I want to tell you about a reward I received. I wasn’t expecting this reward and was totally surprised!
I have this beautiful 18-year-old daughter who graduated from high school this past May (2014). Her greatest desire is to be a missionary full-time. All she wants to do is serve God! You may be wondering, “How did I get so lucky?” I wonder the same thing!
Despite her hearts desire, she is going to attend a community college here in town while she investigates how to support herself as a full-time missionary. (Hint: Those of us who have been there and done that know a college education will help her be a full-time missionary but I am not sure she realizes that yet.)
She enrolled in three classes and handed me the bill. It was over $2000!!! I am in graduate school and am paying just a little more! I can’t believe how much this is costing at a community college! I take a closer look at the bill and realize I am paying an “out of district charge.” I could have swore we were paying extra taxes in our property tax bill which would make us “in district.”
So we concocted a plan to change her living address to our business address which is “in district.” We filled out the paper work. She drove to the DMV. And they wanted more proof that she actually lived at this address we gave them. We weren’t happy! So we came up with another plan. “Let’s try another DMV with the hopes they won’t ask questions like this one did.”
Well, we never got around to it because lying is hard work. The thought of her mail being sent to an address further away from home, always having to refer to a place where you don’t really live, and having to hide the fact that you live somewhere else sounded exhausting and inconvenient. But, on the flip side, we would save $500!!! Uhg!!!!
I decided to sit on this and consider if it was worth it or not. Well, my daughters due date came and I headed down to the office to pay the FULL tuition. I bit the bullet, decided it wasn’t worth lying about, and brought the $2100 to pay for what is now only two classes. (She ended up dropping one for other reasons.)
I walked up to the counter, pulled out a wad of cash and told the guy I am there to pay my daughters tuition. He looked her up in their computer system, read her info, then stopped and paused. I’m wondering, “Great, is it even more? Did we screw up registration somehow?” He asked me to wait and he would be right back. So now I am holding up a long line of people wanting to pay this cashier.
I wait. Then he comes back and said, “I have some news for you I think you will like. Your daughter was marked out of district. I don’t know why, but I felt like I needed to check your address.
“You actually live in district and you are going to save $500 today!”
“What?” I said. “Are you kidding?”
I couldn’t believe this! I didn’t have to lie. What a reward and surprise this was for us.
- If we would have went through all the work of lying we would have felt stupid and guilty for going through with it.
- Trust God! He totally took care of us! I never even asked for this man to check our district status. God totally showed me that he has my back and took care of it.
- Doing what is right does pay off. I didn’t want my daughter or I to feel guilty for hiding something as simple as where she lived. So we didn’t finish going through with our plan. Being rewarded with a lower bill is an awesome bonus.
The next time you feel you need to lie, even if it is a harmless white lie such as changing an address, think again!
Therapy from sexual, emotional, and physical abuse has been grueling at times. At times it has felt like my world is going to end and nothing will ever change. Then a moment comes when the pain is lifted, I grow up a little more as I learn about the world, its people, and healthy ways to live life. That is where the growth occurs and when I have those ah-ha moments. Each time I have one of those moments I heal that much more. The pain is that much more manageable, and my life becomes that much more enjoyable.
I have related these various ah-ha moments as my growing up process. I began this growth in the stage of selfishness. I have thrown fits. I have experienced many panic attacks. I have threatened to hurt myself if others did not love me the way I wanted. Basically, I acted like a little child and I felt like a little child. During this stage I craved many childlike activities. I colored, painted, desired to play in the closet of my counselor’s office, ran around with my kids like I was one of them and always daydreamed of playing what little girls would play but my grown up body told me that was ridiculous. I hated being reminded of that.
The ah-ha moments continued and I grew into the stage of adolescents. I dressed more provocatively, I behaved irresponsibly in a loud and crazy way, and I drank till I was incoherent. Looking back in hind sight I now realize that I craved discipline from the one whom I felt loved me unconditionally. This person was my counselor. He set up these boundaries that made me so upset. I would throw fits, cry, rage, scream and he never gave into my demands but he still showed me love, kindness, patience, and empathy. It was unbelievable what this guy put up with! It kept me coming back for more.
My counselor allowed me to go through these stages of childhood with him. He became my protector, my safety, my teacher, and my spiritual leader. My mind needed to experience a healthy childhood with a healthy adult. I needed to be raised, so to speak, all over again with love and understanding. Of course, it is different this time. I am in an adult body, I have adult responsibilities, and I have adult consequences. When my unconscious mind felt safe with my counselor he became the epitome of trust, security, and love and I regressed back to childhood frequently. I recently discovered that as I progressed through therapy with him I began trying to make him love me. I wanted him to fulfill the place in my heart where my father destroyed me. My adult self knew he was just my counselor and I was just his client but my child side was trying to find a loving safe family. I have been in constant battle with these two sides of myself.
Further on in therapy I came to a point where I literally felt like I reached the adult/college stage of my therapeutic life. Most counselors would call this the maintenance faze of counseling. I still needed to have this safe place to call home in order to air out my dirty laundry, a place to “come home” so to speak. I needed to know that even though I was out doing more grown up things, such as literally going back to college that he was still there for me. As I was going through this stage a bomb dropped! I equate it to being almost like a death in a family. My safe secure pretend family was moving far away. So far away that communication would be extremely limited. All of a sudden I went into high speed mode to make them like me so much that they would feel like I was part of their family. They would love me so much that they would make sure communication would never be dropped. My mind was racing finding ways to be clingier. My logical thoughts knew that I needed to begin to let go before they left. I needed to come to reality that my “father” isn’t really my father. He has no legal or blood commitment to me. But my fantasy kept winning over my logic. I couldn’t give up yet. I wanted him to tell me I am like a sister to him. But not just a sister in Christ; a sister that drops by unannounced, a sister that receives unplanned phone calls because he has a minute and thought of me, a sister that tells me what he does in his personal life. This man has raised me from a child so says my unconscious now conscious mind of mine and I want to be more than just a client. I want to be family!
Recently, I had a revelation. I realized that I am trying to hold onto something I have never had. I’m trying to make someone love me that doesn’t have to love me. I’m trying to keep the only feeling I’ve known of safety and security as close to me as possible. It’s not working. Instead, I am acting out in anger. I am hearing words of hurt that weren’t meant for hurt. I’m grabbing onto any thread of hope that he loves me like families love each other and it keeps slipping out of my hands, vanishing into thin air. Every time I go home to my own family I am reminded that I am not a part of his. Every time I see a Facebook picture of his family I am reminded that I have my own family.
So this is where I am today. I am left unsure what to do. I am left with unresolved feelings. I am left knowing the truth but not being able to accept the truth. I am left grieving for a father I never had and for a taste of what a father might have been.
While writing all this a word comes to mind … lucky. Lucky reminds me of being thankful. Can I be thankful that I did get to taste what a fathers love is possibly like? Or will I resent all of this because it hurts so much to let go? I’m betting there are countless women out there who have never experienced a father’s love. What would they give for that? What would they give for the taste that I experienced? I hope I can stay thankful, not turn it to resentment and hold onto that father’s love as I continue figuring out this growing up stuff of life. After all, God does say in Ephesians 1:3-5, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us…. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his [children].”
Not too long ago I wrote a poem. I read it often to try to practice the truth that God is my real father who will continue to love me while my counselor is gone. It goes like this:
God chose you to show me Himself.
I saw His image as you sat patiently while I cried with anger.
I saw His hands as I stared at yours to help me focus and stay present.
I saw His eyes as I briefly looked at yours for reassurance.
I saw His feet as I looked towards the ground at yours in shame and regret.
I saw His smile as you laughed back at something funny I spoke.
I felt His love as you walked me through panic and despair.
I felt His justice as I learned from you that I have the right to have boundaries.
I felt His strength as you gave me food when I punished myself through starvation.
I felt His heart break as you showed anger for injustice done to me.
I felt His comfort as you stayed with me during intense pain and emotion.
He taught me integrity as I watched you keep your boundaries.
He taught me relationships as I watched you interact with others.
He taught me commitment as you worked tirelessly for God’s kingdom.
He taught me forgiveness as I witnessed you forgive me for my mistakes.
He taught me honesty as I witness you proclaim the truth with sincerity and candor.
God chose you to show me Himself.
I couldn’t have chosen a better man for Him to use.
Today, May 11th on Mother’s Day, I woke up to a beautiful homemade breakfast and a mothers day note from my dear son William who is now twelve years old. He is growing up to be such a fine young man and I am so proud of him. I decided to got to church even though I was pretty tired from the prior days events. I thought to myself, “Of all days, I need to take advantage of today to praise God for making me a mother.” So I dragged myself out of bed, put on my favorite dress, curled my hair, and drove to church. It felt good to be in my Sunday best for God today. The worship was filled with great songs and I felt so much joy in my soul as I sang to my Father in heaven.
Usually on Mother’s Day I focus a lot on myself. I want to relax, I don’t want to clean, cook, or take care of anyone. If my kids or husband don’t do anything for me I get a little cranky but stick to my plan of not doing for anyone on this day. I become pretty selfish every year on this day. My feelings shifted today. My focus changed. I struggled with paying attention to the sermon. I focused in and out of it. I began to think of Elijah. Elijah is my son who would have been 23 years old sometime in this month of May. I do not recall EVER thinking of him on Mother’s Day. Besides random moments when events or things remind me of him I usually think of him during the month of October. This was the month he was taken from me and killed.
Today was the first time I figured out when he would have been born. He would have been born in May of 1991. It seems weird that I took this long to even begin to think about this! I have already figured his approximate age by years but never the month he would have been born. I didn’t realize it would have been May, the month of Mother’s Day. I fought back the tears as I sat in service, my mind wondering about what kind of mother I could have been for him. He would turn 23 this month if he hadn’t been killed.
For those who don’t know Elijah’s story, he was killed at a Women’s Health Clinic. I walked in for help with my pregnancy and instead they held me down, drugged me, and aborted my baby. Here is a poem where I wrote about what happened to me.
After church I decided to make a random visit to a place where I gave up my pain, hurt, and shame to God. It happens to be at an abortion clinic where I now live, Austin, Texas. About three years ago or so I buried a mother’s pendant under a tall bush in front of the door of an abortion clinic that resembled the ones in my memory from 1991. I then sat up against a mailbox crying out to God till he took that pain away. Today I pulled up to the clinic and parked. I felt a panic attack coming on and I was scared to death to get out of the car. I wanted to drive away immediately! Why, after all these years do I still have so much trouble with this! I’m holding the tears back trying to take deep breaths. And of all days, there are lots of cars in the parking lot! Was there abortions being done today? On Mother’s Day??? What if someone comes out and asks what am I doing there? What do I tell them? I’m sure I will stand out in my bright blue dress digging in the dirt under the bush by the front entrance! After warding off some panic I get out of the car, walk to the bush and begin to move the dirt and rocks around with my hand. I can’t find the pendant I buried. I try another bush… it’s gone. It is nowhere to be found. I want to stay and search more but I am sure I am drawing attention to myself as there are cameras all around and the front door is glass. I take a quick pic of where I placed it then left.
Because of the story of Elijah in the Bible I like to think of my son as strong, courageous, sure of truth, and bold for God. His name means “My God is Lord.” I imaging him at the right hand of God with a smile on his face. My prayer is that through his story that many other Elijah’s will be spared death and many mothers will be spared the pain of losing their baby through a forced or coerced abortion. I look forward to the day when I get to hold my baby Elijah in my arms and I will be able to hear him tell me, Happy Mother’s Day mom!
I read this in the devotional, His Princess Warrior: Letters for Strength from Your Lord. I highly recommend reading this small devotional book. It is highly encouraging and motivational!
It is time to get dressed for battle, My beloved. You are more than a Princess; you are “My Princess Warrior.” I am going with you into the battlefield, and in those times you feel as if there is no fight left inside of you, My Spirit will rise up inside of your soul and My strength will become your strength. My mighty arms will guard your hearts from the fiery arrows of the enemy. In the power of My Holy Spirit, you will find the passion and power to step out in faith and face any spiritual giant that comes against you. Your battles won for My Kingdom will become a blessing to all generations!
Your Knight who fights for you
A few days ago I decided that I was going to read the whole Bible again. God kept pressing it on my heart to do so. He told me, “The book you rely on the most, the one you turn to for truth, you have only read once. It is time you read it again.” So I picked it up and turned to Genesis chapter one. I read verse one, then I read verse two, then I read verse two again … And I kept reading verse two. It reminded me of man. It reminded me of my sin. It reminded me of me before I turned my life over to Christ.
this verse says that the earth was formless, empty, and dark. I meditated on those words and what they meant. It meant that there was nothing to be seen. There was disorder and had nothing good was in it. It was without God, uninhabitable, chaotic, and with no life. It was desolate, worthless, and unfinished.
That pretty much summed me up before I turned my life over to Christ. Before Christ I was empty and alone. There was nothing God could do with me. I was uninhabitable because I chose to be uninhabitable to Him. My life felt chaotic which left me feeling worthless at times. I had many dark days of depression and low self-worth. I wasn’t a pretty sight inside.
But hope came to this desolate world just as it came to my desolate soul. The verse continues to say that the Spirit of God hovered over the waters. God cared enough to come over the darkness and make it good. He took the disorder, the chaos, the emptiness, the darkness, and he did something good with it. He made it good. He turned it into light, water, dry land, vegetation, seeds, fruit, animals, and man. Just as he took my chaos, emptiness, disorder, worthlessness and made it good! I was unfinished but he is finishing me. Philippians 1:6 (NIV) says, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” When God says it is good he sees it as an expression of admiration, complete, blessed, virtuous, righteous, and it has qualities that fit a purpose. His creation has a purpose! You have a purpose!
If you have received his gift of eternal life then Easter, resurrection day, is the day when he made you good! His death on the cross and resurrection made you habitable, worthy, and full of eternal life. Praise God for His love for you!
If you haven’t received his gift of eternal life; it is simple. Just pray this prayer.
Dear Lord Jesus,
I know I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe you died for my sins and rose from the dead. I trust and follow you as my Lord and Savior. Guide my life and help me to do your will.
In your name, amen.”
This past week, March 9th-15th, I had the honor and privilege to attend the CSW at the United Nations.
Background of CSW
Beginning in the year 2000 the members of the United Nations gathered to discuss how to continue into the new millennium building a peaceful and equatable future for people all over the world. Developed was the Millennium Developmental Goals (MDG). These goals are to serve as a guide for all nations to strive for in order to effect change. The changes aspired for were addressing inequalities by developing programs and policies. Although women had taken part in creating the MDG’s; ending violence against women and girls where missing from the MDG development. Therefore, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), established in 1946, took up the role to ensure that gender equality and advancement of women were being addressed in the MDG’s. This is done by a membership committee that includes around 200 national and international non-governmental organizations (NGO) who wish to promote the status of women.
Who I Represented
I was invited to the CSW 58 by Molly White and as a representative of Endeavor Forum. This organization believes in outlawing abortion and their broad aim is to prevent economic forces such as high taxation which is destroying families. They believe the rights and interests of the family must be the cornerstone of economic policy. I also represented Crowns of Hope which I am the founder. Crowns of Hope helps females who struggle with the effects of sexual abuse afford counseling. But, first and foremost, I came to the United Nations as a representative for God because without Him I would not be who I am today.
What Was Accomplished at the United Nations
With me was a team of many women who raised their own funds and spent their own money to attend this conference. Our mission was to meet delegates and ambassadors to offer our help, knowledge and resources which could better protect pregnant and also trafficked women. On our last day we held a parallel event which brought awareness of violence that is happening to pregnant women around the world and healing solutions for women who suffered from this kind of trauma. It was an honor and a privilege to have personal meetings with delegates and ambassadors from Bulgaria, Portugal, Hungary, and Slovakia. We also had divine appointments, meaning we met in hallways and in various meetings, with delegates, ambassadors, and NGO presidents from Nigeria, Ghana, Sudan, Mongolia, Canada, Bangladesh, Mexico, Sweden, India and many more. We were able to offer aftercare solutions for working with women who suffer from all kinds of trauma. We gave information on prevention ideas to reach the children and adults of their nation. Most importantly, we made connections on an emotional heart felt level with these women and a few men leaders.
Our parallel event had a packed audience. Our meeting was so full that people where lining up along the walls and sitting in the isle on the floor. We began with a wonderful powerful speaker, Reggie Littlejohn, who is the president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers. Her organization is an international coalition that opposes forced abortion and sexual slavery in China. Her presentation was on forced abortion in China and the one child policy. It was powerful and heartbreaking. The violence that pregnant women endure in China is unimaginable. Click here to watch this 4 minute video about China’s one child policy.
Vinita Shaw was the second speaker at the event. She is from India and spoke on the problems of gender selection and forced abortion in India. She showed a powerful presentation on the hurts that Indian women are suffering from. Vinita is the author of Unveiled. Her powerful book explains, through short stories, the mindset that fuels hatred for the girl child in India. You can find a copy of her book on Amazon. Vinita’s organization, the Disha Foundation, sponsors education for disadvantaged children, promotes awareness through a radio and you tube broadcasting show, provides vocational training for women and girls, and is dedicated to the vision of ENCOURAGING and EMPOWERING the economically weaker sections of the Indian Society.
I, Toni McKinley, was the next speaker at this CSW event. I told my story of forced abortion in the United States. My purpose was to bring awareness that forced abortion is happening in the land of the free where choice is suppose to be given, according to the law, to each woman and girl in our country. You may read my story here. I speak as much as I am asked to spread awareness to women and to let others know that they are not the only one who has experienced a forced abortion in America. Many of my engagements have been recorded and you may listen and watch them at this link. I also have a passion to help women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually abused. Read more about my nonprofit, Crowns of Hope, to find out how you can join me in healing women.
Our final speaker wrapped up the meeting speaking about aftercare for women who have been forced to abort their child. Millie Lace is the founder of the National Helpline for Abortion Recovery. She is also the founder of Concepts of Truth which is a non-profit professional counseling center based in Arkansas. She is a licensed professional counselor and spoke about the effects of forced abortion on women and what resources are available to help those who want healing.
My Summary on the CSW 58
I attended several side and parallel events during my week at the United Nations. These meetings discussed the successes and improvements still needed on gender equality and violence against women. Many of the events I attended were about trafficking of girls, reproductive health and rights of women, domestic violence, early marriage practices, unplanned pregnancies, empowering women, and women leaders of change. I heard a recurring solution in every meeting I attended that was bothersome for me. This solution was to increase government regulations and rules. I feel that government regulations and rules can be good but it is not the end all solution. There is another solution that I have seen work yet it was not discussed in the meetings I attended. This solution is the transformation of hearts and mind sets. I believe that this was not discussed because government cannot regulate or create laws to change the hearts of people. Yet, until this happens, there will not be gender equality. There will always be violence against women. The homicide rate for pregnant women will always be high. The number of women and girls trafficked will always be apart of every country. Domestic violence will always be happening in homes around the world. Women and girls will continue to be coerced and forced into abortion. Laws and regulations can only help so much to protect women and girls.
Part of me felt that the CSW was a waste of time. “We need more regulation. We need this law. We need that law. We need to incarcerate more perpetrators.” How long will we have to regulate the sins of man and woman? Will we be able to govern every action that hurts another and be successful? Is it worth it to meet year after year to discuss what laws curbed violence and what laws need to be created to continue curbing violence? There were at least 1000 women attending his event at the United Nations. It is around $200 per night and more to stay in New York City. Cab rides are from $10 – $15 one way. Food is at least $40 per day at the very least. An airplane ticket is a minimum $500 – over $1000 depending on what country you are flying in from. All this is spent to discuss violence against women to come up with the same resolution year after year which is more government regulations.
When are we going to get to the heart of the issue?
When will we decide to discover why husbands beat their wife’s? When will we decide to discover why men buy women and girls for sex? When will we stop de-moralizing men by saying things such as, “Women Rule” and really focus on equality? When will we decide to discover why men and women are drawn to music that prides itself in calling women hoe’s and prides itself in being a pimp? When will we discover why others molest and rape girls and boys? When will we take time to discover why, and then work on the hearts of girls, boys, men, and women? Violence against women is a heart issue. People need help. Not a single man or women said when they were young, “I want to grow up to traffick women and girls.” Not a single women said as a girl, “I want to sell myself for sex when I am older.” No boy has ever said, “When I grow up I want to beat my wife.”
I propose that the next Commission on the Status of Women focus on the heart of the matter. We need to heal the people in the whole world. We are a sick world who needs a heart restoration. Let’s talk about how we as nations can come together, collaborate and discuss healing the wounds that the “John’s” are holding inside. Let’s talk about how to heal the wounds of a man who was molested and now struggles with temptation to hurt other young girls and boys. Let’s talk about reaching the hearts of men who beat their wife’s while we work on restoring the dignity to the wife’s who where beaten. Let’s teach others how to be happy with who they are so they can be content with themselves and what they have. Let’s work on being a blessing to each other instead of trying to always take for ourselves even when we have less. Let’s talk about how the hearts of women who are trafficked and sold can be restored to be great leaders, mothers, daughters, and sisters. This, the heart, is the center and focal point of the status of women.
You want to to increase the status of women?
Then lets increase the status of the nations hearts!
Disclaimer: The people, countries, NGO’s, CSW, ambassadors, or delegates mentioned in this article do not endorse the views written in this article.