Never Allow Them to Silence You

I spent a good portion of my life, soon to be sixty-four years, essentially in silence. I need to define that more clearly.

Seemingly innate, I was a person often seen smiling. Not just a simple smile, but a glowing one. I don’t know when I discovered this mask and adapted it to my facade, but by the time I had entered my teens it was my daily wear. I had numerous friends, but they were friends to the illusion of me I had created for the outside world. They didn’t know about the abuse I had survived as a child; they didn’t know of my attempted suicide at a mere fourteen years old, though fifty years later a trace of the scars on my wrist remain as a reminder to me. I had discovered a way to survive in two worlds, one for others and one simply for me. My son’s demise put a crack in the facade. Most of those who knew me, or thought they had, were often less than welcoming of the real me I could no longer shelter in silence.

A pendulum swings both ways. It travels from one extreme to another when offset from its resting place known as the: Equilibrium position. The more ‘push’ placed on the pendulum, the greater and wider the swing… also, the greater amount of time will lapse before it returns to its equilibrium position in which it may rest. My dad, having been a teacher, often used the phrase: “Wait until the pendulum swings”. He taught me that in many, if not most extreme situations, the pendulum will eventually swing to the opposite end of any spectrum as it searches to return to its balancing point. The harder the swing, the longer the duration of its movement.

I had swung from my abusive childhood into a world of ‘out-going-ness’. I was feisty and ‘noticed’ when I walked into a room. The introvert became an extrovert. It wasn’t that I had given any thought to any of this. I did not sit down one day and make a choice… make a decision… to become one or the other. It was as if by nature itself I instinctively traveled this road. Slowly, however, over a period of time in an abusive marriage the pendulum swung back. Once again, I became imprisoned in the ‘sound of silence’. After I finally escaped that abusive situation, the pendulum swung once again. Then, my son died.

Silence, my old friend.

  Hello darkness, my old friend,
I’ve come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

(Simon & Garfunkel)

As I have traveled this journey of grief, that pendulum within remains. What has changed is my ability to have some control over it. What has changed is that the swings are less volatile. Writing publicly has assisted me in this. Though the swing does still exist, though I may withdraw even still, it does not last nearly as long. The opposite holds true, as well. I am more easily now drawn to that equilibrium position; I more readily embrace that position of rest. Whether or not it has been time, or stormy attacks and criticisms of others, it has worked for my benefit. As my spirit soars, I find my soul more at rest. Though some prefer my silence and attempt to bind me back into those chains, I can now choose not to comply. That, in itself, is freedom.

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dare
Disturb the sound of silence

“Fools” said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you,
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words like silent raindrops fell,
And echoed in the wells of silence

(Simon & Garfunkel)

I have disturbed that sound of silence. I have found an anchor for my soul.

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(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
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For Believers

I have been trying to go to sleep, but it evades me…so, I will write.

Many will not understand these things, but I am hoping that there is a remnant who will. I won’t take the time to look up all the Scriptures to support or reference the things I am about to share, folks can easily do that on their own. I simply desire to give all the Glory to God for so many wondrous things He has done in my life. I come from a time in which I have been blessed and honored to partake in some things that I rarely find preached and taught in many popular mega-churches nowadays. It grieves my spirit. I am very grateful to the Lord that I have participated in two great outpourings of His Spirit in my lifetime. The first was in the 70’s when folks, hippies, ‘turned off drugs and turned onto Jesus’. LOL!  The second occurred in the 90’s which began in a little church in Toronto. The labor pains are coming closer together so I am expecting another very soon. In fact, I believe it has already begun.

I have seen tremendous miracles, visions, and prophecies unfold. I watch what is occurring in Israel for any student of prophecy knows to do so. Many are returning there as was foretold in God’s Word thousands of years ago. I am waiting to see the temple rebuilt for the third time. When such occurs, know that the time is short. They already have all the items that will go into that temple. It has to be rebuilt before the anti-Christ appears on the scene and is revealed.

For whatever reason, the gifts of the Spirit are not evident to the masses in this desert time…but they shall be soon. I will share a few things I have witnessed, but much greater things lie ahead. We know that He has foretold that folks will have dreams and visions, especially in the last days. Do not be frightened by such, for it is the Glory of God that shall be revealed. I cannot convey the ‘excitement’ I feel for that which is to come.

I have shared in a limited fashion, more so in my book, of how each of my children came about through prophecy or the Word of Knowledge. My eldest was foretold three years in advance of his birth when doctors told me I was unable to have children during a seven year period of barrenness. My second was named after Psalm 23 months before he was born. God was letting me know in advance that he would be taken Home. My third God let me know within the first two months after he was conceived that he would surpass his brothers in worldly success. My fourth, my daughter, I had written her name in the cement at my house ten years before she was born knowing one day she would exist. All these things have come to pass because God is great and He always tells his children what will occur before it comes to pass, even if we do not understand what we are being told at the time. Again, there are scriptures to back up all of these things. This is all part of my personal testimony given to me by God to sustain me in my darkest hours and times of disbelief. Not even I can deny such things.

What we identify as ‘miracles’ are not miracles to God. We perceive them as such, but they are simply part of Who God is.

In the 70’s, great miracles did occur. Though I personally did not witness this, I had very close friends who did. There was a young girl who had been born with one leg much shorter than the other. In front of approximately two thousand people, this little girl was brought up onto the platform and as folks entered a time of prayer before the Lord they witnessed her leg grow right in front of their eyes to normal length to match the healthy leg. There were reports of missionaries in foreign lands that partook in folks being raised from the dead. For myself, I had the blessing of witnessing the release of a gal named Pam who was delivered from a very heavy heroine addiction. She had come up from the South and was a $200+ a day addict. That was a lot of money in those days but I need to relay just how heavily she was addicted. Pam had shown up at our outreach ministry in those days which was called: The Jesus Center. It was located in a part of town that was the place on the west side of Cleveland where drugs were first introduced in those days. There were many bars and even a playboy club situated right across the street from the Center. We had all prayed with her as she accepted Jesus as her Saviour. For three months she was doing well. She had absolutely no withdraw symptoms.

There was a man that began to visit the Center regularly. We were all a bit leery of him, suspecting that he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but all were welcome. We simply took note of some things. One night, he convinced Pam to go next store to a bar and have a drink with him. She had a sip of a beer and instantly went into the withdrawals God had protected her from experiencing. Once the word spread, we learned that she was taken to the hospital just down the street. When we arrived, we could hear her screams from out in the waiting room. We had begged them to allow us to go in and pray with her, but they refused. We then called the Pastor who was overseeing the Center at that time. He was an elderly man who had seen enough to believe and trust us when we told him we simply needed to get with her and pray. Because of his credentials, the hospital agreed to allow us to transport her to a facility suitable for her needs in drug addiction withdrawal. God had opened the door. They wheeled her out in a wheelchair for she was doubled over in agonizing pain and had been drugged by the hospital with muscle relaxers. She was unable to stand or walk without assistance. There was a security man that assisted us in getting her into our vehicle.

We all agreed that God was in all of this. We decided to stop at the Center before taking her to the treatment center at the other hospital. We helped her downstairs and then all began to pray over her. We asked her to repent of her folly in going to the bar and re-commit herself to the Lord…which she did. Within minutes, she was able to stand up straight as tears flowed down her cheeks and she began praising God and we all joined in. She was so excited and grateful to the Lord that she said she just wanted to tell the world what God had done for her. We all looked at one another and her and asked: ‘Really?’ We then took her back up to the hospital. As she exited the car, the guard was standing at the entrance. He saw how she was perfectly fine and with amazement asked: ‘Is this the girl that just got wheeled out of here?’ We all joyfully said; ‘Yep!’. Like in a cartoon, the guard pushed his cap back on his head and was scratching his head in amazement. We then took her inside to the waiting room and began testifying to God’s goodness to everyone.

Yes. These things really occurred.

God is alive and well. There are so many stories I could share of visions and dreams that I have witnessed that have come true. I know much more will be occurring at some point. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Dispensationalism does not exist when it comes to the power of God. Michal, Saul’s daughter, despised…yes it says: despised…David when she saw him leaping and dancing before the Lord. When the Holy spirit fell upon the Apostles, the mockers thought they were drunk with wine. There are many references to ‘being slain in the Spirit’ which is simply the description of folks falling to the ground in the presence of the Lord.

For whatever reason, teachings and preachings of this day have attacked, disputed, and denied such things as being from God. Well, I have been in the presence of the Lord when such has occurred and have been blessed along with thousands who have, as well, by such occurrences. The problem is that man always seems to have the need to control the workings of God. They fear what they do not understand. I have often referred to this as ‘placing God into a box’.

I share these things because once again I have been attacked and one of the gals asked why these things keep happening to me. When such attacks began, I took them personally and was heartbroken as a result. Not anymore. I have come to understand that the enemy wants to shut me up. It’s not about me; it’s about the hatred towards God that exists. When folks are doing what the enemy wants them to be doing, he has no need to attack them. I have come to understand that it is an honor to be persecuted for Christ’s sake. Preaching the word of God sure does rile up the enemy. They who attack me and become angry, etc., are coming against God…not me. I’m simply the messenger.

In all things, may God be honored and praised…for He alone is worthy.

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(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
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Do Christians Grieve Differently?

Yes and no.

The first nine months after my son’s demise, I was in utter shambles. I placed myself on auto-pilot and proceeded through what was left of my life as a walking zombie. Devastated is an understatement. I had experienced much pain in my life previously, but the excruciating pain from my son’s death was unbearable and like none I had ever experienced previously on any level, including four natural childbirths. It is completely indescribable.

For my son’s first Christmas in Heaven, I had put together a little booklet with the collection of his poems and pictures from childhood to adulthood. I had twenty copies made to hand out to close family members and a few close friends. They had just been completed at the printer’s and my son’s birthday had arrived, fifteen days before Christmas. I literally could not move to get out of bed; I was frozen in place. Then the phone rang…it was the ex. He was a mean-spirited man, but he had his good points periodically. I managed to reach for the phone and the first words he spoke were: “You can’t move, can you?” I don’t know how he knew this, perhaps he had experienced it, too. Or, twenty-four years of marriage had taught him a few things about me. My response was simple: “No”. He then began to talk about the day our son was born. It was a beautiful sunny yet lightly snowy Sunday afternoon in December. Though my other three births had complications, this one was the perfect birth. We laughed between contractions and this one was the only child that was immediately placed into a small pool of water upon birth to ease his transition from the womb to the harshness of his new environment.

As he spoke of these things and I was reminded of that wonderful day when my son first took his initial breath of life, I slowly began to move. I then told the ex that I had something to give him and asked if he would meet me at our son’s grave site. When we met up, I handed him one of those booklets. He wept. He then shared with me a Scripture that completely turned things around for me which was Ephesians 2:6 “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:“. At that moment, it was as if a light switch had been flipped. I instantly realized that in God’s Spirit, I was not and could never be separated from my son. In the Spirit, I am already seated in Heavenly places with my son. I had never before this doubted that he was with the Lord, but up to this time I had not understood that I was only separated from him on this physical level.

It wasn’t long after that when I pulled out a card a dear friend from Church had sent to me when she learned of my son’s demise. I had set it aside when I received it, unwilling or unable to absorb it at the time, and this also brought new meaning to my broken heart:

Isaiah 57: (NKJV)

1 The righteous perishes,
And no man takes it to heart;
Merciful men are taken away,
While no one considers
That the righteous is taken away from evil.
He shall enter into peace;
They shall rest in their beds,
Each one walking in his uprightness.

Suddenly, this Scripture now breathed life back into me. I read it with ‘new eyes’. For me it meant that God saw what I could not. He was looking at the big picture of things, when all I could see was that my son was dead. I don’t know what God saved him from, but I do now trust Him that He did save my son from something far worse by taking him Home when He did.

The third Scripture that my site: ‘Hope in Jesus for the Bereaved parent’ is founded on is:

1 Thessalonians 4: (NKJV)

13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.

This explains the difference. Though we all have to embrace the excruciating pain of this temporary physical separation; though we all deal daily with the ‘missing’ and the struggles with our Faith to one degree or another; though we all face the lack of understanding of others; though we all deal with days in which we feel as if we cannot go one more step and pray for our release from the anguish; though we all shed tears beyond measure, etc., etc., etc… we who are Christ followers and embrace His Promises have Hope. Christians still grieve and feel the pain like everyone else. But knowing that this is not the end of the story, knowing that one day all our tears will be wiped away by the Hand of God and we will be reunited with our children never to be separated again for all Eternity, makes all the difference in the world. Yes, there are days when this Blessed Hope is elusive; yes, there are days that are very dark; yes, there are days when we struggle with our Faith and are plagued with doubts. But, on such days we know we can run to the foot of the Cross; we can wait and be still until we know that God is holding onto us when we don’t have the strength to hold onto Him; we can pray and read His Word as we cling to His promises until we once again feel ourselves lifted out of the mire into which we have slipped; we can listen to worship music until we feel His comfort and shelter from the storm that has once again blind-sided us.

We as Christians do grieve like everyone else, but we grieve with Hope unlike those who sorrow who have no Hope.

So, yes and no.

To God be all the Glory in all things. Amen.

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(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
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“There but for the grace of God, go I”

I was taught as a child to always consider how badly others have it in life as a means of comfort for myself. “Lots of people have it worse than you” was heard often in my home and outside of it. When I didn’t want to eat my dinner, I was told: “think of those poor kids in China” as the reason I should eat whatever they placed in front of me… including those yellow stringy beans that still make me gag sixty years later. If I did oblige my parents in doing so , and ‘upchucked’ afterwards, it had to be because I was ill or something was wrong with me. Apparently, whatever was ‘wrong with me’ then…still is. I won’t touch those stringy yellow things…I’ll starve first.

I know that saying: “There but for the grace of God, go I” is a true statement. I know it’s intent is to portray an ‘attitude of gratitude’. However, as I pondered it a bit today, I had to wonder if it is not a distortion somewhat of a Scripture: “By the grace of God I am what I am!” (1 Corinthians 15:10). The intent of most making this statement is most likely good. But, I’m no longer sure that it is all of the time. It can also be understood in a manner which is not uplifting and encouraging as in:

“Whoo! That was a close one.”


“Better you than me”

It’s similar to some statements the Bereaved Parent often hears as in: “You can always have more children”. Well…yeah…that may be true in some cases. But what does that have to do with the fact that the child I had is now dead?? Absolutely nothing. You can’t ‘replace’ one child with another as if your child that died was simply an old worn out couch. What a terrible insult that is to my child that has passed on. It makes as much sense as telling me I should eat those yucky string beans that make me vomit because of the poor child in China that is starving. It’s often the same folks who will say:

“Put your mind into gear before putting your mouth into motion.”

The hypocrisy causes my mind to tilt!

What I need is validation.

I don’t need to be told that my child “is in a better place” even though I know he is. I don’t need to be told: “God needed another angel”. First off, our children do not become Angels; humans who go to Heaven are Saints, not Angels. Secondly, if God needed another Angel He would have created one. He didn’t need another ‘Angel’ nor another ‘hero’ in Heaven. God is God. He doesn’t ‘need’ anything from us. Some folks have this totally backwards. I realize the sentiment is well-meaning. I appreciate greatly the condolences folks attempt to extend. I just wish they would think about their words a bit more before they speak them.

Some times we shoot from the hip.
Hitting some one’s feeling with a whip

Put a check before your comments.
Lest a heart breaks into fragments.
Words once spoken is like a arrow.
Can’t be turned back before it kills a sparrow

You can join a broken Vase however.
But the cracks can be seen forever.

Hence before you speak think twice.
This is the wisdom from the wise.- Vasant Khisty

“a shot across the bow”

For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. (2 Corinthians 10:12)

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(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
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Outside Looking In

Some days, I don’t want to be me.

There are times when I step outside of myself and feel as though I am peering in through a window of a house I am unfamiliar with and have never entered before. I’m simply not the person I once was before my son was killed. I lost my innocence the day he died; a part of who I was died with him. A burning candle was blown out, only not by a gentle wind. It was more like a violent thrashing tempest. All that had been within me had been tossed in disarray. New had become old overnight; life had been drained from me. What came naturally, like breathing, suddenly needed a concerted effort. I had to be reminded by others to eat; the desire to survive ceased its existence.

This was unlike anything I had experienced before. I had survived rapes and abuse on many levels, but always a will to survive kept me going. I was a fighter; others often described me as: ‘feisty’. But I had become complaisant, simply obliging others and consenting to the wishes of others almost robotically. I was unable to focus or concentrate. I abandoned all decision making to those around me, trusting they knew what was best. I was sailing in uncharted territory within myself. I became an abandoned house. A dream-state became my reality. I had fallen into a catonic stupor, an impaired consciousness. Such a state was, and remains, indescribable to one who has not journeyed such territory. Yet, for those of us who have, we can communicate it with a mere glance. We who have sojourned this road of grief have an uncanny recognition of one another. It has become our temporary home, a ‘road less traveled’. Not by choice, I took ‘the road not taken’ by most. Nevertheless, I reside now inside that abandoned house.

The Road Not Taken – Poem by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

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(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
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A Month in America

What a month this has been. Our Country went through the riots in Charlottesville and all of the hostile back-and-forth bickering and accusations; the eclipse that had many caught up in dire predictions; Hurricane Harvey which wrought abundant destruction; Hurricane Irma that had many reeling with uncertainty; then we faced the anniversary of the 9/11 attack in NYC and the murders in Benghazi. In the midst of it all, I had another pipe burst which has already left me without water upstairs for more than a week and I have no idea when it will be repaired because my eldest who usually tends to such matters is ill. He suffered from such a severe fever last night that he was shaking with chills while wrapped in a sleeping bag because of a terrible and extremely painful tooth infection. All of this has occurred with the uncertainty of a potential war with another country looming.

Then I hear of all the brave heroes that have placed their own lives at risk in order to rescue others; I hear the tale of the Pastor who is already hard at work making repairs after the roof of his Church was torn off, and his comment of how he can now look up and see more of Heaven. Then there’s the woman who had a huge tree fall onto her husband’s car in the midst of the storm and simply states: “I never liked that car anyway”… and I smile. What beautiful hearts still exist in this God-given country of ours. Truly, hard times reveal the best and the worst in folks. With so very many in such dire straits,  many left homeless having everything they own completely demolished, my busted pipe and destroyed ceiling and wall are quite trivial.

It has been a stressful month of hills and valleys for very many. Yet, I am grateful to live in such a time as this. The depth of the goodness and kindness of others overwhelms my heart with tears. So very many heroes who will never have recognition in this lifetime, I know will be rewarded in the next. God sees it all. These tests and trials and tribulations in this world produce the best of mankind, as well as, the worst. But those that are opportunistic looters who view such calamities as ‘party-time’ are few and far between in comparison.

Today was a day of great grief in remembrance of all who were mercilessly slaughtered in the name of ‘religion’. Many of the heroes of that day are either quite ill because of their unselfish exposure in their heroic endeavors, and some have already been released to a more beautiful land of true Love and Peace. We who have been left behind as simple observers grieve for the fallen yet honor them, a well as, the unnamed heroes.

As we grieve for our children, we embrace the same bittersweet. The ‘missing’ and excruciating pain of our heartache is offset somewhat with the gratitude of having them for however long we were granted. Our lives were forever changed both by their living and their demise. But if I had been asked in advance if I would care for my son knowing that it would only be for 20 years, would I? In a heartbeat. I miss him terribly each and every day. After eighteen and a half years, I miss him more. Knowing I will see him again, having that Hope, does help. It doesn’t lessen my grief, but it does buffer it somewhat. He is not gone from me forever.

Yes, it has been quite a roller coaster ride in America this past month. Whether it is the ‘beginning of things to come’ or simply a shadow of what may be far off, we have survived… for the most part. Some have gone ahead and my prayers are for those now beginning this journey of grief. My prayers also include those unnamed heroes that they be truly and deeply blessed for their great sacrifices.

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(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
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My Lament

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All day long, from morning ’til night, I am missing my child.

Tears flow down my cheeks like streams from a fountain.

I wail out loud in the silence.

Anguish consumes me; food I abhor; sleep escapes me.

How long, Lord, must I endure?

I grow impatient for my release.

My arms ache for my child.

My heart breaks from the load of this grief.

My eyes swell from the tears.

The pain delves deep to the marrow.

The sorrow and woe are visceral.

My flesh is aged by the anguish.

I am wearied by the lament.

I bemoan as one beaten and whipped.

The depths of darkness exist in the light.

I wallow in the land of the desolate.

Forlornness is my bed; misery is my pillow.

Onlookers taunt me with their whispers.

Scornful reproach is my companion.

I am afflicted with wormwood and gall.

Memories haunt me, yet I pray I never forget.

My soul is crushed with regret.

I repine for relief; I yearn for mercy.

I wither in the grief.

To Whom shall I turn?

Psalm 121: (KJV)

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

Lamentations 3: (NKJV)

24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

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(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
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