From Death to Healing

From Death to Healing

From Death to Healing

The following two articles were written by a mother whose son had committed suicide.

The first was written over thirty years ago, shortly after her son took his life.

She wrote the first on the advice of her counselor at the time, to help her heal from this horrific event in her and her husband’s life.

The second she wrote just a short time ago.

It was interesting to see how her perspective did or did not change over the last thirty years.


 

Guest Blog By Carole France

 

“My dearest John,

I miss you.

I long to hear your voice and to share days, hours or even minutes with you.

The love I have for you is still in my heart and I am unable to express it to any other human being.

It is yours alone.

When you were born your dad was so happy that he had a son.

He announced that he had a fishing buddy.

You would carry on his name.

I will always treasure the night that you and I spent together when you were a tiny baby.

You brought me joy your entire life from just being you.

You were intelligent, handsome, fun, funny, interested in learning, deep, complicated, challenging, caring, cautions, sometimes fearful, yet you were also brave and independent.

Little did I know how unprepared I was to raise you children and I know I made mistakes that hurt you.

I know the anger and frustration I saw in you as a teenager was really the disappointment you felt over not having the close family you desired.

All that anger in you worried me.

What you needed was our love, support, time, understanding, patience, and guidance.

You needed us to tell you that God knows and loves you beyond any happening ever in life.

He made you, understands you, and is committed to you – regardless of your struggles.

Instead, though, your dad and I lectured to try and get you to do what we wanted you to do.

I want you to know how sorry I am that you missed out on the love and nurturing that you deserved.

My heart will ache always for what I was not able to give you.

You were dealing with painful emotions and circumstances beyond what a teen should have to face.

They obviously consumed you and you felt powerless to fix it.

I wish I could have explained to you that life is like a book… each chapter is different from the other.

When your young and troubled it may seem like the chapter you are experiencing is the only one and that nothing will ever change.

The truth is that 1,3,5 years down the road our relationships, circumstance, and events are all different.

Of course, we always have stress in our lives, but you would have had more life experiences, more answers of your own from which to draw, and more people in your life to help support you when you asked.

John, when you made the choice to end your own life, I blamed myself, but I will not accept that responsibility anymore.

Even though I will forever feel badly about what you did, it was you who made the choice to kill yourself.

There are so many other choices you could have made, and I know we could have gotten through it together.

But I understand that on that day it was just too much.

You took yourself away from everyone who loves you.

Your decision brought deep and lasting pain to many, many people.

If you were here today all our lives would be more complete.

We would still have problems to deal with, but we would face them together.

I can’t help but wonder who you would have grown up to be, who you would have married and what the voices of your children would have sounded like calling me “Grandma”.

I will always wish that you would have talked to me and asked for my opinion on your leaving.

I would have begged and pleaded with you to stay!

You matter!

I truly and fully love and miss you and I want you to be here,

Mom”

A portrait of John from his high school yearbook.

Thirty Years Later

“A few weeks ago, I was asked to write a follow-up some thirty years later to my message expressed to my son John shortly after his death.

Since we as a family talk about John often I wasn’t prepared for the return of painful emotions this would bring.

My thoughts and feelings held the same raw loss and loneliness experienced those first hours, days, months and years so long ago.

The difference this time was that I knew what to do.

After years of crying out to my Savior, Jesus, I realized He had taught me to go to His word for honesty, truth, comfort, and the healing He has offered me over these years.

Has it been easy?

NO!!!

But it has been REAL!

It has been the most helpful help offered in navigating the intense grief and emptiness in losing one’s precious child in such a horrific way.

I’ve learned that God really is Who He says He is and that He makes good on all His promises made in His Bible.”

 

From Death to Healing

 


 

Go here for information and help on Suicide Prevention

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Sixty Seventh Birthday Message

Sixty Seventh Birthday Message

Sixty Seventh Birthday Message

Gentlemen, this is my 67th birthday message.

Today I get to preach to the group!

Each year I love getting closer to the arms of Jesus. Everything we have ever hoped for, dreamed for, longed for and the final fulfillment of every need that has been built into us by God Himself is to be with Jesus someday.

The ultimate perfect relationship and marriage is the best illustration.

Everything here on this planet is a reminder that we are not yet with Him and the battle, the great battle is not to find temporary substitutions for those need fulfillments in the flesh or in the world but in the Spirit, in Him.

We see people achieve great things like Olympic medals or prizes on game shows or the lottery, or superior dream jobs or places of power, or some living vicariously through their children’s successes, even victory in battle or a political race.

Millions of books are rooted in some kind of lacking or insurmountable obstacle and then the hero winning the prize, be it the kingdom, the revelation that your Father is a King and that you were kidnapped as a child or meeting your Prince Charming or finding the love of a beauty queen.

Movies that resonate with people…

…usually have to do with this idea of winning, of overcoming, of the enemy or the evil one being destroyed, of reward.

I believe that culture has always pointed towards the day that you and I will be complete in Jesus Christ.

It is like winning the ultimate Lottery and anyone can enter by faith and when the prize.

Every good thing that exists is wrapped up into Jesus Christ.

All good is found in Jesus. Everything else of the flesh and the world is temporal and not eternal.

We don’t have any fairy tales that end in a divorce. The hero’s fairy tale lives in a type of Eternal Bliss and happiness.

What billions of people have excepted as fantasy, we as children of God (believers) believe is a certain reality in Jesus Christ , the Author and Creator of this entire story.

I am one of the heroes in God’s story!

 

Sixty Seventh Birthday Message


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What Makes an Atheist?

What Makes an Atheist?

What Makes an Atheist?

Are we born not believing in God or an intelligent designer of the universe?

Is it something else or a combination of things that come to a head in people’s minds that helps us make that fateful decision?

I am sure many reasons are closely related because it may not be a simple process. Is it an intellectual process or something more profound, like an emotional response that clouds our minds that happened from the past?

This world we live in is a tough place for many people and always has been. Life has been physically hard in past generations, but it has also been brutal to the human psyche.

It still hard for many people in our modern times depending on where you live, but even in the best locations, such in the USA and Europe, the human psyche is still a struggle.

One question that one of the top Christian apologetics, Dr William Lane Greig, at Reasonable Faith, asked: “Is this the best of all possible worlds?”

Considering freewill, it appears that this is the best possible of all worlds. 

Why God has decided to make our world this way, becomes more evident as time goes on in human history. 

To me anyway.  

Also, how and why He takes an individual spirit and drops it into a human shell of a body at a particular moment in time and space is an interesting question that only God Himself can answer.

I think it is called Middle Knowledge or Molinism in the apologetic Christian world, meaning only God would have this understanding because He has omniscience.

“First, it is assumed that for an action to be free, it must be determined by the agent performing the action. This means that God cannot will a free creature to act in a particular way and the act still be free. 

Free actions must be self-determinative.”

I tend to think it has something to do with our success in this life that we live in. 

By success, I do not mean how much stuff we have accumulated or how successful we were in rising to the top of whatever human station that humans would consider a success, but what God Himself would consider a successful life. 

From God’s point of view, success would be if we connected with Him, at some point in our temporary life span, for the sake of eternity, together, for the both of us.

Is that not what He designed us for in the first place? Spending eternity with Him so we can share His kingdom with Him? 

Why else would he create us?

What would be the point from His perspective?

My Battle Was an Emotional One 

As for me and my life, I was an atheist until I was thirty years old, so I will come from my perspective and experience. 

I have a feeling many people will identify with me. 

Being raised Catholic from a German background, I attended Catholic grade school in the late 1950s.

I was a tough kid in that I had specific disabilities that Catholic nuns were not equipped to handle.

Even today, most teachers are not.

They resorted to physical and emotional abuse to get me to function like the rest of the kids in my classroom.

It did not work and only scared me emotionally for many years.

When I came of age to make decisions for myself and my well-being, I jettisoned all belief in God. 

The word Jesus Christ was a cuss word to me. 

Not only did I discard the Catholic and Christian version of God, but I also dumped the mere thought of an intelligent designer behind the making of the universe itself.

Who needs a powerful being behind the curtain like the Great OZ, when Darwin came up with a perfect solution that proved a god was not needed?

Evolution was my god and how we (all life) came to be in this universe we live in.

It was a done deal, or so I thought.

Star Stuff

American astronomer Carl Sagan was my intellectual hero. I would follow him and all his books and writings. I looked forward to his programs, especially the one called Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. 

When he said we were all just star stuff, it made me feel I was worshipping at the feet of an astrophysicist and a cosmologist icon that had ALL the answers to human origins. 

In college, I would attend debates between scientists and atheists versus bible thumpers. I would root for the atheist and think how little understanding the religious bible believing people had on the workings of life around them. 

I finished school, got married, started a business, had children. My life came to a stop when my marriage came crashing down. I had a hard soul, and my wife wanted nothing more to do with it any more.

Hard questions were being asked of me from the inside-out because of the pain I was in. 

The oldest question that has haunted mankind since the beginning of time, emerged from me.

Is This All There Is? 

When we die, is that just the end, and nothing more.

The answers that I got from science did not help at all. The universe became a dark and cold place without any real rhyme or reason.

True meaning was nonexistent. Survival of the fittest was an empty phrase.

God cracked my shell and used the tough things that turned me into this empty atheist into an individual asking more profound questions for the first time in my life.

On a lonely journey, far from those I loved and cared about, God heard my feeble call and answered me.

I had no idea what I was doing when I asked him into my heart the first time. All I knew was I was empty and needed BIG time help, now that I think back on it. 

I still had a conflict with science and Christian belief that would take many years to resolve.

I had a hard time resolving evolution and Darwin’s version of how life came to be versus Genesis in the bible.

I knew the Christian worldview answered so many questions about so many things, especially why men are and have been so evil towards each other since the beginning of time, and it was not just survival of the fittest.

I found an organization called Reasons to Believe, led by astronomer Hugh Ross.

For the first time, I ran into Christians that believed that science and religion could live together. 

Their subtitle is “Where science and faith converge.”

I joined a local science group that is an offshoot of Reasons to Believe in Phoenix that I attended every month.

I also began following Christian Apogeic teachers like Dr. William Lane Craig of Reasonable Faith

Dr. Craig is a philosopher of the highest order and will make you stretch your brain to Christian circles and bonder life to its deepest depths. 

He debates many atheists regularly and has left me thinking about what it was that attracted me to being an atheist in the first place.

As I dug deeper into Darwinian evolution theory, I realized there turned out to be many problems with it. 

Today, many scientists turn their backs on it because they believe life is too complex to come from an unguided force of nature.

To this day, no scientist has life come from non-life, even in the perfect conditions of any laboratory on our planet. 

“Too Complex” are the two words that you hear again and again.  

I recently found a website that has over 1,000 scientists in the world today that no longer believe in evolution called A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism.

It shows that even scientists have an ax to grind when it comes to the truth.

 

Going back to the original question, What Makes an Atheist?

For me, it was not an intellectual search for the truth but an emotional cloud that blinded me from digging deeper into things that I held dear. 

My childhood wounds blinded me if you want to know the truth. 

When I found God and Jesus in a small church in Oregon, I learned for the first time who Jesus Christ was and not from some abusive nuns with an agenda. 

I believe that is what makes most people, young and old, male and female, rich or poor, and atheists. They cannot lean on intellectual arguments because they do not exist. 

Only emotional wounds from the past that blind us.

Psalm 19:1 Says 

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.”

I look up in the night sky, and all my old intellectual arguments are laid to waste.

I am what is called an Old Earther, meaning that I am a Christian who believes that the universe is 13.8 billion years old. I have found out that I am not alone, and many Christian scientists believe the same thing.

If you look in Genesis, before the first day was made, the universe was already here. Please read it for yourself.

I believe in the Big Bang or the Cosmological Singularity. Albert Einstein discovered it when he worked on the Theory of Relativity.

The Big Bang states that the universe started at one point in time. Most scientists, up until the time Einstein discovered it, believed that the universe had always been in existence. A Steady State. Always been here.

If the universe started at one specific point in time, who or what pulled the trigger on the Big Bang?

Genesis says God spoke it ALL into existence. Therefore, He spoke the universe into being at one point in time.

Science did not even know that until the 1930s.

A illustration of what the Big Bang may of looked like over time.

I ask people if they know how big the universe is?

Here is something that will blow your mind.

There are more stars in our Milky Way Galaxy than there are grains of sand on all the beaches on planet earth. The number: 10 to the 15th power.

But, did you know there are more Galaxies in our universe than grains of sand on the beaches on planet earth?  The number: 10 to the 120th power.

Wrap your head around that.

Who is this Intelligent Designer we call God, that could do such a thing?

 

Mad at God

To be honest with myself, I think I was mad at God for letting me be abused by people that confessed they were followers of Jesus, even though, I would say that I did not believe in Him.

Crazy, I know.

Anger and hate can cause an unstable mind, void of rationality in certain areas of one’s own mind, even in the most rational of people.

You find scientist are like this all the time. They have preconceived beliefs even in the field that they have undertaken.

Albert Einstein was one of these people. When he came up with the Big Bang, he spent a number of years trying to find holes in it because he knew what the implications were.

Who was behind the Big Bang?

It was not until the 1930’s that Edwin Hubble, the great astronomer, invited Einstein out to California for the summer, and proved to him that Einstein’s mathematical equations for the Big Bang where correct when viewing the universe through his telescope.

The universe did start at one specific point in time.

If that is true, who pulled the trigger and got this time and space rolling.

Things do not just pop into being from nothing!

 

Check out the other blogs I wrote. Life from Non-life. Is it possible?  or Who Made God?

 

What Makes an Atheist?

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Reaching the Well Adjusted Person for Christ

Reaching the Well Adjusted Person for Christ

Reaching the Well Adjusted Person for Christ

How do we, as Christian brothers, help the men who would be considered well adjusted?

The guy who didn’t have abuse and severe trauma in childhood resulting in addictions or extreme dysfunctional behaviors, the kid who had a relatively stable childhood?

I’m thinking of the normal, contented average Christian man who loves the world more than Jesus but may not know it.

As a Christian, the worldly guy has no vision, no real relationship with Christ, and whose nature is passive and non-confrontational about everything that doesn’t measure up to Christ.

He won’t act or listen when confronted by the Holy Spirit.

 This guy will miss rewards in heaven because he half-heartedly or lukewarmly chose by an act of his free will to seek, ask and knock after Jesus.

He is disinterested in loving God with all his heart, soul and mind, and strength. He wants fire insurance but still be able to call most of the shots.

I am thinking about someone I know, a Christian who Satan sidetracked.

What happened, and how did Satan draw this person into a web of deceit?

Was it a lack of submission to the Holy Spirit and those seemingly little things, for example, having to do with self-discipline or believing truth?

Or was it a matter of entitlement/ ego?

Did he believe the hype about himself instead of believing what Jesus thought about him?

Or was it a “Williams” family curse kind of thing; hardheadedness, stubbornness, and a lack of humility and meekness to be corrected and to listen to someone?

(PROVERBS) Or was it giving in to the sinful flesh and its sensual desires and needs? What caused the downfall?

Today, I’m thinking about what it would look like to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ because that is where we are going.

All of my brokenness, self-dependence, self-rule, and pride must be broken and removed even if by the fires of purification.

It includes the broken addict or the extremely successful person.

 

Reaching the Well Adjusted Person for Christ


 

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Lift Off

Lift Off

Lift Off

 

My friend Charlie lifted off from this planet and universe in the very early morning hours November 17th, in the arms of his wife.

By all indications, from the telemetry, the launch went smoothly without a hitch.

He soon touched down into another set of arms that were patiently waiting for him.

That touchdown also went without a problem, after all, he was caught by the Creator of the Universe.

This Creator, who so carefully designed time and space, in His infinite wisdom, made our universe so vast in size, that all the grains of sand on all the beaches on planet earth would not add up to all the sun’s in our Milky Way Galaxy. 

To top that off, He made more galaxy’s in this cosmos that we live in, than all the grains of sand on our little blue planet’s beaches.

Wrap your head around that!

 

I would say, Charlie, is in very good arms and hands indeed.

What Are the Benefits of Being Grateful?

A very proud Charley as he walks down the aisle with his daughter Mary. 

Lift Off

 

Charlie knew this was the location he wanted to end up in when he took his last breath and many breaths in-between.

He has moved on from this boot camp called life, leaving behind a legacy of life that touched many people.

A wonderful wife and three precious children and grandchildren were his main contribution to this legacy.

 

Charlie was the Star Wars Mandalorian when it came to the Christian faith.

 

He was always ready to defend this faith and to spread the hope he had within himself when he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

He knew where his treasures were stored.

Charlie was a huge success in this life by the mere fact of accepting Christ.

That alone is something that heaven celebrated beyond all measure.

I can just imagine when he touched down in his new existence, what he must have felt and seen with all his new senses.

All the things he read about and studied from church and the Bible came to life in an instant.

I wish I could have been there to see his face and soul upon meeting Jesus face to face.

I will soon enough in my own time, and most of all, in God’s time.

What Are the Benefits of Being Grateful?

Charley presenting his daughter Mary to his new son-in-law, Josh, at wedding. 

Lift Off

 

For the time being, I have been reflecting on the times, my family shared with the Atwell family.

What a historic life we celebrated together.

“Papa, papa, please help me” Charlie’s oldest son, Jimmy would cry out with a big smile on his face when he was small. “Shaun and Jason are picking on me.” Charlie would laugh as he watched his son fly through the air from one of my boys to the other, and always reply “I am not getting in the middle of those two. You’re on your own”

I imagine, my two sons picked on Mary and Jack the same way.

 

Mr. Atwell, was how I would address Charlie from time to time, loved to fish and he loved taking his family on these adventures to different lakes.

I took my small boat one time to one of these adventures, with my son Shaun and my wife, Monica, to Lake Mary in Northern, Arizona.

We wanted to catch something bigger from what you could hook into from shore. We left our wives sitting onshore waving at us.

After fishing for a period of time, a storm started to move in. The waves started to grow large and were lapping at the edges at the top of the boat.

Out of safety and concern, we dropped my son off on the other side of the lake to lessen the load in the boat.

Charlie and I were NOT small people, so this baby road low in the water, even in calm conditions.

By the time we made it halfway across the lake, Charlie and I were in some serious prayer and having a conversation with the Almighty.

To this day I still do not know how we made it with only a trolling motor for propulsion.

When we landed on shore, I thought I could see Charlie’s hand impressions of where he had squeezed the front of the boat on each side.

When he placed both feet on the rocky shore, he bent down and kissed the ground.

 

Big, bad, fisherman we both were.

What Are the Benefits of Being Grateful?

Charley dancing his daughter Mary with his wife Susan dancing with Jack in the background. 

Lift Off

 

There were many stories like that we all have replayed in our heads in our time with this interesting, creative, and funny individual called Charles August Atwell.

One of the best memories for me, was sharing his daughter Mary’s wedding with the Atwell family, friends, and relatives.

What a blast that was for my whole family, including grandchildren.

My daughter-in-law, Candace, and my son, Jason, took the wedding photographs that you see here on this blog.

My grandson, Zeke was the ring bearer and my granddaughter Fran Cesca was the flower girl.

It was a weekend we will never forget! 

 

Our families were not perfect by any means, and if it were not for forgiveness that our Christian Faith believed in, and Jesus made the forefront of His message, I have no idea how our families would have survived.

I think the restoration of the rebellious human spirit is God’s greatest miracle He can perform.

With everything else in the universe, God can just breathe into existence, material things out of nothing.

 

He is the Word!

What Are the Benefits of Being Grateful?

The Atwell Family. (from left to right) Charley and Susan in front. Along the back, Jack, Jimmy and Mary.  

Lift Off

 

When it comes to us humans, it’s a different story when you consider freewill in the mix of our existence.

God is the perfect gentlemen and will not go unless He is invited.

What patience He has for the human race and us as individuals.

He keeps setting up scenarios for us to connect with Him over and over again.

Some are very hard scenarios that are absolutely heartbreaking in the human mindset, but God will use everything in our lives to bring us to Him.

 

Eternity is in the balance.

 

Most people will not embrace God throughout their lifetime which is very sad, and I can only imagine how God Himself must feel.

We did not have this problem where Charlie, me, and our families are concerned.

As it says in John 14:6, our families have all embraced The Word, The Way, The Truth, and The Life.

See you soon my brother, save a spot for me.

Do not forget the lunch date we made to have in heaven, out on one of many planets in the universe, and we can watch as a distant sun goes supernova.

What Are the Benefits of Being Grateful?

Charley with his wife Susan, my wife Monica and me (John) after one of the many photo shoots we shared every year at the Salvation Army Christmas event in Phoenix.

He loved doing this event and got so much joy bringing happiness to people less fortunate with the gift of a family portrait.

Lift Off


 

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