmares and I always fear running into a church member when I am out and about. I know that they have tarnished my name in the town where I grew up and attended that church.
I would do just about anything to shut them down so that no one else has to go through what I went through. Physically, it took me 20 months to recover fully from their neglect of my medical condition. Spiritually, I am forever changed. I no longer support organized religion of any sort and have made it a priority to tell my story so that other people do not become spiritually abused.

Believe it or not friends, Brittney’s story is not as uncommon as you might imagine.This sort of spiritual abuse has gone on for ages, and to this day is still going on in the organized church. Please pray for Brittney and the others who need healing.