Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Psalm 91 by Peggy Joyce Ruth

Tour Date: July 2, 2010

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Psalm 91

Charisma House (June 2010)

***Special thanks to Anna Coelho Silva | Publicity Coordinator, Book Group | Strang Communications for sending me a review copy.***


Peggy Joyce Ruth and her husband, Jack, are former pastors from Brownwood, Texas. Peggy has taught an adult Bible study each week at her church for the past thirty years. She is a popular conference speaker and continues to teach a weekly radio Bible study called Better Living on KPSM and KBUB.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 248 pages
Publisher: Charisma House (June 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616381477
ISBN-13: 978-1616381479



He who dwells in the shelter of the Most HighWill abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

—Psalm 91:1

Have you ever been inside a cabin with a big roaring fire in the fireplace, enjoying a wonderful feeling of safety and security as you watch an enormous electrical storm going

on outside? It is a warm, wonderful sensation, knowing you are being sheltered and protected from the storm. That is what Psalm 91 is all about—shelter!

I am sure you can think of something that represents security to you personally. When I think of security and protection, I have a couple of childhood memories that automatically come to mind. My dad was a large, muscular man who played football during his high school and college years, but he interrupted his education to serve in the military during World War II. Mother, who was pregnant with my little brother, and I lived with my grandparents in San Saba, Texas, while Dad was in the service. As young as I was, I vividly remember one ecstatically happy day when my dad unexpectedly opened the door and walked into my grandmother’s living room. Before that eventful day, I had been tormented with fears because some neighborhood children had told me

I would never see my dad again. Like kids telling a ghost story, they taunted me that my dad would come home in a box. When he walked through that door, a sense of peace and security came over me and stayed with me for the rest of his time in the army.

It was past time for my baby brother to be born, and I found out when I was older that Dad’s outfit at the time was being relocated by train from Long Beach, California, to Virginia Beach, Virginia. The train was coming through Fort Worth, Texas, on its way to Virginia, so my dad caught a ride from Fort Worth to San Saba in the hopes of seeing his new son. He then hitchhiked until he caught up with the train shortly before it reached Virginia Beach. The memory of his walking into that room still brings a feeling of peaceful calm to my soul. In fact, that incident set the stage for later seeking the security a heavenly Father’s presence could bring.

Did you know there is a place in God—a secret place—for those who want to seek refuge? It is a literal place of physical safety and security that God tells us about in Psalm 91.

Dwelling in the shelter of the Most High is the Old Testament’s way of teaching faith. This gives us the most intense illustration of the very essence of a personal relationship with God. Man has no innate built-in shelter. Alone, he stands unsheltered against the elements and must run to the shelter Himself. In the first verse of Psalm 91, God offers us more than protection; it is as if He rolls out the hospitality mat and personally invites us in.

I cannot talk about this kind of peace and security without also having another vivid memory come to mind. My parents once took my younger siblings and me fishing on a lake near Brownwood, Texas, for an afternoon of fun.

Dad had a secluded place where we fished for perch. That was the second greatest highlight of the outing. I loved seeing the cork begin to bob and then suddenly go completely out of sight. There were only a few things that could thrill me more than jerking back on that old, cane pole and landing a huge perch right in the boat. I think I was fully grown before I realized that Dad had an ulterior motive in taking us for an afternoon of perch fishing. He used the perch as bait for the trotline he had stretched out across one of the secret coves at the lake.

Dad would drive the boat over to the place where his trotline was located, cut off the boat motor, and inch the boat across the cove as he ran the trotline. That’s what he called it when he took the trotline into his hands and pulled the boat alongside all the strategically placed, baited hooks to see if any of them had caught a large catfish.

I said that catching the perch was the second greatest highlight of the outing. By far the greatest thrill came when Dad would get to a place where the trotline would begin to jerk almost out of his hand. Then we three siblings would watch, wide-eyed, as Dad wrestled with the line until finally, in victory, he would flip a huge catfish over the side of the boat, right on the floorboard at our feet. Money couldn’t buy that kind of excitement! Not even the circus and a carnival all rolled up into one could compete with that kind of a thrill.

However, one of these outings turned out to be more eventful than most, quickly becoming an experience I will never forget. It had been beautiful when we started out, but by the time we finished our perch fishing and headed toward the cove, everything had changed. A storm came upon the lake so suddenly there was no time to get back to the boat dock. The sky turned black, lightning flashed, and drops of rain fell with such force they actually stung when they hit. Moments later, we were being pelted by marble-sized hailstones.

I saw the fear in my mother’s eyes, and I knew we were in danger. But before I had time to wonder what we were going to do, Dad had driven the boat to the rugged shoreline of the only island on the lake. Although boat docks surround the island now, back then it looked like an abandoned island with absolutely no place to take cover. Within moments Dad had us all out of the boat and ordered the three of us to lie down beside our mother on the ground. He quickly pulled a canvas tarp out of the bottom of the boat, knelt down on the ground beside us, and thrust the tarp up over all five of us. That storm continued to

rage outside the makeshift tent he had fashioned over us—the rain beat down, the lightning flashed, and the thunder rolled. Yet I could think of nothing else but how it felt to have my dad’s arms around us. There was a certain calm under the protection of the shield my father had provided that is hard to explain now. In fact, I had never felt as safe and secure in my entire life. I remember thinking that I wished the storm would last forever. I didn’t want anything to spoil the wonderful security I felt that day in our secret hiding place. Feeling my father’s protective arms around me, I never wanted the moment to end.

Although I have never forgotten that experience, today it has taken on new meaning. Just as Dad put a tarp over us to shield us from the storm, our heavenly Father has a secret place in His arms that protects us from the storms that are raging in the world around us.

That secret place is literal, but it is also conditional! In verse 1 of Psalm 91, God lists our part of the condition before He even mentions the promises included in His part. That’s because our part has to come first. To abide in the shadow of the Almighty, we must first choose to dwell in the shelter of the Most High.

The question is, “How do we dwell in the security and shelter of the Most High?” It is more than an intellectual experience. This verse speaks of a dwelling place in which we can be physically protected if we run to Him. You may utterly believe that God is your refuge, you may give mental assent to it in your prayer time, you may teach Sunday School lessons on this concept of refuge, and you may even get a warm feeling every time you think of it, but unless you do something about it—unless you actually get up and run to the shelter—you will never experience it.

You might call that place of refuge—a love walk! In fact, the secret place is, in reality, the intimacy and familiarity of the presence of God Himself. When our grandchildren Cullen, ten, and Meritt, seven, stay the night with us, the moment they finish breakfast each runs to his own secret place to spend some time talking with God. Cullen finds a

place behind the couch in the den, and Meritt heads behind the lamp table in the corner of our bedroom. Those places have become very special to them.

Where is your secret place? You too need the security and shelter of a secret place with the Most High.

Monday, June 28, 2010

To Those Who Suffer: Understanding God's purpose and pathway through pain by Sean Nolan

Tour Date: July 1

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To Those Who Suffer: Understanding God's purpose and pathway through pain

VMI Publishers (May 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings of The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


Sean Nolan, twenty-eight, was the youngest elected member of the executive branch of a local Christian political party in Sydney, Australia. Nolan resigned last year, but using his political experience he lobbies on behalf of abused children and consults to national leaders at a federal and state level for the development of Christian care in government.

Having completed his theological studies at Emmaus Bible College, Nolan spent many years in youth ministry before joining Glorious Hope Baptist Church in Sydney as an ordained minister. Working with this eight-year-old church plant that reaches out to the most marginalized in the community, Nolan ministers to those he has a passion for—the deeply suffering—and provides pastoral care to people trapped in extreme cycles of abuse and dependency. As a primary home caregiver for both his parents, the author has an intimate understanding of living with pain and is working to develop resources including social media tools to minister to those who are hurting.

Nolan lives in Sydney, Australia with his parents. He is soon to be married and enjoys rugby, cricket, and sci-fi. To Those Who Suffer is Sean Nolan’s first book.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: VMI Publishers (May 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1935265229
ISBN-13: 978-1935265221


The Way of Our Master

“Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.” 1 PETER 4:1, NIV

God Loves You.

My prayer for you at this point is not that you know that God loves you. All Christians ‘know’ this; my prayer is that you will understand that God loves you. There is a huge difference between knowing about something and understanding it. When I was at college I sold suits for a living. When I started the job all I knew about a suit was what one looked like. However, after four years of selling suits I understood everything there is to understand about a men’s business suit. I had such an understanding of suits that I could tell you what fabric a suit was made out of just by looking at it, or if a garment had been dry-cleaned just by touching the fabric. I found that in my early Christian years I knew of God’s love for me, but I had not known God’s love in a deep and meaningful way. It is not healthy for us to have an academic knowledge of God’s love; we must have a deep personal understanding of God’s love for us.

Sometimes we get so angry and upset with God because we cannot believe that He loves us when He has allowed us to go through so much in our lives. After much anguish, I have realized that my personal frustration with God was a result of my lack of understanding about God’s love for me. The most important thing that anyone can understand is God’s love for him or her. Living the Christian life without an understanding of God’s love is like driving a car without any understanding about how the car operates. I have ‘crashed’ my life many times because of my warped perception of God’s love for me and my misguided unbiblical view of how I thought God should have been manifesting his love in my life. This chapter contains some hard truths about God’s love and I do not encourage you to read it lightly. In it we will discuss misperceptions about God’s love and the true Biblical nature of God’s love for His children.


There is a story from the days of the early church that involves the apostle John. The story says that the apostle John would constantly tell the people in the church that they needed to ‘love one another.’ At first the members of the congregation saw this as good advice, but the apostle persisted in his dispensing of this vital piece of wisdom. The story holds that John would constantly speak about their need to ‘love one another’ in his sermons and that the apostle would constantly instruct the people to ‘love one another’ during their day-to-day interaction with him. This constant repetitious advice made the people wonder why their leader constantly told them to do the same thing over and over again. The people in the church got so perplexed with John’s fixation on their need to ‘love one another’ that they approached him and asked him why he was continually instructing them with the same piece of advice. When confronted with the question of why he was continually telling the people that they needed to ‘love one another’ the apostle John answered by saying: “because that is what the Master

(Jesus) told us!”

The way of our Master was and is the way of love. The Lord Jesus Christ said that the entire Old Testament hangs on the truth of love: Matthew 22:37–40 says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” The foundational truth of the entire Bible is love; if we fail to understand the love of God then we will never understand any part of God’s Word. No chapter or verse in the entire Bible should be interpreted out of the context of God’s love. This truth extends beyond the Bible and engulfs every aspect of human life. Every moment of every day in our lives, whether it sees us in church on Sunday morning, in a coffee shop with friends, in a hospital bed, or in a pub getting drunk should be viewed in the context of God’s love. Without this foundational truth in the forefront of our minds we will never have the ability to understand God’s working in our lives.

The Lord Jesus understood the integral part that love plays in our understanding of Him and His message for us. Jesus told the religious leaders of His day that they should interpret the entire Old Testament, every sentence and word in light of God’s love. We need to use this truth as a filter for all that happens to us. Everything we do and all that is done to us as well as all that comes to pass in our lives has to be comprehended and understood in relation to God’s love. Every thought that we allow into our minds has to pass through a mental filter that checks and analyzes it in relation to God’s love. If we do not do this then our perspective on what is taking place in our lives will be distorted. We will never be able to understand why God allows such suffering in the world and especially in the lives of those who follow Him. The apostle John understood this truth and tried his hardest to convey it to the Christians around him; we learn this from his writings in the Bible, particularly the book of First John. I believe that the reason why John taught the people about love to the point of frustration was that he knew how desperately they needed to understand it. I am sure that the majority of the people in John’s churches never really understood the power of God’s love for them. If they did then they would have never asked him the question that they did. John, like all great church leaders, understood something that he so desperately wanted the Christians around him to understand. He knew the power of a mind that understands all things in light of God’s love. Through his persistent attempts to pass on an understanding of God’s love, John conveyed the same truth the apostle Paul wrote about in his letter to the church in Ephesus when he divinely penned these words: “that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17–19).

The love of God needs to be the foundation upon which our entire understanding of life is built. A comprehension of the love of Christ needs to be mixed into all the areas of our lives. If this is not done then we will never be filled with “all the fullness of God.”

Love is an attribute brought to this world by God from heaven. Faith and hope, however, were introduced to mankind by God because of sin. If there were no sin then they would not be needed; love, however, predates sin. Mankind knew of the love of God before sin entered into the world; and the whole purpose of God in the world and individually in our lives is to bring us back into his complete love. This purpose will be completely fulfilled when we arrive home to be with Him in heaven, but while we are on the earth, the Lord is teaching his children a heavenly lesson, that lesson being His love for us.


So many Christians look at Jesus as the all-conquering King of their lives, which He is. However, many fail to recognize that Jesus had another role that He fulfilled while on the earth. Jesus has two roles to play in history, His first appearance on this earth was as the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29). The second role will be fulfilled when Christ returns as the Lion of God who comes to judge the world (Rev. 5:5). These roles, like the animals that represent them, are very different and they are symbolic of the different ways in which God acts towards His children.

It is said that many Jewish people at the time of Christ thought that there were going to be two Messiahs. The reason for this is that the Old Testament speaks about the coming King in two different ways. Firstly, it refers to Him as the suffering servant of Israel. This is highlighted in the passages of Scripture famously known as the suffering servant passages of Isaiah (42:1–9, 49:1–6, 50:4–11, 52:13–53:121). These passages, particularly 52:13–53:12, have been made famous because of their vivid prophetic description of the ‘suffering servant’ that parallels the account given in the Gospels of the Lord Jesus Christ. Secondly, the Old Testament talks about the coming king as the all-conquering King of Israel who will come to deal with their enemies and bring about a time of great prosperity for the nation (2 Sam. 7:16; Jer. 23:5–6; Zech. 14:5–17, etc.). The point here is that the Jews were right and wrong at the same time. The passages do describe the Messiah (Jesus) in different ways, but they were not describing different people; they were describing the same person in different roles. I have found through my own experiences that Christ can and does act in my life as an all-powerful King. However, these times have been few and far between. One of the hardest lessons I have had to learn is that Jesus has called me many times to follow in His footsteps and to suffer as my Master’s servant. I said above that the way of our Master is the way of love; however, the way of our Master is also the way of suffering.

When Jesus came to earth two thousand years ago, He came for one purpose and one purpose only, to reconcile mankind back to God. This first coming of the Lord to the earth dealt with the spiritual problem of mankind (Matthew 18:11). The return of Christ will see the Lord deal with the final spiritual problems of mankind but also the physical circumstantial ones. What I mean by this is that the primary purpose of the cross was not to remove the suffering from our lives, but to provide a way for people to be redeemed back to God and to give us victory over sin. The Jews wanted their coming Messiah and King to conquer their Roman oppressors and remove all the suffering from their lives. They were imagining a return to the days of King Solomon where silver was as common as wood and the nation and all its inhabitants lived in the lap of luxury. However, the Lord was much more concerned with the problem of sin and the atonement that needed to be made to free Israel and all people from the bondage of sin. This is why the Jews did not recognize Christ; they were looking at Jesus with human expectations of what the Messiah should be and do, whereas God had sent his Son to fulfill the role of the Messiah according to the divine perspective. I cannot speak for you but I can say from my own journey down the road of suffering that I have had this same problem. I thought God is loving, good, and all-powerful therefore He has come into my life to bless me with comfortable circumstances. Only in the last few years have I realized that God’s greatest purpose in my life is to conform me into the image of His Son, not to ensure my personal comfort. God is more interested in my character than He is my comfort!

Like the Jews of Jesus’ day, many of us do not understand the role of God in our lives and the purpose of Jesus’ dying on the cross for our sins. Jesus came to save you and me from our sins, which does not necessarily mean that He has come to save us from suffering. In fact Jesus suffered extensively while He was on earth and the apostles followed in His footsteps. All of the apostles except for John were martyred (and John might as well have been, he suffered so much) and the early church suffered horrendous persecution. The Roman Emperor Nero dipped Christians in hot tar and then put them up on poles. He would then have the poles with the believers attached set alight and he would use these poor saints as human lanterns at his parties. The Lord Jesus came to earth to suffer and his disciples

followed him down this path as do many Christians today in countries that persecute believers. It was a hard truth for me to accept when I realized that I am called to serve the all-conquering King but also follow in the footsteps of the great Suffering Servant.

The love of God and the suffering of Christ go hand in hand. God’s love for us cannot be viewed outside of Christ’s suffering for us; God loves us so much that He is allowing us to follow in the footsteps of His Son. If we gladly accept the blessing that comes from following Christ the all conquering King, we must also accept the hardship that is allowed in our lives by Jesus the Suffering Servant. We must always remember that the cross comes before the crown!


In the church today there is a huge misunderstanding of who God is and what His purpose for our lives is. In my early Christian years I viewed God as a divine vending machine. I thought that praying to God is like putting money in a drink machine. I put my prayer in and through that prayer I would be making my selection of what I wanted God to do in my life and then God was obligated to give me what I wanted. So many Christians have ceased praying to God and asking Him for His will to be done as instructed to in the Lord’s prayer (Matthew 6:10; Luke 11:2). Instead we spend most of our prayer life counseling God and instructing Him on how He should be dealing with us in our lives. God does not want our advice; He wants our devotion; one of the most valuable commodities that the Lord values is trust (Proverbs 3:5–6). God wants us to trust Him with our lives; the reason that the Lord wants this of us is that He knows what is best for us. The Lord wants to implement a foundation of love in your life. This may not be easy and it may even be uncomfortable but it is essential for your spiritual growth. When we think of love, many of us conjure up images of roses on Valentine’s Day and long walks on the beach; our view of love has become narrow and distorted by the secular society that we live in. We see on TV people talking about ‘making love’ when in fact they are simply making lust. No one can ‘make love’ because God was and is the creator of love. Our society swaps love for lust and then has no comprehension of what a loving relationship or action is. Lust is Satan’s substitute for God’s love; so many Christians have bought into the lie of Satan that love is a lustful state of euphoria that is comprised of a constant ‘warm fuzzy’ feeling that should never end. This view of love is not the image of love that the Bible portrays. The Biblical view of love is strongly tied up with the area of suffering.

The cross was the most amazing manifestation of God’s love that the world ever has seen and ever will see. We know that the cross is amazing, we sing about it, read about it, and talk about it all the time. When we go to church we are told to be thankful for what the Lord has done on the cross for us, we remember the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ through communion. However, very few Christians understand exactly what took place on the cross; we think we do understand the cross but really we do not. Many people think that the suffering the Lord endured to save us was the physical suffering seen in movies like the Jesus Film and the Passion of the Christ. However, the physical suffering of Christ was just a drop in relation to the ‘ocean of suffering’ that Jesus Christ had to pass through to purchase our salvation. The real suffering that saved us was Christ’s separation from His Father in heaven and the spiritual torture that He endured during the hours of darkness while He was on the cross, when the wrath of God was being poured out upon Him for our sins. People have asked me how Jesus knows about them and I tell them that one reason why He knows all about you is because while He was on the cross He was made aware of all your sin in an intimate way as He suffered on your behalf. We focus on Christ’s physical suffering that He endured on the cross; however, the suffering that caused the Lord Jesus Christ to suffer beyond measure was His spiritual suffering. No one can understand exactly how the Lord suffered spiritually because the only person capable of suffering in this way was the Son of God. Jesus was the only one with the spiritual qualifications needed to fulfill this task and therefore any attempt to analyze His spiritual suffering and understand it would be woefully inadequate. The point that I am making here is that the cross was not only the greatest act of love that the world has ever seen and ever will see; but the cross was also the greatest act of suffering that the world has ever seen and ever will see. God loves you so much that He forsook, renounced, and abandoned His own Son so that He would not have to forsake, renounce, and abandon you. The love of God and the suffering of Christ go hand in hand. It has been said that loving another person is doing what is best for him at any given time. This does not mean that you are constantly being nice to others but it does mean that you should constantly be good to others. There is a big difference between nice people and good people. Nice people are loved by everyone whereas good people get nailed to crosses! Jesus was not always ‘nice’ to people but He was always good to them; there is a big difference. God’s actions in your lives may not always be pleasant or nice; however, they are always loving and good. Just like the cross was not pleasant for Jesus, our suffering is not pleasant for us. The suffering of Christ on the cross was the most productive and loving thing that has ever been done for the human race. Just like our Master’s suffering, our suffering is also the most productive and loving thing that will ever happen in our Christian walk (after our salvation). I realize how stupid and even cruel that statement seems; however, it was true for Jesus and His disciples and it is true for us. I find that in my own life I am happy to accept the part about God the Father allowing Christ to suffer out of love for me. However, I find that I am less willing to accept the part about God allowing me to suffer because He loves me. We need to remember at this point that God allows us to suffer at the expense of our physical lives so we can grow in our spiritual lives. The reason that our good, loving, holy, just and righteous God permits suffering in our lives is that He has a good, loving, holy, just, and righteous purpose for allowing this suffering in our lives, just as He did for Christ. It is not my intention to outline the good, holy, loving, just, and righteous things that God brings about in our lives through suffering and the reason why He cannot use another means to accomplish this. These things will be covered later on; however the point that I want to establish here is that God’s love for us is not made void because He allows us to suffer. God’s love for you is as real as the pain from your suffering. The thing we have to understand is that the suffering God allows in our lives is just as much a part of God’s love for us as the blessing that He brings into our lives. We need to have the perspective that Christ came to free us from our sin not necessarily our suffering. And that there is an amazing, loving, joyous peace to be found even if the Lord does not give us the removal of the painful circumstances that we so desperately seek.

When a Man You Love Was Abused: A Woman's Guide to Helping Him Overcome Childhood Sexual Molestation by Cecil Murphey

Tour Date: June 30th

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It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

When a Man You Love Was Abused: A Woman's Guide to Helping Him Overcome Childhood Sexual Molestation

Kregel Publications (April 7, 2010)

***Special thanks to Danielle Douglas of Douglas Public Relations for sending me a review copy.***


Cecil Murphey has written or coauthored more than one hundred books, including the bestselling book Gifted Hands which has sold more than three million copies, the autobiography of Franklin Graham, Rebel with a Cause and the New York Times bestseller 90 Minutes in Heaven. Murphey currently resides in Georgia.

Visit the author's website.
Visit the author's blog.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (April 7, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0825433533
ISBN-13: 978-0825433535


—P r e f a c e —

A Word about the Names in This Book

When I write nonfiction books I like to provide the full name of the individuals involved. I believe it adds integrity to the material and shows they’re not made-up accounts or composites. In this book, however, I can’t do that. This material is much too sensitive and personal.

“If I gave my name,” one man said, “my family might find out, and they wouldn’t forgive me.” His stepfather had been the perpetrator.

Others who talked to me gave no specific reason other than to say, “I’m not ready to tell this publicly” or “I’d rather you don’t use my name.”

Out of respect for these individuals, I’ve disguised their identity. If you read only a first name, it’s for one of three reasons:

1. The person requested I not use his name.

2. Several of the groups in which I participated are like AA—and we use only our first names. I tell the story of a man named Red, for example, so called because that’s the only name by which I knew him.

3. I no longer have contact with the person and couldn’t get permission.

How to Use This Book

I’ve designed this book in two parts, and it doesn’t matter which you read first.

Part 1 focuses on male sexual assault and its effects. This part is basically informative, and its purpose is to help you understand the problems that male abuse victims face.

Part 2 is the practical section. The purpose is to show you—a woman in the life of a man who was molested as a child—what you can do to help him.

— I n t r o d u c t i o n —

If You’re an Important Woman in His Life

He was molested—or at least you suspect he was. That means he was victimized by someone older and more powerful than he was. The man you care for might be your boyfriend, husband, brother, father, or son. He is someone you care about deeply, and because he hurts, you hurt.

He hurts because he was victimized in childhood. Many therapists don’t like the word victim or victimized and prefer to speak of survivors. They also don’t like the word abused and usually opt for assaulted. The media tends to use the word molested. In this book, I use the terms interchangeably.

Regardless of the word used, something happened to him—something terrible and frightening—that will affect him for the rest of his life. Something happened to him that affects your life as well.

How Can You Help?

Because you care about him, you have also been victimized. Because of your love for him, you’ve been hurt, and you may have suffered for a long time. But the man you care for didn’t hurt you intentionally. He was trying to cope with his problem.

Perhaps years passed before you knew about his childhood pain. During that time, you may have sensed something was wrong. Statistics indicate that men tend to reveal themselves more readily to a woman, usually a wife or girlfriend.

But even if you knew about his experience, how could you have grasped how it would impact your relationship? Because he battled the problem that he couldn’t talk about, he did it privately and sometimes not too well. How could you not feel rejected or hurt when he shut you out?

Even if he faced his abuse, he may have excused the perpetrator. Although the man in your life was the victim, he may have felt guilty for the abuse. His undeserved guilt is real. And he hurts.

Because he hurts, you hurt too.

That’s part of your victimization. His reactions, attitudes, and behavior caused you to assume blame and guilt, and you’ve asked yourself, “How did I fail?” You may not have voiced those words, but you felt you were the flawed person in the relationship.

If this describes you, you may already have gone through a lengthy period of wondering what was wrong with you. You tormented yourself with questions:

• Why does he shut me out?

• Why can’t I help him?

• Why can’t I take away his pain?

• Why won’t he talk to me or allow me into his private world?

• How did I fail him?

• I love him and try to show him that, so why won’t he trust me?

If you’re reading this, it means you know, or seriously suspect, that an important male in your life was assaulted in childhood. You love him and want to relieve his pain, but you feel helpless. Or you’re sure there must be something you can do to fix him. If you could just figure out the hidden weapon, the magic pill, or the right words, he’d be all right.

It isn’t that simple. Besides, you can’t fix him.

In this book, though, I provide suggestions in part 2 to help you understand and accept him. As you accept his situation and his resulting problems, I hope you’ll feel better about yourself and accept that his problem is not your fault. You may often need to remind yourself of this fact: it is his battle. You can’t fight his inner demons, but you can stand with him when he fights them. He must work through it himself. You can assist him by being available to him, and I’ll suggest ways to do that. But it is his struggle and his journey into wholeness.

You may feel more at peace with your inability to heal him if you can think of him as a once-innocent child who was victimized by a predator. This isn’t to deny your pain, but you can help him and help yourself if you can start with understanding something from his past.

His experience and his response to it are complex. He has been wounded in several ways, the old wounds reopen in unpredictable ways, and you can’t do anything to make him into a whole person. You can stand with him as he seeks and discovers his own healing. As you accept his situation and his resulting problems and behavior, I hope you’ll feel better about yourself and accept the reality that his problem isn’t your fault. He must work through his own emotional issues—with your assistance of love and encouragement.

I want to make an important distinction here. When an adult sexually abuses a boy, many people think of that as a sexual act. That’s not correct. The perpetrator’s actions weren’t about sex, and they weren’t about love for the child. Those who molest have deep-seated problems that go far deeper than sexual exploitation of a child. For the perpetrator, sexual gratification at the expense of a child is a symptom of deeper problems that go beyond the scope of this book.

When adults are attracted to children—compulsively attracted—we call them pedophiles. Although there are variations in the definition of pedophiles, here’s a simple one: the term comes from two Greek words—paidos, children, and philia, a word for love. It refers to anyone—male or female—who is sexually attracted to prepubescent children. I’ll say it even stronger; they are compulsively attracted. Generally, that means the objects of their desire are children younger than thirteen. Therapists have recorded that some pedophiles visualize themselves as being at the same age as the children they molest. Other therapists would say that pedophiles are adults who are fixated at the prepubescent stage of life.

Just as all assaulted boys won’t become homosexuals, the male perpetrator may not be gay. Most of those convicted of molesting boys vehemently deny that they are homosexual and insist they are heterosexual.

Regardless, when an adult molests an innocent child, that’s sexual abuse. My intention is not that you try to understand the abuser, or that you feel sorry for that person. By the end of the journey, though, I hope you and the man in your life will be able to forgive and to feel sadness for such individuals.

The perpetrator—whether male or female—is a sexual abuser of children. That’s the one fact to bear in mind. Sometimes it makes no difference to the perpetrator whether the victims are male or female. This is an important concept for you, the woman in the victim’s life, to understand. The result of his abuse carries long-lasting effects, and he may not want to talk about the issues related to the abuse for fear of being labeled as homosexual. Or he may feel he is gay because it was a man who molested him. You may need to help him accept that child sexual abuse is not a heterosexual-homosexual issue. It’s a crime and a sin that was perpetrated against him.

He probably doesn’t understand all that. He may still feel conflicted about what happened to him—and about the theft of his innocence. For now, the once–abused child needs support and encouragement. He needs someone he can trust as he copes with his pain and his problems. He needs you.