Tag Archives: faith

YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT IN LIFE

“What do you consider one of your greatest achievements in life?”

As you reflect on your achievements in life and try to define one of your greatest, you must realize that achievements fall into one of two categories—earthly and spiritual. You must also understand that there is a relationship between the achievements in these two categories—one isn’t necessarily independent of the other. In fact, spiritual achievements often contribute directly to earthly achievements and enable us to reach success levels greater than had we performed them without any spiritual assistance. To deny that this relationship exists means you are willing to fall short of the maximum level of success possible for some of your greatest achievements on your journey through life.   

One of my greatest earthly achievements spans an era in life between ages fifteen to seventy. I have no doubts that my spiritual achievements helped make this “earthly” achievement much greater than otherwise possible.

The following short story explains the achievement.

++++++THE GIRL++++++

I attended an American Legion baseball game with some friends one night when I was fifteen-years old. My best friend, Billie, already had his driver’s license and owned a car. We piled into his car and he took us to the game.

We sat in the upper rows of the stands having a good time. I played baseball and loved the game, but the others I was with didn’t. Naturally, I was the only one actually trying to watch the game.

It was not long before a small group of young girls came in and sat a few rows in front of us. I hadn’t paid much attention to them because the game had already started. Billie was the lady’s man of our group and noticed the girls right away. I was too focused on the game and minding my own business, as usual.

I could hear my friends talking about the girls sitting in front of us, but I was trying to ignore what they were saying. I looked down a few times and saw the girls chattering also. They definitely had no idea what was happening on the baseball field. I wondered why in the world they even came to the game if they weren’t going to watch the action. I wondered the same thing about my friends.

I continued watching the game, but would glance down at the girls every now and then. I noticed one of them in particular. Then my eyes quickly went back to the game. The game was the reason I came along with my friends anyway. Unfortunately, I had no idea they would be on the prowl for babes at a baseball game.

One of the girls then turned and stared in our direction—the same girl I had noticed earlier. She was not looking at any of us, but at someone sitting behind us. When she turned, I looked directly into her eyes and saw how beautiful she was. She was very animated as she stood up looking and motioning to someone behind us. I could see she was very tall, trim, and without a doubt, very attractive.

I soon began to shift my eyes from the baseball field and looked at the girl more often. At that point I thought, “Heck with baseball, there’s an attractive girl in the stands sitting just eight feet from me.” I had no idea who she was or how old she was. I asked my friends if they knew her, but they didn’t.

I was too chicken to go talk to her. There were too many other girls around her and I was still too shy to make a move. Besides that, she was looking at the dudes behind us and didn’t know we even existed. The game ended and we left the stadium—without the girls.

Someone should have slapped me on the head for not trying to talk to her. I let the most beautiful girl I had ever seen get away without even meeting her. Smart and bold were certainly not things you could call me back in those days. I should have changed that shy-character trait much sooner in my life. I know I could have had a lot more fun while growing up had I done so.

Oh, I am sorry to ramble on. I know you’re not interested in the girl. I bet you just want to know who won the game and what the score was. Guess what—I don’t have a clue! I completely stopped watching the game in about the seventh inning when I focused my attention on the most beautiful girl in the world. Unfortunately, I let her get away without getting her name.

The bottom line of this tale is that my shyness and quiet nature were my own worst enemies. I really needed to work on them to improve my social skills. I had much goodness in my heart to offer others, but it was not evident. Being shy and quite is not always a bad thing, but there needs to be a good balance between also being outgoing and talkative. A blend of each is a perfect combination to have.

I finally began to make the necessary changes. That particular girl experience or lack thereof, was probably the catalyst that finally made me come to the realization that change was necessary. It was time for me to go forth into the world and mingle—make many friends and not limit myself to just a few. People were not going to bite my head off if I joined in, and I certainly had plenty of heart to give. I knew I could do it, but I had to try much harder.

Thank goodness, it didn’t take long for me to learn that making these adjustments would change my life for the better, and I am happy I did. Why, you ask—because “The Girl” I saw at that baseball game when I was fifteen-years old became my wife five years later. I was twenty and she was eighteen—just two kids in love with no idea of what the future would bring or where our journey through life would take us.

God had plans for us before we knew

Wedding Day 1969

The one thing both of us had in common was our greatest spiritual achievement—at a young age, we had accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and had faith He would always be with us as we journeyed through life. I am pleased to say He has done that for many years. You see, we will be celebrating our fiftieth (50th) wedding anniversary in September 2019.

Like all marriages, life was not always easy for us, but the Lord got us through every obstacle we faced. We experienced good times, bad times, trials, tribulations, misfortunes, successes, and much happiness. However, through all those years, it was our faith and belief in God that sustained and strengthened us.

The Lord blessed us with two beautiful children and five grandchildren. My prayer for each of them is that they learn to have faith, trust, and believe in Jesus just as we do. I pray that they too have spiritual achievements that enhance their earthly achievements as they journey through life.

I am truly thankful for the many blessings I have received and know that “With God, All Things Are Possible.” I even wrote a novel about God’s grace that He gives to each of us. All anyone has to do is be willing to accept His blessing

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FELT THE PRESENCE OF GOD

There are some moments in life that are special—so special that you feel compelled to share them with others. Such is the case when I recently attended my grandson’s high school baseball game a few nights ago.

During the game, I happened to look behind the bleachers and witnessed this breathtaking view of the sky with ‘Ole Glory’ waving in the foreground.

God’s painted canvas was so majestic that I felt His presence all around me. I was blessed to have had this experience and hope you feel the same way as you look at the photo.

I stood at attention and saluted the moment—made me proud to have served this great country! The words of the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag danced in my mind.

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

May God’s blessings be upon all who read this post.

Tom Tatum – Author – 2018

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WHAT DO YOU SEE?

What do you see in your mind’s eye when you pray or talk to yourself during difficult or good times in your life? I bet you see something, even if it’s total darkness—you still see something, but likely do it without thinking about what you see.

I know it’s a crazy question? In reality, it’s an appropriate question for everyone, regardless of their spiritual preferences or lack thereof. Whether you pray and believe in a power greater than yourself, don’t pray because you believe you possess superior intellect over all things, or fall somewhere between the two is a choice you have the right to make. Whatever your situation, you probably do talk to or pray to “something” when facing difficult situations in your life—it’s called thinking. I’m not trying to change or challenge your beliefs at all. I simply want you to consider all possibilities…

It’s probably a question you have never been asked or even considered before now. You’re not alone because most people haven’t. In fact, I may be one of few people on earth asking the question.

Okay, so exactly why am I asking such a question? Well, it’s simple—I enjoy thinking outside-the-box. Obviously, there is no right or wrong answer, so don’t be concerned. There will not be a pass-fail test given at the end of this post. I just want you to think about the question based on your personal situation, so please keep reading. It will only take a few minutes, and I promise it will not harm or judge you in any way.

What do you see…,” is a question I ask when I speak to groups. I get some interesting facial expressions and responses cover a broad spectrum ranging from total darkness to detailed images. All answers are interesting, but one that does give me pause is, “I don’t waste time praying to a fictitious character.” I acknowledge the response, but I never push my personal beliefs on anyone. I simply inform, observe, and recognize that everyone has the right to choose how they cope with life. However, that particular response is a suitable topic for a whole different discussion.

Let’s get back to the point of this post. When the shock of my question wears off, the initial responses are typically, “I’ve never thought about it before,” or “I don’t see anything.” When folks think about it for a moment, the answers tend to become a bit more descriptive. To be fair, it is somewhat of an unusual question and not likely to come up in general conversations with friends. Therefore, I invite you to think about the question in private for a few moments. You may be surprised by what you actually do/don’t see or you may start visualizing something in the future. Either way, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

When I started thinking about the storyline for my first novel, I did a lot of soul searching. When I asked myself the question, I realized I was actually seeing the same thing each time I prayed. It was an image from long ago when I started attending church as a young boy. Although buried deep in my subconscious, the image of a stained-glass window formed a lasting impression on me. This image allows me to feel as though I’m having a private conversation with a friend—albeit a very special and most powerful friend.

So, what exactly do I see when I pray? Well, first I visualize the stained glass window from my youth—an image of Jesus. As I continue praying, I usually see the faces of those for whom I’m praying and revert back to the stained-glass image as I finish my prayer. The image itself is surreal for me and puts my mind at ease. It works very well for me.

Stain Glass Jesus Picture 2x2

Whether you see an image or total darkness as you pray or talk to “whomever,” the important thing is that you do it. You may not receive the things or results you ask for, or even understand the answers. You may even feel as though your prayers are going unanswered, but I believe God hears all our prayers. He will respond in His time, and in His way. He knows what is best for us, so we must be patient.

For those who do not believe in God, He still “hears” your thoughts. I wish you the best in whatever way you cope with life’s difficulties. As I said in the beginning, I will never brow-beat you to do as I do, but I will still pray that you come to know Him someday.

By the way, I see that same stained-glass image when I give thanks everyday for the many blessings I have received.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Tom Tatum – Author – 2017

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Messages From God

God sends people messages in many forms—through things, gestures, miracles, tragedies, and others (friends, family, and strangers). How people receive God’s messages depends on their mindset.

For instance:

  • Some have never heard about God; they are not aware of Him, so they don’t understand the source of the messages.
  • Some say God doesn’t exist; they are aware, but choose to deny God and His messages.
  • Some think they are too busy; they receive the messages, but  do not take the necessary time to listen.
  • Some receive the messages but simply choose to ignore them.
  • Some believe, listen, and understand God’s messages and choose to follow Him, spreading His word to others.

Each person who has heard God’s words has the right to choose whether or not they believe in Him. Unlike many false gods, God, the creator of all things, does not force anyone to believe, listen, or follow Him. It is the responsibility of those who do believe to serve as modern-day disciples by spreading His word to those who deny or are unaware of His love and grace.

Once informed of God, people have a decision to make—follow or ignore Him. Those who try to spread His word must then move on and continue to serve Him by informing others. The mission of Believers is to spread His word to others, not force them to transform. Transformation is between God and the newly informed; they will be dealt with according to His will.

JesusToldHim2

Do you have what it takes to be one of God modern-day disciples? If you do, you will become a fisher of men.

Matthew 4:19 (KJV)

And he saith unto them, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

Tom Tatum – Author – May 1, 2017

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HOPE FAITH PRAYER

hopefaithprayer1

No matter what is happening in our lives…

HOPE

gives us reason to face another day.

When we add

FAITH to HOPE,

we become empowered.

When we add

PRAYER

to

HOPE and FAITH,

 

WE CAN MOVE MOUNTAINS!

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JOURNEY TO LIFE’S SUMMIT

JourneyToLifesSummit

As I sat quietly pondering life—past, present, and future, I thought about the mountain(s) we face as we journey through life. Yes, life is like climbing a mountain to the summit. Some folks may climb more than one in their lifetime, but all of us have at least one.

Although there are many paths leading to life’s summit, we want to choose the best one. We research the possibilities, seek advice, and try to plan the perfect route in order to minimize the difficulties we may face along the way. The cliffs, slippery slopes, and many unknown dangers that may be encountered along the way make the decision difficult, but when we finally decide on the “ideal” path, it’s time to start climbing.

Most folks start in the valley and work their way up to the summit by taking one-step at a time. Sometimes what we visualized as we were making plans is not the path we actually traverse. We often must make midcourse adjustments and hear our internal GPS voice saying, “Recalculating!” However, we must not let that voice frustrate us because, as cited earlier, there are multiple paths that will lead to the summit.

The journey may be difficult and some days will be better than others, but we must stay the course. It takes discipline, courage, and endurance to make it to life’s summit, but you must keep climbing—it’s your mountain—your challenge in life and no one can do it for you.

The closer you get to the summit, the more difficult the climb becomes, which can be frustrating. You work hard, but the summit doesn’t appear to get any closer. The secret is not to look at how far you are from the summit, but to thank God each day for how far you’ve come from the valley below.

JOURNEY TO LIFE’S SUMMIT

I stood in the valley looking up.

There before me my summit rose high.

Covered with snow, it seemed far away,

But the journey there is mine they say.

 

I started to climb as a young child.

I sensed no danger and had no fear.

All I saw was beauty all around,

And the world I saw was my playground.

 

With the first plateau beneath my feet,

I looked back to see from where I came.

My childhood days passed like a warm breeze,

And teen years of life appeared with ease.

 

Even though my path grew steeper here,

Climbing seemed much easier for me.

I grew stronger with each step I took,

With impatience, my whole body shook.

 

On plateau number two, I stood tall.

Life had changed, for I became a man.

No longer able to be carefree,

For two kids I bounce upon my knee.

 

The sights before me are different now,

For I have reached plateau number three.

My kids now grown with kids of their own,

But warm thoughts of them still linger on.

 

As I stopped on plateau number four,

My path had narrowed and fear moved in.

I stood on ice with no trees to see,

And clouds concealed my valley below.

 

I’ve come a long way through thick and thin.

Each year has been filled with ups and downs!

Though I had more that I wished to say,

The cold damp air was too harsh this day.

 

My family has grown smaller with time,

As God called loved ones to be with Him.

But some have left without a goodbye,

For never did we see eye-to-eye.

 

Things are not the same in this high place,

But Frost did write, “I have miles to go…”

Doubts grow as my summit draws near,

And I wonder if I’ll find peace there.

 

The air I breathe is somewhat thin as

Light shines bright from my summit above.

I thank God for showing me the way,

And pray He will guide me through each day.

 

My journey near done, I wish for you,

That your days on earth be full of joy,

That the paths you choose are always true,

And for God’s light to shine upon you.

 

As you stand tall upon your summit,

Cast your eyes to the valley below,

For you climbed the mountain meant for you,

Which many said you could never do.

Tom Tatum – Author – 2016

Do you know where this monument is located?

JourneyToLifesSummit1

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FATHER’S LETTER “TO MY SON”

LetterToMySonRiver

John Johnson recently moved to Orangeburg, South Carolina and purchased thirty-acres of land bordering the majestic-cold-black water of the slow-flowing Edisto River. Abandoned many years ago, nature had reclaimed the property with underbrush so thick it made walking about very difficult. With a machete in hand, John started exploring the land to see exactly what he had blindly purchased. What he found changed his life. This is his story…

++++

As I started walking away from the riverbank, I noticed an old shack on a hill about one-hundred yards directly in front of me. I was shocked when I saw it because I didn’t even know the shack existed. The structure was in such a state of ill-repair I figured I would likely have to demolish and replace it with a new cabin.

LetterToMySonShack

As I stood on the front porch, I tried to imagine who might have lived there long ago. Who were they? Where did they go? Why did they abandon this beautiful property?

Not knowing what critters might be lurking inside the old shack, I banged on the door as if expecting someone to answer. No person or critter responded, so I eased the door open. The eerie, screeching sound made by the rusted hinges was an indication the door had not opened in years.

To my surprise, the interior actually appeared to be in good shape—the natural color of the unpainted wood created a warm-inviting atmosphere. There were even several pieces of furniture neatly placed, as if someone had left just minutes before my arrival. The only telltale sign of abandonment was the thick layer of dust coating everything in sight.

The first object that caught my eye was an old-mahogany chest standing against the wall to my left. It seemed so out of place because its beauty rivaled any antique I had ever seen. I opened the top drawer and found a small metal box containing a sealed envelope with the words “To My Son” written on it.

Suddenly, I felt guilty, as if I was invading someone’s privacy, but I proceeded to open the envelope anyway. A letter and a small black-and-white photo of an old man sporting grey hair appeared. The deep lines etched in his face were telltale signs of stress and years of exposure to the sun. The scars on his cheeks and forehead were indicative of serious accidents or having lived a difficult life. Yet, his eyes beamed with the warmth of a kind, gentle soul. His face looked so familiar, as if I should know him. Could it be possible I had seen this face before?

When I gently rubbed my finger across the image, I could sense the pain the old man must have endured—the experience was surreal, as though this man and I had some sort of connection. I brushed the thought aside and quickly refocused my attention to the letter and began reading…

To My Son,                              July 12, 1998

If you are reading this, it’s because I am no longer here to talk to you in person; I’ve gone to my final resting place in my Father’s house of many rooms and no longer feel the pain of my youth. However, there are a few things I never had the opportunity to tell you. Allow me to do so now.

Please read these words carefully as they will help you be a loving father to your son. I say these things not seeking your pity, but to open your heart and mind to God’s love.

When I was a young boy, my father didn’t treat me very well; he never even told me he loved me. In fact, he beat me many times, even though I begged him to stop. He said he wanted to toughen me up and teach me to be a man. He yelled and cursed me to stop crying like a big baby. Each time he hit me, I tried to protect my face with my hands only to have the hard blows of his massive fists break my fingers and send blood pouring from the wounds he inflicted upon my head. I prayed each day for God to take my pain away, and promised Him I would never treat my son the way my father treated me.

I never had much in my life, but I gladly give you this beautiful piece of heaven where you are now standing. The shack is small, but it’s very cozy, and the view of the river from the front porch will astound you—look at it often and you will find peace. I pray God speaks to you just as He did me. All I ask of you is that you keep this little shack standing tall and full of love. I don’t think that’s too much to ask of you, but if I’m wrong, I will understand.

Don’t be alarmed as you continue reading this message I share from my heart, but I know you’re probably not my son. That’s okay—I love you as though you are! You see, I was serving my country in Vietnam when I heard you were born. It was the best day of my life! I couldn’t wait to hold you in my arms and give you all the love you deserve—the same love I prayed for many times.

Unfortunately, I was involved in a bloody battle with the enemy the day following your arrival. I became a prisoner of war in the infamous Hanoi Hilton for six-long years.

Enemy soldiers beat me many times during my stay there. Memories of my dad teaching me to be a man filled my mind each time they hit me. I think I finally became the man dad wanted me to be because the only information I ever gave the enemy was my name, rank, and service number. They did not break me because the thought of seeing you one day kept me going—you were all I had to sustain me. I thank you for easing my pain.

When I returned home, I learned the army had listed me as MIA (Missing-In-Action). Your mother had remarried and wanted nothing to do with me, so I never had a chance to spend time with you. God didn’t bless me that way. I’m not sure why, but I never questioned His will for He blessed me in so many other ways. At least I was able to catch a brief glimpse of you playing in the yard on the day your mother broke my heart and sent me away.

Maybe God sent you here this day that you might become my son, and I—well, your father. I know how strange that must sound, but the thought comforts me, and paints a smile upon my face as I write these words. It would please me greatly if you choose to call me Dad. I will never harm you in any way if you do. I will honor my promise to God and give you the love I never received from my father.

My simple wish for you is that you find peace and happiness here in this little shack by the river. I pray you will love your son and teach him to know God. You do not have to hit him to teach him how to become a man. Do unto him as your Lord in heaven does to you—love him with all your heart; he will understand what it takes to make a real man strong.

Now, go hug your son. Tell him how proud you are to be his father, and never let your fists strike him in anger or any other way for that matter. God chose to bless you with a son, so love him as I do you on this very special day.

With all my love to the son I never met,

Matthew Johnson

As I read the man’s name, my heart swelled with emotion. Could this man possibly be my real father—the father I never met? The flow of the cold-black waters of the river paled in comparison to the stream of warm tears flowing down my cheeks. I felt as though God had led me to this place, in His own time, to meet this old man. I was humbled—no, I felt blessed by the experience and couldn’t wait to get home to hug my son. I was going to shower him with the same love an old man’s words in a letter had bestowed upon me.

++++

Well, it’s been two years since I discovered that old-abandoned shack on my riverfront property. My thoughts of tearing the place down never materialized. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it, so I restored it. My wife, son, and I now call this our home. We named our little piece of heaven by the river “Matthew’s Place” in honor of Matthew Johnson.

On the wall above that old-antique-mahogany chest is a frame displaying the photo of Matthew Johnson and his “TO MY SON” letter. It serves to remind me of the day I received a special message from an angel. Although the Lord’s house has many rooms, I will dwell in Matthew’s Place until the Lord calls me home to meet Mr. Johnson.

LetterToMySonFramed2

Matthew Johnson, may you rest in peace knowing that I, John Matthew Johnson, now think of you as my dad. Though we never met, your kind letter touched my heart. You, Matthew, now have someone to call—SON! May God bless and keep you until the day we meet in paradise!

John 14:2 (NIV)

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?

Give your children a hug and tell them how much you love them—do this each day of your life.

The names herein are fictional and do not represent any real characters.

Tom Tatum – Author 2016

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LOOKING BEYOND YOUR HANDS

I recently received this in an email from a friend. It’s a thought provoking story about looking beyond the surface of your hands. I must admit that after reading Grandpa’s thoughts, I looked at my hands.

Unfortunately, I do not know who wrote this story. If you do, please advise so I can give them credit.

Two Open Hands

EVER REALLY LOOKED AT YOUR HANDS

Grandpa, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench. He didn’t move, just sat with his head down staring at his hands. When I sat down beside him he didn’t acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat, I wondered if he was OK.

Finally, not really wanting to disturb him but wanting to check on him at the same time, I asked him if he was OK.

He raised his head and looked at me and smiled. “Yes, I’m fine. Thank you for asking,” he said in a clear strong voice. ”

I didn’t mean to disturb you, Grandpa, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK,” I explained to him.

“Have you ever looked at your hands,” he asked. “I mean really looked at your hands?”

I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the point he was making.

Grandpa smiled and related this story:

“Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years.

These hands, though wrinkled, shriveled, and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life. They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back.

As a child my mother taught me to fold them in prayer. They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots.

They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent.

They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son.

Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special.

They trembled and shook when I buried my parents and spouse and walked my daughter down the aisle.

They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body.

They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw. And to this day, when not much of anything else of me works real well, these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer.

These hands are the mark of where I’ve been and the ruggedness of my life. But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when he leads me home. And with my hands He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of Christ.”

I will never look at my hands the same again. But I remember God reached out and took my grandpa’s hands and led him home.

When my hands are hurt or sore I think of Grandpa. I know he has been stroked and caressed and held by the hands of God.

I, too, want to touch the face of God and feel His hands upon my face.

– Author Unknown

All I can add is, AMEN!

May God’s blessings be upon you!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2016

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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE – MEN ABUSING WOMEN

Your life is rolling merrily along and everything is wonderful. Then, without any warning, your calm little world becomes a turbulent storm. It’s 11 PM and you receive a phone call from a friend or family member begging you to come help her. The “love of her life” has brutally beaten, choked, and threatened to kill her. You’re forty-five minutes away from her location…

This is a dream—right? Unfortunately, it’s not. It’s the beginning of a long nightmare!

You later learn this is not the first time this man has abused her. She shows you a photo of her face from a previous beating. You are now fully aware of the “evil” called Domestic Violence. Regardless of your level of spiritual acceptance, your thoughts will likely drift between shock and vengeful rage about the event and the abuser. Your calm little world will never be the same.

The simple three-letter acronym for this type of brutality is CDV, which stands for CRIMINAL DOMESTC VIOLENCE. CDV is on the rise nationally and South Carolina has for years ranked in the top ten in the nation for this type of violence—including number of deaths caused by CDV. This is a very serious matter with more details provided below.

There are no good reasons for a man to strike, beat, or otherwise abuse a defenseless woman. So, why do they? Some abusers may have witnessed CDV as a child, which is sad, but whatever the root cause may be, one does not have to be a psychiatrist to realize the short answer is because abusers lack self-control. They are self-indulgent cowards who enjoy exerting control over a weaker individual and will likely get away with it—many times. Sadly, the legal system actually provides more protection and support for abusers than it does for many victims.

I was not the abuser nor will I ever be one, but I had the unfortunate opportunity to observe the aftermath of CDV and the pro-abuser-legal proceedings that follow such evil acts of violence. Since the subject of CDV doesn’t normally come up during the course of polite conversations with friends or family, I want to share some information about CDV. I encourage you to take a few moments to read the entire article because CDV could affect someone you know—maybe even you. It can happen when you least expect it.

Although it comes in many forms, CDV is most often associated with a man willfully and brutally attacking their defenseless wife or lover. They strike without warning and show no remorse afterward. Repeat abusers are actually proud of themselves, even delighted about the control they exert over a much weaker individual. Many abusers make their victims feel guilty about the incidents by convincing them it’s their own fault—the victim believes they deserved the abuse.

The harsh reality of CDV is that it occurs in all socio-economic levels; it spares NO ONE! Victims often hide the abuse from the eyes of the public because they are too afraid or ashamed. They may even go to great lengths to conceal their injuries from friends and family members by using makeup and wearing sunglasses to hide the telltale signs of physical abuse.

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The graphic depicts a man hitting a woman and a child standing nearby witnessing the brutal attack. It portrays the physical and emotional pain suffered by the victims and the emotional stress it causes children who happen to witness such acts of cruelty. Imagine what a child learns from seeing dad hit mom—many times. Thankfully, children don’t normally experience physical pain from CDV, but what it does to them emotionally is a different story. Physical and emotional abuse of children is a completely different topic and worthy of a separate article.

Actual photos of a victim are too graphic to display. The sight of a severely bruised or bloody face would make you cringe as you imagine what the victim endured—the sound of clinched fists repeatedly smacking against soft cheeks would resonate in your mind like war drums beating loudly on a quiet, otherwise peaceful night. Imagine the mental and physical scars created for victims who experience such unwarranted-evil violence.

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Now that I have your attention, it’s time to make your blood pressure rise a bit more. The South Carolina Attorney General’s website reported that domestic violence has become a crisis in the Palmetto State. More than 36,000 victims annually report a domestic violence incident to law enforcement agencies around the state of SC (that averages more than four per hour for every hour of the year). Over the past thirteen years, the average number of women killed each year by their intimate partner is thirty-three (33). This is just the tip of an evil iceberg, but even one death due to CDV is too many!

Obviously, there is no data available to show how many more of these incidents go unreported due to victims fearing reprisal. The cliché “We don’t know what we don’t know,” means the actual number of domestic abuse incidents is probably beyond comprehension.

It’s unfortunate that abusers often go unpunished by the futile laws of our society. Many victims have already suffered enormous physical/emotional stress and are often too frightened or financially strapped to participate in the criminal trial of their abuser—a trial that could take six or more months to even reach the courts. The victims realize their character will be denigrated during the process by “ruthless” defense maneuvering/tactics/distortions, which sometimes border on coercion (aka blackmail), as there is no other “practical” legal defense for true abusers.

Though they may be legal, these heinous defense tactics begin well before the trial date is even set. The tactics of badgering and “threatening” character assassination of the victim causes additional mental anguish, which often prevents the case from ever going to trial. The lawyer’s plan is to instill enough fear in the victim to help their abusing clients get away with the brutal violence as though it never occurred. No courtroom session means no criminal record exists, which allows abusers to commit more so-called “first-time” abuse incidents—repeatedly.

When the law does not follow through with severe consequences for evil deeds, the evil doers are likely to continue doing evil deeds. Unfortunately, an abuser of a woman is not likely to stop abusing her by his own volition, especially when he knows he can get away scot-free.

In the particular CDV situation I observed, the abuser had previously abused another woman multiple times before abusing the second victim multiple times, yet he still had no criminal record. His record is “clean” due to the legal maneuvering tactics that were used each time. He is a multiple-time-first-time abuser. It’s not if this abuser will abuse again, it’s when will he abuse again, and again. Sadly, his next victim has no way of knowing about his evil deeds until it is too late. A background check would reveal NOTHING!

All of these factors make it easy to understand why so many women remain silent about the abuse. What would you do if you were a victim of CDV—speak out or remain silent? Think about that for a moment.

Sadly, these abusers never dare attack anyone of equal or greater strength—someone who could fight back, for they fear the very pain they so gleefully enjoy inflicting upon their much weaker prey. At best, they are the lowest of low-life cowards who are full of evil.

Should an abuser actually be arrested and convicted of CDV (not likely under current laws), the penalty for the crime pales in comparison to the pain suffered by his victim. The following punishment for convicted abusers may surprise you.

(1) If ever convicted, first-time offenders face a simple MISDEMEANOR (same as shoplifting). The fine is not less than $1,000 or more than $2,500 or imprisoned not more than 30 DAYS. Here’s the kicker; the court MAY SUSPEND ALL OR PART of the sentence if the convicted criminal completes a program designed to treat abusers. That’s a joke in itself and probably helps explain why so many victims are too afraid to appear in court. They have already suffered enough and know the current legal system only serves to protect the abuser and punish the victim.

(2) Second time offenders still only face a MISDEMEANOR, fines not less than $2,500 or more than $5,000 and imprisoned not less than a mandatory minimum of 30 days nor more than one year. The court may suspend the imposition or execution of ALL OR PART of the sentence, except the thirty-day mandatory minimum sentence. This is still a token penalty for someone convicted of brutalizing women at least two times.

(3) Third time or more offenders FINALLY face a FELONY charge. Abusers MUST BE IMPRISONED not less than a mandatory minimum of one year but not more than five years—still not very equitable considering the physical pain and mental pretrial anguish the victims have suffered repeatedly, but the punishment is at least getting a little tougher. It’s about time, but very late in process!

This means a man can beat his wife to near death with his fists two times and if ever actually convicted of CDV twice, could serve as little as just 30 days in jail. Unfortunately, the despicable behavior of these cowards often goes unreported or unpunished by the legal system. Only after the third conviction does the crime even become a FELONY and the abuser may still receive only a meager one year sentence—not exactly what would be called equal punishment befitting the crime against the victims who have suffered a minimum of three times. It’s actually deplorable!

CDV affects more than just the victim. The stress on friends and loved ones from self-imposed restraint not to respond to abusers in an equally violent manner can be frustrating. The dichotomy of “an eye for an eye” versus “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord,” shakes the very foundation at the core of one’s faith. Abuse brings one to question the “turn the other cheek” mentality, especially when the other cheek belongs to someone you love. That is precisely why awareness of abuse can invoke righteous indignation among people of faith. Yet, they know they must remain steadfast in their beliefs and not seek vengeance. The challenge can be extremely difficult at times, especially when the abuser proudly and openly proclaims to be an atheist with no remorse for their evil deeds.

People of faith must find the strength to deal with the hurdle that abuse of women places in the path of their spiritual journeys. They must try to take the high road—try to forgive, both the abuser and the “pathetic, do-anything-for-money” lawyers who willfully and wantonly defend the violent abusers for personal financial gain. It has nothing to do with justice or even an abuser’s rights to a fair trial. Solace must come from the depth of one’s faith, knowing a much higher power will make final judgment on all of us.

People can help mend the cracks in the foundations of their faith that CDV causes by supporting the many abused women who are dealing with these brutal cowards by doing the following:

  • Pray for the pain inflicted on each of these women to end and for them to find peace and experience true happiness again.
  • Pray for abusers to stop their evil deeds or face full prosecution to establish a criminal record for all to see.
  • Report abuse incidents to law enforcement and organizations that support abused women.
  • Contact lawmakers and demand that they pass stiffer penalties for CDV and then ENFORCE them—treat victims as victims and abusers as criminals!
  • Consider supporting nonprofit organizations that provide care, comfort, and support for the many victims of CDV.

I hope you will help spread the word about this despicable crime labeled CDV by sharing this article and demanding congressional leaders pass stiffer penalties for all abusers—including punishment for the actual “first-time” offenders. Legal maneuvering around weak laws to mask the violence that lurks beneath the seemingly peaceful demeanor of an abuser must end. First time offenders must be limited to one time only—“flag ‘em and tag ‘em” so the public is aware that they are abusers.

HELP END THE ABUSE OF WOMEN AND SAVE LIVES!

Tom Tatum – Author

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

#CDV #CRIMINALDOMESTICVIOLENCE #abuse #abusedwomen #menabusingwomen #abusers $faith #Christian

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WITH YOU ALWAYS

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Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor  LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

 

OUT OF FOCUS

Here I am writing this article, which is probably just for my own use so I can read it later. I know things always sound more authoritative when you preface your pontifications with,

“I read somewhere that…”

Remember, you’re reading this message after it has travelled many miles through cyberspace. Think about how much more wisdom the article gained while travelling all those miles from my computer to yours. Read on and when you talk to your friends afterward, you can confidently use the term, “I read somewhere that…” Your knowledge will surely impress them to the max! What do you have to lose? Don’t answer that—read on!

Well, here are my thoughts on a very important matter—my (your) path on my (your) journey in life…

All of us have probably had one or more times in life when the path of our journey in life seems to be out of focus. We keep plodding along on our own hoping to find our way through the fuzzy maze. Each head-butt of an obstacle causes us to change direction as we try to find the right path again. Nothing seems to go the way we hoped it would—NOTHING!

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Unfortunately, this bouncing-off-the-walls mentality sometimes drives us further from our intended goal. We become lost, lose hope, and want to give up. Things just aren’t working out the way we envisioned at the start of our journey—when things seemed perfectly clear. We finally realize we need help!

Personally, I am at that point—my path in life is now Out Of Focus. Hope your path is much clearer than mine is. I seem to have lost my way and no longer see my path with any clarity. It’s actually a total blur. I find myself in desperate need of help—lots and lots of help. What am I to do now?

Sure, I could give up, but that’s not a viable option for me. I pride myself in not being a quitter. The mantras of positive voices in my head continue bellowing,

“Persevere, Never Give Up, Keep Going, One More Step, You Can Do This, etc.”

Aaarrrgh! The voices are relentless even though I keep telling them I don’t know which way to go. I am directionally challenged at this moment!

Do you have any words of wisdom you care to share with me? I’m listening…

In light of not giving up, I finally made a decision. One that is long overdue! I plan to do what I’ve done many times in the past, and each time, my path forward came into focus—everything became much clearer. Why has it taken me soooo long this time? Call me stubborn!?! Is that a virtue? Hmmm.

I am now praying for guidance. I am placing everything about my situation in God’s hands and asking Him to show me the path He wants me to follow. I will patiently wait for His answer to my prayers and will refrain from head-butting obstacles I cannot see. My head is hurting too much to continue that way!

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Yes, I must now have patience—maybe lots of it. I must remember that! If you know me, you know how I struggle with that simple concept. Waiting for three full cycles at a traffic light drives me up a tree!

What was that word again? Oh, I remember now—P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E!

If you are experiencing similar situations in your life, I suggest you do as I am now doing—pray and have patience. God will answer your prayers in His time, and His plan for your path will come into focus when He is ready. Have faith and trust in Him—always!

By the way, did I tell you I read somewhere that…

May God shine His light upon you and bring clarity to your path in life.

Tom Tatum – Author of Faith-based Novels

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor  LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels